Links 20/11/2020: Xfce 4.16pre2 and Qt Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 12:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • System76 Refreshes the Galago Pro Laptop

        Linux hardware maker has revamped one of their most popular laptops.

        System76 is known to push the envelope of form and function. But when something works, why reinvent the wheel? That is precisely why the Denver, CO company has given their most popular laptop a bit of a refresh.

        The Galago Pro now supports the latest 11th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and can top out at 64GB of RAM. And although the base model ships with Intel Iris Xe graphics, the laptop can be spec’d with an optional NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU.

      • TUXEDO InfinityBook S 14 Linux Laptop Gets Tiger Lake CPU Upgrade, Thunderbolt 4 Support

        TUXEDO Computers unveiled today the sixth refresh to their TUXEDO InfinityBook S 14 Linux laptop with 11th Gen Intel Core processors, Intel Xe graphics, and USB-C 4.0 / Thunderbolt 4 support.

        The TUXEDO InfinityBook S 14 laptop is the perfect computer for people who are always on the go and also love Linux. It features a 16.8 mm thin, magnesium alloy case and weights less than 1.1 kg, while also offering huge battery life to keep you working all day long `and a lid tiltable at 180 degrees.

    • Server

      • Kubectl: Developer tips for the Kubernetes command line – Red Hat Developer

        Get started with in-cluster configuration, sudo-like user impersonation, and the new kubectl debug command in the kubectl Kubernetes CLI.

      • New developer onboarding features in Red Hat OpenShift 4.6 – Red Hat Developer

        Developers asked for a more intuitive path to the developer perspective, so we’ve created one.

        Starting with OpenShift 4.6, non-privileged users logging into the OpenShift console for the first time will land on the developer perspective by default.

        Once in the developer perspective, first-time users are offered a guided tour of the user interface (UI). Developers who opt-in to the tour are guided through UI areas, starting with the topology view. The demonstration in Figure 1 shows how to launch the guided tour.

      • Time management: must-have tools and strategies for sysadmins | Enable Sysadmin

        Learn to be intentional about planning out your daily tasks and remember to leave time for yourself, your family, and your friends.

      • Advantages of Using Linux Virtual Machine or Linux Server Hosting

        With Linux, you do not need to worry about security, and you can download software from the Internet. Many online sites offer you Linux hosting and Linux server hosting. However, you have to check for the reliability and quality of the website. It should be an established website with many years of experience.

        You can check the Linux hosting and Linux server hosting providers and determine which one will suit your requirements. They should have enough information on their website so that you can get all the relevant details. The website should also explain the technicalities well. The website should provide details about the services offered and the cost that you will have to pay.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • The Beginner’s Guide to Proton – YouTube

        Have you ever needed to force a Steam game to use a different version of Proton and not known how? Do you not see your Windows games in your Linux Steam client? Do you want to run the Windows version of a game, but it already has a Linux version?

      • Google Turning the Screw | Self-Hosted 32

        With rage in our hearts, we proclaim a Self-Hosted Google Photos replacement, and the only way to self-host your email.

        Plus our tips to manage and stream audiobooks.

      • New Beginner LibreOffice Tutorials and Videos from Paul Sutton

        LibreOffice’s documentation community creates handbooks, guides, tutorials and other resources to help users get the most out of the software. Everyone is welcome to join the team and help out – it’s a great way to build up experience for a possible career in technical writing!

        Paul Sutton is producing a series of blog posts and videos aimed at newcomers to LibreOffice, explaining some of the basics. He also has some extra videos here – check them out.

      • Doom Emacs And EXWM Are My New Window Manager – YouTube

        A few months ago, I took a brief look at EXWM which is an Emacs plugin that allows you to use Emacs as your window manager. And while I was impressed at how well EXWM can work as a window manager, I never really tried to live in it.

    • Kernel Space

      • Why eBPF is the Future of Linux and Cloud Native Networking

        For decades, IPtables has been the cornerstone of Linux networking, but that’s no longer the case. Over the last few years, extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF) has emerged as a better option for Linux whether it’s running on-premises, or more likely than not, in the cloud.

        What eBPF provides is a low-level interface to enable data packet transmission and control. On its own it has tremendous potential for networking. While there is lots of open source eBPF code now in the Linux kernel, on its own, it can be quite complex, which is where the open source Cilium project has been making inroads in the last few years.

        I first wrote on Cilium in 2017, when the project first got started and the company behind it – Isovlanet – was still shrouded in stealth. Cilium and Isovalent are led by CEO and co-founder Dan Wendlandt, who helped to create the OpenStack Quantum networking project and was a pioneer in the Software Defined Networking (SDN) industry at VMware.

        Last week, Isovalent emerged from stealth, along with $29 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Wendlandt and Andreessen Horowitz are hardly strangers; after he left VMware in 2016 he went to work as a partner at the venture capital firm, alongside fellow SDN pioneer and VMware alum Martin Casado.

      • Graphics Stack

        • [Mesa-dev] Intent to retire ancient driver support
          Sending this on to the list for visibility, since not everyone follows
          everything on gitlab. In this merge request:
          I retire support for DRI drivers older than Mesa 8.0, which was
          February 2012. In particular this retires the ability for libGL to
          even load DRI1 drivers, which last existed in Mesa 7.11. We are not
          aware of any currently supported distros trying to ship both DRI1
          drivers and anything newer. In fact the only distro I'm aware of that
          ever _tried_ was RHEL 6, which goes into extended-life support at the
          end of the month, and which is currently shipping Mesa 11.0.7 and is
          thus _way_ behind the times in terms of hardware enablement.
          Eric Anholt suggested that glvnd is the better way to retain DRI1
          support at this point, and to that end there is also:
          Which allows us to override the glvnd vendor name. xserver could then
          select a different name for DRI1 screens, and now you get
          parallel-installable Mesa packages, which could be nice for a bunch of
          If you still care about DRI1 support, I am very sorry, but hopefully
          !7674 (backported to 20.x) and a bit of polish to xserver should keep
          things working for you, and your feedback/testing would be greatly
        • Mesa To Drop Support For Ancient Drivers – Phoronix

          The fallout should be minimal and hopefully not impact any Phoronix readers, but as Mesa rolls into 2021 it is looking to drop support for loading DRI1 graphics drivers.

          Back in 2011 the classic Radeon drivers were removed Adam Jackson of Red Hat is planning to remove the ability for Mesa’s current libGL to be able to load DRI1 drivers. This is basically about trying to load old DRI1 drivers from Mesa pre-8.0 onto a system with the current Mesa libGL loader. Mesa has retained this ability for being able to load these classic DRI1 drivers but nearly nine years after old driver code was dropped from Mesa, phasing out this ability to load DRI1 drivers is now planned.

        • Arcturus No Longer Experimental – AMD Instinct MI100 Linux Support Is Ready – Phoronix

          Being sent in as a “fix” this week to the Linux 5.10 kernel is removing the experimental flag for the Arcturus GPU, days after AMD announced the MI100 accelerator at SC20.

          Going back to the summer of 2019 there have been Linux graphics driver patches for “Arcturus” as an evolution of GFX9/Vega but with not a lot being known about it. Much work was poured into this open-source driver code for Arcturus and the Linux support all squared away over the past year. This week it finally entered the limelight in the form of the AMD Instinct MI100 accelerator.

        • NVIDIA Is Working On Vulkan Support With RDMA Memory – Phoronix

          Well this will be interesting to see what NVIDIA use-case pans out… NVIDIA engineers are working on a Vulkan extension for making use of RDMA memory.

          Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) for zero-copy networking with high throughput and low latency is very common for cluster computing and other enterprise scenarios to allow direct memory access from one computer to another without the intervention of the CPU. NVIDIA now though is preparing to support RDMA memory usage in the Vulkan context.

        • Intel Preparing To Restore Frame-Buffer Compression For Tiger Lake – Phoronix

          This summer Intel disabled frame-buffer compression for Gen12 Tiger Lake graphics. While FBC helps conserve memory bandwidth and can be beneficial to power-savings, under-run issues and related problems resorted Intel to disabling this common feature for Tiger Lake.

          But now the open-source Intel Linux developers are preparing to restore frame-buffer compression for benefiting these latest-generation Intel laptops. Well, at least in part.

        • Robert O’Callahan: Debugging With Screenshots In Pernosco

          When debugging graphical applications it can be helpful to see what the application had on screen at a given point in time. A while back we added this feature to Pernosco.

          This is nontrivial because in most record-and-replay debuggers the state of the display (e.g., the framebuffer) is not explicitly recorded. In rr for example, a typical application displays content by sending data to an X11 server, but the X11 server is not part of the recording.

          Pernosco analyzes the data sent to the X11 server and reconstructs the updates to window state. Currently it only works for simple bitmap copies, but that’s enough for Firefox, Chrome and many other modern applications, because the more complicated X drawing primitives aren’t suitable for those applications and they do their complex drawing internally.

        • Paalanen: Developing Wayland Color Management and High Dynamic Range [LWN.net]

          Over on the Collabora blog, Pekka Paalanen writes about adding color management and high dynamic range (HDR) support to the Wayland display server protocol.

        • Developing Wayland Color Management and High Dynamic Range

          Wayland (the protocol and architecture) is still lacking proper consideration for color management. Wayland also lacks support for high dynamic range (HDR) imagery which has been around in movie and broadcasting industry for a while now (e.g. Netflix HDR UI).

          While there are well established tools and workflows for how to do color management on X11, even X11 has not gained support for HDR. There were plans for it (Alex Goins, DeepColor Visuals), but as far as I know nothing really materialized from them. Right now, the only way to watch HDR content on a HDR monitor in Linux is to use the DRM KMS API directly, in other words, not use any window system, which means not using any desktop environment. Kodi is one of the very few applications that can do this at all.

          This is a story about starting the efforts to fix the situation on Wayland.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • PhD Thesis: Greybox Automatic Exploit Generation for Heap Overflows in Language Interpreters

        Pre-2016 exploit generation was primarily focused on single-shot, completely automated exploits for stack-based buffer overflows in things like network daemons and file parsers. In my opinion, the architecture of such systems unlikely to enable exploit generation systems for more complex bug classes, different target software, and in the presence of mitigations.

      • How To Install and Configure Mautic Marketing Automation Tool on Linux

        The Mautic marketing automation tool is an open-source and free software used to maintain your local business. You can spread, supervise, and advertise your product through the Mautic marketing automation tool. You can set your role to the organization to monitor the service and development. The research and development department team can use this tool to know what people are demanding and what products are available.

        The content, dashboard, and other Mautic marketing automation features are beneficial for new and experienced business merchandisers. You can also make an analytics report through the Mautic tool for your organization. Installing the Mautic marketing automation tool on Linux distributions is not a tough job. Moreover, using Mautic on Linux is more effortless and hassle-free.

      • How To Install FTP Server on Linux Mint 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install FTP Server on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, FTP stands for “file transfer protocol”, and it allows you to transfer files to a remote computer. The most common FTP server software for Ubuntu is the vsftpd package, which stands for “very secure FTP daemon.” It’s the default FTP package for Ubuntu, and most other Linux distributions as well.

        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 FTP Server on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • How to Install Imagemagick 7 on Debian

        Learn here how to install Imagemagick 7 on Debian 10. To install Imagemagick on Debian or Ubuntu, have to compile from source.

      • How to Install SOGo Groupware on Debian 10

        SOGo is a free, open-source and collaborative groupware server released under the GNU GPL/LGPL v2 and above. It comes with a simple and easy to use web-based interface and supports multiple native clients. It provides native Microsoft ActiveSync support and also supports mobile devices such as, Apple iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry.

      • How To Install Brave Browser on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Brave Browser on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, The brave browser is a free and open-source browser. it’s Fast, speed, security, and privacy by blocking trackers and still based on chromium so you have all the extension and features you might be looking for.

        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 Brave Browser on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to install the Eolie web browser on Linux

        Tired of the mainstream web browser choices on Linux and looking for something modern yet elegant and fast? Check out Eolie! It’s a sleek, fancy, and minimalist web browser for the Linux platform that runs great on even PCs with meager system resources.

      • How to install Steam on Ubuntu 20.10 – YouTube

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Steam on Ubuntu 20.10.

      • How to Secure the SSH Server in Ubuntu 20.04 from Basic to Advanced – Linux Hint

        Just like all other servers, the SSH server is also prone to unauthorized access attempts. Therefore, whenever you wish to use an SSH server, you must have considered securing it first to save yourselves from any unwanted situation in the longer run. Generally, the term “securing a server” is also known as “hardening a server.” This can be done by taking multiple measures. These measures depend upon the level of security that you require.
        The measures of securing the SSH server range from basic to advanced, and as we said earlier, you can pick them up according to the level of security that you need. You can skip any of the prescribed measures if you have sufficient knowledge about the consequences and if you are in a good position to face them. Also, we can never say that a single step will ensure 100% security, or a certain step is better than the other.

        It all depends upon which type of security we actually need. Therefore, today we intend to give you a very deep insight into the basic and advanced steps for securing an SSH server in Ubuntu 20.04. Apart from these methods, we will also be sharing with you some additional tips for securing your SSH server as a bonus. So let us get started with today’s interesting discussion.

      • How to install MetaTrader 4 on a Chromebook with Crossover 20

        Today we are looking at how to install MetaTrader 4 on a Chromebook with Crossover 20. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • Invalid Command SSLEngine – Apache (httpd)

        I’ve been configuring Apache web server recently, it’s been a VPS installed from scratch that needed SSL certificate added.

        My primary webserver of choice is nginx, and so Apache skills are getting rusty.

    • Games

      • Linux Syscall User Dispatch Close To Mainline For Better Handling Windows Games – Phoronix

        Earlier this year we reported on Linux kernel work for better handling Windows games/apps that make system call instructions that bypass the Windows API. Directly making the system calls without going through the WinAPI has become an increasingly common occurrence for modern Windows games, likely as part of their Digital Rights Management schemes. Syscall User Dispatch is now the latest take on that effort.

        The syscall user redirection support has been led by Collabora engineers working in cooperation with Valve. That work evolved into the “Syscall User Dispatch” feature that is now up to its seventh code revision and likely soon to be mainlined in the Linux kernel.

      • Collabora put up their patches for Linux Kernel work to help Windows games on Linux | GamingOnLinux

        Collabora, one of the companies working under contract for Valve to help improve Windows game emulation on Linux with the likes of Wine have now sent in some patches to the Linux Kernel mailing list for discussion.

        This is going to be another big step forward for compatibility, hopefully, to help with the likes of anti-tamper and DRM which often skip over the Windows API which causes issues for Linux and the Wine compatibility layer (and so Steam Play Proton too). You can get an overview of it in this previous article and also this article if you want some background on it all. To be clear: a Valve developer did mention it’s not for anti-cheat.

      • Civilization VI – Babylon Pack is out now with the ‘Heroes and Legends’ mode | GamingOnLinux

        Civilization VI has a new DLC out with the Babylon Pack, part of the ongoing New Frontier Pass or you can buy it as a single DLC if you prefer. This brand new DLC follows on from the surprisingly fun free Pirates game mode update, that Firaxis Games released for everyone back in late October.

        This new content pack introduces Hammurabi as the leader of Babylon. The Babylon civilization excels at Science, as well as Government and Infrastructure. Additionally, it also brings with it a “Heroes and Legends” game mode which adds in legendary figures from various cultures as playable characters on the world.

      • Total War: WARHAMMER II – The Twisted & The Twilight announced for December | GamingOnLinux

        Total War: WARHAMMER II – The Twisted & The Twilight is the next expansion for the huge strategy game from Creative Assembly, SEGA and porting studio Feral Interactive. Arriving for Windows on December 3, Feral Interactive have confirmed that it will arrive on Linux (and macOS) “shortly” after Windows. This could be anything from a day to a few weeks, hopefully not long though.

        This Lords Pack for Total War: WARHAMMER II introduces two new Legendary lords for the Skaven and the Wood Elves. Each leads their own faction and features new characters, units, unique gameplay mechanics and narrative objectives.

      • Tenderfoot Tactics sold well enough to fund another game, more updates coming | GamingOnLinux

        Tenderfoot Tactics is probably one of the best games released this year. An open-world tactics RPG that mixed real-time exploration and turn-based tactical battles, with a really gorgeous simple visual style with bright colours.

        Badru, one of the team responsible for creating it mentioned in a recent update that they’re working on another tactics RPG. This is because sales of Tenderfoot Tactics “are good enough that I’m likely going to be able to self-fund another game”. Work hasn’t stopped on Tenderfoot though, far from it.

      • Pharaoh-like isometric city builder Nebuchadnezzar to release February 17, 2021 | GamingOnLinux

        While there is an upcoming Pharaoh remaster (which has no Linux support plans), we also have the far more interesting looking Nebuchadnezzar.

        Nebuchadnezzar has been announced for release on February 17, 2021 and it will be coming with full Linux support from Nepos Games. If you love city-builders, you’re going to want to take a look at this. In it you will experience “the mysterious history and culture of ancient Mesopotamia” with a campaign that has you rule over influential historical cities filled with complex monuments.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce 4.16pre2 released!

        We are pleased to announce the second pre-release of Xfce 4.16 (a.k.a. xfce4.16pre2), moving us closer to the final release. As you all may have noticed, we are again a bit behind the schedule, but nothing like the 4+ years it took from 4.12 to 4.14, so please hold your excitement a tad longer while we are polishing the rough edges. For now, help yourself with the latest batch of changes:

      • XFCE 4.16 pre2 Release Brings Major Updates

        Xfce team announced the availability of the lightweight desktop environment Xfce 4.16 pre2. This is the second pre-releases and probably the last before the final release.

      • Xfce 4.16pre2 Is Another Step Forward For This Open-Source Desktop

        Xfce 4.16 had been aiming to release in October~November as part of their new timed release approach but that has now slipped into the December~January time-frame but today saw the availability of the second pre-release.

        September saw the release of Xfce 4.16pre1 with GTK2 support being removed, switching to client-side decorations, a new status tray plug-in, new icons, and other changes.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • GCompris releases version 1.0 to celebrate 20 years

          The GCompris project, which provides a “high quality educational software suite, including a large number of activities for children aged 2 to 10″, has announced its 1.0 release, which celebrates the 20th anniversary of the project. It includes more than 100 activities, a new Dataset selection in the Activity Settings menu for more than 50 activities, and four new activities, including an Analog Electricity activity to simulate and learn about circuits. KDE.news covered the release: “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. The hardware requirements for running GCompris are extremely low and it will run fine on older computers or low-powered machines, like the Raspberry Pi. This saves you and your school from having to invest in new and expensive equipment and it is also eco-friendly, as it reduces the amount of technological waste that is produced when you have to renew computers to adapt to more and more power-hungry software. GCompris works on Windows, Android and GNU/Linux computers, and on desktop machines, laptops, tablets and phones.”

        • Qt 5.15.2 Released

          We have released Qt 5.15.2 today. As a patch release, Qt 5.15.2 does not add any new functionality but provides bug fixes.

          Compared to Qt 5.15.1, the new Qt 5.15.2 contains 176 bug fixes. For details of the most important changes, please check the Change files of Qt 5.15.2.

          Qt 5.15.2 can be installed by using the maintenance tool. Note that we have recently released new version of the installer, so unless you already have updated to it, you need to run the installer update first .

        • Qt 5.15.2 Released With Another 176 Bug Fixes – Phoronix

          Two months ago Qt 5.15.1 released with over 400 bug fixes and today the second point release of Qt 5.15 LTS is out with another nearly two hundred fixes.

          While all eyes are on Qt 6.0 that should be shipping in December, Qt 5.15 is very important considering it’s a long-term support (LTS) release where as Qt6 won’t be seeing an LTS release for another year until Qt 6.2. There were tons of fixes poured into Qt 5.15.1 and it remains that way with the newly minted Qt 5.15.2 LTS.

        • Qt Creator 4.13.3 released

          We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.13.3 !

          For this release we updated the prebuilt binaries to Qt 5.15.2, which fixes drag & drop on macOS. Please see our change log for an overview of the other improvements.

        • Qt Creator 4.14 Beta2 released

          We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.14 Beta2 !

          For the Beta2 I’d like to refer you to the Beta blog post for the higher level overview of what improvements are included in Qt Creator 4.14, and to our change log for the more fine-grained list.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • A Review of NixOS

          Most reviews go over desktop tools and default tools, but such reviews are not very useful for describing NixOS, as the power of NixOS lies elsewhere. People who choose NixOS must be willing to do their own partitioning, and you will not be doing them any favours by telling them the default desktop manager can suit their needs.

          With that said, if you can follow the NixOS manual, you will be fine. You can choose a default desktop environment if you want, but make sure you are comfortable with the command line and can edit a text file for configuration tasks.

      • New Releases

        • Kali Linux 2020.4 switches the default shell from Bash to ZSH

          ​Kali Linux 2020.4 was released yesterday by Offensive Security, and it takes the big step of changing the default shell from Bash to ZSH.

          Kali Linux comes with numerous software packages and tools that allow cybersecurity professionals and ethical hackers to perform penetration testing and security audits.

          With this release, the Kali Linux Team introduces the following new features outlined below.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Rust updated to 1.48.0 » PCLinuxOS

          Rust is a multi-paradigm programming language designed for performance and safety, especially safe concurrency. Rust is syntactically similar to C++, but can guarantee memory safety by using a borrow checker to validate references

        • Zoom Meeting updated to 5.4.54779.1115 » PCLinuxOS

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

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Two Tumbleweed Snapshots update PostgreSQL, Mesa

          Snapshot 20201117 provides the latest update of packages for the rolling release. Among the packages to update was Mozilla Thunderbird to version 78.4.3; the email client updated a Rust patch and brought in a new feature from a previous minor version that prompts for an address to be used when starting an email from an address book entry with multiple addresses. KDE’s Plasma 5.20.3 stopped the loading of multiple versions of the same plugin in the task manager KSysGuard and there were many other bug fixes for Plasma users. Four months of shell scripts were updated in the hxtools 20201116 version; one of the changes to gpsh changed the tmp location to /var/tmp, which was to avoid saving potentially large files to tmpfs. The Linux Kernel made a jump from 5.9.1 to 5.9.8, which had a change for Btrfs as well as several USB changes. Database package postgresql 13 had its first point release to 13.1, which took care of three Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures and fixed a time test case so it works when the USA is not observing daylight-savings time. The graphical tool for administering virtual machines, virt-manager slimmed down the filesystem device editor User Interface. Text editor vim had a fix for when a crash happens when using a popup window with “latin1” encoding and python 3.8.6 took care of CVE-2019-20916.

        • Guardicore and SUSE partner to help you protect your critical applications – SUSE Communities

          Within the cybersecurity segment, Guardicore stands out from the crowd with its Guardicore Centra Platform disrupting the legacy firewall market by implementing micro-segmentation in your organization. Their software-only approach is decoupled from the physical network, providing a faster alternative to firewalls. Built for the agile enterprise, Guardicore offers greater security and visibility in the cloud, data-center, and endpoint. It also ensures security doesn’t slow you down and thanks to SUSE environments, it allows you to code and deploy on demand

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat Drives Hybrid Cloud Ubiquity with OpenShift Innovation Across Architectures, Applications and Infrastructure

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced new capabilities and features for Red Hat OpenShift, the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes platform. From updates to OpenShift Serverless for enhanced developer efficiency to extended support across architectures, Red Hat OpenShift helps fuel enterprise innovation across the hybrid cloud backed by Red Hat’s expertise and commitment to production-ready open source.

        • Release Cockpit Composer 26

          We are happy to announce the release of cockpit-composer 26. This release has no major new features, but contains useful fixes.

          Below you can find the official change log, compiled by Jacob Kozol. Everyone is encouraged to upgrade!

        • Release Koji Osbuild 3

          We are happy to announce that we released koji-osbuild 3, our new project to integrate osbuild-composer with koji, the build and tracking system primarily used by the Fedora Project and Red Hat.

          Below you can find the official change log, compiled by Christian Kellner.

        • Release of osbuild-composer 25

          We are happy to announce that we released osbuild-composer 25. It now supports building RHEL 8.4.

          Below you can find the official change log, compiled by Ondřej Budai. Everyone is encouraged to upgrade!

        • Acer Aspire Switch 10 E SW3-016′s (and SW5-012′s) horrible EFI firmware

          Depending on what OS the BIOS thinks it is booting it renames one of these 2 to _HID. This is weird given that it will only boot if EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi exists, but it still does this. Worse it looks at the actual contents of EFI/Boot/bootx64.efi for this. It seems that that file must be signed, otherwise it goes in OS unknown mode and keeps the 2 above DSDT bits as is, so there is no _HID defined for the wifi’s mmc controller and thus no wifi. I hit this issue when I replaced EFI/Boot/bootx64.efi with grubx64.efi to break the bootloop. grubx64.efi is not signed so the DSDT as Linux saw it contained the above AML code.

        • IBM Advance Toolchain for Linux on Power 12.0-4 released!

          The IBM Advance Toolchain for Linux on Power is a set of open source development tools (compiler, debugger and profiling tools) and runtime libraries that allow users to take leading edge advantage of IBM’s latest POWER® hardware features on Linux®.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • What do open source product teams do?

        If you go to any hip product management conference, you’ll hear about product teams. At a minimum, a product team has a product manager, but it often includes roles in marketing, technical architecture, and even user experience (UX). Previous articles in this series have covered open source as a supply chain model and defining products in the open source software supply chain, and this article specifically focuses on the role of product management within the product team.

        Product managers and product marketing managers are the two most common product management roles, but product management can be further split into any number of roles, including competitive analysis, business strategy, sales enablement, revenue growth, content creation, sales tools, and more. With a very large product, even the product management role may be broken up into separate roles. You may even hear titles like technical marketing manager, product evangelist, and business owner, not to mention people-management roles for groups of individual contributor roles. For the purpose of this article, I refer to all of these roles collectively as “product management.”

      • How we develop success metrics for open source events

        As many open source communities grow larger and older, they may face problems managing members’ engagement. People turn towards metrics to understand large systems and prioritize resources, but there has not been a consensus set of metrics for understanding open source communities.

        The Community Health Analytics Open Source Software (CHAOSS) project, a Linux Foundation-sponsored community of industry professionals and academics, is working to solve this problem by defining metrics for open source projects. The CHAOSS project focused first on developing metrics for open source event organizers because open source communities often depend on events like hackathons, meetups, conferences, and user group meetings to grow their communities and work on important project updates.

      • Call to apply for FSFE support for your local project

        It is no secret that the FSFE’s activities are only possible with the priceless help of our contributors and supporters around Europe. In return we support local engagement with our expertise, information material, networks or even financially. To help formalize this process, we run our second call for FSFE community projects.

        From international campaigns to local information booths, our successful spreading of software freedom is based on many shoulders from active members within our community. This is why ever since the FSFE e.V. has been keen on supporting initiatives and activities from local FSFE groups to single supporters. We happily support you with our expertise, our information material, our networks or even financially.

      • DataStax optimizes Cassandra for Kubernetes with K8ssandra

        DataStax is creating a new way for users to get the open source Cassandra database running on the Kubernetes cloud-native platform, with the K8ssandra project released on Nov. 18.

        The release comes during the same week as the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2020 virtual event, which is hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation to highlight the latest innovations across the Kubernetes landscape.

        Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform that has become increasingly popular as it helps to enables multi-cloud deployment for applications. Like many other database vendors, DataStax has been using what is known as a Kubernetes Operator to help users get the Cassandra database running on Kubernetes.

      • How to Give and Receive Technical Help in Open Source Communities

        “As a developer, it’s exciting and challenging to stay up to speed with the latest trends in technology. Every day, new languages, frameworks and devices capture our attention and spur conversations in meetups, forums and chats. However, our developer community is made of people, not tools, and it’s fascinating to explore its sociopolitical aspects. We are always beginners at some things and experts at others. Along the way from beginner to expert, we ask a lot of questions, but it can be intimidating to ask for help.”

        This is how Sonia Singla, Cloud Native Computing Foundation intern and mentee, kicked off her talk at this year’s Kubecon+CloudNativeCon North America. Fresh off her CNCF internship with Thanos and Outreachy placement at Mozilla, Singla took the lessons she’s learned over the last two years in both toxic and welcoming environments to offer advice for both how to give and receive technical help in open source communities.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • New JOINUP Compatibility Checker Permalink

            The JLA analyses now more than 50 open licenses

            The main innovation of the JLA is the possibility to SELECT open licenses based on their content

            The JLA was also an example of synergy with the SPDX project of the Linux Foundation. The JLA adopted the SPDX license identifier as a standard and is linked with the license full text that is provided from the SPDX data base.

      • Programming/Development

        • Python

          • Python OS module Common Methods – Linux Hint

            Python is a popular general-purpose programming language of recent times. It provides many built-in modules and functions to perform specific tasks. Python OS module allows performing the operating system related tasks. The OS module comes pre-installed in Python. The OS modules have many built-in functions to retrieve and interact with the file system. This article explains some functions of the OS module with examples.

        • JavaScript

          • Vue.js Click Events – Linux Hint

            Vue.js is a very powerful, easy to learn, and approachable library that with the knowledge of HTML, CSS, and Javascript, we can start building web applications in it. Vue.js is built by combining the best features from already existing Angular and react Frameworks. It is a progressive and reactive Javascript framework that is used to build UIs (User Interfaces) and SPAs (Single-page Applications), which is why the developers love to code and feel freedom and comfort while developing applications in Vue.js.If we take a look at the Event Listening and Handling in Vue.js., we will know that it provides a “v-on” directive to listen and handle events. We can use the “v-on” directive to listen to the DOM and perform the required tasks. It also provides many event handlers. However, in this article, we will only learn and keep our focus on the click events. So, let’s get started!

  • Leftovers

    • To Disremember the Somewhen

      In 1958, Annie is 17 years old and has barely left the small rural town in northern France where she was born, never lived with anyone but her parents, used a telephone, taken a shower, or been to a “real party,” has yet to “read Beauvoir, Proust, Virginia Woolf,” have sex or seen it depicted. She is a girl constituted by the time ahead, by all she has still to do. She has been hired to be a summer camp counselor, despite having never been trained or attended camp, eager to earn some money and independence before she goes to college in the fall. She is the first in her family to continue her education—both of her parents left school at 12 to work at farms and factories—and this status (of being the first, the exception) makes her simultaneously proud and afraid of her future. She has “a bold certainty about her own intelligence” yet “no defined self, but ‘selves’ who pass from one book to another.” Annie is at the nexus of terror and longing known as teenage girlhood, ready “to leave [home], escape the watchful gaze of her mother, the school, the town, and do what she wants: read all night, dress in black like Juliette Gréco.” And most importantly, Annie, who describes herself as “Catholic and working class, of peasant origin,” wants to fall in love.

    • Education

      • National Ban on School Use of Seclusion and Restraint of Students Introduced in Congress

        Congressional Democrats introduced legislation Thursday that would make it illegal to put students in seclusion and would limit the use of physical restraint in schools that receive federal funds.

        The bill, called the Keeping All Students Safe Act, would enact a national ban on restraints that can restrict breathing, including prone restraint where students are held face down on the floor and supine where they are held face up. Other restraints in the standing or seated positions could be used only when there is an immediate risk of serious physical harm.

      • Why I’m leaving higher education

        I had enjoyed teaching at Montana State University for a dozen years, but the employment conditions seemed to deteriorate with each passing year. Pay rates stagnated while the eligibility bar for benefits was raised. A recent study by the American Federation of Teachers found that nearly 25 per cent of adjunct faculty members rely on public assistance, and 40 per cent struggle to cover basic household expenses. I was one of them.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Orwellian: Ardent Covidiots Vow NOBODY WILL TAKE ARE FREEDOM AWAY
      • US Passes 250,000 COVID Deaths as Hospitals Brace for Holiday Surge
      • Dead Before Christmas: As U.S. Passes 250K COVID Deaths, Healthcare Workers Brace for Holiday Surge

        As the official U.S. COVID-19 death toll breaks worldwide records and passes 250,000, hospitals are at capacity, and overwhelmed healthcare workers still lack personal protective equipment. Health officials say conditions will worsen further with holiday travel and family gatherings for Thanksgiving. “I can’t really overemphasize how important the next few days are,” says Ed Yong, science writer at The Atlantic. “The people who get infected at Thanksgiving, they are going to slam into those hospitals in the two weeks after that, and some of those people are going to be dead before Christmas.”

      • ‘This Is Depraved’: Tyson Food Managers Accused of Betting on How Many of Their Workers Would Get Covid-19

        A lawsuit alleges that a boss at one facility “organized a cash-buy-in, winner-take-all, betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager how many plant employees would test positive.”

      • Tyson Food Managers Allegedly Bet on How Many of Their Workers Would Get COVID
      • CDC Urges Americans Not to Travel for Thanksgiving
      • About that Danish mask study that “shows that masks don’t work”…

        I not infrequently use the term “methodolatry” to refer to the seeming belief on the part of certain dogmatic evidence-based medicine (EBM) advocates who are so in love with the “pyramid of evidence” image frequently used in EBM to rank the strength of clinical evidence that double-blinded placebo-controlled clinical trials are the be-all and end-all of clinical research. Obviously, I didn’t coin the term, but rather learned it from a certain epidemiologist by the ‘nym of revere who used to be a fellow ScienceBlogger back in the day and defined “methodolatry” as “profane worship of the randomized clinical trial as the only valid method of investigation.” Ironically, the first time I encountered the term, way, way back in the day (11 years ago now!) was in the context of a risibly bad article in The Atlantic about Tom Jefferson and his work with the Cochrane Collaboration on the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine during the H1N1 pandemic. (Remember that pandemic from 2009-2010? We thought that one was pretty bad, but it seems quaint next to this year’s COVID-19 pandemic and its massive—and growing—death toll.) The reason revere (and I) accused Tom Jefferson of methodolatry back then was in part because of his annoying tendency to equate lack of statistical significance as the affirmation of the null hypothesis, which can be a serious interpretive error. He also basically failed to put randomized controlled trials (RCTs) into proper context with the totality of evidence. In any event, the reason I mention methodolatry and Jefferson again is due to an article and study that I came across co-authored by—you guessed it!—Tom Jefferson on masks and slowing the transmission of COVID-19. You probably also guessed that he referenced a recently published negative randomized controlled trial (RCT) of mask wearing to prevent COVID-19 as the be-all and end-all of evidence because it didn’t achieve statistical significance.

      • Beyond COVID-19: the Power Struggle Over Alternatives for Health Care Reform

        Corporatization, privatization, a shift from not-for-profit to for-profit health care, and the growth of investor-owned corporate health care have been dominant themes in the transformation of U. S. health care since the 1980s. We have seen a 3,000 percent growth in the numbers of administrators and managers compared to a minimal growth in the numbers of physicians.

        The profit-driven medical-industrial complex continues to lead the way on the S & P 500 as the “system” raises prices to what the traffic will bear, limits choice and access to care, erodes our safety net, and leads to rampant profiteering, corruption and fraud. It has predictably failed us as we attempt to deal with the crises exposing the soft underbelly of our supposed system.

      • Covid Super-Spreader
      • An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in general provisions, further providing for definitions and providing for personal delivery devices; and making editorial changes. [iophk: re .PA.US: 550# @ 12mph ~ 3589.66 J]

        including software and hardware;
        (3) is not capable of exceeding a speed of 12 miles per
        hour in a pedestrian area or trafficway;
        (4) is not capable of exceeding a speed of 25 miles per
        hour on the berm or shoulder of a highway or roadway; and
        (5) weighs less than 550 pounds without cargo and goods.

      • CDC warns America: Do not travel for Thanksgiving

        Americans should avoid travel for Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Thursday.

        It was a last-minute attempt by the nation’s leading public health agency to curb what’s sure to be yet another dangerous spike in Covid-19 cases if families gather next week.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Twitch Co-Founder Departs Company

          Kevin Lin is departing Twitch after 13 years at the company.

          The co-founder and COO for the last 10 years shared the news in a Medium post addressed to the Twitch community on Thursday, writing that he’s leaving to pursue his “next adventure” in the technology space.

        • Another Twitch co-founder is leaving the company, leaving only one

          Kevin Lin, a Twitch co-founder, is leaving the company, he announced in a Medium post on Thursday. With Lin’s departure, the only remaining co-founder at Twitch is its CEO, Emmett Shear — co-founders Justin Kan, Kyle Vogt, and Michael Seibel are no longer with the company.

        • Twitch’s No Good, Very Bad Time Continues: Part 1

          I’m beginning to wonder if the folks that run Twitch are secretly attempting to commit corporate suicide. The past several weeks have seen the popular streaming platform embroiled in controversy. It began when, in response to the RIAA labels DMCA attacks on streamers, Twitch took the unprecedented step to simply nuke a zillion hours of recorded content without warning its creators. In the wake of that, the platform kept essentially silent on its actions, simply advising its creators that they should “learn about copyright”. In lieu of any real crisis communication, Twitch instead rolled out the release of a new emoji, pissing everyone off. Then came Twitch’s apology, where the Amazon-owned platform acknowledged that it really should have had a method for letting streamers know which content was accused of infringement instead of nuking it all, while also continuing the DMCApocalypse, getting so granular as to allow streamers to be targeted by DMCA claims on game music and sound effects, including on videos that had already been taken down.

        • Twitch’s No Good, Very Bad Time Continues: Part 2

          I won’t write up a big summary of the ongoing turmoil in the Twitch community for this post. If you need to be brought up to speed, go see Part 1 or our previous posts on the platform. The only summary you really need is that the past few months have seen Twitch piss nearly everyone off by doing two things. First, it bowed to the RIAA over DMCA notices and nuked a ton of creator content without warning. Second, Twitch began experimenting with very intrusive ads, along with other methods for monetizing creator content. The PR communication coming from Twitch over all of this has been wanting, to say the least.

        • macOS Big Sur launch appears to cause temporary slowdown in even non-Big Sur Macs

          Mac users today began experiencing unexpected issues that included apps taking minutes to launch, stuttering and non-responsiveness throughout macOS, and other problems. The issues seemed to begin close to the time when Apple began rolling out the new version of macOS, Big Sur—but it affected users of other versions of macOS, like Catalina and Mojave.

          Other Apple services faced slowdowns, outages, and odd behavior, too, including Apple Pay, Messages, and even Apple TV devices.

          It didn’t take long for some Mac users to note that trustd—a macOS process responsible for checking with Apple’s servers to confirm that an app is notarized—was attempting to contact a host named ocsp.apple.com but failing repeatedly. This resulted in systemwide slowdowns as apps attempted to launch, among other things.

        • Opera Adds Built-in Player for Spotify, Apple Music & YouTube Music | UbuntuHandbook

          A new update for Opera web browser 72 was released a day ago, which introduced a built-in music player for Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music.

          In the browser’s sidebar beneath the messengers section, a “Player” icon is there allows you to login and enable music playback with Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube Music.

          The playback can be controlled via the standard playback buttons on your keyboard or by hovering over the Player icon in the sidebar, where a mini playback control menu will appear.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (firefox), Fedora (chromium, microcode_ctl, mingw-libxml2, seamonkey, and xen), openSUSE (slurm_18_08 and tor), Oracle (thunderbird), SUSE (buildah, firefox, go1.14, go1.15, krb5, microcode_ctl, perl-DBI, podman, postgresql12, thunderbird, ucode-intel, wireshark, wpa_supplicant, and xen), and Ubuntu (firefox and phpmyadmin).

          • Cyber insecurity | Linux Format

            Each year we proclaim it’s time to learn how to hack. But why? Jonni always gets angry at the subversion of the term ‘hacking’ and I can understand why. Hacking is fun, as is finding out how systems work and how to get them to do things they were never meant to do.

            With open source and the Linux ecosystem there’s an abundance of hacking fun to be had, and it’s no wonder all the key tools for learning how to hack – and actually hack – are developed and run out of Linux systems.

            For this year’s look at the world of hacking Jonni’s introducing you to the metasploit framework. This is a playground where you can learn, explore and develop hacking skills. It’s usually paired with Kali Linux, and we’re putting these on the Linux Format DVD, which makes a welcome return.

          • IBM POWER9 CPUs Need To Flush Their L1 Cache Between Privilege Boundaries Due To New Bug

            CVE-2020-4788 is now public and it’s not good for IBM and their POWER9 processors… This new vulnerability means these IBM processors need to be flushing their L1 data cache between privilege boundaries, similar to other recent CPU nightmares.

            While IBM POWER9 allows speculatively operating on completely validated data in the L1 cache, when it comes to incompletely validated data that bad things can happen. Paired with other side channels, local users could improperly obtain data from the L1 cache.

            CVE-2020-4788 was made public this morning and is now causing all stable Linux kernel series to receive the mitigation that amounts to hundreds of lines of new code. The mitigation is flushing the L1 data cache for IBM POWER9 CPUs across privilege boundaries — both upon entering the kernel and on user accesses.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • ‘You Have Zero Privacy’ Say RCMP Social Media Surveillance Documents Before Going On To Demonstrate Why

              The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have eyes everywhere. That’s according to documents obtained via public records requests by The Tyee, which published selections from the 3,000 pages it has spent more than a year suing to obtain.

            • Canada unveils its new privacy legislation – with even bigger fines than the GDPR

              Now Canada plans to join the club of countries building on the GDPR’s ideas, with a major update to its existing law in this area that will known as the Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CPPA) if and when it is passed. Canada’s current Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) dates back in 2000, when the data protection landscape was very different from what it is today. There is a long background document on the proposed law from the Canadian government, with detailed discussions of the issues involved. However, a more approachable starting point is a blog post on the bill from Professor Michael Geist, one of Canada’s leading experts on digital law. He describes the CPPA as “Canada’s biggest privacy overhaul in decades“. He notes that the current text is just a starting point. There is likely to be significant lobbying to change parts of the bill, and some of the new rules require accompanying regulations, which could take years more to finalize after additional consultations. In terms of the bill’s current text, one of the most striking elements is the enforcement regime. The Privacy Commissioner of Canada will be given a new power to order compliance with the law, and to recommend stiff new penalties for failing to do so:

            • Introducing Cover Your Tracks!

              Today, we’re pleased to announce Cover Your Tracks, the newest edition and rebranding of our historic browser fingerprinting and tracker awareness tool Panopticlick. Cover Your Tracks picks up where Panopticlick left off. Panopticlick was about letting users know that browser fingerprinting was possible; Cover Your Tracks is about giving users the tools to fight back against the trackers, and improve the web ecosystem to provide privacy for everyone.

            • Find Out How Ad Trackers Follow You On the Web With EFF’s “Cover Your Tracks” Tool

              The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today launched Cover Your Tracks, a interactive tool that teaches users how advertisers follow them as they shop or browse online, and how to fight back against corporate trackers to protect their privacy, mitigate relentless ad targeting, and improve the web ecosystem for everyone.With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just days away, when millions of users will be shopping online, Cover Your Tracks provides an in-depth learning experience—aimed at non-technical users—about how they are unwittingly being tracked online through their browsers.“Our browsers leave traces of identifiable information when we visit websites, like animals might leave tracks in the wild, and that can be combined into a unique identifier that follows us online, like wildlife that’s been tagged,” said EFF Senior Staff Technologist Bill Budington. “We want users to take back control of their Internet experience by giving them a tool that lets them in on the hidden tricks and technical ploys online advertisers use to follow them so they can cover their tracks.”Cover Your Tracks allows users to test their browsers to see what information about their online activities is visible to, and scooped up by, trackers. It shines a light on tracking mechanisms that utilize cookies, code embedded on websites, and more. Users can also learn how to cover some of their tracks by changing browser settings and using anti-tracking add-ons like EFF’s Privacy Badger.Cover Your Tracks builds on EFF’s ground-breaking tracker awareness tool Panopticlick, which exposed how advertisers create “fingerprints” of users by capturing little bits of information given off by their browsers and using that to identify and follow them around the web and build profiles for ad targeting. Panopticlick showed users that browser fingerprinting existed. Cover Your Tracks takes the next step, helping empower users to uncover and combat trackers. The goal is to provide easy-to-understand information about exactly what kind of fingerprint tracking might be happening and how it’s performed. “Cover Your Tracks shows how Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and hundreds of lesser known entities work together to exploit browser information in order to track users.

            • Transparency, Openness, and Our 2018 and 2019 Finances

              After completing standard audits for 2017-2018 and for 2019, our federal tax filings and audits are available. We publish all of our related tax documents for transparency.

              Specifically, there are four new documents:

            • Facebook says AI is aiding platform’s ability to remove hate speech

              Facebook said Thursday artificial intelligence (AI) tools have helped the company crack down on and remove hate speech from the platform.

              The platform released information about hate speech and how it is acting to remove such content in a transparency report released Thursday, following mounting pressure about the tech giant’s handling of hate speech and bigotry.

            • FvD spent most on Facebook ads; D66 most on Google

              According to the dashboard, FvD spent between 29,201 euros and 52,808 euros on a total of 192 Facebook ads. These advertisements were shown at least 8 million times, though that does not necessarily mean that 8 million different people saw them. The ad could have been shown to the same Facebook user multiple times, or playing somewhere on screen without the user actually watching.

              Remarkably, the CDA spent the second most on Facebook ads at between 8,300 and 11,587, but had only 13 advertisements. The high amount likely had to do with the ads’ reach, as they were played at least 2.7 million times – second most after FvD. The VVD seemed to have leaned more towards quantity than reach, spending between 4,201 and 15,387 euros on 113 ads that were shown at least 2 million times.

              The D66 apparently decided to target Google users with their ads, more than Facebook users. The party spent 40,650 euros on Google ads, and between 2 thousand and 4 thousand on Facebook. GroenLinks spent 10,950 euros on Google ads, and between 4,800 and 8,562 euros on Facebook.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

      • ‘We Simply Cannot Afford Half-Measures’: Outside DNC, Progressives Demand Biden Go Big for Green New Deal

        “We’re calling on the Biden administration right now to save lives because there’s no other alternative. And we’re asking you because we voted for you.”

      • Scientists Say Net Zero by 2050 Is Too Late

        This means unions and the climate movement need to be bold and step up the pressure on all parties for serious climate action.

      • Warming puts surviving great tits in jeopardy

        Among the best loved and most frequent visitors to gardens in the UK and elsewhere, great tits face mounting problems.

      • President to talk arctic and the UN on official Norway visit Friday

        President Kersti Kaljulaid is to visit Norway Friday, with Estonia’s bid to accede to the Arctic Council, security policy and Norway’s joining Estonia on the UN Security Council (UNSC) next year.

      • Energy

        • Automakers Show ‘Concerning’ Lack of Engagement on Human Rights and Climate, Analyses Reveal

          The assessments include an update to a report launched last year scoring over two dozen automakers on progress towards the low-carbon transition and other measures of climate action, as well as a new analysis on automakers’ human rights disclosures. These assessments or “benchmarks” are developed by the WBA, an independent collaboration of more than 170 global organizations which evaluates corporate performance according to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

        • Trump Administration Recycles Slashing of Sage-grouse Protections, Opening Habitat to Drilling, Fracking Across Seven Western States

          The Trump administration unveiled its final analysis today to justify its 2019 land-management plans that slashed protections for the imperiled greater sage grouse across 51 million acres of the western United States.

          Today’s final “supplemental environmental impact statements” covering Bureau of Land Management lands across California, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Colorado are intended to prop up earlier plans blocked by a federal judge in Idaho in October 2019.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • 30 by 30 and the Wildlands of the Northern Rockies

          To address these twin threats to the planet’s stability and integrity, the president-elect supports the goal of using science-based decision-making to protect 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by the year 2030.

          At best only 12% of the United States land area is currently protected (much of this in Alaska). This figure includes many lands not completely protected from destructive activities like national forests (logging), national monuments with livestock grazing, and so forth) or wildlife refuges (that permit row crop farming).

        • Why Red States Want to Seize Control of the Endangered Species Act

          Governor Gordon highlighted the re-listing of Yellowstone grizzly bears as a key example of endangered species protections gone wrong. In May of 2018, while competing in the Republican primary, then-candidate Gordon remarked, “As a lifelong Wyoming sportsman and rancher, I applaud the Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioners for their decision today. A terrific example of why decisions about Wyoming lands and wildlife belong in Wyoming hands. As Governor, I will fight to keep it that way!” Spotting the post, I replied, “How weak. I will look forward to canceling this hunt through an ESA listing by judicial ruling. Because the Yellowstone grizzlies remain isolated from other bear populations, and as such they are still in jeopardy. This hunter and wildlife biologist is standing strong against unscientific wildlife mismanagement.” In the end, both of us made good on our campaign promises.

          In reality, the Yellowstone grizzly’s journey through the court system reveals that the Endangered Species Act worked perfectly, protecting an imperiled population from forces bent on threatening its survival.

    • Finance

      • Long-Term Care Fiasco a Warning About Private Ownership

        The private sector almost always does things to make a profit, and that can leave the rest of us paying a high price—in dollars and deaths.

      • The Feofaniya clan New investigation reveals how a Moscow monastery’s mother superior built a family business empire

        Home to the relics of St. Matrona of Moscow, the Russian capital’s Pokrovsky (Intercession) Monastery is a popular pilgrimage site visited by thousands of people every day. Since the 1990s, this monastery has been run by Mother Superior Feofaniya, who came under fire this summer when investigative journalists uncovered that she had been driving around in a pricy Mercedes-Benz sedan since 2016. Now, a new investigation from “Open Media” has revealed that Feofaniya’s family is a major beneficiary of the cult of St. Matrona, earning money off of icons, church utensils, and souvenirs supplied to monastery gift shops. What’s more, Feofaniya herself was directly involved in popularizing the cult of St. Matrona, turning the Pokrovsky Monastery into the Russian Orthodox Church’s wealthiest convent.

      • Inside the Lives of Immigrant Teens Working Dangerous Night Shifts in Suburban Factories

        It’s a little before 6 a.m. and still dark when Garcia gets home from work this October morning. The apartment where he lives with his aunt and uncle is silent. They’ve already left for their own jobs.

        After nine hours hosing down machinery at a food processing plant, Garcia is tired and hungry. But he has less than an hour to get ready for high school, where he is a junior. He quickly showers, gets dressed and reheats some leftover chicken soup for a meal he refers to as his dinner. Then he gulps down some coffee, brushes his teeth and walks outside to catch the school bus waiting near the edge of the sprawling apartment complex.

      • The Boeing 737 MAX Is Cleared to Fly. Families of People Who Died on the Planes Wait for Answers.

        This is a strange moment for the families of the 157 people who died aboard the Ethiopian Airlines flight, ET 302, that plunged to the earth shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, bound for Nairobi, Kenya, on March 10, 2019.

        The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday issued an ungrounding order for the Boeing 737 MAX, allowing a return to the skies for the model involved in both the Ethiopian Airlines disaster and the crash of a Lion Air flight in the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia in October 2018 that claimed 189 lives. Both crashes were linked to flawed flight-control software in the 737 MAX, a new version of Boeing’s decades-old 737 workhorse. (The story of how Boeing came to allow the fatal flaw into the planes, and how FAA regulators failed to catch it in time, was the subject of a November 2019 article by ProPublica co-published with The New Yorker.)

      • Nearly 20 Dozen Groups Demand Biden Cancel All Federal Student Debt on Day One by Executive Order

        “We cannot wait a second longer for debt relief when we know the president has the authority to cancel student debt on day one.”

      • Social Security Defenders Tell Biden to Keep Austerity-Obsessed Bruce Reed Far Away From the White House

        “In this time of national crisis with millions struggling to get by, we cannot afford to grant positions of power to austerity hawks.”

      • The Fed Man Song

        On the lighter side, I was recently asked by a twitter friend why the US stock market is at record high levels and now more than fully recovered from its lows in March. I explained it was because the Fed so far this year has pumped this more than $7 trillion into investors, bankers, and big corporations, who then conveniently diverted most of that ‘free money’ into financial markets, driving up stock price values to current record levels.

        That’s $7.0 trillion, compared to the $.5T that small businesses got in PPP loans and $.5T workers got in unemployment benefits and checks from the Cares Act in March which is now totally expired.

      • Consumer Price Index: “There is Zero Basis for any Concerns About Inflation”

        + Rental inflation remains low; rent proper and owners’ equivalent rent were both up 0.2 percent in October — increasing to 2.7 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively, over the last year. Rents in the NYC metro area fell slightly in October, up just 0.6 percent since March; likely a lower rise (or fall) in the city itself.

        + Hotel prices fell sharply: a 3.7 percent monthly drop. This  likely indicates a fall in business due to the spread of pandemic. Prices are now down 15.9 percent year over year.

      • ‘The Real Looting in America Is the Walton Family’: GAO Report Details How Taxpayers Subsidize Cruel Low Wages of Corporate Giants

        “I say to the Walton family: Get off welfare,” declared Sen. Bernie Sanders in response to the government study he commissioned. “Pay your workers a living wage—at least $15 an hour.”

      • GAO Study Shows How Taxpayers Subsidize “Starvation Wages” of Corporate Giants
      • ‘Activist’ Investor Elliott Management Sells Stake In AT&T After Encouraging Mass Firings

        In AT&T executives’ heads, the 2015, $67 billion acquisition of DirecTV and the 2018 $86 billion acquisition of Time Warner were supposed to be the cornerstones of the company’s efforts to dominate video and online video advertising. Instead, the megadeals made AT&T possibly one of the most heavily indebted companies in the world. To recoup that debt, AT&T quickly ramped up its efforts to nickel-and-dime users at every opportunity, from bogus new wireless fees to price hikes on both its streaming and traditional video services.

      • ‘We Basically Made Recovery Much, Much Harder Than It Has to Be’

        Janine Jackson interviewed the Economic Policy Institute’s Josh Bivens about pandemic unemployment for the November 13, 2020, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Ten Foreign Policy Fiascos Joe Biden Can Fix on Day One

        So much vital work to be done—that must be done—for a more a peaceful world.

      • We Still Live In 2 Americas, Not 1

        In the two weeks since Election 2020, the country has oscillated between joy and anger, hope and dread in an era of polarization sharpened by the forces of racism, nativism, and hate. Still, truth be told, though the divisive tone of this moment may only be sharpening, division in the United States of America is not a new phenomenon.

      • House Subcommittee Says Proposed Booster Seat Safety Rules Fall Short

        A congressional subcommittee upbraided the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Wednesday for failing to protect kids from injury and death in side-impact crashes and asked the agency to justify why it hadn’t adopted all of the tougher safety rules that members of Congress had pushed.

        The scrutiny of car seat safety standards is part of a probe that the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy launched this year in response to a ProPublica investigation. That story revealed that Evenflo, manufacturer of the popular Big Kid booster, marketed the seat as “side impact tested” when the company’s own tests showed a child using it could be paralyzed or killed in such a crash.

      • ‘Heartlessness Mixed With Political Power’: Trump Admin Rejected Plan to Provide Mental Healthcare to Separated Families

        “The pain this administration has inflicted on so many children and their families is infuriating.”

      • As Trump Pursues Strategy of Chaos and Confusion, Biden Urged to ‘Go Big and Fast’ to Fix ‘Broken’ Government

        “The arsonist in chief, who spent the past four years being as reckless as humanly possible, is lighting a whole bunch more fires with the GOAL of them being impossible to put out.”

      • Ex-officials close to Biden suggest US co-operate with, not confront, China

        A group of academics and ex-officials who are close to the Biden camp have suggested that the US co-operate with China rather than confront Beijing in many fields and also give Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies a role in the global build of 5G networks.

      • Who’s in Charge of the Democratic Party?

        Who is in charge of the Democratic Party? In particular, who is in charge of its strategy and spending? That’s actually a surprisingly difficult question to answer—and it shouldn’t be, at a time when the party and the country face critical challenges that will affect millions of lives for years to come. The next six weeks will see significant turnover in the staffing and leadership of the biggest organizations in the Democratic ecosystem, but many of those decisions will be made in metaphorical smoke-filled rooms, shielded from the kinds of transparency and accountability that are hallmarks of effective and successful organizations.

      • Alarmed by ‘Rapidly Worsening’ Pandemic, Top Health Experts Urge GSA Administrator to Immediately Begin Presidential Transition

        “A seamless transition is necessary to ensure that the incoming administration is prepared to confront the Covid-19 pandemic from day one.”

      • The Petty Revenge of a Soon-to-Be-Ex-President

        With their pitiful plots to overthrow election results, Trump and the GOP are the lowest.

      • It’s Time for Congress to Remember the Rest of the World.
      • My Neighbors Certainly Didn’t Celebrate Biden’s Win, but They Also Didn’t Publicly Mourn Trump’s Loss

        The line stretched most of the way around the inside of the firehouse when I went to vote on Election Day. By the time I left, an hour later, it had started snaking back and forth at one end of the building because the hundred or so people waiting to vote had nowhere else to go.

      • Dear Joe Biden: Are You Kidding Me?

        The president-elect has tapped a former DuPont consultant to join his Environmental Protection Agency transition board.

      • Progressives Demand “Corporate-Free Cabinet” as Biden Taps Pharma & Fossil Fuel Allies for Top Jobs

        Climate and racial justice activists are mobilizing with union members and newly elected members of Congress at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee to call on President-elect Joe Biden to address the intersecting crises of the pandemic, economy and climate change. They’re also calling for Biden to create a “corporate-free Cabinet,” following his recent announcement of aides that included people with close ties to the pharmaceutical and fossil fuel industries. Waleed Shahid, spokesperson for the progressive group Justice Democrats, says it will be important to maintain pressure on the incoming administration in order to fulfill grassroots demands. “Unlike President Obama in 2008, there is not much of a honeymoon period,” Shahid says.

      • Trump Seeks to Disenfranchise More than 1 in 10 Voters in 6 Key States
      • Wayne County GOP Election Board Members Seek to Rescind Vote to Certify Results
      • Biden Must Keep His Word and Allow Investigations of Trump to Proceed
      • Time to End Trump’s Incredible Damage to Our Nation

        Yet, incapable of handling the truth of his loss to president-elect Joe Biden, this spoiled man-child has spent the last two weeks since the election not serving the nation and dealing with the many intricacies of a presidential transition, but pouting, raging and refusing to acknowledge the reality that he lost. By doing so, he continues to ignore the very real needs of our nation as the coronavirus pandemic rages out of control, infecting, hospitalizing and killing record numbers of Americans every day.

        The time has clearly come to move on and end, once and for all, the incredible division and damage this terribly flawed individual has inflicted on our nation.

      • Time for Biden to Follow the Science

        It proved to be a winning campaign theme. Indeed, it’s sobering to realize that without COVID – both Trump’s mishandling of it and the accompanying economic downturn – Trump might have easily defeated Biden. Presidents often win reelection if they can point to a decent economy, and it was relatively strong in certain job numbers (despite Trump) before the COVID crisis.

        Our country and globe face another huge crisis that scientists warn us about: the ever-worsening climate catastrophe.  On the issue of climate, Joe Biden too often seems unwilling to follow the science.

      • The New Politics of the Poor in Joe Biden’s (and Mitch McConnell’s) USA

        Over the past days, I’ve found myself returning to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who, in 1967, just a year before his own assassination, gave a speech prophetically entitled “The Other America” in which he vividly described a reality that feels all too of this moment rather than that one:

      • Trump-Backing Nonprofit Gave Millions to Swing State Voter Registration Groups
      • The US Working Class Meets the Elections and Loses Ground

        The election period was show-time for U.S. racial antagonisms. Candidates of both parties responded variously to racism. With working-class voters filling the ranks of each one, the U.S. working class was shown to be divided as it responded to racism. These are divisions that weaken the working class.

        The police killing of George Floyd occurred in late May. Soon crowds of white and Black people were protesting together in little towns and big cities of the United States and even worldwide. This unprecedented display of Black-white unity might have been a golden moment. Justice-minded candidates for office, Black and white, might have raised their voices against the racism permeating the U.S. experience.

      • Trump Fires Security Chief Christopher Krebs

        Krebs, 43, is a former Microsoft executive appointed by Trump to head the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As part of that role, Krebs organized federal and state efforts to improve election security, and to dispel disinformation about the integrity of the voting process.

      • [Cracker] Closing Out Prison Sentence in Chicago Halfway House

        Computer hacker Jeremy Hammond, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for breaking into computer systems of security firms and law-enforcement agencies, will serve out the remainder of his term in a Chicago halfway house, a U.S. Bureau of Prison spokesman said Wednesday.

        Hammond, who has gained mythic status among his supporters, was released Tuesday from the Memphis Federal Correctional Institution in Tennessee to community confinement, said Bureau of Prisons spokesman Emery Nelson. Citing privacy and security reasons, Nelson refused to release information on the conditions of Hammond’s confinement. He is scheduled for release in March.

      • Beijing Tightens Grip On Hong Kong With Arrest Of Pro-Democracy Lawmakers

        Literally everyone saw this coming. On the heels of a rushed through resolution out of mainland China that ousted four pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmakers, leading to the resignation of every other pro-democracy lawmaker as well, the question was when, not if, Beijing would continue to tighten its communist grip. The answer to that question appears to be “almost immediately”, with China announcing the arrest of three pro-democracy former lawmakers, likely a signal to any other opposition forces who might want to make any noise.

      • ‘Five Eyes’ alliance demands China to end crackdown on Hong Kong legislators

        The Five Eyes intelligence sharing group said that China’s imposition of new rules to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong appeared to be part of a campaign to silence critics and called on Beijing to reverse course.

        “We urge the Chinese central authorities to re-consider their actions against Hong Kong’s elected legislature and immediately reinstate the Legislative Council members,” foreign ministers from Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States said in a joint statement on Wednesday (Nov 18).

        It brought an angry response from Beijing.

      • Central America Dismantles Democracy | Dissent Magazine

        On February 9, just weeks before the coronavirus hit El Salvador, President Nayib Bukele forced his way into the Legislative Assembly surrounded by armed soldiers. He had spent the previous days warning lawmakers that he had constitutional grounds to dissolve the legislative body if it didn’t approve a security loan he was asking for, paving the way for an attempted coup. He believed his approval rating (at that point over 90 percent) gave him enough leverage to get away with it. Bukele sat in the seat reserved for the chairperson of the assembly, hit a gong to open the almost empty legislative session he had summoned, and prayed. Then he suddenly left the hall and told hundreds of followers waiting outside that God had asked him to be patient. He gave lawmakers one more week to approve the loan (as of this writing, they have yet to vote on the proposal). The coup was averted.
        The scene seemed preposterously outdated. But it was a sign of the times. In El Salvador, as in most of Central America, democracy is being dismantled. And very few people outside the region are watching.
        To much of the world, Central America is synonymous with gang violence and migrants trying to reach the United States. Images of our children caged in Texan facilities or drowned in the Rio Grande illustrate front pages. Our youth are portrayed as tattooed criminals from shithole countries.
        In the 1980s, Central America made headlines around the world for very different reasons. It was a Cold War battleground. In the years when the Sandinistas first ruled Nicaragua, commander Daniel Ortega represented the hopes of millions of Central Americans for more equal societies. The Reagan administration saw the country as a threat to its geopolitical game, and Washington gave billions of dollars in military aid to El Salvador to support an army accused of massive human rights violations in its long fight against Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) Marxist guerillas. Like hundreds of thousands of other Salvadorans, my family went into exile in the early 1980s. I grew up in Mexico City, watching my country’s events every day on the news from a safe distance.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • State Duma lawmakers propose blocking websites accused of censoring Russian news media

        A group of lawmakers from the Russian State Duma have proposed giving Russia’s state censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, the right to block access to websites that “discriminate against” or censor information coming from the Russian news media.

      • Section 230 Doesn’t Need “Reform”

        “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

        US Naval Academy law professor Jeff Kosseff calls those words “The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet,” and he’s right.

      • Removal order and upload filter: Controversial EU negotiations before conclusion

        Internet service providers comply with police requests to remove content on a large scale on a voluntary basis, but a legislative proposal would force them to cooperate. An agreement could still be reached under the German Presidency of the Council.

      • Russian oligarch Evgeny Prigozhin files lawsuit against ‘Meduza’ chief editor

        Kremlin-linked businessman Evgeny Prigozhin has filed a defamation lawsuit against journalist Maxim Shevchenko, Dovod chief editor Ilya Kosygin, and Meduza editor-in-chief Ivan Kolpakov. 

      • Facebook content moderators demand more workplace COVID-19 protections

        More than 200 content moderators for Facebook are demanding increased coronavirus protections in the workplace, saying they are being forced to return to offices amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

        The letter, signed by some Facebook employees, was addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg as well as the chief executives of Accenture and CPL, the two companies contracted by the social media giant for content moderation.

      • Why Hollywood turns a blind eye to China’s human rights abuses

        Western entertainment companies and celebrities have a profound soft power to influence worldwide opinion on social issues. But many of them are notably silent when it comes to China.

        Now that Asia’s geopolitical powerhouse is becoming the globe’s biggest movie market, Hollywood works closely with Beijing and usually concedes to its censorship demands. Consumers may find it difficult to sway moviemakers to speak out against China. But awareness of the issues may encourage viewers to think through the ethics of spending their money on entertainment shaped by Beijing’s agenda.

        “[Consumers] probably can’t stop a company from doing what it does,” but at least they can avoid participating, says Chris MacDonald, an expert on business ethics and director of the Ted Rogers Leadership Centre at Ryerson University in Toronto. “Even if the boycott has no impact today, it may send a signal that affects the company’s behavior, or the behavior of other companies, in the future.”

      • White House suggests deal to strip Confederate base names in exchange for repealing tech liability shield

        Meanwhile, Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have been pushing for major reforms to what’s known as Section 230, a 1996 law that protects tech companies from liability for third-party content posted on their platforms and allows them to make “good faith” efforts to moderate content.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Documenting Police Brutality (2007)

        Summary: Wael Abbas is an Egyption journalist/activist who began documenting protests in Egypt in 2006, including multiple examples of Egyptian police brutality, which he would then upload to YouTube.

      • ‘I Experience a Hollowing Fear Any Time I’m Stopped by Police’

        A few months back, I was pulled over by a Massachusetts state trooper on a Saturday night as I turned off the highway to get gas. It was around 10 pm and dark, and the stop was off an exit in a remote area, about 30 minutes outside Boston. The trooper approached the car cautiously, as if he assumed I might be dangerous. He took my license and registration and asked where I was coming from and headed to.1

      • Louisville PD Hid Thousands Of Records Detailing Officers’ Abuse Of Minors, Deleted Backups When Local Paper Asked For Them

        The people who are supposed to be the bulwark standing between regular society and criminal society are, far too often, criminals themselves. They promise they’re doing everything they can to end the sexual exploitation of children but often aren’t willing to address the exploitation committed by officers.

      • Police files: litigation against the abuse of the “Automatic Control System” file

        We have just filed an litigation statement before the Conseil d’État (French supreme administrative court) against the extension of the scope of the file of the “Système de contrôle automatisé” (SCA; Automatic Control System). Since April, this file allows retaining for 5 to 10 years information concerning any violation or offence that leads to payment of a fine. We are attacking this Nth criminal file.

      • Russia arrests another ex-governor Mikhail Men: an unremarkable lawmaker, but a prominent bureaucrat and a lasting administrator

        Acting with special permission from the Federation Council, state investigators arrested Mikhail Men on Wednesday, November 18, on charges of embezzling 700 million rubles ($9.2 million) from the Ivanovo region, where he served as governor from 2005 to 2013. The ex-head of Russia’s Construction Industry, Housing, and Utilities Sector Ministry, the son of a famous priest, and currently an auditor for Russia’s Accounts Chamber, Men isn’t expected to spend long in jail, an anonymous source told the news agency Interfax. Instead, detectives reportedly plan to ask a judge to release him on his own recognizance. Meduza reviews Mr. Men’s eventful biography.

      • Morally unsustainable: gig workers don’t need labels, they need rights

        Independent contracting is the Trojan horse making this exploitation possible. This category of work has exploded over the past decade and now accounts for more than a million Australian workers.

        Of course, this contracting is not really ”independent”. The notion conjures an in-demand tradesperson or professional who can negotiate a decent return based on demand for their labour. But in the world of food delivery, there is no negotiation. The worker is told what they will be paid by an algorithm, and their work is assessed by a star rating. There is no negotiation, no input from the worker and no right of appeal. It is a system of take it or leave it. And it results in pay rates well below the minimum wage.

        A simple fix for this might seem to be to classify riders as employees or invent a new category of work, so they can enjoy the benefits and protections under our labour laws. This route is a mistake and recent developments in California should serve as a stark warning to Australia.

      • Community ‘icon’ Gary Warner receives honorary degree; confronted racism in Hamilton 53 years ago

        “We are stardust, part of an interrelated chain of life,” said the distinguished grey-bearded man, his accent carrying echoes of his Caribbean roots.

        “We are, as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. put it, ‘caught up in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.’”

        The voice was Gary Warner’s, speaking to McMaster University graduates Thursday during a remotely produced convocation ceremony.

        Warner received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the university that hired him as a professor 53 years ago.

        He taught 17th-century French literature, and went on to initiate courses in French African and Caribbean literature, and was associate dean of humanities, but made his mark in the city broadly as a force for equality and human rights.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • What’s so great about TPG’s new offering, felix?

        What is it that makes felix, the new mobile service from TPG Telecom, such an outstanding offering?

      • 10 Years Of U.S. Broadband Policy Has Been A Colossal Failure

        November 18th, 2020 marked 3900 days since the Federal Communications Commission launched its heavily-hyped “National Broadband Plan.” 400 days ago, I penned an op-ed for the Benton Foundation which assessed how the FCC had been unable to achieve any of the benchmarks or meet any of the six stated goals of the plan. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that another year didn’t fix very much of the shortcomings I identified then.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • CVC Discloses Priority Evidence and Earliest Conception Date in Interference [Ed: You know litigation and patenting zealots have misused the English language when nature and life are referred to as "inventions"]

          In the remainder of its 50 page brief, CVC set out its arguments for serial events of conception (April 11, May 28, or June 28, 2012), when the invention encompassed by the Interference Court was serially reduced to practice (earliest date, August 9, 2012, and thereafter on October 31, November 1, 5, and 18, 2012), and its assertions that it pursued reduction to practice with the statutorily required diligence and never abandoned, suppressed, or concealed their invention.


          In view of the relative speed and ease with which these experiments demonstrated actual reduction to practice of eukaryotic CRISPR, one can only imagine the frustration the CVC inventors must have felt regarding the basis for the outcome of the ’048 Interference and their chagrin in how unfortunate comments were considered out of context by the PTAB and Federal Circuit.

          At each step of this saga, the brief is careful to note that the invention disclosed in its evidence also corroborates the CVC inventors’ conception and reduction to practice of all the limitations of Broad’s half of the count. And of course all of the evidence and testimony was corroborated by witnesses other than the inventors themselves.

          These recollections were interspersed with assertions regarding the pioneering nature of the inventors’ work, their work is described as “groundbreaking,” and of course the brief mentions the recent decision of the Nobel committee to award the Nobel Prize to Doudna and Charpentier alone. And the brief also sets forth evidence that the CVC inventors appreciated all the potential obstacles used to great effect in convincing the PTAB (and the Federal Circuit) in the ’048 Interference that there was no interference in fact between CVC’s applications and the Broad’s eukaryotic CRISPR patent.

        • Recent development on SEP disputes in China — anti-suit injunction

          A recent dispute over standard essential patent (SEP) between Inter Digital, Inc. and its affiliates (collectively “IDC“) and Xiaomi Communication Technology Co., Ltd. and its affiliates (collectively “Xiaomi“) before the Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court (“WIPC China“) has drawn wide public attention. The concerned technologies involve SEPs related to 3G and 4G standards. It is a significant case that reflects the current position of PRC courts in SEP global disputes. In this article, we will analyze this case and provide our thoughts on China SEP dispute resolution.

        • Overbroad Assignment Agreement: Invalid under California Law

          This is an important case invalidating provisions of an employment agreement based upon California Law. Alleshouse left his former employer Wave Loch (predecessor to Whitewater) and started working on inventions for his new venture the very next day. Within two months he (along with his partner Yeh) had filed a set of provisional patent applications at issue in this case. Whitewater then sued, arguing that the employment contract included rights over post-employment inventions.

      • Copyrights

        • Disney (Disney!) Accused Of Trying To Lawyer Its Way Out Of Paying Royalties To Alan Dean Foster

          Disney, of course, has quite the reputation as a copyright maximalist. It has been accused of being the leading company in always pushing for more draconian copyright laws. And then, of course, there’s the infamous Mickey Mouse curve, first designated a decade ago by Tom Bell, highlighting how copyright term extensions seemed to always happen just as Mickey Mouse was set to go into the public domain (though, hopefully that’s about to end):

        • It’s Been a (Good) Year for Open GLAM. Here’s Why.

          This year started with a major accomplishment for open GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) advocates. After years of collaborative efforts from members of the Creative Commons team, the CC Global Network, the Wikimedia Foundation, and more, the Smithsonian released over 2.8 million digital 2D and 3D images and nearly two centuries of data into the public domain using Creative Commons Zero (CC0). This new initiative, Smithsonian Open Access, followed previous releases across big and small institutions, as Effie Kapsalis (Smithsonian) outlined in the 2016 report that accompanied her advocacy efforts.

        • Star Wars novelist says Disney won’t pay him royalties it owes him

          Alan Dean Foster, author of several Star Wars novelizations, says Disney hasn’t paid him his royalties. According to Foster, Disney has also asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement before the company will speak with him.

          “You continue to ignore requests from my agents,” Foster wrote in a letter published by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. “You continue to ignore queries from SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. You continue to ignore my legal representatives. I know this is what gargantuan corporations often do. Ignore requests and inquiries hoping the petitioner will simply go away. Or possibly die. But I’m still here, and I am still entitled to what you owe me.”

        • Torrent Site Admin and Uploader Can’t Be Sued in US

          The makers of the movie ‘Hellboy’ have failed to obtain a default judgment against the operator of the now-defunct torrent site MKVCage. A federal court in Hawaii ruled that US courts don’t have jurisdiction over the foreign defendant, and have denied the request for $150,000 in piracy damages. The movie company is considering to appeal the ruling.

        • Nintendo Files Lawsuit Against Seller of RCM Loader Jailbreak Device

          In a new lawsuit filed in the US, Nintendo sues an Amazon seller who distributed RCM Loader, a device that the company claims has the sole purpose of allowing people to play pirated video games by circumventing the Switch console’s technological protection measures. On top, Nintendo is also suing the defendant for abusing the DMCA’s counter-notification system.

        • The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day One: Why There is No Canadian Content Crisis

          Notwithstanding the rhetoric, the reality is the politicians and regulators know this to be the case. For example, CRTC chair Ian Scott last year said that Netflix is “probably the biggest single contributor to the [Canadian] production sector today.” Further, at the press conference introducing the bill, Guilbeault acknowledged that the Internet companies are already investing in Canada, but argued that the bill was needed to ensure those investments were not voluntary. Yet production in Canada has grown for years not because of mandatory regulations, but because it is competitive on the world stage. As future posts in this series will demonstrate, Bill C-10 jeopardizes that position.

Open Letter to Mogzagain (No Worries)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 11:13 am by Guest Editorial Team

Response by figosdev

Color feather

Summary: figosdev responds to a concerned reader of Techrights, who wants Free software to succeed

Don’t know who Mogzagain is; seems alright.

Can I call you Mogz?

People don’t usually have this many questions and comments — that’s no problem, it’s in response to a long article.

Let’s get to it:

“I’m really questioning why these are posted. Very demoralising, and this one seems to say overall that none of us are joining forces or investing assets/time/effort/support, but users should fix linux themselves.”

Let’s see — “users should fix linux themselves” is not exactly what I would say.

Linux is an operating system kernel. It takes skilled developers to maintain that. Skilled developers cover a very wide range of things, but I do not expect “users” (per se) to fix Linux.

What I had hoped was that the people already making it free (linux-libre developers) could expand into fixing other things. I actually thought this was possible — I’ve spent years polling people and trying to meet this team (or handful of individuals even) willing to take this on.

I don’t think that team exists. If there was any chance of that, I’d want to hear more details. They haven’t come up.

BSD, on the other hand, is demonstrably forkable. In other words, relatively small developer teams have simply forked BSD — kernel and all.

NetBSD was doing some things that some of its developers wanted to drastically change — the changes weren’t welcome, so they just forked it into OpenBSD. It would be nice if Linux had that, but it doesn’t seem to. I’m really not trying to project a bias or be a “pessimist” about this one. I’d also love to be wrong.

“…not meaning to be unpleasant, but it’s taken me half an hour to calm down enough to hopefully contribute something that might lift things”

Sorry about that. Hopefully some of the things that upset you were misunderstandings. Don’t get me wrong, there are people I’m willing to upset. As far as I can tell, you weren’t one of the people intended.

“if rms/oliva joined forces, steering things with a strong hand, small numbers, and refusing big tech, there could be hope”

Yes, “if” — but rms doesn’t code anymore. He mostly nitpicks things, but they’re often important nitpicks. A fine example was when he made a big deal in 2015 about parts of the GNU Project moving to GitHub. He was against it, he listed reasons. Some of the GNU developers didn’t listen. Now it’s controlled by Microsoft.

Not all nitpicking is a bad thing. It won’t produce code, but it might prevent code from doing things that harm user freedom. The GNU Project was designed to give freedom, not just to produce code.

Oliva is not going to fork Linux. Without a fork, I do not think Linux is going to be fixed. But if I thought Oliva was even going to try to fix Linux (you might think he would be the sort, I would too), then I would reevaluate the statement I made about it. Again, “if”.

“and they have the experience and ‘clout’, so it seems wrong to say the little ppl should be achieving what they could, without that support”

That’s really not what I meant or said. I totally appreciate that you got that from what I was saying, but since it doesn’t sound like you’re happy about it, I hope it helps that I didn’t mean that.

“no idea why 5 github-linked packages aren’t forked, seeing as oliva runs the libre kernel”

Let’s look at those 5 packages (there are actually more) — Perl, Python, zlib1g, libFFI, HarfBuzz

Perl and Python could be mirrored — that would help if it was an official GNU mirror. They’re going to have a difficult time justifying that when there are other parts of the GNU Project like Bison and GNU Radio that have moved there.

Nonetheless, Perl and Python are both used in build tools.

Automake for example, relies on Perl. In fact at least 54 different projects use it.

But GNU clearly isn’t going to fork Perl or Python. They’re enormous.

If we are realistic about the GNU developers, there are probably not enough people to fork HarfBuzz. But let’s be optimists and pretend that’s a sure thing.

LibFFI allows other languages (like Python) to interface with C. I’ve never used it, I’m really not sure how it works, but it seems to be required by nearly everything. Basically every graphical library brings in either LibFFI or zlib1g — and any program that uses PNG graphics brings in zlib1g.

It would be a really good idea to fork or at least mirror LibFFI and zlib1g. But the GNU Project isn’t showing the will to do this — they don’t think it’s important enough to not have things like this controlled by Microsoft.

I don’t know how familiar you are with the linux-libre project. It’s simpler than forking these projects. If you ask Oliva, I’m confident he will tell you, it’s simpler than forking these projects. I’m not underrating his skills — in fact I’m not rating his skills at all, I’m rating the amount of work he’s going to do on this.

I don’t expect Oliva to do this anyway. The only reason he comes up with regards to this is he does linux-libre.

“figosdev should consider that telling others to fix linux isn’t going to work when you tell ppl the leaders won’t unite and nobody’s really doing anything”

I don’t expect you to be familiar with the things I’ve written, but in the past I’ve talked about upgrading the Free Software movement (in much more positive terms) and then I talked extensively about saving the FSF —

I warned people that rms would be ousted. I’m not taking all the credit for that, others warned that as well. But those warnings were still written in a way that suggested we could stop it from happening.

Now he’s out, and all the points I made years ago about making certain the movement continues are more relevant and more urgent.

Maybe this approach won’t change anything, but I’ve tried being more positive in the past.

A note: Oliva himself gave feedback on my article. I won’t pretend he loved it, but he did seem to like some of the points made. He also corrected something that I would address the correction of in the article I wrote the next day.

“if rms/oliva prefer the fsf, why is figosdev writing saying users should fix everything, alone”

That’s really not what I expect them to do.

“can’t weaken a monopoly by being part of it”

I strongly agree. And this is what bothers me about GNU getting closer to Microsoft. It’s deadly, and self-destructive. The developers don’t seem to care, and that’s worrisome.

Oiaohm is absolutely correct that most projects don’t have enough manpower. I don’t expect everybody to “learn to code”, but we should at least try to teach everyone how — not only so more people can contribute, but because it’s the easiest way to increase computer literacy (as well as user confidence).

I wrote a programming language specifically to make that easier. A lot of people would probably argue that it wasn’t necessary, but they don’t know how it came about.

I was already trying to come up with ways to teach Python or JavaScript or Bash to anybody. I made lots of observations about the things that slowed people down that are NOT fundamental to coding, which I removed to create my own language.

I also took a lot from the easiest educational languages ever written.

Whether this is helpful or not, Free Software needs more people who can code. And if more people were interested in coding, it would be a lot easier to explain the importance of Free Software.

Free Software is important whether you code or not, of course — and even if you don’t core, having freedom makes it easier to do things when you can hire a person or find a friend that does know how to make changes.

But it’s a lot easier to explain that to someone who does know how to code, so even if they’re not making changes to the GNU Project, it’s easier to promote Free Software if more people are coders.

If everybody is on GitHub though, it’s sort of moot — those people are interns for Microsoft one way or another. And Microsoft doesn’t play for freedom, it plays for keeps (and control of the ecosystem).

“if rms/oliva joined forces, forked the 5 packages, and gave ppl some hope, surely a far better way to spend time and inspire users”

That really isn’t going to happen. I don’t think I implied that (ordinary?) users would do that, but certainly someone who is trusted by the GNU Project would have to do it. Some of the GNU developers trust GitHub, so their opinion isn’t going to help determine if the mirror is in a good place or not.

Even the new FSF president trusts GitHub.

“why write articles saying users should fix it all when every response is so demoralising and depressing”

Right now people are ignoring so many problems, it creates an existential threat for the GNU Project. Not taking this threat seriously could cause more trouble than being demoralising.

If people are going to continue feeding Microsoft’s monopoly, the GNU Project will not achieve its purpose.

People mark a species “endangered” in hopes of people making an effort not to kill it off, not to depress people. the result is worse if they insist on pretending things are alright when they’re almost certainly not.

“ppl need some hope, and surely rms/oliva uniting is doable and would be something really good”

‘What sort of hope would you like to see?’ Is a good question for you to be answering right now.

Hope may truly be needed, I agree. Though I don’t think it’s the only thing that is needed.

“surely it’s a waste of time to have anything to do with the fsf; they were behind rms being ousted, so have made it VERY clear which side they’re on”

I agree, but I also understand the sorts of things that might keep people there past the time that it’s reasonable. I suggested to Stallman that he should create a “more grassroots / less corporate” Free Software movement. I don’t think he’s going to, but I think it might really be necessary.

I suggest the same to anybody who thinks it’s a good idea. There are caveats with that approach, of course. There are always caveats with any decision that is very big.

“but ppl need hope, and others to be positive, so, yes, that article does have a responsibility to contribute something positive, not demoralising”

I do not consider it my responsibility to give a pep rally when there are problems this big. The problem goes beyond morale, and the solution needs to go beyond morale.

“plenty of users have helped and donated, and suddenly everyone talks like that never happened”

I have donated as well — generally to causes that were disappointing.

I’ve donated money and equipment to developers. I don’t regret spending the money or giving up the equipment, though I can at least think of better projects now — none of the projects I tried to support before GitHub was sold or Stallman was ousted have continued to help.

A lot has changed. Debian is the biggest disappointment on the software front. I worry for Python. I wish I’d given the money to PyPy, but one of the developers I gave it money to did a lot for me, I don’t really blame him for what happened.

“so why doesn’t figosdev be realistic, and thankfully brief …”

I am being realistic, you’re asking me to sugarcoat things.

Brevity is irrelevant. You decided to read my article. You could have skimmed or ignored it, you know.

“nobody’s going to work together or help; you’re all on your own, regardless of how much you may have contributed”

It’s not my fault if (too many) developers stop caring about users. If I call them on it, it’s not to depress the users.

“watching ms all day is not going to save linus”

“I would say plenty of users have donated, bugfixed, helped in countless ways, over many years … but everyone talks like they do nothing”

I think it’s more likely users have given too much support to projects that don’t care enough about their freedom — this is nearly the opposite of saying that users have done nothing.

“there weren’t issues until big tech was allowed in; now users are ‘lazy’, ‘greedy’, should fix it all themselves, and no talented leaders will combine to do anything.”

You’ve read a lot of things into what I said that I simply didn’t say.

But we seem to agree that big tech is the problem here.

“whether short of resources or not, demoralisation and lack of effort is what is preached?! if rms had that attitude 30 yrs ago, no freedom or gnu would have happened”

I can’t really improve on what Oiaohm said: “its not exactly lack of effort. the words is more those looking at the problem and seeing that the amount of work/effort going in is not enough.”

Where you get that I blame the users more than the developers, I don’t follow. I can understand why that would be upsetting, but not why you think that’s what I meant.

“if a non-optimist can achieve the incredible things he did, I suggest he wasn’t a non-optimist for real”

I would suggest that you assume that pessimists fail where optimists succeed.

Stallman is not an optimist. He is quoted as calling himself a pessimist in general.

He is a stubborn pessimist, and so am I. You might call a stubborn pessimist a non-non-optimist — but a lot of people would still think (and often complain) that Stallman sounds very negative.

Let me give you an example from my own advocacy — you tell me if this sounds like pessimism or what:

I wanted to share GNU/Linux with people. So first, I spent more than 10 years learning how to use it. I tried more than 50 distributions, easily (I’ve tried more than that). I learned Bash scripting (for some value of Bash scripting) and I told everybody I know about it, wrote about it, tried to give people copies of it.

I talked people into dual-booting. Sometimes that went alright, mostly, not great. It’s not that dual-booting is all bad, it’s that the people I talked into trying it didn’t like it.

So I stuck to installing it on machines that people didn’t want anymore. Only they still didn’t want them after that.

I set up a homeless shelter with machines running GNU/Linux, and went in on a regular basis to do all their updates over SSH (on the LAN because nobody had the user and password for the AP to configure a port, and I didn’t want to reset it for them as I didn’t want to be responsible for their network as well).

Finally I found a way to give people GNU/Linux that actually made (everyday, self-proclaimed “non-computer people”) happy: when they had computer problems, I would take a free computer and say “you can use this one if you want — if you like it, you can keep it”.

If these (particular) people had a computer and I removed software and installed GNU/Linux, they would think it was broken: “Windows looks wrong, can you fix it”. “That’s not Windows”. “Why did you break Windows?” “I didn’t, I put something else on”. “Why didn’t you just fix Windows?”

But if I give them a computer that wasn’t theirs, they don’t care what’s on it. No frame of reference as to what “broken” is. This is how a lot of people think (sadly) and they’re not interested in learning the facts. The facts aren’t any less important, and I do try to tell them.

Eventually the platform I was using became unreliable, so I created a tool to remaster distros automatically…

It’s not like I just complain. But when I spend years working around what I consider unnecessary and deliberate bullshit — yes, I’m going to call bullshit!

“the devs that are going more corporate-favouring, infecting distros and the kernel, and getting the ms dollars, is no help, but surely rms fought that 30 yrs ago, and forged a path”

And for 20 years, Microsoft has fought against him.

I think they knew that he would be a problem for them with GitHub (among other things) so they finally used an old plan from OSI to get him out.

They say it was because of some MIT emails, however they were pulling the same shtick one year before at LibrePlanet. Over a couple of interruptions, including one question for the speaker by the president of the organisation.

The emcee tried to assert their authority over the president of the organisation, and the president (Stallman) didn’t go for it. So they tried to say that made LibrePlanet “unsafe”, which is some of the most fantastical bullshit I’ve ever heard.

Point being, this is all super-rotten. But you seem to already be aware of that, which is good.

“countless ppl have stepped up and helped”

I’m really not disputing that. A lot of the things I write heap up qualifiers to every broad statement I make: “of course this doesn’t apply to everybody”. To be honest, the fact that countless people have helped doesn’t change what I’m talking about: the saboteurs we both seem to be aware of.

If we agree they exist, what’s the problem with talking about it? And if I talk about it, why do you (seem to) think I’m blaming you?

“only free software guts and determination will win this, as rms did 30 yrs ago”

I strongly agree. But if the statement “only free software guts and determination will win this” is not itself demoralising, I don’t think you should interpret my article a lot differently.

“ppl who are naturally complacent do that, but not those who care about freedom/privacy etc”

I think you believe I wrote about the people who actually “care about freedom/privacy etc”. The thing is, I was talking about the people who are naturally complacent.

“it’s so frustrating that ppl LET things be infiltrated”

Yes, it is.

“…red hat disgust me, how they leapt onto the fsf the morning after rms was kicked out”

‘We think our advice could help the FSF find better people to work with, you know, for diversity. By the way, we worked with Hitler!’

“so those saying ‘I had to take big tech money’ are shams and didn’t care about freedom/users”


“but where do those NOT harming linux/others go is the critical question”

Exactly. If I want users to do anything, it’s to create that place — because right now, it really doesn’t exist.

Why do I want users to do it? So that users are in control of it.

We could ask the developers to do it — but as Oiaohm correctly points out, they’re spread very thin already. And it doesn’t leave users with the autonomy they deserve. Both are real problems that I didn’t make up. I encourage users to work on those, and I provide ideas as to how.

No takers yet.

“again, what can be done for linux users who care about privacy/freedom, and rapidly are having no island to inhabit”

That is a better summary of what I was talking about in the first place.

“rms started from very little and achieved incredibly … surely we need to take him as the inspiration if we hope to get back what matters”

Again, I agree.

“those of us who care about privacy/values need an island, preferably with rms/oliva there, something like that”

That would be cool.

“…back to my point about the article, telling users to do the work, without any support/inspiration or the rich experience of e.g. rms/oliva”

I don’t recommend “without any support/inspiration or the rich experience”. Oliva is still around. So is Stallman, though he’s very quiet.

By all means, people should draw what inspiration from them that they can. I encourage people to learn more about the history of Free Software especially — because the history shows what a sham Open Source turned out to be, and because learning more about how Free Software worked from the beginning will help people understand how to “reboot” the movement. History is very informative about that sort of thing.

And as far as learning about Stallman goes — the history is very inspiring.

“I’m the least tech person on linux probably, lol, and do art, only, but used to donate LOADS, until I go so fed up with the attitude to users”

Frankly I am also fed up with the attitude towards users. A person I used to talk to wanted to set up a new organisation specifically for users of Free Software. He wanted me to be the president, I said I would be happy to work with the organisation if it existed.

“but where [are] the leaders who care, who make an effort, who value freedoms and users, instead of constantly saying ‘you fix it’, when you can’t alone”

What is really needed is a new community (an island as you put it, though I’m not sure an island is what you want per se) or I prefer larger (not too large) networks of smaller communities — so that the small communities can be self-policing and have autonomy and self-advocate.

There’s no way around self-advocacy. If you can’t do that, (hint: you’re self-advocating when you bring up these complaints of yours) other people will do it for you. When they fail to understand you, or even fail to care, you’re right back to needing self-advocacy. So that’s a must.

A lot of people are coming out of the (corporate) woodwork to say users are more helpless than they really are, and need to be coddled like infants — I’m not talking about software! I’m talking about the ways communities are run.

It’s all a sham to put corporations in charge of communities — or put another way, to eliminate community and replace it with corporations. And it’s working.

Sadly, only users can stop this. And if they join together, WE will help them in whatever way we are able. But we can’t do it for them, it just doesn’t work that way. There are too many problems now, for the organisations that existed before to solve this — and that is precisely the point of the corporations doing it this way.

It is, to put it simply, the “advice” IBM gave to the FSF after Stallman was ousted, writ large. And that’s rotten.

You know that years before this was about terms like “blacklist” and “master”, it was about putting dollar signs in Micro$oft? That was their original objective: to get communities who hated abuse from monopolies to start treating their corporate “masters” with respect.

That article became exactly 10 years old on Wednesday. All this political correctness was already in motion a decade ago, but it wasn’t about diversity, it was about bowing to Big Tech.

Diversity is great. They’re hijacking it to move corporations above criticism (International Blaxploitation Machines…)

“going offline more, using rss, having thought that was at least better than being on the browser”


“have tried SO much online, but there’s so much unpleasantness, lack of commitment, unfair criticism, and I have made stands, and you just get shunned”

Hopefully you do not feel shunned right now. Here we can disagree. It isn’t mandatory, but it is an option.

“I could only teach art!”

Art is very useful to the movement. Personally I am disappointed that Lessig did not have greater success encouraging Free Software to pay more attention to Free Culture.

To me, the people who really get both of these concepts are of the greatest service to each movement. If you’re an artist, and you add some free-as-in-freedom work to what we do, that’s a help. I’m hardly the only person who thinks so.

“I’ve contributed fully painted professional wallpapers, offered stuff, etc”


“unbelievable that ppl donate to mozilla etc”

Indeed. Telling people to “donate to mozilla” is almost as silly as telling them to send donations to Microsoft!

“if you want something done, let me know now”

Maybe hang around Techrights a little more (IRC is fine) until something comes to you? (Or comes to us?)

There’s a lot going on, and (I don’t speak officially for) Techrights needs people that care about these issues.

“what can happen? … back to figosdev’s article, which may as well have said ‘you’re on your own’, as rms/oliva won’t be there, etc”

Really not what I meant.

“what are ppl to do, when the most inspiring ppl aren’t collaborating, those who have rich experience?”

I write about that too. I could just start talking about it here, though it might be redundant.

“figosdev says there’s no real point creating groups, as big tech will just take over”

Not at all, I was talking about creating groups that are more resistant to big tech. And those groups need people who understand the things you do — or who can learn them.

The idea of the groups being plural is part of the resistance to big tech — which wants to consolidate everybody (via things like GitHub, Twitter, Facebook).

Fediverse is sadly all on GitHub. Most of the tech is on GitHub — I blame the people who aren’t trying to move.

I focus mostly on the treachery of “neutral” devs and actual shills, but ultimately it’s the users who must find the will to boycott and/or salvage as much as possible that is currently controlled by GIAFAM.

“he did an article saying is it Tiny distro is best, but increasingly these solutions become more technical, beyond non-technical users, etc, or nothing will work, etc”

Everything really is tied into GitHub at this point. That’s the problem. A tiny distro is best, but only if it’s not developed on GitHub.

People who are on Windows or Apple can upgrade by moving to ANY sort of distro. Hopefully they will avoid ones with systemd, as that is another trap (also GitHub-based).

Most of the systemd-free distros are GitHub-based as well. I won’t go into the serious problems Devuan has right now, but I don’t recommend it to anybody. You know what happens if I recommend Devuan to you? I’ve done you a disservice. I’d rather do Devuan a disservice than you, and I don’t even know you.

The reason I recommend a tiny distro is it has the fewest problems to solve. It’s honestly much closer to impossible to fix something like Debian at this point than build a community around fixing up a smaller distro.

However, I’ve stopped using GNU/Linux and focus on BSD. Same logic as that which went into using a tiny distro, really — it’s a bit farther from the problem.

The computer term “booting” (you may well know this, but I’ll say it anyway) comes via the term “bootstrapping”, from the phrase “pulling oneself up by their bootstraps” — a humourous and impossible / paradoxical image of progression.

I don’t suggest we simply take users and drop them in the middle of the forest to fend for themselves. However, hard times lay ahead whether we do nothing and wait, or try to do something. It won’t happen unless more users are up for an adventure, for trying new things, for taking an initiative (just not the Open Source Initiative, please).

Users are the only people who are qualified for some of this stuff. And it’s hard to find devs who haven’t sold out already.

But you’re not alone, in fact, we are — relatively speaking, there aren’t enough of us yet. And when there are, we aren’t going to agree on everything. So we need a way to disagree on some things and still make progress on the important things.

“truth-telling is important, but the message seems to be we’re f*cked, sort it yourself”

You seem to already be as disillusioned with the FSF as I am. Consider the possibility that what I was going for isn’t “it’s up to *you*” but rather up to *us* (and you…) not up to the people who say “Support The FSF! Join Today!” Because the latter is indeed hopeless. I think you said so yourself.

However, to put it that would be even more negative. Maybe it would be clearer though…

“we’re all depressed and fed up, yes, ms buying github and red hat selling out, is really crap, but is the only solution ultimately offline?”

I was hoping for groups both online and offline — like websites and usergroups. I mean, it doesn’t have to be websites and usergroups, but that’s what I think of.

Usergroups were created to help people become familiar with stuff that now so many people are familiar with. In that regard, they may not be as popular as they were before (or perhaps they are. I’ve only been to one).

There is a lot of unfamiliar territory ahead. We have much more to tend to than what’s become mainstream.

“nothing personal, just really concerned and hope something constructive can emerge.”

That’s exactly what I would say to you, sincerely:

Nothing personal, just really concerned and hope something constructive can emerge.

Long live rms, and Happy Hacking.

(You didn’t have to read the whole thing, by the way. You could have even used grep — or CTRL-F, or hit PgDn a random number of times, although Mozilla… you know what they’re like).

Better Privacy Than Pretty Good Privacy

Posted in Site News at 9:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sequoia PGP

Summary: We’re getting into distributed-as-in-decentralised and encryption-enabled page distribution; we’re also likely to be adopting Sequoia-PGP over time

THE importance of privacy is closely connected to the value of autonomy; we wrote about the EPO‘s privacy violations just moments ago. Privacy is essential for journalism, for union activity, for whistleblowers etc. No secure communication, no confidence to leak. No confidentiality, no coordination among aggrieved staff. But this post isn’t about the EPO. Coming up next/tomorrow in the “Inside the EPO During Corona” series we get to the ‘beef’ of the dispute; litigation may be next and then there’s client ‘privileged communication’ factored in as well. Few lawyers actually bother with encryption, so it’s a false promise.

Home old workplaceAt the moment the workers of the EPO have lots of spying deployed on their home computers by António Campinos; it’s worse than Benoît Battistelli with his surprise doctor visits. Is there “nowhere [left] to hide”?

“…we wish to maintain our 100% source protection record for a long time to come.”Either way, at the moment we work on a bunch of important things, including server migration, IPFS (for distributed circulation, more resistant to censorship), plain text IRC logs, and improved privacy. For IPFS we exclusively use a Raspberry Pi 4 with Debian on it. As it turns out, it can also be leveraged for better encryption, air-gapped and all… (my main workstation is always isolated from all other machines and has a minimal set of software installed)

We recently looked into Sequoia. “I think the safest practice anyone can do right now is to slowly start migrating to Sequioa and using air-gapped machines to do crypto operations,” as associate wrote. “I’m looking into an idea I’ve had for a while which I’ll explore some time in the next few months (when I actually have the time to work on it).”

As Bruce Schneier put it 11 years ago:

“Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.”

What’s posted in IRC is generally not private (or gets redacted/anonymised, usually just anonymised). But when it comes to communication with whistleblowers we are always trying to improve; we wish to maintain our 100% source protection record for a long time to come.

Inside the EPO During Corona: The EPO is Violating Workers’/Stakeholders’ Privacy and Breaking Data Protection Law (Again)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Organised crime with a boardroom table is still a crime. Why does the EPO enjoy immunity and why does it exercise/conduct illegal behaviour with complete impunity?

Meeting Room

Summary: There’s no respect for the law or for the dignity/privacy of EPO staff; whenever the subject is being brought up there’s nothing but stonewalling and the Data Protection Officer is a friend of the offender, who would be reluctant to oversee anything

WE HAVE already covered countless privacy abuses at the EPO (more than we can recall and enumerate, but the wiki has a whole category/colour scheme for illegal surveillance at the EPO). Nobody was ever prosecuted for any of these abuses. Benoît Battistelli, had he enjoyed no diplomatic immunity, would even face a prison sentence for some of these abuses, which were severe at times. António Campinos is repeatedly being reminded by staff that some of the practices adopted during lockdown are downright and outright illegal; he consequently appointed as a data ‘something’ officer an old friend or colleague of his (also indebted for getting that high-paying job), so it’s obviously just face-saving cover-up, not a genuine effort at respecting privacy laws.

“Later they wonder why people get angry and vote to leave the EU…”This is so typical at the EPO. They commit crimes, then they appoint friends of theirs to look the other way or to somehow justify that. The longer it goes on for, the worse it’ll get. They have the equivalent of crime/accountability ‘debt’; they’re amassing endless abuses and they even bribe large publishers to not write about those things. Later they wonder why people get angry and vote to leave the EU…

Grant Philpott E-mail regarding MicrosoftA couple of months ago the Central Staff Committee wrote: “Trust and openness in the exchanges among the members of the Divisions are essential for the good quality of the work in examination and opposition proceedings. Sometimes, individual team managers or directors misuse information that examiners exchange confidentially during their deliberations, e.g. for reporting purposes. In this open letter to the President, we suggest that the Office should take all necessary steps to ensure that the software is configured In such a way that only the members of the Divisions have access to the written information they exchange during their deliberations. We also have doubts whether the software complies with our EPO data protection guidelines.”

Here’s that letter in full:

Reference: sc20141cl-0.3.1/1.2.2
Date: 25.09.2020

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

Mr António Campinos
President of the EPO

ISAR – R.1081


Patent Workbench: confidentiality of deliberations

Dear Mr President,

Trust and openness in the exchanges among the members of the Examination and Opposition Divisions are essential for the good quality of the processing of patent applications and oppositions and the results of the examination and opposition proceedings1.

At present personal consultations in the Divisions are made considerably more difficult due to the currently increasing use of teleworking and the paperless processing of files. To a large extent the necessary exchanges therefore take place with electronic means. The current official software (Patent Workbench, (q/pwb or q/tasklists)) electronically implementing the workflow of the decision-making process in the Divisions provides the feature that each Division member can store in the respective electronic file a text comment visible to all members. In particular, a member can communicate his doubts or objections against a proposal for the grant of a patent in the comment field provided for this purpose.

In principle, there would be no objection to such a form of communication within the competent Division, provided that the confidentiality of the deliberations is guaranteed in all cases (see also Decision of the Board of Appeal, T305/01, reason 5.3)2.

1 For example the Enhancing Collaboration (ECo) Project under SP2023, Goal 3, aims to build up an enhanced collaboration system along the Patent Granting Process, promoting a culture of continual improvement and contributing to improving the quality of our products (see Project Description in the Project Brief Enhancing Collaboration).
2 In T305/01, reason 5.3 the Board held that “third parties including a (prospective) opponent have no right to know the reasoning which led the examining division to grant the patent, such right being also in conflict with confidentiality of deliberation.”

Unfortunately, the text comments are not only accessible to the members of the Divisions but also at least to the team managers and directors. Sometimes, individual team managers, being aware of the text comments, have interfered in the debate within the Division and in the decision-making process and have expressed their judgment, for example on the quality of the work of individual Division members. They thus greatly disturbed the atmosphere of trust and cooperation between the members of the Division.

We are therefore concerned that the current software does not seem to meet the prescribed requirement of confidentiality of the deliberations within the Divisions, and that good and trustful cooperation among the members of the Divisions is thus at stake. We believe that this could impair the ability of the Divisions to work and fulfil their tasks properly and also deteriorate the examiners’ confidence in their team manager and/or director. Also line managers could be tempted to take the comments into account for reporting purposes. We also doubt that the software meets our own EPO data protection requirements.

We would therefore kindly ask you to take immediately all steps to ensure that the software is configured so that only the Division members can access the comments and that any third parties, including team managers, directors and others, are denied access. In addition, the software should be amended such that the text comments are deleted immediately after the decision has been made.

Furthermore, we would like to ask you to have the software checked by the Data Protection Officer to ensure that it complies with data protection requirements.

We would appreciate being informed as soon as possible of the steps and recommendations taken, if any. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

Yours sincerely,

Alain Dumont
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

To be continued…

Conduct of EPO Management Lacks “Basis in Legality” According to EPO Staff Representatives

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

António Campinos is no better than Benoît Battistelli, he’s just a better pretender (dictator with a phony attitude)

Director's ChairSummary: The ongoing assault on staff of the EPO isn’t going unnoticed and for the impression of consent (acceptance of this assault) a survey is being imposed on workers (with pressure put by line managers to participate); Europe as a whole is under assault from the EPO, whose decision-making groups are entirely infiltrated by special interests (to give an impression of professional consultation)

BACK in September we published this document about the EPO‘s survey, calling it a “Plot to Dismantle the EPO’s Staff” (they just want to try to give the impression of ‘their’ staff consenting to it).

The Central Staff Committee said: “Many of you contacted us seeking guidance to fill out the survey. Several of you are also feeling the pressure by your line manager to do so. You remain free to participate or not without giving any justification. The Staff representation had therefore on a very short notice created this user guide.”

The guide is long, we’ve republished it as text and images, and the subject will come back again in the near future.

The Central Staff Committee circulated the following message, noting: “This is not social dialogue as it should be, neither does it have a basis in legality. It is furthermore questionable whether the lack of involvement of the Staff Representation is compliant with ISO 45001:2018, the certification the office is presently seeking.”

Here’s the full publication, dated two months ago:

Munich 15.09.2020
sc20137cp – 0.2.1/1.3.1

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
Le Comité Central du Personnel
The administration’s strategic survey

New Normal – How will the EPO look in the future?

Dear colleagues,

The administration is asking staff to fill in a strategic survey. The outcome of the survey on the “New Normal” will be the basis for important strategic decisions by management on how the EPO will look in future!

The outcome of the survey will evidently be determining for the whole organisation. There will be very serious implications as regards inter alia: employment package and financial benefits, seat agreements, bilateral agreements with member states, income taxation, harmonization and quality of work, unity of the organisation, our office culture, communication and collaboration amongst colleagues, well-being of staff, building program, services offered on the premises (e.g. canteens and coffee corners), Amicale, expatriation, the EPO structure possibly leading to a decentralisation of the EPO via the European Patent Network etc.

The changes to come are fundamental to the whole organisation, and Staff Representation has requested to be involved. However, the current survey has been prepared solely by the administration without any input from the Staff Representation. This is not social dialogue as it should be, neither does it have a basis in legality. It is furthermore questionable whether the lack of involvement of the Staff Representation is compliant with ISO 45001:2018, the certification the office is presently seeking.

While filling in the survey, consider carefully the implications and changes on your personal situation, that of your colleagues and friends, be they in active employment or retired, as well as those on the organisation.
Your Staff Representation

Further SR publications on New Normal and related topics
- The New Normal
- Teleworking: food for thought

New Normal – How will the EPO look in the near future?

EPO future

The assault on EPO staff has parallels in this office’s policy regarding patents. The public isn’t being given any real consideration. ‘Closed doors’ meetings with lobbyists, litigation industry [sic] insiders and a bunch of non-scientists who hardly know what patents are (or how they’re intended to work) basically make all the big decisions. Only yesterday the EPO gave another example of this (warning: epo.org link), revealing that it had come up with new guidelines having not consulted the general public and without having given consideration to the law.

“Who are those members of the SACEPO WPG? How many of them ever wrote a computer program?”In the “news” section of the EPO’s site the EPO speaks of “experts in the fields of biotechnology and computer-implemented inventions (CII),” meaning illegal (in Europe) software patents. These corrupt EPO officials continue to force examiners to grant illegal patents, justifying that using guidelines composed secretly by “members of the SACEPO WPG”; to quote: “This final meeting was preceded by the first-ever public user consultation on the Guidelines 2019, as well as two main and two extraordinary meetings with members of the SACEPO WPG and experts in the fields of biotechnology and computer-implemented inventions (CII) in November 2019, May 2020 and June 2020. The results of the discussions were introduced into a first draft of the Guidelines 2021 that was reviewed and commented on by the SACEPO WPG members over the summer. [...] As usual, recent developments in technologies such as biotechnology and computer-implemented inventions (CII) were followed with great interest. As in many previous meetings, collaboration between the SACEPO WPG members and the EPO proved to be constructive and very fruitful.”

Who are those members of the SACEPO WPG? How many of them ever wrote a computer program? As per the EPO’s Web site:

I. Industry

Mr PEHAM Alois (AT)
Mr THÜRER Andreas (DE)

II. Professional Representatives

Ms HEGNER Anette (DK)
Mr WILMING Martin (CH)

III: Members appointed “ad personam”

Mr ROBERTS Gwilym (GB)
Mr RYSTEDT Hampus (SE)

Here’s a screenshot (the above page will change over time)


So what we have here is Siemens, Bosch, a bunch of law firms, people added for “diversity” factor, lobbyists advocating software patents for profit, and apparently not a single software specialist (we’ve checked all the above). These are the people who get to decide on so-called ‘CII’ policy? Truly disturbing. Might as well let a bunch of fossil fuel companies decide on environmental policy.

Inside the EPO During Corona: Managers Don’t Think of the Children, Cut Their Budget for First Time in Half a Century

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not what staff signed up for when joining the Office, relocating to another country along with family members

What comes next? Who faces the next round of cuts?

Baby: What comes nextSummary: The systematic attack on staff’s rights and welfare shows no signs of stopping; the so-called ‘president’, who isn’t even showing up for meetings with staff, has turned Europe’s second-largest institution from cash cow into a cash laundering apparatus that eats its own workers

THE management of the EPO continues to crush the staff to amass more money to gamble with (for personal gain). This is a crime. Textbook definition of looting, class warfare, or trickle-up effect (taking from the poor and/or the working class to enrich those who are already very rich). Europe’s reputation is in trouble/peril when its second-largest institution, in effect a monopoly, acts no better than the Mafia (it’s just presented in a more positive light owing to complicit, supine and sometimes bribed media).

The EPO is ruining health, relationships and even whole families. With a pandemic raging the EPO’s management doubles down on that objective, leveraging the worst possible time to implement further oppressive sanctions.

“With a pandemic raging the EPO’s management doubles down on that objective, leveraging the worst possible time to implement further oppressive sanctions.”As recently as yesterday we published a copy of this document in English [PDF] about consultation regarding allowances for kids. Office staff might be getting a new chair, but the big benefits are going away because António Campinos robs the staff while Benoît Battistelli et al steal EPO budget by gambling it away.

Here they go again:

Since the official announcements of 24 and 30 July 2020, the staff representation has received an impressive number of reactions from staff, confirming that the planned Education and Childcare Reform is a sensitive topic affecting our families and colleagues.

The President has revised the initial timeline: his aim is now to present a new scheme to the Budget and Finance Committee in May 2021 and the Administrative Council in June 2021. The President has already decided of his own volition to implement measures related to school children (aged 4 to the finalisation of secondary schools) for the school year 2022-2023. He has also announced that the timetable for implementing measures for other categories of children will be finalised in the course of the working-group discussions.

Our scheme goes back to that of the Co-ordinated Organisations since 1977 and has been amended over time, either to improve the benefits or to extend eligibility to other categories of staff. For the first time in the history of the EPO, a President has tabled a proposal that will reduce the overall budget and will have a very negative impact on some of those eligible to date. It will thus have an impact on the attendance and capacity of schools currently in use.

For these reasons, and in order to formulate an opinion and prepare counter-proposals, the staff representation believes than an in-depth financial and social impact study is necessary. Postponement will give more time for this.

The full sheet contains some of the same paragraphs and reads as follows:

Munich 03.09.2020
sc20127cp – 0.2.1/4.2.2

Education and Childcare Reform Moving ahead

Since the official announcements of 24 and 30 July 2020, the staff representation has received an impressive number of reactions from staff, confirming that the planned Education and Childcare Reform is a sensitive topic affecting our families and colleagues.

The staff representation was involved in a Working Group only once within the framework of a meeting with the administration which took place on 21 July. We received the supportive documents on 17 July, only one working day before the meeting. Our report on that meeting can be found here.

Timeline for consultation / implementation

The original timeline foresaw the submission of a final proposal for opinion to the General Consultative Committee on the 1st of October and for decision to the Administrative Council in December 2020. This would have left minimal or no margins for discussions.

The President revised the timeline: it was announced on 30 July 2020 that “[t]he aim is now to present a new scheme to the Budget and Finance Committee (BFC) in May 2021 and the Administrative Council in June 2021”. The staff representation welcomes this move as it will give more time to perform a complete impact study.

The President has already decided of his own volition that “measures related to school children (aged 4 to the finalisation of secondary schools) will be implemented for the school year 2022-2023”. He has also announced that ”[t]he timetable for implementing measures for other categories of children will be finalised in the course of the working group discussions”.

Impact study

Our education allowance scheme goes back to that of the Co-ordinated Organisations since 1977 and has been amended over time (see CA/D 6/80, CA/D 13/84, CA/D 2/98 and CA/D 10/02), either to improve the benefits or to extend eligibility to other categories of staff. For the first time in the history of the EPO, a President has tabled a proposal that will reduce the overall budget and will have a very negative impact on some of those eligible to date. It will thus have an impact on the attendance and capacity of schools currently in use. Furthermore, in the past, when the scheme was amended, a survey was conducted at the request of the General Advisory Committee (GAC) to estimate the annual costs of the proposed amendments (see e.g. CA/88/84).

For these reasons, and in order to formulate an opinion and prepare counter-proposals, the staff representation believes than an in-depth financial and social impact study is necessary.

Your Central Staff Committee

So there’s still no genuine dialogue at the Office; everything is being sold away, outsourced, sabotaged, looted. The so-called ‘president’ cannot be bothered to listen to staff and definitely won’t incorporate any of the representation’s suggestions.

Less than a week after the above publication was issued the so-called ‘president’ couldn’t even bother attending the meeting, citing health reasons (going to work without a mask and without socially distancing oneself from colleagues can lead to that).

The Central Staff Committee circulated the following letter/report:

Munich 15.09.2020
sc20136cp – 0.2.1

Non-meeting on 9 September

Dear colleagues,

The President had scheduled a meeting with the CSC on 9 September. The meeting took indeed place but, to our surprise, without the President, who could not attend for health reasons. We wish him a speedy recovery here. Instead Ms Seegert chaired the meeting. The meeting started with a human touch, with new colleagues Mr Andreas Sattler and Mr Kwai Hong Ip introducing themselves. We welcome them and wish them every success in their new positions.

We first asked to address the rewards exercise in 2020.
In our view, issues remain as in the previous exercises: gender-related discrimination, handling sick leave, part-time, covert restriction for promotion, excessive focus on production, unpredictability and opaqueness in attributing (collaborative) bonuses. PD43 (and VP1) explained that we were all wrong but that the exercise was keeping improving1. We now hope that the extra effort of staff in corona times will be decently rewarded next year. We reiterated our request for receiving the statistical data on the distribution of the rewards as already requested in written form.

The President had proposed further agenda items:

Reform of the composition of the Appeals Committee

A dedicated working group chaired by Ms Seegert herself had met twice on this topic. This was enough to arrive at irreconcilable positions as regards the eligibility of staff to sit on the Appeals Committee2. The President had already decided before the meeting to adjourn the reform sine die).

New Normal

We asked for meaningful involvement at an early stage and to be included in the New Normal taskforce, since the New Normal will have a huge impact on the whole organization and thus

1 For more details, everyone can read the President’s announcement on the Intranet.
2 Essentially as regard the criterion for eligibility. Presently only elected staff representatives can be appointed on the ApC. In future, the Office would like to allow only staff without any appeal pending to sit as members on the ApC.

a huge impact on all staff. The Administration repeated their previous position that the consultation of the Staff Representation will take place after they will have defined their policy on what New Normal should look. The Administration further announced that they would launch an online survey soon3. We would have liked to ask again personally the President to be involved early enough to contribute to sketching the big picture. Being involved in the preparation of a survey was standard even in the Battistelli era.

Education and Childcare Reform

We repeated what we had already published online. At least the President’s decision to postpone the reform has one good side: it will give more time for an in-depth financial and social impact study. The working group will meet again on 22 September, hopefully with enough information to start moving forward on this topic. To this end we requested additional statistical data by site, schools and educational stages.


Ms Seegert concluded by thanking all for the “constructive” meeting. We for our part cannot help but think that the meeting was largely unsuccessful.
On a more hopeful note: the President used to start discussing with us with the motto: “let us meet in the middle of the bridge”. This presupposes that we actually meet and talk. The next CSC meeting with the President is currently scheduled on 18 November, in 2020…

Your CSC

3 By the time this report is out, the survey might even be ongoing.

The next meeting was due two days ago, but there’s no ‘spoiler’ yet.

Either way, it seems abundantly clear and apparent there’s nobody to talk to at the Office. They just keep crushing the staff whilst only ever pretending that staff agrees to that. No wonder there’s no recruitment ongoing and quality of everything (staff welfare, staff experience, patents) rapidly decreases. To the point where European software patents are becoming ‘acceptable’, even if they’re against the law and actual courts reject those. We’ll say more about such patents in our next post.

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 19, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:55 am by Needs Sunlight



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