Links 18/1/2021: GNU Radio 3.9, Wikipedia at 20

Posted in News Roundup at 4:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Support Is Coming To Allow De-Authorizing Thunderbolt Devices

        While in recent years there has been growing interest in enhancing Linux’s Thunderbolt security with offering security levels and other functionality to authorize supported/known Thunderbolt devices, surprisingly it’s taken until 2021 to see the ability for Linux’s Thunderbolt software connection manage to handle de-authorizing devices.

        If wanting to de-authorize a previously authorized Thunderbolt device for whatever reason or if wanting to establish policies like where on user log-out that devices would be automatically de-authorized, it’s looking like Linux 5.12 will support this ability.

      • Linux 5.10.8
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.10.8 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:
        greg k-h
      • Linux 5.4.90
      • Linux 4.19.168
      • Linux 4.14.216
      • Linux 4.9.252
      • Linux 4.4.252
      • World’s first iPadOS-style Linux distribution introduced

        A new Linux-based distribution called JingOS was recently introduced, with the developers promising to provide the same level of functionality as iPadOS.

        JingOS was created with the goal of improving the functionality and performance of tablets in general. The team behind the new operating system took inspiration from iPadOS to offer a simple, powerful and beautiful solution for turning tablets into computers that you can use on the go.

      • Improved Battery Reporting For Newer Logitech Devices Coming To Linux 5.12

        Newer wireless Logitech keyboard/mice supporting “unified battery” reporting will be supported beginning with Linux 5.12 as a newer interface compared to the existing battery reporting support.

        While Logitech doesn’t engage much with seeing good Linux support by their consumer devices (there has been only a handful of commits from Logitech developers over the past decade – in most cases providing just some basic bits), the open-source community through reverse engineering and widespread testing have filled in the voids. Wireless Logitech devices on Linux have generally enjoyed working battery reporting under Linux while now support for an interface found with newer devices is forthcoming.

      • Itanium IA-64 Was Busted In The Upstream, Default Linux Kernel Build The Past Month

        While Intel formally discontinued the Itanium processors just under two years ago, the Linux software support for IA-64 continues. However, as a possible sign of the times, the Linux 5.11 kernel build for it has been broken the past month.

        As what might set off Linus Torvalds on a Monday morning, it turns out since the Linux 5.11 merge window the Itanium “IA64″ kernel code has been broken and unable to even successfully carry out a “defconfig” default configuration kernel build. This wasn’t due to some foreign change within the kernel regressing the support but a change made by IBM to the IA64 Kconfig to enable SPARSEMEM by default.

    • Applications

      • Haruna Video Player: An Open-Source Qt-based MPV GUI Front-end for Linux

        In case you’re not aware of mpv, it is a free and open-source command-line based media player. Okay, there is a minimalist GUI for MPV but at the core, it is command line.

        You might also find several open-source video players that are basically the GUI front-end to mpv.

        Haruna video player is one of them along with the ability to use youtube-dl. You can easily play local media files as well as YouTube content.

        Let me give you an overview of the features offered with this player.

      • ncmpcpp – featureful ncurses based MPD client inspired by ncmpc

        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, mpdevil, 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 and mpdevil offer 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.

        ncmpcpp is a terminal-based MPD client with a user interface that seeks inspiration from ncmpc and shares a lot of similarities. But it adds some useful features. Let’s check it out. Before doing so, here’s the obligatory installation section.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to install Signal Private Messenger on Linux | FOSS Linux

        Are you looking for an open-source messenger that respects your privacy? Here’s how to install Signal Messenger on your Linux PC. We show the installation on popular Linux distros such as Ubuntu, Fedora, and Manjaro.

      • UBlock Origin and custom filters – Mini tutorial

        Several months ago, I wrote a review of UBlock Origin. It’s a powerful, nerdy browser extension, available across the wider range of browsers out there, with the sacred purpose of making the Internet palatable for intelligent use. It does so by being a sophisticated adblocker and content blocker.

        Since, I’ve received requests for additional tutorials – and also found myself tackling a few real-world issues with somewhat overzealous content blocking. For example, on Bing images, if I clicked on an image, they would show up for a second, flicker and then disappear. Not consistently – but always with UBlock Origin active. So I used this opportunity to write a little guide on how to create custom filters. Let’s have a look.

      • Scribus Available to Install via PPA in Ubuntu 20.04, 20.10 | UbuntuHandbook

        For those prefer installing applications via apt method, the desktop publishing software Scribus 1.5.6 is finally made into PPA available for Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, and Linux Mint 20.

        Scribus 1.5.6 was released a few months ago as the latest development release for the next major version 1.6.0. It feature

      • apt-key Is Deprecated. How To Add OpenPGP Repository Signing Keys Without It On Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Pop!_OS, Etc.

        This article explains how to securely add OpenPGP keys and third-party APT repositories on Debian, Ubuntu, and Linux distributions based on these, like Linux Mint, Pop!_OS, Elementary OS and so on, to replace the deprecated apt-key.

        When you try to add an APT repository key using apt-key on Debian, Ubuntu and Linux distributions based on these, you’ll see the following message: “Warning: apt-key is deprecated. Manage keyring files in trusted.gpg.d instead (see apt-key(8))”.

        The apt-key man page mentions that the “use of apt-key is deprecated, except for the use of apt-key del in maintainer scripts to remove existing keys from the main keyring”. What’s more, “apt-key will last be available in Debian 11 and Ubuntu 22.04.”

      • How to count lines of source code in Linux

        For various reasons you may want to know in how many lines of code given open-source software is implemented. For example, you want to estimate the effort devoted to developing a particular open-source program. Or you want to gauge the size and complexity of a program before trying it. There is some controversy as to using source lines of code (SLOC) as a metric to determine the size of a software program, since existing programming languages differ greatly in terms of clarify and brevity.

        In any rate, if you would like to count the number of source code lines quickly and accurately, you can use a command-line tool called cloc (short for “Count Lines Of Code”). cloc is a Perl program that is dedicated to counting the number of lines of code. To estimate the size of codebase accurately, cloc automatically detects different types of programming/scripting languages, and discounts comment lines and blank lines based on the type appropriately.

      • How to List Directory Contents on Linux – buildVirtual

        When working with the Linux file system, its important to know some of the different ways you can list directory contents on Linux.

        This article will look at some of the commands you can use to list directory contents, which will work on whichever version of Linux you are using. These commands will also work to list directory contents on VMware ESXi.

        It will cover how to do a basic directory listing, how to list specific information such as file size and permissions, and how to sort and filter the directory list output.

        Let’s start by looking at the basic usage of the ls command, before moving onto some more advanced examples of how you can use ls to list directories and their contents.

      • Create Bootable USB Using Etcher in Linux

        Etcher is a free and open-source utility developed by Balena licensed under Apache License 2.0. It is used to create a bootable USB device using ISO and IMG files.

        There are many tools available to create a bootable USB stick in Linux. Etcher is one of them, and we recommend using it as it is way faster to create a bootable USB stick than other utilities.

        Today, we guide you on how to install Etcher and make your first bootable USB stick.

      • Install Inkscape 1.0.2 In Ubuntu / LinuxMint / Debian | Tips On UNIX

        Inkscape is a free and open-source professional vector graphics editor software that runs on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows desktop computers.

        It is suitable for illustrators and web designers and it is an alternative to Adobe Illustrator. It supports many SVG features (markers, alpha blending, clones, etc..) and easy to use.

      • How to enable PowerTools on CentOS 8

        The PowerTools repository, which is available on CentOS/RHEL 8, provides developer related tools and libraries. Some EPEL packages depend on packages available from PowerTools. Thus if you have set up the EPEL repository on your CentOS, it is recommended that you enable PowerTools as well.

      • Install gscan2pdf 2.11.0 in Ubuntu / Linux Mmint

        gscan2pdf a GUI tool used to produce PDF’s or DjVus from Scanned documents,gscan2pdf works on all Linux / BSD machines

        gscan2pdf team released a newer version 2.11.0 recently and yet to be updated in official Jeffrey Ratcliffe PPA for Ubuntu 20.04 and lower versions.

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install gscan2pdf 2.11.0 in Ubuntu 20.10, Ubuntu 20.04, Linux Mint 20.1, and lower versions of Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

      • How to set up WireGuard VPN server on Ubuntu 20.04

        Traditionally, VPN implementation has existed in two forms. In-kernel VPN implementation such as IPsec performs heavy-duty per-packet crypto processing in the kernel in a “bump-in-the-stack” fashion (i.e., between IP stack and the network drivers). This gives speed as there is no context switch between kernel and userspace during packet processing. But it comes with high management complexity in separate userspace control plane (e.g., IKE). An alternative form of VPN implementation is userspace TUN/TAP-based solutions such as OpenVPN, Tinc, n2n, where crypto processing is performed by a userspace VPN daemon. Naturally, these TUN/TAP-based VPN solutions have poor performance compared to IPsec mainly because network packets traverse the kernel and userspace boundary multiple times, resulting in frequent context switches and packet copies. Despite their performance disadvantage, userspace VPN solutions enjoy more popularty than the in-kernel counterpart due to their ease of use and configuration.

      • How to create a lifecycle policy for an S3 Bucket on AWS

        We can use the Lifecycle Policy to manage the objects in S3 Bucket so that they are stored cost-effectively throughout. An S3 Lifecycle Policy is a set of rules used to define actions that Amazon S3 applies to objects in the bucket.

      • How to change the hostname on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        In a Local Area Network (LAN) environment, computer systems need to communicate with each other based on their IP addresses. To learn and remember these IP addresses and sharing them when needed is a tricky business. In order to avoid such trouble, users tend to rename their system’s hostname for their own ease. The simpler hostnames will allow all computer users to coordinate easily without an exchange of large IP addresses. This whole scenario is quite related to the URLs and DNS server address, where the user is totally unaware of long addresses and simply use the URLs in their search engine.

        In this tutorial, I will show you two methods to change the hostname of an Ubuntu 20.04 system via the command line terminal and GUI. Users can opt either way to update the names and share them once they have finalized them.

      • How To Delete Outdated Vagrant Boxes In Linux – OSTechNix

        You might have downloaded several versions of Vagrant boxes and some of them might be pretty outdated! If they are no longer required, you can safely delete outdated Vagrant boxes in Linux as described in this brief guide.

        Check for outdated Vagrant boxes

        I have been using Vagrant for the past few months for testing purposes. Since Vagrant version 1.5, boxes support versioning. The Box Versioning allows the developers who make boxes to push updates or fixes and the users to easily update the underlying box.

      • LHB Digest #21.02: Uptime Monitoring, Terminal Shortcuts, Linux Commands Tips and More
      • How To Install Java on Linux Mint 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Java on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Java is a very popular language when it comes to programming. It is a common language for android development and other enterprise solutions. It was first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995. Many programs and scripts require Java to run it, but usually, Java is not installed by default on a VPS or Dedicated Server.

      • building a simple KVM switch for 30€ | die-welt.net

        Prompted by tweets from Lesley and Dave, I thought about KVM switches again and came up with a rather cheap solution to my individual situation (YMMY, as usual).

        As I’ve written last year, my desk has one monitor, keyboard and mouse and two computers. Since writing that post I got a new (bigger) monitor, but also an USB switch again (a DIGITUS USB 3.0 Sharing Switch) – this time one that doesn’t freak out my dock \o/

        However, having to switch the used computer in two places (USB and monitor) is rather inconvenient, but also getting an KVM switch that can do 4K@60Hz was out of question.

        Luckily, hackers gonna hack, everything, and not only receipt printers. There is a tool called ddcutil that can talk to your monitor and change various settings. And udev can execute commands when (USB) devices connect… You see where this is going?

      • An introduction to hashing and checksums in Linux | Enable Sysadmin

        Always wondered how to make use of a checksum? This introduction shows you what they mean, and how to use the proper tools to verify the integrity of a file.

      • How to remove background microphone noise in Windows, Mac, Linux

        Noisetorch is an open-source Linux application that allows you to create a virtual microphone that suppresses background noise. To filter out background noise in an application, simply select the virtual microphone instead of your regular microphone, and the application will filter out background noise.

      • Craig Small: Percent CPU for processes

        The ps program gives a snapshot of the processes running on your Unix-like system. On most Linux installations, this will be the ps program from the procps project.

        While you can get a lot of information from the tool, a lot of the fields need further explanation or can give “wrong” or confusing information; or putting it another way, they provide the right information that looks wrong.

        One of these confusing fields is the %CPU or pcpu field. You can see this as the third field with the ps aux command. You only really need the u option to see it, but ps aux is a pretty common invokation.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine compat layer devs discuss new Kernel interface to better match Windows NT

        Wine developer Zebediah Figura has sent in a proposal to work on a new Linux Kernel interface for Wine synchronization primitives, one that gets closer to performance and behaviour of Windows NT.

        The basic idea is that the Wine team are “looking to introduce a kernel API that will allow us to implement Windows NT synchronization object API with at most one syscall per operation, and without managing object state in user managed shared memory, for the sake of performance”. This might sound familiar if you follow Wine and Steam Play Proton closely, as it’s part of what both esync and fsync were supposed to help with.

      • Want to run Windows apps on Linux? Wine just got this huge update

        The open-source Windows-Linux compatibility layer project, Wine, has announced the stable release of Wine 6.0 and it’s even bigger than the previous stable release from mid-2020.

        This update is the culmination of an entire year of development effort and contains over 8,300 individual changes – or 900 more changes than shipped in the last release from July 2020.


        “This requires the vkd3d-shader library in order to translate Direct3D shaders to SPIR-V shaders. In this release, shader support in the Vulkan renderer is limited to shader model 4 and 5 shaders. In practice, that limits its usefulness to Direct3D 10 and 11 applications. The Vulkan renderer can be enabled by setting the Direct3D “renderer” registry setting to ‘vulkan’,” the Wine team explains in release notes.

        This release brings support for several Direct3D 11 features, including per render-target blend states, dual-source blending, and multi-sample anti-aliasing sample masks.

        There is a new mechanism to associate a Unix library with a PE module, which allows PE calls to Unix libraries for functions that can’t be handled with Win32 APIs.

      • Wine 6.0 has over 8,000 changes to help Windows apps run on Linux

        Wine recently received an update that improves Windows apps running on Linux. The update comes in the form of Win3 6.0, and includes over 8,300 changes, according to its full release notes (via Tech Radar).

        Wine is a compatibility layer that allows you to run thousands of Windows applications on Linux systems. Wine currently supports over 27,000 Windows applications and games, though it’s worth noting that some games require special configuration. Popular supported apps and games include Office, Adobe Photoshop, and World of Warcraft.


        Wine 6.0 also includes an experimental Vulkan rendered that translates Direct3D shaders to SPIR-V shaders. In another change related to Direct3D, the Direct3D graphics card database now recognizes more graphics cards and includes updated driver versions.

      • Running Windows apps on Linux is set to get a major boost

        Wine, the popular compatibility layer for running Windows apps on Linux, recently released v6 with major improvements. It is the first major release by the project in 2021, following Wine’s schedule of making one major release per year.

        Wine, which was originally a recursive acronym for Wine Is Not an Emulator, is a compatibility layer that allows apps and games designed for Microsoft Windows to run on non-native environments such as Linux, with varying degrees of success.

        Using Wine, Linux users can run over 27000 Windows apps and games on Linux, including popular ones such as Microsoft Office, and Adobe Photoshop. Wine 6.0 comes after a year’s worth of development that saw over 8300 changes, shared Wine developer Alexandre Julliard, in the release announcement.

    • Games

      • Odin is finally pleased so the open-world survival game Valheim releases on February 2 | GamingOnLinux

        Odin has finally had enough sacrifices and shall be releasing Valheim from Iron Gate AB will enter Early Access with Linux and Windows support on February 2.

        What is it? A brutal multiplayer exploration and survival game set in a procedurally-generated purgatory inspired by viking culture. Battle, build, and conquer your way to a saga worthy of Odin’s patronage! With low-poly artwork and a very flexible building system it looks absolutely brilliant. The early builds they had available were seriously promising back in 2018 so I’m personally excited to see how far they’ve progress with it in that time.

      • Stadia ‘State Share’ to launch with HITMAN 3 | GamingOnLinux

        One of the features Google talked about early with Stadia is finally coming and that is State Share. Allowing players to share specific playable moments of captures and it’s launching with HITMAN 3. This is another tick in the box, finally, of nearly all the features promised by Google for Stadia well over a year after launch.

      • Harvest Days is an upcoming open-ended country-life RPG

        Currently in development by a father and son team, Harvest Days is another fresh 3D take on the casual farming-life RPG and it will be coming to Linux too.

        There’s quite a few of these appearing in the last year or two both 2D and 3D, many like this being directly inspired by the likes of Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing, among others. Perhaps this one might catch your attention where others have not? It actually looks pretty darn charming.

      • Bytten Studio say not to sleep on Linux in their postmortem for Lenna’s Inception | GamingOnLinux

        Lenna’s Inception is a top-down Zelda-like action-adventure game with a world that is glitching, with a style that can switch between 8-bit and 32-bit pixel art styles.

        It’s now been available for a year so Tom Coxon of Bytten Studio has written up a postmortem for how it went, and it was a thoroughly interesting read. First, a refresher on who they are. Bytten Studio was initially just Tom Coxon who previously worked for Chucklefish on titles like Starbound and the multiplayer for Stardew Valley, Coxon was later joined by Jay Baylis who also worked for Chucklefish in the past on titles like Starbound and Wargroove.


        So the Linux version sold approximately 340 copies which at their normal price of £7.19 that would be somewhere around £2,444.6 (it went on sale once previously, so likely a bit lower). For a small indie developer, that can make all the difference.

      • Irena Genesis Metal Fury is an upcoming shoot ‘em up for the Sega Mega Drive | GamingOnLinux

        Sega Mega Drive (Sega Genesis)? That’s not a piece of Linux gaming hardware last I checked? No but Irena Genesis Metal Fury is a new game coming for the retro console and will provide the ROM file for your favourite emulators.

        Here’s the thing: I’m a huge retro fan and I grew up with the Sega Mega Drive so it always holds a special place in my early gaming years and helped me really appreciate games. Irena Genesis Metal Fury looks awesome too and the developer, White Ninja Studio, aren’t ignoring Linux either.

      • Godot Engine gets a sixth 3.2.4 beta with a new CPU lightmapper | GamingOnLinux

        The Godot team just keep on adding in big new features to make this one of the best free and open source game engines around and the next Beta update for Godot 3.2.4 is out now.


        In other somewhat recent Godot news, the team recently blogged about their work on a glTF 2.0 scene exporter. What is glTF? A royalty-free specification for the efficient transmission and loading of 3D scenes and models by engines and applications, overseen by The Khronos Group (the same behind OpenGL, Vulkan and so on). Godot has been able to import glTF for some time now but the option to export it from Godot enables developers to quickly put it back into something like Blender, to make any changes needed to then bring the updates back into Godot. All very useful sounding.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE e.V. board meeting January 2021 (2) | [bobulate]

          Madness! 8-hour BBB calls all weekend for the KDE e.V. board. On the social front, I won at Skribbli, and workshopped the FLA, wrote a bunch of mail to keep people informed about what is going on, read even more email, listened to bits and pieces, but – as can be seen in the photo, vaguely – I still haven’t gotten around to shaving off my scary sideburns.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Ravgeet Dhillon: Offline Toast notification in Nuxt/Vue app

          We have often seen apps telling us that “You are offline. Check your network status.”. It is not only convenient to do so but adds to a great UX. In this blog, we will look at how can we display a toast notification in a Nuxt/Vue app whenever the user goes offline or online. This will also help us to understand how to use computed and watch properties together.


          Hurray! Our toast notifications are working perfectly fine. So using the combined magic of computed and watch properties, we can create outstanding workflows and take our Nuxt/Vue app to next level. If you any doubts or appreciation for our team, let us know in the comments below. We would be happy to assist you.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Meetup Will Discuss Survey Results, Project Improvements

          The openSUSE Project welcomes our followers to participate in two planned meetups to discuss results from the End of the Year Community Survey on Jan. 23 and Jan. 30.

          Both sessions will start at 13:00 UTC on openSUSE’s Jitsi instance and go for 1:30 hours.

          Members of the “let’s improve the openSUSE learning experience” initiative will share results and analysis from the survey.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Davie Street Enterprises: A case study in digital transformation

          We would like to introduce you to Davie Street Enterprises (DSE). DSE is a fictitious 100-year-old multinational corporation that is beginning its digital transformation journey. In this post we will lay the groundwork for a series following DSE as an illustration of how some Red Hat customers are preparing for and succeeding at digital transformation to save money, become more efficient, and compete more effectively.

          The company isn’t real, but its struggle is very real for many organizations. Throughout this series, we will explore the business problems any number of organizations are challenged with and how DSE, with the help of Red Hat and its partners, plan to solve those problems. To start, let’s learn more about DSE, its business, and some of the associates involved in its digital transformation journey.

        • Farewell 2020: A year of togetherness with our EMEA partners

          When reflecting on 2020, I do what many people do and think about what things were like prior to this year. For me, I immediately go back to a spring day three years ago. Red Hat was hosting our EMEA Partner Conference; a mix of distributors, independent software vendors (ISVs), system integrators and solution providers from across the region. Alongside the usual product updates and market insight sessions you might expect, we decided to do a little drumming. A lot of drumming, in fact — 900 people banging bongos and clashing cymbals. Other than the noise, what I remember was the genuine sense of togetherness; embarrassment and egos put to the side in the pursuit of the perfect tempo.

          It seems drumming is a good signal of solidarity. Even in a large group, it’s easy to notice someone beating to a different rhythm. Trainers and coaches use this drumming technique frequently to promote unity and coordination. Our coach that day later congratulated me on “having such a tight knit group of employees.” When I told him they weren’t our employees but partners from 550 different companies, he couldn’t believe it.

        • Visualizing system performance with RHEL 8 using Performance Co-Pilot (PCP) and Grafana (Part 1)

          When it comes to performance metrics data collection and visualization on Linux, PCP metrics collection and visualization are key. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8 provides an excellent framework for collecting performance metrics and visualizing them! The days of poring over command line output to try and figure out what is happening on a system are gone. In this series, I’d like to introduce the power of using Performance Co-Pilot (PCP) and Grafana to visualize system performance data in RHEL.

          By default, Performance Co-Pilot is not installed on RHEL 8. We believe in giving users choices and as such, you have to opt-in to using Performance Co-Pilot.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Upgrading Ubuntu

          I tend to run Ubuntu on my computers as the primary operating system. Given I work for Canonical, this isn’t especially surprising. However I have run Ubuntu on pretty much everything since 2005 or so – long before I started working at Canonical (in 2011). Mostly I will upgrade as each new release comes out, only doing a clean install once in a while.

          I ran GNOME 2 for all the years from 2004 through to Unity being released, then switched to that. After Ubuntu switched from Unity to GNOME Shell I went along with that in late 2017, and have mostly been running it ever since. I sometimes run other distros in VMs, or play with live environments, but I tend to stick to Ubuntu. Not for any company imposed reason – there’s a bunch of people at Canonical who run Arch, MacOS or something else. I just prefer Ubuntu.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Text Encoding Menu in 2021

            In mid-January 2021, the Text Encoding menu in Firefox looks like this:
            Arabic (Windows)
            Arabic (ISO)
            Baltic (Windows)
            Baltic (ISO)
            Central European (Windows)
            Central European (ISO)
            Chinese, Simplified
            Chinese, Traditional
            Cyrillic (Windows)
            Cyrillic (KOI8-U)
            Cyrillic (KOI8-R)
            Cyrillic (ISO)
            Cyrillic (DOS)
            Greek (Windows)
            Greek (ISO)
            Hebrew, Visual


            For users who have telemetry enabled, we collect data about whether the item “Automatic” was used at least once in given Firefox subsession, whether an item other than “Automatic” was used at least once in a given Firefox subsession, and a characterization of how the encoding that is being overridden was determined (from HTTP, from meta, from chardetng running without the user triggering it, from chardetng as triggered by the user by having chosen “Automatic” previously, etc.). If things go well, the telemetry can be analyzed when Firefox 87 is released (i.e. when 86 has spent its time on the release channel). The current expectation for this is 2021-03-23.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Radio released
            Dear SDR community most likely to travel in time to save the present,
            The future is not set, there is no fate but what we make for ourselves. In this
            very spirit, GNU Radio 3.9 packs a whole bunch of power when it comes to
            transforming the way GNU Radio and its ecosytem can be developed in the future.
            You'll find the release tags and signed tarballs now on github, and later on
            https://www.gnuradio.org/releases/gnuradio/ .
            Not only did we have great progressions from old dependencies that proved to be
            all too problematic (SWIG, Python2), but also did we see an incredibly influx of
            people actively working on how maintainable this code base is. This will nurture
            the project for years to come.
            All in all, the main breaking change for pure GRC users will consist in a few
            changed blocks – an incredible feat, considering the amount of shift under the
            hood. Mentioning large shifts, the work that went into the PyBind binding, the
            CMake modernization, the C++ cleanup, the bug-fixing and the CI infrastructure
            is worthy of explicit call out; I especially thank
            * Josh Morman
            * Thomas Habets
            * Jacob Gilbert
            * Andrej Rode
            * Ryan Volz
            For developers of OOTs, I'm sure PyBind11 will pose a surprise. If you're used
            to SWIG, yes, that's more code to write yourself. But in effect, it's less code
            that breaks, and when it breaks, it breaks in much more understandable ways.
            Josh has put a lot of effort into automating as much of that as possible.
            There's certainly no shortage of demand for that! The ecosystem (remember GNU
            Radio's tagline?) is in a steady upwind. We've seen more, and more stable,
            contributions from OOT maintainers. That's great!
            For in-tree development, newer dependencies and removal of anachronisms will
            make sure things move much smoother. Our CI is getting – lately literally every
            day – better, which means we not only catch bugs earlier, but also allow for
            much quicker review cycles.
            One central change:
            If you're contributing code upstream, we no longer need you to submit a CLA;
            instead, we ask you to just certify, yourself, that you're allowed to contribute
            that code (and not, e.g. misappropriating someone else's code).
            That's what the DCO (Developer Certificate of Origin) is: Just a quick, "hey,
            this code is actually for me to contribute under the project's license"; nothing
      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Wikipedia is twenty. It’s time to start covering it better. – Columbia Journalism Review
          • Jimmy Wales: “Wikipedia is from a different era”

            As the online encyclopedia turns 20-years-old, its founder reflects on the internet’s halcyon days.

          • Fact check: As Wikipedia turns 20, how credible is it?

            Wikipedia, which has been referred to as a world treasure, turns 20 on Friday. According to research conducted over the years — including a scientific study published by the journal Nature in 2005 and a report commissioned by the site’s Wikimedia Foundation in 2012 — Wikipedia’s entries are comparable in quality to those in prestigious encyclopedias such as Britannica. However, it is difficult to measure the consistency of information that can be altered at any time.

          • Wikipedia Turns 20

            This year, Wikipedia celebrates its 20-year anniversary, having been launched on January 15, 2001. The free online encyclopedia, which is completely written, edited, and verified by volunteers, is the sixth-most visited website in the world, according to an interview with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales in the New Statesman. “The English-language edition is the most comprehensive, with around 6.2 million articles, making it around 90 times longer than the Encyclopaedia Britannica,” the article states.

            Like all published references, Wikipedia is also subject to bias and even vandalism. As DW notes, “Many of the entries are well-documented, checked for quality and—as opposed to reference books—often completely up-to-date, but, 20 years after its creation, the online encyclopedia is not 100% reliable, because information can be manipulated, and sometimes almost undetectably.”

      • Programming/Development

        • GCC 11 Is On The Final Stage Of Development With 60+ High Priority Regressions – Phoronix

          GCC 11 entered its final stage of development today as it works towards releasing around the end of Q1 / early Q2 if their past cadence holds up. Before GCC 11.1 can debut as the first stable version, there are some 60+ “P1″ high priority regressions that need to be resolved or otherwise demoted to lesser priority regressions.

          GCC 11 release manager Richard Biener this morning announced GCC 11 is now in stage four development meaning only regression fixes and documentation fixes are allowed. As of this morning the code-base is at 62 P1 regressions, another 334 P2 regressions, 35 P3 regressions, and more than 200 regressions of the lower P4/P5 status.

        • Perl/Raku

          • 2021.03 Course Topped – Rakudo Weekly News

            The course of the Raku Programming Language by Andrew Shitov made it to the top 20 of Hacker News and spurred quite a few comments. The first associated Grant Report was also published.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Stephen Michael Kellat: Leveraging LaTeX In This Time

        From time to time I like to bring up fun adventures in LaTeX. In these stranges times in the United States it is important to look at somewhat practical applications beyond the normal reports and formal papers most people think of. With a Minimum Working Example we can mostly look at an idea.

        The Comprehensive TeX Archive Network has a package known as newspaper which is effectively subject to nominative determinism. You can make things with it that look like newspapers out of the 1940s-1960s in terms of layout. The page on CTAN shows nice examples of its use and provides a nice story as to why the package was created.

        The example source file on CTAN has a bug in it, though. We’re going to make a new one based on it. I am also going to add but not yet utilize the markdown package to the example.

  • Leftovers

    • The age of DELIBERATELY delayed reckonings

      I have already discussed the long-term dangers of students behaving “online properly, for the WRONG reason”, and the paradox of algorithms grading students who are explicitly encouraged to cheat algorithms.

      At first sight, that true story may seem more of the same, maybe even too commonplace to be still newsworthy. The NYT article I summarize above notes that Student 1 is only one of “many incoming freshmen across the country whose admissions offers were revoked by at least a dozen universities after videos emerged on social media of them using racist language.” Some students gained acceptance to Harvard University only to have that acceptance rescinded for, again, “inappropriate social media posts”.

      This specific story, however, has something that is new, at least for me, and is definitely worrying anyway.

    • Tips for incorporating self-care into your daily routine

      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 8 of 21 Days of Productivity in 2021.

      There is a term you hear a lot these days: Self-care. This concept is possibly one of the most critical things we need to do in a world where we are mostly working from home, social distancing, and spending a lot more time on video conferences.

      And let’s not kid ourselves: Self-care is hard. Even before 2020, disconnecting and letting our minds and bodies rest was no picnic. Finding a moment of peace between work, family, chores, social obligations, and so on was work in and of itself. The pressure to always be available, always weigh in on a subject or answer a question, and always be there to support friends and family has grown in the last year.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Going from Bad to Worse: Evidence for Neuro-COVID Infections

        The COVID-19 pandemic has spread throughout the globe, infecting more than 90 million people and causing almost two million deaths (see “Tracking coronavirus’ global spread”). SARS-CoV-2 infection is the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic; this virus is recognized as the latest viral infection in humans of zoonotic origins, in this case bats first arising in Wuhan, China. The infection is known to be introduced into the lungs, and infection due to the viral Spike protein binding to the angiotensin 1 converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) receptor expressed in the lung.

        Among the many consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection are respiratory disease, as well as effects in the liver as well as neurological tissues. The capacity of SARS-CoV-2 to infect brain is supported by finding viral RNA and proteins in brain tissue on autopsy, but the frequency of neurological infection remains unknown. Regarding COVID-related disease in brain, there are a number of possible bases for the anecdotal reports of impaired function (including persistent headache and impaired consciousness and cognition), including inter alia reduced blood-borne oxygen due to impaired respiration. This is a particular risk in patients with mild disease symptoms, because humans sense lack of oxygen indirectly by increased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood and thus brain and other neurological tissues can be oxygen-deprived unknowingly. In addition, it has long been known that there can be psychological sequellae to severe, life-threatening, debilitating diseases and thus the effects of psychology rather than pathology is not easy to tweeze out of the clinical presentation of these effects.

      • Air quality regulator temporarily suspends cremation limits for LA County amid ‘backlog’ from pandemic
    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • LF‌ ‌Edge‌ ‌Adds‌ ‌New‌ ‌Members‌

                LF Edge has announced the addition of four new general members (FII, HCL, OpenNebula, and Robin.io) and one new Associate member (Shanghai Open Source Information Technology Association).

                Additionally, Home Edge has released its third platform update with new Data Storage and Mult-NAT Edge Device Communications (MNDEC) features.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (atftp, coturn, gitlab, mdbook, mediawiki, nodejs, nodejs-lts-dubnium, nodejs-lts-erbium, nodejs-lts-fermium, nvidia-utils, opensmtpd, php, python-cairosvg, python-pillow, thunderbird, vivaldi, and wavpack), CentOS (firefox and thunderbird), Debian (chromium and snapd), Fedora (chromium, flatpak, glibc, kernel, kernel-headers, nodejs, php, and python-cairosvg), Mageia (bind, caribou, chromium-browser-stable, dom4j, edk2, opensc, p11-kit, policycoreutils, python-lxml, resteasy, sudo, synergy, and unzip), openSUSE (ceph, crmsh, dovecot23, hawk2, kernel, nodejs10, open-iscsi, openldap2, php7, python-jupyter_notebook, slurm_18_08, tcmu-runner, thunderbird, tomcat, viewvc, and vlc), Oracle (dotnet3.1 and thunderbird), Red Hat (postgresql:10, postgresql:12, postgresql:9.6, and xstream), SUSE (ImageMagick, openldap2, slurm, and tcmu-runner), and Ubuntu (icoutils).

          • About CVE-2020-27348

            Well this is a doozey. Made public a while back was a security vulnerability in many Snap Packages and the Snapcraft tool used to create them. Specifically, this is the vulnerability identified as CVE-2020-27348. It unfortunately affects many many snap packages…


            The problem arises when the LD_LIBRARY_PATH includes an empty element in its list. When the Dynamic Linker sees an empty element it will look in the current working directory of the process. So if we construct our search paths with an accidental empty element the application inside our Snap Package could be caused to load a shared library from outside the Snap Package’s shipped files. This can lead to an arbitrary code execution.

            It has been common to put a definition of the LD_LIBRARY_PATH variable into a Snap Package’s snapcraft.yaml that references a predefined $LD_LIBRARY_PATH as if to extend it. Unfortunately, despite this being common, it was poorly understood that SnapD ensures that the $LD_LIBRARY_PATH is unset when starting a Snap Package’s applications. What that means is that where the author tried to extend the variable they have inadvertantly inserted the bad empty element. The empty element appears because $LD_LIBRARY_PATH is unset so the shell will expand it to an empty string.

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

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • With “smart” apps and media, YOU are the product. Even…

              Check out this recent story, straight from the “you should only have to make up stuff like this” department.

              A lawyer was defending a deposition of an absolutely ordinary person, maybe someone just like you: someone who “liked to hang out with her friends and traveled a lot [and] wore a Fitbit to track her fitness level, workouts, and sleep”.

              One day, one hand of that person was injured when her car was smashed from behind.

              Then, the lawyers of the insurance company for the other driver got full access to her Facebook account, because “it’s now almost impossible to prevent this from happening”.

            • WhatsApp Privacy Policy 2021 – Account Suspension Date Extended.

              Whatsapp Privacy Policy, this is for those who are concerned about their privacy. We do not want the encroachment in our personal life. Initially when Facebook started people were not aware of the privacy policy is a thing. They only knew that they have found a way to express a way to share their life with the whole world. Everyone was on Facebook, those who did not join Facebook were talking about it all the time. Our minds adopt new things very easily, this exactly what happened in the case of Facebook.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • In Central African Republic, disputed polls spark a rebel offensive

        At least 100,000 people have fled their homes in Central African Republic as a rebel coalition calling for the resignation of the president launches attacks around the county, throwing into question almost two years of peace efforts.

        The capital city, Bangui, has come under fire and major towns are occupied by the coalition of some of CAR’s strongest rebel groups, which formed shortly before December elections won by President Faustin-Archange Touadéra but contested by the opposition.

        By capturing the western town of Bouar, the rebels – known as the Coalition of Patriots for Change, or the CPC – have cut off the main trade route linking Cameroon to Bangui. Other roads leading to the capital have also been seized in what could be a strategy to “asphyxiate” the city, according to Hans De Marie Heungoup, a Central Africa analyst at the International Crisis Group.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • What’s the difference between bad students and cops? | Stop at Zona-M

        Concretely, it means that the officer kneeling to death on George Floyd could have been identified by anybody, even if he had been masked during that episode.

        In perspective, it means the same exposure, potentially, for every cop who, during any future riot, anywhere, keeps hitting a rioter even when she’s already fallen wound, or is otherwise harmless.

        It means that any mobster worldwide could do the same to identify a particularly “obnoxious”, but especially annoying officer investigating his activities.

    • Monopolies

      • IFIM event: The Year of the COVID Vaccines [Ed: These zealots don't care about your health. They only care about patents on vaccines as that helps barons steal taxpayers' money...]

        Taking place on 8 February 2021, The Year of the COVID Vaccines will feature a panel discussion tackling the most significant legal and regulatory challenges facing the COVID vaccines.


        The vaccination race has now officially begun. But what are the most relevant regulatory and legal issues that have arisen and will arise in connection with the COVID vaccines?

        Join IFIM’s expert panel discussion to find out more: from regulatory aspects to liability considerations, from ethical concerns to patentability issues, IFIM’s invited experts will tackle the thorniest regulatory and legal aspects facing this unprecedented period in the history of humankind.

      • [Event Report] IFIM Holiday Seminar – Tales of the New Doctors of Law [Ed: Propaganda event whose very title is a propaganda term]

        December brought another fascinating conference, this time organised by the Institute of Intellectual Property and Market Law (Institutet för immaterialrätt och marknadsrätt) of Stockholm University, which has a tradition of inviting junior academics and lawyers to speak in its annual Holiday seminar. The 2020 seminar featured researchers who successfully defended their PhD theses in 2020: David Johansson (Uppsala Universitet), Tito Rendas (Universidade Católica Portuguesa) and Giulia Priora (Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies Pisa), with commentary provided by Jan Rosén and fellow Kats Frantzeska Papadopoulou and Eleonora Rosati.

        If your interest has been piqued, you can watch the full IFIM seminar on YouTube here with the commentary (not covered in this event report).

      • Five ways IP firms furthered diversity and inclusion last year [Ed: Painting thugs, bullies, patent trolls and profiteers who facilitate monopolies with the "diversity" brush to manufacture consent on the cheap]

        Lawyers at Finnegan, Sterne Kessler, HaynesBoone, Morrison & Foerster and Fish & Richardson reveal what they did through 2020 to improve D&I in their firms

      • Patents

        • European Unified Patent Court is delayed again [Ed: Team UPC keeps trotting out those lies about UPC being merely "delayed" -- a lie they certainly tell their clients to save face]

          As reported by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), a German newspaper, two new constitutional complaints were lodged with the German Federal Constitutional Court shortly before the turn of the year. The complaints were lodged shortly after the German parliament had passed the legislation necessary to ratify the UPC Agreement – an international treaty that provides for the creation of the UPC, and upon which the introduction of the European patent with unitary effect also depends.

          In order for the German legislation to have effect, and for Germany’s ratification of the UPC Agreement to be confirmed, the legislation must be signed into law by Germany’s president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. However, according to the FAZ, the Constitutional Court has requested that Steinmeier “wait until a decision has been made on an urgent appeal before issuing the necessary law”. It is not yet known when the court will decide on the complaints and the associated emergency application.

        • Day One Project: USPTO Proposals for the Biden Administration [Ed: Biden already subjected to a mobbing assault of propagandists and lobbyists calling for protectionism for the rich, using utterly false narratives. The USPTO could use someone like Michelle Lee again.]

          Day One Project is not part of the BIDEN Transition, but the organization has put together a strong group of pro-BIDEN IP experts and relative insiders who have drafted and published a Transition Document for the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

        • Nokia intervenes for KPN in second DSL technology case against Assia

          US software company Adaptive Spectrum and Signal Alignment (ASSIA) has brought another set of proceedings against Dutch telcommunications company KPN. The latter party is a customer of Nokia, with Nokia providing support in the proceedings. However, Assia has once again been unsuccessful.

          The District Court of The Hague ruled against Assia’s arguments, finding that KPN had not infringed patent EP 18 69 790. The patent, which is concerned with the controller for a DSL line, is not standard essential. Assia claims that KPN infringes EP 790, because KPN applies the process laid out in the patent’s claims one through 12. Assia also argues that its DSL product operates with the patent’s claims from 13 to 17. However, the court threw out the claim of infringement.

          KPN and Nokia also filed a counterclaim for invalidity of EP 790. However, regarding the counterclaim, the court did not arrive at a decision in the final judgment. Currently, Assia is still able to distribute its products, although the court ordered the company to cover the court fees.

        • 2020 Highlights in Canadian Life Sciences IP and Regulatory Law [Ed: "Life Sciences IP" is just fancy crypto-language for patent monopolies on life and nature -- patents that are antithetical to the law and to morals]

          In 2020, Rx IP Update reported on a number of developments in Canadian life sciences IP and regulatory law.

        • Apple TV Could Have Brilliantly Different Remote Control, Patent Reveals
        • Biden Can Lower Drug Prices Without Congress Doing Anything
        • Drug Patent Database Revamp Falls Short of Tackling High Costs

          A new law updating the FDA’s drug patent database aims to increase access to generic medications but falls short of addressing barriers to lower prices, attorneys say.

          H.R.1503 requires the Food and Drug Administration to promptly remove invalidated patents from a publication identifying agency-approved drug protections. The law, dubbed the Orange Book Transparency Act, also calls on drug companies to provide more information on their products while clarifying what sorts of patents need to be listed.

          Signed by President Donald Trump this week, the law was introduced to make it easier for more generic producers to enter the marketplace. But health policy watchers say the effort doesn’t tackle deep systemic problems that lead to higher drug costs.

          “The main problem is that there’s just a lot of patents that get added to extend the life of the drug that we feel shouldn’t have been issued and aren’t valid,” Matthew Lane, executive director of the Coalition Against Patent Abuse, an advocacy group composed of health-care providers, consumer groups, and others.

        • Are Patent Judges Unconstitutional? The Arthrex Case Explained

          From tech giants like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc., to pharmaceutical giants like Canada’s Apotex Inc., industry titans facing infringement lawsuits turn to the Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board to invalidate their rivals’ intellectual property.

          But in Arthrex Inc. v. Smith & Nephew Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found a flaw in that process that has upended dozens of patent fights: the constitutionality of how the tribunal’s judges are appointed.

          Now, the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to determine whether the Federal Circuit’s fix, which has left the validity of major global companies’ intellectual property in limbo, actually solved the PTAB’s problem. Oral argument is scheduled for March 1.

        • A Uniform Grace Period: Promoting International Research and Development Collaboration

          Combating complex diseases, climate change, and the loss of biodiversity requires shared innovation on an unprecedented global scale. Patent law plays a significant role in innovation, but to facilitate the coalescence of diverse groups of researchers, scientists, and innovators, policymakers need to increase the worldwide compatibility of patentability requirements. In particular, policymakers need to harmonize the so-called grace period, the specified period of time preceding the filing a patent where an inventor’s own disclosures do not become part of the prior art.

          This Article contends that the grace period variances between the five largest patent offices in the world—those of China, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the European Union—decrease the likelihood of international coordination of research and international collaborative partnerships, as well as increase administrative costs and uncertainty. The solution, this Article argues, is for these five patent offices to adopt a semi-uniform grace period that covers pre-patent disclosures made in reasonable, research-related endeavors. The new, more synchronized grace period would provide a higher level of domestic and international certainty than currently exists. At the same tune, the new grace period would preserve flexibility that is needed because of inevitable cultural differences and varying local needs of innovators.

      • Copyrights

        • Nazi Aryanisation of intellectual property – and contemporary efforts to restore it

          The Nazi practice of economic Aryanisation, the destruction of so-called ‘degenerate’ books and artworks, and cultural plunder all form elements of the regime’s attempted cultural and economic extermination policy. These intensified after Kristallnacht in 1938, with efforts to restore property and citizenship continuing to the present in a number of European countries.

          Intellectual property, too, forms a part of this history of expropriation. Alice Urbach, a Jewish native of Vienna, published a bestselling cookbook in 1935: So kocht man in Wien! (How to Cook in Vienna!). In 1938, the publisher, Ernst Reinhardt Verlag, ‘Aryanised’ the work, with Urbach forced to transfer the rights and the book swiftly republished under the name ‘Rudolf Rösch’, who may not even have ever existed.

          Though around 40% of the text was removed or altered, Urbach’s hand could still be detected in the work: not just in the original 60% of the text, but quite literally, as photographs of her cooking demonstrations were retained. However, where Urbach praised Vienna’s diverse culinary influences at the heart of Europe, the revised version was instead concerned with portraying Vienna as a quintessential city of the Reich. Then-Ernst Reinhardt manager Hermann Jungck claimed as late as 1974 – nearly a decade before Urbach’s 1983 death at the age of 97 – that ‘Rösch’ had in 1938 simply ‘modernised’ the original 1935 publication.

          After the war, the theft continued to cast a shadow on Urbach’s life. She even personally found a copy of the revised work in a Viennese bookshop in 1949. Written from 1950-54, a series of letters located by the publisher – despite earlier claims that archival material had been lost – reveal her requests for the rights’ return so that she might be able to translate and re-publish the book in her new home, the United States. Commemorative editions of the plagiarised book came out in 1974 and 1999, with Jungck acknowledging in the 1974 edition that he had felt compelled to ‘search for a new author’ in the 1930s on account of Urbach’s ethnicity. Urbach had rejected his suggestion that the text be attributed both to her and to ‘Rösch’.


          It is interesting to note that these Aryanised works are concerned with topics central to the idea of a nation: cuisine, language, and law. Dr. Angelika Königseder (TU Berlin) has conducted similar research into the archives of the de Gruyter scientific publishing house, revealing its involvement in the practice. A 1939 protocol document advises to “check how far new editions can be brought out by Aryans” in the case of ‘non-Aryan’-authored works.

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