Monopoly Abuse, Still: Microsoft Pays Projects to Embrace/Move to C#, GitHub and Visual Studio

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft at 9:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nothing has changed at Microsoft except the PR, the sugar-coated layoffs, and the framing of bribes


Summary: Microsoft’s greatest of efforts to lull regulators into inaction and fool us all into thinking that things have changed are undone by actual behaviour, which is abusive, anti-competitive and just… typical Microsoft

THE same old Microsoft — the one we all know — has not changed. Earlier today we saw Godot’s latest article about “C# progress report” — an article that talks about “Visual Studio and VSCode” (pretty much the same thing; the latter is the openwashing ploy).

“Having leveraged other people’s code for a proprietary Web browser that lets Microsoft spy on Web users, it now adds another layer of malice to it.”It says upfront: “This work was kindly sponsored by Microsoft.” So Godot is paid by Microsoft now, but only to serve Microsoft’s agenda. No wonder it outsourced the code to GitHub and is now working to enhance Microsoft’s proprietary software with surveillance (telemetry is their euphemism of choice) embedded in it. Some of these projects, Qt included, are going in the wrong direction. They’re wrongly assuming that the world will forever stay imprisoned by the monopoly and therefore they make a strategic alliance with this monopoly. Look closely enough and you’ll always find that Microsoft pays them to do it; they sell out.

Speaking of monopoly and abuse thereof, Microsoft is being incredibly malicious again. Having leveraged other people’s code for a proprietary Web browser that lets Microsoft engage in cyber-espionage (it spy on Web users, logs keystrokes etc.), it now adds another layer of malice to it. Did anyone not see this coming? SlashGear called it “nagware” [1] and the earlier (The Verge) article that everyone seems to link to says “Microsoft’s forced Windows updates just sank to a new low” (prior headline was “Microsoft is forcing Edge on Windows users with a spyware-like install”). [2]

“Edge is really getting nasty with people who want to use another browser,” Ryan explained in our IRC channels. “It just won’t take no for an answer. It’s basically like a rapist.”

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft Edge has reportedly come close to being intrusive nagware
  2. With Edge, Microsoft’s forced Windows updates just sank to a new low

    If I told you that my entire computer screen just got taken over by a new app that I’d never installed or asked for — it just magically appeared on my desktop, my taskbar, and preempted my next website launch — you’d probably tell me to run a virus scanner and stay away from shady websites, no?

    But the insanely intrusive app I’m talking about isn’t a piece of ransomware. It’s Microsoft’s new Chromium Edge browser, which the company is now force-feeding users via an automatic update to Windows.

    Seriously, when I restarted my Windows 10 desktop this week, an app I’d never asked for…

Links 4/7/2020: Grml 2020.06 and diffoscope 150 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 8:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Linux-driven Comet Lake laptop offers security features and dual 4K display support

        Purism’s 14-inch, $1,199 and up “Librem 14” laptop runs the Linux-based, security-enhanced PureOS on a hexa-core Comet Lake-S and offers dual NVMe-ready M.2 slots plus dual 4K displays via HDMI and DP/USB Type-C.

        Purism has replaced its earlier, 13-inch Librem 13 laptop with a 14-inch Librem 14 model. Thanks to a smaller bezel, the 322 x 220 x 17mm laptop has a nearly identical form factor. The system is available for pre-order starting at $1,199 early bird pricing, with shipments due in early Q4 2020.

      • Librem Mini Shipping with Active Cooling

        There’s nothing like making a public announcement to ensure that a situation will change. That’s certainly been true in the case of our Librem Mini. Just over a week ago we announced the Librem Mini was ready to ship and highlighted one issue we intended to solve with a future software update…

        Well it turns out that while we were contacting all of the Mini customers to determine whether they wanted their Mini immediately, or whether they wanted to wait for a firmware update, we resolved the fan speed control issue! As we ship out all of the Librem Mini orders, they will all have fully-updated firmware and active cooling.

      • This 15.6 inch Linux laptop features an AMD Ryzen processor

        Enter the Tongfang PF5PU1G. It’s a 15.6 inch laptop with an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor and Radon Vega 8 graphics. The notebook is available from Laptop with Linux for €769 ($865) and up.

    • Server

      • Demystifying Kubeflow pipelines: Data science workflows on Kubernetes – Part 1

        Kubeflow Pipelines are a great way to build portable, scalable machine learning workflows. It is one part of a larger Kubeflow ecosystem that aims to reduce the complexity and time involved with training and deploying machine learning models at scale.

        In this blog series, we demystify Kubeflow pipelines and showcase this method to produce reusable and reproducible data science.

        We go over why Kubeflow brings the right standardization to data science workflows, followed by how this can be achieved through Kubeflow pipelines.

        In part 2, we will get our hands dirty! We’ll make use of the Fashion MNIST dataset and the Basic classification with Tensorflow example, and take a step-by-step approach to turn the example model into a Kubeflow pipeline so that you can do the same.

      • Why Docker?

        Before discussing Docker, it is important for you to understand what microservices are. Consider a very large application that is broken down into smaller services. Each of those services can be termed as microservices. Microservices are small processes that communicate with each other over a network. For example, consider an online shopping application that can be broken down into smaller microservices, such as the user-accounts service, product catalog, order server, and shopping cart server.


        Docker resolves this inefficiency problem by running several microservices in the same VM through running various containers for each microservice. Docker is an open-source application that helps you create, deploy, and run applications with the help of a container. Docker containers are small and lightweight VM alternatives that use the host operating system and use up relatively fewer resources.

        To understand Docker, first, you must understand what is the problem statement that Docker is trying to resolve. Here, the problem is that after designing a project, it might run perfectly fine on your system initially, but has trouble opening on other systems and servers. As soon as you move the project to the production stage, on someone else’s computer or on some other server, the project does not show the same level of performance, same level of working, or same optimization, even when you move that project from one place to another.

        For example, when you develop a website by using ASP.net or PHP, and you work on it and move the project to the web server, there are some uncertainties that could occur. This includes images not properly loading, or perhaps a bit difference or glitch in the path. On the developer’s machine, everything may work perfectly, but it might not work the same when moved to another machine.

    • Intel

      • Intel Compute Runtime Update Adds OpenCL + oneAPI Level Zero For DG1

        Intel’s open-source Compute Runtime stack for providing OpenCL and oneAPI Level Zero support for their graphics hardware has now rolled out support for the DG1 Xe discrete graphics card.

        Building off the DG1 support that has materialized for the Linux kernel and other components, most recently the IGC graphics compiler now supporting DG1, today’s release of the Intel Compute Runtime has DG1 support in place.

      • Google testing native Steam client on Chromebooks powered by 10th generation Intel CPUs

        Chrome OS, Google’s other operating system to Android, has evolved very rapidly since the 2016 introduction of the Google Play Store, allowing Chromebooks to download and install Android apps. Google has since introduced support for running native Linux apps under the project name of Crostini. Crostini allows full desktop applications to run on Chromebooks and is based on the Debian Linux distribution. Running Android and Linux apps relies on Chrome OS’ ability to run containerized virtual machines, a means of allowing the core operating system to run different segmented virtual machines in an efficient and secure manner. That’s a fancy way of saying your Chromebook can have multiple personalities, and it’s the same technology underpinning how some Chromebooks will soon be able to run Windows apps. Today’s news is that the team at 9to5Google have identified a new special project in the Chromium open-source code called Borealis. Borealis is a Linux distribution based on popular Ubuntu, and comes complete with Steam already installed:

      • Steam on Chromebooks could be a game changer

        There have been continual developments in the realm of Linux on ChromeOS for some time. There early builds — Crostini — were based on Debian Linux.

        What is very different with the new version “Gerrit” versus the older Crostini builds is that it’s now Ubuntu based vs Debian. This is likely due to the previous iterations of Valve’s Steam for Linux running on Ubuntu.

      • Google could bring Steam gaming to Chromebooks (via Linux)

        Chrome OS is an operating system that was originally designed to support a single app – the Chrome web browser. But in recent years Google has brought support for Android apps and Linux apps to Chromebooks.

        So far that Linux support has come through a feature called Crostini, which is basically a virtual machine that runs Debian Linux in a way that lets you install and run Linux software without leaving Chrome OS.

        But 9to5Google was digging through the source code for Chromium OS (the open source version of Chrome OS) and discovered a new Linux virtual machine called Borealis, which uses Ubuntu rather than Debian. Borealis also includes a pre-installed version of Valve’s Steam game client for Linux.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Plumbers Conference: Linux Plumbers Conference is Not Sold Out

        We’re really sorry, but apparently the Cvent registration site we use has suffered a bug which is causing it to mark the conference as “Sold Out” and, unfortunately, since today is the beginning of the American Independence day weekend, we can’t get anyone to fix it until Monday. However, rest assured there are plenty of places still available, so if you can wait until Monday, you should be able to register for the conference as soon as the site is fixed.

      • Linus Torvalds: ‘I Do No Coding Any More’

        The Linux Foundation recently uploaded its video from the Open Source Summit and Embedded Linux Conference: Europe. And there was a poignant moment when Linus Torvalds did his traditional keynote conversation with Dirk Hohndel, VMware’s vice president and chief open source officer.

        Honndel had asked Linus — his hair now uncharacteristically long — what he spends his time on as a kernel maintainer. What’s his workflow? “What do you do?”

      • Keynote: Linus Torvalds in conversation with Dirk Hohndel

        Keynote: Linus Torvalds, Creator of Linux & Git, in conversation with Dirk Hohndel, VP & Chief Open Source Officer, VMware

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Smol Extension

          I recently came across a number of failing tests where the problem was related to variable sizing in a shader.

        • The Annual X.Org / Wayland / Mesa Conference Is Going Virtual Due To COVID-19

          XDC 20 was set to take place this September in Poland but is now moving to an online event as a result of the ongoing coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic.

          The X.Org Foundation has decided to make XDC 2020 a virtual conference due to uncertainty over the COVID-19 situation come September in Europe. This will be the first time the annual X.Org Developers’ Conference has been an entirely online event.

          The announcement was made today as well as extending the call for presentations by an additional two weeks.

    • Benchmarks

      • XFS / EXT4 / Btrfs / F2FS / NILFS2 Performance On Linux 5.8

        Given the reignited discussions this week over Btrfs file-system performance stemming from a proposal to switch Fedora on the desktop to using Btrfs, here are some fresh benchmarks of not only Btrfs but alongside XFS, EXT4, F2FS, and for kicks NILFS2 was also tossed into the mix for these mainline file-system tests off the in-development Linux 5.8 kernel.

        With the yet-to-be-approved proposal specifically to use Btrfs for desktop installations, for this testing a single NVMe solid-state drive was used for testing in jiving with conventional desktop use-cases rather than any elaborate RAID setups, etc. Each of the tested file-systems were carried out with the default mount options in an out-of-the-box manner.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 5.12 is now available.
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - NTDLL converted to PE format.
          - Support for the WebSocket API.
          - Improved RawInput support.
          - Vulkan spec update.
          - Various bug fixes.
      • Wine 5.12 is out – better RawInput and WebSocket API support

        The Wine compatibility layer continues progressing, with the latest development release Wine 5.12 out now.

        What is Wine, apart from a tasty liquid that you should drink responsibly? It would be a bit weird if we were covering the world of fermented grapes—we are in fact talking about software. A quick reminder for the newer Linux user: it’s a compatibility layer that allows the running of Windows-only applications and games on Linux and other operating systems. It’s one of the driving forces behind Steam Play Proton.

      • Wine 5.12 Brings WebSocket API Support, Better RawInput Handling

        Wine 5.12 is out for the US Holiday weekend testing.

        Wine 5.12 brings NTDLL now converted to PE format, support for the WebSocket API, improved RawInput support, updated Vulkan specification compliance, and around 48 known bug fixes. The bug fixes for this bi-weekly release help out software ranging from Battle.net to Adobe Photoshop to multiple games.

    • Games

      • Humble Choice for July is up with Railway Empire, EARTHLOCK and more

        Humble Choice, the monthly curated bundle from Humble Bundle is up with a fresh set of games to pick from and claim to be yours. You pick a tier with different prices to get access to the huge Humble Trove (a collection of DRM-free games) plus a Humble Store discount and then you pick between 3-9 games to keep.

      • The Universim god game gets early-game love, a new explainer trailer plus more

        A city builder that’s also a sort-of god game sim and eventually it will also be a multi-planet strategy game? The Universim certainly has a grand plan and a new explainer trailer to help.

        I’ve written about this one numerous times now, personally supporting it quite early on because it seemed so promising and I absolutely love where they’re going with it. Thankfully, one of my pet-peeves has been solved a little and this with the early game seeing some love in the ‘Melting Shoe’ update out now.

      • [Older] Neville Antony: Full Throttle

        Coding period for GSoC 2020 has started and I have begun my work on my summer project. As said in my introductory post, I will be working on adding functionality to create and manage game collections in GNOME Games with help from Alexander (@alexm). After the project is complete, it will provide users with a shiny new ability to add any games to their own custom collections. And some additional feature to provide users with a quickly accessible, automatically generated collections such as recently played, favorites and hidden games.

        I started out by separating the work into independently manageable chunks so that I can open several smaller merge requests, rather than a single large one, which I can imagine would be horrible to manage, and even worse for Alexander to review. And my code, however small it is, usually needs a lot of fixing.

        So the first chunk I decided to work on is… Selection Mode! I decided selection mode would be the best part to start with so that when I get to modifying the database part to store all the collections and the games in it, I will have all the necessary functionality to test it with actual real world data rather than some made up data using temporary spaghetti code.

      • Neville Antony: GSoC Progress Update

        In my last blog post, I explained how selection mode was implemented in Games. That was one of the first steps to support Collections in Games, as an efficient way to select games to add/remove from collection is crucial for managing collections. In this post I’ll be talking about how “Favorites Collection” will be implemented in GNOME Games.


        The first thing to do was to introduce a Collection interface to define a behavior that all types of collections must follow. All collections must have an ID and a title. Apart from that, all collections must provide a way to add and remove games from it. And on adding or removing a game from the collection, it should emit a “game added” or “game removed” signal respectively. A collection must also implement a load(), which when called, should load the games belonging to a collection from the database. Since there’s going to be different types of collections, how a collection has to be loaded might differ from each other.

        Every collection has its own GameModel and must implement a get_game_model(). A GameModel is a ListModel which stores the list of games in a collection, and get_game_model() returns its GameModel which can be bound to the flowbox of a GamesPage (a widget where games can be displayed with thumbnail and title).

        Other than these, all collections must also implement on_game_added(), on_game_removed() and on_game_replaced(). These are unrelated to games being added or removed to or from a collection. These has to do with games being discovered, and when some games are no longer available to the app. When a game is discovered by tracker or a cached game is loaded, it is added to a games hash table. This emits a game_added signal (unrelated to a collection’s game_added), which every collection listens to. If the added game belongs to the collection, it adds this game to the collection. Similarly on_game_removed() and on_game_replaced() handles stuff related to when a game which was cached but is no longer found by the app, and when a game has been renamed, moved to a different directory, or when it’s still the same cached game but with different UID etc.

        With the general behavior of a collection defined, it was time to introduce a FavoritesCollection which implements Collection.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KSnip and Spectacle

          Switching back-and-forth between the tabs gives me a “pixels moved” sense, and that’s really useful. KSnip’s wide selection of annotation tools – it’s nearly a specialized drawing application – helps, too: I tell people to draw big red arrows on screenshots pointing to problems (because describing things is difficult, and a glaring visual glitch to you may be totally invisible to me).

          With KSnip, adding detail to a screenshot is child’s play.

          That’s not to say that KSnip doesn’t have its issues. But a blog post is not a place to complaing about someone else’s Free Software: the issue tracker is (with constructive bug reports, not complaints).

        • Third alpha release of my project

          I’m glad to announce the third alpha of my GSoC 2020 project. For anyone not in the loop, I’m working on integrating Disney’s SeExpr expression language as a new type of Fill Layer.

        • Norbert Preining: [Debian] KDE/Plasma Status Update 2020-07-04

          Great timing for 4th of July, here is another status update of KDE/Plasma for Debian. Short summary: everything is now available for Debian sid and testing, for both i386 and am64 architectures!

          With Qt 5.14 arriving in Debian/testing, and some tweaks here and there, we finally have all the packages (2 additional deps, 82 frameworks, 47 Plasma, 216 Apps) built on both Debian unstable and Debian testing, for both amd64 and i386 architectures. Again, big thanks to OBS!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Epiphany GSoC Milestone

          During the past month I have been hacking on Epiphany’s Preferences dialog. The first piece of submitted work was splitting the dialog source code files into smaller ones. The split didn’t reflect any visual changes on Epiphany’s user interface so I decided to postpone writing this blog post.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Elive Review: For the Enlightened Linux Users

          Elive is a Linux distribution based on Debian that features a great implementation of the Enlightenment desktop environment. It is a distro that is self-proclaimed as not being aimed at one particular kind of user but one that is primarily designed to be used on very old computers. The default ISO image is 32-bit and installs with Linux 3.16 by default. It uses just a hair over 160 MB RAM and runs beautifully with one CPU core and zero 3D acceleration. This allows Elive to tout itself as capable of turning a 15-year old computer into one of high performance, and I quite honestly believe it. In this Elive Review, we’ll discuss system performance, usability, and why it may or may not be the distro for you.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/27

          Week 27 has mostly been in the light of the release of openSUSE Leap 15.2. With the developers mostly focusing on getting the best Leap release yet out of the door, it’s just natural that Tumbleweed has seen a bit less of churn. But honestly: has it? We have released 6 snapshots during this week so that does not talk for the ‘less active development’ of Tumbleweed during this period. The snapshots released were 0625, 0626, 0627, 0628, 0630, and 0701.

      • Fedora and IBM/Red Hat

        • Red Hat CTO On Racial Justice, Immigration & More…

          In this interview Chris Wright, CTO of Red Hat, sat down with TFiR founder Swapnil Bhartiya to talk about some of the topics facing our society – racial justice, immigration, discrimination in work force and beyond. We are grateful to Wright for agreeing to talk about things that most of us feel uncomfortable with.

        • GNOME Internet Radio Locator 3.0.1 for Fedora Core 32

          GNOME Internet Radio Locator 3.0.1 features updated language translations, new, improved map marker palette and now also includes radio from Washington, United States of America; London, United Kingdom; Berlin, Germany; Radio Eins, and Paris, France; France Inter/Info/Culture, as well as 118 other radio stations from around the world with audio streaming implemented through GStreamer.

        • Fedora program update: 2020-27

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

        • Outreachy design internship: budget templates and infographics

          Hey, I’m Smera. I’m one of the Outreachy interns this year, working on creating new designs for the Fedora Project. I work with Marie Nordin (FCAIC) and the Fedora Design team. I started on the 19th of May and this is what I have been up to!

        • Will Red Hat Rule the Supercomputing Industry with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)?

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux has achieved a significant milestone after serving as an operating system for the world’s fastest supercomputer, according to Top500. This opens up the debate on why Linux is the most preferred operating system for supercomputers.

          Supercomputers process vast datasets and conduct complex simulations much faster than traditional computers. From weather modeling, disease control, energy efficiency,nuclear testing, and quantum mechanics, supercomputers can tackle numerous scientific challenges. Countries like the U.S. and China have forever been in the race to develop the most powerful and fastest supercomputers. However, this year technological superpower Japan stole the show, when its Fugaku ARM-based supercomputer was ranked the no.1 supercomputer in the world by the Top500 list. The system runs on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) platform. In fact, the June 2020 Top500 list of supercomputers declared that the top three supercomputers in the world and four out of the top 10 supercomputers run on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) platform. That is a pretty powerful validation of RHEL’s capability to meet demanding computing environments.

        • A developer-centered approach to application development

          Do you dream of a local development environment that’s easy to configure and works independently from the software layers that you are currently not working on? I do!

          As a software engineer, I have suffered the pain of starting projects that were not easy to configure. Reading the technical documentation does not help when much of it is outdated, or even worse, missing many steps. I have lost hours of my life trying to understand why my local development environment was not working.

        • Automate workshop setup with Ansible playbooks and CodeReady Workspaces

          At Red Hat, we do many in-person and virtual workshops for customers, partners, and other open source developers. In most cases, the workshops are of the “bring your own device” variety, so we face a range of hardware and software setups and corporate endpoint-protection schemes, as well as different levels of system knowledge.

          In the past few years, we’ve made heavy use of Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces (CRW). Based on Eclipse Che, CodeReady Workspaces is an in-browser IDE that is familiar to most developers and requires no pre-installation or knowledge of system internals. You only need a browser and your brain to get hands-on with this tech.

          We’ve also built a set of playbooks for Red Hat Ansible to automate our Quarkus workshop. While they are useful, the playbooks are especially helpful for automating at-scale deployments of CodeReady Workspaces for Quarkus development on Kubernetes. In this article, I introduce our playbooks and show you how to use them for your own automation efforts.

        • What does a scrum master do?

          Turning a love of open source communities into a career is possible, and there are plenty of directions you can take. The path I’m on these days is as a scrum master.

          Scrum is a framework in which software development teams deliver working software in increments of 30 days or less called “sprints.” There are three roles: scrum master, product owner, and development team. A scrum master is a facilitator, coach, teacher/mentor, and servant/leader that guides the development team through executing the scrum framework correctly.

      • Debian Family

        • Grml 2020.06 – Codename Ausgehfuahangl

          We did it again™, at the end of June we released Grml 2020.06, codename Ausgehfuahangl. This Grml release (a Linux live system for system administrators) is based on Debian/testing (AKA bullseye) and provides current software packages as of June, incorporates up to date hardware support and fixes known issues from previous Grml releases.

          I am especially fond of our cloud-init and qemu-guest-agent integration, which makes usage and automation in virtual environments like Proxmox VE much more comfortable.

        • NsCDE

          There is a new desktop available for Sparkers: NsCDE

          What is NsCDE?

          Not so Common Desktop Environment (NsCDE) is a retro but powerful (kind of) UNIX desktop environment which resembles CDE look (and partially feel) but with a more powerful and flexible framework beneath-the-surface, more suited for 21st century unix-like and Linux systems and user requirements than original CDE.
          NsCDE can be considered as a heavyweight FVWM theme on steroids, but combined with a couple other free software components and custom FVWM applications and a lot of configuration, NsCDE can be considered a lightweight hybrid desktop environment.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Back from the Dead: How to Install Shutter on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          Shutter was the go-to screenshot app for the Ubuntu desktop a few years back, but development stalled and the Linux-loving world, sob, moved on without it.

          Now it’s back as a Snap app!

          “And just why-oh-why is that news, Mr Sneddon?”, you say.

          “Because it’s a great app,” I reply.

          See, I love Flameshot (it made our list of the best Ubuntu apps) but it’s not quite as intuitive to use or as versatile in the screenshot taking and image editing department as Shutter was. The tool’s “Session” screen alone was a major highlight for me.

          Now, if you want to run Shutter on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (and have it run reliably) you can — but you need to roll up your sleeves to get it working. The app is no longer in the Ubuntu repos, and older builds acquired from older Ubuntu releases have dependencies issues that require …let’s just sat “logistical intervention” to workaround.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • SpiderMonkey Newsletter 5 (Firefox 78-79)

            SpiderMonkey is the JavaScript engine used in Mozilla Firefox. This newsletter gives an overview of the JavaScript and WebAssembly work we’ve done as part of the Firefox 78 and 79 Nightly release cycles.

            If you like these newsletters, you may also enjoy Yulia’s weekly Compiler Compiler live stream, a guided tour of what it is like to work on SpiderMonkey and improve spec compliance.

          • In Filter Treeherder jobs by test or manifest path I describe the feature.

            In Filter Treeherder jobs by test or manifest path I describe the feature. In this post I will explain how it came about.
            I want to highlight the process between a conversation and a deployed feature. Many times, it is an unseen part of the development process that can be useful for contributors and junior developers who are trying to grow as developers.
            Back in the Fall of 2019 I started inquiring into developers’ satisfaction with Treeherder. This is one of the reasons I used to go to the office once in a while. One of these casual face-to-face conversations led to this feature. Mike Conley explained to me how he would look through various logs to find a test path that had failed on another platform (see referenced post for further details).
            After I understood the idea, I tried to determine what options we had to implement it. I wrote a Google Doc with various alternative implementations and with information about what pieces were needed for a prototype. I requested feedback from various co-workers to help discover blind spots in my plans.
            Once I had some feedback from immediate co-workers, I made my idea available in a Google group (increasing the circle of people giving feedback). I described my intent to implement the idea and was curious to see if anyone else was already working on it or had better ideas on how to implement it. I did this to raise awareness in larger circles, reduce duplicate efforts and learn from prior work.
            I also filed a bug to drive further technical discussions and for interested parties to follow up on the work. Fortunately, around the same time Andrew Halberstadt started working on defining explicitly what manifests each task executes before the tasks are scheduled (see bug). This is a major component to make the whole feature on Treeherder functional. In some cases, talking enough about the need can enlist others from their domains of expertise to help with your project.

          • Filter Treeherder jobs by test or manifest path

            This feature is useful for developers and code sheriffs because it permits them to determine whether or not a test that fails in one platform configuration also fails in other ones. Previously, this was difficult because certain test suites are split into multiple tasks (aka “chunks”). In the screenshot below, you can see that the manifest path devtools/client/framework/browser-toolbox/test/browser.ini is executed in different chunks.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Resizing with GIMP

            On your computer, with GIMP you can resize pictures easily to later accompany your texts with them. I present you here how to do that using Scale Tool and either manually or numerically shrink a picture. Below is a one minute video followed by explanations and exercises you can download. Don’t forget this is the 4th part of GIMP Guide for Authors. Happy editing!

      • Programming/Development

        • New Tech Vocabulary for 2020 Could Break Software Compatibility

          2020 has been an interesting year with plenty of disruption to most people lives, and political changes. Now it appears some of those changes will affect technology, and by that, I mean things like changes to datasheets and even source code.


          Twitter’s senior management is allegedly backing the effort for the changes. This goes beyond racially charged terms, but if it’s the world we’re going to live in so be it. Some changes in the datasheet may not be a big issue, except for the initial confusion, but it may become problematic when changes happen in the source code as it may break other programs and scripts.

          One example is Github planning to replace the master branch by another name. If it’s going to happen, and others are going to follow suit, I wondered about many “slave” code results there are in the Linux kernel. Answer: 2,878.

        • Complete Guide To Writing A PKGBUILD: Ready For The AUR
        • #28: Welcome RSPM and test-drive with Bionic and Focal

          Welcome to the 28th post in the relatively random R recommendations series, or R4 for short. Our last post was a “double entry” in this R4 series and the newer T4 video series and covered a topic touched upon in this R4 series multiple times: easy binary install, especially on Ubuntu.

          That post already previewed the newest kid on the block: RStudio’s RSPM, now formally announced. In the post we were only able to show Ubuntu 18.04 aka bionic. With the formal release of RSPM support has been added for Ubuntu 20.04 aka focal—and we are happy to announce that of course we added a corresponding Rocker r-rspm container. So you can now take full advantage of RSPM either via docker pull rocker/r-rspm:18.04 or via docker pull rocker/r-rspm:20.04 covering the two most recent LTS releases.

        • Python

          • Release of CubicWeb 3.28

            It is with pleasure (and some delay) that we are proud to annonce the release of CubicWeb 3.28.

          • Test and Code: 120: FastAPI & Typer – Sebastián Ramírez

            FastAPI is a modern, fast (high-performance), web framework for building APIs with Python based on standard Python type hints.
            Typer is a library for building CLI applications, also based on Python type hints.
            Type hints and many other details are intended to make it easier to develop, test, and debug applications using FastAPI and Typer.

            The person behind FastAPI and Typer is Sebastián Ramírez.

          • The Real Python Podcast – Episode #16: Thinking in Pandas: Python Data Analysis the Right Way

            Are you using the Python library Pandas the right way? Do you wonder about getting better performance, or how to optimize your data for analysis? What does normalization mean? This week on the show we have Hannah Stepanek to discuss her new book “Thinking in Pandas”.

          • How to Write a Makefile – Automating Python Setup, Compilation, and Testing

            When you want to run a project that has multiple sources, resources, etc., you need to make sure that all of the code is recompiled before the main program is compiled or run.


            Well, Python is technically both an interpreted and compiled language, because in order for it to interpret a line of code, it needs to precompile it into byte code which is not hardcoded for a specific CPU, and can be run after the fact.

            A more detailed, yet concise explanation can be found on Ned Batchelder’s blog. Also, if you need a refresher on how Programming Language Processors work, we’ve got you covered.

          • Configuring Emacs for Python

            Python is one of the most popular programming languages out there, and the growth that it is seeing is continuously on the rise. Python is a high-level language, known for being universal and relatively easier to understand and learn. Having an extremely active and supportive community, along with excellent documentation and a large number of tutorials and guides, has led to it being incredibly easy to analyze and meeting various development needs of users.
            Furthermore, having libraries like NumPy, OpenCV, scikit-learn makes it perfect to be used for projects of various Computer Science fields like machine learning and data science. For a language that keeps on rapidly growing, it is thus imperative for developers to use editors that are fully able to grasp the intricacies behind it.

            One such text editor is Emacs, which, being open-source and cross-platform along with a highly customizable and user-friendly interface, offers some scintillating features to its users such as multiple editing modes, text manipulation tools and integration with external tools. Since it is extremely customizable, it can easily be configured to be used as a Python IDE. Hence today, we will be looking at how one can configure Emacs for Python Development and turn it into a Python IDE.

          • A Labyrinth of Lies

            In the 1986 movie Labyrinth, a young girl (played by Jennifer Connelly) is faced with a dilemma. The adorable Jim Henson puppets explain to her that one guard always lies, and one guard always tells the truth. She needs to figure out which door leads to the castle at the center of the eponymous Labyrinth, and which one to certain death (dun-dun-dun!).

            I decided that like any reasonable movie watcher, I need to implement this in Python.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Bash append to array

            The array data type is used in bash to store multiple data. The new data can be inserted at the end of an array variable in various ways. Bash has no built-in function like other programming languages to append new data in bash array. How you can insert single and multiple data at the end of the array in bash is shown in this article.

          • How to Replace a String in a File in Bash

            As a programmer, you might need to work with different types of files to store data temporarily or permanently. Sometimes, you may need to replace part of the file or modify the particular content of the file. To replace content in a file, you must search for the particular file string. The ‘sed’ command is used to replace any string in a file using a bash script. This command can be used in various ways to replace the content of a file in bash. The ‘awk’ command can also be used to replace the string in a file. This tutorial will show you how to replace any string value from a file using a bash script.A text file named Sales.txt with the following content is created to show the replacement operations.

          • How to append a line to a file in bash

            Sometimes we need to work with a file for programming purposes, and the new line requires to add at the end of the file. This appending task can be done by using ‘echo‘ and ‘tee‘ commands. Using ‘>>’ with ‘echo’ command appends a line to a file. Another way is to use ‘echo,’ pipe(|), and ‘tee’ commands to add content to a file. How these commands can be used in the bash script are shown in this article.

  • Leftovers

    • Maya Moore for the Win

      After 22 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, Jonathan Irons is at long last a free man. Irons, who is only 40 years old, had been sentenced to 50 years for a burglary and assault he was said to have committed at 16. Despite a lack of evidence linking him to the crime, an all-white St. Louis jury convicted the then-16-year-old as an adult.

    • Biopic? Shirley, You Jest

      On the evening of August 1, 1943, after breaking bread and pulling corks, talking folklore, jazz and blues, with New Yorker critic Stanley Hyman and novelist Shirley Jackson in their Queens apartment, up-and-coming writer Ralph Ellison said goodnight to them and took the train home to Harlem. When he emerged at 137th Street, he walked right into a raging race riot. Fires, massive looting, chaos.

    • Try to Get Published; Try to Be Heard

      Want to write nonfiction or fiction with a left bent or left themes and get any attention? Lots of luck in the age of the Internet and giants like Amazon!

    • Jon Fosse’s Existential Doppelgängers

      In the mystical fictions of Jon Fosse, plot dangles behind consciousness like a tail from a kite. Events do not occur so much as they circle outward in dense, leaden rings. His protagonists are little theaters of repetition. Particular thoughts and phrases are compulsively returned to, adjusted, undermined, and reconstituted in pale, fleeting action. The surfaces of his characters’ lives are scoured by gestures of obsession and doubt. They are derivatives in a divine calculus that forever exceeds their understanding. Fosse often dramatizes these states of consciousness under duress—paranoia, delusion, mania—to theorize about the limits of life and art.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • New Study Suggests Thousands of Deaths Are Missing From Coronavirus Toll

        A new study published this week suggests that tens of thousands of deaths in the United States have not been included in national COVID-19 death tolls despite the fact that many of those fatalities are likely attributable to the disease.

      • Trump Does U-Turn Stating He’s “All for Masks” as Case Numbers Soar

        As his disapproval numbers rise amid the coronavirus crisis, and as nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the pandemic will get worse, President Donald Trump appears to be shifting his position when it comes to wearing masks.

      • Disbelief, Belief and the Perils of Pandemic Re-opening

        As a business owner, I ought to be all over the re-opening going on in full swing now in NYS. My daughter tells us customers have been clamoring for weeks about returning to “normalcy.” For Orin and me, the decision has layers of complication, including the fact that the Cafe’s finances are precarious, and that our daughter, understandably, is tiring of the burden of helping us keep a small (“quirky” as Google calls it) business going. We’re tired, too, and fearful as we see the spikes in coronavirus in states that re-opened “too soon,” where there’s no pandemic leadership alternative to the federal government (Trump). No leadership leaves a space for mindless anti-authoritarianism, a “cowboy” mentality that exists here too: the divisiveness and chaos it engenders, in turn, means there’s no end in sight to the disaster for local businesses on the frontline for re-opening.

      • Racial disparities in healthcare innovation in the time of COVID-19

        In previous posts, we have explored how structural racism contributes to disparities in COVID-19 cases and deaths and in access to COVID-19 treatments and preventatives. Legal institutions have also been complicit in creating a healthcare innovation system in which those receiving scientific and medical education are far from representative of the U.S. public. The resulting disparities by race, gender, and class raise substantial problems for both equity and economic growth—but these inequalities receive too little attention from most health and innovation scholars, ourselves included. This week, we examine how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated racial disparities in three slices of the healthcare innovation ecosystem: medical education, medical patenting, and clinical trials.


        In addition to creating barriers to entry into the medical profession, legal institutions have expanded the activities requiring licensure. For example, until the 1940s, Black midwives provided most prenatal and childbirth care to Black women in the United States—an essential service, at a time when many white doctors and midwives would have refused to care for them. But these midwives were regulated out of existence through state scope-of-practice laws and the Sheppard–Towner Act of 1921, which provided federal funds to states for professionalized prenatal care.

        In the midst of a pandemic, a physician workforce that does not represent patients is problematic both because Black patients are less likely to face discrimination from Black doctors and because Black doctors—and other medical workers such as nurses and technicians—have been hit hardest during this crisis. They have spoken out in recent weeks about their frustration and fatigue. Professor Adia Harvey Wingfield, a sociologist who focuses on Black health care workers, fears that COVID-19 may cause “a setback of the modest advances the medical industry has made towards improving racial diversity.”


        Today, structural barriers—a product of centuries of overt and structural racism—remain an impediment to Black medical innovation. First, patents are not cheap—they can cost tens of thousands of dollars from preparation to issuance, and actually bringing an invention to market can cost orders of magnitude more. In a world stratified by racial disparities in wealth (and access to capital), this is likely to contribute to a significant deficit of Black inventors. Second, exposure to “centers of innovation”—specifically, areas of high socioeconomic status, strong education systems, geographic areas that produce a larger number of patents—is correlated with a strong likelihood of becoming an inventor oneself. Given the racial disparities in these measures, this further contributes to the paucity of Black patentees. And third, as shown by Professor Cook, concerns over violence and personal safety—emblematic in the ongoing spate of police violence against Black citizens—have dampened innovation. Black patenting rates—even in 2010—continued to lag behind those of 1899.

        Like many other illnesses, innovations to treat and diagnose COVID-19 come largely from the medical profession. With a diminished roster of Black physicians, and consequently, Black physician-innovators, a dearth of Black patentees ensures that those suffering the most from the disease have not been afforded equal opportunities to cure it.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (docker.io and imagemagick), Fedora (alpine, firefox, hostapd, and mutt), openSUSE (opera), Red Hat (rh-nginx116-nginx), SUSE (ntp, python3, and systemd), and Ubuntu (firefox, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-hwe, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-4.15, linux-gke-4.15, linux-hwe, linux-kvm, linux-oem, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux, linux-aws, linux-gcp, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-riscv, linux, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-5.3, linux-hwe, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-oracle-5.3, linux-gke-5.0, linux-oem-osp1, net-snmp, and samba).

          • What is Software Security?

            Software security is the building of secure software with inherent defense so that it continues to function under malicious attacks, to the satisfaction of the users and owners of the software. This article explains the threats and solutions, from a general point of view. Standard vocabulary in information security is also explained. You should be computer and Internet literate to understand this article; you should also have studied a computer language, e.g., Perl, C, C++, PHP, etc.
            What is secured is information and software packages (applications and documents). Information is any message that is useful to anybody. “Information” is a vague word. The context in which it is used gives its meaning. It can mean news, lecture, tutorial (or lesson), or solution. A software package is usually a solution to some problem or related problems. In the past, all information not spoken was written on paper. Today, the software can be considered as a subset of information.

          • L1TF Cache Flushing Mode Could Soon Be Controlled Via Kconfig Build Option

            Approaching the two year anniversary next month of the L1TF / Foreshadow vulnerability, a Google engineer has proposed allowing the default mitigation state to be controlled via a Kconfig build-time option.

            This speculative execution attack on Intel CPUs has been mitigated since August 2018 and has offered for KVM virtual machine mitigation the kvm-intel.vmentry_l1d_flush module parameter for controlling the L1 data cache flushing behavior. But now a Google engineer has proposed setting the default L1 data flushing mode to be configurable at build-time via a new KVM_VMENTRY_L1D_FLUSH knob. This knob doesn’t provide any new L1 Terminal Fault mitigation but rather just allows adjusting the default behavior for the default configuration of that kernel image, whether it be to never flush the cache before a VMENTER, conditionally flush, or the most impactful state of always flushing.

          • diffoscope 150 released

            The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 150.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Time to Rethink the US-ROK Alliance

        North Korea has blown up the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong. It is threatening an all-out pamphlet war in response to defectors sending anti-regime propaganda to the north. South Korea’s unification minister has stepped down after failing to meet with his North Korean counterparts during his 14-month tenure.

      • Representative Barbara Lee: ‘Defund the Pentagon Budget’

        Barbara Lee tweeted a four-word message last week that made the connection between domestic and foreign policy that is too often neglected: “Defund the Pentagon budget.” The Democratic representative from California, who cast the sole vote against the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force that became an excuse for bloated military budgets and forever wars, has long argued for a reordering of priorities that places human needs above the demands of the military-industrial complex.

      • Here Are the 16 Democrats Who Voted With GOP to Kill Amendment to Withdraw All US Troops, End Afghan War

        “After nearly 19 years, over 147,000 casualties and total costs over a trillion dollars, it’s long past time to bring troops home and invest in political, diplomatic, and development tools.”

      • Congress Could Rubber-Stamp a Defense Spending Spree

        The annual US defense budget has never been crafted through a particularly transparent process. Now, a global pandemic has taken the yearly passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) from merely murky to downright opaque.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • It’s Not Just Meat: All Farm and Food Workers Are in Peril

        COVID-19 outbreaks are now reaching far beyond the meatpacking industry. Migrant farmworkers in fruit orchards and vegetable fields, long the targets of intense exploitation, are seeing their health put in even greater jeopardy as they’re pushed to feed an increasingly voracious supply chain in pandemic-time.

      • Fair Housing Advocates Celebrate Passage of AOC’s Repeal of Faircloth Amendment

        “The Faircloth Amendment is one of the most heartless pieces of legislation that has prevented any substantive action on housing for years.”

      • We Won’t Have a Truly Global Economy Until People Start Taxing It That Way

        Major talks between the United States and the European Union to establish a shared tax framework for multinational companies broke down on the issue of seeking to secure an agreement on digital taxation. Big tech, which is heavily a U.S. creation, has long been in the sights of European economies, as their profits and revenues have soared and they have increasingly become major components of the 21st-century economy.

      • What Media Aren’t Telling You About Reopening Risks

        In the second half of June, the story of the United States’ coronavirus pandemic began to shift dramatically, as a massive surge in new infections took hold, particularly across states in the South and West that had previously been spared the worst of the outbreak. Media reports abruptly switched gears from declaring that reopening was proceeding with few ill effects (Reuters, 5/17/20; Tampa Bay Times, 5/28/20) to expressing alarm that health officials’ warnings against lifting social distancing restrictions too soon had been proven right—a cognitive dissonance perhaps most dramatically depicted in Oregon Public Broadcasting’s headline, “Oregon’s COVID-19 Spike Surprises, Despite Predictions of Rising Caseloads” (6/10/20).

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • The Kafkaesque Imperium: Julian Assange and the Second Superseding Indictment

      The Kafkaesque Imperium has taken yet another absurd step towards mean absurdity with another superseding indictment against Julian Assange. This move by the US Department of Justice seems to have surprised those involved in his extradition proceedings. Mark Summers QC, one of the members of the Assange legal team, did not conceal his astonishment at the call over hearing at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court. “We are surprised by the timing of this development. We were surprised to hear about it in the press.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Regional investigators reject appeal for criminal case over deadly raid on Yekaterinburg man’s home

      The Sverdlovsk region’s Investigative Committee branch has refused to launch a criminal case regarding the killing of Vladimir Taushankov, a Yekaterinburg man who was killed by National Guard officers during a raid at his home on May 31, 2020, Znak.com reports. 

    • Progressive Pulses Among the Ruins of Riot

      The violence that erupted from the mostly-peaceful demonstrations around the killing of George Floyd has subsided, though many businesses in Long Beach are now boarded up. In addition to the property damage itself—in many instances not covered by insurance because deemed “domestic terrorism”—these protective measures have a chilling effect on efforts to participate in the full reopening of the economy. Slogans in sympathy with Black Lives Matter (BLM) grace the facades of many businesses to express solidarity with the protests, or to at least immunize them from further attacks.

    • 150+ Civil Society Groups Issue Global Call for ‘New—and Improved—Normal’ for Post-Pandemic World

      “Now is the moment to reflect on the world as it is and consider a better alternative for the future,” the groups say in the letter.

    • ‘Threat to Our Privacy and Civil Liberties’: Nearly 40 Groups Demand Congress Ban Facial Recognition Surveillance

      “Even if the technology were accurate, it cannot be dissociated from the racist policies that are embedded in policing.”

    • Trump Campaign Faces Outcry for Selling T-Shirts With Nazi-Like Symbol

      Several users on social media this week took note of a product for sale on the website for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, and condemned the item for its apparent Nazi symbolism.

    • Beware of Anti-Trump Republicans Who Endorse Joe Biden

      A stampeding herd of “anti-Trump” Republican organizations and PACs has flooded the 2020 presidential campaign with ads attacking the president and endorsing his rival, Joe Biden. If beating Donald Trump in November is your main thing, this would appear to be only good news. I am forced to wonder, however, what the real intent is behind this sudden solidarity after three long years of near-silence from the deeply compromised “Never Trump” crew.

    • New York’s City Hall Encampment Is a Middle Finger to Our Elected Leaders

      Shortly before 3 am on Wednesday, several hundred protesters gathered in the plaza directly east of City Hall Park in downtown Manhattan. A few were new faces, but many had been there on and off for a week, when activists set up an encampment and declared that they were occupying the space as part of the nationwide movement against racism and policing.

    • A Friend of the KKK Built Mount Rushmore Monument on Sacred Lakota Land

      As tribal governments call on President Trump to cancel his Mount Rushmore Independence Day celebration, we look at why Native Americans have long pushed for the removal of the monument carved into the sacred Black Hills and designed by a sculptor with ties to the Ku Klux Klan. “This place is very, very sacred to our people,” says Nick Tilsen, president and CEO of the NDN Collective. “Stealing our land and then carving the faces of four white men who were colonizers, who committed genocide against Indigenous people, is an egregious act of violence.”

    • ICE Just Became Even Less Transparent

      Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can now operate in greater secrecy, thanks to a special security classification quietly granted to it by the Trump administration. While ICE chief Matthew Albence heralded it as “a tremendous achievement,” experts say the designation deals a blow to transparency.

    • Fear of Falling: Can Making Black Lives Matter Rescue a Failing State?

      You know that feeling when you trip on the street and instantly sense that you’re about to crash hard and there’s no way to prevent it? As gravity has its way with you, all you can do is watch yourself going down. Yeah, that feeling.

    • Cuban Asylum Seeker Describes Vicious Pepper Spray Attack on Hunger Strikers at ICE Detention Facility

      More than 2,000 migrants and refugees in U.S. detention facilities have contracted Covid-19 as advocates demand their release.

    • Vulnerable LGBTQ+ Sex Workers Targeted Again by Politicians With EARN IT Act

      The EARN IT Act, which the Senate could advance tomorrow, is dangerous.

    • The Great Wall of Wokeness

      Does there exist a political force, partisan or populist, organized or decentralized, that can liberate the U.S. citizenry from the clutches of the neoliberal order? As I wrote in Feb. of last year, the neoliberal order seemed impervious to partisan defeat because its roots lie in a powerful evolutionary strategy called senescence. Now that the Sanders insurgency has been crushed and the faux populism of Donald Trump seems to be on a downward electoral trajectory due to his tone deaf response to the death of George Floyd and his bungled domestic response to covid-19, the Malevolent Evolutionary Stable Strategy (MESS) seems to have fully repelled the party populisms of both Right and Left, confirming my prediction. However, the murder of George Floyd has sparked an organic, grassroots, multiracial uprising that seems to present a new, novel threat to the neoliberal order and the MESS. Will this protest movement outcompete the MESS? The outlook is not good.

    • Ethiopian protests, Greek pushbacks, and a Myanmar mystery: The Cheat Sheet

      More than 90 people have died in protests in Ethiopia over the killing on Monday of iconic Oromo singer, Hachalu Hundessa. Seen as the voice of his generation, Hundessa’s songs captured the struggles of the historically marginalised Oromo people. The songs were a soundtrack to the anti-government protests that led to a change in leadership in 2018, with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed taking office. Hundessa was shot dead in the capital, Addis Ababa, by unidentified gunmen – although his supporters blame the security forces. There have been multiple bomb blasts in the city, and some residents have armed themselves fearing ethnic violence. Human Rights Watch called on the government to act urgently to reduce tensions and ensure the “security forces do not make a combustible situation worse.” But on Tuesday, the internet was switched off, and the police then detained Oromo opposition leader, Bekele Gerba, and media mogul and Abiy critic Jawar Mohammed. Abiy, an Oromo himself, has charted a reformist course after decades of repression. But ethno-regionalist passions have also been ignited, which are proving hard to contain, with the security forces playing by the old rule book of rights abuses. Delayed elections have added to the tensions.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Charter Spectrum Lobbies FCC To Kill Time Warner Cable Merger Conditions

      When Charter proposed its $79 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, former FCC boss Tom Wheeler brought in net neutrality advocate Marvin Ammori to help hammer out conditions that wound up actually being semi-meaningful, a rarity in the telecom space. Under the deal, Charter was banned from imposing usage caps, engaging in interconnection shenanigans with content providers like Netflix, or violating net neutrality (even if the rules themselves were killed) for a period of seven years. Charter was also required to expand broadband to 2 million additional locations.

  • Monopolies

    • Facebook Follows Twitter In Recognizing A ‘More Speech’ Approach Is Best For Newsworthy Liars

      As you may recall, a few weeks back, Twitter made a decision to add a fact check to some tweets by President Trump, and a few days later, to put a label on some of his tweets, saying that they violated Twitter’s policies, and would normally be deleted, but Twitter decided that given the newsworthiness of the speaker, they would be left up (though without the ability to comment or retweet them). The president reacted about as well as expected, meaning he whined vociferously, and eventually issued a silly executive order.

    • #StopHateforProfit: What Pundits Get Wrong About the Facebook Ad Boycott

      To stop profiting from hate—and align the company more closely with its mission—Facebook would have to rewire the technology that drives its multi-billion-dollar advertising enterprise.

    • Microsoft Edge has reportedly come close to being intrusive nagware
    • Patents

      • Federal Circuit Overhauls Rules of Practice and Forms: Important Takeaways

        Yesterday, the Federal Circuit issued extensive revisions to the 2019 Rules of Practice and also overhauled the vast majority of its required filing forms. While all practitioners should take a comprehensive review of the new rules (which can be found here and apply to “all cases filed or pending on or after July 1, 2020, to the extent practicable”), a few of the most substantial and practical are discussed below.

      • Counterproductive Patent Incentives

        Earlier this year, a pair of economists, Jay Bhattacharya and Mikko Packalen, published a research paper proposing an explanation for why scientific progress appears to have slowed. Their theory? An overemphasis on citation count, h-index, and similar metrics for scientists incentivizes them to pursue safe, late-stage research, not the scientific exploration needed to create the breakthroughs that lead to late-stage research.

        In other words, by making the incentive one that most rewards scientists who work in established and developed areas, scientists tend to work in those areas. Beyond that, the emphasis might also affect who becomes a scientist, tending to push the field towards those who tend to accept the received wisdom while pushing out those who might challenge it or explore new ideas.

        The same concerns might well apply to the modern emphasis on increasing the number of issued patents without any consideration for the quality or technological advancement each patent contains.

      • Confronting Your Accuser via ZOOM

        Federal Courts have been delaying trials since March 2020. There have been a handful here and there – but not jury trials.

        One patent case preparing for a jury trial before Judge Leonard Stark (D.Del) is Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals L.P. v. Powder Springs Logistics, LLC, 2020 WL 3605623 (D. Del. July 2, 2020). The lawsuit was filed back in 2017 alleging infringement of Sunoco’s patents for cutting its gasoline with cheaper butane. US9494948 and US9606548 (“continuous in-line blending of butane and petroleum”).

        In a recent order, Judge Stark announced that he is moving forward with an in-person jury trial, albeit with a few exceptions.

      • Software Patents

        • Velos Media patent determined to be likely invalid

          On June 30, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 9,414,066, owned by Velos Media, LLC. The ’066 patent is directed to video decoding techniques and was originally assigned to Ericsson before being transferred to Velos in 2018.

          Velos claims to have and seeks to license patents allegedly essential to the HEVC / H.265 standard (such as the ‘066 patent). Unified filed this challenge as part of its ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone after independently determining that the allegedly standard essential ‘066 patent is likely unpatentable.

        • Unified Affirmed Against Sound View by the Federal Circuit, Cancelling Claims

          On July 2, 2020, the Federal Circuit, in a written opinion, affirmed Unified Patents’ IPR2018-00096 and dismissed the appeal as moot for two other unrelated IPRs. The opinion, written by Judges Lourie, Dyk, and Chen, held that all claims at issue in U.S. Patent 6,125,371, owned by Sound View Innovations, LLC, were invalid. To date, Unified has never lost an appeal before the Federal Circuit.

    • Trademarks

      • One more on Aunt Jemima

        I’m sure that there will be a few references to the Aunt Jemima trademarks in upcoming law review articles. Let me direct you to a handful of court decisions regarding the mark. The cases offer an important look at how judges saw race & commerce in the mid-20th century.

        The courts here effectively concluded that only one company could sell flour (or syrup) branded with the caricature of a black-skinned person.


        A third Aunt Jemima case from 1917 is the more famous. Aunt Jemima Mills Co. v. Rigney & Co., 247 F. 407 (2d Cir. 1917). Rigney started selling “Aunt Jemima” branded maple syrup (name + image) without the permission or consent of the Aunt Jemima company (who at the time did not make syrup). The Second Circuit (Judge Ward) sided with Aunt Jemima Mills – holding that “[n]o one has a right to apply another’s name to his own goods” even if not in direct competition and no provably damages. The court then awarded an injunction to stop the use. Judge Learned Hand dissented and would have awarded no injunction because of acquiescence (8 year delay). The 2nd Circuit does not comment on the content of the mark other than remarking that it “consists of the words ‘Aunt Jemima’s,’ accompanying the picture of a negress laughing.” In a decision a few years later, the 2nd Circuit redescribed the mark as a “fanciful picture of a colored woman.” Anheuser-Busch v. Budweiser Malt Products Corp., 295 F. 306 (2d Cir. 1923).

        The final case I’ll discuss here is Gardella v. Log Cabin Products Co., 89 F.2d 891 (2d Cir. 1937). The decision here identifies Tess Gardella as “a white woman, of Italian extraction” who was a fairly famous actress who went by the stage-name Aunt Jemima (and applying black-face). “She said the Aunt Jemima character suggested itself to her because as a child she received that name from a colored maid who cared for her.” Gardella sued after an Aunt Jemima radio advertising campaign — alleging unfair competition and rights of publicity. She was awarded $115k (around $2 million in 2020 dollars). The basic idea here was that the company owned the imagery of the jovial colored woman caricature, but then Gardella made her come to life in a particular way. The company’s advertising campaign then hired an actor of “inferior quality” who appeared to imitate Gardella’s claimed style of imitating.

      • Book Review: 3D Trademarks and other Non-Traditional Trademarks

        Trade mark laws across the globe are increasingly accepting various categories of “non-traditional” trade marks as eligible for registration and protection. Still, being a relatively new occurrence, a thoughtful analysis of these legal developments is lacking. To fill this gap, Prof. Jacques de Werra (University of Geneva, UNIGE) has recently published the edited volume “3D Trademarks and other Non-Traditional Trademarks” [for the UNIGE conference, which preceded this publication, read the IPKat’s event report here]. This publication is the 12th volume of the UNIGE’s books’ series on intellectual property [previous volumes, including those on geographical indications, trade secrets, design law, are available in open-access.]


        The last two chapters offer an opposite and rather critical opinion as to the place of non-traditional trade marks. In Chapter 7, Prof. Irene Calboli challenges non-traditional trade marks as a negative phenomenon for innovation and creativity in the fashion industry. Using non-traditional trade marks from four luxury brands –Louboutin, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Bottega Veneta– as a guiding thread for her analysis, Prof. Calboli argues that non-traditional trade marks not only foreclose the competitors, but also chill the creativity of brands themselves, as they are bound to repeat their signature designs to fulfil the “use” requirement of trade marks.

        The volume closes with Chapter 8, authored by Prof. Martin Sentfleben, who addresses the growing tension between non-traditional trade marks and fundamental rights. The authors views the absolute grounds for refusal under the EU law, as potential gatekeepers, which serve to preserve the necessary balance between the interests of right holders and freedom of competition and expression.

    • Copyrights

      • Research Libraries Tell Publishers To Drop Their Awful Lawsuit Against The Internet Archive

        I’ve seen a lot of people — including those who are supporting the publishers’ legal attack on the Internet Archive — insist that they “support libraries,” but that the Internet Archive’s Open Library and National Emergency Library are “not libraries.” First off, they’re wrong. But, more importantly, it’s good to see actual librarians now coming out in support of the Internet Archive as well. The Association of Research Libraries has put out a statement asking publishers to drop this counter productive lawsuit, especially since the Internet Archive has shut down the National Emergency Library.

      • YouTube Jacks Live TV Streaming Prices 30%, As Streaming Sector Starts To Resemble Good Old Cable

        There’s absolutely no doubt that the streaming TV revolution has, by and large, been a positive thing. Thanks to a ridiculous surge in streaming TV competitors, consumers now have far more options than they’ve ever had before, resulting not only in lower prices and more flexibility in TV options, but customer service that far surpasses the clumsy trash fire that is Comcast customer service.

[Humour/Meme] Don’t Let a COVID Crisis Go to Waste When You’re Eager to Find Excuses for Many Layoffs and Shutdowns

Posted in Microsoft at 12:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If you’re going to lay off thousands of people, blame the virus*

Kirk Sulu Star Trek III: They say many companies fire people and resort to employee furlough because of the virus. OK, here's the plan. Late on Friday and thrice in one month we'll announce Microsoft layoffs and permanent shutdowns.

Summary: Microsoft business units that were defunct (long-failing, well before COVID-19) are being thrown out and Microsoft exploits a virus to rationalise these decisions while spicing up media coverage with “Hey Hi” (AI) and “virtual” experience or Facebook (to give the false impression that nothing really goes away)

* A Microsoft employee I spoke to today said they had closed the stores because of their failing status, totally irrespective of coronavirus.

Free Software Tackles Political Issues. Political Tactics Are Also Being Weaponised Against Free Software.

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 11:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog… until you start barking.”

Banner: A social art

Summary: Divide-and-rule tactics seem to have been exploited to weaken collaborative work on Free/libre software; the response to these tactics needs to start with realisation that this is going on (even if it’s done in a somewhat clandestine nature)

BACK in 2008 we wrote about how Microsoft had attempted to weaken the Free software community by playing off BSDs against the GNUs (and Linuxes). Internal documents from Microsoft revealed that it was on the agenda. The cult tactics of Microsoft aren’t new to us; we’ve covered those for many years and we provided evidence, too.

Society worldwide is being increasingly divided. It was always divided, sure, but the ferociousness of the division was never this bad in my lifetime. People are willing to kill one another over political differences and national leaders egg them on. They like it when people are divided, combating one another on a horizontal level rather than vertical level (things like gender/race, not class/finance).

“When the Free software movement began — and even in the UNIX/BSD camp — gender and class weren’t an issue; people had come from many parts of the world, from various ethnic backgrounds albeit usually from richer countries (where access to technology was possible back then).”Software freedom was, since inception, inherently political but also technical. The concept of sharing had an associated “justice” to it; people wanted to share with their neighbours things that were free to copy anyway; why should anyone stand in their way (except barons looking at the prospect of privateering and domination over culture/knowledge)?

When the Free software movement began — and even in the UNIX/BSD camp — gender and class weren’t an issue; people had come from many parts of the world, from various ethnic backgrounds albeit usually from richer countries (where access to technology was possible back then). There was nothting inherently racist and sexist about it, certainly not by design. Back then countries like Switzerland were only starting to consider granting women the right to vote!

Frankly, the interjection of all this “Free software is racist/sexist” thing seems to have come about more than a decade ago, metastacising in media in the pockets of corporations like Microsoft. They sought to shame us and to cause guilt, stigmatising geeks as a bunch of bigots and zealots who shout at the little girl, “THESE ARE MY TOYS! GO GET YOUR GIRLY TOYS!”

“In Free software everybody can participate, irrespective of race and gender, and in that sense it’s far more inclusive than the Oracles and Microsofts of the world.”I have never in my entire life witnessed someone (firsthand) mistreating a geeky female for being female. I didn’t actually hear people say things like, “computers are for guys!” I did, however, see code scrutinised and sometimes the code was crafted by a female. Equality means that code can be criticised irrespective of gender, right? That’s what Linus Torvalds did.

I generally reject the concept that Free software is any more racist or sexist than proprietary software companies. Maybe it’s not as good at hiding it (because of transparency, which is bolted into the workflow). It’s easy to accept that some malicious individuals exist among Free software developers; there’s no hiring process and there’s no discrimination. In Free software everybody can participate, irrespective of race and gender, and in that sense it’s far more inclusive than the Oracles and Microsofts of the world. How many people know about the racist agenda of Bill Gates and Microsoft's many Conservative/nationalist employees? They hide it from us. Because that’s what they’re good at: they hide things, not only code and bribes and back doors.

“A couple of years ago this guy called Ken Brown wrote a book saying that Linus stole Linux from me… It later came out that Microsoft had paid him to do this…”

Andrew S Tanenbaum, father on MINIX

Offence and Racism

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 11:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Because you are controllable

Summary: To those in positions of power and privilege (financial) you are controllable by guilt; dividing us and causing us to feel guilt and fear (over potential offence) is a powerful social control mechanism and pretext for dismissal, censorship, humiliation

THE term “offence” is rather broad; it can refer to crimes and felonies. It can also refer to feelings. Tyrants don’t wish to be ‘offended’ or disrespected; they even pass laws to protect themselves from this pesky “offence”; at the European Patent Office (EPO) both António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli have blocked Techrights for showing their offences. Apparently they’re too ‘offended’ when their staff can see their corruption, with evidence to accompany the claims (e.g. leaked documents and whistleblowers’ account/s).

The concept of being “offended” (as in emotionally hurt) is sometimes conflated with discrimination, as if to imply they’re necessarily the same and any feeling of lowered opportunity isn’t misfortune or a lack of merit; it’s always someone else’s fault. This may sometimes be the case, but it’s not a universal rule. But when it’s presumed to always be so, the severity of the response can lead to irrationality — a disproportional one. It thus needs to be corrected, one way or another, even if by means of vengeance (revenge).

“Sometimes it seems like a vocal minority, loud enough and potentially (unwittingly even) exploited by corporate boardrooms and autocratic politicians, seeks to represent a group that in practice it does not speak for (and cannot speak for).”It’s not secret that the concept of revenge tends to lead everyone astray; like the government choosing to kill a person just to prove that “killing is wrong” (death penalty). The logic behind it and the assumption it would discourage crime have been investigated; much has been disproved.

Right now we’re seeing some of these techniques being leveraged by both governments and corporations. Public and private sectors alike pass Draconian new laws and rules in the name of protecting us from “offence” (e.g. “hate speech” — a set of laws that cannot be enforced offline and barely online, either); if one actually asks those who are supposedly protected from being ‘offended’, the answer will sometimes be surprising. Many are rather cynical about the whole thing because the so-called ‘solutions’ do not actually tackle concrete problems. Sometimes it seems like a vocal minority, loud enough and potentially (unwittingly even) exploited by corporate boardrooms and autocratic politicians, seeks to represent a group that in practice it does not speak for (and cannot speak for).

“Who stands to gain from such fracturing? Probably those who laugh all the way to the bank. Well, a bank they need to take a plane to (because it’s in some offshore island).”The details above are intentionally vague; I’m deliberately leaving out examples to avert “offence”; I don’t wish for anyone to be ‘offended’. But the bottom line is this: almost everyone is a minority in some context. We’ve said it many times before. There are many elements to it, including religion, skin colour, ethnicity, gender, nationality, language, age, body type and so on. Few people can claim to be “average” and “normal” (or “majority” — however one defines it). Dividing us into subgroups and then shaming us into guilt would be good for nobody but those who wish to extract maximal labour (capital) from all of us. Divisive politics distract from class discrepancies and generally make the atmosphere ever more toxic. If you look at Free software communities, for instance, you may find that they recently became more divided, heated, even “toxic” over matters that nobody bothered with before. Who stands to gain from such fracturing? Probably those who laugh all the way to the bank. Well, a bank they need to take a plane to (because it’s in some offshore island).

Links 3/7/2020: TrueNAS 12 Beta 1, Librem 13 Product Line

Posted in News Roundup at 10:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The Meaning Behind System76

        System76 is more than just a cool moniker. To truly learn its significance, we have to look a few hundred years into the past, to the American Revolution. Get in the car, Marty. We’re off to be revolutionaries!
        Here we are, the year 1776. The American Colonies signed the Declaration of Independence to gain freedom from the British Empire. Okay! Back in the car, Marty. Yes I’m aware we just got here, but now we’re departing… for the early 2000s!
        Ah yes, the early 2000s, where the disks are scratched and the phones flip in circles. Zoom in on a basement-dwelling revolutionary named Carl Richell. He was quite fond of GNU/Linux and its community and thought it deserved its own dedicated hardware manufacturer, so he decided to be the one to provide it. In the spirit of the American Revolution, this new hardware manufacturer was named System76 as a declaration of independence from proprietary software. Months later, the first System76 computer shipped with Ubuntu 5.10: Breezy Badger.

      • Linux Desktop Market Share Peaked to All-Time High in June

        NetMarketshare reports that the Linux Desktop market share jumped to an all-time high in June 2020.

      • Purism Launches Librem 14 Security-Focused Linux Laptop

        If you’re not a fan of Windows 10 or Apple’s decision to transition to ARM-based laptops has you less than excited, Purism has a laptop you may want to consider instead.

        Purism is a company setup to produce “freedom respecting, privacy protecting, and security focused products,” and its latest product to deliver on that promise is the Librem 14 laptop. Launched this week, the Librem 14 builds on the previous success of the Librem 13 by using a 14-inch 1080p IPS panel, but managing to fit it into the same footprint of the Librem 13 chassis thanks to smaller bezels.

      • Purism reveal their powerful privacy-focused Librem 14 laptop

        If you’re after a laptop that’s both powerful and privacy respecting, you may want to take a look over at Purism with their newly launched Librem 14 laptop. Purism say it’s the first 14″ laptop designed to protect your digital life.

        Acting as the successor to the Librem 13 and now available to pre-order, Purism mentioned that it’s been designed based on their experience with the older model along with plenty of customer feedback. While it has a slightly bigger screen, that’s definitely not all, it’s actually quite the little powerhouse.

      • Purism’s Ultra-Secure Linux Machine is Now Available in a New Size

        Purism is well-known for its privacy and security focused hardware and software while utilizing open-source technologies. Not to forget the latest Purism Librem Mini.

        After a good success with Librem 15 and 13 series laptops, Purism has unveiled Librem 14.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Command Line Heroes: Season 5 trailer

        After four seasons of epic tales about how command line heroes have shaped the tech landscape, we’re tackling a new topic: The job itself.

        Season 5 covers the job of being a coder. How coding careers begin. How the job is done. How it’s changed. And how coders are shaping its continued evolution.

        Clive Thompson, previous guest and friend of the podcast, joins us for this 3-episode mini-season. The tech journalist shares his insights from the over 200 interviews he’s conducted with coders: programmers, developers, software engineers, sysadmins, and more.

        The first episode drops July 14, 2020. Subscribe today and sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates.

      • Linus Torvalds Ponders The Future Of The Linux Kernel
      • Video: Two guys name Linus build a new PC

        I wonder what the final price of this is?

    • Kernel Space

      • Rethinking the futex API

        The Linux futex() system call is a bit of a strange beast. It is widely used to provide low-level synchronization support in user space, but there is no wrapper for it in the GNU C Library. Its implementation was meant to be simple, but kernel developers have despaired at the complex beast that it has become, and few dare to venture into that code. Recently, though, a new effort has begun to rework futexes; it is limited to a new system-call interface for now, but the plans go far beyond that.
        There is a wide range of synchronization options within the kernel, but there have always been fewer options in user space. For years, the only real option was System V semaphores, but it is fair to say that they have never been universally loved. Developers have long wanted a mutex-like option for user space that does not kill performance.

        Back in 2002, Rusty Russell proposed a fast user-space mutex mechanism that quickly became known as a “futex”; this feature was present in the 2.6.0 kernel release at the end of 2003 and immediately used to control concurrency for POSIX threads. The initial implementation was just a few hundred lines of code. At its core, a futex is a 32-bit word of memory shared between cooperating processes; a value of one indicates that the futex is available, while anything else marks it as unavailable. A process wishing to acquire a futex will issue a locked decrement instruction, then verify that the resulting value was zero; if so, the acquisition was successful and execution can continue. Releasing the futex is a simple matter of incrementing its value again.

      • LPC town hall #2: the kernel report

        The Linux Plumbers Conference has announced the second in a brief series of “town hall” events leading up to the full (virtual) conference starting August 24. This one features LWN editor Jonathan Corbet presenting a version of his “Kernel Report” talk covering the current and future state of the kernel-development community. This talk is scheduled for July 16 at 9:00AM US/Mountain time (8:00AM US/Pacific, 3:00PM UTC). Mark your calendars.

      • Short Topix: Potentially BIG Power Savings Coming With Linux Kernel 5.8

        As reported in an article on the Phoronix website, a 12 year old bug in the Linux kernel could be rectified by the deletion of 10 lines of code in the Linux kernel. Ok, well, it’s four lines of comments and six actual lines of code.

        As it turns out, PCIe-to-PCI (and PCI-X) bridges have not had ASPM (Active State Power Management) enabled. This, in turn, could keep the CPU in higher power states than is necessary. As a result, lots of power is potentially wasted by keeping the CPU in higher power states. Fixing this may mean that users will get longer battery life from laptops.

        Back in 2008, the ASPM code merged into the Linux kernel disabled ASPM for PCI bridges. 12 years later, that code is simply being deleted, via a patch.

        PCIe-to-PCI bridges can be commonly found on servers and workstations. There is a good possibility that the patch will be backported to other stable branches of the Linux kernel.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa CI Optimization Could Provide Big Bandwidth Savings

          You may recall that earlier this year X.Org/FreeDesktop.org may have to cut CI services for developers over the cloud expenses associated with that continuous integration service for the likes of Mesa, the X.Org Server, and other components. CI usage was leading to a lot of bandwidth consumption so much so that the X.Org Foundation is facing potential ~70k USD cloud costs this year largely from their continuous integration setup.

          Since then there has been some work on better optimizing their continuous integration setup with Jenkins and within the latest Mesa Git is some further tuning.

        • A snap confined shell based on Mir: Mircade (or Mircade: An example snap confined user shell)

          There are various scenarios and reasons for packaging a Snap confined shell and a selection of applications together in a confined environment. You might have applications that work well together for a particular task; or, you may want to offer a number of alternative applications and have them available on a wide range of target platforms. Mircade illustrates this approach.

        • Intel Rocket Lake Graphics Support Ready For Liftoff With Linux 5.9

          Intel has sent in their initial batch of graphics driver updates to DRM-Next that in turn are slated to land with the Linux 5.9 cycle once its merge window opens next month.

          Most significant with this Intel DRM-Next pull is the introduction of Rocket Lake support, the Comet Lake successor that is said to be a still-14nm part but making it most exciting will be the replacement of the longstanding Gen9 graphics with Gen12 graphics. Back in May Intel posted the open-source Rocket Lake patches but came just too late for getting them reviewed/tested in time for Linux 5.8 and thus diverted for the 5.9 cycle.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: UBO Sighting
    • Applications

      • Spotlighting the Top Open Source Crafting Tools

        Handicraft is a term that describes many different types of work where practical and decorative objects are made by hand or by using only simple tools. Depending on your location, the phrase ‘arts and crafts’ may be more commonly used.

        Collective terms for handicrafts include artisanry, handicrafting, crafting, and handicraftsmanship. This article focuses on crafting using your hands.

        This article highlights versatile open source software that aids cross-stitching and knot design. The software featured here helps individuals create their own charts from scratch or generate charts from imported pictures. Good quality open source software in this field is very sparse, fortunately there are still a few real gems. Here’s our recommendations.

      • BadWolf Is A Minimal, Privacy-Oriented Web Browser

        BadWolf is a minimalist and privacy-oriented WebKitGTK+ browser. I’ve been looking for a good minimal web browser for a long time now. And BadWolf might be the best one that I’ve tried. BadWolf is available on Linux and BSD (not available for Windows and Mac).

      • Linux at Home: Research Your Family Tree

        In this series, we look at a range of home activities where Linux can make the most of our time at home, keeping active and engaged. The change of lifestyle enforced by Covid-19 is an opportunity to expand our horizons, and spend more time on activities we have neglected in the past.

        With lockdowns starting to be reintroduced in some countries, it looks set that social distancing will continue in many countries for the foreseeable future. Researching your family tree is a popular hobby.

        Here’s my recommended 3 programs to help you research your family tree. They are all free and open source and use open standards. Don’t fall into the trap of being locked into a particular vendor who might pull development at any time. And they all run on Linux, macOS, and Windows.

      • qrcp: Transfer Files Between Desktop And Mobile Devices Over Wi-Fi By Scanning A QR Code

        qrcp is a command line tool to transfer files from a desktop to a mobile device (and the other way around) over Wi-Fi, by scanning a QR code. It’s available for Microsoft Windows, macOS and Linux.

        The application binds a web server to the address of your Wi-Fi network interface on a random port (though the port can be specified if you want). When the QR code is scanned, the download begins (or you can open the URL scanned by the QR app in a web browser and the download will begin then). Once the transfer is completed, the web server is automatically stopped.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Rebuild the ecosystem in the latest Terra Nil update

        Terra Nil is a city-builder that’s about rebuilding the ecosystem and getting everything green, rather than painting the map grey with towers full of people. Originally made during a Game Jam, it’s since been expanded that we covered before and again recently a huge update went out for it.

        You start off with nothing, just dirt and rocks and eventually need to turn it into a garden of eden. It’s actually a little challenging too, as you need to carefully work around the wasteland to produce energy and water to expand without running out of your greenery currency.

      • Narrative RPG ‘Vagrus – The Riven Realms’ enters Early Access on July 22

        Vagrus – The Riven Realms is a currently in-development narrative-focused RPG that’s currently doing a hybrid crowdfunding model on Fig and it’s getting a wider release this month.

        Currently if you pledge on the Fig campaign you get Early Access there but they’ve now confirmed the GOG and Steam release will happen on July 22. Exciting, since it’s actually quite remarkable and it’s already won awards. Mixing together open-world exploration, turn-based strategic battles, resource management and more with engrossing writing and a fantastic art style I think it’s something you’re going to love.

      • Beyond a Steel Sky now confirmed for Linux PC on July 16

        After a recent Apple Arcade release and a bit of teasing about when PC players will get it on Steam, Revolution Software have now confirmed the date for Beyond a Steel Sky.

        On July 16, Beyond a Steel Sky will launch for Linux PC and Windows PC via Steam. For a GOG release, they have not confirmed if it’s coming or any date yet. This date was confirmed on YouTube and Twitter.

        Beyond a Steel Sky is the long awaited sequel to Beneath a Steel Sky. Revolution Software actually are the original developer of Beneath a Steel Sky, plus Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars, Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror and more.

      • Dota 2 gets an ‘Anonymous Mode’ similar to options in CS:GO, TI10 Cache up

        Valve just quietly updated Dota 2 to include a new ‘Anonymous Mode’ bringing in options similar to what you can tweak in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

        This new mode doesn’t make you actually anonymous, so the name itself is perhaps a tiny bit misleading taken at face value. What it actually does at the tick of a box is clean up everyone else for you. For everyone not on your friends list it will (or at least it should) clear away avatars, nicknames and in-game chat messages. It will also stop guild info being sent from guilds you’re not actually in.

      • Steampunk-inspired metroidvania ‘Steamdolls’ is a big Kickstarter success

        With David Hayter (the legendary Solid Snake) taking the the lead role as The Whisper, the steampunk inspired Steamdolls has been a huge success on Kickstarter.

        SteamDolls is a steampunk inspired metroidvania game with a grimy touch of brutality. You assume the role of a cunning thief and anarchist known as “The Whisper” and make your way through heavily secured environments. Blast your way to your objective or stick to the shadows and perform a violent “backstab kill” on unsuspecting guards as you struggle with the haunting apparitions of a mesmerizing witch trying to reveal the truth about a conspiracy that could shake the very foundation of the world.

      • Top-down tactical shooter RUNNING WITH RIFLES to get a German DLC

        RUNNING WITH RIFLES, a popular tactical shooter from Osumia Games is set to get a second expansion this August focused on the Germans.

        The expansion, RUNNING WITH RIFLES: EDELWEISS heads to the European theatre of World War II, first parachuting into Sicily before moving on to the invasion of Normandy, Belgium, and more. Focussing mostly on an ‘Allied Paratrooper’ narrative, Edelweiss charts the progress of the Allies attacks across Europe. They’re saying it should release on August 27 unless there’s major issues.

      • Demonstrating Perl with Tic-Tac-Toe, Part 3

        The articles in this series have mainly focused on Perl’s ability to manipulate text. Perl was designed to manipulate and analyze. But Perl is capable of much more. More complex problems often require working with sets of data objects and indexing and comparing them in elaborate ways to compute some desired result.

        For working with sets of data objects, Perl provides arrays and hashes. Hashes are also known as associative arrays or dictionaries. This article will prefer the term hash because it is shorter.

        The remainder of this article builds on the previous articles in this series by demonstrating basic use of arrays and hashes in Perl.

      • Our quick-picks of the best Linux games of 2020 so far

        We’re halfway through the year already? Madness. Even with all the craziness of 2020 going on, lots of games still managed to get out of the door. I know, I can’t believe 2020 isn’t over yet either. Thankfully there’s plenty of games to take our minds off everything from murder hornets to COVID19 and more.

        Now we’re at the halfway point, let’s think about some of the top Linux releases of 2020 so far. This list is extremely subjective of course, this is just my personal pick on the top 15. Think of it as a starting point for good games to look at if you’re stuck for something. In no particular order, going up to June 30 and I’m cheating just a little bit by including some Early Access titles too.

      • Action-adventure ‘Sparklite’ adds Linux support in a big update

        MergeGames, together with developers Red Blue Games have now released their action-adventure Sparklite on Linux along with a fresh content update.

        Originally released towards the end of 2019, Sparklite is an action-adventure set in the whimsical and ever-changing land of Geodia. With gorgeous pixel art and a top-down perspective, you battle foes using an arsenal of gadgets, guns, and gear. If you played and enjoyed Moonlighter, you would probably feel right at home with Sparklite too.

      • Best Racing Games for Android

        When it comes to video gaming, racing is the most popular genre, whether it is mobile gaming, pc gaming, or on any other gaming console. Racing games on Android have so much competition between them and the genre is crowded with tons of racing games. Every racing game has its own unique features and every gamer has his or her own preferences. In this genre, there is a large number of excellent free-to-play and paid games available for mobile users. This article covers the best racing games, in a variety of settings and with many different features for each unique user’s needs.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Bringing modern process management to the desktop

          A desktop environment’s sole role is to connect users to their applications. This includes everything from launching apps to actually displaying apps but also managing them and making sure they run fairly. Everyone is familiar the concept of a “Task manager” (like ksysguard), but over time they haven’t kept up with the way applications are being developed or the latest developments from Linux.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Is GNOME or Unity the desktop for you?

          I wrote about the fantastic new(ish) distribution Ubuntu Unity, and that post exposed serious division and opinions surrounding the Linux desktop. It wasn’t so much an “I dislike Unity or GNOME,” as it was more along the lines of full-blown hatred for one or the other. At least on one side of the spectrum–the other side was fandom.

          It’s clearly a love or hate relationship with these desktops.

          I understand such an issue is a matter of taste. I prefer a modern take on the desktop that performs in a very efficient way, but many others prefer the old-school desktop metaphors, found in the likes of Cinnamon, Mate, and KDE.

          Neither opinion is wrong–that’s the beauty of opinion.

          I’m taking another approach to the comparison between GNOME and the Unity desktop. I highlight the pros and cons of each and then suggest which users would be the best fit for either desktop. There is no scientific method going on here. I’ve been using and covering Linux for more than 20 years, so it’s all about experience and knowing how the evolution of the Linux user has changed over the years. With that said, let’s take a look at GNOME and Unity.

        • Georges Basile Stavracas Neto: This Month in Mutter & GNOME Shell | May and June 2020

          The volunteers and contributors working on Mutter and GNOME Shell have been busy in the past couple of months — so much so that we didn’t have bandwidth to write the May development report!

          As a consequence, this development summary will have an above average number of changes to highlight.

        • Jonas Ådahl: Splitting up the Frame Clock

          Readers be advised, this is somewhat of a deep dive into the guts of Mutter. With that out in the open, lets start!

          Not too long ago mutter saw a merge request land, that has one major aim: split up the frame clock so that when using the Wayland session, each CRTC is driven by its own frame clock. In effect the goal here is that e.g. a 144 Hz monitor and a 60 Hz monitor being active in the same session will not have to wait for each other to update, and that the space they occupy on the screen will draw at their own pace. A window on the 144 Hz monitor will paint at 144 Hz, and mutter will composite to the monitor at 144 Hz, while a window on the 60 Hz monitor will paint at 60 Hz and Mutter will composite to the monitor at 60 Hz.

        • GNOME Shell + Mutter Off To A Good Start For Summer 2020

          The GNOME Shell and Mutter have seen a lot of work come together nicely over the past two months.

          The GNOME Shell blog is out with their recap of development work that landed over the months of May and June.

        • Important Patches Land To Improve GNOME’s Multi-Monitor Experience With High Refresh Rates

          If you have say a 144Hz gaming monitor as well as a conventional 60Hz secondary display or any other multi-monitor configuration with different refresh rates, there is now another reason to get excited for GNOME 3.38.


          This is very important for improving the multi-monitor experience with such configurations as up to now capping the refresh rate to match is a less than desirable experience. This work landed today in Mutter for September’s release of GNOME 3.38. This next release is shaping up to be quite exciting with the plethora of optimizations to already land thus far. It is important to note that this multi-monitor improvement only benefits the GNOME Wayland session and not under X11.

        • Alejandro Domínguez: Refactoring Fractal: Remove Backend (II)

          So the time came for removing the Backend struct finally! The bits that were left in the previous patch have been removed, which were not just state but a ThreadPool and a cache for some info. Those were fitted in AppOp without too much thought on consistency of it.

          But what does this actually mean for the internal structure of the code?

          The result is that any state or utility that was needed for requests and modifying the UI is held only from a single place in the app. With it, the loop in Backend has been removed as well, and instead of sending messages to the receiver loop from the backend, those are sent from a spawned thread (to keep the UI thread unlocked) that sends the HTTP request directly and retrieves the response. Put in a simpler way, I replaced message passing to the backend loop with spawning threads, which was done anyways in the loop to be able to have multiple requests at the same time.

          I acknowledge that doing this kind parallelism with system threads in 2020 is a very crude way of doing the task, to say the least, but using coroutines requires a significant amount of work in other areas of the app right now.

        • GSoC 2020: the first milestone

          During the community bonding period, I had a video call with my absolutely amazing mentor Alberto, who told me about GNOME culture, and about his inspiring journey with GNOME as contributor. In the last month, I have been welcomed by the community and am very proud to be contributing to GNOME.
          Here’s a summary of the technical work that has been done in the last month.

        • Marcus Lundblad: Summer Maps

          Since it’s been a while since the last post, I thought I should share a little update about some going ons with Maps.

    • Distributions

      • A new EFI administration tool in Zenwalk

        Today : a new tool to manage EFI boot entries has been added.

      • Reviews

        • Austrumi Linux Is Loaded With Language Laziness

          Austrumi Linux contains all the necessary basic programs for work and entertainment. It boots from CD, flash drive or a hard drive installation and can be used on servers and workstations.

          Austrumi Linux is not well known, but it checks most of the usability boxes. The only technical requirement is the ability to burn the ISO to a DVD or USB.

          Do not expect much from the Austrumi web site. It is poorly designed and has no information about using the distro or getting help. Several of the pages are blank or not there.

          Beyond that process, just turn on the computer and use Austrumi. No installation is needed. Nor is there any need for system configurations.

          Of course, that all depends on whether Latvia is your native language.

        • Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” Review: The Most Complete OS For Everyone

          Last week, Linux Mint founder Clement Lefebvre released the latest long-term version — Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana.” Mint 20 is built on top of the latest Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” which will now be supported until 2025.

          Over the years, Linux Mint has grown as one of the most suitable Linux distributions for beginners alongside Ubuntu. With Mint 20, it has embarked on a new version with a number of enhancements. Hence, in this article, we’ll walk you through Linux Mint 20 which we practically tested on a bare machine.

      • New Releases

        • GParted Live System Gets New Release, Now Powered by Linux Kernel 5.7

          Synced with the Debian Sid (Unstable) software repositories as of July 1st, 2020, the GParted Live 1.1.0-3 release is now available for download, the first to be powered by the latest Linux 5.7 kernel series. Linux kernel 5.7.6 is included by default to provide users with support for newer hardware.

          Besides the kernel bump, the new release is also here to address several bugs present in previous versions. For example, it fixes a regression discovered in version 1.1.0-2 (i686) that made the GParted Live system to fail to boot on 64-bit UEFI machines.

        • IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 147 is available for testing

          With this week’s release of Core Update 146, we already have made the next one available for testing. It contains a vast amount of package updates and brings some security updates.

          Although this update is rather small in number of changes, it is rather large on disk due to the many Linux firmware files that we are shipping. Please help us testing this release to make sure it won’t introduce any new regressions into IPFire.

      • BSD

        • TrueNAS 12.0-BETA1 Release Announcement

          FreeNAS (and now TrueNAS) Fans! I’m pleased to announce the availability of our first BETA1 for the upcoming 12.0 TrueNAS CORE / Enterprise release.

        • TrueNAS 12 Beta 1 Released With Much Improved ZFS, Better AMD Ryzen CPU Support

          As what was formerly FreeNAS, the first beta of TrueNAS CORE 12.0 is available for testing of this BSD-based operating system for NAS devices and other storage setups.

          The TrueNAS 12.0 Beta 1 both for the CORE and Enterprise editions includes much improved ZFS support with now relying upon the code that’s going to be released as OpenZFS 2.0, support for ZFS async copy-on-write, native ZFS dataset encryption, ZFS user quota capabilities, and more.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • [PCLinuxOS] Screenshot Showcase
        • PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight – Mr. Lumbergh

          Why and when did you start using Linux?
          2005. The security issues with Windows XP were really blowing up at the time, so when I ordered a new computer for school I made sure to do so with a second drive planning on giving ‘Nix a try. I started off on Ubuntu on that machine, and when I got a laptop a couple of years later I wanted to try something different and ran through a couple distros before settling on PCLinuxOS. It’s become my everyday driver, and I now use Linux most of the time on my own machines simply because I like it better. I’m currently running Debian 10 and PCLinuxOS.

          What specific equipment do currently use with PCLinuxOS?
          This desktop has an AMD Ryzen 7 3800X, Radeon 580X graphics, Asus X570 mobo, and 64GB of G-Skill Ripjaws RAM. I also have a Nektar Impact GX61 MIDI controller keyboard and Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 audio interface connected to this machine since it’s my production rig. I also have PCLinuxOS installed on a hand-me-down laptop (Lenovo Z580) that runs only Linux.

          Do you feel that your use of Linux influences the reactions you receive from your computer peers or family? If so, how?
          I’m not sure how much using Linux has to do with it, but I’ve certainly become the tech support for my family… Outside of a few die-hards, I find that folks generally aren’t too hung up on what OS you use. I use Windows, MacOS, and Linux daily and think each has its place, though I’d likely never use Windows at all on my own boxes if WINE support for games and a few audio programs was better.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Leap 15.2 Adds AI Machine Learning

          For openSUSE users, there’s some very exciting news for the release of the latest iteration, 15.2. This new take on the platform includes several new packages into the mix that add both artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The packages that bring these two new features include Tensorflow (a framework for deep learning), PyTorch (a machine learning library), and ONNX (an open format for machine learning models that provides interoperability in the AI tool space).

        • openSUSE Leap releases version 15.2 with new AI and ML tools

          Community Linux distribution openSUSE Leap has released version 15.2, which includes a number of artificial intelligence and machine learning packages, security updates, bug fixes, network enhancements, and many new features.

          A statement from the release team said the new version would run on the x86-64, ARM64 and POWER systems. “Leap 15.2 represents a huge step forward in the artificial intelligence space,” said Marco Varlese, a developer and member of the project.

          “I am super excited that openSUSE end-users can now finally consume machine learning / deep learning frameworks and applications via our repositories to enjoy a stable and up-to-date ecosystem.”

          Some of the AI and ML packages are Tensorflow which is a framework for deep learning that can be used by data scientists to provide numerical computations and data-flow graphs; PyTorch, which is for both server and compute resources to accelerate power users’ ability to prototype a project and move it to a production deployment; ONNX, an open format built to represent machine learning models and provide interoperability in the AI tool space; and Grafana and Prometheus both of which open up new possibilities for analytical experts.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora 33 SwapOnZRam Test Day 2020-07-06

          The Workstation Working Group has proposed a change for Fedora 33 to use swap on zram. This would put swap space on a compressed RAM drive instead of a disk partition. The QA team is organizing a test day on Monday, July 06, 2020. Refer to the wiki page for links to the test cases and materials you’ll need to participate. Read below for details.

        • F32-20200701 Updated Live isos released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F32-20200701-Live ISOs, carrying the 5.6.19-300 kernel.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have about 900+MB of updates)).

          A huge thank you goes out to irc nicks dowdle, dbristow, nasirhm, Southern-Gentleman for testing these iso.

        • Build a simple cloud-native change data capture pipeline

          Change data capture (CDC) is a well-established software design pattern for a system that monitors and captures data changes so that other software can respond to those events. Using KafkaConnect, along with Debezium Connectors and the Apache Camel Kafka Connector, we can build a configuration-driven data pipeline to bridge traditional data stores and new event-driven architectures.

          This article walks through a simple example.

        • OpenPOWER Reboot – New Director, New Silicon Partners, Leveraging Linux Foundation Connections

          Earlier this week the OpenPOWER Foundation announced the contribution of IBM’s A21 Power processor core design to the open source community. Roughly this time last year, IBM announced open sourcing its Power instruction set (ISA) and Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (OpenCAPI) and Open Memory Interface (OMI). That’s also when IBM said OpenPOWER would become a Linux Foundation entity. Then a few weeks ago, OpenPOWER named a new executive director, James Kulina.

          Change is afoot at the OpenPOWER Foundation. Will it be enough to prompt wider (re)consideration and adoption of the OpenPOWER platform and ecosystem?

        • Red Hat Powers the Future of Supercomputing with Red Hat Enterprise Linux

          Fugaku is the first Arm-based system to take first place on the TOP500 list, highlighting Red Hat’s commitment to the Arm ecosystem from the data center to the high-performance computing laboratory. Sierra, Summit and Marconi-100 all boast IBM POWER9-based infrastructure with NVIDIA GPUs; combined, these four systems produce more than 680 petaflops of processing power to fuel a broad range of scientific research applications.

          In addition to enabling this immense computation power, Red Hat Enterprise Linux also underpins six out of the top 10 most power-efficient supercomputers on the planet according to the Green500 list. Systems on the list are measured in terms of both performance results and the power consumed achieving those. When it comes to sustainable supercomputing the premium is put on finding a balanced approach for the most energy-efficient performance.

        • Red Hat Powers the Future of Supercomputing with Red Hat Enterprise Linux

          Modern supercomputers are no longer purpose-built monoliths constructed from expensive bespoke components. Each supercomputer deployment powered by Red Hat Enterprise Linux uses hardware that can be purchased and integrated into any datacenter, making it feasible for organizations to use enterprise systems that are similar to those breaking scientific barriers. Regardless of the underlying hardware, Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides the common control plane for supercomputers to be run, managed and maintained in the same manner as traditional IT systems.

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux also opens supercomputing applications up to advancements in enterprise IT, including Linux containers. Working closely in open source communities with organizations like the Supercomputing Containers project, Red Hat is helping to drive advancements to make Podman, Skopeo and Buildah, components of Red Hat’s distributed container toolkit, more accessible for building and deploying containerized supercomputing applications.

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux serves as operating system for supercomputers

          Red Hat announced that Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides the operating system backbone for the top three supercomputers in the world and four out of the top 10, according to the newest TOP500 ranking.

          Already serving as a catalyst for enterprise innovation across the hybrid cloud, these rankings also show that the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform can deliver a foundation to meet even the most demanding computing environments.

        • Lessons learned from standing up a front-end development program at IBM

          In 2015, we created the FED@IBM program to support front-end developers and give them the opportunity to learn new skills and teach other devs about their specific areas of expertise. While company programs often die out due to lack of funding, executive backing, interest, or leadership, our community is thriving in spite of losing the funding, executive support, and resources we had at the program’s inception.

          What’s the secret behind the success of this grassroots employee support program? As I have been transitioning leadership of the FED@IBM Program and Community, I have been reflecting on our program’s success and how to define how we have been able to sustain the program.

      • Debian Family

        • Utkarsh Gupta: FOSS Activites in June 2020

          This was my 16th month of contributing to Debian. I became a DM in late March last year and a DD last Christmas! \o/

          This month was a little intense. I did a a lot of different kinds of things in Debian this month. Whilst most of my time went on doing security stuff, I also sponosred a bunch of packages.

        • Mike Gabriel: My Work on Debian LTS (June 2020)

          In June 2020, I have worked on the Debian LTS project for 8 hours (of 8 hours planned).

        • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, June 2020

          I was assigned 20 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative, and worked all 20 hours this month.

          I sent a final request for testing for the next update to Linux 3.16 in jessie. I also prepared an update to Linux 4.9, included in both jessie and stretch. I completed backporting of kernel changes related to CVE-2020-0543, which was still under embargo, to Linux 3.16.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Phone Recap 2020

          I found my community at Mastodon. They share a lot about Ubuntu Phone – particularly Ubuntu Touch operating system and its current maintainer The UBPorts Project and the hardware maker PINE64. Fortunately unexpected, two interesting things come – the arrival of Volla and also Fairphone which want to be the next Ubuntu Phone and powered with the Touch. These are interesting to cover in a short summary so this article is for you who are interested in Ubuntu Phone once again. Let’s go!

        • Ubuntu 19.10 Reaches End of Life This Month, Plan Those Upgrades Soon

          Any enthusiasts engaging on the extant edition past this date will need (read: want) to expedite plans to emigrate to the next available release, which is the fabulously fast Ubuntu 20.04 ‘Focal Fossa’.

          The Ubuntu 19.10 release arrived on October 17, 2019. As a non-LTS release it gets 9 months of on-going app updates and security patches.

          And those 9 months are almost up.

          After this date you won’t get new versions of Firefox or anything else, and many third-party developers stop building packages for unsupported Ubuntu releases.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) Will Reach End of Life on July 17th, 2020

          Launched last year on October 17th, Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) shipped with the Linux 5.3 kernel series, the GNOME 3.34 desktop environment, initial support for ZFS as the root file system via the installer, support for DLNA sharing, WPA3 support, as well as Yaru light and dark themes.

          Since it’s not an LTS (Long Term Support) release, Ubuntu 19.10 was mainly a testbed for Canonical to try new features. This also translates to the release not having any major changes and receiving only 9 months of support.

          Therefore, on July 17th, 2020, Canonical will no longer support Ubuntu 19.10. This means that they will cease to provide software updates and security fixes for the distribution.

        • Linux Mint 20.0 Released

          Linux Mint 20.0 is now available with its traditional separate releases based on different desktop environments. I have just upgraded my LMDE4 to latest Linux Kernel, so won’t be trying Mint 20.0 anytime soon. What about you?

        • There’s No Ubuntu 32-bit ISO. What Now?

          You’ve searched high and low but can’t find an Ubuntu 32-bit ISO. That’s because it doesn’t exist. Canonical decided to drop support for 32-bit computers, so they stopped releasing 32-bit ISOs since Ubuntu 18.04. And they’re not the only ones.

          Initially, this may sound strange since Linux is famous for supporting older hardware. And yet, it’s justified by the last 32-bit CPU being produced more than a decade ago.

          If your PC is so old that it doesn’t support 64-bit software, you have only three possible paths forward. Let’s see your options.

        • Make Ubuntu 20.4 Look Like MacOS [You Won't Believe the End Result]

          A step by step, detailed video tutorial showing how to make Ubuntu look like macOS. Perfect example of the customization power of Linux desktop.

        • A blast from the past – Shutter

          The wheel of software turns, and apps come and go. But the end of development does not always mean the end of usefulness. Sometimes, programs stubbornly remain around, offering a complete experience that can withstand the test of time.

          Several weeks ago, we talked about how you can preserve old applications with snaps. Today, we would like to expand on this concept and talk about Shutter, a feature-rich screenshot application that was rather popular several years ago. Its development has stalled in recent years, and it has become more difficult to install and run it on newer versions of various Linux distributions. But Shutter has gained a new life as a snap.

        • Encryption at rest with Ceph

          Do you have a big data center? Do you have terabytes of confidential data stored in that data center? Are you worried that your data might be exposed to malicious attacks? One of the most prominent security features of storage solutions is encryption at rest. This blog will explain this in more detail and how it is implemented in Charmed Ceph, Canonical’s software-defined storage solution.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Moving Ahead In Restricting Access To dmesg

          Following the discussions last month over restricting access to dmesg / kernel logs on Ubuntu in matching the behavior of other Linux distributions for better security practices, Ubuntu 20.10 indeed is moving forward with these plans where dmesg access would require root privileges.

          In recent times more Linux distributions have been restricting access to dmesg over the possibility of kernel addresses being leaked or other potentially sensitive bits while as it stands now on Ubuntu there is free reign on multi-user systems to have unprivileged users read dmesg output.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Jussi Pakkanen: What is best in open source projects?

        Open source project maintainers have a reputation of being grumpy and somewhat rude at times. This is a not unexpected as managing an open source project can be a tiring experience. This can lead to exhaustion and thus to sometimes being a bit too blunt.

        But let’s not talk about that now.

        Instead, let’s talk about the best of times, the positive outcomes, the things that really make you happy to be running an open source project. Patches, both bug fixes and new features are like this. So is learning about all the places people are using your project. Even better if they are using it ways you could not even imagine when you started. All of these things are great, but they are not the best.

        The greatest thing is when people you have never met or even heard of before come to your project and then on their own initiative take on leadership in some subsection in the project.

      • How an open project’s governance model evolves

        As we continue renovating the Open Organization community, we’ve been asking hard questions about how we want that community to function. What do we expect of one another, and of the new contributors yet to join us? How will we work best together? And how will we keep one another accountable for achieving our shared goals?


        Through this conversation, we’ve been able to update the Open Organization project description and vision.

        That vision initially took shape nearly five years ago, when the Open Organization Ambassador team first formed. At the time, Red Hat community architects Jason Hibbets and Bryan Behrenshausen drafted a document describing what a community of passionate advocates for open organizational principles might look like. The vision was entirely aspirational, describing what could be—rather than what was. It served as a beacon to attract passionate contributors to a still-nascent project.

        As soon as the community did attract new members, however, those members promptly wrote their own mission and vision for the Open Organization project, articulating their identity and purpose. And as we’ve grown, we’ve realized that we’re all committed to even more than we originally described. Our community is adept at translating open organization principles for various audiences and contexts, and at helping different communities connect to our language and culture through their own languages and cultures.

      • Copyright enforcement with Dr. Miriam Ballhausen

        We invited Dr. Miriam Ballhausen to talk with us about copyright enforcement. She is a German lawyer with the focus on software, data protection, copyright law and specifically Free Software copyright. This is the sixth regular episode of the Software Freedom Podcast for which we invite experts from our community.

        In this sixth episode of the Software Freedom Podcast we talk about Free Software copyright enforcement with our guest Dr. Miriam Ballhausen. Dr. Miriam Ballhausen is a German laywer and is specialised in Free Software copyright questions. Together we cover the basics about Free Software licensing and discuss, how Free Software copyright can be enforced, what are the steps to enforce it and why it is often enforced in Germany. We also explore how the REUSE project could help with being in compliance with Free Software licenses.

      • IBM Has Open Sourced Its Edge Device Platform and Wishes AWS and Microsoft Got On Board

        IBM’s Open Horizon is meant to make it easier to manage thousands of IoT devices as edge computing nodes.

      • Open-source contact tracing, part 1

        The main goal of COVID-19 tracing applications is to notify users if they have been recently in contact with an infected person, so that they can isolate themselves or seek out testing. The creation of the applications is usually supported by governments, with the development performed by health authorities and research institutions. The Wikipedia page for COVID-19 apps lists (as of early June 2020) at least 38 countries with such applications in use or under development, and at least eight framework initiatives.

        The applications trace the people that the user has had contact with for a significant period (for example, 15 minutes) with close physical proximity (a distance around one meter). The complete tracing system usually consists of an application for mobile phones and the server software.

        For the distance measurement and detecting the presence of other users, GPS and Bluetooth are the technical solutions used in practice. GPS only appears in a small number of projects because it does not have enough precision, especially inside buildings. It also does not work in enclosed spaces like underground parking and subways.

        Most countries have chosen to develop a distance measurement using Bluetooth, generally the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) variant, which uses less energy than the classical version. This is important as the distance measurement is done by mobile phones, and so Bluetooth will need to be active most of the time.

        The Bluetooth protocol was not designed for these kinds of tasks, though, so research has been done on ways to measure distance accurately. A report [PDF] from the Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing project shows that it is possible to measure distance using BLE signal strength, specifically received signal strength indication (RSSI). In a contact-tracing system using Bluetooth, the distance measurement is made by the two phones communicating using a specific message format. Since the formats differ between applications, communication is only guaranteed to work if both phones are using the same application.

      • More alternatives to Google Analytics

        Last week, we introduced the privacy concerns with using Google Analytics (GA) and presented two lightweight open-source options: GoatCounter and Plausible. Those tools are useful for site owners who need relatively basic metrics. In this second article, we present several heavier-weight GA replacements for those who need more detailed analytics. We also look at some tools that produce analytics data based on web-server-access logs, GoAccess, in particular.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.4.5 Released with over 100 Bug Fixes, Now Ready for Enterprise Deployments

          LibreOffice 6.4.5 comes one and a half months after LibreOffice 6.4.4 and it’s packed with lots of bug fixes across all core components. A total of 106 bugs have been addressed in this new point release, as documented here and here.

          But, the good news that I would like to share with you today is that the LibreOffice 6.4 office suite series is now finally ready for enterprise deployments in production environments as it’s thoroughly tested and includes several months of bug fixes.

          Those of you using the LibreOffice 6.3 office suite series in enterprise environments should upgrade to LibreOffice 6.4.5 as soon as possible. You can download the latest release for Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms right now from the official website.

        • Announcement of LibreOffice 6.4.5

          The Document Foundation announces the availability of LibreOffice 6.4.5, the 5th minor release of the LibreOffice 6.4 family, targeted at technology enthusiasts and power users. LibreOffice 6.4.5 includes over 100 bug fixes and improvements to document compatibility and interoperability with software from other vendors.

          LibreOffice 6.4.5 is optimized for use in production environments, even by more conservative users, as it now includes several months of work on bug fixes. Users of LibreOffice 6.3.6 and previous versions should start planning the update to LibreOffice 6.4.5, as the new major LibreOffice release – tagged 7.0 – is going to be announced in early August.


          LibreOffice 6.4.5 is immediately available from the following link: https://www.libreoffice.org/download/. Minimum requirements are specified on the download page. TDF builds of the latest LibreOffice Online source code are available as Docker images: https://hub.docker.com/r/libreoffice/online/.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Taler news: Exchange independent security audit report published

            We received a grant from NLnet foundation to pay for an external security audit of the GNU Taler exchange cryptography, code and documentation. CodeBlau now concluded their audit. You can find the final report here. We have compiled a preliminary response detailing what changes we have already made and which changes we are still planning to make in the future. We thank CodeBlau for their work, and NLnet and the European Commission’s Horizion 2020 NGI initiative for funding this work.

      • Programming/Development

        • GnuCOBOL 3.1rc-1 on alpha.gnu.org

          While this version is a release-randidate (with an expected full release within 3 months) it is the most stable and complete free COBOL compiler ever available.

        • 6 best practices for managing Git repos

          This is arguably Rule Zero for a secure Git repository. As a project maintainer, whether you started it yourself or you’ve adopted it from someone else, it’s your job to know the contents of your own repository. You might not have a memorized list of every file in your codebase, but you need to know the basic components of what you’re managing. Should a stray file appear after a few dozen merges, you’ll be able to spot it easily because you won’t know what it’s for, and you’ll need to inspect it to refresh your memory. When that happens, review the file and make sure you understand exactly why it’s necessary.


          Third-party libraries are no exception to this rule. While it’s one of the many benefits of open source that you can freely re-use and re-distribute code you didn’t write, there are many good reasons not to house a third-party library in your own repository. First of all, you can’t exactly vouch for a third party, unless you’ve reviewed all of its code (and future merges) yourself. Secondly, when you copy third party libraries into your Git repo, it splinters focus away from the true upstream source. Someone confident in the library is technically only confident in the master copy of the library, not in a copy lying around in a random repo. If you need to lock into a specific version of a library, either provide developers with a reasonable URL the release your project needs or else use Git Submodule.

        • Scala contributor: Open source and diversity key to tackling dev skills shortage

          Diversity and open source can help fix the software developer skills gap, argued Scala contributor and Carnegie Mellon Assistant Professor Heather Miller in a keynote talk at the virtual Open Source Summit North America.

          Miller examined the IT and computer-related skills shortage from a US perspective. “The Department of Labor statistics show that in 2017 there were over 500,000 computing-related jobs open in the US that were not filled. They project that this number is going to get a lot higher. If this trend continues, it’s obvious that there’s no way these posts can be filled by computer science graduates.”

          There are, however, many new people coming into the profession, not necessarily computer science graduates, and a notable point of recent StackOverflow research is the large number of respondents who consider themselves professional and have been coding for less than five years – 39.6 per cent in the latest survey.

          “The years of experience of professional software engineers, that is going down,” said Miller.

        • Evgeni Golov: Automatically renaming the default git branch to “devel”

          It seems GitHub is planning to rename the default brach for newly created repositories from “master” to “main”. It’s incredible how much positive PR you can get with a one line configuration change, while still working together with the ICE.

          However, this post is not about bashing GitHub.

          Changing the default branch for newly created repositories is good. And you also should do that for the ones you create with git init locally. But what about all the repositories out there? GitHub surely won’t force-rename those branches, but we can!

          Ian will do this as he touches the individual repositories, but I tend to forget things unless I do them immediately…

        • Web-augmented graphics overlay broadcasting with WPE and GStreamer

          To address the first point, WPE founding engineer, Žan Doberšek enabled software rasterizing support in WPE and its FDO backend. This is great because it allows WPE to run on machines without GPU (like continuous integration builders, test bots) but also “in the cloud” where machines with GPU are less affordable than bare metal! Following up, I enabled this feature in GstWPE. The source element caps template now has video/x-raw, in addition to video/x-raw(memory:GLMemory). To force swrast, you need to set the LIBGL_ALWAYS_SOFTWARE=true environment variable. The downside of swrast is that you need a good CPU. Of course it depends on the video resolution and framerate you want to target.

          On the latency front, I decided to switch from RTMP to WebRTC! This W3C spec isn’t only about video chat! With WebRTC, sub-second live one-to-many broadcasting can be achieved, without much efforts, given you have a good SFU. For this demo I chose Janus, because its APIs are well documented, and it’s a cool project! I’m not sure it would scale very well in large deployments, but for my modest use-case, it fits very well.

          Janus has a plugin called video-room which allows multiple participants to chat. But then imagine a participant only publishing its video stream and multiple “clients” connecting to that room, without sharing any video or audio stream, one-to-many broadcasting. As it turns out, GStreamer applications can already connect to this video-room plugin using GstWebRTC! A demo was developed by tobiasfriden and saket424 in Python, it recently moved to the gst-examples repository. As I kind of prefer to use Rust nowadays (whenever I can anyway) I ported this demo to Rust, it was upstreamed in gst-examples as well. This specific demo streams the video test pattern to a Janus instance.

          Adapting this Janus demo was then quite trivial. By relying on a similar video mixer approach I used for the first GstWPE demo, I had a GstWPE-powered WebView streaming to Janus.

        • PHP releases and support

          PHP is used extensively on the web. How new features, security fixes, and bug fixes make their way into a release is important to understand. Likewise, understanding what can be expected in community support for previous releases is even more important. Since PHP-based sites are typically exposed to the Internet, keeping up-to-date is not something a security-minded administrator can afford to ignore.

          PHP has not always had a formal release process and corresponding time frame for support; the official policy the project has now wasn’t adopted until 2011. Before then, the decisions of when to make releases and how long to support them were both made less formally by key members of the community.

          Let’s start with PHP versioning, where the project is more or less dependable. The versioning of PHP releases aims to follow Semantic Versioning. Major releases such as 3.0 and 4.0 always come with backward-compatibility breaks. Minor versions, such as 4.1 and 4.2, fix bugs and add new features that are backward-compatible in relation to the major release. Patch releases, such as 4.1.1, tend to be strictly for important bug fixes and should never break backward compatibility.

        • Intel AMX Support Begins Landing In LLVM

          Following Intel publishing the initial Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX) documentation at the end of June, the open-source/Linux bring-up has continued for these new CPU instruction set extensions set to premiere with Sapphire Rapids next year.

        • Intel oneDNN 2.0 Deep Neural Network Library Working On More Performance Tuning

          Intel’s open-source oneDNN library, which was formerly known as MKL-DNN and DNNL for this deep neural network library now living under the oneAPI umbrella, continues working on some big performance advancements for its 2.0 release.

          Intel on Thursday released oneDNN 2.0 Beta 7 and with it comes more Intel CPU performance optimizations around convolutional neural networks, binary primitive performance for the broadcast case, BFloat16 and FP32 weights gradient convolutions, INT8 convolutions with 1×1 kernel and spatial strides, and a variety of other specific areas within this deep learning library seeing optimizations.

        • Terminology Debate

          • Tech Companies Take Steps to Change Exclusionary Language

            In an article on The New Stack in June, Jennifer Riggins discussed recent decisions by some tech companies to phase out the use of exclusionary language. For example, Android and GitHub have announced that they will switch from the use of “master” to “main,” and other organizations and projects are following suit.

            These steps stem in part from efforts to show tangible support for Black Lives Matter. At times, however, Riggins said, “it is virtue signaling, a relatively easy way to show a company supports the movement. In still other cases, employees have been long wanting to make a change to the outdated language, and now is the perfect time to appeal to decision-makers about this.”

          • Red Hat making open source code more inclusive by eradicating ‘problematic language’

            Open source has always been about differing voices coming together to share ideas, iterate, challenge the status quo, solve problems, and innovate quickly.

            That ethos is rooted in inclusion and the opportunity for everyone to meaningfully contribute, and open source technology is better because of the diverse perspectives and experiences that are represented in its communities.

            Red Hat is fortunate to be able to see the impact of this collaboration daily, and this is why our business has also always been rooted in these values.

          • Words Matter: Finally, Tech Looks at Removing Exclusionary Language

            This month the tech industry’s lexicon is seeing a small but significant shift: Common technical phrases, most notably “Master/Slave” and “Whitelist/Blacklist” that have been red-flagged as offensive, or even racist, sometimes for decades, are getting updates. Android and GitHub announced this week that it is starting to changing “master” designation to “main,” alongside Android, Gitlab and Splunk. Many orgs are also looking at replacing the concept of “whitelist” in both its documentation and in its APIs. Other companies and open source projects are following suit.

            This work is in part to take another semantic and moral stand that Black Lives Matter. And, at times, it is virtue signaling, a relatively easy way to show a company supports the movement. In still other cases, employees have been long wanting to make a change to the outdated language, and now is the perfect time to appeal to decision-makers about this.

        • Python

          • EuroPython 2020: Our keynotes

            Conference tickets are available on our registration page. We hope to see lots of you at the conference from July 23-26. Rest assured that we’ll make this a great event again — even within the limitations of running the conference online.

          • Full Stack Python: How to Report Errors in Flask Web Apps with Sentry

            Flask web applications are highly customizable by developers thanks to the framework’s extension-based architecture, but that flexibility can sometimes lead to more errors when you run the application due to rough edges between the libraries.

            Reporting errors is crucial to running a well-functioning Flask web application, so this tutorial will guide you through adding a free, basic Sentry configuration to a fresh Flask project.

          • PyCharm EAP#3 is out!

            PyCharm EAP #3 is out and it’s almost releasing time!! If you are like us you are also looking forward to the end of the month! We have been talking about new features for the last month and today we will take a deeper look into two very exciting ones. For the full list, check our release notes.

          • The Home Stretch – Building SaaS #63

            In this episode, we return to the homeschool application that I’m building. I’m in the final stretch of changes that need to happen to make the product minimally viable. We worked on a template, wrote some model methods, and did a bunch of automated testing.

            We started by adding students to the context of the students index page. With the students in the context, we updated the index page to display the list of students.

            After the students were available, we had to check their enrolled status in a school year. That logic doesn’t belong in the template so we worked out the changes needed for the view.

          • py.CheckIO: Find out more about Python by searching the solutions

            As you might have noticed, for two weeks we haven’t made our usual newsletter mailouts. But we definitely weren’t wasting any time. CheckiO team was actually preparing some important updates, which we want to share with you.

            That’s a common knowledge that CheckiO originated from the idea of practical learning through shared solutions. This means that in our portals you can learn not only by solving the coding tasks, but also by checking out and analyzing the solutions made by other users. In view of this, our next step became a logical continuation of this ideology.

            Since the creation of CheckiO, we’ve gathered nearly half a million of different solutions. Now, using the Solution Search feature, which becomes available from the 2nd Level, you can easily find any solution you need. Like you can look for the usage examples of an itertools.groupby function. You just need to enter it into the search field and you’ll see multiple solutions. Or you can type ‘itertools’ and you’ll be presented with all of the solutions where this module had been used. It’s fast, efficient and quite handy. The feature is still in the beta testing mode though.

          • Data science workflows on Kubernetes with Kubeflow pipelines: Part 2

            Kubeflow Pipelines are a great way to build portable, scalable machine learning workflows. It is a part of the Kubeflow project that aims to reduce the complexity and time involved with training and deploying machine learning models at scale. For more on Kubeflow, read our Kubernetes for data science: meet Kubeflow post.

            In this blog series, we demystify Kubeflow pipelines and showcase this method to produce reusable and reproducible data science.

            In Part 1, we covered WHY Kubeflow brings the right standardization to data science workflows. Now, let’s see HOW you can accomplish that with Kubeflow Pipelines.

            In Part 2 of this blog series, we’ll work on building your first Kubeflow Pipeline as you gain an understanding of how it’s used to deploy reusable and reproducible ML pipelines.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Google’s AMP, the Canonical Web, and the Importance of Web Standards

        Have you ever clicked on a link after googling something, only to find that Google didn’t take you to the actual webpage but to some weird Google-fied version of it? Instead of the web address being the source of the article, it still says “google” in the address bar on your phone? That’s what’s known as Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and now Google has announced that AMP has graduated from the OpenJS Foundation Incubation Program. The OpenJS Foundation is a merged effort between major projects in the JavaScript ecosystem, such as NodeJS and jQuery, whose stated mission is “to support the healthy growth of the JavaScript and web ecosystem”. But instead of a standard starting with the web community, a giant company is coming to the community after they’ve already built a large part of the mobile web and are asking for a rubber stamp. Web community discussion should be the first step of making web standards, and not just a last-minute hurdle for Google to clear.

        This Google-backed, stripped down HTML framework was created with the promises of creating faster web pages for a better user experience. Cutting out slower loading content, like those developed with JavaScript. At a high level, AMP works by fast loading stripped down versions of full web pages for mobile viewing.

      • Open Standards Everywhere: How the Kolkata Chapter Got a Perfect Score

        In early May 2020, the Open Standards Everywhere (OSE) project held a series of virtual training sessions for Internet Society Chapters. Over 70 Chapter representatives from around the world learned, in English, French, or Spanish, how to improve the overall security and availability of their Chapter’s websites and web servers by enabling IPv6, HTTP/2, TLS, and DNSSEC.

  • Leftovers

    • What Are Art Galleries For?

      The gallery scene in New York, long the most active setting for new art worldwide, had been showing signs of malaise even before the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of its problems are shared around the globe—notably the rise of art fairs, which have increased the cost of doing business while drawing many collectors away from brick-and-mortar galleries; other challenges, such as high rents, are more specific to New York. All of them are rooted in a broader sociopolitical context: the seemingly inexorable rise of income inequality and the winner-take-all economy. One result has been consolidation of the art market around a small number of mega-galleries and a squeeze on the rest. And when the galleries are ailing, it’s the artists who are most affected.

    • Activists Are Beaming Free Wi-Fi to Protesters at NYC’s City Hall Occupation

      As protests against police violence continue, members of NYC Mesh built a network that provides [I]nternet access to the encampment without relying on Internet Service Providers.

    • Finnish Air Force Command drops swastika logo as insignia

      Brig. Gen. Jari Mikkonen at Air Force Command Finland acknowledged Thursday to The Associated Press that the historical swastika emblem had created confusion over the years among international colleagues.

      “Undeniably, we’ve had to explain from time to time the history of the (Finnish Air Force) swastika that dates back to 1918,” Mikkonen said. “It caused misunderstandings with our foreign partners, so continuing to use it was considered inappropriate and unnecessary.”

      The swastika is an ancient symbol and a religious icon in many cultures dating back thousands of years, but many still associate it with Nazi Germany’s notorious swastika flag adopted by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party in the early 1920s.

      The Finnish Air Command swastika emblem traces its roots back to March 1918 when the Finnish Air Force was created only a few months after Finland had declared its independence on Dec. 6, 1917.

    • Is the Five-Day Office Week Over?

      Most American office workers are in no hurry to return to the office full time, even after the coronavirus is under control. But that doesn’t mean they want to work from home forever. The future for them, a variety of new data shows, is likely to be workweeks split between office and home.

      Recent surveys show that both employees and employers support this arrangement. And research suggests that a couple of days a week at each location is the magic number to cancel out the negatives of each arrangement while reaping the benefits of both.

    • The Pandemic is Exposing More Americans to Remote Work, And Many are Latching On to the Practice

      A new Morning Consult survey report indicates the COVID-19 pandemic could disrupt the traditional office model, as many Americans who have shifted to working from home report positive experiences and are eager to see employers continue offering remote work options in the future.

      Overall, 73 percent of U.S. adults who have careers where remote work is possible report that the pandemic has made them feel more positively about the prospect of remote work. And given the option, three quarters of these workers say they would like to work from home at least 1-2 days a week once the pandemic is under control.

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • Desklab Portable USB-C Monitor

        I bought a mini-DisplayPort to HDMI adapter and for my first test ran it from my laptop, it was seen as a 1920*1080 DisplayPort monitor. The adaptor is specified as supporting 4K so I don’t know why I didn’t get 4K to work, my laptop has done 4K with other monitors.

        The next thing I plan to get is a VGA to HDMI converter so I can use this on servers, it can be a real pain getting a monitor and power cable to a rack mounted server and this portable monitor can be powered by one of the USB ports in the server. A quick search indicates that such devices start at about $12US.

        The Desklab monitor has no markings to indicate what resolution it supports, no part number, and no serial number. The only documentation I could find about how to recognise the difference between the FullHD and 4K versions is that the FullHD version supposedly draws 2A and the 4K version draws 4A. I connected my USB Ammeter and it reported that between 0.6 and 1.0A were drawn. If they meant to say 2W and 4W instead of 2A and 4A (I’ve seen worse errors in manuals) then the current drawn would indicate the 4K version. Otherwise the stated current requirements don’t come close to matching what I’ve measured.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘A Scandal’: Contracts Show Trump Giving Big Pharma Free Rein to Price Gouge Taxpayer-Funded Coronavirus Drugs

        “The amount of money the government is throwing at companies is unprecedented. Normally when you write bigger checks, you should have more leverage, not less leverage.”

      • Trump’s Contagion Road Show Heads West

        It’s like a Stephen King horror novel where a nation is swept by a deadly and uncontrollable disease, sickening millions and killing over 100,000 citizens. Ignoring the advice of top infectious disease specialists who say, “Don’t go to large-scale gatherings,” a crazed president insists on holding rallies for the sole purpose of boosting his rapidly sinking chances of reelection. While recklessly ignoring precautions and exhorting his followers to do the same, he leaves not hope, but contagion and death in his path. Only it’s not a novel, it’s our reality — and now Trump’s traveling horror show heads west.

      • The People Must Rise Up and Remove Trump-Pence From This Horror Show Handling of the Pandemic

        The citizenry must quickly mount irresistible pressure for Trump and Pence to step aside.

      • Who Made the Plague?

        (A nursery rhyme for grownups)

      • As Pandemic Soars in US and Brazil, Red Cross Federation Chief Slams Trump and Bolsonaro for Anti-Science Responses

        The remarks from International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies president Francesco Rocca for lawmakers to heed science came as Trump said the coronavirus is “going to sort of just disappear.”

      • Trump Says Covid-19 Is ‘Going to Sort of Just Disappear, I Hope’ on Same Day New US Cases Topped 50,000 for First Time

        “These reckless statements are false—and coming from the president, they are dangerous.”

      • Trump Says COVID Is “Going to Sort of Just Disappear” as New US Cases Top 50k

        President Donald Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Wednesday that he hopes the coronavirus will “sort of just disappear” on its own, remarks that came on the same day new infections in the United States topped 50,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

      • ‘We Are Not Even Beginning to Be Over This Pandemic’

        Just this week, something startling occurred. We heard the unvarnished truth about Covid-19 in the United States from a major public health official, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s principal deputy director Anne Schuchat. She is not a political appointee, has been at the agency since 1988, occupied many leadership roles since then, and has been at the forefront of the US response to pandemics like SARS and H1N1 influenza. The CDC’s career scientists have largely been silent since the early days of the current crisis, when Vice President Mike Pence and other senior administration officials took charge of the American effort against Covid-19, under tight control by the president and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

      • We Take Homelessness for Granted. The Pandemic Should Change That.

        When San Francisco Mayor London Breed issued the nation’s first shelter-in-place order in mid-March, some San Francisco families were panic-shopping and wondering how on earth they would stay inside their homes for several weeks. Other families were grasping at straws to get inside at all.

      • As Arizona COVID Cases Surge From Reopening, Indigenous Nations Suffer

        In the days before Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey changed course by urging people to stay home, Scottsdale city councilman Guy Phillips donned a face covering and shouted “I can’t breathe” into a microphone at an anti-mask rally. His mocking of the last words of George Floyd is only one more example of the racism that seems to shadow the outbreaks of contagious viruses.

      • A Japanese Cityt Has Just Banned Using Phones While Walking

        Now, as passengers arrive at Yamato’s train station, a recorded voice broadcasts a warning about using smartphones while walking down sidewalks or in parks.

        “Using smartphones while walking is banned. Please operate your smartphones after you stop walking,” the recording says.

        But for now, that’s the extent of it: AFP reports that there’s no punishment linked to the crime of tweeting while walking, other than perhaps the ire of those around you.

      • E.U. coronavirus safe list: This is why the U.S. was nowhere near making the cut

        In fact, the Europeans say, the exclusive club was devised using strict epidemiological criteria.

        That’s why the U.S. — which has the most coronavirus cases and deaths in the world — was nowhere near making the cut, according to three E.U. diplomats involved in the negotiations, who spoke anonymously because they weren’t authorized to talk publicly about them.

      • Diaspora Organizations Are Stepping Into the Void on Covid-19

        As Covid-19 began to take its toll in New York City back in March, over in Hong Kong, artist Tiffany Sia watched the number of infections and deaths rise in horror. Having spent her childhood and adolescence in Manhattan before returning to her city of birth, she was deeply troubled by the lack of available basic protection, even as she watched her friends and family members living there contract Covid-19, and American officials tell people not to wear masks. Frustrated that Americans weren’t embracing what she saw as a simple way to confront an increasingly dire situation, she got in touch with a few friends, including Wilfred Chan, a contributing writer to The Nation, to set up a “DIY supply network”—in their words—to fundraise, purchase masks from a reliable distributor contact Sia had found, and get these masks in the hands of people working on the front lines at medical centers, at supermarkets, and inside Rikers.

      • Sanders Files Amendments to Force Pentagon to Pass Audit, Mass Produce Masks

        Sen. Bernie Sanders late Tuesday filed a slate of amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act aiming to force the Pentagon to pass an independent audit, require the federal government to mass-produce and deliver free masks to everyone in the U.S., and bar funding for the Saudi-led assault on Yemen.

      • Amid Pandemic, Oklahoma Residents Vote to Expand Medicaid Coverage

        A measure to expand Medicaid coverage in Oklahoma passed by a slim, 1 percent margin on Tuesday night, as the state grapples with growing concerns over coronavirus in recent weeks.

      • The GOP’s Grotesque Response to a Pandemic Will Never Be Forgotten

        With nearly 130,00 US deaths and 2.6 million infections—gosh, what to do now? Of course! Let’s take away the health care coverage of some 23 million Americans!

      • Blood on His Hands: The Nursing Home Covid-19 Crisis is Donald Trump’s Fault

        The president is desperate to deflect from the truth: Over 54,000 nursing home residents and workers are dead. Those deaths were preventable. Their deaths are his fault.

      • Big Pharma Trade Group Blasted as ‘Morally Bankrupt’ for Suing to Block Minnesota Insulin Affordability Law

        The law is named for Alec Smith, an uninsured 26-year-old who died in 2017 after rationing his insulin.

      • Texas Lt. Governor Says “No, Thank You” to Fauci’s Advice as COVID Cases Spike

        Appearing in an interview on Fox News with host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday evening, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick lambasted Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force and one of the nation’s top experts on infectious diseases.

      • As COVID Burns Through the South and West, Trump Fans the Flames

        Donald Trump has labored since March to imagine himself into a world where COVID-19 will go away in time to save his re-election campaign. Sure, people were getting sick and dying by the thousands in places like New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Detroit, but those weren’t “his voters,” so Trump decided they weren’t his problem.

      • ‘Deplorable Act in Face of Global Crisis’: Trump Condemned as US Buys Up Nearly Entire Supply of Covid-19 Drug

        “It’s a very concerning precedent because if we see the vaccine coming from a U.S. company, we’re likely to see the same type of behavior and hoarding by the U.S. and other developed countries.”

      • Covid-19 and the Masque of the Red States

        Now that the pandemic is raging in the south and west, Trump’s governors finally are face-to-face with reality. Wear your damn mask.

      • Herman Cain is receiving treatment for coronavirus at an Atlanta hospital
      • Inside Congo’s Ebola emergency

        Beginning on 1 August 2018 and continuing for almost two years, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo grappled with the world’s first Ebola outbreak in an active conflict zone. It became the country’s deadliest outbreak to date and, with more than 2,200 lives lost, the second deadliest anywhere so far.

        On 25 June it was officially declared over, though responders are mindful that more than 1,000 survivors could relapse or infect others through body fluids, and that further outbreaks are likely in other parts of Congo, where Ebola remains endemic.

        The New Humanitarian was on the ground reporting throughout the just-ended epidemic. On this page, we’ve gathered all our key coverage so you can look back, explore what took place, and ponder the lessons learnt. We will continue to report on the aftermath of the epidemic and on new outbreaks, including cases detected in the northwest of the country in June.

      • Despite COVID-19 setbacks, displaced Kachin women keep their families afloat

        Uprooted for nearly a decade, women in displacement camps in Myanmar’s Kachin State are finding new ways to support their families as coronavirus restrictions squeeze livelihoods and aid.

        The New Humanitarian spoke with three women in Je Yang about life in long-term displacement, their hopes for peace, and how the coronavirus has forced communities in Myanmar’s northern borderlands to contend with new worries.

        June marked nine years since conflict resumed between the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) and Myanmar’s military, ending a 17-year ceasefire. Since 2011, the conflict has displaced more than 100,000 people, including some 38,000 living in KIO-controlled areas near the Chinese border.

        Je Yang, Kachin’s largest internal displacement camp, holds 8,700 people. They live in cramped shelters perched along mountainous terrain near the KIO base of Laiza.

        The women who spoke with TNH — Marip Bawk Nu, 49; Labang Nan Doi, 56; and Lashi Lu, 48 — are the main providers for their families. Female-headed homes are common in Je Yang and other displacement camps. Some men have lost their lives to war or to landmines, while others serve in the KIO or leave in search of work in China or in Kachin’s vast jade mines at Hpakant, a government-controlled area about 250 kilometres away.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Two Musts for Managing a Remote Workforce: Identity Governance and Lifecycle

        Identity governance and lifecycle have always been fundamental to controlling user access and visibility into access activity in the workplace. But in a time when “the workplace” has been recast to mean every user’s home and a multitude of devices (including personal devices), these capabilities take on new meaning and importance. Identity governance suddenly isn’t just about who has access to what; it’s about where, how and why they have access. The meaning of identity lifecycle must be expanded, too, in light of the need to be concerned not just about securely enabling access to data, but about doing so when users aren’t inside a protected physical environment. Let’s look at some real-world examples of the identity management challenges remote work is creating, and at what it means to rethink identity governance and lifecycle to meet those challenges.

      • Proprietary

        • Ransomware Gangs Don’t Need PR Help

          Overall, I’ve tried to use each story to call attention to key failures that frequently give rise to ransomware infections, and to offer information about how other companies can avoid a similar fate.

          But simply parroting what professional extortionists have posted on their blog about victims of cybercrime smacks of providing aid and comfort to an enemy that needs and deserves neither.

        • Ransomware gangs are doing their homework before encrypting corporate data

          In the last three months, the criminal hackers behind the Maze ransomware have attacked two big IT service providers, one of which is a Fortune 500 company. Other ransomware gangs have hit big corporate targets, and in so doing are first locking computer systems and then publicly shaming companies that don’t pay up by dumping their data.

          For corporations that do pay the ransom, the pain sometimes isn’t over. There is no guarantee that the decryption key handed over by the attacker works, said Wendi Whitmore, global lead at IBM Security X-Force.

        • Zoom Will Offer End-To-End Encryption To All Its Users [Ed: But no. You cannot trust proprietary software to do what it claims to do.]

          The pandemic has moved more activities online–and specifically onto Zoom–than ever before. For an enterprise tool like Zoom, that means new users that the company never expected and did not design for, and all the unanticipated security and privacy problems that come with that sudden growth. Zoom’s decision to offer end-to-end encryption more widely is especially important because the people who cannot afford enterprise subscriptions are often the ones who need strong security and privacy protections the most. For example, many activists rely on Zoom as an organizing tool, including the Black-led movement against police violence.

          To use Zoom’s end-to-end encryption, free users will have to provide additional information, like a phone number, to authenticate. As Zoom notes, this is a common method for mitigating abuse, but phone numbers were never designed to be persistent all-purpose individual identifiers, and using them as such creates new risks for users. In different contexts, Signal, Facebook, and Twitter have all encountered disclosure and abuse problems with user phone numbers. At the very least, the phone numbers that users give Zoom should be used only for authentication, and only by Zoom. Zoom should not use these phone numbers for any other purpose, and should never require users to reveal them to other parties.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation To Boost Open Software Standards With Community Specification
              • New Community Specification Process Facilitates Open Standards

                The Linux Foundation has announced Community Specification, which aims to facilitate and accelerate the creation of open standards.

                “Open Standards are best defined as specifications made available to the public, developed, and maintained via an inclusive, collaborative, transparent, and consensus-driven process. Open standards facilitate interoperability and data exchange among different products or services and are intended for widespread adoption,” according to a recent post on the Linux Foundation website.

              • Driving Compatibility with Code and Specifications through Conformance Trademark Programs

                A key goal of some open collaboration efforts — whether source code or specification oriented — is to prevent technical ‘drift’ away from a core set of functions or interfaces. Projects seek a means to communicate — and know — that if a downstream product or open source project is held out as compatible with the project’s deliverable, that product or component is, in fact, compatible. Such compatibility strengthens the ecosystem by providing end-users with confidence that data and solutions from one environment can work in another conformant environment with minimal friction. It also provides product and solution providers a stable set of known interfaces they can depend on for their commercially supported offerings.

                A trademark conformance program, which is one supporting program that the LF offers its projects, can be used to encourage conformance with the project’s code base or interfaces. Anyone can use the open source project code however they want — subject to the applicable open source license — but if a downstream solution wants to describe itself as conformant using the project’s conformance trademark, it must meet the project’s definition of “conformant.” Some communities choose to use words other than “conformant” including “certified”, “ready”, or “powered by” in association with commercial uses of the open source codebase. This is the approach that some Linux Foundation projects take to maintain compatibility and reduce fragmentation of code and interfaces.

                Through this approach, we enable our projects to create flexible, custom-tailored conformance programs to meet the needs of their respective communities. In fact, our conformance programs can operate as open source projects themselves (see, for example, https://cncf.io/ck ). They incorporate a balance of interests from vendors, end-users, and contributors to the project and enable the community to define how the commercial ecosystem participants can leverage the use of the community’s mark.

        • Security

          • WordPress file permissions: the guide to configuring secure website & web server permissions
          • Updating the Git protocol for SHA-256

            The primary force behind the move from SHA-1 to SHA-256 is contributor brian m. carlson, who has been working over the years to make the transition happen. It has not been an easy task; the original Git implementation hard-coded SHA-1 as the only supported algorithm, and countless repositories need to be transitioned from SHA-1 to SHA-256. Moreover, in the time this transition is taking place, Git needs to maintain interoperability between the two hash algorithms within the context of a single repository, since users may still be using older Git clients.

            The problems surrounding that transition are complicated. Different versions of Git clients and servers may or may not have SHA-256 support, and all repositories need to be able to work under both algorithms for some time to come. This means Git will need to keep track of objects in two different ways and seamlessly work correctly, regardless of the hashing algorithm. For example, hash values are often abbreviated by users when referencing commits: 412e40d041 instead of 412e40d041e861506bb3ac11a3a91e3, so even the fact that SHA-256 and SHA-1 hash values are different lengths is only marginally helpful.

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (chromium and firefox-esr), Fedora (chromium and ntp), SUSE (ntp and unbound), and Ubuntu (libvncserver).

          • Canonical Outs Important Linux Kernel Security Updates for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

            The most important security issue fixed in this new Linux kernel update was discovered in the SELinux network label handling implementation by Matthew Sheets. This vulnerability (CVE-2020-10711) affects Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, 19.10, 18.04 LTS, and 16.04 LTS, and could allow a remote attacker to cause a denial of service (system crash).

            On Ubuntu 19.10 and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS systems using either Linux 5.3 or 5.0 kernels, the new security update addresses another important vulnerability (CVE-2020-10751) discovered by Dmitry Vyukov in the SELinux netlink security hook, which could allow a privileged attacker to bypass SELinux netlink restrictions.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Hundreds of Police Departments with Deadly Histories Partner with Amazon’s Ring Surveillance Cameras

              Research by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) shows that hundreds of U.S. police departments with deadly histories have official partnerships with Amazon’s Ring—a home-surveillance company that makes it easy to send video footage to law enforcement.

              Ring sells networked cameras, often bundled with doorbells or lighting, that record video when they register movement and then send notifications to owners’ cell phones. Ring’s partnerships allow police to seek access to private video footage directly from residents through a special web portal. Ring now works with over 1400 agencies, adding 600 in the last six months alone. An analysis of data from Ring, Fatal Encounters, and Mapping Police Violence shows that roughly half of the agencies that Ring has partnered with had fatal encounters in the last five years. In fact, those departments have been responsible for over a third of fatal police encounters nationwide, including the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Alton Sterling, Botham Jean, Antonio Valenzuela, Michael Ramos, and Sean Monterrosa.

            • Amazon’s Ring Enables the Over-Policing Efforts of Some of America’s Deadliest Law Enforcement Agencies

              Ring, Amazon’s “smart” doorbell camera company, recently began sharing statistics on how many video requests police departments submit to users, and the numbers are staggering. In the first quarter of 2020 alone, police requested videos over 5000 times, using their partnerships with the company to email users directly and ask them to share private videos from their Ring devices.

              It’s unclear how many video requests were successful, as users have the option to deny the requests; however, even a small percentage of successful requests would mean potentially thousands of videos shared with police per year. With a warrant, police could also circumvent the device’s owner and get footage straight from Amazon, even if the owner denied the police. 

            • Onion Service version 2 deprecation timeline
            • HongKongers prepare for China and new national security law by scrubbing digital footprint

              As China takes over Hong Kong with a new national security law, Hongkongers prepare by cleaning up their social media presence. Before, under the now demolished “one country, two systems” lie, people posted online with an expectation that freedom of expression would be respected. That may no longer be on the table now that China is exerting its control over Hong Kong.

            • After exaggerated claims about their importance, here’s the reality of contact tracing apps

              Back in February, this blog was one of the first to warn that the obvious technological response to the coronavirus – the use of contact tracing apps – raised important privacy questions. Since then, both the apps and their implications have been the subject of debate around the world. That’s particularly the case for the UK’s approach, which was even more contested than others. There were two key areas that were problematic. One was the decision not to use the Apple-Google contact-tracing framework. The UK government was unwilling to agree to the strong data protection safeguards built in to that, since it wished to adopt a centralized approach – the other problem – something ruled out by Apple and Google. Things went badly, and the UK has bowed to the inevitable, and abandoned its own code in favor of the Apple-Google framework.

            • [Old] TikTok offered details about how its most popular feed works. Experts seem unimpressed.

              Earlier this year, the Intercept obtained internal policy documents that encouraged content moderators to limit videos appearing in the “For You” feed that were deemed “undesirable,” including those featuring people with an “abnormal body shape” and “ugly facial looks.” TikTok also reportedly reached out to some high-profile users of its app to update them about changing rules, and the company censored political speech on its livestreaming feature.

            • Palmer Luckey’s surveillance startup Anduril signs contract for ‘virtual border wall’

              US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has signed a deal with Anduril, the “virtual border wall” startup launched by Oculus founder Palmer Luckey. The Washington Post reports that the agency awarded Anduril a five-year contract to deploy portable surveillance towers meant to detect moving vehicles and human figures across the US border. The deal will see CBP purchase 140 towers in 2021 and 2022, supplementing 60 towers that were already part of a pilot program. A company executive told the Post that the deal was worth “several hundred million dollars.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Did the Army Ignore a Soldier’s Murder? Questions Mount over Vanessa Guillén Disappearance

        The U.S. Army says it has a suspect in custody in connection with the disappearance of Vanessa Guillén, a missing 20-year-old Fort Hood soldier whose family says her remains were likely found in a shallow grave near the Texas Army base. A second suspect in the case — a soldier who the Guillén family lawyer named as Aaron Robinson — killed himself in Killeen, Texas, as officers approached. The news comes after months of anguish for Vanessa Guillén’s family, who say she was sexually harassed by a higher-up prior to her disappearance and that the military was slow to investigate when she went missing. We get an update from the family’s attorney, Natalie Khawam.

      • New ICC Complaint Filed Over US-Israel War Crimes in Palestine

        Prominent international critics have called the ongoing Zionist colonization of Palestine an act of ethnic cleansing and the exclusively Jewish settlements a form of apartheid.

      • U.S. Marine Corps Concludes Its Investigation Into a Fatal 2018 Midair Crash Was Inaccurate

        The U.S. Marine Corps acknowledged in a new high-level review that its original investigation into a fatal 2018 midair crash off the coast of Japan was inaccurate and incomplete, led by a commander who was more concerned with how his findings would be perceived by his bosses than getting to the truth.

        The new review reexamined the December 2018 crash between an American fighter jet and a refueling tanker during a nighttime training exercise. The Marine Corps’ original investigation into the crash, which killed six Marines, largely blamed the squadron itself, painting the men as reckless aviators who flouted safety protocols and abused prescription drugs.

      • Military deployed in Ethiopian capital after more than 80 killed in protests

        The protests were sparked by the assassination of popular musician Haacaaluu Hundeessaa on Monday night and spread from Addis Ababa to the surrounding Oromiya region.

        The killing tapped into grievances fuelled by decades of government repression and what the Oromo, Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group, describe as their historic exclusion from political power.

      • A New Anti-War Mobilization Must Topple Trump—and Challenge Biden

        Building a new anti-war movement that is connected to the domestic anti-police struggle is the only thing that can rein in US militarism.

      • ‘Day of Rage’: Palestinians and Global Allies Rise Up Against Annexation Plan and Israeli Apartheid

        “The Palestinian struggle today is not just about fighting annexation, which we must continue to do. It is about dismantling the entire system of apartheid.”

    • Environment

      • Less rain will fall during Mediterranean winters

        Mediterranean winters could bring 40% less rain, hurting farmers in what’s called the cradle of agriculture – and not only farmers.

      • A potentially deadly weather pattern is setting up across the central US

        The seriousness of excessive heat cannot be overstated. Although hurricanes and tornadoes gain the most notoriety in the world of weather, many are surprised to learn that it is heat that is the top weather killer.

        In fact, heat kills nearly twice as many Americans each year than tornadoes and almost three times more Americans than hurricanes.

      • How climate change is affecting your cup of coffee

        “It was thought that it could handle average temperatures up to even 30 degrees Celsius, but when we looked into its relationship with those climate variables, we found it performed best at much cooler conditions, so around 20.5 degrees.”

        The issue is not whether the plants can survive at the higher temperatures, Dr Kath said, but whether they could produce a viable crop.

        This is especially important, he said, because it had widely been thought that coffee plantations could transition from arabica to robusta crops as the global temperature increased.

      • Fires rage across Amazon rainforest, sparking fears of another disastrous summer season

        In the month of June alone, almost 2,250 separate fires were recorded in the Amazon rainforest – up from around 1,900 fires detected in the same period last year. NGOs are worried that this summer will see a repeat of the infernos that raged across the Amazon last summer.

      • In Russia, a New Generation of Activists are Taking on Climate Crisis

        Against a hostile media—and a powerful fossil lobby, young people in Russia are coming out to build a safe climate future.

      • Silver Linings on a River

        Stillwater, Me.—Biking through my neighborhood, I notice a new Trump/Pence sign on the lawn strewn with Americana ornaments. A far cry from the rainbow animal sculptures down the road celebrating LGBT pride. Our small community on the Stillwater River is sandwiched between the progressive college town of Orono, headquarters to the University of Maine, and the working-class paper mill community of Old Town, near the home of the Penobscot Nation and the world-famous canoe. These disparate places are connected by the river, which I am fortunate to have winding along my backyard. It was this river that offered sanctuary to my parents after a war divided our country, Cyprus, in 1974. This river was my companion as a child who spent most of her time outdoors. This river urged me to move with my family back to Maine from New York when, after eight years, the apple started to sour. This river, a small artery in the web of life, offers me relief today as humanity cries, I can’t breathe.

      • Energy

        • IEA Report Misses the Mark on ‘Sustainable Recovery’ by Sidelining 1.5°C

          The decisions made over the next three years will set our course to 2030. To be a useful authority on a sustainable recovery, the IEA needs to choose a side.

        • Oil Industry and Allies Look to Pump Brakes on Democrats’ Plans to Move Transportation Off Petroleum

          The infrastructure bill comes on the heels of a new climate action plan released June 30 by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. That plan offers a roadmap for mostly eliminating globe-warming greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. by 2050. Achieving zero emissions from the nation’s transportation sector is a key priority in this plan.

        • Warning: The world won’t hit climate goals unless energy innovation is rapidly accelerated

          The International Energy Agency sounded the alarm Thursday about the “critical need” to rapidly accelerate clean energy innovation. That’s because the climate goals set by governments and corporations around the world depend on technologies that have not yet reached the market.

          “The message is very clear: in the absence of much faster clean energy innovation, achieving net-zero goals in 2050 will be all but impossible,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said in a statement.

        • New Analysis Says Coal’s Hit a ‘Tipping Point’ And No Longer Makes Financial Sense

          Renewable energy such as wind and solar projects are already cheaper to build than it is to continue operating 40 percent of the world’s existing coal fleet, according to analysis released Tuesday.

          In a report outlining how the world can phase out the most polluting fuel while powering an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, a group of experts said coal had reached a financial “tipping point” making it uncompetitive in most markets.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Project Censored’s 2020 Summer Reading List – Censored Notebook

        The End of White Politics: How to Heal Our Political Divide, Zerlina Maxwell

      • China’s new national security law is already chilling free speech in Hong Kong

        At 11pm local time on Tuesday, Hong Kong’s government unveiled the text of a draconian new national security law that gives the Chinese government vast new powers to crackdown on free speech and dissent in Hong Kong.

        Drafted in secrecy by top Chinese officials in Beijing — and not seen by the public until that very moment — the law criminalizes “secession, subversion, organization and perpetration of terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security.”

        Those who commit such acts — which experts say are vaguely defined in the law, and thus allow for an extremely broad interpretation by authorities — face severe punishment, up to and including life in prison.

      • Reddit bans 2,000 communities in major censorship action

        Meanwhile, hiding behind the banning of the widely despised subreddit r/The_Donald, Reddit executives also took action to shut down some 2,000 other groups, including a popular left-radical forum called r/ChapoTrapHouse, named after a popular podcast, which had approximately 160,000 users in its community.

      • America Exports Cancel Culture to the World

        ecently, I was interviewed for a video for the Dutch media outlet NU.nl, a popular news website in the Netherlands. The topic was cancel culture, which refers to the social trend of ending (or attempting to end) an individual’s career or prominence to hold them to account for violating moral norms. The video was about the uses and abuses of this new trend, including how cancel culture has rightly jettisoned reprehensible individuals like Harvey Weinstein from polite society. On the other hand, it also discussed its excesses, such as the recent social media mobbing of J.K. Rowling. During my segment, I described how individuals use cancel culture to elevate their own social position.

        Three days after it was published, the video was taken down. I contacted the journalist who interviewed me, asking what happened. He replied that although the video gathered over 176,000 views and was positively received by viewers, his employer determined that it “didn’t meet their profile.” He then revealed that his supervisors believed the video was too sympathetic to the targets of cancel culture. In other words, a video about cancel culture was cancelled.

        This social phenomenon is spreading beyond our shores. [...]

      • Radio Is Quietly Scrubbing the Word ‘Urban,’ Sources Say

        A rep for iHeartMedia — the U.S.’s largest radio conglomerate, operating 855 stations — says that the company is in the process of removing “urban” from job titles, adding that it has “already transitioned away from it” and into “more descriptive and specific names such as hip-hop and R&B” to break from the past. iHeart will also no longer use “urban” when referencing the format or in internal communication. The term is “definitely outdated,” the rep says.

        In addition, multiple major label executives and other industry sources familiar with the matter tell Rolling Stone that the iHeart-owned data analytics company Mediabase, which powers the industry’s go-to charts on radio airplay, is planning to remove “urban” from its chart names. Mediabase currently publishes two charts reflecting the top-played tunes at U.S. Urban stations and Urban Adult Contemporary (AC) stations; these charts will be renamed Hip-hop/R&B and R&B, respectively, sources say. Mediabase did not respond to request for comment on Thursday.

      • India bans 59 apps it says have privacy, national security problems. In a massive coincidence, they’re all Chinese

        India has banned the use of 59 smartphone apps it says violate its citizens’ privacy and threaten national security. In a massive coincidence they come from China, and just weeks after border skirmishes between the two nations.

        The Indian government’s announcement of the software banishment said the offending apps “are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.“

        “The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India,” the statement continued.

        “The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.“

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Wikileaks-Hosted “Most Wanted Leaks” Reflects the Transparency Priorities of Public Contributors

        The government recently released a superseding indictment[1] against Wikileaks editor in chief Julian Assange, currently imprisoned and awaiting extradition in the United Kingdom. As we’ve written before, this prosecution poses a clear threat to journalism, and, whether or not Assange considers himself a journalist, the indictment targets routine journalistic practices such as working with and encouraging sources during an investigation.

        While considering the superseding indictment, it’s useful to look at some of the features carrying over from the previous version. Through much of the indictment, the government describes and refers back to a page on the Wikileaks website describing the “Most Wanted Leaks of 2009.[2]” The implication in the indictment is that Wikileaks was actively soliciting leaks with this Most Wanted Leaks list, but the government is leaving out a crucial piece of nuance about the Most Wanted Leaks page: Unlike much of Wikileaks.org, the Most Wanted Leaks was actually a publicly-editable wiki. 

      • RSF Reiterates Call For Charges Against Julian Assange To Be Dropped As US Issues New Indictment

        Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the US Department of Justice’s issuing of a new superseding indictment against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange – the latest in a long series of US government attempts to manipulate legal loopholes and undermine Assange’s defense. RSF calls again for all charges against Assange to be dropped and for him to be immediately released.

        On 24 June, the US Department of Justice filed a new superseding indictment against Assange, broadening the “scope of the conspiracy” claimed in the hacking allegations against him. Assange had previously been indicted on 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one charge under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA); the new superseding indictment did not add new charges, but expands the scope of the CFAA charge and changes the evidential basis of some of the other charges against him.

      • Belarus Media Arrests Are Sign of Election Crackdown, Experts Say

        As President Alexander Lukashenko prepares for what experts say could be his stiffest election challenge yet, Belarusian authorities have detained at least 20 journalists and bloggers.

        In the months leading up to the August 9 election, authorities have arrested opposition presidential candidate Viktor Babaryko on suspicion of financial crimes, and over 100 protesters who were calling for an end to Lukashenko’s 26-year rule.

        At least 14 journalists covering the protests were among those detained. On June 23, three were convicted of participating in illegal protests – charges the journalists denied. Separately, about six bloggers were arrested over their blog posts or commentary.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Tear Gas and Clubs in Lafayette Square Were Just the Beginning

        On June 1, President Trump ordered National Park Police and troops from the District of Columbia National Guard and some other federal law enforcement agencies to drive peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square, north of the White House, to clear the way for his Bible-holding photo op. The same day, Trump and his Attorney General William Barr, along with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, also placed a call to the nation’s 50 governors.

      • How Did Police Unions Get So Powerful?

        New York City’s liberal mayor, elected on a platform of overhauling a police department accused of deep-seated racism and corruption, had a seemingly obvious idea for reform: instituting civilian oversight of the police.

      • Housing Activists Unite to Fight Mass Evictions and Defund Police

        As COVID-19’s second wave bears down, nearly half of all states’ eviction moratoria have already expired or are set to expire in the next two months. A federal moratorium that bans evictions of people in rentals backed by the government expires July 25. To make matters worse, the CARES Act’s supplemental boost to unemployment insurance ends July 31.

      • Police Unions Are Racist Power Brokers in Opposition to Movement for Black Lives

        The scene is all too frequent — a Black person is slain or wantonly brutalized on camera by police officers, most often white, and in response, a white police union leader steps to the microphone and unequivocally defends the actions, no matter how indefensible they are. A police chief or mayor, under pressure from the community, attempts to invoke modest reforms in response, and the union wields the power of its contract to defeat the measures. Progressive-leaning prosecutors are mercilessly attacked and judges plied with union contributions to support “law and order.” Killer cops are supplied with lawyers, at union expense, when they are administratively charged or criminally prosecuted. When a department, pursuant to a consent decree or community pressure, implements de-escalation and peer intervention training, the union provides alternative “warrior mentality” training free of charge. The union leaps to the defense of a cop who sends a defenseless 75-year-old peace activist to the hospital in critical condition. Several police union leaders are notorious “repeater beaters” with long records of shootings, beatings and other misconduct. Cops in their union garb pack courtrooms to intimidate cops who break the code of silence and bravely testify about police torture and murder. Union leaders rally for Trump, while he encourages their violence. And the list goes on.

      • Markey Bill Backed by Sanders and Warren Seeks to Abolish Qualified Immunity

        In the wake of the recent killings of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky — which sparked a national uprising against racial injustice and police violence — Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Wednesday introduced a new bill in the U.S. Senate that would end “qualified immunity” for law enforcement officers accused of excessive force and violating the constitutional rights of civilians.

      • The White Left Needs to Embrace Black Leadership

        We are seeing one of the largest uprisings in US history, and Black leftist organizers and Black working-class people are leading it. The video of George Floyd begging for his life and calling for his mother as Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds made Floyd this generation’s Emmett Till. When white Americans watched that scene of unchecked racism, state power, and the toxic masculinity that permeates police culture, they had a choice: to allow that cop to speak for them or to hit the streets as part of a movement against white supremacy and police repression. Millions across the world opted for the latter.

      • With Epstein Suicide Looming, Ocasio-Cortez Calls for Assurances of Ghislaine Maxwell’s Safety While in Custody

        “I hope the SDNY and all relevant parties have conducted an extensive review of the failures of Epstein’s custody,” said the New York Democrat.

      • 300+ Law Professors Agree: Congress Should ‘Pass a Bill Tomorrow’ to End Qualified Immunity for Police

        The Supreme Court has “drained the life” from a law meant to ensure people can seek redress when their constitutional rights are violated by the police, the professors said.

      • Black Visibility Matters—and Not Just During Trauma

        “We would love for you to share your experience on this very important topic.”

      • Tactics And The Truth: The Geoffrey Rush Defamation Appeal Unpacked

        Actress Eryn Jean Norvill – one of the central figures in the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against Geoffrey Rush – was described by a judge as “A witness prone to exaggeration and embellishment”. Hannah Marshall from Marque Lawyers unpacks the findings in the Geoffrey Rush defamation appeal, and some gaping flaws in our judicial system.

      • The New EARN IT Bill Still Threatens Encryption and Free Speech

        The day before a committee debate and vote on the EARN IT Act, the bill’s sponsors replaced their bill with an amended version. Here’s their new idea: instead of giving a 19-person federal commission, dominated by law enforcement, the power to regulate the Internet, the bill now effectively gives that power to state legislatures. 

        And instead of requiring that Internet websites and platforms comply with the commission’s “best practices” in order to keep their vital legal protections under Section 230 for hosting user content, it simply blows a hole in those protections. State lawmakers will be able to create new laws allowing private lawsuits and criminal prosecutions against Internet platforms, as long as they say their purpose is to stop crimes against children. 

      • He Built a Privately Funded Border Wall. It’s Already at Risk of Falling Down if Not Fixed.

        Tommy Fisher billed his new privately funded border wall as the future of deterrence, a quick-to-build steel fortress that spans 3 miles in one of the busiest Border Patrol sectors.

        Unlike a generation of wall builders before him, he said he figured out how to build a structure directly on the banks of the Rio Grande, a risky but potentially game-changing step when it came to the nation’s border wall system.

      • Biden Compared Indicted War Criminal to “George Washington”

        In 2010, current Democratic Party presidential hopeful Joe Biden Jr. referred to Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) leader Hashim Thaci as the “George Washington of Kosovo.”

      • Traditional Russophobia in an Unusual Election Year

        Why would Russia pay Taliban troops to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan? “Russia has never gotten over the humiliation they suffered in Afghanistan,” Nancy Pelosi explains helpfully, “and now they are taking it out on us, our troops.”

      • America is Falling Because You Can’t Maintain a Democratic Republic With a Stupid Population

        Ok, fair enough.

        Good to know for next time.

      • Barbara Ransby on the Biden Problem: Social Movements Must Defeat Trump & Also Hold Dems Accountable

        Amid a mass uprising against racism and state violence, social movements are not just fighting hostility and backlash from President Trump, but also dealing with a “Biden problem,” according to historian, author and activist Barbara Ransby. “I think it’s fair to say that Joe Biden is not our dream candidate, by any means,” she says. “We should be critical of Joe Biden. We should be ready to hold Joe Biden accountable come January. But we should be clear about the need to defeat Trump in November.”

      • The Untold History of Mount Rushmore
      • The Untold History of Mount Rushmore: A KKK Sympathizer Built Monument on Sacred Lakota Land

        As tribal governments call on President Trump to cancel his Mount Rushmore Independence Day celebration, we look at why Native Americans have long pushed for the removal of the monument carved into the sacred Black Hills and designed by a sculptor with ties to the Ku Klux Klan. “This place is very, very sacred to our people,” says Nick Tilsen, president and CEO of the NDN Collective. “Stealing our land and then carving the faces of four white men who were colonizers, who committed genocide against Indigenous people, is an egregious act of violence.”

      • COVID-19 Outbreak Feared At Massachusetts Prison After Incarcerated Man Collapses In Kitchen

        Advocates and incarcerated people fear a potential COVID-19 outbreak at MCI Norfolk in Massachusetts after an incarcerated man collapsed during his kitchen duty shift.

        The man was taken to the hospital and tested positive for COVID-19. Officials placed his housing unit on lockdown, but only after he potentially exposed kitchen staff and incarcerated people in his housing unit to the virus.

      • Russian LGBTQ activist charged with distributing pornography faces new allegations of ‘gay propaganda’

        Law enforcement have filed a new administrative protocol against artist and LGBTQ rights activist Yulia Tsvetkova for “promoting non-traditional sexual relationships among minors” — a violation of Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda law.” Tsvetkova, who is from the Far Eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, is already facing up to six years in prison for the criminal distribution of pornography, over drawings she posted on social media.

      • Detroit Police Chief Says Facial Recognition Software Involved In Bogus Arrest Is Wrong ’96 Percent Of The Time’

        The law enforcement agency involved with the first reported false arrest linked to facial recognition software is talking about its software. The Detroit Police Department — acting on a facial recognition “match” handed to it by State Police investigators — arrested resident Robert Williams for allegedly shoplifting watches from an upscale boutique.

      • Fears grow of a surge in child marriages in Malawi

        Before coronavirus pandemic struck, Malawi already had one of the highest rates of child marriages in the world. But ever since schools closed to help combat the spread of COVID-19, remote areas have reported an increase in child marriages.

      • The Erasing Of Iranian Women, Their History, And Their Aspirations

        As an American teen who played soccer, had a boyfriend, spoke her mind, laid by the pool and laughed loud, I found my homeland at once beautifully familiar and grossly threatening. The morality police I had been warned about were indeed everywhere, all the time. From Tehran to Shiraz, Esfahan, and the Caspian Sea, they found ways to humiliate, violate, interrogate, threaten, and prohibit, not least because we stubbornly (or naively) traveled the country without a male escort, by itself an illegal act.

        The conventional wisdom about Iran is that things have much improved since those dark days of the 1980s. But the truth is that the Iranian people have only grown accustomed to tyranny, and their suffering has only calcified. This is the nature of totalitarian regimes; time works to deepen their rot, never to reform them. All the while their societies disintegrate and their people flee, the corrupt rulers do advance, but only in their nefarious actions, military arsenals and chest puffing. Those on the inside see through the bluster, lies and deception, as their lives worsen.

      • Facebook Accused by Black Manager of Systemic Discrimination

        Thursday’s complaint to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by a Washington-based operations program manager adds pressure on the social network, which is facing an advertising boycott over its failure to remove violent, divisive, racist and discriminatory posts. Along with other major tech companies, Facebook also has been criticized for its lack of diversity.

        Oscar Veneszee Jr., a decorated 23-year U.S. Navy veteran hired by the company in 2017 to recruit other workers retired from the armed services, said he filed the complaint after his objections to Facebook managers over treatment of African Americans went nowhere. It was filed as a class action to represent other Black people who’ve experienced discrimination inside the company, as well as those who claim they were unfairly denied jobs with the social network.

      • Facebook to launch Fourth of July voter registration drive

        Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed the platform’s voter registration efforts in a post last week, writing that information on the voting center will be visible at the top of Facebook and Instagram feeds over the next few months.

      • [Old] How Cambridge Analytica Mined Data for Voter Influence

        We are now in the age of data science. The ability to scrape data from across multiple social media platforms, capturing user behavior patterns and comments are unprecedented. It has spawned a huge demand for top-notch data scientists, who are figuring out how to harvest and analyze vast quantities of data, creating algorithms that cull and respond, and building predictive models. Their toolbox is an impressive mix of machine learning, statistics, robust programming skills and both artificial and natural intelligence—and they are all trying to capture and influence human behavior in evermore nuanced and targeted ways.

      • Prisoners Mobilize for Black Lives and Against Brutality Behind Bars

        Over Memorial Day weekend, a mob of ten or more prison guards maced and beat “Pooh Bear,” a Black man incarcerated in Alabama’s Kilby Correctional Facility, in the head arms, ribs, legs and back with clubs.

      • Charles Webb Enters Heaven

        Charles Webb, author of The Graduate (an identity that dogged and bedeviled him his whole life). died a few days ago at age 81. I met Charles in early 1970, shortly after the release of his second novel, The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker. I was waiting for my own novel to come out that summer and decided as a way to stop obsessing about it I would help promote the work of some other writers whose work I admired. Like nearly everyone of my generation, I had been hypnotized by the movie of The Graduate, and when I read the novel I realized all the producers of the movie had to do for a script was transcribe the dialogue of the novel (not an ordinary formula.)

      • After Weeks of Allowing ‘Autonomous Zone,’ Seattle Police Clear CHOP Amid Violence, Growing Complaints

        As the city’s police chief said, “Enough is enough,” one organizer lamented that “it didn’t end how it started and that’s the tragedy of the situation.”

      • Progressive Populism and a 21st Century Challenge

        Grassroots activists are re-defining populism for a new era.

      • Crisis After Crisis on the Border

        Ciudad Juarez has a long history of crises–foreign invasions, revolutions, economic recessions tied to the United States, the 9-11 border constriction and transnational gangland wars. Then there’s the perpetual crisis of putting food on the table in a high-priced, low-wage city while staying safe in a place where violence can surge at any moment.

      • Jamaal Bowman Calls for Rent Cancellations and Defunding the NYPD

        As a surge of progressive candidates of color see victories in Democratic primaries across the country, we speak with former Bronx middle school principal Jamaal Bowman about his upset victory over New York Congressmember Eliot Engel, the 16-term Foreign Affairs Committee chair. Bowman ran on a Green New Deal, Medicare for All platform and recently joined protests demanding an end to racism and police brutality. He says his upset over Engel came down to mobilizing people who are “disenfranchised and ignored” by the political establishment. “We didn’t just target those who consistently vote in primaries. We targeted everyone,” he says. Looking forward, he describes his support for Palestine, a rent strike and police accountability.

      • SCOTUS Ruling on Religious Schools Threatens Church-State Separation

        The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday delivered a ruling civil liberties advocates warned could make taxpayers “underwrite religious education” — opening a massive crack in the bedrock principle of church and state separation.

      • A Call for Radical Humanism: the Left Needs to Return to Class Analyses of Power

        How do white people live with themselves? This is the presumed ethical position emanating from liberal corners in the aftermath of the recent protests around the US. While a seemingly thought-provoking question nudging white folks to contemplate “their racism,” the problem with this question is the question itself. Indeed the minute we individualize what are structural problems of police violence and focus upon rooting out “wrong thought” as if a new global war on terror, we necessarily default to witch hunts of individuals through McCarthyesque callouts instead of understanding racism as a byproduct of structural inequalities.

      • As Monuments to War Generals Come Down, Let’s Replace Them with Monuments to Peace

        The monuments to Confederate generals and to those who fought to maintain slavery are coming down. That’s a good thing and long overdue. It cannot stop there, however, as we move not only to eradicate their symbolism, but the very real systemic racism they represent, and which sadly persists in this country.

      • Congress Urged to Repeal Program That Transfers ‘Weapons of War’ to Local Police

        “In response to the national outrage, armored vehicles, assault weapons, and military gear once again filled our streets and communities, turning them into war zones.”

      • In New York, Zionism and Liberalism Faced Off—and Liberalism Won

        It is usually a mistake to try to draw historical lessons from events just days old. It’s an even dicier proposition when it involves just the 50,000 voters who participated in last Tuesday’s Democratic primary in New York’s 16th district. But I’ve been working for years on a book about the history of the Israel/Palestine debate in the United States and I’m going to risk it, because I think American politics—specifically American Jewish politics—is undergoing a significant shift with important implications.

      • Black Lives Matter: Walking Forward
      • Cheyenne River Sioux Chair Offers to Rip Down Mount Rushmore—”Free of Charge… By Myself If I Must”

        “Nothing stands as a greater reminder to the Great Sioux Nation of a country that cannot keep a promise or treaty than the faces carved into our sacred land on what the United States calls Mount Rushmore.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Closing the Digital Divide in Nepal

        While connecting some of Nepal’s most remote places isn’t easy, two community network projects are case studies of how it can be done. They are Wireless for Communities (W4C) Nepal and Rural Communities Access to Information Society (RUCCESS), both supported by the Internet Society.

        Community networks are networks built, managed and used by local communities. They are often established in rural and remote areas that are not commercially viable for Internet service providers (ISPs). The networks are often built using low-cost WiFi equipment and unlicensed spectrum bands to interconnect members of the community and improve their lives.

    • Monopolies

      • Four Top Tech C.E.O.s Will Testify on Antitrust, Panel Says

        Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Alphabet, which owns Google and YouTube, will appear at the hearing, said Shadawn Reddick-Smith, a spokeswoman for the House Judiciary Committee, which is said to be nearing the end of its investigation.

        The date and whether the executives will appear in person or virtually, as has become common during the coronavirus pandemic, are still being discussed, Ms. Reddick-Smith said.

      • USMCA, Trump’s new NAFTA deal, explained in 600 words

        Intellectual [sic] property [sic] and digital trade: The deal extends the terms of copyright to 70 years beyond the life of the author (up from 50). It also includes new provisions to deal with the digital economy, such as prohibiting duties on things like music and ebooks, and protections for [I]nternet companies so they’re not liable for content their users produce.

        Sunset clause: The agreement adds a 16-year sunset clause — meaning the terms of the agreement expire, or “sunset,” after 16 years. The deal is also subject to a review every six years, at which point the US, Mexico, and Canada can decide to extend the USMCA.

      • A Trendy Rage: Boycotting Facebook and the Stop Hate for Profit Campaign

        Rage can be that most trendy of things, and social media rage has become modish. If you dislike something, scream it in a certain number of characters and post it on every network you subscribe to. You might even feel good about it. When the pot is taken off the boil, the matter goes away. Things cool till other ingredients are added. The moralist can keep silent till the next rage breaks.

      • With Edge, Microsoft’s forced Windows updates just sank to a new low

        If I told you that my entire computer screen just got taken over by a new app that I’d never installed or asked for — it just magically appeared on my desktop, my taskbar, and preempted my next website launch — you’d probably tell me to run a virus scanner and stay away from shady websites, no?

        But the insanely intrusive app I’m talking about isn’t a piece of ransomware. It’s Microsoft’s new Chromium Edge browser, which the company is now force-feeding users via an automatic update to Windows.

        Seriously, when I restarted my Windows 10 desktop this week, an app I’d never asked for…

      • Patents

        • Global Patent Prosecution – June 2020

          In some circumstances, appealing the rejection of a patent application is the only practical recourse a patent applicant may have to advance prosecution. In doing so, the patent applicant can appeal an examiner’s decision refusing to grant a patent application to an administrative panel. This issue of Global Patent Prosecution discusses various considerations patent applicants may take into account when appealing their patent applications at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), European Patent Office (EPO), and China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA).

        • Patents on genetically modified chimpanzees scrapped

          Two patents relating to the genetic modification of apes were removed by the European Patent Office (EPO) on Thursday. The patents themselves still exist but can no longer include apes, an EPO spokesperson said.

          Animal welfare activists have celebrated the decision as a success, including world-renowned British primatologist Jane Goodall who called it a “wise and responsible decision.”

          The assigning of patents resulted in “the suffering of these animals without any substantial medical benefit to man or animal,” the EPO said.

          The controversy arose after a US company filed two patents claiming that genetically modified chimpanzees as well as other animal species, were an invention that could be used in experiments. The patents were filed in 2012 and 2013, with 14,000 signatories supporting groups that opposed the patents.

        • EPO reports emissions cut and new partnerships

          The European Patent Office (EPO) has published its first annual review of its current strategic plan, revealing progress on international partnerships and environmental sustainability.

      • Copyrights

        • Simon & Schuster was unaware of Mary Trump’s NDA, already printed copies of book

          The publisher of Mary Trump’s potentially explosive tell-all memoir reportedly revealed in a Tuesday night court filing that the company already printed 75,000 copies of the book — after publication was temporarily blocked earlier in the day.

          Simon & Schuster also wrote it was only recently made aware of the nondisclosure agreement the author signed as part of a dispute over the 1999 will of President Trump’s father, Fred Trump, the Washington Post reported.

        • New York Times Selectively Cracks Down on ‘Copyright Infringing’ Trump Meme

          Twitter has removed a Trump meme posted by the US President himself. The social media platform took action after the New York Times sent a copyright complaint. The news organization owns the related copyright and can have the tweet removed. However, it doesn’t appear interested in going after others sharing the same meme.

        • The Pirate Bay: VPN Provider OVPN Hit With Court Injunction, Vows to Fight

          After an injunction obtained by two movie studios against an ISP with alleged links to The Pirate Bay was dismissed, the parties have returned to court demanding that VPN provider OVPN hands over information relating to the notorious site. OVPN informs TF they will fight the injunction “the entire way”.

[Humour] European Patents Only Useful Outside the Legal Framework?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Star Trek explosion before and after: EPO Grants, Patent courts

Summary: Patents that aren’t valid in the eyes of courts would best serve patent trolls that settle out of courts, en masse

Microsoft’s Share in Web Servers Rapidly Falls to Just 4.5% (Falling More Than 5% in a Single Month)

Posted in Site News at 6:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft at Netcraft

Summary: Microsoft’s share as measured at Netcraft (de facto authority in this area) is rapidly declining; expect IIS to go the way of the dodo some time in the coming years

THE world is changing all around us. Some will perish and it seems like Free software can thrive.

The lock-downs may be killing Microsoft, which stopped hiring a number of months ago. Three times last month Microsoft announced layoffs, including closure of each and every one of its stores worldwide. We kindly remind readers that, as we’ve noted before, Microsoft does not have 90% of the desktop/laptop market. It’s a lie and it’s gleefully perpetuated by GNU/Linux ‘news’ sites which perhaps unwittingly cite a Microsoft-connected firm (we wrote many articles about that firm more than a decade ago). Regarding servers, judging by this comprehensive and respected Web servers survey, Microsoft went down from 9,053,159 active sites (4.72%) to just 8,551,282 (4.52%) last month. It’s actually down more than 5% in a month, having lost half a million active sites. It won’t be long before they reach zero (or zero point something percent) and IIS development isn’t considered financially sustainable anymore.

“It won’t be long before they reach zero (or zero point something percent) and IIS development isn’t considered financially sustainable anymore.”As psydread put it in our IRC channel an hour ago (full logs to be published tomorrow morning), “this explains why Microsoft seems like a headless chicken going in a 1000 different directions these days, it looks like they are preparing to go out with a (big) bang [...] losing on the server side, losing more and more on the client side, dead on phones and other devices [...] where will it all end for them…?”

At the moment they are trying to hijack the competition, e.g. by bribing the OSI, infiltrating the Linux Foundation, and coming up with that "inner source" scam. Will they succeed? We ought not let them.

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