01.05.21

Links 5/1/2021: Linus Torvalds Ranting About Intel, Slacko64 Puppy 7.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux Vs Windows: 10 Reasons Why Linux Is Better

      The Linux vs Windows debate never gets old. There’s no denying that Windows is currently the most popular and complete operating system out there, and the reasons people love it may vary from person to person. Some like it because of its beginner-friendly nature, while others stick to it because of their favorite apps’ unavailability for other operating systems. Personally, the only reason why I still use Windows-Linux dual-boot is due to the absence of Adobe’s Suite in Linux.

      Meanwhile, GNU/Linux has also gained popularity recently and is all set to grow by 19.2% by the year 2027. While this is an indicator of something good about the OS, most people still ignore it. Hence, here are the ten reasons why Linux is better than Windows.

    • My Linux Story: How an influential security developer got started in open source

      Open source is a way to express creativity in software while solving a problem. With the right license, it allows almost anyone to use the software, typically for free. That is also important, as not everyone has the luxury to pay for software or related services. The Dutch are known to be humble, outspoken, and in love with things being “gratis.” This word is the same in Latin and means “for thanks” or “for nothing.” While the F in FOSS does not refer to this type of free, I believe it is a powerful driver to bring the software into more people’s hands. That is valuable in itself, as it can open the gates to more feedback, ideas, or even code improvements.

    • Server

      • Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in December 2020 [Ed: 9 out of 10 GNU/Linux, the other one is FreeBSD]

        Choopa.com finished 2020 as the most reliable hosting company site in December, with no failed requests and the fastest average connection time. Choopa.com topped the table four times in 2020, more than any other hosting company site, and made a total of eight appearances in the top 10. The hosting provider offers cloud hosting, dedicated hosting and colocation in its own primary facility in Piscataway, New Jersey as well as smaller facilities in Los Angeles, Amsterdam, and Tokyo.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Full Circle Weekly News #195
      • Late Night Linux – Episode 106

        It’s that time of year where we look back at our 2020 predictions, and make some new ones for 2021.

      • Destination Linux 207: Linux New Year Resolutions, 1080P Should Go Away

        This week on Destination Linux, we’re going to discuss our new years resolutions BUT for Linux and open source in 2021 . . . we’re also going to head to Jill’s museum of computers on a treasure hunt through her stash of technology. Then we will, discuss some long awaited changes coming to Snaps. We’ve also got our famous tips, tricks and software picks. All of this and so much more this week on Destination Linux.

      • Kitty Is A Fast And Feature Rich Terminal Emulator

        Kitty is a terminal emulator available on Linux and MacOS. It offers GPU acceleration, true color, ligature support, graphics support, tabbing, multiplexing and its own plugin framework. Oh, and it’s really fast!

    • Kernel Space

      • Colin King: Improving kernel test coverage with stress-ng

        Over the past year there has been focused work on improving the test coverage of the Linux Kernel with stress-ng. Increased test coverage exercises more kernel code and hence improves the breadth of testing, allowing us to be more confident that more corner cases are being handled correctly.

        [...]

        Each stress-ng release is run with various stressor options against the latest kernel (built with gcov enabled). The gcov data is processed with lcov to produce human readable kernel source code containing coverage annotations to help inform where to add more test coverage for the next release cycle of stress-ng.

        Linux Foundation sponsored Piyush Goyal for 3 months to add test cases that exercise system call test failure paths and I appreciate this help in improving stress-ng. I finally completed this tedious task at the end of 2020 with the release of stress-ng 0.12.00.

        Below is a chart showing how the kernel coverage generated by stress-ng has been increasing since 2015. The amber line shows lines of code exercised and the green line shows kernel functions exercised.

      • Linus Torvalds tears into Intel, favors AMD

        After 15 years of using Intel-based processors for his Linux-building powerhouse computers, Linus Torvalds switched to an AMD Threadripper 3970x-based “frankenbox” for building the world’s most important operating system, Linux. Now, months later, Torvalds is glad of the move and wrote that he’s “very happy with AMD these days.”

      • Linux creator isn’t happy with Intel, here’s why

        “I’m personally very happy with AMD these days. I used to absolutely despise their horrible bulldozer cores, but I think they’ve had a home run with their Ryzen series and their chiplet approach. Not just because they fixed their cores, but because their chiplets made it so much easier to do the scaling they do and offer close to that “twice the cores for twice the price” model,” wrote Torvalds in a forum post by Real World Technologies.

      • Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, calls out Intel on the importance of ECC RAM in the consumer market space

        According to Linus, Intel blocked the widespread use of error-correcting memory and “killed the entire ECC industry” with bad market segmentation. He responded in the Forums after another poster dismissed the importance of ECC memory.

        ECC is an abbreviation for error correction code. ECC memory uses additional parity bits to ensure that the data read from memory is the same as the data written. Without this check, memory is vulnerable to occasional corruption, where bits spontaneously flip, for example due to background radiation.

      • Linus Torvalds Rails At Intel For ‘Killing’ the ECC Industry

        Linux creator Linus Torvalds has accused Intel of preventing widespread use of error-correcting memory and being “instrumental in killing the whole ECC industry with its horribly bad market segmentation.” ECC stands for error-correcting code. ECC memory uses additional parity bits to verify that the data read from memory is the same as the data that was written. Without this check, memory is vulnerable to occasional corruption where a bit is flipped spontaneously, for example, by background radiation. Memory can also be attacked using a technique called Rowhammer, where rapid repeated reads of the same memory locations can cause adjacent locations to change their state. ECC memory solves these problems and has been available for over 50 years yet most personal computers do not use it. Cost is a factor but what riles Torvalds is that Intel has made ECC support a feature of its Xeon range, aimed at servers and high-end workstations, and does not support it in other ranges such as the Core series.

      • New year, new rant: Linus Torvalds rails at Intel for ‘killing’ the ECC industry

        Linux creator Linus Torvalds has accused Intel of preventing widespread use of error-correcting memory and being “instrumental in killing the whole ECC industry with its horribly bad market segmentation.”

        ECC stands for error-correcting code. ECC memory uses additional parity bits to verify that the data read from memory is the same as the data that was written. Without this check, memory is vulnerable to occasional corruption where a bit is flipped spontaneously, for example, by background radiation. Memory can also be attacked using a technique called Rowhammer, where rapid repeated reads of the same memory locations can cause adjacent locations to change their state.

        ECC memory solves these problems – well, ish, in the case of Rowhammer – and has been available for over 50 years yet most personal computers do not use it. Cost is a factor but what riles Torvalds is that Intel has made ECC support a feature of its Xeon range, aimed at servers and high-end workstations, and does not support it in other ranges such as the Core series.

      • Random Password Generator Command in Linux we Rarely Use

        A long term value investor. Believes that secular trends drive investing. Be on the right side of the big trends.

        Password generators are now in abundance. Particularly surprising are the many web applications for this purpose. The random.org service honestly admits that it generates passwords on the server side and it is contraindicated to use them for anything serious. Other services claim to generate passwords locally using JavaScript, but whether or not to take their word for it and whether their approach ensures that leaks are safe is a tricky one.

        [...]

        Interestingly, its author is Theodore Tso, the one who developed the ext2 filesystem and its journaled versions ext3 and ext4.

      • Guess Who Contributed the Most to Linux Kernel 5.10 Development? It’s Huawei (and Intel)

        For a couple of years now, Intel has been leading the code contribution ranking for the development of Linux Kernel by the number changeset or number of lines changed.

        According to the latest statistics reported on LWN.net, Intel tops the chart as one of the most active employers for Linux Kernel 5.10 LTS development cycle.

        Intel’s contribution is nothing out of ordinary. It’s Huawei that adds the surprise here.

        With Intel, Huawei is also known to have made consistent major contributions to the kernel code in recently. It has reached a new milestone with Linux Kernel 5.10.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel Submits Initial Batch Of Graphics Driver Updates Slated For Linux 5.12 – Phoronix

          Now that more developers are returning from their holiday breaks, the first pull request to DRM-Next has been submitted of Intel kernel graphics driver material destined for Linux 5.12.

        • Radeon FreeSync Video Mode Optimization Updated For The AMDGPU Linux Driver – Phoronix

          Last month we wrote about AMD engineers working on an experimental video mode optimization for FreeSync with the open-source AMDGPU Linux kernel driver. With AMD staff getting back to work following the holidays, an updated patch set was submitted today.

          The AMDGPU FreeSync video optimization was updated today and looks like there is enough interest and punctual updates that it’s possible we could see it mainlined for say Linux 5.12, but it didn’t make it in time for the current 5.11 cycle. This optimization to enhance the FreeSync video experience is about avoiding any flickering from otherwise a full mode-setting when selecting the timing mode during video playback. With this pending code, for multimedia players / applications selecting a mode that matches the content being played, no blanking/flickering should occur compared to a full mode-set as presently done.

    • Applications

      • 10 of the Best Launcher Docks for Linux

        Whether you’re a beginner or a professional system administrator, organizing the Linux desktop can feel challenging at times. Luckily, there are a bunch of launcher docks that make desktop organization easier than ever. Linux docks are simple utilities that allow users to quickly switch between apps, monitor programs, and group frequently used software. We take a look at some of the best launcher docks for Linux in this guide.

      • 5 Useful Friendly Apps For Your Trisquel Etiona

        Here’s five useful apps for Trisquel 9 Etiona you may want to know. Their functionalities are among Android pairing (you have a phone, right?), communication, virtual machine, easy password manager, and education so those can help you in daily computing. You can add them simply by using Synaptic Package Manager from the start menu. Okay, now let’s check them out!

      • Essential Tools for Recording High Quality Podcasts on Linux

        Podcasts are a booming business, and many audio pros are seeing more and more work dedicated to this platform. Mac and Windows users have plenty of options for professionally recording and mastering audio, but Linux users aren’t quite as lucky. Yet, if you really love the penguin, there are still awesome podcast tools for producing high-quality podcasts on Linux.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install LibreOffice on CentOS 8

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install LibreOffice on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, LibreOffice is the best alternative for Microsoft Office. This is a powerful free office collection for creating spreadsheets, slide shows, plus databases. It is an open-sourced edition of the earlier StarOffice. LibreOffice obtainable in 115 languages and used by hundreds of thousands of individuals all over the world. The latest LibreOffice seven is available to find upon the particular Linux system.

        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 LibreOffice’s free office suite on a CentOS 8.

      • How to Install KDE Desktop on Ubuntu 20.04

        KDE is one of the oldest and largest Linux community which produce applications that are stable and visually attractive. The community develops free open source desktop and mobile application. One of the popular Linux desktop environment by the community is KDE plasma. KDE is the default desktop environment in Kubuntu.

        KDE plasma is a free and open-source desktop environment developed by KDE. It is a lightweight, responsive, fast, smooth environment that delivers great performance. Its graphical interface uses QML and based on QT.

        KDE plasma has a great look and feel, fresh and eye-catching icons, animations, customizable, and many pleasing features.

        It’s safe to install as many desktop environments which help to experience different desktop. Gnome is the default desktop environment on Ubuntu. If you wish to switch to KDE from Gnome (Ubuntu default desktop), this guide helps.

      • Install MKVToolNix 52.0.0 In Ubuntu 20.04 / Fedora | Tips On UNIX

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install MKVToolNix 52.0.0 in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, and Fedora 33.

        MKVToolNix is an open-source software to create, alter, and inspect Matroska files. MKVToolNix is available to end-users as graphical and command line

        MKVToolNix recently released a new version 52.0.0 and users are recommended to upgrade to this version, due to of bugfixes and new features added to this release.

      • How To Find Last Login on Linux – devconnected

        If you are working in a medium to big-sized company, it is quite likely that you are working with many other system administrators.

        As you are performing your sysadmin tasks, some users may try to connect to your server in order to perform their daily tasks.

        However, in some cases, you may find that something has changed on your server. As a consequence, you are wondering who performed the change.

        Luckily for you, there are many ways to find who last logged in on your server.

        In this tutorial, you will learn about the different useful commands that you can use in order to check the last logins on your computer.

      • How To Install Tor Browser On Ubuntu Linux?

        In this ever-expanding era of internet society, privacy has become one of the major concerns. The more we use our smart gadgets, the more data we produce. This data is then stored in huge databases, and very little do we know what happens to it.

        Sure Linux is the most secure OS out there, but can we trust third-party apps and your Internet Service Provider? Definitely not. This is where Tor comes to the rescue. The acronym for Tor is “The Onion Router”, and it was made to protect user privacy and give users full control of their data. Here’s how you can swiftly install Tor on Ubuntu.

      • How to Copy Files in Linux With the cp Command

        Copying files and directories can be quick and painless in Linux if you utilize the cp command. We’ll learn how to use cp and take advantage of its handy options that will make your copy jobs safer.

      • Linux Bash usage tips

        In this article you will learn some tips related to the use of bash in the main Linux distributions , especially for those who work in environments without access to the Internet and who need more information about certain Linux bash commands.

      • Create Home Directory For Existing User In Linux – OSTechNix

        This brief guide explains how to create home directory for existing user in Linux and Unix-like operating systems using mkhomedir_helper command.

        As you know already, we can create a new user in Linux and Unix-like systems using adduser command, right? Yes, that’s right! When we add a new user, the home directory for the respective user is automatically created by default.

      • GIMP Tutorial: Top GIMP Filters, Part 1

        While on the internet, I came across the site Davies Media Design. Michael Davies has several awesome GIMP tutorials. I particularly liked the one where he discussed his top ten favorite GIMP filters (#11).

      • 5 Great Kali Linux Books – buildVirtual

        If you’re new to Kali Linux, or looking to pick up some more skills then there are some great Kali Linux books available. The aim of this page is to show you some of the best Kali Linux books currently available to help you on your journey to become a Kali Linux expert! If you are looking to learn Kali Linux then each Kali Linux book listed here should help!

      • How to install Wireshark on a Chromebook

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

      • How to install Brave Beta on Ubuntu 20.04

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Brave Beta on Ubuntu 20.04.

      • Install the nvidia package with the linux kernel with the use of pacman and Calamares

        We let Calamares do the hard work and after the installation we reboot and we type

        sudo nvidia-xconfig
        in the terminal and we reboot again.

      • Nmap for Beginners: Gain Hands On Experience With Port Scanning

        If you’ve ever performed any network monitoring, you should be familiar with Nmap. It is a powerful port scanner that allows admins to locate weak points in their network.

        You can investigate an entire network, view running services, and discover known vulnerabilities using a single nmap command. This guide showcases some useful ways of analyzing network services using nmap in Linux.

      • Cartoonize images with Raspberry PI and OpenCV

        In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to create a script which cartoonize images with OpenCV on Raspberry PI.

        OpenCV (Open Source Computer Vision Library) is an open source library used to manipulate and manage visual media, so delivering advanced computer vision and machine learning services. It runs on many platforms, including Linux, Windows, MacOS, iOS and Adroid.

        Instead of a classic installation, you can also install OpenCV with Python support from default Raspberry PI package manager, This way you can get a fast OpenCV environment prefectly integrated with Python scripts.

      • How to Install Wget in all Major Linux Distribution

        In Linux, do you still using the browser to download files when there is a small handy but powerful tool?

        Wget (refer as: world wide web and get) is a free and open-source Linux command-line utility that is a powerful tool to retrieves data from HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP protocol.

        Before going ahead, let us clear some most asked questions about wget.

    • Games

      • Fully playable Caesar 3 open source game engine Julius has a new release

        Another brilliant open source game engine, Julius is a fully playable replacement for the original 1998 release of the city-builder Caesar 3. Powered by modern code, it brings with it various UI updates along with support for modern platforms while reusing the original assets.

      • Heroic Games Launcher is a new unofficial Epic Games Store for Linux | GamingOnLinux

        No Epic Games Store support on Linux? Well, one developer is helping to break down that barrier with the newly released Heroic Games Launcher. Not official but better than nothing? As usual, the open source community delivers where a big company will not.

        What’s interesting about the Heroic Games Launcher is that it’s built on top of another bit of open source tech called Legendary, which is a command-line downloader and launcher for the Epic Games Store with the Heroic Games Launcher giving it an easier to use GUI.

      • Linux on the Nintendo 64? Yes that’s possible and there’s a new up to date port

        2020 was a really weird year with lots of surprises. Some good, plenty bad and Linux seeing a fresh port to the Nintendo 64 was also a thing that happened.

        One we missed from late December while we took a short holiday: developer Lauri Kasanen put out an RFC (request for comments) noting that there have been other attempts in the past but this is not based on either. Kasanen also noted it’s being sent as an RFC as they’re “not sure if it’s useful to have this merged” considering it’s an “Old, niche, and limited platform”. Fun for a day project perhaps? Not particularly useful for many uses though considering the power.

      • Lutris game manager starts off 2021 with a sweet small update

        Lutris, the free and open source all-in-one solution to keep your games from different sources together on Linux has a fresh release out to begin 2021. With the ability to download and launch games from Steam, GOG, Humble Store, Emulators, Windows games through the Wine compatibility layer and much more – it’s certainly useful.

      • Kaiju Wars is an upcoming turn-based strategy where you’re seriously outgunned

        Into the Breach was an absolutely fantastic turn-based strategy game about facing overwhelming odds, and now it appears that developer Foolish Mortals (Radio General) is doing their own take with Kaiju Wars. Currently in the early stages, it’s confirmed to be launching for Linux.

        “Use your military as cannon fodder to buy time; park tanks in the monster’s path to slow it down (don’t worry, we have a good insurance policy). If we can hold them off long enough, our scientists will finish their anti-monster serum. If the monster approaches the laboratory, we’ll have to evacuate using transport trucks, boats or planes.”

      • STASIS: BONE TOTEM looks like another great sci-fi horror adventure coming to Linux

        From the creators of STASIS, CAYNE, and BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION – The Brotherhood have announced their next adventure with STASIS: BONE TOTEM.

        “STASIS: BONE TOTEM is a thrilling and spine-tingling journey into the unknown fathoms of the icy ocean and the terrors that await a family. They will uncover a threat far beyond their wildest dreams.

        [...]

        As for continued Linux support? That’s confirmed. Writing on Steam, one of the team mentioned clearly that it will happen but not at day-1. Linux and macOS will follow after Windows once they’ve all been tested enough, which is what they did with BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION.

      • Vomitoreum is an upcoming GZDoom-powered FPS Metroidvania | GamingOnLinux

        Coming from the people behind the GZDoom games Shrine and Lycanthorn, their next project is a full commercial game named Vomitoreum that will be a first-person shooter metroidvania set in a nightmarish world.

        Taking some inspiration from both Metroid Prime and Dark Souls, it’s a unique blend of pixel-art in a world influenced by the paintings of Zdzisław Beksiński. With it containing intense combat, plenty of exploration and something about a world covered in some horrible fog you’re trying to push back.

      • Impressive racing game DRAG gets a big driving-physics update

        DRAG is easily one of the most impressive Early Access games from 2020 and they ended 2020 in style with a big upgrade to the game and it’s looking great.

        Since DRAG has a next generation 4CPT vehicle physics (4-way contact point traction technology), there’s going to be plenty of tweaks over its Early Access stay. The latest update adds in limited-slip differentials to the front and rear axles as well as a center diff, plus they did a big balancing pass to the handling system.

        I’ve put quite a few hours into it with all these changes, and it feels overall like a big improvement. There’s less spinning-out and random slipping where it feels like you should have some grip. If you found it too difficult before, this is a good time to check it out again.

        The controls for gamepads and keyboard were also adjusted as they “focused the damping and sensitivity more on the center”, along with Steering Wheel force feedback being reworked but still very much a work in progress.

      • Godot Engine – Introducing the Godot glTF 2.0 scene exporter

        glTF 2.0 (GL Transmission Format) is a fully open-source, widely implemented interchange format with built-in support for physically-based rendering standards. glTF is a growing 3D format and has received massive adoption in the game industry. Commonly selected as the format for new software and game engines, glTF can also have new functionality added using extensions.

        glTF can be used in many diverse ways to import or export models across existing industry-standard tools, either through native glTF support or through third-party plugins.

        Godot has had support for importing glTF 2.0 files since Godot 3.0, and we strongly expressed our support of this open format. This support has gradually improved over the years and is now quite mature, at the same time as exporters in software like Blender have also reached a very good state.

      • Wild Wood | Commodore 64 Game

        I have purchased a few Commodore 64 games in recent years. I recently stumbled upon this game that is a work in progress. It is a platformer style game where you take on the role of a hare (rabbit) where you journey in search of your acestrial home in the ancient Wild Wood. In this face-paced game you will use your superior agility and speed to survive the treacherous trails and outmaneuver enemies and hungry predators. At least, that is what the website says.

        This platformer promises to be a multi-directional, high-speed, side-scrolling game with bosses, hidden secrets and bonus stages. The graphics look to be of premium C64 quality. Knowing the graphical limitations of the system, this is quite impressive. It takes some skill and forethought to make look so good.

        [...]

        I get excited about seeing new developments on the Commodore 64. It is amazing that people invest time and effort into a 30+ year old computer that is fueled by a nostalgic passion that I share. I make it a point to purchase new C64 games that I enjoy when they become available.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Wayland and New App Menu Coming to KDE

          The 2021 roadmap for the KDE desktop environment includes some exciting features and improvements.

          If you’re a fan of KDE, 2021 is going to be an exciting year for you. If you’re not a fan of KDE, this year might change that.

          The most important of those roadmap plans is Wayland support. In fact, according to KDE developer Nate Graham, “I expect the trend of serious, concentrated Wayland work to continue in 2021, and finally make Plasma Wayland session usable for an increasing number of people’s production workflows.”

          Look for Wayland to be production ready sometime this year.

          Other KDE features coming up in 2021 include a new App Menu. This will hit Plasma 5.21 and, as Graham said, will be “super modern and awesome.” For a sneak peek at what the Kickoff replacement might look like, check out the Kickoff redesign page. Another exciting development will be full stack support for fingerprint authentication. This will include the lockscreen KAuth, Polkit, and more. The Breeze theme will also be undergoing an evolution. This change will not be fundamental, but more a modernization of the look.

        • KDDockWidgets 1.2.0 released

          We have released KDDockWidgets 1.2.0.

          In this version we added support for two platforms, Wayland and WASM. Additionally, Qt 6.0 is now supported.

          The big highlight of KDDockWidgets 1.2.0 is Wayland.

          This was needed urgently, as there’s no other docking framework on this platform (to my knowledge). Linux distros are gradually abandoning X11 in favor of Wayland, breaking many developer tools in the process.

          The implementation was challenging, as we needed to work around wayland protocol limitations (or rather security features), which substantially restricted the client windows. For example, it’s very hard for a client to position its window at a certain coordinate, or to know where other windows are, or to know its Z-order and detect the drop areas bellow it.

        • Top 10 KDE Plasma Tips to Make You Super Productive [2021 Edition]

          Love KDE? Here are the top 10 KDE Plasma tips for you to make you more productive in this awesome desktop environment.

        • KDE Plasma 5.20.5 Released as the Last in the Series, Update Now

          KDE Plasma 5.20.5 is here a month after KDE Plasma 5.20.4 and includes only a few changes to address some of the remaining bugs and annoyances that users reported lately. For example, it fixes an issue that made Plasma to crash when viewing the Units tab of the Weather applet for a second time.

          Also fixed in this update are several visual glitches that affected the buttons in the headerbar window decoration in GTK3 apps, a glitch in the virtual keyboard that covered up the password field when it appears on the lock and login screens, as well as an issue with the expander arrow of the system tray, which disappear when there’s only a couple of items in the expanded view.

    • Distributions

      • Best Linux distros for Education in 2021

        Linux has a reputation of being a server operating system (OS) that’s mostly used by administrators and developers.

        The truth however is that it’s a general purpose OS that can be used by anyone for any purpose. It gets this ability from the diverse open source community that produces software for all kinds of uses — from tools that power high-availability servers to all kinds of software for everyday desktop computing.

      • Best weird and wonderful niche Linux distros in 2021

        Fed up with the bog-standard Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora and their ilk? Looking for a distro that reflects your individuality? In this guide we’ve discovered some of the quirkiest distros that Linux has to offer.

        But just because they are different doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. In fact, all of the distro have a niche following and their dedicated community of users and developers has helped power them through the years.

      • New Releases

        • Slacko64 Puppy 7.0 Released With 64-bit And 32-bit UEFI Boot Capability

          Puppy Linux is one of the operating systems that you’ll come across in almost every list of best lightweight Linux distributions.

          Last year, we reported the release of Ubuntu 20.04-based Puppy Linux 9.5. Now with a new year, a new stable version 7.0 of Slackware-based (“Slacko” variant) Puppy Linux has been released with new features and bug fixes.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Focus Stacking In PCLinuxOS

          Focus stacking is the process of taking many pictures with different elements of the image in focus, and then combining the images so that the resultant image is in focus.

          It’s a little related to HDR (High Dynamic Range) in that in HDR one combines the dynamic ranges of many images into one HDR image. In focus stacking, the user combines the in-focus regions of various images to render one image.

          In this post we will talk about how I focus stack in Linux.

        • Yelp For Help

          I would have continued developing for winhlp32 and onward to HTML-based Windows help, except that I kind of got left in the dust when things moved from 16-bit to 32-bit. I could barely afford my 16-bit C/C++ compiler when I got it. I saved and scraped together the money to buy it, and couldn’t afford to upgrade to a 32-bit development environment. As a result, the rest of the world moved on with 32-bit programming, and I was unable to continue developing my 16-bit programs (there are others) into 32-bit programs.

          So, that fire to create hypertext documents never really burned out for me. Embers of that fire still smolder today. Even though the rest of the world moved on to 32-bit help, I continued to create 16-bit help/hypertext for a while longer. I pretty much quit when things moved on to HTML based help systems. Fortunately, Yelp gives users several ways to create hypertext documents. You can use HTML, XML, DocBook, Mallard, and other file types to create the files that Yelp is able to read.

          Also in the PCLinuxOS repository is a set of special tools, called yelp-tools. These tools are not installed by default, but can easily be installed via Synaptic. They allow you to properly create the “helpful” hypertext documents that Yelp can read. Getting into all the different tools and file types that can be used to create help/hypertext documents is quite a bit beyond the scope of this article, as well as my ability to talk intelligently about them. Still, you can explore them on your own, as I will most likely do at some point. You can find more information about getting started with DocBook here. Mallard also has some getting-started tutorials here. And, of course, you can find HTML information just about everywhere and anywhere. One thing I’ve already noticed is that both DocBook and Mallard are both XML based, so if you already know some XML, you’ll be ahead of the game.

        • PCLinuxOS Screenshot Showcase
        • PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight – NoIBnds

          I was a Computer geek at work starting with Win 3.1 – by the time of WinXP and all the problems I was always working fixing other peoples computers. I had a friend that thought computers were only for Guns & Porn, so he would trash XP every month or so. So then I went looking for an OS he could use and not trash. Tried Red Hat, Mepis, and then PCLinuxOS around the end of 2003 with Preview 4. I had a question and emailed Tex and he answered back. I was hooked and I have been using PCLinuxOS since then. Even my friend has been using it since then and has never trashed a computer since.

      • Arch Family

        • Arch Linux Reproducible Builds Progress 2020

          A lot has happened since the last reproducible builds summit in Marrakesh 2019, this blog post is a summary of the progress made in 2020 of everything related to getting reproducible builds in Arch Linux.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • 6 developer trends to watch in 2021

          As we shake off the remnants of 2020 and cast our collective gaze toward the future, we chatted (virtually, of course) with a few of our notable developer advocates about the road ahead. Each shared their thoughts on what they saw as a major trend for 2021. Watch the video to hear their wide range of viewpoints.

        • Short Topix: Google Warns Users Content Could Be Deleted

          First released in May 2004, CentOS is a fork of RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux). Initially, CentOS was released as version 2.0, which was forked from RHEL 2.1AS. The major difference between CentOS and RHEL is that CentOS is free and community supported, while RHEL is a paid version, where users pay for support. The current version of CentOS is CentOS 8.

          CentOS, which has become a popular choice to power web servers and other Linux enterprise endeavors, was originally created by Greg Kurtzer as a free alternative to RHEL. Back then, it was known as CAOS. The late Rocky McGough was already working on a RHEL replacement for his employer, and rolled his efforts into the CAOS project, creating CentOS.

          In January 2014, CentOS joined Red Hat, but remained separate from RHEL, guided by a new CentOS governing board. The latest version of CentOS, CentOS 8, was released in September 2019, and supports x86-64, ARM64 and Power8 architectures. On December 8, 2020, the CentOS blog reported that CentOS would be switching from a rebuild of RHEL to CentOS Stream, which will track slightly ahead of the RHEL releases, and will occur on December 31, 2021. Historically, releases of CentOS are supported for 10 years, and this move ends that lengthy support.

          Reactions across social media were loud and mostly negative. The outcry was heard by Greg Kurtzer, one of the co-founders of CentOS. His response was to create Rocky Linux, named after his late CentOS cofounder, Rocky McGough. While there currently is no release of Rocky Linux available, and no release schedule or date has been announced, expect news to be forthcoming soon.

          So why is this considered such big news? Well, you most likely have accessed content somewhere on the web running on a CentOS server. The users of CentOS include Disney, GoDaddy, RackSpace, Toyota, and Verizon. Others, such as GE, Riverbed, F5, Juniper and Fortinet, build products around CentOS. If I recall correctly, even the server that hosts The PCLinuxOS Magazine website is powered by CentOS.

        • Thorsten Leemhuis: Package names can be false friends, too, as (linux|kernel)-headers show

          The `kernel-headers` packages in Fedora, RHEL, or CentOS do not carry the files you get in Debian based distros by installing the package `linux-headers-$(uname -r)`. If you want to build add-on modules for the kernels in Fedora, RHEL, or CentOS, you need to install `kernel-devel` instead. Fun fact: I consider both approaches to package naming flawed.

          [...]

          Other distros also started packaging the files to build add-on kernel modules, but chose other names for the sub-package. The Debian-universe, which ships the Linux kernel in a package called `linux`, settled on packages with the prefix `linux-headers`. I don’t known how it came to this or if `linux-dev` was even considered.

          Is ‘headers’ an appropriate suffix, even if `make headers_install` installs something different?

          Decide yourself. In Fedora 33 the kernel-devel package currently contains about 16.500 files. About 12.000 of them indeed are header files (their file names end with ‘.h’). Then there are a bit more than 4100 files called `Makefile` or `Kconfig`, which are needed for configuration and building. Then there are about 80 files containing C code and about 250 other files: some scripts (perl, python, coccinelle), more Kbuild stuff and a few other things.

          In other words: there is a bit more than headers in there, but they dominate. Nevertheless I still think it wasn’t the best idea to use `linux-headers` as prefix. That’s mainly for two reasons: (1) a ‘linux-dev’ prefix would have been more in line with the approach used by other packages in the Debian-universe; (2) it’s confusing users, as the kernel installs something different when running `make headers_install`.

          But to be fair on the second point here: I did not dig down into the history books, but I strongly suspect the prefix `linux-headers` was chosen and established before `make headers_install` was introduced; that was in September 2006 with Linux 2.6.18.

      • Debian Family

        • More Topics on Store-And-Forward (Possibly Airgapped) ZFS and Non-ZFS Backups with NNCP | The Changelog

          In my previous post, I introduced a way to use ZFS backups over NNCP. In this post, I’ll expand on that and also explore non-ZFS backups.

          Use of nncp-file instead of nncp-exec

          The previous example used nncp-exec (like UUCP’s uux), which lets you pipe stdin in, then queues up a request to run a given command with that input on a remote. I discussed that NNCP doesn’t guarantee order of execution, but that for the ZFS use case, that was fine since zfs receive would just fail (causing NNCP to try again later).

          At present, nncp-exec stores the data piped to it in RAM before generating the outbound packet (the author plans to fix this shortly). That made it unusable for some of my backups, so I set it up another way: with nncp-file, the tool to transfer files to a remote machine. A cron job then picks them up and processes them.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20.1 ISOs have been approved for release

          Following the beta release of Linux Mint 20.1 in mid-December, the stable release has been finalised and approved for release according to the Linux Mint website. While approved, the Linux Mint project has not yet published a blog post about the release or the ISOs but they are expected imminently.

          For those already running Linux Mint 20, the upgrade will be made available via the Update Manager but upgrading won’t be necessary if you’re happy with your existing setup. Like Linux Mint 20, Linux Mint 20.1 will receive security updates until 2025 as they’re both based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, however, it will come with desktop improvements and new apps developed by the Linux Mint project.

          Some of the new apps that will be available include Web Apps which lets your turn your favourite sites into web apps accessible from the app menu and an IPTV program called Hypnotix that’ll come pre-loaded with several freely available channels. For Chromium fans, the Mint team has decided to begin compiling the browser itself without a dependence on Ubuntu’s Snap packaging software.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 664

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 664 for the week of December 27, 2020 – January 2, 2021.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 16 Free open-source email servers for enterprise and individuals

        A mail server is a software package that regulate sending and receiving emails using email protocols over the internet.

        Mostly, we are using several email services like Gmail, Outlook and ProtonMail. However, enterprise often require to use their infrastructure services.

        Many users and companies tend to have their mail servers to own and maintain their data and keep everything in their control.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Why getting voting right is hard, Part III: Optical Scan

            This is the third post in my series on voting systems. For background see part I. As described in part II, hand-counted paper ballots have a number of attractive security and privacy properties but scale badly to large elections. Fortunately, we can count paper ballots efficiently using optical scanners (opscan). This will be familiar to anyone who has taken paper-based standardized tests: instead of just checking a box, next to each choice there is a region (typically an oval) to fill in, as shown in the examples below These ballots can then be machine read using an optical scanner which reports the result totals.

            [...]

            So far in this series I’ve talked about paper ballots as if they are cast at the polling place, but that doesn’t have to be the case. They can just as easily be sent to voters who return them by mail. Depending on the situation this is referred to as “vote by mail” (VBM) or “absentee ballots”. VBM brings some special challenges which I’ll be covering in my next post.

          • Martin Thompson: RFCs in HTML

            I spend a shocking amount of my time staring at IETF documents, both Internet-Drafts and RFCs. I have spend quite a bit of time looking at GitHub README files and W3C specifications.

            For reading prose, the format I routinely find to be the most accessible is the text versions. This is definitely not based on the quality of the writing, all of these formats produce unreadable documents. What I refer to here is not the substance, but the form. That is, how the text is laid out on my screen[1].

            There is clearly a degree of familiarization and bias involved in this. A little while ago, I worked out that there is just one thing that elevates that clunky text format above the others: line length.

          • Standardizing Principles

            There is a perennial question in standards development about the value of the different artefacts that the process kicks out.

            One subject that remains current is the relative value of specifications against things like compliance testing frameworks. Reasonable people tend to place different weight on tests, with a wide range of attitudes. In the past, more people were willing to reject attempts to invest in any shared test or compliance infrastructure.

            In recent years however, it has become very clear that a common test infrastructure is critical to developing a high quality standard. Developing tests in conjunction with the standardization effort has improved the quality of specifications and implementations a great deal.

            Recently, I encountered an example where a standards group deliberately chose not to document behaviour, relying exclusively on the common test framework. Understanding what is lost when this

          • Aaron Klotz at Mozilla: 2018 Roundup: Q2, Part 2

            One of the things I added to Firefox for Windows was a new process called the “launcher process.” “Bootstrap process” would be a better name, but we already used the term “bootstrap” for our XPCOM initialization code. Instead of overloading that term and adding potential confusion, I opted for using “launcher process” instead.

            The launcher process is intended to be the first process that runs when the user starts Firefox. Its sole purpose is to create the “real” browser process in a suspended state, set various attributes on the browser process, resume the browser process, and then self-terminate.

            In bug 1454745 I implemented an initial skeletal (and opt-in) implementation of the launcher process for starting.

            This seems like pretty straightforward code, right? Naïvely, one could just rip a CreateProcess sample off of MSDN and call it day. The code is a bit more complicated than that, for various reasons, which I will outline in the following sections.

      • FSF

        • FSF: We’ve almost made it! Membership drive extended until January 18th

          Over the last few weeks, 368 new associate members have answered the call to stand strong with the Free Software Foundation (FSF) in support of software freedom. We’re thrilled and grateful to have received all the donations and membership renewals that have contributed to our year-end drive. We had a goal of 500 new members by December 31st. We knew this was ambitious. We didn’t quite make it, but since we saw such a strong surge of support right at the end, we’re going to extend the date to January 18th.

          It’s been great to see how the free software message has inspired people from all walks of life and all over the world in 2020, and we’re looking forward to starting a new year of defending and promoting free software, but we need your help to make sure that the FSF starts 2021 off strong.

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Trade and Cooperation Agreement Between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the One Part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the Other Part

            Article DIGIT.12: Transfer of or access to source code

            1. A Party shall notrequire the transfer of, or access to, the source code of software owned by a natural or legal person of the other Party.

            2. For greatercertainty:

            (a) the general exceptions, security exceptions and prudential carve-out referred to in Article DIGIT.4 [Exceptions] apply to measures of a Party adopted or maintained in the context of a certification procedure; and

            (b) paragraph 1 of this Article does not apply to the voluntary transfer of, or granting of access to, source code on a commercial basis by a naturalor legal person of the other Party, such as in the context of a public procurement transaction or a freely negotiated contract.

            [...]

            12 For greater certainty, point (f) of Article SERVIN.2.6(1) [Performance requirements] is without prejudice to the provisions of Article DIGIT.12 [Transfer of or access to source code].

      • Public Services/Government

        • [Older] The European Commission adopts its new Open Source Software Strategy 2020-2023

          On October 21st, the European Commission approved its new Open Source Software Strategy 2020-2023 of the Commission. This is an important step towards achieving the goals of the overarching Digital Strategy of the Commission and contributing to the Digital Europe programme.

          The internal strategy, under the theme ‘’Think Open’’, sets out a vision for encouraging and leveraging the transformative, innovative and collaborative power of open source, its principles and development practices. It promotes the sharing and reuse of software solutions, knowledge and expertise, to deliver better European services that benefit society and lower costs to that society. The Commission commits to increasing its use of open source not only in practical areas such as IT, but also in areas where it can be strategic.

          The strategy recognises the importance of collaboration across the Commission, with Member States, companies and the public at large for building new, innovative digital solutions that work across borders and towards technological sovereignty.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Seven Years Ago, CERN Gave Open Access A Huge Boost; Now It’s Doing The Same For Open Data

            Techdirt readers will be very familiar with CERN, the European Council for Nuclear Research (the acronym comes from the French version: Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire). It’s best known for two things: being the birthplace of the World Wide Web, and home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator. Over 12,000 scientists of 110 nationalities, from institutes in more than 70 countries, work at CERN. Between them, they produce a huge quantity of scientific papers. That made CERN’s decision in 2013 to release nearly all of its published articles as open access one of the most important milestones in the field of academic publishing. Since 2014, CERN has published 40,000 open access articles. But as Techdirt has noted, open access is just the start. As well as the final reports on academic work, what is also needed is the underlying data. Making that data freely available allows others to check the analysis, and to use it for further investigation — for example, by combining it with data from elsewhere. The push for open data has been underway for a while, and has just received a big boost from CERN:

      • Programming/Development

        • Is Dark Mode Better for Developers? | Built In

          When he thinks back on it, software developer Erik Dietrich figures he spent a not-insignificant number of hours configuring his code editors’ color schemes back in the 2000s.

          At the time, code editors and integrated development environments (IDEs) didn’t offer a lot of options for themes, and existing ones often needed custom adjustments. Dietrich used Eclipse, a leading IDE for the popular Java programming language.

          “IDEs typically have what’s known as syntax highlighting — different kinds of concepts in the language are different colors by default,” he said. “The trouble is, if you want to make the background black, now you’ve got all these brick-red and dark-green colors against that. So you’d have to go through the settings and change everything from brick red to bright red.”

          Syntax highlighting presents different parts of the code in different colors, making it easier to identify function names and variable types, for example. But colors were usually optimized for a light background and only came half-baked for dark backgrounds.

        • The Qt Company Is Tomorrow Moving Qt 5.15 To Its Commercial-Only LTS Phase

          As part of their fundamental shift to restrict Qt LTS point releases to commercial customers, The Qt Company is closing the Qt 5.15 branch to the public tomorrow with future Qt 5.15 LTS point releases to be restricted to paying licensees.

          The notice was sent out today that beginning tomorrow (5 January) will start the commercial-only LTS phase of Qt 5.15. The existing Qt 5.15 branches will be publicly visible but will not see any new patches. The public branches are closed to new commits with the exception of Qt WebEngine and the deprecated Qt Script due to third-party LGPL dependencies.

          Only active, commercial license holders will be able to access the private repository that will have the code that comprises the future Qt 5.15 LTS point releases. The first commercial-only Qt 5.15 LTS tagged release is expected to happen in February.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Bash: Write to File | Linuxize

            One of the most common tasks when writing Bash scripts or working on the Linux command line is reading and writing files.

            This article explains how to write text to a file in Bash, using the redirection operators and tee command.

  • Leftovers

    • Enter the Alien: UFOs as the New American Religion

      This might mean that either extraterrestrials are specifically observing the United States or that the United States is peculiarly rich in those cultural characteristics that stimulate eyewitness reports concerning alleged extraterrestrial encounters.

      I believe there is much more evidence for the latter supposition.

    • Moscow Metro hires first women train drivers in recent history

      As of Sunday, January 3, women train drivers began working in the Moscow Metro for the first time in Russia’s recent history. The head of the city’s Transport Department, Maxim Liksutov, made the announcement on Telegram, adding that the female drivers will be driving the trains on the subway’s Filevskaya Line. 

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The Pandemic Offers a Chance to Reimagine Caregiving

        This year we celebrated the holidays under extraordinary circumstances. As the pandemic raged on, we missed the most ordinary things, like baking with family, giving hugs, or sharing a special meal with friends and loved ones. Being separated at a time meant for intergenerational connection and care, difficult as it was, also underscored one of the most important issues that the pandemic put into the spotlight: caregiving.

      • India’s Farm Crisis: “Farming is Our Religion, We Love to Feed People’
      • Biden Must Tackle the Pandemic With a New Deal for Public Health

        A year ago, few could have predicted that the richest nation on earth would soon be in the midst of the greatest public health crisis in its history, with hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of people having been infected in a matter of months by a new virus that emerged from a faraway place. But we were warned. As far back as 1992, the US Institute of Medicine issued a report called “Emerging Infections: Microbial Threats to Health in the United States.” Just two years later, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Laurie Garrett wrote her best seller The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance. Democratic and Republican administrations since then have pursued pandemic preparedness plans in revolving cycles of enthusiasm and ennui, with SARS, avian flu, H1N1, and Ebola lighting periodic fires under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama in the 2000s.

      • The Racism That Undergirds Global Public Health

        Richardson is an infectious disease specialist and an anthropologist. He has extensive experience responding to health crises around the globe, including joining Partners in Health to care for those suffering from Ebola in Port Loko, Sierra Leone. It was not his first stint with Partners in Health. As he tells Paul Farmer, who writes the Forward, he had had a practicum with PIH in Peru many years ago – from which “I got fired after a month for being obnoxious.” While he might regret his youthful punk attitude now, this is telling of Richardson’s impertinent, anarchist attitude toward authority. Richardson cites the recently passed anthropologist David Graeber, who, in Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, called for “hundreds of activists in fairy suits tickling police with feather dusters” (p. 84). Epidemic Illusions has this carnivalesque air.

        During the West Africa Ebola epidemic (as well as in the more recent Kivu epidemic of 2018-2020), distrust of government and international aid workers was high. As Richardson points out, however, when the people of the region have been subjected to centuries of slavery, colonial subjugation, and wealth extraction – why would they not be suspicious of public health measures that strive to contain the epidemic but offer little in the way of treatment? When caregivers fall ill for attending to their loved ones, particularly after they die – why are they blamed for their “backward” beliefs?

      • St. Petersburg authorities anticipating three new COVID-19 waves after the holidays

        According to St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Evgeny Yelin, the city authorities are expecting three new waves of the coronavirus infection after the end of the New Year holidays. As quoted by the local newspaper Fontanka:

      • Media Praise of Israel’s COVID Vaccination Drive a Form of “Medical Apartheid”

        As vaccinations for the deadly COVID-19 virus begin to be delivered in large numbers, Israel has been receiving a great deal of praise in global media for its handling of the fight against the pandemic — one that has cost the lives of over 1.8 million people worldwide in the last 12 months.

      • Wisconsin pharmacist accused of trying to destroy Covid vaccine is ‘conspiracy theorist,’ authorities say

        Police in Grafton, about 20 miles north of Milwaukee, arrested Brandenburg, a pharmacist with Advocate Aurora Health, on Thursday after 57 vials of the Moderna vaccine appeared to have been spoiled. Police said Brandenburg took the vaccine doses from a refrigerator and left them out for 12 hours, possibly rendering them useless.

        Each vial contained 10 doses; in total, the material was worth $8,550 to $11,400, according to a probable cause statement by Grafton police Detective Sgt. Eric Sutherland.>

      • Welcome From The Chief Editor (PCLOS Mag)

        Yes, the pandemic is very, very real. It is sad and tragic to consider all those that we have lost to this virus. But this isn’t the first time humankind has endured a biological assault from Mother Nature.

        Just off the top of my head, the Black Plague from the middle ages comes to mind, when we lost between 75 and 200 million people. As a species, we survived that, and it gave birth to the renaissance art period. It lifted many people from serfdom to respected positions within society simply through attrition. It significantly shifted the distribution of wealth among the people.

        The 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic killed more people globally (by some estimates) than all of those who died fighting World War I. Some conservative estimates place the death toll at somewhere between 20 and 50 million, globally. In fact, some scholars attribute the end of WWI coming about because of the pandemic. It became difficult to find enough healthy individuals on both sides of the conflict to continue the fight, while also continuing the support services back at home. We survived that, as well.

        The AIDS/HIV pandemic has killed over 36 million people. The 1968 Hong Kong Flu pandemic killed over 1 million people. The Asian Flu pandemic in the late 1950s killed over 2 million people. The list goes on and on and on.

        Again, none of this diminishes the losses that society has suffered from this current pandemic. Yes, it’s more disruptive than anything else any of us have ever experienced in our lives. And, it certainly doesn’t diminish any personal losses that anyone has experienced. But those the virus leaves behind will carry on to face a new threat later on down the road. As history has shown us, it’s inevitable. I only hope that we can learn some lessons that will help us deal with the next round. And the next.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Slack Starts 2021 With Outage

          The company has also faced increasing competition, especially from Microsoft, which offers a collaboration product called Teams. In July, Slack filed a complaint with the European Commission that claimed that Microsoft had unfairly bundled Teams with its Microsoft Office work products, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

        • Over 1 lakh Zyxel firewalls, VPN gateways at [cracking] risk, says report

          Dutch cybersecurity researchers have discovered backdoor account in over 1 lakh networking devices manufactured by Taiwan-based company Zyxel, that can grant [crackers] access to those vulnerable devices and put data at risk.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • T-Mobile Admits to Customer Info Data Breach Again

              It’s bad news for T-Mobile. Merging with Sprint didn’t stop it from being hacked. The third-largest cell carrier company in the United States, T-Mobile, announced in a notice on its website that it suffered its fourth data breach in two years. Yet, the company is insisting it takes the security of its customers’ information seriously.

            • Obscure Analytics Tool Helps Cops Make Sense Of All That Location Data They’re Grabbing Without A Warrant

              FOIA requests, leaked documents, data breaches, Congressional testimony… all of these have led to the outing of cellphone surveillance tech utilized by law enforcement. As far back as 2014, Chris Soghoian — former ACLU “technologist” and current Senator Wyden advisor — was telling cops their “secret” Stingray devices weren’t all that secret anymore.

            • Video Hearing Tuesday: ACLU, EFF Urge Court to Require Warrants for Border Searches of Digital Devices

              In 2017, ten U.S citizens and one lawful permanent resident who regularly travel outside of the country with cell phones, laptops, and other electronic devices sued the Department of Homeland Security for illegal searches of their devices when they reentered the country. The suit, Alasaad v. Wolf, challenged the government’s practice of searching travelers’ electronic equipment without a warrant and usually without any suspicion that the traveler is guilty of wrongdoing.

              In a historic win for digital privacy, a federal district court judge ruled in Alasaad that suspicionless electronic device searches at U.S. ports of entry violate the Fourth Amendment. The court required that border agents have reasonable suspicion that a device contains digital contraband before searching or seizing it. At Tuesday’s hearing at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, ACLU attorney Esha Bhandari will argue that the Constitution requires a warrant based on probable cause to search our electronic devices at the border —just as is required everywhere else in the United States.

              WHAT:Hearing in Alasaad v. WolfWHEN:Tuesday, January 59:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m PTWHERE:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiq_Kg0zEPrjMFK_s-KP5_g/

            • Malware Merchant NSO Group Caught Leaving Harvested Location Data Exposed

              Israeli surveillance tech firm NSO Group is something else. (Pejorative, yo.) It set up shop in a contested country where it’s not all that paranoid to say everyone is out to get them. (But it’s still a little paranoid, if not a lot racist.) That being said, Israel doesn’t have a lot of nearby allies. And its ongoing conflict with Palestine hasn’t made it any new friends.

            • EFF to FinCEN: Stop Pushing For More Financial Surveillance

              Even in an increasingly digital world, people have a right to engage in private financial transactions.

              FinCEN’s proposed rule is neither deliberative nor thoughtful. As we’ve written before, this rule—which would require regulated businesses to keep records of cryptocurrency transactions over $3,000 USD and to report cryptocurrency transactions over $10,000 to the government—would force cryptocurrency exchanges and other money services businesses to expand their collection of identity data far beyond what they must currently do. In fact, it wouldn’t only require these businesses to collect information about their own customers, but also the information of anyone who transacts with those customers using their own cryptocurrency wallets.  

              In addition to the concerns we’ve already raised, EFF believes the proposed regulation as written would undermine the civil liberties of cryptocurrency users, give the government access to troves of sensitive financial data beyond what is contemplated by the regulation, and have unintended consequences for certain blockchain technology—such as smart contracts and decentralized exchanges—that could chill innovation. 

            • Police are increasingly using digital vehicle forensics to solve cases

              Most people don’t think that there’s a recording of every voice command they’ve ever given; but it’s true even with your Google Home or Amazon Alexa devices. The same way that a smart phone’s location data and gyroscope data can be used to infer certain things about the phone holder’s location and actions, many people aren’t aware that similar information is stored in a black box within your car. What’s worse, this data isn’t necessarily as protected as it may be when it lives on your phone. This is because there are looser privacy standards for vehicle data.

            • Man sues police after incorrect facial recognition match leads to wrongful arrest

              Clearview AI, and other companies like it, have amassed pictures of billions of people by crawling social media – that is the source of pictures that these algorithms check suspects against with its facial recognition software. Time and time again, this type of facial recognition software has proven to be unreliable, yet police departments still want to use it. A Harvard report by Alex Najibi found that these facial recognition softwares often have about 90% accuracy rate; however, he also noted that “poorest accuracy consistently found in subjects who are female, Black and 18-30 years old.”

            • Latino Voters Show How Far Georgia Has Come

              Tania Unzueta came to the phone Saturday morning while driving from one side of Georgia to the other. She was headed east from Atlanta to Augusta, which sits on the border with South Carolina.

            • Republican Facebook ads for Georgia runoffs contain misinformation, research finds

              Facebook ads backing Republican candidates in Tuesday’s crucial Georgia Senate runoff elections contain misinformation, according to a new report.

              Nearly 100 ads released by the campaigns of Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, as well as the Republican Party and top GOP super PACs, contained claims that had been debunked by third party fact-checkers, according to an analysis the nonprofit advocacy group Avaaz shared with The Hill on Monday.

            • Vienna Superior Court: Facebook can “bypass” GDPR consent, but must give access to data

              The Viennese Superior Court (Oberlandesgericht Wien) has delivered a ruling today that Facebook must pay Mr Schrems € 500 in emotional damages and grant him full access to all the data that Facebook holds about him. However, the internet giant does not need to get consent from users to use their data under the EU data protection law (Article 6(1)(a) GDPR). Instead Facebook can simply grant itself the right to use all data in its terms and conditions (Article 6(1)(b) GDPR).

            • [Old] The Case for Unique Email Addresses

              In protest of this and in solidarity with Josh, I chose to post less on Facebook. It’s pretty bogus for Facebook to have this level of control on what we see or we don’t see.

              So that’s the point I’m getting at here with Tim. In our discourse, Tim said something like, “I don’t see what you’re seeing, help me see what you’re seeing.” I know Tim meant that, I know we’re not seeing the same stuff because Facebook is feeding us both different content to keep us engaged with the platform longer so they can get more money.

              Tim, what I’m seeing is Facebook controlling the worldview of our friends and family. It might be free as in free beer, but it’s not free as in freedom. Hollywood can point a camera at just the right angle and make films that look and feel authentic, but they are fake and hollow facades.

              The difference between Hollywood and Facebook is that you know you’re in for a night of fiction and fun when you buy a movie ticket.

            • Alternatives To Google Photos

              You most likely have heard that Google is eliminating their free unlimited storage in Google Photos. The change is expected to take place June 1, 2021. Up until then, you can continue to use Google Photos unlimited storage. From that date forward, all images uploaded to Google Photos will count towards your 15GiB free storage limit.

              Certain groups of Google Photos users are exempted from the limit, like Google Pixel users, who get unlimited full resolution free photo storage for having chosen/used a Google Pixel phone. In the interest of full disclosure, I am one of those users. For me and my wife, the convenience of the service far, far outweighs the privacy concerns, of which there are many. One of those many conveniences (besides both having Pixel phones, which afford us unlimited full resolution photo storage) is that all of our photos are automatically uploaded to Google Photos in the background, preserving them should something go awry with our Pixel phones … or should we lose our phones.

              Below is the “amended” storage agreement for Pixel 3 users, straight from Google. It appears a little more than half way down the page, under the Pixel Storage Information section of the page.

              You get unlimited free storage at Original quality for all photos and videos uploaded to Google Photos from Pixel 3 through Jan 31, 2022. Photos and videos uploaded on or before that date will remain free at Original quality. After January 31, 2022, new photos and videos will be uploaded at High quality for free. If you upload new photos and videos at Original quality, they will count against your storage quota.

              I guess Google, a company that makes multi-billions of dollars a year (U.S.), isn’t satisfied with having permeated virtually every part of our daily lives. They apparently aren’t satisfied with their immense, obscene revenues from all of that personal privacy intrusion, either. Up until now, Google made most of its money from targeted advertising. And, make money they did … and continue to do! As a result, it’s one of the biggest and wealthiest corporations on the planet.

            • Short Topix: Google Warns Users Content Could Be Deleted

              Well, Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy Holidays, everyone! And why not? 2020 has pretty much been a shiitake mushroom show, so what’s a little more tonnage dropped on the tonnage of bad things that have been thrust upon us this year?! What great timing, Google!

              I doubt there’s a good time to announce a movement from free, unlimited cloud storage to a metered system that incurs costs. And it’s not that Google’s 15GiB of free storage is unreasonable, either. Heck, it’s 7.5 times what Dropbox offers. But, their timing couldn’t possibly be worse. Their announcement comes in the midst of the most serious pandemic to hit the world in over a century. It comes at a time when extreme uncertainty fills users’ lives. It comes when millions are out of work and without a regular income, due to the pandemic and government response to that pandemic.

              Even by June 1, 2021, the date that Google has set for the changes to the cloud storage, much of what we are experiencing will still be with us. Despite the great news of a vaccine for the coronavirus, it’s going to take much more time to vaccinate sufficient numbers of the population, and then for things to get closer to the “normal” that we all remember before the pandemic than the Google deadline for switching from unlimited, free cloud storage. Getting completely back to the old “normal” will never be possible. Those days are gone forever.

            • Google Photos — Bait Meet Switch

              Google Photos blog post announcing their new Google Photos service.

              In case you missed it recently, Google Photos has decided to end their free unlimited photo hosting service. Beginning in June of next year users will be limited to 15GB of space before being asked to pay for more storage. How much you’ll have to pay will depend on how much storage you use. Unfortunately for me, I have more photos than fit their top tier $100/year plan, so even if I wanted to pay I’d be capped out of the service.

              While I don’t begrudge Google, a trillion dollar company that makes billions of dollars a year, from wanting to make even MORE money, I am offended by the bait and switch approach that they took with Google Photos. Offering a user the first hit for free is classic dealer marketing. A lot of time and energy goes into organizing your photos on ANY photo sharing site and when someone spends hundreds or even thousands of hours organizing their photos at a site only to be priced out of the site, those are countless hours that you will never get back.

            • The Brazilian General Data Protection Law

              Brazil’s general data protection law was drafted in 2018, still under Michel Temer’s government.

              The Brazilian project comes in the wake of discussions on data protection in Europe, widely publicized with the advancement of digital devices. The European Union law that protects personal data came into force more than two years ago and has heated up debates around the world.

              In Brazil, a Provisional Measure (a decree) postponed the entry into force of the LGPD until 2021, but the Senate converted, on August 26, 2020, the PM into the 34/2020 Conversion Bill, and deleted the article defining the postponement. With the change, the new set of rules became effective as of September 18, 2020.

              [...]

              The origin of all this is in information, since it is the most valuable asset for generating business. One of the first to understand the value of the data was psychology professor Aleksander Kogan, who collected data from more than 270,000 users through a Facebook test. He gathered information such as name, surname, location and pages liked on the social network and sold it to a company called Cambridge Analytica.

              What followed was the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where personal data from up to 87 million Facebook users was collected. The data was used to influence the opinion of voters in several countries, to help politicians to influence elections in their countries. Following the disclosure of the use of this data in an investigation by Channel 4 News, Facebook apologized and that Cambridge Analytica collected the data “inappropriately”.

              Even so, politicians like Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and even the Brexit movement have benefited from the improper data collection.

              Shortly after this scandal, European authorities created the General Data Protection Rules (GDPR), a set of European Union laws aimed at regulating data privacy. And it was from the GDPR that the LGPD discussion in Brazil emerged, since the country also needs to adapt to the law to be part of the economic bloc.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Biden Must End the Forever Wars

        Eight months into his presidency, Joe Biden will mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. While he shouldn’t wait until the literal anniversary to get started, 2021 marks an ideal opportunity to break decisively with what have come to be known as the forever wars—the open-ended US military involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and many other countries across the Muslim world. A generation of Americans with no memory of the 9/11 attacks is currently deployed in an increasingly aimless effort to avenge them that has now spanned three drastically different presidencies. Polling in recent years has shown consistent opposition to these wars, including from veterans, who have borne the brunt of policy-makers’ refusal to abandon a failed counterterrorism strategy.

      • ‘His Biggest—And Likely Most Disastrous—Stunt Yet’? Experts Warn a Desperate Trump May Attack Iran

        “It may be the case that his most erratic, most reckless lashing out is yet to come.”

      • Experts Warn Trump May Attack Iran Out of Desperation
      • Indonesia was a Model for Anticommunist Massacres and the US Was Complicit

        Having thrown of Dutch colonial rule, that country led by President Sukarno was in the vanguard of nations striving to steer clear of both the U. S. and socialist camps. The Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), with three million members, had become the world’s third largest such party. It participated in elections, was represented in the legislature, and had ties with labor unions and social and cultural organizations.

        In a plot of obscure origin, six Indonesian Army generals were murdered on September 30, 1965. Blame fell on the PKI and soon soldiers, paramilitaries, and thugs were killing or disappearing members of the PKI and its affiliates. Army General Suharto assumed dictatorial powers which he retained until 1998. President Sukarno was sidelined. Deaths approached one million; a million more people ended up in concentration camps. Torture was rampant.

      • Opinion | Trump and Netanyahu Keep Trying to Goad Iran Conflict. They Have 18 Days.

        The U.S. mainstream media’s biggest failure is not that it distorts coverage, but that most of it doesn’t cover the danger of a Mideast conflict at all.

      • Military Veterans to Legal Experts Condemn Trump’s Pardoning of Blackwater War Criminals

        Imperial forces who committed some of the worst atrocities in the name of the so-called “War on Terror” continue to escape accountability and justice for their crimes. Last year alone, Donald Trump granted clemency to war criminals from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. They included Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, convicted of posing with the body of a teenage Islamic State captive whom he had killed with a hunting knife; Army Lieutenant Clint Lorance, convicted of ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan civilians, killing two; Army Major Mathew Golsteyn, charged with executing a suspected Taliban bombmaker; and, Army Lieutenant Michael Behenna, convicted by a military court for murdering an Iraqi prisoner.

        If these outrageous acts of clemency were not revolting enough, on December 22 Trump further cemented his legacy as a malignant narcissist and amoral gangster, one who possesses a deep disdain for the Constitution and international law, by pardoning four convicted U.S. war criminals responsible for massacring unarmed Iraqi civilians. In September 2007, under the pretext of providing security for U.S. diplomats, four former guards (Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, Nicholas Slatten and Paul Slough) from the private security contractor Blackwater used machine guns and grenade launchers to slaughter 17 innocent people, including two children, in Nisour Square, a Baghdad traffic circle. The unprovoked rampage also wounded at least 20. The indiscriminate attack on Iraqi men, women and children was so barbaric and cold-blooded that it was compared by some to the “My Lai massacre,” the murder, rape and torture of hundreds of Viet Nam civilians, mostly women and children, by a platoon of U.S. troops in March 1968.

      • “Nobody” Hurt, “Just a Perp,” Say Officers After NYPD Shot and Killed Man in His Own Home

        Twenty months after Kawaski Trawick was shot and killed by an officer, the New York Police Department has disclosed the nearly full footage of what happened. It shows not only the shooting itself, which the department released footage of last month, but also the minutes afterward.

        Other officers converged on the building in the Bronx after the officer who fired at Trawick reported “shots fired.” Many of the arriving officers activated body-worn cameras, which captured what they said.

      • Trump Outdoes Himself in Desperation

        President-elect Joe Biden won Georgia by 11,779 votes. But Trump repeatedly badgered Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger during an hourlong phone call Saturday to “find” 11,780 votes that would overturn the election in his favor. Raffensperger refused.

        Trump’s phone call is “irrefutable proof of a president pressuring and threatening an official,” Biden senior adviser Bob Bauer tweeted Sunday.

      • Trump Call Offers Portrait of Attempted Coup Ahead of Congress Counting Electoral College Votes

        In the call, Trump alternates between inundating Raffensperger with voter fraud claims (which Georgia officials repeatedly tell the president are inaccurate), blasting Raffensperger with attacks on his party loyalty, and practically begging the Georgia secretary of state to “find” enough votes to flip the Peach State from President-elect Joe Biden to Trump.

        Here’s what we know about the call and what it means as Trump’s coup attempt enters what will be a pivotal week. We’re pulling out some of the major points from the audio and then we’ll circle back to put it all in context.

      • Afghanistan sees rise in targeted killings of civilians: report

        More than 130 civilians were assassinated last year, according to a New York Times tally. But not everyone is blaming the Taliban, whose peace talks with the government restart this week.

      • In Sweden, hawkish defense and feminist diplomacy make odd bedfellows

        Sweden became the world’s first country to declare a feminist foreign policy in 2014. The goal, creators said, is to promote participation of women in politics in general and in peace processes in particular, while at the same time building them up economically. It is also a pioneer of gender budgeting, which routinely takes into account the impact of economic decisions including, say, tax reform, on gender equality.

        The new military spending hike, slated to go into effect later this year, will be the nation’s largest since the dawn of the Cold War. Designed to counter an “imminent threat” from Russia, the money will be used to buy fighter jets, artillery, and a new submarine, as well as to grow Sweden’s forces by 50%, from 60,000 to 90,000 troops.

      • A Clown Coup That Deserves Serious Punishment

        The incoming Biden administration has generally remained muted in response to Trump’s provocations, seemingly working on the theory that Trump’s coup is doomed to be thwarted by institutional checks, so voicing opposition would only turn these restraints into a partisan matter.

        But Trump’s Georgia phone call was so brazen that it elicited an unusually blunt statement from Vice President–elect Kamala Harris, who called it a “baldfaced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States.”

        Harris’s comments reflect the gravity of Trump’s offense. Speaking on CNN, Carl Bernstein suggested that the call was evidence of a crime worse than the story that made his name, Watergate. “I don’t think it’s déjà vu because this is far worse than what occurred in the Nixon presidency,” Bernstein suggested. “What we are listening to here is the president proposing a conspiracy to steal the election.”

      • Worse Than Treason

        “We are what we pretend to be,” Kurt Vonnegut wrote in the opening of his 1962 novel, Mother Night, “and so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” Republicans in Congress are pretending to be seditionists—and so they have become, in fact, seditionists.

        Forget all the whispered denials and the off-the-record expressions of concern in private; ignore the knowing smirks on camera from GOP officials who are desperately trying to indicate that they’re in on the joke. Brush aside the caviling of the anti-anti-Trump writers who would rather talk about that time in 2017 when some Democrats objected to the Electoral College vote (and were gaveled down by Joe Biden himself).

        This is sedition, plain and simple. No amount of playacting and rationalizing can change the fact that the majority of the Republican Party and its apologists are advocating for the overthrow of an American election and the continued rule of a sociopathic autocrat.

    • Environment

      • Midnight Rush: 6 Ways Trump Trashed the Environment During the Holidays
      • Seven years to ground zero for the climate crisis?

        The Earth could cross an ominous temperature threshold in just seven years. A new study cuts the time for drastic action.

      • Biden Should Establish an Office of Climate Mobilization

        As a cofounder of the sunrise movement, I am committed to making the Biden-Harris administration the turning point in our fight to stop climate change and rebuild a just economy. Joe Biden ran on the most aggressive climate plan in history, but since control of the Senate remains uncertain as we go to press, how can his administration stop climate change in the first 100 days without a Democratic majority in Congress?

      • Energy

        • Opinion | Treat Fossil Fuels Like Nukes. Endorse a New Nonproliferation Treaty

          The treaty addresses a nearly universal failing of climate change regulations, which usually attempt to curb energy demand instead of attacking the oil industry directly by limiting fossil fuel supply.

        • Coal Miners Fight Congress To Save Black Lung Benefits

          Coal miners successfully pushed congress to extend the coal excise tax that funds the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund to 2021, as the fund is facing financial struggles due to bankruptcies throughout the coal industry. 

          The coal industry cited the pandemic in pushes to decrease the excise tax on coal, with the National Mining Association lobbying for a 55 percent reduction in the tax rate. 

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Despite ‘Meager Numbers,’ Trump Administration Removes Gray Wolves From Endangered Species List

          “The delisting of gray wolves is the latest causality of the Trump administration’s willful ignorance of the biodiversity crisis and scientific facts.”

        • Gray Wolves Lose Federal Endangered Species Act protections

          Yesterday, the Trump administration’s decision to prematurely strip gray wolves of federal Endangered Species Act protections takes effect. The decision, first announced on October 29, 2020, applies to all gray wolves in the lower 48 states despite the lack of scientific evidence showing true recovery across gray wolves’ historic range. Starting today, management of wolf populations will return to individual state wildlife agencies, some of which are already reinstating hunting and trapping season on wolves.

          “Tragically, we know how this will play out when states ‘manage’ wolves, as we have seen in the northern Rocky Mountain region in which they were previously delisted,” stated Samantha Bruegger, wildlife coexistence campaigner for WildEarth Guardians. “In Idaho, nearly 600 wolves were brutally killed in a one-year span from 2019-2020, including dozens of wolf pups. Last year in Washington, the state slaughtered an entire pack of wolves due to supposed conflicts with ranching interests.  Without federal protections, wolves are vulnerable to the whims and politics of state management.”

        • Scientists Critique the BLM’s Tri-State Fuel Breaks Proposal

          The Final Environmental Impact Statement (“FEIS”) and other project documents are available on the agency’s website.

          To quote the scientists: “If implemented as proposed (and as already approved in the Idaho-side Record of Decision), the project will likely degrade the biological diversity and ecosystem services provided by these landscapes.”

    • Finance

      • In 2021, Let’s Ring a Global Alarm on Inequality that Everyone Can Hear

        “If you have to ask,” the sales clerk smiles back, “you can’t afford it.”

        How much more unequal have we become in 2020? This question demands that we turn that old joke inside-out: We have to ask because we can’t afford not to know. And we can’t afford not to know because inequality is killing us. We have to know exactly what we’re facing.

      • The Case for Wide-Scale Debt Relief

        Even before Covid arrived, total household debt in the United States had reached a record-breaking $14 trillion, the result of decades of stagnating wages and slashed social services. The pandemic only reinforces the reality that mass indebtedness is a structural problem, the result of a system that forces people to borrow in order to make ends meet, rather than of poor individual choices. Millennials, in other words, are not drowning in student loans because of a collective penchant for avocado toast.

      • The UK is Out of the EU, But the Balance of Power in Europe has Tipped Permanently Against It
      • BREXIT: What Was Really Negotiated?

        The leading negotiator on the European side was Michel Barnier, a seasoned treaty negotiator who understands well the intricacies of the functioning of the European market. The UK’s position was dictated by the populist prime minister Boris Johnson, a relentless critic of the European Court of Justice, which according to him, created massive red tape. The British team hadn’t negotiated a trade agreement since joining the EU back in the 1970s. As a result, their chief negotiator David Frost was quite inexperienced.

        The outcome of the treaty negotiations was predictable, given the inequality of bargaining power between the biggest free market zone in the world and a nation of only 66 million people.

      • ‘The Power Is Literally in Your Hands’: Biden Ties Georgia Runoff Races to $2,000 Relief Checks

        “If you send Jon and the reverend to Washington, those $2,000 checks will go out the door, restoring hope and decency and honor for so many people who are struggling right now.”

      • All in for $2K

        On the other hand, the people who have lost their jobs or are unable to work because of care giving responsibilities or health, really do need their unemployment benefits. (One item often overlooked in these exchanges is that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program gives benefits to more than 9 million people who would not ordinarily be eligible for UI benefits.)

        Unemployment has been extraordinarily concentrated in this recession, as can be seen in the sharp rise in the number of long-term unemployed. People lost their jobs in March and have not gotten them back. In a normal recession, different groups of workers see short spells of unemployment.

      • Wall Street Mega-Landlord Blackstone Plans to Benefit From Another Crisis
      • ‘Good’: Billionaire-Backed Effort to Upend US Healthcare System Collapses After Just 3 Years

        “For-profit corporations ruined our healthcare system. They’re not going to be the ones to fix it.”

      • Stripe wants to be a $100 billion one-stop shop for small business

        Palo Alto-based General Catalyst invested in Stripe in 2010, back when the startup was truly a startup. Here’s managing director Hemant Taneja on his experience with the founders. (Responses have been condensed.)

      • 7 Ways 2020 Exposed America

        1. Workers keep America going, not billionaires.

      • Steve Kemp: Brexit has come

        Nothing too much has happened recently, largely as a result of the pandemic killing a lot of daily interests and habits.

        However as a result of Brexit I’m having to do some paperwork, apparently I now need to register for permanent residency under the terms of the withdrawal agreement, and that will supersede the permanent residency I previously obtained.

        Of course as a UK citizen I’ve now lost the previously-available freedom of movement. I can continue to reside here in Helsinki, Finland, indefinitely, but I cannot now move to any other random EU country.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Judge rejects another Trump attempt to decertify Georgia votes
      • The Last Gambit of the One-Trick Pony

        The motivation for president’s empty rhetoric has become clear as day: to create a lasting image of himself as a generous “insurgent” who cares immensely for the people. Yet such legacy-boosting stunts stand in stark contrast to actual recent measures he’s taken since the election: granting clemency to Blackwater war criminals, executing people during the presidential transition, which hasn’t been done since Grover Cleveland’s days, and making wide swathes of federal land available for extractive industries.

        It one of a multitude of examples of Trump’s overt, unrepentant hucksterism, which until 2017, was unknown in the White House. To be sure there were hucksters and liars, but they sheathed falsities in fine linens. When their lies were called out, they’d squirm and equivocate but would generally concede that they had “misspoken,” been “mistaken” or “misled.” Eventually, former presidents all tended to realize facts, or at least some semblance of them.

      • WTF 2020 Bingo
      • A Blueprint for Social Movements During the Biden Presidency

        Joe Biden’s central campaign message focused on a fight to “restore the soul of America.” Now we are in a fight for the soul of the Biden presidency. Like Barack Obama’s presidency, this will be a constant terrain of struggle—at times hostile, at times open to progressives and social movements.

      • Now Is the Time for Congress to Deliver

        America is moving forward from the dark days of Donald Trump’s presidency. Critical numbers of working people of all races joined young, Black, brown, and Indigenous voters to propel us to victory. We organized progressives in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan to help take back those states. Thanks to decades of on-the-ground organizing in Georgia and Arizona, we flipped those states blue. And we kept our gavel in the House of Representatives through remarkable turnout, including in swing districts where eight incumbents ran and won while supporting Medicare for All, and four ran and won while supporting the Green New Deal.

      • Opinion | Old Congress, New Congress: Profiles in Sore Losing

        The open sedition of so many Republican members is a crime and a national disgrace. They’re attempting a clumsy coup d’etat.

      • 1968: a Dress Rehearsal for 2020

        What do all these events have in common? They all point to destabilizing moments, moments that saw a radical rupture from how people lived before. In each of the periods mentioned, people said that life was never the same after.

        And what about 1968? There are advantages of living to an old age. I lived through all of the following events. Recounting them here brings back flashbacks (most popular for other reasons at the time) of trauma and anxiety. I was a senior in college at the time, mostly worried about finishing a thesis and trying to figure out what to do after university. In retrospect, that year was a fundamental disruption of accepted norms; it set the stage for future events. Life was never the same after.

      • Opinion | I Never Thought Democrats Could Win Georgia. Could It Happen Twice?

        The critical Senate run-off race is too close to call. But a massive voter mobilisation effort may just tip the balance.

      • The Messiah Awaits Our Coming…to the Realization That no Messiah is Coming to Save Us

        But in the Christian world, one child, alone, is deemed special. In fact, he was recorded as being born of a virgin, impregnated by the Holy Spirit. Born of holiness, not humanness, which is about as special as you can get. As his supernatural birth story goes, an angel of the Lord appeared to frightened shepherds, telling them. “Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day . . . a “Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” And a chorus of angels appeared praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest heaven. And on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” (Luke 2)

        Wise men also hallow further Jesus’ birth story: they followed a star that led them to a lowly manger where Jesus was born and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then warned in a dream not to tell Rome’s occupying ruler Herod the location of Jesus’ birth, they avoided him on their return home. A “infuriated” Herod saw the birth of Jesus as so special: as a threat to his power and rule. So he determined the region in which Jesus was born, and ordered the massacre of all the male Jewish children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under.” Then these prophetic words: “Rachel weeping for her children: she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” (Matthew 2) Tragically, Rachel and her children merely serve as props for the special Christ Child.

      • The NYT Joins Trump’s Anti-China Crusade

        “Beijing acted against the coronavirus with stunning force, as its official narratives recount. But not before a political logjam had allowed a local outbreak to kindle a global pandemic.”

        The clear implication of the second sentence is that if China’s leadership had responded effectively to the pandemic, it could have been quickly contained in Wuhan and not spread around the world. The biggest problem with this assertion is that there is evidence that the pandemic was already present in Europe before the end of 2019, at a point where no one in China had any clear idea what they were dealing with.

      • Opinion | In 2021, the Best Way to Fight Neofascist Republicans Is to Fight Neoliberal Democrats

        As its policies gradually degrade the standard of living and quality of life for most people, neoliberalism provides a poisonous fuel for right-wing propaganda and demagoguery.

      • ‘Open-and-Shut Federal (and State) Crime’: Members of Congress Demand Prosecution of Trump for Election Tampering

        “We must hold him fully accountable, even after he leaves office. There must be justice.”

      • The First 100 Days Are Critical

        Joe Biden will be inaugurated as America’s 46th president on January 20, after a year of turmoil. We are in the midst of the worst public health disaster in a century, with more than 300,000 dead from Covid-19 and tens of thousands more expected to succumb before mass vaccination can end the pandemic.

      • Ruling Class Installs Biden Over Trump

        When $trillions were at stake, as with the usual bipartisan corporate bailouts, tax cuts and “stimulus” legislation aimed at shoring up the corporate elite, he was an initially tolerated team player. When he became an embarrassment to big capital he had to be dumped – in due time. A resisting Trump thought otherwise.

        Accident of history

      • The Big Lie Strategy for Grabbing Political Power

        No court has found substantial fraud or miscounts in any of the 60 lawsuits Trump and his allies have brought before them. Eighty-eight state and federal judges, appointed by members of both parties, came to those decisions. Chris Krebs, who was appointed by Trump to head up Homeland Security’s Security Agency, tweeted that “59 election security experts all agree, ‘in every case of which we are aware, these claims have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent.” After  that tweet, Trump fired him.

        According to a New York Time analysis, Trump’s allies did not even formally allege fraud in more than two-thirds of their cases. And yet, Trump has almost daily repeated the same lie that millions more voters cast their votes for him over former Vice President Joe Biden.

      • Trump and His Cronies Must Face the Music for Their Crimes

        Joe Biden wants to heal America after four years of viciously divisive and deadly governance by Donald Trump. But he will fail at that task, risking both his presidency and his party’s fortunes, if he refuses to hold Trump and his enablers to account. A politics of “forgive and forget” will not unify the nation—it will simply ensure that Democrats lose control of Congress in 2022 and the presidency in 2024.

      • America Can’t Hide From This Drastic Reckoning

        I ask as an American citizen concerned about our damaged democracy but also as someone with roots in Chile, which after many years of dictatorship suffered the harmful consequences of failing to fully complete its democratic transition.

        It is just such a major transition that the United States needs today.

      • Opinion | Conservatives Spent 2020 Accusing Facebook of Being Biased Against Them, but Engagement Data Tells a Different Story

        In 2020, right-leaning Facebook pages consistently earned more interactions than ideologically nonaligned and left-leaning pages—again.

      • How Biden Can Support Black America

        On November 7, in his first speech as president-elect, Joe Biden promised Black America that he would have our backs. But which Black America is he pledging to support? Having our backs does not mean multiracial cronyism; it means resources and results for those who need them most. We cannot let cosmetic cabinet appointments and historic “firsts” take the place of policies that steer money from the richest individuals and corporations to poor and working people, or allow the new administration to ignore economically disenfranchised communities of color.1

      • Donald Trump is Not Hungry

        He now seems to be having the best of times, when we see him elegantly gallivanting in his golf cart, ready to heroically surmount the deadliest obstacles. That this happening as we see the longest lines for food handouts since the Depression is of no concern to him. He only looks at the big picture: himself. Rome is burning but Nero is calm.

        In fact, he is so calm, that he organized a New Year’s Eve party at his Floridian hide away where, true to form, he left for Washington leaving his disappointed guests to mingle instead with Eric and Don Trump Jr. while Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were missing in action. Oh, well, one cannot have everything in life…

      • Democracy Will Never Be Delivered From Above. It Must Be Built From Below.
      • Trump Faces Criminal Investigation for Call to Georgia Secretary of State
      • ‘Trump Has Not Acted Alone’: House Dem Demands Criminal Probe Into President—and GOP Enablers

        Congressman Don Beyer of Virginia argued audio of Trump’s call with Georgia’s secretary of state “makes Nixon’s ‘smoking gun’ tape sound tame.”

      • Sanders, Other Critics Denounce GOP Senators’ Attempt to Undermine Election
      • The Georgia Senate Runoff Races Are Too Wild to Call

        As Donald Trump continues to lawlessly try to overturn Joe Biden’s valid Georgia victory, Democrats are having to run three campaigns for Georgia’s two US Senate seats this week. The Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are, of course, in post-November runoffs against GOP Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. But the third campaign has been run by hundreds, maybe thousands, of Democratic leaders and activists, and it could be the most important of all: to prevent the GOP from suppressing, disqualifying, and discouraging Democratic voters’ participation in the January 5 runoff.

      • AOC, Legal Experts Describe Trump’s Georgia Call as an “Impeachable Offense”
      • Trump’s Solicitation of Election Fraud Is His Highest Crime

        President Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday with an explicit, and repeated, demand that the overseer of elections in a critical battleground state “find” a sufficient number of votes to overturn that state’s choice of President-elect Joe Biden.

      • Raffensperger Stood Up to Trump, But He Also Attacked Voting Rights Groups
      • ‘He Is the King of Dirty Deals’

        Janine Jackson interviewed Public Citizen’s Lisa Gilbert about lame duck Donald Trump for the December 25, 2020, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • ‘The president is waiting’ Leaked recording implicates Belarusian KGB in plotting murders abroad on Lukashenko’s orders

        An alleged recording of Belarus’s former KGB chairman has revealed that the country’s president, Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka), authorized political assassination operations abroad as recently as in 2012. The recording was published by the Brussels-based online newspaper EUObserver on Monday, January 4. Though it has yet to be authenticated, the tape notably includes a discussion of plans to murder journalist Pavel Sheremet, who was killed when a bomb exploded under his car in downtown Kyiv in 2016.

      • I Observed Venezuela’s Elections: Here’s What the US Media Got Wrong

        In early December, I traveled to Venezuela to serve as an election observer during the country’s national assembly election. I was part of a group of eight people from Canada and the United States organized by CodePink. There were about two hundred international observers in total, including the Latin American Council of Electoral Experts. I have served as an official election observer in Honduras and was an unofficial observer during Venezuela’s 2015 national assembly election.

      • Federal Judge Rejects Attempt by Wisconsin Trump Allies to Overturn Biden Win

        Their argument, said the judge, “lies somewhere between a willful misreading of the Constitution and fantasy.”

      • “Find 11,780 Votes”: Trump Pushes Georgia to Overturn Election in Move to Disenfranchise Millions

        In an hour-long phone call, President Trump pressured Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state’s 2020 election. He made the call nearly two weeks before he is due to leave office and just two days before the runoff elections in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate. The Washington Post obtained a recording of the phone call of Trump both berating and begging Raffensperger, and even threatening him with criminal charges if he refused to investigate false claims of voter fraud and change the certified election results. “It’s astounding,” says Nsé Ufot, CEO of New Georgia Project and New Georgia Project Action Fund, organizations that played a key role in mobilizing voters for the 2020 election, and again for Tuesday’s runoff elections. “This has to be criminal.”

      • Defeating McConnell: The Real Stakes

        The upcoming runoff elections in Georgia are about more than replacing two corrupt Republican senators with Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. They are about flipping the Senate.They are referenda on the disastrous tenure of Mitch McConnell and the damage the Republican Party has inflicted on America.

      • Dominion Voting Systems CEO plans to sue Sidney Powell imminently

        Dominion Voting Systems CEO John Poulos told Axios on Monday that his company plans on suing former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell imminently for defamation over her claims about its voting machines.

        “Our focus right now is on Sidney Powell, and there’s very good reason for that. She is by far in our opinion the most egregious and prolific purveyor of the falsities against Dominion. Her statements have caused real damage. They’re demonstrably false,” Poulos said.

      • The Dark Reality of Betting Against QAnon

        When Cage discovered what was going on, he suddenly had information most Americans didn’t have, a sort of real-time look at just how popular QAnon was becoming, down to the dollar. And now, the theory has expanded to a worldview: “It’s beyond Q at this point,” Cage said. QAnon believers swap conspiracy theories back and forth, welcoming people who are against vaccinations, people who believe the moon landing was faked, and people who follow just about every other conspiracy theory into their community.

        Trump’s embrace of bizarre conspiracy theories about voter fraud has had similar effects. “It’s actually kind of alarming how delusional prediction markets are,” Nate Silver, founder of FiveThirtyEight, tweeted right after the election. “They give Trump a 12% chance of winning Nevada, a state that has been called for Biden and where he has a fairly large lead, and where there is no coup possibility since it’s run by Democrats.”

      • Joe Biden’s Nominees Walk Through the Revolving Door

        On Friday, Politico reported that Yellen, who served as Federal Reserve chair from 2014 to 2018, had raked in millions from speeches to Wall Street firms and other corporate interests. After spending the past four years criticizing the Trump administration’s corruption, some liberals are now arguing that Yellen’s paid speeches aren’t relevant or worth reporting — even though the payouts are sizable and germane to her prospective job in government.

      • There were 18 attempted calls from the White House to GA secretary of state’s office, sources say
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • 60 Minutes Episode Is Pure Misleading Moral Panic About Section 230; Blames Unrelated Issues On It

        I have a browser open with about a dozen different bad and wrong takes on Section 230 that one day I may write about, but on Sunday night, 60 Minutes jumped to the head of the line with an utterly ridiculous moral panic filled with false information on Section 230. The only saving grace of the program was that at least they spoke with Jeff Kosseff, author of the book on Section 230 (which is an excellent read). However, you can tell from the way they used Jeff that someone in the editorial meeting decided “huh, we should probably find someone to be the “other” side of this debate, so we can pretend we’re even-handed” and then sprinkled in Jeff to explain the basics of the law (which they would then ignore in the rest of the report).

      • World’s Worst Internet Shutdowns Cost India $2.8 Billion in 2020

        With 8,927 hours of blacked out or curbed bandwidth access, India restricted internet use more than any other nation, as restrictions originally imposed in 2019 continued throughout 2020, according to the Global Cost of Internet Shutdowns report released by Top10VPN.

      • Austrian Article 17 proposal: The high road towards implementation?

        So far there we have seen two different approaches to implementing Article 17 into national copyright legislation. On the one hand, we have countries like France, the Netherlands, or Croatia who have presented implementation proposals that stick as closely as possible to the language and the structure of Article 17 while implementing its provisions within the structure of their existing copyright acts. In doing so these implementations essentially kick the can down the road with regards to figuring out how the conflicting requirements to filter (17(4)) and requirements to ensure that legal uploads are not filtered out (17(7)) can be reconciled. In the end, none of these implementation proposals offer a convincing mechanism for ensuring that creators get remunerated and that users’ rights are not violated.

      • Edinson Cavani ban: Uruguay players want Man Utd striker’s punishment overturned

        The striker subsequently deleted the post and apologised when the meaning that could be attached was pointed out.

        “It was intended as an affectionate greeting to a friend, thanking him for his congratulations after the game,” said the former Napoli and Paris St-Germain striker.

        “The last thing I wanted to do was cause offence to anyone.

        “I am completely opposed to racism and deleted the message as soon as it was explained that it can be interpreted differently.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • China may strip lawyers of practising licence after involvement in politically sensitive cases

        Chinese authorities may strip two human rights lawyers of their practising licence following their involvement in politically sensitive cases last year. Lu Siwei had been involved in the case of the 12 Hong Kong fugitives while Ren Quanniu had helped a citizen journalist who had covered the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.

        In a letter informing Lu of administrative punishment proceedings against him released Monday, the Sichuan province’s Department of Justice accused him of “publishing inappropriate speech online.”

      • ‘A Huge Relief’: British Judge Rejects Trump Administration Attempt to Extradite Julian Assange

        “Let this be the end of it,” said whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      • UK Judge Blocks Extradition of WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange
      • EFF Statement on British Court’s Rejection of Trump Administration’s Extradition Request for Wikileaks’ Julian Assange

        EFF’s Executive Director Cindy Cohn said in a statement today:

        While we applaud this decision, it does not erase the many years Assange has been dogged by prosecution, detainment, and intimidation for his journalistic work. It also does not erase the government’s arguments that, as in so many other cases, attempts to cast a criminal pall over routine actions because they were done with a computer. We are still reviewing the judge’s opinion and expect to have additional thoughts once we’ve completed our analysis.”

        Read the judge’s full statement.

      • Judge Refuses To Extradite Julian Assange, Citing US Prison Conditions & Assange’s Mental Health

        Even if you think that Julian Assange conspired against the US with the help of Russia, as some allege, you should still be extremely concerned about the US’s prosecution of him. As we’ve explained, the details in the indictment would criminalize many activities that journalists do every single day. It would be a massive expansion of how the Espionage Act was interpreted and would try to blame him for hacking he had nothing to do with.

      • Decision Is Good News for Assange But Sets Grave Precedent for Other Journalists
      • Mexico’s Lopez Obrador Wants to Give Asylum to Julian Assange

        “Assange is a journalist and deserves a chance,” the Mexican president said Monday.

      • Opinion | Assange Wins. The Cost: The Crushing of Press Freedom

        The labeling of dissent as mental illness cannot be seen as a victory.

      • Threat to Journalism Remains, Warn Critics, After Assange Extradition Rejected Solely Due to Brutal US Prison System

        “That a British court has ruled that the U.S. prison system is too barbaric to guarantee the safety of Assange tells its own story. But this is about something much bigger than Assange: it’s about journalism, the free press, and…  the ability to expose atrocities committed by the world’s last remaining superpower.”

      • Assange Wins. The Cost: The Crushing of Press Freedom

        Those who campaigned so vigorously to keep Assange’s case in the spotlight, even as the US and UK corporate media worked so strenuously to keep it in darkness, are the heroes of the day. They made the price too steep for Baraitser or the British establishment to agree to lock Assange away indefinitely in the US for exposing its war crimes and its crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan.

        But we must not downplay the price being demanded of us for this victory.

      • Julian Assange Wins Extradition Case but Judge Sets Worrying Precedent

        Wikileaks cofounder Julian Assange will not be extradited to the United States, a London court decided this morning. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that Assange would stay in the United Kingdom over fears for his psychological health. “I find that the mental condition of Mr Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America,” she said, noting that she did not believe the U.S. prison system had the capability to stop him killing himself. The Australian publisher had been facing up to 175 years in a supermax prison if taken to the U.S. The prosecution, representing the U.S. government, immediately announced that it would appeal the decision.

      • Chris Hedges: The Empire is Not Done with Julian Assange

        As is clear from the memoir of one of his attorneys, Michael Ratner, the ends have always justified the means for those demanding his global persecution.

      • “Victory for Julian”: U.K. Blocks WikiLeaks Founder Assange Extradition to U.S. on Espionage Charges

        In a stunning decision, a British judge has blocked the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, saying he would not be safe in a U.S. prison due to his deteriorated mental state. In 2019, Assange was indicted in the United States on 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act related to the publication of classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The United States has already announced plans to appeal the ruling. Press freedom advocates have campaigned against Assange’s prosecution for years, arguing it would set a dangerous precedent for prosecuting journalists. The blocked extradition due to concern over prison safety rather than press freedom shows that “this is not the end of the road,” says Assange legal adviser Jennifer Robinson. “This is still a terrible precedent.” We also speak with Jameel Jaffer, founding director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, who says that while the decision is a “very significant victory” for Assange, the judge has largely sided with the U.S. prosecution.

      • In Assange Case, British Judge Rejects US Government’s Extradition Request

        Citing harsh federal prison conditions in the United States, a British district court judge rejected the United States government’s extradition request against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.Judge Vanessa Baraitser accepted that Assange was diagnosed with a “recurrent depressive disorder.” Although he functions at a high level, she accepted he was diagnosed with autism as well.She accepted that he would likely be imprisoned at a supermax prison in the U.S. under special administrative measures (SAMs) and would find a way to commit suicide.

        “I am satisfied that, in these harsh conditions, Mr. Assange’s mental health would deteriorate causing him to commit suicide with the ‘single minded determination’ of his autism spectrum disorder,” Baraitser declared. “I find that the mental condition of Mr. Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America.”The judge highlighted Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide as well as the suicide attempt by Chelsea Manning in the Alexandria Detention Center, where Assange would be held before and during trial. Baraitser determined in “conditions of near total isolation,” and without “protective factors which moderate his risk” of committing suicide at the high-security Belmarsh prison, where he is currently detained, the authorities would not stop him from trying to end his life.The US government will submit an appeal with the High Court of Justice, and he will have an opportunity to apply for bail from Belmarsh, where he has been detained since April 2019.

      • Julian Assange Extradition Verdict

        In today’s latest Julian Assange extradition case hearing the presiding judge unexpectedly ruled against extradition on medical grounds. A bail application will be made at 10am on Wednesday 6th January 2021 at Westminster Magistrates Court. Given that Assange has now been discharged from extradition he could be re-united with his fiance and two young children after the bail hearing.Speaking outside the court today, Stella Moris, partner and mother of Assange’s two young children said: “I ask you all to lobby harder until Julian is free”“The indictment in the US has not been dropped – we are extremely concerned that the US government has decided to appeal this decision – it continues to want to punish Julian and make him disappear into the deepest darkest hole of the US prison system for the rest of his life”.“We will never accept that journalism is a crime in this country, or any other”.“I call on the President of the United States to end this now. Mr. President, tear down these prison wall. Let our little boys have their father. Free Julian, Free the Press, Free us all”.WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, while welcoming today’s decision stated that: “It is a win for Julian Assange – but it is not a win for journalism. The US government should drop their appeal and let Julian go free”.United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer told a German State broadcaster that “Only when I started to look into pieces of evidence – I saw that the whole narrative that had been spread about Assange for so long – was not supported by evidence”.Amnesty International also welcomed the decision saying that the ‘politically-motivated process at the behest of the USA’ had put ‘media freedom and freedom of expression on trial’The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomed the decision and urged US DOJ to drop the charges.The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights said “Considerations of press freedom and potential ill-treatment should prevent his extradition. Hope this brings proceedings to a swift end”All major human rights organizations voiced their support for the decision including: Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International, Electronic Frontier Foundation, National Union of Journalists, Australian Union of Journalists (MEAA), Article19, Freedom of the Press Foundation, International Press Institute – as well as politicians and commentators from all sides of the political spectrum.

      • Julian Assange Extradition hearing: District Court Ruling

        The U.S. will appeal the decision.

      • Julian Assange: Imminent Freedom

        It has been a long and tiring day, with the startlingly unexpected decision to block Julian’s extradition. The judgement is in fact very concerning, in that it accepted all of the prosecution’s case on the right of the US Government to prosecute publishers worldwide of US official secrets under the Espionage Act. The judge also stated specifically that the UK Extradition Act of 2003 deliberately permits extradition for political offences. These points need to be addressed. But for now we are all delighted at the ultimate decision that extradition should be blocked.

      • UK court rejects US request to extradite Julian Assange

        A British judge has ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should not be extradited to the US to face espionage charges, saying the risk that he would commit suicide are too high. Washington has a fortnight to decide whether it wants to appeal against the judgment.

      • Assange’s extradition trial a test for press freedom, rights groups say

        Assange biographer Andrew Fowler told FRANCE 24 that the judge’s ruling “sends a chill through journalism”.

        “Essentially it showed that what journalists do for a living is seen by British courts to be a criminal act. It sends a chill through journalism. And to say it’s his mental health that stands in the way is a way of dodging the real argument and the argument is that every journalist is now on alert that anything they do… they can be picked up off the streets, charged by US and extradited to the US on any charges the US wants to bring.”

      • Julian Assange verdict: A test case for press freedom

        A London court today will announce its verdict on whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be extradited to the United States. The proceedings have been described by critics as unfair.

      • Press Freedom On Trial With Assange, Ruling Expected

        Journalism and press freedom will be tried along with Julian Assange as he prepares to receive the verdict on his extradition to the United States where he faces a 175 years sentence for his work exposing war crimes and human rights abuses.

        [...]

        Editor-in-Chief of Wikileaks Kristinn Hrafnsson has said, “The mere fact that this case has made it to court let alone gone on this long is an historic, large-scale attack on freedom of speech. The US Government should listen to the groundswell of support coming from the mainstream media editorials, NGOs around the world such as Amnesty and Reporters Without Borders and the United Nations who are all calling for these charges to be dropped. This is a fight that affects each and every person’s right to know and is being fought collectively.”

        Judge Vanessa Baraitser will announce her decision on the United States’ request to extradite Assange at 10am on Monday, January 4th, at the Old Bailey in London where he’ll be transferred from Belmarsh prison.

      • Vietnamese Dissident Blogger Seriously Ill Ahead of Jan. 5 Trial

        Vietnam’s already low tolerance of dissent has deteriorated sharply this year with a spate of arrests of independent journalists, publishers, Facebook personalities and other dissident voices in the run-up to the ruling Communist Party conference in January.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • My Recent Experience with Immigration Control Tyranny

        About 30 miles north of Laredo, a driver goes over the crest of a hill and encounters an amazing and surreal site. At first, it seems like you’re still in Mexico because up ahead is a permanent government highway checkpoint, one that you find on the border itself.

        But this isn’t the border. This is some 30 miles north of the border. It stands to reason that in a system of immigration controls, officials would have an immigration checkpoint at the border to control entry into the United States. In Laredo, there are international bridges that connect Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and Laredo. They span the Rio Grande, which is the official border between Mexico and the United States.

      • The Real Chicago 8 Movie: R.G. Davis Gets it Right

        According to the web site, the Media Burn Archive “collects, restores and distributes documentary video created by artists, activists and community groups.”

      • Opinion | Give Me A Break: When Darth Vader Improbably Takes the Moral High Ground
      • Opinion | Why Trump Should Commute Lisa Montgomery’s Death Sentence

        Mental health experts have explained that there is a direct line from the relentless abuses Montgomery suffered to the tragic crime she later committed.

      • An Israeli Settler I Want to Live Beside

        The horrific event that brought you both to this point was perpetrated in broad daylight, creating a public and angry outcry. The public has gathered in the parking lot of the hospital, its anger growing by the second. Inside, the health professionals do their job in a cold, systematic manner, as trained. The first decision is to take the still-living victim to triage and prepare them for a life-saving operation. The cadaver is immediately sent to the morgue with an order for a fast-track autopsy, in order for the growing crowd outside to be addressed with facts to suppress the gossip spreading like wildfire as the media arrives to witness the mayhem.

        The two lead medical professionals inside the emergency room have vastly different duties. The physician overseeing the operation cares less about the circumstances that created the mutilated body in front of her. She is laser-focused on all the vital signs of the patient as she makes her first, of what will be many, incisions. The physician’s entire world is confined to the ecosystem of a single operating room, a single bed, with a single patient. Time is of the essence. Her team is an extension of her every move. The entire operating team has one goal: save the life of the patient. In parallel, and with the same urgency, another emergency room team member is questioning the patient’s family. The medical history of the patient is vital to the surgeon. Was the patient dealing with any disease, did he take any medications, etc. At this precise moment, the entire hospital team cares less about how this patient’s life may develop after recovery—will the patient be happy or sad, be successful or not, land their dream job or be unemployed, will marry or divorce, etc. Any consideration other than life, at this point, is totally moot.

      • Biden Promised to Help Asylum Seekers. He Should Start by Repealing Title 42.
      • ‘Violence Is Being Incited’: DC Braces for Trump-Endorsed Anti-Democracy Rally on Wednesday

        As the nation’s capitol prepares for what Mayor Muriel Bowser called “a serious threat to our democracy,” Police Chief Robert Contee said “bringing firearms into our city… will not be tolerated.”

      • Proud Boys Sued by Historic Black Church After Leader Admits to Burning Black Lives Matter Sign During DC Rally

        Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said the December 12 “hate crime” was meant to “terrorize Black people.” 

      • An Open Letter to Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys (CC: ANTIFA)

        I woke up this morning dreaming that I was speaking at one of your rallies.  I thought then, well, if I probably won’t be getting an invitation to speak at one of them, what would I say if I were to be asked to share some words?

        Contrary to popular opinion in kindergarten, words are far more powerful than either sticks or stones, and I think this is something that most of us actually already know.  Words can be used to divide and rule entire societies, it seems.  We can have some people on some TV networks saying some sets of words, with other people on other networks using different vocabulary, and a different perspective, to talk about the same issues, and pretty soon we can achieve an endless series of tragic physical results from such words.

      • Opinion | To Honor the Legacy of John Lewis, Vote for Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff

        It’s game on! Georgia voters hold the key to control of the Senate—which means they hold the key to our public health and our health care.

      • Female genital mutilation: The woman fighting Sierra Leone’s ritual

        Many in the audience scream in shock at a scene detailing the cutting, which is normally done without anesthetic using knives, razor blades or even pieces of glass.

        Sierra Leone has one of the highest rates of FGM in Africa. According to UNICEF figures from 2017, the practice has been performed on an estimated 86% of women and girls in the country. FGM involves the partial or total removal of the female genital organs, such as the clitoris or labia.

      • [Old] Statistics on so called ‘honour-based’ abuse offences, England and Wales, 2019 to 2020

        The collection includes, but is not limited to, crimes of forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). Where a forced marriage or FGM offence is recorded on a force crime record management system, it should always be tagged with an HBA marker. The collection also identifies the number of FGM offences that have been reported to and recorded by the police following a referral via the FGM Mandatory Reporting Duty. This requires regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report known cases of FGM in under 18-year-olds to the police. The FGM duty came into force on 31 October 2015.

      • Why Unions Must Recommit to Expanding Their Base

        The coming year will be incredibly challenging for the working class. Austerity is on the immediate horizon, resulting from the unwillingness of the bipartisan political class to challenge its largest donors by taxing the rich and corporations. The presidential election’s outcome will reduce attacks on immigrants and communities of color, but not enough. More workers will face dire conditions in 2021 than they did in 2009: massive unemployment and underemployment; a growing homelessness crisis because of imminent evictions and not enough income to meet rent or mortgage demands; and a severe health care crisis made catastrophic by a raging pandemic and nearly 15 million people losing their employer-based medical coverage in the first three months of the pandemic when they or their loved ones lost their jobs.

      • Google Workers Form Union to ‘Promote Solidarity, Democracy, and Social and Economic Justice’

        The tech titan “has a responsibility to its thousands of workers and billions of users to make the world a better place,” two of the union’s leaders wrote. “We can help build that world.” 

      • Google workers announce plans to unionize

        A group of Google workers have announced plans to unionize with the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The Alphabet Workers Union will be open to all employees and contractors at Google’s parent company. Its goal will be to tackle ongoing issues like pay disparity, retaliation, and controversial government contracts.

        “This union builds upon years of courageous organizing by Google workers,” said Nicki Anselmo, a Google program manager. “From fighting the ‘real names’ policy, to opposing Project Maven, to protesting the egregious, multi-million dollar payouts that have been given to executives who’ve committed sexual harassment, we’ve seen first-hand that Alphabet responds when we act collectively.”

      • We Built Google. This Is Not the Company We Want to Work For.

        It’s not enough. Today, we’re building on years of organizing efforts at Google to create a formal structure for workers. So far, 226 of us have signed union cards with the Communications Workers of America — the first step in winning a recognized bargaining unit under U.S. law. In other words, we are forming a union.

        We are the workers who built Alphabet. We write code, clean offices, serve food, drive buses, test self-driving cars and do everything needed to keep this behemoth running. We joined Alphabet because we wanted to build technology that improves the world. Yet time and again, company leaders have put profits ahead of our concerns. We are joining together — temps, vendors, contractors, and full-time employees — to create a unified worker voice. We want Alphabet to be a company where workers have a meaningful say in decisions that affect us and the societies we live in.

      • Alphabet workers announce a union

        Why it matters: This is the largest and most high-profile unionization effort among tech workers to date. The tech industry has historically eschewed unions, unlike other sectors like the auto industry.

        Only a couple of small tech companies, like Kickstarter and Glitch, have recently unionized.

        Details: The union would be open to all workers at Google and other Alphabet subsidiaries, regardless of their jobs. Some other small groups of Alphabet workers, like HCL contract workers in Pittsburgh and cafeteria workers in the Bay Area, have previously unionized.

      • Google, Alphabet workers form union after years of unrest
      • The New Humanitarian | My hope for 2021 is…

        Each year, we ask a wide-ranging group of humanitarians to share their hopes for the year ahead. In 2021, we offer a bit of a twist: readers sharing their visions for what aid might become, their comments submitted in response to the Future of Aid feature (part of our Rethinking Humanitarianism coverage) that concluded last month.

        Their hopes range from more citizen-led initiatives to a push toward greater local procurement of supplies to a focus on preventing conflict (and associated crises) in the first place. Here, in no particular order, are a selection of ideas submitted by readers working around the globe.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • How Smart Software And AI Helped Networks Thrive For Consumers During The Pandemic

        Staying ahead of modern Internet usage – including the unprecedented surge caused by the global pandemic – requires much more than just raw capacity. More than ever, networks need to be smart in order to effectively anticipate and respond to traffic demands that are growing exponentially larger and more complex each year. For years, network operators have been investing in software and artificial intelligence that played key roles in meeting the unique challenge posed by COVID-19.

      • FCC Takes A Break From Not Caring About Consumers To Hassle Some Landlords Over Pirate Radio

        It’s been pretty clear for a while now that the Trump/Ajit Pai FCC simply doesn’t give a shit about consumer protection, healthy markets, high prices, or competition. It’s why they’ve effectively dismantled the FCC’s authority and ceded US telecom policy-making to AT&T and Comcast lobbyists. All in the repeatedly disproven belief that gutting oversight of a bunch of politically powerful natural monopolies somehow results in free market magic. Of course the end result of thirty-years of this kind of policy thinking is Comcast, which pretty much speaks for itself.

      • Free And Equal Internet Access As A Human Right

        The concept of “network neutrality” is significant while analyzing equal access to Internet and state policies regulating it. Network Neutrality (NN) can be defined as the rule meaning all electronic communications and platforms should be exercised in a non-discriminatory way regardless of their type, content or origin. The importance of NN has been evident in COVID-19 pandemic when millions of students in underdeveloped regions got victimized due to the lack of access to online education.

        Article 19/2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights notes the following:

        “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

      • My blog workflow

        I often have questions about how I write my articles, which format I use and how I publish on various medias. This article is the opportunity to highlight all the process.

        So, I use my own static generator cl-yag which supports generating indexes for whole article lists but also for every tags in html, gophermap format and gemini gemtext. After the generation of indexes, for html every article will be converted into html by running a “converter” command. For gopher and gemini the original text is picked up, some metadata are added at the top of the file and that’s all.

        Publishing for all the three formats is complicated and sacrifices must be made if I want to avoid extra work (like writing a version for each). For gopher, I chose to distribute them as simple text file but it can be markdown, org-mode, mandoc or other formats, you can’t know. For gemini, it will distribute gemtext format and for http it will be html.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Hulu Inks ViacomCBS Deal to Add 14 Cable Networks to Live TV Package

        The 14 Viacom channels are joining Hulu + Live TV after Disney hiked rates for the internet pay-TV package by $10 per month as of Dec. 18, 2020. Under the new pricing, the baseline Hulu + Live TV tier with ad-supported VOD rose to $64.99 per month, an 18% increase.

        The multiyear pact between ViacomCBS and Disney-controlled Hulu includes continued carriage in the live TV service of CBS broadcast stations, as well as CBS Sports Network, Pop TV, Smithsonian Channel, and the CW, as well as continued distribution of Showtime as an add-on.

    • Monopolies

      • How Biden Can Break the Stranglehold of Amazon and Other Monopolies

        From the time Joe Biden was a toddler until his mid-30s, wages in the country grew, and the wealth created by growth in the economy was shared by everyone. But by the time Biden hit 40, everything had begun to change. The incomes of those at the top grew strongly, while the wages of middle-class and poor people hit a wall. Labor’s power decreased, and monopoly power increased. It became harder to organize workers, harder to start new businesses, and easier for capital to organize. It was the early 1980s, and Ronald Reagan was president.1

      • How Proprietary IP [sic] and Copyright Models Fail Society and What We Can Do About It

        In a Pandemic it becomes clearer than ever – proprietary IP [sic] and copyright ownership models fail society’s needs on every level. The pandemic has brought topics like sustainability and resilience into the limelight. Local production suddenly seems on everyone’s lips as it could help to solve shortages that post a threat to our society. However, in the landscape of proprietary products it is simply not possible to provide the software, hardware schematics and know-how to everywhere in the world at the speed required. Traditional proprietary IP [sic] controlled distribution models, business development practices and hiring processes do not work in a pandemic and they do not work in a world threatened by climate change.

      • Patents

        • Patenting Standards and Declarations of Essentiality in Europe: The Report of the “Pilot Project”

          The debate over standard essential patents (SEPs) often focuses on the interpretation of FRAND terms and conditions and the extent to which patent owners can refuse to license their exclusive rights to implementers, and ask courts to issue injunctions against them. What is also discussed by SEPs commentators (perhaps, to a lesser extent) is the importance of relying on objective declarations of essentiality, and in general the lack of transparency in the context of SEP licensing frameworks managed by Standard-Setting Organisations (SSOs).

          This is a crucial issue. Indeed, accessing correct information on the scale of exposure to SEPs is extremely important to the users of standards, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have little experience of licensing practices and enter the relevant markets looking for connectivity. Yet such information is not always easy to access. This was also highlighted by the European Commission’s Communication of 29 November 2017, which noted that “… currently the only information on SEPs accessible to users can be found in declaration databases maintained by SSOs which may lack transparency” – a scenario that leaves companies, particularly SMEs and start-ups, in a difficult situation with respect to licensing negotiations and risk management.

        • IPO Sends Letter on IP Law and Policy to President-Elect and Vice President-Elect [Ed: These patent extremists, backed by IBM, are pressuring Biden to support awful patents like algorithms (just lobbying for oligarchy) and COVID-19 is misused as a pretext!]

          With respect to subject matter eligibility, the letter notes that the IPO “continue[s] to believe that legislative action is needed” to address Supreme Court decisions that have “detrimentally affected areas such as precision medicine & artificial intelligence and risk[] a chilling effect on further developments and investment in these critical technologies.” On the issue of trade secret protection, the letter states that “[i]nadequate protection of trade secrets abroad harms not only companies whose property is stolen, but also the country where the theft occurs, because companies are then less likely to form joint ventures and make high-value investments in those countries.”

        • Must a Plaintiff Investigate a Patent’s Validity Prior to Suing for Infringement?

          WPEM sued SOTI for patent infringement based upon its mobile-device software management “Speed Lockdown” tool. The complaint cites MobiControl Version 11 as infringing. In its answer, SOTI responded with information from its Version 10, which predates the asserted patent as well as other prior art references.

          [...]

          WPEM’s argument on appeal was that a patentee need not conduct any investigation regarding the validity of its patents prior to filing a lawsuit because a patent is presumed valid and enforceable. Any invalidity defense is for the defendant. On appeal, the Federal Circuit did not disagree, but appears to have twisted the district court opinion somewhat.

        • PTAB and CAFC

          • IP Bridge patent challenged

            On December 31, 2020, Unified Patents filed an ex parte reexamination proceeding against U.S. Patent 7,515,635 as part of its ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone. The ’635 patent, originally owned by Panasonic, is currently owned by IP Bridge. The patent is claimed to be essential as part of HEVC Advance’s patent pool (HEVC Advance patent list), as well as SISVEL’s VP9 and AV1 patent pools.

          • WSOU patent challenged

            On December 30, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 8,179,960 as part of its ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone. Formerly owned by Alcatel-Lucent USA, Inc. (Nokia Corporation), the ‘960 patent is currently owned by WSOU Investments, LLC and has been asserted against ZTE. WSOU Investments, LLC is run by Craig Etchegoyen, formerly of Uniloc.

          • Federal Circuit Statistics – 2020 edition

            Figure 1 shows the total number of Federal Circuit opinions and Rule 36 summary affirmances by origin. The increase in decisions in appeals from the USPTO (orange) over the past decade is clearly visible, although last year there was a slight decline. Decisions in appeals arising from the USPTO dropped about 17% (254 in 2019 versus 2010 in 2020), while decisions in appeals arising from the district courts increased slightly (182 in 2019 versus 199 in 2020). Overall, the Federal Circuit’s docket is a lot more patent-heavy today than it was in 2010. The court is issuing more decisions as well.

            [...]

            My takeaway is that the Federal Circuit judges are writing more nonprecedential opinions instead of issuing Rule 36 summary affirmances. Hopefully this will provide some additional information for parties on the court’s reasoning when it affirms.

            As always, the data for this post (and much more data) is available via the Compendium of Federal Circuit Decisions website. In calculating the affirmance rate I did not include decisions coded as “dismissed” or “other.” Thanks to my research assistants for their work coding Federal Circuit decisions, particularly Lindsay Kriz who did the lions share of the coding for 2020 decisions.

          • Easing into 2021 with PTAB Affirmance

            The Federal Circuit’s first decision of 2021 comes as a boring 5-page non-precedential opinion upholding a PTAB Final Written Decision that Promptu’s claims had not been proven invalid.

            [...]
            Promptu’s U.S. Patent No. 7,260,538 claims voice-recognition processing using a cable-TV remote-control but processed server-side (cable head-end unit). The chart below shows the communications pathway from the Remote Control via the Set-Top Box then to the Cable Company’s Head-End Unit where the speech processing actually occurs.

      • Copyrights

        • Quibi Nears Deal With Roku After Trying to Tempt Facebook, Snap

          Quibi sought the interest of a range of prospective bidders, including Facebook Inc. and Snap Inc., said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private. Finding a buyer has been complicated, in part because the company doesn’t own the rights to own its content beyond a few years, the people said.

        • Music listening soared during lockdown

          For the first time since records began in 1973, not a single album released in the last 12 months was certified platinum – representing 300,000 sales – although Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia is currently closing in on that figure.

        • Apple (AAPL) Loses Lawsuit to Corellium Over Copyright Claim

          The judge in the case ruled that Corellium’s creation of virtual iPhones was not a copyright violation, in part because it was designed to help improve security for all iPhone users. Corellium wasn’t creating a competing product for consumers. Rather, it was a research tool for a comparatively small number of customers.

          Meanwhile, the judge has deferred the ruling over Apple’s charges that Corellium circumvented Apple’s security measures to create the software, thereby violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

        • Apple loses early challenge in virtualization copyright claim

          In particular, the judge found that additional features within Corellium’s tool strengthened its case for fair use, particularly the ability to modify the kernel or observe and halt processes.

          “Corellium makes several changes to iOS and incorporates its own code to create a product that serves a transformative purpose,” Smith wrote in his ruling. “Hence, Corellium’s profit motivation does not undermine its fair use defense, particularly considering the public benefit of the product.”

          Crucially, the court didn’t dismiss all of Apple’s case. Apple has alleged that Corellium circumvented its authentication server and secure boot chain, among other measures, violating the DMCA’s ban on circumventing copy protection measures. Corellium also mounted a fair use defense against the DMCA charges, but the judge did not find it compelling enough to dismiss the DMCA allegations before a full trial.

        • Apple’s lawsuit against security startup Corellium partially thrown out

          Apple had filed a lawsuit against Corellium in August 2019 claiming that the latter had violated its copyright. The following January, Apple also added charges that the startup had violated the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), the Washington Post reported.

          While the judge deferred ruling on the DMCA charge, the copyright claims have been thrown out on the basis of fair use.

        • [Old] Copyright and COVID-19: Has WIPO learned nothing from the pandemic?

          Communia and other civil society observers were expecting the Committee to consider the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on these public interest activities, and take appropriate action. However, WIPO member states had previously decided that, due to the format of the meeting, they would not engage in negotiations on any of the items on their agenda. Therefore, despite references to the problems caused by the pandemic in several Delegations’ statements, none put forward any proposal to deal with these issues.

        • Beijing IP Court case express- copyright in apparel design

          Cases presented on the Beijing Intellectual Property (IP) Court’s Case Bulletin webpage are worth reading, given that, since April 2015, the Court has been undertaking tasks as the national IP case guidance research base designated by the Supreme People’s Court of China. This post discusses one of the cases shown addressing the copyright issue in apparel design.

          [...]

          LINC sells two down jackets designed by its employees, hereinafter referred to as ‘jacket L1’ and ‘jacket L2’, and owns the related design drawings (DDs) and proto samples (PSs). Bosideng also sells two down jackets designed by its employees, ‘jacket B1’ and ‘jacket B2’.

          [...]

          The article above was deleted from the subsequent amendments of the CLC. Many have considered the deletion as proof of the conceptual expansion of reproduction under the CLC. However, does deleting the relevant contents mean supporting the opposite? Probably not, from this Kat’s point of view.

          In the circumstances of this LINC v. Bosideng case, since the very object per se being reproduced was 2D graphic works that feature scientific significance, the CLC’s conclusion was not unexpected then.

          The alleged infringement of the right of publication was considered invalid as well since no evidence could prove that the 2D graphics in question had been made public by the defendant in any way whatsoever.

          The Court of Second Instance, i.e. the Beijing IP Court, upheld the relevant judgement of the CFI. ([Civil Judgment No. 87 [2020], Final, Civil Division, 73, Beijing, of Beijing Intellectual Property Court])

        • Pirated Screeners of Promising Young Woman, Nomadland & Minari Leak Online

          Three big movies, all of which are being touted as Oscar contenders for Best Picture, have leaked online to torrent and streaming sites. Promising Young Woman, Nomadland & Minari were released in WEBSCR format, meaning that they were all sourced from secure online screenings that should have been limited to select viewers.

        • Nintendo Wants $15 Million in Damages from Pirate ROM Site

          Nintendo has requested a $15 million summary judgment against the owner and operator of RomUniverse. The gaming company accuses the man, a Los Angeles resident, of profiting from mass-scale copyright infringement and destroying important evidence. The RomUniverse site and the associated Discord channel have gone offline.

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