Links 25/5/2020: Linux 5.7 RC7 and TeleIRC 2.0.0

Posted in News Roundup at 10:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • This unique DIY laptop is designed for ‘hacking, customization and privacy’

        MNT Research GmbH just launched a campaign on Crowd Supply for laptop that’s completely Open Source, the MNT Reform via Tech Radar. The laptop was built to be a “DIY laptop for hacking, customization, and privacy.” It protects privacy by not having microphones or cameras, and can be repaired with a single screwdriver, according to MNT Research GmbH. You can order an MNT Reform that’s already put together to $1,300 or order one to build yourself for $999.

        The MNT Reform is the only laptop to fully comply with the Open Source Hardware Association standards, according to MNT Research GmbH. In its campaign video, its makers highlight how the laptop is “open hardware and fully documented.” The drivers, input devices, system controllers, and other components are open source.

        In addition to being open source, the MNT Reform is built for simple repairs. MNT Research GmbH shows that it can be taken apart with a single screwdriver. You can also swap out the batteries, as in several cylindrical batteries, which is certainly unique for a laptop. It has eight 18650 battery cells that look like standard batteries.

      • Tuxedo Book BA15 is a Linux laptop with Ryzen 5 3500U for $935 and up

        While you can install Linux on most laptop computers with Intel or AMD chips, a handful of companies will sell you a notebook that comes with Linux pre-installed. But most recent models have had Intel inside.

        Now German company Tuxedo Computers is selling an AMD Ryzen-powered model called the Tuxedo Book BA15.

      • Switching from MacBook to Chromebook: Is Chrome OS good enough?

        Chrome OS often gets maligned as a platform that you can’t do “real work” on, and in some cases, that’s true. But sometimes, you don’t need a computer that does absolutely everything, and that’s why I decided to give switching to Chrome OS on my laptop a try. While I’ve retained my iMac as a proper workstation, my aging MacBook Air was due for an upgrade, and the opportunity to switch platforms presented itself. Could a simpler, cheaper Chromebook replace my MacBook for working on the go? While I found that the answer was decidedly “no” in some situations—and that simply adapting to Chrome OS and its limitations was a huge adjustment—I do think Chrome now has a place in my workflow, albeit one that is rather hit or miss. Chrome is also definitely still a problematic platform, and those limitations tend to define it in a lot of ways, which I’ll explore more in this post.

        For some added context, here are the devices I’m throwing into the mix: I use a 27-inch iMac with 40GB of RAM and a 9th-gen 3.7GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 at home while my MacBook is running on 4GB of RAM and an aging 4th-gen dual-core Core i5. My new laptop/convertible is a 14-inch HP Chromebook x360 with 8GB of RAM and an 8th-gen dual-core Intel Core i3 (Taylor reviewed a similarly equipped variant here at Android Police).

    • Server

      • What happens when you run Linux on a toaster?

        In today’s data centre, software-defined-everything is the new normal, and for plenty of good reasons: agility, flexibility, longevity. Amongst all the hype however, the precious role of hardware in the ecosystem seems to have been forgotten, cast aside in the insatiable quest for better results. But what has that actually done for those hard-fought-for results? Are you cashing in on false efficiencies by using cheap, off-the-shelf, generic appliances? We’d like to argue that yes, you have.

        Hardware has been so commoditised in the data centre to the point of obscurity, and in so doing, we’ve shot ourselves in the foot because it’s been to the detriment of the results we’re seeking.

        Think about it – just because you can build a toaster that runs Linux, it doesn’t mean you should.

      • Solo.io intros API management tools for the open-source Istio service mesh

        Cloud-native software company Solo.io Inc. today is making available what it says is the industry’s first Istio Developer Portal, which aims to streamline the onboarding process for developers in order to improve experiences and productivity.

        Solo sells software that helps companies address the challenges of implementing microservices, which are the components of modern, containerized applications that can run in multiple computing environments. It offers a variety of tools that help with this, including its Service Mesh Hub, which helps organizations streamline the deployment, management and extensibility of any service mesh on any cloud, for any application.

      • Rancher Labs Launches Rancher Academy

        Rancher Labs, creators of the most widely adopted Kubernetes management platform, today announced the launch of Rancher Academy. Rapid enterprise adoption of containers and Rancher’s emergence as a leader in enterprise Kubernetes management have created strong demand for a professional, Rancher-led certification program. The announcement not only addresses this need, but further cements Rancher’s commitment to education and to enabling the complete democratization of Kubernetes.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Work Culminating On A “READFILE” Syscall For Reading Small Files Efficiently

        Stemming from recent kernel discussions over a hypothetical new system call for reading small files more efficiently, Greg Kroah-Hartman has been working on the readfile() system call and it’s looking like it is taking shape well enough to premiere soon in a new mainline kernel release.

      • AMD Sensor Fusion Hub Support Is Not Coming With Linux 5.8

        For those AMD Ryzen laptop users eager to see the Sensor Fusion Hub driver for supporting the different hardware sensors on these AMD Zen laptops, that driver still isn’t going to be merged for the upcoming Linux 5.8 cycle even after the patches were first published months ago.

        AMD SFH missed the mark for Linux 5.7 due to concerns raised over the new code at the time. Since then, there hasn’t been any new patch revisions out from AMD for their SFH driver. So it’s not really a surprise over it not being queued for the upcoming Linux 5.8 merge window.

      • Linux 5.7-rc7
        So if rc6 was a bit bigger than I would have liked, rc7 looks very
        normal. Not the smallest we've had, not the largest. It's right in the
        middle of the pack.
        And none of the fixes look like there's anything particularly scary
        going on. Most of it is very small, and the slightly larger patches
        aren't huge either and are well-contained (the two slightly larger
        patches are to s390 and rxrpc - and even those patches aren't really
        all _that_ big).
        Other than that, it's mostly drivers (gpu and networking stand out,
        but small stuff in various other drivers) and some misc small patches
        all over.
        So it looks like I was worried for nothing last rc. Of course,
        anything can still change, but everything _looks_ all set for a
        regular release scheduled for next weekend. Knock wood.
        Most of the discussion I have seen has already been about various
        cleanups and new features for 5.8, and I have one early pull request
        already pending.
        In fact, the biggest excitement this week for me was just that I
        upgraded my main machine, and for the first time in about 15 years, my
        desktop isn't Intel-based. No, I didn't switch to ARM yet, but I'm now
        rocking an AMD Threadripper 3970x. My 'allmodconfig' test builds are
        now three times faster than they used to be, which doesn't matter so
        much right now during the calming down period, but I will most
        definitely notice the upgrade during the next merge window.
        Anyway, go out and give this a good final test so that we won't have
        any unhappy surprises after 5.7 is released..
      • Linux 5.7-rc7 Kernel Released With It Looking To Be In Good Shape

        While last week’s Linux 5.7-rc6 kernel was quite big, Linux 5.7-rc7 is out today and it’s on the smaller side of things in reassuring Linus Torvalds that the stable release of this kernel can happen soon.

        Linus Torvalds noted in this evening’s 5.7-rc7 announcement, “rc7 looks very normal. Not the smallest we’ve had, not the largest. It’s right in the middle of the pack. And none of the fixes look like there’s anything particularly scary going on. Most of it is very small, and the slightly larger patches aren’t huge either and are well-contained (the two slightly larger patches are to s390 and rxrpc – and even those patches aren’t really all _that_ big).”

      • Linus Torvalds Switches To AMD Ryzen Threadripper After 15 Years Of Intel Systems

        An interesting anecdote shared in today’s Linux 5.7-rc7 announcement is word that Linux and Git creator Linus Torvalds switched his main rig over to an AMD Ryzen Threadripper.

        At least for what he has said in the past, Linus has long been using Intel boxes given his close relationship with the company (and even close proximity to many of the Intel Portland open-source crew). In fact, he commented this is the first time in about fifteen years not using an Intel system as his primary machine.

      • Linux-creator Linus Torvalds joins Linus Sebastian of Linus Tech Tips in embracing AMD over Intel

        I have long been an AMD “fanboy,” usually choosing that company’s processors for my PC builds. Why? I prefer value to just throwing cash at raw performance, and with AMD I have always gotten plenty of power for my money. Historically, on the higher-end, Intel used to beat AMD regularly, but nowadays, things have really changed. AMD often destroys the competition across the board, as Intel has grown quite stale. Are Intel chips bad now? Not at all, but the innovation is coming from AMD. Facts.

        And so, I was quite delighted when Linus Sebastian of YouTube channel Linus Tech Tips (of whom I am a big fan) saw the light and began embracing AMD lately (despite his love for Intel). It was very neat to see AMD Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper processors being heralded by someone who is typically an Intel guy. Believe it or not, yet another Linus (no, not Linus van Pelt from Peanuts) is jumping to AMD, and this time it is probably a bigger deal than Sebastian’s current change of allegiance. You see, Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux, is no longer using an Intel CPU on his main computer. Woah.

    • Applications

      • Transmission 3.0 Released, Here’s How to Install it on Ubuntu

        A new version of open-source torrent client Transmission is available to download. In this post I share details on what’s changed and show you how to install the update on you’re system using the official Transmission PPA.

        Transmission 3.0 is the first major major update to this much-loved cross-platform torrent client for over 2 years so (naturally) ships with a batch of overdue bug fixes, feature enhancements, and compatibility improvements as a result.

        Among these is improved support for IPv6 addresses in the RPC server as well as throughout the app in general. Verification is turned on by default for curl fetches, and the client reverts to using a torrent’s hash as the base name for torrent resumes (which will fix any “Error: Unable to save resume file: File name too long” error when re-adding a Magnet link).

      • TeleIRC v2.0.0 is officially here!

        After almost eight months of work, the TeleIRC Team is happy to announce General Availability of TeleIRC v2.0.0 today. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteer community, we are celebrating an on-time release of a major undertaking to make a more sustainable future for TeleIRC.

      • What’s new in TeleIRC v2.0.0

        TeleIRC v2.0.0 is the latest major release of our open source Telegram <=> IRC bridge. Download the latest release and read the release announcement for the full story.

        There are several new and noteworthy changes in TeleIRC v2.0.0. This post walks you through the major changes and differences for TeleIRC v2.0.0. Read on for the highlight reel of this release.

      • TSDgeos’ blog: chmk a simple CHM viewer

        So I thought, ok maybe I can do a quick CHM viewer just based in QtWebEngine without trying to fit it into the Okular backend to support different formats.

      • Petter Reinholdtsen: More reliable vlc bittorrent plugin in Debian (version 2.9)

        I am very happy to report that a more reliable VLC bittorrent plugin was just uploaded into debian. This fixes a couple of crash bugs in the plugin, hopefully making the VLC experience even better when streaming directly from a bittorrent source. The package is currently in Debian unstable, but should be available in Debian testing in two days.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • King’s Defold engine is now open source through the Defold Foundation

        Developer King has announced that it is making its game engine Defold an open source game engine, allowing anyone to create mobile and web games on it. To make it truly open source King has now moved the engine to the Defold foundation where anyone can access it and tinker with it, with the hope that open collaboration will make the Defold engine better to use for everyone. Dozens of games have already been created with Defold and this move will ensure that many more will be as well.
        Tjodolf Sommestad, Chief Development Officer at King, said
        “We’re hugely impressed by the Defold team, and look forward to seeing many great gaming experiences come to life. We’ve seen millions of players already playing the King games run on the Defold engine and we’re excited to see the community come together even more, with the support of the Defold Foundation.”

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Open source digital painting app Krita comes to Android and ChromeOS (Beta)

          Krita is a free and open source application designed for digital painting, 2D animation, and image editing. Originally designed for Linux, Krita has also been available for Windows since 2014. And now the developers have released the first public beta of Krita for Android and Chrome OS.

        • Open source graphics editor, Krita, now available in the Play Store

          The open source graphics editor, Krita, is now available to download via the Play Store, its developers have announced. The Play Store version of the software is still the full desktop version of Krita so it doesn’t include a touch interface; it may, therefore, not be so great on a small Android phone, but should be quite decent on a larger tablet of Chrome OS device.

          The Play Store version is based on the latest Krita 4.2.9 which launched in March. The project said that unlike the Windows and Steam store editions, it isn’t asking for money for the Play Store edition as it’s the only way people can install Krita on Android devices. If you do want to support the project, however, you can buy a supporter badge from within Krita.

          If you want to try out this beta, you’ll need to navigate to the Play Store listing with a compatible device then just press install. Ideally, you’ll want to try it out on a device with a large screen as the app is still optimised for desktop systems. Also, keep in mind that the product is still in Early Access so you could run into some problems that haven’t been fixed yet.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Review: Pop!_OS 20.04

          Pop!_OS (or simply Pop, as I will refer to it throughout most of this article) is an Ubuntu-based distribution created by System76. The distribution sticks fairly close to its Ubuntu parent in terms of software, desktop environment, and features, but makes a number of customizations to the user interface and drivers. The focus of Pop appears to be on making it easier to use the desktop for work, especially for people who want to focus on keyboard usage over moving the mouse pointer.

          Pop is available in two editions for 64-bit (x86_64) computers. One edition ships with Intel and AMD video drivers while the other ships with NVIDIA drivers. Otherwise the two editions appear to be the same. The installation media is a 2GB download.

          The latest release of Pop is version 20.04 which is based on Ubuntu’s 20.04 LTS release and should therefore receive five years of security updates. There are a handful of new features available. One is an easy point-n-click method for associating a specific application with a laptop’s dedicated or NVIDIA video card. This should help users find a better balance between performance and energy savings. This release also puts more focus on providing keyboard shortcuts to manipulate windows instead of using the mouse. We can see a list of all available window management shortcuts in the desktop’s notification menu under the heading “View All Shortcuts”. I will come back to this feature later.

          There is an optional feature to auto-tile new application windows. This feature is off by default, but is available through the same notification menu in the upper-right corner of the desktop.

          On the subject of software management, Pop 20.04 offers a few new features. One is a firmware updating tool which can be found in the GNOME settings panel. The other feature is that Pop enables Flatpak support with the Flathub repository enabled by default. While Ubuntu has focused on Snap packages and does not enable Flatpak support by default, Pop is going the other way and focuses on Flatpak while not enabling Snap.


          While Pop!_OS can and does stand on its own as a fairly friendly, fully featured desktop distribution, I spent most of my time mentally comparing Pop’s 20.04 release against Ubuntu 20.04, which I had tested just a few weeks prior. For instance, Pop has a similar installer, and both are friendly, but Pop’s feels more streamlined and its options feel better explained. Or at least explained in a way that I think more non-technical users will understand.

          The themes and desktop layout are quite a bit different. Not so much with the positioning of items, but the look and style of the two GNOME implementations is quite a bit different. Ubuntu is, shall we say, bold in its colour choices while Pop sticks with a more familiar blue and black combination.

          Ubuntu uses two software managers (one for installing and removing packages and one for upgrading software) while Pop uses just one. To make matters more interesting the harder working Pop!_Shop is again more streamlined than its Ubuntu equivalent.

          Pop’s desktop performance ran circles around Ubuntu on the same test equipment and in the same VirtualBox environment. I found this especially interesting as the two distributions use the same kernel, the same desktop, and most of the same versions of software. Yet desktop performance was night-and-day in its contrast with Pop coming out the clear winner in both test environments. Despite the speed improvement, memory usage was about the same.

          When I was running Ubuntu I mentioned that when using ext4 the distribution failed to boot and, when using Ubuntu on ZFS the distribution often had to be launched from the recovery console. This problem did not manifest on Pop and the distribution consistently booted without problems.

          To me it is interesting that these two distributions can share so much in common, be nearly 99% identical, yet produce such different results. The little tweaks and shortcuts the Pop team have put into their distribution make it a much more pleasant operating system to use compared to its parent running on my equipment. Those little changes, the tiny customizations, may seem small on paper, but they produced a much better GNOME Shell experience than I have had on Ubuntu or Fedora to date and I think that makes Pop!_OS work looking at.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • IBM’s new open-source tool helps developers make their apps more accessible

          When designing an application, developers might not put accessibility on top of their list. Plus, the developer might not have a handy list of what guidelines they should follow when thinking about accessible features. To address this issue, IBM has released a free toolkit and an accessibility checker that will help developers fine-tune their applications for people with disabilities.

          IBM’s new tools are divided into two parts: a set of public guidelines called IBM Equal Access Toolkit and a Checker that identifies shortcomings in your application from an accessibility standpoint.

        • IBM Launches Open Source Equal Access Toolkit

          In a blog post published today, IBM’s program director of accessibility, Simeon McAleer, announced the company is releasing what they call the Equal Access Toolkit. He writes, in part: “I am excited to announce a new open source offering and design toolkit that give designers and developers the tools they need to make their websites and applications accessible.”

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Remote-team managers can learn a lot from open-source communities

        Instead of trying to reinvent management from first principles, we can turn to other areas with experience navigating distributed teams with individuals managing competing commitments. Open-source software communities—which also are remote communities connected by the internet—have long included the role of community managers. These are the people who tend to the health of the community, by maintaining communication, motivation, efficiency, and engagement. It’s a well-honed practice that remote managers can learn a lot from.


        A pandemic is an interesting mix of people who are over-socialized (such as people with families denied their usual down or alone time) and under-socialized (like singles living alone denied their usual social interactions). While there is a certain amount of camaraderie and shared experience that may come from those who navigated the switch from office to remote together, what about new people? Think about the experiences of your team, and outline the goals that you might want to achieve. Then, you can come up with options that might help support those goals. Remember to be deliberate about what should be async, and what should be opt-in (or out).

      • Is Proprietary Software Really Better Than Open-Source?

        Software development for statistical, analytical, or empirical purposes was dominated, for the first 30 years, by companies like SAS, SPSS, Minitab, Stata, and others. These companies developed products and sold licenses or tiered-price packages for their data-analytics software. But beginning in the mid-1990s, and especially after 2000, the open-source movement began encroaching into what was once the sole purview of pay-per statistical software. Python jumped from traditional programming into analytics, and the new, stats-specific programming language R arose from the remnants of Fortran and C. These products were freely available, constantly updated, and enjoyed near-instant worldwide distribution.

        The most dramatic difference between these new products and the proprietary hegemons of analytical programming, though, concerned development. Open-source languages’ source codes were freely available for modification by any user. This approach departed markedly from the traditional software development model, i.e., hire the best minds from computational statistics or social science, concentrate their talents at or near corporate headquarters, and jealously guard professionally developed source code.

        In line with Eric Raymond’s essays, two paradigms of statistical programming have thus arisen. Which is preferable? Of course, both have costs and benefits. In lieu of simply looking at the price of statistical software in monetary terms, though, consider some of the largest non-pecuniary costs for comparison. I argue that the largest perceived costs of open-source software relative to proprietary software are actually not drawbacks at all. Namely, conversion from proprietary legacy to open-source, security risks of open-source relative to proprietary, and the learning-curve gradient of open-source versus proprietary are all either overstated as costs or actually turn out to be long-run benefits.

      • Is Open Source the Way Forward for SD-WAN?

        The dream of SD-WAN is pretty simple: make networking faster, better, cheaper, and more secure. The problem is proprietary technologies simply can’t scale to meet these aspirations, says Sorell Slaymaker, principal consulting analyst at TechVision Research.

        Speaking during a recent webinar, Slaymaker joined flexiWAN Founder and CEO Amir Zmora, whose company is the first to develop and launch an open source SD-WAN platform, in discussing the state of the SD-WAN market. They specifically discussed how an open source approach can address the technology’s most pressing challenges.

        According to Slaymaker, many of the problems facing the SD-WAN market are born out of the lack of any kind of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)-style industry standard.

      • Lanner Whitebox uCPE Certified by flexiWAN Enables SD-WAN in Open Architecture

        Lanner Electronics Inc, the leading uCPE and MEC Whitebox Solutions™ provider, today announced its partnership with flexiWAN, the pioneer in open source SD-WAN software, to offer SD-WAN solution in an open, modular and vendor-agnostic architecture which allows for dynamic loading of router and management networking applications bringing to networking the concepts of the mobile application (different from the VNF concept that is also possible). With this strategic partnership, Lanner’s white-box uCPE hardware NCA-1510 becomes pre-validated for flexiWAN’s SD-WAN to liberate enterprises and service providers from vendor lock-in equipment, allowing the implementation of third-party VNF and simplified management in traffic routing and application-optimization.

      • Avoiding the lock-in trap – The financial impact of perpetual support contracts

        The discussion around open source and saving money has been going on for as long as open source has existed. While there are definite benefits that open source can provide in terms of controlling your data and fully understanding the code that is in place, cost saving are often seen as the biggest reason to move from proprietary software. However, how can those cost savings be achieved in practical terms, and why are they still possible so many years after open source was first developed?

        One of the greatest challenges is understanding and quantifying the impact of software licensing for proprietary software, and how this can lead to problems over time. The issue is not whether suppliers should be paid for their support services, or be able to license their software in the way that suits them. Instead, problems occur through lack of clarity around historical support contracts. This is where open source solutions can provide immediate savings.

      • How PowerDNS turned ‘abysmal failure’ into open source success

        However, here’s some hope for those open source developers who can’t seem to figure out how to turn their code into copious quantities of cash: PowerDNS. In a conversation with Bert Hubert, founder of PowerDNS, a leading provider of open source DNS software, services, and support, he detailed how the failure of PowerDNS as a proprietary product eventually led to open source success. This despite one VC telling Hubert, “Bert, you made a product for people with no money that don’t want to buy it from you.”

      • [Satire] Huge if true… Trump explodes as he learns open source could erode China tech ban

        The Register has obtained the following transcript of a recent White House conversation between US President Donald Trump and advisors regarding the ban on American technology reaching Huawei.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Top Chrome extensions to improve productivity

            Chrome is by far the most popular browser. It is well equipped, works quickly and is constantly being developed. However, it always causes trouble for its users – for example due to its extremely high memory requirements.
            Surely, as many of you already see first-hand when working with our PCs, most tasks involve direct use of the Internet to a greater or lesser extent, specifically with our browsers , with the advantages and drawbacks that it entails.

            And it is necessary to take into account that working online on certain occasions can be a great distraction that takes us away from our really important tasks. This is due to a large extent, to the constant notifications and updates that are popping out from platforms such as Facebook , Skype , Twitter , WhatsApp , etc. That is why we sometimes make take certain measures in order to avoid these distractions either from Windows 10, MacOS or Ubuntu or from any of the platforms that we regularly use.

        • Mozilla

          • William Lachance: The humble blog

            Like many organizations, Mozilla’s gone down the path of Google Docs, Zoom and Slack which makes me more than a little sad: good ideas disappear down the memory hole super quickly with these tools, not to mention the fact that they are closed-by-default (even to people inside Mozilla!). My view on “open” is a bit more nuanced than it used to be: I no longer think everything need be all-public, all-the-time— but I still think talking about and through our ideas (even if imperfectly formed or stated) with a broad audience builds trust and leads to better outcomes.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Why Technology Should Take a Backseat for Data Projects to Succeed

          Data driven is a nice buzzword. We run around our organizations shouting that we need to be data driven and try to wade through all our data to find the nuggets of gold we’ve been promised. We convince ourselves, as technologists, that we have big data, massive streams of data on par with Uber and we need the latest open source projects to handle this.

          Businesses have empowered engineering teams to drive data projects. At the same time I, like many in the industry, had been guilty of focusing on technology in order to further my career, worried we would fall behind the rest of the market unless we adopted the latest open source.


          Where I have seen success is when powerful open source technologies have been used while giving business users with domain knowledge the ability to self-serve their data access. A ubiquitous language, such as SQL, makes it possible for a wider array of users to serve themselves and get visibility into the data platform and data applications. Business experts who were able to discover, explore, visualize and build using data in an accessible way advanced the organization’s goals and optimized data in ways I couldn’t because they were the domain knowledge experts. The best role for a technologist is to be a technology partner to the business and enabler of the business goals.

          Without building integrated data teams of business analysts and technologists, we will continue to see this high project failure rate — which isn’t acceptable in any other industry. Imagine 85% of, say, construction projects being abandoned?

        • Percona CEO: Take an unbiased (multi-cloud) approach to cloud databases

          Database misconfigurations in the cloud are a problem, one might even say that it’s becoming a common problem.

          As founder and CEO at Percona, Peter Zaitsev said this week during his organization’s Percona Live Online conference, you can’t just slap a database into a cloud and think that everything is all going to fall in place and be okay.

        • MongoDB Gets a New Distribution, as Percona Grasps the Nettle

          Open source database specialist Percona today announced its very own MongoDB distribution (and managed services for it); an unusual move given the latter’s somewhat restrictive license terms, and one likely to put the cat among the pigeons at MongoDB’s headquarters.

          MongoDB, an $11 billion (by market capitalisation) non-relational database specialist, offers a bare-bones open source version of its software that customers are free to download and use; but makes its money providing managed services for/licenses to more proprietary, all-singing, all-dancing versions of the database; with other tools plugged in.

          As a result, MongoDB (the database) is a bit of a MongoDB (the company)-only show, despite the cloud hyperscalers’ best efforts.

        • DB or not DB: Open-sourcer Percona pushes out plethora of SQL and NoSQL tweaks in bid to win over suits

          Open-source database support and distribution biz Percona has flung out new versions of MongoDB and Postgres and a managed database service as it looks to win over more enterprise folk.

          In its first distribution of MongoDB – the document-oriented NoSQL database – Percona has included enhancements to support in-memory storage HashiCorp Vault for data access control, data at rest encryption, audit logging, external LDAP authentication and hot backup support for enterprise. It is also releasing separate backup and restore functionality for clusters and non-sharded data sets.

      • Education

        • InnovateEDU Develops Free, Open-Source Data Extraction Tool for Google Classroom During COVID-19

          Today, InnovateEDU, a non-profit organization whose mission is to eliminate the achievement gap in K-12 education by developing innovative models and tools to serve, inform, and enhance teaching and learning, announced that they are offering a free, open-source Google Classroom Connector to any school or district that utilizes G Suite for Education. Realizing that teachers and administrators are facing challenges in gaining insights into students’ performance and engagement during remote instruction, InnovateEDU developed a data extraction tool that can be used in a school’s Google Cloud environment ensuring that data is secure and interoperable.

      • Funding

        • London-based New Vector nabs €4.1 million for ‘Matrix’, its decentralised comms ecosystem

          Today New Vector, who is behind new collaboration solutions used by European governments and organisations alike, has announced raising approximately €4.1 million from Automattic Inc. This new investor brings both the financial backing and experience of being the parent company of web publishing and e-commerce platforms WordPress.com, WooCommerce, Jetpack, and enterprise WordPress VIP.

          New Vector, founded in 2017, is on a mission to enable governments, businesses and individuals to run their own secure communication infrastructure, while interconnecting via the global Matrix network. So far the startup has developed Riot, the flagship Matrix-based messaging app, and Modular, the leading Matrix-based hosting platform. New Vector, formed by the team who created Matrix, also provides significant development to the Matrix open source project (an open network for secure, decentralised communication which lets organisations and individuals run their own collaboration apps).

        • Automattic pumps $4.6M into New Vector to help grow Matrix, an open, decentralized comms ecosystem
        • Headless CMS company Strapi raises another $10 million
        • Open-Source ‘Headless’ CMS Company Strapi Raises $10 Million

          Strapi — the open-source “headless” content management system (CMS) — announced it raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Index Ventures. Including this round of funding, the company has raised a total of $14 million.

          Previously, Strapi raised $4 million in seed funding in October 2019 with Accel and Stride.VC. And the company also hired former Docker head of community Victor Coisne as VP of marketing and the company also announced plans to open its first U.S. office in San Francisco.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Waltham-based ICS partners with RespiraWorks to create open source ventilator
        • Physicists design FDA-approved, open-source ventilator to combat COVID-19

          A group of physicists specializing in the dark matter composition of the universe have shifted focus to design an FDA-authorized, open-source ventilator that can treat patients with COVID-19.

          The device, known as Mechanical Ventilator Milano (MVM), was designed by members of the Global Argon Dark Matter Collaboration, an international coalition dedicated to the study of dark matter, in six weeks. A small number of off-the-shelf components were chosen to build it so manufacturing could take place swiftly.

          “As an open-source device the different components that are used in the design are known to the public, including the hardware and software components; and the software can even be downloaded and used as is,” Andrew Renshaw, an assistant professor of physics at the University of Houston and a member of the collaboration, told HCB News. “The idea behind this is that the design can then be picked up by different manufacturers from around the world and they can work with the MVM team to either use it as is, or make modifications that can be included in a model they would then market.”

        • Commons: how the art of co-operation is the only way out of this crisis

          Our broken systems are proving incapable to cope with the COVID-19 emergency, let alone the looming threat of social and environmental collapse. Yet the long-held practices of the commons are becoming more obvious solutions to the world’s biggest problems. The commons movement, as a complement to established movements – Degrowth, Open Source, anti-austerity, decolonialism, Social Solidarity Economy, ecofeminism, Buen Vivir – is rising.


          You can find the commons in urban gardens, collective fisheries, farming, foresting, food systems, cities and creative commons licensing. They often transcend the limitations of the market/state system. Specific examples include cooperatively managed forests, water distribution irrigation systems, social currencies, Free/Libre and Open-Source Software, self organized urban spaces, distributed manufacturing networks and more.

        • Open Source Repository for COVID-19 Drug-Delivery Simulation Data Launched

          The Molecular Sciences Software Institute (MolSSI), based in Virginia Tech’s Corporate Research Center, has launched an open-source website that will allow biomolecular scientists from around the world to share computer-aided drug-testing simulations targeting the protein at the center of COVID-19.


          Under the leadership of Teresa Head-Gordon, a MolSSI co-director and a professor of chemistry, bioengineering, and chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, the MolSSI team started work on the COVID-19 website about a month ago, after scores of scientists began discussing ways to share simulation modeling data they had on the coronavirus.

          The hub allows biomolecular researchers to compare computational models of the COVID-19 virus and to share what findings the scientists have made on drug delivery to the host protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. “If we’re all trying to act fast, we’ll want to focus on a certain class of drugs that are repurposed, they’ve already been through clinical trials for other diseases or related viruses,” Head-Gordon said. “You have known molecules, and you want to see if there are places on the target protein that you can disrupt.”

        • Open source medical equipment repair database for Covid-19

          iFixit is creating a comprehensive database of repair manuals for medical equipment such as ventilators to help medical professionals around the world tackle the Covid-19 pandemic
          Teardown and repair specialist iFixit is creating a database of repair manuals for medical equipment to help tackle the Covid-19 outbreak around the world and is encouraging manufacturers to help.

          Hospitals are having trouble getting service information to fix medical equipment, and that is being made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic. “We’ve heard countless stories from biomedical technicians about how medical device manufacturers make their jobs more difficult by restricting access to repair information,” said Kyle Wiens, co-founder of iFixit.

        • Space10 designs open-source bee homes for digital fabrication

          “I want people to design a dream home for bees that provides the perfect environment for their offspring, while at the same time being incredibly easy to design, assemble and place,” said Klein, who is based in Copenhagen.

          “It was important for me that Bee Home is aesthetically pleasing and almost feels like you’ve added a sculpture to your garden or your balcony,” she continued. “This project really exemplifies how design can do good for both people and their environment.”

        • SPACE10 Creates Open-Source Bee Homes for World Bee Day

          IKEA’s research and design lab SPACE10 has created a new open source Bee Home. Working with Bakken & Bæck and designer Tanita Klein, the team has launched the free Bee Home project to coincidence with the United Nations International Bee Day. The project takes advantage of digital fabrication and parametric design so that people can design and fabricate their own Bee Home locally.

        • Space10 Launches Free and Open-Source ‘Bee Home’ Project

          SPACE10 recently collaborated with Bakken & Bæck and Tanita Klein to launch Bee Home, an open invitation for everyone to give bees the space they need. Through a digital platform, the project allows anyone to design, customize and download their very own Bee Home locally.

          This project takes advantage of the newest developments in digital fabrication and parametric design and introduces entirely new distribution methods to enable a fully democratic design process. Not only are the design files available and free for download, but the assembly of the Bee Home doesn’t require tools of any kind. Inspired by Japanese wood joinery and a few tricks in carpentry, the multiple storeys of the Bee Home are actually locked together through a ‘spine and key’ system that maintains the home’s structural integrity while making it incredibly easy to assemble and dismantle.

        • Vote to include aero handicap and open source ideas

          While a lot of the main target in current weeks has been on the discount of a deliberate price range cap, different rules aimed toward enhancing the game have shaped a part of a ‘New Deal’ that has been championed by FIA president Jean Todt.

        • Open Data

      • Programming/Development

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: #3 T^4: Customizing The Shell

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

        • Why slowing new feature development can be the best way to maintain an open source project

          John Byrd is credited with a great statement: “Good programmers write good code. Great programmers write no code. Zen programmers delete code.” It’s perhaps an overstatement, but the idea behind it is spot on: As a code base accumulates cruft over time, great engineers will invest the time necessary to strip the code of technical debt. As DJ Walker-Morgan once put it, “Deleted lines [of code] are the final burn down of the ground where tech debt built.”


          We’ve seen this same principle applied in other projects. Apache Cassandra is a good, recent example. In talking with Cassandra insiders, there was a point when stability took precedence in the Cassandra community, with Apple, Netflix, and other big users of Cassandra joining forces on this goal as users got stuck on version 3.11.

          As cool as it sounds to issue yet another release, Cassandra users were tiring of revalidating their databases every two months when a new release hit. The Cassandra 4.0 effort has been a broad-based, community effort to get the Cassandra house in order.

        • The End is Near for Zend Server Basic PHP

          Zend Server Basic, the free PHP runtime used by thousands of IBM i shops, will cease being offered starting in July 2021. That’s the word from Perforce, the company that now owns Zend and its lineup of PHP tools and technologies. The replacement, of course, is the new community edition of PHP that became available via RPM in late 2019.

          Starting in 2006, Zend Technology began to develop a special version of its PHP runtime for IBM i, which was then called i5/OS. This offering, dubbed Zend Core for i5/OS, provided a familiar way for users of the iSeries server (as it was known back then) to partake of the digital bounty that was (and is) the PHP language and the estimated 10,000 software applications that ran on it at the time.

          While nobody knows for sure how many IBM i (System i, iSeries, AS/400, etc.) shops adopted Zend Core for i5/OS and its follow-ons and continued to use it to power their PHP applications on the box over the years, the number is almost certainly currently measured in the thousands. Back in 2006, IT Jungle reported that, according to Zend, there had been thousands of downloads of the beta of Zend Core for i5/OS just four months after it was released in March 2006.

        • PestPHP Released as Open-Source

          Console legend Nuno Maduro has open-sourced Pest, an elegant PHP testing framework that focuses on simplicity.

        • Seungha Yang: Unfortunately GStreamer 1.17

          Unfortunately GStreamer 1.17 is a development version and any binary/installer is not officially released. But you can build it using Cerbero which is a project for packaging GStreamer framework, or simpler way is that you might be able to try gst-build, that’s a meta-project to build GStreamer mostly used for development purpose.

        • Python

          • Python 3.8.3 : A brief introduction to the Celery python package.
          • How to Import Historical Stock Prices Into A Python Script Using the IEX Cloud API

            Python is one of the world’s most popular programming languages.

            Specifically, Python for finance is arguably the world’s most popular language-application pair. This is because of the robust ecosystem of packages and libraries that makes it easy for developers to build robust financial applications.

          • How to create and manipulate tar archives using Python
          • What I think is good and bad

            I’m in the #python IRC channel on Freenode a lot. The people there are often quite opinionated. Julian had the idea of processing the logs to see what we thought was good, and what was bad, using sophisticated sentiment analysis.

          • How the End of Life for Open Source Python 2 Affects Enterprises
          • Test and Code: 114: The Python Software Foundation (PSF) Board Elections – Ewa Jodlowska / Christopher Neugebauer

            “The mission of the Python Software Foundation is to promote, protect, and advance the Python programming language, and to support and facilitate the growth of a diverse and international community of Python programmers.”

            That’s a lot of responsibility, and to that end, the PSF Board Directors help out quite a bit.

            If you want to be a part of the board, you can. There’s an election coming up right around the corner and you gotta get your nomination in by May 31. You can also join the PSF if you want to vote for who gets to be part of the board.

          • Consistent Hashing

            Consistent hashing is a hashing technique that performs really well when operated in a dynamic environment where the distributed system scales up and scales down frequently. The core concept of Consistent Hashing was introduced in the paper Consistent Hashing and RandomTrees: Distributed Caching Protocols for Relieving Hot Spots on the World Wide Web but it gained popularity after the famous paper introducing DynamoDB – Dynamo: Amazon’s Highly Available Key-value Store. Since then the consistent hashing gained traction and found a ton of use cases in designing and scaling distributed systems efficiently. The two famous examples that exhaustively use this technique are Bit Torrent, for their peer-to-peer networks and Akamai, for their web caches. In this article we dive deep into the need of Consistent Hashing, the internals of it, and more importantly along the way implement it using arrays and Binary Search.

        • Java

          • Hazelcast CTO: 25 years of Java, welcome to the data-driven 3rd act

            It’s easy to forget how important Java – celebrating its 25th birthday – has been.

            Before Java, computing was a place of siloed and proprietary clients and servers. Java was more than just a programming language – it was essentially a platform for building a wide range of applications. Java delivered a consistent and efficient programming experience for developers combined with write-once-run-anywhere portability.

            Today, we see that in containerisation and cloud.

            Java is poised to begin its third act – supporting cloud-native, data-intensive applications in analytics and Artificial Intelligence and IoT on 5G. That’s because Java’s foundations have continued to develop along with those first principles of developer productivity – simpler to build, more efficient code – with platform scale and performance.

            Not, that Java’s data destiny was manifest – Java’s had wobbles.

    • Standards/Consortia

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Want to understand goodwill? Ask the cat, dog, rat and rabbit

        On the high street in my town there is a store front that has been the site of numerous attempts by restaurateurs and other food types to establish a successful business. Back in the 1990’s, Starbucks tried to do so at the site but without luck. Others followed, but ultimately all were doomed to close. Still, several years ago, yet another enterprise tried its luck, called “Borochov 88.”


        To the contrary, Sarah’s Place enjoyed a firmer basis to enjoy goodwill after the move. That the high street relocation was located only 600 yards from the original site was attractive to “rabbits” and maybe even “cats”, while the identity of the owners at the new site would draw “dogs”. Here, as well, while the custom of “rats” was welcome, they could not be relied upon as a material basis for goodwill at the new site.

        So, Kat readers, the next time that are asked to opine on goodwill, you could do worse than remember what cats, dogs, rats and rabbits can teach us. Animal Farm anyone?

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Radisys bows new PON platform for fiber rollouts of all sizes

              The Open Networking Foundation’s SDN Enabled Broadband Access (SEBA) platform describes how to assemble a collection of open source components to build a virtualized PON network to deliver residential broadband and mobile backhaul. SEBA uses a disaggregated white-box approach for building next-generation access networks by using open source.

              With SEBA, functionality that traditionally ran on chassis-based OLTs and on BNG routers is run in the cloud while the hardware is a collection of white-box optical line terminals (OLTs), switches and servers. SEBA blends together the collection of open source hardware and software into a comprehensive platform that exposes northbound FCAPS interfaces, making it easier to integrate a SEBA POD with an operator’s OSS/BSS system.

            • FOLIO Library Services Platform Launches Fameflower Release

              FOLIO, a community collaboration to develop an open source Library Services Platform (LSP), has launched the Fameflower Release. The FOLIO Fameflower Release is the sixth in a series of named releases that define the features and functionality of the open source LSP and represents a significant list of workflow features for library staff.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

        • Security

          • Josh Bressers: Episode 198 – Good advice or bad advice? Hang up, look up, and call back

            Josh and Kurt talk about the Krebs blog post titled “When in Doubt: Hang Up, Look Up, & Call Back”. In the world of security there isn’t a lot of actionable advice, it’s worth discussing if something like this will work, or ever if it’s the right way to handle these situations.

          • The 50 Best Linux Hardening Security Tips: A Comprehensive Checklist

            Linux powers the majority of the web and a considerable amount of workstations around the globe. One of the primary reasons behind the ever-growing popularity of Linux and BSD systems is their rock-solid policies regarding security. Linux systems are inherently hard to crack due to their underlying design principles. However, no system is unbreakable, and if you don’t harden your workstation or Linux server on par with the latest standards, you’re likely to fall victim to various types of attacks and/or data breach. That’s why we have outlined 50 Linux hardening tips that will help you increase your server security to the next level.

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

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Apple whistleblower goes public over ‘lack of action’
            • Confidentiality

              • Military Personnel Exposed By Unlikely Social Media App

                Untappd is not alone — almost all social media activity can be exploited in some way. In January 2018 analysts exposed how the fitness app Strava could be used to unmask military personnel. These included those working in sensitive locations such as bases in Afghanistan and Africa.

                The Bellingcat article is only scratching the surface. The worrying truth is that the Information Age provides many more ways to build up a picture of your enemy than was possible just 30 years ago. Military planners cannot assume that their forces’ movements are not being tracked, wholesale.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Episode 24: Anthony Slide & Ben Wizner

        Anthony Slide is one of the most important filmographers and archivists in the history of cinema. Ben Wizner is a noted first amendment lawyer who represents Edward Snowden, a fugitive famously charged under the espionage act. He is the Director of ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project Anthony Slide and Randy share their love of film and Slide displays his encyclopedic knowledge of film history. Central to the show is a discussion of one of the most interesting and painful stories of film history—the case of the prosecution of the producer Robert Goldstein, who like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden was charged under the espionage act. Goldstein’s story is of a filmmaker caught in a political morass because of the timing of the film’s release. Ben Wizner presents a clear and frightening history of the Espionage Act and its political underpinning as a tool to silence dissent.

    • Monopolies

      • To fix social media, we need to introduce digital socialism

        Proprietary social media networks need to be transformed into local and global digital commons.


        Various scholars have put forward two main ideas to break up Big Social Media, neither of which can sufficiently accomplish their goals.

        The first one seeks to dismantle past mergers and acquisitions. Facebook, for example, bought up Instagram and WhatsApp years ago, and is now seeking to integrate all three platforms into a seamless communications network.

        Scholars like Tim Wu, Sarah Miller, and Matt Stoller have suggested breaking Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp into three separate companies. They hope these companies would then compete for customers, which would compel them to treat users with respect.

        Yet there is no good reason to believe this would do much for privacy and competition itself does not necessarily curb harmful behaviour. Even if these companies are broken up, given that their business model is based on serving ads and the exploitation of user data, they would have no serious incentive to change their behaviour.

        Furthermore, these companies are able to monetise surveillance because the data is running through their platforms, and they force people to be a part of their networks in order to interact with their friends and family. For example, a user who does not like Facebook’s privacy practices can leave for another network, but then they have to convince their friends to join them.

        The second idea proposes a solution to this problem: make social networks interoperate. Social media platforms would be forced to allow members of one network to interact with members of another. For example, a Facebook user would be able to post a comment under a YouTube video while logged into Facebook, and vice-versa. Users’ data would also be “portable” so they could move their profile to a different platform.

        Interoperability exists in other communications services, such as telephone networks and email.

        However, the “competition through interoperability” antitrust proposal is deeply flawed.

        The reason Big Social Media firms are able to raid everyone’s data and mistreat users is that they are centralised, cloud-based intermediaries. If I want to share a photo with you, I first upload it to, say, Facebook’s servers, and then you download it from Facebook’s servers. The user experience is then determined by Facebook’s network software.

      • Patents

        • G3/19: An End To The Saga…

          On 14th May the Enlarged Board of Appeal issued its opinion on the questions referred in case G3/19, otherwise known as the ‘Pepper’ case1. HGF have been following the case with interest, and attended the original Board of Appeal hearing which lead to the referral, our last update can be found here.

          The opinion marks the potential end to a saga which has created legal uncertainty in the field of plant and animal breeding and selection for over a decade. The issues began back in 2007 when the first referral to the Enlarged Board was made on the subject. This case became known as the infamous ‘Broccoli I’ decision of G2/072 and the subsequent related decision of ‘Tomatoes I’ of G1/083 . Enlarged Board of Appeal decisions usually produce final and binding decisions on issues of legal interpretation, however the tale of broccoli and tomatoes rumbled on to create two more subsequent referrals; G2/12 and G2/134 were consolidated and the decisions were issued together in 2015. These decisions, however, created controversy in that they essentially stated that the exclusion of essentially biological processes for the production of plants in Article 53(b) EPC does not have a negative effect on the allowability of a product claim directed to plants or plant material produced from an essentially biological process.

          Although welcomed by some, this decision seemed rather incongruous in forbidding claims covering processes of production of plants and animals with essentially biologically steps, yet allowing the claims to the products produced from such processes, thereby allowing companies to work around the decision. The decision furthermore raised concerns as to whether the patent system was essentially allowing patents to cover varieties and breeds of plant, thereby encroaching on Plant Breeders Rights. Following the decision, the European Parliament expressed concern that the decision could spark more patents on natural traits of plants introduced in new varieties and called on the European Commission (EC) to review the matter, which it subsequently did. The EC issued a notice 5 in 2016 stating that it could not be interpreted from the drafters’ original intention when preparing the EPC to allow product claims to plants or animals produced by essentially biological processes. This strongly indicated that the EC believed decisions G2/12 and G2/13 to be incorrect and contrary to the Biotech Directive, but the notice was non-binding on the EPO. Nevertheless, the Administrative Council of the EPO, under pressure from lobbying groups, especially in the Netherlands, felt the need to act and eventually did so6 by amending Rule 28 EPC to add part (2) stating that:

          ‘Under Article 53(b), European patents shall not be granted in respect of plants or animals exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process.’

          Although the AC intended to clarify the issue, this direct amendment of the EPC was regarded by many as ultra vires given that two Enlarged Board of Appeal “G” decisions, regarded as the highest authority within the EPO, were already in place stating that such claims were patentable. The rules of the EPC were now in direct conflict with the G decisions. Given that the G decisions were issued in 2015, and the rule change was implemented only two years afterwards in summer 2017, it was only a matter of time before a case came up which contained relevant claims covering plants produced by essentially biological processes. That case was the ‘Pepper’ case filed by Syngenta, (one of the applicants on the original broccoli filing), which eventually gave rise to the Board of Appeal decision T1063/18 7 and the referral G3/19.

        • Bans Patents On Plants And Animals

          Plants and animals that are produced only by “essentially biological processes” are not patentable, the European Patent Office has ruled, a decision that has been hailed as a victory against agribusiness giants while prompting a warning that “existing loopholes” still need to be closed.

          In a 70-page opinion Thursday, the EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal held that the European Patent Convention, which governs patents issued by the office, excludes plants and animals that are “exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process.”

        • Software Patents

          • FCBA Program on Artificial Intelligence

            The Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA) will be offering a remote program entitled “Artificial Intelligence: Challenges and Opportunities” on May 28, 2020 from 1:00 to 2:00 pm (EST). Patrick Keane of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC will moderate a panel consisting of Uren Chen of Qualcomm Inc.; Ron Dimock of Gowling WLG; Laura Sheridan of Google LLC; and Coke Stewart, Acting Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The panel will discuss the role of Al as Industrial Revolution 4.0 unfolds, including the key challenges and opportunities presented by Al within the tech community, how the legal community is evolving in response, particularly with regard to issues of inventorship, patentability, and enforcement, and the role of Al in the current COVID crisis.

      • Copyrights

        • John McAfee Admits Ghost ‘Copy-Pasted’ From PIVX, Threatens Lawsuits

          Earlier this week, PIVX developers claimed that the Ghost white paper was plagiarized from an outdated 2018 PIVX white paper. According to them, “At least 20 of the 26 total pages” of the Ghost whitepaper “contain material directly plagiarized from the 2018 PIVX whitepaper.”

          At the time, a representative for Ghost explained to Cointelegraph that their starting code base “is a forked version of PIVX,” although Ghost has allegedly “done a lot of improvements” to the code.

          PIVX, in turn, argued that while their product can be used “as long as copyright credits are maintained in the code,” their whitepaper is not open-source and “was fully copyrighted in 2018.”


          PIVX is an open-source protocol that originally forked from DASH. It plans to implement zk-SNARKs-based privacy protocol created by Zcash (ZEC), another privacy coin, closer to its launch in Q4 2020. Ghost, on the other hand, is scheduled to take off next month — and its white paper also mentions zk-SNARKs, potentially as a result of borrowing from PIVX.

          “We have a suspicion that the GHOST team may not have been aware that PIVX have not yet implemented it [zk-SNARKs] when they published their white paper,” a PIVX spokesperson suggested in a conversation with Cointelegraph.

Links 24/5/2020: TUXEDO Computers on AMD, Ardour 6.0 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 9:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Munich Says It’s Now Shifting Back From Microsoft to Open Source Software — Again

      Newly-elected politicians in Munich “have decided its administration needs to use open-source software, instead of proprietary products like Microsoft Office,” reports ZDNet…

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Linux laptop vendor uses a very surprising hack to protect your privacy

        Several years ago, it was revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) will sometimes intercept networking gear during shipping in order to modify it to provide backdoor access to the hardware. To get around this, one company has devised a clever hack to ensure that its laptops arrive to customers without being tampered with.

        Just six months ago, the social purpose company Purism decided to formalize its anti-interdiction services so that they appeared as a drop-down choice as opposed to being a “hidden menu item” that was difficult to find. The laptop and smartphone maker is one of if not the only hardware vendor that offers a complete suite of custom anti-interdiction measures to prevent its devices from being tampered with during shipping.

      • TUXEDO Computers Unveils Their First AMD-Only Linux Laptop

        Thin and elegant, the TUXEDO Book BA15 is the first Linux-powered laptop from TUXEDO Computers that comes only with AMD components. It features only an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U CPU and an AMD Radeon Vega 8 GPU.

        On top of AMD’s power-efficient and energy-saving Ryzen 5 3500U mobile processor with 8 threads and 4 cores, the laptop also comes with a huge 91Wh battery for long-lasting performance throughout the entire day.

      • TUXEDO Computers Launches Their First AMD Linux Laptop

        TUXEDO Computers has launched their first AMD-powered Linux laptop! The excitement quickly faded though when seeing it’s not a Renoir design.

        While announcing the TUXEDO Book BA15 this weekend as their first AMD laptop, sadly it’s based on a Ryzen 5 3500U and not the current Ryzen 4000 series with its mighty impressive performance and power efficiency gains thanks to the Zen 2 CPU cores. This though still should be a decent showing with the Ryzen 5 3500U with Vega graphics, metal chassis, 91 Wh battery, up to two SSDs, up to 32GB RAM, and 15.6-inch 1080p display. But given the timing just a shame it’s not a current generation Ryzen 4000 laptop given the enticing performance from the latest hardware. Also a bummer with this design is that it seems to be relying upon single channel memory.

    • Kernel Space

      • Async Buffered Reads Support Yielding Promising Results

        Linux I/O expert Jens Axboe who oversees the kernel’s block layer and is employed by Facebook while working on IO_uring and other storage innovations has recently been working on async buffered reads support.

        Axboe sent out his latest work on async buffered reads support to replace a less than ideal implementation currently for IO_uring. XFS, EXT4, and Btrfs are the file-systems initially supported by this async buffered reads but handling additional file-systems should be easily possible.

      • Intel ComboPHY Support Coming With Linux 5.8 For Their Gateway SoC

        Published back in February were the Linux kernel enablement patches for a new “ComboPHY” driver for supporting the company’s forthcoming Gateway SoC. That code is now set to be included in the next kernel cycle, Linux 5.8.

        As outlined back then, we’ve been seeing a lot of patches for an Intel “Gateway” SoC that supports the Intel Gateway Datapath Architecture that is optimized for network handling. The initial Gateway SoC appears based on the company’s Lightning Mountain platform.

      • Intel Engineer Proposes Software-Based KVM Protected Memory Extension

        While modern AMD EPYC CPUs support Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) and Intel more recently has been working on MKTME for similarly offering hardware-backed total memory encryption, an Intel open-source engineer has now proposed a software-based solution for protected memory support for KVM virtualization.

        The proposed KVM protected memory extension is a software-based solution for protecting guest memory from unauthorized host access, at least in partial form. This prevents the host kernel from accidentally leaking guest data, host user-space access to guest data, and similar solutions. But unlike Intel MKTME and AMD SEV, this does not provide full protection against the host kernel being compromised or hardware-based attacks.

      • Many MediaTek Wireless Driver Improvements On Deck For Linux 5.8

        There is a lot of wireless (and wired) networking activity each kernel cycle but for the upcoming Linux 5.8 merge window it looks like there will be particularly a lot for MediaTek drivers.

        The MediaTek MT76 driver work now queued in wireless-drivers-next ahead of Linux 5.8 has around 14 thousand lines of new code. Among the MediaTek wireless highlights are:

        - New device support for MediaTek MT76x0 and MT76x2 hardware.

        - MT7615 and MT7663 fixes.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA Announces Nsight Graphics 2020.3

          Nsight Graphics 2020.3 is now available for download. We’ve added a number of features that dramatically expands the functionality of our tools.

          Applications that use the provisional VK_KHR_ray_tracing extension can be captured, profiled and exported to a C++ Capture. While the extension is still evolving, the NVIDIA Vulkan Beta Driver will allow for experimentation before it is fully ratified (and is required).

        • NVIDIA Nsight Graphics 2020.3 Supports Profiling KHR Ray-Tracing

          NVIDIA on Friday released Nsight Graphics 2020.3 as the newest version of their proprietary tool for profiling and debugging Direct3D / Vulkan / OpenGL / OpenVR software.

          One of the big changes with Nsight Graphics 2020.3 is now supporting the VK_KHR_ray_tracing extension, the official Vulkan ray-tracing extension compared to the prior NVIDIA-specific vendor extension. Nsight Graphics can now capture and profile VK_KHR_ray_tracing using software and export it to a C++ capture.

    • Benchmarks

      • Dav1d 0.7 Speedups Are Looking Great On Various Intel + AMD CPUs

        This week marked the release of the dav1d 0.7 AV1 video decoder with more performance optimizations thanks to more hand-tuned Assembly and other tweaking of this leading CPU-based AV1 video decoder. Here are benchmarks compared to the prior dav1d 0.5 and 0.6 releases.

        The past few days I have been benchmarking dav1d 0.5, 0.6, and 0.7 releases on various Intel and AMD Linux systems. Here are those benchmarks for those curious about this AV1 decoder.

      • GCC 10.1 Compiler Optimization Benchmarks

        With the recently minted GCC 10 compiler there was a request to see some fresh benchmarks at different compiler optimization levels and flags like LTO.

        For those wondering about the general impact of the different compiler optimization levels and likes of LTO, here are some quick benchmarks I whipped up for your weekend analysis. Tests were done on an Intel Core i9 10980XE with different optimization CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS off an Intel Core i9 10980XE workstation running Ubuntu Linux.

      • PostgreSQL 13.0 Beta 1 Released With Parallel Vacuum, Security Improvements + Benchmarks

        The first beta of the forthcoming PostgreSQL 13.0 is now available for evaluation. PostgreSQL 13 is coming with many new features with this article serving as a quick look plus some very preliminary benchmarks.

        PostgreSQL 13 Beta 1 was released this week with performance tuning work on its B-tree indexes, incremental sorting capabilities, parallel vacuum support, trusted extension capabilities, continued enhancements to PostgreSQL on Windows, and various security improvements.

        All of the PostgreSQL 13 Beta 1 changes are outlined via the release announcement on PostgreSQL.org.

    • Applications

      • OnlyOffice Desktop Editors 5.5.1 – Good but can be better

        Several months ago, I wrote my review of OnlyOffice Desktop Editors, a free, cross-platform office suite. This turned out to be a nice, fresh product, with lots of goodies, solid Microsoft Office compatibility, plus a range of unique and useful points like plugins, encryption and such. In between the costly but powerful Microsoft solution and the somewhat tenacious but occasionally erratic LibreOffice, this comes as a nice, flexible compromise, a sort of best of both worlds.

        Recently, I got an email from the company, asking me, pretty please, to do another review of the product, and I decided to go for it. There’s a new version of the office suite, some improvements, some bug fixes, so maybe this could be the version that makes it into my production setup. Maybe. Let’s examine.

      • Transmission 3.0 Open-Source BitTorrent Client Released with Major Improvements

        Transmission 3.0 comes more than two years after version 2.94, which probably many of you are currently using on your personal computers to download torrent or magnet files from the Internet.

        As you can expect, this is a massive update that brings new capabilities to Transmission, along with new features, bug fixes, and other enhancements to make your torrenting more pleasant.

        The GTK+ client received keyboard shortcuts for queue up and down, a modern .desktop file, AppData file, a symbolic icon variant for GNOME desktop’s top bar and the High Contrast theme, gettext support for language translations, and a new translation for Portuguese (Portugal).

      • Transmission 3.00 Released! How to Install in Ubuntu 20.04

        Transmission, Ubuntu’s default BitTorrent Client, released new major 3.00 version a days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 19.10, Ubuntu 18.04.

        Transmission 3.00 features:

        Allow RPC server to listen on IPv6.
        Limit incorrect authentication attempts to prevent brute-force attacks.
        Add Peer ID for Xfplay, PicoTorrent, Free Download Manager, Folx, Baidu Netdisk torrent clients
        Make transmission slightly faster by adding TCP_FASTOPEN support
        Add support for mbedtls and wolfssl, LibreSSL
        Add queue up/down hotkeys
        Improve Qt UI look on hi-dpi displays
        And much more other changes.

      • Ardour 6.0 is released

        Ardour 6.0 is now released. Sorry for the wait!

        You can download it from http://ardour.org/download

        See what’s new at http://ardour.org/whatsnew.html

        We hope to return to bi-monthly releases going forward, and there’s a lot of stuff to do!

      • Ardour 6.0 Digital Audio Workstation Released

        Ardour 6.0 has a lot of low-level changes in improving the architecture of this digital audio workstation software. Ardour 6.0 now provides full latency compensation throughout the stack, global varispeed support, cue monitoring, major MIDI workflow improvements, better plugin management, ALSA back-end improvements for Linux audio engineers, a new virtual MIDI keyboard, native recording format support for FLAC, better HiDPI user-interface support, and many other fixes and general improvements. There is also prep work done in Ardour 6.0 for supporting an experimental web interface moving forward.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • King is making its Defold game engine open source

        King’s mobile and web game engine Defold is to be made available as an open source project.

        As part of the move, King is spinning out a new software foundation called the Defold Foundation. The foundation’s board will be headed by Candy Crush Saga producer Sara Cederberg, who was formerly the director of engineering for the engine.

        With Defold going open source, King hopes that it will bring more transparency to game development, and that external developers will lend their expertise to make the engine better for everyone who uses it.

      • King makes Defold engine open source

        The engine is primarily used to make 2D games for mobile and browsers, such as King’s own Blossom Blast Saga.

        King’s aim is to invite external developers to help improve the engine and make its ongoing development more transparent.

        To lead these efforts, the company has formed a new organisation: the Defold Foundation.

        This will be headed by King’s principal engineer and Defold product owner Björn Ritzl and Candy Crush Sada’s producer and director Sara Cederberg, with Women In Tech Sweden’s Elin Erksson also on the team.

      • Oxygen Not Included | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.10 | Native

        Oxygen Not Included running natively through Linux

      • 2 Essential Gaming Utilities for Linux

        This goes over MangoHUD and Using Custom Proton for steam games on Linux.

      • Even more Linux games confirmed for the Steam Game Festival

        We’re getting close to the launch of the Steam Game Festival, running from June 9 – 15 and we have more games confirmed to get a Linux demo for you.

        As more events go online because of the Coronavirus, it’s giving a lot of people chances to play games early they wouldn’t perhaps normally be able to. Valve’s festival is one for a global audience to get involved thanks to many developers putting up demos for it.

        For a quick round-up on Linux game demos we already have confirmed: the literary mystery Sarawak, the racing game DRAG, a supernatural horror with ASYLUM and also the curious looking point and click adventure Nine Noir Lives. Today, we have more confirmed to share with you!

      • How to play Nintendo 3DS games on Linux

        The Nintendo 3DS is a handheld video game console built by Nintendo. It was released in February 2011, and is one of Nintendo’s most successful video game consoles, selling millions of units.

        If you love the Nintendo 3DS and want to experience it on your Linux PC, you can, thanks to the Citra emulator. In this guide, we’ll go over how to set up Citra to play 3DS games, how to save, and even how to configure a controller!

        Note: Addictivetips in no way encourages or condones the illegal downloading or distribution of ROM files for Citra. If you want to play Nintendo 3DS games with Citra, please use your own game ROM files you’ve backed up to your PC, legally

      • When Will Civilization 6′s New Frontier Pass Work on Mac and Linux

        Civilization 6′s New Frontier Pass is a way for players to continue to enjoy Firaxis Games’ acclaimed turn-based strategy title, adding a bevy of new civilizations, leaders, and game modes. This new content will be delivered on a bimonthly basis until March 2021, and many players are now enjoying the first part of Civ 6′s New Frontier Pass, the Maya and Gran Colombia Pack. That is not the case for Mac and Linux users, though, as indeed the DLC has launched without support for these platforms.

        This has left some players quite irritated, as the Civilization 6 New Frontier Pass press release did suggest that the DLC would launch with Mac and Linux support alongside PC. This led some fans with these platforms to purchase the Civ 6 New Frontier Pass at launch only to discover that the DLC is not operable on their systems, and these players may now be wondering when the situation will be rectified.

      • Half-Life: Alyx , Valve has released a tool for creating mods and a Linux version of the game

        Valve has published mode tools for “Half-Life: Alyx” and their release in Steam Workshop. They can be used to develop new levels, models, textures, and animations for the game.

      • Command and Conquer Remasters are Getting Source Code Released as Well

        Electronic Arts and Petroglyph Studios have been working and are now weeks away from releasing the remaster of Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun, and Red Alert in the Remaster Collection. One question that Petroglyph Studios has avoided answering up to now is if Command & Conquer Remastered Collection will support mods at launch. Producer Jim Vessella finally gave an answer on Reddit.

        Electronic Arts and Petroglyph Studios will be supporting mods for Command & Conquer Remastered Collection at launch and they are taking a step further as they are releasing the source codes for both games to facilitate an easier time building mods. TiberianDawn.dll and RedAlert.dll and their corresponding source code will be available under the GNU General Public License version 3.0 license.

      • ‘​Command & Conquer’ Source Code To Be Released By EA

        Electronic Arts has confirmed plans to release the source code for two instalments of its classic real-time strategy (RTS) series, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert.

        “We are proud to announce that alongside the launch of the Remastered Collection, Electronic Arts will be releasing the TiberianDawn.dll and RedAlert.dll and their corresponding source code under the GPL version 3.0 license,” said creative director, Jim Vessella.

        By releasing these open-source DLLs, the C&C team hopes that – along with a new map editor – the fan community can “design maps, create custom units, replace art, alter gameplay logic, and edit data” in order to create mods and “fun experiments” by tinkering with the code.


        EA and Westwood Studios recently confirmed the release date for its long-awaited Command & Conquer remaster – 5th June, 2020. The snappily titled Command & Conquer Remastered Collection is bringing back the fan-favourite real-time strategy series for Windows PC via Steam and Origin.

      • EA open sources C&C Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert

        We have been watching the development of the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection quite closely and there has been some big news for the hallowed RTS franchise this week. In a blog post EA’s Jim Vessella, producer on Command and Conquer Remastered, announced that mod support is coming to the 4K remasters. Additionally, Vasella shared that EA will be open sourcing the C&C Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert code under the GPL version 3.0 license.

        “Along with the inclusion of a new Map Editor, these open-source DLLs should assist users to design maps, create custom units, replace art, alter gameplay logic, and edit data,” wrote Vasella. To demonstrate the possibilities this provides to would-be developers, Petroglyph created a new modded unit to play with – the Nuke Tank – an imagined Brotherhood of Nod captured and modified Mammoth Tank (see image below).

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: We have migrated to GitLab!

          After years of using Phabricator, KDE has officially begun the migration to GitLab! So far we are using it for patch review, and developer task tracking will be migrated soon. We are still using Bugzilla for bugs and feature requests as migrating those functions to GitLab is a significant project in and of itself! Already the KDE community is enjoying GitLab’s smoother workflow; why not take advantage of this and submit a merge request?

        • KDE Begins Its Transition To GitLab, Plasma 5.20 Seeing Early Activity

          With KDE Plasma 5.19 due for its stable release in early June, development efforts are beginning to focus on Plasma 5.20 for release later this year.

          But beyond Plasma 5.20 seeing early development work, the KDE project has begun its transition to making use of GitLab for development. KDE developer Nate Graham has posted his latest weekly recap outlining the various accomplishments for KDE this week:

          - The KDE project has begun its transition from Phabricator to GitLab.

          - The Free Space Notifier has various improvements.

        • UPnP DLNA support in Elisa

          It has been a long time since I have written about Elisa. In the meantime, I have been busy working on Elisa and also some other personal side projects. I plan to write about them later.

          One area, Elisa is not fulfilling my needs is the support for UPnP DLNA. I am working actively on that but this is a lot of work and my plan is to probably release a preview of it in the next release to get feedback on it.

        • First Krita Beta for Android and ChromeOS in Play Store

          Thanks to the hard work of Sharaf Zaman, Krita is now available in the Google Play Store for Android tablets and Chromebooks (not for Android phones).

          This beta, based on Krita 4.2.9, is the full desktop version of Krita, so it doesn’t have a special touch user interface. But it’s there, and you can play with it.

          Unlike the Windows and Steam store, we don’t ask for money for Krita in the store, since it’s the only way people can install Krita on those devices, but you can buy a supporter badge from within Krita to support development.

        • Efficient Coordinate to Timezone Mapping

          For KDE Itinerary it’s crucial we know the correct timezone for each element in the timeline, precisely enough to also handle complex situations like daylight saving time changes during an international flight. How can we reliably determine the timezone though, e.g. given a geographic coordinate, offline and on a resource-constraint mobile device?


          The use of an image format has the advantage that precision/cost trade-offs are pretty obvious, it’s very easy to create using the above mentioned timezone shapefiles and QGIS, and debugging can be done visually with an image viewer.

          This approach has been in use for the offline preparation of KDE Itinerary’s extractor engine knowledge base so far. Not so much for it’s runtime efficiency though (as we are using a gigantic 27942 x 13968 map), but for its ease of use.

          The efficiency of this comes from the run-length encoding of scanlines, which is very good at leveraging one-dimensional spatial proximity of the encoded features, ie. a typical scanline only contains few continuous regions, independent of the resolution. It however doesn’t use the same property in the second dimension at all. Image formats that exploit this like e.g. PNG achieve an even better compression, but at the cost of constant memory decoding.

        • Last week in Kube

          You can now view “flagged”/”starred” messages per account. This is a short-cut to getting that functionality eventually folded into the todo view (I think…), and allows you to quickly show a list of messages that you have marked as important so you can deal with them. The view works best if there is a small number of marked messages, and you unflag them once you have dealt with them.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Ubuntu MATE 20.04 Is More Polished, Beautiful & Stable Than Ever

          We chose Ubuntu MATE 19.10 to be the distribution of the year back in 2019 on the FOSS Post. The release was quite unique and full of newly-introduced features back then. With Ubuntu MATE 20.04 LTS, the comfortability of using Ubuntu MATE as a daily driver for most consumer users has reached new levels.

          The Ubuntu MATE 20.04 release focuses more on the appearance & bug-fixing side than previous releases. And while there are many new features – that you will read later on in this article – it looks like the development team saw that an LTS needs to be stable above all else, and they are quite right in that.

          The base/core packages of Ubuntu MATE 20.04 will be supported for 5 years, and the MATE desktop packages will be supported for 3 years, just like most other Ubuntu flavors.

          We’ll take you today in a tour in Ubuntu MATE 20.04 to see together how more polished and stable it became, what newly-introduced features are there and whether you should consider it for using it as your daily driver.

          As a side note, we recommend reading our Ubuntu 20.04 LTS review first, as there are some important changes to the core Ubuntu 20.04 release that affect all flavors, which you may need to know before deciding to switch to any 20.04 flavor.

          At FOSS Post we continue to publish reviews of all the major Ubuntu 20.04 flavors, so that as a reader, you can decide on which one you should use by yourself. Stay connected for other reviews of Xubuntu, Lubuntu and Ubuntu Budgie!

      • New Releases

        • Introducing GoboLinux 017

          GoboLinux was created out of a desire to try new approaches in the Linux distribution design space: the innovative filesystem organization allows us to use a radically different approach in package management — effectively doing away with the package manager.

          GoboLinux 017 continues this journey. One of the principles of software freedom is the ability to modify and customize. Software isn’t truly free if you need to rely on third-parties to integrate it for you. As Linux distributions get more and more complicated, GoboLinux asks this question: can a Linux system still be built from scratch by a small team — and most importantly, customized in non-trivial ways — and remain understandable by a single person?

          The GoboLinux structure allows you to see how every building block of a Linux system is composed, and installs every package in a way for which they were never originally designed. The longevity of the GoboLinux project, 18 years in the making, puts the promise of free and open source software to the test, and continues to deliver.

      • BSD

        • Has the home server gone the way of the Dodo?

          I used FreeNAS, which is a fork of FreeBSD, essentially a Unix-like operating system. It required me to hook up a monitor to the PC for setup, hence the need for the cheap video card.

          After that I disconnected the monitor, the server runs headless. Just enter a URL into the browser on another PC and you can access the dashboard and have control of everything.

          If I did this again, I’d save money by skipping the sound card. But now I want know if this is still worth it? My files are backed up in OneDrive and Google Drive. It’s nice to have a home-based copy and a cloud copy, though.

      • Debian Family

        • RadioStation

          There is a new application available for Sparkers: RadioStation

          What is RadioStation?

          RadioStation is a fork off RadioTray-Lite, a lightweight clone of the original RadioTray online radio streaming player rewritten in C++.

          Online radio streaming player:
          – Runs on a Linux system tray.
          – Has minimum interface possible.
          – Plays most media formats (it uses gstreamer).
          – Supports PLS, M3U, ASX, RAM, XSPF playlists.

        • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, April 2020

          Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppSimdJson 0.0.5: Updated Upstream

          A new RcppSimdJson release with updated upstream simdjson code just arrived on CRAN. RcppSimdJson wraps the fantastic and genuinely impressive simdjson library by Daniel Lemire and collaborators. Via some very clever algorithmic engineering to obtain largely branch-free code, coupled with modern C++ and newer compiler instructions, it results in parsing gigabytes of JSON parsed per second which is quite mindboggling. The best-case performance is ‘faster than CPU speed’ as use of parallel SIMD instructions and careful branch avoidance can lead to less than one cpu cycle use per byte parsed; see the video of the recent talk by Daniel Lemire at QCon (which was also voted best talk).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • My Unity Rig You Could Use

          Let me share with you my favorite Ubuntu Unity Desktop setup that works for me for years. You can have this enjoyable desktop style easily by practicing my tips below. Yes, of course this is practiced on 20.04 Focal Fossa already. Enjoy the innovative desktop once again!

        • Ubuntu 20.04 For Teachers and Students

          Let me share with you my Ubuntu tips for teaching and studying you could practice easily at school. Of course these tips are based more on free/libre open source software principles so you will see alternatives like PeerTube among mentioned tools. However, all software mentioned below are Free Software exclusively and available in 20.04 Focal Fossa. I hope websites other than UbuntuBuzz follow by exposing Ubuntu education capability like this. Happy studying!

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Is it possible to run a conference using only free software?

        The Free Software Foundation’s (FSF) annual conference LibrePlanet went fully virtual in 2020 due to ongoing issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In our last week of preparations before the live event, increasingly disturbing news related to the virus made us realize we could not responsibly hold our usual conference on software freedom in person while protecting the safety of our participants and their communities. So we turned everything around to eventually bring 35 free software presentations to our community through the filter of a computer screen. After the conference, we had many people writing to ask us for more details about what we used to do it, so we wanted to take this opportunity to share how we were able to create a fully free interactive and educational virtual experience for the first time, but likely not the last.

        LibrePlanet 2020 videos were recorded from the live stream and have been posted online for everyone to enjoy. For the sessions not entirely dependent on visual information from slides, we also provide the audio over an RSS (Atom) feed for anyone to listen to while they exercise, bake, garden, or otherwise seek distraction from stressful times.

      • Open source observability, meet data transformation: Grafana 7.0 promises to connect, unify, and visualize all your data

        Today’s release brings enhancements to simplify the development of custom plugins and increase the power, speed, and flexibility of visualization. Open source Grafana is among the world’s most popular dashboard solutions and boasts nearly 600,000 active installations and millions of dashboards in use across the globe.

      • Grafana 7.0 Delivers Major Visualization Upgrades and Makes Significant Progress in Uniting & Transforming Data from All Sources ranging from Metrics and Logs to Traces and Beyond
      • 8 Top Free and Open source Desktop GIS mapping software

        Well, in the term “Open source GIS Software”, opensource refers to a program that is available to use free of cost; along with source code that one can modify either to improve the existing project or creating a new one under GPL. Whereas GIS means Geographical Information Systems, in terms of software, it is a program that one can run on their PC or server to analyze, store, manipulate, process and visualize data in a spatial context; and describes relevant geographical distribution data in the space of all or part of the earth’s surface (including the atmosphere), supported by computer hardware and software systems.


        QGIS desktop geographic information system (GIS) application was earlier known as Quantum GIS. It supports cross-platform Windows, Linux and macOS. We can integrate it with other open-source GIS packages such as PostGIS, GRASS GIS, and MapServer. It supports extensions that are written in Python or C++ to extend its functionality.


        SAGA stands for System for Automated Geoscientific Analyses that designed to implement spatial algorithms. It provides easy to understand and usable graphical user interface with a set of tools and with many visualisation options. It runs under Windows and Linux operating systems.

        It includes standard modules such as File access, Filter for grids, Gridding, Geostatistics, Grid calculator, Grid discretisation, Grid tools, 3D mapping, Projections, Terrain analysis and more…

      • Marketing Is Becoming Technology-Driven, and the Future Is Open Source

        The idea of buying proprietary software is arguably questionable. Still, the choice to acquire it could be driven by the lack of a talent pool to customize or integrate non-proprietary software, or peer pressure to go for bigger, bulkier proprietary applications.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Chrome 83 is rolling out and full of changes big and small

            Chrome 83 is now rolling out to Windows, macOS, and Linux with Chrome OS 83 on the way next week. In light of the pandemic, Google paused development for a bit and when it resumed, an announcement was made that Chrome 82 would be removed and version 81 would simply update to 83 and encapsulate what amounts to 2 rounds of updates in one.

        • Mozilla

          • New Release: Tor Browser 9.5a13

            Tor Browser 9.5a13 is now available from the Tor Browser Alpha download page and also from our distribution directory.

            Note: This is an alpha release, an experimental version for users who want to help us test new features. For everyone else, we recommend downloading the latest stable release instead.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • Funding/Fund-raising

      • FSF

      • Public Services/Government

        • Open source gets Munich agreement

          In an uncharacteristic notable U-turn, newly elected politicians in Munich have decided that its administration needs to use open-source software, instead of proprietary products like Microsoft Office.

          Munich was the poster child for open saucy software and had been moving away from Voleware since 2006. By 2013, 80 percent of desktops in the city’s administration were meant to be running LiMux software. In reality, the council continued to run the two systems – Microsoft and LiMux – side by side for several years to deal with compatibility issues. Then in 2017 the local government suddenly changed its mind and started installing the Voleware again.

          In interviews, a former Munich mayor, under whose administration the LiMux programme began, has been candid about the efforts Microsoft went to retain their contract with the city. The migration back to Microsoft and to other proprietary software makers like Oracle and SAP, costing an estimated €86.1million, is still in progress today.

        • Building resiliency in government services with open source
      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • F1 News: F1 set for vote on aero handicap and open source ideas

          Radical rules including an aero development handicap system and the use of open source parts in Formula 1 could be approved later on Friday.


          Beyond the budget caps, team are also set to vote on a range of other rules tweaks to reduce costs – including potential for tokens on chassis developments.

          Longer term, there is also a proposal for a radical aero development handicap system, where the worst performing teams are allowed more windtunnel and CFD development time compared to the more successful outfits.

          While F1 has previously steered clear of more obvious handicap systems such as success ballast, it is understood that the aerodynamic development plan has gathered support as it is felt to be much less artificial. The hope is that it will help close up the grid.

        • Bitcoin wallet makers SatoshiLabs now building open-source chips

          New Tropic Square company, founded by SatoshiLabs, seeks to produce truly open-source crypto wallets and more via fully-auditable custom chips.

        • SpaceChain Foundation Invests in Core Semiconductor to Produce Open Hardware Platform for Direct Satellite-to-Devices Communication

          SpaceChain Foundation today announced it has contracted and invested in Core Semiconductor, an innovator in provably secure computing platforms for all connected devices, to produce the world’s first open-source hardware platform capable of providing a downlink to mobile phones and small devices directly from satellites in orbit, without the use of a satellite dish on Earth or a third-party network.

          With security inherently built-in, the technology is designed with the blockchain industry in mind and to bring blockchain applications to a global user base.

          Core Semiconductor has designed the platform to be small enough to fit inside any handheld device. With a commodity price point, the platform is affordable and is easy to deploy, making it perfect for any company or hobbyist to incorporate. The technology is designed for low bitrate applications of around 1250 bytes per minute, making it ideal for verifying blockchain hashes and encrypted signatures.

        • design your own bee house with IKEA’s bee home open-source project

          may 20, 2020 marks world bee day and to celebrate it, SPACE10 — IKEA’s external innovation hub — is launching bee home, their latest open-source design project in collaboration with bakken & bæck and designer tanita klein. bees are vital for life on planet earth; in fact a third of what we eat depends on these busy, buzzing insects and other pollinators. but due to human impact, these hard-working insects are in danger of going extinct as we have unwittingly destroyed their homes and natural habitats when building our own homes, cities and landscaped our gardens.

      • Programming/Development

  • Leftovers

  • Education

    • The University of California Suspended SAT and ACT Requirements, Will Develop Its Own Admissions Test for 2025

      According to a press release from the UC president’s office, the suspension of standardized testing requirements extends until fall 2024. But this isn’t necessarily an end to standardized testing for admission to UC schools yet, as the release also says UC will endeavor to develop its own test by January 2021 for implementation in 2025. Only if that test doesn’t meet “specified criteria” will the UC system fully eliminate standardized testing requirements for applicants.

    • Betsy DeVos openly admits she’s using the pandemic to impose her private school choice agenda

      DeVos’ comments came as she defended her decision to redirect coronavirus relief funds away from public schools with high numbers of impoverished students to private schools which tend to serve wealthy students. Congress allocated about $13.5 billion to help schools, most of which was intended to go to schools based on a formula that determines how many poor children they serve.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Cuomo Denounced for Order Sending Thousands of COVID Patients to Nursing Homes

      New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing new criticism after the Associated Press reported Friday that a state directive led to over 4,300 still recovering coronavirus patients being sent to New York’s “already vulnerable nursing homes.”

    • Make a Resilient, Localized Food System Part of the Next Stimulus
    • I’m a Frontline Medical Worker. I Contracted COVID — and It Took My Grandfather.

      “CAC Foreman 8th floor.” “Rapid response Klau 4th floor.” The voice that echoes in my head is the voice that blares overhead every few seconds in my workplace, indicating where to go for yet another cardiac arrest or another patient on the verge of death.

    • The Pandemic and the Trumps
    • Secretive Right-Wing Nonprofit Plays Role in COVID-19 Organizing

      A shadowy right-wing nonprofit is helping coordinate coronavirus response strategy and promoting the lockdown protests.

    • Nike Turned Away a Public Health Official From Its Warehouse Days After a Worker With COVID-19 Died

      The security guard said no. It didn’t matter that the visitor was from the Shelby County Health Department.

      It didn’t matter that she was there to investigate health conditions at a Nike distribution center where, five days earlier, company officials learned a temporary worker had died after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

    • What Parents Should Know About Coronavirus as Kids Return to Babysitters, Day Cares and Camps

      Reopening states after the COVID-19 lockdown raises unnerving questions for working parents who depend on some form of child care, from nannies to day camp.

      Instead of coming home with a snotty nose, is your child going to bring back the coronavirus? And how do you know your in-home babysitter or nanny, even your child’s teacher, isn’t a symptom-free spreader?

    • As Nation Mourns 100,000 Dead, Trump Goes Golfing

      “100,000 Americans dead. 40,000,000 unemployed. So let’s go golfing.”

    • Roe v. Wade Was Bigger Than Jane Roe

      “I was the big fish,” she told director Nick Sweeney of her recruitment by an anti-abortion pastor. “I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money, and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say. That’s what I’d say.” The filmmakers were able to find evidence of $456,911 in payments.

      If you’ve spent some time in the movement, you’ve seen this happen. An effective but cash-strapped grassroots leader abruptly stops speaking out and soon buys a house. A politician starts out championing labor rights and ends up championing corporate rights.

      Among these ordinary sellouts, McCorvey was an overachiever. She went from being an abortion rights activist, working at a clinic and living with her girlfriend, to getting baptized by an anti-abortion, anti-gay evangelical Christian pastor in a backyard swimming pool. Three years later she converted again, to Catholicism. Before a Senate subcommittee in 1998 she said she was “dedicated to spending the rest of my life undoing the law that bears my name.”

    • NY Times reporter Davey Alba on covering COVID-19 conspiracy theories, facing online harassment

      Over the course of Davey Alba’s career as a tech reporter, her beat has transformed from covering the latest gadgets and phones to investigating the creeping influence and massive power wielded by tech companies over peoples’ everyday lives. As the coronavirus pandemic has spread across the globe, Alba, who covers tech and disinformation at The New York Times, has also been reporting on how conspiracy theories about the virus have flourished on social media.

  • Integrity/Availability

    • Proprietary

      • Zeus’s legacy lives on as crooks target banking customers in the US and Europe [iophk: Windows TCO]

        Since the beginning of the year, various criminal [criminal] groups have been using a descendant of Zeus in more than 100 phishing campaigns and some 700,000 emails against people in Australia, Canada, Germany, Poland, and the U.S., email security company Proofpoint said this week. Like countless other [attackers] around the world, they are trying to capitalize on fears around the coronavirus to slip their code onto victim computers.

      • [Attackers] Attempted to Deploy Ransomware in Attacks Targeting Sophos Firewalls

        The script would perform various tasks, including parsing the contents of the firewall’s ARP cache, where the (internal) IP and MAC addresses of host on the local network are stored. Next, it would use the list to scan for port 445/tcp on the hosts and determine if they were reachable Windows systems.

        Furthermore, a file deceptively named “hotfix” would determine whether the machines were running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows, and then attempt to leverage an EternalBlue exploit and DoublePulsar shellcode to deliver and execute a DLL directly into memory (targeting explorer.exe).

        The DLL would then attempt to fetch an executable payload from 9sg[.]me over HTTP port 81/tcp. The IP address hosting the domain and serving the hotfix payload was involved in attacks going back to 2018, and is associated with a threat actor known as NOTROBIN.

      • Developers find new flaws in source code of NHS contract-tracing app [Ed: outsourced to Microsoft]

        New shortcomings in the NHSX contact racing app could further limit effectiveness and scare away users. E&T investigated concerns raised by computer engineers about timestamp and Google Analytics tracking.

      • Mercedes-Benz onboard logic unit (OLU) source code leaks online

        The researcher says he downloaded more than 580 Git repositories from the company’s server, which he made publicly available over the weekend, uploading the files in several locations such as file-hosting service MEGA, the Internet Archive, and on his own GitLab server.

      • #ERNW says source code for for #HUAWEI #5G core network UDG is “Good Quality”

        ERNW, an independent IT security service provider in Germany, has conducted a technical review of the source code for Huawei’s unified distributed gateway (UDG) on 5G core networks.

        ERNW senior auditors reviewed the source code by using leading tools and methods as well as the industry’s best practices, and released a review report. The report showed that the source code quality is a good indicator that Huawei has established a mature and appropriate software engineering process for UDG.

      • Pseudo-Open Source

      • Security

        • Privacy/Surveillance

          • OpenSAFELY: more proof that tackling the coronavirus pandemic does not require privacy to be compromised

            In recent weeks, there has been an intense focus on the use of contact tracing apps as a way to emerge safely from the lockdowns that are in place around the world. A key question is whether to use a centralized or de-centralized architecture. After some division, the balance has firmly swung towards the latter, with only a few hold-outs such as the UK and France sticking with centralized approaches. That’s clearly good news for privacy, since it’s riskier to keep data in one location, both in terms of leaks and abuse by governments. But it’s not the only area where some see a tension between data protection and tackling the Covid-19 pandemic effectively.

          • Google searches for ‘immigration,’ ‘Taiwan’ spike in HK over Chinese law

            Reuters video journalist Pak Yiu noticed that starting at around 5 p.m. that evening, Hong Kong saw a massive surge in searches for the Chinese word for “immigration” (移民). By 11 p.m., the term reached 100, the maximum on the Google Trends rating scale for the popularity of a given search term.

            Simultaneously, the Chinese characters for “Taiwan” (台灣) also began surging dramatically in Hong Kong as well, with the term maxing out at 100 by midnight. In 2019, as the anti-extradition bill protests raged in Hong Kong, the number of Hong Kong citizens emigrating to Taiwan surged by 28 percent.

          • Right to Privacy Extends to Foreign Internet Users, German Court Rules

            A group of journalist and civil liberties organizations brought the case before the Constitutional Court, arguing that the 2016 law handed too much power to the state and failed to uphold universal human rights to privacy guaranteed by Article 10 of the Constitution. The ruling is the first time that the court has extended rights guaranteed in the Constitution to non-Germans abroad.

            “The ruling sets new standards in international human rights protection and for the freedom of the press,” said the Society for Civil Rights, a Berlin-based nonprofit organization that filed the suit along with several journalists’ organizations.

          • Facebook Is Punishing Employees For Working

            Say what you will about Mark Zuckerberg, but the man is an innovator. Not in tech so much, but when it comes to screwing over people, there’s no one more creative than Zuckerberg. And yeah, it’s hard to feel sorry for Facebook employees who are making huge salaries in their own right, but isn’t it alarming that a corporation can take advantage of your personal cost-saving measures? If you brought lunch every day to ensure that you saved money by not eating out, wouldn’t it be weird if the company paid you less based on lower food expenses?

            It is yet another example of socialism for the corporations and capitalism for the people. I guarantee that if Facebook moved its headquarters to Wyoming they would not then give a pay increase to anyone who decided to remain in Silicon Valley. But politics aside, what truly fascinates me is Zuck’s ability to stab you in the back, while doing it with a smile. “We’re going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale,” Zuckerberg said, and he’s right. But for Zuckerberg forward-leaning means leaning his foot on the throats of his employees.

          • Report: Chinese Construction Projects Create Opportunity to Spy on African Leaders

            A new report is warning that China may be spying on African government officials from within their own buildings.

            The report by the Heritage Foundation, a U.S.-based conservative think tank, found that Chinese companies built at least 186 government buildings in Africa and 14 “sensitive intragovernmental telecommunications networks.” These buildings include residences for heads of state, parliamentary offices, and police or military headquarters.

            The author of the report, Joshua Meservey, senior policy analyst for Africa at the Heritage Foundation, said the research does not prove there is spying going on at these buildings, but he believes the possibility should be explored.

            “The Chinese government has a long history of all types of surveillance and espionage globally,” Meservey told VOA via Skype. “So we know this is the sort of thing they want to do, the sort of thing they have the capacity to do. And also, Africa is important enough to them to do it.”

            Meservey noted that even private Chinese companies are “legally obliged” to help the Chinese Communist Party gather intelligence.

          • Congress Has No Idea How Much Web Browsing Data the FBI Collects

            But as usual, fighting the government’s secretive spying powers means taking shots in the dark. For one, Congress doesn’t even really know how much web browsing data federal agencies are collecting.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Iran Warns US Not to Interfere with Venezuelan Oil Flotilla

      “We hope the Americans will not make a mistake.”

    • ‘Good kids don’t become cops’: Get ready for a dark new era of unchecked police power in Hong Kong

      Ho jai ng dong chaai (好仔唔當差) – “Good kids don’t become cops” is our own Cantonese version of “All Cops Are Bastards.” It is a saying that I first heard from my grandmother, whose favourite sons ironically became policemen. These days in Hong Kong, this idiom seems to be coming true once again.

      In recent weeks, the Hong Kong Police Force – once known as “Asia’s finest” – have found themselves in a bottomless well of scandals.

    • China’s Plan to Impose Draconian Law on Hong Kong Sparks International Outcry

      “The decision to bypass Hong Kong’s well-established legislative processes and ignore the will of the people of Hong Kong would be a death knell for the high degree of autonomy Beijing promised for Hong Kong,” he said, referring to the legally binding 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, which the Chinese Communist Party has said is no more than a “historical document.”

      “These actions push Hong Kong’s autonomy to the breaking point, violating the PRC government’s obligations under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, an international treaty,” said Rep. James McGovern and Sen. Marco Rubio, the chair and cochair of the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China,

    • ‘Hungary is no longer a democracy,’ says Hungarian legal scholar

      So far, Brussels has not taken any legal steps. On Thursday, EU Values and Transparency Commissioner Vera Jourova reiterated that the EU Commission was concerned and that it is daily “assessing whether we can take legal action.”

      DW spoke with Gabor Halmai, a constitutional expert, on the dangers of the law and the EU’s calls for action.

  • Environment

    • Energy

      • Oil Companies Are Pumping Worthless Oil Back Underground

        For the first time in history, oil prices went negative last month due to plummeting demand and oil traders running out of space to store their oil.

        As a result, some oil and gas companies are now resorting to desperate measures. They’ve reportedly started to pay buyers to take oil off their hands — and in some instances, have even started pumping it back into the ground, the Texas Observer reports.

        The oil isn’t going back to precisely where it came from. Instead, producers are exploring options to store it in underground geological formations that can hold oil and liquefied gas.

      • Louisiana Breaks Ground on Isle de Jean Charles Resettlement Project Amid Pandemic

        The Isle de Jean Charles received worldwide attention in 2016, when the Isle de Jean Charles Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw (IDJC) Tribe helped the State of Louisiana secure a $48 million federal grant to resettle the island’s residents, who face increasing danger with each hurricane season.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Hong Kong lawmaker mourns ‘end of homeland’ as China mulls anti-protest law

      China’s National People’s Congress — the country’s annual grand political convention where major policy is passed by the ruling Communist Party — announced on Thursday it would deliberate a bill on “establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms” for Hong Kong in order to “safeguard national security.”

      The bill would allow China to sidestep the territory’s own legislative body to crack down on activity Beijing considers subversive and represented a major turning point. It is widely expected to pass.

    • Twitter’s new reply-limiting feature is already changing how we talk on the platform

      Limiting how users can interact with live Twitter interviews does mean that emergent conversations won’t occur as easily in the replies — you can theoretically still quote tweet messages even if those tweets have replies limited, and conversations could be started that way. Still, the limitation means interviews may not feel quite as organic as they sometimes were before.

  • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Digital Safety: Protecting against targeted online attacks

      Journalists reporting on misinformation, conspiracy theories, and/or false news are frequently left vulnerable to online attacks by those who originate or support these views, as well as by people with strong political leanings. People supporting the spread of this type of information online may organize coordinated attacks with the aim of forcing journalists offline and discrediting their reputation. Media workers who cover these issues can take steps to manage their online profile and protect their accounts to limit the harm caused by online attackers.

    • Khashoggi’s family forgives his killers, but will the world forget the Saudi scandal?

      Jamal Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting for him outside the consulate while he was murdered, is unlikely to be as forgiving of his killers as his son. She tweeted Friday that “no one has the right to pardon his killers.” Ms. Cengiz has been conducting an energetic campaign, most recently trying to block the Saudi sovereign wealth fund from purchasing an English soccer team. Such an investment fits in with MbS’s “Vision 2030” plan for diversifying away from reliance on oil. Whether Ms. Cengiz is successful or not, that “Vision” looks increasingly likely to be slipping by a decade or more because of the coronavirus pandemic and this spring’s low oil prices.

    • Man Without A Country

      A decade ago, WikiLeaks shocked the world with revelations of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. How Assange’s popular following was reversed, his reputation trashed, and his health ruined is a saga which is still playing out.

      Publisher Julian Assange became an instant celebrity. In 2011 he received the popular vote for Time magazine’s Person of the Year, became Le Monde’s Man of the Year, and was repeatedly nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Robert Manne called him the most consequential Australian of the time, and “one of the best-known and most-respected human beings on earth.” Yet, successive Australian governments have refused to intervene on Assange’s behalf, making him, as the New Yorker reported, a man without a country. What happened to him could happen to anyone, and that’s apparently the point the three Anglo-allies want to make.

      American politicians, without explaining how an Australian could commit treason against the US, called Assange a traitor and wanted him dead. Both Republicans and Democrats labelled Assange a “high-tech terrorist.” The US closed down internet donations to WikiLeaks. After allegations of rape against Assange by two Swedish women were reported, he offered to be interviewed in Stockholm and in London with no result. Both women withdrew their claims, and the Swedish prosecutors dropped the case, although their UK counterparts pressed them to pursue it.


      In the decade since Chelsea Manning passed the cache of 740,000 US documents to Assange, she has been jailed twice and released twice. A brigadier-general in the Pentagon has admitted that no one is known to have died as a result of the cables’ publication, names redacted or not, and Australian authorities have made similar statements. For invigilation of Assange in the Embassy by UC Global, Spanish authorities are investigating apparent breaches of the Vienna Convention. Ecuador’s President Evo Morales reportedly discussed having Assange executed. All this should undermine the US case for his extradition, but it may not.

      The US is determined to charge Assange with 18 counts of conspiracy and computer intrusion, obtaining and disclosing national defence information without authorisation, and espionage. The trial will be in West Virginia, where most jury members are likely to have ties to defence industries, and the judge, who will come from the same constituency, can impose a total of 175 years imprisonment. This, effectively, is capital punishment.

      As the years have dragged on, Assange has been defended by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, PEN International, the UK Foreign Journalists’ Association, and British journalists including Robert Fisk, Patrick Cockburn, and recently Peter Oborne, who wrote that the British Foreign Secretary should be “resisting the US attempt to get its hands on Assange with every bone in his body.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Immigrants Jailed by ICE Are Winning Court Battles to Get Free

      By the time the coronavirus pandemic reached a crisis level in the United States in March, José Velásquez had already spent almost 900 days in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention. A Guatemalan asylum seeker, Velásquez had celebrated his 18th and 19th birthdays behind bars, and, as the pandemic worsened, he worried about making it to his 20th. Over the course of two years in the notorious Adelanto detention center in California, the teenager had developed serious hypertension, a condition that put him at high risk of dying if he caught COVID-19. Fearing for his safety in the cramped conditions of the detention center, his attorneys requested ICE consider paroling him in light of the pandemic. (Velásquez had never been accused of a crime and had legally asked for asylum.) ICE refused, even as prisons and jails across the state released prisoners to prevent outbreaks behind bars.

    • COVID-19 Reveals Viral Discrimination, Higher Ed Should Pay Attention
    • Jeff Bezos Shouldn’t Be a Billionaire, Much Less a Trillionaire

      Amazon, which employs nearly 1 million people worldwide, is the second-largest private employer in the United States. While the company brags about the way it treats its employees — a $15 minimum wage, “comprehensive health care,” paid time off — Amazon workers tell a much different story. From tech workers to warehouse workers, Jeff Bezos’s employees have been ringing alarm bells about both their working conditions and the company’s wider practices.

      In Amazon’s “fulfillment centers,” employees are on their feet for their entire shift, finding, grabbing, and moving items that eventually make their way to customers. A worker can expect to walk twelve miles per shift, and it’s not uncommon for people to collapse or get sick from heat or exhaustion. The company “suggests” that workers only use the bathroom during designated breaks, which has led some to resort to urinating into bottles and others to wear diapers during their shift. Because these warehouses are massive — ranging from four hundred thousand to 1 million square feet — walking to the bathroom ends up being a fair amount of “time off task,” which Amazon tracks automatically. Too much time off task can result in termination, even if that time was just used to go to the bathroom. And because so many workers are temporary employees, hoping to be made permanent, they face significant pressure to stay as productive as humanly possible.

    • Republican corruption and carelessness led to devastation in Michigan: Does Trump care?

      Nevertheless, the salient point here is that the president of the United States, after witnessing the flooding of an entire region amid a major public health crisis, was to suggest, in public, that the government and people of Michigan owed him something in exchange for federal aid. Trump then traveled to a Ford plant in Michigan on Thursday and offered this explanation for the failure of the privately-owned dams: “Perhaps there was a mistake.”

      Like many disasters, the beginnings of the Michigan dam failures are far removed in time from the actual event, so this event can hardly be described as a mistake. All indications are that this week’s historic flooding was caused by years of neglect and mismanagement of a public good that was co-opted for private profit. It doesn’t help that the headquarters of Dow Chemical, including a Superfund site with known cancer-causing chemicals, is directly downstream of all this floodwater.

  • Monopolies

    • Patents

      • Aon’s big IP insurance move; Huawei, Qualcomm, Samsung back new pool; US patent sales soar; Iancu covid-19 licensing exclusive; Uber patenting secrets; plus much more

        EPO enlarged board decision that plants produced by biological processes are unpatentable has shocked – and worried – many in the IP profession.


        Japan’s Shiga International Patent Office was the top PCT filer in 2019, with Fish & Richardson and Epping Hermann Fischer leading for the US and Europe respectively.

      • Software Patents

        • ‘Patent Troll’ Will Stop Suing Over Open Source Software

          Free-software nonprofit the GNOME Foundation and alleged “patent troll” Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC have reached a deal to end infringement litigation in California federal court, with RPI making a broad promise not to sue over open source software.

          RPI released GNOME from infringement allegations and signed a covenant not to sue the organization over any patent in its portfolio, the nonprofit said Wednesday. Additionally, RPI granted a release and covenant to anyone releasing software under a license approved by the Open Source Initiative, at least if that software “forms a material part of the infringement allegation,” GNOME said.

        • Troll Settles Patent Clash With GNOME

          The open source GNOME Foundation has won the right to freely use a patent it was being sued over by notorious patent troll, Rothschild Patent Imaging (RPIL) — one of 30+ subsidiaries created by Leigh Rothschild.

          The tiny foundation, which supports an open source, Linux-based desktop environment, was hit in September 2019 with a court case by RPIL — which the EFF describes as a “poster child for patent litigation abuse” .

          RPIL had claimed that GNOME’s “Shotwell” system was in breach of US Patent No. 9,936,086, which essentially claims the patent rights a smartphone that can receive images that a user can filter.

          (The EFF blames the US’s Patent Office for issuing “more stupid software patents to fuel patent trolling” — many companies, if not all, settle with Rothschild for circa $50,000; cheaper than fighting in courts).

    • Copyrights

Trust Microsoft With Everything Including Your Life

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 5:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hands: Don't worry, Microsoft will look after all your medical systems and records. What happened to all my files? Why is the system down? Should I pay ransom?

Summary: A timely if not apt meme about the state of Windows-powered hospitals, which very often end up foreign-operated (taken over by crackers in another country)

When the Response to Hospitals Being Systematically Cracked Through Microsoft Products Like Windows is… Blocking the Competition of Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 4:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Surgery, hospital

Summary: People keep dying because Microsoft Windows, poorly designed with NSA back doors in it, falls into the hands of malicious actors (sometimes overseas, sometimes using leaked tools of the NSA itself) and guess who takes the blame when hospitals grind to a halt due to this…

TODAY we continue our long journey, which will be summarised at the end. We continue to receive additional details as well as evidence. Apparently many people are familiar with such stories.

While much attention has been paid to COVID-19 death tolls, little or no attention is paid to death caused directly and indirectly by Windows downtimes, ransomware, Microsoft licensing fees (money down the drain; cannot buy equipment like more ventilators), brain/talent drain and so on.

That ought to change. We need to bring up the subject.

A hospital ER“My particular misery adds to the general hospital reaction to the ransomware attack,” a source once told us after a hospital had been cracked (Windows obviously), “where all things competing with Microsoft were removed. Gmail, for example, was blocked as “email” while Yahoo email was allowed. Wikipedia was blocked as a “collaborative” site. Music services like Pandora and Spotify were blocked without stated reasons, and I imagine it was done simply to punish the hospital staff.”

So Windows with back doors remains, but radio streaming sites are seen as a security risk? Bizarre.

“I can see the ugly place all of this is going,” the source added. “The Microsoft press is blaming their users again for this round of Microsoft failure, saying that small and medium size businesses as a class are simply incompetent. Their solution is to move all computing, including medical records, to Microsoft’s “cloud”, as if the local terminals won’t still be a point of attack that way because Windows 10 is the magical secure Windows people have been waiting for.”

“Music services like Pandora and Spotify were blocked without stated reasons, and I imagine it was done simply to punish the hospital staff.”
We’re already seeing the rush, amid pandemic ‘disaster capitalism’, to do the same to all schools. Bill Gates stands to profit from that personally, having lobbied for this for well over a decade. He bet his money on school privatisation.

One equipment provider, we were told, “has a page advocating just that.” (Sending all the patients’ data to Microsoft)

“Who knows,” our source joked, “maybe Windows 11 will be a crippled version of Chrome OS but “familiar” because Bill Gates owns it.”

“Their solution is to move all computing, including medical records, to Microsoft’s “cloud”, as if the local terminals won’t still be a point of attack that way because Windows 10 is the magical secure Windows people have been waiting for.”
So to summarise, a hospital gets cracked, all the medical records taken away, patients are unable to receive treatment, ransom is potentially paid, and who takes the blame for this Windows malware? Microsoft competitors.

This simply served to reinforce the view that Microsoft is more like a cult/religion, whose foothold in healthcare may boil down to bribery (or moles paid by Microsoft, e.g. kickbacks) rather than any technical merit. Many people die because of this, but the media gleefully blames the victims.

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 23, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:32 am by Needs Sunlight



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Ode to the ‘Orange One’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Poem for António Campinos, the EPO‘s chief for this fraudulent family business (E.P.O., Inc.)

Bill Clinton Before and After: She sucked so much that she even lost to trump

Summary: Bush Senior and Junior, Hillary/Bill Clinton and now António Battistelli (or Benoît Campinos); are we dealing with monarchies/monarchs and pledges of allegiance or with public institutions beholden to the public, to be governed by the law?

OH, dear Campinos

My dearest António Campinos
A public health crisis
Brought trouble and woes

My kids are at home
The spouse unemployed
You kept me up till midnight
My life is an occupational void

Babysitting at daytime
Granting monopolies past midnight
The pay is reduced
But I keep up the fight

Sacred production targets be met
How else will I secure your BONUS
I pledge allegiance to dear thy
My dear orange POTUS

Home Working at the EPO: Your Corporate, Global Monopolies Will Be Rubber-stamped From Private Homes

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

For all we know, European Patents may be granted by people sitting on their porch with undergarments on while the bosses break the law (even during lock-down [1, 2, 3, 4])

A clean house: EPO staff: this is no proper work setting (pay is being cut, too); EPO Management: our staff is very professional, with Microsoft Skype and Teams spying (and kids accessing the work equipment)

Summary: We’re expected to believe that EPO employees working under the noses of Microsoft (in another continent!) with kids running around will be able to be both productive and professional; staff already complains about working until midnight and beyond, without any conceivable separation between career and personal life

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