11.26.20

The UPC and Unitary Patent Song

Posted in Europe, Humour, Patents at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Little bo peep

Summary: On goes the UPC symphony, as the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is almost here, always coming “real soon!”

UP on a hill
There is a new bill
The lawyers are shrill
Confident they feel

This is the year!
This is the time!
This is the moment!

Oh, wait
What is that?
Again it goes splat
No worry, coming next year!

A year passes
Constitutional bypasses
Misled politicians
Recruited for missions

Courts get in the way
For that they will pay
How dare they say
UPC is not OK

Lobbying redirected
Lambrecht erected
No need to get elected
The coup is enacted

Constitutions in shreds
Embarrassing the Feds
Joyous the Reds
Complainants emerged

UPC is coming
If not now
Then next year
And if not next year
Then the year after that
Or the year after next year
Or the year after next next year
Or next next next next year

It’s coming
Honest!

Open Letter to the German Greens on UPC and Software Patents: Don’t Betray Your Voters and Your Promises, or You Will Regret it

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:10 am by Guest Editorial Team

By Benjamin HENRION, FFII

European Greens against software patents
European Greens against software patents

Dear Members of the German Greens in the Bundestag,
Dear Members of the Greens in the European Parliament,

There is a vote this afternoon at 3PM on the ratification by Germany of the UPC.

The software patent directive of 2005 was rejected at the request of
multinationals, who preferred to push for a trusted patent court instead of modifying the substantive patent law.

The Greens always had a clear position on this issue of software
patenting at the EU level, and a clear position during the European
Elections.

We recommended to our numerous supporters to vote for the Greens during the european elections in each of their countries because the Greens were the only party with a clear position on this issue, as other political parties were split.

IF YOU VOTE FOR THE UPC THIS AFTERNOON IN THE BUNDESTAG, WE WILL MAKE SURE YOUR ELECTORS IN GERMANY AND ELSEWHERE WILL BE INFORMED THAT YOU BETRAYED THEM IN NOT KEEPING YOUR ELECTORAL PROMISES, IN THAT THE TRUST THEY GAVE TO YOU BY VOTING FOR YOUR PARTY IS BROKEN.

I will personally make sure this betrayal is well documented and in the media.

We had a similar issue during the ratification in Belgium.

Please read carrefully our open letter we sent few days back:

https://ffii.org/is-germany-competing-with-hungary-and-poland-on-the-worst-rule-of-law-award-with-its-rushed-ratification-of-the-unitary-patent/
https://ffii.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/ffii-upc-bundestag-europe.pdf

Best regards,

Benjamin Henrion
FFII e.V.

“In July 2005, after several failed attempts to legalise software patents in Europe, the patent establishment changed its strategy. Instead of explicitly seeking to sanction the patentability of software, they are now seeking to create a central European patent court, which would establish and enforce patentability rules in their favor, without any possibility of correction by competing courts or democratically elected legislators.”

Links

“As for the supposed reduction of costs pursued by the regulation : “the proposal will reduce the cost of registration but it will increase the overall cost of patent protection because litigation will become more complicated and expensive

http://rememberjuly6th.wikidot.com/press-release:ict-industry-warns-meps

Kluwer: Are you concerned German re-ratification will be pushed through parliament? Is there enough support for the UPC in Germany?

Patrick Breyer MEP: ”This will likely depend on the German Greens. In the past they have agreed with the principle of a unitary patent system and voted in favour.”

[Meme] One Step Away From Replacing Patent Examiners With ‘Hey Hi’ (AI)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In the European Patent Office nobody knows if you're human

Summary: If it’s not legal for ‘Hey Hi’ (AI) to get a patent, why should it be legal for patents to be granted by those who are invisible (and sometimes in de facto house arrest)?

European Patent Office (EPO) Reduced to ‘Justice Over the Telephone’ and Decree by E-mail

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chinese labour “standards” (from the back door)

The EPO's threatening language

Being behind bars

Summary: The EPO is trashing the EPC and everything that the Office was supposed to stand for, as it wrongly assumes demand for monopolies (typically from foreign corporations) comes before the rule of law and Europe’s public interest

WE are gratified to see responses to the EPO regime of António Campinos; after Benoît Battistelli ‘kidnapped’ judges from their offices (“house ban”) Campinos places staff on "house arrest". Because “innovation” or something…

“People’s general mood/spirit is already lowered by inability to travel (and see loved ones, exercise, meet friends); treat them with respect and dignity, at the very least.”What has EPOnia turned into? We’ve shown threatening if not menacing E-mails sent from management to examiners. Are they trying to shock people? Is the goal to induce stress and depression? People’s general mood/spirit is already lowered by inability to travel (and see loved ones, exercise, meet friends); treat them with respect and dignity, at the very least.

The problem is, today’s EPO isn’t run by qualified managers but a Praetorian Guard of Campinos. They bully anyone who dares to challenge their agenda, not their authority. Even if that agenda is outright illegal. In other words, people are given unlawful instructions and defiance of such unlawful instructions begets unwarranted bollocking.

Bars and dogOne might expect this sort of autocracy in Red China, not the red (logo) EPO. And speaking of China, this morning the EPO spoke about (warning: epo.org link) the latest “discussion rounds” with China (and its smaller albeit patent-savvy neighbours to the east). When the EPO says “discussion” it means webchats rather than a roundtable discussions. And this one also misuses laughable buzzwords like “Artificial intelligence (AI).” (Or Hey Hi)

From this morning’s EPO so-called ‘news’: “Several important topics and issues were discussed over the course of three days including amendments to law, cross-lingual search possibilities and the opportunities presented by Artificial intelligence (AI).”

Notice the part about “amendments to law”; those “discussion rounds” aren’t permitted to change underlying legislation; that’s another branch, but at the EPO there’s no notion of separation of powers. If there was, a lot of that "new normal" would be blocked. Many things that the EPO did in the wake of the pandemic are completely illegal. Who’s going to be held accountable for it? Probably nobody.

The ‘discussions’ (webchats) weren’t supposed to tackle underlying law but instead focus on this: “The discussion rounds provided a platform for direct interaction between users and experts on topics such as Asian data in Espacenet and keyword searches in Chinese, Japanese and Korean full texts.”

Those are not affected by the pandemic because they’re less formal, almost informal. In fact, texts produced by automatic (machine) translation are technically and legally invalid.

We can recommend to our readers this one new comment on the latest article from Dr. Bausch, a European patent attorney. This one of many comments (over a dozen, with the original post now cited by SUEPO as well) correctly notes: “A reasonable interpretation of the term “oral proceedings” can only mean the physical presence of the parties before the EPO’s decision-making body. The terms “oral proceedings” are far from being ambiguous or obscure, let alone that their interpretation in good faith leads to a result that is manifestly absurd or unreasonable. [...] A videoconference is nothing more than a telephone conversation during which the parties can see each other.”

Here’s the full comment reproduced:

The Boards of Appeal regularly invoke the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) when it comes to deciding on how to interpret the EPC.

The interpretation of Art 116 given in the explanatory note for the proposal of Art 15a RPBA is in manifest contradiction with the VCLT in its Art 31 and 32. According to the VCLT, a treaty has to be interpreted in good faith and if this interpretation should not lead to a result that is manifestly absurd or unreasonable.

The mere assertion that “neither Art 116 nor any other article of the EPC or RPCR 2020 stipulates that the parties to the proceedings, their representatives or the members of the board must be physically present in the room”, amounts to ignoring the philosophy underlying Art 116.

A reasonable interpretation of the term “oral proceedings” can only mean the physical presence of the parties before the EPO’s decision-making body.

The terms “oral proceedings” are far from being ambiguous or obscure, let alone that their interpretation in good faith leads to a result that is manifestly absurd or unreasonable.

Nowhere in the “travaux préparatoires” to Art. 116 it has ever been envisaged that the parties are not physically present before the deciding body, and that for instance it could be held by phone. A videoconference is nothing more than a telephone conversation during which the parties can see each other.

What is said here applies mutatis mutandis to oral proceedings before examining and opposition divisions.

Neither the Chairman of Boards, nor the Chairman of the BOAC, and even less the president of the EPO, have the power to amend the EPC in the way they are attempting to do. They simply lack the legitimacy to do so. The same applies to the AC.

That in a period like the pandemic solutions have to be envisaged is not at stake. In exceptional situations, exceptional solutions can be envisaged, but as soon as the exceptional situation is over, then the exception should be stopped and the normal situation be re-established.

In any case, the possibility of holding oral proceedings by videoconference should be left to the parties and not decided ex-officio, even in exceptional circumstances. As explained by Mr Bausch, the parties also have an interest to come to decisions and not unduly keep their files open. Once a party is opponent, once it is proprietor so that a fair balance can be stricken between contradictory requirements.

Whilst I can have some understanding of Max Drei’s plea about representatives sitting at a distance from The Hague or Munich, I cannot fundamentally agree with him. When he speaks about the three members of divisions of first instance, I have to take away his illusions. See below.

It is not for the Office and its Boards of Appeal to decide what is good for the parties. After all, the income of the Office stems from the contributions of the parties, so that the parties must have a say about the way they are treated. Presently it is with morgue and disdain.

Under the pretext of the pandemic situation, both the EPO and the Boards want manifestly to dematerialise the EPO. This would in the long term allow to transfer its duties to national patent offices and get read of staff which is not as docile as the management would like to.

If you think that there are discussions within examining or opposition divisions, please abandon this idyllic vision. In vast areas of the EPO the three men divisions of first instance are long time gone and only exist on paper. In some areas there have even been oral instructions that if the first member has signed, the two other have to sign as well. Consulting the register recently, I even came across a Form 2035 in which only the first member had signed! If you take on top the difficulties imposed by videoconferencing among members of divisions, this trend has rather increased.

By isolating its staff, the EPO gains even more influence on it and concerted actions would be made more or less impossible. What a perspective for the head of (anti)personnel!

That by dematerialising the office it would then be possible to even sell some buildings has been clearly envisaged by the management.

The role of the EPO and its Boards is not to play Monopoly© but to offer an acceptable service to its users. Why was it then necessary to invest in rented accommodation for the boards when other buildings of the EPO are allegedly empty and can be sold?

By the way, the EPO wanted to sell the latest buildings of the EPO (BT8) on the other side of Grasserstraße, but the city of Munich refused as it had a contractual say in the matter.

For a while the EPO has become the playground of would be managers only having in mind juicy bonuses and relying on management methods from the 19th century. The EPO plays a big role in European IP, and it should not be left to the incompetent amateurs presently at its helm. If anything goes wrong, they can always rely on their immunity…..

The fathers of the EPC must be turning over at high speed in their graves.

If the EPO has no (real) physical location and it’s reduced to a bunch of workers across Europe (mostly based around two locations) granting monopolies from home and discussing those patents over E-mail/phone (serious data protection violations, including outsourcing to the United States), then what has it become? What “access to justice” is there, really? Those are the sorts of “hard questions” the EPO can only even attempt to distract the public from, sometimes with the veil of diversity (which it lacks).

There’s a severe crisis of (il)legitimacy when those who proclaim to stand for the law so routinely break the law themselves.

Making Free Software Work for Users

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 4:20 am by Guest Editorial Team

Another Reply to Mogzagain. By figosdev.

Mushrooms

Summary: The latest reply to a non-developer concerned about software freedom; guest post by figosdev

Hello again.

As long as there is a possibility that something said here will benefit or interest the public, I will continue to make these replies public. If I decide not to reply, it does not mean you’re being ignored, only that I don’t have something interesting enough to add to what you’ve said.

“The sad truth I’m afraid is that only so many developers are in it for the freedom of the user.”In my previous letter I made an effort to respond more or less point-for-point, but this time I will probably be more conservative. This is as much for your convenience as mine.

I’m not even spellchecking this one, Roy might fix a couple things if they have a red underline. This is definitely more of a letter than an article, and I’ve spent (at least) four hours writing it. It will have to do, there are probably a fair share of typos. It was worth the four hours, at least for me — and this also includes eating and making tea.

“I understand what you’re saying regarding [Alex] Oliva [who] won’t fork, thus Linux won’t be fixed, and that integral large packages (perl, python) can’t be forked, and too few devs to fork halfbuzz, plus the Gnu Project aren’t making the effort to fork what they could.”

I’m not sure if it’s whether they could or simply ought to, but whether they are able or not I consider it a problem that they won’t. In (very) slightly better news, there are rumours of Raku (Perl 6) leaving GitHub, which would help if it actually happened and GNU (particularly Automake) eventually moved from Perl 5 to 6. It’s far too early to get excited, but there is a glimmer of potential hope there.

“Stopping paying attention to users/devs who ignore problems, who don’t take things seriously, for example, is very uplifting to realise further, too; no more writing to some main linux youtubers (nb not gardner) and receiving no responses, for example! To read that you too are fed up with the attitude to users is very heartening, as nobody says this stuff.”

The sad truth I’m afraid is that only so many developers are in it for the freedom of the user. We have known about Open Source for many years — I actually started as an Open Source advocate, falling for the hype that it was “like Free Software, but more reasonable” — but the “reasonable” part is false compromise with corporations that do not care about users — in fact they care more about maintaining control.

Free Software tries to minimise conflicts of interest (or at least it did once) and Open Source replaces the “sacred cow” of freedom with the sacred goat of courting the interest of monopolies. They pretend that it is not about ideology, but their passivity and neutrality is a facade; you may insult users all you like, and they will not stop you. When you insult a corporation, the gloves will come off.

Due to this manufactured divide (couched as so many are, as a call for “unity” — a unity where you are expected ignore your needs and values, and sacrifice them for the “greater good” of your opponent…) there are many developers who pretend to care about things that they clearly do not.

They care about users, as long as users only speak when they are asked to. They care about users who toe the lie.

Sadder than this is the fact that Free Software has failed to hold down the fort. These apathetic devs who are only interested in development (not freedom, or anything beyond creating software for the sake of whatever) are only the majority, they have moved into key places and even worked repeatedly to usurp GNU development.

Free Software seems to find its hands tied when these problems arise. Among us there are a small handful of people calling this for what it is, but there are not many.

“No longer feeling like some kind of lone crazy person, lol. And when people see mirrored their own real feelings, they definitely feel they can relate, and it can move them to be part of things.”

That is one of the best things we can do, is let people know they’re not the only one. If we work towards that goal, we may find that there are a few more of us than we counted so far.

I’m not the only person talking about “Free Software 2.0″, and for me it’s not about “bigger and better than ever” (though that would be nice) it’s really about bolstering the defences that have failed along the way. It would be nice to see Free Software rise again like the phoenix. It would, however, require a certain degree of general awareness that I don’t think we have reached yet.

You can still choose to be a pessimist or optimist about it. In my opinion we need pessimists, though it’s not difficult to make the argument for both.

“There’s been an unnerving journey of realising what’s going on, but, if the only people talking about this stuff are saying it’s all too rotten to fix, that has to be looked at seriously, along with my own experiences, observations and concerns to date.”

Off the cuff, the first metaphor that comes to mind is dentistry.

Dental medicine and the technology around it has come a long way. We can remove all of your teeth, if necessary, and replace them with implants. If your enamel is weak and the decay is bad enough, implants provide an ideal solution if money is no concern; in the States they cost thousands of dollars each, and if you are under 35 you could find yourself having to replace one or more of them even before you can retire.

A more practical and much cheaper (not to mention less invasive) solution is dental crowns, but these have their own drawbacks. Like implants, they are not as durable as real teeth and even a habit of almond eating can cause a crown to come loose or even break. At several hundreds of dollars each, getting dental crowns means your bite will never be quite as strong ever again — and having to visit the dentist to glue your crown back in is inconvenient at best.

Mostly people go with ordinary fillings when possible, but if decay settles in deep enough it can necessitate a root canal — which will often weaken the tooth enough that a crown is then required. If there is not enough tooth structure left to support the crown, you are left between the choices of an expensive implant, a partial tooth, or a hole.

The best plan of action is really on a tooth-by-tooth basis, and the same logic applies to Free Software projects. The ideal would be to preserve and salvage every project — but we can’t afford it in terms of the number of developers we have on our side. Mono is a great example of this; in our dental metaphor, Mono is not so much a dental implant as a false tooth made of rock hard toffee and calculus. You wouldn’t want to surgically install such a thing deep inside your gum tissue.

Wisdom teeth cause more problems than they solve, and when they are extracted nobody tends to bother replacing them with straighter or smaller implants. You’re simply better off without them.

If we had enough developers, it would be like the ability to replace all of our teeth with implants. Instead, what we have is like trying to replace all our teeth while money is always tight before the fact. Developers are spread very thin, and many of those (as you’ve noted) do not care in the first place.

People try to do things like move to GitHub to “gain more attention from developers” but they mostly gain the attention of people who will sacrifice more freedom, while caring even less about users.

The point is that (just as a prominent example) Linux is not healing, it is in decay.

If the goal is to salvage all free software, and we don’t have the budget (in terms of people who care) then I would argue that the best triage is to start with projects from developers who are NOT working against you and once our base is solid enough, build onto it by bringing in more of what we can manage.

In other words, we start with the things that require the least amount of salvage work and build on from there.

I have already pointed out that BSD is less trouble (for users, for developers) than trying to salvage Linux.

The difference between my position and yours is that I start with how much trouble it would be to salvage, while you (seem to) start with how much trouble it is to use.

I really do get that angle — but it takes me back to a time when I thought I couldn’t get GNU/Linux working so I had to use Windows. In fact if you go back not very far (less than a year ago) I was making the same argument about BSD — I want to use it, but either it’s not ready or I’m not.

A friend of mine who may have already started to dabble with BSD, upon learning that I had finally cleaned Linux off the last PC it was running on said something to the effect of “Wow, I am NOT ready to do that.”

Neither was I, so I worked on it.

This is what I advocate, but I get that not everybody is ready to do it. I advocate it because it’s ultimately more likely to work. The more people complain about the direction Linux is heading in, the closer they are to throwing their hands up and switching.

I’m acting as a scout here, while many others have already made it there and set up camp years ago.

“A main thing I live by is that there’s a time comes when stepping out and away from something becomes critical; that frees up energies for what is timely and important to move onto, and to not step away would jeopardize what CAN be safeguarded and built in the new space.”

Exactly this.

“You asked directly what sort of hope I want to see … really clear bottom-line summary about how things are, which the letter from you is already covering more. Also, what people can do, and HOW (for non-techs), in order to maintain the freedom/privacy/values that are so important.”

That’s an ongoing discussion for sure — and it’s such a big question “like ‘What’s the meaning of life?’” that there is no possible way that everybody is going to agree.

I like big questions. If I were good at math, I would probably be interested in physics — both Richard Stallman and Bill Gates did extremely well in their Harvard physics classes, but both had other interests that kept them from becoming physicists.

I’m terrible at math, so instead I approach the universe with philosophy — I have also tried to understand the world through the many various lenses of mysticism and religions (I’m agnostic). Modern science of course is essentially by definition uninterested with such methods, and probably should be. But scientists are people too, and Newton for example was very interested in looking at the world this way.

Buckminster Fuller gives a long series of talks (you can find them on the Internet Archive) where he tries to derive rules for better engineering by staring with the entire universe and building laws from there.

Both science and mysticism have toyed with the idea of an almost pantheistic-sounding “holographic” reality, where every single thing ultimately contains everything else — like a giant, fractal, permeable Klein bottle.

To me, this is the conceptual “shape” we want for a community that’s capable of figuring out answers to big questions.

Not a rigid hierarchy, not a “flattened” hierarchy that pretends everybody is the same (but still has a few people at the top lording over them, just to be sure) but a sort of holographic flux. The good news is that long before people figure out what the hell I’m talking about, they will have already sorted out their own words to describe it.

We aren’t talking about a utopia so much as a society, where not everyone has their thumb up their ass.

“I don’t mean about coddling infants, as you reference, but those who don’t have any tech DNA yet want to get on the BSD ship/into the new place, to support free software, respect, privacy, care about users, but know they just can’t get their head around that without clear instruction.”

Not only do I agree, but it’s actually built into the ten "THRIVE" guidelines as number 6: “Without some greater commitment to the needs and education of users, Free software will soon lose too much ground to corporations that falsely pander to them. This is not a call to make everything ‘user friendly.’ As a user, you are free to develop on your own terms. There are still areas in which progress could be made regarding development.”

When I say “This is not a call to make everything ‘user friendly.’” I don’t mean that making things user friendly is a bad thing, only that it can’t take over everything. This is a caveat; the essence of guideline number 6 is that we should give clear instruction to “non tech” people.

However, lurking at the core of the “non tech people” issue is the true nature of the issue itself.

Non tech people exist, and I’ve done a lot of work with them directly: pensioners, the iconic and stereotypical
“grandma” everyone mentions, I’ve worked with literal grandmas — the homeless, so when people start talking to me about how x or y group can’t do z I at least have first-hand experience in such scenarios. It’s not a statistical cross section but then a lot of what we are dealing with here is the mythology of the non tech person, which places certain designs and developers in the role as savior.

It’s not that non tech people don’t exist, it’s that they are used in an ongoing mythology that both opportunistic and sincerely well-intentioned people rely on as a guide for making things more “user friendly”.

It’s a mythology because it is largely about storytelling and post hoc justification — it is less about the real people in question.

In short, we create designs and then we say it’s for non-tech people. Our first goal should be to find these non-tech people and better understand their needs.

I’m using a GUI right now to type this. I could also do it from the VT, without a GUI. As it happens, my particular workflow seems to be at least as well suited to a simple, Notepad-like graphical editor than Emacs, Vim or even GNU nano. But it also has commands that I can type on the next line and run with CTRL-T — including shell commands.

All the power is right there, in this very application, but if you don’t type shell commands and hit CTRL-T you probably wouldn’t even know it could do such a thing. It looks like a plain text editor, with a file menu, a little dialog box that comes up to open or save files, etc.

It can’t just be about design though. It has to be part understanding, part design, part education. Most people who talk about being “user friendly” are cargo-culting the understanding part, and act like education won’t be necessary, so people still don’t learn. Ultimately users get dragged through one design fad after another, and this is what Microsoft calls “user friendly”.

“The corporate are dumbing people down by the year, ‘bread and circuses’, ‘leave it to us’, ‘we make your life easy’ (as we siphon off ALL your data and make money) … they want people’s energies, power, everything, whereas what I mean is what empowers people, the ladder that can get them into that place, where they can then do what they do best, contributing in other ways.”

Again, you’ve got it exactly.

“You can’t give a jet to someone and expect them to fly it, but if they’re a passenger on the jet, they could be a doctor, a lawyer, anything non-tech, but still play a critical part.”

This is also true. But so is the fact that with the right technology, we could enable virtually any person to fly — with some sort of personal aircraft. This would lead to all sorts of questions about how to make the technology safe enough, and I’m certain it would have some kind of logic like consumer-grade drones already have to stay level and avoid collisions — but no Free Software advocate would propose that it have some equivalent of DRM that only the manufacturer could control.

People would be able to change the programming, I’m less certain that they would be allowed to fly the craft in public without some recertification process. But people modify and build their own cars all the time.

Getting back to your point though, do you have to code to contribute? Of course not. I even mentioned that in my previous reply.

“I see BSD is being pointed to as the ‘bunker’, but that is a big step for any non-tech people. Can there be a beginner series on running an easily installable BSD, to get non-tech people started?”

Of course. I tried FreeBSD first, with a goal to try FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD. Most others are based on these, and most are sadly based on GitHub as well. FreeBSD develops its package management on GitHub, and NetBSD accepts donations via GitHub (though the NetBSD Foundation has other more traditional payment processing options). OpenBSD is the least GitHub-entrenched BSD, and I would recommend either NetBSD or OpenBSD over FreeBSD.

Still, if you’re only able to install one of those three, go for it. I found the OpenBSD installed the easiest to use (that’s probably the opposite of what I expected) and the NetBSD installer is the most tedious. I actually kind of hate it so far.

The first time I successfully installed BSD it was FreeBSD, but the first time I installed OpenBSD it was because FreeBSD wasn’t booting after installing it on a different machine.

There are instructions for installing each of the three flavours of BSD on their websites, but anybody who has installed GNU/Linux by downloading an image and then running dd to copy it to their USB knows how. Unlike with GNU/Linux, with BSD I’ve never tried to install with only Windows as a platform for downloading and creating install media. I know some of them have CD or DVD images.

The installer for OpenBSD is going to be pretty intuitive for most people who have installed GNU/Linux before. So the best way to get a friendlier install guide together is to get someone who is familiar with both easy-to-use GNU/Linux installers and basic text mode installers to write a guide.

But for you personally, if you can install GNU/Linux I think you can manage OpenBSD as well. My advice to people trying a new OS is not to do it on a machine they care about the files on, but to start with a machine they are happy to blank and experiment with. I started the journey on a server I had previously dedicated to sifting through GNU Project code.

And I didn’t even technically install it. I just downloaded the image, booted to Tiny Core (any distro that could boot to ram with enough resources free for a ramdrive would have worked) and copied the image to ram, then used dd to write it to the drive. Then I rebooted. That was the “install”.

Roy and Tom don’t “get” the idea of videos that show how to do this stuff, but I found them useful. I can talk to you in detail about installing BSD, but if you go to YouTube you can simply watch people do it.

The video may not show the preparation, just the install itself — but then you know how easy that part is. Making install media isn’t that bad — you write a DVD or if you have dd (never had much luck with it from Windows, yes, there is a Windows version but Windows does some funny things) it’s basically like making install media for GNU/Linux.

“How many non-tech users, who deeply care about privacy/freedoms, read Techrights? Are most of them lurkers, since privacy/being offline is so important to them?”

If you put an article on Techrights, it will probably get more views than if you put it somewhere else. If it’s distro-related or BSD related, and it’s not about the application, you MIGHT get more readers from DistroWatch? I’m not sure how many they get. Techrights may give you more readers, but Techrights also covers a much wider range of topics.

With regards to lurkers, the number of readers is definitely not reflected in the number of comments.

“If a series were done, it could be shared all across the Linux places? So even non-techs, who could number far more than realised, can take part? adding important numbers of people who really care.”

I think this is already happening increasingly.

“Don’t get me wrong; I’m talking about bringing more on board those who care about the values. I have no ability or desire to code, or become more tech … I want only to support the freedoms, values, respect, the space where people can be themselves and as happy as possible. That is the only reason I crossed over to Linux. I leave the technical aptitude to those who practice that so well, who have that DNA, while I do what I do best.”

There really isn’t more to coding per se than breaking things down into steps and talking to the computer.

Of course it depends on the language. But even if you can contribute without coding, being able to code just a little bit would help you better understand the issues around your advocacy. It would help you understand developers, and make you feel a bit less helpless.

Naturally, Free Software is not only for people who can code. But everybody should still learn — it is not just a job skill. It is a modern form of literacy.

Before you think that I’m going to try to get you to ever write an application, that’s not the idea here.

Do you know how to make a peanut butter and jam sandwich? Can you break that down into steps? Can you express those steps in English? If so, you are already halfway there.

The breaking things down into steps is the hard part, and functions make it so a lot of that is easier work that doesn’t have to be repeated over and over.

The syntax is the part that looks hard, though it’s the easy part. Some languages are difficult, others are easy.

1. Put peanut butter on bread.
2. Put jam on bread.
3. Put two pieces of bread together.

That’s the bug-ridden version. You need to open the bag the bread is in, take out two slices, put the slices down on something and make certain the jam side is placed over the peanut butter side. But the thing is, you know how to do it and if you had to explain it, you could “debug” such a program if the person you’re talking to didn’t make the sandwich the way you wanted it.

The problem with this example is that nobody who is actually going to make you a sandwich is going to need such detailed instructions, so it’s nothing more than an illustration.

A better example is telling a robot to draw a house:

Go forward 5 units, turn right 45 degrees. Go forward 5 units, turn right 90 degrees.
Go forward 5 units, turn right 45 degrees. Go forward 5 units, turn right 90 degrees.
Go forward 7 units, turn right 90 degrees. Go forward 5 units, turn right 90 degrees.
Go forward 7 units.

    /\
   /  \
  /    \
 /      \
/________\
|        |
|        |
|        |
|        |
|________|

But those instructions get abbreviated to something like:

fd 5 ; rt 45 ; fd 5 ; rt 90 
fd 5 ; rt 45 ; fd 5 ; rt 90 
fd 7 ; rt 90 ; fd 5 ; rt 90 
fd 7

Functions make it possible to say things like: “drawrectangle 7 5

Without functions, we would have to say this instead: “fd 5 ; rt 90 ; fd 7 ; rt 90 ; fd 5 ; rt 90 ; fd 7

With functions, our program to make a peanut butter and jam sandwich becomes:

makesandwich("peanut butter and jam");

If you want 20 sandwiches:

repeat 20
    makesandwich("peanut butter and jam");
    next

So what’s this do?

repeat 10
    makesandwich("peanut butter and jam");
    makesandwich("egg salad");
    next

It makes 20 sandwiches, half of which are egg salad.

This is pretty self-explanatory:

repeat 10
    makesandwich("peanut butter and jam");
    next
repeat 5
    makesandwich("egg salad");
    next

…Makes 15 sandwiches.

If people don’t know how to code, they likely weren’t taught properly.

“So many new users have come over in the last year. People who care and want to contribute tend to want a clear list to get on with, to know how serious things are, at the same time as beginner instruction on HOW to exit from Linux. They’re the sort of people we want, who care about privacy/freedom/respect/values, so how do we get them to the ‘bunker’, even if that ‘bunker’ is e.g. at first a non-ideal BSD install, but at least a starting place to learn, and with clear tutorials as a main priority?”

This might not even be the first step.

Suppose for the sake of argument we had 5 billion dollars, and we decide we are going to pay 5 million people $1000 each to switch to OpenBSD. And we actually find 5 million people to take us up on this deal. Now we have 5 million new OpenBSD users.

So that’s good, but most of them are going to be thinking: “Why is this better?”

“Nobody was going to fork Linux anyway.”

“Not even for 5 billion dollars?”

Certainly this doesn’t make promoting OpenBSD any less worthwhile — it enables some of us to move away as quickly as possible — and anybody else who wants to come along in the quest for freedom is welcome to join us.

But switching to BSD without knowing why is just a cargo cult move, and I’d rather people appreciate the goal of what they’re doing. The GNU Project wasn’t just a project to give people a free operating system; it was meant to give people freedom — and until people understand that, GNU helps though they won’t know (or care) why.

If more people use OpenBSD, then more are available to help reboot the GNU Project on top of it. But if they don’t know or care about that, what are they switching for?

And hey, it’s great even if their reason is “I know Linux isn’t going to get fixed and I want a fixable option”. OK, that’s a valid reason. But until they have that, at best we can give them an OS with less support for DRM and systemd. And if that’s enough, hey, great.

So you said these people already care about freedom. That’s good. Do they already care about the specific problems that this is going to fix? If not, it would be ideal to find a way to make them aware. The Trisquel developers are not aware of the problem. They think they still care about freedom.

Roy says that Stallman is aware, for example, of the problem caused by systemd. He says that Stallman is afraid of the trouble it will cause if he makes a fuss about it — I should just find the quote, but this is news to me. If we are hiding problems, and Trisquel developers (there was a time when Trisquel was basically the flagship of FSF-approved distros) are unaware of this, that’s a major problem.

They’re going to keep telling people that any software under a GPL license is not a problem, since users already have the 4 Freedoms. They’re not the only ones.

So we have these problems, we have people working on solutions, we have the original co-opting by Open Source and they completely misrepresent and twist Free Software into something it isn’t; we have former allies like Trisquel who used to fight for us but now (probably NOT deliberately) help sweep major problems under the rug, and pretend it’s business as usual –

We have people like Stallman who still know important things that other Free Software advocates (who only parrot things he says instead of thinking about these philosophical issues for themselves) don’t know, but he’s in a position where he’s afraid to do the one thing we all know him for — which is tell us more about Free Software and how to make it work. And if he’s afraid to, few care as much as he does.

All in all, I think it will help substantially to switch to OpenBSD, for the same reasons I said before; it’s less work to make OpenBSD fully-free (and even use it as a new platform for the GNU Project) than it is to fork or salvage Linux.

But it’s still part of a larger picture, which is part of an overall advocacy of freedom and (vitally) autonomy, at the very least autonomy compared to the GitHub dystopia we have spent the past few years helping Microsoft to build.

Switching to BSD is just part of that. If people are unaware of the other parts, the benefit will be smaller indeed.

“Get everyone who cares to the best place possible, where they can function and have a foundation that doesn’t feel like shifting sands; then the new can come through when possible.”

That is the idea. But the foundation of free computing isn’t BSD, it’s the philosophy that the user should have control over their own computing.

Over and over again, this comes back to advocacy and education. We need to rebuild that.

“I can’t possibly be the only privacy-conscious and non-tech person on Linux?! So please don’t mistake any of what I say as me trying to get personal help for me”

No, it’s great, it’s seriously great that you care. I don’t think that you’re the only person who feels the way you do, certainly — as for going offline, there are many things that I simply won’t do — for example, I won’t date with an app. It’s not that I don’t have or don’t care about having a personal life; I simply find the idea of my personal life (including who I sleep with) ultimately dictated by software controlled by Google to be beyond the pale.

If 95% of people (and I don’t think it’s that many) only found people to hook up with through apps, my criteria for meeting a person would include that it be one of the 5% who do not rely exclusively on apps to find people. To me this is no more “idealistic” or “Luddite” than not having Mark Zuckerberg managing and monitoring every friend I have. I consider not relying on Google for something that personal to be a point of sanity. (Which doesn’t mean that everybody who doesn’t use Tinder or the like is actually sane, of course).

Still, “privacy” means so many things to so many different people. Fundamentally I don’t think it’s that complicated — but it is to them.

I have never been against the idea of baby monitors, for example. Knowing how often they get hacked, I would never use an older one based on simple wireless technology, nor a new one based on home networking. If I had a baby right now, I would wire the baby’s room for sound.

Is that privacy? No, it’s definitely a compromise — but it’s one that doesn’t make me uncomfortable.

Putting a video monitor in the baby room goes too far though, because it teaches someone (even retroactively, if you hide the camera and they find out about it later in life) that CCTV surveillance is a natural part of life. I feel bad enough bugging the room, but it’s arguably safer than just checking up if something happens while people are outside of the ordinary range of hearing.

You are after all, actually supposed to monitor your baby for their health and stay nearby for that purpose. But I wouldn’t be comfortable with a baby “fitbit” (let’s look up if those exist yet… God damnit..) or any other cattle-herding technology that seems retrofitted for use with humans.

“I’ve believed for a long time that there must be many users similar to myself, but who won’t speak up or ask … that’s been a theme in my life, and anyone’s life who can’t stand by and say nothing, when it comes to the crunch … and there’s always others afterwards who say they agreed! Those people can read and ACT independently, no head above the parapet stuff, via clear tutorials, and that shifts things away from the negative corporate who treat Linux as their resource to mine, and it really matters that the corporate, and corporate-supporting, lose the numbers and influence, and any kind of attention. Providing very clear tutorials would end up being very low-maintenance overall, once the tutorials are done.”

Those are great points, and they’re probably not made often enough. I would venture to say “lurkers for freedom” (I’m exaggerating a bit, but you know what I mean) is probably a somewhat foreign concept to most people who are actively fighting (or think they are). So it’s good that you mention this.

“Gathering those in one place is also very important, rather than lots of bits everywhere that may be old or new, accurate or not. I understand you will have your own life and commitments, so my question is an open one, about if there are people who would do tutorials.”

Rather than say “in one place” implying centralisation, I would say “consolidated in many places” to distinguish it from the present state of being “scattered” or disorganised. I don’t think this is just a nitpick, as centralisation is ultimately the problem that GitHub has created. It begins as centralisation and finally becomes a leash on expression (Codes of Censorship and that sort of thing). So I get the idea of consolidating things so they’re easier to find, but let’s do that it more than one place. In other words, mirrors.

“To jump to covering the depression part a bit more … it is definitely not about avoiding the real truth, which ends up freeing people up to go where IS positive. If others are reading messages mainly pointing out what is depressing, they can get the message nobody else is going to do anything, and everything’s too difficult, which makes their fight harder, and makes getting involved just about impossible. It can seize them up. ‘Let’s all be depressed together’ doesn’t work, in this instance, except briefly at the start, to know we’re all on the same page.”

Let’s not give people false hope, or treat them as more fragile than they really are. Denial is a real thing, and we have to poke at that to prevent people from being glib and pretending that problems aren’t real — which people do a lot, including many who should know better.

We have to be able to fight that. If we can make any progress at all, people can find hope there and we can share both. Stallman and I are pessimists — Roy is the sunshine and happy days writer at Techrights. This is a funny idea if you know his darker stuff. Sometimes I find myself in a cheerful mood and try to share it with people, but eventually it wanes and lets me get back to worrying about more important things.

I deliberately worded that paragraph in a way as to amuse myself. There’s plenty of truth to it, but it’s also a bit tongue-in-cheek.

“Rolling over and saying we’re defeated is what the corporate want … no freedoms, privacy, respect, happiness, stable space to function, etc. There’s loads can be done about shifting across to BSD, that can bring in a lot more people that normally can’t, or have tried, to be involved in the movement.”

Agreed, and fair point. It’s definitely a good thing that we have people on board who think solutions are still possible! (We may need more of them.)

“Would expanding the range of articles be something useful to do? … focusing on other things e.g. those stepping away and how they’re doing it, those dropping big tech and how great that is, those who left working for big tech and how they’re doing better things now, how hyperbolaBSD is coming along/interview … after the critical tutorials about how to cross over! Articles from non-techs who’ve been able to go to BSD via the tutorials? How many more users does BSD have this year? By all means, the clear truth, but also articles that cover the features of the better place we all want to inhabit. Just throwing out some ideas, in case anything is useful.”

All perfectly good ideas, though none of them are things I’m tracking at the moment. Some of them are slow-going, so tracking them is a bit like watching paint dry.

However, sometimes I’m wrong — and ultimately we are looking for things to pick up. So for another person, it might be less like watching paint dry and more like the simple everyman’s parable of being patient enough for a fish to bite the line. If someone wants to sit and wait for a fish, I welcome them to do so. Some people find that relaxing. I don’t think they’re crazy for it.

“The tech sites that promote the corporate etc want us to believe there aren’t enough good people out there to make a difference, and such as Red Hat, showing their cards the very next morning like that, wasn’t very bright, so not crediting them with lots of real wisdom seems a wise thing to do!”

Indeed. And you’re completely correct that we need people who are going to try no matter the odds. Subjugation is an inhumane state that we should be fighting for the sake of our own souls. Being agnostic, the concept of “soul” is very hypothetical and sometimes metaphorical or even a bit pedantic, but it is not meaningless. Certainly we can say that our alleged “humanity” depends on taking the idea of fighting subjugation seriously.

“It would be great to see the article about that, and maybe others reading, or just finding, TechRights don’t know about it also.”

Try here.

I can honestly say that you would be more likely to appreciate it if you were slightly less averse to coding.

I watched people remaster distros for years, but it’s a very tedious process. They would start with a tool that was surprisingly brittle, so just to get it running you would need to have things installed that could be tedious to set up. This wasn’t always true, but it happened.

Then it would open the distro up, or simply use what you had installed on your computer. To make a “new” distro you would:

1. Have to start with the specific distro(s) it was designed for.

2. Very possibly have to install the distro itself before you could remaster it.

3. Do a lot of tedious things like install programs, change settings, move files, copy/erase whatever.

But if you wanted to change just ONE thing, you might well have to change ALL the other things on your list as well. If not this time around, then next time on the next distro.

Instead, I wanted to make it so that anything I changed was something that it would change, unless you disabled it. most of these changes would still work from one version (of the distro) to another, or sometimes even across distros (but that depends).

Taken to the extreme, what you end up with is basically an “.ini” file or a “manifest” of changes, and to prevent a change all you have to do is comment out or delete the line.

Commenting out a line is as simple as this:

# Commenting out a line is as simple as this.

The “#” makes it a comment, so the line doesn’t run — it is just ignored, as if it isn’t there. It’s code you can turn “on and off” by changing a single character. Then again so is this:

InstallFirefox = 1

I mean if you take a random remastering tool, remove Firefox, or take something where you can just change “1″ to “0″ and run an automated tool, the second one is definitely easier.

But behind that “ini” file is a program written in fig — a language designed to be a friendly first language.

And behind that fig program is Python — a mainstream language used in education at a wide range of grade levels.

So you get a choice to work on the simplest ini level, the very simple but very powerful fig level, or the relatively all-powerful but more complicated Python level.

You get to choose. At least that’s the idea. The problem is that even if you control every file in a GNU/Linux system, you’re still using Linux.

That’s the thing about pessimism, incidentally: it’s difficult for the optimist to call someone a sellout or a traitor, even when there are many. It’s not so difficult for a pessimist, even if they’re trying very hard to be fair.

I still like the idea of automated remastering, it’s not the same priority now that it was. I never set out to do it originally, you know. I was trying to make a simple demo program to analyse the contents of distros. It got so close to a remastering program that I changed it into one.

“The more I think about this, the more I think creating that place we need involves bringing in all types of user and very clear and basic documentation, as numbers and the how-to are integral to that creation. Potential new users today, who’ve just realised they need to make a shift, could see a set of BSD tutorials that are actually easier to understand than Linux documentation, and just go straight to BSD, for example. People need to be informed, included, and to have the tools…”

True.

“I agree that a non-corporate community/usergroup(s) is very important; no egos, no diversity, no PC, but just basically be decent, which I think would be there, when people are making effort to do something because they care about people being free and are all working together on the same page.”

They won’t all agree, of course. I mean, there are things we can’t negotiate on — Open Source wanted us to negotiate heavily on whether freedom was really important, or incidental; that’s a deal-breaker and it should be.

But some people are still going to want to focus on certain things, like bringing underrepresented groups into this. I actually have no problem with that.

“It is better to have communities divided over politics than to have software development and repos hijacked and repurposed by a single political faction.”

Here’s an example: Roy is vegetarian, I’m not. Roy isn’t vegan yet. I don’t have a problem with GNU/LINUX/BSD people promoting vegetarianism or veganism, but if that becomes a higher priority than Free Software then it means that the movement is being hijacked for another cause.

Vegetarians and Vegans don’t always agree on everything, and Free Software really doesn’t care whether you’re vegetarian or not.

I appreciate sincere efforts to get underrepresented groups into Free Software. What I don’t agree with are some of the divisive tactics that make user freedom or software freedom a second priority to those particular tactics.

Even if everybody agreed that diversity is important, making it priority one (“PID Ein” in Lennartspeak) ultimately puts someone in charge of free software that may not care about free software at all.

The first priority for our cause really should be our cause. This doesn’t mean other causes are unimportant, even to us — it simply means that we won’t all agree to have everything we do hijacked and put under control of a different group of people (corporations in this instance) which is ultimately and cynically what has happened.

People already get divided over these issues. Rather than have them divided into “Free Software” and “Go Fuck yourself”, I would like them more often divided into “Free Software A” and “Free Software B”.

The problem is, that under the current regime, if I support both “Free Software” and include those who have found their way (not always under the most honest or transparent of “community” processes…) into the second group, now people want me to be in that second group for that “crime” which is only a crime according to a certain group of infiltrators.

What you should be able to do is say you support “Free Software” without letting someone else come and redefine it in an incredibly divisive, co-opting sort of way.

Not everybody has to agree, but it’s dangerous to let people come in and hijack the entire movement. We need a better option than that.

“None of your ‘giafam’s okay’ half-hearteds!”

Sadly / NOT sadly, there is no simple reliable test for loyalty in this movement. We are far too welcoming for that. We probably should be. What we should not tolerate is ongoing, increasing betrayal. We aren’t all going to agree on that either, but for many years, Free Software and Open Source has sort of bled together into FLOSS, which really just means Open Source. It has successfully pushed freedom and basic human rights not like not being under mass surveillance off the table. That’s unacceptable.

We need to have some way that we can extract ourselves from the farce of Open Source, knowing full well that it is extremely commonplace and impossible to have zero contact with.

We need a way to be more about Free Software and less about Open Source, and that’s something I talk about all the time.

But, there is no way to make a loyalty test work. I’m sort of thankful for that, because it would only create a very ridiculous mindset and make the whole idea less political and more cult-like.

We should lean towards being careful, away from being paranoid; towards being political, away from being apathetic; towards some ideal, away from the most cynical sorts of so-called “pragmatism” that is really just (as Home of slated.org more or less put it) ceding to your opponent on the assumption that will for some reason do the same.

“It would also need to be solidly private/encrypted, so no big tech can get in and threaten or harm people.”

That’s an ongoing issue that Eben Moglen has promoted for at least a decade, but if you make it a prerequisite we will probably need to wait another 10 years (maybe more) to get started. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, in much the way that I’m not saying interstellar flight is a bad idea.

“I can’t access the Slated site, but understand what you’re saying about big tech’s agenda and the ways they try to take people’s freedom and power.”

When I checked most recently, the website was down.

“I haven’t heard Free Culture spoken of, and need to look up Lessig, for sure, so thanks for pointing me that way.”

Sure. Lessig is great people, and Free Culture is a great idea, but I actually focus on the overlap between Free Culture and Free Software, namely cultural works under licenses that give you the equivalent of the 4 Freedoms in the Free Software Definition.

Examples of licenses for cultural works that give you those freedoms are CC-BY, CC-BY-SA and CC0. On the other hand, I hate to promote works that have an “ND” (NoDerivs) clause, but Stallman is oddly enamoured with it. He and I have very different ideas about what he refers to as “works of opinion”.

Then again he is correct that too many Free Culture advocates underplay the importance of Free Software. They do, and IMO, vice versa. Thankfully, Alex Oliva at least uses a Free Culture license on his blog. This implies (to me, maybe not to Oliva himself) that Oliva is more in touch with Free Culture than Stallman is.

To be fair, a lot of criticisms of Free Culture by Stallman were helpful. “Anarch” is a just-released game by Drummyfish under a CC0 license. He is an advocate of both Free Software and Free Culture, and both his software and his other works are under a free and even GPL-compatible license (he generally uses CC0).

“From this self-advocator, who will never stop championing what enables people to have choice and freedom, and who doesn’t feel quite as out in the forest as I did, thanking you again for not being one of those who shunned, and instead is refreshingly direct and fair, signing off for now.”

Keep doing what you’re doing.

Long live rms, and Happy Hacking.

Text in quotes is included as fair use; all else licensed: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:38 am by Needs Sunlight

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Links 26/11/2020: AV Linux 2020.11.23 and Blender 2.91 Release

Posted in News Roundup at 2:14 am by Guest Editorial Team

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Lubuntu 20.10 overview | Welcome to the Next Universe. – YouTube

        In this video, I am going to show an overview of Lubuntu 20.10 and some of the applications pre-installed.

      • Preselections Unlock BSPWMs True Tiling Potential – YouTube

        A little while ago I looked at bspwm receptacles which provided one way to do manual tiling and today we’re looking at another option in the form of bspwm preselections which let you turn bspwm into a manual tiler if you you really want to.

      • 201: Interview with Tutanota Plus $6 Billion IPO for SUSE? – Destination Linux

        Thank you to everyone who joined us LIVE to celebrate 200 Episodes of Destination Linux! We had an absolute blast during Game Fest and can’t wait to do another event in the near future! Thank you to everyone for helping us get to 200 episodes of the best darn Linux show on the planet. This week we have an interview with a representative from Tutanota, an open-source end-to-end encrypted email software and service. Then of course we have our popular tips/tricks and software picks. All of this and so much more this week on Destination Linux.

      • Unfettered Freedom Ep. 12 – Linus on M1 Mac, Snaps 2020, Funtoo, Sabayon, Fedora Pipewire, Systemd

        Unfettered Freedom is a video podcast that focuses on news and topics about GNU/Linux, free software and open source software.

      • Smoked Laptops | Coder Radio 389

        Mike buys a laptop live on air while Chris worries about the turkey.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 882

        thanksgiving, ardor, odin, ready player two

      • FLOSS Weekly 606: The Future of Stuff – Digital Ownership and Rights

        In our conversation about The Future of Stuff with its author Vinay Gupta, we discuss the founding role of Free Software in the digital world. We’ll also talk about the need to list and protect human rights that were barely imaginable in the old physical world—and the radical ways we might make that happen. Vinay is the founder of Mattereum, a London-based fintech company using legally-enforceable smart contracts to enable the sale, lease, and transfer of physical property and other legal rights. He is a technologist and policy analyst interested in how specific technologies can close or create new avenues for decision-makers. This interest has taken him through cryptography, energy policy, defense, security, resilience, and disaster management arenas. He is perhaps best known for his work on the Hexayurt Project, a public domain disaster relief shelter designed to be built from commonly-available materials, and Ethereum, a distributed network designed to handle smart contracts.

    • Kernel Space

      • Tuxera First to Bring Network Bandwidth-Saving SMB Compression Feature to Linux Environments [Ed: Windows assimilation]
      • Tuxera First to Bring Network Bandwidth-Saving SMB Compression Feature to Linux Environments

        Tuxera, a world-leader in quality-assured storage management and networking software, announced that the company’s SMB server implementation, Fusion File Share by Tuxera, now offers transparent compression to platforms outside of Microsoft Windows. Compression is being rapidly and widely adopted in the storage industry as a feature in memory hardware, file system implementations, and also networking protocols such as Microsoft’s server messaging block technology (SMB). The ability to compress files inline during transfer can significantly reduce bandwidth and transfer time. Microsoft released the transparent compression feature to their SMB protocol specification in early 2019. However, Tuxera is the first to implement SMB compression outside of Microsoft Windows, bringing this highly in-demand feature to Linux environments in enterprises around the world.

      • Wake-on-LAN

        With Wake-on-LAN (WoL) it can be slightly easier to manage machines in-house. You can fire up the workstation and start the day’s compile jobs (to catch up with overnight work by the KDE community, say) while drinking an espresso downstairs and doomscrolling.

        [...]

        If all the administrative bits are in place, then the simple way to wake up a machine is wake <hostname>. This requires root, since it sends specially-crafted (broadcast) Ethernet packets, which isn’t something that regular users can do.

      • AMD+SUSE Tackling Frequency Invariance For AMD EPYC 7002 CPUs – Phoronix

        Thanks to work by AMD and SUSE engineers, the Linux kernel could soon be seeing frequency invariance support for EPYC 7002 “Rome” processors for yielding greater performance and power efficiency.

        Over the past year we have seen a lot of Linux kernel work for dealing with frequency invariance but to now that on the x86 side has been focused on Intel Xeon processors. Now through the cooperation of AMD with patches led by SUSE, frequency invariance is being worked on for the EPYC 7002 “Rome” processors.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel Begins Landing Their Open-Source Vulkan Driver Ray-Tracing Support

          This week marked the release of Vulkan 1.2.162 with the ray-tracing extensions now finalized. As such Intel’s stellar open-source team has begun landing their work around Vulkan ray-tracing ahead of the Xe HPG hardware availability that will support this functionality.

          Back in October I wrote about Intel preparing their open-source driver support for Vulkan ray-tracing ahead of Xe HPG and now with the updated Vulkan spec out there they are able to push more of their work.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Performance Impact To POWER9′s Eager L1d Cache Flushing Fix

        Last week a new vulnerability was made public for IBM POWER9 processors resulting in a mitigation of the processor’s L1 data cache needing to be flushed between privilege boundaries. Due to the possibility of local users being able to obtain data from the L1 cache improperly when this CVE is paired with other side channels, the Linux kernel for POWER9 hardware is flushing the L1d on entering the kernel and on user accesses. Here are some preliminary benchmarks looking at how this security change impacts the overall system performance.

        All the latest Linux kernel stable series are now patched with the new POWER9 behavior for the L1 data cache flushing when crossing privilege boundaries. As outlined already, that L1d flushing behavior is the default but can be disabled with new “no_entry_flush” and “no_uaccess_flush” kernel options to maintain the prior behavior of not flushing.

    • Applications

      • qBittorrent 4.3.1 Released, How to Install in Ubuntu via PPA

        The first update for qBittorrent 4.3 series was released today with some new features, bug-fixes, and web UI changes.

      • Blender 2.91 Released

        The fourth major release in 2020 is here to further improve the user experience, adding powerful new booleans, better cloth sculpting with support for collisions, volume objects modifiers, outline, improved animation tools and so much more.

      • Blender 2.91 Released With A Multitude Of Improvements – Phoronix

        Blender 2.91 is the project’s fourth and last major release of 2021 with a focus on enhancing the user experience and usability of this cross-platform, open-source 3D modeling software. There are also improvements to new tooling around cloth sculpting, animation enhancements, continued fine-tuning to the grease pencil, and much more.

      • Blender 2.91 Released with Better Cloth Sculpting, Faster Video Encoding and Decoding

        Highlights of Blender 2.91 include better cloth sculpting with collision support for the Sculpt Cloth brush and filter, a new Sculpt Trim tool for cutting and adding geometry using box or lasso gestures, new Simulation Target property for simulating cloth effects, and new Boundary brush for controlling the shape of mesh boundaries.

        To improve modeling, a new Exact solver is included in this release to handle complex geometry, along with better Intersect Knife and Intersect Boolean, the ability to use a collection as boolean, new options for the Subdivision Surface modifier, better loop select tools in UV Editor, as well as Split Viewport and Render Resolution in Ocean Modifier.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to get Linux kernel 5.8 and 5.9 in Debian 10

        Debian 10 sits at Linux kernel 4.19. While this kernel version isn’t exactly the oldest release ever, it’s undoubtedly out of date. However, it is possible to install more modern versions of the kernel.

      • How to install Reaper on a Chromebook

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

        Reaper is a very powerful tool for audio editing, but it is difficult to learn, so please use their startup guide. You can also use it as a voice-changer, for discord, etc.

      • How to install Lyrebird on Linux Mint 20 – a Voice Changer for Discord – YouTube

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Lyrebird on Linux Mint 20, which is a voice changer for Discord.

      • Oracle VirtualBox – how to clone virtual machine terminal bash command line – how to tidy up snapshots and consolidate free disk space
      • How to Install and Use Thonny Python IDE on Linux

        Thonny is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Python beginners. It is created with Python and released under MIT License. It is cross-platform and can run in Linux, macOS, Windows.

      • How to easily install git on Linux | 2021 – LinuxH2O

        This article is a quick guide on how to install git on different Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch, etc.

        Git is an open-source, cross-platform version control system. It is used to track and maintain changes for a set of files. The tool is mainly popular with programmers for their projects. However, the tool can also be used for any sort of scenario that requires changes to files from time to time.

        Git was developed by Linus Torvalds in 2005 to manage the Linux kernel development.

      • How To Install Redis on Linux Mint 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Redis on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Redis is an open-source in-memory key-value data store. It can be used as a database, cache and, message broker, and supports various data structures such as Strings, Hashes, Lists, Sets, and more. Redis provides high availability via Redis Sentinel and automatic partitioning across multiple Redis nodes with Redis Cluster.

        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 Redis on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • How to Download YouTube Videos in Linux | FOSS Linux

        YouTube is one of the websites with the most videos on the internet (as of writing this post, it is number one on the list). For some reason, you might need to download some videos to watch later while offline. Situations like following a tutorial playlist about a project or listening to your favorite songs while offline requires you to download some of these videos.

        Whatever your reason might be, we will show you how you can download YouTube Videos on a Linux system. We will guide you through both the graphical (GUI) and the command-line way. Let’s dive in!

      • How to play Minecraft Bedrock Edition on Linux [Ed: There are Free software clones that are not Microsoft's]

        Minecraft Bedrock Edition works on Linux with the help of the Minecraft Bedrock Launcher for Linux. It is an unofficial app that makes the game work on Linux with the Minecraft Android APK.

      • [Older] How to install Redis on Ubuntu Linux

        Redis is open source software used as a database and cache that sits in memory, allowing for exceptional performance. When you’re ready to give this lightning fast program a try, the developers recommend installing Redis on a Linux system, and what better candidate than Ubuntu Linux?

        In this tutorial, we’ll guide you through the step by step instructions of installing Redis (both server and client) on Ubuntu. Then, we’ll verify that it’s connectable and configure the UFW firewall to allow incoming connections.

      • How to install the NVIDIA drivers on Fedora 33 with Hybrid Switchable Graphics

        This is guide, how to install NVIDIA proprietary drivers on Fedora 33 with Hybrid Switchable Graphics [Intel + Nvidia GeForce]

    • Games

      • Steam Autumn Sale and the 2020 Steam Award Nominations are now live | GamingOnLinux

        Get your wallets ready and your votes as two big events are happening and live now on Steam with both the Steam Autumn Sale and the 2020 Steam Award Nominations.

        Firstly, let’s talk about the Steam Awards. This is the fifth annual event, where users all across Steam can vote for their favourite games across different categories. The final voting will take place in December, with nominations running until December 1 at 5PM UTC.

      • Metro Exodus is still planned to release for Linux and macOS | GamingOnLinux

        4A Games have confirmed in an official 10th anniversary update post today that Metro Exodus is still going to release for Linux and macOS as well.

        They gave a small overview in the post about what’s been going on like celebrating the first release of Metro 2033 which arrived back in March 2010. Not only that, they recently got acquired by Embracer Group who also control Koch Media, Saber Interactive, THQ Nordic and others. Specifically, 4A Games are now an independently run subsidiary of Saber Interactive.

      • 4A Games Still Working On Linux Port Of Metro Exodus – Phoronix

        While Metro Exodus can run on Linux right now via Steam Play, 4A Games is still working on a port of this popular game to Linux and Mac systems.

        Following the reliable ports of Metro 2033 and Metro Redux to Linux, we’ve been looking forward to the native Linux port of Metro Exodus since at least the earlier versions have been benchmark-friendly for our needs following the Linux port (complete with CLI switches, unlike the Windows version at least at the time).

      • Godot Game Engine Has Been Backing “Betsy” As A GPU-Based Texture Compressor – Phoronix

        The Godot Game Engine has been funding work on a GPU-based texture compressor to deal with the issue that importing textures to this leading open-source game engine can often be painfully slow.

        Betsy is the open-source project being worked on for the Godot Engine. Betsy implements BC6, ETC1, ETC2, and EAC algorithms among others using GLSL compute shaders. This compressor is implemented as GLSL compute shaders so the work can be offloaded to the graphics processor either via OpenGL or Vulkan usage as well.

      • Godot Engine – Introducing the Betsy GPU texture compressor

        My name is Matias N. Goldberg, I normally maintain the 2.x branch of Ogre aka ogre-next and I wrote Betsy, a GPU texture compressor that runs on GPUs.

        This work was commissioned by Godot Engine through the Software Freedom Conservancy to solve a major complaint: importing textures is excruciantly slow and takes many minutes.

        Certain compression algorithms such as BC1-5 are quite simple and there are already fast high quality compression algorithms.

        However algorithms such as BC6, ETC1, ETC2 and EAC are currently taking the majority of time and thus considerably attention were given to these.

        Nonetheless Betsy implemented compute-shader versions for BC1,3,4,5,6, ETC1,2 and EAC algorithms.

        Betsy works as a standard Command Line tool which means it can be used like any other exe tool outside of Godot.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.38.2 Desktop Environment Is Out with Even More Improvements and Bug Fixes

          Coming two months after the first point release, GNOME 3.38.2 is here with better support for the GNOME OS project that lets developers and user test drive upcoming features of the popular desktop environment.

          This support was implemented in the GNOME Boxes software, which now comes with up-to-date download URLs for GNOME OS, the ability to install GNOME OS under the osinfo custom database, as well as updated recommended downloads for the latest Linux distro releases and improved handling of file extensions.

        • Friends of GNOME Update – November 2020 – Getting to know GNOME

          The Seattle GNU/Linux Conference took place online this year and we were there. Executive Director Neil McGovern gave a presentation titled “Patently Obvious” about our legal case with a patent assertion entity and how the settlement impacts all of FOSS.

          Strategic Initiatives Manager M. de Blanc gave a surprise talk that had nothing to do with GNOME, but discussed the Foundation nonetheless.

          We also had talks at Linux Application Summit and GNOME.Asia, which you can read more about below.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • OSMC’s November update is here with Kodi v18.9

          Last month, we released Debian Buster with Kodi v18.8. While this version had the majority of fixes backported from Kodi v18.9 which was still in progress, we’ve decided to issue a final release of the Kodi Leia series in the form of an 18.9 point release.

          Our focus will now be on enabling OSMC support for Kodi v19 (codename Matrix) which is now in beta release. This new version of Kodi will bring a significant number of improvements. However — it should be noted that this new Kodi release will also introduce some caveats, and this is why we’ve chosen to polish the Kodi v18.x series of OSMC as much as possible, particularly as some users may need to stay on this version if there device is no longer supported or their add-ons do not work with the new version.

          Kodi Matrix upgrades its Python implementation from Python 2.x to Python 3.x. While the majority of add-ons have already been updated to support this new version, you may find that some add-ons do not work. Furthermore, Raspberry Pi 0, 1 and Vero 2 will no longer be supported, meaning that this release will be the final supported version for these devices.

        • Multimedia-Oriented AV Linux Distro Rebased on MX Linux, Adds New and Updated Audio Tools

          Based on the latest MX Linux 19.3 “Patito Feo” release, AV Linux MX Edition is here about six months after the last update to the project with many new and updated tools for audio production and musicians. The distro is still based on Debian GNU/Linux, but not derived from it anymore, but instead from MX Linux.

          This means that AV Linux now inherits many of MX Linux’s goodies, including the fact that it doesn’t ship with the systemd init system by default. Of course, it also includes the many great tools and utilities of MX Linux.

        • AV Linux 2020.11.23 Released, Based On MX Linux 19.3 ‘Patito Feo’

          After more than six months of development, the creator and maintainer of AV Linux Glen MacArthur released a new version 2020.11.23.

          [...]

          Being a first build based on MX Linux, AVL-MXE comes in two separate editions for the x86_64 platform with Xfce desktop, Linux Kernel 5.9.1-rt20, and i386 platform with (Xfce plus) Openbox window manager, Kernel 5.9.1-rt19.

          Unlike the MX approach to provide trusted third-party repositories for software packages, AVL-MXE provides carefully selected repositories that are specifically created for users of Debian GNU/Linux.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Presenting Cockpit Wicked | YaST

          If you are into systems management, you most likely have heard about Cockpit at some point. In a nutshell, it offers a good looking web-based interface to perform system tasks like inspecting the logs, applying system updates, configuring the network, managing services, and so on. If you want to give it a try, you can install Cockpit in openSUSE Tumbleweed just by typing zypper in cockpit.

          [...]

          Cockpit already features a nice module to configure the network so you might be wondering why not extending the original instead of creating a new one. The module shipped with Cockpit is specific to NetworkManager and adapting it to a different backend can be hard.

          In our case, we are trying to build something that could be adapted in the future to support more backends, but we are not sure how realistic this idea is.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Got something to say? How to get started writing

          Well, I suppose after all this talk of how to find your story and then write your story, I should make a post about how to do just that. I’ve broken it down into three sections: how to find your story, how to write your story, and how to share it and get it published.

          During the All Things Open virtual event this year, I was invited to share my tips, and now you can watch that. It’s about 20 minutes with some questions and commentary at the end.

          [...]

          First, decide whether you want to self-publish, on your own blog or a place like Medium, or if you want to get your article published on a publication like Opensource.com or Linux Today.

          If you’re reaching out to a publication, try to find information about how they would like you to submit your article. Some have webforms, some want you to simply send them an email. Some, like us, have both. Let them know who you are, what you wrote about, and perhaps why you wrote about it.

          For example: My name is Jen Wike Huger. I’m a community manager and editor for Opensource.com, so my expertise is writing and working with authors. My article is about how to find your story, writing, and getting published.

        • Crunchy Data PostgreSQL on Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage

          Deploying critical PostgreSQL applications in the cloud requires both consistent performance and resilience to protect essential data for business continuity. Together, technologies from Crunchy Data and Red Hat can help enable organizations to deliver data resilience for critical PostgreSQL applications.

          Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage plays an increasingly important role, letting organizations deploy reliable, scalable, and highly available persistent storage for their most important PostgreSQL applications. This single software-defined storage solution can be launched on premise, in the public cloud, or in hybrid cloud deployments—increasing agility and resilience even as it simplifies operations.

        • Red Hat Satellite 6.8.1 has been released

          We are pleased to announce that Red Hat Satellite 6.8.1 is generally available as of November 23, 2020.

          Red Hat Satellite is part of the Red Hat Smart Management subscription that makes it easier for enterprises to manage patching, provisioning, and subscription management of Red Hat Enterprise Linux infrastructure.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical Allies With Docker Inc. on Secure Containers

          Docker Inc. CEO Scott Johnston says this alliance with Canonical extends a verified publisher initiative that already spans 200 organizations. There are now 160 Docker Official Images available via Docker Hub, which is accessed by more than 11 million active developers, according to the company. On average, Johnston notes there are more than 13+ billion pulls per month from 7.9 million application repositories that reside within the Docker Hub container registry.

          Docker Hub container registry is at the core of the ongoing effort to recast Docker Inc. as a provider of tools that optimize workflows for developers building container applications. Currently it is the largest public container registry employed; however, there are now several alternatives to Docker Hub that cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) are positioning as platforms that have no rate limitations. Those alternatives, however, will only make it more complicated for developers to employ container images across multiple platforms, notes Johnston.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Technology as it Should Be

        In Imagine a world without apps Shira Ovide asks “a wild question: What if we played games, shopped, watched Netflix and read news on our smartphones — without using apps? Our smartphones, like our computers, would instead mostly be gateways to go online through a web browser.”

        This question can be extrapolated into a larger question: “What do we want from our technology?”

        The power of control by Big-Tech in the app store is but a small example of exploitation of our digital lives. If you don’t control the software, the companies who wrote that software control you. You become a digital prisoner.

        [...]

        The ability to encrypt your personal data with your own keys on your own device ensures that you fully control your digital life. With this as the starting point, you can then choose (aka opt-in) to share what you want with the people you want. This right is rooted in personal property rights, and is one of the most egregious abuses by Big Tech and those that have influence over them. If manufacturers, operating system developers, and software developers took a Hippocratic-like oath, one area society would agree on is the right that your personal data is your personal property and something you must retain control over and consent to share before it leaves your possession.

        Without regulatory assistance to protect personal data, society is left to fend for itself against the pressure from a multi-trillion dollar industry to exploit that personal data. There is no way to resist that pressure without the market creating convenient alternatives that honor that right while completely avoiding Big Tech. Purism creates products that are increasing in convenience daily, that fully protect you, and these products are the market answer to the worst abuses of Big Tech companies.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • The Talospace Project: Firefox 83 on POWER

            LTO-PGO is still working great in Firefox 83, which expands in-browser PDF support, adds additional features to Picture-in-Picture (which is still one of my favourite tools in Firefox) and some miscellany developer changes. The exact same process, configs and patches to build a fully link-time and profile-guided optimized build work that was used in Firefox 82.

      • CMS

        • The Best 21 Open-source Headless CMS for 2020

          A headless CMS (content management system) is a backend system which works the content available through API (RESTful API or GraphQL). It’s built to give the developers the possibilities to create what they want.

          The API-driven headless approach is trending right now especially for enterprise users and developers.

          Headless CMS programs can be used as a backend for mobile apps, static generated websites with frameworks like Next, Nuxt, Gridsome and Hugo which also supports server-side rendering. They can be also used to manage IoT (Internet of Things) applications.

        • 17 Best Open-source Self-hosted Commenting Systems

          Unlike the majority of content management systems (CMSs) which have built-in embedded comments functionalities (like WordPress), many systems don’t have comments by default, especially the newly trending static generators.

          As example this blog is powered by Ghost which is an open-source blogging system that comes with many functions and options except comments, also it does not have a plugin system to extend it with comments plugin. So, we are forced like many other users to find external options which was Disqus.

      • FSFE

        • Software Freedom in Europe 2020

          2020 is a year to remember. While many may remember the pandemic, there have nevertheless been many positive changes in terms of Free Software in recent months. In fact, a lot has changed. You can now read in one document how busy our movement was in our annual report Software Freedom in Europe 2020.

          The EU and the WHO followed our arguments that publicly funded Corona-related contact tracing apps should be published only under a Free Software license. Several cities, including Munich, promised to rely more on Free Software in the future. We convinced publicly funded hackathons to publish their results as Free Software, and the largest conservative party in Europe, the German CDU, resolved to join the FSFE in demanding that software developed with public money should be publicly available as Free Software.

      • FSF

        • Help in the fight against DMCA anti-circumvention rules by December 7th

          The United States Copyright Office is now accepting comments in support of exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) anti-circumvention provisions, and we need your help by December 7th to ensure that every new exemption is granted.

          The DMCA has been making headlines recently for all the wrong reasons. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) recently was able to temporarily have youtube-dl removed from GitHub, via a poorly thought out take down notice. GitHub has now restored youtube-dl, but not before forcing some changes to the project. While the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA can have some use, it’s clearly an abuse for the RIAA to interfere with such a project — particularly given that part of their notice was a claim about some sort of violation of YouTube’s rights, not the RIAA’s, and was related to a different section of the DMCA, the section 1201 anti-circumvention provisions. Those provisions create legal penalties for avoiding Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), and even harsher penalties for sharing the tools to do so.

          This last point — the separate penalties for sharing tools used to remove restrictions — is especially important. Recently, Google demanded GitHub take down tools used to work around its Widevine DRM. This just underscores that users will be unable to take advantage of even approved exemptions, unless they are able to write their own tools from scratch to get the DRM out of their way. It’s like saying everyone is free to cook what they want in their own kitchen, but buying and selling stoves is illegal.

        • Support UserFreedom by purchasing gifts from the GNU Press Shop

          To celebrate this year’s thirty-fifth anniversary of the FSF, we designed and issued an extremely cool undersea-themed 35th Anniversary T-shirt. The initial run sold out faster than a weekend scuba diving trip, but we’ve reprinted them in a new color scheme worthy of Neptune himself — lots of these are in stock and ready to send to you.

          But that’s not all! So excited are we on the occasion of FSF’s coral anniversary that we also made new socks. Warm your toes with the brand new FSF thirty-fifth anniversary socks — crew-length socks whose coral, black, and blue color scheme will match your FSF 35th Anniversary Poster. Orders for these limited edition socks will be accepted on a “pre-order” basis until December 9th — we’ll collect customer orders, then print the socks, which I’ll then ship to you. Be sure to order socks within the above time frame if you want them, because we won’t have a lot of surplus after the orders are filled.

          [...]

          Finally, a note about shipping. The current pandemic places a lot of obstacles to buying and selling merchandise at FSF, so your order may be shipped less punctually than before — but it absolutely will be shipped. This time of year, many customers place orders hoping to have them in hand by December 25. If this is you, and you are in the United States, please place your order before December 4, in order to provide us with the necessary lead time to make sure that your gifts are shipped on time. In any circumstance, it’s advisable to place any order as soon as you can; I will endeavor to ship it as promptly as circumstances permit. As always, don’t hesitate to email sales@fsf.org with any questions or concerns about shipping, inventory, payment, suggestions for future items for sale, or anything else — this email address is the first thing I check every work day, especially at this time of year.

      • Programming/Development

        • Qt 6.0 RC1 Takes Flight – Qt 6.0 Should Be Here By Mid-December – Phoronix

          The Qt Company has just announced Qt 6.0 Release Candidate 1 as what should be the second to the last test build ahead of the big Qt 6.0 toolkit release next month.

          Qt 6.0 Release Candidate 1 has the latest batch of bug/regression fixes to the Qt6 code-base. The very basic Qt 6.0 RC1 release announcement can be read on the Qt development list.

        • Porting from Qt 5 to Qt 6 using Qt5Compat library

          Porting from Qt 5 to Qt 6 has been intentionally kept easy. There has been a conscious effort throughout the development of Qt 6 to maintain as much source compatibility with Qt 5 as possible. Still, some effort is involved in porting. This short post summarizes some of the steps required when porting to Qt 6.

          In Qt 5 some of the classes already had existing replacements, and some classes got successors during the Qt 6 development phase. Therefore it might make sense to be able to compile your code with both the old and new Qt version. This can ensure that the amount of work where your code does not compile with either version is minimized, allowing your application or library to continue to work with Qt 5 and Qt 6. Another advantage could be that existing unit tests continue to work for most of the duration of porting, and regressions resulting from porting your code are easily distinguished from bugs introduced in Qt 6.

        • PHP 8.0 Ready To Ship With Many New Features, Even Better Performance – Phoronix

          PHP 8.0 is scheduled for release tomorrow on the US Thanksgiving day. PHP 8.0 brings with it many new language features on top of the opt-in JIT compiler support. Here is a look at some of the PHP 8.0 changes along with a quick look at the near final performance of PHP 8.0 on an AMD EPYC Linux server.

          PHP 8.0 is a very worthy successor to last year’s PHP 7.4. Besides the JIT compiler there is a ton of work incorporated into this big version bump. Among the PHP 8.0 highlights are:

          - PHP8 introduces the much anticipated Just In Time (JIT) compiler for further enhancing the speed of PHP scripts. More details on PHP’s JIT compiler via this Wiki page.

        • Going from Android LinearLayout to CSS flexbox

          Are you an Android developer looking to learn web development? I find it easier to learn a new technology stack by comparing it to a stack I’m already familiar with. Android developers can layout views using the simple yet flexible LinearLayout class. The web platform has similar tools to layout elements using CSS, and some concepts are shared. Here’s some tips to learn web development using your Android knowledge.

        • Software Diagrams Aren’t Always Correct and That’s OK

          Concretely, software is just bits in electronic storage that control and/or are manipulated by processors. Abstractions are the building blocks that enable humans to design and build complex software systems out of bits. Abstractions are products of out minds—they allow us to assign meaning to clusters (some large, some small) of bits. They allow us to build software systems without thinking about billions of bits or how processors work.

          We manifest some useful and generally simple abstractions (instructions, statements, functions, classes, modules, etc.) as “code” using other abstractions we call “languages.” Languages give us a common vocabulary for us to communicate about those abstract building blocks and to produce the corresponding bits. There are many useful tools that can and should be created to help us understand the code-level operation of a system.

          But most systems we build today are too complex to be fully understood at the level of code. In designing them we must use higher-level abstractions to conceptualize, compose, and organize code. Abstract machines, frameworks, patterns, roles, stereotypes, heuristics, constraints, etc. are examples of such higher-level abstractions.

          The languages we commonly use provide few, if any, mechanisms for directly identifying such higher-level abstractions. These abstractions may manifest as naming or other coding conventions but recognizing them as such depends upon a pre-existing shared understanding between the writer and readers of the code.

        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • How to Convert Integer into String in Python | Linuxize

            Python has several built-in data types. Sometimes, when writing Python code, you might need to convert one data type to another. For example, concatenate a string and integer, first, you’ll need to convert the integer into a string.

          • How To Install PyCharm on Debian 10

            In this tutorial, we will show you how to install PyCharm on Debian 10. For those of you who didn’t know, PyCharm is an intelligent and fully-featured IDE for Python developed by JetBrains. It also provides support for Javascript, Typescript, and CSS, etc. You can also extend PyCharm features by using plugins. By using PyCharm plugins you can also get support for frameworks like Django, Flask. We can also use PyCharm for other programming languages like HTML, SQL, Javascript, CSS, and more.

            This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of PyCharm on a Debian 10 (Buster).

        • Rust

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Isovalent Launches Linux Network Enterprise Product, Closes $29M Round | Data Center Knowledge

            The startup’s networking platform Cilium runs inside Linux, instead of running on top of the OS.

          • ZDNet and Linux often provide a good chance for a laugh

            The site’s security writer, Catalin Cimpanu, has form [1, 2, 3] in screwing up when he writes about Linux. And ZDNet has a person on staff, Stephen J. Vaughan-Nicholls, who knows the Linux very well. So why exactly the kind of dross that was published on 24 November was ever allowed to pass the editor’s knife is puzzling.

            To details. In this case, Cimpanu was writing about a botnet known as Stantinko, a new version of which has apparently been detected by the Israeli security firm Intezer and detailed in a blog post which was shared with Cimpanu before being made available to world+dog.

            Before I go any further, let me say that i have reported on Intezer at least thrice, and they are sound when it comes to their research. There is no hyperbole and when they say something, they have enough evidence to do so.

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (spip and webkit2gtk), Fedora (kernel and libexif), openSUSE (chromium and rclone), Slackware (mutt), SUSE (kernel, mariadb, and slurm), and Ubuntu (igraph).

          • Top Tips to Protect Your Linux System

            Linux-based operating systems have a reputation for their high-security level. That’s one of the reasons why the market share for Linux has been growing. The most commonly used operating systems such as Windows are often affected by targeted attacks in the form of ransomware infections, spyware, as well as worms, and malware.

            As a result, many personal, as well as enterprise users, are turning to Linux-based operating systems such as the Ubuntu-based Linux OS for security purposes. While Linux based systems are not targeted as frequently as other popular operating systems, they are not completely foolproof. There are plenty of risks and vulnerabilities for all types of Linux devices which put your privacy as well as your identity at risk.

          • Building a healthy relationship between security and sysadmins | Enable Sysadmin

            Learn how to bridge the gap between operations/development and security.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • India takes aim at Alibaba with new round of Chinese app bans

        India has banned another 43 apps from operating in its territory.

        As was the case with previous bans, India’s Ministry of Electronics & IT (MEITY) said the prohibited apps are “engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.” Just how the apps do that was not explained in the announcement of the new ban.

        The new list includes Alibaba’s apps for both buyers and sellers, plus an app named Alipay Cashier that facilitates AliPay payments.

        Whether India worries that Alibaba is misusing locals’ data, represents a threat to local payment schemes, or has been censured for otherwise behaving badly is not known. What is certain is that India and China have recently skirmished on a disputed border and previous app bans were interpreted as a de facto reprisals. India is also running a self-sufficiency drive that it hopes will increase local production to the point at which buyers beyond its shores consider it a viable rival to China as an offshore manufacturing destination.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Women state in India and proposal for corporates in Indian banking – Experiences in the community

        But all hope is not lost. There have been a couple of good judgements, one from the CIC (Chief Information Commissioner) wherein in specific cases a wife can know salary details of her husband, especially if there is some kind of maintenance due from the husband. There was so much of hue and cry against this order that it was taken down from the livelaw RTI corner. Luckily, I had downloaded it, hence could upload and share it.

        Another one was a case/suit about a legally matured women who had decided to marry without parental consent. In this case, the Delhi High Court had taken women’s side and stated she can marry whom she wants. Interestingly, about a week back Uttar Pradesh (most notorious about crime against women) had made laws called ‘Love Jihad‘ and 2 -3 states have followed them. The idea being to create an atmosphere of hate against Muslims. This is when in a separate suit/case against Sudharshan TV (a far-right leaning channel promoting hate against Muslims) , the Government of India itself put an affidavit stating that Tablighis (a sect of Muslims who came from Malaysia to India for religious discourse and assembly) were not responsible for dissemination of the virus and some media has correctly portrayed the same. Of course, those who are on the side of the Govt. on this topic think a ‘traitor’ has written. They also thought that the Govt. had taken a wrong approach but couldn’t tell of a better approach to the matter.

        There are too many matters in the Supreme Court of women asking for justice to tell all here but two instances share how the SC has been buckling under the stress of late, one is a webinar which was chaired by Justice Subramaniam where he shared how the executive is using judicial appointments to do what it wants. The gulf between the executive and the SC has been since Indira Gandhi days, especially the judicial orders which declared that the Emergency is valid by large, it has fallen much more recently and the executive has been muscling in which have resulted in more regressive decisions than progressive.

        This observation is also in tune with another study which came to the same result although using data. The raw data from the study could give so much more than what has been shared. For e.g. as an idea for the study, of the ones cited, how many have been in civil law, personal law, criminal or constitutional law. This would give a better understanding of things. Also what is shocking is none of our court orders have been cited in the west in the recent past, when there used to be a time when the west used to take guidance from Indian jurisprudence sometimes and cite the orders to reach similar conclusion or if not conclusion at least be used as a precedent. I guess those days are over.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • CNIPA-EPO Pilot For ISA Files – Intellectual Property – China

          China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) and European Patent Office (EPO) launched a two–year pilot on December 1, 2020 aiming to give nationals or residents of the P.R. China the option of selecting the EPO as their International Searching Authority (ISA) and as their International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) when filing international patent applications in English under the PCT. The pilot is of particular relevance to Chinese applicants who intend to enter the European phase in the following three aspects:

        • EU Pledges To Up The Stakes In Protecting IP Abroad

          The EU has announced plans to beef up its intellectual property protections, amid concerns that foreign nations are unreasonably appropriating European IP.

          In its new Action Plan on Intellectual Property, the European Commission says it aims to promote a global level playing field, improving IP protection and awareness, particularly amongst SMEs, facilitating the sharing of IP and improving the enforcement of IP rights.

          “Europe is home to some of the world’s leading innovations, but companies are still not fully able to protect their inventions and capitalise on their intellectual property,” says commissioner for the internal market Thierry Breton.

        • Action Plan on Intellectual Property – Questions and Answers

          Why is intellectual property important for the EU economy and its recovery?

          Intangible assets such as inventions, cultural creations, brands, software, know-how and data are the cornerstone of today’s economy. Over the last two decades, the volume of annual investments in such ‘intellectual property products’ increased by 87% in the EU, while the volume of tangible investments increased by only 30%.

          Intellectual property (IP) rights are titles for patents, trade-marks, designs, copyright, geographical indications, plant variety rights as well as trade secrets which help companies and creators protect and valorise their intangible assets.

        • Second medical use claims in pharmaceutical patents – sharp sword or toothless tiger?

          Discovering a previously unknown indication for a known drug is a common pattern in pharmaceutical research and development. Perhaps the most widely known example for the repurposing of a known drug is acetylsalicylic acid, also known as aspirin. Originally developed by Bayer in 1897 as a pain and fever medication, long-term low dosing of aspirin was later discovered to be an effective cardiovascular medication that can lower the chances of a heart attack or certain kinds of stroke.

          There are many other examples of successfully repurposed drugs. Pregabalin was originally developed to treat epileptic seizures and it was later discovered to be effective in treating neuropathic pain and generalised anxiety disorder. Similarly, sildenafil was originally developed to treat cardiovascular diseases and only later discovered to be effective in treating erectile dysfunction, eventually leading to Pfizer’s blockbuster drug Viagra.

        • European Commission unveils new IP Action Plan [Ed: UPC is dead, not "currently on hold pending German ratification of the UPC agreement." The delusionists are still pushing lies.]

          The EC supports a rapid roll out of the unitary patent system, to create a one-stop-shop for patent protection and enforcement across the EU (2021), currently on hold pending German ratification of the UPC agreement.

          [...]

          Pooling

          Following the patent pledges and pooling related to the COVID 19 therapeutics and vaccines, the Commission states to be “looking into ways to incentivise the rapid pooling of critical IP in times of crisis, for instance through a novel licensing system making critical IP available(…)”, including via compulsory licences as last resort.

          SEPs

          Recognising that SEP disputes currently seen in the automotive sector might extend to many other sectors, the Commission wishes to reduce frictions between SEP owners and implementers via industry-led initiatives, but most importantly, through reforms to improve the rules governing essentiality declarations, licensing and enforcement of SEPs, including a third-party essentiality check independent system.

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