Links 16/2/2021: Sailfish OS Koli, KDE Plasma 5.21, and Plasma Pass 1.2.0

Posted in News Roundup at 1:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • How to install Linux in 3 steps

        In 2021, there are more reasons why people love Linux than ever before. In this series, I’ll share 21 different reasons to use Linux. Here’s how to install Linux.

        Installing an operating system (OS) is always daunting. It’s something of a puzzle to most people: Installing an OS can’t happen from inside the OS because it either hasn’t been installed, or it’s about to be replaced by a different one, so how does it happen? And worse yet, it usually involves confusing questions about hard drive formats, install destinations, time zones, user names, passwords, and a bunch of other stuff that you just don’t normally think about. Linux distributions know this, and so they’ve worked diligently over the years to reduce the time you spend in the OS installer down to the absolute minimum.


        When you boot from a Linux install DVD or thumb drive, you’re placed into a minimal operating environment designed to run one or more useful applications. The installer is the primary application, but because Linux is such a flexible system, you can usually also run standard desktop applications to get a feel for what the OS is like before you commit to installing it.

        Different Linux distributions have different installer interfaces. Here are two examples:

        Fedora Linux has a flexible installer (called Anaconda) capable of complex system configuration.

    • Server

      • 5 Best free to use Linux Server distributions for 2021

        Linux is an open-source software platform developed initially for home computers but later become a dominated Server operating system. Linux Server OS are popular because of their small size and ability to quickly convert to perform some specific operations such as Web server, File server, monitoring tool, etc. That’s why you will see almost all computing cloud platforms prefer Linux servers to distribute their computing services.

        Apart from powring thousands of racks at hosting companies, in server farms, and at cloud providers, you can also see Linux command line servers nested in container instances or in virtual machines, in short Linux keeps the Internet alive. As a server, Linux today supports more architectures and processors than any other kernel – from very large to very small.

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel Looking To Finally Upstream Linux Driver For Their Gaussian & Neural Accelerator – Phoronix

        Found with mobile Intel CPUs across Tiger Lake, Ice Lake, and even Cannon Lake has been the Intel GNA accelerator. This Gaussian & Neural Accelerator is also found with Intel Gemini Lake processors and various development kits. The Intel GNA has been backed by an out-of-tree Linux driver while now the company is finally working to upstream their GNA support in the Linux kernel.

        Intel’s Gaussian and Neural Accelerator is a neural co-processor that can be used for offloading inference workloads. The GNA on modern Intel laptops has been used for tasks like noise reduction and speech recognition, assuming you setup the out-of-tree Intel GNA kernel driver and various user-space components like OpenVINO.

      • Linux 5.12 Bringing DTPM So You Don’t Burn Yourself On Hot Devices – Phoronix

        Linux 5.12 pull requests continue coming in for the newly-opened merge window that in turn should see its stable release in late April.

        Linux power management maintainer Rafael Wysocki of Intel submitted the updates on Monday along with the routine ACPI updates. On the power management front most notable is the introduction of the Dynamic Thermal Power Management (DTPM) framework after missing out on 5.11 landing plus there are a lot of other miscellaneous updates throughout this important area of the kernel with modern devices.

      • Linux 5.12 Crypto Brings AES-NI Acceleration For CTS, Faster XTS With Retpolines – Phoronix

        On Monday the crypto subsystem updates were sent in to the Linux 5.12 kernel by crypto maintainer Herbert Xu.

        This time around there are a few notable crypto updates with this kernel. For systems relying on return trampolines “Retpolines” as part of their Spectre Variant 2 mitigations, Linux 5.12 will offer much faster AES-NI XTS crypto performance. Since Retpolines were added back in 2018, the Retpolines behavior ended up heavily regressing the AES-NI XTS performance that went unnoticed until recently. As a result reworking that kernel code is now yielding a very significant speedup for Retpoline-enabled AMD/Intel systems for hardware needing Retpolines.

      • Graphics Stack

        • The Vulkan API Is Now Five Years Old And Enjoying Phenomenal Success

          Today marks five years since the announcement of Vulkan 1.0. Over the past five years we have seen incredible adoption of this high performance graphics API across multiple platforms, open-source Vulkan drivers that are kept up to date well with the latest spec revisions, exciting new extensions, and the spec continues to receive new extensions and revisions on an almost bi-weekly basis.

        • Zink With Mesa 21.1 Now Advertises OpenGL 4.6 – Phoronix

          Mike Blumenkrantz continues to be on a mad roll when it comes to getting all of the Zink patches upstreamed into mainline Mesa… This Gallium3D-based OpenGL over Vulkan translation layer now has OpenGL 4.6 turned on for Mesa 21.1!

          It was just last week Mesa 21.1 saw OpenGL 4.3 for Zink and then just days later OpenGL 4.5 was reached. Now as of Monday night in Mesa Git is OpenGL 4.6 being advertised for the Zink OpenGL-on-Vulkan code.

    • Applications

      • 7 Best Free and Open Source Console Based XMPP Clients

        XMPP (also known as Jabber) is an open and free alternative to commercial messaging and chat providers. It is a secure battle-tested protocol developed by an independent standards organization.

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

        The “X” in XMPP stands for “Extensible”, which means the core protocol is updated and extended with more features through a transparent process at the non-profit XMPP Standards Foundation every now and then. This results in some clients not implementing every feature of XMPP; for example, a typical instant messaging client won’t implement Internet-of-Things functionality.

        Set it up for your company, organisation, or just your family and friends. You are in control, and your communication is private to you.

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

      • Fwupd 1.5.6 Released with Support for System76’s Keyboard, Star LabTop Mk IV Laptop

        Fwupd 1.5.6 is part of monthly updates to fwupd and introduces support for System76’s upcoming keyboard, the ability to download firmware from IPFS (InterPlanetary File System), support for StarLabs’ Star LabTop Mk IV Linux laptop, as well as support for RMI PS2 devices.

        Furthermore, this release adds support for GD32VF103 RISC-V microcontrollers, which is used in development boards like the Longan Nano, brings back the ability to use an external services provider (ESP), and adds BAT metadata to the fwupd EFI binary.

      • Richard Hughes: fwupd 1.5.6

        Today I released fwupd 1.5.6 which the usual smattering of new features and bugfixes. These are some of the more interesting ones:

        With the help of a lot of people we added support for quite a bit of new hardware. The slightly odd GD32VF103 as found in the Longan Nano is now supported, and more of the DFU ST devices with huge amounts of flash. The former should enable us to support the Pinecil device soon and the latter will be a nice vendor announcement in the future. We’ve also added support for RMI PS2 devices as found in some newer Lenovo ThinkPads, the Starlabs LabTop L4 and the new System76 Keyboard. We’ve refactored the udev and usb backends into self contained modules, allowing someone else to contribute new bluetooth peripheral functionality in the future. There are more than a dozen teams of people all working on fwupd features at the moment. Exciting times!

        One problem that has been reported was that downloads from the datacenter in the US were really slow from China, specifically because the firewall was deliberately dropping packets. I assume compressed firmware looks quite a lot like a large encrypted message from a firewalls’ point of view, and thus it was only letting through ~20% of the traffic. All non-export controlled public firmware is now also mirrored onto the IPFS, and we experimentally fall back to peer-to-peer downloads where the HTTP download failed. You can prefer IPFS downloads using fwupdmgr –ipfs update although you need to have a running ipfs daemon on your local computer. If this works well for you, let me know and we might add support for downloading metadata in the future too.

      • SonoBus Is An Open Source Low Latency Peer-To-Peer Audio Streaming Application

        SonoBus is a free and open source application for high quality, low latency peer-to-peer audio streaming over the Internet or a local network. It’s available for Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows and iOS (with an Android app being under development).

        The application is relatively new, having its first public release back in August 2020, but it’s already working great and has a good set of features. Use this real-time audio streaming collaboration tool to create podcasts, remotely jam with band members, and much more.

      • Great Official AppImages Lately (Enve2D, KeePassXC, Zulip)

        Portable apps make GNU/Linux computer easier to users. Do you know AppImages? They are portable applications you can download officially and run on your GNU/Linux computers. Lately, I found more prestigious Free Software apps proudly made available as AppImages for example Enve2D (animation), Digikam (photography), Zulip (communication), even FlightGear and Red Eclipse (games) among others as mentioned below. Now let’s see and quickly get them all!

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Install Etcher USB Image Writing Tool on Ubuntu 20.04

        Etcher is an open-source USB image writing tool that is extensively used all across the world. It is a tool that is available for many operating systems like Windows, Mac, and all of the major Linux platforms. In this article, we will provide users a walkthrough of how to install Etcher on the Ubuntu 20.04 system.

      • The ultimate Linux commands cheat sheet

        The world of Linux is uniquely structured by its maze of commands that continue to make it more than just an ordinary operating system. A typical Linux desktop user might relate to several hundreds of these commands. On the other hand, a server administrator used to bare-bone Linux server’s packages installation and management can count over 1000 differing commands.

      • Parallel shells with xargs: Utilize all your cpu cores on UNIX and Windows

        One particular frustration with the UNIX shell is the inability to easily schedule multiple, concurrent tasks that fully utilize CPU cores presented on modern systems. The example of focus in this article is file compression, but the problem rises with many computationally intensive tasks, such as image/audio/media processing, password cracking and hash analysis, database Extract, Transform, and Load, and backup activities. It is understandably frustrating to wait for gzip * running on a single CPU core, while most of a machine’s processing power lies idle.

        This can be understood as a weakness of the first decade of Research UNIX which was not developed on machines with SMP. The Bourne shell did not emerge from the 7th edition with any native syntax or controls for cohesively managing the resource consumption of background processes.

        Utilities have haphazardly evolved to perform some of these functions. The GNU version of xargs is able to exercise some primitive control in allocating background processes, which is discussed at some length in the documentation. While the GNU extensions to xargs have proliferated to many other implementations (notably BusyBox, including the release for Microsoft Windows, example below), they are not POSIX.2-compliant, and likely will not be found on commercial UNIX.

        Historic users of xargs will remember it as a useful tool for directories that contained too many files for echo * or other wildcards to be used; in this situation xargs is called to repeatedly batch groups of files with a single command. As xargs has evolved beyond POSIX, it has assumed a new relevance which is useful to explore.

      • How to Enable HTTP/2.0 in Nginx Server: Step-by-Step Guide | UbuntuPIT

        As you are using a Linux system, you probably already know that HTTP is an internet protocol that establishes your internet connection to your requested server through your web browser. It sends requests from the client’s end to the server end and conveys data from the server to the client. Well, that is enough to know about the HTTP protocol if you are a regular internet user. If you are a server administrator or a network manager or host your own website on an Nginx server, you need to know more about HTTP, HTTP/2.0, and how to enable HTTP/2.0 in the Nginx server.

      • How to manage Linux container registries | Enable Sysadmin

        If we have a close look at LEGO® products, we can see that they are all made of the same building blocks. However, the composition of these blocks is the key differentiator for whether we are building a castle or space ship. It’s pretty much the same for Podman, and its sibling projects Buildah, Skopeo, and CRI-O. However, instead of recycled plastic, the building blocks for our container tools are made of open source code. Sharing these building blocks allows us to provide rock-solid, enterprise-grade container tools. Features ship faster, bugs are fixed quicker, and the code is battle-tested. And, well, instead of bringing joy into playrooms, the container tools bring joy into data centers and workstations.

      • TeXstudio 3.0.5 Released, Install it via Official Ubuntu PPA | UbuntuHandbook

        TeXstudio released new 3.0.5 version a few days ago with important bug-fixes. Here’s how to install or update it in Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10 via PPA.

      • Migrate To AlmaLinux From CentOS 8 Using Almalinux-deploy Script – OSTechNix

        Good news, Enterprise Linux users! The much anticipated AlmaLinux migration tool is released!! I guess we don’t need to rely on the unofficial AlmaLinux migration method anymore. The official script named Almalinux-deploy that helps you to migrate to AlmaLinux from CentOS 8 is out. It is time to convert your CentOS machines (hopefully other Enterprise Linux systems) to AlmaLinux. The almalinux-deploy script is written in Bash and the source code is available in GitHub.

      • What is PPA Purge? How to Use it in Ubuntu and other Debian-based Distributions?

        PA is a popular method of installing additional applications or newer versions of a software in Ubuntu.

        I have written a detailed guide on PPA so I will just quickly recall it here. PPA is a mechanism developed by Ubuntu to enable developers to provide their own repositories. When you add a PPA, you add additional repository to your system and thus you can download applications from this additional repository.

      • How To Delete Partition In Linux Using Command Line (fdisk)

        Sometimes we stuck in a situation where we just have access to the terminal and need to delete partition, or you have stepped down in Linux, and your logical mind pushes you to delete the partition using a command.

        But you don’t know how to delete the partition using the terminal, not a big deal, and I’m here to rescue you just follow the instruction, and your motive will be accomplished.

      • How To Install Composer on Linux Mint 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Composer on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Composer is an incredible dependency manager device used to put in and upgrade libraries for dynamic, PHP applications and projects. This application used to facilitate the installation and replacement of the assignment dependencies which also shows the proper variants required for the assignment requirements.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of Composer on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • How to Install MySQL Server in Ubuntu

        MySQL is a relational database management system and one of the most popular relational databases in use today. Similar to most other database management systems, MySQL is delivered with two main components separately: the server and the client.

        As you might know, the server in a SQL database is a background process (daemon) that processes SQL statements. It can be called from a client, which can be a command line or a GUI based utility, or it can be called programmatically inside the source code. A client can also call a remote MySQL server.

      • Pi IoT In C Using Linux Drivers -The DHT22

        Linux drivers are make working with devices so easy – assuming you know how. In this extract from Chapter 7 of my recent book on using Linux Drivers in C on the Raspberry Pi

      • How to Enable (UP)/Disable (DOWN) Network Interface Port (NIC) in Linux?
      • Install MATE 1.14 In Ubuntu MATE 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) Via PPA

        After about a year of hard work, developers of MATE desktop announced the release of MATE Desktop 1.24 and sent a message of appreciation to all participants in the project.

        MATE Desktop offers Linux users an intuitive, beautifully filled, and moreover, attractive user interface with all the traditional analogies.

        The new version of MATE Desktop comes with abundant new features, enhancements, and great functionalities which we shall talk about in the next section

      • Handling secrets in your Ansible playbooks | Enable Sysadmin

        It’s finally happened. You’ve gone all-in with Ansible. You’ve read all the great articles, seen the use cases, and are excited to start building repeatable infrastructure and managing your configuration as code. There’s just one problem: You have a configuration file or a task that requires a password or other piece of mission-critical information. You know that you shouldn’t store the password in your plaintext files, so you’re not quite sure where it should go.

        Fear not, this article guides you through the different options for handling sensitive information in your playbooks. Whether you’re looking for simple solutions, such as prompting an administrator to enter a password, or more complex options, such as integrating with an existing secrets management environment, Ansible has you covered.

      • How to properly use 3rd party Debian repository signing keys with apt
    • Games

      • ANATHEMA is an upcoming FPS roguelike about making friends and enemies | GamingOnLinux

        Currently in development and now crowdfunding on Kickstarter, ANATHEMA looks absolutely wild. A first-person shooter roguelike about making friends and enemies.

        It looks seriously stylish and I absolutely feel like I need it. Coming with a “fine-tuned arsenal of classic FPS weapons” it’s promising combat that will be “fast, deep, and bloody”. What actually is it though? Anathema itself is a magical, ever shifting cave system where long ago the world’s horrors were sealed and every generation one must go in. Spooky.


        The Kickstarter campaign also makes it clear that ANATHEMA will support Linux at release.

      • DemonCrawl the Minesweeper-roguelite RPG is adding an online multiplayer mode | GamingOnLinux

        DemonCrawl was already highly unique with the Minesweeper styled roguelite gameplay, now it’s going a step further with an online multiplayer mode inspired by auto-battlers.

        Yes, really. It sounds just as unique as the main gameplay. DemonCrawl Arena is the name of the upcoming update, currently available in a Beta to their Patreon subscribers with gameplay that takes ideas from the likes of Hearthstone Battlegrounds, Teamfight Tactics and Dota Underlords.

        You create a custom stage and compete against 7 other DemonCrawl players in a fight for world domination. The Minesweeping is mostly automatic, with the AI doing the exploring for you as long as there’s no guesswork involved so that you can focus on loot collecting, item management and everything else.

      • Adventure game about Death’s daughter ‘PRIM’ is up on Kickstarter – try the great demo | GamingOnLinux

        PRIM is a point and click adventure game with some of the best art and most impressive demos I’ve seen for a while in the genre, and now you can help make the full game a reality.

        Inspired by LucasArts, Tim Burton, Terry Pratchett and Greek mythology it follows Death’s teenage daughter PRIM on a strange adventure through the Land of the Living. Now live on Kickstarter, project lead Jonas Christian Fisch is hoping to hit at least €17,500 by March 18 and it looks like the campaign is off to a good start. Linux support is fully planned and is already available in the short demo.

        “At its core, PRIM is a story of a father learning to let go and a girl finding out who she really is. But it’s also a thrilling adventure, full of magic and darkness. On her journey, Prim repeatedly has to switch between the Realm of the Dead and the Land of the Living, where she faces demons, real ones and ones within herself, while always being accompanied by her sidekick, an eye with spider legs.”

      • Volo Airsport went open source with main development discontinued | GamingOnLinux

        Here’s a bit of open source news we missed from the end of last year. Volo Airsport, which entered Early Access back in 2014 has been discontinued by the developer and it went open source.

        This is something I wished happened more often, ensuring all the time and effort isn’t for nothing when a developer plans to move on from a game (especially when not finished). It turns out they actually walked away from it back in 2017, and then suddenly in December 2020 announced it was open source.

      • The Tuxedo Polaris: A Daring Linux Gaming Laptop – Boiling Steam

        Tuxedo Computers is a Linux PC manufacturer based in Augsburg, Germany. Their slogan is “Linux hardware in a tailor-made suit,” hence the name Tuxedo. They started out in 2004, a year before System76, and like System76, Tuxedo sells laptops, desktops, and mini-desktops, although it seems they don’t sell servers. As far as I know, Tuxedo Computers is the only other Linux gaming computer company out there besides System76.

        Also like System76, the individual components that make up their machines are from China, but their systems are assembled and installed in Germany. They also provide “self-programmed driver packages, support, installation scripts.”

        Aside from the not-so-great English on their website, there’s quite a few different categories to explore in terms of their laptop or desktop lineup, as well as accessories. New products can be viewed via the “Novelties” tab. Notebooks are divided by screen size, business-orientation, deep learning AI, gaming, etc. Desktops are categorized by AMD/Intel, Mini, or what they call “Midi” and “Maxi”, which I’m guessing is medium-sized and large-sized desktops respectively. Books, as well as Tux plush dolls, computer components, docking stations, and laptop bags can be ordered through the “Accessories” tab.

        When purchasing a product from Tuxedo, you have the choice of what operating system it ships with. The default is Tuxedo OS (20.04 at the time of writing this), but you can choose Ubuntu instead or no operating system at all. Operating systems can be encrypted at no additional charge.

      • Valheim is now one of the most successful survival games on Steam with two million sold | GamingOnLinux

        13 days after release and it seems there’s no stopping the absolute insane rise of the co-op survival game Valheim, as the developer has now announced two million sales. For a game largely developed on Linux that supports Linux fully, this is pretty amazing.

        This makes Valheim one of the most successful survival games on Steam, ever. Not only that, it makes it one of the most successful Early Access games ever too. It repeatedly hits new highs on the player count, most recently hitting 392,862 online on February 15.

        Valve have certainly taken notice too, as the Steam store page will now greet you with this when you first take a look. This is something not many games get, especially not indie games in Early Access it’s often reserved for the big names.

      • Monado now officially OpenXR conformant, gets a SteamVR driver

        Monado, the free and open source OpenXR runtime for Linux has reached a massive milestone as it’s now officially conformant. This announcement from Collabora came along with the release of Monado 21.0.0.

        As a quick refresher: Monado aims to jump-start development of an open source XR ecosystem and provide the fundamental building blocks for device vendors to target Linux as a platform.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • The Difference Between Window Managers and Desktop Environments

        When using Windows, your desktop is just that: your desktop. It’s the virtual surface you use to interact with your computer. When moving to Linux, though, you meet two terms that define the desktop experience. There are Window Managers and Desktop Environments. While they are functionally similar, they are not the same. Learn the differences between window managers and desktop environments.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma Pass 1.2.0

          Plasma Pass, a Plasma applet for the Pass password manager version 1.2.0 is out.

          The applet now supports OTP codes (in the format supported by the pass OTP plugin). The ‘clock’ icon appears next to all passwords, even those that do not have OTP code. This is a limitation caused by the passwords being stored in files encrypted and being decrypted only when the user requests it – so the applet cannot know whether there’s an OTP code available in the password file until you click on it. There were also some small fixups and UI improvements.

        • KDE Plasma 5.21 Released. This is What’s New

          The KDE team announced a brand new Plasma Desktop. This release comes with many new features and updates. Here are the details with download links.

        • KDE Plasma 5.21 Brings in a New Application Launcher, Wayland Support, and Other Exciting Additions

          KDE finally announced the release of Plasma 5.21. This release focuses completely on usability and the look/feel of it.

          Even though KDE Plasma is undoubtedly an exciting desktop environment and evolving over the years, in this article, let’s take a quick look at what features and improvements this new version has to offer.

        • KDE Plasma 5.21 Desktop Environment Officially Released with New App Launcher, More

          KDE Plasma 5.21 is here as the next-generation of the Plasma desktop environment for Linux-based distributions on both desktop and mobile. It’s a huge release that brings dozens of improvements, new features, new apps, and whatnot.

          The biggest change in KDE Plasma 5.21 is a brand-new application launcher that finally replaces the old Kickoff menu used in the last years. The new app launcher features a double-pane interface to make navigation faster, a grid-style view of favorite apps, alphabetically ordered list of installed apps, better keyboard, mouse, and touch support, improved accessibility, support for more KRunner runners, and RTL (Right-to-Left) support.

        • KDE Plasma 5.21 Released With Better Wayland Support, Desktop Improvements

          The KDE community today released Plasma 5.21 as the latest major release of this open-source desktop.

        • Plasma 5.21 rolls out as one of the best looking Linux desktops available

          Love your PC to look flashy? The KDE team put in a lot of effort to be both beautiful and functional with the latest Plasma 5.21 release which is out now. Part of the ongoing work to make KDE Plasma look as good as possible, with lots of work big and small going into many areas in this release.

          Plasma 5.21 from KDE brings in the brand new application launcher, featuring two panes to make it simple to find the programs you want to launch long with improved navigation for different input types. The older Kickoff launcher is still available too for anyone who prefers it. Plenty of improvements to the default Plasma theme with a refreshed colour scheme and header style, a new Breeze Twilight theme combining dark and light together, there’s a brand new Plasma System Monitor for keeping an eye on your system, huge progress towards great KWin and Wayland support as part of their mission to have first class support for Wayland and much more.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Have You Found GNOME Desktop’s Hidden Easter Egg Yet?

          Oh yes! Even the developers behind the most popular open source desktop environment in the world aren’t averse to injecting a little levity to their wares.

          And since discovering the neat novelty via Reddit I can’t stop playing with it. In fact, I could go as far as to call this unexpected treat the Greatest of All Time — or GOAT, as the kids say.

          Alas, that pun won’t make sense until you’ve seen the Easter egg in action for yourself…

    • Distributions

      • Hands-On with Solus Linux 4.2: Fast to install, and very pleasant to use

        I first wrote about Solus Linux and the Budgie Desktop exactly four years ago. I haven’t done much with it since then, it was always installed and occasionally updated on at least one of my computers, but because of the other activities I had going on I didn’t spend much more time on it. Now that I have time, and they have just announced the release of Solus 4.2, this seems like a good time to take a fresh look.

        Why Solus?

        With so many other good Linux distributions available, what make Solus different or special? In my opinion it is two things – first, Solus is an independent distribution, built from scratch – it is not derived from Debian, Ubuntu or one of the other major distributions. Second, Solus is developed and maintained by a small, dedicated group of people.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • Slackware Family

        • Slackware 15.0 On Approach With An Early Alpha Build Available

          While Slackware carries the badge of being the oldest still maintained Linux distribution, it doesn’t see new releases too often and doesn’t carry the popularity it once did. In any case, Slackware 15.0 is being prepared as the next release.

          Slackware 14.0 debuted all the way back in 2012 while the current point release as Slackware 14.2 came out in mid-2016. Thus it’s long overdue for seeing a new major release, which fortunately is on the way.

          Following a mass package rebuild, the latest build is considered to be effectively Slackware 15.0 “Alpha1″ with coming up short of calling it a beta.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Open source contributions go far beyond code

          The source in open source projects is not always code. It’s documentation, web content, and social media. It’s systems administration, content management, and quality assurance. The source is any aspect of an open source project, and because the source can be nearly anything, any contributor interested in being part of a community should be able to find the source with which they can work.

          As community leaders and architects, the key is to examine your community and determine how tasks and responsibilities can be delegated out to more than just developers, and be more inclusive with the project’s processes. Establish who are the best fits to help build and maintain these different aspects of the community. Build process-oriented and culture-oriented paths to guide these new contributors into your project. You should soon find that the diversity of insights and creativity alone will bring a richer community experience to your open source project.

        • Is CentOS Dead? The reports of its demise are greatly exaggerated.

          End of last year, CentOS project announced that they are shifting their focus to CentOS Stream.

          Not surprisingly, this triggered a major outlash from users worldwide, especially from those who barely understand the change, and merely react to perception raised by various online media, who are not even contributors to the Fedora nor CentOS project. The general tone is, “RedHat have killed CentOS”, “CentOS is dead”, and similar perception.


          Historically, CentOS tracks RHEL, of which a new CentOS release is created, after a new RHEL release is launched. This make sense at the early days of CentOS, where it is primarily a rebranded rebuild of RHEL. But take note, the point releases of RHEL recent years, are primarily a snapshot of a specific state of the RHEL updates repositories, akin to a mid-release Fedora respin. This allows sysadmin to create a new installation with latest set of packages with latest bugfixes from the start, rather than installing an old point release, and yum update afterwards. A legacy from the era where internet was a fraction of the speed available today.

          If you are a sysadmin that regularly run yum update on your server, basically nothing will change for you. If you use containers and always ensure you containers runs yum update during build, nothing will change for you too.

        • GT Software Announces Releases of NetCOBOL for Linux and .NET Platforms

          NetCOBOL for Linux V12.2, supported on Red Hat Linux V8, includes a web browser interface and a faster, more secure platform to run NetCOBOL applications. Specifically, system libraries that NetCOBOL depends on are now upgraded to remove unsecure legacy protocols and now supports newer network security packages, adding an additional layer of protection to an organization’s servers.

        • How Ansible got started and grew | Opensource.com

          Recently, Flagsmith founder Ben Rometsch spoke to Michael DeHaan, founder of open source IT automation software Ansible (now part of IBM/Red Hat), on The Craft of Open Source podcast about how he developed Ansible and what he’s been doing since.


          Ansible came after Michael spent a short spell working for Puppet. Afterward, he worked for another company that was trying to create an integration, but the job wasn’t a good fit, and he wanted to return to working on a project in the open source community.

          Frustrated that it still took several days (or longer) to get a setup working due to DNS and NTP problems, Michael decided to create an open source solution to automate installations. The idea was to build something SSH- and push-based, without a load of management agents.

          Ansible was the result of this design goal. It provided an easy, quick solution, rather than spending hours or days using tools like Chef and Puppet. At the time, companies were employing full-time teams of people to manage cloud installations and configurations. Ansible provided a solution that one person could employ in less than one day.

        • Git repo branch name changes – Fedora Community Blog [Ed: "Fedora vision" is pretending that the word "master" universally says something about slavery]

          In line with the Fedora vision, we just completed some changes to the git branch names used on src.fedoraproject.org and elsewhere. We removed the “master” branch for those repositories. For rpms and containers, the default branch is now named “rawhide”, with a symref (alias) of “main”. For flatpaks, “stable” is the default/only branch. The fedpkg tool is updated on all supported released to accommodate this change.

        • Red Hat Satellite 6.9 Beta now available with Smart Management

          As part of Red Hat Smart Management, we are pleased to announce the availability of Red Hat Satellite 6.9 Beta. This release includes a number of new and updated features to help organizations streamline management and automation, along with continued improvements in simplification and a more streamlined connected experience.

          Red Hat Satellite is part of the Red Hat Smart Management subscription that makes it easier for enterprises to manage patching, provisioning, and subscription management of Red Hat Enterprise Linux infrastructure. Red Hat Smart Management is fully integrated with Red Hat Insights and Red Hat Ansible Automation for automated identification and immediate resolution of compliance issues, misconfigurations and security risks, providing an automated solution to manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux environments at scale, regardless of where they are running.

      • Debian Family

        • Sparky APTus 0.4.36

          Sparky APTus has been upgraded up to 0.4.36 (Sparky 5) & 0.4.38 (Sparky 6).

          There are small, but notable changes of APTus, which provide:
          – added Debian RealTime Linux kernel installation (Sparky 5 & 6)
          – added Debian Backports Linux kernel installation (Sparky 5)
          – Added Debian Backports RealTime Linux kernel installation (Sparky 5)
          – separated Linux kernel amd64 & i686 installation of Debian and Liquorix kernels (Sparky 5 & 6); it means, the kernel installer shows amd64 kernels only on the list of amd64 machines and shows i686 & i686-pae kernels only on machines i686.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 21.04 to Use Dark GNOME Shell Theme By Default?

          Plans are afoot to make Ubuntu 21.04 use a dark theme by default — but which dark theme do I mean?

          That confusion is kinda key to this.

          See, if you’ve used Ubuntu in the past year or so you will know it comes with three theme options: light, standard, and dark. But — and it’s a notable but for this post — these theme options only affect the appearance of application windows and their headers. They do not affect the appearance of the GNOME Shell UI.

          Which is what some people expect to happen, right?

          A user picks ‘dark’ theme and expects it to enable full dark mode in Ubuntu but —drats!— it doesn’t change the notification/calendar, the system menu, or modal dialogs.

          Alas it doesn’t; there are two themes at play: GTK theme and GNOME Shell theme. They aren’t (or as I understand it can’t) be switched together; they operate somewhat independently.

        • Ubuntu in the wild- 16th of February 2021

          The Ubuntu in the wild blog post ropes in the latest highlights about Ubuntu and Canonical around the world on a bi-weekly basis. It is a summary of all the things that made us feel proud to be part of this journey. What do you think of it?


          With Thunderbird 68 not being supported anymore, the Ubuntu developers had to reflect on a tough question: how to allow users to access newer softwares on LTS releases while maintaining their stability? This article explains why they chose to backport Thunderbird 78 to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        • Ubuntu Blog: Improving the code experience in Vanilla

          For a long time, code in Vanilla was simply set in a monospace font, and we saw an opportunity to improve the way we deliver code examples to users.

          A key goal is code clarity – code is not particularly resistant to errors: a missing character (or in some languages, a space or tab) can lead to problems and frustrated users – so the user should be able to select and copy the code easily. Syntax highlighting goes further toward making the code legible and we felt this was important to include via a third-party library.

          Many code examples for modern applications and APIs can have different versions of the same snippet, for example for different languages or versions of the API. We wanted to allow for this so users can easily switch between examples from the code snippet itself.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open Source Advocates Want Share in Wealth

        A survey of 4,440 developers who actively participated in open source projects in 2020 finds more than half (54%) of respondents said they feel that individuals should be paid for their contributions to open source projects. The report, conducted by DigitalOcean, a cloud service provider, finds only 14% of respondents are currently paid for their contributions.

        Developer opinions vary, depending on age group, about whether individuals should be paid for their contributions to open source, with those between the ages of 18-25 being more likely to be in favor (60%), while only 34% of those aged 55 or above agreed.

        “A lot more people want to be compensated,” said Raman Sharma, vice president of product marketing for DigitalOcean. “That may mean there will be a need for more sponsorships by vendors.”

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

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

        Apache Gobblin is a distributed Big Data integration framework used in both streaming and batch data ecosystems. The project originated at LinkedIn in 2014, was open-sourced in 2015, and entered the Apache Incubator in February 2017.

        “We are excited that Gobblin has completed the incubation process and is now an Apache Top-Level Project,” said Abhishek Tiwari, Vice President of Apache Gobblin and software engineering manager at LinkedIn. “Since entering the Apache Incubator, we have completed four releases and grown our community the Apache Way to more than 75 contributors from around the world.”

      • Transfers vs connections spring cleanup | daniel.haxx.se

        Warning: this post is full of libcurl internal architectural details and not much else.

        Within libcurl there are two primary objects being handled; transfers and connections. The transfers objects are struct Curl_easy and the connection counterparts are struct connectdata.

        This is a separation and architecture as old as libcurl, even if the internal struct names have changed a little through the years. A transfer is associated with none or one connection object and there’s a pool with potentially several previously used, live, connections stored for possible future reuse.

      • FSF

      • Programming/Development

        • Qt 6.1 Alpha released

          As usual, you can add the Qt 6.1 Alpha to the existing online installation by using the maintenance tool. Or you can do a clean installation by using the Qt Online Installer. Qt 6.1 Alpha source packages can be downloaded from the Qt Account portal and the download.qt.io as well.

        • What does being ‘technical’ mean?

          The word “technical” describes many subjects and disciplines: technical knock-out, technical foul, technical courses for rock-climbing competitions, and technical scores for figure skating in sports. The popular cooking show The Great British Bake-Off includes a technical baking challenge. Anybody who has participated in the theatre may be familiar with technical week, the week before the opening night of play or musical.

          As you can see, the word technical does not apply strictly to software engineering and operations, so when we call a person or a role “technical,” what do we mean, and why do we use the term?

          Over my 20-year career in tech, these questions have intrigued me, so I decided to explore this through a series of interviews. I am not an engineer, and I don’t write code, yet this does not make me non-technical. But I’m regularly labeled such. I consider myself technical, and through this series, I hope you will come to understand why.

          I know I’m not alone in this. It is important to discuss because how a person or role is defined and viewed affects their confidence and ability to do their job well. If they feel crushed or disrespected, it will bring down their work quality and squash innovation and new ideas. It all trickles down, you see, so how can we improve this situation?


          Here are a few examples: Urban Dictionary defines a non-technical manager as “a person that does not know what the people they manage are meant to do.”

        • Google Now Accepting Applications for 2021 Season of Docs

          A technical writer guide is available to help writers who want to get involved. If your organization is interested in participating, check out the organization administrator guide and responsibilities.

          This year’s Season of Docs will also allow open source organizations to apply for a grant based on their documentation needs; for more information, refer to the grants for organizations guide.

        • Vincent Fourmond: QSoas tips and tricks: permanently storing meta-data

          It is one thing to acquire and process data, but the data themselves are most often useless without the context, the conditions in which the experiments were made. These additional informations can be called meta-data. In a previous post, we have already described how one can set meta-data to data that are already loaded, and how one can make use of them.

          QSoas is already able to figure out some meta-data in the case of electrochemical data, most notably in the case of files acquired by GPES, ECLab or CHI potentiostats. However, only a small number of constructors are supported as of now[1], and there are a number of experimental details that the software is never going to be able to figure out for you, such as the pH, the sample, what you were doing…

        • Perl/Raku

          • Perl weekly challenge 100

            We are finally here – we have hit week 100 of Manwar’s Perl Weekly Challenges, and here are solutions to this weeks challenges from the Perl Weekly Challenge.

        • Rust

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • A New Twist to Virtual Desktop Cloud Computing

          The U.S.-based startup went online in the first quarter of last year. Since then, CEO and founder Alex Lee has been drumming up favorable responses from businesses, casual users, and Linux developers. The cloud computing alternative to Chromebooks and aging computers is also becoming an attractive offering to schools, noted Lee.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (spip), Mageia (chromium-browser, kernel, kernel-linus, and trojita), openSUSE (mumble and opera), Red Hat (container-tools:rhel8, java-1.8.0-ibm, kernel, kernel-rt, net-snmp, nodejs:10, nodejs:12, nodejs:14, nss, perl, python, and rh-nodejs10-nodejs), and SUSE (jasper, python-bottle, and python-urllib3).

          • SQLite patches use-after-free bug that left apps open to code execution, denial-of-service exploits

            SQLite has issued a security patch after the discovery of a use-after-free bug that, if triggered, could lead to arbitrary code execution or denial of service (DoS).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Microsoft Azure is Sharing Customer Information and Allowing Publishers to Contact Customers [Ed: Microsoft-connected spin]

              A security researcher says Microsoft Azure and Canonical are creating a privacy issue by allowing sales reps to track users spinning Ubuntu Linux on Azure. Bentley Systems advisor Luca Bongiorini was stunned when a Canonical sales rep contact him shortly after he spun an instance of Ubuntu 18.04 on Microsoft’s cloud platform.

              Just three hours later, he received a message from a rep saying, “I saw that you spun up an Ubuntu image in Azure.” Bongiorni was stunned that a salesperson was able to track him in such a manner. It is worth noting Canonical is the developers behind Ubuntu.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • In Cameroon’s separatist war, children are the biggest losers

        I long for a Cameroon where anglophone children no longer mimic the sound of gunfire, and Mondays are no longer “stay-at-home” days decreed by armed men.

        I want to go back to a time – not so long ago – when education was a religion in every household, and schools were places children were eager to attend, promising a brighter future.

        These days, we have school massacres, boycotts, kidnappings.

        We have more than 80 percent of schools closed, and over 1.1 million children out of class.
        We have teachers and students stripped naked, terrified, jeered at by gunmen, and those images posted to social media.

        We have stay-at-home days – ordered by separatist fighters to demonstrate anglophone solidarity – that merely impoverish us all.

        There has been four years of war, but all that suffering seems to be largely ignored by the rest of the world. That’s why, as an investigative human rights journalist, I feel compelled to write this.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Deeper insights into the patent system [Ed: Corrupt EPO is corrupting academia, offering bribes in exchange for propaganda that covers up for EPO abuses]

          Five scientific and economic reports published today provide new insights into the patent system, addressing such diverse topics as the impact of university innovation on local businesses in European regions, the analysis of standard-essential patents using semantic comparison, the digital transformation of the automotive industry, following the development of green technologies using trajectories, and the enrichment of the EPO’s public database with linked open data.

        • Corning and Schott battle over flexible glass handset displays

          The European Patent Office has revoked EP 30 99 644, owned by US manufacturer Corning, which covers the production of flexible glass for use in mobile devices. Schott had previously filed an opposition against the patent. However, in January 2021 an EPO opposition proceeding revoked EP 644 because the patent and the invention were found to not meet European Patent Convention requirements.

          According to JUVE Patent information, the EPO Opposition Division had doubts about the lack of reproducibility of Coning’s bendable glass. The US company can appeal the decision to the EPO Boards of Appeal.

          Corning had already lost a second patent in May 2020, after Schott successfully challenged the grant of EP 30 99 643. In summer, Corning then filed an appeal against the decision of the EPO Opposition Division (case ID: T 1521/20-3.3.06). The office has not yet set a date for the oral hearing.

          But a further opposition hearing by Schott against a third patent of Corning will take place on 26 April. The patent in question, EP 30 99 642, protects the manufacturing of stack assemblies in bendable glass.

      • Copyrights

        • Five considerations for the transposition and application of Article 17 of the DSM Directive

          Nearly two years have passed since the adoption of the Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market 2019/790 (DSM Directive). As it was probably bound to happen, the discussion of its content – notably of its Article 17 – is no less heated now than in 2016-2019, that is the period between the release of the Commission’s original Proposal and the adoption of this piece of EU copyright legislation.

          Member States have until 7 June 2021 to transpose the Directive into their own laws, though delays are likely to occur due to a number of reasons. Besides the disruption caused by the ongoing COVID pandemic, the publication of the Commissions’ Guidance on the application of Article 17 (see Article 17(10)) has been also postponed to a later time than originally expected. In the meantime, different positions have emerged regarding the interpretation and application of this important and complex provision, with contributions made by interest groups, activists, scholars, and government-appointed experts alike.


          Also because of the approaches in certain implementation drafts at the national level, an important debate that has emerged further to the adoption of the DSM Directive is that concerning the legal nature of the provision vis-à-vis Article 3 of the InfoSoc Directive 2001/29.

          Some commentators have argued that the nature of Article 17 would be that of a special right or even a new sui generis right. In turn, this latter interpretation would mean that national legislatures would not be bound to comply with the list of exceptions and limitations in Article 5 of the InfoSoc Directive and could even introduce their own exceptions or limitations to the right of communication to the public under Article 17.

          In his 2020 Opinion in the pending YouTube/Cyando cases [Katpost here], Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe held the view that, whilst the platforms at issue in those references (YouTube and cyberlocker Uploaded) would be liable in principle under Article 17 lacking a licence, the same would not be true under Article 3 of the InfoSoc Directive alone. In this sense, Article 17 of the DSM Directive would be a novel regime without retroactive application.

EPO Behaves Like a Private Corporation, Pretends to be Poor Only When That Suits Its Agenda

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: What was originally intended or supposed to be a public-serving institution has become an arrogant and secretive money-burning operation that besieges its own staff and misuses funds; the Central Staff Committee (CSC) gives a new example of that

The following letter dated yesterday was circulated among EPO staff some time earlier today. Someone passed us a copy as it’s an open letter and there’s nothing secret(ive) about it.

“They make all the big decisions in private as if it’s a private company.”“Mr Campinos has initiated a project on the workplace concept,” said the Central Staff Committee (CSC), “as well as a working group. The project includes a pilot to test different workplace layouts, which include a high percentage of open-space offices: at least 50% open space and up to 90%. The outcome of this pilot could lead to the final decision to reconfigure our workplace in all places of employment with a large share of open space.”

This isn’t really a new plan.

Berlin/German Reichstag“The staff representation is very concerned about this project,” it says, “particularly because the basic aspects of the project, such as the motivation for exploring workplace reconfiguration, have not been communicated. Users’ needs, justification of the expenditure and risk analysis in terms of health and viability seem not to have been addressed completely.”

This is the usual from Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos. They make all the big decisions in private as if it’s a private company. They never even ran a private company themselves.

“In this open letter to the President,” the CSC says, “we set out our major concerns, and ask the administration to provide us with some basic information to help us resolve some of the many unanswered questions. Once again, we reiterate that, in these times of uncertainty, far-reaching decisions on reforms should not be made which could prove detrimental to the future of the Office and its staff. The decision to focus on open space is also difficult to reconcile with the fact that it is said that the world should prepare for the next pandemic.”

Here’s the full letter as HTML:

Reference: sc21017cl-0.3.1/4.4
Date: 15.02.2021

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

Mr António Campinos
President of the EPO

ISAR – R.1081


Workplace concept – Need for a strong “business” case

Dear Mr President,

We have been informed of the intention to adapt the workplace to the New Normal situation under a new project. A corresponding working group has met twice to date, with only two staff representatives being allowed to attend. During those meetings, we were advised that the Office plans to test different layouts for our workplace in a pilot. In all test-layouts a significant part of space is reconfigured into open office space (multiple workplaces in a shared area), at least 50% up to 90% open space, wherein the number of single offices is reduced accordingly.

By changing the workplace setup to such an extreme extent, the impact could be largely detrimental to the colleagues’ needs and their work, thereby possibly negatively affecting the overall performance of the Office. Therefore, in order to ensure that the new workplace concept is an improvement on the current situation and would be beneficial for staff, we would like to draw your attention to a number of important considerations.

In projects of benefit for staff, or even in small projects, you normally insist on a “strong business case” to even envisage a change. Where is the business case here, with a motivation for the reconfiguration of the workplace, an analysis of the needs of the users, a justification of the expenditure, and a risk analysis? In the following, we set out our considerations on each of these matters.

Motivation for the reconfiguration of the workplace

The motivation for the project has not yet been clearly communicated to us, and we request that the Administration provide us with well-defined goals of the project. However, during the working group meetings, we were provided with some indications.

Reduction of occupancy?

The Office has suggested that future reduced occupancy is one of the main motivations for reviewing the workplace layout. We recognise the fact that teleworking will remain after the pandemic has passed, and although we do not yet know to what extent, we agree that the number of colleagues working on Office premises is likely to decrease.

However, this alone does not justify a significant change to the current set-up into open office space since, if the intention was to keep all the Office buildings, there would be no need to change on account of reduced occupancy. So far, we have not received any indication as to whether the Office intends to reduce the overall office space (and possibly sell entire buildings).

In the planned pilot test layout of the New Main in The Hague (TH), the number of workspaces per floor is to be increased from approximately 90 to 150-200. Once deployed across the whole of the New Main, this would provide 3300-4400 workplaces, and even with some redundancy, it is expected that the approximately 2700 staff in TH could be accommodated. This means that the Office intends to save space. It is still unclear why the Office has chosen to move specifically towards open office spaces in the first place, since there are alternative solutions.

One alternative could be to change the use of the existing working space without changing the structural layout, as would be the case for more than one employee using a given single room at separate times and on a different personal desk (single occupancy). Such a solution would also take into account the decrease in occupancy resulting from increased teleworking and cater for the preferences of staff regarding the number of days per week they spend on Office premises. Thus, the project, which looks only at the ratio of shared to individual working areas, excludes from the onset other options that might be more suited to the workflow of our staff. We wonder why a change in our work space necessarily involves shared areas? Given the accepted and well-established practice of our staff to work in individual offices, this is a departure from the tried-and-tested layout.

Enhancing collaboration?

Another assumption underlying the project is that open offices would enhance collaboration between staff. However, our own brief overview of the scientific literature leads to the conclusion that it is unfounded and that – on the contrary

- shared offices lead to a significant decrease in collaboration. A study1 has empirically measured staff interaction before and after the adoption of an open office architecture and has concluded that an “open architecture appeared to trigger a natural human response to socially withdraw from officemates and interact instead over email and IM” and that “face-to-face interaction decreased significantly (approx. 70%)”. Another article2 made the strong statement that “studies show that ostensibly collaborative open-plan offices and buildings can trigger conflict, promote territorial behaviors and undermine collegiality”.

In view of the fundamental changes to be made to the workplaces, we expect from the Administration to conduct a serious analysis of published scientific studies on this assumption, rather than simply follow the whims of some senior managers. Independent scientific studies which have been double-checked by experts prior to their publication (peer-reviewed scientific studies) should be taken into account for this analysis. The fact that other national patent offices have introduced an open office concept is merely an argument at the level of “others have done it, we have done it too”, if an independent and thorough analysis of the impact on presence, well-being, and performance is not provided.

In the light of the above, we request the Office to share their analysis of scientific peer-reviewed studies and the evidence that led them to conclude that open offices improve collaboration.

Analysis of the needs of staff

In early 2020, Gensler (an American design and architecture firm) conducted a small-scale study comprising individual interviews of 11 colleagues, and one workshop of 15 participants. You did not give us the full data of this study, but from the brief summary, it was quite evident that open office space was considered completely unsuitable for examiners and formalities officers, and for colleagues with very different workflows that were combined under the heading of “corporate functions”, it was difficult to draw a conclusion. Gensler suggested that the vast majority of office space for our colleagues should be configured as single offices.

Further, relating to well-being of staff, in order to find the most economical and ecological solution to office climate management (temperature, humidity, air quality), the EPO commissioned a study by the company Transsolar KlimaEngineering. It concluded that the optimal solution in terms of energy usage and expenditure was a high degree of autonomy of the colleagues in their individual offices, a solution which, according to them, has the additional benefit of best satisfying the comfort of the employees.

1 The impact of the ‘open’ workspace on human collaboration, E.S. Bernstein et al, Phil. Trans. B, 2018.
2 Collaboration, Physical Proximity and Serendipitous Encounters: Avoiding collaboration in a collaborative building, G. L. Irving et al, Organization Studies, 2019.

Although both Gensler and Transsolar KlimaEngineering studies found that single offices were the desired solution to fit the needs of the vast majority of staff, the findings have now been disregarded, and the pilot for testing examiners’ and formalities officers’ workspaces in the New Main and for the so-called corporate functions in the Isar building is planned to involve a large ratio of open office space. We wonder how can it be that the input that was obtained from the very staff who would be future users of the space was ignored, and a decision was taken that contradicts the findings, thus lacking any justification or basis?

Since the workplace layout of the New Main building in TH already comprises a share of 25% of shared offices and spaces, we suggest that the Office commissions a study on the well-being and workplace preferences of staff in these offices at the very least. In addition, since there are also collaborative areas in the New Main, we would also suggest that an analysis of the use (or underuse) of these areas be performed. We stress that this would provide invaluable insight into the potential benefits and disadvantages of open office layouts, without significant cost.

Justification of the expenditure

On the expenditure of the project, the Administration has given very few details, and was silent with respect to the potential return on investment. Therefore, without any data or information, all we can do is to ask a number of questions that we consider it vital that the Administration responds to:

- Is it justifiable to implement an office-wide building redesign, at huge cost for the Office? Particularly at a time when, according to the Administration, the Office is in such need of ensuring the financial sustainability that staff salaries are being adjusted below inflation?
- If savings are expected from reconfiguration, do they offset the costs of redesigning the working areas?
- If collaboration practice is impacted, what is the basis to assume that the impact will be financially beneficial for the Office?

Risk analysis

A thorough risk analysis is necessary before starting a project of this size and scope. Therefore, we would expect that it would have been performed before the project was approved. Nevertheless, the following non-exhaustive list provides some various risks that we consider important to address.

Health and well-being

It is undeniable that indoor open spaces facilitate the transmission of infectious diseases. Whether mild or severe, new health issues are generated,

which are detrimental to staff and involve additional financial risks, since open office layouts also increase the number of sick leave days3.

In addition, a survey conducted by SUEPO The Hague among colleagues working in the New Main revealed that the majority of respondents were distracted by audio and visual noise, which is a potential source of stress. Furthermore, it is known that the optimum working temperatures in terms of cognitive performance depend on gender4 and may also be dependent on other factors such as age and body mass index. This is easily taken into account when colleagues have their own offices and can set the ambient temperature to suit their needs. However, an open or shared office requires that colleagues are each working in sub-optimal conditions that affect their ability to work efficiently. How have these and other important factors for staff’s well-being including psychosocial risks been analysed and taken into account?

It seems quite surprising that at the height of a pandemic, the Office has decided to prioritise such a project when we are yet to see what the options for continued teleworking post-pandemic will be, nor the teleworking preferences of staff once all the details have been clarified. Furthermore, we believe that if our office space is to be reconfigured, all efforts should be made to reduce the risks posed by a new outbreak, and that moving towards a denser workspace when we have adequate space is questionable at best.

Viability and management of logistics

In the example layouts presented for the pilot project, in addition to the open office workspace, many different rooms are provided for various tasks (tasks which can all currently be performed in the privacy of single offices) in order to mitigate the noise disturbance in the open offices. These rooms are each designed and allocated for specific uses such as focus work, collaboration discussions, phone calls, ViCos, relaxation, etc. The use of these rooms would have to be managed in some way, with the following questions: would a booking system be needed, how would usage restrictions be enforced, how would potential conflicts between colleagues due to excessive use be handled, etc. It would also be desirable to analyse how much extra space these rooms would require, since the potential space saving of moving to open offices may be negated by the further need of task-based space, and whether there are constructional limitations on the possible office layouts. It also seems unlikely that task-based rooms would alleviate completely the issue of noise and disturbance in the open offices, and there remains the question of how confidentiality and protection of privacy would be ensured. In addition, we have seen no analysis of the extra effort required in terms of time and task-switching on the part of the staff member in regularly changing location for each of the different tasks. How often would a location change be necessary on an average day? How much effort would be required to find a

Sickness absence associated with shared and open-plan offices–a national cross sectional questionnaire survey, J. H. Pejtersen et al, Scand. J Work Environ. Health, 2011.
4 Battle for the thermostat: Gender and the effect of temperature on cognitive performance, T. Y. Chang et al, Plos One, 2019.

room available for a given task? Would it impede informal consultations due to the extra effort of changing location required by the colleague being consulted? Repeated interruptions to the workflow due to the need to change the workplace several times a day, including e.g. moving with the laptop to a ViCo room and back afterwards, not only require time but also create stress if, for example, technical difficulties are encountered, or an appropriate space is not easily found. The lack of answers to these questions casts doubts on the viability of the project, and it is imperative to analyse the associated risk thoroughly.

Review of the legal constraints

This change in the workplace concept seems to point towards potential significant savings in workspace and building capacity. Even if, for economic reasons, it would be understandable to strive to reduce the necessary office space, it is necessary to investigate first whether the Office has any buildings at all which, if vacant, may be rented-out or even sold with regard to legal, contractual or intergovernmental agreements. We understand that there has previously been an inquiry into the possibility of selling or renting particular buildings in Munich, but due to the specifics by which the land and buildings was obtained, it was deemed to be a dead-end. There are also potential considerations to be made regarding architect’s rights when considering changes to the layout of buildings, an issue that required significant attention some years ago for the Isar building when it was necessary to replace some windows. In addition, the Office is presently renting on a long-term basis premises outside Munich for the Boards of Appeal, which should be reconsidered. We therefore expect that DG5 will provide a review of the potential legal constraints, and that the result of the analysis will be made available to us.


At the moment, the Office seems to be rushing ahead without any business case and, instead of a serious project, it seems rather to be carrying out a dubious experiment in which the opinion of the staff has been completely disregarded. Whilst the administration have argued that the pilot aims to test different workplace concepts without pre-empting a specific layout, it is difficult for us to come to the same conclusion when only large ratios of open office space are currently planned to be tested. It is hard to argue that such a limitation will not impact the final decision for the future “New Normal” workplace concept, and therefore we insist that any future pilot provides, in an additional test layout, the possibility for all staff to give their feedback on working in a single office (i.e. a test layout with 100% single offices). In addition, because of the risk for health of the colleagues taking part in the pilot, it could happen that some staff members find working in shared office space significantly detrimental to their work or well-being, they should be given the opportunity to return to their previous workplace setup before the end of the pilot period.

With regard to the timeline for the project, we consider that it would be unacceptable to start the pilot before the pandemic has passed, which would be evidenced for instance by the lifting of all occupancy restrictions on the Office’s premises and the roll-out of vaccinations being in the final stages. It would not be possible to draw an accurate picture of the “New Normal” in a steady state if these conditions are not met. We also recall that the Office already presented an “Orientation Paper” on Future EPO building projects5 in 2018-2019, which was trashed as soon as the pandemic broke out.

At this point, we can only strongly urge that the current project, including the pilot of questionable value, be put on hold so that the above concerns can be thoroughly addressed.

Yours sincerely,

Alain Dumont
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

5 See in particular CA/99/18 and CA/43/19 Rev.1.

This whole buildings project, as noted above, predates the disaster. Why aren’t people being consulted about that?

When a Patent Office Becomes a Granting Authority Also for University/Academic Grants (With Strings Attached)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Is the EPO a patent office or a government with its own police forces and spies? With its own media partners and grants for universities? What has happened to what was originally intended to be just a patent office?

THIS latest nonsense (warning: epo.org link) — one in a long series of EPO noise — is an appetiser for further EPO propaganda. They’re buying propaganda from universities, a bit like propaganda mills. As noted in the next batch of Daily Links, this is misuse of funds and it harms science by tilting research in favour of litigation agenda, not actual innovation. Cryptic buzzwords like “4IR” are used to usher in software patents. It’s a buzzword that Benoît Battistelli‘s so-called ‘economist’ loves naming. António Campinos also loves “Hey Hi” (AI) and he actively leans on judges to open the floodgates for software patents.

Yann MénièreThe corrupting influence of the people who manage the EPO, some of whom have military experience and no scientific experience, will be felt across the continent for decades to come. All those bogus patents (another one reported to have been invalidated only hours ago) will crush innovation instead of promoting it. Scholars won’t talk about it as they’ll clamour and beg for EPO grants.

More Broken Promises as EPO Management Pretends That the Office is Poor (While Looting Its Treasury for Personal Gain)

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 6:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The big scandal that the media and even the Commission still turn a blind eye to sees the workers of the EPO (even former workers or pensioners) robbed by EPO management, which abuses its granting authority to hoard money and then gamble with that money; staff isn’t amused

Earlier this week we mentioned the impact on parents [1, 2] who had chosen to work for Europe’s largest patent office. Some of them had to take their entire family abroad for this career path. This is no small potatoes. Many family members are affected, not just working parents.

“If the EPO cannot assure basic labour rights, and if amid all this there’s also a financial scandal going on (an office pretending to be poor when it fact it is being robbed), what hope is there for the rest of Europe’s workers?”Using COVID-19 as a pretext, never mind if the policies have nothing whatsoever to do with public health, various employers crack down on staff’s rights. One might expect that the world’s public or international institutions would keep up with higher standards than that. But no…

MoneyThe Central Staff Committee of the EPO wrote about “Education and Childcare reform” some time yesterday when it circulated the document above. “Report on the fifth (and last?) meeting of the Working Group,” it said, noting that there are signs that António Campinos is shutting off even the pretense of dialogue (he’s worse than Benoît Battistelli in many regards, as the union routinely notes). “On 4 February, the fifth (and last?) meeting of the Working Group on Education & Childcare allowances took place between the administration and staff representation,” they write. There’s then a breakdown of what was discussed:

The following main items were discussed:

– The date of entry into force of the reform. On 18.12.2020 we sent a letter – still unanswered – asking for clarification of the apparent contradiction between announcements of 30.07.2020 and 07.12.2020. In the meeting, the administration made it clear that the reform would enter into force on 1 July 2021 and be implemented for the school year 2021-2022.

– Revised ceilings for Berlin and Vienna (€15.621 and €17.753 for primary and secondary school respectively).

– The fact that the proposed reform is not cost-neutral but that it would lead to considerable savings for the Office.

– The fact that only siblings aged 3-4 are included in the transitional measures.

– The proposal of the administration for the childcare allowance, with a lumpsum of €346 per child and a top-up sum up to €575 per child on condition that the child attends a childcare facility, with no site-specific solutions.

“The administration has cancelled the next meeting of the Working Group,” they note, which is why they insist this might be the last such meeting (more like a webchat at this point; they don’t meet face to face). They recently complained about the mass cancellation of meetings, which no longer necessitate even travel or other such logistics. Here’s the full document, which was circulated yesterday:

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
Le Comité Central du Personnel

Munich – 15.02.2021
sc21016cp- 0.2.1/4.2.2

Report on the fifth meeting of the Working Group on Education & Childcare allowances

Dear colleagues,

On 4 February, the fifth meeting of the Working Group on Education & Childcare allowances took place between the administration and staff representation.

The first item in the agenda was the date of entry into force of the reform. On 18.12.2020 we sent a letter – still unanswered – asking for clarification of the apparent contradiction between the announcements of 30.07.2020 and 07.12.2020.

In his communiqué of 30.07.2020 the President had assured “a smooth and gradual transition”, anticipating that “measures related to school children will be implemented for the school year 2022-2023”. However, at the meeting the administration made it clear that the reform would be presented to the AC of June and that, contrary to the July 2020 announcement, it would enter into force on 1 July 2021 and be implemented for the school year 2021-2022. The transitional measures should therefore apply to children who were already enrolled in school on 1 July 2021.

The second item in the agenda was the special situation of Berlin and Vienna. The administration presented a proposal with revised ceilings for these sites (€15.621 and €17.753 for primary and secondary school respectively).

Thirdly, we discussed the demographic data of the children we had received from the administration on 25 January. With these data we could calculate the costs relying on the age pyramid. We were then able to show how the proposed reform is not cost-neutral but that it would indeed lead to considerable savings for the Office.

We also warned them of the legal consequences of abolishing the principle of equal treatment of distinct groups presently guaranteed in the Service Regulations.

Next, the administration presented a series of new budgetary scenarios in their transitional measures for the inclusion of siblings, the scenarios differing according to age thresholds of the siblings. So far, only siblings aged 3-4 are included in their transitional measures.

The last item concerned the childcare allowance. The administration presented the latest revision of their proposal, namely a lumpsum of €346 per child on condition that the child do not use childcare facilities, and a top-up sum up to €575 per child on condition that the child attends a childcare facility. They did not propose any site-specific solutions.

Once again, the administration refused to negotiate the terms of the reform.

The next meeting of the Working Group should have taken place on 15 February. However, the administration has just cancelled the meeting1 and asked us to give our comments in writing on only three items, namely the childcare allowance, the education allowance for Berlin/Vienna and the transitional measures for siblings.

We will keep you informed.

Your Central Staff Committee

1 We have asked the President for reasons: see our publication “Social dialogue: meetings cancelled”.

If the EPO cannot assure basic labour rights, and if amid all this there’s also a financial scandal going on (an office pretending to be poor when it fact it is being robbed), what hope is there for the rest of Europe’s workers?

IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 15, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:19 am by Needs Sunlight

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

text logs

text logs

#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

text logs

text logs

#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now

IPFS Mirrors

CID Description Object type
 QmTz6GnQ9ZcJwcFvMWYLD7Wo2XBM475kPeCq2ctVP9KSny IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 Qme29iYJrhqM9BfSkpcbkTVZVVCodgdekgb5ubvM5unEzV IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmbddqthFVzqrxZErzzkmRTNJLvSmFsHYoSCyGpnpJ3aHK IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 Qma8hKx1j26vCcBEAWdZMoeMYz8GJJEvzV7XZyQGtiZhsx IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmNn4fpu18qWA9VF1r8vDqJrR7y6kHG9chcQNWCucRft5M IRC log for #techbytes
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HTML5 logs
 QmNSc3w2M1QK5UAC1vuYfwwCjMvxgLMUvMaFKcF3kjCsNW IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
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 QmaxzUcU8EunuhzK7sUofWBg1Pd2v5XgfJQrxu1baqz8dq IRC log for #techrights
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HTML5 logs
 QmU8mcFeco6NNq56Re393qwWJtReqcqrBGucrr2sg5pMfa IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs

IPFS logo

Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmYjM6cB6Z4kvYjHhNvikrBtkxxJu73QFcw85MtznCkPZU

Links 16/2/2021: Slackware 15.0 Alpha, Monado 21.0.0, VLC at 20

Posted in News Roundup at 3:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Archiver: Easier Way To Extract Archives – YouTube

        I’m always forgetting the commands I need to run for individual archiving utilities like tar, zip, rar, etc. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easier way and it turns out there is, it’s with a little application called Archiver which handles all of your archives in the same application with the same command form for each type.

      • Destination Linux 213: Ghostery Joins The Browser Wars & Facebook Improves The Telecom Industry?

        Today we want to dive into the topic of browsers. Browsers are a crucial part of any PC experience today whether corporate or on the desktop. Yet, the competition for alternatives to Chrome are growing smaller by the year. In this episode we dive into some new offerings and ask the question what Firefox could do to take back some of the browser market. Later in the show, we’re also covering how open-source is now set to take over the telecom industry . . . thanks to Facebook? Plus we’ve also got our famous tips, tricks and software picks. All of this and so much more this week on Destination Linux.

      • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Weekly News #200

        Ubuntu 20.04.2 and Flavors with HWE Stack Released



        Ubuntu To Replace Ubiquity Installer


        Apache Project Hoping for New Rust Cryptography Module, with Help from Google


        Martin Wimpress to Leave Post at Canonical


        Ubuntu Core 20 Out


        AlmaLinux 8.3 Beta Out


        EndeavourOS’s first 2021 Update Release Out


        Solus 4.2 Out


        Ubuntu’s Yaru Theme with GTK4 Support Out


        Ubuntu 21.04 Artwork Out

        KDE’s Februrary App Update Out


        LibreOffice 7.1 Out


        Darktable 3.4.1 Out


        Feral Interactive Have Announced Linux Support for Warhammer III

      • Mailspring Is An Email Client For Windows, Mac And Linux

        Mailspring claims to be the “best email client for Mac, Linux and Windows.” Is this true? I don’t know. Until recently, I resisted trying Mailspring because it was not fully free and open source.

      • mintCast 354.5 – Everyone Has an Opinion

        1:30 Linux Innards
        33:12 Vibrations from the Ether
        51:24 Check This Out
        53:45 Announcements & Outro

        In our Innards section, We discuss chromium and how to pick a distro

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 112

        Internet outrage about Raspberry Pi OS and Ubuntu on Azure, slightly new LibreOffice branding, when software freedom is a matter of life and death and more in the news, plus the usual Kool Kapers in KDE Korner.

    • Kernel Space

      • KVM With Linux 5.12 Allows For Userspace To Emulate Xen Hypercalls, AMD Optimization Too – Phoronix

        Even before the Linux 5.11 kernel was released on Sunday, Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) maintainer Paolo Bonzini already had submitted early the initial batch of virtualization changes for Linux 5.12. There are some interesting changes on the KVM front for Linux 5.12.

        Perhaps most interesting with the KVM work for Linux 5.12 is support on x86/x86_64 to allow user-space to emulate Xen hypercalls. This ability stems from work published by Oracle engineers all the way back in 2019 as part of a broader series. Those Oracle-led patches are pursuing Xen HVM guest support for KVM. The aim is to allow KVM to boot Xen x86 HVM guests and implemented similar to how Hyper-V is handled for x86 KVM.

      • Housekeeping and kernel upgrades do not always make for happy bedfellows

        You can’t hurry Linux kernel upgrades, as The Supremes never sang and a Register reader discovers in today’s episode of Who, Me?

        Our story, from a reader Regomised as “Aapt”, takes us back to the days when the DEC Alpha reigned, er, supreme over computer labs and anyone with even a passing knowledge of Linux could fall all too easily into the “expert” bucket.

        Aapt was not short on confidence, be it tinkering with the xconfig file to persuade a monitor to work with Linux or, as we shall see, casually attempting a kernel upgrade. “I was convinced I was the best sysadmin for my lab computers,” he told us.

        Since finding a decent sysadmin for Linux was problematic back in the last century, and the institute where he worked had yet to do so, Aapt fell into the role. “For ‘best sysadmin’ read ‘only sysadmin’, for whatever I was worth,” he said, with the wisdom of decades now under his belt. “Thank goodness they didn’t ask me to administer any other institute machines…”

      • LG Q9 One (aka LG G7 One) Android 11 update looks near as kernel source code goes live

        FYI, OEMs are required to push out kernel sources for their devices under the GNU General Public License, which guarantees end users the freedom to run, study, share, and modify the software.

      • The x86 Platform Drivers For Linux 5.12 Have Several Prominent Additions – Phoronix

        The “platform-drivers-x86″ area of the kernel that is primarily made up of driver support around Intel/AMD laptops and other platform drivers is seeing a number of noteworthy additions for the newly-opened Linux 5.12 merge window.

      • OProfile Kernel Code Slated For Removal In Linux 5.12 – Phoronix

        OProfile as a system profiler for Linux systems was started twenty years ago during the Linux 2.4 kernel days. While the user-space components are still going strong, the kernel-side support is redundant in an era of the perf subsystem and thus slated for removal with Linux 5.12.

        The OProfile user-space tools remain used and are still maintained (OProfile 1.4 came out last summer), but the kernel-side OProfile code is no longer needed since the user-space code has been refactored to make use of the Linux kernel’s wonderful perf capabilities. Thus the kernel OProfile code has basically gone unused for quite a while unless running very vintage OProfile user-space tools.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Monado 21.0.0, an officially conformant OpenXR implementation!

          We are pleased to announce that Monado now provides an officially conformant OpenXR implementation. The official listing of conformant OpenXR 1.0 implementations now includes Monado, based on running the OpenXR conformance test suite on a “simulated” device.

          Note that the OpenXR 1.0 conformant status applies only to the simulated device. Anyone building a product using Monado with non-simulated hardware still needs to go through the full, normal adopter and conformance process for that product in order to claim OpenXR conformance and take advantage of the benefits. This resembles the situation with Mesa: though Mesa implements numerous Khronos APIs, not all API and driver combinations are formally conformant, and hardware vendors have the responsibility to follow the adopter process and submit conformance results.

          Among other benefits of official adoption, this conformance result and adoption allows the Monado project to use the OpenXR word and logo trademarks to describe its feature set. This recognizes publically that the Monado open-source project truly does implement OpenXR as specified.

        • Monado 21.0 Released As An Officially Conformant OpenXR Implementation – Phoronix

          Monado, the leading open-source project implementing The Khronos Group’s OpenXR specification for AR/VR devices, is now officially considered a conformant implementation and is marked by its v21.0 release.

          Monado 21.0 is approved by The Khronos Group in officially passing the OpenXR 1.0 conformance requirements set forth by the OpenXR test suite with a simulated device.

    • Applications

      • 7 of the Best Linux System Cleaning Tools

        Many of us have to deal with slow and unresponsive systems due to improper maintenance and bloated software. This can have a negative impact on productivity and hampers the overall experience. Luckily, there are several ways to tackle unresponsive Linux installations. Cleaning up the system is arguably the most useful among them. This list includes some of the best Linux system cleaning tools.

      • 5 Privacy Alternatives to WhatsApp Messenger

        WhatsApp has been in the news a lot recently thanks to the changes for their Privacy Policy, which is essentially for the purpose to send more data to Facebook. Thanks to this news there have been people wondering if they should Ditch WhatsApp or not. If one does decide to switch away from WhatsApp then they may want some options for a good alternative to consider. Well then you found the right article because in this article and attached video I’ll give you 5 different alternatives to WhatsApp and you can decide which one will work best for you.

        Alright first, I’m going to do a brief rundown of what has happened to WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy and then you can decide whether or not it makes sense to you to consider an alternative.

        WhatsApp sent notifications to its users about a change in their Privacy Policy which will let it send data to Facebook. They also made it so agreement is mandatory, you either accept it or stop using WhatsApp.

      • VLC media player: revised design and marketability

        Dependent VLC media player It has been in the market since 2001 and has probably already been installed on Windows or Mac computers as well as on mobile devices over the years. So far, VLC has been downloaded more than 3.5 billion times on various platforms. The open source program sees itself as a comprehensive media player that understands almost all formats and also offers some exciting additional features.

        The VideoLAN team behind the development of VLC Media Player now has the opposite protocol He indicated that one could also imagine a commercial solution for his own product in the future. Jean-Baptiste Kempf, President, VideoLAN, described Plex media player as an example of an ad-supported business model that “can also work with VLC”.

      • 20 years of orange cones: The history of VLC

        When students at the École Centrale Paris lobbied for a campus network upgrade in the ’90s, they weren’t really thinking about the future of media. All they wanted was to play Duke Nukem 3D. But the public-private partnership that made the first-person shooter work on their campus network also laid the groundwork for the birth of the popular media player VLC.

        Open sourced 20 years ago this month, VLC has since been downloaded more than 3.5 billion times, making it one of the most popular free software projects to date. Software developed for VLC is being used to power some of the world’s largest streaming services. Despite all of this, VLC has largely remained a labor of love, with developers saying no to deals worth tens of millions of dollars.

        The story of VLC is about geeks pursuing their passion projects, fighting back countless legal threats and hatching a baffling plan to send Bitcoins to the moon.

      • Using the Wayback Machine Downloader to rebuild Dissociated Press

        This domain has been online since January 2001. A homepage or, more often, some type of blog has been here almost as long. I’ve been, often, lackadaisical about continuity of content and posting. The kind folks at the Internet Archive, or rather their web scraping bots, have been far more attentive and consistent.

        I’ve lost track, but I’ve probably wiped the slate clean and started over seven or eight times since I first registered dissociatedpress.net. Most of the restarts have been intentional, but a few were not. More than a few times I’ve wished to recover things I’d written here (and elsewhere), either to put them back on the web or just to have them as reminder how truly bad my writing used to be. (Yes, once upon a time, it was worse.)

      • New Release: Tor

        After months of work, we have a new stable release series! If you build Tor from source, you can download the source code for on the download page. Packages should be available within the next several weeks, with a new Tor Browser likely next week.

        The Tor 0.4.5.x release series is dedicated to the memory of Karsten Loesing (1979-2020), Tor developer, cypherpunk, husband, and father. Karsten is best known for creating the Tor metrics portal and leading the metrics team, but he was involved in Tor from the early days. For example, while he was still a student he invented and implemented the v2 onion service directory design, and he also served as an ambassador to the many German researchers working in the anonymity field. We loved him and respected him for his patience, his consistency, and his welcoming approach to growing our community.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Starting a GNU Screen session via SSH’s ~/.ssh/config

        Recently a friend asked me how to automatically start or reconnect to a GNU Screen session directly via OpenSSH’s configuration file. Here’s how to do it: [...]

      • How to Search in Vim – Linux Hint

        Vim is a widely used, light-weight, free, multi-platform text and code editor. It is very popular among developers because of its efficiency and ease of use. Though Vim is a simple text editor, it still needs some time to learn for advanced usage.

        Learning the basics of Vim is very handy, therefore in this guide, we are going to focus on Vim editor’s search feature. Searching for some specific text (word/string) is one of the very common tasks when working with large files.

        Let’s understand the search feature of Vim from basic searching to advance search techniques. Make sure you are in command mode before searching for something.

      • How to Install Ruby 3 on Ubuntu 20.04

        Ruby is an open-source, object-oriented, and general-purpose programming language which is one of the most popular programming languages. Ruby programming language is the reason behind the powerful Ruby and Rails framework.

        There are multiple ruby managers available to install Ruby. Ruby managers allow to use multiple versions and help to switch between ruby versions. The most commonly used ruby managers are rbenv and rvm. Ruby is also available in the Ubuntu repository.

        In this article we will be learning three different ways to install Ruby 3 on Ubuntu 20.04.

      • Learn Difference Between $$ and $BASHPID in Bash

        Recently I was working on a shell script and I saw a significant difference in how bash special variable $ and BASHPID behaves. Every process running in Linux will be assigned with a process ID and that is how the operating system handles the process.

        Similarly, your bash terminal session will also be assigned with a process ID. There is a special variable called “$” and “$BASHPID” which stores the process ID of the current shell.

        Go ahead and run the below command to see what is the process ID of your current shell. Both “$” and “$BASHPID” is going to return the same value.

      • How to Install Flatpak, Snap and AppImage Apps in Linux – Linux Hint

        This article will explain how to install, remove and manage Flatpak, Snap and AppImage packages in Linux. These three packaging formats have been in development for the last few years and they provide distribution agnostic packages that can be installed on all major Linux distributions. A detailed comparison between these packaging formats is available here.

      • How To Install Flask on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Flask on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Flask is an open resource micro web framework for Python. It is known as a microframework since it does now not require specific tools or libraries. Flask supports extensions that may add software features as if they were carried out in Flask itself. Extensions exist for object-relational mappers, form validation, add handling, various open authentication technology, and several normal framework associated tools. Purposes that use the Flask framework incorporate Pinterest and LinkedIn.

        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 Flask web framework on CentOS 8.

      • How to check the disk space in Ubuntu 20.04 and 20.10? – Linux Hint

        Monitoring the disk space is a very important activity to perform on any device like mobile, laptop, personal desktop computer, and Linux server. For instance, if you want to install any new application or software on your device, then it is important to know about the disk space. By checking the disk space, you can get to know about the free and used space.
        We can check the disk space from the terminal and graphical user interface based applications.

        The commands discussed in this article are generic and can be used on other Linux distribution like Debian, Linux Mint, etc.

      • ts Command – Add or Convert Timestamps To Output in Linux – Putorius

        At some point in a Linux admins career they need to add timestamps to output. Whether it’s logging for shell script or a simple command (like ping, traceroute, etc…) timestamps can come in handy. There are many ways to accomplish this, but none are as easy as the ts command. In this Linux quick tip we will show you how to easily add timestamps to any output using the ts command.

      • Developing With The Flatpak CLI – Chris’s Design & Development

        Flatpak is a very powerful tool for development, and is well-integrated into GNOME Builder. This is what I’d recommend for most developers. But what if you use a plain text editor? Barring Visual Studio Code, there aren’t many extensions for common text editors to use flatpak. This tutorial will go over how to use flatpak to build and test your apps with only the command line.

      • Creating Bash Infinite Loop by Example Scripts – Linux Hint

        An infinite loop in Bash or any other programming language refers to a loop that is continuous i.e., its terminating condition is never met or its executing condition forever stays true. Such loops in any programming language are very simple to write. Whether it is a “for” loop or a “while” loop, it can be made infinite with very slight tweaking in its normal syntax.
        In this article, we will be sharing with you the different ways on how you can conveniently make the “for” and “while” loops infinitely in Bash in Linux Mint 20.

      • How to Install MongoDB on Ubuntu 20.04 and CentOS 8

        MongoDB is an open-source and cross-platform NoSQL database system developed by MongoDB Inc. It is 100 times faster than a traditional database system like RDMS. It uses JSON-like documents to store its data. It is used in many modern web applications because it can be easily integrated with several programming languages. It is used by many big companies including, Uber, Stack, Lyft, Accenture, and many more.

      • Get Started With Anaconda Navigator Graphical Interface – OSTechNix

        Anaconda Python distribution includes command line package manager named Conda and a graphical user interface called Anaconda Navigator. They both used to launch applications, create, manage packages and conda environments. In this guide, we will learn how to get started with Anaconda Navigator graphical user interface in Linux.

      • Funkyware: ITCetera: OpenWRT: WRT54GL: Backfire: IPv6 issues

        While having a Debian-based boxen as a router feels nice, I kept on longing for something smaller and quieter. I then remembered that I still had my old WRT54GL somewhere. After upgrading the OpenWRT firmware to the latest supported version for that hardware (Backfire 10.03.1, r29592), I installed radvd and wide-dhcpv6-client. Configuring radvd to deliver consistent results was easy enough.

      • Protect your Home Assistant with these backups | Opensource.com

        In the last two articles in this series on home automation with Home Assistant (HA), I walked through setting up a few integrations with a Zigbee Bridge and some custom ESP8266 devices that I use for automation. The first four articles in the series discussed what Home Assistant is, why you may want local control, some of the communication protocols for smart home components, and how to install Home Assistant in a virtual machine (VM) using libvirt.

        Now that you have a basic home automation setup, it is a good time to take a baseline of your system. In this seventh article, I will talk about snapshots, backups, and backup strategies. Let’s get right into it.

      • How to install Ren’Py on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Ren’Py on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How to install Vivaldi Browser on Linux Mint 20.1 – YouTube

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

      • Getting Started With KVM Hypervisor, Virtual Machines The Right Way

        Linux KVM is a complete, open source virtualization platform. It is used by many cloud providers and virtualization products use at their core, and it has an extensive set of tools. What many Linux users don’t know, is that KVM is great also to be used as a desktop virtualization solution. It is easy to install, runs super fast, has no proprietary licenses. On top of that, you are likely to learn some enterprise virtualization skills while using it. Also, for those that work in IT, it is really great to have same virtualization platform that runs on desktops, laptops, and on servers.

    • Games

      • 1976: Adventure

        Adventure was a clever program, but also the right program at the right time. It arrived just as regional clusters of hackers were merging into a single online community, and the tantalizing possibility of home computers was becoming a reality, along with the need for compelling software to run on them. It inspired the first generation of commercial game companies and provided a template for their products: it’s no exaggeration to say Adventure’s success jump-started the entire computer gaming industry. It provided the direct model for parser interactive fiction, which would continue to be created and enjoyed for half a century and counting.

        But arguably its key innovation was to demonstrate one of the most powerful illusions a computer can create: transporting its user to another reality. While the game industry as a whole would eventually move to chase that illusion with images, not words, each new generation of writers, indies, and solo creators keeps rediscovering the magic of that original trick. Sometimes a single gripping sentence—describing, say, a mist-filled hallway and an angry snake—is all it takes to get you there.

      • Metro Exodus still due on Linux this year, Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition announced | GamingOnLinux

        Deep Silver and 4A Games have just revealed Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition and they’ve confirmed that Linux support for Metro Exodus is still happening.

        A lot of the work they’re currently doing is on supporting the newer consoles, and while it already supported Ray Tracing, they decided to do a “radical” overhaul of their proprietary 4A Engine to improve the Ray Tracing found using more advanced and better techniques.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KFluff — Kate’s External Tools

          I’ve been learning C++ lately. About two months ago I finished Codecademy’s C++ course (honestly really good for the basics), a month ago I managed to fetch the C++ Fundamentals book from PacktPub for free, and now I’m mostly following this amazing YouTube online course by The Cherno and taking a look at C++ Weekly. Since I did occasionally dabble with HTML, CSS, JS, C# and Perl in the past and know some Bash basics, learning C++ is progressing nicely, and it’s probably my most well-understood language so far. I took a short look at Qt for Beginners these days, which might warrant another blog post later.

          Because of this, I was taking a look at KDE/Qt-centric programs for development purposes; namely Kate, KDevelop and Qt Creator.

          Qt Creator has been great for learning QtWidgets, but it’s way more than is needed for basic C++ development/learning. KDevelop is more focused in this regard, but it’s likewise project-based and it utilizes CMake for building. C++ is already quite the challenge to learn, I was not in the mood to learn a new syntax just for the sake of building my simple C++ tutorials—at least not yet. For now some basic g++ commands suffice.

          Kate has the basics and it works well; its backend is used in KWrite, Kile and KDevelop, so it’s solid for text editing, that’s for sure. When I was venturing through KDE Web stuff, I used Kate, Nano and Atom, but mostly Kate.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 overview | The best! …until OpenMandriva does better

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

        • OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 Introduces Desktop Presets, AArch64 Support, and More

          OpenMandriva Lx is an interesting Linux-based distribution which is also inspired and forked from Mandriva Linux, and offers a host of open-source software to complement the whole package.

          The OpenMandriva Association and the community are behind the development and maintenance of OpenMandriva Lx.

          Recently, they have announced the availability of the latest stable release – OpenMandriva Lx 4.2. This release includes updated bundled applications, various improvements and quality of life changes.

      • Slackware Family

        • Slackware 15.0 alpha1

          Hold the press! There’s good news on Slackware development front.
          Slackware 14.2, the last stable release, saw the light on 30 June 2016. Since then, it has received many security patches but nothing has changed functionally and although 14.2 is super stable, it is also getting stale, in particular its default KDE desktop.
          In all that time since the release of Slackware 14.2, the distro has been heavily worked on, and the slackware-current development release is a joy to work with, containing the latest tools and desktop environments.

          The frequent and sometimes intrusive updates to -current are keeping the less knowledgeable Slackware users at bay, they prefer 14.2 since that requires minimal maintenance and won’t break after a careless upgrade.

        • Slackware 15.0 Alpha 1

          It’s been a long wait but Patrick has just called the current branch as Alpha 1 as the mass rebuilt due to glibc 2.33 has been done in the weekend. In this massive update, more than 1500 packages were rebuilt against latest glibc 2.33 to make sure it doesn’t have any regressions. Please note that the new glibc was just released in February 2021, so it’s very new. Good news is that based on most users who have just upgraded, the rebuilt works just fine as expected. I personally have upgraded to the latest version on both my desktop and laptop and it worked just fine. It just takes time to complete the upgrade and remove the .new or merge it with your existing configurations.

          So what’s next? Well it’s definitely working towards more bug fixing and making sure there are no regressions on the default installation of Slackware 15.0. You can help by downloading the latest ISO here and install it on your machine, either via VM or in bare metal and report it to the LQ where Patrick and most of the dev team are there to monitor.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Bringing Red Hat Resilient Storage to the public cloud

          The Resilient Storage Add-On lets users access the same storage device to each server in a group. The Add-On includes the Global File System 2 (GFS2) to support concurrent access, a cluster-wide locking mechanism to arbitrate storage access, a POSIX-compliant file system across 16 nodes, and Clustered Samba or Common Internet File System for Windows environments.

          Red Hat offers GFS2 as part of our High Availability Add-On because it provides the capabilities needed for cluster members to access the same block device concurrently. GFS2 is a true 64-bit shared namespace hybrid cloud cluster filesystem with very-close-to-POSIX semantics and full cluster coherency. A lot of cluster scenarios require that sort of thing.

      • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Going Backwards

          Don’t use this. As they say on YouTube, this script is for educational purposes only. There’s probably a thousand ways to make this more elegantly. Indeed I tried a suggestion on AskUbuntu which didn’t work at all.

          All this does is check every package to see where it originated, and if it came from proposed, add it to a list of packages to be downgraded. That list is a shell script. Run that, and it downgrades the packages.
          There were a couple of tweaks I had to do to the resulting script. Specifically remove any mentions of kernel 5.10, and any other packages which were new in proposed and thus didn’t have a version to downgrade to.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 670

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 670 for the week of February 7 – 13, 2021.

        • Design and Web team summary – 15 February 2021

          The web team at Canonical run two-week iterations building and maintaining all of Canonical websites and product web interfaces. Here are some of the highlights of our completed work from this iteration.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Programming/Development

        • Hacking the git shell prompt

          Git comes with a very complicated shell function,, called __git_ps1, for interpolating Git information into your shell prompt.

        • All the C compilers that can produce working binaries on OpenBSD -current (that I know of)

          I recently added support for Nils Weller’s C compiler to oksh. It would be good for me to document which C compilers work on OpenBSD and any caveats that come with those compilers. The following table is accurate as of the time of writing, which corresponds to OpenBSD 6.9-beta.

          If you know of any additional C compilers not on this list, please let me know so they can be tested and added.

        • Unique and Ordered Containers in C++ – Linux Hint

          {6, 10, 2, 8, 4} is a set; {2, 4, 6, 8, 10} is a set of the same integers, arranged in ascending order. In Mathematics, a set has unique elements (distinct elements), and that is, no element occurs more than once. Furthermore, a multiset is a set, where any element can occur more than once. {6, 6, 10, 2, 2, 8, 4, 4, 4} is a multiset. {2, 2, 4, 4, 4, 6, 6, 8, 10} is the same multiset, but with the elements arranged in ascending order. This article does not deal with multiset. It deals with the C++ data structure called, set.


          A multiset is to a set, as a multimap is to a map. This means that there are maps with duplicate keys. An example of a multimap is {{‘a’,10}, {‘b’,20}, {‘b’,20}, {‘c’,30}, {‘c’,30}, {‘d’,30}, {‘e’,40}}. And as stated above, this article does not deal with multimap, rather, it deals with the C++ data structure called, map.

          In C++, a data structure is a structure with properties (data members) and methods (member functions). The data of the structure is a list; a set is a list; a map is a list of key/value pairs.

          This article discusses the basics of sets and maps in C++, and to better understand this article, the reader should have had a basic knowledge of C++.

        • Qt for MCUs 1.7 released

          The first Qt for MCUs release of 2021 is out! Download it to get the latest features and create ever lighter yet impressive-looking Qt applications for microcontroller-powered devices.

        • Perl/Raku

          • 2021.07 Easy | Hard – Rakudo Weekly News

            Steve Roe expands on the “making the easy things easy and the hard things possible” meme, and explains how the Raku Programming Language “combines an approachable on-ramp for less experienced coders and it offers power developers the keys they need to open up and adapt underlying structures to fit specialised requirements”. Recommended reading (/r/rakulang comments)!

        • Python

          • How to Use PyQt GUI Builder – Linux Hint

            PyQt is a popular Python library used to implement graphical applications in Python more easily. This library comes with a GUI (Graphical User Interface) builder tool called Qt Designer. The GUI can be built quickly in Python using the drag-and-drop feature of this library, though this tool has no debugging facility like the standard IDE. This tutorial shows you how to implement the GUI using the Qt Designer class of PyQt.

          • How to Use PyQt QComboBox – Linux Hint

            A ComboBox is used to select one item from a list of items, much like the radio button. The QComboBox class of PyQt is used to create drop-down lists using Python script. It brings up a list of items for the user to select. The items of the ComboBox can be added, changed, and removed using the script. Multiple items can be selected like the CheckBox button from the list of items from the ComboBox then it is called ListBox. This tutorial shows you how to use QComboBox to create a drop-down list in Python.

          • How to Use PyQt QMessageBox – Linux Hint

            The message box is used in the GUI application to provide necessary information for the user or to ask the user to take actions based on the message. Four types of message boxes can be created for any GUI application, including the informational message box, warning message box, critical message box, and question message box. The QMessageBox class of PyQt is used in Python to create a message box. This tutorial shows you how to use the QMessageBox class to create various message boxes.

          • How to Use PyQt QPushButton – Linux Hint

            Buttons are used in GUI applications to perform various operations based on the events generated by the user. The QPushButton class of PyQt is used in Python to create buttons required by the application. This class inherits the core functionalities of the QAbstractButton class. Text or icons can be used to caption the button. Buttons can be activated using a mouse and keyboard. Any button event, including the button being clicked or double-clicked, can be associated with a function or method to handle the event. This tutorial shows you how to create various types of buttons using the QPushButton class of PyQt in Python.

          • How to Use PyQt QTableWidget – Linux Hint

            A table is used to display data in a structured format, according to rows and columns. The QTableWidget class of PyQt can be used in Python to display data in tabular form for tasks related to research or data analysis. The content of the table can be generated from different types of storage, such as two-dimensional lists or tables, database tables, JSON files, etc. One or more tables can be created using QTableWidget in the PyQt application. This tutorial shows how to use QTableWidget to create various types of tables using Python script.

          • How to Use PyQt QTimer – Linux Hint

            The QTimer class of the PyQt library allows users to create a digital clock, time counter, progress bar, and more. This class is used to create a regular timer that sends out a signal when the timer fires and it inherits from the QObject class. The object of the QTimer class is created as a child of a widget. When the widget deletes, the timer object also deletes. The QTimer class provides a static function called singleShot() that can be used to call a function after a specific period. This tutorial shows you how to use the QTimer class to create time-related PyQt applications.

  • Leftovers

    • Opinion | “Libertad y Justicia Para Todos”: How Spanish Can Help Us Survive Viral Times

      A journey into the heart of a language we need now more than ever.

    • Opinion | Biko: And the Eyes of the World Are Watching Now
    • The Unknown Radicals of Black Photography

      When the Kamoinge Workshop began in 1963, taking its name from a Kikuyu word meaning “a group of people acting together,” a few Black photographers had already gained some prominence. Gordon Parks was probably chief among them. After starting as a portraitist in Chicago, he had gone on to work during the war years with the renowned photography program of the Farm Security Administration, best known for sending the likes of Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange to document everyday rural life during the Depression; in postwar Harlem he went to work for Vogue as a fashion photographer before becoming a staffer at Life, the country’s most widely seen venue for photojournalism. There was also Roy DeCarava, a Harlem native, who had followed a less direct route: Having studied painting, he’d at first taken up photography as a way to gather visual stimuli for his canvases; he always used the camera with a rigorous sense for its purely artistic potential. His work had been included in the famous “Family of Man” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1955, and with Langston Hughes he’d published the collaborative book The Sweet Flypaper of Life the same year. The grand old man, James Van Der Zee, the portraitist of the Harlem Renaissance, was at this time almost forgotten but on the verge of being rediscovered.

    • Tech Fast for Lent

      As we approach the Lenten season, you might wonder what to give up in this time of reflection. Popular items include caffeine, meat, sugar, television, and alcohol, among others. For some, social media has become an addiction (or, at a minimum, an ineffective use of time). This leads many people to do a tech fast for Lent and give up some forms of technology.

    • Idiocy of not asking for word count

      I recently pointed out, from a different, much more serious angle that the advent of digital technologies has been so instantaneous that the human species has not even started to evolve to a stage that really understands what to do with them. A daily reminder of this reality is our continued usage of computers as glorified medieval printing presses. This post is about one of the most annoying proofs of that attitude, one that plagues contracts, terms of services, and almost every other important document that influences our lives.

      Several times a year, my work includes writing proposals that answer some public call for projects. Almost every time I do this, I have to comply with formatting requirements that come straight from the pre-Gutenberg era. They were dumb the first time I publicly denounced them, more than ten years ago (slides here), and they are even dumber now.

      And I keep fighting against something I have been dreaming about for more than ten years now.

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • ENIAC Day: 75th Anniversary of ENIAC Mini-Symposium

        Mini-symposium to celebrate the 75th anniversary of ENIAC and the birth of general-purpose computing. Automated computation has revolutionized the way we live, work, play, and connect. Join us on this anniversary to see where it started, celebrate how far we’ve come, and see visions of the bright future that is still ahead.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘More Challenging This Year Than Last’: UN Envoy Warns Global Food Crisis Getting Worse, Not Better

        “We need to look at how we as human beings manage the planet,” says Agnes Kalibata, who is leading efforts to convene a food systems summit.

      • Lancet Report: 40% of U.S. COVID Deaths Were Preventable. The Country Needs Universal Healthcare Now

        As the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 approaches half a million, a new report says nearly 40% of the deaths were avoidable. By comparing the pandemic in the U.S. to other high-income nations, the medical journal The Lancet found significant gaps in former President Donald Trump’s “inept and insufficient” response to COVID-19, as well as decades of destructive public policy decisions. One of the report’s recommendations is reforming the system to a single-payer model like Medicare for All, which President Joe Biden has so far rejected in favor of bolstering the Affordable Care Act. “The Affordable Care Act still left millions of people — 29 million people — without healthcare insurance coverage,” says Dr. Mary Bassett, one of the authors of The Lancet report. “Single payer would address that.”

      • India’s arrest of activist tied to Greta Thunberg’s movement sparks outrage

        Thunberg had shared a “toolkit” or an action plan on Twitter that listed ways to help Indian farmers, who have been protesting agricultural reforms here they fear will ruin their livelihoods.

        Over the weekend, police brought Disha Ravi, a leader of the Indian arm of Thunberg’s climate crisis-related Fridays for Future movement, to the capital from her home in the southern city of Bengaluru to question her. Thunberg said she had no comment on the detention of Ravi.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Review of Five popular Hyperledger DLTs- Fabric, Besu, Sawtooth, Iroha and Indy

                As companies are catching up in adopting blockchain technology, the choice of a private blockchain platform becomes very vital. Hyperledger, whose open source projects support/power more enterprise blockchain use cases than others, is currently leading the race of private Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) implementation. Working from the assumption that you know how blockchain works and what is the design philosophy behind Hyperledger’s ecosystem, in this article we will briefly review five active Hyperledger DLTs. In addition to DLTs discussed in this article, Hyperledger ecosystem has more supporting tools and libraries that I will cover in more detail in my future articles.

                This article mainly targets those who are relatively new to Hyperledger. This article would be a great resource for those interested in providing blockchain solution architect services and doing blockchain enterprise consulting and development. The materials included in this article will help you understand Hyperledger DLTs as a whole and use its high-level overview as a guideline for making the best of each Hyperledger project.

        • Security

          • Bluetooth Overlay Skimmer That Blocks Chip

            As a total sucker for anything skimming-related, I was interested to hear from a reader working security for a retail chain in the United States who recently found Bluetooth-enabled skimming devices placed over top of payment card terminals at several stores. Interestingly, these skimmers interfered with the terminal’s ability to read chip-based cards, forcing customers to swipe the stripe instead.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (busybox, linux-4.19, openvswitch, subversion, unbound1.9, and xterm), Fedora (audacity, community-mysql, kernel, libzypp, mysql-connector-odbc, python-django, python3.10, and zypper), openSUSE (librepo, openvswitch, subversion, and wpa_supplicant), Red Hat (subversion:1.10), SUSE (kernel, openvswitch, perl-File-Path, and wpa_supplicant), and Ubuntu (postgresql-12).

          • Josh Bressers: The Titanic of security

            I listen to a lot of podcasts. A lot of podcasts. I was listening to the Dave and Gunnar Show podcast episode 212 with guest David A. Wheeler. The Titanic was used as an example of changing process after a security incident. This opened up a flood of thoughts to me, but not for the reasons intended in the conversation. The point of the suggestion was the Titanic sinking created changes to international requirements to help avoid a similar disaster next time, and we should be viewing SolarWinds in a similar way. The idea being we should use the SolarWinds event to drive meaningful change to make security better. Why no change will come of this is a different conversation: TL;DR it’s because nobody important died from SolarWinds, the Titanic killed a lot of important people. But I think this is an interesting way to talk about how we tend to deal with problems in software and how we deal with them in real life.


            But the point is if you run this tool and look at the output, you are going to learn new things and have a different understanding for what you’re doing. It will help shape your future work and ideas.

            And the absolute most important thing you can do once you start this journey is to talk about it. When you do something that works, tell the rest of us. When you do something that doesn’t work, tell the rest of us. We have enough talking heads giving out unrealistic advice. I want advice from people doing the work. I don’t need to hear what the guy with an expensive suit thinks. He’s the reason we’re in this mess.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Parler Back Online After Getting Boot From Amazon Over [Insurrection]

              Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud unit pulled Parler’s internet service after users planned and supported the riot on the website. Amazon Web Services said Parler failed to follow rules to remove content that promoted violence after previously receiving multiple warnings about its lack of effective control.

              Cloud hosting company SkySilk Inc., which is based in Los Angeles, said it’s supporting Parler.

            • Parler announces official relaunch, says it is back online

              Parler was suspended from Amazon’s web hosting services and from Apple’s App Store after the [insurrection], when it was found to be full of discussions by users about invading the Capitol.

              Amazon and Apple did give Parler the chance to change its content moderation policy, as it had few rules of what could be published on the platform. Instead of changing, Parler has moved to a place where it says it can restart without restrictions.

            • Parler relaunches under new CEO after free-speech site was deplatformed amid Capitol [insurrection]

              Mark Meckler is serving as interim CEO of Parler after its previous top executive was fired by the social media platform, which has been favored by conservatives.

            • Social media app Parler crawls back online on ‘independent technology’

              Parler, a social media service popular with American right-wing users that virtually vanished after the U.S. Capitol [isurrection], re-launched on Monday and said its new platform was built on “sustainable, independent technology.”

              In a statement announcing the relaunch, Parler also said it had appointed Mark Meckler as its interim Chief Executive, replacing John Matze who was fired by the board this month.

              Parler went dark after being cut off by major service providers that accused the app of failing to police violent content related to the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol by followers of then-US President Donald Trump.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘We Shall Not Surrender’: Myanmar Rises Up Against the Junta

        Yangon—After five years of democratically elected governance, the people of Myanmar are not ready return to military dictatorship. Despite a curfew and martial law, hundreds of thousands of protesters are filling streets across the Southeast Asian country. From the largest city, Yangon, to the delta, mountains, and coasts, people from all backgrounds are shouting “Let the military fall!” and waving the three-finger Hunger Games salute that has become a symbol of resistance across Southeast Asia.

      • Expose the Insurrection Financiers

        Raskin’s trial team exposed a great deal of truth as they methodically made the case that Trump was “singularly responsible” for inciting the riot at the Capitol. At the same time, they laid out ample evidence that the assault was entirely predictable based on the former president’s track record of publicly egging on violent supporters.

        As Raskin pointed out in Day 3 of the trial, Trump had “road tested” his tactics for inflaming mobs at his campaign rallies and through Twitter. Social media traffic leading up to January 6 made clear that dangerous extremist groups were planning a violent attack in the nation’s capital.

      • Justice Reform Coalition Urges Biden to Pardon All Non-Violent Marijuana Convictions

        “It is past time for the harm to stop.”

      • Opinion | The Gulf War 30 Years Ago: Memories From a Shelter in Baghdad

        On February 13, 1991, a horrific massacre took place in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. The U.S. coalition bombed a shelter and killed more than 400 people.

      • Opinion | Is Biden Committing Diplomatic Suicide Over the Iran Nuclear Agreement?

        American neocons and hawks, including those inside his own administration, appear to be flexing their muscles to kill Biden’s commitment to diplomacy at birth, and his own hawkish foreign policy views make him dangerously susceptible to their arguments. 

      • Biden Is Adopting a Militaristic Approach to the Far East

        Since taking office on January 20, President Biden has taken several steps on foreign policy that mark a sharp break from the global posture of the Trump administration. On February 4 at the State Department, Biden announced the end of US participation in Saudi Arabia’s offensive war in Yemen, drawing praise from Senator Bernie Sanders and raising hopes that he might end that nightmare altogether.

      • ‘We Must Get to the Truth’: Pelosi Announces Far-Reaching Probe Into Insurrection Incited by Trump

        “To protect our security, our next step will be to establish an outside, independent 9/11-type Commission,” said House Speaker.

      • DARPA’s New Space Program Stirs Worldwide Concern

        On the same day that Joe Biden obtained the Electoral College majority needed to become president of the United States, a metallic asteroid roughly half the size of New York City made its closest approach to earth. Far from indulging in apocalyptic visions of cosmic destruction, mining company executives like Bob Goldstein of US Nuclear Corp. were seeing dollar signs. Somewhere in the ballpark of $10,000 quadrillion of them in fact.

      • “Shame on You, New York Times!” Scientists Speak Out Media Disinformation China

        ATexas teenager has been forced to use her entire college savings to prevent her single mother from being evicted after she lost her job amid a raging pandemic. Alondra Carmona of Houston made the appeal on crowdfunding site GoFundMe, noting that she had been accepted into prestigious New York university Barnard College, but that she used the money she had saved for tuition in order to save her mother.

      • Is America’s Soul Beyond Redemption?

        In that regard, the ensuing decades have filled a void in my education. I long ago concluded that Dr. King was then offering the essential interpretive key to understanding our contemporary American dilemma. The predicament in which we find ourselves today stems from our reluctance to admit to the crippling interaction among the components of the giant triplets he described in that speech. True, racism, extreme materialism, and militarism each deserve—and separately sometimes receive—condemnation. But it’s the way that the three of them sustain one another that accounts for our nation’s present parlous condition.

    • Environment

      • [Old] These celebrities cause 10,000 times more carbon emissions from flying than the average person

        The jet-setting habits of Bill Gates and Paris Hilton mean that they produce an astonishing 10,000 times more carbon emissions from flying than the average person. This was the conclusion of my research mining their social media accounts (tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts) as well as those of a number of other celebrities for clues as to where they were in the world over the course of 2017 and how they got there. As such, this estimate is conservative – they may well have taken more flights and not volunteered the information to their millions of followers.

      • Energy

        • Jaguar will be an all-electric car brand from 2025

          JLR’s plans are ambitious, but the automaker has previously been slow to embrace electrification. It’s only fully electric car to date is the Jaguar I-Pace SUV, which Bloomberg notes has struggled to make inroads against more established electric carmakers. Even then, the car is built by a contractor, rather than being produced by JLR in-house. The company had to pay a £35 million (around $48.7 million) fine in the EU for missing emissions targets last year.

        • Jaguar’s Electric Shift May Leave U.K. Plant With No Car to Make

          Jaguar Land Rover laid out plans to electrify its lineup under a new chief executive officer, with its namesake luxury-car brand ditching combustion engines just four years from now.

          JLR, owned by India’s Tata Motors Ltd., will invest about 2.5 billion pounds ($3.5 billion) a year into electrification and related technologies, the company said Monday. The Land Rover line will get its first fully electric model in 2024, and by the following year, all Jaguars will be entirely powered by batteries.

        • Fossil fuel subsidies amount to hundreds of billions of dollars a year – here’s how to get rid of them

          iAny feasible pathway out of the climate crisis involves dramatically lowering our consumption of fossil fuels. It’s astonishing, then, that many countries not only don’t reflect the damage caused by burning fossil fuels in the taxes imposed on them, but actively subsidise their extraction and use. Despite an agreement at the G20 in 2009 to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, the US, China and Russia alone spent US$909 billion (£656 billion) on them in 2017, the most recent year available – that’s nearly 40% more than in 2009.

          Governments can subsidise the fossil fuel production through transferring funds directly to companies, assuming some of their risk or selectively reducing their taxes. They can undercharge them for using goods or assets supplied by the state too – by letting oil companies drill on public land without paying royalties, for example. Governments can alternatively provide consumer subsidies by lowering taxes on fuel or electricity or setting their prices.

          Subsidies exist when fossil fuel prices fail to reflect their true costs, including how much pollution they cause. This encourages us to use more of them. Emissions from burning fossil fuels were responsible for one in five premature deaths in 2018, but the IMF has estimated that raising the price of fossil fuels to fully reflect their wider social costs could cut this number in half.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Can We Exit This Road to Ruin?

        Catabolic capitalism isn’t your grandparents’ capitalism. Back then, industrial capitalism profited primarily from growth, fueled by abundant fossil energy. But the centuries of cheap energy and an ever-expanding economic pie are over; and so are the rising living standards they generated. Even the recent decades of stagnation, debt-driven bubbles, and government bailouts are reaching their limit. Capitalism’s future is becoming catabolic.

        In biology, catabolism is a destructive metabolic process that causes a living thing to cannibalize itself.[1] Catabolic capitalism is an energy depleted, self-cannibalizing economy whose insatiable hunger for profit can only be fed by breaking down the society that sustains it.[2] As it rampages down the road to ruin, gorging itself on one self-inflicted disaster after another, catabolic capitalism gathers a horde of raging tribalists around it. Flag-waving, gun-toting, white Christian tribalists glorify the mayhem and violence catabolic capitalism thrives on. These racist, anti-government holy warriors are becoming catabolic capitalism’s fanatic foot soldiers.

      • ‘Biggest Risk’ for Democrats on Minimum Wage, Says Top Sanders Aide, Is Not Raising It to $15

        With the White House and legislative branch under their control, says Warren Gunnels, Democrats “must win” fight on behalf of working people.

      • The Rich and Those Who Serve Them, Then and Now

        “It just so happens that we might have built the perfect product for Covid,” Subramanian recently told Vice World News.

        Her new company, founded by Uber founder Garrett Camp, has launched a luxury “semi-private jet” experience that offers safe and comfy virus-free flights. Seats in Aero’s suede-walled jets sit six feet apart in single file. “Hand-stitched Italian leather seats” aboard Aero’s “sleek black planes” combine with “sophisticated art lighting” to create a “renaissance of luxury travel.”

      • #ReleaseDishaRavi: Global Outrage After India Arrests Climate Activist Over Farmer Protest Toolkit Shared by Greta Thunberg

        Ravi’s arrest “is an unprecedented attack on democracy,” said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. “Supporting our farmers is not a crime.”

      • Opinion | A $15 Minimum Wage Would Be Life-Changing for Workers and Save the US Billions per Year

        Beyond the working families who will get a raise, every single American taxpayer has a stake in raising the minimum wage.

      • Why Amazon Is Fighting So Hard to Stop Warehouse Workers From Unionizing

        Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the RWDSU, described to me in an interview the shocking details of what he calls “the most aggressive anti-union effort I’ve ever seen,” aimed at the 5,800-strong workforce. “They are doing everything they possibly can,” he said. The company has been “bombarding people with propaganda throughout the warehouse. There are signs and banners and posters everywhere, even in the bathroom stalls.”

        According to Appelbaum, the company is also texting its workers throughout the course of the day urging a “no” vote and pulling people into “captive-audience” meetings. Unsurprisingly, Amazon is resorting to the most commonly told lie about unions: that it will cost workers more money to be in a union than not. One poster pasted on the wall of the warehouse claims, “you already know the union would charge you almost $500 a year in dues.” But Alabama is a “right-to-work” state where workers cannot be compelled to join a union if they are hired into a union shop, nor can they be required to pay dues.

      • The Centers of Global Capitalism Are Migrating Away From the U.S., Europe and Japan

        However, new centers of capitalism have emerged and grown especially quickly over the last half-century. China, India, and Brazil are leading examples where jobs, real wages, consumption, profits, and investments are growing. Their size and global impact not only make them the new centers of capitalism but also require attaching the adjective “old” to capitalism’s earlier set of centers.

        The blunt truth of modern economic development is this: capitalism is leaving its old centers and relocating to its new centers. About this leaving we can and should borrow the phrase: this changes everything.

      • Union Workers In Ohio Try To Stop GE Lighting, Walmart From Shipping Their Jobs To China

        General Electric Lighting-Savant notified 81 workers at their plant in Bucyrus, Ohio that they would be laid off and production would move to China because of the high cost of producing LED light bulbs.In response to the planned layoffs, announced as of the first week of January, workers and their union are pushing to save those jobs because they fear job cuts will lead to the closure of the plant that has been open since 1942.If shut down, that would leave 200 people unemployed in a city of less than 12,000 people.According to Bucyrus Mayor Jeff Reser, the offshoring of jobs would directly result in a loss of about $100,000 in tax revenue for the city’s budget. It would also mean a substantial loss of local revenue to area businesses. IUE-CWA Local 84704, which is a chapter of the industrial division of the Communication Workers of America within AFL-CIO, proposed a joint-labor management study between the union and GE Lighting Savant on what can be done to save as many jobs as possible.The Ohio AFL-CIO started a petition to rally support from the community to the CEOs of General Electric, Savant, and Walmart, which exclusively purchases and sells the light bulbs produced at the plant. Steve Pifer, vice president of the union, has worked at the plant for 11 years. He said the tariffs enacted by former President Donald Trump against China, which are still in place, have increased the cost of materials for the light bulbs. Tariffs made it impossible to compete on costs with finished products from China.

        “We need to stop losing jobs. We need our government to step up. If you’re going to add tariffs, put it on a finished product and at least give us a chance. We’re fighting this whole battle with one arm tied behind our back,” Pifer declared. “We’ve already tried doing things to help get the cost of it down,” Pifer added. “At the end of the day, what it amounts to is what the cost of materials are. You can take all the labor costs out of it, and they can’t make the bulb as cheap as they can buy it from China.”

      • Young [attacker] tricks gambling site to pay out €600k before being caught

        A man in his early twenties who managed to exploit a vulnerability in an online game operated by the state-owned gambling monopoly Veikkaus managed to win hundreds of thousands of euros but was only able to keep his winnings for a short while.

        On Monday he was sentenced to a one-year and eight-month sentence for aggravated fraud by Pirkanmaa District Court. Meanwhile, his female accomplice received a six-month suspended sentence for an aggravated money laundering charge.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trump: Turning Losing Into Winning

        It’s not that the Senate trial wasn’t riveting at times. Even so, the highlight of Thursday’s prosecution wasn’t all the video and tweets drawing a line from Trump to the attack on the Capitol. It was when Representative DeGette compared Trump to the Nazi who murdered the anti-fascist Heather Heyer in Charlottesville. That is truth, no matter what the academics will argue regarding what constitutes fascism and whether or not Trumpism is a fascist movement. When it came to the presentation of attacks on police, it’s clear the intent was to call out those Trumpists in the Senate who claimed to be for police, especially when it came to their brutal acts against non-whites and anti-racist protesters. The point became clear in this testimony: to the Trumpists, the leader is the nation. All others are pretenders to the throne they have enshrined.

        In comments outside the chambers reported by the Washington Post, Schoen, a slimy and angry individual and one of the lawyers for Trump, once again decried the prosecution, telling the press that it was delaying something they call healing. If the concept of healing applied to politics—which it really doesn’t—it should not be up to those who turned a blind eye to the acts and actors that created the wound to determine the terms of that healing. We don’t need healing as much as we could use some justice. In the matter of Donald Trump, that justice only begins when he is inside a prison cell. I am not holding my breath.

      • Mapping the Trump Meridian in Texas

        President Donald Trump’s performance along the west and South Texas border in 2020 was nothing short of remarkable. Just five years after he’d called Mexican immigrants drug dealers, criminals, and rapists, the enthusiasm of Latino voters for the 45th president dashed Democratic dreams of a blue Texas, resulting in voting shifts in Texas border counties unseen in over a century. The Democratic Party and its media sycophants blamed the lackluster showing on Covid-19, the “defund the police” backlash, and the specter of socialism.

      • What Happened to the Anarchist Century?
      • The Anarchist Century: A Response to Gabriel Kuhn
      • Europe Will Redefine Itself Despite Political Shift in the US

        The four years of Donald Trump were rife with tension and strife between the US and Europe – in fact, between the US and its traditional allies, including Mexico and Canada. However, the strain in the US-EU relationship long preceded Trump’s presidency.

        Trump’s eccentric personal style – and often blunt rhetoric and action – was an indicator to Europe that the continent urgently needed to create its own leadership alternatives to Washington. Following World War II, the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949 and the collapse of the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact in 1991, the US became the uncontested leader of the West and, eventually, the globe’s only superpower. These dynamics are now experiencing an unparalleled influx.

      • Opinion | Out of the Ashes of Trump, Will the US Finally Bury Reaganism?

        Ronald Reagan convinced the nation that big government was the problem. It was rubbish.

      • Q
      • After Trump Acquittal by GOP, Sunrise Movement Says ‘Time Is Now to Abolish the Filibuster’

        “If Democrats don’t deliver in this moment, future Presidents Days will recognize Trump’s second term.”

      • The Verdict

        The House impeachment managers nailed him, though they could have been a tad less supportive of Mike Pence and the men and women in blue, and who knows what they were up to or why when, after winning the right to call witnesses, they decided not to call any.

        Was it the “centrist” Senate leadership? The White House? Was it their liberalism (liberals, Robert Frost pointed out, are too reasonable to take their own side in an argument or debate)? Perhaps this will become clear in time.

      • No Compromising with the GOP Cult

        We either have a future based on lies, violence, and authoritarianism – or on unyielding truth, unshakeable civility, and democracy. Biden and the Democrats must fight for the latter. And we must make them.

      • Impeachment Was Only the Beginning

        The second impeachment of Donald Trump was an improvement, but only a partial and halting one, over the first impeachment. When he was impeached in 2020 for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power in the Ukrainegate affair, the dividing line was almost entirely partisan. All Republicans in the House of Representatives rejected impeachment while all but three Democrats voted to impeach. The Senate was also divided on partisan lines, with Mitt Romney the only one to break ranks as the first senator to vote to convict a president of his own party.

      • Poll Shows Nearly 60% in US Believe Senate Should Have Convicted Trump

        Over three-quarters believe senators voted based on partisan politics, compared with 23% who think they voted based on the facts.

      • Conservative Lawyer Bruce Fein: Trump’s Acquittal Gives Future Presidents License to Break the Law

        As the Senate votes to acquit former President Donald Trump for inciting the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, we speak with constitutional lawyer and former Reagan administration official Bruce Fein, who says the insurrection was not just an attack on the U.S. Capitol, but “an effort, basically, to destroy the rule of law and the Constitution itself.” Fein says failure to convict Trump will give license to future presidents to break the law. “It really is quite frightening that now we have a precedent that says a president has the right to do anything he wants, that he wishes to, without sanction,” he tells Democracy Now! “That is no longer the rule of law.”

      • ‘Bring On the Evidence. Bring On the Witnesses’: After GOP Refuses to Convict, Criminal Prosecution of Trump Demanded

        “Trump incited an insurrection to overthrow the elected government of the United States. 43 senators stood with him. It does not end here.”

      • Trump Acquitted in Senate Impeachment Trial After Lawmakers Refuse to Call Witnesses

        The Senate voted 57 to 43 to convict Donald Trump for inciting the January 6 insurrection, but the vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to find the former president guilty. Seven Republicans voted with Democrats to convict, making it the most bipartisan impeachment trial verdict ever. House impeachment managers did not include any witnesses, after Republicans threatened to prolong the trial for weeks or even months and grind other congressional business to a halt if witnesses were called to testify. Instead, a single statement by Congressmember Jaime Herrera Beutler was entered into the record before the final vote on conviction. “This was about choosing country over Donald Trump, and 43 Republican members chose Trump,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote.

      • Remembering James Ridgeway

        We lost a great investigative journalist and progressive advocate on Saturday at the age of 84. James Ridgeway spent six decades exposing corporate crime, proposing environmental solutions, and opposing solitary confinement, among many other progressive causes.

        Ridgeway first came to national attention for a 1964 article in The New Republic exposing the carnage on American highways due to unsafe cars using a then unknown Ralph Nader as his source. His next big scoop was exposing that General Motors had hired detectives to dig up dirt to discredit the now famous Nader, which blew up into a national scandal for GM.

        Ridgeway was one of the first authors to emphasize the corporate roots of the environmental crisis in his 1970 book, The Politics of Ecology. He repeatedly exposed global corporate resource imperialism in the The Last Play (1973), Who Owns the Earth? (1980), and It’s All for Sale (2004).

        In New Energy (1975) and Energy-Efficient Community Planning (1979), he proposed a community-controlled national public energy system to deal with the energy crises of the 1970s from the viewpoint of replacing fossil and nuclear fuels with clean renewable energy. He always made himself available to activists as we advocated for this model of energy democracy, from the anti-nuclear/safe energy movement in the 1970s to our presidential campaign in 2020.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Chris Hedges: Cancel Culture, Where Liberalism Goes to Die

        Princeton, New Jersey (Scheerpost) — The Rev. Will Campbell was forced out of his position as director of religious life at the University of Mississippi in 1956 because of his calls for integration.  He escorted Black children through a hostile mob in 1957 to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School.  He was the only white person that was invited to be part of the group that founded Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  He helped integrate Nashville’s lunch counters and organize the Freedom Rides.

      • Two Arrests, Two Outcomes Tell a Tale of Xi Jinping’s China

        Since Mr. Xi came to command, it has been virtually wiped out. Journalists with an independent bent have been silenced. Lawyers are jailed. Officials, even retired ones, know to keep their mouth shut. Businesspeople tread carefully to avoid crossing the government.

        China has always been plagued with human rights violations, said Chen Min, a veteran journalist who is known by his pen name, Xiao Shu. The difference, he said, is that civil society once had some space to push back.

        “Now there’s neither civil society nor space,” he said. “These are two different eras.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Same as the Old Boss, Julian Assange Edition

        As Trump’s presidency drew to an end, some activists held out hope that he’d pardon political prisoner Julian Assange, whose incarceration at the hands of the Swedish, British, and US governments has, according to the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, gone on for more than a decade now (between British prisons and de facto house arrest in Ecuador’s London embassy). No dice. Trump handed out plenty of pardons to political cronies, but left Assange in stir.

        In January, British judge Vanessa Baraitser declined to extradite the founder of WikiLeaks to the US on trumped up (pun intended) espionage charges. Not because the charges are clearly nonsense, though they are. Nor because neither Assange’s person  or his alleged actions were subject to US jurisdiction, though they weren’t. She denied the extradition because she (probably correctly) considers Assange a suicide risk if he’s handed over.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • In Haiti, Protesters’ Anger Turns Towards the United States

        After five years of highly contentious rule, Haitian president Jovenel Moïse was scheduled to finally step down last week. However, his announcement that he would stay in office for (at least) one more year brought fresh impetus to nationwide protests that have continued almost unbroken since 2018. The protests have led to hundreds of deaths yet have drawn little attention in the West, largely because Moïse continues to be a loyal U.S. ally.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • How Kids Television Became the Most Heated Front in the Streaming Wars

        The world of kids TV has long been thought to be a peaceful one, a place where “Blue’s Clues,” “The Baby-Sitters’ Club,” “Phineas and Ferb” and “Rugrats” are left alone to ramble and play. As more consumers move to streaming-video services, however, kids properties are taking on new importance — and many major entertainment outlets, both traditional and upstart, are gearing for battle. “You can see that streamers are snapping up popular intellectual [sic] property [sic] and that studios are competing heavily for talent,” says Olivier Dumont, president of family brands for eOne, the large Hasbro-owned production company behind such kids series as “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks.”

    • Monopolies

      • Opinion | Big Pharma Must Share Their Vaccine Knowledge and Technology With the World—Now

        To stop the global pandemic, rich countries need to stop hoarding vaccines.

      • Why China’s Didi can succeed where Uber has struggled

        That Uber was willing to burn through so much cash, at least for a time, is a testament to the size of the prize. China boasts the world’s biggest ride-hailing market. According to its transport ministry, 21m trips were booked on ride-hailing platforms each day, on average, last October. That is double the figure in pre-pandemic America, when travel was safer. Until it sold its Chinese business, Uber received more orders in China than in any other country, including its home market. The gross transaction value of China’s ride-hailers reached 221bn yuan ($32bn) last year, up by more than half since 2017, reckons Frost and Sullivan, a consultancy.

      • Patents

        • The Time is Now: Opportunities to Advise the E.D. Va. or EPO as to Whether to Prohibit, Permit, or Require Listing an AI Algorithm as an Inventor

          Dr. Stephen Thaler created an artificial-intelligence algorithm – named Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience (DABUS) – that includes multiple neural networks (each trained in a given linguistic subspace) that are dynamically connected using controlled chaos. The AI included a novelty filter and foveator network to identify predicted novel sentiments having at least a target utility. Dr. Thaler filed patent applications on two technologies based on DABUS outputs around the globe. The only inventor that was listed was DABUS. The European Patent Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office denied these applications, contending that a non-human inventor was impermissible.

          Dr. Thaler appealed both denials. Currently, the denial, and the issue of whether non-humans are allowed to be listed as inventors, is before Board of Appeals at the European Patent Office and before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

          The hearing date for the U.S. DABUS case (Thaler v. Iancu, et al, 1:20-cv-00903) is set for March 29, 2021. Thus, it is reasonably likely that amicus briefs submitted by mid-March will be considered. In Europe, the EPO (EP3564144)has until May 1, 2021 to submit comments. Thus, it is reasonably likely that third party observations submitted before that date will be considered.

        • No UK EPO exit; Next USPTO Director latest; New finance boosts NPEs; Foreign SEP owners take China validity hit; French delight for patent plaintiffs; and much more

          The UK will not leave the EPO despite plans to accede to the CPTPP and the seeming incompatibility between the organisations’ treatment of the grace period, government spokesperson tells IAM.

        • Draft Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021 published; Bill in parliament to abolish tribunals such as IPAB

          The European patent office has published a document titled EPO Strategic Plan 2023 which aims to provide a clear roadmap for achieving a new vision for the EPO distributed over five goals. It outlines the actions and initiatives to be taken and the improvements required to deliver sustainability and excellence. The document may be accessed from the EPO’s official website or by clicking here.

        • Voluntis Announces Issuance of European Patent for Drug Dosing Support With Its Theraxium Digital Therapeutic Platform

          Voluntis (Paris:VTX) (Euronext Paris, Ticker: VTX – ISIN: FR0004183960), a leader in digital therapeutics, announced today the issuance of a new patent by the European Patent Office (EPO) for intelligent patient support in drug dosing applied in the field of diabetes for insulin titration support.

          Following the prescription of the drug and its companion digital therapeutic, the intelligent and adaptive algorithms developed by Voluntis will automatically recommend to a patient, day by day and according to the evolution of their monitoring data, a progressive increase of the dose to bring the patient into the target range as specified by their physician. Safety mechanisms are also present to decrease the dose if the situation requires it. Once the target range is reached, the dose will then remain stable as long as the patient’s follow-up data stays within the target range.

      • Copyrights

        • Anti-Piracy Group Doesn’t Have a Secret Tool to Unmask VPN Pirates

          After declaring victory over local torrent trackers, Danish anti-piracy group Rights Alliance is now going after hardcore users who continue to pirate. The group previously suggested that not even those hiding behind a VPN are safe. Several people doubted this claim, which prompted the group to publish an explainer. It shows that there’s no secret tool to uncover VPN users.

        • Pirate TV Streaming App Mobdro Disappears, Users in Mourning

          For several years Mobdro has been delivering live TV and VOD content to vast numbers of mobile and set-top devices, making it one of the most-loved pirate streaming apps out there. However, for the past several days the app has been out of action, with current and historic domains all non-functional, leaving large volumes of fans worrying that this could be the end.

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