Links 17/11/2020: Six New Debian Developers and Orange Pi’s $16 Zero2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • System76 hardware sale, Nasty Ubuntu bug, and KDE PinePhone – Linux and Open Source News – YouTube

        This time, we’ve got Ubuntu addressing a very nasty bug, KDE firing on all cylinders with plasma mobile and their own edition of the pinephone, a big System76 sale, and some new releases of very good stuff for Linux gaming.

      • LHS Episode #379: LHS at Ohio LinuxFest 2020 | Linux in the Ham Shack

        Hello and welcome to Episode 379 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In place of our normal deep dive episode this week, the hosts were invited to be a part of Ohio LinuxFest 2020. We hosted a Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) session on the topic of using Linux and amateur radio. We had a great turnout and a lot of fun. So we hope you enjoy this special episode of the program and a huge thank you to the staff and volunteers at Ohio LinuxFest. Here’s to getting back to in-person conferences again soon.

      • Your Software Is Spying On You – YouTube

        In the last few days, one of the news headlines has been the revelation that MacOS is spying on its users and sending that information back to Apple. What can say? I’M SHOCKED! Ok, not shocked at all. But I wanted to talk a bit about surveillance (telemetry) in our software.

      • Apple Is Tracking EVERYTHING You Do On Big Sur – YouTube

        If you own an Apple MacOS device running Big Sur you no longer own your device, Apple is now tracking every app you ever open on an unencrypted connection and has the ability to block any app that they don’t want to let you run. Welcome to the future you wished for

    • Kernel Space

      • Kernel prepatch 5.10-rc4

        The 5.10-rc4 kernel prepatch is out for testing. “All looks good, and nothing makes me go ‘uhhuh, 5.10 looks iffy’. So go test, let’s get this all solid and calmed down, and this will hopefully be one of those regular boring releases even if it’s certainly not been on the smaller side…”

      • LibIIO – Library for interfacing Linux industrial I/O devices

        For more than 6 years, the LibIIO library has existed to ease the development of software interfacing Linux Industrial I/O (IIO) devices. It is part of the Linux Kernel and a subsystem that provides support for devices like analog to digital or digital to analog converters (ADCs, DACs). This subsystem includes ADCs, accelerometers, pressure sensors, color, light and proximity sensors, temperature sensors, RF transceivers, and many more.

        You can use LibIIO natively on an embedded Linux target. It is cross-platform, supporting Linux, Windows, and Mac OS. Analog Devices Inc. was the main company behind LibIIO development, which is currently an active open-source library, which many people have contributed to.

      • Graphics Stack

        • More OpenCL 3.0 Bits Merged For Mesa 20.1 – Phoronix

          It’s still short of the full OpenCL 3.0 implementation, but more of the CL 3.0 enablement patches for Gallium3D’s “Clover” OpenCL state tracker have now been merged into Mesa 20.1-devel

          Mainline Mesa has been seeing various OpenCL 3.0 patches land as they’ve been reviewed. Today more of the OpenCL 3.0 patches were merged.

          David Airlie of Red Hat continues to be the driving force behind the OpenCL 3.0 code in Clover and Karol Herbst (Red Hat) and others also engaged in the effort.

    • Benchmarks

      • We Have Been Testing The Radeon RX 6800 Series On Linux

        But can’t tell you yet how it performs…

        Besides this morning being the announcement of the AMD MI100 “Arcturus” accelerator and ROCm 4.0, this morning also marks the embargo lift on the Radeon RX 6000 series “unboxing” content. But the embargo hasn’t yet lifted on the Radeon RX 6800 series reviews / performance benchmarks.

    • Applications

      • Embedded Nautilus Terminal Plugin 3.4.0 Adds Configurable Toggle Shortcut And Colors

        Nautilus Terminal 3 is a tool to embed a terminal into Nautilus (Files, the default Gnome file browser). The terminal follows the file manager navigation (cd is automatically executed when navigating through folders in Nautilus).

        Using this Nautilus plugin allows showing / hiding a terminal embedded in Nautilus, using the F4 key by default.

        Nautilus Terminal 3.4.0 was released recently with 2 important new features. With this release it’s possible to change the terminal toggle shortcut, and to configure the background and foreground (text) terminal colors.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to back up your videos on Linux

        If you have a ton of video files on your Linux PC that you don’t want to lose, backing them up is a good idea. There are many different ways to create backups for video files on Linux. In this guide, we’ll cover the two best ways to do it.


        If you want to make a quick backup of your video files on Linux, a great way to go is with the Tar tool. It’s a program included by default on all Linux operating systems and allows users to quickly and easily create compressed archives of files and folders.

        To start your video files’ backup process using the Tar command on Linux, open up a terminal window and follow the step-by-step instructions outlined below.

      • How to install LibreOffice 7 on a Chromebook – all language interfaces included

        Today we are looking at how to install LibreOffice 7 on a Chromebook – with all language interfaces included. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • myki password manager installation on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – Linux Shout

        Myki is a Cloud-less Storage password manager available free of cost to install on various operating systems or to use on any device with help of a browser extension. It is an offline Password Manager and authentication software. Thus, whatever we store in it such as passwords, credit card details, digital copies of government IDs, etc. will remain on the local devices whether it is Desktop, laptop, or smartphone. It can sync passwords in an end-to-end encrypted manner.

        Myki is available as browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and MS Edge. And also in the standalone desktop app for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.

      • History command in Linux with examples | FOSS Linux

        The history command in Linux is no complex jargon. It is exactly what you think it is, and there is no hidden meaning behind it. The same way you look at your browser history after a long day on the internet is how you perceive the history command. It is all about tracking your previous movements and actions, but in this case, it’s on a Linux terminal or command line.

      • How to Configure Color Temperature in GNOME Night Light – Make Tech Easier

        You probably already know that the screens from electronics give off a blue light that tricks our brains into thinking it’s broad daylight. This can interrupt sleep patterns and cause eye strain, which is definitely not good for your overall health. This is especially prominent in today’s work- and school-from-home life where we look at computer screens for eight hours a day. It’s good to have tools around to help change the color of monitors. There are many programs that will do that. This article will introduce you to one of them on Linux and show you how to configure color temperature in GNOME Night Light.

      • How To Install FreeIPA on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install FreeIPA on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, FreeIPA is an open-source identity management system for Linux/Unix environments that provides centralized account management and authentication, like Microsoft Active Directory or LDAP.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of FreeIPA on CentOS 8.

      • Nginx Redirect HTTP to HTTPS – Linux Hint

        Nginx, pronounced as “Engine x”, is a free, open-source Linux-based high-performance web and a reverse proxy server that is responsible for managing and handling the load of the largest websites traffic on the internet. Nginx is a powerful redirecting tool that can be configured easily on your system to redirect the less secure or unencrypted HTTP web traffic to an encrypted and secured HTTPS web server. If you are a system administrator or a developer, then you are using the Nginx server regularly.
        In this article, we will work on how to redirect the web traffic from HTTP to a secure HTTPS in Nginx.

        The responses and requests are returned in the form of plaintext in HTTP, whereas the HTTPS uses SSL/TLS to encrypt the communication between the client and server system.

      • How to Install and Create a Blog with Hexo on Ubuntu 20.04

        Hexo is a static blogging framework built on Node.js, it allows you to write posts in Markdown format. In this tutorial, you will learn how to Install Hexo and use it to create a blog on Ubuntu 20.04 based server.

      • Bash printf Command Examples [Better Than Echo]

        The simplest way to print in Linux command line is by using echo command.

        echo “Value of var is $var”
        However, echo command won’t be adequate when you need to print formatted output.

        This is where printf command helps you. The bash printf command operates like the printf command in C/C++ programming language.

        printf “My brother %s is %d years old.\n” Prakash 21
        Can you guess the output?

      • Display Ping Command Output In Graph Format Using Gping – OSTechNix

        This guide talks about the brief history of ping utility and how to display ping command output in graph format using gping tool in Linux.

      • “Where’s my C:\ Drive?” | The Linux File System Explained! – YouTube
    • Games

      • Grab a free copy of BUTCHER during the GOG Made in Poland Sale | GamingOnLinux

        GOG are doing their annual celebration of Polish game developers with the launch of the Made in Poland Sale, along with a FREE copy of BUTCHER you can grab. For those curious on why GOG do this, it’s pretty simple: since they were founded and have their headquarters in Warsaw, Poland.

      • 2014 point and click adventure A Golden Wake gets updated with fresh Linux support | GamingOnLinux

        Love your point and click adventures? A Golden Wake is one you might have missed from all the way back in 2014, and it’s still being upgraded. Developed by Grundislav Games who also created the 2018′s Lamplight City and the upcoming Rosewater.

        Set in the 1920s, a “bygone era of glitz, glamour, and promise” in the Coral Gables, Florida you follow Alfie Banks as they try to strike it rich with the real estate market booming. However, they have the mob on their back, the Great Depression on the horizon, and the Sunshine State’s idyllic waterfront only a hurricane away from total devastation.

      • Ubuntu MATE image for the GPD Win Max handheld gaming PC coming soon

        The GPD Win Max is probably the most powerful handheld gaming computer on the market right now, although that could change in the coming months as the AYA Neo, GPD Win 3, and One Netbook OneGx Pro hit the streets.

        But whether the Win Max loses its performance crown anytime soon or not, it will likely remain a pretty impressive option for folks looking for a compact, portable gaming computer. One of the only things I found disappointing when I tested the Win Max earlier this year was that I couldn’t get it to run Linux. Others had more luck, but I figured we’d need to wait for serious Linux developers to fully support the hardware before things would get easier for casual users.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • PinePhone KDE Community Edition will run Plasma Mobile out-of-the-box

          Pine64, makers of PinePhone, the Linux powered, completely open mobile device, has joined forces with software community KDE for a special edition. The PinePhone KDE Community Edition will run Plasma Mobile, the mobile version of KDE’s Plasma graphical workspace environment. KDE says that Plasma Mobile “includes most of the essential features a smartphone user would expect and its functionalities increase day by day.”

          Plasma Mobile has been designed to allow developers to write for Plasma Desktop and Mobile simultaneously, with the mobile OS taking care of formatting, even where the phone screen is connected to a monitor in other words. All apps for Plasma work on all form factors, meaning that it’s easy to hook your PinePhone up to a keyboard, mouse, and monitor and use it as a workstation, similar to Ubuntu Touch and Samsung DeX. Users of the desktop OS will also be able to link their PinePhone KDE-CE to their desktop. There is a 2GB and 3GB variant, with the latter bundling in a hub offering with two USB, video, and ethernet ports.

        • Hacker adds a working fingerprint sensor to the PinePhone

          The PinePhone isn’t just the most affordable smartphone designed to run GNU/Linux-based operating systems. It’s also designed to be a modular device – most internal components are user replaceable, and there are six pogo pins that allow extra hardware to be added to the device.

          So far Pine64 has announced plans for three optional accessories that use those pins. Swap out the back cover of the phone and you’ll eventually be able to add NFC, wireless charging, or a physical keyboard.

          But independent hardware hackers have come up with several other solutions. The latest? A functional fingerprint reader.

        • Bootable Live USB Creator UNetbootin 700 Released With Qt5 Support

          UNetbootin, a tool to create bootable live Linux USB drives, has been updated to version 700. With this release, the application finally uses Qt5 (5.12; previously it used Qt4).

          UNetbootin can create bootable Linux USB drives using either an ISO image you provide, or by automatically downloading a Linux distribution from a predefined list. The tool may also be used to install the ISO do disk; this hard disk install mode is the same as if you had booted from a live CD or live USB.

          Among the supported Linux distributions are Ubuntu and derivatives like Xubuntu or Kubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian, openSUSE, Arch Linux, Fedora, Gentoo, and many more, as well as FreeBSD and NetBSD. The tool can also be used to create bootable USB drives with various utilities, like Parted Magic, SystemRescueCD, Backtrack, Smart Boot Manager, and more. It runs on Microsoft Windows, Linux and macOS.

          Yet another UNetbootin feature is the ability to create bootable USB drives with persistence. This only works for Ubuntu – to create a persistent live USB drive, enter the amount of persistent space you want to use under “Space used to preserve files across reboots”.

          UNetbootin is missing from the official repositories of some Linux distributions, like Debian and Ubuntu for some time. Maybe with the latest release which updates UNetbootin to use Qt5, the maintainers will consider it for re-inclusion.

        • We’re working on Dolphin’s URL navigator teething issues – Adventures in Linux and KDE

          The change to move Dolphin’s URL Navigator/breadcrumbs bar into the toolbar hasn’t been received as well as we were hoping, and I wanted to let people know that we’re aware and will find a way to address the concerns people brought up.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Work Moving Ahead On Deep Color Support, Triple Buffering

          It’s been a while since having any major break-through changes to talk about for GNOME contributed by Canonical’s prolific developer Daniel Van Vugt, but he’s been at the grind making progress on some big ticket items.

          In his latest weekly development update he shared progress is being made on two important items: 10-bit deep color support and triple buffering.

          For several months now deep color support for Ubuntu has been one of the focuses by Van Vugt, but initially was a setback due to the changes being more invasive than he initially anticipated. The changes are more involved but he is back to making progress on the deep color support, which is great as the Linux desktop has been lagging behind Windows and macOS in the deep color support.

          He notes over the past week he briefly resolved all discussions that were blocking the deep color support and is now awaiting more testing.

        • Sam Thursfield: Search Pinboard.in from GNOME Shell

          Pinboard.in is a bookmarking and archival website run by Maciej Ceglowski, also a noted public speaker, Antarctic explorer and political activist. I use Pinboard as a way to close browser tabs, by pretending to myself that I’ll one day revisit the 11,000 interesting links that I’ve bookmarked.

          Hoping to make better use of this expansive set of thought-provoking articles, hilarious videos and expired domain names, I wrote a minimal search provider for GNOME Shell.

    • Distributions

      • IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 152 released

        Another update for IPFire is out: IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 152

        Before we talk about what is new, I would like to as you for your support for our project. IPFire is a small team of people from a range of backgrounds sharing one goal: make the Internet a safer place for everyone. Like many of our open source friends, we’ve taken a hit this year and would like to ask for your continued support. Please follow the link below where your donation can help fund our continued development: https://www.ipfire.org/donate

        This update comes with various smaller bug fixes and improvements and updates the Windows File Sharing Add-on.

      • BSD

        • MidnightBSD 2.0 Released: A FreeBSD-Derived OS For Desktop Users

          Last month, we reported the major release of three operating systems: OpenBSD 6.8, NetBSD 9.1, and FreeBSD 12.2 from the BSD family. Now we have another massive release of yet another BSD (or say FreeBSD-derived) distribution called MidnightBSD 2.0.

          It has imported several features from FreeBSD 11-STABLE branch and added base system improvements along with security updates and bug fixes.


          It’s also worth mentioning that after a day of version 2.0 release, the MidnightBSD team detected some issues with UEFI booting on amd64. Hence, the team has bumped the stable/2.0 branch to a new version 2.0.1 fixing the UEFI support.

          For more information about other new features or upgrading MidnightBSD, you can read the release notes. If you want to install MidnightBSD 2.0 from scratch, ISO images are available to download for x86, amd64, and Virtual Machines.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat Learning Community celebrates 50,000 members

          The Red Hat Learning Community (RHLC) celebrates a monumental milestone this week as it exceeds 50,000 members! At its launch in September of 2018, the main goal was simple: provide a collaborative space for open source learners to connect as they optimize their skills in working with Red Hat products. As the core of that mission has remained true since launch, Red Hat has strived to provide our users what they need in order to collaborate, learn, build skills, and meet their individual learning and career goals.

        • Log-On Wave for IBM Z simplifies highly virtualized environments [Ed: So-called 'journalism' that's just a rewrite of the press release, i.e. an ad]

          IBM business partner Log-On Software has announced Log-On Wave for IBM Z to simplify and accelerate the management and daily administration of highly virtualized Linux server environments on IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE.

          “IBM Z and IBM LinuxOne are powerful, reliable and economical platforms for highly virtualized Linux environments. Significant z/VM skills are required to monitor, manage, and provision Linux instances and resources,” said Log-On.

        • Log-On Software Announces Log-On Wave for IBM Z

          Log-On Wave for IBM Z simplifies and accelerates the administration and operation of highly virtualized Linux infrastructures on IBM Z and LinuxONE


          IT organizations and service providers need to quickly respond to changing business requirements by rapidly deploying virtual resources and diagnosing and resolving system issues. Log-On Wave for IBM Z accelerates operations and reduces friction, ensuring that service level agreements are met, and customer expectations are exceeded.

        • Kubeflow Pipelines meets Tekton and Watson

          More machine learning models need to be deployed in production in a faster, repeatable, and consistent manner — and with the right governance.

          In March 2018 at the Strata Data Conference, IBM VP Dinesh Nirmal noted a common refrain) in the machine learning echelon, “The story of enterprise Machine Learning — It took me 3 weeks to develop the model. It’s been >11 months, and it’s still not deployed.”

          Echoing this sentiment, Forrester states in their 2020 report, “A top complaint of data science, application development and delivery (AD&D) teams, and, increasingly, line-of-business leaders is the challenge in deploying, monitoring, and governing machine learning models in production. Manual handoffs, frantic monitoring, and loose governance prevent organizations from deploying more AI use cases.”


          The decision to adopt Kubeflow Pipelines on our side came with an internal requirement to redesign Kubeflow Pipelines to run on top of Tekton (a Kubernetes-native CI/CD engine) instead of Argo. Tekton provides Kubernetes-style resources for declaring CI/CD-style pipelines, and introduces several new Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs) including Task, Pipeline, TaskRun, and PipelineRun. Within IBM, we have standardized on Tekton as a cloud CI/CD engine, and OpenShift Pipelines is based on Tekton. Additionally, Tasks in Tekton can be managed and executed independently of pipelines, which is valuable for us.

          Given the strategic and technical alignment with Tekton, it was a natural fit for our team to rewrite and run Kubeflow Pipelines on top of Tekton. As we set out to design and execute this work, we got support great support through Google Kubeflow Pipelines team, CD Foundation MLOps Sig, and Red Hat. After an extensive effort, we have Kubeflow Pipelines running on Tekton end-to-end and available in open source. Read our design document to understand our process and requirements.

      • Debian Family

        • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (September and October 2020)

          The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

          Benda XU (orv)
          Joseph Nahmias (jello)
          Marcos Fouces (marcos)
          Hayashi Kentaro (kenhys)
          James Valleroy (jvalleroy)
          Helge Deller (deller)

          The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months:

          Ricardo Ribalda Delgado
          Pierre Gruet
          Henry-Nicolas Tourneur
          Aloïs Micard
          Jérôme Lebleu
          Nis Martensen
          Stephan Lachnit
          Felix Salfelder
          Aleksey Kravchenko
          Étienne Mollier


    • Devices/Embedded

      • Orange Pi Unveils the $16 Zero2: A Tiny, Android-Capable SBC

        Orange Pi has released the Zero2, a small form factor SBC based on the Allwinner H616 64-bit system on chip (SoC). Capable of supporting Android 10 natively, it contains a quad-core Cortex-A53 processor with integrated Mali G31 graphics.


        The original Orange Pi Zero was aimed as a competitor to the Raspberry Pi Zero but missed the mark. While it was tiny and relatively powerful, it was designed mostly for headless applications. This was perfect for some but lacked the accessibility the Raspberry Pi Zero had.

        The new Zero2 changes this, with a more powerful SoC, multiple desktop OS options, support for displays, and pin headers supporting stereo analog audio out. It’s early days, but this board could see some success in both industry and hobby maker circles.

      • Allwinner H3 maker board could be smallest Linux-powered SBC yet

        Seeed’s $49.90 “Quantum Mini” dev kit features an M.2 form-factor “Quark-N” module that runs Ubuntu Core on an Allwinner H3 plus a 40 x 35mm “Atom-N” carrier with 3x USB ports and WiFi/BT.

        The Quantum Mini Linux Development Kit is a collaboration between Seeed and Zhihui, a maker and AI algorithm engineer who has a half million followers on video sharing site BiliBili. Zhihui set up a Project Quantum to bring the board to market with the help of Seeed’s design and PCB prototyping and manufacturing services.

      • Quantum Mini devkit combines Allwinner H3 M.2 SoM with baseboard

        Quantum Mini may be yet another Allwinner H3 Arm Linux development board, but what makes it special is the company used the standard M.2 Key-A 22mm form factor to create Quark-N Allwinner H3 system-on-module with storage and memory.


        The company expects Quantum Mini to be used as a microcomputer, a personal website server, for image processing, robotics applications, voice assistant, or smart home hub. I’m not sure how people would use it as a computer since there’s no display interface, except for the small TFT display part of the kit.

        While I like the concept, and Quark-N may be the smallest Allwinner H3 linux board/module so far, it’s more expensive than similar boards such as NanoPi NEO Air or Orange Pi Lite, as the Quantum Mini development kit is up for pre-order on Seeed Studio for $49.99 with shipping scheduled to start on December 20.

      • SMARC module runs Linux on up to octa-core Renesas RZ/G2

        Renesas and RelySys have launched a “SMARC 2.0 SoM” module that runs Linux on a Renesas RZ/G2N (2x -A57), RZ/G2M (2x -A57, 4x -A53), or RZ/G2H (4x -A57, 4x -A53). It offers 2GB to 4GB LPDDR4, 32GB eMMC, and optional WiFi/BT.

        Japanese chipmaker Renesas and Bangalore, India based manufacturing partner RelySys have launched a SMARC 2.0 SoM module that showcases Renesas’ RZ-G2 family of dual- to octa-core Cortex-A57 and -A53 SoCs. The scalable. Linux-driven module adopts the larger 82 x 80mm SMARC variant and incorporates several PMICs, clocks, and other ICs built by Renesas.

      • IAR Systems delivers efficient building and testing in Linux-based environments for Renesas RX MCUs

        IAR Systems®, the future-proof supplier of software tools and services for embedded development, adds support for Renesas RX microcontrollers (MCUs) in build tools supporting implementation in Linux-based frameworks for automated application build and test processes. This addition further extends IAR Systems’ offering for flexible automated workflows.

      • PixelBlaze v3 WiFi LED board supports live-coding via a web interface (Crowdfunding)

        We’ve previously covered a couple of ESP8266 WiFi boards to control LED strips from ANAVI Technology ESP8266 powered ANAVI Miracle Controller and ANAVI Light Controller Starter Kit, but Ben Henke has also made similar ESP8266 LED controllers with PixelBlaze boards.

        The latest iteration – PixelBlaze v3 – is based on ESP32 WiSoC and comes in two variants: PixelBlaze v3 Standard with headers and PixelBlaze V3 Pico in a much tinier form factor (33.3 x 11mm) with both models supporting live-coding via a web interface.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Lilbits: Smartphones that respect your privacy – Liliputing

          Some companies, like Purism and Pine64 are selling phones designed to run GNU/Linux distributions rather than Android. Software development is happening at a rapid pace, and the Linux smartphone space has been pretty exciting to watch. But it’s also very much early days – current-gen Linux smartphones are best suited for enthusiasts and hackers/developers at this point.

          Looking for something a little more polished that respects your privacy? Some folks might turn to Apple’s iPhones, which don’t rely as heavily on data collection. But Apple’s walled garden approach turns off some.

          So we’ve seen the rise of Android-based operating systems stripped of Google apps and services, such as CopperheadOS, GrapheneOS, and /e/.

        • Librem 5 Screenshots Snapshot 2020-11-15

          With the Librem 5 mass production beginning to ship imminently, we are publishing some image screenshots to snapshot this momentous occasion.

          Taken from a Librem 5 Evergreen (mass production) release on November 15th, 2020.

        • Arduino Blog » This Arduino-powered robot is like a Roomba with a paintbrush

          Can robots paint? More specifically, can they create art? The second question is, of course, open for debate, but Technovation’s robotic build shows that they can indeed wield a paintbrush.

          The device, shaped vaguely like a Roomba vacuum cleaner, uses a pair of NEMA 17 motors for movement and a third to rotate a sort of brush turret. A servo attached to the pivoting arm positions a brush up and down, dipping it into paint, and bringing it to the drawing surface as needed.

          Control is via an Arduino Uno with a CNC shield. The project is capable of producing art randomly, or be programmed to execute pre-defined patterns.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • Online Guix Day Conference: schedule released!

          The Guix hackers are very happy to announce the first online Guix Day Conference on Sunday November, 22nd. This conference is open to everyone (no registration fee) and will be held entirely online. Want to know the schedule, read on!

        • Wallaby vPTG Summaries

          The OpenStack community had its second virtual Project Teams Gathering (PTG) following the Open Infrastructure Summit in October. Over 500 individuals and 46 teams (30+ OpenStack teams) across the globe, met and collaborated at the vPTG. Since the event concluded, several of those teams have posted summaries of the discussions they have had and the decisions that were made during the PTG.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • libredwg-0.11.1 released (bugfixes)

            out_dxf bugfixes mostly. 0.11 failed to produce dxf files which could
            be imported into AutoCAD. This bugfix release improves DXF importing
            from 10% to about 90%. But beware: Some dwg2dxf DXF files still can
            silently crash AutoCAD, so be sure to save your DWG before DXFIN.
            Most 3DSOLID’s still cannot be imported via DXF, but some can now.

      • Programming/Development

        • Jussi Pakkanen: The Nine Phases of an Open Source Project Maintainer

          There is more to running an open source project than writing code. In fact most of all work has to do with something else. This places additional requirements to project maintainers that are often not talked about. In this post we’ll briefly go over nine distinct phases each with a different hat one might have to wear. These can be split into two stages based on the lifetime and popularity of the project.


          Phase Eight: The Overseer

          This phase begins when the project maintainer realizes that they are no longer the person who knows most about the code base. Other people have done most of the coding work for so long that they are the actual experts on it. This causes yet another change in the type of work one needs to do. Up until now the work has been about solving problems and making decisions on things you are intimately familiar with. As an overseer you need to make decisions on things you don’t really know about. Earlier decisions were based on code and implementation details, but now decisions are based mostly on what other people say in their merge requests and design discussions.

          This is something nobody really prepares you for. Making big decisions based on imperfect information can be really difficult for someone who has gotten used to going through every detail. Once a project gets over a certain size this is just not possible as the human brain is incapable of holding that many details in active memory at the same time. Even if it could, having a single person review everything would be a huge bottleneck. It is (more than) a full time job, and getting someone to pay for a full time maintainer review job is very rare.

          Finally, even if this were possible, reviewing is a very tiring job that very few people can keep on doing as their only task for very long. Eventually the mind will start screaming for something else, even for a while. Finally even if someone could do that, contributors would eventually get very annoyed by getting micromanaged to death and just leave.

          Phase Nine: The Emeritus

          All good things eventually come to an end and so will open source project maintainership. Eventually the project will either become irrelevant or the torch will be passed to someone else. This is, in a way, the greatest thing a project maintainer could hope for: being able to create a new entity that will keep on being used even after you have stopped working on it.

          Open source maintainership is a relatively young field and most projects at the end of their life cycle either become unmaintained zombies or get replaced by a new project written from scratch. Ee don’t have that much experience on what emerituses do. Based on other fields these may range from “nothing” to doing conference talks, advising current maintainers on thorny issues.

        • GCC 11.0.0 Status Report (2020-11-16), Stage 3 in effect now
          GCC trunk which eventually will become GCC 11 is now in Stage 3
          which means open for general bugfixing.
          We have accumulated quite a number of regressions, a lot of the
          untriaged and eventually stale.  Please help in cleaning up.
          Quality Data
          Priority          #   Change from last report
          --------        ---   -----------------------
          P1               37   +   4
          P2              257   +   1
          P3               94   +  20
          P4		184   -   1
          P5		 24
          --------        ---   -----------------------
          Total P1-P3     388   +  25
          Total		596   +  24
        • GCC 11 Ends Feature Development While Still Waiting For AMD Znver3 Support

          As was expected, formal feature development is now over for GCC 11 and it’s time for bug fixing.

          Longtime GCC developer Richard Biener of SUSE announced today that the development trunk has shifted to stage three development. This shift means the focus now is on general bug fixing rather than adding of new features.

          And plenty of bug fixing there will be. Biener noted in the status update, “We have accumulated quite a number of regressions, a lot of the untriaged and eventually stale. Please help in cleaning up.”

        • Teaching QLocale more about number formats

          QLocale looks after all localisation (or L10n) within Qt; while Qt 6 has swept away a few last fragments of L10n built into other things, that now consistently use the C locale (and advise you to use QLocale if you need L10n), it’s also seen some significant improvements to how QLocale does those things, particularly in relation to numeric texts and surrogate pairs.


          In QString and friends we represent text using UTF-16; the size() of a string reported by these types is the number of UTF-16 code units. However, Unicode is bigger than fits into 16 bits, so there are code points (roughly what one normally thinks of as characters in written text, although there are further complications) that can’t be represented as a single UTF-16 code unit; these are represented as surrogate pairs, in which two UTF-16 code units encode a single code point. When these are needed, the UTF-16-size reported by QString, in code units, is greater than the code-point size, which a native reader of the text is more likely to consider to be its length. In particular, a single character may need to be represented by a QString of length two.

          Characters in Unicode’s Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP) can be represented by single UTF-16 code-points but the rest need surrogate pairs; and CLDR does contain some locales that use characters outside the BMP. Normally this isn’t an issue, since QString can handle surrogate pairs just fine.

        • Perl/Raku

          • I founded a company called Perl Research Institute, Ltd.

            I founded a company called Perl Research Institute, Ltd in Japan.

            The main purpose of the Perl Research Institute is to restore Perl’s honor.

            Its reputation was miserable compared to the excellence of Perl’s features.

          • Rakudo Weekly News: 2020.46 Coercion Renewed

            Months of work by Vadim Belman, implementing the new type coercion protocol, was finally merged in time for the 2020.11 Rakudo compiler release. This makes coercion types such as Str() first class citizens. And allows custom classes to define their behaviour when used in coercions.

        • Rust

          • 1.48.0 pre-release testing

            The 1.48.0 pre-release is ready for testing. The release is scheduled for this Thursday, November 19th. Release notes can be found here.

  • Leftovers

    • Five books on open water swimming | by Jo Christian Oterhals

      Lately I have read a lot of books on swimming — which, if you knew me, would seem unexpected. Having a fear of water after a near-drowning accident as a child, I never became a swimmer. Not even a so-so swimmer: I managed to learn what we in Norway call “Grandma swimming”, a sort of laborious and slow breast swimming with the head as high above water as humanly possible and the feet similarly low beneath.

      But many years later, as an adult and a father, this slowly changed when my oldest son started attending swim practice. Even before taking up swimming as a sport, he had surpassed my abilities by a decent margin. After he became serious about training he almost instantly dwarfed me and my abilities.

      As parents of swimmers know, being a swim parent involves lots of driving to-and-from and perhaps even more waiting. Sometimes I killed time waiting for him outside the pool area, looking in through the large glass windows that separated spectators —aka annoying parents — from swimmers. From a distance I was amazed by the progress he made month by month.

      One summer day a year into his training I stood on a lake’s edge watching my son swim happily towards the opposite side. When he passed the middle a couple of hundred feet out, I was struck by an uncomfortable thought: If anything happened to him now, I wouldn’t be able to help. And had I tried, I would probably need help myself.

    • Hardware

      • I replaced the aging battery on my MacBook Pro

        However, I’ve noticed that the new battery lasts about five hours while the old one would typically last eight hours. So that’s eight hours at its end of life compared to six from a brand new one. Six hours is enough for my needs, but I’m not impressed by the performance of the new battery.

        Newer MacBook models received an update earlier this year to improve battery management. The updated battery manager is designed to improve battery lifespan by reducing its rate of chemically aging. The new feature would have been too little, too late for my aging battery. I hope to keep this Mac running for a few more years, and I’d be grateful if my Mac had received support for the new feature. It seems that Apple doesn’t expect MacBooks to last more than about seven years, although the model is supported in the latest version of macOS.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • VMware’s Dirk Hohndel Talks (What Else) Open Source [Ed: Shameless, paid-for (his salary) openwashing of malicious GPL violators]
            • Graylog Announces 4.0 Release of its Log Management Platform

              Graylog, a global provider of centralized log management solutions, today announced it will introduce Server Side Public License to its Open Source product with the upcoming general availability of Graylog 4.0. With more flexible and granular level control, Graylog 4.0, available this week, will streamline processes for IT, drive the usage of log data down to the end-user, and improve the end-user experience.

              “Graylog 4.0 takes terabytes of machine data and turns it into business and operational insights that address security, compliance, operational and DevOps issues every day,” said Lennart Koopmann, founder, Graylog. “With this release, we deliver greater efficiencies to our customers by simplifying the user experience and increasing the power of the platform.”

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • GrimoireLab grows up to power The Linux Foundation’s LFX Insights platform

                Bitergia, the software development analytics company, announced today that it is proud that the open source GrimoireLab tool is now used in The Linux Foundation’s new LFX Insights platform. LFX Insights is the largest platform to have ever been built on top of the GrimoireLab tool, highlighting the open source success story of GrimoireLab.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (libdatetime-timezone-perl and libvncserver), Fedora (chromium, kernel, kernel-headers, kernel-tools, krb5, libexif, libxml2, and thunderbird), Gentoo (chromium, libmaxminddb, and mit-krb5), Mageia (arpwatch, bluez, chromium-browser-stable, firefox and thunderbird, golang, java-1.8.0-op, kdeconnect-kde, kleopatra, libexif, lilypond, microcode, packagekit, ruby, and tpm2-tss), openSUSE (chromium, firefox, ImageMagick, kernel, openldap2, python-waitress, SDL, u-boot, ucode-intel, and zeromq), Oracle (fence-agents, firefox, freetype, kernel, python, python3, and thunderbird), Red Hat (rh-postgresql10-postgresql, rh-postgresql12-postgresql, and virt:8.2 and virt-devel:8.2), Slackware (seamonkey), and SUSE (firefox, gdm, kernel, and kernel-firmware).

          • Google Chrome Update Gets Serious: Homeland Security (CISA) Confirms Attacks Underway

            Homeland Security cybersecurity agency says update Google Chrome as attackers home in on new security flaws.

            Within the space of just three short weeks, Google has patched no less than five potentially dangerous vulnerabilities in the Chrome web browser.

            These are not your common vulnerabilities either, but rather ones known as zero-days. A zero-day being a vulnerability that is being actively exploited by attackers while remaining unknown to the vendor or threat intelligence outfits.

          • Leaving LastPass and Adopting Another Password Manager

            I’ve been on LastPass for years, but it’s time to move on. This explains 3 reasons why and what I am switching to.

          • SUSE Releases Fix for SADDNS Vulnerability

            Security researchers from University of California and Tsinghua University have identified a new variant of DNS cache poisoning attacks called SADDNS (“Side-channel AttackeD DNS”) due to newly identified side channel attack against ICMP replies.

            This reappearance of the DNS cache poisoning attack allows remote attackers to pretend to be different hosts, if your host is reachable from the Internet, allowing person-in-the-middle against encrypted communication or software delivery.

            SUSE is delivering Linux Kernel Updates to again mitigate the SADDNS attack.

            SUSE also recommends to use DNSSEC, which in general avoids this kind of attack.

    • Finance

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Google Defines Policy for More Inclusive Language

        According to the blog post, the terms “slave,” “whitelist,” and “blacklist” will be replaced with more inclusive alternatives, such as “replica,” “allowlist,” and “blocklist.” The policy applies now to new projects dating from October 2020, and the Google OSPO intends to enforce the changes on more complex, established projects beginning in 2021.

      • Google’s initiative for more inclusive language in open source projects

        To ensure this policy was implemented in a timely manner, a small team within OSPO and Developer Relations orchestrated tool and policy updates and an open-source specific fix-it, a virtual event where Google engineers dedicate time to fixing a project. The fix-it focused on existing projects and non-breaking changes, but also served as a reminder that inclusivity is an important part of our daily work. Now that the original fix-it is over, the policy remains and the projects continue.

    • Civil/Animal Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Sisvel v Xiaomi, SEPs and the importance of declarations of essentiality

          The existence of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) – and associated litigation – has potentially disruptive consequences for the manufacture, marketing and distribution of complex products that include many patented standards, e.g. ICT products such as smart-phones incorporating a camera, a video, a web browser, wireless, text messages, etc, as well as an increasing array of IoT ‘networked’ products such as wearable devices and appliances for ‘smart homes’. By enforcing their patents, owners of SEPs could, if they wished, use the patent enforcement system to ‘hold up’ or prevent competitors from launching rival products that use the same standards. This raises serious concerns over competition in the marketplace and the need to maintain interoperability to ensure the IoT industry can develop. Therefore, acute tension exists between SEPs (which offer their owners R&D incentives/rewards in the form of monopolistic rights) and standards (which allow for widespread and collective use). This is particularly the case in the ICT and IoT fields, which have recently witnessed an increase in the number of granted patents, and related disputes.

European Patent Office Union (SUEPO) Reiterates Its Allegation, Backed by Professionals, That the Management is Crushing the Office and Its Staff Based on a Manufactured “Hoax”

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How One Family’s Deep Pockets Helped Reshape Donald Trump’s CampaignSummary: Professional liars have been commissioned by Office management to mislead the staff (and by doing so crush the staff)

THIS may sound like old news, but it certainly is not. SUEPO continues to put forth piles of evidence, even from veterans and experts dedicated to these matters. It always shows that António Campinos, who covers up Benoît Battistelli‘s unbelievable financial misconduct (multi-billion), is paying Donald Trump’s friend to produce a bunch of lies — the basis upon which he justifies cutting not only staff benefits and salaries but also members of staff (layoffs). The EPO’s staff would be justified in feeling furious; there would be an uproar, with people ‘up in arms’ in a physical protest/strike if it weren’t for COVID-19. Campinos has been more than happy to exploit the lock-downs to implement his oppressive measures and constantly crush staff.

Does today’s EPO stand for anything at all? No, not really. Just money. Big and growing cash reserves; cash is king… only for the king.

“No wonder they also pay Trump associates for a so-called ‘study’… on the finances of the EPO (Trump is said to be heading towards another bankruptcy, having already filed six).”Only hours ago, the EPO boasted about sucking up to a front group of patent trolls, aggressors, and outright legal parasites. The EPO is so corrupt and rogue that it’s understandably attracted to these parasites and litigation fanatics. We know who it works for, based on who it constantly associates with it. Who does today’s EPO work for? It’s not Europe, that’s for sure. In its own words (this evening; warning: epo.org link): “Following the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding last year between the EPO and Licensing Executives Society International (LESI), EPO President António Campinos and LESI President Audrey Yap signed the first joint work plan for 2020-21 during a video conference on 16 November.”

“The plan focuses on IP training and resources for high-growth technology businesses and their stakeholders, including investors, research institutions and advisors. The main purpose is to raise awareness of IP and help innovators around the world make better use of the European patent system. It aims to foster innovation globally, making IP the underlying asset driving commercial success and growth.”

They don’t show themselves sitting in the same room next to each other (in violation of policy they impose on all other stuff), unlike LESI (seemingly people working from home).

Based on this latest photo, the EPO’s management is once again failing to socially distance (we have shown better photos of this before). They’re inside the office, likely sharing their wide desk and not properly socially distancing (forget about masks too). Notice the tripod. Here’s the photo they shared the last time, with our annotation added (it wasn’t the first such photo we might add):

EPO hypocrites

There are more photos of this kind (during lock-down), but we aren’t looking for a comprehensive or exhaustive list. These people must think the virus is overrated… just like Mr. Trump does…

No wonder they also pay Trump associates for a so-called ‘study’… on the finances of the EPO (Trump is said to be heading towards another bankruptcy, having already filed six). This is what SUEPO wrote about the so-called “Financial Study [sic] made by Mercer & Wyman”:

19 May 2020
su20025cp –0.2.1.

Selected analyses by Ernst & Young of the 2019 Financial Study of the European Patent Office

Dear colleagues,

We received many requests from you for an independent analysis of the 2019 Financial Study made by Mercer & Wyman for the European Patent Office (EPO). Ernst & Young has now performed for SUEPO such an analysis. It confirms the position of SUEPO and the staff representation expressed in the series of publications (The Financial Study : Yet Another Hoax (part 1, 2, 3 and 4)).

The Ernst & Young analysis identifies a series of conservative assumptions made when comparing to assumptions usually being applied by the EPO. Furthermore, the Ernst & Young analysis identifies technical mistakes (contradiction to general principles as stipulated by IDW (Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer) of discounting financial positions) and considerations in determining and interpreting the outcome of the 2019 Financial Study.

The Ernst & Young analysis finds that the 2019 Financial Study applies three layers of caution:

Overly conservative assumptions: The entire funding gap can likely be closed by taking more realistic assumptions in line with other analysis done by the EPO (Asset return EPOTIF and RFPSS, patent fee increases, additional buffer).

Neglecting “going concern”: even if we assume that the overly conservative assumptions materialize (which is unlikely), this does not lead to a significant financial issue. In a going concern scenario, i.e. assuming ongoing operations after 2038, pension obligations are not required to be fully funded in 2038, as they are firstly not due in 2038 and secondly because benefit payments from the pension reserve fund (RFPSS) will to a large extent be compensated by contributions to the fund for new pension entitlements for active employees. Accordingly, in a going concern scenario, the majority of the pension assets can be seen as a reserve. Note that state pension schemes are

Neglecting hidden reserves: The study neglects highly material assets such as the market value of EPO buildings and national renewal fees due after 2038 for patents in force in 2038 that are being generated during the projection period but not considered as assets. Even in the unlikely case that the conservative assumptions happen to materialize and all activities of the EPO would stop in 2038 those assets would most likely fully cover the funding gap.

The effects in the Ernst & Young analysis are estimates and may be correlated, i.e. the individual effects may not be simply added. Nevertheless, omitting each single one of these layers of caution individually would most likely result in a positive assessment of EPO’s financial sustainability. Applying all three layers can only be viewed as excessively overcautious and indicates the clear intention of the EPO to find a financial gap where there isn’t any for the purpose of reducing staff benefits.

Due to contractual constraints imposed by the consultants the Ernst & Young analysis cannot be made public. We have submitted it by letter to the Administrative Council and the President. SUEPO members can ask for access to the Ernst & Young analysis by sending an email to requestaccessreport@suepo.org including full name and place of employment1.

Sincerely yours,

Your SUEPO committee

1 The Ernst & Young report is accessible via a virtual data room. By sending an email to requestaccessreport@suepo.org you give your consent that SUEPO passes on your email address (the one you registered with SUEPO) and name to a third-party provider of the virtual data room “Imprima”. “Imprima” will use this data only for opening an account so that you can access the virtual data room.

We applaud SUEPO for fighting on, more so in spite of the pandemic, the threats from EPO management (we showed evidence of these before), and the emotional toll it can entail to repeatedly expose lies (which are themselves being repeated ad infinitum). There’s sometimes sinister here. It’s sometimes uniquely distressing when one witnesses a lie being told again and again, in spite of solid refutations. This is why so many people showed up at the polls this month and voted Trump out. They just cannot stand the lying any longer.

Incidentally, touching a subject that matters less to the general public (but may be a matter of livelihood to EPO insiders), days later SUEPO released a “Timeline” for the “Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP)” — a subject we’ve mentioned before and will mention in the future. The gist is, the staff loses purchasing power; in that regard, salaries are in effect being reduced during this pandemic. The SUEPO Committee said: “The 2019 Financial Study by Oliver Wyman & Mercer is nothing more than an exercise of deception and public relations, aiming at justifying a systematic and continuous salary and pension cut for EPO staff and pensioners. Like all recent reforms imposed by management, this reform will be particularly detrimental to our young colleagues in the lower grades.” Here is the full paper [PDF] and a 2-page introduction [PDF] to software they made for calculating the impact of cuts.

Ryan, who helped prepare this article, calls it “pay freezes” and says: “It’s done when the management wants to permanently tie the hands of their successors.” Ryan further explains “the wage and benefit freezes often affect future raises even if they’re reinstated, because the COLAs are based on total pay, and if your pay didn’t go up for several years, especially early during your career the next administration would have to go to the board and propose a huge budget to catch everyone up, and that’s not something they want to do.”

“Trump froze all civilian federal employees for a while,” he recalls. “It just keeps getting nastier every year. “Shared sacrifice.” Frees up more money for Elon Musk and Bill Gates, with the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”. Billionaire subsidies and blue collar layoffs act.”

Links 16/11/2020: OpenSUSE Board Election, MidnightBSD 2.0, LabPlot 2.8.1

Posted in News Roundup at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • 9to5Linux Weekly Roundup: November 15th, 2020

      The seventh installment of the 9to5Linux Weekly Roundup is here, for the week ending on November 15th, keeping you guys up to date with the most important things that have happened in the Linux world.

      It’s been a great week for Linux news and there were quite some exciting announcement from Intel, KDE and PINE64, but let’s not forget about the new Linux kernel releases and all the cool distros and apps that had new releases this week.

    • Linux Weekly Roundup: MX Linux 19.3, Synfig Studio and More

      Here’s this week’s roundup series, curated for you from the Linux and open-source world on application updates, new releases, distribution updates, major news, and upcoming highlights.

      This week there has been plenty of app updates, distribution release announced. In this weekly update series, we cover all the happenings with links and a quick summary for you so that you can stay updated and wrap up your week with a summary.

    • Linux Weekly Roundup #104

      Feren OS 2020.11, Endless OS 3.9.0, ArcoLinux 20.11.9, MX Linux 19.3, and Amarok Linux 2.1.1 have been released this week.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Linux on the Desktop

        2020 has been a fascinating year, and an exciting one for Kubuntu. There seems to be a change in the market, driven by the growth in momentum of cloud native computing.

        As markets shift towards creative intelligence, more users are finding themselves hampered by the daily Windows or MacOS desktop experience. Cloud native means Linux, and to interoperate seamlessly in the cloud space you need Linux.

        Here at Kubuntu we were approached in late 2019 by Mindshare Management Ltd. MSM wanting to work with us to bring a cloud native Kubuntu Linux laptop to the market, directly aimed at competing with the MacBook Pro. As 2020 has progressed the company has continued to grow and develop the market, releasing their second model the Kubuntu Focus M2 in October. Their machines are not just being bought by hobby and tech enthusiasts, the Kubuntu Focus team have sold several high spec machines to NASA via their Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

      • My Cheap Computer for Linux

        If you are like me you are always looking to buy a new computer or electronic device. The thrill of opening it up and getting it setup and then using your new computer for all sorts of things. But I am cheap. I don’t have money to spend on unnecessary expenditures, so I was on the look out for how to really go ahead and buy or build a fully working computer running Linux on a low budget. I am not claiming to have found the best or cheapest solution, but what I got was pretty cheap (ONLY $250 USD TOTAL!!!) and worked well with Ubuntu booting up with out any extra configuration, so I am going to share the details with you in case you want to copy my approach.

    • Server

      • Mark Shuttleworth on overcoming software complexity

        While today we see an enormous amount of incredible software being published, both by tech giants and niche providers, there is a significant lag in the telco industry’s ability to leverage it.

        The promise of a software-defined technology landscape is, of course, agility.

        But what is the main factor preventing telecommunications enterprises from adopting open source software?

        With licensing costs no longer being an issue, the friction has now become centered around operations instead. Onboarding, integrating, and operating software must be simple for enterprises, or else they are prevented from reaping its benefits.

      • Edge computing is dead, long live micro clouds and IoT gateways

        “The King is dead, long live the King.” It might be my french roots speaking, but it seems that actual use cases are replacing King Edge, and it might be for the best. Warning; do not read this blog if you’re particularly sensitive about edge computing (and if you don’t know what this is about, read the “What’s the deal with edge computing?” blog first).

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Episode 224 – Are old Android devices dangerous? – Open Source Security

        Josh and Kurt talk about what happens when important root certificates expire on old Android devices? Who should be responsible? How can we fix this? Is this even something we can or should fix? How devices should age is a really hard problem that needs a lot of discussion.

      • Linux Action News 163

        The Ubuntu bug you need to patch, PayPal’s Bitcoin support goes live, and a breaking change inbound to systemd.

      • GNU World Order 380

        **qpdf** and its surprising PDF cracking ability, **radeon-tool** , and **rpm** , from the **ap** software series of Slackware.

      • Feren OS 2020.11.

        Today we are looking at Feren OS 2020.11. It is based on Ubuntu 20.04, Linux Kernel 5.4, KDE Plasma 5.19.5 ( a few of Cinnamon applications, and uses about 1.5GB of ram when idling. Enjoy and it looks great!

      • Feren OS 2020.11 Run Through – YouTube

        In this video, we are looking at Feren OS 2020.11.

      • Podcast With James Ramey – Full Transcript – Boiling Steam

        Less than a week ago we published the audio version of the podcast with James Ramey, president of Codeweavers – the company and people behind WINE and most of Proton’s efforts. We now publish the full transcript of our conversation.

      • Tg: Telegram Client For The Terminal Minded – YouTube

        I’m not much of a telegram user so I thought why not find a client that’s a bit lighter than the official client so today we’re looking at tg which is a terminal based telegram client which does most of what you’ll probably want it to do.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.10-rc4
        We're getting to the point in the rc series where I start hoping for
        things to calm down.
        5.10 hasn't calmed down yet, and there's a fair amount of small noise
        all over the place. Nothing that makes me particularly worried, and
        honestly, with about a third of the patch being various selftest
        updates and fixes some of that noise is certainly welcome, but I'm
        hoping next week will start seeing less actual changes.
        Anyway, if you ignore the Documentation, tooling and selftest changes,
         about half of this is various minor driver updates (really all over
        the place), with the rest being a mix of architecture (arm64 and x86),
        filesystem fixes, and minor core kernel and vm changes.
        All looks good, and nothing makes me go "uhhuh, 5.10 looks iffy". So
        go test, let's get this all solid and calmed down, and this will
        hopefully be one of those regular boring releases even if it's
        certainly not been on the smaller side...
      • Linux 5.10-rc4 Released But The Kernel Hasn’t Calmed Down Yet
      • AMD Zen1/Zen2/Zen3 PowerCap RAPL Support Queued For Linux 5.11 – Phoronix

        The work reported on back in October for RAPL PowerCap patches for AMD Zen CPUs from Zen 1 through Zen 3 are set to arrive with Linux 5.11 in early 2021.

      • Linux Might Wipe Out The Notorious Intel Poulsbo/Moorestown 2D Acceleration – Phoronix

        Longtime Linux users still likely cringe when hearing “Poulsbo” as Intel’s first-generation Atom processors that featured “GMA 500″ graphics that were based on Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX IP. The Linux driver support was just awful and now as we prepare for 2021 the Intel Linux kernel driver might just drop its 2D acceleration support for Poulsbo and the short-lived Moorestown platform.

        Years after Intel Atom Poulsbo hardware first appeared came the “GMA500″ DRM kernel driver to improve the driver support and then working on 2D acceleration as about the extent of the clean open-source support due to the use of the notorious PowerVR graphics. While that later open-source driver work in GMA500 was an improvement, Poulsbo still gives me nightmares a decade later.

      • Tiger Lake H Thunderbolt Support Comes To Linux 5.10

        Coming as a late addition to the Linux 5.10 kernel is Thunderbolt support for Tiger Lake H.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD Launches Arcturus As The Instinct MI100, Radeon ROCm 4.0

          AMD is marking the SC20 virtual conference this week by launching the AMD Instinct MI100 accelerator, which is based on their CDNA architecture. Also notable and coinciding with the MI100 launch is the Radeon Open eCosystem 4.0 (ROCm 4.0) Linux release.


          The AMD Instinct MI100 makes use of 32GB HBM2 memory at a 1.2GHz clock rate and capable of 1.23TB/s memory bandwidth. MI100 supports PCI Express 4.0 connectivity and packs 120 compute units and 7680 Stream processors. CDNA is an evolution of the Vega architecture rather than RDNA/Navi that is gaming optimized rather than compute. Given the HPC focus and how long we’ve been seeing the Arcturus Linux patches mature, the Linux support for the AMD Instinct MI100 support should be in great shape for launch albeit we haven’t been able to test the accelerator to confirm its Linux support state.

        • I Am STUNNED | Unboxing The Radeon RX 6000 Series – YouTube

          Unboxing the brand new Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT leads me to one conclusion: With the RX 6000 Series, AMD doesn’t just want to bust back into the high-end gaming market with performance, they want to look REALLY good doing it. I’m honestly blown away by the quality of these next-gen Radeon GPUs! Let’s check them out together.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Roundup 20201115

          As time/sanity permit, I’ll be trying to do roundup posts for zink happenings each week.

        • LuxCoreRender 2.5 Beta Open-Source Renderer Brings NVIDIA OptiX Support – Phoronix

          LuxCoreRender 2.5 Beta 1 was released this morning and most noticeable is the NVIDIA OptiX support. OptiX is NVIDIA’s ray-tracing API geared for their hardware and in particular performs extremely well with modern NVIDIA RTX GPUs featuring RT cores. As seen back when Blender shipped OptiX support, the rendering speed with OptiX is very impressive compared to the likes of OpenCL or NVIDIA CUDA rendering. We have yet to benchmark LuxCoreRender 2.5 Beta but will certainly be updating our test profile upon the stable v2.5.0 release.

    • Applications

      • Photoflare Image Editor 1.6.6 Released, How to Install via PPA

        Photoflare, a free open-source image editor inspired by PhotoFiltre, released version 1.6.6 a day ago with stability improvements and bug-fixes.

      • GoTTy – turn CLI tools into web applications

        The Command Line Interface (CLI) is a way of interacting with your computer. And if you ever want to harness all the power of Linux, it’s highly recommended to master it.

        It’s true the CLI is often perceived as a barrier for users migrating to Linux, particularly if they’re grown up using GUI software exclusively. While Linux rarely forces anyone to use the CLI, some tasks are better suited to this method of interaction, offering inducements like superior scripting opportunities, remote access, and being far more frugal with a computer’s resources.

        Do you want to share your terminal session in a web browser? GoTTy is a utility that’s designed to turn your CLI tools into web applications. A remote user can view that terminal session over the network.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • youtube-dl is too slow

        The world of YouTube downloaders is a kakistocracy and youtube-dl is the undisputed king.

        I’ve been using JWZ youtubedown instead for the past five years even though youtubedown is designed only to download files and I want links. With a few modifications I can make youtubedown produce links and it’s faster than youtube-dl. Everything is faster than youtube-dl.

      • Why Git blame sucks for understanding WTF code (and what to use instead)

        Thankfully Git has some pretty powerful search tools built right in. Let’s take a closer look at some of the tools at our disposal.

      • Using split DNS for websites hosted locally

        The dev.freshports.org website is hosted on server in my basement. For you, that IP addresses resolves to a publicly available IP address. For me, that IP address resolves to an RFC 1918 address:

        $ host dev.freshports.org
        dev.freshports.org has address

        Sometimes this is referred to as split dns, also known as split-horizon DNS, split-view DNS, split-brain DNS, or a fricking stupid thing to do).

      • Unlock encrypted disks on Linux automatically | Opensource.com

        Open encrypted disks without having to manually enter a passcode by using Network-Bound Disk Encryption (NBDE).

        From a security viewpoint, it’s important to encrypt your sensitive data to protect it from prying eyes and hackers. Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS) is a great tool and a common standard for Linux disk encryption. Because it stores all pertinent setup information in the partition header, it makes migrating data easy.

        To configure encrypted disks or partitions with LUKS, you will need to use the cryptsetup utility. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of encrypting your disks is that you have to manually provide the password every time the system is rebooted or the disk is remounted.

      • Manage multiple Terraform versions with tfenv | Opensource.com

        In my Terraform for Kubernetes beginners article, I used Terraform 11, and in an upcoming article, I’ll cover upgrading from Terraform 11 to 12. To prepare for that, in this article, I’ll show you how to use tfenv, a tool that makes it much easier to convert from one version to another, as well as to manage multiple Terraform versions in your work environment.

      • How to read and correct SELinux denial messages | Enable Sysadmin

        A look at SELinux denial messages, where they’re logged, and how to parse them.

      • How To Install MySQL Workbench on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install MySQL Workbench on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, MySQL Workbench is a GUI application that enables database administrators and Developers to administration, development, design, creation, and maintenance of MySQL database systems. Mainly, this tool is used by database architects, administrators, and database developers to visualize the design of the database.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of MySQL Workbench on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How Memset Function is Used – Linux Hint

        In C, the memset() function is used to set a one-byte value to a memory block byte by byte. This function is useful for initialization of a memory block byte by byte by a particular value. In this article, we will see in detail how this function can be used. So, let’s get started.

      • How can I make Nginx Faster? – Linux Hint

        Nginx is considered one of the most commonly used web servers today. The reasons behind preferring this webserver over other web servers available in the market are as follows: 1) It does not create a separate worker thread for each incoming request; rather, its single worker process is capable of catering to multiple requests at the same time. 2) It loads the static content immediately as soon as the user requests for it because it keeps that content in its cache.

        However, there are still other hacks available out there, with the help of which we can make the performance of this webserver even better. Therefore, in today’s article, we would like to share with you some of the most efficient tips with which you can make your Nginx web server all the faster.

      • How To Connect MongoDB Compass On Windows To Remote MongoDB On Linux

        In this post, we will learn how to configure MongoDB Compass (running on windows) to connect to remote MongoDB on Centos.

      • How to Install (.NET Core) Dotnet Core on Linux Distributions [Ed: Helping Microsoft dominate the competition]
      • How to Find Files Case-Insensitive in Linux – Linux Hint

        If you have a large bulk of files in your computer system, it is very important to keep them organized so that you can easily access the files whenever you want. If you have a busy schedule, you may simply keep dumping files onto your computer system without even knowing where a particular file is located. In this situation, it can get very difficult to work, especially when you need a specific file immediately.
        The Linux operating system provides you with multiple commands that you can run in the terminal to find a specific file. Although, most of these commands are case sensitive, meaning that you need to know the exact name of your file and whether it is in lower-case or upper-case letters or a combination of both. If you do not know which letters are capitalized in the file name, then it would not be possible to locate the file that you need with these commands.

        There is a method that can be used to make a file search case insensitive using certain flags in the command-line interface. This article shows you how to perform a case-insensitive file search in Linux Mint 20.

      • How to Install NixOS – Linux Hint

        In the Linux world, there are many distributions, and these distributions usually differ in terms of package manager, environment, and packages. Once installed, you can find files in specific places in the file structure. Directories like /usr, /usr/local and /bin are used to store different files, and this standard makes it possible for an experienced Linux user to know where files are located and to run scripts that use these files over many distributions. To find out more, look up the LSB project.
        While you can run applications under NixOS because they follow the above standard, the files are not where they would be in another system. The developers of NixOS and GNU Guix have strong opinions about this system, and they have come up with clever ways to comply with it.

      • How to Install and Use i3 Window Manager on Linux

        Written in C language, the i3wm ( i3 Windows Manager ) is a lightweight, easy-to-configure, and hugely popular tiling windows manager. Unlike the conventional desktop environment, a tiling manager provides just sufficient functionality to arrange windows on your screen in an easy and appealing manner suited for your workflow.

        i3 is a minimalist tiling manager that intelligently arranges the windows on your screen in a seamless non-overlapping manner. Other tiling managers include xmonad and wmii.

        In this guide, we will explain how to install and use the i3 Windows manager on Linux desktop systems.

      • How to install Dashlane password manager on Ubuntu 20.04 – Linux Shout

        Dashlane is one of the popular password managers that is available in both free and premium versions. In the free version, the user can save 50 passwords, auto-fill Form & payment, password share up to 5 accounts, personalized security alerts, password generator, password changer, and two-factor authentication are also available. The free trial of their premium plan is available for 30 days.

        This freemium password manager is not available as an app for Linux, however, we can use it as a browser extension to get its benefits. Moreover, most of the time we need a password manager to save and autofill our passwords in browsers only. Thus, a dedicated desktop application is not a very essential need.

      • How to change time format in Wireshark – Linux Hint

        Wireshark is a popular network capturing and analysis tool. There are many options for doing better and quick analysis. One of them is using the time format in Wireshark. Let’s understand for this article how to use the time format in Wireshark.

      • How to Send Email with Attachments from Command Line in Linux – Linux Hint

        Most computer users are probably familiar with the simple process of sending and receiving emails. Apart from simple text conversations, emails can also be used for sending and receiving files. These files are transferred inside of an email as attachments. Any email client of your choice may be used for sending and receiving emails with attachments.
        As a Linux user, you might prefer terminal-based methods of sending emails with attachments. This article shows you four different methods of sending emails with attachments from the command line in Linux Mint 20.

        You can use any of the following four methods to send an email with attachments from the command line in Linux Mint 20.

        Note: For all the methods discussed below, attached the sample text file named abc.txt to every email. You can also attach other kinds of files, such as PDFs, spreadsheets, images, audios, and more.

      • How to Replace Strings and Lines with Ansible

        Ansible provide multiple ways that you can use to replace a string, an entire line or words that match a certain pattern. There are two modules that you can use to achieve this: the replace module and the inline module. We are going to dive deep and take a look at some examples of how these modules can be used in a playbook to replace strings and lines.

      • How to install KeePass Password Manager on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        KeePass Password Manager is a free and open-source application that can be installed on Linux such as Ubuntu 20.04 LTS easily using the APT package manager.

        This open-source password manager offers encryption algorithms AES-256, multiple User Keys,
        Portable version for Windows 10/7/8; Auto-Type, Global Auto-Type Hot Key, and Drag & Drop of passwords. The user can export saved passwords to TXT, HTML, XML, and CSV Files. If you are using LastPass, Bitwarden, Dashlane, AnyPAssword, Code wallet, and many others, then importing passwords from them is also possible in KeePass.

        Easy Database Transfer, Support of Password Groups, Time Fields and Entry Attachments, Intuitive and Secure Clipboard Handling; Random Password Generator are some other key features of it.

      • Turn off SELinux on CentOS 8 – Linux Hint

        The term “SELinux” is an acronym for Security-Enhanced Linux, and it is defined as a mechanism that is implemented within the Linux based systems for providing an advanced level of security that is essentially based on policy rules. By following these rules, an administrator can allow or deny access to a certain object for any specified user. It means that the security of your Linux based systems relies heavily on this mechanism.

        This mechanism works on three different modes of operation, i.e., Enforcing, Permissive, and Disabled. The first two modes work when you have enabled the SELinux mechanism, whereas the “Disabled” mode obviously works if your SELinux has been disabled. Also, the “Enforcing” mode works by applying all the policy rules that are written for SELinux, whereas the “Permissive” mode allows you to add new rules to the security policy.

        However, at times, the rules defined in the SELinux security policy are so strict that they start causing trouble with your routine tasks, i.e., they might cause a hindrance in an important task that you are trying to perform. In this situation, you may prefer to turn off SELinux till the time you perform that task and then turn it on again once you are done. That is why today, we would like to share with you the method of turning off SELinux on CentOS 8.

      • Remove Directory Recursively without Prompting for Confirmation in Linux – Linux Hint

        At times, you may have more than one directory within a single directory. This is known as a subdirectory, defined as a directory within a directory. Usually, the subdirectories within a directory are closely related to that directory. This means that whenever you feel like you do not need a particular directory anymore, then you also will not need its subdirectories further. So, the question arises, “How do I get rid of all the files and directories within a directory?”
        This is where the concept of recursive deletion comes into play. Recursive deletion aims to delete all the files and directories within a subdirectory. Generally, whenever you attempt to delete any file or a directory within any operating system, the OS prompts you to provide confirmation to prevent accidental deletion of important files or directories. However, if you are 100% sure of what you are going to delete, and there is a large number of files to be deleted, then you might find it troublesome to provide confirmation for every file or directory.

        In this case, you can remove a directory recursively without being prompted by the OS for confirmation every time. This article explains how to remove a directory recursively without prompting the user for confirmation in Linux Mint 20.

        To remove a directory recursively in Linux Mint 20 without prompting the user for confirmation, the following series of steps should be performed.

      • KeePassXC on Linux – Linux Hint

        In the present world, technology runs our lives as we have become fully dependent on devices such as smartphones, computers, etc. and it has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Such has been its impact that a life without these devices just cannot be imagined. With the invention of cars, planes, Google, and computers, humans have indeed become much more efficient and less erroneous. Things like artificial intelligence, cloud computing, blockchains, virtual reality, and so many others have opened astounding avenues for humans to explore and have allowed humans to step into a realm that could only have been imagined in science fiction books.

        However, our dependency on technology has also led to our privacy being more exposed than ever. Things like data breaches and cyber-attacks have become quite the norm and are growing in scale with time. Linux users have had less to worry about these issues as it has often been said that Linux systems are more secure than its counterparts, but it is important to remember that hackers are becoming more skilled, and thus, it still is not a hundred percent completely safe from malicious attacks. Therefore, it is essential for one to employ procedures with which they can protect their Linux systems. One excellent solution is to use a password manager, which shall also be the topic of our discussion in this article, where we will be focusing on one open-source password manager by the name of KeePassXC.

      • Linux Stat Command and its Usage

        Stat command is used in Linux/Unix to display detailed information about files and file systems. It is commonly used to get file timestamps.

      • How To Install LibreNMS on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install LibreNMS on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, LibreNMS is an open-source auto-discovering network monitoring tool for servers and network hardware. It supports a wide range of network hardware like Cisco, Juniper, Brocade, Foundry, HP, and operating systems including Linux and Windows. LibraNMS is a community-based fork of Network monitoring tool “Observium“, released under GPLv3.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of LibreNMS on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to back up your photos on Linux

        Do you have photos on your Linux PC that haven’t been backed up? Don’t know the first thing about backing up photos on Linux? If so, follow along as we go over how to back up photos on Linux.

      • Being your own Certificate Authority

        There are many blogs and tutorials with nice shortcuts providing the necessary openssl commands to create and sign x509 certficates.

        However, there is precious few instructions for how to easily create your own certificate authority.

        You probably never want to do this in a production environment, but in a development environment it will make your life signficantly easier.

      • Reaction Game (v2) with Raspberry PI and Mini Button Switch – peppe8o

        In this tutorial we are going to apply what we have learned to create a small reaction game. It uses cheap circuit components (mini button switch, resistors, LEDs and wirings), Raspberry PI and a little of Python programming.

        Differently from common Reaction games, it is a little more complete: it includes a terminal scoreboard. dedicated player leds and a referee.

        I’ll use a Raspberry PI Zero W, but this guide works with all Raspberry PI models.

      • Securing Linux System With Maldet – The Linux Juggernaut

        Viruses are a real problem for computers that run the Windows operating system. But, as far as anyone has been able to tell, there’s no such thing as a virus that can harm a Linux-based operating system. So, the only real reason to run an antivirus solution on a Linux machine is to prevent infecting any Windows machines on your network. if you have a Linux- based email server, Samba server, download server, or any other Linux- based machine that shares files with Windows computers, then installing an antivirus solution is a good idea.

        Linux Malware Detect, which you’ll often see abbreviated as either LMD or Maldet, is a Free Open Source Software (FOSS) antivirus program that can be installed in a Linux system. When you install it, you’ll get a systemd service that’s already enabled and a cron job that will periodically update both the malware signatures and the program itself.

      • Scanning for Rootkits with Rootkit Hunter – The Linux Juggernaut

        Rootkits are exceedingly nasty pieces of malware that can definitely ruin your day. They can listen for commands from their masters, steal sensitive data and send it to their masters, or provide an easy-access back door for their masters. They’re designed to be stealthy, with the ability to hide themselves from plain view

      • Application Sandboxing with Firejail in Linux – The Linux Juggernaut

        If you have an untrusted application that needs to be run in your Linux system, you can use a sandbox to run the application in a limited environment. In this way you can use the untrusted application without worrying about the security of your system.

        Sandboxing with Firejail uses namespaces, SECCOMP, and kernel capabilities to run untrusted applications in their own individual sandboxes. This can help prevent data leakage between applications, and it can help prevent malicious programs from damaging your system.

      • Security Auditing for linux with Auditd – The Linux Juggernaut

        So, you have a directory full of super-secret files that only a very few people need to see, and you want to know when unauthorized people try to see them. Or, maybe you want to see when a certain file gets changed, or you want to see when people log into the system and what they’re doing once they do log in. For all this and more, you have the auditd system.

      • Linux Jargon Buster: What is Grub in Linux? What is it Used for?

        If you ever used a desktop Linux system, you must have seen this screen. This is called the GRUB screen. Yes, it is written in all capital letters.

        In this chapter of the Linux Jargon Buster series, I’ll tell you what is Grub and what is it used for. I’ll also briefly touch upon the configuration and customization part.

        GRUB is complete program for loading and managing boot. It is the most common bootloader for Linux distributions. A bootloader is the first software that runs when a computer starts. It loads the kernel of the operating system and then the kernel initializes the rest of the operating systems (shell, display manager, desktop environment etc).

    • Games

      • Lethal League Blaze: Blazed In Its Own Right – Boiling Steam

        Welcome to Shine City, a metropolis that didn’t become well-known until the residents came up with a new ball game to fight off the everyday grind of the city.

        The game became an overnight success. It was very popular, up until someone died from the sport. Since then, the sport has been banned. The people who still wanted to play the sport for honor and glory had to move underground to prevent themselves from getting caught by the police.

        These players became known as the Lethal League.

        Been a while since I’ve come across a game that’s addicting as this. I know I’m pretty late to the party with this review, but I liked it so much when I picked it up a few days ago that I felt it was worth writing about it. And rejoice, Linux fans: there’s a Linux version here that works great.

      • The Co-op News Punch Podcast – Episode 24 | GamingOnLinux

        It’s been a little while since the last episode, so it’s time for a fresh set of ranting and discussion in the GamingOnLinux Co-op News Punch Podcast. As before, it’s a casual and frank chat between two friends (myself) and GOL contributor / Linux livestreamer Samsai on all sorts of somewhat Linux related topics.

      • Beyond All Reason aims to revive the RTS style of Total Annihilation | GamingOnLinux

        Total Annihilation is still to this day, one of the best RTS games ever made. I’ll engage in fisticuffs with anyone who disagrees and Beyond All Reason is pursuing the ideal of Cavedog’s classic.

        Built upon the tried and tested open source Spring RTS game engine, itself originally created to bring Total Annihilation into 3D that went on to become a platform for lost of TA-styled games. Much like the classic along with later titles like Supreme Commander, Beyond All Reason is paying attention to the small details as well as being a real-time strategy game on a huge scale.

        You can have hundreds of units per side at any one time with lots of different unit types across land, sea and air with a strategic zoom often being needed to get a look at what’s going on. This is where you zoom right out, so all units and buildings turn into icons. Close up though, Beyond All Reason is quite a pretty game.

      • Open source game manager Lutris sees the big 0.5.8 release out now | GamingOnLinux

        Keeping your games together from different services and stores can be a breeze with the likes of Lutris, a free and open source game launcher and manager. Regular readers will know it well, and we covered the recent Release Candidate build last week, with the good news being it stable enough for everyone now and so it has been released.

      • Pushamo is a challenging and award-winning arcade push-em-up out now on Linux | GamingOnLinux

        Love block pushing puzzlers? Have fond memories of Tetris and want something a bit more complex? The arcade push-em-up Pushamo is out now and you can support charity with it.

        It challenges you to push around various shapes in a small area, to hopefully arrange them into a big square to have them explode and increase your score. The game will start to speed up a little and eventually you might get completely overwhelmed by all the shapes. It all depends on how quickly you can move around as a little arrow and push them together.

      • 80s terminal PC styled turn-based tactics game Mainframe Defenders has a big upgrade | GamingOnLinux

        With a seriously great looking 80s terminal PC style that you need to see in action to appreciate, the hidden gem Mainframe Defenders has seen a big update recently.

        Originally released in February 2020, it’s a squad-based strategy game where you kit out a bunch of prototype robots on a quest to stop a deadly computer virus that’s infected a research complex. A game for people who are after a sleek and to the point tactical battle game and Mainframe Defenders certainly delivers. The big 1.2 version release went out recently and with it a bunch of great new content including: new units you can command, an entirely new type of item with squad upgrades and there’s 13 of those, 5 new support items, 2 new strategic map tiles with Suppression Field and Repair Gel plus strategic tiles now have different effects on destruction.

      • The classic Driver 2 has a new reverse engineered open source game engine | GamingOnLinux

        Any of our readers remember Driver 2? I remember spending absolutely hours driving around in this classic PlayStation game and now maybe you can relive it or experience it for the first time.

        Thanks to a developer working on an open source (MIT licensed) game engine, using a little reverse engineering magic the game has be reborn. Like a lot of open source game engine reimplementations (OpenMW, OpenRA, openXcom), it does need you to own the original game to have the data files as this is just the code that is being offered – which means hopefully any rights holders will leave it alone.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KSeExpr 4.0.0 Released!

          Today, we’re happy to announce the release of KSeExpr!

          KSeExpr is the fork of Disney Animation’s SeExpr expression language library that we ship with Krita. It powers the SeExpr Fill Layer that was done in Amyspark’s Google Summer of Code 2020 project.

        • Wayland Status for Plasma 5.20

          The KDE community has made some great progress on Plasma Wayland support during this release cycle. Some people on the Internet have qualified Plasma Wayland session as stable, but I wouldn’t go that far yet. I would qualify Plasma sessions as beta preview, we still have a long way to go. In some configurations and workflow It might suit you but certainly not all users for now.

          I am going to highlight a bit this progress below but first I’d like to explain the technical challenges the KDE Wayland community Goal faces.

        • Imaginario 0.10 is out!

          Users are recommended to upgrade to Imaginario 0.10!

        • PinePhone KDE Linux phone is getting ready for pre-orders

          For all the endless stories about the latest Apple iPhone and what’s really the best Android smartphone, you’d think there’s already a phone for everyone. Nope. Wrong. For those who value privacy first and foremost, there’s the Google-free, pro-privacy Android /e/ operating system, and then there are those who still want an honest-to-goodness Linux-based smartphone. For the latter, there’s a new choice from leading Linux smartphone vendor Pine64: The new PinePhone – KDE Community edition.

        • Missing the Point, PinePhone KDE Community Edition

          Many people , when digging into the PinePhone’s specs, complain about the low storage, the weak CPU, the lacklustre peripherals…

          Naturally, they are missing the point. This is not a phone that you would buy to substitute the supercomputer/surveillance device you already carry around in your pocket. Yes, the memory is small; the pics from the camera are a bit grainy; the battery is decent, but doesn’t last all that long. All this is true.

        • Next Linux PinePhone Community Edition Will Feature KDE Plasma Mobile

          If you’re thinking to buy current available PinePhone Manjaro Community Edition, you may need to rethink as PINE64 has now teamed up with KDE community to launch a new PinePhone KDE Community Edition.

          After PinePhone Ubports, postmarketOS, and Manjaro Community Edition (CE), it’s fourth CE of Linux-based PinePhone smartphone, which will now feature free and open source KDE Plasma Mobile User Interface.

          This new PinePhone CE with Plasma Mobile will be available to preorder starting on December 1, 2020.

        • November Update: KDE PinePhone CE And A Peek Into The Future

          Welcome to this month’s community update! We’ve got exciting news to share, but before I proceed in doing so I’d like to thank Gamiee, JF, and PizzaLovingNerd for contributing to this blog entry and Clover for the final edits and proof-reading. As the PINE64 device-family grows larger and becomes more diverse, I find myself more reliant than ever on other people’s insight and expertise when writing up these updates. To this end, I’d very much like to thank the aforementioned community members and, at the same time, invite others to take part in shaping future updates. If you’ve got something you would like to contribute to an upcoming community update, then please reach out to me in the chats.

          In this update we’re happy to announce the next Community Edition of the PinePhone, which will ship with KDE Plasma Mobile. We will also take a look at the Pinebook Pro dock and talk a bit about future hardware.

          For those of you who are averse to reading long blog entries or simply prefer receiving news in an audio-video format, then you’ll be glad to know that we now have a complimentary video edition of the monthly community update. It can also be watched on LBRY if Youtube isn’t your thing.

        • Experience the future of KDE’s open mobile platform

          KDE and Pine64 are announcing today the imminent availability of the new PinePhone – KDE Community edition. This Pine64 PinePhone gives you a taste of where free mobile devices and software platforms are headed.

          The PinePhone – KDE Community edition includes most of the essential features a smartphone user would expect and its functionalities increase day by day. You can follow the progress of the development of apps and features in the Plasma Mobile blog.

          Plasma Mobile is a direct descendant from KDE’s successful Plasma desktop. The same underlying technologies drive both environments and apps like KDE Connect that lets you connect phones and desktops, the Okular document reader, the VVave music player, and others, are available on both desktop and mobile.

          Thanks to projects like Kirigami and Maui, developers can write apps that, not only run in multiple environments but that also gracefully adapt by growing into landscape format when displayed on workstation screen and shrinking to portrait mode on phones. Developers are rapidly populating Plasma Mobile with essential programs, such as web browsers, clocks, calendars, weather apps and games, all of which are being deployed on all platforms, regardless of the layout.

        • Plasma Mobile update: October 2020

          The Plasma Mobile team is happy to share what has been going on during the month of October.

        • KDE Plasma Mobile On Track To End 2020 With Quite A Polished Linux Mobile Experience

          KDE Plasma Mobile continues working its way into increasing polished form and with deployments on the likes of the PinePhone have shown it can be quite a capable open-source mobile Linux contender.

          The Plasma Mobile crew has just published their October 2020 report outlining all of the strides they have made over the course of the past month.

        • LabPlot 2.8.1 released

          We’re happy to announce the availability of the first minor patch release of the big release we made two months ago. This release contains minor improvements and bug fixes only.

          In the plot we now allow to change the background color for axis labels. This is useful if you place the axis labels above the axis line and don’t want to see an underlying line in the bounding box of the label. The default setting is that the background remain transparent.

          For the cursor, the tool used to measure positions and distances in the plots, we now allow you to copy the values in the result window to the clipboard.

          When pasting new values into LabPlot’s spreadsheet, the auto-detection of the datatime format has been improved. We now better recognize the different formats produced in external programs and being pasted into LabPlot.

          Many smaller improvements were included in the dialog for the creation of the live-data sources related to the handling of errors coming from remote servers like MQTT brokers, etc. Besides the more stable behavior, the user now also gets clearer notifications about what went wrong. Furthermore, when reading live data it is possible to generate the timestamp column in LabPlot for the data being read also for TCP and UDP network sources. This was only possible for MQTT sources in the past.

        • KDE Plasma 5.21 Bringing Native Fingerprint Manager

          The upcoming KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop bringing a native fingerprint manager to help you to manage your fingerprints for authentication.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Review: Enso OS 0.4

          Enso OS is a Linux distribution based on Xubuntu. Enso features the Xfce desktop with the Gala window manager which is imported from elementary OS. Enso OS 0.4 is the project’s latest release and the new version runs on 64-bit (x86_64) computers exclusively.

          The 0.4 release offers a few new features. There is a new note taking application included by default called Pinny. The AppHive (sometimes written “Apphive”) software manager has been updated and allows users to mark (star) favourite applications. Reportedly, AppHive’s performance has been improved while it is processing queued actions in the background. This release also includes a new dark theme, though the desktop uses a light theme by default. While there are not many new features in this version’s release announcement, the distribution does seem to be placing a focus on minor improvements and tweaks to the user experience.


          One thing I find interesting about the Enso project is it comes across as relatively humble. The distribution’s website doesn’t make bold claims about changing the computing landscape or leading the way in innovation. It doesn’t claim to be especially easy to use or perfect for gaming. The project does mention a few things it does differently, such as its software centre and the hybrid desktop. This understated approach was one I found somewhat endearing. The project sets out to do a few things differently from its parent, but not with an apparent quest for glory.

          The AppHive software centre, as I mentioned above, is a capable software manager. It mostly functions well and makes it easy to find new applications. I would have liked more status and progress information during the install process, but otherwise AppHive is a decent software centre.

          To me the more interesting feature was the Xfce/Gala desktop. It offers most of the flexibility and performance of Xfce while serving up a more modern (or alternatively more macOS-style) desktop interface. Whether modern/macOS is a characteristic that appeals to the user will likely be entirely a personal choice. For me, the desktop did not introduce many features that really appealed to me. Though to be fair, it also didn’t do anything that caused me serious problems. The application menu in a window concept never really clicked with me, but otherwise the hybrid interface worked well.

          The top bar with its shortcuts to files in my home directory certainly appealed to me. On the other hand, having the top panel also act as a unified menu bar for the active application felt awkward. In the end, it mostly balanced out.

          On the whole Enso didn’t wow me, but it also functioned well. It provided a decent experience and mostly stayed out of my way while I was working. I can see how this style of desktop experience would appeal to people, especially those who like macOS or elementary OS style desktop environments.

      • BSD

        • MidnightBSD 2.0

          I’m happy to announce the availability of MidnightBSD 2.0 for amd64 and i386. This is a massive release focusing on base system improvements.

          We’ve imported many features from FreeBSD 11.x as part of the release.

        • Desktop BSDs: NetBSD-Based os108 9.1 + MidnightBSD 2.0 Released

          For those looking to experiment with some BSD desktop operating systems this weekend, FreeBSD-based MidnightBSD 2.0 is out along with NetBSD-based os108 9.1.

          The os108 open-source operating system is pairing a NetBSD base with originally the MATE desktop. For the 9.1 release, Xfce is the desktop by default. The os108 release besides adding in the Xfce desktop by default is based on last month’s NetBSD 9.1 and shares its new features.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Board Election 2020 announced

          Yes, but this time, it is the regular board election that is happening. The previous elections that were conducted during the past year were due to ad-hoc and unforeseen circumstances. However, as per the regular election cycle, we have three seats that are going to be vacant on the openSUSE Board in December. They are the seats of Axel Braun, Marina Latini and Stasiek Michalski. Note that Stasiek was elected this year to replace Christian Boltz whose term ends in 2020. However, Stasiek is opting out from this election due to personal commitments.

          My friend from the Election Committee, Ariez Vachha, made the election announcement on the project mailing list yesterday. The election wiki page has been updated accordingly, which includes the usual election schedule poster. That’s courtesy of our friends from the openSUSE Indonesia community.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • IBM Keeps OpenShift Up To Speed On Power Systems – IT Jungle

          For more than two years now, as we have previously reported, there have been a number of ways to bring Kubernetes container control to the Power Systems platform, including Docker Enterprise Edition, IBM Cloud Private, and Red Hat OpenShift. In the wake of the Red Hat acquisition, it is pretty clear that OpenShift will be the container environment of choice on IBM System z and Power Systems machines on premises and on these machines as well as X86 iron deployed on the IBM Cloud.

          To that end, we find in announcement letter 220-439 that IBM’s Red Hat unit has ported its OpenShift Container Platform, 4.6 release to Power Systems iron. The reason that this does not happen automagically is that Red Hat OpenShift is not based on the stock Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution, but rather the CoreOS Linux, a streamlined variant of Linux that can be upgraded while active that Red Hat acquired a couple of years back. (If you want to know more about CoreOS, I covered it extensively at The Next Platform, my other day job.) It takes a little extra time to make sure CoreOS works on Power chips. If customers want to mix and match KVM virtualization with Kubernetes containers, they have to buy a proper RHEL license for their machines. (Why IBM doesn’t just bundle RHEL, perhaps a single partition only, by default on Power9 systems already is beyond me. Set it up so companies can start playing with containers for free.) Anyway, OpenShift Container Platform is sold with licenses that span two cores at a time. In addition, the OpenShift distro can run various IBM Cloud Paks, which are containerized packages of IBM middleware and other open source systems software and applications.

        • Devfiles and Kubernetes cluster support in OpenShift Connector 0.2.0 extension for VS Code [Ed: Red Hat working to promote Microsoft proprietary software with surveillance]

          We are pleased to announce that the new release of the OpenShift Connector extension for Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is now available. The 0.2.0 release offers new features for rapidly developing and deploying code on Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift clusters. OpenShift Connector now supports component deployment using devfiles, leveraging odo 2.0 command-line interface under the hood.

          With this release, the extension now supports connecting to vanilla Kubernetes clusters and includes a new option for creating OpenShift 4 clusters locally via Red Hat CodeReady Containers (CRC). In this article, we introduce these new features and present the workflow for using CodeReady Containers with OpenShift Connector 0.2.0.

        • EMPLOYERS Modernizes Digital Transformation with Red Hat

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that EMPLOYERS, a national provider of workers’ compensation insurance, has built a hybrid cloud foundation for its IT infrastructure using Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud technologies. The Red Hat-based solution enabled EMPLOYERS to use technology to improve agility, innovation, scalability and flexibility, with the end goal of exceeding agent and policyholder expectations. Using the new, open cloud infrastructure, EMPLOYERS has successfully written and implemented more than 19,000 business pricing rules, automated portions of its underwriting and pricing processes, driven greater profitability and enhanced the overall efficiency of the business.

        • Podman with capabilities on Fedora – Fedora Magazine

          Containerization is a booming technology. As many as seventy-five percent of global organizations could be running some type of containerization technology in the near future. Since widely used technologies are more likely to be targeted by hackers, securing containers is especially important. This article will demonstrate how POSIX capabilities are used to secure Podman containers. Podman is the default container management tool in RHEL8.

        • Obtain previous Job ID in Ansible Tower Workflow

          Ansible Tower allows you to create Workflows, which enable you to create complex workflows by putting together multiple Ansible Playbooks. Ansible Tower Workflows can have some simple logics, such as run different Ansible Playbooks based on the outcome (success or failure) of a previous Ansible Playbook run. Sometimes, though, you need to have more information about a previous Ansible Playbook run than just the outcome.

          I recently found myself in a situation where I had an Ansible Tower Workflow with two Ansible Playbooks into it, where the first one was performing specific tasks. The second one needed to get and process the output of the first Ansible Playbook. Since Ansible Tower provides an API to fetch an Ansible Playbook run output, this part is trivial if you know the Job ID that Ansible Tower assigned to that specific run. Looking around, I’ve not found much information on how to retrieve the Job ID of a different Job, so I looked at the various APIs and found this solution, which I’m going to share with you today. I’ve not found much information about getting another Job ID because it is usually a bad practice to do such a thing and that very often you can achieve the same goal in a much cleaner way. This better option, though, was not present in my case. Due to many constraints I had in this project, this was the best way I’ve found, even if I’ve tried – at least mentally – many other ways before accepting that this was the only one in my case.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Free desktop publishing software Scribus has been released

        Scribus is an open-source program that brings professional page layout to Linux/Unix, MacOS X, OS/2 and Windows. It is powerful software that helps you create great looking documents of all kinds. It also comes with a lot of support options to help you achieve the best result. There is an enthusiastic and friendly community around Scribus that assists beginner and pro alike through the mailing list, IRC channel, wiki, contracted support, and the bugtracker. Scribus supports professional features, such as CMYK color, spot color, separations, ICC color and robust commercial grade PDF.

      • BleachBit 4.1.1 Released with Cleaning Slack Support

        BleachBit 4.1.1 was released a day ago as the new Beta release for the next major 4.2.0 release.

        Compare to the previous beta, BleachBit 4.1.1 brings support for cleaning Slack (messenger), and Chromium installed via Snap package.

      • BleachBit Beta

        When your computer is getting full, BleachBit quickly frees disk space. When your information is only your business, BleachBit guards your privacy. With BleachBit you can free cache, delete cookies, clear Internet history, shred temporary files, delete logs, and discard junk you didn’t know was there.

        Designed for Linux and Windows systems, it wipes clean thousands of applications including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and more. Beyond simply deleting files, BleachBit includes advanced features such as shredding files to prevent recovery, wiping free disk space to hide traces of files deleted by other applications, and vacuuming Firefox to make it faster. Better than free, BleachBit is open source.


        At 00:42 in the early morning of November 16, I received an email saying that “someone” logged into my twitter account @bagder from a new device. The email said it was done from Stockholm, Sweden and it was “Chrome on Windows”. (I live Stockholm)

        I didn’t do it. I don’t normally use Windows and I typically don’t run Chrome. I didn’t react immediately on the email however, as I was debugging curl code at the moment it arrived. Just a few moments later I was forcibly logged out from my twitter sessions (using tweetdeck in my Firefox on Linux and on my phone).

        Whoa! What was that? I tried to login again in the browser tab, but Twitter claimed my password was invalid. Huh? Did I perhaps have the wrong password? I selected “restore my password” and then learned that Twitter doesn’t even know about my email anymore (in spite of having emailed me on it just minutes ago).

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Firefox 83 Is Now Available for Download with HTTPS-Only Mode, Improvements

            The biggest new change in the Mozilla Firefox 83 release appears to be a new security feature called HTTPS-Only Mode, which is implemented in Preferences, under the Privacy & Security section. It provides a secure and encrypted connection between your web browser and the websites you visit, even if they don’t use HTTPS.

            By default it’s disabled, but when enabled, the HTTPS-Only Mode will upgrade all your website connections to use Secure HTTP (HTTPS). The good news is that it can be used in all windows or only on private windows.

          • Why does Thunderbird add ‘\A0’ and other strange-looking strings in e-mails I send?

            I use Linux and have used the Thunderbird e-mail client since 2008. I used to use DavMail to enable Thunderbird to access various company Microsoft Exchange WebMail accounts but, several years ago, DavMail would no longer work with a particular Microsoft Exchange account so I switched to the Thunderbird add-on ExQuilla, for which I pay an annual licence fee. I do not know if the more recent versions of DavMail would work with this particular account but ExQuilla got me out of a hole so I stuck with it. Recently this particular corporation decided to stop using an in-house Microsoft Exchange server and switched to Microsoft 365.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU poke development news
            1. Make the language a bit more compact
            2. Support for lambdas
            3. Support for stream-like IO spaces
            4. Maps of complex values in l-values
            5. Assignment to structs with data integrity
            6. New rules for union constructors
            7. The infamous big array bug is now fixed!
            8. New built-in function gettime
            9. Support for octal and hexadecimal codes in strings
            10. Support for `continue' in loops
            11. poke.rec database
            The development of GNU poke is progressing well, and we keep hopes for a
            release before the end of this lovely year 2020.  This article briefly
            reviews the latest news in the development of the program: changes in
            certain syntax to make the language more compact, support for lambda
            expressions, support for stream-like IO spaces and how they can be used
            to write filters, support for using assignments to poke complex data
            structures, improvements in data integrity, annoying bugs fixed, and
      • Programming/Development

        • Mixtape: Gitops Days 2020 EMEA Minimix

          I was lucky to support GitOps Days 2020 EMEA last week. The community of GitOps practitioniers came together again for round two and we saw lots of very engaged discussion and new ideas.

        • Setup Electron and Create Hello World Application in Linux – Linux Hint

          This article will cover a guide about installing Electron and creating a simple “Hello World” Electron application in Linux.

        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • How to use Serializers in the Django Python web framework | Opensource.com

            Serialization is the process of transforming data into a format that can be stored or transmitted and then reconstructing it. It’s used all the time when developing applications or storing data in databases, in memory, or converting it into files.

            I recently helped two junior developers at Labcodes understand serializers, and I thought it would be good to share my approach with Opensource.com readers.

          • How to work with Python Tuples? – Linux Hint

            Tuple is an ordered and immutable data type that is faster than the other data types like list and dictionary. In this article, we are going to learn about Python Tuples and how to enter into Python interpreter, as well as the different operations that can be performed in it.

          • How to Read and Write Text Files in Python – Linux Hint

            This article will cover a guide explaining external file handling in python. The main focus will be on opening and closing of text and other non-binary data files stored on a storage media, allowing you to run various operations on contents of the opened files.

          • Python String Operations – Linux Hint

            A string is an immutable data type (read-only). This can be declared in single quotes or double quotes, or triple quotes. The string is an immutable datatype, and any operation we perform should be stored in another string variable. In this article, python operations on strings are discussed.

        • Rust

          • Using rustc_codegen_cranelift for debug builds | Inside Rust Blog

            rustc_codegen_cranelift, or just cg_clif for short, is a new experimental codegen backend for the Rust compiler. The existing backend is LLVM, which is very good at producing fast, highly optimized code, but is not very good at compiling code quickly. cg_clif, which uses the Cranelift project, would provide a fast backend which greatly improves compile times, at the cost of performing very few optimizations. This is a great fit for debug builds, and the hope is that cg_clif will eventually be the default backend in debug mode.

        • JavaScript

          • Install Vue.js in Ubuntu 20.04 – Linux Hint

            In this tutorial, we will provide an easy step-by-step process to help you get started with Vue.js. Vue.js is a powerful, progressive, reactive JavaScript framework that is approachable and easy to learn. It provides many different tools and libraries that facilitate the application development process. If you have knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you can start building web applications with Vue.js in no time.

          • Vue.js Components – Linux Hint

            Vue.js is a progressive javascript framework, which is used to build UIs(User Interfaces) and SPAs(Single-page Applications). We can start building web applications in Vue.js with the basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Vue.js is built by combining the best features from already existing Angular and react Frameworks. Developers love to code and feel freedom and comfort while building applications in Vue.js.

            This component-based approach was basically inspired by and picked from the ReactJS. We write code in the form of components so that we can import that component and reuse it wherever we need it. Vue.js offers a single-file component, which makes it a loosely coupled and reusable code.

            Vue.js offers the best component-based approach, like whatever a developer needs; he can find it in a single .vue file. Developers feel so comfortable and at ease when they don’t have to worry about or take care of the extra structure of a component.

            In this article, we will have a look at the single-file component, which has a .vue extension. So, let’s have a look at a very simple Vue component example and understand it.

          • Vue.js Data Binding – Linux Hint

            Vue.js is such an easy to learn and approachable library. So, with the knowledge of HTML, CSS, and Javascript, we can start building web applications in Vue.js. Vue.js is built by combining the best features from an already existing Angular and react Frameworks.

            Data binding is one of the most elegant features of Vue.js because it provides reactive/two-way data binding. In Vue.js, we do not have to write a lot of lines to have two-way data binding, unlike other frameworks. One-way data binding means that the variable is just bound to the DOM. On the other hand, two-way means that the variable is also bound from the DOM. When DOM gets changed, the variable also gets changed. So, let’s take a look at both of the data bindings and see the right difference.

          • Vue.js Template Introduction – Linux Hint

            Vue.js, which is used to build user interfaces (UIs) and single-page applications (SPAs), combines many of the best features of the JavaScript frameworks Angular and React, and many developers like to use Vue.js because it provides a neutral environment.

            Like HTML, Vue.js has a template syntax, and we can use template syntax to bind the DOM with the components data. In this article, we will show you how to insert data into the template syntax and the ways to interpolate different types of data.

          • Vue.js Watch Property – Linux Hint

            Vue.js is a very powerful and reactive Javascript framework, which is used to build Uis (User Interfaces) and SPAs (Single-page Applications). It is built by combining the best features from already existing Angular and react Frameworks. Developers also love to code or build applications in it.

            Vue.js provides the watch property to observe and react to the variables or data change. We can use the watch property to manipulate the DOM when the watched variable gets changed. In this article, we are going to have a look at how we can use watch property, and perform the desired tasks on the change of variable. So, let’s get started.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Google Is Already Experimenting With WebP2 As Successor To WebP Image Format

        Google engineers are already working on WebP2 as the next-generation version of their still image file format.

        While it was only last year that Firefox added WebP support and other applications have been following and beginning to see more usage of WebP on the web as an alternative to the likes of JPEG and PNG, Google has begun early experimental work on a WebP 2 revision.

        Several Phoronix readers wrote in this weekend that there is now a libwebp2 Git repository on the Google Git server. This WebP 2 repository was created just two weeks ago and contains early work on this “experimental successor of the WebP image format.”

    • Leftovers

      • Science

        • Turing Machines and Computability Theory – Linux Hint

          The Turing machine is the central theoretical construct in computer science. The Turing machine is an abstract mathematical model of computation. The use of Turing machines helps to explain what computation is by demarcating the so-called “computable functions.”

          Alan Turing’s early research into logic focused on a famous unsolved problem known as the Entscheidungsproblem. The Entscheidungsproblem (roughly translated from German as the decision problem) was proposed by philosopher and mathematician David Hilbert in 1928. The problem asked whether there was an algorithm that would decide every statement in a formal language.

          A formal language is a system of axioms and inference rules such as those in arithmetic or first-order logic. The axioms can be any symbols, and the inference rules can be any list of rules for manipulating those symbols. “Deciding every statement” meant either outputting whether the statement was true/false or outputting whether the statement was derivable/underivable. Kurt Godel’s completeness theorem proved that an algorithm deciding for validity is equivalent to an effective procedure deciding for derivability. Alan Turing’s 1936 paper “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem”, proved a negative result, that it was impossible to algorithmically decide every statement in a formal system.

      • Education

        • The humanities are crucial to addressing the assault on truth

          We’ve known for some time that common sense isn’t doing so well just now. It is hard to maintain a shared sense of the world when our perceptions, understanding and judgements are being constantly provoked, agitated and manipulated – click, rage, repeat. It is no coincidence that, at the same time, humanities scholars are being told, not always accurately, that their subjects are struggling and that while they are nice to have on top of the real-world stuff – sometimes they can even help – they’re not exactly core to what society needs from higher education.

          Yet the stark truth is that if we cannot find the narrative and imaginative forms to make the world real to one another, we run the risk of permanently losing our politics – and so the sense of our lives together – to the fantasists and cynical purveyors of lies. To prevent that, we have to start taking seriously again the humanities’ rigorous attention to detail, difference, difficulty and context.

      • Hardware

        • Cameron Kaiser: Rosetta 2: This Time It’s Personal (and busting an old Rosetta myth)

          If the Rosetta 2 benchmarks for the M1 are to be believed, this would be the first time Apple’s new architecture indisputably exceeded its old one even on the old architecture’s own turf. I don’t know if that’s enough to make me buy one given Apple’s continued lockdown (cough) trajectory, but it’s enough to at least make me watch the M1′s progress closely.

      • Health/Nutrition

      • Integrity/Availability

        • Proprietary

          • Extraordinary Vulnerabilities Discovered in TCL Android TVs, Now World’s 3rd Largest TV Manufacturer.

            The following piece is the culmination of a three-month long investigation into Smart TVs running Android. Having lived through this research experience, I can wholeheartedly say that there were multiple moments that I, and another security researcher that I met along the way, couldn’t believe what was happening. On multiple occasions I found myself feeling as though, “you couldn’t even make this up…”

          • Pseudo-Open Source

            • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

              • youtube-dl repository restored at GitHub

                The GitHub repository for the youtube-dl utility, which is used to download video content from various web sites (including YouTube, thus the name), has been restored. As we reported in last week’s edition, GitHub had taken the repository down due to a DMCA notice from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The only change made to youtube-dl is the removal of some tests that downloaded a few seconds of certain music videos; those videos were specifically targeted by the RIAA in its complaint.

          • Security

            • RiskIQ tracks wave of skimming attacks to variant of old skimmer

              Security firm RiskIQ says a wave of compromises of e-commerce websites earlier this year were carried out through use of a variant of the Ant and Cockroach skimmer which was connected to a group of attackers known as Magecart group 12.

            • Check Point tracks Windows Pay2Key ransomware to alleged Iranian source

              Researchers from Israel-based security shop Check Point say they have traced the wallet in which bitcoin paid for ransoms extorted by the latest ransomware, Pay2Key, is located and found an Iranian company at the end of the chain.

            • 21 Best Free Security Tools | CIO East Africa

              Infosec professionals are fortunate to have many good free tools for a range of tasks. The following list of nearly two dozen tools include everything from password crackers to vulnerability management systems to networks analyzers. Whatever your security role is, you’ll find something useful in this list.

            • New Windows ransomware RegretLocker encrypts virtual disks as well

              Security researchers have found that ransomware gangs are keeping in step with IT industry trends, with a new Windows ransomware strain, RegretLocker, able to encrypt data on virtual disks.

            • Privacy/Surveillance

              • New lawsuit: Why do Android phones mysteriously exchange 260MB a month with Google via cellular data when they’re not even in use?

                The complaint contends that Google is using Android users’ limited cellular data allowances without permission to transmit information about those individuals that’s unrelated to their use of Google services.

                Data sent over Wi-Fi is not at issue, nor is data sent over a cellular connection in the absence of Wi-Fi when an Android user has chosen to use a network-connected application. What concerns the plaintiffs is data sent to Google’s servers that isn’t the result of deliberate interaction with a mobile device – we’re talking passive or background data transfers via cell network, here.

      • Defence/Aggression

        • 75 Years Later, Victims of Nuclear Bomb Tests on U.S. Soil Still Seek Justice
        • The Paris Attacks 5 Years Ago Left Young People Scarred. But ‘Generation Bataclan’ May Get Its Chance for Justice

          As the French capital marks the fifth anniversary on Friday of the terrorist attacks of Nov. 13, 2015, the memories remain vivid for survivors like Dénouveaux, who are still grappling with complex psychological problems as a result. The country is still wrestling with a national debate over France’s relationship with Islam, as extremists have continued to stage lone wolf attacks. And the threat of another mass terrorist attacks has not gone away, as the recent (though less deadly) assault in Vienna has shown.

        • France marks 5 years since deadly attacks on Bataclan, cafes

          In silence and mourning, France is marking five years since 130 people were killed by Islamic State extremists who targeted the Bataclan concert hall, Paris cafes and the national stadium. It was France’s deadliest peacetime attack, deeply shaking the nation. It led to intensified French military action against extremists abroad and a security crackdown at home. Prime Minister Jean Castex led other dignitiaries at silent ceremonies Friday at multiple sites targeted by coordinated attackers around the French capital on Nov. 13, 2015. The ceremonies came as France is again under high alert for terrorist threats after three Islamic extremist attacks since September that left four people dead.

        • Five years after Paris attacks, France back on highest security alert

          The security threat to France has not diminished, security sources say, even if the nature of the risk has changed with attackers more likely to be lone extremists inspired by a deadly ideology than part of an organised group.

      • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

        • AP FACT CHECK: Trump falsehoods on Biden win, vaccine myths

          President Donald Trump rebelled this past week against Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election with denial, delay and outright misrepresentation. Trump raged about widespread cases of fake ballots that aren’t so and undertook legal challenges that even state GOP election officials say can’t overcome Biden’s lead.

          As the coronavirus surged nationwide, Trump said little about public safety measures. Instead he tried to take full credit for drugmaker Pfizer Inc.’s news that its COVID-19 vaccine may be 90% effective and suggested the mission was basically done.

          His assertions on both matters are untrue.

      • Environment

        • How the Green New Deal Can Save Joe Biden and America

          There is no other policy construct on the horizon that has any chance of delivering so many salutary outcomes. 

        • Whitmer orders Enbridge Line 5 shutdown, citing easement violations

          Following a state review that found the Line 5 petroleum pipeline is putting the Great Lakes at risk, Michigan has ordered Canadian petroleum company Enbridge Energy to shut down the pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac by May.

          The Friday announcement followed a long-awaited review of Enbridge’s compliance with a 1953 state easement that allows Enbridge to operate its pipeline in the Straits.

        • The New Humanitarian | Typhoon Vamco the latest in Southeast Asia storm barrage as climate change fuels disaster risks

          A weeks-long barrage of destructive storms in Southeast Asia has claimed hundreds of lives and is stretching aid funding and disaster responses amid the coronavirus pandemic.
          Typhoon Vamco is the latest storm to strike both the Philippines and Vietnam since early October. Vamco hit central Vietnam on 15 November, bringing heavy rains and metre-high storm surges to areas already dealing with severe floods and landslides. The storm, known as Ulysses in the Philippines, churned across the main island of Luzon days earlier, submerging whole towns with roof-high flooding in some areas.
          Philippine authorities say at least 80 people are dead or missing after Vamco as of Monday, and some 320,000 people have left their homes. At least 239 people are dead or missing from Vietnam’s disasters.
          “Each time they start rebuilding their lives and livelihoods, they are pummelled by yet another storm,” said Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu, the head of Vietnam’s Red Cross.
          In both countries, Vamco trampled a path set by earlier storms, including early November’s Typhoon Goni. Known as Rolly in the Philippines, it was the most powerful typhoon to hit the country since 2013 – and the strongest anywhere in 2020.

      • Finance

      • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Censorship/Free Speech

        • Chinese Smart Power

          The concept of soft power can be far more complex, as it could be a process to gain legal recognition without provoking a hostile population. The American production of Kung Fu Panda helped China in enhancing Panda Diplomacy.

          Chinese more effectively controls Hollywood with Chinese investment and as American producers’ make an effort to be screened in Chinese theatre by being accepted in China’s quota for moving screening in Chinese theatre.

        • Austria’s New Hate Speech Law

          Austria’s proposed law is modelled on Germany’s much criticized NetzDG law, also known as the censorship law, which came into effect in January 2018 and requires social media companies to delete or block any online unlawful content within 24 hours or 7 days at the most, or face fines of up to 50 million euros.

          If the proposed law is passed, the freedom of speech of Austrians online will be subject to the arbitrary decisions of corporate entities, such as Twitter, Goggle and Facebook.

        • The death threat to free speech in France

          Suppose you’re a teacher, and you’re French, and you want your students to learn about France’s tradition of freedom, the reasons your nation believes it’s good and useful to tolerate a wide range of opinions, beliefs and perspectives, including those some people find offensive. Do you go ahead and teach this lesson? Or do you remain silent because to speak freely about freedom in France today is to risk your life?

          This is not a hypothetical question. In January 2015, the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad sparked the slaughter of 12 people at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine. Fourteen alleged accomplices in that attack have only recently gone on trial.

        • Free Speech Under Siege

          While much has changed since the days of the second red scare and McCarthyism, the tactics of suppressing dissent and press freedoms have remained effective. Similar to the days of the Hollywood Ten, now anyone who doesn’t follow the neoliberal corporate line or objects to the national security state is slandered, dismissed, or unjustly persecuted. Rather than being unconstitutionally hauled in before a McCarthyistic hearing, civil liberties are quelled by the U.S. national security state talking heads, a dominant corporate media infrastructure, and unaccountable social media corporations.

          Ultimately, for the press and dissent, First Amendment protections and freedom of thought are heading down a dangerous, authoritarian path. Only solidarity through the ordinary banding together can preserve the few civil liberties that remain and maintain democratic values. Pushing back on state and corporate control over permissible speech must become a priority for the left and those that wish to preserve some semblance of democratic norms and principles.

      • Civil Rights/Policing

        • ‘Victory’: Federal Judge Invalidates Latest Trump Effort to Kill DACA

          “This is a victory for our courageous plaintiffs, DACA-eligible youth across the country, and all of our communities.”

        • Musician Raffi on Music, Healing the Planet, and How Crisis Can Bring Opportunity

          The man who brought the world “Baby Beluga” talks about his efforts to further the concept of “Child Honouring.”

        • Latest Trump Effort to End DACA Invalidated by Federal Judge
        • More than 1,000 Detained as Belarus Police Use Tear Gas, Stun Grenades on Protesters

          Belarusian police detained more than 1,000 people Sunday during protests across the country demanding the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko and a new election following a disputed vote in August.

          The Vyasna human rights group said most detentions were made in Minsk, where black-clad security forces used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse thousands of demonstrators. Two people were beaten by masked security officers inside a grocery store.

          At least 18 journalists, including four contributors to RFE/RL’s Belarus Service, were among those detained in Minsk and other cities, according to the Belarusian Association of Journalists.

        • Muslim scholar flays UAE’s decision on adultery, alcohol consumption

          Renowned Nigeria-born Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Dhikrullahi Shafii, has frowned at the decision of the government of the United Arab Emirates over its relaxation of the Islamic law on alcohol, noting that the Islamic ruling on alcohol consumption remains till eternity and cannot be tinkered with.

        • Prominent Libyan lawyer Hanan al-Barassi gunned down in Benghazi

          Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord has condemned the killing of prominent Libyan lawyer and women’s rights activist Hanan al-Barassi, who was gunned down by armed men Tuesday in the eastern city of Benghazi.

          Her killing in Benghazi, which falls under the control of the Libyan National Army (LNA), came just a day after she shared comments on social media criticizing the son of renegade military general and LNA leader Khalifa Haftar.

        • Barack Obama: One election won’t stop US ‘truth decay’

          “It’ll take more than one election to reverse those trends,” he says.

          Tackling a polarised nation, he argues, cannot be left only to the decisions of politicians, but also requires both structural change and people listening to one another – agreeing on a “common set of facts” before arguing what to do about them.

      • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

        • Organizing Feedly by Tags

          And if I am only interested in certain topics, or certain sources, I can check just those tags.

          Hope this helps give someone ideas on how to organize their stuff.

      • Monopolies

        • Thank You and I Wish You Well Google News

          For the umpteenth time scrolling Google News for something new, I wondered why this exists at all. The application shows you essentially the same news all day, presumably because of some popularity ranking. One particular aspect though I never realized was Google News was self-defeating.

          What I mean by self-defeating is, Google News most likely exists to the benefit of Google in some way. In order to retain usefulness, people have to continue using it. Since it’s a content aggregator, a somewhat super aggregator, it needs to offer more than what someone could normally get with other aggregation solutions.

          For Google News this means “see familiar stories”, local news based on location information, and a few other features. Unfortunately these are not enough in my opinion.

        • How Brexit changes SPCs in the UK – and the EU | Managing Intellectual Property

          Pharma insiders discuss whether Brexit will shatter hopes for a unitary SPC and lead to legal divergence between the UK and the EU

        • Guest Book Review: European Court Procedure – The IPKat

          European Court Procedure: A Practical Guide by Viktor Luszcz (previously Référendaire at the General Court of the EU, and currently a Member of the Budapest Bar) aims to provide a comprehensive reference tool for practising lawyers, offer guidance to national judges dealing with cases raising points of EU law and in addition, insights into the reasoning process of the EU Courts, to the interest to scholars. To see if the book is able to live up to these ambitions, a review if provided by Michael Edenborough QC, who practises from Serle Court in all areas of IP law. In particular, he has appeared in over 50 cases before the General Court and the CJEU on appeals and Article 267 references.


          However, while the authors clearly know the relevant general procedural legislation, they do not seem to be well versed in all the details of IP – for example, the Community Plant Variety Office was originally based in Brussels and only moved to Angers as of 6 December 1996 and so it was not “in 1994, … established in Angers (France)”. Similarly, the discussion about the Unitary Patent is cursory and slightly misleading in some respects. Further, with respect to some aspects of procedure in IP cases, I noticed that a relevant case about the validity of a signature on a document was omitted; the discussion on suspensory effect of an appeal to the CJEU from the GC is less certain than portrayed, having had the EUIPO argue a different result in a case in which I was involved; the role of cross-claims could usefully be more fulsome, for example how the rules have changed and so what now triggers the need for a cross-claim; and I would imagine that more discussion about what actually happens at a hearing would be appreciated by those who have not attended a hearing before – there are many points that are useful to know, for example speaking to the translators before the hearing about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it, and even where to change (not in a remote corridor as I once did!).
          Therefore, in summary, this is a wonderful source of information about the legislation and related case law on procedure before the GC and CJEU, but with respect to the IP elements a certain circumspection ought to be exercised when straying into the finer details.

        • Patents

          • Apple Convinces Fed. Cir. to Kick Patent Suit Out of Texas
          • Caltech Sues Dell For Patent Infringement

            On Wednesday in the Western District of Texas, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) filed a complaint against Dell Technologies Inc. and Dell Inc. for patent infringement alleging that Dell infringed the patents-in-suit via its accused products’ purported use of its coding system and methods.

            The patents-in-suit are United States Patent Nos. 7,116,710 (the ’710 patent); 7,421,032 (the ’032 patent); and 7,916,781 (the ’781 patent); all of which are entitled “Serial Concatenation of Interleaved Convolutional Codes Forming Turbo-Like Codes.” Caltech noted that earlier this year a jury found that Apple and Broadcom infringed these patents-in-suit in their respective suits, awarding Caltech $1.1 billion in damages.

          • China Releases Draft Revised Patent Examination Guidelines for Comment

            On November 10, 2020, the Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) released the Draft Revised Patent Examination Guidelines (Second Draft for Solicitation of Comments) (专利审查指南修改草案(第二批征求意见稿)). The Patent Examination Guidelines are the Chinese equivalent of the USPTO’s Manual of Patent Examining Procedure. Highlights include: excluding artificial intelligence entities from inventorship; clarifies patentable subject matter for diagnostic methods; clarifies prior art found on the Internet; clarifies technical means for inventions related to computer programs; and adds involuntary deferred examination for invention patent applications when both utility model and invention patent applications are filed simultaneously.

          • Codebooks for Cycles of Obviousness

            These are the codebooks for the study reported in Cycles of Obviousness (2019), which contain the instructions on how to code district and Federal Circuit opinions with determinations of patent obviousness issued between 2003 and 2013.

          • Patent Examination and Examiner Interviews

            Examiner interviews are one of the most powerful tools to help both inventors and examiners understand and overcome specific issues during prosecution. Direct discussions between an applicant and an examiner can help bridge the gap between misunderstandings of prior art, the invention or statements in the specification. When used correctly, examiner interviews can dramatically decrease the time in prosecution and help applicants quickly reach a final disposition. This study reviews approximately 1.1 million patent applications corresponding to every patent application with an examiner interview between 2007 to June 2020 to determine the effectiveness of examiner interviews. This study establishes that examiner interviews dramatically decrease the number of Office Actions needed to reach a final disposition (allowance or abandonment).

          • How semantic search/automated patent analysis tools can save researchers time [Ed: IAM is pushing snakeoil for a fee; this site has fallen to new lows; maybe homeopathic remedies next?]

            Time is a critical factor in the field of prior art searches. Research professionals can search by keyword, class or citation in order to extract an exhaustive list of prior arts relevant to the invention proposed to be claimed in the disclosure. However, semantic searches – a concept introduced by Google in the mid-2010s – can be effective and time-saving, as they combine a research professional’s expertise of the subject matter with an intelligent algorithm that teaches itself how to break down complex queries into manageable chunks from which it can decipher the correct meaning.

          • This week in IP: Biden wins, EU wants more counterfeits action, USPTO appoints general counsel

            The USPTO has appointed David Berdan as general counsel. Berdan is taking over from acting general counsel, Nicholas Matich, who replaced Sarah Harris. The office announced his appointment on Tuesday, November 10.

            Berdan joined the office from Gaming Arts, where he was general counsel and compliance officer. He has also worked as patent counsel at Corning, vice president and IP counsel at The Coleman Company, IP chief counsel at Invista and vice president of legal at International Game Technology.

            “America’s inventors, creators, and innovators will be well served with David Berdan as general counsel at the USPTO,” said director Andrei Iancu in a statement. “With his leadership experience and knowledge of so many aspects of technology and the law, Berdan will help guide the USPTO as we endeavour to expand innovation and support a growing and dynamic US economy.”


            TiVo and Comcast have announced a 15-year patent licence agreement that resolves all outstanding litigation.

            The companies’ previous agreement had expired in 2016. The new contract provides broad coverage under TiVo’s patent portfolios into 2031.

            “We are very pleased to conclude this agreement with Comcast, one of the world’s leading media and technology companies that is widely recognised for its innovative products and solutions,” said Samir Armaly, president of IP at Xperi, which merged with TiVo in June this year.

            In his statement, he added: “The agreement illustrates our ability to execute key renewals with our largest customers as the video market continues to experience significant technological and business evolution.”

          • Exclusive: Blackberry eyes possible patent portfolio sale

            Over the last six years the Canadian tech giant has emerged as a significant IP licensing force but its monetisation efforts are not always recognised by investors

          • Blackberry patent sale revealed; Pfizer vaccine IP issues; PTAB reform gets key Senate backing; Pharma royalty deals boom; Big Tech on notice in China; plus much more

            Blackberry is actively exploring options to sell its 38,000-asset strong patent portfolio and a possible deal has been on the table for most of this year.

          • Every IP subcommittee senator wins re-election – what now? [Ed: A misnomer committee, named after a lie made up by monopolies and law/litigation firms]

            Managing IP looks at what six Senate victories and Kamala Harris’s rise to the vice presidency mean for the IP subcommittee

          • DABUS applicant: ‘it would be criminal to list myself as inventor’

            In an interview, Stephen Thaler says the significant shift in AI capabilities has exposed a ‘donut-shaped hole’ in patent law

          • Patent Focus: recent local patents awarded
          • European Patent Office, Technical Board of Appeal 3.3.08, case T 844/18 – CRISPR-Cas/BROAD INSTITUTE

            In the beginning of this year, the decision of Technical Board of Appeal 3.3.08 of January 16, 2020 was reported, confirming the consistent practice of the EPO applying the „all applicants“ approach, meaning that the applicant of a European patent claiming a priority has to show, when the validity of the priority right becomes relevant, that he is successor in title of all persons having acquired the priority right by filing the first application.

            After some delay, the reasoned decision was issued and today entered into the database of Board of Appeal decisions. It has the following headnote:

            i) The board is empowered to and must assess the validity of a priority right claim as required by Article 87(1) EPC,
            ii) the board’s interpretation of the expression “any person” in Article 87(1) EPC confirms the long-established “all applicants” or the “same applicants” approach,
            iii) the national law does not govern who is “any person” as per Article 87(1) EPC, the Paris Convention determines who “any person” is.

          • Intellectual Property rights (Part II) [Ed: The title here is 3 lies in a row and this foolish ‘article’ says the UK “ratified the Agreement in 2013,” which is a complete falsehood. This firm doesn’t know what it’s talking about.]

            At first glance, there will be no change to present arrangements once the Transition Period ends on 31 December 2020 as the current two systems will continue to operate: the national registration system operated by the UK Intellectual Property Office and the European system (which is not an EU system even though it is based in Munich, Germany). For many years the member states of the EU have sought to create an EU unitary patent system and a Unified Patent Court. Having ratified the Agreement in 2013 [sic] the UK has withdrawn its ratification so should that system be implemented (and there are other difficulties surrounding its ratification/implementation by other EU member states) the UK will be outside it.

          • Around the IP Blogs

            The German ratification process for the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC) has been started anew after the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) had declared the previous ratification act void because it had not been approved by parliament with the required 2/3 majority. Now there is yet another development. The liberal party which is currently in opposition has filed on 27 October 2020 a parliamentary question (Kleine Anfrage) on the UPC. Kluwer Patent Blog reported on the most interesting bits of the parliamentary question.

          • Does Switzerland need a new patent system with a fully examined patent, utility models and opposition proceedings? – Kluwer Patent Blog %

            On 14 October 2020, the Swiss Federal Council published a preliminary draft of a revised version of the Swiss Patent Act (R-PatA; see current PatA). Further official documents in German/Italian/French can be found here: Explanatory Notes. The Swiss Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) published additional information in English here and here. Stakeholders are invited to comment on the draft bill by 1 February 2021.


            As a further procedural change, English, the reference language of science and research, can be used in application proceedings and opposition proceedings.

            For the sake of procedural efficiency, the IPI will have the opportunity to cooperate and exchange information with other national and international patent offices.

            Overall, the new draft would bring Switzerland a full-fledged patent system. This patent system would be independent of any developments at the European level. As is well known, Switzerland is not a member of the planned unitary EU patent system comprising a European patent with unitary effect and the Unified Patent Court and, therefore, a revision of the Swiss patent system could make sense against the background of these developments.

            However, the proposed changes would also require significant investments, especially in finding qualified personnel at the IPI and the Federal Administrative Court and the implementation of the new processes.

            The Swiss Federal Patent Court has already created a large pool of specialized judges who can be called upon for civil court patent cases. If it is not possible to create certain synergies in this respect, it seems difficult to find the necessary resources and skills. The current laws do not allow this and the proposed bill does not give a sufficient answer to this issue.

            Finally, it is not clear whether the new national patent system will actually meet a need of the Swiss economy as long as the patent protection via the European Patent Office functions as it does today. The number of national patents and utility models expected according to the explanatory notes seems very optimistic and many practitioners doubt that such a number of national patent applications and utility models would actually be filed under the new system. A rather large system seems to be proposed for relatively few cases.

          • Software Patents

            • Referring to a standard measurement method, eg an ASTM, can be an attractive way to minimise risks associated with parameters. However, care should be taken to avoid leaving weaknesses in a patent

              Referring to a standard measurement method, e.g. an ASTM, can be an attractive way to minimise risks associated with parameters. However, care should be taken to avoid leaving weaknesses in a patent
              EPO practice is strict on the assessment of parameters in claims, often requiring that a method for measuring the parameter is also included in the claim. Including a reference to a standard measurement method set by an international body, such as an ASTM standard or an ISO standard, can be an attractive way to address this issue. However, care must be taken when following this approach to avoid leaving weaknesses in the patent.

              A parameter is a property which is defined by a numerical value. Common examples include tensile strength, viscosity, and particle size. It is often useful to use parameters in claims to distinguish an invention from the current state of the art, particularly in the fields of chemistry and materials science. EPO practice has long been strict on the examination of the clarity of parameters. This has been reinforced by the latest revisions to the EPO’s Guidelines for Examination, in particular Section F-IV, 4.11, which was revised in November 2019. The Guidelines now require that a method for measuring a parameter must appear completely in the claim itself for that parameter to be clear. There are exceptions to this rule; however, these are narrow exceptions which are typically rigidly enforced by EPO examiners.

            • C R Bard Inc. v. AngioDynamics, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020) [Ed: Patent litigation profiteer Michael Borella shows that the patent maximalists are still very sore and upset about abstract patents being rejected, as they rightly should be]

              One of the more intellectually dishonest aspects of current patent eligibility law is that it allows one to ignore certain claim elements when evaluating claims under 35 U.S.C. § 101. In Mayo v. Prometheus, it was stated that once one has identified a judicial exception to patentability (e.g., a law of nature, natural phenomena, or abstract idea) in a claim, further claim elements that are “well-understood, routine, conventional activity [that] when viewed as a whole, add nothing significant beyond the sum of their parts taken separately” essentially have no patentable weight in the eligibility inquiry. This is despite the Court’s acknowledgement that Diamond v. Diehr stood for the notion that claims “must be considered as a whole.”[1]

              Further, the Supreme Court never dug into the details of whether or how this holding should be squared with prior art analyses under §§ 102 and 103. The Mayo opinion asserted that “in evaluating the significance of additional steps, the § 101 patent-eligibility inquiry and, say, the § 102 novelty inquiry might sometimes overlap.” But the nature of this overlap was not explored. Instead, in both Mayo and the subsequent Alice v. CLS Bank decision, the “well-understood, routine, conventional” test appears to allow judicial notice that certain claim features are so generic that one need not provide any factual evidence that this is the case. The Federal Circuit has attempted to rectify this matter in Berkheimer v. HP, holding that — in at least some situations — the § 101 analysis involves underlying factual matters of whether elements are “well-understood, routine, conventional.”

            • Artificial Intelligence Inventions & Patent Disclosure

              Artificial intelligence (“AI”) has attracted significant attention and has imposed challenges for society. Yet surprisingly, scholars have paid little attention to the impediments AI imposes on patent law’s disclosure function from the lenses of theory and policy. Patents are conditioned on inventors describing their inventions, but the inner workings and the use of AI in the inventive process are not properly understood or are largely unknown. The lack of transparency of the parameters of the AI inventive process or the use of AI makes it difficult to enable a future use of AI to achieve the same end state. While patent law’s enablement doctrine focuses on the particular result of the invention process, in contrast, this Article suggests that AI presents a lack of transparency and difficulty in replication that profoundly and fundamentally challenge disclosure theory in patent law. A reasonable onlooker or a patent examiner may find it difficult to explain the inner workings of AI. But even more pressing is a non-detection problem—an overall lack of disclosure of unidentified AI inventions, or knowing whether the particular end state was produced by the use of AI.

              The complexities of AI require enhancing the disclosure requirement since the peculiar characteristics of the end state cannot be described by the inventive process that produced it. This Article introduces a taxonomy of AI and argues that an enhanced AI patent disclosure requirement mitigates concerns surrounding the explainability of AI-based tools and the inherent inscrutability of AI-generated output. Such emphasis of patent disclosure for AI may steer some inventors toward trade secrecy and push others to seek patent protection against would-be patent infringers despite added ex ante costs and efforts. Utilitarian and Lockean theories suggest justifications for enhanced AI patent disclosure while recognizing some objections. Turning to the prescriptive, this Article proposes and assesses, as means for achieving enhanced disclosure, a variety of disclosure-specific incentives and data deposits for AI. It concludes by offering insights for innovation and for a future empirical study to verify its theoretical underpinnings.

        • Trademarks

          • Trademark Renewal Procedure: A Slip in IPAB’s Decision in Eveready Industries v. Kamlesh Chadha?

            The judgement of the IPAB (dated September 22, 2020) in Eveready Industries India Ltd v. Mrs. Kamlesh Chadha concerns original rectification petitions against two trademark registrations of the respondents – one for the word mark ‘Eveready’ and the other for a logo of Eveready, both in class 8 (screwdrivers, cutting pliers, hand tools etc.). The IPAB allowed the rectifications and directed the removal of the two marks from the Trade Marks Registry. This judgment is a highly fact-oriented and my objective here is not assess whether the conclusion of the IPAB was correct or incorrect.

            Instead, I wish to focus on a specific issue that bothered me when reading the judgement. One of the trademarks under challenge was granted under the erstwhile 1958 Act. It was renewed for successive periods of 7 years each, in 1992 and 1999. That is to say, in 2006, one of the respondent’s trademark had to be renewed. It appears that no notice under Section 25(3) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 was received three months before the expiry in 2006. Further, there was a disputed assignment agreement executed in 2009 in favour of the respondent, and it is pursuant to the same that the assignee/respondent sought for renewal in 2010 (which appears to have been allowed).

            One of the main defences of the Respondent was Section 33 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. Among others, the IPAB rejected this defence on the basis that Section 33 applies only for a registered trademark whereas when the rectification was filed in 2009, the registration of the trademark under challenge had automatically lapsed when the 7 year period expired in 2006 and no restoration application was filed within 1 year. Therefore, the filing for renewal/restoration application in 2010, and the allowance of the same, but effectively deemed void in law.

          • Generic.com brands fear uphill battle despite USPTO guidance

            Although the USPTO has released guidelines trying to clarify SCOTUS’s Booking.com ruling, generic.com brands will still be refused, say lawyers

        • Copyrights

          • Academics band together with publishers because access to research is a cybercrime

            What I find worrying is not that publishers, like Elsevier, Springer Nature or Cambridge University Press, want to protect their business against the Sci-hub threat. This is natural behaviour from a commercial point of view. These businesses (not sure about CUP) see their activity atacked, so they fight back to keep their profit up.

            The problem is with the academics. Why do they help the publishers? For whose benefit?

            I wrote again and again in the past that it is not enough to criticize the publishers for the bad bahaviour. Academic managers are to be blamed because they band with the publishers. Why does nobody asks them why?

          • La Liga Nominates Namecheap, eBay, Telegram and Shopify for ‘Piracy Watchlist’

            Spanish football league La Liga has reported several pirate streaming sites and illegal IPTV services to the US Trade Representative. The sports organization’s recommendations for the annual ‘notorious markets’ list also includes several third-party intermediaries such as Namecheap, eBay, Cloudflare, Telegram and Shopify.

          • BREIN Cracks Down on ‘Open Directory’ Piracy – But What is It?

            BREIN says it has closed down several “open directories” after they offered thousands of pirated eBooks to users in breach of copyright. With some operators now liable to pay settlements to the Dutch anti-piracy group, those familiar with more modern ways of obtaining content may be asking what this ancient form of file-sharing is all about.

Judges at the EPO (Boards of Appeal) Can Still be Punished for Ruling ‘Unfavourably’ on Patent Maximalism

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When judges are appointed or reappointed for loyalty/agenda things are bound to go south, with decisions acutely distressing

Roland Freisler
His Master’s Voice Roland Freisler, Germany’s own William Barr

Summary: The EPO follows juridical standards reminiscent of ‘third-world countries’ and even the German Constitutional Court is raising concerns about it, perhaps recalling a harrowing past of judges as mere extension of the executive (and executing) branch

THE EPO‘s Central Staff Committee has been very busy during the lock-downs. It wrote a large number of internal publications and circulated letters; while staff was besieged at home the representatives sought to guard the rights of staff. We applaud them for this; the same people who risked firing/defamation from António Campinos had also done that in the Benoît Battistelli era; we see many of the same names (staff trusts these people and re-elects them).

We have not heard about the Boards of Appeal’s (BoA) Presidium for a very long time. Years in fact. It’s still there, however, along with AMBA and other key bodies which lashed out at Battistelli and Kongstad (the corrupt slaughterer of chinchillas).

Roland Freisler, Franz Schlegelberger, Otto Georg Thierack and Curt Rothenberger“Career System for the Boards of Appeal,” as the Central Staff Committee put it, was also discussed. “Consultation in the Presidium” was done as the “Administrative Council ha[d] decided in 2019 that the Presidium of the Boards of Appeal (BoA) should be consulted on any proposal which concerns the conditions of employment of the members and chairs of the Boards, instead of the GCC. The Presidium has now given its (quite interesting) opinion on the Performance Evaluation Guidelines and the Career System for the BoA.”

For the uninitiated, every BoA deals with matters of law and compliance (like the EPC), unlike the EPO’s examiners, accountable directly to the Office. It’s very important that BoA members are well compensated (to attract suitable and competent candidates) and also independent, which they still aren’t. We occasionally see the Office meddling in their affairs. This harms their ability to judge independently, so impartiality can no longer be presumed.

Here’s what the publication from the Organisation says:

4 May 2020

Presidium’s Opinion on the Performance Evaluation Guidelines and the Career System

Dear Members of the BoAC,

The President of the Boards of Appeal asked the elected members of the Presidium to provide you with advice on the amended performance evaluation guidelines. While the elected members do not have major problems with the few editorial changes with respect to the previous version, they find it appropriate to provide their opinion on the whole document in the broader context of a discussion on amendments to the career system and to the performance evaluation guidelines. We note that Article 9 of the proposed guidelines provides a link between evaluation reports and the career system. In our view, the issues are also so inextricably linked that our main comments belong in a single document.


We generally welcome a fair and transparent Performance Evaluation System for certain purposes, however we think that the current career system in combination with its Performance Evaluation Guidelines are not suitable for the career development and re-appointment of members of the Boards of Appeal with judicial, in particular final instance judicial functions.

Career System

Although it is hard to explain all the principles, history, issues and problems in a short text, in the following, we try to give a comprehensible summary.

Before the introduction of the new career system, board members were in the A5 grade scale and chairs (then called chairmen) in the A6 grade scale. Step advancement within the grades was automatic (i.e. based on experience), yearly or two-yearly. There was some overlap between the grades. Moving from the post of member (A5) to chair (A6) required a new appointment based on a selection procedure that included a performance assessment and an assessment of the candidate’s suitability for the new post. The functions of members and chairs were clearly separated.

The new Office career system introduced “technical” and a “managerial” career paths, each with a hierarchy of job groups and a corresponding range of non-overlapping grades. Step progression is performance-based, and grade advancement is via a promotion.

Job group Technical path Managerial path Grade range Old grade
Job group 2 Principal advisor
Board of appeal chairman
Principal director G15, step1 –
G16, step 4
Job group 3 Senior expert
Board of appeal member
Director G13, step 3 –
G15, step 4

All members of the Boards are in the “technical” career path. Members are in job group 3 and chairs in group 2. The previous grades (A5/A6) corresponded to these job groups, but the relevant new grades (G13-G16) are more fine-grained. As a result, there was more than one new grade in each job group and hence a possible promotion within each job group. This still applies to members (see below).

In its December 2014 meeting, the Council approved the new system “on the understanding that the provisions regarding appraisal, performance, step advancement, bonus, promotion and all career-related elements for Council appointees as members of the boards of appeal will not apply until specific provisions have been included in documents concerning the organisation and functioning of DG 3…” (OJ 2015, page 4)

In May 2015, the Presidium and the committee of the Association of the Members of the Boards of Appeal (AMBA) noted this in a letter to the joint DG3/Office Task Force responsible for the institutional reform of the Boards of Appeal. They also offered their view that the provisions presented to the Council should be appropriate for persons exercising a judicial function and should have inter alia:

- No performance-related pay (Nr. 55 of CM/Rec(2010)12), which implies:
• A third career path “Boards of Appeal” with a single grade per function;
• Job profiles with core competencies which are specific to the BoA;
• Seniority based step in grade advancement;
• No bonuses;
• A salary package which will allow the BOA to recruit competent members bothfrom inside and outside the Office.

In September 2015, the Presidium/AMBA met with the Task Force and presented further considerations for an appropriate career system (see Annex 1).

The Office subsequently submitted an orientation paper CA/98/15 on the structural reform. AMBA commented on it in a position paper in December 2015 inter alia as follows:

7. The proposal puts the Boards back in the Office’s “technical” career path (as defined in Art. 47 ServRegs) [24]. The Council recognised this as inappropriate for the Boards, which is why a transitional system was adopted. Not mentioned is the Boards’ paper regarding a career system. The main points were that the principles of judicial independence and security of tenure require that re-appointment should not be based on performance and that all board members (or chairs) do the same job so that proficiency levels and promotion within a job level make no sense and would give a strange impression to the parties. The paper also proposed various scenarios to address these problems, by having grade advancement at re-appointment.

In June 2016, the Council approved the reform of the Boards of Appeal (CA/43/16 Rev.1), which put the members and chairs in the same “technical” career system as examiners, but with a modified progression (paragraphs [31-42] and the changes to the ServRegs in CA/D 8/16). Essentially, members and chairs were assigned the fixed grades G14 step 1 and G16 step 1, respectively. There was no possibility of step advancement and the promotion of members from G14/1 to G15/1 (there is no corresponding provision for chairs) was dependent on a recommendation by the President of the BoA at the same time as reappointment (i.e. once every five years).

This structure was favourable for new members, who would start in the Boards on the grade of G14/1, which corresponded to the old grade of around A5/9, i.e. up to nine years ahead of where they would have been previously. However, it was not so good for experienced members who, being at the same grade, effectively lost around nine years in comparison to new colleagues. Moreover, the only available further advancement was the “promotion” to G15/1, which was conditional on a recommendation determined solely by the President of the BoA.

In July 2016, AMBA commented on this as follows:

Instead of a providing a career system appropriate to a judicial body, the link between grade and performance evaluation for the Technical and Legal members may result in substantial differences in remuneration for members doing essentially the same work. This sort of substantial monetary reward for productivity is unknown in Member States (two or three do have a very small fraction of judges’ salary dependent on appraisal, and they are strongly criticised for it by the CCEJ).

Recently, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court held, in their decision BVerfG, 2 BvR 780/16, Rdnr. 59 (unofficial translation from the German original) that:

Measures concerning the status of the judge may also be indirect influences on the judicial decision. By limiting such possibilities of influence, the danger of “rewarding” or “punishing” for a certain decision-making behaviour is to be countered….

For this reason, the advancement of judges in the pay grades must be standardised by law and must not be left to the discretion of the executive.

It would be unconstitutional for the administration of justice to have discretion to assign judges with the same office and the same judicial function to posts of different grades.

Furthermore, in order to protect the independence of judges, Article 97 paragraph 1 German constitution (Grundgesetz) contains the fundamental obligation to avoid a hierarchical structuring of the judiciary by creating “Beförderungsämter” (loosely: promotion positions) along the lines of the career development principle under civil service law and to provide for as few promotion positions as possible.

It is our view that the present career system does not respect these basic principles; the advancement is not standardised by law, but is at the sole discretion of the President of the BoA based on his evaluation of performance, there is assignment of members with the same functions to different grades (G14/1 and G15/1), which is a hierarchical structure that follows the Office’s “technical” career path.

The fact that, unlike others in the same job group, members and chairs have no possibility of reaching the final grade and step is a further cause for concern, but is left aside for the purposes of this paper.

Evaluation Guidelines

The President of the BoA has drafted guidelines for the evaluation of the performance of members and chairs (chairmen) of the Boards of Appeal.

However, these do not remove the “discretion on the part of the judicial administration to appoint [Board members] with the same office and the same judicial function to posts of different grades” as objected to in the above noted German constitutional court decision. Rather, they retain the President of the BoA’s sole authority over such discretion. This amounts to what is often referred to as a lack of “internal” independence.

Although the Presidium objects to this lack of internal independence as such, the current system would already be improved if the Guidelines specified how the discretion was to be exercised. This would go some way towards the “standardis[ation] by law” of the advancement in grade. It is regrettable that the Guidelines give no guidance at all, but only refer to the evaluation reports in Article 9(1) and need for at least one assessment of very good in Article 9(3).

The evaluation report templates in the Annex to the Guidelines, in turn, give no guidance in this respect, since, in the definition of the overall grades 1 and 2, there is no explanation of what is meant by contributes greatly or significantly to the performance and functioning of the board (see the explanations under “Overall grade”, Grade 1 and Grade 2 in item 4 of the Annex), or how any objective judgment of this can be made; moreover, in plain English, they are synonymous. As will be recognised, it is the overall grade, and that alone, which is of importance and which determines possible advancement, and this is entirely at the discretion of the President of the BoA.

Further, it will be noted that, in the Annex to the Guidelines, before point 1 (Objectives), the introduction states that the “focus of the performance evaluation shall lie on quality”, and indeed many of the competencies refer to aspects attributable to quality. However, the overall grade which “shall depend on how the individual competencies have been evaluated”, is not based on this, but on unstated criteria concerning the contribution to the performance and functioning of the Board, leading to an unpredictable result. An example of this is the inexplicable discrepancy in the promotion rate of legally and technically qualified members.

It should also be understood that the President of the BoA, who exercises discretion on the overall grade, is faced with input from chairs who each evaluate their own Board members without knowing what standard other chairs are using in their evaluations. Simply put, one chair might evaluate their members as “very good” while another chair might evaluate their members as “sufficient”, although performance is essentially equal. Thus, even the evaluations provided by the individual chairs will not provide the President of the BoA with the information needed to exercise discretion in an objective manner.


The elected members of the Presidium, the autonomous authority within the Boards of Appeal Unit under R. 12(b)(1) EPC, welcome the opportunity of presenting our view on the career system and its application.

In our view, the present career system and its guidelines are not suitable for the promotion and re-appointment of members of the Boards of Appeal with judicial, in particular final instance judicial functions.

We would respectfully ask that you recognise this and consider initiating improvements.

Alternatively, and as a preliminary step, we would invite you, as the Administrative Council’s advisory body in respect of its supervisory duties relating to the BoA (CA/D 7/16, Article 4, paragraph 1), to advise the AC to have an independent review of the system carried out by an appropriate internationally recognised body such as the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ).

Finally, in analogy with the Administrative Council’s rules for staff representatives at council meetings, we would request that two members of the Presidium be present at BoAC meetings to discuss this matter (see Rules of Procedure of the AC, Article 7, paragraph 4.1 and Article 14, paragraph 5, which also applies to the meetings of the BoAC, see CA/D 7/16, Article 3, paragraph 4).

Yours sincerely,

The elected members of the Presidium.

This shows that in legal and practical terms little has improved; Campinos squashed the 'Haar question' and judges never regained their autonomy/independence. Now, as it turns out, the system for promotion (or demotion in the sense of lack of promotion as per a fixed scale, set aside re-appointments) is another way to ‘punish’ judges who rule the ‘wrong’ way. This is the pattern of judgments we’re accustomed to seeing in primitive nations where law is tied to religion, monarchy, cults and superstitions.

Inside the EPO During Corona: The EPO is Silently Shrinking in Vienna and Dictator António Campinos Defends His Bully and Union Buster, Elodie Bergot

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 5:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Staff is being muzzled and Benoît Battistelli is still at the EPO, in spirit or by proxy at least

Grave Endings
Battistelli has used the EPO's cash reserves for gambling, for personal gain (a major scandal that should be in the front page of every European paper)

Summary: The erosion of staff financing and the depletion of staff at the EPO isn’t a subject that the European media ever touches; it’s almost as if Europe’s second-largest institution and the abuses inside that institution are totally unspeakable, only to be buried deep inside internal documents

THE regime of António Campinos continues to ignore the advice from staff. It’s more like a kingdom or dictatorship rather than a public institution; just as they ignore European software developers and grant illegal software patents in Europe to basically besiege these developers on behalf of foreign litigation companies and patent trolls…

“Months ago we learned about documents which confirmed layoffs on the way. We published leaks to that effect.”In the spirit of declassification, today we release a 6-month-old report from the GCC, which makes it very explicit that it’s not happy about Elodie Bergot lurking after bullying staff and representatives of staff. Of particular interest, to us at least, is the part which says they “inquired about the situation in Vienna, where staff is depleting quite quickly without any corresponding decrease in work volume.”

Months ago we learned about documents which confirmed layoffs on the way. We published leaks to that effect.

Here’s the introduction/introductory text as posted half a year ago:

GCC meeting on 6 May 2020 – Consultation on the “Salary Adjustment Procedure”

The GCC official agenda contained one main item for consultation, namely the procedure for adjusting the remuneration of permanent employees of the EPO (CA/19/20). The President refused to submit for consultation the other document (CA/18/20) relating to the bundle of measures selected to fill the alleged financial gap.

Management limited the whole discussion on the bundle of financial measures, including the discussion on the salary adjustment procedure, to droning the usual buzzwords and arguments. Quite interestingly, “predictability” was presented as the certainty of saving money quickly regardless of economic developments. It is the overriding principle for the salary adjustment procedure, but a subordinate one for the other measures in the bundle.

The President agreed to discuss additional items relating to the EPO’s current recruitment policy and the (present lack of) consultation on “New normal”.

The corresponding full publication below, as HTML.

Munich, 15.05.2020
sc20084cp – 0.2.1/6.2.1

Report on the meeting of the General Consultative Committee (GCC) of 6 May 2020

The GCC met by videoconference.

The items for consultation

Two items were submitted to the agenda for consultation:

1. Procedure for adjusting the remuneration of permanent employees of the European Patent Office – Amendment of the Implementing Rule for Article 64 of the Service Regulations for permanent and other employees of the EPO CA/19/20 et CA/19/20 Add. 1 (GCC/DOC 5/2020)

2. Public holidays 2020 for the Brussels Office (GCC/DOC 6/2020)

As in the previous GCC meeting held by ViCo1, the members of the GCC did not practice the awkward simultaneous “show of hands” foreseen in the ServRegs. Instead, the President asked us to give him our opinions in writing. In a later email, he asked all GCC members to send their opinion in writing to the GCC Secretariat before Friday, 8 May 2020, 16:00 hrs. We are not aware whether all GCC members appointed by the President sent their opinion. We for our part gave our opinions within the set time limit. They are annexed to the present report and reflect the collective, unanimous, view of the CSC members in the GCC.

The item for information

One item was submitted for information:

Long-term financial stability of the organisation – Bundle of measures for the period 2020-2038 (GCC/DOC 7/2020)

The document will be presented to the Administrative Council for formal approval, i.e. for general political support to the bundle2. However, it is submitted to the GCC for information only although it contains matter relating to the conditions of employment of staff for which GCC consultation is mandatory3. Indeed, it presents the choice and the intensity of the measures selected to fill the alleged financial gap, in particular the share of the burden to be borne by staff. In addition, some specific aspects will touch the working conditions of staff, e.g. an increase in productivity (by 20%) or the prospect of recruiting less employees in future4. We had made further alternative proposals for a bundle of measures improving the sustainability of the Office5. Not a single one of them found its way into the final document (CA/18/20).

1 See our report on the GCC meeting on 1 April 2020
2 See points 2 and 3 in CA/18/20
3 See Article 38(2) ServRegs
4 See points 38 to 41 in CA/18/20
5 See as an illustration our fourth proposal

Additional matters

The President agreed to adding two further items to the agenda under Any other business:

1. The EPO’s current recruitment policy

2. Consultation on “New normal”.

When addressing the impact of the pandemic on recruitment, we also inquired about the situation in Vienna, where staff is depleting quite quickly without any corresponding decrease in work volume. VP4 explained her current views: work is to be “re-balanced” among the remaining staff and recruitment should be the exception, to be decided on a case-by-case basis. We argued that the situation in Vienna is specific in that the teams are quite small and highly specialised. This makes re-balancing difficult in our view.

Regarding the “New normal”, the President forecasts that the current crisis will cause a drop in the workload (10% less filings, 10% less fees, 10% more withdrawals). He confirmed VP4’s views and announced that the plans for the “New normal” would consider the specifics for Vienna and Berlin, too. In his view, the crisis has also proved that staff can “work from everywhere”. We think that, depending on its scale, teleworking might entail legal pitfalls and raise expectations amongst staff which cannot be fulfilled. Especially “extended” teleworking6 might require consulting the Contracting States7.

He committed to meeting the staff representation … after he has figured out the way to go. Early involvement of staff representatives is not envisaged, but we could always send him our ideas. Going by past experience, such input will simply be filed vertically.


More than in the first virtual GCC meeting, the President was obviously wary of making the consultation process as “regular” as possible. The videoconference went reasonably well, despite some participants’ connections sporadically failing. Similar to the first meeting, it was actually more an audioconference since most attendees had to switch off video to preserve bandwidth. In that we could not gauge the (lack of) impact of our interventions on the management side and ViCos are still quite far from replacing meetings in person.

Management limited the whole discussion on the bundle of financial measures, including the discussion on the salary adjustment procedure, to droning the usual buzzwords and arguments. Quite interestingly, “predictability” was presented as the certainty of saving money quickly regardless of economic developments. It is the overriding principle for the salary adjustment procedure, but a subordinate one for the other measures in the bundle8.

When asked about the presence of PD43 in the GCC, who conducted abusive disciplinary procedures against GCC members9, the President replied that she was an excellent professional with excellent competences and that she had his full trust.

Whilst continuing to pretend to “meaningfully consult” staff representation, this meeting confirmed our recent experience: Consultation is an obligation to be kept at a minimum. Whilst different in style, he is not different from his predecessor in this respect.

The Central Staff Committee

Annexes: opinions on GCC/DOC 5/2020 and GCC/DOC 6/2020

6 I.e. staff working from any country different from the host countries
7 See Articles 33 and 172 EPC
8 E.g. about IT savings (“Digitize the PGP end-to-end”), VP4 announced that she did not have a crystal ball.
9 See for instance ILOAT Judgment 4043 reinstating Ion Brumme.

Opinion of the CSC members of the GCC on GCC/DOC 05/2020: Procedure for adjusting the remuneration of permanent employees of the European Patent Office

The CSC members of the GCC give the following opinion on the proposal to amend the Implementing Rule for Article 64 of the Service Regulations for permanent and other employees of the EPO, documents CA/19/20 and CA/19/20 Add. 1:

On the consultation

The proposal consists of Measure 1 of the Financial Study conducted by Oliver Wyman & Mercer in 2019. The study was organized by a steering committee solely composed of MAC members and upper management, entirely excluding staff representation.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the administration decided to maintain the timeline of the consultation on this reform, shifted to videoconferences with constant technical problems and maintained the ban on mass e-mails hindering staff representatives from keeping in touch with staff during the large-scale implementation of teleworking.

Under these difficult conditions, the staff representatives worked on a counter-proposal1 finalized after several iterations and discussions to bridge the “alleged” gap of the administration. The administration did not move an inch. There is no indication that during the whole “consultation” process our comments and proposals were seriously considered by the administration. The same attitude of management and especially PD4.3 could be observed at the time of the implementation of the New Career System (NCS).

At the time of the GCC meeting of 6 May, several documents are still missing for the
following stated reasons:

• The Advisory Group on Remuneration (the Wise Men) was consulted but the President refused to provide the staff representation with the results of this consultation.
• The Directorate Employment Law was also consulted, but the President refused to provide the staff representation with the legal assessment.

Background documents were sent to the GCC members only 49 minutes before the meeting, after the preparation meeting of the members of the CSC, thereby not allowing for any consideration-time.

In an-email sent to the President and VP4, Mr Curt Edfjäll (President of the EPO Pensioners Association and former VP4) complained that his “repeated requests for the Association to be allowed to take part in the Working Groups with representatives from the Office and Staff Representation to discuss the measures in the Financial Study and the new salary method, both affecting directly the large stakeholder group of Office pensioners were always turned down.” and doesn’t share the conclusion that “the Office’s course of action is transparent and conducive of good cooperation.”

1 https://ww.suepo.org/archive/sc20054cl.pdf

On the substance

The choice of scenario

The Base 2 Scenario chosen by the President is not based on an economic forecast but on a theoretical stress test scenario performed by the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB). The ESRB itself states as a disclaimer for its scenario that the “Scenario presented is not a forecast. It should not be interpreted as the ESRB’s expectations about future economic and financial developments.”

The President chose the Base 2 scenario is based on a global recession, an economic cycle based on a pitch black recession in Europe lasting 3 years, which has not happened since WWII and which is not even factored in to current COVID-19 predictions. In this scenario, the consultants then produced an alleged gap of EUR 3.8bn and the President added on top an arbitrary buffer of EUR 2bn, again without any consultation of the staff representation.

This gap is the result of a balance which is deducting the EPO’s liabilities from the EPO’s assets. It thus does not reveal a cash flow shortage.

Eurostat data shows that a negative nominal GDP growth over two consecutive years was never observed in Europe since they started to capture data. The period available in Eurostat covers both major crises of the recent past, namely the burst of the 2001 dotcom bubble and the 2009 subprime crisis. The extreme Base 2 Scenario should only be selected if and when it actually materialises, and exceptional measures should only be applied in that event. Nonetheless, over time the President moved from wanting to cover the gap in case a base 2 scenario should materialise to covering calculated base 2 scenario gap in any case.

Even the First quarter report for 2020 from the Administrator of the RFPSS (RFPSS/SB 22/20) shows that the RFPSS’ assets after the financial markets shock in the COVID-19 crisis is at the level of before the financial markets shock of the Base 2 scenario (both at EUR 8.2bn, see Q1 report of the Funds Administrator and the assumed asset value at the end of 2019 in the Base 2 Scenario of the Financial Study).

Selecting this scenario as a regular case is entirely unreasonable and illustrates management’s sole intention of cutting staff’s purchasing power.

Forgotten Real Estate Assets of EUR 2.9bn in Financial Study

The gap is the result of a balance which is deducting the EPO’s liabilities from the EPO’s assets. It therefore does not reveal a cash flow shortage. Indeed, in 2038, the RFPSS and the EPOTIF assets together will surpass the basic salaries and pensions several times.

When balancing the assets and the liabilities, one may not selectively neglect either assets or liabilities to achieve a meaningful result. However, this was done.

In any case, this balance disregards some EUR 2.9bn of real estate which under all accounting standards qualifies as an asset. Indeed, the EUR 1bn Building Investment Program agreed by the Administrative Council thus increases the gap although from an economic point of view, it is only shifted from the cash accounts (EPOTIF) to real estate.

Had the Administrative Council decided to invest EUR 3bn in EPO buildings, the gap would have increased by another EUR 2bn. It is however obvious that the asset only was shifted from financial investments in the EPOTIF to real restate and therefore does not affect the overall asset status.

By neglecting the direct real estate (such as a building in Munich or the Hague), it suddenly plays a role in “finding” a “gap” whether the EPO invests money into its buildings or keeps

the money invested in listed real estate (such as Real Estate Investment Trusts) via the EPOTIF, although from an economic point of view, it doesn’t make a difference.

Forgotten income of EUR 6bn in the Financial Study

Pension payments made after 2038 are taken into account when calculating the alleged gap. By contrast, National Renewal Fees paid back to the Office after 2038 are not even considered. Despite our repeated inquiries, management has never been prepared to disclose the Net Present Value of the NRF in 2038.

The staff representation estimates this forgotten income2 to exceed EUR 6bn, yet this balance is totally ignored. The EPO is entitled to national renewal fees also beyond 2038 for work accomplished before 2038. From an economic point of view these EUR 6bn also qualify as an asset. It is emphasised that charging post grant renewal fees is a design feature for the financing of all the patent systems we are aware of and which has continuously worked for decades, even before the EPO existed.

Neglecting this income for merely formal reasons (IFRS) is denying the reality of patent offices since more than a century.

Global cap

The Office pretends that the salary adjustments are highly volatile, which complicates the predictability of the budget. According to them, this is linked to the Specific Indicator (SI).

When confronted with a volatile parameter, the first thing to do is to smooth it without changing the long-term result. However, the current proposal introducing a global cap will not only reduce the volatility but also change the long-term result.

The staff representation therefore suggested an averaging mechanism, as it is also done in the Coordinated Organisations (COs).

Nevertheless, the consultants only propose a cap, which obviously smoothens, but at the same time changes, the result considerably. The proposal, if applied to the prosperous past 6 years from 2014 to 2019, would have cut the salary scales by 7% or the equivalent of some 3 steps in the EPO salary grid, lagging the evolution of the cost of living in our places of employment by around 4%.

It shows that the new salary adjustment method is constructed to systematically erode purchasing power mainly during expansive economic cycles and therefore does not even qualify as a salary adjustment procedure but as a salary erosion procedure with a huge negative effect also on the pensions.

2 https://www.suepo.org/archive/sc20014cp.pdf

Double counting

This mechanism avoids that increases in the contributions to social schemes are counted twice, thereby affecting the principle of parallelism with the salary evolution of national civil servants.

It is an important mechanism since contributions to social security, pensions, healthcare insurance and long-term care-insurance in the EPO have increased a lot recently. 3

Removing this long-standing fairness mechanism demonstrates the intent to not only cap but also to make sure that the adjustments do not even reach the cap.

Carry forward of salary adjustments

The proposed carry forward mechanism bears legal risks. It will likely not stand in front of the Tribunal, since it is not adapted for a salary adjustment procedure.

Pensions will be excluded from this mechanism, thereby creating an inequality of treatment in breach of Art. 33 EPC, likely to trigger further litigation by many pensioners.

Shift of pay-out to January

The proposal shifts the date of effect of the adjustment from 1 July to 1 January.

This was also done in the Coordinated Organisations. Nevertheless, a delay in paying an adjustment must be properly compensated. In the Coordinated Organisations this delay was compensated by a one-off increase of the scales.

Instead the Office proposes “to pay out as a compensatory lump sum the adjustment that would have resulted from the application of the new method as from 1 July 2020, in proportion to the basic salaries, pensions and allowances received over that period.” The scales as from 1 January will therefore not comprise the adjustment over the 6 months from 1 July 2020 to 1 January 2021. This adjustment will therefore be missing for ever, leading to a permanent cut in salaries and (future) pensions, constituting a hidden financial measure to the detriment of staff and pensioners.


PD Finance stressed that the Office proposal is for the coming 20 years to save € 2 billion but the President in his letter of 31 March pretended it would apply only to the coming 6 years.

In any case, the Office claims that the reversibility is reflected in the 6 year duration of the salary adjustment procedure. This isn’t reversibility but procrastination. A reversible measure is something which is reversed within the current method. There is no such reversibility in their proposal.

3 Explanatory example: Assume that all national civil servants had a 0% salary adjustment at 0% inflation. Assume further, that during this time both the national pension contributions and the EPO pension contributions were increased by 3%. Since in the salary adjustment method only the net income is considered, this increase of the national pension contribution would translate into -3% salary adjustment of the EPO salaries. Combined with the 3% increase of our own EPO pension contributions at the same time, the overall effect is that the net EPO salaries would be decreased by 6% while the salaries of the national civil servants would have decreased by 3%.
The mechanism against double counting exists to neutralise such effects of counting increases in pension and social security contributions twice.

Neglected further proposals to the financial bundle and principles

From start of the discussions on the “financial measures” the staff representatives submitted a series of other proposals adding to the financial measures as proposed by the external consultants in CA/83/19 “Financial Study 2019 (Phase II) – Measures Assessment” of October 2019. These additional measures identified opportunities for saving several billions without the need for cutting on staff benefits. Some of these measures relate to the need of restructuring the EPO procedural and internal renewal fees. Not addressing these issues would constitute mismanagement. The discussions on these additional measures have been postponed by the President to a later date and are not being considered for the time being. When presenting the financial measures to the Council and to staff the President referred to principles underlying the reform, such as gradual implementation, shared effort, proportionality and fairness, affordability, and reversibility. In particular, gradual implementation implied that not everything had to be done at once. Now, the financial bundle presented in CA/18/20 envisages savings of EUR 6.4bn, even more than the alleged gap of EUR 3.8bn plus the arbitrary buffer of EUR 2bn. The consideration of the additional proposals of the staff representation is not foreseen even at a later stage. So, there goes the stated commitment to gradual implementation. Likewise, the shared effort is mainly on staff and no reversibility is foreseen, in particular for the SAP. In doing so, he also reneges on proportionality and fairness and exceeds what staff can afford to contribute.


The counter-proposal designed by the staff representatives strictly respects the equality of purchasing power, it does not entail legal risks as it treats all groups of staff equally, it follows economic cycles under the Base 2 scenario and it preserves the essence of the current salary adjustment procedure, and even the consultants acknowledged it would save EUR 2bn just like the Office proposal in case a Base 2 scenario would materialise. It is therefore fit for purpose.

Instead, the President prefers to insist on a EUR 5.8bn gap which exists only because EUR 9bn of assets were neglected, chooses to mislead the Administrative Council on this fact and continues with the salary adjustment method designed by the same people that previously designed the career system. The Office already has the worst career system of any International Organisations. It will now also have the worst salary adjustment method.

Post grant renewal fees qualify as an asset from an economic point of view. Real estate constitutes an asset in all accounting standards. Particularly neglecting real estate as an asset will make the EPO a laughing stock. It will seriously damage the reputation far beyond the Finance and HR departments. It will certainly damage the reputation of a President who pretends to maintain a social dialogue but doesn’t have the backbone to tell staff that he will just cut their salaries for the sake of it. Instead he chooses to hide behind a study which is so obviously intentionally biased that it insults staff’s intelligence.

We are confident that on such a basis, an erosion of purchasing power is neither justified nor urgent. The social unrest, the legal actions and the damage of the reputation of the EPO following such an exercise will be exclusively attributable to the responsible people and ultimately to the president. Indeed, cutting the salaries of staff because billions of euros in real estate and a vested financing model are ignored will tell stories about both the ethics and competence of our top management and ultimately the attractiveness of the EPO as an employer. It is a missed opportunity to find a common agreement.

In particular on the basis of the incomplete, insufficient documents we had, the CSC members of the GCC are unanimously against proposal GCC/DOC 05/2020.

Opinion of the CSC members of the GCC on GCC/DOC 06/2020: Public Holidays 2020 for the Brussels Office

The CSC members of the GCC give a unanimous positive opinion on the proposed exchange of 11 June 2020 (Corpus Christi in Munich) with 21 July 2020 (Belgium National Day) as public holiday for the Brussels Office. The proposal is a reasonable arrangement of the flexibility provided for in section 3 of Circular No. 398.

There’s lots there (above) about finances and the subject was covered here before; it’s not the foremost matter/issue to us, but it’s a big deal for EPO staff.

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 15, 2020

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