Links 10/11/2020: Grep 3.6, LiVES 3.2.0 and Curl Developer Daniel Stenberg Gets US Visa After 3-Year Limbo

Posted in News Roundup at 9:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Dell Will Soon Enable Privacy Controls for Linux Hardware

        Dell has completely embraced the Linux community. With one of the finest Linux-based laptops on the market (the XPS Developer Edition), Dell is definitely no stranger to open source and the needs of those who use it. Case in point, many Linux users are quite savvy in the realms of privacy and security. With most modern laptops equipped with webcams and microphones, which can be used (either by accident or via nefarious means) in less-than-desirable ways, it has become crucial for many users to have control over those features.

      • TTM Multihop Code Revised For Improving Linux GPU Buffer Management – Phoronix

        Among the many open-source graphics driver improvements being worked on recently by Red Hat’s David Airlie from Lavapipe to OpenCL 3.0 Clover work, another recent effort has been around TTM “multihop” as an improvement for this memory management infrastructure used by the likes of the AMDGPU kernel driver.

        Airlie has been working on patches in recent weeks to extend the TTM memory management infrastructure with a “multihop” feature. Right now when needing to move a buffer temporarily across address spaces such as from system RAM to/from video RAM, the driver functions are called upon that add further complexity to the driver code. TTM Multihop allows the core TTM memory management code handle this temporary placement of buffers to/from vRAM to sRAM in order to avoid call stack issues with existing path of the drivers handling it.

      • Linux Picking Up A Driver For Checking If Thunderbolt/USB4 Ports Are Functional – Phoronix

        Intel is contributing a new driver to the Linux kernel for determining whether Thunderbolt / USB4 ports are functional.

        The DMA Traffic Test Driver does just that and is used for sending and receiving a specified number of packets on a loopback connection to see whether a port is functioning, primarily for testing purposes during hardware manufacturing.

    • Applications

      • Linux CLI Email Client Mutt 2.0.0 Released With Domain-literal Support

        If you’re a terminal-centric person, you might already know or be using the Mutt application, one of the best command-line email clients available for the Unix-like operating system.

        Last week, Mutt had a new stable release version 2.0.0, bringing new features, bug fixes, and a few backward-incompatible changes. So let’s see what’s new with Mutt 2.0.0.

      • Pitivi – A Free and Open Source Video Editor for Linux

        Pitivi is a beautiful, powerful and intuitive free and open-source non-linear video editor and it just received the biggest update since its first release. As time will have it, the latest version of Pitivi, 2020.09 is its first major release since 2018 which, as you must have noticed, features a year and month as the version number as opposed to the common “1.x” naming convention.

        For starters, Pitivi features a new welcome screen/wizard with a more elaborate overview of existing projects. It also now uses scaled proxy clips to make optimized media easier for machines to handle and then restores their editing state when reopening the project.

        There is a redesigned effects library that makes using video effects a lot cooler with the option to save favourites for quick access. The clip effects UI has also been revamped for batch-tweaking effects at once.

      • PosteRazor – create your own posters

        Linux has matured into an excellent platform for artists, photographers, animators, and designers. With inexpensive hardware, free software, and a modicum of talent and inspiration, anyone can create professional-looking computer graphics.

        Have you ever wanted to print a poster?

        PosteRazor cuts raster images into multipage PDF documents so that they can be printed and glued together to make a poster.

        The software used the FLTK based user interface, but the latest development has seen a move to Qt, a popular widget toolkit.

      • Quick Lookup is a Simple Open Source Word Lookup Tool to Find Meaning of Words You Come Across

        It is always handy to have a quick word lookup tool while browsing the web or reading an e-book. Quick Lookup is one such free and open-source tool to try.

        Whenever I come across a word that I don’t know the meaning of, I just open a new tab and search for the meaning. However, it is a hit and trial every time depending on what search engine you’re on.

        Even if you do get an idea for the meaning with a quick search, you do not get all the details required along with it. Especially, if you do not know the meaning of the word that describes your target word. You will end up performing another quick search.

      • LiVES Video Editor 3.2.0 Released with Tons of New Features [PPA]

        LiVES, a free and open-source video editor and VJ tool, released new major version 3.2.0 with new features, performance and resource usage improvements, and tons of other changes.

      • Meet Giara, a New Reddit App for the Linux Desktop, Written in GTK

        Meet Giara, a new free and open-source Reddit client application for the Linux desktop, created by Gabriele Musco. Designed using the latest GTK+/GNOME technologies, Giara is designed to become the go to app for all your Reddit needs, so you won’t have to keep a tab open on your web browser just for Reddit.

        In development for some time now, Giara is now ready for mass adoption and it’s already being packaged for the Arch Linux distribution, as well as a Flatpak universal binary for most GNU/Linux distributions out here. The app comes with most of the main features you would expect from a serious Reddit app.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to install Ubuntu MATE 20.10 – YouTube

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

      • How to Turbo Boost Your Clipboard with CopyQ

        When you copy a piece of text or an image in your computer, the content is saved to the clipboard. From there, you can then paste it to another destination. If you want to store more than one text snippet for reuse, though, or would like more control over how that’s done, you’ll have to use a third-party application known as a clipboard manager. And CopyQ is one of the best.

      • How to watch HBO MAX on Linux

        HBO MAX is a rebranding of HBO’s on-demand subscription service. It’s a pretty excellent service, and best of all, it works on Linux.  If you have an

      • How to install Teamspeak on Linux Mint 20 – YouTube

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Teamspeak on Linux Mint 20.

      • How to Install Taiga Project Management System on Ubuntu 20.04

        Taiga is a free, open-source, simple yet powerful project management tool for startups, Agile developers, and designers. It supports teams that work Agile across both Scrum and Kanban frameworks. In this tutorial, we will show you how to install the Taiga Project Management Tool on Ubuntu 20.04 server.

      • How to install Python 3 on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Python 3 on a Chromebook. This method will also install additional packages that you need to use python as a programming environment. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How to install Teamviewer on Linux Mint 20

        Today we are looking at how to install Teamviewer on Linux Mint 20. Enjoy!

      • How to install Linux on Windows? [Ed: Seems outdated, maybe plagiarised, but at least it's no WSL/2]
      • How to Host a Complete Website on a Raspberry Pi [Guide]

        Raspberry Pi is a low-cost single-board computer that requires very low energy to run and can provide a long-time service. Besides many other features of the Pi, it can be used as a web server too. Hence, it’s really easy to host a website on Raspberry Pi.
        If you calculate a regular hosting service provider’s costings, you will see how expensive they can be for their service. On the other hand, you can host your site on the Pi for almost free of cost. Also, the features of the Pi are upgrading quite randomly in recent years. So, you can be relaxed to know that the hosting service will only get better with time!

      • Anwesha Das: How to use Yubikey or any GPG smartcard in Thunderbird 78

        Thunderbird is the free and open source email client by Mozilla Foundation. I have been using it for some years now. Till now the Thunderbird users had to use an extension Enigmail to use GnuPG. Thunderbird 78 now uses a different implementation of OpenPGP called RNP.

        Since RNP library still does not support the use of secret key on smartcards, to use Yubikey or any other GnuPG enabled smartcards, we need manually configure Thunderbird with GnuPG.

      • ROS 2 on Kubernetes: a simple talker and listener setup | Ubuntu

        Kubernetes and robotics make a great match. However, robots running ROS2 can be tricky to set up with individual components on Kubernetes. In this second part of our blog series about running ROS 2 on Kubernetes, we set up a simple, scalable talker / listener system using MicroK8s on Ubuntu. In order to understand some of the design choices for this configuration, be sure to review part one, “Exploring ROS 2 with Kubernetes“.

        MicroK8s brings a full Kubernetes install to your machine with a single command and the baseline ROS 2 Foxy docker image fits neatly into the Kubernetes configuration. Our challenge is to configure these projects to all work nicely together.

        This configuration creates ROS nodes in pods, and each pod runs a single docker container. The container is the official baseline ROS Foxy docker image maintained by Open Robotics. We launch two talkers and one listener which can be scaled up and down. Networked ROS devices outside the Kubernetes host can also access the ROS graph.

      • This is how I git | daniel.haxx.se

        Every now and then I get questions on how to work with git in a smooth way when developing, bug-fixing or extending curl – or how I do it. After all, I work on open source full time which means I have very frequent interactions with git (and GitHub). Simply put, I work with git all day long. Ordinary days, I issue git commands several hundred times.

        I have a very simple approach and way of working with git in curl. This is how it works.


        The main curl development is done in the single curl/curl git repository (primarily hosted on GitHub). We keep the master branch the bleeding edge development tree and we work hard to always keep that working and functional. We do our releases off the master branch when that day comes (every eight weeks) and we provide “daily snapshots” from that branch, put together – yeah – daily.

        When merging fixes and features into master, we avoid merge commits and use rebases and fast-forward as much as possible. This makes the branch very easy to browse, understand and work with – as it is 100% linear.

      • Set up Minishift and run Jenkins on Linux | Opensource.com

        Minishift is a tool that helps you run OKD (Red Hat’s open source OpenShift container platform) locally by launching a single-node OKD cluster inside a virtual machine. It is powered by Kubernetes, which is one of my favorite things to talk about.

        In this article, I will demonstrate how to get started with Minishift on Linux. This was written for Ubuntu 18.04, and you’ll need sudo access on your Linux machine to run some commands.

      • Getting started with Stratis encryption – Fedora Magazine

        Stratis is described on its official website as an “easy to use local storage management for Linux.” See this short video for a quick demonstration of the basics. The video was recorded on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 system. The concepts shown in the video also apply to Stratis in Fedora.

        Stratis version 2.1 introduces support for encryption. Continue reading to learn how to get started with encryption in Stratis.

      • DNF for APT users | Enable Sysadmin

        Take a look at a few common and useful DNF and APT operations.

      • IPS configuration recommendations for IPFire users

        Especially users in luxury of running IPFire on powerful hardware might sit back now, as their machines can easily handle any IPS configuration, no matter which amount of rules has been turned on and how demanding they are in terms of CPU load.

        The more common scenario, however, is IT staff already working to full capacity being told to run or activate an IPS on dated hardware. Sometimes, this is a desperate bid to compensate security issues in the networks behind the firewall or gateway machine, or due to a superior reading about IPS making things more secure in his or her glossy tech magazine.

        Both scenarios have something in common which virtually enforces spending more time and thoughts on your IPS’ configuration: False Positives.

        The more IPS rules you enable, the more False Positives will arise. As mentioned in another post before, they might cause more damage to a networks’ security than the attackers itself: After a series of False Positives, alerts because of True Positives are not given the attention they deserve anymore.

        While it might be certainly interesting to detect and analyse attacks against protocols for industrial control systems (such as SCADA) in terms of academic interest, those are simply irrelevant for people not administering the network of a power plant or production hall. Unless you are a telephone company, STCP scans in order to detect entry points to the SS7 network might be an interesting read, but do not really matter.

        Most users will observe the usual background noise: Port scanning en masse, brute force login attempts against popular services such as SSH, spam waves or open SMTP relay hijacking, or bots trying to infect other machines on the internet by using common exploits against known vulnerabilities.

      • What’s the difference between orchestration and automation? | Opensource.com

        For the longest time, it seemed the only thing any sysadmin cared about was automation. Recently, though, the mantra seems to have changed from automation to orchestration, leading many puzzled admins to wonder: “What’s the difference?”

        The difference between automation and orchestration is primarily in intent and tooling. Technically, automation can be considered a subset of orchestration. While orchestration suggests many moving parts, automation usually refers to a singular task or a small number of strongly related tasks. Orchestration works at a higher level and is expected to make decisions based on changing conditions and requirements.

        However, this view shouldn’t be taken too literally because both terms—automation and orchestration—do have implications when they’re used. The results of both are functionally the same: things happen without your direct intervention. But the way you get to those results, and the tools you use to make them happen, are different, or at least the terms are used differently depending on what tools you’ve used.

      • Adding DKIM support to OpenSMTPD with custom filters | Almost Secure

        If you, like me, are running your own mail server, you might have looked at OpenSMTPD.


        You might want to add virtual user lists, aliases, SRS support, but it really doesn’t get much more complicated than this. The best practices are all there: no authentication over unencrypted connections, no relaying of mails by unauthorized parties, all of that being very obvious in the configuration. Compare that to Postfix configuration with its multitude of complicated configuration files where I was very much afraid of making a configuration mistake and inadvertently turning my mail server into an open relay.

        There is no DKIM support out of the box however, you have to add filters for that. The documentation suggests using opensmtpd-filter-dkimsign that most platforms don’t have prebuilt packages for. So you have to get the source code from some Dutch web server, presumably run by the OpenBSD developer Martijn van Duren. And what you get is a very simplistic DKIM signer, not even capable of supporting multiple domains.

        The documentation suggests opensmtpd-filter-rspamd as an alternative which can indeed both sign and verify DKIM signatures. It relies on rspamd however, an anti-spam solution introducing a fair deal of complexity and clearly overdimensioned in my case.

        So I went for writing custom filters. With dkimpy implementing all the necessary functionality in Python, how hard could it be?

      • OpenID Connect integration with Red Hat 3scale API Management and Okta – Red Hat Developer

        This article introduces you to using Red Hat 3scale API Management for OpenID Connect (OIDC) integration and compliance. Our goal is to secure an API in 3scale API Management using JSON Web Token (JWT), OIDC, and the Oauth2 Authorization Framework. We will set up the integration using Okta as our third-party OpenID Connect identity provider. An important part of the demonstration is establishing the 3scale API Management gateway’s connection with Okta.


        For demonstration purposes, we will use 3scale API Management and Okta as self-managed services. If you don’t have them already, begin by creating free service accounts using 3scale.net and okta.com.


        Thank you for taking the time to read this article and follow the demonstration. As you have seen, 3scale API Management works together with any OpenID provider in a way that is compliant with its specification. We’ve used Okta as our OpenID provider for this demonstration. I hope that breaking down the verification process and showing each party’s roles and responsibilities helped to demystify aspects of application security with JWT, OIDC, and Oauth2.

      • Program your microcontroller with MicroBlocks | Opensource.com

        If you like to tinker with technology, you may be familiar with programmable microcontroller boards, such as AdaFruit’s Circuit Playground Express and the BBC Micro:bit. Now there’s a new programming option for you to try: MicroBlocks. It’s a simple Scratch-like programming interface that works well with several microcontrollers, including those two.

      • Install Google Chrome on Fedora [GUI & Terminal Methods]

        Fedora comes with Firefox as the default web browser. Despite it being an excellent web browser, you may prefer the popular Google Chrome browser.

        If you are wondering how to install Google Chrome on Fedora, let me show you two ways of installing Google Chrome, graphical method and command line method.

      • Setting Up Hadoop Pre-requisites and Security Hardening – Part 2

        In this article, we will go through OS-level pre-requisites and do some important Security Hardening tips according to the CIS Benchmark for Production servers.

      • How to Solve ‘E: Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock’ Error in Ubuntu

        In this guide, we will learn how to solve ‘Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock’ and ‘/var/lib/apt/lists/lock’ error in Ubuntu Linux.

      • Conditional Statements in Ansible: When, Block and Handlers

        Learn to use when statements to run tasks conditionally, block statements to implement exception handling and Ansible handlers to trigger tasks upon change.

      • How To Install ADB and Fastboot on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install ADB and Fastboot on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, ADB or Android Debug Bridge is a command-line utility that lets us control an android device from the computer itself. Its part of Google Android SDK and can be used to run shell commands or to copy the files to & from the device and also to install or remove the applications from the device. Fastboot is basically a diagnostics mode that is used to modify the Android file system from the computer when the android device is in bootloader mode. It’s an alternative to recovery mode and is normally used to perform updates or to perform installations.

        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 ADB and Fastboot 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.

    • Games

      • The perfect Linux laptop for gaming ? – Neptune 15 FULL REVIEW: performance, battery life…

        After using this big boy, the Juno Computers Neptune 15, as my daily driver for a few weeks, it’s time for a full review.

      • The awesome Tenderfoot Tactics is now available on itch.io and you should get it | GamingOnLinux

        If you like turn-based tactical battles mixed with open world exploration, you pretty much owe it to yourself to go and pick up Tenderfoot Tactics. Released only recently, to which I gave it a very positive look, Tenderfoot Tactics has a seriously enchanting theme to it while you’re exploring.

        Thinking on it, Tenderfoot might be up there in my biggest highlights of this year. You explore a world that is being consumed by some sort of evil Fog, turning everyone into ghostly forms as you and your pals go on a real-time overworld exploration adventure to try and save the world. While doing so you get to slide down mountains, meet great big creatures and have tactical turn-based battles where the environment can be messed with.

      • Babylon comes to Civilization VI, plus a new game mode on November 19 with the next DLC | GamingOnLinux

        As part of the ongoing expansion for the New Frontier Pass, the turn-based strategy Civilization VI will be getting another DLC on November 19.

        The team at Firaxis aren’t giving out too many details yet, but they couldn’t seem to hold back on shouting Babylon from the rooftops as the next major inclusion to which they say will “blind you with science”. This pack will also be coming with 6 new City States each being unique, there’s also going to be 24 new Great People and a whole new game mode with Heroes & Legends.

        With the new Heroes & Legends Mode, it will introduce a variety of legendary figured from various cultural traditions over the world as playable characters. They say the heroes “are like great people on steroids”, there’s going to be many of them including the likes of King Arthur.

      • Free and open source flight sim ‘FlightGear’ has a brand new release | GamingOnLinux

        It might not be as advanced as the likes of X-Plane but FlightGear is free, open source and still very much alive with a big new release up.

        FlightGear 2020.3 is what they’re calling a “Long Term Support” release, as they nowadays offer a full stable build and much more regular content updates. Developed by volunteers, they’re trying to make the most advanced flight sim that’s entirely free to use. Most people interested probably don’t stick to the LTS versions, as the in between releases always have the exciting stuff.

      • It’s hard to believe but Counter-Strike has turned 20 and it’s still going strong | GamingOnLinux

        20 years officially today, Counter-Strike 1.0 was officially released and it went on to change the way many of us played games online.

        Truthfully, the true original was just a little bit before my time. I really came into it with Counter-Strike Xbox Edition on the Xbox back around 2003, to this day it might still be my most played Xbox game. When it comes to the PC, it was Counter-Strike: Source that really helped me appreciate competitive PC gaming. So while I may not have many memories of the original, from the Xbox and Source version onwards, it found a special place,

        Looking at it, the original to this day still have an incredibly active player-base. It’s kind of insane just how popular it remains. Checking over on the always useful SteamDB, their charts actually show that the original classic Counter-Strike has seen a consistent regular amount of fifteen thousand (and often above) players online at any time.

      • Chris Titus is WRONG about Linux Gaming.
      • First-person shooter Prodeus enters Early Access today, Linux (and macOS) to come later | GamingOnLinux

        Prodeus is the seriously slick looking retro-shooter re-imagined blending modern and retro designs together, it enters Early Access today but we have a wait ahead for official support. Originally funded on Kickstarter, close to 3,000 backers helped the developers with around $105,626 back in 2019 and it’s looking exciting.

      • Kujlevka is an upcoming quirky Russian adventure about a crashed alien ship | GamingOnLinux

        The Russian village of Kujlevka becomes anything but ordinary in this upcoming story-based adventure game about an alien ship that crashes into your house.

        “Russia, 1992. An ordinary village of Kujlevka faces yet another challenge in this dark period of Russian history, and this one really makes the financial crisis and raising crime rates look bleak: out of all locations on Earth, this little settlement, forgotten by everyone, turns into the busiest place on the planet overnight when a flying saucer crashes directly into the headman’s house.”

      • Need to chill? Check out Forest’s Secret, a free nonviolent adventure | GamingOnLinux

        Forest’s Secret is a free (you can donate) adventure game with a nonviolent theme where you play as a traveller who has just arrived at a quiet forest settlement called Wabika.

        “Forest’s Secret is a cozy, nonviolent adventure game. You play as a traveler who has just arrived at a quiet forest settlement called Wabika, and must explore its mysterious paths, discover its ancient history, and make friends with its quirky inhabitants in order to find what it is you’re searching for. There’s lots of neat little stuff to discover!”

        It actually released quite some time ago, along with an additional Mystery of the Frost update that came later adding in a new story, new areas to explore and new gameplay mechanics. Shame we only just came across it as it’s quite sweet.

      • Smash up an office to find vermin hiding in the free game Perfect Vermin | GamingOnLinux

        A free game that lets you run around a seemingly empty office with a sledgehammer? Perfect Vermin is not quite what it seems as you hunt for some weird creatures. Originally released on itch.io, it’s now hopped on over to Steam to bring it to a bigger audience.

        Your task is pretty simple: run through an office and smash up some tables. chairs, toilets and yes even the lightswitch can be smashed off the wall. The reason though? Well, there’s some kind of vermin posing as various objects. It’s like a game of prop hunt, only with a short narrative and a darker theme.

      • OpenRazer 2.9.0 is out, adding plenty of new Razer device support on Linux

        Enjoy your fancy Razer hardware on Linux? You should probably check out OpenRazer, which is a nice big collection of drivers for Linux. A project that’s been going for a long time now, with no sign of it stopping and it just keeps on improving.

        Another example of the open source community bridging the official support gap for users. Just recently OpenRazer 2.9.0 was released, adding in support for plenty of additional devices including these…

      • DragonBox Pyra Linux mini PC portable gaming system pre-orders start shipping

        Those of you in the market for a small pocket -sized portable gaming PC may be interested know that the DragonBox Pyra handheld PC is now available to purchase and has started shipping out to customers that pre-ordered the small Linux PC.

    • Distributions

      • Top 6 Tiny Linux Distributions One Must Try

        Linux is a versatile operating system. You can find different distros for different purposes and still be surprised by the functionality the distros have to offer without sacrificing too much. Tiny Linux Distributions are also like that. They are powerful yet compact and lets you run Linux operating systems on slow machines with minimal specs.

        Even though you do not need those (as you are running a fast machine in 2020), you should try out these tiny Linux distros to completely understand the flexibility that Linux provides.

        However, even now, these distros can come in handy. For instance, you can use the distros to:

        Make use of your old computer that is lying around without any purpose. Give the computer a purpose, and showcase your resilience by using such an old piece of hardware.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora 33 Workstation review

          I don’t think there’s much to be said at this point. It’s all written above. Fedora 33, like 99% of distros out there, does not have sufficiently friendly defaults for the average user, let alone anyone coming from the Windows world. Perhaps the nerdy features could be useful to developers and alike – latest kernel, BTRFS and whatnot – but ordinary people don’t know what these are, don’t care, and they just want to watch videos without heaving. Having to worry about trifles like font, media playback or minimize button. Nah.

          My intention is to still go through all the way and try to create a useful baseline for the common desktop user. This will include a complete revamp of the desktop, installation of a dozen different applications, and several dozen tweaks. Similar to my Fedora 32 guide, probably almost identical. But that’s just because I want to see what needs to be done, and if there’s anything useful I can offer my readers. I can’t recommend Fedora for everyday usage, and I feel quite sad and resigned at the end of this short testing session. Take care.

        • IBM Cloud: IBM and AT&T Collaboration, New Partnership with ClearBlade, and Code Risk Analyzer
        • IBM Launches IBM Cloud [sic] For Telecommunications

          IBM has announced an open, hybrid cloud architecture called IBM Cloud for Telecommunications to help telcos address the specific challenges of the industry.

          The platform helps them accelerate business transformation and enhance digital client engagement as they modernize their enterprise applications and infrastructure to unlock the power of 5G and edge.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Unity 20.10 Review: Unity with Stability

          Ubuntu Unity 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla” spin is the Unity desktop spin with a stable Ubuntu 20.10 base. It features the controversial Unity desktop with additional customizations. We review the Ubuntu Unity 20.10 short-term release to provide you a glimpse of its offerings.

        • Canonical Saw ~$119M Revenue In 2019 But Still Operating At A Loss

          Ubuntu maker Canonical Holdings Limited recently submitted their UK financial report for their fiscal year ending 31 December 2019. During the pre-COVID times they generated around 22% more revenue than 2018 but still operated at a loss albeit more narrowly than in prior years.

          A few weeks back Canonical Group Limited submitted their FY2019 documents with the UK Companies House. They show their 2019 revenue at $119 million USD, up from $97 million the prior year. Their operating loss came in at just $2M, better than the $11M operating loss in 2018 and the losses they have been operating at some years.

          Canonical’s average headcount for 2019 was 473, up from 437 the prior year. While they added close to forty more employees, it’s still down from their 500+ headcount prior to their restructuring when they abandoned their smartphone ambitions and more. This older article offers a look at the Canonical headcount and financial performance for the past number of years.

        • Canonical’s Charmed OpenStack To Power MTS Cloud Infrastructure

          MTS has selected Canonical’s Charmed OpenStack to power the company’s next-generation cloud infrastructure. Charmed OpenStack is based on technologies such as Metal-as-a-Service (MAAS), Juju Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM), OpenStack Charms and Ceph.

          MTS plans to leverage Charmed OpenStack’s advanced lifecycle management capabilities and flexible cloud-native architecture to better enable multi-vendor and cross-platform integration.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • [Curl developer] Daniel Stenberg: a US visa in 937 days

        As a bonus, the visa also comes with a NIE (National Interest
        Exception) that allows me a single entry to the US during the PP (Presidential Proclamations) – which is restricting travels to the US from the European Schengen zone. In other words: I am actually allowed to travel right away!

        The timing is fascinating. The last time I was in the US, Trump hadn’t taken office yet and I get the approved visa in my hands just days after Biden has been announced as the next president of the US.


        All my family and friends, in the US and elsewhere who have supported me and cheered me up through this entire process. Thanks for keeping inviting me to fun things in the US even though I’ve not been able to participate. Thanks for pushing for events to get organized outside of the US! I’m sorry I’ve missed social gatherings, a friend’s marriage and several conference speaking opportunities. Thanks for all the moral support throughout this long journey of madness.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • grep-3.6 released [stable]
            This is to announce grep-3.6, a stable release.
            There have been 18 commits by 3 people in the 6 weeks since 3.5.
            This release has two important changes, a fix for a bug introduced in
            grep-3.2 (from late 2018) and the removal of support for the long-deprecated
            GREP_OPTIONS envvar.  See the NEWS below for more detail.
            Thanks again to Norihiro Tanaka and Paul Eggert,
            and to everyone else who has contributed.
            The following people contributed changes to this release:
              Jim Meyering (9)
              Norihiro Tanaka (3)
              Paul Eggert (6)
            Jim [on behalf of the grep maintainers]
            Here is the GNU grep home page:
            For a summary of changes and contributors, see:
            or run this command from a git-cloned grep directory:
              git shortlog v3.5..v3.6
            To summarize the 65 gnulib-related changes, run these commands
            from a git-cloned grep directory:
              git checkout v3.6
              git submodule summary v3.5
            Here are the compressed sources:
              https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/grep/grep-3.6.tar.gz   (2.6MB)
              https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/grep/grep-3.6.tar.xz   (1.6MB)
            Here are the GPG detached signatures[*]:
            Use a mirror for higher download bandwidth:
            [*] Use a .sig file to verify that the corresponding file (without the
            .sig suffix) is intact.  First, be sure to download both the .sig file
            and the corresponding tarball.  Then, run a command like this:
              gpg --verify grep-3.6.tar.gz.sig
            If that command fails because you don't have the required public key,
            then run this command to import it:
              gpg --keyserver keys.gnupg.net --recv-keys 7FD9FCCB000BEEEE
            and rerun the 'gpg --verify' command.
            This release was bootstrapped with the following tools:
              Autoconf 2.69c
              Automake 1.16b
              Gnulib v0.1-3992-gbd90572c0
            * Noteworthy changes in release 3.6 (2020-11-08) [stable]
            ** Changes in behavior
              The GREP_OPTIONS environment variable no longer affects grep's behavior.
              The variable was declared obsolescent in grep 2.21 (2014), and since
              then any use had caused grep to issue a diagnostic.
            ** Bug fixes
              grep's DFA matcher performed an invalid regex transformation
              that would convert an ERE like a+a+a+ to a+a+, which would make
              grep a+a+a+ mistakenly match "aa".
              [Bug#44351 introduced in grep 3.2]
              grep -P now reports the troublesome input filename upon PCRE execution
              failure.  Before, searching many files for something rare might fail with
              just "exceeded PCRE's backtracking limit".  Now, it also reports which file
              triggered the failure.
      • Programming/Development

        • Optimized Compiler Builds Are Well Worth It For Intel Tiger Lake

          Making use of “-march=tigerlake” for building optimized binaries catering to Intel’s latest-generation processors is well worth it on the likes of GCC 11. Out of the new instruction set extensions on Tiger Lake is more uplift than we have seen out of recent Intel generations and comparing the different “-march=” targets shows significant performance benefits if you don’t mind compiling your own software from source.

          For this testing with the Dell XPS 9310 Intel EVO laptop was used with the Core i7 1165G7 processor. While the Tiger Lake notebook was running Ubuntu 20.10 with the Linux 5.10 Git kernel, the GCC 11.0 compiler was used for benchmarking as of its 25 October development state. Off GCC 11.0, the benchmarks under test were built with the CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS of “-O3 -march=XXX”. The different -march= values tested included generic x86-64, sandybridge, haswell, skylake, icelake-client, and tigerlake for looking at the impact of increasing the instructions exposed and other optimizations / scheduling model in catering to the newer CPU generations.

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Apple backtracks on App Store removal threat for Unix shell iOS apps

          Developers of Linux and Unix shells have received warnings from Apple that their iOS apps violate App Store Review Guidelines, with the threat of termination from the App Store said to be reversed in at least one instance.

          A shell is a tool that enables users to perform command-line operations on a device, which usually doesn’t offer that sort of functionality, such as the lack of a terminal in iOS. These terminal emulator apps like a-Shell and iSH enable the use of many Unix commands in iOS, which can be useful for developers and power users.

          However, according to a series of tweets on Sunday, it seems that the two apps have come under fire from Apple’s App Store team for seemingly violating the App Store Review Guidelines. The iSH Twitter account advised it was informed by Apple it would be removing the app from the App Store on Monday.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Old Versions of Android to Not Support Secure Websites [Ed: The surveillance enthusiast Laura Tucker wants us to think Linux Foundation already has a monopoly on the Web]

                Recently, The non-profit organization Let’s Encrypt announced that on September 1, 2021, it’s partnership with certification authority IdenTrust will end. It will not be renewing the partnership and will instead be using its own root certificate. Default cross-signaling for IdenTrust’s certificate will stop on January 11.

              • Linux Foundation Is Democratizing Security With OpenSSF | Polyverse
              • Linux Foundation’s AI and ODPi Groups Merge

                The LF AI Foundation, which is aimed at enabling and sustaining open source innovation in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL) has merged with ODPi, a nonprofit organization accelerating the open ecosystem of big data solutions.

                The new organization is called LF AI & Data Foundation. According to the announcement, the consolidated group brings developers and projects under one roof, governed by a single Technical Advisory Council and several committees.

        • Security

          • Campari, Capcom hit by Windows Ragnar Locker ransomware

            Italian liqueur manufacturer Campari Group and Japanese game maker Capcom have both been hit by cyber criminals using the Ragnar Locker ransomware that affects only Windows systems.

          • China hits out at US for pushing Egypt to reject use of Huawei gear

            The latest battleground for the US and China is Egypt, where an American official has warned authorities that they should avoid using Chinese technology for their 5G networks.

          • Ubuntu, Windows, And Chrome Hacked At China’s Top Hackathon
          • Indian COVID vaccine research firms hit by Windows ransomware

            Two companies involved in research connected with vaccines for the coronavirus and both based in India have been hit by ransomware.

          • Launching IPFire on Exoscale

            Today, we are launching IPFire on Exoscale, the GDPR-compatible European Cloud Provider based in Switzerland.

            For the two years that IPFire is available on Amazon EC2, we have often received feedback from various customers about their data privacy concerns. GDPR and the generally higher data protection regulation in Europe is making it difficult for many people to find the right cloud provider that complies with those laws.

            We are proud to offer an option for those customers.

            With data centers in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Bulgaria, Exoscale is promising that your data won’t “travel halfway around the world”. Privacy has been built into the cloud from the first moment.

          • Security updates for Monday [LWN.net]

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (bind, firefox, java-1.8.0-openjdk, kernel, libX11, qemu-kvm, thunderbird, and xorg-x11-server), Debian (guacamole-server, krb5, libexif, poppler, raptor2, and sympa), Fedora (blueman, chromium, freetype, galera, krb5, libtpms, mariadb, mariadb-connector-c, pngcheck, and salt), Mageia (blueman, docker, fontforge, junit, libproxy, libuv, mariadb, suricata, and webmin), openSUSE (apache-commons-httpclient, bluez, gnome-settings-daemon, gnome-shell, python, salt, sddm, u-boot, virt-bootstrap, and wireshark), Red Hat (chromium-browser), SUSE (ceph, deepsea, kernel, Salt, salt, SUSE Manager 3.2, u-boot, and yast2-multipath), and Ubuntu (openldap and pacemaker).

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Far Right Monitors Anxious About Lingering Possibility of Post-Election Violence
      • Students Push to Remove Police. University President Doubles Down Instead.
      • There Will Be No Graciousness or Concession From Trump—Incapable of Either

        So how can Biden heal the nation when Trump doesn’t want it healed?

      • Trident Must Be Destroyed, Not Given to Westminster

        There appears to be a presumption that upon Scottish Independence, the Trident submarine fleet and its incredibly destructive WMD’s must simply be handed over to Westminster by Holyrood. That is wrong in international law; if the weapons remain on the territory of Scotland, a sovereign state, it will be for the Scottish Government to dispose of them as it chooses.

      • Don’t Let Up: Fascism isn’t Dead Yet

        Donald Trump doesn’t have the intelligence, competence or sufficient ruling-class backing to actually become a fascist dictator. His desire to be one, however, has been more than sufficient to necessitate the widest possible movement against him and the social forces he will continue to represent, and there is no doubt his authoritarian impulses would have become still worse had he won a second term. What little democracy is left in the United States’ capitalist formal democracy would have been further reduced.

        It might be better to understand Trump as the Republican Party’s frankenstein — the culmination of the Republican “Southern Strategy.” Richard Nixon was an open racist who developed the strategy of sending dog whistles to White racists; Ronald Reagan promoted “states’ rights,” well understood code words for supporting racially biased policies; George H.W. Bush exploited racial stereotypes with his Willie Horton campaign ads; George W. Bush’s presidency will be remembered for his callous ignoring of New Orleans and its African-American population in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; and the roster of Republicans hostile to civil rights is too long to list. Moreover, the Republican Party, with very few exceptions, has been an eager promoter and enabler of Trump’s virulent pro-big business policies with most not even bothering to pretend to challenge Trump’s racism and misogyny.

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      • The New Humanitarian | INTERSOS to close all Somalia projects

        INTERSOS, a UN-funded NGO that provides healthcare and other services to hundreds of thousands of people in Somalia, is pulling out of the country after an investigation uncovered “systematic fraud” that the Italian-based aid group deemed too dangerous to try to resolve.
        In an interview with The New Humanitarian, INTERSOS Director General Kostas Moschochoritis said it was a “hard decision” reached after “huge debate” within the NGO. “We realised we couldn’t fix it,” he said, adding that he was “really saddened”.
        All the 200 INTERSOS staff may be laid off – mostly in Somalia, but also some in a support office in neighbouring Kenya. No disciplinary action had been taken against staff, Moschochoritis said, adding that redundancies would be compliant with local guidelines.
        He explained how INTERSOS had opened an investigation earlier this year after receiving a complaint. That probe, he said, found systematic “manipulation of procedures”, particularly in “procurement” – a term that can cover the purchase of goods or the selection of contractors.
        Pressed for more detail, he said, “I cannot go deeper”, adding that discussions were underway with local authorities and other agencies on a “smooth handover” to try to continue services. He said local authorities, donors, and the staff had been informed in recent days.

      • The New Humanitarian | COVID-19 quarantine ferries prove dangerous for migrants in Italy

        Outrage is growing among human rights advocates at the use of commercial ferries by Italian authorities to quarantine asylum seekers and migrants due to COVID-19 – not just new arrivals, but also people from reception centres inland who have been in Italy for years.
        The initial policy began in April, but civil society organisations and lawyers argue that legitimate public health concerns are now being used as an excuse to detain people in poor conditions on the ferries and to restrict access to asylum, setting a dangerous precedent.
        A slew of troubling incidents, including several recent deaths and reports of attempted self-harm, have added to the sense of alarm.
        “The use of quarantine ships for those migrants who arrived by sea raises a number of human rights concerns,” Dunja Mijatović, human rights commissioner at the Council of Europe, told The New Humanitarian. “Vulnerable people, including children and those with underlying medical conditions, must be promptly identified and evacuated on land; everyone must have prompt access to adequate healthcare and to information on their rights and be able to apply for asylum.”
        The movement of people across the sea is also under fresh scrutiny after it emerged that the attacker who killed three people outside a church in Nice on 29 October arrived in Italy by boat in September and was quarantined on board a ferry before making his way to France.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • China smartphone shipments fall in 3Q, Huawei stays top despite sanctions

        China’s smartphone shipments during the third quarter of 2020 fell 14.3% year-on-year, the tech analyst firm IDC reports, adding that 84.8 million units were shipped during the period.

      • Liberal Capitalism is Dead

        As the radical historian Rudolf Rocker noted in the years prior to WWII, the promise of equality before the law under liberal democracy was shipwrecked on the rocks of class society, a fact that has only become truer in the post-war period, as the United States acted as midwife for the rise to power of a transnational corporate empire in the midst of its own rise to global dominance as geopolitical hegemon. With the rise of transnational corporate capitalism, the limitations of liberal capitalism are becoming too conspicuous to safely sweep under the rug. Politicians are bought and paid for before they even reach office thanks to corporate campaign donations, as are the national committees of two-party duopolies, and this is only the beginning.

        On shipwrecks

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    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Monopolies

      • Book review: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Africa [Ed: Africa needs Intellectual [sic] Property [sic] Rights [sic] — basically three lies in a row — like America needed Trump]

        Africa is a continent with 54 countries. These 54 countries come with distinct and diverse legal systems and rules. As a consequence, understanding and following developments on law and practice in Africa can be an uphill task even for a field like IP law that ‘enjoys’ the benefit of various international treaties. Readers will be pleased to find out that two legal practitioners practising across various African countries, Marius Schneider (IPvocate Africa Legal Advisers) and Vanessa Ferguson (Ferguson Attorneys) have provided up-to-date study of the law and practice of intellectual property rights enforcement in all 54 African countries in one book: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Africa.

      • Patents

        • Turkey: New Code of Civil Procedure Extends Deadlines in Patent Litigation [Ed: More time for patent lawyers to empty the coffers of their clients]

          The “Code on the Amendment of the Code of Civil Procedure and of Some Other Laws” entered into force in Turkey recently. This Code focusses on the principle of procedural economy and acceleration of the judicial process. One of the Code’s amendments important for patent law practice concerns the extension of the legal period in which to submit statements challenging court expert reports. This amendment to Article 281 of the Code of Civil Procedure (“CCP”) stipulates that the Judge may grant an additional two-week period to submit statements challenging the expert report. In Turkish practice, it is regarded as necessary to retain an expert for resolution of the disputes that are related to patent law, and expert reports generally sway the balance.

          The following sentence has been added to the first paragraph of Article 281 of the CCP that regulates objections to experts reports: “If it is very difficult or impossible to prepare a statement countering the expert report, or it requires special or technical preparatory work, an extension of time may be granted to the party who petitions the court within this period, on the understanding that the extension period starts from expiration of the deadline for submissions, the extension will be granted only once, and the period granted does not exceed two weeks.”

          With this amendment, the judge may add two additional weeks to the two-week period granted to the parties in which to submit their statements refuting the expert report, and the period the parties shall have in which to submit their statements and objections may be extended to a maximum of one month. It is stated as a basis for this amendment that there are complaints about insufficiency of the two-week period given in practice in which to examine the expert report and to prepare counter-statements.

        • Patent case: Akteneinsicht XXIV, Germany

          The FCJ decided that submissions by the parties which are expressly intended for the court only and not for the opposing party may not be included in the court file. As a consequence, they may not be relied on by the court and may not be disclosed to the opposing party for the purposes of file inspection.

        • Software Patents

          • DigiMedia Tech patent challenged as likely invalid

            On November 6, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 7,715,476, owned by DigiMedia Tech LLC, an NPE and an IP Investments Group entity. The ‘476 patent is generally related to displaying video images generated by a camera on a display, and more particularly to tracking a head portion of a person image in camera-generated video images. The ‘476 patent has been asserted against Olympus Corp., Fujifilm Holdings, Sakar International, Nikon, JK Imaging, and Elite Brands.

          • Carucel Investments patent held unpatentable

            On November 6, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final written decision in Unified Patents, LLC v. Carucel Investments, L.P. holding all challenged claims of U.S. Patent 7,979,023 unpatentable. The ‘023 patent is owned by Carucel Investments, an NPE, and relates to mobile communication systems for vehicles. The patent had been asserted against numerous automotive companies such as Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, and Mercedes-Benz.

          • VirnetX wins another Jury Verdict.

            The jury awarded less than $1 per device, but it still adds up. This $500 million verdict is stacked atop a $400 million judgment from earlier this year.

      • Copyrights

        • Pirate Bay Domain That Sold for $50,000 Now Redirects to Proxy

          A few weeks ago the domain Piratebay.org was sold at auction for $50,000. The domain was previously owned by the official TPB team, who ‘forgot’ to renew it. After the domain briefly promoted a mysterious “Torrent Man” film project, it now redirects to an ad-financed proxy site.

        • Time For a Real Response to Supposed Malware in Pirate Streaming Devices

          After endless claims that supposed malware in pirate streaming apps is putting Internet users in peril, it’s now time to bring these threats into the open. The challenge for anti-piracy groups is to actually start naming and shaming pirate apps that act maliciously. Given the reported grave threat, this should be simplicity itself.

        • Don’t blame EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager if SAP customers’ antitrust complaints are fundamentally flawed, get copyright law wrong

          You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone less SAP-friendly than me, given that I harshly criticized the German enterprise software maker (just the week before last) for botching–together with Google and Daimler–the German patent injunction reform and even called Microsoft, BMW, and Deutsche Telekom “lemmings” for following SAP’s lead. The last occasion on which I collaborated with SAP was over a decade ago when we were co-complainants against Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems–and the individuals I worked with at the time have meanwhile retired. Also, SAP is absolutely irrelevant to my business as a game app maker (I finally submitted a beta version to Apple on Thursday for TestFlight approval, and we’ll submit our Android version to Google this week).


          At the heart of those complaints against SAP–one was lodged with the Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office) in 2018, and another with DG COMP–is some customers’ disagreement with SAP’s policy that it charges for how its software is used, which often involves third-party applications. The complainants–a group named VOICE including the likes of Siemens and Volkswagen–argue that the 2009 EU directive on the legal protection of computer programs (summary) protects interoperability to the extent that SAP couldn’t do that. With my combined IP and antitrust background, I can’t help but find that argument not only spurious but downright nonsensical.

          What the directive in question actually refers to is the decompilation (a step that is typically at the beginning of a reverse-engineering effort) of program code. If a certain set of conditions are met, the right holder’s ability to enforce copyright may be limited for interoperability’s sake.

[Meme] For Free Software to be Freedom-Respecting Its Development and Distribution Need to be Decentralised and Widely Distributed, Not Centralised and Monopolised by Microsoft’s GitHub

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 8:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Drake RIAA Meme (Cats and Three Panels Version)

Merkel: Delete GitHubSummary: The recent events in GitHub ought to remind people, yet again, that GitHub and Free software are inherently incompatible, as GNU had warned years before Microsoft bought it

THE MEME above needn’t be explained much, but for those who are baffled by the part in the middle, see this article.

“Biden won’t change for the better until he’s pressured…”To be very, very clear (and avoid misunderstandings), we are glad that Joe Biden beat Donald Trump, but we certainly consider Biden to be anything but an ally. Biden won’t change for the better until he’s pressured (and that sort of pressure too isn’t guaranteed to accomplish anything).

Free Software Freedom is Not Linux

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 7:39 pm by Guest Editorial Team

By Thomas Grzybowski

A server room

Summary: “We would all probably be better-off if they simply folded their tent and let the GNU organization get on with the real movement.”

A friend of mine was attending one of the OLF Conferences, on Saturday November 7th, and he happened to find a seat listening to Bob Young of Red Hat. Young was telling a story about how a few years ago he had explained to Richard Stallman that he himself was more committed to Free Software than Stallman was. In his view, Stallman was only ideologically supporting Free Software, while Red Hat’s entire business model depended upon on it. And through Red Hat’s commercialization of GNU/Linux, Young had brought open-source/free software into wide-spread corporate acceptance and into the marketplace such that many more people could benefit.

Now what Young was saying was true, in a selfish sense, but I myself, I was concerned to hear his spiel took place at a “Free Software” conference. These sorts of arguments betray a deep ignorance about the nature of Free Software – perhaps, more nefariously a consistent willful ignorance.

Lit up computerThe “FOSS” acronym is a red flag (if not a Red Hat) that a mistake is about to be made. People (and Executives) are consistently conflating Free Software with Open Source. But these are two notions are very different things, belonging to entirely different domains: one is cultural and the other economic. Freedom is a sociocultural phenomenon, while source-code availability is essentially concerned with the distribution of property. It’s not surprising that once one conflates these differing notions there is much confusion.

I want to make this clear: Free Software is a matter of practice. Software Freedom must be actively practiced to exist, whilst Open Source is essentially about the availability of a product. Clearly, Freedom is the more fragile entity here. Institutions seemingly dedicated to Free Software engaged with domain confusion will cause the movement itself to suffer, slow, and die.

The mission of the Free Software Foundation has been evolving. At the beginning, with Stallman as president and a few strong allies as board members, the FSF was designed to draw-in financing for GNU projects. It also took over most of the distribution services from GNU. Over time the FSF became the primary defender of the GPL licenses. The FSF also took on an education mission and began hosting conferences. The Free Software Foundation became the public face for GNU, and much of Free Software in general. And more and more it also served to provide a corporate-friendly face for fund-raising. These missions came to cloud the original GNU mission.

Today, the Free Software Foundation continues to expound the message that we must choose between surrendering to proprietary software or work to opposing it. What we have learned, over time, is that this is an oversimplification of what needs to be done in order to keep the Freedoms inherent in Free Software alive and moving forward.

Before we go any further, let us define what “Freedom” means here for our purposes. Freedom is having two things: options to do as you wish, and the ability to carry choices out. Without both of those things fully in place, Freedom is incomplete and often nullified. Of the two requirements, the means is the most difficult to fulfill. Sadly, one cannot experience software freedom if one is lacking a computing device. Assuming one has access to such a device, and the source code is openly available (with the appropriate license), are we not “Free” as in “Free Software”? Well, the Gnu organization defines four freedoms: Users must have the freedom to (1) run, (2) copy and distribute, (3) study, and (4) change and improve the software. (As per http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html)

Yet there is something not fully stressed in the the Four Freedoms, and this missing understanding is badly undermining Free Software today: one cannot experience software freedom if one is lacking the means to practice software freedom. “Wait, Wait” you say, “I can download the source-code”. Alrighty. And Where does that get you?

It is often argued that the “Free Software” movement is ideological, and based upon some ivory-tower idealism. Nothing could be further from the truth. As we stated before, Free Software is a practical matter, and if the practices cannot be carried-out or are not carried-out in good faith, the benefits (the Freedoms themselves) are not realized. What we are missing in Free Software, and the Free Software movement today is the ability to fully participate in the Four Freedoms – in particular, but not limited-to, the fourth freedom. Many, if not most of our major software packages distributed today are huge, inflated with features and overly complex – not amenable to the application of the fourth freedom (nor the third). If you have any doubt about this statement, take your current Linux system, make a change in Firefox, and recompile it. Simple. Not. In fact, it is virtually impossible. Try it. I doubt more than one in a thousand Linux users could carry this out. And this is only one example. If you have any more doubt, now try a similar operation with systemd. These observations show the growing gap between the teams of developers behind the software and the community at large.

I would like to quote Richard Stallman on this topic: “The job wasn’t to build an operating system; the job is to spread freedom to the users of computers.” (From https://www.fsf.org/faif) “And to do that we have to make it possible to do everything with computers in freedom.” Let me state here: The Free Software Foundation is failing at this job.

The removal of Richard Stallman from the Free Software Foundation was a bad sign, and there have not been many positive signs since. There are two more very troubling signs leading me to predict a failure for freedom to prevail there: #1 would be an increasing identification of the mission with the support of the Linux ecosystem. This is a mistake. The practice of software freedom is the mission, and the Linux kernel and ecosystem is taking a shape antithetical to that mission.

The second concern would be the increasing use of and dependency upon GitHub. There can be no software freedom if our ability to practice software freedom is subsumed and fettered within a proprietary development environment. The compromises are too great, and will become contrary to the core mission. We should not tolerate a corporate overlord which insists upon identifying and collecting information about each and every participant. Also a corporation which censors code because of DMCA take-down notices is completely unacceptable. Microsoft simply cannot be a gatekeeper to Free Software.

Let us return to address the first and perhaps most pressing issue, the engulfing focus on “all things Linux”. The Free Software Foundation is guilty of feeding a near-monopoly OS kernel, along with deeply concerning events associated with Linux development. For instance, the “Guix Petition”, which called for RMS to be removed or resign from GNU, includes a disproportionate number of signatories whom were receiving job-payment from Red Hat. Even more of these signatories are known to make important use of GitHub.

Now, I am not alleging corruption here, but rather an institutional failure to properly direct the GNU mission. The failing we see on the surface is that of promoting only a single dimension of activism: Proprietary Software VS Free Software, with the implicit assumption there are no other important factors. Given the remarks of Bob Young, Red Hat (and by extension the overemphasis on Linux), may be at the root of this failing.

Regardless of the etiology of the failure of the Free Software Foundation to promote the practices of Free Software other than the licensing, the consequences are severe. The Free Software Foundation remains the premier edifice for Free Software. This can continue on indefinitely, even as the institution itself becomes hollow, and the very concepts of software freedom become overshadowed by “Linux” and high-sounding platitudes. We would all probably be better-off if they simply folded their tent and let the GNU organization get on with the real movement.

But at Least He’s Not Donald Trump or George Bush…

Posted in Deception at 5:21 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Standards for freedom or “liberty” have been set way too low.

Three spinsters: Bush, Obama, Trump: The next guy will protect us
Two videos, two dictators (one impending president, two who should have been arrested, not rewarded with medals)

Summary: An almost President and former VP Joe Biden giving an award to a war criminal (he would do so again later) is about as absurd as (almost) VP Harris offering such an award to Donald Trump later this year

Inside the EPO During Corona: Like Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos Leaves Out Staff Representation Out of Consultation Regarding Unprecedented Health Crisis Which Impacts Staff

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:48 pm by Guest Editorial Team

The current EPO President shows the leadership skills of Donald Trump and Benoît Battistelli

The mental health series

Summary: Dependence on the Office for one’s salary (basic means) is exploited by the autocrats who run the Office to crush the staff and not even listen to staff while doing so

THE biggest asset of the EPO is its staff. Without staff, the EPO is nothing but a stamping authority and a monopoly on the stamping (in EU member states and beyond, except NPOs).

“What kind of cruel regime fails to involve actual staff for input?”What on Earth does Mr. Ernst smoke? Why are they so eager to crush their very own staff while pretending otherwise? Where’s the goodwill promised by the Campinos regime? All gone so fast? No wonder his approval rate among staff is about 10 times lower than that of Donald Trump (estimated at around 3%, based on a staff survey we’ll come to later).

Just days after the aforementioned letter was sent to António Campinos the Central Staff Committee wrote to him again. As it explained back then to EPO staff:

The President [Campinos] has set up a task force for rapid reaction to the development of the pandemic without any involvement of the Staff Representation. However, feedback from staff shows that there is an urgent need for involving the Staff Representation in task-force meetings. We repeat our request for task-force meetings.

In addition, the present situation and the measures taken by the task force will have longer-term, wider-ranging, consequences on staff, which we need to discuss as soon as possible with the President. Thus, in addition, we also request “crisis meetings” with the President on a regular basis to address those consequences.

Here’s the full text of the corresponding letter:

Reference: sc20049cl-0.3.1/4.3
Date: 19.03.2020

Mr António Campinos
President of the EPO
Room 1081 – ISAR


Request for crisis meetings (and repeated request for task-force meetings)

Dear Mr President,

The Coronavirus pandemic confronts us with unusual problems of business continuity as well as issues of staff health and conditions of employment.

We understand that you have set up a task force for rapid reaction to the development of the pandemic. However, it turns out that staff has often difficulties in understanding the measures implemented or “encouraged” by your administration, presently without any involvement of the Staff Representation. This is clear from the massive feedback we get. The present situation is not satisfactory and we feel that we would contribute positively to overcoming the present crisis without too much damage to EPO staff and their families.

This is why there is an urgent need for involving the Staff Representation in task-force meetings and we reiterate the request we have already made several times.

In addition, the present situation and the measures taken by the task force already have, and will have, longer-term, wider-ranging consequences on staff, which we need to discuss as soon as possible with you. There is also a need to address issues resulting from the work of the task force at a more general, systemic level.

Consequently, we request “crisis meetings” by videoconference with you on a regular basis to address those consequences.

Yours sincerely,

Alain Dumont
Acting Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

The EPO was exploiting the fact that staff could not seek alternative employment and could barely even fly back home to visit family (other than partner and kids). What kind of cruel regime fails to involve actual staff for input? The EPO isn’t even poor, so there’s no excuse for that.

Inside the EPO During Corona: The Management of the European Patent Office Was (Fore)Warned About Exploiting a Public Health Crisis

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:22 pm by Guest Editorial Team

It’s a matter of public record now

Health pills

Summary: An “OPEN LETTER” (not open to the public but to EPO staff) correctly asserts — in a much-needed statement for the record — that “postponement of reforms is necessary” because EPO staff is already under great and growing stress due to the pandemic (this was in March when lock-downs were extended to countries other than Italy)

“Coronavirus pandemic: postponement of reforms [sic] is necessary” was an open letter from the Central Staff Committee, issued to António Campinos back in March. Like Benoît Battistelli before him, Campinos knew how to exploit crises outside the EPO (e.g. terror attacks) to implement repressive new measures.

Here’s the full letter as it was circulated almost 8 months ago (remember that at the time of this letter lock-downs were just days away in the UK and travel between countries was getting difficult for these examiners who work away from their home country).

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY
Reference: sc20048cl-0.3.1/4.2.2
Date: 19.03.2020

Mr António Campinos
President of the EPO
Room 1081 – ISAR


Coronavirus pandemic: postponement of reforms is necessary

Dear Mr President,

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, governments in Europe are now concentrating their efforts on ensuring that their citizens are safe and to limit the number of casualties. Some also delay discussions on (important) reforms which are not a priority.

The pandemic severely affects the Office, too, where many colleagues are now staying at home, trying to reconcile work and family obligations, such as caring for (young) children whose schools are closed. The first priority of the Office must be the health of staff and their families. Anything else should be put on the back burner. The specific situation of an International Organisation like the EPO, which acts as an employer but also in many respect takes over responsibilities of a sovereign state, imposes a reinforced duty of care.

For us to perform our duties as staff representatives in accordance with Article 34 ServRegs1 we will need to stay in close contact with staff to exchanges information, sentiments and opinions. Your persistent refusal to permit free e-mail traffic with all staff has already significantly hampered us in efficiently and effectively representing staff. With the COVID-19-induced restrictions on contacts and a de facto shut-down of the Office we now, on top, also cannot gather staff in General Assemblies to inform them and get their feedback. The most important element of consultation, namely the possibility for the elected interlocutors to be able to consult the group they represent, is missing. We therefore currently have the greatest difficulties representing staff in consultations that concern the employment package.

In addition, the pandemic also affects the good functioning of the Administrative Council (AC) and its bodies, notably the Budget and Finance Committee (BFC).

In such an unfavourable context, the far-reaching reforms which you were intending to put on the agendas of the May BFC meeting and the June AC meeting should simply be postponed until halfway normal conditions are restored, especially as there is no urgency to implement a new salary adjustment procedure (SAP) in view of Article 10 of the current SAP (automatic reconduction for one year).

Continuing to rush important reforms in the current circumstances would be rightly perceived as taking advantage of an exceptional crisis and displaying a profound disregard for staff, further eroding the trust in the Organisation. It would also bear the serious risk of making those reforms illegal.

We urge you to postpone your plans for reforming the SAP until the Coronavirus pandemic is contained so as to allow normal functioning of staff representation, the Office and its supervising bodies. Meanwhile we can continue to exchange (in writing or by video conference) and hopefully make progress towards an acceptable compromise on a new SAP.

Yours sincerely,
Alain Dumont
Acting Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

cc.: AC delegations
Ms Nellie Simon; Vice-President DG4

1 “[The Staff Committee] shall contribute to the smooth running of the service by providing a channel for the expression of opinion by the staff”.

It is already known by now (it has been a long time) that the advice in this letter was disregarded; the Office plans layoffs and it is going ahead with its illegal plans, often under the convenient cover of a public health crisis. Later in the series we’ll highlight representatives’ response to that.

With decreasing work security (hard to find alternative employment when so many people out there are unemployed) it’s cruel for an Office with billions in the bank to crush its sole asset: the staff. But when the Office is run by incompetent autocrats and their longtime friends what else can be expected?

Inside the EPO During Corona: A New Series About the European Patent Office During European Lock-downs

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:50 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Examiners are human beings and scientists; they’re not cogwheels!

Several businessmen

Summary: European lock-downs have profoundly affected the lives of European Patent Office examiners (who are in effect scientists, unlike their managers); in an act of solidarity and transparency (for accountability, which EPO management truly lacks) we publish a series of documents and letters

“Desperately nothing new from the EPO,” one EPO insider noted. “There is very little life left in the office. But the silence may be broken when Mediapart publishes a series of articles about l’OEB.” (Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos are both French speakers)

One way to break the silence somewhat is to assess the happenings at the Office during Coronavirus lock-downs, based on documents circulated internally among staff and staff representatives (CSC and SUEPO). We aren’t just blindly publishing these; we carefully study what’s published and whether it’s safe to put it in the public domain (once the time is right).

“We aren’t just blindly publishing these; we carefully study what’s published and whether it’s safe to put it in the public domain (once the time is right).”In the coming days if not weeks we intend to publish many documents; the rest of November we’ll be locked down here in England anyway (until December 2nd if not longer).

For readers who think this has nothing to do with software freedom we kindly remind that 1) the EPO’s policy is being extended to other continents (the EPO is bragging about it) and 2) the EPO is illegally granting software patents in Europe and these hurt software development in general (Free software more so because of limited financial means for legal defence).

Q1 South ViewFeedback about the series can, as always, be sent to us securely (a number of insiders are already familiar with communication channels). One quick way to supply us with information is the IRC applet below (or here), albeit we suggest accessing it with an IP address other than one’s home and a very generic nickname (makes it difficult enough to pinpoint sources). As we’re dealing with the EPO here — not the US military — public terminal access should be safe enough.

Without further ado, let’s study what goes on “Inside the EPO During Corona…

Just for the Record(ing Industry): Joe Biden is an Enemy of Freedom and of Software Freedom

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 8:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It has been a fantastic week for the RIAA and MPAA

Biden and Chris Dodd
“Former Sen. [then MPAA chief (connected to RIAA)] Chris Dodd is helping his longtime friend Joe Biden in choosing his running mate,” the media reported back in July

Biden and Bush medalSummary: It’s important to understand where Joe Biden comes from in order to better understand where he is going after settling in the White House

WE promised we’d not say negative things about Biden until after he ousts the resident of the White House. It’s important, however, that people understand what we’re dealing with here. The RIAA declared war on Free software last month (maybe it had done that before, but to a lesser degree) and Microsoft assisted the RIAA greatly. The RIAA is closely connected to MPAA, which was headed by a very close friend of President-elect Biden. Expect no good to come out of it (yes, Donald Trump would be worse, but that’s not the point).

“Electing one dictator to spite the worse dictator still leaves us with the infamous #TwoDictators trap.”When President Obama was in charge Hollywood got what it wanted. When Obama was still a candidate Biden was somewhat of a liability to him because of his pro-war leanings and his connections to Hollywood, which were noted by the media.

Biden and Bush medalIt’s not surprising that Biden would later proceed to the spectacles on the left and the right (photo at the top), basically whitewashing the name of a horrible war criminal with a medal named “Liberty”. Biden also claims responsibility for unconstitutional laws, so to what degree should people rejoice as opposed to pressure his administration? There’s already a transition team being formed and we can expect it to be just about as corporate and corrupt as Trump’s. Electing one dictator to spite the worse dictator still leaves us with the infamous #TwoDictators trap. The Green Party supporters and leftists in general are being compelled to support people who are to the left of nobody except Trump.

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