01.11.21

Links 11/1/2021: Kdenlive 20.12.1, fwupd 1.5.5, Microsoft Offline Again

Posted in News Roundup at 12:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Improve your productivity with this lightweight Linux desktop

        In prior years, this annual series covered individual apps. This year, we are looking at all-in-one solutions in addition to strategies to help in 2021. Welcome to day 1 of 21 Days of Productivity in 2021.

        When looking for tools to be more productive, it is easy to cobble together a working collection of applications that almost, but just don’t quite, play nice together. In prior years, we have talked about individual email applications, calendaring applications, note-taking applications, and so on. There are always bumps, though—places where it either takes custom scripts or complicated export/import steps to make a tool work.

        ElementaryOS is a complete desktop with a beautiful, functional, and productive environment.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #386: SSDY

        Welcome to the 386th episode of Linux in the Ham Shack, our second episode of 2021. In this episode, the hosts discuss changes and additions to state QSO parties, the cancellation of upcoming ham radio related events, the next QSO Today virtual expo, PeerTube, Project Lightspeed, Linux Mint, getting rich with Open Source, Raspberry Pi clusters and much more. Thank you for listening and we hope you have a great week.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linus Torvalds slams….himself over latest Linux build

        While putting out the latest update of the Linux 5.11 release over the weekend, Linux’s head honcho, Linus Torvalds, sarcastically referred to himself as “a crazy old man.”

        In his previous dispatches, Torvalds had said he expected the first few Linux releases of the year to be small since most of the kernel developers would still be in vacation mode.

        However, that turned out not to be the case, leading to Torvalds referring to his fears in the earlier release as “incoherent ramblings of a crazy old man.”

        [...]

        Despite the size, Torvalds notes the changes in the release are fairly normal, admitting that his assumption that the development of Kernel 5.11 will require an extra release candidate to soak in the feared holiday impact “was just wrong.”

        This isn’t the first time Torvalds has erred in his predictions. Late last year he expressed concern about the fairly large size of the release candidates in the Linux 5.10 branch expecting things to get “uncomfortable” around the holiday season, which it didn’t.

      • Linus Torvalds rates his own words ‘incoherent ramblings of a crazy old man’

        Linux lead Linus Torvalds has labelled his last pronouncement on the state of the kernel “the incoherent ramblings of a crazy old man.”

        Torvalds’ criticism of himself came after his prediction that the last seven days would be a slow time for kernel development.

        “So in the rc2 announcement notes I thought we might have a slow week for rc3 as well due to people just coming back from vacations and it taking some time for bug reports etc to start tricking [sic – Ed] in,” he wrote.

        “That turned out to be the incoherent ramblings of a crazy old man.”

      • Kernel prepatch 5.11-rc3

        The 5.11-rc3 kernel prepatch is out for testing. “So in the rc2 announcement notes I thought we might have a slow week for rc3 as well due to people just coming back from vacations and it taking some time for bug reports etc to start tricking in. That turned out to be the incoherent ramblings of a crazy old man.”

      • Graphics Stack

        • Radeon “RADV” Vulkan Driver Adds Sparse Memory Support – Will Help Some D3D12 Games – Phoronix

          Adding to the growing list of Mesa 21.0 features is spare memory support for the Radeon “RADV” Vulkan driver.

          Vulkan sparse memory allows for resources to be non-contiguous, re-bound to different memory allocations over its lifetime, and relaxed descriptor requirements. All of the Vulkan sparse memory details can be found via this chapter of the Vulkan API specification.

        • Mesa 21.0 RadeonSI Will Run Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Faster – Phoronix

          Mesa 21.0 is bringing some overdue improvements for the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver with the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

          Mesa 21.0 with the RadeonSI driver for modern AMD Radeon graphics cards is finally enabling “mesa_glthread” by default for Counter-Strike: GO. This is the opt-in Mesa OpenGL threading behavior that can help increase the performance of various GL games but isn’t universally enabled as it has been found to hurt some games or yield no benefits for others.

        • AMD Files Patent on New GPU Chiplet Approach [Ed: Monopolies but with openwashing]

          Accelerated development by AMD, Intel, Nvidia and other chip makers also reflects efforts by groups such as the Open Compute Project to establish open interfaces and architectures that would permit mixing and matching chiplets from different vendors on individual SoC accelerators.

    • Benchmarks

    • Applications

      • Richard Hughes: fwupd 1.5.5

        I’ve just released fwupd 1.5.5 with the following new features:

        - Add a plugin to update PixArt RF devices; the hardware this enables we’ll announce in a few weeks hopefully

        - Add new hardware to use the elantp (for TouchPads) and rts54hid (for USB Hubs) plugins

        - Allow specifying more than one VendorID for a device, which allows ATA devices to use the OUI-assigned vendor if set

        - Detect the AMD TSME encryption state for HSI-4 — use fwupdmgr security –force to help test

        - Detect the AMI PK test key is not installed for HSI-1 — a failure here is very serious

      • Super Productivity: A Super Cool Open Source To-Do List App with GitHub Integration

        No matter what you do, improving productivity is a common goal for most of the people. Usually, you would end up trying various to-do list apps or a note-taking app to help yourself organize and remind things to efficiently keep up with your work.

        Sure, you can check out those lists and try them as you like. Here, I’ve come across something unique that you also may want to try if you wanted a desktop to-do application with a solid user interface, GitHub/GitLab integration, and a list of essential features.

        Super Productivity seems to be an impressive to-do list app with some unique features to offer. In this article, I’ll let you know all it briefly.

      • gThumb 3.11.2 Released with Minor Improvements

        A new version of gThumb, the GTK-based photo manager and image viewer for Linux desktops, is now available to download.

        gThumb 3.11.2 is a modest update – i.e. don’t expect any revolutionary new features – that builds on the client’s existing strengths, and fills in a few gaps functionality-wise.

        For instance, the image viewer component of gThumb now uses a proportional zoom increment, and keeps ‘the same pixel under the pointer after zooming’.

        Colour profiles from PNG files are also now readable by the app.

      • mpdevil – simple music browser for MPD

        Linux offers a huge array of open source music players. And many of them are high quality. I’ve reviewed the vast majority for LinuxLinks, but I’m endeavoring to explore every free music player in case there’s an undiscovered gem.

        MPD is a powerful server-side application for playing music. In a home environment, you can connect an MPD server to a Hi-Fi system, and control the server using a notebook or smartphone. You can, of course, play audio files on remote clients. MPD can be started system-wide or on a per-user basis.

        I’ve covered a fair few MPD clients over the past year or so including Cantata, Ymuse, ympd, myMPD, ampd, ncmpy, and ncmpc. My favorite of them is Cantata although Ymuse is a simple alternative. There’s lots of differences between these front-ends. For example, Cantata uses the Qt widget set, whereas Ymuse offers a GTK front-end. ympd, myMPD and ampd are web-based clients. And ncmpy and ncmpc are terminal-based clients. So there’s something for everyone.

        mpdevil is a GTK front-end for MPD. It’s written in Python and published under an open source license.

      • 19 Free Open-source Bug and Issues tracking and management solutions

        Bug management or issue tracking software packages are a crucial development tool for software testing. It helps them to keep track or software bugs and issues, prioritize them and deliver fixes for issues.

        A large software may have hundreds or even thousands of bugs which require active monitoring, debugging, reporting and resolving.

        In this article we collected a useful batch of open-source bug and issue tracking software which work for teams, software companies and solo developers.

        The software packages we collected share some similar features, but some come with different management paradigm and unique features that we will highlight.

        Some may say, this type of projects is old and obsolete, mainly because they have been around for more than a decade, but the truth is: many project management software are already packed with bugs management and issues tracking features. You can check it in the following article.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • First Ubuntu Commands for First Timer

        Here’s simple command line guide for you computer user who find Ubuntu GNU/Linux for the first time. These commands are all built-in, you do not need to add anything to use them. They are useful to you, for instance, to read your complete computer information and of course to know about basic commands. Why learn commands? Because commands are fast as you will learn below. You will also see further references to learn more at the end of this article. Have fun learning!

      • Using DNSSEC with (Free) IP

        The DNS infrastructure contains a growing number of critical information such as services records pointing to authentication services, TLSA records, SSH fingerprints and the like. DNSSEC signs this information, the client can trust the information DNS sends. It protects against forged information through cache poisoning. This article shows how to achieve a DNSSEC protected DNS environment with the help of FreeIPA

        This article was taking some time to write as I wanted to see how it behaves in the long term. The initial setup was done in early January 2018. The lab setup is made with RHEL7.4 using stock IPA 4.5.0. and later upgraded subsequently to RHEL 7.9 with IPA 4.6.8. So my test setup was running for a long time before I decided to publish this article.

      • How To Install Rocket.Chat on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Rocket.Chat on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Rocket.Chat is one of the most popular open-source chat software. A fantastic alternate to both Slack and compensated live chat software. It’s free, what is unlimited and it’s a bunch of cool features like Video chat, Screen sharing, Mobile apps, and more.

        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 Rocket.Chat open-source chat software on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How To Find Last Logged In Users In Linux – OSTechNix

        In this tutorial, we will see how to find last logged in users in Linux using last, lastb and lastlog commands with examples.

        As a Linux system administrator, you should routinely check the login date and time of the users in your Linux server. It gives you some useful details such as how many users are active, how many users are inactive and when do they log in and for how long etc. If some user accounts haven’t been used for a long time, you can simply lock them if they are no longer needed. You can also use the last login dates when auditing your Linux servers and investigate which user could have caused the problem. Fortunately, the GNU/Linux operating system includes the triplet commands namely last, lastb and lastlog to display the recent users’ login dates.

      • Download and install CentOS 7 Server Minimal ISO on PC or virtualbox

        On one hand, where CentOS 8 Linux will stop getting further updates in December of this year, CentOS 7 Linux still has a long time to reach the end of its life that is stipulated in 2024. Thus, if you want to start with this server Linux distro then still you have enough time, and here will let you know how to install CentOS 7 minimal version on Server, PC, or VirtualBox.

      • 7 Bash tutorials to enhance your command line skills in 2021 | Opensource.com

        Bash is the default command line shell on most Linux systems. So why not learn how to get the most out of it? This year, Opensource.com featured many great articles to help you leverage the power of the Bash shell. These are some of the most-read articles about Bash:

      • USB Audio on a Boombox – https://purpleidea.com/

        I decided I should get a small portable boombox to practice my dope dance moves. I currently still suck because I think I spend more time computering than out on the floor. In any case, in a stroke of luck, I happened upon a used boombox that was getting discarded due to a broken CD player. Nobody seemed either able or interested in getting USB audio working, so I took it home and gave it a go!

      • Maxim Burgerhout: Shut up, auditd!

        On my tiny, Raspberry Pi based Fedora systems, I have a lot of audit messages in my journal. And I mean a lot, I mean like over 50,000 over the course of 9 days. That’s over 5,500 per day. Or, to put it plainly: too many.1

      • The 7 most used Linux namespaces | Enable Sysadmin

        Check out this brief overview of what the seven most used Linux namespaces are.

    • Games

      • What do ARM-powered Macs mean for LINUX GAMING?
      • Looks like we may see Steam properly on Chrome OS by the end of 2021 | GamingOnLinux

        In a move that might help boost Linux gaming numbers, it seems Google are still moving forward with their plan to get Steam running properly native on Chrome OS during 2021. This is something we’ve talked about before, and again and now it appears to be moving a bit quicker.

        The new report comes from Chrome Unboxed, who noticed some interesting commits landing talking about project Borealis, which appears to be the code name for this huge project which includes running Steam. I should note though, that Borealis isn’t just about Steam but appears to be some wider Linux push for Chrome OS to get more working on it. Last we heard, Borealis itself was based on Ubuntu too.

      • Fast-paced competitive score-fight platformer Jumpala releases January 19 | GamingOnLinux

        Yokereba Games have teamed up with publisher Versus Evil for the release of Jumpala, a game that takes competitive platforming and turns it into a high-speed score-fight.

        Jumpala has each character hop between small platforms, each platform having a number attached to add to your score. Once you hit a platform it turns to your colour, and if it remains your colour when it drops off the screen it’s added to your overall score. It’s fast, competitive and a whole lot of fun from the early builds.

      • Monster taming metroidvania Monster Sanctuary looks like it will have a busy 2021 | GamingOnLinux

        After releasing in late 2020, the monster battling metroidvania mix in Monster Sanctuary was quite a highlight and it’s getting bigger and better this year. Moi Rai Games have released a roadmap of their plans and it’s quite exciting.

        Naturally after any game is released that saw some attention, they’ve been given plenty of feedback from players. Seems it went well overall though as they said it was “quite a successful launch”. The first update will be coming with two additional difficulty settings with “Casual” and “Master” to appeal to more players, with the ability to switch as you like during the game.

        On top of that they’re adding in a New Game+ mode where you get to keep your existing monster crew, for players who want that extra challenge. The online battle mode will also see some matchmaking improvements, like allowing direct challenges to your Steam friends.

      • NES-style free chiptune music maker FamiStudio has a new release up

        Free, open source and a lot of fun to get mixing, FamiStudio is a wonderful application for making some retro tunes and there’s a new release available. The feature list has grown quite a lot over the last year, along with gaining Linux builds to make it as cross-platform as possible.

      • Is opening up your source code worth it? Terry Cavanagh thinks it was for VVVVVV

        A lot of game developer still worry about being more open with their code but it seems Terry Cavanagh (VVVVVV, Super Hexagon, Dicey Dungeons) believes it was worth it.

        There are certain legitimate reasons to worry about going all-in with open source, but we’re not here to debate that. Plenty of developers have warmed up to the idea of open source over the last few years, with Cavanagh now being amongst them. Cavanagh opened up the source code to their puzzle-platformer VVVVVV back in early 2020.

      • Featured VVVVVV Levels: 10th Anniversary Jam Roundup

        Today’s the 11 year anniversary of VVVVVV’s launch. Last year, I made a big splash for it, and released the game’s source code during an AGDQ speedrun. The source code got, uh, more attention than I was expecting, especially once people actually dug into it…

      • Chicken Police and Farm Detectives

        Chicken Police puts you in the shoes of Sonny, a chicken cop just 120 days away from retirement. His career is almost over and he’s been put aside by his superiors to prevent him from making waves before he departs. This is New Year’s Eve, and Sonny was just about to spend the night drinking in his office when he is surprised by a strange visitor. On his guard, he expects the worst. A powerful lady received threats and is asking for help – and help of a discrete, private nature.

        [...]

        Yet, I must admit there’s a couple of times where I was at loss with what to do next: turns out there was one particular action I did not complete in such situations. It would have been nice to have a hint in some way or another.

        Usually around the end of every chapter, you need to gather your clues and link them visually to show that you have understood what’s happening. Such sequences are pretty easy, and serve as a way to engage the player rather than to block them.

        Since the story is the main point of the game (unless you are into furry animals), I won’t spoil it for you. Let’s say nevertheless that there’s nothing really new there if you have read or watched detective stories before – I might even say the tropes are well known – I could smell where the story was going and how it was going to be concluded well before reached the end. It’s still a nice journey, as you explore the world as the same time as the story – there’s a lot of background information about the city, the royal family, court intrigues, race relations between animals and the like. There’s actually a lot more material in there than what the game actually uses.

        While the story is somewhat forgettable, Chicken Police benefits from a brilliant execution. Animals are well designed and nicely animated. Music is always top notch (I hope you like Jazz), and the voice-over helps deliver every line in the best way. I also really liked the cutscenes.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • What To Do After Installing Kubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla

          This is the traditional beginner’s guide for you who have his/her Kubuntu computer updated, this time, to the version 20.10 codenamed Groovy Gorilla. In this version several new things added such as the Network Speed widget and the ability to have Metered Connections you can adjust with this short tutorial. Okay, now let’s explore!

          First thing to do for many people is to connect to the internet. Connected at the first time, special to Kubuntu, you will be asked for (1) inserting the wifi’s password and (2) making a new KDE Wallet’s password. For the wifi’s password, once you typed it and press Connect, the KDE Wallet will appear. Do not worry, you just need to create a password and repeat it once, and then select Blowfish encryption option. I suggest you to use same password as your system password. After this, you can connect to that wifi safely without entering password again.

        • Kdenlive 20.12.1 is out

          The first minor release of the 20.12 series is out with a huge batch of fixes and usability improvements.

        • Updating system right way

          Updating system with software center provided by desktop/mobile environment like, GNOME software center, KDE Plasma Discover etc.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Shell to get an Activities Overview design revamp in GNOME 40

          GNOME Shell is already quite different to how traditional desktop environments feel, and they’re planning to mix things up again with some design overhauls for GNOME 40.

          The GNOME development team blogged about some of the upcoming plans in late December 2020, which did look and sound quite promising. With the main focus being on the Activities Overview feature, which is where you access application launchers, open windows and more – the big overlay you open on GNOME. This is what shall be adjusted in their planned overhaul.

          Expanding on this recently in a fresh blog post, the team showed off where they’re currently at with this new design. Which you can see in action below, which they shared running from a Virtual Machine (work in progress)…

        • GNOME 40 Finally Fixes My Biggest Gripe

          I know you’re thinking “Joey, you’ve been here before”, but this time it’s different. Code has been committed and merged. A fix is finally happening.

          This post, GNOME 40 Finally Fixes My Biggest Gripe is from OMG! Ubuntu!. Do not reproduce elsewhere without permission.

          [...]

          Does trivially tiny tweak mean the days of dotty delineated app descriptors are behind us? Since this has been committed and merged, it’s quite possible!

          Not that this is (soon to be was) a huge deal to start with.

          As said last time I wrote about this: this is a superficial ‘issue’ It’s not something that really affects many people. Most folks can predict that “LibreOffice Im…” opens LibreOffice Impress; and if anyone is perplexed by the appearance of the GIMP after hitting the shortcut sub-headed “GNU Manipul…” I’m yet to hear about it.

        • Make Gnome Suitable for E-Ink Monitors via This Extension
    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Linux Mint 20.1: Hands on

          Linux Mint 20.1 has arrived: the release announcements for the Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce versions are all very similar, of course, but there are specific release notes (Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce) and What’s New documents (Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce) for each version.

          The Beta release of Linux Mint 20.1 was announced in mid-December, and I immediately downloaded and installed all three versions on my systems – Cinnamon on my ASUS AIO desktop system, MATE on my HP Pavilion and Acer Aspire 5 laptops, and Xfce on my (very old, Intel Atom N450 CPU) Samsung N150 Plus netbook. Every one of those installations worked without a hitch, so I have really been looking forward to the final release.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Calibre updated to 5.9.0

          Calibre is primarily a ebook cataloging program. It manages your ebook collection for you. It is designed around the concept of the logical book, i.e. a single entry in the database that may correspond to ebooks in several formats. It also supports conversion to and from a dozen different ebook formats.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

      • Debian Family

        • Security-Focused Tails OS Plans To Switch From Xorg To Wayland

          2020 was a great year for Tails OS, which received major improvements such as support for Secure Boot and hardware cryptocurrency wallets.

          Now with the new year 2021, the Tails OS team has shared the latest development plan for 2021, where it aims to improve some core features of Tails OS, especially for censorship circumvention.

          For those unaware, Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) OS is a security-focused Debian GNU/Linux-based operating system.

          The team wants to completely redesign the process of starting a Tor web browser and configure Tor bridges.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Private Nextcloud instances available to European Deutsche Telekom business customers

        Starting on January 11th, Deutsche Telekom and Nextcloud GmbH are offering an enterprise-ready, Europe-hosted content collaboration platform. This will offer a scalable and comprehensive digital collaboration cloud for businesses, educational organizations, and governments. With it, your business will maintain productivity for working from home during the Covid crisis and after.

        This managed cloud service is based on Nextcloud Hub 20.04. Besides providing the outstanding Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) file servers, Nextcloud is known for offering secure data and document exchange with online editing capabilities. In addition, it now comes with chat and video conferencing and task and calendar management. Your users can use it via a web browser or Linux, macOS, and Windows desktop and Android and iOS mobile applications. Your data is safely hosted in Deutsche Telekom’s’ EU data centers to guarantee your enterprise’s scalability, reliability, and security.

        [...]

        Frank Karlitschek, Nextcloud’s CEO and Founder added: “With more and more European firms, government organizations and educational institutes using cloud services we see a constantly growing demand for European data sovereignty. In a data-driven economy, we need platforms that guarantee European data sovereignty. Together with Deutsche Telekom Nextcloud offers a credible alternative with major benefits in terms of management by trust, scalability, and adaptability.”

        If parts of that sound good to you and you’re in the States, you may see a similar offering coming from T-Mobile in the future. , Deutsche Telekom now holds the largest ownership stake, approximately 43%, in T-Mobile after the T-Mobile-Sprint merger.

      • Programming/Development

        • AMD Publishes More Zen 3 Compiler Support Patches For LLVM – Phoronix

          AMD is back on track publishing more Zen 3 compiler support patches for the LLVM compiler stack.

          Last month AMD engineers began posting their “znver3″ support for LLVM that was largely replicating the existing Znver2 (Zen 2) target and exposing the newly-enabled instructions. Fortunately, now through the holidays, further work is coming for LLVM and presumably GCC in time.

        • Perl/Raku

          • You think you’re an X, but you’re only a Y | The Incredible Journey [blogs.perl.org]

            The “time” part always comes out as a string, even though it’s clearly a number. Was this a bug in my module, some kind of dual-string-and-number wannabee variable which JSON::Create falsely turned into a string?

            As it happens, no. Git::Raw actually puts the number into a string. (The newSVpv there makes a new Perl string, and the sprintf above that does exactly the same job as Perl’s sprintf.)

            So Git::Raw turns the original C variable of the form git_time_t, a 64-bit integer type representing the number of seconds since the “epoch” (1970), into a string, perhaps to avoid the “year two million” problem or whatever, because Perl can hold up to 52 or 53 bit integers.

            Anyway Perl’s monkey business with numbers and strings, and the lack of booleans, makes creating JSON quite complicated, although not as complicated as identifying cats in photographs and youtube videos.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • How To Count Files And Directories in Linux

            Being able to count files in a directory on Linux, or directories themselves, is a useful admin task to know how to carry out. It may be that you are troubleshooting disk space issues or it could be that you are investigating a problem with log file rotation. There are many reasons why you may want to count files in a directory or to count the number of directories.

  • Leftovers

    • Two Minutes? Those were the days…

      The Two Minutes Hate technique is well known. There are even rumors that some media may have been using it for years now.

      Here, I propose to go back to Two Minutes of Hate, because what we have today is 60x24x365 = 5.5 million minutes of hate, all the time, every year.

      I propose to turn the Two Minutes of Hate concept upside down. I propose to reboot it as ballast to deflate hate and, in general, every unchecked, toxic influence and instinct, that is pushed from “above”.

      In practice, I propose that all “public”, that is all publicly visible social media, should be required by law to limit, in measures proportional to their influence:

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Blackberry Is Bringing Vulkan To QNX – Phoronix

          The newest platform working on Vulkan API support is… Blackberry’s QNX.

          While Blackberry devices are no longer popular as they once were, Blackberry’s QNX Unix-like platform that they have owned now for a decade is still popular in the embedded space for various in-vehicle systems to medical devices and other similar use-cases. QNX continues to be developed with QNX 7.1 being the most recent release from this past July.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium, firefox, and mbedtls), Debian (coturn), Fedora (firefox, flac, and nodejs), Gentoo (ark, chromium, dovecot, firefox, firejail, ipmitool, nodejs, and pillow), Mageia (alpine, c-client, binutils, busybox, cherokee, firefox, golang, guava, imagemagick, libass, openexr, squirrelmail, tomcat, and xrdp), openSUSE (chromium, cobbler, rpmlint, and tomcat), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (firefox, libpq, and openssl), SUSE (python-defusedxml, python-freezegun, python-pkgconfig, python-python3-saml, python-xmlsec), and Ubuntu (jasper).

          • Linux machines again targeted by hackers with new memory loader [Ed: Agents of FUD try to blame on "Linux" a bunch of people running scripts that they ought not run (because they're malicious)]
    • Defence/Aggression

      • The New Humanitarian | US designation of Houthi rebels creates problems for Yemen aid

        The United States has announced it will designate Yemen’s Houthi rebels as a terrorist organisation, a move aid groups and diplomats have long warned will make getting assistance to people stuck in the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” even harder.
        In a Sunday statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was officially notifying the US Congress of his intent to designate Ansar Allah, the official name of the Houthis, a “Foreign Terrorist Organisation”. The change will go into force on 19 January, and three Houthi leaders will also be blacklisted.
        NGOs have lobbied heavily against the designation, saying it will seriously hamper efforts to bring aid to the estimated 80 percent of Yemen’s 30 million people who live in parts of the country controlled by the Houthis. It’s already hard to deliver aid in Yemen, in part because of obstacles put up by the Houthis themselves.

      • The Austerity Politics of White Supremacy | Dissent Magazine

        Since the end of the Confederacy, the cult of the “taxpayer” has provided a socially acceptable veneer for racist attacks on democracy.

      • Legacies of Cold War Liberalism

        To think boldly today about education, economics, and politics demands a break with the anxieties that drove U.S. politics during the Cold War.

    • Finance

      • Behind the Mask

        We should be ashamed that there are so many in food lines across the country. Unless dramatic action is taken, the lines are about to get much longer.

        We are in the midst of the first service-sector-led recession in U.S. history, a symptom of both the changing shape of the economy and of the nature of the coronavirus itself. The impact of this downturn has been sharply unequal. Those at the top have mostly recovered, while those at the bottom struggle in depression-like conditions that will only worsen as state and federal aid continues to stall. New unemployment is concentrated in low-paid jobs, which are overwhelmingly held by women and people of color.

      • Organizing the Unemployed

        A replicable strategy for organizing the jobless on a mass scale has yet to emerge. The future may depend on finding one.

        [...]

        At the onset of the Great Depression, Communists, Socialists, and followers of the minister-turned-Marxist A.J. Muste organized groups of unemployed workers to demand relief paid for by employers and the state. The UCs of the Communist Party (CP), which boasted the largest membership by far, have been memorialized on the left as a model of militancy, strategy, and radical leadership. (Precise membership figures are difficult to estimate, but hundreds of thousands passed through the party’s UCs.) Communist cadre organized the jobless by block and by tenement, meeting them in the breadlines, flophouses, and local relief centers where they congregated as the economic crisis worsened. On March 6, 1930, when Communists worldwide called for marches of the unemployed, the councils mobilized over a million jobless Americans to march on city halls and state capitols. “The communists brought misery out of hiding in the workers’ neighborhoods,” recalled labor radical and future CIO leader Len De Caux. “They paraded it with angry demands through the main streets.”

        Through a combination of mass mobilization and local militancy, the UCs got results. In Chicago, a demonstration organized by Socialists and Communists tens of thousands strong was sufficiently fearsome to inspire city and state officials to borrow $6.3 million from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to meet the marchers’ demands. Justifying the concession, Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak said, “I say to the men who object to this public relief because it will add to the tax burden on their property, they should be glad to pay for it, for it is the best way of ensuring that they keep their property.”

        In many cities, the UCs also acted as case managers for individual families, pressing their grievances with local relief agencies. But the councils didn’t merely advocate for relief from government; they engaged in militant anti-eviction actions, physically preventing sheriffs from evicting tenants, fighting with cops, and moving tenants’ furniture back into their homes when the police gave up. “By 1932, in some cities evictions had all but ended,” writes Michael Goldfield in The Southern Key: Class, Race, and Radicalism in the 1930s and 1940s. Eviction defense had become so ubiquitous in Detroit by March 1931, reported Edmund Wilson, that a landlady called upon the local UC to inquire whether she was allowed to evict her tenants yet. (The Communists said no.) In the early 1930s, when an eviction notice arrived at the home of a Black family in Chicago, wrote sociologists St. Clair Drake and Horace R. Cayton Jr., “it was not unusual for a mother to shout to the children, ‘Run quick and find the Reds!’”

      • The Tax Trap

        “The State cannot cease to be a class State so long as its public finances remain class-bound at every level,” declared Rudolf Goldscheid, an Austrian novelist, economist, and socialist, in his 1925 essay “A Sociological Approach to Problems of Public Finance.” For Goldscheid, this binding took the form of the state’s fiscal dependence on taxes drawn from the incomes and profits of the wealthy. While liberals and social democrats waxed rhapsodic over the social programs that could be funded via progressive taxation, Goldscheid cautioned that this arrangement provided their opponents with the fiscal leverage needed to veto those very policies.
        Goldscheid’s critique of what he called the “Tax State” has had a recent revival. In 2018, Stephanie Kelton, an economist and prominent advocate of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), pointed out that although progressives may want to “break up the banks” and “shrink the size of the financial sector,” they also want to finance social programs through taxing that very sector. This, she said, was a contradiction: it would leave those programs “completely dependent” upon “the very thing that you loathe.”

        [...]

        Only by democratizing public finances can democratic policies be firmly established and defended. But how can this be done? For traditional socialists like Goldscheid this meant displacing the for-profit sector and gradually moving profitable enterprises in a more public or cooperative direction, thereby allowing citizens to appropriate surplus value directly. Kelton and other supporters of MMT, by contrast, argue that the U.S. Treasury already has monopoly control over the creation and issue of U.S. dollars: we have only to realize and seize that power in order to finance the future we want.

        These seemingly divergent critiques can be brought together for progressive ends in the United States. We can follow Goldscheid and his successors by developing democratically owned forms of public wealth creation where progressives are currently strong, particularly at the…

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • [Older] Arnold Schwarzenegger says Donald Trump is ‘worst president ever’, calls for US to support Joe Biden – ABC News

        In a video posted on Twitter, the Hollywood star and former state governor compared last week’s US Capitol violence to pre-World War II attacks in Europe, but said Mr Trump “would soon be as irrelevant as an old tweet”.

      • Arnold Schwarzenegger calls for unity

        I have a policy on this blog to stay away from political and religious commentary. I will comment on topics spanning ethics, culture, morality, integrity and spirituality, as I consider those to be independent of political affiliation and religious persuasion.

        Sometimes though, I am itching to post something, resisting with great effort. The debacle in the USA is one example. Maybe I should allow myself an “annual political commentary”, at start of the New Year.

      • Comforting Myths

        Last summer in this space, I wrote that although Joe Biden was intermittently making noises about a new New Deal, he could just as likely end up a twenty-first-century Warren G. Harding, a caretaker president overseeing a dreary return to normalcy.
        How optimistic I was.
        What my analogy failed to account for was that Harding won 1920 in a walk. He carried 60.3 percent of the popular vote and every state outside the South. Republicans had majorities of eighty-five seats in the House and ten in the Senate, plus a friendly Supreme Court. The GOP, in short, could govern.
        Democrats can’t, and that’s just the start of their problems—and ours. Liberals who don’t want to face up to the disappointing results of four years #Resisting have taken solace in a few comforting myths, all of which need to be discarded if we are going to think clearly about the work ahead.
        Easiest to dispense with is the claim that Democrats actually won a decisive victory. A few percentage points in the presidential race, a couple seats in the Senate, a net loss in the House, and a pratfall in state legislatures is no landslide. And unless the economy roars back to life after COVID-19, it could very well be the best result that Democrats have for a while.

      • The Desperate Need for an Immigration Overhaul | Dissent Magazine

        Even if the legal mechanisms for dealing with the asylum crisis are fixed, the social, economic, and political factors that drive people toward the U.S. border will persist. Though Biden’s immigration platform includes providing aid to help stabilize Central America, tackling the push factors of migration would require a deeper transformation of the role of the United States as enforcer of a global trade and military hierarchy that contributes to abysmal inequality, displacement, and conflict around the world.
        Regardless of who is in the White House, the overarching obstacle to meaningful immigration reform is Congress. If the Senate remains divided, there will be little hope of passing legislation that would permanently regularize the status of the millions of immigrants living, working, and attending school without papers, let alone offer them a path to citizenship.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Don’t Blame “Defund”

        Progressive, even radical, demands can help build an electoral base when connected to the on-the-ground knowledge of organizers.

        [...]

        The backlash may have increased right-wing turnout in the election—Trump received over 10 million more votes in 2020 than in 2016—but it didn’t find an electoral base capable of capturing the presidency. The right-wing police nationalism of the GOP did not win the day. But some Democrats, disappointed at the party’s failure to take the Senate, to build or even hold their majority in the House, and to secure an expected blowout in the presidential race, named “defund the police” as the cause of their underperformance.
        There’s no doubt that Republicans pumped up their base by tying even moderate Democrats to the uprising. But we haven’t seen much to suggest that “defund” hurt Democrats with persuadable voters. We do have evidence, however, that the protests ignited voter registration efforts that benefited Democrats. There was a surge in Democratic registrations in the summer of 2020, especially in the weeks right after protests began, in critical states like Georgia, Michigan, and Minnesota.
        The 2020 election had the highest turnout in any U.S. election since 1900. Trump was banking on that high turnout, campaigning on issues that excited his base and polarized the electorate—open calls for voter suppression, COVID-19 skepticism, more funding for police, opening up the economy—and deploying an intensive ground and digital operation. Biden, by contrast, ran a persuasion election, focusing on “consensus” issues and his broad appeal as a reasonable statesman while moving away from more polarizing demands from the left for radical immigration reform, Medicare for All, the Green New Deal—and defunding the police.

      • Emotions on Strike

        Burnout is not a problem we can individually solve. It is a symptom of a world set up to exhaust us to the point where we cannot resist.

        [...]

        The word dates back at least to the 1970s, but it’s become something of a buzzword in recent years, and even more recently has been attached in particular to millennials, after journalist Anne Helen Petersen wrote a viral 2019 Buzzfeed article on the subject. In Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, Petersen uses her personal story as a jumping-off point and attempts to generalize outward. Like other authors propelled from viral article to not-really-advice book, Petersen responds to some of her critics in an attempt to build a stronger, deeper case that she’s writing about a pervasive social problem. “It was about a work ethic and anxiety and exhaustion particular to the world I grew up in,” she writes, “the context in which I applied to college and tried to get a job, the reality of living through the biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression, and the rapid spread and ubiquity of digital technologies and social media. In short: It was about being a millennial.”

        Petersen is not the first to argue that the millennial generation faces a particular set of pressures—Malcolm Harris’s Kids These Days detailed the way changes in capitalism have heaped expectations on millennials to develop their “human capital,” and Keir Milburn’s Generation Left argued that all of these changes have shaped millennial politics into something with incendiary potential, precisely because millennials have so little to lose. Petersen cites Harris, along with several other researchers and theorists, to defend millennials against the everlasting arguments that they are a generation stuffed on avocado toast and irresponsibility, waiting for a good life to drop into their laps, and to explain why “burnout” is suddenly the term on everyone’s lips.

      • The Not-So-Strange Death of Right Populism

        The most basic obstacle facing right populism has been around for decades: the people who matter on the right would rather get filthy rich with 45 percent support than slightly less filthy rich with 55 percent support, and the configuration of American political institutions makes this a perfectly rational strategy. The way to change this calculus is not to convince them of their errors but to render the strategy unviable. That would require a democratization of American political life so that the pursuit of majority support becomes a necessity rather than a luxury.

    • Monopolies

      • ‘Clever Approach’: Scientists Create GM-Free Organisms Using Genetic Engineering – The Wire Science

        A new year means new beginnings. But for the residents of Florida Keys, a small archipelago off Florida’s coast, the dawn of 2021 seems to portend ill winds.

        In August 2020, the local government approved a plan to release 750 million genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes. A British biotech company named Oxitec has planned to execute this release over two years. However, over 236,000 people have signed a petition against this decision because they fear the unknown long-term effects of releasing GM mosquitoes in the environment.

        Oxitec’s foray in the US followed a decade of trial runs in the Cayman Islands and in Brazil. On its website, the company showcases publications spanning two decades.

        The Florida government has given Oxitec an ‘experimental use permit’. Pursuant to this, the country’s Environment Protection Agency and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention assessed 25 scientific studies.

        But the presence of GM material in these mosquitoes has proved sufficient to stoke the apprehensions of Florida Keys’ residents.

      • Patents

        • Groundhog Day for the Unitary Patent? [Ed: Truly hilarious seeing Team UPC moping and sobbing once again over the death of the UPC]

          The content of these new complaints is not yet known. All we know so far is that constitutional complaints have been filed and been given the examination numbers 2 BvR 2216/20 and 2 BvR 2217/20 and that, according to the Federal Constitutional Court: “A decision date is currently not foreseeable.”

          While the names of the complainants cannot be shared for data protection reasons, there are two obvious candidates here: Dr Stjerna who lodged the previous complaint, and the Förderverein für eine Freie Informationelle Infrastruktur eV (Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure), whose President Benjamin Henrion has previously said he is preparing a complaint.

          In any case, the examination of these new complaints, if they are indeed admissible, could lead to a further possible delay for the UPCA, putting the Unitary Patent back out of reach.

        • New UPC complaint: Ingve Stjerna does it again

          At the end of 2020, the Bundestag and Bundesrat voted on the UPC Accompanying Act (Begleitbesetz), achieving a two-thirds majority. However, now history could repeat itself. Once again, the Constitutional Court has received two constitutional complaints – and one is from Ingve Stjerna. The identity of the second claimant is still unknown.

          Ingve Stjerna is well-known in the patent community. Indeed, Stjerna’s first complaint against the UPC law was already partially successful. Now the German lawyer has filed another constitutional complaint against the UPC (Ref. 2 BvR 2217/2020). If the Constitutional Court accepts the claim, the process could once again hinder the start of a Unified Patent Court.

          First judgment fell short

          Although Stjerna’s first lawsuit against the UPC law was successful, the German Constitutional Court took up the grounds only partially. In response to the court’s ruling, the Bundestag and the lower house of parliament (Bundesrat) again voted on the identical-word law. However, this time parliament passed the law with the two-thirds majority that the court requires.

          Already, observers suggested that such a quick solution does not eliminate all problems. In the ruling, the Constitutional Court acknowledged that other aspects of the law could also be problematic – a hint that Stjerna also emphasised after the ruling.

          JUVE Patent is not yet aware how Stjerna has justified his second constitutional complaint. Additionally, Stjerna stated on his website that he has also applied for an interim injunction. If the court accepts this, the injunction will prohibit the conclusion of the ratification procedure until the Federal Constitutional Court has ruled on the merits of the case.

          In 2017, Stjerna was successful with this additional application the first time. It resulted in federal president Frank-Walter Steinmeier not signing or executing the law. Thus, the law did not enter into force and the federal government could not ratify the UPC.

        • Boards of Appeal are competent to overturn a finding of fact at first instance (T 1604/16) [Ed: BoA isn’t operation in compliance with the law anymore]

          One important consideration in any legal system is the competency of appeal departments to review findings of fact at first instance. The case law of the Boards of Appeal has historical permitted only limited reassessment of facts at the appeal stage. However, a recent EPO Board of Appeal decision (T 1604/16) has now taken a differing approach to preceding Boards of Appeal on this issue. The Board of Appeal found that that Boards are broadly competent to reassess findings of fact by a first instance department. The decision in T 1604/16 thus has potentially important consequences for what aspects of an Examining or Opposition Division decision may be challenged by an appellant.

          [...]

          The patent in question (EP2293755) in the recent Boards of Appeal decision related to a foldable ramp for loading wheelchairs into a vehicle. At opposition the patent was found to lack novelty. The Opposition Division based its decision on evidence presented by the Opponent purporting to show prior public use. The evidence included an invoice for the sale of a car and ramp to a Ms Merz dated prior to the patent priority date, a photo of the car, and a witness statement from Ms Merz.

          Crucially, the photo of the car was taken after the car had been repaired following an accident. Ms Merz’s witness statement was that the ramp shown in the photo of the car was the same ramp that had been sold to her before the patent’s priority date. The Opposition Division’s decision was thus based on a finding of fact, based on the available evidence, that the ramp in the car sold to Ms Merz and the ramp in the photo were the same [for more on prior use see IPKat: Proving the existence of confidentiality agreements and the celestial teapot - T 2037/18)].

          The proprietor appealed against the Opposition Division. A critical question for the Board of Appeal was whether or not they could be considered competent to review the Opposition Division’s finding of fact based on the available evidence.

        • 2021: A Patentee Odyssey

          Everyone (in the field of European Patent Law) has these initials on the lips at this beginning of 2021, after BREXIT led to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, on the one hand, and the ratification of the Agreement by the German Bundesrat following the favorable decision of the German constitutional judge, on the other hand.

          And now. What’s next? Two new complaints have been submitted to the German Constitutional Court! Back to the future for the UPC? Difficult to answer by now: We do not know the opinion of the Court, especially if the request is going to be made to the German President to interrupt the ratification procedure, which, once again, only requires his signature to become Law.

          At the same time, a petition led by academics – in which I took part – had already enjoined the Bundesrat to reject ratification. It is true that – as noted in the Report of the de Boufflers Institute to the European Commission – the current project has, among other issues, a significant (and not new) original weakness: It is not strictly speaking a “EU” project. The lack of involvement of the European Union undoubtedly explains, in part, the current lack of interest of the European leaders in this project, that is nevertheless fundamental economically speaking, particularly given the growing importance of innovation in “high income” countries.

          Eventually, one last question remains: should we be satisfied with a project as imperfect as the UPC? It is not sure. If perfection is only divine, the “compromise” of putting the EU aside seems undesirable, notably when such European systems are working well in trademark and design Laws.

          [...]

          One can doubt that the numbering “G 1/19” will be as successful in 2021 as the name “DABUS” in 2020. In the DABUS case, an applicant claimed to make an inventor out of a machine. But, honestly, apart from the expected media noise, we don’t really see the interest of such a request since at the end of the day the owner of the machine remained the owner of the patent (as the applicant has himself admitted).

          The DABUS case had nonetheless the merit of directing the spotlight of patentability towards artificial intelligence (“AI”), although the wrong side was first illuminated: the subject of the patent right (i.e. the applicant and not the inventor, contrary to what the applicant claimed in DABUS) instead of its object (i.e. the invention).

          The case G 1/19 currently before the EPO will perhaps be an opportunity to think about serious issues raised by AI. The sufficiency of disclosure requirement, for instance. Should the parameterized data on an AI be provided? Or the inventive step: Where does it lies when an AI participates in the inventive process?

        • PTAB 2020 rankings: top petitioners, patentees and law firms | Managing Intellectual Property

          Samsung takes top petitioner status, Masimo is most challenged company, and Fish & Richardson clears up all law firm top spots, according to new data

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