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Links 23/6/2020: Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition, OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 Release Roadmap

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Lenovo brings Linux certification to ThinkPad and ThinkStation Workstation portfolio

        Lenovo is moving to certify the full workstation portfolio for top Linux distributions from Ubuntu and Red Hat – every model, every configuration.

        While many users prefer to customise their own machines – either on hardware without an OS or by wiping an existing client OS, then configuring and installing Linux – this can raise uncertainty with system stability, restricted performance, compatibility, end-user productivity and even IT support for devices. Now that these users are making their way out of the proverbial shadows and onto the enterprise floor, the demand is high for an out-of-the-box solution that removes the barrier for the deployment of enterprise-grade hardware within a Linux software ecosystem.

        For the users deploying Linux on a desktop or mobile workstation, Lenovo has historically certified only certain products with a limited subset of hardware configurations. Our entire portfolio of ThinkStation and ThinkPad P Series workstations will now be certified via both Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu LTS – a long-term, enterprise-stability variant of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution. This total certification will assure users their workstation investment is tried, tested and officially verified.

      • Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS pre-installed is now available

        The Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition is now available in North America and selected EMEA countries* certified with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS pre-installed to work straight out of the box. This is the first system available on the market with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, released in April 2020, and continues the long-standing partnership with Canonical which is designed to offer developers their ideal laptop based on input received from the community.

        “We’re delighted to see the first Dell systems ship with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Enterprises are increasingly equipping their developers and engineers with the operating system of their choice ensuring high end-user productivity. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on the latest Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition offers the performance developers demand with the assurance of security and long term support that IT management needs,” said Martin Wimpress, Director of Desktop Engineering at Canonical.

        “Dell and Canonical have partnered since the 2012 launch of Project Sputnik to arm developers with Ubuntu systems tailored for usability, stability and performance,” said Barton George, Founder of Project Sputnik and XPS Developer Edition, Dell Technologies. “Ubuntu 20.04 LTS continues our long-standing partnership with the Linux developer community to provide Ubuntu certified hardware that works out-of-the-box, enabling the highest levels of productivity.”

      • Dell To Begin Shipping Ubuntu 20.04 LTS On Their Latest XPS Developer Edition

        Dell is announcing this morning that their latest XPS Developer Edition laptops are beginning to ship with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS as the latest version of the popular desktop Linux distribution.

        While Ubuntu 20.04 LTS shipped back in April, Dell has been pushing this new Ubuntu "Focal Fossa" long-term support release through their QA and verification process. As of today, the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition with 10th Gen Intel Core CPU is now offering a pre-install with 20.04 LTS rather than the two-year-old Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

      • This new Dell XPS 13 build is ditching Windows 10 for Ubuntu

        A new build of the Dell XPS 13 has gone on sale with one major difference - it has dropped Windows 10 in favour of Ubuntu.

        The new Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition ditches Microsoft's software in favour of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS preinstalled to work straight out of the box, giving developers a new ultra-portable and powerful laptop option.

        The Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition is now available in North America and selected EMEA countries including UK and Ireland from today costing $1,049/around €£899.

      • Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition laptops now ship with Ubuntu 20.04

        The Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition is a thin and light laptop that’s identical to the standard version when it comes to hardware. But instead of Windows, it ships with Ubuntu Linux.

        Dell has been selling Ubuntu versions of the XPS 13 since 2012, and every few years the company updates the software that comes pre-installed. This is one of those years, and Dell and Ubuntu maker Canonical have announced that the XPS 13 Developer Edition is now available with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS pre-installed.

      • Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Now Comes with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        Been holding out for word on a new Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition preloaded with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS? Well you’re in in luck as Dell has announced one!

        You likely don’t need much in way of introduction to the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition. This laptop series has, throughout its many incarnations, become as popular with Linux developers as IBM’s famed ThinkPad line (which was recently blessed with Ubuntu too).

        The latest iteration of Dell’s developer laptop ships with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS pre-loaded. The device touts a built-in fingerprint reader that “just works” with Ubuntu (and devs are backporting newer fingerprint login improvements) plus a bevvy of other features.

      • Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Linux Laptop Is Now Available with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        Canonical and Dell announced today that the powerful Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Linux laptop is now available certified and pre-loaded with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        Promising an out-of-the-box Ubuntu experience to developers and engineers looking for a premium Linux laptop, the newest Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition now comes pre-loaded with the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system.

        It appears to be the first system available on the market with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS that you can buy right now and it has been thoroughly tested by Dell and Canonical’s engineering teams to ensure optimal performance.

    • Server

      • 55th TOP500 Supercomputer List Topped By Arm-Based Fujitsu A64FX

        The newest TOP500 supercomputer list was published today. The newest TOP500 list includes more positions for AMD EPYC supercomputers but to some surprise the Arm-based Fujitsu A64FX-powered supercomputer has topped the list.

        Japan has the current number one ranked supercomputer with Fugaku that is powered by Fujitsu 48-core A64FX SoCs. Fugaku can achieve over 1 ExaFLOP computing performance. Coming in at number two is Summit with its IBM POWER9 and Tesla V100 GPUs. Number three is Sierra with POWER9 and Tesla V100s as well.

      • Japan’s Fugaku System Tops Latest Supercomputer List

        The latest TOP500 list of supercomputers reflects significant shifts since the previous list was released last November. At number one is the Fugaku system from Japan, which posted a High Performance Linpack (HPL) result of 415.5 petaflops. Fugaku is powered by Fujitsu’s 48-core A64FX SoC, making it the first ARM-based system to reach the highest ranking.

        According to the technical report written by Jack Dongarra, the Fugaku system achieved a stunning 1.42 Exaflops/s on the HPL-AI benchmark, which highlights “the emerging convergence of high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) workloads.” In comparison, the Summit system, which previously occupied the top spot, achieved .55 Exaflop/s on the benchmark.

      • Japan’s ARM-Based ‘Fugaku’ Is Now The Fastest Supercomputer In The World

        A new supercomputer from Japan dubbed Fugaku is now the fastest supercomputer in the world. Fugaku is ARM-based and it has surpassed Summit, America’s Linux-powered champion that reigned the Top500 for the past few years.

        Interestingly, Fugaku is the first ARM-based system ever to become the world’s fastest supercomputer. It has a reported High Performance Linpack (HPL) score of 415.5 petaflops which is 2.8 times Summit’s score.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.7.5
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.7.5 kernel.

        All users of the 5.7 kernel series must upgrade.

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

      • Linux 5.4.48
      • Linux 4.19.129
      • Linux 4.14.185
      • Linux 4.9.228
      • Linux 4.4.228
      • Linux Kernel 5.6 Reached End of Life, Upgrade to Linux Kernel 5.7 Now

          Launched at the end of March 2020, Linux kernel 5.6 was the first to come with built-in WireGuard support, a top-notch, fast, modern, and secure VPN (Virtual Private Network) tunnel for providing next-generation VPN connections on Linux-powered machines.

        In addition, the Linux 5.6 kernel series brought USB4 support, AMD Pollock support, a new CPU idle cooling thermal driver, initial support for Amazon Echo smart speakers, a new Zonefs file system for zoned block devices, compression support for F2FS, as well as initial support for AMD Ryzen Zen 3 CPUs.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Open-Source Qualcomm "TURNIP" Vulkan Driver Adds Tessellation Shader Support

          Mesa's TURNIP Vulkan driver for open-source Qualcomm Adreno support took another big step forward this week with the mainlining of tessellation shader support.

          TURNIP is getting into increasingly good shape thanks to the work of multiple parties but isn't quite mature yet as Freedreno Gallium3D, which provides the open-source OpenGL support for Qualcomm's Adreno GPUs. A big feature now though is complete with the tessellation shader merge request landing for TURNIP.

        • RADV Vulkan Driver Adds New Workaround For Path of Exile Game

          A new tunable for the RADV driver is to disable bounds checking for dynamic buffer descriptors. The initial beneficiary of this driver workaround is for satisfying the Path of Exile role playing game running under Wine / Proton (Steam Play).

          The Path of Exile RPG game added a beta Vulkan renderer last month but has experienced issues with the RADV Vulkan driver while reportedly working fine with AMDVLK. This is an alternative to their Direct3D 11 renderer for this Windows game that runs on Linux by way of Wine/Proton.

        • Intel DG1 Graphics Card Support Lands In Mesa 20.2 For OpenGL / Vulkan

          Intel has landed their Mesa OpenGL/Vulkan driver support for their "DG1" discrete graphics card!

          With their kernel driver patches getting sorted out and most likely to be introduced with the Linux 5.9 kernel, the OpenGL and Vulkan driver side changes have now been merged into Mesa Git. These changes are in place for Mesa 20.2, due out around the end of August, but the Linux 5.9 kernel meanwhile won't see its stable release until around October with its development cycle not officially getting underway until around August following the current Linux 5.8 cycle.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: A Step Back

          Since the start of this blog, I’ve been going full speed ahead with minimal regard for explaining terminology or architecture. This was partly to bootstrap the blog and get some potentially interesting content out there, but I also wanted to provide some insight into how clueless I was when I started out in mesa.

          If you’ve been confused by the previous posts, that’s roughly where I was at the time when I first encountered whatever it was you that you’ve been reading about.


          When I began working on mesa, I did not have that knowledge, so let’s take a little time to go over some parts of the mesa tree, beginning with gallium.

          Gallium is the API provided by mesa/src/mesa/state_tracker. state_tracker is a mesa dri driver implementation (like i965 or radeon) which translates the mesa/src/mesa/main API and functionality into something a bit more flexible and easy to write drivers for. In particular, the state tracker is less immediate-mode functionality than core mesa, which enables greater optimization to be performed with e.g., batching and deduplication of repeated operations.

    • Applications

      • GStreamer 1.17.1 unstable development release

        The GStreamer team is pleased to announce the first development release in the unstable 1.17 release series.

        The unstable 1.17 release series adds new features on top of the current stable 1.16 series and is part of the API and ABI-stable 1.x release series of the GStreamer multimedia framework.

        The unstable 1.17 release series is for testing and development purposes in the lead-up to the stable 1.16 series which is scheduled for release in a few weeks time. Any newly-added API can still change until that point, although it is rare for that to happen.

        Full release notes will be provided in the near future, highlighting all the new features, bugfixes, performance optimizations and other important changes.

        The autotools build has been dropped entirely for this release, so it's finally all Meson from here on.

      • The 10 Best Linux Hardware and System Info Tools in 2020

          Linux system info tools let you view the detailed state of the hardware components of your machine running Linux based distributions. Although, the Windows platform is preferred by most of the gamers apart from gaming consoles. The hardware sentinels and tech geeks have an obsession with Linux. We know that Linux offers great flexibility to the superuser. But most of the Linux distributions do not offer built-in hardware info tool on Linux that offers an easy to use GUI. But the awesome developer community is offering some great tools for this purpose.

      • 10 Best Linux Apps You Must Have For Everyday Use [2020 Edition]

        An application is a software program that gives you an interface to interact with your system or perform any specific tasks in just a click of a button. Whenever we start using any operating system, we first always look for the best applications that can fulfill our demands.

        Though with the advent of the Internet we can do almost everything using web applications running in a single web browser app, some of you also want desktop apps to have a better comfort with one less browser tab. Hence, in this article, I’ll present a list of best Linux apps that you must have installed on your Linux operating system.

        Whether you want the best Ubuntu apps or apps for Chromebooks, the list fully contains free and open source applications that you can easily install on any Linux distro.

        You can use these free and open-source software (FOSS) every day for your personal productivity, entertainment, or professional work. You can also modify them to add new features by contributing to its open repository.

      • MBBox – Module Building in a Box

        Originally there was a Python script written by our former colleague Patrick Uiterwijk which did the deployment of the MBBox. The initiative was submitted by the CentOS Stream team because they were the main users of the original MBBox script.

      • Version 0.13: New recursive folder upload [Ed: "PhotoTeleport is free software, distributed under the GPLv3 license," says the site]

        One of the very first things that PhotoTeleport users try to do when learning to use the program is dragging a folder onto it, with the expectation that PhotoTeleport would be smart enough to scan its contents and open all the images located in there. Unfortunately, this feature was never implemented – well, until now, at least!

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • How to play Sonic Mania on Linux

        Sonic Mania is a 2017 platformer developed by PagodaWest Games and Headcannon and published by Sega. It follows Sonic the Hedgehog, Tails, and Knuckles in a classic adventure to stop Dr. Eggman (AKA Robotnik.) Sega released this game to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the original Sonic game.

      • The Steam Game Festival Summer Edition is over, here's our round-up

        Now that the Steam Game Festival - Summer Edition is over, here's a round-up of of our coverage and some more thoughts. In true Valve style, it went off with a few problems including some developers not getting a demo button until the second day of the event.

        We started off by highlighting a list of ~30 demos for games that looked interesting, ensuring that each of them was verified working and then going from there. After that? Plenty caught my eye personally and some were genuinely great.

      • Secret Government is a grand strategy about ruling from the shadows - out now

        Just released is Secret Government, a brand new grand strategy game from GameTrek and 1C Entertainment that came with same-day Linux support.

        Taking place from the 17th century right up to modern times, Secret Government tasks you with leading a secret organization as you spread your influence across the globe, rewriting key historical events and deciding the fate of humankind. Manage your resources as you manipulate the actions of the world’s leaders. From strategically planting your agents in vulnerable regions, to infiltrating powerful institutions of authority, anyone can be your pawn as you exploit their resources and seize control over key decision-makers.

      • Dota 2 Battle Pass for The International 2021 now ends September 19

        Valve have been battling an issue with the Dota 2 Game Coordinator, that's caused so many match problems that they've extended the end time for The International 2021 Battle Pass.

        Since around June 17, the Game Coordinator has been somewhat broken which means players were unable to find matches. Valve initially mentioned it was a network issue, then on June 19 said they were looking for the root cause which for some reason caused extreme load on the servers so suddenly and at the same time each day.

        As for the Battle Pass since it's messed things up for players, Valve sent word out on Twitter that they will be extending the end date from September 12 to September 19 and they're continuing to investigate what has been causing this extreme and sudden extra load.

      • Troll Patrol is a heavenly mix of an RPG with Match-3 mechanics

        Sometimes picking up a new indie game release on a whim turns into a new love and that's very much the case with Troll Patrol. Note: this was a personal purchase.

        Mixing together Match-3 game mechanics with an RPG isn't anything new, in fact it's likely the developer Philippe Schober was directly inspired by a much older game named Dungeon Raid which seems to have vanished. The idea is that you're defending against vicious humans, as you fight off waves in a Match-3 game of puzzle and strategy. Match potion tiles to heal, sword tiles to boost your attack, shields to gain some block and more. There's a genuinely surprising amount of content included.

      • The next big Albion Online update arrives in August

        Albion Online is set to expand once again with the Rise of Avalon that will bring in 'a new era' according to the developer Sandbox Interactive.

        This free expansion will bring in powerful new weapons like the Avalonian Cannon with a beam that continually moves and the Avalonian Cursed Staff that "summons an enemy's cursed inner spirit". Sandbox say all the new weapons will thoroughly mix up Albion's combat and make it more unpredictable. Travelling across the world will be mixed up too with the Roads of Avalon paths, creating unique and constantly changing connections across the world helping to unlock more hidden areas too.

        Personally, I'm more excited about the Corrupted Dungeons. These new dungeons will be aimed at solo players, and will close once you enter them to give more PvE experiences. However, one other player can invade to mix it up and give you a fun 1v1 PvP mix into it.

      • Raspberry Pi VideoCore IV Boards Get an Unofficial Vulkan Driver Good Enough to Play Quake 3

          The Raspberry Pi Foundation is collaborating with Igalia to work on everything related to graphics support for VideoCore VI GPU found in Raspberry Pi 4’s Broadcom BCM2711 SoC. This lead to OpenGL ES 3.1 conformance at the beginning of the year, and good progress with Raspberry Pi 4 Vulkan support.

        There’s no plan to work on an official Vulkan driver for earlier Raspberry Pi boards with VideoCore IV GPU, but since the Raspberry Pi Foundation released open-source VideoCore IV driver and documentation several years ago, it’s, in theory, possible for skilled developers to improve on it. That’s exactly what Martin Thomas, an NVIDIA engineer, has done in his spare time, and after two years of work, a Vulkan driver for Raspberry Pi VideoCore IV board – RPi-VK-Driver – has been released on Github.

      • Mars Power Industries: First Job is a sweet free puzzle game out now

        Mars Power Industries: First Job is a sweet puzzle game release free that also acts as a prequel to Mars Power Industries Deluxe which was wonderful.

        Your task is to go through 18 levels of house-building on the dusty red planet. Every puzzle is bite-sized, taking only a few minutes and it's quite relaxing just like the full Mars Power Industries Deluxe. The Deluxe version was also updated around the same time with another 24 levels too. Technically, you could think of First Job like a demo of the much bigger Deluxe game.

      • Learning Factory is an automation sim where you learn what your cat wants

        Factorio but your goal is ultimately to learn what your cat really wants? Learning Factory takes the automation sim into a weird but amusing direction.

        Coming from developer, who also created the rather good while True: learn(), which was also about building a cat-to-human speech recognition system. I'm noticing a cat-theme here with their games and anyone who has owned a cat knows they can be amusingly odd creatures. Being able to understand what they want sounds like a goal worth pursuing.

      • Clam Man 2: Open Mic is a free prologue for a combat-less RPG about jokes

        An RPG without combat? Are they mad? No but they're quite funny actually. Clam Man 2: Headliner is a stand-up comedy RPG and it has a free prologue out with Clam Man 2: Open Mic.

        Play as the titular Clam Man and uncover a secret lurking in the basement of Snacky Bay Prime Mayonnaise that will change the course of your life! A comedy club, who would have guessed? Clam Man 2 is a stand-up comedy RPG adventure with no combat where you talk about lots of weird things and attempt to be funny.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Second alpha release of my project

          I’ve already announced this on Krita Artists, but I haven’t had time to write more fully about it, so…

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

        • Week #3 Status Report

          This was the third week since the commencement of official coding period on 1st June. In the last three weeks a lot of work is done and a lot of work still remains. The phase 1 evaluation submissions shall begin from monday next week, so now just 7 days are remaining.

          This week was mostly spent on accommodating review changes by my mentors and writing some unit tests.

        • Improve MAVLink integration of Kirogi – Progress Report 1

          Hello everyone! This is my first progress report about my GSoC 2020 project. Please feel free to notice me if you have any question or idea.

        • Google Summer of Code - Week 2 and 3

          Hello everyone, In the last blog, I wrote about the wrapping of the community bonding period. In this blog, I would write about what I have completed till now as in the coding period.

          As my project was to implement multiple datasets for several activities. I started my work with the Enumeration Memory games activity. As there are a total of 20 memory activities so all other memory activities share the common code between them. Out of which in a few of the activities no multiple datasets needs to be implemented. I modified the common memory code to load the multiple datasets and the default dataset as used by some of the activities in which no multiple datasets need to be implemented. After that, I successfully implemented multiple datasets to enumeration memory games activity.

        • 2020 KDE roadmap: mid-year update
        • GSoC Week 3 - Qt3D based backend for KStars

          In the third week of GSoC, I worked on defining a coordinate system which works on right ascension and declination instead of x, y and z coordinates.

        • Google Summer of Code 2020 – week 1, 2 and 3

          First of all, sorry for taking a while to write the first post of the coding period, before writing I was making sure that everything was working properly and that I hadn’t broken anything, well now lets go to the actual report.

          I have fixed the build errors of marK and merged the code of the branch of SoK 2020 that had yet to reach master, !2 . Also I started the implementation of text annotation.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME's Window Rendering Culling Was Broken Leading To Wasted Performance

          It turns out for the GNOME 3.34 and 3.36 series, Mutter's window rendering culling code was broken and that led to extra rendering of windows not even visible... A fix is in the works and can lead to the performance doubling or more.

          As part of wanting to improve the GNOME performance at 4K with Intel graphics, Canonical's Daniel van Vugt has been profiling various desktop issues and looking to address them for GNOME 3.38 / Ubuntu 20.10.

          One of his recent discoveries is that the Mutter windows culling code in general was broken and given the greater number of pixels to handle at 4K becomes more pronounced there. Even windows not being presented at all were not being vulled and that leads to a huge waste especially at high resolutions. When dragging a small terminal window over eight maximized window terminals, fixing the issue led to a frame rate from 30 to 60 FPS. Or when running a maximized glxgears window over eight maximized terminal windows, the frame-rate went from 15 to 60 FPS.

    • Distributions

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • KDE Partition Manager on openSUSE

          I have become quite the fan of Gparted over the years of my Linux life and I started wondering if there were other partition management options out there. Specifically one that is Qt based instead. This is not a light on GTK based applications, I just find that they don’t tend to look as nice and clean as Qt apps. In this off-hand search, I stumbled upon PartitionManger which is in official openSUSE Tumbleweed and Leap Repositories.

          I should note, they both Gparted and KDE Partition Manager use the same icon.

        • Help promote openSUSE Leap "15.2"!

          The release of openSUSE Leap 15.2 will be released soon.

        • openSUSE Leap 15.2 Release Roadmap And All New Features

          SUSE is an open-source company that sponsors the community-supported openSUSE project, which develops popular openSUSE Linux distribution. openSUSE further offers two OS editions: Tumbleweed and Leap.

          openSUSE Tumbleweed is a rolling release distribution that has a lifetime of ‘forever.’ Meanwhile, Leap gets a fixed lifetime following a regular release model. In this article, I’ll discuss everything about the upcoming stable release of openSUSE Leap 15.2 based on SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 2.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Flatpak extensions

          When I started packaging music applications in Flatpak, I was confronted to the issue of audio plugins: lot of music software has effects, software instruments and others implemented as plugins colloquially called VST. When packaging Ardour, it became clear that supported these plugins where a necessity, as Ardour includes very little in term of instruments and effects.

          On Linux there are 5 different formats: while LADSPA, DSSI and LV2 are open, VST2 and VST3 are proprietary standard, created by Steinberg, they are very popular in non-libre desktops and applications. Fortunately with somewhat open implementations available, they exist on Linux in open source form. These 5 audio plugins format work in whichever applications can host them. In general LV2 is preferred.

          Now the problem is that "one doesn't simply drop a binary in a flatpak". I'm sure there are some tricks to install them, since a lot of plugins are standalone, but in general it's not sanctioned. So I came up with a proposal and an implementation to support and build Linux Audio plugins in Flatpak. I'll skip the details for now, as I'm working on a comprehensive guide, but the result is that several audio applications now support plugins in flatpak, and a good number of plugins are available on Flathub.

        • Podman paves the road to running containerized HPC applications on exascale supercomputers

          Following the rise of Linux container use in commercial environments, the adoption of container technologies has gained momentum in technical and scientific computing, commonly referred to as high-performance computing (HPC). Containers can help solve many HPC problems, but the mainstream container engines didn't quite tick all the boxes. Podman is showing a lot of promise in bringing a standards-based, multi-architecture enabled container engine to HPC.

        • Core Modernization Leads the way to Business Success

          Over the years, insurers have grown organically, and through mergers and acquisitions, layering legacy infrastructure and meshing code that is often brittle to link core systems together. While modernizing systems is not an easy challenge to overcome, according to a recently released Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Red Hat, many in the industry understand that now is the time to do so. Insurers need to modernize these core systems to increase flexibility, gain cost savings, and be better able to address the growing digital needs of their policyholders. Let’s look at some of the key findings of this Forrester Consulting research study on modernizing the insurance roadmap.


          Even though insurers recognize the need to modernize, there are challenges that can prevent them from doing so. Data migration, integration with upstream/downstream systems, cloud migration, and data conversion were cited among respondents as the top challenges they are facing.

          These challenges highlight both the insurance industry’s hesitation in moving to the cloud and what may happen if they don’t: falling behind the competition, failing to meet stakeholders’ needs, and not having the skills in place to eventually migrate.

          It is not enough to simply move core legacy systems to the cloud, it has to be optimized to maximize the most value, especially in light of the effort expended. While a cloud implementation with one or multiple providers is a step in the right direction, an open hybrid cloud infrastructure can aid core modernization and innovation by promoting a wider set of technology across the data center and public clouds. Technology teams would be freed to build new customer experiences, create and market offers, optimize operations, and manage talent across the enterprise using the same tooling for common tasks.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical Announces Ubuntu Appliance Portfolio

          Canonical recently announced the Ubuntu Appliance portfolio “to enable secure, self-healing, single-purpose devices.” Along with other organizations, including Nextcloud, Mosquitto, Plex, and OpenHAB, Canonical has created a set of free appliance images that “transform a Raspberry Pi or PC into a secure, self-updating solution.”

        • UBports GSI brings Ubuntu Touch to any Project Treble-supported Android device

          The ability to boot an AOSP Generic System Image (GSI) on a compatible Android device is one of the best outcomes of Project Treble, but a similar achievement has yet to be made in the domain of generic kernel development. Google does mandate a minimum Linux kernel version requirement with each new release of Android, but you still can’t simply flash a generic ARM Linux distribution on your Android smartphone and expect it to work due to the fact that the majority of the Android devices are not using a mainline Linux kernel. There exists a community-driven project named UBports that aims to bring Ubuntu Touch (a mobile version of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution) to Android devices, but their device support is fairly minimal to date.

          XDA Recognized Developer erfanoabdi, however, is trying to tackle the situation from a different angle. Instead of waiting for device-specific patches to be landed in the mainline Linux kernel source tree, the developer has successfully created a GSI-esque, platform-agnostic Ubuntu Touch image that can be installed on any Project Treble compliant device.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 636

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 636 for the week of June 14 – 20, 2020.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Top 6 Free and Open Source Video Conferencing Solutions for Education

        Video conferencing plays a vital role to ease the educational process for learners. Although Video conferencing tools were used on large scale for many years ago, their usage increased in the last few months because of COVID-19 and curfew in most of the countries. These tools minimize the distance, time and cost of the meetings. Many universities and educational centers activate the use of Video conferencing tools to provide the students and learners with the benefit of learning process even if they are staying at home especially in remote places. We are going to discuss many free video conferencing tools that will ease your learning process:

      • Events

        • Software Wars Virtual Launch Party
        • Linux Plumbers Conference: Kernel Dependability and Assurance Microconference Accepted into 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference

          We are pleased to announce that the Kernel Dependability & Assurance Microconference has been accepted into the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference!

          Linux is now being used in applications that are going to require a high degree of confidence that the kernel is going to behave as expected. Some of the key areas we’re seeing Linux now start to be used are in medical devices, civil infrastructure, caregiving robots, automotives, etc. This brings up a number of concerns that must be addressed. What sort of uptime can we count on? Should safety analysis be reevaluated after a bug fix has been made? Are all the system requirements being satisfied by Linux? What tooling is there to solve these questions?

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla’s response to EU Commission Public Consultation on AI

            In Q4 2020 the EU will propose what’s likely to be the world’s first general AI regulation. While there is still much to be defined, the EU looks set to establish rules and obligations around what it’s proposing to define as ‘high-risk’ AI applications. In advance of that initiative, we’ve filed comments with the European Commission, providing guidance and recommendations on how it should develop the new law. Our filing brings together insights from our work in Open Innovation and Emerging Technologies, as well as the Mozilla Foundation’s work to advance trustworthy AI in Europe.

            We are in alignment with the Commission’s objective outlined in its strategy to develop a human-centric approach to AI in the EU. There is promise and the potential for new and cutting edge technologies that we often collectively refer to as “AI” to provide immense benefits and advancements to our societies, for instance through medicine and food production. At the same time, we have seen some harmful uses of AI amplify discrimination and bias, undermine privacy, and violate trust online. Thus the challenge before the EU institutions is to create the space for AI innovation, while remaining cognisant of, and protecting against, the risks.

          • Navrina Singh Joins the Mozilla Foundation Board of Directors

            She is the former Director of Product Development for Artificial Intelligence at Microsoft.

          • Why I’m Joining the Mozilla Board

            Firefox was my window into Mozilla 15 years ago, and it’s through this window I saw the power of an open and collaborative community driving lasting change. My admiration and excitement for Mozilla was further bolstered in 2018, when Mozilla made key additions to it’s Manifesto to be more explicit around it’s mission to guard the open nature of the internet. For me this addendum signalled an actionable commitment to promote equal access to the internet for ALL, irrespective of the demographic characteristic. Growing up in a resource constrained India in the nineties with limited access to global opportunities, this precise mission truly resonated with me.

            Technology should always be in service of humanity – an ethos that has guided my life as a technologist, as a citizen and as a first time co-founder of Over the years, I have seen the deepened connection between my values and Mozilla’s commitment. I had come to Mozilla as a user for the secure, fast and open product, but I stayed because of this alignment of missions. And today, I’m very honored to join Mozilla’s Board.

          • [Old] Microsoft vs the web

            Microsoft recognized that they failed at reconquering the web.

            One thing is clear is that Microsoft will contribute (or try) to Chromium, Blink and V8 to make these better for them. Remember Blink is a fork of WebKit because Google couldn’t work with WebKit major sponsor, Apple, so this may not be a done deal.

            The other clear thing is the little marketshare Edge took away from Chrome as an alternative implementation will be aggregated into Chrome’s. Microsoft is actually helping the hegemony of Google, their competitor in several other market, like Bing, Hotmail, Azur, into controlling the web browser space, losing any leverage for web standards.

            I wish they had gone the Mozilla route. Not as easy as the one they chose, but still probably way easier as their current situation, and helping Mozilla is helping the web stay relevant as an open standard.

            Mozilla’s mission has become even more important than ever and if you wanted to do something useful for the future of the web, just use Firefox, and ensure, if you are a developer, that everything runs smoothly with it.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Community Member Monday: Jwtiyar Ali

          Hey! I live in the Kurdistan region, in the north of Iraq – the city of Sulaymaniyah. I have an MSc in Physics, but I love computer science too. Currently I am working in the Cement Quality Control Department at a cement factory, as a physicist.

          I do translations for many open source projects such as Ubuntu, Gimp, Firefox etc., leading these translation projects. My hobbies are following new open source projects and seeing how they can be more competitive. I also like football, walking, and reading Python programming courses in my free time.


          I am translating LibreOffice. I hope to see LibreOffice in my language – that would be perfect. Also, it would help users to interact with LibreOffice more often than before.

        • Simulated Animation Effects Week#3

          This week, my main goal was instead of using PathAnimation classes, make the required connections in the animation engine so that simulated animations are part of the animation engine, and make it possible to have more than one simulated shape in a slide. I did this by mostly cloning PathAnimation classes and doing some changes to the SlideImpl.

        • Week 3 Report

          The last week was the Third week of coding weeks in GSoC program. I continued adding support for the non supported items.

        • LibreOffice GSoC Week 3 Report

          After a long time(work), I proudly present you the first prototype of the Additions dialog. For 3 weeks I have been dealing with both the extension manager’s code and the connection of UI components to the project. In addition, I worked for the API, which will serve as a bridge between the site where the extensions are hosted and the project. For example, I prepared a sample API response and define parameters which is essential part to call GET request.

      • CMS

        • Versioned releases of Kiwi TCMS

          We are happy to announce that versioned releases of Kiwi TCMS container images are now available to customers with an active enterprise subscription.

          For a long time our release policy has been to push only latest version of our upstream kiwitcms/kiwi containers. This upstream channel doesn't carry version tags and receives versioned releases only when there are backwards incompatible database migrations! This proved challenging to administrators who don't upgrade immediately to the latest version as soon as it comes out.

      • FSF

        • Software patents are another kind of disease

          On Friday May 8th, the USPTO announced the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program. Doctored up to look like a helpful response to a global pandemic, it's actually the exact opposite. Under the program, the USPTO will waive some fees associated with accelerated application review for patents on works that require US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. They'll also work to try and get these applications granted within six months. These changes will make it easier and faster for people to gain patents on any technology related to the pandemic, including patents on software. It's not in our scope to determine the impact of other kinds of patents, but we know specifically that they are terrible for software, and at a time where software is critical to saving lives, expediting software patent applications will only cause harm.

          To be clear, this program does not speed up FDA approval, or help to get lifesaving technology to the people who need it most. It doesn't create supply chains or help fund the development of medical technologies and software. All it does is make it easier for someone to "own" that technology, to make it quicker and cheaper to restrict others from implementing and sharing tools that people need to survive. It rushes the patent application process so that someone could be able to sue others trying to save seriously ill patients around the world before the global pandemic is over.

          While the crisis was unfurling, the GNOME Foundation was still expending resources fighting off a patent suit started in 2019. On May 20, 2020, the GNOME Foundation succeeding in securing a release and covenant not to sue from the patent aggressor for all software released under a free license. This was a major win for software freedom that took months and months to realize. But the threat remains, and the only reason someone would need to get their patent granted sooner is because they want to start their lawsuits sooner, to disrupt the flow of medical technology in order to siphon off profits from those seeking to alleviate the worst pandemic in a century.

        • FSF Calls Software Patents A Disease Amid COVID-19 Crisis, USPTO A Super-Spreader

          The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has renewed their attacks against the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and software patents in general, this time in relation to the COVID-19 / coronavirus crisis.

          With the USPTO introducing a prioritized examination pilot program for patents relating to COVID-19 during this global pandemic so that they can be reviewed faster, the Free Software Foundation is taking aim at them.

          In a new blog post the FSF's Licensing and Compliance Manager, Donald Robertson, calls software patents "another kind of disease" and "the USPTO is pretending to help with the response to COVID-19, it is actually throwing a supercharged wrench into the gears of medical supply distribution, so we the people have to come up with our own response that actually helps."

        • GNU Projects

      • Programming/Development

        • Release the pressure: Win16 support arrives for version 3.2 of Free Pascal

          Great news, Pascal fans. After a lengthy hiatus, the cross-platform Free Pascal has emerged with an array of new features and new targets.

          Version 3.2.0 of Free Pascal has arrived in the 50th anniversary year of the Pascal language with new features and compiler targets, including Aarch64 and the venerable 16-bit Windows.

          While it uses its own dialect of Object Pascal, fans of Delphi and Turbo Pascal should feel at home. Free Pascal has also continued rolling while the likes of GNU Pascal seem to have stalled somewhat.

        • R and CRAN Binaries for Ubuntu

          Welcome to the 27th post in the rationally regularized R revelations series, or R4 for short. This is a edited / updated version of yesterday’s T^4 post #7 as it really fits the R4 series as well as it fits the T4 series.

          A new video in both our T^4 series of video lightning talks with tips, tricks, tools, and toys is also a video in the R^4 series as it revisits a topic previously covered in the latter: how to (more easily) get (binary) packages onto your Ubuntu system. In fact, we show it in three different ways.

          The slides are here.

        • Qt QML Maps – Using the OSM plugin with API keys

          For a recent side-project I’ve been working on (a cycle computer for UBPorts phones) I found that when using the QtLocation Map QML element, nearly all the map types provided by the OSM plugin (besides the basic streetmap type) require an API key from Thunderforest. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a documented way of supplying an API key to the plugin, and the handful of forum posts and Stack Overflow questions on the topic are either unanswered or answered by people believing that it’s not possible. It’s not obvious, but after a bit of digging into the way the OSM plugin works I’ve discovered a mechanism by which an API key can be supplied to tile servers that require one.

          When the OSM plugin is initialised it communicates with the Qt providers repository which tells it what URLs to use for each map type. The location of the providers repository can be customised through the osm.mapping.providersrepository.address OSM plugin property, so all we need to do to use our API key is to set up our own providers repository with URLs that include our API key as a parameter. The repository itself is just a collection of JSON files, with specific names (cycle, cycle-hires, hiking, hiking-hires, night-transit, night-transit-hires, satellite, street, street-hires, terrain, terrain-hires, transit, transit-hires) each corresponding to a map type. The *-hires files provide URLs for tiles at twice the normal resolution, for high DPI displays.

        • Implementing geohashing at scale in serverless web applications

          Many web and mobile applications use geospatial data, often used with map overlays. This results in dataset queries based upon proximity, for questions such as “How far is the nearest business?” or “How many users are nearby?” Applications with significant traffic need an efficient way to handle geolocation queries. This blog post explores a simple geohashing solution for serverless applications, and how this can work at scale.

          Geohashing is a popular public domain geocode system that converts geographic information into an alphanumeric hash. A geohash is used to identify a rectangular area around a fixed point. The length of the hash determines the precision of the area identified. This allows you to use a hierarchical search where the length of the geohash corresponds to the size of a search area.

        • Percepio Adds Embedded Linux Support to Tracealyzer Visual Trace Diagnostic Tool
        • Take control of your data with associative arrays in Bash

          If you've ever written code, whether it's a shell script, a Python script, C++, or even Scratch, then you know that variables are vital. Computers and coders use variables as waystations, where they surreptitiously pass information back and forth. For instance, if you need to process a user's name in a shell script, you might set up a variable, put the username into the variable, and then instruct the computer to do something to the variable (check it against a list of authorized users, for example). Variables are important because they enable code to by dynamic: they're placeholders for information that's expected to change every time you run the code.

          But variables, because they're so common, can also become rather unwieldy. Often times, you gather so many variables in a code project that it's next to impossible to keep track of them all. You can use clever conventions, such as prefixing all related variables with a common string (user_name, user_pass, user_time, and so on), or you can create a master list of them somewhere for easy reference, but the overhead of keeping track of it all can becoming taxing.

        • Qt Online Installer 4.0 pre-alpha released

          We are proud to announce the release of Qt Online Installer and Maintenance Tool 4.0 pre-alpha. A lot of work has been done to improve the overall user experience of the new installer. A new Command Line Interface (CLI) makes unattended installations more straightforward compared to limited CLI and install scripts, used in Installer 3.x versions. The emphasis has been on the CLI improvements, but there have been changes to make the GUI more intuitive to use as well. The next step will be to continue GUI improvements to provide a pleasant install experience for all users.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Dylan

          Dylan is a multi-paradigm programming language that includes support for functional and object-oriented programming (OOP), and is dynamic and reflective while providing a programming model designed to support generating efficient machine code, including fine-grained control over dynamic and static behaviors.

          Dylan uses an algebraic infix syntax similar to Pascal or C, but supports an object model not unlike the Common Lisp Object System (CLOS).

          It was created in the early 1990s by a group led by Apple Computer.

          Here’s our recommended tutorials to learn this language.

        • Create No-JavaScript friendly sites

          Because most trackers use JavaScript to track you, a lot of people block JavaScript on their browsers using different software in order to do that.

          If you want everybody to be able to read your website, and use your navigation, you should not make it in such a way that it will depend on JavaScript to work.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Russell Coker: Squirrelmail vs Roundcube

            For some years I’ve had SquirrelMail running on one of my servers for the people who like such things. It seems that the upstream support for SquirrelMail has ended (according to the SquirrelMail Wikipedia page there will be no new releases just Subversion updates to fix bugs). One problem with SquirrelMail that seems unlikely to get fixed is the lack of support for base64 encoded From and Subject fields which are becoming increasingly popular nowadays as people who’s names don’t fit US-ASCII are encoding them in their preferred manner.

            I’ve recently installed Roundcube to provide an alternative. Of course one of the few important users of webmail didn’t like it (apparently it doesn’t display well on a recent Samsung Galaxy Note), so now I have to support two webmail systems.

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 65: Digit Sum

            These are some answers to the Week 65 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

          • 2020.25 On Time

            Alexander Kiryuhin announced the Rakudo 2020.06 Compiler Release at the expected date! The associated binary packages are available at the expected locations.

        • Python

          • Securing a Containerized Django Application with Let's Encrypt

            In this tutorial, we'll look at how to secure a containerized Django app running behind an HTTPS Nginx proxy with Let's Encrypt SSL certificates.

            This post builds on the Dockerizing Django with Postgres, Gunicorn, and Nginx post. It assumes you understand how to containerize a Django app along with Postgres, Nginx, and Gunicorn.

            Nowadays you simply can't go to production with your application running over HTTP. Without HTTPS, your site is less secure and trustworthy. With Let's Encrypt, which simplifies the process of obtaining and installing SSL certificates, there's simply no excuse anymore not to have HTTPS.

          • Stefan Behnel: Should you ship the Cython generated C code or not?

            When you use Cython for your Python extensions (not if, when ;-)), there are different opinions on whether you should generate the C code locally and ship it in your sdist source packages on PyPI, or you should make Cython a build-time dependency for your package and let users run it on their side.

            Both approaches have their pros and cons, but I personally recommend generating the C code on the maintainer side and then shipping it in sdists. Here is a bit of an explanation to help you with your own judgement.

            The C code that Cython generates is deterministic and very intentionally adaptive to where you C-compile it. We work hard to do all environment specific adaptations (Python version, C compiler, …) in the C code and not in the code generator that creates it. It's the holy cow of "generate once, compile everywhere". And that's one of the main selling points of Cython, we write C so you don't have to. But obviously, once the C code is generated, it cannot take as-of-now unknown future environmental changes into account any more, such as changes to the CPython C-API, which we only cover in newer Cython releases.

          • Anwesha Das: PyLadies India embarked its journey

            I started my journey with PyLadies in 2016 as an organizer of PyLadies Pune. It began with a personal itch of the lawyer who wanted to learn Python. I revived the PyLadies Pune. We had meetups within our local limits, and everything was hunky-dory.

            But PyCon India 2016 gave us the platform to peep into more larger picture. The Pythonistas in India, though divided by language, culture, geographical location nevertheless, our stories are similar. Men predominate the Indian Python community (then and so as now, unfortunately). And the community members who identify themselves as women found their place in that small PyLadies Pune booth. We shared our stories, our journey, and found out how similar they were. From the first day where I was going and telling who are we “PyLadies” and getting some not so good reaction. At the end of the conference, there was acceptance, respect, and recognition by the same people. We ended PyCon India 2016 in success with the initiation of one new chapter, PyLadies Delhi. And we realized united we stand. From then every PyCon India, we had at least a new chapter coming up. With a little bit of push, support, and help, I had some amazing ladies coming up, leading, and sharing the Pyladies baton in India. Now we have 8 + PyLadies chapters in India and many more to come. They make me feel happy, proud. But more than that, I think I have them to lean on, with whom the future of PyLadies India is safe and secure.

          • PyDev of the Week: Adrin Jalali

            This week we welcome Adrin Jalali (@adrinjalali) as our PyDev of the Week! Adrin works on the popular scikit-learn package as well as Fairlearn, an AI package for Python.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC: Week #4
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Diving deep into Strapi to build the EOS feature request system in GSOC’20

            Hola a todos! Give me company as I explain to you the internals of Strapi and how I am using various mechanisms to implement custom and secure solutions for our feature request system. Grab your drink, sit back and relax as I walk you through the details.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC 2020 Blog Post (#2)

            I am 3 weeks into the official coding period and they have been great. A little background, I am working on the Frontend aspect of my project where I am using the ReactJS framework to build a UI for the EOS Feature Request web portal.

          • Latest Python Interview Question and Answers
          • sphinxcontrib-spelling 5.1.2

            sphinxcontrib-spelling is a spelling checker for Sphinx-based documentation. It uses PyEnchant to produce a report showing misspelled words.

          • Hands-On Linear Programming: Optimization With Python

            Linear programming is a set of techniques used in mathematical programming, sometimes called mathematical optimization, to solve systems of linear equations and inequalities while maximizing or minimizing some linear function. It’s important in fields like scientific computing, economics, technical sciences, manufacturing, transportation, military, management, energy, and so on.

            The Python ecosystem offers several comprehensive and powerful tools for linear programming. You can choose between simple and complex tools as well as between free and commercial ones. It all depends on your needs.

          • Statistical Hypothesis Analysis in Python with ANOVAs, Chi-Square and Pearson Correlation

            Python is an incredibly versatile language, useful for a wide variety of tasks in a wide range of disciplines. One such discipline is statistical analysis on datasets, and along with SPSS, Python is one of the most common tools for statistics.

            Python’s user-friendly and intuitive nature makes running statistical tests and implementing analytical techniques easy, especially through the use of the statsmodels library.

          • GSoC Weekly Blog #2

            This week I finished up all the tests required in admin window as well as added markdown support in mscolab chat. I also did some redesigning of the chat window. I also made a new window to show the history of all the changes for mscolab.

            Most of my time last week was spent on how to implement the markdown feature. I looked at various different ways of implementing it. I was able to create rich text editor buttons for common features like bold, italics, underline and lists.

          • Fixing Bugs and Multiple KML File UI

            I really liked working this week! The work was a bit relaxed , less stressful. I also learnt new things, and saw my code being "pushed to its limits". Read on!

          • Weekly Check-In: Week 4
          • Week 4: Status - 300 Multiple Choice
          • Image Operations - Weekly Check-in 4
          • Week 3 Check-in
          • GSoC Week 4: import rich:
          • Weekly Check-In #4
          • Python 101 – Learning About Lists (Video)

            In this video tutorial, you will learn all about Python’s list data type.

          • Adding Observability To Your Python Applications With OpenTelemetry

            Once you release an application into production it can be difficult to understand all of the ways that it is interacting with the systems that it integrates with. The OpenTracing project and its accompanying ecosystem of technologies aims to make observability of your systems more accessible. In this episode Austin Parker and Alex Boten explain how the correlation of tracing and metrics collection improves visibility of how your software is behaving, how you can use the Python SDK to automatically instrument your applications, and their vision for the future of observability as the OpenTelemetry standard gains broader adoption.

          • Parsing JSON Data in Python

            JSON is a human-readable text-based data format. It is language independent and used for data interchange between applications.

            In this article, we’ll explain how to parse JSON data in Python.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: The Wonderful Wizard of O'zip
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Blog post for week 3: Passing settings around the right way
          • Weekly Check-in #4
          • Weekly Blog Post | Gsoc'2020 | #4
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check In - 3
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 2.5
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 4 blog
  • Leftovers

    • Hardware

      • Why Apple's move from Intel to ARM means we should stop buying Macs

        As anyone who has a vintage PowerPC PowerBook knows, they essentially became useless within five years of Apple’s announcement. I don’t know about you, but I like to use a computer for more than five years because I don’t like the idea of filling up landfill. I know many people who continue to use, say, a seven-year-old MacBook Air 13, with no intention of buying a new laptop.

        Sure, you’ll argue that an Intel-based Mac will function just fine once the “transition” completes. In fact, the situation is far worse for legacy Intel MacBook users now (and yes, they are ‘legacy’ now) than it was for the PowerPC-to-Intel phase. In 2010, targeted malware attacks on OS X were rare. Today, MacOS is a high-value target for cybercriminals. Without constant OS and UEFI security updates, that Intel-based Mac will basically be a house with kicked-out doors and windows during a zombie apocalypse.

        And no, if you’re thinking, “surely Apple will support my new $3,000 Mac,” you haven’t paid attention to Apple’s history. Apple turned its 2012-era Mac Pro into “vintage” status, and its current Mac OS “Catalina” no longer supports it.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Calling Pandemic a 'Pivotal Moment' to Make Lasting Changes for Families, Economists Demand $50 Billion In Relief for Child Care Industry

        "We believe that an effective government response to the child care crisis will play a vital role in the reopening of workplaces and the ability of parents to participate in an equitable recovery."

      • FDA First: Agency Approves Video Game Treatment For ADHD, Requires A Prescription

        Way back in 2013, when the world was still a logical and sensical place, we wrote about a group of Finnish doctors experimenting treating those afflicated with ADHD with video games. This certainly must have struck many as an odd path to take, what with my generation being raised largely by parents that insisted that video games were bad for us. Specifically, at least in my household, there was great concern that these games would shorten attention spans and cause us to get ADHD in the first place.

      • Okinawa Residents Warned of Chlorine Gas Exposure After Fire Erupts at US Military Hazmat Facility

        Locals have long protested U.S. military presence in Okinawa.

      • Greta Thunberg Says Covid-19 Should Be Global Wake-Up Call to 'Act With Necessary Force' to Tackle Climate Emergency

        In a new radio program, the Swedish teenager details and reflects on her travels around the world the past year as a youth climate leader.

      • Child Care in the Time of COVID-19

        Child care in the time of coronavirus is one of the most challenging financial and logistical hurdles facing families. But while it’s certainly much more difficult now with many child care facilities closed, it’s far from a new problem.

      • A Hospital Was Accused of Racially Profiling Native American Women. Staff Said Administrators Impeded an Investigation.

        Federal regulators are ramping up scrutiny of a prominent women’s hospital here after clinicians’ allegations that Native Americans had been racially profiled for extra COVID-19 screening, leading to the temporary separation of some mothers from their newborns.

        The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will refer findings from state investigators about a violation of patient rights at Lovelace Women’s Hospital to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights, state officials said. The state Department of Health declined to specify details of the violations it had found.

      • Covering a Pandemic, Election-Style

        For months now, public health experts have been hammering home a crucial strategy for managing the Covid-19 pandemic: testing, tracing and isolating. Without widespread testing, you don’t know where the virus is or how quickly it is spreading, and you certainly can’t limit its spread except with the bluntest of tools—like complete shutdown.

      • White House Defies Public Health Orders and Ends COVID Screening for Visitors

        Even though half a dozen of President Donald Trump’s campaign staffers tested positive for coronavirus while setting up for his campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last weekend, the White House began ending its mandatory screening process for every visitor who entered the grounds.

      • How to Destroy a National Health Service

        In its original iteration, the government transferred ownership of all existing hospitals in Britain to the NHS, which then employed staff, using taxpayer money, to deliver services without charging out-of-pocket fees. Some charges were implemented soon after its founding, including fees for dentures and glasses, as well as prescription payments brought in by Winston Churchill. Although many conservatives, including Churchill, opposed the idea of a fully public service, the story of the private sector’s incursion into Britain’s health service started on Margaret Thatcher’s watch.

        “The privatization of the NHS began in the 1980s,” says Professor Allyson Pollock, author of NHS plc: the Privatisation of Our Health Care, “and it’s been an incremental process over several decades where there’s been an ideological commitment to the private sector despite great opposition from the public.”

      • End of lockdown, Memorial Day add up to increase in coronavirus cases, experts say

        The spike in coronavirus cases in Florida, Arizona, Oregon and other Southern and Western states can be traced back to around Memorial Day, when officials began loosening their lockdowns, health experts said Monday.

        And in about two weeks, hospitals in those states could find themselves struggling to find enough beds for patients, one of the nation's top public health experts warned.

      • Police are using sonic weapons against protesters that can cause permanent hearing loss

        LRADs can take on many looks, but generally resemble a box amplifier or loudspeaker. Although LRADs can be used to project human voices or recordings across long distances, they are also used to emit a so-called "deterrent tone" that is capable of resulting in permanent hearing loss or hearing damage. Such hearing damage occurs whenever human ears are exposed to any sound above 85 decibels (db), though it also depends on length of exposure. Certain LRADs are capable of creating sounds nearly twice as loud, up to 160 dB, which is louder than a jet taking off (that is between 120 and 140 db). The harm is exacerbated by the fact that, unlike whistles and other sound projection devices that send their waves in all directions, LRADs focus their sound into a cone that extends about 15 degrees in every direction from its axis.

      • At the US-Mexico border, asylum chaos and coronavirus fear

        But the situation has become a lot more precarious since the arrival of coronavirus – Mexico has recently seen a COVID-19 surge, with Mexico City forced to halt plans to reopen as both the capital and the country suffer some of the world’s highest infection and death rates.

        Back when the United States had a far larger outbreak than Mexico, the administration of US President Donald Trump put many immigration processes on hold, including the processing of asylum requests. It used the same public health concerns to justify returning anyone who crosses into the United States back to Mexico or their country of origin – a move widely criticised by public health experts and rights groups.

        As a result, US asylum cases have effectively been delayed indefinitely, and asylum seekers are now facing a growing coronavirus outbreak in Mexico, where they are being made to wait. Shelters in northern Mexico offering people refuge have been on the front lines as US deportation and expulsion policies have sent people from the United States – which was the epicentre of the pandemic – to their doorsteps.

      • How do you translate a pandemic?

        Every word matters in a public health emergency. But how do you distil essential pandemic information for a nation of 1.3 billion people who speak in thousands of different tongues?

        India has 22 official languages, and more than 19,500 languages or dialects spoken as mother tongues, according to census data. Of these, 121 languages have more than 10,000 speakers. The most widely spoken Indian languages include Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, and Telugu, though all academic scientific work takes place in English.

        With millions packed into dense urban pockets faced with water shortages and poor healthcare facilities, minimising the impact of an infectious disease was always going to be a challenge in India. Bringing accurate, accessible coronavirus information in local languages has been a crucial part of the battle.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Taiwanese defense think tank to work with Microsoft on defense technologies

          The government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR) inked a letter of intent (LOI) with Microsoft Taiwan on Monday (June 22). The collaboration will be focused on talent and academic exchanges in the form of workshops and other activities while exploring possible application fields, CNA cited Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), head of INDSR's Division of National Defense Resources and Industries, as saying.

          Su went on to say that findings from INDSR and Microsoft cooperation on various technologies can later be applied to fields such as management of defense resources, digital security, battlefield management, and military medical research.

        • Apple is switching Macs to its own processors starting later this year

          Apple will release the first Mac with Apple silicon at the end of this year, and it expects the transition to take two years. New Intel-powered Macs are still in the pipeline, so Apple isn’t moving exclusively to ARM-based Macs just yet. Still, this is a big shift for Apple to move away from Intel-based silicon in Macs.

        • Apple announces Mac mini powered by its own chips for developers

          After it confirmed that future Macs will be powered by Apple Silicon, the company also announced that developers will soon have access to a Developer Transition Kit that will take the form of a Mac mini.

          The mini will run on Apple’s A12Z chip — the same one found in the 2020 iPad Pro — and includes 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. It will come preloaded with a beta versions of macOS Big Sur and Xcode to help developers ready their apps for consumer Macs when they launch starting later this year. The DTK also has “a variety of Mac I/O ports.”

        • Apple drops Intel: Transition to ARM processors in Macs will start later in 2020

          Apple made the announcement on Monday, as an unofficial “one more thing” at the end of the opening keynote of the company's Worldwide Developer Conference (taking place virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic). The custom silicon will be supported by the next iteration of Apple’s MacOS, code-named “Big Sur.”

          Apple CEO Tim Cook described the transition as a “game-changer” for Apple, similar to the company's prior transition away from the PowerPC to Intel’s own Core processors. The transition to ARM-based Macs from the older Intel-based Macs will take place over a period of about two years, Cook said, adding that Apple still has new Intel-based Macs in the pipeline.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Enabling Linux in Safety Applications Project Adds Multiple Working Groups, Members

                The Linux Foundation’s open-source Enabling Linux in Safety Applications (ELISA) project has established several working groups, including a Kernel Development Process group, Safety Architecture group, and Automotive and Medical Devices groups.

                ELISA was formed in 2019 with the goal of developing tools and processes that assists companies in building and certifying safety-critical software using Linux. The new working groups will build from progress in the SIL2LinuxMP and Real-Time Linux projects to help bridge gaps between the safety standards and Linux development ecosystems.

              • Linux Foundation June 2020 Newsletter
              • Cloud Native Computing Foundation Announces Hewlett Packard Enterprise as Gold Member

                The Cloud Native Computing Foundation€® (CNCF€®), which builds sustainable ecosystems for cloud native software, today announced that Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has upgraded its membership from silver to gold.

                HPE is committed to helping enterprises modernize their applications across hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, and edge environments, having been a CNCF member since 2017 and a Linux Foundation member since 2000.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (lynis, mutt, neomutt, ngircd, and rails), Mageia (gnutls), Oracle (thunderbird), Red Hat (chromium-browser, gnutls, grafana, thunderbird, and unbound), Scientific Linux (thunderbird and unbound), and SUSE (bind, java-1_8_0-openjdk, kernel, libgxps, and osc).

          • OmniOS Updates Bring Microcode Mitigation For CrossTalk/SRBDS

            New OmniOS Community Edition releases for this open-source Solaris/Illumos-based operating system are now available that principally bring updated Intel CPU microcode for mitigating the CrossTalk / SRBDS vulnerability.

            The updated OmniOS CE build ships with the latest CPU microcode given the recent security disclosure on Special Register Buffer Data Sampling (SRBDS) plus just a few other minor changes. The main headliner is just mitigating against this latest Intel CPU vulnerability that we extensively covered earlier this month. Most Linux distributions are already shipping the updated CPU microcode as well as the patched version of the Linux kernel that allows disabling of the mitigation if desired as well as for sysfs reporting of the mitigation state. In the case of the OmniOS support, it appears to just be the mitigated microcode without any reporting/configurable extras.

          • Exploiting Bitdefender Antivirus: RCE from any website

            My tour through vulnerabilities in antivirus applications continues with Bitdefender. One thing shouldn’t go unmentioned: security-wise Bitdefender Antivirus is one of the best antivirus products I’ve seen so far, at least in the areas that I looked at. The browser extensions minimize attack surface, the crypto is sane and the Safepay web browser is only suggested for online banking where its use really makes sense. Also very unusual: despite jQuery being used occasionally, the developers are aware of Cross-Site Scripting vulnerabilities and I only found one non-exploitable issue. And did I mention that reporting a vulnerability to them was a straightforward process, with immediate feedback and without any terms to be signed up front? So clearly security isn’t an afterthought which is sadly different for way too many competing products.

          • On Contact Tracing and Hardware Tokens

            Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, I was tapped by the European Commission to develop a privacy-protecting contact tracing token, which you can read more about at the Simmel project home page. And very recently, Singapore has announced the deployment of a TraceTogether token. As part of their launch, I was invited to participate in a review of their solution. The urgency of COVID-19 and the essential challenges of building supply chains means we are now in the position of bolting wheels on a plane as it rolls down the runway. As with many issues involving privacy and technology, this is a complicated and nuanced situation that cannot be easily digested into a series of tweets. Thus, over the coming weeks I hope to offer you my insights in the form of short essays, which I will post here.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • One Of The World's Largest Web Tracking Companies Leaks Tons Of Personal Info From An Unsecured Server

              Advertisers want to know everything about you. So do sites that buy ad inventory and allow middlemen to let their trackers run free, tracing people from site to site, following them into their email inboxes, and tracking them across platforms and devices if need be.

            • So Much For Going Dark: FBI Using Social Media, E-Commerce Sites To Track Down Suspects (Including Non-Lawbreakers)

              You know the drill, right? The FBI keeps insisting that it has a "going dark" problem due to encryption making it impossible to access key evidence of supposedly criminal behavior, in theory allowing crime to happen without recourse. The problem, though, is that nearly every single bit of this claim is false. It's kind of stunning. It appears that, in practice, the FBI almost never runs into encryption. In the rare cases where it has (and we don't know how many because since the FBI admitted it over exaggerated how many "locked" devices it had, and then has since refused to provide an updated count), there do appear to be ways to get into those devices anyway. But the key issue, by far, is that the opposite of going dark is happening. Thanks to our increasingly electronic lives, the government actually has way more access to information than ever before. Two recent articles highlight this in practice, with regards to the FBI trying to track down the rare cases of criminal activity happening around some of the protests. The local ABC affiliate in Philadelphia has the fairly remarkable story of how the FBI used Etsy, Poshmark and Linkedin to track down someone suspected of torching two Philadelphia police cars. How would those sites be useful? Well:

            • Big Tech Is Using the Pandemic to Push Dangerous New Forms of Surveillance

              For more than two decades, the ankle shackle has remained the standard electronic monitoring (EM) device. While cellphones, tablets, smartwatches and laptop computers evolved, the black plastic band remained — bulging out under socks and scraping the skin off criminalized legs. Even at this stage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, many of these devices require a landline phone to function. They retain ancestral ties to the analog age.

            • Apple’s Response to HEY Showcases What’s Most Broken About the Apple App Store

              Basecamp’s new paid email service, HEY, has been making headlines recently in a very public fight with Apple over their App Store terms of service.€ 

              Just as the service was launching, the HEY developers found the new release of the app—which included important security fixes—was held up over a purported violation of the App Store rules. Specifically, Developer Rule 3.1.1, which states that “If you want to unlock features or functionality within your app, (by way of example: subscriptions, in-game currencies, game levels, access to premium content, or unlocking a full version), you must use in-app purchase.” Apple alleged that HEY had violated this rule by pushing users to pay for its email service outside of the crystal prison of the App Store.

            • Billions of internet activity records tracked by Oracle's BlueKai leaked online

              BlueKai, a company bought by Oracle in 2014, has leaked. The database of internet activity records was left on the open web in an unsecured server. The leaked data was discovered by Anurag Sen, who went through the disclosure process with the help of a cybersecurity firm called Hudson Rock. Thus far, Oracle has not officially announced the leak and didn’t indicate whether they informed the people that may have had their information breached. Additionally, they declined to indicate to TechCrunch whether or not they even reported the data leak to authorities, as law dictates.

            • The Trump 2020 app is a voter surveillance tool of extraordinary power

              If you want to understand what the Trump and Biden apps are really for, compare the permissions requested in the Google Play Store. Besides some basic network and notification permissions, the Team Joe Campaign App may ask for access to your contacts. The Official Trump 2020 App has a much longer list of access requests. It wants to read your contacts and know your precise and approximate location (GPS and network based). It requests the ability to read your phone status and identity (a vague permission that sometimes gives access to unique device numbers), pair with Bluetooth devices (such as geolocation beacons), and perhaps read, write, or delete from SD cards in the device.


              The use of Bluetooth is especially notable because it can capture data and target people with political messages as they travel through a physical space. This practice has jumped to politics from the advertising industry. In one recent example, Bluetooth beacons (the radio transmitters used to track cell-phone users via Bluetooth signals) were found in campaign yard signs. In another, people were surveilled using these practices when they went to church. Our team has been exploring how this phenomenon—which we term geo-propaganda—has increased.

            • Big Tech juggles ethical pledges on facial recognition with corporate interests

              Over the course of four days last week, three of America's largest technology companies — IBM, Amazon and Microsoft — announced sweeping restrictions on their sale of facial recognition tools and called for federal regulation amid protests across the United States against police violence and racial profiling.

              In terms of headlines, it was a symbolic shift for the industry. Researchers and civil liberties groups who have been calling for strict controls or outright bans on the technology for years are celebrating, although cautiously.

              They doubt, however, that much has changed. The careful wording of the public pledges leaves plenty of room for oppressive uses of the technology, which exacerbate human biases and infringe on people's constitutional freedoms, critics say.

            • Google Employees Ask CEO to End Company’s Work With Police

              More than 1,600 Google employees demanded Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai end the sale of the company’s technology to law enforcement, in a move they say would provide action to buttress statements against police brutality.

              The workers, in a signed letter to Pichai, cite a software contract with a police department in suburban New York and some of Google’s investments as conflicting with the Alphabet Inc. company’s opposition to racism and police misconduct. Last week, Pichai announced that the company is creating a $175 million package for Black businesses and job seekers in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the anti-racism protests that followed.

            • Europe Wants Your Medical Data In Its Fight for an Edge in AI

              In a country noted for its strict approach to data protection, these efforts have gained the attention of regulators. On Friday, France’s top court raised these concerns when it cited the privacy watchdog’s caution on Microsoft Corp., which is hosting the hub project, to hand over details on what data is migrating to the U.S. and whether it can assure confidentiality.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Israel leverages dubious ‘Nuclear Archives’ to re-enlist IAEA in campaign against Iran

        The International Atomic Energy Agency has once again lent itself to the political interests of the United States and Israel, provoking a needless conflict with Iran

      • Trading One Uniform for Another: Can Police Be “De-Militarized” When So Many Cops Are Military Veterans?

        Calls for de-militarization of law enforcement have gained new momentum in the wake of nationwide protests against police brutality. That process won’t be easy in a nation where nearly one fifth of all cops are military veterans — including Derek Chauvin, George Floyd’s killer in Minneapolis and Robert€ McCabe, one of two officers charged with felony assault for knocking down a 75-year-old protester in Buffalo.

      • The US And Anti-Colonial Resistance In Angola: Interview With Prexy Nesbitt And Marissa Moorman

        For this week’s “Unauthorized Disclosure” weekly podcast, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola present a conversation that was recorded several months ago on Angola history: Portuguese colonialism, Black anti-colonial resistance, United States imperialism, and the way in which this history reverberates during President Donald Trump’s administration.

        The conversation features Prexy Nesbitt, who is a presidential fellow at the Peace Studies Department at Chapman University in Orange County, California where he teaches Southern African History, and Marissa Moorman, who is the author of the book, Powerful Frequencies: Radio, State Power, and the Cold War in Angola, 1931-2002.

      • Nigeria at risk of 'Rwandan-style genocide' as 60k killed by Boko Haram and ISIS in decade

        The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law states that more than 60,000 killings have taken place since 2010, with Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP) terrorising communities. It cites research by the International Committee on Nigeria (Icon), claiming that Boko Haram has killed 43,242 Nigerians since 2010. In addition, extremists among the nomadic Fulani population are reported to have killed 17,284 further Nigerians in the same time period.

        The group warns: “From the way things are speedily unfolding, the country is likely to be thrown into the Rwandan style genocide and other forms of mass bloodletting.”

      • US Islamic scholar calls on followers to rise up against 'tyrant' America

        An American Shi'ite Islamic scholar has called on the followers of Imam Khomeini, the leader of Iran's Islamic Revolution, to follow Khomeini's example in liberating the globe from America's tyranny.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Google to start including fact-checks on images

        Google will start including fact checks on images on its platform, building on the fact-checking already implemented on the search engine’s "search" and "news" features, the company announced Monday.

        When users search on Google Images they may start seeing a “fact check” label under the thumbnail in image results, it said in the announcement.

        Users will see a summary of the fact check on the underlying web page when they click to see results of the image in a larger format.

      • Inside "Blue Leaks," a trove of hacked police documents released by Anonymous

        Security journalist Brian Krebs reported that a document he obtained from the National Fusion Center Association (NFCA), which represents the country's fusion centers, confirms the leak.

      • ‘BlueLeaks’ Exposes Files from Hundreds of Police Departments

        Hundreds of thousands of potentially sensitive files from police departments across the United States were leaked online last week. The collection, dubbed “BlueLeaks” and made searchable online, stems from a security breach at a Texas web design and hosting company that maintains a number of state law enforcement data-sharing portals.

        The collection — nearly 270 gigabytes in total — is the latest release from Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets), an alternative to Wikileaks that publishes caches of previously secret data.

    • Environment

      • Arctic Hits Hottest Temperature on Record at 100.4 Degrees Fahrenheit

        A small Siberian town north of the Arctic Circle reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, a figure that — if verified — would be the highest temperature reading in the region since record-keeping began in 1885.

      • Scientists’ warning on affluence

        A number of concrete policy proposals for governance can be extracted from the literature (see also Cosme et al.76). All of these will need further scrutiny and research on their feasibility and implementation:

        First, replace GDP as a measure of prosperity with a multitude of alternative indicators and be agnostic to growth. Expect likely shrinking of GDP if sufficient environmental policies are enacted. Research needs to advise on how best to monitor and report progress towards human and planetary wellbeing.

        Second, empower people and strengthen participation in democratic processes and enable stronger local self-governance. Design governance and institutions to allow for social experiments, engagement and innovation. This could be trialled and organised e.g. through citizen assemblies or juries, as is demanded by Extinction Rebellion and already practised e.g. by Transition Initiatives or the Catalan Integral Cooperative92.

        Third, strengthen equality and redistribution through suitable taxation policies, basic income and job guarantees and by setting maximum income levels, expanding public services and rolling back neoliberal reforms (e.g. as part of a Green New Deal79). Stronger regulation might be needed to ban certain products or ecologically destructive industries that have thrived on a legacy of vested interests, lobbying and state-supported subsidies.

        Fourth, the transformation of economic systems can be supported with innovative business models that encourage sharing and giving economies, based on cooperation, communities and localised economies instead of competition. Research is needed to create, assess and revise suitable policy instruments.

        And finally, capacity building, knowledge transfer and education—including media and advertising—need to be adapted to support local sufficiency projects and citizen initiatives.

      • Sport’s carbon footprint is global bad news

        The result of sport’s carbon footprint is worldwide damage. And global heating is itself penalising players and fans alike.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Everyday Poverty Crises

        Most people would agree that the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 brought many hardships that qualified as a crisis of epic proportion, the worst since the Spanish Flu in 1918. But most Americans overlook how ordinary these hardships are for millions of their poor neighbors. People suffered world-wide. Covid-19 affected many Americans in numerous ways. After all, most Americans were worried about getting deathly ill, not having access to medical care, losing their jobs, not having any sick leave to cover long term expenses, having very little money, and even getting evicted from homes. Moreover, government officials, including the President of the United States—eventually—agreed that it was a national emergency. It was called many things in non-stop news coverage and social media: Crisis, War, Disaster, Hell on Earth, and more. Businesses and most public spaces and gatherings were ordered to be closed until conditions improved. Collegiate and professional sports seasons were cancelled and indefinitely postponed. National Guard troops were patrolling New Rochelle, NY , which had been designated a containment zone, in order to remind residents to stay inside to avoid danger and spreading the virus. Few people objected to these measures because they had been recommended by numerous scientific experts and government officials.

      • 'Poverty Is a Policy Choice': Studies Detail How Poorest Saved by Covid-19 Stimulus—and Why More Is Needed

        "When you look at the size of the government response, it makes sense."

      • Tax the Rich and Divert Billions From NYPD Budget to Fund Public Hospitals, Says Nurses Union

        "The working class and the middle class and the poor are getting shafted."

      • Meet BlackRock, the New Great Vampire Squid

        No private, unelected entity should have the power over the economy that BlackRock has, without a legally enforceable fiduciary duty to wield it in the public interest.

      • Austerity Measures Have No Place in Next Coronavirus Relief Bill

        As Congress considers another much-needed coronavirus relief bill, a group of lawmakers is attempting to inject proposals that could permanently tear our social safety net. Sixty members of the U.S. House — almost evenly split between the two parties — sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanding that two austerity mechanisms be wedged into any new relief legislation. They are the TRUST Act and Debt-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio budget targets. Both would likely result in deep cuts to social insurance programs under the guise of “fiscal responsibility.”

      • Senators Find Unspent $14 Billion After Trump Admits to Slowing COVID Testing

        Following President Donald Trump’s admission during a campaign rally in Oklahoma over the weekend that he ordered administration officials to “slow the testing down” in response to the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, two leading Democratic senators on Sunday slammed the Health and Human Services Department for failing to spend $14 billion in funds Congress approved in April to expand coronavirus testing and tracing.

      • Bangladesh’s Garment Workers Are Being Treated as Disposable

        The Nation and Magnum Foundation are partnering on a visual chronicle of untold stories as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States and the rest of the world—read more from The Invisible Front Line.—The Editors

      • We know more about fraud and abuse in aid. It’s time to stop it.

        Six years ago, I was sitting in an austere courtroom in London’s famous Old Bailey. It was a blustery March day, and I’d been the head of counter-fraud at Oxfam GB for less than two years. In the box, my predecessor was pleading guilty – to fraud.

        Edward McKenzie-Green had been investigating misconduct in Haiti when he had seized the opportunity to steal around €£64,000 in a fake invoice scam. As I listened, I remember thinking: “How many more cases like this will hit the headlines before we see change in the sector?”

        As allegations of large-scale, organised fraud and corruption arise in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I suspect others are thinking the same.


        And it also means changing the way we think about risk management. Too many of us think of it as about hazard avoidance, as a distraction from programming, and come at it with a nay-sayer attitude. Actually, it is as an enabling tool that helps us to seize humanitarian opportunities, rather than thwart them. After all, if an organisation is really good at managing risks, it should feel more comfortable in taking them.

        Modern aid work is technical and complex and needs to be resourced accordingly. We recognise the dangers of running hospitals and airports on shoestring budgets – what prevents us from recognising these dangers for aid? Too many of us accept programme under-management in a volatile, complicated country context. Instead, we should proportionately invest in equipping managers and teams.

      • How plunging remittances are threatening lives in Venezuela

        Arguably, Nelson Diaz has worked to support his mother since he was just two years old. When his father was killed in a car accident in Maracaibo, a city in northwestern Venezuela, he took to the streets with his five older brothers, selling empanadas to help pay the bills.

        Today, his tight-knit family is spread over thousands of miles: from Canada to Chile. He and his brothers are six of the five million Venezuelans who have fled the humanitarian crisis in their home country.

        Now, 25 years after her husband’s death, Diaz’s mother, Elizabeth Otero – still living near Maracaibo – relies on her son more than ever.

        Otero hasn’t held a steady job in 10 years. As a result, hers is one of the estimated two million Venezuelan households – some 35 percent of all homes in the country – that rely on payments from family members abroad.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • 115+ Groups Urge Biden (and Trump) to Support 'Fair and Just Foreign Policy Regarding Israel and Palestinian Rights'

        "Palestinians have been campaigning for over 70 years for their basic rights and freedoms. It is far past time for the U.S. to stop carrying water for the Israeli government and instead support justice and equality for all people."

      • ‘The president is happy with the system in place’ The Kremlin explains why Putin welcomes a state that malfunctions when he can’t run for re-election

        In an interview aired on Sunday, June 21, Vladimir Putin said openly for the first time that he would consider running for a fifth presidential term, if Russians vote in an upcoming plebiscite to accept constitutional amendments that will allow him an additional two terms in office. The long-time president warned that stepping down in 2024 would disrupt the “normal rhythm” of government work as early as 2022, as state officials at various levels would begin searching “with wandering eyes” for potential successors. “We need to be working, not searching for successors,” Putin said. The next day, journalists grilled Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov about the president’s comments.

      • Trump’s Reelection Playbook: Racist Tropes & Downplaying COVID Pandemic by Slowing Down Testing

        As the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 nears 120,000 and mass protests against police brutality and racism continue, President Trump faces condemnation for his remarks at his poorly attended campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when he repeated racist terms like “kung flu” and lashed out at protesters. “You just see this tremendous impulse to divide,” says Emily Bazelon, staff writer at The New York Times Magazine. “This is what has worked for Trump in the past. He is not going to change now.”

      • An Illustrated History of Government Agencies Twisting the Truth to Align With White House Misinformation

        It has become a familiar pattern: President Donald Trump says something that doesn’t line up with the facts held by scientists and other experts at government agencies. Then, instead of pushing back, federal officials scramble to reconcile the fiction with their own public statements.

        It happened in March, when Trump pushed his opinion that antimalarial drugs could treat COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an unusual directive that lent credence to the president’s perspective: “Although optimal dosing and duration of hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 are unknown, some U.S. clinicians have reported anecdotally” on specific dosages that the CDC then lists. The CDC’s language — which the agency later retracted — shocked experts, who said the drug needed to be treated with caution. The CDC told Reuters the agency had prepared the guidance at the behest of the White House.

      • A Tale of Two Speeches

        “The silent majority is stronger than ever before,” Donald Trump declared in his Tulsa rally, his bravado mocked by a crowd that filled only one-third of the arena for what was advertised as kick-starting his 2020 campaign. On the same day, the Rev. William Barber II, keynoting the digital March on Washington of the Poor People’s Campaign, proclaimed, “It is time for transformation, reconstruction, and revival in America.” The contrast between the two addresses lays bare the struggle now underway for the country’s future.

      • Trump Spreads Baseless Claims About Foreign Powers Counterfeiting Ballots

        President Donald Trump is continuing to push back against the idea of expanding mail-in voting for the upcoming 2020 elections, baselessly arguing that the practice is rife with fraud.

      • We See Your Mike Pence, And Raise You A Vladimir Putin: A Russian Leader's Take On How The Soviets Beat The Nazis, With Caveats

        EDITOR’S NOTE: Late yesterday afternoon, New Matilda received an email from the Russian Embassy in Canberra. Would we like to publish an essay by one of their citizens, a ‘Mr Vladimir Putin’? The piece had already been published overseas (here), by conservative American magazine National Interest, but not in Australia.

      • Public Enemy has dropped a new track called ‘State of the Union’ in which the rap duo rails against Trump.

        “Our collective voices keep getting louder. The rest of the planet is on our side,” Chuck D declared. “It’s not enough to talk about change. You have to show up and demand change. Folks gotta vote like their lives depend on it, ’cause it does.”

        Chuck D has been an outspoken opponent of Trump’s policies. He previously called him “King Devil” and “the epitome of a white supremacist.” Chuck D says Trump himself is a “weapon of mass distraction” that Republicans use to push racist policies.

      • Trump Campaign, Under Siege From Activists, Is Losing the Social Media War

        Despite this denial of the movements' impacts, the actions do indicate sections of social media prepared to work against the president and his re-election efforts.

      • Won’t support evildoers: Snapchat won’t recommend Trump anymore to users

        The youth-focused social network said it would no longer promote Trump on its Discover platform for recommended content.

        “We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover,” a statement from Snapchat said.

      • In the news: Mass protests add pressure on Mali president

        Tens of thousands of Malians took to the streets of Bamako on Friday to call for the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, whose government is accused of corruption and failing to stem rising violence in northern and central parts of the country.

        Police fired tear gas at attendees, who are protesting for the second time this month in a campaign organised by a coalition of opposition and civil society groups that includes the influential cleric, Mahmoud Dicko.

        As pressure mounts on Keita, known as IBK, a delegation of regional leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has called for the creation of a national unity government.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Telegram founder says anti-censorship tech that defeated Russian authorities should be used against Iran and China

        Pavel Durov, the founder of the instant messenger Telegram, is calling on proxy-server administrators that supported his platform’s successful circumvention of censorship in Russia to focus their efforts now on Iran and China, where the service is still blocked.

      • Pussy Riot member detained in Russia extremism probe: reports

        Kremlin critic Pyotr Verzilov, a prominent member of the Pussy Riot protest group, is being held by the Russian police anti-extremism division, state news agency Tass reported Sunday.

        A source quoted by Russia's Interfax news agency said Verzilov was brought before investigators to testify in a criminal case concerning extremist content posted on social networks.

      • Careful what you hum in Hong Kong schools

        The poison which our Secretary for Education is eagerly importing on our behalf is the Communist Party of China’s fear of any focus of loyalty other than itself: church, city, club, family, ideal. It doesn’t matter. The CCP, like the Old Testament God, is a jealous God who requires that you should have no other Gods.

        Even an extravagant affection for your home is a deviation from the required passion for Pooh.

      • Clashes in Norway as Anti-Muslim Demonstration Pelted With Eggs, Tomatoes – Photo, Video

        However, while the police tweeted that they was present to “protect freedom of expression, and ensure that peace, order and security are maintained”, Thorsen was pelted with tomatoes, eggs and empty bottles.

      • Jerusalem Post website hijacked by Islamist [cr]ackers

        The [cr]ackers, who identified themselves simply as “Turkish & Muslim [Cr]ackers”, replaced the site’s content with a single page featuring the star and crescent of the Turkish flag, alongside verses from the Quran and Islamist propaganda.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Wuhan Citizen Journalist Formally Arrested, Held in Shanghai Detention Center

        Zhu said Zhang's mother had received a notification of her daughter's arrest, but was too frightened to talk to journalists following heavy pressure from state security police, and hadn't publicized the arrest details.

      • Journalists in Hong Kong fear for personal safety as China pushes national security law through

        A new survey conducted by the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) and released June 19 showed that an overwhelming majority of journalists in Hong Kong worry about their personal safety if the new national security law is enacted. The legislation, approved by the National People’s Congress in Beijing, would criminalize any act of secession, subversion, terrorism, foreign intervention, and allows Chinese security forces to operate in the city.

      • Hamas attacks 85-year-old woman, journalists who covered the incident: Reports

        Videos circulating online showed members of Hamas beating the woman. Hamas subsequently arrested two journalists, Mahmoud al-Loah and Tawfeeq Abu Jarad for publishing the video of the attack.

      • State Department mutes reporter on briefing call for asking about Bolton book

        The State Department held the press briefing to discuss its latest decision, which designated four more Chinese state-backed media outlets as “foreign missions,” requiring them to report their numbers of personnel, certain identifying information and where they hold real estate in the U.S.

        Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell told reporters that “the U.S. system guarantees press freedom while China subordinates the press to the Communist Party,” in announcing the actions.

        Bloomberg reporter Nick Whadhams followed up asking how the U.S. can send a message on press freedom while cutting off reporters asking questions.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • What Lies Ahead: Tulsa 1921 or Somewhere We Haven’t Built Yet?

        Every Juneteenth has me thinking about life and the unknown and the experience of those who lived two and a half years enslaved, denied the news that the Civil War was over and the North had won.

      • Canada's UN Security Council Loss Shows Its Foreign Policy Weaknesses and Might Embolden a Reform Movement

        India, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, and Kenya after a second round, won the June 17 elections at the 74th United Nations Assembly for five non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council for a two-year term starting on January 1, 2021.

      • Protesting for Black Lives in Trump Country

        I grew up biracial in a small, conservative town. Still, after living for years in Austin, moving back to one was a culture shock — it felt like going back in time.

      • Russian anti-corruption campaigner detained and drafted into army

        Artyom Ionov — an employee of Alexey Navalny’s Anti-corruption Foundation (FBK) — has been detained and drafted into military service, reports FBK director Ivan Zhdanov.

      • Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s Only Black Driver, Is Threatened With a Noose

        Earlier this month, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, the only full-time black driver on the stock car racing circuit, shocked the world. Not by winning a race but by winning an argument: the argument that the ubiquitous Confederate flag, so present at NASCAR events, so central to the branding of the sport for decades, should be banned from all racing premises. Even more amazingly, he garnered the near-universal agreement of his fellow racers that the time to take the Confederate flag out of the sport had long come to pass.

      • The World Is Finally Catching Up to Spike Lee

        Spike Lee is enjoying a moment, a resurgence of interest in his work he’s achieved by the simple feat of being ahead of the world by a few decades. Last year he won his first competitive Academy Award, Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman. His new movie, Da 5 Bloods, a thriller about Vietnam War vets who return to their old battlefield searching for buried gold, is being showered with rave reviews after being released on Netflix, where it has been one of the most watched movies on the streaming service since premiering on June 12.

      • Trump Fires Top U.S. Prosecutor as William Barr Moves to Expand “Imperial Presidency”

        After a dramatic weekend showdown, the Trump administration has ousted Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan who led multiple prosecutions and investigations into allies of the president. We look at the extraordinary measures U.S. Attorney General William Barr took to protect Trump, with New York Times Magazine writer Emily Bazelon, who has profiled Barr. “He believes in a very strong executive presidency, a kind of imperial presidency in which a huge amount of power resides in the president,” she says of the attorney general.

      • Go Ahead and Destroy That Racist Statue (and Then the System Too)

        On June 9, after a week and a half of large, daily Black Lives Matter protests in New York City that began as part of a national uprising in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he was taking action: He would name a street in each of the five boroughs after Black Lives Matter and paint the name of the movement on those roads. The decision came days after Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser received widespread attention for turning a section of 16th Street NW across from the White House into Black Lives Matter Plaza, with the phrase painted in 50-foot yellow letters on the pavement. Meanwhile, a short way down the National Mall, Democratic members of Congress, most of them white, showed up at the Capitol on June 8 wearing kente stoles. They knelt for eight minutes and 46 seconds—the same amount of time that Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck—before entering their chambers to introduce the Justice in Policing Act of 2020.

      • “Soul Searching” Will Not Stop the Police Murders of Black People

        As police relentlessly murder Black people across the United States — and a multiracial movement led by young Black people surges in the streets to stop them — many elected officials strike a somber and philosophical tone. Reflecting on the killing of George Floyd, Joe Biden remarked on May 29 that, “The pain is too immense for one community to bear alone. I believe it’s the duty of every American to grapple with it and grapple with it now.… The very soul of America is at stake.”

      • Police Memo Says Officers Raiding A Journalist's Home Were Instructed To Turn Off Their Body Cameras

        No one involved in the search of journalist Bryan Carmody's house last May is innocent. Every new piece of information shows the San Francisco police officers -- as well as any supervisors signing off on their paperwork -- knew raiding a journalist's home to find the source of a leaked autopsy report was going to treat the First Amendment and the state's journalist shield law as a doormat.

      • Do Black Lives Matter in Iowa?

        Iowa City. A few nights ago, Mayor Bruce Teague unexpectedly hosted dozens of visitors at his house in a residential area not far from the University of Iowa’s football stadium.

      • As Bill Barr Flails, Trump Is Losing His Roy Cohn

        Early in 2018, as Robert Mueller’s investigation intensified, a pitiful, angry Donald Trump cried out in desperation: “Where’s my Roy Cohn?” He longed for a legal fixer as shrewd and amoral as the late Cohn, a Joe McCarthy enforcer who was one of Trump’s political and ethical mentors, The New York Times reported. Desperate to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the right-wing toady who mostly did Trump’s bidding but recused himself (correctly) from the investigation of Russian election interference, the cornered president couldn’t afford to jettison another law enforcement official, his political advisers said.

      • When the KKK Played Against an All-Black Baseball Team

        On Sunday, June 21, 1925, on Ackerman Island, in the part of the Arkansas River that flows through Wichita, Kan., the unlikeliest of baseball games was played. On that day—two decades before the color barrier was broken in Major League Baseball, three decades before Brown v. Board of Education desegregated public schools, and nearly a hundred years before a Minneapolis police officer pinned his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes—the Ku Klux Klan swapped their white robes for baseball uniforms, took the field at Island Park Stadium, and squared off against the all-black Monrovians.

      • BLM
      • A Military Spouse’s Perspective on Racism and Armed Violence in the United States

        The war zone is America.

      • Live From Tulsa: Trump Is a Hideous Lying Pathetic Clown

        If Trump was a stand-up comic instead of President, this trivial, self-pitying story might become known as one of the best, long, stand-up comic routines of the year.

      • A Huge Victory in the Fight for Equality

        This moment in our nation’s history is marked by pain and uprising.

      • “Robert E. Lee Was a Brutal Slave Master”: Activist’s Call to Rename Louisiana School Goes Viral

        We play a video that has now gone viral from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where community activist Gary Chambers Jr. calls out members of the Lee High School school board for their racism during a June 18 meeting to discuss a resolution to rename the school, which is named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Chambers urged members to choose a name in honor of people who fought slavery and racism, not someone who defended it, and addressed board member Connie Bernard, who had defended Robert E. Lee and was seen shopping on her computer during the meeting.

      • Five Black & Brown Men Have Been Recently Found Hanged in Public. Were Some of Them Lynched?

        As mass protests against racism and police brutality continue, at least five men — four Black and one Latinx — have been found hanging in public across the U.S. in recent weeks. We speak with Jacqueline Olive, director of “Always in Season,” a documentary that examines the history of lynchings through the story of Lennon Lacy, an African American teenager who was found hanged from a swing set in 2014. “They deserve a full investigation,” Olive says of the recent hangings, “and given the context of this history … that we look at them more than three days, and then that they are looked at as a whole.”

      • Petersburg court sentences to ‘Network’ terrorism case suspects to a combined 12.5 years in prison

        A military court in St. Petersburg has sentenced two suspects in the so-called “Network” case to a combined 12.5 years in prison. Twenty-five-year-old computer programmer Viktor Filinkov and 28-year-old alpinist Yulii Boyarshinkov will go to prison for seven and five and a half years, respectively, for their supposed roles in organizing an alleged terrorist group among leftist activists in Penza and St. Petersburg. (Boyarshinkov was also convicted of illegal possession of explosives.)

      • Take everyone who shouts ‘Freedom!’ St. Petersburg ‘Network’ terrorism case verdicts spark protests and dozens of arrests

        On June 22, a military court in St. Petersburg sentenced two suspects in the high-profile “Network” (“Set”) terrorism case to a combined total of 12.5 years in prison, for their roles in organizing an alleged terrorist group among left-wing activists in Penza and St. Petersburg. Twenty-five-year-old computer programmer Viktor Filinkov was sentenced to seven years in prison, while 28-year-old alpinist Yulii Boyarshinov — who was also convicted of illegal possession of explosives — was sentenced to five and a half years. After the verdicts were announced, law enforcement began arresting activists protesting in support of the accused outside the courtroom en masse. Meduza recounts how the verdicts in the “Network” case sparked the first group protest in St. Petersburg since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.€ 

      • California Coalition Calls for Moratorium on State Gang Database

        EFF has joined a coalition of civil rights, immigration, and criminal justice reform organizations to demand the California Department of Justice (CADOJ) place an immediate moratorium on the use of the state’s gang database, also known as CalGang.€ 

        For years, EFF has stood beside many of these organizations to advocate for reforms to the CalGang system, which has tarnished the records of countless Californians—largely Black and Latinx—by connecting them to gangs based on the thinnest of evidence. Indeed, sometimes the information has been falsified, as was revealed to be the case with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) earlier this year. In previous legislative sessions, we supported multiple pieces of legislation by Assemblymember Shirley Weber to overhaul CalGang. However, the CADOJ has missed many of the deadlines created by these statutes, so it’s clear that simply hoping for reform isn’t enough. Just as LAPD suspended its use of gang databases this month, use of CalGang must come to a dead stop until, at minimum, CADOJ fully implements reforms required by existing legislation. EFF also supports the abolition of CalGang altogether.€ 

      • Aboriginals Sue Western Australia State For Cultural Losses

        Two compensation claims filed on behalf of the Tjiwarl people address actions by miners, farmers, and others like the building of fences and roads that had restricted their access to sacred heritage sites and hunting and fishing grounds, impeding their ability to pass down cultural knowledge to young people.

      • How conspiracy theories about the NYPD Shake Shack ‘poisoning’ blew up

        The three cops at the center of the NYPD milkshake “poisoning” scandal never even got sick, and there wasn’t the slightest whiff of criminality from the get-go — but that didn’t stop gung-ho brass from rolling out the crime scene tape and unions from dishing out empty conspiracy theories, The Post has learned.

        The fullest picture yet to emerge of the incident — which came amid fraught tensions between the police and public — is based on records and multiple interviews with police sources.

      • ‘It’s going to be an angry mob’: Kentucky cuts number of polling stations by 95 percent ahead of primary voting

        Reports have indicated voters throughout Kentucky received inaccurate absentee ballots — which many requested in order to vote from home rather than flocking to the polls in droves amid a Covid-19 outbreak — that do not match their party affiliations. In Kentucky, voters must be members of a party to participate in its primary elections.

        In a typical election year, Kentucky has about 3,700 polling sites, according to most reports. When Election Day arrives on 23 June, there will be just 200 polling sites across the state — with some of those sites having to serve upwards of 600,000 residents.

      • Charles Booker Is Determined to Fight Voter Suppression in Kentucky

        The insurgent campaign of Booker, a Louisville legislator who champions economic, social, and racial justice, has upended expectations that the more cautious candidacy of McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot and defeated 2018 congressional candidate who was recruited by DC insiders, would sweep the primary voting. Instead, Booker has collected endorsements from Kentucky’s largest newspapers, unions, Democratic legislators, and former statewide officials and turned what was supposed to be a sleepy contest into one of the most exciting primaries of 2020.

        But there’s a problem. Voting rights experts and Kentucky lawmakers say the state is not prepared for a high-turnout primary. “Fewer than 200 polling places will be open for voters in Kentucky’s primary Tuesday, down from 3,700 in a typical election year,” The Washington Post reported last week. “Amid a huge influx in requests for mail-in ballots, some voters still had not received theirs days before they must be turned in. And turnout is expected to be higher than in past primaries because of a suddenly competitive fight for the Democratic Senate nomination.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • AT&T Has Now Eliminated 41,000 Jobs Since Its $42 Billion Trump Tax Cut

        AT&T informed its union employees last week that the company would soon begin yet another round of layoffs, after repeatedly promising that industry deregulation and its $42 billion tax cut would result in job growth and a major network investment boom. According to the Communications Workers of America, AT&T says it's laying off 3,400 technician and clerical jobs across the country over the next few weeks. They're also shutting down over 250 AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless stores, which will eliminate another 1,300 retail jobs.

    • Monopolies

      • Companies Pull Facebook, Instagram Ads in #StopHateforProfit Boycott

        Outdoor clothing giant Patagonia announced it would pause all advertisements on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram for at least the month of July, joining a growing ad boycott led by civil rights organizations.

      • Facebook faces growing pressure from advertisers to do more to counteract hate speech

        The Stop Hate campaign has a list of demands for Facebook that include creating a separate moderation channel for people who say they’ve been a target because of their race or religion, and releasing data on the volume of hate speech on the platform and what action was taken. Most important, the coalition wants Facebook to stop generating ad revenue from misinformation and harmful content.

      • Managing IP under an Open Innovation Perspective

        The many opportunities provided by managing patents under an open innovation paradigm have so far not found the attention they deserve among the patent community. The nationalist approaches prevailing in the search for a vaccine to coronavirus provide ample support for this statement. A look at the academic literature on patents helps to understand the issue at stake. The vast majority of journal articles are written by patent lawyers for patent lawyers and prepared with the aim of helping other patent lawyers to understand more fully substantive aspects of patent law. For sure, these discussions are both interesting and exciting, but they do not help to come to grips with IP from a business perspective.

        Equally, the string of literature discussing Open Innovation is well developed, but the two do not often intersect in any meaningful way. At the rare occasions the two worlds meet, it is an encounter of mutual scepticism. For the patent community Open Innovation is associated with issues such as the preservation of confidentiality in Non-Disclosure Agreements. Often, patent lawyers fear that Open Innovation aims to give away patentable technology for free. For the Open Innovation community again, patents appear to be little more than an esoteric and mostly costly instrument of law. In this brief note I am trying to offer a bridge between the two communities.

      • Patents

        • An Analysis of a Failed Biosimilar Antitrust Class Action

          On June 10th, Judge Manish S. Shah, U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, dismissed (without prejudice) a class action lawsuit against AbbVie and AbbVie Biotechnology Ltd. by consumer groups, drug wholesalers, and unions (including the City of Baltimore, Miami Police Department insurance trust fund, and a Minnesota-based employee welfare benefits plan for workers in the pipe trade industries), alleging antitrust violations under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, as well as corresponding state law causes of action for Alaska, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia, over AbbVie's blockbuster biologic drug, Humira.

          Humira (adalimumab) is the world's most valuable biologic drug, having sales of $56 billion from 2012-2018. Originally approved for rheumatoid arthritis, AbbVie has since obtained FDA approval for treatment of a variety of human autoimmune disorders (including Crohn's disease and plaque psoriasis according to the Opinion and Order). Facing expiration of the patent on the adalimumab molecule (U.S. Patent No. 6,090,382) on December 31, 2016, AbbVie embarked on a successful campaign (247 patent applications, resulting in 132 patents, which the opinion characterizes as a .534 "batting average") to obtain additional patents on ancillary aspects of the technology, including formulation and manufacturing methods. Plaintiffs alleged that because some (almost half) of these applications (continuations of earlier-filed applications) were filed two years after Humira was first marketed they should be invalid as being anticipated by earlier Humira-related patents. (Plaintiffs noted that 5 AbbVie patents were challenged by inter partes review, with 3 being invalidated and AbbVie abandoning the other two before judgment. AbbVie noted that IPRs against 13 other of its patents were unsuccessful.) Plaintiffs also alleged inequitable conduct in AbbVie's acquisition of some of these patents, based on prior use of claimed manufacturing methods and failure to disclose these uses to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

        • Supreme Court End of Term 2020

          Consideration of one fully briefed petition was postponed. Chrimar Systems. Chrimar has to do with the timing of judgment finality and issue preclusion. Particularly: How does claim cancellation via inter partes review impact prior court judgments upholding the the patent? (In this case, an appeal in the infringement litigation was still pending on other grounds). A petition on related issues was recently filed in PhaZZer, and the court may be considering the issues together.

          The last direct IP case for the court to decide this term is USPTO v. In that case, the USPTO wants to apply a bright-line-rule that adding “.com” to a generic word does not create a protect-able mark. One reason I’m rooting for is that they label me a Level 2 Genius! (Image below as proof).

        • $1,000 Awarded for Ortiz & Associates prior art

          Unified is pleased to announce the PATROLL crowdsourcing contest winner, Ekta Aswal, who received a cash prize of $1,000 for prior art submitted on U.S. Patent 9,549,285. The '285 patent, titled "systems, methods and apparatuses for brokering data between wireless devices, servers and data rendering devices," generally relates to streaming media. The patent is owned by and asserted by Ortiz & Associates, LLC, an NPE.

          To help the industry fight bad patents, we have published the winning prior art below.

        • $1,500 Awarded for Semcon IP prior art

          Unified is pleased to announce the PATROLL crowdsourcing contest winner, Chris Schmidt, who received a cash prize of $1,500 for his prior art submission for U.S. Patent 7,100,061, owned by Semcon IP, an NPE. The '061 patent generally relates to methods and apparatuses for controlling the power used by a computer, and specifically, the adjustment of the clock frequency and voltage supply to a processor to conserve processor power and extend battery life.

        • Software Patents

          • Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Joins the Open Invention Network Community

            Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, announced today that Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc. (SMFG) has joined as a community member. SMFG is one of the largest financial institutions headquartered in Japan, with an established presence across all consumer and corporate banking businesses. Focused on digital innovation through fintech and open innovation, SMFG harnesses open source technology to meet its clients’ financial needs. By joining OIN, SMFG is demonstrating its commitment to patent non-aggression in open source software (OSS), a key component in its banking platforms and applications.

            “The financial services and fintech industries are increasingly relying on open source technologies, including blockchain technologies such as Hyperledger. Global leaders that recognize the benefits of open source technologies are building robust feature-rich platforms to make them more effective for commercial and consumer clients,” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network. “We are pleased that SMFG has joined our community and committed to patent non-aggression in Linux and adjacent open source technologies.”

      • Trademarks

        • [Guest post] Swedish Patent and Market Court of Appeal applies C-21/18 Textilis in long-running pillow fight

          Following the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (CJEU) judgment in Textilis C-21/18 (commented on The IPKat here and here), readers will be happy to discover that the referring court, the Swedish Patent and Market Court of Appeal, has now decided the case further to the guidance received from the Luxembourg judges.

          The question referred to the CJEU was whether the wording of Article 7(1)(e)(iii) of Regulation 2017/1001 (EU Trade Mark Regulation (EUTMR)), ie “shape, or another characteristic, which gives substantial value to the goods", applies to a trade mark registered before the entry into force of the reformed language and, if so, prohibits the Manhattan design (see further below) from being protected as an EU trade mark for inter alia tissues and textiles.


          The CJEU unsurprisingly found that it follows from settled case law that the principles of legal certainty and protection of legitimate expectations dictate that a regulation can only be granted retroactive effect if this clearly follows from the wording of the regulation, or from the regulation’s objectives or general scheme (i.e. a systematic interpretation). The amendments to Article 7 EUTMR introduced through Regulation (EU) 2015/2424 do not have retroactive effect and therefore not applicable to trade marks registered before the entry into force of that regulation in 2016.

          The CJEU also reiterated that the meaning of the nebulous concept of “shape” in Article 7 (1) (e) (iii) EUTMR should be determined by considering its usual meaning in everyday language, while also taking into account the context in which it occurs and the purposes of the rules of which it is part. With reference to C‑163/16 Louboutin, the court found that in the context of trade mark law, shape is usually understood as a set of lines or contours that outline the product concerned.


          Connoisseurs of fancy pillow cases will have to wait for future litigation to clarify whether Article 7 (1) (e) (iii) EUTMR in its current amended form - “shape, or another characteristic” – constitutes an absolute ground for refusal of registration for this kind of non-traditional trademark.

          But this commentator believes it can at least be said that the CJEU’s decision in Textilis signals a fairly restrictive interpretation of Article 7 (1) (e) (iii). Trade marks similar to the one in this case are likely to survive also a challenge that theyconsists “exclusively of … another characteristic, which gives substantial value to the goods” since the CJEU and Swedish Patent and Market Court both emphasized that the trade mark at issue in Textilis included several additional decorative elements and therefore did not consist “exclusively” of a shape or another characteristic.

      • Copyrights

        • Long walk to copyright reform: South Africa’s Copyright Amendment Bill is back to the National Assembly

          Last week, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa exercised his powers under section 79(1) of South Africa’s Constitution to refer the Copyright Amendment Bill (CAB) and Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill (PPAB) back to the National Assembly on the grounds that he has reservations about the constitutionality of the two bills. [Under section 79 of the Constitution, the President must either assent to and sign a Bill passed by National Assembly or, refer it back to the National Assembly for reconsideration if s/he has reservations about the constitutionality of the Bill.] Blind SA has implied that the President’s action was a response to the association’s legal proceedings at South Africa’s Constitutional Court seeking to compel the President to “perform his duties in terms of Section 79 of the South African Constitution” and take a decision on the CAB sent to him since March 2019.


          At the end of the day, the referral has been made and the reconsideration process must now commence. The National Assembly is bound to reconsider the bill as section 79(2) and (3) indicate that there should be procedure for reconsideration and the circumstances in which the National Council of Provinces must participate.

          After reconsideration by the National Assembly, the President still has the choice of either assenting to the reconsidered bill or referring it to the Constitutional Court for a decision on its constitutionality. See section 79(4). Further, if the President is not satisfied with the constitutionality of the reconsidered bill and proceeds to the Constitutional Court, there would be opportunity for the National Assembly to show that the President’s reservations have been addressed, including how and where.

          As far as this Kat is concerned, if there is one thing this referral has done, it is to starkly reveal how many international IP treaties that South Africa has signed without implementation: 4 treaties including the WIPO Internet Treaties that entered into force 18 years ago!

          Following from this is the fact that South Africa’s journey to copyright reform has no end in sight (yet). And, there may be wisdom in addressing international IP treaties, as they are ratified/signed rather than this attempt to implement all in one fell swoop. The resultant effect being that far-reaching treaties will bog down treaties that address specific IP constituencies such as the visually impaired.

        • Saudi Arabia Announces Launch of Pirate Site Blocking Campaign

          Saudi Arabia says that after carrying out an investigation it will prevent 231 pirate sites from being accessed in the country, including some that broadcast "encrypted sports". The move will be interpreted as a step to calm the rows over pirate IPTV provider beoutQ and Saudi-backed efforts to buy Premier League club Newcastle United.

        • Leak of John Bolton's Controversial Book Triggers 'Unstoppable' Piracy Frenzy

          Former National Security Advisor John Bolton will release his controversial memoir later this week but it's already circulating on various pirate sites. The leaks appeared shortly after the US failed to have the book banned by the courts. Publisher Simon and Schuster are happy with this decision but now has its hands full sending takedown requests to stop tens of thousands of people from accessing it illegally.

        • Fighting a Copyright Troll in Court Can Be Easy, If You Can Afford It

          Every year, thousands of people are sued for pirating online entertainment. This includes some individuals who are totally innocent. We talk to Tim McManus, an IT expert who also teaches at Fordham University. He shares his personal experience with fighting off a 'copyright troll' in a U.S. court.

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