Links 3/2/2021: LibreOffice 7.1 ‘Community’ Edition, Solus 4.2, and KeePassXC 2.6.4

Posted in News Roundup at 12:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • From Unix to Linux: Key Trends in the Evolution of Operating Systems (Part 4)

      We saw earlier in this series that BSD appealed to many users because they didn’t have to pay the stiff fees that AT&T charged for Unix. Richard Stallman, hacker extraordinaire, saw an even greater opportunity in the mid-1980s. With a characteristic flourish, he announced a Unix clone not with a press release, but with a manifesto. In addition to listing his technical roadmap in some detail, this manifesto issues a head-on challenge to the notion of intellectual property (a term Stallman later identified as harmful in itself) and hinted at a new way to release software, which Stallman eventually codified in the historic GNU General Public License, also called “copyleft.”

      Stallman had been making creative contributions to computing for a long time. At the point when he started his GNU project, the technical achievement for which he was best known was Emacs, a text editor that ran on a huge range of systems and had been ported to Unix. Although Bill Joy’s vi editor has always been more popular among Unix and GNU/Linux users, a vociferous defense of Emacs rings out across mailing lists. People on both sides get quite emotional. At a recent conference I attended, the Code of Conduct explicitly prohibited harassment based on race, gender, nationality, sexual preference, disability, or choice of text editor.

      But why would Stallman choose Unix as the model for his new operating system? As his manifesto candidly asserts, “Unix is not my ideal system, but it is not too bad.” The key lay in the many thousands of users who had pledged allegiance to Unix. Therefore, “a system compatible with Unix would be convenient for many other people to adopt.”

      As mentioned in the first article of this series, Unix dates back to about 1970. Already, in the succeeding 15 years, computing had changed tremendously. The GNU project had lots of good ideas to take advantage of the new environment.

      For instance, many Unix utilities dealt with limited memory by imposing arbitrary limits on all kinds of things, such as the number of tokens that a program could use (limited by the yacc compiler) or the number of arguments allowed on a command line (leading to a special utility called xargs). By imposing limits, Unix developers could just allocate one memory buffer of fixed size and avoid the overhead of expanding the buffer during the program run. The GNU project didn’t stand for this laziness. Its coding standards said, “Avoid arbitrary limits.”

    • What is Unix: The Base of All Operating Systems? [Ed: Very awful article, but added for amusement]

      You may have heard of several operating systems other than the normal Android/iOS, Windows/Mac binaries. There are several operating systems based on Linux like Gnome, PureOS, etc. However, there is one which is at the root of them all which barely gets discussed. It’s Unix.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Running Modern Linux on Older Computers – The Dell Latitude E6430 – YouTube

        This is a fun idea for a series I decided to try out – finding older laptops and seeing how well they run modern Linux distros! The goal is to find good laptops that can be purchased used for less than $350 (preferably, less than $300). In this video, I try out a few distributions on the Dell Latitude E6430 laptop, which is certainly an odd machine…

      • GNOME 40ified | LINUX Unplugged 391

        We try out GNOME 40 and its new workspace layout. Who we think this works well for, and who might want to avoid it.

        Plus Wimpy, Ubuntu’s Desktop lead, chats with us about his future after Canonical.

        Special Guests: Carl George and Martin Wimpress.

      • mintCast 353.5 – Well Oiled Machine

        1:44 Linux Innards
        21:01 Vibrations from the Ether
        33:46 Check This Out
        38:03 Announcements & Outro

        In our Innards section, we say how we’ve got on with Linux Mint 20.1 over the past two weeks

        And finally, the feedback and a couple suggestions

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel Linux Driver Patches Yield 10~63% Faster Performance For Select Gen12/TGL GPUs – Phoronix

        Users of various Intel Tiger Lake graphics and other “Gen12″ graphics SKUs like the DG1 discrete graphics cards could soon be seeing a huge performance speed-up with the open-source Linux driver.

        It turns out there is a sizable performance bottleneck right now in the Intel Gen12 graphics driver support on Linux when using hardware with less than 96 execution units. In turn with patches to address this shortcoming, OpenGL/Vulkan performance improvements can be north of 10% to 63% faster compared to the current state.

      • Intel Working On A VirtIO DMA-BUF Driver For Multi-GPUs, Virtualized Environments – Phoronix

        Intel engineers have been working on “Vdmabuf” as a VirtIO-based DMA-BUF driver for the Linux kernel. This driver is intended for their growing multi-GPU use-cases and also in cases of GPU virtualization where wanting to transfer contents seamlessly to the host for display purposes.

      • Lenovo Laptop Platform Profile Support Queued Ahead Of Linux 5.12 – Phoronix

        Lenovo continues working on a number of contributions to the upstream kernel thanks to their work on preloading various Linux distributions on a number of different devices. In cooperation with Red Hat engineers over the past year we have seen a lot of Lenovo related improvements and the latest set to come with the Linux 5.12 cycle is ACPI platform profile support for their laptops.

    • Benchmarks

      • Alejandro Piñeiro: v3dv status update 2021-02-03

        So some months have passed since our last update, when we announced that v3dv became Vulkan 1.0 conformant. The main reason for not publishing so many posts is that we saw the 1.0 checkpoint as a good moment to hold on adding new big features, and focus on improving the codebase (refactor, clean-ups, etc.) and the already existing features. For the latter we did a lot of work on performance. That alone would deserve a specific blog post, so in this one I will summarize the other stuff we did.

      • Raspberry Pi’s V3DV Vulkan Driver Has Been Picking Up More Extensions, Wayland WSI – Phoronix

        The V3DV open-source Vulkan driver in Mesa for Broadcom graphics most notably used by the Raspberry Pi 4 and newer continues maturing nicely.

        The V3DV driver since reaching Vulkan 1.0 conformance has continued picking up more extensions like EXT_private_data, KHR_display, KHR_maintenance1, and others. Other bits of Vulkan functionality have also been added like timestamp queries. Plus there is also now Wayland windowing system integration (WSI).

    • Applications

      • Audacious 4.1 Open-Source Music Player Adds Dual Qt+GTK Build, Initial Qt 6 Support

        It’s been almost a year since Audacious 4.0 saw the light of day as a major new release featuring Qt 5 support and numerous additions, and now Audacious 4.1 is here with initial support for the next-generation Qt 6 open-source application framework and a dual Qt + GTK build by default.

        This would make it a lot easier to switch between the Qt and GTK modes, which can be done right from the Settings window, without editing .desktop files. On top of that, Linux users would be pleased to learn that support for the Meson build system is now feature complete.

      • Linux at Home: Learn an Instrument with Linux

        We are told by our governments that in the current crisis the single most important action we can take is to stay at home and minimise the amount of contact with others. The new variant of Covid-19 is much more transmissible than the virus’s previous version. The advice to stay safe is therefore even more important. It’s only with everyone abiding by the law can we protect our health services and save lives.

        In this series, we look at a range of home activities where Linux can play its part, making the most of our time at home, keeping active and engaged. The change of lifestyle enforced by Covid-19 is an opportunity to expand our horizons, and spend more time on activities we have neglected in the past.

      • Improve your productivity with this Linux automation tool

        AutoKey is an open source Linux desktop automation tool that, once it’s part of your workflow, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without. It can be a transformative tool to improve your productivity or simply a way to reduce the physical stress associated with typing.

        This article will look at how to install and start using AutoKey, cover some simple recipes you can immediately use in your workflow, and explore some of the advanced features that AutoKey power users may find attractive.

      • Bwall Is An Animated Battery Wallpaper For Linux (Bash Script)

        Bwall (Battery Wallpaper) is a Bash script to use a set of images that show your current battery level as your desktop wallpaper.

        The wallpaper is animated while the battery is charging. When not charging, Bwall shows the battery level, changing according to the current battery percentage.

        This animated battery wallpaper script supports multiple desktop environments and window managers, like KDE, Pantheon, Gnome, Deepin, Cinnamon, Xfce, LXDE, MATE, Openbox, i3wm, bspwm, awesomewm, Fluxbox, Fvwm and Swaywm.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to List All Upgradable Packages in Ubuntu, Debian & Mint

        A .deb is a software package file containing application files of a particular software and metadata file about its dependencies and versions. The software can be installed from the deb file using dpkg (Debian Package Manager) from the command line or from graphical applications (which use dpkg in the backend).

        This format is used in all Debian-based Linux distributions, for example, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, etc. Usually, these distributions have another installation utility that runs on top of dpkg and performs the task of dependency management, which is done by the apt package manager.

      • How to Install ReactJS on Ubuntu

        Developed by Facebook in 2011, React (also referred to as ReactJS) is a Javascript library used for creating fast and interactive user interfaces. At the time of writing, it’s the most popular Javascript library for developing user interfaces. React trounces its counterparts – Angular and Vue JS in terms of functionality and popularity.

        Its popularity stems from its flexibility and simplicity and this makes it the first choice in the development of mobile apps and web applications. More than 90,000 sites use React including tech giants such as Facebook, Netflix, Instagram, Airbnb, and Twitter to list a few.

      • How to Monitor Disk I/O performance in Linux

        Do you know, what tools are used to troubleshoot or monitor real-time disk I / O performance issues on Linux?

        In General, top command will be used to view system performance, when an application performance is slow,

        This is the first level of troubleshooting which is widely performed by Linux Administrator in the real world.

      • The Unofficial Way To Migrate To AlmaLinux From CentOS 8 – OSTechNix

        AlmaLinux beta is already out! You can read the details in our previous post. I hope you all are exploring the beta version. Some of you might be wondering when will the AlmaLinux developers release a tool to migrate CentOS to AlamaLinux. While there is no news from the AlamaLinux team yet, I came across an unofficial way to migrate to AlmaLinux from CentOS 8 on Reddit.

      • How to automate system reboots using the Ansible reboot module | Enable Sysadmin

        Reboots are sometimes necessary. Automate the process by using the Ansible reboot module.

      • Install the latest version of VirtualBox on openSUSE

        The main openSUSE repository does not feature the latest version of VirtualBox. To obtain the latest version of the software, one may use VirtualBox’s own repo for openSUSE. Details are available on the virtualbox.org project website. However, I am reproducing them here for a quick reference & also to address some quirks that you might encounter if you simply add the repo & install VirtualBox.

      • Outlining in LibreOffice: A Survival Guide

        LibreOffice offers many tools necessary for outlining, but not in an easy-to-use single module. Here’s a survival guide to get the most out of LibreOffice’s outlining features, along with a wish list for a better outlining tool.

        Outlining is an essential part of a writer’s workflow. For an inexperienced writer, an outline gives direction. For a writer of longer works, an outline avoids confusion. Unsurprisingly, LibreOffice Writer has many of the functions needed for outlines. What is strange, however, is that LibreOffice has never combined those functions into a single effective module. The following article, which also functions as wish list, describes the available LibreOffice outlining tools, as well as what is missing, and shows you how to navigate through Writer’s confusing attempts at outline tools.

        In this context, an outline is a hierarchy of numbered paragraphs. The top level is reserved for the highest level of information, such as the human body. The next level of information might be about the organs, and the third level the parts of complicated organs, such as the brain. The hierarchy can begin as many times as needed, but in every case, a higher-level topic contains the ones below it in the hierarchy. Most of the time, each level in the hierarchy has a different numbering system — for instance, the top level might use uppercase Roman numerals, the second level uppercase letters, and so on.

      • How to Install Python in Ubuntu

        Need to install Python on your Ubuntu computer? Here’s everything you need, from installation command to updating and beyond.

      • How to Configure Nginx as a Web Server and Reverse Proxy for Apache on CentOS 8

        As you know, Apache and Nginx both are free, open-source, and powerful web servers around the world. Apache is known for its power while the Nginx is known for its speed. Both have some drawbacks and benefits. Nginx uses PHP-FPM to load the PHP files while Apache loads PHP on its own. Apache is used for the dynamic part of the website while Nginx serves static files like graphics, CSS, and js files.

        It is a good idea to use both of them on a single server and get benefits from both. In this tutorial, we will show you how to use the Nginx as a web server and reverse proxy for Apache web server on CentOS 8.

      • Install Conky Manager on Ubuntu 20.04

        Conky is a very efficient system monitoring software that is used to display information regarding your system’s activities and performance. However, if we talk about the interface to configure this system monitor, then there is much room for improvements. Nevertheless, Conky Manager is there to resolve this issue. This tool provides a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for managing the Conky system monitor hence enhancing the user’s experience with Conky to the fullest. In today’s tutorial, I will show you how to install Conky Manager on Ubuntu 20.04.

      • How to Process a File Line by Line in a Linux Bash Script

        Each programming language has a set of idioms. These are the standard, no-frills ways to accomplish a set of common tasks. They’re the elementary or default way to use one of the features of the language the programmer is working with. They become part of a programmer’s toolkit of mental blueprints.

        Actions like reading data from files, working with loops, and swapping the values of two variables are good examples. The programmer will know at least one way to achieve their ends in a generic or vanilla fashion. Perhaps that will suffice for the requirement at hand. Or maybe they’ll embellish the code to make it more efficient or applicable to the specific solution they are developing. But having the building-block idiom at their fingertips is a great starting point.

        Knowing and understanding idioms in one language makes it easier to pick up a new programming language, too. Knowing how things are constructed in one language and looking for the equivalent—or the closest thing—in another language is a good way to appreciate the similarities and differences between programming languages you already know and the one you’re learning.

      • Compiling and installing the Gentoo Linux kernel on emerge without genkernel (part 2) | Daniel Lange’s blog

        The first install of a Gentoo kernel needs to be somewhat manual if you want to optimize the kernel for the (virtual) system it boots on.

        In part 1 I laid out how to improve the subsequent emerges of sys-kernel/gentoo-sources with a small drop in script to build the kernel as part of the ebuild.

      • How to Mirror Your Android Mobile Screen to Linux

        Using a screen of a remote computer is often using VNC (Virtual Network Computing), or other remote desktop solutions. These come in both commercial and open source flavors. But how do you go about mirroring, and using, your Android mobile phone to and from your Linux desktop?

        It is all possible via ADB – the Android Debug Bridge, which is included in the stock Android SDK (Software Development Kit) and is available as an easy install on most modern Linux distributions. Setting up ADB and configuring is not the focus of this article, and you can find detailed instructions on how to do so in our How to Use ADB Android Debug Bridge to Manage Your Android Mobile Phone article.

      • 5 Tweaks to Customize the Look of Your Linux Terminal

        The terminal emulator or simply the terminal is an integral part of any Linux distribution.

        When you change the theme of your distribution, often the terminal also gets a makeover automatically. But that doesn’t mean you cannot customize the terminal further.

        In fact, many It’s FOSS readers have asked us how come the terminal in our screenshots or videos look so cool, what fonts do we use, etc.

    • Games

      • Saber Interactive / Embracer Group acquire Aspyr Media, Gearbox | GamingOnLinux

        Another day another acquisition with Saber Interactive / Embracer Group acquiring Aspyr Media and so we see the continuing worrying trend of consolidation in the games industry.

        For those not aware, Aspyr Media are well known for their porting efforts to both macOS and Linux. For Linux specifically they ported the likes of Borderlands 2, Civilization V, Civilization VI, STAR WARS Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords and more so it’s interesting to follow for their history and future.

      • How about a nice game of Chess with Lichess | GamingOnLinux

        Chess, it’s a classic right? So how about a nice game of Chess? I am in fact talking about Lichess, a free and open source browser-based online Chess game.

        You might think it funny but until recently, I had somehow never heard of it. It’s been around since 2010, starting off a simple hobby project and it has since grown into one of the most popular Chess websites around. Ten years later it’s still kept the original promises of remaining free and open source and it just seems to have continually grown. If you believe Alexa rankings, it’s in the top 2,000.

      • Story-driven tactical RPG ‘The Way of Wrath’ up on Kickstarter

        Ready for your next story-based RPG? The Way of Wrath plans to fully support Linux and it’s currently seeking funding on Kickstarter and it does look quite good.

        With an open world setting, a full story and a hand-crafted world The Way of Wrath sounds rather promising. Blending together “tactical party-based combat, detailed branching dialogue and a rich, dynamic story (Baldur’s Gate, Divinity: OS) with the interactivity and immersion of 3D open-world games (Gothic, Zelda, Skyrim)”.

      • Godot 4.0 Game Engine Seeing Many Exciting CPU / GPU Optimizations – Phoronix

        On top of Godot 4.0 having a Vulkan renderer, native Wayland bits, and other graphics improvements, it’s also seeing significant CPU and GPU optimizations.

        Juan Linietsky, the lead developer of this open-source cross-platform game engine, has been spending much time working on various CPU/GPU optimizations for yielding faster render times.

        CPU side work that recently has included various CPU cache handling optimizations, culling improvements and is now multi-threaded, support for threaded rendering, instancing is now used to render similar objects, and better caching of the render state.

      • Try out a new FMV adventure in the The Parrot That Summons Demons demo | GamingOnLinux

        Mixing together FMV with a Visual Novel adventure, The Parrot That Summons Demons will be bringing the deep, dark and unsettling story by the creators of Bloody Service to Linux.

        Like a lot of games, they’re going to be participating in the Steam Game Festival that goes live later today. However, their demo is already live and they mentioned to us their plan to support Linux with it which we weren’t aware of. The game is currently in development and this demo features two small chapters from Samantha’s timeline. Full game is going to feature multiple chapters for every member of the McCauley family.

      • In need of a good interactive story? Sarawak is out now | GamingOnLinux

        Love to curl up with a good book? Sarawak from Cowleyfornia Studios LLP is out now and it looks fantastic.

        Text-based adventures might not be the most flashy genre but, depending on where you look, they’re very much alive and well with plenty releasing all the time. Sarawak is a delightful piece of interactive fiction, so you’re playing out a mystery game set in Oxford and Borneo.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Shortcut configuration in 2020

          Last year I spent some time working one the (formerly global) shortcuts settings module, including rewriting it from scratch. Given that Plasma 5.21 is to be released soon, I though it was a good opportunity to do a write up of what has happened in this area in the past year. I want to apologize in advance for the size of this blog post that turned out longer than I expected.

        • Kaidan 0.7 released

          This release enables the users to send files via drag and drop. Furthermore, it is possible to see which chat client and operating system a contact is using. Additionally, newlines can be inserted into a text message with ShiftEnter now. We are working on some major features such as message history synchronization (MAM) and typing notifications. They are nearly finished and we hope to ship them in Kaidan 0.8 very soon™.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Solus 4.2 Released

          We are proud to announce the immediate availability of Solus 4.2, a new Solus 4 “Fortitude” series release. This release delivers new desktop environment updates, software stacks, and hardware enablement.

        • Solus 4.2 released

          Version 4.2 of the desktop-oriented Solus distribution is available.

        • Solus 4.2 Released With Linux 5.10 Kernel, Other Updated Packages

          For fans of the Solus Linux distribution, Solus 4.2 is now available as the project’s latest release for this optimized, desktop-minded platform.

          Solus 4.2 ships with the Linux 5.10.12 kernel, providing a wealth of new and improved hardware support. Solus 4.2 also brings other prominent package upgrades like Mesa 20.3.3, FFmpeg 4.3.1, GStreamer 1.18.2, PulseAudio 14.1, and many other package updates to improve the user experience.

      • BSD

        • TwinCAT/BSD offers alternative operating system for Beckhoff Industrial PCs

          The FreeBSD system – and thus also TwinCAT/BSD – supports ARM CPUs up to Intel Xeon processors, providing a scalable platform from small embedded controllers to high-performance IPCs. With this scalable new solution, Beckhoff presents a new operating system that combines the advantages of Windows CE – low cost and small footprint – with the numerous features of large Windows operating systems. Therefore, TwinCAT/BSD is also an alternative to Windows 7 or 10 in many applications.

      • Arch Family

        • Chromium losing Sync support in early March

          Google has announced that they are going to block everything but Chrome from accessing certain Google features (like Chrome sync) starting on March 15. This decision by Google is going to affect Arch’s chromium package a bit earlier, on March 2, when Chromium 89 gets released.

          We know for sure that data syncing will stop working (passwords, bookmarks, etc.). Other features such as geolocation or enhanced spell check might continue to function for a bit longer. Extensions integrating with Google Drive might misbehave and LibreOffice will lose access to documents stored there.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • The Unofficial Way To Migrate To AlmaLinux From CentOS 8

          AlmaLinux beta is already out! You can read the details in our previous post. I hope you all are exploring the beta version. Some of you might be wondering when will the AlmaLinux developers release a tool to migrate CentOS to AlamaLinux. While there is no news from the AlamaLinux team yet, I came across an unofficial way to migrate to AlmaLinux from CentOS 8 on Reddit.

          A Reddit user has provided a simple workaround for the impatient users who wants to migrate to AlmaLinux. I followed the steps and It worked! I can able to successfully convert CentOS 8 to AlmaLinux beta version using the steps provided below. The migration process was smooth and straightforward!

        • STIG Security Profile in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

          Red Hat has recently updated the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG) Profile to include more coverage of automated content and improve the profile’s stability. In this post, we’ll talk about how Red Hat contributes to the creation of new SCAP content and automation and how you can consume the latest updates for the RHEL 7 STIG Profile to more effectively apply security hardening policies.


          Red Hat has been developing the automation of hardening systems via STIGs for many years, and since then, the STIG for RHEL 7 has been updated several times by DISA. Red Hat also takes part in STIG development by suggesting improvements and reporting issues to the guide back to DISA. Red Hat works to keep automated remediations up to date to provide customers with automated solutions to help harden their systems and help bring them into compliance.

        • The evolution of Co.Lab – bringing STEM learning home

          So much of 2020 was focused on figuring out how to do old things in new ways. For years, we have been focusing on bringing people together in as many ways as possible, but when the world went remote we had to adjust. This went beyond business needs. We had to adjust almost everything, including our STEM program.

          Co.Lab, presented by Open Source Stories, is a learning experience that introduces young students to the power of collaboration, community and open source. Using open hardware and open source methodologies, Red Hat mentors teach students why being open is a better way to work together and a more effective way to solve problems. Since its launch in 2017, Co.Lab primarily existed as in-person events that shared the principles of open source and collaboration with more than 700 middle school students in 12 countries.

        • Visualizing System Performance with RHEL 8 Part 3: Kernel Metric Graphing with Performance Co-Pilot, Grafana, and Bpftrace

          Picking up from where we left off in the last post, the purpose of this post will be to show how we can use Performance Co-Pilot (PCP) and bpftrace together to graph low-level kernel metrics that are not typically exposed through the usual Linux tools. Effectively, if you can get a value from the kernel into an eBPF map (generic key/value data structure used for storing data in eBPF programs) in a bpftrace script, then you can get this graphed with Performance Co-Pilot.

        • Using Node.js? The OpenJS Foundation would like to hear your feedback

          Node.js is an Impact Project under the OpenJS Foundation. The aim of the 2021 Node.js User Survey is to learn who is using Node.js, and how it is being used. It’s also an opportunity for Node.js users to share any feedback with the project. The survey should take around 20 minutes, and the results are anonymized.

        • Deliver your applications to edge and IoT devices in rootless containers – Red Hat Developer

          Applications are often developed, tested, and delivered in containers, and Red Hat OpenShift is a great platform for that purpose. Sometimes, however, the target machine is much smaller than a Kubernetes cluster. It might be an embedded server, industry PC hardware, or a single server.

        • EMEA EN: Italy’s leader in tourism chooses Red Hat open hybrid cloud solutions to redesign its infrastructure and take its business into the future
        • CloudLinux CentOS Replacement, AlmaLinux, Released In beta

          CloudLinux has announced the release of AlmaLinux, the open source enterprise-level Linux distribution created as an alternative to CentOS in, beta with most RHEL packages.

          A stable release is planned for the end of the Q1 2021.

          AlmaLinux is a 1:1 binary fork of RedHat Linux Enterprise Linux (RHEL), backed with a $1 million annual sponsorship by CloudLinux, with support provided until at least 2029. The new distro is based on a community-driven approach to fill the gap left by the CentOS stable release’s demise.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • This new Ubuntu release will help secure IoT devices

          Canonical, the developers of the Ubuntu desktop Linux distro, have announced a containerized version of the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release designed especially for use on embedded and IoT devices.

          According to Canonical, Ubuntu Core already powers “tens of thousands of industrial and consumer IoT devices run Ubuntu Core, brought to market by Bosch Rexroth, Dell, ABB, Rigado, Plus One Robotics, Jabil, and more.”

          The company describes the new Ubuntu Core 20 as a major release, with special emphasis on its security enhancements. “Ubuntu Core 20 enables innovators to create highly secure things and focus entirely on their own unique features and apps, with confinement and security updates built into the operating system,” remarked Canonical’s CEO and founder Mark Shuttleworth.

        • Canonical Introduces Ubuntu Core 20 To Secure IoT Devices & Embedded Systems

          Canonical just introduced Ubuntu core 20, which is a minimal version of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS made primarily for IoT devices and large container deployments.

          They announced that Ubuntu Core 20 is now generally available, and the main focus is on providing security for IoT and edge devices. Moreover, this release also brings in some new features such as secure boot, full-disk encryption, and secure device recovery.

        • Better security for IoT devices promises Ubuntu Core 20

          Canonical’s Ubuntu Core 20, a minimal, containerised version of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS for the Internet of Things (IoT) devices and embedded systems, is now generally available. This version claims to bolster device security with secure boot, full disk encryption, and secure device recovery.

          Ubuntu Core 20 addresses the cost of design, development and maintenance of secure devices, with regular, automated and reliable updates included. Canonical works with silicon providers and ODMs to streamline the entire process of bringing a new device to market. The company and its partners offer SMART START, a fixed-price engagement to launch a device that covers consulting, engineering and updates for the first 1000 devices on certified hardware, to reduce IoT project risk.

          Today’s release builds on established strengths for Ubuntu Core. Best-in-class security updates support controlled and cost-effective unattended software updates for OEM fleets that fix everything, everywhere, fast. A minimal attack surface for OS and apps, with no unused software installed in the base OS, reduces the size and frequency of security updates. All snaps on Ubuntu Core devices are strictly confined and isolated, limiting the damage from a compromised application. Provable software integrity and secure boot prevents unauthorised software installation, with hardware roots-of-trust. Full disk encryption eases compliance with privacy requirements for sensitive consumer, industrial, healthcare or smart city applications.

        • Containerize all the things with Ubuntu Core 20

          Canonical released Ubuntu Core 20 today, and it is now available for download. If you’re already familiar with Ubuntu Core, the standout new feature is added device security with secure boot, full-disk encryption, and secure device recovery baked in. If you’re not familiar with Ubuntu Core yet… read on!

          The key difference between regular Ubuntu and Ubuntu Core is the underlying architecture of the system. Traditional Linux distributions rely mostly on traditional package systems—deb, in Ubuntu’s case—while Ubuntu Core relies almost entirely on Canonical’s relatively new snap package format.

          Ubuntu Core also gets a full 10 years of support from Canonical rather than the five years traditional Ubuntu LTS releases get. But it’s a bit more difficult to get started with, since you need an Ubuntu SSO account to even log in to a new Ubuntu Core installation in the first place.

        • Ubuntu getting a new installer, desktop lead to leave Canonical

          Two big bits of news from Canonical and Ubuntu to cover today and both about the future of the Linux distribution.

          Firstly, the sad news to get it out of the way: the current desktop lead for Ubuntu, Martin Wimpress, will be leaving Canonical and moving over to slim.ai. Wimpress wasn’t in the role particularly long, taking over from when Will Cooke stepped down in October 2019. However, it’s not all sad news. Wimpress will be continuing to lead Ubuntu MATE which is a passion project so you can expect that to continue as normal.

          We wish Martin Wimpress all the best and continued success with life and Ubuntu MATE.

        • Ubuntu Core 20 released for secure Linux IoT devices and embedded systems

          Canonical has just released Ubuntu Core 20, a minimal, containerized version of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS for IoT devices and embedded systems. The company highlights several security improvements and features of the new version of the Linux-based operating system with secure boot, full disk encryption, secure device recovery, and secure containers.

          Ubuntu Core 20 is said to come with all benefits from Ubuntu 20.04 LTS such as regular, automated updates, the ability to manage custom app stores, and offers a longer 10-year support window.

        • Ubuntu Desktop Lead Martin Wimpress Is Leaving Canonical

          Yes, you heard it right as Martin Wimpress, Ubuntu desktop lead is leaving Canonical. He joined Canonical in 2017 as a desktop lead in 2019, taking over the role from Will Cooke.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Securing your open-source software supply chain with Tidelift catalogs

        Do you think about what routines, sub-programs, libraries, and routines go into the software you use? You should. The Solarwinds security disaster, which will be causing trouble from now until the end of 2021, happened because the company fouled up its software supply chain. This, in turn, screwed millions of users. Open source can help prevent such disasters, but open-source methods need more supply chain improvements too. Now, Tidelift, an open-source management company has a way to help manage the open-source software supply chain’s health and security with Tidelift catalogs.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.1 Community released by The Document Foundation

          LibreOffice 7.1 Community, the volunteer-supported version of the best open source office suite for desktop productivity, is available from https://www.libreoffice.org/download. The Community label underlines the fact that the software is not targeted at enterprises, and not optimized for their support needs.

          For enterprise-class deployments, TDF has strongly recommended the LibreOffice Enterprise family of applications from ecosystem partners – for desktop, mobile and cloud – with long-term support options, professional assistance, custom features and other benefits, including SLA (Service Level Agreements): https://www.libreoffice.org/download/libreoffice-in-business/.

          Despite this recommendation, an increasing number of enterprises have chosen the version supported by volunteers over the version optimized for their needs. This has had a twofold negative consequence for the project: a poor use of volunteers’ time, as they have to spend their time to solve problems for business that provide nothing in return to the community, and a net loss for ecosystem companies.

        • Download Now: LibreOffice 7.1 Released, This is What’s New

          The Document Foundation say the changes assembled within this release, which is the first major update to the vaunted productivity software this year, help make it the “best open source office suite ever”.

          In this post we run you through the key changes and additions on offer in this release, so read on for that. If you want to download LibreOffice 7.1 right now you can skip to the download section at the bottom of the post to avail yourself of various options.

        • LibreOffice 7.1 “Community” Edition Released
        • LibreOffice 7.1 Open-Source Office Suite Officially Released, This Is What’s New

          LibreOffice 7.1 introduces a new dialog that lets you select the User Interface flavor of your choice at first start, a new Additions Dialog that lets you search, download, and install extensions with a single click, as well as the ability to display all supported files when adding a new extension in the Extension Manager.

          LibreOffice 7.1 also improves the Print Preview dialog to make it update asynchronously and prevent it from blocking the user interface when adjusting settings in the Print Dialog. Moreover, this release improves the search functionality for a matching printer paper size for the printed document, and further improves the interoperability with Microsoft’s proprietary document formats (DOCX, XLSX and PPTX).

        • LibreOffice 7.1 Community released

          The LibreOffice 7.1 “Community” release is out. “LibreOffice 7.1 Community adds several interoperability improvements with DOCX/XLSX/PPTX files: improvements to Writer tables (better import/export and management of table functions, and better support for change tracking in floating tables); a better management of cached field results in Writer; support of spacing below the header’s last paragraph in DOC/DOCX files; and additional SmartArt improvements when importing PPTX files.” The announcement also goes on at length about the new “community” label and how this release “is not targeted at enterprises”.

      • CMS

        • The Month in WordPress: January 2021

          For WordPress, 2021 started on a high note. Read on to learn about updates from last month.

        • Top WordPress Alternatives | LinuxCloudVPS Blog

          One of the popular names in Content Management System (CMS) is WordPress but WordPress is not the only tool available to build and manage your website, there are other more useful alternatives available in the market.

          WordPress is scalable, powerful but it is also a complex software. Despite it offers the flexibility of customization, a wide range of themes and plugins, there are some disadvantages. If you are not technically sound, you will run into problems during the installation of WordPress and at some point, you may feel the need for hiring a developer for security checks and maintenance of your WordPress site. In order to avoid such situations, the article offers you a list of alternative tools.

      • Programming/Development

        • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache® DataSketches™ as a Top-Level Project : The Apache Software Foundation Blog

          The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today Apache® DataSketches™ as a Top-Level Project (TLP).

          Apache DataSketches is a highly performant Big Data analysis library for scalable approximate algorithms. The project originated at Yahoo in 2012, was open-sourced in 2015, and entered the Apache Incubator in March 2019.

          “We are excited to be part of the ASF,” said Lee Rhodes, Vice President of Apache DataSketches. “We have learned a great deal from the incubation process and look forward to working with new users of our library that want to take advantage of sketching technology.”

        • Qt 6.0.1 Released

          We have released today Qt 6.0.1, the first patch release to Qt 6.0 series. As a patch release, Qt 6.0.1 does not add any new functionality but provides bug fixes and other improvements.

          Compared to Qt 6.0.0, the new Qt 6.0.1 contains over 200 bug fixes.

        • Qt 6.0.1 Released With Over 200 Bug Fixes – Phoronix

          Following the December release of Qt 6.0, the Qt 6.0.1 toolkit is available today with the first batch of bug fixes to further stabilize the Qt6 code-base.


          With the Qt 6.1 feature freeze having begun this week already, new feature work is now focused on Qt 6.2. The Qt 6.1 feature release is expected to be out before the end of April.

        • Defining boundaries and interfaces in software development

          Zombies are bad at understanding boundaries. They trample over fences, tear down walls, and generally get into places they don’t belong. In the previous articles in this series, I explained why tackling coding problems all at once, as if they were hordes of zombies, is a mistake.

        • Releases

          • Andreas Schneider: socket_wrapper 1.3.0 and fd-passing

            A new version of socket_wrapper has just been released.

            In short, socket_wrapper is a library passing all socket communications through unix sockets. It aims to help client/server software development teams willing to gain full functional test coverage. It makes possible to run several instances of the full software stack on the same machine and perform locally functional testing of complex network configurations.

          • Daniel Stenberg: curl 7.75.0 is smaller

            There’s been another 56 day release cycle and here’s another curl release to chew on!

          • KeePassXC 2.6.4 released

            Today we are releasing the fourth 2.6 maintenance update, KeePassXC 2.6.4.

            This new version fixes various minor bugs, updates a vulnerable third-party dependency, and enables live theme switching. Whereas previously, the user had to restart KeePassXC in order to switch between light and dark mode, this can now be done at runtime without the need for a restart. On Windows and macOS, the application now also responds automatically to theme changes in the system, working much better with Big Sur’s “Auto” theme.

            The pre-built Windows and macOS binaries ship with an updated version of libgcrypt, (the third-party library we use for cryptographic primitives), which fixes a buffer overflow vulnerability. Since KeePassXC does not decrypt arbitrary untrusted data (TLS for fetching Favicons is not handled by libgcrypt), we believe the impact on our users to be low, but recommend upgrading ASAP nonetheless. AppImages for Linux ship with an older version of the library which was not affected.

          • KeePassXC 2.6.4 Released with Apple Silicon M1 Support

            The fourth maintenance update for KeePassXC 2.6 was released with various minor bug-fixes, and some new features.

            KeePassXC 2.6.4 now provides native ARM64 builds for the new Apple Silicon M1 Macs. For the time being, it comes without support for signed KeeShare containers due to dependency incompatibilities.

  • Leftovers

    • Ayu: Sri Lankan Film that Deconstructs the Structure of Samsara

      By the time I got the chance to watch the movie Ayu, I was personally experiencing a disturbed painful event. I was suffering from deep despondency due to a bitter and frightening experience I had to face at my workplace a day before my birthday. An event that I had never dreamed of was happening in front of me and it was difficult for me to even understand whether it was part of a movie or a real event that I would have to face in real life.

      Red eyes like a demon, a person full of evil behaviour and obscene words, threatening body language, death threats, etc. proved the complex mental confusion that a person suffers from. I thought that this was just another moment in my life as a devotee of the Buddha Dhamma. In other words, the practical reality of the Atalodahama (eight worldly conditions) preached by Gautama Buddha came before me. Living in this world, Buddha the enlightened-one says we constantly encounter the eight worldly conditions (Loka-dhamma), Labha (gain), Alabha (loss), Yasa ( fame/face ), Ayasa (obscurity), Ninda (blame ), Pasamsa (praise), Sukha (happiness), Dukkha (pain). As one author pointed out, “observing happiness and pain arising in the mind, and remaining open to them without attaching to or rejecting them, enables wisdom to grow in one’s heart, even in the most emotionally charged circumstances. Seeing these eight worldly states for what they are, and watching the mind’s reactions to them, gives rise to the liberating insight of the Buddha.”

    • Beware the Beginning of Unreason

      Ignorance doesn’t know it doesn’t know, so it’s hard to make a dent on it. When you add entitlement and hatred to it, ignorance hardens into violence and destruction.

      Our current state of affairs was long in the making but its undoing is happening quickly.

    • Sheltering In Place
    • The Resilience Doctrine: How Disasters Can Encourage Social Change

      Disasters sometimes have a way of focusing public attention on basic human needs and long-term ecological survival. According to the Shareable network, survival is not even possible without a “sharing transformation,” or “a movement of movements emerging from the grassroots up to solve today’s biggest challenges, which old, top-down institutions are failing to address….Amid crisis, a new way forward is emerging…The sharing transformation is big, global, and impacts every part of society. New and resurgent solutions are democratizing how we produce, consume, govern, and solve social problems….The sharing transformation shows that it’s possible to govern ourselves, build a green economy that serves everyone, and create meaningful lives together. It also shows that we can solve the world’s biggest challenges — like poverty and global warming — by unleashing the power of collaboration.”

      A focus on collaborative resilience can cut across ideological lines, and even take hold in normally conservative areas of the U.S. After a 2007 tornado leveled most of Greensburg, Kansas, city leaders decided to reconstruct the town using principles of sustainability. They rebuilt structures using energy-efficient designs, and ironically harnessed wind power to generate electricity. They also reoriented their local electoral systems around nonpartisan races, in order to increase political cooperation.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Small Amounts of All Drugs Are Now Decriminalized in Oregon
      • In Victory for Public Health, Federal Judge Scraps Trump’s Polluter-Friendly ‘Censored Science’ Rule

        “Science matters again, and it will again guide how to best protect people from dangerous pollution and toxic chemicals.”

      • ‘Pressure Works. And He’s Going to Need a Lot More’: Manchin Backs Fast Track Process for Covid-19 Relief

        The West Virginia senator also said he opposes raising the federal minimum wage to $15, setting up a potential clash with Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressives.

      • Latinx COVID Deaths Rise by 1,000 Percent in Los Angeles as Vaccine Rollout Lags
      • Latinx COVID Deaths Soar 1,000% in Los Angeles as Communities of Color Lag Behind in Vaccine Rollout

        Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Black and Latinx people in the United States have died at higher rates, and new data shows that they are getting vaccinated at much lower rates than white people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 60% of those vaccinated were white, while just 11.5% were Latinx, 6% were Asian, and just over 5% were Black. The CDC data is based on details gathered during the first month of the U.S. vaccination campaign that saw nearly 13 million Americans get a shot, though race and ethnicity was only known for about half of the recipients. Black and Latinx people continue to face a disproportionate risk for COVID-19 in their jobs as essential workers and are more likely to have preexisting conditions. “What we’re seeing illustrated is about 150 years of medical neglect,” says Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at UCLA School of Medicine. “These disparities didn’t suddenly appear nine months ago at the beginning of the pandemic. These disparities have been built in, decision by decision.”

      • FOSS Patents: Conservative politicians shouldn’t join Greens and communists in calls for compulsory licensing of COVID/mRNA vaccine patents

        This is the same Manfred Weber who lent unconditional support to the EPP’s Axel Voss MEP with respect to upload filters (EU Copyright Reform). In other words, he wants IP overenforcement against kids who upload videos from a private party to YouTube, with some commercial music playing in the background, but he wants to deprive the companies who made a miracle happen–the availability of multiple COVID-19 vaccines after such a short time–of their rights.

        His party, the CSU, is the regional sister party (comparable to the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party vs. the Democratic Party) of Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). It’s unlikely that he would toss out such an idea if it hadn’t at least been floating around in those circles.

        The EU is obviously in deep-shit trouble. In yesterday’s New York Times there was an article entitled Slow Pace of Vaccinations Pushes Europe Toward Second Economic Slump. The numbers speak a clear language: as of the start of February, Israel had administered at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to almost 60% of its population, the United Arab Emirates to approximately 35%, the UK to approximately 15%, the U.S. to approximately 10%, and the EU only to about 2%-3%. As I explained early last month, the EU’s purchasing decisions were wrong at any given point in time just based on then-available information (New York Times Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker)–and liability issues do not serve as an excuse, as it’s simply a reality in a seller’s market that not only prices but also other terms are impacted by the demand-supply discrepancy. And money could have solved the problem at the right time by enabling certain companies to invest in European manufacturing capacities early on–just what ex-president Trump achieved with his Operation Warp Speed program.


        What governments should do is incentivize such partnerships by making offers that enable both the inventor and the manufacturer to be generously rewarded. There’s this saying that you sometimes achieve more with a gun and a smile than with a smile alone. In this case, however, the solution is money, not governmental heavyhandedness like in a plan-based Soviet-style economy.

        I have to stress again that what I just wrote was only about COVID-19 vaccines. I do very much believe in the compulsory licensing of standard-essential patents (SEPs), as most of my readers know. But there’s a difference between a couple or a handful of patents reading on a COVID-19 vaccine, with enormous risks taken, and the hundreds of thousands of patents one could theoretically assert against a smartphone maker or automotive company–and no single one of which patents truly protects a major investment in research and development.

      • IFPMA interview: medicine access challenges ‘not remotely IP related’ [Ed: Liars and propagandists in the pockets of patent fanatics exploit the pandemic to reverse the truth and somehow claim that patents etc. are needed to combat COVID-19 (the opposite is true, they're an obstruction)]

        Komal Kalha reflects on the pharma industry’s response to COVID-19 and how the pandemic shows the need for a strong IP system

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • In Rust we trust: Shoring up Apache, ISRG ditches C, turns to wunderkind lang for new TLS crypto module • The Register

            At almost 26 years old, the Apache HTTP Server, known as httpd, has a memory problem: it is written in C, a language known among other things for its lack of memory safety.

            C requires programmers to pretty much manage computer memory themselves, which they don’t always do very well. And poor memory management can lead to memory errors like buffer overflows, null pointer dereferencing, and use-after-free() issues. The recent Libgcrypt bug offers an example of how C code snafus can cause problems.

            The httpd server has had memory safety bugs before, and because it’s still widely used, accounting for about a third of the web servers, the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) has decided to institute a repair program.


            “We currently live in a world where deploying a few million lines of C code on a network edge to handle requests is standard practice, despite all of the evidence we have that such behavior is unsafe,” said executive director Josh Aas in a blog post seen ahead of publication by The Register. “Our industry needs to get to a place where deploying code that isn’t memory safe to handle network traffic is widely understood to be dangerous and irresponsible.”

          • Sudo Bug Impacting macOS, Not Just Linux and BSD, Expert Says

            Attackers don’t require much to pull out the attack, as there is only one condition needed to exploit the bug: the attacker should have access to the system they want to hack.

            Unfortunately, this could be done easily by infecting the system with malware, or they could brute-force low-privileged service accounts.

          • Latest macOS Big Sur also has SUDO root privilege escalation flaw [Ed: Conflating operating systems or kernels with pertinent tools like sudo means that there are more misleading headlines out there]
          • Sudo vulnerability in macOS could give root privileges to local users
          • Whitespace Steganography Conceals Web Shell in PHP Malware

            Last November, we wrote about how attackers are using JavaScript injections to load malicious code from legitimate CSS files.

            At first glance, these injections didn’t appear to contain anything except for some benign CSS rules. A more thorough analysis of the .CSS file revealed 56,964 seemingly empty lines containing combinations of invisible tab (0×09), space (0×20), and line feed (0x0A) characters, which were converted to binary representation of characters and then to the text of an executable JavaScript code.

            It didn’t take long before we found the same approach used in PHP malware. Here’s what our malware analyst Liam Smith discovered while recently working on a site containing multiple backdoors and webshells uploaded by hackers.

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

            • Kobalos – A complex Linux threat to high performance computing infrastructure [Ed: It is not at all a "Linux" thing and they don't say what gets it there]
            • Linux malware Kobalos steals credentials using hacked OpenSSH software

              A trojanized version of OpenSSH software is being used to steal SSH credentials from high performance computing (HPC) clusters, reports security firm ESET. The Linux malware has been dubbed Kobalos, and is described as “small, yet complex” and “tricksy”.

              Despite its diminutive size, the Kobalos backdoor is hitting some major targets including government systems in the US, universities in Europe, and a major ISP in Asia. Security experts report that while the multiplatform backdoor works on Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris, “there are also artifacts indicating that variants of this malware may exist for AIX and even Windows”.

            • High-performance computing malware targeting Linux, Solaris and possibly Microsoft | SC Media
            • A New Linux Malware Targeting High-Performance Computing Clusters [Ed: It is not "Linux malware" but some malware that somehow finds its way into systems that only sometimes happen to run GNU/Linux (because it dominates this space completely)]

              High-performance computing clusters belonging to university networks as well as servers associated with government agencies, endpoint security vendors, and internet service providers have been targeted by a newly discovered backdoor that gives attackers the ability to execute arbitrary commands on the systems remotely.

              Cybersecurity firm ESET named the malware “Kobalos” — a nod to a “mischievous creature” of the same name from Greek mythology — for its “tiny code size and many tricks.”

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • San Francisco Takes Small Step to Establish Oversight Over Business Association Surveillance

              The resolution—passed in the wake of an EFF investigation, a lawsuit brought by local activists, and a sustained local coalition effort—challenging police use of the USBID camera network to monitor last summer’s protests – is non-binding and it will be up to City agencies to determine whether and how to carry out the request. We’ll be watching to see if the city follows through, but one thing we already know: much more must be done to address the problem.

              Under San Francisco’s surveillance oversight ordinance, the San Francisco Police Department and other City agencies are generally forbidden from using new surveillance technology without Board approval and a public process. Despite this requirement, during the height of the Black-led protests against police violence, the USBID provided SFPD with live access to its network of hundreds of cameras. Police investigators also requested and received a “data dump” of all images from certain cameras covering large portions of the protest. On behalf of three protesters, EFF and the ACLU of Northern California filed a lawsuit seeking a court order to stop the SFPD from acquiring, borrowing, or using non-city networks of surveillance cameras absent prior Board approval. The City’s resolution rightfully calls for more surveillance transparency and accountability from business improvement districts, but the onus is still on the City to ensure its departments fully comply with the surveillance ordinance.

              Instead, this resolution focuses on the troubling growth of these public-private camera networks. Over the last few years, several San Francisco business improvement districts and community benefit districts (essentially non-profits approved by the city to collect and spend property assessments) have accepted money from private donors to build out camera networks equipped with advanced video analytic capabilities. Another—the Castro Community Benefit District—has been weighing its own surveillance camera network, but delayed its vote on the issue after an SF Examiner investigation found that police had also accessed BID cameras in order to monitor San Francisco’s 2019 Pride Parade as well as Super Bowl celebrations.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The 10 Steps Biden Can Take to Promote Peace

        When it comes to war, if personnel is policy, America is yet again in deep trouble.

      • Biden’s Most Urgent Challenge: More Countries Wanting Nukes

        President Joseph Biden cut the throttle by agreeing to a five-year extension with Russia on their remaining nuclear arms treaty: the New SALT Treaty. But that single act is not enough to keep the U.S., Russia, and other countries, from flying off to seek security in possessing nuclear weapons. There must be a plan.

        First, a quick review of the Trump administration’s actions is in order. On August 2, 2019, the United States formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. It required the United States and the Soviet Union to verifiably eliminate all ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. With these range restrictions, missiles from Russia’s furthest western and eastern boundaries could not reach the lower 48 states or Hawaii. The 32-year-old treaty initiated an intrusive inspection regime, including on-site inspections, to maintain compliance. Over the past decade, the United States and Russia have charged the other country with not complying with the INF Treaty. Trump decided to “terminate” the agreement accusing the Russians again of noncompliance. As a non-sequitur, Trump also said he had concerns about China’s missiles. China is not part of the INF treaty; that concern could have been dealt with separately.

      • Republicans Who Incited Insurrection Still a ‘Danger to Their Colleagues,’ Warns AOC in Harrowing Account of Mob Attack

        “My story isn’t the only story, nor is it the central story of what happened on January 6th. It is just one story of many of those whose lives were endangered at the Capitol by the lies, threats, and violence fanned by the cowardice of people who chose personal gain above democracy.”

      • Opinion | Will the Space Force take the Pentagon Budget to Infinity and Beyond?

        While the Space Force represents just a small sliver of the Pentagon budget, it is in many ways the poster child for a Pentagon that knows no bounds, either budgetarily or physically.

      • Opinion | Could This Be the Smoking Gun of Trump’s January 6 Treason?

        If some of the available evidence bears out, this goes far beyond incitement.

      • Warren Blasts ‘Unconscionable’ $740 Billion Pentagon Budget While Millions Suffer From Poverty, Joblessness, and Covid-19

        “A budget is about priorities,” said the Democratic senator.

      • November 17th, 1973 and the Legacy of State Terror

        As always, there’s a lot happening in the world.  Ongoing wars between countries, civil wars within them and threats of war elsewhere; at least one full-blown famine; dramatically growing rates of poverty and hunger all over the place; attempted coups in some countries and successful coups in others, various national elections, multiple assassinations of political activists and journalists — all just in January alone.

        And even if the winter of 2021 were not quite so eventful, Greece is far away for most people in the world.  Recent Greek history, even more distant.  Which always seems especially unjust being here in the United States of Amnesia, the most forgetful place on Earth, because as with so much of the world, the modern history of the US is inextricably tied up with the modern history of Greece, from the massacre that gave rise to 17N, to the fact that members of this long-disbanded armed group are being singled out for persecution in Greek prisons today.

      • The New Humanitarian | Hunger deaths aren’t simply about famine or no famine

        But a declaration of famine – or the lack thereof – doesn’t tell the whole story: After years of violent conflict, lives are likely being lost every day in both Yemen and South Sudan from hunger and malnutrition-related causes.

        The way we analyse and determine famine – the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) system, which we are all involved in – frequently doesn’t have information about deaths in real time, and doesn’t assess cumulative mortality. Intended as a technical analysis of food security, it amalgamates different kinds of information into a single analysis, classifying the severity of a food security and nutrition crisis. These classifications, called “Phases”, range from no or minimal food insecurity, which is Phase 1, through to the most severe: famine, which is Phase 5.

        To designate a famine, specific thresholds of hunger, malnutrition, and mortality must be surpassed. But establishing this can be hard. In places that are difficult to access because of conflict, figures are frequently incomplete and some may be out of date. In South Sudan and Yemen, mortality numbers are often missing because authorities have not permitted country-wide data collection.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Opinion | The Oligarchy Knows Class Warfare Is the Real Fight—Why Don’t Liberals?

        The Democrats and Republicans have legalized a level of greed and fraud that even heirs of the robber barons thought unsustainable.

      • Opinion | So-Called “Moderates” Always Say Helping the Poor Costs Too Much—But Their Lavish Gifts to the Rich Give Them Away

        Are they totally without memory or shame? These are the same Republican senators who used reconciliation to pass the Trump tax cuts that larded billions in tax breaks on the richest Americans.

      • The Paradoxical Politics of the GameStop Pump

        We are now barreling into our third week of financial meme hell. Video game retailer GameStop’s stock rose over 1,000 percent after it was championed by the r/WallStreetBets subreddit. The stock fell 30 percent on Monday, however, leading many to believe a crash may be imminent.

      • Polls Show Major Support for Biden’s Stimulus Plan That GOP Wants to Undercut
      • The Politics of Debt Can Strangle a Society, Just Look at What Happened to Rome

        Creating massive amounts of debt is always the final and ultimately futile attempt of continuing a no longer viable status quo. In our case, the status quo is euphemistically known as the “American Dream” – the industrial, militaristic, resource intensive, hyper-consumptive, post-World War II American lifestyle. Every year for a half-century now, despite the massive rise of debt, the Dream increasingly moves beyond the grasp of an ever greater number of Americans and America itself.

        Excessive debt gradually becomes its own tyrant, the past rules exclusively, trampling on the future. A most relevant historical lesson is the Roman republic. In the last century of the republic’s five hundred year run, a debt drenched culture became a dominant political issue. Importantly, just as with the US today, debt was not a cause, but a symptom of a changed political economy. Once the economically distributed yeoman farm republic conquered the Mediterranean, the numerous independent small farms were gradually consolidated into a small number of massive slave plantations. Cheap goods poured in from across the sea, wealth concentrating in ever fewer hands. The Roman citizenry left the countryside and congregated in Rome.

      • Gamestop and the Game That Never Stops!

        The Facts

        Earlier in the week stock day traders gathered on the platform called Reddit in what’s called a  crowdsourcing event. They communicated among themselves in a forum called ‘WallStBets’ and as a group began betting up the stock price of Gamestop, using the no cost stock trading platform called ‘Robinhood’. Similar moves were made against the movie theater chain, AMC, also in big financial trouble, with little revenue coming in but loaded up with mountains of junk debt. A couple other companies in similar condition were targeted by the day traders as well.  Stock prices of these companies—all losers or about to be losers—were in a matter of hours driven to record heights in some cases—as if these companies were raking in profits like a Tesla or Google. But there were no fundamental reasons for the price acceleration; in fact just the opposite.  Betting so, hedge funds and other financial market speculators were short selling their stock, betting their price would fall; and by ‘short selling’ they were actually manipulating the stock to force a price decline.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | A Ten-Point Plan to Make Joe Biden a Peace-Time President

        After two decades of war and four administrations, it won’t be easy to work for peace—but it sure is worth the try.

      • Progressive PAC Wants to Find the “Next AOC” to Replace Manchin and Sinema
      • Opinion | On Sunday Shows, the Only Biden ‘Promise’ That Matters Is Compromise

        Democrats rode to victory in Georgia on a clear promise to give people $2,000 checks if they were given control of the Senate. But to hear corporate media tell it, the more important promise—and the only one they will hold him accountable for—is one Biden never even made.

      • At Long Last, a President Declares That the Era of Small Government Is Over

        President Biden’s first 10 days in office featured a blizzard of executive orders. As expected, most reversed various Trump catastrophes: rejoining both the Paris climate agreement and the World Health Organization, terminating the building of the border wall, scrapping the Muslim entry ban, and more. Given the new president’s past preference for compromise over boldness, one might have expected him to be content with a mere restoration of the status quo at the end of the Obama presidency. Surprisingly, however, in his first 10 days, Biden has demonstrated that he intends to be a transformative, not a transitional president—launching initiatives that go beyond those of the Obama era. At long last, a Democratic president is declaring that the era of small government is over.

      • Opinion | Biden’s Child Tax Credit Plan Could Right a Historical Wrong

        One lesson from 2020 is that economic and racial inequality are intrinsic challenges that have been either swept under the rug or addressed at the margins for far too long.

      • The Imperial Presidency Has Come Home to Roost

        Joe Biden’s got a problem—and so do I. And so, in fact, do we.

      • House Impeachment Managers Argue Trump Aimed Violent Mob at Capitol ‘Like a Loaded Cannon’

        Pre-trial brief says the former U.S. president bears “singular responsibility” for inciting January 6 insurrection.

      • Lindsey Graham Under Fire for Latest Blockade of Merrick Garland’s Senate Confirmation

        “If Sen. Graham refuses to work in good faith to quickly confirm President Biden’s highly qualified nominees, then it’s time for him to step aside and let more serious legislators get to work.”

      • Behind the Scenes: Personnel as Policy in the Biden Administration

        President Biden is filling out his administration with some of the most diverse, progressive appointees in history. That is no accident.

      • White House Briefings for Children: Jen Psaki Circles Back

        The press secretary’s job, in any traditional sense, is to dissemble, defend and justify the ill thought out or executed policies of the commander-in-chief. The briefing room is a place to stifle and shape rather than enlighten or inform. The new press secretary seems to think differently, she who is clear about “a common goal, which is sharing accurate information with the American people.”

        Her January 20 briefing was tarted up by a deal of dangerous sincerity that marks the well-meaning ideologue. She reminded the press of having “travelled the world on trips to promote democracy, where I saw the power of the United States and, of course, the power of this podium, and the power of truth, and of the importance of setting an example of engagement and transparency.”

      • Russia Confronts International Law: Nyet, Nyet

        In the Trump era of autocratic hero worship, as rulers suppress protests and judges fawn before the executive branch, the fragility of international law has become more tenuous than usual. If domestic law is frequently sidelined, what chance has international law? For where domestic courts have clear jurisdiction with penalties if invoked, international courts like the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) have moral authority but little more. International courts are to domestic courts as Chihuahuas are to Doberman pinchers – lots of noise with little bite.

        And yet. Last week the ECHR made two decisions that should be noticed. First, the court ruled that Russia committed serious human rights violations during its brief 2008 war with Georgia.

      • Trump Aimed His Mob “Like a Loaded Cannon” at Capitol, Impeachment Filing Claims
      • Giants: The Global Power Elite – Rebroadcast – The Project Censored Show
      • After Ignoring Reality Winner’s Case, MSNBC Uses Her To Attack Edward Snowden

        Three and a half years after NSA whistleblower Reality Winner was arrested and charged under the Espionage Act, MSNBC finally invited her mother Billie Winner-Davis on the network on January 29. Billie was able to share her message on why Reality Winner deserves compassionate release from federal prison during a pandemic.

        The segment on “The ReidOut,” hosted by Joy Reid, was a worthwhile opportunity to speak to a national audience and potentially reach staff in President Joe Biden’s administration. However, to justify giving Winner-Davis air time, the segment was crafted in a partisan and warped manner that demonized anyone who supports NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden over Reality Winner.

      • The Return of the Regulators

        During the first week and a half of the Biden administration, Americans have been treated to an unusual sight in Washington: regulators who believe in regulation. Donald Trump seemed to scour the earth for candidates who would produce the most liberal tears, appointing former lobbyists, financiers, ideologues and corporate titans.

        President Joe Biden’s appointees and nominees, by contrast, do not adamantly oppose the mission of the agencies they aspire to lead. More than that: Some of his early choices are among the most aggressive financial and corporate regulators of recent years.

      • AOC Says She Went Into Hiding Prior to January 6, Fearing for Her Life
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Federal Court Tosses Constitutional Challenge Of FOSTA Brought By The Only Person The Feds Have Used FOSTA Against

        Another constitutional challenge to FOSTA has failed, at least for the time being. The bill no one in law enforcement thought would actually help combat sex trafficking became law in early 2018. Since then, it has had zero effect on sex trafficking. And the impetus for its creation — the prosecution of Backpage execs — proceeded right along without the law in place.

      • No Section 230 Has Nothing To Do With Horrific NY Times Story Of Online Stalker Getting Revenge For Decades’ Old Slight

        If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend Kash Hill’s incredible NY Times story about a clearly disturbed individual, who admits to “suffering from severe mental health illnesses,” who filled the web with horribly defamatory information about a random guy and everyone in his family. It turned out that the reason appeared to be that nearly 30 years ago, the guy’s father had fired the woman from her job in a real estate office. The story is all too familiar to anyone who has experienced harassment online. One of the tactics used was posting completely made up information on a variety of “gripe sites,” many of which do very little moderation, or will only take down information if you pay. These sites often fill up with garbage, and certain people have learned to abuse those sites. Indeed, there seem to be a few people who regularly attack everyone they feel has wronged them using such sites.

      • Professional Assholes Equate Consequences With ‘Cancel Culture’ To Obscure That They’re Finally Being Held Accountable

        You may recall, last summer, there was a big dustup regarding a letter published in Harper’s Magazine about cancel culture (though it didn’t use that term). I pointed out the irony of a bunch of very famous writers whining about being silenced and even took a shot at what a much better letter could have said. Harper’s even asked me to pen a response to the letter which it published (though, it only gave me a limited amount of space, and complained about some of what I originally submitted, which I — at least — found amusingly ironic).

      • Can Government Officials Block You on Social Media? A New Decision Makes the Law Murkier, But Users Still Have Substantial Rights

        It’s now common practice for politicians and other government officials to make major policy announcements on Twitter and other social media forums. That’s continuing to raise important questions about who can read those announcements, and what happens when people are blocked from accessing and commenting on important social media feeds. A new decision out of a federal appeals court affirms much of the public’s right to read and reply to these government communications, but muddies one particular, commonly occurring issue.

        This case, Campbell v. Reisch, involves a Twitter account belonging to Missouri state representative Cheri Reisch. In 2018, Reisch blocked her constituent, Mike Campbell, after Campbell retweeted a comment critical of her. Campbell filed a lawsuit arguing that the First Amendment protects his right to access information from Reisch’s account, and asked the court to order Reisch to unblock him. Reisch appealed to the Eighth Circuit, claiming that Campbell had no First Amendment right to follow her account because it was her personal campaign account and not her official government account. EFF filed an amicus brief in support of Campbell, as did the Knight First Amendment Institute.

        The Eighth Circuit joined other federal appeals courts that have addressed similar cases in acknowledging that the public has a right to access official communications on social media. Just as the Second Circuit found in Knight First Amendment Institute v. Trump, the Eighth Circuit concluded that even government officials’ nominally private accounts can in fact be used for official purposes—in which case it would violate the First Amendment for these accounts to block followers based on their viewpoints. The Eighth Circuit made it clear that “the essential character of a Twitter account” is not “fixed forever,” explaining that “[a] private account can turn into a governmental one if it becomes an organ of official business.”

      • Spanish site-blocking ruling a ‘natural evolution’ of orders

        A court has barred access to websites offering technology circumvention methods, a move counsel say could spur a wave of new EU blocking orders

      • Op-ed by EU Commission president reflects floating border between censorship and competition issues surrounding digital platforms

        Policy makers and opinion leaders increasingly distinguish between the desirability (or at least understandability) of major digital platforms blocking Donald Trump’s accounts and the broader implications of private-sector regulators having such enormous power. It already came a bit of a surprise that German chancellor Angela Merkel, never one to like Trump’s political positions and style, raised concerns over Twitter’s decision to ban The Donald (for my position on impeachment, see this recent post). Last week, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in a German-language op-ed that it might have been “tempting” for Twitter to block Trump’s account, but such a far-reaching restriction of the right to free speech shouldn’t be decided by companies: the framework must be set by lawmakers.

        President von der Leyen’s op-ed (which is a reply to an open letter by Axel Springer CEO Matthias Doepfner). Without making a clear distinction between censorship and competition, she acknowledges Mr. Doepfner’s concern over Big Tech’s unfettered power, and touts the Commission’s proposals for a Digital Markets Act and a Digital Services Act.

        On the subject of the Digital Markets Act I strongly recommend this panel discussion hosted by the UK-based Centre for Competition Policy. One of the panelists, Professor Damien Geradin of Brussels-based Geradin Partners, regularly writes about these policy topics on his Platform Law Blog, which I strongly recommend (just like I’ve repeatedly recommended Professor Thomas Cotter’s Comparative Patent Remedies blog on patent remedies and, particularly, FRAND licensing issues.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • ‘We Will Hold Him Accountable Until He Does’: 110+ Groups Demand Biden Close Gitmo Without Delay

        Rights advocates urged the president to act “in a just manner that considers the harm done to the men who have been imprisoned without charge or fair trials for nearly 20 years.”

      • The Body, the State, the Border: On Cristina Rivera Garza

        When writing about the contemporary US-Mexico border, many describe it as a space in flux—a place that is neither here nor there, a porous in-between zone created by the exchange of people, goods, and ideas that flow across it. It is a place that defies neat categorization, in part because of the many people who occupy the same lands their ancestors once did, long before our nations drew their current bounds. People whose lineages criss-cross and contradict this area’s divisions, whose languages are mixed and multiple, who embody a place that is always in between. 1

      • ‘Get These Agencies Under Control Immediately’: Despite Biden Moratorium, ICE and CBP Deport Hundreds

        “Don’t. Look. Away. We can’t trust ICE and CBP, even if their boss is a Democrat.”

      • Saxony’s New Nazis

        In contrast to West Germany, where the streets are well lighted and where flashy advertisements are continuously pushed into your face to sell things no one needs for money we don’t have in order to impress people we don’t even like, West-Germany’s counterpart – the Soviet-style German Democratic Republic – was less well lit and goods were on-sale in dingy state-run shops. Cold war rhetoric sold this as a moral darkness, while today, many would say it saved energy.

        Yet the term Dark-Germany also implies that people have been kept in the dark by something that might be called, in an allusion to the farming of mushrooms in basement tubs of manure: mushroom politics. Keep them in the dark and feed them shit. Over the past three decades since re-unification, Saxony has become unusually conservative, even by German standards. In 2019, Germany’s crypto-Neo-Nazi party AfD received almost 30% in Saxony’s state election, up from 25% in Germany’s 2017 federal election. Nevertheless, Saxony’s premier is a Merkel-type conservative, Michael Kretschmer.

      • Illinois May Be First State to Eliminate Money Bail, But the Fight Isn’t Over
      • Texas Immigration Lawyer Sues DHS, CBP Over Seizure And Search Of His Work Phone

        A Texas immigration lawyer is suing the DHS and CBP over one of its infamous border device searches. His attempt to keep the federal government from accessing privileged attorney-client communications was rebuffed by CBP officers who decided they’d just keep his phone until they were able to access the contents. This is especially problematic considering the lawyer, Adam Malik, is representing clients currently engaged in lawsuits and other legal actions against or involving both the DHS and CBP. (via ABA Journal)

      • Supreme Court sides with Germany: Immunity against Lawsuit for Taking Domestic Property

        The Supreme Court has issued a unanimous decision in the stolen-art case of Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp.

        The claimants in the case are heirs to German Jewish art dealers who purchased a set of medieval Christian relics known as the Guelph Treasure (Welfenschatz) from the Duke of Brunswick in 1929 (although by then the Duke had already abdicated).

        As the Nazi government rose to power, the dealers were coerced to sell the collection back to the State (Prussia), allegedly for for 1/3 of their value. After WWII, the US took possession of the collection but then later handed the collection back to Germany and the art is on display in a Berlin museum.

        The heirs perused claims in Germany, but the special German Advisory Commission for the Return of Cultural Property Seized as a Result of Nazi Persecution, Especially Jewish Property found that the sale had not been taken under duress.

      • The New Humanitarian | Rethinking Humanitarianism podcast: Inside the donor mindset

        Aly, director of The New Humanitarian, talks with Michael Koehler, deputy director general of the European Commission’s humanitarian aid arm, ECHO, and Ruairí De Búrca, director general of Irish Aid, to find out what it’s like to be in their shoes: what does the political economy of UN reform and localisation look like from a donor perspective; and how would they address rising needs at a time of likely shrinking donor budgets?

      • The New Humanitarian | Cubans find EU asylum challenges and false hope in French Guiana

        French Guiana in South America has emerged as a key destination and transit point for migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach Europe, attracting thousands in 2020 from as far away as Syria and Yemen, as well as many Haitians, Venezuelans, and now Cubans.
        Over the past six years, the influx has grown steadily, placing what little infrastructure there is in the French overseas territory under severe stress and leaving many of those hoping to start new lives struggling to get by and with little assistance.
        Boris R. Thebia, a Montreal-based photojournalist, recently returned to his hometown of Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana, to discover how it had become a way station for Europe-bound asylum seekers.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • AT&T & Verizon Got Billions From Government, Yet Laid Off 95,000 People In Just Five Years

        You’d be hard pressed to find a sector that has benefited more from the Trump era than telecom. In the last four years, telecom monopolies not only received billions in tax cuts (AT&T nabbed an estimated $42 billion in tax breaks alone), they convinced the Trump administration to effectively neuter the FCC’s consumer protection authority, a move arguably worth countless billions more. In both instances these perks were doled out under the auspices that this would drive hiring and network investment. In reality, not only did that not happen, but the opposite happened.

      • Ofcom Details New UK Broadband ISP Switching Process for 2022 – ISPreview UK

        As expected the UK telecoms regulator has today published detailed proposals for a new simpler “one touch” switching process for all broadband customers, which from December 2022 will make it easier for consumers to switch between ISPs on physically separate networks (e.g. Openreach’s full fibre to Cityfibre or Virgin Media etc.).

        The planned changes were formally confirmed in Ofcom’s October 2020 statement (here), which covered their implementation plans for the new European Electronic Communications Code (EECC). However, this only set out a broad overview of what they planned to do, while the exact details were left until today.

    • Monopolies

      • Discussion with Peter Schiff about Patent, Copyright, and Bitcoin

        Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 316. At the prodding of Peter Schiff’s son, who, unlike his dad, is anarchist, pro-bitcoin, and opposed to intellectual property, I had a discussion with Peter about IP. Didn’t fully succeed in converting him to the anti-IP cause, but made a bit of headway.

      • How Will Harris Influence IP Law in the Biden Administration?

        In a previous column we probed some of intellectual property protection policies that the Biden administration may undertake in the coming months to put its own stamp on U.S. intellectual property (IP) law. Biden has already committed to treating intellectual property as a core national and economic security concern, and we can expect that his administration will continue many of the broad policy outlines established across the Bush, Obama, and even Trump presidencies.

        Today we take a closer look at the IP policies favored by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and in particular the DEFEND act, a piece of legislation sponsored by the incoming vice president during her time in the Senate. Harris had a history of pursuing IP violators even before she entered the Senate. As attorney general of California, she sued textile producers in India and China for copyright piracy, and also for the misappropriation of properly licensed software. As vice president, Harris will have influence both over executive branch policy and legislation while presiding over a closely divided Senate.


        Overall, we can expect Harris’ influence on the Biden administration’s IP policy to be strongly in favor of creating and enhancing multifaceted policies for countering trade secret theft, framed within a general pursuit of relatively open trading policies. Taken together, the Biden-Harris intellectual property policies seem geared toward increasing protection for U.S. firms abroad while also enabling those firms to capture some of the gains of international supply chains. That represents a fine-tuning of Obama-Biden administration policies, and a turning away from some of the more protectionist measures pursued by the Trump administration.

      • Patents

        • FOSS Patents: Latest litigation results (in Lenovo dispute) call into question whether Nokia is entitled to any H.264-related patent royalties

          The fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) royalty rate for Nokia’s entire portfolio of video codec patents allegedly essential to the H.264 standard may be ZERO. Or at least not much more than that, unless Nokia stages an unprecedented turnaround in its SEP dispute with Chinese computer maker Lenovo.

          When all is said and done, it’s possible that a number of licensing executives in the industry will realize they shouldn’t have met Nokia’s H.264-related royalty demands: they should all have defended themselves like Lenovo. Now it’s too late: license agreements generally don’t allow a recovery of fees that could have been avoided by litigation. Don’t feed the troll!

          Lenovo, by the way, is not merely defending itself super-successfully against Nokia’s infringement cases, but also brought a FRAND complaint against the failed handset maker in the Northern District of California late last year (allegations of ambush tactics included).

          The state of play in Nokia v. Lenovo is a total disaster so far for the Finnish plaintiff. The only victory in a German regional court that Nokia had scored was short-lived: the Munich Higher Regional Court stayed enforcement because the patent-in-suit appears invalid. Yesterday (February 02, 2021) the Mannheim Regional Court rejected Nokia’s complaint over EP1186177 on “a method and associated device for filtering digital video images.” That patent is so old that Nokia couldn’t have obtained an injunction anymore. On Friday (January 29, 2021) the same court held a trial over EP1512115 on “spatial prediction based intra coding” and urged Nokia to stipulate to a stay pending the parallel nullity proceeding before the Federal Patent Court. Nokia consented (otherwise the court would almost certainly have stayed the case anyway). And there was another Mannheim case I never reported on: EP1287705 on “video coding” was not infringed.

        • Ignoring Information Quality

          Entry into the patent system is guarded by an examination process to screen out applications that impose undue costs on the public without commensurate benefit. To do this, patent examiners rely heavily on various pieces of information—both provided by the patent applicant and independently discovered by the examiner—to assess whether an application should be granted. This Article shows that there are few mechanisms at the Patent Office to question the veracity of this information, even though it may be incorrect. Rather, patent examination often assumes that existence of information equals accuracy of information. Consequently, examiners may rely on information that is wrong and many decisions about patent grant may also be wrong.

          While it is well known that patent examiners make frequent errors, the existing scholarship is almost entirely about what this Article terms “matching” errors (where examiners do not find information that actually exists) whereas “digging” errors (where examiners find information but the information is wrong) may in fact be more common. Digging errors have serious harms: nuisance suits, decreased incentives for research, and slowed technological development. The matching-digging framework introduced by this Article not only reveals new errors, it also makes the case that existing policy tools to address examination errors will not prevent or resolve these errors. Existing policy tools require that errors be visible to the public, which is true for matching errors but is not true for digging errors. Solutions to digging errors should therefore be information-forcing to remedy this asymmetry; and this Article includes several recommendations. Further, this Article uses the matching-digging framework to reconceptualize examination as a system of quasi-registration that defers many decisions about patentability to litigation. Patents should thus not be given a presumption of validity and doctrines of patentability as applied in litigation should not mimic their prosecution counterparts.

        • The Damaging Myth of Patent Exhaustion

          Patent exhaustion enjoys a reputation as a well-established doctrine of “over 160 years” with a further “impeccable historic pedigree” reaching back to Lord Coke’s seventeenth century property writings. The doctrine allows purchasers of patented goods to use those items according to common expectations without obtaining a further license. Its impact is both widespread and hotly debated in our technology-based economy where innovative product distribution models are constantly introduced. But the doctrine’s historical reputation is not well deserved. In fact, the modern account of the doctrine’s origin is both thin and demonstrably wrong—it is based on selective quotes from Coke’s annotation of a real property treatise and Chief Justice Taney’s dicta from a mid-nineteenth century opinion, both of which are taken out of context and do not support any sweeping rule of exhaustion.

          The Supreme Court’s recent embrace of that modern account is not merely bad history; it also misses the serious implications that the revisionist history could have for central contract and property law mechanisms, including conditions precedent and subsequent. Either patentees have powerful work-arounds for a purported bright line exhaustion rule through the contractual clauses that maintain reversionary interests, or the common law of property and contract have suffered serious collateral damage in service of a historical myth. This Article introduces extensive original research on the history both of the rule against restraints on alienation of property and of “patent exhaustion” to argue that—contrary to the dominant modern account—certain restrictions on the use of purchased (patented) goods based on conditional transfers of property title have been carefully preserved by courts.

        • European patent firms increase hourly rates, despite coronavirus

          In Europe, the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage on. Many economic sectors are close to being on their knees. Others, like the life sciences sector, are booming. This is thanks to the unprecedented demand for respirators, analytical equipment and vaccines to help combat the COVID-19 virus.

          Moreover, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has not fazed European patent firms. Patent law outfits have maintained, or even slightly raised, their hourly rates. Indeed, according to data from 52 firms from France, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, during 2020 European patent firm fees saw an increase of between 3.5 and 4.8%.

          Interestingly, hourly rates for partners and associates have recently increased to different degrees. Firms did not raise their hourly rates evenly across litigation, prosecution and advisory work. However, rates in litigation experienced the weakest growth.


          Purely in terms of the number of patent attorney firms in both countries, UK and Germany firms share the bulk of European prosecution work. UK firm partners charge around 150 euros more than their German counterparts, with UK firms charging an average of 60 euros more for an associate than a German firm. Partners and associates from French firms lag slightly behind. (See: No common market in European prosecution work)

          Here, differences in the filing of national patents may have an impact. But, since most of the firms’ work goes into filing European patents, the different hourly rates in this segment are surprising. After all, French, German and UK patent attorneys operate in a common market before the EPO.

          The question arises as to why a company should pay different fees to French, German or UK patent attorneys to file a European patent. Perhaps higher costs for travelling to Munich or The Hague could objectively justify this.

          But the EPO is looking to switch to more frequent oral hearings. As such, travel costs could cease to be a future argument. It is unlikely that patent attorney prices will come under pressure any time soon. On the contrary, only a few firms with a high backlog are likely to raise their hourly rates in coronavirus times.

        • Valve to lose $4 million for patent infringement with the Steam Controller | GamingOnLinux

          Valve are yet again hitting the spotlight for the wrong reasons following the ruling from the EU Commission over geo-blocking, a lawsuit involving game pricing and now the Steam Controller too.

          The lawsuit involved Ironburg Inventions (a subsidiary of Corsair Gaming), who have a patent for a game controller that has back paddles and they’ve held the patent since 2014. According to the press release, Valve lost the case and so “the jury unanimously found that Valve Corp infringed Ironburg’s 8,641,525 controller patent and awarded Ironburg over $4 million” additionally Valve were apparently aware of it and so the infringement was “willful”. Due to this, there’s a potential for “enhanced damages up to the statutory limit of treble damages” so the $4 million figure is only the beginning.

        • Software Patents

          • Personalized Media Communications, LLC v. Apple, Inc. (E.D. Tex. 2021)

            Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division ruled that Defendant Apple, Inc. (hereinafter “Apple”) failed to show that claims related to signal processing are patent ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

            Plaintiff Personalized Media Communications, LLC (hereinafter “PMC”) asserted that Apple infringed PMC’s U.S. Patent. No. 8,191,091 (the ’091 patent). Apple had moved to dismiss all claims of the ’091 patent as directed to ineligible subject matter. The Court denied this motion to dismiss, finding that the ’091 patent claims to be patent-eligible. Apple then moved for summary judgement that all the claims of the ’091 patent are invalid under § 101. (Apple’s motion also moved for relief under § 101 with respect to PMC’s U.S. Patent Nos. 8,559,635 and 7,752,649, but only the ’091 patent was addressed by the Court in the present decision due to it being the only patent set for trial at the time.)


            The Court nevertheless proceeded with its § 101 analysis, referring yet again to its previous finding that, even if the claims were directed to an abstract idea, additional elements in the claims would transform them into patent-eligible applications of that idea…

          • Apple granted patent for face biometrics occlusion assessment

            A patent newly granted to Apple reveals a method for using ‘heat maps’ to biometrically identify and authenticate a Face ID user whose face is blocked by an object like a mask or their hair.

            The patent for ‘Occlusion detection for facial recognition processes’ was awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and describes heat maps estimating the location of facial features (or “landmarks”) like the user’s eyes, mouth and nose. The heat map can also include values to represent facial regions that are occluded, and use it in combination with the estimated feature locations to assess landmark occlusion by overlaying the occlusion heat map onto the map if features.

            That assessment can in turn be applied to control biometric authentication or other operations. The patent document says occlusion assessments above a certain threshold would prompt the system to discard the image, preventing the device from being unlocked with biometrics.

          • Apple fails to overturn VirnetX patent verdict, could owe over $1.1 billion

            A federal judge denied Apple Inc’s bid to set aside or reduce a $502.8 million patent infringement verdict favoring VirnetX Holding Corp, and awarded interest and royalties that could boost Apple’s total payout in two lawsuits above $1.1 billion.


            Apple, based in Cupertino, California, and VirnetX, based in Zephyr Cove, Nevada, have battled in patent litigation for more than a decade.

            Last March, Apple paid VirnetX $454 million after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the iPhone maker’s appeal in an earlier patent case.

            In a Dec. 18 court filing, Apple said the latest award could boost its payout in both cases to $1.116 billion.

Leaked FSFE Diversity Strategy Contains Misogyny

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software at 9:50 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship

As the fallout of the FSFE stalking scandal continues, we are publishing below the leaked FSFE diversity strategy.

Here are the highlights we identified:

For the FSFE front page we asked women to provide quotes with picture:
This worked for Amaelle. Other female contributors were also initially
interested in providing a quote, but other constrains prevented them
from doing so.

What is the real reason women don’t want their name and picture on the FSFE web site?

At our events we encourage female speakers, as well as new speakers,
and from different countries (e.g. LLW, but also at the summit).

FSFE’s biggest event is LLW but it is never advertised. The registration process and the Call for Papers are hidden from the former Fellows and the Supporters. Women will not participate in other Free Software events as long as the biggest events, like LLW, are hidden in the shadows.

For internships we meanwhile give preference to women.

Women employed as interns, men employed on permanent contracts. As the recent court case demonstrates, all women on permanent contracts were sacked for talking about equality. What Matthias Kirschner describes is analogous to the Untermensch concept from the Third Reich. This isn’t the first time we find Kirschner’s conduct is close to that of the Third Reich.

Olga Gkotsopoulou, FSFE, open source, intern, internship, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, VUB, law

we also encourage female interns to stay active in the
FSFE after their internships:

  • We hired Polina (resigned after FSFE/LLW Conflict of Interest scandal) after her internship
  • Nikos is currently talking with Olga about her becoming the Greek
    deputy coordinator
  • With Lucile we have regular contact and invite her to meetings (she
    has very little time).
  • We work a lot with Eszter, who is now assistent of Julia Reda, but
    it might be difficult to include her further at the moment.
  • Lusy
    is at the moment organising a Free Software event and
    coordinating with Matthias.

Why would Olga Gkotsopoulou, a woman from Greece, want to continue working for Free after her paid German internship ends? Why would a woman in Greece want to send money to a misogynist in Berlin? What will this Greek money be used for, hiring more female interns in Kirschner’s cramped little office?

Kirschner appears to be delusional about his obligation to pay people. An internship is a contract that ensures the woman can never acquire maternity rights, the contract always finishes before they can become pregnant. Women resent this.

### In Progress

  • Finish and implement Code of Conduct:
    • Continue with the CoC, implement it, also against some critism (Erik
      worked on it with Heiki, but as it should be valid for the whole
      organisation so we said it would be good that we do not have several
      CoCs in the FSFE but try to merge it with the LLW CoC).
    • help our groups to enforce it with a training about that topic next
      year (for the LLW Polina worked on a detailed guide what to keep in
      mind about that)

This was the only definite action from the strategy, another Code of Conduct. The way Kirschner went to this woman’s home demonstrates the reality of the Code of Conduct: leaders of open source organizations see themselves as God, they can do whatever they want and only apply their “enforcement” venom to their political rivals.

Olga Gkotsopoulou, FSFE, open source, intern, internship, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, VUB, law

The FSFE diversity strategy in full

Subject: Re: diversity and expanding the GA

Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2017 10:51:58 +0000

From: Matthias Kirschner <mk@fsfe.org>

To: ga@fsfeurope.org

Dear GA members,

thank you all for raising your points in this thread. As Hugo pointed
out we repeatedly had that discussion, and also worked on some points.
Still there were some new ideas in the thread and from the Council we
suggest a few action items to make further progress. But first, so that
everybody is on the same page, some examples of existing activities on
that topic.

## Some examples of what we already do/did

  • When we have pictures on our website we try to have equal wo/man on
    them. For example have a look at
    https://fsfe.org/campaigns/ilovefs/whylovefs/gallery.en.html (this
    year we had some additions, before IIRC the ratio was better).
  • For the FSFE front page we asked women to provide quotes with picture:
    This worked for Amaelle. Other female contributors were also initially
    interested in providing a quote, but other constrains prevented them
    from doing so.
  • At our events we encourage female speakers, as well as new speakers,
    and from different countries (e.g. LLW, but also at the summit).
    Although we have the same problem most conferences have, that is is
    really difficult to achieve that.
  • For the Legal Network council we started by picking the same ratio
    with men as with women.
  • For internships we meanwhile give preference to women. One reason is
    also because becoming intern is also increasing the chance to become
    an employment in the Free Software area.
    (https://fsfe.org/contribute/internship.en.html says “We want more
    women to be involved in Free Software. That’s why we will give
    preference to applications from suitably qualified female
  • As with males we also encourage female interns to stay active in the
    FSFE after their internships:

    • We hired Polina (resigned after FSFE/LLW Conflict of Interest scandal) after her internship
    • Nikos is currently talking with Olga about her becoming the Greek
      deputy coordinator.
    • With Lucile we have regular contact and invite her to meetings (she
      has very little time).
    • We work a lot with Eszter, who is now assistent of Julia Reda, but
      it might be difficult to include her further at the moment.
    • Lusy
      is at the moment organising a Free Software event and
      coordinating with Matthias.
  • Staff was following-up with proposals from the past. For example
    Patrick Ohnewein before proposed Sonia Montegiove. Matthias had
    several talks with her and invited her to the FSFE summit. The problem
    is that she is quite shy when speaking English.
  • This year we had a
    moderations workshop for our staff. Before it we
    clarified with the trainer that one of our goals is to enable our
    staff running more inclusive meetings. The workshop was documented in
    the wiki https://wiki.fsfe.org/Internal/Moderation (some permission
    problem at the moment, hope it is soon fixed).

## Next Steps

### In Progress

  • Finish and implement Code of Conduct:
    • Continue with the CoC, implement it, also against some critism (Erik
      worked on it with Heiki, but as it should be valid for the whole
      organisation so we said it would be good that we do not have several
      CoCs in the FSFE but try to merge it with the LLW CoC).
    • help our groups to enforce it with a training about that topic next
      year (for the LLW Polina worked on a detailed guide what to keep in
      mind about that).

### Possible actions

  • Discussion with Ulrike about the topic. She studied gender studies and
    is very interested in the topic) about the topic. Together with her
    identify strategies for more diversity inside the FSFE community and
    the GA, by
    • having a budget for counselling on diversity (as several
      pointed out, just because someone is a women in IT, does not know
      they know about diversity).
    • have a time budget for Ulrike to
      help on this issue next year.
    • As some hesitate to just add women to the GA without first being
      involved in other areas, make it a priority to support already active
      or interested females (or other under represented groups). * This
      could include that we encourage them to join us in teams, and
      mentor them, or to invite them to events so we can meet them (could
      also include priority for travel funding in case we have to choose).
  • GA participation:
    • You might have realised that all our male
      staffers are GA members,
      but none of our female staffers is. That is bad. We should encourage
      Polina and Ulrike to think about joining, too.
    • Depending on the outcome of the FSFE2020 discussion: if we enlarge
      the council (as the FSFE board) introduce a quote there (as Daniel
      proposed to have a second VP position, with a requirement that at
      least one of the VP positions must not be male.)
    • Depending on the Italian GA member’s feedback, we could invite her
      as a guest to the next GA, or if they think it would be a good idea
      we can ask her to first become another coordinator for Italy as a
      first step.
  • https://fsfe.org/contribute/internship.en.html starts with a quote by
    a former male and female interns. But we should update one of the
    quotes by Erik or Hugo on that page with former quotes.
  • Make sure we have balanced quotes by women on our website / as well as
    the front page. E.g.
    https://fsfe.org/campaigns/ilovefs/whylovefs/whylovefs.en.html (either
    get more or think about removing this page for next years in the

Best Regards,


Straw Man Arguments That Distract From EPO Scandals

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The patent boosters and zealots — or the same firms that prop up the deeply misguided and harmful UPCA — are happy to float narratives of EPO managers who oppress their staff and do a disservice to stakeholders (actual scientists, not mass litigation profiteers)

THE latest piece (of [something]) at Kluwer Patent Blog is more of the same fluff about the EPO, basically playing along with Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos. They paint the EPO as some benevolent institution looking to improve and they paint the “issues” as things that barely are (illusionary straw men).

“They paint the EPO as some benevolent institution looking to improve and they paint the “issues” as things that barely are (illusionary straw men).”With the exception of one blogger there (Dr. Bausch), that blog continues to be a lovefest of Team UPC, mostly in bed with the EPO status quo. Not to even mention some sites like JUVE, Managing IP, IAM, and IP Kat.

Cat upside downThe video is just a spontaneous response and the short story is, all the signal is, as usual, in the comments.

It is really sad that nowadays, as the ‘news’ is mostly PR and the Web is infested with shameless self-promotion of law firms, one needs to rely on comments or whistleblowers to receive actual information as opposed to self-serving spin — something for which Team UPC became so notorious.

The Bubble of Outsourced Services Should Be Called Bubble Computing, Not Clown (or ‘Cloud’) Computing

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Servers at 8:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The bubble of ‘clown computing’ (what we’ve chosen to call “the cloud”) is like many other bubbles, including old mainframes on which people paid “rents” and bought “computer time”; it’s a massive regression and it’s rarely profitable

THE outsourcing of hosting and hardware to surveillance companies has long been problematic. This past weekend I saw that firsthand as a very large British institution suffered many downtimes due to AWS issues. The head of AWS is leaving his position to become Amazon’s CEO (as the founder and CEO is stepping down) and Google meanwhile reports that its ‘AWS killer’ is an epic failure that burns money like nobody’s business. Just like Azure (Microsoft), which already lays off workers [1, 2, 3]. They confirmed this to us and former insiders told us that Azure is losing money. There’s even a formal complaint deposited at the SEC (about Microsoft defrauding shareholders).

“When will the bubble of clown computing finally burst?”All those bubbles, or the military-subsidised outsourced computing (to give the empire more control over people’s lives, businesses and sometimes medical records) is likely just a passing fad. More companies realise that they spend more money on hosting bills than they would otherwise spend buying their own hardware and paying for an Internet connection or datacentre space (the latter isn’t always required as the hardware can be in one’s own premises, with some redundancy built in across networks).

The video above discusses some of the latest news. When will the bubble of clown computing finally burst? How much losses will it take (at least at the client side)?

Raspberry Pi Foundation is Trying to Cover Up Its Deal With the Devil by Censoring Its Own Customers

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Our findings about Eben Upton’s company turn out to be true and the reality is even worse than we initially thought

THE users of Raspberry Pi, who paid a lot of money to the company (or foundation), aren’t happy. We saw lots of forum threads this morning, following yesterday's article that had spread quite far.

“The founder of the company (Mr. Raspberry Pi, Eben Upton) should move closer to freedom, not Microsoft.”The responses we’ve seen so far (from the company) are borderline laughable if not insulting. The nature of what they did turned out to be worse than we initially estimated and there’s definitely a decision being made somewhere inside the company, not an outsider. It’s not an accident, either.

A lot more details can be found in today’s IRC logs (to be published tomorrow morning), but the above video touches some of the more important points.

Eben UptonThis isn’t the first time Microsoft is “having a go at” the company (or foundation), as they previously attempted to shoehorn Windows into the Raspberry Pi. It never quite worked as we stopped hearing about it after endless backlash.

Did the Raspberry Pi folks not learn their lesson from that last time? More rounds of “Microsoft loves Linux” are just as phony as the older ones and openwashing of Microsoft proprietary software changes none of that.

The founder of the company (Mr. Raspberry Pi, Eben Upton) should move closer to freedom, not Microsoft. Otherwise, some of his biggest supporters and fans can quickly become the loudest critics.

Does his company not understand its customers? Does it only pretend not to?

IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:48 am by Needs Sunlight

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

text logs

text logs

#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

text logs

text logs

#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now

IPFS Mirrors

CID Description Object type
 Qma8uLdQo5t5NUh5XqasLgnEw8eUkUzViaKAx6ZNXbAav4 IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmR4hMRzkpTB9XrYYci9117cRo5d2grQThJ5nTqQadAt3o IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmPjF8Uj2XUky8UfTkBVZ8j4EoJZfbZPVQziTd9KahrgFr IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmPZ9HrYJy8Xy4suyjq55Upr7wPME9jkoP5BYmreJ2iRUh IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 Qmcvcn2MkpTZaCZCD7rCoTkUAWbMDHwstt1Mtva6fLv72P IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmSvJUEXR4FhFQqJBYWxdW79jAopsitwHXHsXnybDyLkW2 IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmZa6byfiyXNpj5fcghMTV7iWZ5xNf1FDGzjcuewa6JjGg IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 Qme8sUPMTExHehRNZY9DvfmgRnRxhW6S48ibjaK1wHBbtS IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs

IPFS logo

Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmUWhatshba3ApHxNCHhTuHS67XuS5vDbeysnCgk3EXonj

Links 3/2/2021: Google’s Clown Computing is an Epic Failure and Bezos Steps Down (as Amazon’s CEO)

Posted in News Roundup at 1:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • How to Test Any Linux Distro Without Installing With DistroTest

      Want to try Linux distributions on your system without installing? Several websites are available on the internet that allow you to run Linux-based operating systems on an internet browser.

      DistroTest is by far the most superior platform, as it provides you complete control over the system. This way, you can easily choose which distro is the most appropriate for your needs without having to install it on your computer.

    • Try out GUI Linux distro on a free online virtual machine using browser

      Well, as I told you there is a website called Distrotest.net, so basically we visit it and simply select the Linux machine we want to try out for whatever reasons you have. For instance, you want to see why MX Linux is so popular? Does Elementary OS is really the most beautiful one or what is the difference between Ubuntu and Linux Desktops?

      Well, this service or website starts a virtual machine via the QEMU emulator, to which you connect via VNC. Distrotest usually starts a live CD of the Linux version of your choice and here are the steps to access it.

    • Five reasons why researchers should learn to love the command line

      During his postdoctoral studies, Casey Greene’s adviser insisted that all images of figures that were used in presentations had a black background. Greene got pretty good, he says, at opening figures in an image editor, inverting and colour-rotating them, and repeating. “But at some point, it turns out life is too short to continue importing and colour-rotating in even a free software program that is relatively easy to use,” says Greene, who now directs the Center for Health Artificial Intelligence at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora. So, he turned to the command line — specifically, the free and open-source image-manipulation tool ImageMagick, using a for loop to repeat the operation across all his files:

    • Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in January 2021 [Ed: 80% GNU/Linux in top 10]

      Rackspace kicked off 2021 with the most reliable hosting company site in January. The top five hosting company sites each responded to all of Netcraft’s requests in January and were separated by average connection time. Rackspace offers a variety of cloud hosting solutions from 40 data centres across five different continents in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.

      The podium is completed by New York Internet (NYI) and EveryCity. NYI offers bare metal, cloud and colocation services from its four data centres in the US. UK-based EveryCity provides cloud hosting solutions and managed third-party services from its primary data centre located in the heart of London.

    • The start of a crazy journey: the SunFire V245

      I have a lot of learning to do here, since the server world is not a place I have ever really visited. I’m going to make stumbles along the way, but the end goal is for this server to be a usable workstation – most likely running either Linux or BSD.

    • Linux Magazine

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa Vulkan Drivers Get A Common Dispatch Framework For Better Code Sharing – Phoronix

          Mesa 21.1 has merged a common dispatch framework for use by Vulkan drivers to allow for better code sharing and the possibility of some Vulkan extensions to be more easily supported across all drivers.

          Up to now all five Mesa Vulkan drivers (Intel ANV, Radeon RADV, Broadcom V3DV, Freedreno TURNIP, and Lavapipe) all of them have had their own slightly modified version of Intel’s entrypoint generator script. Intel ANV lead developer Jason Ekstrand has taken now to avoiding this unnecessary code duplication between drivers and finally working towards a unified Vulkan entry points setup.

        • Intel Graphics Driver Low-Latency Scheduling Revived For A Smoother UX – Phoronix

          For the better part of a year now we’ve seen patches for Intel’s kernel graphics driver working on fair low-latency scheduling that in part has been inspired by the design of BFS/MuQSS. While it’s too late for seeing the work land with Linux 5.12, the latest batch of 57 patches were sent out this week.

          Longtime Intel open-source driver developer Chris Wilson continues working on scheduling improvements for the Intel graphics driver. Among the work with the current set of 57 patches include the fair low-latency scheduling. This shouldn’t impact Linux gaming performance but more so result in lower jitter when running multiple graphics applications on the desktop.

    • Benchmarks

      • Radeon RX 6800 Series Linux Performance Nearly Three Months After Launch

        Given the daily progress and changes made to the open-source AMDGPU Linux kernel driver and the Mesa drivers providing the open-source OpenGL (RadeonSI) and Vulkan (RADV) support, here is a look at how the Radeon RX 6800 series performance is currently for the latest Linux graphics driver code compared to the performance seen back on the November launch day for the Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT graphics cards.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 10.2.1 Released For Open-Source Automated Benchmarking – Phoronix

        Released last month was Phoronix Test Suite 10.2 while now it’s been succeeded by Phoronix Test Suite 10.2.1 as a point release to this quarter’s stable series.

        Phoronix Test Suite 10.2.0 originally brought macOS Big Sur / Apple M1 support improvements, improved time tracking, a more responsive Phoromatic web user interface, BSD support updates, PHP 8.0 compatibility, and a variety of other improvements.

    • Applications

      • Jabber/XMPP Client ‘Kaidan’ 0.7.0 Released with New Features

        Kaidan, free and open-source Jabber / XMPP client, released version 0.7.0 with enhancements and bug-fixes.

        Kaidan is a user-friendly and modern chat app uses the open communication protocol XMPP (Jabber). Unlike other chat apps, you are not dependent on one specific service provider.

        The new version 0.7.0 was released today adds more information in contact profile including nickname, software version, and operation system.

      • Desktop RSS Feed Reader NewsFlash 1.2.0 Adds Support for NewsBlur, More

        NewsFlash 1.2.0 has been released with support for NewsBlur, ported Feedly to the new collections API, and more.

        NewsFlash is a desktop RSS feed reader for Linux created primarily to be used with web-based RSS feed readers like Feedly, Feedbin, etc., but it can also be used locally, without such web services. The program is a complete rewrite of FeedReader in Rust, using GTK for the user interface, with many extra features on top.

      • 6 Best Free and Open Source XMPP Servers

        XMPP (also known as Jabber) is an open and free alternative to commercial messaging and chat providers. Set it up for your company, organisation, or just your family and friends. You are in control, and your communication is private to you. Supporting a wide range of client software for desktop and mobile platforms, you can chat from any device.

        You can set up your own XMPP service on your server (dedicated, VPS, etc.) or on a box on your local network, to serve your home or office. Either way you can use it to converse with anyone else on the Jabber network, including people using Google Talk, probably the largest Jabber service on the network.

        XMPP was designed for real-time communication, which powers a wide range of applications including instant messaging, presence, media negotiation, whiteboarding, collaboration, lightweight middleware, content syndication, EDI, RPC and more.

        Here’s our recommendations. All of the software is free and open source.

      • Paru – A New AUR Helper and Pacman Wrapper Based on Yay

        One of the main reasons that a user chooses Arch Linux or an Arch based Linux distribution is the Arch User repository (AUR).

        Unfortunately, pacman, the package manager of Arch, can’t access the AUR in a similar way to the official repositories. The packages in AUR are in the form of PKGBUILD and require a manual process to be built.

        An AUR helper can automate this process. Without any doubt yay is one of the most popular and highly favoured AUR helper.

        Recently Morganamilo, one of the two developers of yay, announced that is stepping away from maintaining yay and starting his own AUR helper called paru. Paru is written in Rust compared to yay that is written in Go and its design is based on yay.

        Please note that yay hasn’t reach the end of life and is still being actively maintained by Jguer. He also commented that paru may be suitable for users that looking for a feature rich AUR helper; thus I would recommend giving it a try.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Fix Exception ‘open failed: EACCES (Permission denied)’ on Android

        Today, I was working with my old program, which I had made in December 2020. Due to some odd reason, I delayed my app development process.

        An application was working a few months back suddenly the app gets crashed with the error Exception ‘open failed: EACCES (Permission denied)’…

      • Factorials and unscrambling words with bash on Linux

        In this post, we examine a bash script that takes a string of letters, rearranges them in every possible way and checks each permutation to identify those that are English words. In the process, we’ll take a close look at the script and calculate how hard it might have to work.

        Note that, in the algorithm used, each letter arrangement must use all of the letters in the string provided. Words formed by substrings are not considered.

      • Grafana, Loki, syslog-ng: jump-starting a new logging stack

        Talking to syslog-ng users, I found that many of them plan to take a closer look at Grafana, due to the upheaval around the change of licensing terms for Elastic. Luckily, it is now possible to jump-start the complete, new logging stack – including Grafana, Loki, syslog-ng and tools to monitor this stack – with a single command. All you need to do is to point a couple of syslog clients at the included syslog-ng server and open Grafana in your browser. Of course, this setup is far from being production-ready, but it can speed up preparing a test environment for you.

        From this blog, you can learn how to install Grafana, Loki, syslog-ng stack, how to forward your log messages there, and how to check the results in Grafana.

      • rename anime fansubs
      • Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager: Managing Virtual Machines made easy with short training videos

        In last week’s Training Tuesday blog, we introduced you to the first in a series of training videos on Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager. Today, we continue with the second set of free, short videos on managing virtual machines (VM). These videos demonstrate deployment of VMs through the Administration Portal and VM portal graphical interfaces.

        In this set of videos, you learn about the physical, logical, and virtual components needed to create and run virtual machines. You learn how to use templates to simplify the deployment of similar virtual machines and how to create and use Open Virtual Appliance (OVA) files in Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager.

      • Disabling Tracker in Fedora

        I have realized that one of the tracker processes is dying every few seconds on my Fedora 33, I got ton of ABRT reports and system log filled with stacktraces. Bugs happen, however I don’t actually utilize this tool very much. Searching in contacts, files, browser history, photos, documents of files is nothing I use, maybe except accessing specific settings by typing “mouse”. But I can live with that.

      • Booting S390x libvirt VMs over network – Lukáš Zapletal

        I am exploring S390x provisioning support for Foreman and it looks like network booting S390x virtual machines could be a good start. Foreman can be used with or without libvirt compute resource to either run and customize an image via SSH finish template or booting from network.

        In QEMU environment, s390-ccw firmware is utilized to boot the operating system which is not as flexible as on Intel, but thanks to the recent work of Red Hat and IBM engineers in 2018 it offers two ways of booting from network via DHCP/BOOTP protocols.

      • Getting started with Flutter on Ubuntu

        Recently there was an announcement from Ubuntu that the desktop team are working on a replacement for the Ubiquity installer. The really interesting part of the post by Martin Wimpress, head of the Ubuntu Desktop team at Canonical, is that the new installer will be built using Flutter.

        Flutter is a cross-platform User Interface framework that can target Linux, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS all from the same source code. I have been aware of Flutter for some time now but have been trepidatious in jumping in to sample the water, because I am completely unfamilier with the Dart programming language and was worried about making the time investment.

      • How to Control App Priorities with Ananicy in Linux – Make Tech Easier

        Auto Nice Daemon is ancient, and changing your software priorities manually is annoying. Isn’t there a modern way to control how many resources each program should use? Meet Ananicy (ANother Auto NICe daemon), a modern auto-nice solution, with which you can create profiles for your software to prioritize the apps you care about. Let’s see how you can do that.

      • How to install Inkscape 1.0 on Linux Mint 20.1

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Inkscape 1.0 on Linux Mint 20.1.

      • How to install TS!Underswap on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install TS!Underswap, an Undertale Fangame, on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How to install Nitrux 1.3.7

        In this video, I am going to show how to install Nitrux 1.3.7.

      • How to remove carriage return in Linux or Unix – nixCraft

        How do I remove all the carriage returns \r (^M) from a file in Unix using the command-line options?

        A carriage return is nothing but a control character used to reset a device’s position to the beginning of a text line. In other words, whenever you hit the [Enter] key, you generate carriage return. It is a newline concept. Please note that in ASCII and Unicode, the carriage return is defined as 13. So you may see it as control+M (kbd>^M). In the C and especially on Linux/macOS or Unix-like system, we will see it as \r. In DOS/Windows text files, a line break is a combination of two characters: a Carriage Return (CR) followed by a Line Feed (LF). In Unix/Linux/macOS text files, a line break is a single character: the Line Feed (LF). This page explains how to remove carriage return and update file easily.

      • How to deploy Applications on Kubernetes using Helm

        In this article, we will release Apache from the existing chart. We will create a sample chart and release, upgrade, rollback, delete and restore it. Let’s see the commands in brief before we use them in the article later.

      • How To Install Signal Messenger on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Signal Messenger on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, The Signal messenger is a popular and safe person to person internet messaging that is used for both information superhighway and phone-based purposes communications globally. Signal has fashionable as a result of the privacy it offers such as a number of custom encryption techniques.

        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 install of Signal Private Messenger on CentOS 8.

      • How to Assign Multiple IP Addresses to a Single Network Interface on CentOS 8

        At times, you might have to assign multiple IP addresses to a single Network Interface Card (NIC). The most common use-case of doing so can be that there is more than one network and you want to connect your machine to all of them at a time. In this situation, although, you can get multiple NICs according to your needs, however, a more practical solution will be to assign multiple IP addresses to a single NIC. Therefore, today we will be sharing with you the procedure of assigning multiple IP addresses to a single Network Interface in CentOS 8.

      • How to Install MySQL 8.0 on Ubuntu 20.04 – TecAdmin

        MySQL is the popular relational database management system used for storing structured data in table formats. It is open source database server uses SQL (Structured Query Language) statements for to interact with. The MySQL is freely available under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

        This tutorial will help you to install MySQL 8 on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Linux systems.

      • How to find the missing parts of a series

        My wife has a data table with a unique serial number for each of its records. The table gets frequent edits and she wanted to check which of the numbers might be missing as a result of past deletions. There are thousands of numbers, so eyeballing for gaps in the series isn’t practical.

      • How to install Conky System Monitor on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – Linux Shout

        Conky system Monitor provides a quick view of Linux process, CPU, Memory, network, and other resource consumption directly on your Linux desktop as a Widget… And here are the simple steps to install it on Ubuntu 20.04 or 18.04 LTS Linus systems. The commands given here will also work on previous versions of Ubuntu including Linux Mint, Elementary, MX Linux, Debian, and other similar distros.

      • How to install Ulauncher in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS linux – Linux Shout

        Ulauncher is an application launcher for Linux distros such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, CentOS, RHEL, Manjaro, and more… Here we will learn the steps to install it on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Linux version.

        The developers of Ulauncher have used Python and GTK+ to create this fast directory browser on Linux systems. This increases the productivity of Linux users when it comes to search some app or file immediately. You can say it is a macOS spotlight alternative for Linux systems.

        Ulauncher provides a simple search box where we can type the application name that we want to search, even with a wrong spelling, this launcher will figure on its own what the user is looking for. Furthermore, Ulaucnher can also remember our previous choices and automatically selects the best option.

      • Convert audio files with this versatile Linux command | Opensource.com

        I work with media, and when you work with any kind of media, you learn pretty quickly that standardization is a valuable tool. Just as you wouldn’t try to add a fraction to a decimal without converting one or the other, I’ve learned that it’s not ideal to combine media of differing formats. Most hobbyist-level applications make the conversion process invisible to the user as a convenience. Flexible software aimed at users needing control over the fine details of their assets, however, often leave it up to you to convert your media to your desired format in advance. I have a few favorite tools for conversion, and one of those is the so-called Swiss army knife of sound, SoX.

    • Games

      • Top 6 New Games Proton Can Run Since Jan. 2021

        It’s a new month, and as usual, Boiling Steam looks at the latest data dumps from ProtonDB to give you a quick list of new games that work (pretty much?) perfectly with Proton since January 2021 – the Median rating indicates that games work either out of the box (5) or well enough with tweaks (4)…

      • Viking open-world survival game Valheim enters Early Access | GamingOnLinux

        After a promising Alpha release on itch.io back in 2018, the day has finally come to enter purgatory in Valheim.

        “A battle-slain warrior, the Valkyries have ferried your soul to Valheim, the tenth Norse world. Besieged by creatures of chaos and ancient enemies of the gods, you are the newest custodian of the primordial purgatory, tasked with slaying Odin’s ancient rivals and bringing order to Valheim.”

      • Godot Engine – Godot 4.0 optimization progress report

        As most of the rendering features for the upcoming Godot 4.0 are done, I have spent the past two months optimizing the rendering engine, both on the CPU and GPU side. All this work has resulted in significantly faster rendering times.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Julian Sparber: NlNet grant for Fractal

          Some people already know, but now I’m officially announcing that for the next months I’ll be working full-time on Fractal thanks to a grant from NlNet. My main objective is to integrate end-to-end encryption into the GNOME Matrix client. Since user experience is crucial for getting E2EE right I’ll be working closely with Tobias Bernard from the design team throughout this project.

    • Distributions

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Flashpeak Slimjet browser updated to

          Slimjet is built on top of the Chromium open-source project on which Google Chrome is also based. It enjoys the same speed and reliability provided by the underlying blink engine as Google Chrome. However, many additional features and options have been added in Slimjet to make it more powerful, intelligent and customizable than Chrome. In addition to that, Slimjet DOES NOT send any usage statistics back to Google’s server like Google Chrome, which is a growing concern for many Chrome users due to the ubiquitous presence and reach of the advertising empire.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Outreach, Survey Extension Addressed in Second Meetup

          The second session of the openSUSE Project’s meetup regarding the End of the Year Survey Results on Jan. 30 led to some changes with regard to future surveys and contributors are looking to enhance outreach.

          The two-hour meetup took place on openSUSE’s Jitsi instance and several community members around the globe provided input on the results and how to improve the project’s diversity as well as global use.

          The group spent time discussing the projects’ weaknesses and strengths based on the survey results and commonly understood areas members hope to improve.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • How I build and expand application development and testing | Opensource.com

          In the previous article, you implemented Zero, which provides the simplest possible path through your code. There is absolutely no conditional processing logic anywhere to be found. Now it’s time for you to move into One.

          Unlike with Zero, which basically means nothing is added, or we have an empty case, nothing to take care of, One means we have a single case to take care of. That single case could be one item in the collection, or one visitor, or one event that demands special treatment.

          With Many, we are now dealing with potentially more complicated cases. Two or more items in the collection, two or more events that demand special treatment, and so on.

        • Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience 2021 registration is live!

          Red Hat Summit is the premier open source technology event that provides IT professionals a mix of innovation, collaboration and learning opportunities. This year we are further expanding Red Hat Summit to a flexible approach that offers a two-part virtual experience with a series of small-scale in-person events planned for later in 2021.

        • Resilience in the wake of 2020: Red Hat’s path in 2021

          2020’s gone and it won’t be missed. For all of the chaos, confusion and change the previous year brought, it helped illuminate a critical facet of Red Hat, our associates, our partners, our customers and our communities. It showed that we are resilient. Not only did we weather it as a company, we helped those around us stand firm through the storm. That’s something to be proud of, and I know that as CEO of Red Hat, I’m thankful at how we as a business, as a pillar of the open source community and as a global organization kept a steady hand throughout.

          Red Hat was born out of community. It’s at the center of everything we do. When faced with uncertainty and when we see others in need, that’s when we pull together and show our mettle. Throughout the past year, Red Hatters showed a tremendous capacity for fortitude and humanity. When I first took over the role of CEO, I made the comment that I wanted every Red Hatter who was here at that point to still be here in a year. And I think we’ve held true to that.

        • Fedora Preparing To Switch To Intel’s Modern “Sound Open Firmware” Audio Driver – Phoronix

          Fedora 34 is planning to switch to using Intel’s modern Sound Open Firmware audio driver as it should be in good shape now and superior to the existing sound driver. This is ahead of Intel likely switching to the Intel SOF driver code path by default in the upstream kernel once this change has first been vetted by Fedora users.

          The past few years Intel has been developing Sound Open Firmware. As implied by the name, the sound firmware is now open-source for the audio DSP with this effort. This effort around Intel’s Low Power Engine (LPE) began with Bay Trail / Cherry Trail era devices and the SoF effort has continued to more recent hardware. The current default of the upstream kernel and other distributions is to use the existing “SST” firmware solution while the plan is to transition over to using the open-source SoF solution with its modern driver. (There is a separate kernel driver for each firmware solution as opposed to just changing out a proprietary firmware blob for open-source firmware.)

        • 5 questions to ask during your next sysadmin interview | Enable Sysadmin

          I’ve interviewed a lot of people in my time as a lead tech in desktop support, as a domain support admin, as an independent business owner, and system administrator. A lot of my colleagues loved to “grill” interviewees with impossible to answer questions and enjoy making them sweat on the “hot” seat. Now the ball is in your court—you get to ask some tough questions of your panel of inquisitors. It’s your turn to make them sweat a little and hopefully gain some useful information about your potential new job.

        • Fedora Community Blog: Taiga 6 is on teams.fedoraproject.org

          Last week, our Taiga instance on teams.fedoraproject.org was upgraded to Taiga 6. Officially announced today, Taiga 6 is the latest release of the open source project management tool. Fedora’s instance is managed by Taiga and is available to all Fedora teams.

          If you’ve used Taiga before, you’ll immediate notice the changes to the user interface. I’ve noticed it being faster and the developers say it feels more intuitive. Less obvious is the addition of a “swimlane” feature to the Kanban board. Swimlanes allow for distinct high-level categories of work.

      • Debian Family

        • Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities 2021-01

          Yikes, my head is still spinning from what a crazy month January was. Only managed to squeeze in a few uploads. I’ve also been working on an annual DPL summary that I got to about 80% in December and was barely able to touch it during January, might end up simplifying it just so that I can get it released. In the meantime there’s a lot of interesting stuff happening, stay tuned :)

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Meet the Ubuntu 21.04 “Hirsute Hippo” Artwork by Sylvia Ritter, Made with Krita

          Meet the Hirsute Hippo artwork by Sylvia Ritter, made with the powerful, open-source and cross-platform Krita digital painting and raster graphics software. The artwork is inspired by Ubuntu 21.04‘s codename “Hirsute Hippo” and I believe it shows a mama hippo with her cute baby hippo.

          Undoubtedly this is yet another masterpiece from Sylvia Ritter, and this time the artwork is made in a format suitable for your mobile phones and tablets since PinePhone has become such a very popular device among Linux fans.

        • Ubuntu Core 20 offers secure Linux for IoT devices

          Canonical is making Ubuntu Core 20, a minimal, containerized version of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS for IoT devices and embedded systems, generally available from today.

          It improves device security with secure boot, full disk encryption, and secure device recovery and builds on the Ubuntu application ecosystem in order to create ultra-secure smart things.

          Ubuntu Core 20 addresses the cost of design, development and maintenance of secure devices, with regular, automated and reliable updates included. Canonical is working with silicon providers and ODMs to streamline the entire process of bringing a new device to market. To help developers the company and its partners offer SMART START, a fixed-price engagement to launch a device that covers consulting, engineering and updates for the first 1000 devices on certified hardware, to reduce IoT project risk.

        • Ubuntu Core 20 for IoT devices promises better security for edge devices

          Ubuntu publisher Canonical has announced the general availability of Ubuntu Core 20, the containerized version of its popular Linux flavor built for IoT and embedded systems. Canonical describes this as a major release, and it brings Ubuntu Core in line with Ubuntu’s 20.04 release that came early in 2020.

        • Ubuntu Core 20 Brings Better Industrial IoT Control

          Canonical on Feb. 2 made available Ubuntu Core 20, a minimal, containerized version of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS for Internet of Things (IoT) devices and embedded systems.

          This major version bolsters device security with secure boot, full disk encryption, and secure device recovery. Ubuntu Core builds on the Ubuntu application ecosystem to create ultra-secure smart things.

          “Every connected device needs guaranteed platform security and an app store” said Mark Shuttleworth. “Ubuntu Core 20 enables innovators to create highly secure things and focus entirely on their own unique features and apps, with confinement and security updates built into the operating system.”

          Ubuntu Core powers industrial IoT devices. Innovative companies are using it to build and commercialize consumer-fronting devices, ranging from coffee brewers to medical devices, according to Galem Kayo, a product manager at Canonical.

          The new Ubuntu Core version 20 boasts notable new device security innovations. Given the increasing numbers and sophistication of attacks by individual and state-sponsored cybercriminals, Canonical’s efforts should be welcomed by both IoT device makers and their customers, according to Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

        • Ubuntu Core 20 Released

          Canonical released today Ubuntu Core 20 designed for IoT and embedded devices. Ubuntu Core 20 is now available to download. If you are not aware of Ubuntu Core 20 then it is a minimal, containerised version of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Ubuntu Core 20 is a major release after the previous version, Ubuntu Core 18.

        • Ubuntu Core 20 adds secure boot and startup service

          Canonical has released Ubuntu Core 20, an embedded variant of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, adding secure boot and full disk encryption. There is also a Smart Start service to help launch Ubuntu Core based products.

          Canonical announced the release of Ubuntu Core 20, its minimalist, containerized version of Ubuntu Linux for IoT devices and embedded systems. Following earlier releases such as Ubuntu Core 18 from 2019, Ubuntu Core 20 is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, the long-term support release that preceded the recent Ubuntu 20.10.

        • Canonical launches Ubuntu Core 20 for IoT devices

          Canonical has announced the general availability of Ubuntu Core 20, a stripped back version of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS designed for IoT devices and embedded systems. According to the company, this update improves device security with the inclusion of secure boot, full disk encryption and secure device recovery.

          Ubuntu Core is available for many popular x86 and ARM single board computers making it pretty accessible. IoT devices are not always easy to update so Canonical has configured Ubuntu Core to provide automated and reliable updates out of the box so end users don’t need to worry about updating their devices. While an LTS is usually supported for five years, it provides business-critical devices with 10 years of support.

        • Secure to the core: IoT Ubuntu Core Linux 20 released

          Specifically, the new Ubuntu Core supports controlled and cost-effective unattended software updates for device families. These fix everything, everywhere, fast on your shipping devices. It also includes a minimal attack surface for OS and apps, with no unused software installed in the base OS. This, in turn, reduces the size and frequency of security updates.

          Helping to lock down Ubuntu Core, all snaps are strictly confined and isolated. This way, even if an application is compromised, the design limits the damage it can cause. In addition, provable software integrity and secure boot prevents unauthorized software installation, with hardware roots-of-trust. Full disk encryption eases compliance with privacy requirements for sensitive consumer, industrial, healthcare, or smart city applications.

        • Martin Wimpress, Ubuntu Desktop Lead, is Leaving Canonical

          Sharing the news on Twitter, Martin says he is leaving the company ‘soon’ to take up a new role with the folks at Slim.ai.

          Martin joined Canonical’s Ubuntu’s desktop team back in 2017, and became its desktop lead in 2019, taking over the role from Will Cooke.

          But (as most of you will know) Martin has a much longer history with the wider open source community thanks, in part, to his role in the creation of Ubuntu MATE, his work on the MATE desktop environment, and his starring role as co-host on the official Ubuntu Podcast.

          Ubuntu MATE fans sweating at this news can breathe: Martin says he plans to continue leading the Ubuntu MATE flavour going forward (hurrah) and will remain active in the wider Ubuntu and Snapcraft communities (phew).

          Sad news? Yeah.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Why There’s Hard, Cold Cash For Soft, Disaggregated Routing

        The appetite for such open networking – and we did not say open source networking, but that is an important subset of open networking that may not make a big difference in the longest of runs – is increasing, and it is happening at an increasing rate. But network operators are a conservative bunch, and given the nature of the job – you can lose a few nodes here and there in a datacenter and you recover, but you can’t lose the network or the whole business is hosed – you can appreciate that. There is an appetite for both open switching and open routing, and while we have talked about open switches for a long time, we are just coming around to the need for open routing as credible companies are emerging to take on these tasks.

        Open networking has the same chicken and egg problem that open serving did back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and it took a good recession or two and the dot-com boom to get everyone on board with running some flavor of Unix on top of a RISC processor that offered better bang for the buck than the proprietary systems of the time. The hardware has to come first, and then the software moves onto it and drives the total cost of ownership down relative to fully proprietary solutions. This is ever the way in IT. It started happening with whitebox switching in a big way a decade ago, although no single network operating system has yet emerged here, and it is most definitely happening right now with whitebox routing as Arrcus, DriveNets, Volta Networks, and the open source FRR project take on routing in their own unique ways.

      • Hungary and Open Source: the Digital Success Programme 2030 [iophk: “The Hungarian DSSP is not a new operating system but simply a new GNU/Linux distro. Join up wrote an incorrect summary. It looks like some Debian derivative.”]

        In the wake of the Digital Success Programme 2030 implementation, the Ministry of Innovation and Technology has supported several Hungarian SMEs to develop a new Open Source (OSS) operating system.

      • Digital Success Software Package

        Digital Success Software Package is a collection of an operation system and several user software in Hungarian language that is free to download and to use. It is supposed to substitute those document and spreadsheet editor, web browser, email client and other office software that require subscription to use them. The Digital Success Software Package represents a software package that is easily accessible for everyone, is supported by the government and enables its users to manage their public administration affairs electronically while also being in line with modern user experience trends.

      • Events

        • Meet Guix at FOSDEM

          As usual, GNU Guix will be present at FOSDEM on February 6th and 7th. Due to the pandemic, this year’s edition takes place on-line. The downside is that we’ll miss beautiful Brussels, but on the up side hopefully people who cannot join physically will be able to attend this year, and the event’s carbon footprint will be much lower.

        • Call for Presentations for 2021 Qt Webinars and Events Now Open!

          Qt is looking for speakers, collaborators and industry thinkers to share their expertise and thoughts with the developer and designer audience.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Why Firefox for Android logs you out of everything all the time

            I’ve been increasingly frustrated with Firefox for Android, my preferred mobile web browser. I’ve repeatedly had to re-login to some websites and had various problems with cookies since last year’s release of the new Firefox codenamed “Daylight.” Websites forget me between each visit and I get the “new visitor” experience every time. I finally worked out what’s going wrong.

            I’ve suspected that it might have been a side-effect of Firefox’s tracking-cookie-blocking features. I’ve just assumed the issues have been caused by short-lived session cookies, limited device storage space, perverse incentives to give me new opportunities to consent to tracking cookies, and I’ve made other excuses for the buggy behavior.

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.7 Beta 1

          This software is still in development, so it’s not recommended to run this version on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.


          Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS is streamlined
          Switching a WordPress site from HTTP to HTTPS has proven to be a pain for all involved. While on the surface, the Site Address and WordPress Address have to be updated, content with embedded HTTP URLs remains unchanged in the database. With this release, migrating a site to HTTPS is now a one-click interaction. URLs in the database are automatically replaced when the Site and WordPress Address are both using HTTPS. Also, Site Health now includes an HTTPS status check.

          Standardize colors used in WP-Admin CSS to a single palette
          This change collapses all colors used in the CSS to one of the available shades of blue, green, red, yellow, grey, black, and white. The palette makes it simpler than ever to build components your users can read, because half the range gives you great contrast with white type and a half with black, according to current accessibility guidelines.

          Ongoing cleanup after update to jQuery 3.5.1
          jQuery deprecations in WordPress Core and bundled themes show up a lot less often, and the notifications make more sense to the user.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU C library 2.33 released

            Version 2.33 of the GNU C library is out. Changes this time include a number of dynamic linker improvements, 32-bit RISC-V support, and a number of security fixes.

      • Programming/Development

        • Perl/Raku

          • Perl 6 Small Stuff #20: From anonymous one-line functions to full length MAINs with type and error checking

            There’s been a few weeks where I haven’t followed Perl Weekly Challenge, but luckily I found some time for Challenge #11 this week. Inititally both exercises looked they quite a bit of coding. But after a while it became apparaent that both could be solved with relatively simple one (or two) liners.

            But I also found that one-liners aren’t always very robust when it comes to error handling, so that gave me an opportunity to explore Perl6’s built-in type (and content) checking of command line input parameters, as well as how to use Perl 6’s built-in methods of generating friendly and readable Usage output.

            But before all of that we’ll start with the second excersise.

          • Monthly Report – January

            Well, let me answer the first question, Why? To be honest with you, I do it to keep myself motivated. I need some kind of (self) motivation to carry on what I do on a daily basis. Now to answer the second question, What is the point? It helps me to keep track and follow the progress.

            Above all, it gives me immense pleasure when I see Perl being discussed in a positive lights. As you all know, I am running The Weekly Challenge – Perl & Raku for nearly 2 years now. To be precise, on 25th March, 2021, we would celebrate our second anniversary. There is something else that is keeping me busy right now. Any guesses? In two weeks time, we would complete 100th week of the weekly challenge. It is no small feat by any means. I never thought in my dreams that we woud come this far. Thanks to each and every members of Team PWC. I literally mean each and everyone.

          • Perl weekly challenge 98
  • Leftovers

    • Wikipedia introduces new Universal Code of Conduct to fight harassment

      The formal code of conduct — like many Wikimedia projects — was a crowdsourced project, with over 1,500 volunteers from around the world contributing. It’s intentionally designed to be relatively short and easily comprehensible to users, measuring in at a brisk 1,600 words.

    • Science

      • Estonia becomes associate member of CERN

        Estonia’s associate membership lasts for two to five years, after which Estonia becomes a full member of the organization. While, as an associate member, Estonia’s income may not exceed the membership fee, then upon becoming a full member, this restriction will disappear and Estonia will also have the right to vote in the CERN Council.

        Estonia has been participating in the activities of the organization on the basis of a cooperation agreement since 1996. Estonian researchers have mainly participated in CERN’s experimental and theoretical studies of particle physics. In addition, Estonian students and physics teachers have been trained in the framework of CERN’s summer school.

    • Hardware

      • Tablets back with a boom in 4Q due to COVID-19

        Global shipments of tablets had a big fourth quarter in 2020, with 19.5% year-on-year growth, translating to 52.2 million units, according to preliminary data from the technology research firm IDC.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Russia’s Sputnik V Is Found to Be 91.6% Effective, Providing Boost for Global Vaccination Effort

        Russia has been one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, recording about 73,000 deaths and over 3.8 million infections over the past year. Meanwhile, there is widespread skepticism over the domestically developed Sputnik V vaccine, with many Russians reluctant to get the shot. Now a peer-reviewed study published in the respected Lancet medical journal has confirmed the vaccine’s 91.6% efficacy, as developers of the shot have long maintained. “That’s good news for the developers of the vaccine in Russia. That’s good news for Russia writ large, which certainly has plenty of geopolitical ambitions surrounding the vaccine,” says Joshua Yaffa, correspondent for The New Yorker in Moscow. “And it’s frankly good news for the world.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Google’s cloud business lost more than $5.5 billion last year, but it’s growing fast

          Google parent company Alphabet weathered the tail end of 2020 to post better-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter of the year. But the bigger story is that Alphabet broke out Google Cloud’s sales for the first time ever, revealing an eye-popping $5.6 billion annual loss last year, but a nearly 50 percent jump in revenue (to $13 billion) compared to 2019. And Google Cloud maintained that growth well into the fourth quarter, when the division generated $3.8 billion in sales. That’s a 46 percent jump from the fourth quarter of 2019.

        • Google Cloud Reports Huge Operating Losses in New Disclosure

          Alphabet Inc. said its Google Cloud business had an operating loss of $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter, a new disclosure that may disappoint some Wall Street analysts.

          The Mountain View, California-based company revealed the number on Tuesday in a statement. For 2020, the cloud division lost $5.6 billion, Alphabet said.

        • Microsoft 365 Becomes Haven for BEC Innovation

          Two fresh business email compromise (BEC) tactics have emerged onto the phishing scene, involving the manipulation of Microsoft 365 automated email responses in order to evade email security filters.

          In one case, scammers are targeting victims by redirecting legitimate out-of-office (OOO) replies from an employee to them; and in the other, read receipts are being manipulated. Both styles were seen being used in the wild in the U.S. in December, when auto-responders were more prevalent due to holiday vacation.

        • The reshaped Mac experience

          [...] I’ll quote the relevant ones here (emphasis mine):

          “The selling point of the Macintosh was never the hardware, it was the user interface. So if the selling point now is the hardware, that’s a damning indictment of the current user interface.

          I cannot emphasize enough how everyone seems to have lowered their standards with regard to the user interface. The “Overton window” has moved. The Overton window now has rounded rects.

          We’ve gone from “insanely great” and “It just works” to “Catalyst is good enough for most people.”

          That’s fucking BS, and I won’t tolerate it. [...]”

        • ‘ValidCC,’ a Major Payment Card Bazaar and Looter of E-Commerce Sites, Shuttered

          ValidCC, a dark web bazaar run by a cybercrime group that for more than six years hacked online merchants and sold stolen payment card data, abruptly closed up shop last week. The proprietors of the popular store said their servers were seized as part of a coordinated law enforcement operation designed to disconnect and confiscate its infrastructure.

        • The U.S. Spent $2.2 Million on a Cybersecurity System That Wasn’t Implemented — and Might Have Stopped a Major Hack

          As America struggles to assess the damage from the devastating SolarWinds cyberattack discovered in December, ProPublica has learned of a promising defense that could shore up the vulnerability the hackers exploited: a system the federal government funded but has never required its vendors to use.

          The massive breach, which U.S. intelligence agencies say was “likely Russian in origin,” penetrated the computer systems of critical federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Treasury Department, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Justice, as well as a number of Fort ined undetected, free to forage, for months.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • SODA Foundation and SNIA to Advance Education for Data and Storage Management

                In a move that advances a common goal of increasing education for a unified framework and standardization for data and storage management, the SODA Foundation and Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) are pleased to announce they have entered into a marketing alliance.

                The SODA Foundation is an open source project under the Linux Foundation that seeks to foster an ecosystem of open source data management and storage software for data autonomy, while SNIA is dedicated to developing standards and education programs to advance storage and information technology.

                “Working with SNIA in a marketing capacity is an ideal stepping stone to combining our expertise for the advancement of storage management technology,” said Steven Tan, VP & CTO, Futurewei and SODA Foundation Chair. “Together, we will contribute to creating a more engaged and informed developer ecosystem and emphasize the importance of the standardization of storage management APIs.”

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday [LWN.net]

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (firefox-esr, libdatetime-timezone-perl, python-django, thunderbird, and tzdata), Fedora (kf5-messagelib and qt5-qtwebengine), Mageia (kernel-linus), openSUSE (firefox, jackson-databind, and messagelib), Oracle (flatpak), Red Hat (glibc, kernel, kernel-alt, kernel-rt, linux-firmware, net-snmp, perl, qemu-kvm, and qemu-kvm-ma), SUSE (firefox, java-11-openjdk, openvswitch, terraform, and thunderbird), and Ubuntu (fastd, firefox, python-django, and qemu).

          • Countless emails wrongly blocked as spam after Cisco’s SpamCop failed to renew domain name at the weekend

            Cisco’s anti-spam service SpamCop failed to renew spamcop.net over weekend, causing it to lapse, which resulted in countless messages being falsely labeled and rejected as spam around the world.

            From what we can tell, this is what happened. When the domain name expired, *.spamcop.net resolved to a domain parking service’s IP address. The way that SpamCop’s DNS-based blocking list works is that if you, for example, want to check that an email sent from a system with the IP address is legit, you run a DNS query on If SpamCop returns a valid DNS entry for that lookup, then it’s an IP address known to have sent out spam in the past and should be treated with suspicion.

          • Linode cloud firewall: Do you need it to protect the Linux server? – nixCraft

            inode is an original cloud platform and founded before AWS. Back then, we used to call them VPS (Virtual Private Server). Recently they added a new firewall feature to control network access to my Linode server from the Cloud. Let us test drive Linode cloud firewall.

          • New Year, More Bits

            I hope that everyone had a good start into the new year. The last one probably has been tough for most of us in many different ways. It has been for the IPFire Project, too.

            But we have tried to make the best we can out of it, and for this year, we have come up with an important decision that I would like to announce today: The development team has decided that we have to “cut costs” and we have decided to end support for the 32 bit x86 architecture by December 31st 2021.


            IPFire has its roots way in the past and therefore we used to carry some technical features that are not relevant any more.

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

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Amazon Ring’s End-to-End Encryption: What it Means

              Ring should take the step to make this feature the default, but for the time being, you will still have to turn encryption on.

              You can read more about Ring’s  implementation of end-to-end encryption in Ring’s whitepaper.

              Amazon is currently rolling out the feature, so it may not be available to you yet . When it is available for your device, you can follow Ring’s instructions. Make sure to note down the passphrase in a secure location such as a password manager, because it’s necessary to authorize additional mobile devices to view the video. A password manager is software that encrypts a database of your passwords, security questions, and other sensitive information, and is protected by a master password. Some examples are LastPass and 1Password.

            • TikTok reduces India staff after long-standing countrywide ban

              More than seven months after India issued a countrywide ban on TikTok, the app is significantly reducing its staffing in the country. On Tuesday, Nikkei Asia reported that TikTok was “essentially withdrawing” from India, citing sources familiar with the company.

              Reached for comment, a TikTok spokesperson confirmed that it was reducing its workforce in India but disputed the details of Nikkei’s report.

            • Elon Musk Announced He’s Leaving Twitter For ‘A While’, And No One Knows Why

              He just tweeted “Off Twitter for a while” at 3:45 AM ET or around 2:13 PM IST. He didn’t share anything apart from this, which was rather strange, nor did he reveal when he’d be back.

              The richest man on the planet, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index has recently created a massive impact on a variety of things just by a single tweet on his Twitter handle — whether it was encouraging users to quit using Facebook, or even WhatsApp by recommending them to switch to Signal.

            • Tim Cook on Why It’s Time to Fight the “Data-Industrial Complex”

              Cook also highlighted two new Apple features. The first is what the company is calling a “privacy nutrition label” — a section on App Store product pages that explains every app’s privacy practices, including what they do with your data. The second, already more controversial, is App Tracking Transparency, a feature that will require apps to get permission before tracking your data, and which will become mandatory in the very near future. ATT, as Apple calls it, has been hailed by privacy advocates around the world as a welcome step in the effort to shore up individual rights against a massive and sometimes unscrupulous tech industry; it has also been harshly criticized by some of Apple’s competitors, like Facebook, which continues to rely on some degree of tracking to target the advertising it sells. In a December full page ad in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and elsewhere, Facebook alleged that “these changes will be devastating to small businesses” who depend on tracking-based advertising to build their brands and sell their products. (Needless to say, Apple disagrees.)

            • Facebook and Apple Are Beefing Over the Future of the Internet

              In his comments at the privacy panel, Tim Cook billed Apple’s privacy shift as a blow against the forces undermining democracy. “At a moment of rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms, we can no longer turn a blind eye to a theory of technology that says all engagement is good engagement—the longer the better—and all with the goal of collecting as much data as possible,” he said. The irony is that Apple helped make this theory of technology possible in the first place with the introduction of the iPhone. Before people started carrying internet-connected computers with them everywhere they went, there were much lower limits both on how much surveillance was possible and how much attention companies could monetize. The practice of targeting ads based on invasive user tracking has fueled the internet economy for a decade. Now Apple is trying to kill the monster it helped create. Expect the monster to keep fighting back.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Biden Should Use Peace-Driven Policies to “Lead With the Power of Our Example”
      • When Trump started his speech before the Capitol riot, talk on Parler turned to civil war

        During Trump’s speech, mentions of “civil war” on Parler surged to nearly four times the level the phrase was being shared before it. “Civil war” was used 40 times in the hour before 12:15 p.m., the approximate time Trump told supporters they had to “show strength.” In the hour following his words, mentions of “civil war” jumped to 156.

        Using a dictionary that researchers use to rate words for positivity or negativity, USA TODAY examined a trove of 80,146 Parler posts captured by analysts at the Social Media Analysis Toolkit before Parler went offline. The posts run from 9 a.m., when Trump supporters ramped up their Save America rally in Washington, to 2:30 p.m., when the Capitol was under full siege.

      • Curfew Imposed in Tibetan Areas of Qinghai Ahead of Lunar New Year

        Matoe county in particular is an important hub of local transportation and travel by Tibetans in Qinghai, Swiss-based former Tibetan political prisoner Golog Jigme said, adding, “And armed police and other security personnel are often stationed there ahead of important cultural and religious festivals.”

        Authorities in northwestern China’s Gansu province have meanwhile imposed restrictions on travel to and from an important Tibetan monastery ahead of a major prayer festival, Jigme told RFA in an earlier report.

      • Swedish Parliament discusses Iran’s crackdown on the Kurds and civil society

        For three weeks now, a new wave of repression has been rolling over civil society in East Kurdistan. Hengaw human rights organization reported on Monday that at least 95 opposition members have been arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard since then. Only six people have been released on bail. Those affected include political and civil rights activists, students, media workers, environmentalists and teachers. According to their relatives and legal advisors, they were all arrested without a court order and transferred to prisons and detention centers under the control of the Revolutionary Guard.

        The Tehran regime’s treatment of civil society and movements that advocate for the rights and causes of ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities remains a cause for concern. Both they and the groups they advocate for face a brutal repressive machinery because they are considered a threat to the country’s national security and religious unity.

      • This Year, the Afghanistan War Turns 20 — and There’s Still No End in Sight

        The forgotten war in Afghanistan, a senseless waste of money and lives, will soon turn 20, and there is no sign that Joe Biden is serious about ending it. When it comes to US militarism, the much-heralded leftward shift in American politics has so far had little effect.

      • Sweden: 5 injured in Helsingborg violence

        Of the injured, “all five have stab or cut injuries,” while one of them might also have been shot, police said in a press release.

        Sweden is well-known for its gang [sic] crime, especially in the urban areas of the Scandinavian country.

      • UN Rights Expert: International Response to Myanmar Coup Must Be Unequivocal

        The power grab took place following days of tension between the military and the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), which won the November elections. The Tatmadaw has refused to accept the results, alleging massive election fraud.

        Andrews, an independent human rights expert whose mandate comes from the U.N. Human Rights Council, called the Tatmadaw’s fraud allegations “unsubstantiated” and “absurd.”

      • The New Humanitarian | What a coup may mean for aid in Myanmar conflicts

        The country’s powerful military seized control on Monday, declaring a year-long state of emergency and detaining the country’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, along with scores of civilian government officials and prominent civil society members.
        Aid groups are scrambling to understand what the coup will mean for humanitarian operations, including some 330,000 people displaced by conflict who rely on assistance to survive.
        At least two international NGOs – the Danish Refugee Council and the International Rescue Committee – temporarily suspended operations. Médecins Sans Frontières said it was “carefully evaluating the implications for our medical activities and our staff movements have now been limited”. Another group, Malteser International, said the state of emergency has made humanitarian access “very difficult” and “heavily affected” its work.
        Analysts say the coup has upended an already tense status quo: Aid groups may face more pressure and even stricter access from a military long distrustful of international humanitarian groups.
        The UN Security Council was set to meet on Tuesday in an emergency, closed-door meeting amid calls for targeted sanctions and an arms embargo on Myanmar to pressure the military into returning the country to civilian rule.

    • Environment

      • Points of Progress: Seabirds take off in Namibia, and more

        Namibia’s fishermen and conservationists have worked together to save thousands of seabirds, including endangered albatrosses, over the past decade. Drawn to the bait and waste of fishing vessels, seabirds traversing Namibia’s coast would often get caught in the nets used to catch hake and horse mackerel. Long-line fishing boats, which drag thousands of baited hooks on ropes that stretch for miles, were particularly lethal. Recognizing the sustainability benefits of protecting the local food chains, fishermen actively worked with conservationists between 2009 and 2018 to reduce seabird mortality by 98%. This is largely because of bird-scaring lines – ropes decked with colorful streamers that fly behind boats and serve as a sort of sailing scarecrow – which are now required on all hake fishing vessels. A new paper estimates that between 20,000 and 30,000 birds were killed by the long-line fishing fleet in 2009, before the lines were rolled out. In 2018, data estimated only 215 birds were killed. (RFI, Biological Conservation)

      • Energy

        • Exclusive: Whistleblower Accuses Exxon of ‘Fraudulent’ Behavior for Overvaluing Fracking Assets For Years

          The write-down reduces the value of the assets on Exxon’s books. The announcement comes as part of the company’s fourth quarter earnings for 2020.

        • Opinion: Bakken Oil Trains Unsafe at any Speed due to Volatile Oil

          The accident — which happened despite the train traveling at the slow speed of 7 miles per hour — highlights, once again, that Bakken oil-by-rail is unsafe under any circumstance. Until regulators address the issue of the volatile oil being moved by rail — from both the Bakken and Canada — the public will remain at risk. This is because, while other safety measures can help stop a crude oil spill from becoming an environmental mess, not all oil is equal and some types are much, much more likely to ignite than others — a fact the industry is aware of but ignores. 

        • Wind power provided 10 percent of Finland’s electricity last year

          Almost 7,800 gigawatt-hours of electricity came from wind-powered sources last year, a rise of around a third on 2019′s figure.

          Last year, more than 300 megawatts of new wind farm capacity was built in Finland. This year, nearly 1,000 megawatts of wind power capacity is due to be completed.

        • [Old] Sweden on target to run entirely on renewable energy by 2040

          Last year, 57 per cent of Sweden’s power came from renewables such as hydropower and wind sources, with the remainder coming from nuclear power.

          The country now plans to tap into its “large potential” for onshore wind power, in order to make the country completely fossil-free by 2040 – a goal set by Sweden’s prime minister at the UN General Assembley last year.

        • [Old] Denmark produces 140 per cent of its electricity needs through wind power

          By Thursday evening, the Nordic nation’s wind turbines were producing 116 per cent of Denmark’s electricity needs, a figure that rose to 140 per cent in the early hours of the morning.

          As reported by The Guardian, 80 per cent of the surplus power was shared between Germany and Norway, with Sweden taking the 20 per cent left over.

        • [Old] Unfurling The Waste Problem Caused By Wind Energy

          Ninety percent of a turbine’s parts can be recycled or sold, according to Van Vleet, but the blades, made of a tough but pliable mix of resin and fiberglass — similar to what spaceship parts are made from — are a different story.

          “The blades are kind of a dud because they have no value,” he said.

          Decommissioned blades are also notoriously difficult and expensive to transport. They can be anywhere from 100 to 300 feet long and need to be cut up onsite before getting trucked away on specialized equipment — which costs money — to the landfill.

        • A Monster Wind Turbine Is Upending an Industry

          Twirling above a strip of land at the mouth of Rotterdam’s harbor is a wind turbine so large it is difficult to photograph. The turning diameter of its rotor is longer than two American football fields end to end. Later models will be taller than any building on the mainland of Western Europe.

          Packed with sensors gathering data on wind speeds, electricity output and stresses on its components, the giant whirling machine in the Netherlands is a test model for a new series of giant offshore wind turbines planned by General Electric. When assembled in arrays, the wind machines have the potential to power cities, supplanting the emissions-spewing coal- or natural gas-fired plants that form the backbones of many electric systems today.

        • UK Government must overhaul windfarm deals after BiFab collapse, say MSPs

          An inquiry into the demise of BiFab (Burntisland Fabrications Limited) has also criticised the Scottish Government and the Canadian owners of the firm over a lack of transparency about investment decisions.

        • Norway’s Equinor clinches one of the largest ever renewable energy contracts in the U.S.

          Under the terms of the deal, Equinor and its partner BP will provide New York with renewable energy from the Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind 1 projects.

          The two firms will also work with New York to develop the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal and Port of Albany into what Equinor described as “large-scale offshore wind working industrial facilities.”

          Last year, BP agreed to take 50% stakes in the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects from Equinor, in a deal set to close in the early part of 2021.

        • Russian Pipeline Is Germany’s Greatest Foreign Policy Embarrassment

          Berlin is insisting on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. By doing so, the country is isolating itself in Europe and alienating the United States. The political costs will be too great if the project is completed. It should now be scrapped.

    • Finance

      • ‘Now Is Not the Time to Count Pennies’: Sanders Says GOP Relief Plan Won’t Cut It, Urges Democrats to Keep Election Promises

        “What the Republicans are talking about is just totally inadequate to meet the unprecedented crises that we’re facing.”

      • Why the WallStreetBets crowd are able to profit from predatory trading

        The authors draw out some implications. The more illiquid the market, the more scope for predators to profit: it takes longer for the prey to escape their positions, so the price falls by more. The quicker the distressed trader sells, the fewer losses it will make. Any delay allows the predator to trade ahead of (front-run) the prey. The more predators there are, the less profitable predation is.

        How does the WallStreetBets episode fit this template? The predators are acting in concert, so their strategy may be more effective. Better still, the prey are short-sellers, who bet on stocks falling. They are especially vulnerable: the more the price rises, the more they lose. Their potential losses are unlimited. And their positions are often common knowledge.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Why the Scottish Independence Movement May be Difficult to Stop
      • The Imperial Presidency Comes Home to Roost

        At 76 years old, you’d think I’d experienced it all when it comes to this country and its presidencies. Or most of it, anyway. I’ve been around since Franklin D. Roosevelt was president. Born on July 20, 1944, I’m a little “young” to remember him, though I was a war baby in an era when Congress still sometimes declared war before America made it.

        As a boy, in my liberal Democratic household in New York, I can certainly remember singing (to the tune of “Whistle While You Work”) our version of the election-year ditty of 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower faced off against Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson. The pro-Republican kicker to it went this way: “Eisenhower has the power, Stevenson’s a jerk.” We, however, sang, “Eisenhower has no power, Stevenson will work!” As it happened, we never found out if that was faintly true, since the former Illinois governor got clobbered in that election (just as he had in 1952).

      • Critics Lambaste Errors—Both Spelling and Legal—in Trump Impeachment Defense Filing

        “Lawyers are paid to make the best case they can for their clients. If this is Trump’s best case, he’s lucky that nearly half the jurors who will evaluate it are already firmly in his camp.”

      • On Sunday Shows, the Only Biden ‘Promise’ That Matters Is Compromise

        With the Biden administration focused on passing a massive Covid relief package as its first major legislative action, the Sunday morning political talk shows tackled the issue with remarkable uniformity, fixated on exactly the wrong questions.

      • Biden Plans Task Force to Reunite Migrant Families Separated by Trump
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Iran Calls On U.K. Muslims To Act Against ‘Divisive’ Film

        Baeidinejad urged the both Shi’a and Sunnis to “be vigilant and act in unity to condemn this film and resort to legal steps to ban the film in the U.K.”

      • Why ‘Section 230’ Is at the Heart of Fights Over Online Speech

        It gives tech companies broad leeway to moderate (or not) discussions and postings within their communities, and to leave them up or take them down. The year before its passage, the freewheeling investment firm Stratton Oakmont — the inspiration for the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” — had won a libel lawsuit against the online service provider Prodigy over an anonymous user’s post accusing the firm of committing fraud. Section 230 provided Prodigy (and its progeny) broad legal cover to continue hosting freewheeling discussions. Its key line reads, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Supporters of Section 230 credit it with securing today’s vibrant culture of free expression online.

      • Christian in Algeria Imprisoned for Cartoon on Facebook

        A Christian who had received and reposted a cartoon of the prophet of Islam on his Facebook account three years ago was not too concerned when gendarmerie showed up at his door on Jan. 20.

        x By the next day, the 43-year-old father of four young children had been sentenced to five years in prison under an Algerian law against insulting Muhammad, sources said.

      • Jailed Vietnamese RFA Blogger Refuses to Appeal Sentence, Destroys Petition Form

        A jailed Vietnamese blogger has refused to appeal his 11-year prison term imposed for writing articles criticizing Vietnam’s government, tearing up a petition form given to him after prison guards told him what to write on it, his lawyer says.

        Nguyen Tuong Thuy, who had blogged on civil rights and freedom of speech issues for RFA’s Vietnamese Service for six years, was sentenced on Jan. 5, with two other independent journalists—like Thuy members of the Vietnam Independent Journalism Association—handed lengthy jail terms at the same time.

      • Internet disrupted in Myanmar amid apparent military uprising

        The telecommunication disruptions beginning approximately 3:00 a.m. Monday morning local time have significant subnational impact including the capital and are likely to limit coverage of events as they take place. Continuing disconnections have been monitored with national connectivity falling initially to 75% and subsequently 50% of ordinary levels by 8:00 a.m. local time.

      • Free speech and online content: What can the US learn from Europe?

        The decisions by Facebook and Twitter to suspend former US President Donald Trump and thousands of other accounts following the riots at the US Capitol have been criticized by some as trampling on free speech and by others as too little too late. But the real question is why two private companies have been the key decision-makers in this situation. Rather than relying on CEOs Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, the US government—especially Congress and the courts—should make clear what type of speech is acceptable online and what type of speech is not.

        After the events of January 6, Congress will certainly take on reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—the 1996 law that allows online platforms, including social-media companies, to escape liability for content posted by their users. When Congress does look at the act, it should not just focus on the companies and their responsibilities. Legislators should take a good, hard look in the mirror. They must provide the guidelines that are central to reducing violent extremist content online: rules on acceptable versus forbidden online speech.

      • Speech moderation and militant democracy: Should the United States regulate like Europe does?

        The insistent requests from the German Foreign Office would land on my desk in the US Embassy in Bonn, Germany with monotonous regularity: Would the US Postal Service please take steps to block American citizen Gary Lauck from mailing to Germany the neo-Nazi propaganda he published in the United States?

        While dissemination of printed materials denying the Holocaust and glorifying the Nazi regime were prohibited in Germany, the materials were protected free speech under the standards of US constitutional law. Indeed, only a few years earlier, the US Supreme Court had refused to allow the Chicago suburb of Skokie, where many Holocaust survivors lived, to block a march by members of the National Socialist Party of America who intended to wear Nazi-style uniforms. So, as Embassy legal adviser, I had to answer each such German entreaty with a polite explanation of why the US government could not assist.

        This carefully scripted diplomatic pas de deux occurred in the 1980s. The German government eventually shifted to other tactics to suppress Lauck’s scurrilous publications. In 1995, Lauck traveled to Denmark, where he was arrested and extradited to Germany to stand trial for distributing neo-Nazi propaganda. Lauck was convicted, served a four-year sentence, and then was deported back to the United States. Today he runs Third Reich Books, an online purveyor of the same material.

      • Internet blackout around New Delhi continues amid ongoing farmers’ protest

        The government has suspended [Internet] connectivity for two days at the Singhu and Tikri (Delhi-Haryana) border, and Ghazipur (Delhi-Uttar Pradesh) border for two more days at the request of Delhi Police, officials said on Monday.

      • Iron spikes, barbed wire, internet shutdowns: Delhi borders look like war zones right now

        Over the past two days, the Narendra Modi government has erected iron spikes, heavy metal and concrete barriers, and fences on several borders of New Delhi where thousands of farmers have been peacefully protestings against three new agriculture laws introduced in the country. Internet services in the border areas have been suspended, and there have also been reports of water and power supply disruptions.

      • Indian Gov’t Extends Internet Suspension Amid Farmers Protest

        “In exercise of the power conferred under Sub-rule 1 of Rule 2 of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) rules 2017 and in the interest of maintaining public safety and averting public emergency, it is necessary and expedient to order the temporary suspension of Internet services in the areas of Singh, Ghazipur, and Tikri and their adjoining areas in the NCT of Delhi from 23:00 Hours on January 31 to 23:00 Hours on February 2,” the Home Ministry indicated.

      • Cuban [Internet] access cut amid free expression protest; journalist harassed

        On January 27, starting at around 3:30 p.m. [Internet] access was shut down on the island for approximately two hours, according to news reports and several local journalists posting on Twitter. To get around the shutdown, journalists use VPNs, according to one local reporter who spoke to CPJ via messaging app on the condition of anonymity, citing security concerns.

        The shutdown happened as authorities were beating and detaining protesters at a demonstration for free expression and artistic freedom outside the Ministry of Culture in Havana, according to news reports.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Alexei Navalny Faces “Kafkaesque” Charges in Russia for Breaking Parole While in Poison-Induced Coma

        Russian authorities have arrested thousands of people during anti-government protests in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has been held in jail since returning to Russia on January 17 after recovering in Germany from an attempt on his life in August using the nerve agent Novichok. Navalny has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being behind the poisoning that nearly killed him. While Navalny has emerged as Russia’s leading opposition figure and anti-corruption campaigner, his political roots have links to right-wing nationalist and anti-immigrant causes. Joshua Yaffa, Moscow correspondent for The New Yorker, says that Navalny has been willing to change and adapt his views to court public opinion, including through his “flirtation” with Russian nationalism. “We’ll only know what sort of politician Navalny is when he’s actually allowed to participate in formal politics.”

      • Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny will spend the next 2.5 years in prison, following a verdict in Moscow

        Moscow’s Simonovsky District Court has sentenced Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny to 3.5 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation in the Yves Rocher case. Pending appellate rulings, he will spend the next two years and eight months in prison due to time previously served under house arrest. 

      • ‘He broke the law 60 times’: Navalny’s day in court, as told by Russian state television networks

        As Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny appeared in court on Tuesday, February 2, the Russian state television networks “Perviy Kanal” and “Rossiya 1” were busy broadcasting their own version of the story behind today’s events. Here’s what they had to say about Navalny’s case and his trial, in a nutshell.

      • More than 200 people detained in Moscow in connection with Navalny hearing

        Ahead of Alexey Navalny’s hearing on Tuesday, February 2, police cordoned off the area around the Moscow City Court and began making arrests in the vicinity. According to the independent monitor OVD-Info, at least 237 people have been detained so far today.

      • ‘Vladimir the Poisoner’: A translation of Alexey Navalny’s speech in court on February 2

        On February 2, during a hearing that will determine if he remains in prison for several years to come, opposition figure Alexey Navalny addressed the court, delivering a short speech in which he maintained his innocence and condemned Russia’s political and legal system for corruption and repression. Meduza publishes an English-language translation of Navalny’s courtroom remarks below.

      • ‘We just want Russia to be better’: Meduza looks back on the January 31 opposition protests in a dispatch from St. Petersburg

        Protesters across Russia took to the streets for the second weekend in a row on January 31, to oppose the detention of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Once again, the city of St. Petersburg emerged as a focal point of the demonstrations, in part because of the violent actions of local police. In addition to beating up protesters, police officers used tasers while detaining demonstrators and arrested more than a thousand people in total. In a dispatch from St. Petersburg, Meduza looks back on the day’s events.

      • His day in court Events before and after Alexey Navalny’s prison sentencing in Moscow

        Meduza summarizes the Russian authorities’ case against opposition politician Alexey Navalny and the events that immediately preceded and followed Tuesday’s announcement that he will spend at least the next 2.5 years in prison.

      • Navalny’s supporters call for protests near Red Square following verdict in Moscow

        Immediately after a Moscow court sentenced Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny to two years and eight months in prison on Tuesday, February 2, his supporters called on protesters to gather on Manezhnaya Square — a pedestrian space in the downtown that connects to Red Square.

      • Free Alexey Navalny! Meduza responds to the imprisonment of Russia’s most outspoken opposition politician

        Alexey Navalny has been sentenced to prison, as everyone expected. The Russian authorities did not even bother with the semblance of legality. The absurd allegations against this politician ended in a trial that was no less farcical. But the result is no joke: years behind bars. 

      • Pakistan Orders Man Acquitted in Pearl Murder off Death Row

        The U.S. government has said that it would seek Sheikh’s extradition if his acquittal is upheld. Sheikh has been indicted in the United States on Pearl’s murder as well as in a 1994 kidnapping of an American citizen in Indian-ruled sector of the divided region of Kashmir. The American was eventually freed.

        Sheikh was arrested by India after the 1994 kidnappings, but was among four terror suspects freed by India on Dec. 31, 1999, in exchange for the hostages on an Indian Airlines aircraft that was hijacked and taken from Nepal to then Taliban-controlled Afghan city of Kandahar.

      • Turkey to begin retrial of RSF representative, other press freedom advocates on terrorism charges

        On February 3, the Thirteenth Istanbul Court of Serious Crimes is scheduled to begin hearings in the retrial of Erol Önderoğlu, the Turkey representative of the international press freedom group Reporters Without Borders and editor of the Bianet independent news website; Şebnem Korur Fincancı, a columnist for the leftist daily Evrensel and chair of the Turkish Medical Association trade union; and Ahmet Nesin, a columnist for the online leftist newspaper Artı Gerçek, according to Reporters Without Borders and news reports.

        The three are accused of promoting terrorist propaganda in their work with the pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem in 2016; they were acquitted in 2019 but government prosecutors appealed that acquittal, according to those reports and CPJ reporting at the time.

      • Swiss Journalist Detained By Police In Minsk Is Released After Questioning

        The Vyasna human rights center in Belarus says police in Minsk have released a Swiss journalist from custody who was detained earlier on January 31 in the Belarusian capital.

        The rights group said it received information from the Swiss Embassy in Minsk at about 5 p.m. local time that journalist Luzia Tschirky had been released from a police station.

        Tschirky is a correspondent for the Swiss public broadcaster SRF who covers Russia, Belarus, and other former Soviet republics.

      • To police, ‘the camera is like a red cloth to a bull’: four journalists on covering Russia’s pro-Navalny protests

        Law enforcement officers detained, beat, and otherwise interfered with the work of dozens of journalists covering protests in at least 20 cities, as CPJ documented this week. According to reports, some journalists are now under police investigation for having allegedly violated quarantine rules by participating in a mass event.

        In the run-up to the next countrywide pro-Navalny protest, expected to take place on January 31, CPJ spoke via phone with four regional journalists about their experiences on January 23. The interviews have been edited for length and clarity. CPJ is not identifying journalists to whom it hasn’t spoken directly, or hasn’t previously reported on, in order to protect them from potential reprisal.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • On Inauguration Day, Police Nationwide Went After Left-Wing Protesters
      • After Years Of Ignoring Abuse At A Women’s Prison, Department Of Corrections Suspends Nearly Three Dozen Employees

        How does something horrific become an epidemic? Well, if you ignore any problem long enough, it’s pretty much guaranteed to get worse.

      • Papering over the rot: Joe Biden’s window dressing can’t end oligarchy

        Once an oligarchy seizes power, deforming governing institutions to exclusively serve their narrow interests and turning the citizenry into serfs, there are only two options, as Aristotle pointed out — tyranny or revolution. The staggering concentration of wealth and obscene avarice of the very rich now dwarfs the hedonism and excesses of the world’s most heinous despots and wealthiest capitalists of the past. In 2015, shortly before he died, Forbes estimated David Rockefeller’s net worth was $3 billion. The Shah of Iran looted an estimated $1 billion from his country. Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos amassed between $5 and $10 billion. And the former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was worth about a billion. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are each at $180 billion.

      • Anger after US police handcuff and pepper-spray 9-year-old girl in Rochester, NY

        Officers called to the scene on Friday eventually responded by handcuffing her, before trying to force her into a car and pepper-spraying her when she resisted, body cam videos released by the city’s police force showed.

      • Rochester, New York police pepper sprayed handcuffed nine-year-old girl

        After a scuffle between the mother, police and child, another officer arrived to manhandle the child by pushing her down into the snow next to the patrol car. The officers that were on top of her then flipped her over while still on the ground and handcuffed her. There were several police cars dispatched to the scene, and none of the officers that were seen in the video were wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

        After being forcefully thrown into the back of a police car and tortured by two officers, and only seconds before officers attacked her with pepper spray as she called out for her father, in the body cam footage one officer says, “You’re acting like a child.” She responded, “I am a child.”

      • Google to pay $3.8 million to settle discrimination allegations

        The big picture: The deal ends the Labor Department case but the broader issues of discrimination at Google and other tech giants are far from settled.

      • Google to pay millions to women, Asians in discrimination case

        The settlement will close a 4-year-old case brought by the Labor Department.

        During a periodic review of pay practices at federal government contractors, the government agency found that from 2014 to 2017, Google paid female engineers less than men in similar positions.

        It also uncovered “hiring rate differences” that put female and Asian applicants at disadvantages when applying for software engineering positions.

      • Attacked Christian Nurse Charged with Blasphemy in Pakistan

        Staff members of the hospital in Karachi on Thursday (Jan. 28) slapped, beat and locked nurse Tabeeta Nazir Gill, 42, in a room after baselessly accusing her of blaspheming Islam, sources said.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Riot Games Taps Former Hulu Exec to Lead Communications

        Paez’s work history includes serving as senior vp and head of corporate communications at Hulu during a period of rapid growth and change for the streamer, which went from operating as a joint venture of three major media companies to a division of Disney. Paez was involved in the multi-year communications strategy that supported Hulu’s entrance into the live TV marketplace.

        Earlier in her career, Paez served in senior leadership roles at Fox Broadcasting Company, Yahoo! Inc and San Diego-based internet TV company Veoh Networks.

    • Monopolies

      • ByteDance Files $14 Million Suit Against Tencent for Monopolistic Behavior

        Douyin, the Chinese version of ByteDance’s TikTok short video app, has filed suit in Beijing against rival Tencent Holdings for alleged monopolistic behavior, seeking $13.9 million in compensation, ByteDance said Tuesday.

        Tencent prohibits the sharing of Douyin content on its extremely popular apps WeChat and QQ, a practice that ByteDance hopes the court will rule runs counter to China’s anti-monopoly law and must cease.

      • Amazon will have a new CEO as Jeff Bezos transitions to executive chair later this year

        Bezos’ transition to executive chairman of Amazon’s board will mean he’ll be slightly more removed from the day-to-day business of running the nearly $1.7 trillion company, allowing him to focus his “energies and attention on new products and early initiatives.” Those projects will include the $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund, which Bezos established last year, and Blue Origins, his aerospace firm, which recently resumed test flights at the end of 2020.

        Jassy is a familiar face at the company, having joined back in 1997. He has led the Amazon Web Services team since it was founded in 2003 and was named the CEO of AWS in 2016. The choice of Jassy — who has headed Amazon’s cloud service business since the beginning — over a retail or hardware executive is a telling one for Amazon’s priorities as a company.

      • Jeff Bezos to Step Down as Amazon CEO

        After serving as the CEO of Amazon for more than 25 years, Jeff Bezos is stepping down from the role.

        The founder of the world’s largest e-commerce site announced the move Feb. 2, telling investors that he would transition into the role of executive chairman at the end of September. Andy Jassy, who has served as CEO of Amazon Web Services, will take over as CEO.

      • Jeff Bezos to Step Down as Amazon CEO

        Amazon announced that founder Jeff Bezos will step down as CEO in the third quarter of 2021, moving into a new role as executive chair.

        Andy Jassy, currently CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS), will become Amazon.com’s CEO at that time. The ecommerce giant made the announcement alongside blowout fourth-quarter 2020 earnings, its biggest-ever quarter of revenue ($125.6 billion) and net income ($7.2 billion).

        In prepared remarks, Bezos said it was an “optimal time” for the CEO transition, because Amazon is “at its most inventive ever.” The 57-year-old exec, one of the wealthiest people in the world with a current net worth of about $197 billion, founded Amazon.com as an online bookstore in 1994 and has headed the company ever since.

      • Jeff Bezos steps down as Amazon CEO

        In a memo to employees, Bezos said the transition will give him “the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions.”

      • Bezos stepping down as Amazon CEO

        Since founding Amazon in 1994, Bezos has amassed an estimated net worth of $196.5 billion.

      • Amazon’s Incoming CEO Andy Jassy Ushered in Cloud Computing Boom

        In the same earnings report in which Amazon said Jassy, 53, would succeed Jeff Bezos later this year, the company reported that AWS pulled in $12.7 billion in sales in the fourth quarter, making the unit a $50 billion business on an annual basis.

      • Patents

        • Sequencing-by-synthesis: Illumina defeats Columbia’s patents [Ed: Maybe stop patenting nature and life]

          In this IPR decision, the PTAB cancelled claims from five patents owned by Columbia — finding them obvious. US Patent Nos. 9,718,852 (clm 1); 9,719,139 (clm 1); 9,708,358 (clm 1); 9,725,480 (clm 1); and 9,868,985 (clms 1-2). The patents are all related to methods of sequencing DNA using “sequencing-by-synthesis.” Illumina believes that it owns the process. Columbia felt otherwise and sued Illumina for patent infringement in D.Del. That lawsuit has been stayed since July 2018 as the court awaits these IPR decisions. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed.


          The likelihood of winning an appeal certainly depends upon the merits of your case. The second most important factor is the level of deference afforded to the lower-tribunal. The Federal Circuit gives deference to any factual findings made by the PTAB in its IPR decisions. In particular, a PTAB finding of fact will be affirmed if it is based upon “substantial evidence.” The words “substantial evidence” might sound like a lot of evidence, it is actually a quite easy threshold. A decision is based upon “substantial evidence” if it is supported by “more than an iota” of evidence or if “a reasonable mind might accept the evidence to support the finding.” On the other hand, questions of law are reviewed without deference — de novo.

        • Dennis Crouch thoughts… [Ed: The patent zealots and profiteers have ideas and they try to help patent trolls blackmail everyone... for "innovation" of course]

          Not huge, but is it time to amend Section 145 to allow patent applicants to file their civil action in any venue that houses one of the National or Regional Patent Offices?

        • Top 5 changes to the 2021 EPO Guidelines for Examination [Ed: Incredible hogwash from UPC boosters Simmons & Simmons. Not a single mention of profound EPO corruption.]

          Last year, the European Patent Office changed the publication schedule of the Guidelines as part of its Strategic Plan 2023 which meant there was no update to the Guidelines in 2020. The changed schedule also made room for public consultation to enable increased stakeholder involvement.

          The first such public consultation ran for six weeks and closed mid-April 2020. Future consultations will follow a similar timeline. Following that consultation, as well as the usual Guidelines update process, the EPO has today published an advance preview of the Guidelines which will come into force on 1 March 2021.

        • Software Patents

          • Inspire Licensing patent challenged

            On January 29, 2021, Unified Patents filed an ex parte reexamination proceeding against U.S. Patent 10,005,427, owned and asserted by Inspire Licensing, an NPE and affiliate of IP Edge. The ’427 patent is related to sensors that generate alarms for a vehicle.

          • 2S Ventures affiliate, Optima Direct, settles with Unified

            On February 1, 2021, the Board issued an order terminating IPR2020-00784 pursuant to a joint settlement request filed by Unified Patents and Optima Direct, LLC, an NPE and affiliate of 2S Ventures. U.S. Patent 8,646,060, generally directed to adaptive authentication methods using a mobile device, has been asserted in district court cases against HID Global Corporation, OneLogin, Ping Identity and Okta.

          • $1,000 for Optinetix prior art

            On February 2, 2021, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $1,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 1 of U.S. Patent 7,349,668. This patent is currently owned by Optinetix, a NPE. The ’668 patent generally relates to a system and method for the distribution of information, typically digital information that is distributed actively, through broadcast media such as television and radio.

      • Trademarks

        • No likelihood of confusion between EU collective trade mark ‘HALLOUMI’ and ‘BBQLOUMI’, says EU General Court

          In a recent decision concerning the likelihood of confusion between the EU collective trade mark ‘HALLOUMI’ and the sign ‘BBQLOUMI’, the EU General Court held that – in light of the similarity between the signs, the goods and services, and the distinctive character of the former mark – there was no likelihood of confusion pursuant to Articles 8(1)(b) and 75 – 82 of Regulation 2017/1001 (the EU trade mark regulation (EUTMR)).

          This decision is the most recent instalment in the long-running battle between the Foundation for the Protection of the Traditional Cheese of Cyprus named Halloumi and a Bulgarian company seeking registration of BBQLOUMI as an EU trade mark (EUTM).


          In light of the above, the General Court concluded that there was a low degree of similarity between the signs in question.

          The General Court then considered that the distinctiveness of the Applicant’s EU collective trade mark was weak. Consumers would not associate it with anything other than halloumi cheese, due to the mark’s generic name of that type of cheese. No association with the commercial origin of the goods designated by it, in so far as they originate from members of the Cypriot association or undertakings that are economically linked to those members or to that association, would be possible.

          The General Court noted that a global assessment of the likelihood of confusion implies some interdependence between the factors taken into account and, in particular, between the similarity of the marks and that of the goods or services covered by them. Accordingly, a low degree of similarity between those goods or services may be offset by a high degree of similarity between the marks, and vice versa (Canon, C‑39/97).

          In the present decision, the General Court concluded that, in light of the differentiating goods and services in respect of ‘meat extracts’ and ‘catering services’, the low degree of similarity between the signs, and the weak distinctive character of the senior mark in particular, that there was no likelihood of confusion for the relevant public as regards the commercial origin of the goods bearing the Intervener’s mark.

          Even if consumers focused their attention on the element ‘loumi’, which the General Court considered unlikely in light of its secondary position and perceived the figurative element as a possible reference to halloumi cheese grilled on the barbeque, they would still have not established a link between the two marks.

      • Copyrights

        • IPTV Provider Omniverse Wins $50m To Pay Hollywood’s $50m Piracy Damages

          After being branded a pirate IPTV provider by the Alliance For Creativity and Entertainment and agreeing to pay $50 million in damages, Omniverse One World Television now has a victory of its own. All along the company argued that it had entered into a content licensing agreement in good faith and as a result has now been awarded $50 million in damages.

        • Tech Giants Warn US of Hostile Copyright Environment in EU and Russia

          Big tech companies including Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter are concerned about restrictive copyright legislation being implemented around the world. Industry groups warn that these changes, including Article 17 of the EU Copyright Directive, result in ‘hostile environments’ that harm the interests of US tech companies.

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