10.22.20

Links 23/10/2020: ‘Groovy Gorilla’ Everywhere in the News

Posted in News Roundup at 10:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.10 ARM64 Has A “8~20x” Performance Optimization Forgotten About For Two Years – Phoronix

        Last week was the main set of ARM 64-bit architecture updates for Linux 5.10 while today a second batch of changes were sent in for this kernel. That first round had the Memory Tagging Extension (MTE) and Pointer Authentication support among other improvements while this secondary pull has two notable performance optimizations.

        First up is a performance optimization that the Arm developers acknowledge was seemingly forgotten about for some two years. Back in 2018 was a memory management speed-up by around 20x for the mremap system call on large memory regions. That work was merged but the feature never enabled for the ARM64 Linux kernel builds until now.

      • Kernel 5.9: Onwards and upwards

        With version 5.9 of the Linux Kernel now released, it is time to, once again, review Collabora’s contributions to this release which contains many improvements, primarily in hardware support, multimedia, graphics, testing and continuous contributions to other subsystems.

        The importance of software maintenance has been highlighted in the last week with the discovery of a high-severity Bluetooth flaw. Whilst some reports have suggested that 5.9 contains the required fixes, many articles have been updated to reflect the fact that this is not the case. The required changes should be available as part of the 5.10 kernel when it is released and the kernel stable branches have picked them up. Many distributions are also now providing security releases covering this issue, we advise that you look out for (and apply) security fixes from your distribution of choice.

      • It’s in the Air: The Corsair HS70 Wireless Headset & Linux

        Looking more widely at headset support in Linux, what can we expect? Unfortunately there’s a dearth of information, especially once you get away from the most popular models. Analog headsets will of course be fine (the joys of analog!), and Bluetooth should also work well, as long as you have that working. Though note that some Bluetooth audio devices prefer mobile, like some Jabra wireless earbuds that have spotty records of connecting to computers in general.

        Otherwise, though, there lacks any central database or way to find out what the support is like for a device you are interested in. You’ll have to rely on your search skills, maybe GitHub, and probably sorting out random forum or Reddit posts to figure out any issues. The Arch Wiki tends to be a great hardware reference, but here there’s just a page for Bluetooth headsets.

        These days it seems quite likely that your random USB audio device, even wireless, has a decent chance of working. But maybe not, and if you rely on any features that may require software or special drivers (controlling the device beyond volume, sound virtualization, etc.) it is still is a bit of a guessing game. At least HeadsetControl provides an indirect way of knowing if something will work, as they list many models of headsets which I assume means all the standard audio works already. When in doubt, make sure you check that return policy!

      • Graphics Stack

        • The Most Innovative ~$50 Graphics Card For Linux Users

          This ~$50 USD graphics card is open-source friendly, can drive four display outputs simultaneously, passively cooled, and can fit in a PCI Express x1 slot. It’s a unique card offering good value especially for those Linux users wanting open-source friendly hardware.

          Earlier this year ASUS announced the GT710-4H-SL-2GD5. In the months since we didn’t hear anything more about it given the pandemic but recently saw it became available via Internet retailers and picked one up for testing.

    • Applications

      • KeePassXC 2.6.2 Released with ‘Always on Top’ Option

        KeePassXC, KeePass Cross-Platform Community Edition, released a new update today with new menu option to keep window always on top.

      • 5 of the Best Linux Text Editors

        A text editor is very important for any operating system. Be it taking quick notes, drafting a document, or even coding a script, it is the best tool for the job. For Linux, you’d be amazed by just how many different text editors there are out there. To help you decide which text editor you want to use, here we cover the best text editors on Linux.

        [...]

        Linux Text editors are serious business. Everyone has a strong opinion about what they feel is the best one. None of them are wrong, of course. Each editor has its strengths and weaknesses, and even if none of the text editors in the above list interest you, there are still many alternatives around, like the CherryTree Notepad, which didn’t make the list above.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Hunt down other players in the competitive local multiplayer game Unspottable out now | GamingOnLinux

        Unspottable has you and friends all blended together amongst a crowd, and you each need to find the other to take them down. It’s highly amusing and out now.

      • Explore an open world with dynamic turn-based battles in Tenderfoot Tactics out now | GamingOnLinux

        I honestly feel like I need to take an entire week off just to play Tenderfoot Tactics, a mix of turn-based battling and open-world exploration that’s out now. Note: key provided by the developer.

        Tenderfoot Tactics is a very strange mix of games. The open-world exploration is real-time, and it blends in party-based RPG mechanics with each of your goblins having levels, equipment, abilities and the option to evolve into something bigger and then when you get into the combat it flips that into a turn-based tactical battler. It works together so amazingly well though.

        “For a generation, the terrible Fog – one vast, voiceless, and cruel spirit – has been eating the once-thick forests of the mainland. Now, with nowhere left to call home, and granted magic by the friendly spirits of the archipelago, one small party of would-be adventurers sets out. Find a way to save the many goblin towns of the rocky coast, discover the truth of the Fog, and, if possible, put an end to it.”

      • Avoid getting cut up in an intergalactic slaughterhouse, Disc Room is out now

        Small rooms, lots of spinning blades – what could possibly go wrong? Disc Room is insane and I absolutely love it.

        [...]

        Just note, that it’s made with Game Maker Studio which continues to have some weird dependency problems with libcurl. On Arch Linux for example, you can install the libcurl-compat package and then launch it like this…

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma on the Edge

          You probably have heard the news by now that Microsoft have released the Linux version of their new Chromium-based Edge web browser. Of course I’ve been waiting for this day ever since they announced the switcheroo to Chromium in order to bring Plasma Browser Integration to Edge users. It took Microsoft almost two decades to offer another web browser to a Unixoid desktop and this time around it’s based on KDE’s legacy – what a time to be alive!

          You can already use Plasma Browser Integration just fine with Edge by installing it from the Chrome web store. Until Plasma 5.21 is out, however, it will only see it as yet another Chromium, meaning that KRunner, media controls, and so on might not map to the correct browser window or show only a generic icon.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Things I do: Proposal to add build graph output to GNU Make

          In 2015 I worked as a consultant at a large company in Lund. My position was with the build team and one of our responsibilities was managing and maintaining the build system for their Android based phones.

          The problem I was tasked with solving was the fact that running ‘make’ for a product after a successful build resulted in a lot of stuff being rebuilt unnecessarily.

          A stock Android build tree behaved nicely: a second run of ‘make’ only produced a line about everything being up-to-date. But the company products were taking a good 15 minutes for a rebuild even if nothing had been changed.

          The Android build system works by including all recipes to be built (programs / libraries / etc) using the GNU Make include directive, so that you end up with one giant Makefile that holds all rules for building the platform. Possibly to avoid the problems laid out in the paper Recursive make considered harmful.

        • Sébastien Wilmet: gedit crowdfunding

          The gedit text editor has a long history of development, it has been created in 1998 at the beginnings of GNOME. So it is one of the oldest GNOME application still alive and usually installed by default with Linux distributions that provide GNOME as their desktop environment.

          It is this – the fact that many Linux users know and have gedit installed – that motivates me to improve it, to make it a top notch core application. It is not an easy undertaking though, the codebase is old and large, and there are several underlying software components (libraries) that are critical for the main functioning of gedit.

    • Distributions

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.10 on Raspberry Pi delivers the full Linux desktop and micro clouds

          Canonical today released Ubuntu 20.10 with optimised Raspberry Pi images for desktop in support of learners, inventors, educators and entrepreneurs, bringing the world’s most open platform to the world’s most accessible hardware.

          “In this release, we celebrate the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s commitment to put open computing in the hands of people all over the world,” said Mark Shuttleworth, CEO at Canonical. “We are honoured to support that initiative by optimising Ubuntu on the Raspberry Pi, whether for personal use, educational purposes or as a foundation for their next business venture.”

          The Raspberry Pi 2, 3, and 4 join a very long list of x86 and ARM devices certified with Ubuntu, the operating system (OS) best known for its public cloud and desktop offerings. Dell, HP and Lenovo all certify PCs with Ubuntu Desktop, which is also the most widely used OS on the AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google, IBM and Oracle clouds.

          Ubuntu 20.10 also includes LXD 4.6 and MicroK8s 1.19 for resilient micro clouds, small clusters of servers providing VMs and Kubernetes on demand at the edge, for remote office, branch office, warehouse and distribution oriented infrastructure.

        • Ubuntu MATE 20.10 Release Notes

          If you want bug fixes :bug:, kernel updates :corn:, a new web camera control :movie_camera:, and a new indicator :point_right: experience, then 20.10 is for you :tada:. Ubuntu MATE 20.10 will be supported for 9 months until July 2021. If you need Long Term Support, we recommend you use Ubuntu MATE 20.04 LTS.

        • Build a Raspberry Pi Desktop with an Ubuntu heart | Ubuntu

          Since the Raspberry Pi Foundation began its mission, users have been using their boards to run everything in their lives. Whether that’s making DIY devices, learning to code or building products, it was made possible by Raspberry Pis. But running a full-featured, LTS desktop that can handle the expectations of everyday users, without technical knowledge, wasn’t really possible. Until recently.

          The Raspberry Pi 4 debuted with the graphics, RAM and connectivity needed for a Linux workstation. Users finally had the hardware to make a Raspberry Pi into a viable primary PC. But there were still issues. Most importantly, a lot of the desktop options either required a non-zero amount of technical knowledge or weren’t suited for long term use. Usually because of a lack of upstream support or running unmaintained, niche software.

          Canonical, the company that publishes Ubuntu, is and continues to be a long term fan of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Together, our missions to make technology more accessible to people all of the world aligns, and both organisations understand the value of an active and trusting community. So, when the Raspberry Pi 4 launched with the capabilities to run a full-fat Ubuntu Desktop, we didn’t blink.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Flavours Released, This is What’s (Mostly) New

          Arriving alongside the final Ubuntu 20.10 release are new builds from Ubuntu’s family of flavours, which includes Kubuntu, Ubuntu MATE and Ubuntu Budgie.

          Rather than publish individual posts for each flavour I decided to post this instead: a concise roundup limited to just two paragraphs per flavour.

          Short though that sounds I still present flavour’s key changes and new features, plus give you the download links you need if you want to try a flavour out for yourself.

        • Ubuntu Linux 20.10 ‘Groovy Gorilla’ is Here With Renewed Raspberry Pi Focus – Slashdot
        • Ubuntu 20.10 now supports Raspberry Pi » Linux Magazine

          Ubuntu 20.10 is the first release from Canonical to support the Raspberry Pi single board computer.

          For any Linux admin who’s been looking to deploy single board computers for various purposes, there’s a new (while at the same time old) player in the Raspberry Pi mix—Ubuntu 20.10. Groovy Gorilla is the first official Ubuntu release to not only be optimized for the Raspberry Pi as a server distro, but as a full-blown desktop as well.

          To make this even more appealing, Ubuntu 20.10 will include the likes of LXD 4.6 and MicroK8s for the easy deployment of resilient micro clouds, small clusters of servers providing virtual machines, and Kubernetes on demand at the edge.

          Any Raspberry Pi 4 board with 4GB or 8GB of RAM can be deployed with Ubuntu Desktop or Server. And this isn’t a stripped-down version of the platform, it’s the full Monty. Canonical has put in a ton of work to optimize Ubuntu for Raspberry Pi. According to the Ubuntu PR Machine, “With this release, Ubuntu is optimized for Raspberry Pi, giving users of all levels and capabilities the access to Linux and microcloud technologies.”

        • What’s new in Ubuntu 20.10 – YouTube

          In this video, we are looking at what’s new in Ubuntu 20.10.

        • 10 Things to Do After Installing Ubuntu 20.10

          A new Ubuntu release means a new rundown of the most important post-install procedures you should perform.

          This guide is (as always) aimed at those who are new to – or less experienced with – Ubuntu. Each item aims to enhance or improve the default Ubuntu 20.10 experience, not rip it out or remould it

          I write a new “things to do…” list for each Ubuntu release rather than just update the old one. Why do I do that? Because the steps often change. Issues that needed post-install futzing last time may now be fixed.

        • Essential Guide: How to Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.10 from Ubuntu 20.04

          The Ubuntu upgrade process is fairly straightforward and shouldn’t take that long providing you have a semi-decent internet connection.

          There are a few things to keep in mind before rushing into an upgrade though so do pay close attention to the steps laid out in this tutorial.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 is Now Available to Download

          The official release announcement hasn’t been sent to the Ubuntu mailing list, but Ubuntu 20.10 desktop .iso images are up on the release server, ready for you (and everyone else) to download.

          Ubuntu 20.10 ‘Groovy Gorilla’ is a short-term release. It comes with 9 months of security updates, critical fixes, and select software updates from Canonical, makers of Ubuntu.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Released With GNOME 3.38, Active Directory Installer Integration

          Ubuntu 20.10, the “Groovy Gorilla”, is now officially available.

          Ubuntu 20.10 features many improvements like:

          - The GNOME 3.38 desktop is available with a wealth of improvements there including several performance optimizations / fixes handled by Canonical’s desktop team.

          - Continued work on the experimental OpenZFS file-system support that is available as an option when installing Ubuntu.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) Is Now Available for Download, This Is What’s New

          Dubbed Groovy Gorilla, Ubuntu 20.10 has been in development for the past six months, continuing the six-month release cycle of Ubuntu. It supersedes the previous release, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa), though being a long-term support series many will prefer not to upgrade since they’ll receive free updates for at least 4 and a half more years.

          What’s new in Ubuntu 20.10? Well, being a short-lived release supported for only nine months, Ubuntu 20.10 comes with a handful of new features, including the latest and greatest GNOME 3.38 desktop environment which I previewed last month if you’re curious to see the differences from GNOME 3.36 used in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Official Flavors Released, Here’s What’s New

          As part of the today’s Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) release, all the official Ubuntu flavors have been updated and I want you to be the first to read about their new features and improvements. The official flavors released as part of Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) include Kubuntu 20.10, Xubuntu 20.10, Lubuntu 20.10, Ubuntu Studio 20.10, Ubuntu MATE 20.10, Ubuntu Budgie 20.10, and Ubuntu Kylin 20.10. As expected, they come with all the core features of Ubuntu 20.10, as well as…

          Kubuntu 20.04 LTS ships with the KDE Plasma 5.19.5 desktop environment, KDE Frameworks 5.74 and KDE Applications 20.08 software suites, as well as Qt 5.14.2. Among the included apps, there’s Elisa 20.08.1 as default music player instead of Cantata, LibreOffice 7.0 office suite, Mozilla Firefox 81 web browser, Latte Dock 0.9.10, KDE Connect 20.08.1, Krita 4.3.0, and KDevelop 5.5.2.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) released

          The Ubuntu 20.10 release is out.

        • Groovy Gorilla Release Notes

          These release notes for Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) provide an overview of the release and document the known issues with Ubuntu and its flavours.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla” Arrives With Linux 5.8, GNOME 3.38, Raspberry Pi 4 Support

          Just two days ago, Ubuntu marked the 16th anniversary of its first ever release, Ubuntu 4.10 “Warty Warthog,” which showed Linux could be a more user friendly operating system.

          Back to now, after the six months of development cycle and the release of the current long-term Ubuntu 20.04 “Focal Fossa,” Canonical has announced a new version called Ubuntu 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla” along with its seven official flavor: Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Kylin, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, and Ubuntu Studio.

          Ubuntu 20.10 is a short term or non-LTS release, which means it will be supported for 9 months until July 2021. Though v20.10 does not seem a major release, it does come with a lot of exciting and new features.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 overview | Fast, secure and simple.

          In this video, I am going to show an overview of Ubuntu 20.10 and some of the applications pre-installed.

        • The Ubuntu desktop has a vision problem – Ubuntu 20.10 review

          We’re nearing the end of October already, and this means it’s time for a new release of Ubuntu 20.10, Groovy Gorilla. There are new desktop features, and new plumbing, as always, but I mostly have some thoughts about the Ubuntu desktop in general. Does 20.10 deserve its name?

        • Looking At Six Flavors of Ubuntu 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla”

          In this video, I take a quick look at the recently released (or soon-to-be-released) versions of Ubuntu 20.10 codenamed “Groovy Gorilla.” I will briefly look at the flagship Ubuntu distribution as well as: Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie and Ubuntu MATE.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 361
          • MDN Web Docs: Editorial strategy and community participation – Mozilla Hacks – the Web developer blog

            Our updated editorial strategy has two main parts: the creation of content pillars and an editorial calendar.

            The MDN writers’ team has always been responsible for keeping the MDN web platform reference documentation up-to-date, including key areas such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Web APIs. We are breaking these key areas up into “content pillars”, which we will work on in turn to make sure that the significant new web platform updates are documented each month.

          • L10n Report: October 2020 Edition | Mozilla L10N

            New content and projects What’s new or coming up in Firefox desktop

          • Modern Web Standards Are Leaving Niche Web Browsers Behind – LinuxReviews

            There’s plenty of web browsers to choose from on desktop computers but there’s not much of a choice if you look beneath the surface. There’s a ton of web browsers based on Google’s Chromium code-base, a few mostly iOS and macOS browsers based on Apple’s Webkit engine and then there’s Firefox with it’s own Quantum rendering engine. There also Pale Moon with it’s own Goanna rendering engine. It is increasingly falling behind the bigger browsers and more and more websites are broken in it as web developers deploy web standards other browsers, but not Pale Moon, support.

            [...]

            The developer of the Pale Moon web browser announced that Pale Moon’s source code is being migrated off Microsoft GitHub yesterday. The reason? Moonchild doesn’t like that GitHub is increasingly relying on web standards the Pale Moon web browser doesn’t support.

          • US Department Of Justice Lawsuit Against Google Could Kill Firefox – LinuxReviews

            A US Department of Justice lawsuit against Google on the grounds that they are a “monopolist” could result in the death of the one realistic free software web browser alternative that’s not based on the Google-controlled Chromium code-base and it’s Blink rendering engine. Mozilla will need to find some other partner willing to pay them $400 million a year if they are forced to cancel their sweet “royalty” contract with Google.

      • Programming/Development

        • Python

          • Webinar Recording: “virtualenv – a deep dive” with Bernat Gabor – PyCharm Blog | JetBrains

            PyCharm virtual environments are an important but challenging topic. We recently hosted Bernat Gabor to discuss this, as well as his rewrite of virtualenv, the hugely-popular command-line tool for creating virtual environment. The recording is now available.

            This was a very engaging webinar, with lots of questions, and many thanks to Bernat for taking the time to give thoughtful replies.

          • Python Morsels: The 2 Types of “Change” in Python

            The word “change” is ambiguous in Python: we have two distinct types of “change” in Python.

            We can “change” a variable by changing which object that variable is pointing to. We do that through an assignment statement.

            We can also “change” an actual object through a mutation.

            Let’s take a look at both types of change.

          • Python: Slice Notation on String

            The term slicing in programming usually refers to obtaining a substring, sub-tuple, or sublist from a string, tuple, or list respectively.

            Python offers an array of straightforward ways to slice not only these three but any iterable. An iterable is, as the name suggests, any object that can be iterated over.

            In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about Slicing Strings in Python.

          • R vs Python for Data Analysis — An Objective Comparison

            There are dozens articles out there that compare R vs. Python from a subjective, opinion-based perspective. Both Python and R are great options for data analysis, or any work in the data science field.

            But if your goal is to figure out which language is right for you, reading the opinion of someone else may not be helpful. One person’s “easy” is another person’s “hard,” and vice versa.

            In this article, we’re going to do something different. We’ll take an objective look at how both languages handle everyday data science tasks so that you can look at them side-by-side, and see which one looks better for you.

            Keep in mind, you don’t need to actually understand all of this code to make a judgment here! We’ll give you R vs Python code snippets for each task — simply scan through the code and consider which one seems more “readable” to you. Read the explanations, and see if one language holds more appeal than the other.

  • Leftovers

    • Planning for Disaster: A Writing Exercise

      What does it take to survive a crisis? Have you ever written a personal safety plan? Kelly Hayes offers some guidance on building solutions for the situation you’re in.

    • Military Flyovers at NFL Games Are Ridiculous

      There is no broadcast team more pleased with their own stentorian authority than NFL announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. Buck is an American legacy, the son of legendary play by play man Jack Buck. Aikman, the handsome, blond former star quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, might as well be Captain America’s uncle. These two voices of the heartland were caught on a hot mic speaking the kind of truth that they never would have dared utter on the airwaves.

    • Fraudulent Indigenous Art Is Flooding Museums

      It’s a modest museum on the edge of a modest town. The Lander Pioneer Museum is dimly lit, a nod to its log cabin beginnings, and its mismatched display cases house everything from antique saddles to applesauce mills—artifacts of early settlers in what is now Lander, Wyo. In the main gallery, a placard announces the institution’s major show, “Tribal Warrior Art.” The exhibition, which debuted in fall of 2018, contains about 100 ledger art drawings—narrative illustrations created by Indigenous artists from the Plains on discarded account books, mostly during the late 19th century.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • “Herd Immunity” Was Originally About Vaccination. Now It Is Neoliberal Violence.

        Recent weeks have seen right-wing governments, notably Trump’s administration, embrace the deeply problematic notion of “herd immunity.” These efforts are fortified now by a mysterious “minority report” — purportedly from dissident public health experts — known as The Great Barrington Declaration. Yet the validity of the document is being questioned, as many of the names appearing on it look to be based on jokes. Angela Mitropoulos is a political theorist and academic based in Sydney, Australia, and the author of Pandemonium: Proliferating Borders of Capital and the Pandemic Swerve (2020) and Contract and Contagion (2012). In this interview with cultural theorist Max Haiven (editor of the VAGABONDS book series in which Pandemonium appeared), Mitropoulos discusses the origins and politics of the “herd immunity” argument.

      • McConnell Admits to Sabotaging COVID Relief Talks to Rush Barrett Confirmation

        Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told his Republican colleagues Tuesday that he has privately been urging the Trump White House not to strike a coronavirus relief deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the November 3 election, warning that an agreement could interfere with his chamber’s plan to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court early next week.

      • Veterans Affairs Secretary Headlines GOP Fundraiser as COVID-19 Cases Surge

        Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie headlined a fundraiser for the North Carolina Republican Party last week, taking time away from his job leading the government’s second-largest agency at a moment when COVID-19 cases are surging in VA hospitals.

        Though legal, campaigning by cabinet secretaries is a departure from historical norms. Nevertheless, it’s become standard practice in the administration of President Donald Trump. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has hit the campaign trail for Trump, and several other cabinet members recently visited Iowa. Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, is also campaigning in North Carolina. Trump himself has routinely blurred politics with official functions, most prominently by hosting the Republican convention on the White House lawn, and he’s brushed off more than a dozen staff violations of the federal Hatch Act, which limits political activity by government employees.

      • World Food Day Drives Home Need for Change in the US

        The pandemic has exposed the fragility of the current industrialized food supply system, which is nested in an unequal, racialized and gendered socio-economic system experiencing the increasing prevalence of unemployment and food insecurity.

      • Global Reproductive Health on the Ballot this November

        If Democrats are elected, we can have a new president and a congress that will fight to repeal the Helms Amendment and safeguard accessible and affordable healthcare everywhere.

      • Illinois Will Start Sharing Data About COVID-19 Outbreaks in Schools

        Eight months into the pandemic and following pleas from educators and parents, Illinois has decided it will publish data on the coronavirus’s spread in schools.

        The decision comes two weeks after a story by ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune detailed the lack of information available to school officials and parents as they try to decide whether in-person learning is safe. Illinois public health officials told reporters there had been outbreaks in at least 44 school buildings across the state but declined to say where.

      • The EPA Refuses to Reduce Pollutants Linked to Coronavirus Deaths

        In April, as coronavirus cases multiplied across the country, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rejected scientists’ advice to tighten air pollution standards for particulate matter, or soot.

        In the next few weeks, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler likely will reaffirm that decision with a final ruling, despite emerging evidence that links particulate pollution to COVID-19 deaths.

      • ‘Prosecute the Sackler Family’: Critics Say DOJ Settlement Not Nearly Enough for Purdue Pharma’s Deadly Role in Opioid Crisis

        “Today’s guilty plea comes too late for the millions of lives that Purdue’s crimes destroyed over the past decade.”

      • Dumb Bastards Are Killing Us
      • Amid Trump’s Politicization of FDA, California Joins New York in Vowing to Independently Review Coronavirus Vaccines

        “Like our approach to Covid-19, when it comes to a vaccine, California will be guided by science.”

      • Russian manufacturer says it refuses to believe news reports that America trashed the ventilators shipped to NYC in April

        The Rostec subsidiary that manufactured the 45 ventilators delivered to New York earlier this year as part of a U.S.-Russian exchange of medical supplies says it doesn’t believe reports in the American news media that the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency “disposed of” the hardware. “We believe in reason and reject the idea that American officials could do such a thing with valuable equipment so highly in demand around the world during the pandemic,” a spokesperson for the Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies (KRET) told the news agency TASS.

      • A Glimmer of Hope: Mortality Rate Is Improving for Hospitalized COVID Patients

        The drought in New England made this year’s foliage season a foreshortened russet-and-dun affair, and it suits the moment. The hills are painted red in homage to the third surge of COVID-19 that will soon cover every COVID-charting map in a wine-spill of scarlet from sea to sea and border to border. We know this beast by now; that which we are told is coming soon has already arrived in stealth.

      • Trump Denounces Fauci as a “Disaster” Who “Got It Wrong” About COVID-19

        President Donald Trump denounced Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as a “disaster” and possible “idiot” who “got it wrong” about COVID-19 — even though the president recently used Fauci’s words in a recent campaign commercial.

      • Looming Failure of Stimulus Exposes GOP’s Double Standards on the Deficit

        With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell coming out against a stimulus deal, it looks increasingly unlikely that Congress will pass a COVID stimulus bill before the election. While supposed concerns about a clash between the stimulus and the vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court have thrown a wrench in the timing, the continuation of the months-long Republican resistance in the Senate is supposed to be based on good, old-fashioned fiscal responsibility.

      • The Pandemic Sent Americans’ Health Care Coverage Into Free Fall

        Before the pandemic hit, John made a decent living mowing people’s yards and doing landscaping in Houston. He had a place to live with his 15-year-old son. He even had health insurance that he bought for himself and his son “in case anything happens,” he said.

      • Putin says Russia isn’t planning to introduce a second coronavirus lockdown

        The Russian government isn’t planning to introduce severe restrictions due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus in the country, said President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with members of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs on Wednesday, October 21.

      • Russian health authorities launch inquiry following media reports of COVID-19 patients dying in Rostov-on-Don hospital due to lack of oxygen

        Russia’s federal healthcare watchdog, Roszdravnadzor, is carrying out an inquiry on behalf of the Health Ministry into the cause of death of 13 COVID-19 patients in a hospital in Rostov-on-Don, who, according to media reports, passed away due to a lack of medical oxygen.

      • Oblivion Agenda: Mike Adams’ COVID-19-inspired update to his alien vaccine holocaust conspiracy theory

        I’ve been writing about conspiracy theories over 20 years now. Indeed, my entry into skepticism and science-based medicine came in response to one of the most despicable conspiracy theories in existence, Holocaust denial. At the time, that conspiracy theory seemed on its face ridiculous enough to me, but, as I quickly learned as the 1990s drew to a close, it was held by a disturbing number of people, mostly in the support of admiration of Hitler and even outright fascism. Also, in the course of a few short years, deconstructing Holocaust denial led me to develop many of the skills that enabled me to start tackling alternative medicine and the antivaccine movement. Not long after, I witnessed for my first time the birth of a conspiracy theory, “9/11 Truth,” the conspiracy theory that it wasn’t jetliners that brought down the towers and that the attack was an “inside job,” in response to the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001. This conspiracy theory was soon followed by others, such as the anti-CDC Simpsonwood conspiracy theory first popularized by antivax leader Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in 2005 and the “CDC whistleblower” antivaccine conspiracy theory in 2014, which later led to Del Bigtree and Andrew Wakefield’s antivaccine propaganda movie disguised as a documentary, VAXXED. As a result of these experiences, I remain a bit of a connoisseur of conspiracy theories, the more ridiculous and outrageous the better, for the simple reason that nearly all science denialism, be it alternative medicine, the antivaccine movement, climate science “skepticism” (i.e., denial), “9/11 Truth,” Holocaust denial, creationism, or others, has at its heart one or more conspiracy theories. Little did I know that, two decades later, knowledge of conspiracy theories, how they originate, and how they spread would be so essential, which leads me to Mike Adams’ “Oblivion Agenda.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • 1Password for Linux desktop app now available in beta [Ed: So many puff pieces for proprietary software that is harvesting people's passwords. Are those sites paid to spew out bad recommendations that likely have undisclosed/undocumented back doors?]

            The popular password manager 1Password is now available for Linux users in beta version.

            Pegged for an official release in early 2021, the Linux release for 1Password – which has been used by Windows and Mac users for years – offers a “full-featured desktop app” where users can securely manage and store passwords and other important credentials, such as credit card information.

        • Security

          • U.S. Justice Department charges six Russian military intelligence officers in connection with worldwide cyberattacks

            The United States has accused six officers from the Main Directorate of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces (the GU, formerly known as the Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) of involvement in a series of large-scale cyberattacks. According to the indictment, these Russian nationals are all officers in Unit 74455, which has been linked repeatedly to hacker attacks in the past, including by Washington. The U.S. Justice Department released the names of the Russian military intelligence officers in question, identifying them as Yuri Andrienko, Sergey Detistov, Pavel Frolov, Anatoly Kovalev, Artem Ochichenko, and Pyotr Paliskin. All six have been charged formally already. The Justice Department noted that one of the accused — Anatoly Kovalev — is also a defendant in the case on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

          • Making the Grade with Linux and Cybersecurity at the Intelligent Edge

            As intelligent edge deployments accelerate, we have reached a crossroads where many are being forced to choose between the accessibility, ease of use, flexibility, and leading-edge capabilities of open source software and the safety and security of systems in the field. How we proceed has the potential to lead massive transformation in the embedded industry.

            “Using open source early in the proof-of-concept cycle means taking advantage of the rapid pace of open source innovation,” says Matt Jones, Chief Architect at Wind River. “Taking your solution to market comes with additional measures meant to protect your device throughout its lifecycle.”

          • Security updates for Thursday [LWN.net]

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (freetype2), Debian (bluez, firefox-esr, and freetype), Fedora (firefox), openSUSE (chromium), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (java-11-openjdk), Slackware (kernel), SUSE (freetype2, gnutls, kernel, php7, and tomcat), and Ubuntu (flightgear, italc, libapache2-mod-auth-mellon, libetpan, and php-imagick).

          • Snyk to automatically check Docker Official Images for security problems [Ed: ZDNet pushing FUD vendors again, ones connected to Microsoft]
          • OpenDev’s Gerrit deployment back online after suspected admin account compromise

            OpenDev.org’s Gerrit deployment has been restored after being taken offline following the detection of malicious activity on its repositories.

            The repositories were disabled two hours after project maintainers were alerted to a suspected security breach on Tuesday morning (October 20).
            “We believe an admin account in Gerrit was compromised allowing an attacker to escalate privileges within Gerrit,” said Clark Boylan in a service announcement issued later that day.
            “Around 02:00 UTC October 20 suspicious review activity was noticed, and we were made aware of it shortly afterwards.

            “The involved account was disabled and removed from privileged Gerrit groups. After further investigation we decided that we needed to stop the service, this happened at about 04:00 UTC.”

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The pylons have ears: Moscow allocates roughly $2 million for a new traffic-monitoring system that will capture the MAC-address from your mobile device

              In its efforts to manage and monitor the flow of human beings through the city, Moscow officials have experimented with mobile apps, QR codes, and telephone hotlines. Many of these systems have confused the elderly, overwhelmed operators, and frustrated virtually everyone. According to a new public contract reported in the Russian news media, the capital now plans to invest in a less intrusive technology that silently tracks traffic flows by logging background connections with random mobile devices. Meduza summarizes a new report by the newspaper Kommersant.

            • Peru’s Third Who Defends Your Data? Report: Stronger Commitments from ISPs, But Imbalances, and Gaps to Bridge.

              Hiperderecho, Peru’s leading digital rights organization, has launched today its third ¿Quién Defiende Tus Datos? (Who Defends you Data)–a report that seeks to hold telecom companies accountable for their users’ privacy. The new Peruvian edition shows improvements compared to 2019’s evaluation.

              Movistar and Claro commit to require a warrant for handing both users’ communications content and metadata to the government. The two companies also earned credit for defending user’s privacy in Congress or for challenging government requests. None scored any star last year in this category. Claro stands out with detailed law enforcement guidelines, including an explanatory chart for the procedures the company adopts before law enforcement requests for communications data. However, Claro should be more specific about the type of communications data covered by the guidelines. All companies have received full stars for their privacy policies, while only three did so in the previous report. Overall, Movistar and Claro are tied in the lead. Entel and Bitel lag, with the former bearing a slight advantage. 

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Free Speech

      • Jeffrey Toobin’s Zoom Dick Incident Is The Perfect Example Of Why We Need Section 230

        I know that it’s 2020 and the normal concepts no longer make any sense, but on Monday of this week, quite a story broke that spread quickly through the media world. CNN and New Yorker famed legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin was apparently suspended from both companies, after it was revealed that he was caught masturbating on a Zoom call with New Yorker colleagues, in which they were playing an election simulation game (that appears to be similar, but not identical to the election simulation game we created — though I swear that ours does not involve any masturbating legal analysts).

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Handling Trolls Invading A Community (1993)

        Summary: Before even the World Wide Web existed, Usenet was a popular gathering place for various niche communities to congregate. In many ways it was similar to what Reddit has become today, except that it was not controlled by any single company. Instead there were a number of newsgroups (like subreddits) and various news servers that could choose to carry whichever news groups they wanted.

      • Russia’s media watchdog says state TV airing leaked photos of historian’s underage foster daughter isn’t a rights violation

        Russia’s media and censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, has determined that the state television channel Rossiya didn’t violate the rights of historian Yuri Dmitriev’s underage foster daughter by airing nude photos of her leaked from a court case file, Karelia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner Gennady Saraev wrote on his page on the social media site Odnoklassniki.

      • Stupid Use Of Profanity Filter Makes A Mess Of Virtual Paleontologist Conference

        We’ve known for some time that the sorts of automated filters that get applied to various internet-y things are flawed in the extreme. But of all the filters that annoy me the most, profanity filters are the worst. And, no, it’s not just because I use curse words like commas. Rather, it’s the combination of just how badly this is used, such as how Google thought for years that “bisexual” was a naughty word, along side how nefarious actors can block all sorts of non-profane language just by calling it profane. Add to all of this that a total lack of nuance for identifying so-called “naughty words” regularly causes perfectly non-profane content to be blocked or censored and this all begins to look like an exercise worth giving up.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Labor, Land, and Legacy: What New Might We Grow in the Shell of the Old?

        Jersey City, N.J.—Our diasporic family lives between three places, at least figuratively: the United States, Ecuador, and Egypt. Ecuador was hit hardest by the pandemic in regions where migrants had returned home from Spain, bringing the virus with them. Images of dead bodies deserted in the streets of Guayaquil made my mom’s anxiety about Covid-19 soar. For weeks, my parents would not even walk Pechochito, their feisty Pomeranian, around the block. And so, I did what any loving (and newly unemployed) first-generation daughter would do: I took care of their grocery shopping, and their business; I became an interim landlord.

      • A Dilemma of Intimacy

        When I shaved my head in anticipation of chemotherapy, two things happened. First, just like that, I stopped looking like a woman. Second, I turned into a monk. My husband, peering in the mirror, said, “Hey, you look like a cute monk!” I am pretty sure the “cute” part came out of love, but the “monk” part, echoing my thoughts, struck me as a notable coincidence. In the spirit of camaraderie, he, too, shaved his head. But he did not look less male, nor did he look like a monk. Being tall and white, he looked… well, military. So there we were: the monk and the soldier.

      • ‘Exciting and Historical Moment’: Their Rights Restored, 67,000+ Former Felons Set to Vote in Florida Amid Record Early Turnout

        “There are thousands upon thousands of energized and inspired returning citizens throughout the state that will not be denied, that will be a voice, and will have an impact in determining who wins Florida.”

      • Using DOJ ‘to Crush a Victim,’ Barr Claims Trump Cannot Be Sued for Denying E. Jean Carroll’s Rape Accusation

        “There is not a single person in the United States—not the president and not anyone else—whose job description includes slandering women they sexually assaulted,” Carroll’s lawyers said. 

      • Report Details How Trump Downplays, Ignores Grave Human Rights Violations Around the World

        One expert accused the administration of “using all the tools at its disposal to undermine our asylum system.”

      • Best Wishes
      • DEA’s “Project Safeguard” Latest Salvo in Failed US War on Drugs

        “It is astonishing that in the midst of a pandemic and calls for police reform, the DEA is using the same old heavy-handed tactics to address a public health issue.”

      • Overdoses Are Skyrocketing During COVID-19. The DEA Is Making It Worse.

        Drug overdose deaths have seen an alarming spike as the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted treatment and aggravated the underlying causes of drug misuse, according to multiple data sources. Meanwhile, millions of people in the United States continue to face significant barriers to evidence-based addiction treatment as law enforcement restricts the supply of pharmaceutical opioids, forcing pain patients and drug users toward dangerous substitutes such as heroin and fentanyl that fuel high rates of fatal overdoses.

      • Confirmation Hearings Exposed Barrett as a Hardcore Rightwing Activist

        Her goal on the court will be to drive America back to the days before the New Deal and the civil rights movement.

      • We Can’t See Young Progressive Voters as a Monolith

        These dispatches are published as part of StudentNation’s “Vision 2020: Election Stories From the Next Generation,” reports from young journalists that center the concerns of diverse young voters. In this project, working with Dr. Sherri Williams, we recruited young journalists from different backgrounds to develop story ideas and reporting about their peers’ concerns ahead of the most important election of our lives. This is the final installment of the series.

      • Pope Francis Signals ‘Historic’ Shift for Catholic Church, Publicly Supporting Civil Unions for Same-Sex Couples

        The pope won praise for “pushing the Church into the 21st Century.”

      • Russian Cabinet rejects bill outlining changes to the Family Code impacting children’s and transgender rights

        Russia’s Government Commission on Legislative Activities has rejected conservative Senator Elena Mizulina’s draft law “aimed at strengthening the institution of the family.” The commission believes that the changes outlined in the bill would tip the balance “towards the rights of parents” at the expense of children’s rights. A draft of the cabinet’s decision was obtained by TASS on Tuesday, October 20.

      • Women’s Rights, No Strings Attached
      • Aaron Sorkin Sanitizes the Chicago 7

        I confess that I was disheartened when I first heard that Aaron Sorkin, best known as the creator of the TV show The West Wing, was writing and directing a film about the trial of the Chicago Seven. Although much celebrated not just for The West Wing but for his scripts for films like A Few Good Men (1992) and The Social Network (2010), Sorkin struck me as having the exact wrong sensibility for telling the story of radicals fighting the legal system. Spanning the years 1969 and 1970, the Chicago Seven trial involved the federal government trying to convict seven anti-war radicals (Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner) along with Black Panther leader Bobby Seale (whose case was eventually treated separately). All stood accused of fomenting riots during the 1968 Democratic convention. The trial was extremely controversial and polarizing, with many shocking moments, most notoriously when Judge Julius Hoffman ordered Seale shackled and gagged after the defendant repeatedly tried to represent himself in court.

      • EFF to Supreme Court: American Companies Complicit in Human Rights Abuses Abroad Should Be Held Accountable

        For years EFF has been calling for U.S. companies that act as “repressions little helpers” to be held accountable, and now we’re telling the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite all the ways that technology has been used as a force for good–connecting people around the world, giving voice to the less powerful, and facilitating knowledge sharing—technology has also been used as a force multiplier for repression and human rights violations, a dark side that cannot be denied.Today EFF filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to preserve one of the few tools of legal accountability that exist for companies that intentionally aid and abet foreign repression, the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). We told the court about what we and others have been seeing over the past decade or so: surveillance, communications, and database systems, just to name a few, have been used by foreign governments—with the full knowledge of and assistance by the U.S. companies selling those technologies—to spy on and track down activists, journalists, and religious minorities who have been imprisoned, tortured, and even killed.Specifically, we asked the Supreme Court today to rule that U.S. corporations can be sued by foreigners under the ATS and taken to court for aiding and abetting gross human rights abuses. The court is reviewing an ATS lawsuit brought by former child slaves from Côte d’Ivoire who claim two American companies, Nestle and Cargill, aided in abuse they suffered by providing financial support to cocoa farms they were forced to work at. The ATS allows noncitizens to bring a civil claim in U.S. federal court against a defendant that violated human rights laws. The companies are asking the court to rule that companies cannot be held accountable under the law, and that only individuals can.We were joined in the brief by the leading organizations tracking the sale of surveillance technology:  Access Now, Article 19, Privacy International, Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, and Ronald Deibert, director of Citizen Lab at University of Toronto. We told the court that the Nestle case does not just concern chocolate and children. The outcome will have profound implications for millions of Internet users and other citizens of countries around the world. Why? Because providing sophisticated surveillance and censorship products and services to foreign governments is big business for some American tech companies. The fact that their products are clearly being used for tools of oppression seems not to matter. Here are a few examples we cite in our brief:Cisco custom-built the so-called “Great Firewall” in China, also known as the “Golden Shield, which enables the government to conduct Internet surveillance and censorship against its citizens. Company documents have revealed that, as part of its marketing pitch to China, Cisco built a specific “Falun Gong module” into the Golden Shield that helped Chinese authorities efficiently identify and locate member of the Falun Gong religious minority, who were then apprehended and subjected to torture, forced conversion, and other human rights abuses. Falun Gong practitioners sued Cisco under the ATS in a case currently pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. EFF has filed briefs siding with the plaintiffs throughout the case.Ning Xinhua, a pro-democracy activist from China, just last month sued the successor companies, founder, and former CEO of Yahoo! Under the ATS for sharing his private emails with the Chinese government, which led to his arrest, imprisonment, and torture.Recently, the government of Belarus used technology from Sandvine, a U.S. network equipment company, to block much of the Internet during the disputed presidential election in August (the company canceled its contract with Belarus because of the censorship). The company’s technology is also used by Turkey, Syria, and Egypt against Internet users to redirect them to websites that contain spyware or block their access to political, human rights, and news contentWe also cited a case against IBM where we filed a brief in support of the plaintiffs, victims of apartheid, who sued under the ATS on claims that the tech giant aided and abetted the human rights abuses they suffered at the hands of the South African government. IBM created a customized computer-based national identification system that facilitated the “denationalization” of country’s Black population. Its customized technology enabled efficient identification, racial categorization, and forced segregation, furthering the systemic oppression of South Africa’s native population. Unfortunately the case was dismissed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  The Supreme Court has severely limited the scope of ATS in several rulings over the years. The court is now being asked to essentially grant immunity from the ATS to U.S. corporations. That would be a huge mistake. Companies that provide products and services to customers that clearly intend to, and do, use them to commit gross human rights abuses must be held accountable for their actions. We don’t think companies should be held liable just because their technologies ended up in the hands of governments that use them to hurt people. But when technology corporations custom-make products for governments that are plainly using them to commit human rights abuses, they cross a moral, ethical, and legal line.We urge the Supreme Court to hold that U.S. courts are open when a U.S. tech company decides to put profits over basic human rights, and people in foreign countries are seriously harmed or killed by those choices.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Our Latest Techdirt Greenhouse Panel: Broadband In The Age Of Covid

        Let’s be clear: despite ample rhetoric to the contrary, U.S. broadband has always been a mediocre mess. Despite decades of incalculable industry handouts and political lip service, 42 million Americans (double official FCC estimates) still lack access to any broadband whatsoever. 83 million Americans are trapped under a broadband monopoly. Tens of millions more Americans are stuck with a duopoly, usually a combination of a cable giant and a phone company unwilling to upgrade or even repair aging DSL lines because it’s not profitable, quickly enough, for Wall Street’s liking.

      • FCC Too Afraid To Go On Record To Truly Support Trump’s Dumb Attack On Social Media

        We’ve already discussed at length how the FCC’s support of Trump’s dumb attack on social media and Section 230 is some of the most blistering hypocrisy we’ve ever seen (and we’ve seen a lot). This was, you’ll recall, an agency that whined like a toddler for five straight years about how some fairly modest rules holding telecom monopolies accountable was somehow “government run amok,” yet has now pivoted gracelessly into supporting Trump’s dumb, likely unconstitutional effort to have the FCC police social media — despite having little to no authority to actually do so.

    • Monopolies

      • ‘Long Overdue’: Justice Department Sues Google in Antitrust Case

        The filing, announced Tuesday morning, accuses the tech giant of violating law to stifle competition.

      • Supporters Of Using Antitrust Against Big Tech Should Be Very Disappointed In How Weak The DOJ’s Case Is

        As you’ve already heard, the DOJ filed the long-expected antitrust case against Google earlier this week. Karl has already discussed how it appears to be a politicized weapon wielded by Attorney General Bill Barr to create a bogus culture war around how Trump is “taking on” big tech. Cathy has looked at one weird aspect of the case — how its own argument regarding trademark genericide actually cuts against the idea that Google is a monopoly.

      • Hague District Court grants cross-border preliminary injunction against Mylan in Novartis SPC battle

        Conventional wisdom says that the Dutch courts favour a pragmatic and commercial approach to patent litigation, allowing, where they can, patentees to effectively obtain cross-border injunctions against multiple defendants. In a recent decision dated 29 September 2020, the Hague District Court once again proved this conventional wisdom to be true.

        The Court’s decision imposes a pan-European preliminary injunction on three different Mylan entities for the infringement or facilitation of infringement of a Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) held by Novartis. There decision can be found here [in Dutch].

        The decision is interesting because of (1) the Court’s analysis of the interface between paediatric extensions, orphan drugs and SPC’s; (2) the Court’s finding that the holder of a market authorization (MA) and a parent company can be liable for tortious interference of patent infringement; and (3) the Court’s assumption of jurisdiction to impose cross-border relief against a foreign MA holder.

      • Trademarks

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