Links 11/6/2020: New From System76 and GIMP 2.10.20 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Linux distro review: System76’s Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS

        The subject of today’s Linux distro review is perhaps one of a kind—as far as we know, Pop!_OS is the first Linux distribution to be created and maintained by a hardware OEM manufacturer. At the very least, it’s the first one anyone has taken seriously.

        That hardware manufacturer is System76, probably the world’s best-known Linux-only laptop manufacturer. Some larger OEMs offer Linux as an alternative operating system on a few models—but System76 sells Linux systems, and only Linux systems.

        Until 2017, System76 sold its systems preinstalled with Ubuntu Linux. But Canonical left the company cold when it decided to stop development on its Unity desktop environment and move back to Gnome3—and, controversially, System76 decided that instead of merely adding its own private repository and a few packages to a stock Ubuntu install, it would create and manage its own Ubuntu-derived distribution.

        Crucially, the new distribution would not just be for System76 hardware. Although the company uses the new distro to simplify and retain more control over its hardware setup, it designed Pop!_OS to be a real distro suitable for use—and encouraged for use—on any Linux PC, whether purchased from System76 or not.

      • System76 Launches AMD Ryzen-Powered ‘Serval WS’ Portable Linux Workstation

        Linux computer maker/seller System76 has been offering AMD processors in its Thelio desktop computers, but believe it or not, the company has never offered an AMD-powered laptop — until now, that is.

      • Things We Love About The New Serval WS

        The Serval WS is the Miata of computers, combining the power of a desktop with the portability of a laptop together in a sleek chassis. It also features a large selection of performant components to choose from, such as NVIDIA GeForce GPUs and new 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen CPUs.

      • System76 announce their 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen powered Serval WS laptop

        Users have been pestering Linux hardware vendor and Pop!_OS distribution maker System76 for some time to make an AMD powered laptop, even in our comments we’ve seen plenty of calls for it and so they listened. Today they announced the 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen powered Serval WS.

        System76 say it has desktop-level power in a portable housing, making it “uniquely positioned for a wide variety of uses”. They’re not really overstating that either. The new Serval WS will come with either the 3rd Gen Ryzen 3600, 3700X, or 3900 CPU making all models quite a power-house and good for gaming too.

        Have a look at some images provided by System76, including a sweet interior shot – click for a gallery…

      • System76 Serval WS Linux laptop now available with desktop Ryzen chips

        The System76 Serval WS is a mobile workstation class laptop computer decked out with a high-performance processor, discrete graphics, and just about everything else you’d need for graphic design, video editing, complex coding, or other tasks. Like all System76 computers, it also ships with either the company’s own Pop!_OS Linux distribution or Ubuntu. Windows isn’t even an option.

        System76 has been selling versions of the Serval WS for a few years. But the new 2020 model is the first to be powered by AMD Ryzen chips rather than Intel processors.

        The new Serval WS is available from System76 for $1299 and up.

      • System76 Begins Offering Serval WS Laptop With AMD Ryzen
      • System76 Launches Their First Ever AMD Powered Linux Laptop

        A few weeks ago, TUXEDO Computers unveiled what they called the world’s first AMD-only Linux laptop, and now System76 follows in their footsteps to announce a new Linux laptop that’s powered by an AMD processor. Meet the 12th generation Serval WS.

        System76 Serval WS is now the first AMD laptop from the company known for numerous powerful Linux machines and the gorgeous, Ubuntu-based Pop_OS! Linux, which comes preloaded on all new computers manufactured by System76.

      • System76 launches AMD Ryzen-powered ‘Serval WS’ portable Linux workstation

        The year 2020 undoubtedly belongs to AMD. After trailing Intel for years in some areas, the company has finally leapfrogged the Pentium-maker. Between its Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper processors, AMD owns the enthusiast desktop market. And that’s not all — the company’s Ryzen 4000 Series Mobile Processors are impressing on laptops too. Hell, Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux, is now using a computer powered by AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper 3970X.

        Linux computer maker/seller System76 has been offering AMD processors in its Thelio desktop computers, but believe it or not, the company has never offered an AMD-powered laptop — until now, that is. You see, starting today, you can buy a “Serval WS” powered by AMD. No, System76 is not offering mobile Ryzen chips in this laptop, but instead, desktop-class processors! As you can expect, this 15-inch portable Linux workstation is quite chunky and heavy as a result. With that said, it is simply impossible to cram this much power into a thin and light notebook.

      • Dell XPS 13 Linux Developer Edition (2020) hands-on: A great laptop for hard-working developers

        For years, most major computing manufacturers ignored Linux desktops. Oh, Dell kept selling them, and smaller Linux vendors like Purism, System76, and ZaReason kept the Linux desktop flame alive, but that was about it. Now, Lenovo has re-engaged with the Linux desktop, and Dell continues to sell — year-after-year — one of the best of all Linux laptops, the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition.

        This year’s Dell XPS 13 is better than ever. I had the last two earlier models at hand, so I could easily compare its evolution. I can’t say it blew their doors off, but it’s clearly a more powerful machine.

        That starts with its CPU heart. The XPS 13 is one of the first laptops to use an Ice Lake Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor. This quad-core, hyper-threading CPU averaged about 20% faster over its older brothers in a wide variety of test workloads. It’s a real pleasure watching applications “pop” on to the screen.

      • Star Labs reveal their new Linux-powered Star LabTop Mk IV

        Star Labs, maker of custom Linux hardware have revealed the Star LabTop Mk IV and it looks like quite the little powerhouse. They only currently offer two laptop models, with this new version replacing the LabTop Mk III.

        With a price starting at £699, the Star LabTop Mk IV features a 13 inch 1080p ARC matte screen with Anti-Reflective Coating and it’s built to take a few knocks without breaking too. It’s also an IPS screen, so you should get some decent viewing angles on it. The rest of the specs sound good too!

    • Linux Magazine (Paywall)

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.8 To Support Emulating MLC NAND Flash Memory As SLC

        The Linux MTD subsystem that abstracts raw flash devices will allow emulating MLC NANDs as SLC in an attempt to boost reliability.

        Starting with the Linux 5.8 kernel, raw multi-level cell (MLC) flash memory can be optionally emulated as single level cell (SLC) memory. This SLC emulated mode was added by embedded consulting firm Bootlin. In this emulated mode for MLC NANDs, only the lower page of each pair is programmed. This emulated mode is being offered for raw flash memory exposed on Linux as it can be “made a bit more reliable” under the SLC emulated mode albeit with reduced capacity.

      • Linux 5.8 Supports Nested AMD Live Migration With KVM

        Sent in last week to the Linux 5.8 mainline kernel were all the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) updates.

        Arguably most notable to the KVM changes for Linux 5.8 is nested AMD live migration support for properly dealing with the live migration of KVM VMs running within a virtual machine. Red Hat’s Paolo Bonzini who oversees the KVM code has been working on this migration support for the AMD nSVM code and is now in place for the 5.8 kernel.

      • Linux 5.7.2

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.7.2 kernel.

        All users of the 5.7 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.7.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.7.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


      • Linux 5.6.18
      • Linux 5.4.46
      • Linux 4.19.128
      • Linux 4.14.184
      • Linux 4.9.227
      • Linux 4.19.128
    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 10 May 2020 vs. Ubuntu 20.04 Is A Surprisingly Heated Race On The Intel Core i9 10900K

        Last week I provided some fresh benchmarks of Windows 10 May 2020 vs. Linux on AMD. As has been common across multiple systems particularly with Threadripper, using Linux leads to a ~20% uptick in performance at large over Windows. While at times we have seen similar advantages for Intel CPUs on Linux, with the new Intel Core i9 10900K Comet Lake processor it is a very competitive race between Windows 10 May 2020 Update and Ubuntu Linux.

        When running 101 benchmarks native to both Windows and Linux on the Core i9 10900K under the new Windows 10 May 2020 release compared to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, it’s the most competitive cross-OS battle I have likely ever seen… For the most part the results were neck-and-neck compared to the usual dominance of Linux we are accustomed to seeing.

    • Applications

      • 12 Best Free Linux Time Tracking Software

        Time tracking software is a type of computer software that records time spent on tasks. This category of software can enable users to run billing reports, and prepare invoices for clients.

        The deployment of this software offers a new level of productivity to organizations, as it provides management with information on what time is spent by employees on different activities such as projects and tasks. This can help to measure productivity over time. This software is commonly used by professionals that charge clients by the hour such as accountants, solicitors, and freelancers. The generation of automatic invoices with minimal or no data entry removes the inconvenience of billing and invoicing clients, and improves efficiency.

      • NinjaRMM 4.6: Five Remote Monitoring Software Enhancements for MSPs

        Why Linux?: The forthcoming Linux capabilities reinforces a key point: NinjaRMM has expanded beyond small business MSPs to engage midmarket and enterprise customers — including service providers and corporate IT departments, which frequently run Linux workloads on-premises or in the cloud.

      • New Linux Software To Make Things Easier For AMD GPU Users

        Linux software has never really had a whole lot of attention from large companies such as AMD – but that might be about to change. One of the main draws of Linux is the vast amount of software created for free by the community.

        A recent piece of software has appeared which could make life a bit easier for AMD graphics card users.

      • LeoCAD 19.07.1 on openSUSE | Building to Publish

        I don’t generally have a lot of time to “play” with Legos, either real or virtual. When I do, it is mostly with my kids as a fun, family activity. Using LeoCAD is a great way to document the designs or work out ideas without having all the appropriate pieces and also makes for a great education tool to use with children or adults.

        I am able to take time, now and again, to explore my limited creativity and to share it with those that have similar interests on the Internet. Sure, my reach is probably only a dozen or so people scattered around the world that are approximately my age but that is just enough. The positive is, it ensures that when I go to Bricklink.com to order the parts I want, they are not in high demand and I can get what I want pretty reasonably.

        I can’t thank enough those that are volunteering their time to create LeoCAD and all the tools that make my openSUSE Linux machine possible. Not to mention the various web services and sites that make sharing possible too. It’s a pretty great time in which we live, especially if you are a nerd.

      • 2.14.0 Released! :: Pidgin, the universal chat client

        Well it’s been a while, but we’ve finally released Pidgin 2.14.0. This is a special release for a number of reasons, which we’ll get into below. That said, you can find the source release on SourceForge as well as on Bintray.

        First of all we moved libgnt, the GLib NCurses Toolkit, to its own repository. It is the user interface library that was created for Finch. We did this for a number of reasons, most notably to let libgnt step out from Pidgin’s shadow and get the attention it deserves as a stand-alone project. That said, if you want to build Finch, you need to first install libgnt. You can find the source for it at SourceForge or Bintray.

        Secondly, this is most likely the last release that will be on Bitbucket. As many of you know, on July 1st Atlassian is deleting all Mercurial repositories. We are mostly done with migrating off of Bitbucket but there’s still some loose ends that need to be dealt with. Gary will be addressing this in an upcoming townhall-style meeting whose details will follow in the near future. In the meantime those loose ends need to be taken care of before that meeting. However, you can find the new home of the repository at keep.imfreedom.org/pidgin/pidgin.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Valve adds OpenXR support to SteamVR in ‘Developer Preview’

        This is quite exciting for the future of Virtual Reality, as Valve as now properly given their backing to the OpenXR standard and added support into SteamVR.

        What is OpenXR? Overseen by The Khronos Group, who also oversee the OpenGL / Vulkan APIs, it’s a royalty-free, open standard that provides high-performance access to Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). This way, developers can begin to target OpenXR and have it run cross-platform for XR (AR/VR). Standards like it are important so developers don’t have to rewrite code to target each company going their own way with XR.

      • The Humble Codemasters Bundle 2020 is now live

        Here’s an interesting game bundle for racing game enthusiasts. The Humble Codemasters Bundle 2020 is now live with a number of good games.

        Some of them support Linux, some do not, so I’ve put those that do in bold for you to make it easier to identify at a glance if you’re interested in what it offers.

      • Steam Play’s Proton 5.0-9 Brings Fix For Games Requiring EA Origin Client

        Following last week’s big Proton 5.0-8 release, Valve and CodeWeavers have just released Proton 5.0-9 as a quick bug fix release.

        The most prominent change with Proton 5.0-9 is a fix for games that require EA’s Origin client to operate. The second change is a fix for Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age.

        That’s it as far as the listed changes for Proton 5.0-9. Then again, it came just days after the huge -8 update with the newer VKD3D and DXVK code, many game fixes, support for the latest Steam SDKs, various performance improvements, and a lot more.

      • Whateverland: Prologue mixes a point & click adventure with turn-based strategy

        There seems to be a lot of unique genre blending going on lately. Whateverland: Prologue, the intro / demo to a much bigger game blends a point and click adventure with a ‘turn-based strategy sports simulator’.

        Sounds pretty weird right? Whateverland: Prologue released on Steam yesterday with Linux support and the developer has confirmed that the full game will also appear on Linux too. It’s developed by Caligari Games, the same crew behind 2019′s The Great Perhaps, which also has Linux support.

      • The itch.io charity bundle hits over $4 million and now over 1,500 items inside

        Well on it’s way to raising 5 million dollars, the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality over on itch.io has become a huge success and there’s a lot that’s been added to it.

        Still keeping the minimum purchase at $5, it’s absolutely the deal of the year and you’re probably not likely to find another deal like it for a very long time. It’s ridiculously good and for a honourable cause. There’s now, at time of writing 1,509 items included which would usually cost over 8 thousand dollars individually.

        Plenty of what’s included is available for Linux too, it’s incredible.

      • Monster Crown enters Early Access July 31 playable at Steam Game Festival

        Studio Aurum and SOEDESCO have announced that the dark monster taming game inspired by Pokemon, Monster Crown, will be launching in Early Access on July 31.

        On top of that and quite excitingly, it’s also going to be playable during the Steam Game Festival which is now running from June 16 – 22. I spoke to Studio Aurum today, who confirmed Linux support for both builds of the game so that’s awesome.

      • Linux gaming overlay MangoHud levels up with a new release

        MangoHud has become the go-to Linux gaming overlay for us and from comments we’ve seen, a lot of other people too. It continues to get better!

        Today, the MangoHud crew released version 0.4.0 (and 0.4.1 quickly after) which should make benchmarking even easier, especially for quick tests. Logging now makes sure you’re aware it’s capturing by a red circle in the top-right of the HUD and to do quick benchmarking, you no longer need to supply an output file as it can just show a window of stats at the end for you.

      • Check out the latest Factions trailer for Wasteland 3

        It will have Linux support at release, although it’s likely the last title from inXile Entertainment that we will see officially on Linux since they’re now owned by Microsoft. Wasteland 3 itself for Linux and other platforms was crowdfunded on Fig back in Nov, 2016, where they managed to pull in over three million towards development.

      • Hyperspace Harvest has farming, bullet-hell and more inside an interstellar animal

        Not a selection of genres I would have expected to be put together but it’s happened. Hyperspace Harvest is the second game from Sleeper Games and it’s confirmed for Linux.

        After the destruction of your own planet, you’ve been reincarnated somehow by an ‘interstellar god animal’. Hyperspace Harvest takes place on top of and inside this almighty mammal and you’re basically its janitor / doctor and more. You will be responsible for engineering and growing crops, exploring the completely bizarre ecosystem inside it and fighting off an apparently sentient disease in a dungeon-crawling bullet-hell. That’s a seriously weird combination of gameplay elements but it sounds brilliant.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Jean-François Fortin Tam: Revival of GTG, status update #2: git ready to test!

          As a follow-up to my first global project situation update, I am happy to report great progress towards the successful revival of the GTG project.

        • Oliver Propst: A conversation with Outreachy student Sonja Heinze about Fratcal

          At the moment, I’m implementing a video player in Fractal. Fractal is a communication app for the GNOME desktop based on the Matrix protocol. Communication is organized into rooms. With my contribution, video attachments get handled as follows: any message with video attachment that appears in the room history (i.e. list of messages sent in that room), gets provided some own little space where it gets auto-played in a loop without sound.

          Of course, when the user scrolls up or down in the room history and the video message gets out of sight, it stops playing. When clicking on the video, the media viewer opens. There, the user can play and pause the video and seek in it (see second picture in mail attachment). Furthermore, in the media viewer the user can go forth and back through all the media sent in that room (i.e., images and videos). Both, in the room history and in the media viewer, the video widget dimensions get adjusted well according to the video resolution ratio.

    • Distributions

      • Educational Distribution Escuelas Linux Releases 6.9. What’s New.

        After almost a month of development since the prior Escuelas Linux 6.8, we have the latest Escuelas Linux 6.9 available. This release brings some apps aligned with the ongoing COVID-19 situation in the world.

      • Haiku R1/beta2 has been released!

        After almost 2 years since R1/beta1, Haiku R1/beta2 has been released. See “Release Notes” for the release notes, “Press contact”, for press inquiries … and “Get Haiku!” to skip all that and just download the release (or upgrade to it from an existing install!)

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • First look at the new Apicurio Registry UI and Operator

          Last year, the Apicurio developer community launched the new Apicurio Registry project, which is an API and schema registry for microservices. You can use the Apicurio Registry to store and retrieve service artifacts such as OpenAPI specifications and AsyncAPI definitions, as well as schemas such as Apache Avro, JSON, and Google Protocol Buffers.

          Because the registry also works as a catalog where you can navigate through artifacts, adding a new web-based user interface (UI) was a priority for the current Apicurio Registry 1.2.2 release. With this release, the Apicurio community has made the Apicurio Registry available as a binary download or from container images. To make it easier to set up and manage your Apicurio Registry deployment, they have also created a new Kubernetes Operator for the Apicurio Registry.

        • Extending Red Hat SSO with IBM Security Verify

          More and more organizations are using Red Hat Single Sign-On (Red Hat SSO) as the foundation for securing user identities for enterprise and consumer applications. The focus on providing both robust security and a seamless user experience needs to be equally considered. Neither of these requirements should be compromised, especially as applications are being built for a multi-cloud world on Red Hat OpenShift.

        • Red Hat Shares ― Kubernetes

          Red Hat’s approach to Kubernetes over the last 6 years has been to turn it from a useful container tool into a foundational platform for hybrid cloud architectures. Learn what Kubernetes is and if it’s right for you.

        • Fostering remote community: Open principles to help build a productive remote team culture

          A year ago many of us had no idea we’d be working from home today, but now we find ourselves (and our organizations) needing to adapt. And quickly. I’d like to talk about some of my experience in adapting to working in this new environment and share some ideas that may help others in doing the same.

          To remain productive and competitive organizations need to adapt to the new “Work From Home” (WFH) world. They need to adopt new strategies that foster business resilience and enable them to respond to continuous change. An initial impulse may be to concentrate on the tools they need to empower large numbers of employees to work from home—like webcams and conferencing systems. However, although technology is essential, team leaders should not overlook the importance of fostering an effective remote culture and guiding the team to learn to work together in a different way.

          We also need to remember to focus on the people first, especially at a time when people can’t always put work first. Remember that people aren’t just “working from home” — that’s well-covered territory. In many cases people who never expected to work remotely are having to adapt, and at a time when many people are under great stress.

        • 8 steps to make your next meeting more productive

          Many organizations’ cultures encourage team meetings, as they can be a valuable time for groups of employees to collaborate and innovate together. However, too often, meetings are unproductive, repetitive, and waste valuable time that employees could use for work. According to a Korn Ferry survey, 67% of employees claim that their job performance is negatively impacted by spending too much time in meetings. That number is far too high for modern companies interested in growth and productivity.

          Because all types of organizations, including open source communities, depend on effective meetings and communication standards to get things done, many try to instill more effective meeting environments. For example, some carve out time each week when meetings are not allowed, so the company can reach a flow state. While this is helpful during that time, the rest of the week may be wasted by unproductive meetings.

          The following steps can help make meetings more efficient and create a focused, productive workforce.

        • Sysadmin careers: Overcoming fear and loathing at the keyboard
        • syslog-ng Insider 2020-06: edge; log management layer; WSL;

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

      • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • ZFS focus on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS: ZSys partition layout

          We have covered ZSys quite extensively over the past blog posts, from what’s new to its functionalities in details.

          It’s now time to look at the other part of the system: what happens when you install your system? Which partition layout and why are we choosing this one? What ZFS datasets are created and how do we lay them out? We will answer to all those questions from this part of the blog post series. Let’s start right away with the partitioning method.

        • Linux Mint 20 Gets Approved For ‘Beta’ Release, ISO To Arrive Soon

          According to the official Linux Mint ISO status page, the upcoming Linux Mint 20 has been approved for the beta release. Clem Lefebvre, head of the Linux Mint project, has given his nod after testing Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce editions twice.

          As I’m writing this article, there is no official release of beta ISO or an announcement from the Mint team. But the testing version for the public will be available today or tomorrow. Until then, if you want to know everything about the new features of Mint 20, you can read our regularly updated article here that contains full details.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • OSI: Celebrating GNOME’s Patent Settlement

        The Open Source Initiative would like to congratulate the GNOME Foundation on its recent settlement of the patent lawsuit alleging that the Shotwell software infringed patents owned by Rothschild Patent Imaging. The settlement was a huge achievement — not only did GNOME pay nothing, but Rothschild Patent Imaging and its owner, Leigh M. Rothschild, have agreed that, for all of their patents and future patents, they will not sue any user or developer of software under an Open Source Initiative-approved license (and their updated versions) where the software forms a material part of the infringement allegation. That is freedom from suit for the open source software world for over 100 patents.

        This is a remarkable accomplishment that could only happen with the overwhelming support of the entire open source community. U.S.-based patent infringement lawsuits are notoriously expensive, so a business model has developed to sue those who appear to lack the financial means to mount a defense. The plaintiff is successful when the defendant pays a substantial sum simply because it is less than the cost to defend the lawsuit. However, with community support GNOME was able to raise over $150,000 from more than 4,000 donors, allowing it to not only stand strong against the threat but also ultimately procure a huge benefit for the open source community at large. This suit demonstrates to the world once again that the open source community and our values of mutual support, collaboration, cooperation, and transparency can accomplish greater ends than any one person standing alone.

      • Events

        • Linux Plumbers Conference: Scheduler Microconference Accepted into 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference

          We are pleased to announce that the Scheduler Microconference has been accepted into the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference!

          The scheduler is an important functionality of the Linux kernel as it decides what gets to run, when and for how long. With different topologies and workloads this is no easy task to give the user the best experience possible. During the Scheduler microconference at LPC last year, we started the work to make SCHED_DEADLINE safe for kthreads and improving load balancing. This year, we continue working on core scheduling, unifying the interface for TurboSched and task latency nice, and continue the discussion on proxy execution.

        • State of the Source Summit

          The Open Source Initiative’s mission is to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source software and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community. The State of the Source serves the OSI’s mission and our community, with a focus on understanding, implementing, and improving the state of open source software. Below you will find four tracks, themes that should drive each track’s sessions, and even a few examples of topics that might help you develop your presentation.


          The State of the Source will be a global event and provides tremendous opportunities to directly engage with the open source software community and support the work of the Open Source Initiative. We hope you will join us in our efforts to create broader awareness, increase understanding, and address issues to help educate and build bridges between open source software communities.

      • Web Browsers

        • Vivaldi 3.1 Released with Built-in Note-Taking Tool

          Vivaldi web browser 3.1 was released today with full-page notes manager, configurable menus, and speed improvements.

          The new release ships with a note-taking tool with a full-blown notes editor. It’s available both in left-sidebar and start page.

        • Install Vivaldi Browser 3.1 on Ubuntu 20.04 / Linux Mint & CentOS 8.1

          Vivaldi is a web browser based on open source chromium project and it is available for windows, Linux, Android, and macOS.

          It is created by the former CEO of Opera software built using modern web technologies like javascript, Node.js, React and Browserify

          In this tutorial, i will show you how to install the latest version 3.1 on Ubuntu 20.04 / Ubuntu 18.04, Linux Mint 19.3, and CentOS 8.1

        • Vivaldi 3.1 Arrives with Full-Page Notes Manager, Configurable Menus, and Faster Startup

          Based on the latest Chromium 83 open-source web browser, Vivaldi 3.1 is here to introduce a brand-new version of its built-in Notes feature called Notes Manager, which offers a full-page notes editor with visual editing via a text formatting toolbar.

          Vivaldi’s note-taking capabilities are getting to a new level, becoming more like word processing capabilities, something no other web browser currently offers, at least not by default.

          Accessible from the Start Page, the new Notes Manager features a WYSIWYG editor, text formatting, word count, the ability to add new notes via Quick Commands or from a web page selection via the right-click context menu, the ability to search text in notes and search through notes, as well as to attach images.

        • The Vivaldi Browser Now Has a, Er, Word Processor?
      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Please participate in a survey on our web presence

          Since LibreOffice will become 10 years old in September, we believe it’s time to rethink our web presence. That’s primarily the home page https://www.libreoffice.org – but also all the various services that we established in the past for an effective and convenient ecosystem. We would like to hear your opinion,

        • Page-content-bottom vertical relation in Writer

          Users sometimes want to specify the vertical position of their shapes in text documents in a way that is relative from the bottom of the page content area. Also, this improves consistency, specifying a position that is relative from the top of the page content area is already possible.

          Alternatively, it is possible to have the same calculated position when positioning from the top of the page content area. The downside of this approach is that the position changes when the page height changes. So if the user intention is to position a shape 2 cm above the bottom of the page content area and the page height changes, the shape has to be manually re-positioned. This manual re-positioning is not needed with the new page-content-bottom vertical relation.

      • Education

        • Resisting Proprietary Software

          Teachers, students, parents, free software advocates and the community at large are taking action to stop the use of nonfree programs in schools. They are doing it by telling schools about free software and raising awareness of the dangers nonfree programs pose to students’ computer freedom and privacy. They are objecting persistently to the nonfree software that the schools suggest to them.

          The recent health emergency situation caused by COVID-19 presented a new challenge. Traditional in-person classes were suddenly disallowed, and overnight thousands of schools around the world were confronted with a decision to make: either suspend their teaching activities entirely or comply by switching to online classes.

          Schools from areas of the world where Internet connection and access to technology is readily available decided to go online. Unfortunately, most school administrators and teachers had never heard about free software, so they couldn’t think of anything but whatever they knew or had already used —namely, freedom-denying programs for video conferencing and online communication such as Zoom and Skype, among others.

        • Saying No to unjust computing even once is help

          Our ultimate goal is digital freedom for all, a world without nonfree software. Some of us, who have made campaigning for digital freedom our goal, reject all nonfree programs. However, as a practical matter, even a little step towards that goal is good. A walk of a thousand miles consists of lots of steps. Each time you don’t install some nonfree program, or decide not to run it that day, that is a step towards your own freedom. Each time you decline to run a nonfree program with others, you show them a wise example of long-term thinking. That is a step towards freedom for the world.

          If you’re caught in a web of nonfree programs, you’re surely looking for a chance to pull a few strands off of your body. Each one pulled off is an advance.

          Each time you tell the people in some activity, “I’d rather use Zoom less—please count me out today,” you help the free software movement. “I’d like to do this with you, but with Zoom on the other side of the scale, I’ve decided to decline.” If you accepted the nonfree software before, you could say this: “I’d like to participate, but the software we are using is not good for us. I’ve decided I should cut down.” Once in a while, you may convince them to use free software instead. At least they will learn that some people care about freedom enough to decline participation for freedom’s sake.

      • DL

        • Uber Announces Neuropod, an Open Source Deep Learning Tool

          Uber has announced Neuropod, an open source abstraction layer that offers a uniform interface from which to run deep learning (DL) models.

          Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) leverages deep learning in the development of their self-driving technology. In a recent blog post, Vivek Panyam said, “Using deep learning, we can build and train models to handle tasks such as processing sensor input, identifying objects, and predicting where those objects might go.”

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GIMP 2.10.20 Released

            GIMP 2.10.20 comes with new features as well as important bugfixes.

          • GIMP 2.10.20 Released with Non-Destructive Cropping, New and Improved Filters

            The GIMP 2.10.20 open-source and cross-platform image editor and viewer was officially announced today, and it looks like it packs some interesting new features and improvements.

            Coming three and a half months after GIMP 2.10.18, the GIMP 2.10.20 release is here to introduce non-destructive cropping. The new feature is enabled by default in this version and works by resizing the canvas instead of cropping out the actual pixels.

            The benefits of the non-destructive cropping feature include the fact that you can revert the cropped image at any time, even if you quit GIMP, if you save the project as an XCF file, and that the cropped image will reflect exactly what you see within the canvas boundaries of the Crop tool.

          • GIMP 2.10.20 Released with Improved Crop Tool, New Blur Filters

            A new version of GIMP, the popular open source graphics editing software, is now available to download.

            GIMP 2.10.20 features bug fixes and performance tweaks but also a selection of cool new features, including non-destructive cropping, new lens blur filters, improved .psd file support and an updated vignette tool that’s easier to use.

            First up, cropping.

            When you crop an image in pretty much any image editor the pixels beyond the crop boundary are deleted, leaving whatever is left. But GIMP 2.10.20 doesn’t discard those extraneous pixels, it simply resizes the canvas instead.

          • GIMP 2.10.20 Released With Better Adobe PSD Support

            While not the long-awaited GIMP 3.30, GIMP 2.10.20 is out today as the newest stable release for this open-source image editor alternative to the likes of the proprietary Photoshop software.

            GIMP 2.10.20 comes with better support for handling Adobe Photoshop (PSD) files in now being able to handle exporting of 16-bit files as well as reading/writing channels in the correct order.

      • Programming/Development

        • Remi Collet: PHP version 7.3.19 and 7.4.7

          RPMs of PHP version 7.4.7 are available in remi repository for Fedora 32 and remi-php74 repository for Fedora 30-31 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 7 (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPMs of PHP version 7.3.19 are available in remi repository for Fedora 30-31 and remi-php73 repository for Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

        • Stop debugging Go with Println and use Delve instead

          When was the last time you tried to learn a new programming language? Do you stick with your tried and true, or are you one of the brave souls who tries out a new one as soon as it is announced? Either way, learning a new language can be extremely useful, and a lot of fun.

          You try out with a simple “Hello, world!” then move onto writing some sample code and executing it, making minor changes along the way and then moving on from there. I am sure we have all gone through this experience no matter which technology we’ve worked on. Though if you do manage to stay with a language for some time, and you wish to become proficient in it, there are a few things that can help you along the way.

        • binb 0.0.6: Small enhancements

          The sixth release of the binb package is now on CRAN. binb regroups four rather nice themes for writing LaTeX Beamer presentations much more easily in (R)Markdown. As a teaser, a quick demo combining all four themes follows; documentation and examples are in the package.

        • LLVMpipe Gains Support For On-Disk Shader Cache

          The LLVMpipe software OpenGL implementation that recently has seen work on MSAA, tessellation shader support, and other improvements, now has a working on-disk shader cache implementation.

          David Airlie of Red Hat has landed the support he’s been working on for adding a shader cache to this CPU-based OpenGL driver and the bits within the Gallivm code for LLVM MCJIT caching.

        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • Never forget your password with this Python encryption algorithm

            Many of us use password managers to securely store our many unique passwords. A critical part of a password manager is the master password. This password protects all others, and in that way, it is a risk. Anyone who has it can pretend to be you… anywhere! Naturally, you keep your master password hard to guess, commit it to memory, and do all the other things you are supposed to do.

            But what if something happens and you forget it? Maybe you took a vacation to a lovely, far-away island with no technology for a month. After frolicking in the water daily and eating pineapples, you cannot quite remember your password. Maybe it was “long legs travel fast”? Or was it something like “sharp spoons eat quick”? It was definitely clever when you thought of it.

          • PyDev 7.6.0 (Python 3.8 parsing fixes and debugger improvements)

            This release brings multiple fixes to parsing the Python 3.8 grammar (in particular, dealing with f-strings and iterable unpacking had some corner cases that weren’t well supported).

          • Building an AI-based Chatbot in Python

            Chatterbot is a python-based library that makes it easy to build AI-based chatbots. The library uses machine learning to learn from conversation datasets and generate responses to user inputs. The library allows developers to train their chatbot instance with pre-provided language datasets as well as build their own datasets.


            Chatterbot uses Logic Adapters to determine the logic for how a response to a given input statement is selected.

            A typical logic adapter designed to return a response to an input statement will use two main steps to do this. The first step involves searching the database for a known statement that matches or closely matches the input statement. Once a match is selected, the second step involves selecting a known response to the selected match. Frequently, there will be a number of existing statements that are responses to the known match. In such situations, the Logic Adapter will select a response randomly. If more than one Logic Adapter is used, the response with the highest cumulative confidence score from all Logic Adapters will be selected.

          • Janusworx: A Hundred Days of Code, Day 042

            Beginning to realise that Flask is not a monolithic thing, but consists of a lot of moving parts.
            Looking forward to learning what they are as I progress along.

            Today I learnt how to set my Flask variable, and create an environment, so that I can run Flask consistently without problems.

            Miguel also teaches a simple, yet effective way to combat yak shaving.
            You know, where all you want is one simple thing, but then that depends on that other thing, which reminds you that you need that third thing and the next thing you know, you’re at the zoo, shaving a yak, all so you can wax your car.

          • Weekly Check In – 1

            As the Community Bonding phase finished I started coding the HTTP/2 Client Protocol. I started simple with adding support for GET requests.

          • [Week 1] Build A Calculation Graph

            This week’s main job is to build a calculation graph. The core of the automatic differential system is vjp, which is composed of calculation graph construction and gradient calculation.

        • Haskell

          • bracketing and async exceptions in haskell

            I’ve been digging into async exceptions in haskell, and getting more and more concerned. In particular, bracket seems to be often used in ways that are not async exception safe. I’ve found multiple libraries with problems.

        • Rust

        • Java

  • Leftovers

    • A New Amityville Horror Only Billionaires Can Stop

      Remember The Amityville Horror, the 1979 hair-on-edge thriller that would become one of America’s most popular scary movies ever? The horror may soon be returning, this time in real life.

    • Why 2020 Could Turn Out to Be a Transformative Year

      2020 could turn out to be one of the most transformative years of our collective lives, marking the turning point when unjust, destructive, and inhumane systems began to be toppled and transformed.

    • The Singular, Undeniably Unusual Life of Anna Kavan

      In the foreword to the new collection of Anna Kavan’s short stories, Machines in the Head, the book’s editor, Victoria Walker, argues that “Kavan’s deliberate neglect of fictional plot…seems to have encouraged an impulse to embellish her life story, and during the fifty years since her death her biography has been expansively embroidered.” A statement like this usually leads to an assurance that the author’s exciting or tragic life was actually not that exciting or tragic: She was ordinary, disciplined. She worked, we promise; she didn’t just live. I admit I rarely find this a comforting prospect. However, what follows Walker’s framing caveat—this life is not as unusual as it has been made out to be—is a detailed description of one of the most singular, undeniably unusual lives I’ve ever encountered, ricocheting between capacious mundanity and extreme risk, faithfully untethered to place, people, or name.

    • Haters will say it’s fake Russia’s Investigative Committee deletes group picture with investigator following photoshop accusations

      On June 9, the Belgorod region’s Investigative Committee department deleted a picture from their website, which was taken during a meeting between the Alekseevsky district’s head investigator, Alexander Sidenko, and a group of emergency services workers. In the picture, Sidenko can be seen wearing a black mask. The only problem is that the mask was photoshopped into the picture, or so the Telegram channel “Belgorod No.1” claims.

    • Training a Dog

      Mountain View, Calif.—It turned out to be an Arkansas-sized dog in a California-sized apartment, so I asked my landlord to pull up the remains of last season’s tomato bushes to ease the recreations of the foster hound. I didn’t plant the tomatoes. The patio’s concrete had stopped at a freshly tilled plot, but they grew—volunteers—from generations of fertile farmland.

    • America, America
    • Eternal Fixation: The Madeleine McCann Disappearance Show

      The “lost child” endures as motif and theme, the stalking shadow of much literature, the background to a society’s anxiety. The child, often deemed innocent, becomes the ink blot of loss in such disappearance. In Australia, it was captured by Peter Pierce’s The Country of Lost Children: An Australian Anxiety (1999). In wide spaces, innocence has much room to go wrong in, to vanish and encourage judgment.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • How Che Guevara Taught Cuba to Confront COVID-19

        Beginning in December 1951, Ernesto “Che” Guevara took a nine-month break from medical school to travel by motorcycle through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. One of his goals was gaining practical experience with leprosy. On the night of his twenty-fourth birthday, Che was at La Colonia de San Pablo in Peru swimming across the river to join the lepers. He walked among six hundred lepers in jungle huts looking after themselves in their own way.

      • Listening to our Anger and Angst

        At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Afghanistan had 300 ventilators, only one ventilator for every 110,000 Afghans.

      • Teachers Union Warns Safely Reopening US Schools During ‘Triple Crisis’ Could Cost $116.5 Billion

        “Public schools are centers of their communities and essential to repairing our nation’s fraying social fabric. And the economy won’t recover fully unless school buildings reopen.”

      • The COVID-19 Lockdown In Rural Virginia

        The lockdowns in pandemic hotspots worldwide tend to be in major urban areas with high population densities and, understandably, receive the most attention from the media. New York, London, Mumbai, Lagos, San Paolo, and Paris, for instance, are/were places a person in a high-risk group would probably not want to be if they had a choice.

      • The WHO walks back its statement that asymptomatic COVID-19 transmission is “very rare”

        Yesterday, I wrote about how the World Health Organization’s (WHO) head of emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, had stated during a press conference that the spread of COVID-19 by asymptomatic people is uncommon and that asymptomatic people aren’t driving the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the beta coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. In fact, she went even beyond that, having said, “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual. It’s very rare.” The effect was immediate; COVID-19 deniers seized on the story to cast doubt on the need for social distancing and mask wearing.

      • Coronavirus: Only an Anecdote

        Today’s shocking evidence by Prof. Neil Ferguson that, had lockdown been implemented a week earlier, the death toll would have been halved, has the ring of truth, although it must remain a surmise (and I am aware of his past record).

      • It Won’t Be Protests That Bring On the Next Big Wave of Covid Infections

        As people across the nation and the world came out to protest the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, corporate media carried a warning: Demonstrations against police violence risk creating a major upsurge in the spread of the coronavirus.

      • The number of new COVID-19 cases in Moscow before and after the end of self-isolation
      • Health officials estimate that 14 percent of Russians now have coronavirus antibodies

        After testing people in 46 regions across the country, health officials estimate that 14 percent of Russians now have immunity against the coronavirus. According to Anna Popova, the head of the Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare, minors under the age of 17 exhibit the highest degree of immunity: almost 20 percent. Immunity for Russians between the ages of 18 and 64 is 14 percent, and it’s just 11 percent for people older than 65. 

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • WordPress 5.4.2 Security and Maintenance Release

            This security and maintenance release features 23 fixes and enhancements. Plus, it adds a number of security fixes—see the list below.

            These bugs affect WordPress versions 5.4.1 and earlier; version 5.4.2 fixes them, so you’ll want to upgrade.

            If you haven’t yet updated to 5.4, there are also updated versions of 5.3 and earlier that fix the bugs for you.

          • Hacks Are Always Worse Than Reported: Nintendo’s Breached Accounts Magically Double

            One of these days, we writers at Techdirt will put our collective and enormous heads together, and come up with an actual proposed mathematical formula that should be applied whenever a company first announces a security or account breach, so that the public can calculate what that breach count will eventually end up being. The reason the world needs such a formula is because you can pretty much set your watch when a company announces such a breach that in the following weeks or months it will grow significantly. This happened with Equifax, with TJX, and even with our own vaunted federal government. But if we ever really did want to try to put some kind of formula together for measuring the underplaying of a breach on initial response, the historical breach that would probably brake such an algorithm would have to be Yahoo’s email breach, which, in 2013, was the breach of a few hundred thousand email accounts, but in 2017 magically became all of the accounts. As in, literally all of them.

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (kernel and microcode_ctl), Debian (roundcube), Mageia (coturn, cups, libarchive, libvirt, libzypp, nghttp2, nrpe, openconnect, perl, python-typed-ast, ruby-rack, ruby-RubyGems, sudo, vino, wpa_supplicant, and xawtv), openSUSE (firefox, gnutls, GraphicsMagick, ucode-intel, and xawtv), Oracle (dotnet3.1 and kernel), Red Hat (curl, expat, file, gettext, kernel, kpatch-patch, libexif, pcs, python, tomcat, tomcat6, and unzip), Scientific Linux (kernel and microcode_ctl), SUSE (kernel), and Ubuntu (intel-microcode and sqlite3).

          • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 147 released

            The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 147.

          • Arm CPUs Hit By Straight Line Speculation Vulnerability, LLVM Adds Initial Mitigation

            While Intel’s CrossTalk/SRBDS vulnerability dominated the conversation on Tuesday, Arm quietly revealed a new speculative execution vulnerability of its own called Straight Line Speculation.

          • If Mitigations Weren’t Already Bad Enough: Slow Build Times Now Lead To An Unoptimized Intel LVI Pass

            Disclosed back in March was the LVI attack (Load Value Injection) affecting Intel CPUs. Mitigating LVI requires compiler toolchain changes and LLVM 11 merged its LVI mitigation last month that adds a load fence after each instruction that may be vulnerable to this attack, similar to the GNU Assembler changes. Now though LLVM is adding an unoptimized version of their LVI pass.

          • Antoine Beaupré: CVE-2020-13777 GnuTLS audit: be scared

            You are reading this correctly: supposedly encrypted TLS connections made with affected GnuTLS releases are vulnerable to passive cleartext recovery attack (and active for 1.3, but who uses that anyways). That is extremely bad. It’s pretty close to just switching everyone to HTTP instead of HTTPS, more or less. I would have a lot more to say about the security of GnuTLS in particular — and security in general — but I am mostly concerned about patching holes in the roof right now, so this article is not about that.

          • adns 1.5.2, adns 1.6.0 – SECURITY FIXES
            -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
            Hash: SHA256
            It is with mixed feelings that I announce the release of adns 1.5.2
            and adns 1.6.0.
            adns is a DNS resolver library for C (and C++) programs, and a
            collection of useful DNS lookup utilities.  The C library, and the
            command line utilities, provide a convenient interface.  adns is
            capable of doing DNS lookups in an asynchronous, event-driven,
            For more information about adns, please see one of:
            These are security bugfix releases.  All users should upgrade ASAP.
            1.5.2 has precisely the security fixes; it does not contain supporting
            tests or other noncritical bugfixes.
            1.6.0 contains everything in 1.5.2 plus some additional build fixes,
            tests for the bugfixes, etc., and minor new features
            (forwards-compatible in API, ABI and CLI).
            It will be evident from the CVEs (and the commit timestamps in the git
            repository) that this release has taken an entirely unreasonbly long
            time to prepare.  I can only apologise.
            You can download adns as a tarball, or from the git repository which
            contains signed git tags.
            adns (1.6.0)
              * adnshost: Support --reverse in -f mode input stream
              * timeout robustness against clock skew: track query start time and
                duration.  Clock instability may now only cause spurious timeouts
                rather than indefinite hangs or even assertion failures.
              New features:
              * adnshost: Offer ability to set adns checkc flags
              * adnslogres: Honour --checkc-freq (if it comes first)
              * adnsresfilter: Honour --checkc-freq and --checkc-entex
              * time handling: Support use of CLOCK_MONOTONIC via an init flag.
              * adns_str* etc.: Improve robustness; more allowable inputs values.
              Build system improvements:
              * clean targets: Delete $(TARGETS) too!
              * Remove all m4 output files from the distributed source tree.
              * Support DESTDIR=/some/absolute/path on `make install'.
              * Provide autogen.sh.
              * Rerun autoheader and autoconf (2.69).
              Internal changes:
              * adnshost: adh-opts.c: Whitespace adjustments to option table
              * New tests for fixes in 1.5.3.
              * Fixes to test harness to avoid false positives during fuzzing.
              * Other changes to support use with AFL.
              * Many supporting improvements and refactorings.
              * Fix skipped tests ($$ reference in Makefile)
            adns (1.5.2)
              * Important security fixes:
                 CVE-2017-9103 CVE-2017-9104 CVE-2017-9105 CVE-2017-9109:
                    Vulnerable applications: all adns callers.
                    Exploitable by: the local recursive resolver.
                    Likely worst case: Remote code execution.
                    Vulnerable applications: those that make SOA queries.
                    Exploitable by: upstream DNS data sources.
                    Likely worst case: DoS (crash of the adns-using application)
                    Vulnerable applications: those that use adns_qf_quoteok_query.
                    Exploitable by: sources of query domain names.
                    Likely worst case: DoS (crash of the adns-using application)
                    Vulnerable applications: adnshost.
                    Exploitable by: code responsible for framing the input.
                    Likely worst case: DoS (adnshost crashes at EOF).
                All found by AFL 2.35b.  Thanks to the University of Cambridge
                Department of Applied Mathematics for computing facilities.
              * Do not include spurious external symbol `data' (fixes GCC10 build).
              * If server sends TC flag over TCP, bail rather than retrying.
              * Do not crash on certain strange resolv.conf contents.
              * Fix various crashes if a global system failure occurs, or
                adns_finish is called with outstanding queries.
              * Correct a parsing error message very slightly.
              * DNS packet parsing: Slight fix when packet is truncated.
              * Fix ABI compatibility in string conversion of certain RR types.
              * internal.h: Use `unsigned' for nextid; fixes theoretical C UB.
              Portability fix:
              * common.make.in: add -Wno-unused-value.  Fixes build with GCC9.
              Internal changes:
              * Additional comments describing some internal code restrions.
              * Robustness assert() against malfunctioning write() system call.
          • GNU’s “adns” DNS Resolver Library Hit By An Array Of Security Issues

            For those making use of GNU’s “adns” asynchronous DNS client library, important security updates are out today.

            This DNS resolver library is out with version adns 1.5.2 in shipping these pressing security fixes as well as adns 1.6.0 as a new feature release incorporating these important fixes as well as new improvements that accumulated over the past three years.

            There are four CVEs from 2017 for adns that pertain to remote code execution possibilities. Additionally, there are another three CVEs (also from 2017) relating to possible denial of service via potential crashes.

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

            • Report: Facebook Helped the FBI Exploit Vulnerability in a Secure Linux Distro for Child Predator Sting [Ed: Gizmodo looking to associate Linux and Tails with pedophilia?]

              Facebook security personnel and engineers helped the FBI track down a notorious child predator by helping a third-party company develop an exploit in a security-focused version of the Linux operating system, Tails, per a Wednesday report by Vice. But they did so quietly and without notifying the developers of Tails afterwards of the major security flaw, potentially violating security industry norms while handing over a surveillance backdoor to federal agents.

              According to Vice, for years Facebook had been tracking a suspect who had regularly used the platform to extort young women for nude photos and videos, as well as send them threats of rape, bombings, and mass shootings at schools—California man Buster Hernandez, who was charged and arrested in August 2017 and recently pleaded guilty to 41 counts which could see him spend the rest of his life in prison. Under his pseudonym as “Brian Kil,” court documents show, Hernandez targeted hundreds of underage girls over a period of years with blackmail and terroristic threats. In addition to Facebook, he reportedly attracted the attention of FBI field offices in multiple locations.

            • Intellectual Property And OSS: How To Avoid Splash Damage [Ed: FUD. Even the headline alone contains lies and myths.]

              Along with considering the interplay between OSS licence terms and intellectual property rights, it is although worth thinking strategically about which intellectual property rights should be pursued (or not), for example, whether innovations should be patented or protected as a trade secret. The manner in which an innovation should be protected should undoubtedly be decided prior to any details being published or even sample being circulated as failure to do so can severely limit or undermine the scope for protection the innovation in any case. A business could decide that it doesn’t need (or want) to protect its innovation by means of patents as it will be able to commercialise it quicker and better than the competition. This could be right but in many cases, it takes significant time for new technology to take off, and the benefit of some protection from competitors at the outset is very worthwhile commercially.

              In conclusion, where a seemingly small oversight may have taken place (e.g. using a copyleft OSS within your developed software) it can ultimately have much larger consequences in the long term, in that it could potentially invalidate the protection the business seeks. The possible negative effect of OSS licences on downstream intellectual property rights should, therefore, be constantly kept in mind and not addressed only at the point where something arises which the business realises could be of commercial value.

            • [Old] Free Yourself from FUD

              Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) hold powerful influence over humans. Fear itself is a deeply powerful emotion that causes specific reactions in the brain, and uncertainty and doubt are feelings that manipulate your actions, your employees’ actions, and your business operations. Examples of FUD have a long-standing history in the information technology and information security industries. In the 1970s, IBM utilized FUD tactics to make buyers question trying new products by casting a shadow of fear over the idea of unknown products compared to IBM’s safe, known offerings. In the 1980s, IBM was given a taste of its own medicine by Microsoft who FUD’d them in return. Recent uses of FUD can be seen in the political arena through the spreading of select information and misinformation in the 2016 presidential race, as highlighted in the SEORG article on SE at the Nation-State Level. FUD can be used to effect the purchasing of your products and your bottom line. It can also be used against your employees for a range of purposes, anything from sowing dissent about corporate changes to inspiring an employee to provide information and access to your network.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Interoperability And Privacy: Squaring The Circle

              Not long ago, the Electronic Frontier Foundation published a comprehensive look at the ways that Facebook could and should open up its data so that users could control their experience on the service, making it easier for competing services to thrive.

            • Amazon Ring Must End Its Dangerous Partnerships With Police

              Across the United States, people are taking to the street to protest racist police violence, including the tragic police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. This is a historic moment of reckoning for law enforcement. Technology companies, too, must rethink how the tools they design and sell to police departments minimize accountability and exacerbate injustice. Even worse, some companies profit directly from exploiting irrational fears of crime that all too often feed the flames of police brutality.

              So we’re calling on Amazon Ring, one of the worst offenders, to immediately end the partnerships it holds with over 1300 law enforcement agencies.

            • Will Zoom Bring Encryption to the People Who Need It Most?

              This morning, EFF and Mozilla called on Zoom to make their upcoming end-to-end encryption feature available to all 300 million of its users. We published an open letter urging Zoom’s CEO Eric Yuan not to exclude Zoom’s free customers from using their upcoming end-to-end encryption feature. 

              We applaud Zoom for building strong end-to-end encryption into their service. But by limiting this security enhancement to paid accounts, Zoom is denying privacy protections to the participants who may need them the most. 

            • IBM, Amazon Agree to Step Back From Face Recognition. Where Is Microsoft?

              Activism is working. Both on the streets as people protest to end racist and violent policing, and among civil liberties organizations who have been fighting the government’s use of harmful face surveillance technology. This week two major vendors of face surveillance technology announced that in light of recent protests against police brutality and racial injustice, they would be phasing out or pausing their sale of this technology to police. 

              The fact that these two companies, IBM and Amazon, have admitted the harm that this technology causes should be a red flag to lawmakers. The belief that police and other government use of this technology can be responsibly regulated is wrong. Congress, states, and cities should take this momentary reprieve, during which police will not be able to acquire face surveillance technology from two major companies, as an opportunity to ban government use of the technology once and for all. 

            • DEA Wants In On The Fun, Asks DOJ To Give It Permission To Surveil George Floyd Protests

              I thought there was still a Drug War being fought in this county. I guess it’s not as important as billions of annual budget dollars would indicate it is. When the going has gotten mildly tougher for US law enforcement agencies, the DEA is there to help out by placing people engaged in First Amendment activities under surveillance.

            • Twitter Will Prompt Some Users to Read Before Retweeting

              Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey promoted the feature with a tweet of his own. “Did you read the article you’re about to spread?” he posted along with the announcement.

            • Don’t let Big Tech turn the world into a China, Noam Chomsky warns

              In an interview with AFP, Chomsky talked about how the dystopian reality of digital surveillance is already here. “There are now companies developing technology which make it possible for the employer … to look at what’s on your computer screen and to check your keystrokes and if you get up and walk away for a minute, they’ll send you a warning.”

              “That’s being installed right now…. It’s not the future.”

              The very things that are convenient are the ones that are invasive, he pointed out. “The so-called Internet of Things is coming along. It’s convenient. It means if you’re driving home you can turn on the stove — but it also means that that information is going to Google and Facebook, to the government, the American government, the French government, it’s an enormous amount of potential control, surveillance and invasion. But this has happened. It’s not the future.

              “If we allow the huge tech companies, the state, to control our life that’s what will happen. They’ll turn it into something like China, where you have social credit systems and in some cities you get a certain amount of credits, there’s face recognition technology all over the place and everything you do gets monitored.

              “If you cross the street in the wrong place, you can … lose some credits, and so on.

              “It’s not inevitable, just like global warming, that it’s going to happen — unless people stop it.”

            • Why filming police violence has done nothing to stop it

              The hope that pervasive cameras by themselves would counterbalance the systemic racism that leads to the overpolicing of communities of color and the disproportionate use of force against black men was simply a techno-utopian fantasy. It was a hope that police violence could be an information problem like Uber rides or Amazon recommendations, solvable by increasing the flows of data. But after years of increasingly widespread bodycam use and ever more pervasive social media, it’s clear that information can work only when it’s harnessed to power. If there’s one thing that Americans—particularly people of color in America—have learned from George Floyd, Philando Castile, and Eric Garner, it’s that individuals armed with images are largely powerless to make systemic change.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Truth about Hiroshima and Nagasaki

        What Chris Wallace didn’t tell you on the Fox News special adapted from his new bestseller.

      • Trump Loves Democracy…in Hong Kong

        As you run from the tear gas militarized police are firing as you protest racist murders by cops, you can take solace in the fact that the Trump Administration is terribly upset that democracy is being crushed in Hong Kong.

      • In Astonishing Move, Both Defense Secretary Esper and Joint Chiefs Chair Milley Tell Troops to Defend Constitution and People’s Freedom, Not President

        President Trump really went a bridge too far with his bizarre Bible photo op and his order for federal troops to attack peaceful White House protesters to allow him to exit his white house bunker and walk unimpeded across the street to a church to have his photo taken holding it up (after having it pointed out that he was holding the sacred book, hasily borrowed from the church behind him, upside down!).

      • Ousted IG Says State Dept. Tried to Bully Him Into Dropping Saudi Arms Probe

        Steve Linick, one of the victims of the president’s watchdog purge, told lawmakers, “I’ve been given no valid reason that would justify my removal.”

      • Why Washington Keeps Lobbying for War in the Middle East

        It was a bare-knuckle brawl of the first order. It took place in Washington, D.C., and it resulted in a KO. The winners? Lobbyists and the defense industry. The losers? Us. And odds on, you didn’t even know that it happened. Few Americans did, which is why it’s worth telling the story of how Saudi, Emirati, and Qatari money flooded the nation’s capital and, in the process, American policy went down for the count.

      • Moscow police open criminal drug dealing case in connection with fatal car crash

        Moscow police have opened a criminal case for the “sale of narcotics and psychotropic substances” in connection with the investigation into the fatal car crash involving popular Russian actor Mikhail Efremov.

      • Missing Perspective in Media: Iran/Venezuela Ties Are None of US’s Business

        The American state not only snuffs out lives by pressing knees to necks domestically, it also seeks to asphyxiate entire countries like Iran and Venezuela. When the US empire’s foes defy Washington’s dictates, corporate media willingly participate in drumming up a crisis over it—even when what’s at stake is something as seemingly mundane as an exchange of goods. This is evident in corporate media coverage of Iranian oil shipments to Venezuela, which has framed the deliveries as a problem that needs to be solved, rather than a commercial transaction that doesn’t concern third parties.

      • FSB arrests five people for planning alleged terrorist attack in annexed Crimea

        Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has reported the arrest of five people, who were allegedly planning to carry out a terrorist attack at a market in the city of Simferopol (located on the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014).

      • Dozens killed in attack in northern Nigeria

        At least 59 people have been killed in a suspected jihadist attack in north-eastern Nigeria.

      • Boko Haram kills dozens, destroys village in northern Nigeria

        Boko Haram and its offshoot, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), have killed thousands and displaced millions in northeastern Nigeria.

      • Security Analysis of the Democracy Live Online Voting System

        We reverse engineered the client-side portion of OmniBallot, as used in Delaware, in order to detail the system’s operation and analyze its security.We find that OmniBallot uses a simplistic approach to Internet voting that is vulnerable to vote manipulation by malware on the voter’s device and by insiders or other attackers who can compromise Democracy Live, Amazon,Google, or Cloudflare. In addition, Democracy Live, which appears to have no privacy policy, receives sensitive personally identifiable information­ — including the voter’s identity, ballot selections, and browser fingerprint­ — that could be used to target political ads or disinformation campaigns.Even when OmniBallot is used to mark ballots that will be printed and returned in the mail, the software sends the voter’s identity and ballot choices to Democracy Live, an unnecessary security risk that jeopardizes the secret ballot. We recommend changes to make the platform safer for ballot delivery and marking. However, we conclude that using OmniBallot for electronic ballot return represents a severe risk to election security and could allow attackers to alter election results without detection.

      • Uncovering a Massive [Crack]-For-Hire Operation

        Dark Basin extensively targeted American nonprofits, including organisations working on a campaign called #ExxonKnew, which asserted that ExxonMobil hid information about climate change for decades.

        We also identify Dark Basin as the group behind the phishing of organizations working on net neutrality advocacy, previously reported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

        We link Dark Basin with high confidence to an Indian company, BellTroX InfoTech Services, and related entities.

      • Will he go? A law professor fears a meltdown this November.

        I spoke to Douglas by phone about why he thinks our constitutional system isn’t prepared for what might happen in November, and why he’s not worried about a stolen election so much as an election without an accepted result. “If things go a certain way,” he told me, “there’s a Chernobyl-like defect built into our system of presidential elections that really could lead to a meltdown.”

        A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows.

      • Georgia Shows How Serious the Threat of Voter Suppression Will Be This November

        But this is not just a Georgia crisis. It is certainly true that Georgia Republicans have an all-too-well documented history of managing elections in ways that benefit their candidacies while diminishing opportunities for African-American voters to cast ballots that are unlikely to be marked for the GOP. Ultimately, however, this is one piece of a national crisis. The fundamental reality is this: Federal officials have failed to take the steps that are necessary to establish baseline standards for how states can get Americans registered to vote, get those votes cast, and get them counted. And it has not provided the funding that is necessary to meet these standards.

      • Georgia Was A Mess. Here’s What Else We Know About The June 9 Elections.

        There were also numerous reports of voting machines simply not working, which led to some of the longest lines. The problems seemed to be most acute in metro Atlanta, raising fears of problems assuring equal voting access in the general election.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • The Winds Are Shifting on NYPD Transparency

        There is a range of problems with the NYPD, and transparency is one. In the last week, we have seen too many examples of what happens without it. NYPD officers have been documented attacking protesters with pepper spray, batons, and an SUV. NYPD detectives have also been working with federal agents to question protest participants about their political beliefs.

        For three years, New York’s privacy community has been calling on the City to adopt the POST Act, an ordinance that would provide transparency around NYPD’s use of privacy-invasive surveillance technology. New Yorkers were reminded of the urgent need for this transparency when the NYPD’s Deputy Chief of Counterterrorism and Intelligence suggested that the department’s inability to anticipate large convergences was a failure to effectively “monitor gang’s social media.” Even in the opaque world of NYPD surveillance, what is known about NYPD’s “gang” designation troubles researchers and civil liberties advocates. This concern is only exacerbated by the department’s history of surveilling activist groups and, in recent years, Black Lives Matter activists in particular.

      • Following George Floyd’s death, New York opens police records

        New York’s reform is overdue. Secrecy makes accountability hard, especially in criminal trials where police serve as witnesses for the prosecution. Whether the cop’s history shows a pattern of doctoring evidence or of using too much force is vital information for the defence—though difficult to gain access to. In secretive states, if defence attorneys are to subpoena a cop’s record successfully, they must show cause. That means they need an inkling of past misconduct, pieced together from previous cases or news reports. “Shooting in the dark”, is how Rachel Moran, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, describes their difficulty.

    • Environment

      • We Won’t Win the Climate Fight Without Youth Leadership

        Jamie Margolin, 18, youth climate lawsuit litigant and founder of youth-led climate activist group Zero Hour, gets a lot done.

      • Energy

        • Carbon-neutral aircraft might work with ion drive

          Ion drive works in outer space. Just possibly, plasma power could fill the skies with carbon-neutral aircraft.

        • Chevron’s #BlackLivesMatter Hypocrisy
        • Why is the UK’s largest pension scheme still investing in fossil fuels?

          Keep in mind the context. The United Nations has given us little more than a decade to drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels or risk much more disastrous global heating than we have already seen. In response, more than half of UK universities have committed to divesting from fossil fuels. Yet these divestments are dwarfed by their huge contributions to the USS – whose largest single holding, according to members’ group DivestUSS, is an enormous £500 million in the oil company Shell.

          The USS argues that the most effective way to ensure changes in climate impact is by engaging with such corporations at annual general meetings. But documents on the USS website itself show that in every single motion relating to climate change at Shell AGMs since 2010, the USS has voted with the company. This includes repeatedly voting against setting corporate targets in alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement; on the most recent occasion, in May, the USS explained that it “didn’t want to undermine [Shell’s] management team”.

        • 2019 fossil fuel subsidies nearly $500 bn: OECD/IEA

          Business leaders have also flagged the need to stop bankrolling the production and use of oil, gas and their derivatives.

          In December, 631 institutional investors managing more than $37 trillion in assets endorsed the Paris climate treaty goal of capping global warming at two degrees Celsius and called on governments to “phase out fossil fuel subsidies by set deadlines”.

          With oil, gas and coal prices dropping through the floor due to COVID lockdowns in the first part of 2020, governments need to support the energy needs of their least advantaged citizens while channelling the money freed up into a greener economy, said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • New EU Biodiversity Strategy Can Reduce Risk of Future Pandemics — If It Fully Addresses Wildlife Trade
        • Grizzly Miracle: Grand Teton’s 399 Emerges with Quadruplets

          Grand Teton’s matriarch, Grizzly 399, is perhaps the most famous grizzly bear alive. And she has recently performed a miracle, emerging with four new cubs! If there ever was a mom capable of commanding this tiny but vivacious army, it is the maestro mother, bear 399.

        • Roads Removal: a Big Win for Grizzlies in the Northern Rockies

          When the Forest Service puts a berm of dirt across a road in our national forests to protect endangered species like grizzly bears or provide secure habitat for elk, the Forest Service pretends that that road no longer exists and is no longer a threat to wildlife.  Unfortunately, that is not the case. Despite the fact that the agency considers placing a berm of dirt on an existing road as a magical way to make roads disappear, research, backed up by photographic evidence proved that people simply drive over and around the berms, rendering the road disappearance as nothing but fiction.

        • China removes pangolin from traditional medicine list

          China has removed pangolin parts from its official list of traditional medicines, state media reported on Tuesday, days after increasing legal protections on the endangered animal.

          Pangolins were left out of the official Chinese Pharmacopoeia this year, along with substances including a pill formulated with bat faeces, the state-owned Health Times reported.

    • Finance

      • With Joblessness at Highest Level Since Great Depression, Wyden Rips GOP for Acting Like ‘Mission Accomplished’

        “Congress cannot abandon families in the midst of this ongoing economic crisis.”

      • Noam Chomsky: Amid Protests and Pandemic, Trump’s Priority Is Protecting Profits

        Many years ago, social scientist Bertram Gross saw “friendly fascism” — an insidious authoritarianism that denies democratic rights for corporate ends without the overt appearance of dictatorship — as a possible political future of the United States.

      • ‘Lethal Inequality’: New Study Shows Millions at High Risk of Covid-19 in US Lack Adequate Health Insurance

        “It’s not just Covid care that’s unaffordable. Patients with heart disease, asthma, and diabetes need protection too. Medicare for All is the long-term answer.”

      • Congress Members Obtain COVID-19 Loans Through Small Business Program

        Members of Congress obtained disaster loans for their businesses through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

        The program has been embroiled in controversy since it launched in March. Large corporations received multimillion-dollar loans. Minority-owned businesses were shut out of aid.

      • There’s a Crisis in US Capitalism

        Capitalism has always had business cycles. The capitalist enterprises that produce goods and services are distinctively organized around the conflicted relationship of employer and employees and the competitive relationship of markets. These central relationships of capitalism together generate cyclical instability. Wherever capitalism became a society’s economic system over the last three centuries, business cycles recurred every four to seven years. Capitalism has mechanisms to survive its cycles, but they are painful, especially when employers fire employees. Widespread pain (unemployment, bankruptcies, disrupted public finances, etc.) brought the label “crisis” to capitalism’s cyclical downturns. Only on special occasions, and rarely, did the cyclical crises in capitalism become crises of capitalism as a system. That has usually required other non-economic problems (political, cultural, and/or natural) to reach crescendo peaks around the same time as a cyclical economic downturn. Today is a time of crisis both in and of U.S. capitalism.

      • Chicago Mayor Announces $5 Million Fund for City Residents Excluded From Federal Covid-19 Relief

        The program to serve undocumented individuals, people who were formerly incarcerated, and others is just the latest local initiative launched amid a lacking federal response to the pandemic.

      • Phara Souffrant Forrest Wants to Cancel Your Rent

        Phara Souffrant Forrest is a daughter of Haitian American immigrants, a union nurse, a tenant activist, and a member of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and she is running to represent the 57th Assembly District in Brooklyn. Growing up in Crown Heights, an area of Brooklyn she now hopes to represent, Forrest witnessed firsthand police injustice, and went to her first protest against NYPD brutality at just 8 years old. She supports tenant unions, universal health care for all New Yorkers, and police transparency. On June 9, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed her. But the campaign has hit twin obstacles: the Covid-19 pandemic and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to pull the presidential primary off the the state ballot (a court later forced him to reinstate it), which left many New York voters confused about this election.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Senators Rubio, Hawley, Loeffler And Cramer Ask The FCC To Reinterpret Section 230 In A Totally Ridiculous Manner

        It appears that Senators Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley, Kelly Loeffler, and Kevin Cramer don’t mind looking like total fools who don’t understand some fairly basic concepts about the law, so long as they can perform for their ignorant base. The latest is that they have sent a letter to the FCC, picking up on President Trump’s silly executive order and asking FCC chair Ajit Pai to reinterpret Section 230 at direct odds with the plain language of the law and the way that every single court to this day has interpreted it.

      • CAIR Enraged, Files Lawsuit Over the Truth About Islam Told at a College

        That’s right: “disapproving of Islam” will get you hauled into court these days, even if your disapproval is based on the facts, as Damask’s was. All this trouble began when a Muslim student took exception to these three quiz questions:

      • J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues

        All the time I’ve been researching and learning, accusations and threats from trans activists have been bubbling in my Twitter timeline. This was initially triggered by a ‘like’. When I started taking an interest in gender identity and transgender matters, I began screenshotting comments that interested me, as a way of reminding myself what I might want to research later. On one occasion, I absent-mindedly ‘liked’ instead of screenshotting. That single ‘like’ was deemed evidence of wrongthink, and a persistent low level of harassment began.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Russian investigators want to question radio host Yulia Latynina in a ‘fake news’ probe after she broadcast a complaint from medical workers fighting coronavirus

        Moscow state investigators have opened an inquiry into journalist and pundit Yulia Latynina, who is suspected of distributing “false information” about regional officials’ supposed unpreparedness to fight the spread of coronavirus. 

      • ‘Not acceptable’: USA TODAY Network reporter covering George Floyd protest detained in Delaware

        The protesters are seen on the ground with their hands behinds their backs, their signs nearby. Lamar can be heard on the video saying, “The police have arrested protesters. We don’t know why they arrested them. They slammed them to the ground.”

        This is unacceptable: Our journalists are being attacked while doing their jobs.

        He is heard asking officers repeatedly why they were being arrested. Then he filmed himself being tackled and taken into custody.

        His camera is turned upside down and Lamar can be heard screaming, “I’m with the press!” multiple times as police placed him on the ground. He is later heard saying that he can’t breathe.

        The video is a little more than two minutes long and ends with officers confiscating his press badge and a camera bag. Lamar was later released from police custody after being held in cell with other protesters, USA TODAY confirmed.

      • Journalists, Rights Groups Alarmed by Arrests at Protests

        The arrests are an infringement of First Amendment rights and risk damaging the U.S. standing overseas as a haven for press freedom overseas, rights groups and media experts have said.

        When covering a protest, journalists are afforded the same rights as a demonstrator, said Sarah Matthews, a staff attorney for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP), which provides pro bono legal representation to journalists.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Weapons That Protect White Privilege Prevent Sustainable Community Change

        Reflections on weapons and systems white people use to protect their white privilege, recalling that Dr. King likened U.S. wars to “some demonic destructive suction tube.”

      • Listen to the ‘Calls Ringing Out in the Streets Across the World,’ Says George Floyd’s Brother in Emotional Testimony Before Congress

        “The people marching in the streets are telling you enough is enough.”

      • Immigrants Who Defend Themselves From Sexual Violence Face Prison, Deportation

        On September 10, 2018, Amreya Shefa was released from the Minnesota prison in Shakopee. But the 45-year-old mother didn’t have a chance to take a breath of freedom before she was driven to the Kandiyohi County Jail, which contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain immigrants.

      • Dominating Cities and Dominating the Narrative

        What I am saying here is familiar to many people with a knowledge of actual history, rather than the fantasy version in the textbooks.  But actual history is a hidden thing, and therefore frequent reminders are necessary.  Here’s my effort in this regard for today.  We can call it an editorial.

      • 2014-16 vs Today: What Made the Mass BLM Protests Today So Much Larger than Five Years Ago?

        As protests continue to mount over the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, what has turned the Black Lives Matter protests of 2014-2016 into mass protests today?

      • You Have a First Amendment Right to Record the Police

        Independent recordings of police officers are critical for ensuring police accountability.

      • Police Are Rioting Chap. 442
      • Israel Loses Its Best
      • Democrats Push Reforms That Will Not Fundamentally Change Policing

        Proposals for police reform by Democrats are distressingly similar to prior proposals that have done nothing to fundamentally change policing. In fact, the vast majority of provisions in legislation introduced in Congress were recommended by a task force convened by President Barack Obama five years ago.

        George Floyd was murdered by four Minneapolis police officers on May 25. Video showed Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane as Floyd repeatedly told them, “I can’t breathe.” The killing sparked more than ten days of intense rebellion.

      • United States: An Obituary

        It is reasonable to ask whether the United States will continue to exist as a unified nation for much longer.

      • Africa Says, “I Can’t Breathe”: An African Civil Society Perspective on Systemic Racism

        The knee on George Floyd’s neck is the same knee that is on our neck. It is the same knee that justified colonialism in Africa.

      • Solidarity Will Turn the Impossible Into the Inevitable

        People are rising up nationwide in massive protests seeking to finally eradicate the systemic forces that led to George Floyd’s torture and death.

      • A Matter of Life and Breath

        Firing tear gas at nonviolent demonstrators is unconscionable—especially in a respiratory pandemic.

      • 8 min. 46 sec.
      • “Out of Options in Terms of Reform”: Khalil Gibran Muhammad on the Racist History of Police in U.S.

        Protests in defense of Black lives and calls to defund the police continue across the U.S., from Los Angeles to Minneapolis and New York. We speak with Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of history, race and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, about the significance of this moment and the history of policing in the U.S. “We haven’t seen a moment like this in at least half a century,” Muhammad says. “It’s hard to know for sure where we’re going to go from this moment, but it’s clear that when we look at the history of policing, we have run out of options in terms of reform, in terms of thinking about what the police can do for themselves.”

      • Khalil Gibran Muhammad Discusses the Significance of Calls to Defund the Police

        Protests in defense of Black lives and calls to defund the police continue across the U.S., from Los Angeles to Minneapolis and New York. We speak with Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of history, race and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, about the significance of this moment and the history of policing in the U.S. “We haven’t seen a moment like this in at least half a century,” Muhammad says. “It’s hard to know for sure where we’re going to go from this moment, but it’s clear that when we look at the history of policing, we have run out of options in terms of reform, in terms of thinking about what the police can do for themselves.”

      • Head of Norilsk power plant arrested following investigation into major Arctic fuel spill

        The head of the Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company’s Heat and Power Plant Number 3 has been arrested, following an investigation into the cause of a 20,000 ton fuel spill at the site at the end of May. 

      • NYPD Counterterrorism Official Worried About ‘Anarchists’ Who Are ‘Good At Using’ Encryption

        With demonstrations against police brutality occurring all over the nation, cops dealing with protests are saying dumb things about encryption.

      • “Justice Will Be Served”: Family Pays Tribute to George Floyd and Demands Change at Houston Funeral

        A private funeral was held in Houston Tuesday for George Floyd, two weeks after a Minneapolis police officer killed him by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd’s death has sparked protests against police brutality and racism across the United States and around the world. We play excerpts from the funeral service and hear from Floyd’s family and dignitaries.

      • Buffalo Police Assaulted a 75-Year-Old Longtime Peace Activist, Now Trump Is Attacking Him Too

        We look at the story of peace activist Martin Gugino, who was hospitalized in critical condition after being pushed to the ground by a police officer in Buffalo last week — an attack captured on video that has been viewed millions of times. On Tuesday, President Trump attacked the 75-year-old activist on Twitter, suggesting he staged his fall and was “an ANTIFA provocateur,” echoing baseless claims from a segment on the far-right channel One America News Network. We speak with Lu Aya, a member of the New York-based group The Peace Poets, who organized with Martin in the group Witness Against Torture. “Martin, first and foremost, is just one of the kindest, most good-hearted people I’ve been lucky to walk with,” Aya says. “Martin is someone who deserves, like all our elders, much more respect and care.”

      • 1,250 Former DOJ Officials Demand Investigation Into Barr’s Involvement in Violently Dispersing Demonstrators Near White House

        “None of us would ever have considered directing or engaging in such actions to be consistent with our oaths to support and defend the Constitution.”

      • Stop Blaming ‘Outside Agitators’ for America’s Problems

        Donald Trump can always be trusted to increase the sting of injury with his own deranged brand of insult. While there is no shortage of videos of police brutality during the current uprising, one of the most shocking appeared on Saturday, showing two police officers in Buffalo shoving Martin Gugino, an elderly man, to the ground. As police continued to walk past his body, Gugino lay there with blood draining from his ears. He’s currently in the hospital recovering.

      • ScoMo Has One Rule For China, Another For India On Abuse Of Muslim Minorities

        While the Australian Government has ramped up its rhetoric and aggression towards China, its silence on human rights abuses in India remains deafening. Lee Rhiannon explains.

      • In Defense of Destroying Property

        The nationwide uprising against racist policing in the wake of George Floyd’s murder is stunning, not least for the amount of property destruction it has entailed. Responses to the vandalism and theft have varied, ranging from condemnations of violence amid peaceful protests, warnings of anarchist agitators, and an emphasis on criminal opportunism amid the chaos. But the mainstream media reaction has been surprisingly tempered in comparison to coverage of the 2014 Ferguson uprising. A story in USA Today suggested that while “people need not condone the riots…they ought to understand them.” Neither The New York Times nor The Washington Post has used the word “riot” in a headline.

      • The Bravery of Marching for Black Lives in the Middle of a Pandemic

        The autopsy of George Floyd revealed that he had contracted the coronavirus. But it didn’t have anything to do with his death, the medical examiner said. This man survived a pandemic that is disproportionately killing black folks but couldn’t survive a police force that disproportionately targets black folks.

      • Protests Force the US Military to Face Its Own Racism

        Like every major institution in American society, the US military has been profoundly shaken by the outpouring of grief and anger precipitated by the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. In fact, the military has experienced greater disarray than most, given its uncomfortable entanglement in President Donald Trump’s imperious efforts to crush public protests through sheer force. The sight of uniformed military officials accompanying Trump on his now-infamous walk across Lafayette Park for a photo op in front of Saint John’s Church on June 1—preceded by a police and National Guard attack on nonviolent protesters—outraged former generals and admirals who insist on preserving the armed services’ apolitical, nonpartisan status. But the institutional crisis provoked by Floyd’s death reaches much deeper than issues of propriety; it extends to racial divisions within the military itself and the Pentagon’s now endangered efforts to rally Western nations against the supposedly more autocratic regimes in China and Russia.

      • Zimbabwe Re-Arrests 3 Women Who Allege Torture, Sexual Abuse

        Zimbabwe police Wednesday arrested three opposition activists on accusations that they lied in saying that they had been abducted and tortured, their lawyers said.

        The arrests came as a group of U.N. experts spoke against a “reported pattern of disappearances and torture” by government agents in the country.

        The three opposition women alleged that they were tortured and sexually abused by their abductors, who they said took them from a police station in May after they had been arrested for organizing an anti-government protest. Their abductors were unidentified, but because they took the women from police custody, it appears they were some kind of state agents.

      • Autopsy records: Springboro grad was at Columbus protest 2 days before death

        Grossman’s sister previously said in an online post that Sarah Grossman died possibly from respiratory issues from being exposed to tear gas while protesting the death of George Floyd. The post has since been edited to remove the reference to tear gas. Her sister has declined to comment until a official cause of death is determined.News of her death has since been reported on news sites nationally and internationally.

      • Get Married Or Pay ‘Singles Tax’, Conservative Cleric In Iran Says

        Many are now tweeting with the compulsory marriage hashtag. “I’m a year and one month and twelve days behind,” a Twitter user said referring to the age limit of twenty-eight while a woman said she deserved a prize — a car or a house — because she got married at eighteen, ten years before reaching the age limit. Yet another user said she worried that the next bill proposed to parliament would also make having children before the age of thirty compulsory.

      • If Black Lives Matter, the ‘Welfare Queen’ Myth Must Go

        We see the harrowing statistics—median wealth for single black women is $200; about 60 percent of families that are unhoused are single-mother households—half being black single mothers; black women are more than twice as likely to die in childbirth than any other race—and shrug our shoulders because, in the back of our minds, we see black women and automatically think, “Welfare Queen—she deserves what she gets because of the poor decisions she’s made.” The welfare queen has permanently altered our perception of black women, dehumanizing them to the point where their lives don’t matter.

      • Child marriage worries rise amid coronavirus lockdown in Cameroon

        Sixteen-year-old Inna won’t be returning to school in Cameroon, even though coronavirus restrictions have eased. During the lockdown, she was married off to a 55-year-old cattle herder. Her father said he didn’t want one more mouth to feed.

      • Congo aid scam triggers sector-wide alarm

        When four Congolese business owners were caught trying to bribe a Mercy Corps worker with bags of cash in November 2018, staff members at the international NGO were shocked. But the organisation was about to make an even bigger discovery: a multi-layered aid scam that was siphoning off money – aid officials think millions – meant for the Democratic Republic of Congo’s most vulnerable.


        Some $639,000 was lost by Mercy Corps and partners in just a few months – including $65,000 by the Danish Refugee Council – TNH found after obtaining leaked documents and interviewing more than a dozen Mercy Corps staff members, the scam’s ringleaders, aid officials, and aid recipients.* A senior Mercy Corps official, who was involved in the investigation but asked not to be named, believes other aid agencies that were part of the Rapid Response to Population Movement (RRMP) programme lost $6 million in around two years. This figure was not included in the NGO’s final investigative report.

        When a conflict or natural disaster occurred, aid groups would receive reports from local community leaders that exaggerated the number of people who had fled their homes. Business people would then pay kickbacks to corrupt aid workers to register hundreds of additional people for cash support who were not actually displaced. The merchants would then receive the aid payments and share with the local leaders.

        Of the 19 Mercy Corps aid workers alleged to be involved in the scam, some were using the extra cash to buy new cars, Armani glasses, and iPhones, according to several of their colleagues who spoke to TNH. One even started building a hotel, colleagues said.

      • Equality Before the Law: A Failed Standard?

        The first assertion of liberty in the U.S. Declaration of Independence reads as follows:

        We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

        Is there any American that would stand up and say – no – that’s wrong? It’s impossible to imagine.

        And yet…

        And yet, there are those that would bar persons of color from their neighborhoods; that would deny blacks and Latinos equal access to mortgages; that would strive to make it more difficult for any minority they denigrate to register and vote.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Polymorphs at the EPO – Where Are We Now?

          Polymorphs are different crystalline forms of the same chemical compound. Elemental carbon exhibits polymorphism. Both graphite and diamond are pure carbon but have different crystal structures resulting in very different properties (and price tags).

          Polymorphism of drug molecules is an important consideration in the pharmaceutical space as different polymorphs can lead to improved properties such as improved solubility, dryability and filterability. Moreover, many drugs will only receive regulatory approval for a single polymorph. Consequently, obtaining a patent to a specific polymorph of a pharmaceutical product can provide a critical layer of protection for drug candidates.

          We are often asked if polymorphs can be patented at the EPO and, while there is no specific exclusion from patentability for polymorph claims, it is not always easy for these to meet the EPC’s requirements with regard to inventive step.

          The EPO’s key “polymorph inventive step” decision is T 777/08. In this decision, the Board held that the claimed polymorphic form was not inventive, since the advantages of the claimed polymorph (improved dryability and filterability) were predictable for the skilled person, and the skilled person was motivated to look for the existence of polymorphic forms. The Board further noted that, in this case, the Patentee had arbitrarily selected a specific polymorph from a range of equally suitable candidates.


          The crux here is that, when a polymorphic form exists in the prior art (and is identified as being stable), there is no motivation for the skilled person to find alternative polymorphic forms or to have any reasonable expectation of finding a better one. In contrast, when no polymorphs are known, the skilled person is inevitably motivated to find the “best” one.

          The choice of the closest prior art document is always critical in determining an inventive step at the EPO. In the specific case of polymorph claims, it may work in the Applicants/ Patentees favor to find a prior art document that discloses at least a crystalline form of the compound in question

      • Copyrights

        • Illegal Netflix, Amazon Streamers Cut Off After European Arrests

          The group offered a technical assistance service and high standards of quality control, earning an estimated 15 million euros ($17 million) through PayPal payments, bank transfers and cryptocurrencies, the agency said.

        • Twitter would like you to actually read stories before you retweet them

          On Wednesday, Twitter announced that it will begin testing a new feature that will prompt users to think before they tweet articles they haven’t read.

          This test is currently limited to Android users in English. If a user decides to retweet an article before reading it, Twitter may prompt them to open it before they do so. Twitter did not say when it plans to bring the feature to additional operating systems.

        • Police Shut Down Pirate IPTV Operation With Two Million Subscribers

          Spain’s National Police has shut down a popular pirate IPTV operation that allegedly serviced two million customers. With help from Europol and law enforcement in Canada, the US and several European countries, 11 suspects were arrested. The authorities also confiscated property worth nearly €5 million while another €1.1 in bank assets were frozen.

[Humour] Dropping the Call on Software Freedom

Posted in Deception, OSI at 4:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Openwasing is just proprietary software + clever marketing

No This Is The Dark Side: Hello? Free Software? Wrong number! This is OSI!

Summary: OSI cofounders said they had sought to bring Free/libre software to a broader audience/reach; but both have since then pointed out that OSI lost its way and as of this year they have nothing to do with OSI anymore; the choice of the new President is self-explanatory in a sense (coming from the company that fought to defame and oust Richard Stallman from his own organisation! It’s also helping Donald Trump’s racist agenda, providing lots of help to ICE internment camps, so tolerance clearly wasn’t the goal but a lousy façade)

The OSI's President in Microsoft (LinkedIn)
The OSI’s President comes from Google and Salesforce, two companies that oppose Free/libre (copyleft) software. Source: From his very own Microsoft (LinkedIn) profile.

Daily Links Could Use Readers’ Help

Posted in Site News at 3:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

News Roundup
“News Roundup” in 2008 (even the fish image has not changed since)

Summary: Our tradition of collating “Daily Links” (also known as “News Roundup”) is an old, very old tradition with 4,669 batches to date; the “Daily Links” have broad circulation and are open to contribution

THE “Daily Links” as we call them have gone on for about 12 years, non-stop, ranging from technology issues to human rights and sometimes politics. We’re aware of people who use the Daily Links as an all-in-one gazette by which to keep abreast of technology news and world affairs. In the very early days (2008) those picks were limited to GNU/Linux and Free software; we later expanded somewhat and the links are nowadays curated by multiple people. At one point, a very long time ago, those were also edited by several parties and by multiple people. We spend an extraordinary amount of time putting these together. It’s not automated and organising the lot takes great care. Readers who wish to participate in the effort can do so over IRC; batches are published at least once a day, sometimes twice per day (very rarely thrice). Links do not imply endorsement (of articles or sites), they’re meant to highlight stories of significance rather than gossip and trolls. Sadly, a lot of the ‘news’ nowadays (mainstream and local media) is stuffed with noise and clickbait rather than concise information people actually need. This is why we’ve made this alternative and it’s also why “Open Source” news was worth dumping (far too much noise and spam to be found in these; firms that spread FUD to sell their services and large corporations that push an openwashing agenda).

“Readers can recommend to us sites that contain accurate reports and have very high s/n ratio. Those aren’t easy to find as many good journalism sources perished in recent years.”For those who want to know more about the EPO and USPTO affairs, there’s a section at the bottom called “Patents”; we shelve there stuff which isn’t sufficiently interesting/important for us to cover in blog posts. We recently added a bunch of reasonably trustworthy sources; we’re still assessing them for quality or accuracy, knowing that some sites can go astray after a while (or become entirely inactive like TruthDig). Readers can recommend to us sites that contain accurate reports and have very high s/n ratio. Those aren’t easy to find as many good journalism sources perished in recent years.

[Humour] Where Did GNOME Foundation Put All That Money?

Posted in GNOME, IBM, Patents at 3:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Context: OSI Celebrates Software Patents Effectively Being Licensed by GNOME Foundation, Not Abolished (Reaffirmed Rather Than Invalidated)

Side glance monkey: Give money for GNOME Legal defence, a legal firm represented us for free and we settled rather than defended

Summary: Shearman and Sterling offered to do the work for free; so where did all the money raised for the legal battle (which did not squash a single patent) end up?

Shearman and Sterling

Pro-bono Shearman and Sterling

Shearman and Sterling

OSI Celebrates Software Patents Effectively Being Licensed by GNOME Foundation, Not Abolished (Reaffirmed Rather Than Invalidated)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNOME, IBM, Microsoft, OSI, Patents at 2:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Let’s celebrate settling with a Microsoft-connected troll?

OSI: Celebrating GNOME's Patent Settlement
OSI celebrating IBM-dominated GNOME’s capitulation by licensing at zero cost (while letting the troll carry on suing and blackmailing other companies, using dubious software patents it received from Microsoft's patent troll, Intellectual Ventures)

Summary: The Open Source Initiative (OSI) seems to represent the interests of companies that are supporting software patents; this isn’t what Free software was about, so clearly “Open Source” doesn’t stand for very much anymore…

THE OSI is no champion of software freedom. Heck, even the people who founded the OSI are no longer there and a list of sponsors says a lot about who runs the OSI (people from Facebook, Google, IBM and so on). Microsoft too is increasing its role inside the OSI, as we last noted earlier this week.

“They’re basically legitimising software patents instead of squashing them, if not in bulk than at least individually.”The GNOME Foundation’s settlement wasn’t a bad thing per se, but it’s hardly the best outcome (unless you’re IBM) and it might not be worth celebrating, as we explained before. They’re basically legitimising software patents instead of squashing them, if not in bulk than at least individually. Earlier today the OSI redefined “freedom” when it spoke of “freedom from suit for the open source software world for over 100 patents.” (Signed by the OSI’s Board of Directors)

“All these people care about is money and power, not ethics (even if they speak of “ethical” licences, wherein ethical means excluding and discriminating). The art of double-speak…”That’s basically like licensing over 100 patents of a nasty patent troll (which we’ve been writing about for years; there’s also a Microsoft connection).

So what does OSI stand for in 2020?

The OSI has also just advertised (again) “State of the Source Summit” and about a quarter if not a third of this announcement is about “Code of Conduct”; expect speakers to be employees of companies that help bomb countries, spy on billions of people and so on. But yes, it’s all about ethics and tolerance, right? Keep dreaming. All these people care about is money and power, not ethics (even if they speak of “ethical” licences, wherein ethical means excluding and discriminating). The art of double-speak…

“Open Source” is dead; in 2020 it’s just a fancy marketing buzzword of proprietary software giants. See what happened to the Linux Foundation… “Open Source” and openwashing have become the same thing.

All those people who donated to support the defence might have been bamboozled somewhat. According to press reports, the legal representatives for the GNOME Foundation came forth and did it pro bono. So where did all that money go?

IAM’s EPO Propaganda Helps Perpetuate Crimes and Corruption

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 1:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It pays more to lie than it pays to tell the truth

Telly side eye: Oh, you again? IAM 'benchmarking' 'survey'

Summary: Charlatans and liars from IAM are once again supplying propaganda material to EPO management, helping a bunch of thugs distract from their abuses and the rapid decline of patent quality at the EPO

THE European Patent Office (EPO) bullies the media. It intimidates it. It threatens to sue. It also bribes the media (and scholars). It plants puff pieces inside news sites. It’s faking what’s real, promoting pure fiction, occasionally helped by IAM, a really nasty Web site of very malicious people. They’d do anything for money from António Campinos, Benoît Battistelli and a bunch of law firms that back these patent maximalists. IAM openly pushes for software patents in Europe and those who disagree are painted by IAM as people who wish to destroy people’s jobs. IAM is also a lobby group against 35 U.S.C. § 101 in the US. Anything that’s good for litigators and patent trolls…

“IAM is also a lobby group against 35 U.S.C. § 101 in the US. Anything that’s good for litigators and patent trolls…”A couple of days ago the EPO tweeted and published (warning: epo.org link) the typical two-way affirmation, saying that “EPO receives top marks for quality of its patents and services epo.org/news-events/ne… cc @IAM_magazine” (does CC stand for Cash Cash? Or bribe bribe?). This is what they wrote:

The EPO has for the ninth consecutive time been ranked number one among the world’s largest patent offices by users for the quality of its patents and services in Intellectual Asset Management (IAM)’s latest annual benchmarking survey.

The full survey released yesterday shows that 88% of respondents at IP-owning companies view the quality of the EPO’s patents as good-to-excellent, with 26% rating it as excellent and 38% as very good, while 0% said it was poor in quality, and just 4% of those surveyed found it adequate. In a second category of IP professionals surveyed, those working in private practice, 90% of respondents rated our patent quality as good-to-excellent.

This self-selecting survey always says the same thing. It gives the false perception that everything is great at the EPO; even EPO insiders oppose these lies from IAM. We heard from some.

“This mutual back-rubbing exercise (annual ritual) shows that IAM isn’t just a troll enabler but also corruption enabler.”Well, in other new tweets the EPO points to its official journal (“Decision of the EPO President dated 4 Jun 2020 amending Annex A.1 to the Arrangements for deposit accounts (ADA) ‒ Arrangements for the automatic debiting procedure (AAD) & Annex A.2 to the ADA ‒ Information concerning the automatic debiting procedure” as per this page (warning: epo.org link)) and gives this “[n]otice concerning the resumption of proceedings following opinion G 3/19 of the Enlarged Board of Appeal”, highlighting ways in which the EPC magically doesn’t apply until some certain date (warning: epo.org link), never mind the GMO loophole that lets the EPO carry on grating illegal patents on plants, seeds and animals (life and nature). To quote:

1. On 9 April 2019, the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) decided to stay, ex officio, all proceedings before EPO examining and opposition divisions in which the decision depended entirely on the Enlarged Board of Appeal’s opinion on referral G 3/19 (see OJ EPO 2019, A34).

2. On 14 May 2020, the Enlarged Board of Appeal issued opinion G 3/19. It held that the term “essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals” in Article 53(b) EPC is to be understood and applied as extending to products exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process or if the claimed process feature defines an essentially biological process. The Enlarged Board of Appeal also concluded that there is no conflict between Article 53(b) EPC and Rule 28(2) EPC.

3. The interpretation of Article 53(b) EPC given in opinion G 3/19 does not apply to European patents granted before 1 July 2017 or to pending European patent applications whose filing or priority date is before 1 July 2017.

4. The President of the EPO has decided to lift the stay with effect from 15 May 2020. Affected proceedings will be gradually resumed.

This says nothing about the loopholes the President left in tact by intervening, as we noted last month. This whole case demonstrated that the judges lack autonomy and are being manipulated by the Office. But hey, IAM says everything is great, so let’s ignore all the abuses. This mutual back-rubbing exercise (annual ritual) shows that IAM isn’t just a troll enabler but also corruption enabler.

[Humour] Sexism 101: If You Lash Out at Women Like You Lash Out at Men, It Might be Gender-Neutral and Entirely Technical

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 5:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Context: They Tell Us Linus Torvalds is Sexist But Evidence Suggests Otherwise

Flames On The Side Of My Face: He lashes out at people all the time, usually guys; Yes, but when Linus lashes out at me it's personal and sexist
Technical criticism knows no gender

Summary: When somehow we’re told that our leaders are sexist always (sometimes by distortion of words and events) maybe the biggest victim is the cause of feminism because it’s leveraged if not exploited/misused to dethrone inspirational minds, leaving a vacuum for large corporations to capitalise on (as if those large corporations are very civilised; they help drop bombs on a lot of people, women included)

Internal Publication About the EPO’s Financial Fraud

Posted in Europe, Finance, Fraud, Patents at 4:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: Today’s EPO is a Fraud Managed by Frauds

EPO demolition

Summary: The EPO’s staff representatives/union decided to speak about the unlawful ‘reforms’ at the EPO, which is happy to exploit a pandemic to let much of it slip under the radar (while press isn’t functioning or barely functioning)

“Things at the EPO are not getting better,” one reader told us yesterday, “on the contrary.” There’s information to that effect circulating at the moment; it organises known facts about what really happens while people are stuck in their homes, forced to work as if everything is normal (with same quotas and more illegal surveillance).

“Well, we already know where a large chunk of that money is funnelled into.”We’ve decided to air a number of articles and tidbits from the guts of the European Patent Office (EPO), where staff feels increasingly oppressed by António Campinos, who is nowadays being compared to Benoît Battistelli.

In times of pandemic, demolition works continues

Whilst staff struggles with the challenges created by the covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing massive home working (done in parallel with home schooling for many), Mr Campinos continues to push shamelessly his reform of the Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP) that will strip off staff from a decent protection against the erosion of purchasing power. The new SAP will save 2 billions on the backs of staff and pensioners, when everyone (with the ability to read and count) knows that the need to “fill the gap” is just a big lie.

Thanks to Mr Battistelli and his crew, the EPO has since 2015 the worst career system of all international organisations (IO). If the Administrative Council supports the new SAP of Campinos in June, which is certain, we will also “enjoy” the worse SAP of all IOs…

Not only does Mr Campinos intend to remove the normal financial guarantees, which staff should enjoy, but he continues to deny their fundamental rights, such as a proper right to strike, the right to freedom of speech, or a decent access to a swift judicial system. Let’s take the case of freedom of speech and freedom of communication that goes with it. Since mid 2013, mass emails are banned for the staff representation. Campinos could have easily corrected this absurd anomaly in the world of IOs and EU agencies. He did not, and clearly does not intend to do so any time soon. He may not be the one who introduced the unlawful censorship 7 years ago, but he finds it very convenient after all…

Campinos is, no doubt, Battistelli’s true disciple, although perhaps with less brutality towards union officials than his mentor (but time will tell). After all, one should not forget that, like a king choosing his heir, Battistelli did his best to make sure Campinos would succeed him at the head of the EPO. So we should not be too surprised by the harshness of the reforms that Campinos wants to implement (he has a lot of them in mind, including on education allowances…). He basically shares the same “values” as his predecessor, and will continue – unsurprisingly – to protect Battistelli’s protégés (still very active and influent at the Office); he knows to whom he owes the crown of King of Eponia.

Cui Bono?

It is often said that many of the world’s great questions can be solved by finding the answer to the question “Where does the money go?”.

The EPO is no different – and the Salary Erosion Procedure is no exception. Upon an initiative of SUEPO, Ernst & Young reviewed the EPO’s Financial Study conducted by Mercer & Wyman. Evidently, they won’t say that Mercer were wrong – they just state ”we come to a different conclusion”. A conclusion that is shared with the many publications by SUEPO, Staff Representatives, EPO Pensioners and press: there is no financial gap at the EPO, and there won’t be any, even under Covid-19 circumstances.

At the latest Budget and Finance Committee meeting, this complementary study was swiftly disregarded, and the Member States’ representatives were all too happy to provide a positive opinion on the new Salary Erosion Procedure. In its June meeting the Administrative Council will follow suit in all likelihood, which will allow the EPO administration to pile even more money on top of the stack of banknotes we are already sitting on – all on the back of staff and pensioners, of course. Quite a thank you for the continued efforts staff has been demonstrating in recent years.

The question remains: who is going to benefit from these large flows of money? Cui Bono?

Well, we already know where a large chunk of that money is funneled into. This is likely an elaborate scam if not fraud. Does the EU care? Do member states care? If not, what does that tell us about the EPO’s immunity?

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