GNU is Not Linux and Microsoft’s Linux Entryism Does Not Directly Impact GNU

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, VMware at 10:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linus Benedict Torvalds was only 14 when GNU started and nowadays several of his bosses work for Microsoft

When they call your 1983 project Linux; Then say you started the 'Open Source' movement

Summary: The destination of the GNU Project, led by its founder Dr. Stallman (RMS), does not depend strongly on what happens to Linux, a project still (mostly) led by Mr. Torvalds, whose control over it slips away

THE Linux Foundation has just announced a new survey (we put that in Daily Links a moment ago), which is funded and managed by VMware, a GPL violator that the Foundation helps in exchange for money. Those violators come from Microsoft.

“Very few GNU projects come ‘in contact’ with Microsoft through GitHub.”The way we see it, Linux is in some sense ‘compromised’, but GNU can still remain independent and it’s mostly separate(d) from Microsoft, as we noted in part 1 and part 2 of an ongoing series that’s separate. Very few GNU projects come ‘in contact’ with Microsoft through GitHub. Hopefully that number will remain small; the FSF is working on a libre social media-like alternative to GitHub. Better late than never, right?

GNU does not depend on Linux. It never did.

“All we can do is highlight these issues, hoping that broader exposure of all those underlying dangers will discourage the perpetrators.”Torvalds no longer has much of a say inside the Foundation. In 2018 he received a ‘warning shot’ and he has been a lot more docile since then. As for RMS? Well, Dr. Stallman still speaks to people and he’s starting to appear in public again, albeit his talks are being delayed/cancelled due to the pandemic.

We hope that Linux developers will manage to ‘shake off’ these entryism attempts (takeover by Linux foes), but judging by recent events we’re not too optimistic. All we can do is highlight these issues, hoping that broader exposure of all those underlying dangers will discourage the perpetrators.

GNU stands for “GNU is not UNIX” — a recursive acronym. But it’s important to also remember that GNU is not Linux and GNU programs aren’t “Linux commands” — a common misperception/misconception/misrepresentation trotted forth by misleading media.

If Microsoft manages to undermine Linux, GNU will certainly have a number of contingencies. Linux is GPL (copyleft) and the licence is compatible with GNU. So hypothetically even a fork is feasible (shall the need for it arise, whereupon many developers can ‘defect’ to it).

So, in summary, don’t think that the attack on control/leverage over Linux impacts GNU directly. GNU, still led by RMS, is going strong.

Links 6/5/2020: Debian-Based Sparky 2020.05 and Tails 4.6, 76.0 Firefox Release and Microsoft-Connected Firm on Rise of GNU/Linux in Desktops/Laptops

Posted in News Roundup at 9:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Bad news for Windows 10 as users shift to Ubuntu and macOS

        Uncomfortably for Microsoft, another of its rivals, the Linux distribution Ubunutu, also recorded a big leap, from 0.27% in March to 1.89% in April. Combined with other distros, the open-source operating system Linux is now sitting at 2.86%.

      • Windows by the numbers: Windows share shrinks, Linux surges … wait, Linux?

        According to analytics company Net Applications, Windows accounted for 86.9% of global OS share in April, a decline of 2.3 percentage points. That was the largest loss by Windows since November 2017, when Net Applications made major adjustments to its numbers after purging its data of bogus traffic originating from criminals’ “bots.”

        The decline of Windows overall had a ripple effect, causing individual editions, such as Windows 10, to have similarly large losses. When measured as a portion of all Windows, however, the editions’ declines, if present at all, were much less significant.

        And because operating system share is zero-sum – when one OS goes down, another has to go up – April saw major advances by two non-Microsoft operating systems. Apple’s macOS climbed by eight-tenths of a percentage point, reaching 9.8%, its highest mark since March 2019. And Linux – all distributions – shot up by a remarkable 1.5 points to end April at 2.9%, its highest mark since October 2017 (and just before the Net Applications data revamp).

      • Windows 10 market share drops as Ubuntu record growth

        The market share of Windows 10 declined in April 2020, with Ubuntu, Linux and macOS the top operating systems to benefit from this decline. Windows 7, on the other hand, also declined in the latest report, which makes sense given it no longer receives security patches.

        While the market share of Windows 10 is expected to grow after the Redmond firm retired Windows 10, this isn’t what happened in April 2020 as macOS and Ubuntu registered growth.

        The market share changes could be due to fewer businesses using Windows 10 as some companies have shuttered most of their workplaces indefinitely during the health crisis. As a result, operating systems other than Windows 10 such as Ubuntu are statistically more represented in the market share report.

      • Manjaro Linux and Star Labs team up for their Linux-focused hardware

        Star Labs, a small Linux vendor from the UK has teamed up with Manjaro Linux to offer Manjaro as an option on their custom Linux laptops. Announced today previously you could get Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS but now your choice will include Manjaro too.

        Unlike some other hardware vendors, Star Labs are not using generic Clevo casing and hardware. They originally did when the first started but nowadays they actually make their own. What they offer do look and sound great too. It’s really awesome to see more Linux-focused hardware vendors.

        What’s also great, is that they’re not focused on the top-end hardware that costs a small fortune. Instead they have the sweet little Star Lite Mk II with a 11-inch IPS display, with an Intel Pentium N4200 processor and Intel HD 505 Graphics, a very speedy 240GB SSD and 8GB RAM starting at £399…

    • Server

      • Introducing PodTopologySpread

        Managing Pods distribution across a cluster is hard. The well-known Kubernetes features for Pod affinity and anti-affinity, allow some control of Pod placement in different topologies. However, these features only resolve part of Pods distribution use cases: either place unlimited Pods to a single topology, or disallow two Pods to co-locate in the same topology. In between these two extreme cases, there is a common need to distribute the Pods evenly across the topologies, so as to achieve better cluster utilization and high availability of applications.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • System Fusion and WiRES-X Deep Dive

        Welcome to Episode 343, the latest release of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts take an in-depth look at the workings of Yaesu’s System Fusion communication technology and the associated Internet linking platform known as WiRES-X. If you’re interested in digital radio and VHF/UHF chat with folks around the world (looking at you, Technician Class operators) then this topic is for you. Pi-Star and other cross-mode digital usage is also touched on. We hope you find this informative and interesting. Stay safe and hang in there.

      • This Week in Linux 102: Inkscape 1.0, Fedora 32, Ubuntu Flavours, Pop!_OS, Red Hat, openSUSE & More

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we have SO MUCH DISTRO NEWS! In fact, we’ve got news from Fedora, PopOS, Red Hat, openSUSE, and a follow up for the Ubuntu 20.04 release. Last week, I said we’re going to give the official Ubuntu Flavours an extra week to discuss their 20.04 releases since there are so many to discuss and that time has come. There are 7 Ubuntu Flavours and all of them have a 20.04 release with some really interesting stuff happening in each one. If that wasn’t enough, Inkscape 1.0 has finally be released after 16 Years of continuous develop so this episode is just jam packed with Linux News. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

      • [S4:E8] Command Line Heroes: One More Thing with Steve Wozniak
      • OODAcast – A Conversation With Cybersecurity Leader Cameron Over

        Cameron has been in the field of information security since the late 90’s. From mid-high school, she was exposed to early network discovery techniques while interning with DoD agencies, and held a Top Secret security clearance for more than 15 years. She grew her career assisting countless agencies with their most pressing security challenges, including specialized skills and expertise in Unix and Linux operating systems, Domain Name Services (DNS), Cross-Domain systems handling highly classified data, and web server and application security.

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel

        • Linux Writecache To See Much Greater Performance On Intel Optane Systems Soon

          The performance optimization now queued for Linux 5.8 is making use of CLFLUSHOPT within dm-writecache when available. CLFLUSHOPT is one of Intel’s persistent memory extensions that allows for optimized flushing of cache lines by supporting greater concurrency. The CLFLUSHOPT instruction has been supported on Intel servers since Skylake and on AMD since Zen.

          The dm-writecache target will now check for CLFLUSHOPT support and use it when available, thereby helping the performance on Optane-like storage for this writeback caching. On unsupported CPUs, the existing behavior is maintained.

        • Intel Preparing Platform Monitoring Technology – Hardware Telemetry With Tiger Lake

          The kernel patches volleyed overnight I believe are the first time seeing “Intel Platform Monitoring Technology” and Google hasn’t turned up many other hits besides these new patches. Which makes sense as the patches confirm this PMT feature is premiering with Tiger Lake. Intel Platform Monitoring Technology is for enumerating and accessing hardware monitoring capabilities for a device. Intel developer David Box says this is coming as a result of customers interested in hardware telemetry and making the data collection more discoverable and easier to manage.

          This is a hardware agnostic framework for collecting monitoring data. Intel PMT makes use of the PCIe Designated Vendor Extended Capability (DVSEC) bit for each instance/device. Box explained in the announcement, “The current capabilities defined by PMT are Telemetry, Watcher, and Crashlog. The Telemetry capability provides access to a continuous block of read only data. The Watcher capability provides access to hardware sampling and tracing features. Crashlog provides access to device crash dumps. While there is some relationship between capabilities (Watcher can be configured to sample from the Telemetry data set) each exists as stand alone features with no dependency on any other.”

          The collected monitoring data is exposed to user-space via a new XML format for interested tools to parse.

        • WiFi & Cellular Router Focuses on Security, Always-on Connectivity with 2GB Free Monthly Data (Crowdfunding – US)

          I’m not sure what happens if the router dies in 10 years since the device is unlikely to still be manufactured due to OEL parts, but I assume they could always offer their upgraded device as a replacement to a defective unit. Shipping is expected by the end of this month since they already have 100 RC20 routers.

        • Intel adds support for Rocket Lake-S in its Linux drivers, confirms compatibility with 400 and 500 Series

          Later this year, Intel will launch Rocket Lake-S, its 11th generation of desktop processors, and is already preparing for market launch with driver support for its new integrated Gen12 based on the Xe architecture.

    • Applications

      • Inkscape 1.0 Released For GNU/Linux, Windows, And macOS

        With over 16 years of heavy development, the open-source graphics editor Inkscape has finally hit a milestone with the release of version 1.0. Inkscape 1.0 packs high performance, new features and toolset, HiDPI support, and a native macOS application.

        Back in 2003, Inkscape released its initial version and then reached 1.0 by rolling out the release candidate last month. However, the last three years of Inkscape development have been mostly about improving the stability of the open-source graphics editor.

      • Software news: Inkscape finally hits 1.0 and Krita 4.3.0 gets a first Beta

        Two big bits of software news for artists to share today as two major bits of FOSS software have big new versions up with Inkscape and Krita. Both examples of how great FOSS software can be, regardless of your use for designing game art or anything else.

        After what feels like forever, vector graphics editor Inkscape finally hit the big 1.0 release yesterday! Such a huge release too moving over to GTK+3 for the interface bringing HiDPI improvements, better performance especially when editing node-heavy objects, a reorganized tool box with a more logical order to it, the canvas is more flexible for freestyle drawing, the UI is more customizable than ever, new PNG export options and the list goes on.

      • After More Than 3 Years, Inkscape 1.0 is Finally Here With Tons of Feature Improvements

        Even though I’m not an expert, it is safe to say that Inkscape is one of the best vector graphics editors.

        Not just limited to the reason that it is free and open-source software – but it is indeed a useful application for digital artists creating something on it.

        The last release (version 0.92) was about 3 years ago. And, now, finally, Inkscape announced its 1.0 release – with a bunch of new features, additions, and improvements.

      • Free Windows 10, Linux, macOS open-source graphics editor: Inkscape 1.0 is out

        The 16-year-old Inkscape project has released version 1.0 of the free and open-source vector graphics editor, after three years in development. Inkscape 1.0 is available for Linux, Windows, and macOS.

        Inkscape 1.0 is packed with new features and is now available in 20 languages with numerous performance improvements that should make it run noticeably more smoothly.

        Inkscape offers designers, artists, and scientists a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator.

      • PhotoQt is a fluid image viewer for Windows and Linux

        Selecting a directory displays its sub-folders in the middle-pane. The larger on the pane lists all images in the selected folder. And, if you mouse over an image you will see its preview in the folder’s background. That’s really cool, and this is the reason why the program has an opaque background. Try moving the mouse over a bunch of pictures in a folder, you’ll see what I mean when I say that the preview is displayed quickly. I tried capturing a GIF of the mouse over previews to show you, but the frames were too slow and kind of defeated the purpose.

        Mousing over an image’s name will display a tool-tip with the full name and file size of the picture. Click on an image to view it in its actual size.

      • Welcome, Inkscape Version One!

        Congratulations to all Inkscape developers! They successfully released the long awaited version 1.0 on yesterday, 5 May 2020. This is our beloved free/libre open source software for vector graphic designing best known as replacement to Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw. By this article I send my gratitude to all geniuses who made Inkscape since it was named Sodipodi up to today and beyond for it is truly meaningful to me as I create all my artworks using it. Thank you for all your hard work! For all dear UbuntuBuzz.com readers here are the official information and more about it collected in one place. Let’s download Inkscape!

      • Inkscape Finally Hits 1.0 with Huge Updates

        Inkscape the free vector graphics editor releases version 1.0 updates after three years of development. This huge release brings translation updates, code framework updates, and new features to help you to create more stunning vector graphics – for free.

        The latest Inkscape 1.0 also brings the “preview” build for macOS and promises smoother and higher performance in Linux and Windows.

        This release brings a huge list of changes that you can read here. Here’s a summary of the changes which I can pull up from the changelog for your reference.

      • Superpaper 2.0 is an Advanced Multi-Monitor Wallpaper App for Windows & Linux

        I wrote about Superpaper, an advanced multi-monitor wallpaper tool for Linux and Windows, last year, finding it particularly good at what it sets out to do.

        Well, Superpaper recently received a a sizeable update and, no joke: version 2.0 sounds even better at managing multi-monitor background set-ups than the first version did.

        As well as a revamped UI, the latest version of the tool offers ‘improved’ pixel density correction and perspective corrections, plus a raft of smaller, subtle enhancements.

        While apps like Hydrapaper (among many others) cater to multi-monitor use cases they’re somewhat simplistic in how they approach it, i.e.: pick an image for each monitor, set it, done.

        Superpaper is more advanced.

        Like, crazy more advanced

        While the app does indeed let you set a different background for each monitor it also has powerful wallpaper spanning options for using a single image across multiple monitors.

        And I mean real spanning here as the app take the size and width of display bezels into account to maintain visual parity in the chosen image (see the hero image for this in action).

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • EVERSPACE 2 looks incredible in the latest footage, lots of player ship variation will be possible

        Since they’ve thrown out the roguelike gameplay, replaced with a big persistent open world one new part they’re focusing on is being able to fly across a planet and engage in combat there as well as in space. However, it looks like they won’t be randomly generating planets and it seems there will be a set amount you can do this across as they’re going to focus on planets important to the story and overall game experience.


        EVERSPACE 2 is due in Early Access towards the end of this year, with Linux support being worked in for the full release next year.

      • Free-moving fast-paced rogue-lite ‘ScourgeBringer’ adds a whole new awesome world

        ScourgeBringer aims to channel the mystery and rawness of an early rogue-platformer, with fluid control, aerial combat, pixel graphics and a punchy soundtrack. The story follows hero Kyhra, who is sent away to uncover the secrets of an Eldritch monolith which is threatening to destroy her world.
        The Living Walls update adds in a whole new world of the same name. It’s a much needed update, as the initial release did feel a bit too limited on content to actually explore. On top of that there’s 4 new skills, 5 new blessings to gain, a bestiary to take a look over everything you’ve fought and there’s also a bunch of new Achievements. Have a look at the update trailer below:

      • Clever and quirky musical platformer ‘Songs for a Hero – A Lenda do Herói’ gets an English version

        Pictures and videos don’t really do it enough justice, it’s something I think you need to experience yourself to get the full feel of it as you’re doing it. That said, here’s some footage of the early game played on Linux with the newly added English support….

      • Unreal Engine 4.25 is up with tons of Linux improvements and Vulkan API fixes

        While the Epic Games Store may not support Linux, at least Unreal Engine does and it appears to have been given quite a lot of attention in the Unreal Engine 4.25 release that went out officially today.

        Apart from the usual SDK updates which you tend to see in each release, scrolling over the release notes was actually pretty damn interesting. It’s not just a list of bug fixes either, there’s plenty that’s brand new on the Linux side and it really seems like a lot of attention has been given. Some of it includes: support for the MDL Importer on Linux for Unreal Datasmith, support for Linux offscreen Vulkan rendering, they moved to a newer llvm clang 9.0.1 v16 tool-chain and a lot more.

      • Stadia finally gets wireless Stadia Controller support in the web browser

        Google have again rolled out a feature they’ve been promising for some time, as today you can now use the Stadia Controller over wireless with a Chromium browser.

        Announced on their latest round-up blog post, the Stadia team said “Starting this week, you can now use the Stadia Controller to play wirelessly on your laptop and desktop. You no longer need to connect your Stadia Controller physically to your computer to play your favorite games. You’ll be able to link your Stadia Controller and Stadia.com through your Wi-Fi network and play without a USB-C cable connection.”.

      • Steam has a huge indie game sale for The Indie MEGABOOTH live now

        The Indie MEGABOOTH, a team that have supported indie game developers for a long time through events are now running a huge sale on indie games on Steam and there’s some awesome stuff.

        Sadly, this is in part to help their winding-down efforts as announced back in April, due to the Coronavirus cancelling pretty much all public events. However, once it’s all over they will hopefully return. With the “The Indie MEGABOOTH Going Away (for now) Sale” on Steam, developers will be able to give back to the IMB team on a “pay what you want” revenue share. Any money donated to them will help during their hibernation to keep them from vanishing completely.

      • Valve drops SteamVR support for MacOS

        In 2017, at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Valve’s chief of engineering Craig Federighi announced SteamVR for MacOS-based platforms. Now, just three years later, Valve is ending its support for SteamVR on Apple’s operating system. The news comes via a brief blog post on Steam, where Valve notes that it’s dropping MacOS updates in favor of the Windows and Linux operating systems.

        For Carter Rogers, principal analyst at SuperData, this development is unsurprising, and the impact on the wider VR market should be minimal.

      • Tasty Static, clone of the classic SkyRoads has a new release out

        Remember SkyRoads? A classic 90′s racing game with a bit of a twist, that acts a bit like a platformer. It has a free clone called Tasty Static, which recently had a big update. I’ve been a little obsessed over it too.

        Such a simple idea taken from a classic and yet, it’s so good at the same time. Initially it feels like all you’re doing is sliding around and mashing the spacebar to jump with some awesome beats playing. However, it gets seriously intense and it really pulls you in.

      • Unigine Engine Turns 15 Years Old For Delivering First-Rate Linux Graphics

        Yesterday marked fifteen years since the very first release of the Unigine Engine, the longtime Linux-friendly game engine that over the past decade has seemingly increased focus towards industrial simulations and AR but remaining well known among PC enthusiasts for the company’s very demanding tech demos.

        Unigine Engine remains one of the most Linux-friendly game/graphics engines out there though still limited for now to OpenGL rendering. Unigine Corp supported Linux long before Valve’s Steam release. In any case, moving forward we will hopefully see more games powered by Unigine given their recent Unigine Community Edition free version.

      • Extreme downhill freeriding sports game Descenders has a big discount and two new tracks

        Descenders is fast, smooth and most importantly for an extreme sports game – it’s intense. It’s also now on a big discount with some fresh content added too. It left Early Access in May 2019 and since then, they’ve continued expanding what’s possible with Descenders which includes a lot of new tracks.

        Not played it? From the developers of Action Henk, Descenders is a fast-paced extreme downhill biking game that’s easy to pick up, but difficult to master. With procedurally generated tracks, cross-platform mod support, multiplayer and more.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Linux Desktop Environment Face-Off: Which GUI is Best?

        When you start out with Linux, you may judge your distribution by its desktop environment. For this Roundup we’ve going to take a closer look at what designers consider when they design a desktop. The “environment” is the window manager combined with the other elements you may have on your desktop. These are task bars, icons and sometimes active elements on your desktop.

        Designers make Linux desktop environments to appeal to all users. You may not be a generic user. While you read this, consider what your preferences are. The two most popular desktop environments are GNOME and KDE. They have different philosophies. For GNOME (Gnu Network Object Model Environment), it is to keep things available but not visible. KDE (K Desktop Environment) chooses to stick with the menus at all times. The third most popular Linux desktop environment is Cinnamon.

        Your choice of Linux desktop environment comes down to personal taste, though what you are working will have the biggest influence on your final decision. Your choice will have a lot to do with whether you are typing a lot or doing graphic work. For example, programmers may appreciate the bare look of tiling window managers, because they’ll have to lift their hands off of the keyboard less.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDevelop 5.5.1 released

          We today provide a bug fix and localization update release with version 5.5.1. This release introduces no new features and as such is a safe and recommended update for everyone currently using a previous version of KDevelop 5.5.

          You can find the updated Linux AppImage as well as the source code archives on our download page.

          Should you have any remarks or in case you find any issues in KDevelop 5.5, please let us know.

        • KDE Plasma 5.18.5 Desktop Released with More Than 60 Changes

          KDE Plasma 5.18.5 is the fifth maintenance update to the KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS desktop environment series and comes about five weeks after the KDE Plasma 5.18.4 point release.

          There are about 66 changes included in this update. Highlights include the ability for KInfoCenter to display the right OpenGL information for Nvidia Optimus systems, improvements to system’s notification sounds, and improvements to screen sharing.

          Moreover, it looks like the team also fixed a bug that would crash the KWin window manager showing a black screen when logging out on Wayland, as well as an issue that would crash Plasma Vaults when the user cancels the mount dialog after failing to mount a vault because the mount location wasn’t empty.

        • Krita: Presenting Our Google Summer of Code Students!

          It’s that time of the year again! Google has published the names of the students who will be allowed to work on open source of free software, and who will receive a stipend from Google. And like last year, this year we are mentoring four students!

          Sharaf Zaman is a veteran from last year, when he ported Krita to Android. In fact, over the past couple of weeks he’s been busy putting Krita in the Google Play Store, in the beta track. Apart from some administrative worries, we’re ready to publish that! This year, he will implement a new kind of gradients: mesh gradients. Here is his project proposal. Mesh gradients were first implemented in Inkscape, and now we’re going for a second, independent implementation.


          Ashwin Dhakaita will be integrating the MyPaint brush library in Krita as a new brush engine. Once upon a time Krita did have a MyPaint brush engine, but the MyPaint developers dropped their existing integration support and created a new library. But these days many more applications use the mypaint brush library, meaning that integrating it is much safer. Here is his project proposal.

        • Open Letter to KDE GSoC Students We Could Not Accept

          I no longer have access to your proposal or emails, thus the open letter on my blog.

          If you allowed commenting before the student proposal deadline, I along with other admins and mentors tried to help you improve your proposal. Some of you took the suggestions and sharpened your presentation, fleshed out your timeline and in general created a proposal you can be proud of.

          If you did not allow commenting or only uploaded your proposal right before the deadline, you missed out on this mentoring opportunity, and for that I am sorry. That cut us off from a vital communication link with you.

          This proposal process, along with fixing some bugs and creating some commits mean that you have real experience you can take with you into the future
          . I hope you also learned how to use IRC/Matrix/Telegram channels to get information, and help others as well. Even if you do not continue your involvement with the KDE Community, we hope you will profit from these accomplishments, as we have.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • gedit and gCSVedit on the Microsoft Store

          gedit is now on the Microsoft Store! gedit for Windows. Yes, it works well, although as always there is room for improvement. It is just the beginning to have sources of funding that would make full-time development of gedit possible in the long run.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • OpenIndiana Hipster 2020.04 is here

          We have released a new OpenIndiana Hipster snapshot 2020.04.

        • OpenIndiana Hipster 2020.04 Released To Phase Out Python 2, GCC7 As Base Compiler

          OpenIndiana, the open-source operating system built off Illumos and the former open-source Solaris code, is out with version 2020.04 as its newest feature release.

          OpenIndiana Hipster 2020.04 has transitioned its own applications from Python 2 to Python 3 and in turn dropped Python 2.7 from the installation images. Python 2 packages though can still be installed for software still depending upon that end-of-life version.

      • BSD

        • HamBSD Development Log 2020-05-05

          I worked on HamBSD today, still looking at improvements to aprsisd(8). My focus today was on converting AX.25 packets to the TNC2 format used by APRS-IS.

          I fixed the path formatting to include the asterisks for used path entries. Before packets would always appear to APRS-IS to have been heard directly, which gave some impressive range statistics for packets that had in fact been through one or two digipeaters.

          A little more filtering is now implemented for packets. The control field and PID are verified to ensure the packets are APRS packets.

          The entire path for AX.25 packet read from axtap(4) interface to TNC2 formatted string going out the TCP/TLS connection has bounds checks, with almost all string functions replaced with the mem* equivalents.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Highlights of YaST Development Sprint 98

          It’s time for another report from the YaST trenches. This time, apart from this blog post, we have several other reads for you in case you are interested on YaST development or on Linux technical details in general.


          Something we know for sure is that AutoYaST is critical for many users of SUSE Linux Enterprise and openSUSE. And, to be honest, our venerable unattended installer is showing its age. That’s why AutoYaST has a priority place in the mid-term goals of the YaST Team. The plan is to have an improved AutoYaST for SLE 15 SP3 and openSUSE Leap 15.3, although some fixes could be backported to SP2 and 15.2 if they are important enough.

          During this sprint, we started gathering some feedback from our users and colleagues at SUSE. Additionally, we did some research about the current status of AutoYaST in order to identify those areas that are in need of more love. We have put all the conclusions together as a separate blog post. Check it if you are interested in what the future will bring for AutoYaST.

          Now that we have started a new development sprint, there is an ongoing discussion that might be interesting for you about AutoYaST tooling. Please, check yast-devel, opensuse-autoinstall, or the opensuse-factory mailing lists and do not hesitate to participate. We would love to hear from you.

      • Fedora

        • Jiri Eischmann: Virtual Fedora 32 release party

          We’ve been organizing Fedora release parties for the Czech community since Fedora 15 (normally in Prague and Brno, once in Košice, Slovakia), but in those coronavirus times it seemed like we were out of luck. Not quite. We’ve decided to organize a virtual release party everyone can join from the comfort (and safety) of their homes.

          Originally I was planning to use Jitsi.org with streaming to Youtube. Speakers would join the call on Jitsi.org and attendees would watch it on Youtube and comment under the Youtube stream or in our Telegram chat. But the stream was one minute delayed behind the call which didn’t promise an interactive event.

          In the end we were offered a solution from Czech Technical University (BigBlueButton running on powerful physical hardware and with a really good connectivity) and went for it which turned out to be a great decision. I have never had a better video call experience. It was the first time I could fully utilize my FullHD webcam, there were virtually no delays and BBB could hold 8 webcam streams in parallel and 40 participants in total without a hiccup. Afterwards people told me that when I was demoing GNOME 3.36 the GNOME Shell effects looked almost as smooth as performed on the local machine.

        • Freeplane now published at Flathub

          Freeplane is a fork of Freemind and it is in active development. Now it’s ready for install in any Linux system with just point’n’click through, for example, GNOME Software or any other flatpak compatible software installation manager.

        • Fedora 32 elections nominations now open

          Candidates may self-nominate. If you nominate someone else, please check with them to ensure that they are willing to be nominated before submitting their name.

          The steering bodies are currently selecting interview questions for the candidates.

          Nominees submit their questionnaire answers via a private Pagure issue. The Fedora Program Manager or their backup will publish the interviews to the Community Blog before the start of the voting period.

          Please note that the interview is mandatory for all nominees. Nominees not having their interview ready by end of the Interview period (2020-05-27) will be disqualified and removed from the election.

      • IBM/Red Hat/

        • Red Hat Virtualization 4.4 Beta: available now!

          Continuing more than a decade of virtualization excellence, the Red Hat Virtualization team is happy to announce Beta availability of the next version, 4.4. Building on the themes of the past, and the requirements of the future, this version aims to improve the stability, performance, manageability, and security over previous versions while also introducing new functionality to enhance capabilities.

          Arguably the biggest change with Red Hat Virtualization 4.4 is the rebase from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL). This brings the improvements and updates of the RHEL 8 platform to Red Hat Virtualization Manager, Red Hat Virtualization Host, and the sub-components used by the platform. This includes 100s of requests for enhancement (RFEs) and customer issues addressed, more than 1,400 fixed bugs, and many other improvements to the underlying platform.

        • CloudHedge Announces Support for Windows & Linux Application Containerization onto IBM Edge Application Manager Running on Red Hat OpenShift

          CloudHedge and IBM are teaming on a new collaboration around IBM Edge Application Manager running on Red Hat OpenShift that will mobilize application workloads to run seamlessly across edge devices. CloudHedge’s unique technology coupled with IBM Edge Application Manager ensures that customers realize maximum value from their investments in enterprise applications, while transitioning to the Edge.

        • Jonathan Dowland: Introducing Red Hat UBI OpenJDK runtime images

          UBI, announced a year ago, is an initiative where you can obtain, share and build upon official Red Hat container images without needing a Red Hat subscription. Unlike something like CentOS, they aren’t modified in any way (e.g. to remove branding), they’re exactly the same base images that Red Hat products are built upon, composed entirely of Open Source software. Your precise rights are covered in the EULA.

          I work on the Red Hat OpenJDK container images, which are designed primarily for use with OpenShift. We’ve been based upon the RHEL base images since inception. Although our containers are open source (of course), we haven’t been able to distribute the binary images more widely than to Red Hat customers, until now.

        • IBM Wazi for Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces enables cloud-native development for IBM Z

          For developers responsible for maintaining, accessing, or creating new applications on IBM Z, choice is no longer a dirty word.

          Announced today, IBM Wazi for Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces is an add-on to IBM Cloud Pak for Applications. It provides developers with the capability to develop and test IBM z/OS application components in a containerized, virtual IBM Z environment on Red Hat OpenShift running on x86 hardware by using an industry-standard integrated development environment (IDE) such as Microsoft Visual Studio Code (VS Code) or Eclipse.

        • Red Hat technologies help drive IBM edge solutions for the 5G era

          Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat OpenStack Platform are important components of IBM’s telco and edge computing solutions announced today. Whether you’re deploying services on-premises, in public or private clouds or at the edge, Red Hat and IBM can help you manage and analyze data more quickly and securely at a massive scale across the hybrid cloud.

        • Develop a new breed of apps for edge and 5G technologies with IBM Edge Solutions

          The confluence of edge computing, AI, and 5G technologies presents a unique opportunity for developers to create a new class of applications. Several new cars have GPU capabilities that not long ago were only found in data centers. We’ve seen IoT devices become more powerful and ubiquitous, the cost of running edge devices has dropped considerably, and AI algorithms are faster, more accurate, and more sophisticated than ever.

          In addition, 5G is enabling low latency, high bandwidth, performance-sensitive apps to be deployed on the edge in locations like hospitals, factories, stores, event venues, and automobiles. Edge computing will become a reality, bringing computation and data storage closer to where the data is created by people, places, and things.

          The emergence of 5G allows software to quickly process information that will yield an experience that is very responsive, which leads to opportunities to enhance digital experiences, improve performance and data security, and enable continuous operations in every industry. This enables dynamic customized configurations due to increased network agility.

        • Open Horizon joins Linux Foundation to grow open edge computing platform

          The Open Horizon software project, the core technology that powers IBM Edge Application Manager, has joined LF Edge. LF Edge is part of the Linux Foundation and hosts all of their open source projects related to edge computing.

          Edge computing brings computation and data storage closer to where data is created by people, places, and things. Open Horizon simplifies the job of getting the right applications and machine learning onto the right compute devices, and keeps those applications running and updated. With 50% of enterprise data expected to be processed at the edge by 2022, compared to only 10% today, Open Horizon will play a critical role in how data is processed in the era of edge computing

          By contributing this important project to the Linux Foundation, just as the sector is set to experience tremendous growth, IBM has underscored its commitment to trust, transparency, and collaboration on standards in the edge computing space.

        • The first six warning signs that a technical project might fail

          Being a sysadmin means that you, from time to time, will be called into IT projects, and your role will most likely be that of Subject Matter Expert (SME). A sysadmin usually gets called in (too) late in the process, after the goals and milestones are already set. Most likely, these targets are, from a sysadmin point of view, too ambitious both when it comes to timelines as well as resource allocation.

          The phrase, “We just need you to check on some documents and verify that they are OK,” could be an introduction to your expected participation as a sysadmin in the project. Naturally, you have already figured out that your involvement will be much more extensive thanks to the already complete technical analysis that, in your view, looks like a barren wasteland. In this article, I explore the caveats behind the expressions “underestimate” and “overconfident” in technical projects.

          So let’s look at different components that build the picture. These pieces all revolve around the warning signs that an IT project already is or will soon be in trouble.

        • Working with big spatial data workflows (or, what would John Snow do?)

          With the rise of social networks and people having more free time due to isolation, it has become popular to see lots of maps and graphs. These are made using big spatial data to explain how COVID-19 is expanding, why it is faster in some countries, and how we can stop it.

          Some of these maps and graphs are made by inexperienced amateurs that have access to huge amounts of raw and processed big spatial data. But most of them are not sure how to handle that data. A few unaware amateurs mix different sources without caring about homogenizing the data first. Some others mix old data with new. And finally, most forget to add relevant variables because this is too much data to handle manually.

        • Introduction to Eclipse Codewind: Build high-quality cloud-native applications faster

          Building and developing a cloud native, containerized application can be challenging. First, you need to create your own application stack for a containerized microservice that also fits your preferred language and project type. Then, if you’re a software developer, to develop, build, run and test your code you have to perform numerous actions including building images, assessing build status, creating containers, opening application endpoints, debugging, analyzing the different logs, assessing performance metrics, and rebuilding the containers with each code change.

          If you’re responsible for defining standards for application and runtime environments, such as framework and software levels, you need to implement and maintain your standards across the whole development team, ensuring consistency and reliability.

          You need tools that help simplify this complicated process. Eclipse Codewind is an open source project that makes it easier for developers to create cloud-native applications within their favorite IDE.

        • Three promising Call for Code solutions to help in the fight against COVID-19

          Imagine you’re driving to the local grocery store to pick up necessities for your family during the COVID-19 pandemic. As soon as you arrive in the parking lot, you notice the line to enter the store is endless. People are huddled closely together waiting to enter, barely adhering to the social distancing guidelines issued by the government. Now, imagine avoiding the line to enter the store, saving your space within a virtual queue, and waiting in the comfort of your own vehicle — all with the click of a button – social distance intact.

          We are facing unprecedented challenges and believe that emerging technology can help solve such problems across the globe. We launched the Call for Code Global Challenge to take on society’s most pressing issues. Since 2018, this movement has grown to over 300,000 developers and problem solvers across 168 countries who have answered the call. While we originally focused this year’s competition on addressing climate change, we quickly recognized the opportunity to dedicate the ingenuity of this developer community to respond to COVID-19 as well. These are two pressing issues that have the power to compromise our health, our planet, and our survival. We recognized the urgency to act, so we also created an accelerated timeline for the Call for Code COVID-19 track. Today, we’re excited to share three outstanding solutions, like Safe Queue, which addresses the scenario mentioned above, that have the potential to change the way we react to the pandemic.

        • IBM Launches Elyra AI Toolkit

          To simplify the development of data science and AI models, IBM has launched Elyra, a set of open source AI-centric extensions to Jupyter Notebooks, and, more specifically, the new JupyterLab user interface.

        • IBM Launches Hybrid Multicloud Offerings For 5G Era

          IBM Edge Application Manager – an autonomous management solution to enable AI, analytics and IoT enterprise workloads to be deployed and remotely managed, delivering real-time analysis and insight at scale. The solution enables the management of up to 10,000 edge nodes simultaneously by a single administrator.

        • Linux’s Local Cache For Network Filesystems Seeing Huge Speed-Up, Lower Memory Use

          David Howells of Red Hat has been working to “massively overhaul” the code surrounding the kernel’s local caching for network filesystems.


          Besides modifying the core I/O interface and object lifecycle management for this local caching code, Howells has adapted the AFS file-system to make use of the new interface. He is still working on wiring up the reworked fscache code to NFS.

          Those interested in all of the technical details can find them via this set of 61 patches now out for review. It will likely take some time to get this fscache code all squared away and the Linux network file-systems adapted for it, but long story short this improvement should be leading to a big speed-up and lower memory use once the code is ready to ship.

      • Debian Family

        • Sparky 2020.05

          The May snapshot of Sparky 2020.05 of the (semi-)rolling line is out.
          It is based on the Debian testing “Bullseye”.

          • upgrade from Debian testing repos as of May 5, 2020
          • Linux kernel 5.6.7 (5.6.10 & 5.7-rc4 in Sparky unstable repos)
          • Calamares 3.2.23
          • added additional support of Sparky installation on UEFI machines with Secure Boot: the live system should be launched with Secure Boot off as before; but after installation the Secure Boot can be turned on; both installers: Calamares and Sparky’s Advanced provides support of such installation
          • disabled package list updating, during installing Sparky via Calamares; even you install Sparky with active internet connection, the Debian or Sparky server can be temporary off, so it could stop the installation
          • Openbox: replaced ‘obmenu’ by ‘jgmenu’: https://sparkylinux.org/jgmenu/
          • added new packages to all iso images: ‘pulseaudio-module-bluetooth’ and ‘fuse3’ insead of ‘fuse’; thanks to Richard
          • Xfce: fixed an issue of not displaying a wallpaper on the desktop, and not visible Sparky wallpapers at Desktop Settings; thanks to lami07
          • replaced ‘ktsuss’ by ‘sparky-su’ which is used by ‘sparky-aptus-upgrade-checker’: https://sparkylinux.org/sparky-su-0-1-11/
          • Xfce: enabled fonts anti-aliasing with slight hinting
          • LibreOffice
          • Firefox 75.0
          • Thunderbird 68.7.0
          • Python 3.8

        • Tails 4.6 is out

          This release fixes many security vulnerabilities. You should upgrade as soon as possible.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS’ snap obsession has snapped me off of it

          In 20.04 LTS, Ubuntu’s Software Center was switched from being a .deb version of GNOME Software to a snap app. The new snapped store can handle management of snap applications and traditional .deb ones, but it can’t install or remove Flatpak applications, like the previous .deb version could.

          Users wanting to install Flatpak apps need to revert to using the .deb version. It’s not an ideal solution when previous Ubuntu Software releases could handle all three formats by default. In all, the latest Ubuntu Software is a step back.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS’ snap obsession has snapped me off of it
        • Ubuntu Studio Switching To KDE Plasma Desktop

          Ubuntu Studio is one of the popular Ubuntu derivatives. Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS is the latest version which is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. This release is a Long-Term Support release and it is supported for 3 years (until April 2023).

          Yes, you heard it right as Ubuntu Studio is switching to KDE Plasma desktop from upcoming releases. You will see KDE Plasma desktop environment as a default desktop environment from Ubuntu Studio 20.10.

          Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS will be the final release of Ubuntu Studio using the Xfce Desktop Environment.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The 25 Best Open Source Security Tools To Protect Your System


        Security tools are computer programs that allow us to find vulnerabilities in software. Malicious users use them to gain unauthorized access to information systems, enterprise networks, or even personal workstations. Security researchers, on the other hand, use these tools to find bugs in software so that companies can patch them before exploitation could take place. There is a wide range of open source security tools that are used by both the bad guys and penetration testing professionals. Today, we have compiled a list of 25 such programs that have widespread usage in computer security and other related fields.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • 76.0 Firefox Release

            With today’s release, Firefox strengthens protections for your online account logins and passwords, with innovative approaches to managing your accounts during this critical time:

            Firefox displays critical alerts in the Lockwise password manager when a website is breached;
            If one of your accounts is involved in a website breach and you’ve used the same password on other websites, you will now be prompted to update your password. A key icon identifies which accounts use that vulnerable password.
            Automatically generate secure, complex passwords for new accounts across more of the web that are easily saved right in the browser;
            You have been able to access and see your saved passwords under Logins and Passwords easily under the main menu. If your device happens to be shared among your family or roommates, the latest update helps to prevent casual snooping over your shoulder. If you don’t have a master password set up for Firefox, Windows and macOS now requires a login to your operating system account before showing your saved passwords.

          • Firefox 76 Released With WebRender Improvements, Better Security

            Firefox 76.0 is out today as the newest feature release to Mozilla’s web browser.

            On the Linux front one of the notable changes with Firefox 76 is enabling VA-API Wayland acceleration for all video codecs, building off the Wayland/VA-API work found in last month’s Firefox 75.

            Firefox 76.0 also features a variety of security improvements around account logins / password management, continued Picture-In-Picture video improvements, support for audio worklets for more advanced audio processing, continued roll-out of WebRender functionality, security improvements, and a variety of other improvements.

          • Firefox 76.0

            Firefox 76.0 has been released. This version features a number of improvements to password management, Picture-in-Picture allows a small video window to follow you around as you work, and support for Audio Worklets has been added, allowing more complex audio processing. The release notes have more details.

          • The Firefox password manager now tells you when you use leaked passwords

            Mozilla has released today Firefox 76 to the Stable desktop channel for Windows, macOS, and Linux. This new release comes with with bug fixes, new features, and security patches.

            The highlight of the Firefox 76 release is a suite of new features added to Firefox’s built-in password manager, also known as Firefox Lockwise (available at about:logins).

            Starting with Firefox 76, Mozilla says that Lockwise will now begin prompting users to enter their Mac or Windows OS account credentials before revealing any passwords in cleartext.

          • Firefox 76 Released with New Password Protections, Better Picture in Picture Mode

            The latest update to the perennially popular web browser sees a raft of security-minded enhancements introduced, including “added protection to keep your passwords safe.”

            How does the browser do that? Well assuming you use Firefox Lockwise (the built-in password manager included in Firefox) then you will now be notified when a website you have saved login info for is breached.

          • Firefox 76 Released with Audio Worklets Support

            Mozilla Firefox 76 was released today with improved online account protections and Zoom support.

            Firefox 76 features Lockwise password manager improvements, including protection to saved passwords in “Logins and Passwords” page, display vulnerable password alert and website breach alert, and automatically generate secure, complex passwords to more sites.

          • Hacks.Mozilla.Org: Firefox 76: Audio worklets and other tricks

            A new version of your favourite browser is always worth looking forward to, and here we are with Firefox 76! Web platform support sees some great new additions in this release, such as Audio Worklets and Intl improvements, on the JavaScript side. Also, we’ve added a number of nice improvements into Firefox DevTools to make development easier and quicker.

          • More reasons you can trust Firefox with your passwords

            There’s no doubt that during the last couple of weeks you’ve been signing up for new online services like streaming movies and shows, ordering takeout or getting produce delivered to your home. All of those new accounts need unique, strong passwords to be secure, which you can now generate, manage and protect more easily with Firefox Lockwise.

          • Firefox update offers better password security and proper Zoom support

            Do you use Firefox as your web browser? Have you heard that the latest version of Firefox will now alert you of security breaches and protect your saved passwords?

            The stable version of Firefox 76 for desktop is now available for download, and its new features include upgrades meant to keep your passwords safer than before. To start with, the browser’s Lockwise password manager now displays critical alerts in a red box if any of the websites you saved has been breached. In addition, it will now prompt you to change your password if one of your accounts is involved in a breach and you’ve reused that same password for other websites.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Top 3 benefits of Apache Cassandra and how to use it

          It’s no secret that organisations have a love-hate relationship with data. Decision making can be unguided and market insights can be lost when organisations collect too little data. On the other hand, with large and active datasets, where requests number in the hundreds of thousands, maintaining database performance is increasingly difficult.

          One open source application, Apache Cassandra, enables organisations to process large volumes of fast moving data in a reliable and scalable way. That’s why companies like Facebook, Instagram and Netflix use Apache Cassandra for mission-critical features. Let’s look at three major benefits, challenges and use cases of Apache Cassandra, and the easiest way to get it running in production.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Google Summer of Code 2020: LibreOffice projects announced

          Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global programme focused on bringing more student developers into open source software development. LibreOffice took part last year, which led to some great new features including a QR code generator and NotebookBar improvements.


          Add Impress shape animations that use a real physics engine (Sarper Akdemir)
          Extending the UITest framework (Ahmed ElShreif)
          Blurry Shadows (Ahmad Ganzouri)
          Styles Inspector (Shivam Kumar Singh)
          Move the gallery code to use ZIP files (Aditya Sahu)
          Additions – Tight integration of extensions (Yusuf Keten)

      • Programming/Development

        • NVIDIA Carmel Support Finally Mainlined In LLVM/Clang

          NVIDIA Carmel CPU cores that succeeded Denver 2 and found for a while already within Tegra Xavier hardware now has mainline LLVM/Clang compiler support.

          NVIDIA’s Carmel design is based on an 8 core layout and based on ARMv8.2+FP16 with SIMD, VFP, and the other usual extensions. Carmel offers much greater CPU performance than earlier Tegra SoCs. At least until NVIDIA Orin hardware begins shipping at scale, the Tegra Xavier SoC with the Carmel CPU cores remains their latest and greatest within the DRIVE Xavier, Jetson AGX, Jetson Xavier, and other products.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn ABAP

          ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming, originally Allgemeiner Berichts-Aufbereitungs-Prozessor, German for “general report creation processor”) is a fourth-generation, high-level programming language created by the German software company SAP SE.

          It’s extracted from the base computing languages Java, C, C++ and Python.

          ABAP is currently positioned, alongside Java, as the language for programming the SAP NetWeaver Application Server, which is part of the SAP NetWeaver platform for building business applications. It’s primarily used to develop enterprise application for large business and financial institution on SAP platform.

          Here’s our recommended tutorials to learn ABAP.

        • 11 DevOps lessons from My Little Pony

          The show begins with Twilight Sparkle reading obscure documentation, only to realize that Equestria, where the show is set, is due to suffer a calamity. Though someone named Nightmare Moon has been imprisoned for a thousand years, there is a prophecy she will return.

          Lesson 1: Technical debt matters.

          Nightmare Moon is a perfect stand-in for technical debt. Document it. Pay attention to the signs of risk no matter how infrequently they occur. Have a plan to resolve it.

          Twilight Sparkle goes to her manager with the news, only to be told that it is not a current priority. She is sent to Ponyville to prepare for the coming celebration, instead.

          Lesson 2: Communication with management is key.

          Twilight Sparkle communicated her priority (the risk of technical debt) but did not convince her management that it was more important than the celebration (of the next release or a new customer).

          We all need to make clear what the business case is for resolving critical issues. It is also not straightforward to explain technical debt in business terms. If management does not agree on the severity, find new ways to communicate the risk, and team up with others who speak that language.

        • Analyzing data science code with R and Emacs

          Way back in 2012, Harvard Business Review published an article that proclaimed “data scientist” to be the sexiest job of the 21st century. Interest in data science has exploded since then. Many great open source projects, such as Python and the R language for statistical computing, have facilitated the rapid developments in how we analyze data.

        • Python

          • How and why I built TraceItOut – A video summarizer

            In today’s scenario crime rates are increasing significantly. But along with the increase in crime rates, we also have an increase in technological advancements, which are also increasing by leaps and bounds. These technological advancements are majorly in the field of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and other fields of computer science and technology. The basic concept is that if the crime is increasing, technology is also increasing simultaneously and in a much better place. These technological advancements, if worked upon the incorrect path, can lead us to better tackling the crime, thus crime rates can be significantly reduced.

          • Variations on the death of Python 2

            On April 20th, 2020, a release manager named Benjamin Peterson smashed the “publish” button on Python 2.7.18. The Python 2 release series had already reached the end of its upstream support from the Python core team at the start of the year. I don’t know for certain, but I assumed the timing of the actual final package was meant to occur during PyCon (which, until a global pandemic struck, was scheduled for mid-April), possibly so there could be some sort of nice ceremony to mark the occasion.

            At any rate, Python 2 is done, at least from the Python core team’s perspective. While operating-system vendors (who work on different cycles) will be supporting their packaged copies of Python 2 for a while yet, and some other community projects claim they’ll continue to support Python 2 interpreters for an indefinite period, the mainstream of Python development has now, finally, moved on. Popular libraries and frameworks mostly either have dropped, or are in the process of dropping, their Python 2 support (Django’s last release to support Python 2 — the 1.11 LTS initially released in 2017 — reached its end of upstream support in April, for example).

          • Matt Layman: User Interaction With Forms

            In the previous Understand Django article, we saw how Django templates work to produce a user interface. That’s fine if you only need need to display a user interface, but what do you do if you need your site to interact with users? You use Django’s form system! In this article, we’ll focus on how to work with web forms using the Django form system. Web Forms 101 Before we can dive into how Django handles forms, we need to have an understanding of HTML forms in general.

          • Python Developers Survey 2019 Results

            We are excited to share the results of the third official Python Developers Survey conducted by the Python Software Foundation with the help of JetBrains.
            More than 24,000 Python users from over 150 countries took part in the survey this past November. With the help of the data collected, we are able to present the summarized results, identify the latest trends, and create a Python developer profile.

          • The Python print() Function: Go Beyond the Basics

            If you’re like most Python users, including us, then you probably started your Python journey by learning about print(). It helped you write your very own Hello Horld one-liner. You can use it to display formatted messages onto the screen and perhaps find some bugs. But if you think that’s all there is to know about Python’s print(), then you’re missing out on a lot!

            Keep reading to take full advantage of this underappreciated little function. This course will get you up to speed with using Python print() effectively. Prepare for a deep dive as you go through the sections. You may be surprised how much print() has to offer!

          • List Comprehension – Python

            In Python, List comprehension is a technique of creating a new list using other iterables and in fewer lines of codes. The iterable object which can be used in this technique can be any data structure like list, tuple, set, string, and dictionary, etc. An iterable created by using range() function can also be used here.

            The syntax used in list comprehension generally contains three segments:

            iterable: iterable object like list, tuple, set, string, dictionary, etc.
            transformation function: a transformation function that needs to be applied to the iterable.

          • Working With JSON Data in Python

            Convert Python Objects to Json string in Python. And then from Json string to Json Dictionary.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #419 (May 5, 2020)
    • Standards/Consortia

      • Daniel Stenberg: HTTP/3 in curl
      • Gmail and Outlook sitting in a tree, not t-a-l-k-i-n-g to me or thee

        Nobody likes Mondays, least of all Google’s Gmail, the POP3 and IMAP services of which fell over this morning to deprive Monday morning mailers their start-of-week fix.

        The issues appeared to kick off at around 11:30 BST and continues to prevent those who prefer to access their Googly mail via means other than the browser. The problem appears to be related to POP3 and IMAP access; if you’re connecting to Google’s servers using those services, then sending and receiving email could be a challenge.

        Google had planned to turn off access to G Suite account data for apps not using OAuth for first-time users from 15 June 2020 and all accounts from 15 February 2021, but back-pedalled in March, putting the move on hold “until further notice.”

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Cross-Industry Coalition Advances Digital Trust Standards

                Governments, nonprofits and private sectors across finance, health care, enterprise software and more team up with Linux Foundation to enhance universal security and privacy protocols for consumers and businesses in the digital era

              • Cross-Industry Coalition Advances Digital Trust Standards

                The ToIP Foundation is being developed with global, pan-industry support from leading organizations with sector-specific expertise. Founding Steering members include Accenture, BrightHive, Cloudocracy, Continuum Loop, CULedger, Dhiway, esatus, Evernym, Finicity, Futurewei Technologies, IBM Security, IdRamp, Lumedic, Mastercard, MITRE, the Province of British Columbia and SICPA. Contributing members include DIDx, GLEIF, The Human Colossus Foundation, iRespond, kiva.org, Marist College, Northern Block, R3, Secours.io, TNO and University of Arkansas.

                Businesses today are struggling to protect and manage digital assets and data, especially in an increasingly complex enterprise environment that includes the Internet of Things (IoT), Edge Computing, Artificial Intelligence and much more. This is compounding the already low consumer confidence in the use of personal data and is slowing innovation on opportunities like digital identity and the adoption of new services that can support humanity.

              • Linux Foundation Leads Initiative for Better Digital Trust

                The Linux Foundation on Tuesday announced that it will host the Trust over IP Foundation, a cross-industry effort to ensure more secure data handling over the Internet.

                This new foundation is an independent project enabling trustworthy exchange and verification of data between any two parties on the Internet.

                The ToIP Foundation will provide a robust common standard to give people and businesses the confidence that data is coming from a trusted source. The new protocol will allow them to connect, interact and innovate at a speed and scale not possible today.

                The LF is pushing its sponsorship of the ToIP Foundation in order to grow membership, with global pan-industry support from leading organizations with sector-specific expertise.

              • Linux Foundation’s Data Privacy Project Joined by IBM, Mastercard

                Called the Trust over IP (ToIP) Foundation, the project aims to establish a new global standard to ensure digital trust, and to provide a trusted exchange of data over the internet. Among the founding members of the new data coalition is the Canadian Province of British Columbia, as well as Mastercard, IBM and Accenture. Other members include the R3 blockchain consortium, online lending platform Kiva, the University of Arkansas, and more.

                The ToIP Foundation will use Linux’s open governance model to enable a new level of digital identity and verifiable data exchange, through the advancement of technology and governance standards for digital trust. Jim Zemlin, the Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, said in a statement:

                “The ToIP Foundation has the promise to provide the digital trust layer that was missing in the original design of the Internet and to trigger a new era of human possibility. The combination of open standards and protocols, pan-industry collaboration and our neutral governance structure will support this new category of digital identity and verifiable data exchange.”

              • Trust over IP Foundation hosted by Linux

                The Linux Foundation announced it will host the Trust over IP (ToIP) Foundation, an independent project to enable trustworthy exchange and verification of data between any two parties on the Internet. The ToIP Foundation will provide a robust, common standard that gives people and businesses the confidence that data is coming from a trusted source, allowing them to connect, interact and innovate at a speed and scale not possible today.
                The ToIP Foundation is being developed with global, pan-industry support from leading organizations with sector-specific expertise. Founding Steering members include Accenture, BrightHive, Cloudocracy, Continuum Loop, CULedger, Dhiway, esatus, Evernym, Finicity, Futurewei Technologies, IBM Security, IdRamp, kiva.org, Lumedic, Mastercard, MITRE, the Province of British Columbia and SICPA. Contributing members include DIDx, GLEIF, The Human Colossus Foundation, iRespond, Marist College, Northern Block, R3, Secours.io, TNO and University of Arkansas.

              • A New Project Hosted By The Linux Foundation Wants To Fix The Web’s Missing Identity Layer

                The problem is, it also introduces a level of trust: you’re entrusting Facebook (and companies like it) with your data. And so with this model, online identity and its contingent data is gate kept by a handful of mega-corps.

                What if, instead, this process were standardized to be more private and more secure, or even disintermediated so that users hold the keys to their own data?

                Blockchains have been pitched as the technological breakthrough that will make this possible. If public chains like Bitcoin and Ethereum are used, the argument goes, they cannot be easily altered and are not typically controlled by a single entity. With this base layer you can create an immutable reference for a digital identity (DID); anyone who has a DID could prove ownership by referencing the record on the blockchain, and data that keeps track of which DID corresponds to which reference is stored either locally on each users device or in a third party database.

                But it can only improve the situation so much. You can never remove all trust and human error entirely. This is why ToIP is also focusing on developing standards and a best practice framework, because they believe that technology is only one half of the solution; the other is in governance.

                “When identity met blockchain 2 or 3 years ago, everyone thought this problem was solved, but blockchain is one end of the spectrum,” Drummond Reed, one of the founding members of the project, said over a Zoom call.

              • Linux Foundation hosts a new project that aims to advance digital trust

                Linux Foundation said today it’s playing host to a key project aimed at facilitating the trustworthy exchange and verification of data between two parties over the internet.

                The Trust over IP Foundation aims to provide a “robust, common standard” for data exchange and verification that will give businesses and individuals confidence that the information they receive comes from a “trusted source.” That should enable people to connect, interact and innovate at speeds currently not possible today, the foundation said.

                The ToIP Foundation plans to advance “digital identity models” that leverage interoperable wallets and credentials, together with the new W3C Verifiable Credentials standard, to help protect digital assets and data. It notes that users are increasingly concerned about the integrity of data generated in “internet of things,” edge computing and artificial intelligence environments.

              • Mastercard and R3 Join Linux Foundation’s New Data Privacy Project

                Data privacy issues have been escalating in 2020 as personal data is increasingly being used to fight COVID-19. The Linux Foundation, a non-profit technology consortium, has today announced a new data privacy project featuring dozens of cross-industry giants like Mastercard and IBM.

                Called the ToIP Foundation, the new data trust coalition aims to provide a trusted exchange of data over the internet and establish a global standard to ensure digital trust.


                Specifically, the new data privacy project aims to help businesses protect and manage digital assets and data in a complex enterprise environment involving systems like the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.

                To address these challenges, the ToIP Foundation plans to use digital identity models that use interoperable digital wallets and credentials and the new W3C Verifiable Credentials standard.

                While various initiatives and protocols aim to solve the issue of digital privacy, some experts believe that after a decade of talk, blockchain has still failed to deliver on that account.

              • Success Story: LiFT Scholarship Recipient Pursuing Dream of Ph.D.

                In 2017, Jules Bashizi Irenge was a graduate of the Masters of Computer Science program at the University of Liverpool in the UK. A longtime Linux user, Jules dreamed of pursuing a Ph.D. program where he could use Linux for computer science research projects. While awaiting the results of his application for asylum in the UK, he heard about the Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarship program and decided to submit an application.

              • TODOgroup.org: Participate in our 2020 Open Source Program Office (OSPO) Survey

                The TODO Group is a set of companies that collaborate on practices, tools, and other ways to run successful and productive open source projects and programs.

                Open source program offices help set open source strategy and improve an organization’s software development practices. Every year, the TODO Group performs a survey to assess the state of open source programs across the industry, and today we are happy to launch the 2020 edition.

        • Security

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Julian Assange’s case exposes British hypocrisy on press freedom

        One of the most repugnant political faults is hypocrisy. Politicians say one thing, then do the opposite. This leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and brings public life into disrepute.

        The British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is a case in point. Sunday saw a grim example of Raab’s double dealing. He said that he supported free speech. “A strong and independent media,” declared the foreign secretary, “is more important than ever.”

        Splendid words on World Press Freedom Day.

        If only the British foreign secretary had meant a word he said. As Raab spoke up for free speech, his cabinet colleague Oliver Dowden led the latest government assault on the BBC.

Microsoft GNU-Hub (Part 2)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:15 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Guest post by figosdev


Summary: “Does the GNU project have any policy about trusting Microsoft with control of vital free software projects at all?”

In part 1 of this series, various parts of the GNU project were looked at where Microsoft may have too much potential control over important components. To recap:

1. Perl is heavily used by the GNU Project, including by Automake. Several projects that need Perl were mentioned in Part 1, and several more will be mentioned in Part 2.

2. Zlib1g is needed by libpng, so we list projects that have png files (even in the documentation) as this GitHub-based library is needed to save and load png files with free software. If you know of a free alternative that doesn’t need zlib1g — libpng itself is not on GitHub — let us know in the comments.

3. Libffi is needed by glib2, which is needed by Gtk. Gtk1 is also based on GitHub.

4. CPython is developed on and continues to migrate further to GitHub. PyPy is a drop-in replacement for some Python scripts, but not all. For this reason, projects that use Python code are mentioned in this series.

5. C Sharp code is included in WB B-tree Associative Arrays.

6. LibreJS uses the Jasmine library, which is based on GitHub — build.sh even downloads it directly from Microsoft.

7. Gitea is also developed on GitHub, but they have had a goal of migrating since 2017 at the latest. One of the arguments for this is quotable, and is also part of the reason for this series:

“We build Gitea so everyone can use it, even users who are banned from GitHub (after recent ban wave from GitHub a lot of those users started using Gitea).”

“How could the GNU project possibly benefit from letting Microsoft gain control of Bison development?”This isn’t just about where the code is, but where the development takes place and who controls access. Trusting Microsoft with free software development while they continue to fund various manoeuvres against it makes no sense. In that context, Part 2 will include some new items that somebody ought find surprising.

In Part 1, it was mentioned that “Flex, lex, Yacc and Bison are all related — lex is a lexer, flex is an alternative, Bison is an alternative to Yacc and Bison often uses flex to get tokens.”

Flex is GitHub-based, but it’s not a GNU project — though GNU Automake uses it.

But GNU Bison has also moved to GitHub — along with Mac Changer (ages ago) and GNU Radio, Bison is actually using GitHub for development. The GNU git repo is only a mirror. Usually, GitHub mirrors are a mirror of something being developed OFF GitHub. For Bison, it’s the other way around:


“GNU bison (git mirror)”

Most of the projects on git.savannah.gnu.org just have the name of the project, where it says ‘(git mirror)’. This is a mirror of akimd/bison on GitHub, where as of this writing there are 3 issues and 2 pull requests.

“Does the GNU project have any policy about trusting Microsoft with control of vital free software projects at all?”As of this writing, the most recent commit on git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/bison.git is dated 2020-05-05 08:21:12 +0200 and also from akimd, who the GNU Savannah page says is the project admin.

Why would they do this? How could the GNU project possibly benefit from letting Microsoft gain control of Bison development? Akimd (not his full name, only his user) has 29 repos on GitHub, most of which are forks of other well-known GitHub projects. This is far from a positive move for GNU. It would be nice if this was the only new GNU project that was found on GitHub, though it’s not.

While Compact Disc Input and Control Library (better known as libcdio — as in libcdio-paranoia, not to be confused with cpio which is used to make archives and initrd images) seems to be still be based on Savannah, libcdio-paranoia (which is also available for download from http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/libcdio/) is being developed on GitHub by the same person who maintains it for the GNU project. And he has 113 repositories there.

Does the GNU project have any policy about trusting Microsoft with control of vital free software projects at all? If they do, it isn’t being enforced in the mailing lists. Without more than a moment’s effort, this GNU mailing list conversation from as recently as last October was found, where potential GNU contributors are being encouraged to use GitHub:

“I recommend keeping your own fork of the repository somewhere, e.g. on Github. That way you have somewhere where you can push your changes for backup, in case you lose your local machine due to whatever reason. You would have to manage two remote git repositories then, your fork and the official upstream repo. But there’s plenty of documentation out there on how to do that.”

This isn’t to admonish the author for not following a rule that doesn’t exist, but to highlight the more-than-hypothetical threat that the GNU project faces from projects moving from GNU’s own hosting to Microsoft’s.

The GNU project may need to create a policy — so it’s a terrible shame that the FSF are presently without legitimate, strong or non-corrupt leadership. What a time for that, eh?

Those are the big stories, here are other findings that while they may have small problems individually, may contribute to a bigger picture issue overall:

Liquid War is a mix of Perl, Python and png files. The latter are for the program, rather than documentation.

LibreDWG seems to need Perl, Python support could be optional.

Kawa and Java Training Wheels have png files in the docs, iGNUit uses png for icons and help. Gxmessage has a png, GWL uses png, gsegraphix uses png, gnats has png in the doc. Gperf uses perl (texi2html) in /doc.

Idutils — Perl is optional?

“The GNU project may need to create a policy — so it’s a terrible shame that the FSF are presently without legitimate, strong or non-corrupt leadership.”Guile-opengl, gnatsweb, gmediaserver use Perl. Gnash uses Python, Perl in tests and png in /doc. Grep uses Perl in tests. Guile uses png in doc, libffi and flex, all of which are based in part on GitHub.

Gforth uses libfii, what’s sacrificed if ffcall or fflib is used instead? Gnowsys uses lots of Python.

GCompris is interesting. Built on Gtk and Python, it’s in the process of moving to Qt, qml and Javascript. Javascript often means GitHub, though so far the new GCompris repo seems to be GitHub-free. It’s unknown at this time if Qt has any GitHub deps like libffi, which glib2 from GNOME needs.

Findutils have Python in tests, freefont has Python in tools, Articulatory Speech Synthesis has Perl and Python, Autoconf has a Perl module, Autogen, cppi and classpath use Perl, Ball and Paddle has png in levels, ACM is Perl, so is the GNU Image Finding Tool.

“…Gitea devs at least seems to understand the importance of migration — hopefully they will be done moving away from GitHub in the near future.”DDD and Denemo have png files in the program, Electric VLSI Design System and BPEL2oWFN have png in the docs, Bayonne and ERC have Perl, C-Graph has png in the docs and cgicc has png in the demos.

Emacs uses Perl in the tests and /doc, Debian compiles it with png support, so even their “nox” version of emacs requires zlib1g from GitHub.

In part 3, we may get to tallying some statistics. Good news is welcome, and it’s nice to be able to say that Gitea devs at least seems to understand the importance of migration — hopefully they will be done moving away from GitHub in the near future. It’s really nice to have options, it’s even nicer to have real options. Sincerest and best luck to Gitea’s migration from GitHub — and where applicable, yours as well!

Long live rms, and happy hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

* If this article uses a parody of the GitHub logo based on the GNU head, I almost certainly used this one from Wikipedia

Why I Love Free (as in Freedom) Software and You Should Too

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Windows at 9:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU is NOT GitHub

GHubSummary: We’re moving in a very positive direction in terms of Free software adoption, even if that’s rarely acknowledged and it attracts new types of attacks, notably entryism and attempts to collectively monopolise Free software (e.g. GitHub)

THE FSF has just recommended, out in the open (public press release or blog post), an RMS essay. It happened yesterday evening or last night (British time). This was a good sign. It showed that the FSF and GNU were getting along (there were moments of slight tension a few months ago). Richard Stallman (RMS) isn’t a name for them to keep a distance from and his stance on software issues they generally agree on. We commend the FSF for this move and we hope it’s a sign of positive developments to come. To a lot of people RMS isn’t just the FSF’s founder but also its moral compass.

RMS was scheduled to speak in Europe, but travel restrictions prevent this at the moment. Either way, the ‘cancellation’ of RMS hardly worked. He’s still around (we speak sometimes) and he’s the head of the GNU Project, which he founded nearly 4 decades ago.

“It was about a decade ago that I liberated myself from all proprietary software…”The media rarely mentions RMS anymore (it never mentions/mentioned him as much as he deserves/deserved anyway; RMS isn’t bribing the media like Bill Gates does). Focus on the ideas expressed by RMS and ignore all the ‘gossip’; a life of wealth isn’t a life of possessions and fulfilment in a life that ends with us taking nothing to the grave cannot be derived from or measured by “collecting stuff…”

As for legacy, those things tend to be measured in terms of achievements, such as technical accomplishments. RMS has long spoken about the foolishness of debt-strapped — and effectively enslavement — for one’s whole life for the expensive pursuit of material things. He used to sleep on the floor (or carpet) in the lab to save himself time and rent. There are still some articles online about it.

It was about a decade ago that I liberated myself from all proprietary software; due to social dynamics — a subject addressed in the latest essay from RMS — I still had Skype installed until Microsoft bought that company. In my earlier years at university I also used MATLAB (before moving to GNU Octave) and it’s one of those things I could not take ‘home’ because of licence/licensing restrictions. Who needs that hassle? What does that mean for one’s code (when it is entrapped or dependent on a bunch of secret code with patents on it)?

This morning I took some time to explain my work setup [1, 2], which had evolved over the years. The total cost of everything is under $1000 and there’s no proprietary software other than firmware blobs for Wi-Fi. Some people pay over $1000 just for one licence of one piece of non-free (proprietary and possibly malicious) software!

“Seeing the general trend, it’s very much possible that one day in the not-so-distant future GNU/Linux will enjoy a two-digit market share if not majority on laptops/desktops…”The outlook seems good for Free software, despite some of the negativism often expressed here (I remarked on it a decade ago). A Microsoft-connected firm, which measures Windows-centric things, says that GNU/Linux market share has surged to 3% (on laptops/desktops) in recent months. They don’t even measure Android (or Chrome OS) at all. Android market share is nowadays a lot higher than Windows’ and there’s Linux inside. Sure, Android hardly spreads freedom (most “apps” are non-free software), but it helps show why Microsoft is so desperate to restore its O/S monopoly — to the point of buying GitHub, thinking it can just buy a monopoly over Free software and a great proportion of GNU/Linux distros (about a third of the packages in Debian are connected to GitHub, as we recently demonstrated).

Seeing the general trend, it’s very much possible that one day in the not-so-distant future GNU/Linux will enjoy a two-digit market share if not majority on laptops/desktops and Valve will be vindicated for dumping “Mac” support from SteamVR in order to focus more on GNU/Linux (they still have the Debian-based Steam OS). Apple has reported appalling results due to the lock-down and GNU/Linux doesn’t have such problems; lock-down means more developers stay indoors, likely coding and hacking. GNU/Linux is still evolving, even outside the universe of systemd. Take a look at some of the amazing distros that come out of China with new desktop environments and software. Also remember the growing number of nations that made it a policy to move to GNU/Linux. Those aren’t just words; some are already implementing such migrations, albeit quietly (to keep Microsoft’s goons away).

One day a lot more people will enjoy computing freedom; as for freedom outside one’s computing? That’s another, albeit related, aspect. Judging by the way governments and corporations currently respond to the pandemic, we cannot be too optimistic.

“Be thankful not to “Linux” (merely a glorified brand, which Microsoft nowadays ‘dilutes’ by associating it with Vista 10); be thankful to software freedom and remember where it started…”With or without Red Hat/IBM, GNU/Linux is here to stay and to thrive. IBM has in fact just managed to convince the GNU/Linux-hostile Lenovo to preload Fedora on some models of “ThinkPad” (which originally came from IBM). Huawei moved in a similar direction last year.

This development happened only weeks after a GNU/Linux-friendly CEO (and also President, Red Hat’s former CEO) was put in charge. They seem serious about "The Desktop" again. As we hoped…

If GNU/Linux finds majority on “The Desktop” (which is possible by the way; “The Desktop” isn’t going away), the corporate media will likely thank Linus Torvalds instead of RMS. In the same way the media speaks to Bill Gates, a college dropout, about pandemics (instead of actual experts). That’s because money talks and Torvalds is where the big corporate money is.

Be thankful not to “Linux” (merely a glorified brand, which Microsoft nowadays ‘dilutes’ by associating it with Vista 10); be thankful to software freedom and remember where it started (three decades before Bill Gates sent pedophiles there to bribe the institution).

“Where are we on this Jihad? [against Linux]“

Bill Gates

Where are we on this Jihad? Oh, crap, they found out I'm Epstein's buddy. We need to divert the media's attention.

Links 5/5/2020: GNU/Linux in Kerala and Mozilla Firefox 76

Posted in News Roundup at 6:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Leftovers

    • Lingg’s Autobiography: An Overlooked Haymarket Confession?

      On the near west side of Chicago, between parking lots and the plain back walls of commercial buildings, stands a puzzling monument whose abstract figures are either assembling or pulling apart an old-fashioned wagon. Circling the base of the sculpture are bronze plaques that describe the meaning of theat night one hundred and thirty four years ago when someone threw a bomb into a squad of policemen, wounding scores and killing seven and coming to be known as the Haymarket incident.  One reads:

    • ‘Ahead of its time’ A short but instructive history of Russia’s Beer Lovers’ Party

      At the beginning of 2020, new political parties made up of unexpected members, began actively registering in Russia. This includes, for example, the Direct Democracy Party — from the man behind the online role-playing game “World of Tanks,” Vyacheslav Makarov — and the party “Novye Lyudi” (New People), brought to you by perfume company founder Alexey Nechayev. Meanwhile, political projects both old and new began to recruit pop-culture personalities to their ranks. Leningrad frontman Sergey “Shnur” Shnurov joined the “Partiya Rosta” (Growth Party), while artist Vasya Lozhkin became set to head the newly formed environmental party “Zelyonaya Alternativa” (Green Alternative). Critics were quick to point out that the Putin administration is often involved in building up these spoiler parties in an apparent effort to split the opposition vote ahead of the 2021 State Duma elections. And it’s likely that they took inspiration from the 1995 parliamentary elections, which saw campaigns from 43 political parties (many with equally outlandish names and platforms), resulting in a divided opposition vote. The most striking and memorable campaign that election year was that of the Beer Lovers’ Party — Meduza special correspondent Andrey Pertsev recounts its remarkable history. 

    • An Ethical Imperative: the Visionary “Impossible” in the Northern Rockies

      We are rapidly dismantling the biological and aesthetic integrity of the entire planet, and can’t pretend any longer that small and compromised efforts can fix our threatened condition. Yet pretending is exactly what the widespread and celebrated “collaboration and compromise” model of resolving conservation disputes does.

    • Landscape Amnesia and the Deschutes River

      I took a run along the Deschutes River in Bend’s Riverbend Park the other day. The one thing I noticed is that the river is nearly opaque. You can see down maybe 2 feet, but no more. Why? Because the river was being flooded by water releases from an upstream reservoir to serve downstream irrigated ranches and farms. These high flows erode the banks, filling the river with sediment.

    • NBC News chairman Andy Lack to step down amid corporate shakeup

      Under Lack, NBC News was accused of attempting to scuttle journalist Ronan Farrow’s investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein. Farrow also accused Lack of downplaying an internal complaint about a rape allegation against then-host Matt Lauer.

    • Science

      • Did the coronavirus really escape from a Chinese lab? Here’s what we know

        As NBC News has reported, U.S. intelligence agencies first detected signs of a health crisis in Wuhan in November and began producing intelligence reports on the issue in December. Intelligence reports first appeared in the president’s briefing book, known as the President’s Daily Brief, in early January, according to NBC News’ reporting. The brief is written for the president, but it also goes to certain Cabinet officials and top advisers.

      • Why Scientists Think The Novel Coronavirus Developed Naturally — Not In A Chinese Lab

        According to a growing body of research, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is almost certainly a naturally occurring virus that initially circulated in bats then spilled into humans. But that hasn’t stopped some from trying to find a more sinister origin. “It seems like such an extreme event that people are looking for an extraordinary explanation for it,” said Stephen Goldstein, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah who studies coronaviruses. No single piece of evidence has yet confirmed the virus’ origin. But according to scientists, the evidence that does exist paints a consistent picture of a wild virus, not one that sprang from a lab.

    • Education

      • Not Trusting that Department of Ed: Looking to Higher Ed Relief via States

        Reeling from last week’s attacks on Harvard and Stanford that bullied those schools and others into refusing federal relief allocated to their most needy students, the Young Invincibles this week released an open letter asking the schools to reconsider.

      • The Anatomy of a Failing University

        American universities are failing. They are private or public schools. They could be religiously-affiliated or not. They could be in the east, west, north, or south of the United States.  They traditionally emphasized liberal arts. They are facing an enrollment and budget crunch for several years, seeing that the declining number of eighteen-year-olds in the coming years poses an existential threat. It has a modest endowment. It is not an elite school. It is a school like the one that many professors teach at.  It was failing before Covid-19. It may not be around in five years. With COVID-19, it may be around even less than that.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Unbroken Ground | A New Old Way to Grow Food
      • ‘Results May Be Catastrophic’: Concerns Grow as Trump Shuns Global Cooperation on Covid-19 Treatment

        “Trump’s refusal to participate in a coordinated global effort to respond to COVID19 is the 21st century equivalent of the U.S. not joining the League of Nations.”

      • ‘Kind of Like Large Scale Negligent Homicide’: As Trump Urges Reopenings, CDC Report Warns of Surge in Covid-19 Deaths

        Internal CDC document projects U.S. coronavirus deaths could reach 3,000 per day by June 1—nearly double the current daily death toll.

      • Two Pandemics, Separate and Unequal

        Why policy solutions must address underlying causes of vastly different health and economic outcomes

      • We Must Redefine “Frontline” by Providing PPE for All Workers

        Please join us so that every single frontline worker who needs masks and other PPE to protect themselves, their families, and the communities they serve—gets that crucial equipment.

      • The Novel Coronavirus and Nuclear Weapons

        As with viruses, containment of atomic weapons may be good, but eradication is best.

      • A Death Sentence for Meatpackers

        Meat processing plants are high risk for spreading COVID-19, and many are shutting down. Animals due for processing have nowhere to go, and they are being culled.

      • As World Joins Forces to Raise $8 Billion for Global Covid-19 Fund, US Contributes This Much: $0

        “It is a pity the U.S. is not a part of it. When you are in a crisis, you manage it and you do it jointly with others.”

      • Trump Restricts COVID-19 Relief Funds From Hospitals Serving Nation’s Poorest

        Public health experts, state officials, and frontline medical workers are sounding the alarm and demanding an urgent change of course as the Trump administration disproportionately allocates Covid-19 relief funds to higher-revenue hospitals while restricting the flow of aid to providers that primarily serve low-income people.

      • Trump Just Doubled His Previous Projections for COVID-19 Deaths in the US

        President Donald Trump took part in a virtual town hall event on Sunday hosted by Fox News, in which he — yet again — altered his projections for how many Americans could die from COVID-19.

      • To Counter Trump Inaction, Sanders-Khanna Bill Would Unleash $75 Billion for Emergency Manufacture of PPE, Covid-19 Testing

        “It’s been three months, but somehow the Trump administration continues to drag its feet in ramping up the production of critical testing and protective equipment that our health care providers are begging for.”

      • ‘A Travesty’: Trump Restricting Covid-19 Relief Funds From Hospitals Serving Nation’s Poorest

        “Trump is using hospital bailout fund money to disproportionately help high revenue hospitals, and leave safety-net systems in the lurch.”

      • Rural America Needs a Real COVID-19 Response

        As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, many rural communities are in a uniquely difficult position.

      • Only the Poor Starve: Hunger in the Time of Covid-19

        In addition to the global health crisis and the coming worldwide economic collapse, Covid-19 is fuelling a humanitarian crisis. The World Food Program (WFP) warns that, “millions of civilians living in conflict-scarred nations, including many women and children, face being pushed to the brink of starvation, with the spectre of famine a very real and dangerous possibility.” The WFP’s view that the biggest impact of the pandemic will not by caused by the virus directly, but the hunger that the flows from it, is in line with other concerned groups.

      • ‘It is impossible to receive any illness through communion’ As a massive post-Easter COVID-19 outbreak spreads through the Russian Orthodox clergy, here’s what high priests are and aren’t doing to stop the disease

        Two weeks after Easter services, the novel coronavirus is spreading through the Russian Orthodox Church, infecting increasing numbers of priests, bishops, and metropolitans. At least one church leader, Bishop Veniamin of Zheleznogorsk and Lgov, has already died of COVID-19, and monasteries are rapidly becoming local pandemic hotspots. In an attempt to push back against the disease, Patriarch Kirill has issued an order for the Moscow Diocese warning that any priest who conducts services with members of his congregation present may be penalized by an ecclesiastical court. Meanwhile, Orthodox believers have signed onto a petition asking the Church to disclose how many infections have been confirmed in cathedrals and monasteries that have been closed to the public. Still, a number of vocal dissidents within the Church hierarchy have continued to insist that closing off cathedrals will be even more dangerous than the alternative.

      • ‘We will fight this virus together’ 98-year-old World War II veteran raises over 1.5 million rubles to help Russian doctors fight COVID-19

        Zinaida Korneva is a 98-year-old veteran who lives in St. Petersburg. Until 1942 she worked as a teacher. During World War II, she served as an anti-aircraft gunner and made it all the way to Berlin. Now, she’s raising money to help Russian doctors fight the coronavirus.

      • Demanding Tax Cut in Next Stimulus Package, Trump Holds COVID Relief Hostage

        President Donald Trump on Sunday said he will not approve another badly needed Covid-19 stimulus package if it doesn’t include a payroll tax cut, a policy that would strike a blow to Social Security and Medicare funding while offering no relief for the more than 30 million people who have lost their jobs over the past six weeks.

      • Small Devices Can Detect Oxygen Deprivation Earlier From COVID-19

        We speak with Dr. Richard Levitan, an emergency physician based in Littleton, New Hampshire, who volunteered at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan for 10 days at the height of the COVID-19 surge in April. Based on what he saw, he argues patients should be going to hospitals sooner and that medical professionals could use a small device you clip on your fingertip, called a pulse oximeter, to help detect the virus earlier by revealing oxygenation problems and elevated heart rates. “A pulse oximeter is just a measure of identifying how well the lungs are working, and, I believe, can be basically an early warning system in terms of patients to know who has COVID pneumonia,” says Dr. Levitan.

      • Surviving Pandemics Is Indigenous Resistance

        Kelly Hayes talks with Morning Star Gali about Native life and death in the age of COVID-19.

      • Trump Says He Won’t Approve Covid-19 Package Without Tax Cut That Offers Zero Relief for 30 Million Newly Unemployed

        “‘Payroll tax cut’ is code for ‘gut Social Security and Medicare’s dedicated funding, then demand benefit cuts.’ Democrats must stand strong and continue blocking Trump’s terrible idea.”

      • Beware the Pentagon’s Pandemic Profiteers

        Hasn’t the military-industrial complex taken enough of our money?

      • The Pentagon Continues to Profit at Taxpayers’ Expense During Pandemic

        At this moment of unprecedented crisis, you might think that those not overcome by the economic and mortal consequences of the coronavirus would be asking, “What can we do to help?” A few companies have indeed pivoted to making masks and ventilators for an overwhelmed medical establishment. Unfortunately, when it comes to the top officials of the Pentagon and the CEOs running a large part of the arms industry, examples abound of them asking what they can do to help themselves.

      • Trump Hasn’t Released Funds That Help Families of COVID-19 Victims Pay for Burials. Members of Congress Want to Change That.

        Democratic members of Congress are urging President Donald Trump to authorize FEMA to reimburse funeral expenses for victims of the coronavirus pandemic, citing ProPublica’s reporting about the administration’s policies.

        “Just as with all previous disasters, we should not expect the families of those that died — or the hardest hit states — to pay for burials,” said the statement issued Friday from Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “President Trump needs to step up and approve this assistance so FEMA can pay for the funerals of our fellow Americans so they can be buried in dignity. It is the least he can do.”

      • Russia confirms more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the country’s official count over 145,200

        On the morning of May 4, Russian officials announced that the country recorded 10,581 new coronavirus infections in the past day (there were 10,633 new cases the day before), bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 145,268 patients.

      • Activists Demand Worker Safety Plans as COVID-19 Surges in Meat Plants

        At least 20 workers at meat processing plants have died from COVID-19, and around 5,000 have tested positive, but President Trump invoked an executive order to bar local governments from closing meat plants. We hear from meat plant workers and organizers about conditions during the pandemic and speak with Sindy Benavides, CEO of the League of United Latin American Citizens, which is supporting the workers with a virtual town hall on food worker safety with presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and calling for Meatless May Mondays.

      • Internal U.S. document foresees surge of coronavirus deaths this month: NY Times

        The document, based on modelling by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, projects that COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, will kill 3,000 Americans a day by the end of May, the Times said, up from a current daily toll that a Reuters tally places at around 2,000.

      • Michigan’s Militia-like Morons Can’t Math

        Deaths were trending downward until the idiots’ Gridlock protest. It would be nice to know how many of the spike in deaths were people who attended the protest, or who broke the Stay Home order because they were inspired by Gridlock to do so. We may never know how many deaths were because of asymptomatic carriers exposed on that date unless researchers conduct a forensic genetic examination some time in the future.

      • District head in S. Sulawesi reported for blasphemy after dispersing Friday prayer

        On April 17, Ulfa and a number of COVID-19 task force personnel as well as local authorities conducted checks on mosques in the district to ensure Muslims in the area did not congregate for Friday prayers, so as to abide by the government’s appeal for physical distancing.

        However, the residents reportedly thronged to the Ar-Rahmah mosque as usual, prompting Ulfa to ask the local figures to stop the mass prayer while the sermon was ongoing.

      • Antivaccination Activists Are Growing Force at Virus Protests

        In recent years, Ms. Muñoz Gleisner and the two other founding members of the Freedom Angels, Denise Aguilar and Tara Thornton, have organized people in California and New Jersey against bills that crack down on non-medical exemptions for vaccinations and the process by which they’re granted.

      • Anti-vaxxer groups sow doubt about coronavirus vaccine before one even exists

        In recent weeks, vaccine opponents have made several unsubstantiated claims, including allegations that vaccine trials will be dangerously rushed or that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, is blocking cures to enrich vaccine makers. They’ve also falsely claimed that Microsoft founder Bill Gates wants to use a vaccine to inject microchips into people — or to cull 15 percent of the world’s population.

      • International students in Turkey ‘suspended between loneliness and fear’

        It’s been nearly two months since Turkey shut down most of its universities at the beginning of March. Many students left their adopted cities, said goodbye to their dormitories and headed to their hometowns unsure when they would come back and what remained of their education.

        The possibility of attending graduation ceremonies and taking final exams has slowly faded and online classes have replaced the physical interaction of the classroom.


        Normally, when universities are closed in Turkey for holidays or summer break, student dorms are also shut for students with international students going back to their home countries or finding alternative accommodation.

        “Everything is new, suspended between loneliness and fear,” Hyseni tells TRT World, unsure when she will be able to go home and see her family and the lockdown potentially weeks away from being lifted.

        “Our sleeping routine has drastically changed, and as someone who does outdoor sports, it was difficult to cope with the idea of not getting fresh air every morning,” added Hyseni.

    • Integrity/Availability

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Fifty Years Later, the Gunfire at Kent State Still Echoes Through America

        Today’s pandemic alters our tradition of protest and dissent.

      • Fifty Years Ago This Spring: Millions of Students Struck to End a War in Vietnam

        President Richard M. Nixon prided himself on the accuracy of his political prognostication. Nixon was never more prescient than fifty years ago this month, in a remark made to his secretary, just before delivering a White House address that announced a U.S. military invasion of Cambodia. “It’s possible,” Nixon told her, “that the campuses are really going to blow up after this speech.”

      • Syria: ISIS Dumped Bodies in Gorge

        The effort to exhume the ISIS mass graves has been faltering and incomplete, in part due to the fluid security situation. With limited resources and minimal outside support, local groups, such as Raqqa’s First Responders Team, have been conducting partial exhumations, but the sites are still not protected and have not been examined in line with international best practices. No teams are working at al-Hota or the apparent mass grave sites that are currently under Turkish control.

      • US Navy Ships Enter Arctic’s Barents Sea for First Time in Decades

        U.S. surface ships, as opposed to U.S. submarines that regularly prowl the Arctic waters, have not operated in the Barents Sea since the mid-1980s.

      • Saudi activists allege a tribesman was killed over glitzy megacity plans

        Abdul Rahim al-Hwaiti loved his home — so much so that he refused to move. It may have cost him his life.

        He lived on a remote stretch of land near the Red Sea in northwest Saudi Arabia. That’s where Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman wants to build his much-celebrated megacity called NEOM.

      • Scuttling New START: Trump’s China Distraction

        For a person keen on throwing babies out with their bath water, only to then ask for their return, President Donald Trump risks doing giving that same treatment to the New START treaty. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, also known as the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive arms, a creation of the Obama administration, is due for renewal come February 2021.

    • Environment

      • Antarctica: Too Big to Melt
      • Energy

        • Irish LNG Plan That Would Allow US Fracked Gas Imports ‘Dead in the Water’

          First, the European Court of Justice advocate general, Juliane Kokott, ruled that An Bord Pleanála, Ireland’s planning appeals body, erred in not requesting an up-to-date environmental impact study for the proposed Shannon LNG terminal before extending planning permission for a planned project. The decision means the case would have to be referred back to Ireland’s High Court.

        • Russian Health Ministry confirms that over 3,000 workers at oil field in Yakutia have COVID-19

          After over 10,000 workers at the Chayanda oil field in Yakutia were tested for the coronavirus, “one third tentatively showed positive results,” confirmed Elena Malinnikova, an infectious disease specialist for the Russian Health Ministry, after visiting the shift workers’ settlement.

        • Underwriter Announces Tougher Stance on Coal

          German insurer, Allianz has updated its coal insurance restrictions with a new policy, released on last week. In addition to the underwriter’s previous exclusion of insurance for coal projects (specifically new coal-fired power plants and mines), Allianz will now no longer offer property and casualty insurance for companies whose business model is largely based on coal and which do not have a clear coal exit path from 2023.

          According to the statement, the policy applies to energy suppliers that generate 25% or more of their electricity from coal and have a coal-fired power generation capacity of 5GW or more.

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

        • Planet of the Anti-Humanists

          Progress is a dangerous myth, the film argues; there are too many humans consuming too much stuff, so everyone in developed countries — including the working class — needs to consume less, while the planet as a whole must be depopulated down to a more sustainable number.

    • Finance

      • Crushing the States, Saving the Banks: the Fed’s Generous New Rules

        Congress seems to be at war with the states. Only $150 billion of its nearly $3 trillion coronavirus relief package – a mere 5% – has been allocated to the 50 states; and they are not allowed to use it where they need it most, to plug the holes in their budgets caused by the mandatory shutdown. On April 22, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was opposed to additional federal aid to the states, and that his preference was to allow states to go bankrupt.

      • Warnings of ‘Pro-Corporate Agenda’ on Eve of Post-Brexit US and UK Trade Talks

        “Our approach to trade policy needs to be fundamentally overhauled to benefit working families, not just the executives and large shareholders of multinational corporations.”

      • Time for an Emergency Charity Stimulus

        Congress can help nonprofits come up with an additional $200 bill—without costing taxpayers another dime.

      • Shed No Tears for CEOs with Sinking Share Prices

        Sometimes calendars can be cruel. A regularly reoccurring event can suddenly reoccur at a most inopportune moment. Just ask Ronald Rittenmeyer, the chief executive of Tenet Healthcare, a for-profit colossus that runs 65 hospitals and over 500 smaller care centers across the country.

      • Cancel Rent and Stop Playing the Landlord’s Game

        Years ago, I took an interest in the origins of the boardgame Monopoly, which was originally known as the Landlord’s Game.  Its history is germane, I think – and perhaps even might be a source of inspiration – for those heroic renters now contemplating a nationwide rent strike.

      • ‘The Industry Chose to Protect Billions of Dollars a Year in Its Own Profit’
      • Newspapers Won’t Connect the Dots on Postal Service Threats

        More than six weeks after a bill was introduced to require vote-by-mail to be available for the November 3 elections, no federal steps have been taken to ensure a fair and free election in the shadow of a pandemic that threatens people’s ability to access the polls.

      • Newspapers Won’t Connect the Dots on Postal Service Threats

        The right-wing vendetta against the Postal Service long predates the pandemic, but gutting it now has the potential to undermine the integrity of the November election. Yet establishment media seem remarkably uninterested in connecting the dots.

      • Following Mexico’s Worker Strikes, the US Steps in to Keep Border Factories Open

        In Washington, D.C., President Trump is trying his best to reopen closed meatpacking plants, as packinghouse workers catch the COVID-19 virus and die. In Tijuana, Mexico, where workers are dying in mostly U.S.-owned factories (known as maquiladoras) that produce and export goods to the U.S., the Baja California state governor, a former California Republican Party stalwart, is doing the same thing.


        The Bank of England’s moves to offer forms of monetary financing to the Treasury in the wake of Covid-19 have caused concerns over excessive inflation, but this panic is misplaced. Instead, as social distancing measures generate an unprecedented shock to the demand for goods and services, Covid-19 is a powerful deflationary force. In the UK, the latest figures showed inflation slipping by 0.2% in March, before the lockdown was even introduced.

        Following the 2008 financial crisis, inflation hawks predicted that Quantitative Easing (QE) measures would turn high-income economies into the next victims of hyperinflation. Yet despite central bankers’ best efforts, the past decade has seen inflation remaining consistently below the 2% inflation target. The false predictions were based on misconceptions originating in the debunked theory of monetarism, the core of which Milton Friedman famously captured in the claim that inflation is “always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon”.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Belarusian President says Russian officials are welcome to attend Victory Day celebrations in Minsk

        Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has announced that Victory Day celebrations will go forward in Minsk on May 9, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

      • Defying Trump and Their Governors, Many Workers Are Refusing to “Reopen”

        The argument over whether or not to extend stay-at-home orders has reached a crescendo after weeks of COVID-19 cloistering — combined with scant assistance from the federal government — and left millions forced to choose between their money and their lives. Many people need cash after weeks without working; those people want and need to work, but many of those people don’t want to die for work.

      • A Lawless President Confronts an Untrustworthy Intelligence Community

        “There is no ‘deep state’—not in the conspiratorial way that Donald Trump uses the term,” writes David Rohde, a Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent, in his new book, In Deep: The FBI, the CIA and the Truth about America’s “Deep State.”

      • America is Exceptional…In Some of the Worst Ways

        “America First,” has been a pronouncement of pride for President Donald Trump and millions of his supporters. Today they have gotten their wish as the United States leads the world during a global deadly pandemic, racing well past other nations in the numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths. It may not be the “first place” spot that they desire or expect. But it should come as no surprise, for anyone paying attention to the deliberate design of the U.S. economy and infrastructure could have predicted the pandemic’s impact. And indeed, our national hubris may have been our biggest weakness.

      • Four Dead in Ohio

        If you are old enough, you will recognize that snippet from a song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.  If not, I am here to tell you that on May 4, 1970, four students were shot to death by members of the Ohio National Guard on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio.  Nine others were wounded.

      • Portugal Leads the Way: How European Countries Fared in Their Treatment of Refugees

        As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading its tentacles throughout China and eventually to the rest of the world, the World Health Organization (WHO), along with other international groups, sounded the alarm that refugees and migrants are particularly vulnerable to the deadly disease.

      • The South China Sea: Beyond the Smoke ‘n Mirrors

        As the American Empire continues to intensify its many-fronted aggression against China, the South China Sea has become a potential flashpoint. The latest “freedom-of-navigation” (translation: freedom-of-provocation) sail-past by a US Navy destroyer was “expelled” by PLA forces, Chinese media reported. More confrontations are expected in that strategic maritime stretch.

      • Right-Wing “Reopen” Fanatics Would Kill Nearly as Many Americans as Died in All US Wars

        A new simulation by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania offers a frightening scenario of what happens if the Neo Nazis, libertarians, and too many Trumpian governors have their way.

      • Trump Must Choose Between a Global Ceasefire and America’s Long Lost Wars

        Trump has so far spurned this chance to make good on his promise to bring U.S. troops home, even as his lost wars and ill-defined global military occupation expose thousands of troops to the Covid-19 virus.

      • St. Petersburg’s governor scores another PR coup, posing in a medical mask and face shield beside a new mother and her baby

        Over the weekend, St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov braved the indoors of several maternity hospitals, making the rounds to see how the region’s newest mothers are faring during the coronavirus pandemic. To ensure that this deadly and pesky pathogen stood no chance, the governor donned both a medical mask and a face shield. 

      • Can Democrats Take the Senate? A New Poll Shows Iowa Might Flip.

        At this time last year, many believed that the chances for Democrats to win the Senate in 2020 were fairly mild. There was a possibility, prognosticators said, but it was going to be a very tight contest overall.

      • You Can’t Make Me

        You can’t make me vote for Biden


        The situation gets even weirder when we see Democrats – who were rightfully outraged against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the supreme court – trot out many of the exact same arguments that the right used to try to discredit Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony to Congress. She remained silent about the abuse for years. There haven’t been other allegations – which eventually turned out, by the way, to be false. Her politics are suspect. We’ve seen this shit before, flying out of the mouths of aging ghouls like Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell. Now we see it – almost word for word – from the standard bearers of centrist liberalism, like the Times and MSNBC.

        We had so many options early on in the 2020 primary. We had… a young gay mayor of a small Midwestern town, a Democratic socialist, an Asian-American entrepreneur touting universal basic income, a lawyer and crusader for consumers’ rights, a woman of color serving in the Senate… the list goes on. When the establishment center of the party coalesced around its own candidate in a coordinated effort to stop the Democratic Socialist upsurge, they picked…. Biden.

      • The Bigoted, Conspiratorial Rants of Rudy Giuliani’s Radio Show

        Presidential lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has largely fallen out of the public eye since his starring role in President Donald Trump’s impeachment. But Giuliani hasn’t gone silent.

        Instead, he’s in his home, doing a call-in radio show and a podcast — “Common Sense” — during which he has repeatedly gone on bigoted rants about China and its government.

      • ‘Dangerous and Irresponsible’: 40 Rights Groups Demand McConnell Stop Ramming Through Lifetime Judges During Covid-19 Crisis

        “Trump and McConnell are prioritizing their morally bankrupt agenda instead of addressing the impact of this public health crisis.”

      • Trump campaign has not returned illegal donation from foreign national, FEC records show

        The Trump campaign has not returned an illegal donation it received from a foreign national in 2019, records from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show. It is the campaign’s only known illegal foreign contribution.

      • [Older] Pro-Infection Rallies Are Astroturf All The Way Down

        At least this time around, many media outlets have caught on to the sham early, and have pointed out just how inorganic this “movement” is. The Washington Post, for example, offers a close look at how three pro-gun brothers from the Midwest have been behind a series of groups on Facebook that promote not following public health orders. That story and many others have noted that the recent pro-virus protests in Michigan have been promoted by Republican-aligned groups, including one that’s connected to Donald Trump’s Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. In Idaho, the local media have prominently noted that last Friday’s protest at the state Capitol building was organized by rightwing political groups, one of which promotes an anti-vaccine agenda. Anti-vaxxers also showed up at a rally in Pennsylvania:

        Gosh, what nice folks, and what nice astroturf organizers helping them share their love for liberty and infectious disease.

        The Washington Post’s story on the gunhumpers behind multiple Facebook groups is a model for how reporting on the pro-death rallies should be done. Not only does it trace the groups’ origins to three rightwing brothers, Ben, Christopher, and Aaron Dorr, it also points out that the online groups appear to violate Facebook’s own rules on spreading misinformation about the virus, and emphasizes that however much noise these guys and their pals make, the “reopen America” bullshit is only supported by a tiny minority of Americans: [...]

      • [Older] We Will Never Agree On What Happened During The First Wave Of The Pandemic — And That Will Make It Harder To Survive The Second

        Some of those groups are the work of conservative activists. A network of pro-gun groups run by four brothers — Chris, Ben, Aaron, and Matthew Dorr — were behind five of the largest Facebook groups dedicated to to the protests, according to NBC News. Another one of the protests in Michigan was organized by a group linked to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

        But the Tech Transparency Project, a research initiative of Campaign for Accountability, a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization, published a report outlining how extremists were using private Facebook Groups to ramp up support for a violent anti-government uprising.

      • With Kayleigh McEnany, the White House Isn’t Even Pretending the Truth Matters

        That a person whose three-year long career was premised entirely on a lack of shame, a willingness to “go there” and a propensity for telling preposterous lies that are completely untethered from reality was elevated to the job of White House Press Secretary in the first place told Colvin all she needed to know.

        Unlike most of her predecessors as White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany didn’t come to the job with a background as a reporter or a career press secretary. She never had a prominent role in a political campaign or in government. Instead she is the first of a new type of press secretary, one that if current trends are any indication we will have to get used to. She blazed the path to the podium on the back of her experience as an internet troll turned cable news pundit. (Fun fact: McEnany was rejected by Fox before getting scooped up by CNN’s Jeff Zucker who was looking for a new “character in a drama” — his words — who was willing to defend Donald Trump on the network. And what a character she has become).

        In this way, and others, her elevation mirrors that of her boss.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Texas Appeals Court Brushes Off Section 230 In Allowing Lawsuit Over Sex Trafficking Against Facebook To Continue

        Earlier this year, we mentioned, in passing, personal injury lawyer Annie McAdams’ weird crusade against internet companies and Section 230. The lawyer — who bragged to the NY Times about how she found out her favorite restaurant’s secret margarita mix by suing them and using the discovery process to get the recipe — has been suing a bunch of internet companies trying to argue that we can ignore Section 230 if you argue that the sites were “negligent” in how they were designed. In a case filed in Texas against Facebook (and others) arguing that three teenagers were recruited by sex traffickers via Facebook and that Facebook is to blame for that, the lower court judge ruled last year that he wouldn’t dismiss on Section 230 grounds. I wish I could explain to you his reasoning, but the ruling is basically “well, one side says 230 bars this suit, and the other says it doesn’t, and I’ve concluded it doesn’t bar the lawsuit.” That’s literally about the entire analysis:

      • Cambodian Government Using Fake News Law To Silence Critics And Coronavirus Reporting

        In 2018, Cambodia’s government passed a “fake news” law. It was enacted shortly before a general election, allowing the government to stifle criticism of the Prime Minister. It also required all local websites to register with the government and put government employees to work scouring social media for violations.

      • Special Guests Nicholas Baham, III, Anthony DiMaggio – The Project Censored Show
      • Top Russian newspaper fights for survival amid censorship row

        Tensions reportedly started right after the first staff meeting with the new editor-in-chief of Vedomosti. Since Andrey Shmarov started in the job at the end of March, journalists at the paper say he banned them from writing about Vladimir Putin’s controversial constitutional reforms, which could keep the Russian president in power far beyond his current term limit. Apparently he also told them not to cite surveys by the independent pollster Levada Center, an accusation Shmarov has denied. The editor has also deleted a column about the Russian oil giant Rosneft and changed the title of another column.

        Vedomosti media editor Ksenya Boletskaya tells DW that many of the steps caused a “violent emotional reaction” in the team, which values its editorial independence above all. Vedomosti staff began openly defying Shmarov. In an editorial, staff wrote that his editorial changes “are damaging trust in the publication,” accusing Shmarov of censorship. Without the journalistic principles its reputation is based on, they wrote, Vedomosti will become “yet another dependent and controlled media outlet,” adding: “There are enough of those already in Russia.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Journalists: Democracy’s Frontline Workers

        Without relief to keep reporters on the job, each local-news closure will cut into our democracy in ways that may prove fatal.

      • Recognizing World Press Freedom Day During COVID-19

        In the face of a global pandemic, there is an urgent need for reporting relating to the spread of the coronavirus and how governments are responding. But it is in times of crisis that the civil liberties we value most are put to the test—and that is exactly what is happening now as governments around the world clamp down on journalism and stifle the free flow of critical information.

        With so little currently known about the novel coronavirus, governments around the world have seized the opportunity to control the narrative around the virus and their responses to it. In countries including Algeria, Azerbaijan, China, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Palestine, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, and more, authorities have banned individuals and journalists from sharing false or misleading information about the coronavirus.

      • China jails journalist, human rights activist before World Press Freedom Day

        Several human rights activists were convicted and imprisoned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) right before World Press Freedom Day (May 3), demonstrating China’s view on freedom of speech has not been affected by the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

      • Merkel government condemns ‘extremists’ for film crew attack

        Berlin prosecutors probing Friday’s attack on a crew filming for a satirical news show on public ZDF television say their probe is proving “complicated.” Some 15 persons are suspected of injuring five team members.

      • ZDF camera crew attacked in Berlin

        A ZDF camera crew were attacked after filming a demonstration for satirical news programme the heute-show (Today Show) on Friday 1 May. The team were on the way back to their vehicles when the incident took place.

        Six of the seven members required hospital treatment and have since been discharged to recover from home. Six people have since been arrested.

      • German attack on journalists to be investigated for political motives

        While filming on May Day, several members of the crew were attacked while filming in Berlin. Four members of the team sustained injuries severe enough to be sent to hospital. Five men and one woman were arrested.

      • Exiled Pakistani Journalist Found Dead in Sweden

        A Pakistani journalist forced into exile in Sweden after covering violence, crime and a simmering insurgency in his home country was found dead on Friday in a river north of Stockholm, the Swedish police said.

        A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said an autopsy did not point strongly to foul play in the death of the journalist, Sajid Hussain, 39, but journalism groups expressed skepticism and concern.

      • Body in Swedish River Was Missing Pakistani Journalist

        Hussain was openly critical of the Pakistani government, and the Swedish chapter of Reporters Without Borders had raised concerns that his disappearance could have been due to his work.

      • Julian Assange’s extradition case delayed until September, WikiLeaks founder’s hearing moved to another court

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition case has been delayed until September and will be moved to another court by a British judge.

        The Australian’s next hearing had been due on May 18, but District Judge Vanessa Baraitser last week agreed to delay it over concerns that Assange and lawyers would not be able to attend in person.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Supreme Court Streams Oral Arguments Live For The First Time (Thanks To The Pandemic)

        For over a decade now, we’ve been saying that the Supreme Court should absolutely stream its oral arguments live via the internet — and for all that time the Supreme Court has rejected the idea. All of the Justices have always seems to be aligned in this view, though with very bad justifications. The two most frequently cited reasons are that (1) the public wouldn’t understand what was going on, and (2) that it might make the oral arguments more “performative” as the Justices (and perhaps some lawyers) would act differently for the cameras. Neither of these arguments makes much sense.

      • Third Russian doctor falls from window after criticizing working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic

        Emergency physician Alexandr Shulepov fell from a second-story window at the hospital where he was recovering from the coronavirus, in the rural town of Novaya Usman (Voronezh Region). Shulepov had previously complained that he was being forced to work after becoming infected with COVID-19. He is now the third Russian doctor who has fallen from a window in the past two weeks. 

      • Female Genital Mutilation Finally Banned in Sudan

        Women’s rights groups praised the move saying it would help to end FGM but warned about the difficulty of changing mentalities as the practice is deeply entrenched in Sudanese culture. Now the bill still needs to be passed by members of the sovereign council, which was created following the ousting of former dictator Omar al-Bashir.

        “There is so much work to be done. This is a start, a good start,” communication officer of the United Nations Children’s agency (Unicef) in Sudan, Fatma Naib, said.

      • Trump’s COVID-19 meatpacking order returns us to ‘The Jungle’ days just so you can eat bacon

        Industries famously don’t regulate themselves, and the meatpacking industry isn’t going to be an outlier. SARS-CoV-2 is relentless and brutal and, so far, mysterious to science. More line workers will get sick and die, and more meatpacking plants will close. Things won’t get better until there is the real political will to change how the meatpacking industry handles worker safety.

      • Amazon Web Services Executive Resigns In Protest Against Firing Of Whistleblowers

        A vice president and distinguished engineer at Amazon Web Services resigned in protest against the corporation’s firing of whistleblowers who spoke out against deplorable warehouse conditions.

        Tim Bray wrote in a post on his personal website that terminating whistleblowers was “evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture. I choose neither to serve nor drink that poison.”

      • Citing ‘Vein of Toxicity’ and Firing of Whistleblowers, Amazon VP Resigns in Disgust

        “This is a really big deal. This kind of courage is what we need right now, in every workplace and walk of life.”

      • Tim Bray, Early Internet Guru, And Amazon VP Quits Over The ‘Chickenshit’ Company’s Targeting Of Employees Speaking Out About COVID-19

        If you do anything internet related, hopefully you already know Tim Bray. Among tons of other things, he helped develop XML and a variety of other standards/technologies the internet relies on. He’s also been a vocal and thoughtful commenter on a wide variety of issues, especially in the tech policy space. For the past five years he’s been working at Amazon as a VP and Distinguished Engineer — but as he’s announced he has now quit in protest over the company’s retaliation against workers who were speaking up over the company’s handling of their working conditions during the pandemic. Bray gives some of the background of workers organizing and speaking up about their concerns, and then discusses the company’s reaction (firing the vocal ones and offering lame excuses).

      • Canadian Tim Bray quits as VP of Amazon Web Services, cites firing of activist employees

        The Canadian vice-president of Amazon Web Services has quit, citing the company’s firing of employees he said voiced concerns over work conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

        “I quit in dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of COVID-19,” said Vancouver-based Tim Bray in a blog post on Monday, He denounced the firings and said the company’s actions were “evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture.”

        In the blog, Bray said Amazon warehouse exployees concerned about work conditions amid the cornavirus pandemic had reached out to Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ), an employee group that calls for greater climate action at the company.

      • Bye, Amazon

        May 1st was my last day as a VP and Distinguished Engineer at Amazon Web Services, after five years and five months of rewarding fun. I quit in dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of Covid-19.

        What with big-tech salaries and share vestings, this will probably cost me over a million (pre-tax) dollars, not to mention the best job I’ve ever had, working with awfully good people. So I’m pretty blue.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Cable TV Customers Are Rightfully Pissed They’re Still Paying For Cancelled Sports Programming

        For years, consumers have been bitching about the high cost of sports programming as it pertains to your monthly cable bill. Especially for those who don’t watch sports, but are often forced to pay the sky high prices for sports programming as part of a bloated cable bundle anyway. One survey a few years ago found that 56% of consumers would ditch ESPN in a heartbeat if it meant saving the $8 per month subscribers pay for the channel. The “regional sports fees” tacked on to subscriber bills have also long been a point of contention because they’re often used to help falsely advertise a lower rate.

      • ‘Time for the Agency to Come Clean’: FCC Ordered to Release Detailed Data From Fake Net Neutrality Comments

        “Journalists wanted to get to the bottom of this mess. The FCC told them go away. But a court just told the FCC to stop hiding from the press.”

      • Our Work to Make the Internet for Everyone Marches On

        The Internet Society will focus on its core work: an Internet that is open, globally-connected, secure, and trustworthy for everyone. At a time when we are all reminded about how crucial the Internet is for society, our work has never been more critical. We will continue to focus on that work in support of our mission. To do it, we shall continue to rely on our partners at PIR, who will maintain, as ever, its exemplary service to all those who rely on .ORG and the other TLDs PIR operates.

      • How I Quadrupled Internet Speed in a Resort Room… with a Rope

        I just temporarily moved into a room, or more exactly a small bungalow, and with my line of work I kind of need decent internet. I was told they had “WiFi”, and when I tried it out, I could log in fine, but the speed was pretty dismissal. I repeated the test close to the router and it achieved speeds I could easily live with.


        I met the owner since then, and he’s afraid the router may get wet due to the rain. So I’ll probably weatherproof it with a thin plastic bag, or something else…

        The moral of the story is where you place your router can be critical, and in this moving the router down by around 20 centimeters to allow line-of-sight, and move it away from the metal bars, allowed me to quadruple the Internet speed in my room.

    • Monopolies

      • Court Sides With Nike And Dismisses Kawhi Leonard’s Lawsuit Over ‘Klaw’ Logo

        Sometimes you turn out to be wrong. When we initially discussed Kawhi Leonard’s lawsuit against Nike over the “Klaw” logo, I’d said I was interested to hear Nike’s response. That was because my glance at Leonard’s description of the history of the logo, one which he created in rough draft form when he was young to one which Nike used as inspiration for the eventual Nike Kawhi shoe logo, it sure seemed like Nike was being hypocritical. After all, Nike has a reputation for being extremely protective of its own intellectual property rights while being rather cavalier with those of others. As a reminder, Leonard created a logo that makes something of a “K” and “L” outlined via the tracing of his own hand. It sure seemed that if that all wasn’t unique enough that Nike shouldn’t be trying to trademark a version of the logo from under him, what could be?

      • How is regulatory policy influencing the development and marketing of antibody testing for COVID-19?

        Over the last few weeks, dozens of companies have begun marketing tests intended to determine whether someone has antibodies directed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These tests indicate likely immunity to COVID-19 and are different from diagnostic tests to determine whether someone is currently infected. However, recent evaluations have shown that these antibody tests are often failing to deliver accurate results. Last week, the House Oversight Committee called for more information from these companies about the accuracy of their tests, and the FDA has now responded by increasing its oversight over antibody tests. But why did the FDA’s initial stance toward these tests differ so strongly from its stance toward COVID-19 diagnostics, and what lessons should policymakers draw from these experiences going forward?


        Initially, the FDA took a highly permissive approach to serology tests, essentially using discretion not to enforce its normal rules and permitting developers to enter the market where (1) the test has been validated, (2) the manufacturer has notified the FDA of its intention to enter the market, and (3) a series of disclaimers accompany the test results. (See Section IV.D of the FDA’s guidance document here for more details about these disclaimers.) The validation studies recommended by the FDA include studies designed to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the test, as described below. Likely as a result of the FDA’s lack of review process, serology test manufacturers rushed to enter the market. As of April 30, 170 commercial manufacturers and 24 separate laboratories had notified the FDA that they have validated and are offering serology tests.

        Manufacturers were also permitted to submit their validation data to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), in which the FDA performs a limited review of the relevant information and more formally authorizes the manufacturer’s entrance into the market. Although the EUA process is less formal and rigorous than the FDA’s typical review pathway, in this context it can still provide greater assurance that there are no major concerns with a company’s validation tests. As of April 30, 10 manufacturers and laboratories had received such authorization.

        In short, the FDA was allowing antibody tests to quickly enter the market with little regulatory oversight. The agency has also been collaborating with the NIH and CDC to “establish a capability at NIH to evaluate serological tests for developers,” which “may complement and inform the determination of whether FDA issues an EUA for a particular test” in the future. But through April, the agency’s focus was on expanding antibody testing capacity rather than assessing the quality of the proliferating array of tests.

        Today, the FDA changed its policy and announced that companies marketing antibody tests would need to apply for an EUA within ten business days of beginning to market their products. Companies who do not receive such authorization must cease marketing their tests.

      • Patents

        • In re Rudy (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          Christopher John Rudy, represented pro se, appealed from a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) affirming the rejection of claims 34, 35, 37, 38, 40, and 45–49 of U.S. Patent Application No. 07/425,360 (“the ’360 application”) as ineligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101. On April 24, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision affirming the Board’s conclusion.

          Mr. Rudy originally filed the ’360 application on October 21, 1989, and so, somehow, it has been pending for almost 31 years!

          The application, entitled “Eyeless, Knotless, Colorable and/or Translucent/Transparent Fishing Hooks with Associatable Apparatus and Methods,” has undergone a lengthy prosecution, including numerous amendments and petitions, four Board appeals, and a previous trip to the Federal Circuit, in which the Court affirmed the obviousness of all claims then on appeal. In re Rudy, 558 F. App’x. 1011 (Fed. Cir. 2014).

          Now, claims 34, 35, 37, 38, 40, and 45–49 of the ’360 application stand rejected as ineligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Claims 26–33 and 54–60 stand allowed and all remaining claims of the ’360 application have been cancelled by the applicant.

        • EPO calls time on most face-to-face hearings in favour of videoconferences

          Until now, hearings before the EPO Examining Divisions (EDs), which are in charge of examining European applications, were normally held in person on the EPO premises. Upon request and at its discretion, the EPO could decide to hold these by videoconference (VC). However, such requests could be denied due to unavailability of VC facilities at the EPO, or if the ED considered that holding the hearing by VC would be unsuitable given the subject matter of the application or the complexity of the case.

          The EPO has now made an almost 180° change to its practice: hearings before the EDs will now be held by VC unless there are “serious reasons” against it. The EPO has provided only two examples of such a serious reason, namely the need for direct taking of evidence and “where an impediment prevents an applicant or representative from participating … by videoconference”. Although the EPO could, in principle, accept other reasons, we understand that the EPO considers very few hearings to genuinely need to be held in person.

          The change will, in practice, affect all hearings before the EDs which have not already been held. Hearings before the EPO Opposition Divisions and Boards of Appeal are, for the time being, unaffected by this change, and can only be held in person – but watch this space.

        • USPTO Unveils Virus Patent Platform, EPO Extends Deadlines

          The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office launched a new online marketplace Monday for patents related to COVID-19, while its European counterpart said it is extending certain deadlines until next month due to the pandemic.

          The USPTO’s “Patents 4 Partnership” platform is aimed at supporting patent owners who seek to license intellectual property related to the “prevention, treatment and diagnosis” of COVID-19, the agency said in a press release.

          The new platform offers a “user-friendly, searchable repository of patents and published patent applications” related to COVID-19, which the agency said will help connect patent owners with businesses that are interested in obtaining licenses to the technology.

          In addition to facilitating licensing efforts, the platform will also “disseminate valuable patent information,” according to the press release. It noted that the platform may later expand to include new technologies.

        • USPTO Confirms Inventorship as Limited to Natural Human Beings

          A key question surrounding patents for artificial intelligence (AI) related technologies is can an AI agent (as in, not a human) be considered an inventor to a patent application. Last week, in a highly publicized case, the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) answered with a resounding “no” to an AI agent named “Device for Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience” (“DABUS”) that “autonomously generated” the invention in question. The decision explained that an AI agent cannot meet certain statutory definitions for an inventor or the jurisprudential tests for determining inventorship.

          In the USPTO’s view, the language of the Patent Act suggests an inventor must be a natural person because it uses terms such as “whoever,” “himself or herself,” and “individual” when describing an inventor. The Act also describes actions that can only be performed by a human being, for example, by directing an inventor to “execute an oath or declaration.” The decision further cites case law defining the contours of inventorship, which turns on the question of “conception.” Generally, the legal tests for conception require a person to conceive of and contribute to the inventive subject matter in the claims. According to the USPTO, these tests contemplate conception in the “human mind” and therefore only natural persons can satisfy the requirements for inventorship.

        • If the PTAB Denies Institution Based on a Reference under Phillips, Does that Mean it was not Material Under BRI?

          But, in denying the motion to amend the answer to add inequitable conduct, the trial court relied upon the PTAB decision to hold that it would be futile to permit the amendment. It reasoned that it was implausible that the Porsche 959 art could have been but-for material because of the PTAB’s decision.

          But Therasense requires materiality be based upon the broadest reasonable interpretation standard, not Phillips. Thus, the PTAB decision doesn’t decide materiality: if anything, it decided there was no anticipation based on the PTAB’s claim construction under Philips.

          Even weirder, the trial court held in denying amendment that it could still find invalidity based upon the Porsche 959 prior art. If anything, that would be precluded by the PTAB’s decision (I’m not even sure that’s right, however). Finally, and I may be misremembering (I’m grading finals!), but I thought there was also Federal Circuit precedent finding materiality even on submitted art? (I know you can find invalidity that way.)

        • Windy City IPR: Are Joinder Decisions Appealable after Thryv?

          Saurabh Vishnubhakat, Joinder and the One-Year Time Bar in Inter Partes Review, Patently-O (March 20, 2020). Facebook had wanted to join its prior case, because its later-filed case would have otherwise been time-barred under § 315(b)(1-year post-service timeline does “not apply to a request for joinder”).

          Facebook v. Windy City was decided one month before the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Thryv, Inc v. Click-To-Call Techs., LP, 18-916, 2020 WL 1906544 (U.S. Apr. 20, 2020). In Thryv, the court held that the USPTO’s interpretation of the § 315(b) one-year time-bar was not reviewable on appeal based upon the “no appeal” provision of § 314(d).

        • Software Patents

          • IP Bridge patent challenged as likely invalid

            On May 1, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 7,305,035 as part of its ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone. The ’035 patent is owned by Godo Kaisha IP Bridge 1, which is participating in the HEVC Advance patent pool (HEVC Advance patent list).

            HEVC Advance claims that certain claims of the ’035 patent are essential to the HEVC standard. After conducting an independent analysis, Unified has determined that the ’035 patent is likely unpatentable.

          • $3,000 Cash Prize for Prior Art on Former Panasonic-owned Patent

            On May 4, 2020, as part of Unified’s Open Covid Pledge efforts, Unified has announced a new PATROLL contest seeking prior art on at least Claim 1 of U.S. Patent 7,567,622. This former Panasonic patent is now owned by Swirlate IP, LLC, an NPE and IP Edge entity. The ’622 patent generally relates to digital modulation and transmission errors in wireless communication systems (e.g. cellular radios).

            The patent has been asserted against ResMed, Livongo Health, Corning Optical Communications, Badger Meter, and Continental Automotive. The accused products include ventilators (ResMed) and blood glucose monitors (Livongo Health).

      • Copyrights

        • US Government ‘Blacklists’ The Wrong Domain as a Pirate Site, Again

          The US Government uses its diplomatic power to address piracy worldwide. One of the annual highlights is the USTR’s annual review of ‘notorious’ pirate sites. Given the associations with criminal activity, this list should be constructed with great care. However, for the second time, the USTR made a serious mistake by listing a wrong domain name.

        • Massive Private Torrent Site Filelist.ro Has Domain Seized Due to Criminal Investigation

          One of the world’s largest private BitTorrent trackers, Filelist.ro, has had its domain seized by authorities in Romania. The invite-only site, which has in excess of a milllion members, is facing a criminal investigation being overseen by the Prosecutor’s Office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice.

        • 21 and illegal in all states? The German Pelham court confirms when sampling is illegal

          Two decades into the Pelham v Hütter saga, the German Federal Court of Justice has confirmed when sampling is illegal under German copyright law. Few copyright litigations reach adulthood but this legal dispute over a two-second sample from Kraftwerk’s Metall auf Metall (Metal on Metal) in Nur Mir comes 21 years after reaching the Regional Court of Hamburg in 1999 (308 O 90/99). In its fourth decision, the Federal Court of Justice confirmed that recognizable sampling of a phonogram will usually infringe the phonogram producer’s reproduction right under German law. In this Katfriend’s estimation, this judgement is unwelcome news for producers of mashups and remixes in the EU. A question remains as to whether other EU national cases regarding copyright and music sampling will come to a similar and uniform legal position.


          In light of the CJEU Pelham judgement, the Federal Court of Justice clarifies how the reproduction, communication and distribution rights granted by Articles 2, 3 and 4 of the InfoSoc Directive apply to music sampling. Regarding the reproduction right, the Court aligns with the CJEU, finding that a sample that is recognisable to an average music listener was an Article 2 reproduction of a phonogram of the InfoSoc Directive, no matter how short the sample is. The Court also rules that the free use limitation in German copyright law (freie Benutzung, § 24 Urheberrechgesetz) permitted the reproduction of samples before the InfoSoc Directive. However, the limitation does not apply to reproductions after the InfoSoc Directive came into effect on 22 December 2002, restricting Member States from granting exceptions and limitations unless they were listed in Article 5 of that directive. The Court also confirms that relevant InfoSoc exceptions and limitations—for quotation, parody and caricature and incidental inclusions—do not permit reproduction by sampling. It follows that for any reproductions from 22 December 2002, the defendants in the case can no longer rely on any German limitation or exception to permit their sampling. Ultimately, the Court defers to the Higher Regional Court to decide whether there was any reproduction in this particular case after the InfoSoc Directive, and declines to find any infringement.

          Regarding the distribution and communication rights, the Court aligns with the CJEU by clarifying that these rights are infringed by music sampling. Unfortunately, this is an empty victory for sampling artists. EU and German copyright law grants them freedom to distribute and communicate works of sampling. However, the conditions on exceptions and limitations deny them the permission to use recognisable samples in the first place.

It’s About the Way You — and They — Frame Things

Posted in Deception at 2:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They also call everything “social” now, including surveillance/censorship sites or distancing (the very opposing of socialising)

Mass surveillance and contact tracing

Summary: The discussion about mass surveillance has been warped and presented as “for safety” or “for health” for years; now, with “contact tracing” among other nice-sounding terms, it’s sold as essential if not mandatory

A Europe That Works for Patent Trolls and Their Legal Representatives

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 2:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Is this what we want?

UPC will make us so much... oh wait, it died?

Summary: Misguided and dangerous policies, many of which imposed against the law and in direct violation of governing documents, strive to benefit/enrich a fake industry whose sole 'product' is lawsuits; people must fight back because this fake industry has taken over the media as well, misinforming the wider public about patent ramifications, the UPC and so on

THE SHEER TYRANNY OF TEAM Campinos/Battistelli, now in charge of the European Patent Office (EPO) for a whole decade, has corrupted the media, corrupted academia and rewarded a massive fraud whose patents were passed to patent trolls which attack COVID-19 researchers in France. The impact of this regime has been tremendously negative. It turned me from semi-proud of the EPO to utterly embarrassed by it. Prior to this regime I submitted correspondence to the EPO; my sole issue was with software patents. Thankfully, if not belatedly (2014), insiders shed light on what had been happening at the Office. That was about 4 years since ‘Battistelli and co’ ousted Brimelow, who wasn’t truly terrible (our sole criticism of her was, once again, only to do with patents on software “as such”). Those patents often ended up at the laps of patent trolls and many of these trolls prey on Europe’s automobile and software industry, making it less competitive.

“Those patents often ended up at the laps of patent trolls and many of these trolls prey on Europe’s automobile and software industry, making it less competitive.”Back then media was still receiving some money/investment for independent journalism, leaving it unreliant on bribes from law firms and the EPO. Nowadays, as we’ve repeatedly alleged, more than 90% of reports on the subject of patents are pure propaganda sponsored if not authored by the litigation ‘industry’. It has become so grotesque, leaving us cynical and hopeless.

Consider this new ‘article’ from Power Technology and several more places, with most of the whole thing [1,2] being just quotes from Andy Docherty, a Partner at Marks & Clerk, i.e. shameless self-marketing. They cross-posted the same EPO ‘ad’ in at least three ‘news’ sites…

And speaking of software patents, Sinan Erkan and Simge Kılıç (HERDEM Attorneys at Law) have just promoted (e.g. in Lexology) their post about Software as a Medical Device (SaMD) — one of many ways to disguise patents on algorithms; today’s EPO grants illegal software patents by pretending that they’re “medical” and here’s the excuse/dodge explained:

The EU Directive 2009/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Legal Protection of Computer Programs (“Legal Protection of Computer Programs Directive”) sets out the provisions regarding the rights arising, the rights of the beneficiaries, the exclusive rights of the rights holder, limited rights and exceptions related to them, and the cases where the program users are permitted to convert the program back into source code. The ideas and principles underlying any element of a computer program, including those underlying the interfaces, are not protected by copyright under the Legal Protection of Computer Programs Directive. Accordingly, a computer program would be subject to copyright protection provided that it is of a unique nature in terms of the creator’s own intellectual creation. However sole copyright protection for stand alone software and software as a medical device (“SaMD”) may be circumvented through reverse engineering. Unlike patent protection that protects against individual discoveries, copyrighted works may be decompiled without the knowledge of the author. Particularly for functional software, such as algorithms, copyright protection would not be available for IP protection, since the expression in the computer program is protected under the copyright regime and not its functions.

And somehow we’ve moved from copyrights of code to patents on code, even when that’s clearly not legal. The EPO hoped that a UPC-like court would somehow change de facto law and allow such unlawful patents. The EPO worked with European publishers, paying them to play along with the propaganda. IAM and Managing IP were among those publishers.

Managing IP‘s UPC pushers, notably Patrick Wingrove, are again giving a voice to patent trolls. They’re done that a lot lately, celebrating trolls as though they champion innovation although they produce nothing whatsoever. “Blackbird, IPCom, Dominion Harbor, Longhorn IP, Acacia Research and Harfang IP” were named as ‘not trolls’ yesterday, even though they’re classic examples of trolling. This serves to show that Managing IP has become a propaganda farm of trolls, just like IAM. Obviously they’re also linked to the EPO’s management.

“Yet another Nokia troll,” one reader told us, “is WSOU.”

“Just found this,” he told us last night, “because today’s RPX Alerts contain a story entitled “WSOU Follows Established Filing Path Against Its Third Defendant, Microsoft,” and I was wondering who WSOU was…”

Here’s some background:

The single case that WSOU Investments, LLC filed against Huawei has become a barrage ( 6:20-cv-00189, 6:20-cv-00190, 6:20-cv-00191, 6:20-cv-00192, 6:20-cv-00196, 6:20-cv-00198, 6:20-cv-00199, 6:20-cv-204, 6:20-cv-205), with WSOU filing nine new Western District of Texas cases, each asserting a single patent from a portfolio of assets received from Nokia (including from Alcatel-Lucent) throughout 2017. Together, the ten suits target a range of networking devices and systems provided by Huawei.

The first of a family of three, the patent asserted in the -189 case ( 7,095,713) issued to Alcatel-Lucent in August 2006 with an estimated priority date in April 2003. The NPE accuses Huawei of infringement through the provision of certain S9300 series (e.g., S9303, S9306, and S9312) network switches. The ’713 patent generally relates to a “fabric access device” with “multiple system interfaces”.

Comprising a one-member family, the patent asserted in the -190 case ( 7,487,240) generally relates to verifying network activity and displaying the results of that verification, as well as generating alarms based on certain related thresholds. It issued to Alcatel-Lucent in February 2009 with an estimated priority date in April 2003. WSOU has sued Huawei over the provision of network management products (including the iManager U2000 Unified Network Management System), targeting features related to performance management and fault detection.

Our latest and our next Daily Links contain articles about weak patents and software patents being scuttled by Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs). Those patents were erroneously granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), leaving leeway for trolls like the above to leverage quantity over quality. Today’s EPO is the same; always quantity over quality. We know the inevitable consequence.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. EPO: Innovation in the energy sector increases

    The latest data from the European Patent Office shows continued innovation in the energy sector with the number of European applications jumping from 10,668 to 11,255, a rise of 5.5% on the previous year.

  2. EPO: Innovation in the energy sector increases

    Andy Docherty, a Partner at Marks & Clerk, an intellectual property firm, commented on the report and its findings:

    “Energy plays a key role in driving the global economy, and, as the ongoing instability in oil prices highlights, is a highly complicated and fluid sector, subject to all kinds of externalities. Innovation is key in this sector therefore, in giving companies the edge and allowing them to tackle the many energy challenges we face – whether finding more efficient fossil fuel sources, or developing exciting new technologies such as nuclear fusion.

    “The reduction in the oil price will no doubt inspire further innovation in this sector, as the global economy slowly transitions out of lockdown over the coming months, and demand for oil begins to increase.”

IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 04, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:22 am by Needs Sunlight



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