01.06.21

Links 6/1/2021: End of Planet Linux Australia and New Wallpaper for KDE Plasma 5.21

Posted in News Roundup at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Russell Coker: Planet Linux Australia

      Linux Australia have decided to cease running the Planet installation on planet.linux.org.au. I believe that blogging is still useful and a web page with a feed of Australian Linux blogs is a useful service. So I have started running a new Planet Linux Australia on https://planet.luv.asn.au/. There has been discussion about getting some sort of redirection from the old Linux Australia page, but they don’t seem able to do that.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • How and why I stopped buying new laptops

        My laptop runs on Linux Lite, one of several open-source operating systems specially designed to work on old computers. The use of a Linux operating system is not a mere suggestion. There’s no way you’re going to revive an old laptop if you stick to Microsoft Windows or Apple OS because the machine would freeze instantly. Linux Lite does not have the flashy visuals of the newest Apple and Windows interfaces, but it has a familiar graphical interface and looks anything but obsolete. It takes very little space on the hard disk and demands even less computing power. The result is that an old laptop, despite its limited specifications, runs smoothly. I also use light browsers: Vivaldi and Midori.

        Having used Microsoft Windows for a long time, I find Linux operating systems to be remarkably better, even more so because they are free to download and install. Furthermore, Linux operating systems do not steal your personal data and do not try to lock you in, like the newest operating systems from both Microsoft and Apple do. That said, even with Linux, obsolescence cannot be ruled out. For example, Linux Lite will stop its support for 32-bit computers in 2021, which means that I will soon have to look for an alternative operating system, or buy a slightly younger 64-bit laptop.

      • Dell announces new Latitude laptops ahead of CES | IT World Canada News

        All the laptops in the traditional clamshell form factor can be pre-loaded with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS instead of Windows 10. Moreover, all the new Latitude laptops feature the Dell Optimizer, an AI software tool that optimizes performance based on the user’s workflow.

      • List Of Best Ubuntu Themes In 2021 | Itsubuntu.com [Ed: Well, they mean GNOME rather than Ubuntu]

        Let’s have a look at the list of some of the beautiful and best Ubuntu themes in 2021.

      • [Older] Best Linux Distros For Mac Users: Top 3 Distros

        Elementary OS runs the Pantheon desktop environment, giving the whole operating system a very Mac OS-ish feel. It’s not just eye-candy, though; the team behind Elementary works tirelessly to blend looks and functionality into one, making the whole operating system one of the most unique and polished Linux distros available.

      • Linux: Will Windows Eventually Submit? [Ed: Pushing Microsoft talking points, ignoring GNU starting in 1983, and echoing utter lies]

        The battle’s not over yet, and Linux may prevail. It’s been 30 years since Linux Torvalds first introduced Linux.

        People have long built PC which dual boot into either Windows or Linux. And Wine lets users run Windows apps on Linux. But now there are rumors that Microsoft may redesign Windows to use a Linux core. This isn’t the Ubuntu with UI designed to be a look-alike with Windows. We’re talking about a real Windows release based on Linux. But then, they’re just rumors.

    • Server

      • How to Buy a Linux-Powered Laptop

        Buying Linux-powered laptops should be easy, especially on big-name manufacturers’ websites. But it isn’t. You must employ workarounds to succeed or spend caches of money!

        That is why downloading free Linux distributions and installing the operating system onto existing computers is a typical avenue for adopting Linux. Some computer manufacturers sell Linux-only hardware. Only a few of the major computer makers cater to providing Linux Inside. The challenge is finding both those that do and being willing to pay a higher buy-in price.

        I had a battle with an aging computer a few weeks ago. That is when I realized how spoiled I had become with installing a variety of Linux distributions on my collection of computers over the years to keep them in service. The reality of actually having to buy a shiny new laptop had long escaped me.

        My collection of laptops goes back to the days of Windows ME and Windows XP. With out-of-date Windows versions, I would simply wipe the hard drive and install a Linux distribution in their place. I do that not because I am a cheapskate.Using a variety of computer configurations gives me an edge in software testing and writing my Linux Picks and Pans reviews for LinuxInsider. That is something I have maintained over the last few decades.

        One of my newest old laptops started acting up recently. In its heyday, that aluminum-encased laptop swiftly ran Windows 10 and had an 18″ screen view. I put a variety of Linux distros as dual-boot residents on its hard drive.

        In the process of testing other Linux inhabitants, my middle-aged speedster would lockup. I chalked up that bad behavior to the beta versions of software I was testing or an uncooperative driver.

        Then I realized that Linux distros I ran in live session or from portable Linux USB drive installations ran just fine. No lockups ever happened. But when I installed them on the hard drive, things went wrong.

        Bench tests I conducted verified that the memory modules were fine. But the hard drive was fading fast.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Tumbling Into the New Year! | LINUX Unplugged 387

        We have some strong opinions about the state of openSUSE Tumbleweed. We’ve secretly been running it for the past week, and share our experience.

      • mintCast 351.5 – Batting a Thousand

        1:40 Linux Innards
        1:12:18 Vibrations from the Ether
        1:17:37 Check This Out
        1:21:21 Outro

        In our Innards section, we look back on last year’s predictions, and make new ones.

        And finally, the feedback and a couple of suggestions

    • Kernel Space

      • New Ubuntu Linux Kernel Security Updates Fix 14 Vulnerabilities, Patch Now

        The new Ubuntu kernel patches fix several security issues discovered by various security researchers. Only for Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) systems, it addresses CVE-2020-12912, a flaw found in Linux kernel’s AMD Running Average Power Limit (RAPL) driver that could allow a local attacker to expose sensitive information, as well as CVE-2020-29534, a security issue discovered by Jann Horn in the io_uring subsystem, which could allow a local attacker to either expose sensitive information or escalate his/her privileges.

      • Linux’s Linus Torvalds roasts Intel on lack of ECC memory (RAM) support

        We’re in a new year, which means there’s equally a lot of new technology to look forward to at the upcoming CES 2021 digital event. Companies tend to shift the focus in new directions at these kinds of events, and Linux founder Linus Torvalds seems more than ready to get the discussion going about ECC memory. While it may still be a little soon for programming wizards to enjoy universally better standards, ECC memory is certainly still worth discussing due to its inclusion in the JEDEC spec for the upcoming DDR5 generation.

        So what is this thing you might ask? Well, in short, ECC memory is a specific kind of system RAM that differs from DRAM in a key way. It features an extra chip on each module which performs automatic error correction checks. If it detects an error in how the data was written, the extra chip is able to correct the error in most cases. It’s great for developers, but currently lacks broad support across the consumer space.

      • On-going Bootlin contributions to the Video4Linux subsystem: camera, camera sensors, video encoding

        Over the past years, we have been more and more involved in projects that have significant multimedia requirements. As part of this trend, 2020 has lead us to work on a number of contributions to the Video4Linux subsystem of the Linux kernel, with new drivers for camera interfaces, camera sensors, video decoders, and even HW-accelerated video encoding. In this blog post, we propose to summarize our contributions and their status on the following topics:

      • PicoXcell Support Finally Slated For Removal From The Linux Kernel – Phoronix

        PicoXcell, the ARM SoCs from PicoChip more than a decade ago before being bought out by MindSpeed and then Intel, are set to finally see their Linux support removed this year.

        PicoXcell was focused on HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) handling back during the mobile 3G days. But with no new hardware in close to a decade and Intel not working on any Linux kernel support improvements for PicoXcell given its obsolete state with what is supported by the mainline kernel, the Linux support is slated for removal.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Why Do I Do These Things
        • Zink With Mesa 21.0 Now Exposes OpenGL 4.1 – Phoronix

          While for months there have been experimental patches taking Zink to OpenGL 4.6 for this OpenGL-on-Vulkan translation layer integrated into Mesa, the upstreaming process around testing and code review is quite lengthy with up until today still only exposing OpenGL 3.3 with mainline Mesa. But with the latest Git commits, Zink is now up to OpenGL 4.1.

          Mesa 21.0-devel today took Zink from OpenGL 3.3 to 4.1 after bumping the supported GLSL version. The necessary OpenGL/GLSL improvements were in place from prior commits while today’s merge just needed to bump the GLSL version and documentation.

        • Radeon Linux Drivers Now Only Officially Support Smart Access Memory On Zen 3 + RDNA2 – Phoronix

          While many Linux users were excited when finding out the open-source AMD Radeon Linux drivers were allowing Smart Access Memory (Resizable BAR) support on older motherboards/CPUs and older Radeon GPUs rather than basically the very latest AMD products as seen on Windows, there is a change of course due to bugs. Now, officially, Mesa 21.0 is just enabling Smart Access Memory for systems with AMD Zen 3 processors and RDNA 2 graphics cards though if you have other hardware you can force-enable it.

          Marek Olšák of AMD who led the original work on Smart Access Memory optimizations for RadeonSI led this change. This restriction isn’t being done artificially for marketing purposes but in finding out those with older hardware combinations were sometimes hitting bugs and performance regressions with this recent S.A.M. support in Mesa. This basically puts the official Smart Access Memory support state the same under Windows and Linux.

        • Panfrost Gallium3D Flips On AFBC For Bifrost GPUs – Phoronix

          Adding to the long list of changes for Mesa 21.0 is the Panfrost Gallium3D driver that provides open-source OpenGL for Arm Mali graphics hardware now supporting Arm Frame Buffer Compression (AFBC) for Bifrost GPUs.

          The Panfrost Gallium3D driver has enabled Arm Frame-Buffer Compression on 2D arrays and 3D textures for Bifrost (or just Bifrost v7 for 3D textures). The AFBC support isn’t there for the Midgard GPUs also supported by Panfrost.

    • Benchmarks

      • Phoronix Test Suite 10.2 Released For Open-Source, Cross-Platform Automated Benchmarking

        Phoronix Test Suite 10.2 is available today as the latest quarterly (Q1-2021) feature update to our open-source automated benchmarking framework for Linux, macOS, Solaris, Windows, and BSD platforms.
        There are numerous improvements to find with Phoronix Test Suite 10.2 following last quarter’s big Phoronix Test Suite 10.0 release with updated OpenBenchmarking.org. Some of the key highlights for this Q1 feature release include:
        - Improved tracking of per-test run-times and in turn more accurate estimation of test run-time requirements.

    • Applications

      • QuickWall – Command Line Tool Setting Wallpapers from Unsplash

        QuickWall is a free and open-source tool to grab the latest wallpapers from Unsplash and set as your desktop background.

        It works with nitrogen, feh background setter as well as Xfce, KDE, Gnome, Unity. Besides setting wallpapers from Unsplash, it can also change your theme (seems only for terminal theme) based on the wallpapers.

      • RSS Guard 3.8.4 – Neowin

        RSS Guard is a simple (yet powerful) feed reader. It is able to fetch the most known feed formats, including RSS/RDF and ATOM. It’s free, it’s open-source. RSS Guard currently supports Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian. RSS Guard will never depend on other services – this includes online news aggregators like Feedly, The Old Reader and others.

      • Open-source VSCP IoT/M2M automation framework supports Arduino, Raspberry Pi

        VSCP (Very Simple Control Protocol) is an open-source IoT framework that works on development boards like Arduino or Raspberry Pi, and lets you control IoT home automation tasks. The framework is highly scalable, has a very low footprint, and as such is specially designed for resource-limited devices.

        [...]

        For the Arduino library of VSCP software framework for Level 1 devices, you can connect an LED that shows the node state. An example showing the basic integration of the VSCP Arduino library uses CAN-BUS Shield from Seeed-Studio or CAN-BUS Shield from Sparkfun.

      • Tux Paint 0.9.25 Open Source Drawing Software for Kids Adds Animated GIF Export, More

        Seven months in development, Tux Paint 0.9.25 is here to introduce a new major feature, namely the ability to export animated GIF images and individual drawings. This allows kids to more easily share their cartoons and slideshows with parents or teachers.

        Another major improvement was introduced in this release in the form of new options in the Shapes tool to make it easier for kids to draw shapes in any situation. With these new options, children will now be able to choose if they want to draw shapes from the center or a corner.

      • My 3 favorite open source productivity apps

        Productivity apps can really make your workflow much easier. In this article, I’ll share a few of the open source applications I have used to streamline my workflow and increase my overall productivity. All of the productivity applications in this article are free Linux productivity applications.

        Tomboy is a simple note-taking application that can be used on Linux, Windows, and macOS. It’s open source under the GNU LGPLv2.

        Tomboy is pretty straightforward to use. You write a note, choose whether to make it sticky on your desktop, and delete it when you’re done with it.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Improving CLI output with jq

        Welcome back to our series on MAAS CLI operations. In our previous post, we learned how to acquire and deploy machines using the MAAS CLI. It was also evident that the JSON output from the allocate and deploy commands was very lengthy for even one machine — so you can imagine how large a list of 10 or 12 machines might be. Traditional JSON output is both consistent and comprehensive, but sometimes hard for humans to process.

        Enter jq, a command-line tool dedicated to filtering and formatting JSON output, so that you can more easily summarize data

      • Managing KVM Virtual Machines with Cockpit Web Console in Linux

        Cockpit is a free and open-source front-end tool that provides administrative access to Linux systems. It allows system administrators to monitor, manage, and troubleshoot Linux servers. It provides an intuitive web interface that easy to navigate and keep track of the salient system features and resources.

        There’s a whole lot of things you can do with the Cockpit. You can monitor system metrics such as CPU and memory utilization, view system logs, configure networking, check the status of running service, manage user accounts and so much more.

      • How to Create and Configure Sudo User on Arch Linux

        It’s always advised against running administrative-level commands as the root user. In fact, as a rule of thumb, it’s recommended to configure or create a sudo user on any Linux server that you intend to manage. Executing commands as the root user is risky and can cause detrimental damage to your system. All it takes is a single command to accidentally crash your system. To avoid that, running elevated operations as the sudo user comes highly recommended.

        A sudo user (short for super user do) is a regular user that has been granted root or elevated privileges and hence can perform elevated tasks similar to those which are a reserve for the root user. These include editing configuration files, installing and removing software packages, starting and stopping services, and so much more.

      • HTTP Vs HTTPS

        That’s actually pretty simple. All you need to do is install an SSL certificate on your website. There are some famous providers like Comodo, Digicert, and GlobalSign that sell SSL certificates. But you need not pay for an SSL certificate. There are some free services like letsencrypt and freessl, that can actually provide you with a free SSL certificate.

        So I guess we have understood the basic difference between HTTP and HTTPS. Most of the websites have moved on to the latter, and those that haven’t are soon moving. Also, Google has said that its Chrome browser will start marking websites that do not have HTTPS as not secure. So maybe it’s high time we start migrating.

      • How To Install LibreNMS on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install LibreNMS on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, LibreNMS is an open-source auto-discovering network monitoring tool for servers and network hardware. It supports a wide range of network hardware like Cisco, Juniper, Brocade, Foundry, HP, and operating systems including Linux and Windows. LibraNMS is a community-based fork of Network monitoring tool “Observium“, released under GPLv3.

        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 the LibreNMS network monitoring tool on CentOS 8.

      • Are there any ArcoLinux conkies that show Nvidia info

        We use the command ‘pt’ or catfish to search for the word ‘nvidia’ in our conkies folder.

        Then we copy/paste the conky and change anything we like.

      • seife’s assorted rants: Ethernet on the BananaPi M2 Zero

        Even though it does not look like it does, the BPI-M2 Zero also has a wired ethernet interface. Unfortunately, it is disabled by default in its device tree blob.

      • Czech translation of LibreOffice Calc Guide 6.4

        Zdeněk adds that the Czech team is continuing with the translation of the Writer Guide, and is always looking for new translators.

      • Kickstart Your 2021 Training with Training Tuesdays Videos

        We had a great training series that started in 2020 covering Oracle Linux 8 features and functionalities with short videos. They had been very popular, so we wanted to give you a chance to kickstart 2021 with this series of Training Tuesday episodes.

      • Use USB over Network using FLEXIHUB – LinuxTechLab

        Sharing files between computers set-up across floors, cities, or states is difficult, with an increase in distance and traffic disrupting the flow. To address these concerns we can use FLEXIHUB. It’s a software application, which enables us to use USB over the network without any limitations.

      • Building reverse build dependencies in salsa CI

        For the next library soname bump of gpsd I needed to rebuild all reverse dependencies. As this is a task I have to do very often, I came up with some code to generate (and keep uptodate) an include for the gitlab CI. Right now it is rather uncommented, undocumented, but works well. If you like it, MRs are very welcome.

      • How to install Wine on Pop OS Linux distro – Linux Shout

        Pop OS which is based on Ubuntu’s latest version is one of the popular Linux distros for Pc and laptop systems. It is one of the good options to switch from Windows to Linux, however, the one thing which will be a problem is the unavailability of Windows applications for Linux. And here comes a Windows binary runner open-source application called WineHQ.

        Although the Wine has its own limitation because it cannot run all modern or old Windows applications, yet, enough to use lightweight Win software on Linux.

      • How to document your software and hardware with DokuWiki – TechRepublic

        Looking for a place to house your documentation, checklists, and other bits of information for your staff? Jack Wallen shows you how to install DokuWiki, which can serve this purpose well.

      • How to customize your voice assistant with the voice of your choice

        What if when they request help from an artificial intelligence (AI) voice assistant such as Mycroft, my in-laws could get a special greeting? I looked at the existing voice assistant APIs to see if something like this was already available. There was something close, but not exactly what I was looking for. My idea was to record their great-grandchildren speaking a short greeting that would play whenever they push the button and before the conversation with the voice assistant begins.

        [...]

        Audacity is a feature-rich open source sound-editing tool. The software’s features and capabilities can be overwhelming, so I’ll describe the workflow I followed to accomplish my goals. I make no claims to being an Audacity expert, but the steps I followed seemed to work pretty well. (Comments are always welcome on how to improve what I’ve done.)

        Audacity has downloads for Linux, Windows, and macOS. I grabbed the most recent macOS binary and quickly installed it on my laptop. Launching Audacity opens an empty new project. I imported all of the children’s audio files using the Import feature.

      • How to install Docker CE on Oracle Linux 8/7 – Linux Shout

        Oracle Linux is an open-source server Linux distro and a good alternative to CentOS and RHEL Linux distributions. Moreover, as CentOS 8 Linux life will end this year, in such scenarios Oracle Linux 8 is a viable option. Of course, there are some other projects in progress to provide alternatives to CentOS such as Rocky Linux, however, they are still in the incubation period.

        Well, here we are going to discuss the steps to install the Docker Community Edition on Oracle Linux to create containers. Docker is the containerized platform that allows users to run multiple isolated virtual machines using the docker images. You can create your own image or use any of the available on Docker Hub.

      • How to install Pirate101 on a Chromebook with Crossover 20

        Today we are looking at how to install Pirate101 on a Chromebook with Crossover 20. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

        This tutorial will only work on Chromebooks with an Intel or AMD CPU (with Linux Apps Support) and not those with an ARM64 architecture CPU.

      • [Ubuntu PPA] How to Install Gnome Feeds in Ubuntu 20.04, 20.10 | UbuntuHandbook

        Gnome Feeds, a free and open-source news reader with a neat user interface, now is available to install via Ubuntu PPA for those prefer the classic apt method.

        Gnome Feeds is a GTK+3 application written in Python 3. It features a simple responsive user interface based on Purism’s libhandy library. Feeds can be added via URL address and support importing and exporting large feed collection from and to OPML.

      • Basic Unix Commands – Python Land

        You can significantly increase your productivity and understanding of your operating system by learning a few basic shell commands. These commands work in Bash, the most common shell on Linux and MacOS. However, alternative shells are mostly compatible with Bash, so they should work everywhere!

        If these basics are well known to you, please skip to the next sections to learn some more advanced commands and shell scripting.

      • Demystifying Ansible for Linux sysadmins | Enable Sysadmin

        Taking the labor out of labor-intensive tasks is what Ansible is all about. Learn the basics here.

      • Landscape – Server & Client Installation Walkthrough (On-Prem) – YouTube

        Landscape is a tool made by Canonical that you can use to manage your Ubuntu Servers. In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through getting it set up on your own server, as well as adding a client for it to manage.

      • FFmpeg – A Simple Tool to Convert Audio and Video Formats in Linux

        FFmpeg is a very flexible, powerful, cross-platform, and versatile command-line tool for converting media file formats.

        It allows you to record, convert and stream audio and video files.

        It supports all popular audio and video formats.

        So you do not have to look for alternative tools for any media file conversion.

        Most Linux GUI video editors use ffmpeg in the background for conversion.

        Most conversions can be made with one or two commands. Also, you can use ffmpeg to make a more complex conversion.

    • Games

      • Ouya was a Success

        On 11th July 2012, the Ouya burst onto the scene via popular crowdfunding site – Kickstarter. It was billed as “A New Kind of Video Game Console” which sold for $99/£99 at launch. It was essentially an Nvidia Tegra 3 based ARM System on Chip crammed into a tiny box which sat under / near your TV and was operated with supplied bluetooth game controllers. They far exceeded the target of $950,000, reaching $8,596,474, setting some high expectations among the backers and interested onlookers.

      • Are Video Games Inherently A Waste Of Time?

        Recently I’ve been playing some more games but a lot of people like to throw around the question of whether video games are a waste of time, and in mind I don’t think it’s as that black and white of a question to answer.

      • Lutris 0.5.8.2 Linux Game Manager Brings Wayland Improvements, Other Additions

        The new Lutris 0.5.8.2 release brings multiple Wayland fixes like pop-over menus not working and the game bar being unselected. There are also other interesting additions like support for automatically downloading DXVK when Lutris is starting, FSYNC2 feature detection, initial support for Adobe Air games via Humble Bundle, and support for GStreamer-enabled Wine builds. The Adobe Air game support currently is just the installation support and not yet integrated run-time support. The GStramer Wine builds should allow for better support of games making use of the Media Foundation library.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • New Wallpaper for KDE Plasma 5.21 Revealed

          KDE developers have shared the wallpaper they plan to ship in KDE Plasma 5.21.

          The new background was uploaded in a Git commit today (Jan 5) is titled ‘Milky Way’. Fastidious fans of KDE artwork might find the new featured wallpaper a smidge familiar as new design was first proposed for inclusion during the Plasma 5.18 release cycle.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Quick review of Lenovo Yoga 9i laptop

          This is … not good. Fedora live USBs do not even boot, and a Ubuntu 20/10 live USB has a lot of broken stuff, but surprisingly wifi works nicely.

        • A new release of nsnstrace
        • Devhelp on Fedora Silverblue – Ondřej Holý

          I have recently switched to Fedora Silverblue. The recommended way for development is to use Fedora Toolbox containers, so I have started using it and installed the various development packages there. I like the Devhelp application for browsing the API documentation. So I installed that application over GNOME Software. But the problem is that the Devhelp application started from GNOME Shell doesn’t see the documentation files which are located under the Toolbox container. This is probably expected, but it is annoying. Starting the Devhelp application from the terminal over toolbox run flatpak run org.gnome.Devhelp is pretty cumbersome.

        • Molly de Blanc: Welcome to 2021!

          GNOME helps users. We believe strongly that in order to create good technology, it must be trustworthy. We do this through the creation of world class technology that meets the needs of users — GNOME works for everyday people. This also means that people know a technology is working in their best interests. With rigorous scientific methods and passionate end user advocacy, GNOME is designed for users, by users.

          We dedicated 2020 to making sure that GNOME software works for everyone through a focus on accessibility. This work is certainly not finished, but we’re proud of how far we’ve come. With the newest release of GTK4, we’ve completely revamped our accessibility toolkit. The updated layout implementation creates new possibilities for designing interfaces for a variety of user needs and preferences. We know that GNOME must be usable by everyone, whether that is due to disability or simply geography. There are more than 140 translations of GNOME in progress, which includes the billions of people who do not speak English.

    • Distributions

      • Best weird and wonderful niche Linux distros in 2021

        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.

        Read on to find out more about each of these interesting distros. Before we begin, however, do note that not all of these distros are suitable for everyday use, which is why even though we encourage you to try them all, make sure you do so in a Live environment or within the safe confines of a virtual machine, rather than install them on a physical machine.

        [...]

        The USP of Intel’s distro is its performance optimizations for Intel architecture. It ships as a Live ISO image that boots to a Gnome desktop, and now comes equipped with an intuitive graphical installer. The distro is built from scratch and offers several unique characteristics, such as its stateless design, which separates the user and system files on the filesystem.

        Also interesting is its custom package management system that’s based on bundles that contain everything an app requires, including its dependencies. The distro supports delta updates, which means it’ll only fetch the changes and merge them with the installed components, in effect reducing the download size.

      • New Releases

        • tuxtrans 20.04_b is out

          tuxtrans is a Desktop GNU/Linux System developed for translators on the basis of the widely used distribution Ubuntu, more specifically the version with the XFCE desktop called Xubuntu. As a Linux distribution listed on Distrowatch it is a full-fledged operating system and includes a broad collection of software applications which allow a translator to do his/her job most efficiently and in line with the latest standards.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Benchmarking OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 With Its AMD Zen Optimized Build

          While Intel has Clear Linux as an aggressively optimized Linux distribution catering towards their hardware, there isn’t a direct equivalent for optimally showcasing the performance potential of current AMD platforms. Clear Linux often offers leading performance on Zen CPUs but that is obviously not by design but just an artifact of a lot in common between the latest Intel and AMD microarchitecture features. One of the few distributions (or only notable one) offering specific AMD Zen optimized builds has been OpenMandriva. With the OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 release candidate shipping this week, I ran some fresh benchmarks looking at how OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 RC1 compares between its generic x86_64 image and that of the Zen optimized build as well as in turn how that performance compares to Clear Linux and Ubuntu 20.10.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Project Lenix – the CentOS replacement: Interview with Founder Igor Seletskiy

          In response to the Rad Hat© killing free and open-source CentOS® 8, CloudLinux announced the commitment to release a free, open-sourced, community-driven, 1:1 binary compatible fork of RHEL® 8 (and future releases) in the Q1 of 2021. CloudLinux will invest $1 million annually in development and establish a community initiative around its RHEL fork intended as a safe haven for CentOS users left stranded by the RedHat announcement.

        • Fedora 34 Planning To Offer LXQt 0.16 Desktop Packages – Phoronix

          Keeping up with Fedora’s tradition of offering the very latest open-source software packages, the straight-forward proposal was made this week to update its lightweight LXQt desktop packages against the new LXQt 0.16.

          Back in November marked the release of LXQt 0.16 that was comprised mostly of bug fixes but did bring some configuration improvements, power management handling work, support for extracting RPMs, new themes, and other mostly small changes.

        • Fedora 34 To Ship With Standalone XWayland, LLVM 12 + Other Changes Approved – Phoronix

          Fedora 34 remains under active feature development and another batch of features were unanimously approved of by the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee.

          Ahead of tomorrow’s weekly FESCo meeting now back on track after the holidays, a number of Fedora 34 features already received unanimous approval.

        • Community Blog summary: December 2020

          In Decenber [sic], we published 12 posts. The site had 3,257 visits from 1,971 unique viewers. Readers wrote three comments. 121 visits came from Fedora Planet, while 432 came from search engines, and 144 came from Twitter and 91 from Phoronix.

        • CloudLinux commits to ‘commits’ on (CentOS replacement) Project Lenix – Open Source Insider

          CloudLinux OS is a Linux distribution intended for use by shared [web] hosting providers.

          But there is more to the story than just the arrival of this distro, developed by software company CloudLinux, Inc.

          CloudLinux OS is based on the CentOS operating system; it uses the OpenVZ kernel and the rpm package manager… and the resulting work programme is known as Project Lenix.

          Project Lenix is to be an open sourced and community-driven Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) fork.

        • RHEL9 Raises Base Target For x86_64 CPUs Plus Possible Optimized Libraries With glibc-hwcaps – Phoronix

          As we reported almost one year ago, Red Hat was looking at likely dropping older x86_64 CPU support from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 and we now have a better idea of their plans in catering RHEL9 better to modern processors.

          Following the work over the past several months by open-source developers on x86-64 microarchitecture feature levels for the compiler toolchains, for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 the plan is to assume a base of at least x86-64-v2.

        • Building Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 for the x86-64-v2 microarchitecture level

          One of the most important early decisions when building a Linux distribution is the scope of supported hardware. The distribution’s default compiler flags are significant for hardware-platform compatibility. Programs that use newer CPU instructions might not run on older CPUs. In this article, I discuss a new approach to building the x86-64 variant of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 9 and share Red Hat’s recommendation for that build.

        • Customer Success Stories: How Red Hat OpenShift can work for your public or private sector environment

          Porsche Informatik recently deployed Red Hat OpenShift to speed application development and delivery and stay competitive in a fast-paced global market. This month, we’re highlighting not just this automotive industry success story, but also customers in the public sector and banking industry that have gained efficiencies by deploying Red Hat OpenShift and adopted a more agile, collaborative DevOps approach along the way.

          [...]

          Like many of its competitors, Poalim Bank is facing new opportunities—and challenges—from the financial industry’s shift to digital operations and customer engagement. Poalim, one of Israel’s largest banks, is already an innovation leader in financial services, having opened its first paperless digital branch in 2015 and launching peer-to-peer (P2P) payment platform, Bit, in 2017. Now, Poalim is focused on speeding its time to market for new digital services and features to stay competitive.

          Poalim was already familiar with Red Hat, having used RHEL for five years. It recently decided to migrate its digital service and application environment to Red Hat OpenShift.

          With the Red Hat OpenShift interface, operations teams can gain clear visibility into resource use, capacity, and access. Developers can use automation to deploy test environments in minutes—a process that previously could take up to a week. Additionally, the bank has reduced its regression testing process from two weeks to just three days.

          Poalim also worked closely with Red Hat Consulting before and during deployment for assistance with proof of concept testing, guidance for adopting DevOps workflows, and technical support. After a successful deployment, Poalim has now migrated its ATM management systems and the Bit platform to run on Red Hat OpenShift, with plans to migrate additional workloads and services in the future.

        • Following the data science methodology

          Data science is an enormous field, and it is not only about developing machine learning models or predicting outputs to various scenarios an individual can experience when dealing with data.

          [...]

          When you have confidence in the the model, you move to the deployment phase where you deploy the model to a limited number people to get feedback on the predictions and to see if the model is good for public use.

          After the model is deployed, you receive the feedback from the model’s users. The users provide further feedback about the model, and then you can refine the model further, evaluate it, and deploy it again. It goes back to the feedback phase and repeats this process until you have a final model. Then, you can deploy it to a large set of users.

          As you can see with this methodology, you can get in-depth insight into your data science pipeline. Additionally, this is an agile methodology, so as you spend more time in each step, you get into a deeper understanding and implementation of the model, and it lets you attain better results in the field of data science.

        • 4 lines of code to improve your Ansible play

          Out in the blogosphere, which sings the virtues of infrastructure-as-code, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines, code reviews, and testing regimes, it is easy to forget that such a well-engineered ivory tower is an ideal, not a reality. Imperfect systems haunt us, but we must ship something.

          There are few towers less ivory than those created by gluing together APIs in the course of system automation. It is a brittle world. The pressures are enormous to get it “working,” get it shipped, and move on.

        • IBM Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps: IT Automation Powered by AI
        • 5 career guides for sysadmins | Enable Sysadmin

          Sysadmins don’t always follow a traditional career path, which is what makes these five stories inspiring in their own ways.

      • Debian Family

        • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, December 2020

          I was assigned 16 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative and carried over 9 hours from earlier months. I worked 16 hours this month, so I will again carry over 9 hours to January.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Controlled Experiments – Why Bother?

            I spent some time earlier this year orchestrating a massive experiment for Firefox. We launched a bunch of new features with Firefox 80 and we wanted to understand whether these new features improved our metrics.

            In the process, I ended up talking with a bunch of Firefox engineers and explaining why we need to run a controlled experiment. There were a few questions that got repeated a lot, so I figure it’s worth answering them here.

            This article is the first in a series I’m writing on building data intuition. This article is targeted at new data scientists or engineers interested in data. I also hope this becomes a useful resource for data scientists, so they can point their stake-holders to this resource.

      • CMS

        • The Month in WordPress: December 2020

          We bid goodbye to 2020 in style with the release of WordPress 5.6 and the launch of Learn WordPress. But these weren’t the only exciting updates from WordPress in December. Read on to learn more!

      • FSF

      • Public Services/Government

        • Open-source developer and manager David Recordon named White House Director of Technology

          President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team announced that David Recordon, one of OpenId and oAuth’s developers, has been named the White House Director of Technology. Recordon most recently was the VP of infrastructure and security at the non-profit Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Foundation.

          [...]

          This isn’t Recordon’s first time in the White House. During President Barack Obama’s term of office, Recordon served as the first Director of White House Information Technology. There, Recordon worked on IT modernization and cybersecurity issues. He’s also served as the Biden-Harris transition team’s deputy CTO.

          Recordon will face enormous challenges. With technology and science downplayed by President Donald Trump, he’ll need to rebuild the executive branch’s technology base. In addition, Recordon will need to help address such technology issues as net neutrality, Big Tech business regulation, broadband expansion, and how the administration gets a grip on next-generation technology such as facial recognition, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics.

          Some people will object to Recordon’s Facebook connections, but sources who’ve known him state: “David is one of the good guys,” and he “knows his tech and how to get people excited and working together, he’ll be great.”

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • OpenStreetMap, Easy Peasy for Newbie

            Here’s my own Open Street Map’s basic guide for everybody. To start using OSM, go to MapQuest.com and we will show you the rest.

            [...]

            Let me share with you. Below is Jakarta, Capital of Indonesia live from Open Street Map. This map is live, you can drag it, move it, zoom it as you wish. You can make a map like this on your website by sharing the embed code. Simpler than this, I can also give you just the link (mapq.st/38dRV54). How to do that?

      • Programming/Development

        • IBM Advance Toolchain for Linux on Power 13.0-3 released!

          A new update release for the 13.0 series of the IBM® Advance Toolchain for Linux on Power is now available.

          [...]

          The IBM Advance Toolchain for Linux on Power is a set of open source development tools (compiler, debugger and profiling tools) and runtime libraries that allow users to take leading edge advantage of IBM’s latest POWER® hardware features on Linux®.

        • Nasah Kuma: Think About your audience

          The new year has got me thinking of how much I have learnt so far about open source and GJS. Usually, contributing to an open source project for the first time is like stepping into the unknown- not knowing how the community will welcome you, how helpful the community members will be or if the skills you have are good enough for a start. In this blog post I will be talking about how my journey has been which might be useful to you thinking of contributing to the GJS debugger.

          Some months ago, I submitted an initial application for the May 2020 round of the outreachy internships not knowing exactly if I was ready for the journey ahead. Unfortunately I didn’t get through to the contributions phase but the little experience I had from going through the lists of organisations that participated in previous rounds and checking out some of their repositories helped me become more familiar with open source contribution.

          When the contributions phase for the December 2020 – March 2021 round started, so much confusion set in. Which Organisation should I choose, Why should I choose it and what strategy am I to use to get selected were the questions I kept asking myself. Sooner than later, I finally decided to choose something that in my opinion was not only challenging but will make me feel like part of something great. Due to the fact that I developed a special relationship with JavaScript mainly because it is the first language that helped me understand what programming meant deeply, I chose the GJS project and another project which required JavaScript. I finally put all of my eggs in the GJS basket when I realized that it was a developer tool and because of how quickly my mentor and other community members helped me out when I got stuck. This experience alone made me understand that the community is open to everyone. You just need to be willing to put in the time and be open enough to ask questions.

        • Wasmer 1.0 Released As The Universal WebAssembly Runtime Outside The Browser – Phoronix

          As we have been expecting in recent weeks, Wasmer 1.0 has been released as the “universal WebAssembly runtime” for helping to accelerate WASM adoption and new use-cases outside of the web browser.

        • 12 Open-source free Agile and SCRUM project management solutions

          Agile project management is a project management approach that values and prioritizes human communication and feedback to deliver a quality product.

          The project is done in sprints, each sprint is aiming to improve the workflow and productivity by learning from the previous step (sprint).

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Icon – LinuxLinks

          Icon is a high-level, general-purpose language that contains a wide variety of features for processing and presenting symbolic data — strings of characters and structures — both as text and as graphic images.

          Icon has a large repertoire of operations for manipulating structures — records, lists, sets, and tables — and extensive capabilities for processing strings of characters. At the heart of Icon is a goal — directed expression-evaluation mechanism that simplifies many programming tasks. Storage is allocated automatically — you never have to worry about allocating space — and garbage collection reclaims unused space as necessary.

          Applications of Icon include analysing natural languages, reformatting data, generating computer programs, manipulating formulas, formatting documents, artificial intelligence, rapid prototyping, and graphic display of complex objects, and more.

          Here’s our recommended free tutorials/articles that’ll help you master Icon.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Russell Coker: Weather and Boinc

            I just wrote a Perl script to look at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology pages to find the current temperature in an area and then adjust BOINC settings accordingly. The Perl script (in this post after the break, which shouldn’t be in the RSS feed) takes the URL of a Bureau of Meteorology observation point as ARGV[0] and parses that to find the current (within the last hour) temperature. Then successive command line arguments are of the form “24:100” and “30:50” which indicate that at below 24C 100% of CPU cores should be used and below 30C 50% of CPU cores should be used. In warm weather having a couple of workstations in a room running BOINC (or any other CPU intensive task) will increase the temperature and also make excessive noise from cooling fans.

            To change the number of CPU cores used the script changes /etc/boinc-client/global_prefs_override.xml and then tells BOINC to reload that config file. This code is a little ugly (it doesn’t properly parse XML, it just replaces a line of text) and could fail on a valid configuration file that wasn’t produced by the current BOINC code.

        • Python

          • Resize images using Python

            I love Python, and I’ve been learning it for a while now. Some time ago, I wrote a Python script where I needed to resize a bunch of images while at the same time keeping the aspect ratio (the proportions) intact. So I looked around and found Pillow, a Python imaging library and “friendly fork” of an old library just called PIL.

  • Leftovers

    • A Women’s Boxing Team Grows in Gaza

      The Israeli government has continued its 14-year blockade against Gaza for reasons beyond the military and the strategic. The blockade—alongside bombings and selective assassinations—also accomplishes the political and ideological goal of killing hope. It crushes the aspirations that Palestinian people might have for justice, self-determination, or even a better life.

    • Education

      • 1960s survival Mandarin lessons for US troops in Taiwan go viral

        On Sunday, an image showing a basic Mandarin lesson for U.S. airmen stationed at Taichung’s Ching Chuan Kang Air Base was shared on the Facebook group Taiwan History and was posted the next day on the Taiwan subreddit for the social media site Reddit. The lessons were originally posted in the base’s library, and an image of the manual was included in a collection of photos uploaded onto a webpage titled “U.S. Military Ching Chuan Kang Base Footprints Museum,” which is part of the Republic of China Air Force website.

        According to the website, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) was stationed at the base from 1963 to 1979, when former President Jimmy Carter severed U.S. diplomatic ties with Taiwan. The 16 years that the USAF occupied the facility marked the longest period a U.S. military unit had occupied any base in Taiwan.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft will shut down Minecraft Earth in June

          At its core, Minecraft Earth was a game based upon exploration and discovery. During the early days of lockdown, my kids and I would wander around the neighborhood, looking for animals, ores, and dungeons to explore. But Microsoft said that the “current global situation” prevented the free movement and collaborative play that allowed Minecraft Earth to survive.

          As a result, Minecraft Earth will be turned off in June. “On June 30, we will discontinue all content and service support for the game,” Microsoft said in a blog post. “This means that we will stop all development, and after that date, you will be unable to download or play Minecraft Earth anymore. On July 1, we will delete any Minecraft Earth player data unrelated to Character Creator and Minecoin entitlements.”

        • What went wrong with software for prisons

          Microsoft and its partner Tribridge, a tech company that specialises in business applications and cloud solutions, Microsoft built the IDOC a searchable web-based solution called Offender 360 to centralise databases in the cloud and upgrade its prison management capabilities.

          Then-Governor Patrick Quinn said at the time, Microsoft’s “cutting-edge technology will give Illinois one of the most advanced criminal justice information systems in the country.”

          [...]

          For Microsoft, this was years in the making. In a 2016 blog post, “Digital Technology and the Prison of the Future”, Microsoft envisioned prisons monitored with CCTV, drones and IoT devices, including “finger, face, and eye recognition to identify inmates” as well as RFID tagging and tracking bands.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Santa Fe’s DeployHub gains Linux recognition [Ed: Conflating Linux with the Microsoft-leaning 'Linux' Foundation]

                Santa Fe-based DeployHub’s open-source microservices management platform has been accepted by the San Francisco-based Linux Foundation, which provides support for the open-source technology community.

                Linux will manage and govern the DeployHub code behind its Ortelius product, which simplifies the creation of modern software for future technology, company co-founder and CEO Tracy Ragan said.

        • Security

          • Kali Linux: Everything You Need to Know

            Kali Linux is not just any Linux Distro but also an operating system portrayed as unique and ferocious. Its ferocity is nothing to be scared about. It implies the impact it has on the objective of penetration testers and security experts who use it. Kali Linux is a modern-day and sophisticated Linux distro. Offensive Security takes credit for the development and maintenance of this Debian-based system.

            The information security industry is growing because of Offensive Security’s pioneering support. However, Kali Linux did not pop out of the air. There is an origin linked to its current reputable status, and its name is BackTrack. This security-focused distribution provided a stable foundation for the development of Kali Linux before it became obsolete. A successful installation of the Kali Linux distro is beautifully packaged with pre-installed security-focused advanced tools like Wireshark, Aircrack-ng, and Nmap.

            Therefore, who is this platform build for? If you consider yourself a security enthusiast that wants to test new waters or tame new heights, then you should knock on the door of Kali Linux. Moreover, this assumption does not rule out the students with the hunger and thirst for mastering penetration testing and ethical hacking. This distro is ideal for you to build and master your skills quietly. As the Kali Linux philosophy goes, the quieter you are, the more you will hear. Therefore, this article seeks to silently go through some essential knowledge base to ease the beginner bumps you might face once you give Kali Linux your heart and soul.

          • Ubuntu 20.10 comes with Nftables as a firewall

            The current version of the Linux distribution Ubuntu also comes with a new desktop image for the Raspberry Pi 4 and many package updates.

            The Linux distributor Canonical has released the current version Ubuntu 20.10 alias Groovy Gorilla. The version does not receive long-term maintenance, but is only provided with updates for nine months. The main new features of the version are the usual and expected package updates.

            One of the most fundamental changes to the system with the new version concerns the firewall backend. Here Canonical relies on the use of Nftables instead of the previously used iptables. Nftables has been part of the Linux kernel for more than six years, but its spread and use within Linux distributions has only grown slowly since then.

          • Reproducible Builds in December 2020

            Greetings and welcome to the December 2020 report from the Reproducible Builds project. In these monthly reports, we try to outline most important things that have happened in and around the Reproducible Builds project.

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (dovecot, poppler, roundcubemail, and rsync), Debian (csync2 and gssproxy), Fedora (grafana, perl-Convert-ASN1, and python-py), openSUSE (privoxy), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (ImageMagick and kernel), SUSE (ceph, dovecot22, flac, java-1_7_1-ibm, openssh, and python), and Ubuntu (dovecot, horizon, openexr, and python-apt).

          • One month after ransomware attack, Metro Vancouver’s transit system still not up to speed [iophk: Windows TCO]

            The attack, at the beginning of December 2020, saw [crackers] access company databases, plant the Egregor ransomware which locked down systems by encrypting data files, and even churn out a ransom note on hijacked printers.

          • TransLink warns staff [attackers] accessed personal banking information in cyberattack [iophk: Windows TCO]

            The ransomware attack, which was first reported Dec. 2 and confirmed by the transit authority a day later, forced TransLink to shut down all of its online operations after sources said the entire database was breached earlier that week. Credit card tapping on Compass gates and non-cash payments at Compass vending machines were also temporarily disabled.

          • [Old] Egregor ransomware hits again, another business email scam and an insider blamed for Italian job [iophk: Windows TCO]

            It was just over a month ago that a leading ransomware gang called Maze claimed it had stopped operating. If true a group called Egregor, first seen in September, is trying to fill the void. The Egregor ransomware strain has quickly hit a number of organizations, including Metro Vancouver’s TransLink public transit system. The latest victims are American retail chain KMart and an international human resource consulting firm called Randstad. In a statement last week Randstad said a limited number of servers were hit, but data relating to operations in the U.S., Italy, France and Poland were affected. The Egregor gang has begun publishing what it says is some of the data it stolen before encrypting information.

          • [Old] RansomExx Ransomware Gang Dumps Stolen Embraer Data: Report [iophk: Windows TCO]

            Other ransomware groups that also manage leak sites for the data stolen in ransomware attacks include Conti, Clop, Egregor and REvil, among others. Several of these groups have pulled off a number of significant attacks in the last few months, some of which resulted in data being leaked on their respective sites.

            Last week Egregor hit both the Vancouver metro system Translink and U.S. retailer Kmart with ransomware attacks. Prior to that, the group also mounted major attacks in October against bookseller Barnes & Noble and gaming companies Ubisof and Crytek.

          • [Old] Metro Vancouver and the world’s largest staffing firm hit by Egregor ransomware [iophk: Windows TCO]

            Two major organizations — Randstad, the world’s largest staffing agency and Translink, the Metro Vancouver transporting agency — fell victim to Egregor ransomware attacks. The Egregor ransomware group is found to be highly operational in recent times, and it continues to wreak havoc on enterprises. Egregor ransomware caused disruptions to the Chilean retail giant Cencosud recently followed by an attack on Kmart.

            Randstad has mentioned that the Egregor ransomware group has disclosed one percent of the stolen data and has exposed 32.7 MB of data with 184 files. Randstad is a global staffing agency with offices in 38 markets and has an employee count of 38,000 with a revenue of €23.7 billion in 2019. Randstad is also the owner of the popular employment website monster.com. Randstad has also mentioned that only a limited number of servers were compromised and its team is doing its best to resolve the situation.

          • LibreSSL languishes on Linux

            The OpenSSL project, though, has merged over 5,000 patches during approximately the same time period; that work came from 276 developers. Just as importantly, much of that work is supported by organizations that depend on OpenSSL; large contributors include Oracle, Siemens, Akamai, Red Hat, IBM, VMware, Intel, and Arm — along with the OpenSSL Software Foundation itself. This level of support has enabled the OpenSSL project to address many of its longstanding problems; by 2016, the project was on a much more stable footing. Security problems still exist, of course — this is software we are talking about, after all — but they are dealt with in a coordinated way and people don’t worry about OpenSSL as they once did.

            One result of all this work is that Linux distributions have, in general, not shifted away from OpenSSL. Two distributions that did attempt to provide LibreSSL support were Alpine Linux and Gentoo. Alpine Linux supported LibreSSL as its primary TLS library for a while, but switched back to OpenSSL with the 3.9.0 release in January 2019. Gentoo never tried to switch over completely, but it supports LibreSSL as an alternative.

          • Hamas May Be Threat to 8chan, QAnon Online

            In October 2020, KrebsOnSecurity looked at how a web of sites connected to conspiracy theory movements QAnon and 8chan were being kept online by DDoS-Guard, a dodgy Russian firm that also hosts the official site for the terrorist group Hamas. New research shows DDoS-Guard relies on data centers provided by a U.S.-based publicly traded company, which experts say could be exposed to civil and criminal liabilities as a result of DDoS-Guard’s business with Hamas.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Trump signs executive order blocking transactions with Alipay, WeChat Pay, and six other Chinese apps

              President Trump has signed a new executive order prohibiting transactions with the companies behind eight Chinese apps, including Ant Group’s Alipay and Tencent’s QQ and WeChat Pay. Transactions will be prohibited in 45 days. Reuters was the first to report the news.

              The full list of apps includes: Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office.

            • Trump bars U.S. transactions with eight Chinese apps including Alipay

              It tasks the Commerce Department with defining which transactions will be banned under the directive within 45 days and targets Tencent Holdings Ltd’s QQ Wallet and WeChat Pay as well. The order also names CamScanner, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate and WPS Office.

              A U.S. Tencent spokeswoman and the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately comment.

              “By accessing personal electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, Chinese connected software applications can access and capture vast swaths of information from users, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information,” the executive order states.

            • Amazon, Swiggy’s payment processor hit by data breach

              Mumbai: Payment services provider Juspay, which processes transactions for online giants like Amazon, Swiggy and other companies, on Monday admitted to a data breach that took place in August 2020. The breach resulted in about 3.5 crore records with masked card numbers and personal data getting compromised.

              The disclosures came after internet security researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia shared on social media a sample of the data that was available for sale on the dark web. “The database was put for sale by an unknown person who was dealing through Telegram,” Rajaharia told TOI.

            • FBI found Ghislaine Maxwell using mobile phone data

              She was located using global-positioning-system (GPS) data from a phone that had made calls to her lawyer, sister and husband.

            • The 10 Best Secure Private Email Services for Privacy

              The perfect functionality offered by some of these mentioned email services might contradict your high expectation for personalized features and remarkable UIs. Therefore, it might be a hard pill to swallow, but the need for user privacy and security should not be easily dismissed. An email service’s system performance and functionality should prioritize the need for an outstanding webmail client design.

              Choosing a secure and private email service will always cause a collision between the need for a flexibly customizable user-friendly app and the need for a performant yet encryptable mail app. Regardless of which side you choose in this tug of war, the following factors should have a say in your decision-making criterion.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Legacy of General Qassem Soleimani: A Woman’s Perspective

        In a recent interview with RT, Zeinab Soleimani, the daughter of late Iranian General, Qasem Soleiman said that “After killing my father, America thought that everything would be stopped because they killed General Soleimani, the power of the Middle East. But they are so wrong… They are so wrong in thinking this will be the end of General Soleimani, this is the beginning.”

      • Violent threats ripple through far-right internet forums ahead of protest

        Online forums popular with conservatives and far-right activists have been filled in recent days with threats and expectations of violence ahead of a planned protest in Washington on Wednesday to coincide with congressional certification of the election.

        In anticipation of possible violence, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has asked residents to stay away from the downtown area where protesters will be marching. Every city police officer will be on duty, and the National Guard has been mobilized.

      • With Pro-Trumpers ‘Intent on Bringing Firearms’ to MAGA March, DC Activates National Guard

        “I am asking Washingtonians and those who live in the region to stay out of the downtown area on Tuesday and Wednesday and not to engage with demonstrators who come to our city seeking confrontation, and we will do what we must to ensure all who attend remain peaceful,” Bowser tweeted on Sunday.

      • DC mayor calls in National Guard ahead of pro-Trump protests

        Bracing for possible violence, the nation’s capital has mobilized the National Guard ahead of planned protests by President Donald Trump’s supporters in connection with the congressional vote expected Wednesday to affirm Joe Biden’s election victory.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • How Biden Can Help End the Country’s Debt Crisis

        Every year, achieving greater financial security ranks as one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Given the impact of the coronavirus, the number of people who made that resolution this year was likely even higher. Our country faces a debt crisis—and the incoming administration should act to solve it.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Georgia Runoff
      • ‘Shameful Power Grab’: Pennsylvania GOP State Senators Slammed for Refusing to Seat Certified Election Winner

        “Voters, not Harrisburg politicians, decided this election,” asserted Gov. Tom Wolf, “and Sen. Brewster is the rightful winner.”

      • Trump Turns the Crazy Up to 11—and the GOP Cheers Him
      • “Unethical and Anti-Democratic”: GOP Lawmakers & Trump Continue Push to Overturn Election Results

        At a campaign rally for the two critical Senate runoff races in Georgia, President Trump used much of the time to focus on himself and again dispute the outcome of November’s presidential election. In a rambling speech, Trump cited the same conspiracy theories he used to pressure Georgia’s secretary of state in a recorded telephone call to “find” him enough votes to overturn the state’s certified election results. Democrats say Trump could be prosecuted for illegally trying to pressure Georgia officials to commit voter fraud, while some Republicans are defending the call. “It is most unfortunate that there are members of Congress in both the House and Senate that are planning to … do grandstanding, frankly, to continue this kind of false and baseless claim that there was something wrong with the 2020 election,” says Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She says that for lawmakers to “perpetuate this mythology about irregularities in our election is incredibly un-American.”

      • Ahead of Pro-Trump Protest, Proud Boys Leader Arrested for Burning BLM Banner at Black Church

        As thousands are expected to descend on Washington, D.C., to join far-right protests over the election results Wednesday, the leader of the Proud Boys hate group, Enrique Tarrio, was arrested on property destruction charges for burning a Black Lives Matter banner off a historically Black church during similar protests last month. Many churches have requested extra protection, and the Metropolitan AME Church is suing the Proud Boys. “Sadly, our nation has a very dark and sordid history of targeting historically Black churches,” says Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, who represents the church in its lawsuit. “We will use civil rights law as a way of sending a message to extremists that they are not above the law and will be held accountable for their dangerous, toxic and dark actions.”

      • ‘You Alone Have the Power to Temper Justice With Mercy’: Trump Urged to Stop Execution of Lisa Montgomery

        The convicted murderer, a victim of horrific childhood abuse and rape, is scheduled to be put to death on January 12 as part of what has been called Trump’s “execution spree.”

      • Georgia runoffs reveal the total putrefaction of the GOP: Republicans are now openly anti-democratic

        Whatever the election outcome is after the polls close on Tuesday, this election has demonstrated beyond all shadow of of a doubt that the rot that has infected the Republican Party has completely overtaken the organism. Every tendril of Republican politics, from the White House to the homes of ordinary voters, has putrefied and grown toxic with loathing for their fellow Americans and for democracy itself.

        Loeffler and Perdue are definitely vibing the anti-democracy, pro-coup mentality among the voters who, ironically, they need in order to win a democratic election. Prior to Monday’s rally, both candidates came out in favor of Republicans objecting to Congress certifying Biden’s win on Wednesday. The stated reason for the objection is “concerns” about “fraud”, but of course, no one bought that lie even before Trump was caught on tape begging Raffensperger to alter vote totals in Georgia. No, it’s obvious that both candidates believe that earning the support of conservative voters means coming out against democracy. The reactions of the Trump rally crowd, which cheered for coup talk and grew bored of democracy talk, only confirms that Perdue and Loeffler are probably guessing right.

      • A Misremembered Day of Infamy

        This shallow use of a hinge event in history has become typical of a nation that has begun to lose its sense of itself. This is evident in Americans’ diminished standards of conduct at home and their increasingly tenuous attachment to high purposes abroad. It isn’t quite that Pearl Harbor Day has somehow been forgotten, but that its animating spirit—the marrow-deep understanding among previous generations that America’s weakness had left the world in dire peril—has gone missing. This attenuated sense of global responsibility is a sign that something has gone amiss in American higher learning, and has seeped into the nation’s popular culture. A historical event as dramatic as the attack on Pearl Harbor may still be dimly remembered, but its deeper meaning has been lost.

        This is not a minor problem for a nation whose pre-eminence among nations is in danger of slipping from its grasp. The United States needs to develop the political culture to uphold the concept of international responsibility. Retrieving the memory and proper meaning of Pearl Harbor, which initially introduced Americans to the hazards of isolation from the world, is a necessary precondition for Americans reacquiring the understanding and confidence to fulfill the important duties that lie beyond our borders. Without this historical sense, the past will be lost and with it any prospect of future success for the world Americans live in.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • ‘Mr. Bean’ Actor Rowan Atkinson Weighs in on ‘Cancel Culture,’ Teases New Film

        Rowan Atkinson, the British actor known the world over for his “Mr. Bean” character, has delivered a broadside against the so-called online “cancel culture.”

        During an extensive interview with U.K. outlet Radio Times, Atkinson said: “The problem we have online is that an algorithm decides what we want to see, which ends up creating a simplistic, binary view of society. It becomes a case of either you’re with us or against us. And if you’re against us, you deserve to be ‘canceled.’

        “It’s important that we’re exposed to a wide spectrum of opinion, but what we have now is the digital equivalent of the medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn,” Atkinson added. “So it is scary for anyone who’s a victim of that mob and it fills me with fear about the future.”

      • The EU Digital Services Act package

        Furthermore, these platforms have failed to provide meaningful transparency, and the business models that are built on data harvesting without proper safeguards do not give users adequate control, either over their data or the information they receive and impart. We are not in a position to understand the extent to which our data are being used, nor are we able to determine the extent to which automated decision-making is leveraged in the curation or amplification of content. We cannot gauge the impact of these automated processes on our exposure to diverse content, and we cannot study or prevent the discriminatory treatment of underrepresented groups.

        The DSA legislative package is a unique chance to create systemic regulation of gatekeeper platforms based on human rights standards, while making the rights of users the utmost priority. In this session, we will discuss how and by what means the EU can meet this mark.

      • What Price the Upload Filter? The history and costs of government exceptional access

        The EU has been pushing for apps that support end-to-end encrypted messaging to contain an upload filter, which will scrutinise material for prohibited content before it’s encrypted. This is the latest in a long line of attempts to maintain government access to data despite cryptography. In this talk, I will try to put them in context of the last two crypto wars and assess the costs their efforts have imposed on our economies. I’ll finally ask what strategic direction democratic governments might take in the coming tussles with China.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • The Assange Verdict: What Happens Now

        I fully expect that Julian will be released on bail this week, pending a possible US appeal against the blocking of his extradition.

      • UK judge justifies CIA spying on Assange citing debunked CNN report based on… CIA spying
      • Opinion | 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.

      • Assange Extradition Denial Indicts US Prison System But Imperils Journalism
      • US Incarceration System Deemed Too Cruel For Julian Assange

        The following was originally published as part of The Dissenter newsletter.

        The mass incarceration system in the United States is cruel and inhumane, and as a result, the U.S. government had their extradition request against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denied by a British district judge.

      • United Kingdom: UN expert cautiously welcomes refusal to extradite Assange

        UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer today welcomed a British court’s refusal to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United States on the basis that he would be exposed to “oppressive” conditions of imprisonment that would almost certainly cause him to commit suicide.

        “This ruling confirms my own assessment that, in the United States, Mr. Assange would be exposed to conditions of detention, which are widely recognized to amount to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” said Melzer.

      • Ruling Assange Can’t Be Extradited Is an Indictment of US Prisons

        The magistrate’s judgment, while giving Assange hope that he will not spend the rest of his life in the brutal recesses of the American penal system, dismissed his defense that revelations of war crimes were in the public interest and press freedom statutes in Britain and the United States barred his prosecution. It was an indictment of American maximum security prisons, where the magistrate recognized Assange was likely to kill himself, but it was a body blow to free speech. Nils Muižnieks, Europe director at Amnesty International, explained, “The fact that the ruling is correct and saves Assange from extradition does not absolve the UK from having engaged in this politically-motivated process at the behest of the USA and putting media freedom and freedom of expression on trial. It has set a terrible precedent for which the US is responsible and the UK government is complicit.”

        Magistrate Baraitser explicitly denied Assange protection under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Wonder Woman 1984 and Hamilton’s three biggest lessons for streaming

        Getting people to sign up is one thing; keeping them is another. Arguably, keeping them is also the most important part. Think of the United States. Once the majority of households have signed up for a service, it’s much tougher to continue growing at scale in that region. What becomes more important than growing in that territory is convincing people to stay. Recurring revenue only makes sense if companies can convince the majority of their customers to continuously pay month after month, year after year.

      • MTV, Nickelodeon Added to Hulu Live TV Bundle in Expansive ViacomCBS Deal

        The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, means that channels including BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount Network will be available through the Hulu + Live TV bundle for the first time. It also includes continued carriage of CBS, CBS Sports Network, Pop TV, Smithsonian Channel and The CW. Premium cable channel Showtime also remains available as an add-on for Hulu live TV subscribers.

      • Horrors and errors of SOME independent book sellers | Stop at Zona-M

        Jeff (not his real name) discovered a very interesting French book, and followed the recommended link to buy it online: the website of a “consortium of independent bookstores”, with a warehouse just outside Paris.

        Perfect, said Jeff: let’s support independent businesses, local economy now or never, and so on.

        The book price is 22 Euros, the procedure to buy it a nightmare. Click, add to cart, create an account: twenty minutes wasted filling out a two-screenful form, badly formatted, that asks everything and its contrary, and takes three attempt to understand the address.

        Finally, checkout: total price 40 Euros, due to “shipping costs, from metropolitan France to Belgium: 18 euros”

        [...]

        Eigtheen Euros to support fair trade by human entrepreneurs, but without any guarantee that “the working conditions of all the warehouse workers and riders involved are better than what Amazon offers?”

        Fair question, isn’t it? I have written plenty about how bad Amazon really is, from robotizing workers to being unsustainably fast, for no reason, sending “free returns” straight to landfills (1), making orwellian telescreens and much more.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • PTAB Discretionary Denials Up 60%+ in 2020: Fueled Entirely by 314(a) Denials

          In 2020, the PTAB logged a record increase in “discretionary” denials, with 228 petitions denied without considering the merits. The vast majority—62%—came under either the NHK Spring/Fintiv “trial date” framework or were based on the new parallel petition requirements. In a year where denials were up generally, roughly 20% of all institution decisions (and almost half of ALL denials) were procedurally denied, compared to 12.5% in 2019.

          Remarkably, the Board has accelerated their use of procedural denials based on trial dates, despite district trials continually being delayed—and many cancelled outright—due to the current pandemic. This 60% increase in denial rates was due to the explosive use of 314(a). Indeed, even in the trial on which this line of decisions were based–-the NHK Spring decision—the trial never materialized.

        • Software Patents

          • ETRI patent challenged as likely invalid

            On December 31, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 9,736,484, owned by the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), as part of Unified’s ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone. The ‘484 patent is part of the HEVC Advance Patent Pool, as well as SISVEL’s AV1 and VP9 patent pools.

      • Copyrights

        • No Book/Music/Movie (All Media) Donation Too Big or Small: Please Donate

          Looking around your home in the new year and wondering what to do with all the stuff you’ve accumulated? You’re not alone — turns out 54% of Americans are overwhelmed by the amount of clutter around them. As people move or downsize, they are often in a dilemma about what to do with their beloved books and records. The same goes for colleges and libraries when they close or relocate. So what’s a preservation-minded person or organization supposed to do with their extra books, records, or other media?

          The Internet Archive is here to help! We welcome donations with open arms — from single books to entire libraries. The Internet Archive seeks to preserve and digitize one copy of every book, record, CD, film, and microfilm in support of our mission to provide “Universal Access to All Knowledge.”

        • Lindsey Buckingham Sells His Publishing Rights, Including Fleetwood Mac Hits

          Just one day after it announced the acquisition of Jimmy Iovine’s production royalties, the Merck Mercuriadis-led Hipgnosis Songs Fund has confirmed yet another major rights buyout. This time, Hipgnosis has acquired 100 percent of Lindsey Buckingham’s publishing rights, including both his publishing and writer’s share, across 161 songs.

          Those songs include an array of hits that Buckingham wrote and/or co-wrote for Fleetwood Mac, including “Go Your Own Way” and “The Chain.”

          Hipgnosis previously acquired a 25 percent stake in Buckingham’s song catalog via its buyout of a publishing portfolio from Kobalt for $323m in September (announced in November). As part of its new agreement with Buckingham, announced today (January 5), Hipgnosis also acquires a 50% share of any unreleased compositions.

        • MGM Discusses Ways to Win Over Entain Investors With Takeover Bid

          MGM has almost $4.6 billion in cash on its balance sheet after a series of asset sales. Its largest shareholder, Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, has indicated it could fund part of a cash contribution by investing more in MGM, according to a statement Monday. IAC owns just under 12% of the casino giant, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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