02.06.21

Links 6/2/2021: FOSDEM 2021 Starts

Posted in News Roundup at 11:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • The Age of the Moderator

        Katherine Druckman, Doc Searls and Petros Koutoupis talk Twitter’s new Birdwatch experiment, Signal’s resistance to moderation, and Redditors’ impact on the stock market.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 4.9.256
        I'm announcing the release of the 4.9.256 kernel.
        
        This, and the 4.4.256 release are a little bit "different" than normal.
        
        This contains only 1 patch, just the version bump from .255 to .256 which ends
        up causing the userspace-visable LINUX_VERSION_CODE to behave a bit differently
        than normal due to the "overflow".
        
        With this release, KERNEL_VERSION(4, 9, 256) is the same as KERNEL_VERSION(4, 10, 0).
        
        Nothing in the kernel build itself breaks with this change, but given that this
        is a userspace visible change, and some crazy tools (like glibc and gcc) have
        logic that checks the kernel version for different reasons, I wanted to do this
        release as an "empty" release to ensure that everything still works properly.
        
        So, this is a YOU MUST UPGRADE requirement of a release.  If you rely on the
        4.9.y kernel, please throw this release into your test builds and rebuild the
        world and let us know if anything breaks, or if all is well.
        
        Go forth and do full system rebuilds!  Yocto and Gentoo are great for this, as
        will systems that use buildroot.
        
        I'll try to hold off on doing a "real" 4.9.y release for a 9eek to give
        everyone a chance to test this out and get back to me.  The pending patches in
        the 4.9.y queue are pretty serious, so I am loath to wait longer than that,
        consider yourself warned...
        
        The updated 4.9.y git tree can be found at:
        	git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.9.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
        
        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s...
        
        thanks,
        
        greg k-h
        
      • Linux 4.4.256
      • Greg Kroah-Hartman: 8 bits are enough for a version number…

        As was pointed out to us stable kernel maintainers last week, the overflow of the .y release number was going to happen soon, and our proposed solution for it (use 16 bits instead of 8), turns out to be breaking a userspace-visable api.

        As we can’t really break this, I did a release of the 4.4.256 and 4.9.256 releases today that contain nothing but a new version number. See the links for the full technical details if curious.

        Right now I’m asking that everyone who uses these older kernel releases to upgrade to this release, and do a full rebuild of their systems in order to see what might, or might not, break.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Zink Can Now Run On Lavapipe But You Really Want To Avoid It – Phoronix

          In addition to this week seeing Zink now running on NVIDIA’s proprietary driver for supporting this Gallium3D-based OpenGL over Vulkan implementation, it can now run on top of Lavapipe as the CPU-based Vulkan implementation. But for end-users that is really something you would want to avoid.

          With the newest Mesa 21.1-devel code as of today, there is support for running Zink on Lavapipe. Lavapipe is the software Vulkan implementation merged last year to Mesa as a CPU-based Vulkan software driver. So with the latest Mesa Git code, it’s possible to route Zink through Lavapipe to ultimately render using the CPU.

    • Benchmarks

      • After A Bumpy Cycle, AMD Performance Will Shine Brighter On Linux 5.11

        For those following the saga of the AMD frequency invariance regression on Linux 5.11 since the Christmas investigative benchmarking looking at the performance regressions, everything now looks like it will be buttoned up in time for the Linux 5.11 stable release. As noted yesterday, there was a curve ball this week in that the patch proposed by SUSE’s Giovanni Gherdovich in January to address the frequency invariance regression was turned down by the Linux power management maintainer and instead he (Rafael Wysocki of Intel) proposed an alternative patch that instead modified the CPUFreq driver. Given it’s getting late into the cycle, it’s been a mad rush of re-conducting benchmarks on this new kernel patch and now it looks like that solution will be sent in the coming days for Linux 5.11.

    • Applications

      • Easily Transform Text With Boop-GTK (Scriptable Scratchpad For Developers)

        Many operations like Base64 encode, format JSON, Hex to RGB, HTML encode, minify CSS and more, are usually performed by pasting text, which may contain secret information, into shady websites.

        This is where Boop-GTK comes in. This is a simple editor for pasting text and executing some operations on it.

        [...]

        Boop-GTK is a port of Boop (macOS only) to GTK, and thus Linux and Windows. Being a port of Boop, it’s 100% compatible with Boop scripts, and it even uses the Boop scripts by default.

      • Filmulator brings back traditional film processing in your Linux digital darkroom

        When we consider the availability of good photo management and photo editing applications for Linux, then we as Linux enthusiasts have little to complain. For both the holiday photographers with less specific requirements as well as the avid hobby photographers and even professionals, there are several photo solutions available for Linux to support their different editing requirements. For serious photo work, darktable is probably the best known. But recently a special photo application came to my attention that looks at the digital photo editing process in a different and special way, which is directly derived from a special classic photo development technique from the wet darkroom. In this article, let’s see how Filmulator brings back traditional film processing in your Linux digital darkroom.

      • Darktable 3.4.1 Improves Camera Support, Adds Faster Thumbnail Generation

        Darktable 3.4.1 is the first minor update to the Darktable 3.4 series released last month with numerous new features and improvements. Being mainly a bugfix release, Darktable 3.4.1 addresses a bunch of issues affecting Lr metadata import, color correction RGB handling and saturation normalization, and metadata export.

        Also fixed in this release are various visual issues affecting the combo-box popup scrolling, display of stars in the overlay, black point setting when dragging the histogram, size of clipping handle, metadata comment reading from Exif, out of sync thumbnails with the darkroom edit, and help links for the technical group module.

      • 13 Best Free and Open Source Linux Blog Software

        Weblog software (also known as blog software or blogware) enables users to maintain an ongoing chronicle of information on a website. Typically, a blog is a frequently updated, personal website, with diary-type commentary, descriptions of events, and sometimes includes graphics and video as well as links to articles on other sites. However, blogs can also be used for business purposes.

        Blogs can be narrow in scope, focusing on one individual topic or subject, or covering a much wider sphere. The ability for readers to make interactive comments on the blog is typically permitted and encouraged.

        This article focuses on software that is set up and hosted on the platform by yourself, rather than blogging services where a third-party service is used to handle the blog software, such as Blogger or Typepad.

        Blog content is stored in a file system, and changes to the content are typically stored in a relational database management system (such as MySQL).

        Software that provides a method of managing a website is commonly known as a Web Content Management System (or WCMS). Many blogging software programs are considered a specific type of WCMS. In this feature we have included some of the best WCMS software which also make great blogging tools.

        To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 13 high quality free Linux blogware. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone who wishes to share their thoughts with others.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How run Android apps on linux without emulation

        There is a Linux tool that makes it easier for Android applications to run on the open source operating system. Anbox utility is a tool that acts like a bridge between Linux and Android. In this article you will learn how to install and use Android apps on Linux using Anbox.

      • How To Install OpenVPN on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install OpenVPN on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, OpenVPN is an open-source application that is usually widely used to create secure digital private networks over the unsecured open public Internet. OpenVPN is an SSL VPN solution that drains your system relationship securely through the Internet. OpenVPN features in the client-server structure. All the particular devices connected to a virtual exclusive network act as if they’re connected to your local area network. The particular packets sent through the VPN tunnel are encrypted with 256 bit AES encryption making data theft impossible.

        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 the Nmap security scanner on CentOS 8.

      • How install Atom code editor (IDE) Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        Atom is an open-source Node.js based cross-platform code editor created by the team of GitHub. Therefore, we cannot only use install Atom on Ubuntu Linux but also on Windows and macOS. The source code of this code editor is also available to download and compile, to use on any system.

        The code editor program is already equipped with a number of helpful packages as standard and offers, for example, in addition to (colored) syntax highlighting, auto-completion of typed code. It is quite flexible and the users can change its interface as per their requirement and ease of usage. For this purpose, the editor comes with a whole range of predefined themes for this purpose. Apart from that, there are many more available to choose from in the community. The developers can fine tweak its UI further with the help of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

      • Assign multiple IP address to Ubuntu 20.04 single network interface- GUI

        If you have a single network interface and want to bind several IP addresses to it then on Ubuntu Linux, it is very easy to perform and hand in multiple scenarios. For example, it is an efficient method when the system or on a rented root server has only a single network card, and the user wants to host multiple websites under different IP addresses.

        Well, with the concept of virtual network interfaces, Linux offers an elegant solution for binding many IP addresses to one network adapter.

        When we have multiple physical network cards, then each one gets a unique name, e.g., eth0 for the first card or eth1 for the second network card. Although each of them will have its unique Ip address, we can also configure each physical network card with several virtual interfaces with their own IP address.

      • How to Install Unity3D on Linux
      • A quick tutorial how to set up obs-studio | ArcoLinux

        Obs-studio is a tool to stream your desktop, sound, webcam, … to youtube and chat with your followers of your channel.

        Read more about it on Open Broadcaster Software at https://obsproject.com.

      • How to install 7-Zip on a Chromebook with Crossover 20

        Today we are looking at how to install 7-Zip on a Chromebook with Crossover 20. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • Home Networking Upgrade – UniFi UAP-AC-PRO UFOs – Jon’s FOSS Blog

        So continuing on the theme of UFO shaped things, I decided to replace the home and guest APs that were running on OpenWRT routers (a TP-Link Archer C7 V5 and a Linksys WRT1900ACS). I was able to achieve a fairly stable and fast setup with those routers by keeping the tp-link minimal and the linksys in a basic wireless setup.

        I decided to try a new product to replace them and help expand my knowledge in the process. I picked up a couple of Ubiquiti APs to run each network at 802.11ac-5ghz-3×3-1300mbps and they are connected via CAT6-gigabit-ethernet to separated ports on a Linksys WRT32X router. This OpenWRT router is acting as a wireless client bridge to carry all the internal network traffic via a dedicated and separated 802.11ac backchannel to a TP-Link Archer C7 V5 router in the basement which is then connected to a cable modem for internet access.

      • CPU Isolation – Full dynticks internals – by SUSE Labs (part 2) | SUSE Communities

        We have just introduced the linux kernel timer tick, the role it plays within kernel internal state and service maintainance. Users of jitter-sensitive workloads may want to get rid of the stolen CPU cycles and CPU-cache trashing resulting from this high rate event.
        However stopping the timer tick is not easy because many kernel components rely on a periodic event: timers, timekeeping and scheduler being the bulk of it. One exception though, when a CPU is idle, there is no need for such a 100~1000 Hz heartbeat. Indeed when a CPU doesn’t have any work to do, there is no task scheduler to maintain, no timer queued and no timekeeping user.

      • How to install Percona Database Server on Ubuntu 20.04

        Percona Server is a fork of the MySQL server. It is fully compatible and a replacement for Oracle MySQL. Percona Server is used by thousands of enterprises to provide superior performance, scalability, and instrumentation for their workloads. It is compatible with many cloud providers including, AWS, Google Cloud, Azure, and more. It is capable to scales over 48 CPU cores and achieves hundreds of thousands of I/O operations per second.

      • Capturing network traffic in an eXpress Data Path (XDP) environment

        In this post we’re going to take a look at how to capture and examine network traffic using xdpdump and Wireshark to troubleshoot eXpress Data Path (XDP) issues on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

      • How to Install Webmin on Ubuntu 20.04 Server – LinuxBabe

        Webmin is a free and open-source control panel for administering Unix/Linux servers. This tutorial will be showing you how to install Webmin on Ubuntu 20.04 server.

      • How to Install Audacious 4.1 via PPA in Ubuntu 20.04, 20.10, 18.04 | UbuntuHandbook

        The Audacious audio player 4.1 was released a few days ago. Here’s PPA with the deb binary packages for Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, Linux Mint 20, and derivatives.

        Following the lead of Debian and Fedora, the new release now features dual Qt5 + GTK2 build by default. And it offers an option in the Settings to make it easy to switch between Qt and classic GTK interfaces.

      • How to Install Ansible on Linux Mint 20

        Ansible is a widely used configuration management system that is able to handle multiple servers through a single control server. Apart from this, it is also extensively used as a software provisioning and application deployment tool. It can be used both with Linux based systems and Windows-based systems. Ansible is available for free and released under an open-source license. Today, I will show you how to install Ansible on a Linux Mint 20 machine.

      • How To List Installed Packages Sorted By Installation Date In Linux

        This brief guide describes how to list installed packages sorted by installation date from command line in Linux and Unix-like operating systems. This can be helpful while you want to get the rpm packages update history such as when a package is installed, how many packages are installed on your system on a specific date and time and what packages you have installed on a certain date or time in your Linux box.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • How to Install Wine 6.0 on Debian 10

        For those not acquainted with Wine, this is a software utility that allows users to run Windows programs in .exe format. Wine 6.0 was released on January 14, 2021, and it packs numerous improvements, tweaks, libraries, and tens of bug fixes. In this guide, we will focus on how you can install Wine 6.0 on Debian 10, Buster.

        [...]

        By following the steps described in this guide, you will be able to successfully install wine 6.0 on debian 10.

    • Games

      • Deck-based mash-up adventure Loop Hero launching on March 4 | GamingOnLinux

        Loop Hero, an upcoming mash-up of genres that blends together a roguelike adventure with deck-building and a little auto-battling in a very unique game mechanically is now launching on March 4. There’s also a limited time demo up.

        Confirmed to have Linux support at release, Loop Hero has been making some waves through various previews done by other publications with plenty giving it high marks. For good reason too, this could be the next great destroyer of time that makes you stay up late with weary eyes.

      • qomp is a brilliant example of minimalist mechanics and a fantastic idea | GamingOnLinux

        qomp is a small game about freedom. It won’t take you long to get through, it’s not complicated and it’s absolutely brilliant. Using a single button, you will be changing the direction of the ball to get through various different challenges and overcome several different game mechanics. It really doesn’t look or sound like much but its one of those times were the simplicity makes it so good.

      • Relic Space to bring some sleek space sci-fi tactics to Linux | GamingOnLinux

        Relic Space is a new announcement from Fourfold Games (prev game Xenomarine), which will bring to Linux some rather sleek space sci-fi strategy action when it releases into Early Access.

        It’s turn-based with a hex-based ship-to-ship combat system that uses fluid interpolation. This makes the movement and the combat a bit like the feel of Jupiter Hell, where it’s so smooth and sleek that you could even mistake it for being real-time. Wrapped up in an open-world roguelike space RPG setting.

        Example of how smooth the movement is…

        The developer has been working on it for around 18 months, with it initially going into Early Access for at least one year. Although there’s no set date on when that will be just yet. When it does arrive the initial release will have the tutorial and randomized missions ready with the single-player story campaign to come later.

      • Euro Truck Simulator 2 – Beyond the Baltic Sea

        Some games are fun. Some games are extra fun. One of them is Euro Truck Simulator 2. Strap into the cabin of an eighteen-wheeler, and roam free the roads and bahns of the European continent, delivering goods to and fro and making honest buck (euro) in between. So when there’s a DLC, offered cheap, Cyber Monday whatnot, then you buy it, despite my stance on DLC in general, and you play some moar. Let’s call it an expansion pack, shall we?

        The name of the DLC is Beyond the Baltic Sea, and it instantly reminded me of the awesome movie Cannonball! and its iconic opening theme song and sequence. If you’ve not seen it, you must. Now, the lyrics of the song include a line: from sea to shining sea. Well, almost the same, except it’s the Baltic Sea. Indeed, the DLC opens up a bunch of new roads in the countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, parts of western Russia, and the south of Finland. Sounds cool. Ignition on.

      • Classic open source simulation game OpenTTD is coming to Steam | GamingOnLinux

        OpenTTD, the free and open source simulation game based upon Transport Tycoon Deluxe is officially coming to Steam on April 1, and the Linux build will be available too.

        Another fine example of a brilliant open source project! Based upon Transport Tycoon Deluxe, a business simulation game in which players earn money by transporting passengers and cargo via road, rail, water, and air. It’s entirely free and doesn’t need the original game as it has a full graphics replacement too but it can work with the original data files if you have them. This is a fully-featured game and it’s popular.

      • Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood delayed to April 8 and no more Early Access | GamingOnLinux

        Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood from Devespresso Games and Headup has now moved to an April 9 release date, and it will no longer be in Early Access as they will be ready for a full release.

        It was going to be due on February 10 so it’s not exactly a long delay and they gave no reason for the change. Sounds good overall though as it will release with all parts of the story along with translations for English, Korean, German, French, Russian, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish.

        Featuring Devespresso’s signature manhwa-style with hand-illustrated graphics by Minho Kim and a non-linear story written by T.L. Riven, Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood is a narrative adventure set within a vibrant Oz-esque fantasy world. The game features a recurring time loop (think Groundhog Day) with unique branching story paths and multiple endings.

      • Rogue Star Rescue is a fun mix of twin-stick bullet-hell and tower defence out now | GamingOnLinux

        Released out of Early Access as a full game on February 4, Rogue Star Rescue blends together a furiously good mix of twin-stick bullet-hell action with tower defence. Note: copy personally purchased.

        A game we’ve never covered here before and were completely unaware of it until the full release, which is a shame because it deserves a bit more attention. Featuring a non-linear story-mode along with local and online co-op options, there’s a lot to like about it with the fast-paced action.

        The story? The Rogue Star. A massive Rogue Star has formed from the cosmos and is on a direct collision path with us! It threatens to vaporize everything. Leaders from planets around the galaxy have assembled a top team of fighters to stop the Rogue Star at all costs. Choose your own non-linear path through the galaxy and explore each of the 10+ planets carefully.

      • Urban sandbox city-building GTA-like sim Voxel Turf is back with a big new release | GamingOnLinux

        Grand Theft Auto style mechanics blended in with some Minecraft blocky style and city-building, that’s sort-of a basic overview of what you can expect in Voxel Turf.

        Hard to really properly describe it, as there’s just so much to it. Want to build a city? Go ahead. Want to get involved as a person and fight for territory against gangs? There’s plenty of that too and so much more. Released back in 2017 it’s been steadily improved and after a break of updates lasting many months it appears the developer is back with some big stuff here.

        Returning players can expect to see a whole new biome, a revamp of the outback biomes with red stone and the plains now have patches of dry grass and salt lakes. Not just new content though, there’s a big overhaul of performance with more multithreading and it should all be faster overall. Nice.

        [...]

        You know Voxel Turf is also great? It’s another game developed on Linux with the developer having their main machines and development done all under Linux so it sees first-class support.

      • Godot Engine – Tiles editor progress report #2

        Two months have passed since my last progress report on the tiles editor rework. A lot of things have been implemented since then.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Ten New Things on Kubuntu Twenty Ten

          For you Kubuntu users who want to know what you can enjoy with Groovy Gorilla version or 20.10, here’s a summary. In short, you will get the most beautiful LibreOffice ever plus continuation of the convenience. This release from the year 20 and the month 10 can be downloaded at www.kubuntu.org and you will get nine months of official support freely. Let’s go!

        • Maui Project: Maui Weekly Report 8

          MauiKit was submitted to review; the reviewers have made some suggestions, and we are working on implementing those.

          The documentation for MauiKit is still a work in progress and will most likely be ready for the next point releases 1.2.1 or 1.2.2.

          Right now, thanks to the community, we have been working on getting the inline documentation of the source code ready with QDoc to be up and running soon.

          If you want to help with the documentation process, you can contact us via our Telegram group chat; this is the current state of the work:

        • This week in KDE: KWin gains direct scan-out, and Gwenview gets a lot of love

          You can now open a folder in Kate’s “Project” view by passing it as a command-line parameter (e.g. kate ~/path/to/some/folder) (Alexander Lohnau, Kate 21.04)

          In Gwenview, it’s now possible to disable the “bird’s eye view” in the bottom-left corner when zoomed in on an image (Madhav Kanbur, Gwenview 21.04)

          KWin now does direct scan-out for fullscreen views (e.g. games), which should improve performance and reduce latency (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.22)

        • KDE Plasma 5.22 Will Support Direct Scan-Out For Full-Screen Games / Apps

          While Plasma 5.21 isn’t even out for a few more days, there is now a big reason to look forward to KDE’s Plasma 5.22 release later in the year: KWin finally supports direct scan-out for full-screen games/apps!

          The KDE KWin compositor with Plasma 5.22 will finally support direct scan-out for full-screen software, namely games. This direct scan-out is about avoiding an unnecessary copy of the screen contents by the compositor when there is a game/application running full-screen. Avoiding that unnecessary work by the compositor with direct scan-out can help with performance and also lower latency.

    • Distributions

      • PicarOS and MiniNo are dead!

        Today I read the sad news that MiniNo and PicarOS are officially discontinued. This is a great loss as PicarOS was, by far, the best children-oriented distro I ever used.

        I will never forget my daughter’s reaction the first time I booted a laptop with PicarOS and how much she enjoyed using this computer!

      • Reviews

        • Hands-On with SparkyLinux 5.14 on the Raspberry Pi 4

          First, a little background about SparkyLinux 5.14, which is the latest stable release of this Debian-based distribution, fully synced with the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” repositories as of February 2nd, 2021. This means that the distro ships with all the latest upstream updates and security fixes.

          SparkyLinux 5.14 was released on February 4th, 2021, and it comes with a newer kernel for its ARMhf port, namely Linux 5.4.83-v7, which is supposed to offer better hardware support, especially that it’s a long-term supported kernel series.

      • New Releases

        • EndeavourOS Issues First 2021 Release For Easy-To-Use Arch-Based Linux Distro

          For those that have been meaning to try out an Arch Linux based distribution that is easy-to-use and not time consuming with sensible defaults, EndeavourOS is out with its first new spin since 2021 — and in fact their first fresh ISO release since September.

          EndeavourOS for its February 2021 is shipping with the Linux 5.10 kernel and making use of other up-to-date packages like the latest Mesa 20.3, the newest Firefox web browser, Xfce 4.16, and much more.

      • Solus

        • Linux: Solus 4.2 brings a revised Budgie desktop

          Version 4.2 of the Linux distribution Solus supports additional hardware and offers numerous detailed improvements to the in-house Budgie desktop.

          The development of the new Solus version took about a year, but the innovations are quite manageable for this long period of time. The Linux Kernel 5.10.12 is now working in the background, through which Solus 4.2 supports more hardware components than the previous version. In addition to other USB cameras, this also includes processors of the current generation, such as the AMD Ryzen 5600X family or Intel’s Core i9-10850K. With an update of the Mesa graphics library, the Linux distribution also supports AMD graphics cards from the RDNA 2 and RX6000 families. In addition, Mesa offers a Vulkan 1.2 interface on AMD and Intel graphics cards.

          [...]

          Budgie 10.5.2 also improves the start menu, which now sorts the program categories alphabetically and no longer shows empty categories. The latter mainly happened when installing Windows applications via the WINE runtime environment. In addition, the start menu pays closer attention to the information in the desktop information files. Programs use these “.desktop” files to tell which category they want to be placed in and which command to use to open the start menu. Applications can also explicitly ask in the “.desktop” file not to appear in the start menu. The Budgie Menu now follows this requirement more strictly, as it takes into account the corresponding “Hidden” and “NoDisplay” settings in some other cases. If an application can be accessed via ”

        • Solus 4.2 overview | Install today. Updates forever.

          In this video, I am going to show an overview of Solus 4.2 and some of the applications pre-installed.

        • Solus Continues To Impress Me With Each Release

          Solus is an independent Linux distribution that I have always enjoyed using. In particular, their Budgie desktop environment is a really impressive piece of work. It is clean, attractive and polished. It uses a traditional Windows-like desktop paradigm but with a modern design.

        • Solus 4.2 Gnome

          Today we are looking at Solus 4.2, the Gnome edition. It comes with Linux Kernel 5.10, Gnome 3.38, and uses about 1GB of ram when idling. Enjoy!

        • Solus 4.2 Gnome Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Solus 4.2 Gnome. Enjoy!

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Wayland, firewalld, PulseAudio update in Tumbleweed

          Among some of the more known packages to update this week in Tumbleweed were firewalld, Flatpak, Wayland, LibreOffice, PulseAudio and both Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird.

          Two out the five snapshots updated more than three packages like the most recent snapshot; snapshot 20210203 updated gthumb 3.10.2. The image viewer and browser utility for the GNOME environment fixed a jump to the bottom when selecting thumbnails with mouse and fixed a possible crash to the app after cancelling a search. KDE’s hex editor for viewing and editing raw data of a file, okteta 0.26.5, improved the cursor flash time setting and improved a new menu entry for selecting a custom UI color scheme. The xfce4-cpufreq-plugin 1.2.4 package now creates a label widget if it does not already exist. This panel plugin shows information about the CPU governor and frequencies supported and used by a system.

          PulseAudio disabled Link Time Optimisation on armv7 in the updated 14.2 version in Snapshot 20210202. The snapshot updated the Linux Kernel to version 5.10.12 and ImageMagick to version 7.0.10.59, which now generates histograms by comparing pixel components rather than color. LibreOffice fixed some text that wrongly aligned in its 7.0.4 update. Wayland 1.19.0 had a minor update with bug fixes and protocol updates. Several Python Packages were updated in the snapshot including python-packaging 20.8, which reverted back to setuptools for compatibility purposes for some Linux distros, and python-Pillow 8.1.0, which fixed Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures that a Read Overflow in PCX Decoding. A patch was removed in firewalld 0.9.3 and fixes were made for iptables when an ipset is used as a zone source. The general-purpose parser generator bison 3.7.5 fixed the Table Generation that was generating incorrect parsers when there are many useless tokens. Other packages updated in the snapshot were xterm 363, yast2 4.3.51, iproute2 5.10.0 and zeromq 4.3.4.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora 34 Will See HarfBuzz-Enabled FreeType As The Latest For This Huge Feature Release

          The plan for Fedora 34 to improve font rendering by enabling HarfBuzz in FreeType was approved this week by the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee.

          Fedora 34 is now set to enable the HarfBuzz text shaping engine within the FreeType font rasterization engine. The net gain is improved hinting of glyphs particularly for languages with complicated text shaping like where glyphs are composed from multiple characters.

          FreeType has supported HarfBuzz for more than a half-decade and Fedora enabling it with its FreeType packaging will allow for some bugs to finally be addressed.

        • CentOS is dead, long live CentOS! | Linux Training Academy

          In this article, you’re going to learn about the change in focus of the CentOS project from CentOS Linux to CentOS Stream. More importantly, you’re going to learn what that means for you and any actions you might want to take as a result of this change. So, if you use CentOS in any capacity, be it professionally, for educational purposes, or just for fun, you’ll want to keep reading.

        • Posts – Carmen Bianca Bakker: Using Fedora Silverblue for development

          This article is not an introduction to Fedora Silverblue, but a short summary is well-placed: Fedora Silverblue is an immutable operating system that upgrades atomically. Effectively, the root filesystem is mounted read-only, with the exception of /var, /home, and /etc. The system is upgraded by mounting a new read-only snapshot as the root filesystem.

        • Friday’s Fedora Facts: 2021-05

          Here’s your weekly Fedora report. Read what happened this week and what’s coming up. Your contributions are welcome (see the end of the post)! The mass rebuild is under way.

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

        • First look at snowpack · Martin Pitt

          Today is another Red Hat Day of Learning. A while ago I heard about snowpack, a new contender for the trusty old webpack to build modern web projects. Today I finally managed to take a quick look at it.

          Even with webpack –watch one often needs to wait several seconds up to half a minute with some larger cockpit pages, so the promised split-second builds certainly sound attractive. At first sight it also makes more opinionated choices about sensible defaults, so that one hopefully does not have to write such a wall of boilerplate.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian 10.8 release process – Yay, it’s a lot faster

          Thanks to the changes behind the scenes, images are now being produced significantly faster than they were: the embarrassingly parallel speed up has worked, though at slight cost to the predictability of when we get each architecture produced for us to test.

          Thanks, as ever, to Sledge, RattusRattus and Isy over in Cambridge and to schweer who painstakingly tests all the debian-edu releases.

        • And here we go: Debian 10.8 images release testing process is under way

          As is traditional, every three months or so: another Debian point release is being prepared today. This one is 10.8. As ever, not a huge amount of change if you’ve been updating your Debian machines regularly. CD/DVD/BluRay and other media files are all being produced today.

        • Mirrors in Germany

          There are two, new repo mirrors available for Sparkers, both located in Germany.

          Mirror DE1 is provided by JackGrumbler:

          http://de1.repo.sparkylinux.org

          Mirror DE2 is provided by MoroS:

          http://de2.repo.sparkylinux.org

        • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in January 2021 [Ed: That's a good thing and reaffirms the importance of package reviews]

          This month I could increase my activities in NEW again and accepted 132 packages. Unfortunately I also had to reject 12 packages. The overall number of packages that got accepted was 374.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Kubuntu 20.04.2 LTS Update Available

          The second point release update to Kubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) is out now. This contains all the bug-fixes added to 20.04 since its first release in April 2020. Users of 20.04 can run the normal update procedure to get these bug-fixes.

        • AI in telecom: an overview for data scientists

          Ok, so what is a viable solution? Every mobile operator is now looking into Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) as well as Containerized Network Functions (CNFs). CNFs don’t see a wide production usage yet, but you can definitely find a Kubernetes environment in the network. Since Kubernetes is planned to be used as a CNF platform, it is meant to be well connected to other important systems, properly secured etc… When you get access to this environment, you can use KubeFlow, a containerized ML Ops solution which provides a straightforward way to deploy best-of-breed open-source systems for machine learning to diverse infrastructures. Thanks to charms, you can install KubeFlow with a single command.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • DigitalOcean Currents report

        When the concept of open source was established, the goal was to create
        a “free and open software” movement where code was accessible to all without restriction or cost. This movement led to a community forming, one built primarily by enthusiasts and hobbyists. Eventually this evolved into the robust ecosystem we know today.

        Open source now serves as both a hub of technology innovation and a home for coders of all skill levels to contribute, collaborate, and learn.

        But for many participants of open source, it’s also a place of solace. 31% of our survey respondents said that contributing to open source gives them a feeling of purpose, proof that the community does so much more than simply develop software. Given this strong personal connection many members of the community feel about open source, we knew that we needed to make this year’s edition of DigitalOcean Currents — our third open source focused report — a bit different.

        2020 was a year unlike any other, so we wanted to better understand the role open source played in the lives of its members during this unique time. We wanted to learn how the pandemic impacted their participation and what changes they felt within the community. We also wanted to get their perspective on whether or not the core tenets of open source — “free” and “open” — still hold true today.

        We decided to focus solely on those who were entrenched in the community of open source in 2020. While we surveyed more than 9,500 developers, this report focuses on the responses of the 4,440 who actively participated in open source over the course of 2020.

      • Open Source Participation Down In 2020: Digital Ocean Report
      • Events

        • How Slowness Can Support Open Source Sustainability

          The current default for tech seems to be speedy and not particularly sustainable, said Deb Nicholson, free policy expert and general manager of the Open Source Initiative, in a recent talk at linux.conf.au 2021 Online. If we want to make tech more sustainable, Nicholson suggested, maybe we should slow down and consider the definition of sustainability as it relates to using resources in such a way that they do not become depleted.

          Maybe we need to focus on the resource that is most precious, which is the people who are excited about working on projects, she said in the talk, titled “Move Slow and Try Not to Break Each Other.”

        • FOSDEM 2021

          This week-end is #FOSDEM (6 & 7 February 2021) ! We will be glad to welcome you at our virtual booth, located in the operating systems area

        • A Wonderful FOSDEM 2021 weekend – Collabora and the LibreOffice devroom

          Collabora Developers hold a series of presentations in the LibreOffice devroom at the famous 2021 FOSDEM!

        • FOSDEM Online 2021 Is Happening This Weekend

          FOSDEM, the Free Open-Source Developer Europeans’ Meeting, remains one of the top open-source/Linux events in my book. Each February for this long tenured event thousands of open-source/Linux enthusiasts would gather in Brussels, Belgium for many technical and interesting talks on a wide range of subjects. Unfortunately due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FOSDEM can only take place virtually this year but that does allow for broader participation and you can enjoy all of the content online this weekend.

          The virtual FOSDEM is taking place this weekend and remains a completely free event. Video streams of each talk are available and Q&A/chat can be done via Matrix. There is also a virtual conference floor for those wishing to see the open-source exhibits.

        • seL4 Micro-Kernel Working Towards A General-Purpose, Multi-Server OS

          The seL4 micro-kernel that has been in development for over a decade saw the creation of the seL4 Foundation last year to further the project’s goals. In 2020 the seL4 micro-kernel also added RISC-V as one of its primary CPU architectures.

          The seL4 micro-kernel and its ecosystem continue on an upward trajectory even with everything going on in the world and competition from other open-source kernels. Today during the FOSDEM Online 2021 event there was a presentation by Professor Gernot Heiser on the seL4 advancements over the past year.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • 5 Firefox Addons to Protect Your Online Privacy

            Our modern browsers are much better than their ancestors at protecting us from vulnerabilities and online dangers. It’s rare nowadays ending up with an unusable PC after visiting a webpage. Still, there is room for improvement, especially regarding privacy. The following add-ons for the Firefox browser can help with that. Let’s see how you can protect your online privacy with these Firefox addons.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.1 Community Now Available

          The Document Foundation has announced the availability of LibreOffice 7.1 Community, the volunteer-supported version of the open source office suite for desktop productivity.

          LibreOffice 7.1 Community’s new features have been developed by a large number of code contributors: 73% of commits are from developers employed by companies sitting in the Advisory Board – Collabora, Red Hat and CIB/allotropia – to serve their enterprise customers, plus other organizations (including TDF), and 27% are from individual volunteers.

          It features new dialog to select the User Interface flavor, aiming to pick the right UI based on each user’s own preferences at first start, along with an improved search for a matching printer paper size for the printed document.

      • CMS

        • Migrating from WordPress to Hugo

          You may have noticed that this site is a bit different in the past few days. It is simpler, faster, and overall nicer!

          As I’ve published few days ago, I have decided to make some changes to my existing website and have decided to set it up as a statically generated website powered by Hugo, using amazing PaperMod theme with addition of Commento; for the only dynamic thing on this site; comments.

          It is hard for me to decide from where to start, so, I guess from the beginning?

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • inetutils-2.0 released [stable]
            We are pleased to announce stable release 2.0 of Inetutils.
            
            Here are the compressed sources:
              https://ftpmirror.gnu.org/inetutils/inetutils-2.0.tar.gz   (2.5MB)
              https://ftpmirror.gnu.org/inetutils/inetutils-2.0.tar.xz   (1.5MB)
            
            Here are the GPG detached signatures[*]:
            
            https://ftpmirror.gnu.org/inetutils/inetutils-2.0.tar.gz.sig
            
            
            https://ftpmirror.gnu.org/inetutils/inetutils-2.0.tar.xz.sig
            
            Use a mirror for higher download bandwidth:
            
            https://www.gnu.org/order/ftp.html
            
            [*] Use a .sig file to verify that the corresponding file (without the
            .sig suffix) is intact.  First, be sure to download both the .sig file
            and the corresponding tarball.  Then, run a command like this:
            
              gpg --verify inetutils-2.0.tar.gz.sig
            
            If that command fails because you don't have the required public key,
            then run this command to import it:
            
              gpg --keyserver keys.gnupg.net --recv-keys 0664A76954265E8C
            
            and rerun the 'gpg --verify' command.
            
            This release was bootstrapped with the following tools:
              Autoconf 2.71
              Automake 1.16.1
              Gnulib v0.1-4419-g8aea50f4d
            
          • GNU Network Utilities Sees First Major Release In 9 Years (inetutils 2.0)

            The GNU Network Utilities (inetutils) has seen its first major release in nine years or even the first release at all in six years since the prior point release. With GNU inetutils 2.0 are several updates to common programs like ping and ifconfig.

        • Licensing/Legal

          • What You Need to Know About Open-Source and Proprietary Licenses

            When it comes to using, developing, and promoting software, the numerous licenses that accompany them can be confusing for even expert users. Open-source and proprietary licenses often butt heads. One promotes a closed and guarded method of licensing, whereas the latter lets people use software more freely.

            In this post, we compare both open and proprietary licenses. We also discuss whether they work well together or the relationship is estranged.

            [...]

            In short, open and proprietary licenses will always rub each other the wrong way. However, there can be a system where companies still retain brand rights while letting users study and tweak the code. The benefits to the codebase and user security are of immense benefit to everyone.

      • Programming/Development

        • Meetings, ugh! Let’s change our language – Benji’s Blog | Benji’s Blog -

          I’ve seen teams after a day of ensemble (mob) programming. Exhausted, yet elated at the amount they’ve been able to achieve together; at the breakthroughs they’ve made. Yet a group of people, working together, on the same thing, sounds an awful lot like a meeting. Aren’t those bad‽

          Teams who make time together for a full day of planning, who embrace the opportunity to envision the future together, can sometimes come away filled with hope. Hope that better things are within their grasp than they previously believed possible.

          Yet the more common experience of meetings seems synonymous with “waste of time” or “distraction from real work”. Why is this? Why weren’t they useful?

          One team’s standup can be an energising way to kick off the day. Hearing interesting things we collectively learned since yesterday Deciding together what that means for today’s plan; who will work with whom on what?

          For another team it may be a depressing round of status updates that shames people who feel bad that they’ve not achieved as much as they’d hoped.

        • LLVM Lands Support For OpenMP Offloading To AMD Radeon GPUs – Phoronix

          AMD has been maintaining AOMP as their downstream of LLVM Clang for supporting OpenMP offloading to Radeon hardware. But exciting is this merge request after one month of review now being mainlined for allowing OpenMP offloading toolchain for the AMDGPU back-end.

          At the moment it looks like AOMP still has some patches not yet upstreamed into LLVM but great seeing definite progress in this area. We’ll see though if AOMP is still going to be maintained moving forward for new/premature code for AMD support prior to it being mature enough for upstreaming or if AOMP will ultimately be phased out from their ROCm compute stack. Via the AOMP repository is sample code and more.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppFastFloat 0.0.1: New Package, Already on CRAN

          A new package, once again based on wonderful library by Daniel Lemire, is no on CRAN in its initial version 0.0.1. Daniel, in a recent arXiv paper shows that one can convert character representations of ‘numbers’ into floating point at rates at or exceeding one gigabyte per second. His tests show a fourfold gain over library functions such as strtod.

        • How to write readable code

          These are some of the things I think about when trying to write clean, readable code.

        • Python

        • Java

          • Oracle sweetens Java SE subscriptions with a spoonful of free ‘GraalVM’ runtime said to significantly speed Java

            Oracle has sweetened its Java SE subscriptions by tossing in a free entitlement to use GraalVM, a new universal virtual machine that Big Red says runs just about anything faster, anywhere.

            Reader: The Register confesses GraalVM had escaped our attention until today. The project’s GitHub page tells us it’s “a universal virtual machine for running applications written in JavaScript, Python, Ruby, R, JVM-based languages like Java, Scala, Clojure, Kotlin, and LLVM-based languages such as C and C++.”

    • Standards/Consortia

      • The “snob RSS” Hall of (constructive!) Shame

        It is half hilarious, half depressing, how many officially tech-savvy organisations advertise on their websites every possible way to follow them… as long as it is a non-portable, non-future-proof, intrusive walled garden. I am talking of those websites that never, never miss links and icons to their social accounts…

        But never show in plain sight also a far better solution to follow them. A solution that, I am sure, they already have for free, courtesy of whatever website management system they may be using: the good, old, far superior Really Simple Syndication (RSS).

        RSS is a much, much, MUCH better way to follow what one publishes online than Twitter, Facebook or any other social media. Because only RSS is unfiltered, not centrally tracked, free from addictive distraction and 100% usable from any device.

  • Leftovers

    • The Year of the Aurochs

      Groups of aurochs could trample us. Cows still can. This, I found out on a walk across a pasture with friends. Suddenly, as though alerted by some silent signal, a group of cows stampeded in our direction. We panicked, but managed to slip through a fence. That day we glimpsed an ancient law of nature, a law humanity broke by forcing those cows’ ancestors to reproduce, generation by generation, into smaller and more tractable beings. We have managed, indeed to turn a planet teeming with autonomous, evolving life into a world in which untamed beings cling to nooks and crannies as we cover the Earth with our livestock and pets.

      Aurochs 2.0

    • The Super Bowl Ends the Most Toxic Season Ever

      Much of sports was crammed not only into bubbles of physical isolation but of intense scrutiny that led to the inevitable certainty that sports still does matter (though far less than it did before the reign of Trump) — but also that something is truly the matter with sports. The greedy, entitled manner in which most of its overseers, college and pro, responded to the dangers of the virus illustrated vividly their commercial priorities. Profitable games über alles. It also mirrored Trump’s unmasked attitude toward the citizenry he had sworn to protect, especially the 450,000 virus victims he helped to kill.

      And now, as the National Football League season ends with the Super Bowl, that annual spectacle celebrating socialism for billionaires and patriotism for poor people, it’s hard not to wonder whether sports, at least as we’ve known it, can survive exposure not just to the coronavirus but to Trumpism Lite.

    • Music to Chill By

      When temperatures plunged below zero in the wee hours of Monday, I lay in my bed and listened to the rattle of the boiler and thought of the Frost Scene from Henry Purcell’s King Arthur. This semi-opera—“semi” because the main characters do not sing, that departure from normal human discourse being left to the show’s supernatural figures or drunks—was premiered at the Queen’s Theatre in London in 1691, as the Little Ice Age of the seventeenth century trudged onward. Winter had all its teeth back then.

      The poet John Dryden had written an earlier version of the libretto in 1684 to mark the 25th anniversary of the restoration of Charles II. (The next town to the east from where I’m writing now in Ithaca took its name from the poet, who had died a hundred years before the village’s founding; the surveyor responsible for laying out Dryden, New York was keen to show himself an educated man.) Cold was on the minds of all Londoners that year: the Great Frost of 1683-4 made the winter the most extreme in the recorded history of the city. The “backward” Spring of 1684 had an April whose mean temperature was below freezing.

    • Texas Dept. Of Public Safety Issues Amber Alert For Victim Of Horror Doll Chucky

      There’s a rule in IT: don’t test on live systems in production. There’s debate over this, of course, but the general idea is that testing on live systems is a great way to screw up something with the live system, rather than some test environment. The more important the system is, the more true that mantra becomes.

    • PDF is Broken: a justCTF Challenge

      Trail of Bits sponsored the recent justCTF competition, and our engineers helped craft several of the challenges, including D0cker, Go-fs, Pinata, Oracles, and 25519. In this post we’re going to cover another of our challenges, titled PDF is broken, and so is this file. It demonstrates some of the PDF file format’s idiosyncrasies in a bit of an unusual steganographic puzzle. CTF challenges that amount to finding a steganographic needle in a haystack are rarely enlightening, let alone enjoyable. LiveOverflow recently had an excellent video on file format tricks and concludes with a similar sentiment. Therefore, we designed this challenge to teach justCTF participants some PDF tricks and how Trail of Bits’ open source tools can make easy work of these forensic challenges.

    • Boeing to outsource IT work to Dell, eliminate 600 jobs

      Doniz said affected employees, most of whom are not unionized, must either find different work within the company, apply to work for Dell or be laid off.

      [...]

      Boeing shed 20,000 jobs companywide last year and has said it needs to cut 11,000 more this year, making it harder for the affected IT employees losing their jobs to find new work in the company.

    • Science

    • Education

      • Digital divide deepens; 1.6 lakh students untraceable after Delhi schools go online

        Proper access to devices and stable [Internet] connections has suddenly become the need of the hour for both school students as well as college-goers to continue their online classes. In case, anyone can not afford to fulfill the criteria, he or she would be left with no other option but to opt-out of the current academic year.

        A very similar situation has occurred in Delhi, whereby over 166,000 students in government and municipal schools are found to be “missing”, according to The Hindustan Times report, in an impact probably owing to the sudden shift to the online education system as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Online-Only Vaccine Distribution Will Leave Too Many Behind

        To distribute the vaccine to all who need it, we must meet people where they are, even if that’s offline.

        Restricting life-saving drugs, treatments, vaccines, or services to those who have Internet and computer access will inevitably leave some people behind—often the ones who need the services the most. For one, Internet access is not universal in the United States—upwards of 10% of Americans do not have Internet at all. Recent research shows that more than 25% of those 65 and older do not use the Internet. There are also gaps in use and availability for racial minorities. Given that frontline workers are more likely to be in a racial minority, to be elderly, or to live with someone who is, it is especially critical that access to the vaccine be offered through a variety of options that do not limit who can obtain it.

        That’s not to say that online services themselves are a problem. They may work very well for many people. But it is simply impossible to expect everyone to be able to navigate the sometimes labyrinthine requirements for vaccine signups online. Digital literacy is unevenly distributed, with rates decreasing in populations that are older, or Black, Hispanic, or foreign born. High-income and well-educated Internet users are much more likely than others to use online government services.  Having alternatives to an online signup is necessary to ensure equity, especially as many of the critical groups in need are also those who may benefit most from other options.

      • Dr. Hooman Noorchashm and #ScreenB4Vaccine, revisited

        In case anyone was wondering why I haven’t written any blog posts since Monday, the answer is simple. I had a grant deadline. The grant has been submitted, which leads me to wonder what I should write about before the week is out. Unfortunately, when I’m frantically trying to finish a grant I tend to spend a lot of time on Twitter because it’s the sort of thing I can do at for a minute or two between bouts of writing and editing, which is bad because I’m usually in a bad mood while editing my grants. My bad habits aside, anyone who follows me on Twitter will be aware that the kerfuffle stirred up by my post a week ago criticizing Dr. Hooman Noorchashm’s #ScreenB4Vaccine campaign. Dr. Noorchashm’s idea and concern were that a mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 could be dangerous in people with preexisting antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the disease, because the virus infects the endothelial cells that line the inside of blood vessels and vaccination could therefore cause an autoimmune reaction that results in vascular clotting events. His idea was, therefore, that we should “screen” before vaccinating against COVID-19 (hence the #ScreenB4Vaccine hashtag), so that we don’t vaccinate people who either have or have had COVID-19 and have pre-existing antibodies.

      • ‘Giant First Step’: After 14+ Hours of Votes, Senate Approves Covid Relief Resolution With Zero GOP Support

        “We have the opportunity to give hope to the American people and restore faith in our government by telling them that… we understand the pain that they are experiencing and we are gonna do something very significant about it,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

      • ‘We Need to Talk About Abortion as Necessary Healthcare and a Social Good’

        Janine Jackson interviewed URGE’s Kimberly Inez McGuire about abortion realities for the January 29, 2021, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • The Great Epidemic of Manaus

        Now, Manaus is an epicenter where the COVID-19 pandemic is raging. I spent time with many urban Amerindian peoples, Apuriña, Kambeba, Kokama, Munduruku, Mura, Sateré-Mawé, Tikuna, and Tukano. It is sad to know that many of these Native friends and their relatives are subjected to such a horrendous disease and worse there than elsewhere in Brazil at the moment. Perhaps making the circumstances there direr, Manaus, is arguably a relatively isolated city in the middle of the Brazilian Amazon, which may be only reached by airplane or by boat.

        By all epidemiological accounts, the health situation in Manaus is extremely critical and serious. In fact, the health system there has more or less completely collapsed. Hospital wards ran out of beds and oxygen by the end of January. And panic set in among the general Manauran population, whereby many resorted to buying oxygen at exorbitant prices on the black market. According to Reuters: “In Manaus, the capital of Amazonas State with 2.1 million inhabitants, more than 5,500 have died, or 261 per 100,000, the highest rate in Brazil, according to Health Ministry data.”

      • Science suggests possible climate link to Covid-19

        Researchers think there could be a climate link to Covid-19. In which case, worse could yet happen.

      • “A Moral Catastrophe”: Africa CDC Head Says Lack of Vaccines for the Continent Will Imperil World

        Countries across the African continent are facing a second COVID-19 outbreak, linked to a variant first found in South Africa that has been detected in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Comoros and Zambia and more than 20 non-African countries so far. There is concern new variants, which scientists believe are more infectious, could spread the virus further before widespread vaccination begins. More than 40 African countries have been hit by this second wave, and just six have received relatively small shipments of vaccines. John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the world faces “a moral catastrophe” without vaccine equity. “It has to be very clear that no part of the world will be safe until all parts of the world are safe,” he says. “We either come out of this together or we go down together. There’s no middle ground in this.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Patient names and colonoscopy results from US hospitals posted by [crackers] to the dark web

          The patient records posted in this [attack] also include letters to insurers. There does not appear to be ransomware locking up the systems at Nocona, and the organization did not open a ransomware demand, an attorney for the organization told NBC News.

        • [Attackers] post detailed patient medical records from two hospitals to the dark web

          The files, which number in at least the tens of thousands and were posted to a blog on the dark web that the hackers use to name and extort their victims, includes patients’ personal identifying information, like their names, addresses and birthdays, as well as their medical diagnoses. They come from the Leon Medical Centers, which serves eight locations in Miami, and Nocona General Hospital, which has three locations in Texas.

          The files also include at least tens of thousands of scanned diagnostic results and letters to insurers. One folder contains background checks on hospital employees. An Excel document titled 2018_colonoscopies has 102 full names, dates and details of the procedures, and a field to mark “yes” or “no” to whether the patient has a “normal colon.”

        • Another SolarWinds Orion [Crack]

          Two takeaways: One, we are learning about a lot of supply-chain attacks right now. Two, SolarWinds’ terrible security is the result of a conscious business decision to reduce costs in the name of short-term profits. Economist Matt Stoller writes about this: [...]

        • Pak-based [attackers] behind data leak of 26L Airtel users

          New Delhi, The recent data leak of at least 26 lakh Airtel users from Jammu and Kashmir was the handiwork of state-sponsored Pakistan-based [crackers], who kept creating new accounts to put data on the web and somehow tried to sell them for $3500 in Bitcoin, fresh details emerged.

          In 2018, the cyber cell of Delhi Police had identified a Pakistan-based [cracker] group that defaced and [cracked] the Indian government websites. The [cracking] group was later identified as ‘TeamLeets’ working at the behest of Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation Takes Control Of Facebook’s Magma Project

                Linux Foundation has announced that it will launch an open source industry collaboration focused on enabling a converged cellular core network stack, starting with the Magma open source software platform. Previously open sourced by Facebook in 2019, Magma will now be managed under a neutral governance framework at the Linux Foundation.

                Arm, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, FreedomFi, Qualcomm, the Institute of Wireless Internet of Things at Northeastern University, the OpenAirInterface Software Alliance, and the Open Infrastructure Foundation, will join the collaboration as founding members to accelerate the path to production use cases at scale.

              • Goldman Sachs and Linux Foundation partner democratize climate data via OS-Climate platform

                Goldman Sachs has joined Linux Foundation’s push to democratise climate data through the building of the OS-Climate platform.

                The investment bank and financial services company is expected to provide expertise in climate risk, product development, and financial reporting that will result in “better tools to help companies, asset managers, and investors consistently evaluate progress against decarbonisation goals”.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Fedora (java-11-openjdk, kernel, and monitorix), Mageia (mutt, nodejs, and nodejs-ini), Oracle (flatpak, glibc, and kernel), Red Hat (rh-nodejs14-nodejs), Scientific Linux (flatpak), and Ubuntu (flatpak and minidlna).

          • Update Chrome for Windows, Mac and Linux to protect against a dangerous zero-day vulnerability [Ed: No, stop using this browser as its goal isn't security but domination (by this corporation and the US government)]

            A serious security vulnerability has been discovered in Chrome, forcing Google to push out an emergency update to the browser. Affecting the Windows, Mac and Linux versions of Chrome, the high severity vulnerability is being tracked as CVE-2021-21148.

          • New Chrome Browser 0-day Under Active Attack—Update Immediately! [Ed: No, bad advice. Defect to a Free software browser. Chrome is inherently untrustworthy and proprietary, controlled by a surveillance giant.]

            Google has patched a zero-day vulnerability in Chrome web browser for desktop that it says is being actively exploited in the wild.

            The company released 88.0.4324.150 for Windows, Mac, and Linux, with a fix for a heap buffer overflow flaw (CVE-2021-21148) in its V8 JavaScript rendering engine.

          • The Linux Flaw you can’t afford to Ignore (CVE-2021-3156) [Ed: It is not a "Linux flaw" but a sudo flaw and it affects systems that are not Linux]

            Linux and Unix operating systems require regular patching like any IT system, but as security professionals, ethical hackers, and criminal hackers will tell you, regular Linux and Unix patching is often neglected.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • There are limitations to what expendable addresses can help with

              The one part of this sort of flood that expendable addresses will help with is the longer term aftermath. One of the iron rules of email addresses is that once some people have their hands on some email address, they will never stop emailing it. After a flood, obviously a lot of people have some email address of yours and a certain percentage of them will keep emailing that address forever. If the address they have is an expendable address that you can turn off, you can at least make them go away.

            • A Better Theory On Why There Won’t Be An Open POWER10 Workstation For Awhile
            • Finland planning to introduce coronavirus vaccine certificate

              This week, Finland’s Nordic neighbours Denmark and Sweden both said they were planning to introduce vaccine passports.

              Greece was the first EU member state to seek vaccine certificates for tourism. The country wants to avoid introducing a mandatory coronavirus test at the border if passengers have already been vaccinated and can provide proof.

            • Denmark, Sweden to issue digital vaccine ‘passports’

              Sweden on Thursday announced it would start the development of digital vaccine certificates, to be used for travel and potentially more, following a similar move by Denmark a day earlier.

            • Coronavirus digest: Denmark plans COVID vaccination passport

              The document, developed in conjunction with businesses, would show whether citizens have been vaccinated for the coronavirus or not, potentially affording them special travel privileges. It could also allow citizens to visit restaurants, conferences, music festivals and sports events.

            • Sweden plans for digital ‘vaccine passport’ by summer, despite fears of data misuse

              As the #Covid-19 pandemic is still taking its toll on travelling, #Sweden and #Denmark are betting on “#vaccine #passports”, as a way to try to return to normal life. Sweden is trying to push for an international standard for digital certificates which could be used around the world, as Denmark’s version could be available within months. While the technology could revive tourism and its industry, there are risks of data misuse and abuse, experts warn.

            • Sweden plans for digital coronavirus “vaccine passport” by summer

              Denmark said on Wednesday that it would launch a first version of a coronavirus vaccination passport by the end of February.

            • Sweden, Denmark To Develop Digital Covid Vaccine “Passports”

              Denmark, which announced their programme a day earlier, said they would initially publish a registry online that could be accessed to check someone’s vaccination status, which it hopes to have in place in late February, while it develops a long-term technical solution.

            • Government plans Covid vaccine passports to allow foreign holidays

              British officials have started work on a “vaccine passport” as Greece prepares to waive quarantine rules for tourists who can prove that they have been inoculated against coronavirus.

            • Europe wants coronavirus ‘vaccine certificates’ as soon as possible. But how will they work and which countries would sign up?

              “It is one of the hardest things to regulate because once the data is available, the database is created, the temptation is there to say, oh, but it exists, why don’t we use it for this purpose?” Ms Pirlot de Corbion said.

            • Google Will Use Pixel Cameras to Monitor Heart Rate
            • FTC Gives Final Approval to Settlement with Zoom over Allegations the Company Misled Consumers about Its Data Security Practices [Ed: Merely a little slap on the wrist as privacy violations persist and back doors remain in place]

              The Federal Trade Commission finalized a settlement with Zoom Video Communications, Inc., over allegations it misled consumers about the level of security it provided for its Zoom meetings and compromised the security of some Mac users.

              The final order requires Zoom to implement a comprehensive security program, review any software updates for security flaws prior to release and ensure the updates will not hamper third-party security features. The company must also obtain biennial assessments of its security program by an independent third party, which the FTC has authority to approve, and notify the Commission if it experiences a data breach.

              After receiving 12 comments on the proposed settlement, the Commission voted 3-2 on January 19, 2021 to finalize the settlement and to send responses to the commenters. Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Commissioner Rohit Chopra each issued dissenting statements. Commissioner Christine S. Wilson issued a separate statement.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • U.S. Should Pay Iran Reparations

        Not at all. I want them to still be around when I say that it would actually be preferable for the United States to pay reparations to the entire rest of the earth.

        Well, then, why would I say such a thing, and exactly what type of mental disorder would allow me to believe the Iranian government to be saintly perfection?

      • Our Mutual Fight: The Case Against Pakistani Normalization with Israel

        The bond between Palestine and Pakistan is not one that is based on rhetoric. Rather, it is cemented through blood and sacrifice, as Pakistani fighters have taken part in the desperate Palestinian-Arab attempt at pushing back Zionist colonization of the Palestinian homeland in 1948. Whenever Palestinians think back of those who stood by their side during their times of hardship and collective pain, Pakistan always features prominently on the list.

        But it is not just this. The Pakistani Air Force also took part in the war of 1967 when Israel occupied the rest of historic Palestine and, more importantly, in the pivotal war of 1973, when Arabs and Muslims fought back. It was no surprise to learn that the Pakistani government recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the ‘sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people’ before the Arab League had done so at the Rabat Conference in Morocco in 1974.

      • Prosecuting Every Participant in the Capitol Riot Is a Mistake

        Daniel Alan Baker was arrested by the FBI on January 15 for “threatening the use of violence.” A veteran of both the US military and the People’s Protection Units in Rojava, Baker is a committed leftist. He took seriously both the idea that the storming of the Capitol on January 6 was a near-miss “coup” and the FBI’s own warnings that similar events might take place at statehouses around the country on Inauguration Day. In online comments and a physical flyer, he called for armed volunteers to defend democracy at Florida’s state capitol in Tallahassee.

      • Dems Deride MTG for Supporting Conspiracies While Claiming Russia Was Behind Capitol Riots

        The House of Representatives has stripped new Georgia official Marjorie Taylor Greene from two committees over her history of promoting conspiracy theories. Congress took the highly unusual step today in voting 230 to 199 in favor of removing her from the education and budget committees, limiting her abilities and powers. In response, the 46-year-old freshman congresswoman described the Democrats as a “bunch of morons” and the new government as a “tyranny.”

      • What Biden’s Agenda Can Mean for Oppressed Uighurs

        America must reclaim its “credibility and moral authority” in the world, President Joe Biden said Thursday at the State Department in his first foreign policy address since taking office. “We’re going to reengage the world and take on the enormous challenges we face,” the president said, including by “standing up for democracy and human rights around the world.”

      • Rethinking US security

        We certainly spend a lot of money on the military, much more than any other nation.  U.S. economic expert Kimberly Amadeo estimates that FY2020-2021 expenditures on the U.S. military will reach $934 billion, the second largest expense category behind Social Security.  The Peterson Foundation reported in May 2020 that the United States devotes more money to the military than the next 10 nations combined, and that is based on a more conservative estimate of $732 billion for the year.

        Why do we spend so much money on the military?  According to Todd Harrison, the director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, “Our current strategy is based around us being a superpower in Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.  We’ve sized our military to be able to fight more than one conflict at a time in those regions.”

      • On Non-Conviction, Empire, and U.S. Presidents

        Donald Trump ought to be convicted by the U.S. Senate, of course: he instigated a mass proto-fascist physical assault on Congress in a last-ditch effort to stop it from certifying his clear defeat in the 2020 presidential election – and to provoke a pretext for martial law. Five people died. Many more could have perished. It was a despicable act driven by Trump’ big fascist “stop the steal” lie. If the Senate can’t take impeachment through conviction over that, what’s the point of having an impeachment process?

        There’s no basis for the Trump “legal” team’s claim that it is unconstitutional to impeach and convict a president after he has left office. The notion that the U.S. Founders wanted to give presidents a blank check to do whatever they want after they are un-elected is absurd. The preponderant majority of constitutional scholars agree that Congress has the right to convict Trump after his presidency, a prerequisite for the elementarily decent task of banning the monster from holding federal office again.

      • After Biden Move, Anti-War Groups Call on Boris Johnson to End UK Support for Saudi Assault on Yemen

        “Johnson and Raab have blood on their hands. Their support for the carnage in Yemen must end immediately.”

      • Frontex Files: The Military-Border Police Complex

        Following Freedom of Information requests, the EU Border Agency has released over one hundred presentations, most of which feature companies promoting their military technologies for securing Europe’s external borders. Deployments to counter migration use drones, satellites, high-resolution cameras and radars, pattern and behaviour recognition, and lead-free ammunition.

      • Mr. Biden, Tear Down the Wall…with Cuba

        On several UN health-related missions to Cuba, I was able to see how the U.S. embargo has adversely affected ordinary Cubans’ health and quality of life. Not even children were spared. Based on similar trips to other developing countries, I have seldom seen children as happy as Cuban children, despite the lack of many basic items critical for their growth and education. In part, this is due to Cuba’s development of a very good health and education system, among the best in the Americas, in spite of the embargo.

        What are the reasons for such a long and ineffective embargo?

      • Insurrection or Menacing Mashup of Misrecognition?

        The late Paul Krassner would likely have pegged this action a limping erection, the activists softening their muscles amid stiffening rhetoric and a petering police presence. And it’s the Yippies (Youth International Party), the organization he co-founded in the late 1960s to protest the materialism and violence—especially with respect to the Vietnam War—of American life that offer a useful frame of reference to understand this breakout. They called themselves pranksters, a concept nurtured from Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters from earlier in the decade, road rebels trying to remain spiritual kin to the Beats while exposing new hypocritical attitudes and behaviors of everyday life. The Yippies amped up this effort, diagnosing an even more diseased culture. They practiced a form of gotcha-consciousness-raising, shocking the sleeper-masses into seeing the way things really are so they could begin to recognize their real interests.

        They were famous for invading the stock-trading arena on Wall Street and dropping piles of currency from the ledge onto the floor to witness traders frantically grab for the free bills, demoing the pathology of materialist acquisition. At protests they would put flowers in the barrels of the rifles of the national guard troops, smile and invite them to drop their weapons and join them. Abbie Hoffman, a co-founder, tested a prank at the March on the Pentagon event in October 1967, a few months before the group was officially formed on December 31, 1967. He proclaimed that the seminal strategy was to levitate the Pentagon: “We will dye the Potomac red, burn the cherry trees, panhandle embassies, attack with water pistols, marbles, bubble gum wrappers, bazookas, girls will run naked and piss on the Pentagon walls, sorcerers, swamis, witches, voodoo, warlocks, medicine men and speed freaks will hurl their magic at the faded brown walls” (Katie Mettier, “The Day the Anti-Vietnam War Protesters Tried to Levitate the Pentagon,” Washington Post, 10/19/2017).

      • The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

        Sixteen years later, the American wars and war crimes launched by the Bush administration have only spread chaos and violence far and wide, and this historic conjunction of criminality and failure has predictably undermined America’s international power and authority. Back in the imperial heartland, the political marketing industry that Rove and his colleagues were part of has had more success dividing and ruling the hearts and minds of Americans than of Iraqis, Russians or Chinese.

        The irony of the Bush administration’s imperial pretensions was that America has been an empire from its very founding, and that a White House staffer’s political use of the term “empire” in 2004 was not emblematic of a new and rising empire as he claimed, but of a decadent, declining empire stumbling blindly into an agonizing death spiral.

      • Back to Cold War 2.0

        And yet right out of the box we see the Biden administration “demanding” that Russia release Putin critic and political challenger Alexey Navalny from a just-ordered 32-month sentence  reportedly for jumping bail and leaving the country?  Is that supposed to be diplomacy?  Is Moscow likely to cave in to such an imperious demand? Is the US prepared to act in some fashion to enforce its demand?

        Of course not. Typically on issues like his, at least with the US, one sees sanctions being placed on the offending country, or on individuals in power. But while that tactic might cause enough pain to get results against some third world country, it doesn’t work so well when the target is a nation like Russia, which doesn’t do much business with the US, which has reduced its holdings of US debt significantly and that has actually been with other countries to develop a banking system that doesn’t rely on US banks. Furthermore, Russia has a product — oil and especially natural gas — which Europe is hungry for.

      • China’s Sea of Conflict

        The stakes could not be higher and Washington may be off on the wrong foot.

        The first hurdle will be the toxic atmosphere created by the Trump administration. By targeting the Chinese Communist Party as the US’s major worldwide enemy, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo essentially called for regime change, which in diplomatic terms means a fight to the death. But while Trump exacerbated tensions between Washington and Beijing, many of the disputes go back more than 70 years. Recognizing that history will be essential if the parties are to reach some kind of detente.

      • Nevada bill would allow tech companies to create governments

        The zones would permit companies with large areas of land to form governments carrying the same authority as counties, including the ability to impose taxes, form school districts and courts and provide government services.

      • Trump and January 6: The evidence of a planned political coup

        The impeachment brief filed Tuesday by the nine impeachment managers from the House of Representatives makes an irrefutable case that former President Trump is guilty of advocating, preparing, fomenting and inciting the armed attack on Congress on January 6, 2021, with the goal of overturning the results of the 2020 election and maintaining himself in power.

        The brief lays out coherently and in considerable detail the efforts by Trump over a period of six months. First, during the election campaign, he repeatedly cast doubt on the legitimacy of the vote if he did not win it. Then, after the polls closed, he denied the results as votes were counted by state officials, many of them Republicans, showing that Democrat Joe Biden had won by a margin of more than seven million in the popular vote, as well as in enough of the key “battleground” states to bring victory in the Electoral College.

      • The New Humanitarian | Rebel blockade triggers aid and food shortages in Central African Republic

        A weeks-long rebel blockade of the main trade route into Central African Republic is disrupting humanitarian aid operations in the country and triggering food shortages and price rises, even as hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing post-electoral conflict.

        Rebels calling for the resignation of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra have launched attacks on truck drivers bringing goods from Cameroon’s port town of Douala into CAR’s capital city, Bangui.

        Some 1,500 trucks are currently backed up at the Cameroonian border town of Garoua Boulai. Among them are 500 vehicles containing humanitarian supplies – including medicine and food with a shrinking shelf life – that could be used to assist those in need. Other relief supplies remain stuck at Douala’s port.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Dissenter Weekly: Crooked ICE Union Deal Exposed By Whistleblower

        In this edition of “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola covers a couple whistleblower stories that are emblematic of the mess that must be cleaned up after President Donald Trump’s administration.

        Later, Kevin highlights a wild story involving the co-founder of a drone company, who is fortunate to not be facing a prosecution under the Espionage Act because he abused his access to classified information to enrich himself. It further demonstrates how political Espionage Act cases are when brought by the Justice Department.The show concludes with a deconstruction of an MSNBC segment that cynically pit NSA whistleblower Reality Winner against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Environment

      • Illinois judge rules Trump International Hotel and Tower liable for environmental law violations
      • Energy

        • Russian court fines Nornickel $1.96 billion over massive Arctic fuel spill

          A Russian arbitration court has recovered 146.2 billion rubles ($1.96) in damages from the Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company, a subsidiary of the industrial giant Nornickel, for its role in a massive fuel spill at a thermal power plant in Norilsk in May 2020. 

        • Warriors Dreaming: Can Thacker Pass Lithium Mine Be Stopped?

          For two decades, I have witnessed the healing powers of nature as a wilderness guide. Teaching people to listen to the song of the Earth, track their dreams, and discover their soul’s purpose, I encourage them to partner with the natural world and transform our culture. Listening to dreams is empowering. The intelligence, generosity, and magic I have experienced are beyond what the rational mind would understand.

          Transformation, however, is more than a solo act. Soul-making is a collaboration tied to the fate of Earth, stretching us to dream communally, organize collectively, and act—humbly, boldly, and in relationship to the visions we receive. We can organize, resist, and bring down the corrupt order of our culture and its dependence on the enforced misery of many and the brutal exploitation of nature, hopefully while there is still some wilderness left alive.

        • How ExxonMobil Uses Divide and Rule to Get Its Way in South America

          Everything changed in 2015, and since then the tensions between the two countries have flared up. Matters became so grave that the UN transferred the dispute mechanism from its “good offices” to the International Court of Justice, which ruled in December 2020 that it has jurisdiction over the case.

          It’s All About Oil

        • Living With Natural Gas Pipelines: Appalachian Landowners Describe Fear, Anxiety and Loss

          More than 2 million miles of natural gas pipelines run throughout the United States. In Appalachia, they spread like spaghetti across the region.

        • Bouncing backpack is easier to carry and generates electricity

          The bag is suspended on sliding rails that allow it to move up and down with a pair of rubber ropes on a pulley system, acting like a car’s suspension to reduce the impact of the backpack on the wearer as they walk. This reduces the amount of force generated by the contents of the pack jiggling about by around 21 per cent.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Origin Stories: Conservation in Nepal and Namibia
        • “We Have Counties in Deep Trouble”: Oregon Lawmakers Seek to Reverse Timber Tax Cuts That Cost Communities Billions

          Oregon lawmakers have filed a spate of bills aiming to reverse decades-old timber tax cuts that deprived counties of billions of dollars and to eliminate a quasi-governmental state agency that has acted as a lobbying arm for the industry.

          The measures follow an investigation published last year by Oregon Public Broadcasting, The Oregonian/OregonLive and ProPublica. The newsrooms found that timber companies, increasingly dominated by Wall Street real estate trusts and investment funds, have benefited from tax cuts that cost counties at least $3 billion over the past three decades. Half of the 18 counties in Oregon’s timber-dominant region lost more money from tax cuts on private forests than from the oft-blamed reduction of logging on federal lands stemming from environmental protections for the northern spotted owl.

    • Finance

      • Janet Yellen’s Conflict of Interest Augurs Retail Investment Regulation

        Robinhood Markets, Inc. was reportedly forced to re-impose trading restrictions on GameStop shares after the stock price began to soar again on news it had lifted the initial restraints on GME as a result of the now-infamous short squeeze play by the WallStreetBets community of Redditors.

      • The Price of Wheat Doesn’t Tell Us About the Strength of the Economy and Neither Does the Stock Market

        That is not radical lefty ranting, that is from the Econ textbook. If the economy is expected to boom next year, because Joe Biden is going to use the revenue from a big corporate profits tax to finance huge investment in green projects, there is no reason to expect the stock market to rise.

        People will not pay more money for shares of Microsoft, GE, or any other stock because they expect the economy to boom. They will pay more money for shares of the stock in these companies if they expect their after-tax profits to be higher. And if Biden’s tax increase on profits is going to more than offset any plausible increase in profits due to higher sales, then share prices will fall.

      • Fascism is Capitalism That Really Means It

        One of the reasons for this belief is that the Federal government and its agencies have been actively engaged in using disinformation and psychological manipulation to affect political outcomes that serve the purposes of the governing class for a century or more. While the case of Russiagate is still too raw for most Democrats to confront, it is a classic in the genre of merging fear with fake history to produce reactionary right-wing nationalism amongst the ‘sophisticated’ classes. However, and in contrast, right and left-wing political movements tie in history to material triggers. European fascism arose after capitalists destroyed the economies they had come to control.

        To understand this point, Russiagate was widely dismissed as manufactured nonsense by the same people who in 2003 went willingly to Iraq to fight a war launched by a cabal of ex-oil industry executives in the George W. Bush administration. In other words, the call of reactionary nationalism ‘worked’ when people perceived a unity of interests in the national good. By 2008 or so these same people understood that they had been played for fools. Barack Obama was elected to lead a different path forward. The people who found Russiagate plausible were those who benefitted from Mr. Obama’s policies. The people who didn’t benefit were either disinterested in, or actively skeptical of, Russiagate.

      • Opinion | Open Letter From 40+ Economists Regarding Ecuador and the Dollar

        Not only has leading presidential candidate Andrés Arauz emphasized that he is committed to maintaining the dollar as the national currency, he and his party have a long track record of taking strong measures to make sure that dollarization did not come under threat.

      • Ecuador: US-Backed Gov’t Scrambles to Privatize the Central Bank Before Elections

        This article was written and researched for MintPress by a talented new collective of journalists that call themselves Ecuador On Q. You can find more of their work on Twitter at @Ecuador_On_Q, or visit them on Patreon.

      • Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Is Now Ready to Pass With or Without Republicans
      • Trump Is the First President to Leave Office With a Loss of Jobs Since Hoover
      • Over 2.9 lakh cyber security incidents related to digital banking reported in 2020: Dhotre

        Over 2.9 lakh cyber security incidents related to digital banking were reported in 2020, Parliament was informed on Thursday. As per the information reported to and tracked by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), a total number of 1,59,761; 2,46,514 and 2,90,445 cyber security incidents pertaining to digital banking were reported during 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively, Minister of State for Electronics and IT Sanjay Dhotre said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

      • Project Economy? Count me perplexed

        The conclusion? Also thanks to the increase in remote working after COVID-19 “In the high-skill sector, freelance work and project-based management are not just here to stay but will drive into the future.”

        [...]

        From what I see around me, much of this “Project Economy” consists of jobs that are just as dead-end, unflexible and precarious as delivering pizza with your own car. Project Economy seems just the same gig economy to me, just for high-skilled people (not to mention how many high-skilled people already cornered into delivering pizza).

        Also, there is nothing new here at all. As in many other cases, COVID-19 is only accelerating, or making more visible, trends that were going on for years.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | The Capitol Insurrectionists Were Also Part of a Misogynist Anti-Abortion Movement

        The events of January 6 were firmly planted on an intersectional foundation that included white supremacy, sexism, and misogyny. 

      • It’s Not Too Early to Criticize Joe Biden

        So it is with politics. Among the tools available to messaging and framing experts is “flooding the field” — dominating the news with a blizzard of headlines in order to obscure actions they ought to be undertaking but are instead ignoring. That’s what we are seeing, or not seeing, from the new Biden Administration.

        Donald Trump and his predecessors left behind a hell of a mess. But much of what you and I consider unfinished disasters to be reversed or cleaned up is to this centrist Democrat’s cronies and top administrators just business as usual, perfectly desirable neoliberal policy that, as far as they are concerned, can and should continue. Only one thing to get in the way of the continuationists: voters noticing what they are up to.

      • Rejecting Trump’s “Callous Disregard for Human Life,” Biden Significantly Raises Refugee Cap

        “The action today by President Biden will save lives. It’s that simple.”

      • United We Fail

        W. B. Yeats, “The Second Coming,” 1919

        After nearly 170 years, the Republican Party is dead. It died at the hands of Donald J. Trump somewhere between 2017 and 2021. It didn’t die from a single illness; there were multiple causes.

      • After the Muslim Ban

        As the news rolled in, I remembered how I felt four years ago, when the Trump administration first announced its intention to ban people from from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the country.

        The feeling wasn’t incredulity. I distinctly remember my first reaction being something akin to: “well, duh.”

      • ‘Definition of Malpractice’: GOP Senators Under Fire for Obstructing Biden HHS Pick as Pandemic Rages

        “Delaying a hearing for the head of Health and Human Services in the middle of a pandemic that has claimed more than 450,000 American lives is negligence in plain sight.”

      • Opinion | United States of Amnesia: Despite Unconscionable GOP Gaslighting, The Costs of The Riot Are Steep
      • In Fiery Floor Speech, Cori Bush Demands Accountability for Every Republican Who Incited ‘Vile White Supremacist Attack’ of January 6

        “We can’t build a better society if members are too scared to stand up and act to reject the white supremacist attack that happened right before our eyes.”

      • Opinion | Republicans Don’t Know Much About History. But That Won’t Stop Them

        In word and deed, Trumpists try to murder truth and hide the body.

      • Trump Was On Controversial Baldness Drug

        In the 23 years since Propecia was approved to treat hair loss from male pattern baldness, side effects have been so concerning, the term post-finasteride syndrome (PFS) has been coined and hundreds of lawsuits have been brought. In addition to its sexual side effects, the drug is linked to serious conditions and has effects cognition and mental states.

        A 2013 study in Journal of Sexual Medicine noted “changes related to the urogenital system in terms of semen quality and decreased ejaculate volume, reduction in penis size, penile curvature or reduced sensation, fewer spontaneous erections, decreased testicular size, testicular pain, and prostatitis.” Many subjects also noted a “disconnection between the mental and physical aspects of sexual function,” and changes in mental abilities, sleeping patterns, and/or depressive symptoms.

      • The Struggle Inside Senator Mitch McConnell’s Brain

        Now comes a new challenge for Mitch McConnell as he leads 49 other Republican Senators, twenty of whom are up for re-election in 2022. Earlier this month, McConnell broke with Trump publicly in a Senate speech holding the wannabe American Fuhrer responsible for the January 6th storming of the Congress. On that day, Trump had just spoken to a crowd on the Mall and incited his followers to rush the Capitol and “stop the steal.” In the aftermath of this insurrection, the Kentucky Senator said he was keeping an open mind about his vote during the coming impeachment trial of Trump.

        Predictably, McConnell received a flood of criticism from the Trump supporters for daring to distance himself from the dangerous, unstable, Liar-in-Chief.  Senate insurrectionists Senators Cruz and Hawley stood firm with Trump, even after the Trumpsters’ violent riot in their hallowed workplace.

      • The Origins of Trump’s Attempted Coup

        As the DC drama heats up over the level of Trump’s involvement in the January 6 insurrection, it is imperative to pay attention to the Investigative journalists who have been tracking and revealing Republican skullduggery long before the Age of Trump, going as far back to the Clinton and George W. Bush era. Only by this way, are we able to fully comprehend the sheer sweep and determination of the right-wing of the Republican Party as it set on a course to gain and maintain power by any means. Players like Newt Gingrich and Roger Stone emerge as long-term culprits in this endeavor, and one person who has been steadfast in chronicling their antics is Mark Karlin. In 2000, he founded Buzzflash as “the aggressive progressive” website dedicated to “exposing the hypocrisy of the Republicans and the frequent timidity of the Democrats.”

        Karlin recently published a provocative article on January 19th entitled “Trump Didn’t Just Incite Sedition on January 6. He Aided and Abetted Ongoing Insurrection.” He acknowledged waiting for the FBI to connect all the dots, but avowed “there is enough evidence in plain sight (much of the Internet evidence is now deleted, but progressive hackers have retrieved much of the incriminating chatter) to indicate Trump could be found guilty of conspiracy to launch a coup attempt whose objective was the seditious breaching of the US Capitol and the overturning of the Electoral College ballot count on the 6th.”

      • ‘Downright Scary’: In 2021 Alone, GOP Introduces 100+ Voter Suppression Bills in 28 States

        “Democrats have a clear choice. They can get rid of the filibuster to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act to stop GOP voter suppression, or they can allow the GOP to undermine democracy for the next decade.”

      • Senators Warner, Hirono, And Klobuchar Demand The End Of The Internet Economy

        Just because Senators Warner, Hirono, and Klobuchar are apparently oblivious to how their SAFE TECH bill would destroy the Internet doesn’t mean everyone else should ignore how it does. These are Senators drafting legislation, and they should understand the effect the words they employ will have.

      • Roaming Charges: Xenophobia With a Human Face

        + 5500 children were separated at the border in the last four years, at least 628 of them still in custody. How many of them has Biden reunited with their families?

        + Biden immigration Executive Order says don’t separate families “except … where a separation is clearly necessary for the safety and well-being of the child or is required by law.” How many children will be caged based on that EXCEPT….?

      • Democrats Need to Make Good on Their Promises

        During the Georgia runoff elections for the Senate in January, both Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock campaigned on a promise to secure large stimulus checks for Americans. With Democrats in control of the Senate, they assured voters, Congress would increase the $600 stimulus checks to $2,000 per person, a move that was blocked twice by Senate Republicans. But first they had to be sent to the Senate.

      • Republicans Have the Biden Presidency Caught in a Unity Trap

        “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born;in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”—Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks (1930)1

      • Microsoft suspends donations for politicians who attempted to overturn the 2020 election

        The company temporarily suspended all political contributions after the January 6th attack on the Capitol, with Microsoft taking the time to decide “whether to suspend further donations to individuals who voted against certification of the Electoral College.” Today’s announcement makes that decision a permanent one for the coming election cycle, but only for politicians who attempted to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. (Other politicians will still be eligible for Microsoft’s donations.)

      • 46 and Done: Why Joe Biden Should Be Our Last President

        Presidential systems are dysfunctional by definition. Winner-take-all elections tend to produce only two parties, which battle for an elusive majority in a rarely unified government. The fantasy lasts until the midterm elections, when the voters often tip the scales again. In the far more common scenario of a divided government, opposing parties have zero incentive to support the executive, since electoral success is directly tied to his or her popularity. As in the case of the previously Republican-controlled US Senate, impeachment was rendered useless by the sycophants who’d hitched their wagon to Donald Trump. Eventually all hell broke loose, and former Supreme Court clerks like Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, who certainly knew better, chose to exploit the ignorance of those who didn’t for political gain.

        Over the past 20 years, increased factionalism has produced smaller and smaller margins of victory as the Democratic and Republican parties have each consolidated around further extremes. And that trend will only continue, since 74 million people voted for Trump and an astronomical proportion of Republicans believe the 2020 election was stolen—hence the 147 members of Congress who voted against certifying Biden’s clear victory. Even the once anti-Trump and non-stupid Nicole Malliotakis, the newly elected US representative from Staten Island, is competing for space with the Lauren Boeberts of the world by spouting utter nonsense she can’t possibly believe, because that’s the only thing that’ll get her reelected. Meanwhile, her former campaign manager and past chair of the Staten Island Republican Party, Leticia Remauro, now a candidate for borough president—a person who used to support same-sex marriage and abortion rights—recently filmed herself shouting “Heil Hitler” while protesting the closing of a bar due to Covid-19. That’s one hell of an evolution.

      • No reality czars, please

        According to some polls, more than 70 percent of Republicans believe Mr. Trump legitimately won the election.

        [...]

        I worry that unless the Biden administration treats conspiracy theories and disinformation as the urgent threats they are… the potential for violent unrest and civic dysfunction will only grow.

        So I called a number of experts and asked what the Biden administration could do to help fix our truth-challenged information ecosystem, or at least prevent it from getting worse. Here’s what they told me.

        Assess the damage, and avoid the ‘terrorist’ trap.

        The experts agreed that before the Biden administration can tackle disinformation and extremism, it needs to understand the scope of the problem.

        “It’s really important that we have a holistic understanding of what the spectrum of violent extremism looks like in the United States, and then allocate resources accordingly,” said William Braniff, a counterterrorism expert and professor at the University of Maryland.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Leading Digital Rights Group Warns Section 230 Reform Bill Will Boost Big Tech While Crushing Smaller Sites

        “This bill, as written, would have enormous unintended consequences for human rights and freedom of expression,” warned Fight for the Future’s Evan Greer.

      • Piers Corbyn and Free Speech

        The arrest of Piers Corbyn is yet another sign of the intolerance of dissent and devaluing of free speech in the modern UK. Neither being tasteless nor being wrong is a police matter. Furthermore the attempt to distort this into a question of anti-semitism is ludicrous. The clear import of the leaflet involved is that Auschwitz was an instrument of mass murder, and so is the covid vaccine. There is no way of reading this that makes out Corbyn to be denying Auschwitz or promoting it as a good thing. That the Auschwitz comparison is tasteless as well as simply wrong is a view I would share; but neither is a crime, and I perfectly accept other people may view it as neither tasteless nor wrong.

      • Smartmatic Sues Two Trump Lawyers And Three Fox News Hosts For $2.7 Billion-Worth Of Defamation

        Another day, another multi-billion dollar defamation lawsuit. And like the other lawsuits filed over frothy falsehoods that emerged from the spittle-flecked lips of Trump lawyers and supporters, this one also targets people who definitely should have known better than to engage in the speech they did.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Twitch Allows Users To Enable Emote-Only Chats (2016)

        Summary: Dealing with content moderation during real-time chats always presents an interesting challenge. Whether it’s being able to police language in real time, or dealing with trolling and harassment, chat has always been one of the most difficult content moderation challenges going back to its earliest days.

      • Myanmar Military Blocks Access to Facebook as Resistance to Coup Grows

        The U.S.-based company urged Myanmar’s military leaders to “restore connectivity” in order to ensure citizens “can communicate with family and friends and access important information.”

        Facebook is the most popular social media platform in Myanmar, used by civilians and military leaders alike.

      • Parliament proceedings | India is ‘Internet shutdown’ capital of world: Anand Sharma

        The country had seen seven Internet shutdowns in the New Year, five of which were at the farmers’ protest site in Delhi-NCR. “India is the largest democracy of the world. But today we have become the Internet shutdown capital of the world,” Mr. Sharma said during the motion of thanks debate.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Isolatoes: From Natty Bumppo to the Proud Boys

        In 1976, when I began to live in northern California, the only people I knew were my parents, who were already in their 60s and part of the back-to-the-land movement. The first community to which I belonged was the tribe of marijuana outlaws and criminals, who needed one another to survive cops, thieves and their own demons.

        Then, after I started to teach at Sonoma State University in 1981, I belonged in the academic world which had its own hazards and advantages. I had perks: an office, a telephone, the use of a computer, a fax, a Xerox machine, and the campus library, which no one seemed to use, except the students during final exams week.

      • Human rights monitors report protest at special detention center where Navalny supporters are being held

        Detainees at a special detention center in the village of Sakharovo — where the authorities sent protesters arrested amid the mass demonstrations in support of imprisoned opposition politician Alexey Navalny — staged a protest on the night of February 4. This was reported by Marina Litvinovich, a member of Moscow’s Public Monitoring Commission (ONK). 

      • Black Like You: Life As A Horror Movie

        What would I do if I couldn’t process away that self-consciousness through my dreams? Fantasize it away in my sleep? Fight it as a kind of monster? Resolve it? What would it be like to wake up each day and set about in the world knowing I’m Black, knowing that whites know I’m Black — in their looks, in the subtleties of their body language, even in their need to seem cool with it. With my being Black. The Black elephant in the well-lit white room.

        In the recent (and renewed) HBO horror series, Lovecraft Country, there’s a scene in “Jig-a-Bobo,” a late episode that sees Black blues singer, Hyppolyta, confront Christina, a white wraith-like witch who has been donning a Nordic-looking white male body to hump Hippolyta, consensually (it’s complicated), about how she feels after the recent funeral of Emmett Till:

      • Riots Don’t Change Systems: There’s No Shortcut to Organizing

        If we were to set aside for a moment the fascistic nature of the mob, egged by on former President Donald Trump and his minions (which I am not suggesting we actually do), there is nothing to be taken in the abstract. Apparently there are some folks who, while certainly not condoning the political outlook of the insurrectionists, believe the example set might provide something of a template for how to achieve very different goals.

        Even before we get to what should be an obvious observation — the Trumpite mob was enabled by some Capitol Police officers and law enforcement agencies largely share the insurrectionists’ politics while not hesitating to crack down violently on Left demonstrations, no matter how peaceful — governments and economic systems are not overturned by mobs storming the headquarters of the government. Any change to a better world by Left-led social movements can’t succeed without having a large majority of the population behind them with a significant number willing to act on the desire for systemic change in well thought out moves and not simply be passive supporters. There is no shortcut to organizing.

      • Court Says Lawsuit Over CBP Searches Performed 90 Miles From The Border Can Proceed

        An ongoing federal lawsuit is challenging the CBP’s decision to turn supposed border control efforts into easy drug busts for local cops.

      • Taking on the Punishment Profiteers

        The move was celebrated by criminal justice advocates as a small but necessary step towards reining in corporations profiteering from incarceration. To fully address these punishment profiteers, however, the Biden administration will need to take aim at every tendril of the private prison industry.

        The most profitable of these tendrils is the mass incarceration of undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. Biden’s order doesn’t cover these immigration detention facilities, which are far more prevalent than regular private prisons.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Now It’s The Democrats Turn To Destroy The Open Internet: Mark Warner’s 230 Reform Bill Is A Dumpster Fire Of Cluelessness

        For the past few months we’ve been seeing a ton of terrible/ridiculous/awful/unconstitutional bills coming from mostly Republicans to try to wipe out or undermine Section 230. Most of those were focused on trying to force websites to do less content moderation. Now that the Democrats are back in power, it appears we’re going to be getting the opposite. Senator Mark Warner has introduced his new Section 230 reform bill, called the SAFE TECH Act (“Safeguarding Against Fraud, Exploitation, Threats, Extremism, and Consumer Harms Act” co-sponsored by Senators Mazie Hirono and Amy Klobuchar), and it is one of the worst Section 230 bills I’ve seen. It is difficult to explain just how bad this bill is concisely, because it has so many bad ideas crammed into one single bill. It’s as if none of these three Senators or their staff spoke to anyone who actually understands how the internet works, or how content moderation/trust and safety works. It’s stunning in the ignorance it displays.

      • Huawei Attempts To Rebuild Trust By Using… Fake Twitter Telecom Experts

        So we’ve noted that a lot of the accusations that Huawei spies on Americans on behalf of the US government are lacking in the evidence department. The company’s been on the receiving end of a global blocklist based on accusations that have never actually been proven publicly, levied by a country (the United States) with a long, long history of doing exactly what it accuses Huawei of doing. While scrutiny of Chinese gear is certainly warranted, at the same time it’s a rather idiotic rabbit hole filled with xenophobic politicians being played by US companies that like to drum up NatSec hysteria for political advantage.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Preview of amended EPO Guidelines for Examination released [Ed: Aggressive patent litigation company that lobbies for illegal software patents and deeply unconstitutional UPC talks about the illegal EPO guidelines (which compel examiners to violate the EPC)]

          In line with the guidance currently being received in Examination Reports that are being issued on pending applications at the EPO, it is noted at F-IV, 4.3 (iii) that, embodiments in the description which are no longer covered by the independent claims must be deleted unless these embodiments can reasonably be considered to be useful for highlighting specific aspects of the amended claims. In such a case, the fact that an embodiment is not covered by the claims must be prominently stated (T 1808/06).

          Furthermore, it is explicitly noted (also at F-IV, 4.3 (iii)) that merely changing the wording “invention” to “disclosure” and/or the wording “embodiment” to “example”, “aspect” or similar is not sufficient to clearly state that this part of the description does not fall under the scope of the claimed invention.

        • China update: advantages of selecting the European Patent Office as International Searching Authority for PCT applications [Ed: Poor and likely invalid information as even EPO insiders have repeatedly warned about collapse of the quality of work]

          The Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) has established a two-year pilot cooperation with the European Patent Office (EPO) for patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

          With effect from 1st December 2020, nationals and residents of the People’s Republic of China including its Special Administrative Regions Hong Kong and Macau are allowed to designate EPO, other than CNIPA, as their International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) for international applications filed in English under the PCT. This pilot cooperation is available to 2500 applications in the first 12 months, and 3000 applications in the second 12 months.

          Although the search fees of using EPO as ISA are significantly higher than that of using CNIPA, the former can provide Chinese applicants with some strategic advantages…

        • Interesting Developments at the EPO [Ed: Conveniently for patent profiteers, this totally overlooks or fails to mention many instances of EPO corruption and abuses against EPO staff]

          There are changes at the EPO coming that require the specification to better reflect the allowed claims. In applications in which multiple inventions are disclosed, the new rules seem to be requiring editing the specification in some significant ways. In the case of this application, the term “embodiments” was edited to be used in conjunction with only the allowed claims. The specification in this matter is almost 300 pages and the editing performed was quite expensive. Further edits were made to the Summary and Technical Field to make sure they correspond only to the allowed claims.

          To help avoid at least some of these costs, it seems that the term “embodiments” or similar (I am not sure if they view “aspects” or “examples” the same way) should be avoided for applications that will be filed in the EP to save costs for clients.

          [...]

          It should be noted that the necessary amendments at this stage of proceedings need to be considered on a case-by-case basis, as the interrelation between the allowed claims and the description will be different for each application. For longer applications that cover multiple aspects of an invention, or multiple inventions, this will naturally be more problematic than for shorter, single embodiment cases. A useful guiding principle, however, should be to be incredibly careful about overly liberal use of the term ‘embodiment’ when preparing a specification for filing in Europe.”

        • Software Patents

          • Federal Circuit: Low-level Security Measures are Abstract Ideas

            The security code on your credit card seems pretty weak. Basically, it is a 3-4 digit number on opposite side of the card. Mr. Sarada Mohapatra’s innovation was to create a more dynamic security code using an internet-based account management approach.

            [...]

            Further, abstract-idea innovations may provide societal or personal benefits, but remain unpatentable: “The idea of changeable personal-identification numbers may be beneficial. But it is also abstract and therefore not patentable without more.”

            At Alice Step 2, the court found no additional inventive concept beyond standard additions such as doing-it-on-the-web and storing the information on a computer.

      • Copyrights

        • Some Answers to Questions About the State of Copyright in 2021

          In December 2020, Congress was rushing to pass a massive spending bill and coronavirus relief package. This was “must-pass” legislation, in the sense that if it didn’t pass there would be no money to do things like fund the government. Passing the package was further complicated by a couple of threats from President Trump to veto the bill unless certain things were in it.

          In all this, two copyright bills were added to the spending package, despite them not having any place there—not least because there hadn’t been robust hearings where the issues with them could be pointed out. One of the bills didn’t even have text available to the public until the very last second. And they are now law.

          The omnibus bill is 5,593 pages long. These new copyright laws are pretty close to smack dab in the middle, starting on page 2,539.

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