12.03.20

Links 4/12/2020: Mesa 20.3.0, Manjaro 20.2 Nibia and Budgie 10.5.2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • What Is the Best Linux Distro for Laptops?

        Let’s start with those aging, venerable machines: your old laptop. Linux carries a strong reputation for breathing life into old hardware, and Lubuntu is one of the best options.

        Lubuntu, as you might guess from the name, is an Ubuntu derivative. It uses a different desktop environment from Ubuntu, opting for the more lightweight and less resource-intensive LXDE desktop instead of GNOME. The result is a lightweight Linux distro that will run nicely on an older laptop.

        Lubuntu requires a minimum of 1GB RAM for “advanced internet services” such as YouTube and Facebook, while just 512MB RAM will suffice for basic operations such as LibreOffice and basic web browsing. In terms of CPU, you’ll need at least an Intel Pentium 4 or Pentium M, or an AMD K8.

      • System76 Pangolin Linux laptop is powered by AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile processors

        Back in June, System76 launched its first-ever laptop powered by AMD processors. Called “Serval WS,” that computer was a beastly portable workstation with desktop-class CPUs — not AMD’s highly praised Ryzen 4000 mobile processors which offer performance and impressive battery life.

      • Throwback Thursday: Linux on the Desktop

        And if you are tempted to point out that Chrome OS is just a Linux distro, so Desktop Linux is still alive and well, you are missing the point. I deliberately used the word ‘model’ earlier, as it’s how you define and solve the problem that matters, not whatever software sits on the user’s machine.

        [...]

        Funnily enough, most of these are identical to those covered in the 2009 Desktop Linux report – application compatibility, interoperability, company politics, user segmentation, user experience, and so on. A lot of the content is therefore still relevant, even today.

      • XMG Core 14 is a thin and light gaming laptop with Intel Tiger Lake and NVIDIA graphics – Liliputing

        The Tuxedo BOOK XP14 is basically an XMG Core 14 that ships with Linux rather than Windows. Tuxedo offers operating system options including Ubuntu, OpenSUSE and its own Ubuntu-based Tuxedo_OS.

    • Server

      • Don’t Panic: Kubernetes and Docker

        Docker as an underlying runtime is being deprecated in favor of runtimes that use the Container Runtime Interface(CRI) created for Kubernetes. Docker-produced images will continue to work in your cluster with all runtimes, as they always have.

        If you’re an end-user of Kubernetes, not a whole lot will be changing for you. This doesn’t mean the death of Docker, and it doesn’t mean you can’t, or shouldn’t, use Docker as a development tool anymore. Docker is still a useful tool for building containers, and the images that result from running docker build can still run in your Kubernetes cluster.

        If you’re using a managed Kubernetes service like GKE or EKS, you will need to make sure your worker nodes are using a supported container runtime before Docker support is removed in a future version of Kubernetes. If you have node customizations you may need to update them based on your environment and runtime requirements. Please work with your service provider to ensure proper upgrade testing and planning.

        If you’re rolling your own clusters, you will also need to make changes to avoid your clusters breaking. At v1.20, you will get a deprecation warning for Docker. When Docker runtime support is removed in a future release (currently planned for the 1.23 release in late 2021) of Kubernetes it will no longer be supported and you will need to switch to one of the other compliant container runtimes, like containerd or CRI-O. Just make sure that the runtime you choose supports the docker daemon configurations you currently use (e.g. logging).

      • Wait, Docker is deprecated in Kubernetes now? What do I do? – DEV

        Don’t panic, Docker containers and images are still alive. It’s not that it will change everything.

      • Kubernetes Is Deprecating Docker Support: What You Need to Know

        CNCF ambassador Kat Cosgrove provides an explainer thread on Twitter and summarizes the situation like this: “From Kubernetes v1.20, you will receive a deprecation warning for Docker. After that, you will need to use a different container runtime” such as containerd or CRI-O.

      • Dockershim Deprecation FAQ

        This document goes over some frequently asked questions regarding the Dockershim depreaction announced as a part of the Kubernetes v1.20 release. For more detail on the deprecation of Docker as a container runtime for Kubernetes kubelets, and what that means, check out the blog post Don’t Panic: Kubernetes and Docker.

        Why is dockershim being deprecated?

        Maintaining dockershim has become a heavy burden on the Kubernetes maintainers. The CRI standard was created to reduce this burden and allow smooth interoperability of different container runtimes. Docker itself doesn’t currently implement CRI, thus the problem.

        Dockershim was always intended to be a temporary solution (hence the name: shim). You can read more about the community discussion and planning in the Dockershim Removal Kubernetes Enhancement Proposal.

        Additionally, features that were largely incompatible with the dockershim, such as cgroups v2 and user namespaces are being implemented in these newer CRI runtimes. Removing support for the dockershim will allow further development in those areas.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • A realtime developer’s checklist

        We want all applications to be correct and bug-free, Ogness began; in the realtime domain, correctness “means running at the correct time”. The application must wake up within a bounded time limit when there is time-critical work to do. Ogness highlighted that, in realtime systems, the right timing of tasks is a requirement; things will go wrong if the constraints are not met. Developers need to define which tasks and applications are time-critical; he noted that a lot of people mistakenly think that all tasks in a realtime system are realtime, while most of them are not.

        The good news for developers is that, under Linux, they can write realtime applications using only the POSIX API with the realtime extensions. The code will look familiar, and only three additional header files are required: sched.h (a member of the audience noted that the musl C library does not implement this one), time.h, and pthread.h.

        There are three properties that a realtime operating system must have: deterministic scheduling behavior, interruptibility (the CPU is always running something, so there should be a way to interrupt a task), and a way to avoid priority inversion, which happens when a high-priority task must wait for a lower-priority one. The third property, which might be less familiar to non-realtime developers, was described with an example.

      • iproute2 and libbpf: vendoring on the small scale

        LWN’s recent article on Kubernetes in Debian discussed the challenges of packaging a massive project with hundreds of dependencies. Many of the issues that arose there, however, are not limited to such projects, as can be seen in the ongoing discussion about whether a copy of the relatively small libbpf library should be shipped with the iproute2 collection of networking tools. Fast-moving projects, it would seem, continue to feel limited by the restrictions imposed by the Linux distribution model.
        Iproute2 is a collection of network-configuration tools found on almost any Linux system; it includes utilities like arpd, ip (the command old-timers guiltily think they should be using when they type ifconfig), ss, and tc. That last command, in particular, is used to configure the traffic-control subsystem, which allows administrators to manage and prioritize the flow of network traffic through their systems. This subsystem has, for some years, had the capability to load and run BPF programs to both classify packets and make decisions on how to queue them. This mechanism gives administrators a great deal of flexibility in the management of network traffic.

        The code for handling BPF programs within iproute2 is old, though, and lacks support for many of the features that have been added to BPF in the last few years. Since that code was written, the BPF community has developed libbpf (which lives in the kernel source tree) as the preferred way to work with BPF programs and load them into the kernel. This is not a small task; libbpf must interpret the instructions encoded as special ELF sections in an executable BPF program and make the necessary calls to the sprawling bpf() system call. This work can include creating maps, “relocating” structure offsets to match the configuration of the running kernel, loading programs, and attaching those programs to the appropriate hooks within the kernel. Libbpf has grown quickly, along with the rest of the BPF ecosystem.

      • Systemd catches up with bind events

        The kernel project has a strong focus on not breaking user-space applications; if something works with a given kernel release, it should continue to work with subsequent releases. So it may be discouraging to read the lengthy exposition on an apparent user-space API break in the announcement for the systemd 247-rc2 release. Changes to udev configuration files will be needed to keep systems working, but the systemd project claims that it “is not [the] fault of systemd or udev, but caused by an incompatible kernel change that happened back in Linux 4.12″. It seems like an appropriate time to look at what happened, how administrators need to respond, and whether anything can be done to avoid this kind of thing from happening again.
        Modern computers tend to be highly dynamic, with devices (of both the physical and virtual variety) appearing and disappearing while the system is running. The kernel handles the low-level details with regard to these device events, but it is up to user space to take care of the rest. For that to happen, user space needs to know when something has changed with the system’s configuration.

        To that end, events are emitted to user space from deep within the kernel’s driver-core subsystem whenever something changes; for example, plugging in a USB device will result in the creation of one or more ADD events to tell user space that the new device is available. The udev daemon is charged with responding to these events according to a set of rules; it can create device nodes, set permissions, notify other user-space components, and more, all in response to properties attached to events by matching rules. The set of possible events is relatively small and does not change often.

      • Changed-block tracking and differential backups in QEMU

        The block layer of QEMU, the open-source machine emulator and virtualizer, forms the backbone of many storage virtualization features: the QEMU Copy-On-Write (QCOW2) disk-image file format, disk image chains, point-in-time snapshots, backups, and more. At the recently concluded 2020 KVM Forum virtual event, Eric Blake gave a talk on the current work in QEMU and libvirt to make differential backups more powerful. As the name implies, “differential backups” address the efficiency problems of full disk backups: space usage and speed of backup creation.

        There’s also the similar-sounding term, “incremental backups”. The difference is that differential tracks what has changed since any given backup, while incremental tracks changes only since the last backup. Incremental backups are a subset of differential backups, but both are often lumped under the “incremental backups” term. This article will stick to “differential” as the broader term.

        With differential backups, one of the two endpoints when creating backups is always the current point in time. In other words, it is not like Git, where, if the latest version of a file is, say, v4, you can still diff between v2 and v3 — with differential backups, one of the two diff points is always v4, the current point in time.

        QEMU has had block-layer primitives to support full backups for some time; these were most commonly used for live-migrating the entire storage of a virtual machine, or for point-in-time snapshots. But over the past couple of years, QEMU and libvirt have picked up steam toward the goal of making differential backups a first-class feature that is enabled by default.

      • Linux kernel heap quarantine versus use-after-free exploits | Alexander Popov

        It’s 2020. Quarantines are everywhere – and here I’m writing about one, too. But this quarantine is of a different kind.

        In this article I’ll describe the Linux Kernel Heap Quarantine that I developed for mitigating kernel use-after-free exploitation. I will also summarize the discussion about the prototype of this security feature on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML).

      • Bcachefs Going Through Period Of More Performance Optimizations – Phoronix

        Bcachefs was sent out for another round of review at the end of October. While it doesn’t look like this file-system born out of Linux’s block cache code will be mainlined in the immediate near future, it’s still on a nice trajectory.

        The October post to the Linux kernel mailing list outlined all of the current features and those recently completed like erasure coding, inline data extents, and more — plus many bug fixes.

      • Intel Begins Upstreaming Work For Their Vision Processing Unit On Linux

        While Intel engineers over the course of the year began upstreaming various elements of the Keem Bay SoC support, the actual Vision Processing Unit (VPU) enabling hasn’t been sent out for review until now. Intel has sent out their initial patches for bringing up the Vision Processing Unit on the open-source Linux kernel.

        Intel’s Visual Processing Unit that is new to the Keem Bay SoC can be used as a standalone SoC or as a PCI Express vision processing accelerator The Linux kernel work is ultimately about fulfilling both possible uses.

      • Linux Kernel 5.10 LTS Top Features (RC-6 is out now)

        Linux Kernel 5.10 is planned for LTS (long term support) Kernel release. Kernel 5.10 is the 21st stable release following the current Kernel 5.4 LTS. And the Kernel 5.10 RC6 is out now.

      • Patreon Project Looks to Bring Linux to Apple Silicon » Linux Magazine

        Developer Hector Martin has created a patreon page to fund his work on developing a port of Linux for Apple Silicon Macs.

        Developer Hector Martin believes Linux is capable of running on Apple hardware powered by M1 chips. In fact, he believes so much in this goal, that he’s created a Patreon project to help fund his efforts.

        This is quite a major task for a single developer, but Martin believes he’s able to pull it off. The project, however, will require a full-time effort, which is why the developer has created the Patreon page.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Arcan versus Xorg: Feature parity and Beyond

          This is the follow-up to the ‘Arcan versus Xorg: approaching feature parity’ article which is recommended reading if you have not done so already.

          After that article, there was only one (and a half) real feature left to safely claim parity and that can be covered rather quickly. Thereafter we can nibble on the bites that are in Arcan, but not in Xorg — the reason for the difference in scope is best saved for a different time, although it is a good one.

          First, let us not forget that there are more vectors for qualities that are significant to users than just features. Client compatibility is something that has been much lower on the list of priorities, yet is an important quality.

          The reason is that prematurely adding support for something like a new display server backend to a toolkit, game engine or windowing library without both necessary and sufficient features in place will lead to a scattered actual feature set. There will be theoretical features, and then the features some clients actually might use some version or interpretation of. These two sets will slip further and further apart unless each affected project has exceptionally alert developers, and the reference implementation having basic hygiene in place regarding conformance verification and validation tools.

        • [Mesa-dev] [ANNOUNCE] mesa 20.3.0
          Hi list,
          
          I'd like to announce that 20.3.0 is now available for general
          consumption. We only slipped on week, which is excelent, and convenient
          to avoid a release right before Christmas. Special thanks to Ken Graunke
          for getting the last blocking issue resolved very quickly to get this
          release out.
          
          Dylan
          
        • Mesa 20.3.0 is out bringing tons of improvements for Linux open source graphics drivers | GamingOnLinux

          Mesa 20.3.0 is the latest and greatest when it comes to Linux open source graphics, bringing with it new hardware support, performance improvements and more. Mesa drivers are what power the likes of Intel and AMD on Linux with the latest Vulkan and OpenGL support whereas NVIDIA have their own proprietary driver.

          As always, with it being a brand new release if you’re concerned about stability you might want to wait for the first point release with Mesa 20.3.1.

        • Mesa 20.3 Released With Big Improvements For Open-Source Graphics Drivers – Phoronix

          Mesa 20.3 has been released as the Q4’2020 open-source graphics driver update, primarily around providing OpenGL and Vulkan support on the likes of Intel and AMD Radeon graphics along with the reverse-engineered Nouveau support, many smaller drivers especially in the embedded space, and the growing list of CPU-based implementations and other translation efforts.

          Mesa 20.3 as usual sees much of the exciting work for the Intel and AMD Radeon graphics driver work — including new hardware support — but this quarter there has also been a lot of core work, the Raspberry Pi Vulkan driver added, OpenCL compute improvements, ongoing work around the Zink OpenGL-on-Vulkan Gallium3D code, and much more.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Spectre Mitigation Performance Impact On AMD Ryzen 5000 “Zen 3″ Processors

        For those wondering what the current cost is to the default Spectre mitigation protections on the new AMD Ryzen 5000 series “Zen 3″ processors, here are a set of performance tests looking at that overhead with the still relevant mitigations applied by default and then if forcing them off. The Zen 3 mitigation overhead was compared then to similar AMD Zen 2 and Zen+ processors.

        After looking last week at the odd state of mitigation performance on Intel’s new Tiger Lake processors, the attention shifted to looking at the mitigation overhead for the new AMD Zen 3 processors. Thankfully there is less mitigations to worry about with AMD processors but still even with these new processors there is still a measurable difference in affected workloads between mitigations on and off. Also, unlike Tiger Lake and contrary to rumors, the Zen 3 mitigation performance was in the right direction: disabling the mitigations did help boost the performance as is logical, unlike what we saw with Tiger Lake where now disabling the mitigations hurt the overall performance.

    • Applications

      • bolt 0.9.1 with fixes for integrated thunderbolt controller

        A new release of bolt is out: 0.9.1 – Unstable icy waters. This is a bug-fix release that addresses some issue on integrated Thunderbolt controller.

        Intel’s Ice Lake is the first architecture where the Thunderbolt controller is part of the CPU die. This is quite a big difference. There is a good article on wikichip called “A Look At The Ice Lake Thunderbolt 3 Integration” for those that are curious about the technical details. What matters for bolt is that there is no DROM, which means that the udev device representing the host switch does not have the usual name and id attributes for the device and vendor. Additionally, the unique_id attribute has a different UUID every boot. This breaks one of the fundamental assumptions for boltd, which used the unique_id of the host to uniquely identify the corresponding Thunderbolt domain. This is important because we store host devices and domains in the store. Now, with the uuid changing this means that 1) we can not match the previously stored domains and hosts to the ones after a reboot and thus will accumulate “stale” domains in the store. Ironically, the fact that the host device also does not have any name and id information means that boltd would refuse to create the BoltDevice for those which meant we did at least not accumulate the stale host devices in the store. It did break the detection of the generation, i.e. if it is Thunderbolt 3 or USB 4.

      • GMusicBrowser Back From the Dead with GTK3 Port – OMG! Ubuntu!

        It’s been a long time since I last typed the name ‘Gmusicbrowser’ in a post but what d’ya know: the venerable music player recently issued a pair of new releases.

        Gmusicbrowser was a fairly popular audio app back in the day due to its customisable nature, and its ability to handle large (and I mean large) music collections. The open source app supports all major music files like .mp3, .ogg, and .flac — with the new release .opus joins the club.

        It’s possible to tweak, tune, and tailor the look of Gmusicbrowser in a giddying number of ways using its ‘layouts’ feature. You can craft these by hand, or use a built-in preset (e.g., ‘iTunes’, ‘Rhythmbox’, ‘Quod Libet’, etc).

      • Repo Review: Shortwave

        A few years ago, I had already reviewed quite a few of the internet radio players available in the repository, but I thought I’d take the time now to have a look at a new radio player available called Shortwave. Shortwave uses the very large, community driven radio-browser.info database for its lists of internet radio stations, giving you access to over 28,000 radio streams.

        Shortwave has a nicer and more modern user interface than a lot of the other internet radio players I’ve previously tested. The simplicity of Shortwave is good, making it quick and easy to find the radio stations that you’re looking for. The main screen that you’re presented with when opening Shortwave is the Library page. This is where you can keep all your favorite radio stations for easy access. Clicking on the + button at the top left of the window will take you to the Discover page, where you can find new radio stations to listen to.

        [...]

        Shortwave, in my opinion, is one of the best internet radio players that I’ve used. It may not have quite as many advanced features as some of the other radio players available, but it makes up for that with its great ease of use. And now would also be the perfect time to use Shortwave for listening to some of your favorite Christmas carols!

      • LosslessCut – Super Fast Tool for Trimming / Cutting Video & Audio

        No patience with common video editors (e.g., Kdenlive and Openshot) as they can take hours to export a video after trimming / cutting it? Try LosslessCut.

        LosslessCut is a cross platform tool for lossless trimming / cutting of video and audio files. The software is extremely fast, it does the job in seconds without losing quality because it simply cuts the data stream and directly copies it over.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to install the official Snap Store on Ubuntu, Arch, Manjaro, CentOS, Fedora
      • How to Format USB Drive or Pendrive on Linux?

        Suppose you want to know how you can format a pen drive or USB drive. There are many ways to format, but I’ll show you both the GUI and CLI method whichever you are comfortable that you can use.

        Method 1: Format USB Drive or Pen drive Using Terminals
        First we will see how to use terminal method to format USB drive

      • Install phpMyAdmin on Debian 10 “buster” – PragmaticLinux

        In this article you learn step-by-step how to install phpMyAdmin on a Debian 10 web server. To the point that you can log in to phpMyAdmin from your web browser and have full access rights. This enables you to manage MySQL databases and users, conveniently from your web browser. Afterwards you no longer need to log in via SSH and use the MySQL monitor for these tasks.

      • How To Add Downloaded .box File To Vagrant In Linux

        The Linux distributions are available for download in a range of different formats. The most widely available format is ISO. Apart from ISO, they are also distributed via pre-configured images such as .box for Vagrant, .vbox for virtual box, .vmdk for Vmware, .qcow2 for KVM/openStack, and compressed RAW etc. So you can quickly grab the image of your choice and run it using the respective virtualization application. This brief guide explains how to add downloaded .box file to Vagrant in Linux operating system.

        For those who don’t know yet, Vagrant is an open source software for building and maintaining virtual software development environments. It provides a clean, easy to configure, reproducible, and portable development environment. The .box is a format and an extension for Vagrant environments. The vagrant boxes are just the base images. Nowadays, many OSes are available in .box image file format.

      • How To Tag Docker Images

        I’m migrating a few Docker containers between hosts and realised that one step that always needs to happen to any image is tagging – this will save you confusion and time in the future.

      • 3 Ways to Install Skype on Ubuntu 18.04/20.04 Desktop [Ed: It's technically malware, but many people still install it]
      • How to Delete/Remove LVM (Logical) Volume in Linux

        If the LVM volume (logical volume) is no longer required to use by LVM on the system.

        You can remove/delete it with the lvremove command using the following steps.

        But make sure the LVM volume does not contain any data.

        If yes, please make sure to back up that data before proceeding with LVM removal.

      • How To Fix Ifconfig Command Not Found on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to fix Ifconfig command not found on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Interface configuration (ifconfig) is a command-line utility tool used to configure network interfaces in Unix and Linux operating systems. It displays the details of a network interface card like IP address, MAC Address, and the status of a network interface card, etc. On Ubuntu 20.04 and before, ifconfig command by default used to ship. Whereas in minimal installed Ubuntu, I have not found ifconfig command. This was due to “net-tools” not installed by default. Install “net-tools” will solve the problem.

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

      • [Older] How to Identify File Types in Linux

        As we all know that everything is a file in Linux, which includes Hard Disk, Graphics Card, etc.

        When you are navigating to the Linux file system most of the files are fall under regular files and directories.

      • How to Install Cerb Collaboration and Email Automation on CentOS 8

        Cerb is a free, open-souce and web-based collaboration and automation tool used for sending high volumes of emails. It is written in PHP and uses MySQL or MariaDB as a database backend. It comes with a simple and easy to use web interface that can be used for real-time monitoring, task management, and goal tracking.

        In this tutorial, we will learn how to install and configure Cerb on CentOS 8 server.

      • How to Install PHP 8 on Ubuntu 20.04 | Linuxize

        PHP is one of the most widely used server-side programming languages. Many popular CMS and frameworks such as WordPress, Magento, and Laravel are written in PHP.

        PHP 8.0 is the latest major release of the PHP language. It introduces several breaking changes, performance improvements, and lots of new features such as named arguments, JIT compiler, union types, match expression, and more.

        This article will show you how to install PHP 8 on Ubuntu 20.04 and integrate it with Nginx and Apache.

        At the time of writing, the default Ubuntu 20.04 repositories include PHP 7.4 version. We’ll install PHP from the ondrej/php PPA repository.

        Before upgrading to or installing PHP 8, make sure that

      • How to install IntelliJ Idea Ulitmate on Ubuntu 20.04 – YouTube

        In this video, we are looking at how to install IntelliJ Idea on Ubuntu 20.04.

      • How to query files, packages, and repositories in Linux | Enable Sysadmin

        How to find the information you need about Linux software packages, commands, and utilities.

      • How to supercharge string search through a directory hierarchy on a Linux/Unix using ag
      • How to Install ELK on Ubuntu 20.04

        The ELK stack is known as Elastic Stack is a collection of three open-source software i.e. Elasticsearch, Kibana, and Logstash. The ELK stack is used to search, analyze, and visualize a large volume of data.

      • How-To: Upgrade PinePhone PCB – Boiling Steam

        BraveHeart and UBPorts PinePhone owners: know that you’re not left in the dark if you wanted to have 3 GB of RAM and double the internal storage (32 GB) on your existing device, without having to buy another PinePhone.

        Pine64 has made it possible to upgrade your existing device by selling the mainboard itself. This component currently costs $105; they used to sell them at a discount of $80 for people who already had the older-generation PinePhones, but it seems that promotion has already ended. Tack on another $12 or so for standard shipping, and $20 for expediated shipping.

        I’ve noticed during the time I’ve used Arch Linux with this upgrade, the extra GB of RAM has definitely made an improvement in terms of responsive-ness. Menus and applications open and close a lot more smoothly. And you can’t go wrong with having double the storage capacity; now you can install more applications, have more music, etc.

      • Apt vs. Aptitude Command: A Definitive Guide | FOSS Linux

        f you are like me, you surely have come across the aptitude and apt command. Not only that, but you should have also seen discussions based on which one is “better”? If you are still wondering, then you have come to the right place as we not only understand both of them but also try to differentiate them in the most unbiased way you can find.

      • [Old] How to enable SSH login notifications by email in CentOS 8

        Is your Linux Server used by multiple users and you want to know when a user is logging in by SSH? If yes, then you can enable SSH notifications in Bash profile to get notified. We will add a small script that will send you an email when somebody logs into the server.

      • MAAS CLI-only machine creation | Ubuntu

        The whole point of MAAS configuration is to get machines deployed. If you read the previous post in this series, you know how to install MAAS and do basic configuration using only the MAAS Command-Line Interface (CLI). So far, so good, but now we need to enable networking and create some machines.

      • How to install and use WinSCP on Ubuntu 20.04 Linux – Linux Shout

        WinSCP is a popular FTP client that is only available for Windows operating systems, however, if you are familiar with it and want to use WinSCP on Linux operating systems such as Ubuntu then Wine is the best option.

      • How to Install Wiki.js on CentOS 8 – RoseHosting

        Wiki.js is a free and open-source wiki application written in Node.js. It is simple, lightweight, and uses Markdown files to saves all contents. You can save your content directly to the Markdown file and sync it with your Git repository. It offers a rich set of features including, integrated access control, a built-in search engine, and supports external authentication.

      • How to install FreeCAD on Linux Mint 20 – YouTube

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

      • How to optimize the apt package manager on Debian-based Linux distributions – TechRepublic

        There are a number of ways Linux is superior to other operating systems. Not only is Linux more reliable and stable, it’s more secure and user-friendly (in more areas than you might believe). But above everything else, one of the most amazing things about Linux is it’s flexibility. You’d be hard-pressed to find a distribution of Linux that insists you do it one way and only one way (which is the case with Windows and macOS).

      • Image Noise Reduction By Image Stacking/Blending

        Simply put, it is a way to use multiple photos of an image to reduce the noise in the final image to produce a cleaner and clearer final image.

        Image Stacking/Blending is not the same as Focus Stacking, which is normally used when taking Macro or Close Up images.

      • Faked Memory Sticks

        There is a big trade in cheaper memory sticks, that is, all types. These include both USB Pen Drives and SDXC and microSDXC (aka TF) types. But there are many others. Some cheaper ones have speed problems, and if that’s not a concern, go ahead. But amongst them are a number of Fake Memory drives. Let’s just explain what that means.

        A fake memory drive is a memory drive, it’s the details that are faked. It will actually work up to a point. What has been faked is the amount of storage space it holds. Your computer or phone or whatever device using it, relies on information stored at the beginning of the memory to know how much space there is on it. Also held there is the file index system. If someone can overwrite that information, then the drive can return false data to the system about how much space it has.

      • Inkscape Tutorial: Create A Custom Calendar
      • Using Timeshift To Backup & Restore Your PCLinuxOS System

        I recently ran across a post by one of the PCLinuxOS forum members, asking for an article/tutorial on how to use Timeshift, so I decided to give it a go.

        Now, if you’re new to PCLinuxOS or Linux in general, you may be asking yourself, “what is Timeshift?”

        Well, Timeshift is a package/program written for Linux to create restore points for your operating system, much like the restore point feature in Windows. It allows you to make incremental backups that create exact images of your system, at specific points in time. They can be used to restore your system to the exact state that it was in, at the time when the backup was made. The backups are incremental so they don’t need as much hard drive space to store.

      • BPF For Observability: Getting Started Quickly | Linux Journal

        BPF is a powerful component in the Linux kernel and the tools that make use of it are vastly varied and numerous. In this article we examine the general usefulness of BPF and guide you on a path towards taking advantage of BPF’s utility and power. One aspect of BPF, like many technologies, is that at first blush it can appear overwhelming. We seek to remove that feeling and to get you started.

      • Learn how to simplify data protection using Vinchin Backup & Recovery with Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager

        Looking for a reliable backup solution for your Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager deployments?

        Join us on Wednesday, December 16, for a webinar with Luwen Zhang from Vinchin and Simon Coter from Oracle. Luwen and Simon will discuss how to simplify the data protection process using Vinchin Backup & Recovery with Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager.

    • Games

      • Wasteland 3 should be available on Linux with patch 1.3 before the end of 2020 | GamingOnLinux

        inXile Entertainment have confirmed in their latest update for Wasteland 3 that the Linux version should be ready before the end of 2020.

        The team have been working on Wasteland 3 update 1.2 dubbed “Meat Maker Marinade” to address various improvements and fixes. They went with that code name as this update should get rid of the most urgent issues, to let “the flavors soak in”. That update should be due within the next week.

      • Wasteland 3 will release on Mac and Linux before the year’s end
      • Game Zone: A Very Sonic Christmas!

        In 1992, Sega, a well-known game company, launched the Sega CD (Mega CD), an add-on for its Genesis/Megadrive video game. As it was the launch of new hardware, it is always necessary to have titles that are the famous killer apps, in order to sell the accessory.

        The Sega CD, at its launch, had a lot of killer apps: Sega Classics 4-in-1, Cobra Command, Chuck Rock, Night Trap, Sewer Shark, among others.

        However, it was not yet the necessary boost of sales of the device. That extra boost would come with the second wave of releases, with titles like Final Fight CD, Ecco the Dolphin and (play the drums) Sonic CD. This second wave of titles showed what the Sega CD hardware was capable of, and positioned the accessory as an object of desire for the gamers of the time, giving a significant advantage in Sega’s war with Nintendo.

        [...]

        Right when the game is installed, it does not recognize any joystick, unlike Sonic CD, which accepts any joystick automatically.

        This can be worked around with Antimicro, a program that maps the joystick on the computer keyboard, and is available in the PCLinuxOS repos.

      • Call for participation to Online GodotCon 2021

        2021 is quickly approaching and in the Godot community we are starting to prepare for next year’s GodotCon!

        As you might know, each year we attend FOSDEM, the major Free and Open Source event in Europe, and we use the opportunity to organise our own small conference as a fringe event: GodotCon! A meetup for contributors, users and interested people to socialize, collaborate and share knowledge.

        Sadly, given the uncertainty regarding international travel and the possibility to host big gatherings, FOSDEM has decided to go online-only for next year’s edition and we are taking the same decision for our own GodotCon.

        It’s not all bad news because as much as we’ll miss meeting each other in person, we must see it as an opportunity for everyone to participate, no matter where they are located.

      • art of rally to get a sizable update on December 14 with new vehicles | GamingOnLinux

        That’s not all, you will also now have Ghost Cards so you can see and race against your local ghost. A great feature, and one I personally find makes coming back to any kind of solo racer much more enticing. There’s also going to be support for livery mods available from the Race Department website. You will be able to create them from templates provided, then exported as a png to add to the game.

      • Intergalactic Wizard Force is a highly amusing short free adventure out now | GamingOnLinux

        Intergalactic Wizard Force, developed for the AdventureX Game Jam is well worth a look as it’s absolutely hilarious and won’t take you long to complete.

        With its own theme song, fully voiced characters and artwork from Jacob Janerka (Paradigm) it’s quite an experience. Janerka described it as “like the hit movie Twins (1988 film) except they are Space Wizards dealing with intergalactic bureaucracy”.

      • War Thunder now has a Battle Pass with both free and paid items | GamingOnLinux

        War Thunder, the very popular free-to-play, cross-platform, MMO military now has its own Battle Pass system so dedicated players can earn even more from it.

        Just like many other games now do, you can either just continue playing free and earn a few extras here and there or pay a fee to be able to unlock all of it as you play it. The first season of the War Thunder Battle Pass runs from December 2 until February 2021. Gajin said each season of the Battle Pass will have plenty of new and often exclusive content like vehicles, decals, XP boosters, profile icons and much more.

      • Surviving the Humans is an upcoming adventure about a misunderstood 80s Zombie | GamingOnLinux

        Being a Zombie in the 80s isn’t easy and that’s what Surviving the Humans is all about, starring a rather misunderstood undead fellow.

        Surprised Monkey Studio say to expect a story that simply hasn’t been told before, with Cooper being a Zombie who is not of the murderous brain-eating sort they’re often portrayed as. You follow Cooper through the story as they learn what it really means to be a Zombie as they try to change how humans think about them. It’s currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter where the team is trying to raise $10,000 to finish it.

      • Village builder Odd Realm is now available DRM-free on GOG | GamingOnLinux

        If the GOG store is your preferred place to grab some games, go and check out the latest release with Odd Realm. Another Linux supported title, which has you build up a settlement and expand across a fantasy world.

        With it being available for a while already, it’s quite positively rated by users on Steam at least and I enjoyed my own time spent with it earlier this year. It’s got that right kind of relaxing building, mixed in with plenty of challenges. If you enjoy the likes of Dwarf Fortress, RimWorld and other similar games you will probably quite enjoy Odd Realm too.

      • Sky Haven is a new airport tycoon building sim available in Early Access | GamingOnLinux

        A new promising building tycoon sim has entered the race why Sky Haven from developer Real Welders, so far it seems to be quite promising too.

        Keeping in mind that it only released on November 25, it already has a “Very Positive” user rating on Steam from close to 200 reviews so it seems Real Welders are onto something here. It was originally funded on Kickstarter, where the developer managed to pull in about $60,000 in late 2019 so it’s good to see it now available.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Solus Announces New Budgie 10.5.2 Linux Desktop Environment

        Budgie is a feature-rich, modern desktop developed by Solus Project, which also comes under our list of best Linux desktop environment.

        After more than a year of development, the Solus project has released a new version of its flagship desktop environment, Budgie 10.5.2. The latest iteration of the Budgie desktop includes several new features and bug fixes.

      • The Solus Linux team release the Budgie 10.5.2 desktop environment upgrade

        Solus, the independent semi-rolling release distribution has released a big upgrade to their flagship Budgie desktop environment with the 10.5.2 update.

        I’m a huge fan of Budgie, especially with the Raven sidebar that gives you access to manage notifications, control media playback, control your sound devices, and more so it’s pleasing to see another option continue to mature. That’s the key theme here, with a lot of the work going into this release aimed to make it more feature-filled and ready for everyone.

        Raven itself had a nice small configuration tweak, allowing you to pick which side of the screen Raven should appear or just have it be automated based on panel placement.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt Creator 4.14 RC released

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

          Please have a look at our Beta blog post for the higher level overview of what improvements are included in Qt Creator 4.14, and to our change log for the more fine-grained list.

        • Russell Coker: KDE Icons Disappearing in Debian/Unstable

          One of my workstations is running Debian/Unstable with KDE and SDDM on an AMD Radeon R7 260X video card. Recently it stopped displaying things correctly after a reboot, all the icons failed to display as well as many of the Qt controls. When I ran a KDE application from the command line I got the error “QSGTextureAtlas: texture atlas allocation failed, code=501“. Googling that error gave a blog post about a very similar issue in 2017 [1]. From that blog post I learned that I could stop the problem by setting MESA_EXTENSION_OVERRIDE=”-GL_EXT_bgra -GL_EXT_texture_format_BGRA8888″ in the environment. In a quick test I found that the environment variable setting worked, making the KDE apps display correctly and not report an error about a texture atlas.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME’s Mutter 40 Alpha Released With Big Improvements

          In working towards the March release of GNOME 40, the Mutter compositor / window manager is out today with its 40 Alpha release.

          The GNOME 40 Alpha release isn’t scheduled until 9 January but coming out today is the Mutter 40 Alpha tagged.

    • Distributions

      • Linux: The 7 best distributions for new users

        The age-old question has returned, one that divides a certain community faster than a penguin can devour a mouthful of krill. That question? What are the best Linux distributions for new users? When you ask the question of the Linux community, they inevitably answer with the distribution they use. Why wouldn’t they? Loyalty has always been set at a fairly high bar with Linux. You find a distribution that’s perfect for you, and you want everyone to use it. Thing is, you probably forget that your Linux skills are likely considerably higher than the average user–and especially the new user.

      • Arch Linux-based Manjaro 20.2 Nibia ready for download with Xfce, GNOME, and KDE

        Manjaro is one of the most popular Linux-based operating systems these days, and it isn’t hard to see why. It is based on the rock-solid Arch, but unlike that distro, Manjaro is very easy to install and use. In other words, it has all the benefits of Arch, but without the hassles and headaches. This makes it a great choice for both Linux experts and beginners.

        Today, Manjaro 20.2 “Nibia,” becomes available for download with a trio of desktop environment options — Xfce (4.14), GNOME (3.38.2), and KDE Plasma (5.20.4). All three DEs are excellent, but Xfce is what the developers consider the “flagship.” With that said, the official release announcement claims the GNOME variant has received a bulk of the changes in Nibia.

      • Manjaro 20.2 “Nibia” Released with Linux Kernel 5.9, KDE Plasma 5.20 and GNOME 3.38

        Dubbed Nibia, Manjaro Linux 20.2 is here about three months after Manjaro 20.1 “Mikah” to bring you all the latest and greatest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software.

        Compared to Manjaro 20.1, Manjaro Linux 20.2 upgrades the KDE Plasma desktop environment from Plasma 5.19 to the latest Plasma 5.20.4 release and the GNOME desktop environment from the GNOME 3.36 branch to the newest GNOME 3.38.2 release.

      • Manjaro 20.2 Brings Arch-Based Linux 5.9 Experience, GNOME Version Defaults To Wayland
      • Manjaro 20.2 Nibia got released

        We are happy to announce our latest release of Manjaro we call Nibia.

        Some might want to shoot for the moon – well, we shoot for the four moons of Nibia.

        Last, but not least, our installer Calamares also received many improvements. Among other things, it now supports encrypted systems without encrypted /boot partition. This enables graphical password dialogs, using non-us keymaps for inputting passwords and up to 1 minute shorter boot times compared to full disk encryption. Automatic partitioning still uses full disk encryption by default.

        We hope you enjoy this release and let us know what you think of Nibia.

      • New Releases

        • Easy Buster version 2.5.1

          EasyOS versions 1.x are the “Pyro” series, the latest is 1.3. Easy Pyro is built with packages compiled from source using ‘oe-qky-src’, a fork of OpenEmbedded. Consequently, the builds are small and streamlined and integrated. The Pyro series may have future releases, but it is considered to be in maintenance status.
          The “Buster” series start from version 2.0, and are intended to be where most of the action is, ongoing. Version 2.0 was really a beta-quality build, to allow the testers to report back. The first official release was 2.1.
          The main feature of Easy Buster is that it is built from Debian 10 Buster DEBs, using WoofQ (a fork of Woof2: Woof-CE is another fork, used to build Puppy Linux).

        • EasyOS 2.5.1
        • EasyPup 2.5 boots, 2.5.1 kernel panic

          Rodney has been reporting this for sometime, that he gets a kernel panic trying to boot recent releases of EasyOS or EasyPup.
          They are using a 5.4.x kernel, except for EasyPup 2.5, I used a 4.19.157 kernel, and that booted. He tried to upgrade to 2.5.1, got kernel panic. So, he is back on 2.5.

        • NuTyX 12-rc3 available

          I’m very please to announce the new NuTyX 12-rc3 testing release. The 64-bit version is a complete new project. They are no plan to release a version 12 of NuTyX in 32 bits.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: The Cat

          Why and when did you start using Linux?
          Just one year after our family bought our first PC with Win95, it already started freezing, breaking. All the wonders from MS. Since then, I started looking for an alternative to that crap. I heard about Linux, but back in the 90′s there were very few people, books and resources about it in Brazil. So, after a frustrating period with a Mac (which let me down when it simply stopped functioning), I found Linux in Switzerland. My first distro was Linux Mint, which was quite friendly to use, but that broke my computer after every biannual big update, and the users’ forum was useless. So, after learning about the evil systemd, I read something about the Resistance, the Few Ones who kept the flame of tradition! And here am I with PCLinuxOS, since the glorious year of 2014!

          What specific equipment do you currently use with PCLinuxOS?
          Two notebooks, one is a Lenovo with Intel i5, the other one is an old (and brave) single core Toshiba Satellite!

          Do you feel that your use of Linux influences the reactions you receive from your computer peers or family? If so, how?
          People still believe that Linux is for engineers, geeks and the like, so some think you’re some kind of hacker, or genius. When you show them the graphical desktop, with all looking “normal”, with icons, and Firefox and all the like, they get amazed!

        • [PCLinuxOS] Screenshot Showcase
        • Good Words, Good Deeds, Good News
        • Welcome From The Chief Editor

          Here’s To Hoping that 2021 is far, far better than the 2020 that we all have endured. It’s going to take some time to see how much impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on society and many entrenched habits/trends that have existed for many, many years. But, any time something of this magnitude hits society, there’s almost no way it can’t have an impact. We’ll never be able to go back to the old “normal.” That old “normal” will be replaced with a new “normal” that will supplant it in ways we cannot yet begin to imagine.

        • Mind Your Step: Going On Sabbatical

          If you have watched videos about Linux on YouTube, especially ones that compare various distributions, did you notice that most of those videos do not even mention PCLinuxOS.

          It does not do us well when it comes to public exposure of the distribution. But in this case, it is a good thing. Sometimes, not being popular has its benefits.

          What I am saying is that the less popular a technology or product is, the less likely cybercriminals will spend time trying whatever it is they do on these products.

          [...]

          I am considering installing Nextcloud on my webspace after moving the original website to Neocities. So far, It seems to work, but with a few quirks.

          The webspace assigned contains 100GB of storage and runs in a container configured with 512MB of RAM, and enough bandwidth for a low traffic website, which this website has been for the past 24 years!

          I have not decided whether to go for it or not, being that this is a low traffic website, and that Nextcloud was designed for high traffic servers. What attracts me to this solution is the high level of security built into the application.

          The fact that this website existed for 24 years without a data breach or other attack is proof that the less popular a technology, product or idea is, the less it becomes vulnerable (or even feasible) to cyberattacks.

          Case in point, the Slackware website is still accessed through HTTP instead of HTTPS, due to the fact that almost no one new to Linux has even heard of Slackware, let alone trying to install that distribution on their machines. At least my website is accessed only through HTTPS, which is important as I do not want my website to be tagged as Not Secure by Google simply because I did not enable HTTPS for my website.

          Another solution I am considering is to use a product such as WordPress, but not allowing any accounts to be created. (The main website for PCLinuxOS does just that!)

          I know that I just mentioned that WordPress is a popular product for building websites. But the way it is used on the main PCLinuxOS website is an exception to that theory.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE’s Rancher acquisition brings containerization support

          SUSE’s acquisition of Rancher Labs puts the Germany-based open-source software company in a much stronger position to offer flexible, edge-based services to its customers, according to an analyst at IDC.

          The deal—which was originally announced this summer—essentially makes Rancher Labs into SUSE’s containerization “innovation center,” said IDC research director Gary Chen. Any customer working on digital transformation and rapid development is likely to appreciate the improved support for containerization—letting workloads function on whatever hardware is handy, and communicate across different arrangements of edge, cloud and local computing.

        • Should Red Hat be afraid of SUSE’s Rancher acquisition?

          SUSE, a major Linux and cloud company, finalized its acquisition of Rancher Labs earlier this year.. Rancher, formerly a privately held open-source company, had over 37,000 active users and 100-million downloads of its flagship Kubernetes management program, Rancher.

          SUSE is putting Red Hat and other Kubernetes powerhouse companies on notice that they mean to be a Kubernetes giant as well.

        • Christmas comes early for chameleons: SUSE feels jolly after closing Rancher deal

          SUSE has finalised its purchase of Kubernetes management specialist Rancher Labs as industry talk of an impending IPO for the Linux veteran circulates.

          While keeping shtum on the sums involved, the duo said existing product subscriptions would “remain in full force and effect according to their terms” but future versions of SUSE’s Container as a Service (CaaS) would be based on Rancher’s technology.

          The adoption of Rancher for SUSE’s CaaS platform is not entirely surprising. The overlap is clear; CaaS is “is an enterprise class container management solution” and, while SUSE’s take has reached version 4.5, an infusion of Rancher’s technology is inevitable.

        • Linux Powerhouse SUSE Becomes Kubernetes Powerhouse
        • Climb Channel Solutions to Distribute Open Source Leader SUSE’s Linux, Kubernetes, Container and Cloud Offerings
      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Open Liberty 20.0.0.12 brings support for gRPC, custom JNDI names, and Java SE 15 – Red Hat Developer

          Open Liberty 20.0.0.12 now supports gRPC 1.0 and gRPC Client 1.0. This universal, open source framework is an efficient way to connect remote services across data centers. We’ve also added custom names support for the Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI), making it easier to look up and inject Jakarta Enterprise Beans (EJBs) in your Open Liberty applications. Finally, this new release is compatible with Java SE 15, the latest Java Standard Edition version. We’ll introduce these features and show you how to set up and configure the new gRPC and custom JNDI names support in Open Liberty 20.0.0.12.

        • Pablo Iranzo Gómez: Upstream/Downstream documentation workflow
        • Updates to Container Tools in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.3

          The launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.3, brings with it a host of new container capabilities. This builds on the work done in RHEL 8.2 (New container capabilities in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2) and gives users even more reasons to upgrade from RHEL 7.

        • The rise of the Robot Operating System

          Having your work covered in a documentary like How to Start a Robot Revolution — a five-part documentary in the Open Source Stories series from Red Hat — is bound to make you feel old. You look back and think, “wow, I’ve been doing this for a long time.” Indeed some of us have been working on Robot Operating System (ROS) now for well over a decade, far exceeding the traditional Silicon Valley two-year cycle of jumping to the next thing.

          Personally, the story in the film is just the latest chapter in an even longer journey. As a computer engineering undergrad at Tulane University in the mid-1990s, I met a new professor in the department named Jim Jennings. Like the other faculty, Jennings had a lab, but unlike them, his lab had robots. There were three RWI B14 robots, and students were welcome to program them. I was immediately hooked by the experience of writing code that made things move in the world.

        • Kafka Monthly Digest – November 2020

          In this 34th edition of the Kafka Monthly Digest, I’ll cover what happened in the Apache Kafka community in November 2020.

        • New IBM Redpaper: SUSE and IBM Power Systems for SAP HANA
      • Debian Family

        • Bdale Garbee: Shifting Emphasis

          I joined the Debian project in late 1994, well before the first stable release was issued, and have been involved in various ways continuously ever since. Over the years, I adopted a number of packages that are, or at least were at one time, fundamental to the distribution.

          But, not surprisingly, my interests have shifted over time. In the more than quarter century I’ve contributed to Debian, I’ve adopted existing packages that needed attention, packaged new software I wanted to use that wasn’t yet in Debian, offered packages up for others to adopt, and even sometimes requested the removal of packages that became obsolete or replaced by something better. That all felt completely healthy.

          [...]

          I’m writing about this partly to mark the passing of more than a quarter century as a package maintainer for Debian, partly to encourage other Debian package maintainers with the right skills and motivation to consider adopting some of the packages I’m giving up, and finally to encourage other long-time participants in Debian to spend a little time evaluating their own package lists in a similar way.

        • Debian KDE/Plasma Status 2020-12-02 | There and back again

          Another month worth of updates on KDE/Plasma in Debian has accumulated, so here we go. The highlights are: Plasma 5.19.5 based on Qt 5.15 is in Debian/unstable and testing, Plasma 5.20.4 is waiting to be uploaded soon to experimental, and my own builds at OBS have been updated to Plasma 5.20.4, Frameworks 5.76, Apps 20.08.3.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Touch OTA-15 Arrives on December 16th with More Improvements for the Volla Phone

          Not even a month after they released Ubuntu Touch OTA-14, the UBports Foundation is already working on Ubuntu Touch OTA-15, which is now available for public testing.

          This release promises more improvements for the Volla Phone and other Android 9 devices. For example, it fixes buggy audio playback on the Volla Phone, as well as other devices, sending of USSD codes on all Android 9 devices, and Volla Phone’s front camera orientation to correctly rotate the photos after being taken.

        • Migrating the Launchpad Keyservers from SKS to Hockeypuck | Ubuntu

          Ubuntu and Launchpad use OpenPGP keys heavily. Each source package is signed with the uploader’s key, and binary and source package downloads from Ubuntu’s primary archives and from users’ Personal Package Archives (PPAs) are indirectly signed by the publisher process with per-archive keys of its own. Access to Launchpad’s bug-manipulation interface is also controlled by OpenPGP.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open source predictions for 2021

        When I think of open source and 2021, a Saga song comes to mind: “On The Loose.” I believe no one can stop open source in the coming year–that’s how big it’s going to get. That’s saying something, given how enterprise businesses already depend on open source technology on a daily basis. The dependency we’re currently experiencing is nothing compared to what I predict for the coming year.

        Of course, it’s not just about business, as I have one rather bold prediction for consumers as well.

        What are these predictions? Let me warm up my crystal ball, dim the lights, drop the needle on some music to create the perfect ambiance, and gaze deep into the waters of the future.

      • Sage Sharp joins Conservancy as Senior Director of Diversity & Inclusion focusing on Outreachy [Ed: Conservancy is becoming a ‘cancel culture’ cult]

        Today Software Freedom Conservancy announces its newest employee, Sage Sharp. Sharp has been critical to the success of Outreachy, Conservancy’s diversity initiative that provides paid, remote internships to people who are subject to systemic bias or impacted by underrepresentation in tech. Sharp joins as Senior Director of Diversity & Inclusion, focusing on Outreachy.

      • 9 Open Source Forum Software That You Can Deploy on Your Linux Servers

        Just like our It’s FOSS Community forum, it is important to always build a platform where like-minded people can discuss, interact, and seek support.

        A forum gives users (or customers) a space to reach out for something that they cannot easily find on the Internet for the most part.

        If you are an enterprise, you may hire a team of developers and build your own forum the way you want but that adds a lot of cost to your budget.

        Fortunately, there are several impressive open source forum software that you can deploy on your server and you’re good to go! You will save a lot of money in the process and still get what you need.

      • Support your work-life balance with this open source productivity tool

        Super Productivity is a to-do app for people that spend a lot of their time working from a computer. Its philosophy is that disciplined, focused work and cutting yourself some slack benefit from each other, rather than being on opposite sides of the spectrum.

        The app offers everything you would expect from a modern to-do app. It adds various little (optional) helpers to nudge you in the right direction to establish good work routines—whether you’re working way too much without taking a break or leaning too hard on your dirty little procrastination habits and not getting done what you need to do.

      • Events

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Flying the Nest: WebThings Gateway 1.0 – Mozilla Hacks – the Web developer blog

            After four years of incubation at Mozilla, we are excited to announce the release of WebThings Gateway 1.0 and a new home for the WebThings platform.

          • Mozilla reacts to publication of the EU Democracy Action Plan – Open Policy & Advocacy

            The European Commission has just published its new EU Democracy Action Plan (EDAP). This is an important step forward in the efforts to better protect democracy in the digital age, and we’re happy to see the Commission take onboard many of our recommendations.

            [...]

            As a founding signatory to the EU Code of Practice on Disinformation we are encouraged that the Commission has adopted many of our recommendations for how the Code can be enhanced, particularly with respect to its implementation and its role within a more general EU policy approach to platform responsibility.

      • Funding

        • 2020 annual payment of our server [Ed: Hard-working GNU/Linux developers]

          Until January 31, 2021 we have to collect and pay for our server 1500 PLN/360 Euros/430 USD plus min. 2600 PLN/~620 Euros/~ 740 USD for our monthly bills, such as: electricity, gas, water, internet, domains, expenses related to improving the functionality of websites, small computer equipment that wears out constantly (memory, pen drives, mice, batteries, etc. …), fuel, as well as rent, food, drugs and immortal taxes.

          [...]

          Linuxiarze, SparkyLinux, ArchiveOS and SoftMania is our only job we have and our only source of income. The two of us only live off your monthly support and small advertising incomes. It’s not possible to survive in the Polish capital having small income from the adds, so your support is very important to us.

      • Programming/Development

        • C++20 Is Still Settling While LLVM Clang Already Adds Option For Starting C++2b/C++23 – Phoronix

          It was just in September that the C++20 standards draft was approved as a major update to the programming language over C++17. While compilers like GCC and LLVM Clang are still completing all of the changes for C++20 support, Clang is already moving ahead and has added support for the “-std=c++2b” option as it begins the endeavor of staging changes likely for C++23.

          Clang currently implements much of C++20 but some items around concepts remain along with work on modules, and other smaller features as outlined via the Clang C++ status page.

        • plocate 1.1.0 released

          I’ve released version 1.1.0 of plocate. The major new feature is that it now ships its own updatedb; I imported a fair amount of code from mlocate’s updatedb (which makes the updatedb implementation GPLv2, unlike the rest of plocate, which is GPLv2+), reworked it heavily and made it read and write plocate databases. The databases need a little extra data, which increases their size by 1% or so, but that’s well worth it, because now no longer need the mlocate database; those are typically more than twice the size of plocate’s database. Obviously, this also removes the dependency on mlocate.

        • Get the most out of the Vi text editor

          Whether you know it as Vim, Neovim, gVim, nvi, or even Elvis, the quintessential Unix editor is easily Vi. Included in probably every Linux and BSD distribution, Vi is a lightweight and minimalist text editor that many users love for its simple and succinct keyboard shortcuts and dual-mode design.

          The original Vi editor was an application written by Bill Joy, creator of the C shell. Modern incarnations of Vi have added many features, including multiple levels of undo, better navigation while in insert mode, line folding, syntax highlighting, plugin support, and much more. Vim is regarded as the most popular modern implementation, and most people actually mean Vim when they refer to Vi.

          All incarnations hearken back to the same goal, though, so this article looks at Vi in a generic sense. The implementation on your computer may differ slightly, but you can still benefit from editing text the Vi way.

        • Jonathan Dowland: OpenJDK Author

          I have recently become an OpenJDK Author. Practically this means I can query the Java Bug Database directly, and I can author Mercurial for committing to the relevant OpenJDK project myself, rather than needing sponsors in both cases.

        • RcppTOML 0.1.7: Support for g++-11, Minor Updates

          TOML is a file format that is most suitable for configurations, as it is meant to be edited by humans but read by computers. It emphasizes strong readability for humans while at the same time supporting strong typing as well as immediate and clear error reports. On small typos you get parse errors, rather than silently corrupted garbage. Much preferable to any and all of XML, JSON or YAML – though sadly these may be too ubiquitous now. TOML has been making inroads with projects such as the Hugo static blog compiler, or the Cargo system of Crates (aka “packages”) for the Rust language.

        • CMake: Use new style imported targets to link libraries
        • Perl/Raku

          • Day 3: Literate Programming with Raku – Raku Advent Calendar

            Different programming language communities have differing cultures. Some are more pragmatic, others more idealistic. Some place great emphasis on having code be thoroughly readable and understandable for anyone who joins an existing project, and some prefer writing out clear and in-depth documentation.

            Raku, inheriting one of the best parts of Perl, has a community that writes great documentation.

        • Python

          • 6 Essential Python Tools for Data Science

            Data science is an emerging, multidisciplinary field of scientific methods, processes, algorithm development and technology to extract knowledge or insights in ingenious ways from structured or unstructured data.

            At the heart of data science is data. Buckets loads of it, streaming in and stored in enterprise data warehouses. According to IBM, globally, we currently generate over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day.

        • Rust

          • This Week in Rust 367
          • Philip Chimento: Advent of Rust

            I have a bit of time off and I decided to participate in Advent of Code 2020 after my coworker Adrián shared a link to it. I’ve heard that people use challenges like these as an excuse to learn a new programming language, and I have wanted to learn Rust for quite a long time now.

            Why Rust? From what I’ve heard, it’s a programming language oriented towards high performance and systems programming, like C or C++; but unlike those languages, it was designed in such a way to make it difficult or impossible to make mistakes such as buffer overflows or memory leaks. I have heard that it’s a lot more enjoyable to use than C++ as well.

            I did write a “Hello World” program in Rust some time ago, and I have heard things about Rust from others, so I wouldn’t be coming to it completely fresh. Nonetheless, fresh enough that I decided that the experience of writing something from scratch, in a new programming language, was unusual enough for me that I would keep a log while I was doing it.

            So here is that log. It’s a bit stream-of-consciousness. I’ve edited it so that it consists of complete sentences instead of just notes, but I’ve left in the mistakes and dead ends. I made this mainly so that I can look back later when I’ve learned more, and see what mistakes I made.

  • Leftovers

    • It’s. All. Gone. Too. Far.
    • 9 Months Into Touch-Free Living, What Shall We Birth?

      Guilford, Vt.—Once the Lamplighter Inn, a motel that had fallen into disrepair on the edge of Brattleboro, Great River Terrace is a permanently affordable housing community of people who have experienced homelessness. It is a “housing first” residence, the first of its kind in Vermont. There is no obligation to be “clean and sober” to living there. Senator Bernie Sanders wrote at its opening that the residence “will allow Vermonters struggling with complex challenges to live with stability and dignity.” I have been visiting and writing with residents since the spring of 2019. As an “embedded writer,” I listen, encourage, write, collaborate, and share my own poems.

    • Healing Blankets Project
    • The Unspoken Corners

      The question of why writers write is a lot like the question of why people marry, which is to say, it is the eternal question of why human beings knowingly commit themselves to tiresome and masochistic endeavors that most often lead nowhere, ending only in defeat or death. There are some writers for whom writing seems to be a form of psychotherapy, a means of sorting through experience. There are others for whom writing is evidently an act of pleasure and delight. Some appear to write out of a compulsion, others out of a belief that writing may bring them love, or attention, or acclaim. (In truth, each of us might be one or another of these writers at some point, our motivations, in art as in life, being opaque and ever prone to delusion.)

    • Stuck Again

      The economic paradox from which this country is born, equality financed by slavery, manifests today as so-called “wage slavery” for most U.S. workers and many who work for American companies abroad. The economic racism on which this country is founded is at the core of how we perceive of and distribute wealth. All our institutions, however great, produced by this wealth will reflect this racism. The United States does not have a history of racism, is has the fatal flaw of racism, from the beginning.

      We can measure our society by any rubric or slice and dice it with any chart and all know who lands at the top and bottom. Covid-19 statistics show this as well. The poor and people of color grouped closer to the bottom and ever increasingly all but a few losing ground and descending fast. All inequality in the United States is economic, everything here is about money. Demands for change to this economic inequality are met with oppression. In our plutocracy, the most effective form of oppression is inflicted economic hardship.

    • To Break Their Human Spirit
    • Rhyme

      Body, teach my mind to age. Rage has taught me nothing. Pain has taught me only to rage at pain. Blame has taught me nothing. But I still blame.

      Here lies one taken in their prime.

    • Why the Cosmic Kite Never Fell: Soccer and Diego Maradona

      Diego Maradona, footballer with the No 10 shirt, had oodles of all of those traits. It was on the field where he expressed himself best, so much so that he was lauded, if not as a god of sorts, then certainly the emissary of one. As with so many figures who become premature monuments and plinth displays, the process off the field of performance is cruel, a disfiguring form of sinning saintliness. But on the field, the figure of Maradona beguiled. As he described it, “When you’re on the pitch, life goes away. Problems go away. Everything goes away.” His technique entailed hypnosis with feet and legs, a dynamo of deceiving genius. When he played, he moved laws and assumptions. During the 1986 World Cup tournament in Mexico, one he made his own, his performances were never just pitch-confined. In them, Argentina saw catharsis. Rivals such as England saw a bedevilling cheat.

      It came in that most written and talked about of encounters. June 22, 1986. The quarter-final. England and Argentina, locked at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Maradona breaks the drought with his first goal. Some confusion over the scrappy method of execution: offside? “Or was it a use of a hand that England were complaining about?” wondered Barry Davies in his BBC commentary. The Uruguayan, Victor Hugo Morales, was less equivocal and more spiritually honest in his famous narrative: “handball! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal for Argentina!” He conceded that the English had grounds to protest but knew where his allegiance lay. “The goal was scored using a hand, I celebrate it with all my soul, but I must say what I think. I hope you tell me, from Buenos Aires, if you’re watching the game, if the goal was fair, though the referee has given it.” He sought God’s forgiveness for his remarks.

    • Clare Grady at 100 Seconds To Midnight

      Heartfelt and daring, this protest was meant to be known around the world. It’s barely been noticed.

      This “Plowshares 7” action is just the latest in decades of nonviolent, Catholic-led protests, wielding hammers, blood, and banners, begging the world to pay attention to the increasing threat of nuclear war.

    • Britain puts a new offensive cyber force at the heart of its defence

      On November 19th Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, announced the biggest programme of investment in defence since the Thatcher era. The cash, an extra £6.5bn ($8.7bn) during this Parliament over previous manifesto plans, reverses a decade of military cuts—“the era of retreat”, as Mr Johnson put it—and cements Britain’s position as the second-largest military spender in NATO, behind America, and the largest in Europe, with a budget of £46.5bn this year. It includes a tilt to the seas and skies, with more spending on ships, a commitment to send an aircraft-carrier to Asia next year and a Space Command that will watch for threats to satellites.

      The central theme, though, is technology. Britain will establish a new agency for artificial intelligence (AI). It will invest more in drones and lasers. And it will beef up cyber capabilities. That explains Mr Johnson’s decision to avow the existence of the NCF, which has been quietly hacking away since the spring. The force brings under unified command for the first time personnel from GCHQ in Cheltenham, the Ministry of Defence and MI6, Britain’s foreign intelligence agency, both in London, and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) in Porton Down. The force is thought to number in the hundreds, with the aim of growing to 3,000 staff over the next decade.

      The purpose of the NCF is not to collect intelligence—GCHQ has done that since its inception—but to make things happen. That could include shutting down the communications of a terrorist group or disabling enemy air defences, but also something as prosaic as sending a message to dissuade someone from acting. America’s own Cyber Command, for instance, sent pop-up, email and text messages to warn Russian operatives against interfering in the 2018 midterm elections. The NCF employs behavioural scientists and draws on MI6’s own expertise in human psychology to hone such messaging

    • The Apocalyptic Threat from Artificial Intelligence Isn’t Science Fiction

      The technology is self-accelerating: Among the first uses of general computer intelligences will be to create even smarter, faster, and cheaper computer superintelligences. Which is to say, shortly after computers exceed humans in programming and computer-chip design ability, we might experience an intelligence explosion whereby smart AIs design smarter still AIs, that in turn design even smarter AIs. After a sufficiently high number of iterations, the AIs would so exceed humans in intelligence that they would effectively, compared to us, be godly in their powers. It would rapidly become impossible for humans to meaningfully monitor or control this process.

    • Education

      • Bernie Sanders Calls Betsy DeVos Worst Education Secretary in US History
      • ‘Bye-Bye, Betsy DeVos. You Won’t Be Missed,’ Says Sanders as Billionaire Education Secretary Attacks Push for Tuition-Free College

        “What do you call a billionaire who registered a $40 million, 164-foot yacht in the Cayman Islands to avoid $2.4 million in U.S. taxes, while undermining public schools? The worst Education Secretary in the history of America.”

      • Covid-19, Schools and the Digital Divide

        While initially limited to the east coast, especially the New York metropolitan area, the pandemic has now spread throughout the country, especially to Texas, Florida and mid-west states. And more governors and mayors are moving aggressively to contain the pandemic’s spread through requirements for citizens to wear masks, social distancing and closings of bars, restaurants and churches.

        During the pandemic’s first wave in the spring, schools were closed to contain its spread. In the summer, debate about a fall reopening galvanized political debate throughout the country. On July 6th, Pres. Donald Trump tweeted, “Schools must open in the fall!!!” A month later, on July 7th, in a warning to Democratic governors, he announced, “We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.”

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Advocates Applaud ‘Historic’ Moment as MORE Act Advances to First-Ever Marijuana Legalization Vote on House Floor

        “For the first time in American history, the public will see the ‘People’s House’ vote to end the senseless, cruel, and racist policy of marijuana criminalization and prohibition.”

      • #17. International Plasma Market Profits from US and Mexico’s Poorest – THE TOP 25 CENSORED STORIES OF 2019-2020

        Meanwhile, international corporations that operate donation centers in the United States are buying the blood of poor people from Mexico and the United States and selling the plasma overseas. 

      • Hundreds of Nursing Home Workers Are on Strike
      • #23. “Global Gag Rule” Continues to Compromise Women’s Health around World – THE TOP 25 CENSORED STORIES OF 2019-2020

        The global gag rule was first implemented by the Reagan administration in 1984, and has continuously been changed, repealed, and reinstated through partisan presidencies. The Trump administration has advanced the strictest policies yet, expanding its scope to include other forms of assistance from the State Department, USAID, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Defense. The federal rule forces organizations to choose between receiving global health assistance from the United States and providing comprehensive reproductive care. The current enforcement of the policy, according to the Rewire.News report, denies funding for “HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, nutrition, maternal health, family planning, and malaria.” 

      • #22. An Emergency Wealth Tax to Confront Coronavirus Pandemic – THE TOP 25 CENSORED STORIES OF 2019-2020

        An Institute for Policy Studies report, “Billionaire Bonanza 2020,” recommended the establishment of a pandemic profiteering oversight committee, passage of a corporate transparency act to discourage wealth hiding, an emergency 10 percent millionaire income tax, and a wealth tax. Acknowledging that enacting a new tax regime on assets would be “challenging in the short term,” the report proposed an emergency 10 percent surtax on taxpayers with incomes of more than $2 million—that is, the richest 0.2 percent of Americans—which would apply not only to income from wages and salaries but also from investment returns. The proposed surtax would raise $635 billion over ten years, the Institute for Policy Studies estimated.

      • World AIDS Day Is Grim Reminder of an Ongoing Epidemic Amid COVID-19
      • Antivaxxers aren’t just antivaccine. They’re anti-public health.

        Let’s go back to a time, say, just a year ago. At that time, the current COVID-19 pandemic that’s killed over 270K (and counting) and resulted in over 100K Americans currently hospitalized with the disease and nearly 14 million having been infected (and that’s just in the US alone, not counting the rest of the world) was only just making itself known in China, with the first cases noted in either November or early December, depending upon the account, and wasn’t identified as a new virus until later in December 2019. Of course, one reason why I emphasize the US (other than the fact that I’m an American and live here) is that we as a nation have been hit harder than any other nation in terms of sheer numbers of deaths. As of this writing, we make up only 4% of the world’s population but account for nearly 20% of COVID-19 deaths and over 20% of COVID-19 cases. Basically, what we are witnessing is a public health catastrophe not witnessed in a century, going back to the influenza pandemic of 1918-19. Never have public health measures been so critical while at the same time huge swaths of the public reject them and deny how severe the pandemic is. Early on in the pandemic, antivaccine activists decisively allied themselves with COVID-19 deniers/minimizers, quacks, and conspiracy theorists to spread misinformation, disinformation, pseudoscience, and, yes, conspiracy theories, while launching an early preemptive disinformation war against any COVID-19 vaccines in the pipeline, even to the point of, in essence, fusing with the COVID-19 cranks and even QAnon conspiracy theorists. Indeed, antivaxxers are now a major presence at “anti-lockdown/antimask” demonstrations, often as headliners on the speakers’ schedule. At every turn, this unholy alliance has fought public health measures to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, including masks, social distancing, COVID-19 vaccines on the verge of becoming available, and anything resembling a “lockdown,” all using misinformation, bad science, pseudoscience, and conspiracy mongering.

      • #14. The Case for a Public Pharmaceutical System – THE TOP 25 CENSORED STORIES OF 2019-2020

        The Democracy Collaborative model includes plans for a national public pharmaceutical research and development institute for developing new drugs to meet public health needs; state, local, and regional public pharmaceutical manufacturers; regionally owned and operated public wholesale distributors; and engaging the US Postal Service as a partner for pharmaceutical distribution.

      • #19. Antibiotic Abuse: Pharmaceutical Profiteering Accelerates Superbugs – THE TOP 25 CENSORED STORIES OF 2019-2020

        India’s unlicensed medical practitioners, known as “quack” doctors, are being courted by Abbott and Sun Pharma, billion-dollar companies that do business in more than one hundred countries, including the United States. The incentives these companies provide to quack doctors to sell antibiotics have included free medical equipment, gift cards, televisions, travel, and cash, earning some doctors nearly a quarter of their salary. “Sales representatives would also offer extra pills or money as an incentive to buy more antibiotics, encouraging potentially dangerous overprescription,” a Sun Pharma sales representative revealed to an undercover BIJ reporter.

      • McConnell COVID Plan: No Direct Payments and Stricter Unemployment Requirements
      • Critics Smell ‘Economic Sabotage’ as McConnell Unveils Covid Plan With $0 for Unemployment Boost, Direct Payments

        “McConnell is making it pretty clear that if Dems don’t win the Georgia Senate races, he will cripple the American economy, hoping it will let the GOP win the midterm.”

      • Putin orders start of large-scale coronavirus vaccination in Russia ‘next week’

        Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova to start large-scale coronavirus vaccination in Russia next week, reports RIA Novosti. 

      • Pharma Money Colors Operation Warp Speed’s Quest to Defeat COVID-19
      • Biden Adviser Says Good Riddance to Scott Atlas, as He Leaves COVID Task Force
      • How Hospital Monopolies Broke the Health Care System

        Corporate consolidation has left the US with a health care system built for profit, not people.

      • Working at a Nursing Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic Is a Daily Heartbreak

        If it were you locked up in your room after decades of paying into Social Security and keeping the Nazis at bay, you might think differently; you might pull the mask up over your nose.

        My 20-something friends: the stupid truth of the matter is that when you are careless, you are not the only sufferer of the consequences. That carelessness bleeds over into the supermarket where our nurses shop, in the post office where they drop their mail.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Salesforce acquires Slack for US$27.7b

          Customer relationship management software provider Salesforce has acquired communications platform Slack for a sum of approximately US$27.7 billion (A$37.5 billion), according to a statement from Salesforce.

        • Patients of a Vermont Hospital Are Left ‘in the Dark’ After a Cyberattack [iophk: Windows TCO]

          But they have had a devastating and long-lasting effect, particularly on cancer patients, said workers and patients from Vermont’s largest medical system. Its electronic medical record system was restored on Sunday, nearly a month after the cyberattack.

          In the interim, clinicians were forced to send away hundreds of cancer patients, said Olivia Thompson, a nurse at the cancer center.

          The staff fell back on written notes and faxes, leafing through masses of paper to access vital information. They tried to reconstruct complex chemotherapy protocols from memory.

          And while the hospital has taken pains to reassure patients that most care could proceed, some staff members worry that the full damage of the October attack is not well understood.

        • Patient records stored by electronic health company found exposed online

          Thousands of patient records stored by nTreatment, a company that provides electronic health and patient records to doctors and psychiatrists, has been exposed online in the latest case of a company failing to secure its cloud storage.

          The data, discovered and publicized today by TechCrunch on a Microsoft Azure server, included 109,000 files, a large portion said to be lab test results from third-party providers such as Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings, better known as LabCorp.

        • Baltimore County Schools Still Closed Following Cyber Attack [iophk: Windows TCO]

          A state audit released a day before the attack found “significant risks” in the computer network. The audit said that it was not adequately secured and that sensitive personal information was not properly safeguarded.

        • Okta set for govt customers after meeting security standard

          Global identity provider Okta says it has completed the requirements of the Information Security Registered Assessors Program which ensures that Federal Government entities can access high-quality information and communications technology assessment services.

        • Okta Projects Revenue Topping Estimates on Remote-Work Demand

          Chief Executive Officer Todd McKinnon has tried to maintain Okta’s swift revenue growth during the coronavirus pandemic, which has spurred greater use of its products. Okta’s security software helps workers who need to access corporate systems, students who must use remote-learning apps and consumers who are required to authenticate their identity online, but the company has strong competition from Microsoft Corp. Okta announced Wednesday that its Identity Cloud will become available on Amazon Web Services’ Marketplace, fulfilling McKinnon’s goal to partner more with major public cloud providers.

        • Ransom payouts spell trouble for insurers

          Ransomware attacks are so rife and so costly that insurers are exploring ways to exclude ransom payments from their policies.

          Seriously Risky Biz understands some providers are attempting to shelter themselves from these losses, either by excluding extortion events from standard cyber insurance coverage or by introducing onerous new conditions on policyholders.

          The trouble for insurers started in 2019, right around the time that human-operated ransomware attacks and the size of the ransoms ballooned. Risk management firm Aon recorded a 12.7% increase in loss ratios [pdf] across 192 US providers of standalone cyber insurance products. This hit on insurer profit margins was initially offset by an influx of new policyholders taking up cyber insurance for the first time. But ponzi-style growth can only be sustained for so long.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation will offer new entry-level IT certification
              • Success Story: Kubernetes Certifications Help Recent Graduate Stand Out From the Crowd and Quickly Obtain an Engineering Job [Ed: Linux Foundation seems to be struggling, trying to reinvent itself as a diploma mill now that there are no events and other issues]

                Med Ilyes El Ajroud is a recent graduate of the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin in France, having completed a degree studying computer science engineering. Graduating in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, El Ajroud worried about job prospects, even in the hot field of computer science. He wanted to make sure he could stand out from the crowd of recent graduates, and provide verification of his skills.

              • Linux Foundation 2020 annual report

                The Linux Foundation has published a glossy report of its activities for 2020.

              • Download the 2020 Linux Foundation Annual Report – The Linux Foundation

                2020 has been a year of challenges for the Linux Foundation (“LF”) and our hosted communities. During this pandemic, we’ve all seen our daily lives and those of many of our colleagues, friends, and family around the world completely changed. Too many in our community also grieved over the loss of family and friends.

                It was uplifting to see LF members join the fight against COVID-19. Our members worldwide contributed technical resources for scientific researchers, offered assistance to struggling families and individuals, contributed to national and international efforts, and some even came together to create open source projects under LF Public Health to help countries deal with the pandemic.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • Still on Github

              But for the people who don’t agree with me and think Free Software needs free tools – I say awesome. I am very glad you exist, and really there’s about 20% of me that also agrees. That part of me is happy when I come across projects hosted in e.g. Gitlab.com at least. It’s obviously good for there to be some diversity and competition, beyond the fact that Gitlab is at least at the core FOSS. I also hope at some point somehow pagure’s model of storing issues and PR comments in Git takes off too. Or maybe it’ll be something like Radicle.

        • Security

          • Short Topix: 200 Most Common Passwords Of 2020

            Despite the “annual warnings” (which are most likely much, much more frequent), users are still using easy-to-hack, easy-to-crack passwords. I know that, as this magazine’s Chief Editor for over 11 years, we have run password articles so many times in the past that it’s now impossible to count them all. I know this definitely isn’t my first password article of 2020, either.

            Well, NordPass has released its list of the 200 most common passwords, along with their frequency of use, how many users were found using them, the length of time it took to crack the passwords, and how many times it was exposed. Without much surprise, the top “password” used was 123456. It rose to the number one spot, after occupying the number two spot in 2019.

            Now, you’ve got to promise me that you won’t LAUGH at some of these passwords! Below is a reprint of the top 20 worst passwords of 2020.

            [...]

            Specifically, the issue goes something like this. If a Go SMS Pro user sends photos, videos or files to a user who does NOT have the app installed, the files are uploaded to a server, and the non-user of the app was sent a message via SMS text with a link to the files. This way, non-users did not have to install Go SMS Pro just to receive or view the files. At least, that’s how it was supposed to work.

            However, researchers discovered that even when files were shared between users who both had the app installed, files were still uploaded to the servers. What’s worse, the server was unsecured, and could be accessed by anyone with the link. Researchers also discovered that the web addresses were sequential, which means that anyone who could figure out the predictable web address could potentially gain access to millions of private files.

          • Certificates from Let’s Encrypt (R3 active)

            Let’s Encrypt has announced that, as of today, the TLS certificates issued by the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority are using a new intermediate certificate. “While LE will start using their new _roots_ next year, the change today is using a _variant_ of their “R3″ certificate which is cross-signed from IdenTrust, rather than chaining back to their “ISRG Root X1″. This will affect you if you’re using DANE, TLSA records in DNS, signed by DNSSEC, to advertise properties of the certificate chain which remote systems should expect to see.”

          • Josh Bressers: Episode 228 – Door 03: Do all vulnerabilities matter equally?

            Josh and Kurt talk about how many security vulnerabilities matter enough to fix?

          • OpenWrt and self-signed certificates

            The move to secure most or all of web traffic using HTTPS is generally a good thing; lots of personal information is exchanged via web browsers, after all. Using HTTPS requires web sites to have TLS certificates, however, which has sometimes been an impediment, though Let’s Encrypt has generally solved that problem for many. But there are systems out there that may need the HTTPS protection before their owners even have a chance to procure a certificate, IoT devices and home routers, for example. An October discussion among OpenWrt developers explored this problem a bit.

            OpenWrt is a distribution that targets wireless routers for the home and it provides a configuration interface, called LuCI, as a web application running on the device. Users can connect to the device over unencrypted HTTP, but that may be problematic in certain environments. By default, LuCI does not listen on the internet-facing side of the router, but is available via both wired and wireless access on the local network, though the wireless network is not enabled by default for OpenWrt. Since the router’s authentication credentials could potentially be intercepted by malicious actors, many will want to only enable LuCI over HTTPS.

            The project has suggestions for securing access to LuCI, including enabling HTTPS-only access. But LuCI comes with a self-signed TLS certificate, so users will have to click through a browser security warning every time they access LuCI, which is not a great user experience. There are instructions for creating a new self-signed certificate and installing it on the device and on the client side so that the warnings are silenced. That mechanism has a number of downsides, not least that the new certificate needs to be installed on every system that will be used to access LuCI.

            In theory, getting a certificate from Let’s Encrypt would solve many of the problems, but that solution is not without hurdles either. For one thing, Lets Encrypt uses the Automated Certificate Management Environment (ACME) protocol, which requires that the system requesting the certificate be connected to the internet. Beyond that, a device will need a domain name that can be used by the issuing server to connect to them; obviously, “luci.openwrt” and similar sorts of names that are currently being used will not work for that purpose.

          • Researcher details iOS flaw that enabled click-free info stealing

            A researcher from Google’s Project Zero security team has written a detailed account of how he discovered a a memory corruption bug in the kernel of Apple’s iOS operating system and then figured out numerous ways of using this flaw to attack other iPhones.

          • Windows ransomware attackers teaming up with those selling access: claim

            Security firm Intel 471 claims to have discovered a pattern in ransomware attacks over the past 18 months, with a growing inter-dependence between the actual attackers and those who sell access to compromised systems.

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Mageia (cimg, pngcheck, poppler, tor, and xdg-utils), openSUSE (mariadb), Red Hat (go-toolset-1.14-golang), and Ubuntu (linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-hwe, linux-azure, linux-azure-4.15, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-4.15, linux-gke-4.15, linux-hwe, linux-kvm, linux-oem, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon).

          • Twitter lockout, again

            Trying to log back in, I get prompted saying I need to update my password first. Trying that, it wants to send a confirmation email to an email address that isn’t mine! Someone has managed to modify the email address associated with my account.

            It has only been two weeks since someone hijacked my account the last time and abused it for scams. When I got the account back, I made very sure I both set a good, long, password and activated 2FA on my account. 2FA with auth-app, not SMS.

          • LibreBoot – LVM encrypted volumes needs correct CMOS clock time – Volume Group not found – failed to read int token error parsing metadata

            ok one knew that correct time and time are critical, but “won’t boot” kind of critial? holy lvm cow.

            this error returns when laptop battery runs completely empty and the CMOS clock resets, so LVM encrypted volumes needs a correctly set CMOS clock to boot? crazy.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • A New Technology That Will Dangerously Expand Government Spying on Citizens

              The US Air Force’s Research Lab (yes, it has its own lab) has recently signed a contract to test new software of a company called SignalFrame, a Washington DC wireless tech company. The company’s new software is able to access smartphones, and from your phone jump off to access any other wireless or bluetooth device in the near vicinity. To quote from the article today in the Wall St. Journal, the smartphone is used “as a window onto usage of hundreds of millions of computers,s routers, fitness trackers, modern automobiles and other networked devices, known collectively as the ‘Internet of Things’.”

              Your smartphone in effect becomes a government listening device that detects and accesses all nearby wireless or bluetooth devices, or anything that has a MAC address for that matter. How ‘near’ is nearby is not revealed by the company, or the Air Force, both of which refused to comment on the Wall St. Journal story. But with the expansion of 5G wireless, it should be assumed it’s more than just a couple steps from your smartphone.

            • ACLU Sues to Find Out How and Why Federal Agencies Are Accessing Americans’ Cell Phone Location Data

              “We’re suing to bring some much-needed transparency to these disturbing practices,” explained one ACLU staff attorney.

            • Sen. Ron Wyden Joins EFF on December 10 for Fireside Chat About the Future of Free Speech

              San Francisco—Sen. Ron Wyden, a fierce advocate for the rights of technology users, will join EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry on Thursday, December 10, for a livestream fireside chat about the fight to defend freedom of expression and innovation on the web.Wyden is an original framer of Section 230, one of the legal pillars of the Internet. Section 230 protects online intermediaries—news websites, social media platforms, bloggers, online classifieds like craigslist, review sites like Yahoo, and much more—from lawsuits seeking to hold them legally responsible for what people who post or comment on their sites say and do.Section 230 protects the online speech of ordinary people everywhere. Users can forward an email without worrying whether its contents might be deemed defamatory under some state’s law. People can comment on and review books. Job search services can allow employees to share their views on various employers. Women who share stories of sexual harassment as part of the #MeToo movement can do so with less fear that the services they rely on to tell those stories will cut them off to avoid legal threats. Universities can provide forums for students to share their work, which is especially important during the pandemic, all because of protections afforded by Section 230.Anti-speech and anti-security bills introduced in Congress aimed at breaking Section 230, including the dangerous EARN IT Act, would give the government power to decide what speech should and should not be allowed on the web, in direct conflict with the free speech principles that underpin our democracy.“Blaming Section 230 for the perceived ills of big social media companies is convenient, but misguided,” said McSherry. “We’re pleased to host Sen. Wyden for an important discussion about the origins and intent of Section 230, and why repealing or significantly weakening the provision will not only threaten free speech for all users but also impede the emergence of alternative platforms and services.”In addition to championing the free speech rights of users, Wyden wrote the first bill to protect net neutrality, and has defended strong encryption. Wyden has called for strong data privacy protections, and last fall introduced the most comprehensive bill to protect Americans’ personal details online, the Mind Your Own Business Act.The hour-long fireside chat and Q&A begins at 4 pm Pacific Time, and will be livestreamed on Twitch,  Facebook Live, Twitter, and YouTube Live. More information about how to view the chat is available at…

            • Study finds only small number of Tor users have malicious intent

              Researchers from the US and the UK have found that only a small fraction of those who use the Tor browser — which can access sites on the so-called dark web — are likely to do so for malicious purposes.

            • Canadian team finds Circles surveillance software being used in Australia

              Software from surveillance firm Circles, that can be used to exploit weaknesses in the global mobile system and snoop on calls, texts and locations, is likely being used by Australia among a number of other countries, The Citizen Lab, a digital rights watchdog at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, claims.

            • ACCC chief should be wary of Google’s tactics in Fitbit case

              In his quest to determine whether or not he should give the green light for the merger between search giant Google and American digital health and fitness company Fitbit, ACCC chairman Rod Sims would do well to peruse the transcripts of the entire Google-Oracle lawsuit over Java.

            • Some Steps To Thwart Google Tracking

              Tracking your every movement across the internet IS what big tech companies do. By now, everyone should be highly familiar with Facebook tracking (Wired article) horror stories, where they track even non-Facebook members, gobbling up truckloads of data about where someone has been on the internet, what they viewed, what they clicked on, what their interests are, who they interact with, etc. The website MakeUseOf has written an excellent article on some sound ways to thwart tracking by Facebook. In fact, you should have very little problems finding information on how to curb Facebook tracking. It has received considerable press over the past few years. (Don’t worry. The link is to the DuckDuckGo search engine, which claims to not track your movements across the internet. What? You thought I’d send you to Google when this article is about thwarting Google tracking?)

              [...]

              Well, you probably won’t be able to completely stop the tracking. When you signed up to use these services, you agreed to the data collection. You know … those “End User Agreements” that are written in such legalese that NO ONE (other than the lawyers who draw them up) has ever read, much less understood. If you’re like 99.999999 percent of users out there, you’ve never read the EUA. Instead, you scroll to the end to just click “Agree” and get on with things.

              But, there are things you can do to seriously curb the amount of data that is vacuumed up by the tech giants. Covering some of those is what we will attempt to do in this article.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • What is War?

        What is war? Let me propose the following undoubtedly imperfect definitions.

        War is dehumanization by the violent crimes of mass murder and the efforts to destroy civil societies. Offensive war is the crime of making war to dominate another civil society. Defensive war is the tragedy of resisting aggression from offensive war. Making war is the sacrifice of a mass of domestic workers, by their regimentation and military use with likely injury or death, to inflict harm on a designated victim-enemy population whose combatants are responding in kind. The demarcation between offensive and defensive war can be ambiguous, dynamic, fluid and fragmentary. The structure of war is hierarchical: the higher an individual’s rank in the warring society the higher the probability of their being privileged and guilty of being a perpetrator; the lower an individual’s rank the higher the probability of their being victimized by the war.

      • Joe Biden and the American Shame of War

        The legacies of our two Middle East/SW Asia Wars have come in for some pretty bad analysis and conclusions lately. I expect even Joe Biden, who supported those wars enthusiastically, would admit they both turned out to be ill-advised and very costly adventures. The cost to US tax-payers for these debacles is estimated to be as high as $6 trillion — that’s with a “t.” While we’re at it, we might as well add the Drug War to that list of debacles. To the many militarists in our government, they all seemed like the right thing to do at the moment.

        George W. Bush’s Iraq War was going to bring democracy to Iraq; yet, what it actually did was turn the keys to Iraq over to the Shiite majority that had been brutally oppressed for years by Iraq’s Sunni minority.  Those Shiites, of course, were close allies with neighboring Shiites in Iran. During WWI, the Brits had helped set up the Sunni/Shiite arrangement that eventually led to the Sunni rule of Saddam Hussein, the despotic leader we were certain was amassing nuclear weapons. This led to brutal house-to-house assaults, torture and targeted killings in Sunni Anbar Province in Iraq, which, in turn, led to the rise of a truly psychotic insurgency called ISIS. This motley band of vengeance-minded crazies lacked the highly sophisticated weapons of terror the United States likes to employ against benighted places like Iraqi. But ISIS was nothing if not creative and made up for its shortcomings in weaponry by relying on sensational videos of heroic, young Sunni warriors slicing off the heads of their enemies, some of them Americans. The horror stunned Americans and made them more inclined to endorse massive bombings as the only workable policy.

      • Trump Promises To Defund The Entire Military, If Congress Won’t Let Him Punish The Internet For Being Mean To Him

        President Trump has continued to throw his little temper tantrum in response to #DiaperDon trending on Twitter. When that happened, he suddenly demanded a full repeal of Section 230 — which would not stop Twitter from showing #DiaperDon trending when the President throws a temper tantrum like a 2 year old. Then, yesterday, we heard that the White House was really pushing for the Senate to include a 230 repeal in the must pass NDAA bill that funds the military.

      • Will Biden Finally End the War in Afghanistan?

        Within establishment circles, Donald Trump’s failure to win reelection has prompted merry singing and bell-ringing galore. If you read The New York Times or watch MSNBC, the song featured in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz nicely captures the mood of the moment.

      • Recently Pardoned Flynn Shares Call for Trump to Declare Martial Law and Make Military Oversee New Election

        “Wow! Sounds a bit like a coup,” responded one critic.

      • War Itself Is A Crime, Let Alone What Our SAS Did in Afghanistan

        Major-General Paul Brereton presented his report into allegations of Australian war crimes in Afghanistan as necessary for a more effective ADF. But if we’re horrified when the Army breaks the rules of war, we should also be outraged when it follows them, writes Nick Riemer.

      • How Us Media Manipulates Iran’s Nuclear Program Into a Sinister Myth

        Misleading and false reporting about Iran’s nuclear program gives Americans ammunition to support hawkish policies and war at worst, or at best, inflate the Iranian threat, which only serves to help block diplomatic efforts and maintain the antagonistic status quo.

      • Kazan resident handed probation and fine for trying to add Hitler to Russia’s ‘Immortal Regiment’

        Tatarstan’s Supreme Court has handed down a sentence to Kazan resident Mukhammed El-Aiyub, who tried to submit a photograph of Adolf Hitler to Russia’s virtual “Immortal Regiment” event, reported spokespeople for the Investigative Committee on Wednesday, December 2.

      • Yaroslavl court reduces sentence for former prison official convicted in torture case

        The Yaroslavl Regional Court has reduced the sentence handed down to former prison official Sergey Efremov, who was convicted in January 2020 in the torture case concerning inmate Evgeny Makarov.

      • US Plot Relying on Extradition Targets Peace in Colombia

        Now the agreement is in trouble, mainly at the hands of rightwing extremists led by former president Alvaro Uribe and represented now by President Iván Duque. They opposed the negotiations, the agreement itself, and now they block implementation.

        The U.S. government posted an envoy to the peace negotiations and sent the Secretary of State to one the signings of an agreement. Seemingly, it supported the peace process,

      • #15. Indigenous Trauma and Suicide an Enduring Legacy of Colonialism – THE TOP 25 CENSORED STORIES OF 2019-2020

        Indigenous suicide is a serious public health issue throughout the United States, Devon Heinen reported for the New Statesman in January 2020. In 2017 the combined suicide rate for US Indigenous peoples was 22.15 per 100,000 people, compared with an overall national average of 16.3 per 100,000 people, according to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Heinen reported. In Alaska—where 229 of the 573 federally-recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and villages in the United States are located—the Indigenous suicide rate from 1999 to 2009 was 42.5 per 100,000 people. 

      • Why Do We Wage Decades-Long Futile Wars in the Middle East but Refuse to Declare War on the Looming Climate Crisis?

        If humanity faces so grave a crisis—now almost universally recognized—why does the citizenry not unite in defense of survival?

      • ‘Guys, you’re destined for war’ Combatant from the Russian mercenary group tied to ‘Putin’s chef’ grants Meduza the first interview of its kind

        The Wagner private military company (PMC) entered the war in Syria in 2015. Since then, it has been involved in a dozen localized conflicts around the world. Despite its hundreds of mercenaries killed in action, direct confrontation with the U.S. military, and reported links to the Kremlin, it remains a very secretive formation. Meduza has managed to find a person willing to give the first-ever interview about the Wager PMC in his own name — that person is Marat Gabidullin, who started out as an rank-and-file Wagner combatant and rose to become the commander of a reconnaissance company. During his four years with the Wagner group, Gabidullin received a state award in secret, survived a serious injury, and even managed to write a memoir — a book which he claims is entirely nonfictional (only the protagonists’ call signs have been changed). In conversation with Meduza special correspondent Liliya Yapparova, Gabidullin talks about the experiences behind his memoir, how he came to the decision to go public about authoring the book, and why he hopes the publication will bring the Wagner PMC’s alleged owner — Russian catering magnate Evgeny Prigozhin, also known as “Putin’s Chef” — “to his senses.”

      • When an Official Enemy Is Assassinated, Corporate Media Roll Out the Pretexts

        If an empire or one of its proxies were to assassinate a citizen of an official enemy state, what kind of pretexts would one expect their propagandists to come up with to justify the murder? It’s a useful thought experiment when examining how corporate media covered the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, evidently by Israeli forces, on November 27.

      • #24. Silenced in Savannah: Journalist Abby Martin Challenges Georgia’s BDS “Gag Law” – THE TOP 25 CENSORED STORIES OF 2019-2020

        BDS is a global movement driven by citizen activists. It works to peacefully pressure corporations, universities, and cultural organizations to stop doing business with the state of Israel, with the goal of pressuring Israel to obey international law and respect the human rights of Palestinians.

      • Despite Trump Efforts to Foment War With Iran, Experts Say Biden Has Chance to Restore Needed Diplomacy

        “The window to get back into the nuclear deal, and stave off growing threats of war, will be short.” 

      • Trump’s Support for Israel’s Killing of Iranian Scientist Could Lead to War
      • #12. Police Officers Implicated in Online Hate Groups as Facebook Profits – THE TOP 25 CENSORED STORIES OF 2019-2020

        As Nick Statt wrote in an article published by The Verge in June 2019, “The unifying thread to all of these Facebook groups is that they are frequented and sometimes founded and operated by active and retired police officers, and that they actively recruit other police officers to join.”

      • How Israel deployed an intelligence deception to justify killing Mohsen Fakhrizadeh
      • White House Still Pushing To Slip Section 230 Repeal Into ‘Must Pass’ Military Spending Bill

        This was rumored a week and a half ago, and at the time I stated that there was no way in hell it was happening, and that it was all just performative nonsense… but yesterday Axios reported that the White House is still pushing Congress to insert a total repeal of Section 230 into the “must pass” National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). At the time, the story was that Trump would make a trade: he wouldn’t veto the bill over a provision that removed Confederate army names from US military bases if there was a full repeal of Section 230 in it.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • After $1.5 Trillion Tax Cut for Rich, Trump Backs GOP Pay Freeze for Federal Workers as Pandemic Rages

        Unions representing federal workers have denounced the proposed pay freeze as “insulting” and a “cruel slap in the face.”

      • Another Slow Recovery from Economic Disaster

        Given the outcome of the elections, there seems little hope for the amount of stimulus the economy needs. The Republicans are likely to maintain control of the Senate, although two January run-offs still provide some hope for the Democrats. This means that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the same person who openly worked to thwart the Obama presidency, would be in control for at least the first two years of the Biden presidency. If Biden wants to get back quickly to something like full employment and make progress on an agenda to limit global warming and reduce inequality, he will have to find creative paths that work around the obstructions of Mitch McConnell. This will be difficult, but not impossible.

        One way that Biden may reduce unemployment is through the promotion of worksharing. Many European countries used worksharing in both the last and current recession to keep the unemployment rate relatively low, even as growth faltered. Germany was the champion in this area, managing to actually lower its unemployment rate in 2009 and 2010, even as its GDP loss was greater than in the US. Worksharing has won support across the political spectrum in the United States. John Boehner, who was the Republican Speaker of the House in 2011, supported measures to promote worksharing and many of the leading Republican economists have publicly endorsed proposals for increasing the use of worksharing, which is already part of the unemployment insurance system in most states.

      • WATCH: Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Grills Treasury Secretary Mnuchin on Unused CARES Act Funding

        Mnuchin has signaled he will return about $175 billion in unallocated funds, even as the coronavirus pandemic and unemployment crisis rage. 

      • #18. Trump Labor Board Assaults Workers’ Rights – THE TOP 25 CENSORED STORIES OF 2019-2020

        The NLRB was created by the Wagner Act of 1935 and is charged with protecting workers’ rights to unionize and collectively bargain with employers. It consists of up to five politically appointed board members. At the moment, there are only three members of the board—all pro-business Republican lawyers.

      • Privatizing Puerto Rico

        On July 26, Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo, the head of UTIÉR (Unión de Trabajadores de la Industria Eléctrica y Riego), Puerto Rico’s electrical and irrigation workers’ union, tweeted from one of the island’s power generation stations. From Costa Sur Unit 5, near the southern coast, he posted a video of an open porthole that allowed people to peer into a massive boiler made of decaying metal and see streaking blue and orange flames, the stuff of electric power generation.1

      • John Pilger, On Britain’s Class War Against Children

        In this abridged article published by the London Daily Mirror and based on his 1975 film, Smashing Kids 1975, John Pilger describes how class remains the most virulent disease in Britain, resulting in record levels of child poverty.

      • New Data Show Income of Top 0.1% Soared 345% While That of Bottom 90% Stagnated Over Past 40 Years

        “It’s all a matter of political choices,” progressive economist Thomas Piketty said in a recent interview. “You can have economic justice together with economic prosperity.”

      • Unsavory sanitization How Russian banking regulators got rich on federal bailouts. A joint investigation by Meduza, Proekt, and VTimes.

        In the spring of 2019, police in Russia arrested Colonel Kirill Cherkalin, the head of the Federal Security Service Banking Bureau’s Economic Security Department. In his home and his colleagues’ homes, officials found a record 12 billion rubles ($157.8 million). Immediately after these raids, Valery Miroshnikov — the first deputy director of the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA), which flooded Russia’s banks with money in the mid-2010s — fled the country. While at the DIA, Miroshnikov worked closely with Cherkalin. Miroshnikov remains abroad today, but his name still echoes in Russia, where he features prominently in felony case evidence. Together with the news outlets Proekt and VTimes, Meduza explains how a deputy director at the Deposit Insurance Agency managed to collect tens of billions of rubles from bankers, and we explore who else got rich on the massive bankruptcies and bank restructurings (“sanitizations”) that are considered one of Russian Central Bank Chairwoman Elvira Nabiullina’s major achievements. 

      • Hitting Back at Manchin, AOC Rejects Notion That Only ‘Begging Corporate CEOs for Money’ Counts as ‘Serious’ Politics

        “I find it amusing when politicians try to diminish the seriousness of our policy work, movement organizing, and grassroots fundraising to ‘she just tweets.’”

      • While the Rich Cheer Wall Street Records, Americans Are Draining 401(k)s
      • Biden Taps Two BlackRock Executives for Top Economic Posts
      • The New Goldman Sachs? BlackRock Sees Clout Growing as Biden Taps Two Execs to Top Economic Posts

        For his incoming economic team, President-elect Joe Biden has picked several people associated with the investment giant BlackRock, which has been called “the fourth branch of government.” This includes his choice of Brian Deese, a former adviser to Barack Obama, to be his director of the National Economic Council. Deese was the global head of sustainable investing for BlackRock, which is the world’s largest asset manager, with over $7 trillion in its portfolio. This comes as progressives are demanding a Cabinet free of Wall Street influence. “BlackRock has very smartly cultivated its reputation as a sort of ‘good guy’ on Wall Street” that is contradicted by their conduct, notes Kate Aronoff, staff writer at The New Republic. “Time after time, they have sought to shirk regulation and — in the last year especially, and while Brian Deese has been there — really greenwashed their image.”

      • Dems Demand Increase in IRS Funding to Pursue Rich Tax Shirkers — Like Trump
      • Over Last 30 Years, Wages for Top 1% Soared by 160% While Wages of Bottom 90% Actually Went Down

        It is way past time to remake wage pattern with economic policies that generate robust wage-growth for vast majority.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Teaching Civics Is More Difficult When Your Students Grew Up in the Trump Age
      • Trump Is Headed to Georgia to “Help” With the Runoffs. The GOP Is Terrified.
      • The King’s Man: Blinken’s Appointment Reassures Israel that Little Will Change Under Biden

        Biden’s foreign policy is likely to be a continuation of Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’, though under a different designation. It is baffling that the Palestinian leadership is unable to see this, focusing instead, on steering the US back to a failed status quo, where Washington blindly supported Israel while paying Palestinians off for their silence.

      • “Someone’s Going to Get Killed” Over Trump’s Voting Lies, Georgia Official Says
      • Trump Tells Party Faithful He Will Run for President Again in 2024
      • Trump Lawyer Says Official Who Disputed Trump’s Election Claims Should Be “Shot”
      • Sources Say Trump, Giuliani Have Talked About Pardoning
      • Restoring Democracy, Strengthening the Right to Vote

        Trump leaves quite a legacy: presidential power grabbing and loyalty testing running rampant, Congress mired in deadlock and unable to legislate anything important, supposedly independent agencies under the president’s thumb, and the courts thoroughly polluted by Trump appointees.

        Most senior Republican officeholders—“fewer than 1 in 10,” the columnist Max Book wrote—refused to acknowledge that Joe Biden won the election, so fearful were they of Trump’s revenge.  “Bipartisanship” is a bad joke, and the rule of law, not to mention common sense, is rapidly eroding.

      • Biden and the Lost Art of Political Cabinetry

        At the top of the list are three individuals who are uniquely prepared to address serious problems for our governance: Janet Yellin, Alejandro Mayorkas, and John Kerry.  Yellin brings her much needed background in labor economics to a Department of the Treasury that has been weakened by Steven Manuchin and to a country that faces serious unemployment issues and rapidly expanding poverty.  Mayorkas brings his background in immigration policy to a Department of Homeland Security that has been compromised by a series of inept leaders, most of them in an “acting” capacity that has violated U.S. law.  Kerry, one of the most underrated politicians of our generation, brings a long-time concern for the climate challenge into a serious leadership position.  His diplomatic and political skills in negotiating the Iran nuclear accord will be put to good use in dealing with a challenge that the Pentagon has labeled our foremost security threat.

        Biden’s nominees for secretary of state (Antony Blinken) and national security adviser (Jake Sullivan) have drawn the most criticism thus far, but the critics are missing a key point.  It is true that Blinken and Sullivan have been too supportive of U.S. military intervention in the Third World; Blinken was too enthusiastic about the Libyan operation.  Neither one is an out-of-the-box thinker on national security issues, but hopefully they will recognize the importance of such thinking in appointing assistant secretaries at the State Department or deputies at the National Security Council.

      • Donald Trump Just Paid $3 Million to Expand Joe Biden’s Margin of Victory

        Donald Trump’s journey of political humiliation continues as each new state certifies the vote totals that have cost him the presidency.

      • Eisenhower’s Ghost Haunts Biden’s Foreign Policy Team

        Biden’s officials have spent their careers in a hall of mirrors and revolving doors that conflates and confuses defense with corrupt, self-serving militarism, but our future now depends on rescuing our country from that deal with the devil.

      • How American Racism Has a Cost for Everyone

        An interview with author, policy expert, and progressive leader Heather McGhee.

      • Slow and Steady Just Won’t Do: Why Biden Must Move Fast—and Go Big—on Climate

        Time for ambitious climate action in the United States and abroad is now.

      • Who Cares Who the Secretary of Agriculture Is?

        If we can’t get a wholly transformative USDA secretary, rural America and all who have a stake in a democratic food system should at least demand a legitimate reformer.

      • Joaquin Castro Shows the Path Forward for Democrats

        As the battle between progressives and centrists over blame for Democrats’ down-ballot struggles rages, the race for House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman indicates another, more productive path forward. At first, there were two contenders: Representative Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Representative Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Meeks faced opposition from labor and environmental groups, but he was heavily favored by a party establishment that is rightly concerned about diversity and representation in leadership.

      • Trump Will Be Evicted, but Trumpism Lives On

        The Democratic Party’s future must be built around class-based issues in order to reach working people.

      • After the inevitable Carnegie Moscow Center focus-group study finds consensus among Russians on social spending, but strongly divergent views when it comes to economic and foreign policy

        In a November research paper for the Carnegie Moscow Center, Denis Volkov, Andrei Kolesnikov, and Alexey Levison summarized the results of their focus-group study examining Russians’ expectations for the country’s foreseeable future. In both Moscow and Yaroslavl, the researchers assembled three groups of “Putin loyalists,” leftist and right-wing “traditionalists,” and “liberals,” asking these people what public goals they support, whether Russia can develop under state capitalism and political authoritarianism, and what reforms they consider feasible. Meduza summarizes the study’s findings.

      • Don’t Abandon the Democratic Party—Take It Over

        The electoral arena matters too much to abandon it to gutless liberals, the extreme right wing, and corporate interests. The problem facing progressive insurgents is how to engage with it. In 1864, abolitionists debated whether to endorse Abraham Lincoln for reelection. (William Lloyd Garrison did so enthusiastically; Wendell Phillips supported a third-party candidacy.) After the New Deal cemented white working-class and Black voters to the Democratic Party, many in the labor movement bemoaned the absence of a true workers’ party. Moderate socialists, like Michael Harrington of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, argued in the 1970s and ’80s that the Democratic Party constituted an American version of European social democratic parties, while a few leftists have experimented—with little success—with various third-party incarnations, from the Peace and Freedom Party in 1967 to the US Green Party, which still putter along today. Versions of these strategies compete for support in today’s reemerging political left.

      • Labor’s Continuing Corbyn “Antisemitism” Saga

        I discussed the report in a previous CounterPunch post, pointing out that while it didn’t uphold the claim by the Jewish Labour Movement, which issued the first complaint to the EHRC, that Labour is “institutionally antisemitic”, it nonetheless concluded that Corbyn could have tackled antisemitism more effectively if he had chosen to do so.

        At the same time, the report acknowledged that official party procedures for dealing with complaints of antisemitism within Labour had speeded-up under Corbyn.

      • Where Are the Progressives? Briahna Joy Gray on Neera Tanden & Other Biden Picks for Economic Team

        President-elect Joe Biden announced his top economic advisers this week, setting the tone for his administration’s recovery plan, including Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress think tank, as head of the Office of Management and Budget. While Tanden would be the first woman of color and the first South Asian woman in the role, critics oppose her organization’s cozy relationship with corporate funders, her record of antagonizing and undermining progressive Democrats, and her aggressive foreign policy positions. Briahna Joy Gray, former national press secretary for the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign, says there has been “a lot of emphasis on the identity of the individuals picked” for Biden’s incoming team, but representation alone is not enough. “Several of these individuals have real problems, and none of them truly represent a progressive in the mindset of most Americans, especially those who identified with Bernie Sanders.”

      • ‘The Playboy Interview’ to Be Rebooted As a Podcast (Exclusive)

        While distribution plans are still in the works, the companies say they expect the podcast to be advertising-supported at launch.

        “The opportunity to go back and take these interviews and turn them into scripts, to bring them to life, is the ultimate opportunity. It is like being a kid in a candy store,” Jellinek says, adding that “the entire history of the 20th and 21st century, every person that mattered from a political, artistic, cultural standpoint, sat for the Playboy Interview.”

      • Historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat: Trump’s coup is not over; his enablers aren’t done

        Dismiss Donald Trump and the GOP’s attacks on the 2020 election at your peril, warns Ruth Ben-Ghiat, historian and author of the new book, “Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present.” In our recent interview for Salon Talks, Ben-Ghiat — a professor of history and Italian studies at NYU — observes that Trump probably hasn’t actually studied other leaders in history who transformed functioning democracies into authoritarian regimes. Nonetheless, his actions line up almost perfectly with many who have done just that, from Benito Mussolini in fascist Italy to Vladimir Putin in contemporary Russia.

      • Trump Reportedly Raises Over $150 Million for Nonexistent Election Defense Fund
      • Right-Wing Orgs Are Enlisting Students in Their War Against Campus Progressives
      • The Coup That Never Happened

        Support independent cartooning: join Sparky’s List—and don’t forget to visit TT’s Emporium of Fun, featuring the new book and plush Sparky!

      • #13. Lessons from Colorado’s Voting System – THE TOP 25 CENSORED STORIES OF 2019-2020

        Colorado’s mail-in voting system was established “with bipartisan support” in 2013, Griswold explained. “Republican county clerks pushed [for] these reforms,” in part because the mail-in system is more efficient and less expensive than in-person voting. The mail-in voting system also supports the state’s commitment “to make sure that every eligible Coloradan’s voice is heard,” Griswold told Democracy Now! Although every registered, eligible voter receives a mail-in ballot, people can vote in person if they prefer to do so.

      • Utter Insanity: Trump Lawyer Suggests Former Trump Cybersecurity Official Should Be ‘Taken Out And Shot’ For Saying The Election Was Secure

        Every day that I think I can’t be shocked and horrified by anything being done in the name of politics today, I end up being more shocked and more horrified. The latest is that one of the President’s campaign lawyers, Joe diGenova, who has been involved in a wide range of politically motivated conspiracy theory mongering, went on the Howie Carr show to say that fired CISA director Chris Krebs should be “taken out and shot.”

      • A Near Miss with Despotic Selfishness

        Donald Trump spent four years glorifying and modeling this selfishness. His worst performance came with the Covid-19 pandemic. At that point, Trump played the role of the despotic Nero fiddling while the United States went down in the flames of a worldwide plague. That display of uncaring inadequacy may be the main reason he lost reelection in the recent 2020 matchup with Joe Biden.

        It followed naturally that Biden ran a campaign that contrasted with Trump’s modeled selfishness. Biden repeatedly said that he would “restore decency,” “save the nation’s soul,” “build back better,” and “make America America Again.” Finally, Joe Biden repeatedly claimed that Trump and his narcissistic ways “is not who we are! We are better than this.” As heart-warming as these sentiments might be, they raise the question whether America has a single, agreed-upon standard for decent behavior. What if Biden’s claim that Trump’s America isn’t the real America is wrong?

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Reclaiming A Hashtag (2020)

        Summary: The Proud Boys, a group with a history of violent interactions, often in support of Donald Trump, received prominent attention during the first Presidential debate of 2020 between Trump and Joe Biden. Upon being asked about whether or not he would condemn white supremacist groups that support him, Trump asked for an example. When given The Proud Boys, Trump told them to “stand back and stand by,” which many in the group took to be an endorsement of their activities.

      • New Ebook On Zeran v AOL, The Most Important Section 230 Case

        Section 230 has become a mainstream discussion topic, but unfortunately many discussants don’t actually understand it well (or at all). To address this knowledge gap, co-editors Profs. Eric Goldman (Santa Clara Law) and Jeff Kosseff (U.S. Naval Academy) have released an ebook, called “Zeran v. America Online,” addressing many aspects of Section 230. You can download the ebook for free at: SSRNSCU Digital CommonsGoogle Play

      • Congress Decides To Ignore Trump’s Ridiculous Veto Threat If Military Authorization Doesn’t Wipe Out Section 230

        This always seemed like the the most likely outcome, but Trump had complicated things with his temper tantrum demands and his threat to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) if it didn’t include a clause wiping out Section 230. However, Congress has come to its senses and leaders of both parties have said they’ll ignore his impotent veto threat and move forward with the bill as is.

      • Trump calls for last-minute 230 repeal as part of defense spending bill

        A foundational legal protection for online speech platforms, Section 230 has become controversial in recent years, and there is growing desire across the ideological spectrum to reform the law. During the primary campaign, President-elect Joe Biden said Section 230 “should be revoked, immediately,” responding to concerns that Facebook was shirking its responsibility to moderate the platform. Republicans have taken issue with 230 for the opposite reason, seeing it as granting platforms an inappropriately broad license to censor speech.

      • John Mulaney Says Secret Service Investigated Him After ‘SNL’ Joke

        He said the joke led to the investigation. “Am I stoked there’s a file opened on me? Absolutely. Did I enjoy it in the moment? Not so much,” he added. “But the person vetting me was very understanding.” He said that the investigator understood his bit had nothing to do with Trump and that “it was an elliptical reference to him,” he explained. “I didn’t say anything about him.”

      • IPI report: Turkey’s social media law, regulatory bodies threaten free public debate

        The International Press Institute has released a report about freedom of the press in Turkey after a mission to Turkey between October 6-9.

        The report examines the new social media law that came into effect at the start of October, regulatory bodies’ punishment of independent outlets and the situation of judicial independence in the country.

        While the number of imprisoned journalists decreased from 2017 when it was the highest, Turkey is still one of the world’s largest jailers of journalists, says the report titled, “Turkey’s Journalists on the Rope”.

      • Trump Threatens to Veto Major Defense Bill Unless Law Protecting Tech Companies is Axed

        Jon Berroya, head of the Internet Association that represents tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Reddit, said in response to Trump’s veto threat that repealing Section 230 would itself amount to a national security threat.

        “The law empowers online platforms to remove harmful and dangerous content, including terrorist content and misinformation,” Berroya said. “Section 230 also underpins countless ecommerce websites, apps, and services that are helping small businesses across the country keep the lights on during a pandemic.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • #25. Studies Document Links between Education, Incarceration, and Recidivism – THE TOP 25 CENSORED STORIES OF 2019-2020

        In September 2019, ColorLines reported that attending a school with a high suspension rate is associated with an increased likelihood of being arrested and a decreased likelihood of enrolling in a four-year college. The ColorLines article reported findings from a study titled “The School to Prison Pipeline: Long-Run Impacts of School Suspensions on Adult Crime” issued by the nonprofit National Bureau of Economic Research. As Emily Boudreau reported for Harvard University’s Usable Knowledge, the study provides “some of the first causal evidence that strict schools do indeed contribute to the so-called school-to-prison pipeline.”

      • Now Is the Time to Make Good on the Promise of Justice for All

        “With liberty and justice for all.” Even as a fifth grader with my hand held over my heart, I knew those emphatic words were an aspiration, not yet an affirmation in America. Growing up the child of an incarcerated parent, I had seen firsthand injustices it would take years to put words to.

      • This Supreme Court Case Could Wreck the New Deal Legal Order

        The Federalist Society finally has a case before the Supreme Court that could roll back large swaths of the regulatory state and civil rights laws.

      • We Need an Essential Workers Bill of Rights

        Walmart’s owners are seeing their wealth surge while my former coworkers there go without hazard pay. That has to change.

      • #20. A Comprehensive Framework for Transforming the Criminal-Legal System – THE TOP 25 CENSORED STORIES OF 2019-2020

        The groups’ “Vision for Justice” plan advocates an expanded view of public safety, prioritizing investments in education, housing, employment, healthcare, and other public programs, guided by three core themes: ensuring equity and accountability in the criminal-legal system, building a restorative system of justice, and rebuilding communities. The plan’s fourteen specific recommendations—such as creating a new framework for pretrial justice, and decriminalizing poverty—are rooted in human rights and the practice of restorative justice, Corbett reported.

      • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘We Ain’t Free’ By Boscoe

        Boscoe is like a much more politically militant Earth Wind and Fire, like if the band collaborated with the Last Poets or Watts Prophets. In fact, both Boscoe and Earth Wind and Fire are both from Chicago’s South Side.As the Numero Group label describes, during the early 1970s, the South Side was “an epicenter of African-American musical creativity: Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sun Ra’s Arkestra, Phil Cohran’s Artistic Heritage Ensemble, and others led the charge away from mainstream, commercial music.”The Pharaoahs, Pieces of Peace, and Earth Wind and Fire later emerged and garnered national and international acclaim. However, Boscoe never achieved recognition despite their explosive, funky, and righteous sound.“We Ain’t Free” consists of a dark and ironic parody of “The Star Spangled Banner.” MOJO, a music magazine in the United Kingdom, referred to it as a “jazz-funk locomotive” that “makes its point forcefully.”“Can’t you see/we ain’t free,” the band sings. “Here in the land of opportunity, here’s what I see.”The group runs down the sources of discombobulation before a break develops into a kind of call and response with a slave master. Boscoe does not deal in subtlety so it is clear who, or what, is the slave master.“If I had my way, you’d never be free,” the song cries out sinisterly.From there, the band plays around three minutes of psychedelic funk before ending with the sound that spurred this sonic maelstrom against systemic oppression.Boscoe apparently was concerned a more commercial record label would force them to water down their lyrics. They released their only album on their own, and it gained relatively little exposure. But nearly 50 years later, their lyrics resemble the calls for justice at Black Lives Matter demonstrations.Listen to “We Aint’ Free” by Boscoe:

      • SF’s New DA, Chesa Boudin, Battles Criminal Injustice System on Two Fronts

        Gilbert and his cohorts, both white and Black, robbed a Brink Armored Vehicle near Nyack, New York in 1981 and then were caught up in a firefight. Gilbert was unarmed, but two police officers and one security guard were killed. At his trial, Gilbert rejected a lawyer and opted to defend himself, though he was not physically present in the courtroom most of the time. “It’s a bad idea to represent yourself,” Boudin says. Spoken like the real lawyer that he is.

        Now 76 years old, Gilbert has been behind bars for 39 years. Given the more than 3,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 23 deaths in New York State’s prison population, he is a greater risk now than ever before to die while incarcerated. Gilbert is not eligible for parole until 2056. Kathy Boudin—Chesa’s mother—along with former Weather Underground members, Jeff Jones and Eleanor Stein, is asking New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo, to grant clemency. Jones says that Gilbert has expressed remorse for his crimes and ought to be released.

      • #21. The Scourge of Human Trafficking in Yemen – THE TOP 25 CENSORED STORIES OF 2019-2020

        Due to lack of educational opportunities and economic collapse, Yemeni people are literally sacrificing their bodies to provide for their families. Between 2015 and 2017, more than ten thousand cases of organ sales have been documented by the Yemen Organization for Combating Human Trafficking, a Sana’a-based NGO. Actual figures are almost certainly higher, because many cases go unreported owing to the practice being illegal, religious concerns, and the stigma of the practice in a conservative society.

      • #16. International Law Could Hold US Accountable for Violating Detained Immigrant Children’s Rights – THE TOP 25 CENSORED STORIES OF 2019-2020

        Under US law, children should not be held in custody by Border Patrol for more than 72 hours. Beyond that time, detained children are supposed to be transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, and either reunified with family in the United States or placed in the custody of another caregiver. However, Bochenek and Binford reported that, earlier in 2019, the Border Patrol “was detaining children for more than 90 days on average, in violation of both these legal limits and the children’s rights.”

      • Australian Cops Are Pre-Criming Students Too, Setting Minors Up For A Lifetime Of Harassment

        It’s not just American law enforcement agencies turning kids into criminals. They’re doing it in Australia too. In Florida, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office uses software to mark kids as budding criminals, using questionable markers like D-grades, witnessing domestic violence, or being the victim of a crime. The spreadsheet adds it all up and gives deputies a thumbs up to start treating students like criminals, even if they’ve never committed a criminal act.

      • Communities Look Beyond Washington for Solutions to Human Rights Threats

        We have seen over the past four years that the U.S. political system is unable to hold leaders accountable even to its own Constitution, and we’re watching as the system’s legitimacy crumbles, along with protections for basic rights and the most vulnerable.

      • “The Dead Are Arising”: New Biography on Malcolm X’s Childhood, Killing & Secret Meeting with KKK

        We speak with the co-author of a major new biography of Malcolm X, “The Dead Are Arising,” which recently won the 2020 National Book Award for Nonfiction and offers a sweeping account of Malcolm X’s life by weaving together hundreds of interviews with Malcolm X’s family, friends, colleagues and enemies. The book is based on decades of research by Les Payne, who died in 2018, and finished by his daughter, Tamara Payne. “The reason why he admired Malcolm is because Malcolm was dealing with the conditions that Black people are facing even internally and how we viewed ourselves in this situation,” she says, and describes how her father lived through the civil rights movement and strongly connected with Malcolm X’s teachings.

      • Action for Egyptian Human Rights Defenders

        The undersigned organisations strongly condemn the persecution of employees of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and Egyptian civil society by the Egyptian government. We urge the global community and their respective governments to do the same and join us in calling for the release of detained human rights defenders and a stop to the demonisation of civil society organisations and human rights defenders by government-owned or pro-government media.

        Since November 15, Egyptian authorities have escalated their crackdown on human rights defenders and civil society organizations. On November 19, Gasser Abdel-Razek, Executive Director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)—one of the few remaining human rights organisations in Egypt—was arrested at his home in Cairo by security forces. One day prior, EIPR’s Criminal Justice Unit Director, Karim Ennarah, was arrested while on vacation in Dahab. The organization’s Administrative Manager, Mohamed Basheer, was also taken in the early morning hours from his home in Cairo 15 November. 

      • Nat Geo’s “Trafficked” delves into the criminal underworld, while putting its reporter at risk

        Still, while van Zeller and her crew head to some truly off-the-map locations, the production largely remains true to its intended path. “Trafficked” explores eight criminal enterprises largely happening in plain sight, including phone scams, fentanyl production, counterfeiting, steroid abuse and prostitution. Her reporting takes her to multiple countries, including Jamaica, Mexico, Israel and Peru, but the common thread is that Americans are likely to have some personal knowledge or interaction with at least one of these crimes if not several. She does her due diligence as a a journalist, certainly, and she also profiles her subjects with empathy, balanced with acknowledging destructiveness of whatever they’re engaged in.

        [...]

        Whether she’s talking to scammers, drug runners or counterfeiters, the common responses to van Zeller’s question as to whether they feel remorse are largely along the same lines: the local economy is terrible, straight jobs pay terribly – not to mention, many of them hold legal jobs, but they don’t pay a living wage – and this is easy money that supports their parents, their relatives, their children.

      • Google illegally spied on workers before firing them, US labor board alleges

        Google violated US labor laws by spying on workers who were organizing employee protests, then firing two of them, according to a complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) today.

        The complaint names two employees, Laurence Berland and Kathryn Spiers, both of whom were fired by the company in late 2019 in connection with employee activism. Berland was organizing against Google’s decision to work with IRI Consultants, a firm widely known for its anti-union efforts, when he was let go for reviewing other employees’ calendars. Now, the NLRB has found Google’s policy against employees looking at certain coworkers’ calendars is unlawful.

        Several other employees were fired in the wake of the protests, but the NLRB found that only the terminations of Berland and Spiers violated labor laws.

      • U.S. Labor Board Alleges Google Retaliated Against Activists

        Google illegally fired, interrogated and surveilled activist employees, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board alleged in a complaint Wednesday.

        The complaint, issued on behalf of the agency’s general counsel, accuses the Alphabet Inc. unit of violating the New Deal law that protects employees’ right to engage in collective action about workplace issues, including non-union workers like Google’s. According to the regional director, Google broke the law by questioning and terminating employees because of their activism, maintaining rules restricting legally protected organizing, and enforcing other rules in a discriminatory manner.

      • Methuen police chief doled out favors to councilors after they made him one of the nation’s highest-paid law enforcement officers

        The Methuen City Council had just approved a contract that would make police Chief Joseph Solomon one of the highest-paid law enforcement officers in the country, setting him up to earn $326,707 in 2019. Councilors would later say they didn’t know what was in the contract, but not a single member asked any questions before the February 2017 vote.

        Over the next six months, the police chief handed out extraordinary favors to members of the council or their relatives. Councilor Sean Fountain, a veteran North Andover firefighter, was hired as a full-time police officer without ever taking a standard civil service exam. Council chairman James Atkinson was hired as a junior accountant for the police.

      • India Muslim man arrested under ‘love jihad law’

        A complaint filed by the woman’s father last week accused the man of pressuring his daughter to convert and threatening her life if she didn’t. The woman was allegedly in a relationship with the man but got married to someone else earlier this year.

      • Ninth Circuit Says Washington Man Can Continue To Sue CBP Agent For First, Fourth Amendment Violations

        The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals continues to do what other circuits far too often won’t: protect citizens from their government. The Ninth Circuit is the best place to bring allegations of rights violations. It only grants immunity in 42% of cases it handles, compared to the Fifth Circuit, where cops and their qualified immunity triumph 64% of the time.

      • Speaking Spanish is a not a lawful basis for being made to show ID

        US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has agreed to pay a “monetary sum” to two native-born US citizens and Montana residents  who were made to show ID and detained for about 40 minutes (including continuing detention even after they showed their Montana drivers licenses) solely because a CBP agent overhead them speaking Spanish to each other.

        The amount of the settlement has not been made public.

        The ACLU of Montana represented the two Latinx residents of Havre, MT, in their lawsuit, which initially sought a declaratory judgement “that race, accent, and language cannot create suspicion to justify seizure and/or detention” (which ought to go without saying) in addition to money damages.

      • NLG Announcement from Pooja Gehi: Transitioning from Executive Director to Member

        I am writing to share that after five years as Executive Director of the NLG, I have stepped down to focus on my writing and lawyering for social justice.

        It has been an honor and privilege to lead the NLG in our ongoing work to unite lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers in service of people and the planet, not profit. In the last five years, we have quadrupled our membership and increased our budget, with over $1 million in new donations just in the last six months. We have committed to prison abolition, and furthered our existing commitment to Palestinian solidarity and the Boycott, Divest, & Sanction (BDS) movement. We have supported water protectors in Standing Rock and Black Lives Matter protesters around the country. We have educated our members and the public about bail funds, refugee caravans, and criminalization related to COVID-19.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Perpetually Missing from Tech Policy: ISPs And The IoT

        U.S legislators have drawn a bizarre line in the sand when exploring the invasive nature of technology companies and personal rights to privacy.

      • Comcast Increases Prices And Bogus Fees In The Middle Of A Pandemic

        Last week, we noted how Comcast had expanded its bullshit broadband usage caps during a pandemic, insisting that the confusing, technically-unnecessary restrictions were being deployed in an alleged act of fairness. Of course as we noted, there’s nothing “fair” about costly, punitive surcharges that serve absolutely no technical purpose, and exist exclusively so a monopoly can extract additional revenue from monopolized markets and captive subscribers with no alternative ISPs to choose from.

      • Verizon, NYC Settle Lawsuit Over Verizon’s Empty Fiber Promises

        Like AT&T, Frontier, and other U.S. telcos, Verizon has a long, rich history of taking tax breaks, regulatory favors, and taxpayer subsidies in exchange for networks it only half deploys. That was the case in the 90s when Verizon took a several billion tax breaks from the state of Pennsylvania in exchange for networks it never deployed. It was also the case in New York City, where Verizon was sued by the city for promising to deploy fiber universally to all five boroughs, and then, well, not doing that.

      • The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day 10: Downgrading the Role of Canadians in their Own Programming

        (prior posts in the Broadcasting Act Blunder series include Day 1: Why there is no Canadian Content Crisis, Day 2: What the Government Doesn’t Say About Creating a “Level Playing Field”, Day 3: Minister Guilbeault Says Bill C-10 Contains Economic Thresholds That Limit Internet Regulation. It Doesn’t, Day 4: Why Many News Sites are Captured by Bill C-10), Day 5: Narrow Exclusion of User Generated Content Services, Day 6: The Beginning of the End of Canadian Broadcast Ownership and Control Requirements, Day 7: Beware Bill C-10’s Unintended Consequences, Day 8: The Unnecessary Discoverability Requirements, Day 9: Why Use Cross-Subsidies When the Government is Rolling Out Tech Tax Policy)

      • The Way Prisoners Flag Guard Abuse, Inadequate Health Care and Unsanitary Conditions Is Broken

        Randy Liebich curled up in a ball on his bed inside Stateville prison, about an hour outside Chicago. It was June 2010, and he’d spent the night in a cold sweat, excruciating pain radiating from his back. For months, he’d been filing complaints with prison officials about the lack of medical care. But the forms, known as grievances, got him nowhere.

        One was denied, in part because he’d already been to the doctor, and the denial noted he’d received acetaminophen pain medication. Another complaint was deemed moot.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • International Day Against DRM (IDAD) is almost here: Stand with us on Dec. 4

        Although many of us are in quarantine, that doesn’t mean that we have to cease our fight against Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). The International Day Against DRM (IDAD) is just two days away, and we’re here to let you know how we can all stand up this Friday, December 4th, against the latest encroachments from one of DRM’s major players: Netflix.

        As pandemic response measures all over the world forced so many people to stay home, we’ve seen a corresponding and dangerous increase in dependence on streaming media for entertainment. Streaming media has gone from an ethically problematic pastime to being a playground for dystopia. In a world where media is served over ephemeral streaming, these services can delete things from history, or rewrite them, sometimes without any announcement. Besides deciding what people can and can’t view with their service, corporations like Netflix also dictate what can and can’t be made, now that they’re one of the heavyweights in television and film production and distribution. This rise in control is in part due to their constant mistreatment of their subscribers, having used DRM to prevent legitimate uses of their media and dictate which devices can play it.

        December 4th marks the start of Netflix’s “StreamFest” initiative in certain countries — letting users have a taste of the poison apple before they commit to taking the bite. It’s at times like these that we as a community need to step up and say that enough is enough, and let them know that DRM is unacceptable no matter where it appears or how it’s being used. We may not be meeting in person, but that doesn’t mean we can’t come together and let our voices be heard. We hope you’ll join us in this year’s IDAD by following one or more of the suggestions we’ve provided below.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • UK Provisionally Closes The Door On AI Inventorship

          In an article of ours of earlier this year, we discussed the administrative rejection, by the European Patent Office (EPO), of two patent applications, both in the name of Dr Stephen L Thaler, initially for not naming any inventors and, thereafter, for naming an artificial intelligence (“AI”) system (named “DABUS”) as the inventor.

          As we discussed in that article, the EPO’s rejection appears to have made it clear that the EPO would not be willing to interpret the current wording of the European Patent Convention (“EPC”) as allowing for non-humans (e.g. AI systems) to be cited as inventors.

          Regrettably, the EPO did not provide guidance on how to deal with inventorship in such cases, but as we have submitted, it seems unlikely that current laws would lend themselves to an interpretation that is sufficiently broad to include machines as possible inventors. This is in light thereof that the law does not recognise machines as having any legal personality, in contrast to natural persons and juristic persons.

        • A Battle to Benefit from EPC 138/3

          The IP Law of Turkey prohibits any kind of amendment/limitation of claims or patent documents after the patent has been granted. The only exceptions to this rule are the amendment/limitations made by the patentee during the national post-grant opposition phase, which was introduced to Turkish law in 2017.

          As per the introduction of a national post-grant opposition procedure, the Law also prohibits any ruling to be made in a revocation action against a national patent, while the post-grant opposition phase is ongoing before the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (“TPTO”). However, the IP Law allows revocation actions to be heard and ruled against national validation of European patents, while post-grant oppositions or appeal phases are ongoing before the European Patent Office (“EPO”). Likewise, the local court is not obliged to deem the EPO proceedings as a prejudicial matter and this is entirely at the discretion of the judge.

          In practice, some IP Courts consider the ongoing opposition or appeal process before the EPO as a prejudicial matter in view of the principle of procedural economy. This principle is one of the principles that dominates civil proceedings and is regulated under Article 30 of the Code of Civil Procedures (“CCP”). Based on this principle national proceedings are delayed in order not to undertake unnecessary investigations, as the patent may be revoked by the EPO.

          On the other hand, some IP Courts consider that EPO proceedings may take too much time, and they may decide not to delay revocation proceedings in order to avoid a serious loss of rights of the plaintiff.

          In cases where the IP Court refuses to delay revocation proceedings, the patentee may consider limitation of claims in order to survive from a revocation action, which is not possible for national patents granted upon national applications or PCT applications. However, for European patents validated in Turkey, the patentee may – in principle – benefit from EPC 138/3, which orders the national courts to take limited claims into consideration for ongoing national revocation actions.

        • Calidi Biotherapeutics Announces European Patent Granted by EPO: Combination Immunotherapy Approach for Treatment of Cancer

          Calidi Biotherapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company at the forefront of oncolytic virus-based immunotherapies for cancer, announced today that it has been granted a new patent from the European Patent Office (EPO). European Patent Number 3209382, “Combination Immunotherapy Approach for Treatment of Cancer,” secures Calidi’s proprietary technology platform, Supernova 1 (SNV1), composed of the oncolytic agent, CAL1 vaccinia virus, loaded into allogeneic, adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AD-MSC).

      • Copyrights

        • ‘Tis The Season: Congress Looks To Sneak In Unconstitutional Copyright Reform Bill Into ‘Must Pass’ Spending Bill

          If you have to sneak your transformational copyright bill into a “must pass” government spending bill, it seems fairly evident that you know the bill is bad. Earlier we talked about how the White House is trying to slip a Section 230 repeal into the NDAA (military appropriations) bill, and now we’ve heard multiple people confirm that there’s an effort underway to slip the CASE Act into the “must pass” government appropriations bill (the bill that keeps the government running).

        • An Open Letter to President-elect Biden

          First, I’d like to offer my sincere congratulations to you and to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. This has been such a difficult year for so many around the world, and in this time of extreme polarization it is encouraging to hear you both talk about bringing people together to meet our common challenges. For many years I was a Member of the European Parliament, and I know how incredibly important it is to build bridges and work collaboratively with people we don’t always agree with.

        • Introducing the Newest CC Chapter, CC Czech Republic!

          The CC Czech Republic, supported by Chapter Lead and Representative to the CC Global Network Lucie Smolka, will continue to develop the Czech environment of commons and other open areas. The Czech Chapter is working closely with the institutional CC Network member NGO Open Content. Board members of Open Content are Lucie Smolka as a CEO, Martin Loučka as a COO and Jiří Marek as a CMO. Members of Open Content are experienced lawyers from different “open” areas such as Open Science, Open Source or Open Educational Resources. Czech Chapter has recently submitted a statement as part of the consultation process led by the Czech Ministry of Culture on the implementation of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, and is also consulting the Implementation of Open Data Directive. We have also entered the strategic partnership with NGO Otevřená města (Open Cities). This organization deals with digitization of local governments and the Czech Chapter is bringing the necessary legal interoperability expertise. Recently, we have submitted a project proposal for the public research funding by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic with the project called  Re-use System Management, that should bring the abstract re-use economy (so-called “circular economy in cyber-space”) closer to the everyday practice of local governments and NGOs. The goal for the upcoming months is to foster these projects and partnerships and to develop a Czech open community scene.

        • World’s Worst Copyright Troll, Richard Liebowitz, Suspended From Practicing Law

          I had meant to write an update on the never ending clusterfuck that is copyright troll Richard Liebowitz last month, as things appeared to be going badly in the two cases where the judges had clearly grown completely tired of the games he was playing with the court: Usherson v. Bandshell and Chevrestt v. Barstool. In both cases, judges had gotten very, very angry at Liebowitz for continuing to lie, play games, mislead and so on. In the Chevrestt case, the judge actually let him off kind of easy last month, saying that for the next two years, any time that he is ordered to show cause for why he shouldn’t be sanctioned again (basically, any time he gets in trouble with a judge), he has to share the details of what happened in the Chevrestt case (in which he does not come out of it looking good).

        • ‘Copyright Trolls’ Enter Brazil Demanding Money from Suspected Pirates

          Thousands of Brazilian Internet subscribers are being accused of downloading pirated copies of films such as ‘Hellboy’ and ‘Rambo: Last Blood’ via BitTorrent. The suspected pirates are receiving settlement offers of 3,000 Real ($575) to make the problem go away. This practice, commonly known as copyright trolling, is not without controversy.

        • BREIN Launches Anti-Piracy Campaign Targeting BitTorrent Uploaders

          Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has announced a new campaign which aims to change the behavior of frequent or long-term BitTorrent uploaders. Starting December 15, BREIN will track down users deemed important to the supply chain, sending warnings via their ISPs or directly if providers won’t cooperate.

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    Today (or tonight) we release the first 'phase' of InteLeaks in a sensibly redacted form; coming up next is a surprise from Team Microsoft



  29. Sites in Bed With the EPO and UPC 'Covering' the 'News' Without Mentioning Any of the Overt Abuses

    It is rather sad that blogs like IP Kat have turned into proponents of abusive EPO management and Team UPC increasingly resorts to lying using pseudonyms (to avert criticism and accountability); much of the rebuttal or response that’s hinged on reality/facts can only be found in comments, which are still subjected to a face-saving moderation process (conducted by Team UPC)



  30. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part IV: Stories From the Depths of the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    To reduce or alleviate suspicions and a potential of mistrust the FSF needs to become more transparent and liberate information (such as the real reason Bradley Kuhn left, as noted in the previous part)


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