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Links 30/4/2020: Cockpit 218, Parrot 4.9, WordPress 5.4.1

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Bitcoin SV Node team introduces new version 1.0.3

        One of the changes included is the ability for the single release binary to run on both Ubuntu 18.04 and CentOS 8. For Linux fans that prefer either Ubuntu 16.04 or CentOS 7, the binary would have to be built manually, but Bitcoin SV Node developers have included the instructions on how to carry out the procedure with the new 1.0.3 release. It would most likely be easier to update the OS software, though, and use the single release binary.

      • [buzzword drives buzzword] How Serverless Accelerates DevSecOps

        Serverless drives agility and speed, but that’s not all that a well-architected serverless approach enables. Serverless is a catalyst for improving security too.

        With DevOps processes, the concept of Infrastructure-as-Code is a recommended best practice. In a serverless approach, treating infrastructure-as-code isn’t only recommended, it’s required. There is no way around it. The great benefit of embedded infrastructure-as-code approaches is that from the onset of the software development lifecycle, security can be integrated into the process.

        With serverless, DevSecOps is a reality where engineers can architect with tightly scoped roles, and develop with fine-grained permissions as part of the process, without losing speed.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-04-29 | Linux Headlines

        Red Hat’s virtual Summit kicks off with exciting news for OpenShift users, Endless OS 3.8.0 and Fedora 32 both arrive with GNOME 3.36 in tow, VLC’s latest release adds better support for network media access, and QEMU 5.0 makes it easier than ever to share files with virtualized guests.

      • FLOSS Weekly 576: Contractor

        Contractor is an Extendable Resource Management API. The goal of Contractor is to provide an API to Automate the Provisioning, Deployment, Configuration, and Management of Resources.

      • Lunduke and Friends - April 25th, 2020

        This episode of Lunduke & Friends was recorded live on April 25th, 2020. You can grab the recording a bunch of different ways: YouTube - LBRY - Audio Podcast RSS This time, I'm joined by three super duper awesome nerds: Chris Titus (Chris Titus Tech on YouTube) Matt Hartley (veteran Linux Journalist) Gardiner Bryant (The Linux Gamer on YouTube) Some topics include: Flatpak, Snapy, AppImage, Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), Linux v Windows for live streaming, Linux Audio (Jack, PulseAudio, ALSA, Bluetooth), Windows users coming to Linux, Windows 95 and 98, SystemD, Upstart, Crontab, new Ubuntu release, failed Canonical projects, Microsoft buying Canonical or SUSE, ISDN, DSL, Virtual Reality, VIM, and lots of other Linux-y, Nerdy stuff.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 855

        ubuntu 20.04, 3d printing, table repairs, yums

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux home directory management is about to undergo major change

          When systemd was released in 2010, there was a storm of vitriol surrounding the change in how services were to be started in Linux. The new mechanism was touted as being bloated and far too complicated to be useful. Since then, all enterprise Linux distributions have adopted systemd and the majority of desktop distributions have as well.

        For those who aren't familiar with systemd, it is that which initializes all systems on the Linux platform. Anyone that manages Linux within a data center should be intimately familiar with this system. By providing all of the necessary controls and daemons for device management, user login, network connections, and event logging, systemd makes for easy resource initialization and management—all from a single point of entry (systemctl).

      • Linux 5.6.8
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.6.8 kernel.

        All users of the 5.6 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.6.y git tree can be found at: git:// linux-5.6.y and can be browsed at the normal git web browser:

      • Linux 5.4.36
      • Linux 4.19.119
      • Virginia Tech's "Popcorn Linux" For Distributed Thread Execution Seeking Feedback, Possible Upstreaming

        Popcorn Linux has been a multi-year effort out of Virginia Tech's Software and Systems Research Group for distributed thread execution across systems and even potentially different ISAs/accelerators given today's heterogeneous hardware.

        Popcorn Linux is principally based around the Popcorn Compiler, a modified version of LLVM, and modifications to the Linux kernel and a support run-time library to allow for execution with a shared code-base on distributed hosts.

      • QEMU 5.0 Supports Recent Armv8.x Features, Cortex-M7 CPU, Host Directory Access, and More

          QEMU (Quick EMUlator) is an open-source emulator that’s great to run programs on various architectures such as Arm, RISC-V, and many others when you don’t own proper hardware.

        The developers have now released QEMU 5.0.0 will plenty of new features and such as support for Armv8.1 to Armv8.4 architectures, Arm Cortex-M7 processor, various changes to MIPS, PowerPC, RISC-V, s390… architectures, support for accessing a directory on the host filesystem from the guest using virtiofsd and more.

      • QEMU version 5.0.0 released
      • Graphics Stack

        • GPUs Unleashed: Intel Releases First Unlocked GPU Driver For OEM Systems

          While Intel’s integrated GPUs have made immense strides over the past decade, there’s been one particular legacy they’ve been unable to break free from: OEM driver locking. Due to the large degree of customization and optimization that OEMs sometimes do to their systems, some OEMs have insisted on having video drivers “locked” to their platforms, so that only video drivers that they’ve customized and distributed can be installed.

          This structure has always offered at least a modicum of utility, ensuring that newer drivers don’t break things or otherwise interfere with those system customizations. But as desktops and laptops live longer than ever, OEM have demonstrated a shorter attention span than Intel when it comes to driver updates. As a result, unfortunate system owners have found themselves stuck in a bind with older (and even some newer) systems, where there are newer drivers with important bug fixes for games and applications, but those drivers can’t be installed because they haven’t been customized and approved by the OEM.

        • 17 Years Later: Intel 865 Chipset Seeing FBC Enabled On Linux

          The Intel 865 "Springdale" chipset came in 2003 with Intel Extreme Graphics 2. While the OpenGL 1.3 era hardware will have a tough time running any modern workloads or even composited desktops, just this week frame-buffer compression (FBC) support for i865 was sent out for the Linux kernel.

        • Radeon Displayable DCC Gets Enabled For Navi 12 + Navi 14 GPUs

          Adding to the last minute AMD Radeon additions for making the Mesa 20.1 feature cut-off is enabling displayable DCC support for Navi 12 and Navi 14 graphics processors.

          GFX10/Navi has already supported delta color compression for saving video memory bandwidth while this change is about "displayable DCC", or DCC for surfaces being scanned out to the display for benefiting from color compression.

    • Applications

      • VLC 3.0.10 Released with SMB2 / 3, Improved DVD Support

        The VideoLAN team announced the release of VLC media player 3.0.10 a few days ago. They skipped version 3.0.9 and marked VLC 3.0.10 as the ninth update of “Vetinari”.

      • Cockpit Project: Cockpit 218

        Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 218.

      • Qmmp 1.4.0 Released with Sleep Mode Inhibition, Socks5 Proxy Support

        Qmmp, qt-based audio player with winamp like user interface, released version 1.4.0 last night with lots of changes.

        Qmmp 1.4.0 is a big release that features YouTube plugin, sleep mode inhibition plugin, socks5 proxy support, and much more other changes including:

        add feature to auto-hide empty service menus. add option to disable two passes for equalizer. add fast mute function for most output plugins. add shared CUE parser. added feature to transit between playlists. add SOCKS5 proxy support. added Ogg Opus support in the ReplayGain scanner. improve qsui plugin, ffmpeg plugin, lyrics, cdaudio plugin, m3u support.

      • Edit music recordings with Audacity on Linux

          In this strange and difficult time of a global pandemic, we are all called upon to do things differently, to change our routines, and to learn new things.

        I have worked from home for many years, so that is nothing new to me. Even though I am allegedly retired, I write articles for and Enable Sysadmin and books. I also manage my own home network, which is larger than you might think, and my church's network and Linux hosts, and I help a few friends with Linux. All of this keeps me busy doing what I like to do, and all of it is usually well within my comfort zone.

      • 10 ways to analyze binary files on Linux

          We work with binaries daily, yet we understand so little about them. By binaries, I mean the executable files that you run daily, right from your command line tools to full-fledged applications.

        Linux provides a rich set of tools that makes analyzing binaries a breeze! Whatever might be your job role, if you are working on Linux, knowing the basics about these tools will help you understand your system better.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • The 20 Best LXDE Themes for Linux System in 2020

        LXDE themes can change the look and feel of your LXDE desktop environment. LXDE is a well-known desktop environment for Linux. It is so minimal and lightweight; hence LXDE is very popular among the low configuration systems, including netbooks, Raspberry Pi, smart home gadgets, etc. LXDE is the short form of Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment. A Taiwanese developer started this project in 2006. Later it got much popularity and appreciation. Although there are some other design-heavy desktop environments, LXDE kept its popularity because of the huge explosion of IoT and smart products.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • TDE celebrating its 10th anniversary with new R14.0.8 release

          The Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) R14.0.8 release is out. Trinity started out as a fork of KDE 3. "Ten years ago today, the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) saw the release of its first version (3.5.11). Lot of things have happened since that day but TDE has continued to grow and flourish throughout the years. Today the project is healthier than ever, with dedicated self-hosted servers, regular releases, modern collaboration tools and a vibrant community of users and enthusiasts."

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Virtualization on the Linux desktop—Gnome Boxes vs virt-manager

            Ilike the idea of Boxes, and I think there's a definite market for it. The allure of incredibly safe, simple, and easy distro-hopping isn't lost on me—and I particularly liked the integrated download mechanism.

          Unfortunately, I don't think Boxes is ready for prime time yet. The number of sharp edges I encountered even with a very modern Linux guest OS running a Gnome3 desktop outweighed Boxes' simplicity—let alone the completely broken install environment for OpenBSD, as compared to a "just works" experience on virt-manager.

        • Ravgeet Dhillon: Dropilio App for Twilio and Dev Hackathon

          Dropilio is a REST API service for sending local files as attachments with Twilio Whatsapp API. This leverages the use of Twilio Whatsapp API for Desktop applications such as those built in Electron, GTK, etc which intend to send notifications with file attachments.

          If you are working on a Desktop application, and you want to send a Whatsapp message along with attachments using Twilio Whatsapp API, you must include a link to that attachment as a media resource. For this, your attachment must be somewhere on the Internet. Dropilio solves this problem by uploading your attachment to your Dropbox account and then gets a temporary link that can be used by the Twilio Whatsapp API.

          This project belongs to the category of Interesting Integrations for Twilio and Dev hackathon.

        • ‘Folder Colors’ Now Works with Ubuntu 20.04 and the Yaru Icon Set

          We’ve shown you how to change folder colour on Ubuntu before using a terrific open source tool called ‘Folder Colors‘ (sic).

          But if you have been patiently hoping that the app would get an update to work with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and its spiffy-new Yaru icon theme I have some good news: it has!

          The less good news is that you will need install an additional Yaru icon theme compatibility package to get the tool to play nicely Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (if you’re on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS the app will “just work” on its own).

        • Fix for GNOME 3.36 Stuttering Bug in the Works

          Ubuntu 20.04 has recently been released with GNOME 3.36 as one of the most notable features, but many decided to stick with Unity due to a stuttering issue.

          It goes without saying this isn’t necessarily the experience everyone expected with GNOME, albeit for now, this stuttering bug appears to be more or less a matter of luck.

          While some encounter this glitch, other claim everything is super-smooth on their devices in Ubuntu 20.04.

          The good news is that the stuttering bug has already been acknowledged and a fix is on its way.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Parrot 4.9 Security OS Arrives with Linux Kernel 5.5, New Installer

            Parrot 4.9 is here a little over a month after Parrot 4.8 and ships with the Linux 5.5 kernel series. This means that it brings better hardware support and improvements for Wi-Fi cards and Intel GPUs.

          However, Linux 5.5 series has reached end of life with the Linux kernel 5.5.19 update released last week. This means it won’t be supported anymore, so if you can upgrade Parrot 4.9 to the latest Linux 5.6 kernel series, do it as soon as possible.

          Another major improvement in the Parrot 4.9 release is a new installer, which is based on Calamares, the universal installer framework used by numerous GNU/Linux distributions, such as Lubuntu, Manjaro or KaOS.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Fedora 32 Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Fedora 32. Enjoy!

        • Review - Fedora 32

          With the recent release of Fedora 32, I decided to give it another look and check out the default GNOME edition. I'll talk about the installation process, performance, and some overall opinions.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Lenovo to offer Linux laptops
          Lenovo has announced a partnership with FedoraProject to offer developer-friendly ThinkPad series laptops that will run on the newly released Fedora 32 Workstation Linux out of the box.

          The Linux Community Series program will kick off with devices including ThinkPad P1 Gen2, ThinkPad X1 Gen8, and the ThinkPad P53 laptops.

          The company aims to expand the selection of devices to other models soon based on demand.

        • Lenovo to offer Linux laptops
          Lenovo has announced a partnership with FedoraProject to offer developer-friendly ThinkPad series laptops that will run on the newly released Fedora 32 Workstation Linux out of the box.

          The Linux Community Series program will kick off with devices including ThinkPad P1 Gen2, ThinkPad X1 Gen8, and the ThinkPad P53 laptops.

          The company aims to expand the selection of devices to other models soon based on demand.

        • Lenovo to offer ThinkPads with Linux installed

          Are you a lover of Linux? Then prepare to swoon because Lenovo is partnering with the Fedora Project to pre-install Linux on a select number of its machines. This pilot program, known as Linux Community Series - Fedora Edition, will include the ThinkPad P1 Gen2, ThinkPad X1 Gen8, and the ThinkPad P53.

          While many already run a Fedora operating system on a Lenovo system, this move means that the aforementioned devices will come with the newly released Fedora 32 Workstation Linux pre-installed. For users with other devices in mind, Lenovo could expand its selection of Linux-equipped devices if demand supports it.

          Per Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller, “The Lenovo team has been working with folks at Red Hat who work on Fedora desktop technologies to make sure that the upcoming Fedora 32 Workstation is ready to go on their laptops. The best part about this is that we’re not bending our rules for them. Lenovo is following our existing trademark guidelines and respects our open source principles. That’s right—these laptops ship with software exclusively from the official Fedora repos!”

        • How to upgrade to Fedora 32 Workstation from older versions
          One of our favorite Linux based distributions, Fedora, has officially got upgraded to Fedora 32. It houses excellent new features and improved hardware support. In this article, we will show you how you can upgrade to Fedora 32 workstation from any of the older versions you might have on your system.

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 | Stefanie Chiras | Red Hat Summit 2020
        • Fedora 32 released with Lenovo support

          Fedora isn't a Linux for everyone. But, for developers who want the most from their Linux desktop, you can't beat it. This latest edition, like its predecessors, brings together the best and latest open-source programs for programmers. As Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller said: "No matter what variant of Fedora you use, you're getting the latest the open-source world has to offer."

          Fedora, which is Red Hat's community Linux distribution, also acts as a crystal ball to see where Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is going. While most of the attention for a new Fedora release is on the desktop, Fedora 32's far more than just a workstation distribution. There's also Fedora Server, Fedora IoT, and the new Fedora CoreOS for containerized workloads.

          For most people still, a new Fedora is all about the desktop. So, let's take a look at Fedora Workstation.

          This new Fedora uses the Linux Kernel 5.6. It also includes WireGuard virtual private network (VPN) support and USB4 support.

          The workstation uses the new GNOME 3.36 for its default desktop. This GNOME release is faster and comes with a variety of improvements. These include a cleaner interface with better font control. One welcomed change is that, when you enter a password, you can now toggle it so you can see what your password is as you enter it rather than an uninformative link of asterisks. I find this very helpful, and I'm glad to see it's finally in GNOME.

        • Lenovo Will Start Offering ThinkPads With Linux Pre-Installed
        • Talk about physical to virtual translation: Red Hat officially emits OpenShift 4.4, Fedora 32 in online conference

          There are fewer announcements than usual for a Red Hat Summit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the event to take place online, said CEO Paul Cormier. The software biz has also announced some initiatives aimed at customers struggling during the virus outbreak, including extended life-cycles for some products and free online training.

          There were still a fair number of product launches, many of them centered on OpenShift. Version 4.4 includes the HAProxy 2.0 load balancer for better performance, improved storage management with volume re-size, snapshot and clone, and includes OpenShift Serverless for function-based, event-driven applications.

        • Recapping day one of Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience

          In our first general session, Red Hat president and CEO Paul Cormier talked with Jim Whitehurst, IBM president and former Red Hat CEO and president, about today's environment and how Red Hat and IBM continue to work together.

        • IBM Boosts Security and Productivity with Red Hat OpenShift 4.3 on IBM Cloud

          As more businesses journey to the cloud, they need ways to easily deploy and manage their critical workloads securely across public clouds, private clouds, and on-premises environments.

        • Red Hat OpenShift 4.3 On IBM Cloud Offers New Security Features
        • Save the date for Red Hat Summit 2021

          As we conclude our first ever Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience, it’s time to mark your calendar for next year’s event. We’ll be heading back to Boston from April 13-15, 2021, for Red Hat Summit 2021!

          Join us there at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center where we expect thousands of customers, partners, and technology industry leaders from around the world to come together for a high-energy week of innovation, education and collaboration.

          As the industry's premier enterprise open source technology conference, Red Hat Summit has become a must-attend technology event to experience the latest and greatest in open source innovations that are enabling the future of enterprise technology—from hybrid cloud infrastructure, containers and cloud-native app platforms to management, edge, automation, emerging tech and more. You'll find a replay of this year’s general sessions and more:

        • Consuming messages from closest replicas in Apache Kafka 2.4.0 and AMQ Streams

          Thanks to changes in Apache Kafka 2.4.0, consumers are no longer required to connect to a leader replica to consume messages. In this article, I introduce you to Apache Kafka’s new ReplicaSelector interface and its customizable RackAwareReplicaSelector. I’ll briefly explain the benefits of the new rack-aware selector, then show you how to use it to more efficiently balance load across Amazon Web Services (AWS) availability zones.

        • Red Hat Process Automation 7.7 brings updates, fixes, and tech previews

          Red Hat Process Automation Manager (RHPAM) and Red Hat Decision Manager (RHDM) 7.7 bring features for the authoring of processes, rules, testing, execution, and cloud scenarios. Besides these new features, usability, and performance improvements, version 7.7 also brings more than 120 bug fixes. These updates are part of the Middleware Business Automation stack Red Hat released on March 18th.

          Let’s take a look at what’s new.

        • Ben Williams: F31-20200427 updated isos released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F31-20200427 Live ISOs, carrying the 5.6.6-200 kernel.

          This is our final release for Fedora 31.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have about 1GB of updates)).

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

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • What You Need to Know About Snaps on Ubuntu 20.04
          “Snap” refers to both the snap command and a snap installation file. A snap bundles an application and all its dependents into one compressed file. The dependents might be library files, web or database servers, or anything else an application must have to launch and run.

          The upside to snaps is they make installations simpler because they avoid the heartache of dependency hell. This is what occurs when a new application can’t run either because a required resource isn’t available, it’s the wrong version, or its installation overwrites files required by existing applications so they can’t run.

          You might expect a snap to be uncompressed and the files extracted at install time. However, it’s at run time that the snap file is mounted on a block loop device. This allows the file’s internal SquashFS file system to be accessed.

        • How to Handle Automatic Updates in Ubuntu
          You might wonder what is this “unattended upgrade” and how come it is running without your knowledge.

          The reason is that Ubuntu takes your system’s security very seriously. By default, it automatically checks for system updates daily and if it finds any security updates, it downloads those updates and install them on its own. For normal system and application updates, it notifies you via the Software Updater tool.

        • Voyager 20.04 LTS Released: Take A Trip Of (X)Ubuntu 20.04-Based Linux Distro
          Being one of the most popular Linux distros, Ubuntu has an uncountable number of variants and derivatives. With the release of the latest long-term Ubuntu 20.04, several variants are also releasing their updated versions based on 20.04 ‘Focal Fossa’.

          Along the same lines, here comes Voyager Live — the Xubuntu-based Linux distribution which has released a new version Voyager 20.04 LTS. The latest long-term Voyager ships with the updated Xfce 4.14 desktop environment and Linux kernel 5.4. So, let’s see what new Voyager has to offer.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS: What's new in server?
        • Download Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and All Flavors with Mirrors and Torrents

            Ubuntu 20.04 officially released at Thursday, 23 April 2020. It is codenamed Focal Fossa. It is a Long Term Support version which will be supported five years ahead until 2025. It is the continuation of the previous LTS version 18.04 released two years ago and the regular version 19.10 last year. It comes along with all seven Official Flavors namely Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, and others. This article collected all the download links and alternative torrents, mirrors, and checksums so everybody can obtain it quicker. To download one just need to click on one iso link below and save link as and wait until it finished. Congratulations to Canonical and Ubuntu Developers! Happy downloading!

        • List Of Useful Apps For Ubuntu 20.04 LTS


          Hello everyone, We hope that you are having fun with the latest Ubuntu Linux and comparing it with the older one. Though it’s almost the same for us you might feel differences. Please let us know your review of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

          In this article, we are going to list out the best and useful Linux apps for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. You might need it for your day to day work on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

          Let’s check out the collection of Useful Apps for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        • Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) Daily Builds Are Now Available for Download

            Last week, I reported that Ubuntu 20.10 has been codenamed by the Ubuntu team as the “Groovy Gorilla” and will have a release date of October 22nd, 2020.

          I told you that you’ll be the first to know when Ubuntu 20.10 daily builds are available for download. So, as promised, you’re the first to get your hands on the fresh builds, published today, for 64-bit and ARM64 architectures.

          The daily builds are also available for the other official flavors, such as Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, and Ubuntu Kylin.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Ex-Cloud Foundry boss to pull strings at Puppet as CTO, says open-source software 'evolves faster, is more mature'

        Ex-Cloud Foundry boss to pull strings at Puppet as CTO, says open-source software 'evolves faster, is more mature'ec director Abby Kearns has rocked up at Puppet as CTO, where she will direct "the company's current and future product portfolio."

        Puppet, founded in 2005 by Luke Kanies, automates the deployment of infrastructure and applications, and pioneered the concept of infrastructure as code. Kearns has been on Puppet's Product Advisory Board for a year.

      • Simplify remote meetings with open source voice chat

          For science fiction fans, it feels like video chat was a long time coming, but now it's safe to say that a video call is indeed a great way to communicate remotely. Just as advertised by Star Trek and countless Philip K. Dick novels, the human face conveys a lot of information that the human voice doesn't. There's a human connection established through a video call that doesn't quite happen with text or even voice chats. It's a triumph of modern technology.

        However, the cost of video is that it requires a lot more bandwidth than a voice call. It also requires a greater degree of preparation. You have to dress for the occasion, you have to tidy up your backdrop, you have to clear your "set" so that there aren't children or cats running through your shot, and so on. What seems like it should be a simple phone call becomes a small-scale television production.

      • Open source steps up as COVID-19 forces instant digital transformations

        Businesses that were behind on the cloud journey before the novel coronavirus-19 are really feeling the heat right now. Transitioning to a digital workflow is hard in the best of times, but the almost instantaneous shift to work-from-home and online operations has sent shockwaves through the corporate world.

        “A lot of customers are being forced into the digital transformation journey right now … that last mile of change is coming very quick to them,” said Matt Hicks (pictured), executive vice president of product and technologies at Red Hat Inc.

        Hicks spoke with Stu Miniman, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience. They discussed how hybrid cloud, specifically solutions from Red Hat’s OpenShift, is the path for businesses experiencing rapid downscaling due to the economic shutdown, or rapid upscaling to meet increased online demand. (* Disclosure below.)

      • Pimp my PostgreSQL: Swarm64 paints go-faster stripes on open-source database challenger

        Parallel processing and hardware optimisation biz Swarm64 has pushed out PostgreSQL acceleration software in the hopes this will set it up to compete against proprietary products.

        Ranked number four in the database market by DBEngines, PostgreSQL is often left in the shade of fellow open-source stalwarts MySQL and MariaDB.

      • Events

        • KDAB at Qt Virtual Tech Con

          Since the postponement of Qt World Summit this May 12-14, The Qt Company decided to host a virtual one in its place called Qt Virtual Tech Con. The event offers talks you won’t hear in October, virtual exhibits, and Q&As online, for free.

          KDAB’s Kevin Funk will be presenting Using Modern CMake with Qt and we will also be showing a demo in the Virtual Exhibition.

        • Second Annual Copyleft Conf: Videos Are Up!

          In February, we ran our second annual Copyleft Conf. Thanks to our program committee; Molly de Blanc, Beth Flanagan, Bradley Kuhn, Deb Nicholson, Nithya Ruff, Josh Simmons and Haralde Welte, the schedule was both bold and timely. We are happy to announce that all the videos of this year's sessions are now available for you to watch.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • This Week in Rust 336
          • Julien Vehent: 7 years at Mozilla

            Seven years ago, on April 29th 2013, I walked into the old Castro Street Mozilla headquarters in Mountain View for my week of onboarding and orientation. Jubilant and full of imposter syndrom, that day marked the start of a whole new era in my professional career.

            I'm not going to spend an entire post reminiscing about the good ol' days (though those days were good indeed). Instead, I thought it might be useful to share a few things that I've learned over the last seven years, as I went from senior engineer to senior manager.

          • Contact Tracing, Governments, and Data

            Digital contact tracing apps have emerged in recent weeks as one potential tool in a suite of solutions that would allow countries around the world to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and get people back to their daily lives. These apps raise a number of challenging privacy issues and have been subject to extensive technical analysis and argument. One important question that policymakers are grappling with is whether they should pursue more centralized designs that share contact information with a central authority, or decentralized ones that leave contact information on people’s devices and out of the reach of governments and companies.

            Firefox Chief Technology Officer Eric Rescorla has an excellent overview of these competing design approaches, with their different potential risks and benefits. One critical insight he provides is that there is no Silicon Valley wizardry that will easily solve our problems. These different designs present us with different trade-offs and policy choices.

            In this post, we want to provide a direct answer to one policy choice: Our view is that centralized designs present serious risk and should be disfavored. While decentralized systems present concerns of their own, their privacy properties are generally superior in situations where governments have chosen to deploy contact tracing apps.


            Moreover, as Mozilla Executive Director Mark Surman observes, the norms we establish today will live far beyond any particular app. This is an opportunity to establish the precedent that privacy is not optional. Centralized contact tracing apps threaten to do the opposite, normalizing systems to track citizens at scale. The technology we build today will likely live on. But even if it doesn’t, the decisions we make today will have repercussions beyond our current crisis and after we’ve sunset any particular app.

            At Mozilla, we know about the pitfalls of expansive data collection. We are not experts in public health. In this moment of crisis, we need to take our cue from public health professionals about the problems they need to solve. But we also want policymakers, and the developers building these tools, to be mindful of the full costs of the solutions before them.

          • Looking at designs for COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps

            A number of the proposals for how to manage the COVID-19 pandemic rely on being able to determine who has come into contact with infected people and therefore are at risk of infection themselves. Singapore, Taiwan and Israel have already deployed phone-based tracking technology and several recent proposals for re-opening the US economy depend on some sort of contact tracing system. There has been a huge amount of work in this area (see the list here), with perhaps the best known effort being the joint announcement by Apple and Google. that they would be building this kind of functionality into iOS and Android.

            To some extent what’s going on here is just that this is a nicely packaged, accessible, technical problem — learn some things, keep others secret? Sounds like a job for crypto! — and so we have a number of approaches that are quite similar. However, the other thing you see is that these solutions embed quite different assumptions about how they are going to be used and what kind of privacy properties you need and that ends up giving you a variety of different designs.1

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.3.6 Released as the Last in the Series, More Than 80 Bugs Fixed

            Coming more than two months after LibreOffice 6.3.5, the LibreOffice 6.3.6 update is here to provide users of the LibreOffice 6.3 series with one last set of bug and regression fixes. It also aims to improve document compatibility.

          The LibreOffice 6.3 series is targeted at enterprise deployments and production environments. While LibreOffice 6.4 is already available, LibreOffice 6.3 is the only version currently recommended by The Document Foundation for organizations.

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.4.1

          WordPress 5.4.1 is now available!

          This security and maintenance release features 17 bug fixes in addition to 7 security fixes. Because this is a security release, it is recommended that you update your sites immediately. All versions since WordPress 3.7 have also been updated.

          WordPress 5.4.1 is a short-cycle security and maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.5.

          You can download WordPress 5.4.1 by downloading from, or visit your Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now.

          If you have sites that support automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process.

      • FSF

      • Public Services/Government

      • Programming/Development

        • 24U Software releases fmRESTor.js for Claris FileMaker

          "Red Hat’s virtual Summit kicks off with exciting news for OpenShift users, Endless OS 3.8.0 and Fedora 32 both arrive with GNOME 3.36 in tow, VLC’s latest release adds better support for network media access, and QEMU 5.0 makes it easier than ever..."

        • Ian Jackson: subdirmk 1.0 - ergonomic preprocessing assistant for non-recursive make

          I have made the 1.0 release of subdirmk.

          subdirmk is a tool to help with writing build systems in make, without use of recursive make.

        • GnuCOBOL, a free platform to learn and use COBOL - nice free software

          The curiosity got the better of me when Slashdot reported that New Jersey was desperately looking for COBOL programmers, and a few days later it was reported that IBM tried to locate COBOL programmers.

          I thus decided to have a look at free software alternatives to learn COBOL, and had the pleasure to find GnuCOBOL was already in Debian. It used to be called Open Cobol, and is a "compiler" transforming COBOL code to C or C++ before giving it to GCC or Visual Studio to build binaries.

          I managed to get in touch with upstream, and was impressed with the quick response, and also was happy to see a new Debian maintainer taking over when the original one recently asked to be replaced. A new Debian upload was done as recently as yesterday.

        • I think you should generally be using the latest version of Go

          The obvious current reason to use a current version of Go is that Go is in the middle of a big switch to modules. Relatively recent versions of Go are needed to work well with modules, and right now module support is improving in every new version. If you're using Go modules (and you probably should be), you want an up to date Go for the best support. But eventually everyone's packaged Go versions will be good enough for decent module support and this reason will fade away.

        • Migrating from Jekyll to Hugo

          Warning: this post is so long. So so long. There is practical stuff in it, I promise. But maybe use the search function. Or just scroll through to find what’s relevant. I use headers, if that helps.

          I suppose the question most people would ask is, why switch? It was a multitude of little things which added up to push me over the edge. I’ve contemplated making the switch as early as 2017 when quite a few folks I knew were moving over from Jekyll to Hugo.

        • Writing With SEO In Mind

          I read this post on Desmond’s blog yesterday (great blog, you should definitely subscribe. Especially if you’re into the IndieWeb). In the post, Desmond talks about how growing his audience and SEO are not priorities for him. He says:

          In a rough sense, I know what it would take to garner more readers to my blog (better attention to SEO, targeted subject matter). But I also know that if I took that too far, this blog would cease to be about me, and I don’t think I want that to happen.

          With regards to growing a readership, I completely agree. Personally, I think if you have started a personal blog with the intention of growing a huge following and becoming Internet famous, you’re probably doing it for the wrong reasons.

        • SSH Tips & Tricks

          Here are some of our best tips & tricks for using SSH more effectively. This post will cover how to:

          Add a second factor to your SSH login

          Use agent forwarding safely

          Exit from stuck SSH sessions

          Share a remote terminal session with a friend (without Zoom!)

        • Matching binary patterns

          In Erlang, it is easy to construct binaries and bitstrings and matching binary patterns. I was running into Mitchell Perilstein's excellent work on NTP with Erlang and I thought I am going to use this to explain how bitstrings and binaries work in Erlang.

          Two concepts:

          A bitstring is a sequence of zero or more bits, where the number of bits does not need to be divisible by 8.

          A binary is when the number of bits is divisible by 8.

        • Perl/Raku

          • What's new on CPAN - March 2020

            Welcome to “What’s new on CPAN”, a curated look at last month’s new CPAN uploads for your reading and programming pleasure. Enjoy!

        • Python

          • How to teach using Kaggle
          • “Flying Pandas” and “Making Pandas Fly” – virtual talks this weekend on faster data processing with Pandas, Modin, Dask and Vaex

            This Saturday and Monday I’ve had my first experience presenting at virtual conferences – on Saturday it was for Remote Pizza Python (brilliant line-up!) and on Monday (note – this post predates the talk, I’ll update it tomorrow after I’ve spoken) at BudapestBI.

          • Python 101: Conditional Statements

            Developers have to make decisions all the time. How do you approach this problem? Do you use technology X or technology Y? Which programming language(s) can you use to solve this? Your code also sometimes needs to make a decision.

          • Interview: Koudai Aono, Author of pydantic Plugin for PyCharm

            I’ve long been a big fan of pydantic by the prolific Samuel Colvin. In 2018, the package added support for dataclasses by providing its own decorator which “creates (almost) vanilla python dataclasses with input data parsing and validation.”

            Alas, the “almost” was a sticking point. In particular, PyCharm’s code insight only treated the built-in decorator as something providing dataclass support. A PyCharm plugin was needed, first to make PyCharm treat pydantic dataclasses like regular ones, then to fill in coding assistance for the other aspects.

            Enter Koudai Aono. Despite never having done an IntelliJ plugin, nor even much Java, he took on the task of making the Pydantic PyCharm Plugin. While we helped a bit, Koudai has generated over 20 releases and updates and is now working on really impressive features.

          • PyCharm & DSF Campaign 2020 Results

            For the fourth year in a row, JetBrains PyCharm partnered with the Django Software Foundation on a promotion, “Get PyCharm, Support Django,” where for 28 days users could purchase new individual PyCharm Professional licenses for 30% while the full proceeds went to the DSF. Even with the current economic conditions the campaign was a huge success again this year.

            "JetBrains PyCharm has been a major supporter of Django and the Django Software Foundation these past four years. The $40,000 raised during this year's campaign represents 20% of the DSF's annual budget, which goes directly into funding the continued development and support of Django via the Django Fellowship program and Django conferences worldwide. On behalf of the community, our deepest thanks to JetBrains PyCharm for their generous continued support." - Frank Wiles, DSF President

          • The Long Road I took to Learn Basic Python

            I have been wanting to switch careers to programming for a long time now. Just that juggling a part time job, home work, and a broken back, always kept me from somehow giving it the time, that that I needed.

            It has been two years now.

            My lowest ebb, was September last year, when I caught a really nasty bug, was laid up in bed, for nearly a month and then checked myself into a hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack.1

            In the meanwhile, people have learnt stuff, gotten careers and rocketed up their charts while I sit here spinning my wheels. Or at least I used to think, I was spinning my wheels, until this month.

            In my head, I used to be like, why is this so hard for me?

          • Regular Expressions: Regexes in Python

            In this tutorial, you’ll explore regular expressions, also known as regexes, in Python. A regex is a special sequence of characters that defines a pattern for complex string-matching functionality.

          • Function Dissection Lab: Learn how Python functions work by examining their innards

            PyCon didn’t happen in Pittsburgh, as planned, thanks to the coronavirus and covid-19. But it did happen online, and I was delighted to be able to present a talk!

          • 2020 PyData Conferences Update [COVID-19]

            While disappointing, we are taking this action based on the most up to date information available, and in order to help do our part to curb the spread of COVID-19. Ticket holders and sponsors of these events will be contacted separately. We will continue to closely monitor the conditions on the ground for the remaining scheduled in-person events and will communicate updates as they become available:

          • Microsoft’s Python team loves PyCon, including this year’s online version! [Ed: The thugs from Microsoft are bribing PyCon again in exchange for marketing. They keep doing this.]

            Microsoft returned as our top PyCon 2020 sponsor (for the 3rd year) and stepped forward to make another big investment in PyCon and its community. Microsoft not only uses Python for their own development but also offers Python as a crucial tool to empower everyone to achieve more.

          • 6 Python Projects for Beginners

            Python can be a great programming language. You can make almost anything you want. If you are a beginner and you don't know what to do, here are some beginner projects for you to make.

            1-Basic Calculator This is by far the easiest project in the list. You ask the user to put their first number, then the operator, then their second number. Once they put all of that, the program should calculate what the user wanted.

          • Don’t be afraid of Test-Driven Development

            Throughout my career, the teams I’ve been on have had a wide range of views on using tests while developing code. As I’ve moved between teams, listened to podcasts, and read articles, I’ve assembled some notes that would have been very useful for me in the past. Some of these notes are getting compiled into a book that I’ll be selling later this year.

            I realize that I took much longer than I should have to get started with testing my code. This is mostly because I was intimidated with rules I felt I had to follow; rules that I had to get past in order to let myself explore, try, fail, and then succeed.

            If you aren’t testing your code, I want to share this post with the hope that you too may find enjoyment form it.

        • Java

          • Proposed Project Addresses Long-Term Java Pain Points

            A new project just proposed for consideration on the OpenJDK mailing list would address the "long-term pain points" of Java's slow startup time, slow time to peak performance and large footprint.

            Submitted this week in a call for discussion by Mark Reinhold, chief architect of Oracle's Java Platform Group, "Project Leyden" would address these pain points by introducing the concept of "static images" to the Java Platform and the JDK.

            A static image is a standalone program, Reinhold explained, derived from an application that runs that application and no other. A static image is "a closed world," he said, meaning it can't load classes from outside the image or spin new bytecodes at run time.

          • Java security, mainframes having a moment, and more industry trends

            If software is eating the world, then hackers are... I guess the thrush thriving in the gullet? Hyperbole aside, the more stuff made of software, the more incentive clever people have to try and figure out how to do things they probably shouldn't be able to. This applies to Java too.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 Brings Interoperability With USB4

        VESA announced today version 2.0 of the DisplayPort Alternate Mode specification.

        With DisplayPort Alternate Mode 2.0, the focus is on providing interoperability with the USB4 specification. This allows for all DisplayPort 2.0 features to be used through USB Type-C connectors with USB4.

      • Daniel Stenberg: curl 7.70.0 with JSON and MQTT

        We’ve done many curl releases over the years and this 191st one happens to be the 20th release ever done in the month of April, making it the leading release month in the project. (February is the month with the least number of releases with only 11 so far.)

      • Drop PNG and JPG for your online images: Use WebP

        WebP is an image format developed by Google in 2010 that provides superior lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. Using WebP, web developers can create smaller, richer images that improve site speed. A faster loading website is critical to the user experience and for the website's marketing effectiveness.

        For optimal loading across all devices and users, images on your site should not be larger than 500 KB in file size.

        WebP lossless images are often at least 25% smaller in size compared to PNGs. WebP lossy images are often anywhere from 25-34% smaller than comparable JPEG images at equivalent SSIM (structural similarity) quality index.

        Lossless WebP supports transparency, as well. For cases when lossy RGB compression is acceptable, lossy WebP also supports transparency, typically providing three times smaller file sizes compared to PNG.

  • Leftovers

    • Operation America Unfriggingbelievably Tone-Deaf: Everybody Gets A Plane! (But Sorry Still No Masks, Tests, PPE or Jobless Benefits)
    • In the American Snake Oil Stain

      In his Journal of the Plague Year, 1664, De Foe tells us that “the posts of houses and corners of streets were plastered over with doctors’ bills and papers of ignorant fellows, quacking and tampering in physic, and inviting the people to come to them for remedies, which was generally set off with such flourishes as these, viz.: ‘Infallible preventive pills against the plague.’ ‘Neverfailing preservatives against the infection.’ ‘Sovereign cordials against the corruption of the air.’ ‘Exact regulations for the conduct of the body in case of an infection.’ ‘Anti-pestilential pills.’ ‘Incomparable drink against the plague, never found out before.’ ‘An universal remedy for the plague.’ ‘The only true plague water.’ ‘The royal antidote against all kinds of infection’…”

    • Taking part in the 100 days to offload challenge – day 1

      So here I am. This is the first part in this series. I don't expect this to bring me a lot of readers or anything, just to get more stuff written down for the benefit of my future self, future historians and people searching for random words or constellations of on the Internet. Maybe it will also trigger someone else to start writing longform instead of just tweeting, tooting, snapping or whatever.

  • Science

  • Education

    • Students Face Unequal Access During COVID-19 Shutdown

      We look at the impact of the pandemic on schools, universities, students, parents, teachers and professors — and who is at the table to shape what happens next. “We now have an economic crisis on top of the public health crisis, and the ways that we’re choosing to educate children is simply unequal and is going to lead to an educational crisis,” says education scholar and Cornell University professor Noliwe Rooks, author of Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education.

    • Russian university expels and evicts hundreds of students for refusing to leave their dorms during the coronavirus pandemic

      The Russian State Social University (RGSU) in Moscow expelled and evicted at least 200 of its 1,568 students between April l5 and 23, reports the student journal Doxa.€ 

    • Distance Learning Is Taking an Emotional Toll on Students

      The coronavirus pandemic has forced schools at every level to grapple with a reality in which the fundamental assumptions upon which they normally operate — that the majority of students are in good health and have a relatively clear vision of the future ahead — no longer apply. With every state in the U.S. ordering or recommending school closures, learning has moved online, forcing students to bear the emotional brunt of a surreal new normal. Social isolation, the digital divide, and various tech difficulties with Zoom, the default video conferencing platform used by many schools, have all complicated the transition to distance learning. Well before the coronavirus outbreak, experts were labeling the mental health crisis on college campuses an “epidemic.” Now, COVID-19 is taking a never-before-seen toll on high school and college students.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • As Many as 9,000 Early COVID-19 Deaths May Not Have Been Counted

      Two studies looking at “excess” death counts across the country seem to suggest that the total number of casualties from COVID-19 in the U.S. so far may have been undercounted in a dramatic way during the early weeks of the crisis.

    • Kelli Ward’s Call for “Reopen” Protesters to Dress as Nurses Reveals GOP Cruelty

      Kelli Ward, former state senator and chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, is messing with medical professionals in the middle of a global pandemic to get some ink for herself and maybe a fawning tweet from the president. I have personal reasons to have a serious problem with that.

    • Rhode Island Only Looks Like It Has a Bad Covid-19 Outbreak Because It Has a Bad Covid-19 Outbreak
    • Chomsky: COVID-19 Has Exposed the US Under Trump as a “Failed State”

      The label “failed state” has started to fit the U.S. like a glove as the COVID-19 national health crisis continues to reveal the structural flaws and weaknesses of the United States, argues world–renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky in this exclusive interview for Truthout. Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to exact a high price in human lives due to its caricaturish but highly dangerous response to the crisis. In the interview that follows, Chomsky also analyzes what’s behind Trump’s encouragement of the “anti-lockdown” protests, discusses the right-wing determination to destroy the U.S. Postal Service, and lays out his views on the electoral “lesser of two evils” principle.

    • Pence’s Barefaced Mayo Clinic Tour Proves He Still Does Not Take COVID Seriously

      Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday upset a lot of people after images released from the event demonstrated he did not wear a mask while touring the facility.

    • The Pandemic Hasn’t Stopped Aggressive Medical-Debt Collection

      Darcel Richardson knows she’s fortunate in one sense: She still has her job as a vocational counselor in Baltimore. But despite that, she won’t be able to make her rent payment this month because she’s not getting her full salary for a while. More than $400 per biweekly paycheck — about a quarter of her after-tax income — has been siphoned off by Johns Hopkins University for unpaid medical bills at one of its hospitals.

    • COVID-19 Lights Up Biological Annihilation

      As the COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths continue to rise rapidly in the United States and around the world, one question many people have been asking is: Where did COVID-19 come from?

    • Will the Coronavirus Change the World? On Gramsci’s ‘Interregnum’ and Zizek’s Ethnocentric Philosophy

      The prophecies are here and it is a foregone conclusion: the post-coronavirus world will look fundamentally different from anything that we have seen or experienced, at least since the end of World War II.

    • Boris Johnson’s Recuperation at His Prime Ministerial Country Estate

      BoJo Johnson, suffering from the COVID-19 virus, was discharged from hospital, where he had a spell in intensive care, in order to recuperate at Chequers, the official country residence of the prime minister. A second governmental country estate, Chevening, is earmarked for use by the prime minister and senior cabinet members.

    • On Frontlines Against Covid-19, Healthcare 'Heroes' Across US at Risk From Underlying Illness, Poverty, and No Insurance

      "Health care workers€ don't need lip service. They need raises, health benefits, and paid sick leave."

    • Public Interest Groups Ask Social Media Platforms To Preserve Data Regarding COVID-19 Content Moderation For Future Study

      Over the last month or so, we've written plenty on the challenges of social media companies managing content moderation in the midst of a pandemic, highlighting the challenges when misinformation is coming from official sources, when it's impossible to distinguish legit info from misinformation, when the intersection of politics and misinformation gets tricky, and, of course, when platforms have to rely more on AI while all their workers are working from home (raising significant privacy concerns if they're still moderating content).

    • People With Disabilities and Their Personal Assistants Need COVID Relief Now

      Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the risks to people with disabilities — who are 10 percent of the world’s population, or roughly 650 million people — remain critical and require urgent attention.

    • Russia’s coronavirus infection count nears 100,000, as the official death toll approaches 1,000

      On the morning of April 29, Russian officials announced that the country recorded 5,841 new coronavirus infections in the past day, bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 99,399 patients. A day earlier, the nation recorded 6,411 new infections (570 more cases).

    • A Different Kind of COVID-19 Protest

      Amidst a deadly pandemic set to kill millions of people it is hard not to become reactionary and short-sighted. The coronavirus for all intents and purposes is the new Trump for the libs. On the one hand a force that remains criminally underrated in its capacity for destruction despite its overwhelming popularity and attention from the bourgeoisie. On the other hand a noise that is so loud that it erases all rationality and perspective.

    • The Dangers of COVID-19 Surveillance Proposals to the Future of Protest

      Many of the new surveillance powers now sought by the government to address the COVID-19 crisis would harm our First Amendment rights for years to come. People will be chilled and deterred from speaking out, protesting in public places, and associating with like-minded advocates if they fear scrutiny from cameras, drones, face recognition, thermal imaging, and location trackers. It is all too easy for governments to redeploy the infrastructure of surveillance from pandemic containment to political spying. It won't be easy to get the government to suspend its newly acquired tech and surveillance powers.

      When this wave of the public health emergency is over and it becomes safe for most people to leave their homes, they may find a world with even more political debate than when they left it. A likely global recession, a new election season, and re-energized social movements will provide an overwhelming incentive for record numbers of people to speak out, to demonstrate in public places, and to demand concessions of their governments. The pent-up urge to take to the streets may bring mass protests like we have not seen in years. And what impact would new surveillance tools, adopted in the name of public health, have on this new era of marches, demonstrations, and strikes?

    • Even in Moscow, not all the kids have laptops The switch to distance learning is testing Russia's Internet infrastructure and the patience of students and teachers nationwide

      Since late March, Russian children have been studying online because of the coronavirus pandemic. There isn’t a single comprehensive platform offering online education in Russia — instead the Education Ministry has compiled a list of recommended resources. Students and teachers complain about technical failures and the questionable quality of educational content, and pranksters are derailing online lessons. Federal officials acknowledge the problems with online learning, as they continue to their chaotic development and rollout of new services and platforms.

    • From Ukraine to Coronavirus: Trump’s Abuse of Power Continues

      Our narcissist-in-chief has ordered FEMA to circumvent their own process and send supplies to states that are “appreciative”.Michigan and Colorado have received fractions of what they need while Oklahoma and Kentucky have gotten more than what they asked for. Colorado and Massachusetts have confirmed shipments only to have them held back by FEMA. Ron DeSantis, the Trump-aligned governor of Florida, refused to order a shelter-in-place mandate for weeks, but then received 100% of requested supplies within 3 days. New Jersey waited for two weeks. New York now has more cases than any other single country, but Trump barely lifted a finger for his hometown because Governor Andrew Cuomo is “complaining” about the catastrophic lack of ventilators in the city.A backchannel to the president is a shoe-in way to secure life-saving supplies. Personal flattery seems to be the most effective currency with Trump; the chain of command runs straight through his ego, and that’s what the response has been coordinated around.He claims that as president he has “total authority” over when to lift quarantine and social distancing guidelines, and threatens to adjourn Congress himself so as to push through political appointees without Senate confirmation.And throughout all of this, Trump has been determined to reject any attempt of independent oversight into his administration’s disastrous response.

    • Sweden says its coronavirus approach has worked. The numbers suggest a different story

      The petition said that trying to "create a herd immunity, in the same way that occurs during an influenza epidemic, has low scientific support."

      Swedish authorities have denied having a strategy to create herd immunity, one the UK government was rumored to be working towards earlier on in the pandemic -- leading to widespread criticism -- before it enforced a strict lockdown.

      Lena Hallengren, Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, told CNN: "There is no strategy to create herd immunity in response to Covid-19 in Sweden. Sweden shares the same goals as all other countries -- to save lives and protect public health."

    • Banning family at senior care homes has removed a layer of protection and care

      For individual families, the ban, however necessary, has been worrying and painful. But it now appears to advocacy groups that the cumulative effect on thousands of families has also been deadly. Banning families, they say, has contributed to high rates of fatalities and negligence inside public and private care homes—revealing how much family members have acted as both supplemental support and unofficial watchdogs in an industry that’s poorly regulated at best.

    • Evidence Indicates That Severe Forms of COVID-19 Can Damage The Heart

      In both cases, when there is a severe COVID-19 infection, the heart undergoes a massive inflammatory response called myocarditis. The virus infects the cells of the heart causing the muscle tissue (myocardium) to undergo severe inflammation.

      This can alter the electrical conduction in the heart, affecting its ability to pump blood around the body. The result of which is less oxygen getting to organs, including the lungs. How this happens is unclear, but there are several possible mechanisms.

    • Why the Coronavirus Is So Confusing [iophk - tweets in place of authentic communication :( ]

      The narrative that experts underplayed the risks isn’t fully correct, though. On January 26, Thomas Inglesby of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health tweeted, “We should be planning for the possibility that [the coronavirus] cannot be contained.” He followed with a list of recommendations, several of which—more diagnostics, more protective equipment, transparent communication—the U.S. is still struggling to meet. Four days later, Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner, and Luciana Borio, who was part of the National Security Council’s now-dissolved pandemic-preparedness office, similarly urged the government to “act now” to prevent an American epidemic. “I hope the lesson people take from this is not ‘Experts were wrong,’” Tufekci says. “If you followed the right people, they were overwhelmingly right. We just didn’t put them in the right place so we could hear them.”

  • Integrity/Availability

    • How does a TCP Reset Attack work?

      The attack has had real-world consequences. Fear of it has caused mitigating changes to be made to the TCP protocol itself. The attack is believed to be a key component of China’s Great Firewall, used by the Chinese government to censor the [Internet] inside China. Despite this weighty biography, understanding the attack doesn’t require deep prior knowledge of networking or TCP. Indeed, understanding the attack’s intricacies will teach you a great deal about the particulars of the TCP protocol, and, as we will soon see, you can even execute the attack against yourself using only a single laptop.

      In this post we’re going to:

      Learn the basics of the TCP protocol

      Learn how the attack works

      Execute the attack against ourselves using a simple Python script

      Before we analyze the mechanics of the attack, let’s begin by seeing how it is used in the real world.

    • Would You Have Fallen for This Phone Scam?

      Last week, KrebsOnSecurity told the harrowing tale of a reader (a security expert, no less) who tried to turn the tables on his telephonic tormentors and failed spectacularly. In that episode, the people impersonating his bank not only spoofed the bank’s real phone number, but they were also pretending to be him on a separate call at the same time with his bank.

      This foiled his efforts to make sure it was really his bank that called him, because he called his bank with another phone and the bank confirmed they currently were in a separate call with him discussing fraud on his account (however, the other call was the fraudster pretending to be him).

    • Rarely Is The Question Asked

      Now, David Gerard reports the latest Smart Contract fiascos in The dForce and Hegic DeFi exploits, and why Smart Contracts are bad. One caused the $25M loss shown in the chart, the other caused this reassuring message to users:

      !! ALERT A typo has been found in the code. Because of that, liquidity in expired options contracts can’t be unlocked for new options. !! Please EXERCISE ALL OF YOUR ACTIVE OPTIONS CONTRACTS NOW.

      Below the fold, some details.

    • Proprietary

      • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Openwashing

          • Choosing an Open Source Stack – And Avoiding a False Economy [Ed: The Microsoft-connected Openlogic lecturing us on "Open Source"... iophk: "anti-copyleft drivel"]

            As an example, Kubernetes is a good choice for an organisation moving from a monolith environment to a microservices substrate, because it has considerations for many other supporting technologies that will comprise a full solution. That interoperability is part of what has led Kubernetes to arise as the most popular container orchestration platform available. Another example might be a company migrating from Oracle JDK, because Oracle now charges for its Java JDK subscriptions. In that situation, OpenJDK is a good choice, because it has feature parity with Oracle JDK. These days, functionality does not have to be sacrificed just because you want to use community supported software.

          • Microsoft open-sources in-house library for handling QUIC connections
      • Security

        • AMD Programmer Manual Update Points To PCID Support, Memory Protection Keys

          It looks like AMD Zen 3 CPUs will finally be supporting PCID! And memory protection keys are coming too, at least according to AMD's latest programmer reference manual.

          AMD has published a new revision of their Programmer's Reference Manual. The new registers detailed are for PCID and PKEY.

        • MB XSS Challenge [iophk: javascript]

          Bingo! Sanitizer thinks that the tag is only <img alt="“" />, and doesn’t have any forbidden tags, but actually, it’s much longer. Because we are using the img tag, the browser is automatically fetching the a.png file because such a file doesn’t exist when the onerror is triggered.

      • 28 Windows, macOS and Linux antivirus with major security flaws [Ed: All those headlines should say proprietary software]

        In this case, major security flaws have been discovered in a total of 28 antiviruses. This list highlights some of the most downloaded for Windows, macOS and Linux. We give you all the details and the list of those affected after the jump.

      • G-Core Labs opens new hosting and CDN location in Hong Kong [Ed: GNU/Linux and KVM[

        G-Core Labs servers are located in a certified Tier III class data re and the company provides 5 TBytes of traffic for free for each dedicated server. The functionality of the automatic installation of operating systems such as Windows and Unix, installed when ordering the server, is provided in the company’s dedicated and virtual servers in order to save time for system deployment. All G-Core Labs servers are protected from DDoS attacks using proprietary technology for intelligent filtering of network traffic.

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • 'Unscrupulous' Tech Company Rebuked for Pushing Facial Recognition Tool for Authorities to Track Coronavirus

          "Absolutely the fuck not."€ 

        • Microsoft starts pushing coronavirus info in Windows Search

          Microsoft notified users of the changes as part of the release of Windows 10 Insider Build 19619, which is noteworthy for audio controls that are arriving in the Your Phone app. Though native, UWP, and Progressive Web Apps exist for streaming music services like Spotify, some people prefer playing them via their phone. The new controls allow users to adjust their audio and play, pause, and shift between tracks.

        • Ad Dollars Keep Flowing Into Google and Facebook—for Now

          The [Internet] economy has only grown more dependent on advertising in the past two years. It’s the force that sustains most publishers, fills the coffers of Instagram influencers and YouTube stars, and powers the most popular social networks. But Facebook and Google remain the twin titans of the industry, accounting for more than half of all spending in the US ad market, according to research firm eMarketer.

        • Facebook usage is surging, but the company warns it may be temporary

          In particular, Facebook says it’s watching out for drops in engagement. “We expect that we will lose at least some of this increased engagement when various shelter-in-place restrictions are relaxed in the future.” It also starting feeling the downturn in the global advertising industry over the course of the last month. “We experienced a significant reduction in the demand for advertising, as well as a related decline in the pricing of our ads, over the last three weeks of the first quarter of 2020,” the company said.

        • Keeping your digital footprint clean during quarantine

          Right now the news is being flooded by articles highlighting the importance and efficacy of physical sanitation habits. Tips that you’ve undoubtedly heard an inundating number of times by now include to wash your hands for at least twenty seconds, how to make disinfectant at home, remembering to stay masked when in public, etc. These are great tips for when you’re outside but people will also be using the [Internet] a LOT more than normal due to government orders to stay at home – and governments themselves are seeking to expand their surveillance powers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s time to consider applying the world’s newfound appreciation of sanitary habits to the digital world, too. Wearing a mask in public is effective – but so is wearing a mask when you’re on the [Internet].

        • Kids Need Encryption Too

          Earlier this month, the Internet Society ran a short webinar, Kids, the Internet and COVID-19, to show parents how they can protect their kids’ privacy and security online through encryption.

          Encryption is a way of ‘scrambling’ information to make it unreadable to malicious actors who might want to access it, and works much like the codes that we used as children to send secret messages to each other – but better. Encryption protects our emails, our online messages, and even our bank details – a critical safeguard as cyber attacks grow amidst the pandemic.

          One of the most important things a parent can do to keep their kids secure is to choose only messaging apps that are end-to-end encrypted, such as Signal, WhatsApp, and Telegram. They should also only visit websites that show a lock icon by the URL, which tells you that the page, and the information you send and receive, have been encrypted. It’s just as crucial to teach kids to set long and strong passwords – this can be sentences that combine letters, numbers, and symbols, for their online accounts and their devices.

        • Privacy groups are still trying to get documents unsealed in Facebook encryption case

          Civil liberties groups on Tuesday asked an appeals court to unseal a federal judge’s ruling that rejected a U.S. government effort to force Facebook to decrypt voice calls.

          The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation argue that the public has a right to know about how U.S. prosecutors tried to force Facebook to decrypt the calls in a 2018 investigation of the MS-13 gang, and why a judge rejected the prosecutors’ effort. The Department of Justice is urging the court to keep the ruling sealed, arguing that making it public could compromise ongoing criminal investigations.

        • EFF: Google, Apple’s Contact-Tracing System Open to Cyberattacks

          Privacy advocates are urging developers to proceed with caution as they use technology released by Apple and Google to build COVID-19 contact-tracing apps — and are warning against the potential for cybercriminal use.

          On the latter point, the system is meant to help people know if they have come into contact with someone with the novel coronavirus. But the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warned that as it stands now, there’s no way to verify that the device sending the contact-tracing information out is actually the one that generated it. Thus, malicious actors could potentially harvest the data over the air and then rebroadcast it, undermining the system entirely, researchers said.

        • Google Inc makes Meet app free for all users

          Earlier, the premium video conferencing app was available only for paid enterprise users of the GSuite.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Grieving Families Need Help Paying for COVID-19 Burials, but Trump Hasn’t Released the Money

      As the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus mounts, President Donald Trump has yet to free up a pool of disaster relief funding specifically intended to help families cover burial costs.

      Approximately 30 states and territories have requested the funding as the pandemic spreads across the country and struggling families ask for help burying their dead. The funding is part of the wide array of “individual assistance” programs handled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help disaster victims. But Trump has sharply limited what kinds of assistance FEMA can provide, and the agency has told states their requests are “under review” or only agreed to pay for counseling services for their residents.

    • Is Kim Dead? Your Guess Is as Good as Western Media’s
  • Environment

    • CNN’s Exceptional Climate Journalism Achievement

      Demolishing the stereotype of climate stories as earnest, predictable turnoffs, The Road to Change spotlights the human side of the climate crisis without preaching or pulling its punches. In the course of 90 minutes, we meet one compelling character after another: members of America’s “first underwater homeowners association,” in inexorably submerging Miami, comforting one another about dwindling property values; weather-battered Iowa farmers whose Christian faith compels them to climate activism despite snickers from their conservative neighbors; a victim of California’s record Paradise fire who, surrounded by houses reduced to ashes, says he’s “yet to see any substantial proof” of a changing climate; young Sunrise Movement activists forcing the Green New Deal into the national political conversation; and a smattering of big-name scientists and politicians. Jovial yet deeply informed, Weir treats his subjects with absolute respect, gaining their trust and ours. By telling the story through the experiences of these flesh-and-blood human beings, the documentary makes the urgency of the climate crisis, as well as its solutions, vivid and immediate to anyone with an open mind.

    • The Economy Is at a Standstill, and Yet Carbon Emissions Have Only Dipped Slightly. Why?

      A 5.5-percent drop in carbon dioxide emissions would still be the largest yearly change on record, beating out the financial crisis of 2008 and World War II. But it’s worth wondering: Where do all of those emissions come from? And if stopping most travel and transport isn’t enough to slow down climate change, what will be?

    • [Old] Ghost flights: Why our skies are full of empty planes

      Crew and fuel are costly, and the environment pays a price, too. The reason airlines continue to operate these expensive flights, however, is because the industry is engaged in a slots game more high-stakes and lucrative than anything you'll find in Las Vegas.

  • Energy

    • The Syrian Job: Uncovering the Oil Industry's Radioactive Secret

      The story of how MacDonald got here is a tale of adventure and tragedy fit for a Hollywood thriller, only it is real. Even with many unknowns, MacDonald’s case unearths a shocking part of the world’s most powerful industry that somehow has remained hidden for€ generations.

    • As Covid-19 Forces Emission Reductions, Media Offer Oil Industry Elegies

      Last week on April 22 the world marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Air pollution in the world’s major cities was down dramatically; for the first time in decades, the Himalayan Mountains could be seen from 100 miles away. The canals in Venice were so clear you could see the fish swimming in them, and lions were sleeping on the roads in South Africa. All of these developments, and others like them, were the consequences of a global reduction in fossil-fuel emissions.

    • Annual Power Demand Seen Falling For First Time In Almost Four Decades: ICRA

      ICRA expects annual electricity demand to fall 1 per cent during the year ending March 2021 due to the impact of a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, ICRA said in a statement.

      The decline would be the first since fiscal year 1985, and government data preceding that was unavailable.

  • Wildlife/Nature

    • Speak Up for Bats — Even in the Pandemic
    • Tropical deforestation releases deadly infections

      Brazil’s burning forests are bad news for the global climate. Now scientists say the trees harbour deadly infections too.

    • A Big Win for the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and a Call to Protect Wolves and Wilderness in Idaho

      In January 2016 the U.S. Forest Service authorized the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) to make 120 helicopter landings in the River of No Return Wilderness to place radio telemetry collars on 60 elk, despite the Wilderness Act’s clear prohibition on motorized intrusions and its directive to preserve an untrammeled Wilderness. To our knowledge, this was the most extensive helicopter intrusion in Wilderness that has ever been authorized. IDFG said the project was necessary to study an elk-population decline that has occurred since the return of gray wolves to the Wilderness and to inform IDFG’s future decisions concerning hunting, trapping, and “predator control” actions in the Wilderness.

    • Are "Temporary Roads" Ecologically Invisible?

      I recently had a representative of one of the “conservation groups” in the Greater Yellowstone area tell me that they supported logging/thinning on the Custer Gallatin National Forest because the agency was mostly accessing the timber by way of “temporary” roads.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Both Sides-ing Bleach Injection: Media in the Era of an Incompetent President

      To corporate media: It is OK. Facts are facts, even when the president of the United States disagrees. You don’t have to both-sides this one. Injecting bleach is bad.

    • 'Owes an Apology to Every Essential Worker': Pence Under Fire for Refusing to Wear Face Mask at Mayo Clinic

      "When I warned everyone in February that Pence doesn't believe in science and shouldn't be in charge of Covid response, I meant it," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    • 'What a Threat!': In Latest Effort to Exploit Pandemic, Trump Indicates He May Condition State Coronavirus Aid on Sanctuary City Policies

      "No matter what issue the solution is the same for Trump, Miller, Kushner and other€ white nationalists. Build walls, end immigration, punish sanctuary cities..."

    • "Only in Trump's America": Despite Covid-19, Employees in Texas and Iowa Told to Get Back to Work or Lose Unemployment Benefits

      "I feel like either I'm going to lose my business and everything I worked for, or I'm going to get sick."

    • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp: Stupid or Pseudostupid?

      The elevation of pseudostupidity and disavowal of its consequences is a Trump characteristic his followers celebrate as a strength, not a failing. This endangers us all.

    • Trump Takes His War on Intelligence to a New Level

      Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently reprised his advice from the 2008 financial crisis, when he said “never let a good crisis go to waste.”€  Sadly, Donald Trump is the cynical embodiment of that code.€  Behind the national preoccupation with the pandemic, Trump has escalated his war on U.S. governance and our democracy with his politicization of the intelligence community; his campaign against the federal government’s Inspector Generals; and the reversal of President Barack Obama’s legacy in the field of environmental sanity.€  The Congress has been virtually and pathetically silent about these actions.

    • Russian Orthodox Church suspends protodeacon from service after critical remarks about archpriest who died from coronavirus

      The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has temporarily banned well-known Protodeacon and Orthodox theologian Andrey Kuraev from service.

    • Backing the Wrong Horseman
    • The Trump Administration Has Put Federal Workers at Coronavirus Risk, Senators Say

      Democratic senators are questioning the Trump administration about whether it has been doing enough to protect federal workers during the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter sent Monday to the White House, the senators demanded more information about the administration’s policies, and they cited ProPublica coverage detailing how agencies have come up short.

      The administration has the “authority and responsibility to make sure that federal agencies have effective and clear policies to protect these employees,” wrote Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and 20 other lawmakers.

    • The left is lukewarm on Biden. Will they turn out for him anyway?

      But if the Biden campaign truly wants to win over Mr. Sanders’ army of dedicated supporters and unite the Democrats, the candidate himself needs to signal that he values them and understands why they became Sanders activists in the first place, Mr. Barkoski says.

      “It’s not Trumpers who are saying ‘Oh you Bernie people are all losers.’ That’s all coming from our own party,” says Mr. Barkoski, who has cast his ballot for Democratic presidential nominees since he became old enough to vote in 1972. “This party has no interest in me or what I stand for, unless it’s courting my vote.”

    • How the pandemic turned Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer into an unlikely firebrand

      The thing is, though, Whitmer has never been a political firebrand. The Lansing native ran for governor in 2018 on a platform of fixing the state’s roads and cleaning up its water, and while she’s taken progressive stances on some issues, she’s typically portrayed as a centrist by opponents and supporters alike.

      So how did Whitmer become the subject of nationwide controversy? It started with Michigan’s coronavirus crisis — the state is among the hardest hit, with nearly 34,000 cases and more than 2,800 deaths as of April 22. In March, Whitmer called out the Trump administration for failing to help Michigan and other states get tests and protective equipment — and Trump responded by insulting her. Soon Michigan became one of the most visible sites of conservative protests against social distancing rules — protests encouraged by Trump’s tweets.

    • Why We Should 'Abolish Silicon Valley'

      For the past decade, Silicon Valley's tentacles have dug so deep into our political economy that it's hard to imagine life without the tech titans. The coronavirus pandemic has only complicated things further, with the same companies that misclassify, underpay, and exploit workers now positioning themselves as indispensable to the increasingly volatile economic order.

      A tech worker turned critic, Wendy Liu’s debut book "Abolish Silicon Valley: How to liberate technology from capitalism" comes at an opportune time and promises to offer an alternative to a world where technological development is funded and driven by private actors seeking private gain. Her book aims to offer a series of reforms that can mitigate inequality and improve working conditions, alongside larger structural demands that seek to put social good, not returns on investment, in control of our society’s technology.

      This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

    • Swedish activists seek to rename square outside Chinese consulate after imprisoned bookseller Gui Minhai

      A representative from the Liberal Party’s youth organisation Olle Johnson told HKFP that the group submitted a proposal to Gothenburg’s city committee and launched an online petition.

    • Why Biden Probably Won’t Announce His Running Mate For Months

      But that wide date range obscures the fact that vice presidential candidate announcements are closely tied to the timing of the party conventions — which, of course, varies every election year. Four of the vice presidential nominees since 1972 were announced at the convention, and almost all the others were announced shortly before.1

      For most of American history, vice presidential nominees were chosen during the conventions themselves, originally by the same chaotic, multiple-ballot process that was used to pick presidential nominees, but eventually at the direction of the presidential nominee, a trend that started with Franklin D. Roosevelt choosing Henry Wallace in 1940. And in 1984, Walter Mondale became the first presidential candidate to announce his running mate before the convention began (his pick, Geraldine Ferraro, also made history in another, more important way — she was the first woman on a major-party presidential ticket).

    • Coronavirus testing chief says 'no way on Earth' US can test 5 million a day, despite what Trump says

      There's "no way on Earth" the U.S. can test 5 million people a day for the coronavirus, the government's top testing official said in an interview, just hours before President Donald Trump vowed that the country would be able to test that many people daily "very soon."

      "There is absolutely no way on Earth, on this planet or any other planet, that we can do 20 million tests a day, or even five million tests a day," Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health who is in charge of the government's testing response, told TIME in an interview he gave Tuesday morning that was published later in the evening. The interview took place before Trump's eye-popping pledge about testing.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Game Of (Internet) Life: How Social Media Reacts To Questionable News

      On April 11, Princeton mathematician and the inventor of “Game of Life” John Horton Conway passed away from the coronavirus. Known as a “magical genius” whose curiosity extended beyond just mathematics, the passing was a devastating blow to many who loved the man.

    • HHS' New Spokesman So Good At Communications Strategy That He Thinks He Can Delete Tweets From The Internet

      It never ceases to amaze me how often people that really should know better seem to think that they can simply remove their own histories from the internet effectively. It seems the be a lesson never learned, be it from major corporations or even the Pope, that the internet never forgets. Thanks to tools like The Wayback Machine and others, attempts to sweep history under the rug are mostly fruitless endeavors. And, yet, people still try.

    • Reluctant To Block Embarrassing Coronavirus Material Held On GitHub, China Targets The People Who Put It There

      Over the years, Techdirt has written many stories about the various forms that censorship has taken in China. The coronavirus pandemic has added an extra dimension to the situation. China is evidently trying to erase certain aspects of the disease's history. In particular, it seeks to deny its likely role in acting as the breeding ground for COVID-19, and to downplay how it infected the rest of the world after the initial outbreak in Wuhan. As the New York Times put it: "China is trying to rewrite its role, leveraging its increasingly sophisticated global propaganda machine to cast itself as the munificent, responsible leader that triumphed where others have stumbled." Quartz reports on a new front in this campaign to re-cast China's actions. Volunteers in China working on a project called Terminus2049, which aims to preserve key digital records of the coronavirus outbreak, are now targets of a crackdown:

    • Tajikistan bans independent Akhbor news website

      On April 9, the country’s Supreme Court announced a decision to formally block access to Akhbor and prohibited the outlet from operating in the country, according to news reports, a report by the website, and Mirzo Salimpur, Akhbor’s founder and editor-in-chief, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.

      The website’s Tajik page has been inaccessible in the country since 2017, and its Russian page has been blocked since 2019, according to Akhbor. The court’s ruling formalizes those blocks into law and also imposes potential criminal charges on journalists who work with the outlet, according to those news reports and Salimpur.

    • He Found One of Stalin’s Mass Graves. Now He’s in Jail.

      “Everything started here,” said Mr. Dmitriev’s 35-year-old daughter, Katerina Klodt, during a recent visit to the forest at Sandarmokh in Karelia, a peninsula in northern Russia. “My dad’s work has clearly made some people very uncomfortable.”

      Mr. Dmitriev is now in jail, awaiting trial on what his family, friends and supporters dismiss as blatantly fabricated charges of pedophilia, an accusation that has frequently been used to discredit and silence voices the Russian authorities do not like.

      An official in Karelia, Mr. Dmitriev’s home region next to Finland, complained last year that the jailed historian’s life work — the commemoration of Stalin’s victims at Sandarmokh forest — had created an “unfounded sense of guilt” and been used by “foreign powers for propaganda against Russia.”

    • Siberian Doctor At Proposed COVID-19 Hospital Falls From Fifth Floor Window

      TVK Krasnoyarsk television reported on April 25 that the acting chief physician had fallen out from the office window while talking on a conference call with regional Health Minister Boris Nemik about turning one of the buildings of the hospital into a facility to treat coronavirus patients.

  • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • ‘Ekho Moskvy’ chief editor Alexey Venediktov faces multiple sexual harassment allegations in new ‘BBC’ profile

      On April 29, the BBC’s Russian-language service published an in-depth profile of Alexey Venediktov, the long-time editor-in-chief of the liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow). The story by Svetlana Reiter and Sergey Goryashko covers Venediktov’s humble beginnings, rise to prominence in Russia’s post-Soviet independent journalism, and byzantine relationships with powerful politicians, state officials, and business owners. The article also describes sexual harassment allegations against Venediktov from multiple women, including Anna Veduta, Meduza’s former global outreach director and the ex-spokesperson for oppositionist Alexey Navalny.€ 

    • Protect Indian media from predatory tech platforms

      Silicon Valley has always preferred to portray itself not as a profit-making enterprise, but as a populist crusader for free speech. From invoking Martin Luther King, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg did in a speech to defend his company’s strategy to allow false political advertising in the United States (US), to framing catchy slogans such as “Do No Evil” (Google) , the technology firms have played an aggressive advocacy game to keep public opinion in its favour.

      More recently, the original defenders of free speech — traditional news publishers in western democracies — have locked horns with Silicon Valley companies such as Google and Facebook over advertising revenue and the fake news propagated on these technology-enabled platforms. These news publishers charge the technology companies with two sins that threaten not just the news industry across the world, but also democracy in India.

    • Since when is it a crime to report a crime? Bernard Collaery exposes the Timor Sea betrayal

      Witness K is in court this week, in closed-court proceedings nobody is meant to know about. He is on trial for doing the right thing. With the release of his book, Oil Under Troubled Water, to coincide with Witness K’s plea hearing, ACT lawyer, Bernard Collaery, has raised the stakes on who the real wrong-doers are in this unedifying exposé of the Howard Government’s breach of international law when it spied on it’s cash-strapped neighbour to profit from Timor Sea oil. Callum Foote reports on the momentous political scandal.

    • FBI warrant shows messages between Roger Stone, Julian Assange in 2016

      Roger Stone, a former political strategist for President Donald Trump, repeatedly contacted WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign -- and they primarily discussed leaked emails from Hillary Clinton's team and the Justice Department's Russia investigation, new FBI documents show.

      The documents, a partly redacted application for a search warrant in 2017, were released by the bureau late Tuesday.

    • Dissident British ex-diplomat Craig Murray indicted for blog posts in Kafkaesque case

      The renowned British peace activist and former diplomat Craig Murray has been charged with contempt of court for writing blog posts.

      The suspicious indictment represents a heavily politicized, Kafkaesque case in which Murray has virtually none of his rights guaranteed. It also appears to be a part of the British government’s aggressive crackdown on the Scottish independence movement.

      In comments to The Grayzone, Murray described the case against him as a thoroughly undemocratic attack on free speech, and warned it may be punishment for his dissident journalism and activism exposing the UK’s crimes and lies.

      Murray said he faces the possibility of “no jury, no ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ test, no public interest defence allowed, no freedom of speech defence allowed, and up to two years in jail and an ‘unlimited’ fine.”

      Craig Murray served as Britain’s ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004. The UK Foreign Office fired him for his exposure of British and US involvement in egregious human rights violations in the country. Murray had blown the whistle on torture, warning that the CIA was using highly dubious intelligence obtained from tortured detainees.

      Since leaving the UK diplomatic service, Murray has become a prominent human rights activist who maintains a popular blog at his personal website.

      On his blog and through social media, Murray has established himself as an outspoken supporter of WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange, who is being tormented in Britain’s high-security Belmarsh prison while awaiting potential extradition to the United States.

      In recent years, Murray has brought to light an array of US, British, and Israeli government crimes. He poked holes in Britain’s accusations that Russia poisoned double agent Sergei Skripal under official government orders. And in recent months, he has publicly excoriated the UK’s hypocrisy in a scandal involving Anne Sacoolas, a CIA operative who killed the British teenager Harry Dunn after she collided into him while driving on the wrong side of the road outside of a US Air Force spying station.

      A resident of Scotland’s capital Edinburgh, Murray has been especially outspoken in his support for the country’s independence from the United Kingdom. His pro-independence agitation appears to be a key factor in his persecution at the hands of the government.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Remotes, the Essentials, the Unpaid, and the Forgotten: Covid-19 Exposes Our Class Divide

      Of course this economic crisis triggered by the pandemic is not hitting people all the same.

    • As Covid-19 Deaths Mount in Retail, Walmart Workers Take Matters Into Own Hands With Contact-Tracing Plan

      "We can't wait for more half-measures—we're taking matters into our own hands to get the information we deserve to know."

    • How Many Deaths Can We Live With?

      A prolonged economic crisis on the scale of a great depression will tally up its own body count, and may damage the country’s fabric in ways we cannot imagine.€ 

    • Wild in the Streets? Mayday 1971

      During the last week of April and the first few days of May in 1971, tens of thousands of US residents protested in the streets of Washington, DC. Their goal was to force an immediate and complete withdrawal of all US forces from Southeast Asia. Although they did not accomplish their goal, they did force the rest of the United States of America to acknowledge the war needed to end. I was living in the Bundesrepublik Deutschland and attending antiwar protests there, but I wished I was in the streets of DC. Lawrence Roberts, author of a soon to be released history of those protests was one of those protestors. His book, titled Mayday 1971: A White House at War, a Revolt in the Streets, and the Untold History of America’s Biggest Mass Arrest is a masterful chronicle of this particular historical moment.€ Detailed and encompassing the actions, planning and personalities of the protesters and the government forces aligned against them, Roberts’ writing is thoughtful and compelling.

    • Let Prisoners Go During COVID-19 Pandemic

      Across the United States and across the world, prisoners are among the most vulnerable to the coronavirus. Overcrowded facilities, shortages of food and medicine, and totally inadequate testing expose prisoners who are disproportionately poor and afflicted with prior conditions that render them vulnerable to the disease.

    • What Would Jesus Do? (Not This)
    • Threatening the Governors: Barr’s Commercial and Civil Liberties Brief

      The US Federal Attorney General should, nominally at least, be a stickler for the Constitution and its sacred word. When President Dwight Eisenhower’s Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr. was asked to participate in the suit that became Brown v the Board of Education, his position, while disruptive to pro-segregation states, showed fidelity to that document. The “separate but equal” doctrine should, it was suggested in legal argument, be overturned.

    • Social Distancing Doesn’t Matter When It Comes to Racist, Aggressive Policing

      Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have implored New Yorkers to keep respectable distances from one another, with the hopes of stopping the spread of the virus. The state’s and city’s economies were grounded to a halt as all kinds of businesses were ordered to shut their doors. Schools have been closed since March, and de Blasio recently announced that they will remain closed for the remainder of the year. Court affairs are being conducted remotely. Colleges have transitioned to distance learning. Across the state, there has either been a drastic slowing down, or a complete stoppage of almost all operations and activities in the public and private sector.

    • America Is Living Paycheck to Paycheck — on Purpose

      The $60 billion has the veneer of generosity, giving the appearance that Trump and company actually recognize and care about fixing one of the fundamental errors of the first round of funding. It also would be generous to call it an “error,” since anywhere from 75% to 95% of businesses owned by Americans who aren’t white, which make up nearly a third of the U.S. total, had virtually no chance of receiving low-interest PPP loans designed to help them pay workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

    • A Manager Threatening Retaliation Against Workers for Union Activity Is Not a Joke

      The Federalist's top manager Ben Domenech is deeply upset that Matt Bruenig filed charges at the National Labor Relations Board for Domenech's "joking" anti-union threats against employees. If Domenech didn't want to get dragged to court, maybe he shouldn't have broken labor law.

    • Access to [Internet] is not a fundamental right but an enabler of rights, J&K govt tells SC

      The Jammu and Kashmir government Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the right to access the [Internet] is not a fundamental right, but an enabler of rights. In saying this, it indicated that high speed mobile [Internet] is unlikely to be restored in the union territory anytime soon.

      The J&K government’s submission comes after the Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment in January this year, had declared access to the [Internet] a fundamental right.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • As Pandemic Exposes US Broadband Failures, FCC Report Declares Everything Is Fine

      42 million Americans lack access to any kind of broadband whatsoever -- more than double official FCC estimates. Millions more can't afford broadband because the monopolized US telecom sector suffers from a dire lack of competition in most markets. US telcos, bored with the slow rate of return, have effectively stopped upgrading their DSL networks across broad swaths of America, leaving cable giants like Comcast and Charter spectrum with a bigger monopoly than ever across wide swaths of America. And no, wireless 5G won't magically fix the problem due to patchy availability and high prices.

    • Canada Reads author Cory Doctorow answered your questions — here's what he had to say

      You can read the transcript of the Q&A with Cory Doctorow, author of Radicalized below. The transcript has been edited for clarity.

      Radicalized is a collection of four novellas that explore the quandaries — social, economic and technological — of contemporary America. Cory Doctorow's characters deal with issues around immigration, corrupt police forces, dark web uprisings and more.

      Akil Augustine will defend Radicalized on Canada Reads 2020.

      Hey there! It's Cory, whose responses are being relayed by the good folks at the CBC. I'm a committed zuckervegan, and I firmly believe you should delete your Facebook account... after this chat!

    • Teleconference About .ORG Sale: Thursday, April 30, 9 am PT/12 pm ET: EFF and Partners Discuss Future of .ORG as ICANN Decision Nears

      San Francisco—The sale of the .ORG domain registry to private equity firm Ethos Capital threatens to bring censorship and higher operating costs to nonprofit organizations and international NGOs working in the public interest around the globe. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) may decide as early as April 30 whether the transaction can move forward.Experts at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Access Now, NTEN, and Human Rights Watch will brief the media about the overwhelming opposition to the transaction within the nonprofit world, Ethos Capital’s lack of transparency and sham promises of stakeholder involvement, and what happens after ICANN votes.The teleconference is Thursday, April 30, at 9 am PT/12 pm ET. To join the briefing, click on, or dial 415-857-0015, PIN: 43233. For international access numbers: more about Save.ORG:

  • Monopolies

    • Patents

      • Second Medical Use in Pharmaceutical Patents: EPO Applications and Turkish Jurisdiction

        Second medical use claims provide the required protection for originator companies to recoup research investments in therapeutic use based on the original chemical compound. The claim provides additional 20 years protection after the expiry of the original patents that provide product protection for the medical substance. Second medical use claims are an important strategy for patent holders to prevent generic drugs from entering the market by extending the life of the patented molecule. To achieve this result, the originators claim the use of the molecule as a new product or process patent or different dosage for treatment. Of course, the claims must be again be novel for this use, have an inventive step and industrial applicability. Turkey, a member of the European Patent Convention (EPC), follows a parallel path with the European Patent Office (EPO) on second medical use in the context of the post-EPC2000 (entered into force in 13 December 2007) period. It is possible to be granted for a second medical use, if the claim meets the legal requirements of the EPC, from Turkish Patent Office.

        EPC and EPO Board of Appeals Decisions

        The implementation of EPC2000 and changes in Article 54 was, however, not enough to clarify the new purpose-limited product claim. In the former EPC 1973, applicants would circumvent the Convention by filing “Swiss-type” claims (decision G 5/83 of EPO Board of Appeals) in the format: “Use of compound X for the manufacture of a medicament for therapeutic application Z”, which were previously accepted by the EPO. Within the new framework of EPC2000, the subject-matter of a claim is considered novel only by a new therapeutic use of a pharmaceutical. Articles 54(4) and (5) provide for an exception from the general principle that product claims can only be obtained for novel products. Where a substance or composition is already a state of the art, it may still be patentable under Art. 54(5) for any second or further use in a method provided that said use is novel and inventive. Additionally, therapeutic uses of a substance/composition may be based not only on the treatment of a different disease but also on the treatment of the same disease by a different therapeutic method differing for example in the dosage, administration regime, group of subjects or route of administration. The interpretation of Article 54 came after decision G2/08 of European Patent Office Board of Appeals, in which further therapeutic use claims are expected to indicate the illness/disease to be treated, the nature of the therapeutic compound used for that purpose and, if relevant for establishing novelty and inventive step, the subject to be treated. . If the further therapeutic use relates to a different therapy of the same disease using the same substance/composition, the claim must also define all technical features of the therapy giving rise to the desired technical effect. At the date of filing, the claimed compound must not necessarily have already been tested in clinical trials, let alone have been approved as a drug. However, preferably, animal data in a relevant disease model should be filed to support the therapeutic effect. If animal data is not available, even in vitro data may be sufficient to render a therapeutic effect plausible if there is a clear and accepted established relationship between the observed physiological activities and the disease. In each individual case a balance must be struck between the requirement for sufficient disclosure of the therapeutic effect – potentially delaying application filing – and the need for early filing. Broad functional definitions of the compound for use in a therapeutic application are problematic before the EPO and other EPO Member State jurisdictions.

      • Biogen Int'l v. Banner Life Sciences LLC (Fed. Cir. 2020)

        In 1984, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) shepherded a grand legislative compromise through Congress that balanced the rights and solved inefficient regulatory consequences for both branded and generic drug makers. Forever known as the Hatch-Waxman Act (formally, the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act), certain of the provisions created a safe harbor for generic drugs to be tested for purposes related to regulatory approval without incurring infringement liability (codified at 35 U.S.C. ۤ 271(e)(1)) as well as a pathway for generic drug makers to challenge patents listed by branded drug makers as being non-infringed, invalid, or unenforceable and litigation (ANDA litigation) to resolve these allegations (codified at codified at 35 U.S.C. ۤ 271(e)(2)). For branded drug makers, the Act provided for extension of patent term (PTE) to make up for regulatory delay in obtaining marketing approval (codified at 35 U.S.C. ۤ 156 et seq.). Litigation has ensued robustly under ۤ 271(e)(2) and PTE's obtained by numerous branded drugs in the 35+ years since enactment of the Hatch-Waxman Act, but the proper application of the Act with regard to PTE provisions continued to be litigated, most recently in Biogen Int'l v. Banner Life Sciences LLC (ANDA litigation is almost a patent law specialty, for good or ill; see "Yet Another Study Suggesting Changes in Hatch-Waxman Regime").


        The Federal Circuit affirmed, in an opinion by Judge Lourie joined by Judges Moore and Chen. The Court based its affirmance on its interpretation of the statute, specifically that "the scope of a patent term extension under 35 U.S.C. ۤ 156 only includes the active ingredient of an approved product, or an ester or salt of that active ingredient, and the product at issue does not fall within one of those categories." The issue for the Court was the proper interpretation of ۤ 156(f), which "defines "product" as "the active ingredient of . . . a new drug . . . including any salt or ester of the active ingredient." ۤ 156(f)(2)(A).

        Biogen in arguing against the District Court's decision cites Pfizer Inc. v. Dr. Reddy's Labs., Ltd., 359 F.3d 1361 (Fed. Cir. 2004) for the proposition that "product" encompasses "the de-esterified form [here, MMF], particularly where 'a later applicant's patentably indistinct drug product . . . relies on the patentee's clinical data'" (which was the case for Banner's application under ۤ 505(b)(2)). Biogen contended the term "active ingredient" meant "active moiety" and the proper interpretation was not governed by Glaxo Ops. UK Ltd. v. Quigg, 894 F.2d 392, 395 (Fed. Cir. 1990), which Banner argued excluded de-esterified forms of an active ingredient.

      • Software Patents

        • Who’s A Patent Troll, and Who’s An Inventor?

          Two Congressmen recently introduced a bill that would create a special type of patent called an “Inventor-Owned Patent.” Having classified a group of “inventors,” the Inventor Rights Act (H.R. 5478) goes on to give them a long list of special privileges that will help them sue other people for patent infringement. If the bill passes, patent owners whom the government deems “inventors” will be able to exploit a big list of legal loopholes—including the ability to shut down product lines, avoid Patent Office reviews, and blow off important venue reforms established by recent Supreme Court rulings. Then, those who have “inventor-owned patents” will be able to return to venues that have historically been widely abused by patent owners, such as the Eastern District of Texas.

          We’ll take a closer look at the Inventor Rights Act in a subsequent blog post, but first we need to answer a more basic question. Are most patent owners “inventors,” with all the weight that word entails? Are “inventors” a special class of patent owner, separate and distinct from the “patent trolls” that we track and critique here at EFF?

        • The “Inventor Rights Act” is an Attack on True Invention

          Certain patent owners just can’t get enough of the monopoly power patents bestow. That’s why they keep trying to make it easier to get and sue over patents, despite Supreme Court rulings that point in the opposite direction.

          Their latest effort, the misleadingly-named “Inventors Rights Act,” also known as H.R. 5478, hijacks the positive associations many of us have with “inventors” to radically tilt the patent system in favor of patent owners, including patent trolls.

        • Cassiopeia IP patent determined to be likely unpatentable

          On April 29, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 7,322,046, owned and asserted by Cassiopeia IP LLC, an IP Edge affiliate and well-known NPE.

          The ‘046 patent is directed to the secure use of a service in a network. The ’046 patent is currently being asserted against Ricoh, Funai, Yamaha, and QNAP. All other cases have been terminated.

        • Another GE-owned, HEVC Advance standard essential patent, challenged as likely invalid

          On April 28, 2020, as part of its ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 9,357,217. The '217 patent is owned by GE Video Compression, LLC (GEVC), which is participating in the HEVC Advance patent pool (HEVC Advance patent list).

          The ’217 patent, originally assigned to Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, was transferred to GEVC in 2015.

          HEVC Advance claims that certain claims of the '217 patent are essential to the HEVC standard. After conducting an independent analysis, Unified has determined that the ‘217 patent is likely unpatentable.

    • Copyrights

      • Saudi Arabia Buys a $500 Million Stake In Live Nation

        The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has purchased a nearly $500 million stake in leading concert promoter Live Nation.

        The transaction’s details were revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, which was shared with Digital Music News. For a total cost of approximately $500 million, Saudi Arabia bought 5.7 percent of Live Nation’s common stock – some 12,337,569 million shares – via its Public Investment Fund.

      • The Pirate Bay Has Made it Harder to Find Stuff

        The Pirate Bay resurfaced at its original .org domain earlier this month, but not everything is running smoothly. Finding torrents is a bit more complicated now, as paged search results and browsing features are missing. A lot of regular pages and links are gone too, including the famous Kopimi logo. The staff is aware of the issues but must wait until "Winston" addresses them.

      • Jay-Z Claims Copyright On Audio Deepfake Of Him Reciting Hamlet

        Andy Baio always digs up the absolute best stories. His latest involves layers upon layers of fascinating issues and legal questions. The key part, though, is that Jay-Z and his company Roc Nation, were able to convince YouTube to remove two "audio deepfakes" by claiming both copyright infringement and "unlawfully using AI to impersonate our client's voice." Both of these are highly questionable claims. But let's take a few steps back first.

      • Woman Who Sold Access to Pirated Books on Dropbox Handed Suspended Sentence

        A woman who sold access to pirated copies of academic textbooks stored on Dropbox has been handed a suspended jail sentence by a court in Denmark. The case was pursued by Rights Alliance with assistance from the police and mirrors two previously concluded cases where two pirates were handed similar sentences.

      • Creative Commons Welcomes Our 2020 CC Certificate Scholarship Recipients!

        One way to bring the CC Certificate to more people is through the Certificate scholarship program, which launched with 18 scholarships in 2019. I’m pleased to announce we’ve awarded 28 scholarships in 2020 to our CC Global Network members who are passionate about developing their open licensing expertise and contributing to our vibrant global community.€ 

      • US Supreme Court rules Official Georgia Codes Annotated is ineligible for copyright protection - Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc.

        As a longstanding matter of public policy under U.S. copyright law, government edicts are

        ineligible for protection. Justice Harlan described the principle in 1898: “no one can obtain the exclusive right to publish the laws of a state in a book prepared by him.” A question has however persisted: what falls within the category of laws?

        On April 26, the US Supreme Court addressed this question in the context of annotations in the official code of the state of Georgia. All laws of the state of Georgia are printed in a single compendium, the Official Georgia Codes Annotated (OCGA).

        In a 5-4 decision written by Chief Justice Roberts and joined by Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh, the Court ruled that such annotations are not subject to copyright protection.

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Bill Gates didn't even finish university]
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Covering Abuses and Corruption
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Letting Microsoft systemd Manage /home Was a Terrible Idea All Along
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Patriotism is OK, But We Need Facts and Reason, Not Blind Obedience to Authority
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