Links 7/5/2020: DragonFly 5.8.1 and RetroArch 1.8.6

Posted in News Roundup at 10:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Linux Marketshare Doubled Last Month, Stats Reveal

        Breaking down NetMarketShare’s figures in to Linux versions reveals that Ubuntu usage alone leapt from 0.27% of all desktop OSes tracked in March to 1.89% in April.

        That’s an almost 7x increase for one distro in one month.

        Naturally plenty of (very sensible) reasons have been put forward to explain the influx of Linux users, with the “people not being at work which forces them to use Windows software” excuse sounding the most plausible.

        Of course, as seen a few years back, it possible that this spike is simply an error. Heck trying to discern a precise figure on the number of desktop computers out there running some flavour of Linux is …Well, how long is a piece of string?

      • According to NetMarketShare during April we saw a big bump in Linux use – Ubuntu gains big

        It appears that during the Coronavirus lock-down, the Linux market share according to website NetMarketShare has seen quite a large bump.

        While calculating the market share of a desktop operating system is never going to be exactly correct, sites like NetMarketShare are one of the best ways to look at it. According to their stats the Linux share has bumped between around 1.5% and 2% for some time. That changed when they recently put up April’s stats, which shows the Linux market overall according to them at 2.87%.

        The biggest winner appears to be Ubuntu when looking over what Linux versions they track. Ubuntu alone seemed to go from 0.27% in March up to 1.89% in April.

      • Most popular operating systems of 2020: The more things change…

        What’s really the most popular operating system? That depends on how you look at them and who’s doing the looking. For example, Net Applications shows Windows on top of the desktop operating system mountain with 88.14% of the market. That’s not surprising, but Linux — yes Linux — seems to have jumped from 1.36% share in March to 2.87% share in April. Has the Linux desktop seen a sudden surge in popularity?

        I doubt it. I’m writing this story on a PC running Linux Mint and I’ve been a Linux desktop user since Bash, rather than KDE or GNOME, was the Linux desktop interface.

      • The best Linux apps for your Chromebook

        Chromebooks can now run Linux-based applications, and even though the feature is mostly intended for use by developers, it can also benefit regular Chromebook owners. There are some tasks that websites and Android apps still aren’t great at, which is where Linux applications might be able to help.

        This isn’t a simple compilation of the best Linux apps, because plenty of those exist already. Instead, the goal here is to recommend solutions for tasks that cannot be adequately filled by web or Android apps. For example, serious photo editing isn’t really possible through the web, and options on the Play Store are limited, but Gimp is perfect for it.

      • Microsoft’s New Surface Book Ad Mentions …Linux?! [Ed: Almost nobody uses WSL, so why promote this crap?]
      • Why Pop!_OS 20.04 could change how you think about Linux

        It’s only been a few short days, but Pop!_OS 20.04 has quickly made its way up my list of all-time favorite Linux distributions. Although the operating system, created by System76, is based on Ubuntu 20.04 and contains a (mostly) generic GNOME desktop interface, there are certain things Pop!_OS does that keep it from being just another spin on Canonical’s baby.

        Sure, Pop!_OS starts with the usual updates to Ubuntu 20.04: There’s the new kernel, GNOME, and all of the other bits that come along with the latest iteration. But System76 has taken 20.04 to a completely different level.

        It all starts with System76 truly knowing its audience. That alone sets this company—and the Linux distribution it creates—apart from all others. System76 fully understands who they serve: Developers, creators, and anyone who demands a highly productive environment.

    • Server

      • Speed up administration of Kubernetes clusters with k9s

        Usually, my articles about Kubernetes administration are full of kubectl commands for administration for your clusters. Recently, however, someone pointed me to the k9s project for a fast way to review and resolve day-to-day issues in Kubernetes. It’s been a huge improvement to my workflow and I’ll show you how to get started in this tutorial.

        Installation can be done on a Mac, in Windows, and Linux. Instructions for each operating system can be found here. Be sure to complete installation to be able to follow along.

        I will be using Linux and Minikube, which is a lightweight way to run Kubernetes on a personal computer. Install it following this tutorial or by using the documentation.

      • How Docs Handle Third Party and Dual Sourced Content

        Late last summer, SIG Docs started a community conversation about third party content in Kubernetes docs. This conversation became a Kubernetes Enhancement Proposal (KEP) and, after five months for review and comment, SIG Architecture approved the KEP as a content guide for Kubernetes docs.

      • J’adore Anchore, pour le DevSecOps chores & more

        Anchore might make you think of anchovies, anchors, chores, s’mores or perhaps even a nicely chilled bottle of Piat D’Or.

        It is of course none of those things, Anchore is a container compliance and security platform.

      • Build Smart on Kubernetes Challenge: the winners and what’s next

        On May 4th, IBM Developer hosted the Build Smart on Kubernetes Challenge, revolving around various components of open source and cloud native development.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-05-06 | Linux Headlines

        Firefox 76 arrives with improvements to its built-in password manager and picture-in-picture support, The Linux Foundation launches a new effort to build a common global trust framework, Microsoft seeks security stress-testing for its Linux-powered IoT platform, and nominations open for the latest round of Fedora elections.

      • FLOSS Weekly 577: Presto

        Presto is an open-source distributed SQL query engine for running interactive analytic queries against data sources of all sizes ranging from gigabytes to petabytes. Presto allows querying data where it lives, including Hive, Cassandra, relational databases, or even proprietary data stores. A single Presto query can combine data from multiple sources, allowing for analytics across your entire organization.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 856

        window managers, allan, good stuff, movies

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.6.11

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.6.11 kernel.

        All users of the 5.6 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.6.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.6.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


      • Linux 5.4.39
      • Linux 4.19.121
      • Linux 4.14.179
      • Linux 4.9.222
      • Linux 4.4.222
      • Dumping kernel data structures with BPF

        For as long as operating systems have had kernels, there has been a need to extract information from data structures stored within those kernels. Over the years, a wide range of approaches have been taken to make that information available. In current times, it has become natural to reach for BPF as the tool of choice for a variety of problems, and getting information from kernel data structures is no exception. There are two patches in circulation that take rather different approaches to using BPF to dump information from kernel data structures to user space.

        When your editor first encountered paleolithic Unix systems, tools like ps would obtain their information by opening /dev/kmem and rooting around directly in the kernel’s memory space. This approach had the advantage of requiring no direct kernel support, but there were also some disadvantages, including security issues, lack of atomicity in the collection of complex data, and occasionally returning random garbage. This behavior was perhaps acceptable in the early days, but contemporary users have become strangely less tolerant of it. So digging around in kernel memory has long since fallen out of favor.

        In current Linux systems, this problem is solved with a collection of system calls and virtual files in /proc, sysfs, debugfs, and beyond. This approach works, but has some challenges of its own. The kernel must be modified whenever the information to be output changes, “debugging” information in debugfs ends up being needed for normal system operations (where debugfs should not be enabled), and changes can be hard to make without breaking existing applications. So there is a natural desire for something more flexible and adaptable.

      • Controlling realtime priorities in kernel threads

        The realtime scheduler classes are intended to allow a developer to state which tasks have the highest priorities with the assurance that, at any given time, the highest-priority task will have unimpeded access to the CPU. The kernel itself carries out a number of tasks that have tight time constraints, so it is natural to want to assign realtime priorities to kernel threads carrying out those tasks. But, as Peter Zijlstra argues in a new patch set, it makes little sense for the kernel to be assigning such priorities; to put an end to that practice, he is proposing to take away most of the kernel’s ability to prioritize its own threads.

        In the classic realtime model, there are two scheduling classes: SCHED_FIFO and SCHED_RR. Processes in either class have a simple integer priority. SCHED_FIFO processes run until they voluntarily give up the CPU, with the highest-priority process going first. SCHED_RR, instead, rotates through all runnable processes at the highest priority level, giving each a fixed time slice. In either class, processes with a lower realtime priority will be completely blocked until all higher-priority processes are blocked, and processes in either class will, regardless of priority level, run ahead of normal, non-realtime work in the SCHED_NORMAL class.

        The kernel pushes a large (and increasing) amount of work out into kernel threads, which are special processes running within the kernel’s address space. This is done to allow that work to happen independently of any other thread of execution, under the control of the system scheduler. Most kernel threads run in the SCHED_NORMAL class and must contend with ordinary user-space processes for CPU time. Others, though, are deemed special enough that they should run ahead of user-space work; one way to make that happen is to put those threads into the SCHED_FIFO class.

        But then a question arises: which priority should any given thread have? Answering that question requires judging the importance of a given thread relative to all of the other threads running at realtime priority — and relative to any user-space realtime work as well. That is going to be a difficult question to answer, even if the answer turns out to be the same for every system and workload, which seems unlikely. In general, kernel developers don’t even try; they just pick something.

      • New Linux Patches Confirm Next-Gen EPYC “Milan” CPUs To Support MPK

        Recently we noted the latest revision to AMD’s Programmer Reference Manual points to PCID and MPK/PKEY support coming on future CPUs. New Linux patches now confirm that the MPK support is on the way with next-gen EPYC processors.

        The Memory Protection Key (PKE) support has been supported by Intel processors since Xeon Skylake and allow for page-based memory protections with the RDPKRU and WRPKRU instructions. As noted in the PRM, the feature “provides a way for applications to impose page-based data access protections (read/write, read-only or no access), without requiring modification of page tables and subsequent TLB invalidations when the application changes protection domains.”

      • systemd, 10 years later: a historical and technical retrospective

        The end of this massive article posits a very interesting question. What init system does Chrome OS use? And Android? Do you know, without looking it up? Probably not.

        What does that tell you?

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa’s LLVMpipe Driver Adds 4x MSAA Support

          David Airlie’s “multi-sample support extravaganza” for the LLVMpipe software driver has been merged into Mesa 20.2-devel.

          This big set of patches for LLVMpipe enables working 4x multi-sample anti-aliasing and includes window system multi-sampling and support for the OpenGL extensions of EXT_framebuffer_multisample, ARB_texture_multisample, ARB_sample_shading, and ARM_shader_texture_image_samples.

          Airlie noted in the merge request this support has been tested with the Piglit test cases as well as Unigine Heaven.

    • Benchmarks

      • 8-Way Spring 2020 Linux Distribution Performance Comparison With 240+ Benchmarks

        Given the recent releases of Fedora 32, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Manjaro 20.0, and others, here is a fresh eight-way Linux distribution benchmark comparison.

        The Linux distributions benchmarked this round included Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Fedora Workstation 32, openSUSE Tumbleweed, CentOS Stream, Manjaro 20.0, Debian Testing, Clear Linux 32910, and EndeavourOS Rolling.

    • Applications

      • Nervous, Adobe? It took 16 years, but open-source vector graphics editor Inkscape now works properly on macOS

        Open-source, cross-platform vector drawing package Inkscape has reached its version 1.0 milestone after many years of development.

        Inkscape can be seen as an alternative to commercial products such as Adobe Illustrator or Serif Affinity Designer – though unlike Inkscape, neither of those run on Linux. The native format of Inkscape is SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), the web standard.

        We took a look at the release candidate last month. The release has been three years in the making, and comes more than 16 years after the first tentative release in 2003. A member of the development team, Marc Jeanmougin, told us that the long development time was because “it’s just volunteer work”, combined with technical challenges related to the migration from GNOME’s GTK+ library 2 to GTK 3.

        Many improvements, including HiDPI support, come as part of this transition. The team has also worked on performance, especially on complex SVG objects that have a large number of nodes.

        Inkscape 1.0 is most significant for Mac users. Previous releases for macOS required a compatibility component called XQuartz, which enables applications designed for the X windowing system to run on macOS Quartz, part of Apple’s Core Graphics framework. This is no longer required and Inkscape 1.0 is now a native macOS application – though it is not all good news. The announcement noted: “This latest version is labelled as ‘preview’, which means that additional improvements are scheduled for the next versions.”

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Re-Logic detail the new ‘Journey Mode’ for Terraria 1.4 that lets you do basically anything

        Terraria is set to come to a close with the almighty Journey’s End update coming out on May 16, with that comes a huge new game mode with Journey Mode that was detailed today.

        Re-Logic said that their goal with Journey Mode is to “provide a more accessible experience by providing the player unprecedented control over the gameplay experience”. They make it sound like it’s a Creative Mode like seen in many others but it’s a lot more than that, it’s an entirely different way to play. So different in fact, Journey Mode has its own character saves and you can’t mix characters between modes.

      • Valve suddenly ends SteamVR support for macOS to focus on Windows, Linux

        Valve has ended SteamVR support for Apple’s MacOS, in an abrupt but not entirely unexpected move.

        SteamVR for MacOS was introduced in June 2017, after an announcement at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference that year. However, after less than just three years, the program is shutting down.

        “SteamVR has ended MacOS support so our team can focus on Windows and Linux,” according to a SteamVR update, Legacy builds will continue to be available, allowing developers to continue building virtual reality apps for the platform, though Valve will no longer work on new features and bug fixes.

      • Epic city-state simulator ‘Songs of Syx’ fully funded and coming to Linux

        Songs of Syx blends quite a lot of genres together. It’s part city-builder, real-time strategy, grand strategy and more. Thankfully it’s also been funded with a successful Kickstarter campaign that ended yesterday with about £23K in funding from over 800 backers.

        This one I’m particularly excited about because of the scale. As you’re building a kingdom you will be dealing with different races, cultures, night and day, climate change, pirates and bandits. As you expand further you also then deal with other kingdoms, and perhaps even war with massive battles.

      • dosbox-staging, a ‘soft’ forking of DOSBox to work on advanced features has a first release

        DOSBox is about to get more advanced, with the community-made ‘soft’ fork dosbox-staging have a first proper release out. Made as an attempt to reinvigorate DOSBox development, it has a very admirable aim.

        The point, they say, is to provide a better experience than the standard DOSBox and hopefully get their work into the upstream project to improve it for everyone.

      • RetroArch 1.8.6 released!

        We will release a Cores Progress report soon going over all the core changes that have happened since the last report. It’s an exhaustive list, and especially the older consoles will receive a lot of new cores and improvements.

      • RetroArch 1.8.6 is out with Savestate Compression, 3DS improvements and plenty of fixes

        The RetroArch team have put up another fresh release of their front-end for emulators, game engines and more. RetroArch 1.8.6 comes with some big new tricks.

        A major optimization is included with this releasing to do with their config system. They’ve reduced disk I/O overhead, by ensuring RetroArch doesn’t write to the config when it’s just not needed so you might find it feels a bit snappier and nicer on SSDs.

      • Steamdolls – Order of Chaos will bring brutal steampunk metroidvania to Linux

        Steamdolls – Order of Chaos was announced recently from developer The Shady Gentlemen, giving a metroidvania a steampunk style with some brutal action. Due to launch sometime soon on Kickstarter with Linux support (confirmed), it looks like fun.

        Blast your way to your objective or stick to the shadows and perform violent assassinations on unsuspecting guards as you struggle with the haunting apparitions of a mesmerizing witch trying to reveal the truth about a conspiracy that could shake the very foundation of the world.

      • UnderMine gets a final big content update with the Golden Core before leaving Early Access

        Thorium Entertainment along with publisher Fandom have announced the final major update to UnderMine, an action-adventure roguelike with a bit of RPG tossed in, before it leaves Early Access.

        With the Golden Core update, you will be entering UnderMine’s fifth and final zone. Here, deep within the mine, peasants search for gold in a danger zone, surviving streams of molten metal and omnipresent fire to pick and chip away at the dark secrets lying at the heart of this cavernous shaft.

        It’s not just aimed at veteran players though, there’s more than 150 new encounters spread across the whole game.

      • Steampunk first-person, base building survival game ‘Volcanoids’ gets co-op on May 20

        Volcanoids is a fantastic idea for a survival game, that lets you build and customize a great big moving drill and this month on May 20 it’s getting online co-op support. The most requested feature for the game, according to the developer, and something they’ve been working on for some time now.

      • Bullet Express seems like an amusing upcoming 2D action-RPG loot shooter you can try now

        LazyGemsGames are working on Bullet Express, a new 2D action-RPG shooter where you level up and merge guns together to create their ultimate form. You do this while running, gunning and rolling through a moving train know as the Bullet Express.

        The train appears to hold certain rare gems, which give you the power to merge weapons. However, they can also increase ones size and strength tenfold, so naturally that’s what your enemies are doing and so you will need to face certain monstrosities.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

          • Ubuntu Studio 20.10 to Ditch the Xfce Desktop in Favor of KDE Plasma

            In the release notes for the recent Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) release, the development team talked a bit about what we should expect from future releases.

            Ubuntu Studio, an officially recognized Ubuntu flavor designed for general multimedia production, has been using the lightweight Xfce as default desktop environment for a long time now.

            However, starting with the upcoming Ubuntu Studio 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) release, the default desktop environment will be switched to the beautiful and modern KDE Plasma.

          • Plasma Unity looks – More Latte and window button tweaks

            After writing my article on how to style the Plasma desktop to look like Unity, I received a fair deal of emails from readers, including the author of Latte Dock, offering various tips and suggestions on how to improve my work. This included changes to my panel and dock configuration, the use of other widgets that do not require compilation, some other ideas, and such.

            Well, since we’re after perfection, a true form of art, it’s only natural that I write a sequel. This isn’t a comprehensive compilation of all the tips and tricks I received, just a selection of the ones that made most sense to me. Of course, I had to make sure everything actually works, and some things are far from trivial, hence this article. Let’s begin.

          • GSoC 2020 by Aniket Kumar

            Hi there! I’m very excited to share that my proposal to work on improving MMS support to the KDE-Connect’s SMS app has been accepted into GSoC 2020. I’m very excited to work on this project. The official coding will begin 1st June and will end on 24th august. To know more about GSoC and KDE click on the given below links.

            GSoC is an open-source program hosted by google in which accpted students from all over the world works on an open source project with the assigned mentor for three months. GSoC

          • Amyspark: Hello Planet!

            Hi everyone! It’s been so long since I started this site, back in July 2017. It’s been mostly to showcase my open source work and have a place for potential business contacts, and I’ve never ever blogged a bit because long prose is kind of difficult for me. (Also, I’m very fearful of our dear internet trolls.)

            Today, I’m finally getting out of my shell. I’ve been selected as a participant for Google Summer of Code 2020, working with KDE on the Krita painting suite.

            Looking back on my logs, it was in October 2016 (shortly before my graduation) that its maintainer, Boudewijn Rempt, and Pepper & Carrot’s author, David Revoy, welcomed me with open arms to the FOSS world. In the four years that passed, I’ve learnt a lot: graduated, started my MSc, almost finished it, and landed my first job in the industry. I can’t express how deeply thankful I am for their help and advice, so the only way I could think of returning the favor was to tackle a Big Thing in Krita.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • The Linux ‘Desktop Entry Specification’ gets a way to automatically use a discrete GPU, merged into GNOME

          For some time now, the GNOME desktop has had the ability to launch specific games and applications using a more powerful GPU if you’re in a multi-GPU environment and now it’s advancing further.

        • 14 projects chosen by GNOME for Google Summer of Code 2020

          Improved desktop notifications and a Wayland-compatible battery testing tool are among the 14 projects selected by GNOME for this year’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC).

          The yearly, three month long initiative from Google is a mainstay of the free software calendar. Under the guidance of community-based mentors students get paid to work on achievable and practical efforts that benefit users within the open source sphere.

          The aim of GSoC is as much about each student learning, maturing and developing their software development skills as it is delivering a ‘tangible’ result at the end of the process.

          Projects chosen for the initiative also need to meet a certain set of criteria, and be achievable within the time frame — hence no pie-in-the-sky “build a free and open source 1:1 clone of Adobe Photoshop CC in GTK” type wishes!

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • DragonFly 5.8 1 released

          DragonFly 5.8.1 is released, a bugfix update for 5.8.0.

        • HamBSD Development Log 2020-05-06

          I worked on HamBSD today, still looking at improvements to aprsisd(8). My focus today was on gating from the Internet to RF.

          In the morning I cleaned up the mess I made yesterday with escaping the non-printable characters in packets before uploading them. I ran some test packets through and both Xastir and aprs.fi could decode them so that must be the correct way to do it.

          I also added filtering of generic station queries (?APRS?) and IGate queries (?IGATE?). When an IGate query is seen, aprsisd will now respond with a station capabilities packet. The packet is not very exciting as it only contains the “IGATE” capability right now, but at least it does that.

          Third-party packets are also identified, and have their RF headers stripped, and then are unconditionally thrown away. I need to add a check there to see if TCPIP is in the path and gate it if it’s not but I didn’t get to that today.

      • Videos/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Bringing openSUSE Leap and SLE closer

          SUSE Linux is one of the oldest Linux distributions still in existence today, with a history that starts in 1994. Today it exists in a few forms, including the commercial SLE offering, which mainly targets the server market.

          The openSUSE project creates a community version of the SUSE distribution; its work is largely sponsored by SUSE (the company). OpenSUSE produces two main variants, the relatively stable openSUSE Leap and a rolling version called openSUSE Tumbleweed. Leap is built on packages from SLE, which form a stable base made up of relatively old software releases. For example, the Leap kernel version is the same as in the corresponding SLE version. The openSUSE team adds some changes to the SLE packages, then rebuilds them for Leap; the team also adds newer versions of some packages, such as desktop environments, from Tumbleweed. The current version of Leap is 15.1 (as of April 2020).

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora security response time

          There are other types of browser vulnerabilities that are more dangerous; “I know this happens with Firefox occasionally, but when it does, I don’t think a next-day response is so bad”. There is definitely a need to get updates out in a timely manner, he said, but he thinks “a couple weeks” is timely enough in most cases. “At least with WebKit, regressions are not uncommon and a few days of testing is important to ensure quality user experience.”

          Kernel updates are also not good candidates for blanket “security update fast-track” treatment, Michel Alexandre Salim said. Kernel updates often do introduce regressions, so it is important to distinguish those that address a critical vulnerability from others that can get additional needed testing, he said. While it is not mentioned in the thread, the upstream kernel policy that obscures the security nature of patches, as described in this article and elsewhere, may make that harder than it needs to be. On the flipside, though, Fedora regularly updates from the stable kernel stream, which fixes lots of security problems—often before they are even known to be vulnerabilities.

        • What’s coming up next in Fedora and CentOS infrastructure?

          As you may know, the Community Platform Engineering (CPE) team that helps manage both infrastructure for both Fedora and CentOS is trying to improve how the different initiatives or requests for changes we receive are planned and prioritized. This effort to improve has led us to look at planning our work in three-month windows. By planning, limiting, and focusing our work every three months, we can dedicate a substantial team around each initiative, driving it to completion before working on the next. Overall this helps us finish and deliver work faster.

          The prioritization work involves the Fedora Council, the CentOS Board, a representative of the Red Hat Business Unit, and the CPE team for each three-month window. Initiatives are considered against the team’s mission statement and weighed against each other to ensure that the most valuable initiatives are properly prioritized. This way of working is quite new for us so any feedback on the overall process is greatly appreciated.

        • Are You Well? COVID-19 app designed to provide comprehensive medical assistance [Ed: Today the blog of IBM publishes 3 posts exploiting the pandemic for surveillance agenda]

          The global COVID-19 pandemic has crippled medical systems and left patients worried, particularly when they think they might have symptoms. The “Are You Well?” app is designed to address this problem by using an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot to gather information from individuals who are facing a new normal with stay-at-home or quarantine orders, and providing information to medical professionals to help them understand patterns of the virus in their immediate area.

        • CovidImpact aims to reduce financial impact of pandemic on small businesses

          From the mom-and-pop bakery down the street, to the tech start-up looking to change the world, each small business has its own unique story, with one common chapter. This common chapter is the COVID-19 pandemic, a force that has quickly battered the economy and all businesses within it. As big businesses continue to endure the leaks in their revenue with shifts in portfolio and resource allocations, small businesses suffer an accelerated declination, and yearn for guidance tailored to their situation that can potentially reduce the onslaught of financial blows from COVID-19.

        • Safe Queue: enhanced social distancing with app-based virtual lines

          One of the bigger impacts on us as a society has been how we social distance when waiting in line for a service, whether that is visiting a grocery store or picking up a prescription. Enter Safe Queue, a simple app from developer and entrepreneur Dave Chura from Los Angeles, California, that takes the pain out of this process.

        • Announcing the release of [RHEL-based] Oracle Linux 8 Update 2

          Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 8 Update 2. Individual RPM packages are available on the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) and the Oracle Linux yum server. ISO installation images will soon be available for download from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud, and Docker images will soon be available via Oracle Container Registry and Docker Hub.

          Starting with Oracle Linux 8 Update 2, the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 6 (UEK R6) is included on the installation image along with the Red Hat Compatible Kernel (RHCK). For new installations, UEK R6 is enabled and installed as the default kernel on first boot.

      • Debian Family

        • Clonezilla Live 2.6.6 Released with Linux Kernel 5.5, New and Updated Tools

          Synced with the Debian Sid repository as of April 28th, 2020, Clonezilla Live 2.6.6 is here to switch the kernel to the Linux 5.5 series, even if it reached end of life. This new stable release ships with Linux kernel 5.5.17, though the latest version is 5.5.19.

          One important change in this release is a fix for an issue with sfdisk’s “last_lba” line causing Clonezilla to fail to clone a larger hard disk to a smaller hard disk using the -icds parameter -ICDS. The developers warn that the -k1 parameter is not required in this case.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • What other Linux distributions could learn from Pop!_OS 20.04


          It’s only been a few short days, but Pop!_OS 20.04 has quickly made its way up my list of all-time favorite Linux distributions. Although the operating system, created by System76, is based on Ubuntu 20.04 and contains a (mostly) generic GNOME desktop interface, there are certain things Pop!_OS does that keep it from being just another spin on Canonical’s baby.

          Sure, Pop!_OS starts with the usual updates to Ubuntu 20.04: There’s the new kernel, GNOME, and all of the other bits that come along with the latest iteration. But System76 has taken 20.04 to a completely different level.

          It all starts with System76 truly knowing its audience. That alone sets this company—and the Linux distribution it creates—apart from all others. System76 fully understands who they serve: Developers, creators, and anyone who demands a highly productive environment.

        • Canonical Developers Preparing For More ZFS Improvements In Ubuntu 20.10

          While Ubuntu 20.04 LTS was released less than two weeks ago, attention by Canonical and the Ubuntu development community has already turned to Ubuntu 20.10 as the Groovy Gorilla. With it being the first release past an LTS debut, they tend to be a more liberal in the changes in allowing plenty of time to stabilize before the next Long Term Support cycle. On the ZFS front it looks like we could be in for some more exciting changes.

          Ubuntu 19.10 added the experimental root file-system on ZFS (OpenZFS/ZFSOnLinux) to their desktop Ubiquity installer as an experimental option. For Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, using ZFS as the root file-system remains an experimental option but they made some refinements to the installer’s user-interface, updated the ZoL snapshot, and also more improvements around their Zsys daemon including automated ZFS snapshots on APT transactions. That paired with the GRUB boot-loader support allows easily rolling back to earlier versions of the system should there be any severe package troubles.

        • Ubuntu 20.04- What’s New in It?

          Ubuntu 20.04 is an LTS (long term support) release that will be supported for five years. This means if a person uses the 20.04 version, they can use it till April 2025 without having to upgrade the to a new Ubuntu release. For people using Ubuntu 18.04 or Ubuntu 19.10, they will be able to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 from the system. Ubuntu 20.04 codenamed Focal Fossa is now available. Since it’s an LTS release, stability is essential.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS: What’s new in desktop?
    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • PeaZip 7.2.2

        PeaZip is an open source file and archive manager. It’s freeware and free of charge for any use. PeaZip can extract most of archive formats both from Windows and Unix worlds, ranging from mainstream 7Z, RAR, TAR and ZIP to experimental ones like PAQ/LPAQ family, currently the most powerful compressor available.

      • 5 open source tools IT leaders should know about now

        VPN is essential, whether all of your workers are remote or whether you have only a few key personnel who need to log in to headquarters. It’s a foregone conclusion now that your organization offers remote access. Unfortunately, VPN is famously complex for an IT department to configure and maintain.

        The strength of open source is its adaptability, though, and to fill the gap between the dire need for secure remote access and the pain of setting it up, there’s WireGuard. Wireguard securely encapsulates IP packets over the UDP protocol. You add a WireGuard interface, configure it with your private key and a remote computer’s public keys, and send data between the two.

        How you manage and distribute keys and configurations is left up to you, so your site admins can integrate that process into whatever framework they already have established, or whatever works best for them.

        It’s VPN connectivity with the simplicity of SSH.

      • Open source community joins Covid-19 fight

        Red Hat and others in the global open source community are doing their part to develop tools and other initiatives to help the world tide over the coronavirus outbreak

      • Syslog-ng on the edge

        After many years of pushing all computing from on-site to the cloud or huge data centers, there is a new trend: edge computing. There can be many reasons, legal or practical, why data should be processed locally instead of being sent to a central location as soon as it is created. Edge computing was a central theme of last week’s Red Hat Summit. Luckily syslog-ng is well prepared for this use case right from the beginning. While most people only know that syslog-ng can act as a client or a server, it can also collect, process and forward log messages. In syslog-ng terminology it is called a relay, but on the edge you might want to combine server and a relay functionality into one.


        Earlier I’ve mentioned the syslog-ng relay functionality. It is just part of the story. A syslog-ng relay collects log messages, optionally processes them and then forwards the logs to a central server or the next relay in the chain. From the syslog-ng Premium Edition (PE) point of view, a relay does not store incoming log messages, only forwards them. You can find more information why you should introduce relays in your infrastructure in my earlier blog.

        When using syslog-ng on the edge, in most situations you not just forward log messages but also store them. The disk-buffer of syslog-ng is good for short term storage, but when the next syslog-ng is unavailable for an extended period of time, it is more practical to save logs locally. And in many situations you want to forward only a fraction of your log messages anyway and store the rest locally. From the syslog-ng PE point of view it means a separate server license.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 76.0 released with critical security patches – update now

            Firefox just published its latest now-every-fourth-Tuesday release, bringing numerous security fixes, including three denoted critical.


            Lockwise is Firefox’s combined mobile phone and browser-based password manager that now alerts you if it thinks you may have been affected by a data breach.

            Mozilla says that Firefox will tell you automatically if it thinks one of the websites where you have an account has been hit by a data breach.

          • Dustin J. Mitchell: Debugging Docker Connection Reset by Peer

            At the end of January this year the Taskcluster team was alerted to networking issues in a user’s tasks. The first report involved ETIMEDOUT but later on it became clear that the more frequent issue was involving ECONNRESET in the middle of downloading artifacts necessary to run the tests in the tasks. It seemed it was only occurring on downloads from Google (https://dl.google.com) on our workers running in GCP, and only with relatively large artifacts. This led us to initially blame some bit of infrastructure outside of Taskcluster but eventually we found the issue to be with how Docker was handling networking on our worker machines.

          • Mozilla announces the first three COVID-19 Solutions Fund Recipients

            In less than two weeks, Mozilla received more than 160 applications from 30 countries for its COVID-19 Solutions Fund Awards. Today, the Mozilla Open Source Support Program (MOSS) is excited to announce its first three recipients. This Fund was established at the end of March, to offer up to $50,000 each to open source technology projects responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

            VentMon, created by Public Invention in Austin, Texas, improves testing of open-source emergency ventilator designs that are attempting to address the current and expected shortage of ventilators.

            The same machine and software will also provide monitoring and alarms for critical care specialists using life-critical ventilators. It is a simple inline device plugged into the airway of an emergency ventilator, that measures flow and pressure (and thereby volume), making sure the ventilator is performing to specification, such as the UK RVMS spec. If a ventilator fails, VentMon raises an audio and internet alarm. It can be used for testing before deployment, as well as ICU patient monitoring. The makers received a $20,000 award which enables them to buy parts for the Ventmon to support more than 20 open source engineering teams trying to build ventilators.

          • More on COVID Surveillance: Mobile Phone Location

            Previously I wrote about the use of mobile apps for COVID contact tracing. This idea has gotten a lot of attention in the tech press — probably because there are some quite interesting privacy issues — but there is another approach to monitoring people’s locations using their devices that has already been used in Taiwan and Israel, namely mobile phone location data. While this isn’t something that people think about a lot, your mobile phone has to be in constant contact with the mobile system and the system can use that information to determine your location. Mobile phones already use network-based location to provide emergency location services and for what’s called assisted GPS, in which mobile-tower based location is used along with satellite-based GPS, but it can, of course, be used for services the user might be less excited about, such as real-time surveillance of their location. In addition to measurements taken from the tower, a number of mobile services share location history with service providers, for instance to provide directions in mapping applications or as part of your Google account.

            If what you are trying to do is as much COVID surveillance as cheaply as possible, this kind of data has several big advantages over mobile phone apps. First, it’s already being collected, so you don’t need to get anyone to install an app. Second, it’s extremely detailed because it has everyone’s location and not just who they have been in contact with. The primary disadvantage of mobile phone location data is accuracy; in some absolute sense, assisted GPS is amazingly accurate, especially to those old enough to remember when handheld GPS was barely a thing, but generally we’re talking about accuracies to the scale of meters to tens of meters, which is not good enough to tell whether you have been in close contact with someone. This is still useful enough for many applications and we’re seeing this kind of data used for a number of anti-COVID purposes such as detecting people crowding in a given location, determining when people have broken quarantine and measuring bulk movements.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • The New Getting Started Guide 6.4

          The LibreOffice Documentation Team proudly announces the immediate availability of the LibreOffice Getting Started Guide 6.4, the introductory guide for the latest LibreOffice 6.4, aimed to the general public interested to quickly get familiar with the software.

        • Annual Report 2019: LibreOffice in 2019

          In 2019, LibreOffice celebrated its ninth birthday. Two new major versions of the suite introduced a variety of new features, while minor releases helped to improve stability as well.

          Throughout the year, several Bug Hunting Sessions were held in preparation for the new major releases. These typically took place on a single day between set times, so that experienced developers and QA engineers could help new volunteers to file and triage bugs via the IRC channels and mailing lists. The Bug Hunting Sessions for LibreOffice 6.3 were held on May 9 and July 8 – while those for LibreOffice 6.4 took place on October 15 and December 18.

        • Updated branding in LibreOffice’s 7.0 windows installer

          So, I just show you two screenshots with current view of LibreOffice’s 7.0 windows installer…

      • CMS

        • Robot Framework plugin for Kiwi TCMS

          We’re happy to announce the initial release of kiwitcms-robotframework-plugin! This package allows you execute your Robot Framework test suite and report the results into Kiwi TCMS! This plugin is the brain child of our contributor Aniello Barletta and has its roots in the Robot Framework Milano user-group.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Guix maintainer collective update

            This blog post is to announce a change of hands in the Guix co-maintainer collective: Ricardo Wurmus is stepping down from his role, and Mathieu Othacehe will be filling in to ensure continuity, after being elected by the other Guix co-maintainers.

            Ricardo has been around since the start, and has been invaluable to the project. He has been key in maintaining the infrastructure Guix runs on, contributed countless packages, core APIs and tools (importers, build systems, and Docker image creation to name a few). Over the years, he’s also brought us a fair share of cool hacks such as a nifty issue tracker, and generously spent time helping Guix users in the IRC channel and mailing lists. Equally important was his taking care of many administrative tasks such as expanding the build farm and organizing Outreachy participation. We’re sad to let him go, and hope he’ll stick around as time permits :-).

          • Grafts, continued

            Guix includes a mechanism called grafts that allows us to provide users with security updates in a timely fashion, even for core packages deep down in the dependency graph. Most users value the benefits of grafts, but newcomers were also unavoidably struck by what turned out to be the undesirable side effect of our graft implementation on user experience. This had been a well-known problem for a while, but 1.1.0 finally addressed these issues.

            This article recaps how grafts are implemented, what problems that caused, and how we solved it. It’s a deep dive into core Guix, and I hope it’ll be insightful to all and intriguing to the functional programming geeks among us!

      • Programming/Development

        • Announcing Dart 2.8

          Today we’re announcing a new release of the Dart SDK, version 2.8. We’re continuing to see amazing growth in the Dart community; we now have millions of Flutter developers using Dart as their client-optimized language for building fast apps on any platform. While we’re still working hard on completing our upcoming null safety feature to make Dart an even more optimized language for building fast and stable user interfaces, we have a few exciting new features focused on making developers even more productive when managing dependencies.
          The Dart platform comes with built-in support for package management via the pub client tool and the pub.dev package repository, which has grown 200% over the past year and now is home to nearly 10,000 packages. As part of our ongoing work to improve the Dart ecosystem, the Dart 2.8 SDK brings two improvements to the pub client tool: much better performance in pub get, and a new tool for ensuring your package dependencies are kept up-to-date.
          Dart 2.8 also brings a set of small breaking changes in the Dart language and libraries. These changes lay the groundwork for our first version of the null safety feature.

        • Google’s Dart Language Reaches 2.8 Milestone With New Features

          It’s been a while since hearing much out of the Google-backed Dart programming language for designing UI-focused cross-platform applications and its ability to compile to JavaScript or native code. But out today is Dart 2.8 as the latest step forward for this language.

        • Qt 5.15.0 RC out

          Qt 5.15.0 RC is released today. As usual you can get it by using online installer (for new installations) or by using maintenance tool (existing online installation). Delta to beta4 as an attachment.

          Target is to release Qt 5.15.0 19th May so please test RC now & report all new release blockers immediately. Also make sure those are visible in release blocker list (https://bugreports.qt.io/issues/?filter=22327). But remember that Qt 5.15.1 is also coming soon so we can fix most of findings there and fix only real blockers in ’5.15.0′.

        • Qt 5.15 Hits Release Candidate In Hopes Of Shipping Later This Month

          Jani Heikkinen of The Qt Company just announced the availability of Qt 5.15.0 RC1. They are looking for last minute testing and to report any blocker bugs. They hope to ship around 19 May while acknowledging that Qt 5.15.1 will come soon afterwards for collecting any fixes not making it into this forthcoming release.

        • template haskell

          Template Haskell (TH) is a meta-programming system: you write programs that are executed at compile time and can output code to be spliced into the parent program. The approach used by TH is really nice: you perform your meta-programming in real first-class Haskell, and it integrates really well with the main program.

        • Python

          • “Flying Pandas” and “Making Pandas Fly” – virtual talks this weekend on faster data processing with Pandas, Modin, Dask and Vaex

            The remote talk to Budapest was slightly hampered by a chunk of the Virgin internet backbone disappearing just before I spoke, thankfully we got it back a few minutes later (else I was going to live present, with a live Dask demo, tethered via a 4G mobile connection!). I had some great questions from the Budapest audience – thanks for having me!

            For PyDataUK, our inaugural event this week (a week after the two talks above) I gave a variant of Making Pandas Fly to 250 live streamers, oragnised by the lovely crowd at PyDataManchester. The YouTube link is available (via the meetup page), Paige Bailey of Google was the lead speaker on TensorFlow Probability which was an intriguing talk (sadly yet another thing I’ll run out of time before trying).

            Thanks to James Powell for his CallGraph code (uploaded here) to show how many extra calls Pandas might add onto a NumPy operation on a column.

          • 7 Tips to Improve Your Error Handling in Python

            Proper error handling can make your Python code simpler, more readable, and idiomatic.

          • map(), filter(), and reduce() in Python with Examples

            The map(), filter() and reduce() functions bring a bit of functional programming to Python. All three of these are convenience functions that can be replaced with List Comprehensions or loops, but provide a more elegant and short-hand approach to some problems.

          • Ian Ozsvald: Week note

            Well, mid-next-week note I guess. I gave another variant of my higher performance Python talk last night for PyDataUK to 250 live streamers, we had some good questions, cheers all.

            On Friday Micha & I heard that the 2nd edition of our Higher Performance Python book has gone to the printers – we’d said we’d do 1 person-month each on it last summer and 9 months later (with many-person-months invested each) we’re finally there. Phew.

            I now have an open PR on the dabl project to add ordinal-sorted y-axis box plot items in place of the default always-sort-by-median, which I think makes some of the exploratory process more intuitive. This also involved figuring out a new weird matplotlib rendering behaviour and writing my first unit test where I make up a dummy matplotlib figure in a test which is rendered but never displayed. There’s always a million new things to learn, right?

          • New Database Features in PyCharm 2020.1

            PyCharm 2020.1 comes with new Database export features that make exporting data easier. You can now see previews of the data that you want to export, letting you have a quick glance of what the data will look like.

          • Using Python Dictionary Keys

            We can think of a dictionary in python the same as a normal translation dictionary where we see the meaning of any word. In simple language, we can think of a dictionary as a key-value pair as we look in the dictionary meaning of a word that goes with the dictionary used in python. Dictionary is a data type in python which is very useful. Dictionary will have a key and a value associated with it. In this tutorial, I help understand setting default dictionary python values and you can try on any system which have python installed. We can search for the key in a dictionary and we can fetch the value associated with the key.

          • How to control a 4 digit 7 Segment Display from Raspberry PI with Python

            4 Digit 7 Segment Display is a simple electronic display, similar to Single 7 segment display, but composed of 4 digits than can show at the same time 4 chars. It also has dot leds, but in different confiurations (single for each digit, central colon, etc).

            It is used within a wide number application, usually to diplay time.

            Its operation is based on persistence of vision principle: you can drive one digit at time, so you must drive each digit at a speed so that human eye cannot perceive power off moments.

            When using 4-digit 7-segment display, please notice that if it is common anode, the common anode pin connects to the power source; if it is common cathode, the common cathode pin connects to the GND. This guide is based on cathode one, nut anode works with the same code by inverting digit selection logic.

          • Talk Python to Me: #263 SEO for developers

            As developers and technologists, it’s easy to think that powerful and unique ideas will percolate to the top. If we build something amazing, enthusiastic users will find and share our creations.

            Sometimes this happens. But more often, success is an iceberg, on so many levels. We are going to look at one of those icebergs on this episode. Join me and Cristian Medina as we discuss SEO, search engine optimization, for developers. Some of your search ranking is out of your control, but as you will see, there are many tools in the developer’s toolbox that will directly affect your search rank. Let’s dive in!

          • EuroPython 2020: Call for Sponsors

            Sponsoring EuroPython guarantees you highly targeted visibility and the opportunity to present yourself and your company in a professional and innovative environment.

            We have updated our in-person conference sponsor packages to the new online format and lowered the prices, giving you an excellent opportunity to reach out to attendees and even run your own virtual rooms, text channels, talks and training sessions throughout the conference and sprint days.

            You will also be able to post job ads on our website and the conference chat system, as well as get a mention and opportunity to give away digital swag via our virtual exhibit page.

            In addition, as a sponsor of EuroPython 2020, you will directly help promote the work of a great open-source community which has become a powerhouse of technological development and innovation.

          • Sailing Past PyCon 2020 – Thoughts on Code and Community

            Capital One has been an invaluable and generous supporter of the PSF and PyCon since 2015 and a Principal Sponsor for the last two years. They’ve stepped forward and made a big investment in PyCon and its community.

            We chatted recently with Steven Lott, Lead Software Engineer, about what it was like for a big company like Capital One to migrate to Python 3. Here is what he had to say.

          • python-box-dict-object-duality

            So, like any Python developer who likes to play with these things, I tried to write a class that would implement object attribute access and dict indexing at the same time. The latter should allow for using as input for yaml.dump() and json.dump() transparently.

            I wrote 110 lines of heavily tested code. All went fine until I found a bug in __deepcopy__() that meant to, once more, do recursion in case of lists or other dicts. To be honest, I have a lot of work load right now, and I didn’t have the energy to factor out this recursing code from other methods.

            Meanwhile, a few weeks ago I saw a new package in Debian called python-box, which promised implementing exactly that. I wrote a note about testing it and moved on. This looked like the right moment to do exactly that.

          • How to Move a Django Model to Another App

            If you’ve ever thought about refactoring your Django app, then you might have found yourself needing to move a Django model around. There are several ways to move a Django model from one app to another using Django migrations, but unfortunately none of them are straightforward.

            Moving models between Django apps is usually a very complicated task that involves copying data, changing constraints, and renaming objects. Because of these complications, the Django object-relational mapper (ORM) does not provide built-in migration operations that can detect and automate the entire process. Instead, the ORM provides a set of low-level migration operations that allow Django developers to implement the process themselves in the migration framework.

          • Improving Python’s SimpleNamespace

            Python’s SimpleNamespace class provides an easy way for a programmer to create an object to store values as attributes without creating their own (almost empty) class. While it is useful (and used) in its present form, Raymond Hettinger thinks it could be better. He would like to see the hooks used by mappings (e.g. dictionaries) added to the class, so that attributes can be added and removed using either x.a or x['a']. It would bring benefits for JSON handling and more in the language.

        • Rust

          • How to speed up the Rust compiler in 2020

            I last wrote in December 2019 about my work on speeding up the Rust compiler. Time for another update.


            Last year I noticed from profiles that rustc spends some time compressing the LLVM bitcode it produces, especially for debug builds. I tried changing it to not compress the bitcode, and that gave some small speed-ups, but also increased the size of compiled artifacts on disk significantly.

            Then Alex Crichton told me something important: the compiler always produces both object code and bitcode for crates. The object code is used when compiling normally, and the bitcode is used when compiling with link-time optimization (LTO), which is rare. A user is only ever doing one or the other, so producing both kinds of code is typically a waste of time and disk space.

            In #66598 I tried a simple fix for this: add a new flag to rustc that tells it to omit the LLVM bitcode. Cargo could then use this flag whenever LTO wasn’t being used. After some discussion we decided it was too simplistic, and filed issue #66961 for a more extensive change. That involved getting rid of the use of compressed bitcode by instead storing uncompressed bitcode in a section in the object code (a standard format used by clang), and introducing the flag for Cargo to use to disable the production of bitcode.

            The part of rustc that deals with all this was messy. The compiler can produce many different kinds of output: assembly code, object code, LLVM IR, and LLVM bitcode in a couple of possible formats. Some of these outputs are dependent on other outputs, and the choices on what to produce depend on various command line options, as well as details of the particular target platform. The internal state used to track output production relied on many boolean values, and various nonsensical combinations of these boolean values were possible.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Unix and Adversarial Interoperability: The ‘One Weird Antitrust Trick’ That Defined Computing

        The Unix operating system was created at Bell Labs in 1969. Today, it rules the world. Both Android and iOS are flavors of Unix. So is MacOS. So is GNU/Linux in all its flavors, like Ubuntu and Debian. So is Chrome OS. Virtually every “smart” gadget you own is running some flavor of Unix, from the no-name programmable Christmas lights you put up in December to the smart light-bulb and smart-speaker in your living room.

        Over the years, many companies have marketed versions of Unix: Apple and Microsoft, HP and IBM, Silicon Graphics and Digital. Some of the most popular Unixes that came from universities (like BSD, from UC Berkeley) and from hobbyists (the Linux kernel was created by a 22-year-old hobbyist named Linus Torvalds).

        But there’s one company that never marketed Unix: AT&T, the company that paid for Unix’s development. They never got into the Unix business.

        In 1949, Harry Truman’s Department of Justice launched an antitrust complaint against AT&T, alleging that the company had engaged in anticompetitive conduct to secure a monopoly for its hardware division, Western Electric.

        But when the US entered the Korean War, AT&T was able to secure a break by citing its centrality to the US military. With the Pentagon fighting to keep AT&T intact, the Eisenhower administration let AT&T off the hook: in 1956 the US dropped its lawsuit in exchange for a “consent decree,” through which AT&T promised to get out of the general electronics business and to share its patents and technical documentation with existing and new competitors.

        Despite the consent decree, AT&T continued to fund a large and rollicking research and development department, the Bell Telephone Laboratories (BTL) in New Jersey. BTL was home to some of computing history’s most storied pioneers, including Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, the principal inventors of Unix, who basically created the project out of intellectual curiosity.

        Thanks to the consent decree, AT&T couldn’t do much with Unix, and so it remained an internal project until Ken Thompson gave a talk on his work at a 1973 Association for Computing Machinery conference. His paper stirred interest from academic and commercial computer science, and AT&T’s lawyers decided that the consent decree meant that they couldn’t start a new business based on Unix.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • [Debian developer on] LOCKDOWN

        It seems right that I should mention the pandemic on my personal blog; I doubt very much that I will say anything original or interesting, but it would seem strange to look back on my writings from 2020 and see nothing about COVID-19.

        I had to check this, but I have been staying at home since Monday 15th March, save for occasional walks around the park. (UK schools closed on 20th March, and we officially announced the lockdown on 23rd March, but our house started a bit early due to having a mild cough.) That’s 52 days at home for me so far, or 7 weeks and 3 days.

        Yet, due to the miracle of modern technology, I have been working full-time over this period. This has not been stress-free.

        We do not suddenly have copious free time; but, still, there have been some highlights. Recently I dug out a couple of Raspberry Pi boards and tackled some challenging (for me) projects – I got seL4 to run, and now I’m learning ARM assembler to debug it (but have concluded I will need a JTAG interface to make progress). At the weekend I programmed a set of red/amber/green LED traffic lights using Scratch while my daughter ignored my feeble attempts at home education.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation will host the Trust over IP Foundation

                On May 5, 2020, the Linux Foundation plans to announce they will be hosting the Trust over IP Foundation (ToIP), which is a project with one goal—enable the trustworthy exchange and verification of data between any two parties on the internet.

                This is long overdue.

                Effectively, what the ToIP Foundation will do is provide a common standard to ensure data is coming from a trusted source. This standard is being developed with global pan-industry support. Founding members include Cloudocracy, Continuum Loop, CULedger, esatus, Evernym, The Human Colossus Foundation, IBM Security, IdRamp, kiva.org, Lumedic, Mastercard, MITRE, Province of British Columbia, and SICPA. Contributing members include DIDx, GLEIF, iRespond, Marist College, Northern Block, R3, Secours.io, TNO, and the University of Arkansas.

              • ToIP Foundation To Enhance Privacy Protocols In Digital Era

                The Linux Foundation 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 aims to provide a 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.

                Founding Steering members of the ToIP Foundation include Accenture, 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.

        • Security

          • Caddy offers TLS, HTTPS, and more in one dependency-free Go Web server

            Yesterday, the Caddy Web server reached an important milestone, with its 2.0.0 release. Caddy bills itself as “The Ultimate Server,” with no dependencies, automatic TLS certificate obtainment and renewal, and much smaller configuration files than Apache or Nginx.

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (libmicrodns and salt), Debian (graphicsmagick, salt, sqlite3, and wordpress), Fedora (java-11-openjdk), openSUSE (chromium and sqliteodbc), Red Hat (firefox, squid, and squid:4), Slackware (firefox and thunderbird), SUSE (ardana-ansible, ardana-barbican, ardana-cluster, ardana-db, ardana-designate, ardana-input-model, ardana-logging, ardana-monasca, ardana-mq, ardana-neutron, ardana-octavia, ardana-osconfig, ardana-tempest, ardana-tls, crowbar-core, crowbar-ha, crowbar-openstack, memcached, openstack-ceilometer, openstack-cinder, openstack-designate, openstack-heat, openstack-ironic, openstack-ironic-image, openstack-manila, openstack-neutron, openstack-nova, openstack-octavia, openstack-octavia-amphora-image, python-cinderclient, python-glanceclient, python-ironic-lib, python-ironicclient, python-keystonemiddleware, python-manila-tempest-plugin, python-novaclient, python-octaviaclient, python-openstackclient, python-os-brick, python-oslo.config, python-oslo.rootwrap, python-oslo.utils, python-swiftclient, python-watcherclient, release-notes-suse-openstack-cloud, rubygem-crowbar-client, rubygem-puma, zookeeper, openldap2, and python-Pillow), and Ubuntu (php7.4).

          • 28,000 GoDaddy Hosting Accounts Compromised

            This is a public service announcement (PSA) from the Wordfence team regarding a security issue which may impact some of our customers. On May 4, 2020, GoDaddy, one of the world’s largest website hosting providers, disclosed that the SSH credentials of approximately 28,000 GoDaddy hosting accounts were compromised by an unauthorized attacker.

            SSH, while extremely secure if configured correctly, can allow logins with either a username/password combination, or a username and a public/private key pair. In the case of this breach, it appears likely that an attacker placed their public key on the affected accounts so that they could maintain access even if the account password was changed.

            It is unclear which of GoDaddy’s hosting packages were affected by this breach.

          • Chef InSpec Profile for Critical Salt Vulnerabilities

            On April 30, 2020, two critical security vulnerabilities were identified with the SaltStack open source project (github.com/saltstack/salt). These vulnerabilities are critical and must be patched to avoid potential take over of your systems.

            This vulnerability has been assigned the highest severity rating, 10.0, according to the Common Vulnerability Scoring System, an open framework for communicating risk. Chef InSpec is extremely effective at inspecting a system, including identifying vulnerable versions of software, so we wrote a quick profile to test your systems. We recommend running this on every Salt Master in your environment to identify vulnerabilities and verify they have been remediated once patches are applied.

          • Reproducible Builds in April 2020

            Welcome to the April 2020 report from the Reproducible Builds project. In our regular reports we outline the most important things that we and the rest of the community have been up to over the past month.

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

            • Researchers Find New Kaiji Botnet Targeting IoT, Linux Devices [Ed: This is not a "Linux" issue but a bad password/design issue]

              A new botnet has been infecting internet of things devices and Linux-based servers, to then leverage them in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. The malware, dubbed Kaiji, has been written from scratch, which researchers say is “rare in the IoT botnet landscape” today.

            • ‘Kaiji’ Malware Targets Linux Servers, IoT Devices Via DDoS Attacks [Ed: "Kaiji uses a brute force attack to target IoT devices and Linux servers that have their SSH ports exposed on the internet." So it is not a Linux issue.]
            • Kaiji Botnet Targets Linux Servers, IoT Devices

              The Kaiji malware has the capability of launching distributed denial-of-service attacks, according to researchers from Intezer as well as MalwareMustDie – an independent white hat security research group. But it does not appear that any attacks stemming from this botnet have been launched so far, the reports note.

              What makes Kaiji unusual is that its operators created the botnet from scratch using the Go or Golang programming language, according to the researchers. In most other cases, botnets are created by building on top of existing source code, such as the code used to create Mirai, or by using black-market toolsets.

            • Don’t Take Cloud Security For Granted [Ed: "Some open-source licenses, such as GPL, can render software unsuitable for some production uses," it says. How much does Microsoft pay Forbes? This is nonsense.]
            • Kaiji IoT malware brute-forces Linux devices for DDoS attacks
            • Kaiji Botnet Targets Linux Servers, IoT Devices
    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Hungary no longer a democracy: report

        Hungary is no longer a democracy, Poland is about to go down the same path, democracy in the Balkans is eroding because of Chinese and Russian influence, and the EU is doing nothing to stop it all, according to the NGO Freedom House’s latest Nations in Transit report, out Wednesday.

        In the study, which covers 29 countries from Central Europe to Central Asia, the authors describe “a stunning democratic breakdown,” saying that there are “fewer democracies in the region today than at any point since the annual report was launched in 1995.”

        According to the report’s methodology, Hungary is now a “hybrid regime,” having lost its status as a “semi-consolidated democracy” due to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s continued assaults on the country’s democratic institutions.

        The adoption of an emergency law that allows the government to rule by decree indefinitely, brought in after the coronavirus pandemic struck, “has further exposed the undemocratic character of Orbán’s regime,” the authors wrote, adding that “Hungary’s decline has been the most precipitous [they have] ever tracked.”

        Poland isn’t far behind, according to the report, which says there have been spectacular attacks on the judiciary by the ruling Law and Justice party.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Are Patent and Trademark Deadlines Extended Due To COVID-19?

          As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, patent offices worldwide are taking steps to minimize negative impacts that patent and trademark filers may suffer.

          Many offices have asked their employees to work from home, potentially causing delays. Most or all offices, including the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and European Patent Office (EPO), are conducting oral proceedings via telephone or videoconferencing.

        • An Inventor Must Be a Natural Person, Not a Machine

          The Bicentennial Man is out of luck.* The Patent Office recently issued a ruling that only a human can be an inventor.

          The application at issue listed “DABUS” as the sole inventor. DABUS is a collection of neural nets designed as a “creativity machine” by Stephen Thaler, who is also the assignee of the application. The application was filed with the help of a team to serve as a test case for categorizing machines as inventors. The team filed the application not only with the United States Patent and Trademark Office but also with the European Patent Office and the United Kingdom Patent Office. The EPO and the UKIPO both rejected the application by stating that an inventor must be human.

        • USPTO Rules Artificial Intelligence Cannot Be Named As Inventor for Patent Application

          The efforts of Stephen Thaler are worth following. He, along with a team of researchers and academics, has spent the past decade developing DABUS, an artificial intelligence (AI) system that “invents.”

          Unlike specialized AI systems, DABUS is fed general information and is not trained to solve a particular problem – rather, DABUS is given free rein to develop anything it wants. Thaler claims that DABUS has designed, without having been given instructions on what to create, a food container that is easier to transport and a warning light that blinks in a pattern that is difficult for humans to ignore.

          Thaler then teamed up with attorneys to test the question of whether an AI system can be credited as an inventor on a patent. Thaler and his team filed several patent applications around the world for these two inventions, crediting DABUS as the formal inventor and forcing patent offices around the world to address the issue of whether a non-human intelligence system can be named as an inventor on a patent application. Some of the hurdles were procedural and did not deal with the key issue.

        • EPO member states discuss co-operation and Covid-19 response at first virtual annual meeting

          Last week representatives of the EPO’s member states, and two future member states discussed their co-operation and how to best serve Europe’s innovators during the current crisis at their 14th annual meeting on co-operation.

          In his opening address at the conference, which for the first time took the form of a virtual meeting, EPO President António Campinos highlighted the importance of close co-operation in times of unprecedented challenges: “Common challenges need common solutions. It’s the very raison d’etre of this organisation. This is a test that we can face, and overcome, together. IP and patents, and IP-intensive industries, have a central role to play in Europe’s recovery, by creating jobs, by generating GDP and by boosting our exports. So now – more than ever – we have to support our users.”

        • Now Precedential: IPR Petitioner who Waived Arthrex issue cannot Raise it on Appeal after Losing the IPR

          In this case, the Federal Circuit held that an IPR petitioner did not have a right to raise the Arthrex appointments issue on appeal unless the issue was first raised before the PTAB.

        • CAFC: Arthrex Inoculated IPRs that had not yet reached Final Written Decision

          In 2018, Wirtgen petitioned the USPTO Director to institute an inter partes review (IPR) against Caterpillar’s US9045871 (paving machine). The PTO initiated the IPR, and eventually concluded that the challenged claims (as well as proposed substitute claims) were all unpatentable.


          The theory of Arthrex is that the court’s cancellation of PTAB judge job security instantly cured the Constitutional appointments problem (making them inferior officers rather than principal offiers). Here, the Arthrex cure (Oct 2019) came just before the Caterpillar final judgment (Nov 2019). Caterpillar argued that it suffered under “a year’s worth of constitutional violations.” On appeal, however, the Federal Circuit ruled that the inoculation was complete against any IPR that had not yet reached final judgement.

        • CAFC: Obviousness and Design Patents: Spigen Korea Co., LTD. v. Ultraproof, Inc.

          The Federal Circuit, in reversing a court’s decision to grant summary judgment of invalidity of claims of three design patents, held that the identification of multiple differences between the claimed design and a cited reference created a factual issue as to “whether [the cited reference] is a proper primary reference” to support an obviousness inquiry for design patents. Spigen Korea Co., LTD. v. Ultraproof, Inc., 2019-1435 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 17, 2020) (patents-in-suit are U.S. Design Patent Nos. D771,607; D775,620; and D776,648). This was a precedential opinion authored by Judge Reyna and joined by Judge Newman. Judge Lourie dissented without opinion.

          The court first noted that “[s]ummary judgment of obviousness is appropriate if “the content of the prior art, the scope of the patent claim, and the level of ordinary skill in the art are not in material dispute, and the obviousness of the claim is apparent in light of these factors.” MRC Innovations, Inc. v. Hunter Mfg., LLP, 747 F.3d 1326, 1331 (Fed. Cir. 2014). Spigen argued that “there is a material factual dispute over whether [U.S. Design Patent No. D729,218] is a proper primary reference that precludes summary judgement.”

        • Software Patents

          • Strike Zone Patent Survives Dismissal: Sportvision, Inc. v. MLB Advanced Media, LP

            Major League Baseball may be on hold, but the next inning of baseball patent litigation has just started. Sportvision, Inc. v. MLB Advanced Media, LP, No. 18 Civ. 3025 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 23, 2020). Like several other courts recently, the Court denied a motion to dismiss a software patent on the pleadings as ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.


            Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the patent infringement claim, arguing that claim 31 is invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Plaintiffs argued that claim 31 is valid under the two-part Alice test. For the first step, Plaintiffs alleged that claim 31 is directed to a “particular way” to generate the strike zone image that is not abstract. For the second step, Plaintiffs alleged that the claimed method to determine the strike zone using the position of the batter and inserting the strike zone image into live video feeds is an unconventional improvement over prior technology.

          • Uniloc Communications System Patent Survives § 101 Challenge Based on Technical Improvement: Uniloc USA, Inc. v. LG Electronics USA, Inc.

            Patent claims directed to a communication system recite a technical solution and therefore, the Federal Circuit held, are not patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the two-part Mayo/Alice test. Uniloc USA, Inc. v. LG Electronics USA, Inc., No. 2019-1835 (Fed. Cir. April 30, 2020) (precedential) (opinion by Judge Moore, joined by Judges Reyna and Taranto). The court thus reversed Judge Koh in the Northern District of California, who had found that claims of U.S. Patent 6,993,049 were not patent-eligible, and had granted a Rule12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.

          • District Court Considers Challenges of Section 101 Eligibility on the Pleadings, Highlights Need for Factual Record: Slyce Acquisition, Inc. v. Syte-Visual Conception, Ltd.

            Should eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 ever be decided on the pleadings? The Western District of Texas says that such decisions should be rare because of the deep factual requirements for a proper § 101 analysis. Slyce Acquisition, Inc. v. Syte-Visual Conception, Ltd., W-19-cv-00257-ADA (W.D. Tex. Jan. 10, 2020).

            Plaintiff Slyce sued Defendants for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 9,152,624. The ‘624 patent is directed to uploading images and searching for recognized objects in the images without text labels. Defendant initially filed a motion to dismiss under 12(b)(6), alleging that claim 1 of the ‘624 patent is invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The motion was denied, briefly noting that, in light of MyMail, Ltd. v. ooVoo, LLC, the Court would wait until claim construction to consider eligibility on § 101. No. 2018-1758 (Fed. Cir. 2019). Surprisingly, the Court “takes no position on whether there are any factual disputes that preclude dismissal at the pleadings stage.” At the very least, this is unusual because courts typically find a factual dispute in the pleadings as justification to deny motions to dismiss, but the Court did not explore the specific claim language at all.

          • PTAB Invalidates Telehealth Patent as Anticipated, Rejects Indefiniteness Challenges, in PG Review

            The Patent Trial and Appeal Board recently invalidated a patent related to remote optometry in a Post-Grant Review proceeding. 20_20 Vision Center, LLC v. DigitalOptometrics LLC, PGR2018-00100 (April 15, 2020). The PTAB invalidated the patent as anticipated by an earlier remote-optometry patent, but the challenges for indefiniteness and lack of enablement were rejected.

            The petition for review by the PTAB was brought by 20/20 Vision Center against U.S. Patent No. 9,980,644, held by competitor DigitalOptometrics. Both companies provide optometrist appointments in which the optometrist can be in a separate facility from the patient.


            20/20 first argued that some terms in the claim were indefinite, namely “diagnostic center” and “different location.” For both terms, the PTAB determined that the patent provided sufficient context to render the terms clear to a person of ordinary skill in the art. A “diagnostic center” must include equipment and cannot be merely a room because of the importance of the equipment to performing the diagnosis ascribed to the diagnostic center. “Different locations” cannot merely be different spots in the same room because the patent consistently discusses videoconferencing or other electronic communication.

          • Method for Providing Enhanced Functionality in Exchange for Personal Information is Ineligible: Veripath, Inc. v. Didomi

            In granting a motion to dismiss based on lack of patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo test, a court held that patent claims directed to “granting permission to access personal information in exchange for enhanced functionality…[of] a routine piece of software” are abstract ideas, and “merely stat[ing] that the claims teach a technology-based solution, which improves the functionality of the prior art” does not provide an inventive concept. Veripath, Inc. v. Didomi, No. 19-civ-1702 (GBD) (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 2020) (patent-in-suit is U.S. Patent No. 10,075,451).


            The court applied the two-step Alice framework when considering Didomi’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. The court noted that, in software cases, Alice step one “‘often turns on whether the claims focus on “the specific asserted improvement in computer capabilities…or, instead, on a process that qualifies as an ‘abstract idea’ for which computers are invoked merely as a tool.’” Ancora Techs., Inc. v. HTC Am., Inc., 908 F.3d 1343, 1347 (Fed. Cir. 2018). Further, the court noted that “[s]uch asserted improvement in computer functionality must have ‘the specificity required to transform a claim from one claiming only a result to one claiming a way of achieving it.’” SAP Am., Inc. v. InvestPic, LLC, 898 F.3d 1161, 1167 (Fed. Cir. 2018).


            However, as this case further illustrates, merely stating that the disclosure provides a technical solution to a technical problem is not enough to establish patent eligibility under § 101. Further, merely using “software to achieve [a] desired result” does not elevate an abstract idea to a patent-eligible invention. Instead, draft the claims and specification for a software application towards how “an improvement in computer functionality” is achieved to show a technical solution to a technical problem.

          • Is Inconsistency Indefiniteness under 35 U.S.C. § 112? TVnGo Ltd. V. LG Electronics, Inc.

            The court also rejected the testimony of the patent owner’s expert because it had no support in the intrinsic record. Nor did the patent file histories provide any further guidance. And it was not persuasive that patent examiners had not found the claims indefinite. The court declined to rely on Sonix Technology Co., LTD. v. Publications International, LTD (Fed. Cir. 2017), which reversed an indefiniteness holding based on guidance in the intrinsic record, noting that “Sonix expressly states that ‘application [of the disputed claim terms] by the examiner and an expert do not, on their own, establish’ definiteness.”

            Two editorial comments. First, this case demonstrates that, in patent drafting, consistency is far more than merely the hobgoblin of little minds. (Sorry, couldn’t resist – and it’s true.) Second, it will be interesting to see what the Federal Circuit will do if and when it conducts its de novo review of the present holding.

          • Prior Art Anticipates Claims because “A” means “One or More”

            The court found that “the claims themselves do not warrant limiting the phrase ‘decelerating and torque enhancing force’ to require a single force” because “the claims on their face refer to ‘a’ force.” The court further found that neither the specification nor the prosecution history “requires that a ‘decelerating and torque enhancing force’ be limited to a single force.” Therefore, the court rejected Plaintiff’s proposed claim construction.

            Since Plaintiff’s argument regarding validity was “premised on the rejected claim construction that the phrase ‘decelerating and torque enhancing force’ can only encapsulate a single force to move the cover panel,” the court held that the ‘169 and ‘930 Patents are invalid as anticipated by the CN ‘882 Patent.

          • Another Motion to Dismiss Denied by Alleging Inventive Concept: Nice Ltd. v. Callminer, Inc.

            Once again, a court has denied a motion to dismiss a patent infringement suit, holding that the question of patent-eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 could not be decided on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. The Court held that the pleadings alleged an unresolved question of fact of whether the asserted claims contain inventive concepts sufficient to transform an abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention. Nice Ltd. v. Callminer, Inc., No. 18-cv-2024-RGA (D. Del. March 30, 2020).

            Plaintiff Nice asserted fourteen patents against Defendant Callminer, the patents directed to data collection and classification from phone calls between customers and salespeople. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) on nine of the patents as ineligible under § 101. A Magistrate Judge considered the motion and recommended to deny it because Plaintiffs had pled sufficient facts to present a factual dispute of whether the claims recited an inventive concept, and thus the claims were eligible under § 101. The Court followed the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge.

          • It’s Official: Berkheimer and USPTO’s January 2019 Guidance Have Reduced Alice Rejections [Ed: USPTO takes pride in granting fake patents that courts would reject]

            According to a recent report by the USPTO’s Chief Economist, the Federal Circuit’s 2018 Berkheimer decision and the USPTO’s January 2019 patent-eligibility guidance have reduced both the frequency and uncertainty of examiners’ patent-eligibility rejections under and 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo test.

            Anecdotally, for a number of months it has seemed that examiners were making fewer patent-eligibility rejections than they had been in the years following Alice. The January 2019 guidance in particular, as I wrote at the time, seemed designed to reduce Alice rejections. As this graph illustrates, that has proven to be true. Alice rejections peaked prior to Berkheimer; the USPTO points to its April 2018 memorandum modifying § 101 examination procedure in light of Berkheimer as accelerating the downward trend. But again, the dramatic downturn in patent-eligibility rejections occurred after the January 2019 guidance.

    Very Bad Reporting or Deliberately Shallow Media Coverage After Microsoft Windows Hands Hospitals Over to Crackers

    Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 9:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    Many people die while media plays a face-saving PR-like role (not acting like a fact-finding investigator)

    What media tells you about besieged hospitals; What actually happens

    Summary: Microsoft and its proprietary software (including Windows) kill a lot of people in hospitals and the media does more ‘damage control’ (misdirecting blame for Microsoft) than actual journalism and fact-finding

    THE previous part and the introductory one spoke about how Microsoft quite likely killed more people than COVID-19 has killed so far. The media rarely reported on these things after they had happened; and when it did mention incidents, it typically said nothing about the role of Microsoft software, notably Windows. There’s a cover-up. That’s a problem. It prevents medical facilities, especially hospitals, from exploring better choice of tools, including software tools.

    “I found the federal reporting website,” one source told us, “which I think I told you about, and looked into a dozen cases.”

    “I decided to write about the things that most shocked me, both as an employee and as a patient.”
    It’s about known incidents being reported. “Ultimately,” the source argued, “I decided to write about the things that most shocked me, both as an employee and as a patient.”

    The source spoke of “shuttered emergency room, the maternity ward, doctors sent home, the Trump-like lockdown with threats against anyone who dared talk, the staff panic…”

    There are gagging efforts. Nobody is allowed to speak to anybody. There are threats.

    Also, “what little actually leaked out,” the source told us, “and the fortune teller-like experience given to patients to try to cover the fact that the hospital lost everything. The response was to lock out Microsoft competitors.”

    Having studied some press coverage about this, the source said the articles “target the patient experience and create some false impressions. It implies that hospitals have an effective records system and that hackers don’t have patient information.”

    “A records blackout is a disaster – the doctor has to depend on the patient’s memory and records.”
    Citing one particular article (we try not to give clues about sources, e.g. locations), the person said “the main false impression is that the hospitals have some sort of backup system that works, which is complete bullshit. The article implies that the cut-off is limited to patient scheduling systems, that what the patient experiences on the phone or in person at the hospital does not mean the doctor has no way of looking up your prescriptions or medical history.”

    And it gets worse…

    “That’s designed to hide the main life-threatening implications of these attacks” on Windows, we were told. “Electronic medical records systems promised “meaningful use,” timely access to information that improves patient care. A records blackout is a disaster – the doctor has to depend on the patient’s memory and records. There are no paper records and there’s no way to get electronic records from “the cloud” when the network is completely shut down as it is. Nothing works and the backups and replacement servers are destroyed as soon as they go live until the criminals are paid off, because all of it uses the same crappy software and the ransomware takes over every Windows desktop on the network.”

    The attacks go even further, we’re told, having been presented with some supportive evidence.

    “The second false impression [from media coverage] is that the hackers don’t have copies of patient records.”

    “Any reasonable person would look at the situation and assume the criminals have copies of the records and have added them to the thriving privacy violation and blackmail market dominated by banks, government, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and other PRISM partners.”
    There’s one particular article that shows this. “This article hits the key phrases I’ve seen in lots of articles,” the source said, “[such as] “no evidence” of exfiltration. In reality the ransomware people have complete control of the hospital records and probably have them weeks or months before they start demanding ransom money. This is a lie with a purpose. In the US at least, incident reporting is required when records are improperly accessed. The law is generous as it is, giving the business months to respond, but it requires individual patient notification and posting to a public, federal list of shame.”

    Then there’s this analogy. “It reminds me of Chernobyl operators insisting that radiation levels after the accident were no higher than their pegged indicators because they did not know the actual level,” we were told, “so had no evidence of anything higher. Any reasonable person would look at the situation and assume the criminals have copies of the records and have added them to the thriving privacy violation and blackmail market dominated by banks, government, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and other PRISM partners.”

    In the next part we’ll provide some more details about responses, cover-ups, misreporting, victim-blaming and so on.

    Only About 150,000 People Worldwide Use WSL2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux)

    Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 8:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    WSL numbers
    Source/more: Last month’s IRC logs

    “We recently learned from a reliable and involved source that the WSL adoption numbers are rather laughable (maybe just hundreds of thousands of active users worldwide). The project is an utter failure, so it’s being rebranded the “2.0″ way. After almost half a decade ‘out there’, combined with loads of PR and puff pieces from Microsoft boosters inside the media.”Blog post published days later

    WSL VS GNU/Linux

    Summary: Why we expect Microsoft to abandon/mothball WSL sooner or later (just like most products); WSL and WSL2 are failing (people would rather use proper distros… the “Real Thing”)

    Links 6/5/2020: Microsoft “Bleeds Users While Ubuntu Linux Enjoys An Astonishing Increase” and Munich Commits to “Public Money? Public Code!”

    Posted in News Roundup at 6:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    • GNU/Linux

      • Desktop/Laptop

        • Raspberry Pi 4: Chronicling the Desktop Experience – Typeset beautifully with LyX – Week 28

          This is a weekly blog about the Raspberry Pi 4 (“RPI4”), the latest product in the popular Raspberry Pi range of computers.

          LyX is a document processor that encourages an approach to writing based on the structure of your documents (WYSIWYM) and not simply their appearance (WYSIWYG).

          Why would you need LyX? Mainly because it combines the power and flexibility of TeX/LaTeX with a friendly and intuitive graphical interface. I’ve used it to produce notes, academic papers, theses, and letters. Some folk have even written books with the software.

        • Manjaro Linux Now Available Pre-installed On Star Labs Linux Laptops

          In recent months, Manjaro Linux has created a lot of buzz in the market of Linux laptops. Whether it’s a collaboration with TUXEDO computers for Manjaro InfinityBook, Manjaro KDE in Pinebook Pro as the default OS, or the upcoming Manjaro’s own Ryzen-based gaming laptop — Manjaro Linux has taken a long leap in hardware among other Linux distros.

          In addition to the same, Manjaro Linux has now teamed up with the UK-based Linux laptop maker, Star Labs. The joint effort aims to offer Star Labs laptops with the latest Manjaro Linux 20.0. This means you can now buy Star Labs computers with any of these four Linux distributions preinstalled: Ubuntu 20.04, Linux Mint 19.3, Zorin OS 15.2, and Manjaro 20.0.

        • Windows 10 Bleeds Users While Ubuntu Linux Enjoys An Astonishing Increase

          How explosive? Ubuntu’s overall share of operating system usage ballooned from 0.27% in March to 1.89% in April. To put that in perspective, that’s an increase of 599 percent.

          The lift for Canonical’s Ubuntu resulted in Linux usage climbing from 1.36 percent to 2.87 percent. And to frame that up against an interesting Apple data point, NetMarketShare measures macOS Catalina — which also gained user share in April — at 4.15 percent.

          One key thing to note: Ubuntu isn’t seeing a 599 percent increase in additional users. That jump represents its increase in overall operating system market share from month to month. But it’s still an astonishing number.

      • Audiocasts/Shows

        • Three Course Battery | LINUX Unplugged 352

          Manjaro has a new hardware partner so Phillip joins to share the details, and we have the Lemur Pro in house for a battery endurance test like no other.

          Plus an Arch server update, and Chris orders the new Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera.

        • mintCast 334 – Natural 20

          First up, in our Wanderings, I dive into both Ubuntu and Fedora, Moss hops around as usual, Tony Watts tinkers with new audio gear, and Joe recommends devices to family.

          Then, in the news, we’ll hit the Linux Mint Monthly News. And Releases! Ubuntu, Fedora, Manjaro and more increment by 1!

      • Applications

        • 6 open source alternatives to Wunderlist

          Wunderlist is an app for lists, loved by many, but gone for good as of May 6, 2020. The website encourages existing users to download and use Microsoft To Do in its place. That’s tempting because it makes it easy to import all of those lists you’ve made over the years. Then again, maybe it’s a chance to Marie Kondo those lists and pare things down. Do you really need 30 lists? (Apparently, I’ve decided that I do, so I won’t judge.)

          I have lists for all sorts of things, from “Plants for the garden 2020″ to “Gifts for the husband.” Some are checklists, some are To Do lists, and some are lists for list’s sake.

          For my husband and me, the most useful list is our shared grocery list. We both have the app on our phones, we both add things to the list, we review it together but separately on our phones before he goes shopping (yes, you read that correctly), and he checks things off as he puts them in the cart. It makes the whole thing surprisingly efficient, and I think we save some money because we’re into sticking to THE LIST.

        • Open Source vector graphics editor Inkscape 1.0 is out

          The developers of the open source cross-platform vector graphics editor Inkscape have released Inkscape 1.0 to the public this week. The new version is a milestone release that introduces numerous changes including HiDPI support, performance improvements, a native Mac OS application, and improved tools and features.

          Inkscape is a vector graphics editor that uses the SVG format by default; the application supports other formats that it can import and export, and it can be extended by installing add-ons. One of the main advantages of vector graphics is that the format is resolution independent (opposed to raster graphics which depend on the resolution).

      • Instructionals/Technical

      • Desktop Environments/WMs

        • Ubuntu Studio To Replace Xfce With KDE Plasma Desktop Environment

          Ubuntu Studio is a popular official flavour of Ubuntu tailored for creative content creators involved in audio production, video, graphics, photography, and book publishing. It offers a lot of multimedia content creation applications out of the box with the best possible experience.

          After the recent 20.04 LTS release, the Ubuntu Studio team highlighted something very important in their official announcement. And, probably not everyone noticed the key information i.e Ubuntu Studio’s future.

          Ubuntu Studio 20.04 will be the last version to ship with the Xfce desktop environment. All the future releases will be using KDE Plasma instead.

        • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

          • Desktop Plasma on an Android Tablet!

            So I have an NVIDIA SHIELD K1 Tablet because it’s a pretty nice tablet and partly because i was on a shopping spree last year after Google Summer of Code was concluded. This weekend I came to know of Linux4Tegra , a GNU/Linux based system software distribution by Nvidia for the Nvidia Tegra processor series. (you can read more about it at Wikipedia). So I checked out the releases by NVIDIA here and found out there was something available for my little K1 too! I sniffed around in xda forums and found out a forum post by Bogdacutu

            Last weekend I stumbled upon Linux4Tegra while looking for custom ROMs to breathe new life into this 2015 device. I got up to Ubuntu 18.04, so this is what my final sequence of steps was. to make sure you can also have a working Desktop Ubuntu tablet within a day.

      • Distributions

        • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

          • Red Hat is recognised as one of the 2020 UK’s Best Workplaces

            The value of an organisation is reflected by its people and its culture. At Red Hat, we are immensely proud of the people within our organisation and their ongoing contribution to our vibrant culture and workplace. It turns out, we’re not the only ones to hold this view. We are delighted to announce that Red Hat has been ranked as No 9 in the UK’s Best Workplaces, in the Great Place to Work Awards, large company category. This accolade comes alongside Red Hat being ranked 4th in the Best Place to Work in Tech, large company category.

            This award recognizes the inclusive and supportive working culture Red Hat has worked to create and nurture over many years. Open source principles are intrinsic to our values and inform how we operate as a company. People work at Red Hat because they believe in open source. We are always striving to do more for each other and for our customers.

        • Debian Family

          • Tails 4.6 Anonymous Linux OS Adds Support for U2F USB Security Keys

            Tails 4.6 is a monthly update that comes about a month after the Tails 4.5 release, which introduced Secure Boot support. This time, Tails received support for Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) USB security keys.

            This means that you can now use a U2F security key to authenticate in your Tails OS. U2F security keys enable and simplifies two-factor authentication (2FA) to make systems more secure.

          • SparkyLinux 2020.05 Improves Secure Boot Support, Adds New Packages

            Synced with the Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” testing repositories as of May 5th, 2020, SparkyLinux 2020.05 is here to improve support for Secure Boot installations.

            This release ships with the latest Calamares 3.2.23 installer, which enables better installation support of SparkyLinux on UEFI machines with Secure Boot.

            According to the developers, users should be able to launch the live system with Secure Boot disabled and enabled it after the installation. This time of installation is now support by both Calamares and SparkyLinux’s Advanced Installer.

          • Sparky Linux 2020.05 Announced with Linux Kernel 5.6.7

            The team at Sparky Linux has just announced that the May snapshot is now live and users can download the 2020.05 build based on Debian testing “Bullseye.”

            The new release obviously comes with a series of important change and one of the most notable is the upgrade to Linux kernel 5.6.7. The Sparky unstable repos come with Linux kernel 5.6.10 & 5.7-rc4.

            Furthermore, there are improvements for UEFI systems with Secure Boot.

            “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,” the dev team explains in a changelog (which you can also find embedded below).

        • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

          • Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix 20.04 Review: The Perfect Blend of Ubuntu With Cinnamon

            Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix is a relatively new distribution that brings the Cinnamon desktop to Ubuntu. Read the review to know more about it.

          • UbuntuDDE 20.04 LTS Released: Fusion Of Ubuntu Linux And Deepin Desktop

            UbuntuDDE, a remix Linux distribution combining Ubuntu and Deepin desktop, has finally announced its first-ever stable release. Despite being built on top of the Ubuntu 20.04 ‘Focal Fossa’ system, UbuntuDDE 20.04 is still not recognized as the official flavor of Ubuntu.

            Regardless, UbuntuDDE gives a unique experience for being a Ubuntu flavor along with Plasma, Cinnamon, and Budgie. In fact, UbuntuDDE edges slightly ahead on looks, all thanks to the beauty of the Deepin Desktop. This is also why, after the beta release, UbuntuDDE received loads of love with ISO download of around 50k+ till now.

      • Devices/Embedded

      • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

        • Web Browsers

          • Mozilla

            • Firefox 76 arrives with password management and Zoom improvements

              Mozilla today launched Firefox 76 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Firefox 76 includes new Firefox Lockwise password functionality, Zoom improvements, and a handful of developer features. You can download Firefox 76 for desktop now from Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. According to Mozilla, Firefox has about 250 million active users, making it a major platform for web developers to consider.

              The coronavirus is impacting not just everyone spending more time in their browsers as they learn and work from home, but also the software developers building the browsers. Google was forced to delay Chrome 81, skip Chrome 82 altogether, and move Chrome 83 up a few weeks. Microsoft followed suit with Edge’s release schedule, consistent with Google’s open source Chromium project, which both Chrome and Edge are based on. Last month, Mozilla made it clear that while “some of our competitors have had to slow down or stop work,” it is sticking with its 2020 Firefox release schedule.

            • Firefox 76 rolls out for Windows, macOS and Linux with ‘Lockwise’, Zoom improvements and more

              Firefox has unveiled its version 76 for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. The highlight of the new browser version by Mozilla is the Firefox Lockwise password functionality. This comes alongside some Zoom improvements and a few developer-based features. You can download Firefox 76 from the company’s website while the existing users will automatically get an update.

              The ‘Lockwise’ feature in Firefox 76 is essentially an in-built password manager. It also brings the ability to lets you copy-paste a password but adds a layer of security to it as well. “When you try to view or copy a password from your “Logins and Passwords” page, you will be prompted for your device’s account password before proceeding. Once the password is added, your credentials will be available to view and copy for up to five minutes,” adds the blog post.

            • Firefox 76 Released With Security Enhancement

              Firefox 76 has been released with security enhancement and tons of new additional features. Mozilla Firefox 76.0 is now available to download for Linux, Windows, and macOS. As mentioned in the release statement, Firefox strengthens protections for user’s online account logins and passwords.

              Firefox 76.0 supports Audio Worklets. With this feature, you can have ease while playing audio for VR and gaming on the web.

              You can also join Zoom calls on Firefox 76.0 without the need for any additional addons. When one of your accounts is involved in a security breach then it will alert you if you are using the same password in other accounts.

        • FSF

          • GNU Projects

            • MediaGoblin 0.10 Released With Video Subtitles Support, Other Small Improvements

              Last month the GNU MediaGoblin project announced they were still alive and have now managed to deliver a new release in the form of version 0.10.

              MediaGoblin is the GNU project focused on providing a free and decentralized web platform for media sharing. It’s been four years since the last MediaGoblin release but that changed with now having version 0.10.

        • Public Services/Government

          • Munich commits to “Public Money? Public Code!”


            The “Public Money? Public Code!” initiative aims to set Free Software as the standard for publicly financed software. The Free Software Foundation Europe together with over 180 civil society organisations and more than 27.000 individuals signed the open letter. We will use the signatures to contact decision makers and political representatives all over Europe and convince them to make public code the standard. You are invited to add your signature to make a bigger impact on https://publiccode.eu/

        • Programming/Development

          • Customizing my open source PHP framework for web development

            PHP Codeignitor is an open source integrated development environment (IDE) providing business applications with the easy-to-use PHP programming language and powerful tools for coding. It also provides business intelligence, server monitoring, development, and application integration facilities. It’s a relatively quiet project that you don’t hear much about, but it’s got a lot going for it that many developers new to it find surprising and refreshing.

            I use Codeignitor at my job working for an online tuition service provider in Singapore. We offer services that aren’t common enough to be the default feature set for templates or existing back-ends, so I need something that provides good, solid, raw materials I can build upon. Initially, I was considering other platforms such as WordPress for our website; however, I arrived at Codeignitor due to its flexibility and integration of functions needed in the tuition-matching process.

          • Managing Git projects with submodules and subtrees

            If you are into open source development, you have probably worked with Git to manage source code. You might have come across projects with numerous dependencies and/or sub-projects. How do you manage them?

            For an open source organization, it can be tricky to achieve single-source documentation and dependency management for the community and the product. The documentation and project often end up fragmented and redundant, which makes them difficult to maintain.

          • How to work from home with Raspberry Pi | The Magpi 93
          • SSH Tunnel – Local, Remote and Dynamic Port Forwarding

            Most importantly, play around and experiment with SSH when you get a chance! While not every combination of tunnels might be the best solution to your problem, there were certainly many times where knowing how to solve a problem using SSH tunnels saved me hours of otherwise tedious work (usually involving moving stuff around between servers).

          • Python

            • How to use Python String Strip Method

              Sometimes it is required to remove the first or last or both first and last characters from the string when we work with string data. For example, when it requires storing or verifying any password value then it is essential to remove the space from the starting and end of the password to get the exact password value. ltrim(), rtrim() and trim() methods are used in most of the programming languages to remove space or the particular character from the starting, ending, or both sides. The similar task can be done in Python by using lstrip(), rstrip() and strip() methods. How the strip method can be used in Python in multiple ways is shown in this tutorial.Syntax:

          • Rust

            • This Week in Rust 337

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

    • Leftovers

      • Silicon Valley’s Russian women Meduza speaks to the tech entrepreneurs overlooked by Yury Dud’s latest YouTube sensation

        On April 23, Russian journalist and YouTube star Yury Dud released his latest documentary film — “How the World’s I.T. Capital Works” — about a handful of Russian startups that have found success in Silicon Valley. The three-hour video, which currently has more than 15 million views on YouTube, focuses on eight entrepreneurs, not one of whom is a woman. The oversight angered many viewers and led to allegations of bias against the filmmaker. So far, there’s been no response to the backlash from Dud himself, who might be surprised to learn that Silicon Valley has several Russian businesswomen. Meduza asked some about their work and what they think of “How the World’s I.T. Capital Works.”

      • Rest In Power To Drummer And Afrobeat Master Tony Allen

        For the May 3 newsletter, Shadowproof managing editor Kevin Gosztola paid tribute to Nigerian drummer Tony Allen.

      • Hardware

        • [Repost] 90 Days With The Pinebook Pro

          So it’s an open-source alternative to a Chromebook, cheap computing you can hack and tweak. When I first reviewed it, I said:

          This laptop is better than any $200 laptop should be.

          Well, that was (at least) 90 days ago. Do I still feel that way?

        • Will Open-Source Development Help the Drone Industry Fight Back Against DJI?

          The company is working with DroneCode and ASTM to develop industry standards around the PX4 ecosystem, allowing larger players like Wing — which started with PX4, according to Sartori — the freedom to branch off and build their own implementation of the open-source code, while smaller players can essentially outsource their flight controllers, detect-and-avoid, autopilot and other systems to Auterion and focus on their core competencies.

      • Health/Nutrition

      • Integrity/Availability

        • Proprietary

          • Wireless mesh networks: Everything you need to know

            While Wi-Fi remains standardized, and extremely and reliably compatible among equipment from different makers, no two mesh systems on the market work with each other. An early mesh protocol, 802.11h, wound up being not just insufficient to the task, but entirely ignored by companies as they pursued better results and competitive advantages—and higher prices than for regular Wi-Fi gear.

          • SoftMaker Office 2021 Hits Beta, is Free to Download (For Now)

            A beta release of SoftMaker Office 2021 is available to download for free on Windows, macOS and Linux.

            For those unfamiliar with it SoftMaker Office is a paid, closed-source productivity suite created by SoftMaker, a Germany-based software company founded in 1987. The company also produce a free (as in beer) office suite called ‘FreeOffice by SoftMaker’.

            The SoftMaker Office suite boasts ‘seamless compatibility’ with, and indeed native use of, Microsoft Office file formats by default. The suite is comprised of a word processing program, TextMaker 2021, a spreadsheet program, PlanMaker 2021 and a presentation making tool, Presentations 2021.

          • Pseudo-Open Source

            • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

              • Updatable Ubuntu Server Live Installer [Ed: Nothing says "Ubuntu" like Microsoft GitHub in your INSTALLER! Even if Microsoft is upset to have lost billions on GitHub (and it's still operating at a massive loss), the NSA will be happy. So much control over so many programs and systems worldwide.]
              • VS Code in Ubuntu [Ed: It is not Open Source; see the associate licence and what it is designed to help sell.]

                VS Code, developed by Microsoft, is a cross platform open-source editor…

          • Security

            • Privacy/Surveillance

              • Critics Warn Covid-19 Digital ‘Privacy’ Bill Is Really ‘Anti-Privacy’ Bill in Disguise

                “This bill is truly a privacy ‘cure’ worse than the disease.”

              • After Months Of Incompetence, ‘Smart’ Pet Feeder Company PetNet Falls Apart, Blames COVID-19

                Back in February, $130 “smart” pet feeders from a company named PetNet simply stopped working. When customers reached out to the company to complain, they hit a complete and total brick wall in terms of functioning customer service. Customers say emails and phone calls weren’t returned (or wound up undeliverable), and the company simply refused to answer annoyed customer inquiries on Twitter or Facebook.

              • Courts Issue Rulings in Two Cases Challenging Law Enforcement Searches of License Plate Databases

                This week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in United States v. Yang, a case challenging the search of an automated license plate reader database under the Fourth Amendment. Although the court, citing EFF’s amicus brief, recognized ALPRs capture massive amounts of data on Americans across the country, it decided not to reach the search issue. Instead it held that because Yang was driving a rental car after his rental agreement ended when the search occurred, he didn’t have the right to challenge the search.

                The Ninth Circuit’s decision follows an April opinion from Massachusetts’s highest court in another ALPR case, Commonwealth v. McCarthy. In McCarthy, the court held that, although ALPRs raise clear privacy issues under the Fourth Amendment and Massachusetts’s Article 14, McCarthy hadn’t introduced sufficient facts to show that the search at issue in his case rose to the level of a constitutional violation.

              • Using Drones to Fight COVID-19 is the Slipperiest of All Slopes

                As governments search in vain for a technological silver bullet that will contain COVID-19 and allow people to safely leave their homes, officials are increasingly turning to drones. Some have floated using them to enforce social distancing, break up or monitor places where gatherings of people are occurring, identify infected people with supposed “fever detecting” thermal imaging, or even assist in contact tracing by way of face recognition and mass surveillance.

                Any current buy-up of drones would constitute a classic example of how law enforcement and other government agencies often use crises in order to justify the expenditures and negate the public backlash that comes along with buying surveillance equipment. For years, the LAPD, the NYPD, and other police departments across the country have been fighting the backlash from concerned residents over their acquisitions of surveillance drones. These drones present a particular threat to free speech and political participation. Police departments often deploy them above protests, large public gatherings, and on other occasions where people might practice their First Amendment-protected rights to speech, association, and assembly.

              • Israeli Malware Merchant’s Employee Used Powerful Spyware To Snoop On A Potential Love Interest

                NSO Group is not having a great year. At least not on the PR front. The books may be balancing, but its indiscriminate distribution of malware/spyware to questionable governments has been raising eyebrows and blood pressure for years. Now, it’s being sued by Facebook for using WhatsApp as its preferred delivery system for malware payloads.

      • Defence/Aggression

      • Environment

      • Finance

        • More Thoughts on Wealth and Tax Alternatives

          Last week the Boston Review (BR) published an exchange on a wealth tax that included a proposal from Berkeley economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, with a number of responses, including one from me. I was critical of the proposal for both political reasons and because I think avoidance and evasion will be massive problems.

        • Trump Is Ignoring Fears Over Reopening Because He Wants a “Great Fourth Quarter”

          President Donald Trump believes that the American people are optimistic and ready to end social distancing measures in order to “reopen” the economy, demonstrating a huge disconnect between his views and the American people’s real attitudes about the coronavirus pandemic.

        • ‘Outrageous, Callous, and Cruel’: Seniors Rip Trump for Holding Covid-19 Relief Hostage to Push Social Security Cuts

          “Trump’s actions are a war on seniors. He is insisting on threatening Social Security on which most seniors rely for their food, medicine, and other basic necessities.”

        • We Need an Essential Workers Bill of Rights—Now

          Congress must include worker protections in the next coronavirus relief bill.

        • What Does COVID-19 Mean for the Future of Capitalism?

          You pay little attention to the systems of your body — circulatory, digestive, pulmonary — unless something goes wrong.

        • After Bailout, United Airlines Urges Workers to Leave or Face Layoffs

          United Airlines urged its employees to consider leaving the company voluntarily as it cuts pay and prepares for layoffs even though it received a $5 billion bailout from taxpayers last month.

        • Corporations Will Not Save Us: The Sham of Corporate Social Responsibility

          American corporations are sacrificing workers and communities as never before in order to further boost runaway profits and unprecedented CEO pay. And not even a tragic pandemic is changing that. 

        • Corporations Will Not Save Us: The Sham of Corporate Social Responsibility

          As usual, almost nothing has trickled down to America’s working class and poor. The truth is, American corporations are sacrificing workers and communities as never before in order to further boost runaway profits and unprecedented CEO pay. And not even a tragic pandemic is changing that. Americans know this. A record 76 percent of U.S. adults believe major corporations have too much power. The only way to make corporations socially responsible is through laws requiring them to be – for example, giving workers a bigger voice in corporate decision making, requiring that corporations pay severance to communities they abandon, raising corporate taxes, busting up monopolies, and preventing dangerous products (including faulty airplanes) from ever reaching the light of day.  If the CEOs of the Business Roundtable and other corporations were truly socially responsible, they’d support such laws, not make phony promises they clearly have no intention of keeping. Don’t hold your breath.  The only way to get such laws enacted is by reducing corporate power and getting big money out of our politics. The first step is to see corporate social responsibility for the sham it is. The next step is to emerge from this pandemic and economic crisis more resolved than ever to rein in corporate power, and make the economy work for all. 

        • Fight To Tax Amazon Regains Momentum As Corporation Thrives During COVID-19

          During the coronavirus pandemic, Seattle City Council members have launched another effort to tax Amazon and other large corporations.

          Amazon poured $1.5 million into Seattle City Council races in 2019 after it managed to repeal a head tax in June 2018 to raise around $20 million annually. It came up short in its attempt to oust City Council members who led that tax movement

      • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

        • Raif Badawi spared 950 lashes after Saudi decision to abolish flogging

          Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is relieved by Saudi Arabia’s abolition of flogging, one of the punishments to which Raif Badawi, a blogger jailed in 2012, was sentenced. Badawi nonetheless continues to be detained and has already served eight of the ten years in prison to which he was also sentenced.

      • Civil Rights/Policing

        • A Greatest Generation We Are Not

          From a moment of victory to a time of pandemic.

        • When Coming North is the Only Option: Why We Must Change Our Immigration Policies

          At a time when the only thing anyone is talking about is COVID-19, I took a break to read Kelsey Freeman’s astute look at the struggles of migrants to cross the border, recently published by IGPublishing (April, 2020): No Option But North: The Migrant World and the Perilous Path Across the Border.

        • Social Distancing With Tear Gas and Walls: the “Racist, Hateful, And Life-Threatening Campaign” Unleashed Against The Romani With Covid-19

          She was 37 years old. Her name was not reported. We will never know the name of her baby. For three days after her waters broke, she appealed multiple times for attention at Ohrid General Hospital in North Macedonia. Every visit ended the same way, with her being denied treatment. Her friend, who drove her there, said she was bleeding, in obvious pain, and had signs of an infection. The pregnant woman was from a nearby Romani settlement where she survived in suffocating poverty. According to her friend, she had no means to pay for check-ups during her pregnancy, and that all she was offered at the hospital was racial invectives when what she’d pleaded for was a caesarean. Eventually, one doctor intervened when he realized her condition had deteriorated beyond what the hospital would be able to treat, and he arranged for her to be transported to the University Clinic of Gynecology and Obstetrics (UCGO) in Skopje.

        • Number of domestic violence complaints in Russia increased over two-fold since beginning of April

          According to data from nonprofit organizations (NPO), the number of domestic violence complaints in Russia has grown 2.5 times since April 10, the country’s Human Rights Commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova told RIA Novosti. 

        • We Must Protect the Right to Vote in the November Elections

          The Republican Party is doing everything it can to suppress the vote in November. Why? They fear higher turnout, especially among people of color, will cost them the election.

        • Mail-In Voting Must Be Made Accessible to Disabled Voters

          Today is an offseason Election Day in Michigan, where the vast majority of voters will submit ballots by mail as state officials close polling locations and urge people to stay home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Michigan’s decision to embrace voting by mail is good news for voters who would rather not risk visiting a crowded polling site or are confined to their homes in the first place, and election officials are already reporting above-average turnout. However, blind and visually impaired voters were nearly left out of the election.

        • Planetize the Movement!

          Our movements need to coalesce to make the present moment of populism and hegemonic decline an advantageous one for a Great Transition—this time toward a global socialist-feminist democracy built through the synergy of a new international and revitalized World Social Forum.

        • California’s Lawmakers Must Enact Privacy Rules to Advance COVID-19 Efforts

          EFF strongly backs calls, including from California Senate Judiciary Chair Hannah-Beth Jackson, for Governor Gavin Newsom to ensure that his response to this crisis respects Californians’ constitutional right to privacy. We urge the California legislature and Governor Newsom to pass measures that would protect our privacy now, in the aftermath of this crisis, and beyond. As a national leader in privacy and a leading voice in setting policy regarding the coronavirus, California must step up and do the right thing as it makes policy to address the effects of COVID-19.

          Right now, companies and governments are trying many new things to deal with an unprecedented public health crisis. These include public-private partnerships where government services come from mobile apps and website portals built by corporations such as Verily, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet. Yet Verily’s launch shows how companies are making vague promises and commitments about how they will protect information they collect, and how it can be used later. It’s also unclear how governments can use information collected from such programs, and whether our personal information is the currency paid by governments to companies for public health programs to deal with this crisis.

        • COVID-19 and Online Freedom for #GivingTuesdayNow

          On May 5, EFF is joining forces with other nonprofit groups and individuals everywhere for a global day of support called #GivingTuesdayNow. It’s a direct response to the unprecedented community and societal needs created by COVID-19. We have been fortunate to see heroic efforts by people coming together to address the impact of the pandemic, whether as frontline healthcare workers, kind neighbors, or even creative entertainers keeping our isolated spirits up. This unity—made more poignant by our physical distance— is how we will be able to heal our world in every sense.

          Nonprofit organizations and civil society groups are meant to step up for you where governments can’t or won’t. That role is especially important as the pandemic continues to affect every individual and industry in ways we do not yet fully comprehend. With physical distancing in place, the Internet is a critical lifeline to health information, our loved ones, and our sanity. That’s why EFF hasn’t stopped fighting for even a moment to protect your digital privacy and security, online expression, creative innovation, and access to technology.

        • 80 Percent of People Held in Ohio’s Marion Prison Test Positive for COVID-19

          We get an update on one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the United States, at the Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio, where 11 prisoners and one staff member have died, and at least 80% of prisoners and half of the prison staff tested positive. Despite growing calls to release thousands of Ohio’s nearly 50,000 incarcerated people as the coronavirus spreads, Governor Mike DeWine has only approved the release of more than 100 people in the state’s prisons. “We’re seeing a few people being released … but not anywhere near the 20,000 [we are] demanding,” says Azzurra Crispino, whose husband, James, is incarcerated at Marion. She is co-founder of Prison Abolition Prisoner Support.

        • Do not allow Saudi Arabia’s flogging ban to distract from the repression that still exists

          Last week’s court decisions will have immediate and important consequences: sparing six young offenders at risk of execution, as well as nullifying the flogging punishment of Raif Badawi. Mr. Badawi, whose wife and three children are now Canadian citizens, was sentenced in 2014 to 10 years’ imprisonment and 1,000 lashes for giving his fellow citizens a space online to discuss issues of public concern more freely. The flogging was suspended in 2015 as a result of international outrage elicited by the first 50 lashes in a public square.

          But Saudi Arabia’s purported reforms should not obscure the widespread repression and the accompanying untold, unprecedented human cost that continues to mount.

        • Rights Group Monthly Report: Increasing Number of Executions in Iran Amid Coronavirus

          The regime launched a new wave of executions, killing at least 32 people in 14 cities, including juvenile offenders and ethnic minorities. Many of those executed had participated in protests over conditions in prisons, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the regime’s failure to allow them temporary leave to stop the mass spread of the disease in prisons.

          According to the leading rights group, on April 11, the regime hanged Iranian Kurdish political prisoner Mostafa Salimi. Salimi, 53, was one of roughly 80 prisoners who escaped Saqqez prison, in Kurdistan province, following a protest on March 27. He was rearrested days later.

        • California Sues Uber and Lyft to Classify Drivers as Employees

          The suit, under a law known as Assembly Bill 5, threatens to upend the business models of Uber and Lyft, which view themselves as tech-y intermediaries between people who want rides and people willing to drive them. An analysis by Barclays estimates that treating California drivers as employees would cost Uber $506 million and Lyft $290 million annually; neither company is profitable. The state contains two of the companies’ biggest markets, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and both companies’ headquarters.

        • As Gig Workers Struggle Amid Outbreak, California Sues Lyft and Uber for Refusing to Classify Drivers as Employees

          “Californians who drive for Uber and Lyft lack basic worker protections… Sometimes it takes a pandemic to shake us into realizing what that really means and who suffers the consequences.”

        • U.S. Trade War Against China Takes a Coronaviral Turn

          The Trump administration has expanded its trade war against China to include the COVID-19 pandemic. With more than 1 million already infected in the United States and about 60,000 dead, Trump’s assertions in February and March that the coronavirus is just “like a flu” and will disappear have now been replaced by ‘China did it,’ even talking about making China pay reparations. A part of this is Trump’s dire need to scapegoat someone, or some country, for the United States’ total incompetence in handling the COVID-19 epidemic.

        • Far Right Group Behind Boston’s “Straight Pride” Also Organized “Reopen” Protest

          In March of 1770, a group of British troops found themselves accosted by a mob of angry colonists in Boston. The soldiers were pelted with rocks, snowballs, and struck with clubs. Finally, one soldier fired his weapon in self-defense, and the other troops followed suit. When the smoke cleared, three colonists lay dead. Eight others were wounded, and two of those would later succumb to their injuries.

      • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

        • The Decentralized Web Could Help Preserve The Internet’s Data For 1,000 Years. Here’s Why We Need IPFS To Build It.

          The internet economy runs on data. As of 2019, there were over 4.13 billion internet users generating more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day. By the end of 2020, there will be 40 times more bytes of data than there are stars to observe in space. And all of this data is powering a digital revolution, with the data-driven internet economy already accounting for 6.9% of U.S. GDP in 2017. The internet data ecosystem supports a bustling economy ripe with opportunity for growth, innovation, and profit.

        • Judge Orders FCC To Hand Over Data On Fake Net Neutrality Comments

          We’ve long discussed how the Pai FCC’s net neutrality repeal was plagued with millions of fraudulent comments, many of which were submitted by a bot pulling names from a hacked database of some kind. Millions of ordinary folks (myself included) had their identities used to support Pai’s unpopular plan, as did several Senators. The Trump FCC stonewalled both law enforcement and journalist inquiries into who was behind the comments, and why the FCC didn’t lift a finger to either stop them or to help identify those responsible.

      • Monopolies

        • Facebook removes some QAnon pages, citing inauthentic behavior

          Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, stressed that the company removed only the content that violated its specific rules against coordinated inauthentic behavior, in which multiple accounts act in tandem and obscure their identities to push content.

        • Facebook removes QAnon ‘fringe conspiracy’ groups ahead of 2020 election

          Facebook has seemingly become more comfortable removing misinformation since the coronavirus pandemic, but it doesn’t appear to have a stance against “authentic” QAnon believers. That puts it at odds with at least one other social network: Reddit, which banned major QAnon subreddits for inciting harassment and posting personal information.

          Besides the QAnon pages, Facebook also removed another small US-based network linked to anti-immigrant group VDARE, along with a much larger number of pages and accounts linked to unrelated organizations in Russia, Iran, and Georgia. It touted its efforts as the work of a “cross-disciplinary team” built to disrupt “sophisticated influence operations aimed to manipulate public debate,” but also simpler tactics like spam and fake engagement.

        • Facebook Says It Removed Six Domestic Networks of Fake Accounts

          In April, six of the eight networks Facebook removed for coordinated inauthentic posts targeted domestic audiences in the U.S., Mauritania, Myanmar and the country of Georgia, the social network said in a blog post on Tuesday. Two of the networks were in the U.S.: one set of pages and accounts associated with the fringe conspiracy group QAnon, and another with VDARE, a website known for posting anti-immigrant content. It’s Facebook’s first action against QAnon, the group that believes there is a “deep state” conspiracy against President Donald Trump.

        • Patents

          • Pfizer Inc. v. Chugai Pharmaceuticals Co. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

            The Federal Circuit continued its explication of the standing issue for unsuccessful petitioners in inter partes review (see “Argentum Pharmaceuticals LLC v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2020)”) in Pfizer Inc. v. Chugai Pharmaceuticals Co.

            The case arose over IPRs initiated by Pfizer against Chugai’s U.S. Patent Nos. 7,332,289 and 7,927,815. The patents were directed to protein purification methods that removed nucleic acid (DNA) contaminants. Pfizer successfully petitioned, but the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in a Final Written Decision held that the challenger had not proved any of the ’289 (1-8 and 13) or ’815 (1-7, 12, and 13) claims had been improvidently granted.

            The Federal Circuit dismissed Pfizer’s appeal based on lack of Article III standing, in an opinion by Judge Bryson, joined by Chief Judge Prost and Judge Dyk. The opinion sets forth the uneven playing field in IPRs, where anyone (but the patent holder) has standing to file a petition to initiate an IPR (even if the challenger fails to have Article III standing), citing JTEKT Corp. v. GKN Auto. LTD., 898 F.3d 1217, 1219 (Fed. Cir. 2018), and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Ltd. v. ResMed Ltd., 789 F. App’x 877, 878 (Fed. Cir. 2019). However, an unsuccessful challenger, as Pfizer here, must satisfy the requirements for Article III standing in order to be able to bring an appeal, the court relying on JTEKT Corp. and Consumer Watchdog v. Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

            The opinion sets forth the requirements for standing: that the putative appellant has “(1) suffered an injury in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision,” citing Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540, 1547 (2016). The panel notes, however, that Congress can accord a procedural right to appeal an administrative agency decision, and in those cases “certain requirements of standing—namely immediacy and redressability, as well as prudential aspects that are not part of Article III—may be relaxed,” citing, via Consumer Watchdog, Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497, 517–18 (2007).

          • Software Patents

        • Copyrights

          • Remix Culture Done Right: Wes Tank Mashes Up Dr. Seuss With Dr. Dre (And So Far The Copyright Police Have Left Him Alone)

            A few days back I saw a friend share an incredible video on YouTube of a guy in Milwaukee named Wes Tank, rapping Dr. Seuss’s “Fox in Sox” over Dr. Dre beats. Even if you think that sounds great, the final result is even better than you expect:

          • US Removes Switzerland From ‘Pirate WatchList’

            The US Trade Representative has taken Switzerland off its annual pirate “Watch List.” The removal is the direct result of the country’s revised copyright law which introduced a “stay down” policy for infringing content and allows rightsholders to track pirates. Downloading pirated movies and music for personal use remains legal, but the US has seen sufficient progress, for now.

          • MPA Suggests Github Could Be Held Liable For Popcorn Time’s Copyright Infringements

            The Motion Picture Association is pressing on with its mission to restrict the availability of infamous streaming app Popcorn Time. In a copyright complaint filed with Github, the Hollywood group cites the Grokster decision, suggesting that the code platform could be held liable for Popcorn Time’s activities. Meanwhile, Popcorn Time’s operators have filed a counter-complaint.

    The People Who Trained Narcissistic Sociopath Bill Gates to Seem Social Before He Started Bribing All the Major Media

    Posted in Bill Gates, Deception at 5:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    “In the fall of 1982, Pam Edstrom [of Waggener Edstrom], a diminutive woman with piercing blue eyes, was recruited by Microsoft. [...] In modern-day business, flacks were responsible not only for avoiding bad press, but for spinning the good. [...] Hanson and Edstrom would spin a whole new image for Gates himself. They would tap the best and worst of Chairman Bill, changing his clothes, his voice, and his allegiances, driving him to become not just the boss, but, essentially, the company mascot—a sort of high-technology Colonel Sanders.”Pam Edstrom’s daughter

    Summary: Acting or the art of pretending best describes Bill’s transition from villain (actually serial criminal) to supposed hero and “philanthropist”

    SINCE we’ve just mentioned the corruption of ZDNet, which became little but Microsoft advertising and propaganda [1, 2, 3, 4], we thought the above quote would be timely. We remind readers that the media which presents Gates as a pandemics expert has been paid by him repeatedly (the repetition means they must be “nice” to receive the next ‘installment’). We spent years naming some of the culprits, noting that the bribery budget (for media alone) is around 100 million dollars per year. It’s disguised as “supporting journalism” (of course!) and there are obvious strings attached.

    Tim Schwab on Bill Gates
    Tweet by author of "Bill Gates Gives to the Rich (Including Himself)"

    “He [Bill Gates] acted like a spoiled kid, which is what he was.”

    Ed Roberts, Gates’ employer at MITS in the 1970′s (Atlanta Journal-Costitution, 04-27-97)

    Another Fine Day for ‘Linux’ at ZDNet

    Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    If ZDNet was a vegan Web site, it would promote pork chops

    Summary: This is what ZDNet looks like today (the “Linux” section); it has been become pretty normal [1, 2, 3] for that petty ‘news’ site, from which the Linux Foundation hired a spokesperson formerly a Microsoft employee

    IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 05, 2020

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

    GNOME Gedit

    GNOME Gedit

    #techrights log

    #boycottnovell log

    GNOME Gedit

    GNOME Gedit

    #boycottnovell-social log

    #techbytes log

    Enter the IRC channels now

    Coronavirus-Type Pandemics Favour GNU/Linux in the Technology Sector and Here’s Why…

    Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 12:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    Marketing and perception management techniques are very weak at the moment

    What corporate media and corporations tell you GNU/Linux is like; When you try GNU/Linux for yourself

    Summary: Not that highly infectious diseases are something to be cheered for, but it seems increasingly clear that Free software will gain momentum when people lose their jobs (temporarily or permanently), have more spare time in isolation with an Internet connection, and slip outside the grip/grid of corporate overlords

    THE MARKET share of GNU/Linux grew during lock-downs. A Microsoft-connected firm says it’s at 3% now, but we believe it’s a lot higher than that, for a number of reasons previously explored here. Never mind that if one counts Chrome OS and Android, then “Linux” already has majority market share anyway (not only in servers and devices).

    Developers now find more time to write code, especially code associated with ‘hobby’ projects (Inkscape has just reached 1.0 after more than a decade and a half!); people are bored at home and they find more time to explore new things, learn new things and so on.

    Companies tend to impose particular types of software on employees inside offices; how much control do those companies have over people now?

    “Companies tend to impose particular types of software on employees inside offices; how much control do those companies have over people now?”People also learn to reuse and recycle, e.g. refurbishing old machines with GNU/Linux. Purchasing ‘treadmills’ are impeded and GNU/Linux rarely depended on those because “channel access” was its weakest point.

    This is by no means a ‘celebration’ of COVID-19, but the longer the lock-downs go on, partial or very comprehensive, the better off GNU/Linux will be. As our reader Canta put it yesterday, “with this whole quarantine thing, in every sphere of human praxis people is starting to ask the right questions about computing: “why are we using this software”, “why do I have to buy another computer/phone”, “why do I have to pay for this”, “isn’t any state regulated way for doing this”. As happened with keynesianism against neoliberalism, Free Software is already there prepared to face all those problems, both technical and political, despite the corporate agenda.”

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