01.09.21

Links 9/1/2021: KDE Frameworks 5.78.0, GNU Wget 1.21.1, Red Hat Buying StackRox

Posted in News Roundup at 5:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • How to build a Linux-powered smart home

      Creative ingenuity and the ability to cram a network stack into the smallest of things have gifted us, over the past few years, some pretty funky home innovations. Legacy (classical?) home dwellers may see little merit in upgrading to a smart home, but we have some uniquely Linux ideas that may persuade them.

      Having a smart home needn’t mean having Alexa (the voice of Amazon’s Echo) eavesdropping on your every word. Nor does it mean the nameless entity within a Google Assistant reporting back to the mothership whenever you leave the bathroom light on.

      The Mycroft home assistant can do all the good bits of these voice devices, but without the more chilling data-collection aspects. Best of all you can run Mycroft on a Raspberry Pi.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux on Apple’s Arm silicon Macs? This crowdfunded project wants to give it a try

        A crowdfunded project has launched that aims to to port Linux to Apple’s new Arm-based silicon Macs.

        Hector Martin, a Tokyo-based IT security consultant by day and hacker by night, has kicked off what he is calling the Asahi Linux project.

      • Crowdfunded Asahi project aims for ‘polished’ Linux experience on Apple Silicon

        Martin said that “Apple allows booting unsigned/custom kernels on Apple Silicon Macs without a jailbreak,” which he takes as evidence that “Apple does not intend to lock down what OS you can use.”

        Apple does control the boot process and firmware on its Secure Enclave Processor, but, according to Martin, this is no more restrictive than modern PCs.

        “In fact, mainstream x86 platforms are arguably more intrusive, as the proprietary UEFI firmware is allowed to steal the main CPU from the OS at any time via SMM interrupts, which is not the case on Apple Silicon Macs,” he said.

        Linus Torvalds said last year that he would welcome Linux on Apple Silicon. “I’d absolutely love to have one, if it just ran Linux… I’ve been waiting for an ARM laptop that can run Linux for a long time. The new Air would be almost perfect, except for the OS. And I don’t have the time to tinker with it, or the inclination to fight companies that don’t want to help.”

        Whether or not it is via this project, the ability to run Linux on Apple Silicon is significant for software freedom. Apple Silicon is a hardware breakthrough, outperforming x86 PCs, but Apple is making MacOS in some respects more like iOS, encouraging users to install software from a store gated by Apple.

      • Could this ambitious project see Linux on Apple M1 Macs?

        Experienced Linux porter Hector Martin has kicked off work on bringing Linux to the new Apple M1 Macs. His endeavor is named Asahi after the Japanese name for the McIntosh apple.

        Martin has been porting Linux to other devices for a long time, and is popular for getting the open source kernel to work on the PS4 with full OpenGL/Vulkan graphics support along with the ability to run Steam.

        With Asahi, Martin will first target the M1 Mac Mini, but assures that “all Apple M1 macs are in scope, as well as future generations as development time permits.”

      • Purism and Linux 5.8 – Purism

        Following up on our report for Linux 5.7 this summarizes the progress on mainline support for the Librem 5 phone and its development kit during the 5.8 development cycle. That was already a few months ago. We missed publishing this earlier and the recent development cycle summaries will follow shortly.

        Runtime power management in the USB stack is quite mature and well supported. We added one piece for the Designware DWC3 hardware IP that has been missing: support for runtime power management when devices are connected and disconnected on an external bus…

      • Linux 5.10.6
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.10.6 kernel.
        
        All users of the 5.10 kernel series must upgrade.
        
        The updated 5.10.y git tree can be found at:
        	git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.10.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
        
        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s...
        
        thanks,
        
        greg k-h
        
      • Linux 5.4.88
      • Linux 4.19.166
      • Linux 4.14.214
      • Linux 4.9.250
      • Linux 4.4.250
      • Intel Haswell GT1 Graphics Have Been Busted The Past Half-Year On Linux

        While Intel is generally well regarded for their Linux development practices especially as it pertains to continuous integration and their test labs for vetting code prior to reaching the mainline Linux kernel to minimize the risk of regressions or other unintended side effects, those running older Haswell GT1 low-end graphics have seen the past several kernel versions going back a half-year yield a GPU hang at boot.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA fixes high severity flaws affecting Windows, Linux devices

          NVIDIA has released security updates to address six security vulnerabilities found in Windows and Linux GPU display drivers, as well as ten additional flaws affecting the NVIDIA Virtual GPU (vGPU) management software.

          The vulnerabilities expose Windows and Linux machines to attacks leading to denial of service, escalation of privileges, data tampering, or information disclosure.

          All these security bugs require local user access, which means that potential attackers will first have to gain access to vulnerable devices using an additional attack vector.

        • Nvidia has patched several serious security flaws affecting Windows and Linux devices

          Nvidia has patched a number of security flaws in its GPU display drivers for Windows and Linux as well as its Nvidia Virtual GPU (vGPU) management software.

          In total, the company’s latest security update addresses six vulnerabilities in its display drivers and 10 security flaws that affect its vGPU management software. If exploited these vulnerabilities could lead to denial of service, escalation of privileges, data tampering or information disclosure on unpatched Windows and Linux systems.

        • Nvidia – Failed to open Light Display Manager – lightdm issue – switch to sddm

          is that the lightdm is really failing and that is not the Nvidia driver or the configs that are behind it.

        • Another NVIDIA Engineer Just Made His First Contribution To Mesa

          Another NVIDIA engineer has made his first contribution to Mesa in the rather interesting focus of fixing up Volta so atomic operations will work with OpenCL SVM.

          NVIDIA contributions to Mesa are rare… During 2020 were just two commits from a NVIDIA.com address from one developer, no commits from NVIDIA.com addresses in 2019, and a number in 2018 all in regards to Tegra embedded graphics support. In the prior five years there have been just six NVIDIA engineers with commits to Mesa.

    • AMD

      • AMDVLK 2021.Q1.1 Brings Switchable Graphics Layer, RDNA 2 Tuning – Phoronix

        AMDVLK 2021.Q1.1 is out this morning as the first update of the year for the open-source official AMD Vulkan Linux driver and it’s an exciting update.

        AMDVLK 2021.Q1.1 brings the recently reported on Vulkan layer that makes it very easy to switch between AMDVLK and RADV drivers. With the new driver installed and the Vulkan layer activated, setting the AMD_VULKAN_ICD=RADV environment variable instead will cause RADV to be used.

      • AMD make switching between Vulkan drivers AMDVLK and RADV easier | GamingOnLinux

        On Linux with AMD GPUs you can decide between the RADV and AMDVLK drivers for Vulkan API support, and it appears AMD want to make things a little easier for you.

        It can get a little confusing so here’s the real basics: AMDVLK is the “official” external Vulkan driver developed by AMD, whereas RADV is part of Mesa and comes with most distributions by default. Sometimes certain games work better on one, sometimes on the other. Additionally, AMD only directly support Ubuntu and Red Hat, whereas Mesa with RADV focuses on everything they can.

        With the latest AMDVLK 2021.Q1.1 release, AMD has made switching between the two a little easier. With this driver installed, you only need to set an environment variable to tell whatever game or application you’re using what driver to use with “AMD_VULKAN_ICD” set to either “AMDVLK” or “RADV”. The default is AMDVLK of course, if none is set.

      • AMD Ryzen 9 5950X + GCC 11 Compiler Benchmarks At Varying Optimization Levels – Phoronix

        Following last month’s initial benchmarks of the AMD “znver3″ support that landed in the GCC 11 compiler was a request by a premium supporter to see the AMD Zen 3 benchmarks at more compiler optimizations. Well, here are those numbers for those wanting to pursue aggressive compiler optimizations on a shiny AMD Ryzen 9 5950X.

        As outlined last month, GCC 11 now has the initial “-march=znver3″ CPU target support. However, this is basically a copy of the Zen 2 GCC code at this point with the few new Zen 3 instructions flipped on. There isn’t yet any optimized scheduler model or other performance enhancements over the existing Znver2 support. So this articles does include both znver2 and znver3 runs for those interested.

      • AMD GPU Driver In Linux 5.12 Gets RX 6000 Series OverDrive, FP16 For More Hardware – Phoronix

        The first of several batches of feature updates to the AMDGPU kernel driver were sent in on Friday for anticipation of the Linux 5.12 kernel merge window that should be opening up in February while the stable Linux 5.12 debut will happen likely by/around May. With this initial pull does come some new features and improvements around the recent AMD graphics processor support additions.

        Likely of most interest to users out of this initial set of AMDGPU driver changes queuing in DRM-Next is the OverDrive overclocking for the Radeon RX 6000 series. This was one of the features not initially present by the AMDGPU Linux driver but is now squared away and ready to go. As with existing OverDrive Linux support, it’s exposed via sysfs for command-line based overclocking but could be implemented by those interested as a GUI control utility – just nothing officially from AMD.

      • A Linux Fix Is On The Way For Some GPUs Having AMD Smart Access Memory Issue – Phoronix

        A Linux fix is on the way for a new quirk to address an issue whereby some AMD Radeon graphics cards have an issue with the resizable BAR (AMD Smart Access Memory) handling that could lead to lower performance.

        The quirk is about allowing BAR0 resizing to be done even for PCI Express graphics cards that don’t advertise Resizable BAR support for a size large enough to span the entire video memory size but at least larger than the default.

    • Applications

      • Why I like the FED text editor

        When I’m not at work on my Linux desktop, you can usually find me writing code for a legacy 16-bit system. FreeDOS is an open source DOS-compatible operating system that you can use to play classic DOS games, run legacy business software, or develop embedded systems. Any program that works on MS-DOS should also run on FreeDOS.

        I grew up with DOS. My family’s first personal computer was an Apple II clone, but we eventually upgraded to an IBM PC running DOS. I was a DOS user for over ten years, from the early 1980s until 1993, when I discovered Linux.

        [...]

        FED is also a folding text editor, which means that it can collapse or expand portions of my code so that I can see more of my file. Tap Ctrl-F on a function name and FED will collapse the entire function. Folding works on other code, as well. I also use folding to hide for and while loops or other flow controls like if and switch blocks.

      • Linux Candy: WallpaperDownloader – download, change, manage wallpapers

        Linux Candy is a series of articles covering interesting eye candy software. We only feature open source software in this series.

        Some of the programs in this series are purely cosmetic, frivolous pieces of fun. Candy at their finest. But we also include some programs that aren’t purely decorative.

        There’s a diverse range of programs included in this series. Programs such as eDEX-UI and Variety are actually highly practical programs. ASCIIQuarium has soothing and relaxing qualities for your desktop. Other programs included in this series (such as lolcat, cacafire) are included purely for their decorative qualities. And then there’s some really fun software that just raises a smile or two.

        WallpaperDownloader is open source software that allows users to download wallpapers from different remote locations automatically. The application runs in the background. WallpaperDownloader is written in Java.

      • 7 Essential Tools to Search the Filesystem

        One of the key benefits of this type of software is that it allows the user to locate data stored on their hard disk almost instantaneously. They are designed to be fast. They are not integrated with a different application, such as a file manager.

        We have included command-line tools. And if you prefer using the command-line, don’t forget the venerable find and locate utilities that are found in all popular distributions. While find is a very useful utility, it can be slow searching. Locate searches for files very quickly using a database file.

        Here’s our recommendations. They are all published under an open source license.

      • eDEX-UI – Coolest Linux Terminal

        Linux terminal may be the most boring application for new Linux users but it’s undoubtedly very useful. Once a user gets used to it, it’s more powerful than a GUI app. eDEX-UI, a fullscreen Linux terminal, system monitor, and network monitor is the coolest terminal application I have ever used.

        eDEX-UI is inspired by sci-fi movies, especially from TRON Legacy movie effects. Besides having great looks, it has really cool features such as a system monitor, network monitor, GUI file manager, multi-tab support, and awesome themes.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Increase Disk Size of VMware Machine

        It happens many time to me. When I have to use windows for MS Office or Photoshop. Then suddenly, I get the need for a Linux system. In between work, I have to switch back to Linux.

        So, I set up my Linux machine on VMware, and during installation, I set it up with disk size 20GB. However, it would be required much more now.

        Today, I will guide you on how to increase defined disk size in VMware machine.

      • Linux commands: How to manipulate process priority  | Enable Sysadmin

        Make your Linux processes play nice with each other.

      • Download Mx Linux ISO 64-bit or 32-bit for PC or Laptop

        Linux is not anymore an unfamiliar operating system because of increasing software support and easy to use interface. Another thing is the wide range of Linux choice, we can pick one for old systems to let them work again, another for a modern system with power and performance.

        If we talk about MX Linux, out of the box, it comes with an Xfce desktop interface which makes it suitable for low resource system hardware. Apart from Xfce, it is also available in the Fluxbox desktop environment meant for the old systems where modern systems can use the MX Linux KDE version to get not only a beautiful desktop interface but also give access to lots of widgets, themes, and apps.

      • Configure DualSense LEDs with This Utility

        The DualSense from Sony is a $70 piece of plastic manufactured in China that never ceases to amaze me. Less than a month after the controller’s release in the US, Valve added enhanced functionality to the controller in the Steam beta client. In addition to having basic input functionality baked in, it was now possible to configure LED colors, use the trackpad, the basic vibration, and even gyroscope. As of a few weeks ago, those features are baked in to the stable branch of Steam.

        Shortly thereafter, SDL 2.0.14 included support for the DualSense, allowing functionality of the DS to expand further in scope than just Steam games. We’re hit with yet another surprise when Sony released their official driver for the DS less than two weeks ago, again increasing compatibly with most, if not all games across the board, besides SDL-based games and games on Steam. This driver will also allow the trackpad to be used as a mouse, just like the trackpad’s functionality on the DS4, and the battery percentage is now displayed on the taskbar. Unfortunately adaptive triggers and haptic feedback aren’t quite here yet.

        [...]

        However, what I’d like to bring to your attention is the DS driver for Linux allows us to modify the LED values that are by the trackpad, including color, brightness, etc. What may also be of interest is the fact that there’s actually five individual LEDs that can be toggled on the bottom of the trackpad, not just the side LEDs.

      • What Is HTTP Caching? [Ed: Updated last week]

        HTTP Caching is the solution that we need. The modern-day web is less about who makes the best service, and more about who delivers it efficiently. With the content available on the internet expanding on an exponential basis, the amount of resources required to serve a user with a particular request is just too high. It is extremely infeasible to keep hitting the database for resources that have just recently been fetched. This is where HTTP or HTTPS comes in with a solution called caching.

      • Monitoring Apache Airflow using Prometheus

        Let’s discuss the big picture first. Apache Airflow can send metrics using the statsd protocol. These metrics would normally be received by a statsd server and stored in a backend of choice. Our goal though, is to send the metrics to Prometheus. How can the statsd metrics be sent to Prometheus?

      • Message broker integration made simple with Red Hat Fuse

        This article presents a sample integration between Red Hat AMQ 7 and IBM MQ, using Red Hat Fuse 7 for the integration. Traditionally, developers have used resource adapters for message bridging with external systems. A resource adapter is a system library that provides connectivity to an enterprise information system (EIS). Similar to how a Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) driver provides connectivity to a database management system, a resource adapter plugs into an application server such as Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (JBoss EAP). It then connects the application server, enterprise information system, and the enterprise application.

        Resource adapters work well, but the configuration can be overwhelming, especially for scenarios that require adding numerous modules on top of the application server or where the resource adapter contract requires extensive administrative resources. Some scenarios require configuring multiple resource adapters and then arranging the message exchange between them.

        Red Hat Fuse provides a simpler, more flexible pattern for routing messages between components. Fuse leverages Apache Camel’s JMS component to exchange messages via a Java Message Service (JMS) queue or topic. It relies on Spring’s JMS support for declarative transactions.

      • [Old] Setting Up LIRC on the RaspberryPi

        In July 2012 I wrote a post called Universal remote experiments about creating a web controlled universal remote from the electronics up. The first platform I started with was an Arduino Uno. After much experimentation I learned that asking an Arduino to maintain a WiFi connection, maintain a TCP socket with a host computer, and send/receive IR signals was a bit much. With the limited memory and storage I had a hard time managing memory and keeping the system stable. I was, however, able to build a functional prototype:

        At the end of that post I had decided to rebuild the project on a RaspberryPi. I chose the RaspberryPi because I wanted a single device to host a web server in addition to being able to handle the IR transmitting and receiving. Given that the RaspberryPi runs Linux I could rely on it’s stable TCP/IP implementation and use open source software packages like nginx and NodeJS to build a web application.

        This post will serve as ‘part two’ of that project and cover how to install and configure LIRC on a RaspberryPi.

      • How To Install Node.js on Linux Mint 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Node.js on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Node.js is a Javascript platform for programming that enables users to build network applications very quickly. If you are using Javascript on both the front-end and the back-end, it means your development can be much more consistent and be designed within the same 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 Node.js on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • How to Create Virtual Machines in KVM Using Virt-Manager

        As you get started, ensure that the KVM hypervisor is installed on your system. An acronym for Kernel-based Virtual Machine, KVM is a combination of kernel modules & utilities needed to run virtual machines on a host system. These include QEMU, virt-install, libvirtd daemon, virt-manager and so many more.

      • How to Create a File in Linux | Tutorial – buildVirtual

        When working on the terminal, or command line, there is often a need to know how to create a file in Linux. Whether you need to create a script file, a config file or text file, it is a common activity for a Linux admin.

        This article will look at some of the different ways you can create a file in Linux using command line tools and text editors.

        Let’s start by looking at some of the native bash tools we can use to create files.

      • How to Install Apache CouchDB in Ubuntu 20.04

        Implemented in Erlang, Apache CouchDB, simply referred to as CouchDB, is an open-source NoSQL database that focuses on data storage in JSON format. CouchDB is a perfect choice for operation teams and businesses looking for a high-performance NoSQL database solution. Unlike relational databases such as MySQL, CouchDB uses a schema-free data model, simplifying records management across various computing devices.

        This tutorial shows you how to install the latest version of Apache CouchDB on Ubuntu 20.04.

      • How to Install Luminance HDR 2.6.1 in Ubuntu 20.04, Linux Mint 20 | UbuntuHandbook

        Luminance HDR 2.6.1, free and open-source HDR imaging software, is available to install in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, Linux Mint 20.

      • How to Install and Configure Arch Linux with a Desktop Environment – Linux Stans

        Here is my method for installing Arch Linux. This can be a bit fiddly, but is a really great learning curve, especially if you are installing it on physical hardware. There are many methods to do everything, different partitioning tools, and lots of ways to carve up your disks (if you are using a virtual machine; LVM would be beneficial as it provides that dynamic disk allocation that is useful for extending your LUNs as required, etc).

        I should also mention at this point, Arch it is a very lightweight bleeding edge operating system, whilst retaining stability. If you have any software that relies on LTS kernels, this may not be the best OS for you; one package of which I have experienced issues in the past, due to LTS requirements and older (stable) kernels, is VMware workstation for Linux. I found I had to use an older kernel to retain interoperability.

      • How to Secure Email Server Against Hacking with VPN (Debian/Ubuntu)

        In this tutorial, I’m going to share with you my tips and tricks to secure email servers against hacking with a self-hosted VPN server. Many spammers are trying to hack into other people’s email servers. If successful, they would use the hacked email server to send large volumes of spam or steal valuable data. Why do we use a self-hosted VPN server? Because it allows you to enable whitelisting, so only trusted users connected to the VPN server can access your mail server.

      • How to Set Up Private DNS Servers with BIND on CentOS 8

        BIND also know as the “Berkeley Internet Name Domain” is one of the most popular Domain Name System (DNS) now a day. It an open-source and provides DNS services on Linux operating systems. Generally, it helps you to resolve a fully qualified domain name into an IP address or IP address to a domain name. It can be used as an authoritative name server and provides several features like load balancing, dynamic update, split DNS, etc.

      • How to Take Backup with Btrfs Snapshots

        BTRFS is an open-source and modern filesystem implemented with advanced features. It works on copy on write (CoW) mechanism.

        It is included in the mainline Linux kernel. Notable features of Btrfs are copy-on-write data and metadata, snapshots, Built-in RAID support, online resizing and defragmentation, transparent compression, efficient storage for small files, etc.

        Snapshot is a given time copy of Btrfs subvolume. Snapshots are writeable by default. Btrfs allows creating readable snapshots which is helpful to take backup.

      • How to get Steam on a Chromebook

        Chromebooks aren’t designed for gaming. In fact, Google originally targeted students and schools, offering a lightweight, web-based platform powering affordable low-end devices. That has since changed, as a wider variety are now available from cheap machines to premium, high-dollar Chrome OS PCs.

      • How to install openSUSE on your PC | FOSS Linux

        Here’s FOSS Linux’s detailed guide on installing openSUSE on your PC. We shall go for the Leap variant. The latest release as of writing this post is openSUSE Leap 15.2.

      • How to use Cloudformation to create an SNS topic on AWS

        Simple Notification Service. It can be used by Cloudwatch to send alert emails. First, an SNS topic needs to be created and then an endpoint needs to be subscribed to it.
        In this article, we will create an SNS topic using Cloudformation and subscribe to an email endpoint. We will also see how to delete the SNS topic and subscription using the Cloudformation stack itself. It is assumed that you have a basic understanding of SNS and it’s working. This article is focused on creating SNS using Cloudformation stack.

      • Install Eclipse IDE with CDT plugin for C/C++ coding on Linux – PragmaticLinux

        Looking for a C/C++ IDE on Linux? I can highly recommend giving Eclipse CDT a try. Eclipse combined with the full-featured CDT plugin, transforms Eclipse into an IDE perfectly geared towards C and C++ software development. In this article I’ll show you how to install the Eclipse IDE with CDT plugin on your Linux system. Furthermore, I’ll teach you how to setup a workspace for C and C++ development, including the creation of a basic Hello World project in C.

      • Monitoring system resources using SAR on Ubuntu 20.04

        know as a “System Activity Report” is a system resource monitoring tool for Linux operating systems. It is very useful for system administrators to collect the system performance report and improve system performance to handle more requests. With SAR, you can monitor CPU usage, Memory utilization, I/O devices consumption, battery performance, Plug and play devices, Disk usage, Processor performance, file system, and more.

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install and use SAR to monitor system performance.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 6.0-rc6 is now available.
        
        Barring any last minute issue, this is expected to be the last
        release candidate before the final 6.0.
        
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Bug fixes only, we are in code freeze.
        
        The source is available from the following locations:
        
        https://dl.winehq.org/wine/source/6.0/wine-6.0-rc6.tar.xz
        
        
        http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/wine/source/6.0/wine-6.0-rc6.tar.xz
        
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        
        https://www.winehq.org/download
        
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
        
      • Wine 6.0-rc6 Released With More Fixes – Phoronix

        Wine 6.0-rc6 is out today as the latest weekly release candidate of Wine 6.0 that will be released in the near future. Either due to nearing the end of the release cycle and/or Wine developers having a post-holiday hangover, Wine 6.0-RC6 is coming in light on new fixes.

        This sixth test version of Wine 6.0 has just ten known bug fixes. It may be a culmination of factors why this week is light but in any case the aim is to ship Wine 6.0.0 in January so the load for this timing appears to be in good standing.

      • Wine 6.0 Release Candidate 6 looks like the last before a final release

        Wine compatibility layer leader Alexandre Julliard announced the sixth release candidate for Wine 6.0 and it looks like this will be the last before a final release.

        It’s not set in stone that the next will be the big 6.0 release but it will be if they don’t see any big last minute issues. If they do manage to keep to the schedule it will make Wine 6.0 join Wine 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 with a January release, whereas Wine 1.0 had a June release.

      • Wine-Staging 6.0-RC6 Fixes An 11 Year Old Bug

        The lone new functionality introduced with Wine-Staging 6.0-RC6 though is to fix a decade-old bug in Wine. Friday’s Wine-Staging release adds a workaround for addressing Bug 21014 that has been open since the end of 2009. The bug is around the game Dark Sector not working with any sound under Wine. This patch should fix the old Wine problem. Dark Sector is a 2008 third-person shooter video game powered by the Evolution game engine.

      • Proton Experimental Update Brings Performance Work, MS Flight Simulator VR Mode – Phoronix

        Proton Experimental 5.13-20210107 is out today as the first 2021 release of this Wine downstream that powers Steam Play for running Windows games on Linux.

        This is just an experimental update in the Proton 5.13 series for testing, but given that the current Proton 5.13-4 release is one month old and Wine 6.0 will be released soon, hopefully there will be the next stable update shortly for bettering the Windows gaming on Linux experience for early 2021.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Frameworks 5.78.0

          KDE Frameworks are 83 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the KDE Frameworks release announcement.

          This release is part of a series of planned monthly releases making improvements available to developers in a quick and predictable manner.

        • NeoChat – KDE Matrix Client For Linux Desktop and Mobile

          KDE announced a new chat application NeoChat, a Matrix client for Desktop and Mobile, in its January 2021 apps update.

          Matrix is an instant messaging system similar to Whatsapp or Telegram, but uses an open and decentralized network for secure and privacy-protected communications.

          NeoChat is a fork of Spectral, another QML client, and uses the libQuotient library to interact with the Matrix protocol. It features an elegant and responsive user interface allows to adapt to any screen size automatically and gracefully. It works on both Desktop and Mobile, and will be installed by default on PinePhone KDE edition.

        • Matrix Live about NeoChat

          I was recently interviewed with Tobias by the Matrix folks about NeoChat as part of Matrix Live. You can read the integrality of the Matrix update for this week here.

        • KSystemStats, The New Backend for System Monitoring

          About two years ago, a project was started to create an alternative to ksysguardd, the process that does the actual statistics collection for KSysGuard. Initially, this was intended to power a new set of system monitor applets for Plasma, but while we were working on it we concluded that it would also be a good idea to build a new system monitor application on top of this. The result of that is Plasma System Monitor, which had a preview release at the start of November.

          [...]

          Now, the first question anyone is going to ask when someone says they will replace some working piece of code is “Why?”. Why replace working code with something untested and new? To answer that, let me first exaplain how the old ksysguardd worked.

          ksysguardd is a binary that gets launched when KSysGuard (or another application that wants system data) gets launched. It implements the actual data collection side of KSysGuard, using a custom protocol over standard input to communicate with the application. It has different code paths for different operating systems, which each operating system “backend” exposing a number of sensors that read system data.

        • First Look at KDE Plasma’s New Kickoff Applications Menu

          The new Kickoff menu is rewritten from the ground up and will be enabled by default for all new Plasma installations starting with the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.21 release. And, if you like MATE desktop’s applications menu, you’ll love Plasma’s brand-new applications menu.

          I wanted to see the new Kickoff menu in action and share my experience with you now, because we will have to wait more than a month until KDE Plasma 5.21 arrives in a stable form ready to conquer our GNU/Linux desktops.

        • KDE Frameworks 5.78 Brings Support for the AV1 Image Format to All KDE Apps, More

          Containing a month’s worth of new features, enhancements and fixes, the KDE Frameworks 5.78 release is here to introduce support for the AV1 image format to all KDE software. The support is enabled by default when the libavif library is installed on your GNU/Linux distribution and lets you view AV1 encoded images in any app, including displaying of thumbnails in the Dolphin file manger.

          The Breeze icons theme has been updated in this release with new icons for the compass action and WIM images, as well as an image-missing icon that prevents various GTK apps from crashing. Talking about icons, it’s now possible to set a fixed icon size for the items in the Places panel sidebar of the Open and Save dialogs, and Discover’s “Install” and “Remove” buttons now use the standard style and re-color their icon.

        • KDE Plasma 5.21 Brings Low-latency Compositing, New Kickoff Menu, and Wallpaper

          The KDE team announced the first 2021 update today (Jan 9) with many new additions to the Plasma Desktop. And some of them are going to fundamentally change your Plasma desktop experience.

        • This week in KDE: new KWin compositing, new Kickoff, new recording level visualization!

          This week KWin’s compositing code was almost totally rewritten! It should broadly reduce latency throughout all compositing operations, and also adds a user-facing control in the System Settings Compositing page so people can choose for themselves whether they prefer lower latency or smoother animations. In addition, it brings support for mixed-refresh-rate display setups on Wayland, e.g. one 144Hz screen and one 60Hz screen! This very exciting work was completed by Vlad Zahorodnii and will land in Plasma 5.21.

          But that’s not all: Plasma also got a brand new Kickoff menu, which was rewritten from the ground up and fixes more than two thirds of the open issues in the bug tracker! It features a double-pane UI with better keyboard, mouse, touch, and accessibility, RTL support, an alphabetical “All Applications” view, a grid-style favorites view, power actions visible by default with labels, and much more.

        • KDE’s KWin Compositor Sees Near Total Rewrite Of Compositing Code.

          KDE’s KWin window manager / compositor has seen a “near total rewrite” of its compositing code that should sharply improve the desktop.

          Merged to KWin as an excellent start to 2021 is a rework of the compositing scheduling. Vlad Zahorodnii overhauled the code that should lead to latency reductions for all compositing operations, a user toggle whether low-latency or smooth animations are preferred, support for mixed refresh rate displays on Wayland, and more. The big rework was merged and will appear with Plasma 5.21.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Lenovo IdeaPad 3 – New test laptop, very decent value

          So, you have a super fast system. Video playback is smooth – sans any tearing or alike. You do need to tweak VLC for Samba playback though. Even in Kubuntu 20.10, this is STILL an issue. Audio playback quality is very good, and better than in Windows. Not sure why, but I’m not complaining. Usually, it’s the other way around, so I’m quite pleased.

          After a little while, I had the desktop all sorted. Not much was needed, as Plasma defaults are good and friendly, the system is beautiful and consistent, and you have a wide range of decent software available at your disposal. Coupled with great speed and excellent battery life, plus acceptable visuals at 125% scaling and somewhat reduced brightness, IdeaPad 3 plus Kubuntu is a jolly choice.

      • New Releases

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Linux Mint 20.1 Cinnamon Edge Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Linux Mint 20.1 Cinnamon Edge.

        • Linux Mint 20.1 Cinnamon Edge

          Today we are looking at Linux Mint 20.1 Cinnamon Edge. It is basically Linux Mint Cinnamon with a newer kernel and software. It comes with Linux Kernel 5.8, Cinnamon 4.8, and uses about1.2GB of ram when idling. Enjoy!

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Tumbleweed Rolls Into The New Year – openSUSE News

          The holidays might be over and the new year is here, but users of openSUSE Tumbleweed didn’t see any difference in the amount of snapshots released over the holiday season.

          Tumbleweed snapshots have been rolling out daily before toasting to new beginnings last week.

          Providing a fresh point of view for the new year, snapshot 20210106 brought an update to the 3D graphics package Mesa with version 20.3.2. The update brings in several new features upgrading from the 20.2.4 version with new Radeon Vulkan drivers and web rendering with EGL_KHR_swap_buffers_with_damage on X11. Two Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures exploits were fixed in an update of nodejs14 with version 14.15.4; CVE-2020-8265, which could corrupt memory leading to a Denial of Service exploit, and CVE-2020-8287, which had an HTTP Request Smuggling weakness, were both fixed. Xen had a patch update and removed some code. Other packages to update in the snapshot were busybox 1.32.1, libstorage-ng 4.3.78 and a few others.

          Snapshot 20210105 updated a single package with the update of terminus-bitmap-fonts 4.49.1. The newer version added Open Type Bitmap support and altered ascii to be more useful with a back quote.

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2021/01 – Dominique a.k.a. DimStar (Dim*)

          Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

          A new year is already upon us, the first week of it is already. We humans might have to get used to writing ‘2021’ instead of ‘2020’, for Tumbleweed, this seems not to matter at all. The week has kicked off strong with 6 snapshots (0101, 0102, 0103, 0104, 0105, and 0106). The number of incoming submissions is also increasing again, showing that contributors are returning from their well-deserved holiday.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • How Red Hat is extending Kubernetes-native security across the open hybrid cloud with StackRox

          When we began contributing to the Kubernetes project at its inception in 2014, we believed the technology would be the future of cloud-native IT. But at that time, I don’t think we realized just how impactful Kubernetes would be. Fast forward six years, and we have seen broad Kubernetes adoption and Red Hat OpenShift has become the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes solution. Today, we’re excited to announce the next step in our journey with Kubernetes through the acquisition of StackRox. I’d like to share some of my thoughts on the exciting opportunities Red Hat can explore after the acquisition closes.

          By bringing StackRox’s powerful Kubernetes-native security capabilities to OpenShift, we are reinforcing our commitment to deliver a holistic open hybrid cloud platform. We want to enable users to build, deploy and more securely run applications across every IT footprint.

          With its Kubernetes-native architecture, StackRox is a natural fit for Red Hat. StackRox’s complementary capabilities will strengthen the layered approach to container and Kubernetes security we have been driving with our partners through OpenShift. The world’s largest banks, airlines, auto manufacturers, logistics companies and even government agencies, entrust their mission critical applications to Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud platform.

        • FAQ: Red Hat to acquire StackRox

          StackRox offers the industry’s first Kubernetes-native security platform which protects cloud-native apps across the full lifecycle — build, deploy, and runtime. By using a Kubernetes-native architecture, organizations can more easily control and enforce policies, using the same declarative approach as Kubernetes to scale their applications while still maintaining their necessary security posture.

          The StackRox software provides visibility across all Kubernetes clusters, by directly deploying lightweight components for enforcement and deep data collection into the Kubernetes cluster infrastructure, reducing the time and effort needed to implement security, and streamlining security analysis, investigation and remediation. StackRox also helps customers “shift left” to secure containerized applications earlier in the development lifecycle and enable DevSecOps.

        • Red Hat Plans to Acquire & Open Source StackRox’s Container Security Technology

          In a recent press release by Red Hat, it has announced that it will be acquiring StackRox, which specializes in container and Kubernetes security.

          The acquisition is expected to complete by the first quarter of 2021 but no amount has been mentioned for the deal. It is a good move for Red Hat while being under the leadership of CEO Arvind Krishna after IBM acquired it for $34 billion.

          Of course, with the specialization and work of StackRox, Red Hat aims to improve and extend their quality of offering with OpenShift (a hybrid cloud platform to build and deploy Kubernetes powered services).

        • Red Hat Acquires Kubernetes-Native Security Startup StackRox

          With StackRox, Red Hat will focus on transforming how cloud-native workloads are secured by expanding and refining Kubernetes’ native controls, as well as shifting security left into the container build and CI/CD phase, to provide a solution for enhanced security up and down the entire IT stack and throughout the lifecycle.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20.1 “Ulyssa” Officially Released [How to Upgrade]

          Linux Mint 20.1 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2025. New features in the release include…

        • Linux Mint 20.1 long-term support release is out

          Linux Mint 20.1 is now available; the first stable release of Linux Mint in 20.1 is available in the three flavors Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce. The new version of the Linux distribution is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and Linux kernel 5.4.

          Since it is a long-term support release, Linux Mint 20.1 will be supported until 2025. The Linux distribution comes with updated software and refinements and new features according to the development team.

          Linux Mint 20.1 comes with a unified file system that sees certain directories being merged with their counterparts in /usr, e.g. /bin merged with /usr/bin, /lib merged with /usr/lib for compatibility purposes.

        • How to upgrade to Linux Mint 20.1

          It is now possible to upgrade Linux Mint 20 to version 20.1.

          If you’ve been waiting for this we’d like to thank you for your patience.

          1. Create a system snapshot

          You can use Timeshift to make a system snapshot before the upgrade.

          If anything goes wrong, you can easily restore your operating system to its previous state.

          Launch Timeshift from the application menu, follow the instructions on the screen to configure it and create a system snapshot.

        • You Can Now Upgrade from Linux Mint 20 to Linux Mint 20.1, Here’s How

          Based on Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS (Focal Fossa) and powered by Linux kernel 5.4 LTS, Linux Mint 20.1 “Ulyssa” was officially released on January 8th, 2021, brining the latest Cinnamon 4.8 desktop environment, support for Web Apps, a new IPTV player app, printing and scanning improvements, and many other changes.

          But since Linux Mint 20.1 uses the same package base as Linux Mint 20, there’s no need to download the new ISO images to upgrade your existing installations. Instead, you just have to upgrade, which is an easy process for everyone using Linux Mint.

        • 7 Best Ubuntu live USB creators to Download & Use

          Live Environment is not just limited to Ubuntu only, most of the Linux operating system comes with Live support. This means we can use them and perform all computing tasks, however without actually installing that particular Linux operating system. For example Ubuntu Live, Kali Linux, Pop OS, Linux Mint, Fedora, etc. all of them come with two options one is to use them as a LIVE OS, and if you like then use the installation one as well…

          H0wever, few distributions offer there Live Linux as a separate ISO file besides the standard such as Kali, where Ubuntu’s standard version whether it is Ubuntu 20.04/20.10/18.10 or others all of them come with a “Try Ubuntu” option which is basically to try Ubuntu as Live CD or USB.

          What is a Live USB?

          A Live USB is a USB drive containing OS files to give full access to the operating system that further can be booted with or without any internal hard drive in the computer system. It allows us to perform all the functions that an installed OS lets us such as installing programs, accessing all system hardware, writing storage devices, and more. Most of the Linux OS can be run and used from a USB flash drive including modern Windows 10. Know more about it on Wikipedia.

          In this article, we will let you know the few tools that can help us to create a bootable Live Ubuntu USB drive.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • What Is SSH and What Does It Stand For?

        OpenSSH is a widely-used open-source implementation of SSH. The original free version of SSH was developed by Tatu Ylönen. Later versions of Ylönen’s work were proprietary, meaning they cost money to license and use, and you couldn’t make unauthorized changes to the protocol.

        Thus, a team of developers forked the original free version of SSH and named it OpenSSH, which is now developed as part of OpenBSD (an open-source operating system). All major operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, and the numerous Linux distributions, support OpenSSH.

      • PeaZip 7.7.0 – Neowin

        PeaZip is an open source file and archive manager. It’s freeware and free of charge for any use. PeaZip can extract most of archive formats both from Windows and Unix worlds, ranging from mainstream 7Z, RAR, TAR and ZIP to experimental ones like PAQ/LPAQ family, currently the most powerful compressor available.

        Open and extract 180+ archive formats: 001, 7Z, ACE(*), ARC, ARJ, BZ2, CAB, DMG, GZ, ISO, LHA, PAQ, PEA, RAR, TAR, UDF, WIM, XZ, ZIP ZIPX – view full list of supported archive file formats for archiving and for extraction.

      • Alibaba’s MNN Deep Learning Framework Continues Squeezing More Performance

        Alibaba developers released an updated version of their “blazing fast” lightweight deep learning framework MNN, or the Mobile Neural Network.

        This deep learning framework that has been “battle-tested by business-critical use cases in Alibaba” continues working to exploit every bit of possible performance.

      • Plaid: Your personal productive open-source JIRA worklog editor

        Struggling to keep your personal productivity workflow with Jira? You don’t have to worry about that with this amazing open-source tool that allows you to edit your Jira worklog. But first let us talk about Jira.

        Jira is a software package by Atlassian Corp. built for software development management. It helps project managers to plan, track, release, report, customize their workflow and manage third-party continuous integration and deployment tools.

        The system is packed with dozens of tools and features that work with a wide-range of software development agencies and software houses. It offers a cloud version and self-managed cloud version as well.

      • Hush Keyboards with Hushboard

        30 seconds of Internet due diligence later, and the name was settled. “Hushboard” it is. Who says naming things is hard? Stuart does. All the time. That’s why he relies on me for these parts of the project lifecycle. That, and packaging. We were getting close to sharing the creation with the world. We decided, with no surprise to anyone, to make a snap!

      • kitty – the fast, featureful, GPU based terminal emulator

        kitty is designed for power keyboard users. To that end all its controls work with the keyboard (although it fully supports mouse interactions as well). Its configuration is a simple, human editable, single file for easy reproducibility (I like to store configuration in source control).

        The code in kitty is designed to be simple, modular and hackable. It is written in a mix of C (for performance sensitive parts) and Python (for easy hackability of the UI). It does not depend on any large and complex UI toolkit, using only OpenGL for rendering everything.

        Finally, kitty is designed from the ground up to support all modern terminal features, such as unicode, true color, bold/italic fonts, text formatting, etc. It even extends existing text formatting escape codes, to add support for features not available elsewhere, such as colored and styled (curly) underlines. One of the design goals of kitty is to be easily extensible so that new features can be added in the future with relatively little effort.

      • Events

        • Catch up on these 4 virtual events from 2020 | Opensource.com

          Like nearly everyone, 2020 was a bit rough on me, with many unexpected changes. That meant I missed every single event this year, even though all of them were virtual. As things settled down a bit over the holidays, I started looking around to find out what I missed.

          In case you’re in the same position, I’ll walk you through the virtual events that you should have seen in 2020. The good news is, since they were all virtual, you can still watch them.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Firefox Flips On AVIF Image Decoding By Default

            As noted before the holidays that Mozilla Firefox was ready to enable AVIF image decoding by default, now that the holidays have passed and developers back to their keyboards, Firefox today has re-enabled AVIF by default.

            Since Google’s Chrome 85 there has been AVIF support enabled by default while the Firefox support has been disabled by default for now. But as of today in their nightly code the functionality is there out-of-the-box.

          • Mozilla CEO: We need more than deplatforming

            There is no question that social media played a role in the siege and take-over of the US Capitol on January 6.

            Since then there has been significant focus on the deplatforming of President Donald Trump. By all means the question of when to deplatform a head of state is a critical one, among many that must be addressed. When should platforms make these decisions? Is that decision-making power theirs alone?

            But as reprehensible as the actions of Donald Trump are, the rampant use of the internet to foment violence and hate, and reinforce white supremacy is about more than any one personality. Donald Trump is certainly not the first politician to exploit the architecture of the internet in this way, and he won’t be the last. We need solutions that don’t start after untold damage has been done

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • New Year, New Calc Guide for Brazilians and Portuguese-speaking Users

          2020 was an terrible year.

          We started the year with the expectation of an intense activity in LibreOffice but we were caught by the worst pandemic in centuries.

          Nevertheless, doing nothing was not an option for our small team of Brazilians LibreOffice translators and Authors. Against adversity, we fought with the resilience of the winners.

          We proudly announce the immediate availability of the Calc Guide 7.0 in Brazilian Portuguese.

        • LibreOffice QA/Dev Report: December 2020
        • What is Miklos hacking – Shadow for tables from PPTX in Impress

          Impress now has much better support for the shadow of table shapes: not only shape styles can result in table shadows, but it’s also possible to add this as direct formatting. Also the shadow result is PowerPoint-compatible in the direct formatting case.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Bash 5.1 Reworks Pathname Expansion

            The fifth major release of Bash has been released with improvements including a rework of the way pathname expansion is handled.

            Bash is the GNU Project’s Bourne Again SHell, a complete implementation of the POSIX shell spec. It also comes with interactive command line editing, job control on architectures that support it, csh-like features such as history substitution and brace expansion.

            The most significant change to the new version is the result of bash users complaining about the way the previous release handled particular varieties of pathnames. This was discussed at length on POSIX.

            Bash 5.1 now handles pathname expansion in the same way bash-4.4 used to. In other words, text is not expanded as a pathname if the word contains backslashes but does not contain any unquoted globbing special characters.

            The new release also has changes to trap handling when reading from the terminal such as when performing reads and selects, with several bug fixes to fix bugs that caused the shell to crash.

            Another improvement is to the random number engine. There’s a new variable, SRANDOM, that gets its random data from the system’s entropy engine. This means it avoids being linear and cannot be reseeded to get an identical random sequence.

            Array handling has also been improved, with a new array variable that can be used to run multiple commands before printing the primary prompt. You can also assign a series of key-value pairs within a compound assignment.

          • GNU Wget 1.21 Released

            Noteworthy changes in this release:

            Improve the number of translated strings
            Remove all uses of alloca. In some places the length of untrusted strings has been used, e.g. strings from the command line or from remote.
            Fix buffer overflows in progress bar code in some locales
            Fix two null pointer accesses
            Amend cookie file header to be recognized by the ‘file’ command
            Post Handshake Authentication for OpenSSL
            Require gettext version 0.19.3+
            Add configure flags –enable-fsanitize-ubsan, –enable-fsanitize-asan and –enable-fsanitize-msan for gcc and clang
            Make several smaller fixes, enhance fuzzing, enhance building

          • GNU Wget 1.21.1 Released

            Noteworthy changes in this release:

            Fix compilation on MacOS and Solaris 9
            Remove bashism from configure.ac
            Fix a compilation warning on 32-bit systems

      • Programming/Development

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: #32: Portable Continuous Integration using r-ci

          Welcome to the 32th post in the rarely raucous R recommendations series, or R4 for short. This post covert continuous integration, a topic near and dear to many of us who have to recognise its added value.

          The popular and widely-used service at Travis is undergoing changes driven by a hard-to-argue with need for monetization. A fate that, if we’re honest, lies ahead for most “free” services so who know, maybe one day we have to turn away from other currently ubiquitous service. Because one never knows, it can pay off to not get to tied to any one service. Which brings us to today’s post and my r-ci service which allows me to run CI at Travis, at GitHub, at Azure, and on local Docker containers as the video demonstrates. It will likely also work at GitLab and other services, I simply haven’t tried any others.

        • WHAT stopped in 1996? Software innovation, or priorities?

          J. Edwards complains that it’s as if software progress hit a wall, and progress abruptly stopped in 1996. Back then, programmers were working on foundational programming languages, operating systems and other software technologies. Today, instead, the same space seems filled by just “useful incremental improvements on top of the foundational technologies that came before…” Nothing fundamentally new, just “clever repackaging and re-engineering prior inventions”.

        • Mary Poppendieck on Why You Should Just Burn Your Backlog – The New Stack

          “People have become way too comfortable with backlogs. It’s just a bad, bad concept.”

          Co-author of the “Lean Software Development,” Mary Poppendieck warned attendees of Agile Tour London in an end of day lean coffee that backlogs are a sign of an inefficient team. But that’s OK. She says that since the output is almost always measured consistently by almost every organization, and that output is reasonably consistent over releases, that’s your only metric that matters.

          Without a backlog, teams and even organizations stay focused on the opportunities they want to pursue right now — or within the next six weeks.

          With this rate-based system, Mary says you can focus on managing throughput, workflow and immediate value, not efficiency.

        • Extract substring from the string in PHP using substr() – Linux Hint

          substr() function is used to cut any part from a string in PHP. It is a built-in function of PHP that returns the portion of a string based on the starting position and the length value. The original value of the string remains unchanged after applying this function to that value. How the substr() function can be used in PHP script to cut the portion of a string is shown in this tutorial.

        • Generate QR code using PHP – Linux Hint

          The full meaning of the QR code is the Quick Response Code. It is a matrix barcode and machine-readable code, which is used to read a small amount of data by scanning QR image with the mobile phone or QR scanner. Many open-source PHP libraries exist to generate QR code using PHP script. The coder can download any better free QR Code generator PHP library from souceforge.net. phpqrcode library is used in this tutorial to generate the QR code. How phpqrcode library can be used to generate QR code using PHP script is shown in this tutorial.

          [...]

          Many features exist in the phpqrcode library for QR code generation. The uses of the png() function of the QRcode class are explained in this tutorial by using various examples. The ways of creating a QR image directly, saving the QR image into a file, and creating the QR image with the custom size are shown in this tutorial to help the PHP coder to create QR code easily using PHP script.

        • Perl/Raku

          • A hard simple thing

            Bugs that originate in reliable subsystems are hard to spot because we don’t expect them to fail. A filesystem path usually just works. This has bit me a few times before. While renovating my backup script I found that I provide quite a few status and debug messages that basically call .gist on an IO::Path instance. Since one might want to use a hypothetical path, Raku can’t complain on non-existing paths until they are used. Further, it can be quite useful to know that a path is a symlink. Bash and friends help here with colour coding. Since I have plenty of say-calls, it would be nice to change them all in one go.

          • SanDiego.pm Meeting, Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

            This is your friendly reminder that the SanDiego.pm quarterly meeting will be this Tuesday, January 12th, starting at 7 PM PST. As has been the case for the last several meetings, we’ll be meeting again on Zoom (details below).

            Topics for the meeting include Perl (of course), COVID-19, CentOS, and anything else that people would like to talk about.

          • Perl weekly challenge 94

            The two challenges this week were a nice introduction to the new year.

          • CY’s Take on PWC#094
        • Python

          • Process and Highlight JSON with jq

            Once you know enough command-line basics, it’s time to actually learn some useful stuff that you can apply in your daily work! Since JSON is super ubiquitous, I’d like to teach you some useful command-line JSON processing voodoo first.

            The jq tool is usually not installed by default. If you don’t have it, please install it for your operating system. If you’re on MacOS, you might want to look into Homebrew.

        • Rust

        • Java/JS

          • 10 ways to advance your JavaScript journey in 2021

            JavaScript is undeniably a super-popular language. It is consistently among the top 10 most used and sought skills, especially since more than 90% of websites use it in some capacity. The Node.js package manager NPM has more than 800,000 package offerings, further affirming JavaScript’s popularity. Given this, I suspect many readers have some experience with this technology. Whether you’re new to JavaScript or a seasoned user, Opensource.com has something relevant to you.

          • MariaDB releases connector for Reactive Java developers

            As an emerging standard in the Java world, Reactive Relational Database Connectivity is designed to help applications benefit from reactive programming by using a stream-oriented approach to interact with relational databases.

            MariaDB, the company behind the database, said that unlike its JDBC predecessor, R2DBC allows developers to use declarative programming techniques to create “more powerful, efficient and scalable JVM solutions”.

            In a pre-canned statement, Mark Paluch, spec lead of the R2DBC specification, said: “Reactive, or non-blocking behaviour through the use of asynchronous data streams can be extremely useful for improved efficiency of resource usage and for increased throughput.”

            MariaDB has also launched a Developer Hub that contains “how-to resources and code samples.”

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Some Healthcare Interoperability Rules Delayed Due to COVID

        A second rule, issued by CMS, required health plans in Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, CHIP, and on the federal health insurance exchanges to share claims data electronically with patients, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a press release. The CMS rule required the Medicare, Medicaid, and federal health plans to implement apps allowing patients to easily retrieve healthcare claims and other information starting in January 2021, and also require plans to begin sharing patient data with other payers as needed beginning in January 2022.

        The ONC rule’s provisions barring the blocking of healthcare information were to become effective on November 2. But because of the coronavirus, the ONC rule’s compliance date for the provisions banning information blocking was moved from the November date to April 5, 2021.

  • Leftovers

    • I Slept with Bill Ayres: Memories of My Life and Times with the Weather Underground

      I knew Bill, Jeff and Bernardine from the old days, which was back in ’69, when SDS still existed and I worked in the national office in Chicago, along with firebrand Terry Robbins, writing and producing propaganda for the revolution. Terry called our effort a “shot gun.”

      It was a brochure and it offered photos and bios of Huey Newton, whom Eldridge Cleaver had called “the baddest mother fucker ever to step inside history,” along with Cleaver himself, who had been the Minister of Education of the Black Panther Party and was on his way to Algiers where he set up the Panther Embassy in exile, with help from the Algierian government.

    • Expats, Expatriots and Utopia

      Most politically driven expats—as opposed to financially secure seekers of leisure—tend to be pulled by perceptions that other cultures will compensate for the lacks pushing them from the homeland. They want to seed their visions of a better society on new soil. Like in the aftermath of WWI when many aspiring writers, artists, and intellectuals bolted to bohemian Paris to experience cultural feasts that could later be transported back here to revitalize this culture. The motivations now are not exactly comparable to what propelled that migration. They’re mostly political and driven by the feeling that the country has entered a period of decline whose structural flaws no one partisan grouping can change.

      Consider the findings of the newest Social Progress Index published by the Social Progress Imperative. This is a global non-profit organization based in Washington DC that compares all countries annually—163 in the recent analysis—using fifty metrics of well-being: nutrition, safety, freedom, environment, health, education, inclusiveness, and equality, among others. The US ranks 28th on the hierarchy, down from 19th in 2011 when the research began. In fact, the US, Brazil and Hungary are the only countries worse off when compared to this original year. The countries at the top are virtually all in northern Europe. Norway is the most desirable, followed by Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Germany, etc. Those at the bottom are virtually all in the south or northern regions of the southern hemisphere: South Sudan, Chad, Eritrea, Somalia, Niger, Angola, the Congo, etc. (socialprogress.org)

    • Security Culture and a New Day in Portland

      Anarchists, I’ve learned, like most humans, are on a continuum of extremes. The anarchists I admire most would have to be street medics, who take self-sacrifice to new levels of altruism.

      It was through them that I learned about the security culture of the Portland protest movement, through them that I decided to adopt a code name in the first place.

    • Putting the Heart Back in the Valley by Putting the Fire Back in the Ground

      Cove, Oregon, is a tiny town in the eastern part of the state that most Oregonians haven’t even heard of. Surrounded by fields of conventional monocrops in the heart of conservative ranching country, it seems an unlikely place for leading edge cultural transformation, and yet it is, thanks to what might strike some as an unlikely partnership between Native Americans and the Episcopal Church.

      I first visited Cove, and met Bobby Fossek and his family, in the summer of 2017. I was traveling in the area with a friend on a foraging and wildtending mission that also took us to Hell’s Canyon. Bobby’s place was our base camp for a few days of picking and processing cherries from nearby trees, and we cooperated together in setting up drying racks and running their steam juicer.

    • The Fate of the Universe

      The accelerating rate of expansion of the universe seems to rule out a fate known as the Big Crunch. In the Big Crunch the universe would reverse its expansion and another Big Bang would happen. However this theory may overestimate the power of gravity which many think is getting weaker as the universe expands.

      The crux of the problem for this theory has to do with the accelerating speed of expansion of the universe. While a rapid expansion happened after the Big Bang, for a Big Crunch to happen, we would have to assume that this expansion would reverse. If the Big Bang was the height of the rate of expansion we would be going in the right direction so to speak, even if we weren’t. Accelerating at a slower or even constant rate could indicate that gravity might turn us back.

    • Headlines and Stories From an Imagined 2021

      Billionaires Banished? Investigators are baffled by the disappearance of several prominent billionaires who were last seen boarding a small yacht in Hawaii for a three-hour tour, prior to rough weather. They reportedly packed a few bags full of cash, and some evening gowns and jewels, before fleeing aboard the tiny ship. This comes after Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos reportedly fled in a capsule bound for Mars. The billionaires were facing charges of aiding and abetting a coup to seize lithium in Bolivia and making obscene profits off of human misery during the pandemic.

    • Jazz Movie Trio

      Aside from issues of race, jazz brings into relief fundamental human needs and aspirations. Clubs and concert halls are dark. Gone, too, is the chance to get together and play music with anyone outside the pod. Spontaneous social connections ignite the mutual creation of improvisation. These sparks have been extinguished. 2020 was the year of the solo.

      There are foundational jazz tales of musicians withdrawing from the scene and from society—imprisoned, expatriated, drugged, dejected, alone. During a three-year sabbatical from performing on either side of 1960, the great tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins (whose album Way Out West makes a cameo in Sylvie’s Love) self-isolated on the Williamsburg Bridge for practice sessions that sometimes extended to sixteen hours a day. Now no longer able to play his horn, the aged master turned 90 during the pandemic, the occasion marked by radio tributes rather than concerts.

    • Christians as Dangerously Empathic Good Samaritans

      If there’s a bedrock principle in the Gospels it’s found in the parable of the Good Samaritan. According to Luke 10: 24-37, Jesus told the parable as part of a Socratic dialogue with an expert in Jewish law. The lawyer  asks Jesus  how to attain eternal life, a question that Jesus turns on the lawyer, asking him, “What is written in the law?” The lawyer cites Deuteronomy 6:5 about loving God with all one’s heart, soul, strength, and mind but then adds “and your neighbor as yourself.” That’s it, replies Jesus. But then, the lawyer asks, desiring to justify himself and perhaps trip up Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” The lawyer may have wanted Jesus to demarcate some specific boundaries, thus enabling him to ignore everyone outside of them. Rather than a direct answer, Jesus responds with the parable:

      “A certain man” (probably Jewish)  is walking down the seventeen mile road from Jerusalem to Jericho, a treacherous area known locally as “The Bloody Pass” where bandits were known to prey on travelers. The man is severely beaten, robbed of his clothes, and left half dead by the side of the road. At this point, two highly regarded figures from the Jewish community come along. The first to arrive was a priest who “passed by to the other side of the road.” Soon, a Levite (a priest’s helper) comes along but he also continues “on the other side.”

    • The Sacred Formula

      Now this will sound odd, Insane, perhaps But it’s simply the truth Of the code; Among others The legal code From codex, from caudex That’s Latin for tree trunk

      The two tree trunks

    • Science

      • Why Pokémon Was Banned in Saudi Arabia and Other Arab Gulf States

        In countries that have Islam as the country’s official religion or have governments that follow Islamic beliefs, Pokémon is banned because they believe that it promotes the theory of evolution as written by Charles Darwin, which goes against fundamentalist Islamic doctrine as well as gambling. This is not to say that all Muslims reject the idea of evolution, as like with Christianity, there are a wide range of Muslims who have beliefs that include evolution, such as theistic evolution. Theistic evolution is the belief that a deity, be it God or Allah or whomever, created everything, but then all of the lifeforms began to evolve. However, countries such as Saudi Arabia have claimed that “the Qu’ran is their constitution.” This means that their laws are influenced by their religious beliefs.

    • Education

      • Is Islam a Religion of Peace, or of War?

        I hated those men for a very long time. It didn’t occur to me back then that they were only trying to instill in us that which had been instilled in them, that they too were born into a line of indoctrination which could be traced back for over a thousand years. They didn’t know that there are better ways to live.

      • The Identity Filter: How Higher Education’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Practices May be Undermining DEI Objectives and the Future of Higher Education

        I know there are no guarantees in life, and that it’s impossible to account for everything that informs the hiring process, but the dearth of success I experienced is a little puzzling given everything I have accomplished since that Idaho interview all those years ago. I’m not going to lie: it’s an unpleasant feeling, and with every year that passed without an invitation to interview, indeed, without the possibility of opportunity to realize my ambitions and improve my life, my disillusionment deepened.

        What’s more is that I don’t think my experience is unique. And like others who struggle and fail to better their lives, I’ve asked myself some tough questions over the years. Should I just accept my situation—my ceiling—and give up my search for a better job? Why aren’t I getting interviews? What am I doing wrong? I realize, of course, that there must be thousands of answers to the second question, some of which were within my control, most of which were not. But I don’t think that’s a reason not to ask it, especially since, if answered honestly, it might actually help one appraise what one has to offer as well as understand the forces that ostensibly shape the job market. Why aren’t I getting interviews? It might be wise to first figure out what (or is it who?) one means by “I.”

    • Hardware

      • Intel Talks With TSMC, Samsung to Outsource Some Chip Production

        While Intel has outsourced production of lower-end chips before, it has kept the manufacturing of its best semiconductors in-house, considering it a competitive strength. Its engineers have historically tailored their designs to the company’s manufacturing processes, making a shift to outsourcing of flagship products unthinkable in the past.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • What is the “Public Option?” Can It Compete With Private Health Insurers?

        What is the ‘public option’?

        We have had a public option for many years with traditional Medicare, not Medicare Advantage, which is privatized. Another kind of public option was introduced ten years ago with passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), whereby enrollees could choose not-for-profit plans on the ACA’s exchanges under the then new Consumer Oriented and Operated Plans (CO-OPs). It was assumed that these not-for-profit plans could compete with their for-profit counterparts, push them to lower their rates, and allow enrollees to receive better access to affordable health care.

      • The COVID-19 Pandemic Shows the Dangers of For-Profit Housing
      • Is Israel Practicing Vaccine Leadership or Medical Apartheid?

        Israel has a population of around 9 million. About 20 percent of Israel’s population are Palestinian citizens of Israel. These people can vote in elections, have representation in the Knesset, and are being vaccinated against COVID-19. But, there are another around 5 million Palestinians who live under Israeli rule, without rights, and like the rest of the world, are suffering from the pandemic.

        Since 1967, Israel’s settler population has ballooned to more than 500,000, with Israeli settler regional councils controlling 40 percent of West Bank land. Despite the U.S.-facilitated normalization deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco that occurred during the latter half of 2020, and were supposed to have halted Israel’s annexing of the West Bank, 2020 has seen the “highest” number of settlement unit approvals since the settlement watchdog group Peace Now began tracking the figures in 2012, according to an article by Al Jazeera.

      • As US Sets Daily Record With 4,085 Dead From Covid-19, Governors Demand More Vaccine Doses

        The World Health Organization now says the interval between two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can be extended to up to six weeks.

      • Plunge in Restaurant Jobs Due to COVID Leads to First Job Loss Since April
    • The Shame of Global Hunger

      According to a detailed report published by the Global Hunger Index (GHI) in September 2020 if rich countries doubled “their aid commitments” to $330 billion, and supported poor countries to improve “agricultural R&D, technology, innovation, education, social protection and trade facilitation,” the world could be free of hunger by 2030. In fact with effective food distribution under the stewardship of the UN World Food Programme hunger could be eradicated long before then; there is an abundance of produce and foodstuff in the world.

      Hunger and malnutrition statistics are disturbing and shameful; the GHI lists 11 countries with ‘alarming levels of hunger’, eight of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa; two are war zones: Yemen and Syria. A further 31 nations (26 are in Africa) are listed as having ‘serious levels of hunger’. Since 2015, after years of decline, the number of undernourished people has been increasing yearly: from 2018 to 2019 it grew by 10 million, and Covid has intensified this trend. Hunger is a violent act, a shameful scar on our collective consciousness that now affects 9% of the world population – 60% of whom are women and children. The World Health Organization (WHO) state that around 45% of deaths among children under 5 years of age are linked to under-nutrition.”

    • Florida Seniors Forced to Camp Overnight in Cars in Hope of Vaccine
    • CDC Shut Down a Lab Involved in Making Faulty Coronavirus Tests

      With no public notice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October shut down a key lab involved in making faulty COVID-19 tests for state and local health authorities early in the pandemic. The move came less than six hours after ProPublica published an investigation that detailed for the first time the chain of mistakes and disputes that unfolded inside CDC labs, which culminated in one of the biggest fumbles in the agency’s 74-year history.

      A CDC acting branch chief told the staff of the Respiratory Viruses Diagnostics Team lab on Oct. 15 that the closure would be for two to four weeks while the CDC investigated and the staff worked on corrective action plans, according to internal sources. But more than two months later, the lab still is not performing tests.

    • The Nursing Home Didn’t Send Her to the Hospital, and She Died

      In early April, before COVID-19 hit her state hard, Palestine Howze was in a Durham, North Carolina, nursing home, living in pain.

      She had lost her legs to diabetes, and for months she had been suffering through a bedsore. In her medical records, staff noted that Howze, 71, would moan through the night.

    • War Heroes in New Battles for India’s Farmers

      Brigadier S.S. Gill (retd.) from Gill village of Punjab’s Ludhiana district tells me, “It is pathetic that the government used force against peacefully protesting farmers. They wanted to reach Delhi, but the government stopped them, which was rude and wrong. They created barricades, dug roads, lathi-charged them and used water cannons on these farmers. What for? Why? What was the reason to do that? It is due to the farmers’ determination that they have surpassed all those hurdles.”

      The 72-year-old war veteran, who won 13 medals in active service, comes from a family of 16 that owns some acres of land in Gill. He served in the 1971 war and in other military actions thereafter, including anti-militancy operations in Punjab in the 1990s.

    • The Future After the Pandemic

      Consolidation of Power at the Top

      Many articles about the ideal way to handle lockdowns have been written, but this one aims to evaluate what comes after.

    • COVID Scientist Rebekah Jones Condemns Armed Police Raid on Her Home & Florida’s Pandemic Response

      As Florida sets new records for daily coronavirus cases, we speak with a whistleblower who was fired in May from the Florida Department of Health after she refused to censor information about the state’s COVID-19 outbreak. Rebekah Jones is a data scientist who helped build Florida’s coronavirus tracking dashboard, and she says her termination came after she refused to manipulate data to support the state’s reopening. In December, police raided Jones’s home in Tallahassee, seizing her computer and phone and holding her family at gunpoint, as part of an alleged investigation into a hacking of the Florida Health Department’s website. Jones says she had not had access to the website for many months and that the raid was in retaliation for speaking out. “The state has been dodging releasing information at every opportunity,” says Jones, who now runs the independent coronavirus data portal Florida COVID Action.

    • Survival of the Fittest? Florida Seniors Forced to Camp Overnight in Cars, Hoping for Vaccine

      As the United States reports record COVID-19 deaths, Florida broke the record for the highest single-day increase in new cases Thursday. Across the state, long lines to get vaccinations against COVID-19 left senior citizens camping in their cars overnight in cold weather, after Governor Ron DeSantis lowered the priority age to 65, 10 years below the CDC recommended age of 75. Those aged 79 and older are reportedly four times as likely to die from COVID. We speak with John and Maria Luisa Schoch, aged 79 and 80, as they enter their second day in line waiting for shots.

    • Autopsies Reveal The Terrible Damage COVID-19 Can Inflict on The Human Brain

      Now, a year into the pandemic, in-depth autopsies of COVID-19 patients have revealed greater details of widespread inflammation and damage in brain tissues. This may help explain the deluge of neurological symptoms that have manifested in some patients, from headaches, memory loss, dizziness, weakness and hallucinations to more severe seizures and strokes.

      Some estimate that up to 50 percent of those hospitalised with COVID-19 could have neurological symptoms that can leave people struggling to do even common daily tasks like preparing a meal.

  • Integrity/Availability

    • Proprietary

      • Security

        • Security updates for Friday

          Security updates have been issued by Debian (firefox-esr and libxstream-java), Fedora (awstats and dia), Mageia (c-ares, dash, and dovecot), openSUSE (dovecot23, gimp, kitty, and python-notebook), Oracle (kernel), SUSE (python-paramiko and tomcat), and Ubuntu (edk2, firefox, ghostscript, and openjpeg2).

        • OpenSSL, LibreSSL, LibreTLS and all the terminological irony – Michał Górny

          While we’re discussing the fate of LibreSSL, it’s worth noting how confusing the names of these packages became. I’d like to take this opportunity to provide a short note on what’s what.

          First of all, SSL and its successor TLS are protocols used to implement network connection security. For historical reasons, many libraries carry ‘SSL’ in their name (OpenSSL, LibreSSL, PolarSSL) but nowadays they all support TLS.

        • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 164 released

          The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 164. This version includes the following changes:

          [ Chris Lamb ]
          * Truncate jsondiff differences at 512 bytes lest they consume the entire page.
          * Wrap our external call to cmp(1) with a profile (to match the internal
            profiling).
          * Add a note regarding the specific ordering of the new
            all_tools_are_listed test.
          
          [ Dimitrios Apostolou ]
          * Performance improvements:
            - Improve speed of has_same_content by spawning cmp(1) less frequently.
            - Log whenever the external cmp(1) command is spawn.ed
            - Avoid invoking external diff for identical, short outputs.
          * Rework handling of temporary files:
            - Clean up temporary directories as we go along, instead of at the end.
            - Delete FIFO files when the FIFO feeder's context manager exits.
          
          [ Mattia Rizzolo ]
          * Fix a number of potential crashes in --list-debian-substvars, including
            explicitly listing lipo and otool as external tools.
           - Remove redundant code and let object destructors clean up after themselves.
          
          [ Conrad Ratschan ]
          * Add a comparator for Flattened Image Trees (FIT) files, a boot image format
            used by U-Boot.

        • CISA Points to APT Attack Methods Besides ‘Solorigate’ that Affected Microsoft 365, Azure Services

          The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on Friday issued an announcement noting that an advanced persistent threat (APT) actor associated with the SolarWinds Orion attacks used their ability to create credentials to compromise a victim’s Microsoft 365 and Azure services, but they didn’t always tap the so-called “Solorigate” vulnerability to do so.

        • Alert (AA21-008A) : Detecting Post-Compromise Threat Activity in Microsoft Cloud Environments

          Frequently, CISA has observed the APT actor gaining Initial Access [TA0001] to victims’ enterprise networks via compromised SolarWinds Orion products (e.g., Solorigate, Sunburst).[1] However, CISA is investigating instances in which the threat actor may have obtained initial access by Password Guessing [T1110.001], Password Spraying [T1110.003], and/or exploiting inappropriately secured administrative or service credentials (Unsecured Credentials [T1552]) instead of utilizing the compromised SolarWinds Orion products.

          CISA observed this threat actor moving from user context to administrator rights for Privilege Escalation [TA0004] within a compromised network and using native Windows tools and techniques, such as Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), to enumerate the Microsoft Active Directory Federated Services (ADFS) certificate-signing capability. This enumeration allows threat actors to forge authentication tokens (OAuth) to issue claims to service providers—without having those claims checked against the identity provider—and then to move laterally to Microsoft Cloud environments (Lateral Movement [TA0008]).

          The threat actor has also used on-premises access to manipulate and bypass identity controls and multi-factor authentication. This activity demonstrates how sophisticated adversaries can use credentials from one portion of an organization to move laterally (Lateral Movement [TA0008]) through trust boundaries, evade defenses and detection (Defense Evasion [TA0005]), and steal sensitive data (Collection [TA0009]).

          This level of compromise is challenging to remediate and requires a rigorous multi-disciplinary effort to regain administrative control before recovering.

        • SolarWinds hires Chris Krebs, Alex Stamos to boost security in wake of suspected Russian [crack]

          Software provider SolarWinds, which was breached in a suspected Russian [cracking] campaign against U.S. companies and federal agencies, has hired former senior U.S. cybersecurity official Chris Krebs and former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos to help respond to the [attack] and improve its security practices.

          Krebs and Stamos will work as consultants for Texas-based SolarWinds as it continues to deal with the fallout of a [cracking] operation that has roiled Washington and is considered one of the more significant cyber-espionage campaigns against U.S. agencies in years.

        • Biden to Appoint Cybersecurity Advisor to NSC – Report

          President-elect Joe Biden has reportedly tapped the National Security Agency’s cybersecurity director to serve in a brand-new cyber-role on his National Security Council.

          Anne Neuberger, a more than 10-year veteran of the NSA and its cyber-chief since 2019, will become the country’s deputy national security adviser for cybersecurity, according to Politico.

        • What is End to End Encryption? – TheITstuff

          What is end to end encryption? also known as E2EE. This question might come to your mind when you hear about encryption. To understand the topic of end to end encryption, you should be clear about the idea of encryption. In simple language, I will give you an example that all of you will relate to. Remember the time when we were in college and whenever we were caught breaking some college rules, the dean used to say, let’s have a cup of tea in my office. We all knew that he or she is not inviting you for the tea but he is asking you to come to discuss the rule that you have broken. We all know about it because most of us have been in that situation.

          This was the Encryption in the verbal language now let’s see how to write something that is encrypted. Let’s take English Language Alphabets.

        • How To Install KeePass And Use It To Manage Passwords

          KeePass is an awesome password manager. It can be easily installed on Centos, Ubutnu, Mac and Windows. In this post, we will go through the steps of installing KeePass on Ubuntu.

        • Privacy/Surveillance

          • Intel unveils on-device face recognition tech for ATMs, kiosks

            Introduced in 2014, Intel’s RealSense 3D technology uses cameras to measure depth and enable computing systems to read facial expressions and gestures.

          • ACLU, EFF, and Tarver Law Offices Urge Supreme Court to Protect Against Forced Disclosure of Phone Passwords to Law Enforcement

            “The Fifth Amendment protects us from being forced to give police a combination to a wall safe. That same protection should extend to our phone and computer passwords, which can give access to far more sensitive information than any wall safe could,” said Jennifer Granick, ACLU surveillance and cybersecurity counsel. “The Supreme Court should take this case to ensure our constitutional rights survive in the digital age.”

            In a petition filed Thursday and first reported by The Wall Street Journal, the ACLU and EFF are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Andrews v. New Jersey. In this case, a prosecutor obtained a court order requiring Mr. Robert Andrews to disclose passwords to two cell phones. Mr. Andrews fought the order, citing his Fifth Amendment privilege. Ultimately, the New Jersey State Supreme Court held that the privilege did not apply to the disclosure or use of the passwords.

            “There are few things in constitutional law more sacred than the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination,” said Mr. Andrews’ attorney, Robert L. Tarver, Jr. “Up to now, our thoughts and the content of our minds have been protected from government intrusion. The recent decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court highlights the need for the Supreme Court to solidify those protections.”

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Will They Ever Be Over? 20 Years of the War on Terror

      This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the war on terror, including America’s undeclared conflict in Afghanistan.  After that war’s original moniker, Operation Infinite Justice, was nixed for offending Muslim sensibilities, the Pentagon rebranded it Operation Enduring Freedom.  Despite neither a clear victory, nor the slightest evidence that enduring freedom had ever been imposed on that country, “U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan ended,” according to the Defense Department, in 2014.  In reality, that combat simply continued under a new name, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, and grinds on to this very day.

      Like the 2003 invasion of Iraq, known as Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel failed to live up to their names. Nor did any of the monikers slapped on America’s post-9/11 wars ever catch the public imagination; the battlefields spread from Afghanistan and Iraq to Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya, Syria, Niger, Burkina Faso, and beyond — at a price tag north of $6.4 trillionand a human toll that includes at least 335,000 civilians killed and at least 37 milliondisplaced from their homes.  Meanwhile, those long promised clear victories never materialized even as the number of terrorist groups around the world proliferated.

    • The Myth of the Perfect Victim

      “Cop talk conditions us to see each ‘officer-involved shooting’ through the eyes of the police.”

      “The victims were Black, and the reports are so written as to make it appear that the helpless creatures deserved the fate which overtook them.” — Ida B. Wells

    • Black Woman ‘Heartbroken’ After Vicious Attack by Racist MAGA Mob in Downtown Los Angeles

      “All of a sudden I’m just getting cornered by 30, 40 people,” said Berlinda Nibo. “That’s what started all of them to jump in.”

    • Frontal attack on the State: Fascist March on Rome Revisited Almost a Century Later 1922-2021

      You can then use thuggery and whip your lumpen supporters and worshippers into a frenzy and have them engage in a frontal attack on Capitol Hill. The one thing that was lacking was the wearing of black shirts as I suppose this colour is detested by the white supremacists in their ranks. This stage managed attack, reminiscent of the Fascist march on Rome in 1922, assumes the state in the US is gelatinous. Thankfully it is not. Despite its historical reliance on brutal force at home and definitely abroad – Latin America and the Monroe Doctrine- there is still some vestige of democratic posturing and procedure on the home front. I would like to think a successful ‘war of manouvre’ (frontal attack on the state) is still a trifle wishful thinking in that place, though I am not that sure.

      However, there were clear signs that Fascism is alive and well in the USA and Trump embraces it. He sees himself as the new Caesar who can flout all forms of democratic semblance to assume the single personification of the State, often referred to as Caesarism or Bonapartism. He might then take a leaf out of the history books to demand a plebiscite to secure that. Now this is no real surprise as he is the culmination of years of authoritarian practices spawned globally by the state he represented. This is a state that rides roughshod over democratic aspirations of people abroad and home, a state which engineers coups, direct (Chile, Argentina, Brazil) and pseudo legalistic ones (see the White coup against Dilma Roussef in Brazil) and which spawns massive inequalities at home. Ask Blacks, Latinas/os and Indigenous if the process is democratic for them..or the early immigrants from Spain and Italy shot at by forces hired by the bosses invoking the anarchist bogey. Now it takes one person to exacerbate these tendencies. In my view if the USA is serious about its democratic credentials, he should be impeached and arrested for sedition. I suspect however that Trump continues to excite and arouse so much ‘White Supremacist’ tendencies with his speeches and actions against non-whites that he is not one to be suppressed easily. Who is to say this attempted coup was not abetted by some whose duty it is to prevent it? Am I playing dumb in posing this question? Imagine if this were a BLM attack against the racist state. They have a million more reasons to attack a system that has suppressed Black lives in the US for years. All hell would have broken loose and the area around Capitol Hill would be strewn with corpses as if we were watching the end of a Shakespeare tragedy.

    • A Dangerous Confederacy of Dunces

      Please know, therefore, I will not be remiss by commenting on our own political era of contempt, division, and derisiveness, specifically in relation to our current President Donald J. Trump and his recent phone call to the Secretary of State of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger (also a Republican) on January 2nd, 2021, as well as in regard to at least twelve Republican (Grand Ole Party, G.O.P.) Senators and several other G.O.P. U.S. House of Representatives who will try to obstruct the electoral college results of this past presidential election 2020, tomorrow on January 6th. Swift, for his part, may have wished to comment on such buffoonery himself. So, if the reader will indulge me, I will be soliciting the ghost of Jonathan Swift in my analyses of our now enfeebled democracy and the American experiment of our Republic in its present state.

      As Swift begins: “We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to love one another” (p. 76). As religious as the United States of America is, how true is that statement? Why are we on the precipice of another U.S. Civil War (1861-1865)? If you think this is untrue, take a closer examination of our political divide. In recent statistics, President-elect Joseph R. Biden won 81,283,098 votes or 51.3 percent of the votes in contrast to President Donald J. Trump who won 74,222,958 votes or 46.8 percent in the presidential election of 2020 according to the Council on Foreign Relations. As a result of the popular vote, Biden won the Electoral College votes as well with 306 to Trump’s 232 (270 are needed to win the presidency). It was by any measure a close election. Not only has President Trump not conceded the election to Biden to date but Trump is still adamantly pushing the notion of the 2020 U.S. presidential election being rigged and stolen from him. This is dangerous on many levels. Moreover, the divisions in our nation seem to follow along media lines, those FOX News listeners and watchers versus the MSNBC and CNN listeners and watchers, generally speaking.

    • Donald Trump’s Poisoned Legacy

      In a clear incitation to violence, Trump told his supporters to “be wild” and, urging them to march to the Capitol he said, “We’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you. You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

      Showing further the total disconnect with reality and his complete disregard for the rule of law, Trump told the rioters who had stormed the Capitol, caused the death of four people and injured 14 police officers, “Go home. We love you. You’re very special.”

    • The Enablers of Insurrection Should Be Ostracized

      By inciting a mob to attack the Capitol, Donald Trump has provoked a backlash even among congressional Democratic leaders who in the past indicated a preference to just move on. On January 4, Hakeem Jeffries, chair of the House Democratic caucus, responded to questions about impeachment by saying, “We’re not looking backwards. We’re looking forward.”

    • While Railing Against Trump Coup, Biden Appoints Chief Ukraine Coup-Plotter Victoria Nuland

      Describing it as “one of the darkest days in American history,” President-elect Joe Biden denounced Wednesday’s spectacular assault on the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. as a coup attempt fomented by Donald Trump. 

    • The Black Patch War

      Then while the flames roared, they destroyed the local newspaper, and at the mournful sound of a hunter’s horn, they formed up in the center of town, holstered their weapons, and rode off into the night.

      It was, The New York Times reported with alarm, the first military occupation of an American city since the end of the Civil War, some forty years before. It brought to national attention what was to become known as the Black Patch War.

    • Far Right Rallies at Capitols Across US Show DC Mob Was Not an Isolated Incident
    • Fascism by Gaslighting: Trump’s Coup and the Grassroots Insurrection Strategy

      To better understand how this gaslighting works, it’s important to recount what happened on January 6th, and to connect the dots between Trump’s provocations and the actions on Capitol Hill. The story goes like this. Trump stoked baseless “election fraud” paranoia for months following the November election, and over the last few years, riling up his base, and especially its most reactionary, fascist, and paranoid elements. As he failed to pull off his coup through the courts and state houses, he became increasingly desperate, stoking rebellion in the streets by calling for “wild” actions to overturn Biden’s election. This all reached a fever pitch in anticipation of Congress’s certification of the election results, which normally serves as little more than a ceremonial event to formally declare the next President. In his “Save America Rally” speech to supporters prior to the certification, Trump encouraged them to “stop the steal,” in reference to the election results, and warned them that “you will never take back our country with weakness.” He called on the crowd to “fight much harder” and told them that “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore…Let the weak ones get out.” He goaded his supporters by declaring that “This is a time for strength.” While Trump promised to join them at the Capitol building, he threw supporters under the bus by refusing to show, leaving them to do all the dirty work in seeking to overturn the election certification.

      Trump instructed the crowd at his rally to head over to Capitol Hill. There protesters became increasingly violent, overrunning barricades, breaking into the Capitol building, smashing glass, and charging and assaulting Capitol police. Many people I’ve talked with in recent days have framed what happened as non-violent, a minor incident, not really a coup, or blown out of proportion. Too many seem content to ignore (or perhaps downplay) all of the above reports about violence, in addition to other accounts of the gun-toting, zip tie carrying, howling “Where’s Mike Pence? Show yourself!” fanatics attempting to forcibly overturn a democratic election. They’ve also conveniently managed to miss video evidence of white rioters stalking a police officer of color, and violently targeting members of Congress who barricaded themselves in the House chamber, upon protection of Secret Service members with guns drawn. This is the kind of violence embraced by fascist thugs, not misunderstood patriots.

    • The Threat of Fascism Rears its Head in Washington

      The Orange Menace possibly finished off his personal political prospects with his pathetic attempt at a putsch — although I suspect the shameless toadying of Republicans seeking to capture his base for future elections will continue — but, as I have already written,Trump’s base isn’t going anywhere. Neither are Trump’s fans among the police.

      By midnight Wednesday, police had arrested a total of 52 people, counting from Tuesday afternoon. Contrast that to last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, when at least 430 people were arrested.

    • The Beer Belly Putsch: a Sign of Things to Come

      Their goal was to, in words emblazoned on some of the signs they carried, “Stop The Steal.” They seemed to genuinely believe (in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary) that Donald Trump, rather than Joe Biden, was the rightful winner of the election.

      If there’s anything more dangerous than believing something that isn’t true, it’s getting together with thousands of other people who believe the same thing to act on that belief. The IQ of a large group is inversely proportional to the number of people in that group.

    • Climate Deniers Moved Rapidly to Spread Misinformation During and After Attack on US Capitol

      Some climate deniers, including some with ties to the Heartland Institute and other organizations that have historically helped to create the false impression that there is sizeable scientific disagreement on climate change, also directly expressed support for the attackers and called for more violence.

    • The Pointless Putsch

      If those people stormed the Capitol because their government had abandoned them for nearly a year while an unprecedented pandemic ravaged the country.

      If they stormed the Capitol because the government shut down their jobs and asked them to stay home but didn’t provide stimulus to replace their lost income, didn’t provide rent relief, mortgage relief, debt relief during an unprecedented pandemic.

    • Roaming Charges: White Riot, I Wanna Riot of My Own

      + I don’t have the mentalist powers of the Amazing Kreskin, but a few hours after this column was originally posted, the Wall Street Journal reported that Biden supports the swift enactment of new “domestic terrorism” laws.

      + Let me get this straight. The Capitol was ransacked in a siege, instigated by some of the Congress’ own members, that left five dead, including a police officer. The pandemic killed a record number of people in a day. Millions face eviction. The president was caught on tape trying to extort a fellow Republican to manufacture votes. Over the advice of the Pentagon, the president, who associated describe as having “lost it,” has ordered a nuclear aircraft carrier to remain in the Persian Gulf and has B-1B and B-52 bombers to Iran and China and Congress adjourned for the next two weeks? Maybe we’d have been better off if the yahoos had stayed in control of the place….

    • The Life and Times of an Urban Guerrilla

      On April 1, 1964, the Brazilian military staged a coup against President João Goulart, who was a forerunner to Lula. Goulart was a member of the Brazilian Labour Party that despite its name was a center-left party with a populist agenda. It was founded by followers of President Getúlio Vargas in 1945 as an alternative to the Communist Party. Like Argentina’s Peron, Vargas was a demagogue who nevertheless favored reforms that would benefit the working-class. In a 1938 interview, Trotsky gave backhanded support to Vargas:

      Unlike Trotsky’s critical support, the Communists in Brazil eventually rallied around the Labour Party, thus giving the military the excuse it needed to take power. As the military and its backers in the Pentagon would always point out, a country had to be saved from Communism even if Goulart or Allende were more akin to the New Deal than the Kremlin.

    • When the Left Side is the Only Hope Left: The Destruction of Mosul

      The second reason why its very name – ISIL – is incredible is because it is so misleading that it distracts people, media, and anyone who wants to understand what is happening on the ground from ever covering its atrocities in a meaningful way. It totally disguises its creators and supporters (just as is the case of al-Qaeda before). This disguise prevents us from holding those truly responsible for these atrocities. The attention should not only be on the mercenaries committing crimes, but even more so on those funding, enabling, and secretly supporting them. As such, I propose that we change its abbreviation from ISIL or ISIS into a new name that contains the initial letters of each country or lobby that contributed to its existence. Furthermore, we must never forget that all these atrocities are part and parcel of the long list of the consequences of occupying Iraq. As journalist  Seumas Milne wrote  in the Guardian back in 2015, “there was no al-Qaida in Iraq until the US and Britain invaded. And the US has certainly exploited the existence of Isis against other forces in the region as part of a wider drive to maintain western control.” Moreover, Milne reminds us, “this US and western habit of playing with jihadi groups, which then come back to bite them, goes back at least to the 1980s war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, which fostered the original al-Qaida under CIA tutelage. It was recalibrated during the occupation of Iraq.” These facts should never be forgotten if the world genuinely wishes to hold those responsible for causing all these atrocities accountable for what ISIL has done and continues to do in Iraq and Syria.

      In case the world is still not getting it, the destruction of Mosul’s culture, history, and people must be considered as one of the biggest crimes committed in the twenty-first century. The only thing more frightening than the crimes committed in Mosul is the world’s indifference to them. We should be very concerned about this indifference for two reasons: first, because it shows the extent to which the world has become desensitized to destruction, erasure, and the horrific crimes committed against humanity. This means that we should expect many more of such crimes to take place for the rest of the century, if humanity is fortunate to even survive this century. Such crimes have become the norm for a very simple reason: the world’s indifference to them means that they have been normalized. Nothing is more dangerous than normalizing war, crimes, and injustice. Hearing about any single human life lost anywhere in the world should never ever become old news. Second, the world’s indifference to what was done to Mosul shows that we are now actually living through the very processes of history creation during which those with more power are perfectly capable of committing such crimes in cold blood and getting away with them. Why are they getting away with them? Because they are getting little or no objection from the rest of the world. So, dear readers, now that I have clearly expressed my sincere explanation and analysis of the destruction of Mosul, let me take you on a day trip to a city that used to be one of Iraq’s most educated, tidy, and vibrant places to get a glimpse of what I saw. There is, of course, always hope and resilience, especially when it comes to the hard work people in Mosul are doing to rebuild, recreate, and rise from dust and ashes under which they were buried by the world’s indifference.

    • Who is the Real Enemy?

      A number of them did just that, a generation ago, when they invaded Afghanistan, then Iraq. Apparently, it’s time they took on more powerful adversaries.

      But which should they tackle first? Since the US plans to assume the leadership of the democratic crusade (‘America is back, ready to lead the world’ Joe Biden said on 24 November), satellite states would do well to realise that Americans no longer agree on the identity of their main opponent. Their reasons have little to do with global geopolitics, and a lot with internal divisions.

    • A Manufactured Crisis: How Saudi Arabia Uses Oil to Bring Yemen to its Knees

      Yemen’s oil is in thrall to a complex, intertwined network of elites that control the smuggling of fuel imports and new, thriving black markets. Starving Yemen of petroleum products has always been a conspicuous feature of Saudi Arabia’s nearly six-year-long war on the country, however, the most recent blockade is significantly more extensive than previous ones and comes at a time when a pandemic, diseases, and hunger are spreading rapidly across the country. The most recent byproducts of that blockade: the spread of schistosomiasis, a faltering economy in areas outside of Saudi control, and a dangerous new black market.

    • Dorothee Benz on January 6 Insurrection, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard on Police Responsibility

      This week on CounterSpin: As we recorded on January 7, the Washington Post was calling for Donald Trump’s removal from office. To which one might respond: Ya think? Media who egged on Trump’s candidacy, trivialized his venality and normalized as extreme-but-within-range his and his party’s every anti-democratic outrage, are poorly placed to take principled umbrage when that juggernaut takes the course that everyone and their mother said it would. Headlines suggesting the insurrection at the Capitol was the Trump era’s “last gasp” suggest a continued refusal to acknowledge the multiple factors that drove and abetted it, that go well beyond Trump and are going nowhere with Trump’s deposal, today or in two weeks’ time.

    • “A Troubling History”: Biden’s AG Pick Merrick Garland Has Record of Not Holding Cops Accountable

      Joe Biden has formally nominated Merrick Garland for attorney general. Garland has served on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for over two decades and previously worked at the Justice Department, where he prosecuted the Oklahoma City bombing case. President Obama nominated Garland in 2016 to serve on the Supreme Court, but the nomination stalled after Republican senators refused to put it up for a vote. Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for The Nation, says Garland is an “underwhelming” pick, given his judicial record. “People need to remember that Garland was picked for the Supreme Court because he was a compromise candidate,” says Mystal. “This is a centrist jurist who has a history — a troubling history, to me — of being deferential to police and being unwilling to hold police accountable for acts of brutality and misconduct.”

    • European police networking in the twilight

      Today, the Police Working Group on Terrorism (PWGT) organises the political departments of police authorities in all Schengen states. The informal group was established in 1979 as a response to left-wing armed movements. After their dissolution, its purpose was expanded to include „political violent activities“.

    • FAST THINKING: How the Capitol riot was coordinated online

      The mob that broke into the US Capitol yesterday was aided significantly by online coordination and planning. The team at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab has conducted exhaustive research into how that happened, combing through social media and other networks frequented by the far right. Let’s break down what they found.

    • Republican lawmakers caught helping pro-Trump mobs at U.S. Capitol, Oregon statehouse

      Evans, 34, won his first term as a state lawmaker in November and was charged by the Department of Justice on Friday for illegally entering the Capitol. He is one of several elected Republican lawmakers across the country who have been identified as either participating in or aiding violent pro-Trump attacks on legislative bodies this week.

    • In Hong Kong, We Thought We Had More Time

      In 2016, a few weeks before Donald Trump was elected, I cast my first ballot in a Hong Kong election. The vote, like every vote in Hong Kong, was rigged: Half the city’s legislature and the city’s leader are handpicked behind closed doors by corporate Beijing loyalists in a system devised by British colonial autocrats decades earlier. It’s how the Chinese government and its oligarchy control the territory despite the vast majority of residents’ voting for progressive pro-democracy candidates like the two legislators I backed, Roy Kwong and Wu Chi-wai.

    • Arrests Seen as Ending Last Restraints on Chinese Rule in Hong Kong

      With the roundup of more than 50 pro-democracy activists and their supporters this week, Hong Kong has thrown off the last restraints on who can be targeted under China’s harsh new security law and for what reasons, human rights advocates say.

      Even so, at least some of the activists will continue to defy the rapid erosion of the broad political autonomy that had been promised the Chinese territory, said Benny Tai, a law professor and one of the highest-profile figures to have been arrested in the Wednesday sweep.

    • QAnon and the storm of the US Capitol: The offline effect of online conspiracy theories

      Though it started as a series of conspiracy theories and false predictions, over the past three years QAnon has evolved into an extremist religio-political ideology.

      I’ve been studying the movement for more than two years. QAnon is what I call a hyper-real religion. QAnon takes popular cultural artifacts and integrates them into an ideological framework.

      QAnon has been a security threat in the making for the past three years.

    • Invoke the 25th Amendment: Donald Trump forfeited his moral authority to stay in office

      This month, time is short, and Trump retains considerable support among congressional Republicans. Shamefully, even after Wednesday’s insurrection, 139 representatives and eight senators backed Trump’s efforts to overturn the will of the voters in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

      That leaves the 25th Amendment, which sets out procedures for replacing an unfit president.

    • Capitol Riot Opens Congress to Potential IT Compromise

      Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol requires far more important conversations about the security of our nation and democracy than it does about the IT devices and data housed within. But the importance of information and cybersecurity are not minor—as seen in two major months-long espionage campaigns backed by China and Russia in the last five years—and have significant implications for national security.

      After successfully breaching the Capitol Building, hundreds, if not thousands of Trump supporters wove their way through the labyrinth of hallways, searching rooms, breaking into members’ offices and committee chambers. As of Thursday afternoon, there were no public evidence or statements rioters had gained access to the most secure parts of the Capitol: the sensitive compartmented information facilities, or SCIFs.

      However, at least one member of Congress reported the theft of a laptop from his office.

    • Beijing Warns US Will Pay ‘Heavy Price’ if UN Ambassador Goes to Taiwan

      China “firmly opposes” the visit and demands the US cancel its plans, the statement added, reiterating Beijing’s one-China policy that maintains Taiwan is a province of the nation.

      The American UN mission said Thursday evening that Craft would be in Taipei from January 13 to 15, meeting with Taiwanese officials and other members of the diplomatic community.

    • Antisemitic Symbols and Invective Openly Displayed During Pro-Trump Mob’s Assault on Capitol Hill

      The storming of Capitol Hill on Wednesday afternoon by militant supporters of US President Donald Trump featured several instances of antisemitic agitation, from a virulent Holocaust denier who helped ransack House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office to various individuals who displayed far-right and neo-Nazi slogans and symbols.

    • Scores killed in suspected militant attacks in Niger

      Around 100 people were killed by suspected militants attacking two villages in western Niger, the local mayor said Sunday, the latest in a string of civilian massacres that have rocked the jihadist-plagued Tillaberi region.

    • Uttar Pradesh: Five booked for torching house of Muslim man who converted

      Rae Bareli police booked five persons for allegedly torching the house of a Muslim man who had embraced Hinduism in September last year.

      Police said the family ran to safety though the front portion of the house was destroyed in fire. Police and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) have been deployed in the area.

    • Experts: Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Conflict Could Spread to Neighboring Provinces

      A growing Islamist insurgency has been raging in Cabo Delgado for over three years. Since the first attack in 2017 by a militant group known locally as al-Shabab, more than 2,000 people have been killed and more than 500,000 others have been forced to flee their homes, according to the United Nations.

      Militants linked to al-Shabab, which is considered the Mozambique affiliate of the Islamic State terror group, have reportedly carried out more than 600 attacks since the beginning of their insurgency.

      The militants have taken control of territory in Cabo Delgado, including a strategic port, and burned dozens of villages across the resource-rich province.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Anti-propaganda portal: COVID-19 Facebook misinformation on the rise

      A proliferation of fake Facebook accounts have been spreading misinformation about the coronavirus on the social media pages of Estonia’s major media publications, a volunteer anti-misinformation group says.

      Anti-propaganda blog Propastop, which also has an English-language page, says that articles posted on the Facebook accounts of the main media sites in Estonia concerning the coronavirus tend to attract significantly higher numbers of comments than other articles, often stretching into the hundreds, compared with a couple of dozen in the case of other topics.

    • The companies that profit from Donald Trump’s war on truth must face facts

      The storming of the US Capitol was the latest battle in a war that has been waged in the media since Trump first rose to national political prominence by espousing the Obama “birther” conspiracy.

      It has been a war on objective truth.

      From the attendance level at his inauguration to claims of voter fraud after losing the election, Trump has shown a disregard for the truth throughout his presidency that would have made Goebbels blush.

      Some mainstream media outlets, in the UK as well as in the US, have been complicit, monetising the outrage and hatred that Trump has spread. A number have continued to propagate misinformation after the November election.

    • Neil Sheehan Dies at 84; Times Reporter Obtained the Pentagon Papers

      Mr. Sheehan’s readiness to entertain the notion that Americans might have committed war crimes prompted Daniel Ellsberg, a former Defense Department analyst who had turned against the war, to leak the Pentagon Papers, a secret government history of American decision-making on Vietnam, to him in 1971. The papers revealed that successive administrations had expanded U.S. involvement in the war and intensified attacks on North Vietnam while obscuring their doubts about the likelihood of success.

      At 7,000 pages, the leak was the largest disclosure of classified documents in American history up to that point. After the third day of The Times’s coverage, the Nixon administration got a temporary injunction blocking further publication. The Supreme Court’s ruling 17 days later allowing publication to resume has been seen as a statement that prior restraint on freedom of the press is rarely justified. The Times won a Pulitzer, for public service, for its coverage by Mr. Sheehan and others.

    • How an internet lie about the Capitol invasion turned into an instant conspiracy theory

      The lie had been seeded already, since false claims about antifa are peppered through the history of far-right online spaces. A typical conspiracy theory features an unfounded warning that buses loaded with protesters are being sent to cause trouble in small towns. President Trump himself has repeatedly promoted such claims, helping to turn anti-fascist protesters into go-to villains for his supporters.

      That gave fuel to the latest rumor, false though it was. It rapidly made its way through social networks, broadcast news, and online media—and was amplified and supported by some Republican politicians.

  • Environment

  • Finance

    • Sanders Says ‘First Order of Business’ for Biden, New Democratic Congress Must Be Covid Bill With $2,000 Checks

      The Vermont senator said Democrats have to be “bold in a way that we have not seen since FDR in the 1930s.”

    • Just as Democrats Claim Senate Majority, Manchin Condemned for Vowing to ‘Absolutely Not’ Support $2,000 Checks

      “When millions of people are starving in tent cities, they will be called ‘Manchinvilles.’”

    • Sanders Says $2,000 Checks Are “First Order of Business” for Biden, New Congress
    • A Lender Sued Thousands of Lower-Income Latinos During the Pandemic. Now It Wants to Be a National Bank.

      Dozens of consumer advocacy organizations and Latino civil rights groups are contesting an effort by Oportun Financial Corp. to become a national bank, citing an investigation published last year by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune.

      The monthslong probe showed the loan company had sued thousands of lower-income Latinos in Texas during the coronavirus pandemic while depicting itself as a benefactor of that community. It also revealed that Oportun had become the most litigious personal loan company in the state and routinely charged high interest rates while keeping customers on the hook with repeated refinancing.

    • Tinkov family relinquishes control over TCS Group

      The family of Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov has relinquished control over the TCS Group Holding PLC — Tinkoff Bank’s parent company. 

    • Austerity, Democrats and the State

      As to the check politics, reports have it that President-elect Joe Biden was fine with no checks for the people in an earlier draft of the stimulus bill, followed by his actively intervening to cut their size from $1,200 to $600 in a later draft. While he was in Georgia on Monday to support the Democratic candidates for the Senate, Mr. Biden parroted the campaign talking point of both candidates that $2,000 checks would be forthcoming if voters elected them. That the ‘debate’ has devolved to one-time checks for the millions of people who are in the throes of economic ruin is indicative of the debasement of the very idea of the public interest under neoliberalism.

      The earlier ‘pandemic checks’ were conceived and delivered when the pandemic was believed to be a temporary interruption. However, air travel, which was ‘saved’ with tens of billions in pandemic relief, was being shown to be a bad idea in environmental terms before the pandemic struck. The point: without a plan, simply providing an economic bridge prevents the consideration of alternative paths forward. The exact course that the pandemic will take from here is unknown. But what has been demonstrated is that the institutions built around the neoliberal ethos of individual wants, rather than social needs, are wholly inadequate when it comes to meeting social needs.

    • Trends That Will Likely Shape a Highly Uncertain Year

      A few weeks ago The Economist published The World in 2021, it’s 35th annual look at the economic, political, social and cultural trends that will likely shape the coming year. Overall, 2021 will be a year of unusual uncertainty given the still ongoing pandemic, the uneven economic recovery, and the turbulent political environment in the US, Britain, and a number of other countries. “The great prize on offer is the chance of bringing the coronavirus pandemic under control,” wrote the issue’s editor Tom Sandage. “But in the meantime risks abound, to health, economic vitality and social stability.”

      [...]

      This abrupt shift has been quite painful for many. Long established bricks-and-mortar retailers were forced into bankruptcy, including Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, JC Penney, and Brooks Brothers. Many small businesses are barely surviving. If telepresence ends up reducing a significant fraction of professional office time and business travel, it will be accompanied by steep declines in a number of low-skill, low-paid supporting services, – e.g., food preparation and serving, transportation, building cleaning and maintenance, – which account for one quarter of US jobs, .

      On the other hand, the transition may finally help transform health, education, government services, and other fields that’ve long been digital laggards. The abrupt shifts are also sparking new arenas for innovation. “Already companies big and small are devising fresh tools to improve the experience of remote working, collaboration and learning; to support new kinds of contactless and appointment-based retailing; and to provide new sorts of online social experiences, from virtual conferences to virtual tourism.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Opinion | Mob Violence in the Capitol A Logical Completion to Trumpian Politics

      It is no longer hyperbole to conclude that the rule of law in the United States is now under grave threat.

    • Opinion | Biden-Harris and the Progressive Movement in an Uncertain World

      “A lukewarm Biden-Harris presidency—even one that eventually brings the pandemic under control—will not achieve the populist policy objectives necessary to win in 2024.”

    • ‘No More Excuses’: With Senate Majority Reclaimed, Progressives Demand Bold Agenda From Biden

      “A working majority in both houses of Congress means that any decision to court Republican votes will be made by choice.”

    • UN Rights Chief Says US Coup Effort Result of ‘Deliberate Distortion of Facts, and Incitement to Violence’ by Trump and GOP

      The new statement comes amid demands for President Donald Trump’s impeachment or removal from office under the 25th Amendment.

    • Hangman’s Bluff: Trump on the Run

      Granted, four people died in the Battle of Rotunda Hall, one of whom was shot while trying to enter the Capitol through a broken window (the Darwin Awards people might want to take note of that), and some Proud Boys took a few spins in Nancy Pelosi’s speaker chair, not the mention the mountain men who rappelled to the floor of the House. But can’t the democracy put up with a little disorder?

      Should I be as shocked as were those MSNBC sideline reporters who covered the barricade breach from the safety of the parking lot? Who gushed about “never having seen anything like this” in their lifetime? Who want politics to have the order of a debutante ball?

    • The Trumpism Virus

      But, by the time we reach that point, that virus will have caused more deaths to more Americans than any of America’s wars, except perhaps the Civil War. It has already surpassed all of them except World War II.

      How much other long lasting damage it will have done, and how much it will have changed “normal” life, remains to be seen. It is already clear, though, that anyone looking forward to a restoration of the old normal will be disappointed mightily.

    • You’re better off this way How the Kremlin canceled public politics in 2020

      The principles of Russian politics changed beyond recognition last year. In-person voting held over multiple days (first introduced as a temporary pandemic measure) was codified and made permanent, supposedly for voters’ convenience, guaranteeing victory for the authorities’ candidates (even in regions where protest sentiment is high). The State Duma hastily adopted a series of repressive laws that complicated election monitoring, campaigning, and peaceful forms of protest. The authorities tried to remove society from political participation and distance the public from any decision-making, as the country prepares for new parliamentary elections in 2021. At first glance, these efforts have been a success, so far.

    • Biden and the Democrats Could Change Everything

      A pair of upset victories in the widely-watched pair of Georgia senatorial runoff elections has handed Democrats what they said they needed to get big things done: control of the White House, the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. If they want, they have argued over the last year, Democrats will be able to push through a lot of important legislation on the liberal agenda: a dramatic increase in the minimum wage, student loan forgiveness, an eviction ban, Medicare For All, expanded economic stimulus and addressing the climate crisis come to mind.

      They don’t want to. They won’t try.

    • Opinion | The Truth About Trump’s Mob

      The storming of the US Capitol by predominantly white supporters of President Donald Trump was in keeping with a long tradition of mob violence directed by white elites in the service of their own interests. The difference this time is that the rioters turned on their own.

    • Real Change for a Living Planet

      Are we moving, politically speaking, beyond the small and stupid? Is the era of Trump really over? Assuming that to be the case is far too easy. Trump, after all, was and is part of the change, the breakdown of the status quo. You might say he’s been the coronavirus of American politics — he certainly has been infectious.

      But simply “going back to normal” — swearing Biden in, returning to the political clichés we’re used to, appropriating another trillion dollars for national defense and corporate militarism, feigning concern over climate change but essentially ignoring it, yada, yada — leaves us wide open to the looming collapse.

    • If Pelosi Is This Worried About ‘Unhinged’ Trump With Nukes, Say Critics, ‘Impeach and Remove Him Immediately’

      “If the threat is so serious that you have to ask one of Trump’s own appointees to keep him from firing nuclear missiles, the threat is serious enough to impeach him today and not wait until next week.”

    • Bills Come Due
    • Has Trump Already Been Removed as Commander in Chief?

      The significance of this chain of authority cannot be understated.

      The control of the US military is one of the, if not the greatest power of a US president, who is also designated as the commander in chief of the US military in the US Constitution. The Vice President under the Constitution, only has two jobs:  Taking over the role of president if the actual president is permanently or temporarily unable to perform that job; and serving as president of the Senate. (The significance of that latter function, normally ceremonial, will soon become far better understood as Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, currently a senator from California, becomes Vice President Harris and starts providing the 51st Democratic vote in the Senate,  handing Democrats control of that legislative body.)

    • Yemen, a Quagmire for Saudi Coalition and Imperialists

      These are the word of Yemeni child Ahmad Mansour, ten years old, after he survived the Saudi-led airstrike in his neighbourhood in the Midi District, Hajjah Governorate in north-western Yemen. Ahmed was injured, and his mother and siblings died in the airstrike. A total of 15 people were killed that day (nine children and four women).

      The airstrike against Ahmed’s neighbourhood is one of the horrific incidents documented by the Yemeni organization Mwatana for Human Rights in a report titled “DAY OF JUDGMENT”: The US’s Role and Europe in Civilian Death, Destruction, and Trauma in Yemen.” According to the report, a “US-made BLU-63 cluster bomb Submunition” was used by the Saudi-led coalition in this bombing.

    • Making life difficult Russian lawmakers rush to tighten legislation ahead of the 2021 State Duma elections

      In the lead up to the close of the State Duma’s fall 2020 session on December 24, Russian lawmakers were working in “turbo mode.” In a matter of days, they submitted and successfully adopted — although sometimes only in the first reading — an array of bills that will seriously tighten the country’s legislation concerning “foreign agents,” public demonstrations, election campaigning, and “educational activities.” Generally speaking, lawmakers from the ruling party, United Russia, introduced these initiatives, though they were sometimes joined by their colleagues from nominal opposition parties. Politicians and experts alike told Meduza that the new legislation will make it much more difficult for opposition parties to nominate candidates, run campaigns, organize public rallies, and monitor the integrity of elections in Russia. All of which will affect the State Duma elections set to take place in 2021.

    • Poll: Most Americans Think Trump Deserves to Be Removed After Capitol Chaos
    • Betsy DeVos Resigns, Dodging 25th Amendment Push
    • ‘Complicity, Cowardice, and Complete Incompetence’: Dodging 25th Amendment Push, Betsy DeVos Resigns

      “Good riddance, Betsy. You were the worst Secretary of Education ever.”

    • Opinion | From Mulvaney to DeVos, GOP Rats Are Deserting Trump’s Sinking Ship

      All the times they didn’t resign or even criticize his monstrous deeds in the last four years.

    • America After The Donald

      Twenty twenty-one has indeed begun, and God knows what it has in store for us now that the Capitol has been stormed by the president’s “troops.” But unless, somehow, we’re surprised beyond imagining, The Donald is indeed going to leave the White House soon and, much as I hate to admit it, in some strange fashion we’re going to miss him. Of course, it will be beyond a great relief to see his… well, let’s just say him in the rearview mirror. While occupying the White House, he was, in a rather literal sense, hell on earth. Nonetheless, he was also a figure of remarkable fascination for anyone thinking about this country or that strangest of all species, humanity, and what we’re capable of doing to ourselves.

    • The Pearl Harbor Hack and Other Media Fables

      As a former CIA bigwig recently wrote in the New York Times, “the United States, is of course, engaged in the same type of [hacking] operations at an even grander scale…the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency exist to break into foreign information systems and steal secrets and they are damn good at it.” But Russia does it to us, and the media bellows “Pearl Harbor!” Meanwhile the U.S. regularly perpetrates such Pearl Harbors, but they don’t merit headlines, or even a media mention, and lately the U.S. has been too busy throwing stones from its glass house to remember who started it all.

      The timing of this hack story suggests government intent to ensure Biden stays on the well-trod path of hostility to Russia. But there was never any danger he’d stray from it. True, he plans to renegotiate the START nuclear treaty, something Trump, to the delight of the Pentagon, proposed to trash. But that doesn’t mean Biden rejects the fanatical Russia-phobia that has poisoned the media and the body politic for the past four years. On the contrary, the president-elect has uttered many pieties about securing our government and troops from malign Russian plots and has made numerous hostile noises directed at the Slavic menace, signaling to the military industrial complex that when it comes to Great Power Competition with Russia and China, he can be relied on. In fact, there was never any doubt of that.

    • ‘Cannot Afford to Wait’: Tlaib Leads Letter Demanding Congress Immediately Reconvene to Impeach and Remove Trump

      “The rule of law is dead if a sitting president can incite an insurrectionist mob to overturn democracy and then pardon everyone involved, including himself.”

    • The End of the Post-Truth Age

      We need not just to hold accountable Trump, the insurrectionists who raided and looted the Capitol Building and the Congressional chamber and offices of Congress members, and Ted Cruz and the six other Congressional office holders who perpetrated the lie of a stolen election to satisfy their own lusts for power. But we need to do more than that as we recover from this dark day in U.S. history.

      Most of all we need to replace the ideology of irrationalism that has gripped so much of academia and the U.S. culture. It is the ideology that holds that there is no such thing as “objective truth,” “objective—i.e. logical—thinking,” or an objective set of ethical principles that set parameters for responsible actions, which is responsible for ushering in an ideology based on the sentiment that “my truth has no accountability to you,” which is the viewpoint of narcissists, self-entitlement, egotism, and ultimately nihilism. This withdrawal of reason from public discourse is alarming in light of these events of this week, in this way: without the use of reason and its innate concerns with truth, objectivity, and normativity, the only thing left is the visceral appeal of emotion and force between individuals and between groups, and all it takes is the right kind of propaganda to push the emotions of various ideologues in a certain direction, the result of which is deleterious for society. We just saw this in play this week.

    • 100+ Civil Society Groups Demand Trump’s Immediate Impeachment as Dem Leaders Signal Delaying Action Until Next Week

      “There are reports that Trump is gearing up for mass preemptive pardons… Impeach him TOMORROW.”

    • Attack on Capitol Affirms Trumpism Will Live On After Trump Leaves White House
    • It Is Never Too Late to Impeach a Despot

      Donald Trump should have been removed from office a year ago. But Republicans in Congress failed the country. Now, the question is whether they will fail again by making excuses about the lateness of the hour.

    • Trump Supporters Mob the US Capitol

      Check out all installments in the OppArt series.

    • Survey Finds Majority of Americans Want Trump Removed From Office

      Fully 79% of all respondents, including two-thirds of Republicans and Trump voters, described the president’s supporters who attacked the Capitol on Wednesday as “criminals” or “fools.”

    • Why Impeach Trump at This Late Date? One Word, Says Bernie Sanders: ‘Precedent’

      “It must be made clear that no president, now or in the future, can lead an insurrection against the U.S. government.”

    • As Pro-Trump Mob Boasts About Roles in Deadly Capitol Invasion, Indigenous Water Protecters Charged for Peaceful Keystone XL Protests

      “This is on my people’s land, and I have the right to protect it for my future generations,” said one of the charged activists.

    • Top Senate Democrat Patty Murray: ‘Hawley and Cruz Should Resign’

      “Any senator who stands up and supports the power of force over the power of democracy has broken their oath of office.”

    • Snowflake Josh Hawley Seems To Think The 1st Amendment Means Simon & Schuster Has To Give Him A Book Contract

      As a reminder, Josh Hawley is a sedition supporter who should never be near any position of power ever again. In response to his ongoing support for overturning the will of the people, book publishing giant Simon & Schuster made the totally reasonable call that it would refuse to publish the book he was preparing called (hilariously) “The Tyranny of Big Tech.” Make no mistake about it: this was Hawley’s campaign book to push for the nomination in 2024. The key authoritarian strongman move is to claim that someone else is the tyrant and that you’re hear to “save” them. That’s Josh Hawley’s entire play over the last couple of years: “big tech” is the “tyrant” that he’s here to “free” you from, through idiotically bad laws. But it’s all a game to him.

    • Trump, the American Dream and the Frontier

      Graeber’s recognition of conservatives’ overriding concern with fairness helps explain conservatives’ steadfast support for Donald Trump. Trump of course began his presidential run as an ostensibly unbeholden political outsider who took down the Bush and Clinton dynasties by asserting that he would halt all manner of global cheating and “put America first.” Promising to “drain the swamp,” the incoming Trump administration was characterized by an unusual and sometimes surreal openness as celebrities, eccentrics, and hangers-on dropped by to share their views with the president-elect.1 A 21st-century version of Andrew Jackson’s inaugural ball, this spectacle conveyed an administration freed from technocratic elites, micromanagers, and other unaccountable insiders (which is one reason why Trump’s incompetence rarely concerns his supporters, since it is merely more evidence of his overarching authenticity). Indeed, it would be interesting to examine the public’s letters to the president during those first months to determine whether there was an unusually high number of offers of assistance and auditions for employment given the perception, at least among his supporters, that the Trump White House was uncharacteristically accessible to those on the margins of the establishment.

      Fundamentally, the notion that the Trump presidency is bent on establishing, or restoring, fairness mistakes appearance for reality. This critical distinction is obscured in Arlie Russell Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land (2016), in which the Berkeley sociologist travels to Louisiana to explore the thinking of Trump-supporting conservatives.2 Spending time with conservatives on their own turf and observing their interactions with their churches, workplaces, and neighbors, Hochschild pursues a “deep understanding” of conservatives “from the inside.” What she arrives at is a conservative “deep story” that is based on an extended metaphor of “waiting in line.” In sum, resentful, Trump-supporting, white people feel as if they have “played by the rules” by “waiting in line” in order to earn their rightful portion of the American Dream, but women, African Americans, immigrants, government workers, and even endangered birds are, with the aid of liberal government officials, increasingly “cutting” in front of them. When conservatives criticize the unfairness of this situation, they are shouted down for being racist ogres whose devotion to the Christian God, family, and country is the source of endless ridicule in mainstream culture.

    • Billionaire-Owned Media Look Out for Neediest by Demanding They Get No More Money

      A lot of extremely rich people seem to be against the idea of giving money to the rest of us. In recent weeks, as the US continues to flounder amidst a surging Covid-19 epidemic, a wide range of political figures, from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump, have come out in support of a one-time $2,000 check to Americans who make less than $75,000.

    • Rep. Ro Khanna: Republicans Should Back Impeachment After Trump Incited Mob Violence Against Them

      Calls are growing for President Trump to resign or be removed from office after he incited supporters to storm the Capitol in an act of insurrection to disrupt the counting of Electoral College votes. The unrest left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer who was reportedly struck in the head by a fire extinguisher. Trump is losing support from his inner circle, with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao both resigning before the end of Trump’s term. The chief of the Capitol Police is also expected to resign next week, as multiple reports reveal police officers aiding rioters, from removing barricades to giving out direction to the offices of specific lawmakers. Democratic Congressmember Ro Khanna says Republicans must support efforts to remove Trump, especially as much of Trump’s incitement targeted Republican lawmakers who refused to back his false claims of election fraud. “This was not an attack just on Democratic lawmakers. If anything, it was an incitement of violence against Republican lawmakers,” says Khanna.

    • Twitter permanently suspends Trump’s account

      Twitter permanently suspended President Trump’s account Friday after determining that his posts pose “the risk of further incitement of violence.”

      The platform had previously handed the president a 12-hour suspension for posts made during Wednesday’s violent insurrection at the Capitol building.

    • Twitter Permanently Suspends Donald Trump’s Account to Prevent ‘Further Incitement of Violence’

      Twitter has long given Trump license to say just about anything. In recent weeks, it had taken to flagging the president’s lie-filled tweets as inaccurate. This week’s violence at the Capitol clearly drove a reconsideration inside the company about the civic cost-benefit of continuing to provide its most famous user a platform.

    • Live updates: Pelosi calls for Trump’s resignation or face impeachment, Twitter bans him

      Pelosi also said she spoke to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley on Friday morning about preventing Trump from launching a nuclear strike. “The situation of this unhinged president could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy,” she wrote.

    • Twitter Permanently Suspends Trump’s Account Over “Risk of Further Incitement of Violence”

      The Jack Dorsey-led company has faced criticism over its handling of Trump’s personal account, from which he regularly shared misinformation and threats of violence with his more than 88 million followers. During the four years of Trump’s presidency, the company often cited his position as an elected official, and thus the “public interest value” of his tweets, as the reason it did not suspend his account for violating its rules.

    • Twitter permanently suspends President Donald Trump

      Almost immediately, the account that Trump had used for years to convey his every thought, to denounce his enemies and praise his friends, to convey uncountable false statements and official White House announcements, simply disappeared. It was suddenly impossible to see his previous tweets, or even to see his reaction to Twitter’s decision. Instead, his empty account had been marked: “Account suspended.”

    • Not Easy, Not Unreasonable, Not Censorship: The Decision To Ban Trump From Twitter

      When I started writing this post, it was about Facebook’s decision to suspend Trump’s account indefinitely, and at least until Joe Biden is inaugurated in a couple weeks. I had lots to say on that… and then Friday afternoon, Twitter decided to ban Trump’s Twitter account permanently. This is a bigger deal, not just because it’s permanent, rather than indefinite, but because so much of Trump’s identity over the last four years (and before that) is tied up in his Twitter account and followers.

    • Permanent suspension of @realDonaldTrump

      However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things. We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement.

    • Twitter permanently bans Trump

      The ban comes after the president incited a mob that broke into the US Capitol building, disrupting Congress’ certification of Joe Biden as the President Elect. Twitter initially put a 12-hour ban on Trump’s account for “repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy” after he posted messages repeating lies that the election was stolen.

    • Twitter permanently bans Donald Trump: He incited violence, and now he’s gone

      “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter wrote in a post. Earlier in the week on Wednesday, the social media site had locked the president’s account for 12 hours for violating its rules on Civic Integrity and Violent Threats. Twitter noted that they told him then that “additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action.” It then quoted the two tweets posted by Trump which it deemed to have violated those rules.

    • Twitter Permanently Bans Donald Trump

      Trump, who at last count had 88.7 million followers on Twitter — his favored social platform — was “deplatformed” by the company after years of critics calling for the social network to ban Trump based on what they pointed out was egregious and dangerous behavior by the president that routinely violated Twitter’s rules.

    • Google suspends Parler from app store, urges tighter content moderation

      Google on Friday suspended social media platform Parler from its app store while joining Apple in calling on the platform to tighten its content moderation rules or risk permanent removal.

      Google said in a statement it is suspending Parler, an app popular among conservatives that has gained popularity in recent months over its hands-off approach to content moderation, due to “continued posting” in the app that it said “seeks to incite ongoing violence in the U.S.”

    • Google Pulls Parler, Apple May Follow, After Use in Capitol Riot

      Google removed Parler from its Play Store, and Apple Inc. threatened a similar action, after the social-media service was among those used to organize the riots this week at the Capitol in Washington.

      “We’re aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the U.S.,” a Google spokesman wrote in a statement. “We recognize that there can be reasonable debate about content policies and that it can be difficult for apps to immediately remove all violative content, but for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content.”

    • Google suspends Parler social networking app from Play Store; Apple gives 24-hour warning

      Alphabet Inc’s Google on Friday suspended the Parler social networking app from its Play Store until the app adds “robust” content moderation while Apple Inc gave the service 24 hours to submit a detailed moderation plan.

      Parler is a social network to which many supporters of President Donald Trump have migrated after being banned from services including Twitter Inc, which on Friday permanently suspended Trump’s account.

      In a statement, Google cited continued posts in the Parler app that seek “to incite ongoing violence in the U.S.”

    • Facebook’s ex-security chief says social media networks should ban Trump

      Stamos, now the director of Stanford University’s Internet Observatory, was joined on Twitter by another social media veteran: Chris Sacca, an early investor in Twitter. “You’ve got blood on your hands,” he told CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. “For four years you’ve rationalized this terror. Inciting violent treason is not a free speech exercise. If you work at those companies, it’s on you too. Shut it down.”

    • Reincarnation Gets a Bit Dicey

      So, on page 5,101 of HR 133, we’ve set out our policy:

      [...]

      The legislation also authorizes $7.4 million for two radio stations, Voice of America, and Radio Free Asia, to allow Tibetans to hear American opinions about reincarnation, and other political matters.

    • India, Like US, Must Have A Clear Tibet Policy to Counter China

      For starters, New Delhi should say it has reviewed the Tibet issue, admitting some mistakes were made initially but fresh facts had emerged. These are: [...]

    • After Inciting Deadly Invasion of US Capitol, Twitter Permanently Suspends @realDonaldTrump

      After years of resisting suspension demands, the social media company said that the move was “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

    • Twitter permanently suspends Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell and others

      Twitter on Friday permanently suspended accounts for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and former 8kun administrator Ron Watkins as part of a crackdown on content linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory.

      A spokesperson for the platform told The Hill that each of the individuals was banned in line with Twitter’s policy against harmful coordinated activity.

    • Twitter bans Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell in QAnon account purge

      The permanent bans are among the highest profile that the company has instituted as part of its efforts to crack down on misinformation and calls for violence.

      Flynn and Powell both met with Trump at the White House in recent weeks as part of efforts to overturn the presidential election results. They are also high-profile figures in the QAnon community, and Flynn even took an “oath” to the conspiracy theory last year.

    • Twitter bans QAnon supporters, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn

      Flynn and Powell have both promoted theories linked to QAnon, a sprawling conspiracy movement united against a nonexistent cabal of devil-worshipping pedophiles. Flynn was convicted of lying to the FBI, but he was pardoned by President Donald Trump and has become a QAnon evangelist. Powell has been instrumental in promoting false claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged, leading Dominion Voting Systems to file a defamation suit against her earlier today. Watkins formerly helped run 8kun (formerly 8chan), the anonymous message board where QAnon head Q posts cryptic messages to followers. Researchers speculate Q may be multiple people, and both Ron and his father Jim Watkins have been named as potential Q authors.

    • Discord bans pro-Trump server ‘The Donald’

      Reddit also banned unofficial pro-Trump subreddit r/donaldtrump on Friday “given repeated policy violations in recent days regarding the violence at the US Capitol.”

    • Trump staffers are worrying about their next job
    • House Democrats’ draft of a new article of impeachment against Trump
    • Reddit bans r/donaldtrump forum for inciting violence

      This deletion marks the latest in an internet-wide crackdown on President Donald Trump and his most aggressive supporters, even as online researchers have used social media footage to identify mob members. Trump was suspended from Facebook, Twitch, and Twitter after making inflammatory statements, although he’s been reinstated on the latter. Major web platforms have removed content that glorified the attack — which was aimed at overturning the US presidential election and left at least five people dead, including a police officer.

    • Trump tried to evade his ban with @POTUS, but those tweets were instantly deleted
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Opinion | Facebook, Twitter and YouTube: Ban Trump or Face Another Mass Boycott

      These powerful tech giants and their top executives must decide: Are they on the side of democracy or in favor of profiting from the spread of bigotry and lies?

    • “This Will Be Remembered as a Turning Point”: Snowden Warns Against Trump Social Media Ban

      NSA whistleblower and internet freedom advocate Edward Snowden has cautioned the public against celebrating President Trump’s recent social media ban. “I know a lot of folks in the comments [who] read this are like ‘YAAAAS,’ which, like — I get it. But imagine for a moment a world that exists for more than the next 13 days, and this becomes a milestone that will endure,” he wrote on Twitter. 

    • Terrorist Regulation : The EU Parliament Must Oppose Authoritarian Censorship

      On Monday 11 January, the LIBE Committee (Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs) from the European Parliament will vote on the “anti-terrorism” Regulation.

      This text (available here – stil not consolidated) aims at submitting all of the actors of the Internet to strict and absurd obligations. The main obligation is to allow the authorities of any Member State of the European Union (whether the police or a court) to force a hosting service provider to remove within one hour content that the authority has considered terrorist.

    • Saudi court sentences preacher to 4 years’ imprisonment for visiting book fair

      Sheikh Al-Ahmad was arrested in 2011, after appearing in a video calling on the authorities to resolve the file of political detainees, after which he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on charges of “inciting against the ruler”, “harming national cohesion” and “undermining the prestige of the state.”

    • PTA issues notices to Google, Wikipedia for ‘disseminating sacrilegious content’

      In a press release, the authority said it has been receiving complaints regarding “misleading search results associated with ‘present khalifa of Islam’ and an unauthentic version of the Holy Quran uploaded by the Ahmedi community on Google Play Store”.

      Being a matter of a very serious nature, the PTA has approached Google Inc with directions to immediately remove the unlawful content, the statement said.

    • PTA sends notices to Google Inc and Wikipedia

      The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has issued notices to Google Inc and Wikipedia for ‘disseminating sacrilegious content’ through the two platforms, it emerged on Friday.

      In a press release, the authority said it has been receiving complaints regarding “misleading search results associated with ‘present khalifa of Islam’ and an unauthentic version of the Holy Quran uploaded by the Ahmedi community on Google Play Store”.

    • Bangladesh Police Invoked Anti-Porn Law to Crack Down on a Film About Gender Violence

      A viral scene from a film has landed a filmmaker in jail under the strict pornography law in Bangladesh. The police arrested renowned filmmaker Anonno Mamun late last week for showing a rape survivor being interrogated harshly by a cop in his new film, Nabab LLB.

    • Sex workers say ‘defunding Pornhub’ puts their livelihoods at risk

      Now only verified creators can upload videos to Pornhub.

      But the credit card suspension also makes it almost impossible for performers to receive payments or tips on the website.

      “Pornhub is the largest platform we have access to, by number of viewers and name recognition,” said Ms Moody.

      “It comes at the top of Google searches for pretty much any industry worker.”

      Many performers also use other adult platforms and subscription sites, such as OnlyFans.

      But Ms Moody said making the jump was more difficult than it might appear to outsiders.

      “Models who focused on Pornhub are out of a lot of income, and it’s not as easy as it sounds to switch platforms and immediately make money.”

  • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • California City’s Effort to Punish Journalists For Publishing Documents Widely Available Online is Dangerous and Chilling, EFF Brief Argues

      But  a California city is ignoring these norms and trying to punish several journalists for doing their jobs. The city of Fullerton claims that the journalists, who write for a digital publication called Friends for Fullerton’s Future, violated federal and state computer crime laws by accessing documents publicly available to any Internet user. Not only is the civil suit by the city a transparent attempt to cover up its own poor Internet security practices, it also threatens to chill valuable and important journalism. That’s why EFF, along with the ACLU and ACLU of Southern California, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a California appellate court this week in support of the journalists.

      The city sued two journalists and Friends for Fullerton’s Future based on several claims, including an allegation that they violated California’s Comprehensive Computer Data and Fraud Act when they obtained and published documents officials posted to a city file-sharing website that was available to anyone with an Internet connection. For months, the city made the file-sharing site available to the public without a password or any other access restrictions and used it to conduct city business, including providing records to members of the public who requested them under the California Public Records Act.

      Even though they took no steps to limit public access to the city’s file sharing site, officials nonetheless objected when the journalists published publicly available documents that officials believed should not have been public or the subject of news stories. And instead of taking steps to ensure the public did not have access to sensitive government documents, the city is trying to stretch the California computer crime law, known as Section 502, to punish the journalists. 

    • ‘Three people threatened to shoot me.’ Journalists describe covering mob violence at the US Capitol

      To better understand the situation on the ground, and the conditions for the press, CPJ spoke with several journalists via phone who reported in and around the Capitol building. The interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

    • The personal conveniently distracts from the political in the Assange story

      Baraitser’s 132-page ruling found that although the UK-US Extradition Treaty of 2003 specifically prohibits extradition for “political offence”, this provision never became law in the UK and therefore has no effect. In essence, the treaty is worthless.

    • Even If Assange’s Death isn’t the Goal of the US and UK, Everything They’re Doing Makes It More Likely

      Washington has wanted Assange permanently silenced and made an example of – by demonstrating to other journalists its terrifying reach and powers of retaliation – ever since the Wikileaks founder exposed US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago.

      There were reasons, however, to be suspicious of what Baraitser was really up to even as she made her ruling in Assange’s favour. This district judge has a record of nodding through extradition cases, including several that have recently been overturned on appeal by a higher court.

    • Campaign of Hate Forces Azeri Journalist Offline

      What started as an interview about Azerbaijan’s cease-fire with Armenia ended in a prolonged harassment campaign for Azeri columnist Arzu Geybulla.

      The journalist was accused of disrespecting those who died in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Geybulla said the harassment escalated after a website published an opinion piece alleging that she “hates Azerbaijan and its people.”

      The first version of the story had only a few paragraphs. But as it started making the rounds, more false accusations were added, Geybulla said, adding that she received threats on social media calling for acts of violence against her.

    • Police will beat you for own safety, IGP Ochola tells journalists

      The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martin Okoth Ochola Friday refuted reports that police are targeting journalists covering elections that have been marred by violence, arguing that security personnel have been using reasonable force to retrain the press for their own safety.

      c “We have heard complaints that security is targeting the media. On the contrary, it is the media targeting security. It is portraying security as brutal and siding with government. When we tell a journalist, don’t go there and you insist on going where there is danger, we shall beat you for your own safety. I have no apology. We shall not apologise but we shall continue helping you not to go where there is danger,” IGP Ochola told journalists during a security briefing in Kampala ahead of next week’s elections.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Opinion | Civil Society Groups Warn Against Anti-Protest Legislation Following Siege of US Capital

      “We have to make sure this moment is not used to further anti-protest legislation.”

    • Deb Haaland’s Cabinet Nomination Is a Triumph for Native Americans

      On a December Saturday, at a press conference broadcast from the city of Wilmington, in a state named for an English lord—Thomas West, the 12th Baron De La Warr, who rebuilt Jamestown in 1610 after a period of starvation and cannibalism and was appointed captain-general and governor for life of the Virginia colony—President-elect Joe Biden introduced his climate team of White House officials and cabinet secretaries.

    • Eighth Circuit Strips Qualified Immunity From Cop Who Pulled Over A Driver For Flipping Her Off

      It should be pretty clearly established by now that giving the finger to public officials (in every case listed here, police officers) is protected expression. Even if the expression isn’t protected, it sure as shit doesn’t justify detainment, arrest, or the seizure of someone’s property.

    • Police Robots Are Not a Selfie Opportunity, They’re a Privacy Disaster Waiting to Happen

      Long before the 1987 movie Robocop, even before Karel Čapek invented the word robot in 1920, police have been trying to find ways to be everywhere at once. Widespread security cameras are one solution—but even a blanket of CCTV cameras couldn’t follow a suspect into every nook of public space. Thus, the vision of a police robot continued as a dream, until now. Whether they look like Boston Dynamics’ robodogs or Knightscope’s rolling pickles, robots are coming to a street, shopping mall, or grocery store near you. 

      The Orwellian menace of snitch robots might not be immediately apparent. Robots are fun. They dance. You can take selfies with them. This is by design. Both police departments and the companies that sell these robots know that their greatest contributions aren’t just surveillance, but also goodwill. In one brochure Knightscope sent to University of California-Hastings, a law school in the center of San Francisco, the company advertises their robot’s activity in a Los Angeles shopping district called The Bloc. It’s unclear if the robot stopped any robberies, but it did garner over 100,000 social media impressions and 426 comments. Knightscope claims the robot’s 193 million overall media impressions was worth over $5.8 million. The Bloc held a naming contest for the robot, and said it has a “cool factor” missing from traditional beat cops and security guards.

      The Bloc/Knighscope promotional material released via public records request by UC-Hastings

    • No Excuses: Biden Can Help End Racist Police Violence—From Day 1

      I’ve been told that Joe Biden, soon the 46th president of the United States, is a “creature of the Senate” so many times that I’m starting to wonder if there’s some kind of spawning ground beneath the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Biden, we are told, can work with Republicans, make legislative deals, and usher in a new era of comity and bipartisanship just on the strength of his Senate experience and relationships.

    • It’s Time for the Civil Rights Movement to Once Again Confront the Democrats and Lead the Struggle Against the White Fascists

      But within an hour I saw a mob of armed white fascists assaulting the capitol to try to overturn the election while the whining talking heads at CNN and MSNBC, Jake Tapper among the worst, call on, of all people, Donald Trump to call off the very storm troopers he has organized? Note the Democratic apologists at CNN and MSNBC would never call out to Biden and the Democrats to protect the damn election that 81 million people fought to give them.

      The Democrats knew full well this was coming as did the D.C. police force. The Democrats knew the Republicans were going to contest the election—unlike Al Gore who conceded his victory to George W. Bush before even the votes were counted—wanting to set the record for the earliest concession speech in history which is his real Inconvenient Truth. They knew this was the latest round of Trumpicans refusing the accept defeat—how funny that pathetic liberals chant into the wilderness “abolish the electoral college” but it is Trump who said, “Great idea, let’s overturn the entire election.”

    • Dissenter Weekly: Reality Winner’s Sexual Abuse Claim, Trump’s Hollowing Out Of Oversight Agencies

      On the first edition of “Dissenter Weekly” in 2021, host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola starts off the year with coverage of NSA whistleblower Reality Winner, who allegedly was threatened by a guard over a sexual assault claim she filed.

    • The Bigotry of Inclusion

      Besides this whole thing is much bigger than Biden. That old honky gangster is just a transitional president. He’s simply holding open the door for a dynamic and diverse cabinet of revolutionary new thinkers. More women, more Queer people, more people of color, more people like you and me. More minorities than we’ve ever fucking seen before. It’s like a goddamn Barnie and Friends reunion up in this bitch. Everywhere you look, it’s a first. First this. First that. Who can be cynical about a new day in America when you have the first bisexual quadriplegic cabinet member, who worked for Raytheon, or the first blind Sikh cabinet member, who worked for Raytheon, or the first dyslexic Jamaican bobsledder, who worked for Raytheon. Wait a fucking minute? What the fuck? This is just the same goddamn shit. If it’s such a brand new goddamn day in America, then how come everybody still fucking works for Raytheon or Goldman goddamn Sacks? I think we’ve been had here.

      Well, what do you fucking expect when you switch one racist old bastard for another? America is submerged in institutional racism. You have to be Tucker Carlson not to realize that. It’s hardwired into our DNA. We spent an entire summer getting our face shoved into this reality by Black kids in the streets, then we go and vote for the motherfucker who ghost wrote the new Jim Crow with Bill Clinton and we’re shocked to get more racist fucking bullshit in a rainbow package? ‘But what about Kamala Harris? Isn’t she inspiring?’ No, dearest motherfuckers, she’s way worse. In almost gleeful spite of her racial heritage, Kamala built a career on sticking it to other, less lucky, minorities. Kamala isn’t the new face of democracy. She’s the new face of racism. A very special brand of bigotry called inclusion.

    • Why Police Aggression Is Far More Pronounced Against Left-Leaning Protesters

      While watching footage of the pro-Trump mob storming the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, many Americans noticed far less confrontation with the police than they saw during the Black Lives Matter protests this summer. Here, senior science writer Maggie Koerth explores what the data shows about how right- and left-wing movements are policed.

    • Opinion | Will Unprovoked War With Iran Be Trump’s Parting Gift to the World?

      I will always regret that I did not do more to stop war with Vietnam. Now, I am calling on whistleblowers to step up and expose Trump’s plans

    • The Capitol Riot Reveals the Dangers From the Enemy Within

      Today, the United States spends far more on its military than any other nation. Yet the mob that stormed the Capitol consisted not of Chinese, Iranians, Russians, or other purported enemies of American democracy but of our fellow citizens. Nearly two centuries ago, in his famous Lyceum speech, Abraham Lincoln condemned growing disrespect for the rule of law as the greatest danger to American democracy. “If destruction be our lot,” he declared, “we must ourselves be its author and finisher.” The results in Georgia and Trump’s imminent departure from the presidency offer hope for a revitalization of a democratic political culture. But now, as in Lincoln’s time, the danger to American democracy ultimately lies within.

    • The Police Enabled the Far-Right Mob That Violently Stormed the Capitol Building

      We cannot, however, rely on the very security state that allowed this debacle to resolve it. We should firmly resist efforts to increase police budgets and powers in the name of counter-extremism, given that the police are on the side of the right-wing extremists — even posing for selfies with them.

    • The Pentagon has funneled $7.4 billion in surplus military gear to police forces that don’t want or need it

      ince 1990, the Defense Department has funneled more than $7.4 billion in excess military gear to nearly 8,000 federal and state law enforcement agencies across the United States. But according to a new audit released by the Pentagon’s top watchdog, a significant amount of that equipment was likely unwanted or unneeded by police forces across the country.

      There were various reasons why these law enforcement agencies sought to procure excess military gear, according to a report from the Pentagon’s Inspector General that was publicly released in early October. Of the 15 agencies reviewed in the audit, nine agencies obtained surplus equipment “without a current need of the … property for law enforcement purposes.”

      The report, which examined the Pentagon Law Enforcement Support (LESO) Program, provides an example from the Selmer Police Department in Tennessee: Despite having just 18 full-time officers on its roster, Selmer received equipment ranging from 77 pairs of cold weather boots to four full-blown dump trucks despite the fact that “approximately 80 percent of the LESO property it obtained was not used,” according to the report.

    • She Said #MeToo. Now She’s Being Punished Under Defamation Law.

      More than two years ago, He Qian, a former journalist in China, came forward with accusations of sexual assault against a well-known reporter. Her story circulated widely on the internet, helping give force to China’s burgeoning #MeToo movement.

      Now Ms. He, 32, is being punished for it. A Chinese court ruled this week that she had violated defamation laws by publicizing her accusations.

      She and a friend, Zou Sicong, who helped her share her story online, were ordered to pay more than $1,800 in legal fees and damages to the man whom Ms. He accused of assault, Deng Fei, a journalist at a Chinese magazine. Mr. Deng has denied the accusations.

    • Women collect signatures in Berlin demanding trial of Erdoğan

      DEST-DAN Women’s Council activists in Berlin collected signatures through a campaign initiated by the TJK-E (Kurdish Women’s Movement in Europe) in order for the trial of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the International Criminal Court for the war crimes committed by the Turkish state.

    • ‘What a Joke.’ Black Lives Matter Activists Note Contrast in Police Response at Capitol

      Black Lives Matter activists said the tepid response from law enforcement officers to mostly white protesters stood in stark contrast to the aggressive tactics they have endured for years.

    • Ensuring justice in virtual courts: Who controls the mute button?

      Now, the cases heard by the Supreme Court have anywhere between two and 30 parties. Who decides who will be unmuted? A control room that has no idea about the proceedings of a case? Advocates keep sending requests to be unmated or for the senior advocate to be allowed to speak. But only if they are lucky will their request be granted before the case is over. Or else, you just count yourself to be on the “unlucky list”.

    • Murderer Uses False Blasphemy Accusation to Justify Killing of Christian in Pakistan

      According to local sources in Pakistan, a Christian man was murdered earlier this month by a Muslim coworker in a factory. The victim’s family reports the murderer falsely accused the Christian of committing blasphemy to justify the killing.

    • Religious Freedom Threatened for Christians in Indonesia

      Despite religious rights granted by the constitution, there has been an growing trend of Christian discrimination, taking various forms including hate speech and violence. One particularly relevant example of this discrimination recently has been the denial of building permits for houses of worship. Increasingly, the 2006 Joint Regulation on Houses of Worship Regulation is being used to prevent churches from being built. In November, International Christian Concern reported that at least twenty-three churches have been closed in the past three years, according to the National Commission on Human Rights. [3]

      Moreover, the government has continued to prosecute blasphemy allegations and impose severe prison sentences. While proselytization is not illegal, it is exceedingly difficult. According to Open Doors, churches most frequently targeted are those that evangelize; Christian converts from Islam face the most severe persecution from their families and communities. [4]

      Citizens are required to indicate their religious affiliation on their government ID cards. As a result, some misrepresent their religion because it impacts their access to government jobs, education, licenses, and permits.

      With these growing concerns, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom has put Indonesia on a “special watch list.” [5]

    • French Imam Will Be Prosecuted for Antisemitic Sermon at Mosque in Toulouse

      Tatai allegedly cited a hadith — a saying attributed to the Prophet Muhammad — that “on Judgment Day the Muslims will fight and kill the Jews.” Video of his remarks was obtained by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which then posted Tatai’s sermon online.

      Shimon Cohen — a lawyer for CRIF, the representative organization of the French Jewish community — confirmed on Tuesday that Tatai was being prosecuted for “inciting discrimination, hatred or violence […] because of the origin or membership of a specific ethnic group, nation, race or religion.” A date for the 57-year-old imam’s trial has not been set.

    • Each year, 1,000 Pakistani girls forcibly converted to Islam

      Neha is one of nearly 1,000 girls from religious minorities who are forced to convert to Islam in Pakistan each year, largely to pave the way for marriages that are under the legal age and non-consensual. Human rights activists say the practice has accelerated during lockdowns against the coronavirus, when girls are out of school and more visible, bride traffickers are more active on the Internet and families are more in debt.

      The U.S. State Department this month declared Pakistan “a country of particular concern” for violations of religious freedoms — a designation the Pakistani government rejects. The declaration was based in part on an appraisal by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that underage girls in the minority Hindu, Christian, and Sikh communities were “kidnapped for forced conversion to Islam… forcibly married and subjected to rape.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • That’s A Wrap: Techdirt Greenhouse, Broadband In The Covid Era

      Over the last few months a wide variety of activists, experts, engineers, and academics provided their insights into broadband access (or a lack thereof) in the COVID era. We’d like to thank all of the participants for their insights during a difficult and complicated time, and hope readers gleaned something useful from the exercise. You can peruse all of the contributions here if you missed any of them during the busy holiday season.

    • 6G Hype Is Already Getting Stupid, When 5G Hype Hasn’t Even Finished Disappointing Us Yet

      We’ve noted repeatedly how fifth-generation wireless (5G) was painfully overhyped. To spike lagging smartphone and network hardware sales, carriers, equipment makers, and the lawmakers paid to love them spent years insisting that 5G would change the world, ushering forth amazing new cancer cures and the revolutionary smart cities of tomorrow. But while 5G is an important evolutionary step toward faster, more resilient networks, it’s not some magical revolution, and US 5G speeds so far have proven to be much slower than overseas counterparts, and in many instances actually slower than 4G.

    • In His Last Two Weeks, Ajit Pai Finally Finds A Backbone And Refuses To Move Forward With Trump’s Ridiculous 230 Attack

      On Thursday, a day after his boss helped incite a mob to storm the Capitol, only then did outgoing FCC chair Ajit Pai finally “distance” himself from Trump and say he won’t go forward with Trump’s plan to have the FCC reinterpret Section 230.

    • Identifying Insurrectionists Is Going To Be Easy — Thanks To Social Media And All The Other Online Trails People Leave

      As Techdirt readers know, there’s a lot of hatred for social media in some circles, and lots of lies being told about why Section 230 is to blame. Against that background, it’s useful to remember that, as their name implies, they are just media — things in the middle of people communicating to others. As such, they are neither good nor bad, but tools that can be used for both. In addition, social media posts themselves can be used in good and bad ways. Examples of the latter include the Bellingcat investigations that frequently analyze social media to tease out information about major events that is otherwise hard to obtain. Sometimes, the information is so easy to find, you don’t even need any special skills. An article on Ars Technica points out that identifying the leading insurrectionists who participated in the recent events at the US Capitol is going to be pretty straightforward, thanks to social media:

  • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

    • Roku Acquires Quibi Library

      Roku has agreed to acquire the programming library from defunct mobile video startup Quibi as it looks to bulk up its free, ad-supported Roku Channel hub.

      The deal means that more than 75 shortform shows like Veena Sud’s The Stranger and Liam Hemsworth starrer Most Dangerous Game will continue to have a home despite Quibi’s shutdown late last year. More than a dozen shows that were shot and completed for Quibi but not released before its shutdown will also be made available for viewers for the first time on Roku, which will distribute them in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

    • Sony Music Continues Push Into Africa With Ivory Coast Partnership

      StarNews Mobile first launched in the Ivory Coast in 2017. The company is positioned as one of the primary players in Africa’s mobile video market – analogous to YouTube in the United States. StarNews has a growing userbase of 400 million users, with thousands more joining each month.

      The aim of the service is to target hard-to-reach audiences, thereby creating a sustainable new income source. StarNews network provides a springboard for what’s popular and in the spotlight in Africa and across the world. It is available in the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo, and South Africa. The app will be launching in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, and other countries soon.

      StarNews network also has multi-national partnerships with other telecos. Those include MTN, Orange, and MOOV to distribute their videos across the African continent. Sony Music Ivory Coast is a subsidiary record label of Sony Music Entertainment that is based in Abidjan. It focuses on artists from Francophone Africa, with the label signing over 30+ artists since it launched in 2016.

  • Monopolies

    • The President Is Losing His Platforms

      For years, being able to use Facebook and Twitter as his personal battering rams has been one of Mr. Trump’s biggest political assets. He is an inveterate poster who uses these apps to pick fights, settle scores, promote conspiracy theories and disseminate disinformation, and who has faced remarkably few consequences for doing so. He has more than 100 million combined followers on the platforms, and his posts routinely generate more engagement than those of any other public figure.

    • Patents

      • Ericsson sues Samsung for patent infringement in Europe [Ed: EPO patents facilitating rogue players that notoriously use patent trolls as litigation proxies]

        Ericsson filed four lawsuits in Germany against Samsung in early January. In addition, the Swedish company sued the Korean competitor in Belgium and the Netherlands, each under two patents. In all European lawsuits, Ericsson claims infringement of so-called implementation patents. Unlike in parallel US proceedings, no SEPs are in dispute in Europe.

        In Germany, Ericsson filed four actions with the Regional Court of Düsseldorf (case IDs: 4a O 1/21; 4a O 2/21; 4b O 1/21; 4b O 2/21). These relate to EP 30 08 908, EP 28 19 131 and EP 17 21 324. Ericsson also filed one action each in the Mannheim and Munich Regional Courts (case IDs not yet known). In Mannheim, the action concerns EP 14 65 334, and in Munich EP 22 20 848. Ericsson is seeking injunctive relief, information and damages in each case.

        [...]

        The lawsuits in Europe are still very fresh. The court have not yet served some of the lawsuits to Samsung, which is still organising its defence. Currently, Simmons & Simmons is defending Samsung in the Dutch claims through the Amsterdam patent team around Bas Berghuis. He advises Samsung in a regular basis.

        Samsung has apparently not yet appointed advisors in either Belgium or Germany. Here, however, it is very likely that the Korean company will work together with the litigators from Rospatt Osten Pross due to very close connections. Samsung has also worked with other German litigation firms in patent disputes in the past.

      • Unwired Planet, International Chaos

        Late last August, the UK Supreme Court issued a ruling in Unwired Planet permitting UK courts to assert jurisdiction over worldwide rate-setting in standard-essential patent (SEP) disputes. I predicted that this would lead to widespread chaos, with companies picking different jurisdictions and attempting to obtain a better rate in one forum than the other. I also noted that this was only going to exacerbate existing issues with anti-suit, anti-anti-suit, and anti-anti-anti-suit injunctions.

        It didn’t even take four months for my prediction to come true.

        Back in 2014, Ericsson sued Samsung over a variety of SEPs. Ultimately, that litigation resulted in a cross-license between the two companies. But cross-licenses expire. With that expiration approaching, the two began negotiating for a new cross-license. But Ericsson complained that Samsung’s offer wasn’t as high as they wished it was and began to prepare to sue Samsung.

        To address this, Samsung sought a FRAND rate determination from a Chinese court. Under the logic of Unwired Planet, this rate determination would apply for all Ericsson patents across the entire world. A few days later, Ericsson proceeded to sue Samsung in the Eastern District of Texas. Following on from this, Samsung asked the Chinese court for an anti-suit injunction, barring Ericsson from pursuing the issue in other courts, as well as an anti-anti-suit injunction—an order that Ericsson not be permitted to seek an anti-suit injunction in other courts that would prevent the Chinese court from carrying out its own legal responsibilities. Both injunctions were granted.

    • Trademarks

      • Landmark US trademark act ‘bolsters plaintiffs and fights fraud’ [Ed: Sites of litigation lawyers and their propaganda apparatus only cheer for rich plaintiffs (monopolies and robber barons), not caring at all about presumption of innocence and due process. Also, trademark infringement is not 'fraud'; copycats are not a fraud, either. That's just about as bad as calling people who share a file "pirates".]

        The Trademark Modernization Act, enacted two days after Christmas, helps plaintiffs obtain injunctive relief and ensures that Arthrex won’t affect the TTAB

      • ‘ATHLON CUSTOM SPORTSWEAR’ found not confusingly similar to ‘DECATHLON’ – The IPKat

        Registration was sought for various goods in Classes 25 (clothing and hats) and 28 (sporting articles and equipment) of the Nice Classification.

        In 2017, Decathlon (the Applicant) filed an opposition pursuant to Article 8(1)(b) of the EUTMR in relation to its earlier EUTM ‘DECATHLON’ covering goods in Classes 25 (clothing and caps) and 28 (gymnastic and sporting articles except clothing, mats and shoes, except those relating to Decathlon events) of the Nice Classification.

        In 2018, the Opposition Division upheld the opposition for all the goods on the ground that there was a likelihood of confusion within the meaning of Article 8(1)(b) of the EUTMR.

        Athlon Custom Sportswear appealed the decision to the EUIPO Second Board of Appeal (the Board). In November 2018 it withdrew its application for registration in respect of goods in Class 28 and stated that the goods in Class 25 for which registration was sought corresponded to the following description: ‘athletic clothes and hats’.

        In 2019, the Board considered that there was no likelihood of confusion and annulled the earlier decision.

        The Applicant appealed to the General Court arguing that the Board had carried out an incorrect assessment of the dominant elements and of the visual and the conceptual similarities between the two marks and, as a result, of the likelihood of confusion between the signs.

    • Copyrights

      • Cheat Maker Agrees to Pay Pokémon Go Creator $5m to Settle Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

        In 2019, cheat creator Global++ was sued by Pokémon Go developer Niantic for infringing its intellectual property rights and spoiling the gaming experience for legitimate players. The parties have now agreed to settle the case for a cool $5,000,000, with the former admitting several types of copyright infringement and computer abuse violations.

      • Sci-Hub Founder Criticises Sudden Twitter Ban Over Over “Counterfeit” Content

        Twitter has suspended the account of Sci-Hub, a site that offers a free gateway to paywalled research. The site is accused of violating the counterfeit policy of the social media platform. However, founder Alexandra Elbakyan believes that this is an effort to silence the growing support amidst a high profile court case in India.

      • Meet CC Argentina, Our Next Feature for CC Network Fridays!

        The Creative Commons Global Network (CCGN) consists of 46 CC Country Chapters spread across the globe. They’re the home for a community of advocates, activists, educators, artists, lawyers, and users who share CC’s vision and values. They implement and strengthen open access policies, copyright reform, open education, and open culture in the communities in which they live.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: SoundCloud Combats Piracy By Giving Universal Music The Power To Remove Uploads (2014)

        Summary: Any site that relies on uploaded content has to be wary of hosting pirated content. In most cases, allegedly infringing content is removed at the request of rights holders following the normal DMCA takedown process. A DMCA notice is issued and the site responds by removing the content and — in some cases — allowing the uploader to challenge the takedown.

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