Ubuntu and Fedora Project Serving Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft, Red Hat, Ubuntu, Vista 10, Windows at 11:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Even promoting Windows and an EEE-type attack on GNU/Linux

Ubuntu WSL

Summary: The Ubuntu ‘community’ as well as the ‘community’ component of Red Hat (IBM) don’t view Microsoft as a rival; over a decade ago Mark Shuttleworth accused Microsoft of “extortion” and “racketeering” (his words), but now he’s paid to change his tune

THERE are facts, and then there are lies (strategic lies such as "Microsoft loves Linux").

It is no secret and it’s a simple fact that Microsoft is still committing bribery crimes and blackmailing companies that distribute GNU/Linux. Does that bother Canonical? Not anymore. Follow the money. Yesterday it once again boosted Microsoft’s attack on GNU/Linux by means of EEE, courtesy of the Microsoft booster that Canonical hired. To quote the official Ubuntu blog:

microWSLConf will feature a virtual hallway track for unscheduled conversations by attendees and breakout sessions for affinity groups.

Microsoft affinity; the speakers are Microsoft boosters, not GNU/Linux people. Why is Canonical promoting Windows? Yes, the official Ubuntu blog keeps pushing Windows. It’s part of a pattern.

“…the official Ubuntu blog keeps pushing Windows. It’s part of a pattern.”And if that’s not bad enough, the Fedora Project was boosting Microsoft its proprietary software on the very same day as the official Fedora Project blog said “Fedora Minecraft/Spigot server follows the same Code of Conduct as Fedora Nest and the wider Fedora Community. Be kind, be respectful, and have fun!” (unlike Microsoft)

Why does Fedora see the need to promote proprietary software controlled by Microsoft? Welcome to today’s Fedora… not what it used to be. Days ago several Fedora “services [were] down due to openshift failures for service” (to quote Fedora itself). The Fedora Project has had lots of downtime lately — oftentimes claiming server/DC/colo migrations, but now this (downtime for technical reasons). We don’t suppose the project sees Microsoft as a rival anymore [1, 2] and IBM doesn’t seem to care too much about Fedora, either.

(Don’t Let’s) Throw Caution to the Wind

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, OSI at 11:23 pm by Guest Editorial Team

2020 figosdev


Chapter 8: (Don’t Let’s) Throw Caution to the Wind

Summary: “As it will become crucial to explain, the effect of all this dancing around truth and reality was to transform a volunteer force primed to bring freedom to users into cheap labour for an industry that exploits everyone in it — all the way to the very top of Open Source itself.”

Before we muck up our not-quite-pristine software platform with more projects, it would be wise to talk about why this is done only with some trepidation.

The projects most relevant to the next chapter are desktop environments or DEs, window managers or WMs and toolkits or libraries. The choices we make there decide what kind of crappy developer politics we end up saddled with.

“The choices we make there decide what kind of crappy developer politics we end up saddled with.”Of all the laughable farces in the world, one of the greatest is that you can separate a project from “politics”. As someone recently said online (maybe it was Tom) politics enter the equation the moment you’re talking about Free software. This idea of any project being “apolitical” is itself a political stance. It means that certain kinds of politics (not just the party/electoral variety either, I might add) are discouraged or forbidden in a project.

One of the most famous scams to avoid the subject of “politics” is Open Source. Open Source was created to talk about / sell / exploit Free software, without mentioning either freedom or organisations that work for it. Open Source is the pseudo-apolitical, “Don’t mention the war” corporate-friendly sell-out version of the Free software movement — so much so, that its flagship organisations own co-founder Bruce Perens resigned after just a year of Open Source selling out the movement it hijacked.

Pretending to be apolitical is an industry unto to itself, and industry loves to say that political discussions are forbidden, because if they weren’t you could call them on their own political atrocities.

“Pretending to be apolitical is an industry unto to itself, and industry loves to say that political discussions are forbidden, because if they weren’t you could call them on their own political atrocities.”Once again, this is not just about politics tangential to Free software itself. Discuss Open Source for long enough, or discuss the ethical implications of software withing an open source project for long enough, and someone will mention that political discussions are either “divisive” or a “waste of time” — basically to “Shut up and (don’t say anything unless you) code”.

You will reasonably expect the next chapter to be about graphics. But this book is about user freedom, and the next chapter is about graphics from the perspective of user freedom. Some people will say “just choose your graphics layers based on their technical aspects”. If you do that, you could end up with lock-in as well as the exploitation of users and developers. Maybe that’s great for you, but its exactly what this book exists to discourage as much as possible.

Because so many Free software projects are actually Open Source projects, and because these projects eschew “politics” and ultimately sell out their own users (along with developers who aren’t on board with the changes), it is absolutely necessary to examine the Open Source Initiative as the archetypal example of this political bait-and-switch routine.

Let’s start with Bruce Perens — I like to start with Perens, because I believe he is (at the very least, was) the most sincere person in Open Source. Perens and Eric S. Raymond founded the Open Source Initiative in 1998 — more than a decade after the Free Software Foundation was started.

It doesn’t bother me that the FSF doesn’t have a monopoly on promoting Free software, nor did it bother Perens. Perens is the author of the Debian Free Software Guidelines, or DFSG. I happen to like the DFSG, even though I’ve lost all allegiance to Debian. Of important note is that the DFSG was the basis for the Open Source Definition (OSD) itself. That’s how integral Bruce Perens is to Open Source.

“ESR still hosts the Halloween documents on his own website. These are based on memos leaked from Microsoft (verified authentic) regarding their practices towards competitors.”Eric S. Raymond, I believe — made Open Source what it is today. I don’t think its accurate or fair to say he alone was responsible for the state Open Source is in. He may have made the decisions that led us to where we are now. He absolutely did not act alone.

The paradox of ESR is that he was very vocally anti-Microsoft (Microsoft is not a company, it is a Cult and empire — so for a moment, it may help to think of ESR as anti-empire. Though whether he really is would only be a guess) to the point of publishing the “Halloween documents” on the OSI website. From there, things get weird.

ESR still hosts the Halloween documents on his own website. These are based on memos leaked from Microsoft (verified authentic) regarding their practices towards competitors. They prove that Microsoft considers Free software a competitor, that they intend to fight, thwart and if possible exploit it, and some of the overall methodology they might use to accomplish this.

“The farce of Open Source is this elaborate footwork around the idea that you can actually fight corporate hegemony without ever really talking about corporate hegemony.”Raymond’s comments were hardly sympathetic to them, though today Microsoft has very arguably done to OSI exactly what the Halloween Documents said they would do to Free Software and Open Source.

For years I’ve tried to figure out the paradox of Raymond letting Microsoft do to his own organisation exactly what he condemned them for, and I have still only come up with two possible conclusions — one is that he lied about his true feelings originally (I very much doubt this, it is also less charitable than my other guess) and the other is that he’s too proud to appreciate and admit the irony — I think this one is probably on the money.

The farce of Open Source is this elaborate footwork around the idea that you can actually fight corporate hegemony without ever really talking about corporate hegemony. Just wave your hands about “practical development methodology” and you’ll hoodwink the empire into doing the bidding of the tech world peasantry! I don’t picture Raymond rubbing his hands conspiratorially and cackling so much as I imagine him thinking he could pull this off.

“In the Open Source cult, mocking the empire they originally exposed (OSI no longer hosts the Halloween documents, instead their board of directors plays host to Microsoft themselves) is precisely the problem, and being “constructive” (pretending to not have any political qualms with Microsoft’s actions against users, while pretending you can reform them with a “better design methodology”) is the real answer.”At any rate, Open Source acts like Free Software is a “Cathedral” full of sacred cows, while Open Source is (or pretends to be) very laid back, invisible-hand-like, replacing all “wasted time” concerns about freedom with de facto freedom itself.

As it will become crucial to explain, the effect of all this dancing around truth and reality was to transform a volunteer force primed to bring freedom to users into cheap labour for an industry that exploits everyone in it — all the way to the very top of Open Source itself. Microsoft and OSI are both corporate cults, and OSI promotes an ideal that you can somehow beat the cult if you worship just the right way — turning it against itself.

While Open Source points and laughs at the sentimentality of Free Software and treats it as pompous, naive and even hateful, its worship of industry monopolies is revealed by the complete lack of a sense of humour about people mocking the empire itself. For all of Free Software’s alleged sacred cows, nothing is more sacred or hallowed to Open Source than the empire. Throw the smallest stone you can find at one of the corporations under their protection, and the “morals” and politics of OSI will be revealed not only to peons like you and me, but even to Linus Torvalds and Eric S. Raymond.

“Unfortunately, this systemic and philosophical failure is not limited to OSI, but is likely to play out in every project (as it has with too many) that caters to Open Source over Free Software.”In the Open Source cult, mocking the empire they originally exposed (OSI no longer hosts the Halloween documents, instead their board of directors plays host to Microsoft themselves) is precisely the problem, and being “constructive” (pretending to not have any political qualms with Microsoft’s actions against users, while pretending you can reform them with a “better design methodology”) is the real answer.

Unfortunately, this systemic and philosophical failure is not limited to OSI, but is likely to play out in every project (as it has with too many) that caters to Open Source over Free Software. One of these is a movement; the other is a conceit.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

Links 7/8/2020: Mesa 20.2 RC, Radeon Software for Linux 20.30

Posted in News Roundup at 6:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-08-07 | Linux Headlines

        The Free Software Foundation elects a new president, security researchers warn of an attack related to Spectre and Meltdown that affects even more processor types, Ubuntu 20.04.1 is out, a new tool aims to automatically optimize laptop power without sacrificing battery life, and just two candidates are running for the vacant openSUSE board seat.

      • Test and Code: 125: pytest 6 – Anthony Sottile

        pytest 6 is out. Specifically, 6.0.1, as of July 31.

        And there’s lots to be excited about.
        Anthony Sottile joins the show to discuss features, improvements, documentation updates and more.

      • Real Python: The Real Python Podcast – Episode #21: Exploring K-means Clustering and Building a Gradebook With Pandas

        Do you want to learn the how and when of implementing K-means clustering in Python? Would you like to practice your pandas skills with a real-world project? This week on the show, David Amos is back with another batch of PyCoder’s Weekly articles and projects.

        David talks about a Real Python article about how to perform K-means clustering in Python. We also talk about a new project based article on the site about how to create a gradebook using pandas, practicing the skills of importing, merging, and calculating across groups of data. We cover several other articles and projects from the Python community including: JPEG image decoding, object-oriented development with interfaces and mixins, sparking joy with Python, five package picks from Real Python authors, and more.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.7.14

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.7.14 kernel.

        All users of the 5.7 kernel series must upgrade.

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


      • Linux 5.4.57
      • Linux 4.19.138
      • Linux 4.14.193
      • Linux Kernel 5.8

        Earlier this week Linux Kernel 5.8 was released, improving stability and introducing new features.


        I will probably upgrade Linux Mint 20.0 to Linux Kernel 5.8 over this weekend.

      • The Seccomp Notifier – Cranking up the crazy with bpf()

        The 2. feature just landed in the merge window for v5.9. So what better time than now to boot a v5.9 pre-rc1 kernel and play with the new features.

        I said that these features make it possible to intercept syscalls that return file descriptors or that pass file descriptors to the kernel. Syscalls that come to mind are open(), connect(), dup2(), but also bpf(). People that read the first blogpost might not have realized how crazy^serious one can get with these two new features so I thought it be a good exercise to illustrate it. And what better victim than bpf().

        As we know, bpf() and unprivileged containers don’t get along too well. But that doesn’t need to be the case. For the demo you’re about to see I enabled LXD to supervise the bpf() syscalls for tasks running in unprivileged containers. We will intercept the bpf() syscalls for the BPF_PROG_LOAD command for BPF_PROG_TYPE_CGROUP_DEVICE program types and the BPF_PROG_ATTACH, and BPF_PROG_DETACH commands for the BPF_CGROUP_DEVICE attach type. This allows a nested unprivileged container to load its own device profile in the cgroup2 hierarchy.

      • RISC-V Software Support Adds More Features With Linux 5.9

        More kernel architecture features continue to be supported by the RISC-V code with Linux 5.9.

        Each kernel cycle we have been seeing more RISC-V code get squared away and over the past year has begun running nicely on the likes of SiFive’s HiFive Unleashed.

      • Linux 5.9 Exposes Device Link Details Via Sysfs, Allows Hiding DebugFS From User-Space

        There are a few driver core changes for the Linux 5.9 kernel worth mentioning.

        Exciting changes to the core driver infrastructure for the mainline Linux kernel are rare though this time around are a few alterations worth pointing out:

        - The recently covered work by Sony on being able to allow restricting user-space access to DebugFS while keeping the debug feature enabled is in Linux 5.9. While most distributions / Linux configurations already restrict DebugFS access to root / admin privileges, as this file-system often exposes sensitive system information, the change by Sony allows for it to be initialized but not accessible from user-space. Sony’s focus on this effort appears to be in line of further securing their Android smartphones.

      • Graphics Stack

        • mesa 20.2.0-rc1
          Hi list,
          The mesa 20.2 release cycle is officially underway! A new staging/20.2 and 20.2
          branch have been pushed, and 20.2.0-rc1 is now officially available for your
          consumption. Please enjoy responsibly.
          I'm still planning to have a normal -rc cadence on wednesdays. I do apologize if
          I'm a bit slow to respond, especially to email. Please ping me on matrix or irc
          if I've missed something from you.
        • Mesa 20.2 Development Ends After Many New Features Land

          Feature work on Mesa 20.2 is now over with the code having been branched today and Mesa 20.2-RC1 subsequently issued.

          There will now be weekly release candidates until this quarter’s release is ready, which is likely to happen at some point in September depending upon how many blocker bugs are discovered and in turn how long it takes to get those issues resolved. Ideally the Mesa 20.2.0 release will happen in early September.

        • NVIDIA Releases Their Previously Announced HPC SDK

          Earlier this year at GTC Digital was the announcement of the NVIDIA High Performance Computing Software Development Kit while this week they have finally released this HPC SDK for developers at large.

          The NVIDIA HPC SDK aims to make it easy to deploy HPC workloads not only on NVIDIA GPUs but also CPUs. The HPC SDK features LLVM-based C++ and Fortran compilers, including support for automatic GPU acceleration of C++17 code using parallel algorithms and Fortran intrinsics.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Shader Testing

          I’m back, and today’s topic is testing.


          But this time is different. This time I’m going to be looking into a specific test format, namely piglit shader tests.

          Shader tests in piglit are tests which are passed through piglit’s undocumented shader_runner binary, which parses *.shader_test files at runtime to automatically produce tests based on GLSL without requiring any actual GL code and only minimal boilerplate. This makes writing tests easy, and, more importantly for my own use case, it makes debugging them easier.

    • Radeon

      • AMD Radeon Software for Linux 20.30 Released with Support for Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS

        AMD Radeon Software for Linux 20.30 is now available with full support for the recently released Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system, as well as for the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and Server 15 Service Pack 2 (SP 2).

        Radeon Software for Linux 20.30 now supports a total of eight distribution releases, including Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS, Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS, CentOS 7.8, CentOS 8.2, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.8, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 15 SP2, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP2.

        If you’re using any of these systems on your computer(s) powered by an AMD Radeon graphics card supported by the AMD Radeon Software for Linux, you should update the drivers to version 20.30 as soon as possible.

      • Radeon Software for Linux 20.30 Released

        Just under two months since Radeon Software for Linux 20.20 that is comprised of the AMDGPU-Open and AMDGPU-PRO driver components for these packaged drivers, Radeon Software for Linux 20.30 was quietly released at the end of last week.

        Radeon Software for Linux 20.30 provides the latest packaged Linux graphics drivers, primarily intended for enterprise Linux distributions like RHEL/CentOS, Ubuntu LTS, and SUSE Linux Enterprise. For most gamers running other distributions you are better off just using the latest Linux kernel and Mesa (and AMDVLK, if you want).

      • AMDVLK 2020.Q3.3 Driver Enables Its Pipeline Cache

        AMDVLK 2020.Q3.3 is the latest tagged release for their open-source Vulkan Linux driver that is an alternative to Mesa’s RADV driver. With AMDVLK 2020.Q3.3 they finally have their pipeline cache in good order that it’s (re)enabled, which is helpful for performance. AMDVLK 2020.Q3.3 also enables sharing of metadata for images, support for dumping viewports as part of the command buffer logger, improving the defer-freeing command chunk in the queue context, and support for DispatchMeshIndirectMutli.

    • Applications

      • Bashtop – A Resource Monitoring Tool for Linux

        Bashtop is a terminal-based resource monitoring utility in Linux. It’s a nifty command-line tool that intuitively displays statistics for your CPU, memory, running processes, and bandwidth to mention just a few.

        It ships with a game-inspired and responsive terminal UI with a customizable menu. Monitoring various system metrics is made easy by the neat arrangement of various display sections.

        With Bashtop, you can also sort processes, as well as easily switch between the various sorting options. Additionally, you can send SIGKILL, SIGTERM, and SIGINT to the processes that you want.

      • Tracking Your CRYPTO INVESTMENTS Is Dead Simple With Cointop
      • Automatic CPU Speed & Power Optimizer Auto-cpufreq 1.2 Released

        Auto-cpufreq, automatic CPU speed & power optimizer for Linux to improve battery life, released version 1.2 with AMD support.

        Different to cpufreq indicator and / or TLP, Auto-cpufreq automatically make “cpufreq” related changes based on active monitoring of laptop’s battery state, CPU usage and system load. Ultimately allowing you to improve battery life without making any compromises.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 5.0.2 Released With Fixes For Various Games, Windows Applications

        For those using Wine in a production environment for running Windows software on Linux, Wine 5.0.2 is out as the latest stable update.

        While Wine continues chugging along with a lot of great feature work with the Wine 5.x bi-weekly snapshots leading up to the Wine 6.0 release early next year, Wine 5.0.2 is the latest stable point release with a variety of bug-fixes back-ported to this code-base that was minted at the start of this year. There are no new features but exclusively bug fixes.

    • Games

      • Techland confirm Dying Light Hellraid will see plenty of updates post-release

        Dying Light – Hellraid is the upcoming DLC that swaps Zombies for Skeletons and turns Dying Light into something of a dungeon crawler. It’s exciting and it’s going to continually get updates after release.

        Reminder: the DLC is inspired by and using some ideas from Hellraid, which was originally going to be a standalone first-person co-op slasher. Techland appear to have shelved it completely so they’re making sure it didn’t all go to waste this way. I’m pretty happy about it because if there’s one thing I want, it’s more Dying Light content.

      • The Bridge Constructor series is now up on GOG with a nice big sale

        A little building for the weekend perhaps? The Bridge Constructor series has appeared on GOG and there’s a sweet discount deal going where you could get the first game free.

        The newly DRM-free released titles on GOG are: Bridge Constructor, Bridge Constructor Medieval and Bridge Constructor Portal. I don’t think any of these games really need an introduction do they? The name along pretty much speaks for itself. Each of them has a slightly different take on what you do but the end result is the same. You get to build bridges, and watch as your glorious creations fail repeatedly.


        I had a huge amount of fun with Bridge Constructor Portal, as the portal system definitely makes it feel different to the previous entries and to other similar such games.

      • Railway Empire gets a Complete Collection out now

        All aboard the DLC train! Kalypso Media and in-house developer Gaming Minds Studios today put the brakes on Railway Empire, with a proper Complete Collection now available.

        This is because the team has moved onto another game, so Railway Empire should be considered actually finished now, apart from perhaps a few standard patches that may come in future. Since release in early 2018 it’s been through 13 free updates, 8 extensive DLCs spanning iconic locations such as the Rocky Mountains, Sweden and Mexico, and brought to life 83 historically authentic locomotives. Kalypso claim this collection which bundles all DLC with the main game offer up “the most comprehensive railway tycoon experience currently available on PC and consoles”.

      • Quirky vehicle building game ‘Making it Home’ is now in Early Access

        Making it Home looks so bizarre that I feel like I just need to give it a go. You’re a ladybug building a vehicle to travel from one side of America to the other.

        Yes, a ladybug. I did say it looks bizarre. Even the developer thinks their idea is weird. They said it’s “kinda Oregon Trail meets Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts with a bit of Far Lone Sails – and a smoking crab and bear – with carrots and peas – and honey… and dehumidifiers”. Are we any clearer? No but it looks a bit amusing. The point is to build a big Rube Goldberg styled contraption, then platformer all over it to interact with it and collect stuff along the way.

      • Perspective illusion puzzler THE IMPOSSIBLE is out now

        Inspired by designs from MC Escher, THE IMPOSSIBLE is a game about moving a box around crazy shapes. Note: key provided by the developer.

        Taking the visuals and gameplay, you could compare it directly with hocus from 2015 but Airem have put their own slightly quirky take on it, complete with a GLaDOS-inspired narrator to prod you along. Using simple controls, all you need to do is get the the box across the shape you’re given onto the red square. Doing so is not always easy, due to the perspective. It’s not impossible of course but it is challenging.

        This is not your typical shape puzzle game though, this cheeky GLaDOS sounding AI that comments on your progress also messes with you. There’s some intentional glitches and errors that flash around on certain levels to interrupt you. Quite funny actually the way it’s done and it’s not over the top either, you’re even told if you “obey the rules, you’ll get Steam Achievements” in a glitched-out voice with the audio going from all relaxing to properly mysterious.

      • Len’s Island plans to blend together peaceful building with intense dungeon exploration

        Len’s Island sounds like quite a peculiar mix. Blending together peaceful building, farming and crafting, mixed with intense combat, dungeon battles and deep questing and exploration. We’ve got plenty of games that do either side of the coin with building or dungeon crawling but both together? I’m eager to see how that will all work. Even more so because of the setting and the lovely colourful style it provides.

        “Len’s Island brings excitement and progression for many playstyles, all within a vibrant and engaging world. Catering to the hardcore dungeon-crawler fans, home-builders and decorators, explorers and completionists, farming fanatics, collectable hoarders, and people who just want to live the simple life chopping trees as the sun goes down.”

      • Google adds Free Weekends to Stadia starting with Borderlands 3

        Google’s game streaming service Stadia continues to gradually roll out new features, one of which went up yesterday with Free Weekends now being a thing. Plus, another round-up on recent Stadia info.

        I’m surprised it actually took this long. Free Weekends are a great way to trial games, and something Steam has been doing for quite a long time now. Partly thanks to demos at some point becoming more of a rarity. The thing is, for a game streaming service like this it makes a whole lot more sense, since there’s no lengthy initial downloads. You can jump in practically instantly and see if you like it and play a good few hours. Then perhaps buy it.

      • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gets fancy new skins, networking improvements

        Valve continue to tweak their classic free to play shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The latest update improves various parts of the game and there’s some fancy new weapon skins.

        Trusted Mode, the newer feature that’s just one small part of their fight against cheating now has the “-untrusted” launch argument removed. Trusted Mode on Linux also now appears to be on by default, so you no longer need the quick fix we wrote about recently, so if you missed that you should find your CS:GO games on Linux to be a lot nicer. Valve also fixed several exploits related to VPK tampering.

        For collectors, a new Fracture Collection weapons case went up so you can gamble away some of your monies on their loot box system. This new case features designs from over 17 different community artists and there’s even Shattered Web Knives as rare special items. Looking over the Steam Market, there’s already tons on there from it so if you’re after something really specific you might just be able to grab it right away there.

      • Core Defense developer ‘completely blown away’ by first week Steam sales

        After launching on July 31, Core Defense from developer ehmprah appears to have done quite well to the point that they’ve been ‘blown away’ by the sales numbers.

        What is Core Defense? It’s a tower defense game, that mixes in a little more randomness than you might expect. You pick towers and upgrades from a set a cards after each wave, and gradually build up a maze to force enemies to travel through. See our previous thoughts here—it’s good!

        This cross-platform release (Linux, macOS, Windows) managed to cut through the noise, with the first week hitting 2,546 units and grossed $20,186 on Steam. Compared with 106 units and grossed $1,144 on itch.io during the Early Access phase it did there. Interestingly, despite Steam Wishlists often being said to be what makes or breaks games, they said only 26% of sales came from wishlist conversions. They also had around 8% refunded, which sounds pretty good so overall the managed to net $17,029 before Steam’s own cut.

      • Braid is getting a much upgraded Anniversary Edition releasing in 2021

        Braid, the indie puzzle-platformer from Jonathan Blow is getting a huge overhaul with a new Anniversary Edition that’s due out sometime in 2021. It’s something of a classic and became quite a big hit, it was also one of the early bigger indie titles to come to Linux.

        Sounds like it’s going to be a massive improvement, which includes David Hellman returning to do the repainting. Extra animations are in, upgraded sound effects and music and so on. They explained the point was to upgrade it and not do a “Star Wars Special Edition” to change how some things were done to the story. There’s even going to be a toggle to switch between old and new which is always fun to play with in a game. Developer commentary is also going to be in, with their plan to have it as the “craziest, most-in-depth commentary ever put in a video game”.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • The archaeology of GNOME accessibility

          There are many people in the world who cannot make full use of their computers without some sort of accessibility support. Developers, though, have a tendency not to think about accessibility issues themselves; they don’t (usually) need those features and cannot normally even see them. In a talk at the 2020 GUADEC virtual conference, Emmanuele Bassi discussed the need for accessibility features, their history in GNOME, and his effort to rethink about how GNOME supports assistive technology.

          He began by defining “accessibility” as usability by people with disabilities; this usability is often provided through the use of assistive technology of some sort. When one thinks about who benefits from accessibility, it is natural to picture people like Stephen Hawking, who clearly needed a lot of assistive technology. But that is not what the most common consumers of assistive technology look like; instead, they look like his parents, who are active people in their late 60s. They are computer-literate, but they are getting older and need more affordances than they once did.


          Much of the accessibility implementation is maintained outside of the GTK source tree, which brings problems of its own. The end result is that GNOME’s accessibility support never worked all that well. But it lets managers check the “accessibility” box, which is all many of them need. Unfortunately, accessibility is not a box that can be checked and forgotten about; it is a process that must be constantly kept up with. But the GNOME project ended up mostly forgetting about it.

          In the intervening years the world has changed. CORBA has been replaced by D-Bus, for example. Patience for out-of-tree modules is mostly gone. The move to Wayland is creating problems for existing assistive technology, as is the sandboxing that is increasingly being used for GNOME applications.

          AT-SPI has been ported to D-Bus, he said, but the architecture of the accessibility subsystem as a whole is the same. It remains in the X11 world, where every application expects to have access to the entire system. This is a design that dates back to the days when applications were installed by the system administrator and could (hopefully) be trusted; they certainly were not acquired from random places on the Internet.

          The world has changed, he said, so accessibility support in GNOME needs to change with it. The system is “stuck” and needs a redesign. But this is hard because, unlike the situation with other desktop features, it is not possible to ask users of assistive technology to contribute. To a great extent, they simply cannot perceive what is not available to them, so it’s hard to even ask them to report regressions.

          The first thing that needs to happen is to consolidate the various pieces, many of which have been untouched for years. Some new functionality has been added, mostly to match new features provided by browsers, but as a whole GNOME accessibility support just doesn’t really work. The abstraction layer doesn’t really abstract anything, so changes typically have to be made in many places. The toolkit needs to be simplified; as things stand now, application developers expect GTK to take care of everything, but that is not the case. There is also a need for funding; this work is not trivial and it’s not reasonable to expect it to be done by volunteers.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • GSoC 2020 Second Evaluation Report: Curses Library Automated Testing

          My GSoC project under NetBSD involves the development of test framework of curses library. This blog report is second in series of blog reports; you can have a look at the first report. This report would cover the progress made in second coding phase along with providing some insights into the libcurses.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Skopeo, xxHash, GCC 10.2 are Among Updates in Tumbleweed

          openSUSE Tumbleweed had continuous daily snapshots with a handful of software package updates this week.

          Many minor-version updates and one major-version update became available to Tumbleweed users and the newest snapshot, 20200804, updated the iso-codes package, which lists country, language and currency names; the new 4.5.0 version updated translations and the subdivision names for Belarus. The Greybird Geeko theme was updated to improve contrast of gtk2 selection background color. The desktop calculator qalculate was updated to version 3.12.0 and improved exact simplification of roots. The fast hash algorithm xxhash 0.8.0 stablized the XXH3. Both libyui-ncurses and ncurses had minor updates. The snapshot is trending stable with a rating of 97, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

        • Digest of YaST Development Sprint 105

          Although a significant part of the YaST Team is enjoying their well deserved summer vacations, the development wheel keeps turning. During the latest two weeks we have fixed quite some bugs in several parts of (Auto)YaST. But listing fixed bugs it’s quite boring, so let’s focus on more interesting stuff we have also achieved.

        • Open Source for the Edge at IoT World

          As technologies converge to drive new innovation at the edge, organizations are working together more than ever to pave the road forward by combining the likes of 5G, AI/ML, Embedded Systems, High Performance Computing, Kubernetes, private/public environments and more. Companies are bringing specific domain expertise to the table, and SUSE is uniquely positioned with 28 years of Linux and open source expertise to serve as the foundation for developing, distributing and managing edge systems and the critical workloads they will support.

        • SUSE Partner Summit – Coming to a digital platform in mid-September!
      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Open source is more than code: Developing Red Hat Satellite documentation upstream

          The code base for Satellite begins upstream and moves downstream. Until recently, the Satellite documentation did not follow the same journey. In this post, I will outline what has been happening with Satellite documentation over the last year and how this benefits both the Foreman community and Red Hat Satellite users.

          The Foreman and Katello projects are the upstreams of Red Hat Satellite. The discussions and contributions that take place in the vibrant upstream community help shape the Red Hat Satellite code base. Red Hat’s open source and community strategy has made Red Hat Satellite a robust and flexible product that can manage complex management workflows.

        • Accelerating the value of multicloud environments: A collaborative DevSecOps approach is critical

          Cloud Native development is not so much about where you run your application, but more about how you develop it. It is an interesting moment in time for enterprise developers, as more emphasis shifts to application modernization and cloud native development. The responsibility is shifting to the application for critical success factors for hybrid cloud environments, including security, reliability, and manageability. I have found that these “interesting” challenges are best addressed by collaborative, cross-disciplinary DevSecOps teams that understand the entire software development lifecycle.

          In this new environment, your role as developers is more demanding, and we all need better tools. You have increased responsibility for understanding and working directly with security engineers on governance and related management policies. You are being tasked with prioritizing service reliability, and the best practice is to address potential problems early in the application lifecycle. You also need to proactively detect and resolve potential issues with production environments before they have a negative business impact.

        • Play Minecraft with Fedora Friends at Nest 2020 [Ed: Fedora is boosting Microsoft and "Fedora Minecraft/Spigot server follows the same Code of Conduct as Fedora Nest and the wider Fedora Community. Be kind, be respectful, and have fun!" (unlike Microsoft)]
      • Debian Family

        • Deepin Linux Gets V20 (1000) Update With New Rules For Version Number

          It has been over four months since the beta release of Deepin 20 and we’re still waiting for its stable version. Now with the latest system update, Deepin 20 series has a new release, but with a new rule for the system version number.

          Instead of using the previous point version number scheme, Deepin Linux will now comply with the unified naming specification. Under the scheme, any new release or system update from Deepin will use the major version number plus (minor version number), such as 20 (1000), 20 (1010), and so on.

        • Jonathan Dowland: Vimwiki

          At the start of the year I begun keeping a daily diary for work as a simple text file. I’ve used various other approaches for this over the years, including many paper diaries and more complex digital systems. One great advantage of the one-page text file was it made assembling my weekly status report email very quick, nearly just a series of copies and pastes. But of course there are drawbacks and room for improvement.

          vimwiki is a personal wiki plugin for the vim and neovim editors. I’ve tried to look at it before, years ago, but I found it too invasive, changing key bindings and display settings for any use of vim, and I use vim a lot.

          I decided to give it another look. The trigger was actually something completely unrelated: Steve Losh’s blog post “Coming Home to vim”. I’ve been using vim for around 17 years but I still learned some new things from that blog post. In particular, I’ve never bothered to Use The Leader for user-specific shortcuts.

        • Gmail Desktop

          There is a new application available for Sparkers: Gmail Desktop

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • First Point Version Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS Arrives With A Lot Of Bug Fixes

          After the rescheduling of the point release date of Ubuntu 20.04 and 18.04, the Ubuntu team has finally released the Ubuntu 20.04.1. This is the first point release for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, which arrived on 23 April 2020 with a number of new features and enhancements.

          Additionally, the team has also announced a point version of seven official Ubuntu flavors. It includes Kubuntu 20.04.1 LTS, Ubuntu Budgie 20.04.1 LTS, Ubuntu MATE 20.04.1 LTS, Lubuntu 20.04.1 LTS, Ubuntu Kylin 20.04.1 LTS, Ubuntu Studio 20.04.1 LTS, and Xubuntu 20.04.1 LTS.

          Being a long-term version, Ubuntu 20.04 along with its other variant for Desktop, Server, Cloud, and Core will be supported for five years until 2025. However, you can also extend its security support through ESM (Extended Security Maintenance) at the cost of money.

        • Ubuntu 20.04.1: The First Point Release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is Now Available To Download

          This could be confusing if you are new to Ubuntu. Ubuntu 20.04 long term support (LTS) version was released in April this year.

          Since a LTS release is supported for five years, providing the same installation media (ISO) for five years won’t be a wise thing to do.

          Imagine trying to install Ubuntu 20.04 in 2022. You’ll have a huge list of system updates, security updates, software updates and bug fixes to install right after you have a fresh install of Ubuntu.

          Installing several GB of update data can be avoided thanks to these point release.

          The Ubuntu team refreshes the ISO of Ubuntu 20.04 with all the bug fixes and important updates released since April 2020. There will be up to 5 more point releases for Ubuntu 20.04 in the future.

        • Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS out now opening LTS upgrade path

          Canonical has announced the release of Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS for its Desktop, Server, and Cloud products as well as other Ubuntu flavours with long-term support. Additionally, those still running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS will now be offered the upgrade inside the Update Manager. As with other point releases, Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS comes with all the latest security patches from preceding months, saving time post-installation.

          When Ubuntu 20.04 LTS was released back in April, those on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS were not offered the update right away because Canonical wanted to let the new release mature a bit. Long-term support editions of Ubuntu are supported for at least five years so they’re preferred in production environments so stability is a very important factor.

        • Manjaro vs. Ubuntu – which is better for you?

          If you are a person associated with Computer technology and spend most of the time in the open-source arena, you must have heard or worked with some of the popular Linux distributions we have in the market. Some of the names that you will never miss are; Ubuntu, Arch Linux, Debian, and Mint.

          Despite Linux having more than 600 distros available today, I tend to believe there is that one distribution that everyone has a soft spot for. That could be because of its performance, stability, software availability, or a specific feature not available in other distribution.

          In this article, we will put our focus on two Linux distributions. The first is Ubuntu, one of the most popular distributions with its first release made on October 20, 2004. The other is Manjaro, which is regarded as a much smaller and emerging distribution with its first release on July 10, 2011. We will compare these two distros across a few key areas and give a brief review of both distributions.

        • Ubuntu Kylin Point Release Boosts Desktop Performance by 46%

          More than 418 updates, tweaks, and other improvements have been made to the uniquely styled desktop environment and distro since the release of Ubuntu Kylin 20.04 back in April.

          And as with the Ubuntu 20.04 point release Ubuntu Kylin’s refreshed installer image comes with all of those enhancements wrapped up, ready to go, out of the box — no lengthy post-install upgrades required.

        • The First Point Release of Ubuntu 20.04 Available to Download

          Ubuntu 20.04.1, the first point release for the LTS, was released. ISO images and upgrade from Ubuntu 18.04 are available.

          This point release DO NOT contain updated Kernel and X stack. It contains various bug fixes to installation, upgrade, desktop, server and cloud, and Kernel and hardware support updates. See change summary.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • iWave Telematics Control Unit Supports GPS, 4G LTE, WiFi, and Bluetooth

        We’ve often written about iWave Systems’ single board computers, development kits, and systems-on-module, but the company has also been offering automotive products such as a Linux based OBD-II Dongle.

      • First Tiger Lake SBCs emerge

        Aaeon and Kontron are prepping 3.5-inch SBCs — and Advantech will offer a 2.5-incher — that debut Intel’s 11th Gen, 10nm Tiger Lake CPUs. The 15-28W TDP Tiger Lake offers better graphics than Ice Lake, including support for up to 4x 4K displays.

        Intel’s recent announcement of an additional six months delay in delivering 7nm CPUs, pushing back its original roadmap by a year to late 2022 or 2023 has led to further questions about the company’s future dominance. The 7nm defects are severe enough that Intel says it will expand its outsourcing of manufacturing to TSMC. Yet, Intel’s strong quarterly earnings and news that 10nm fabricated, 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors will meet their revised Q4 2020 deadline are helping to salve the wound.

      • RAK2287 Mini PCIe LoRaWAN Concentrator Module Supports up to 500 Nodes per km2

        The company provides a Raspbian based Raspberry Pi 3/4 firmware in the Wiki, but it’s obviously possible to use the card with other Linux hardware, and instructions to build an x86 Linux gateway are also provided. That’s for RAK2247, but it will work for RAK2287 as well.

      • How A Raspberry Pi 4 Performs Against Intel’s Latest Celeron, Pentium CPUs

        Following the recent Intel Comet Lake Celeron and Pentium CPU benchmarking against other x86_64 Intel/AMD CPUs, here was a bit of fun… Seeing how these budget Intel CPUs compare to a Raspberry Pi 4 in various processor benchmarks, all tested on Debian Linux.

        The Celeron part tested was the G5900 as a $42 processor as a dual-core 3.4GHz processor with 2MB cache and UHD Graphics 610.

      • MEGA-RTD Raspberry Pi HAT Offers up to 64 Resistance Temperature Detectors (Crowdfunding)

        Sequent Microsystems like to make stackable Raspberry Pi HATs. After their stackable 4-relay board allowing for up to 32 relays controlled by a Raspberry Pi board, the company has now launched MEGA-RTD 8-channel RTD Raspberry Pi HAT enabling up to 64 resistance temperature detectors via 8x MEGA RTD board stacked on top of a Raspberry Pi board.

      • The State of Robotics – July 2020

        Looking for an easy way to get familiar with ROS 2? We recently published a few helpers on how to simulate robots with turtlesim to help our readers get a rolling start on ROS2.


        CIS has a long and successful history of creating community-consensus best practice recommendations for security. The first CIS benchmark for ROS is currently under consideration and covers Melodic running on Ubuntu Server 18.04.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • When Will Open Source Hardware Become a Thing?

          my honest opinion, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is probably the best of all innovation to come out of the tech industry in the past four or five decades. As far as I can tell, the Open Source Initiative is predated by Richard Stallman’s famous Free Software Foundation (FSF) (1985), which itself is predated by his own GNU project (1983) which seems as if it pretty much kick-started what we would call Free and Open Source today. Whilst it is true that software programs were often shared amongst academics before GNU, the software industry was a fraction of what it is today and so I believe that it was indeed GNU that kicked it all off.


          Open Source firmware and drivers have been harder to come by in general than software. However, there have been major efforts made by Open Source and Free Software community members to create projects such as Libreboot which aims to replace proprietary boot firmware. Firmware is often a more contentious issue than software since most hardware we buy comes with firmware baked in. Reverse engineering a device’s firmware is not necessarily a particularly easy task, at least not when compared to just rebuilding an existing software project (eg. LibreOffice and Microsoft Office). To make matters worse, It can be much easier for companies to embed potentially malicious code since it is harder to analyse.

          I think that Open Source firmware will slowly become a bigger thing. However, its growth will probably be driven by the rise of Open Source hardware.


          We’ve also seen the introduction of devices for the everyday user (not just hobbyists and tinkerers) including mobile phones and laptops. The company Purism has recently released both Laptops and a model of mobile phone which seem promising. Unfortunately, their laptops do rely on Intel CPUs, even if they claim to have disabled the management engine. It does seem like it will certainly take a while for these devices to meet mainstream though. Still, promising…

        • SAMD21 Lite is a Stamp-sized, MikroBus Compatible Cortex-M0+ MCU Board

          If you’re a fan of tiny microcontroller boards, you’ll be pleased with BOKRA SAMD21 Lite board powered by Microchip SAMD21 Arm Cortex-M0+ MCU, exposing I/Os in a way compatible with MikroBus socket, and adding a Grove connector for good measure.

        • TLS gets a boost from Arduino for IoT devices

          Arduino devices are a favorite among do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiasts to create, among other things, Internet of Things (IoT) devices. We have previously covered the Espressif ESP8266 family of devices that can be programmed using the Arduino SDK, but the Arduino project itself also provides WiFi-enabled devices such as the Arduino MKR WiFi 1010 board. Recently, the Arduino Security Team raised the problem of security shortcomings of IoT devices in a post, and how the Arduino project is working to make improvements. We will take the opportunity to share some interesting things from that, and also look at the overall state of TLS support in the Arduino and Espressif SDK projects.

          When it comes to making a secure IoT device, an important consideration is the TLS implementation. At minimum, TLS can prevent eavesdropping on the communications, but, properly implemented, can also address a number of other security concerns as well (such as man-in-the-middle attacks). Moreover, certificate-based authentication for IoT endpoints is a considerably better approach than usernames and passwords. In certificate-based authentication, a client presents a certificate that can be cryptographically verified as to the client’s identity, rather than relying on a username and password to do the same. These certificates are issued by trusted and cryptographically verifiable authorities so they are considerably more difficult to compromise than a simple username and password. Still, according to the team: “As of today, a lot of embedded devices still do not properly implement the full TLS stack”. As an example, it pointed out that “a lot of off-brand boards use code that does not actually validate the server’s certificate, making them an easy target for server impersonation and man-in-the-middle attacks.”

          The reason for this is often simply a lack of resources available on the device — some devices only offer 32KB of RAM and many TLS implementations require more memory to function. Moreover, validating server certificates requires storing a potentially large number of trusted root certificates. Storing all of the data for Mozilla-trusted certificate authorities on a device takes up over 170KB in a system that potentially only has 1MB of available total flash memory. A general lack of education regarding the importance of security in this space unfortunately also plays a role. After all, TLS isn’t the most straightforward subject to begin with, and having to implement it on a resource-limited platform does not make implementing it correctly any easier of a problem to solve.

        • Open-source CNCing

          Last year Sienci Labs finished its Kickstarter campaign for the open-source LongMill Benchtop CNC Router — its second successful open-source CNC machine Kickstarter campaign. CNC routers allow users to mill things (like parts) from raw materials (like a block of aluminum) based on a 3D-model. The LongMill is a significant improvement over the original sold-out Mill One and makes professional-quality machining based entirely on open-source technology a reality. As an owner of a LongMill, I will walk through the various open-source technologies that make this tool a cornerstone of my home workshop.


          The Sienci Labs LongMill is an impressive feat of engineering, using a combination of off-the-shelf hardware components alongside a plethora of 3D-printed parts. The machine, once assembled, is designed to be mounted to a board. This board, called a spoilboard, is a board the machine can “accidentally” cut into or otherwise suffer damage — designed to be occasionally replaced. In most circumstances, the spoilboard is the top of a table for the machine, and Sienci provides documentation on several different table builds done by the community. For builders short on space, the machine can be mounted on a wall.

          The complete 3D plans for the machine are available for download, including a full bill of materials of all of the parts needed. The project also provides instructions to assemble the machine and how best to 3D print relevant components. The machine is controlled by the LongBoard CNC Controller, and Sienci Labs provides full schematics [23MB ZIP] of that as well. All mentioned materials are licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license.

          In addition to the open-source design of the machine itself, an open-source-minded community has formed around the project. The company’s Facebook user group has 1,600 members, and an active community forum is hosted by the company, which discusses everything from tips to machine support. Community members contribute, among other things, various modifications to improve the original design or to add new features such as a laser engraver.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Daniel Stenberg: Using fixed port numbers for curl tests is now history!

        The curl test suite fires up a whole bunch of test servers for the various supported protocols, and then command lines using curl or libcurl-using dedicated test apps are run against those servers to make sure curl is acting exactly as it is supposed to.

      • Mycroft: an open-source voice assistant

        Mycroft is a free and open-source software project aimed at providing voice-assistant technology, licensed under the Apache 2.0 license. It is an interesting alternative to closed-source commercial offerings such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple Siri. Use of voice assistants has become common among consumers, but the privacy concerns surrounding them are far-reaching. There have been multiple instances of law enforcement’s interest in the data these devices produce for use against their owners. Mycroft claims to offer a privacy-respecting, open-source alternative, giving users a choice on how much of their personal data is shared and with whom.

        The Mycroft project is backed by the Mycroft AI company. The company was originally funded by a successful one-million-dollar crowdfunding campaign involving over 1,500 supporters. In recent years, it has developed two consumer-focused “smart speaker” devices: the Mark 1 and Mark 2. Both devices were funded through successful Kickstarter campaigns, with the most recent Mark 2 raising $394,572 against a $50,000 goal.

        In the press, the company has indicated its intention is to focus on the enterprise market for its commercial offerings, while keeping the project free to individual users and developers. On the subject of developers, contributors are expected to sign a contributor license agreement (CLA) to participate in the project. The actual CLA was unavailable at the time of publication, but the project claims it grants the project a license to the contributed code, while retaining ownership of the contribution to the developer.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • By embracing blockchain, a California bill takes the wrong step forward.

            The California legislature is currently considering a bill directing a public board to pilot the use of blockchain-type tools to communicate Covid-19 test results and other medical records. We believe the bill unduly dictates one particular technical approach, and does so without considering the privacy, security, and equity risks it poses. We urge the California Senate to reconsider.

            The bill in question is A.B. 2004, which would direct the Medical Board of California to create a pilot program using verifiable digital credentials as electronic patient records to communicate COVID-19 test results and other medical information. The bill seems like a well-intentioned attempt to use modern technology to address an important societal problem, the ongoing pandemic. However, by assuming the suitability of cryptography-based verifiable credential models for this purpose, rather than setting out technology-neutral principles and guidelines for the proposed pilot program, the bill would set a dangerous precedent by effectively legislating particular technology outcomes. Furthermore, the chosen direction risks exacerbating the potential for discrimination and exclusion, a lesson Mozilla has learned in our work on digital identity models being proposed around the world. While we appreciate the safeguards that have been introduced into the legislation in its current form, such as its limitations on law enforcement use, they are insufficient. A new approach, one that maximizes public good while minimizing harms of privacy and exclusion, is needed.

          • Karl Dubost: Browser developer tools timeline

            I was reading In a Land Before Dev Tools by Amber, and I thought, Oh here missing in the history the beautifully chiseled Opera Dragonfly and F12 for Internet Explorer. So let’s see what are all the things I myself didn’t know.

      • CMS

        • Kiwi TCMS Enterprise v8.5.2-mt

          We’re happy to announce Kiwi TCMS Enterprise version 8.5.2-mt and extended support hours for subscribers in America.

      • FSF

      • Programming/Development

        • Intel Compute Runtime Preparing For The Upcoming oneAPI Level Zero 1.0

          At the end of last year Intel published the oneAPI Level Zero specification as a low-level API for direct-to-metal interfaces for offload accelerators like FPGAs and GPUs. In the months since they have continued advancing the Level Zero interface and implementation within the Intel software stack (along with the other oneAPI components at large) while it’s looking like Level Zero v1.0 is around the corner.

        • nanotime 0.3.0: Yuge New Features!

          A fresh major release of the nanotime package for working with nanosecond timestamps is hitting CRAN mirrors right now.

          nanotime relies on the RcppCCTZ package for (efficient) high(er) resolution time parsing and formatting up to nanosecond resolution, and the bit64 package for the actual integer64 arithmetic. Initially implemented using the S3 system, it has benefitted greatly from work by Leonardo Silvestri who rejigged internals in S4—and now added new types for periods, intervals and durations. This is what is commonly called a big fucking deal!! So a really REALLY big thank you to my coauthor Leonardo for all these contributions.

          With all these Yuge changes patiently chisseled in by Leonardo, it took some time since the last release and a few more things piled up. Matt Dowle corrected something we borked for integration with the lovely and irreplacable data.table. We also switched to the awesome yet minimal tinytest package by Mark van der Loo, and last but not least we added the beginnings of a proper vignette—currently at nine pages but far from complete.

        • Lockless algorithms for mere mortals

          Time, as some have said, is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening at once. In today’s highly concurrent computers, though, time turns out not to be enough to keep events in order; that task falls to an extensive set of locking primitives and, below those, the formalized view of memory known as the Linux kernel memory model. It takes a special kind of mind to really understand the memory model, though; kernel developers lacking that particular superpower are likely to make mistakes when working in areas where the memory model comes into play. Working at that level is increasingly necessary for performance purposes, though; a recent conversation points out ways in which the kernel could make that kind of work easier for ordinary kernel developers.

          Concurrency comes into play when multiple threads of execution are accessing the same data at the same time. Even in a simple world, keeping everything coherent in a situation like this can be a challenging task. The kernel prevents the wrong things from happening at the same time with the use of spinlocks, mutexes, and other locking primitives that can control concurrency. Locks at this level can be thought of as being similar to traffic lights in cities: they prevent accidents as long as they are properly observed, but at the cost of stopping a lot of traffic. Time spent waiting for locks hurts; even the time bouncing lock data between memory caches can wreck scalability, so developers often look for ways to avoid locking.

        • A look at Dart

          Dart is a BSD-licensed programming language from Google with a mature open-source community supporting the project. It works with multiple architectures, is capable of producing native machine-code binaries, and can also produce JavaScript versions of its applications. Dart version 1.0 was released in 2013, with the most recent version, 2.8, released on June 3 (2.9 is currently in public beta). Among the open-source projects using Dart is the cross-device user-interface (UI) toolkit Flutter. We recently covered the Canonical investment in Flutter to help drive more applications to the Linux desktop, and Dart is central to that story.

          Dart’s syntax is a mix of concepts from multiple well-established languages including JavaScript, PHP, and C++. Further, Dart is a strongly-typed, object-oriented language, with primitive types that are implemented as classes. While Dart does have quirks, it is likely that a programmer familiar with the aforementioned languages will find getting started with Dart to be relatively easy. Included in the language are useful constructs like Lists (arrays), Sets (unordered collections), and Maps (key/value pairs).

          Beyond the language constructs, the Dart core libraries provide additional support for features like asynchronous programming, HTML manipulation, and converters to work with UTF-8 and JSON.

        • Python

          • Integrating H2 with Python and Flask

            H2 is a lightweight database server written in Java. It can be embedded in Java applications, or run as a standalone server.

            In this tutorial, we’ll review why H2 can be a good option for your projects. We’ll also learn how to integrate H2 with Python by building a simple Flask API.

        • Java

          • Reactive Quarkus: A Java Mutiny

            DevNation Tech Talks are hosted by the Red Hat technologists who create our products. These sessions include real solutions plus code and sample projects to help you get started. In this talk, you’ll learn about reactive Quarkus and Mutiny from Clement Escoffier and Edson Yanaga.

            First things first: How much confusion has been caused by the word reactive? Are we talking about reactive systems? Reactive programming? Reactive streams? Also, how many headaches have been caused by non-seasoned reactive developers trying to read reactive code?

            Let’s make some sense out of this issue. In this talk, we introduce Mutiny, a new reactive programming library. After several years of observing developers using reactive APIs, we designed this library to be more event-driven, navigable, and to avoid the common pitfalls of reactive programming. This talk explores the reason behind Mutiny and how it simplifies the development of reactive applications. We also explain how Mutiny is integrated into Quarkus to build supersonic, subatomic, and reactive applications.

  • Leftovers

    • Suffrage: The Myth of Sisterphus

      Awhile back the New Yorker magazine published a cartoon titled “Glass Ceiling,” which depicted a father and his little daughter looking out the window of an office high up in a skyscraper. The caption read, “Someday, all of this glass ceiling will be yours.” You chuckle, because it’s funny; but then you go ahead and think about it. Then your smirk drops, and you’re thinking, “Shit, that’s not funny at all.” It’s like telling my little girl there’s a limit to what she can achieve. And then you feel bushwacked by the cartoon, and caught out because you laughed inappropriately, and think again: glass ceiling.

    • In Ethiopia, a musician’s death and a transition in trouble

      Ethiopia’s transition to multiparty democracy is facing one of its most serious tests yet, after the murder in June of Hachalu Hundessa, a much-loved Oromo singer and activist, sparked the worst bout of unrest since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took charge of the East African country more than two years ago.

      Over 200 people were killed in Addis Ababa and the surrounding Oromia region when groups of Oromo youth – who saw the 34-year-old as an icon in their community’s long struggle against oppression – began attacking members of other ethnic groups, while security forces used lethal force against protesters.

    • Science

    • Education

      • The Federal Government Gives Native Students an Inadequate Education, and Gets Away With It

        A couple of months after Kimasha Shorty’s son started sixth grade at an Arizona public middle school, his teachers called her at home. He had trouble adding and subtracting and was struggling to read at grade level.

        Shorty didn’t understand how it was possible that her oldest child could be so far behind after leaving Wide Ruins Community School, the sole elementary school in an area of about 1,000 residents at the southern edge of the Navajo Nation. He had been diagnosed with a mild learning disability that affects reading and math comprehension, but Shorty said he was doing so well by fourth grade that he skipped a grade at the urging of administrators and began attending a public middle school about 25 miles south in Sanders.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Google Details Its Open Source Contributions

              Most of Google’s open source work is done within two hosting platforms: GitHub and Google’s own Git service, git-on-borg, which hosts Android and Chromium. According to the report, Google hosts over 8,000 public repositories on GitHub and more than 1,000 public repositories on git-on-borg.

            • Open source by the numbers at Google

              At Google, open source is at the core of our infrastructure, processes, and culture. As such, participation in these communities is vital to our productivity. Within OSPO (Open Source Programs Office), our mission is to bring the value of open source to Google and the resources of Google to open source. To ensure our actions match our commitment, in this post we will explore a variety of metrics intended to increase context, transparency, and accountability across all of the communities we engage with.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

        • Security

          • How a Fake WordPress Plugin Can Kill Your Site

            A nulled plugin is a copy of a premium WordPress plugin that’s distributed illegally online. People who do this argue it’s OK to do so because WordPress and its derivative works (like plugins) are licensed under a General Public License (GPL). According to them, that makes it OK to copy and distribute plugins how they like.

            While that’s technically true, pirating premium plugins comes with a cost. Legitimate WordPress plugin developers lose money and, more importantly, it compromises the security and integrity of WordPress websites using these nulled plugins. When you hear of a WordPress site being hacked, it’s often because they’re using a nulled plugin.

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (firefox, java-1.8.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, libvncserver, postgresql-jdbc, and thunderbird), Debian (firejail and gupnp), Fedora (cutter-re, postgresql-jdbc, radare2, and webkit2gtk3), openSUSE (chromium, firefox, kernel, and python-rtslib-fb), Oracle (container-tools:ol8, kernel, and nss and nspr), Scientific Linux (thunderbird), and SUSE (firefox, kernel, postgresql10 and postgresql12, python-ipaddress, and xen).

          • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 155 released

            The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 155. This version includes the following changes:

            [ Chris Lamb ]
            * Bump Python requirement from 3.6 to 3.7 - most distributions are either
              shipping3.5 or 3.7, so supporting 3.6 is not somewhat unnecessary and also
              more difficult to test locally.
            * Improvements to setup.py:
              - Apply the Black source code reformatter.
              - Add some URLs for the site of PyPI.org.
              - Update "author" and author email.
            * Explicitly support Python 3.8.
            [ Frazer Clews ]
            * Move away from the deprecated logger.warn method logger.warning.
            [ Mattia Rizzolo ]
            * Document ("classify") on PyPI that this project works with Python 3.8.

          • Open source tool Infection Monkey allows security pros to test their network like never before

            Guardicore unveiled new capabilities for Infection Monkey, its free, open source breach and attack simulation (BAS) tool that maps to the MITRE ATT&CK knowledge base and tests network adherence to the Forrester Zero Trust framework.

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

    • Militarism

      • As Bolivian Regime Delays Elections a Third Time, Media Continue to Ignore Coup

        US media have a well-documented history of supporting right-wing coups and regimes around the world, and not much seems to be changing.

      • How the Fascists Won World War II

        This is a mystery story. It revolves around a building that—as you will all come to agree—should have been bombed.

      • Reverse the New Nuclear Arms Race

        August 6 is the 75th anniversary of the only time any nation in the world dropped an atomic bomb on people.

      • Life Under the Bomb Means a Life of Resistance

        This 75th anniversary of Hiroshima should not just be an interesting historical marker; it should be a turning point, when the U.S. renounces its nuclear legacy, and charts a new course for itself and humanity.

      • On 75th Anniversary, Hiroshima Survivor Warns Against Nuclear Weapons

        On the 75th anniversary of when the United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing some 140,000 people, we speak with Hideko Tamura Snider, who was 10 years old when she survived the attack. “The shaking was so huge,” she recalls. “I remember the sensation, the color and the smell like yesterday.” Tamura Snider describes her harrowing journey through a shattered city, suffering radiation sickness following the attack, and her message to President Trump.

      • Dropping Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Was Unnecessary

        U.S. leaders knew we didn’t have to drop atomic bombs on Japan to win the war. We did it anyway.

      • The American Narrative of Hiroshima is a Statue that Must be Toppled

        In August 1945, the United States attacked two cities in Japan with nuclear weapons in the last days of World War Two. The US used weapons of mass destruction against a primarily civilian population, instantly killing over 100,000 human beings, with tens of thousands of wounded and irradiated people who would die in the subsequent months and years. The American narrative of the nuclear attacks was formalized in a piece written by former Secretary of War Henry Stimson in Harper’s in 1947. Stimson wrote that the use of nuclear weapons ended the war, and in making an invasion of the Japanese home islands unnecessary, saved millions of lives on both sides. He actually wrote that the use of weapons of mass destruction against urban centers saved lives.

      • ‘Self-Centered Nationalism’ Could Lead to War and Nuclear Disaster, Hiroshima Mayor Warns on 75th Anniversary of Attacks

        “We must never allow this painful past to repeat itself.”

      • “The Beginning of Our End”: On 75th Anniversary, Hiroshima Survivor Warns Against Nuclear Weapons

        On the 75th anniversary of when the United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing some 140,000 people, we speak with Hideko Tamura Snider, who was 10 years old when she survived the attack. “The shaking was so huge,” she recalls. “I remember the sensation, the color and the smell like yesterday.” Tamura Snider describes her harrowing journey through a shattered city, suffering radiation sickness following the attack, and her message to President Trump.

      • Revealed: How U.S. Gov’t & Hollywood Secretly Worked Together to Justify Atomic Bombings of Japan

        On the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, when the United States became the only country ever to use nuclear weapons in warfare, we look at how the U.S. government sought to manipulate the narrative about what it had done — especially by controlling how it was portrayed by Hollywood. Journalist Greg Mitchell’s new book, “The Beginning or the End: How Hollywood — and America — Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” documents how the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki triggered a race between Hollywood movie studios to tell a sanitized version of the story in a major motion picture. “There’s all sorts of evidence that has emerged that the use of the bomb was not necessary, it could have been delayed or not used at all,” says Mitchell. “But what was important was to set this narrative of justification, and it was set right at the beginning by Truman and his allies, with a very willing media.”

      • ‘Thoughts and Prayers’: Gun Control Groups Send Ironic Condolences After New York AG Files Lawsuit Seeking to Dissolve NRA

        Letitia James accused leaders at the NRA of overseeing “a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement, and negligent oversight that was illegal, oppressive, and fraudulent.”

      • New York AG Letitia James Files Lawsuit Seeking to Dissolve the NRA

        New York State Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit Thursday against the National Rifle Association (NRA), stating that leaders of the organization engaged misused donations from members to fund their own personal expenditures for decades.

      • War and Pandemic Journalism

        The Truth Can Disappear Fast.

    • Environment

      • As the Hurricane Season Intensifies, Is Puerto Rico Ready?

        Perhaps the most emblematic image of Puerto Rico’s encounter with Tropical Storm Isaías last week was one of a National Guard soldier carrying a young boy on his back through Barrio Sábalo in the western town of Mayagüez, rescuing him from a rising torrent of brown water from nearby Caño (Canal) Majagual. That area, as well as Barrio Buenaventura, vulnerable to Rio Hondo and other smaller streams of water, was among the most visible recipients of Isaías’s heavy downpours as the storm swept the region on Thursday.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • On 55th Anniversary of Voting Rights Act, Advocates Call on Congress to Fully Restore Law to Honor John Lewis’s Fight for Justice

        Since the Supreme Court gutted the law in 2013, more than 1,600 polling places have been closed, including many in largely-Black and Latino communities.

      • 2020 Is a Great Year for #SquadPolitics. Just Ask Cori Bush and Rashida Tlaib.

        Representative Rashida Tlaib celebrated her landslide win in what was supposed to be a close Michigan primary Tuesday by explaining that—no matter what the doubters say—the insurgency seeking to transform the Democratic Party and America is real. And it’s not going away.

      • The Next Progressive Insurgent You Haven’t Heard of Yet

        Omar Fateh’s campaign for the Minnesota State Senate operates out of an adult day care center in Minneapolis, run by and for members of the local Somali community. It sits on Lake Street, where much of the immediate local response to George Floyd’s death took place. Just weeks prior, the gas station next door was ablaze; onlookers gawked at the inferno as national guardsmen ushered them along. The care center was unscathed, but when I went to meet with Fateh at his office, the urgency of that first week in June still hung in the air. Around us, a mix of left-wing activists and young East African community members fielded calls and collected polling data.

      • No Matter Who Biden Chooses as VP, It Will Be a Bittersweet Win for Women

        Once upon a time, many American women looked forward to a euphoric 100th anniversary celebration of the 19th Amendment, which belatedly granted us the vote, to be led this month by the nation’s first woman president. We still celebrate, though that much-anticipated president lost to a confessed sexual predator whose administration is dedicated to rolling back women’s rights. As I write, we are also preparing to celebrate the Democratic Party’s second nomination of a woman for vice president, though I don’t know who she is yet. (Readers might by the time they read this.) But we know that Joe Biden, who might have skipped a third run for president to back one of the four women senators who ran in 2020, promised to pick a female running mate before he sealed the nomination—a consolation prize of sorts for the largest bloc of American voters.

      • ‘The Clear Progressive Choices’: Working Families Party Endorses Markey and Morse in Primary Contests

        “The progressive cavalry is headed to Massachusetts.”

      • The Kids Are Putting Elected Officials On Notice
      • The Complete Dysfunction of the GOP Is on Full Display

        With unemployment at Depression levels, enhanced unemployment benefits expired, and millions on the verge of eviction or foreclosure in the midst of a pandemic, Trump and the Republican majority in the Senate are revealing just how dysfunctional they are.

      • In Pompeo’s New Hierarchy of Rights, Religion and Property, Not Humans, Are at the Top

        Pompeo’s ideologically motivated initiative aims to quash equal protection of human rights and dignity, and we must reject it.

      • Warning of GOP Voter Suppression, Progressives Urge Democrats to Reject Any Covid-19 Deal Without Election Assistance

        “Republicans cannot be allowed to suppress the vote in the middle of a pandemic.”

      • Why We’re Demanding No Cops for Veep

        Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is getting a lot of advice right now on his vice-presidential selection, and he’s considering a lot of factors: geography, chemistry, and preparedness. But there’s another factor that, as the codirector of an organization representing Black and brown communities in 35 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., I’m calling on Biden to carefully consider.

      • Biden Says He Won’t Stand in Way of Possible Future Prosecution of Trump

        “I will not interfere with the Justice Department’s judgment of whether or not they think they should pursue the prosecution of anyone that they think has violated the law.”

      • Corporate Lobbyists Vote to Keep Corporate Lobbyists in the DNC

        Last week, a proposal to reduce corporate influence over the Democratic Party was hastily rejected during a virtual meeting of the Democratic National Convention Rules Committee by a vote of 105 to 45, with eight abstentions. The resolution, which would have changed the DNC Charter to permanently bar corporate PAC donations and ban corporate lobbyists from serving on the party organization, was introduced by Brent Welder, a Kansas City area attorney and delegate appointed by the Bernie Sanders campaign.

      • Ireland and Slavery: Debating the ‘Irish Slaves Myth’

        Over recent months, social media in Ireland and the United States has been saturated with claims and counterclaims about ‘Irish slaves’ and a broader controversy about Irish complicity in the transatlantic slave trade. The timing of the ‘debate’ is far from coincidental: a series of false and malicious assertions that the American far Right have pushed aggressively for more than a decade, embraced with enthusiasm by the most conservative elements in Irish America, have grown wings in the new context opened up by the rise of Black Lives Matter. A controversy that has simmered below the surface has taken on new urgency as a fascist Right, emboldened by Trump, finds itself confronted for the first time with a powerful mass movement capable of pushing back. In this context racists in the US are attempting to weaponize a false version of Irish ‘history’ to undermine BLM. In the south of Ireland, especially, a small ‘anti-globalist’ Right sees in the controversy a possibility for redeeming their dismal showing in the recent election by drawing people in on the basis of a mawkish, fairytale nationalism. Socialists and all anti-racists have a responsibility in this situation to counter these lies, to build solidarity with BLM here in Ireland and abroad, and to confront racism wherever it is manifested in Irish society.

      • ‘Elections Are Sacred’: Democrats Demand Postmaster General Reverse Policies Threatening Mail-In Ballot Delivery

        Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s new policies could “get in the way of all the ballots being counted.”

      • Election Theft and the Reluctant Democracy

        Yes, voting is important (if you can), but claiming the right to vote and have your vote counted—and being able to vote for more than simply the lesser evil and the maintenance of the status quo—requires continual struggle in the face of lies and teargas.

      • Four days before presidential race ends, Belarusian police briefly detain campaign chief of main opposition candidate

        On Thursday morning, just four days before Belarus’s presidential race concludes, police reportedly arrested Maria Moroz (Maryja Maroz), the campaign chief for leading opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya). According to spokespeople for her campaign, men identifying themselves as Interior Ministry officers took Moroz into custody around 11 a.m., Minsk time, as she exited the Lithuanian embassy after submitting paperwork for a visa.

      • Lukashenko wants to meet with the attorneys general of Russia and Ukraine to negotiate a solution to the ‘mercenaries’ arrested in Minsk

        Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka) has invited the attorneys general of Russia and Ukraine to visit Minsk to assist in the hearings of 33 arrested Russian nationals, whom Belarusian officials say are mercenaries from the “Wagner” private military company.

      • A 2020 Imperative: Why the Left Must Reject and Elect Biden at the Same Time

        To make a progressive future possible, beating Trump is absolutely necessary while very far from sufficient.

      • Biden, Just Say Yes on Medicare for All!

        Many of us are committed to preventing four more years of Donald Trump by any means necessary: mailing ballots, voting early, or braving in-person polls in November if we have to. As John Lewis recently reminded us, “Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Judge Rejects Devin Nunes’ SLAPP Suit Over The Esquire Article He Really, Really Doesn’t Want You To Read

        A federal judge has happily dismissed one of Devin Nunes’ many SLAPP suits. This isn’t much of a surprise given what the judge had said back in May regarding Nunes’ Iowa-based SLAPP suit (reminder: Iowa has no anti-SLAPP law) against Esquire Magazine and reporter Ryan Lizza. The lawsuit was over this article that Devin Nunes really, really doesn’t want you to read: Devin Nunes’s Family Farm Is Hiding a Politically Explosive Secret. Reading that will make Rep. Devin Nunes very, very sad.

      • Georgia School District Inadvertently Begins Teaching Lessons In First Amendment Protections After Viral Photo

        There’s this dumb but persistent meme in American culture that somehow the First Amendment simply doesn’t exist within the walls of a public school district. This is patently false. What is true is that there have been very famous court cases that have determined that speech rights for students at school may be slightly curtailed and must face tests over “substantial disruption” of the speech in question in order to have it limited. Named after the plaintiff in that cited case, the “Tinker test” essentially demands that schools not simply dislike a student’s speech or the discomfort that comes from it, but instead must be able to demonstrate that such speech is disruptive to the school and students broadly. The facts of that case, for instance, dealt with students being suspended for wearing anti-war armbands. Those suspensions were seen as a violation of the students’ First Amendment rights, because obviously.

      • Content Moderation At Scale Is Impossible: Twitter Locks Accounts For Fact Checking The President

        Another day in which we get to explain how content moderation is impossible to do well at scale. On Wednesday, Twitter (and Facebook) chose to lock the Trump campaign’s account after it aired a dangerous and misleading clip from Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” in which the President falsely claimed that children are “almost immune” from COVID-19.

      • State Department Announces That Great Firewall For The US; Blocks Chinese Apps & Equipment

        Forget banning TikTok, the Trump State Department just suggested it wants to basically ban China from the internet. Rather than promoting an open internet and the concept of openness, it appears that under this administration we’re slamming the gates shut and setting up the Great American Firewall for the internet. Under the guise of what it calls the Clean Network to Safeguard America, last night Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a program that is full of vague statements, that could, in practice, fragment the internet.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Moscow courthouse sees protests ahead of sentencing in controversial extremism case
      • 201 Trump Judges Are Busy Defining the Political Landscape for the Decades Ahead

        After Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate in early 2015, they set out to pack the federal courts with radical right-wing judges. Mitch McConnell said, “My goal is to do everything we can for as long as we can to transform the federal judiciary, because everything else we do is transitory.” Under Article III of the Constitution, federal judges serve for life, so a 50-year-old appointed today could serve 30 years or even longer.

      • Saying ICE Has ‘Lost the Right to Be Trusted,’ Federal Judge Orders Mandatory Testing at Detention Center Hit by Covid-19

        Court order follows an outbreak at the Mesa Verde Detention Center and evidence that officials opted not to test detainees for fear of positive test results.

      • Over 1,100 Policing Agencies in the U.S. Have Bought Drones Capable of Recording

        In early June, Julie Weiner was at a Black Lives Matter rally in downtown Yonkers, New York, when she spotted a small drone in the sky, monitoring the protest. Weiner, a long-time Yonkers resident, immediately asked her city councilperson, Shanae Williams, who had organized the rally, whether the drone was being operated by the Yonkers police. Williams went over to talk to a group of police and returned to report that, yes, the drone belonged to the Yonkers Police Department.

      • Native Americans Win Historic Victories in U.S. High Court Rulings

        Heat on the U.S. Presidential election campaign thermometer reached new highs during the dog days of summer 2020, with the final rulings of the Supreme Court calendar year favoring indigenous causes diametrically opposed to those of incumbent candidate Donald Trump.

      • Time to Empower the Invisibles: India Awaits a Mental Health Revolution

        Mental health is an inherent and the most paramount aspect of our well being, without it a qualitative life is barren to imagine. These ‘Covidnary Times’ are extremely turbulent, where ‘Normality’ will be more sidelined with ‘Abnormality.’ The side-effects of Covid-19 will keep hunting our World for ages to come. Surging mass layoffs, transcendental change in our social and community relations, deterioration of physical and financial health, lives being lost and even the right to ‘Rest In Peace’ has been violated by Coronavirus disease.

      • A Lethal Traffic Stop in Georgia
      • Gullible Maine & DHS Intel Officers Believed Teen TikTok Video Was Serious Terrorist Threat

        We’ve been noting for a few weeks that much of the hysteria surrounding TikTok is kind of dumb. For one, banning TikTok doesn’t really do much to thwart Chinese spying, given our privacy and security incompetence leaves us vulnerable on countless fronts. Most of the folks doing the heaviest pearl clutching over TikTok have opposed efforts at any meaningful internet privacy rules, have opposed funding election security reform, and have been utterly absent or apathetic in the quest for better security and privacy practices over all (the SS7 flaw, cellular location data scandals, etc.).

    • Monopolies

      • Crystal Dynamics Explains Spider-Man PS4 Exclusivity By Saying A Bunch Of… Words, I Guess?

        We had just been talking about the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers multi-platform game and its very strange plan to make Spider-Man a PlayStation exclusive character. In that post, I mentioned that I don’t think these sorts of exclusive deals, be they for games or characters, make any real sense. Others quoted in the post have actually argued that exclusive characters specifically hurt everyone, including owners of the exclusive platform, since this can only serve to limit the subject of exclusion within the game. But when it came to why this specific deal had been struck, we were left with mere speculation. Was it to build on some kind of PlayStation loyalty? Was it to try to drive more PlayStation purchases? Was it some kind of Sony licensing thing?

      • Patents

        • Comments Emphasize Flaws In PTO Proposal To Remove Pre-Institution Presumption

          Recently, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) proposed a concerning new rule. It would create serious due process problems, violate the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by changing an agency position without justification, increase the cost of inter partes review (IPR), and make it harder to invalidate bad patents in IPR.

          Given all these problems, it shouldn’t be any surprise that most serious commenters—even from the life sciences industries—think the proposed rule is a bad idea. (CCIA, among others, filed comments explaining many of these flaws.)


          Because petitioners can’t challenge patent owner evidence, the PTO originally put into place a rule that said, for purposes of institution only, new evidence provided by the patent owner will be viewed in the light most favorable to the petitioner. That’s very similar to the standard for threshold motions in a trial—before evidence is fully available and each side has had a chance to respond to and cross-examine witnesses, judges treat the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. And since the patent owner is the one who wants an IPR not to be instituted, petitioners get the benefit of the doubt at institution with respect to patent owner evidence.

          That all makes sense. New and unchallengeable evidence shouldn’t be the basis for an unchallengeable decision that prevents a petitioner from using IPR. But the PTO is proposing that that evidence be given full weight, even though it hasn’t been subject to challenge. In a court case, while it’d still be a bad rule, treating evidence that way might be tolerable. After all, even if you lose the threshold question, you’ll still have a chance to show that the evidence is flawed later in the case, winning a renewed motion or winning on the ultimate merits at trial.

          But Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) institution decisions are unappealable. Petitioners will never have a chance to cross-examine that evidence. If it’s flawed, petitioners have no recourse and they have to spend time and money bringing an IPR that may get summarily dismissed even though the patent might be invalid on the merits. That hardly serves the AIA’s goals of an affordable, quick, and accurate resolution.

        • Software Patents

          • Ikorongo Texas patent challenged as likely invalid

            On August 7, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent RE45543-E1, owned by Ikorongo Texas LLC, an NPE and subsidiary of Concert Technology Corporation. The patent is related to selectively sharing location data with contacts from a contact list. The patent is currently being asserted against Lyft, Bumble, Samsung, and LG.

      • Copyrights

        • In 10 Years Of Existence, The Long-Running French Farce Known As Hadopi Has Imposed Just €87,000 In Fines, But Cost Taxpayers €82 Million

          The French anti-piracy framework known as Hadopi began as tragedy and soon turned into farce. It was tragic that so much energy was wasted on putting together a system that was designed to throw ordinary users off the Internet — the infamous “three strikes and you’re out” approach — rather than encouraging better legal offerings. Four years after the Hadopi system was created in 2009, it descended into farce when the French government struck down the signature three strikes punishment because it had failed to bring the promised benefits to the copyright world. Indeed, Hadopi had failed to do anything much: its first and only suspension was suspended, and a detailed study of the three strikes approach showed it was a failure from just about every viewpoint. Nonetheless, Hadopi has staggered on, sending out its largely ignored warnings to people for allegedly downloading unauthorized copies of material, and imposing a few fines on those unlucky enough to get caught repeatedly.

Computing Fundamentals

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 11:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

2020 figosdev


IBM vs Core
Chapter 7: Computing Fundamentals

Summary: “A graphical interface is better, for some things — sometimes. But it will also put a lot more on our plates.”

Ask people to explain computing in as few words as possible, and many will start telling you about 1s and 0s. They’re not wrong, binary computing is very useful and quite relevant in our modern world of tiny silicon-based switches.

But if you want to understand the fundamentals of computing, 1 and 0 doesn’t tell you very much. A few computers, like the Harwell-Dekatron WITCH, even processed or stored numbers in base 10 like we normally do on paper. But what are these numbers doing?

“A few computers, like the Harwell-Dekatron WITCH, even processed or stored numbers in base 10 like we normally do on paper.”As mentioned in the first chapter, modern computers evolved from automatic calculators. Creating a program is really telling the machine to move numeric values into certain places.

At the most fundamental level — where I never do much of anything and a “low-level” coder could tell you far more, you are working exclusively with numeric codes for everything.

If that sounds incredibly tedious, it is. The main thing that people do on this level (called “machine code”) is find ways to make coding easier.

In the very early days (the 1960s were futuristic by comparison) when someone wanted to use a computer, they would do all of it in numeric machine code, or they would punch data into cards that helped correspond single-character codes with numeric (consecutive) physical positions that the computer could read with a card reader.

These numeric codes went into “dictionaries” or paper code books. After some months or so, you might find that you had a dictionary with several useful computer “routines” in it.

“The difference between an interpreter and a compiler is a like the difference between hiring a personal translator and commissioning a translated work.”The goal of making these hand-coded dictionaries into automatic programs became the basis for the first compiler. Like the BASIC interpreter in chapter 2, the job of a compiler is to translate codes that are friendlier to a human into numeric codes the computer understands.

This was a revolution for most of us, and while it started in the 1950s, by 1964 this revolution was exactly what made a beginner friendly computer language like BASIC possible.

Now instead of coding the letters H-E-L-L-O (SPACE) W-O-R-L-D into numeric ASCII codes (or Baudot teletype code, since ASCII didn’t exist until around the same time BASIC did) and then entering the code to move the numeric data somewhere that it can be output to the screen, you just say:


And run the program. Seems like a lot of trouble just to say two words, but before that it was a lot worse!

If you have followed along and actually installed Core on your “thought experiment” PC, you can run a single line of code very similar to the above line. Just type:

    echo Hello World

It will do exactly the same thing, only this command is for a 1970s-UNIX-style “shell” interpreter, rather than 1964 BASIC.

The difference between an interpreter and a compiler is a like the difference between hiring a personal translator and commissioning a translated work.

“The general rule is that compiled programs are better for tasks where speed is very important, but interpreted tasks are better for code that is going to be constantly tweaked.”If you are talking to other people, and have a translator with you, the translator will do the “interpreting” for you as other people talk. Every time you run an interpreted program, you need to run the translation program.

While this has certain costs in terms of efficiency, it means that when you want to change something, you don’t have to wait for it to translate the entire program again — you can just start running the new version of the code immediately.

A compiler on the other hand, translates the entire program into computer-ready instructions. Whenever you run the compiled program, it will run without being compiled again — but every time you change something you have to wait for the entire thing to compile.

“When you first run Core, it’s not obvious whether the thing you’re using is more sophisticated than the chip from the early 80s running BASIC on the C64.”The general rule is that compiled programs are better for tasks where speed is very important, but interpreted tasks are better for code that is going to be constantly tweaked.

Many, though not all of the friendlier languages are interpreted, because it is easier to find and fix problems with shorter waits (or more complicated processes) between edits.

When you first run Core, it’s not obvious whether the thing you’re using is more sophisticated than the chip from the early 80s running BASIC on the C64. That’s because all it gives you for an interface is text on a screen.

If you’re used to fancy rectangles with animation and even video, you might look at a simple command prompt and wonder if this is just a throwback to the 70s. But this is an old cover on a much newer book.

Someone who has only used DOS or a C64 can marvel at everything Core has behind the prompt. With a single command you can download a file or a webpage from the Internet.

It might not be available with Core, but with Tiny Core or CorePlus you can play your MP3 files from the command line. And you can run Python, which is more advanced than pretty much any BASIC interpreter or compiler, ever.

“It might not be available with Core, but with Tiny Core or CorePlus you can play your MP3 files from the command line. And you can run Python, which is more advanced than pretty much any BASIC interpreter or compiler, ever.”What’s more, you can make it do these things automatically, in response to certain events or specific times — you can even make it do these things in the “background”, so that you can keep working or have it do more than one task at the same time.

Sure, you can do all of those things with a graphical system as well. And you need a lot more code to make that happen — and lots more code means lots more opportunities for large projects to go wrong.

Apart from being a geek’s canvas, the command line is also where you go if some parts of the system (like all that graphical stuff people run on top of the OS) aren’t working properly. You can fix a number of things from the command line; it’s a bit like opening the bonnet of your car.

“Apart from being a geek’s canvas, the command line is also where you go if some parts of the system (like all that graphical stuff people run on top of the OS) aren’t working properly.”But the best part about the command line is that it’s faster and easier to write code for. Nearly all frameworks for graphical tools add considerable overhead in terms of resources and code you must tend to.

When you talk to a voice assistant, you’re doing something very similar to using the command line.

Selecting things from a series of menus can get tedious when you know the things you want. Imagine if instead of telling someone “I’d like the chef salad” your only choice was to open the menu, find the salad you wanted, and point to it — and you had to order everything else that way too. When people order fast food, having a menu in front of them often slows them down.

If you had to order that way every day, or for 20 people, you would really start to hate flipping past page after page after page after page, poking at every item with your finger. Sometimes menus help with unfamiliar tasks. Then again, they had menus for the command line as well:

    1. Run Tetris

    2. Run Word Processor

    3. Quit

It isn’t the point of this chapter, but you could — with only things available to you from Core, code a little menu that displayed a list like the one here, using numbers to run each relevant command, with a number (or letter) that could tell the menu to quit.

Sometimes, instead of creating a menu, the easier thing to do is just take a command that already exists and giving it a name you prefer.

If you like the editor that’s called “nano” but just want to say “edit” or even “e” (why not both? You can do both if you want) you can create a second command so that whenever you hit the letter “e” and then hit enter, it will run nano. That’s even less work than hunting through icons on the desktop. Setting this up is also less work than creating a menu.

“A graphical interface is better, for some things — sometimes. But it will also put a lot more on our plates.”You can do far more than that, but menus are nice and easy. Shortcuts are nice and easy. Graphical environments can hide a lot of complexity, but they introduce even more of it in the process.

I’m using a graphical environment to type this — in a window next to another window, in a text editor I helped create — but did very little of the actual coding for.

And I’m running it in CorePlus. So don’t think I’m “fundamentally” against graphical environments or anything. A graphical interface is better, for some things — sometimes. But it will also put a lot more on our plates.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

IBM and the Bomb: Series Index (on 75th Anniversary of Atomic Bombs Being Dropped on Civilians)

Posted in IBM at 11:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Made by IBM, proudly?

IBM in Manhattan Project
Figuring out to wipe out entire cities with the ‘magic’ of maths

IBM in Los Alamos
Simulating maximisation of death

Summary: Today seems an apt time to remind readers that IBM participated in the creation of the only bombs ever to be dropped in a war (not tests) and this tradition carries on because IBM is still profiting from it, to this very day (countless billions made by IBM during the Cold War too)

In the summer of 1945 two bombs were dropped on Japan, wiping out a large number of civilians for no good reason, contrary to what the US government with help from Hollywood is trying to tell us. “August 6 is the 75th anniversary of the only time any nation in the world dropped an atomic bomb on people,” this new article points out. It will happen again and it’s only a matter of time (it nearly happened dozens of times since then, based on declassified documents). With the whole “Ethics” movement gaining momentum (focusing on changing and banning words rather than tackling the real issues), how about we recall the way IBM became so rich and powerful, having participated in countless atrocious projects funded by the taxpayers, including eugenics? As the above articles remind us, IBM has profited from nukes for about 80 years. That never stopped and it’s only a matter of time before more of these nukes are dropped or detonated, either intentionally or by accident.

Prior parts in this series:

With memories from Japan aired throughout the week it seems like a good time to wrap up this piece and remind IBM’s CEO that stopping participation in face surveillance is merely a small step; ceasing to participate in the ‘Manhattan Projects’ of today and tomorrow is another. Since those are a big “cash cow” of IBM, it’s unlikely to happen. It’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to just drop a few words.

Freedom is Personal

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 9:54 am by Guest Editorial Team


2020 figosdev

Freedom girl
Chapter 6: Freedom is Personal

Summary: “Before I say anything else, note that there are literally hundreds of GNU/Linux distros, and I put in a lot of work to rate which were the least encumbered by corporate politics — directly or indirectly.”

Loosely speaking, the Free Software Foundation defines Free software as software that you can freely use, study, change and share. The actual definition is more detailed, but these actions (when unfettered) are referred to as the “Four Freedoms”.

“DRM is a bit like ransomware, in that it encrypts data and demands payment to un-encrypt (decrypt) it.”The freedom to use the software could be considered a given, but was added later in response to DRM, which reduces the ability to use the software freely.

DRM is a bit like ransomware, in that it encrypts data and demands payment to un-encrypt (decrypt) it. The main difference between DRM and ransomware is that ransomware is less particular about which files it encrypts — while DRM (usually) only affects files that you legitimately purchased. Here is a more detailed comparison:

1. Ransomware: often gets on your PC without you deliberately installing it

2. Ransomware: encrypts the files on your machine, regardless of who the authors are

3. Ransomware: decrypts your files once — maybe — if you pay the ransom

4. DRM: often gets on your PC without you deliberately installing it

5. DRM: encrypts the files before they are copied to your machine, from particular authors — allegedly on the authors’ behalf

6. DRM: decrypts your files each time you open them — either via software on your machine, or via an authentication server that stops decrypting your files if it goes offline

While #6 varies a great deal, in essence this is a way for companies to continue to own and control “your” copy of something even after you legally purchase it.

“…in essence this is a way for companies to continue to own and control “your” copy of something even after you legally purchase it.”This puts libraries in jeopardy and flies in the face of first-sale doctrine (which says the copy of something you purchase is yours to do what you want with, even if you can’t make or share more copies of it) but these are not very nice companies — they really don’t care about libraries, or your rights.

While it is possible to break DRM it is also illegal in some countries (including the USA) and the best way to deal with DRM is to simply never buy “products” that use it. Not all publishers use DRM — Apple sometimes does, Netflix does, Amazon does for e-books.

If you want your computing to be free, the Free Software Foundation had a simple plan for you: download one of their “fully-free distros” and install it on your computer.

“If you want your computing to be free, the Free Software Foundation had a simple plan for you: download one of their “fully-free distros” and install it on your computer.”This doesn’t work anymore, because their distros are no longer fully-free. But they will say otherwise — if you want a “fully-free” distro, try Hyperbola. Wait, it’s not quite ready yet. That’s okay, Hyperbola is doing important work for our future (and setting a good example for the other FSF-approved distributions).

Now, what is this distro/distribution business about? When you have the four freedoms, and you can freely use, study, change and share your software — this leads to people putting together nice (sometimes they’re nice) collections of software called “distributions”. This has been going on since at least the 1990s, and for quite a while it was the best way to get Free software.

The best distribution (the word “distro” is shorter) of all time WAS Debian, but Debian absolutely sucks now. The distro sucks, the software sucks, the people suck — Debian is a raging galactic suckfest that craps on users and then demands apologies for you complaining about it. But it was so awesome, I was at one point certain we would never need another distro.

“If you’ve never used a distro before, don’t worry about it — just think of it like the make and model of a car.”When Debian was a good distro, users were still allowed to have personal opinions — now that Debian sucks mightily of course, hating it is a thoughtcrime that will get you branded for life, no matter who you used to be.

If you’ve never used a distro before, don’t worry about it — just think of it like the make and model of a car. Until quite recently, basically all cars were internal combustion engines attached to a transmission, wheels, frames and seats.

“For most people, a few free (as in freedom) applications or a “GNU/Linux” distro are their first step towards free computing.”Cars vary wildly, but you would know one if you saw it. A similar basic configuration (with parts that do vary a bit) is a theme that runs throughout all distros. What does a distro do? It is an operating system, with a collection of software.

For most people, a few free (as in freedom) applications or a “GNU/Linux” distro are their first step towards free computing. This chapter will invite you to consider taking that step, as it is still “better than Windows” — with the caveat that distros aren’t what they used to be.

The point of “rebooting” the Free software movement would be for the user to be free again. You won’t get that with any up-to-date “Free software” distribution available now, though Hyperbola gets the closest. Why Hyperbola is so special is a subject for another chapter. They’re doing things a little differently than everybody else — Hyperbola gives users something to hope for.

GNU/Linux itself is essentially doomed, but that’s a subject for another chapter as well. For the moment, it’s a relatively easy place to start on your your Free software journey.

“As with GNU/Linux, removing your operating system doesn’t fix everything — there are still firmware issues, but those require longer-term solutions.”In Chapter 4, we imagined taking the hard drive out of the computer or simply erasing it. Goodbye, Windows! Au revoir, Cortana!

As with GNU/Linux, removing your operating system doesn’t fix everything — there are still firmware issues, but those require longer-term solutions. You can buy a computer with those firmware issues removed, though we are still imagining a computer with a blank (or non-existent) hard drive.

If you have a computer (which you don’t care about breaking) to spare, feel free to try the following. Otherwise, let’s imagine it for now.

“Your robot assistant in the previous chapter just worked, and pretty soon it was sending your personal life off to corporate HQ in the post.”Now let’s pretend we are erasing the drive. Any files and programs on there will be gone. First we go to Tiny Core Linux and go to the Downloads page, then download the file that says “Core” on the left.

It claims that this one is “recommended for experienced users only.” Sure, but none of the options on the page are ideal if you’ve never done this before — we want Core for this experiment, as it’s mostly to make a series of points about software. The other downloads are nice too, but they make different points.

None of these options are “fully free” — the kernel probably has bits in it that are proprietary. Windows has loads of those — some people go to the extra trouble of removing them from the Linux kernel — that’s a nice feature and it would be nice if they made a fully-free kernel for Tiny Core, but that’s not how the FSF works. They have never really offered a minimalist distro.

I used to offer a distro that had a fully-free kernel, but this book is about (among other things) why you won’t ultimately want GNU/Linux anyway.

Chances are, you’re just reading this — you haven’t gone to the trouble of making Core bootable, putting it on CD or USB, or running it on your computer.

I installed this very recently, and I thought you could run a single command to put it on a USB stick. That didn’t work, so I did a lot of other things you won’t find interesting here (including use my own distro to install the bootloader, so I could just COPY Tiny Core to the machine and “install” it that way).

In the past I would have actually taken you through each step of installation, using the most reliable distro I could find. Those days were nice. Now most things are broken, and I don’t care if you think “man, this stuff could be a real pain to install” — because it shouldn’t be a real pain. But sometimes it’s just stupid.

“Tiny Core is really one of the most free distros you can use.”What about my own distro? If I still wanted to promote it, it would be part of this chapter. I will talk about it more later, where its relevant to do so. But if I recommended it to you, I would do that here. Instead, I talk about Hyperbola and wave my hands about the future. Because that is pretty much where we are at the moment — in limbo between the world before and maybe the one where Free software comes back.

So you get Core installed and voila, you’re Windows-free. You’re pretty much free of software as well. Welcome to the early 1980s. If we wanted to, we could get a text editor going. We could get a programming language installed. But this is how computing used to be.

What does it look like? You have a black screen, a bit of text, a “penguin” made at the top with some parentheses and letters (typewriter art goes all the way back to actual typewriters) and most importantly you have line with a dollar sign (regardless of your local currency) and a blinking cursor, to let you know that you can type text in.

It may not look like much, but you can actually do a lot of stuff from here. You’re probably thinking “but why would I want to?” That’s a good question.

From here, you are closer to “pure” computing. Not “pure” as in some majestic perfection — not even as “pure” as it could possibly be. From here, the possibilities are nearly endless. You have a canvas — the world of modern computing was imagined from modest beginnings like this. What would happen if they stopped making canvases, and you could only buy new paintings from corporations?

You could just install a graphical environment and start adding software. Before you know it, you’ll be asking why this tiny feature isn’t identical to this other tiny feature on a completely different system — the answer is really a simple one:

Someone didn’t want it to be the same.

What about you, what do you want? A lot of people say “I want something that just works.”

That’s not very specific though. Your robot assistant in the previous chapter just worked, and pretty soon it was sending your personal life off to corporate HQ in the post. You might as well think about it though, because anything you fall in love with about any software you can install right now — they’re going to screw with it until it’s something you probably won’t like anymore — plus, it won’t work.

And Debian is a GREAT example of that. But it’s one example of so many.

The goal of no user I’ve ever known is to stay “pure” in a particularly meaningful sense, though a few are extremely minimalist. If they see you using this plain, black screen, they might smile — they might ask what distro you’re using. They might chuckle and walk away.

Before I say anything else, note that there are literally hundreds of GNU/Linux distros, and I put in a lot of work to rate which were the least encumbered by corporate politics — directly or indirectly. Tiny Core was easily in the top 30 (out of hundreds) though I didn’t rate the distros within the top category (relative to each other, I mean).

Tiny Core is really one of the most free distros you can use. But since the FSF doesn’t agree (nor would I have, 7 years ago) it will be necessary to explain that a bit better.

If just this much of the computer were really yours, I would tell you so much about it. But it’s not, it’s merely closer to the computer itself. So I will tell you a bit about it instead — and how to maybe get from here back to being free again.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

Links 7/8/2020: Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS and GNU C Library 2.32 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 7:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The Best Linux Distributions for Old Machines

        Do you have an old laptop that has gathered layers of dust over time and you don’t exactly what to do with it? A good place to start would be to install a Linux distribution that will perfectly support its low-end hardware specifications without much of a hassle. You could still enjoy performing basic tasks such as web browsing, word processing, and watching videos, listening to your favourite music to mention a few.

        In this guide, we feature some of the best Linux distributions that you can install on your old PC and breathe some life into it.

      • Linuxizing the Office: An Interview with The Mad Botter

        Honestly, it was macOS Catalina. We were having too many problems with people updating OS X and breaking Homebrew packages, to the point where we had to reinstall our custom toolchain every time we updated. The last guy on Mac updated to Catalina recently, and he had to struggle with Excel libraries because Apple moves things between OS versions. It just wasn’t worth it. I’ve been talking about it for about a year with my CTO.

        All of our back-end service runs Ubuntu. Most of the client-side work we’re doing is for IOT devices, and that’s all Linux. We ended up basically having an expensive machine so that we could emulate Linux on anything. It didn’t make a lot of sense to keep using Mac, so we switched.

        How was the transition from macOS to Linux?

        Actually super easy! Once we wrote a few setup scripts and packages we needed for different jobs in our pipeline, we were up and running. We already had a bunch of scripting and automations for the servers we had, and they’re all on Ubuntu, so it’s not a big jump in terms of the command line.

        How did you find the overall experience on Pop!_OS 20.04?

        I found it pretty intuitive. Learning the keyboard shortcuts took about a week. I really don’t have any issues. I like the tiling, I use that every day. It definitely makes it easier to multitask on a laptop screen.

      • Reader’s Choice: Here’s Pop!_OS running on a Chromebook

        We now have a closer look at how Parallels will bring Windows to Chrome OS in the coming months but for the general consumer, it simply won’t be an option. In the latest release from Parallels, the company clearly states that this collaboration with Google is meant solely for Chrome Enterprise customers. The means you’ll have to have a managed device that shipped with the Chrome Enterprise upgrade. No biggie. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. It recently surfaced that Chrome OS devices with a certain Linux kernel in the container can now leverage VMs to install and run alternative operating systems locally on your Chromebook. I’m still not 100% positive of which kernel version is required but I do know that 4.19 and newer appears to work. One thing to note is that the kernel version in the container may not be the same as the version in your Chrome operating system. For example, my Comet Lake Acer Chromebook 713 uses the 4.19 kernel but the Linux container is rocking the 5.4 kernel.


        In case that last sentence didn’t give it away, I was able to successfully install Pop!_OS on my Chromebook. What is Pop_!OS? Pop!_OS, like Elementary, is an Unbuntu-based OS developed by System76. The company produces Linux-based laptops with a focus on gaming and productivity. For those reasons, Pop!_OS features full AMD and NVIDIA GPU support and a clean, out of the way interface with a custom GNOME desktop. Pop!_OS comes with a store preinstalled that is called the Pop Shop and in it, you’ll find WINE, Lutris and PlayOnLinux for gamers wanting their Windows titles and more on Linux. Installing Pop!_OS works exactly like the other operating systems I’ve tested out. So, without further ado, let’s walk through setting up this Linux distro on Chrome OS.

    • Server

      • Renewed Interest in OpenStack Bare Metal Project Ironic, as Software Moves Closer to Hardware

        As more enterprises move to hybrid cloud, they’re relying more and more on provisioning bare metal servers to augment cloud providers’ services in order to make their infrastructure cloud neutral.

      • TARS: Contributing to an open source microservices ecosystem

        The pandemic has thrown our global society into a health and economic crisis. It seems like there are conflicts every day from all over the world. Today, I want to remind you that open source is one of the great movements where collaboration, working together, and getting along is the essence of what we do.

        Open source is not a zero-sum game, but it has had an incredible impact on us in a net positive way. I like to remind everyone that open source is public goods that will be freely available to everyone worldwide, no matter what wind of political or economic change brings us. The LF is dedicated to all of that.

      • Docker: Containers Healthy Despite Economy

        In spite of the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears the development of container applications remains robust. Docker Inc. is reporting more than 11 billion pulls from the Docker Hub in July.

        The company also revealed the number of repositories on Docker Hub has grown to 7 million from 6 million in the last year, while the number of Docker Hub users has grown to 7 million from 5 million in the same period.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.8 kernel is finally available to download with many small changes
      • Open-Source GPU Driver Updates Sent In For Linux 5.9 From Sienna Cichlid To Rocket Lake

        The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver updates were sent in today for the Linux 5.9 kernel merge window. There are some big additions particularly with AMD Sienna Cichlid and Navy Flounder landing as Navi 2 parts but also a lot of other changes in tow.

      • USB Cleans Up Its Terminology, Continued USB4 Work For Linux 5.9

        The USB and Thunderbolt subsystem changes have already been merged into the in-development Linux 5.9 kernel.

        Since preliminary USB4 support was added to Linux 5.6, which is largely based on Intel’s existing Thunderbolt code, succeeding kernels have worked towards getting that USB4 code squared away. With Linux 5.9 that work has continued.


        This pull request also has various Thunderbolt updates, the usual assortment of USB gadget driver updates, USB Type-C additions, and other changes. More details with this pull request since merged to mainline.

      • Perf Changes For Linux 5.9 Include Intel Arch LBR, Hygon RAPL, Comet Lake Uncore

        The Linux perf events changes for the performance monitoring subsystem were already sent in and pulled for the in-development Linux 5.9 kernel.

      • Linux 5.9 Introducing A Multi-Color LED Framework

        Longtime Linux kernel developer Pavel Machek has taken over as sole maintainer of the LED subsystem. For this first pull request going into Linux 5.9 is a big addition… The multi-color LED framework code has finally been merged.

        This multi-color framework for the Linux kernel has been in the works by Texas Instruments and is about exposing clusters of colored LEDs as an array to user-space that it can then adjust the brightness of said cluster using a single file write. This approach still allows controlling the intensity of individual LEDs as part of the array/cluster and the benefit of the framework is being able to do so in a single write.

      • NVMe ZNS Makes It Into Linux 5.9 Along With MD RAID Fixes

        NVMe 2.0′s Zoned Namespaces (ZNS) functionality is now supported by the mainline Linux kernel.

        NVMe ZNS is similar to Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) and Zoned Block Commands (ZBC) for allowing application/software control over the placement of data. With NVMe ZNS, it’s over the placement of data obviously on NVMe SSDs within zones, allowing greater control to the OS rather than just the NVMe device for deciding on data placement. The goal of these technologies is to increase drive lifetime, ideally offer lower latency and greater throughput, and similar TCO benefits. ZNS is part of the NVMe 2.0 specification.

      • Short Topix: Linux Caves To Social Justice Movement

        If you haven’t heard about the current levels of social unrest sweeping across the landscape, you must have been the lone survivor at a long lost, forgotten moon base with no way to communicate back to the “Mother Planet.” The world is descending into absolute crazy madness!

        Well, not wanting to be left out of the “virtue signaling” mix, Linus Torvalds signed off onto removing “offensive” terms from the Linux kernel, such as slave, master and blacklist. According to an article on The Register, the removal of these terms is supposed to occur immediately, starting with the latest rc5 release of the 5.8 Linux kernel.

        Sooooooo … where does all of this end? What about all of the curse words that are dispersed throughout the kernel code? Won’t some puritanical sort of person take offense to the appearance of those “offensive” words?

        Gauging by the comments to the article on The Register (and elsewhere across the internet), the changes are not being well received by Linux aficionados. There is, to say the least, a LOT of backlash against the forthcoming changes, and most of it centers around the types of questions I asked in the previous paragraph.

    • Applications

      • Introducing Inkscape 1.0

        Smoother performance, HiDPI support, new & improved Live Path Effects & native macOS app

        After a little over three years in development, the team is excited to launch the long awaited Inkscape 1.0 into the world.

        Built with the power of a team of volunteers, this open source vector editor represents the work of many hearts and hands from around the world, ensuring that Inkscape remains available free for everyone to download and enjoy.

        In fact, translations for over 20 languages were updated for version 1.0, making the software more accessible to people from all over the world.

        A major milestone was achieved in enabling Inkscape to use a more recent version of the software used to build the editor’s user interface (namely GTK+3). Users with HiDPI (high resolution) screens can thank teamwork that took place during the 2018 Boston Hackfest for setting the updated-GTK wheels in motion.

      • Inkscape Tutorial: Inkscape 1.0 New Features

        “After a little over three years in development, the team is excited to launch the long awaited Inkscape 1.0 into the world.

        Built with the power of a team of volunteers, this free and open source vector editor represents the work of many hearts and hands from around the world, ensuring that Inkscape remains available free for everyone to download and enjoy.”

        Finally! Inkscape 1.0 is out!

        Reading the release notes, we can see that there are several new features. I’m going to review just a few.

      • Open Source Drawing App Pinta Sees New Release After 5 Years. Here’s How to Get it!

        For Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based Linux distributions, there is an official PPA available. If you are using Ubuntu 18.04 or 20.04, you can use this PPA.

        Open a terminal and use the following command to add the new repository. You’ll be asked to enter your password. You probably already know that when you type password in terminal, nothing is displayed. Just type the password and press enter.

      • Different clipboard managers for Linux | 2020

        In this article, you will learn about clipboard managers and what are the different clipboard managers available for Linux.

        A clipboard manager keeps track of the things that you have copied in your system. It keeps the history of it just like the history command that has all the commands list that you have executed in the shell so far.

      • Repo Review: Gscan2pdf

        Gscan2pdf is a document scanning tool that allows you to easily post-process and create PDF or DjVu documents from your scanned pages. It has support for Optical Character Recognition (OCR), and also has a number of different image enhancing filters.

        Gscan2pdf is pretty straightforward to use. Just hit the little scanner button in the toolbar to open up the Scan Document window. From here, you can select your scanner from the dropdown menu (Scanning in Gscan2pdf is handled via the SANE library). There are some options available for changing the color mode, page size and rotation, double or single sided page mode, number of pages to be scanned, hue, brightness, white level, and numerous other settings.

      • Ventoy: The Ultimate USB Loader

        USB flash drives on Linux have always been problematic. Aside from the nostalgic unetbootin, the bootable USB solutions on Linux are always lame. Either you don’t have all the features of the Windows programs, or it’s complicated and laborious to make it work.

        Just for comparison, Windows has Wubi, Rufus, Yumi, Universal USB Installer, LiLi USB Creator, and the list goes on and on.

        On Linux, we had Unetbootin, which was a very good tool, but which did not continue development in the jump from 32 to 64 bits. Really, it did not improve as it should, lagging behind other solutions. So, we who use Linux have been orphaned of some solution that was practical, easy and that effectively worked.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • How to run Steam on Chromebook computers

        Steam is one of the most popular gaming platforms and a very powerful digital distribution service. While Steam officially is supported on Windows, Mac, and Linux, what about Chromebooks? It’s possible, though the experience isn’t perfect and there’s a few catches involved in the process.

      • Racing game ‘DRAG’ with impressive visuals enters Early Access on August 11

        With impressive visuals and a 4-way contact point traction physics system, DRAG looks awesome and it’s going to enter Early Access with Linux PC support on August 11.

        Orontes Games have been working on their custom tech for the past few years, to bring us something exciting in the world of racing. It’s quite an usual racing game too, merging together an arcade-style with lots of simulation going on resulting in highly dynamic situations. Going by the demo we played during the Summer Festival on Steam, it had a lot of promise and was pretty good fun.

      • The 10 Best Games for Linux

        Online games have come this far and gained their place in the world of online streaming. Millions of internet users from all over the world invest their time in playing games online. In fact, numerous online gaming competitions and fests are organized now and then where players can showcase their interest, passion, and awareness towards the game.

        There is an endless number of gaming options when it comes to Windows, Android, and macOS however, when it comes to Linux, this gaming list begins to shrink. Well, if you are passionate about gaming and own Linux based machines then this post is just for you.

      • Decide who lives and dies in the open source ‘Death and Taxes’ now on GOG

        Death and Taxes, a release from early 2020 that later had the code open sourced is now available to pick up on the DRM-free store GOG.

        You play the role of the Grim Reaper, although not in the way you might expect. It’s a bit of a weird underworld office job. Using your stamp of doom, you get to pick who lives and who dies and you have a quota to fill. Is your boss a bad guy or is this just how the afterlife really is? That’s up to you to find out. Made in the spirit of “Papers, Please”, “Reigns”, “Beholder” and “Animal Inspector” to name a few.

      • Aethernaut looks like a great upcoming mind-bending puzzle room game

        Inspired by the likes of Portal and The Talos Principle, developer Dragon Slumber are working on and recently announced Aethernaut and it looks slick.

        Set in a claustrophobic steampunk world, you must solve puzzle rooms using light, sensors, portals and time travel to gather the aether vials and access the core of the “Construct”. With the help of your guide, Doctor Louis Cornell, they explain how this Construct came to be abandoned and why you were chosen to help save it. Is everything as it seems though, is Cornell actually trying to help? The voices creeping in say otherwise and they want your help too.

      • Resolutiion is set to get a big free expansion soon

        Fast-paced action-adventure Resolutiion from Monolith of Minds is going to be getting a big free content expansion.

        After releasing back in May, this Godot Engine powered game certainly has an impressive Hyper Light Drifter inspired style to it and for me it left quite the lasting impression. Be sure to read our previous thoughts on Resolutiion here.

        The Red Plains is the name of the new update which will be coming “Soon. Very soon.”. Featuring a brand new combat-heavy biome which will expand upon the lead-up to the finale. Expect to find new enemies, few friends and ‘a mysterious host will guide you through the Queen’s Gauntlet right into the Singularity’.

      • Wonderful point and click comedy adventure Guard Duty is now on GOG

        Get yourself a bit of DRM-free comedy, with the release of Guard Duty onto GOG serving as a nice reminder for anyone who missed it originally. This nostalgic experience offers a bit of a wild ride.

        A love-letter to classics from the point and click adventure genre, complete with plenty of easter eggs to find. Sick Chicken Studios originally released Guard Duty back in 2019 and it went onto achieve some pretty positive remarks from various users and publications.

      • Play as a small mischievous cloud with a big dream in the Rain on Your Parade demo

        Become a cloud and leak all over everything and cause absolute total chaos? Rain on Your Parade is an absolutely brilliant idea for a game.

        Rain on Your Parade is a slapstick comedy game where you play as a mischievous cloud determined to ruin everybody’s day. You fly high across a wide range of levels while unlocking new abilities and mechanics that get progressively more ridiculous. Some games you just instantly fall in love with the idea and this is one such time, with this silly little cloud with its happy little face that just rains down hell on everyone. Created by Unbound Creations, the same team behind HEADLINER.

      • Monster Crown appears to be an early success on Steam

        After a successful crowdfunding campaign 2018, the monster catching game Monster Crown released into Early Access at the end of July 2020 and it appears to be doing very well.

        On their original Kickstarter they had 2,921 backers, which is a pretty reasonable amount for the $45,415 in funding they gathered. The trouble is, with how many thousands of games are releasing all the time on Steam, having a previous crowdfunding campaign doesn’t mean that will be replicated there. We’ve seen many developers struggle but it looks like Studio Aurum will have plenty of funds to keep on improving it. Their publisher, SOEDESCO, emailed us to confirm in the first 72 hours that Monster Crown had “more buyers than it got backers during the entire Kickstarter campaign”.

      • Party game ‘Gang Beasts’ gets a big new opt-in Beta that needs testing

        Ready to party? Now that Boneloaf / Coatsink are self-publishing Gang Beasts after splitting off from Double Fine they’re starting to get back into major updates.

        Originally released back in 2017, Gang Beasts is a local and online multiplayer party game with gelatinous characters, brutal slapstick fight sequences, and absurd hazardous environments, set in the mean streets of Beef City. It can be a serious amount of fun and it’s set to get better. Now available in the “public_testing” Beta branch on Steam is a big new build, anyone can try it by going into your Steam Library, Right Click on Gang Beasts and go into Properties and then the Betas tab.

      • UnderMine is a challenging dungeon-crawler that’s worth digging deep for – out now

        After a successful run in Early Access, Thorium Entertainment have today released their dungeon crawling action-adventure UnderMine. With one of the most annoyingly good gameplay loops I’ve seen in the past year, UnderMine is an absolute delight to die in over and over.

        They’ve done well in a crowded market too, announcing they’ve managed to sell well over 120,000 copies now.

        UnderMine is at its heart a fast-paced dungeon crawler with persistent progression and a simple loop. You jump down into the mine, grab as much gold as you can while battling various enemy types and a few difficult boss encounters and try to get as far as you can. When you die, that character is well and truly gone and another random character replaces them. However, you do get to keep a percentage of your gold for you to go and unlock more for the next run.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Kubuntu Linux 20.04 for a digital painting workstation: Reasons and Install guide.

          Wooo, summer… Hot weather and a quick computer reinstall right in the middle of the production of the books because my previous Kubuntu 19.10 was obsolete and reached end of life in July. Bad surprise for me this time in the process: no way to install Scribus 1.4.8 stable anymore and all my books are done with that. The package was savagely forced replaced by 1.5.5~Development and no way to reinstall the previous version flagged as stable by the Scribus team.

          So, I’ll have to move the book project to this development version (it will take hours of adaptation because the text-engine changed between 1.4x and 1.5x). If you are on Windows, Mac, 18.04 or CentOS no worry for you: the package still exists there. Sad to see that no Appimage, Flatpack or Snap are around to rescue this issue… But let’s close for now this parenthesis with a taste of bitterness. I’ll cope with that, I saw uglier situations of upgrade in my life and this Kubuntu 20.04 is −about all other aspect− a splendid distribution so far.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Identifying Operating Systems in GNOME Boxes

          One secret sauce of GNOME Boxes is libosinfo. It basically is an umbrella for three components: libosinfo, osinfo-db-tools, and osinfo-db.

          libosinfo offers programmatic means to query for information about OSes. osinfo-db-tools is a set of tools that help manipulate and extract information from OS images (such as ISO files). osinfo-db is a database of operating system information describing requirements for virtualized installations as well as virtual drivers and devices that work with each OS in the database.

        • Epiphany History Selection Mode

          Since my last blog post I have been working on implementing a selection mode for Epiphany’s History Dialog. The selection mode is a pretty common pattern seen throughout GNOME applications. It’s used to easily manipulate a set of selected items from a list or grid. I’ve used the selection mode from GNOME Boxes as a reference when implementing it in Epiphany.

          This is how the History Dialog looked like before…

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Linux Kodachi 7.2 ‘Defeat’ Released With New Private Session Messenger

          The latest edition comes with new security-oriented features, updated components, and other improvements. Starting with the core component, Kodachi 7.2 is built upon the same Xubuntu 18.04 LTS, but with upgraded Linux Kernel from 5.4.0-33 to 5.4.0-42.

          A highlighting feature of Kodachi 7.2 is the new addition of one of the most popular, secure, and private messengers, Session Messenger. Additionally, it has also added another end-to-end encrypted instant messaging application, Threema, to the Kodachi browser bookmarks.

          Following the rebranding of Matrix protocol-based messaging client Riot, Kodachi has replaced it with a new Element. To further secure communication, Kodachi now also provides Steghide-GUI, which you can use to hide your text messages encrypted in jpg, wav, or other file formats.

      • BSD

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: pyjujiop

          I am a professional journalist who has been in the profession since 1993. At the current time I am a freelancer working for media relations firms and open to new clients! My main client is operated by an old colleague of mine, who is hoping to bring me on full-time.


          I have two computers presently running PCLinuxOS as their primary OS. One is a Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop that has been completely overhauled; it now runs a 3.06 GHz T9900 CPU, 6 GB of RAM, and has both a 256GB SSD and a 640GB HDD installed. The other is a desktop with an Athlon X4 870K CPU at 3.9 GHz, with 16 GB of RAM and several HDDs and SSDs installed in the case. We have two other Windows machines and an Amazon tablet that Kay uses.


          Honestly, I have no complaints about it. I would like PCLinuxOS to gain more users, but only because it would hopefully get more people to donate. I have no idea how Tex and the community manage to keep it as well maintained as they do. I returned to PCLinuxOS because I preferred the community-based model and the philosophy of this distro over using anything related to Ubuntu.

        • Mind Your Step: Miscellaneous Topics

          I have seen what could be accomplished with certain other distributions. The addition of support for FlatPak and AppImage applications is a great start towards the future of the distribution.

          I know we all hate systemd, so I won’t even suggest the inclusion of this monstrosity. The original intention of systemd was to simplify the system initialization functions found in SysV INIT scripts as well as the scripts contained in the /etc/rc/rc.d directory into one system controlled by one daemon.

          Those of us who have worked with Mac OS-X or Windows in the past know what a PITA it is to maintain these operating systems and their startup routines. After having looked at systemd and its documentation, I do not see any reason why we should ever implement such a thing here!!!!!!

          But, what if there was another solution. MX-Linux (formerly MEPIS) has a solution in the form of the systemd API replacement package. Such a package would not be easy to implement, and if anyone had the time to do it, it could be done.

          But then, if Flatpak can be implemented without systemd, then is there really any reason why technologies such as Docker, Kubernetes, or even QEMU could be implemented without systemd?

          (BTW, I got QEMU 5.0 to compile on PCLinuxOS with all emulated processors enabled. It took three hours on my laptop, but it got the job done. I have yet to test it, though.)

          Another possibility is to create an ISO with the basics (including the base X.org installation), but without the graphical interface launching at startup. This would be useful for server installations, for low-spec machines, and for those of you who have trouble getting the graphical interface to work at all..

        • From The Chief Editor’s Desk

          What we commonly call and hold dear as Linux almost had a different name. Torvalds briefly considered “Linux,” a play on his first name and Unix, but considered it too egotistical. So, he changed the name to “Freax,” combining the words “free,” “freak,” and “Unix.” However, Ari Lemmke, one of the volunteer administrators of the FTP server at the Helsinki University of Technology at the time, thought “Freax” was a dumb name, and took it upon himself to rename it Linux. The name stuck.

          Tux, the Linux mascot, didn’t come about until five years later. In 1996, when they were about to select the mascot, Torvalds mentioned he was bitten by a little penguin (Eudyptula minor) on a visit to the National Zoo & Aquarium in Canberra, Australia. Larry Ewing provided the original draft of today’s well known mascot based on this description. The name Tux was suggested by James Hughes as derivative of Torvalds’ UniX, along with being short for tuxedo, a type of suit with color similar to that of a penguin.


          This month’s magazine cover was designed by Meemaw. It celebrates the 29th anniversary of the Linux announcement, the announcement of the IBM PC on August 12, 1981, and August being Watermelon Month. During the dog days of summer, there’s little else as refreshing as some ice cold watermelon to cool us off.

          Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, prosperity, serenity, and continued good health!

        • [PCLinuxOS] Screenshot Showcase
      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Nominations open for 2021 Red Hat Innovation Awards

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that it is accepting nominations for the 2021 Red Hat Innovation Awards.

          Since 2007, the Red Hat Innovation Awards have recognized organizations from around the world and across industries for the transformative projects and outstanding results they have experienced with Red Hat’s open source solutions. Open source has helped transform technology from the datacenter to the cloud and the Red Hat Innovation Awards showcase its transformative impact in organizations around the world.

        • Red Hat Virtualization 4.4 brings new features for managing virtual machines

          Red Hat today introduced a new version of its virtualization platform, Red Hat Virtualization 4.4, that will help customers more easily manage their applications and give its hybrid cloud strategy a boost in the process.

          Red Hat Virtualization is an alternative to VMware Inc.’s vSphere. The platform runs on the IBM Corp. subsidiary’s widely used enterprise Linux distribution, RHEL, and provides features for managing large fleets of virtualized applications.

          Red Hat Virtualization 4.4 has been updated with support for the latest release of RHEL that Red Hat launched in April. That release, officially RHEL 8.2, introduced performance improvements as well as monitoring features that make it easier to identify security and reliability issues. Red Hat Virtualization customers can now take advantage of those enhancements by upgrading the operating system installations in their deployments.

        • Critical API security risks: 10 best practices [Ed: By Security Evangelist and Strategist, Red Hat]

          With the meteoric rise of microservices and the rush to build more applications more quickly, APIs are being used more than ever to connect services and transfer data. But with a growing number of smaller application “pieces” trying to communicate with each other, APIs (your own and those from third parties) are becoming increasingly challenging to secure.

        • Red Hat Launches Remote Certification Exams
        • A deep dive into Keycloak

          DevNation Tech Talks are hosted by the Red Hat technologists who create our products. These sessions include real solutions plus code and sample projects to help you get started. In this talk, you’ll learn about Keycloak from Stian Thorgersen and Burr Sutter.

          Keycloak is an open source identity and access management solution for modern applications and services. You might already be familiar with it and are curious about its capabilities and features, but if you aren’t, don’t worry. In this video tutorial, we’ll give you a great introduction to Keycloak and go through most of the capabilities and features that help you secure your applications and services. You’ll discover how to easily enable two-factor authentication, integrate with external user stores like LDAP, delegate authentication to other identity providers, and use many more of the other cool and useful features Keycloak brings to the table.

        • Kubernetes is the future: But what does this future look like?

          When industry influencers and CIOs talk about the future of computing, they typically aren’t only discussing hardware advancements or cloud-based software. Increasingly, these conversations center on transformation through application innovation, providing new predictive services to customers that are driven by an integrated user experience. This could be something like inspecting customer data patterns to promote new banking services, analyzing health indicators to proactively recommend treatment or an immersive interface for personalized interactions.

          Whatever the end product, it’s about gaining a competitive advantage in an ever-evolving, highly-competitive marketplace through technological advancement. Enter containers. Containers enable these applications to evolve faster, increase developer velocity and bring a greater level of portability and consistency regardless of underlying infrastructure.

          Gartner predicts that, by 2022, more than 75% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production, which is a significant increase from fewer than 30% in 2019.1

        • Fedora 33 To Offer Stratis 2.1 For Per-Pool Encryption

          While Fedora 33 is slated to default to the Btrfs file-system for desktop spins, for those on Fedora Server 33 or otherwise not using the defaults will have Stratis Storage 2.1 as another option.

          Red Hat’s Stratis Storage has been their effort to improve the Linux storage stack while building upon LVM, Device Mapper, and XFS for offering ZFS/Btrfs-like features. Stratis continues making great progress and is ultimately committed to by Red Hat as part of their Linux storage play, potentially with it being used by default come Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9. Meanwhile the Fedora community has been dabbling with Btrfs on the desktop side for Fedora 33 and thankfully both technologies continue to be fostered by Fedora.

        • Document APIs with open source OpenAPI Comment Parser

          Whether you’re building an application or website, great documentation is crucial to the success of your service. Developers need instructions on how to use your API and they need a way to try it out. Good documentation handles both.

          The OpenAPI Specification is an open standard for defining and documenting your API. The OpenAPI Specification enables the generation of great documentation, but creating an OpenAPI spec takes a lot of time and effort to create and keep up-to-date. Often, the OpenAPI spec ends up a large, forgotten, thousandl-ine file.

          To help make it as easy as possible to document an API, today we are launching the OpenAPI Comment Parser. The goal of OpenAPI Comment Parser is to give developers a way to generate this OpenAPI spec from comments inline with their code. When the OpenAPI spec lives inside the code, developers are much more likely to keep it up-to-date as their code changes.

        • Total cost of ownership: The hidden part of the iceberg

          It seems like these days, everyone is talking about Containers, Kubernetes, microservices, serverless, cloud-native computing, and the Journey to Cloud or multicloud. These key technologies have many advantages, but you should be aware of some of the hidden costs associated with moving to the cloud so that you can plan in advance and avoid any surprises along the way.

        • Cockpit 225 and Cockpit Podman 21

          Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from Cockpit version 223 and Cockpit Podman version 21.


          When a virtual machine is not running and Cockpit makes a snapshot, only the disk contents will be saved. When a virtual machine is running, Cockpit will snapshot both the disk and memory state.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Infographic: Ubuntu from 2004 to 20.04 LTS

          Today, the first point release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS went live! To celebrate, we wanted to share how Ubuntu has evolved since the first release in 2004 to where we are today with 20.04. Thanks to those in the community and our users for your contributions and joining us on this journey. Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS now!

        • This Infographic Plots Ubuntu’s Progress from 2004 to 20.04

          The overriding theme of their visual data-dump is “Ubuntu from 2004 to 20.04” (see what they did there?) and, accordingly, comes chockfull of stats, facts, and other trivia about the OS, the project, and its achievements in the years until now.

          “Such as,” you ask?

          Well, its bangin’ security for one…

        • Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS Available Now

          Updated CD images are provided with this release, including fixes for some installation bugs. (Many installation problems are hardware-specific; for those, see “Hardware support bugs” below.)

        • Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS Released With The Latest Fixes

          For those that prefer waiting until the first point release of a new Ubuntu Long Term Support series before upgrading, Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS is out with the latest bug and security fixes for the “Focal Fossa” release.

          The slightly delayed Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS is now shipping with various bug/security fixes. Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS doesn’t bring any major kernel upgrade or hardware enablement stack for that matter but won’t come until Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS after Ubuntu 20.10 has already shipped.

        • Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS is Available for Download

          Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS the first point release is available now and you can immediately download or upgrade.

        • Ubuntu Unity 20.04.1 Launches with Nemo as Default File Manager, Timeshift Backup Tool

          Even if it’s not yet an official Ubuntu flavor, Ubuntu Unity wants to stay close to the release cycle of the upstream Ubuntu operating system. This remix uses Canonical’s good old Unity desktop as default environment on top of the stable Ubuntu base.

          Ubuntu Unity 20.04 was launched about three months ago, based on the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system series. Today, it sees the general availability of the first point release, Ubuntu Unity 20.04.1, based on Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS and packed with various improvements and bug fixes.

        • Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS (Focal Fossa) Released, Available for Download Now
        • Lubuntu 20.04.1 LTS Released!
        • Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS Released, Available to Download Now
        • Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS released
        • Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS released

          The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS (Long-Term Support) for its Desktop, Server, and Cloud products, as well as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support.

          As usual, this point release includes many updates, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        • Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix 20.04.1 LTS Released with New Look and Feel, Cinammon 4.4

          actually didn’t write at all about Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix in the past, so I’m happy to introduce you to it today. It’s an unofficial flavor of the Ubuntu operating system that uses Linux Mint’s popular Cinnamon desktop environment by default.

          Just like all the official and unofficial Ubuntu spins, it comes with its own customizations and some in-house built packages. The latest release, Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix 20.04.1 LTS is now available for download (links at the end of the article) and comes with a bunch of goodies.

        • List Of Useful Multimedia Software For Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          In this article, we are going to list out the best and useful Linux multimedia software for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 5 reasons to run Kubernetes on your Raspberry Pi homelab

        There’s a saying about the cloud, and it goes something like this: The cloud is just somebody else’s computer. While the cloud is actually more complex than that (it’s a lot of computers), there’s a lot of truth to the sentiment. When you move to the cloud, you’re moving data and services and computing power to an entity you don’t own or fully control. On the one hand, this frees you from having to perform administrative tasks you don’t want to do, but, on the other hand, it could mean you no longer control your own computer.

        This is why the open source world likes to talk about an open hybrid cloud, a model that allows you to choose your own infrastructure, select your own OS, and orchestrate your workloads as you see fit. However, if you don’t happen to have an open hybrid cloud available to you, you can create your own—either to help you learn how the cloud works or to serve your local network.

      • 5 tips for making documentation a priority in open source projects

        Open source software is now mainstream; long gone are the days when open source projects attracted developers alone. Nowadays, users across numerous industries are active consumers of open source software, and you can’t expect everyone to know how to use the software just by reading the code.

        Even for developers (including those with plenty of experience in other open source projects), good documentation serves as a valuable onboarding tool when people join a community. People who are interested in contributing to a project often start by working on documentation to get familiar with the project, the community, and the community workflow.

      • You don’t need a computer science degree to work with open source software

        I am mostly a self-taught programmer. When I was growing up in the late 1970s, our elementary school had a small resource room with an Apple II computer. My brother and I fell into a group of friends that liked computers, and we all helped each other learn the system.

        We showed such promise that our parents bought us an Apple II+ clone called the Franklin ACE 1000. My brother and I taught ourselves how to program in AppleSoft BASIC. Our parents bought us books, and we devoured them. I learned every corner of BASIC by reading about something in the book, then writing a practice program. My favorite pastime was writing simulations and games.

        I stayed with BASIC for a long time. Our next computer was an IBM PC clone with a version of BASIC on it. Much later, MS-DOS 5 introduced QBasic, which was a modern version of BASIC that finally eliminated line numbers.

      • Meeting for the first time after 26 years of open source collaboration

        Collaborating on an open source software project is inherently an online experience. For me, almost all of my interaction has been via email. I’ll send someone a patch, and they’ll review it and reply to me. Or a user will file a bug, and I’ll respond to it via the bug tracker. More commonly, developers in the open source community will discuss ideas via the email list.

        Over the years, I’ve only interacted on projects electronically, and have only met a few people in person, usually in settings unrelated to the project. Sometimes it’s at conferences—we’ll recognize each other’s names, and realize we’re working on the same open source project. I really enjoy those connections, but they’re rare.

      • Web Browsers

        • Top web browsers 2020: Firefox ends a sorta/kinda recovery as share losses return

          According to data published Saturday by metrics vendor Net Applications, Chrome’s share during July rose eight-tenths of a percentage point, the most since March, to 71%. The browser has been on a seven-month run of gains, adding 4.4 percentage points to its account since January. The only other browsers to enjoy a positive 2020 thus far: Microsoft’s – Edge and Internet Explorer (IE) – and that pair increased their combined share by less than a 10th of Chrome’s.

        • Mozilla

          • Introducing Firefox Reality PC Preview

            Have you ever played a VR game and needed a tip for beating the game… but you didn’t want to take off your headset to find that solution? Or, have you wanted to watch videos while you played your game? Or, how about wanting to immerse yourself in a 360 video on Youtube?

            Released today, Firefox Reality PC Preview enables you to do these things and more. This is the newest addition to the Firefox Reality family of products. Built upon the latest version of the well-known and trusted Firefox browser, Firefox Reality PC Preview works with tethered headsets as well as wireless headsets streaming from a PC.

          • Virtual Tours of the Museum of the Fossilized Internet

            In March 2020, Michelle Thorne and I announced office tours of the Museum of the Fossilized Internet as part of our new Sustainability programme. Then the pandemic hit, and we teamed up with the Mozilla Mixed Reality team to make it more accessible while also demonstrating the capabilities of social VR with Hubs.

            We now welcome visitors to explore the museum at home through their browsers.

          • Review of the year so far, and looking forward to the next 6 months.

            In 2019 we started looking into our experiences and 2020 saw us release the new responsive redesign, a new AAQ flow, a finalized Firefox Accounts migration, and a few other minor tweaks. We have also performed a Python and Django upgrade carrying on with the foundational work that will allow us to grow and expand our support platform. This was a huge win for our team and the first time we have improved our experience in years! The team is working on tracking the impact and improvement to our overall user experience.

            We also know that contributors in Support have had to deal with an old, sometimes very broken, toolset, and so we wanted to work on that this year. You may have already heard the updates from Kiki and Giulia through their monthly strategy updates. The research and opportunity identification the team did was hugely valuable, and the team identified onboarding as an immediate area for improvement. We are currently working through an improved onboarding process and look forward to implementing and launching ongoing work.

          • What’s new in ECSY 0.4 and ECSY-THREE v0.1

            Since the initial release of ECSY we have been focusing on API stability and bug fixing as well as providing some features (such as components’ schemas) to improve the developer experience and provide better validation and descriptive errors when working in development mode.

          • Understanding Web Security Checks in Firefox (Part 2)

            This is the second and final part of a blog post series that explains how Firefox implements Web Security fundamentals, like the Same-Origin Policy and Content-Security-Policy. While the first post explained Firefox security terminology and theoretical foundations, this second post covers how to log internal security information to the console in a human readable format. Ultimately, we hope to inspire new security research in the area of web security checks and to empower participants in our bug bounty program to do better, deeper work.

            Generally, we encourage everyone to do their security testing in Firefox Nightly. That being said, the logging mechanisms described in this post, work in all versions of Firefox – from self-build, to versions of Nightly, Beta, Developer Edition, Release and ESR you may have installed locally already.


            An attacker could use a CSP bypass like this and target users on web pages that are susceptible to XSS or content injections. However, this bug was identified in a previous version of Firefox and has been fixed for all of our users since.

            To summarize, using the provided logging mechanism allows us to effectively detect security problems by visual inspection. One could take it even further and generate graph structures for nested page loads. Using these graphs to observe where the security context (e.g., the CSP) changes can be a very powerful tool for runtime security analysis.

            Going Forward

            We have explained how to enable logging mechanisms within Firefox which allows for visual inspection of every web security check performed. We would like to point out that finding security flaws might be eligible for a bug bounty. Finally, we hope the provided instructions foster security research and in turn allow researchers, bug bounty hunters and generally everyone interested in web security to contribute to Mozilla and the Security of the Open Web.

          • What’s new in Perfherder?

            Perfherder is one of the primary tools used by our performance sheriffs to triage and investigate regression (and improvement) alerts. It’s also a key part of the workflow any Firefox engineer may experience when working on performance, either responding to a regression, or proactively measuring the impact of their changes. This post will cover the various improvements that have been made to Perfherder so far in 2020.

          • Mozilla Performance Blog: Improving Firefox Startup Time With The about:home Startup Cache

            For the past year or so, the Firefox Desktop Front-End Performance team has been concentrating on making improvements to browser startup performance.

            The launching of an application like Firefox is quite complex. Meticulous profiling of Firefox startup in various conditions has, thankfully, helped reveal a number of opportunities where we can make improvements. We’ve been evaluating and addressing these opportunities, and several have made it into the past few Firefox releases.

            This blog post is about one of those improvements that is currently in the later stages of development. I’m going to describe the improvement, and how we went about integrating it.

            In a default installation of Firefox, the first (and only) tab that loads is about:home. (Note: this is only true if the user hasn’t just restarted after applying an update, and if they haven’t set a custom home page or configured Firefox to restore their previous session on start.)

          • How to use git branch aliases with Mozilla Central

            I just set up Mozilla Central with a git wrapper so I can contribute to the main Gecko codebase using Git. It works great, but the default branch has an unusual name compared to what I’m used to.

          • Automated end-to-end tests for Glean

            Last year at the Mozilla All-Hands in Whistler, Canada I went for a walk with my colleague Mark Reid who manages our Data Platform team. We caught up on personal stuff and discussed ongoing projects as well as shared objectives for the next half-year. These in-person conversations with colleagues are my favorite activity at our semi-annual gatherings and are helpful in ensuring that my team is working on the most impactful projects and that our tests create value for the teams we support.


            For Mozilla, getting reliable data from our products is critical to inform our decision making. Glean is a new product analytics and telemetry solution that provides a consistent experience and behavior across all of our products. Mark and I agreed that it would be fantastic if we had automated end-to-end tests to complement existing test suites and alert us of potential issues with the system as quickly as possible.

          • Data@Mozilla: Experimental integration Glean with Unity applications [Ed: Mozilla fusing together its Microsoft-hosted surveillance project with Microsoft Mono]

            As we know, Glean SDK has provided language bindings for different programming language requirements that include Kotlin, Swift, and Python. However, when we are talking about supporting applications that use Unity as their development toolkit, there are no existing bindings available to help us achieve it. Unity allows users using a Python interpreter to embed Python scripts in a Unity project; however, due to Unity’s technology being based on the Mono framework, that is not the same as our familiar Python runtime for running Python scripts. So, the alternative way we need to find out is how to run Python on .Net Framework or exactly on Mono framework. If we are discussing possible approaches to run Python script in the main process, using IronPython is the only solution. However, it is only available for Python 2.7, and the Glean SDK Python language binding needs Python 3.6. Hence, we start our plans to develop a new Glean binding for C#.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7 Released

          LibreOffice is the best open-source alternative to Microsoft Office. It is available for all major platforms and the document foundation releases frequent updates.

          With the new major update LibreOffice 7, it has got some nice features and performance improvements.

          LibreOffice is an office suite developed by the document foundation. The look and features of every LibreOffice are identical to MS Office or even better. The Calc Spreadsheet that is the alternative to MS spreadsheet opens faster and, with the new update, it has got more performance improvements.

        • Can LibreOffice 7.0 Be Awaited Microsoft Office Alternative?

          LibreOffice is one of the most well-known open source office suites out there. It starts as a continuation of OpenOffice, which is no longer under active development after Oracle bought its parent company, Sun, in 2010.

          Version 7.0 of LibreOffice was released yesterday, with tons of improvements everywhere both in performance and in the overall user interface. But can LibreOffice 7.0 be the long-awaited Microsoft Office alternative? And to what level can companies, organizations and governments depend on it to use it instead of Microsoft Office?

          To answer that, we’ve put our hands on the new version to see what’s new in it and how well it can deal with Microsoft Office documents and presentation files.

        • You Can Now Integrate Collabora Online into the Nextcloud Ubuntu Appliance

          Canonical, Nextcloud and Collabora Productivity announced today a joint collaboration to integrate the Collabora Online open-source, LibreOffice-based office suite into the Nextcloud Ubuntu Appliance.

          About two months ago, Canonical launched the Ubuntu Appliance initiative. Available for Raspberry Pi, Intel NUC and PC devices, the Ubuntu Appliance project aims to offer users all-in-one bundles with their favorite software that can easily install, configure and maintain.

          Among the initial appliances available in Canonical’s Ubuntu Appliance portfolio, there’s the AdGuard Home Ubuntu Appliance, OpenHUB Ubuntu Appliance, Mosquitto Ubuntu Appliance, Plex Ubuntu Appliance, and last but not least the Nextcloud Ubuntu Appliance.

          The Nextcloud Ubuntu Appliance lets you easily set up your own private cloud server with all the collaboration tools the powerful Nextcloud software has to offer, including file storage and sharing, groupware, as well as chat and video calls.

        • Experience Collabora Online on your Intel NUC with Nextcloud and Ubuntu

          Keeping full control over your personal data and documents, is more and more important. Sharing by email or via the services of big tech companies is losing its shine, for obvious reasons. To help our users we introduce a new fresh Nextcloud Ubuntu Appliance for the Intel NUC, that comes with Collabora Online.

          Simply take an Intel NUC server, install the Ubuntu Appliance and take back control over storing and sharing your personal data and files with Nextcloud. Next, of course, you want to read and edit your documents, now stored on your own server, wherever you are. Naturally you will be able to allow others to review and comment on text, presentations, charts and more, perhaps during a video call or chat. All this under your own control!

          The new Ubuntu Appliance with Collabora Online and Nextcloud offers you just that – and more too. Do read these articles about the Ubuntu Appliance and the Nextcloud features. Now, let’s have a look at Collabora Online and some of the great features that you will benefit from.

        • Set up Collabora Online on the Nextcloud Ubuntu Appliance

          Alongside five popular software projects, we recently launched a new initiative called Ubuntu Appliances. A portfolio of software that allows users to turn a Raspberry Pi or an Intel NUC into a secure, self-hosted device. The initial launch included the Nextcloud Ubuntu Appliance. An application that enables you to host your own cloud, on your own hardware. In this blog, we discuss the benefits of the Nextcloud Appliance, and the addition of Collabora Online for use on the Intel NUC. To get set up, follow our extended tutorial, or, to install Nextcloud on Raspberry Pi or in a virtual machine, head to our website for instructions.

      • CMS

        • WordPress.com Announces an All-New P2 for Remote Team Collaboration

          Today WordPress.com publicly launched an all-new version of its remote work collaboration tool P2 — the “secret sauce” behind Automattic’s 15-year success as a fully distributed company, with over 1,200 employees working from 77 countries. It’s the first time ever that P2 has been released as a standalone product for small and large teams to collaborate.

      • FSF

        • A Year After Richard Stallman Was ‘Cancelled’, Free Software Foundation has Elected a new President

          Almost a year after Richard Stallman, the founding president of Free Software Foundation, was forced to resign, FSF board has finally elected a new president, Geoffrey Knauth.

        • Free Software Foundation Elects A New President

          Following Richard Stallman’s resignation last September from the Foundation, FSF has now elected Geoffrey Knauth as its new president. Knauth has served on the FSF’s board for more than 30 years.

          “The FSF board chose me at this moment as a servant leader to help the community focus on our shared dedication to protect and grow software that respects our freedoms,” said Knauth said. “It is also important to protect and grow the diverse membership of the community. It is through our diversity of backgrounds and opinions that we have creativity, perspective, intellectual strength and rigor.”

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU C Library 2.32 Released

            GNU C Library 2.32 (glibc 2.32) is now available as this important library for Linux and other Unix-like operating systems.

            With Glibc 2.32 some of the enhancements include…

          • The GNU C Library version 2.32 is now available
            The GNU C Library version 2.32 is now available.
            The GNU C Library is used as *the* C library in the GNU system and
            in GNU/Linux systems, as well as many other systems that use Linux
            as the kernel.
            The GNU C Library is primarily designed to be a portable
            and high performance C library. It follows all relevant
            standards including ISO C11 and POSIX.1-2017. It is also
            internationalized and has one of the most complete
            internationalization interfaces known.
          • Text Editing with GIMP

            This is tutorial to edit photos with text using computer program GIMP. This explains the basics of writing and editing text you can apply over all your photos you they can accompany your text documents you are working on. This is the eighth aka the final part of GIMP for Authors the series. I am happy to publish this one. Enjoy editing!

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Healthcare industry proof of concept successfully uses SPDX as a software bill of materials format for medical devices

            Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) is an open standard for communicating software bill of materials (SBOM) information that supports accurate identification of software components, explicit mapping of relationships between components, and the association of security and licensing information with each component. The SPDX format has recently been submitted by the Linux Foundation and the Joint Development Foundation to the JTC1 committee of the ISO for international standards approval.

            A group of eight healthcare industry organizations, composed of five medical device manufacturers and three healthcare delivery organizations (hospital systems), recently participated in the first-ever proof of concept (POC) of the SPDX standard for healthcare use.


            The original POC was able to validate the conclusions of the NTIA Working Group that proprietary SBOM formats specific to healthcare industry verticals are not needed. This 2020 POC showed that the SPDX standard could be used as an open format for SBOMs for use by healthcare industry providers. Additionally, the ability to import the SPDX format into SIEM solutions will help HDOs adequately understand the operational and cyber risks of medical device software components from their originating supply chain.

            There is work ahead to improve automation of SPDX-based SBOMs, including the automated identification of software components and determining which component vulnerabilities are exploitable in a given system. Participating HDOs intend to perform compensating control exercises to identify and implement risk reduction techniques building on this information. HDOs are also evaluating how SPDX can support other improvements to vulnerability management. In summary, this POC showed that SPDX could be an essential part of addressing today’s operational and cyber risks.

      • Programming/Development

        • 11 Best Free Test Automation Tools

          Modern software testing requires solutions that are faster and smarter. A test automation framework is a set of best practices, assumptions, common tools, and libraries that help quality-assurance testers assess the functionality, security, usability, and accessibility of multiple web and mobile applications. This type of framework help makes your test automation code reusable, maintainable, and stable. At their heart, they let you carry out tests automatically and produce test results without human intervention. Apply automation to tasks that are repetitive.

          Modern software development relies heavily on automation, from analyzing source code looking for errors to testing to the build, packaging and deploy process. That’s the scenario where a test automation tool becomes useful.

          It’s very important to select the best set of test automation tools for your specific needs and requirements. There’s lots of tools available which makes selection somewhat problematic.

          You don’t need to spend money on test automation software as there’s a great range of free and open source tools, libraries, and testing frameworks available.

          Here’s our recommendations to start your automation journey. All of the programs are free and open source goodness with the exception of Katalon Studio, which is freeware.

        • Python

          • Sam Hartman: Good Job Debian: Compatibility back to 1999

            So, I needed a container of Debian Slink (2.1), released back in 1999. I expected this was going to be a long and involved process.

          • An advanced guide to NLP analysis with Python and NLTK

            In my previous article, I introduced natural language processing (NLP) and the Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK), the NLP toolkit created at the University of Pennsylvania. I demonstrated how to parse text and define stopwords in Python and introduced the concept of a corpus, a dataset of text that aids in text processing with out-of-the-box data. In this article, I’ll continue utilizing datasets to compare and analyze natural language.

          • Delete Instagram posts with python

            Not owning a smartphone at the moment, I am not able to delete or upload any post in my Instagram account as the Web version does not support such features at the moment. Being a heavy computer nerd, I decided to hack through the Instagram requests myself and figure out a way to fully purge my account directly from my computer.

          • Designing with and for developers

            Open source is notorious for lack of design presence, enough so that my search to prove this fact has turned up nearly nothing. There’s many ways that such a gap in community might manifest, but one that I never anticipated was working with developers that had never interacted with a designer before.

            A quick note for context: I’m writing this as a UX/UI designer working with open source projects for a little over a year. Because there are so many ways design processes can happen (enough to warrant its own blog post), this post is not intended to discuss design process deeply. My goal here is to pass on some of what I’ve learned that helps me design in this unusual space in hopes that it can help someone else. This post might seem most relevant for designers, but I think this experience could be helpful for developers as well.

            After a few years at more conventional design jobs where the workflow never allowed me to communicate with our team’s developers, I started working with Project Jupyter on JupyterLab. This was my first experience working collaboratively with developers. I was feeling lost enough trying to comprehend the scope of the software I was helping design, and the enigma of the near-silent developer I began working with was not helping my nerves.

          • Debugging Python server memory leaks with the Fil profiler

            Your server is running just fine, handling requests and sending responses. But then, ever so slowly, memory usage creeps up, and up, and up–until eventually your process runs out of memory and crashes. And then it restarts, and the leaking starts all over again.

            In order to fix memory leaks, you need to figure out where that memory is being allocated. And that can be tricky, unless you use the right tools.

            Let’s see how you can identify the exact lines of code that are leaking by using the Fil memory profiler.

          • PyCharm: Webinar: “Django Database Performance Tips” with Andrew Brookins

            Django is one of the most popular Python Web Frameworks. However, optimizing django performance can often be difficult. Most performance problems boil down to one thing: the database. According to our guest speaker, Andrew Brookins, the only way to master Django performance is to master database performance.

            In this Webinar, Andrew is going to take us on a journey through an app that he created to demonstrate all the bottlenecks that arise when trying to optimize your Django app.

          • Python: Sort vs Sorted

            In Python, you can use sort or sorted to sort a list.

            But what is the difference between the two? This is what I will discuss in this article.

          • How to use DLLs/COM objects from Python or – How to send a fax with Python [Ed: How to turn Python code into Microsoft Windows mess with vendor lock-in and security issues]

            As engineers, we know that we should avoid reinventing the wheel. When we can, we want to use libraries written by other people to do some heavy-lifting for us. In this post, I’m going to share with you some things I learned on how to leverage existing libraries from DLLs (or any other files with COM type information like TLB or OCX files). Specifically, I’ll share some things I learned on my journey to figure out how to use Python to send a fax. So we’ll eventually show how you could use a Windows DLL that is behind the functionality in the Windows Fax and Scan utility.

          • 9 Useful Tips Working with Operating System using Python

            There are several situations when we want to work with the operating system using Python. We may want to see the user details or wish to do some tasks with the files and directories. If you are a system administrator, you will find it useful to work with Operating System as one can easily automate some repeating tasks of the Operating System using Python.

            Although the same tasks can be performed using basic shell scripting, it has limited capabilities and will not give you so much power as in Python. Additionally, the same python script can be used anywhere and also integrate the codes to other python projects. There are a vast number of modules to work with the Operating System in Python. Some of the modules which are included in Python’s standard library and work well with Operating Systems are os/path, pwd, glob, shutil, and subprocess.

            Before getting started with this tutorial, you need to have Python installed. If you don’t have it installed already, refer our step by step guide to install Python on Linux.

          • Python: How to Convert a List into a String? (The Right Way)

            Converting a list of strings into a string is a very common operation.

          • [Video] How to Learn Python? (From Zero to Hero)
          • Talk Python to Me: #276 Geekout: Life in the solar system and beyond

            We’re back with another GeekOut episode. Richard Campbell, a developer and podcaster who also dives deep into science and tech topics, is back for our second GeekOut episode. Last time we geeked out about the real science and progress around a moon base. This time it’s why is there life on Earth, where could it be or have been in the solar system, and beyond.

            In case you didn’t catch the first GeekOut, episode 253, this one is more of a general science and tech episode. I love digging into the deep internals of all the tools of the Python space, but given all that is going on in the world, I thought it’d be fun to take a step back and just enjoy some fun geekery and give you all something to just sit back and let your mind dream.

          • Python Bytes: #193 Break out the Django testing toolbox
          • Matt Layman: Give Me A Break… Day – Building SaaS #67

            In this episode, we did some Django model development. I created a new model to track break days in a school year. This model will be critical to fill in vacations and holidays so that the scheduling functionality works properly. I added the model, the tests, the admin page, and the create view to create break days in the app. We started by picking a model name and discussing naming in programming.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 10 Blog

            So, just as I mentioned, I was able to complete the documentation part in one week. The documentation includes documentation for both python and c++, the languages supported by panda3d for game development. The appropriate code snippets have been included along with the screenshots of the corresponding output.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC Week 10: Print

            From my last work there were few minor things that need to be changed in my triage PR. I’ll be working on adding a new format that is PDF. I need some time to figure out what is the best case to add this feature that is either using a different output format or providing a new template so the users can directly print from the HTML.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check In – 9

            Last week I completed the ScrapyH2ProxyAgent implementation and added the required tests. I was going through the codebase for hyper-h2 library to get insight on how they implemented CONNECT method for HTTP/2.

          • Weekly Blog Post #5

            Hi everyone a little late on this blog as I have to go back to college to get my stuff back. I passed the second evaluation, yay,. Till now I have been able to get the module metadata except the licenses. The licenses can be collected in 2 ways one is through making bash scripts to find and collect licenses from the module directory. Since licenses files dont have a set structure or a convention that’s why its getting difficult and a foolproof guarantee cant be given. Another way is through making an in house copyright to License parser. For debian licenses we have debut used in tern I have to come up with similar kind of parser. I also have one idea of training a model from data collected by using github’s api but thats just overkill.

        • PHP

          • PHP 8.0.0 Beta 1 available for testing

            The PHP team is pleased to announce the fourth testing release of PHP 8.0.0, Beta 1. This continues the PHP 8.0 release cycle, the rough outline of which is specified in the PHP Wiki.

            For source downloads of PHP 8.0.0 Beta 1 please visit the download page.

            Please carefully test this version and report any issues found in the bug reporting system.

          • PHP 8.0 Beta Released, Now Under Feature Freeze

            The release of PHP 8.0 is now one step closer to reality with the first beta being issued today and this also marking the feature freeze for this version due out later in the year.

            PHP 8.0 is a big step forward for this widely used programming language with PHP JIT and other performance optimizations, JSON at long last brought into PHP core, improvements to the PHP GD imaging library, cryptographic message syntax support within PHP OpenSSL, PHP Zip improvements, and a variety of other enhancements. PHP JIT and the never-ending speed optimizations are what I am most excited about with PHP 8.0 and the performance has indeed been great in my testing and I’ll have some results of PHP 8.0 Beta 1 out soon.

          • PHP version 7.2.33, 7.3.21 and 7.4.9

            RPMs of PHP version 7.4.9 are available in remi repository for Fedora 32 and remi-php74 repository for Fedora 30-31 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 7 (RHEL, CentOS).

            RPMs of PHP version 7.3.21 are available in remi repository for Fedora 30-31 and remi-php73 repository for Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

            RPMs of PHP version 7.2.33 are available in remi-php72 repository for Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Google, nobody asked for a new Blogger interface

        I’m writing this post in what Google is euphemistically referring to as an improvement. I don’t understand this. I managed to ignore New Blogger for a few weeks but Google’s ability to fark stuff up has the same air of inevitability as rotting corpses. Perhaps on mobile devices it’s better, and even that is a matter of preference, but it’s space-inefficient on desktop due to larger buttons and fonts, it’s noticeably slower, it’s buggy, and very soon it’s going to be your only choice.

        My biggest objection, however, is what they’ve done to the HTML editor. I’m probably the last person on earth to do so, but I write my posts in raw HTML. This was fine in the old Blogger interface which was basically a big freeform textbox you typed tags into manually. There was some means to intercept tags you didn’t close, which was handy, and when you added elements from the toolbar you saw the HTML as it went in. Otherwise, WYTIWYG (what you typed is what you got). Since I personally use fairly limited markup and rely on the stylesheet for most everything, this worked well.

  • Leftovers

    • Arca’s Rebellion Against Music and Life

      On the cover of her new album, KiCk i, the Venezuelan experimental artist and producer Arca is wrapped in gauzy white underwear, the soft fabric across her skin in stark juxtaposition to the blade-like bionic prosthetics she’s wearing on her arms and legs. She’s bare but also armed, vulnerable yet gladiatorial.

    • The View From Saturn

      The View From Saturn 

    • Video of Kyiv skateboarder goes viral after shout-out from Tony Hawk

      After Kyiv skateboarder Svetlana Yurchenko did her first kickflip, she let out a joyful scream. The video of her celebrations went viral, quickly making its way across skateboarding-themed accounts on Instagram. It was even shared by legendary American skateboarder Tony Hawk. 

    • Nina Simone: Mississippi Goddam
    • Report: New York Prosecutors Subpoenaed Deutsche Bank in Trump Probe

      The prosecutors issued the subpoena last year, seeking financial records that the Republican president and his company had provided to the bank, the Times said, citing four unnamed people.

      The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance declined to confirm or deny the report. Deutsche Bank and the White House did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

      The Times said Deutsche Bank complied with the subpoena and provided prosecutors with “detailed records, including financial statements and other materials” that Trump had provided to the bank as he sought loans.

    • Beirut explosion: What caused the blast and what else do we know?

      A massive blast on 4 August has caused widespread damage in the port area of the city of Beirut in Lebanon, with 100 people reported dead and 4000 injured. Here’s what we know so far.

    • ‘Solidarity’ From Around the World as Beirut Reels After Disaster Leaves 300,000 Displaced, 100 Dead, Over 4,000 Injured

      “Really heartbreaking to watch what happened in Beirut. Thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this devastating explosion.”

    • Journalist Rami Khouri: Beirut Explosion Follows Years of Lebanese Gov’t Incompetence & Corruption

      The explosion in the port of Beirut, which killed at least 100 people and injured about 4,000 others, is the latest blow to Lebanon, which already faces an economic, political and public health crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic. The blast is believed to have been triggered by 2,700 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate inexplicably left unattended in a warehouse for six years. Journalist Rami Khouri says it’s further proof of “the cumulative incompetence, corruption, lassitude, amateurism and uncaring attitude by successive Lebanese governments” that have failed the country. “It’s the ruling political elite that is responsible for this,” he says.

    • “Despair and Destruction”: Doctor in Beirut Describes Harrowing Scenes After Massive Port Explosion

      As Beirut reels from a massive explosion that killed at least 100 people and injured thousands, we get an on-the-ground update from pediatrician and writer Dr. Seema Jilani, who treated her own daughter for injuries after the blast. “It was extremely packed because we’re just coming out of a four-day lockdown,” says Jilani. “Everybody was out.” Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab called the explosion a “national catastrophe.”

    • Reckless Trump Nearly Provokes International Incident, Wrongly Saying Beirut Explosion a “Bomb”

      What if Trump’s remarks were taken seriously and some hothead fired retaliatory missiles at Israel?

    • Doctor in Beirut Describes Harrowing Scenes After Massive Port Explosion

      As Beirut reels from a massive explosion that killed at least 100 people and injured thousands, we get an on-the-ground update from pediatrician and writer Dr. Seema Jilani, who treated her own daughter for injuries after the blast. “It was extremely packed because we’re just coming out of a four-day lockdown,” says Jilani. “Everybody was out.” Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab called the explosion a “national catastrophe.”

    • Learning negotiation: Never Split the Difference

      We all have to negotiate in our lives. Whether it’s about future salary, where do you go for lunch with your colleagues, or if the honeymoon is going to be just lying down on a beach in a resort. So we all negotiate one way or the other. But are we doing it right?

      Does it work for us and – maybe more importantly – does it work for both sides of the table?

      I finished reading my first book on negotiations. One of the pieces of advice found in the book is even in the title: Never Split the Difference. But why? And what else can we find inside?

    • Science

      • The destructiveness of science mimicking social media

        In the first-to-publish race on COVID-19, researchers and publishers have also embraced a social media mentality and pushed scientific standards aside. The race to understand the underpinnings of COVID-19 and to win competitive applications for COVID-19 research funding have led to an explosion of COVID-19 publications, sometimes as pre-prints without peer‑review. The premature publication of early findings with little to no peer oversight has fueled an unfortunate politicization of the results. Opportunistic politicians and pundits have selectively publicized preliminary findings that fit their political agendas, rather than focusing on the accuracy of the analyses and their value to the public.

    • Hardware

      • Nvidia tries to get its hands on Arm

        That is because Arm is not a normal company. The firm’s core products are a set of fundamental designs for computer chips called instruction-set architectures (ISAs). Arm sells access to ISAs to the likes of Apple, Qualcomm and Huawei, giving those firms freedom to design and manufacture Arm chips however they want. The powerful chips in Apple’s iPhones are the product of this process, as are those in just about every smartphone in the world. Arm also creates its own chip designs, which it calls “cores”, and licenses them to companies that need a cookie-cutter starting-point for chips to put in their devices, as well as cars, connected fridges or anything else hooked up to the internet. As a result, Arm is everywhere.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Stinking Tory Corruption

        I wrote a furious article about the £250 million PPE contract inexplicably awarded to the “family office” Ayanda Capital, an investment house for private wealth tax avoidance. We now learn £150 million of face masks delivered are unusable as they do not meet the required standards.

      • From elevator etiquette to break room buddies, your burning questions about a return to work

        However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency in charge of workplace safety, has said it has received nearly 8,000 complaints about unsafe work situations related to COVID-19, according to the agency’s database. Over 6,500 of them have been closed.

        “OSHA is supposed to protect workers. All they’ve done is issue suggestions and voluntary guidance,” to employers,” said Sharon Block, former Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA and current executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.

        OSHA has “turned everything over to employers to inspect themselves,” Block said. “If workers can’t rely on the federal government to stand up for them, they have to stand up for themselves.” Some workers have been fired for speaking up about conditions, she said.

        OSHA didn’t respond to an NBC News request for comment.

      • New Report Accuses Trump of ‘Intentional Disregard’ and Attack on Democracy Throughout Failed Covid-19 Response

        “What is becoming clearer each day is President Trump’s intent to use this chaos to create a crisis for our democracy.”

      • In Latest ‘Stunningly Irresponsible’ Call to Reopen Schools, Trump Repeats Lie That Covid-19 ‘Will Go Away’

        “In February, Trump said the virus would ‘miraculously’ go away in April, once it got warmer… But, sure, let’s trust him with the lives of our children and teachers.”

      • The Worst Hunger Season Yet to Come: Global Moral Failure in the Time of Covid-19

        As the moral philosopher Peter Singer asserts, we are just as obligated to save a child half a world away than we are to save a child that is drowning right in front of our eyes. While in the past, even the most powerful individuals could not affect what is happening in distant places, we live in a world that is unprecedentedly interconnected through virtual communication, trade and air travel, and in which material wealth – however unequally distributed – is overall exponentially growing. Lack of resources and distance cannot serve as excuses for inaction, and a moral life cannot be lived while ignoring deadly poverty.

      • How Trump Managed to Lead the World with the Worst Response to the COVID Pandemic

        Six months ago, on January 30, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). Ten days before this, the Chinese government had said—to great alarm—that the coronavirus could be transmitted from human to human. The contagiousness of this virus led the WHO to make the declaration, which came a month after the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention told their counterparts in the United States about the virus. On the day that the WHO declared the PHEIC, Trump gave a press conference, where he bewilderingly said, “We think we have it very well under control.” From January 30 onward, the Trump administration’s response to the virus was incoherent and outrageously incompetent.

      • Time for Some #WearADamnMask Politics

        Madison, Wisc.—Wisconsin is the most politically divided state in the country. It has one Democratic Senator and one Republican. It has a Democratic governor and a Republican legislature. It gave Donald Trump 47.22 percent of the vote in 2016 to 46.45 for Hillary Clinton.

      • As Covid Slams Us, Elders Want Solidarity, Not Sentiment—or Blame

        Hardwick, Vt.—Like a lot of people my age—pushing 68—I don’t usually feel old. Now it turns out I am. Among the ways my body is aging is its decreased production of “fresh naïve T cells” (or, probably, fresh naive anything). This makes me more susceptible to contracting Covid-19, and if I do, to dying.

      • Trump’s Dangerous Lies About the Covid Economy

        But pesky facts have never stopped Trump. Having lied for five months about the coronavirus, he’s now filling social media and the airwaves with untruths about the economy so he can dupe his way to election day.

      • Techdirt Podcast Episode 250: Modeling The Pandemic

        As the coronavirus pandemic continues, nobody really knows what’s going to happen — especially if kids start going back to school. Statistical models of the possibilities abound, but this week we’re joined by some people who are taking a different approach: John Cordier and Don Burke are the founders of Epistemix, which is using a new agent-based modeling approach to figure out what the future of the pandemic might look like.

      • Largest study of its kind highlights risk to global food security

        Most of the world’s crops depend on honeybees and wild bees for pollination, so declines in both managed and wild bee populations raise concerns about food security, notes the study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

        “We found that many crops are pollination-limited, meaning crop production would be higher if crop flowers received more pollination. We also found that honey bees and wild bees provided similar amounts of pollination overall,” said senior author Rachael Winfree, a professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Managing habitat for native bee species and/or stocking more honey bees would boost pollination levels and could increase crop production.”

      • Finland to start giving boys HPV vaccine

        At first the shot will be given to boys in grades 5-9, and in future it will be part of the national vaccination programme and given in the fifth grade. The vaccination comes in two doses.

        In addition to protecting the boys who receive it, the vaccine will also cut down HPV transmission in the community, giving additional protection to girls as well, according to Elonsalo.

      • COVID-19 and children: Doctors see link between virus and neurological side effects

        His Johns Hopkins colleague Dr. Robert Stevens, a critical care neurologist, predicted “a sort of secondary pandemic of people” who might experience problems further down the road.

      • Twitter, Facebook Block Trump Video, Citing Covid MisinformationTrump posted the same video to his account on Facebook, which removed the clip shortly before Twitter froze the campaign’s account. Both social-media companies have policies that forbid sharing misleading information about the coronavirus that could cause people harm.

        Trump posted the same video to his account on Facebook, which removed the clip shortly before Twitter froze the campaign’s account. Both social-media companies have policies that forbid sharing misleading information about the coronavirus that could cause people harm.

      • Facebook removes Trump post, citing false COVID-19 info

        In a statement first reported by NBC News, a Facebook spokesperson said, “This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from Covid-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful Covid misinformation.”

        Facebook has previously removed Trump campaign advertisements, though Wednesday’s action is the first time the company has removed a post from the president’s page concerning COVID-19.

      • Facebook, Twitter Pull Down Trump Videos Claiming Kids Are ‘Immune’ From COVID-19

        It is untrue that children are “almost immune” or “virtually immune” to COVD-19, according to medical experts. Kids have tended to become less sick when infected with coronavirus, but even if they show no symptoms they may still transmit the virus to others.

      • Facebook removes Trump post over coronavirus misinformation

        The action, the first time Facebook has removed a Trump post for COVID-19 misinformation, marks a rare instance in which it has been willing to censor the president. In June, Facebook removed ads that the Trump campaign posted that featured a symbol Nazis used to classify political prisoners during World War II.

      • Facebook, Citing Virus Misinformation, Deletes Trump Post

        This is the first time that Facebook has removed a post from Trump entirely, rather than labeling it, as it has done in the past.

        Several studies suggest, but don’t prove, that children are less likely to become infected than adults and more likely to have only mild symptoms. But this is not the same as being “virtually immune” to the virus.

      • The Disease Map of Rural America

        There have been two sides to the coronavirus pandemic in rural America. In many rural places, like the Vermont town of 2,500 people where I live, the sense of crisis is palpable in every empty grocery story, in every conversation held with a neighbor from across an otherwise empty country road. Yet the disease itself remains relatively scarce. With eight confirmed COVID-19 cases in the entire county by the middle of May, I would likely have to cover several hundred square miles to encounter as many cases as have been contracted on the single block in Upper Manhattan where I grew up. Nationwide, the virus’s fatality rate in rural areas is roughly one-tenth of what it is in urban areas. Unsurprisingly, many of the earliest and loudest protests against state-mandated public health restrictions and business closures have emanated from these kinds of non-urban locales, where case and death rates have so far been minimal: Upstate New York, central Michigan, throughout the Upper South and the Plains.


        In rural America, like elsewhere, speaking of the virus as a great leveler distorts reality. It is more apt to call it a great amplifier. That is the only way to make sense of why the experience of the pandemic thus far has been so much worse in hubs of certain kinds of dangerous and lightly regulated industry than in places that are not oriented around such types of work; so much worse in resort communities and prison towns than in rural areas that are sustained by more balanced and equitable forms of economic activity; so much worse, above all, in rural places where people of color live with the ongoing legacies of violent displacement, enforced segregation, political disenfranchisement, and social marginalization. These are places where rural America’s collective immune system was already fatally compromised; where rural America was already deep into a decades-old crisis when the latest one hit.
        If the first symptoms of rural discontent in the pandemic era have been right-wing, anti-state convulsions, let us hope they will not be the only kinds of protest we see. Perhaps the coronavirus pandemic will amplify these multiple and overlapping structural crises confronting rural America in another way as well; perhaps it will make them louder, harder to ignore. For those of us who want to build a majoritarian working-class coalition capable of securing national political power, making real headway in rural America is a must (as demonstrated most recently when Bernie Sanders’s campaign ran aground once again in the Black Belt and the rural Midwest). For those who balk at that notion for fear that it will entail conciliatory overtures to petit-bourgeois ethno-nationalists, the geography of the coronavirus pandemic should serve as a reminder: campaigns for economic, racial, and social justice can find eager adherents in vast swathes of rural America.

      • A Kenyan COVID-19 notebook: The ‘mama mbogas’ and the path to recovery

        Saidi Mburi’s shop sales are a good barometer of the economic health of Kibera, Nairobi’s largest informal settlement, and they have been terrible.

        After months of COVID-19 curfews, transport restrictions, and social distancing measures, “people just don’t have money,” he told The New Humanitarian.

        His cramped one-man store has always offered credit to regular customers, but now “people can’t pay, and it’s affecting me as well.” There are gaps on the shelves because he’s stocking just the basics: bread, sugar, milk, and maize meal – anything else is a “luxury” people can no longer afford.

        More than 90 percent of Kenyans have seen their incomes fall as a result of COVID-19, and nearly three quarters of families have had to dip into savings – typically money set aside for school fees – according to Financial Sector Deepening Kenya (FSD Kenya), a trust that promotes financial inclusion.

        Everyone is hurting in Gatwekera, one of the 13 hardscrabble neighbourhoods that make up Kibera. But there is a distinction in the suffering between those employed in Kenya’s formal and informal economy – and that could have significance for the country’s path to recovery.

      • COVID prevention rules must outweigh judicial independence as superspreader patent judges are out of control

        Few blogs have more judges among their readers than this one, so I wish to clarify something upfront: not only do I acknowledge but I fervently support the concept of judicial independence. About 14 years ago I raised concerns over the independence of the judges of a future unified European patent judiciary (now known as the UPC, back then labeled EPLA) would enjoy. Later I criticized the way the European Patent Office treats the members of its Boards of Appeal (BoA). And I’ve suggested on a variety of occasions that the judges of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) should be appointed for life (with a reasonable retirement age), not for short terms.

        That said, courtrooms must not become lawless zones–especially not when public health concerns are at stake.

        Nobody in his right mind would advocate unfettered judicial independence to the extent that a judge or a panel of judges could allow court staff, counsel, party representatives, or spectators to strangulate each other. Accordingly, I just can’t see why it should be acceptable for hearings and trials to become coronavirus superspreader events. Actually, strangulation at least wouldn’t be infectious.

        Depending on the legal framework of a given jurisdiction, executive governments may indeed lack the authority to impose certain coronavirus prevention rules on courts. Wherever that may be the case, lawmakers need to step in.

      • Chromosomal Rearrangements Associated with Chemotherapeutic Drug Resistance

        O-6-methylguanosnine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) is the cellular enzyme responsible for repairing alkylated bases in DNA and reduced expression of this gene (e.g., by hypermethylation of the MGMT promoter) is a biomarker for TMZ sensitivity in gliomas and glioblastomas. Recently, a multinational team of researchers* reported genetic rearrangements associated with TMZ resistance, in a paper entitled “MGMT genomic rearrangements contribute to chemotherapy resistance in gliomas” published in Nature Communications. This paper shows a subset of gliomas with rearrangements in the MGMT gene that produce overexpression of the gene and resistance as a result. These authors screened 252 TMZ-treated recurrent gliomas by RNA sequencing and found eight different MGMT genetic fusions (designated BTRC-MGMT, CAPZB-MGMT, GLRX3-MGMT, NFYC-MGMT, RPH3A-MGMT, and SAR1A-MGMT in high-grade gliomas, HGG, and CTBP2-MGMT and FAM175B-MGMT in low-grade gliomas, LGG, in the paper) in seven patients (6 females) with recurrent disease, created by chromosomal rearrangement (see Figure 1c from paper; shown below). These individuals’ tumors showed “significantly higher” expression of the rearranged MGMT gene product.


        The effect of these rearrangements on MGMT expression was elucidated using CRIPSR-Cas9 to produce the BTRC-MGMT, NFYC-MGMT, SAR1A-MGMT, and CTBP2-MGMT rearrangements in cells of two glioblastoma cell lines, U251 and U87. When these cells and their untreated counterparts were challenged by growth in vitro with TMZ, only cells bearing the rearrangements (as confirmed by PCR analysis) were shown to be TMZ resistant. Unlike genetic rearrangements in other cancers that produce fusion proteins (such as the abl-bcr gene produced in chronic myelogenous leukemia bearing the diagnostic Philadelphia chromosome), because most of the rearrangements found involving the MGMT gene were located upstream of the initiation codon of the MGMT gene these authors reasoned that these rearrangements produce increased expression of MGMT leading to TMZ resistance because the cells were better able to repair the methylation injury and replicate functionally. This hypothesis was supported by real-time quantitative PCR analysis of MGMT transcripts in cells bearing the rearrangements, that showed a “striking” increase in expression of MGMT-encoding transcripts (an observation also found in tumors from patients whose gliomas or glioblastomas showed these rearrangements), and Western blot analysis confirmed higher expression levels of the MGMT protein. In two of the rearrangements (BTRC-MGMT and NFYC-MGMT), higher molecular weight fusion proteins were detected as predicted from the genetic data. These results were also replicated in patient tumor-derived stem cells for the BTRC-MGMT and SAR1A-MGMT rearrangements.

        These results, and the researchers’ conclusion that these rearrangements caused TMZ resistance by overexpression of MGMT, were confirmed by re-establishing TMZ sensitivity in these cells in the presence of O6-benzylguanine (O6-BG), an MGMT inhibitor. These results were further confirmed by detection of double-strand breaks in DNA in these cells in the presence of TMZ and O6-BG.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft Says You Won’t Be Able to Uninstall Its New Edge Browser

          The new Microsoft Edge browser was released to the public earlier this year. In a phased rollout strategy, Microsoft is installing the browser on Windows 10 devices in several stages, with an option available for users to install the new browser manually. When you install the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser, it replaces the previous (legacy) version of the browser on the device.

        • Microsoft condemns Apple’s App Store policies

          Apple earlier today elaborated on its controversial position to not allow services like Microsoft’s upcoming xCloud and the competing Google Stadia platform to exist on the App Store because the company cannot review individual games available on cloud platforms. A number of other App Store guidelines also bar cloud services from existing on iOS unless they are designed more like remote desktop software.

        • Scientists rename human genes to stop Microsoft Excel from misreading them as dates
        • Bond hearing for Tampa teen accused of hacking Twitter accounts gets [cr]acked

          The bond hearing took place over Zoom.

          During the hearing, the judge and attorneys were interrupted several times with people shouting racial slurs, playing music and showing pornographic images.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • OpenSSF Formed to Improve Security of Open Source Software

                The Linux Foundation has launched a new collaborative open source project called Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF), which brings together community efforts from the Core Infrastructure Initiative, GitHub’s Open Source Security Coalition and industry leaders including IBM, Red Hat, Microsoft, Google, and VMware, among others.

                The OpenSSF aims to improve the security of open source software by building a broader community, identifying best practices, and hosting open source technical initiatives on GitHub.

                “It will start with a focus on metrics, tooling, best practices, developer identity validation and vulnerability disclosures best practices. In the future, there is a plan to focus resources on the most mission-critical software identified by Harvard’s Lab for Innovation Science” the website states.

              • Red Hat, IBM, Google, Microsoft join group focusing on open source security

                With the growth of open source software such as Linux and cloud computing becoming more wide spread, a host of tech giants have joined a new group focusing on improving security.

                Red Hat – the global leader in Linux open source software and solutions – is part of the Open Source Security Foundation as well as IBM, Red Hat’s owner.

                Also signing on are GitHub, Google, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, NCC Group, OWASP Foundation, ElevenPaths, GitLab, HackerOne, Intel, Okta, Purdue, SAFECode, StackHawk, Trail of Bits, Uber and VMware.

              • New Training Course Prepares Developers to Create Enterprise Blockchain Applications

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the availability of a new training course, LFD272 – Hyperledger Fabric for Developers.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (clamav and json-c), Fedora (python2, python36, and python37), Red Hat (thunderbird), Scientific Linux (thunderbird), SUSE (java-11-openjdk, kernel, rubygem-actionview-4_2, wireshark, xen, and xrdp), and Ubuntu (openjdk-8 and ppp).

          • Researchers Make More Discoveries Around L1TF/Foreshadow – It’s Not Good

            Security researchers from Graz University of Technology and CISPA Helmholtz are out with their latest findings on CPU speculative execution vulnerabilities, namely taking another look at L1TF/Foreshadow. Their findings are bad news not only for Intel but potentially other CPU vendors as well.


            The new vulnerability outlined in the paper is “Dereference Trap” for leaking registers from an SGX enclave in the presence of only a speculative register dereference.

            The discovery of speculative dereferencing of a user-space register in the kernel as opposed to the prefetcher not only means that some mitigations may be inadequate, but they can improve the performance of the original attack and reportedly produce similar behavior on non-Intel CPUs.

          • PE Tree: Free open source tool for reverse-engineering PE files

            PE Tree allows malware analysts to view Portable Executable (PE) files in a tree-view using pefile – a multi-platform Python module that parses and works with PE files – and PyQt5, a module that can be used to create graphical user interfaces.

            “PE Tree is developed in Python and supports the Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems. It can be installed and run as either a standalone application or an IDAPython plugin,” Tom Bonner, a threat researcher at BlackBerry, explained.

          • IPFire: A new location database for the Internet

            In the last couple of months, we, the IPFire development team, have launched a small side project: A new location database for the Internet. In this article, I would like to give you a brief background story on why and how it come to this…


            Other applications would be threat prevention like we use it in IPFire. Connection attempts from certain countries can simply be blocked, or port forwardings can be limited to certain countries only.

            That is, however, not an exact science. The Internet changes constantly. IP address ranges are re-assigned from one party to another one, and often it can take some time until those location databases are all updated. Up to that point, you will see wrong information like the Google front page being shown in a wrong language. This might only be a bit of an inconvenience, but for a firewall, we need more recent and reliable data.

          • What to do about the BootHole vulnerability

            Late last month, security researchers discovered a major vulnerability in the software that controls how PCs boot their operating systems. This is one of those issues that sounds scarier than it is. Fixing it will be a major process, especially for Linux system administrators and corporate IT organizations with a mixture of different PC vintages and manufacturers. The problem has been named BootHole, and it could affect up to a billion computers.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • No to Blockchain Credentials of COVID-19 Test Results for Entry to Public Spaces

              An ill-conceived California bill endorses a blockchain-based system that would turn COVID-19 test results into permanent records that could be used to grant access to public places.

              EFF and ACLU oppose California A.B. 2004. The newest version of this bill would create a pilot program for using “verifiable health credentials” to report COVID-19 and other medical test results. The bill defines such a credential as “a portable electronic patient record,” for which authenticity “can be independently verified cryptographically.” The bill’s fact sheet explains that these credentials “use blockchain technology” to create “a provable health record” for purpose of “travel, returning to employment, immunization status, and so on.” Three rounds of official bill analysis provide the same explanation.

            • Facebook Extends Option for Employees to Work From Home Until Mid-2021

              Facebook’s move to extend WFH through mid-2021 follows a similar announcement by Google last month. Previously, Facebook had told employees to expect to work from home, if their job functions permit, through the end of 2020. Facebook’s extension of its work from home policy was first reported by Business Insider.

            • Facebook founder sees wealth hit $100bn after TikTok rival launch

              Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has seen his personal wealth rise to $100bn (£76bn) after the launch of a new short-form video feature.

              On Wednesday, Facebook announced the US rollout of Instagram Reels, its rival to controversial Chinese app TikTok.

            • Tencent Plunges $45 Billion After Trump’s WeChat Ban

              China’s largest gaming and social media company shed more than $45 billion of market value after sliding by the most since October 2011 on an intraday basis. The vaguely worded executive order could potentially hammer not just the use of WeChat and WeChat Pay in the U.S. but extend to business relationships with some of America’s largest corporations.

            • Microsoft’s TikTok Talks Said to Stay Focused on U.S., 3 Nations

              Cleaving just the U.S. operations off a global app would be particularly challenging. The Financial Times said one reason Microsoft is considering buying the whole operation instead has to do with the difficulty of separating back-office functions and ensuring that people would still be able to use the app when traveling between countries.

            • FAQ: Why Brazil’s Plan to Mandate Traceability in Private Messaging Apps Will Break User’s Expectation of Privacy and Security

              Despite widespread complaints about its effects on human rights, the Brazilian Senate has fast-tracked the approval of “PLS 2630/2020”, the so-called “Fake News” bill. The bill lacked the necessarily broad and intense social participation that characterized the development of the 2014 Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the Internet and is now in the Chamber of Deputies. The Chamber has been holding a series of public hearings that should be considered before releasing a new draft text. 

              The traceability debate has mostly focused on malicious coordinated action on WhatsApp, which is the most popular encrypted messaging tool in Brazil. There has been minimal discussion of the impact on other tools and services such as Telegram, Signal, or iMessage. WhatsApp uses a specific privacy-by-design implementation that protects users by making forwarding indistinguishable for the private messaging app from other kinds of communications. So when a WhatsApp user forwards a message using the arrow, it serves to mark the forward information at the client-side (and count if it’s more than 5 times or not), but the fact that the message has been forwarded is not visible to the WhatsApp server. In such a scenario, the traceability mandate would take this information, which was previously invisible to the server, and make it visible, affecting the privacy-by-design secure implementation and undermine users’ expectations of privacy and security.  

            • Google is sending a complicated privacy email to everyone — here’s what it means

              Google is returning to having humans analyze and rate anonymized audio snippets from its users. However, it’s also taken the major step of automatically opting every single user out of the setting that allows Google to store their audio. That’s why you might be getting an email today: Google would like you to opt back in to the program, and it’s trying to provide clearer information detailing what it’s all about.

              Those are very big moves that affect a huge number of people — though Google says the precise number of users getting the email is confidential. It should land in the inbox of anybody who has interacted with a product that uses Google’s voice AI, including apps like Google Maps and services like Google Assistant.

            • COVID-19 & Digital Rights

              Surveillance. Governments around the world are demanding extraordinary new surveillance powers that many hope will contain the virus’ spread. But many of these powers would invade our privacy, inhibit our free speech, and disparately burden vulnerable groups of people. Mindful of the stakes, we ask three questions when analyzing proposals that would provide greater surveillance powers to the government: Would the proposal work? Would it excessively intrude on our freedoms? Are there sufficient safeguards? Different proposals raise different issues.

            • EFF Launches Searchable Database Of Police Agencies & The Tech Tools They Use To Spy On Communities

              San Francisco — The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), in partnership with the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, today launched the largest-ever collection of searchable data on police use of surveillance technologies, created as a tool for the public to learn about facial recognition, drones, license plate readers, and other devices law enforcement agencies are acquiring to spy on our communities.

              The Atlas of Surveillance database, containing several thousand data points on over 3,000 city and local police departments and sheriffs’ offices nationwide, allows citizens, journalists, and academics to review details about the technologies police are deploying, and provides a resource to check what devices and systems have been purchased locally.

              Users can search for information by clicking on regions, towns, and cities, such as Minneapolis, Tampa, or Tucson, on a U.S. map. They can also easily perform text searches by typing the names of cities, counties, or states on a search page that displays text results. The Atlas also allows people to search by specific technologies, which can show how surveillance tools are spreading across the country.

              Built using crowdsourcing and data journalism over the last 18 months, the Atlas of Surveillance documents the alarming increase in the use of unchecked high-tech tools that collect biometric records, photos, and videos of people in their communities, locate and track them via their cell phones, and purport to predict where crimes will be committed.

            • The Bringers of Beethoven

              But I also realised that it is not an accident that it is Beethoven himself (quite literally the soundtrack for Enlightenment humanism) that is being weaponised here, rather than some fourth-rate composer of military marches or one with a problematic past. That is to say, not only is the poem arguing that something universally recognised as an unalloyed good can be subverted for propagandistic ends, but that is precisely the point being made by the regime. An inverted Clockwork Orange, if you like.

              Yet when I listen to it again I can’t help but laugh. I think of the 18th-century poet Alexander Pope, who first used the word bathos to refer to those abrupt and often absurd transitions from the elevated to the ordinary, contrasting it with the concept of pathos, the sincere feeling of sadness and tragedy. I can’t think of two better words.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Twitter labels state media, government officials’ accounts

        The social media company defined state-affiliated media as those where the state exercises editorial control through financial resources or political pressure, or control over production and distribution.

        Twitter said that state-financed media outlets with editorial independence, such as National Public Radio in the United States, or the BBC in the United Kingdom, would not be labeled. A spokesman also confirmed there were no U.S. media outlets on the list.

        NPR receives minimal government funding.

    • Environment

      • 250 million coastal dwellers will face rising floods

        Once again, researchers confirm that coastal dwellers can expect worse floods, more often and more expensively.

      • Will Climate Break Through in Big Media’s Elections Coverage?

        This story is being co-published by The Guardian, The Nation, and Columbia Journalism Review as part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 400 news outlets committed to transforming news coverage of the defining story of our time.

      • Long-time Contrarian Michael Shellenberger Is a Republican Star Witness in Climate Hearings

        A week after testifying to the House Select Committee on Climate Change and subsequently complaining that he was “smeared” by several Democratic committee members, Shellenberger appeared, again as a GOP witness, before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, August 5 in a hearing titled “The Devastating Health Impacts of Climate Change.”

      • Energy

        • The U.S. Is Close to Killing Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

          New sanctions on the project that were included in both the House and Senate versions of the defense spending omnibus bill would expand existing sanctions to include companies that support pipe-laying activities, as well as insurance and underwriting services. The Senate version of the bill goes one step further and would slap sanctions on support vessels and companies involved in certifying the pipeline once it’s complete. The two versions still need to be reconciled, and the scope of the final bill will play a decisive role in whether the project is completed.

        • GOP Proposes Letting Fossil Fuel Firms Sue Sick Workers Seeking Compensation

          Fossil fuel firms have long argued that addressing climate change will kill jobs — but the main entities killing oil and gas jobs lately have been fossil fuel firms.

        • Changing how we make solar panels could reduce their carbon emissions

          Although solar panels are a source of renewable energy, making them has an environmental impact. Fengqi You at Cornell University in New York and his colleagues have analysed the overall environmental impact of two types of new solar panels, comparing these against panels made with crystalline silicon wafers – the current industry standard.

          The team found that a new type of solar panel made from two layers of a mineral called perovskite requires a smaller total energy input and results in fewer carbon emissions. The panel, called a perovskite-perovskite tandem, contains two layers of the material on top of each other, each optimised to absorb a section of the electromagnetic spectrum.

          Perovskite solar cells have only been around for the past decade, and perovskite-perovskite tandem cells are only a couple of years old and not yet widely commercially available, says You.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • US GDP Collapses and Economic Rebound Fades

        This past week US economy collapsed in the 2nd quarter by 32.9% at annual rate and nearly 10% just for the April-June period. Never before in modern US history—not even in the worse quarters of the 1930s great depression—has the US economy contracted so quickly and so deeply!

      • Why Housing Is a Human Right

        Congress’s inability to actually represent the real-live human beings of America, combined with an economic system that rewards lack of empathy and an excess of greed, has brought us to a dark time when an oncoming tsunami of financial ruin, destitution and evictions towers over our heads, blocking out the sunlight.

      • Targeted recruitment Journalists reveal Russia’s own ‘college admissions scandal’

        Every year, high school students in Russia take the Unified State Exam — a standardized test used in college admissions. According to a new joint investigation published by the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, there’s one group of students whose scores are irrelevant to getting into top universities. These select individuals are guaranteed acceptance thanks to something called “targeted recruitment,” which means that various branches of the Russian state have agreed to sponsor their higher education. The system is meant to improve social mobility and promote government service, but more and more high-ranking state officials are abusing the program to subsidize their own children’s educations, as well as the educations of relatives’ children who fail to qualify for top schools on merit alone. Meduza summarizes the key findings of this report.

      • Our Government Is Prioritizing Empire Over Health

        American military personnel are getting sick in significant numbers in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. As The New York Times reported in a piece buried in the back pages of its July 21 edition, “The infection rate in the services has tripled over the past six weeks as the United States military has emerged as a potential source of transmission both domestically and abroad.”

      • America Is Headed for an Unprecedented Wave of Evictions

        Just before she called me one day in late July, Dawn Miller’s phone lit up with calls from one particular number: the management office for her apartment building in Flatbush, Brooklyn, where she’s lived since 2009. She hasn’t paid rent in five months. She can’t. Before the pandemic, she worked at a food kiosk at Brooklyn College selling coffee and sandwiches. But then the campus shut down, throwing her out of work. She had to borrow money just to afford food. She didn’t start receiving unemployment benefits until June, and even then the money had to go to paying back what she had borrowed to travel to her home country of Jamaica when her sister recently died. Rent had to wait.

      • Trump Threatens Unilateral Suspension of Payroll Tax

        President Donald Trump confirmed Tuesday that he is considering circumventing Congress to unilaterally suspend collection of the payroll tax, a move advocacy groups and lawmakers said would be an “unconstitutional” abuse of power and a destructive attack on Social Security funding.

      • Warnings of ‘Unconstitutional’ Assault on Social Security as Trump Threatens Unilateral Suspension of Payroll Tax

        “Donald Trump is so desperate to defund Social Security, he may rip the Constitution to shreds to make it happen.”

      • Millions of Working Poor May Lose Out on EITC Benefits Due to Pandemic

        The pandemic is driving American families to the edge, with tens of millions at risk of losing their homes and over 1 in 10 U.S. adults reporting their households didn’t have enough to eat in the previous week.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • As Biden Mulls VP Pick, Pundits Vie for Most Substance-Free Forecast

        As presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s search for a running mate drags on, press coverage hasn’t failed to disappoint.

      • A region with outsized punch

        Underlying this is a third reason for scrutinising America’s middle: its example for similar regions elsewhere. It grew rich from heavy industry and transport, then declined in the past half-century. A more recent bounce-back of some better-run cities offers lessons for others. Former industrial regions in Europe and Asia can learn from the Midwest.

      • New York AG sues to dissolve the NRA: “Top executives funneled millions into their own pockets”

        New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association (NRA). The suit accuses CEO Wayne LaPierre and other current and former NRA executives of diverting funds from the charitable mission of the organization into their own pockets.

        James seeks to dissolve the pro-gun organization, remove LaPierre from his leadership position and recover millions of dollars in lost assets. In addition to the NRA and LaPierre, the lawsuit also names the organization’s general counsel John Frazer, former treasurer Woody Phillips and former chief of staff Joshua Powell.

      • Wayne LaPierre used the NRA as a ‘personal piggy bank,’ N.Y. attorney general says

        None of the men have been criminally charged as part of James’ lawsuit, which was filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan after an 18-month investigation that included subpoenas and testimony. The complaint seeks to have a judge dissolve the NRA, recoup the lost assets and prohibit the defendants from serving on the boards of any nonprofit charitable organizations in New York.

      • The Unraveling of America

        In a dark season of pestilence, COVID has reduced to tatters the illusion of American exceptionalism. At the height of the crisis, with more than 2,000 dying each day, Americans found themselves members of a failed state, ruled by a dysfunctional and incompetent government largely responsible for death rates that added a tragic coda to America’s claim to supremacy in the world.

        For the first time, the international community felt compelled to send disaster relief to Washington. For more than two centuries, reported the Irish Times, “the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the U.S. until now: pity.” As American doctors and nurses eagerly awaited emergency airlifts of basic supplies from China, the hinge of history opened to the Asian century.

      • With ‘Survival of Organized Human Society’ at Risk, New Campaign Rallies Progressives to Vote Trump Out

        “As progressives and leftists, we are not going to minimize our disagreements with Joe Biden. But we’re also clear-eyed about where things stand. We have a moral responsibility to defeat Trump.”

      • The Democratic Party Is Setting the Stage for a Letdown

        During the week of August 17, thousands of Democrats elected to serve as delegates to their party’s national convention will log on to their computers to view the proceedings. They will cast electronic votes on the party platform and for their party’s nominee to challenge Donald Trump for the presidency.

      • Can Israelis Broaden Their Protests Beyond Netanyahu?

        Israel is roiling with angry street protests that local observers have warned could erupt into open civil strife – a development Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be encouraging.

      • Mitch McConnell’s GOP Is Destroying America

        Time and again, Trump and the Republicans have shown that they only care about two things: their wealthy donors and corporate backers.

      • Malaysia’s Arch-Kleptocrat is Found Guilty

        Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak was found guilty in the first of 5 trials he faces for his multibillion-dollar looting of Malaysia’s 1MBD development fund. This particular trial concerned US$14m of funds deposited in Najib’s personal accounts from a unit of 1MDB.

      • ‘This Is a Big Deal’: Iowa Gov. Ends Voting Ban for People With Felony Convictions

        The new executive order means there is now no U.S. state categorically banning people with former convictions from voting.

      • ‘Don’t Let Anyone Fool You,’ Says Sanders. Primary Wins Show Progressives ‘Transforming American Politics’

        Sen. Bernie Sanders maintains progressive candidates won because they campaigned “not only against Trump, but for an agenda that works for the working families of this country.”

      • There Will Be No Return to Normality

        One of Donald Trump’s singular achievements is to drive political commentator George F. Will out of the Republican Party. The very personification of bow-tied Toryism, Will voted for every Republican presidential candidate from Barry Goldwater in 1964 to Mitt Romney in 2012. But Trump’s vulgarity and overt racism were too much for Will.

      • Trump’s Alternative

        It seems as if President Donald Trump is trying to sabotage the November election by publicly proposing postponing it and denigrating the untouchable democratic mainstay by repeatedly and forcefully arguing that it will be rigged.

      • The Battle for Kashmir

        The erasure of Islam, its decimation in Kashmir, India’s only Muslim majority state, has accelerated since last August 5 when Prime Minister Modi drew down Kashmir’s limited autonomy, claiming that it was a hurdle towards Kashmir’s development.

      • Critical Swing States See a Rise in Registered Independent Voters

        While President Trump tries to selectively discredit vote-by-mail, his re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee have registered a combined 100,000 new voters ahead of the 2020 election, closing gaps between Republican and Democratic voters in a number of critical swing states.

      • ‘We aren’t born democrats’ Vladimir Zhirinovsky explains how his party backs an ousted governor elected by the people of Khabarovsk in voting he opposes

        With the arrest of Khabarovsk Governor Sergey Furgal and the appointment of Mikhail Degtyarev in his place, the two politicians’ political party — LDPR — suddenly finds itself at the center of Russian politics. Over the course of these events, the party’s long-time leader (the only leader it’s ever had), Vladimir Zhirinovsky, has reversed his initial hardline opposition to Furgal’s ouster. Meduza special correspondent Andrey Pertsev spoke to Zhirinovsky about the erstwhile governor’s arrest, whether Furgal really planned to resign beforehand, about Mikhail Degtyarev’s real estate outside Moscow, and why LDPR opposed an initiative by Russia’s ruling political party to spread voting over multiple days before later endorsing the idea.

      • Trump Now Says Mail-In Ballots Are Safe, But Only in His Home State of Florida

        President Donald Trump, who has for the past several months repeatedly made unverified and dubious claims about fraud associated with mail-in voting, authored a tweet on Tuesday urging voters in his home state of Florida to vote by mail if that’s what they wanted to do.

      • ‘Dangerously Bad’: Coalition Accuses Adam Schiff of Throwing Dreamers Under the Bus to Ensure Trump Retains Unaccountable Spying Powers

        “Schiff has been trying to sneak ratification of such surveillance through Congress.”

      • The Department of Homeland Security: the Ideal Authoritarian Tool

        In the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration made a series of blunders that have created havoc in U.S. governance.  The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the worst of these decisions, but not far behind was the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  The DHS has turned out to be the perfect authoritarian tool in the hands of a corrupt administration, and there is ample evidence of the department’s role in degrading public life in America in the past several weeks.  The department has become Trump’s tool for targeting “anti-fascists,” the label that he has broadly applied to all protestors.

      • Misleaders at a Funeral: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Eulogizing Racial Justice in the Name of John Lewis

        New Age Racists

      • Ukraine’s president seeks Lukashenko’s cooperation to extradite suspected Russian mercenaries to Kyiv

        During a telephone conversation with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka), Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed the 33 suspected Russian mercenaries arrested in Belarus. 

      • Lawmakers Question Legality of Trump Accepting GOP Nomination From White House

        Former Vice President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that he would not be going to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, later this month to deliver his acceptance speech for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Before the coronavirus pandemic reached the United States earlier this year, it was assumed that the Democratic nominee would accept the nomination in person as was customary.

      • Poll: Most Americans Believe Mail-In Voting Should Be Allowed in 2020 Elections

        Voting by mail has become a political issue in this election year, thanks in part to many errant and unverifiable statements by President Donald Trump. But a new poll demonstrates most Americans still trust the practice of voting by mail.

      • ‘Groundbreaking Win for Our Movement’: Progressive Cori Bush Upsets Rep. Lacy Clay, Ending 50-Year Political Dynasty

        “From the Bronx to St. Louis, the Squad is here to stay, and it’s still growing.”

      • BLM Activist Cori Bush Ousts Incumbent Democrat in Missouri Primary Election

        On Tuesday, a progressive candidate for Congress ousted an incumbent Democratic lawmaker from Missouri who has been in office since 2001 — and whose father had held that seat for three decades prior.

      • People of Missouri Accomplish What Its GOP Lawmakers Refused to Do for Nearly 10 Years: Approve Medicaid Expansion

        Called ‘victory for health care,’ ballot initiative succeeds where legislative efforts were long thwarted by Republican Party.

      • Progressive Rashida Tlaib Calls Primary Victory ‘A Resounding Mandate to Put People Before Profits’

        “We are done with establishment politics that put corporations first.”

      • Is the U.S. a failed state in 2020? Experts’ answers range from “maybe” to “hell, yes”

        Americans have maintained the illusion of prosperity by accruing massive debt, Wolff told Salon, comparing the nation’s situation to that of “a patient who has had a really bad cancer or a heart attack, and is now kept alive with tubes and chemicals and all the rest of it. He is not dead, but is in deep trouble. That problem is compounded, Wolff said, “by the fact that this is a society cannot, to this day, face what I just said.”

      • The US will pay up to $10 million if you can ID a foreign election [cr]acker

        Specifically, the State Department is offering the reward for “information leading to the identification or location of any person who works with or for a foreign government for the purpose of interfering with U.S. elections through certain illegal cyber activities.”

      • Forced sales are the wrong way to deal with Chinese tech

        The legal basis for TikTok’s divestment comes from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which this week ruled that the Musical.ly deal was against America’s national-security interests. Having flirted with banning TikTok altogether, Mr Trump now seems willing to accept a fire-sale. Microsoft, an American [sic] software [sic] giant, is in talks to buy TikTok’s American operations, as well as those in New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

      • Trump’s Tantrum Against TikTok Is No Laughing Matter

        President Donald Trump has made it clear he would like to ban the video-making app TikTok. Despite being mostly used by younger users to make music or comedic videos, the White House says it is worried about the platform, as the New York Times (8/1/20) explained, “because of the app’s Chinese ownership”: TikTok is owned by the Beijing-based firm ByteDance. The administration has often vilified China as a rival that intends to undermine the United States through underhanded means.

      • Top federal official says more details coming on foreign election interference

        Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Christopher Krebs described a statement put out by a top official at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) last month – which warned that Russia, China, and Iran were interfering the 2020 elections – as the “beginning” of communications with the public.

      • TikTok to Spend $500 Million on First EU Data Center in Ireland

        Promising to create hundreds of jobs, improve “the safeguarding and protection of TikTok user data” and shorten loading times for users in Europe, the new data center is expected to be operational by early 2022. Once it goes online, European user data will be stored at that location, TikTok said. The outfit established its EMEA Trust and Safety Hub in Dublin earlier in the year and said the new investment “signals our long-term commitment to Ireland.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Dr Disrespect Goes to YouTube After Twitch Bans the Online Gamer

        Beahm, 38, who had the 12th most-watched channel on Twitch in March by hours watched, according to tracker SullyGnome. In May, he was No. 20, with 4 million hours watched. He has 1.7 million followers on Twitter.

        In a July interview with PC Gamer, Beahm reiterated that Twitch never told him why he was banned, and said he won’t be returning to the platform. Beahm had previously been banned temporarily by Twitch in 2019 for streaming from a men’s bathroom.

      • Dr Disrespect officially returns to streaming

        It’s not hard to say what all this means. Beahm is itching to get back to streaming and to return to his public. What’s less clear is the event that necessitated this return in the first place. Twitch doesn’t comment on bans as a matter of policy, but whatever happened was bad enough to invalidate an incredibly lucrative contract between one of the most famous streamers in the world and his platform of choice. Beahm’s found himself in a scene of Damoclesian peril.

      • Made in Hollywood, Censored by Beijing

        Increasingly, Beijing’s economic clout has allowed it to insist that others comply with its censorship strictures—or has led others to voluntarily internalize these strictures, even without being asked—as a prerequisite to doing business with or in the country. While individual compromises may seem minor or worthwhile in exchange for the opportunity to engage with China’s population, the collective global implications of playing by Beijing’s rules need to be recognized and understood before acquiescence to Chinese censorship becomes a new normal in countries that have prided themselves for their staunch free speech protections.

        Hollywood is an important bellwether. The Chinese government, under Xi Jinping especially, has heavily emphasized its desire to ensure that Hollywood filmmakers—to use their preferred phrase—“tell China’s story well.”8 Within the pages of this report, we detail how Hollywood decision-makers and other filmmaking professionals are increasingly making decisions about their films—the content, casting, plot, dialogue, and settings—based on an effort to avoid antagonizing Chinese officials who control whether their films gain access to the booming Chinese market.w

      • Moderate Globally, Impact Locally

        Every minute, more than 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, 350,000 tweets are sent, and 510,000 comments are posted on Facebook.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Facebook Nudity Filter Blocks Historical Content And News Reports About The Error (June 2020)

        Summary: Though social media networks take a wide variety of evolving approaches to their content policies, most have long maintained relatively broad bans on nudity and sexual content, and have heavily employed automated takedown systems to enforce these bans. Many controversies have arisen from this, leading some networks to adopt exceptions in recent years: Facebook now allows images of breastfeeding, child-birth, post-mastectomy scars, and post-gender-reassignment surgery photos, while Facebook-owned Instagram is still developing its exception for nudity in artistic works. However, even with exceptions in place, the heavy reliance on imperfect automated filters can obstruct political and social conversations, and block the sharing of relevant news reports.

      • The Censorship of ‘Cancel Culture’ May Ultimately Be Most Dangerous for Social Justice Champions

        Calling on institutions to bar those with odious views on race and gender empowers them to also exclude those championing equality and progressive change.

      • Welcome To The Techdirt Tech Policy Greenhouse: Content Moderation Edition

        In the early days of the internet, there was no shortage of predictions insisting the emerging technology would be a bold new frontier of transformative change, ushering forth a golden era of connectivity free from the pesky befuddlement of incompetent government leaders, bad actors, and malicious overlords. This new frontier, we were told, would culminate in a fairer and more humane planet, unshackled from the petty hassles of the brick and mortar world, extracting us from our worst impulses as we marched, collectively, toward a better and more ethical future.

      • Salman Rushdie survived an actual fatwa. Yet he still thinks the Twitter crowd has gone too far

        Which brings us back to Rushdie.

        He has experienced state censorship and death threats. He risked his life for his artistic freedom. Loading

        Yet he still thinks the social media-enabled phenomenon of public shamings and cancellations is pernicious and suffocating to artists like himself.

        And that its consequences will result in risk aversion among artists, which equals the death of any real creative questing.

        Journalists, writers and artists may not fear for their lives, but they might fear for their livelihoods and reputations. They may fear their work will be labelled “problematic” before its artistic worth is even considered.

      • [Old] Raising ‘illiberalism’ concerns: JK Rowling, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, and 147 other artists sign open letter

        The group, which also includes American activist Naom Chomsky and Indian historian Meera Nanda, warns that the spread of “censoriousness” is leading to “an intolerance of opposing views” and “a vogue for public shaming and ostracism”.

      • Bring back the old John Cleese: the Pythons skewered cancel culture 40 years ago

        Perhaps the Pythons’ comic brilliance reached its apex in the 1979 film, Life of Brian. Of course, this is now best remembered for controversy over its supposed blasphemy, as well as the jaunty closing musical number (“Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”). But it was doing something incredibly important.

        This is a film about the madness of crowds. Brian (Chapman), accidentally hailed as the Messiah, urges the mob around him to think for themselves but all they can do is parrot his words back at him. Thoughts are forged with a demented logic, as illustrated in a scene in which Stan (Idle) wants to have a baby but is told quite reasonably by Reg (Cleese) that he can’t: “What’s the point of fighting for his right to have babies, when he can’t have babies?” Michael Palin’s Francis says that it is “symbolic of our struggle against oppression”. Reg soberly remarks that it is a symbol of his struggle against reality.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Turkey Passes New Internet Censorship Law, Cites Germany’s Awful ‘Hate Speech’ Law As Its Inspiration

        Turkey’s president, Recep “Gollum” Erdogan, continues to use legislation to silence everyone that might possibly criticize or mock him. This has been an ongoing process, one that keeps getting worse with every iteration. A failed coup didn’t help calm things down in Turkey, which is apparently hoping to pass China and take the top spot on the “journalists jailed” chart.

      • Turkey takes Germany’s “hate speech” law, and makes it much worse with its own censorship and data localization rules

        Last month we wrote about France’s “hate speech” law, and noted that it followed in the footsteps of the earlier German law known as NetzDG (short for “Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz”, or network enforcement law). NetzDG was bad news not just for German freedom of speech, but for human rights around the world, because of its knock-on effects. Once Germany had set a precedent for censoring the Internet, it was much easier for other countries to do the same. When people complained, governments could say that if it was acceptable for a liberal democracy like Germany, it was good enough for them. A report from Justitia, a think tank in Denmark, shows just how pernicious the influence of the NetzDG has been:

      • Erdogan’s Islamic Bravado

        Domestically, Turkey under Erdogan is placed 154th among 180 nations in terms of press freedom. Complaints against Erdogan or his regime might get you arrested and/or bring about a loss of employment. The courts, media, the political opposition, universities, and even the international public opinion have been stifled by Erdogan. Hence, there are no more forces in Turkey that can stop his irredentist and belligerent ambitions. There are no more checks and balances, or separation of powers in Erdogan’s Turkey. The political opposition feels criminalized and intimidated. Erdogan is now in command of a repressive apparatus. Soner Cagaptay, writing for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy asserted that, “Since 2002, Erdogan has won more than a dozen nationwide elections primarily on a platform of strong economic growth. Yet once a recession hit in 2018, his popularity began to slip, and his hand-picked candidates lost mayoral elections for Istanbul and other key cities in 2019. The economy is now suffering another recession due to the coronavirus pandemic, and polls show his popularity slipping further. Thus, even if the Hagia Sophia conversion increases his approval rating by a few percentage points, the boost is unlikely to last, and nothing short of strong economic growth will bring back the wider popularity he once enjoyed.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The ACLU Has Never Done a Damn Thing for Me

        It’s actually worse than that in terms of the ACLU. When I was a school counselor in a public high school, the ACLU screwed me royally, even though I had helped them with the case of a student. A federal district court found for the student in a freedom of speech case, and I was a member of the school staff who was embarrassed publicly. But readers, let’s forget that specific case for a moment and get back to the complete lack of support from the ACLU, even though I was a member for some time, and a member of the ACLU’s anti-death penalty committee in a New England state.

      • ‘For the auto-lady’s convenience’: A Kazan department store unveiled pink parking spaces ‘for female customers’ and nobody was happy about it

        State prosecutors in the Russian city of Kazan have ordered a local department store to remove its newly created parking spaces “for female customers.” The Kazan Prosecutor’s Office is maintaining that the creation of parking spaces exclusively for women is illegal and indicative of “signs of discrimination against drivers on the basis of gender.” 

      • Black Lives Matter Uprisings Lead to Charges for Young Protesters

        Yet just as this uprising against police brutality was met with stunning police violence, it appears that our punitive criminal justice system is doling out a characteristically punitive response. Across the country, a number of demonstrators — many of whom are teenagers and young adults — are facing serious prison time for destroying property during the protests.

      • One tweet tried to identify a cop — then five people were charged with felony harassment

        It’s an unprecedented use of anti-harassment laws, coming amid a nationwide law enforcement backlash against anti-police brutality activism. If successful, the charges would add significant new risks to political activity on social media, a key element in the ongoing protest movements.

        The Nutley Police Department filed its complaints in late July over a tweet posted during a June 26th protest. The now-deleted message included a photo of a masked on-duty police officer with a request that “If anyone knows who this bitch is throw his info under this tweet.” Because of the mask, the officer is not readily identifiable from the photograph, and there do not appear to be any replies revealing his identity.

        The original poster and the retweeters are charged with cyber harassment, a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in jail. Activist Georgana Sziszak, one of the retweeters, revealed the complaint in a GoFundMe campaign last week. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey confirmed its existence to The Verge, as did Sziszak’s attorney Alan Peyrouton. The Verge has also reviewed a copy of Sziszak’s summons.

      • Digital Rights On the Ground: The View from EFF’s Intake Desk

        If you’re familiar with EFF, you know that we do our best to defend and promote digital civil liberties through a powerful blend of impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, technological development, and more.

        But you may not know that EFF also provides a legal intake and referral service. As EFF’s Intake Coordinator, I field thousands of requests for assistance every year, which can range from someone looking for legal representation after being sued for publishing negative online reviews, to someone outside of the U.S. reporting Internet shutdowns in their country, to an elected official who is worried about the risks of law enforcement using their city’s security cameras to target undocumented community members.

      • For Egalitarians, a Sudden Sense of Possibility

        Something seems to be in the air these days — besides coronavirus. A hopefulness. A boldness. A conviction that we now have a real opportunity for blunting the corporate power that’s done so much to make the United States the world’s most unequal wealthy nation.

      • The Burden of Racism Is Written in Stone
      • Photos of a young mother working as a courier in Moscow spark renewed calls for help — and fraud allegations

        On August 2, the Twitter account @network_rus published a photo of a young woman riding the Moscow subway with a “Delivery Club” bag on her back and two small children in her arms (the tweet has since been deleted, but you can still see it in the cache). 

      • Rights Groups Raise Alarm Over Upcoming Supreme Court Case That Could Turn US Into ‘Safe Haven’ for Abusive Corporations

        “Rather than work to stop child slavery, Nestle and Cargill want legal immunity to continue profiting from child slavery.”

      • “This Doesn’t Smell Right”: Acting State Dept. Inspector General Resigns Just Months After Predecessor Fired

        Questions are being raised over the sudden departure amid lingering concerns of alleged impropriety by Secretary of State Pompeo.

      • St. Petersburg activist fined for performance in support of persecuted LGBTQ artist Yulia Tsvetkova

        St. Petersburg activist and Red Cross employee Daria Apakhonchich was fined 10,000 rubles ($137) for participating in a performance action in support of persecuted LGBTQ artist and activist Yulia Tsvetkova, reports lawyer Varvara Mikhaylova from the rights organization “Apologia Protesta.”

      • After a Year of Investigation, the Border Patrol Has Little to Say About Agents’ Misogynistic and Racist Facebook Group

        Brian Hastings, a top Border Patrol official, stared grimly at the television cameras.

        It was July 1, 2019, and Hastings was facing down a scandal: News reports had revealed that Border Patrol agents were posting wildly offensive comments and memes in a secret Facebook group.

      • Judge Hits District Attorney Who Issued Fake Subpoenas With A $50,000 Penalty For Blowing Off Records Requests

        Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro continues to get himself in legal hot water. Back in 2017, New Orleans journalistic outlet The Lens uncovered his office’s use of fake subpoenas to coerce witnesses and crime victims into showing up to provide testimony and make statements.

      • Black Lives Matter: Resisting the Propaganda of Status Quo Defenders

        First came the new names—Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and others—all added one by one to the long list of tragic, unjustifiable police killings of Black Americans. Then came the batons, the pepper spray, the tear gas, the flash-grenades, the helicopters, the armored vehicles, and the rubber bullets wielded against nonviolent Black Lives Matter protesters across the United States, from Minneapolis to New York City to Portland. And then came the chorus of privileged beneficiaries of our country’s discriminatory status quo, denying and defending the reality of brutal, racist, militarized, and unaccountable over-policing.

      • “Israeli Settlers Make a Living Out of Our Suffering,” Says Palestinian Activist

        The Jordan Valley lies on the eastern part of the West Bank, occupied by Israel in 1967, and shares a border with Jordan. The Israeli government, with the blessing of Donald Trump, is hoping to annex the Jordan Valley. This plan has drawn international condemnation, from Germany and France as well as from Israel’s Arab neighbors — Egypt and Jordan — with whom it shares borders and a peace treaty. The Israeli nongovernmental organization B’Tselem states that the Valley, which constitutes roughly 30 percent of the West Bank, is home to 10,000 Israeli settlers and about 65,000 Palestinians. Thousands of Palestinians have been protesting against the annexation plan.

      • Beyond Prisons: Dylan Rodríguez, Part II: Police Accountability Is Casualty Management

        This is the second part of Beyond Prisons’ two-part conversation with Dr. Dylan Rodríguez. If you haven’t already, listen to part one.

        In this episode, Dylan shares a few thoughts about high profile reformers like Van Jones and the dangers of the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC). We also talk about “The Problems with Community Control of the Police and Proposals for Alternatives,” a document that Dylan co-authored with Beth Richie, Mariame Kaba, Rachel Herzing, and others.

      • Hundreds of Domestic Terrorism Investigations Opened Since Start of George Floyd Protests, Official Says

        The task force, co-headed by Craig Carpenito, the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey and composed of prosecutors and FBI agents, is charged with developing “detailed information about violent antigovernment extremist individuals, networks and movements.”

      • The FBI raided Jake Paul’s home as part of an investigation into a mall ‘riot’

        A second location, in Las Vegas, Nevada, was also raided today in connection with the investigation. TMZ says the home is owned by Arman Izadi, a friend of Paul who was also connected to the incident at the mall.

        Police in Scottsdale, Arizona previously called the incident in the mall a “riot.” The FBI appears to have taken over the investigation into the events at the Scottsdale Fashion Square mall. Scottsdale police filed misdemeanor charges against Jake Paul in June for his alleged involvement. Arman Izadi — as well as a third person, Andrew Leon — received misdemeanor charges as well.

      • FBI Searches Controversial YouTube Star Jake Paul’s Home

        “It has been decided that in the cases charging Jake Paul, Arman Izadi and Andrew Leon it is in the best interest of the community to dismiss misdemeanor charges without prejudice so that a federal criminal investigation can be completed,” the police said in statement via ABC 7, which referenced Paul and the two others who were charged.

      • FBI raids California home of YouTube star Jake Paul

        A judge has sealed the search-warrant affidavit and Eimiller said she could not reveal the nature of the investigation or the person it was served on.

      • YouTube star Jake Paul’s home searched by FBI

        The allegations from Scottsdale police stemming from the May incident included criminal trespassing and unlawful assembly, and the department said it reserved the option to refile the charges after the conclusion of the federal investigation.

        The search warrants served on Wednesday were sealed, and the FBI said that it could not comment further.

        Stores in the Old Town Scottsdale area — including Neiman Marcus, Anthropologie, Sprinkles Cupcakes, and a Mercedes Benz dealership — were damaged May 30 into May 31 during the protests, police said.

        Paul was captured on video inside the Fashion Square Mall documenting the unrest. Police alleged in a statement that he “unlawfully entered” the mall and stayed after police had declared an unlawful assembly that night.

      • Resources for Resisting Federal Repression

        Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests.

        The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page.

        Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • What Does It Cost to Binge-Watch ‘Friends’? That Might Depend on What a Judge Says

        It’s not yet a given that AT&T will no longer be able to practice “zero rating,” referring to how a telecom data provider can incentivize sign-ups by exempting the consumption of its owned content against an individual subscriber’s data plan. That could depend on the outcome of a pair of cases examining SB-822, California’s tough net neutrality law. Yesterday, after nearly two years of no action in either case, the U.S. Department of Justice along with much of the telecom industry renewed a call for a preliminary injunction.

        In Oct. 2018, California agreed to hold off on enforcing its net neutrality rules until there was some clarity on the FCC’s attempt to rollback federal rules. The following October, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals blessed the FCC’s repeal with the foreshadowing caveat that the agency’s attempt to preempt states was problematic. “[T]he Commission lacked the legal authority to categorically abolish all fifty States’ statutorily conferred authority to regulate intrastate communications,” stated the D.C. Circuit opinion.

      • Dish Buys Ting Mobile To Disrupt Wireless, But Questions Remain

        We’ve noted repeatedly that not only did the Trump FCC and DOJ rubber stamp the controversial T-Mobile and Sprint merger, they willfully ignored data showing the deal would result in high prices, lower overall sector pay, fewer jobs, and less overall competition. As most objective antitrust and telecom experts predicted, the ink was barely dry on the deal before the pink slips started to arrive. The higher rates will still likely take a few more years to materialize as the remaining three industry players (T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon) perfect their ability to pretend to compete on price without actually doing so.

      • Ten Years After Lieberman’s “Internet Kill Switch,” the War on Freedom Rages On

        In 2010, US Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Thomas Carper (D-DE) introduced their Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act. Better known as the “Internet Kill Switch” proposal for the emergency powers it would have conferred on the president, the bill died without receiving a vote in either house of Congress.

      • Californians, Sacramento Needs Your Voice on the State’s Broadband Future

        Two bills before the California legislature in its final month of session, S.B. 1130 and A.B. 570, chart very different courses for the state’s broadband infrastructure program. In considering them, the state faces a  fundamental question about how to invest its money: in modern, high-capacity fiber networks, or slow wireless and DSL copper networks. 

        EFF has researched—and devoted substantial legal and technical expertise to—this very question. The choice is clear. If we are not spending resources into building, brick-by-brick, and as soon as possible,  21st-century access by extending fiber deeper into communities, we stall efforts to end the digital divide. Spending money on slow speeds and legacy networks will end up costing taxpayers a substantial amount more.  Why? Because they will fail to provide useful access to modern applications and services, let alone next generation Internet products. Worst yet, they do not offer a meaningful way to transition toward the gigabit era. In other words, the “cheaper” option now means that California will still have to replace these networks with fiber eventually, to keep pace with demand and stay competitive with other parts of the United States and the world.

    • Monopolies

      • Rideshare drivers stage protest while Uber and Lyft fight in court to keep them poor

        On Thursday, the state of California urged a state judge to issue a preliminary injunction that would require Uber and Lyft to classify their drivers as employees, which they have failed to do despite California legislators passing a law last year that would require them to do so in order to improve the livelihoods of gig workers.

        But as officials and lawyers argued in court over the new law, which would make drivers’ lives better yet reduce ridesharing corporations’ revenues, drivers in support of the injunction gathered in Los Angeles in Oakland for their own hearing, which they dubbed a “people’s hearing.”

      • ‘Taking Taxpayers for a Ride’: Moderna to Charge $32-$37/Dose for Covid-19 Vaccine Developed Entirely With Public Funds

        “It ought to be the people’s vaccine, not a new taxpayer burden.”

      • Law Firm Southtown Moxie Responds Hilariously To Stupid Cease And Desist Letter

        There are many ways to respond to a cease and desist notice over trademark rights. The most common response is probably fear-based capitulation. After all, trademark bullying works for a reason, and that reason is that large companies have access to large legal war chests while smaller companies usually just run away from their own rights. Another response is the aggressive defenses against the bullying. And, finally, every once in a while you get a response so snarky in tone that it probably registers on the richter scale, somehow.

      • 34 State Attorneys General Urge Trump to End ‘Outrageous’ Gilead Monopoly on Covid-19 Drug

        “This is not the time for any company to extract large corporate profits from uninsured and underinsured Americans.”

      • The End of Big Tech? Calls Grow to Break Up Facebook, Amazon for “Mob-Like” Behavior, Monopoly Power

        Calls are growing to break up the Big Tech giants, with a handful of companies controlling more and more of the technology industry, crowding out or acquiring would-be competitors and exercising vast power over the U.S. economy. Lawmakers grilled the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook during a hearing last week on whether their companies are guilty of stifling competition, in a scene reminiscent of the 1994 hearing of tobacco executives who claimed cigarettes were not addictive. This came just days after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos reportedly made $13 billion in a single day, even as the coronavirus pandemic has left millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet. We speak with Scott Galloway, professor of Marketing at NYU Stern, who says we may be seeing “the beginning of the end” of the tech monopolies.

      • Uber Buys Taxi-Software Company Autocab to Fill U.K. Market Gaps

        The deal will ultimately expand Uber’s reach in the U.K. to as many as about 170 locations from 40, and allow the taxi and private car-hire companies that use Autocab’s software to expand and “offer more earnings opportunities to local drivers,” such as deliveries, the companies said in a statement on Thursday.

        Customers in markets such as Oxford or Exeter will be able to use their Uber app to get a ride from a local car-hire company, though the integration won’t be rolled out in markets where Uber is already in use, such as London, the companies said. Autocab says it operates in 30 countries, and Uber may eventually expand the program. Uber said it will also help the Manchester, England-based firm expand further.

      • How to Fight Against Big Tech’s Power

        In the morning, you check email. At noon, you browse social media and message friends. In the evening, you listen to music while shopping online. Around bedtime, you curl up with an e-book.
        For all of those activities, you probably used a product made or sold by Google, Amazon, Apple or Facebook. There’s no simple way to avoid those Big Four. Even if you subscribed to Spotify, you would probably still be using a Google Android phone, an Amazon speaker or an Apple iPhone to stream the music. Even if you deleted Facebook, you might still be using the Facebook-owned Instagram or WhatsApp.

        Being beholden to a small set of companies that touch every corner of our digital lives is precisely why lawmakers have summoned the chief executives of Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple to testify in an antitrust hearing on Wednesday. Expect the tech titans to be grilled over whether their companies have become so powerful and far-reaching that they harm rivals and all of us, too.
        So what can we do if we want to break out of the stranglehold of Big Tech?

        At first glance, there may not seem like much we can do to escape. “It’s not like you can start shopping at local bookstores and put Amazon out of business,” said Jason Fried, the founder of Basecamp, a Chicago-based company that offers productivity apps.

      • EPO

        • Patent Office Updates You Need to Know

          The EPO has decided to postpone until further notice all oral proceedings in opposition scheduled until December 31, 2020 (previously until September 14, 2020). Applicants can delay payment of renewal fees due from June 1 through August 31 without incurring any late fees.

        • Swiss Federal Supreme Court follows the practice of EPO’s Board of Appeal on singling out

          Newsletter No. 4 July 2020In a recent decision (4A_613/2019, 11 May 2020), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court (Supreme Court) followed the practice of the Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) as it held that the singling out of single features from two separate lists of features and therefore the combination of these two specific features constitutes an extension of the subject-matter of the patent application leading to its nullity.


          The Supreme Court’s decision, which is intended for publication, is legally-binding and cannot be appealed before any other court. On a European level, co-proceedings are still pending at the EPO. The Opposition Division of the EPO revoked the entire European divisional patent EP 2 425 821 applying the mentioned “gold standard” test. The decision was appealed before the Board of Appeal (Case No. T3035/19-3.3.07). Public oral proceedings will be held on 23/24 September 2021.

        • The State of AI: Patenting Trends and European Prosecution Strategy

          Europe has fallen far behind other regions in AI patent filings. This appears in large part due to the perceived and actual hostility towards software and AI patent applications from the European Patent Office (EPO). Shockingly, only one of the top 20 worldwide AI patent filers is an EU-headquartered entity. Further, this gap in patent filings seems to be growing across most areas of AI and AI applications, except in self-driving vehicles where several European companies, mostly German companies, have become technology leaders.

      • Copyrights

        • Court: PACER Fees Should Only be Used to Pay for PACER

          Litigators and researchers all use PACER to access Federal Court documents. These documents are typically stored as electronic PDF documents and PACER charges 10¢ per page. That amount is relatively small, but adds up very quickly once you see how many pages are found in a single docket. The cost is particularly prohibitive for public access — those of us who are monitoring court activity but don’t have a financial interest in the case itself. In addition, it is prohibitive to the public-interest plaintiffs in this case, including the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) and the National Consumer Law Center.

          I downloaded this opinion from PACER for a $3 charge. Obviously, it did not cost the courts that amount to send the download to me. The marginal cost was likely well under 1¢ for the whole document. The Judiciary has argued that the high charge is intended to pay for buying new computers, upgrading computer systems, and all forms of electronic information dissemination.

        • Model Sues Cloudflare and Thothub in Mass Piracy Lawsuit

          Texas-based model Deniece Waidhofer, known for selling access to sexy photos of herself online, is taking action against Thothub, a site that publishes leaked copies of her work. The site, its members, and services it works with, including Cloudflare, are accused of copyright infringement and being part of a RICO conspiracy, the suit alleges.

        • Torrent Piracy Saves Silent Bob’s 50th Birthday Drive-In Cinema Party

          When friends of Kevin Smith, aka Silent Bob, threw a 50th birthday party for the actor/director at a drive-in cinema in the US, the plan was to watch the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. Unfortunately, the cinema’s systems broke down, threatening to ruin the event. Fortunately, a filmmaker was there to download the movie from a torrent site and the show went ahead as planned.

        • CIPPIC and CIRA Warn Federal Court of Pirate Site Blocking Dangers

          The .CA domain registry and CIPPIC have filed their intervention in the Canadian pirate site blocking appeal. The groups argue that the blocking injunction sidelines the telecoms regulator and disrupts the balance struck by the Copyright Act. In addition, they believe that user rights, including freedom of expression, should be carefully considered.

        • FBI Help German Authorities Secure $29.7m in Crypto From Pirate Streaming Site

          In 2013, Movie2K was one of the largest ‘pirate’ streaming sites on the Internet generating more traffic in Germany than Twitter. After making arrrests last year, local authorities assisted by the FBI now say they have secured cryptocurrency worth almost $30m. Overall, however, the site’s programmer is said to have made 22,000 bitcoins from his work.

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, August 06, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:43 am by Needs Sunlight



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