Links 20/11/2020: Mir 2.2, Istio Releases, Linux 5.9.9

Posted in News Roundup at 7:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The 10 Best Linux Emulators for Windows

        The love for the Linux operating system is beyond words. However, the Windows operating system’s popularity makes it difficult for Linux to fully take over the OS world. Windows has a bigger platform of users due to the operational preferences it presents. It has advanced graphics that favor users who are Gamers. The Office Suite software package of Windows is on another level.

        These accommodations continue to attract more individuals from both the business and academic world. Therefore, a Linux system’s technical preferences will always be in a tug of war with the graphical preferences of a Windows system. However, such differences do not imply that the two operating systems cannot co-exist peaceful. Thanks to Linux emulators fully functional in a Windows environment, you are legally allowed to be in a love triangle with these two operating systems.

    • Server

      • Fugaku Extends Lead on TOP500 Supercomputer List

        In the six months since the previous list came out, Fugaku increased its performance on the new mixed precision HPC-AI benchmark from 1.4 exaflops to 2.0 exaflops. Fugaku also achieved a record HPL performance of 442 petaflops, having increased its Arm A64FX capacity from 7,299,072 cores to 7,630,848 cores. This performance puts it three times ahead of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Summit occupying second place on the list.

      • TOP500 Expands Exaflops Capacity Amidst Low Turnover

        The 56th edition of the TOP500 saw the Japanese Fugaku supercomputer solidify its number one status in a list that reflects a flattening performance growth curve. Although two new systems managed to make it into the top 10, the full list recorded the smallest number of new entries since the project began in 1993.

        The entry level to the list moved up to 1.32 petaflops on the High Performance Linpack (HPL) benchmark, a small increase from 1.23 petaflops recorded in the June 2020 rankings. In a similar vein, the aggregate performance of all 500 systems grew from 2.22 exaflops in June to just 2.43 exaflops on the latest list. Likewise, average concurrency per system barely increased at all, growing from 145,363 cores six months ago to 145,465 cores in the current list.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.9.9
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.9.9 kernel.
        All users of the 5.9 kernel series must upgrade.
        The updated 5.9.y git tree can be found at:
        	git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.9.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
        greg k-h
      • Linux 5.4.78
      • Linux 4.19.158
      • Linux 4.14.207
      • Linux 4.9.244
      • Linux 4.4.244
      • AMDVLK 2020.Q4.5 Vulkan Driver Brings Radeon RX 6000 Series Support

        While it was just two days ago that AMDVLK 2020.Q4.4 was released, AMD has made good on their word to provide punctual AMDVLK open-source Vulkan driver support for their new RDNA 2 “Big Navi” graphics cards and that has resulted in a new AMDVLK release.

      • Xilinx Publishes An Open-Source AI Engine Kernel Driver For Linux – Phoronix

        In addition to AMD and Xilinx bringing ROCm to FPGAs, another interesting open-source/Linux milestone for the company being acquired by AMD is their publishing of the AI Engine open-source kernel driver with ambitions for upstreaming it.

        This is a Linux kernel driver for supporting the Xilinx AI Engine, the acceleration engine providing high compute density for vector-based algorithms. The AI engine allows for custom compute and data movement and can interface with the FPGA fabric.

      • Linux Support Published For Intel’s “Maple Ridge” Thunderbolt Controller – Phoronix

        Announced during the summer was Intel’s Maple Ridge controller in the form of the Intel JHL8540 / JHL8340 chips as their first discrete Thunderbolt / USB4 controllers. Linux support for the Intel Maple Ridge controller is now on the way.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Radeon RX 6800 “Sienna Cichlid” Firmware Added To Linux-Firmware.Git

          The last piece of the puzzle to the open-source AMD Radeon RX 6800 / RX 6800 XT driver support is now upstream in its respective location.

          The Sienna Cichlid firmware binaries were just merged into linux-firmware.git, the repository where all of the firmware files for hardware devices on Linux are collected and in turn packaged up by the various Linux distribution vendors for shipping as part of their platforms.

          As with prior generations, the Sienna Cichlid firmware is necessary for any level of open-source driver support. Up until now these blobs were not public and for those yesterday wanting launch-day support or in our pre-release testing meant first extracting the firmware files from the Radeon Software for Linux 20.45 package. Or I have also heard of AMD distributing the firmware updates privately and directly to some software distribution partners for updating their packages in a timely manner as well.

        • Mesa 20.3-RC2 Released With ACO Fixes, More Intel Updates – Phoronix

          The second release candidate of Mesa 20.3 is now available for testing ahead of its likely stable debut in early December.

          Mesa 20.3 has many new features and improvements as this Q4’2020 feature update while Mesa 21.0-devel is already the version in development on Mesa Git.

        • mesa 20.3.0-rc2
          Hi List,
          It's that time again. Mesa 20.3.0-rc2 is now available for your
          testing enjoyment. Everything is looking pretty normal commit-wise in
          this release.
    • Applications

      • Christopher Davis: Glade Not Recommended

        If you are starting out with GTK development, you may have heard of a tool called Glade. Glade is a UI designer application for GTK projects, that allows you to create, modify, and preview UI files before writing code. In that sense, Glade is a very useful tool for GTK apps.

        With that said, I must implore that you do not use Glade.

        Why? Glade was built for it’s own format, before the advent of
        GtkBuilder. It does not know certain properties, does not know
        of certain features, and does not know modern GTK practices.

      • Ventoy 1.0.29 – Neowin

        Ventoy is an open source tool to create bootable USB drive for ISO/WIM/IMG/VHD(x)/EFI files. With Ventoy, you don’t need to format the disk over and over, you just need to copy the ISO/WIM/IMG/VHD(x)EFI files to the USB drive and boot them directly. You can copy many files at a time and ventoy will give you a boot menu to select them. Both Legacy BIOS and UEFI are supported in the same way. Most type of OS supported (Windows/WinPE/Linux/Unix/Vmware/Xen…)

      • Istio 1.8 focuses on usability and upgrades

        On May 24, 2017, IBM and Google announced the launch of Istio, an open technology that enables developers to seamlessly connect, manage, and secure, and control networks of different microservices — regardless of platform, source, or vendor. The Istio 1.8 release adds new features that make Istio easier to upgrade, clearer information about maturity of each feature, better documentation, and tons of exciting experimental features.

      • Announcing Istio 1.7.5

        This release contains bug fixes to improve robustness. This release note describes what’s different between Istio 1.7.4 and Istio 1.7.5

      • Announcing Istio 1.6.13

        This release contains bug fixes to improve robustness. This release note describes what’s different between Istio 1.6.12 and Istio 1.6.13

      • Chat On Telegram From libpurple-Based IM Programs (Pidgin, Etc.) Using The New tdlib-purple

        tdlib-purple is a new libpurple plugin for Telegram, considered the successor of telegram-purple. With this you can chat on Telegram from chat clients that support libpurple, like Pidgin, Finch, Bitlbee, etc. There are binaries for Linux and Microsoft Windows.

        This libpurple plugin supports most Telegram features, from basic things like sending and receiving images and documents, and receiving stickers, to 2FA login, kick users, secret chats (support for this was added recently), and more.
        As for things that are missing, tdlib-purple doesn’t support video calls, renaming groups / channels, self-destruct timers, you can’t delete messages, send or receive polls, you can’t send stickers, and you can’t interact with bots beyond plain text messages. The application also opens muted chats and doesn’t allow muting chats from the interface.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Setting Up Amavis and ClamAV on CentOS 8/RHEL 8 Mail Server

        This tutorial shows you how to use Amavis and ClamAV to scan viruses in email messages. Amavis (A Mail Virus Scanner) is a high-performance interface between a message transfer agent (MTA) such as Postfix and content filters.

      • How To Install VNC Server on Ubuntu 20.04 – TecAdmin

        VNC stands for “Virtual Network Computing” is a sharing system or set of protocols for sharing desktop. There are many software available to access Linux based desktop remotely including, TigerVNC, TightVNC, Vino, vnc4server and more.

        TigerVNC is a free, open-source and high-performance VNC server used to control or access Linux based desktop remotely. It is a client/server application that allows you to interact with graphical applications on remote machines.

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install and configure VNC server on Ubuntu 20.04.

      • Centos 8 install and get started with MariaDB – Linux Hint

        MariaDB is a backward-compatible open and free-source database management framework that widely works as a binary drop-in MySQL substitution. It is an Oracle MySQL service community based and built branch. It has several threads and is a multi-user SQL database server. It was designed by the several initial creators of MySQL and by other members of the community. MariaDB is the recommended distribution if you are curious about MySQL vs. MariaDB. It should also function smoothly in the replacement of MySQL.

      • CentOS 8 add user and group – Linux Hint

        Linux is a multiple user operating system. Multiple users and groups can share resources simultaneously while working on Linux Operating systems. In multiple command-line and GUI apps, each user may have different authorization levels and unique settings. Fortunately, if you are administering a Linux server, you will need to add users and groups. It could be troublesome for you to add users and groups without familiarity.
        This article would clarify how to add users and groups on CentOS 8 Linux distribution by using the command line.

      • How to use mtr traceroute Command on CentOS 8

        MTR is known as Matt’s traceroute. It is a simple and cross-platform utility for network diagnostic that is used for most of the command-line systems.

      • Installing and Using LastPass on Linux – Linux Hint

        Because security is such a huge concern, it is important to implement procedures that can keep your data secure. In this article, we will discuss password managers, which can be employed to keep your data secure, and we will show you how to install and use the LastPass password manager.

      • Automate your tasks with this Ansible cheat sheet | Opensource.com

        Ansible is one of the primary tools in the world of automation and orchestration because of its broad usefulness and flexibility. However, those same traits are the very reason it can be difficult to get started with Ansible. It isn’t a graphical application, and yet it also isn’t a scripting or programming language. But like a programming language, the answer to the common question of “what can I do with it?” is “everything,” which makes it difficult to know where to begin doing anything.

        Here’s how I view Ansible: It’s an “engine” that uses other people’s modules to accomplish complex tasks you describe in a special “pseudo-code” text format called YAML.

      • Transitioning from Docker to Podman

        Podman is an excellent alternative to Docker containers when you need increased security, unique identifier (UID) separation using namespaces, and integration with systemd. In this article, I use real-world examples to show you how to install Podman, use its basic commands, and transition from the Docker command-line interface (CLI) to Podman. You’ll also see how to run an existing image with Podman and how to set up port forwarding.

      • Making an AppImage in Nitrux

        AppImages are the focus of our Linux distribution. We already include several AppImage-related tools that improve their user experience in our distribution, from desktop integration to sandboxing and management. Also, we include one conversely important AppImage by default, Wine (see Using Wine in Nitrux).

        In today’s tutorial, we will make an AppImage file using a tool called appimage-builder. appimage-builder makes it very easy to create AppImages of your favorite applications. appimage-builder works by using files called recipes; these are simple text files in the YML format that contain the information from which appimage-builder will make our AppImage.

        One of the main features of appimage-builder is building an AppImage from existing, pre-compiled traditional packages like Debian packages, RPM packages, etc. Currently, only Debian packages are supported; however, more package managers will be supported in the future, such as Pacman.

      • Feedback: UIs, Mac pains, hardware, teaching and octal

        It’s time for more reader feedback, and some responses.

      • How to Install Ruby on Debian 10 Linux – Linux Concept

        Nowadays, Ruby is the most popular language, especially for SaaS application development. It has a perfect and elegant syntax structure, and it is the language behind the ultimate robust framework known as Ruby on Rails.

        In this tutorial, we will explain the three different processes to install Ruby on Debian 10 machine.

      • How to SSH into a Docker Container [Two Ways]

        You can easily enter docker container but if you want to access it via SSH directly, here’s how to configure SSH access to a container.

      • How to Use hexdump Command in Linux? – Linux Hint

        Hexdump is a powerful tool in Linux systems that are mostly used by developers and app debuggers. It can convert input files and data into a pleasant and readable format.
        Here’s a real-life example where hexdump may be helpful. If you’re working with binary data, this will be very difficult to understand. For ease, you can quickly turn the binary data into hexadecimal or decimal.

        In this guide, check out how to use hexdump command in Linux.

      • How to handle a Linux kernel panic | Enable Sysadmin

        Here is a collection of resources to help you deal with kernel panic events.

      • How to Install Rocket.Chat Server with Nginx on Ubuntu 20.04

        Rocket.Chat is a web-based chat application written in JavaScript, using the Meteor full-stack framework. It is an open-source chat collaboration platform that allows you to communicate securely in real-time across multiple devices. It is self-hosted and supports voice and video chat, video conferencing, file sharing and many more. It has client application available for all platforms including, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS.
        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Rocket.Chat on Ubuntu 20.04 server.

      • How to Increase VirualBox Disk Size [Linux & Windows]

        Running out of space on your virtual machine? Here’s step by step tutorial to show you how to increase the disk size for VMs created in VirtualBox.

      • How to setup and use backups in Zorin OS

        In this beginner tutorial I will discuss how to setup and use backups in Zorin OS.

      • How to install the SonarQube code quality analyzer on Ubuntu Server 20.04 – TechRepublic

        Looking for a way to analyze your code to find issues and vulnerabilities? If so, Jack Wallen thinks SonarQube is exactly what you need. Learn how to install this tool.

      • How do I set SELinux to Permissive Mode? – Linux Hint

        SELinux or Security-Enhanced Linux, i.e., the security mechanism of the Linux-based systems operates on Mandatory Access Control (MAC) by default. To implement this access control model, SELinux makes use of a security policy in which all the rules regarding access control are explicitly stated. Based on these rules, SELinux take decisions regarding granting or denying access of any object to a user.
        In today’s article, we would like to share with you the methods of setting SELinux to the “Permissive” mode after walking you through its important details.

      • How To Install Wireshark on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Wireshark on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Wireshark is a free and open-source network protocol analyzer. With Wireshark, you can capture incoming and outgoing packets of a network in real-time and use it for network troubleshooting, packet analysis, software and communication protocol development, and many more.

        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 the Wireshark network analyzer on CentOS 8.

      • How to SSH into a Docker Container

        You can easily enter docker container but if you want to access it via SSH directly, here’s how to configure SSH access to a container.

      • A Basic Guide to Linux Boot Process

        Every time you power on your Linux PC, it goes through a series of stages before finally displaying a login screen that prompts for your username or password. There are 4 distinct stages that every Linux distribution goes through in a typical boot-up process.

        In this guide, we will highlight the various steps taken by the Linux OS from the time it is powered on to the time you log in. Kindly note that this guide only takes into consideration the GRUB2 bootloader and systemd init as they are currently in use by a vast majority of modern Linux distributions.

    • Games

      • Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead is a huge amount of fun

        I went into this hopeful considering that they did a thoroughly good job on Bridge Constructor: Portal, and thankfully my hopes were not in vain as Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead merges these two worlds together very nicely. It’s still the same bridge-building physics sim we loved from before but only now it’s a little more tactical as you’re facing off against the walkers.

        With how many times bridge-building physics puzzlers have been done, keeping it fresh like this is very welcome. It’s not just building bridges here, as it adds in various characters that you need to give commands to. So the game is a big mix between building a stable bridge (or not so in my case…), potentially setting up it up like a trap to squish as many walkers as possible and giving a few people commands to do at various points in a level.

      • Real-time grand strategy game Realpolitiks II will be coming to Linux

        Jujubee S.A. and 1C Entertainment recently released Realpolitiks II into Early Access, and they’ve confirmed their plans to support Linux with it.

        This modern-day real-time grand strategy game has you assume office of any contemporary country in the world and lead it towards the new century as the shining example of democracy and liberty, or create your own totalitarian dystopia and wage war against all your enemies.


        The first game was also on Linux so it will be great to see the series continue to be officially supported by the developer.

      • Godot Engine 3.2.4 gets a second Beta with lots of improvements | GamingOnLinux

        Godot Engine continues seeing upgrades to the current 3.x series while the work is ongoing to bring Vulkan support the upcoming Godot 4.0. The second Beta of Godot Engine 3.2.4 is out now.

        This has quickly become the most advanced and fully featured free and open source game engine around, and their work on it continues to be seriously impressive.

      • Fraymakers aims to be the ultimate customizable Smash-like platform fighting game | GamingOnLinux

        Fraymakers is a brand new platform fighter coming from McLeodGaming, the creators of Super Smash Flash 2 which is the most popular Smash Bros. fan-game on PC.

        What sounds like it really could end up being the ultimate platform fighter, Fraymakers will feature over 80 high-resolution custom animations per character as they’ve “spared no detail or expense”. They’re also releasing it alongside FrayTools, their custom tool they’re using to build all parts of the game as they want it to be highly customizable. It’s also going to have an all-star cast, as they’ve teamed up with several other developers to include some well known characters.

      • Revolution simulator Mesmer is out now from the developer of Teslagrad | GamingOnLinux

        Rain Games, creator of Teslagrad and World to the West recently released a new title called Mesmer, which is a unique social survival game where ‘every encounter matters’ they say.

      • X4: Foundations gets a 4.0 Beta with the ‘biggest free update so far’ | GamingOnLinux

        Egosoft are continuing to expand their absolutely massive space simulator X4: Foundations, with a Beta now available for the free 4.0 update that will release properly early in 2021.

        It’s an absolutely massive update both in terms of features and technical overhauls, so they’re quite right to say that it’s the “biggest free update so far” and shows just how committed they are as a studio to make X4 the best in the series.

        This update will bring in at least one major graphical upgrade with volumetric fog, although they said there will be several other wide-ranging visual improvements. The way they’ve implemented it sounds great too, and it sure does look good with soft layers of fog throughout space that will interact with light directly too. When you think about fog, it’s not exactly sounding exciting but for a space game it really can liven things up.

      • Cyberpunk 2.5D adventure Encodya releases on January 26, 2021 – plus new trailer is up | GamingOnLinux

        After a successful crowdfunding campaign back in September 2019, Chaosmonger Studio have announced that their cyberpunk point and click adventure Encodya will release on January 26, 2021. In an announcement done by their publisher Assemble Entertainment, they confirmed the release date will include Linux, macOS and Windows at the same time across the GOG and Steam stores.

        Encodya follows a nine-year-old orphan and her clumsy robot guardian. Set in the year 2062, with parts of it inspired by Blade Runner, Studio Ghibli and Monkey Island it’s looking pretty great.

        “One day, the little girl discovers that her father left her an important mission: to finish his plan to save the world from grayness! Tina and SAM embark on an incredible adventure across different realities full of bizarre robotic creatures and grotesque human beings. Through puzzles and exciting dialogues, they’ll find out the true meaning of being alive.”

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE teams up with PinePhone for the PinePhone – KDE Community edition

          Your daily dose of not-linux-gaming news, with an announcement for fans of Linux gadgets and tech as KDE has teamed up with Pine64 to bring out a PinePhone – KDE Community edition.

          Sounds like it’s going to be quite a nice device for enthusiasts, especially if you’re after a proper Linux phone that isn’t Android and will respect your privacy – something I’ve tried to become more conscious of myself over the last few years. For extra privacy and security, and something I wish more phones had, there’s hardware kill-switches for the modem, WiFi/Bluetooth, microphone and cameras.

        • Educational Software GCompris is 20 Years Old Today

          GCompris is a popular collection of educational and fun activities for children from 2 to 10 years old. GCompris has become popular with teachers, parents, and, most importantly, kids from around the world and offers an ever-growing list of activities — more than 150 at the last count. These activities have been translated to over 20 languages and cover a wide range of topics, from basic numeracy and literacy, to history, art, geography and technology.

          The newest version of GCompris also incorporates a feature that teachers and parents alike will find useful: GCompris 1.0 lets educators select the level of the activities according to the proficiency of each child. For example, in an activity that lets children practice numbers, you can select what numbers they can learn, leaving higher and more difficult numbers for a later stage. An activity for practicing the time lets you choose whether the child will practice full hours, half hours, quarters of an hour, minutes, and so on. And in an activity where the aim is to figure out the change when buying things for Tux, the penguin, you can choose the maximum amount of money the child will play with.

          We have built the activities to follow the principles of “nothing succeeds like success” and that children, when learning, should be challenged, but not made to feel threatened. Thus, GCompris congratulates, but does not reprimand; all the characters the child interacts with are friendly and supportive; activities are brightly colored, contain encouraging voices and play upbeat, but soothing music.

        • Sebastian Kügler: Bringing light to life

          Some of you may be wondering what I have been up to lately since I took a break from my work in the KDE community. Well, it was time for a change, a change towards family, friends and a more local life. The result is a more balanced, a more grown up me. These changes in my life lead to me having a small family and a group of new friends, both of which I spend a lot of time with. They brought more light into my life, one could say.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

      • Arch Family

        • Best Arch-based Linux distros of 2020

          Arch Linux is one of the most popular Linux distributions that’s made a name for itself for its customizability and software repositories that are replete with bleeding edge software. Arch adheres to a rolling release model, which means you can install it once and keep updating it till eternity.

          For all its advantages, Arch remains one of the most cumbersome distros to configure and install. In fact, even though the installation process is one of the best documented ones, it’s elaborate and involved enough to scare away everyone except hardcore geeks.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Flatpak 1.10 Enters Development, Promises Major New Features and Improvements

          Flatpak 1.10 development kicks off with the first unstable release, allowing us to have an early look at the new features and improvements. The biggest change in the upcoming series being the implementation of a new format for the summary file used when accessing an OSTree repository on the network.

          This major change in Flatpak 1.10 not only bumps the OSTree dependency to version 2020.8, but it also makes several underlying enhancements to the behavior of this universal binary format used by numerous application developers and GNU/Linux distribution maintainers to distribute third-party apps.

        • CentOS Linux 7 Receives Patches for Latest Intel CPU Vulnerabilities, Update Now

          CentOS Linux developer and maintainer Johnny Hughes announced today the availability of a new version of the microcode_ctl package that provides Intel CPU microcode updates in the CentOS Linux 7 release to address recent security vulnerabilities.

          Being derived from the sources of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS Linux gets its updates from the upstream repositories. Now, you’re probably already aware of the recently discovered security vulnerabilities affecting some Intel processors, so you’re wondering when the patches will land in CentOS Linux 7. Well, the time is now!

        • How to use Ansible to configure Vim | Enable Sysadmin

          Using this playbook, you can quickly deploy and update your Vim configuration using Infrastructure as Code principles.

        • Finding common ground through open source and conversation

          As Mark Twain once said, “let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.” We are bombarded with communications all day, from social media and video chats to advertisements and the news. But how much of that communication do you walk away from feeling rejuvenated or inspired?

          For the last five years, Red Hat has produced documentary films as part of our Open Source Stories series, covering education, healthcare, agriculture, the arts, citizen science, sustainability, and more. We’ve delved into stories about how open source can create meaningful change. Open Source Stories began as a conversation so it’s only fitting that in its latest evolution we’re focused on just that, conversation.

          Launching today, “Common Connections,” is a series of conversations between makers featured in our films that have never met before. Scholars, CEOs, educators, and engineers will come together to find the common threads in their work, explore the potential for future open source innovation and build unexpected connections.

        • What’s new in the world of ChRIS?

          In the spring of 2018, Red Hat, together with the Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC) and the Fetal-Neonatal Neuroimaging and Developmental Science Center (FNNDSC) at Boston Children’s Hospital, announced a collaboration to further develop and deploy the ChRIS Research Integration System. ChRIS was originally developed by the FNNDSC’s Advanced Computing Group to bring sophisticated (but often complex and hard-to-use) medical imaging, such as MRI and CT scans, analysis into the front lines to better inform clinical care. It is built on Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat OpenStack. ChRIS has since evolved into a powerful general purpose, open source distributed data and computation platform.

        • A guide to security technologies in Red Hat Enterprise Linux

          Red Hat has a long history of adopting and creating security technologies to harden our core platforms, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). When other platforms or layered products are used with RHEL, they inherit many of these protections due to that foundation.

        • Smart Talks podcast: how can you address racial injustice with technology? [Ed: The company that helped purge races wants “Inclusive Naming Initiative”]

          A person who grew up in the tree-lined suburbs of Los Angeles may not know what it’s like to grow up in the Projects of Compton. An impassioned politician speaking on the topic of armed forces may not know what it’s like to board a military transport aircraft and be deployed to an area of deadly violence. In order to better understand experiences you have not lived through, you first need to start listening to those who have.

        • IBM, Red Hat, VMware & Others Form The Inclusive Naming Initiative

          The Inclusive Naming Initiative has been formed by various industry players to make “consistent, responsible choices to remove harmful language” from software.

        • Common Connections: Creating the Classroom
        • REST API and OpenAPI: It’s Not an Either/Or Question
      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Mir 2.2 Released With Display Wall Capabilities, Composite Bypass On GBM-KMS

          Mir 2.2 is out this morning as the newest update to this Wayland compositor and display server.

          Mir 2.2 adds “display wall” capabilities to Mir-Kiosk and other Mir-based servers for supporting logical groups of outputs. This functionality is about configuring multiple physical display outputs to behave as a single logical display.

        • Mir 2.2 Released with Support for Software Buffers on X11, Wayland, and GBM/KMS

          Developed by Canonical, Mir aims to offer a display stack that currently aims to provide a Wayland compositor designed ti make the transition from X11 to Wayland a breeze for many users. It’s a well-tested and performant platform that’s being actively used in the Ubuntu Touch mobile OS from UBports.

          The new release, Mir 2.2, comes with better VM compatibility by implementing support for software buffers on X11, Wayland, and GBM/KMS, the ability to add and drop Wayland extensions, composite-bypass for Wayland clients, and improved handling of the DRM_FORMAT_MOD_INVALID Wayland extension.

        • Ubuntu Web Remix 20.04.1: First Stable Version Of Chrome OS Alternative

          It’s been over four months since I reported about the arrival of yet another Ubuntu-based Linux distribution called Ubuntu Web Remix.

          So, if you were also waiting for it just like me, the wait is over because its creator, Rudra Saraswat, has finally announced and made its first stable release, Ubuntu Web Remix 20.04.1, available to download.

          To remind you, after Ubuntu Unity and UbuntuEd, Ubuntu Web is the third unofficial Ubuntu remix distros by the same developer Rudra Saraswat.

          Unlike the other two, Ubuntu Web Remix aims to be a web-centric operating system and an alternative to Google’s Chrome OS or Chromium OS.

        • Ubuntu Touch Installer Makes It Easier to Turn Your OnePlus 2 into a Linux Phone

          Besides working on the Ubuntu Touch mobile OS, which was discontinued by Canonical a few years ago, UBports Foundation also works on other cool things to make it easier for users to migrate to a Linux phone from Android or iOS.

          One of these is the UBports Installer or the official Ubuntu Touch Installer, which lets you install Ubuntu Touch on any of the supported devices without minimal effort. The best part is that you don’t even need Linux to use the Ubuntu Touch Installer since it works on macOS and Windows computers too.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The relationship between labor and open source

        The open source software ecosystem is a fascinating blend of personal passion projects and massive, collaborative corporate efforts. Sometimes there is even overlap when the passion projects are actually key components of the huge corporate projects or when a corporate project is abandoned by the original maintainers, but someone takes up the cause and makes it their personal passion project. Regardless of where an open source project falls on that spectrum, there is a lot of labor involved in the development and maintenance of open source projects. Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software by Nadia Eghbal thoroughly examines the relationship between labor and open source.

        In addition to an introduction and conclusion, Working in Public consists of five chapters split between two parts: “Part 1: How People Make” and “Part 2: How People Maintain.” The first part covers “GitHub as a platform,” “The Structure of an Open Source Project,” and “Roles, Incentives, and Relationships.” The second part explores “The Work Required by Software” and “Managing the Costs of Production.” Each chapter deftly covers the topic at hand and provides copious footnotes and end-notes to support the information presented.

      • If you want to go far, together is faster (II).

        If you work in an environment where Continuous Delivery is the norm, those behind the execution will understand which actions have a positive correlation between throughput and stability. Your job will only be associated to link those actions with the ones you are familiar with in the community health and collaboration space. If not, you work will be harder, but still worth it.

        For our particular case, you might find for instance, that a simple measure to digest the increasing number of commits (bug fixes) can be to scale up the build capacity if you have remaining budget. You might find though that you have problems doing so when reviewing acceptance criteria because you lack automation, or that your current testing-on-hardware capacity is almost fixed due to limitations in the system that manage your test benches and additional effort to improve the situation is required.

        Establishing experiments that consider not just the collaboration side but also the software delivery one as well as translating into production those experiments that demonstrate a positive correlation of the target metrics, increasing all of them, might bring you to surprising results, sometimes far from common knowledge among those focused on collaboration aspects only, but closer to those focused in execution.

      • OSI Seeks to Hire Executive Director [Ed: More evidence that the Open Source Initiative is collapsing after Microsoft took over much of it.]

        It is with great pride and excitement that I announce that OSI, as of today, is embarking on a search for an Executive Director.

        This is the culmination of many years of work and dedication on the part of countless individuals, and should be taken as a sign that OSI is maturing as an organization. We are following in the footsteps of many organizations that have come before us: nonprofits often start as a scrappy band of volunteers, which then hire staff for day-to-day operations, and eventually the staff are empowered to lead the organization.

      • Transparency

        Technology must be transparent in order to be knowable. Technology must be knowable in order for us to be able to consent to it in good faith. Good faith informed consent is necessary to preserving our (digital) autonomy.

        Let’s now look at this in reverse, considering first why informed consent is necessary to our digital autonomy.

        Let’s take the concept of our digital autonomy as being one of the highest goods. It is necessary to preserve and respect the value of each individual, and the collectives we choose to form. It is a right to which we are entitled by our very nature, and a prerequisite for building the lives we want, that fulfill us. This is something that we have generally agreed on as important or even sacred. Our autonomy, in whatever form it takes, in whatever part of our life it governs, is necessary and must be protected.


        As long as the source code that powers computing technology is proprietary and opaque, we cannot truly know whether backdoors exist and how secure we are in our digital spaces and even our own computers, phones, and other mobile devices.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Servo browser engine adopted by Linux Foundation

            Servo, an open source browser engine originally developed at Mozilla, has moved over to the Linux Foundation.

            A modular, embeddable web engine written in Mozilla’s Rust language, Servo shares code with the Firefox browser and is intended to enable delivery of content and applications via web standards. Created in 2012, Servo incubated technologies later incorporated into Firefox such as the WebRender GPU-based rendering system.

          • Announcing Rust 1.48.0

            The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.48.0. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

            If you have a previous version of Rust installed via rustup, getting Rust 1.48.0 is as easy as…

          • Rust 1.48.0 released
          • This Week in Rust 365
          • This Week in Glean: Fantastic Facts and where to find them

            We have been working on Glean for a few years now, starting with an SDK with Android support and increasing our SDK platform coverage by implementing our core in Rust and providing language bindings for other platforms, well beyond the mobile space.

            Before our next major leaps (FOG, Glean.js), we wanted to understand what our internal consumers thought of Glean: what challenges are they facing? Are we serving them well?

          • Mozilla DNS over HTTPS (DoH) and Trusted Recursive Resolver (TRR) Comment Period: Help us enhance security and privacy online

            For a number of years now, we have been working hard to update and secure one of the oldest parts of the Internet, the Domain Name System (DNS). We passed a key milestone in that endeavor earlier this year, when we rolled out the technical solution for privacy and security in the DNS – DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) – to Firefox users in the United States. Given the transformative nature of this technology and our mission commitment to transparency and collaboration, we have consistently sought to implement DoH thoughtfully and inclusively. Therefore, as we explore how to bring the benefits of DoH to Firefox users in different regions of the world, we’re today launching a comment period to help inform our plans.

          • New Release: Tor Browser 10.5a4

            Tor Browser 10.5a4 is now available from the Tor Browser Alpha download page and also from our distribution directory.

            Note: This is an alpha release, an experimental version for users who want to help us test new features. For everyone else, we recommend downloading the latest stable release for desktop or Android instead.

          • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 83

            Started investigation into making BrowserNotification look more part of chrome to eventually use as a UI for remote messages (in addition to CFR and what’s new, etc)

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • automake-1.16.3 released [stable]
            This is to announce automake-1.16.3, a stable release.
            There have been 62 commits by 15 people in the 35 weeks since 1.16.2.
            Special thanks to Karl Berry and Zack Weinberg for doing so much of the work.
            See the NEWS below for a brief summary.
            Thanks to everyone who has contributed!
            The following people contributed changes to this release:
              Akim Demaille (1)
              Colomban Wendling (1)
              Felix Yan (1)
              Issam E. Maghni (1)
              Jim Meyering (12)
              Karl Berry (23)
              Miro Hron\v{c}ok (1)
              Paul Eggert (4)
              Reuben Thomas (3)
              Robert Menteer (1)
              Robert Wanamaker (1)
              Samuel Tardieu (1)
              Samy Mahmoudi (1)
              Vincent Lefevre (1)
              Zack Weinberg (10)
            Jim [on behalf of the automake maintainers]
            Here is the GNU automake home page:
            For a summary of changes and contributors, see:
            or run this command from a git-cloned automake directory:
              git shortlog v1.16.2..v1.16.3
            Here are the compressed sources:
              https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/automake/automake-1.16.3.tar.xz (1.6MB)
              https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/automake/automake-1.16.3.tar.gz (2.3MB)
            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 automake-1.16.3.tar.xz.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.
            Please report bugs and problems to <bug-automake@gnu.org>,
            and send general comments and feedback to <automake@gnu.org>.
            * New features added
              - In the testsuite summary, the "for $(PACKAGE_STRING)" suffix
                can be overridden with the AM_TESTSUITE_SUMMARY_HEADER variable.
            * Bugs fixed
              - Python 3.10 version number no longer considered to be 3.1.
              - Broken links in manual fixed or removed, and new script
                contrib/checklinkx (a small modification of W3C checklink) added,
                with accompany target checklinkx to recheck urls.
              - install-exec target depends on $(BUILT_SOURCES).
              - valac argument matching more precise, to avoid garbage in DIST_COMMON.
              - Support for Vala in VPATH builds fixed so that both freshly-generated and
                distributed C files work, and operation is more reliable with or without
                an installed valac.
              - Dejagnu doesn't break on directories containing spaces.
            * Distribution
              - new variable AM_DISTCHECK_DVI_TARGET, to allow overriding the
                "make dvi" that is done as part of distcheck.
            * Miscellaneous changes
              - install-sh tweaks:
                . new option -p to preserve mtime, i.e., invoke cp -p.
                . new option -S SUFFIX to attempt backup files using SUFFIX.
                . no longer unconditionally uses -f when rm is overridden by RMPROG.
                . does not chown existing directories.
              - Removed function up_to_date_p in lib/Automake/FileUtils.pm.
                We believe this function is completely unused.
              - Support for in-tree Vala libraries improved.
      • Programming/Development

        • Daniel Silverstone: Withdrawing Gitano from support

          Unfortunately, in Debian in particular, libgit2 is undergoing a transition which is blocked by gall. Despite having had over a month to deal with this, I’ve not managed to summon the tuits to update Gall to the new libgit2 which means, nominally, I ought to withdraw it from testing and possibly even from unstable given that I’m not really prepared to look after Gitano and friends in Debian any longer.

        • The 20 Best Scala Books For Beginner and Expert Developers

          Scala is an elevated level language that joins object-oriented and practical programming in one succinct. Certain static kinds of Scala help us dodge bugs in complex applications; moreover, its JVM, and JavaScript runtimes let us manufacture elite frameworks with simple admittance to colossal biological systems libraries. In the field of software, Scala is a very unique and multidimensional language. To learn Scala programming is not an easy job for someone new to this field, and therefore, a perfect set of Scala books is inevitably important for accurate guidance.

        • Comparing a new language for tiny machines

          Upstream seemed surprised that I was writing real programs in Cowgol, so I’m led to believe I might be the only one using the language. But that’s fine. Let’s write a simple program in C and in Cowgol so that we can compare them. Even if you’re not going to use Cowgol, comparing programming languages I find to be a fun exercise and it might help you think about your own language choices, no matter what languages you choose to use.

        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • 10 Best Free and Open Source Python Data Analysis

            Python is a very popular general purpose programming language — with good reason. It’s object oriented, semantically structured, extremely versatile, and well supported. Programmers and data scientists favour Python because it’s easy to use and learn, offers a good set of built-in features, and is highly extensible. Python’s readability makes it an excellent first programming language.

            Data analysis is a process of inspecting, cleansing, transforming and modelling data with the goal of discovering useful information, informing conclusions and supporting decision-making.

            Here’s our recommendations for performing data analysis using Python. All of the software is free and open source goodness.


  • Leftovers

    • ‘If You Want to Make the Gods Laugh, Tell Them Your Plans’

      Atlanta—This is a story, two actually, about expectations and the chance that even the most reasoned plan is at risk of surprise. One involves elections, the other love, during Covid-19.

    • Why Sexual-Abuse Survivors Are Getting Sucked Into QAnon

      Angela, 35, is a Michigan woman who was molested by her great-grandfather when she was a toddler. She’s watched with horror as her Facebook support groups for survivors of childhood sexual abuse have transformed into repositories of child sex trafficking conspiracy theories, which she says can be tremendously triggering. “You can’t escape it. You can’t get on social media now and see kitten videos,” she says. “You’re just hearing about Q and save the kids.”

      Angela says she devotes an inordinate amount of time to arguing with other survivors who have been sucked into QAnon, as well as with her 25-year-old stepson, who became deeply enmeshed in Wayfairgate, the false conspiracy theory suggesting that the furniture website Wayfair was trafficking children. “I’m surrounded by people who are huge Trump supporters and all into conspiracy theories. Anytime I post something like, ‘Here’s what’s really going on,’ they get really defensive and they say I don’t understand,” she says. “I say, ‘what do you mean I don’t understand? I survived shit like this.’”

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Mobile Morgues Fill Up in El Paso as Gov. Greg Abbott Refuses New Lockdown
      • COVID-Positive Health Care Staff Told to Stay on the Job in North Dakota
      • Hunger Strikers Caged in the Second Wave Are “Just Trying to Survive the Winter”
      • Biden’s Agriculture Secretary: Heitkamp Is the Wrong Choice

        We cannot afford an old-school agriculture secretary who maintains today’s disastrous status quo when the job calls for a bold change agent.

      • We Want Fudge! Rejecting Corporate Stooge Heitkamp, Progressives Back Ohio Congresswoman for USDA Chief

        Dozens of advocacy groups told the Biden transition team that Rep. Marcia Fudge has “long been an ally to farmers, food-chain workers, consumers, and rural communities.”

      • As COVID Deaths Soar, El Paso at Breaking Point with Hospitals & Mobile Morgues Filling Up

        Some Republican governors are dropping their resistance to mask mandates, as public health officials in the United States brace for a COVID-19 surge from the Thanksgiving holiday amid already record-high infection rates. However, Republican resistance to other public health safety measures continues as coronavirus cases in Texas reach record highs for a second time during the pandemic. El Paso County, an area along the U.S.-Mexico border where 80% of residents are Latinx, is also facing one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the U.S. and now has 10 mobile morgues to hold bodies. Some prisoners are being paid just $2 an hour to move the bodies as the number of cases and deaths has completely overwhelmed local hospitals. “We’re at capacity,” says Dr. Emilio Gonzalez-Ayala, a leading pulmonary disease and critical care specialist in El Paso. “We’re beyond the limit where we can continue to admit to the hospital patients that come in critically ill.”

      • As North Dakota Faces World’s Deadliest Outbreak, Native Communities Condemn States’ COVID Response

        As COVID-19 rampages through the U.S., we look at how the rapid spread of the disease is affecting Native American communities, which have already faced disproportionate infection and death rates throughout the pandemic. “We’re having a lot of people perish. We’re having a lot of death, a lot of hospitalizations,” says Jodi Archambault, a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and former special assistant to President Obama for Native American affairs. We also speak with Allie Young, founder of Protect the Sacred, who says the Navajo Nation has “worked hard to flatten the curve” of COVID-19 infections but is still vulnerable due to lax public health measures in nearby areas. “We have to travel to these territories where they’re not wearing masks, they’re not thinking about their neighbors who’ve been impacted,” says Young.

      • ‘It’s not real’: In South Dakota, which has shunned masks and other COVID rules, some people die in denial, nurse says

        In an interview with CNN, Doering said her description wasn’t about a single patient. She tweeted after her frustration boiled over, as she recalled numerous patients whose dying words echoed the same theme: “This can’t be happening. It’s not real.”

        ‘This is unacceptable by any standards’: The Dakotas are ‘as bad as it gets anywhere in the world’ for COVID-19

        While many patients accept that they are sick with the virus, the ones who do not will often lash out in anger and grasp at other explanations, suggesting they have the flu or even lung cancer, she said. Doering said she often watches these patients’ conditions deteriorate as she tries to convince them to say goodbye to loved ones.

        Other health professionals have accused South Dakota’s leaders of also being in denial.

      • Scientists ‘Flabbergasted’ by Pandemic Pushback

        Mathema says scientists have pitched in to help battle COVID-19, adding to their already busy schedules, only to come under attack.

        “I think what has been sort of the most shocking is that some of the pushback that we’ve gotten has been sort of on our integrity,” he adds. “Like, there must be an alternative motive behind our findings.”

        “I’ll just say it’s a shame when anything other than objective science drives policy for either side,” says Dr. Aaron Glatt, spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). “Whether you’re red, blue, Democrat, Republican … science should be driving scientific decisions and policies.”

      • Coronavirus: Facebook accused of forcing staff back to offices

        More than 200 Facebook workers from around the world have accused the firm of forcing its content moderators back to the office despite the risks of contracting coronavirus.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Apple Reduces App Store Commission for Small Businesses

          Apple has been getting hit by app developers lately for its commission policy of taking 30 percent of all purchases. It has made a change that makes it seem like it will benefit smaller businesses, but critics say it really doesn’t mean much.

        • Apple spins better than Warnie as it backs down on AppStore commission

          The fact that even a company valued at US$2 trillion (A$2.7 trillion) has to sometimes heed public sentiment has been aptly illustrated by Apple announcing overnight that it would be lowering its take on apps sold from its App Store to 15% for small businesses that pull in less than a million.

        • Nordea [crackers] face prison and hefty fines, court rules [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Ostrobothnia District Court on Tuesday sentenced two men to prison terms as well as fines and compensation payments after finding the pair guilty of [cracking] into Nordea Bank’s computer system in an attempt to steal several million euros.

        • The M1 Macs

          Apple, in its keynote last week, emphasized that the M1 MacBook Air has no fan. (Intel-based MacBook Airs most definitely do. The defunct 12-inch no-adjective MacBook was Apple’s only fanless Intel Mac.) Apple’s point there was to brag that the M1 runs so cool that a high-performance MacBook could be designed without one. Some Mac users, I think, mistakenly took this to mean that the Air had an advantage over the M1 MacBook Pro, in that the fanless Air would always run silently, if sometimes slower. I think this assumption was wrong: the M1 MacBook Pro is, to my ears, always silent as well. Whatever its active cooling system is doing, it isn’t making even a whisper of noise.

          No Intel-based laptop with vaguely comparable performance to these machines can possibly match that silence. If you care about noise, the game is already over.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium and firefox), CentOS (bind, curl, fence-agents, kernel, librepo, libvirt, microcode_ctl, python, python3, qt and qt5-qtbase, resource-agents, and tomcat), Debian (drupal7, firefox-esr, jupyter-notebook, packer, python3.5, and rclone), Fedora (firefox), Mageia (firefox, nss), openSUSE (gdm, kernel-firmware, and moinmoin-wiki), Oracle (net-snmp), SUSE (libzypp, zypper), and Ubuntu (c-ares).

          • We can’t move forward by looking back – Open Source Security

            For the last few weeks Kurt and I have been having a lively conversation about security ratings scales. Is CVSS good enough? What about the Microsoft scale? Are there other scales we should be looking at? What’s good, what’s missing, what should we be talking about.

            There’s been a lot of back and forth and different ideas, over the course of our discussions I’ve come to realize an important aspect of security which is we don’t look forward very often. What I mean by this is there is a very strong force in the world of security to use prior art to drive our future decisions. Except all of that prior art is comically out of date in the world of today.

            An easy example are existing security standards. All of the working groups that build the standards, and ideas the working groups bring to the table, are using ideas from the past to solve problems for the future. You can argue that standards are at best a snapshot of the past, made in the present, to slow down the future. I will elaborate on that “slow down the future” line in a future blog post, for now I just want to focus on the larger problem.

            It might be easiest to use an example, I shall pick on CVSS. The vast majority of ideas and content in a standard such as CVSS is heavily influenced by what once was. If you look at how CVSS scores things, it’s clear a computer in a datacenter was in mind for many of the metrics. That was fine a decade ago, but it’s not fine anymore. Right now anyone overly familiar with CVSS is screaming “BUT CVSS DOESN’T MEASURE RISK IT MEASURES SEVERITY”, which I will say: you are technically correct, nobody cares, and nobody uses it like this. Sit down. CVSS is a perfect example of the theory being out of touch with reality.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Students to sue Moscow State University over switch to online learning

              Tuition-paying students at Moscow State University (MGU) have prepared a class action lawsuit demanding a recalculation of two semesters worth of fees due to the transition to distance learning during the coronavirus pandemic, Kommersant reports. 

            • ‘Absolutely anonymous [sic] and safe’ [sic]: Russia’s Digital Development Ministry is set to launch a coronavirus contact-tracing app

              Meduza sources have revealed that Russia’s Digital Development Ministry is finishing work on a new mobile app designed to combat the spread of COVID-19. Its working name is “Stopcoronavirus. My contacts.” The contact-tracing app, which relies on technologies developed by Apple and Google, is designed to track nearby mobile devices and warn the user if they have been within 10 meters of someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The Russian authorities have also promised not to use the app to collect personal information.

            • Privacy Pressure Points: A Closer Look at Ten Consumer Privacy Protection Act Concerns

              The CPPA introduces several new privacy rights but leaves many of the details to future regulations. These include the new data portability right, the rules on codes of conduct, business activity exceptions, what information is subject to the publicly available information exception, and what records must be kept in case of a security breach.  Given the problems with regulations under the anti-spam legislation (which delayed the law by many years) and the security breach disclosure rules, leaving some key issues to later regulations could delay implementation of new rights by many years.

            • Official Trump 2020 App collected phone numbers from contact lists without consent and could sell that data

              All apps, especially campaign apps from both sides of the aisle, are usually quite aggressive about getting users to enable all possible permissions. In the Official Trump 2020 App’s case, it has been revealed that developers were actually told to ignore user consent settings and access the user’s contact list anyways. The privacy concern lies in the fact that Phunware may have collected more information than they were allowed. The Associated Press reported:

            • Google Pay’s massive relaunch makes it an all-encompassing money app

              The new version of the app will have three new tabs: “Pay,” which includes peer-to-peer payments as well as your transaction history using tap-to-pay; “Explore,” which will be a place where Google will offer deals and discounts; and finally, “Insights,” which will allow you to connect your bank accounts to get a searchable overview of your finances.

              You will even be given the option to allow Google Pay to crawl your Gmail inbox and your Google Photos account to look for receipts. Google will use OCR technology to auto-scan them and integrate them into your finance tracking.

              In 2021, Google will partner with some banks to directly offer fully online checking and savings accounts inside Google Pay — a service Google is calling “Plex.”

            • Twitter’s Fleets Expansion Marred by Performance, Privacy Issues

              Twitter has tested the new product, which lets people share photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours, in a number of countries since March. But Fleets also has privacy flaws. The feature allows people to tag others on the service who have previously blocked them, which a Twitter spokeswoman said the company is working to fix.

            • Covid-19 is accelerating the surveillance state

              The first global pandemic of the digital age has accelerated the international adoption of surveillance and public security technologies, normalising new forms of widespread, overt state surveillance.

              These technologies have been layered on top of already pervasive forms of privatised data surveillance through smartphones and the ‘internet of things’ (IoT). The pandemic has also fuelled the normalisation of surveillance in previously private contexts.

              The risk of this new era of surveillance is that it has the potential to permanently shift power from citizens to the state and, in doing so, entrench global trends towards a more illiberal world.

            • YouTube Will Start Running Ads on Channels That Aren’t Part of Its Revenue-Sharing Program

              The addition of that new provision comes as YouTube said that starting today, “we’ll begin slowly rolling out ads on a limited number of videos from channels not in YPP,” referring to the longstanding YouTube Partner Program that lets eligible channels monetize their content, including getting a share of revenue for ads served against their videos.

              For creators who are not part part of the YouTube Partner Program, “you may see ads on some of your videos,” the video platform said. “Since you’re not currently in YPP, you won’t receive a share of the revenue from these ads, though you’ll still have the opportunity to apply for YPP as you normally would once you meet the eligibility requirements.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Armenian prime minister puts forward government ‘roadmap’ following truce in Nagorno-Karabakh

        Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has put forward a plan for the future work of his government following the conclusion of the truce in Nagorno-Karabakh. Pashinyan shared his 15-point “roadmap” in a Facebook post.

      • Demand That the UN Command Stop Infringing on Korea’s Sovereignty

        The UNC, the US-led unified command of multinational forces that fought in the Korean War, was ushered into existence by UN Security Council Resolution 84 on July 7, 1950 which recommended that all member states providing military or other assistance in the Korean War be under US command. Today, only US troops remain stationed in South Korea, and the commander of the UNC is both the commander of the US. Forces in Korea (USFK) and the US-ROK Combined Forces command. This arrangement not only provides the US with an overwhelming level of power over Korean military affairs, but also enables it to impede or outright block the course of the inter-Korean peace process.

        It is outrageous that while South Korea was obliged to cover over 90% of $11 billion cost of building Camp Humphrey, which is built on 3,500 acres of arable land forcibly seized from farming families who had worked its soil for generations, it cannot erect a simple liaison office in a tent on its own land without US permission. The largest overseas American military base in the world, Camp Humphrey replaces some of the most highly-prized farmland in geographically restricted South Korea with an Olympic gym, an 18-hole golf course, a movie theater, a 200-room hotel, and a 300,000 square foot shopping center, all for the exclusive use of more than 45,000 American military personnel and their families.

      • Trump Would Be a Horrible White Supremacist

        Anyway, a comedy idea explaining what I learned from the Bolton and Woodward books: Trump doesn’t care one bit about anything outside himself. Not religion, not friendship, not America.

        They’re all just party themes he can employ to make himself richer, more popular, or both.

      • Trump Is Sowing Chaos in His Wild Bid to Cling to an Unsalvageable Presidency
      • Biden and the CIA

        President Bill Clinton’s selection of Woolsey, the poster child for failure, was typical.  It was late in the transition period; Clinton had no likely candidate; and Woolsey was virtually unknown to the key advisors around the president-elect.  But he did have one singular attribute.  He was a hard-liner and nominally a Democrat, and Clinton’s advisers favored the idea of picking someone from the right-wing in order to appease the military-intelligence communities.

        The meeting between Clinton and Woolsey in Little Rock, Arkansas, was classic.  Woolsey wasn’t quite sure why he was being called to the meeting, and college football was the main subject of discussion.  There was virtually no substantive discussion.  Clinton and Woolsey never established a working relationship; Woolsey, an introvert, worked behind closed doors and alienated the agency’s leadership, and he thoroughly antagonized both Democrats and Republicans on the congressional intelligence committees.

      • Where are the Praetorian Guard When You Need Them?

        Here is Boris Johnson writing on devolution in 2001…

      • Russia’s FSB refuses to initiate criminal investigation into Navalny’s poisoning

        The Investigative Department of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has refused to open a criminal case over opposition figure Alexey Navalny’s poisoning, as requested by lawyers from his non-profit, the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK).

      • Encryption and drones: German BKA wants more special technology for EU police

        While end-to-end encryption should be generally weakened, Europol is developing new secure communication applications for the police. Some of the measures are part of the „European Police Partnership“ proclaimed by the German EU Presidency. This includes the project „WhatsApp for law enforcement officers“.

      • The New Humanitarian | Tigray refugees recount the horrors of Ethiopia’s new conflict

        The refugees trekked for days to cross the border, dodging airstrikes and well-armed soldiers in their country’s escalating civil war. Many are now sleeping out in the open in isolated towns, or under trees in a dusty displacement camp unused for decades.
        As conflict rages in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, a fast-growing refugee crisis is building in the eastern provinces of neighbouring Sudan: Almost 40,000 people have sought safety over the past two weeks, and many more are expected in the days ahead.
        At a newly opened camp and at the two main refugee transit points along Sudan’s border with Ethiopia, The New Humanitarian found little aid awaiting new arrivals, who shared harrowing stories of escaping airstrikes and militias back home in Tigray.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Key Mueller witness exposes key Russiagate lies
      • Junior Staffer Says Top Alaska Official Told Her to Keep Allegations of Misconduct Secret

        Officials in the office of Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, including his chief of staff, knew for months that his appointed attorney general had sent unwelcome personal text messages to a low-level staffer but told the woman to keep it quiet, the staffer told the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica.

        In her first media interview, the woman said that Tara Fradley, the office manager in the governor’s Anchorage office, helped her compose a text to then-Attorney General Kevin Clarkson on April 4 asking him to stop inviting her to his home at night, something he had done at least 18 times. The woman also said that Dunleavy’s chief of staff, Ben Stevens, became aware of the texts by early April but that no human resources investigators contacted her until two months later, after a whistleblower wrote an anonymous letter that was obtained by the news organizations and by an attorney working on an effort to recall Dunleavy from office.

    • Environment

      • Even More Scientists Say Geoengineering Can’t Save Us

        A team of scientists built models simulating the planet’s future — and they found that geoengineering alone won’t be able to save us from the disastrous effects of climate change.

        The research, published Monday in the journal PNAS, shows that cooling the planet through geoengineering won’t stave off all the impacts of global climate change, in part because atmospheric greenhouse gases alter more than temperature alone — the latest whiplash-inducing entry in the back and forth among scientists who say that geoengineering technologies will either save us or be a total waste of time if not a disaster in their own right.

      • Biden Bombs Climate with Cedric Richmond Pick

        Howie Hawkins, the 2020 Green Party presidential candidate, condemned the appointment of Cedric Richmond to lead the White House Office of Public Engagement with business and the climate movement.

        “With the appointment of Richmond, Biden just told the climate movement there will be no honeymoon with the new administration,” Hawkins said.

        Richmond has represented Louisiana’s second district, which tracks the oil refineries and plastics factories of Louisiana’s notorious Cancer Alley between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. He received the fifth highest total of oil and gas industry contributions among House Democrats over his ten years in Congress. He voted to approve the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline.

        “Richmond’s role will be to pacify the climate movement and minority communities with sweet talk and token grants while the oil and gas industry continues to frack the hell out of the country and the Louisiana refineries and plastics factories continue to poison workers and residents in his congressional district.”

        The US Energy Information Administration projects that US oil and gas production will increase 30% by 2030 above 2018 levels.

      • ‘No Vaccine for Climate Change’: Coronavirus Has Been Disastrous, Says Red Cross, But Global Warming Poses Greater Threat

        “The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how vulnerable the world is to a truly global catastrophe. But another, bigger, catastrophe has been building for many decades, and humanity is still lagging far behind in efforts to address it.”

      • Montana DEQ Approves Robust Coal Ash Removal Plan for Colstrip Cleanup

        The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) approved a plan today for excavating – physically digging up – 6.7 million cubic yards of coal ash stored outside the Colstrip Power Plants in southeastern Montana. Coal ash is the waste product of coal-fired power plants and is stored in enormous “ponds” outside the power plants. DEQ’s plan will address coal ash associated with Units 1&2 and is the first major coal ash excavation project approved in the West.

        The 1&2 ponds cover 330 acres and are up to 100 feet deep. DEQ estimates leakage rates of contaminated water at 43,000 gallons per day. The most significant problem with the 1&2 ponds is that the bottoms of the ash pits are in direct contact with groundwater, contaminating the aquifer with sulfates, boron, selenium, and other toxic heavy metals. Colstrip’s ash ponds have been impacting local groundwater for decades, creating a pollution plume in the local aquifer that extends roughly a mile out from the ponds. The leaking contaminants are harmful to humans, livestock, and wildlife.

      • Indigenous and Progressive Activists and Lawmakers Plan Rally at DNC to Push Biden in Greener Direction

        Organizers are calling for “a corporate-free Cabinet and administration staffed with personnel committed to addressing the climate threat, as well as following through on promises made during the campaign.” 

      • I Am Greta Isn’t About Climate Change. It’s About the Elusiveness of Sanity in an Insane World

        We can listen to Greta, without fear, without reproach, without adulation, without cynicism. Or we can carry on with our insane games until the bubble explodes.

      • Oceanfront Property Tied to Obama Granted Exemption From Hawaii’s Environmental Laws

        Officials in Honolulu have granted the developers of a luxury, oceanfront estate tied to Barack Obama a major exemption from environmental laws designed to protect Hawaii’s beaches.

        The shoreline permit, issued by Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting on Monday, clears the way for the controversial multimillion dollar renovation of a century-old seawall in the heavily Native Hawaiian community of Waimanalo.

      • Energy

        • The Climate Threat From Arctic Methane Releases

          From even before the extinction of the dinosaurs by the Chicxulub Meteor 66 million years ago (66mya), to about 34mya, the Earth was much warmer (the peak occurred 50mya) and there was no polar ice, north or south.

          Antarctica was covered in forests and jungles; the Arctic Ocean was a warm sea ringed by swamps and forests of ferns and Redwood trees along the Eurasian and North American northern continental shores; and those swamps swarmed with crocodiles.

        • UK 10-point climate plan bans new petrol and diesel car sales by 2030

          However, in a concession to car makers, the government won’t ban the sale of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles – which can typically travel for tens of kilometres on battery power before switching to a conventional engine – until 2035. Such cars have been found to emit two-and-a-half times more carbon dioxide in real life than in lab tests.

        • Thanks for polluting the planet: emails blamed for climate change

          The issue of unnecessary emails was raised in a recent paper from the National Cyber Security Centre, a London-based agency charged with making the country’s online life secure. The NCSC declined to comment.

        • Joe Biden Just Appointed His Climate Movement Liaison. It’s a Fossil-Fuel Industry Ally.

          Joe Biden says confronting climate change is one of his top priorities. But today, he appointed as his liaison to the climate movement a congressman who has raked in big money from the fossil fuel industry while voting to help oil and gas companies.

        • NASA Figured Out How Much Less We Polluted Under Lockdown

          Almost as soon as the coronavirus pandemic began, experts started noticing that the global lockdown appeared to be resulting in a sharp drop in worldwide carbon emissions.

          The idea generated both memes about humanity’s destruction of the planet and well-intentioned visions of a greener future. Now, NASA scientists have found that overall the lockdown has resulted in a 20 percent global reduction in nitrogen dioxide emissions since February, according to a press release – a shift that left them shocked.

          “In some ways I was surprised by how much it dropped,” project leader and NASA researcher Christoph Keller said in the release. “Many countries have already done a very good job in lowering their nitrogen dioxide concentrations over the last decades due to clean air regulations, but what our results clearly show is that there is still a significant human behavior-driven contribution.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • NOAA Research Shows Climate Crisis Primary Cause of 98% of Dead Florida Coral Reef

          “Our work in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans shows a dire outlook for coral reef ecosystem health, from warming ocean waters, fishing, disease, and pollution from the land.”

        • ‘Incredibly Important Step’ Toward Restorative Justice as Tribes, Dem Governors, and Klamath Dam Owner Announce Salmon Restoration Plan

          “At its heart, dam removal is about healing and restoration for the river, for the salmon, and for our people,” said the Yurok Tribe chair.

        • The Mattole Salmon Return Ceremony

          The Bear River Tribe hosted the event, in answer to a plea from the Lost Coast League. Preparations, in keeping with the Health Department protocols, were demanding. There could be no fire, and the ceremonial dinner must be created in a regulated facility, wrapped in plastic. Then, at the last minute ,government decree shortened the event from four to two hours.

          Over a century ago, the indigenous inhabitants of the Mattole were almost completely exterminated by a combination of government policy and white settler land greed. However, in a situation that lasted for a couple of generations, survivors were frequently relocated to stockades and reservations, together with fragments of other tribes, such that the modern membership of many of these tribes has Mattole ancestry. In 1910 the Bear River Tribe was constituted entirely from these fragments of homeless and landless indigenous people. Some of their descendants can remember pieces of stories and myths passed down through their family history, which, when fitted together, have enabled them to recreate a welcoming Salmon Ceremony, last performed at the Mattole estuary, in 1903.

        • Clearcutting is a Crime Against Nature

          The Lolo National Forest has planned 114 acres of clear-cut logging in the proposed Soldier-Butler logging project in the Nine-Mile drainage just West of Missoula, Montana.

          The forest in Nine-Mile is not “unhealthy.” Forests are sacred places.

        • Biden Must Take a Leadership Role Against Wildlife Crime
        • Shrinking world leaves less room for wild creatures

          Wild creatures are losing their range. One day jaguars and rhinos, pandas and tigers, may have nowhere left to go.

    • Finance

      • Treasury moves to end several crisis-era programs, drawing pushback from the Fed
      • The Shrinking Middle Class: an Interview With David Roediger

        Roediger demonstrates that the term Middle Class is not an original designation of the American caste system, but of recent vintage. He writes, “Put forward first by the Democrats, it has debased how we understand social divisions in the United States and sidelined meaningful discussions of justice in both class and racial terms.” Bill Clinton was the first to blur the lines between white working class and middle class, he argues, “by standing ever ready to hear white suburban angst regarding affirmative action, welfare, and crime, fashioning flirtations with racism and vague appeals to ‘economic’ issues as a populism of society’s white middle.” He suggests an inevitability to the rise of a Trump out of this manipulation.

        Obama appointed Joe Biden to head up his Middle Class Task Force and did little with its implied authority. Biden got a free ride this election cycle when the issues were reduced for Democrats to getting Trump out of office at any cost (including electing someone as weak as Biden) and dealing with the Corona pandemic. Biden has come out post-election, not talking about the “Middle Class” and its needs, or of much-needed economic redistribution, but of the uniting fight against the common terror of the pandemic. He’ll be there when the vaccines come out and he can play the hero, distributing shots the way Trump did paper towels. Whether “Middle Class Joe” ever shows up is anyone’s guess.

      • The Federal Government Owns 92% of Student Debt. Will Biden Wipe It Out?

        The U.S. Department of Education owns about 92 percent of the $1.6 trillion in U.S. student loans and many legal scholars say the Department has the authority to wipe these burdens away with the stroke of a pen.

        “This is the single most effective executive action available to provide massive consumer-driven stimulus,” Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

      • Billionaire Bonanza Continues as Workers Pounded by Pandemic, Recession, and GOP Relief Refusal

        Since Covid-19 struck in March, the combined wealth of the 647 richest Americans has increased by nearly $1 trillion, largely at the expense of workers’ safety—and sometimes their lives.

      • Why We Must Protect Essential Workers From Billionaire Pandemic Profiteers

        We are witnessing a criminal tragedy as wealthy billionaires, sequestered in protective bubbles and private jets, are dispatching essential workers into the line of infection fire with inadequate shields and protections.

      • ‘Returning to Normal’ Is Still a Path Toward Apocalypse

        Imagine for a moment that Hillary Clinton had won the presidential election in 2016.

      • Abdicating to Boeing: An Open Letter to FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson

        Stephen Dickson, Administrator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) U.S. Department of Transportation 800 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20591

      • Why Robinhood is Dangerous for New Investors

        Robinhood to me, in its best possible light, is a way to get young people thinking about the future of their money. And that’s a good thing.

        I just worry it’s like giving a Lamborghini and a 6-pack to a 17-year-old. Sure, it might teach them about seatbelts, but not in a good way.

      • ‘About to Be Catapulted Off a Cliff’: Study Shows 12 Million Set to Lose Jobless Benefits After Christmas

        “With no end to the pandemic in sight, and a cutoff of nearly all federal unemployment benefits by year’s end looming on the horizon, inaction by Congress could mean that millions of American families will enter the New Year with little or no means of support.”

      • 12 Million To Lose Jobless Benefits The Day After Christmas Unless Congress Acts
      • Second stimulus check: GOP will move forward with stimulus once Trump exits, Biden says
      • Should Biden Hire Rahm Emanuel? Chicago Says, ‘Never! Never! Never!’

        When Chicago Alderwoman Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez heard that former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel was being considered for another position in another Democratic administration, she penned an open letter urging President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President–elect Kamala Harris to put Emanuel on the “DO NOT HIRE list.”

      • Why the Left Should Ally With Small Business

        On September 5, 1955, the indomitable Walter Reuther, a towering figure in the labor movement and the head of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), began his Labor Day message to Americans by commemorating all that unions had achieved, from higher wages to greater dignity on the job. Reuther, who’d been an architect of the sit-down strikes that unionized the auto industry and who became an important ally of Martin Luther King Jr., then turned to another subject: the conditions facing the nation’s small-business owners. “Big corporations are getting more and more of the market,” he lamented.1

      • It’s Time for Public Banking in New York City

        Few crises in American history have exacerbated inequality to the extreme that the Covid-19 pandemic has. That is especially true in New York City, where the wealth of billionaires has increased at the very time when over 1 million residents are out of work and thousands of small businesses have been forced to close.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Media’s Quadrennial Eclipse

        All this how’s-he-doing coverage is par for the course as we transition to the next administration, but someone’s missing from this picture of our politics. It’s us.

        Mostly gone from the scene already are the men and women who, for a few weeks this year, were interrupted over breakfast in Iowa or bothered over burgers in Pittsburgh by reporters curious to know what they think.

      • Trump’s Legal Team is Giving Up—Because Ethically They Have to

        There was never much of a chance Trump would succeed in overturning the presidential election results in court. There was a fantasy that the legacy of Bush v. Gore  that led to the Supreme Court handing Florida and the 2000 presidential race to George Bush would prevail again. Yet that case was about varying standards to ascertain voter intent in an election in one state where the margin between George Bush and Al Gore was simply a few hundred votes. Bush’s legal term raised legitimate constitutional questions about Equal Protection and treating different voters differently. Winning in court in that one state gave Bush the electoral votes he needed to win the presidency.

        Here Trump is raising questions about widespread voter fraud across multiple states where Joe Biden’s margin of victory is thousands if not tens of thousands of votes. Trump would have to overturn election results in at least three states.

      • Trump: the King of Denial and a Savvy Saboteur

        It seems to me that liberal columnists like Brooks are part of the problem with the American political system. Instead of casting themselves as members of the Fourth Estate, which is supposed to be independent of the big power blocks in our society, columnists such as Brooks behave as though they’re a part of the government. On almost every edition of the NewsHour, Brooks tells viewers about his conversations with insiders, as though insiders know what’s really going on, and as though they tell the truth.

        The truth of the matter is that insiders mostly inhabit an echo chamber where they only hear one another and repeat the same things they hear over and over again. More often than not, the outsider has crucial insights into the workings of society, whether he or she has been Ida B. Wells, I. F. Stone, Molly Ives, Alexander Cockburn or Randolph Bourne who explained in his essay, “The State,” which was not published until after his death in 1918 that, “the president is an elected king. The fact that he is elected has proved to be of far less significance in the course of political evolution than the fact that he is pragmatically a king.”

      • Demanding ‘Passionate Fighter for Human Rights,’ Progressives Rally Around Ro Khanna for Harris’ Senate Seat

        “His voice in the Senate would be a major boost for our movement for justice,” said the Justice Democrats. 

      • The United States Is Not a Democracy. Stop Telling Students That It Is.

        When our students only learn about this exceptionally strange system from their corporate-produced history and government textbooks, they have no clue why this is how we choose our president.

      • ‘Lindsey Graham Must Resign’: Outrage Grows Over GOP Senator’s Alleged Assault on Election Integrity

        Critics called on the Justice Department and various congressional committees to “conduct an immediate and thorough investigation.”

      • Senate Runoffs in Georgia Offer a Clear Choice

        The races will be determined by whether Georgia’s voters choose to embrace and build a New South coalition or revert to the Old South.

      • Trump Campaign Officials Started Pressuring Georgia’s Secretary of State Long Before the Election

        Long before Republican senators began publicly denouncing how Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger handled the voting there, he withstood pressure from the campaign of Donald Trump to endorse the president for reelection.

        Raffensperger, a Republican, declined an offer in January to serve as an honorary co-chair of the Trump campaign in Georgia, according to emails reviewed by ProPublica. He later rejected GOP requests to support Trump publicly, he and his staff said in interviews. Raffensperger said he believed that, because he was overseeing the election, it would be a conflict of interest for him to take sides. Around the country, most secretaries of state remain officially neutral in elections.

      • Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and “The Previous President”

        BoJo seems much more at ease in Trump’s company than, say, that of the stolid Angela Merkel.

        Frau Dr Merkel is probably several notches above the 2 men when it comes to IQ levels, and given their shared predilection for pouting blondes with chest measurements that in some instances almost match the IQs of those thus measured, Chancellor Merkel is highly unlikely to qualify as favoured company for these 2 “manly” men.

      • Spy agencies should keep their noses out of foreign policy

        The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation — in what has been described as a rare public statement — has warned about foreign intelligence agencies who are using sites like LinkedIn and other social interaction spaces to groom and recruit Australians who have access to cutting-edge technology and sensitive information.

      • Trump Fires US Cybersecurity Director Chris Krebs After Krebs Debunks Trump’s Claims Of Election Systems Fraud

        As we noted last week, it was widely expected that sooner or later Donald Trump would turn his post-election temper tantrum towards Chris Krebs, the widely respected director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Krebs had been standing firm in reporting that there was no evidence to support the widespread conspiracy theories about hacked voting machines. CISA had been proactively debunking these claims.

      • Trump campaign drops Michigan election lawsuit, Rudy Giuliani says
      • Trumpism Can’t Be Voted Away. We Need Radical Social Transformation.
      • Hong Kong: Beijing Presses the Cleanup

        A sovereign nation has the unchallengeable right to remedy political deficiencies in territory under its jurisdiction. The four dismissals were an act by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, constitutionally China’s highest organ of authority. They were part of a bid to close a longstanding loophole in Hong Kong governance, under which government officials — including lawmakers — weren’t required to pledge loyalty to the administration and sovereign they were serving, and were free to collude with hostile foreign forces.

        China has moved to fix this deficiency, bringing the Hong Kong system into line with national and international — including Western — practices. So the ferocious criticism simply suggests that the West, at least subliminally, doesn’t recognize China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong. That would be the latest absurdity the Western powers have flung at Beijing since America’s Trump regime decided three years ago to punish the Chinese, essentially for being too successful.

      • Corporate Democrats Are to Blame for Congressional Losses, So Naturally They’re Blaming Progressives

        The best members of Congress are pushing back — none more forcefully or eloquently than Rashida Tlaib, the Michigan congresswoman who just won her second term in one of the nation’s poorest districts. She was the most outspoken against an anti-progressive pile-on during a Nov. 5 conference call of House Democrats. And she continues to hold high a shining lantern of progressive principles.

        Tlaib has pointed out that “Democratic candidates in swing districts who openly supported progressive policies, like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, won their races.” And she refuses to retreat.

      • ‘Who Wants to Break the News to Him?’ Trump Silent After GOP Effort to Block Election Certification in Michigan Thwarted

        “It’s plain and simple, folks,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib: “The Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers put politics above their duty to our residents.” The two GOP members, after fierce backlash, later reversed themselves.

      • Georgia Runoffs: How You Can Help Flip the Senate

        The stakes couldn’t be higher. Let’s bring this home, flip the Senate, and usher in the transformative change this nation requires.

      • Trump Spends Millions Requesting Recounts in Two Wisconsin Counties Won by Biden
      • Joe Biden Owes His Victory to the Left, No Matter What the Democratic Party Says

        Organizers, not consultants, delivered key states like Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia. Democrats ignore this reality at their peril.

      • GOP Fails to Block Election Certification in Michigan
      • With the Election Over, Congress Must Remember the Rest of the World

        Even a lame-duck Congress must remember their actions have global consequences too.

      • Undermining Mail-In Voting Likely Cost Trump Georgia, Says GA Secretary of State
      • How to Understand Democrats’ Disappointing Losses in State Legislatures

        Joe Biden won the White House, overwhelmingly, but otherwise, since Election Day, the news for Democrats has been bleak. They failed to flip the Senate—though the Georgia runoffs could still give them a 50-50 tie, broken by Vice President Kamala Harris—and lost seats in the House of Representatives, where they had been projected to pad their majority. But nowhere was the news worse than at the state legislative level, where despite unprecedented investment by Democratic organizations and outside groups, and expectations that they’d flip from four to eight legislative bodies—or more, in a “blue wave” election—the party lost ground.

      • Rep. Bill Pascrell Demands DOJ Prosecution of Trump’s “Innumerable Crimes Against the United States”

        “Trump along with his worst enablers must be tried for their crimes against our nation and Constitution,” the New Jersey Democrat asserted.

      • Trump Team Seeks to ‘Delay the Inevitable’

        In Wisconsin, as elsewhere, the Republicans’ false claims of voter fraud are becoming undone.

      • Don’t Expect Jones Day to Stop Enabling Donald Trump

        Jones Day is the fifth-largest law firm in the United States. It has over 2,500 attorneys spread over 43 offices both here and abroad. According to American Lawyer, it grosses over $2 billion in revenue per year, which results in $1.1 million in profit per partner, per year.

      • Even a Clownish Coup Can Still Hurt Democracy

        Rudy Giuliani has had a hard year. He was recently pranked by the British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, best known for his character Borat. Cohen tricked the former New York mayor into giving an interview to a young woman he was told was 15, an ill-fated hotel encounter that ended with Giuliani on a bed either tucking in his shirt (as he claims) or, as some viewers suspect, engaging in on-camera onanism.

      • Trump Fires Top Election Security Official Who Refuted Baseless Lies About Fraud
      • New draft law seeks to ban ‘foreign agents’ from holding public office in Russia

        Russian lawmakers and senators have submitted a draft law to the State Duma, which proposes banning individuals deemed “foreign agents” from holding state and municipal offices. The bill was published on the State Duma’s website on Wednesday, November 18.

      • Day After Senator Lindsey Graham Is Credibly Accused Of Trying To Undermine The Election, He Hosts Hearing Attacking Social Media For Undermining Election

        The timing on this is quite incredible. On Monday, Georgia’s (Republican) Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, spoke out, saying that Senator Lindsey Graham had called him and implied that Raffensperger should look to throw out ballots that were legally cast in the state. On Tuesday morning, in trying to defend his efforts to undermine the election, Graham tried to shake off his calls with Raffensperger as no big deal, saying that he also spoke to Arizona and Nevada election officials. This does not make things better. Indeed, it actually seems to make things worse (and that’s even after Arizona’s Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, claimed that Graham’s claims were “false” and she never spoke to him.

      • An Election We Could Not Sit Out: How Indigenous Voters Helped Defeat Trump & Elect Biden

        Native American voters saw a massive increase in turnout this year and helped deliver key swing states for Joe Biden, but Indigenous peoples and the role they played in defeating Donald Trump have been largely ignored in mainstream media analyses. We speak with Allie Young, a citizen of the Navajo Nation and founder of Protect the Sacred, who organized a horseback trail ride to the polls. She says it was important to her to motivate Indigenous youth to turn out. “I was hearing on the ground that they weren’t feeling very motivated to participate in this election,” she says. “I wanted to communicate to them that this is an election that we just cannot sit out.”

      • The crackpot factor: Why the GOP is worried about turning out the vote after Trump

        Yet the Republican establishment is still tiptoeing around Trump, coddling his fragile ego by refusing to admit he lost the election. Some are going a step further, such as South Carolina’s Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has been exerting pressure on state officials to toss out legally-cast ballots. Why are all these Republicans so afraid of Trump, who will no longer be president in 63 days?

        The main reason appears to be that Republicans really are worried about their electoral prospects after Trump. The record Democratic turnout in the 2020 election — President-elect Joe Biden turned out 14 million more voters than Hillary Clinton in 2016 — caused many Republicans down-ballot from Trump to sweat their re-election prospects. Luckily for them, however, Trump also turned out an eye-popping 10 million new voters, which was enough to save the skins of many GOP candidates, even as Trump lost by slender margins in swing states.

      • Enough with “both sides”! Faux-neutral journalism is no way to fight the truth-deniers

        Several journalism professors — among 151 academics who contributed to a new, wide-ranging collection of essays, “U.S. Election Analysis 2020: Media, Voters and the Campaign” — argue that if journalism is to rise to the challenge of the moment, it has to change.

        Seth C. Lewis from the University of Oregon, Matt Carlson from the University of Minnesota and Sue Robinson from the University of Wisconsin-Madison write that “traditional journalistic practices remain more-or-less intact” even as “the overall media environment has changed radically” with the advent of a powerful right-wing media machine that massively spreads disinformation.

      • On average 3.500 Norwegians seek to improve local environment every year through FiksGataMi

        Soon FiksGataMi will start its 10th year of operation in Norway. On average the service has had 3.500 unique users per year since 2011. Within the first months (March-July), the number of user was 3.700, Joinup reports in an article from 2011.

        With this solution, the Norwegian people have the possibility of reporting what is missing, faulty or trashed in the public outdoor environment. When the case has been sent, it is directed to the right department in the right municipality. Currently FiksGataMi has 66.639 active cases in the system, made by 31.512 unique users. That means 31.512 people who will not have to bother finding the right department to send to case to, because FiksGataMi has already done it for them.

      • Half of Republicans say Biden won because of a ‘rigged’ election: Reuters/Ipsos poll

        Altogether, 73% of those polled agreed that Biden won the election while 5% thought Trump won. But when asked specifically whether Biden had “rightfully won,” Republicans showed they were suspicious about how Biden’s victory was obtained.

        Fifty-two percent of Republicans said that Trump “rightfully won,” while only 29% said that Biden had rightfully won.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • EU Court Backs Austrian Court, Says Local Libel Law Applies Everywhere In The World

        Whole lot of people complaining about Section 230 at the moment. And it’s a whole lot of people who should know better. Do you want to become Europe? Because this is how you become Europe.

      • Devin Nunes Files Another SLAPP Suit; Sues The Washington Post Again

        Devin Nunes is one of the most vocal supporters of Parler, regularly insisting that he supports Parler because Parler supports free speech (of course, as we’ve highlighted, Parler blocks users quite frequently, contrary to its marketing claims). Of course, Nunes is a free speech hypocrite. As we’ve highlighted over the last few years, he seems to have an itchy trigger finger when it comes to suing the media and various critics for their free speech, in a variety of SLAPP lawsuits — with no clear answer yet on who is actually paying for these lawsuits designed to stifle and suppress free speech.

      • Internet disrupted in Iran on anniversary of fuel protests

        Metrics show an anomalous three-hour period of reduction in connection quality and speed impacting multiple networks, corroborating user reports of issues accessing international services, including VPN services.

        The disruption comes on the day of the first anniversary of the 2019 Internet blackout in Iran, which was imposed as thousands of demonstrators to the streets in protest of rising fuel prices and political restrictions of personal freedoms.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Federal Judge Blocks Trump Order That Has Already Led to ‘Illegal’ Expulsion of 13,000 Unaccompanied Children

        “Today’s ruling is a critical step in halting the Trump administration’s unprecedented and illegal attempt to expel children under the thin guise of public health.”

      • Colin Kaepernick Speaks Out for Mumia Abu-Jamal

        The racism embedded in our criminal justice system has been at the forefront of public consciousness this year. Debates about defunding the police, prison abolition, and how to actually dismantle the entire machine have gone from the fringes to the streets, to the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times. In the process, these debates have opened a rift between those in the Democratic Party who believe this discussion will alienate centrist voters and people at the base who marched over the summer, taking this analysis as the clarion call of the future.

      • Executing Lisa Montgomery Would Be One of Trump’s Final Cruelties

        From a young age, Lisa Marie Montgomery endured brutal physical and sexual assaults at the hands of her mother and stepfather, leading to severe mental illness. Now 52, she is set to be the first woman executed by the federal government in 67 years.

      • Trump Is Attacking Critical Race Theory Because It Is a Force for Liberation
      • A Quiet Menace

        Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a claustrophobic film. Adapted from Iain Reid’s horror novel of the same name, much of it takes place in the front seat of a small car in the midst of a cross-country road trip as a horizon of nothing but flat, monochrome frontier rolls by out the windows. The passengers—an unnamed woman and her boyfriend, Jake, with whom she’s considering ending things—seem hemmed in by each other, their conversation dissipating once they approach the boundaries of what they can’t say or know the other can’t stand to hear.

      • LIBERTY
      • ‘Respect the constitution’: Draft law on extending presidential immunity provokes controversy among Russian lawmakers

        On Tuesday, November 17, State Duma deputies approved a draft law on extending immunity for former Russian presidents in its first reading. The bill was developed to support the amendments to the constitution adopted following this summer’s nationwide vote. That being said, the proposed legislation still provoked a controversial discussion among Russian lawmakers. Deputies from the Communist Party (KPRF) in particular were adamantly opposed — prompting parliamentary chairman Vyacheslav Volodin to accuse them of “trampling” on Russia’s institutions.

      • Yazidis appoint new spiritual leader in Iraq – in pictures

        At a ceremony in the temple of Lalish – the holiest site for the minority group – they formally named Ali Alyas as the new Baba Sheikh, their chief religious guide.

      • Russian lawmaker submits bill on tightening public demonstration regulations

        Lawmaker Dmitry Vyatkin from United Russia has submitted two draft laws to Russia’s State Duma on tightening the rules for holding public demonstrations.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Huawei Australia uses Ericsson chief’s statement to slam 5G ban

        A media statement by Ericsson chief executive Borje Ekholm to the effect that vendors should not be banned from 5G without properly balancing national security concerns with free competition has been hailed by Huawei Australia as a “welcome injection of common sense”.

      • Bullshit Broadband Usage Caps Are Hugely Profitable During A Pandemic

        We’ve noted for years how broadband providers have increasingly imposed arbitrary, confusing, and punitive usage caps and overage fees to cash in on the lack of competition in US broadband. Not only have industry executives admitted these limits aren’t technically necessary, they’ve increasingly been abused to hamstring competitors. AT&T, for example, doesn’t impose the limits on its broadband customers who use its streaming video service (DirecTV Now), but will impose the added charges if you use a competitor like Netflix.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM) and Spying

      • macOS Leaks Application Usage, Forces Apple to Make Hard Decisions

        Last week, users of macOS noticed that attempting to open non-Apple applications while connected to the Internet resulted in long delays, if the applications opened at all. The interruptions were caused by a macOS security service attempting to reach Apple’s Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) server, which had become unreachable due to internal errors. When security researchers looked into the contents of the OCSP requests, they found that these requests contained a hash of the developer’s certificate for the application that was being run, which was used by Apple in security checks.[1] The developer certificate contains a description of the individual, company, or organization which coded the application (e.g. Adobe or Tor Project), and thus leaks to Apple that an application by this developer was opened.

        Moreover, OCSP requests are not encrypted. This means that any passive listener also learns which application a macOS user is opening and when.[2] Those with this attack capability include any upstream service provider of the user; Akamai, the ISP hosting Apple’s OCSP service; or any hacker on the same network as you when you connect to, say, your local coffee shop’s WiFi. A detailed explanation can be found in this article.

      • Microsoft developing ‘Pluton’ security chip for Windows

        Microsoft will work with Intel, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Qualcomm Inc. to help them build Pluton into their personal computer processors. Firmware updates to CPU-integrated Pluton chips will be released by Microsoft as part of Windows updates.

      • Microsoft’s new ‘Pluton’ security processor gets buy-in from Intel, AMD

        Advocates of the new security chip, known as Pluton, say it will cut off a key vector for data-stealing attacks: a communication channel between a computing system’s central processing unit (CPU) and another piece of hardware known as the trusted platform module (TPM). In one example of that type of attack, researchers from security company NCC Group in 2018 showed how an attacker could undermine the booting process for “a large number of TPM-enabled computing platforms.”

        The Pluton chip will be built into Windows computers through “future chips” made by AMD, Intel and Qualcomm, Microsoft said. It’s unclear when, exactly, all of that hardware will be on the market. Microsoft would only say that the work is ongoing.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Reexaminations Reborn: Strategies for Filing Ex Parte Reexaminations

          Today we discussed an overview of the ex parte reexamination process, spoke about strategies that work in successful filings, and looked through data behind reexaminations. We also compared post-grant proceedings and spoke about considerations for using reexaminations rather than PTAB proceedings. We concluded with a preview of next month’s webinar over comments provided about Discretionary Denials.

        • Overview of FRAND litigation in France: is a new era coming?

          The “TCL” case is the most recent to date, and certainly the most enlightening in terms of the intentions of the French Courts on the issue of royalty rate setting. It was an opportunity for the French Judge to clearly assert his jurisdiction in international disputes, particularly when they involve ETSI (i.e. European Telecommunications Standards Institute), which is located in Nice, France. Indeed, on 6 February 2020, the Paris High Court issued an important decision recognizing its jurisdiction to hear FRAND license disputes involving ETSI and ruling that the commitment of SEPs holders to grant FRAND licenses constitutes a “stipulation for third parties”, a mechanism under French civil law equivalent to a third-party beneficiary clause.

          Philips holds two SEPs that have been declared to the ETSI. Between 2015 and 2018, TCL and Philips attempted unsuccessfully to agree on the terms and conditions of a FRAND license for these two patents. In 2018, Philips finally brought a patent infringement suit against TCL in the United Kingdom, seeking an injunction against TCL. In 2019, TCL sued Philips and ETSI before the Paris High Court to compel Philips to grant a FRAND license on the two patents and to compel ETSI to assist the parties in granting this license. For its part, Philips asked the Court to decline jurisdiction, arguing that the dispute had already been referred to the UK Court and that there would be a risk of conflicting decisions if both the UK and French courts were to rule on the same dispute.

          The Paris Court declared itself competent to rule on all of TCL’s claims against Philips and ETSI. The Court held that there was a sufficient nexus between the TCL claims against Philips and ETSI, even if the two claims had separate legal bases: the membership agreement between ETSI and its members with respect to TCL’s claims against ETSI; and Philips’ promise to grant a FRAND license to potential licensees in accordance with ETSI IPR policy with respect to TCL’s claims against Philips.

          Furthermore, the Court stated that the promise to grant FRAND licnses to potential licensees made by SEPs holders pursuant to article 6.1 of the ETSI rules constituted a “stipulation pour autrui” (i.e. a third party beneficiary clause) that creates a direct contractual relationship between an ETSI member company (the SEPs holder) and a third party (a potential licensee, whether or not it is an ETSI member company).


          In the Conversant case, the French Court was primarily bound by the EU Trade Secrets Directive and its implementation into French national law. The French judge therefore applied the provisions of the Trade Secrets Act transposing the European Trade Secrets Directive in order to protect the confidential information referred to in the NDA. This was particularly important because a German judge would not have been able to provide such a solution at the time. Not only were the confidentiality provisions of an NDA not challenged, but the parties were still able to discuss royalty rates with all the necessary elements without destroying confidence in the regime established by the NDA. This position taken by the French courts is commercial and constructive. Parties litigating before the French courts will be reassured that their NOA will remain in effect, while still being able to rely on comparable royalty rates as a reference for their damages arguments.

          Thus, although we have not obtained the calculation of a FRAND royalty rate, the recognition, introduction and application of the procedure for the protection of confidential information in licenses and negotiations gives the parties some satisfaction. With this regime in place, it will not be long before the French Courts and the new judges (increasingly favorable to patents), discuss (and determine) a FRAND royalty rate. In particular since the last TCL case law and the important position it holds in the forum when ETSI is involved.

          All in all, while it is perhaps premature to speak of a “new era” yet, there is also no doubt that in light of recent case law, not only with respect to FRAND licenses but also in the pharmaceutical sector, a new era may be on the horizon because the French Courts are clearly destined to become an option not to be overlooked by SEPs holders.

        • A Lesson from Judge Chen on Waiver vs Forfeiture | Patently-O

          This is an ex parte appeal of a patent office refusal to grant a patent to Google on its U.S. Pat. App. No. 15/179,765 (distributed caching of content for video-on-demand). The examiner rejected the claims as obvious and that was affirmed by the PTAB.


          Olano, quoting Johnson. The difference between these two terms is somewhat parallel to that of laches and equitable estoppel. Laches can apply to bar a claim in situations where a plaintiff unreasonably delayed in making the claim (much like a statute-of-limitations). Equitable Estoppel, on the other hand, requires some action by the plaintiff – a misleading statement or conduct – that was detrimentally relied upon.

          Here, on appeal Google argues that the PTAB erred in its claim construction of Google’s claim terms of “cost” of delivering data and “network penalty.”

        • Software Patents

          • PTAB Denies IPR Petitions Filed Less Than One Month After Lawsuit

            On Monday, the PTAB made clear that the ultimate outcome of the Fintiv rule championed by Director Iancu is the elimination of inter partes review (IPR) as a viable alternative to challenging patents in litigation. RAI sued Philip Morris on April 9th, 2020. Less than a month later, on May 8th, 2020, Philip Morris filed a petition for IPR against three of the asserted patents. (When I was in practice, I worked on a number of IPRs. Filing a petition in less than a month is an impressively diligent feat—typically it takes six to nine months to file a petition.)

            Monday, the PTAB denied two of the three petitions for IPR. (The third petition was instituted, despite being in the exact same procedural posture, without any discussion of these issues.)


            What that means is that any plaintiff filing in a district which sets an aggressive time to trial—districts like the Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, home of NPEs, and the Eastern District of Virginia, home to this case—can ensure that no matter how quickly a defendant gets its petition together, no matter how invalid the patent appears to be, the PTAB will refuse to hear the case. That’s not what Congress intended, and that’s not good for the patent system.

            This decision makes clear what the underlying goal of the Fintiv rule is—eliminating meaningful access to IPR. So why is the USPTO Director trying to force through an eleventh-hour rule that would enshrine Fintiv into regulation?

      • Trademarks

        • Cannabis, conceptual comparison, and online evidence: Tertulia on EUIPO Boards of Appeal Case Law November 2020 – The IPKat

          This blogger recently had the opportunity to attend the EUIPO Tertulia on trademark case law. Given the current situation, this Tertulia was held online. After an introduction by Mr Théophile Margellos, president of the Boards of Appeal, the Tertulia began with a presentation by Ms Kamar Sidat Humphreys regarding trademarks containing names of drugs and terms referring to strains/variants of cannabis plants.

          This was followed by a presentation by Mr José Antonio Garrido Otaola on the conceptual comparison and its impact in the global assessment of the likelihood of confusion. The event closed with a presentation by Ms Janka Budovičová on substantial aspects of online evidence.

      • Copyrights

        • Why Don’t Conservatives Care About Copyright?

          I’m certainly not the first person (especially on Techdirt) to point out that if conservatives are really concerned about online censorship, they should be putting copyright law under the microscope, rather than, or at least in addition to, Section 230.

        • Hong Kong Police ‘Rip-Off’ Kimetsu No Yaiba, Japan Minister Warns Against IP Infringement

          Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is one of the best-selling manga series of all time. A new movie based on the series was released in October and is already one of Japan’s highest-grossing movies. Perhaps understandable then that Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary was prompted to comment after Hong Kong Police allegedly ripped-off the lead character’s likeness for an anti-fraud campaign.

        • Nintendo Asks Court to Put an End to ‘Domain Hopping’ Piracy Hack Stores

          Nintendo has asked a US federal court to clarify that domain registrars have to take action against new domains of online stores that sell Team-Xecuter modchips. The request comes after GoDaddy refused to transfer the domain name TXSWITCH.COM to Nintendo, as that name wasn’t specifically mentioned in the existing injunction.

        • Bandcamp adds ticketed live streams for virtual concerts

          This isn’t a complete streaming solution — any interested artist will still need broadcasting software such as OBS according to Live’s support pages. And that might be the hurdle for artists: live streaming requires technical knowledge they might not have; Bandcamp hasn’t done much to solve this other than offer a thorough support guide. There’s also the problem of moderating the chats — Bandcamp hasn’t provided virtual bouncers for them.

Inside the EPO During Corona: Sending Staff Home to Justify Cutting Their Benefits and Maybe Even Key Allowances

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 11:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Free stuff’ won’t silence people whom you rob at orders of magnitude more

Office chair

Summary: Questions linger and are being raised by the Central Staff Committee of the EPO, seeing that there’s no sign of standard EPO contracts being respected anymore

RIGHT now in November a lot of Europe is “locked down” (to some degree) in order to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Nobody would rightly blast the EPO for recommending home-working; the question is, on what terms? Also, how “essential” are pertinent functions, what goals should be set, and who gets to have a break (or when)? At the moment we see António Campinos (in photographs) failing to socially-distance and wear a mask; he’s defying his own orders and the laws of the country he’s in. We also see him deciding things unilaterally (another Benoît Battistelli) without involving staff, except symbolically.

“In later parts of the summer the Office pretended to be generous by offering a bunch of furniture (whose total cost is miniscule compared to salaries of staff and it’s a one-time thing).”Allowances are another aspect; with many kids now living with their parents inside the new ‘workplace’, is that sustainable at all? If kids don’t go to kindergarten or school, will the Office still offer allowances? What if the workers start working from their home country? Will international schools (or any schools at all for that matter) have fees covered by the Office)? Here’s a document in English [PDF] about “Education Allowance Reform” (which they describe as a “report on the first meeting of the Working Group”). To what degree can the pandemic be exploited to cut staff pay/compensation? We already saw that happening regardless of the virus (and predating it), so now this agenda will accelerate. SUEPO and the Central Staff Committee correctly foresaw the can of worms this would open, more so when representatives of the staff aren’t at all involved in decision-making. In later parts of the summer the Office pretended to be generous by offering a bunch of furniture (whose total cost is miniscule compared to salaries of staff and it’s a one-time thing). Imagine being paid like 100,000 euros a year and then the Office covers the cost of an ergonomic chair (about 200 euros) as a one-time thing for 5 years. What is that in proportion to the whole? And if allowance for child education (about 20,000 euros a year) is cut, what do all these ‘freebies’ even mean in the grand scheme of things?

Back in August the Central Staff Committee wrote:

Teleworking: Does new equipment mean long-term commitment for teleworking?

The Office has started supplying home-office equipment in large quantity and facilitating its ordering for staff (see “From survey to action”). We welcome the commitment to a more ergonomic workplace at home. Nonetheless, we all need to start thinking about possible consequences such a switch to home office might entail, before being confronted with a “fait accompli”.

That’s mostly (albeit beyond) the opening paragraph of the following August publication, which we reproduce in full below:

Munich 12.08.2020
sc20126cp – 0.2.1/1.2.2

Order new equipment = long-term irreversible commitment for teleworking?

Dear Colleagues,

The Office has started supplying home-office equipment in large quantity and facilitating its ordering for staff (see “From survey to action”). We welcome the commitment to a more ergonomic workplace at home. Nonetheless, we all need to start thinking about possible consequences such a switch to home office might entail.

In a dedicated forum of the Administration’s Staff Feedback Scheme, many of you recently expressed the desire to enhance teleworking in general and in particular from the home country. The President in his summer speech took this up, mentioned the “Strong Together” survey conducted in May and commented on the availability of home working equipment and furniture which has already been extensively made use of. He further announced the invitation of “all stakeholders” to shape the “New Normal” and the conduction of yet another dedicated staff survey in September.

While the efforts of the Office to improve ergonomics at home are laudable, your Staff Representation keeps addressing the President and insists on being meaningfully involved in the strategic discussions and further preparatory work around the so called “New Normal”. We want to engage in real social dialogue so that we can best represent the most important stakeholder – YOU, the staff.

Form for requesting home office equipment: simple survey or justification to reduce office space?

The form contains questions such as whether you plan to work predominantly / exclusively at home, predominantly / exclusively in your office or 50:50 at both sites. It very much looks like some kind of a forerunner for the “real survey” announced for September. Whilst the period should for the time being “at least” last up to the end of this year, chairs and desks might anyway only be available after the summer. Would it seem financially wise to equip hundreds or thousands of employees with expensive equipment for such a short period of time only?

Could the order form and survey information could be seen as a precautionary measure to fulfil legal requirements for appropriate home-office equipment for (mandatory) teleworkers in the host countries? Would this nicely go hand in hand with plans for reducing office space. It could definitely help create a “fait accompli”.

The two sides of the coin – have you thought of consequences?

Teleworking / home office comes with several advantages, e.g. no commute being needed, a lower carbon footprint, more flexible time planning, a lower infection risk in pandemic times, and others. With enhanced ergonomics at home, these advantages will be further sweetened. We are also aware that many of you would like to increase your share of work from home, up to the point of complete teleworking from home or even from abroad.

It is easy to imagine that the number of people who predominantly work from home have an influence on the EPO’s buildings plans presently under revision, as announced in the June 2020 meeting of the Administrative Council. How will the Office look like in future? Will you keep your single office? Will you have to book a desk every time you come to the Office? Which workplace will be assigned for a predominant homeworker? Will other facilities such as sports facilities or canteens still be available, at present and for the foreseeable future being kept at a very low level? How will Amicale club life be affected?

We should also try to figure out the consequences of a switch to unlimited teleworking, especially from the home countries. Would our salaries be adapted to the place of work? Would production targets be adapted? Would allowances be affected? What about home leave, annual leave, parental leave or other special leave? We have experienced also in the recent past that no rules or laws, even seemingly fundamental ones, are carved in stone.

More importantly so, how will staff’s health and wellbeing be affected? This topic remains the focus of our attention, communication aspects, teamworking abilities, manifold psychological and social aspects etc. need to be considered. Aspects as diverse as waning corporate identity, sense of belonging to a team or unit, isolation or plain loneliness. All aspects you might want to think about and which we definitely will address with the Administration.

Additional thoughts on our future workplace can be found in an earlier dedicated CSC paper.

Going further – some further reading

The world outside of the EPO already has “homeshoring” schemes for cost-cutting reasons, there
are numerous articles available on this topic. Trends are seen for reducing office space, other
articles draw attention to collateral damages resulting from low office occupancy, coffee shop
closures and building stoppages in office districts.

We have collected below several articles considering various aspects of teleworking, which you
might want to read during summer. If you miss the office surroundings, find consolation here.

- Workers’ information, consultation and participation”, a brief by ETUC regarding COVID-19 and its impact on worker-employer relations, ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation) representing 45 million members from 90 trade union organisations in 38 European countries, plus 10 European Trade Union Federations.
- “Neue Studie: Ein Hoch aufs Homeoffice!”, Deutsche Welle Medien, 22.07.20, discussion of pros and cons of home office, includes the foreseen Siemens model (see below).
- “Prekär allein zu Hause”, an article in Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) of 04/05.07.20 [behind paywall], deals with homeworking, especially Facebook’s plans to have up to 50% teleworking, but with salaries adapted to the actual homeworking location, which needs to be declared by the employee in advance and is monitored.
- “Bleibt doch zu Hause”, an article in SZ of 16.07.20 [behind paywall], deals with ambitious plans by inter alia Siemens and Allianz (the German insurance giant). While Siemens will provide for two to three days of home-office per week at constant office space, Allianz will reduce it by one third.
- “Blow to Boris Johnson’s ‘back to normal’ drive as RBS tells more than 50,000 staff to work from home until next year”, an article from the Daily Mail online of 20.07.20, recites surveys that one third of Londoners would want to telework in the future, as well as that only a fraction of employees was currently present in their office facilities.This is similar to current on-premises EPO occupancy (about 1200 of 7000 across all sites before the holidays).
- “End of the office: the quiet, grinding loneliness of working from home”, an article from the Guardian, of
- Télétravail ou bureau : sortir du débat stérile, Zevillage, 09.07.20, a further discussion of the pros and cons of teleworking with a focus on France and rich sourcing (studies, articles, surveys, jurisprudence), concludes that there cannot be a one size fits all approach but rather it needs to be adapted to the individual situation.

As usual, we will keep you posted on further developments taking place with a view to the “New Normal”. Needless to say that any input from your side is highly desired, we welcome discussion!

Your Central Staff Committee

I’d like to personally address the part where the Committee says: “We welcome the commitment to a more ergonomic workplace at home.”

Seriously? Do you know how small a ‘favour’ this is?

“Look at it another way: how about Campinos abandoning his hoax ‘study’ and instead assuring no cuts to staff’s salaries, benefits and so on?”That’s like buying an ice cream cone for your house maid.

I’ve worked from home since 2007 (sometimes hybrid) and a chair and/or desk for home cost very little compared to other expenses, especially for working parents who would likely spend up to a million euros on their children (without even counting higher education). If all that Campinos can offer is “free stuff” like a chair — whilst at the same time taking away basic rights like freedom of expression and association — what does that really say?

Look at it another way: how about Campinos abandoning his hoax 'study' and instead assuring no cuts to staff’s salaries, benefits and so on? That would cost the Office a lot more, wouldn’t it?

Inside the EPO During Corona: Acting Chairperson of the Central Staff Committee of the EPO Suggests Involving Staff Representatives in Corona Task Force

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Let’s sit down, have a drink

La Cerveza

Summary: Back in summer, not too long after many scandals (even talk of layoffs) and after the June elections, Cláudia Lopes sent the following letter to the dictator and his Chief of Staff

THE EPO‘s President António Campinos received the following letter back in July.

To highlight some key passages from it:

Reference:sc20118cl- 0.3.1/0.1.1/4.3
Date: 24.07.2020

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

Mr António Campinos
President of the EPO

ISAR – R.1081

Open letter

Meaningful involvement e.g. in the Corona Task force and the New Normal

Dear Mr. President,

We refer to the inaugural meeting with the newly elected Staff Committee on 16 July 2020, during which we re-iterated several times that we consider that Staff Representation should be meaningfully involved from an early stage in the different ongoing projects. From your replies, we understood rather clearly that Staff Representation are excluded from any form of co-decision – yet this is not what we have been asking for.

Meaningful involvement points to a coordinated identification of existing or upcoming issues, a joint definition of the problem we are trying to solve, and a discussion on elements of potential solutions. Early involvement would allow us to jointly seek the opinion of staff. Once these stages have passed, we can work on the necessary changes to the Service Regulations or other provisions. Indeed, though we may well disagree on the solutions that the administration eventually decides upon, meaningful involvement in the process leading up to these solutions should contribute to mutual understanding of the drivers and motivators of either party. Such an approach may well lead to a negotiated compromise solution, co-supported by the administration and Staff Representation. This is a sure recipe for social peace and the sole path to reducing litigation.

This model of meaningful involvement has in the past led to reforms supported by the Staff Representation (e.g., reforms of the Salary Adjustment Method in the years of presidents Kober and Pompidou) – we can only notice with regret that the current administration adamantly continues to use a model of pro forma consultation. Staff Representation is involved only after the administration has singlehandedly defined their solution. The documents that are sent to Staff Representation turn out to be the final versions more often than not – and the entire consultation process can only be described as a theatre play to feign social dialogue. Proposals brought forward by staff representation are systematically ignored.

We therefore re-iterate that we are more than willing to nominate into different working groups – provided there is a commitment to meaningful involvement.

The ongoing Covid pandemic, and the upcoming discussion on the New Normal provide opportunities to finally bring Staff Representation on board for such meaningful involvement: by making us part of the Corona Task Force when it resumes its activities – and by involving us in the staff survey on the New Normal that is planned for September. By involving the Staff Representation in the Corona Task Force, the crisis meeting would be obsolete.

We trust that you will be pleasantly surprised of the meaningful contribution that we can offer on these challenges, which will determine how our organisation will look in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Cláudia Lopes

Acting Chairperson of the CSC

cc.: Ms Karin Seegert; Chief of Staff

This shows that just over two years (2 years, 3 weeks) after Campinos started his job as EPO President he already sank to a 3% approval rate (only 1 in 33 surveyed staff members still trust him) and he’s repeatedly breaking promises that he would involve staff and have meaningful dialogues. The way things are going, it won’t be long before his approval rate sinks to 0% (same as Battistelli in his later years). That’s when things boil over (protests, strikes, panic at the Council).

Inside the EPO During Corona: There’s No Rule of Law Anymore and That Takes Its Toll on ‘Low-Level’ Staff

Posted in Deception, Europe, Finance, Patents at 6:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The staff representatives are barely allowed to speak to staff, never mind the media (due to typical harassment by Elodie Bergot)

Hush up

Summary: The EPO continues to assault its sole real asset (highly knowledgeable staff on the payroll), dooming any prospects of recovery during or after the crisis; to make matters worse, nobody holds the EPO accountable anymore (at least staff representatives are trying to)

TODAY we continue our ongoing series about the actions and inactions of António Campinos as Office President at the EPO. He’s no better than Benoît Battistelli, but Web sites connected to patent maximalists groomed him and glorified him as though he was a saviour. It got so bad that the people who took over IP Kat started mass-deleting comments about Campinos — as if to guard his image/reputation from critics. Remember that those aren’t the same people who exposed EPO abuses at IP Kat; all those people have left the blog, including the blog’s founder. I know this because I used to routinely speak to them.

Urban rain to comeWhen we speak of “Web sites connected to patent maximalists” we speak about sites like IAM, Managing IP, Watchtroll and so on. They don’t even pretend to be objective (not successfully anyway). They constantly talk to patent maximalists with the aim of promoting software patents in Europe and in the United States. Earlier this week Managing IP did a softball ‘interview’ with the people who try to undermine 35 U.S.C. § 101 in the United States, in effect using politics (with bribes from law firms) in an effort to undo Alice (SCOTUS), allowing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to just grant loads of patents that patent trolls use the most. We’ve also just noticed, over at Managing IP, that Max Walters writes about the EPO’s “virtual policy”; he overlooks the vastly more important aspect, e.g. that all those hearings are unlawful. Does it bother them? No. More litigation, more lawyers’ time (bills). We know who sponsors this site all along…

“The EPO is not run by scientists; barely even one in management!”The decay of the EPO is of real concern to us; it’s becoming a patent-printing machine (of low-quality and invalid patents). The examiners rightly complain about it; they’re scientists, not printers. They joined to do the job of examination (studying specialised fields), not producing so-called ‘products’ by ‘googling’ some ‘closest prior art’ and then signing a box.

The EPO is not run by scientists; barely even one in management! This week, as one can predict, the management of the EPO reconnects with its corruption scandals (warning: epo.org link) in the Balkans. As we noted over a decade ago, Serbia doesn’t even have a standards body, but here they go about writing: “The Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Serbia celebrated its centenary on 17 November 2020. To mark the occasion, the Serbian IPO hosted a special virtual conference on intellectual property which was attended by representatives from the areas of politics and IP.”

What they mean by “virtual conference” isn’t even remotely a conference, it’s just a bunch of people having a webchat from home. But this is the kind of thing today’s EPO is proud to do. They even sign agreements with countries which have not a single European Patent! Showmanship and PR is all that boils down to and yesterday we wrote about the exploitation of disabled people.

Suffice to say, many workers continue to leave the Office, some by taking early retirement, never to be replaced. Some have pointed out that the EPO's branch in Vienna is being drained out of staff. They can’t shut it down (EPC is strict about it), but they can suck the life out of it, as they gradually did in Berlin (we wrote about that years ago).

Back in June the Central Staff Committee wrote about departing workers:

Expatriation allowance – When transferring between places of employment

You may look for opportunities to support the Office to fulfil its mission with a transfer to a different place of employment.

We have recently become aware of some confusion and possibly unequal treatment between colleagues. The Office might also have changed to a stricter practice recently, so that entitlement to the expatriation allowance is becoming increasingly a tricky issue. You might lose it when transferring to a new place of employment. Or you might not receive it although you think you should have.

In order to avoid any unpleasant surprise, we recommend that you get written confirmation from your HR partner about the status of your expatriation allowance before you decide to transfer to a different place of employment.

Of course you may contact us and/or the Union to get further advice, or for any feedback you deem useful.

The EPO is hoarding billions of euros (money it’s not actually allowed to have), then gambling this money away. And in the process it robs the staff which was meant to be rewarded to maintain a high skills level. EPC out the door!

Here’s the full publication published back then to highlight what had been happening:

Munich, 19.06.2020
sc20098cp – 0.2.1/4.2.1/4.4

Changing place of employment and expatriation allowance

As a staff member, you might want or need to transfer to another place of employment.

The initiative in DG1: job fairs

Around mid-2019, VP1 Steve Rowan announced that job fairs would be conducted on a regular basis for DG1 staff1 , as more and more technical fields are running out of work in search & examination primarily due to the productivity surge of the last years. We always did and continue to encourage you to participate in these job fairs and look for opportunities to support the Office to fulfil its mission before it runs out of work in certain areas. Working in a different technical field might come with the necessity to move to a different place of employment, e.g. moving from the Netherlands/The Hague to Germany/Munich.

What about the expatriation allowance?

We have recently become aware of some confusion and possibly unequal treatment relating to very similar or even factually equal cases. The Office might also have changed to a more strict practice recently, so that entitlement to the expatriation allowance is becoming increasingly a tricky issue. You might lose it when transferring to a new place of employment. Or you might not receive it although you think you should have.

The relevant legal basis can be found in Article 72(1) ServRegs and in Circular 392 which entered into force in May 2018, without retroactive effect.

In order to avoid any unpleasant surprise, we recommend that you get written confirmation from your HR partner about the status of your expatriation allowance before you decide to transfer to a different place of employment.

Of course you may contact us and/or the Union to get further advice, or for any feedback you deem useful.

The Central Staff Committee

1 http://my.internal.epo.org/portal/private/epo/work/jobmarket/?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/epo/intranet/work/jobMarket/jobfairs

If “entitlement to the expatriation allowance is becoming increasingly a tricky issue,” then that’s yet another example of the EPO’s staff being robbed while Office management does illegal things with money it is quietly (and meanwhile lying about) hoarding. Under ordinary and saner circumstances, the people who do this would be sentenced to prison, but instead they're being defended by their mates inside the Commission.

Nettle and Sequioa for Encryption (as GnuPG Alternative)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 5:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

RIAA insideSummary: Concerns about GnuPG’s Koch facilitating or allowing practices that aren’t secure and are even proprietary raise concern among privacy and security specialists; alternatives exist already

AS PER this previous post about integrity of encryption, we’ve decided to explore alternative encryption projects that are not Microsoft-controlled (in GitHub) and not participating in awkward schemes that are proprietary.

“Sequoia uses Nettle as the crypto back-end. The PGP goes on top of the crypto primitives [and] PGP is just a message format,” we were told.

“…we’ve decided to explore alternative encryption projects that are not Microsoft-controlled (in GitHub) and not participating in awkward schemes that are proprietary.”“Nettle is on self-hosted GitLab,” it was noted. “Nettle isn’t PGP though. It’s a generic crypto library [written] in C.”

“GnuPG develops in its own servers, I believe, [whereas] Sequoia is on GitLab”

Sequoia — already with a slightly bad sign being the choice of host (centralised Gitlab) — “looks like the only viable alternative right now,” one person told us. “It lacks smartcard support but that should not be too much of an issue right now. The people behind Sequoia seem like genuine people that care about the user more than anything else. [...] I think Koch’s actions are what made them break away from GnuPG in the first place.”

It’s important to remember the signature on this letter. A large number of these people work for companies that push non-free software and also develop on Microsoft servers (GitHub, NSA PRISM).

Guix signatures and Koch

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:17 am by Needs Sunlight



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Techrights in an Age of Repeated Lockdowns Reality

Posted in Site News at 1:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Techrights monitoringSummary: As the virus spreads across the globe, at an even faster pace than earlier this year, it seems safe to say that this is the “new normal” and we’re adapting to that, gradually

THE UNITED STATES will soon have a new president (2 months from now) as it looks like any signs of hope/recourse are running out for Donald Trump.

“We now have a low-powered home server to serve pages in a distributed fashion over IPFS (and to disseminate new pages overnight, copying them to peers).”The next US President won’t be a nice person, except compared to his predecessor. He won’t be inheriting a good economy, to say the least. Getting COVID-19 under control will be almost impossible by then, but expect more lock-downs, accompanying market crashes (the large corporations don’t care about mass casualties; death isn’t detrimental to business as much as operational shut-downs that harm sales).

Yesterday COVID-19 killed nearly 2,000 Americans. In one day. And the cases are rising, even soaring in terms of their totals across all states. The latest graph:

COVID-19 cases in US

The pandemic won’t end any time soon; for almost half a year a number of nations have claimed to have a vaccine (many links about that posted in our Daily Links), but those were touted mostly by those who sell them, not independent assessors/investigators. Here in this site we’re adapting accordingly. We now have a low-powered home server to serve pages in a distributed fashion over IPFS (and to disseminate new pages overnight, copying them to peers). Some time very soon we’ll also move our main server to another datacenter due to a tragic death.

Dolby Patents Are Being Used in Patent-Trolling Activity Against GNU/Linux, But Dolby is Said to Be a GPL Violator

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Patents at 12:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We call you a violator because that's what we are

Summary: Dolby’s serial litigation strategy [1, 2] seems to have come into conflict with Free-as-in-freedom software — the very same software Dolby is happy to exploit without complying with the copyleft licence

SOMETIMES we sit on important stories for weeks, months, and even years (earlier this year we published a story more than a year after we had received it, purely for source protection reasons). Many things we expose about the patent system are also strategically timed and belatedly disclosed. Maximising the effect of a publication while minimising risk to a source is just the right thing to do.

StopEPO examiners who read this site (there are thousands of them) very well know we had been condemning software patents in Europe and berating autocrats who promoted this agenda almost a decade before we wrote about workplace scandals. We ridiculed bogus and abstract patents that ought not be granted, anywhere. In recent years we reduced the focus on patent policy somewhat; that’s a good decision in retrospect. This was mostly strategic and the same trend can be seen across patent blogs, the EFF, and various technology news sites. Patents, as a topic, seem to be waning, and it’s easily measurable using a number of different criteria (e.g., number of lawsuits, number of articles, and so on).

“Let Dolby understand that if it contributes to blackmail against GNU/Linux, there will be public shaming and maybe GPL enforcement as well.”Our growing concern about software patents in Europe wasn’t in vain. Earlier this year we wrote about developers of GNU/Linux distributions who had contacted us, having found and read our articles. They wanted to tell us about what kept them awake at night. They’re European, but somehow they’ve been receiving threatening letters regarding software patents they allegedly infringe. Some of those patents are Dolby’s. We think it’s safe to name the original recipient of these patents, even if they’re being asserted through parasites and proxies — not out of the ordinary in recent years. Dolby itself can be sued (counter-suits), proxies cannot, especially when they produce nothing at all.

Dolby is a parasite. The name “Dolby” may be visible in some frames in some films (a glorified brand), but Dolby isn’t actually doing or producing very much. The GPL violation angle might also be of interest, as we’re being told that they’re serial violators. As one developer told us:

I’m waiting for another email / message before doing so, as we have found a few GPL violations from Dolby, which seems to suggest some prior art.

If or once we have evidence of those violations, for we have no reason to believe otherwise, we can do a separate article about that. Let Dolby understand that if it contributes to blackmail against GNU/Linux, there will be public shaming and maybe GPL enforcement as well. What goes around comes around. Stay tuned.

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