Links 18/5/2020: Enlightenment 0.24, Sqitch 1.1.0 and Lots of Openwashing

Posted in News Roundup at 10:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • MNT Reform open source modular laptop

        A new modular laptop has launched via the Crowd Supply website designed to run free and open source software but also use open hardware. Enabling owners to easily swap out parts replace batteries, hack and tweak the laptop to suit their needs and requirements. Watch the demonstration video below to learn more about the open source DIY laptop specifically created for customisation and user privacy.

        The MNT Reform laptop is now available to purchase with prices starting from $1,300, with worldwide shipping included and expected to take place during December 2020. If you would prefer your laptop fully assembled then pledges start from $1,500.

      • ExTiX Deepin 20.5 Live based on Deepin 20 Beta (latest) with Skype, Spotify, Refracta Snapshot and kernel 5.7.0-rc5 :: Build 200517

        I’ve released a new version of ExTiX Deepin today (200517). This ExTiX Build is based on Deepin 20 Beta released by Deepin Technology 200415.

      • Help me choose a new laptop

        I’ve been doing all my development work on a late 2016 HP Spectre x360 for the past few years. Though a fantastic machine overall, it’s starting to fall apart: the screen backlight has partially burned out, the battery barely holds a charge anymore, and the trackpad sends a double or triple click when I press down on it. This thing has been worked hard and dragged all over the country and the world, so it feels like the time is coming for a replacement.

        So I did what a typical OCD nerd does for a major purchase: I made a spreadsheet with all reasonable options and gave myself terrible analysis paralysis!

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel CET Support Still Getting Squared Away For Linux In 2020

        Various open-source patches have gone back to at least 2017 for enabling Intel’s Control-Flow Enforcement Technology (CET) for the Linux kernel and related components. This is the Intel feature for helping prevent ROP and COP/JOP style attacks via indirect branch tracking and a shadow stack. Recently there has been a fair amount of CET improvements to the various open-source components.


        That though could hopefully change soon as a few weeks ago the v10 patches for control-flow enforcement with enabling the shadow stack was sent out. Those kernel patches though are still in flux so might not be mainlined even for the upcoming Linux 5.8 kernel.

        Outside of the kernel though, over in GCC space for GCC 11 is now defaulting the CET run-time support to auto for the compiler-side bits. So that’s important for seeing CET support available by default on more systems.

    • Applications

      • HomeBank 5.4.2

        HomeBank is a free software (as in “free speech” and also as in “free beer”) that will assist you to manage your personal accounting. It is designed to easy to use and be able to analyse your personal finance and budget in detail using powerful filtering tools and beautiful charts. If you are looking for a completely free and easy application to manage your personal accounting, budget, finance then HomeBank should be the software of choice.

        HomeBank also benefits of more than 19 years of user experience and feedback, and is translated by its users in around 56 languages.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • X-Plane 11.50 Beta 9 and a Development Roadmap Update

        A week or two ago we had a very dead beta, and posed the question of how to incrementally test betas in the future. We got a variety of responses, ranging from “private test it first” to “roll it out in a wave” to “full speed ahead, we know betas are bumpy.”
        Since then, we’ve been doing one of the easiest and probably most useful things we can: posting the betas early to third-party developers who are in our developer Slack channel.
        Beta 7/8 had a ton of changes, and our third-party developers found multiple problems, some of which we wouldn’t see in our internal tests. So we held off on releasing betas 7 and 8 to the public while we fixed those issues. Until today.

      • X-Plane’s Vulkan Renderer Maturing, More Performance Optimizations Still Coming

        The folks at Laminar Research published a new blog post this week detailing their latest development work on their Vulkan (and Apple Metal) renderers for the realistic X-Plane flight simulator.

        Since the X-Plane 11.50 beta release in early April they have made public their Vulkan/Metal renderers as alternatives to their long-standing OpenGL rendering setup. In the weeks since they have continued advancing the new rendering code and while still in beta has shown much progress since the original beta.

      • Come tell us about what you’ve been gaming on Linux lately

        Another week down, plenty of new games have released or been updated and we’re about to begin another cycle. Let’s have a chat.

        With the recent huge Stellaris 2.7 update, we were going to be diving into a fresh multiplayer game with excitement to look at all the new visuals. Sadly though, it appears the latest update has numerous problems that caused all sorts of lag and sync issues. Thankfully, Paradox keep around older versions on Steam you can opt into with the 2.6.x series still working well. Issues aside, Stellaris is such a fantastic RTS overall to sink a great many hours into.

        Into the Breach has also been sucking up more time lately, as a small and focused strategy game it’s pretty close to perfection. I’m really not surprised it has reviewed so well. Subset Games also continue to tweak the Linux build to ensure it’s running smoothly.

        Across today though I’ve been quite sick, so thanks to Stadia I’ve been able to just sit back and relax with a flawless Assassin’s Creed Odyssey experience to just zone-out with. It’s nice to have another option if your net is good enough. The developer of firefighting game Embr also sent over a pre-release Stadia key to us, and it’s quite amusing. Something to look forward to when it arrives in Early Access next week (no Linux desktop release for now).

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Enlightenment 0.24 Released


        New and improved shot module with editor and cropper
        Reduced number of setuid tools (merged many into single system tool)
        External monitor backlight and brightness controls via (lib)ddctil
        Improved resolution of EFM thumbnails to 256×256 by default
        New and improved crash handling guru meditation
        Restarts are now seamless with fade in and out and zero glitches
        Wallpaper import generates multiple resolutions for better efficiency
        Regularly malloc_trim if available to keep mem down
        All restarts are now handled by enlightenment_start, not e itself
        Enforce pointer lock to screen in X to stop pointer out-of-bounds
        Pager plain is gone – use the regular “miniature preview” pager
        Music control auto-runs your selected media player if not there
        Handle exception for steam games to find the right desktop file
        Polkit auth agent support as new core module – no extra daemons
        Drop comp fast effects – Should be edje transition factor + theme tags
        Easier config of specific desktop wallpaper straight from pager
        Startup should be smoother with IO prefetch thread
        New special blanking timeout for when locked that can be shorter
        Bluez4 gone now as Bluez5 is done and working fine
        Down to zero outstanding coverity issues
        The usual batches of bug fixes and minor improvements

      • Enlightenment 0.24 Released

        Carsten Haitzler has released Enlightenment 0.24 as the latest significant update to this X11 window manager and Wayland compositor.

        Enlightenment 0.24 comes with a better screenshot module, new monitor backlight/brightness controls support, a more polished restart experience, better X11 pointer lock handling, various configuration improvements, addressing Coverity-detected coding issues, and various other bug fixes and optimizations.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • An Elevator Pitch for digiKam, the Free RAW Processor and Photo Manager

          Whenever a discussion touches on the subject of RAW processing and photo management applications, digiKam rarely comes up. Even when talking about open source photography software, RawTherapee and darktable are often the only names that are thrown around. So let me give you an elevator pitch that makes a case for digiKam.

          1. digiKam is available for all mainstream platforms, including Linux, macOS, and Windows. For Linux users, there is even an AppImage package that you can run without any installation.

        • kdesrc-build updated for Gitlab Migration

          This weekend the KDE Sysadmins completed the migration of KDE git modules to our Gitlab-based source code management stack as discussed for months now, and recently posted to kde-cvs-announce as a final reminder.

          While we did some work in kdesrc-build to set the stage for support for the migration, there were a few changes still necessary to adapt to the new KDE project directory scheme.

          kdesrc-build has made those changes this weekend and should be able to handle the Gitlab-based KDE git modules.

          However you will likely need to manually update kdesrc-build and then kdesrc-build will be able to handle the rest.

          The easiest way to do this is to navigate to the kdesrc-build source directory (where you initially cloned it from git) and ensure that the kdesrc-build origin is properly configured.

    • Distributions

      • In Free Software, the Community is the Most Important Ingredient: Jerry Bezencon of Linux Lite [Interview]

        Linux Lite was started in 2012 for 3 important reasons. One, I wanted to dispel myths that a Linux based operating system was hard to use. Two, at that time, there was a shortage of simple, intuitive desktop experiences on Linux that offered long-term support. Three, I had used Linux for over 10 years before starting Linux Lite.

        I felt I needed to give back to a community that had given so much to me. A community that taught me that by sharing code and knowledge, one could have a dramatically positive impact over peoples computing experiences.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Petition for the re-election of the openSUSE Board

          The openSUSE Election Committee was tasked to find our whether 20% of the community are actually calling for the re-election.

          We have at our disposal the Helios voting platform which we can use to register an “answer” from community members. Instead of running a vote with several answer options, we consulted among Election Officials, and agreed that there will be only one answer to select, which will represent a virtual signature, similar to like signing an electronic petition. That will allow us to effectively measure whether 20% of the community are petitioning for a re-election of the openSUSE Board.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Can you say HUGE?

          I just installed Ultimate Edition 6.6 Developer on my main rig. As an ISO is only 4.3 GB (4,314,519,552 bytes to be exact), however sucked up close to 50 GB once installed & is downloading 1.7 GB of updates & I just built it. It took me about 1/2 an hour to install on high end hardware. I fired up Pithos (Pandora Client) to listen to tunes as it installed. I am forewarning you it takes a long time to install. I just upgraded to an X570 Asus Hero VIII 2 or 3 days ago. Still on water 360mm cooling.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • What Raspberry PI OS (Operating System) to use?

        In this article I’ll list a number of Raspberry PI OS you can try, with their installation guide, depending on your needs. Instead, if you want to compare RPI models, you can refer Comparing main features of latest Raspberry PI models.


        Raspberry PI, with monitor, keyboard and mouse, can be used as a complete and powerful Personal Computer. The best OS, working out-of-the-box, for this purpose is Raspbian with Desktop. Raspbian is based on Debian.

        Like all other linux distros, you can also use a lite version and install your favourite desktop environments. Raspbian is the default choice for all RPI users, because maintained by Raspberry PI foundation. Its Desktop environment is Pixel.


        Raspberry PI can be also a fantastic micro linux server able to support tons of linux projects. It can run web servers, print servers, proxy servers and so on (browse peppe8o.com pages for tutorials). Many big distros are starting to support Raspberry PI and have recently released their RPI images.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Cambridge researchers design an open-source ventilator for low-income countries

          In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a team at the University of Cambridge has designed an open-source ventilator in partnership with local clinicians, engineers and manufacturers across Africa that is focused to address the specific needs for treating COVID-19 patients and is a fully functioning system for use after the pandemic.

          Built primarily for use in low- and middle-income countries, the OVSI ventilator can be cheaply and quickly manufactured from readily available components. Current ventilators are expensive and difficult to fix, but an open-source design will allow users to adapt and fix the ventilators according to their needs and, by using readily available components, the machines can be built quickly across Africa in large numbers. The cost per device is estimated to be around one-tenth of currently available commercial systems.

          The first ventilators will be delivered in May by a team of South Africa-based companies led by Defy, a leading southern African manufacturer of domestic appliances, and Denel, a major state-owned company.

        • Electronics News Byte: New Open-Source Camera Stack for Raspberry Pi, Semico Start-Up Funding Increases, and More

          Creativity continues to drive innovation in the electronics industry, even during these difficult times. This week we are reporting on key developments from around the electronics industry: Raspberry Pi news, semiconductor start-up funding, semiconductor sales, and electrical engineering graduate school enrollment. Here is your regular Electronics News Byte.

          Open-Source Camera Stack for Raspberry Pi: Want better access to Raspberry Pi camera system? Want to customize a camera system? Well, now it is possible. Just days after announcing the new Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera, Raspberry Pi released an open-source camera stack RPi using libcamera. “We provide all the pieces for Raspberry Pi-based libcamera systems to work simply ‘out of the box,’” David Plowman reports on the Raspberry Pi blog.

        • COVID-19 and 3D Printing: Go Open Source to Save Lives

          As the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S., fears of ventilator shortages spread across states, who requested far higher numbers of the breathing machines than the national stockpile maintained. According to the Trump administration, the country is now at a point where there are a sufficient number to treat patients with severe respiratory issues resulting from COVID-19, and the U.S. is now shipping ventilators to other countries that are running on short supply.

          However, if the administration’s reporting is inaccurate or the situation worsens, we have seen that there may be ways around the shortage. For instance, states could share ventilators based on supply and need and there may be a number of viable, low-cost alternatives waiting in the wing, including simple methods for converting existing equipment into ventilator systems to completely novel and untested, but easy-to-assemble machines. Putting aside the question of whether or not ventilators are the safest method for treating severe respiratory problems, the crisis has raised the question of why these systems, as complicated as they are, are so hard to manufacture.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • MUSC, HPE make innovative drug discovery software open source

        Peterson explained that AI in the biomedical field takes on many forms, much of it focused on improving human interactions with expansive data like medical records, scientific abstracts or medical diagnostic imaging. PharML, however, takes a chemistry-oriented approach.

        “We set out to test if we could use machine learning and neural nets to predict accurately all of the characterized drug-protein interactions that can happen in a human body,” Peterson said. Our testing indicates that it is very feasible to process with high accuracy millions of distinct and complex interactions while being light on computing resources,” he said.

        The team recognized that this provides the kernel of a much bigger project in which open therapeutics could serve to remove roadblocks in drug development and open the door to more complex problems like emerging pathogens and personalized precision medicine.

        The software, an innovative drug and mechanism-of-action (MOA) evaluation graph-based deep neural network (NN) architecture, began in early 2017 as a learning and discovery project. The team is now doing hands-on testing of the feasibility, utility and accuracy of artificial intelligence in the drug development process. A preprint of the work was posted to arXiv in October of 2019).

        The team initially mapped out a strategy to consolidate more collaborators, test real-world predictions in a preclinical setting and publish in an academic journal. However, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this timeline, and the urgency of releasing the code and training files under an open- license became apparent.

      • Open Source: Rocket Fuel for Business Scalability

        A few years ago, an industry leader and wise man said the following words: “Certainly there’s a phenomenon around open source. You know free software will be a vibrant area. There will be a lot of neat things that get done there.” This man was none other than Bill Gates himself, and boy was he right!

        For a tremendously evolving industry like IT and computing, the most amount of change has come in the last decade, especially after the digital transformation movement started peaking. The open-source software that was once not considered viable for businesses to use has almost taken over the world today, and across industries at that! The POS you shop at? Open-source. Your favorite web browser? Open-source. Social media sites like Twitter? Open source! The examples talk for themselves. It’s not a stretch to say that open source has effectively transformed the entire IT landscape!

      • Inspur’s Open AI, Computing and Networking Innovations Driving Adoption of Total Open Solutions
      • M3DB: Open Source, Metrics Platform for Prometheus

        As the data load increases, a need to detect fraud out of that data also increases. This problem can be solved by tracking or analyzing that data in real time. For this problem, real-time databases are being developed at a very large scale and many companies are partying in by making them open-source. Real-time data is the need and Real-time query engines are the solutions. M3DB is developed by uber for their internal use and later they open sourced it under Apache. M3DB is Distributed Time series database inspired by Gorilla and Cassandra (tools by Facebook) that handles a large amount of data and obtain incremental results for different Matrics and written in Go Lang. As data at Uber is not particular to the same location and the same amount, so M3DB handles that with ease for solving Uber Use case. That uber case was not properly solved by other tools they were using before at Uber such as Graphite, Prometheus, etc. M3DB brings that handling of multi-million matrics per second with the persistence of some million aggregated matrics also. Learn more about GPU accelerated Analytics in this insight.

      • GSA Unveils Open-Source Code for USDA Food Assistance App Prototype

        The General Services Administration (GSA) has developed a code for assessing citizens’ eligibility for the Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to allow immediate open-source modifications and system interoperability.

        Alex Soble, consulting engineer at GSA’s 18F unit, and Mike Gintz, a strategist at 18F, wrote in a blog post published Tuesday that the SNAP prototype was developed with federal policy experts to simplify food-stamp eligibility processing and standardize operations across states while incorporating regulatory changes.

      • Businesses choose open source for digital transformation

        While many elements go into selecting the perfect database administration system, flexibility and interoperability must be non-negotiable.

        In agile initiatives, particularly firstly of the undertaking, not every part is thought – not even the cloud infrastructure. Being locked right into a platform or vendor inhibits builders from contemplating particular database capabilities, resembling saved procedures, knowledge sorts and superior operators.

        To overcome this situation, many builders now restrict themselves to plain ANSI SQL and Object Request Brokers, and recreate many database capabilities within the software logic, resembling transactional consistency, knowledge administration and queries.

        This strategy, nevertheless, might result in giant parts of customized code, considerably decreasing efficiency and introducing transactional inconsistencies.


        According to a current report, greater than 50 % of enterprises surveyed in Asia Pacific stated that they use open-source databases.

      • Embracing Open-Source to Fill the IT Skills Gap

        It’s not difficult to conclude that, in the world that places the greatest importance on speed, efficiency and user-friendliness, IT has become the backbone of business in the 21st century. Despite the vast benefits and reliance on technology in today’s business, both employees and leaders in the field are familiar with the skills gap in the industry, and need to address it.

        IT staff must be able to implement, operate and manage new technologies effectively to procure business benefits, yet a recent study found that 65% of CIOs report IT skills shortages in their organisation. As well as this, the World Economic Forum estimates that technological disruptions in Asia in its growing digital economy will see 53 million workers having to be reskilled in ASEAN alone in 2020.

      • Altitude Angel releases Scout, an open-source remote ID platform
      • Altitude Angel release ‘Scout’ Open Source Hardware and Software platform for remote ID

        Altitude Angel, the world’s leading UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management) technology provider, is releasing an open-sourced project, Scout, consisting of hardware and firmware to enable drone manufacturers, software developers and commercial drone pilots to quickly connect to its global UTM.

      • Rav1e Sees New Pre-Release With More Speed-Ups, Monochrome Support

        In the time since February this Rust-written AV1 video encoder has seen more functionality get wired up. There is now monochrome support and other functionality implemented, including various speed-ups at different encoding levels. Additionally there are more filters enabled for 4:2:2, more Arm NEON usage, and other optimizations. In addition, crash fixes and test failures have also been addressed with this newest “weekly” pre-release.

      • Web Browsers

      • CMS

      • Programming/Development

        • 24 open source tools for the serverless developer: Part 1

          The mindset of a serverless developer is one of a minimalist: Don’t take on undifferentiated heavy-lifting, and leverage services as much as possible so we can focus on the things that actually differentiate our product and deliver value to our customers. In the same vein, we want to leverage open source tools that are battle-tested rather than building our own.

          In this two-part article series, we will review open source tools you should consider adding to your toolbox. The tools include deployment frameworks, CLIs, libraries, and AWS Serverless Application Repository applications.

        • Mike Milinkovich Explains Eclipse Foundation’s Move To Belgium

          The Eclipse Foundation is moving its headquarters to Belgium, the organization has just revealed. One of the world’s leading open-source software foundations, steward of the Eclipse IDE, enterprise Java, and the Eclipse MicroProfile, and the heart of a global ecosystem of developers, companies, and public sector entities, is pulling up stakes and heading for Brussels.

          Well, figuratively speaking.

          This “move” is more about establishing an official identity in a region poised to embrace open source in a big way than physically relocating. The Foundation offices in Ottawa, Canada, will still be there when the new legal entity in Europe is established later this summer; it should be finalized by July 2020. The Foundation will then be legally “domiciled” in Belgium as an AISBL (Association internationale sans but lucratif), which is the international version of the country’s two forms of non-profits.

        • Eclipse Foundation Transitioning to Europe as Part of Continued Global Expansion

          The Eclipse Foundation, one of the world’s largest open source software foundations, announced it is cementing its commitment to global expansion by establishing itself as a European-based organization. Through the creation of Eclipse Foundation AISBL based in Brussels, the international non-profit association will be uniquely positioned to leverage its recent international growth and foster global industry collaboration on open source projects in strategic technologies, such as the cloud, edge computing, artificial intelligence, connected vehicles, telecommunications, and the Internet of Things. With this move, the Eclipse Foundation, which is already an open source organization in Europe, aims to build on its existing international membership base to accelerate the growth of its open ecosystem of developers, companies, and public sector entities collaborating to advance technologies that are expected to have a major impact on global economies.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: #2 T^4: Customizing The Shell Prompt

          The second video (following the announcement and last week’s shell colors) is up in the stil new T^4 series of video lightning talks with tips, tricks, tools, and toys. Today we cover customizing shell prompts.

        • RcppArmadillo 0.9.880.1.0

          Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra aiming towards a good balance between speed and ease of use with a syntax deliberately close to a Matlab. RcppArmadillo integrates this library with the R environment and language–and is widely used by (currently) 719 other packages on CRAN.

          Conrad released a new upstream version 9.880.1 of Armadillo on Friday which I packaged and tested as usual (result log here in the usual repo). The R package also sports a new OpenMP detection facility once again motivated by macOS which changed its setup yet again.

        • Sebastian Pölsterl: Survival Analysis for Deep Learning Tutorial for TensorFlow 2

          A while back, I posted the Survival Analysis for Deep Learning tutorial. This tutorial was written for TensorFlow 1 using the tf.estimators API. The changes between version 1 and the current TensorFlow 2 are quite significant, which is why the code does not run when using a recent TensorFlow version. Therefore, I created a new version of the tutorial that is compatible with TensorFlow 2. The text is basically identical, but the training and evaluation procedure changed.

        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • Anvil Open-Sources its App Server to Speed Embedded Web App Creation
          • Anvil’s open source server enables Python developers to create and run web apps anywhere

            The company, based at Eagle Labs on Chesterton Road, has made its app server open source, meaning developers only need knowledge of Python to get full stack web apps up and running.

            Traditional web app development requires knowledge of multiple languages and frameworks. This complexity slows down work and proves prohibitive for many programmers.

            Anvil’s integrated development environment aims to remove the bottlenecks and the enhancement means apps can run anywhere, including on Raspberry Pi or on Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

          • Python Caches Integers

            An integer in Python is not a traditional 2, 4, or 8-byte implementation but rather it is implemented as an array of digits in base 2^30 which enables Python to support super long integers. Since there is no explicit limit on the size, working with integers in Python is extremely convenient as we can carry out operations on very long numbers without worrying about integer overflows. This convenience comes at a cost of allocation being expensive and trivial operations like addition, multiplication, division being inefficient.

          • ActiveState Launches Early Access Program to the ActiveState Platform for Open Source Projects

            Today ActiveState announced a free early access program for qualifying open source projects to the ActiveState Platform. The early access program is a prelude to offering free access to the Platform for all qualified open source projects. The program lets Python-based projects easily create and share smaller and more secure Python distributions for multiple operating systems using the ActiveState Platform.

          • Python 3.8.3 : Simple example to fix maximum recursion depth exceeded.

            This short tutorial try to solve simple and easy the stack limit for recursion without using advanced programming techniques.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Designing tasteful CLIs: a case study

            Yesterday evening my apprentice, Ian Bruene, tossed a design question at me.

            Ian is working on a utility he calls “igor” intended to script interactions with GitLab, a major public forge site. Like many such sites, it has a sort of remote-procedure-call interface that allows you, as an alternative to clicky-dancing on the visible Web interface, to pass it JSON datagrams and get back responses that do useful things like – for example – publishing a release tarball of a project where GitLab users can easily find it.

            Igor is going to have (actually, already has) one mode that looks like a command interpreter for a little minilanguage, with each command being an action verb like “upload” or “release”. The idea is not so much for users to drive this manually as for them to be able to write scripts in the minilanguage which become part of a project’s canned release procedure. (This is why GUIs are irrelevant to this whole discussion; you can’t script a GUI.)

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • COVID-19: Collaboration is the engine of global science – especially for developing countries

        In recent weeks, doctors, researchers, engineers and scientists from all fields of knowledge around the world have worked together tirelessly to confront the coronavirus outbreak with an unprecedented spirit of collaboration.

        In January, a team of Chinese and Australian researchers published the first genome of the new virus, and the genetic map was made freely available for access by researchers worldwide. The virus has since been sequenced in excess of 3,000 times, charting both the original genome and its mutations. The much-needed vaccine would not be possible without this research.

        There is strength in numbers. We learn more, and faster, together – and the pandemic is underscoring the critical role of international collaboration on the frontiers of science and technology.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Micron Unveils World’s First Open-Source Storage Engine Designed for SSDs and Storage Class Memory

              Micron Technology, Inc., announced the first open-source, heterogeneous-memory storage engine (HSE), designed specifically for solid-state drives (SSDs) and storage-class memory (SCM). Legacy storage engines born in the era of hard disk drives (HDDs) failed to architecturally provide for the increased performance and reduced latency of next-generation nonvolatile media. HSE, originally developed by Micron and now available to the open-source community, is ideal for developers using all-flash infrastructure who require the benefits of open-source software, including the ability to customize or enhance code for their unique use cases.

            • He Left His High-Paying Job At LinkedIn And Then Built A $4.5 Billion Business In A Niche You’ve Never Heard Of

              When Jay Kreps was at LinkedIn, he had several mission-critical responsibilities. He was the technical lead on the platform’s search systems, recommendation engine, and social graph. But perhaps most impressively, he was one of the co-creators of Apache Kafka, an open-source software now used by over 100,000 organizations globally, that helps companies efficiently handle real-time data feeds like LinkedIn’s own.


              To Kreps and his co-founders Neha Narkhede and Jun Rao (who also left LinkedIn and co-created Kafka), that was okay. From day zero, he was determined to build a successful business in the event streaming niche, one he predicted six years ago “could serve as a kind of ‘central nervous system’” to some of the world’s most complex systems and applications.

            • Inria releases some source code of French contact-tracing app [Ed: INRIA contributes to the #openwashing of mass surveillance]
            • COVIDSafe code released, but developers unhappy [Ed: This was outsourced to GitHub]

              The source code for Australia’s COVID-19 contact tracing app has finally been publicly released, but a group of developers scrutinising the service say it has not been properly open sourced and feedback has been blocked.

            • Ferrari reveal open-source ‘F15’ ventilator
            • AWS open sources cloud development kit to make Kubernetes easier to use [Ed: AWS or Amazon outsources its code to proprietary software prison of Microsoft]
            • AWS Offers Open-Source App Scaling Service for GovCloud (US) [Ed: This misleading 'report' (ad) makes it seem like there's something "open" about AWS]
            • AMD’s Radeon Rays 4.0 Announced as Closed Source, Then Mostly Opened Again After Backlash [Ed: AMD has just tested the limits of openwashing]

              The ray intersection acceleration library (formerly known as FireRays) is part of the AMD ProRender software suite. However, it could previously only run on the CPU, which was quite the limitation. Now, with the first RDNA2 AMD GPUs already confirmed to introduce hardware support for ray tracing, Radeon Rays 4.0 finally introduces BVH optimization specifically for GPU access alongside requiring one of the major low-level APIs: Microsoft’s DirectX 12, Khronos’ Vulkan, and Apple’s Metal. It also supports Heterogeneous-Compute Interface for Portability (HIP), which is AMD’s C++ parallel computing platform (the equivalent of NVIDIA’s CUDA).

            • HW News – AMD Closes, then Opens “Open Source” Code, 6.5GB/s SSD, & Unpatchable Vulnerability

              It’s been another interesting week in the realm of hardware and technology. The week started off slowly, but ended with a deluge of interesting stories, mostly as it relates to US semiconductor manufacturing. In addition to Intel and Samsung in talks with the Department of Defense, it looks as if TSMC will be adding a second fab to its US roster.

              We also have news on AMD’s open-source GPUOpen, and its apparently not so open-source Radeon Rays solution. Sometimes. There’s also news on the recently unveiled Unreal Engine 5 and how Epic CEO Tim Sweeney feels about the SSD storage solutions in the PlayStation 5.

              Elsewhere at GN, we recently covered Nvidia’s GTC 2020 keynote where Ampere was formally announced — check out both the article and video. We’ve also been extensively overclocking the Ryzen 3 3100, as well as the AMD Ryzen 3 3100 Infinity Fabric clock (FCLK).

            • Ex-Agency Directors launch an open-source consultancy [Ed: Clear misuse of the term "open source"]

              The founders, who have all held leadership roles in some of the world’s most successful agencies, have now opened the new strategy shop which aims to take the science big brands use to succeed and give businesses big and small the practical ways to win.

              Along with the consultancy, untangld offers products designed to enable client organisations to do more research and strategy themselves.

              Co-founder James Needham, who was responsible for growing the strategy and research division at CHE Proximity said “what’s exciting about the untangld model is that we’ve already been able to create research products we know strategists find useful. Twenty-four hour national polls and self-service research products that you don’t need big budgets or years of research experience to use”.

              Chan, one of the most awarded strategists in the world, talks about why they are different from other consultancies out in the market.

              Danish Chan co-founder of untangld said, “We started untangld to help businesses navigate their most defining moments. Whether that’s scale-ups looking to grow rapidly or big brands looking to re-position. But unlike other consultancies, we offer businesses a range of capability building tools so they rely on consultancies for less”.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Debian Developer Erich Schubert: Contact Tracing Apps are Useless

              Some people believe that automatic contact tracing apps will help contain the Coronavirus epidemic. They won’t.

              Sorry to bring the bad news, but IT and mobile phones and artificial intelligence will not solve every problem.

              In my opinion, those that promise to solve these things with artificial intelligence / mobile phones / apps / your-favorite-buzzword are at least overly optimistic and “blinder Aktionismus” (*), if not naive, detachted from reality, or fraudsters that just want to get some funding.


              Low adoption rates. Apparently even in technology affine Singapore, fewer than 20% of people installed the app. That does not even mean they use it regularly. In Austria, the number is apparently below 5%, and people complain that it does not detect contact… But in order for this approach to work, you will need Chinese-style mass surveillance that literally puts you in prison if you do not install the app.


              Trust. In Germany, the app will be operated by T-Systems and SAP. Not exactly two companies that have a lot of fans… SAP seems to be one of the most hated software around. Neither company is known for caring about privacy much, but they are prototypical for “business first”. Its trust the cat to keep the cream. Yes, I know they want to make it open-source. But likely only the client, and you will still have to trust that the binary in the app stores is actually built from this source code, and not from a modified copy. As long as the name T-Systems and SAP are associated to the app, people will not trust it. Plus, we all know that the app will be bad, given the reputation of these companies at making horrible software systems…


              Infighting. You may remember that there was the discussion before that there should be a pan-european effort. Except that in the end, everybody fought everybody else, countries went into different directions and they all broke up. France wanted a centralized systems, while in Germany people pointed out that the users will not accept this and only a distributed system will have a chance. That failed effort was known as “Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT)” vs. “Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (DP-3T)”, and it turned out to have become a big “clusterfuck”. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

              Iceleand, probably the country that handled the Corona crisis best (they issued a travel advisory against Austria, when they were still happily spreading the virus at apres-ski; they massively tested, and got the infections down to almost zero within 6 weeks), has been experimenting with such an app. Iceland as a fairly close community managed to have almost 40% of people install their app. So did it help? No: “The technology is more or less … I wouldn’t say useless […] it wasn’t a game changer for us.”

            • Corporate Foundations

        • Security

          • ERNW Reviews Source Code for Huawei 5G Core Network UDG, Finds It Is of Good Quality
          • ERNW reviews source code for Huawei 5G core network UDG, finds it is of good quality
          • krb5-strength 3.2

            krb5-strength provides password strength checking for Kerberos KDCs (either MIT or Heimdal), and also provides a password history implementation for Heimdal.

            This release adds a check-only mode to the heimdal-history command to interrogate history without modifying it and increases the default hash iterations used when storing old passwords. explicit_bzero is now used, where available, to clear the memory used for passwords after processing. krb5-strength can now optionally be built without CrackLib support at all, if you only want to use the word list, edit distance, or length and character class rules.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Google Analytics trackers in contact-tracing app code ‘risks re-identification’

              Users of the NHS contact-tracing app could be re-identified due to the code including Google Analytics tracking, a coder has said.

              The app’s code was made available on GitHub on 7 May, four days after its trial on the Isle of Wight was announced.

              NHSX has always maintained the code would be made publicly available, but currently only the front-end code has been published.

              The team behind the app have done a “really good job” within a short space of time “particularly given some of the technology constraints”, but there were some issues with the code, open source advocate Rob Dyke told Digital Health News.

    • Finance

    • Monopolies

Microsoft GNU-Hub (Part 5)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:38 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Article by figosdev

Baby-Faced Assasin

Summary: The concluding part of this series about GNU becoming dependent on a proprietary software trap of Microsoft (see the first four parts [1, 2, 3, 4])

99% of the time, letting Microsoft have influence or control over your software is a negative — and that’s being generous.

The essence of software disobedience is to not let developers dictate the actions of the user. A free license is the most significant step towards software freedom by far, but if users are expected to kowtow to the wishes of developers, then we find ourselves building a movement of “free in license only”.

Yes, you have the four freedoms, BUT you’re expected to do what we tell you? The attitudes of some contemporary free software developers have nothing to do with user freedom.

In the past, the freedom to NOT run the software was a de facto reality for the most part (within reason). Free software built its legacy on this de facto freedom, but today people call for it to receive more official attention because this freedom is being put aside. Too much depends on too much else, and the only “freedom” will come from forking projects and making them optional again.

“Too much depends on too much else, and the only “freedom” will come from forking projects and making them optional again.”No one calling for this modularity assumes that there won’t be dependencies in software; that is a straw man. But when the dependencies all depend on Microsoft GitHub, that should give serious pause.

Whatever your feelings on that are, a stated goal of the research in this series was to figure out what it would take to produce a GitHub-free software distribution — as a protest, thought experiment and illustration of the amount of leverage Microsoft has gained.

It also shows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I think — that too many GNU developers are apathetic about the fact that Microsoft now controls GitHub. GitHub activity by GNU developers (not all of them, as far as we know) has not ceased since the purchase of GitHub more than a year ago. On the contrary — the GNU project has made little known effort (from the top or otherwise) to move away from GitHub since the acquisition.

The FSF’s stance as usual, is to broaden the scope of the problem until it can support a nearly-lukewarm plan of action (if any at all). Unless there is a dramatic change, the FSF might as well just hand over the GNU project to Microsoft altogether.

Bit by bit, GNU is moving more in that direction than the other. When will they actually change heading? The future of the Free software movement — if it has one — is from people who are less apathetic than the FSF or even the GNU developers. Prove me wrong, devs — very little would make me happier.

Not that rms didn't try, but not enough GNU maintainers are listening.

Although this part will serve as a summary, it is not a summary alone. Part 5 adds several projects to the list, concluding (for now) the study of the full list of official GNU projects as listed on GNU Savannah.

To answer the question — what would it take to have a GNU distro that is free of GitHub, I would start with a modular, low-frills but still generally practical distro like Tiny Core. It’s systemd-free and uses BusyBox. I prefer the “real”, full version of these utilities, which I usually install on top of this.

I already have a system that can automate the remastering of Tiny Core, including its packages, but (like most distros with a live image) Tiny Core relies on squashfs for some of its filesystem. In fact it relies on squashfs for its packages as well.

“Unless there is a dramatic change, the FSF might as well just hand over the GNU project to Microsoft altogether.”Since squashfs is based on GitHub — the utility, but not the kernel portion, I take this to mean that we can mount sfs packages and images but not repack them. Therefore to go GitHub-free, we could produce a tool that converts sfs images to files that are formatted with the ext3 filesystem.

This would increase the size of each package, which we could then compress with gzip or xz-utils. That would at least make packages tolerable in terms of download size. Whether we could develop a way to mount packages without first decompressing them is an exercise left for the reader, at least for now.

Since GNU tar relies on GNU Bison, which is based on Microsoft GitHub, simply having tar available would require moving GNU Bison. If there is a way to use GNU tar without GNU Bison, that would also help.

In part 1, it was recommended that the GNU project fork or at least mirror Perl 5 on some non-GitHub repo. A mirror in and of itself wouldn’t satisfy the standard of “GitHub-free” followed by this series per se, but it would be a start — and it’s assumed that “the world will move to Perl 6″ (Raku) anyway. This is a very premature assumption if the move from Perl 5 to 6 is anything like the move from Python 2, but for the sake of consistency, a hard fork of Perl is recommended.

Then after you move GNU Bison off GitHub and also fork Flex, you will have enough GitHub-free software to use Automake again.

We aren’t out of the woods yet, because we have no compiler. Both Clang and GCC have some dependencies on GitHub, and it is assumed that GCC is more valuable to the GNU project than Clang is. So remove or hard fork D language (GitHub) which is included in GCC, and hopefully at this point you won’t need to remove the Perl scripts that are used for unit tests or building the compiler or glibc.

“Both Clang and GCC have some dependencies on GitHub, and it is assumed that GCC is more valuable to the GNU project than Clang is.”Again, if you know an easier way, please let us know in the comments.

I’ve never used linux-libre to deblob the kernel, but a lot of it is shell scripts. The deblob-check script can use awk, Python or Perl — with Perl discouraged and awk recommended. We could try to find out if the Python part works with PyPy, or remove it. Linux-libre also calls tar, so that would probably need to be sorted first.

It would be interesting to know if you can really use and maintain the GNU project without Perl. We now have statistics on it (they are incomplete, but mostly complete — so we use the phrase “at least” a lot) and we can now say things like…

At least 54 (or 16%) of the 338 listed GNU projects (FriBidi isn’t listed) use Perl: (GIFT) GNU Image Finding Tool, ACM, Articulatory Speech Synthesis, GNU Autoconf Archive, autogen, bayonne, classpath, cppi, ERC, GMediaServer, Gnatsweb, GNU a2ps, GNU Anubis, GNU Aspell, GNU Automake, GNU C Compiler, GNU CLISP, GNU Common Lisp, GNU Core Utilities, GNU FreeIPMI, GNU gcal, GNU GLOBAL, GNU Go, GNU gv, GNU gzip, GNU Midnight Commander, GNU Networking Utilities, GNU Octave, GNU Parallel, GNU Pem, GNU Pth, GNU radius, GNU SpaceChart, GNU Stow, GNU troff, GNU Typist, GNUbatch, GNUnet, GNUpod, GNUspool, Guile-OpenGL, LibreDWG, Liquid War 6, M <MetaHTML>, make, PSPP, Sather, Taylor uucp, texinfo – GNU documentation system, The GNU Hurd, The GNU Readline library, units, V.E.R.A. and vc-dwim.

Another 10 (or 3%) use Perl in unit tests: emacs, Gnash, GNU Datamash, GNU Internationalized Domain Names Library, GNU Parted, GNU sed, GNU source-highlight, GNU Zile, GnuCOBOL and grep.

Still another 5 (or 1%) have Perl in docs: GNU awk, GNU Gama, GnuTLS, gperf and Proxyknife.

In total, at least 69 or 1 in 5 listed GNU projects use Perl, which is based on Microsoft GitHub.

“Gtk1 is based on GitHub these days, so any old stuff that needs that you’ll want to bring up to at least Gtk2.”Png graphics are another thing we probably want to liberate. While libpng is thankfully not based on GitHub, libpng is one of two libraries needed for loading and saving png graphics, the other being zlib1g. Zlib1g is based on Microsoft GitHub. So when we start counting files that need zlib1g to load or save them…

At least 31 (or 9%) of the listed GNU projects use png graphics: Ball and Paddle, DDD, Denemo, GNU Chess, GNU CIDE, GNU FM, GNU FreeDink, GNU gradebook, GNU GRUB, GNU Hyperbole, GNU libmicrohttpd, GNU Mailman, GNU mifluz, GNU Optical design and simulation library, GNU remotecontrol, GNU Smalltalk, GNU Solfege, GNUbik, GNUjump, gnuschool, GNUsound, GSEGrafix, Guix Workflow Language, iGNUit, Liquid War, oleo, PowerGuru, PSPP, The GNU Telecom Subsystem, XBoard and Xnee (which includes pnee).

An additional 28 (or 8% of) projects have png graphics in the docs: BPEL2oWFN, C-Graph, Electric VLSI Design System, Gnash, gnats, GNU Astronomy Utilities, Gnu Circuit Analysis Package, GNU CLISP, GNU Core Utilities, GNU Crypto, GNU Gama, GNU Go, GNU Guix, GNU Internationalized Domain Names Library, GNU Libtasn1, GNU LilyPond Music Typesetter, GNU MIX Development Kit, GNU Prolog, GNU Scientific Library, GNU Shishi, GNU Wget, GnuTLS, Guile, Java Training Wheels, Kawa, SQLtutor, TeX for the Impatient and The GNU Shepherd.

Together, these 59 projects represent 17% of the GNU project by count.

But png graphics are not the only thing we need to worry about. Graphics in general are a problem if we want to be free of GitHub. As a small protest, I was saving graphics as jpeg instead of png for a week or two — but I’ve discovered that OpenJPEG is GitHub-based as well. Does anybody still use libj2k?

“So right now, Gtk and Qt are pretty much out unless we do some forking.”If we don’t care about compression, we can do all sorts of things. RAW files, xpm, pcx (basically an RLE-encoded means of compression — not great, but helps sometimes and it’s easy to implement). Presumably however, we care about compression.

Plus, after you fork Perl and zlib1g, you can have most of your graphical toolkits back… or at least you can have Qt back.

Gtk1 is based on GitHub these days, so any old stuff that needs that you’ll want to bring up to at least Gtk2.

Gtk 2, 3 and 4 (in development) all bring in glib2 (that’s GNOME lib, not GNU libc) which brings in libffi and zlib1g. Presumably we have already given in and forked zlib1g — there will be more reasons to do so. But libffi we’ve made no decisions about yet, and it’s based on Microsoft GitHub. Shall we wave goodbye to GNOME then? (If only it were just GNOME…)

As with glib2, qt4core and qt5core bring in zlib1g, which is on Microsoft GitHub. So right now, Gtk and Qt are pretty much out unless we do some forking.

Libtk also brings in zlib1g from GitHub; from what I’ve read, directfb is AWOL, except for GitHub. GGI is alright — the most recent stable version is from 2007. SVGAlib is good! The most recent stable version is from 2001. But you’re probably better off stability-wise with GGI.

X.Org itself is not based on GitHub, so as with png vs. xpm graphics, if you’re content to use X directly without any additional libraries or toolkits… You’re thinking about motif, right? libmotif brings in libmrm4 which brings in libxm4, libpng and zlib1g. But good thinking.

8 (or 2%) of projects use Gtk: GNU gradebook, GNU HaliFAX, GNU MIX Development Kit, GNU Paint, GNU Robots, PSPP, Spread Sheet Widget and Xnee (which includes pnee).

“Stallman warned against this in 2015.”You know what else is typically compiled with png support and needs zlib1g? Libgs from ghostscript. So now we are counting projects that use pdf or postscript files:

At least 11 (or 3%) of projects include pdfs in docs, including GNU Astronomy Utilities, Gnu Circuit Analysis Package, GNU Crypto, GNU Go, GNU Guix, GNU Internationalized Domain Names Library, GNU Linear Programming Kit, GNU Prolog and Gnu Slip. GNU Libtasn1 and GNU Shishi contain pdfs as well, and additionally include postscript files in docs. Another two projects, GNU LilyPond Music Typesetter and GNU Screen, make use of postscript files. All of these bring in zlib1g from Microsoft GitHub.

By far the most egregious thing that has ever happened to the GNU Project, is that some of the projects themselves have moved to GitHub. Stallman warned against this in 2015. That didn’t stop GNU Radio from moving there in September the following year. In fact, one GNU maintainer (of a different project, however) emailed the GNU Radio list in 2017 to say the following:

“Please do not use github. It runs non-free JavaScript, hosts non-free software discover-able by its users, and encourages poor licensing practices.”

This was not simply one developer’s personal feelings or opinion; it was more or less what Stallman himself had said in 2015. One person on the list (a non-maintainer) replied:

“I get your concerns, but AFAIK it’s currently very unlikely that GNU Radio will leave GitHub. It is still the place-to-be for open source code. If you feel uncomfortable using GitHub, we also have the repo self-hosted at http://gnuradio.org/redmine/projects/gnuradio/repository .”

Don’t bother going to the redmine repository, as of this writing it gives a 404.

Then an actual GNU Radio maintainer piped in, albeit with something less helpful than the non-maintainer’s reply:

“I’m going to paraphrase your position, to highlight the absurdity of it:”

“Please don’t house Gnu projects in buildings in which other, non-free, software development takes place, also, not in cities in which the by-laws allow such non-free entities to conduct business”.

“Can you see how absurd your position is?”

That wasn’t the emailer’s actual position, however.

So you have at least one active GNU maintainer who isn’t merely unimpressed with Stallman’s word on being on GitHub, but considers any similar mention an absurdity. A year or so later, Microsoft purchased GitHub. Has GNU Radio moved away yet? Not yet.

“In order to clear a project as GitHub free, we want to know that it works with PyPy — as CPython is based on Microsoft GitHub.”8 (or 2%) of projects have actually moved partially or entirely to GitHub: GNU Bison, GNU Radio, GNU Smalltalk (perhaps unofficially, but then it appears they may have had the good sense to move to their own Git again after the Microsoft purchase — we are still piecing together some of the details with these projects), GNU FriBidi (listed more than once as a GNU project, though presently unlisted as one) as well as part of GNU VCDImager and part of libcdio (libcdio-paranoia specifically). MAC Changer is on GitHub though nobody has touched it in years. GNU Freetalk moved to GitHub at least 3 years ago: http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/freetalk.git/commit/ https://github.com/GNUFreetalk/freetalk/commits It’s right there in the source files and documentation: freetalk-4.1/doc/freetalk.1 “Report bugs at https://github.com/GNUFreetalk/freetalk/issues”

Flex, lex, Yacc and Bison are all related — lex is a lexer, flex is an alternative, Bison is an alternative to Yacc and Bison often uses flex to get tokens. The problem is that flex and GNU Bison are both GitHub-based.

You can certainly change the output of Bison or flex without running Bison or flex again. Anybody who has written their own parsers understands this. But if the source includes the input for Bison and flex or calls it from a script, then it’s difficult to say they aren’t required as well. As I said in Part 4, I stopped counting things that use flex or bison for building because there are so many.

Given that it’s difficult to say what really does and doesn’t need them, at least 4 (or 1%) of projects have a scanner generated by flex: GNU MIX Development Kit, GNU radius, GNU Rush and GnuCOBOL.

Another 3 projects seem to require flex for some of their functions: GNU nano, Automake and Guile.

At least 4 (or 1%) of projects have a parser generated by or call GNU Bison, which is based on Microsoft GitHub: GNU gv, GNU patch, GNU SpaceChart and GNU tar.

“Incidentally, both PyPy and CPython need zlib1g and libffi. Both zlib1g and libffi are based on GitHub, so while CPython is developed on GitHub and PyPy is not, both need two key libraries from GitHub regardless.”Regarding Python in the GNU Project and in general, CPython is the most often-used implementation overall. PyPy is a great drop-in replacement, though it doesn’t work on everything. Therefore Python is worth watching for, but only proves to be a GitHub hostage sometimes. In order to clear a project as GitHub free, we want to know that it works with PyPy — as CPython is based on Microsoft GitHub.

Incidentally, both PyPy and CPython need zlib1g and libffi. Both zlib1g and libffi are based on GitHub, so while CPython is developed on GitHub and PyPy is not, both need two key libraries from GitHub regardless. It’s very important to rescue zlib1g and libffi from GitHub. PyPy is still the more GitHub-free of the two Python implementations.

At least 33 (10%) of projects use Python: Articulatory Speech Synthesis, Free UCS Outline Fonts, Gnash, Gnowledge Networking and Organizing System, GNU a2ps, GNU C Compiler (to build?), GNU C Library (What is it like if you remove the Python scripts?), GNU EDMA, GNU Enterprise, GNU FM, GNU FreeDink, GNU GLOBAL, GNU Go, GNU GRUB, GNU Health, GNU Hyperbole, GNU Jami, GNU LilyPond Music Typesetter, GNU Mailman, GNU Mailutils, GNU MediaGoblin, GNU Solfege, GNU source-highlight, GNUbatch, GNUspool, GNUtrition, Liquid War, Occhiolino, PowerGuru, pyconfigure, PythonWebkit, swbis and units.

If you noticed, GCC and glibc both use Python, which requires libffi from GitHub. So perhaps that’s the entire GNU Project relying on Microsoft GitHub, right there — unless Python and libffi are really optional for these (that would be great).

Also won’t GNU GRUB work without Python? It must, as I’ve booted distros without it (Tiny Core can). But it contains Python scripts, whatever they’re needed for.

There are 339 projects (plus some additional dependencies) covered in this series. I’ve looked through the entire GNU Project for all the information I could find, including in the source code — and I’ve verified as much as possible. Though I can hardly say I’m familiar enough with the entire project to rival what the developers or maintainers know. I’ve compiled very few C programs, as a matter of fact.

For all these grim findings, it would be nice to get some reassurances from maintainers. I feel confident that a decent amount of this data will prove accurate — and I hope that at least some of it is wrong.

It’s particularly difficult to determine what’s optional. For GNU diff utilities, Perl seems to be truly optional. GNU make may let you choose between Perl or Python.

GNU CSSC, findutils and GNU Parted have Python in tests.

Guile, Gforth and GNU Guix all seem to need libffi. What’s sacrificed if ffcall or fflib is used instead? I couldn’t tell you if that’s possible.

Gnu-pw-mgr and gnulib both use gnulib-modules/bootstrap from GitHub.

“GNU social uses HTTP_Request2 from GitHub.”GNUzilla is built with rust, which is developed on GitHub. It also includes LibreJS, which uses Jasmine from GitHub.

Gnu Guix uses elogind, which a GNU maintainer forked on GitHub. Why didn’t they choose another repo?

GNUsound includes modules for both ALSA and Jack audio. This is understandable, but both are based on Microsoft GitHub.

GNU Wget is sometimes compiled with support for brotli compression from Google’s GitHub repo, or zstd from Facebook’s GitHub repo.

GNU GRUB may use zstd and Bison as well.

GNU Mes appears to depend on two projects from GitHub, mescc-tools and hex2 linker.

GNUnet uses wolfssl from GitHub.

WB B-tree Associative Arrays includes C Sharp code, which runs on Mono from GitHub.

GNU nano gets OS/2 support from GitHub. This may not apply when compiled for other platforms.

GNU social uses HTTP_Request2 from GitHub.

The readme for GNU Guile-CV says Guile-CV is based on vigra, which is on GitHub. Does that make it a hard fork?

“GNU MediaGoblin uses Docker, from Microsoft GitHub.”The GNU Source Release Collection is a metarelease of all GNU sources. As long as any part of the GNU Project uses GitHub, so will it.

GNU MediaGoblin uses Docker, from Microsoft GitHub.

Finally, Doxyfile is something to watch for in the sources. I believe this is created by Doxygen, which is used to create documentation from source code. Doxygen is based on GitHub.

If you put all these together, at least 163 projects — or 48% of the GNU Project — is using software that’s based on Microsoft GitHub.

Originally I had hoped to simply remaster Tiny Core and remove the packages that were GitHub-based. A true fork of Perl — even a GitHub-free fork of GCC, is more than one person would likely or reasonably do for the sake of a protest or thought experiment. This isn’t going to work unless the GNU project (or a fork of the GNU project) decides to take it seriously. I certainly don’t expect that to happen.

Instead, I have to ask — how much leverage is the GNU project going to leave in the hands of its most significant opponent? While Roy is more optimistic, I believe this is all more damning than it first appears. For years now, the free software movement has shifted from making progress in the face of new threats to getting better at making excuses to do nothing.

There are a few things to be hopeful about — despite my condemnation of Free software supporters who deny the role of copyright in all this or the need for reform (one does imply the other, really!) Some high-profile advocates (such as David Revoy) do stand for both. Despite my criticism of what Trisquel has turned into and my overall pessimism about the GNU project itself, I continue to take note of the efforts by Hyperbola — which please me a great deal.

“If you put all these together, at least 163 projects — or 48% of the GNU Project — is using software that’s based on Microsoft GitHub.”It’s the fact that the overall movement does not understand the significance of the previous paragraph, and the trouble they will go to in order to minimise its points when brought up that trouble me. I do not hold any major hope for the free software movement itself. I strongly believe that years from now, only a (sincere) effort to reboot Free software — an effort much unlike the fake, corporate sellout “Open source” will save the movement.

It troubles me that the original movement does not do much to encourage or cultivate the growing effort from this new breed of support, but this fits the model of what typically happens to old 501(c)(3) organisations. I believe the only long-term hope for Free software is grassroots — Open source is astroturfed, and we should be careful to watch for more “help” from big corporations in activists’ clothing.

As for GitHub, it’s true that Microsoft is not the only threat to free software. But underestimating it is dangerous, and reeks of hubris. Even if apathy doesn’t kill GNU, it certainly doesn’t make it stronger. Apathy begets apathy, and if the Free software movement itself doesn’t take threats like this seriously, one has to wonder why people will consider it important in the future. If it’s going to become just a way of gluing stuff from GitHub together, why not simply call it Microsoft GNU?

“The time to step up and do something isn’t in 5 years. It’s right now.”Of course software freedom matters either way. But will GNU developers continue to stand up for freedom, or will they settle for words and excuses when action and firmness are needed? Their choice to trust Microsoft will likely be downplayed before it is ever rectified.

And I know they will vary on this, but if the GNU developers care so little about what happens to this software, how can we be sure they still care about your freedom? The time to step up and do something isn’t in 5 years. It’s right now.

Long live rms, Save the GNU, and happy hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain; Except for fair use quotes from mailing lists, which are Copyright their respective authors).

With Microsoft Windows on Key Systems Many Hospitals Become Remotely Controlled and Nonoperational

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Servers, Windows at 9:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Should we start death clocks for Windows in hospitals, like we do for COVID-19?

Room in hospital
Can patients hang on while the workers reboot, reinstall and sometimes pay ransom?

Summary: Windows in hospitals literally kills people; the use of Windows costs many lives, even if the media doesn’t like to talk about it (or only talks about it in order to misplace the blame after high-profile calamities; many are being covered up, never to be reported to the public or even to patients)

OVER THE PAST month or so we’ve published a number of articles about the damage caused by Microsoft and by Windows inside hospitals, estimating the death toll to be worse than that of COVID-19 (but over a much longer period of time). There are some press articles about it, albeit many poorly-researched ones that misplace blame, and one more such article was added to our latest Daily Links. Almost every day there are ransomware incidents; thousands of Windows-running hospitals all around the world are impacted. Also small clinics are impacted. The damage is immeasurable and it’s typically easy to identify Windows as the culprit. How many pieces of software out there have back doors in them and NSA tools crafted for remote access — tools that are later leaked to the Internet?

“The idea is to shift attention away from Microsoft back doors and intimate connections between Bill Gates and high-profile pedophiles.”ZDNet and other Microsoft propaganda networks are trying to divert attention to mythical Linux “back doors”. They did it again last week. Facts don’t matter to these people; they also defamed Richard Stallman. The idea is to shift attention away from Microsoft back doors and intimate connections between Bill Gates and high-profile pedophiles.

We’re privileged to have heard and collected stories about what Windows did in (or to) hospitals. I too shared some of my experiences, to the degree I’m permitted.

“Miraculously,” one source once told us, “my clinic in the hospital seems to have been spared.”

“A number of screenshots were sent to us prove the allegations we heard and then studied.”The source told us that the whole hospital (pretty much) was nonoperational after Windows computers had been breached, impacting everything from the back end to the front end. People were dying and access to medical records was denied (except by the crackers, who got their own copies of those). It was a nightmare scenario, but who’s keeping count? When people die from COVID-19 there are all sorts of “Internet bodycounts/death clocks” (like this one), but nobody keeps track of people who die in a hospital and outside a hospital because of Windows back doors, failures, ransomware, expired licences and so on. Never mind the cost Microsoft imposes on clinics, denying investment in more important and life-saving things like respirators and ventilators (critical at this time).

A number of screenshots were sent to us prove the allegations we heard and then studied. We cannot share them here as they can help identity sources, places, nature of incident and so on. We’ll keep things as vague as necessary to protect sources.

As is widely known, Microsoft often works — and sells licences — through vendors and channels. They, in turn, promote and defend Microsoft. It’s like a religion. They’re told they’re part of a “family” albeit it’s more like a cult and they’ll never ever blame Microsoft.

“As is widely known, Microsoft often works — and sells licences — through vendors and channels.”The vendor in the particular hospital we learned about is “also a Microsoft tool,” we were told, “but nothing unusual has happened here, other than a very strange chat I had with an intruder…”

The screenshots show mouse movements and a conversation with a text editor. Remote desktop…

Just lovely…

Hallway in hospitalIt’s like having a hospital remotely controlled from another site…

Another country as well?

Just the hallmark of security — exactly what inspires confidence in your practitioner and practice. With all your medical data on it…

“It’s like having a hospital remotely controlled from another site…”“Despite that,” the source said, “our patients are being treated and we have all of their records on a local server and on paper.”

This is considered the exception. We learned from others that even medical records had become inaccessible. It’s close to impossible to operate without these.

“To get Internet,” we learned, “our IT guy routed the office subnets through one of the doctor’s private cable box. It’s painfully slow, the Microsoft mail server seems broken, and we can’t talk to other parts of the hospital.”

We’ve safely/securely kept copies of some evidence.

Feet in hospital

Windows Dying on Desktops and Laptops; Dell Precision Workstations Will Come With GNU/Linux

Posted in Dell, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 8:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Weeks after Lenovo announced Fedora on laptops (formerly IBM-branded)

YouTube link

Summary: Market surveys have indicated that it’s not a Windows world anymore and for technical reasons (and purposes) GNU/Linux will be gaining a lot this week, not just this year

THIS COMING Tuesday Dell will spread the word about its embargoed announcement, which it hopes will help sales of GNU/Linux machines (with GNU/Linux preinstalled).

There won’t be TV advertising about it (IBM did in fact put “Linux” on TV almost two decades ago) and there’s no press coverage when Microsoft loses its grip on the desktop (Windows market share has long been lower than that of Android).

“…Dell will need to adapt accordingly.”“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is how Gil Scott-Heron put it. Free software, even if it is besieged by the “Open Source” fakes and by monopolies, is spreading to more machines out there. Whether freedom comes about as a result is another question. We need to work towards that objective because the likes of Dell don’t care about freedom; they only care about sales. If more buyers care about freedom, Dell will need to adapt accordingly.

Munich Dumped Microsoft; One Week After European Media Covered It Aplenty Only One Single Article in English!

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 8:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The abject bias is showing: A week has passed and still, despite the importance of this story, only one single article in English (and not even a good one) about Munich dumping Microsoft; it’s in Spanish, French and German media, but when Microsoft pays the media like it paid Munich to dump GNU/Linux (bribery, media mobbing, corrupt ‘studies’ and other mischief) the media is eager to cover particular things and not others

Munich Dumped Microsoft - media coverage

Summary: 100 times more articles about Microsoft offering a bug-hunting bounty and misnaming it “Linux” (googlebombing tactics) than about Munich dumping Microsoft for Free/libre software, which is pretty major news; much can be inferred or taught about media bias here

Girl cried after reading note: Microsoft dumped
When Microsoft is your sponsor…

Links 17/5/2020: Audacity 2.4.0, SuperTux 0.6.2, Kdenlive 20.04.1, Tor

Posted in News Roundup at 7:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux and open source discussed in podcast, with Positive Internet

        In conversation with Nick Mailer, founder of The Positive Internet Company, a company that’s been in the free and open-source camp ever since its start. We discuss why every desktop’s a Linux desktop, how the “potting shed” mentality of the British psyche led to ARM’s world domination, and the fact that Positive’s green credentials are usually an afterthought for many of its clients, but a central tenet of the company.

        When it was founded, Positive Internet decided that open source software was the way to go. More than 20 years later, they seem to have been right about that particular choice (although Nick’s love of Perl and Vim may be more debatable). The company was founded in the same year a certain American startup opened shop, though Google has, it has to be mentioned, taken a rather different trajectory.

        With land dedicated to rewilding projects and a data center in the fenlands of Cambridgeshire (where wind power is pretty much unlimited), Positive Internet now has a global reach, with international offices and clients (including a one R. Stallman Esq.) all over the world. We spent an hour with Nick chewing the fat; this podcast is just some of the conversation’s many highlights. Enjoy!

      • Going Linux #391 · Listener Feedback

        The voice mail line gets some use. Bill has some distro and podcast recommendations for exploration during isolation. We help with some issues and we highlight an embarassing mistake.
        Episode 391 Time Stamps
        00:00 Going Linux #391 · Listener Feedback
        00:55 Bill participates in Ubuntu 20.04 test week
        02:24 Testing colors other than green
        03:23 Ubuntu DDE
        05:38 Arco is a no-go for new users
        10:05 Background noise generator
        11:16 Nofications: Do Not Disturb mode
        12:01 Bill’s list of podcasts for sheltering at home
        14:18 Vic: More workflow topics, hardware compatibility, LHS
        23:26 Mike: Converting audio files from WMA
        27:27 Ralph: Educational content for charitable organization
        30:27 Labdoo
        31:02 David: An OpenOffice update and a question
        34:13 Highlander: Installing apps on live Kali Linux
        36:18 Adrian: A Solus on a 2011 Macbook Pro
        38:11 JackDeth: Colors and themes
        41:32 David: Problem printing PDFs
        47:56 goinglinux.com, goinglinux@gmail.com, +1-904-468-7889, @goinglinux, feedback, listen, subscribe
        48:54 End

    • Kernel Space

      • Statsfs: A New RAM-Based File System For Linux Kernel Statistics

        Last year, Paolo Bonzini, a Distinguished Engineer at Red Hat, proposed a new file system named statsfs for Linux kernel. Unlike other conventional file systems, statsfs aims to gather and display statistics for the Linux kernel subsystems.

        Later, Greg Kroah-Hartman, lead Linux kernel maintainer, liked the idea and gave a nod to proceed further. Then, at the end of last month, Emanuele Giuseppe Esposito, Engineer Intern at Red Hat, finally pushed a series of implementation patches for review.

      • Google Posts Patches Allowing AMD Zen/Zen2 CPUs To Expose Power Usage On Linux Via RAPL

        One of the long sought after features for AMD Zen (and Zen 2) processors on Linux has been the ability to monitor the CPU package power consumption on Linux, similar to what’s long been available for Intel CPUs on Linux and similarly for older AMD Bulldozer era CPUs with a power monitoring driver. Now on Friday evening a patch series was posted by a Google engineer to provide this long sought after functionality.

      • HP Linux Imaging and Printing Driver Adds Support for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        Probably the biggest change in this latest HPLIP (HP Linux Imaging and Printing Driver) release is the fact that you can now install it on the recently released Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa) operating system series.

        Two other distributions are supported as well by HPLIP 3.20.5, namely Debian GNU/Linux 10.3 “Buster” and Manjaro Linux 19.0, but Debian GNU/Linux 10.4 and Manjaro Linux 20.0 are already out at the moment of writing and I have no idea if the printing driver supports these latest versions too.

      • Linux Thunderbolt Support Can Work On Arm Systems

        While there aren’t yet any Arm SoCs we are aware of at least offering Thunderbolt connectivity, that will eventually change with at least USB4 being based on Thunderbolt. But in any case Thunderbolt software support can work on Arm today if using a Thunderbolt add-in PCIe card.

        Queued for Linux 5.8 is the change to allow Intel’s Thunderbolt driver code to be built on non-x86 platforms.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Direct3D to Vulkan gets even better with DXVK 1.7

          Today the latest and greatest in Direct3D to Vulkan translation for the Wine (and Proton) compatibility layers has released with DXVK 1.7.

          What’s new? Well this release answers the age old question of “ah, but can it run Crysis?”. Yes, it can, and they’ve improved it too. DXVK 1.7 now makes use of VK_EXT_custom_border_color a new Vulkan extension introduced with Vulkan 1.2.140, which fixed multiple Direct3D 9 issues with titles like Crysis and Halo 2 Vista. Additionally the VK_EXT_robustness2 extension is also now used, introduced in Vulkan 1.2.139 which they use to “handle out-of-bounds access to resources the same way as D3D11 does”.

          Since both of those are newer extensions, you not only need a brand new version of Wine with the 5.8 release that went out last week, you also need development drivers for AMD / Intel with Mesa 20.2 and NVIDIA with 440.66.12. Note: neither of those drivers are recommended for daily use, may be best to wait for stable driver updates.

        • DXVK 1.7 Released – Makes Use Of New Vulkan Extensions, Game Fixes

          DXVK 1.7 is out this weekend as the important library translating Direct3D 9/10/11 usage into Vulkan API and is leveraged by the likes of Steam Play for running modern Windows games on Linux.

          DXVK 1.7 makes use of the new VK_EXT_custom_border_color extension to fix issues in games like Crysis and Halo 2 Vista. The VK_EXT_robustness2 as a new extension as of last month is also used now for better matching the out-of-bounds access semantics of Direct3D 11. Supporting these new extensions requires Wine 5.8+, the latest Mesa 20.2-devel code or the latest NVIDIA Vulkan beta.

        • Intel Submits Last Batch Of Graphics Feature Code For Linux 5.8 – SAGV For Tiger Lake

          Intel’s open-source graphics driver team on Friday sent in a final set of kernel graphics driver updates targeting the upcoming Linux 5.8 cycle.

          Already sent in via earlier pull requests include Rocket Lake support, Tiger Lake workarounds and various power efficiency improvements, and many other changes sent in over the past several weeks.

        • XDC2020 Call For Proposals – X.Org Developers For Now Still Planning To Meet In Poland

          For now at least the in-person X.Org Developers’ Conference is still on with plans for X.Org/Wayland/Mesa developers to meet in Gdańsk, Poland for their annual conference.

          While many conferences in 2020 have converted to virtual events as a result of the coronavirus, the X.Org Foundation is hopeful that come September they will still be able to host their physical event as planned in Poland and organized by the local Intel Poland staff. They are not ruling out though the possibility of having to shift it to an online event or a hybrid physical/virtual event depending upon how the COVID-19 situation plays out in the months ahead. Months ago there was also talk of possibly relocating outside of Poland due to unrelated matters but that seems to have faded down. The event organizers are expected to decide by July about the prospects of the September event if it will go virtual, continue as planned, or be postponed to a later date.

        • Patches Proceed For Disabling Radeon AGP GART, Deprecating TTM AGP

          Several days back was the proposal to “remove AGP support” from Radeon/Nouveau/TTM. This did formulate into a set of patches that would disable the AGP mode in the Radeon driver and deprecate the AGP code in TTM memory management. However, as was pointed out in the ensuing discussion, AGP graphics cards will still be operable on Linux with this level of deprecation by using the PCI GART mode.


          As of writing this code hasn’t yet been queued up in DRM-Next for Linux 5.8 and that cut-off is coming up quickly, so it’s possible this AGP deprecation might not take place until Linux 5.9.

    • Benchmarks

      • 100+ Linux Benchmarks Between The AMD Ryzen 7 4700U vs. Intel Core i7 1065G7

        This week I began benchmarking the AMD Ryzen 7 4700U on Linux using the new Lenovo IdeaPad featuring this new Zen 2 “Renoir” APU. The initial CPU benchmarks were quite positive as were the Vega graphics comparison tests. Amid other follow-up articles for AMD Renoir Linux support/performance, for your weekend viewing pleasure are a large set of data points between the Ryzen 7 4700U up against the Intel Core i7 1065G7 “Ice Lake” processor.

    • Applications

      • Audacity 2.4.0 Released

        We’re pleased to announce release of Audacity 2.4.0 which replaces all previous versions for Windows, macOS and Linux.

        We’ve put a lot of time and work into it.


        We have now caught up with Apple’s ‘notarization system’. Audacity on Mac is notarized and runs on Catalina.

        Time Toolbar:

        We have split the recording/playing time off from the selection toolbar and it can now be dragged to make it larger. This is particularly for people recording themselves playing a musical instrument, where they will typically be further from the screen when playing, and benefit from a larger numerical display.

      • Audacity 2.4 Released with Multi-View Mode, Larger Time Toolbar, and New Effects

        Audacity 2.4 has arrived for any of your audio and music production and editing needs from this powerful, free, open-source and cross-platform audio editor software.

        The development team has put a lot of time and work into this release, bringing you the ability to enlarge the “Time Toolbar” by undocking/splitting the recording/playing time toolbar from the bottom of the screen.

        The team said that this change should be useful to people who record themselves playing a musical instrument as they usually sit further from the monitor, so the larger numerical display would benefit them.

        Another interesting change introduced in Audacity 2.4 is an optional multi-view mode that lets you view both the spectrogram and waveform at the same time.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Terraria: Otherworlds To Go Open Source Given 100,000 Signed Petitions, Says Developer

        Terraria was a game that shaped up childhood for many of us. The 2D sandbox game made titles filled with extraordinary graphics and visuals look mediocre with its beautiful development and design. The game not only gave the 2D sandbox genre a new hope but also proved that 2D can still be fun with its unique action-adventure playstyle.

        The developer Relogic recently revealed that the work being done on the sequel was just not going through and that the project had been abandoned. Named “Terraria: Otherworlds” the game just never got to see the light of the day and fans were more than just saddened. He revealed that if fans were that invested in a sequel he’d willingly make the game open source if we were to manage 100,000 petitions.

      • Terraria: Otherworld Open Source Petition Gets Response from Developer

        A lot of people are keeping their eyes on Terraria, but a Terraria: Otherworld open source petition is focused on something else entirely — getting a canceled game released to the public for free. Best of all, Re-Logic has signaled that they may be open to doing just that.

      • Terraria creator teases open source Terraria: Otherworld

        A recent comment, by Terraria creator Andrew Spinks, on the official Terraria Discord suggests that, for a price, cancelled spin-off Terraria: Otherworld could be released for fans to complete.

        It’s not even much of a price. Responding to one of the usual comments about finishing Terraria: Otherworld, Spinks wrote: “100,000 signatures and $15 and I’ll open source it” – what a tease. Terraria: Otherworld was announced in 2015 as a role-playing, strategy game spin-off of Re-Logic’s Minecraft-adjacent Terraria. Otherworld was officially cancelled in 2018, because Re-Logic was unable to commit to the massive amount of time it was going to take for the game to reach its potential.

      • Re-Logic Offers To Release Terraria: Otherworld As Open-Source If A Petition Reaches 100k Signatures

        There was a time when Re-Logic was going to hang up the hat on Terraria years ago, instead of bringing years of updates and content to fans as it morphs into the modern Terraria that we know today. The older version of Terraria definitely isn’t bad, per see, but it absolutely lacks the miasma of content and discovery that the modern version presents for Metroidvania lovers.

      • Terraria is finally done 9 years later with Journey’s End

        Terraria, the side-scrolling sandbox exploration and crafting game from Re-Logic is finally done, with the Journey’s End update that’s out now.

        With it out now, Terraria has officially smashed every player record it’s ever set. Right now (at time of writing), there’s 452,536 players online which is absolutely insane.

        If you want to see everything that’s changed, it’s over here on the official forum. It’s ridiculously big. There’s new…well—everything? New items, enemies, entirely new game modes and so much more. Along with this massive update, the Linux version will be getting an additional patch once things calm down to focus on any optimization issues.

      • Experiment with light beams in the fantastic LIT: Bend the Light

        LIT: Bend the Light is a puzzle game about bouncing and bending around beams of light, and eventually finding a solution to each puzzle. Developed by Copperglass, 3 students of Game Design from Berlin and this being their first release together.

        This is probably one of the most genuinely surprising releases for me in some time. It just seemed to come out of nowhere and it’s absolutely fantastic, shockingly beautiful actually in quite a few ways. Amazing in its simplicity and yet so engrossing as you send beams of light bouncing off everything possible to hit something somewhere and find the solution.

      • 5 Best Linux Distributions For Gaming

        Ubuntu GamePack is also one of the best gaming Distro where you have more than 6000 games available to play. This distro aims to fill the gap in games availability between Linux and Windows. You don’t get any game out of the box, but you can access games available on several platforms including Linux, Steam, Windows, and consoles. This OS comes with Steam client, Lutris, Wine, and PlayOnLinux pre-installed. There are several tools for running games and applications made for Windows. These tools include PlayOnLinux, wine, CrossOver, and DOSBox. It also supports Adobe Flash and Oracle Java. So, you can play online games that run on the browser.

      • Half-Life: Alyx Is Coming To Linux Along With Modding Tools, Vulcan Support And More

        Gamers all around the world were extremely excited when Half-Life: Alyx was announced. After many years, fans were able to get back into the Half-Life universe. The game has been updated recently to include Steam Workshop support along with a beta release of community development tools. One of the best things about the update for fans is that it brings a native version of the game for the Linux, and optional support for Vulkan on Windows.

        To enable Vulkan on Windows, go to the main menu, then Options > Performance > Advanced (gear icon) > Rendering API, and choosing Vulkan. While support for Linux is welcome, the big news is that the tools in the Steam Workshop update allow players to create new levels, models, textures, and animations. Steam Workshop also lets fans browse what modders have built and play those custom mods. With support for community modding, the gates are open for everything from entirely new districts for City 17 to designing new combat encounters.

      • Half Life : Alyx | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 20.04 | Native
      • Solve circuit board maze puzzles in the demo of R.E.E.L.

        Love electronics? Love puzzle games? You may want to keep an eye on R.E.E.L., as not only does it combine the two and looks incredibly stylish – it also has a demo up now.

        With a plan to release in full next year, it’s a while to wait but thankfully the demo gives an interesting slice of what’s to come and it’s a fun puzzle mechanic trying to get power from one side of a circuit board to another.

      • SuperTux 0.6.2 Released with New Worldmap (Ubuntu PPA)

        SuperTux, classic 2D jump’n run video game inspired by Super Mario Bros, released 0.6.2 a few days ago to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

      • ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ Gets Workshop Support, Mod Tools And Linux Compatibility In Latest Update

        Official support for Half-Life: Alyx modding has finally arrived. Not only has Valve enabled the Steam Workshop for Alyx, it has launched the entire development suite of tools for the Source 2 engine into beta. Alyx itself now also supports Linux, thanks to the inclusion of the Vulkan rendering API.

        Valve announced the releases through the Alyx Steam page. At the time of writing, only hours after launch, there are already 62 mods released on the workshop. As with any other game, installing mods through the Workshop is as simple as clicking “Subscribe”, and then they will become available in-game. Some of them look interesting, such as XenThug, and endless wave survival mode, and others… others give a butt to the famous Half-Life Garden Gnome. There’s also an example mod made by the Alyx development team that gives a basic demo of things that can be created with the newly released Source 2 tools.

        More importantly, Valve has released the complete community creation suite for the Source 2 engine for the first time. Currently available as a beta, it includes everything from popular tools Hammer (a level editor) and Source Filmmaker to more specific tools like Particle Editor, AnimGraph (for animations) and ModelDoc (for making 3D models Source 2 engine-ready). It’s important to note that, while Source 2 has already been used to a limited extent in Dota 2 (which also has its own modding tools), Dota Underlords and Artifact, these tools are specifically geared towards Alyx content creation at the moment.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.19 has a first Beta in need of testing

          Want to ensure the next stable release of the KDE Plasma desktop environment is as good as can be? Plasma 5.19 Beta is out.

          I have to say, I’m loving the attention to the small details overall consistency that the KDE team having been doing for the last year or so. KDE is my daily driver, and there have been lots of rough edges to it and they’re making great progress on cleaning it all up. They said their actual priority for this release is exactly that, to make it “more consistent” by “correcting and unifying designs of widgets and desktop elements”. Additionally they “worked on giving you more control over your desktop by adding configuration options to the System Settings; and improved usability”.

        • Kdenlive 20.04.1 released

          We just released the first bugfix version for the 20.04 Kdenlive version. Despite our continued work, many issues were still affecting the 20.04.0 version. A lot of work has been done to fix crashes and other annoying issues, so the 20.04.1 version should be much more reliable and stable. We have a long list of fixed issues.

        • KDE Plasma 5.19 Beta is available For Download

          The next major enhancement release of KDE Plasma 5.19 beta is now available for download and test. There is a huge list of changes and fixes are coming up. I have extracted the major changes here in terms of both visual changes and core updates.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • Zstd Compression Under Review For OpenZFS

          The ZFS file-system has long offered transparent file-system compression via the likes of LZ4 and Gzip and while now Zstd compression is under review for OpenZFS and seeking testing from the community.

          Zstandard compression is already supported by the likes of F2FS and Btrfs as a modern compression algorithm backed by Facebook and hugely popular across many different areas. One of the newest pull requests for OpenZFS/ZFSOnLinux would extend the ZFS compression capabilities to include this new option.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Lenovo teases new ThinkPad laptops with vPro processors

          Lenovo has updated its ThinkCentre desktops and ThinkPad laptops with Intel’s latest processors.

          The new ThinkPad P14s and P15s are ideal for an increasingly mobile workforce as they boast up to 14 hours of battery life with improved performance thanks to the inclusion of 10th Gen Intel Core processors. The new laptops can even be outfitted with a Core i7-10810u that features a turbo boost clock speed of 4.9GHz.

          Additionally, these updated ThinkPads are equipped with Nvidia Quadro professional graphics, Wi-Fi 6, up to 2TB of storage and Ubuntu and Red Hat Linux support. The 14-inch P14s and 15-inch P15s both offer up to 4K UHD displays with Dolby Vision HDR and X-Rite Pantone Factory Color Calibration for a clearer picture with truer colors.

        • VirtualBox 6.1.8 Released with Support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2, CentOS 8.2

          In VirtualBox 6.1.8, Oracle added Guest Additions support for the recently released Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2, CentOS Linux 8.2, and Oracle Linux 8.2 (only with the Red Hat compatible kernel) distributions. In previous releases, the Guest Additions failed to compile on these distributions.

          The Guest Additions were also improved with proper support for resizing X11 guests and better handling of multi-monitor configurations, as well as the re-implementations of the “VBoxClient–checkhostversion” functionality to check the host version of the VirtualBox client for debugging purposes.

        • The CEO of SUSE says the coronavirus crisis may benefit the open source company, especially now that its biggest rival has been ‘taken out’ by IBM
        • Red Hat’s David Egts: Open-Source Tech, ‘Light-Touch’ Regulatory Approach Could Help Speed Up AI Adoption

          David Egts, chief technologist of the North America public sector at Red Hat, said the government could help accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence through the use of open-source tools and a “light-touch approach to regulating AI.”

          Machine learning can result in bias and Egts wrote how open-source technology could help agencies identify and eliminate that bias by providing the needed transparency.

          “In addition to having source code that is open, the models and data must be accessible to third parties so they can independently replicate the results,” he noted.

        • Red Hat’s Chuck Mosher: Agencies Should Leverage Open-Source Dev’t for Disaster Response

          Chuck Mosher, director for public sector enterprise domain architects at Red Hat, has said that open-source development can help government agencies quicken emergency response and simplify coordination.

          Mosher wrote in an opinion piece published Monday that efforts spearheaded by the open-source community such as the Emergency Response Demo address urgent needs while leveraging emerging capabilities like cloud, agile integration and business process automation.

          The web-based interface was meant to serve as a virtual base of operations that enables real-time alerts and visibility into missions, incidents and actions taken. In addition, the application quantifies data on individuals and locations while identifying “priority zones” in need of immediate response.

        • Commitment issues: Organizational psychology and the benefits of managing openly

          Discussions about open values in the workplace often focus on leaders creating high-level strategies and visions for their teams and organizations. But a unique set of leaders, managers, bears additional responsibilities, such as generating business performance, creating work environments, representing the larger organization to the associate, and coordinating day-to-day operations—and they do this through their relationships with employees. Managerial relationships are integral to the employee experience, because they have a direct impact on retention, meaningful work, social support, and more. So managers need to be especially aware of the values and principles that guide their practice. To highlight this special kind of leader, the Open Organization community is creating a special article series, “Managing with Open Values.”

          In the next few articles, we’ll investigate different perspectives on what it means to “manage according to open values.” We’ll explore the importance of doing it and ask experts for their practical ideas on actually doing it..

          But first, we’ll take a look at why you’d want to let open principles guide your management practices in the first place. For that, we begin with the end in mind: Employee engagement.

      • Debian Family

        • Michael Stapelberg: a new distri linux (fast package management) release

          The distri research linux distribution project was started in 2019 to research whether a few architectural changes could enable drastically faster package management.

          While the package managers in common Linux distributions (e.g. apt, dnf, …) top out at data rates of only a few MB/s, distri effortlessly saturates 1 Gbit, 10 Gbit and even 40 Gbit connections, resulting in fast installation and update speeds.

        • Russ Allbery: rra-c-util 8.2

          This release of my general utility libraries and support code includes a large grab bag of fixes and improvements.

          portable/system.h now defines explicit_bzero in terms of memset if it is not available. The memset version is unlikely to have the same security properties since the compiler may optimize it away, but that allows me to use explicit_bzero to erase security data where it is available.

          For packages with Kerberos tests, generating a test krb5.conf file now works properly even if the system krb5.conf file does not set a default realm, and a krb5.conf file dropped into the test configuration directory now works properly. Thanks to Jeffrey Hutzelman for the latter fix.

        • DocKnot 3.04

          This is a relatively small feature release of my tool for managing software documentation and releases.

        • C TAP Harness 4.7

          This is a small bug fix release to my testing framework for C packages. It picks up a change to the test suite so that it won’t break when C_TAP_VERBOSE is already set in the environment, and fixes new compilation warnings with GCC 10.

        • Lucas Kanashiro: Quarantine times

          I would like to start with the wonderful idea the Debian Brasil community had! Why not create an online Debian related conference to keep people’s minds busy and also share knowledge? After brainstorming, we came up with our online conference called #FiqueEmCasaUseDebian (in English it would be #StayHomeUseDebian). It started on May 3rd and will last until May 30th (yes, one month)! Every weekday, we have one online talk at night and on every Saturday, a Debian packaging workshop. The feedback so far has been awesome and the Brazilian Debian community is reaching out to more people than usual at our regular conferences (as you might have imagined, Brazil is huge and it is hard to bring people at the same place). At the end of the month, we will have the first MiniDebConf online and I hope it will be as successful as our experience here in Brazil.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • From coronavirus tests to open-source insulin, ‘biohackers’ are showing the power of DIY science

        In March, amateur scientists in Sydney announced they had created a COVID-19 test kit that is simpler, faster, and cheaper than existing tests. While the test has not yet been approved by regulators, if effective it could play a role in scaling up the world’s coronavirus testing capability.

        The test’s creators, associated with a “community lab for citizen scientists” called Biofoundry, are part of a growing international movement of “biohackers” with roots stretching back 30 years or more. Biohacking, also known as DIY biology, takes cues from computer-hacking culture and uses the tools of biological science and biotechnology to carry out experiments and make tools outside any formal research institution.

      • How to value cloud-based open source software services

        The public cloud and open source software are pretty much coupled these days. No matter if you’re running Kubernetes-as-a-service, MySQL, Linux, or that open source text editor you’ve used since college, it’s all there for the taking, as-a-service.

      • Newton lives on to supercharge your email

        Maitrik and Justin here from the NEW CloudMagic/ Newton team. Like you, we LOVE Newton and are excited to take the best professional email client to the next level.


        We promise to open-source Newton and find a way for self-hosted servers to support the product indefinitely so that your contribution is not wasted.

      • Newton Mail is back from the dead (again) and this time it’s going open source

        Newton Mail has had a rough couple of years. The cross-platform email app offered a bunch of nifty features and earned itself a bit of a fan base — but the company must have had a tough time making money because it announced plans to double its price in 2018… then announced it was shutting down.

        Then phone maker Essential acquired the company and kept Newton Mail alive… until earlier this year, when Essential announced it was shutting down and that it would pull the plug on Newton Mail on April 30, 2020.

      • NVIDIA Accelerates Apache Spark, World’s Leading Data Analytics Platform
      • NVIDIA Collaborates with Open-source Community to Bring GPU Acceleration to Apache Spark 3.0

        NVIDIA said it is collaborating with the open-source community to bring end-to-end GPU acceleration to Apache Spark 3.0, an analytics engine for big data processing.

      • The Apache Software Foundation Announces the 10th Anniversary of Apache® HBase™

        The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today the tenth Anniversary of Apache® HBase™, the distributed, scalable data store for the Apache Hadoop Big Data ecosystem.

        “The success of Apache HBase is the success of Open Source,” said Duo Zhang, Vice President of Apache HBase. “Ten years after graduating as a TLP, HBase is still among the most active projects at the ASF. We have hundreds of contributors all around the world. We speak different languages, we have different skills, but we all work together to make HBase better and better. Ten year anniversary is not the end, but a new beginning, I believe our strong community will lead the project to a bright future.”

      • Simple Dialer is a free, open-source alternative to your default phone app

        We’ve highlighted apps from Simple Mobile Tools before as great, open-source, data-light alternatives to the basic tools Google provides for your Android phone. Now you can notch another one into that belt as the developer has just come out with a Simple Dialer app. And it’s free.

      • PAP, GovTech Polska offer #FakeHunter open source code

        The Polish Press Agency (PAP) and GovTech Polska, a Polish government technological agency, have decided to offer an open source code to their landmark #FakeHunter fake news-busting software to anyone interested.

        Following the success of the #FakeHunter project, its creators, PAP and GovTech, have decided to offer the source code to the disinformation-fighting tool to other entities under an open licence that allows for copying, development and further distribution of the software.

      • Open-source container image registry Harbor reaches 2.0 milestone

        The Open Container Initiative (OCI) has announced the general availability of Harbor 2.0. The latest release makes it the first OCI-compliant open-source registry capable of storing cloud-native artifacts such as container images, Helm charts, OPAs, and Singularity. In addition, it enables pulling, pushing, deleting, tagging replicating and scanning artifacts.

      • We’d love to come up with a Harbor container ship pun but we’re too corona-frazzled. Version 2.0 is out

        Harbor, the open-source container image registry, has reached version 2.0, becoming the first open-source registry to fully support the Open Container Initiative (OCI) image specification.

        There are quite a few registries that allow you to store container images – which represent blueprints for launching containerized applications – and other cloud app artifacts that describe related metadata like Helm charts, OPAs (Open Policy Agents), and other configuration-related files.

        Perhaps the best known is the open source Docker Registry and Docker Hub, a hosted implementation of that code.

        There’s also Portus, an authorization server and front-end for Docker Registry made by SUSE. And there are variou

      • Open source software for public good

        A MAJOR weapon in combating the transmission of Covid-19 is contact tracing. In March 2020, Singapore launched TraceTogether – the world’s first consent-based contact tracing app which utilises a privacy preserving protocol to anonymise and encrypt BlueTooth proximity data…

      • Open Source Tools for a Digital Research Ecosystem
      • Open Source: Applying Innovation to the Slow-Moving Energy Industry

        The energy and utility industries are known to be conservative and slow moving in adopting new technology. Cooperatively sharing information is something that utilities don’t do.

        But that is changing. As sustainable energy sources, like solar and wind become more cost competitive, and as regulations related to the reduction of carbon emissions require stricter compliance, the industry is being forced into the corner and being made to accept change.

      • Open source AI collab project ONNX turns 1.7, takes first steps towards multi-framework training

        Open machine learning model representation ONNX has hit version 1.7, previewing training support, and including additional operators as well as some model checker and documentation enhancements.

        Since the last update, the ONNX team has been busy adding features to represent the various stages of training, to facilitate the distribution of the process between various frameworks in future releases.

      • Open source community helps responders improve rescue operations
      • Open source projects take all kinds – well, some do

        Some projects actually eschew external contributions. For Roy Rubin, founder of Magento, the project was built in tandem with his company, and he worried that inviting outside contributions to the core of Magento would make it harder to support for customers.

      • Altitude Angel release ‘SCOUT’ – open source hardware & software platform for remote ID and UTM connectivity

        Altitude Angel is releasing an open-sourced project, Scout, consisting of hardware and firmware to enable drone manufacturers, software developers and commercial drone pilots to quickly connect to its global UTM.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • This Week in the IndieWeb celebrates six years of weekly newsletters!

            First published on 2014-05-12, the newsletter started as a fully-automatically generated weekly summary of activity on the IndieWeb’s community wiki: a list of edited and new pages, followed by the full content of the new pages, and then the recent edit histories of pages changed that week.

            Since then the Newsletter has grown to include photos from recent events, the list of upcoming events, recent posts about the IndieWeb syndicated to the IndieNews aggregator, new community members (and their User pages), and a greatly simplified design of new & changed pages.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • OpenStack Ussuri Release Lands Today, Delivering Automation for Intelligent Open Infrastructure

          These improvements were designed and delivered by a global community of upstream developers and operators. OpenStack software now powers more than 75 public cloud data centers and thousands of private clouds at a scale of more than 10 million compute cores. OpenStack is the one infrastructure platform uniquely suited to deployments of diverse architectures—bare metal, virtual machines (VMs), graphics processing units (GPUs) and containers.

          For the Ussuri release, OpenStack received over 24,000 code changes by 1,003 developers from 188 different organizations and over 50 countries. OpenStack is supported by a large, global open source community and is one of the top three open source projects in the world in terms of active contributions, along with the Linux kernel and Chromium.

        • ScyllaDB Announces 4.0 Release of Its Open Source NoSQL Database

          ScyllaDB today announced Scylla Open Source 4.0, the latest major release of its high-performance NoSQL database for real-time big data workloads. This release marks a significant milestone, as the company has moved beyond feature parity with Apache Cassandra, now also serving as an open source drop-in, no-lock-in alternative to Amazon DynamoDB.

          Scylla Open Source 4.0 builds on Scylla’s close-to-the-hardware design, which enables optimal use of modern server infrastructure. Written from the ground-up in C++, Scylla delivers performance of millions of OPS on a single node, scales out to hundreds of nodes and consistently achieves a 99% tail latency of less than one millisecond.

        • Why businesses are choosing PostgreSQL to drive digital transformation

          While many factors go into choosing the ideal database management system, flexibility and interoperability should be non-negotiable.

          In agile projects, especially at the beginning of the project, not everything is known – not even the cloud infrastructure. Being locked into a platform or vendor inhibits developers from considering specific database capabilities, such as stored procedures, data types and advanced operators.

          To overcome this issue, many developers now limit themselves to standard ANSI SQL and Object Request Brokers, and recreate many database capabilities in the application logic, such as transactional consistency, data management and queries.

          This approach, however, may lead to large portions of custom code, significantly lowering performance and introducing transactional inconsistencies.

          What organizations and developers need are flexible and interoperable systems, or, open source databases – but not just any type of open source databases.

      • Education

        • The Certified Moodle Partner Network: a pledge of guarantee

          Moodle is the world’s most popular learning management system (LMS), used by countless schools, universities, not-for-profit organisations and companies to respond to their education and training needs. To date, Moodle is being used by almost 200 million learners worldwide Many of these users are supported by our Certified Moodle Partner Network.

      • FSF

      • Programming/Development

        • Raspberry Pi 4 Complete Guide

          I’ve been a fan of Raspberry Pi since the original Pi 1 so it’s always exciting for me to see how these boards evolve with each new model. The newest Raspberry Pi 4 is no exception and it certainly raises the bar for Single Board Computers.

          While the older models were mostly only useful as educational boards or for DIY/maker projects, the Pi 4 finally packs a real punch in terms of performance. With a 64-bit quad core ARM processor and up to 4GB of ram, I expect these boards to end up in all kinds of applications, ranging from home media centers to actual home desktop use.

        • NVIDIA Jetson Developer Kits Comparison – Nano vs TX2 vs Xavier NX vs AGX Xavier
        • GCC 11 Enables Co-Routines Support In C++20 Mode

          Now that GCC 10 is out the door, the C++ coroutines functionality is being enabled by default when running in C++20 mode (std=c++20). Thus for next year’s GCC 11 release will be working coroutines functionality when C++20 is enabled. And by then the remaining bits of C++20 support in the GNU Compiler Collection should also be ironed out.

        • Economics Of Decentralized Storage

          So, if you never access the data, Tardigrade is twice as expensive as the centralized competition. If you access 50% of the data each month, it costs $32.50/TB against Wasabi’s $5.99, so more than 5 times as expensive. What exactly is the value Tardigrade adds to justify the extra cost to store data? Simply “decentralization”?

          But, like all these cryptocurrency-based systems, Tardigrade’s “decentralization” is more a marketing term than a practical reality. The money isn’t decentralized, because customers pay Storj, who then pays a little of that money to the storage node operators (SNOs): [...]

        • GCC 11 Proposal Would Default To C++17 Level Features

          Since last year’s GCC 9 release the C++17 support has been considered stable and with the changeover to it as the default C++ dialect having not happened for the recent GCC 10 release, developers are now looking at increasing the default C++ version to 17 for next year’s GCC 11 release.

          Red Hat’s Marek Polacek sent out the patch this weekend that would change the default dialect to C++17 from the existing C++14 default. This only affects the GCC C++ compiler behavior when no other -std= is specified whether it be C++17 or even the in-progress C++20 support as well as falling back to older C++ versions.

        • Perl/Raku

          • The Weekly Challenge #060

            I am not sure about you guys but I found writing blog is very nice feeling. I get nice ideas to clean up the code. This week, I even found a bug that even unit test couldn’t catch. I would rather not share it, quite embarassing. The bug was in my Perl solutions to the “Find Numbers” task. My git commit tree might disclose it, if you really want to know.

            Back to the weekly challenges, I liked both tasks and I finished the Perl solutions to both task on day one i.e.Monday itself. Generally I go slow on Monday and Tuesday to recover from the weekend hangover, the most busiest time of the week because of Perl Weekly Challenge and Perl Weekly Newsletter. When I am editing the Perl Weekly Newsletter then it is double whammy for me. I am glad that I only edit alternate week. So I get a breather in between.

            Once I am done with Perl solutions, I find myself little relax as I know I can easily get the Raku version quickly. Because of my fasting, I find it hard to do any coding during the day. After breaking the fast, I feel sleepy and take quick couple of hours of nap break. I then wake up midnight to perform night prayer and eat the Sehar. It is the time after morning prayer, I find myself full of energy. On saturday morning after prayer at 3:20 am, I started preparing the ground for Raku solutions. By 10:00 am, I had both the tasks done. Not a bad attempt. I did throw few questions when I was struck at one point. I will talk about it in detail later.

            Since I started working from home, my daily routine has gone upside down. During the Ramadan, my office working hours is 8:00 am to 3:30 pm without lunch break, obviously. From 3:30 pm to 8:50 pm (time of breaking fast), is for me to perform regular prayer and relax. Sometimes I watch movie on Netflix. Couple of days ago, I watched 6 Days, nice movie. Before that I watched Bodyguard. I am new to Netflix and therefore most of the movies are new to me.

        • Python

        • Rust

          • Rust marks five years since its 1.0 release: The long and winding road actually works

            The Rust programming language celebrated its fifth birthday on Friday and says the future looks bright.

            Long beloved by those who care about such things – since its 1.0 release in 2015, Rust has been voted the “Most Loved” programming language four years running in Stack Overflow’s annual developer survey – the language has attracted enough fans to be considered for projects that might otherwise have used C/C++, Go, or Java.

            Microsoft, for example, discussed its exploration of Rust in July 2019, motivated by the company’s desire to move its developers toward memory-safe programming.

            “If only the developers could have all the memory security guarantees of languages like .NET C# combined with all the efficiencies of C++,” said Gavin Thomas, principal security engineering manager for the Microsoft Security Response Center in a blog post last year.

        • Java

          • Gradle 6.4 Released with Support for Java Modules

            The latest version of the Gradle open-source build automation tool, just announced, comes with a number of upgrades, bug fixes, and highly anticipated support for building and testing Java modules, precompiled Groovy DSL script plugins, and a single dependency lock file per project feature.

            With this release, Gradle supports the Java Module System with everything needed compile and execute tests for Java modules. Devs can also build Javadoc and run applications. “While there is some overlap with Gradle’s dependency management features,” the release notes state, “Java Modules offer additional features, like module boundaries, that are enforced by the Java runtime.”

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Nearly 1 Million Domains Use DMARC, but Only 13% Prevent Email Spoofing

        Valimail says a total of 933,000 domains had published DMARC records in January 2020, up from 784,000 domains in July 2019. The adoption of DMARC increased by 70% compared to the previous year and by 180% compared to two years ago.

        However, only 13% of the 933,000 domains are configured with the quarantine or reject enforcement policies.

        “Worse, that percentage has generally declined over time, although it has remained level in the past twelve months. The inescapable conclusion: interest in DMARC is growing, but DMARC expertise is not keeping pace,” Valimail wrote in its report.

      • Create open source standards for tenfold payback

        Keynote presentation during maritime digitalisation webinar highlights the challenges and benefits of producing industry-wide open data exchange standards

  • Leftovers

    • Education

      • Disaster Capitalism Is Coming for Public Education

        Education privatizers are already planning to capitalize on the vacuum these budget cuts will create. Nathaniel Davis, the CEO of K12 Inc., one of the largest for-profit online schools in the country, spoke to investors last month about the “upside of the pandemic on our business.” The company has joined the right-wing Heritage Foundation’s National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, which promotes free-market solutions including expanded virtual learning.

        Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently told Glenn Beck that the pandemic was an opportunity to “look very seriously at the fact that K-12 education for too long has been very static and very stuck in one method of delivering and making instruction available.” DeVos has already used over $300 million in discretionary federal grants to launch a new virtual education program that will most likely favor charter schools.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Alternatives to Killing People for the Economy

        In order to pay for those programs and help the country get back on its feet, we need to tax the wealthy and invest in our common good.

      • Hospital Workers Report Failures by Management to Notify Them of COVID Exposures

        Dinah Jimenez assumed a world-class hospital would be better prepared than a chowder house to inform workers when they had been exposed to a deadly virus.

      • Grading the States’ Coronavirus Control

        The good idea, which appears on the Times‘ “Coronavirus in the US” page, is to sort states in terms of how well they’re controlling the coronavirus outbreak, using graphs of the daily count of new cases in each state. This seems like a good choice of metric and a useful thing to keep track of, especially given how fragmented the US response has been.

      • Trump’s Very Good Job
      • US University Leading COVID Response Leaves Black Workers Behind

        On May Day, food service workers led a socially distanced protest at the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, taking part in the international day of action to defend workers and highlight the disparate impact COVID-19 is having across the country. Donning masks, the workers read the names of their 188 colleagues who have been laid off amid the pandemic, 98 percent of whom are Black, according to UNITE HERE Local 7.

      • Cuba’s Resilience Through Economic Crisis Prepared It for COVID Health Crisis

        In times of crisis, who we are is revealed. That is true of people and of nations. What COVID-19 has exposed — not created — is a deeply flawed and inequitable society. The truths of how race and class intersect to shorten the existence of some in our society are now laid bare for all to see. The collapse of structures that were barely holding on have revealed how inadequate they were to begin with. The failure of many states to prevent, protect against and help contain an illness that was known about for months shows how concerns over loss of capital took priority over our lives. And it is this capitalist approach to administering government that is perpetuating the same harms and ensuring a continuous crisis for communities most devastated by the pandemic of our lifetime.

      • Two Coasts. One Virus. How New York Suffered Nearly 10 Times the Number of Deaths as California.

        By March 14, London Breed, the mayor of San Francisco, had seen enough. For weeks, she and her health officials had looked at data showing the evolving threat of COVID-19. In response, she’d issued a series of orders limiting the size of public gatherings, each one feeling more arbitrary than the last. She’d been persuaded that her city’s considerable and highly regarded health care system might be insufficient for the looming onslaught of infection and death.

        “We need to shut this shit down,” Breed remembered thinking.

      • Muslims ‘immune to coronavirus’ some imams in Somalia say, putting public at risk

        “Some mosques spread this rumor that this disease is only for non-believers,” said the medical worker, who wished to remain anonymous in fear of societal backlash, in an interview with Al Arabiya English.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Glass Animals go ‘Open Source’ to help fans get creative
            • mParticle launches open-source data validation tools
            • mParticle Launches Open-Source Data Validation Tools

              mParticle, the Customer Data Platform (CDP) of choice for multi-channel consumer brands, today announced the release of a new open-source developer toolset to give engineering teams instant data quality protection and feedback in their integrated development environments (IDE).

            • What Is Great About Open Sourcing Contact Tracing Apps?

              Governments across the world have been working to deploy contact tracing apps in order to curb the spread of Covid-19. But many experts have raised concerns how such applications can potentially breach the privacy of citizens. Privacy concerns could be real, and personal data collection could be problematic. This may prevent a lot of people installing it.

            • Why Open Banking Needs Open Source
            • Ventilator Shortage Sparks Technology Partnership Between RespiraWorks and Integrated Computer Solutions (ICS)

              RespiraWorks, a nonprofit innovator of ventilators for developing countries, and Integrated Computer Solutions (ICS), creators of sophisticated embedded and touchscreen-enabled devices, announced a partnership to collaborate on RespiraWorks’ open source ventilator. The medical-grade device, which can be assembled for under $500, is being designed for long-term vs. crisis use and for developing countries with the intent to source and manufacture locally.

            • Venafi To Buy Kubernetes Open Source Tool Developer Jetstack
            • NearForm: What’s next for Kubernetes?

              There are some fundamental changes on the way for Kubernetes… and one of them is that it’s going to go serverless. It’s happening already in AWS with Fargate, the serverless compute engine for containers that works with Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS). At the moment, a developer needs to specify how many machines and what size they should be. Soon there won’t be that need to specify up front: Kubernetes will go and figure it out, with resources negotiated as and when you need them.

              The next step is load balancing, whereby Kubernetes will manage the loads running in the hardware that the developer doesn’t control. All this represents a fundamental change in how companies use the cloud, a phase 2 where the customer can trigger an application and AWS will automatically adapt the hardware, freeing them from having to think about the underlying infrastructure. The core benefits of serverless in terms of operational efficiency and developer experience are magnified when deployed on Kubernetes.

            • OFA and Gen-Z Consortium to advance industry standardization of open-source fabric management

              The OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) is an open source-based organization whose mission is to develop and promote software that enables maximum application efficiency by delivering wire-speed messaging, ultra-low latencies and maximum bandwidth directly to applications with minimal CPU overhead. The OFA develops, tests, supports and distributes open-source Advanced Network Software – a suite of high-performance APIs and associated software for current and future HPC, cloud and enterprise data centers.

            • These Open-Source Workflows Helped Intuit Cut Back on Duplicate Work [Ed: Gross openwashing of Intuit -- a malicious and predatory company -- because of "open-source development practices for internal projects."]
            • Telco/vendor relationships in the spotlight

              The traditional relationships between telcos and their suppliers, and between the standards bodies and open source community, need to be revamped to enable faster innovation and more suitable development and procurement processes, according to key panellists who participated in the DSP Leaders World Forum 2020 discussion Expanding and Coordinating the Open Telecoms Ecosystem.

            • OKChain Goes Open-source while OKB Keeps Expanding its Ecosystem

              The report also mentioned the latest progress of OKChain. Only two months after the launch of its testnet, OKChain achieved 100% open-source in April and pioneered the concept of a business alliance. As of today, the first batch of ecological partners has been assembled, including public chain, wallet, explorer, mining pool, and others.

            • Open Networking Foundation bows Continuous Certification Program, partners with OCP
            • ONF, OCP Join Forces, Add Certification to CI/CD

              The Open Networking Foundation (ONF), working with the Open Compute Project (OCP), today launched a program that will continually test and certify compliance with ONF open source software projects and OCP-recognized open hardware.

            • Samsung Unveils Innovative Storage Technology at OCP Virtual Global Summit
          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • OpenChain ISO/IEC Submission Signals Fresh OSS Compliance Drive

                Linux Foundation’s JDF pushes for better open source compliance

                The Linux Foundation’s “Joint Development Foundation” (JDF) has won formal approval to submit open source software (OSS) projects for recognition as international standards, in a landmark move — with an open source compliance project first to be submitted for approval.

                The move comes as the Linux Foundation continues a push to boost the transparency, security and credibility of OSS across the business community, amid concerns about a lack of standardisation, sub-par maintenance of many widely used OSS components, and security fears.

                Its new approval is for ISO/IEC JTC standards submissions. (The two are co-creators of ISO/IEC JTC 1, which sets IT standards.)

        • Security

          • Romanian police bust [attackers] allegedly plotting ransomware attacks on hospitals

            Romanian authorities said Friday they had disrupted a cybercriminal group that planned to conduct ransomware attacks on hospitals in the country.

            The [attackers] intended to pose as government officials and send malicious emails to public health institutions that purported to contain information on the coronavirus, according to the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), one of Romania’s top law enforcement agencies. Such ransomware attacks could disrupt the IT systems of hospitals, DIICOT said.

          • Paying Ransomware Crooks Doubles Clean-up Costs, Report [iophk: Windows TCO]

            Research conducted by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by security firm Sophos shows that ransomware victims that refused to pay a ransom reported, on average, $730,000 in recovery costs. However, organizations that did pay a ransom reported an average total cost, including the ransom, of $1.4 million, according to the report, The State of Ransomware 2020.

            “Paying the ransom doubles the overall clean-up costs,” researchers wrote in the report.

          • Ransomware Hit ATM Giant Diebold Nixdorf

            According to Diebold, on the evening of Saturday, April 25, the company’s security team discovered anomalous behavior on its corporate network. Suspecting a ransomware attack, Diebold said it immediately began disconnecting systems on that network to contain the spread of the malware.

            Sources told KrebsOnSecurity that Diebold’s response affected services for over 100 of the company’s customers. Diebold said the company’s response to the attack did disrupt a system that automates field service technician requests, but that the incident did not affect customer networks or the general public.

            “Diebold has determined that the spread of the malware has been contained,” Diebold said in a written statement provided to KrebsOnSecurity. “The incident did not affect ATMs, customer networks, or the general public, and its impact was not material to our business. Unfortunately, cybercrime is an ongoing challenge for all companies. Diebold Nixdorf takes the security of our systems and customer service very seriously. Our leadership has connected personally with customers to make them aware of the situation and how we addressed it.”

          • Why fuzzing is your friend for DevSecOps
          • In Move to Eliminate Out-of-Date WordPress and Drupal sites, Pantheon Extends Managed Updates to Companies of All Sizes
          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • New Release: Tor

              Tor is the first stable release in the 0.4.3.x series. This series adds support for building without relay code enabled, and implements functionality needed for OnionBalance with v3 onion services. It includes significant refactoring of our configuration and controller functionality, and fixes numerous smaller bugs and performance issues.

            • Announcing the Launch of the Global Encryption Coalition

              “The Internet Society is thrilled to be joining forces with the Center for Democracy and Technology and Global Partners Digital to form the Global Encryption Coalition,” said Jeff Wilbur, Senior Director of Online Trust at the Internet Society. “With a global health pandemic driving more of our daily activities and communications online, encryption is more important than ever to help keep people and countries secure. We look forward to working with a global movement of coalition members focused on promoting and defending the use of strong encryption policies and practices worldwide.“

            • Greasing The Revolving Door: Palantir Recruits Down Under

              The company oozes of the slime that is the military-industrial complex, and counts the Central Intelligence Agency as an exclusive customer, though its client list has ballooned to include other government agencies, hedge funds and big pharma. In 2003, it got off the ground with US information analysts, among them Peter Thiel, champing at the bit to use data mining tools developed for Paypal.

            • Tariq Ramadan supporters paid French spy to steal rape accuser’s identity

              Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford’s St. Anthony’s College and grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, is currently facing four charges of rape in France. The two initial charges were made by feminist activist Henda Ayari, with the other one being a disabled woman identified only as “Christelle.”

              However, Ramadan’s supporters reportedly uncovered Christelle’s identity in 2018 after hiring an active member of France’s internal intelligence agency Direction Generale de la Securite Exterieure (DGSE), identified only as “Haurus,” to comb through the Dark Web for information. This agent has reportedly fallen into disgrace for selling information, according to a report accessed by Le Parisien, and the agent has since been indicted.

            • India’s contact-tracing app tops 100 million users in 41 days
    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Anti-vaccine and conspiracy activists tied to Lansing coronavirus protests

        Organizer Ashley Phibbs of Metro Detroit has used her Facebook page to suggest a broad “agenda” behind the pandemic. She has urged people to “NOT GET TESTED OR GIVE NAMES” because “corona cops” could remove children from parents, a claim based on a link Facebook flagged as “false information” originating from a voluntary contact tracing program in Ventura County, California.

        Protest organizer Erica Pettinaro is a lead organizer for Informed Choice of Michigan, a group that opposes vaccine mandates and is planning its own rally at the state Capitol this summer. Organizer Allison Claire describes herself as a mom, military spouse, domestic violence victim advocate and a “devoted activist for medical freedom,” a phrase commonly used by activists opposed to government vaccination mandates.

        Larner, one of the Michigan protest organizers, also has shared on Facebook what he called “extremely insightful” videos purporting to expose “Bill Gates’ role in this plandemic.”

    • Environment

      • Energy

      • Overpopulation

        • [Older] Earth’s Resources Consumed at Exorbitant Level

          Earth Overshoot Day – the day that marks the point where yearly consumption exceeds nature’s capacity to regenerate – fell on July 29 last year, the earliest date ever recorded since Earth Overshoot Day started 50 years ago.

          In 2018, Earth Overshoot Day fell on August 1; the year before that it was on August 2 and in 2016 it was on August 8. The date for 2020 has yet to be announced, but if the trend continues, we can expect Earth Overshoot Day to fall in late July or August.

          In fact, at this point, we would need 1.75 earths to meet our insatiable demand for its resources.

        • [Older] A silver lining

          We often talk of spending within our limits. Similarly, there is a budget for Earth too. ‘Earth Overshoot Day’ marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. Needless to add, each passing year, we are on a deficit budget – which means we are borrowing from our children’s future.

          If we look back at why the Earth Day was needed, it is amply clear that the humans have not taken the lessons from the past seriously. According to Earth Day website, ‘Earth Day’ was a unified response to an environment in crisis. It was on April 22, 1970, that 20 million Americans — 10 per cent of the US population at that time — took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet. The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement and is now recognised as the planet’s largest civic event.

          Fifty years later, we are at a crossroads once again. As reported by the Guardian, even in the US, polluted areas are among the worst-hit by coronavirus. It is a lesson not just for the US but for the whole world. Air pollution and water pollution add to the global disease burden and hence it is imperative that the planet does not go back to ‘business as usual’. The economic stimulus offered by the Government of India should not cut into the environmental gains made during the lockdown period. The government will need to strengthen its monitoring of polluters and take stringent actions against them.

          Reminds environmental activist Manoj Misra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan: “All economic stimulus must also be environmental stimulus. Example – a big boost to rooftop solar. There cannot be business as usual anymore.”

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Iranian Journalist Begins 1.5-Year Jail Term Over BBC Interview

        Iran “must stop their absurd practice of imprisoning journalists solely for speaking to foreign media outlets, especially during a pandemic, when any jail term could be a potential death sentence,” said Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa program coordinator at the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

        Fathi was detained in May 2018 after he gave an interview with the BBC’s Persian service about the reelection of President Hassan Rohani, according to an interview with the journalist by Iran International.

      • Iranian journalist Hassan Fathi begins 1.5 year jail term over BBC interview

        On May 6, Fathi, a freelance columnist and former editor of the Iranian daily Ettelaat, began an 18-month prison term in Tehran’s Evin Prison after his appeal in a 2018 criminal case for speaking with the BBC Persian service was denied, according to a report by the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), a U.S.-based outlet that covers news in Iran.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • ACLU Sues Betsy DeVos Over “Reprehensible” New Sexual Assault Rules

        The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that would block parts of her department’s new Title IX rule, saying the guidance will “slash schools’ obligations to respond to reports of sexual harassment and assault.”

      • Trump: Letting Big Corporations Get Away with Whatever They Want

        Trump considers himself above the law.

      • Dissenter Weekly: Federal Whistleblowers Try To Save Americans From Corrupt COVID-19 Response

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola joins various media organizations in highlighting the testimony of Rick Bright, the former deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response at Health and Human Services (HHS) and former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA.

        Bright was retaliated against by officials in President Donald Trump’s administration after he recommended in January that the administration take the coronavirus pandemic more seriously. He also challenged cronyism, including the manner in which certain drugs were fast-tracked for approval to address COVID-19 simply because a company had political connections to Jared Kushner or others. “Most Americans want the same thing–a return to normal,” Bright testified to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “The normal of 2019 is not going to return, but we all have an opportunity to shape the new normal of 2020 and beyond.”

      • Zimbabwe opposition says activists missing, police deny holding them

        Zimbabwe’s main opposition party said on Thursday three of its activists were missing a day after taking part in a protest over food shortages and police denied holding them after initially telling local media they had been arrested.

        The southern African nation has a history of enforced disappearances of government opponents and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it feared its members, including a member of parliament, had been abducted by state security agents.

      • 309 Cops Faced Disciplinary Action Last Year, 68 for Information Misuse

        The number of officers reprimanded for the improper use of information has remained more or less stable over the past few years, the police said. But making sure officers are careful with confidential information, remains a major concern. “Police officers have daily access access to valuable information. That is extremely useful for their work, but there is also ‘danger’ in that special position. Working with sensitive data can become so ordinary that its value is underestimated,” said Lonneke Soudant, head of Security, Integrity and Complaints at the police.

      • Yet Another Girl In Pakistan Abducted, Forcibly Converted And Forcibly ‘Married’ To Her Abductor

        Unfortunately, her concerns are not farfetched. According to the Movement for Solidarity and Peace (MSP), a human rights organization in the country, around 1,000 Christian and Hindu women and girls are kidnapped each year, forced to convert and marry Muslim men. The victims are usually between the ages of 12 and 25. Despite these shocking statistics, the number of victims may be even higher as many cases remain unreported, often due to the girls’ families limited financial means.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • For Tribal Lands Ravaged by COVID-19, Broadband Access Is a Matter of Life and Death

        If anyone doubted the importance of the Internet before the COVID-19 pandemic, those doubts have vanished like toilet paper at Kroger. During this time, the Internet has proved to be a lifeline, delivering the latest coronavirus health and emergency updates, connecting people to coworkers and bosses, and facilitating online classes.

        But this is only the case for those lucky enough to have access. The American Library Association says seven in 10 residents on rural tribal lands remain without access to fixed high-capacity broadband. Making matters worse, massive swaths of tribal land don’t even have a cellphone signal, much less a broadband Internet connection.

        No Internet access means no access to the economic opportunities the Internet holds. In 2018 alone, the Internet sector accounted for $2.1 trillion of the U.S. economy. But during this pandemic, many residents of rural Indian Country don’t have the luxury of dreaming up online business plans.

        They are instead fearful for their lives and the lives of their loved ones who lack access to solutions like telehealth or online counseling during this time of isolation.

      • RIPE 80: 12-14 May
      • Is the Internet Getting Slower?

        Is the Internet Getting Slower? With everything going on, is the internet getting slower? Well lets go over an article and show you my speed tests and discuss the changes.

    • Monopolies

      • Facebook’s Giphy acquisition sounds antitrust alarms in Congress

        “Facebook keeps looking for even more ways to take our data,” Hawley said in a statement to The Verge. “Just like Google purchased DoubleClick because of its widespread presence on the internet and ability to collect data, Facebook wants Giphy so it can collect even more data on us. Facebook shouldn’t be acquiring any companies while it is under antitrust investigation for its past purchases.”

    • Here to virtuality: NDCA judge to seek court reform after COVID

      James Donato says he will seek to permanently institute online hearings and expert ‘hot-tubbing’ after the lockdown, and to stop the ‘death of the trial’

    • Cross-Border Data Flows in WTO Law: Moving Towards an Open, Secure and Privacy-Compliant Data Governance Framework

      We have for our readers today an invited guest post from Neha Mishra, currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore. Neha earned her BA.LLB degree from NLS Bangalore several years ago (where we were classmates) after which she practised law briefly in London and India. She then went on to collect degrees in law and public policy from the London School of Economics, National University of Singapore and finally a PhD from Melbourne University on how international trade law and internet policy can be better aligned with cross border data flows.

      Neha’s PhD thesis which can be accessed over here, won the Harrold Luntz Graduate Research Prize for the best thesis by a graduate student at the Melbourne Law School. Her research comes at an interesting time for India which is currently in the process of creating its own data protection regime. At some point of time in the near future, the world will have to decide on an international regulatory framework for cross-border data flows failing which we are going to see increased trade tensions on issues such as data localisation. India is already facing heat on this aspect from the United States.

      In this post, Neha provides us with a snapshot of one of the areas of her research. It is an abridged version of her article Building Bridges: International Trade Law, Internet Governance and the Regulation of Data Flows, which was published in the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 2019. While she has taken pains to point out to me that it is not related to intellectual property, I did pester her for this piece because as an IP blog we do end up covering data protection issues quite often and the issues raised in her thesis are likely to end up influencing some aspects of IP policy in the near future.

    • Patents

      • Federal Court of Justice lays down new FRAND rules for implementers

        Yesterday, the German Federal Court of Justice ruled that Haier is infringing an SEP of Sisvel and acted as an unwilling licensee in FRAND negotiations. The ruling could significantly raise the bar on FRAND rules for implementers. The judgment is considered a game-changer in FRAND law in Europe.

      • Eagle Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Slayback Pharma LLC (Fed. Cir. 2020)

        Infringement under the doctrine of equivalents (as a basis of a successful cause of action having renewed vigor before the Federal Circuit recently (see, e.g., “Galderma Laboratories, L.P. v. Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC”) is most frequently rebutted by the doctrine of prosecution history estoppel (“Pharma Tech Solutions, Inc. v. Lifescan, Inc.”). This is not the only defense available to an accused infringer; its sister doctrine, of dedication-disclosure, can be equally effective under circumstances where a patentee has disclaimed aspects or embodiments that could fall within the scope of equivalents but was disclaimed to avoid prior art, for lack of utility, or insufficiency of disclosure under 35 U.S.C. § 112. Last Friday, the Federal Circuit applied the dedication-disclosure doctrine to affirm the District Court’s dismissal on the pleadings of plaintiff Eagle Pharmaceuticals’ infringement allegations under the doctrine of equivalents in Eagle Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Slayback Pharma LLC.

      • Idorsia Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. v. Iancu (Fed. Cir. 2020)

        Yesterday, in Idorsia Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. v. Iancu, the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granting summary judgment in favor of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, finding that the District Court had correctly concluded that the Office properly calculated the Patent Term Adjustment for U.S. Patent No. 8,518,912. In particular, the District Court had determined that the Examiner’s issuance of the first of three restriction requirements during prosecution of the application that issued as the ’912 patent satisfied the notice requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 132, and thus ended any further accumulation of “A Delay” for the ’912 patent.

        Actelion Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. — Plaintiff-Appellant Idorsia Pharmaceuticals’ predecessor in interest in the ’912 patent — filed U.S. Patent Application No. 12/745,358. On March 14, 2012, the Examiner issued a restriction requirement, identifying six invention groups. Actelion notified the Examiner by telephone that the invention groups omitted subject matter from the scope of the claims (but without electing any of the invention groups). The Examiner agreed, indicated that a new restriction requirement would be issued, and then issued a new restriction requirement on April 18, 2012 (35 days after the first restriction requirement). In the second restriction requirement, which superseded and replaced the first restriction requirement, the Examiner identified eight invention groups. Acetelion again notified the Examiner by telephone that the invention groups omitted subject matter from the scope of the claims (but without electing any of the invention groups). The Examiner again agreed, indicated that a new restriction requirement would be issued, and issued a new restriction requirement on June 21, 2012 (64 days after the second restriction requirement).

        The ’358 application eventually issued as the ’912 patent, and the Office determined that the PTA was 314 days, which included 229 days of A delay. Actelion requested reconsideration of that PTA determination, and the Office issued a final decision determining that the PTA for the ’912 patent was 346 days, including 261 days of A Delay, with the Office determining that the Examiner’s second restriction requirement stopped the accrual of A delay. Actelion filed suit in the Eastern District of Virginia, challenging the Office’s PTA determination, and the District Court remanded the case to the USPTO to reconsider its PTA determination in light of Pfizer, Inc. v. Lee. On remand, the Office determined that Actelion was entitled to 311 days of PTA, including 226 days of A Delay, with the Office determining that the Examiner’s first restriction requirement stopped the accrual of A delay.

      • Thryv, the PTAB, and the APA

        The bar on appeal of institution decisions is intended to keep IPRs a relatively quick and efficient process. Instead of permitting parties to challenge the decision to proceed to a final decision, dragging IPRs out for years, they can only appeal the final decision. In many ways, it’s analogous to how courts disfavor interlocutory appeals.

        But there’s really two kinds of decisions at the institution stage that parties might want to challenge—decisions about how the relevant rule applies to the present case, and decisions about what the relevant rule is supposed to be.


        This is, in large part, a problem created by the Patent Office’s decision to create precedential rules by an informal process as part of a single IPR, instead of conducting notice-and-comment rulemaking to set the rule and then applying it in IPRs.

        And it’s a problem for everyone—patent owners, petitioners, and the public. Whether you’re faced with an IPR that’s allowed based on a voluntarily dismissed complaint not triggering the time bar or an inability to challenge a rule that prevents government contractors from challenging patents, an inability to challenge incorrect rules isn’t good for anyone. And it’s bad for the Patent Office as well—an inability to fix problems harms the perception of fairness that Director Iancu has championed.

        The solution is simple and already within the power of Director Iancu. Instead of the ad hoc Precedential Opinion Panel process the PTAB currently uses, just require that all rules pertaining to IPR be made via notice-and-comment rulemaking. Given 35 U.S.C. § 316(a)’s command that “[t]he Director shall prescribe regulations,” including regulations governing inter partes review, this clearly seems to be what Congress intended.

        Doing rulemaking via Administrative Procedure Act procedures ensures that the entire public has proper notice of the proposed and final rule and a chance to participate in the process of setting it. And if someone thinks the PTAB sets the wrong rule, they can bring a challenge to the rule under the APA. That allows parties to challenge the kind of broad rules on institution that should be appealable, while avoiding the problem of parties appealing every single institution decision that doesn’t go their way because of disagreement over the facts of the case.

        If an individual IPR requires the creation of a new rule, whether at institution or at final written decision, that IPR can be paused until the rulemaking is completed. At that point, the PTAB judges will be applying a properly promulgated rule created via normal agency procedures.

      • Important IP Updates Covid-19 | 15.05.2020

        European Patent Office (EPO) – All-time limits expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are thus extended until May 4, 2020. More info.

        European Union Intellectual Property Institute (EUIPO) – Deadlines between May 1 and May 17, 2020, postponed until May 18, 2020. More info.

      • The revocation of patents

        THE rights granted to a patent holder are amongst the strongest of intellectual property rights because they include the monopoly right to utilise or license the patent for a stated term.

        However, patent rights may be lost before the normal term expires. Under the current Patent Act (which dates back to 1857!), the term is 14 years but will be 20 years under the new Act.

        The new Patent and Designs Act (passed but not yet in force at the time of writing) provides for the revocation of patents on much broader grounds and with greater clarity than the old Act.

        Under the new Act, any interested person may apply to the Registrar of Industrial Property (at JIPO) for the revocation of a patent.

      • USPTO denies patent application for invention by AI

        The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the latest patent office to confirm that inventions by artificial intelligence (AI) are not patentable. This is a potential issue for all industries and probably most pressing in Life Sciences, given the growing use of AI in drug discovery.

        The USPTO denied an application for a patent that named an AI, called DABUS, as the inventor. The USPTO held that the US patent statutes preclude interpretation of “inventor” to cover machines. The decision does not cite any express statutory limitation, but relies on “the plain reading” of words such as “whoever”, “himself”, “herself” and “individual” and a statement that an inventor who executes an oath is a “person”. The decision cites US case law that inventors cannot be states or corporations. It relies on these cases as authority for the proposition that the “conception” of an invention must be performed by a natural person and it notes that this is consistent with the approach to inventorship in the USPTO’s Manual of Patent Examining Procedure.

      • German FRAND ruling forces implementers to raise their game

        Lawyers explain how the recent Federal Court of Justice’s decision will level the playing field in FRAND negotiations

      • Microsoft’s Billion Dollar Project, Musk’s FB Rant And More: Top AI News

        In what came as a shocker to the AI community, both the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) with regards to the petition to grant patents for an AI system called DABUS for invention, have quashed the application. They have reasoned that (AI) cannot be identified as an inventor because AI is not a “natural person” or a “legal person.”

      • Software Patents

    • Trademarks

      • Trademark Infringements On The Internet Under Ukrainian Case Law

        One of the general principles applicable in this kind of cases is that the mere registration of a domain name that incorporates someone else’s trademark shall not be regarded as trademark use. A trademark is deemed to be used only if it is used in relation to the goods and services for which it is registered. This position is expressed in two upheld judgments of the Kyiv City Commercial Court issued in 2010 and 2011, available here (case No. 20/68) and here (case No. 20/296).
        In case No. 5011-39/8538-2012, resolved by the High Commercial Court of Ukraine in 2013 and initiated by the owner of the trademark Kaeser against the owner of the domain name kaeser.com.ua, the courts found that on pages of the web site the mark KAESER was used, as well as information about activities of a codefendant in connection with the sale of compressors and components, similar to the products produced by the plaintiff. The courts ascertained that the mark in the domain name was similar to the extent of confusion with the trademark owned by the plaintiff and might mislead consumers regarding the source of the goods or services. Based on these findings, the courts prohibited the use of the plaintiff’s trademarks in the domain name and the defendants’ email addresses.
        Later, in 2015, Ukraine adopted the Law on Electronic Commerce, which clarifies trademark rights exceptions related to the resale of goods or services put on the market by the trademark owner. In its art. 3 the Law states that domain names, email addresses should not be regarded as part of commercial proposals, which means that even resellers of original products should obtain trademark owner’s consent if they want to use the trademark in the email address, whenever use is related to the goods or services for which the trademark is registered.

      • China’s SPC provides OEM guidance in Honda case

        Ling ZHAO of the MARQUES China Team discusses the latest guidance from China’s SPC on the issue of trade mark infringement of OEM goods for exportation.

        China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC) has recently announced 10 significant cases and 50 typical cases, all intellectual property related. These significant cases and typical cases, though not binding on local courts, are important references to be taken into consideration when similar cases are tried.

      • Part 2 of German MaMoG in force: Invalidity and revocation of a trade mark

        From 1 May 2020, under § 51 Trade Mark Law, a request for a declaration of invalidity and cancellation of a registered trade mark – or for withdrawal of protection of the part of an international registration covering Germany – may also be filed at the DPMA on the basis of an earlier conflicting right within the meaning of §§ 9 to 13 Trade Mark Law. Up to now, these proceedings could only be conducted before the ordinary courts; now, under Part 2 of the MaMoG, this is also possible before the DPMA.

        Moreover, § 51 (2) to (4) Trade Mark Law contains special provisions according to which a declaration of invalidity on the basis of conflicting earlier rights is excluded in certain cases (e.g. in case of acquiescence of the younger trade mark or non-use of the earlier trade mark).

      • Remember “Blanding”? Well, Websites Are All Starting to Look the Same Now, Too

        High fashion brands’ logos have followed a path to marked similarity in recent years. Yves Saint Laurent – sans the “Yves” – swapped its skinny, slightly angled word mark for a bold and largely pared down “SAINT LAURENT.” Burberry traded in its serif font and accompanying cursive (for the “London, England”) for an almost identical sans serif type as YSL’s. Balenciaga did away with its super-thin font in favor of a bolder, block letters, and Balmain gravitated away from its stylized font for … you guessed it, a bold, sans serif type. The movement came to be characterized as “blanding,” as an array of brands relied on a handful of the same creatives to revamp the appearance of their trademark-protected names and logo.
        Looking beyond the shift from stylized marks to an overload of bold, geometric sans-serif font, websites are on something of a similar journey. “Why are all websites starting to look the same?” That is the question that has prompted a growing number of articles and blog posts over the past few years, most of which point to a common design elements, from large images with superimposed text, to hamburger menus, which are those three horizontal lines that, when clicked, reveal a list of page options to choose from. Such claims have even appeared in lawsuits, such as the one that Daily Harvest recently filed against a fellow DTC frozen health food company.

    • Copyrights

      • DISH Sues Pirate IPTV Suppliers Who Sold Through Amazon and Walmart

        Several companies and individuals involved in the manufacture and sale of pirate IPTV devices into the United States are being sued by DISH Network in a Texas court. In a lawsuit alleging direct and contributory copyright infringement, the TV provider states that despite sending dozens of takedown notices, including to Amazon and Walmart, the illegal activity continued.

      • Google Removes Pirate Movie Showcase from Search Results

        Google no longer highlights movies from pirate sites such as YTS and Fmovies in its ‘movie carousel.’ The top search position, which is part of the search engine’s featured snippets, still works for official movie studio releases. Google hasn’t commented publicly on the matter but it likely never intended the feature to work for pirate releases.

      • New Working Paper: The Fundamental Right to Property and the Protection of Investment: How Difficult is it to Repeal New Intellectual Property Rights? [Ed: CREATe's headline here contains at least 5 lies (that I can see). They lie without even noticing. Pure propaganda.]

        CREATe presents the second entry in our series of working papers released in 2020: “The Fundamental Right to Property and the Protection of Investment: How Difficult is it to Repeal New Intellectual Property Rights?”.

        This working paper by Martin Husovec, (CREATe Fellow, Assistant Professor, Tilburg School of Law & Affiliated Scholar, Stanford CIS) is a pre-print of a chapter due to be published in the Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Investment Law (edited by Christophe Geiger) in June 2020. The paper was also delivered as a CREATe public lecture at the University of Glasgow on 6 February 2019 (read the full report here).

      • German Federal Supreme Court defends press freedom in two high-profile copyright cases, no resolution of sampling dispute

        Following the preliminary ruling by the CJEU in the Funke Medien case, the German Federal Supreme Court found that the publication of military reports by the German press did not infringe the copyright of the German state. The court found that the publication was lawful under the exception for reporting of current events by the press (§ 50 UrhG, implementing Article 5 (3) c) InfoSoc Directive).

        The court explicitly left open the question whether or not the military reports were subject to copyright protection in the first place, arguing in its press release that this question does not change the result of the ruling. Unfortunately, this limits the generalizability of the judgment to other German copyright cases related to freedom of communication. The German state has been known to rely on copyright to suppress the publication of information obtained through a freedom of information request, a practice that has been referred to as “Zensurheberrecht” (a neologism combining censorship and copyright) by German freedom of information activists. Demands to use the ongoing copyright reform to clarify that official government works fall in the public domain have so far fallen on deaf ears with the responsible Justice Ministry. The ruling by the German Federal Supreme Court guarantees the non-infringing status of publication of such documents as part of press reporting, but leaves open the question whether the publication of state documents for other purposes is lawful under German copyright law.

      • Fendi is the Latest Fashion Brand to be Sued for Allegedly Failing to License its Photos

        Fashion models and burgeoning young fashion brands are not the only ones landing on the receiving end of lawsuits for using others photos without permission, Fendi is, too. The LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned Italian luxury brand was named in a copyright infringement complaint this week after the brand published an image of Blake Lively in January wearing a mustard yellow look from its Spring/Summer 2020 collection on Facebook and Instagram that is “owned and registered by Eva’s Photography, a professional photography company” without the company’s authorization.
        According to the complaint that New York-based Eva’s Photography filed in a New York federal court on Thursday, its suit against Fendi “arises out of [the brand’s] unauthorized reproduction and public display of a copyrighted photograph of actress Blake Lively arriving at the Good Morning America show in New York” in January.
        Much like nearly all of the other paparazzi-filed infringement lawsuits, which have flooded court dockets with marked frequency in recent years, Eva’s alleges that while it is “the sole owner of all right, title and interest in and to the Photograph, including the copyright,” Fendi, nonetheless, “posted the photograph on [social media] as tool to promote its brand and clothing” without licensing it from Eva’s or otherwise “receiving permission or consent to publish it.”

      • Viacom Forced Internet Archive to Remove Hundreds of Hours of MTV Broadcasts

        Viacom didn’t respond to a request for comment, but a spokesperson for Internet Archive confirmed that the archive received a copyright takedown request from Viacom.

        The archivists are now making sure these can’t get taken down forever regardless of any copyright takedown requests. They have created and seeded torrent files of the videos to decentralize their hosting, and have uploaded copies of it to private accounts and to archival sites hosted abroad.

        There is, unfortunately, nowhere else online to view these broadcasts other than the places the archivists have saved them. Because of Viacom’s persistent takedowns—which the company issues every day, not counting what’s on Internet Archive—a huge part of television and music history is missing from the [Internet].

How the EPO Muzzled Critical Media: The Case of IP Kat

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Number of posts per month plotted, with key events superimposed

IP Kat timeline: Pompidou EPO and Battistelli/Campinos EPO; Social 'dialogue'

Summary: Social ‘dialogue’ at the EPO seems to revolve around threats, abuse, and censorship; even the last remaining blogs which criticised the EPO have been muzzled (IP Kat is not run by the same people anymore)

FRAMING things in a concise, visual term can help. Hence we’ve produced the above timeline.

The European Patent Office (EPO) is run by a “Mafia”. I saw it. I was on the receiving end too (although they lack authority over me). They sent several law firms to bully me, even with someone whose surname is iconically enough “Capone”, based in London. They did this repeatedly, hoping to intimidate me (even the same year Jeremy left his own blog). There’s a backstory or two…

“They sent several law firms to bully me, even with someone whose surname is iconically enough “Capone”, based in London.”Today’s IP Kat is nothing like it used to be. It’s still defending Benoît Battistelli and whitewashing António Campinos. Even deleting comments, however polite, that mention the violations of those two, then censoring new ones! That’s really how bad it has become! The other site founded by IP Kat‘s founder went along the same trajectory, as we last noted earlier today. There’s no “Kat” anymore; nothing “kitty” about litigation people, who do photo ops with Battistelli whilst promoting his illegal and unconstitutional UPC project (which he hoped to lead).

“Considering the apathy the EU has shown towards EPO abuses and aggression against the media, what are we supposed to think?”It’s like a form of entryism. I used to exchange E-mails with “Merpel”, but she’s no longer there. The blog is now run by people who delete every comment that I attempt to post there. It’s not surprising that rarely do we see opposition to software patents in Europe over there; or any mentions of EPO corruption.

The EPO not only bribed many publishers; it also bullied many. And the results are spectacular. Recently, in light of a particular “World Day” (not “IP”), the EU celebrated the rights of the press and of journalism/ists. Considering the apathy the EU has shown towards EPO abuses and aggression against the media, what are we supposed to think? The EPO not only bribes the media; it also bullies it. It even bullies bloggers. Even ones who are outside the EU. It’s no better than the Communist Party of China looking to not only remotely censor but also self-censor its critics abroad (making them too terrified to talk, not only blocked in China). After the EPO had already blocked my site across several countries (all EPOnia branches) it also tried to stop my writings as if it has the authority to tell me what I can and cannot write.


IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 16, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:57 am by Needs Sunlight



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