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Links 4/5/2011: New PCLinuxOS Magazine, Firefox Fork, Linux Preinstalled on ARM

Posted in News Roundup at 8:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 10 Reasons Why the Linux Desktop is Still Flapping its Wings

    A few weeks ago, the Linux Foundation chief Jim Zemlin openly said that bashing Microsoft is ‘like kicking a puppy’, every Linux user saw some amount of truth to that. If some disagree, they can always look at Android, Amazon’s Kindle, and a bucket load of Linux-based gadgets that have sprung up in the market recently. Also, when it comes to servers, Linux has managed to beat Microsoft hands down. The conformation came straight from the horse’s mouth when Steve Ballmer admitted that Linux’s server share is 60% as opposed to Microsoft’s 40%. Having said all that, Linux desktop’s market share stands at a meager .71 % in the United States, which is even less than Apple iPad’s userbase. So, what are the reasons why the Linux desktop is still far behind its server counterpart? Why the Linux desktop still isn’t winning? Let’s take a deeper look at the problem.

  • PC, or Not PC, That Is the Question for Linux Users

    It may be true that “the clothes make the man,” as the old saying goes, but can anything similar be said of a user’s computing preference?

    Indeed it can, at least if a recent Hunch survey is anything to go by. Mac users are generally a much more interesting bunch, according to Hunch’s “Profile of a self-described Mac person vs. PC person,” which was published recently as an infographic.

    In fact, Mac users are younger, more liberal, more urban, more educated and more likely to eat Shawarma than PC users are, according to the report. Oddly, they’re also more likely to consider themselves “computer-savvy gearheads.”

  • Desktop

    • 10 Ubuntu 11.04 Pre Installed Laptops and Netbooks

      Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal is released finally and it is getting some rave reviews from around the web(Recommended read: top things to do after installing Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal). Eager to buy a laptop or a netbook pre-installed with Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal? Here is a quick list of Ubuntu 11.04 pre-installed laptops and netbooks from prominent manufacturers.

    • Trim-Slice, compact Tegra2 Desktop, now released for $199

      Here’s a powerful super compact Nvidia Tegra2 ARM Cortex-A9 Dual-core 1Ghz based Desktop box, for now seems to run something like Ubuntu 11.4 (ARM netbook edition?), but the software support is a process that is a work-in-progress. Their pricing starts at $199 for the basic model, I will try to get a review unit, what do you think about this type of compact ARM Powered desktop?

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Splash screens and QML

        If you were to pass by Sebas’ house these last few days of Tokamak 5, you’d see a window full of post-its that contained tasks that we plan to do (can be seen on Kevin’s blog).


        The theme is rather simple – black/white KDE logo with rotating gear that fades into the logo that can be seen in the screenshot. If you are wondering why the text says ‘Friday’, it is because we are recognizing the fantastic song made popular by our idol Rebecca.

        Tokamak 5 is approaching the end – only Marco and I still linger around (and Sebas, naturally) – and that is going to end tomorrow around noon.

      • KDE: Unity Setup

        How to-ish:
        Basically you add the Window Menu bar widget to a panel. Then you move the panel to the top. You add a second panel to the left with a task bar widget in it. Tweak the size and make it autohide. Also, notice that the Title Bar disappeared in the full screen window. Well you can do that with any window manually but with a little handy work, you can actually have kwin hide the title bar when you maximize the window. (This is one of the areas that would require work to reach unity’s level of functionality though as no window controls go into the panel.

      • The next step: Coisceim

        In the old KDE PIM Platform applications owned the data and provided a scriptable access interface to it over D-Bus. In the new platform however, applications only provide a user interface to the data, and the data interface is provided by Akonadi. That makes the applications themselves far smaller, making it easy to split them up and create more purpose-built applications to fit with what the user wants. Newspeak centerward make easy newapplications indeed.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • On pointer control

        GNOME 3 has been designed to ensure that it can be used by those who have a low level of pointer control, either because they are not well practised at using pointing devices or our software, because they might not have good control over the hand and fingers, or because they are using low quality hardware. This is one way in which GNOME 3 is easier to use than GNOME 2.

      • Adventures in Gnome 3 part 2: The Wifening

        My wife has a Dell laptop that normally runs Windows 7 on it. I don’t push or whine about that, it’s her machine and she can run whatever she wants. I very very rarely have to do tech support on it, which is a good thing because at this point all of my Windows skills are gone. However, a minor catastrophe recently caused her hard drive to go bad (she dropped it), and Windows would constantly warn her, then BSOD, then the machine wouldn’t even boot and the BIOS would say it couldn’t find the internal hard drive. In short: it was totally screwed.

      • GNOME Panel Dock

        When GNOME 3.0 was released some weeks ago, I finally switched to gnome-shell by default. Performance is quite good in my laptop, so the only problem was getting used to the new user experience.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • May 2011 issue of The PCLinuxOS Magazine released

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editors Andrew Strick and Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved.

      • Mageia 1 Beta 2 – Almost Ready for the Big Day

        A while ago we had a poll here and a review of Mageia came second just after Scientific Linux. Mageia is a new distribution and this is only the second beta, but it’s due for release in around 30 days so I thought we’ll take a sneak preview now. No doubt there will be more reviews coming all over the web once this is out.
        The old Mandrake Linux, before it became Mandriva which of course Mageia is a fork of, was the first Linux distribution that mostly worked for me. The first actually was Corel Linux 1.0 (the one and only), but it was slow on a 266MHz Pentium 2. So I’m approaching Mageia with a lot of good will and high hopes but realistic expectations.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Names its 2011 Certified Professional of the Year

        Red Hat has announced Director of Open Source Consulting at Emergent LLC Quint Van Deman as the 2011 Red Hat Certified Professional of the Year.

        The award recognizes and honors the hard work, skills and creativity of those holding Red Hat certifications.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project News – May 2nd, 2011
      • Debian Women Offers Building Packages from Source Tutorial

        Are you enthusiastic about Debian and thinking about contributing? We want to guide you in the basics.

        We are convinced that there are a lot of people out there that want to get involved with Free Software but don’t know where to start. For Debian, the most common task you’ll do as a contributor is rebuilding a package.

      • Debian May Begin Rolling Release Branch

        A discussion has begun in the quiet corner of Debian testing about offering a rolling release branch in addition to its current line-up. Well, sort of. Lucas Nussbaum has posted details of the intriguing discussion on his blog.

        Nussbaum recognizes that rolling releases are quite popular and offers the numbers of those using Debian testing and the growing popularity of Arch Linux as evidence. Some others may remember PCLinuxOS as well. He states that many users find the software in stable Debian perhaps a bit too stale or old. So a rolling release could be possible with little extra effort based on the testing branch.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Hints on installation of Ubuntu 11.04

          Ubuntu 11.04 comes with a new theme namely Unity. It is a 3D theme that requires 3D display driver.

        • Ubuntu 11.04: Installation stumbling block and post-install impressions
        • 16 things we’d change about Ubuntu

          Ubuntu is a popular Linux-based distro but, like everything in life, it isn’t perfect.

          There’s plenty that could be improved, both in terms of software and the way it goes about doing things.

          Here’s what we think would improve it.

        • Ubuntu Unity – A New Direction No-One Expected. Also, Custom Launcher How-To

          Ubuntu Natty Narwhal is here, yep, 11.04 has landed. (Is it just me or is there less Internet fanfare than before?) Along with Natty came the much discussed, loved-hated, maligned-adored, yet universally greatly expected Unity Interface.

        • Will Ubuntu 11.04 Bring Unity?

          Last week, Canonical released the latest version of its desktop Linux operating system, Ubuntu. Affectionately nicknamed “Natty Narwhal,” Ubuntu 11.04 is notable not just for being the most recent step along the company’s six-month development cycle, but it could very well also be the one that catapults Ubuntu—and Linux itself—into the same pantheon of popularity as Windows and Mac OS X.

        • My Impressions of Ubuntu 11.04

          This was a big week for Ubuntu Linux with the release of new version 11.04, ‘Natty Narwhal’ of the popular GNU/Linux operating system. There’s been loads of discussion over the last few months leading up to this, primarily over the decision to use the new Unity desktop interface instead of Gnome Shell. Some people like it; some hate it. Well, I just had to see for myself what all the fuss was about. I tried out Ubuntu 11.04 Beta about a week ago and found it a little too simplistic and not easily configurable. The final release just came out a few days ago, so I decided to install it on my experimental HP Compaq computer. I believe the only way to really see how an operating system works is to install it and use it for a while. Here are my impressions of ‘Natty Narwhal’ after two days.

        • Ubuntu’s New Unity Interface Makes Linux Friendly For The Mainstream

          A few days ago Canonical Ltd. released the newest version of the company’s popular Linux distribution, Ubuntu 11.04. featuring a completely new user interface called “Unity.” The Unity interface is aimed at mainstream computer users, not just Linux geeks. Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical founder, says that the Unity interface’s beautiful graphic design elements represent a new direction for Ubuntu and, hopefully, one other free software developers will follow. This Linux has long been one of the more aesthetically-pleasing distros, but Unity takes it up a notch. Is tempting mainstream users the only motivation, though?

        • Ubuntu 11.04 is a free operating system with a cool new interface

          This alternative to Windows has a strong identity of its own that is easy to use and makes good use of widescreen monitors

        • Ubuntu’s new face

          The newest version, 11.04, features a radically different interface called Unity that had its roots in the now-discontinued Netbook Edition. With 11.04, also known as Natty Narwhal, everybody uses the netbook interface by default.

        • Ubuntu Linux 11.04

          The latest edition of Canonical’s free operating system brings a new front-end to the popular Windows alternative

          A new edition of Ubuntu arrives every six months, bearing a new zoological codename. The latest is version 11.04 (reflecting its April 2011 release), known to its friends as the Natty Narwhal.

          You’ll notice one change before you even download the installer: the Netbook Edition has been retired, so there’s now only one ISO for all home computers. It’s a wise move; one standard installation makes life easier for beginners and developers alike.

        • Ubuntu gets a dock a decade late [Mac zealot warning]

          When Canonical last week issued the stable Ubuntu Linux 11.04, the build has brought out a bunch of new features and interface tweaks that’ve freshened up the overall aesthetics while improving usability. One of the most striking changes is the new Unity desktop environment (requires 3D acceleration) that puts a Dock-like application launcher to the left edge of the screen.

        • Can Ubuntu finally give Windows a run for its money?

          Microsoft isn’t exactly the most-loved company in the world, and part of that arguably has to do with its dominant position in the OS market. Its flagship product, Windows, has improved recently, but frustrations caused by its checkered past are, for some, hard to forget.

          For years, many computer industry professionals have hoped that strong Windows alternatives would emerge. Much of this hope was based on the idea that highly-polished GUIs for Linux-based operating systems could offer consumers Windows-like experiences and give Microsoft a run for its money.

        • no background wallpaper problem after upgrading to Ubuntu 11.04 Natty

          Ubuntu 11.04 has come out for few days, if you choose to upgrade from a previous Ubuntu edition you may encounter no wallpaper displaying problem in Unity. There’s only a white background and wallpaper chosen in Appearance window won’t display any more.

        • My thoughts on Ubuntu Unity

          Over the weekend, I made the painful mistake of upgrading to Natty Narwhal 11.04, the newest release of Ubuntu Linux. I was previously running 10.04 and realized I was stuck with Qt 4.6 and I desperately needed a feature in 4.7. After starting the upgrade process, I realized I actually had missed the last upgrade 10.10, which was required before upgrading to 11.04. I installed that and realized it contained Qt 4.7. I could have stopped there and be content, but I didn’t.

        • Unity – Banshee Radio Stations
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Ubuntu 11.04, Natty Narwhal: Successes and Failures

            Few releases of any distribution have received as much attention as Ubuntu 11.04 (codenamed Natty Narwhal). Most of the buzz is about the switch to the new Unity desktop — and deservedly so, since it is radically different from the GNOME desktop it replaces. However, Natty also features some changes to widgets, the installer, and the Ubuntu Software Center, many of which — like Unity itself — reflect Ubuntu’s ongoing concerns about usability and design issues, while having mixed levels of success.

            This concern has always loomed large in Ubuntu. However, it became even stronger several years ago, when Shuttleworth decided that usability and design were areas where Ubuntu and its corporate arm Canonical could “make a significant contribution” to open source software. Since then, Ubuntu has introduced such innovations as the app indicators, the repositioning of title bar buttons, and a new color-coded default theme reminiscent of Apple’s.

          • Ubuntu Unity not all that unifying

            Ubuntu’s new Natty release is out but does the new Unity interface live up to its billing?

            Right now I am at a loss as what to think of Unity, Ubuntu’s new desktop interface.

            Like many long-time Ubuntu fans I was eagerly awaiting Ubuntu Natty, the latest release of Ubuntu. Most of all I wanted to try out Unity, the new interface that Mark Shuttleworth has been promoting as the next big step forward for Ubuntu Linux. I’d tried various versions of Unity during its development but was mostly disappointed, a fact I put down to it being early testing software. When Natty was released Unity would so much better, I rationalised.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Sandia’s mini supercomputer runs Linux on 196 Gumstix ARM modules

        Sandia National Laboratories is demonstrating its latest mini supercomputer at ESC Silicon Valley this week, incorporating 196 TI OMAP3530-based Overo Tide modules running Linux. Being used for botnet research as part of Sandia’s MegaTux project, the “StrongBox” product combines 28 Gumstix Stagecoach boards, each with seven Gumstix Overo Tide computer modules.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mozilla

    • The Day I Nearly Dumped Firefox

      So, as the result of an extremely small, unforeseen glitch, I find myself a satisfied user of the Chromium browser. Despite my initial frustration, I still have Firefox on my machine, and it’s still my main browser, but the experience has made me wonder how many other people hit these apparently small obstacles, and are driven to download Chrome or Chromium, say – and like it so much that they do switch? Could that explain the current rise of Chrome, and the gentle decline of Firefox’s market share?

      Obviously, Mozilla can’t test every add-on when it upgrades Firefox. But perhaps there is something that can be done to the architecture so that this kind of thing simply doesn’t happen for such minor upgrades. Alternatively, maybe there should be a roll-back feature so that you can always undo such upgrades when you find they have problematic consequences.

    • 13 features that make each Web browser unique

      Many cynical users assume Web browsers do little more than dutifully render HTML. The content is the most important part, they say, so it makes little difference which browser you use.

      This may be true for basic tasks, but for all their similarities, browsers differ in subtle and significant ways, thanks to the hard work of vendors looking to establish any edge that might attract more users to their stack of code. There are even some features that make each browser unique, and in the technology world, unique functionality often points the way forward.

    • Firefox 4 Breaks the 10% Mark
    • First Firefox 5 Beta Build Posted

      Mozilla is trying to establish a new 6-week product cycle for its Firefox web browser and has just posted the first build of Firefox 5, not quite six weeks after the release of Firefox 4, which crossed the 10% market share mark over the weekend.

      It feels as if Firefox 4 was just released, at least if you did not crawl along the seemingly never ending beta process of the browser last year. The next version is already knocking on your door and due for a first beta release on May 17. The first build has made its way out of the Aurora channel and was promoted from version 5.0a2 to 5.0 beta (build1).

    • Firefox 4.0.1: Firefox is out (of memory) !

      I’ve been running various builds of Firefox 4 on Linux since the betas were beginning, months ago. They were very stable. And then 4.0.0 was released, and recently 4.0.1, and with both I’ve had a lot of crashes.

    • Early reaction to Firefox 4.0.x — I can feel the speed

      While Firefox 4.0 is no faster than the Google Chrome web browser, 4.0 is certainly faster than Firefox(es) 3.5 and 3.6, all of which I’ve run extensively on both the Linux and Windows platforms.

      And while there’s a lot to like about Chrome/Chromium (I run the one in Windows, the other in Linux — currently Debian Squeeze, if you want to know), I lean toward Firefox/Iceweasel because one of my key web-accessed applications not only prefers it but pretty much demands it. (It could be worse; the same app used to prefer Internet Explorer and begrudgingly work in Opera).

    • To Toggle, or not to Toggle: The End of Torbutton

      In a random bar about two years ago, a Google Chrome developer asked me why Torbutton didn’t just launch a new, clean Firefox profile/instance to deal with the tremendous number of state separation issues. Simply by virtue of him asking me this question, I realized how much better off Chrome was by implementing Incognito Mode this way and how much simpler it must have been for them overall (though they did not/do not deal with anywhere near as many issues as Torbutton does)…

      So I took a deep breath, and explained how the original use model of Torbutton and my initial ignorance at the size of the problem had lead me through a series of incremental improvements to address the state isolation issue one item at a time. Since the toggle model was present at the beginning of this vision quest, it was present at the end.

      I realized at that same instant that in hindsight, this decision was monumentally stupid, and that I had been working harder, not smarter. However, I thought then that since we had the toggle model built, we might as well keep it: it allowed people to use their standard issue Firefoxes easily and painlessly with Tor.

    • Firefox4: Change Minimum Tab Width [Quick Tip]

      In Firefox 3.x, there used to be an option in about:config called “browser.tabs.tabMinWidth” which you could change to specify the minimum tab width. And changing that to “0″ would allow you to have all the tabs visible at all time, without having to scroll through them.

    • 10 Reasons why I will not upgrade from Firefox 3.6 to Firefox 4!

      This trend was observed in stats revealed by StatCounter Global stat for Browser usage in April 2011. The graph shows that in April 2011, the usage share of Firefox 4 is less than half of Firefox 3.6; despite that Firefox has been around for more than a month!

    • A new and improved AwesomeBar for Firefox by Mozilla

      Mozilla is working on a number of improvements for Firefox that they are developing as extensions, some of which might actually make it into the Firefox code in the future. Some previous Mozilla add-ons to have received this treatment are Personas, Panorama and Sync.

      Firefox has maintained a distinction between the search bar and the location bar till now because of the privacy implications of having a combined bar, and Mozilla’s staunch pro-privacy stance. However the advantages of having a combined bar are quite clear.


    • Cory Doctorow: Techno-optimism

      Herein lies the difference between a ‘‘technology activist’’ and ‘‘an activist who uses technology’’ – the former prioritizes tools that are safe for their users; the latter prioritizes tools that accomplish some activist goal. The trick for technology activists is to help activists who use technology to appreciate the hidden risks and help them find or make better tools. That is, to be pessimists and optimists: without expert collaboration, activists might put themselves at risk with poor technology choices; with collaboration, activists can use technology to outmaneuver autocrats, totalitarians, and thugs.

    • British Telecom: please include freedom in your new music service

      British Telecom is a leader of telecommunication and digital content markets, and has a reputation for product innovation. Plans recently reported for a new not-for-profit music download service [1] for BT’s 5.5 million broadband customers have sparked much discussion, and once again placed BT at the fore of the future of digital content delivery in the UK.

      Amongst those speculating about the nature of the new service are the growing number of BT customers who use Free Software [2] web-browsers, operating systems, and multimedia players. Currently these and other Free Software users are unable to enjoy many popular content delivery systems such as Spotify, Steam, and iTunes, because they are not compatible with Free Software, or require the waiving of users’ rights and freedoms in order to use them [3] [4] [5]. The nature of BT’s new service, and the extent to which it respects the freedom of it’s users, are therefore of particular concern.

  • Project Releases

    • Speed dial, private browsing, user agents

      So Midori is going full speed ahead, we support the new libSoup cache now (WebKitGTK+ 1.3.11 or greater required) which supersedes the old extension, support for F6, F7 and Ctrl(+Shift)+Tab and Tab in completion and a faster speed dial, which is still in the middle of even greater improvements, so stay stuned for more goodness in the future.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Electronic resurrection through open source

        Over at Make: Online last week, Phillip Torrone posted “If You’re Going to Kill It, Open Source It!”–his wish list of dead products that he’d like to see given to an open source community for new life. It’s a great suggestion–freeing the knowledge that went into a product gives it a little life after death and could give a unprofitable or seemingly useless project a better reason for existence.


  • Hardware

  • Security

    • Re: Botnets exploit Linux owners’ ignorance

      After Flaming retort, I have another rebuttal. Another piece of scaremongering, with overhyped drama and sensationalism, wrapped in tech lingo to make the crowds shudder with fear and reverence. While the general rule says: don’t feed the trolls, as in I’m merely bringing attention to an article that does not merit any, I think it’s important to show the other side of the spectrum.

      Today, I want to talk to you about a short article called Botnets exploit Linux owners’ ignorance, which presents a grim picture of botnets actively engaging in cyber warfare against Linux [sic] and its owners. Naturally, there’s always the not so subtle hint that the solution is in your pocket. Let’s digest the original report, see what it says and what it means, and how thing relates to the average computer user.

  • Cablegate

    • Another attempted attack on opposition radio station journalist

      Arnulfo Aguilar, the director of Radio Uno, an educational radio station based in San Pedro Sula, narrowly escaped an armed ambush outside his home on the outskirts of the city on the night of 27 April which he blames on the army. A station that supports the opposition National Front for Popular Resistance, Radio Uno has often been targeted by the security forces since the June 2009 coup d’état.

      Ten masked gunmen were waiting for Aguilar as he arrived home after leaving the station. After spotting them, he managed to elude them by taking a different route into his house. Some of the gunmen nonetheless got into the yard but fled after hearing him call his neighbours and the police for help. The police reportedly waited more than an hour before responding.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

  • DRM

    • Interview with Leo Babauta

      2) Since August 2009 you joined Identi.ca, the free microblogging platform. Social networks can be overwhelming due to their great amount of messages and friends. How do you manage to stay updated without burning up?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Berlin Wall artists sue city in copyright controversy

        The East Side Gallery is one of Berlin’s most popular tourist attractions, a 1.3km-long brightly painted stretch of the wall which divided east and west for almost 30 years.

        But now the outdoor exhibition space is embroiled in an expensive copyright controversy after Berlin council destroyed some artworks painted on the wall and reproduced others without the permission of the original artists.

        The city of Berlin, which owns the wall and the land around it, is being sued by 21 artists over the way the council handled recent renovation of the gallery.

Clip of the Day

Unity Interface – Craptastic Mac Wannabe – Ubuntu 11.04

Credit: TinyOgg

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    The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called 'house ban') increasingly look like the management's own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)

  25. Links 24/11/2015: Asus Chromebit CS10, Second Linux 4.4 RC

    Links for the day

  26. European Central Bank Staff Committee Adds to Growing Pressure on Abusive EPO Management

    The staff representatives of the European Central Bank E-mail their colleagues -- with European Central Bank managers' approval -- regarding the European Patent Office and its attacks on staff unions

  27. Gross Violation of Workers' Rights in EPO: Denial of Christmas Vacation/Leave for Slower Workers

    A look at an E-mail from within the EPO which shows how Christmas is used to squeeze staff, urging them to work even faster (despite speed gains) or lose their Christmas leave

  28. The Bogus Narrative Floated by EPO Management: Our Judges and Examiners Are Armed and Violent

    A look at the union-busting and protest-crushing moves from high-level EPO managers, who are trying to convince politicians that they do so in an effort to stop terrorists and neo-Nazis

  29. Support SUEPO or End Up Like They and Some of the Boards Did

    SUEPO, the fast-growing staff union of the EPO, increasingly needs the support and protection offered by action and participation from staff

  30. NRC Handelsblad (Dutch Evening Newspaper) Speaks About EPO's Refusal to Accept Court Orders From The Hague

    Article explains the depths of the issues inside the EPO and the unacceptable immunity that management at the EPO continues to exploit, shaming or discrediting the very notion of the rule of law in Europe


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