10.30.20

Links 31/10/2020: KDE on Hugo, NetBSD Moves From TWM to CTWM

Posted in News Roundup at 8:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The General Purpose Computer In Your Pocket – Purism

        Computers have us surrounded. Just about every piece of consumer electronics these days puts “smart” in front of the name, which means they embedded a computer that runs specialized software. The “smart” trend started with “smartphones” which marketers started calling cellular phones once they got powerful enough processors to run a general-purpose operating system and applications. The name “smartphone” was intended to differentiate them from “feature phones” which had a limited set of additional applications (calculator, SMS application, possibly a music player or a limited web browser). Feature phones were designed to make phone calls and send text messages, but smartphones were actually general-purpose computers that happened to have a phone and SMS application on them.

        Today, a majority of people hardly ever use their smartphone as a phone and instead use it to chat, browse the web, and run applications–the same things they do on their desktop or laptop computers. Your smartphone is a pocket-sized general-purpose computer that’s more powerful than desktop computers from not that long ago, yet smartphones are prevented from realizing their full potential, are still marketed as special-purpose computers, and most people think of them that way. Why?

        One of the neatest tricks Big Tech ever pulled was convincing people that phones weren’t general-purpose computers and should have different rules than laptops or desktops. These rules conveniently give the vendor more control so that you don’t own a smartphone so much as you rent it. Now that the public has accepted these new rules for phones, vendors are starting to apply the same rules to laptops and desktops.

        [...]

        When you bought a computer starting in the `90s you generally expected to get operating system upgrades for the life of the computer. In the Windows world you normally could upgrade to the next version of Windows years later, and you’d only replace hardware after the OS upgrades and applications got so bloated (along with the spyware) that the computer was too slow to use. Of course, those “slow” computers then got a new life for many more years after installing Linux on them.

        Now imagine a computer that only lasted two or three years, after which you would no longer get OS and security updates. Even though the hardware was still fast enough to run the OS, if you cared about security you’d be forced to upgrade. That’s the situation we have with Android phones today. If you are lucky your vendor will let you update to the next version of Android at least once, and receive general updates for two years or three years. If you are unlucky your device may never upgrade to the next Android OS. Even flagship Google phones only promise OS updates three years from the date the phone first was sold and security updates for only 18 months after they stop selling a device. For instance, at the time of this article, Pixel 2 owners just lost guaranteed OS and security updates.

      • Mac vs PC: The next major tech shift | INTHEBLACK

        There is another option for those with older systems – or even new Intel-based systems for that matter: move to Linux. This OS powers about 70 per cent of the world’s web servers. It is popular among software developers and other high-end users, though its overall share of desktop and laptop computers is tiny. Yet, this does not mean Linux is just for experts.

        Linux is free and open-source, with large communities of developers that provide regular updates. As a result, it is efficient, secure and offers plenty of choices, with hundreds of different versions (called “distributions”) available.

        Linux wasn’t always the friendliest OS to install and use, but mainstream distributions, such as Ubuntu and Fedora, are now much easier to install. There’s a choice of graphical user interfaces to choose from, including Elementary OS’s macOS-like experience. For those with old systems, the lightweight Ubuntu variant Xubuntu is one of many options. Businesses that need fast, guaranteed support can pay for it from the likes of Red Hat Linux.

        There are thousands of Linux applications to choose from. Many, such as office suite LibreOffice, either come bundled with distributions or are easy to install via “repositories”. Alternatively, a Linux tool called WINE can run many Windows apps – or you can dual-boot Linux with Windows or macOS.

        There is no denying that Windows and macOS users will face a learning curve, but at least they can try Linux first. Many versions are available as “live distributions”, meaning you can run them off a USB stick or DVD. Then, if you like one, you can install it on your computer. Just remember to back up your files first.

        Alternatively, you can buy a laptop or computer with Linux pre-installed from a speciality provider, such as Purism or Linux Now. Lenovo also has announced greater support for Linux on its systems.

    • Server

      • Simply NUC mini data center > Tux-Techie

        Simply NUC, a leader in the minicomputer industry, has entered the data center market. The Simply NUC mini data center provides an Intel Xeon E-2286M processor, 350GB of system memory, and a 2 TB NVMe SSD. All of this power weighs in at 5 pounds with 5-liter chassis and has a typical power consumption of 200 watts. The systems ship with Ubuntu Linux installed and fully configured. To learn more about their offerings, you can check out their page here.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Oracle Continues Building DTrace For Linux Atop BPF

        More than a decade ago Linux users tended to be envious of Sun Microsystems’ Solaris for ZFS and DTrace as the two most interesting technical selling points of the platform. In that time OpenZFS is now extremely vibrant for offering ZFS on BSD and Linux systems while DTrace is barely brought up these days. This tracing framework originally developed for Solaris was fantastic back in the day but over the years Linux has stepped up its game with various efforts. Now as we hit the end of 2020, Oracle engineers continue working on bringing better DTrace support to Linux.

        In recent years Oracle has been working on DTrace for Linux with a focus on DTrace for Oracle Linux / its “Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel”. Their kernel-side work has never been upstreamed and while they do have a GitHub repository its usage doesn’t seem to be very prevalent outside of the Oracle ecosystem.

      • Linux 5.10 Will Be a Long-Term Support Kernel

        Linux kernel developer and maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced that “#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).”

      • The Arm64 memory tagging extension in Linux [LWN.net]

        One of the first features merged for the 5.10 kernel development cycle was support for the Arm v8.5 memory tagging extension [PDF]. By adding a “key” value to pointers, this mechanism enables the automated detection of a wide range of memory-safety issues. The result should be safer and more secure code — once support for the feature shows up in actual hardware.
        As one might expect, the Arm64 architecture uses 64-bit pointers to address memory. There is no need (yet!) for an address space that large, though, so normally only 48 of those bits are actually used by the hardware — or 52 bits if a special large-address-space option is enabled. So there are 12-16 bits that can be used for other purposes. Arm systems have long supported a “top byte ignore” feature that allows software to store arbitrary data in the uppermost byte of a virtual address, but the hardware designers have been busy coming up with other uses for those bits as well. The memory tagging extension (MTE) is one of those uses.

        Specifically, MTE allows the storage of a four-bit “key” in bits 59-56 of a virtual address — the lower “nibble” of the top byte. It is also possible to associate a specific key value with one or more 16-byte ranges of memory. When a pointer is dereferenced, the key stored in the pointer itself is compared to that associated with the memory the pointer references; if the two do not match, a trap may be raised. Keys can be managed by the application, or they can be randomly generated by the CPU.

        Four bits only allow for 16 distinct key values, but that is enough to do some interesting things. If a function like malloc() ensures that allocations that are adjacent in memory have different key values, then an access that overruns any given allocation will be detected by the processor. Use-after-free bugs can be detected by changing the key value immediately when a range of memory is freed. If each stack frame is given its own key, buffer overruns on the stack will also generate traps. An attempt to dereference a completely wild pointer (or one injected by an attacker) also has a good chance of being detected.

      • 5.10 Merge window, part 1 [LWN.net]

        As of this writing, 7,153 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline Git repository for the 5.10 release — over a period of four days. This development cycle is clearly off to a strong start. Read on for an overview of the significant changes merged thus far for the 5.10 kernel release.

      • Intel’s Cloud-Hypervisor 0.11 Adds Windows Guest Support

        Intel has a shiny new feature release out of their open-source Cloud-Hypervisor that runs atop KVM and leveraging the Rust programming language.

        Cloud-Hypervisor 0.11 comes with some prominent improvements for this increasingly used component in the open-source Linux virtualization stack. As mentioned, even Microsoft has been working with Cloud-Hypervisor among other IHVs and ISVs.

      • Linux Frame-Buffer Console To Drop Accelerated Scrolling Since It’s Full Of Bugs – Phoronix

        The Linux kernel’s frame-buffer console (FBCON) is set to drop accelerated scrolling support since it isn’t widely used and now found to be “full of bugs” plaguing the code-base.

        Google’s Syzbot that continuously fuzzes the Linux kernel using Syzkaller recently began fuzzing the FBCON code within the kernel. As a result of that exposure, the developers are now well aware with “solid proof that it’s full of bugs.”

        The best solution from the developer perspective has been to delete the code / faulty features, such as with the recent deleting of soft scrollback support. Given the use-cases for FBCON and only a few drivers supporting accelerated scrolling, it’s the latest feature now slated for removal.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 out now, along with the 455.38 Linux driver

          After a delay, NVIDIA have now released the next-gen GeForce RTX 3070 along with a brand new Linux driver. The delay was supposed to give retailers more time to sort stock, and as expected they all sold out very quickly, most stores sold out within an hour. Trying to buy a new GPU on release day continues to be something of a fools errand.

          The GeForce 3070 is the current lowest end of Ampere, although we’ve seen leaks that other models will be coming which is expected just like they’ve done for all other generations. Although, you might want to check out what AMD just revealed with the Radeon 6000 series too.

        • Mesa 20.3 Lands Rewritten AMD Zen L3 Cache Optimization – Phoronix

          You may recall going back to 2018 that well known open-source AMD Mesa driver developer Marek Olsak was working on Mesa optimizations around the AMD Zen architecture. In particular, better handling of Mesa for Zen’s L3 cache design. A rewritten implementation of that has now landed along with some other improvements.

          Marek discovered his L3 cache topology code was incorrect and ended up rewriting it to “make Mesa on my AMD CPU faster.” The code is catering to AMD Ryzen processors but it’s also possible Xeon / multi-CPU systems could employ a similar optimization should anyone be interested in pursuing it.

        • RadeonSI Lands Optimization For Uber Shaders – Phoronix

          On top of the AMD Zen L3 cache optimizations hitting Mesa 20.3 today, Marek Olšák has also landed his RadeonSI Gallium3D driver code for optimizing OpenGL uber shaders.

          Marek added a “inline_uniforms” DriConf option to the RadeonSI driver that implements inlinable uniforms.

        • Intel starts publishing Vulkan Linux driver

          Intel’s open-source developers have begun publishing their patches enabling their “ANC” Vulkan Linux driver to support Vulkan ray-tracing.

          [...]

          Intel’s other big-ticket items still to come in the near-term include extending the ANV driver to support compiling and dispatching OpenCL kernels, new SPIR-V capabilities, and generic pointer support.

          Also needed is the actual support for compiling ray-tracing pipelines, managing acceleration structures, dispatching rays, and the platform support.

          Intel is not going to go much further until the Khronos Group has firmed up their VK_KHR_ray_tracing extension. However some of this Intel-specific Vulkan ray-tracing code may prove useful to Mesa’s Radeon Vulkan “RADV” driver as well.

        • Intel Compute-Runtime 20.43.18277 Brings Alder Lake Support – Phoronix

          Intel Compute-Runtime 20.43.18277 is out this morning as the latest version of the company’s open-source graphics compute stack for HD/UHD/Iris/Xe Graphics on Linux with OpenCL and oneAPI Level Zero support.

          It was the previous Compute-Runtime release two weeks back that brought OpenCL 3.0 for Broadwell through Ice Lake with Gen12/Tigerlake having already seen CL 3.0 support as a new platform. That OpenCL 3.0 support is in good shape with this latest release and the stack remains at a “pre-release” level for its oneAPI Level Zero 1.0 support.

        • llvmpipe is OpenGL 4.5 conformant.

          (I just sent the below email to mesa3d developer list).

          Just to let everyone know, a month ago I submitted the 20.2 llvmpipe
          driver for OpenGL 4.5 conformance under the SPI/X.org umbrella, and it
          is now official[1].

          Thanks to everyone who helped me drive this forward, and to all the
          contributors both to llvmpipe and the general Mesa stack that enabled
          this.

          Big shout out to Roland Scheidegger for helping review the mountain of
          patches I produced in this effort.

          My next plans involved submitting lavapipe for Vulkan 1.0, it’s at 99%
          or so CTS, but there are line drawing, sampler accuracy and some snorm
          blending failure I have to work out.
          I also ran the OpenCL 3.0 conformance suite against clover/llvmpipe
          yesterday and have some vague hopes of driving that to some sort of
          completion.

          (for GL 4.6 only texture anisotropy is really missing, I’ve got
          patches for SPIR-V support, in case someone was feeling adventurous).

          Dave.

        • LLVMpipe Is Now Officially Conformant With OpenGL 4.5

          Beginning with Mesa 20.2 is OpenGL 4.5 support for LLVMpipe, the LLVM-based software rasterizer built as a Gallium3D driver. This succeeded LLVMpipe for years being limited to OpenGL 3.3. While the OpenGL 4.5 support has been enabled for weeks, The Khronos Group has now officially confirmed its implementation.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Invalidation

          I’ve got a lot of exciting stuff in the pipe now, but for today I’m just going to talk a bit about resource invalidation: what it is, when it happens, and why it’s important.

          [...]

          Resource invalidation can occur in a number of scenarios, but the most common is when unsetting a buffer’s data, as in the above example. The other main case for it is replacing the data of a buffer that’s in use for another operation. In such a case, the backing buffer can be replaced to avoid forcing a sync in the command stream which will stall the application’s processing. There’s some other cases for this as well, like glInvalidateFramebuffer and glDiscardFramebufferEXT, but the primary usage that I’m interested in is buffers.

          [...]

          Currently, as of today’s mainline zink codebase, we have struct zink_resource to represent a resource for either a buffer or an image. One struct zink_resource represents exactly one VkBuffer or VkImage, and there’s some passable lifetime tracking that I’ve written to guarantee that these Vulkan objects persist through the various command buffers that they’re associated with.

          Each struct zink_resource is, as is the way of Gallium drivers, also a struct pipe_resource, which is tracked by Gallium. Because of this, struct zink_resource objects themselves cannot be invalidated in order to avoid breaking Gallium, and instead only the inner Vulkan objects themselves can be replaced.

    • Applications

      • 8 Best Free and Open Source Linux Documentation Generators

        documentation generator is a programming tool that generates documentation intended for programmers and end users, from a set of commented source code files, and in certain cases, binary files.

        This type of tool is designed especially for programmers who do not like writing documents with LibreOffice Writer or other types of word processor.

        By using these open source tools, developers can produce high quality technical documentation within a few minutes, and at no cost at all.

        To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 8 advanced Linux documentation generators. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to generate documentation.

      • asciiworld – world map depicted in ASCII

        One of the great strengths of Linux is the whole raft of weird and wonderful open source utilities. That strength does not simply derive from the functionality they offer, but from the synergy generated by using them together, sometimes in conjunction with applications.

        The UNIX philosophy spawned a “software tools” movement which focused on developing concise, basic, clear, modular and extensible code that can be used for other projects. This philosophy remains an important element for many Linux projects.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to install FL Studio 20 on a Chromebook with Crossover 20

        Today we are looking at how to install FL Studio 20 on a Chromebook with Crossover 20. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

        This tutorial will only work on Chromebooks with an Intel or AMD CPU (with Linux Apps Support) and not those with an ARM64 architecture CPU.

      • [Older] LFCS System Performance

        With every system, especially servers, there is a need to find performance issues. The way to find the issues is to determine your system performance and monitor it over time. Seeing where and when issues arise can help you find solutions to the issues.

        If issues arise for low performance for a Network Interface Card (NIC), then you need to look into increasing network bandwidth to the system or even Load-Balancing among multiple systems. If issues occur at a specific time of day, then you may need to change the time of specific jobs. Certain system jobs may be occurring at intervals too closely together. Spreading out automated tasks or jobs can alleviate the system stress placed on a machine.

      • How to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.10

        Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla is out now! It’s an exciting new release with a lot to love, like QR code WiFi sharing, improved fingerprint login support, better Thunderbolt port support, and much more!

        In this guide, we’ll go over how to upgrade your Ubuntu 20.04 LTS system to the new Ubuntu 20.10. However, before we begin, please make a backup of your system, as it’s always good to have a backup before attempting a system upgrade.

      • How To Install Apache Ant on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Apache Ant on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Apache Ant™ is a Java library and command-line tool whose mission is to drive processes described in build files as targets and extension points dependent upon each other. The main known usage of Ant is the build of Java applications. Ant supplies a number of built-in tasks allowing to compile, assemble, test, and run Java applications. Ant can also be used effectively to build non-Java applications, for instance, C or C++ applications. More generally, Ant can be used to pilot any type of process which can be described in terms of targets and tasks.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of Apache Ant on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to install MongoDB Community Edition on Linux

        Mongo DB Community is the free edition of the Mongo database software. The Community edition is an excellent option for those that don’t want to pay for the “Enterprise” edition but still want to use excellent database software.

      • How to Install Jira Agile Project Management Tool on Ubuntu 20.04

        JIRA is a project management tool developed by Atlassian which is used as an issue and bug-tracking system. It is a commercial tool and available as a Trial version for a limited time. You can use JIRA in Support and Customer Services to create tickets and track the status of the created tickets. It comes with a simple and user-friendly dashboard that helps you to track work progress and issues. It offers a rich set of features including, Bugs and defect management, Advanced reporting, Search and filtering, Customizable workflows, Customizable dashboards, Advanced security and administration and many more.

      • How to Install YOURLS self-hosted URL shortener on CentOS 8

        YOURLS is a free, open-source and self-hosted URL shortener written in PHP. It is very similar to TinyURL or Bitly and allows you to run your own URL shortening service. It also allows you to add branding to your short URLs. It offers a rich set of features including, Private and Public link, Custom URL keywords, Historical click reports, Ajaxed interface, Jsonp support and many more.
        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install YOURLS on CentOS 8 with Let’s Encrypt SSL.

      • Display Network Information In Linux Using What IP Tool – OSTechNix

        What IP is a simple graphical application used to display network information in Linux operating systems. Using What IP, anyone can easily find the IP address of local, public and virtual network interfaces. You can copy their IP addresses with a single mouse click.

        Not just the IP address, What IP can also get you the list of available ports listening on your system, and check if they are publicly accessible. In addition, it lists the network devices on your LAN.

        Another notable feature is it displays your geolocation based on the IP address. All details are displayed in a compact and simple graphical interface!

        What IP is an open source application written using Python 3 and GTK3 widget toolkit. The source code is freely available in GitLab under GPL3 license.

      • Vdx – An Intuitive Commandline Wrapper To FFmpeg – OSTechNix

        Vdx is an intuitive commandline wrapper to FFmpeg. Using Vdx, we can do most common audio and video encoding and transcoding operations.

      • Using the Midnight Commander to browse Linux directories | Network World

        Midnight Commander – the “mc” command – provides an easy way to browse directories and to view, move, delete, compare, change and edit files. Similar in some ways to ranger, mc makes it easy to move around directories and offers side-by-side file/directory listings that work independently of each other. In addition, it provides a very wide range of actions that you can take through simple menu choices.

        To start Midnight Commander, simply type “mc” in a terminal window. When you open mc, both the left and right sides of the display will look the same and will show the contents of whatever directory you started in. You can switch sides using the tab key or simply by clicking on a directory or file in the side of the display. You can select a file or directory simply by clicking on it. You can also browse directory contents using the up and down arrow keys.

      • Tricks and treats for sysadmins and ops | Enable Sysadmin

        Are you ready for the scary technology tricks that can haunt you as a sysadmin? Here are five treats to counter those tricks.

      • repair all mySQL/mariaDB databases
      • How to install Ubuntu Kylin 20.10 – YouTube

        In this video, I am going to show how to install Ubuntu Kylin 20.10.

      • How to Quickly Set Up a Mail Server on Debian 10 Buster With Modoboa

        Setting up a mail server on Linux from scratch is a pain in the neck. This tutorial is going to show you how to quickly set up your own email server on Debian 10 Buster with Modoboa, saving you lots of time and headaches. Modoboa is a free and open-source mail hosting and management platform designed to work with Postfix SMTP server and Dovecot IMAP/POP3 server.

        Modoboa is written in Python, released under the terms of ISC license. At the time of writing, The latest version is v1.16.0, released on October 5, 2020.

      • How to install and use Atom editor on CentOS 8 [Ed: caution needed as Microsoft-controlled]

        Atom is an open-source and free source code text editor that is used for macOS, Microsoft Windows, Linux, and provide support to different plug-ins written in Node.js. It has an embedded Git control that is developed by GitHub. It is a desktop-based application built using various web technologies.

      • How to Install Xubuntu 20.04 LTS on VMware Workstation – SysAdmin

        This video tutorial shows how to install Xubuntu 20.04 LTS on VMware Workstation step by step. This tutorial is also helpful to install Xubuntu 20.04 LTS on physical computer or laptop hardware.

      • How to use Unison to sync files on Linux machines across a network – TechRepublic

        With Linux there are so many ways to synchronize and/or backup files over a network. For many, rsync and scp are the de facto standard. There is, of course, another option–one you’ve likely never heard of. That option is Unison, a free, open source, cross-platform bi-directional file sync tool. Unison is used to store two replicas that are modified separately and brought up-to-date by propagating changes to each store.

        Unison is capable of synching directories on a local system or across a network. I want to show you how to use this tool and SSH to sync a directory on one Linux server to another. It’s incredibly simple to use and even has a GUI that can also be installed, for those who prefer graphical tools over the command line. I’ll be illustrating the command line version of Unison on two instances of Ubuntu Server.

      • Ansible Playbook: Complete Beginners’s Guide

        In the previous tutorial, you learned how to use Ansible ad-hoc commands to run a single task on your managed hosts. In this tutorial, you will learn how to automate multiple tasks on your managed hosts by creating and running Ansible playbooks.

        To better understand the differences between Ansible ad-hoc command and Ansible playbooks; you can think of Ansible ad-hoc commands as Linux commands and playbooks as bash scripts.

        Ansible ad-hoc commands are ideal to perform tasks that are not executed frequently such us getting servers uptime, retrieving system information, etc.

      • How To Install XAMPP on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install XAMPP on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, XAMPP is open-source software that provides users with an out-of-the-box server experience. It is a complex, yet very easy-to-use AMPP (Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Perl) distribution that’s compatible with the Linux, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X operating systems. The best tool for those who want to install a fully functional web development environment.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of XAMPP on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to rebase to Fedora 33 on Silverblue – Fedora Magazine

        Silverblue is an operating system for your desktop built on Fedora. It’s excellent for daily use, development, and container-based workflows. It offers numerous advantages such as being able to roll back in case of any problems. If you want to update to Fedora 33 on your Silverblue system, this article tells you how. It not only shows you what to do, but also how to revert things if something unforeseen happens.

    • Games

      • Developer Brings Shadow of the Tomb Raider to Ubuntu, Outperforms DX11 In Windows 10 | Tom’s Hardware

        Feral Interactive, a company that brings windows games to Mac and Linux, has implemented its magic on Square Unix’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider and has it working in Ubuntu via the Vulkan API. YouTuber Penguin Recordings has compared performance results for both the Ubuntu and Windows 10 platforms side-by-side. The results are quite interesting.

        Because Linux cannot support any type of DirectX API, as it’s Microsoft-only, Feral Interactive has to use the Vulkan API to actively translate DX11 and/or DX12 calls to make them work on Linux. Fortunately, this method does work rather well, but performance will usually be slower than native DirectX due to the translation process.

        Spec-wise, Penguin uses a Ryzen 9 3950X alongside a GeForce RTX 3090 with 32GB of RAM to run his tests.

        Surprisingly, in DX12 mode for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Feral’s Linux version of the game could keep up with the Windows 10 platform quite well. Averaging between two to seven fps (and 10 fps above 100 fps) short of the Windows 10 version. The frame rate difference is so small it would be hard to notice without an fps counter visible.

      • Difficult retro platformer Angry Video Game Nerd I & II Deluxe out now | GamingOnLinux

        Leaning heavily into nostalgia and something of a parody, the very difficult platformer series Angry Video Game Nerd has been re-released as a enhanced Angry Video Game Nerd I & II Deluxe.

        Truthfully, I’ve never followed Angry Video Game Nerd but they have a pretty clear cult following and they were a huge influence on the early lot of on-video game reviews being one of the first set of people to do it. They somewhat set the stage for the many thousands of others doing them regularly across YouTube and other sites today. There was even an Angry Video Game Nerd movie…

      • Amnesia: Rebirth 1.1 is out, along with major rendering fixes for Linux | GamingOnLinux

        Frictional Games have released Amnesia: Rebirth 1.1 which is a very important upgrade for Linux fans as it fixes up some major problems.

        At the release, sadly the game was something of a mess for Linux with floating objects and at times everything vanishing. Thankfully, it seems the Linux graphical issues have been fully solved and you should now be able to play through. Nicely timed here by Frictional for Halloween.

      • Come watch a Linux game get built up and packed during the Linux Application Summit | GamingOnLinux

        As we mentioned previously the Linux Application Summit will be happening online this November 12 – 14, and it seems one Linux game porter will be attending.

        The event, sponsored by open source consulting firm Collabora (who are doing some important Linux Kernel work for Windows game emulation) and co-hosted by the GNOME and KDE camps will be showing lots of panels on everything involving building for Linux and this includes: creating, packaging, and distributing apps, to monetization within the Linux ecosystem and much more.

        Game porter and FNA creator Ethan Lee, has announced a talk titled “Watch a Linux Game Get Built in Real Time”. Ethan Lee is responsible for over 50 Linux game ports including the likes of FEZ, Salt and Sanctuary, Pyre, Transistor, Dust: An Elysian Tail and the list goes on. During this talk happening on November 12, Ethan Lee will be showing how they all actually get built mentioning on Twitter that “There is no presentation, no slides, no nothing. Just me building games exactly as they run on your PC today”.

      • Valve put their ‘Pressure Vessel’ container source for Linux games up on GitLab | GamingOnLinux

        Want to see the dirty innards of more Valve code? Well you’re in luck as they now have a lot of work involved in the Steam Runtime on GitLab including the Pressure Vessel container.

        Valve has for some time now had their own GitHub account, which is where they listed many different open source projects like GameNetworkingSockets, Proton and more. However, they’ve now added a bunch of other projects to their own hosted GitLab.

        You can now find the steamrt group on their GitLab, which contains projects for various parts of the Steam Linux Runtime, including the source for the much newer Pressure Vessel container system which according to Valve contractor Timothee Besset on Twitter was previously “only available as a tarball release” from their download servers.

      • Atari VCS seeing supply shortages, not expecting full production until early 2021 | GamingOnLinux

        Here we go again, how many delays have we seen now? This time the Atari VCS team are saying that it’s so popular they don’t have enough components.

        Reminder: the Atari VCS is a modern-retro hybrid console, that runs a Linux OS and it can have any other operating system of your choice boot up on it. Originally crowdfunded on IndieGoGo in 2018 with multiple millions, it’s relying on some pretty heavy nostalgia.

        In a fresh Medium blog post, the team mentioned that they’re now looking at full retail production in January 2021. Instead of late October for the first lot of deliveries for backers, they’ve also now pushed that back further into mid-November. They said two issues have caused part of this which is a “critical” and “very scarce component” needed for the Classic Joystick along with “a specific part” needed for their AMD Ryzen CPU that they appear to be looking around to find more sources for. The January 2021 date still might not be hit, as they say they’re “assuming” what they need arrives in time and in the full quantity they need.

      • This Halloween the Diretide event has finally returned to Dota 2 | GamingOnLinux

        Live now until December 22, Valve have finally revived and refreshed the big Diretide Halloween event for Dota 2.

        I almost can’t believe it, as this event hasn’t been run for 7 years. After the original event in 2012, there was something of an uproar in the Dota 2 community when it seemed Valve wouldn’t do it in 2013 but they eventually did. After that though? Nothing and it became almost a myth. It’s back though!

      • Awesome 3D emulator for the NES ’3dSen PC’ adds more iconic game support | GamingOnLinux

        Still can’t believe my eyes as I try out games with 3dSen PC, with it converting classic NES games into 3D and it just feels like magic.

        Currently in Early Access, this amazing emulator is truly like no other. In real-time it converts your favourites into full 3D with a properly adjustable camera. In action it’s pretty incredible to see and far more than a fun gimmick, it really does make games look and feel different.

        Due to how it works, game support is limited as each needs to be setup so that 3dSen PC can understand what it needs although the list is growing. As of the latest release the developer has hooked up official profiles for Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Solomon’s Key and Fire ‘n Ice.

      • The Sacrifices is an upcoming collection of seven interconnected stories set in Britain | GamingOnLinux

        Game dev studio Far Few Giants have announced The Sacrifices, a set of seven narrative adventures set in Britain.

        These short adventures are all connected in some way too, and the idea is that each of them put you into the “everyday lives of a diverse range of people as they navigate the toughest ethical moment of their life”. A politically charged set of games touching on immigration, extremism and more with it being made as “a direct response to the dystopian times we’re living in”.

      • Difficulty retro platformer Angry Video Game Nerd I & II Deluxe out now | GamingOnLinux

        Leaning heavily into nostalgia and something of a parody, the very difficult platformer series Angry Video Game Nerd has been re-released as a enhanced Angry Video Game Nerd I & II Deluxe.

        Truthfully, I’ve never followed Angry Video Game Nerd but they have a pretty clear cult following and they were a huge influence on the early lot of on-video game reviews being one of the first set of people to do it. They somewhat set the stage for the many thousands of others doing them regularly across YouTube and other sites today. There was even an Angry Video Game Nerd movie…

        Anyway, they had two episodes of a difficult retro platformer out that have been bundled together, remastered and upgraded with new content in the Angry Video Game Nerd I & II Deluxe edition out now.

      • Monochrome RPG is channelling 1920s animation into a comedy adventure | GamingOnLinux

        This is seriously cool. Monochrome RPG is an upcoming comedy adventure about a lone comedian with an art and animation style that looks like a 1920s animation.

        Monochrome RPG, they say, is a “pun-filled black and white 1920s cartoon-styled comedy narrative adventure series where you’ll perform on stage, entertain enemies, and build your own acting troupe”. In development by
        The Monochrome Workshop, they’re a global group of creatives working on it together while commissioning various others to work on different parts too.

      • Steam Halloween Sale is now live, along with multiple game events | GamingOnLinux

        Running until November 2 at 5PM UTC, the Steam Halloween Sale event is now live. There’s plenty of great games going cheap, and multiple games running special events too.

      • WHAT THE GOLF? parody game is now available for Linux | GamingOnLinux

        After being exclusive to the Epic Games Store (which doesn’t support Linux) for a year, WHAT THE GOLF? is now available on Steam. As of October 22 the Steam release went up, and since October 29 a proper Linux build has been put up too. This means that developer Triband has now completed what was originally promises on their Fig crowdfunding campaign from back in 2018.

        What actually is it? Well, it’s anything but Golf. Sort of, it’s something of a parody game made by “people who know nothing about golf” and it actually looks highly amusing.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Sugar: A Linux Desktop Environment and Learning Platform for Kids

        In this Desktop Environment review, we take a departure from the norm and focus on a very specialized desktop environment. Sugar is a desktop environment that’s designed for education and ease of use and is built very well for what it is. This articles goes over the Sugar Desktop Environment, its user experience, some notable features, and some recommendations on who should use Sugar.

        From the start, it is very obvious that Sugar is very specialized. I’m using the Fedora SoaS (Sugar on a Stick) Spin, which is designed to just be flashed to a USB stick and used that way, but the point stands. It’s clearly specialized and made to be used a particular way. Icons are large, the cursor is enormous, and it’s supposed to be easy to use for a young child.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • [Krita artist David REVOY] Where money goes?

          I used already the earning of the first 735 books sold to renew my computer (1100€ budget). I’ll detail the config I bought in a future blog-post (after I received and test it).

        • David REVOY: 1000!
        • Digital Painting App Krita 4.4.1 Released with Stability Improvements

          Just a few weeks after the release of Krita 4.4, the first point release Krita 4.4.1 now is out with various bug-fixes and stability improvements.

          For Android and Chrome OS, Krita now uses SDK v29 so it doesn’t need permissions to run anymore and can access external files more easily. There are also fixes to color picker, copy and paste on the platforms.

          [...]

          The Krita Lime PPA (check the link before getting started) contains the most recent software packages for Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04, and Ubuntu 20.10.

        • KDE.org migrated to Hugo

          KDE.org now uses the Hugo. Hugo is a fast and modern static site generator written in Go. It provides a few improvements over the old system that was using plain PHP. A large part of the work was done by Anuj during GSoC 2020. This was a massive work, converting the repository storing more than 20 years of KDE history.

          The website is now generated once and no longer use PHP to generate itself at runtime. This improves the loading speed of the website, but the speed boost is not significant, since the PHP code used before was quite small and KDE’s servers are powerful.

          But the biggest improvement is in terms of features. We are now working with markdown files instead of raw HTML files, this makes the life of the promo team much easier.

          The internalization of the website now creates a unique URL per language, this should allow Google to link to the version of the website using the correct language. A french, ukrainian, catalan, Dutch, and a few more languages are already available. There is also a proper language selector! We also don’t need to manually tag each string for translations.

        • KDE Plasma 5.20.2, bugfix Release for October

          Today KDE releases a bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.20.2 Plasma 5.20 was released in October 2020 with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience.

        • Resource management in KDE

          Edmundson started by explaining that the job of a desktop environment is deliver applications to the user. Users “need to be in control”, he said. That role has become more complicated in recent years. Some time ago, when a user was running a web browser like Firefox or a chat application like Kopete, the management of running processes was easy. The user could run a ps command and would see just one line of output for each of those applications. This was easy to understand and self-explanatory.

          Now, the situation is “very different”. When a user opens a Firefox instance they can get a dozen processes; Discord in a Flatpak (“because it is cool now”) launches 13 processes. The ps output is unreadable; it consists of “random names doing random things”. Just understanding that output is difficult; aggregating the results to get an idea of how much CPU time or power the application is using has become even more challenging. There is thus a need to track processes properly in desktop environments, since the available data no longer means anything. We “need some metadata”, Edmundson concluded.

          Fairness is also an increasingly important issue. Edmundson gave an example of Krita, an advanced graphics application. It performs some heavy processing, all contained within a single process. On the other hand, Discord has those 13 processes, many of which will be making heavy use of the CPU “because it is written in Electron”. The system’s CPU scheduler will see those two applications as 14 opaque processes, not knowing what they correspond to. This means that Krita could get only 1/14 of the available CPU time, even though it represents half of the applications running. Metadata about running applications needs to propagate through the whole software stack to be available to the scheduler, he said.

          One of Plasma’s tasks is mapping windows to applications. More precisely, it tries to map windows to their associated desktop files — the configuration files containing metadata that are used, for example, to create menu entries. Applications open windows and “we hope we can match it all up”. The Plasma developers use a lot of hacks and heuristics to perform this matching, but “we do not like guessing”, he said. He made an example of a Firefox window being used to watch an Akademy talk like his. There is an audio icon inside that window, but this icon is not managed by the same process as the one controlling the outer window, he explained. Plasma needs to find the link between them, and “it is an arbitrary guessing game”.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Daniel Pocock: Lockdown: surviving small spaces

          With all conferences cancelled this year, one of the things I decided to do was trying an online course. After the first week, I was having trouble sleeping at night, with pain at the back of my eyes. I was almost going to give up. I made various adjustments to dramatically reduce lighting. I already had my monitor permanently in the mode for Low Blue Light. I combined this with the GNOME desktop’s Night Light mode and configured smart bulbs in my home to run dimmer and redder. After these changes, I feel the problem was almost immediately resolved.

          [...]

          With record numbers of people being infected, dying or simply losing jobs, the idea of throwing a party may not be the most sensitive thing to do. Nonetheless, if you do want to recreate the feeling of going out to a bar or nightclub, it has never been easier or cheaper to do so with various technologies you can buy online.

          Once again, the key theme is lighting. Smart bulbs can be configured for gradual changes throughout the work day. Some bulbs can be configured for more advanced effects coupled with music. One of my lights is a LED panel that can simulate a disco, candlelight, thunderstorm or even a police car to make the night complete. This means it can be anything from a night club in Berlin to a local pub in Ireland.

          For sound, seeking a larger diameter speaker sometimes makes a dramatic impact. A pair of oversized vintage speakers from an op-shop may produce better sound than the built-in speakers of most modern laptops, monitors and flat screen TVs.

          Once you’ve conquered light and sound, it is time for taste. An Air Fryer can make chips and there are plenty of recipes suitable for any level of cooking skills. Some of the best models are not available in every store and most of them are a lot cheaper online anyway. While they sound like a jet engine, there is no evidence that Air Fryers have been used in the astronaut diet.

        • Claudio Saavedra’s ChangeLog – October 2020

          In this line of work, we all stumble at least once upon a problem that turns out to be extremely elusive and very tricky to narrow down and solve. If we’re lucky, we might have everything at our disposal to diagnose the problem but sometimes that’s not the case – and in embedded development it’s often not the case. Add to the mix proprietary drivers, lack of debugging symbols, a bug that’s very hard to reproduce under a controlled environment, and weeks in partial confinement due to a pandemic and what you have is better described as a very long lucid nightmare. Thankfully, even the worst of nightmares end when morning comes, even if sometimes morning might be several days away. And when the fix to the problem is in an inimaginable place, the story is definitely one worth telling.

          [...]

          It all started with one of Igalia’s customers deploying a WPE WebKit-based browser in their embedded devices. Their CI infrastructure had detected a problem caused when the browser was tasked with creating a new webview (in layman terms, you can imagine that to be the same as opening a new tab in your browser). Occasionally, this view would never load, causing ongoing tests to fail. For some reason, the test failure had a reproducibility of ~75% in the CI environment, but during manual testing it would occur with less than a 1% of probability. For reasons that are beyond the scope of this post, the CI infrastructure was not reachable in a way that would allow to have access to running processes in order to diagnose the problem more easily. So with only logs at hand and less than a 1/100 chances of reproducing the bug myself, I set to debug this problem locally.

          [...]

          Something that is worth mentioning before we move on is how the WPEBackend-fdo Wayland display integrates with the system. This display is a nested display, with each web view a client, while it is itself a client of the system’s Wayland display. This can be a bit confusing if you’re not very familiar with how Wayland works, but fortunately there is good documentation about Wayland elsewhere.

          The way that the Wayland display in the UI process of a WPEWebKit browser is integrated with the rest of the program, when it uses WPEBackend-fdo, is through the GLib main event loop. Wayland itself has an event loop implementation for servers, but for a GLib-powered application it can be useful to use GLib’s and integrate Wayland’s event processing with the different stages of the GLib main loop. That is precisely how WPEBackend-fdo is handling its clients’ events. As discussed earlier, when a new client is created a pair of connected sockets are created and one end is given to Wayland to control communication with the client. GSourceFunc functions are used to integrate Wayland with the application main loop. In these functions, we make sure that whenever there are pending messages to be sent to clients, those are sent, and whenever any of the client sockets has pending data to be read, Wayland reads from them, and to dispatch the events that might be necessary in response to the incoming data. And here is where things start getting really strange, because after doing a bit of fprintf()-powered debugging inside the Wayland-GSourceFuncs functions, it became clear that the Wayland events from the clients were never dispatched, because the dispatch() GSourceFunc was not being called, as if there was nothing coming from any Wayland client. But how is that possible, if we already know that the web process client is actually trying to get the Wayland registry?

          To move forward, one needs to understand how the GLib main loop works, in particular, with Unix file descriptor sources. A very brief summary of this is that, during an iteration of the main loop, GLib will poll file descriptors to see if there are any interesting events to be reported back to their respective sources, in which case the sources will decide whether to trigger the dispatch() phase. A simple source might decide in its dispatch() method to directly read or write from/to the file descriptor; a Wayland display source (as in our case), will call wl_event_loop_dispatch() to do this for us. However, if the source doesn’t find any interesting events, or if the source decides that it doesn’t want to handle them, the dispatch() invocation will not happen. More on the GLib main event loop in its API documentation.

        • GSoD Weekly Summary 6

          Since last week, I have been working on the GNOME calculator app and I spent most of my time writing the docs for the different calculator modes.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • NetBSD Switched Its Default Window Manager From TWM to CTWM

          NetBSD is one of the oldest BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution)-based Unix-like free and open-source operating systems. For more than two decades, it is still actively developed for several platforms such as servers, desktops, and embedded systems.

          From the beginning, NetBSD featured the X11 windowing system with the “classic” default window manager of TWM (Tab Window Manager). But now, the team has switched its default window manager from TWM to CTWM (Claude’s Tab Window Manager) in NetBSD-current.

          If you don’t know, NetBSD-current is a nightly distribution of the latest NetBSD development branch, which includes the latest features along with experimental changes and bugs.

        • Various software updates in FreeBSD

          On an average day, I make use of a few dozen or more Open Source projects, and contribute to one or two (notably Calamares and KDE, but it varies wildly). When I wear my FreeBSD packaging hat, I tend to drive-by contribute to many more projects because there’s compatibility or C++-style fixes to apply. And I try to keep up with releases, some of which I’ll highlight here.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Zoom updated to 5.4.53350.1027 » PCLinuxOS

          Zoom, the cloud meeting company, unifies cloud video conferencing, simple online meetings, and group messaging into one easy-to-use platform. Our solution offers the best video, audio, and screen-sharing experience across Zoom Rooms, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and H.323/SIP room systems.

        • Opera Browser updated to 72.0.3815.186 » PCLinuxOS

          Opera is a multi-platform web browser for Microsoft Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, and Linux operating systems developed by Opera Software. Opera is a Chromium-based browser using the Blink layout engine. It distinguishes itself from other browsers through its user interface and other features.

        • Calibre updated to 5.4.1 » PCLinuxOS

          Calibre is a cross-platform open-source suite of e-book software. Calibre supports organizing existing e-books into virtual libraries, displaying, editing, creating and converting e-books, as well as syncing e-books with a variety of e-readers. Editing books is supported for EPUB and AZW3 formats.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE Enterprise Storage 7 – new horizons – SUSE Communities

          If data is the lifeblood of the modern business, then storage must be its heart. The preservation, safeguarding and management of exponentially growing volumes of data on a budget is one of the biggest business challenges today. Companies require scalable, robust and reliable storage solutions to retain their competitive edge.

          At SUSE, we are committed to delivering the best and latest technology to customers, and turn enterprise IT infrastructure into powerful tools that support your business growth and protect your data assets. In line with our focus on innovation and unwavering commitment to helping you succeed now while preparing you for the future, today we announce the highly anticipated release of SUSE Enterprise Storage 7 – one of the first industry products and leading enterprise-grade solutions based on the Ceph Octopus release.

          SUSE has been deeply involved in this release. Our engineers led the community development of its two major management modules, cephadm and the new dashboard graphic interface.

        • Digest of YaST Development Sprint 111 | YaST

          Another development sprint ended for the YaST Team this week. This time we have fewer news than usual about new features in YaST… and the reason for that may surprise you. Turns out a significant part of the YaST Team has been studying the internals of Cockpit in an attempt to use our systems management knowledge to help to improve the Cockpit support for (open)SUSE.

          But that doesn’t mean we have fully stopped the development of YaST and other parts of the installation process.

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/44 – Dominique a.k.a. DimStar (Dim*)

          Week 44 brought, among many other things, an upgrade to Kernel 5.9.1. The feedback I had seen so far was good, so people can still do their work.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • IBM Red Hat vs. SUSE: How do these Linux distributions stack up?

          IBM Red Hat and SUSE are the leading vendors in the open source enterprise Linux market, but how do these two builds compare?

          Learn the history of IBM Red Hat vs. SUSE and compare numerous criteria — including the architectures each supports and how each distribution addresses the learning curve — as well as product support offerings, pricing and certifications.

          Like other Linux distributions, RHEL and SUSE both support a comprehensive set of commands. When comparing these two distributions, it’s worth noting that, although some commands are common to all Linux distributions, IBM Red Hat and SUSE also have their own command sets. Additionally, the commands these Linux distributions support tend to evolve over time.

          [...]

          Like any Linux distribution, SLES has a significant learning curve, particularly for those who are new to Linux OSes. However, SUSE does offer comprehensive training resources, including online and in-person classes.

          SLES is sold as a one- or three-year subscription. The subscription cost is based on the number of sockets or VMs, the architecture and the support option the organization selects. A one-year subscription for an x86/x64 OS running on one to two sockets or one to two VMs with Standard support starts at $799.

          SUSE offers two support options: Standard and Priority. Its Standard support plan includes assistance with software upgrades and updates, as well as unlimited technical support via chat, phone or web. Support is available 12 hours per day, five days per week, with a two-hour response time for Severity 1 issues and a four-hour response time for Severity 2 issues.

        • Upgrading to Fedora 33: Removing Your Old Swap File on EFI Machine | Groveronline

          Fedora 33 adds a compressed-memory-based swap device using zram. Cool! Now you can remove your old swap device, if you were a curmudgeon like me and even had one in the first place.

        • Fedora program update: 2020-44 – Fedora Community Blog

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. Fedora 33 was released on Tuesday! Join us for the virtual release party. Election nominations are open through 11 November.

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

        • Container Security Explained
        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.3 adds roles, tunings, profiles, app streams, containers. That’s it.

          The world’s favourite grown-up headgear-themed Linux distro, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, has reached version 8.3, Red Hat has announced. Identical in most respects to 8.2, the new version adds pre-packaged configuration, compliance and container options to ease the daily toil of devops in the modern IT environment.

          There are new Red Hat System Roles, which guide and automate OS configurations to speed installation by what RH charitably describes as those with ‘a wider range of skill sets’. New roles now include kernel settings, log settings, SAP HANA, SAP NetWeaver and management.Tuned, a set of pre-configured, architecture-aware performance profiles, has also been updated.

        • RHEL 8.3 updates target digital transformation

          With an eye toward easing digital transformation projects, the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux includes improved container tools, new security profiles and the addition of several System Roles, including ones for kernel settings, SAP HANA and NetWeaver.

          Red Hat also improved RHEL performance, adding updates to Tuned, which is a set of pre-configured profiles. Tuned allows IT shops to take better advantage of Red Hat’s multi-architecture, enabling software to run faster across a number of different hardware architectures. Also, Red Hat Insights continues to remain available by default for RHEL systems. As part of version 8.3, Red Hat added administrator views specifically for SAP HANA deployments.

          System Roles makes both common and complex RHEL configurations more consistent and accessible to a wider range of IT skillsets in large organizations.

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.3 Announced With Updated AppStream

          Exactly three months after the beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.3, the Red Hat team has now announced a new stable version of the RHEL 8 platform called RHEL 8.3.

          The latest stable release aims to deliver more stability with cloud-native innovation by introducing new security profiles, enhanced performance capabilities, and updated container tools.

        • RHEL 8.3 Released With TSX Disabled By Default To Avoid Mitigation Overhead

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.3 is out today as the latest release of the RHEL8 platform.

          The latest stable release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, RHEL 8.3, is focused on expanded Red Hat System Roles support, updates to Tuned, new SCAP profiles, updated Application Streams, and other enterprise-minded stability enhancements. Some specific changes to note with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.3 include:

          - RHEL 8.3 is now disabling Intel Transactional Synchronization Extensions (TSX) by default. Disabling of TSX by default is done in the name of security and to remove the performance penalty of having TSX Asynchronous Abort mitigations for Xeon Cascade Lake processors. TSX can be enabled with the “tsx=on” kernel parameter.

          - New module streams for Ruby 2.7, Nginx 1.18, Perl 5.30, and Node.js 14. The streams for Python 3.8, PHP 7.4, and HTTPD 2.4.

        • Red Hat Pairs Innovation with Stability in Latest Version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, Further Extends Linux as Foundation for Digital Transformation

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.3, the latest version of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform. Generally available in the coming weeks, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.3 fuses the stability required by IT operations teams with cloud-native innovation, providing a more stable platform for next-generation enterprise applications. Already an established backbone for mission-critical computing, the latest enhancements to the platform bring new performance profiles and automation, reinforced security capabilities and updated container tools.

        • A post-COVID IT roadmap [Ed: By Mark Bohannon, vice president, government affairs at Red Hat]

          What began for almost all of us as a month-long work from home event looks like it will last a year or longer. When we return to the office, it will be a completely different experience, with most employees working staggered schedules, teams divided into groups and ever more reliance on technology to keep employees and customers connected and engaged.

          In recent weeks we have seen announcements from major technology companies, financial firms and others that support the forever-changed nature of the way we work. Understanding that, it’s time to start talking about the next steps we need to take to ensure that our IT infrastructure and tools can continue to support the remote workers, while providing state-of-the-art, timely customer service.

          The U.S. Department of Defense, prior to COVID probably one of the agencies in all of government most reluctant to support a remote workforce, has been without question one of the leaders in adapting to our “new normal.” DOD, through the adoption of work from home tools and improvements to its overall IT infrastructure, has moved nearly one million employees from a traditional office environment to a work-from-home posture. Despite its quick success, DOD is also a perfect example of the work that remains.

        • Show us your gear: Greg Gorman and an IoT command center for work and play – IBM Developer

          I admit it – I’m a total nerd when it comes to gadgets and toys, it’s pretty obvious looking at my desk! A quick scan of my network shows 39 devices on SmartThings, 92 that Alexa knows about (along with four Echos of various types) and 66 devices on my wi-fi and ethernet network! While some are work-related, many others are more about learning to hack on IoT devices as a side-hobby.

          [...]

          I set up a Raspberry Pi 3B+ to run it, and then I have a central hub that collects as much of the data as I can get my hands on.

        • The IBM Kubernetes Certification Process – IBM Developer

          Inside IBM, a large number of containerized software products are released every day. They are built with different personas, Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift cluster requirements, and install technologies. These products need to be consistent and feel like they all came from the same company, but an industry standard for the design of production-grade, Kubernetes software does not exist. By creating the IBM Kubernetes Certification process, my team helps developers drive consistency, security, reliability, and good design across IBM products.

          If you develop containerized software, you likely relate to the importance of certification. All containerized software should complete a similar certification process since it gives a stamp of production grade readiness and security to customers.

        • Innovation with an open modular platform begins with automation

          Financial services institutions, by necessity, are embracing digital transformation and technology solutions to work more efficiently to maintain regulatory compliance, reduce risk, increase productivity, and exceed customer expectations. As part of the never-ending quest to participate in the development of industry-leading solutions, Red Hat has led the way in the demonstration of new forward-looking solutions, especially in this sector.

        • Open Liberty 20.0.0.11 brings Kerberos authentication and Thanos support in Grafana dashboards – Red Hat Developer

          This article is a quick look at two exciting updates in the new Open Liberty 20.0.0.11 release. First, you can now use the Kerberos authentication protocol to secure Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) data sources. I’ll introduce the new kerberos configuration element in Open Liberty’s server.xml and show you how to use the Kerberos protocol to secure a data source.

          We’ve also updated Open Liberty’s Grafana dashboard, which you can now use to visualize MicroProfile Metrics data from Thanos data sources. This new functionality benefits developers working in Kubernetes environments such as Red Hat OpenShift, where it is possible to use Thanos to query and store metrics data from multiple clusters. Keep reading to learn more about both of these updates in Open Liberty 20.0.0.11.

        • SmoogeSpace: RHEL-6/CentOS-6/SciLin-6/EPEL-6 End Of Life Notice 2020-11-30

          This is a short reminder that Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) version 6 will enter ‘Extended Lifetime Support’ in about 30 days from when I am writing this. Extended Lifetime Support (ELS) is a specific contract with Red Hat for them to cover certain security fixes for some extended time to allow sites some time for last minute transitions.

          RHEL-6 was released in November of 2010, and was the first RHEL I got to work with/on after I returned to Red Hat in 2009. The release has seen 10 minor releases (1 less than RHEL-5), and has been in ‘extended’ mode since the last 6.10 release in June 2018.

          [...]

          Primarily, if you are going to be affected by the end of EL-6 services, you either need to get an ELS contract, move to another OS, or move to self-support. In order to self-support, you will need to mirror the source code from your distribution provider and learn the basics of RPM building. If you are on CentOS and find your servers not able to do yum installs anymore.. you will need to mirror the EL-6 from the CentOS vault somewhere locally and use that as your new ‘mirror’. Depending on time and energy, I will try to outline some of these steps in future blog posts.

      • Debian Family

        • combining “apt install” and “get dist-upgrade”? « codeblog

          While it’s not much, this results in redundant work. For example reading/writing package database, potentially running triggers (man-page refresh, ldconfig, etc). The internal package dependency resolution stuff isn’t actually different: “install” will also do upgrades of needed packages, etc. Combining them should be entirely possible, but I haven’t found a clean way to do this yet.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical Announces ETrace As New Linux Application Tracing For Performance/Debugging

          Canonical has announced ETrace as a new application tracing tool designed for debugging and performance profiling of Snap packages but can also be used with any Linux binary applications.

          Their new ETrace tool is written in the Go programming language and leverages ptrace for performance and debug analysis. Current functionality of ETrace allows monitoring the time it takes an application until its window is displayed, the files accessed during the duration of the program, and other common profiling/debug features.

        • Introducing etrace – a multi-purpose application profiling tool

          These days, the internal workings of Linux applications involve many different moving parts. Sometimes, it can be rather difficult to debug them when things go wrong or run slower than expected. Tracing an application’s execution is one way of understanding potential issues without diving into the source code. To this end, we wrote an app-tracing tool called etrace, designed to detect performance bottlenecks and runtime issues in snaps.

          In this article, we will be taking a look at etrace with an overview of the basic functionality of etrace, and highlight its usage through several representative examples.

        • What’s New in Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla? Why You Should Give Ubuntu Another Shot

          Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla is now available for download and install. If you’ve been away from Ubuntu for a while, is this the release to make you jump back on board the Canonical groove train? Here’s everything you need to know about Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla!

          [...]

          However, in recent years, even standard releases have become less ambitious and instead focused more on fine-tuning and polishing the Ubuntu experience than venturing into new territory.

          Ubuntu was once the default suggestion for novices interested in try Linux: its user-friendliness, supportive community, and just-works philosophy led to wide-spread adoption. And while it’s still one of the most popular distros, Ubuntu has lost some favor due to a number of missteps over the last decade—for example, bundling Amazon adware and radically redesigning the desktop.

          As a result, Canonical’s distro now battles Linux Mint, Manjaro, and MX Linux for the top spot in many distro review round-ups and user recommendations. So, in that light…

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • RT-Thread launches developer event

        RT-Thread is an open source embedded real-time operating system (RTOS) providing a wide range of components along with more than 250 software packages (and counting) for the Internet of Things (IoT). In previous Opensource.com articles, the RT-Thread project has demonstrated how to code hardware with an RTOS and how to program for IoT using open source tools.

        Great things in open source are never done by one person; they’re done by a group of people working together. And if you want to get started with embedded programming or you’re looking for an RTOS for your embedded project, RT-Thread wants to collaborate with you!

        Today, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve teamed up with Programming For Beginners to hold a developer event. We’re looking for developers who have ideas, ambitions, and excitement for the open source hardware.

      • Sandstorm: A Complete Open-source Platform with A Rich Ecosystem for Enterprise

        It’s a nightmare for many companies and enterprise technical departments to run the required apps separately, keep up with the maintenance, auditing logs and manage their updates. Especially the ones with low IT resources or complex structure.

        It’s not resources-effective approach neither secure. Despite it requires a dedicated team of DevOps to keep up, It is also a challenge for company identity management, access management and compliance.

        Here it comes Sandstorm, An open-source solution that is designed specifically to resolve these issue and boost enterprise, developers, DevOps and individuals productivity. In this article we will guide you through this amazing application, explaining how it works, listing its features and the best use-cases for it.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Dustin J. Mitchell: Taskcluster’s DB (Part 2) – DB Migrations [Ed: Mozilla as Microsoft proprietary software boosters]

            This is part 2 of a deep-dive into the implementation details of Taskcluster’s backend data stores. Check out part 1 for the background, as we’ll jump right in here!

          • Hacks.Mozilla.Org: MDN Web Docs evolves! Lowdown on the upcoming new platform [Ed: It's a shame that Mozilla is even outsourcing documentation to Microsoft's proprietary software trap]

            The time has come for Kuma — the platform that powers MDN Web Docs — to evolve. For quite some time now, the MDN developer team has been planning a radical platform change, and we are ready to start sharing the details of it. The question on your lips might be “What does a Kuma evolve into? A KumaMaMa?”

            For those of you not so into Pokémon, the question might instead be “How exactly is MDN changing, and how does it affect MDN users and contributors”?

            For general users, the answer is easy — there will be very little change to how we serve the great content you use everyday to learn and do your jobs.

            For contributors, the answer is a bit more complex.

            [...]

            Because MDN content is soon to be contained in a GitHub repo, the contribution workflow will change significantly. You will no longer be able to click Edit on a page, make and save a change, and have it show up nearly immediately on the page. You’ll also no longer be able to do your edits in a WYSIWYG editor.

          • Mike Taylor: .www filename flags in web-platform-tests

            So like, if you ever need to load a page on a different subdomain to test some kind of origin-y or domainy-y thing, you can just name your test something amazing like origin-y-test.www.html and it will open the test for you at www.web-platform.test (rather than web-platform.test, or similarly, however your system or server is configured).

          • Contribute to selecting new Recommended extensions | Mozilla Add-ons Blog

            Recommended extensions—a curated list of extensions that meet Mozilla’s highest standards of security, functionality, and user experience—are in part selected with input from a rotating editorial board of community contributors. Each board runs for six consecutive months and evaluates a small batch of new Recommended candidates each month. The board’s evaluation plays a critical role in helping identify new potential Recommended additions.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.1 Alpha1 is ready for testing

          The LibreOffice Quality Assurance ( QA ) Team is happy to announce LibreOffice 7.1 Alpha1 is ready for testing!

          LibreOffice 7.1 will be released as final at the beginning of February, 2021 ( Check the Release Plan ) being LibreOffice 7.1 Alpha1 the first pre-release since the development of version 7.1 started at the end of May, 2020. Since then, 5374 commits have been submitted to the code repository and more than 1100 bugs were set to FIXED in Bugzilla. Check the release notes to find the new features included in this version of LibreOffice.

          LibreOffice 7.1 Alpha1 can be downloaded from here for Linux, MacOS and Windows, and it can be installed alongside the standard version.

          In case you find any problem in this pre-release, please report it in Bugzilla ( You just need a legit email account in order to create a new account ).

        • LibreOffice monthly recap: October 2020

          Here’s our summary of updates, events and activities in the LibreOffice project in the last four weeks…

        • [LibreOffice 7.1] Layout updates

          You know the LibreOffice community work hard on the LibreOffice 7.1 Christmas release. Did you know that LibreOffice has 7 different UI Layouts? With the next release, our uses will be informed after the installation. Thanks to Heiko for the new dialog.

        • Your typical errors when creating presentation templates. Part 1

          Try click somewhere on slide in area with rectangles. You can select any from these rectangles include the largest grey rectangle that author used as background for all composition. Its all are just shapes! This is an absolutely wrong way when you create a presentation template!

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.5.3 Maintenance Release

          WordPress 5.5.3 is now available.

          This maintenance release fixes an issue introduced in WordPress 5.5.2 which makes it impossible to install WordPress on a brand new website that does not have a database connection configured. This release does not affect sites where a database connection is already configured, for example, via one-click installers or an existing wp-config.php file.

          [...]

          These themes and plugins were not activated and therefore remain non-functional unless you installed them previously. It is safe to delete these features should you prefer not to use them.

          If you are not on 5.5.2, or have auto-updates for minor releases disabled, please manually update to the 5.5.3 version by downloading WordPress 5.5.3 or visiting Dashboard → Updates and click “Update Now.”

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Video of EIRSAT-1 talk

            This followed by a detailed proposal as to how amateur radio operators can contribute to ground station operations via SatNOGs and gr_satellites GNU Radio

      • Programming/Development

        • 5 Outstanding Open-Source Projects Which Have Just One Source File

          Programmers write code in different ways according to their preference and type of the particular project. If a software project is quite large and growing, we usually decompose the whole thing into several files to achieve maintainability. However, programmers often turn awesome ideas into single-file open-source projects amazingly.

        • Jussi Pakkanen/Nibble Stew: How to build dependencies as Meson subprojects using SDL as an example

          Today we released version 0.56.0 of the Meson build system. This is an especially important release as it marks the 10 000th commit since the start of the project. A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed their time and effort, this project would not exist without all of you. However in this post we are not going to talk about that, those interested can find further details in the release notes. Instead we are going to be talking about how to build your dependencies from source on every platform without needing anything other than Meson.

          Last month I had a lightning talk at CppCon about this way of managing dependencies:

          Since then there have been many improvements to the workflow for a smoother experience. To demonstrate this I upgraded the sample program to use SDL Mixer and SDL Image instead of relying on plain SDL.

        • Abstraction: The Journey from Memory Tubes to JavaScript Memory Management

          While reading George Dyson’s computer history book Turing’s Cathedral earlier this year, I was struck by how physical the act of programming was back in the 1940s and 50s, when the age of computers began. Take a close look at the lead image of this post, borrowed from Dyson’s book, which shows John von Neumann and the MANIAC computer in 1952. At hip level in the photo are a group of Williams cathode-ray memory tubes, each one storing 1,024 bits. There were 40 tubes, so the total capacity was 40,960 bits (5 kilobytes!)

          What’s even more remarkable than the fact that von Neumann could touch the memory tubes, is that he was also able to see what was happening inside the tubes. “In the foreground [of the photo] is the 7-inch-diameter 41st monitor stage, allowing the contents of the memory to be observed while in use,” wrote Dyson.

          When von Neumann and his colleagues programmed the MANIAC, they were acutely aware of what was happening inside the machine. They had to understand precisely how memory worked, in order to physically manipulate it. “Every memory location had to be specified at every step,” explained Dyson, “and the position of the significant digits adjusted as a computation progressed.”

        • A Journey Through Memory Management

          Since that time, MacManus notes, “we’ve gone from having to program instructions—using machine language, no less—into a cathode-ray memory tube, to 80% of the time copying and pasting reusable modules into an internet service (and having no idea where in the world it will actually get computed).

          [...]

          Since that time, MacManus notes, “we’ve gone from having to program instructions—using machine language, no less—into a cathode-ray memory tube, to 80% of the time copying and pasting reusable modules into an internet service (and having no idea where in the world it will actually get computed).

        • The accelerating adoption of Julia [LWN.net]

          The Julia programming language has seen a major increase in its use and popularity over the last few years. We last looked at it two years ago, around the time of the Julia 1.0 release. Here, we will look at some of the changes since that release, none of which are major, as well as some newer resources for learning the language, but the main focus of this article is a case study that is meant to help show why the language has been taking off. A follow-up article will introduce a new computational notebook for Julia, called Pluto, that is akin to Jupyter notebooks.

          Julia is a programming language that was first released in 2012; its implementation is released under the MIT license. It is a general-purpose language, but with a particular suitability for scientific programming and numerical work. Julia is a dynamic language, with an interactive mode and easy-to-learn syntax that is simple for novice programmers; it also has deeper layers of sophistication for the expert. The language allows introspection and metaprogramming, with Lisp-like macros, an optional Lisp syntax, and access to syntax-tree and assembly-language views of functions. It features a rich type system with performant user-defined types, multiple dispatch of functions, and several flavors of concurrent programming built in.

          Julia recently passed a kind of popularity milestone, breaking into the top 20 in the IEEE Spectrum list of programming languages. Beyond that, the language is being adopted in many new research projects, such as: the Climate Machine, the computational engine used by the Caltech Climate Modeling Alliance; a new space weather forecasting initiative, funded by the NSF; quantum machine learning; drug development; and a computational collaboration called Celeste to create a massive star map of the universe.

          Professor Mykel Kochenderfer is the creator of an international standard aircraft collision avoidance system, ACAS X. In an email interview, he told me that the Julia version of his system runs as fast as a previous version he wrote in highly optimized C++. Since he wrote the Julia version intending it to merely document the algorithm, this was a surprise. He was able to replace the C++ version with the easier to read and maintain Julia code.

          The recently concluded annual Julia conference, online this year, naturally, was a good indicator of the audience that Julia is attracting. The presentations (YouTube videos) that one would expect of various computer science topics were outweighed by talks about applications to scientific research in an impressive variety of fields. A recurring theme was the way that the language facilitated collaboration and code reuse, giving scientists an opportunity to take advantage of the packages and algorithms of others.

        • What is coming in PHP 8 [LWN.net]

          Recently, PHP 8 release candidate 2 was posted by the project. A lot of changes are coming with this release, including a just-in-time compiler, a good number of backward-compatibility breaks, and new features that developers have been requesting for years. Now that the dust has settled, and the community is focusing on squashing bugs for the general-availability release scheduled for November 26, it’s a good time to look at what to expect.

          [...]

          To a certain degree, PHP 8 represents a departure from the project’s past. Historically, the community has placed a high value on backward compatibility, even between major releases. This doesn’t seem to have been as much of a concern for this release, judging by the upgrade notes. With the scope and quantity of backward-incompatible changes, even relatively modern PHP applications will require a little tweaking to bring them up to speed.

          The community has expended considerable effort in making PHP 8 into a more consistent language, both in terms of behaviors and syntax. Four separate proposals with a focus on making PHP into a more consistent language — in terms of behavior and syntax — have been implemented. These changes generally concern themselves with edge cases or preexisting quirks of the language; there are, however, a few notable changes worth mentioning explicitly.

        • Remi Collet: PHP version 7.3.24 and 7.4.12

          RPMs of PHP version 7.4.12 are available in remi repository for Fedora 32-33 and remi-php74 repository for Fedora 31 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 7 (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPMs of PHP version 7.3.24 are available in remi repository for Fedora 31 and remi-php73 repository for Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

        • How to Check If a Value Exists in An Array in PHP – TecAdmin

          Q. How do I check if a specific value exists in an array in PHP. Write a sample PHP program to check if a value exists in an array.

        • Python

          • Public Apology to Jeremy Howard

            We, the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Committee, issue a public apology to Jeremy Howard for our handling of the JupyterCon 2020 reports. We should have done better. We thank you for sharing your experience and we will use it to improve our policies going forward.

            We acknowledge that it was an extremely stressful experience, being summoned to an interview with several members of a committee, after a week had passed, and without knowing the nature of the complaint. We apologize for causing this stress and will work to improve our process to avoid this from happening in the future.

            To clarify a crucial miscommunication that we take responsibility for: At the time of the interview, the committee had not determined that there was a violation of the code of conduct, only that there were two complaints filed and being examined. We apologize for not communicating that clearly from the beginning. We have not recommended any enforcement actions. We had asked to postpone the posting of the talk to the JupyterCon shared space until the complaints are resolved. We realize now that we used overly charged language and miscommunicated the stage of the investigation when discussing the complaints, i.e. saying a violation occurred. We should have been clearer saying multiple complaints have been made and the alleged violation investigation had not been resolved.

          • Python Morsels: Data structures contain pointers

            Data structures in Python don’t actually contain objects. They references to objects (aka “pointers”).

          • Sending Invites – Building SaaS #77 · Matt Layman

            In this episode, I worked on the form that will send invites to users for the new social network app that I’m building. We built the view, the form, and the tests and wired a button to the new view.

            The first thing that we do was talk through the new changes since the last stream. After discussing the progress, I took some time to cover the expected budget for the application to get it to an MVP.

            Once we covered the budget, I talked about different strategies for sending invite emails and the tradeoffs between sending email in a request and response cycle versus using background workers.

          • Episode #33: Going Beyond the Basic Stuff With Python and Al Sweigart – The Real Python Podcast

            You probably have heard of the bestselling Python book, “Automate the Boring Stuff with Python.” What are the next steps after starting to dabble in the Python basics? Maybe you’ve completed some tutorials, created a few scripts, and automated repetitive tasks in your life. This week on the show, we have author Al Sweigart to talk about his new book, “Beyond the Basic Stuff with Python: Best Practices for Writing Clean Code.”

          • How to Sort a Dictionary by Value in Python

            A dictionary in Python is a collection of items that stores data as key-value pairs. In Python 3.7 and later versions, dictionaries are sorted by the order of item insertion. In earlier versions, they were unordered.

            Let’s have a look at how we can sort a dictionary on basis of the values they contain.

        • Java

          • What’s new in Fabric8 Kubernetes Java client 4.12.0 – Red Hat Developer

            The recent Fabric8 Kubernetes Java client 4.12.0 release includes many new features and bug fixes. This article introduces the major features we’ve added between the 4.11.0 and 4.12.0 releases.

            I will show you how to get started with the new VolumeSnapshot extension, CertificateSigningRequests, and Tekton triggers in the Fabric8 Tekton client (to name just a few). I’ll also point out several minor changes that break backward compatibility with older releases. Knowing about these changes will help you avoid problems when you upgrade to the latest version of Fabric8’s Java client for Kubernetes or Red Hat OpenShift.

  • Leftovers

    • Better handling emergencies

      We all know these situations when we receive an email asking Can you check the design of X, I need a reply by tonight. Or an instant message: My website went down, can you check? Another email: I canceled a plan at the hosting company, can you restore my website as fast as possible? A phone call: The TLS certificate didn’t get updated, and now we can’t access service Y. Yet another email: Our super important medical advice website is suddenly being censored in country Z, can you help?

      Everyone knows those messages that have “URGENT” in capital letters in the email subject. It might be that some of them really are urgent. Others are the written signs of someone having a hard time properly planning their own work and passing their delays on to someone who comes later in the creation or production chain. And others again come from people who are overworked and try to delegate some of their tasks to a friendly soul who is likely to help.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Toward a Small Farm Future

        In the 1990s, Indonesian kopi luwak – civet coffee, made from coffee beans that had passed through a civet’s digestive tract – became a new luxury commodity among wealthy coffee-lovers. Market dynamics being what they are, local producers cashed in on the demand by capturing and caging wild civets, force-feeding them coffee beans and selling the produce as cut-price kopi luwak. Though cheaper, the resulting coffee lacked the quality of the original conferred by the civet’s discerning nose, and came at the expense of ecological and animal welfare (1).

        We live in a world of trade-offs. If you want genuine kopi luwak of good quality and low environmental impact you have to pay someone to comb through the forests looking for wild civet scat on your behalf. Humans can simulate the process and produce a similar product at lower cost, but it’s not the same.

      • Written Description: What did we learn from last week’s FDA vaccine advisory committee meeting?

        On October 22, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) met to discuss the development, authorization, and licensure of COVID-19 vaccines. The meeting was not focused on any particular vaccine candidate; rather, it gave the FDA an opportunity to seek more general guidance about the process from outside experts. In this post, we explain what advisory committees like VRBPAC do, what happened at the meeting last week, and what this means for the COVID-19 vaccine timeline.

        [...]

        On October 22, the VRBPAC held an open, online, public meeting concerning its standards for approving a vaccine against COVID-19. (The meeting was simultaneously broadcast on CSPAN and YouTube.) Prior to the meeting, the Committee made the agenda and briefing materials publicly available; the meeting featured presentations from Committee members, staff from the FDA, CDC, NIH, BARDA, the Reagan-Udall Foundation, and a variety of members from industry. Introductions alone took 23 minutes to complete; the meeting lasted almost nine hours.

        Somewhat surprising for lay observers was the absence of a discussion of any particular vaccine candidate, including the four currently in Phase III clinical trials in the US. Instead, the meeting focused on the standards of such trials and the legal authority (and limits) for approval. While a nine-hour meeting focusing on the particulars of vaccine safety and efficacy standards sounds…dense…there were a number of broader, important takeaways likely to be of larger interest.

        First, and most important, the VRBPAC gave a number of reassurances that it would advise the FDA to continue to uphold rigorous safety standards despite political pressure to quickly approve a vaccine. It was clear that even if an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)—a shortcut to the typical and more formal approval process—were available for a vaccine, it could not be used without the completion of a clinical trial (through Phase III). In addition, the Committee noted that it would strongly encourage the completion of ongoing trials even when another vaccine candidate is authorized or approved so that the Agency can track outcomes.

        Second, the Committee reaffirmed its commitment to safety follow-ups even after a vaccine is authorized or approved. The post-approval follow-up study envisioned by the VRBPAC would contain roughly 3,000 participants—enough, one hopes, to track any serious adverse events arising late from the vaccine. At the same time, however, the Committee noted that this post-approval follow-up would not necessarily conform to the diversity standards otherwise needed for the clinical trials; in clinical trials, these requirements are crucially important to ensure the vaccine works in a immunologically diverse population. Whether this limitation of post-licensure studies will prevent the discovery of adverse event information remains unseen—and will likely remain unseen until long after a vaccine has come out. But for now, the VRBPAC—to its credit—is laudably committed to following up on any licensed vaccine after it has been deployed in the wild.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Arduino joins the Open Source Security Foundation

            As an open-source project, Arduino has always considered security a top priority: making tools and products easy to use for our community has consistently been as important as making them secure.

            Today, we are excited to announce that Arduino has joined the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSFF), the collaborative cross-industry effort to secure the open-source ecosystem.

            Hosted at the Linux Foundation, the OpenSFF brings together the efforts of the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) and GitHub’s Open Source Security Coalition and is committed to working both upstream and with existing communities to advance the security of open-source software. The foundation will initially include technical initiatives and working groups that will address vulnerability disclosures, security tooling, security best practices, and the identification of security threats to the open-source project.

          • Security updates for Friday [LWN.net]

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (dompurify.js, libsndfile, and openjdk-8), Fedora (python2), Mageia (tomcat), openSUSE (lout, pagure, php7, singularity, and tensorflow2), SUSE (graphviz, libvirt, pacemaker, python-Jinja2, samba, spice, spice-gtk, thunderbird and mozilla-nspr, xen, and zstd), and Ubuntu (fastd).

          • Securing military embedded systems is a giant challenge

            Updating and patching security vulner­abilities to limit the attack surface for the military’s embedded systems – especially legacy ones – can be a daunting task.

            Embedded systems used by the military, many of which were once considered to be standalone and secure thanks to air gaps – network security measures used on one or more computers to ensure that a secure computer network is physically isolated from unsecured networks – now require security. Demand for interconnectivity of embedded systems is increasing their attack surface, often necessitating updates and patches to thwart vulnerabilities.

            “It’s a huge challenge because there are a broad range of requirements and use cases for legacy embedded systems,” says Rich Lucente, principal solutions architect, DoD, for Red Hat North America Public Sector (Raleigh, North Carolina). “Some are either very isolated or surrounded by external mitigation measures that seemingly reduce the burden to secure the system, but in reality may provide a false sense of security.”

          • TrickBot Linux Variants Active in the Wild Despite Recent Takedown

            Efforts to disrupt TrickBot may have shut down most of its critical infrastructure, but the operators behind the notorious malware aren’t sitting idle.

            According to new findings shared by cybersecurity firm Netscout, TrickBot’s authors have moved portions of their code to Linux in an attempt to widen the scope of victims that could be targeted.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Ending Regime Change—in Bolivia and the World

        In the long history of U.S.-backed “regime changes” in countries around the world, rarely have a people and a country so firmly and democratically repudiated U.S. efforts to dictate how they will be governed.

      • The Parallel Universe of Peace

        Those who are committed to peace and global equality are forced to work for it in a world that is seriously prejudiced in favor of war.

      • War Wasn’t a Campaign Issue. What Does That Mean for the Next Presidency?

        During the last presidential debate, Donald Trump and Joe Biden sparred over the pressing domestic problems of racism, health care, climate change, the economy and the pandemic, along with the alleged Chinese, Russian and Iranian interference in the elections. But substantive discussions of foreign policy and the threat of nuclear war were off the table. The same was true in earlier debates, including the primaries. Moderators didn’t ask, and the candidates didn’t tell.

      • Cameroon school killings, male rape in Rohingya camps, and 200 migrant deaths at sea: The Cheat Sheet

        Cameroon’s anglophone conflict reached a new low last week when gunmen killed eight children and injured 12 others at a school in the southwestern town of Kumba. Officials blamed anglophone separatists, who are demanding independence from the majority French-speaking country, though no group has claimed responsibility. Separatists have enforced an education boycott on English-speaking regions since 2017 as part of their three-year struggle against the government. Talks between the warring sides have taken place in recent months in Yaoundé, the capital. But hardliners from both camps are hampering efforts, and violence has increased on the ground, where more than 700,000 people are now displaced. On Tuesday, Kumba residents held a vigil outside the school, as injured children battled for their lives in hospital. “I have not eaten, I cannot sleep because of this war, this nonsense crisis,” one woman told France 24. “Why should we kill our own children?”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Transparency Is Important; Mandated Transparency Is Dangerous And Will Stifle Innovation And Competition

        While much of yesterday’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing was focused on the pointless grievances and grandstanding of sitting Senators, there was a bit of actual news made by Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey. As we discussed earlier this week, Zuckerberg agreed for the first time that he was in support of Section 230 reform, though he declined in his opening remarks to specify the nature of the reforms he supported. And while the original draft of Jack Dorsey’s opening testimony suggested full support of 230, in the given remarks he also suggested that Twitter would support changes to Section 230 focused on getting companies to be more transparent. Later in the hearing, during one of the extraordinarily rare moments when a Senator actually asked the CEOs how they would change 230, Zuckerberg also focused on transparency reports, before immediately noting that Facebook already issued transparency reports.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • West Virginians Were Promised an Economic Revival. It Hasn’t Happened Yet.

        One year ago, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice promised business leaders that the state’s economy was on the verge of a boom. Continued growth in natural gas production was going to spark an industrial renaissance, bringing construction of a giant collection of spinoff factories.

        Speaking to the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting, held as usual at the billionaire governor’s own luxury resort, The Greenbrier, Justice painted quite a picture of the land of plenty to come.

      • He Made a Minor Mistake Filling Out an Unemployment Form. Then the State Demanded $14,990 From Him.

        Ahmad Ghabboun broke into a sweat. It was a late night in August and he had just discovered an unexpected $14,990 debt posted to the online portal he uses to access his account with Washington state’s unemployment agency. Since May, he had been receiving payments every week through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, newly established by Congress to support freelancers like him. The benefits replaced the paycheck he could no longer earn after the pandemic had grounded his work delivering packages for Amazon Flex and driving the occasional shift for Uber.

        Now, the agency, formally known as the Washington State Employment Security Department, was demanding he return every penny. The website provided no explanation.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Monopolistic U.S. ISPs Take Full Advantage Of The Covid Crisis

        We’ve noted for years that broadband usage caps are bullshit. Leaked ISP documents and public executive statements have repeatedly made it clear that usage caps and overage fees are just glorified price hikes on the backs of captive customers, only made possible due to industry monopolization (and the regulatory capture and Congressional corruption that lets them get away with it).

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • A Quick Bite Post Mortem For For Quibi: Hollywood Still Doesn’t Get The Internet

        So Quibi, the Hollywood dream of creating a new “professional” video streaming service by throwing $1.75 billion at Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman and hoping they could create something, lasted all of 199 days before announcing that it was throwing in the towel (even though it apparently still has a chunk of that cash on hand, which it will be handing back to some investors). As we noted when it launched, Quibi is the perfect example of Hollywood thinking about the internet. It overvalued the content (and believed that you got the best content by throwing money at big names), and completely undervalued the internet and the fact that the killer application of the internet is community and communication.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • USPTO on “President Trump’s Leadership”

          Although USPTO Dir. Andrei Iancu is a political appointee nominated by President Trump, he has largely stuck to the tradition of avoiding partisan politics in his official role as Director. For instance, Dir. Iancu supported the re-appointment of Drew Hirshfeld as the Commissioner of Patents. Hirshfeld had been Dave Kappos’ Chief of Staff under President Obama.

          That said, the USPTO is catching a bit of flack for what appears to be its first overtly pro-Trump tweet coming less than a week before the elections…

        • FOSS Patents: Fourth patent injunction against Daimler in 11 weeks as Munich I Regional Court sides with Nokia in 3G SEP infringement case

          There’s no Happy Halloween for Daimler and its counsel, and the reason is not even COVID.

          The notorious patentee-friendliness of certain German courts is regrettable, and an increasing burden on the country’s economy. But let there be no doubt about the fact that the patent litigation firm of Arnold & Ruess has done some first-rate work for Nokia against Daimler. Today the team led by Cordula Schumacher and Dr. Arno Risse (“Riße” in German) obtained its second injunction against Daimler as the Munich I Regional Court held the Mercedes maker to infringe German patent DE60240446C5 on a “hybrid automatic repeat request (HARQ) scheme with in-sequence deliver of packets” (case no. 21 O 3891/19). The 21st Civil Chamber of the Munich court (Presiding Judge: Tobias Pichlmaier) had not indicated an inclination at the late-July trial.

          On August 18, 2020, the Mannheim Regional Court found for Nokia in another standard-essential patent (SEP) infringement case against Daimler; that injunction hasn’t been enforced and possibly never will be.

          Several other Nokia v. Daimler cases have been put on hold over doubts concerning the validity of the patents-in-suit. Should any of those patents survive without being narrowed out of the scope of the specifications of the relevant cellular standard, they’ll do even better.

          Meanwhile, I’m wondering when Quinn Emanuel will get tired of losing. In the 11-week period between the aforementioned defeat in Mannheim and today’s Munich ruling in Nokia’s favor, Daimler and QE also lost two other cases as the Munich I Regional Court’s 7th Civil Chamber (Presiding Judge: Dr. Matthias Zigann) granted Sharp an injunction against Daimler (which triggered a settlement, see 1, 2), as did the 21st Civil Chamber in a Conversant v. Daimler case just one week ago. That’s four German SEP injunctions over the course of only two months and a half.

          Daimler and QE could take comfort in the fact, however, that computer maker Lenovo also lost in Munich (against Nokia, but over a codec–not wireless–patent) on the first day of the month.

        • Trouble In Plaintiff’s Paradise?

          There are signs that, despite Judge Albright’s best efforts, the rest of the world might not support turning the Western District of Texas into another NPE haven like the Eastern District in its glory days. After Judge Albright’s efforts to make sure Waco was “open for business for patent cases”, NPEs flocked to the Waco courthouse—in fact, one in five patent cases in 2020 will have been filed there, and 85% of those are NPE lawsuits.

          But in the past few months, there have been potential setbacks to NPEs’ project to turn the Waco Division of the Western District into their new hometown.

          [...]

          The result in MV3 isn’t the only thing that might concern plaintiffs. Over the past few months, the Federal Circuit appears to have taken an increasingly skeptical view of Judge Albright’s decisions.

          First, there was In re Apple, where the Federal Circuit—in the course of denying a motion for transfer—”question[ed] the propriety” of one of Judge Albright’s rulings, throwing doubt on whether he had applied the proper standard of decision. While that error was ultimately harmless, as the motion for transfer failed on other grounds, the Federal Circuit still felt the need to identify this error.

          Next, there was In re Adobe, in which the Federal Circuit found that Judge Albright had committed a “clear abuse of discretion” in refusing to transfer a case to California based primarily on an alleged ability to run cases more quickly in his courtroom. Even if that were true, the Federal Circuit noted that the congestion factor requires an appreciable difference, not simply a small difference in time to trial, that the general ability to set a schedule says nothing about the actual ability to try cases, and that court congestion alone cannot outweigh other factors, such as convenience of witnesses.

          Third, the Federal Circuit’s In re Sand Revolution noted that the district court “ruling was cursory.” While this alone was not sufficient to justify mandamus, the Federal Circuit was clearly signaling concern that Judge Albright wasn’t doing enough analysis to justify his decisions to keep cases moving in the Western District.

          And this week, the Federal Circuit issued its ruling in In re Nitro Fluids, finding that “the very cases relied on by the district court make clear that it had matters backwards.” And again, the Federal Circuit was forced to note that “the district court’s explanation in these respects is cursory” and “consist[ed] of two sentences, neither of which meaningfully discuss” the relevant issues.

        • Is the Commissioner of Patents a Principle Officer who Must be Appointed by The President?

          For most of the history of the US patent system, the Commissioner of Patents was the head of the Patent Office and was seen as an Officer of the United States appointed by the President.

          [...]

          In 1975, the job title was changed to “Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks” and the office name was changed to the “Patent and Trademark Office.” In 1999, Congress officially changed the office name to the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” and the position of “Director” (Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce) was created. At that time, the roles of Commissioner for Patents and Commissioner for Trademarks were pushed down as appointments by the Secretary of Commerce (with 5-year terms).

        • Software Patents

          • $2,000 for PerDeimCo Prior Art

            On October 30, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least Claim 1 of U.S. Patent 10,104,198. This patent is owned by PerDeimCo LLC, an NPE. The ’198 patent generally relates to to tracking information of a plurality of users and giving users different administrative privileges for maintaining information sharing and describing event condition. The ’198 Patent has been asserted at least against CalAmp Corp. and GPS Insight.

          • $2,000 for Hawk Technologies Systems Prior Art

            On October 30, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least Claim 1 of US Patent No. 10,499,091. This patent is owned by Hawk Technologies Systems, LLC, an NPE that focuses its assertions against various school districts (e.g., DeSoto County School District, 3:18-cv-00132 ND Miss.) and charitable organizations such as Goodwill (3:16-cv-00279 SD Miss.) for simply using a security camera.

          • $2,000 for Caddo Systems Prior Art

            On October 30, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 3, including all of the limitations for independent claim 1 of US Patent No. 10,037,127. The patent is owned by Caddo Systems, Inc. and is exclusively licensed to a company called 511 Technologies, Inc., an NPE. The ’127 Patent is part of a family of patents relating to navigating a hierarchical menu having active links..

          • $3,000 for KinectUs Prior Art

            On October 30, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $3,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least Claim 1 of U.S. Patent 9,294,428. The patent is owned by KinectUs LLC. The ’428 patent generally relates to a system and method for establishing a communication between mobile device users that register with a collaboration system, which determines a match between profile data of the first registered mobile device and profile data of the second registered mobile device. It is currently being asserted against Bumble Trading, LLC.

      • EPO

        • European Patent Office rules in favor of Sanofi and Regeneron concerning Praluent® (alirocumab)

          The European Patent Office (EPO) Technical Boards of Appeal has today ruled in Sanofi and Regeneron’s favor, invalidating certain claims of Amgen’s European patent (EP 2 215 124) directed to PCSK9 (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9) antibodies relevant to Praluent® (alirocumab). Praluent will continue to be available in European countries where it is approved for use and for sale.

          “We are pleased with today’s decision by the European Patent Office, which upholds the rigorous standard for pharmaceutical patents that we argued for in this case, affirming that Amgen’s asserted claims against Sanofi in Europe are invalid,” said Karen Linehan, Executive Vice President, Legal Affairs and General Counsel, Sanofi. “This decision validates our years-long commitment to vigorously defending this case.”

        • Drugmaker In IP Fight With Mylan Calls EPO Ruling ‘Irrelevant’

          Neurim Pharmaceuticals’ lawyer told a London judge at the start of its trial against Mylan on Thursday it is “irrelevant” that a European Patent Office division revoked its insomnia medication patent, as it’s challenging that decision.

          Mylan has overemphasized a decision from a European Patent Office division revoking Neurim Pharmaceuticals’ insomnia medication patent, Neurim’s lawyer said Thursday. (Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Images) Andrew Waugh QC of Three New Square said Mylan UK, which is poised to launch a generic version of Neurim’s insomnia medication, has overemphasized the decision by the division of the EPO responsible for handling patent opposition matters….

        • Xintela : receives ‘intention to grant’October 29, 2020Xintela receives ‘intention to grant’ decision from European Patent Office for stem cell product XSTEM#Regulatory

          Lund, Sweden, 29 October 2020 – Xintela announced today that the European Patent Office (EPO) has issued an ‘Intention to grant’ decision for the patent application covering the company’s stem cell product XSTEM®, consisting of integrin α10-selected mesenchymal stem cells.

          Using its unique marker technology and stem cell selection method, Xintela has developed a stem cell platform, XSTEM, for stem cell-based products. The company’s first focus is treatment of osteoarthritis in the knee and is preparing to start clinical studies in 2021. XSTEM is also being evaluated in a preclinical model for the treatment of ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome), a lung complication that affects seriously ill covid-19 patients.

        • Ecogensus Receives Notice of Allowance from European Patent Office for Waste-to-Fuel Process

          Ecogensus, LLC (“Ecogensus” or the “Company”), a leading technology company in the resource recovery and waste management industry, today announced the European Patent Office’s issuance of a notice that it intends to grant a patent for the Company’s process of converting solid wastes into fuel (European Patent Application No. 15 854 145.8).

          Ecogensus has a full suite of patents granted in the United States as well as countries in Asia and South America in the areas of waste recycling and resource recovery (“waste-to-value”). The new European patent covers the foundational process for conversion of solid wastes into a fuel, a process which enables diversion from waste from landfills and displacement of coal with Ecogensus’ waste-derived fuel.

      • Copyrights

        • Twitch Marketing Promo Over Golden Emoji Goes Horribly Wrong After DMCA Nuclear Strike

          Mere days ago, we discussed the bonkers path Twitch chose for itself in dealing with a flood of DMCA takedowns issued by the RIAA. The whole episode screamed of panic. Rather than dealing with DMCA takedowns via the normal method — taking down the content, providing the content maker with a path for a counternotice, and then putting the content back if no lawsuit was filed — , Twitch, instead, took the extraordinary action of simply and permanently nuking the videos in question. It then, rather brazenly, informed the content maker it had done so and advised them to “learn about copyright law.” In fact, given its actions, there is some question as to whether or not this is all enough to have lost Twitch its safe harbor protections.

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