01.22.21

The Linux Foundation is Trying to Obscure Racism Using Microsoft-Inspired Tactics (Vouchers Disguised as Actual Money)

Posted in Deception, Finance at 1:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The Linux Foundation and its PR stunts don’t help combat racism; one might argue that the Foundation is leveraging racism, which prevails in the US, to paint itself as benevolent and caring (offering immaterial things and self-serving press releases)

TWO years ago an anonymous contributor of ours (not white, not male) investigated race and gender issues at the Linux Foundation, which hires nobody black but is perfectly happy to leverage racial grievances at critical times (where there are opportunities to score PR points on the cheap). The matter is scarcely and rarely explored in the media. For instance, on MLK Day (days ago) the Foundation issued this press release, soon to be echoed by a bunch of puff pieces from Foundation affiliates and media partners (such as this one or this one).

“It’s not grassroots, but it is looking to exploit high-profile activists and activism, quite frankly in the same way/fashion top sponsors of the Foundation do.”Corporate activism or pseudo-activism isn’t a new issue and it’s not unique to the Foundation; it’s not unique to technology either as it’s highly pervasive in politics. This video, which was difficult to do (especially without any preparation), brings up more difficult issues that nobody wants to speak about (out of fear of offending people or talking down legitimate gestures). The Foundation extends an olive branch to billionaires, not to communities. It’s not grassroots, but it is looking to exploit high-profile activists and activism, quite frankly in the same way/fashion top sponsors of the Foundation do.

InteLeaks – Part XXVII: ‘Pulling a Nokia’ on Intel (Outsourcing to Microsoft)

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 5:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Harbor Research and MicrosoftSummary: The recommendation of an Intel marriage with Microsoft (even in units that deal mostly with Linux) is an insulting slap across the face of developers employed there; we take a look at recommendations made to IoTG (Intel) by a firm with Microsoft orientation (screenshot to the right)

LAST night we looked at the firm Intel had hired to recommend Microsoft (push polling seems likely), allegedly after Intel’s decision. Some tell us that a year earlier the nontechnical ‘suits’ at Intel finalised that strategy regardless (see this series’ index in the relevant wiki page for additional information and context). Why seek consultation other than ‘arse-covering’ (seeking to reaffirm a bad strategy, albeit with the veneer or guise of ‘professional’ ‘research’)? A few dozens, 50 or so men from Denver, Colorado (without much industry experience) would not know any more/better than Intel’s own in-house engineers.

Here is an image, extracted from the above report, which shows the summary of recommendations to IOTG/IoTG (the IoT Group at Intel).

“Disappointing,” told us a source, “but not surprised.”

This angered quite a few Intel insiders. The last thing they want is Microsoft at the job… especially those who work on “IoT” ‘things’, i.e. mostly Linux.

rec

“Is there a way to find a public source,” asked us one person, about “the graphic which was attached? [It had been circulated internally for a while] It shows a bad Microsoft infection via partnership obligations.”

Nadella awardWe’ve gotten the full report, which we plan to release at a later stage. It’s not a “public source”; as we explained before, Intel worked hard to keep this sort of stuff concealed. These sorts of reports, we’ve been told, are largely responsible for the horrible direction and the demise of Intel. Shades of Nokia

The video mentions Microsoft AstroTurfing. We have documented and assembled many examples of Microsoft AstroTurfing. In the past few days in our main IRC channels we’ve had to cope with trolls based in Washington, promoting GitHub using anonymous accounts and looking to discredit us using a bunch of Microsoft lies. Are these Microsoft employees? AstroTurfing? Hard to tell…

“One last thought is the Microsoft move to design chips,” told us an informed source about all this, “maybe this will turn around the adoption of proprietary tools and partnership with Microsoft. I guess we’ll see.”

The way we see it, Microsoft is all vapourware and PR stunts. There’s already intense competition in this space and Windows is a misfit.

Glen Allmendinger and Microsoft“Wintel is an acknowledged problem,” told us one person earlier this month (having seen portions of these leaks), “but it is probably forgotten by the old crowd and unknown to the younger generations. Thus it would be very important to review and add weight to the review by including new material. The material described is very interesting.

“So many in US business are loser zero-sum-gamers and don’t get the nature of collaborative development. However, look at this oldish link to see what’s happening at OpenStreetMap regarding open data collaboration.”

Intel does not seem to understand community. It doesn’t understand developers. It does not ‘get’ software freedom. Does it insist so strongly on dying with Microsoft? And if so, whose idea is it? An Intel loyalist or Microsoft moles? Stay tuned…

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 21, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:13 am by Needs Sunlight

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

text logs

text logs

#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

text logs

text logs

#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now


IPFS Mirrors

CID Description Object type
 QmUnLZLvnkJoZxwYByiGhcn4MiMcdFnMqPZRmAbgsqBCD9 IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmYQXft7sWhCY1z95zmeR3tYa4WrszKD2S2ycmGMpLSqNd IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmckfDjo85QTWF3RL5UsefGZ2kEKcYN8iJSobLMUxpDfdx IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmcgqswXx5uFkXk2Gfs31nLAQDE9iRYAir5zmLZDn1p5hu IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmaHbqGpBqnJFtQMM4w8f9bHCJWhofUK8ahgxTATHTPbaQ IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmckBUZ9P97vuToXPb2TnfRD3hpdjXiLTmVykt4kQn1FzT IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmYDUiQp24YtMX6oTAiB9ey5UHgwk8tQw7HATKs1fuSmod IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmZLpEkMvn45imTBGmeekevAHJ15hpQ7toQtEeM83P818B IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs

IPFS logo

Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmPqWE8wY4CPvnQhhFaePN3Xu47CYpj5RW9XcMutnWHqww

01.21.21

InteLeaks – Part XXVI: Harbor Research is Horrible ‘Research’, Lacking Actual Technical Background

Posted in Deception, Hardware, Microsoft at 7:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Having looked at the members of staff of Harbor Research (individually), it seems clearer now why they have an affinity for Microsoft and why they’re directing Intel to liaise with Microsoft and become a prisoner of Microsoft (even in areas where Microsoft is increasingly irrelevant)

THE second ‘phase’ of this series deals with Harbor Research, which isn’t exactly about research. It almost feels like a marketing firm. The reports too are suggestive of that. No actual research is being done, just some questionnaires, along with presentations and many logos. As noted in previous parts (see index in the relevant wiki page), Intel is asking Harbor Research for advice or maybe some fancy presentations to help justify a decision already made a year prior (according to sources).

Who’s Harbor Research anyway? How many people out there ever heard of it? I know I have not and it’s actually a very small firm in the middle of the US. Harbor Research employees are listed as follows in a Microsoft site (just over a dozen of them):

Harbor Research staff

The firm’s President (and father/founder) Glen Allmendinger was a Senior Analyst at the notorious Yankee Group, known for anti-Linux bias, Microsoft propaganda, and SCO boosting (when it was attacking Linux with frivolous litigation sponsored by Microsoft), whereas their Marketing Vice President has this:

Vice President Marketing at Harbor Research

Well, quite a few of the other employees list Microsoft as their “Interest” and they seem to be fans of Microsoft Office (the majority of them list that as their endorsed skill).

So what we have is a bunch of people who know how to use Microsoft Word, have a college degree, and almost no industry experience. Maybe Intel should have asked its own engineers for advice, not a bunch of barely known people near a ski resort. Based on their profiles, which I’ve studied (education and job history), they hardly seem to have any experience as developers. They publish reports. Not the same thing as firsthand experience.

Writing to us about the HRI Research [sic] report (“Developer Tools analysis”), a source highlighted this part to us, calling it “yucky”:

Yucky HRI

As we noted before, at the time this report was issued Intel had already worked with its own self-hosted Gitlab and Free software-based development workflow. There was no issue with that. It generally worked. Except perhaps when Intel hired unskilled people who barely ever used anything but Microsoft. In the next part we’ll show that Harbor Research basically recommends what it knows best. It recommends Microsoft for almost everything.

Links 21/1/2021: Raspberry Pi Pico, Ubuntu 21.04 Picks GNOME 3.38, KDE Plasma 5.21 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 5:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • 13 Reasons Why Linux Is Better Than Windows

      Linux tends to be a highly reliable and secure system than any other operating systems (OS). Linux and Unix-based OS have fewer security flaws, as the code is reviewed by a huge number of developers constantly. And anyone has access to its source code. So, you won’t need any anti-virus software to protect your PC from malware and viruses. The reason it’s secure because it’s open-source, which means you can see its source code. As a result, bugs in the Linux OS will fix rapidly compared to other OS.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • TUXEDO InfinityBook S 15 Linux Laptop Launches with Tiger Lake CPUs, Ultra Thin Design

        Meet TUXEDO InfinityBook S 15, the smallest 15.6-inch Linux laptop offering from TUXEDO Computers that does not disappoint on any aspect. Its biggest attraction is the ultra thin design with 92 percent screen-to-body ratio and very compact design that can only be found on 14-inch laptops.

        The ultra modern and thin design is due to the 15.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080 pixels) IPS display featuring approximately 300 nits brightness, 800:1 contrast, 95% sRGB color gamut, and anti-reflective / non-glare coating, as well as the monocolor (white) backlit keyboard with TUX super-key, and a clickpad with multi-touch gestures.

      • Serval WS – The Beast Laptop from System76

        Hey everyone! I got in touch with System76, and they were kind enough to send me a review unit of one of their products — the Serval WS. It’s a laptop that should more so be referred to as a workstation — meaning, it’s meant to be used for the most part while plugged in, while a user can use it’s portability factor on what I refer to as an emergency basis. The battery life is extremely short, so this thing needs to be plugged in all the time.

        [...]

        I will have more benchmarks in the coming weeks, as well as an article that goes into much more detail about this unit, so stay tuned.

      • System76 Darter Pro Linux laptop returns with 11th Gen Intel Core processors

        We are well into 2021 now, so we can finally stop thinking about the dumpster fire that was 2020. Instead, we can focus on more important things, such as Linux! Yes, folks, Linux is still going full steam ahead — look out, Microsoft! And yes, companies such as System76 are still selling computers running operating systems based on the open source kernel.

        Speaking of that company, today, System76′s popular Darter Pro makes a return to its Linux laptop lineup. This new model of the 15.6-inch notebook is notable for having cutting-edge 11th Gen Intel Core processors with Iris Xe graphics. Of course, that is hardly the only exciting thing here — it also features speedy PCIe 4.0 NVMe storage, Thunderbolt 4, and Wi-Fi 6. Not to mention, it uses System76′s Open Firmware with coreboot.

      • System76 Brings Back the Darter Pro Linux Laptop with Longer Battery Life, Tiger Lake CPUs

        The Darter Pro is one of System76′s most versatile all-around Linux laptops and the 2021 refresh is here with 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 and i7-1165G7 CPUs with 4 cores / 8 threads and integrated Iris Xe graphics, up to 64GB dual-channel DDR4 3200MHz RAM, and up to 4TB M.2 SSD storage.

        Best of all, the new Darter Pro comes with System76’s Coreboot-based Open Firmware and Open Source Embedded Controller Firmware to give customers full control over the hardware, and also make the Linux laptop faster and more secure.

    • Server

      • How a Linux migration led to the creation of Amazon Web Services

        Dan Rose, chairman of Coatue Ventures and Coatue Growth, posted a thread on Twitter the other day, 280 characters or less at a time, in which he chronicled how it came about that AWS infrastructure is built on Linux.

        Rose was at Amazon from 1999 to 2006, where he managed retail divisions and helped incubate the Kindle reader before moving to Facebook. So he was at Amazon in 2000 when the internet bubble popped,and one high-flying dot-com after another was shriveling up and dying, having burned through ridiculous amounts of capital on luxurious offices while often having nothing by way of a product to show for it.

        Rose said Amazon’s biggest expense was the data center outfitted with expensive Sun servers. Amazon’s motto was “get big fast,” and site stability was critical. Every second of downtime meant lost sales, and Sun was the gold standard for internet servers back then. I can recall them having a significant software business led by a VP named Eric Schmidt.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Ubuntu Linux is now running on M1 Macs | Ars Technica

        We still have a way to go before easily dual-booting Linux and macOS.

      • Finally! Linux Runs Gracefully On Apple M1 Chip

        Apple’s M1 chip is continuously in the buzz because of its impressive capability of monstrous performance on their own ARM-based MacBook and Mac Mini.

        And, for that reason, many Linux users want to get their hands on them. But without proper Linux support, it would be a nightmare.

        While Linus Torvalds didn’t have high hopes for this to happen, it looks like Corellium – a company who specializes with ARM device virtualization has finally made it possible.

        In a tweet by Chris Wade (CTO of Corellium), he mentions that Linux is completely usable on a Mac Mini M1. Before you blindly grab a device with Apple Silicon, let me tell you more about it.

      • How We Ported Linux to the M1

        When Apple released their desktop products with the M1 processor in November 2020, quite a few people in the tech community were surprised by the excellent performance of these systems. But those who have been following the development of Apple phone chipsets closely knew that the evolutionary path Apple followed would result in a powerful 64-bit ARM processor.

        At Corellium, we’ve been tracking the Apple mobile ecosystem since iPhone 6, released in 2014 with two 64-bit cores. Since then, Apple has been focusing their energy on building faster chips, preferring to improve single-threaded performance over throwing more cores on the chip. This approach was enabled by their in-house hardware design team, and resulted in unique parts with a broad feature set, leading the industry in terms of architectural features.

        It also made Apple silicon rather distinct from all other 64-bit ARM hardware in terms of both CPU core and peripherals. Our Corellium virtualization platform has been providing security researchers with unparalleled insight into how operating systems and programs work on Apple ARM processors. But in the process of developing our virtualization system, we also gain knowledge about the hardware we are modeling, and this knowledge can be best refined by testing it against real hardware – which we have only been able to do with the emergence of checkm8, an exploit that let us load programs onto Apple smartphones. This led directly to the Sandcastle project, where we built a kernel port to the A10 processor in early 2020.

      • Apple M1 Macs can now run Ubuntu Linux thanks to Corellium

        The sheer impressive power of the Apple Silicon M1 processor has made developers, hackers, and tinkerers daydream about possible use cases beyond what Apple intended or would even allow. Some have already gotten Windows to run on it, in a virtualized environment fashion, of course. Now a few security researchers have also figured out how to run Linux directly on the hardware, albeit with a few catches that could still make it not that useful for a daily driver for Linux users.

      • Corellium ports Linux to Apple M1 Mac mini

        I was sure that Linux would eventually run on Apple’s ARM-based M1 CPU. After all, Linux has been ported to essentially every processor on the planet. Even without Apple’s co-operation, it would only be a matter of time. I’d assumed it would take a year or so. I was wrong. Correllium, a company specializing in ARM virtualization and developer tools, has successfully ported Linux to Apple’s new M1-powered Mac mini.

        [...]

        For now, only people who really know Linux should be trying this out. Wade said that binary files and a how-to document are being worked on. For the moment, you must still compile the linux-M1 code yourself.

        That done, you can boot your M1 Mac mini from a USB stick into a full Ubuntu Linux desktop. For networking, you’ll also need a USB-C dongle. More work is being done, even as I write this, to include better USB and I2C serial communications protocol.

        Behind the scenes, the M1 Linux port is based on work done in Corelliums’ Project Sandcastle. This was a project to get Android and Linux running on iPhones.

        In short, although the M1 is a new chip, with its work on iPhone chipsets Corellium was already digging the foundations for Linux on M1. That’s because “many of the devices on the SoC [System on a Chip] didn’t change from the programmers’ perspective.”

      • Linux has been ported to run on Apple’s M1 Macs

        A new Linux port allows Apple’s M1 Macs to run Ubuntu for the first time. Corellium, a security firm that offers a virtualized version of iOS for security testing, has successfully ported Ubuntu over to M1 Macs and released a tutorial for others to follow. The modified version of Ubuntu boots into the regular user interface and includes USB support.

        The team at Corellium have detailed exactly how they managed to get Ubuntu running, and it’s a good in-depth read if you’re interested in the details. While a number of M1 components are shared with Apple’s mobile chips, the non-standard chips made it challenging to create Linux drivers to get Ubuntu running properly.

      • You can now run Linux on Apple M1 devices

        Developers from security startup Corellium have revealed they managed to get Linux running on Apple’s Arm-based M1 devices natively.

        While Linux, and even Windows, were already usable on Apple Silicon thanks to virtualization, this is the first instance of a non-macOS operating system running natively on the hardware.

        “Linux is now completely usable on the Mac mini M1. Booting from USB a full Ubuntu desktop (rpi),” wrote Corellium’s CTO Chris Wade on Twitter while sharing pictures of Ubuntu’s Raspberry Pi ARMv8 desktop image booting on Apple M1 hardware.

      • ‘Completely Usable’ M1 Mac Version of Ubuntu Linux Now Available

        ARM software virtualization company Corellium has released a “completely usable” version of Ubuntu Linux that runs on M1 Macs. Corellium CTO Chris Wade announced the release early this morning.

        Security researchers at the company have developed a port that has been released on GitHub with an installation tutorial is said to be coming later today.

      • Ubuntu has been ported to Mac M1 devices

        Many Mac users utilize a dual-boot setup with their devices. However, that hasn’t been possible for the Mac M1, at least until now. A (very) barebones version of Ubuntu can now dual-boot on M1-powered Macs, though most will want to hold off on installing it for now.

      • M1 Macs can now run full version of Linux thanks to new Corellium port

        Since the new M1 Macs were announced, developers have been working to run different operating systems on the Apple Silicon platform, including Windows and Linux. Now, thanks to Corellium, it’s possible to run Ubuntu — a popular Linux distro — on new Macs with M1 chip.

        The announcement was made on Twitter by Corellium’s CTO Chris Wade. Corellium offers solutions for virtualization of ARM devices and platforms, and it was recently involved in a lawsuit with Apple regarding a tool that lets users virtualize iOS.

      • Restricted DMA

        A key component of system hardening is restricting access to memory; this extends to preventing the kernel itself from accessing or modifying much of the memory in the system most of the time. Memory that cannot be accessed cannot be read or changed by an attacker. On many systems, though, these restrictions do not apply to peripheral devices, which can happily use direct memory access (DMA) on most or all of the available memory. The recently posted restricted DMA patch set aims to reduce exposure to buggy or malicious device activity by tightening up control over the memory that DMA operations are allowed to access.
        DMA allows devices to directly read from or write to memory in the system; it is needed to get reasonable I/O performance from anything but the slowest devices. Normally, the kernel is in charge of DMA operations; device drivers allocate buffers and instruct devices to perform I/O on those buffers, and everything works as expected. If the driver or the hardware contains bugs, though, the potential exists for DMA transfers to overwrite unrelated memory, leading to corrupted systems and unhappy users. Malicious (or compromised) hardware can use DMA to compromise the system the hardware is attached to, making users unhappier still; examples of this type of attack have been posted over the years.

        One way to address this problem is to place an I/O memory-management unit (IOMMU) between devices and memory. The kernel programs the IOMMU to allow access to a specific region of memory; the IOMMU then keeps devices from straying outside of that region. Not all systems are equipped with an IOMMU, though; they are mostly limited to the larger processors found in desktop machines, data centers, and the like. Mobile systems usually lack an IOMMU.

      • A Fix Has Been Proposed For The Slower AMD Performance On Linux 5.11

        With the in-development Linux 5.11 kernel there are many great features and improvements especially for AMD users with some new drivers and other pleasant enhancements. But as I outlined back on Christmas day: Linux 5.11 Is Regressing Hard For AMD Performance With Schedutil. Fortunately, a fix is now en route to the Linux 5.11 kernel for fixing that performance regression affecting AMD Zen 2/3 desktops and servers.

        As outlined in that original article after bisecting the sizable performance regressions and in follow-up tests, AMD hardware performing slower on Linux 5.11 came down to the CPU frequency invariance support introduced this cycle and is utilized by the “Schedutil” CPU frequency scaling governor. With Schedutil often being the default for AMD systems on newer versions of the Linux kernel, this regression on Linux 5.11 compared to prior kernel releases has been unfortunate.

      • Linux 5.11 Is Now Looking Great For AMD Zen 2 / Zen 3 Performance – Phoronix

        Not only is the AMD “CPU frequency invariance regression” from that new support with the in-development Linux 5.11 kernel on course to address the performance shortcomings I outlined last month, but with the patched kernel for a number of workloads the performance is now ahead of where it was at with Linux 5.10.

    • Applications

      • VLC Media Player 3.0.12 fixes multiple remote code execution flaws

        VideoLan released VLC Media Player 3.0.12 for Windows, Mac, and Linux last week with numerous improvements, features, and security fixes.

        This release is a significant upgrade for Mac users as it provides native support for Apple Silicon and fixes audio distortion in macOS.

      • VLC Media Player get major update for M1 Macs – and beyond

        VLC, the extremely popular cross-platform media player software, just got a big update which brings native support to Apple’s M1 Macs.

        The free open-source media player now features an updated 3.0.12 Mac app update specifically for macOS Big Sur and any Apple Silicon-supported devices.

      • Ventoy 1.0.33

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

      • 8 Best Free and Open Source Linux Point-of-Sale Software

        Point-of sale (POS) is the location where a transaction takes place. It also refers to the immediate capture of transactions and customer payment information when goods and services are purchased. This data can be obtained using many different devices such as a computer, cash register, barcode scanner, PIN pads, and magnetic card readers.

        There are many different reasons why a POS system is indispensable for retail businesses. It helps the retail establishment manage and automate inventory functions, record sales transactions, handle and track special offers (such as discounts, coupons, and special promotions), and improve the efficiency of staff by allowing them to spend more time interacting with customers. The system also provides accurate and relevant reports, tracks volume and performance, uses customer data to help the organisation generate more business, allows a proprietor of the retail establishment to maintain control in absentia, and much more.

      • New Release: Tor Browser 10.5a7

        Tor Browser 10.5a7 is now available from the Tor Browser Alpha download page and also from our distribution directory.

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

      • The 5 Best Adobe Illustrator Alternatives for Linux

        With a wide variety of editing tools and features, Inkscape stands out to be a great open-source vector graphics software for Linux. The user interface of the application is clean and straightforward. You will not face any issues while navigating and searching for tools.

        Inkscape provides support for a number of file extensions—SVG, PNG, OpenDocument Drawings, DXF, sk1, PDF, EPS, and PostScripts. It also allows you to easily import designs created with other software. For customizing the interface, you can also install add-ons to Inkscape.

        Starting with the canvas dimensions is easy. Inkscape offers you many templates to choose from and you can set up your working area with just one click. You can also implement the power of layering in your projects with Inkscape.

        Pencil and pen tools, calligraphy brushes, shape tools, color selector, gradient fill, etc., are some of the tools that you can use on Inkscape.

      • What is Your Choice After Switching from WhatsApp?

        The year 2021 starts with a big moment of #DeleteWhatsApp. It is when millions of people leave this proprietary software and look for better alternatives. At January 20th, I made a poll in Mastodon titled What is your choice after switching from WhatsApp? which I never thought would attract so many people. I put three choices in that poll Telegram – Signal – Element and people responded with some other alternatives such as XMPP – Threema – Jami and more. Now I present you this article as an introduction to alternative messengers mentioned in the discussion with short explanations so you can try them or refer to good sources. Enjoy sharing once again!

        [..]

        Jami is the new challenger to all, that is, a modern messenger without server. You can try it instantly without phone number, and your account is stored in your device not in a company’s server, and it can work within local area network (see, it’s really unique, right?). It is under High Priority Projects of Free Software Foundation, an official part of GNU Project, and also already a built-in part of the fully free distro Trisquel 9. I already reviewed it (see here) and showed you it’s voice-video calls are functional. Download Jami at jami.net.

        [...]

        Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol or XMPP (also known as Jabber) is a long standing standard of internet direct communication. It is among the pioneer of our modern federation and decentralization. It existed long before Matrix, loved by many, and you can see in the Mastodon discussion most people who didn’t choose presented choices chose XMPP. To communicate over XMPP, you choose an application, with choices mentioned above. For now, thanks to friend @LPS’s suggestion, I can say Blabber is good as it supports mainstream features like groups and video calls.

      • Tribler

        There is a new application available for Sparkers: Tribler

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • What Are Bash Variables and How Can You Use Them? – Make Tech Easier

        Bash allows you to map whole strings of text to single variables, simplifying its use and script writing. How do they work, and how can you use them? Let’s find out. What’s a Variable? Variables are easy-to-remember names that can contain different alphanumeric values. They’re useful because they allow the same function to be applied on different values, without having to rewrite a script/piece of code. They also make writing the script/piece of code easy, since instead of dealing with individual values, you can use the same name for all of them.

      • Virtualbox Error – Failed to load ring-0 module VBoxEhciR0.r0 – OSTechNix

        This brief guide explains how to fix “Failed to load ring-0 module VBoxEhciR0.r0 for device usb-ehci” in Virtualbox 6.1 in Linux.

      • Advanced Git Tutorial

        This article is in continuation to my existing article Getting started with GIT on Linux. If you are new to Git, I would recommend you to first go through my previous article and then continue with this.

        In this article, we will cover creating a branch, tag, renaming the branch and revert the commits on Git.

      • Docker Essentials (Part 1) – Introduction
      • Docker Essentials (Part 2) – What is Docker?
      • Docker Essentials (Part 3) – Installing Docker on Windows 10, macOS, and Ubuntu
      • Docker Essentials (Part 4) – Running Containers
      • Docker Essentials (Part 5) – Making Containers Persist
      • Docker Essentials (Part 6) – Accessing Containerized Apps
      • Docker Essentials (Part 7) – Creating Images
      • How to install WeChat on Manjaro 21
      • How To Install KeePass Password Manager on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install KeePass Password Manager on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, KeePassX offers a little utility intended for secure password generation. The username and password generator is very customizable, quick, and easy to work with. Especially an individual who generates passwords frequently can appreciate this feature. The full database is always encrypted either using AES or Twofish encryption criteria using a 256-bit key. For that reason, the saved information can get considered quite safe. KeePassX makes use of a database format that is definitely appropriate for KeePass Password Safe. This kind of makes the application of that application perhaps more favorable.

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

      • Install Blender 2.91.2 In Ubuntu / Linux Mint | Tips On UNIX

        Blender is an open-source 3D creation suite and completely free for use. It is a public project and made by hundreds of people.

        Blender Supports Animation, 3D modeling, Sculpting, camera tracking, video editing, rendering, composting, and much more.

        It is a cross-platform software and supports Windows, Linux, and macOS.

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install blender 2.91.2 in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, Ubuntu 18.04, and Linux Mint 20.1.

      • How to check for and stop DDoS attacks on Linux – TechRepublic

        Jack Wallen walks you through some of the steps you can take to check for and mitigate distributed denial of service attacks on a Linux server.

      • How To Plot Unix Directory Structure Using Python Graphviz

        Graphviz is great library for visualizing connections between any network. In this notebook, I will show you how to plot Unix directory structure using Graphviz. There is a Python package python-graphviz which I will use to plot using Python.

      • How Do I Change UEFI Settings? – Linux Hint

        When you are using Linux, of any distribution, you sometimes need to look at settings for the UEFI. The reasons vary; you may have a dual-boot system and cannot find the other boot option, maybe you want to have it boot securely, or, in some cases, you want to turn secure boot off so you can boot anything.

      • How to Deploy GraphQL Application Using Node.js on EC2 Server – Linux Hint

        GraphQL, also known as Graph Query Language, established and maintained by Facebook, is a query language used for APIs. It is built using JavaScript, Scala, Java, and Ruby programming languages. Its basic purpose is to ask for the data from server to client.GraphQL aggregates the data from different sources. Aggregation is the process of filtering data on the server side and then sending the filtered data to the client. Without aggregation, we send all the data to the client, and then the data is filtered at the client-side. This makes the system slow, and we can improve the efficiency of an API by using GraphQL. Here we will learn to deploy a simple GraphQL application using node.js on an EC2 server.

      • How to Install OpenJDK on Fedora Linux – Linux Hint

        Java is a general-purpose programming language offering reliability, security, and compatibility. Java is everywhere – mobile apps, desktop programs, web applications, and enterprise systems.

        To build Java apps, developers need the JDK (Java Development Kit) that comes with all the essential tools. In this guide, check out how to install OpenJDK on Fedora Linux.

      • Ultimate Guide to Install Flask on Ubuntu

        Flask is an open-source and free micro web-based python framework, designed to help programmers for building scalable, secure, and easily maintainable web applications. If you are a beginner, then, it’s quite easy and simple to start. We will tell you in this article how to install the python framework Flask on Ubuntu 20.04 system. The commands we have implemented can also run on Debian and old Ubuntu distributions.

      • How to Install Linux Apps Using the Snap Store – Linux Hint

        Snap store is a desktop application used to find, install, and manage apps(also known as snaps) on Linux platforms. It shows all of the featured and famous applications with a thorough description, reviews, screenshots, and ratings. You can easily search for a specific application then download it on your system. Snap store always keeps users’ data secure and safe so that no one can access the data without your permission.
        Snap store is a similar platform to Google app store as a user can download any Linux supported application easily from it. It is good to use the Snap store in your system to cover complete details on how to install Linux apps using the Snap store in this article. Snap store installation is almost the same for every Linux distro; read the article below to install snap store and download applications completely.

      • How to Install SysStat to Enable System Monitoring on Debian 10? – Linux Hint

        SysStat is a very useful utility for Linux based systems that are used for effectively monitoring your system. With system monitoring, you can easily figure out all the potential issues in your system, and hence, you can keenly observe the activities going on in your system. In this article, we are going to explain to you the procedure of installing SysStat to enable system monitoring on Debian 10.

      • How to Setup vsftpd FTP Server on Debian 10? – Linux Hint

        Vsftpd (Very Secure FTP Daemon), licensed under GNU General Public License, is an FTP protocol used to transfer files to and from a remote network. It is a secure, stable, and fast FTP server that is supported on Linux/UNIX operating systems. In this post, we will learn how to set up a vsftpd FTP server on the Debian system.

      • Tweaks for OpenEmbedded Dunfell

        I am currently working on changes to my fork of OE, Dunfell release. Working through a to-do list, here is progress so far…

        When I compiled LibreOffice recently on the Pi4, was unable to use the ‘boost’, ‘harfbuzz’ and ‘neon’ system packages, had to use internal versions. This is duplication, means that the final LibreOffice binary package will be bigger that is could be.

      • Installing Steam on Fedora Linux – Linux Hint

        Vsftpd (Very Secure FTP Daemon) is a secure, stable, and fast FTP protocol used to transfer files to and from a remote network. In this article, we’ll discuss how to setup vsftpd FTP server on Debian 10 machine to easily access and upload/download files to and from your FTP server.

      • BRL‑CAD : Open-Source Solid Modeling CAD Software

        Are you looking for open-source solid modeling software for your Linux PC? We recommend you try BRL-CAD. FOSS Linux brings you a detailed guide on its set up and usage.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 6.0 now available to download

        The development team responsible for creating Wine, the compatibility layer capable of running Windows applications on several POSIX-compliant operating systems, such as Linux, macOS, Android and BSD. Has today announced the release of version 6.0.

        “Instead of simulating internal Windows logic like a virtual machine or emulator, Wine translates Windows API calls into POSIX calls on-the-fly, eliminating the performance and memory penalties of other methods and allowing you to cleanly integrate Windows applications into your desktop. This release represents a year of development effort and over 8,300 individual changes. It contains a large number of improvements that are listed in the release notes below.”

    • Games

      • Godot Engine – Announcing the new community map for user groups

        Starting from today, there is a new User groups page on the Godot Engine website! This page replaces the old User groups page by featuring a community map that can be freely navigated and contributed to.

        [...]

        For the curious, the map is powered by the open source Leaflet.js library and uses the Mapbox Static Tiles API. You can view the implementation in this pull request.

      • Space Otter Charlie looks like a truly charming upcoming Zero-G puzzle platformer | GamingOnLinux

        Space Otter Charlie is a Zero-G platformer puzzler with cute characters and visuals, odd weapons and it looks thoroughly charming. It’s due out later in this year.

        Currently in development by Wayward Distractions, a group of game development veterans from the likes of PopCap Studios who you might know from titles like Bejeweled and Plants vs Zombies. They’ve teamed up with The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild for publishing now too.

        “With humanity gone, it’s up to the otters to save animal-kind from an inhospitable Earth. Join Charlie and his ragtag crew of critters on a daring mission through Otter Space as they search for a new planet to call home. Explore derelict space stations, battle unhinged robots, and enjoy some otterly terrific puns as you jump, float, and fly through over a dozen levels of furry fun.”

      • Kathy Rain: Director’s Cut announced and will support Linux | GamingOnLinux

        Kathy Rain: Director’s Cut is the upcoming expanded and improved enhancement over the original that launched in 2016 and the developer has confirmed Linux support too.

        “Set in the 90′s, Kathy Rain tells the story of a strong-willed journalism major who must come to terms with her troubled past as she investigates the mysterious death of her recently departed grandfather. Armed with her motorcycle, a pack of cigs, and a notepad, Kathy delves into a local mystery surrounding her hometown that will take her on a harrowing journey of emotional and personal turmoil.”

      • Stadia has games free to try this weekend for Stadia Pro, ‘Project Hailstorm’ is teased | GamingOnLinux

        More new games, free games to try out on Stadia Pro from now until the end of the weekend and some super secret projects currently in the works for Stadia.

        Let’s get the facts out of the way first shall we? Games and more of them. Available now are HITMAN 3 with the brand new Stadia State Share feature, and also Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – Complete Edition. Interestingly, if you have Stadia Pro you can also still claim HITMAN and HITMAN 2 which have both been given this State Share feature on Stadia now too.

      • Jumpala is an intense score-fighting highly competitive action-platformer out now | GamingOnLinux

        Jump across platforms to turn them your colour, use abilities to mess with your opponents and try to keep platforms your colour as they fall off the screen to score – Jumpala is a lot of fun.

        Developed by Yokereba Games, this is a “first-class” Linux game developed by a long time Linux user who mentioned how they “consider it a Linux-first game since most of my testing was done on my main machine”.

      • Team17 have acquired the full rights to Golf With Your Friends

        Seems January is the time for acquisitions! Following the news recently of YoYo Games (GameMaker Studio) being acquired by Opera, we now have Team17 buying the full rights to Golf With Your Friends (“GWYF”). This was made public today, January 21, in Team17′s latest investor announcement.

        Golf With Your Friends is a fun take on Miniature / Crazy Golf that can be played in solo, local multiplayer or online with a bunch of others. Released out of Early Access in May 2020. Team17 were the publisher with Blacklight Interactive developing it at the time. Now though, as per the financial statement, Team17 now control “all rights and assets for GWYF” and it mentions plans to extend the game including with DLC and mentions potential sequels. The game rights were purchased for £12 million and will be paid entirely in cash with £9m right away and another £3m within 12 months.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.21 Desktop Enters Beta, Here’s How to Test It Right Now

          Packed with numerous new features and improvements, the KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment promises a brand-new application launcher, a new dark theme for the Plasma desktop and a light theme for applications, a refreshed color scheme for all default KDE apps, as well as the highly-anticipated Plasma System Monitor app.

          Of course, there will also be a lot of KWin and Wayland improvements that should reduce latency and smooth animations throughout the entire desktop environment, better compatibility with GTK applications, especially with apps written in GTK 4.

        • KDE Plasma 5.21 BETA Released. Download and Test Now.

          The KDE team announced the release of KDE Plasma 5.21 BETA and it is available for download and test. KDE Plasma 5.21 brings many new features such as a new kickoff menu, low-latency compositing, Wayland updates, new apps, and more. Here’s what’s new and how to download & test.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • In a Move to Retain Small-Scale CentOS Users, Red Hat Allows Free RHEL Download [With Ifs and Buts]

          You are probably aware of the way Red Hat decided to discontinue CentOS 8 and replace it with rolling release CentOS.

          This created a sort of rebellion among the CentOS users who rightly saw it as betrayal and a ‘dick move’ by Red Hat to force them to buy RHEL license.

          [...]

          Red Hat sensed that people were worried about having to pay for Red Hat license or migrate their servers to some other distributions.

          And hence they come up with the plan to allow them to use RHEL for free, as long as they don’t have more than 16 servers. The plan should be available before 1st February 2021.

          Keep in mind that the ‘no-cost RHEL’ programs comes without Red Hat support (for technical issues). You can use Red Hat, that’s it. If you want support, you’ll have to upgrade (pay money).

          [...]

          It portrays that RHEL is the ideal choice for production workload. For CentOS Stream, it says no such thing despite their developers claiming on social media that CentOS Stream is not a beta product, not rolling release and stable enough to run production servers.

          Somehow that confidence in CentOS Stream evaporated in the official announcement? Or perhaps the real reason is to pitch Red Hat as their recommendation for production servers. You decide.

          The olive branch offered by Red Hat may make some small-scale users happy. It doesn’t wash off the corporate greed painted all over them. What do you think?

        • A possible step toward integrity measurement for Fedora

          The Fedora 34 release is planned for April 20 — a plan that may well come to fruition, given that the Fedora project appears to have abandoned its tradition of delayed releases. As part of that schedule, any proposals for system-wide changes were supposed to be posted by December 29. That has not stopped the arrival of a late proposal to add file signatures to Fedora’s RPM packages, though. This proposal, meant to support the use of the integrity measurement architecture (IMA) in Fedora, has not been met with universal acclaim.
          The purpose of IMA is to measure whether the integrity of the system is intact, where “integrity” means that the important files in the system have not been corrupted. At its core, this measurement is carried out by reading a file’s contents, computing a hash, and comparing that hash to the expected value; if the values match, the file has not been altered. This measurement can be used to prevent the execution (or reading) of corrupted files; it can also be used as part of a remote attestation scheme to convince a remote party that the local system has not been subjected to unauthorized modifications.

          To perform this measurement, IMA clearly must know what the expected hash for each file is; those hashes are signed with a key trusted by the kernel and stored as extended attributes. Generally, the private key used to sign these hashes is kept in some secure location, while the public key is either stored in a device like a trusted platform module (TPM) or built into the kernel binary. If all works as intended, IMA can thus be used to ensure that systems only run executables that have been blessed by some central authority, that those executables only read configuration files that have been similarly blessed, and so on. It is a mechanism for ensuring that the owner of a system keeps control of it; whether this is a good thing or not depends entirely on who the “owner” is defined to be.

          The actual proposal does not go so far as to implement IMA on Fedora systems; it is limited to including signatures with every file that is shipped in Fedora packages. These signatures “will be made with a key that’s kept by the Fedora Infrastructure team, and installed on the sign vaults”. Fedora users would then be able to use IMA to keep their systems from using files that have been modified since they were packaged. An actual IMA setup for Fedora can be expected to come at some future time.

        • Fedora Loves Python 2020 report – Fedora Community Blog

          Inspired by a similar report from the Copr team, I’ve decided to look back at 2020 from the perspective of Python in Fedora (and little bit in RHEL/CentOS+EPEL as well). Here are the things we have done in Fedora (and EL) in 2020. By we I usually mean the Python Maint team at Red Hat and/or the Fedora’s Python SIG.

        • Introducing the Red Hat build of Eclipse Vert.x 4.0 – Red Hat Developer

          If you are interested in reactive, non-blocking, and asynchronous Java development, you are likely familiar with Eclipse Vert.x. The project started in 2011 and successfully moved to the Eclipse Foundation in 2013. Since then, Vert.x has undergone nine years of rigorous development and grown into a thriving community. It is one of the most widely used reactive frameworks, with support for multiple extensions, including extensions for messaging or streaming with Kafka or Artemis, developing applications with gRPC and GraphQL, and so much more.

          The Red Hat build of Eclipse Vert.x 4.0 is now generally available. This release improves Vert.x’s core APIs and handling. Developers who migrate can expect enhancements to futures and promises, distributed tracing, and deployment on Red Hat OpenShift. In this article, I introduce these updates and offer tips for migrating and deploying your Eclipse Vert.x 4.0 applications on OpenShift.

        • Implementing the ACSC “Essential Eight” baseline for security automation in Red Hat Enterprise Linux

          Achieving compliance with a security policy and maintaining compliance can be tedious. At Red Hat, we believe that such things should be automated and not become an unnecessary burden. To this end, we offer a whole ecosystem of services that automate security compliance.

          We ship several widely used security policies with our products. Today, we will go over the “Essential Eight” baseline in a bit more detail.

          The “Essential Eight” is a set of mitigation strategies created by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), part of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) that leads the Australian Government’s efforts to improve cybersecurity.

        • Painless services: implementing serverless with rootless Podman and systemd

          Serverless is an event-driven computing paradigm where applications are allocated dynamically to serve a request or consume events. When the application is not in use, there are no computing resources allocated.

          The serverless ecosystem offers a large number of runtimes, which start/stop/monitor software (e.g., Knative, Kubeless and many others). They come with different features, and they can trigger applications based on different kind of events (e.g., HTTP requests, messages, etc.).

          Even if systemd cannot be considered a real serverless runtime, the socket activation feature provides a foundation for a serverless architecture.

        • Convert your Windows install into a VM on Linux | Opensource.com

          I use VirtualBox frequently to create virtual machines for testing new versions of Fedora, new application programs, and lots of administrative tools like Ansible. I have even used VirtualBox to test the creation of a Windows guest host.

          Never have I ever used Windows as my primary operating system on any of my personal computers or even in a VM to perform some obscure task that cannot be done with Linux. I do, however, volunteer for an organization that uses one financial program that requires Windows. This program runs on the office manager’s computer on Windows 10 Pro, which came preinstalled.

          This financial application is not special, and a better Linux program could easily replace it, but I’ve found that many accountants and treasurers are extremely reluctant to make changes, so I’ve not yet been able to convince those in our organization to migrate.

        • Red Hat’s StackRox Acquisition Bolsters Its Hybrid Multi-Cloud Strategy

          The startup has container security capabilities that are missing in Red Hat’s OpenShift Kubernetes platform.

          [...]

          “We are working on looking at a few things, and that will have to be run through them because they’re the bank now,” he said. “They’re a partner, but they’re also our shareholders.”

          It’s doubtful that Red Hat would have to go to the IBM bank to finance this purchase. Although no details of the deal were made public, most media reports are putting the price tag at just north of $100 million, far less than the $250 million it paid for CoreOS in 2018.

          As to be expected from Red Hat, which has traditionally insisted that all of its software be open source, Red Hat plans to open source StackRox’s proprietary software after the acquisition closes sometime in the first quarter of 2021. Red Hat said it will continue to support the existing KubeLinter open source community, as well as the new communities that form around StackRox’s other offerings as soon as they are open sourced.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo) Will Ship with GNOME 3.38 Desktop Instead of GNOME 40

          The upcoming Ubuntu 21.04 “Hirsute Hippo” release, which is due in April 2021, will stick to the GNOME 3.38 desktop environment series and the GTK 3 toolkit already used in the current release, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa).

          Since GNOME is the default desktop environment of Ubuntu, each new Ubuntu release is following the six-month-long release cycle of the upstream GNOME Stack, so Ubuntu 21.04 was supposed to ship with the forthcoming GNOME 40 desktop by default, due for release at the end of March 2021.

        • Ubuntu 21.04 To Stick With GNOME 3.38 Desktop

          While Ubuntu normally ships with the latest GNOME desktop as of release time, April’s release of Ubuntu 21.04 will not be shipping with GNOME 40 but sticking to GNOME 3.38.

          While GNOME 40 should be out in March like usual and normally the latest GNOME updates are pulled timely into the Ubuntu desktop, given all the changes with GNOME 40 and GTK 4.0, they will be holding off one cycle. Thus Ubuntu 21.04 will remain on GNOME 3.38 with GTK3 and then Ubuntu 21.10 in the autumn is when they will move to the latest GNOME stack.

          This decision was made given the GNOME Shell design changes with GNOME 40, concerns over the stability of GTK 4.0 right now, and how well Ubuntu’s Yaru theme might be for GNOME 40 in time for 21.04.

        • Welp, Ubuntu 21.04 Won’t Ship with GNOME 40 or GTK4

          Ubuntu devs cite the redesign of GNOME Shell in GNOME 40 and its potential impact on GNOME extensions (of which Ubuntu ships a few by default) and the Yaru GTK theme as reason to “stick” to GNOME 3.38 this cycle.

          GTK4 also won’t feature in Ubuntu 21.04. But with upstream GNOME having not fully transitioned every nut and bolt of its stack to GTK4 this decision is less of a shock.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • How Nextcloud is the ultimate open source productivity suite

        In prior years, this annual series covered individual apps. This year, we are looking at all-in-one solutions in addition to strategies to help in 2021. Welcome to day 11 of 21 Days of Productivity in 2021.

        Web-based services allow for access to your data almost anywhere and they support millions of users hourly. For some of us, though, running our own service is preferable to using a big company’s service for various reasons. Maybe we work on things that are subject to regulation or have explicit security requirements. Perhaps we have privacy concerns, or just like being able to build, run, and fix things ourselves. Whatever the case may be, Nextcloud can provide most of the services you need, but on your own hardware.

      • MuseScore Created New Font in Memory of Original SCORE Program Creator

        MuseScore represents a free notation software for operating systems such as Windows, macOS and Linux. It is designed and suitable for music teachers, students & both amateur and professional composers. MuseScore is released as FOSS under the GNU GPL license and it’s accompanied by freemium MuseScore.com sheet music catalogue with mobile score viewer, playback app and an online score sharing platform. In 2018, the MuseScore company was acquired by Ultimate Guitar, which included full-time paid developers in the open source team. Since 2019 the MuseScore design team has been led by Martin Keary, known as blogger Tantacrul, who has consistently criticized composer software in connection with design and usability. From that moment on, a qualitative change was set in motion in MuseScore.

        Historically, the engraving quality in MuseScore has not been entirely satisfactory. After the review by Martin Keary, MuseScore product owner (previously known as MuseScore head of design) and Simon Smith, an engraving expert, who has produced multiple detailed reports on the engraving quality of MuseScore 3.5, it has become apparent that some key engraving issues should be resolved immediately.That would have a significant impact on the overall quality of our scores. Therefore, these changes will considerably improve the quality of scores published in the sheet music catalog, MuseScore.com.

      • Open source means surrendering your monopoly over commercial exploitation

        There are ways that you can influence how others use your FOSS software, mainly having to do with making sure that everyone else keeps this same promise. You cannot stop someone from making money from your software, but you can obligate them to share their improvements with everyone else, which you can incorporate back into the original product to make it more compelling for everyone. The GPL family of licenses is designed for this purpose.1

        Furthermore, if your business is a consumer of free and open source software, rather than a producer, you need to be aware that you may be subject to those obligations. It’s not a free lunch: you may be required to return your improvements to the community. FOSS licenses are important, and you should make it your business to understand them, both as a user, contributor, and author of free and open source software.

        FOSS is eating the world, and it’s a very attractive choice for businesses for a good reason. This is the reason. It increases wealth for everyone. Capitalism concerns itself with making monopolies — FOSS instead concerns itself with the socialized creation of software wealth.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Google forcing users to Chrome after appearance of Edge

            ANALYSIS Google’s recent move to limit the use of its APIs in Chrome, such as Chrome sync and Click to Call, appears to be driven by the launch of Microsoft’s Edge browser based on the open-source version of Chrome, known as Chromium.

          • Chrome 88 makes it easier to manage and change passwords

            Google has released another Chrome update for Windows, Mac and Linux, adding some personal security features that should keep users a little safer online. If you use Chrome’s built-in password manager — which isn’t our recommendation, but it’s better than using the same password everywhere — you’ll now have some extra options. You can check if you have any weak passwords, for instance, by selecting your profile picture in the browser, followed by the key icon.

          • IPFS Support in Brave

            IPFS support allows Brave desktop users to download content by using a content hash, known as the Content identifier (CID). Unlike HTTP(S), there is no specified location for the content.

            Each node in the IPFS network is a potential host for the content being requested, and if a node doesn’t have the content being requested, the node can retrieve the content from the swarm of peers. The retrieved content is verified locally, removing the need to trust a third party’s integrity.

            HTTP(S) uses Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) to specify the location of content. This system can be easily censored since the content is hosted in specific locations on behalf of a single entity and it is susceptible to Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS). IPFS identifies its content by content paths and/or CIDs inside of Uniform Resource Identifier (URIs) but not URLs.

          • Brave First Browser to Include IPFS Protocol

            The more we spend our lives hooked up to the Internet in one way or another, the more we are demanding that the experience be more secure. The Brave browser is handling it in an entirely different way — while still promising privacy, it’s also introducing IPFS, a way for Web content to be more centralized than the traditional HTTP. Brave and IPFS Brave released an update to its browser that includes the IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) protocol.

          • RIP old-school Internet: Chrome 88 lays Flash and FTP to rest

            On the other hand, FTP isn’t dead, but it is now for Chrome users. The File Transport Protocol has helped users send files across the Internet for decades, but in an era of prolific cloud storage services and other sharing methods, its use has waned. Google started slowly disabling FTP support in Chrome 86, per ZDNet, and now you’ll no longer be able to access FTP links in the browser. Look for standalone FTP software instead if you need it, such as FileZilla.

        • Mozilla

          • How to Change Firefox Frame Rate for High Refresh Rate Monitor

            Running Ubuntu with high refresh rate monitor? You may found that the Firefox web browser does not match with your monitor’s native refresh rate.

            This is a simple tip shows how to change the refresh rate of Firefox, though you have to first set the system refresh rate (Settings -> Displays) to match your monitor.

          • Analyzing Bugzilla Testcases with Bugmon

            As a member of Mozilla’s fuzzing team, our job is not only to find bugs, but to do what we can to help get those bugs fixed as quickly as possible.

            [...]

            Fuzzing is, in its most basic form, the process of supplying random bits of data to an application in the hopes of triggering unexpected behavior. In relation to Mozilla and those of us fuzzing Firefox, this random data often comes in the form of JavaScript, HTML, CSS, etc., and the unexpected behavior we’re looking for, often presents itself in the form of application crashes or fatal assertions.

            [...]

            While the information provided by Bugmon is certainly helpful in getting bugs fixed quicker, there are a number of features we’d still like to implement.

            Improvements to the bisection analysis stages may allow us to identify regressions down to a single code change. In these cases, we can automatically update the relevant regression fields which can then be leveraged by other Mozilla bots such as autonag. Additionally, we can automate requests for review by the author of the previously identified code change as they may likely be the best candidate to fix it.

            Finally, one often requested feature is to include support for recording bugs with rr. For those unfamiliar with rr; it is a timeless debugger which allows us to record application failures and replay them deterministically. In combination with pernosco, a web-based rr session browser, we can get these recordings into the hands of developers instantly and without any required setup on their part. Thus, reducing the overhead associated with hard to reproduce or intermittent bugs.

          • Mozilla Addons Blog: Promoted Add-ons Pilot Wrap-up

            A few months ago, we launched a pilot for a new program to help developers promote their extensions on addons.mozilla.org (AMO). The main goal of this program was to increase the number of add-ons that our staff can review and verify as compliant with Mozilla policies and provide developers with options for boosting their discoverability on AMO.

            For the pilot, we tested one iteration of how this type of program might work. Pilot developers would have their add-ons manually reviewed for policy compliance. After successfully passing manual review, the pilot add-ons received a Verified badge on their AMO listing page and in the Firefox Add-ons Manager (about:addons), while we removed the standard warning label about the risks of installing third party software.

          • Mozilla’s Climate Commitments [Ed: Mozilla now resorting to mindless greenwashing as they have no clue how to salvage themselves]

            We can’t save the planet without people, and we understand that the internet is an incredibly powerful tool to help us draw the attention to what needs to happen.

            The first line of order is that Mozilla assumes responsibility for its greenhouse gas emissions: We will reduce our emissions significantly and mitigate what we can’t avoid. We will share what we learn and lead transparently, supporting others on their journeys and continuously exploring ways to increase the resiliency of our communities.

      • CMS

        • People of WordPress: Thelma Mutete – WordPress.org

          From a young age Thelma was encouraged by her father to ‘work hard, and dream big’. In High School, she pursued a career in Computer Science. She said: “I did not know what I would be doing or how I would get there but I just knew that I was going to pursue a career in information technology.”

          She wrote her first line of code at the age of 16 living in Zimbabwe, Africa. This was to mark the beginning of her enthusiasm for computer programming.

          When she joined the school’s computer class, Thelma thought she would learn Excel and Word. Instead, the assignment was to write her first program in C. She said: “It was not easy, but it was very exciting. l remember writing up simple code for a Video Club – a check-in/out for VHS tapes and CDs. Thus began my fascination with computers.”

          Seven years later, she went on to university to study for a Bachelors in Business Management and Information Technology. Her third year internship was at a local web design and hosting company. Though she had hoped her placement would be at a local bank or telecommunications company, the chance to discover website design turned out to be the best thing that could have happened.

          In 2017, Thelma went on to work for a company designing websites using HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript and Joomla. She had heard about WordPress but had not used it. She recalls: “People have this misconception that WordPress is not for real developers and it is not secure and at that time I was one of those people.”

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • No kidding! Elektor adds No-Starch books to product line

            Elektor are now proud to be stocking three No Starch Press Books for your entertainment and enjoyment. Firstly, we have the GNU Make book. With GNU being the most widely used build automation tool, its challenging nature and terse language can be enough to put anyone to task, often leaving unsolved problems behind and thus leaving GNU make’s vast potential untapped. The GNU Make Book demystifies GNU make and shows you how to use its best features and let it reach its full potential. The book not only contains a fast and thorough run down of the basics, but also an insight in to more advanced capabilities — you will be an expert in no time!

          • A Few Of My Favorite Things: Amateur Radio

            You might well agree with the previous paragraph, but SDRs provide me with another of my favourite things about radio, namely that using GNU Radio I now have a general purpose digital signal processing playground.

          • The best free drawing software

            GIMP has existed since 1995 as a free, open-source alternative to Adobe Photoshop. You’ll have everything you need to import vector-based artwork for added realism and effects, plus everything you need to successfully edit your photographs. GIMP comes with all the tools you need to create digital art from scratch. It’s a must-have program if you’re into editing images or creating digital art.

            GIMP comes with two main components. The first is an artboard that functions as your primary interface, plus a second rectangular interface that houses all of your main tools. This tool can float anywhere on your desktop, or you can attach it to your artboard for easy access.

            GIMP allows you to create another “floater” by grouping certain tools like layers, brushes, color channels, paths, and history together. If you’re looking for a simple way to streamline your design process, this is it.

            However, the toolbox is where the real magic happens. Here, you have access to utensils such as paintbrushes and pencils and tools that let you blur, sharpen, smudge, clone, erase, and more. The software also offers a Paths tool if you want to draw lines without installing a supplemental vector-based program.

            If you’re a visual effects virtuoso, you can choose from GIMP’s vast assortment of impressive effects. On a final note, GIMP can support community-created plugins as well.

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Elasticsearch licence changed as owner chases more revenue

            The company behind Elasticsearch has changed its licensing in order to prevent “cloud service providers from offering our products as a service without sharing their modifications and the source code of their service management layers”.

          • A license change for Nmap

            It may be kind of an obvious statement, but licensing terms matter in our communities. Even a misplaced word or three can be fatal for a license, which is part of the motivation for the efforts to reduce license proliferation in free-software projects. Over the last few months, various distribution projects have been discussing changes made to the license for the Nmap network scanner; those changes seemed to be adding restrictions that would make the software non-free, though that was not the intent. But the incident does serve to show the importance of license clarity.

            On October 3, Nmap 7.90 was released; it came with a new license, the Nmap Public Source License (NPSL) version 0.92. The link here goes to the Wayback Machine as the usual location for the NPSL was updated to version 0.93 in mid-January. Previous versions of Nmap were available under the GPLv2, with some additional wording with regard to the project’s definition of a “derivative work”.

            As part of the release announcement and changelog for Nmap 7.90, the license change was made openly: “Upgraded the Nmap license [from] a sort of hacked-up version of GPLv2 to a cleaner and better organized version (still based on GPLv2) now called the Nmap Public Source License to avoid confusion.” It did not take long for distributions to start noticing and reacting to the change.

      • Programming/Development

        • What is your favorite Linux scripting or programming language? | Enable Sysadmin

          Of all the scripting and programming language options available to you on the Linux platform, which one is your favorite?

        • When costs are nonlinear, keep it small.

          It shows Preventive Maintenance as a series of small costs. Minor repairs are a series of bigger costs, and major repairs are much bigger than that. Every maintenance delayed escalates into a minor repair and then a major repair — costs increase nonlinearly with time delay.

        • Old compilers and old bugs

          The kernel project goes out of its way to facilitate building with older toolchains. Building a kernel on a new system can be enough of a challenge as it is; being forced to install a custom toolchain first would not improve the situation. So the kernel developers try to keep it possible to build the kernel with the toolchains shipped by most distributors. There are costs to this policy though, including an inability to use newer compiler features. But, as was seen in a recent episode, building with old compilers can subject developers to old compiler bugs too.

          On January 5, Russell King reported on a problem he had been chasing for a long time. Some of his 64-bit Arm systems running 5.4 or later kernels would, on rare occasion, report a checksum failure on the ext4 root filesystem. It could take up to three months of uptime for the problem to manifest itself, making it, as King described it, “unrealistic to bisect”. He had, however, found a way to more reliably reproduce the failure, making the task of finding out when the problem was introduced plausible, at least.

          Starting with King’s findings, a number of developers working in the Arm subsystem looked into the issue; their efforts seemed to point out this commit as the culprit. That change, applied in 2019, relaxed the memory barriers used around I/O accessors, optimizing accesses to I/O memory. Reverting this patch made the problem go away.

        • Callback Function in C++ – Linux Hint

          A callback function is a function, which is an argument, not a parameter, in another function. The other function can be called the principal function. So two functions are involved: the principal function and the callback function itself. In the parameter list of the principal function, the declaration of the callback function without its definition is present, just as object declarations without assignment are present. The principal function is called with arguments (in main()). One of the arguments in the principal function call is the effective definition of the callback function. In C++, this argument is a reference to the definition of the callback function; it is not the actual definition. The callback function itself is actually called within the definition of the principal function.

          The basic callback function in C++ does not guarantee asynchronous behavior in a program. Asynchronous behavior is the real benefit of the callback function scheme. In the asynchronous callback function scheme, the result of the principal function should be obtained for the program before the result of the callback function is obtained. It is possible to do this in C++; however, C++ has a library called future to guarantee the behavior of the asynchronous callback function scheme.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Regarding the closure of rt.cpan.

            Let me preface this short post with this, I don’t have the solution to this problem. Perhaps there is someone in the wider Perl space who is well placed to pick this up, but there seems to be little going on in terms of community engagement.

            In the first week of 2021 I noticed a link to this sunset message for rt.cpan behind displayed on the rt.cpan homepage. Firstly I believe the notification on the page could be highlighted better, grey on grey, on a page with lots of grey isn’t exactly eye catching.

            At the time the linked article didn’t contain much information, besides a date. It has since been updated with links to resources to migrate tickets elsewhere.

            A reply to my post in the perlmonks news section was concerning to me, I shortly found the infrastructure working group post on topicbox (which I find no link to on any of the perl websites, or release documentation). This thread was concerning in so much as a single volunteer has decided to step back, which is of course fine, but it doesn’t seem like the option of asking the wider community if anyone would be willing to step up and take it over has been explored. It doesn’t even seem to be being openly discussed.

          • Perl weekly challenge 096 – Raku
        • Python

          • Python Deque – Linux Hint

            A deque means double-ended-queue with the addition of elements from any end; users can also remove elements from any end. This module comes from the collections library and is implemented using this module. It is generally preferable over the list where we need to have a faster method to append operations. The additions and removal can be done from both container ends. Users can add the values in the deque or remove them from both sides. They can even reverse the entire deque. The tutorial will cover all possible use cases along with elaborate examples for the ease of the users.

            We ideally use the latest version of Python for implementation that is Python x3.8, but if anyone does not have the latest version, even then they can implement it on their versions. It will generate similar results.

          • Python Eclipse and PyDev Installation – Linux Hint

            Eclipse is a framework for interactive development that is being used in software development. It comprises a base platform and an optimized environment customization plug-in framework. On the other hand, PyDev is a third-party module or plug-in, which is used in Eclipse. It is an optimized development platform that facilitates code refactoring, graphic debug, code inspection, and other functions for Python coding. If you are searching for a guide to install and configure both the tools, then you are in the right place.

          • Python Enumerate Function Tutorial – Linux Hint

            Enumerate is a Python built-in method. Enumerate() takes a set (e.g. a tuple) and returns it like an entity of enumeration. In a small statement, its significance can not be described. Although it is unfamiliar to most beginners, as well as some proficient programmers. It enables one to loop and provide an auto-counter about something. A counter is inserted by the enumerate() method as the enumerate object key.

          • Python Map() Function Tutorial – Linux Hint

            Often you may face cases where you need to execute the same procedure on all the objects of an iterable input to generate a new iterable. Python’s map() is an integrated method that enables all the objects to be interpreted and translated into an iterable instead of an explicit loop, usually referred to as mapping. Using a Python for loop is the simplest but using the map, you can also solve this issue without the need for an explicit loop(). When you’re about to implement a transformation method to each object in an iterable, map() helps translate them into a fresh iterable. One of the methods which are promoting a functional programming type in Python is a map(). In this guide, you will learn about how the map() method works with different object types.

          • What is Pony ORM and How to Get Started?

            Pony ORM is a Python programming language directory that enables people to work comfortably with objects kept as tuples in a relational database system. It enables you to deal with the information of the databank, in the form of substances/objects. In the database, there are tables having tuples of data. Conversely, when it is possible to view the data obtained from the databank in object form, it is far more useful when writing the code in an advanced-level object-oriented semantic. If you wish to work with Pony ORM, you have to go through the below-appended steps thoroughly.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

  • Leftovers

    • The Mechanics of an Absurd Crash: Why Driver Error, Not the KGB, Killed Camus

      1. “The Rebel” is a great book.

      2. I don’t like Sartre, he did nothing for the Resistance (Camus did much), and nothing worthwhile against postwar Stalinism (Camus did much), and his gal-pal was a sexual predator.

    • How to thrive in our changing work environments

      This is the second article in a series on the future of work, as explained in The Shift, a book by Professor Lynda Gratton. Previously, I presented Gratton’s thoughts on five forces that will impact work in the future. In this article, I’ll provide more detail on what Gratton says will be the results of these forces. These forces will create new global work environments, and we must face those new environments head-on.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Opinion | American Workers Need Paid Sick Leave Right This Minute

        Congress let mandatory paid leave end on Dec. 31. Lawmakers—and employers—need to restore them immediately.

      • As COVID-19 Surges, California Overrides Limits on Nurse Workloads
      • Reading the COVID Fine Print: the Undoing of the Australian Open

        Fifteen chartered planes are involved in the project, transporting more than 1,000 players and team members.  The initial mood was optimistic, even filled with gratitude.  An important international tennis tournament could resume.  Business and sport could resume.

        Then came the shaking realities. It took only a few of the flights to be compromised.  Four travellers on two of the chartered flights had tested positive for COVID-19 on arriving in Australia.  These included a broadcaster, coach and aircrew member on a flight from Los Angeles; the other, from Abu Dhabi, saw a stupefied Canadian coach Sylvain Bruneau return a positive result.  A stunned Bruneau claimed to have “followed all safety protocols and procedures, including testing negative within 72 hours before the flight departure and felt perfectly fine” when boarding the plane.

      • Corporate Media’s Leaked Chinese Documents Confirm China Didn’t Hide Covid-19

        Several reports on China’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic came out late last year, based on what US outlets like CNN, the New York Times and ProPublica claimed to be leaked Chinese documents. Although these reports implied that China was responsible for how bad the pandemic has been because of its downplaying of numbers and censoring of critical information, these narratives are themselves misleading in several ways.

      • Blyncsy’s Patent On Contact Tracing Isn’t A Medical Breakthrough, It’s A Patent Breakdown

        The CDC recommends contact tracing for close contacts of any “confirmed or probable” COVID-19 patients. But doing the job has been left to state and local public health officials. 

        In addition to traditional contact tracing by public health workers, some are using “proximity apps” to track when people are near one another. These apps should be used only with careful respect for user privacy. And they can’t be a substitute for contact tracing done by public health workers. But, if used carefully, such apps could be a useful complement to traditional contact tracing.  

        Unless someone with an absurdly broad patent stops them. In April, while many states were still under the first set of shelter-in-place orders, a Utah company called Blyncsy was building a website to let government agencies know that it wanted to get paid—not for giving them any product, but simply for owning a patent they’d managed to get issued in 2019. In news reports and its own press release, Blyncsy said that anyone doing cellphone-based contact tracing would need to license its patent, U.S. Patent No. 10,198,779, “Tracking proximity relationships and uses thereof.” 

      • NYC Cancels Thousands of Vaccine Appointments Due to Lack of Federal Supply
      • Media Elevate Eugenicists, Sideline Disabled Voices in Discussions of Covid Rationing

        In the sticky conversations around rationing life-saving treatments and vaccines during the Covid pandemic, corporate media have elevated some experts without disclosing their troubling views on disability, aging and the value of human life. Meanwhile, media outlets have largely sidelined the voices of disabled activists and others who could speak on behalf of those most affected by the pandemic.

      • Joining COVAX ‘Not Enough’: Biden Told to Compel Big Pharma to Share Vaccine Recipe With the World

        “If the United States leads the way to expand production, we can overcome scarcity, rationing, and preventable death, suffering, and misery.”

      • Elusive jabs Meduza digs into official claims that millions of Russians were already vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-January

        Vladimir Putin called for a transition from “large-scale” vaccinations to “mass” vaccinations to begin on January 18. In other words, the vaccines are now supposedly available to everyone in Russia without restrictions. But dramatically increasing the vaccination rate will be difficult — the government is still having trouble supplying vaccines to rural areas, as well as convincing people that it’s safe to take. It’s also unclear how many people have been vaccinated already — government officials haven’t published any official statistics, and no one seems to have any accurate data. The most commonly cited statistic comes from the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which claimed in a press release that a total of 1.5 million people have been vaccinated. However, the RDIF hasn’t revealed where these data came from or what it’s based on, and it hasn’t been confirmed by any other sources. At the same time, according to the RDIF, the exact same number of doses of “Sputnik V” — one and a half million — had been produced and put into circulation in Russia by the beginning of 2021. Meduza set out to determine the real scale of vaccination in the country — and to find out why there are no reliable data.

      • What Happened When the UK Privatized COVID Food Aid? Children Got Scraps

        As Covid-19 infection rates and deaths hit unprecedented highs in the UK, schools are closed to the majority of pupils. For children in low-income families who would normally receive means-tested free school meals, support is being provided to their parents or caregivers via cash payments, supermarket vouchers, or food parcels. In England, the Department for Education has “strongly encouraged” schools to adopt a “food parcel first approach,” with provision outsourced to private providers in most cases.

        This week, social media has been flooded with photos of food parcels provided by private catering firms, with distressed recipients and right-to-food campaigners branding them inadequate and insulting.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Lightworks 2021.1 Is Out: Biggest Release For Linux, Mac, And Windows

          The professional-grade cross-platform video editing software Lightworks has received the first major release of Lightworks version 2021.1 for Windows, Linux, and Mac.

          Lightworks 2021.1 is also probably the biggest release in the last ten years as it has rewritten some fundamental foundations and added several new features.

        • Lightworks 2021.1 Released With UI Improvements, Other Video Editor Enhancements

          Lightworks, the professional-grade video editing system that works well on Linux but has remained elusive of its long past open-source promise, is out with its first major release of 2021.

          The new Lightworks 2021.1 release comes following this non-linear video editing system becoming independent of EditShare as its prior parent company. With Lightworks 2021.1 is a big improvement to how it handles frame rates especially for now properly dealing with media content of different frame-rates in the same project. Media with any frame-rate is now properly dealt with in the same project. Lightworks also now preserves the original resolution of clips in a project throughout the effects chain rather than resizing them to the output format.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation’s Joshipura: Disaggregation is at the heart of open source, cloud-native and edge

                While disaggregation’s roots in the telecom industry are deeper than shiny new concepts such as cloud-native and ORAN, it’s foundational to open source and those new technologies, according to the Linux Foundation’s Aprit Joshipura.

                During a Wednesday keynote address for FierceTelecom Winter Blitz Week, Joshipura defined disaggregation as the separation of hardware and software, as well as the separation of horizontal layers of software.

                Network disaggregation is “kind of old news,” he said.

        • Security

          • Ransomware took heavy toll on US in 2020: researchers [iophk: Windows TCO]

            The study released Monday by the security firm Emsisoft said ransomware attacks — which encrypt and disable computer systems while demanding a ransom — affected 113 federal, state and municipal governments, 560 health facilities and 1,681 schools, colleges and universities last year.

            “The attacks caused significant, and sometimes life-threatening, disruption: ambulances carrying emergency patients had to be redirected, cancer treatments were delayed, lab test results were inaccessible, hospital employees were furloughed and 911 (emergency) services were interrupted,” the report said.

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (mutt), Fedora (libntlm, mingw-python-pillow, python-pillow, and sudo), Mageia (kernel), SUSE (gdk-pixbuf, perl-Convert-ASN1, samba, and yast2-multipath), and Ubuntu (linux, linux-aws, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-hwe-5.4, linux-hwe-5.8, linux-oracle).

          • Pwnable Document Format: Windows PDF viewers outperformed by browser, macOS, Linux counterparts

            PDF viewers built into leading web browsers and applications for macOS and Linux were only susceptible to comparatively trivial attacks such as denial of service (DoS).

            [...]

            Susceptible to eight of 10 attack techniques, the worst culprits overall were PDF-Xchange Viewer and PDF-Xchange Viewer for Windows.

            PDFelement and iSkysoft, prone only to DoS, were honorable exceptions to the otherwise unimpressive Windows scorecard.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Why EFF Doesn’t Support Bans On Private Use of Face Recognition

              But what about private use? It also can exacerbate injustice, including its use by police contractors, retail establishments, business improvement districts, and homeowners.

              Still, EFF does not support banning private use of the technology. Some users may choose to deploy it to lock their mobile devices or to demonstrate the hazards of the tech in government hands. So instead of a prohibition on private use, we support strict laws to ensure that each of us is empowered to choose if and by whom our faceprints may be collected. This requires mandating informed opt-in consent and data minimization, enforceable through a robust private right of action.

              Illinois has had such a law for more than a decade. This approach properly balances the human right to control technology—both to use and develop it, and to be free from other people’s use of it.

            • Oakland’s Progressive Fight to Protect Residents from Government Surveillance

              Oakland is now (as far as we know) the first city to ban government use of voice recognition technology. This is an important step, given the growing proliferation of this invasive form of surveillance, at home and abroad. Oakland also may be the first city to ban government use of any technology that can identify a person based on “physiological, biological, or behavioral characteristics ascertained from a distance.” This would include recognition of a person’s distinctive gait or manner of walking.

              Last June, the California city of Santa Cruz became the first U.S. city to ban its police department from using predictive policing technology. Just a few weeks ago, New Orleans, Louisiana, also prohibited the technology, as well as certain forms of biometric surveillance. With last week’s amendments, Oakland became the largest city to ban predictive policing.

              Oakland is also the first city to incorporate these prohibitions into a more comprehensive Community Control of Police Surveillance (CCOPS) framework. Its ordinance not only prohibits these particularly pernicious forms of surveillance, but also ensures that police cannot obtain any other forms of surveillance technology absent permission from the city council following input from residents. This guarantees transparency, accountability, and community engagement before any privacy-invasive surveillance technology can be adopted by local government agencies.

            • Facial recognition at German police authorities increased by more than a third

              Millions of faces, fingerprints and palm prints are stored in German police databases. Law enforcement agencies are also processing more and more biometric data at the EU level.

            • Tencent has been caught spying on your web browsing history with QQ Messenger

              After the spying revelation, Tencent quickly released a new version of QQ Messenger without the web history scraping functionality and claimed that the Chinese company was only previously looking at its millions of users’ web browsing history as a way of ”checking whether malicious programs were using certain websites to access QQ.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘Pure Sadism’: Biden Blasted for Continuing Trump’s Recognition of Guaidó Coup Regime and Deadly Sanctions in Venezuela

        “How about a new Good Neighbor Policy on non-interference?” asked CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin. 

      • Washington Post “Expert” Linked to Defense Companies Hypes North Korea Missile Threat

        An alarming report published Monday in the Washington Post claimed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could fire an intercontinental ballistic missile right as Joe Biden is inaugurated. 

      • The Military Industrial Complex’s Silent Coup to Ensure Nothing Changes

        No doubt about it: the coup d’etat was successful. That January 6 attempt by so-called insurrectionists to overturn the election results was not the real coup, however. Those who answered President Trump’s call to march on the Capitol were merely the fall guys, manipulated into creating the perfect crisis for the Deep State—a.k.a. the Police State a.k.a. the Military Industrial Complex a.k.a. the Techno-Corporate State a.k.a. the Surveillance State—to swoop in and take control.

      • A Brief But Portentous Insurrection

        The civil rights protests of the late 1950s and 1960s; the anti-war protests of the latter half of the 1960s and early 1970s; more civil rights protests (these have occurred repeatedly) in the latter half of the 1970s and the 1980s; the recent climate protests and those of the Black Lives Matter movement all sought to pressure changes in government behavior and policy. They could at times get disruptive—by stopping traffic in Washington, D.C., or being met with unwarranted police brutality, but no one characterized them as attempts to overthrow the country’s democratic system. In fact, George W. Bush, when faced with a huge February 2003 protest against the invasion of Iraq, dismissed the participants as a “focus group.”

        However, what happened in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, January 6, was qualitatively different. With President Trump playing the role of agent-provocateur, the events of that day sought the overthrow—based on demonstrated falsehoods—of a legitimate, thoroughly vetted national election. It sought the replacement of the election winner by the egomaniac who had lost. If successful, it would have undermined the integrity of the nation’s electoral process, putting in jeopardy the nation’s democratic form of government. Whatever one thinks of the policies and practices of American governments, challenging them in this fashion is not the product of protest or civil disobedience. it is insurrection.

      • CIA Whistleblower: Biden Intel Pick Avril Haines Approved Obama Drone Strike Kill List, Hid Torture

        Avril Haines, Biden’s nominee for director of national intelligence, began her confirmation hearing Tuesday. She was President Obama’s top lawyer on the National Security Council from 2010 to 2013 and CIA deputy director from 2013 to 2015, where she authorized using drone strikes to carry out targeted extrajudicial assassinations. “We know that in almost all cases that she said it was legal to put these names on the kill list, and people were subsequently killed by drone, including American citizens,” says CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who exposed the Bush-era torture program and was the only official jailed in connection to it. He also discusses Haines’s handling of CIA agents who illegally hacked the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee to thwart its investigation into the CIA’s detention and interrogation program that used torture methods like waterboarding.

      • Profiting from Pardons: Giuliani Aide Told CIA Whistleblower a Trump Pardon Would Cost $2 Million

        With less than 12 hours before the end of his presidency, Donald Trump issued 143 pardons and commutations, including a pardon for Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist and campaign manager. Trump, who has pardoned other associates and allies during his single term, has so far rejected calls to pardon prominent whistleblowers including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and NSA whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Reality Winner. Details continue to emerge about how allies of Trump have personally profited from people seeking pardons. We speak with John Kiriakou, a former CIA analyst and case officer who exposed the Bush-era torture program and was the only official jailed in connection to it, about the pardon system. He says an associate of Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani offered him a pardon for $2 million, which Kiriakou declined to pay. “They don’t see this as a bribe,” says Kiriakou. “This is the way Washington works.”

      • Treaty Banning the Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction Enters into Force

        After decades of campaigns of every kind to “ban the bomb,” to prevent the nuclear arms race, to freeze the arms race, humankind finally has a global treaty.

        The nuclear weapons prohibition outlaws not just their development, testing and possession, but forbids any threatened use — commonly known as “nuclear deterrence.” Like with other multi-generational struggles against slavery, torture, the death penalty, child labor, TPNW campaigners justly call it “the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons.”

      • Where have all the military drones gone?

        The German Bundeswehr is one of the armies that flew unmanned systems for reconnaissance already in the 1960s. The first aircraft resembled a model aeroplane and came from the US Army, later they looked like a rocket. From the turn of the millennium, Airbus in particular benefited from the German drone programme.

      • Rep. Steve Cohen: QAnon fan Rep. Lauren Boebert gave Capitol tour to “large” group before riot

        Cohen told CNN that he and House Budget Committee chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., saw Boebert leading the group in the Cannon House Office Building tunnel prior to the siege, which left five dead. Cohen’s comments came after Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., alleged that members of Congress took groups on “reconnaissance” tours the day before the riot and 34 House Democrats have called for a probe into the “suspicious behavior” leading up to the insurrection. The House members noted that the tours were “unusual” because the Capitol has been closed to public tours due to the coronavirus pandemic since last March and said that some of the visitors “appeared to be associated with the rally” that preceded the riot.

      • The New Humanitarian | South Sudan’s precarious peace agreement

        On the streets of South Sudan’s capital city, billboards honour the country’s politicians for ending five years of conflict that cost almost 400,000 lives and displaced millions. “Peacemakers” and “Children of God” declares one poster, quoting the Bible alongside a photo of the president.

        But nearly a year after President Salva Kiir formed a unity government with opposition leader Riek Machar – now the vice-president – key parts of the agreement have not been implemented amid entrenched distrust between the two men, funding shortages, and renewed fighting that cost thousands of lives in 2020.

        Nyadid Racho from western Pibor – where famine is thought to be occurring – says she has seen little benefit from the deal. The 40-year-old told The New Humanitarian ongoing clashes between community militias cost the lives of two of her children last year – both starved to death within days of each other.

        “If we hadn’t been attacked, and if our cattle were not taken, my children would still be alive,” Racho said.

        Many South Sudanese who spoke to TNH on a visit to the country in December questioned the political will for peace, while analysts fear disenchantment within Machar’s camp over the slow progress could soon fuel new outbreaks of violence.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Trump Caps off Law and Order Legacy With Record Executions, No Mercy for Whistleblowers

        Among the final acts of Donald J. Trump’s time in office was to approve a last-minute flurry of presidential pardons. On the list are many of his disgraced cronies, including Steve Bannon, Paul Manafort, and Roger Stone. But there was no mercy, evidently, for whistleblowers like Edward Snowden or Reality Winner, nor for Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange. 

    • Environment

      • Reformed trade rules can help to save the climate

        If the British government agrees to reformed trade rules, that could help the crucial climate talks it will chair in November.

      • After ‘Incredible First Steps’ on KXL and Paris, Biden Urged to ‘Go Further’ on Climate

        “The Biden White House needs to chart a much more aggressive course for dealing with our climate emergency.”

      • ‘The Last Administration Able to Act in Time’: Youth Climate Leaders Say Global Future Depends on Boldness of Biden

        “Our eyes are on you,” the group of campaigners said. “The time for lies is over.”

      • Energy

        • Two Major Pacific Northwest Fossil Fuel Projects Dealt Massive Setbacks In One Day

          On President Donald Trump’s last full day in office, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) met with a packed agenda, making key decisions on multiple pipeline projects and other matters affecting electricity markets.

        • Keystone XL Pipeline Canceled. Here’s What It Means for the Future Fight Against Fossil Fuels

          The cross-border pipeline would have carried 830,000 barrels per day of Canadian tar sands oil to the Gulf of Mexico, where it would be refined and exported, providing a crucial outlet for landlocked oil from Alberta. But the mundane infrastructure project became a symbol of the broader fight against climate change, sparking a sustained campaign against drilling and fossil fuel infrastructure across the continent. 

        • Biden nixes Keystone XL permit, halts Arctic refuge leasing

          Environmentalists have been critical of the pipeline, particularly because it’s supposed to carry oil made from tar sands, whose production is carbon intensive.

          Tribes have also expressed opposition, saying that the pipeline would cross onto their lands and violate their treaty rights.

          Biden, in the executive order, argued that the pipeline “disserves” U.S. national interest.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • The Rebuilding Years Begin Now
        • Dire Wolf DNA Shows Distinct New World Lineage

          The dire wolf (Canis dirus), prototype of the various wolves that were important members of the House Stark family of characters in Game of Thrones, was found uniquely in North America until its extinction in the late Pleistocene (~13,000 years ago). The relationship between this species and the indigenous gray wolf (Canis lupus), the coyote (Canis latrans), and the Asiatic wild dog or dhole (Cuon alpinus) is uncertain, however, based purely on shared morphologic characteristics. Perhaps this “lone wolf” property, and its great size (~68kg/150lbs, despite artistic exaggeration), contributed to its iconic stature in popular culture as diverse as George R.R. Martin and the Grateful Dead, but “mythic” is not too exaggerated a description of this mighty beast in popular culture.

          Recently, a diverse and international group of researchers* have explored the relationships between these North American canid species, using both morphological characteristics and genetic comparisons between modern wolves and dire wolf fossils, from both mitochondria and, in a more limited extent genomic DNA (albeit focusing on comparisons of only one gene, COL1). Sites where the more than 700 fossil dire wolf specimens used in these studies were obtained (and their associated academic institutions) were Natural Trap Cave, Wyoming (University of Kansas); Gigantobison Bay, Idaho (Idaho Museum Natural History); Sheridan Pit, Ohio (Cincinnati Museum Center); Guy Wilson Cave, Tennessee (University of Tennessee); American Falls Reservoir, Idaho (Idaho Museum Natural History); and Rancho La Brea Tar Seeps, California (La Brea Tar Pits and Museum), the latter being the predominant site for obtaining dire wolf fossils (100-fold more than gray wolf fossils from this site).

          [...]

          While the information is limited (e.g., only five dire wolf genomic DNA samples were sufficiently intact to be assayed), the results from these studies are another example of the power of genetic analysis to “fill in the blanks” from the fossil record to illuminate animal (and human) migration in the Pleistocene era that led to population patterns of animals in the New World in the Holocene (current) Era.

      • Overpopulation

        • BirthStrike: The Movement to End All Movements

          Disturbingly, this kind of sentiment has now filtered out into a wider cultural malaise of anti-natalism that is increasingly seen as progressive and in humanity’s best interest. Such anti-humanist ideas have become prevalent in modern environmentalism, seized by radical movements such as BirthStrike.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | Even After an Insurrection, Corporate Media Can’t Let Go of False Balance

        If editors learn anything from the events of the last four years, it should be that “balance” is a dangerous substitute for fairness and accuracy.

      • ‘A Fitting End’: Hours Before Leaving Office, Trump Quietly Revokes Order Restricting Lobbying by Former Federal Officials

        “Great summary of Trump’s many farcical ‘drain the swamp’ betrayals.”

      • Opinion | “He’s Better Than Trump!” Is No Defense of Biden. Citizens Deserve More.

        If Democrats cannot critically engage with Obama policies that saw large numbers of innocent civilians in Yemen or Pakistan killed by drones, or an uncomfortably close relationship with Wall St., then the lessons of Trumpism are lost.

      • Progressive International Calls on Biden to End Illegal US Sanctions Responsible for ‘Untold Death and Devastation’

        “Biden must take urgent action to restore the right of all countries to have sovereign relations with the world, untrammeled by U.S. interference through their sanctions policy.”

      • Opinion | GOP Tickles the Dragon’s Tail

        After years of flirting with America’s right wing and egging on a growing rage, the GOP establishment is “shocked” by Trump’s success—and scrambling to save face.

      • It’s Time for the Left to Pressure Biden — and the Political Class as a Whole
      • American Truth & Reconciliation Commission

        The devolution in the modern era, from truth to lies, begins with Harry Truman and the National Security Act (NSA) of 1947. Truth: the supreme law provides that only Congress can declare war. This is a core, nondelegable, power of the Congress. The Constitution, the solemn pact between the people and the government, is clear on this. Yet in the NSA of 1947 the President was not only given the power to declare war without Congress, but to initiate nuclear war and death of humanity worldwide, on the say so of a single man, a Nuclear Dictator, anathema in a country repulsed by mere Kings.

        Truth: government exists to protect life and liberty. But the lie embraced was government is willing to kill everyone because: “better dead than red.” This is the same view embraced by Hitler when he sent 12-year-old children to the front (by then their front yards) to die in a “total war” to defend Nazism no matter the nihilism of total destruction.

      • Opinion | Curb Your Presidentialism: Some Post-Trump Advice for a Biden Administration

        Presidentialism is American Exceptionalism transferred to the arena of politics. It is a vast and dangerous delusion. The sooner we wake up to that fact the better for our democracy. 

      • Warning Against Further ‘Erosion’ of Civil Liberties, Tlaib Leads Charge Against New Domestic Terrorism Laws

        “While many may find comfort in increased national security powers in the wake of this attack, we must emphasize that we have been here before and we have seen where that road leads.”

      • Opinion | We Must Act With Unprecedented Boldness to Meet These Historical Crises

        The job of Congress now is to listen to the American people, move our country boldly forward on a path to economic success and show voters that Democrats are prepared to do everything possible to improve their lives.

      • Revealed: Israeli Settler Groups With Ties To the US Are Evicting Palestinians in Mass

        Occupied East Jerusalem — Nearly 20 Palestinian families face homelessness amid a raging pandemic and cold, wet winter in occupied East Jerusalem because of eviction lawsuits from Israeli settler groups backed by wealthy American donors.

      • Trump Pardons Steve Bannon
      • Under Pressure From Workers, Biden Fires ‘Extreme, Anti-Union’ Labor Board Lawyer

        “Today is a good day,” declared the SEIU, which had called on the president to immediately oust NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb.

      • Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders Lead Call for Solidarity With #HuntsPointStrike

        “Essential workers should not have to go on strike for decent pay, and no worker should be threatened for exercising their constitutional rights.”

      • Opinion | Ten Ways Biden Can Be Transformational (Even Without Congress)

        Biden can and must wield his presidential powers through Executive Orders and regulations. The problems America is facing demand it.

      • On “True Democracy”

        “True democracy in America is quite new; you can date it to the civil rights era. If Trump’s Republican Party isn’t checked, we could easily devolve into what political scientists call competitive authoritarianism, in which elections still take place but the system is skewed to entrench autocrats.”

        That was a remarkable two sentences.

      • Progressives Gear Up to Fight for More Than Just “Unity” From President Biden
      • Joy, Relief, and Healing as Biden Ends Trump’s Racist Muslim Ban in Day One Executive Order

        “This is a momentous occasion for the millions of Americans who were separated by the ban and those who stood up against this injustice at airports nationwide.”

      • On U.S. “Adversaries”

        What are these “national interests”? And how does Russia, for example, challenge them? How did Russia, a friend under Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s (a friend so valued that Bill Clinton saved him from near-certain electoral defeat in 1996), come to oppose U.S. national interests? Well, it opposes the expansion of NATO, an anti-Russian military alliance that has been expanding relentlessly following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact in 1991. In discouraging the entry of Georgia and Ukraine, countries sharing long borders with Russia, it challenges the U.S. “national interest” in stationing troops in those countries. In re-annexing the Crimean Peninsula (following the pro-NATO, U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014) to prevent the historical Russian naval base falling into NATO hands, it challenged the U.S. national interest to turn the Black Sea into a NATO lake.

        Similarly, in selling natural gas to the Germans Russia deprives U.S. suppliers of a vast market, undermining “our” interests. Is it not clear? And in Syria, Russia works against our national interests! “We” want to topple the Assad regime. Why? Because in 2011 during the Arab Spring warmonger Hillary Clinton declared that Assad had lost his legitimacy by firing on his own people. She thought it would be possible to topple him by recruiting a rebel army. In the end the U.S. was obliged to work with a motley array of groups aligned with al-Qaeda, while ISIL took over large swathes of the country, as the forces of the secular regime struggled to prevent a victory by Islamists who would surely have smashed every historic church in Damascus. Russia, militarily aligned with Syria since the 1970s, intervened in Sept. 2015 to assist state forces in repressing some of the most grotesque fiends on the planet. In the process Russia has strengthened its position in the region, increased its cooperation with Iran and Hizbollah, and stabilized a regime the U.S. had tried to destroy. You see how Russia is opposing U.S. national interests?

      • Democrats Urged to Reject ‘Desperate’ McConnell Effort to Preserve Filibuster and Kneecap Biden’s Agenda

        Progressives denounced McConnell’s call to uphold the legislative filibuster as a “blatant attempt to undermine the Democratic majority before it has even been seated.”

      • ‘The Lost Cause in Some Ways Won the Civil War’

        Janine Jackson interviewed historian Keri Leigh Merritt about the New Lost Cause for the January 15, 2021, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • Facing Unprecedented Challenges, Joe Biden Becomes 46th US President
      • Kamala Harris Sworn in as First Woman Vice President by Justice Sonia Sotomayor
      • Opinion | Donald Trump and the Danger of a Loser Who Cannot Admit Defeat

        Whether it is deaths from Covid-19 or his own election defeat, admitting loss is something Trump finds impossible to do.

      • ‘He’s Gone’: Celebrations as ‘Worst and Most Dangerous President in American History’ Departs White House

        “Goodbye and good riddance Donald Trump. See you at your trial,” said Sen. Ed Markey.

      • Trump Is Walking Out of the White House Into a Minefield of Legal Perils
      • “Unmitigated Disaster”: Michael Eric Dyson on How Trump Turned White House into “Fulcrum of Fascism”

        As Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are inaugurated and the Trump presidency comes to an end, we look back at his regime with author and analyst Michael Eric Dyson. “The Trump presidency has been an unmitigated disaster,” Dyson says. His “direct assault” on democratic processes resulted in a “neofascist presidency that attempted to undermine the very legitimacy of the democracy that he was put in office to uphold.”

      • “This Is Democracy’s Day”: Joe Biden Sworn In as 46th President of the United States

        Biden and Kamala Harris took the oaths of office on steps of the U.S. Capitol amid a catastrophic public health crisis and economic meltdown made worse by Trump’s incompetence and malfeasance.

      • After Capitol Breach, More Domestic Terrorism Laws Aren’t the Answer
      • Inauguration Has Happened, Google And Facebook Should End The Ban On Political Advertisements

        In light of the events at the Capitol, social media and other online companies have been reevaluating who they let speak on their platforms. The ban of President Trump from Twitter, Facebook, and various other platforms has sparked fierce debate over moderation and free speech. But Google’s recently reinstituted ban on political advertisements until at least inauguration day and the continued ban from Facebook are silencing voices that need to be heard the most – those speaking about state and local political issues.

      • Overturning the Presidential Election Result In Southwest Virginia

        The case of Western Virginia’s Congressional representatives is instructive in this regard.

        I happen to live in the district of Morgan “the Morgue” Griffith (R-VA09) who, with the advantages of incumbency and hefty corporate subventions, has made it into something of a fiefdom.

      • Enough with the Goddamned Secrets! Open Up the Government Joe!

        That is not the question Biden should be considering. Rather, he should be opening up about government secrets with the American public, who for far too long have been kept increasingly in the dark.

        The truth is that over the years, especially since the end of World War II, with President Harry Truman’s establishment of a “national security state” and the launching of the Cold War, the United states, though commonly referred to in our national mythology, in speeches by politicians and in the media as “the world’s greatest democracy” is actually a bureaucratic state with secrets so deep, dark and wide-spread that, as Daniel Ellsberg reveals in his latest book The Doomsday Machine, even the president and the secretary of defense for generations haven’t been told the actual war plans that the nation would follow in the event of a nuclear conflict with China or Russia.

      • Biden Inaugural Confronts the Jan. 6 Riot Head-On, Calls for an End to “This Uncivil War”

        It’s become a ProPublica tradition for our president, Richard Tofel, who wrote a book on President Kennedy’s inaugural address, to offer an instant analysis of such speeches. Here are his thoughts for today.

      • The Way Forward: Can the Left Push Biden to Be a Transformative President Like LBJ, FDR & Lincoln?

        We look at the path forward for the Biden-Harris administration and the role of social movements with political strategist Waleed Shahid and author and analyst Michael Eric Dyson. Shahid, spokesperson for the progressive political action committee Justice Democrats, says Biden could be “one of the most transformative presidents” in U.S. history if he acts boldly. “But it will take an immense amount of pressure on Joe Biden, on the political system, on the political class for him to get there,” says Shahid.

      • Goodbye, Trump! Parting Is Such Sweet Joy

        I often get asked, often by white people, “What will you do without Donald Trump?” Or “What will you write about when Trump is out of the news?” Some people even have the gall to suggest “you’re going to miss Trump when he’s gone.”

      • John Marshall And Nolan Higdon – The Project Censored Show

        Notes: John Marshall has 40 years’ experience in the high-technology industry, including starting several companies; his specialty is advertising technology and his new book can be found here.

      • You’re History
      • The Interior Lives of the Transnational Asian Diaspora

        In Sheung-King’s You Are Eating an Orange. You Are Naked., an unnamed man in his early 20s tells his lover stories to woo her: scenes from Chungking Express, facts about Kenny G, the ending of Yōko Tawada’s Persona. Their affair unspools over years, mostly in Toronto, sometimes in Macau, Tokyo, and Taipei. But the book is not so much plotted as recorded, a log of a couple in conversation.

      • What Joe Biden Can Learn From the Worst President In American History

        During the presidential debate on September 29, 2020, in Cleveland, Joe Biden bluntly told Donald Trump “You’re the worst president America has ever had.” This is a difficult judgement to either affirm or deny. Given the broad sweep of American history, there have been many presidents who have been bad in different ways. Twelve presidents owned enslaved people, something that Trump at his worst is not guilty of. Other presidents enabled either slavery or American apartheid.

      • On the Streets of D.C., How the Biden Presidency Began

        Washington, D.C.—On the final morning of the Trump presidency, the city was quiet.

      • Here’s What Students Think Biden Needs to Do in His First 100 Days

        Today, we might be breathing a collective sigh of relief—but the work has only begun. President Joe Biden faces a wildly daunting first 100 days in office. On the heels of major vaccine developments, Biden committed to getting “at least 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots into the arms of the American people in the first 100 days.” Beyond this obviously critical effort, there is only so much the new administration can focus on in his first three months. We asked students across the country what they see as the most pressing issue the Biden White House should devote its time and political capital to addressing. We received a wide range of responses, taking in a number of pressing issues affecting young people today.

      • 9/11 and January 6: the Enormous Cost of intelligence Failure

        The 9/11 terror attacks and the insurrection on January 6th were classic failures, with flawed assumptions leading to the failure to incorporate new evidence into intelligence products.  In 2001, the CIA assumed the terror attack would take place against U.S. bases or facilities on foreign soil, and did not sufficiently consider the weaponization of commercial aircraft flying in the United States.  In 2020, various law enforcement and intelligence agencies assumed that the protests scheduled for January 6th would be in the name of free speech and the First Amendment.  They did not anticipate the involvement of so many militia groups; a super Trump rally; and Trump’s incitement of a violent attack on a specific target.  They did anticipate a violent effort to reverse the results of a presidential election that would involve the taking of hostages or even worse.

        In both 2001 and 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not believe foreign or domestic terrorists had the organization and the wherewithal to exact such an horrific attack.  In virtually every intelligence failure, there was ample information available that warranted discarding the prevailing assumption or at least questioning the fixed notions that became conventional wisdom.

      • Fox News Needs To Accept Some Of The Blame For The Insurrection; But That Doesn’t Mean We Toss Out The 1st Amendment

        While lots of people have been blaming social media for the insurrection at the Capitol a few weeks back, fewer have recognized that Fox News is at least as much to blame, if not more. As we’ve covered in the past, Yochai Benkler’s book, Network Propaganda, went into great detail with tons of data and evidence, to highlight how, contrary to popular belief, the crazy conspiracy theories don’t really spread that quickly on social media… until after Fox News picks them up. That book also highlights how, while “left-wing” media has its own fair share of wacky conspiracy theories, they don’t spread to nearly the same degree, and competition among different news venues includes attempts to debunk the wackier conspiracy theories. The same is just not there in the Fox News media-sphere.

      • Political party ‘A Just Russia’ to merge with two other ‘left-wing’ forces

        The Russian political party “A Just Russia” (SR) will merge with the “For Truth” and “Patriots of Russia” parties in the near future, SR leader Sergey Mironov announced on Wednesday, January 20.

      • ‘Even Nixon Didn’t Pardon His Cronies on the Way Out’: Trump Grants Clemency to Bannon on Final Day of Presidency

        “Amazingly, in his final 24 hours in office, Donald Trump found one more way to fail to live up to the ethical standard of Richard Nixon.”

      • The Nazification of the Republican Party

        After the war, Germany banned Nazi flags and neo-Nazis. In fact, the only way that Nazi paraphernalia got into Germany was through smuggling from other countries such as the United States, like from Nazi propagandist Gerhard Lauck in Nebraska, the man called the “Farm Belt Führer” who served four years in a German prison for distributing banned pro-Nazi materials throughout Europe.

        I know this because I teach a course on White Supremacy at Smith College that focuses on anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism, and the many intersecting components of white supremacist ideology. After more than 30 years of organizing and teaching about fascism as a Black feminist activist and academic, I know the destructive influence of these noxious ideas, and I teach young people how to interpret and resist them.

      • If You Miss Donald Trump, You’ll Love Joe Biden

        But there was nothing new about the way he governed.

        In policy, even with his vicious tone, Trump was a typical Republican president.  Ford told New York City to drop dead, Reagan called Blacks “welfare queens” and dog-whistled to the Klan, Bush legalized torture—nothing Trump did was worse than those. In some respects, Trump wasn’t much worse from Democrats.

      • Biden’s ‘American Rescue Plan’ and Its Opponents

        US Economy Faltering Fast

        New filings for unemployment benefits have been rising rapidly. From a ‘low’ of about 1 million/week in December last week’s initial claims for benefits topped 1.4 million—when  both benefit programs, State administered and the Federal PUA, are counted .  Another red flag indicator is consumer spending (70% of the US economy) and retail sales, its largest component. The latter fell -1.4%% in November and another -0.7% in December, according to just released US Commerce data. These are typical months during which they rise the fastest.  Another indicator of consumer spending in growing trouble, credit card spending fell an even larger -2.7% in December, according to Chase Bank’s database of 30 million credit and debit card holders. Still another red flag is trade. The US trade deficit based on recent months is now running $85 billion a month and close to $1 trillion a year. Deficits mean US exports, and thus US production for exports, is trailing imports to the US badly—and thus contributing to US GDP contraction in 2021 still further.

      • DOJ Argues Supreme Court Should Vacate “Harmful” Trump Twitter Decision

        In a supplemental brief filed Tuesday, the DOJ acknowledges that the case is moot now that President Joe Biden has been sworn-in because the plaintiffs only sued Trump in his official capacity, but argues it should still grant certiorari, vacate the 2nd Circuit’s decision and instruct Buchwald to dismiss the suit.

      • Parler Tries to Survive With Help From Russian Company

        Mr. Davis said he believed that Parler was trying to build its own infrastructure. On Monday, Mr. Matze appeared to support that notion in an interview on Fox News, saying, “We really need to build our own infrastructure and our own technology.”

        In a legal filing on the same day, Mr. Matze said Parler did not have “the technical and security expertise to host the Parler environment on its own,” adding, “Nor is it feasible for Parler to do so.”

        He said the computers and other equipment needed to host Parler’s site would cost more than $6 million and take weeks to arrive. “Simply put, it would not be possible for Parler itself to acquire the necessary servers and related security infrastructure in a commercially reasonable time frame,” he said.

      • Pure hate finds a home: How Parler became the social media platform for millions of Trump supporters

        Notably, conservative billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, are investors in the platform. Rebekah Mercer helped co-found it with Matze. The Mercers are well known for their investments in other conservative causes, including Nigel Farage’s Brexit campaign, Breitbart News and Cambridge Analytica. The connection to Cambridge Analytica has, in particular, alarmed experts, who worry that Parler may harvest unnecessary data from unwitting users.

      • The West once dreamed of democracy taking root in rural China

        Seeding democracy was not the party’s plan when it introduced elections in the countryside in 1988. Corruption was rampant among rural party bosses. Many were incompetent. The party feared that farmers’ anger would foment unrest. Making village leaders more accountable could help keep the lid on, officials thought. But, to the party’s chagrin, its stooges did not always win. In the 2000s Chinese leaders re-emphasised that (appointed) party secretaries, not elected committees, still had the final say in villages. In the West, dreams gradually faded of democracy spreading upwards through the system. But every three years, as the law decreed, villages still held elections, and, occasionally, snubbed the party’s preferred candidates.

        Late in 2020 rural residents began voting for their leaders once again. It is a process that will take months to complete, with different places conducting polls at different times. In this cycle the party is pulling out all the stops to get its way.

      • Twitter Locks Out Chinese Embassy in U.S. Over Post on Uighurs

        The account is still locked, a Twitter spokesman confirmed, meaning the Chinese Embassy has not deleted the tweet. The Chinese Embassy account, @ChineseEmbinUS, has not posted since Jan. 8, having published at least a dozen more tweets after the one breaking Twitter’s rules. The Chinese Embassy declined immediate comment. Chinese state media had earlier called Twitter’s decision to delete the tweet “hypocrisy.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Using Hashes And Scanning To Stop Cloud Storage From Being Used For Infringement (2014)

        Summary: Since the rise of the internet, the recording industry has been particularly concerned about how the internet can and will be used to share infringing content. Over time, the focus of that concern has shifted as the technology (as well as copyright laws) have shifted. In the early 2000s, most of the concern was around file sharing applications, services and sites, such as Napster, Limewire, and The Pirate Bay. However, after 2010, much of the emphasis switched to so-called “cyberlockers.”

      • Political Satire Is Protected Speech – Even If You Don’t Get the Joke

        Should an obviously fake Facebook post—one made as political satire—end with a lawsuit and a bill to pay for a police response to the post? Of course not, and that’s why EFF filed an amicus brief in Lafayette City v. John Merrifield.

        In this case, Merrifield made an obviously fake Facebook event satirizing right-wing hysteria about Antifa. The announcement specifically poked fun at the well-established genre of fake Antifa social media activity, used by some to drum up anti-Antifa sentiment. However, the mayor of Lafayette didn’t get the joke, and now Lafayette City officials want Merrifield to pay for the costs of policing the fake event.

        In EFF’s amicus brief filed in support of Merrifield in the Louisiana Court of Appeal, we trace the rise and proliferation of obviously parodic fake events. These events range from fake concerts (“Drake live at the Cheesecake Factory”) to quixotic events designed to forestall natural disasters (“Blow Your Saxophone at Hurricane Florence”) to fake destruction of local monuments (“Stone Mountain Implosion”). This kind of fake event is a form of online speech. It’s a crucial form of social commentary whether it makes people laugh, builds resilience in the face of absurdity, or criticizes the powerful.

      • Roskomnadzor orders TikTok and VKontakte ‘to prevent the involvement of minors in unauthorized protests’

        Russia’s censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, has ordered the social networks TikTok and VKontakte to prevent “the involvement of minors in unauthorized rallies.” This was announced in two separate statements on the agency’s website on Wednesday, January 20.

      • St. Petersburg court bans distribution of anime series ‘Death Note’ in Russia

        St. Petersburg’s Kolpinsky District Court has banned the distribution of the Japanese animes Death Note and Inuyashiki via the website “jut.su,” Mediazona reported on Wednesday, January 20.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • With Trump Loss, Charter Backs Off FCC Request To Allow Broadband Caps

        To be very clear: American consumers don’t like broadband usage caps. At all. Most Americans realize (either intellectually or on instinct) that monthly broadband usage caps and overage fees are little more than monopolistic cash grabs. They are confusing, frustrating price hikes on captive customers that accomplish absolutely none of their stated benefits. They don’t actually help manage congestion, and they aren’t about “fairness” — since if fairness were a goal you’d have a lot of grandmothers paying $5-$10 a month for broadband because they only check their email twice a day.

      • In Departing Statement, FCC Boss Ajit Pai Pretends He ‘Served The People’

        Ajit Pai’s tenure wasn’t devoid of value. He arguably oversaw some decent moves that will bring more spectrum to market (albeit not without some caveats and casualties), and he implemented the nation’s first suicide hotline (988). But by and large it’s pretty hard to not see Pai’s tenure as a giant middle finger to consumer welfare, and a four year, sustained ass kissing for the nation’s biggest telecom monopolies.

    • Monopolies

      • Anti-anti-suit injunctions create ‘risky’ FRAND playing fields [Ed: FRAND is no friend of anyone but the lawyers who sponsor this site]

        Industry sources say the friction in Ericsson v Samsung illustrates a rising trend of unhealthy FRAND negotiation tactics

      • What the EU-UK trade agreement means for IP rights
        [Ed: There's no such thing as "IP" and the things they allude to are not rights. This also contains some UPC propaganda, as one might expect from litigation profiteers.]

        The expiration of the Brexit transition period does not affect the current patent system, which is governed by the European Patent Convention, a non-EU related international treaty. However, prior to Brexit, the UK government formally withdrew from the proposed new European unitary patent system because it refused to participate in the associated Unitary Patent Court (UPC), on the basis that participating “in a court that applies EU law and is bound by the CJEU would be inconsistent with the government’s aims of becoming an independent self-governing nation”.

        [...]

        The TCA is completely silent on the protection of databases and so the UK will continue to offer protection to UK databases by applying the now national database right; a right based on the harmonised EU Database Right Directive.

        The new IP landscape in the UK and EU was determined by the Withdrawal Agreement some time before the TCA was reached. Rights holders should take steps now to check that their cloned rights appear correctly on the UK register, or to opt-out of the cloning process if they wish. Rights holders should ask themselves whether they still need both EU and comparable UK trade mark or design protection and, if they are a predominantly UK based business, whether they have plans in place to ensure adequate use of EU trade marks in the EU. EU trade mark applicants must also make a fresh application for a UK national mark by the September 2021 deadline.

      • In-house: new university patent pool will ease licensing efforts [Ed: How to pollute and destroy universities with their (originally) scientific/scholarly/research agenda, turning them into greenhouses for patent trolls, robber barons, and plutocracy]

        Sources from Columbia University, Nantero and Viziv Technologies reflect on whether the University Technology Licensing Program will make licencing easier

      • Patents

        • Munich court challenges German practice in PI proceedings

          The referral regarding PI proceedings arises from a patent dispute between patent holder Phoenix Contact and Harting over EP 28 23 536. EP 536 protects a plug connector comprising a protective conductor bridge (case ID: 21 O 16782/20).

          The current case forms part of a larger complex of proceedings concerning various patents and utility models relating to this technology. An opposing party filed an opposition at the European Patent Office against EP 536, which the office only granted in December 2020. However, the EPO had not yet reached a decision. Furthermore, no revocation claim is pending at the Federal Patent Court.

          Phoenix Contact applied to the Munich Regional Court for a preliminary injunction. This would ban Harting from distributing its connectors. According to the patent holder, the company is infringing EP 536. The court followed Phoenix’s argument, declaring the patent infringed.

          [...]

          However, the Düsseldorf patent judges continue to issue PIs in exceptional cases. Namely, if the judges consider the patent-in-suit to be valid. Nevertheless, patent owners are currently referring to Hamburg as the patent court for a PI. According to patent experts, the court applies a lower standard to PIs than Munich, Mannheim and Düsseldorf.

          The court did not doubt the validity of the patent. However, the judges do not regard themselves as being in a position to grant a preliminary injunction This is because of the case law at the Higher Regional Court Munich.

        • Monoclonal antibody biosimilars pose unique IP challenges [Ed: These people and this site are insane; they push for patents on nature and lie on behalf of overzealous law firms, without understanding what's at stake or asking the public for its stance on such matters]

          In-house sources from the biosimilar industry explain why ‘low inventive step’ and process patents keep new monoclonal antibodies off the market

        • Software Patents

          • $2,500 for Peoplechart Prior Art

            On January 20, 2021, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,500 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 1 of U.S. Patent 8,869,249. This patent is owed by Peoplechart Corporation, an NPE. The ’249 patent generally relates to protecting personal information using user authentication methods related to mobile banking. The patent is currently be asserted against Wintrust Bank for their use of a mobile banking application.

      • Trademarks

        • SCOTUS Refuses To Hear Case Between Jack Daniels And VIP Products Over Doggy Chew Toy

          The trademark dispute between Jack Daniels, famed maker of brown liquor, and VIP Products, maker of less famous doggy chew toy Bad Spaniels, has been a long and winding road. If you aren’t familiar with the case, the timeline goes like this. VIP made a dog toy that is a clear parody homage to a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey, called Bad Spaniels (get it?). Jack Daniels sent a C&D letter to VIP, claiming trademark infringement. VIP turned around and sued Jack Daniels for declaratory judgement that its product did not infringe, leading Jack Daniels to then file its own trademark lawsuit in response. The initial court ruling found for Jack Daniels, rather bizarrely claiming that VIP’s product couldn’t be expressive work, thereby protected by the First Amendment, because it wasn’t a form of traditional entertainment. On appeal, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said that ruling was made in error, vacated it, and instructed the lower court to apply the Rogers test since the product was clear parody and expressive after all. Rather than have that fight, though, Jack Daniels instead petitioned the Supreme Court to hear its case.

      • Copyrights

        • The Muppet Great Gatsby exists — in script form

          Our desperate plea for a Muppets adaptation of The Great Gatsby has been answered: documentary filmmaker Ben Crew has taken the public domain novel and turned it into a downloadable 104-page fan-made script that marries Muppet antics with existential angst. My request for an adaptation may have been ridiculous, but this script seriously vindicates me.

        • Book review: Copyright and Fundamental Rights in the Digital Age – The IPKat

          Copyright and Fundamental Rights in the Digital Age: A Comparative Analysis in Search of a Common Constitutional Ground, edited by Oreste Pollicino, Giovanni Maria Riccio and Marco Bassini, explores the relationship between copyright and fundamental rights in light of the digital single market strategy. It argues that the battle between copyright and copyright and freedom of expression is far from settled. In the introduction, by Oreste Pollicino, Giovanni Maria Riccio and Marco Bassini, it is recognised that whilst the internet offers new channels and opportunities for circulation of copyright, it nevertheless brings new threats for rightsholders. Furthermore, they state that it is no coincidence that the provisions on internet service provider liability are regarded as free speech rules. Within that context, the book sets out to revisit a critical understanding of some of the underlying legal issues in the relationship between copyright and other freedoms, through a comparative and European perspective.

        • MPA Takes Down NYAA GitHub Repository But Copies Swiftly Appear

          GitHub has removed a repository that included the source code of the popular BitTorrent tracker site NYAA.si. The developer platform responded to a DMCA takedown request from the Motion Picture Association, which argues that the code allowed anyone to host a clone of the ‘blatantly infringing’ website. Meanwhile, copies of the repository are starting to pop up elsewhere on GitHub.

        • ‘Copyright Troll’ Law Firm & Partner Charged With Fraud Over Piracy Settlements

          After accusing thousands of Danes of illegally sharing movies using BitTorrent, Danish law firm Njord Law approached many for cash settlements despite their clients not holding the copyrights to the content in question. A partner in the firm and the firm itself have now been charged with serious fraud offenses dating back to April 2017.

How a Newly Inaugurated President Biden Can Advance Software Freedom (If He Actually Wishes to Do So)

Posted in Antitrust, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Security at 10:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spoiler: Biden does not actually care about users’ and developers’ freedom; he’ll promote monopolies like Trump and Obama did.

President Biden/Crazy Ass Biden Bug-Eyed Clinton: I... don't even think about it!

Summary: Techrights has ‘Four Suggestions’ to President Biden, the 46th ‘front end’ of American plutocracy

All those Biden images or memes should not be mistaken for — or wrongly seen as — “pro-Trump”; as we've stressed all along (even before the election), the American public was, in effect, left with no choice on the most important issues (War, Wall Street, World Climate… or WWW for short). People voted for what they perceived to be a “lesser evil”.

“Let’s see if the ‘Four Suggestions’ can be fulfilled, either in full or just partly.”That said and done, we’re gratified to know that the name “Trump” won’t be mentioned here much anymore. Let’s focus on the situation we’re in and seek to make the most out of it. Mr. Biden (now President Biden) is a close friend (kinship and personal friendship) of many who strongly oppose software freedom. We named some of these people last year.

Here are our suggestions for Biden (not that he’s going to read this blog, but let’s use that as a reference for a hypothetical ‘scorecard’):

  • Suggestion #0: Appoint a chief at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) who respects and upholds 35 U.S.C. § 101, based on Alice (SCOTUS). That chief can be someone like Andrei Iancu‘s predecessor, albeit it’s better if that chief did not come from Google or IBM (like David Kappos did). Iancu resigned a day or two before inauguration, along with his troll deputy, so there are vacancies.
  • Suggestion #1: Initiate antitrust proceedings against Microsoft. There are many antitrust violations to choose from, including the basis of the GitHub takeover.
  • Suggestion #2: Choose Free software for all public infrastructure. Almost all the recent ‘hacking’ (cracking) incidents were the fault of proprietary software, often Microsoft’s (with NSA back doors which inevitably become everyone’s back doors).
  • Suggestion #3: Provide stimulus to Free software developers instead of stimulus to the crooks mentioned in Suggestion #1. Microsoft does not deserve billions of dollars in ‘gifts’ from the taxpayers; Free software developers would make much better use of that money and give back to the public.

Let’s see if the ‘Four Suggestions’ can be fulfilled, either in full or just partly. Any of the above would be very nice indeed.

InteLeaks – Part XXV: Intel’s Brain Drain Leads to Unusual Measures

Posted in Hardware at 10:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: As the company once known as ‘chipzilla’ loses its relevance and dominance in the market it’s reaching out to retired people, trying to get them back onboard

THE Intel series has attracted a lot of attention. We suppose many Intel insiders (past and present) are interested in what goes on inside their present or past employer. We’ve already covered many facets of internal affairs (index here) and according to a former insider, who spoke to us today, Intel “are hiring back the lead architect for Nehalem after hiring Gelsinger as their CEO… someone who retired 3 years ago” (i.e. before the chaos and the leaks).

Here’s the message about the return or a screenshot of it (because it’s a Microsoft site):

Post-Gelsinger, screenshot

It’s interesting that Intel is getting him back from retirement and “they wouldn’t have had to,” our source says, “if it wasn’t for so many hardware engineers leaving for other companies (Apple, Ampere Computing etc.)” (I’ve personally heard of some people who moved from Intel to Apple and other companies, even though Intel begged them to stay).

How much is Intel paying him to come back from retirement? Even during a pandemic… maybe millions per annum? Who knows… we only know that Intel is becoming ever more desperate (like never before in the company’s history).

“How much is Intel paying him to come back from retirement?”“After enjoying a real retirement for 3 years,” says the above post, “I have decided to go back to work at Intel (where I previously worked for 35 years). What would entice me to do something like that? I will be working on an exciting high performance CPU project. Having Pat Gelsinger coming back as CEO also helped me finalize my decision to come back.”

This has also just been mentioned by the hardware-focused media, stating: “Intel could get away with being lazy in the server space as Windows was the most widely used server OS, ran only on x86, and Linux was a non-factor. Those days are long gone.”

And “it’s many things coming together for Intel at the same time,” a source told us, “so it’s not just GNU/Linux or Apple, but essentially an entire industry wanting to get rid of the stronghold the company has over it.”

But what can Gelsinger actually do? Well, Gelsinger is no God or “Intel Idol”. It’s just another ‘suit’… following the scandals that led to the forced ‘resignation’ of the last CEO.

Hey Hi (AI) is Just a Trojan Horse for Illegal Software Patents, According to EPO Management and Litigation Firms It’s in Bed With

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 10:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link (because video rebuttals are easier, faster, and nuanced)

Summary: The longtime pushers or the lobby of patent profiteers just carry on pushing for software patents, nowadays latching onto the inane and unwarranted media hype around Hey Hi (AI) — a hype wave that was co-opted by EPO management to grant unlawful patents

THE following mail was sent to a large number of people, urging them to “draft AI patent applications so that they fulfill what’s in the guidelines” of the EPO after Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos misused buzzwords to make software patents look like they’re somehow noble and so incredibly innovative that applications with Hey Hi (AI) in them should be accepted and then granted as patents. In the video I discuss the following message, which is disturbing for a number of reasons (he’s also pushing it all as a static video this week).

From: Bastian Best <mail@bastianbest.org>
Subject: Patenting AI in the EPO guidelines

Hi -

Did you know that the EPO’s patent examination guidelines have a dedicated section on AI and machine learning? But in my opinion they are too restrictive for a number of reasons. I’ll show you why in today’s podcast. At the end of the episode, I’m also sharing some of my best tips for how to draft AI patent applications so that they fulfill what’s in the guidelines.

WATCH ON YOUTUBE

You can also listen to this on your favorite podcast platform. Right now, it’s on Spotify and Pocket Casts, and other platforms will follow soon:

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST

I’m excited for your feedback. Let me know what you think, and which topics you want to hear about in the future?
Talk to you soon,
Bastian

PATENTS FOR THE DIGITAL FUTURE
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Copyright © 2021 Bastian Best, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up at bastianbest.org or because I know you personally and thought you might like it.

Mailing address:
Bastian Best
c/o BARDEHLE PAGENBERG Partnerschaft mbB Patentanwälte Rechtsanwälte
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Munich 81675
Germany

The author of this is a longtime proponent of software patents, and not because he’s coding or anything. In fact, he ‘hijacked’ the handle “swpat” or “swpats” in Twitter, only to use that to promote this toxic agenda… even though that abbreviation (and hashtag) is typically used by critics and opponents of software patents. Gaining visibility by abducting the critics’ venues or avenues isn’t exactly an ethical trick.

bastian-best-ai

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