Links 21/11/2020: Coreboot 4.13, EasyOS 2.5, Wine 5.22, Gmusicbrowser 1.1.16

Posted in News Roundup at 12:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Top 25 Linux Interview Questions

      The IT industry depends heavily on Linux. So, if you are trying to get into one of the IT industry positions, you need to be good at Linux. As someone trying to get a position, it is essential to impress the interviewer with your knowledge, and that’s where interview preparations come in.

      To help you in your search for top Linux interview questions, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will list the top 25 Linux interview questions and answer them. However, our answers are mostly for reference purposes, and you are encouraged to research and create your own understanding of the subject matter. By doing so, you can cope with other questions and even answer stuff that requires deep knowledge.

      Linux is more secure than other operating systems due to its open-source licensing. This means that hundreds of developers work on the code and make it secure compared to other operating systems which are developed in a closed ecosystem. Apart from it being open source, other reasons make Linux more secure. The reasons include…

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #380: The Weekender LXI | Linux in the Ham Shack

        It’s time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we’re doing. We’d love to hear from you.

      • Parler, Ownership, and Open Source

        Doc Searls, Katherine Druckman, Petros Koutoupis, and Kyle Rankin talk Parler and platform lock-in, the concept of data, software, and hardware ownership, and the open source social contract.

      • Neovim Vs Vim: What’s The Difference in 2020 – YouTube

        There’s lot’s of user for both vim and neovim but one thing that doesn’t get answered to often is how they actually differ, in the past the gap was considerably wider but as time has gone on the difference has become a bit more subtle but still important.

      • Linux Users Deserve Better From AMD – YouTube

        Where’s OUR Linux review of the new AMD Radeon RX 6800 graphics cards? Jason and Schykle explain why it’s not coming any time soon, and why AMD MUST do better to prepare popular Linux distros and their users for the newest hardware launches.

      • 3 Concepts to Master for DevOps/SRE Interviews
    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • [ANNOUNCE] libX11 1.7.0
          Here's a summary of changes from README.md:
          libX11 version 1.7.0 includes a new API, hence the change from the 1.6
          series to 1.7:
           * XSetIOErrorExitHandler which provides a mechanism for applications
             to recover from I/O error conditions instead of being forced to
             exit. Thanks to Carlos Garnacho for this.
          This release includes a bunch of bug fixes, some which have been pending for over three years:
           * A bunch of nls cleanups to remove obsolete entries and clean up
             formatting of the ist. Thanks to Benno Schulenberg for these.
           * Warning fixes and other cleanups across a huge swath of the
             library. Thanks to Alan Coopersmith for these.
           * Memory allocation bugs, including leaks and use after free in the
             locale code. Thanks to Krzesimir Nowak, Jacek Caban and Vittorio
             Zecca for these.
           * Thread safety fixes in the locale code. Thanks to Jacek Caban for
           * poll_for_response race condition fix. Thanks to Frediano Ziglio for
             the bulk of this effort, and to Peter Hutterer for careful review
             and improvements.
          Version 1.7.0 includes a couple of new locales:
           * ia and ie locales. Thanks to Carmina16 for these.
          There are also numerous compose entries added, including:
           * |^ or ^| for ↑, |v or v| for ↓, ~~ for ≈. Thanks to Antti
              Savolainen for this.
           * Allowing use of 'v' for caron, in addition to 'c', so things like
             vC for Č, vc for č. Thanks to Benno Schulenberg for this.
           * Compose sequences LT, lt for '<', and GT, gt for '>' for keyboards
             where those are difficult to access. Thanks to Jonathan Belsewir
             for this.
        • X11 Library Sees Lots Of Fixes With libX11 1.7 Release

          It’s been seven years since the release of libX11 1.6.0 for this central X11 library while on Friday was replaced by the libX11 1.7 series. The release is primarily made up of fixes but leading to the version bump is a new API that allows for applications to recover from I/O error conditions rather than being forced to exit.

          That API addition for libX11 1.7.0 is interesting with XSetIOErrorExitHandler. But besides that are many fixes that accumulated for quite a while. The fixes range from warning fixes to memory allocation bugs being addressed to thread safety issues being resolved. There are also new locales and other changes with libX11 1.7.0.

    • Applications

      • Ymuse – GTK front-end (client) for Music Player Daemon

        My favorite pastime is to see an eclectic range of bands, solo artists, and orchestras live. It’s such a life-changing and exhilarating experience to be present. It’s one thing to be sitting at home listening to a CD or watching music videos on TV or on YouTube, but being with an audience, packed out in a stadium or music hall, takes it to another level. But it’s an expensive pastime, and still on hold given the current coronavirus pandemic. I’m therefore listening to music from my CD collection which I’ve encoded to FLAC, a lossless audio format, and stored locally.

        Linux offers a huge array of open source music players. And many of them are high quality. I’ve reviewed the vast majority for LinuxLinks, but I’m endeavoring to explore every free music player in case there’s an undiscovered gem.

        Ymuse is billed as an easy, functional, and snappy GTK front-end (client) for Music Player Daemon. It’s written in Go.

      • Gmusicbrowser 1.1.16 Released! How to Install it in Ubuntu 20.04 | UbuntuHandbook

        Gmusicbrowser, an open-source jukebox for large music collections, released version 1.1.16 a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, Linux Mint 20.

        Gmusicbrowser 1.1.16 is the first release in over 5 years. And now it’s working on GTK3 port.

      • gmusicbrowser Music Player Sees First Release In More Than 5 Years

        After almost 5 and a half years of no new releases, gmusicbrowser was finally updated. The latest gmusicbrowser 1.1.16 brings support for Opus files, adds musixmatch.com as a music source to the Lyrics plugin, and it fixes the replaygain, equalizer and gapless playback with mpv 0.28.0 and newer, among many other small changes.

      • Cloud Data Encryptor Cryptomator Adds Experimental FUSE Support On Windows, KWallet Integration

        Cryptomator, a client-side encryption tool for cloud files (and more), has been updated recently with experimental FUSE support on Windows (via WinFSP), KWallet support, vault statistics, and more.

        Cryptomator is a free and open source Java tool that provides client-side encryption for your cloud storage files, available for Windows, Mac and Linux. There are also iOS and Android applications – these are open core (a business model for the monetization of commercially produced open-source software), and need to be purchased.

        It works with cloud storage services that synchronize with a local directory, like Dropbox, OneDrive (on Linux using e.g. OneDrive Free Client fork) and Google Drive (including using it with Insync). You can choose to either encrypt your whole cloud storage, or only a few sensitive files, in either a single or multiple vaults.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • FREE 4 Hour Ubuntu Course for Beginners [Ed: This course must not be too good/factual if they skip GNU and leap to 1991]

        Linux is a well-known operating system. In 1991, Linux was created by a university student named Linux Torvalds. All software’s architecture is covered with Linux, as it helps to communicate between the computer program and the system hardware and also manages the requests between them. Linux is open-source software. It is distinguishable from other operating systems in many ways. People having professional skills related to programming can also edit their code, as it is freely available for everyone. Torvalds intended to name his creation as ‘freaks,’ but the administrator used to distribute the code by its creator’s first name and Unix, so that name stuck.

      • Monitoring failed login attempts on Linux [Ed: Those are GNU programs (grep, head…), not “LINUX”]

        Repeated failed login attempts on a Linux server can indicate that someone is trying to break into an account or might only mean that someone forgot their password or is mistyping it. In this post, we look at how you can check for failed login attempts and check your system’s settings to see when accounts will be locked to deal with the problem.

        One of the first things you need to know is how to check if logins are failing. The command below looks for indications of failed logins in the /var/log/auth.log file used on Ubuntu and related systems. When someone tries logging in with a wrong or misspelled password, failed logins will show up as in the lines below:

      • How to Install PHP OPcache on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install PHP OPcache on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, OPcache improves PHP performance by storing precompiled script bytecode in shared memory, thereby removing the need for PHP to load and parse scripts on each request, it simply means any consequent requests for the same script then OpCache stores this script on it memory on the first execution, to be reused afterward, thus leading to performance boosts.

        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 PHP OPcache 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.

      • The Beginner’s Guide to Btrfs – Make Tech Easier

        Most desktop Linux users have probably heard of a “Copy on Write” filesystem like ZFS or Btrfs, and along with that, the benefits of those CoW filesystems. Compression, built-in RAID functionality, and snapshot capabilities make them incredibly advanced and modern filesystems. But how do you get started with one of these filesystems? Given that Btrfs is fully FOSS and built into the Linux Kernel, that’s a great place to start. Here we walk you through our beginner’s guide to Btrfs.

      • How to play multiplayer arcade games on Linux

        Fightcade is an emulator that allows PC gamers to enjoy fighting arcade video games with their friends over the internet. If you’re a Linux gamer who loves playing old arcade games, this guide is for you. Follow along as we go over how to set up Fightcade on Linux!

        Installing Fightcade on Linux

        Before we can go over how to play fighting arcade games online with friends on Linux, the Fightcade client must be installed. Thankfully, the developers behind the app make it super easy to install on a multitude of Linux distributions.

        To start installing Fightcade on your Linux PC, open up a terminal window on the Linux desktop. Once the terminal window is open on your computer, follow along with the installation instructions below to get Fightcade set up on your computer.

      • How to Install MySQL 8 on CentOS 8

        MySQL Server is the most popular tool used for relational databases. It hosts multiple databases using a single server where allows multi-user can access these databases individually. At the time, when we are writing this article MySQL Server 8.0 is available for installation. This version introduced some new features that are not compatible with some applications. So, first, read the application documentation before deploy on CentOS 8 server.

        In this article, we will explain how to install MySQL on CentOS 8 using the terminal. We will also show you how to get started with using MySQL 8.

      • Recording animated Gifs with Peek on Debian 10 Buster

        If you want to extract a gif from any video without having a lot of video editing expertise, Peek should be your go-to tool. It is a very simple screen recorder with an easy to use interface. Peek makes it easy to create short screencasts of a screen area. It was built for the specific use case of recording screen areas, e.g. for easily showing UI features of your own apps or for showing a bug in bug reports. With Peek, you simply place the Peek window over the area you want to record and press “Record”. Peek is optimized for generating animated GIFs, but you can also directly record to WebM or MP4 if you prefer. Peek is not a general-purpose screencast app with extended features but rather focuses on the single task of creating small, silent screencasts of an area of the screen for creating GIF animations or silent WebM or MP4 videos.

      • How to install FileZilla Client on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Linux – Linux Shout

        Most of us managing files on hosting servers by directly opening the file manager on CPANEL via HTTP protocol, however, that is actually not an FTP connection. The FTP protocol is meant for uploading or downloading files to web servers and file servers. And if you want to use an FTP connection to connect your Cloud or hosting server then Filezilla is one of the best clients available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • WineHQ – Wine Announcement – The Wine development release 5.22 is now available.
        The Wine development release 5.22 is now available.
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - C runtime libraries converted to PE.
          - Use fontconfig cache for faster startup.
          - Video playback improvements.
          - 3DES cipher support.
          - Various bug fixes.
        The source is available from the following locations:
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
      • Wine compatibility layer development release 5.22 is up, video fixes and 3DES support | GamingOnLinux

        The Wine 5.22 release also brings with it a note about 36 bug fixes which include fixes for: Guild Wars 2 Launcher, Elite Dangerous Launcher, Fallout New Vegas, Wargaming.net Game Center, Ghostrunner, Overwatch and more.

      • Wine 5.22 Released With Video Playback Improvements, More PE Conversion – Phoronix

        We should be getting near the end of the Wine 5.xx development releases with the timed Wine 6.0 release likely to come in early 2021, but for now Wine 5.22 is out with the latest feature work for running Windows programs and games on Linux and macOS.

        Wine 5.22 continues the trend of converting more components into PE portable executable format, this time around the C run-time libraries have been converted to PE. Wine 5.22 also now uses the fontconfig cache for yielding faster start-ups, video playback improvements, 3DES cipher support was added to Wine, and around 36 known bug fixes.

    • Games

      • Humble Store is doing a big Fall Sale, save on loads until December 1 | GamingOnLinux

        Another chance to stock up for the weekend and the coming Winter, as Humble Store are running a big Fall Sale and as usual there’s plenty discounted you might like.

      • Facebook are now funding the open source 3D creation suite Blender | GamingOnLinux

        In a move that’s sure to raise a few eyebrows, the Blender Foundation has announced that Facebook has joined the Blender Development Fund.

        Facebook are joining as a Corporate Patron, meaning they will be supplying Blender with at least €120K/year or more. It’s not a small sum but for the likes of Facebook, it’s likely still money they found down the back of a sofa. Ton Roosendaal, Chairman of the Blender Foundation mentions, “We at Blender see this as another important signal of the industry’s willingness to migrate to open source, and contribute to open source’s continual improvement.”.

      • Facebook joins the Blender Development Fund — blender.org

        To support these artists and the countless other animators, researchers, engineers, designers and content creators who depend on open source tools, Facebook wishes to contribute to the development of Blender. Which is why we’re proud to announce that Facebook will join the Blender Foundation’s Development Fund as a Corporate Patron as of Q4, 2020.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Sugar Learning Tools – Part III

          During my GUADEC presentation I mentioned the things I wanted to achieve moving forward with this project. Primarily, improving the documentation and porting guide to ensure that this project can scale and, of course, port more art-oriented applications.

          For improving the documentation, I ported Sugar’s official “hello world” and re-wrote the porting guide based on this application. By using this minimal application as an example, it becomes much easier to highlight the key porting steps and concepts. I also took the opportunity to update the application itself to the latest version of the Sugar toolkit.

          As for porting new applications, I didn’t get to port as many art-oriented applications as I wished. Mostly due to the fact that most of those are still using GTK2 and Python2, so it would require more time I can afford at the moment. Nevertheless, I ported some pretty awesome ones.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Garuda Linux “Black Eagle” Released With A New Dr460nized edition

          After the release of v201007 “Golden Eagle” last month, the Garuda team has now announced a new major version 201119 codenamed “Black Eagle” of its Arch-based Garuda Linux.

          Unsurprisingly, this Garuda v201119 also introduces a new edition called dr460nized. It is a clean, lightweight, and modified KDE version with a lot of blurs, macOS like app menu at the top, Latte as dock and fish shell.

        • Garuda Linux “Black Eagle” (201119)
        • EasyOS version 2.5 released

          EasyOS 2.5 is the latest in the 2.x Buster-series, built with Debian 10.6 DEBs. As well as the DEBs, other packages are updated, including SeaMonkey 2.53.5, and the Linux kernel is now 5.4.78. There have been many infrastructure and utility fixes and improvements, including hardware-profiling for the CPU temperature monitor. The single most significant application change relative to the previous release is the new BluePup bluetooth manager, replacing Blueman (though Blueman is in the repository, so can be installed if needed). The Multiple Sound Card Wizard has been integrated with BluePup.

        • Easy Buster version 2.5
      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Trinity Guard Unveils New Tools for Linux, Db2 for i – IT Jungle

          Trinity Guard is on the move. The Houston, Texas, based security software company, which is the spiritual successor to the PentaSafe products, is rolling out a full auditing solution for Linux. It’s also developing a Linux version of its security management tool, TGCentral, with an AIX version up next. Plus it’s months away from releasing an encryption solution for Db2 for i.

          2020 has not been easy for anyone, but it’s not stopping the folks at Trinity Guard from moving forward on its roadmap items. Near the top of that list is increased support for running on Linux, which has become the dominant operating system for business servers around the world.

          The new TGAudit for Linux solution provides a full-fledged auditing solution for a variety of Linux environments, including Linux running on Power, X86, and ARM servers. The offering will interrogate a customer’s Linux environment and return a report that shows exactly how its security settings are configured, says Randy Bowie, the vice president of engineering at Trinity Guard.

        • Scaling Flathub 100x – Alexander Larsson

          Flatpak relies on OSTree to distribute apps. This means that flatpak repositories, such as Flathub, are really just OSTree repositories. At the core of an OSTree repository is the summary file, which describes the content of the repository. This is similar to the metadata that “apt-get update” downloads.

          Every time you do an flatpak install it needs the information in the summary file. The file is cached between operations, but any time the repository changes the local copy needs to be updated.

          This can be pretty slow, with Flathub having around 1000 applications (times 4 architectures). In addition, the more applications there are, the more likely it is that one has been updated since the last time which means you need to update.

        • Keystone and Cassandra: Parity with SQL | Adam Young’s Web Log

          Look back at our Pushing Keystone over the Edge presentation from the OpenStack Summit. Many of the points we make are problems faced by any application trying to scale across multiple datacenters. Cassandra is a database designed to deal with this level of scale. So Cassandra may well be a better choice than MySQL or other RDBMS as a datastore to Keystone. What would it take to enable Cassandra support for Keystone?

          Lets start with the easy part: defining the tables. Lets look at how we define the Federation back end for SQL. We use SQL Alchemy to handle the migrations: we will need something comparable for Cassandra Query Language (CQL) but we also need to translate the table definitions themselves.

        • Fedora program update: 2020-47 – Fedora Community Blog

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. Elections voting is open through 3 December. Fedora 31 will reach end-of-life on Tuesday. EPEL 6 will reach end-of-life on 30 November.

        • Testing the reliability of Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage on VMWare Distributed vSAN HA

          Storage reliability plays a critical role in managing business-critical applications. A reliable storage solution can help enterprises avoid unnecessary downtime. With Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage continuing to evolve, this blog post shows how we verified the combined reliability of OpenShift Container Storage and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform when it comes to high availability (HA) in a hardware configuration supported out of the box (mentioned in the Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage Planning Guide). We performed active/passive and active/active site configuration tests.

        • Linux Foundation, IBM, Cisco and others back ‘Inclusive Naming Initiative’ to change nasty tech terms [Ed: The LF participates in PR offensive of hugely unethical companies trying to ban language to distract from bad track record]

          A new group called the “Inclusive Naming Initiative” has revealed its existence and mission “to help companies and projects remove all harmful and unclear language of any kind and replace it with an agreed-upon set of neutral terms.”

        • Tech Organizations Back ‘Inclusive Naming Initiative’
    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Announcing coreboot 4.13

        coreboot 4.13 was released on November 20th, 2020.

        Since 4.12 there were 4200 new commits by over 234 developers.
        Of these, about 72 contributed to coreboot for the first time.

        Thank you to all developers who again helped made coreboot better
        than ever, and a big welcome to our new contributors!

      • Coreboot 4.13 Adds Intel TXT, Picks Up New Boards For AMD Pollock, Intel Alder Lake

        Coreboot 4.13 is out today as the latest tagged version of this open-source firmware platform supporting a wide range of hardware.

        Coreboot 4.13 brings initial support for Intel TXT (Trusted eXecution Technology) that can be used with a Coreboot Measured Launch Environment, support for hidden PCI devices, built-in Address Sanitizer support for run-time memory debugging, initial support for building Coreboot as x86_64 code for better performance and allowing use of more than 4GB of RAM, an updated resource allocator, and other improvements.

      • Web Browsers

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.4 and 7.0 User Guides

          I am way behind updating this blog, including mentioning the LibreOffice 6.4 user guides that have been published in 2020. These include Getting Started Guide, Writer Guide, Base Guide, Calc Guide, Draw Guide, and Math Guide.

        • LibreOffice 7.0

          LibreOffice is a suite of programs for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, and vector drawings. It is free to download, use, and distribute. It is available in many languages and runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows.

        • What to do with a document “created by a newer version of OpenOffice” – The Document Foundation Blog

          In this case, the document probably wasn’t created in OpenOffice, but in LibreOffice, a successor project. LibreOffice 7.0 introduced support for OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.3, which includes many new features and benefits.

          LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice share the same roots, and while Apache OpenOffice’s last major release (4.1) was back in 2014, LibreOffice has since been developed much further with extra features and updates.

      • FSF

        • FSF Giving Guide: It’s the thought that counts, so think freedom
        • FSF Giving Guide: It’s the thought that counts, so think freedom

          Even though we’re still in the midst of the pandemic, the holiday season is upon us, and with it comes the time people around the world give gifts to show their appreciation. Companies are starting their sales early this year, and as usual are focusing heavily on tech gifts. But before you buy anything, you should make sure that that gift isn’t putting your friend or family member under unjust control.

          Each year, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) publishes a new version of our Ethical Tech Giving Guide as a way to help concerned individuals make sure that the presents they plan on giving their loved ones don’t come with dangerous consequences for their freedom. Many of these devices have been through our Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification program, meaning that they and the retailers that offer them have been held to the highest scrutiny when it comes to matters of software freedom.

          In the last year, some of the devices on this list have become scarcer, highlighting the pressing need for more hardware that is compatible with a fully free system. Some devices we recommend may only be available from a certain retailer. While it may not be readily available in local stores, offering a gift like the Libiquity Taurinus X200 is perfect for someone who has just become aware of free software’s importance and is interested in going further, or for the free software activist in your life who would love for you to support a company trying to do the right thing. Even better, by avoiding popular but ethically unacceptable devices from manufacturers like Apple, you’re letting your loved ones know that you care about them too much to compromise their freedom. By choosing a device like the upcoming Librem 5 mobile phone from the Giving Guide, you’re walking a different path from everyone else, choosing the road to freedom instead of subjugation.

        • International Day Against DRM (IDAD) 2020

          This year’s annual day in protest of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) will be on December 4th, 2020, and will focus on streaming services’ unjust use of DRM. We need your help to spread that message far and wide to both anti-DRM activists and those simply concerned with how in a world with continued technological advancement, our digital freedoms are increasingly under threat.

        • Copyright reform activist Julia Reda to keynote FSF’s LibrePlanet, March 20 & 21, 2021

          Julia Reda is the first keynote to be confirmed for the 2021 edition of the LibrePlanet conference. Reda is a former European Parliament member who is well known for her work on copyright reform and net neutrality. She is an affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and a Shuttleworth Foundation fellow. Currently, Julia Reda leads the fundamental rights litigation project “control ©” at the German Society for Civil Rights.

          Reda will discuss the need for public funding for free software projects from different governments around the world. She notes, “The recent decision by Trump to defund the Open Technology Fund has highlighted the dangers of a public funding landscape for public interest technology that relies too heavily on a single government, whose priorities could change rapidly at any time.” Reda believes funding should be decentralized to avoid single points of failure, and is currently working on establishing a European or German framework for free (as in freedom) technology funding.

        • LibrePlanet 2021: Join us online on March 20 & 21 with keynote Julia Reda

          Mark your calendars: LibrePlanet 2021: Empowering Users will be held on March 20 and 21, 2021. For those of you who haven’t been to the LibrePlanet conference before: expect a friendly, social, community-focused event with two days of inspiring talks and workshops from some of the most active and inspiring people in the free software community.

        • FSF calls for community participation to help update High Priority Free Software Projects list

          The High Priority Free Software Projects (HPP) initiative draws attention to areas of development and specific projects of strategic importance to the goal of freedom for all computer users. The HPP list helps guide volunteers, developers, funders, and companies to projects where their skills and resources can be utilized, whether they be in coding, graphic design, writing, financial contributions, or activism.

          Longtime committee member Benjamin Mako Hill said previously that an “updated High Priority Projects list is a description of the most important threats, and most critical opportunities, that free software faces in the modern computing landscape.” As computing is more ubiquitous than ever, the HPP list reflects ongoing changes in priorities for the free software movement.

        • Committee begins review of High Priority Projects free software list

          The High Priority Free Software Projects (HPP) initiative draws attention to areas of improvement to the HPP list and specific projects of great strategic importance to the goal of freedom for all computer users. Longtime committee member Benjamin Mako Hill said previously that an “updated High Priority Projects list is a description of the most important threats, and most critical opportunities, that free software faces in the modern computing landscape.” As computing is more ubiquitous than ever, the HPP list must reflect ongoing changes in priorities for the free software movement. The committee is starting the new process of updating the HPP, and we need your input.

          Fifteen years ago, the first version of the HPP list debuted with only four projects, three of them related to Java. Eighteen months later, Sun began to free Java users, proving the strength of advocacy campaigns for free software. Another example of the effectiveness of the list is when the HPP list called for a donor and contact management system, which was then promptly acted on by the developers of CiviCRM, who delivered the database management system that is currently still in use by the FSF and more than eleven thousand other nonprofit or governmental organizations. The list’s persuasive powers can help guide existing projects, developers looking for a new project, investors, and volunteers to direct their focus toward those projects that will deliver the greatest benefit to user freedom.

        • Intern blog: Journeying into the free software world

          Hello, my name is Daniel Katz! I am beginning my internship with the FSF in the fall of 2020, where I will start by converting the sites used to draft the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3), mostly https://gplv3.fsf.org, into a static Web site that can be themed into a historical archive. I began my relationship with the FSF a few years back when I realized the need for free software, but did not have the technical skills to contribute to community projects. As such, I started by volunteering with the Licensing & Compliance team to digitize legal documents, and writing about free software in my school’s magazines.

          I started programming the summer before high school, where I taught myself Java in order to take the AP Computer Science A exam. From there, I learned Python, my current language of choice, and dove into the world of free software, doing everything from teaching to competitive programming. Recently, I worked on a project that used sentiment analysis and Twitter to get a feel of how people around the US are feeling about the coronavirus. I run GNU/Linux on my desktop and laptop.

        • FSF35 videos online: Find them on PeerTube and MediaGoblin

          On October 9th, 2020, we ended the Free Software Foundation’s (FSF) birthday week with an online anniversary event featuring both live and prerecorded segments. We were honored to have guests from different free software fields join us live for the celebration of the coral anniversary, and we were so thankful to receive prerecorded birthday messages from people in every corner of the world.

          Many supporters asked us after the birthday celebration was over if the exciting sessions we hosted would be available online. So many community members made such valuable and fascinating contributions, and we didn’t want you to miss out! Plus, the free software community is a global one, and between international members and American members who couldn’t take time out of a work day, there are plenty of people who wanted to participate but weren’t able.

      • Programming/Development

        • Perl/Raku

        • Rust

          • Rust 1.48 released

            In the new language update, the “unsafe” keyword is now syntactically permitted on modules. This is still rejected semantically, but can now be parsed by procedural macros.

            The stabilized -C link-self-contained= compiler flag, tells rustc whether to link its own C runtime and libraries or to rely on an external linker to find them. (Supported only on windows-gnu, linux-musl, and wasi platforms.)

  • Leftovers

    • The projector lamp trap

      I’ve owned three different projectors in the last decade. All of them have been your average mid-range wall-mounted home-theater projector. Fool me thrice, and I’ve finally learned my lesson and bought a TV instead.

      Initially, I wanted a projector instead of a TV because it gave me a huge picture without burdening myself with a big and transport-unfriendly piece of furniture. I also disliked the idea of having a big and imposing black box in my living room. I decided to get a wall-mounted projector instead.

      The first projector I got was an Optoma. It lasted five years and went out with a literal bang when the bulb exploded and took with it the mirrors in the lamp housing as well. It sent shards of glass flying everywhere and down onto my head and all over the sofa. Let’s just say I was quite shocked by the episode.

      I wasn’t sure if the projector still worked or if some pieces of glass had embedded themselves into other components. I found a replacement bulb and lamp housing listed in one online store, but it cost almost as much as a new projector. I didn’t want to make an investment in replacement parts that I wasn’t sure would fix the problem.

      I decided to replace it with another newer Optoma model instead of trying to clean out all the glass, and investing in a new lamp housing that might not work. I checked the cost of a replacement bulb and lamp housing for the new model before buying it. The bulb and lamp housing for the new projector cost about 90 USD, but I didn’t buy it when I bought the new projector.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Why You Should Trust Open Source Software Security | IT Pro

            When it comes to open source vs. proprietary software security, security experts say open source software security sets the bar high.

          • SUSE Private Registry: A safe Harbor for your containers. – SUSE Communities

            SUSE Private Registry provides integration points for container content vulnerability scanning services. Included by default is Trivy, a simple and comprehensive scanner that can search image contents for vulnerabilities in OS packages (for SLES, openSUSE, Alpine, RHEL, CentOS, Debian, and others) as well as many language/framework package managers (like Bundler, Composer, Pipenv, Poetry, npm, yarn, and Cargo).

          • Basics of Kubernetes security – IBM Developer

            Kubernetes is popular among developers and administrators, and the concepts of deploying, scaling, and managing containerized applications are very familiar. However, when production deployments are discussed, one area of Kubernetes that is critical to production deployments is security. It’s important to understand how the platform manages authentication and authorization of users and applications.

            If your Kubernetes cluster holds sensitive information such as bank account details, medical records, or anything confidential, you should take advantage of all the security precautions that Kubernetes offers. In addition, you can use plenty of non-Kubernetes-specific security tools and approaches to add extra security layers.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Rights, Press freedom and India – Experiences in the community

        This particular gentleman is a class apart. He is the editor as well as Republic TV, a right-leaning channel which demonizes the minority, women whatever is antithesis to the Central Govt. of India. As a result there have been a spate of cases against him in the past few months. But surprisingly, in each of them he got hearing the day after the suit was filed. This is unique in Indian legal history so much so that a popular legal site which publishes on-going cases put up a post sharing how he was getting prompt hearings. That post itself needs to be updated as there have been 3 more hearings which have been done back to back for him. This is unusual as there have been so many cases pending for the SC attention, some arguably more important than this gentleman . So many precedents have been set which will send a wrong message. The biggest one, that even though a trial is taking place in the sessions court (below High Court) the SC can interject on matters. What this will do to the morale of both lawyers as well as judges of the various Sessions Court is a matter of speculation and yet as shared unprecedented. The saddest part was when Justice Chandrachud said –

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Missing Inventor Doomed Broad’s CRISPR Patent At EPO

          The Broad Institute can’t take advantage of the priority date in provisional patent applications for the breakthrough gene-editing technology CRISPR because it didn’t list the same inventors on its subsequent European patent application, the European Patent Office Board of Appeal said earlier this month.

          In explaining why it upheld a decision revoking the Broad Institute’s patent in January, the appeal board faulted the research institute for leaving one of the inventors from its U.S. provisional patent applications off its European patent application. By doing so, the board said the institute lost its right to claim the provisional applications’ earlier priority date.

        • Patent Office Updates You Need to Know

          The U.S. Copyright Office is further extending emergency measures, including the extension of statutory deadlines for persons affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Register is extending the modifications for up to an additional 60 days, or through January 8, 2021. More information here.

          The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced that, effective January 4, 2021, oral proceedings before the Opposition Divisions will proceed only by videoconference. Oral proceedings before the Examining and Opposition Divisions that cannot be conducted via remote means will be postponed until after September 15, 2021. The EPO also updated remedies available to applicants in cases involving non-observance of time limits caused by COVID-19.

        • RF Venue Receives Important European Diversity Fin® Antenna Patent

          RF Venue, Inc., a global leader in antenna and RF wireless communication products, today announced that it has received notice from the European Patent Office that it will grant a new patent for the company’s innovative Diversity Fin® Antenna platforms stemming from an earlier filing. The patent can be accessed at: https://data.epo.org/publication-server/rest/v1.0/publication-dates/20180117/patents/EP3270462NWA2/document.html

          The “Decision to grant a European patent pursuant to Article 97(1) EP” was granted on November 5, 2020, and allows RF Venue to further protect its products relating to the platform in the countries of Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom in the future.

        • Microbot Medical (MBOT) Secures Patents in Multiple Global Jurisdictions

          Microbot Medical Inc. (Nasdaq: MBOT) announced that it has received patents in multiple jurisdictions, further demonstrating the Company’s continued execution of expanding and protecting its Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio. The Company now has 40 issued/allowed patents and 23 patent applications pending worldwide.

          “As we continue to make progress on the development, clinical and regulatory fronts, it is encouraging that we are also achieving our goals to broaden the protection of our novel technologies,” commented Harel Gadot, CEO, President and Chairman. “Strengthening our IP portfolio is a critical component of Microbot’s strategy for facilitating product evolution and maximizing future commercial opportunities.”

        • Patent Games in the Global South

          On this Kat’s night stand during the long, locked-down nights in Florence was Amaka Vanni’s monograph Patent Games in the Global South: Pharmaceutical Patent Law-Making in Brazil, India and Nigeria (Hart 2020). Vanni is not just a legal scholar, but also a documentary filmmaker—and it shows in her writing. The from-the-ground-up account of pharmaceutical patents in Brazil, India and Nigeria she offers is timely and perceptive, and like a good documentary, it manages to be both objective and intimate.

          Vanni’s work comes at a time when structural racism and inequality are – at long last – being discussed in earnest [see Katpost here]. Feelings of hopelessness and defeat may all too easily take hold of us when considering the gross injustices perpetrated against former colonies and the echoes they carry still today. At the time of writing, atrocities are being committed by the government of Vanni’s home country, Nigeria, against peaceful protesters: once again, it seems that the world stands by idly.

          Patent Games in the Global South shows that, far from being insulated from these perverse relations of power, intellectual property [IP] laws can be tools for perpetuating colonial dominance at the expense of local populations. The strength of the book is that it tells us there is hope, and Vanni’s meticulous research may yet lead the way towards a more equitable system of IP in non-Western jurisdictions.

        • Update from the EPO on Opposition Oral Proceedings

          Earlier this year, the EPO announced a pilot scheme for Opposition Division Oral Proceedings via videoconference. The pilot scheme, however, required that the parties to the proceedings agreed to the use of videoconference. This meant that parties could delay proceedings by refusing to attend via videoconference and one suspects that because of this, the EPO’s backlog of opposition cases has grown significantly since the beginning of 2020.

          In an attempt to combat the backlog, the EPO has now announced that the pilot scheme for videoconference Oral Proceedings at the Opposition Divisions will be extended to 15 September 2021, and that all in-person hearings will be postponed until after this date. From 4 January 2021, all examination and opposition hearings will therefore be held via videoconference and in-person hearings will only take place in exceptional circumstances (see here).

        • Update From The EPO On Opposition Oral Proceedings

          While the Examination and Opposition Divisions seem to have embraced videoconference Oral Proceedings, there has been no further update at this time from the Boards of Appeal, which still seem to favour in-person hearings.

        • Statistics on PPH requests in China

          According to the statistics of Patent Prosecution Highway(PPH) provided by CNIPA, by the end of December 2019, CNIPA has received 37,265 PPH requests, including 27,448 National-PPH requests and 9817 PCT-PPH requests. 【Number of PPH requests with CNIPA as the Office of Later Examination】 The applicants used 16,423 work product from the JPO, 12,461 from the USPTO, 4,697 from the EPO, 2,416 from the KIPO, 360 from the German Patent and Trademark Office and 202 from the Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom.

        • New rules of procedure for EPO Boards of Appeal – amending claims in appeal

          Since 1 January 2020 the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO have become stricter. This has serious consequences for the timing of sending requests for amendments in pending patent applications or granted patents in opposition. IP managers responsible for spending money on European patent applications and patents should be aware that their European patent attorneys will ask for higher budgets during first-instance EPO proceedings because it has now become difficult, if not impossible, to ‘repair’ in appeal proceedings what has been omitted at first instance. Appeal proceedings are, essentially, only a new opportunity to convince the EPO of a viewpoint already presented in first-instance proceedings. It is advisable to be aware that the new rules of procedure also apply to pending appeals, even if filed long before 1 January 2020.

          In the past, I heard a European patent attorney from a German firm complaining: “I’m getting more and more fed up with the examiners at the EPO. It’s so hard to change their opinion. I’m now increasingly using the option to file a request for a ‘status of the file’ and I will then file an appeal and repair everything.” Such a request for the ‘status of the file’ means that the examiner refuses the application and summarises the grounds for the refusal. Such a refusal can be appealed.

        • Haseltine Lake Kempner’s EPO Patent Applications Newsletter Is Out Now!
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