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Links 28/10/2020: FreeBSD 12.2, NixOS 20.09 and WordPress 5.6 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 10:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 3.1 pound System76 Galago Pro Linux laptop with Intel Tiger Lake coming soon

        The System76 Galago Pro is a thin and light laptop powered by either Ubuntu Linux or Pop!_OS, which is a custom Linux distribution developed by System76.

        While the company has been offering versions of the Galago Pro for a few years, the latest version will be one of the first System76 laptops sporting an 11th-gen Intel Core processor.

        The new Galago Pro is coming soon and it supports up to an Intel Core i701165G7 Tiger Lake processor with Intel Xe graphics. There’s also optional support for an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 discrete GPU.

    • Server

      • 4 best Raspberry Pi server distros

        Are you looking for a Linux server distribution to run on your Raspberry Pi? Can’t figure out what distribution to use? We can help! Follow along with this list as we talk about the 4 best Raspberry Pi server distros!

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Confronting Flatkill: The Case Against Flatpaks – YouTube

        Flatpaks are are very useful tool however, they’re not perfect and some people have taken it upon themselves to show off the problems that exist with them in this case this author discusses some of the security problems but they make a few very simple mistakes along the way.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.10 Released: Bigger Kernel Release Than Expected

        Linus Torvalds this week announced the first release candidate of version 5.10 of the Linux kernel (Linux 5.10-rcl), a release that also marks the end of the feature merge window for this EOY 2020 kernel. Version 5.10 should debut as stable by mid-December. This kernel will then be maintained under the Linux long-term support (LTS) program.

        “This looks to be a bigger release than I expected,” Torvalds said on the Linux kernel mailing list, “and while the merge window is smaller than the one for 5.8 was, it’s not a lot smaller.
        And 5.8 was our biggest release ever.”

        The merging window is a key part of the new kernel release process. Up to 1,000 patches are submitted by the developer community and merged every day into the mainline repository managed by Torvalds. A review process ensures that each patch implements a desirable change.

        Linux 5.9 to 5.10-rc1 added about 704k lines of new code and approximately 419k lines were deleted. By comparison, Linux 5.8 to 5.9-rc1 had 727k lines added and 270k deletions, and 5.7 to 5.8-rc1 had 973k lines added and 429k deletions (that was largest ever).

      • Linux 5.10 will be the next long-term support Linux kernel

        Even many Linux users aren’t aware that there are many different kinds of Linux kernels. Sure, there’s the eternal release candidate kernels, which Linus Torvalds is perpetually working on, but then there are the ones we use every day on our desktops, servers, and clouds. Of these, the most important one for hardware designers and programmers are the long-term support (LTS) kernels. So, when their chief maintainer, Linux kernel developer and leader Greg Kroah-Hartman, says, “#Linux 5.10 will be the next Longterm (aka LTS) #kernel (and thus supported for at least two years, but, in the end, it often is six).” It’s a big deal.

        There’s nothing that special about the forthcoming Linux 5.10 kernel. True, an ancient memory feature, which dates back to when 286 processors hummed inside out computers, have been taken out. But, so far, there are no important new features, such as Linux 5.6′s WireGuard, included. We can expect 5.10 to see the light of day in December 2020.

      • Bcachefs Linux File-System Sent Out For Review With Exciting Feature Progress

        Bcachefs has been developed for a half-decade now as the Linux file-system born out of the block cache “bcache” kernel code. Kent Overstreet continues spearheading the work and while it’s been quiet in recent months today he sent out a new round of Bcachefs patches for review on the Linux kernel mailing list.

        Bcachefs is a copy-on-write file-system aiming to compete with the likes of ZFS and Btrfs with features being worked on like Zstd/LZ4 compression, native encryption, advanced checksumming, support for multiple block devices RAID, and more.

        The on-disk format for Bcachefs has been firmed up for a while and last year saw core feature work being completed. Patches were sent out for review then albeit never mainlined while today the latest Bcachefs patches are out on the LKML.

    • Benchmarks

      • A Look At The Performance Improvements With System76 Pop!_OS 20.10

        At the end of last week System76 released Pop!_OS 20.10 as their customized distribution built atop Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla. For those curious here are some benchmarks of System76′s Pop!_OS 20.10 versus 20.04 using the Thelio Major with AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X and Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics.

        Pop!_OS 20.10 has similar key package versions to Ubuntu 20.10 for which it is based: the Linux 5.8 kernel is at play, GNOME Shell 3.38.1, X.Org Server 1.20.8 by default, Mesa 20.2.1, GCC 10.2, Python 3.8.6, and numerous other package updates.

    • Applications

      • Chemtool: Open-source Chemical Structure drawing program

        Chemtool is a lightweight application for drawing chemical structures like organic molecules. It’s originally written by Thomas Volk from Germany. Later on, more developers came to aid for development and code maintenance.


        The program is created for Linux X systems, it does not work on Windows or macOS.


        Chemtool is released under GNU General Public License.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to install CentOS 8 workstation

        CentOS is a rock-solid, reliable Linux distribution similar to Debian, but with RPMs and RedHat technology rather than DEB and Debian tech. It’s used a lot on servers, but did you know that you can also use it as a desktop Linux distribution?

      • Adding a USB Datastore and Creating a VM on ESXi on Arm — Virtualization Review

        I downloaded the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS iso and used SCP to copy it over to the USB drive on my ESXi server. I also used the host client to create a 3 vCPU, 2GB RAM VM on it.

        I started the VM, opened a console to it, and installed Ubuntu by using the defaults. This took longer than it did on my x86 servers, but it did get created nevertheless, and I was able to use the console and SSH to access it.

      • How to install Minecraft on Deepin 20 – YouTube
      • TCP Analysis with Wireshark | Linux Journal

        Transmission Control is an essential aspect of network activity and governs the behavior of many services we take for granted. When sending your emails or just browsing the web you are relying on TCP to send and receive your packets in a reliable fashion. Thanks to two DARPA scientists, Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn who developed TCP/IP in 1970, we have a specific set of rules that define how we communicate over a network. When Vinton and Bob first conceptualized TCP/IP, they set up a basic network topology and a device that can interface between two other hosts.

      • Do You Need a Boot Partition in Linux? – Make Tech Easier

        If you fire up a partitioning tool and point it at your hard disk drive, it’s quite probable you will see a small boot partition before everything else. It may only eat up a tiny fraction of your hard disk drive and not appear when actively using the computer. Is that partition essential? Can you delete it? Read on to find the answers to whether you need a dedicated boot partition on your Linux installation.

      • How To Install SQLite on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial we will show you how to install SQLite on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, as well as some extra required package by SQLite

      • How to Quickly Set Up a Mail Server on Ubuntu 20.04 with Modoboa

        Quickly set up your own email server on Ubuntu 20.04 with Modoboa, which is a free and open-source mail hosting and management platform designed to work with Postfix SMTP server and Dovecot IMAP/POP3 server.

      • How to install the Kubernetes dashboard > Tux-Techie

        The Kubernetes dashboard provides a way to manage your Kubernetes cluster from your browser. You can easily check CPU usage, memory usage, and overall health of your cluster with the dashboard. You can also deploy applications from the dashboard and much more. In this tutorial, we will show you how to install the Kubernetes dashboard on a cluster running in Ubuntu 20.04. We will also set up an admin account and log in to the dashboard with a token. Check out this article to learn how to set up a Kubernetes cluster.

      • Beginner’s guide to NGINX SSL CONFIGURATION – The Linux GURUS

        Security is one of the main concerns that needs to be addressed on priority for all applications or websites. All websites are required to have a valid SSL certificate installed in order to encrypt the data packets/traffic between users & websites. Even web browsers show a warning when we visit a website that does not have SSL certificate installed.

        In this tutorial, we will discuss how we can perform Nginx SSL configuration to configure a SSL certificate to secure our websites hosted on Nginx. So start the complete process for Nginx SSL configuration but let’s discuss the prerequisites first.

      • Pandora Client Pithos 1.5.1 Released [Ubuntu PPA] | UbuntuHandbook

        Pithos, native Pandora Radio client for Linux, released version 1.5.1 a day ago with minor bug-fixes and improvements.


        If you’re OK with the containerized flatpak package. Pithos 1.5.1 has been made into flathub.org for most Linux systems.

        For those prefer .deb package, the unofficial PPA is available for Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04, Linux Mint 20, Ubuntu 20.10.

    • Games

      • Godot Web export progress report #3

        Howdy Godotters! It’s-a me! Fabio! It is time for an update on the Godot export for the Web.

        In the last few months, a lot has been going on regarding the Godot export for the Web. Most of the enhancements mentioned in the previous report have now been merged into the master branch, and backported to 3.2 (included in 3.2.4 beta 1).

        This sadly does not yet include the virtual keyboard support, since implementing it without impacting the experience on touchscreen-enabled devices that also have a physical keyboard has proven harder than expected.

        There is great news, though, on the other topic mentioned in that report, which is… GDNative support on HTML5 exports!

        Additionally, a new prototype version of the Godot Web Editor is now available for you to try out.

      • Stadia Pro for November has Sniper Elite 4, Risk of Rain 2, Republique and new releases | GamingOnLinux

        Google has announced the latest set of Stadia Pro games, along with new titles about to release like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Watch Dogs: Legion. PLUS news of Ubisoft+ coming to Stadia soon.

        What is Stadia? A quick primer for people not following: it’s a game streaming service that uses Debian Linux under the hood along with the Vulkan graphics API. Playable on Linux in Chromium / Chrome browsers. You can either buy games, or subscribe to Stadia Pro to claim games each month (or do both).

      • Graveyard Keeper – Game Of Crone expansion is out now | GamingOnLinux

        Graveyard Keeper – Game Of Crone is an expansion to the medieval graveyard building and management sim that’s like a morbid take on Stardew. This fresh expansion adds in another bunch of hours (6-12 they said approximately) to play through, along with a whole new story to follow where you help a bunch of escaped prisoners build up a camp.

        “You’ll have to help the escaped prisoners of the Inquisition survive in the wilderness by providing them with everything they need. To develop their camp to a fortified settlement while keeping in mind its benefits. To protect those who entrusted you with their lives, from the sword and fire. And also – to untangle the circumstances of the cruel game, which turned into the Great Blast and the return of the Ancient Curse.”

      • Papercraft styled tactical-RPG ‘Wildermyth’ has a big new campaign out | GamingOnLinux

        Wildermyth is the character-driven, procedurally-generated tactical RPG with an art style resembling papercraft and it’s brilliant. Now it’s also bigger with a big campaign update out.

        In Wildermyth you play through various generated campaigns, each of which mixes things up like characters and events and so every play-through is different. You’re supposed to see it as something resembling a classic tabletop RPG experience. Mixing together a party-based RPG with overworld exploration, random events and tactical turn-based combat there’s a lot to love about it.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • NixOS 20.09 released

          Hey everyone, I’m Jonathan Ringer, one of the release managers for 20.09. As promised, the latest stable release is here: NixOS 20.09 “Nightingale”.


          Stabilization of the NixOS happens a month before planned release. The goal is to have as little as possible continuous integration (Hydra) jobs failing before the release is cut. While we would like to release on time, a high quality release is more important.

          Individuals who contributed to stabilizing this release: volth, Robert Scott, Tim Steinbach, WORLDofPEACE, Maximilian Bosch, Thomas Tuegel, Doron Behar, Vladimír Čunát, Jonathan Ringer, Maciej Krüger, and 190 others!

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD 12.2-RELEASE Announcement

          The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 12.2-RELEASE. This is the third release of the stable/12 branch.

        • October 2020

          27 October: FreeBSD 12.2-RELEASE is now available. Please be sure to check the Release Notes and Release Errata before installation for any late-breaking news and/or issues with 12.2. More information about FreeBSD releases can be found on the Release Information page.

        • FreeBSD 12.2 Released – Supports Linux In Jailed Environments, Better Hardware Support

          FreeBSD 12.2-RELEASE is now available as the latest feature and bug fix update to the FreeBSD 12 platform ahead of the expected FreeBSD 13.0 release around the end of Q1-2021.

          FreeBSD 12.2 brings with it many improvements to the stable code-base for this BSD operating system including the likes of:

          - The default LLVM Clang compiler toolchain and LLVM sub-projects updated against the 10.0.1 release.

        • This summer in KDE-FreeBSD | [bobulate]

          The FreeBSD project – which creates and publishes an operating system for a half-dozen machine architectures and packages and distributes about 40000 software products – has a quarterly report from all the various parts of that project: administration, sysadmin, ports and packages and specific technical highlights.

          One small part of that vast collection of moving parts is the KDE-FreeBSD initiative, which is also a part of the KDE community. KDE-FreeBSD is a kind of a bridge project, trying to make various bits fit together.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Mozilla Firefox updated to 82.0.1 » PCLinuxOS

          The Mozilla Firefox web browser has been updated to 82.0.1 which is a security and bug fix update. This package will appear as an update in your Synaptic Package Manager if you have Firefox installed.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora Linux 33 with GNOME 3.38 now available for PC and Raspberry Pi

          Last month, we told you about Fedora 33 Beta. This Linux distribution is significant for several reasons, including the fact that Linus Torvalds himself uses it. Yes, the father of Linux uses Fedora, and that is saying a lot. In fact, many expert-level Linux users choose Fedora because of its focus on truly free software.

          While it may not be ideal for all beginners, even those new to Linux may find Fedora to be a pleasing experience. I personally use it as my distro of choice, but I must confess that System76′s Pop!_OS keeps enticing me more and more nowadays. Despite my distro-hopping activities, Fedora remains the rock that I can always count on.

        • Fedora 33 released with lots of improvements to the Linux desktop | GamingOnLinux

          Sponsored by Red Hat, the Fedora Linux distribution has today released Fedora 33 which brings in numerous improvements for desktop users.

          For desktop users, Fedora Workstation is what you’re looking for if you want what they claim is a “just works” Linux experience. Fedora 33 pulls in GNOME 3.38 ‘Orbis’ which by itself is a pretty big upgrade, see our previous overview on that here. They’re also now using the BTRFS filesystem as the default, which is again quite a major change that includes lots of advanced features for those who want it but for desktop users it shouldn’t be a noticeable change. The Fedora team mention that the switch to BTRFS is laying the foundation to build upon in future releases.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Snap speed improvements with new compression algorithm!

          Security and performance are often mutually exclusive concepts. A great user experience is one that manages to blend the two in a way that does not compromise on robust, solid foundations of security on one hand, and a fast, responsive software interaction on the other.

          Snaps are self-contained applications, with layered security, and as a result, sometimes, they may have reduced perceived performance compared to those same applications offered via traditional Linux packaging mechanisms. We are well aware of this phenomenon, and we have invested significant effort and time in resolving any speed gaps, while keeping security in mind. Last year, we talked about improved snap startup times following fontconfig cache optimization. Now, we want to tell you about another major milestone – the use of a new compression algorithm for snaps offers 2-3x improvement in application startup times!

          LZO and XZ algorithms

          By default, snaps are packaged as a compressed, read-only squashfs filesystem using the XZ algorithm. This results in a high level of compression but consequently requires more processing power to uncompress and expand the filesystem for use. On the desktops, users may perceive this as a “slowness” – the time it takes for the application to launch. This is also far more noticeable on first launch only, before the application data is cached in memory. Subsequent launches are fast and typically, there’s little to no difference compared to traditionally packaged applications.

          To improve startup times, we decided to test a different algorithm – LZO – which offers lesser compression, but needs less processing power to complete the action.

          As a test case, we chose the Chromium browser (stable build, 85.X). We believe this is a highly representative case, for several reasons. One, the browser is a ubiquitous (and popular) application, with frequent usage, so any potential slowness is likely to be noticeable. Two, Chromium is a relatively large and complex application. Three, it is not part of any specific Linux desktop environment, which makes the testing independent and accurate.

          For comparison, the XZ-compressed snap weighs ~150 MB, whereas the one using the LZO compression is ~250 MB in size.

        • Canonical’s Snap Packaging Switching To LZO Compression For Faster Startup Times

          The Snap packaging / software deployment effort led by Canonical for Ubuntu and other distributions currently relies on XZ compression of the SquashFS-based archives while moving forward they are planning to make use of LZO compression. Snap’ing with LZO will result in faster startup-times at the cost of larger packages.

          LZO offers less compression abilities than XZ but has the benefit of being less taxing during decompression and thus faster. The Chromium browser Snap package, for example, is ~150MB with XZ compression but increases to ~250MB with the LZO packaged version.

        • Ubuntu Groovy Gorilla adds Raspberry Pi as a “first class citizen”

          Last week, Canonical released the latest intermediate version of Ubuntu, 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla”—which, for the first time, adds first-class platform support for the Raspberry Pi 4.
          Groovy Gorilla itself is a pretty typical interim release, offering an updated GNOME version (3.38) with lots of bugfixes and small feature additions, such as drag-and-drop organization of folders and shortcuts in the Applications grid. Support has also been added for Windows Active Directory in the Ubiquity OS installer itself.

          Canonical embraces the Pi

          While it has been possible for some time to install Ubuntu on Raspberry Pi hardware, up until now that has been strictly a community effort. The Pi itself ships with Raspberry Pi OS, a Debian-based distribution whose origins began with the Pi community, but which has since been officially adopted and supported by the Raspberry Pi Foundation itself. And while Canonical added the Pi as a supported platform in 20.04 Focal Fossa earlier this year, that support was only for the Ubuntu Server distribution—not Desktop.

          With 20.10 Groovy Gorilla, Canonical has added full desktop support for the Pi 4. Martin Wimpress, Canonical’s director of engineering for the Ubuntu Desktop, says this means the Pi is now a “first-class citizen.” Canonical guarantees the same level of integration, QA, and support from kernel to userspace that it does for an x86 PC. The entire Ubuntu software repository—save for specifically architecture-targeted packages, which start with names like i386—is available and supported on the Pi.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Delivers Linux Desktop on Raspberry Pi

          Ubuntu Desktop 20.10 is optimized for Raspberry Pi images and is the first release of Ubuntu for the desktop. Support for the Ubuntu server on the Raspberry Pi, however, has been available since the 20.04 LTS release. In addition to Raspberry Pi desktop support, Ubuntu 20.10 includes GNOME 3.38 and other features as outlined in the release notes.
          Ubuntu 20.10 includes Canonical’s micro cloud stack combines Metal-as-a-Service (MAAS), LXD, MicroK8s, and Ceph storage. MicroK8s 1.19 and LXD 4.6 are for resilient micro clouds, small clusters of servers providing VMs and Kubernetes on the edge. MicroK8s provides the ability to orchestrate workloads on the edge. LXD allows to build a home lab appliance with it’s clustering and VM capabilities that become available on the Raspberry Pi via Ubuntu desktop. It’s possible to do pretty much everything an average desktop user would expect on a Raspberry Pi 4.
          With a Raspberry Pi 4, a microSD card (8GB recommended) and a few other accessories it’s possible to install Ubuntu Desktop as outlined in the tutorial.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • CMS

        • News – WordPress 5.6 Beta 2 – WordPress.org

          WordPress 5.6 beta 2 is now available for testing!

          This software is still in development, so we recommend that you run this version on a test site.

        • News – Take the 2020 WordPress Annual Survey (and view the 2019 results)! – WordPress.org

          For many years, WordPress enthusiasts have filled out an annual survey to share their experiences and feelings about WordPress. Interesting results from this survey have been shared in the annual State of the Word address and/or here on WordPress News.

          This survey helps those who build WordPress understand more about how the software is used, and by whom. The survey also helps leaders in the WordPress open source project learn more about our contributors’ experience.

          To ensure that your WordPress experience is represented in the 2020 survey results,

          Take the 2020 Annual Survey! (English)
          You can also take the survey in French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish! The survey will be open for at least 6 weeks, and results will be posted on this blog.


          The WordPress Professionals group consists of those who: work for a company that designs/develops websites; use WordPress to build websites and/or blogs for others; design or develop themes, plugins, or other custom tools for WordPress sites; or are a designer, developer, or other web professional working with WordPress.

          This WordPress Professionals group is further divided into WordPress Company Pros (those who work for a company that designs/develops websites) and WordPress Freelancers/Hobbyists (all other professional types) subgroups.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • NASA ROSES-20 Amendment 64: Release of Final text of E.8 Supplemental Open Source Software Awards

            Supplemental open source software awards are used to encourage the conversion of legacy software into modern code to be released under a generally accepted, open source license (e.g., Apache-2, BSD-2-clause, GPL). The supplement would add a software component to their previously selected “parent” research and analysis award.

            ROSES-2020 Amendment 64 Releases Final text for E.8 Supplemental Open Source Software Awards. Notices of Intent are not requested. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis with a final due date of April 14, 2021.

      • Programming/Development

        • Qt 6 Additional Libraries via Package Manager

          With Qt 6 we want to provide more flexibility via leveraging a package manager in addition to Qt Online Installer. The new package manager functionality, based on conan.io (https://conan.io), allows providing more packages to the users without increasing the complexity of the baseline Qt. In addition to the packages provided by Qt, the package manager can be used for getting content from other sources.

        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • Equality vs Identity

            You’re probably already familiar with equality: that’s the == operator. identity uses the is operator.

          • Creating a Binary Search in Python – Real Python

            Binary search is a classic algorithm in computer science. It often comes up in programming contests and technical interviews. Implementing binary search turns out to be a challenging task, even when you understand the concept. Unless you’re curious or have a specific assignment, you should always leverage existing libraries to do a binary search in Python or any other language.

          • How to Set Axis Range (xlim, ylim) in Matplotlib

            Matplotlib is one of the most widely used data visualization libraries in Python. Much of Matplotlib’s popularity comes from its customization options – you can tweak just about any element from its hierarchy of objects.

            In this tutorial, we’ll take a look at how to set the axis range (xlim, ylim) in Matplotlib, to truncate or expand the view to specific limits.

          • On code isolation in Python | Artem Golubin

            I started learning Python in 2009, and I had a pretty challenging task and somewhat unusual use of Python. I was working on a desktop application that used PyQT for GUI and Python as the main language.

            To hide the code, I embedded Python interpreter into a standalone Windows executable. There are a lot of solutions to do so (e.g. pyinstaller, pyexe), and they all work similarly. They compile your Python scripts to bytecode files and bundle them with an interpreter into an executable. Compiling scripts down to bytecode makes it harder for people with bad intentions to get the source code and crack or hack your software. Bytecode has to be extracted from the executable and decompiled. It can also produce obfuscated code that is much harder to understand.

          • Python Software Foundation Fellow Members for Q3 2020

            It’s that time of year! Let us welcome the new PSF Fellows for Q3! T

        • Rust

          • Rust Lands Experimental Cranelift-Based Code Generator – Much Faster Debug Build Times – Phoronix

            Landing yesterday within the Rust code-base is the initial version of a Cranelift code generator back-end. By leveraging the Cranelift code generator that is developed as part of the Bytecode Alliance for WebAssembly, Rustc with Cranelift can experince much faster debug builds.

            The pull request adding rustc_codegen_cranelift as an alternative code generator for the Rust compiler has been merged. When compiling Rust code with the debug mode set, this has the potential of speeding up compile times by 20~30% compared to the debug mode LLVM builds.

  • Leftovers

    • ‘PEN15’ Is So Good It Hurts

      In 1998, the doll company American Girl published a cheerful guide to female puberty titled The Care and Keeping of You. The slim volume included sections on body hair, acne, bras, hygiene, peer pressure, and menstruation, as well as a helpful—if controversial—graphic explaining how to insert a tampon. “The more you know about your body, the less confusing and embarrassing growing up will seem—and the easier it will be to talk about,” read an introductory letter to readers.

    • Checking the Systems That Hold Us Back

      Lights are blinking. Alarms are blaring. The dashboard of our democracy is warning us that it is time to check our systems. That’s exactly what Melissa Harris-Perry, the Maya Angelou presidential chair at Wake Forest University and a longtime Nation contributor, and Dorian Warren, the president of Community Change and a Nation board member, are setting out to do with their new Nation podcast, System Check.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Amid Staff COVID Outbreak, Democrats Call on Pence to Stop Presiding Over Senate

        With multiple members of Vice President Mike Pence’s senior staff now confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus — and Senate Republicans scheduled to ram through the final confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as early as Monday afternoon or evening — Democratic leaders in the Senate are calling on Pence to forgo his plans to preside over the chamber in the name of public health and out of concern for all who work there.

      • Book McEnany Gave to Stahl on “60 Minutes” Contained No Actual Health Care Plan

        A large book that Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told “60 Minutes” host Lesley Stahl had contained President Donald Trump’s health care plan for his second term was, in fact, devoid of any such content.

      • How Coronavirus Exposed the Flaws of the Childcare Economy

        It is no coincidence that an industry dominated by women, particularly women of color (40 percent of childcare workers are women of color—twice their population representation) is in dire straits. The vast majority of childcare workers do not have health insurance. Many are self-employed and, even before the pandemic, operated on razor-thin margins to stay financially afloat. While the cost of operating a childcare center is fixed, children age out quickly, making revenues extremely unstable. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The businesses have little in the way of collateral. Banks are rarely interested in lending to them, beyond costly credit cards, making it difficult to ride out rough patches.”

        In other words, childcare is not a lucrative business in spite of its crucial nature, and while the cost of childcare for parents is often far too high, the cost of operating even a bare-bones childcare business is also too high.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • GitHub should stand up to the RIAA over youtube-dl

              Earlier this week, GitHub took down the repository for the youtube-dl project. This came in response to a request from the RIAA—the recording industry’s lobbying and harassment body. youtube-dl is a tool for downloading videos. The RIAA argued that this violates the anticircumvention protections of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). While GitHub taking down the repository and its forks is true to the principle of minimizing corporate risk, it’s the wrong choice.

              Microsoft—currently the world’s second-most valuable company with a market capitalization of $1.64 trillion—owns GitHub. If anyone is in a position to fight back on this, it’s Microsoft. Microsoft’s lawyers should have a one word answer to the RIAA’s request: “no”. (full disclosure: I own a small number of shares of Microsoft)


              We should also consider the risks of consolidation. git is a decentralized system. GitHub has essentially centralized it. Sure, many competitors exist, but GitHub has become the default place to host open source code projects. The fact that GitHub’s code is proprietary is immaterial to this point. A FOSS service would pose the same risk if it became the centralized service.

              I saw a quote on this discussion (which I can’t find now) that said “code is free, infrastructure is not.” And while projects self-hosting their code repository, issue tracker, etc may be philosophically appealing, that’s not realistic. Software-as-a-Service has lowered the barrier for starting projects, which is a good thing. But it doesn’t come without risk, which we are now seeing.

              I don’t know what the right answer is for this. I know the answer won’t be easy. But both this specific case and the general issues they highlight are important for us to think about.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday [LWN.net]

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (thunderbird), Fedora (createrepo_c, dnf-plugins-core, dnf-plugins-extras, librepo, livecd-tools, and pdns-recursor), openSUSE (firefox and mailman), Oracle (firefox), Red Hat (chromium-browser, java-1.8.0-openjdk, and Satellite 6.8), Scientific Linux (java-1.8.0-openjdk), SUSE (libvirt), and Ubuntu (blueman, firefox, mysql-5.7, mysql-8.0, php7.4, and ruby-kramdown).

    • Defence/Aggression

      • White House Gangster Wants to Avoid Nuclear-Armed Stigma

        Formal ratification of the new law — TPNW for short — is a nation’s binding promise “never under any circumstances … develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” The United Nations opened the TPNW for consideration by a vote of 122 to 2 in July 2017.

        A mere 90 days after the 50th nation state ratification, the TPNW will enter into force as international law, binding on countries that have seen it ratified.

      • There Are Anti-War Candidates

        CORI BUSH

        One is going to be Cori Bush from St. Louis who won her primary against a long-time incumbent. She’s recently tweeted the following:

      • Argentina’s Veteran Ambassador Makes a Stand for the Sovereignty of Latin America

        While waiting to go to Russia to take up this position, Castro was angered when Argentina’s government voted against Venezuela in the United Nations Council for Human Rights on October 6. She resigned from her post and made her resignation letter public. “Today,” Castro wrote, “I want to present my resignation as ambassador because I do not agree with the current foreign relations policy.”

        I spoke to Castro a week after she resigned from her position. She indicated to me that this was not a difficult decision. Rather, she would not have been able to serve her country’s government if she did not agree with its overall policy orientation toward its own sovereignty and the sovereignty of Latin America, the “Patria Grande” or the Great Homeland.

    • Environment

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Forests as Carbon Preserves

          In the face of climate change society must accelerate the storage of atmospheric carbon if we hope to slow and eventually reverse the worse effects of the climate crisis.  One of most effective and inexpensive ways store carbon is in our forests (Law et al. 2018).

          Yet we have many misinformed politicians, foresters and the US. Forest Service proposing that we log more forests based on the flawed assumptions that timber harvest will slow or preclude large blazes.

    • Finance

      • Lack of Paid Leave Makes Our Economy So Fragile: A Q&A With Heather Boushey

        Heather Boushey is the rare woman at the top of the economic field who also walks the halls of power. The president and cofounder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a D.C.-based, progressive-leaning economic think tank, in 2016 she was named chief economist for Hillary Clinton’s presidential transition team, and this election season, she’s been unofficially working with the Biden campaign as one of the Democratic candidate’s top economic advisers. The author of Unbound: How Economic Inequality Constricts Our Economy and What We Can Do About It and Finding Time: The Economics of Work-Life Conflict, Boushey is also a leading voice on issues like paid leave, child care, and economic inequality—issues that have morphed into full-blown crises during the Covid pandemic. We spoke about the ways she’s watched these issues evolve over the last decade and how the pandemic has accelerated calls for change.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Can Georgia’s Jon Ossoff Finish the Job This November?

        Georgia Democratic Senate challenger Jon Ossoff raised a whopping $21 million in the third quarter, but arguably two of his biggest in-kind contributions came from his opponent, Senator David Perdue. In late July, Perdue released an ad that enlarged the nose of Ossoff, who is Jewish, and linked him to Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and big money, which many people understandably saw as anti-Semitic. (Perdue’s campaign first denied the alteration, then blamed it on a vendor.) Then, last week, he mocked Kamala Harris’s name while introducing Donald Trump at a Macon rally—“KAH’-mah-lah? Kah-MAH’-lah? Kamala-mala-mala? I don’t know. Whatever,” he joked, to the crowd’s cheers. The nationwide backlash helped raise Ossoff almost $2 million in two days.

      • As Senate Dems Hold Talkathon in Protest, Warren Condemns GOP Vote on Barrett as ‘Last Gasp of a Desperate Party’

        Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others slammed the Republicans for prioritizing the judge’s confirmation over providing coronavirus relief for American families.

      • Trusted Demonologies: US Electoral Interference, the Proud Boys and Iran

        On some level, this standards to reason. In 1948, the United States, still flushed with victory, made a punchy bid to interfere with the outcome of the Italian elections. It was the Central Intelligence Agency’s first covert operation, and it was ignominiously undemocratic. As Walter Dowling, Italian desk officer at the US State Department urged in a memorandum in November 1946, the US had to become increasingly involved with Italian affairs, making itself “so pro-damned Italian that even the dumbest wop would sense the drift.” Being so damnably pro-Italian naturally meant being anti-communist. US intelligence officials got to work ensuring that the Italian Communist Party (PCI), allied with the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) were kept out of office in favour of Alcide De Gasperi. Contingency plans were laid for the prospect of US military intervention in the event of civil strife. After De Gasperi’s victory, covert US aid to Italy’s centrist parties continued into the 1960s.

        Hair splitting in these sorts of things is the order of the day. Chat in the land of political inference, especially when appraising the US role, focuses on how considerably different the meddling tends to be. “Unlike Russian electoral interference,” suggests Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, “US democracy promotion does not … favour particular candidates, or undercut the technical integrity of elections. On the whole, it seeks to help citizens exercise their basic political and civil rights.” Carothers had obviously forgotten Chile in all of this, along with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s infamous remarks about correcting the democratic choice of Chile’s voters.

      • Get Ready for the Eight Longest Days of Our Lives

        At long last, it stands before us: the Last Week, the longest week, 40 miles of bad road between what we don’t know and what we will find out once the 2020 election deal goes down. Every second drops with the bone-cracking slowness of a cat’s long, insouciant yawn. I find myself staring off into space for moments at a time, snapping back to the jittery stew of anticipation and dread roiling my gut. I am simply terrified, for a thousand reasons.

      • The Death and Life of Great American Newspapers

        On November 3, what is likely the most consequential election of my lifetime, I won’t be in a newsroom.

      • Progressive Democrats Sweep Rhode Island

        On September 8, the edifice of power that Rhode Island’s Democratic Party machine held over the statehouse was revealed to be a mostly empty facade. Rhode Island progressives ousted eight incumbents in the state’s Democratic primaries, and five more won open seats, forming one of the latest, and most sweeping, waves of primary challenges from the left to a state Democratic Party.

      • At UN, Iranian Foreign Minister Blames US War on Terror for ‘Countless Broken Societies’

        The Iranian foreign minister took at at the “eight violent wars that the United States initiated or joined since 2001.”

      • Whatever Happened to Left Solidarity?

        In 40 states, the vote for the Green presidential ticket determines whether the Green Party retains or gains ballot line for the next election cycle. In most states, it’s 1%, 2%, 3%, or 5%. But there is no support for the Green Party this year from these progressives. What happened to left solidarity?

        They have abandoned the idea that the best way for the left to fight the right is to build and fight with its own independent strength, advancing its own program under its own banner against two-capitalist-party system of corporate rule. Instead, they have responded to the rise of Trump by shifting to the right with him, telling the independent left to silence and disarm itself and back Biden, a man who would fit comfortably into the center-right parties of Europe.

      • Study Shows GOP Has Moved to Extreme Right Over Past 20 Years

        Is the Republican Party, under President Donald Trump’s leadership, veering toward authoritarianism? Many already believe that to be the case, but a newly-published study confirms that the GOP has moved in a decidedly autocratic direction over the past 20 years.

      • “Democratic” Means Social Equality

        “Democratic; of, characterized by, or advocating democracy” and later “believing in or practicing social equality”.

        Are all these countries who call themselves “democratic” practicing “the principles of social equality…”? As the 1%, the super rich, continue to grow richer while most of their people see their lives growing harder by the day can you call this “democracy”, “believing in or practicing social equality”? Hell no!

      • A New Constitution: What the United States Can Learn From Chile

        It is not often that a country gets to decide its destiny in one momentous election. I am thinking, of course, of the United States. But I am also thinking of the referendum in Chile, where, this past Sunday, the people of that country decided by a landslide—78.27 percent of those who voted—to give themselves a new Constitution and thereby drastically redefine the way they wished to be governed.1

      • Organizers Are Gearing Up to Resist Far Right Intimidation at Polls

        As the election approaches, progressives are experiencing a lot of fear and anxiety. Of course, a major fear — beyond Trump winning — is that he will lose but refuse to step down. But far right intimidation at the polls themselves, as well as pre- and post-election violence, are also possibilities — and progressive organizers are making plans for all of these scenarios.

      • Election Organizing: Know-Your-Rights and Legal Support | National Lawyers Guild

        This November, voters will turn out for a historic election taking place at the height of a global pandemic and economic downturn, which many are calling “the most important election in United States history.” The NLG views voting in this election as an action, and governors around the country have already started taking efforts to suppress voter turnout, largely in support of the Trump Administration which says that it will challenge election results if not re-elected, and aggressively crackdown on protests that result. Voters should be prepared for voter suppression on November 3rd, and activists should be aware of their rights.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • “I’m Gonna Die in Here”: Investigation Shows How Jails’ Privatized Healthcare Places Profit Over Prisoners, With Deadly Results

        A Reuters report found that inmates in jails with contracted medical services were more likely to die and suffer substandard care than those in facilities with publicly managed care. 

      • The Labor Movement Isn’t Ready to Expel Police Unions

        We do not need symbolic measures from organized labor that supposedly demonstrate opposition to police brutality and extrajudicial killings. We need concrete steps challenging oppression that are fully integrated into the trade union movement.

      • We Must Sever Law Enforcement From the Labor Movement

        The police were never supposed to have a union. In 1897 the American Federation of Labor, which would merge with the Congress of Industrial Organizations to form the AFL-CIO, rejected a petition from a group of Cleveland officers on the grounds that “It is not within the province of the trade union movement to especially organize policemen, no more than to organize militiamen, as both policemen and militiamen are often controlled by forces inimical to the labor movement.”

      • Cuba Responds to Pandemic, Blockade and New Economic Troubles

        The UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) reported in October that the region “is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a century” and that Cuba’s GDP this year will be down at least eight percent. Tourist income, remittances, foreign trade, and tax collections have fallen. Oil and gasoline shortages, the result of U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, have stressed the economy.

        Public spending on health care, unemployment compensation, and pensions is up; I50 000 state workers and 250,000 private sector workers have been idle. Effects of the U.S economic blockade compound matters with restrictions affecting the tourist industry, foreign imports, and access to foreign currency and loans.

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DecorWhat Else is New

  1. Links 17/1/2022: digiKam 7.5.0 and GhostBSD 22.01.12 Released

    Links for the day

  2. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 16, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 16, 2022

  3. Links 17/1/2022: postmarketOS 21.12 Service Pack 1 and Mumble 1.4 Released

    Links for the day

  4. [Meme] Gemini Space (or Geminispace): From 441 Working Capsules to 1,600 Working Capsules in Just 12 Months

    Gemini space now boasts 1,600 working capsules, a massive growth compared to last January, as we noted the other day (1,600 is now official)

  5. [Meme] European Patent Office Space

    The EPO maintains a culture of illegal surveillance, inherited from Benoît Battistelli and taken to a whole new level by António Campinos

  6. Gemini Rings (Like Webrings) and Shared Spaces in Geminspace

    Much like the Web of 20+ years ago, Gemini lets online communities — real communities (not abused tenants, groomed to be ‘monetised’ like in Facebook or Flickr) — form networks, guilds, and rings

  7. Links 16/1/2022: Latte Dock 0.11 and librest 0.9.0

    Links for the day

  8. The Corporate Cabal (and Spy Agencies-Enabled Monopolies) Engages in Raiding of the Free Software Community and Hacker Culture

    In an overt attack on the people who actually did all the work — the geeks who built excellent software to be gradually privatised through the Linux Foundation (a sort of price-fixing and openwashing cartel for shared interests of proprietary software firms) — is receiving more widespread condemnation; even the OSI has been bribed to become a part-time Microsoft outsourcer as organisations are easier to corrupt than communities

  9. EPO's Web Site Constantly Spammed by Lies About Privacy While EPO Breaks the Law and Outsources Data to the United States

    The António Campinos-led EPO works for imperialism, it not only protects the rich; sadly, António’s father isn’t alive anymore and surely he would blast his son for doing what he does to progress his career while lying to staff and European citizens

  10. Links 16/1/2022: Tsunami and Patents

    Links for the day

  11. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 15, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 15, 2022

  12. Links 16/1/2022: Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop and Catch-up With Patent Misinformation

    Links for the day

  13. Patrick Breyer, Unlike Most German Politicians, Highlights the Fact That Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent Are Incompatible With EU Law

    A longtime critic of EPO abuses (under both Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos leadership), as well as a vocal critic of software patents, steps in to point out the very obvious

  14. Links 15/1/2022: Flameshot 11.0 and Libvirt 8.0

    Links for the day

  15. Blogging and Microblogging in Geminispace With Gemini Protocol

    Writing one’s thoughts and other things in Geminispace — even without setting up a Gemini server — is totally possible; gateways and services do exist for this purpose

  16. Links 15/1/2022: Raspberry Pi in Business

    Links for the day

  17. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 14, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, January 14, 2022

  18. Gemini Clients: Comparing Moonlander, Telescope, Amfora, Kristall, and Lagrange (Newer and Older)

    There are many independent implementations of clients (similar to Web browsers) that deal with Gemini protocol and today we compare them visually, using Techrights as a test case/capsule

  19. 2022 Starts With Censorship of Christmas and Other Greetings at the EPO

    The nihilists who run the EPO want a monopoly on holiday greetings; to make matters worse, they’re censoring staff representatives in their intranet whilst inconsistently applying said policies

  20. Links 14/1/2022: FFmpeg 5.0 and Wine 7.0 RC6

    Links for the day

  21. White House Asking Proprietary Software Companies That Add NSA Back Doors About Their Views on 'Open Source' Security

    The US government wants us to think that in order to tackle security issues we need to reach out to the collective 'wisdom' of the very culprits who created the security mess in the first place (even by intention, for imperialistic objectives)

  22. Links 14/1/2022: EasyOS 3.2.1 and Qt 6.3 Alpha

    Links for the day

  23. Scientific Excellence and the Debian Social Contract

    The Debian Project turns 30 next year; in spite of it being so ubiquitous (most of the important distros of GNU/Linux are based on Debian) it is suffering growing pains and some of that boils down to corporate cash and toxic, deeply divisive politics

  24. Links 14/1/2022: openSUSE Leap 15.2 EoL, VFX Designers Are Using GNU/Linux

    Links for the day

  25. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 13, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 13, 2022

  26. 2022 Commences With Microsoft-Themed (and Microsoft-Connected) FUD Against GNU/Linux

    A psychopathic Microsoft, aided by operatives inside the mainstream and so-called 'tech' media, keeps spreading old and invalid stigma about "Linux" and Free software; few people still bother responding to these fact-free FUD campaigns, which boil down to ‘perception management’ PR/propaganda

  27. Between January 2021 and January 2022 the Number of Active Gemini Capsules Nearly Quadrupled Based on Publicly-Available Catalogue of Capsules

    Geminispace has grown to about 2,000 known capsules and 1,600 of them are active, permanently online, fully accessible; in January last year these numbers were about 4 times smaller

  28. Links 13/1/2022: NetworkManager 1.34 and Everett 3.0.0

    Links for the day

  29. Links 13/1/2022: Sparky 5.16, Fwupd 1.7.4, and KDE Plasma 5.24 Beta Released

    Links for the day

  30. Call a Spade a Spade (Microsoft 'Contributions' to Linux)

    Call a spade a spade; Microsoft does not love Linux and doesn’t try to help Linux, as it’s still all about Windows and proprietary software with surveillance, back doors, and worse things

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