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Links 29/5/2020: Genode OS 20.05 and FSF Video Conferencing Service

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Cockpit 220

        Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 220.

      • My exciting journey into Kubernetes’ history

        Choosing the right steps when working in the field of data science is truly no silver bullet. Most data scientists might have their custom workflow, which could be more or less automated, depending on their area of work. Using Kubernetes can be a tremendous enhancement when trying to automate workflows on a large scale. In this blog post, I would like to take you on my journey of doing data science while integrating the overall workflow into Kubernetes.

        The target of the research I did in the past few months was to find any useful information about all those thousands of GitHub issues and pull requests (PRs) we have in the Kubernetes repository. What I ended up with was a fully automated, in Kubernetes running Continuous Integration (CI) and Deployment (CD) data science workflow powered by Kubeflow and Prow. You may not know both of them, but we get to the point where I explain what they’re doing in detail. The source code of my work can be found in the kubernetes-analysis GitHub repository, which contains everything source code-related as well as the raw data. But how to retrieve this data I’m talking about? Well, this is where the story begins.

      • First new Docker release under Mirantis appears
    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • BSD Now 352: Introducing Randomness

        A brief introduction to randomness, logs grinding netatalk to a hault, NetBSD core team changes, Using qemu guest agent on OpenBSD kvm/qemu guests, WireGuard patchset for OpenBSD, FreeBSD 12.1 on a laptop, and more.

      • Bad Voltage 3×05: This Podcast Will Self Destruct

        Stuart Langridge, Jono Bacon, and Jeremy Garcia present Bad Voltage, in which we are rendered with one meelion triangles.

      • Bread and Butter Django - Building SaaS #58

        In this episode, I worked on a views and templates. There are a number of core pages that are required to flesh out the minimal interface for the app. We’re building them.

        I began by showing the page that we were going to work on. I outlined the changes I planned to make, then we started.

        The first thing we added was data about the school year, the main model on display in the page. I showed how to mock in the elements before adding real data.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Wayland in 2020

          It is nearly a year since my last blog article about Wayland on Linux. Thus I thought it is time for an update on how my desktop with sway developed. What happened?

        • Mainline Linux Kernel Starts Seeing A NVIDIA Tegra X1 Video Input Driver

          While the Tegra X1 SoC (Tegra210) has been available for several years, finally with the upcoming Linux 5.8 kernel is a mainline driver contributed by NVIDIA for the video input support.

          The Tegra X1 features a high-end video input controller that can support up to six MIPI CSI camera sensors concurrently.

        • AMDVLK 2020.Q2.4 Released With TMZ Enabled, Improved Memory Allocation

          As the first open-source code drop in two weeks, AMDVLK 2020.Q2.4 is out today as the latest update to this official open-source AMD Radeon Vulkan driver stack for Linux.

          AMDVLK 2020.Q2.4 comes with improved memory allocation for systems not using any local invisible memory, command buffer prefetch is now disabled for local memory, TMZ is enabled, and a back-end optimization for kills is used. There are also several bug fixes concerning the Radeon Graphics Profiler and other targeted bug fixes.

        • Khronos Releases OpenVG 1.1 Lite For High Quality Vector Graphics On Mobile

          It's been a while since hearing of OpenVG as The Khronos Group's hardware-accelerated 2D vector graphics API. But today they announced a "Lite" version of OpenVG 1.1.

          OpenVG 1.1 as their latest version came back in 2008 and since then there hasn't been much to report on this vector graphics API besides maintenance tasks and a short-lived OpenVG Gallium3D state tracker. Out today though is the provisional specification of OpenVG 1.1 Lite.

    • Applications

      • Ardour 6.0 Released With Massive Changes

        Ardour – the open-source Digital Audio Workstation software brings huge changes with its latest version.

        Digital audio workstation (DAW) apps are used to record, edit, and create/produce audio files. DAW apps come with a wide range of configuration options based on their types. Using DAW apps, you can record music, songs, speech, radio, TVs, sound effects, podcasts, and these apps also help you to mix & alter multiple recordings and produce a single track.

      • Looking for Some Good Note Taking Apps on Linux? Here are the Best Note Apps we Found for You

         No matter what you do — taking notes is always a good habit. Yes, there are a lot of note taking apps to help you achieve that. But, what about some open-source note taking apps for Linux?

        Fret not, you don’t need to endlessly search the Internet to find the best note taking app for Linux. Here, I’ve picked some of the most impressive open-source note taking apps available.

      • 20 productivity tools for the Linux terminal

          Many of us, admittedly, only use computers because they're fun. But some people use computers to get stuff done, and their theory is computers are supposed to make things faster, better, and more organized. In practice, though, computers don't necessarily improve our lives without a little manual reconfiguration to match our individual work styles.

        Kevin Sonney likes to design systems, not just for networks but for improving his own workday, and this year he covered 18 different productivity tools in a series of 20 articles. This article gets all of Kevin's favorite tools in one place and provides a quick summary of what each one can do for you.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Injustice 2 Now Playable With Proton GE

        It’s all good in the fighting game neighborhood. Quite a number of fighting games are now available to play on Linux thanks to Proton, and now we can add another to that list with Injustice 2, with a customized version of Proton: Glorious Eggroll.

      • Total War: WARHAMMER II - The Warden & The Paunch DLC out now on Linux

        Feral Interactive announced today that the work has been completed on porting over the Total War: WARHAMMER II - The Warden & The Paunch DLC. A short delay as we've come to expect, with it being available on Windows since May 21. Not long to wait though and Feral always communicate how it will be "shortly after" when these things get announced.

      • Total War: WARHAMMER II - The Warden & The Paunch DLC out now for macOS and Linux
      • Total War: WARHAMMER II – The Warden & The Paunch DLC Is Out Now for Linux

        Feral Interactive launched today The Warden & The Paunch DLC (Downloadable Content) for the acclaimed Total War: WARHAMMER II video game for Linux and macOS platforms.

        Officially launched on May 21st and coming three months after the massive Mandate of Heaven DLC, The Warden & the Paunch is the latest Legendary Lords Pack for the award-winning and critically acclaimed Total War: WARHAMMER II turn-based strategy and real-time tactics video game.

        It introduces two new Legendary Lords from the world of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, Eltharion the Grim, which leads Tor Yvresse for the High Elves, and Grom the Paunch, which commands the Broken Axe Tribe for the Greenskins.

      • A fractured future and a beautiful yet dark style, Resolutiion is out now

        Resolutiion, an absolutely beautiful fast-paced action-adventure from Monolith of Minds and Deck 13 is out now.

        Striking artwork, questions that you constantly want answered and action awaiting around every corner. Resolutiion shows a very fractured and broken future, it's dark and unsettling and nothing really makes any sense. Not that it actually needs to, I often found myself just walking around to take in the environment.

        There's definitely a sense of overwhelming loss here, both from the world and the player. You're slowly and loosely guided along with most of it left to you to figure out. Some kind of devastating war in the past still lingers in the minds of those you meet. You're some kind of old augmented killer, more robot than person now, escorting a curious AI that reached out to you. Nothing is as it seems.

      • Stadia Pro subscribers get 5 new games on June 1

        Each month, subscribers of the Stadia game streaming service with the Pro tier get free games and in June they're getting an additional five.

      • Civilization VI - New Frontier Pass adds Linux support

        After a delay, the first part of the Civilization VI - New Frontier Pass with the Maya & Gran Colombia Pack is now available in the Linux version.

        Not up to speed? The New Frontier Pass for Civilization VI is a new season of DLC, with free updates that will be released in between each through to March 2021. Civilization VI as a service? Well Firaxis Games and 2K seem to think it might work, that's a lot of extra content coming.

        It was originally planned to simultaneously launch for both Linux and macOS but it seems issues came up as 2K sent us in a statement. A week later and it's here along with the latest patch. However, cross-platform online play is now unavailable. On Twitter, Aspyr Media mentioned this was based on a priority of just getting the DLC out, although that was mentioning macOS the same would apply here. We have reached out to Aspyr to be sure and clarify if Linux will be getting cross-platform online play back soon too.

      • The 20 Best Marvel Games For Android Smartphone in 2020

        Who doesn’t love to play the superhero games? Especially when the gaming characters are from your favorite marvel comic series, then what else is needed. From recent comic characters of avengers to old & toughest wolverine, you will find out many cool superheroes and villains in those Marvel Android games.

      • BozemanGLUG: June 2020 Meeting (online)

        3) The dolphin-emu Nintendo Gamecube emulator... the younger son asked about it so I installed it on his new-to-him Linux machine and darn it, it works pretty well.

      • How to get GOG Galaxy working on Linux

        Do you own games on Want to get the GOG Galaxy client set up on your Linux PC to enjoy some video games? Follow along with this guide as we show you how to get GOG Galaxy working on Linux!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Send your talks for Akademy 2020 *now*

          The Call for Participation is still open for two weeks more, but please make us a favour and send yours *now*.

          This way we don't have to panic thinking if we are going to need to go chasing people or not, or if we're going to have too few or too many proposals.

          Also if you ask the talks committee for review, we can review your talk early, give you feedback and improve it, so it's a win-win.

        • Status report: Community Bonding

          I’m checking in today to let you know what I did in my GSoC project these past weeks. This Community Bonding period was really wonderful; although I’ve been more or less involved with the project since 2016, I’ve acquainted myself with the efforts of each of the members, and so far it’s been a wonderful experience.

          During these past weeks, I’ve been preparing for the coding period by talking with Boudewijn and Wolthera about the particulars of Krita’s file format and build system. The objectives for the past two meetings were:

        • GSoC'20 with KDE

          About the Project

          The project involves improving KDE Web Infrastructure. KDE has a lot of websites and some of them like the main website could use an update.

          The first part of the project involves porting to use Hugo- A go based static site generator. is very old and thus contains a lot of pages. This project would involve porting most of the pages to markdown so as to make the website faster and easier to develop.

          The second part of the project involves updating Season of KDE website. The goal is to use more modern tooling and add some new features. This project is a part of the transition of KDE websites from LDAP to OAuth based authentication. OAuth is a much more modern approach to authentication and would solve some headaches with the current authentication system.

        • An update to kdesrc-build-profiles utility

          kdesrc-build is an amazing tool that makes building KDE projects a breeze.

          Now, I like having several build profiles for the projects I’m working on. The main build done by kdesrc-build is done with gcc, but I keep also a parallel build with clang, and some builds that incorporate static analysis tools and such.

          At first, a long time ago, I was doing all this with shell scripts. But that approach was not really scalable.

          Then I wrote a small tool that builds on kdesrc-build, but allows you to define different build profiles.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Gnome settles Patent litigation: Amanda Brock, CEO OpenUK interviews Neil McGovern, ED of Gnome Foundation and Board Director at OpenUK

          “Firstly, Congratulations Neil and very well done. This is probably the best possible result Gnome could have had right?

          “I believe so, yes. We have managed to secure a more certain future for all of open source software and sent a very strong message to other patent holders that attempts to bring suit against us will be at best, futile.”

          The Open Source Community response to Rothschild, I am resisting calling them a troll, was probably a bit of a shock to Rothschild. Can you tell us a bit about it and the amount raised from so many people and organisations?

          “This has happened before, when Groupon tried to register GNOME as a trademark, despite us already holding it. This time. we managed to raise over $150,000 from over 4,000 individual donors. One of the strengths of the community is how passionately we care about what we do, and how we rally around each other when there’s trouble.”

          You must be really proud to have achieved this result?

          “Absolutely! Although the patent hasn’t been invalidated, we have secured a bigger prize – the protection of open source software from a large non-practicing entity.”

          Sherman and Sterling are a huge global law firm and acted as Gnome’s pro bono legal counsel? How did that come about? “It came a little out of the blue! I was flying back from GUADEC (our annual conference) when this all kicked off, and when I landed, I had an email from Matt Berkowitz offering pro-bono representation. They had been monitoring patent filings and saw this one, so reached out to us.

    • Distributions

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

      • Red Hat Advances Java on Kubernetes, Delivers Quarkus as a Fully-Supported Runtime for Cloud-Native Development

        Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced an expansion of its application services portfolio with the addition of Quarkus as a fully supported framework in Red Hat Runtimes. With Quarkus, Red Hat is advancing Java on Kubernetes and bridging the gap between traditional Java applications and cloud-native environments.

      • Quarkus, a Kubernetes-native Java runtime, now fully supported by Red Hat

        Java was introduced 25 years ago, and to this day, remains one of the most popular programming languages among developers. However, Java has developed a reputation for not being a good fit for cloud-native applications. Developers look for (and often choose) alternative frameworks such as Go and Node.js to support their cloud-native development requirements.

        Why learn another language when you can use your existing skills? Quarkus allows Java developers to leverage their expertise to develop cloud-native, event-driven, reactive, and serverless applications. Quarkus provides a cohesive Java platform that feels familiar but new at the same time. Not only does it leverage existing Java standards, but it also provides a number of features that optimize developer joy, including live coding, unified configuration, IDE plugins, and more.

      • Red Hat Tosses Its Weight Behind Quarkus

        Following recent announcements, Red Hat is now ready in fully supporting Quarkus to enhance its Kubernetes support.

        Quarkus is a Kubernetes-native Java stack to make the language more appealing in cloud-native use-cases. Quarkus optimizes the Java experience for containers and serverless environments.

      • Red Hat Delivers Quarkus As A Fully Supported Framework In Red Hat Runtimes

        By adding Quarkus as a supported runtime, Red Hat is helping to bring Java into the modern, cloud-native application development landscape and to approaches like microservices, containers and serverless, and enabling Java developers to continue working in the language they know and love.

      • Red Hat Runtimes adds Kubernetes-native Quarkus Java stack

        Red Hat’s Quarkus, a Kubernetes-native Java stack, is now supported on the Red Hat Runtimes platform for developing cloud-native applications.

        A build of Quarkus is now part of Red Hat Runtimes middleware and integrates with the Red Hat OpenShift Kubernetes container platform for managing cloud deployments, Red Hat said this week.

      • Building a Ceph-powered Cloud: Deploying a containerized Red Hat Ceph Storage 4 cluster for Red Hat Open Stack Platform 16

        Ceph is the most popular storage backend for OpenStack by a wide margin, as has been reported by the OpenStack Foundation’s survey every year since its inception. In the latest survey, conducted during the Summer of 2019, Ceph outclassed other options by an even greater margin than it did in the past, with a 75% adoption rate.

      • Remi Collet: PHP version 7.3.19RC1 and 7.4.7RC1

        Release Candidate versions are available in testing repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests, and also as base packages.

        RPM of PHP version 7.4.7RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 32 or remi-php74-test repository for Fedora 30-31 and Enterprise Linux 7-8.

        RPM of PHP version 7.3.19RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 30-31 or remi-php73-test repository for Enterprise Linux.

      • How I benefit from a Red Hat subscription in a time of crisis and beyond
      • Red Hat OpenShift Helps Asiakastieto Group Bring Account Insight To Life
      • IBM Data Asset eXchange Adds New Data Sets
    • Debian Family

      • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (March and April 2020)

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

        Paride Legovini (paride) Ana Custura (acute) Felix Lechner (lechner)

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

        Sven Geuer HÃ¥vard Flaget Aasen Congratulations!

    • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

      • Canonical Fixes Linux Kernel Regression in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, 19.10 and 18.04 LTS

          The regression was introduced with the latest security updates released last week for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa), as well as Ubuntu 19.10 and 18.04.4 LTS. The regression affected Linux kernel’s OverlayFS file system implementation causing the Docker registry to keep restarting.

        Affected kernels are Linux 5.4 (generic, generic-lpae, lowlatency, oem and virtual flavors) in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS 64-bit installations and Linux 5.3 (generic, generic-lpae, lowlatency, raspi2 and snapdragon flavors) in Ubuntu 19.10 and Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS 32-bit, 64-bit and ARM (Raspberry Pi (V7)) systems.

  • Devices/Embedded

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Release notes for the Genode OS Framework 20.05

      Genode 20.05 takes our road map's focus on the consolidation and optimization of the framework and its API to heart. It contains countless of under-the-hood improvements, mostly on the account of vastly intensified automated testing, the confrontation of Genode with increasingly complex software stacks, and stressful real-world work loads. You will find this theme throughout the release notes below. The result of this overhaul is captured in the updated version of the Genode Foundations book (Section New revision of the Genode Foundations book).


      Even though Genode is able to run on top of the Linux kernel since the very beginning, Linux was solely meant as a development vehicle.

    • Genode OS 20.05 Adds Capability-Based Security Using SECCOMP, Drops Python 2 + Rust

      Version 20.05 of the Genode open-source operating system framework is now available with many improvements.

      Genode OS 20.05 contains various work particularly on the consolidation and optimization front. There is also better 64-bit Arm support, documentation improvements, and capability-based security using SECCOMP on Linux.

      Genode OS 20.05 has improvements to its consistent block encrypter, retired its Noux runtime environment, removed Rust support after no one has been maintaining its support in years, dropping Python 2 given its EOL status and Python 3 support being in good shape, MSI-X support on x86, and various other updates.

    • Talk 9: big step forward for team calls, efficient work flows and open source back-end

      Nextcloud GmbH is glad to announce the upcoming major release of Nextcloud Talk that will include significant improvements for teams collaborating remotely, including easy document sharing with drag’n’drop, in-call collaborative document editing and significant modifications to facilitate calls with more participants. Together with this release, our partner Struktur AG makes the high-performance back-end available under the AGPL license. A first release candidate of Talk 9 is available today and the final release is expected in about two weeks. Most of the improvements in the area of performance and scalability have been backported to the stable Talk 8 series, making them available to users right now.

    • Nextcloud Talk 9 Makes Sharing And Collaborative Editing Documents Easier

      The upcoming major release of Nextcloud Talk will include improvements for teams collaborating remotely, including easy document sharing with drag’n’drop, in-call collaborative document editing and significant modifications to facilitate calls with more participants.

    • Web Browsers

      • Beaker Browser

        There is a new application available for Sparkers: Beaker Browser

      • Chromium

        • Chrome 84 Beta: Web OTP, Web Animations, New Origin Trials and More

          Unless otherwise noted, changes described below apply to the newest Chrome beta channel release for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows. Learn more about the features listed here through the provided links or from the list on Chrome 84 is beta as of May 28, 2020.

        • Chrome 84 Beta Brings Better Web Animations API, Experimental WebAssembly SIMD

          Following the recent Chrome 83 release, Chrome 84 has now been promoted to beta.

          The Chrome 84 Beta is bringing Web OTP API (SMS Receiver API) support on Android, significant improvements to its Web Animations API implementation, WebAssembly SIMD support with a 128-bit value type is now available via the Origin trials (experimental functionality) along with a Cookie Store API, Idle Detection API, and other trial features.

        • Should you buy a Chromebook?

          With more and more people buying laptops to work or learn from home, a lot of folks are probably looking into the prospect of switching to a lighter, cheaper Chromebook instead of a traditional Windows or Mac laptop. Chromebooks come at a wide range of price points and with a variety of features, but the big question for most people is about Chrome OS itself. How hard is it to switch? What are Android apps like? Does Linux support really work, and how well? Do Chromebooks make good tablets? Can I use Firefox on one? We'll cover as much of that as we can in this post.

      • Mozilla

        • Firefox features for remote school (that can also be used for just about anything)

          Helping kids with school work can be challenging in the best of times (“new” math anyone?) let alone during a worldwide pandemic. These Firefox features can help make managing school work, and remote summer classes if those are on your horizon, a little easier.

        • The influence of hardware on Firefox build times

          I recently upgraded my aging “fast” build machine. Back when I assembled the machine, it could do a full clobber build of Firefox in about 10 minutes. That was slightly more than 10 years ago. This upgrade, and the build times I’m getting on the brand new machine (now 6 months old) and other machines led me to look at how some parameters influence build times.


          The XPS13 being old, it is subject to thermal throttling, making it slower than it should be, but it wouldn’t beat the 10 years old desktop anyway. Macbook Pros tend to get into these thermal issues after a while too.

          I’ve relied on laptops for a long time. My previous laptop before this XPS was another XPS, that is now about 6 to 7 years old, and while the newer one had more RAM, it was barely getting better build times compared to the older one when I switched. The evolution of laptop performance has been underwelming for a long time, but things finally changed last year. At long last.

          I wish I had numbers with a more recent laptop under the same OS as the XPS for fairer comparison. Or with the more recent larger laptops that sport even more cores, especially the fancy ones with Ryzen processors.

        • Writing inside organizations

          My team keeps snippets, which kinda-sorta feels like a blog-like interface for sharing context. We keep our snippets in a google doc largely because it has a low barrier to entry and it's a fast solution. However, I find that keeping snippets in a doc really limits the value I personally get from keeping a weekly log. Ostensibly, the value to writing snippets is keeping my team up to date on my work. However, I find that the secondary personal benefits are the ones that keep me motivated to write updates.

        • Mozilla Localization (L10N): L10n Report: May 2020 Edition

          IMPORTANT: Firefox 78 is the next ESR (Extended Support Release) version. That’s a more stable version designed for enterprises, but also used in some Linux distributions, and it remains supported for about a year. Once Firefox 78 moves to release, that content will remain frozen until that version becomes unsupported (about 15 months), so it’s important to ship the best localization possible.

        • Mozilla’s journey to environmental sustainability

          The programme may be new, but the process has been shaping for years: In March 2020, Mozilla officially launched a dedicated Environmental Sustainability Programme, and I am proud and excited to be stewarding our efforts.

          Since we launched, the world has been held captive by the COVID-19 pandemic. People occasionally ask me, “Is this really the time to build up and invest in such a large-scale, ambitious programme?” My answer is clear: Absolutely.

        • Mozilla Privacy Blog: An opportunity for openness and user agency in the proposed Facebook-Giphy merger

          Facebook is squarely in the crosshairs of global competition regulators, but despite that scrutiny, is moving to acquire Giphy, a popular platform that lets users share images on social platforms, such as Facebook, or messaging applications, such as WhatsApp. This merger – how it is reviewed, whether it is approved, and if approved under what sort of conditions – will set a precedent that will influence not only future mergers, but also the shape of legislative reforms being actively developed all around the world. It is crucial that antitrust agencies incorporate into their processes a deep understanding of the nature of the open internet and how it promotes competition, how data flows between integrated services, and in particular the role played by interoperability.

          Currently Giphy is integrated with numerous independent social messaging services, including, for example, Slack, Signal, and Twitter. A combined Facebook-Giphy would be in a position to restrict access by those companies, whether to preserve their exclusivity or to get leverage for some other reason. This would bring clear harm to users who would suddenly lose the capabilities they currently enjoy, and make it harder for other companies to compete.

    • CMS

      • Strapi introduces new open-source headless content management system

          Strapi, the company behind the most popular open-source headless content management system (CMS), has announced the general availability of its Community Edition after two years of development. The business also announced paid support plans and disclosed plans for an Enterprise Edition, which is already in private beta testing.

        What's a headless CMS you ask? Unlike such popular CMSs as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, a headless CMS doesn't bother with the website's front-end. Instead, all its focus is on the back-end content repository, which is used for storing and delivering structured content. This content is then made available for display via a RESTful API, typically using JSON or XML.

      • Strapi Community Edition Now Generally Available

        Open-source headless CMS Strapi has announced the general availability of its Community Edition after 24 months of rapid iteration.

        The company also announced the availability of paid support for enterprises deploying Strapi in production and disclosed plans for an Enterprise Edition, which is currently in private beta testing with select companies.

        The Strapi CMS is completely customizable using application programming interfaces (APIs) so that content from databases and files can be accessed for display on websites, smartphones, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

    • Funding

      • COVID-19 Crisis: FOSS Responders Raises $115,000 To Support Community

        Conference cancellations have caused financial loss, unmet fundraising trajectories and missed business opportunities. For example, the Open Source Institute, the organisation that ratifies open source licences, has indicated that it needs $600,000 to meet its funding goals for 2020 while the Drupal Association has had to layoff employees after cancelling events and needs to fundraise $500,000.

    • FSF

      • FSF gives freedom-respecting videoconferencing to all associate members

        The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is now offering all FSF associate members free "as in freedom" videoconferencing as an additional member benefit. Becoming a member now helps you push back against increased societal pressure to use nonfree software to communicate with coworkers, friends, and loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic, and after.

      • Free Software Foundation announces freedom-respecting videoconferencing for its associate members

        The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced free "as in freedom" videoconferencing for its associate members and their communities. This service will help everyone push back against increased societal pressure to use nonfree software to communicate with friends, collaborators, and loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic, and after.

        The FSF has been raising the alarm about encroachments upon freedom by remote communication tools since social distancing guidelines were issued. The FSF's new videoconferencing service powered by free software comes after several of its recent publications warned users about widely used nonfree applications for remote communication and education, like Zoom.

        "The freedoms to associate and communicate are some of our most important. To have the means to exercise these freedoms online controlled by gatekeepers of despotic software is always dangerous and unacceptable, only more so when we can't safely gather in person," executive director John Sullivan explains. "We are a small nonprofit and can't provide hosting for the entire world, but we want to do our part. By offering feature-rich videoconferencing in freedom to our community of supporters, and sharing how others can do it, too, we demonstrate that it is possible to do this kind of communication in an ethical way."

      • FSF Now Offering Video Conferencing Service To Its Members

        In aiming to promote freedom-respecting video conferencing at a time when other platforms like Facebook and Zoom are exploding in popularity as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the Free Software Foundation is offering a video conferencing system for its associate members.

        This Free Software Foundation video-conferencing is powered by Jitsi Meet. Jitsi Meet is a simple, open-source free video conferencing platform that does support desktop sharing, Etherpad multi-user document editing, integrated chat, and other capabilities. The Free Software Foundation did modify their Jitsi Meet instance to reduce server-side logging and other tweaks in the name of privacy and software freedom.

      • FSF gives freedom-respecting videoconferencing to all associate members

        Dear Chinese Translators: Are you interested in having a video conference using Jitsi?

      • GNU Projects

        • GNUnet Hacker Meeting 2020

          We are happy to announce that we will have a GNUnet Hacker Meeting from 17-21 of June 2020 taking place online. For more information see here.

    • Programming/Development

      • Float/String Conversion in Picolibc

        When linked together, getting from float to string and back to float is a “round trip”, and an exact pair of algorithms does this for every floating point value.

        Solutions for both directions were published in the proceedings of the ACM SIGPLAN 1990 conference on Programming language design and implementation, with the string-to-float version written by William Clinger and the float-to-string version written by Guy Steele and Jon White. These solutions rely on very high precision integer arithmetic to get every case correct, with float-to-string requiring up to 1050 bits for the 64-bit IEEE floating point format.

        That's a lot of bits.

      • Fortran newsletter: May 2020

        Welcome to the first monthly Fortran newsletter. It will come out on the first calendar day of every month, detailing Fortran news from the previous month.


        If you came to this newsletter from elsewhere, welcome to the new Fortran website. We built this site mid-April and hope for it to be the home of Fortran on the [I]nternet, which traditionally there hasn’t been any to date. Look around and let us know if you have any suggestions for improvement. Specifically, Learn and Packages are the pages that we’ll be focusing on in the coming months. Please help us make them better!

      • Android Studio 4.0 Released With Overhauled CPU Profiler, Clangd For C++ Code

        Android Studio 4.0 is out today with this IDE bringing a number of improvements for developing Google Android apps.

        Android Studio 4.0 comes with a new motion editor, an upgraded layout inspector, enhancements to its built-in CPU profiler, smart editor features, Clangd support for C++ language analysis, new feature handling support, continued expansion of Kotlin support, and much more.

      • Looking for C-to-anything transpilers

        I’m looking for languages that have three properties:

        (1) Must have weak memory safety. The language is permitted to crash on an out -of-bounds array reference or null pointer, but may not corrupt or overwrite memory as a result.

      • Peeking Inside Executables And Libraries To Make Debugging Easier

        At first glance, both the executables that a compiler produces, and the libraries that are used during the building process seem like they’re not very accessible. They are these black boxes that make an application go, or make the linker happy when you hand it the ‘right’ library file. There is also a lot to be said for not digging too deeply into either, as normally things will Just Workâ„¢ without having to bother with such additional details.

        The thing is that both executables and libraries contain a lot of information that normally is just used by the OS, toolchain, debuggers and similar tools. Whether these files are in Windows PE format, old-school Linux a.out or modern-day .elf, when things go south during development, sometimes one has to break out the right tools to inspect them in order to make sense of what is happening.

      • Python

        • Gaël Varoquaux: Technical discussions are hard; a few tips

          This post discuss the difficulties of communicating while developing open-source projects and tries to gives some simple advice.

          A large software project is above all a social exercise in which technical experts try to reach good decisions together, for instance on github pull requests. But communication is difficult, in particular between diverging points of view. It is easy to underestimate how much well-intended persons can misunderstand each-other and get hurt, in open source as elsewhere. Knowing why there are communication challenges can help, as well as applying a few simple rules.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • It’s Time to Get Back Into RSS

      A lot of people who were on the internet in the early 2000’s remember something called RSS. It stands for really simple syndication, and it allowed content creators to publish updates to the world in a well-understood format.

      The idea—which seems strange to type out—is that millions of people in the world could create and publish ideas, thoughts, and content…and then people who enjoyed that content would collect sources into a reader, which was called, well, an RSS Reader.


      But perhaps most devastating was the web’s move to an advertising model, which RSS runs directly counter to. With RSS you get the content itself, which your reader can choose to display in different ways. Advertisers hate that. They want you to see the original website so they can show you ads the way they want you to see them.

      I’m sure social media sites had an effect too, because—like aggregators—they were singular watering holes that guaranteed something exciting when you showed up. The common denominator is the move from more effort to less. It’s like in WALL-E, where we turn into morbidly obese people on hoverchairs being shuttled between stimuli.

      Regardless of the percentages, all those factors combined to destroy the model of getting raw content directly from the source.

      Well, it’s time to bring that back. It’s time to return to RSS.

      Google Reader is still dead, but if I remove my nostalgia glasses, feedly is probably better now than Reader ever was. It’s what I’ve been using for years now.

  • Leftovers

    • Close To Zero: NOT.
    • Donald Trump’s executive order is ‘plainly illegal,’ says co-author of Section 230

      Under Section 230, [I]nternet companies have broad immunity from liability for the content created by their users. The draft order, announced on Wednesday, would open the door for the Commerce Department and the Federal Communications Commission to reinterpret the law, and authorize the Federal Trade Commission to craft a tool for reporting bias online.

      The Communications Decency Act was approved in 1996 and authored by Sens. Chris Cox (R-CA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). In a statement Thursday, Wyden said: [...]

    • 'Grotesque': While 41 Million People Lost Jobs Due to Covid-19, US Billionaires Grew Nearly $500 Billion Richer

      "Billionaire wealth is surging at the same time that millions face suffering, hardship, and loss of life. This is a grotesque indicator of the deep inequalities in U.S. society."

    • The richest billionaires became vastly richer during pandemic, even as stocks tumbled

      A report from Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies' Program for Inequality arrived at this conclusion after analyzing the earnings of American billionaires between mid-March, when the coronavirus pandemic began to impact the American economy, and mid-May. They found that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos added $34.6 billion to his wealth and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg added $25 billion to his wealth, putting them at the top of the list in terms of billionaires who made gains to their fortunes. When it comes to the percentage by which their fortunes have increased, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk saw his net worth increase by 48 percent to $36 billion, while Zuckerberg's wealth rose by 46 percent to $80 billion.

    • Progressives Say 'People Know Who Real Looters Are': Not Those Angry Over Police Killings, But Oligarchs Robbing Nation Blind

      "Americans know who the real looters are. It's the billionaires who plundered America for $434 billion during the pandemic while the essential workers keeping our country€  afloat make barely over minimum wage."

    • Science

      • Operation Warp Speed: Are we rushing COVID-19 vaccine development?

        I write about vaccines a lot, mainly antivaccine nonsense, and have been doing so ever since I first started this blog, as hard as it is to believe, over 15 years ago. While regular people, namely those who don’t pay much attention to antivaccine pseudoscience and the conspiracy theories of the antivaccine movement, might have thought that the COVID-19 pandemic might prod antivaxxers to change their views and become more amenable to vaccines, those of us who’ve been following the antivaccine movement for a long time knew better. Indeed, what actually happened is far from any sort of epiphany on the part of antivaxxers, in which they realize that the only escape from coronavirus is a vaccine. In fact, antivaxxers have not only doubled down, but they’ve teamed up with COVID-19 deniers, who downplay the severity of the threat from the pandemic, and conspiracy theorists, who posit claims such as the claim that SARS-CoV-2 was the product of a laboratory, that 5G made people susceptible to the virus, that those who get the flu vaccine are more likely to become seriously ill from coronavirus, or even that glyphosate and e-cigs are to blame for COVID-19. This should come as no surprise, though, because at the heart of antivaccine views are conspiracy theories, and COVID-19 is a magnet for conspiracy theories. One of these is the belief on the part of antivaxxers that COVID-19 is being exaggerated in order to impose forced vaccination. Unsurprisingly, antivaxxers have already launched a pre-emptive disinformation war against an as-yet nonexistent coronavirus vaccine, and the hype over coronavirus vaccine development efforts, such as the Moderna vaccine, is a

      • Where is the best place to view Manhattanhenge?

        This year, the celebration will be different. Most people will avoid crowds because of the covid-19 pandemic, which has hit New York particularly hard. Social-distancing rules require groups to meet at a distance and prohibit gatherings of more than ten people. Some may view the spectacle from their apartment windows, roofs or fire escapes. Those who venture out might consider consulting our map of last year’s Instagram posts to know where they might get good shots and still avoid the crowds. Either way, the event is sure to generate some breathtaking images on social media which, luckily, can be enjoyed by anyone, locked down or not.

    • Education

      • Coverage of School Reopening Needs to Include School Workers

        When Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, wrote in the New York Times (3/10/20) that K–12 school closures might be unnecessary in the fight against Covid-19, because children rarely get sick from exposure, there was a curious omission. Shouldn’t a scholar of public health, writing about schools for the nation’s leading newspaper, be fully aware that schools are also populated with adults—from teachers to administrators, food workers to therapists? Many of them are in the 45–64 age group that is dying from the coronavirus at a rate about equal to their proportion of the population. Alas, the editors missed this problem.

      • US higher education system is ‘capstone of inequality’

        His book, The Merit Myth: How Our Colleges Favour the Rich and Divide America, argues that selective universities have “trapped themselves in a race for prestige and money”. Co-authored by Peter Schmidt, an education writer, and Jeff Strohl, CEW’s research director, it highlights that students with less social and financial capital are “ruthlessly sorted into colleges with fewer resources” and, as a result, have lower chances of graduating and finding good jobs than their better-off peers.

        “US colleges reinforce intergenerational, racial and class privileges, then magnify and project these inequities into the labour market,” the book says, adding that just 19 per cent of prospective black and Latino students with high SAT scores go to selective institutions, compared with 31 per cent of their white counterparts.

    • Hardware

      • Christian Schaller: Into the world of Robo vacums and Robo mops

        So to conclude, would I recommend robot vacuums and robot mops to other parents with you kids? I would say yes, it has definitely helped us keep the house cleaner and nicer and let us spend less time cleaning the house. But it is not a miracle cure in any way or form, it still takes time and effort to prepare and set up the house and sometimes you still need to do especially the mopping yourself to get things really clean. As for the question of iRobot versus other brands I have no input as I haven’t really tested any other brands. iRobot is a local company so their vacuums are available in a lot of stores around me and I drive by their HQ on a regular basis, so that is the more or less random reason I ended up with their products as opposed to competing ones.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • State Terrorism

        50,000 lives were sacrificed to the President’s delays, denials, and bungling of the coronavirus cries in the interest if the Dow and his re-elecetion. Its as though he could shoot 50,000 people on Fifth Avenue and get away with it.

      • With Nation Focused on Pandemic, Trump Interior Dept. to Greenlight Killing of Bear Cubs and Wolf Pups in Their Dens

        "Killing has no place in our National€ Wildlife€ Refuges."

      • Warnings of 'Catastrophic Consequences' as Locust Swarms Hit India and Pakistan in Midst of Coronavirus Crisis

        For India, the invasion comes alongside "eviscerating heat."

      • Hidden in the New House Coronavirus Relief Bill: Billions for Defense Contractors

        When they passed another bill this month to help the tens of millions of Americans left unemployed and hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, Democrats in the House of Representatives touted the $3 trillion legislation’s benefits to working people, renters, first responders and others struggling to get by.

        They made no mention of the defense contractors.

      • Restaurants in the Pandemic

        The NYT ran a column by a bar-restaurant owner telling of the horrible circumstances facing restaurants during and after the shutdown period. While the restaurant industry is among the hardest hit sectors, and many will not survive, a few of the complaints in the piece need some qualification.

      • Silence=Death: Larry Kramer, RIP

        Larry Kramer (1935-2020) died on Wednesday, May 27th, of pneumonia. He was 84 years old and, during much of his adult life as a writer and activist, he battled – both personally and politicly – the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He is survived by his husband, David Webster.

      • If We Don’t Fight Back, We Die: Larry Kramer’s Full Speech at the 2019 Queer Liberation March

        Upon the death of trailblazing AIDS activist Larry Kramer, we feature one of his last major speeches, when 4 million people took to the streets of New York City in 2019 for the largest LGBTQ Pride celebration in history to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising that sparked the modern-day LGBTQ movement. There were two marches: Revelers marched down Fifth Avenue cheered on by millions for the WorldPride parade; and in Sheridan Square, at the site where gay and trans people clashed with police in 1969, tens of thousands gathered for the anti-corporate Queer Liberation March. Democracy Now! was there when Larry Kramer addressed the crowd from the stage, in his wheelchair. “I’m approaching my end. But I still have a few years of fight in me to scream out,” Kramer says. “To scream out the fact that almost everyone gay I’ve known has been affected by this plague of AIDS.” Click here for our interview with ACT UP members and Tony Kushner remembering trailblazing AIDS activist Larry Kramer.

      • Russia’s coronavirus patient population approaches 380,000

        On the morning of May 28, Russian officials announced that as many as 150,993 people in Russia are known to have recovered fully from COVID-19, including 8,785 in the past day. Also in the last 24 hours, another 174 people reportedly died from the disease, raising Russia’s total number of fatalities officially caused by coronavirus to 4,142.

      • GOP Lawmaker Hid Positive COVID Results From Democrat Colleagues for Over a Week

        Democratic lawmakers in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives are upset with their Republican colleagues after a member of the GOP caucus revealed he had tested positive for coronavirus but had hid the test result for more than a week from officials across the aisle.

      • The Virtues of Not Eating Animals
    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Red Cross urges halt to cyberattacks on healthcare sector amid COVID-19 [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The Red Cross called for an end to cyberattacks on healthcare and medical research facilities during the coronavirus pandemic, in a letter published Tuesday and signed by a group of political and business figures.

          Such attacks endanger human lives and governments must take “immediate and decisive action” to stop them, the letter stated.

        • FBI offers US companies more details from investigations of health care [cr]acking

          Criminal and state actors continue to target U.S. clinical trial data, trade secrets, and the “sensitive data and proprietary research of U.S. universities and research facilities,” the FBI told industry in an advisory this week. “Likely due to the current global public health crisis, the FBI has observed some nation-states shifting cyber resources to collect against the [health care and public health] sector, while criminals are targeting similar entities for financial gain.”

          The advisory, which CyberScoop obtained, includes multiple examples since February of state-linked [attackers] trying to compromise and retain access to the networks of organizations in the U.S. health care and public health sector. It is the latest in a series of warnings from U.S. officials about similar cybersecurity incidents as the race for a coronavirus vaccine intensifies.

        • Microsoft copied its new Windows Package Manager from rival AppGet, claims developer

          Beigi interviewed in December, and then never heard anything back from the company for nearly six months until he received a 24-hour heads up that Microsoft was launching winget last week. “When I finally saw the announcement and the GitHub repositories, I was shocked? Upset? I wasn’t even sure what I was looking at,” says Beigi.

          Beigi claims the “core mechanics, terminology, the manifest format and structure, even the package repository’s folder structure” of Microsoft’s winget are all heavily inspired by AppGet. Microsoft only briefly mentions AppGet once in its announcement, in a throwaway line that lists other Windows package managers.

          “What was copied with no credit is the foundation of the project. How it actually works,” explains Beigi in a separate Reddit post. “And I don’t mean the general concept of package / app managers... WinGet works pretty much identical to the way AppGet works.”

        • The Day AppGet Died.

          TLDR; I’m no longer going to be developing AppGet. The client and backend services will go into maintenance mode immediately until August 1st, 2020, at which point they’ll be shut down permanently.

        • Apache Pulsar joins Kafka in Splunk Data Stream Processor

          Splunk built out its event streaming capabilities with a new update, released Wednesday, to its Data Stream Processor to bring in more data for analysis on the Splunk platform.

          The DSP technology is a foundational component of the information security and event management vendor's Data-to-Everything approach.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative drops $3.8M on 23 biomedical open-source projects [Ed: A surveillance scion is openwashing the family's dirty 'surveillance capitalism' empire]
            • Oracle’s open-source alter ego behind some of its most popular products

              Open-source innovation may not be the words evoked by a legacy technology company such as Oracle, a company turning 43 years old next month. But the fact is that — like many companies — Oracle’s paid products and services are actually loaded with ingredients from open-source communities, including Linux, to which it is also a contributor.

              This circular ecosystem of contributing and borrowing back enables some of the versatility and cross-environment compatibility in the company’s latest database and hybrid-cloud offerings.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Building a successful open source community: How coordination and facilitation helps projects scale and mature

                We tend to think of the primary goals of the Linux Foundation’s projects as producing open software, open hardware, open standards, or open data artifacts — the domain of participating programmers & engineers, system architects, and other technical contributors.

                However, successful projects engaging a broader ecosystem of commercial organizations, particularly when raising funds, benefit from active leadership besides pure technical contributions. Contributors often have work outside the project that often puts demands on their time. It takes real time to build and coordinate a commercial ecosystem, ensure stakeholders are engaged, recruiting and onboarding members, create a neutral governance culture (often amid competitors competing), and to keep various aspects of the ecosystem aligned such as when end users begin to participate.

                Many Linux Foundation projects fundraise to provide resources for their community. This is an excellent benefit for the technical community when the business ecosystem comes together to invest and help the community obtain resources to build a thriving community and ecosystem. A typical fundraising model in our community is to offer an annual membership structure that provides a yearly fund for the project.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Fedora (dovecot, dpdk, knot-resolver, and unbound), Mageia (ant, libexif, and php), SUSE (libmspack), and Ubuntu (php5, php7.0, php7.2, php7.3, php7.4 and unbound).

          • 5 Kernel Live Patching Tools That Will Help To Run Linux Servers Without Reboots

            Within IT organizations, there are processes and practices so routine that they are invisible. It doesn’t matter if such processes and practices are flawed, or if there exists a better way: if something has worked for a few years, people stop looking for alternatives. This perfectly describes current approaches to kernel patching.

            Right now, most organizations patch the servers by planning reboot cycles. Because rebooting the server fleet is a headache that causes downtime, people put it off for as long as they can. Which means patches aren’t applied as early as possible. This gap between patch issue and its application means risk, malpractice and may cause non-compliance.

            This standard approach to kernel patching exposes servers to malicious intent by threat actors on multiple attack vectors, putting IT organizations at risk of major security issues. Anyone tasked with keeping their organization safe from cyber attacks should be seeking a better way to run Linux servers without reboots (ideally, for years).

            In this article you will learn what is live patching, how it ensures the uptime, what 5 tools are available to help you run servers for years – without reboots and what are the advantages and drawbacks of each tool.

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

            • USB systems may have some serious security flaws - especially on Linux [Ed: ZDNet's FUD is going places; the tests were mostly done on Linux, so it's hardly shocking that the bugs found were in Linux. But it's presented as Linux being particularly bad.]

              Academics have developed a new tool that allowed them to discover 26 previously unidentified vulnerabilities in the USB driver stack used by many popular operating systems including Linux, macOS, Windows and FreeBSD.

            • New fuzzing tool picks up insecure USB driver code

              Matthias Payer at the federal polytechnic school in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Hui Peng at Purdue University, United States, said [pdf] that they leveraged open-source components such as QEMU processor emulator to design a tool that's low-cost and hardware independent, called USBFuzz.

            • New fuzzing tool for USB drivers uncovers bugs in Linux, macOS, Windows

              With a new fuzzing tool created specifically for testing the security of USB drivers, researchers have discovered more than two dozen vulnerabilities in a variety of operating systems.

              “USBFuzz discovered a total of 26 new bugs, including 16 memory bugs of high security impact in various Linux subsystems (USB core, USB sound, and network), one bug in FreeBSD, three in macOS (two resulting in an unplanned reboot and one freezing the system), and four in Windows 8 and Windows 10 (resulting in Blue Screens of Death), and one bug in the Linux USB host controller driver and another one in a USB camera driver,” Hui Peng and Mathias Payer explained.

            • NSA: Russian agents have been hacking major email program

              The U.S. National Security Agency says the same Russian military hacking group that interfered in the 2016 presidential election and unleashed a devastating malware attack the following year has been exploiting a major email server program since last August or earlier.

              The timing of the agency's advisory Thursday was unusual considering that the critical vulnerability in the Exim Mail Transfer Agent — which mostly runs on Unix-type operating systems — was identified 11 months ago, when a patch was issued.

              Exim is so widely used — though far less known than such commercial alternatives as Microsoft's proprietary Exchange — that some companies and government agencies that run it may still not have patched the vulnerability, said Jake Williams, president of Rendition Infosec and a former U.S. government hacker.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • 'We Live to Fight Another Day... Keep Calling,' Say Privacy Defenders as House Postpones Vote to Reauthorize FBI Mass Spying Powers

              "Leadership will be working hard behind the scenes to strike some sketchy back room deal and try to get this through. We can't let that happen. Keep the pressure on."

            • Ron Wyden: It's Time Congress Helped Americans Protect Their Privacy

              Americans today are faced with a dilemma – there is a vast universe of products to let us control everything in our lives with a voice command or touch of a button. We can unlock our doors, turn on the heat, track our exercise routines and our baby monitors and perform a million other tasks in ways that make life easier or more efficient.

            • EFF to Court: Broadband Privacy Law Passes First Amendment Muster

              When it comes to surveillance of our online lives, Internet service providers (ISPs) are some of the worst offenders. Last year, the state of Maine passed a law targeted at the harms ISPs do to their customers when they use and sell their personal information. Now that law is under attack from a group of ISPs who claim it violates their First Amendment rights. The lawsuit raises a number of issues—including free speech and data privacy—that are crucial to maintaining an open Internet. So EFF filed an amicus brief arguing that Maine’s law does not violate the First Amendment. The brief explains that the law’s requirement that ISPs obtain their customers’ opt-in consent before using or disclosing their personal information is narrowly tailored to the state’s substantial interests in protecting ISP customers’ data privacy, free speech, and information security.

              The case is called ACA Connects v. Frey. We were joined by three other groups dedicated to both free speech and data privacy on the Internet: the ACLU, the ACLU of Maine, and the Center for Democracy and Technology.

            • 'Big Tech' Blinders Let Other Privacy Violators Off The Hook

              After over a decade of largely uncritical admiration from journalists, policymakers, and the public, the United States' biggest tech companies have experienced a swift fall from grace.

            • Watch EFF Cybersecurity Director Eva Galperin's TED Talk About Stalkerware

              Stalkers and abusive partners want access to your device for the same reason governments and advertisers do: because “full access to a person's phone is the next best thing to full access to a person's mind,” as EFF Director of Cybersecurity Eva Galperin explains in her TED talk on “stalkerware” and her efforts to end the abuse this malicious software enables.

            • German Constitutional Court Says Unjustified Surveillance Of Foreign Citizens Is Illegal

              The German government pretended to be bothered by the NSA's spying when the Snowden leaks began, claiming surveillance of overseas allies was somehow a bit too much. It had nothing to say about its own spying, which was roughly aligned with the NSA's "collect it all" attitude. This could be chalked up to "Five Eyes" envy, perhaps. The NSA works with four other countries to hoover up massive amounts of data directly from internet fire hoses located around the world, but Germany has never made the cut.

            • Pelosi Accused of 'Trying to Do an End-Run Around Her Own Party' by Sending Spy Powers Bill to Conference

              "Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff have done everything in their power to ensure the House cannot vote on the warrantless surveillance of Americans' internet activity."

            • ACLU Sues Tech Firm to Halt 'Unlawful, Privacy-Destroying' Facial Recognition Activities

              Clearview AI's behaviors, said one attorney, "represent one of the largest threats to personal privacy by a private company our country has faced."

            • We’re Taking Clearview AI to Court to End its Privacy-Destroying Face Surveillance Activities

              The company’s surveillance activities are a threat to privacy, safety, and security.

            • Immunity Passports Are a Threat to Our Privacy and Information Security

              With states beginning to ease shelter-in-place restrictions, the conversation on COVID-19 has turned to questions of when and how we can return to work, take kids to school, or plan air travel. Several countries and U.S. states, including the UK, Italy, Chile, Germany, and California, have expressed interest in so-called “immunity passports”—a system of requiring people to present supposed proof of immunity to COVID-19 in order to access public spaces, work sites, airports, schools, or other venues. In many proposed schemes, this proof would be stored in a digital token on a phone. Immunity passports would threaten our privacy and information security, and would be a significant step toward a system of national digital identification that can be used to collect and store our personal information and track our location.Immunity passports are purportedly intended to help combat the spread of COVID-19. But there is little evidence that they would actually accomplish that.On a practical level, there is currently no test for COVID-19 immunity; what we have are antibody tests. But we don’t know whether people with antibodies have immunity. Meanwhile, there has been a flood of flawed tests and fraudulent marketing schemes about antibody tests. Even when validated tests are widely available, they may not be 100 percent accurate. The system should be a non-starter unless it can guarantee due process for those who want to challenge their test results. This has often been a problem before; as we saw with the “no-fly” lists created after 9/11, it is very difficult to get off the list, even for those whose inclusion was a mistake. The problem with immunity passports isn’t just medical—it’s ethical. Access to both COVID-19 testing and antibody testing is spotty. Reports abound of people who fear they have been infected desperately trying to get tested to no avail. Analysis has shown that African Americans are far less likely than white, Hispanic, or Asian patients to be tested before they end up in the emergency room. Mobile testing sites administered by Verily (a subsidiary of Google’s parent Alphabet) require people to have a smartphone and a Google account. Residents in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, were turned away from testing sites because they didn’t have cell phones. Requiring smartphone-based immunity verification to access public spaces like offices and schools would exacerbate existing inequities and reinforce a two-tiered system of the privileged, who can move about freely in society, and the vulnerable, who can’t work, shop, or attend school because they don’t have a cell phone or access to testing.€ We’ve been here before. When yellow fever struck the South in the 1850s, those thought to be “unacclimated” to the disease were unemployable. This burdened black and lower-income people more than privileged members of society. As we saw then, conditioning access to society on immunity incentivizes “bug-chasing”—that is, people deliberately trying to get sick in order to get the immunity passport. No one should have to expose themselves to a potentially deadly disease with no cure to find work.

              Risks of Digitized Immunity Passports The push for immunity passports has largely been premised on the promise of technological solutions to a public health crisis.€ A proposed bill in California, for example, would use blockchain technology to facilitate an immunity passport system on peoples’ smartphones. We oppose this bill. Technological advancements such as blockchain technology or other methods€  of implementation do not address our objections to this type of system in of itself.Moreover, digital-format immunity passports could normalize digital-format proof-of-status documents more generally. Advocates of immunity passports visualize a world where we can’t pass through a door to a workplace, school, or restaurant until the gatekeeper scans our credentials. This would habituate gatekeepers to demand such status credentials, and habituate the public to submit to these demands.This digital system could easily be expanded to check not just a person’s immunity status, but any other bit of personal information that a gatekeeper might deem relevant, such as age, pregnancy, HIV status, or criminal history. The system could also be adjusted to document not just a particular person’s status, but also when that person passed through a door that required proof of such status. And all data of all such passages could be accumulated into one database. This would be a troubling step towards digital national identification, which EFF has long opposed because it would create new ways to digitally monitor our movements and activities.Digital format documentation also brings the risk of presenting such documentation under duress to varying authorities. Handing over your phone to police, unlocked or not, includes significant risks, especially for people in vulnerable communities—risks that could lead to unintended consequences for the presenter and a potential abuse of power by law enforcement.Moreover, requiring people to store their medical test results in a digital format would expose private medical information to the danger of data breaches. Again, this is hardly new—we have seen exactly these types of breaches in the past when medical information has been digitized and collected. Just last year, for example, an HIV database in Singapore leaked the personal information of more than 14,000 individuals living with HIV.We should learn from our past mistakes, and ensure that technology works to empower people, instead of creating new vulnerabilities.€ 

            • Two Federal COVID-19 Privacy Bills: A Good Start and a Misstep

              COVID-19, and containment efforts that rely on personal data, are shining a spotlight on a longstanding problem: our nation’s lack of sufficient laws to protect data privacy. Two bills before Congress attempt to solve this problem as to COVID-19 data. One is a good start that needs improvements. The other is a misstep that EFF strongly opposes.

              The Public Health Emergency Privacy Act (PHEPA) was introduced by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Mark Warner, and U.S. Representatives Anna Eshoo, Jan Schakowsky and Suzan DelBene. It has some major elements that privacy advocates have called for. It requires opt-in consent and data minimization, and limits data disclosures to government. It has a strong private right of action and does not preempt state laws. And it bars denial of voting rights to people who decline to opt-in to tracking programs. But it does not protect such people from discrimination in access to employment, public accommodations, or government benefits. Also, it has overly broad exemptions for manual contact tracing, public health research, public health authorities, and entities regulated by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

            • Arizona has sued Google for illegally tracking phone location data

              Arizona has filed a lawsuit against Google for “deceptive and unfair practices used to obtain users’ location data.” Specifically, Google has been collecting location history in its Search and Maps app to tie to your Google account even if you have explicitly told Google that you want to opt out of storing your Location History. If you tell Google that you don’t want your Location History stored, these apps still store it under My Activity, instead. This issue has affected millions of Android users as well as millions of Apple users that use Google maps or Google Search on their iPhone or iPad. The lawsuit is a direct result of a 2018 report from the Associated Press which broke the news on Google’s Location History fiasco. The report highlighted Google’s own support page on how “Location History” can be turned off:

            • House delays vote on renewing FISA surveillance powers to grant FBI warrantless access to internet history

              Your internet history is safe from the FBI… for now. Government surveillance powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) – which have sat unrenewed since March – failed to be renewed this week in the House despite passing earlier this year. The FISA renewal vote came up as H.R. 6172, the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act and was pulled from the House floor on Wednesday and Thursday. A key difference between the version of this bill that the House passed in March and the version that the House didn’t pass today is that the FBI would have been able to access the internet history of Americans without a warrant. Also, key officials including President Trump and the leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) spoke out against the renewal.

            • macOS 10.15: slow by design

              Apparently, Apple is making macOS Catalina phone home so much it’s making the operating system slow, laggy, and beachbally, as Allan Odgaard details.

            • Facebook will start verifying the identities of accounts that keep going viral

              Facebook will now require people behind individual profiles with “high reach” to verify their identity, the company announced today. Facebook hopes this will ensure users are seeing more authentic posts from people, instead of ones from bots or users concealing their identity. The change follows a similar move two years ago in which Facebook required viral page owners to disclose their identities and locations, following numerous accounts of overseas content farms using partisan US politics to game Facebook’s algorithms, go viral, and cash in on ad revenue.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Future of Forever War, American-Style

        Covid-19, an ongoing global human tragedy, may have at least one silver lining. It has led millions of people to question America’s most malignant policies at home and abroad.

      • President Amplifies 'Cowboys for Trump' Calls for Executing Democrats

        "Thank you Cowboys," Trump tweeted.

      • Policing and the Sanctity of Life

        Compassionate policing exists right now and simply needs to expand beyond the reach of militarism and racism, which invade policework like a virus.

      • Media Smeared Ahmaud Arbery After His Lynching

        While it took two and a half months for the authorities to finally make arrests in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, corporate media were much quicker to follow the time-honored practice of besmirching victims of racist violence (, 3/22/17).

      • Trump’s War on Arms Control and Disarmament

        A successor to the Trump administration will have to rebuild the credibility of the Department of Justice and the effectiveness of such regulatory agencies as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Finance Protection Agency.€  It will have to rebuild the intelligence community, which has been heavily politicized, and the Department of State, which has been hallowed out.€  Now, you can add the field of arms control and disarmament to the list of reclamation projects because of the hostile and counterproductive acts of the Trump administration.

      • Nepal issues a new map claiming contested territories with India as its own

        At issue is about 300 square kilometers (115 square miles) of mountainous land incorporating Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani. Nepal's new map locates the small stretch of disputed land within its northwest border, between China and India.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • CNN Is Picking Ratings Over Ethics

        Meanwhile, some other states have performed much better than New York in the face of the pandemic, but their governors haven’t gotten the same kind of adoring media attention. It’s a long-standing media critique that stories in New York and Washington, D.C., get attention disproportionate to stories elsewhere in the country, but that’s not the only factor at play here. If they wanted to share the spotlight, perhaps Governors Jay Inslee of Washington and Mike DeWine of Ohio should have considered having brothers with plum TV gigs.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Is It Time to Boycott the United States?

        The G7 kicked Russia out over its invasion of Crimea. Does the U.S. assault on international laws, treaties, and democracy itself warrant the same treatment?

      • People are accidentally throwing out their stimulus check — because it looks like junk mail

        To help taxpayers identify the card, the IRS said in an FAQ that the cards will bear the Visa logo and are issued by MetaBank. A letter included with the card explains that the card is the Economic Impact Payment Card. More information is available at

        To activate the card, taxpayers need to call 1-800-240-8100 to verify their identity and set their PIN. They should also sign the back of their card.

        The card can then be used like a regular debit card, for online transactions or swiped at the store, where users can also opt for cash back.

      • Report: ATM Skimmer Gang Had Protection from Mexican Attorney General’s Office

        A group of Romanians operating an ATM company in Mexico and suspected of bribing technicians to install sophisticated Bluetooth-based skimmers in cash machines throughout several top Mexican tourist destinations have enjoyed legal protection from a top anti-corruption official in the Mexican attorney general’s office, according to a new complaint filed with the government’s internal affairs division.

      • Ban on high speed [I]nternet extended till June 17 in Jammu Kashmir

        The Indian government on Wednesday extended the ban on 4G [I]nternet services in Jammu and Kashmir and restricted it to 2G network only. Internet connectivity with Mac-binding to continue till 17th June or until further orders, the authorities said.

        Mobile [I]nternet was completely suspended earlier in May during the Handwara encounter that was launched in search of two terrorists affiliated to Hizbul Mujahideen.

      • Zuckerberg Says Twitter Is Wrong to Fact-Check Trump [iophk: they aim to lose 47 U.S.C. €§ 230 protections and, if relevant, common carrier status]

        Facebook, under fire for spreading divisive material and misinformation largely shelved an effort to make conversations on the platform more civil, according to the Wall Street Journal. Facebook executives viewed the effort as "paternalistic" and were worried about accusations of censorship from the right, the paper said.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Moderation v. Discretion v. Censorship: They're Not The Same

        Moderation is a platform operator saying "we don't do that here". Discretion is you saying "I won't do that there". Censorship is someone saying "you can't do that anywhere" before or after threats of either violence or government intervention.

      • Mark Zuckerberg's Ridiculously Wrong, Misleading, And Self-Serving Statements Regarding Twitter Fact-Checking The President

        As we continue to deal with the fallout of our thin-skinned President throwing a hissy fit over Twitter daring to provide more context to conspiracy theory nonsense that Trump himself tweeted, Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has apparently decided that it's more important to stomp on Twitter while it's down, rather than protect the wider internet. In a shameful display of opportunistic nonsense, Zuckerberg went on Fox News and pretended that Facebook was somehow not interested in moderating content the way Twitter did:

      • The Two Things To Understand About Trump's Executive Order On Social Media: (1) It's A Distraction (2) It's Legally Meaningless

        We've officially reached pure silly season when it comes to internet regulations. For the past two years now, every so often, reports have come out that the White House was exploring issuing an executive order trying to attack Section 230 and punish companies for the administration's belief in the myth that content moderation practices at large social media firms are "biased" against conservatives.

      • Trump Executive Order Against Social Media Giants Denounced as Unlawful Ploy to 'Eviscerate Public Oversight of His Lies'

        "Undoubtedly the first step down an increasingly dark path of Trump using the power of his office to intimidate media companies, journalists, activists, and anyone else who criticizes him into silence."

      • To Students and Teachers Targeted by the Israel Lobby

        University students and instructors periodically drop into my inbox with stories of repression and reprisal for having criticized Israel—or merely for having spoken favorably of Palestinians. € In some cases, faculty have been demoted or fired, or have been denied tenure.€  In other cases, they’ve lost funding or opportunities to publish.€  They’ve been threatened, if only implicitly (plenty of times the threat is explicit). € Students have been profiled by websites aiming to destroy their careers (pro-Israel zealots are expert snitches) or subject to some kind of disciplinary action.

      • Several journalists arrested for protesting outside Moscow police headquarters

        Several journalists were arrested for protesting outside of the Moscow police headquarters, including Mediazona editor-in-chief Sergey Smirnov, and Ekho Moskvy journalists Tatyana Felgenhauer and Alexander Plyushchev, reports the Telegram channel “Apologiya Protesta.”€ 

      • Trump Executive Order Misreads Key Law Promoting Free Expression Online and Violates the First Amendment

        This post based its initial analysis on a draft Executive Order. It has been updated to reflect the final order, available here.

        President Trump’s Executive Order targeting social media companies is an assault on free expression online and a transparent attempt to retaliate against Twitter for its decision to curate (well, really just to fact-check) his posts and deter everyone else from taking similar steps.€  The good news is that, assuming the final order looks like the draft we reviewed on Wednesday, it won’t survive judicial scrutiny. To see why, let’s take a deeper look at its incorrect reading of Section 230€  (47 U.S.C. €§ 230) and how the order violates the First Amendment.

      • SmileDirectClub Sues NBC For $2.85 Billion, Claims Factual Statements And Quotes From Customers Are Defamatory

        SmileDirectClub -- maker of in-home dental appliances -- is back in the lawsuit business. A couple of years ago, the company sued Lifehacker over an article originally titled "You Could Fuck Up Your Mouth With SmileDirectClub." The company claimed any criticism of its products and techniques was defamatory. Despite the original inflammatory headline, the Lifehacker piece was even-handed, warning potential customers that semi-DIY dental work has some downsides. SmileDirect voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit a week later, perhaps sensing a judge -- even one in bogus lawsuit-friendly Tennessee -- might not agree that critical opinions, however harsh, were libelous.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Following the arrest of politician and former ‘Meduza’ special correspondent Ilya Azar, we are demanding his immediate release

        One of Russia’s most well-known journalists, former Meduza special correspondent Ilya Azar, was sentenced to 15 days administrative arrest in Moscow earlier today. In the days of the old news website, he wrote brilliant stories on politics in Russia and the near abroad, and breathed new life into the interview genre. During the summer of 2019, Azar — who at that point had already been serving as a municipal deputy for two years — became one the main, new politicians on the scene in Moscow, beginning with his efforts to protect arrested Meduza journalist Ivan Golunov, and then later during his defense of the right of opposition politicians to stand for election to the Moscow City Duma.

      • Local Broadcasters Forget Journalism Ethics, Air Amazon PR Fluff Instead

        While US journalism is certainly in crisis mode, it's particularly bad on the local level, where most local newspapers and broadcasters have been either killed off or consolidated into large corporations, often resulting in something that's less news, and more homogenized dreck (see: that Deadspin Sinclair video from a few years back). Data suggests this shift has a profoundly negative impact on the culture, resulting in fewer investigations of corruption, a more divided and less informed populace, and even swayed political outcomes as nuanced local coverage is replaced with more partisan, national news.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • How Big Tech Monopolies Distort Our Public Discourse

        Long before the pandemic crisis, there was widespread concern over the impact that tech was having on the quality of our discourse, from disinformation campaigns to influence campaigns to polarization.

        It's true that the way we talk to each other and about the world has changed, both in form (thanks to the migration of discourse to online platforms) and in kind, whether that's the rise of nonverbal elements in our written discourse (emojis, memes, ASCII art and emoticons) or the kinds of online harassment and brigading campaigns that have grown with the Internet.

      • WIPO launches own digital evidence service WIPO PROOF

        WIPO acts as a time-stamping authority (TSA) by issuing a token (a unique digital fingerprint of a digital file in any format and size) which, once it is generated, is stored on WIPO servers in Switzerland.

        It is important to highlight that the digital file is not uploaded to WIPO servers but rather “a strong cryptographic hashing function processes [it] … while still in its original location, producing a hash value uniquely identifying that file”.

      • Patents

        • Software Patents

          • Webinar Materials - Recent PTAB Discretionary Denials Rulings - Changes to €§ 314 and €§ 325

            Our speakers from Microsoft, WilmerHale, and Unified hosted a lively conversation focused on the recent changes to ۤ 314 and ۤ 325, and followed how certain cases, like General Plastics & NHK Spring, could bring about future APA challenges to the de facto rules. For background on this topic, read Unified's recent report on the subject:

            Thank you to the panelists for covering such a key concern facing the Board. It's an important issue and we're hoping our study can shed some light on the dramatic rise in discretionary denials.

          • Barbaro Technologies, LLC v. Niantic, Inc. (N.D. Cal. 2020)

            In the field of computer gaming, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently granted Defendants' Rule 12 motion alleging that claims 1, 3, and 6 of U.S. Patent No. 8,228,325 (the '325 Patent) are invalid as claiming patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. €§ 101. Plaintiff Barbaro Technologies, LLC (hereinafter "Barbaro") had contended that the video games Ingress and Pokémon Go, developed and published by Defendant Niantic, Inc. (hereinafter "Niantic"), infringed these claims. The suit also involves U.S. Patent No. 7,373,377, of which the '325 Patent is a divisional. However, Niantic's motion only addressed the claims of the '325 Patent.

            The '325 Patent claims a computer system for providing a "three-dimensional virtual thematic environment" (abbreviated in the opinion and hereinafter as "3D VTE"). The background of the '325 Patent notes that "virtual environments, especially those present on the internet, for example, have not provided the user with a real world experience." The '325 Patent thus aims to integrate audio, video, 2D/3D technology, and other applications or services (e.g., "mini-applications," as the '325 Patent calls them, such as word processing programs or email programs) in order to provide a virtual and real world experience to users. More particularly, the '325 Patent describes that the 3D VTE can be a gaming environment, geographic environment, or other theme of environment in which and with which a software application can simulate real-world interaction. For example, a user can select a city to visit and the software will integrate real-world data (e.g., satellite and street view images, 2D/3D graphics) into a 3D VTE resembling the city that the user can navigate and interact with, such as in a third or first person view. For instance, a user might travel down a street in the simulated city and "enter" a bookstore by clicking a mouse on the virtual representation of the bookstore. The '325 Patent lists numerous examples of real-time and real-world data that can be integrated into 3D VTEs, such as sports scores, film, news, and a "real-world geographic location of a user."

      • Copyrights

        • YTS Bypasses Security Warnings with Simple URL Update

          A few days ago, popular torrent site YTS was flagged as a potential phishing site by Chrome and Firefox. Today, these warnings have disappeared but not because the problems were resolved. YTS simply switched to a new URL structure, ditching the problematic /movie/ subcategory.

        • Russia Adopts Law to Block Pirate Apps and if Necessary, App Stores Too

          Russia's State Duma has adopted new legislation that will enable copyright holders to take far-reaching action against apps facilitating access to pirated content. If the owners of the apps themselves fail to take action, the new legislation will compel services such as Google Play and Apple's App Store to remove the tools or find themselves blocked by local ISPs.

        • Neil Young Plans to Beat the Bootleggers With His Own Series

          Neil Young is taking a page from the Bob Dylan playbook by creating his own version of the Bootleg Series. He has yet to roll out exact details, but the plan is to take famous concert bootlegs, track down the actual master recordings and release them himself via his website.

          “We have ripped off all of the original art from the bootlegs,” he wrote on the Neil Young Archives. “No expense will be spared. The only difference will be the radically better sound from our masters.”

        • The Chalk Pencil infringement claims have been erased: Lanard Toys v. Dolgencorp

          This Kat is always excited to see intellectual property cases concerning product designs, as these cases present a great opportunity to explore the intersection of various IP regimes in a single work. Earlier this month, this Kat got his wish: the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals decided Lanard Toys Limited v. Dolgencorp LLC - a case concerning the design of a chalk-holder. Lanard Toys filed this suit against Dolgencorp, alleging infringement of a design patent, copyright, and trade dress, as well as unfair competition.

          In this case, the Federal Circuit provided substantial guidance on claim construction and infringement analysis regarding design patents. Concerning Lanard's copyright claim, the Court also addressed the separability of the design of a useful article from the useful article itself, considering the separability analysis outlined in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands. Additionally, the Court addressed secondary meaning as it relates to product design trade dress protection.


          That is not to say that the Lanard Chalk Pencil should be eligible for copyright protection. However, rather than relying upon separability, the Court could have found the pencil design ineligible for copyright protection for a want of originality. Lanard acknowledged that the design is that of a "cartoonish No.2 pencil;" this design is a generic representation of a ubiquitous item with the addition of the phrase "Chalk Pencil." Rather than restricting separability such that the design of a chalk holder with the external appearance of a pencil is inseparable from the associated useful chalk holder, the chalk holder design should have been denied copyright protection due to its lack of originality.

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