Links 27/2/2021: IPFS 0.8, OnionShare 2.3.1, and New Stuff in KDE

Posted in News Roundup at 3:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Build your own technology on Linux

      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. Linux empowers its users to build their own tools.

      There’s a persistent myth that tech companies must “protect” their customers from the many features of their technology. Sometimes, companies put restrictions on their users for fear of unexpected breakage, and other times they expect users to pay extra to unlock features. I love an operating system that protects me from stupid mistakes, but I want to know without a doubt that there’s a manual override switch somewhere. I want to be able to control my own experience on my own computer. Whether I’m using Linux for work or my hobbies, that’s precisely what it does for me. It puts me in charge of the technology I’ve chosen to use.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • The Latest Release Of 0 A.D. Looks Amazing!

        0 A.D. is a real-time strategy game that is free and open source. It has been around for a number of years and is one of the best examples of how good an open source game can be. A couple of days ago, they had a huge release. Some of the most notable changes are the incredible graphics. NOTE: This is my second time uploading this video. The first time I uploaded the video, I did not realize that Kdenlive had rendered it in 720p. Bad Kdenlive, bad!

      • Your First Step To Learn Vim

        You’ve probably noticed that I’m really awful with vim and don’t do anything in an efficient way. Part of that is due to me never having finished vim tutor so what better way to do that than do it on stream.

      • How To Use VIM Editor

        This post will show you how to use VIM! Vim is a text editor that edits all kinds of text files. For instance, the text file may be a shell script with a .sh extension or it can be a text file with a .txt extension.

    • Kernel Space

      • Google Funds Linux Kernel Developers to Focus Exclusively on Security

        The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) recently published an open source contributor survey report that identified a need for additional work on security in open source software, which includes the massively pervasive Linux operating system.

        Linux is fueled by more than 20,000 contributors and as of August 2020, one million commits. While there are thousands of Linux kernel developers, all of whom take security into consideration as the due course of their work, this contribution from Google to underwrite two full-time Linux security maintainers signals the importance of security in the ongoing sustainability of open source software.

      • Security News in Review: Google Funding Security Development for Linux Kernel

        We’re back after a skipped Security News in Review last week. In this week’s edition of our roundup of the biggest cybersecurity news stories, we have reporting on ransomware attacks shutting down Underwriters Laboratories and a payment processor widely used by state and municipal governments, as well as a report on Google partnering with the Linux Foundation to hire two people whose sole job will be to improve the security of the Linux kernel.

        Read on for the latest Security News in Review, and let us know if we missed anything.

      • Google to Underwrite Contributors to Linux Security

        Google and the Linux Foundation announced this week they will underwrite two full-time maintainers for Linux kernel security development.

        Gustavo Silva is currently working full time on eliminating several classes of buffer overflows by transforming all instances of zero-length and one-element arrays into flexible-array members, which is the preferred and least error-prone mechanism to declare such variable-length types. He is also actively focusing on fixing bugs before they hit the mainline, while also proactively developing defense mechanisms that cut off whole classes of vulnerabilities. Silva sent his first kernel patch in 2010 and is an active member of the Kernel Self Protection Project (KSPP).

        Nathan Chancellor will be focused on triaging and fixing all bugs found with Clang/LLVM compilers while working on establishing continuous integration (CI) systems to support this work. He has been working on the Linux kernel for four and a half years.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Ben Widawsky: Framebuffer Modifiers Part 1

          In a now pretty well established tradition on my part, I am posting on things I no longer work on!

          I gave a talk on modifiers at XDC 2017 and Linux Plumbers 2017 audio only. It was always my goal to have a blog post accompany the work. Relatively shortly after the talks, I ended up leaving graphics and so it dropped on the priority list.

          I’m splitting this up into two posts. This post will go over the problem, and solutions. The next post will go over the implementation details.

        • Broadcom VK Accelerator Driver, More Intel ACRN Code Arrives For Linux 5.12 – Phoronix

          Greg Kroah-Hartman this week sent in “the large set of char/misc/whatever driver subsystem updates”, which as usual — given it’s a catch-all area of kernel drivers not fitting well into other subsystems — there is an interesting mix of additions.

          Linux 5.12 still isn’t moving forward with any “accelerator” subsystem for the likes of the Habana Labs driver and other accelerators / offload cards, even with Linux 5.12 bringing the Broadcom VK accelerator driver, so for now the char/misc area of the kernel continues to expand.

        • Mesa Flips On OpenGL Threading For Valheim To Deliver Better Performance – Phoronix

          For those enjoying the Valheim, the new survival/sandbox game that has been an incredible success and sold more than four millions of copies so far while being a low-budget indie game, Mesa should be providing better performance when using its OpenGL renderer.

          Valheim is powered by the Unity game engine and is natively supported on Linux. Initially the focus was on the OpenGL rendering support while the game is now running out Vulkan support. But for those sticking to OpenGL usage, Mesa Git is performing better thanks to enabling OpenGL threading.

    • Applications

      • Really Simple Syndication – SolutionsWatch

        Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, is a great way to get the latest headlines, articles, podcasts and other content directly from the myriad of smaller websites across the web instead of going through filtered big-tech controlled services.

        There are many free software RSS feed readers you can use to keep track of dozens of independent websites using the RSS feeds. QuiteRSS, Liferea and the built-in RSS feed reader in the Thunderbird e-mail client are good choices. Akregator, made for the KDE Plasma desktop, may also be a good choice depending on what version your distribution ships with (it krashed all the time a year ago).

        Building up a nice collection of relevant RSS feeds in your favorite RSS feed reader will take some time. You may find that it is worth it if you want to be able to see what’s new at all the sites you occasionally visit, including the smaller and more obscure ones.

      • What is the GNOME Editor in Linux?

        If you are operating a Linux operating system through the GNOME editor, you will see a graphical text editor that you can use easily and well. It is a basic text editor that has a couple of advanced features for the fun of editing. When you start gedit with multiple files, it will load the files into individual buffers and display each of them as a tabbed window inside the editor’s main window. The left frame inside the gedit editor will show the documents that you have been editing.

      • IPFS 0.8 Is Released

        The Interplanetary File System (IPFS) is a system for storing and transfering verifiable, content-addressed data in a peer-to-peer network. You can imagine a combination of a large git tree and huge BitTorrent swarm to get an idea of how it works. That’s not what it is, but is very roughly how it works.

        One difference between git and IPFS is that the data stored on IPFS is not necessarily persistent. It is possible to make data persist on your own IPFS node by “pinning” it. go-ipfs, the GO implementation of the file system server part of IPFS, supports remote pinning as of version 0.8.0. You can now ask remote services to pin your data for you using a authenticated API but you can’t expect random strangers to do that for no reason. There is simply no incentive to pin some random strangers data since IPFS does not have any crypto-currency, or any other payment system, built into it. The new remote pinning feature is therefore mostly useful for remote IPFS servers under your control or the control of someone you’ve paid or made some deal with.

      • OnionShare 2.3.1 Is Released

        OnionShare is a simple and user-friendly graphical program that lets you share files, start a secure chat server or host static websites on the secure and traffic-analysis resistant Tor network. The latest version adds support for tabs, secure chatrooms and a better command-line interface.


        OnionShare 2.3 adds support for tabs, like web browsers have, so you can leave a chat server tab open and choose files to share or configure a “website” or two in other tabs. The “websites” OnionShare supports are limited to plain files on the local file system, you can not use it to setup a darknet market or a wiki or other more advanced websites with dynamic content.

      • Best Free and Open Source Software – February 2021 Updates

        The table above shows articles updated in February 2021.

        For our entire collection, check out the categories below. This is the largest compilation of recommended software. The collection includes hundreds of articles, with comprehensive sections on internet, graphics, games, programming, science, office, utilities, and more. Almost all of the software is free and open source.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • 【VimTutor】Vim Speedrun Any % WR Glitchless – YouTube

        You’ve probably noticed that I’m really awful with vim and don’t do anything in an efficient way. Part of that is due to me never having finished vim tutor so what better way to do that than do it on stream.

      • Copy File Contents Into Clipboard Without Displaying Them – OSTechNix

        This guide explains what is Clipboard, and how to copy file contents into Clipboard without displaying the contents of the file using any text viewer applications in Linux.

        What is Clipboard?

        You will definitely cut or copy and paste texts on your system multiple times a day. You may not have remembered how many times you copied something or haven’t ever thought about where the copied texts are actually stored. But, you should have copied/cut texts so many times. For those wondering, there is temporary place called “Clipboard” in an operating system. Clipboard is the place where the copied/cut data are kept temporarily.

        Clipboard is a buffer used for short-term data storage. It is mainly used to transfer data within and between applications, via cut, copy and paste operations. Clipboard is usually temporary and unnamed place that resides in your Computer’s RAM.

        The clipboards are called “Selections” and there are three types of clipboards available in X11 window system in Linux.

      • How to install TeamViewer in Linux

        TeamViewer is a cross-platform application that enables an user to control remote computers over the internet or network.

        It is used for remote access, remote control, remote support, web conferencing, desktop sharing and file transfer between computers.

        TeamViewer is a proprietary computer application, which is free for Private and Non-Commercial use.

        It supports multiple Linux distributions and this article shows how to install TeamViewer on Ubuntu, Fedora, and Red Hat systems.

      • Thunderbolt bridge connection in Fedora 33

        My home network is extremely slow, because I have CAT5e cables everywhere. I was wondering if I can use Thunderbolt ports which I have both on the new Mac M1 and Intel NUC with Fedora. So without my breath, since some Thunderbolt docks are known to brick the new Macs, I connected the two guys. And it worked automatically!

      • Petter Reinholdtsen: Updated Valutakrambod, now also with information from NBX

        I have neglected the Valutakrambod library for a while, but decided this weekend to give it a face lift. I fixed a few minor glitches in several of the service drivers, where the API had changed since I last looked at the code. I also added support for fetching the order book from the newcomer Norwegian Bitcoin Exchange.

        I alsod decided to migrate the project from github to gitlab in the process. If you want a python library for talking to various currency exchanges, check out code for valutakrambod.

      • Simos Xenitellis: How to run a Windows virtual machine on LXD on Linux

        LXD is a hypervisor to run both system containers (a la LXC) and virtual machines (a la QEMU) on Linux distributions. System containers are lightweight because they are based solely on the Linux kernel for their virtualization features, and support Linux guests only. However, virtual machines can run other operating systems. In this post, we see how to run Windows in a LXD virtual machine.

        The benefit with running Windows through LXD is that you are using the familiar LXD workflow and takes away some of the the complexity from the other ways of running a VM (like virt-manager).

        The content of this tutorial came from https://discuss.linuxcontainers.org/t/running-virtual-machines-with-lxd-4-0/7519 Look towards the end of the thread where Stéphane Graber describes how to simplify the process compared to the instructions at the top of that thread.

        The prerequisite is that you have LXD configured and running.

      • Debian: uninstall package [Guide]

        From Apt-get to Synaptic Package Manager, there are many ways to uninstall packages in Debian Linux. In this guide, we’ll show you all the ways you can uninstall packages from your Debian Linux system.

      • How to Install Wine 6.3 in Ubuntu 18.04 / 20.04 / 20.10 | UbuntuHandbook

        The Wine team announced the new development release Wine 6.3 with new features and various bug-fixes.

      • Nginx: 413 – Request Entity Too Large Error and Solution – nixCraft

        I‘m running nginx as a frond end to php based Apache+mod_fastcgi server. My app lets user upload images upto 2MB in size. When users trying to upload 1.5MB+ size image file using nginx reverse proxy, they are getting the following error on screen:

        Nginx 413 Request Entity Too Large

        How do I fix this problem and allow image upload upto 2MB in size using nginx web-server working in reverse proxy or stand-alone mode on Unix like operating systems?

      • How to check if file does not exist in Bash – nixCraft

        How can I check if a file does not exist in a Bash script?

        We can quickly tell if a standard file does not exist in Bash using the test command or [ builtin. This page explains how to find a regular file under the Linux or Unix-like system using Bash.

      • How to Verify SHA256 Checksum of File in Linux using sha256sum

        The last week I intend to install Red Hat on my System. I was able to download and create a bootable device using the dd command without any hassle.

        If you know, Red Hat has options to Test media & Install Red Hat Enterprises, so I have selected those options; while it’s verifying media, it shows the error of The file header checksum does not match computed checksum.

      • What is Automation and Configuration Management with CHEF – Part 1

        Configuration Management is the key focus point of DevOps practice. In the Software development cycle, all the servers should be software-configured and maintained well in such a way that they should not make any break in the development cycle. Bad configuration Management can make system outages, leaks, and data breaches. Using Configuration Management tools is about facilitating accuracy, efficiency, and speed in the DevOps-driven environment.

        There are two models of configuration Management tools – PUSH-based & PULL-based. In the PUSH-based, the Master server pushes the configuration code to the servers wherein PULL-based individual servers contact the Master for getting configuration code. PUPPET and CHEF are widely used PULL-based models, ANSIBLE is a popular PUSH-based model. In this article, we will see about CHEF.

      • How to Install XWiki on Ubuntu 20.04

        XWiki is a free and open-source Wiki Software platform written in Java. It runs on servlet containers like Tomcat and uses a database such as MySQL to store information.

      • How To Install Zoom on Manjaro 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Zoom on Manjaro 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems. It is commonly used in education sectors, in workplaces for communication with clients and colleagues, teleconferencing, and even for social relations.

        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 Zoom on a Manjaro 20 (Nibia).

      • Starting LaTeX on Ubuntu with the User Friendly Gummi

        Academics people and alike tend to love documents written with LaTeX — one of the best text creation systems you can run on computer. The benefit is, the resulting document is truly beautiful. To start making LaTeX document on Ubuntu, you can start with the user friendly application, Gummi, which features preview. This short tutorial includes examples for basic texting and several math formulas. Now let’s learn!

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 6.3 Is Released

        The latest Wine development release 6.3 has 24 game-specific bug-fixes. Those include a partial imagehlp.BindImageEx implementation for py2exe, a fix for the Monopoly Deluxe installer, a fix that allows the Logos Bible Software versions 4 through 9 to download the files it needs, a crash fix for Seagate Crystal Enterprise 8.0, a fix for all the Macromedia Director Player 4.x based games and a fix for Civilization IV BTS which wouldn’t let you return to full-screen if you alt-tabbed away from it since a regression was introduced with Wine 4.10.

        Wine 6.3 has one rather important fix for the Steam for Windows. It will no longer enter a endless restarting cycle after launching any game

        There’s also a few build-specific fixes. It is now possible to build Wine with clang-10.0 as a crosscompiler without encountering a horrible build failure.

        There’s also some general changes. The WineGStreamer library has been turned into a portable executable, WinRT support as been added to the Wine Interface Definition Language (WIDL) and there is better debugger support for the NT syscall interface.

      • Windows compatibility layer Wine 6.3 is out now

        Step right up and grab a bottle: a fresh biweekly development release is out for the Windows compatibility layer Wine with Wine 6.3 bringing together more of the latest and greatest into a suitable release for you to try.

        For newer readers and Linux users here’s a refresher – Wine is a compatibility layer built for operating systems like Linux, macOS and BSD. The idea is to allow other platforms to run games and applications only built and supported for Windows. It’s also part of what makes up Steam Play Proton. Once a year or so, all the development is bundled into a stable release.

      • Install Wine 6.3 in Ubuntu 20.04 / Linux Mint & Fedora 33

        The wine team released its new development version 6.3

        As you know Wine application is used to run windows applications on Non-Windows Operating systems such as Linux, FreeBSD, and macOS.

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install wine 6.3 in Ubuntu 20.10, Ubuntu 20.04, Fedora 33, and Linux Mint 20.1.

      • Wine-Staging 6.3 Should Fix Some Half-Decade Old Bugs For Some Installers

        Two weeks ago Wine-Staging 6.2 came in at 669 patches while now with the Wine-Staging 6.3 point release has climbed to just under 700 patches atop the upstream Wine code-base.

        Wine-Staging 6.3 clocks in at 694 patches even with a number of patches having been upstreamed, primarily around the WIDL WinRT code.

        There are new patches with Wine-Staging 6.3 in trying to address some permission issues. In particular, Bug 39263 around Discord and other programs using the Squirrel installer needing to be run as an un-elevated process. That bug has been open since 2015 while also addressed by Wine-Staging 6.3 is Bug 40613 that has been open since 2016. That second bug is over various applications needing to be run unprivileged / as a normal user rather than administrator. That bug report pertains to WhatsApp, OneDive, Smartflix, and other Squirrel installer based software.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Welcome KGeoTag!

          Just a quick shout-out to Tobias who just released version 1.0.0 of KGeoTag. As you can probably guess from the version number, KGeoTag is quite a young project – though it already has some nice features.

          You can use KGeoTag to assign image files to GPS locations. This can help you with remembering the exact location where a photo was taken, or with discovering images that were taken at the same place. Of course, this is most useful when used together with another program such as KPhotoAlbum, that can adequately display this information and lets you search by GPS coordinates

        • This week in KDE: a little bit of everything

          Fixing up Plasma 5.21 continues, and we also did a lot of UI polishing this week…

          A Task manager can now be configured to not cause its hidden panel to become visible when one of its apps or tasks receives a “needs attention” status (Michael Moon, Plasma 5.22)

          You can now apply global themes, color schemes, cursor themes, plasma themes, and wallpapers from the command-line, using some fancy new CLI tools with names like plasma-apply-colorscheme (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Plasma 5.22)

          KDE apps now support the HEIF and HEIC image formats (Daniel Novomeský, Frameworks 5.80)

        • KDE Rolling Out New CLI Tools, Many Crash Fixes

          KDE developers have been wrapping up February with a number of new command line tools being worked on for applying various cosmetic changes to the desktop. There have also been many crash fixes addressed in recent days.

          KDE developer Nate Graham is out with his weekly post summarizing all of the development happenings for the past week. Among the highlights for these open-source desktop environment changes over the past week include…

        • Documentation Improvements in KDE

          Doxyqml, our documentation bridge between QML and doxygen, got various improvements, thanks to Olaf Mandel and Lasse Lopperi. Now QML enums are supported and the lexer/parser got various bug fixes.

          Speaking of QML documentation, the Kirigami API documentation was improved and now uses more correctly @inherit tags and @property tags. There is still room for improvements, but the current state is already a lot better. Most Components are now showing all their properties correctly and the type of the property is correct. (kirigami!239)

          Another improvement is that the generated Kirigami documentation now shows more accurate names: e.g. Kirigami.Page instead of org::kde::kirigami::Page. This makes it easier to read and navigate the documentation.

          There was also a bit of background work inside KApiDox, Jannet added support for QDoc, allowing to use QDoc as an alternative to Doxygen. This might be a better solution for generating documentation for projects with a lot of QML.

        • MJ Inventory Released

          Today I will finally announce the availability of my new open source application MJ Inventory. Yes … I am still looking for a better name.

          In the previous post I talked a bit about the motivation behind the project. Now comes the release in the tradition of the bazaar. Release early, release often. Its still not completely clear where this project is going but here it is. Let’s see if someone else is finding it useful. Or even if it is working for anyone but me :).

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Mageia 8 has been released

          The Mageia distribution has announced the release of Mageia 8. It comes with the usual array of new packages, including a 5.10.16 kernel, Plasma 5.20.4, GNOME 3.38, Firefox 78, Chromium 88, LibreOffice, and more.

        • Mageia 8 Linux distro ready for download

          I’ve never seen a kangaroo in person, but I know they exist because I have seen them on the internet. The same goes for Mageia users. Never in my travels have I encountered someone that regularly uses that Linux-based operating system. True, meeting any fellow desktop Linux user in public is rare in and of itself, but when I have, they typically use something more common, such as Ubuntu or Fedora. I have only witnessed Mageia users on the internet.

          So, yeah, Mageia is hardly the most popular Linux distribution, but it is fairly well-known — by people in the Linux community, at least. For fans of that operating system, I have what should be very exciting news; following a fairly lengthy development period, and several pre-release versions, the stable Mageia 8 is finally ready for download!

        • Mageia 8 Released – Flips On AMDGPU For Older GCN GPUs, Better ARM Support

          Mageia 8 is out today as a significant and long overdue update to this Linux distribution long ago derived from Mandriva/Mandrake lineage.

          Mageia 8 entered alpha nearly one year ago with better ARM support, compressing RPM metadata using Zstd instead of XZ, Python 2 removal work, and more. Mageia 8 Beta then arrived over the summer with more updates. Earlier this month the Mageia 8 release candidate arrived with an interesting change of enabling AMDGPU by default for GCN 1.0 / 1.1 GPUs rather than defaulting to the older Radeon DRM driver. This means those original GCN GPUs now have Vulkan out-of-the-box, AMDGPU DC, and in some cases better performance compared to the Radeon DRM driver.

        • Kali Linux 2021.1 Released: Tweaked DEs and Terminals, New Tools, Silicon Macs

          Offensive Security has released Kali Linux 2021.1, the latest version of its popular open source penetration testing platform. You can download it or upgrade to it. Kali NetHunter, the distro’s mobile pentesting platform, now has an upgraded BusyBox engine and tools updated to the latest version (or, in some cases, completely rewritten). There are two new Kali ARM images: one that can be used with VMs on Apple Silicon Macs (Apple M1) and the other for the Raspberry Pi 400′s wireless card.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Lite 5.4 Will Be Based on Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS, Release Candidate Ready for Testing

          Linux Lite is a user-friendly distro that aims to bring more ex-Windows users to the Linux and Open Source ecosystem. The new release of this Ubuntu derived distribution, Linux Lite 5.4, will be based on Canonical’s recently released Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system.

          But Linux Lite 5.4 will ship with the long-term supported Linux 5.4 LTS kernel instead of the much newer Linux kernel 5.8 from Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS. However, users will be able to install any other kernel they want up to the recently released Linux kernel 5.11 from the software repositories with just two commands.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Set up your own Slack-like chat system on Linux

        Zulip’s 3.0 release back in July saw over 100 people contribute from all over the world. It also brought support for Ubuntu 20.04, so we fired up our server to see just how easy it is to install and if it could restore our faith in chat. We’re pleased to say it’s super easy and we strongly recommend adding it to your server, too.


        The two key bits of terminology to grasp are streams and topics. Streams are a broader hierarchy and can be thought of as separate chatrooms.

        Different members of your team can be members of different streams, and streams can be made private so that only certain people can see them. Within a stream every message has its own topic and conversations will appear threaded thusly, rather like email subject lines.

        However, unlike email subject lines you can’t be lazy and have a blank thread. This tiny bit of extra effort is what enables everything to be so nicely organised, so that you can enjoy hassle-free open source messaging whether in real time or asynchronously, perhaps catching up on messages from your colleagues in other time zones.

      • Library management system with global Open Source community

        It is difficult to choose a single benefit in Koha, says Jessica Andersson from Alingsås Library, who is also in the board of Koha’s Sweden Network. Koha is build to be modular and features can easily be controlled by activation or de-sctivation. This is a flexibility, which Jessica Andersson points out to be unique in Koha.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Lyra: A New Very Low-Bitrate Codec for Speech Compression

            Connecting to others online via voice and video calls is something that is increasingly a part of everyday life. The real-time communication frameworks, like WebRTC, that make this possible depend on efficient compression techniques, codecs, to encode (or decode) signals for transmission or storage. A vital part of media applications for decades, codecs allow bandwidth-hungry applications to efficiently transmit data, and have led to an expectation of high-quality communication anywhere at any time.


            To solve this problem, we have created Lyra, a high-quality, very low-bitrate speech codec that makes voice communication available even on the slowest networks. To do this, we’ve applied traditional codec techniques while leveraging advances in machine learning (ML) with models trained on thousands of hours of data to create a novel method for compressing and transmitting voice signals.

          • Google’s New Lyra Voice Codec + AV1 Aim For Video Chats Over 56kbps Modems In 2021

            Google’s AI team has announced “Lyra” as a very low bit-rate codec for speech compression designed for use-cases like WebRTC and other video chats… With a bit rate so low that when combined with the likes of the AV1 video codec could potentially allow video chats over 56kbps Internet connections.

            Google engineers formally announced Lyra on Thursday as this new codec to challenge the likes of Opus. Lyra leverages machine learning to make it suitable for delivering extremely low bit-rate speech compression.

            Google’s Lyra announcement noted, “Lyra is currently designed to operate at 3kbps and listening tests show that Lyra outperforms any other codec at that bitrate and is compared favorably to Opus at 8kbps, thus achieving more than a 60% reduction in bandwidth. Lyra can be used wherever the bandwidth conditions are insufficient for higher-bitrates and existing low-bitrate codecs do not provide adequate quality.”

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Accessibility: 2021 Firefox Accessibility Roadmap Update [Ed: Mozilla is not consistent. It speaks of people with disabilities, but was eager to go on with DRM (EME) inside Firefox despite is being an attack on disabled people]

            People with disabilities can experience huge benefits from technology but can also find it frustrating or worse, downright unusable. Mozilla’s Firefox accessibility team is committed to delivering products and services that are not just usable for people with disabilities, but a delight to use.

            The Firefox accessibility (a11y) team will be spending much of 2021 re-building major pieces of our accessibility engine, the part of Firefox that powers screen readers and other assistive technologies.

            While the current Firefox a11y engine has served us well for many years, new directions in browser architectures and operating systems coupled with the increasing complexity of the modern web means that some of Firefox’s venerable a11y engine needs a rebuild.

            Browsers, including Firefox, once simple single process applications, have become complex multi-process systems that have to move lots of data between processes, which can cause performance slowdowns. In order to ensure the best performance and stability and to enable support for a growing, wider variety of accessibility tools in the future (such as Windows Narrator, Speech Recognition and Text Cursor Indicator), Firefox’s accessibility engine needs to be more robust and versatile. And where ATs used to spend significant resources ensuring a great experience across browsers, the dominance of one particular browser means less resources being committed to ensuring the ATs work well with Firefox. This changing landscape means that Firefox too must evolve significantly and that’s what we’re going to be doing in 2021.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Open source database migration guide: How to transition

          Open source database migration typically involves more than just a database. It is more accurately described as a database ecosystem transition, which can include multiple independent projects for management, monitoring, tuning, connection pooling, high availability and third-party support. Beyond the database ecosystem, application integration with the database may be impacted as well.

          The appeal of open source databases, particularly for smaller non-mission-critical systems, has led to increased adoption and market popularity.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Poke 1.0 Is Released

            Poke is a new interactive editor for binary data with a full-fledged procedural, interactive programming language designed to describe data structures and to operate on them. This is the first release after 3 years of work by 19 contributors.


            It is supposed to be a binary editor, so there is probably some way to make actual edits using Poke. Perhaps you’re supposed to use the extract, copy and save commands somehow. Perhaps not. The mystery remains unsolved. You can probably solve it if you are a GNU and/or computer scientist.

          • What is GNU/Linux Copypasta?

            I’d just like to interject for a moment. What you’re refering to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I’ve recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux. Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning GNU system made useful by the GNU corelibs, shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full OS as defined by POSIX.

            Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is often called Linux, and many of its users are not aware that it is basically the GNU system, developed by the GNU Project.

            There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is just a part of the system they use. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system that allocates the machine’s resources to the other programs that you run. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. All the so-called Linux distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux!

      • Programming/Development

        • Testing 4×4 matrix inversion precision

          It is extremely rare that a hobby software project of mine gets completed, but now it has happened. Behold! Fourbyfour!

          Have you ever had to implement a mathematical algorithm, say, matrix inversion? You want it to be fast and measuring the speed is fairly simple, right. But what about correctness? Or precision? Behavior around inputs that are on the edge? You can hand-pick a few example inputs, put those into your test suite, and verify the result is what you expect. If you do not pick only trivial inputs, this is usually enough to guarantee your algorithm does not have fundamental mistakes. But what about those almost invalid inputs, can you trust your algorithm to not go haywire on them? How close to invalid can your inputs be before things break down? Does your algorithm know when it stops working and tell you?

          Inverting a square matrix requires that the inverse matrix exists to begin with. Matrices that do not mathematically have an inverse matrix are called singular. Can your matrix inversion algorithm tell you when you are trying to invert a matrix that cannot be inverted, or does it just give you a bad result pretending it is ok?

          Working with computers often means working with floating-point numbers. With floating-point, the usual mathematics is not enough, it can actually break down. You calculate something and the result a computer gives you is total nonsense, like 1+2=2 in spirit. In the case of matrix inversion, it’s not enough that the input matrix is not singular mathematically, it needs to be “nice enough” numerically as well. How do you test your matrix inversion algorithm with this in mind?

          These questions I tried to answer with Fourbyfour. The README has the links to the sub-pages discussing how I solved this, so I will not repeat it here. However, as the TL;DR, if there is one thing you should remember, it is this:

        • Getting started with COBOL development on Fedora Linux 33

          Though its popularity has waned, COBOL is still powering business critical operations within many major organizations. As the need to update, upgrade and troubleshoot these applications grows, so may the demand for anyone with COBOL development knowledge.

          Fedora 33 represents an excellent platform for COBOL development.
          This article will detail how to install and configure tools, as well as compile and run a COBOL program.

        • 3 Excellent Free Books to Learn about ClojureScript

          ClojureScript is a compiler for Clojure that targets JavaScript. It emits JavaScript code which is compatible with the advanced compilation mode of the Google Closure optimizing compiler.

          Clojure is a dialect of the Lisp programming language. It’s a well-rounded language. It offers broad library support and runs on multiple operating systems. Clojure is a dynamic functional general purpose programming language that runs on the Java platform, combining the approachability and interactive development of a scripting language with an efficient and robust infrastructure for multi-threaded programming. Clojure features a rich set of immutable, persistent data structures, first-class functions and dynamic typing. Clojure programs are composed of expressions and written in terms of abstractions.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • ISO 8601: the better date format

        If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that there are different date formats in the world such as the American one (mm/dd/yyyy) and the European one (dd.mm.yyyy). If you’re smart enough, you’ve probably also noticed that the American one makes no sense and is just awful. A simple conclusion that many people draw out of this is that the European format is the best one, however I don’t think this is true. If you’re one of these people who think so, I’m here to (hopefully) change your mind by introducing you to a lesser-known date format called ISO 8601.

  • Leftovers

    • ‘A Red Alert for Our Planet’: New UN Report Shows Radically Bolder Action Needed to Hit 1.5°C Target

      “It’s staggering how far off track countries are to dealing with the climate crisis.”

    • Opinion | Windmills: The New Scapegoat

      The real scapegoat here is the Green New Deal, proposed legislation—not actual law—that begins re-envisioning who we are as a nation and what our relationship is to the future.

    • Smithfield Pork’s Sustainability Scam

      In reality, the corporate giant relies on a sprawling network of polluting factory farms and slaughterhouses, responsible for widespread pollution of our air and water. And one of Smithfield’s most aggressive clean image initiatives relies on — if you can believe it — massive, leaky lagoons of pig manure.

      That yawning gap between the company’s carefully crafted image and its record of environmental degradation is why Food & Water Watch, joined by several other farming and environmental groups, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission over Smithfield’s deceptive and misleading advertising.

    • What Lawrence Ferlinghetti Means to Me

      Brave and yet cautious, he often wore a Cheshire cat grin and went out of his way to be supportive, not only to me, but also to other writers much younger than him. My own connections to Ferlinghetti are tied to my connections to San Francisco, as a literary place and a cultural outpost of bohemian Paris, where he went to school and was influenced by George Whitman’s bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, which opened in 1919, the same year Ferlinghetti was born.

      On KQED, two days after Ferlinghetti’s death on February 22, 2021, Elaine Katzenberger, the executive director at City Lights, noted that he was shy and that it wasn’t easy to get to know him. Indeed, he wasn’t outgoing the way Allen Ginsberg was, but it was worthwhile to get to know him.

    • Bitcoin and Baseball Cards
    • Imagining Palestine: On Barghouti, Darwish, Kanafani and the Language of Exile

      The death in Amman of Palestinian poet, Mourid Barghouti, an intellectual whose work has intrinsically been linked to exile, brought back to the surface many existential questions: are Palestinians destined to be exiled? Can there be a remedy for this perpetual torment? Is justice a tangible, achievable goal?

      Barghouti was born in 1944 in Deir Ghassana, near Ramallah. His journey in exile began in 1967, and ended, however temporarily, 30 years later. His memoir “I Saw Ramallah” – published in 1997 – was an exiled man’s attempt to make sense of his identity, one that has been formulated within many different physical spaces, conflicts and airports. While, in some way, the Palestinian in Barghouti remained intact, his was a unique identity that can only be fathomed by those who have experienced, to some degree, the pressing feelings of Ghurba – estrangement and alienation – or Shataat – dislocation and diaspora.

    • Why Xavier Becerra Is a Smart Pick to Run HHS
    • Cutting Down Our Future
    • San Francisco Blues, 101
    • Beyond “Missed Opportunities”: How Should Revolutionaries respond to Judas and the Black Messiah?

      It’s also too easy these days—with the aid of our simmering social media silos—to develop political expectations for mass culture that are far beyond, or even utterly out of touch with, the base-line discourse running through the broader society.

      Say what you want about the selections, omissions, emphases, or ellipses of Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah, but let’s not let our revolutionary wish-list keep us from appreciating a number of the ways that this film intervenes—with force and clarity—in our present American political discourse.

    • Small Towns and Rural Communities Need Transit, Too

      For many Americans, public transit is the only option to get to work, school, the grocery store, or doctor’s appointments. But nearly half of us have no access to public transit. And those that do are now confronting limited routes, slashed service times, and limited disability accommodations.

      This isn’t just a worry for people who live in cities — over a million households in rural America don’t have a vehicle. In rural communities like Wolfe County, Kentucky, Bullock County, Alabama, and Allendale County, South Carolina, fully 20 percent of households don’t have a car.

    • Tales of the Mighty Whitey: Deep Diving in the Dark Web Dumpster

      Fraud and deceit among the politicians whose job description highlights compromised positions?  In America? I’m going with the crullers scenario.

      But however one chooses to see the events of January 6 (or ‘1/6/1’ — if you’re keeping tabs of the rolling pearl harbors), on display was fat slobby mighty whitey devilry, led by a Proud Boy FBI informant and, apparently, avid Stephen King readers over at QAnon, the couch potato caliphate, who finally got off their asses and did something. Rebel Yell in the corridors. One of them even hee-hawed off with Nancy Pelosi’s podium, although I’m told she maintained control of the gavel.

    • Power Analysis Failure

      “No, Wind Farms Aren’t the Main Cause of the Texas Blackouts,” a New York Times headline (2/17/21) instructed readers three days after the extreme weather event that precipitated widespread infrastructure failures in the Lone Star State, failures that caused mass suffering and led to dozens of deaths. The article, by Dionne Searcey, appeared after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was called out by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (among many others) for blaming renewable energy sources for the state’s power grid collapse.

    • Now He Sings, Now We Sob

      From its invention in the eighteenth century, and increasingly across the century that followed, the piano was the beating heart of the home. Loved ones gathered around it for wordless reverie, then joined their voices in song. Often they cried, alone or together. How was it that feelings were encouraged to express themselves by fingers moving across ivory and ebony keys, the hammer-struck strings resonating with emotion?

      The cover photo of Corea’s album, his second as a leader, updates the Biedermeier décor of those now cheerful, now tearful evenings of yore, parquet floor replaced by shag carpet, cut glass decanter by chrome drinks tray. Posters not paintings hang on the wall. Instead of portraits of ancestors or the Kaiser, family photographs perch on polished wood furniture. The polyester curtain is drawn to keep the big city’s lights and sounds out of the apartment where the pianist is alone at the keyboard, deep in his music.

    • Illusion Geopolitical Unmasked: the Metastasis  Global of ‘New Normal’

      That we are  encouraged to believe in  and not to question axioms as  concerns different  power structures prevailing at a Geopolitical level being to some rough approximation of that  which  Orwell delineated as ‘Eastasia, Eurasia and Oceania‘ has a political utility?

      What if such hegemony of Geopolitics  expresses  a unipolarity become; if  it no more than mere illusion sense of belief controlled purposive, that the concept of ‘Deep State’ has attained a unipolar status of megalomaniacal proportionality pragmatic; that geopolitical differentiation  now represents but wings ‘beating propagandic’  under the pump of a singular  dark heart of corporatist necrotrophy/oligarchic collective undergoing a metastasis – from ‘bipartisan’  at a national level to ‘tripartisan’ at a geopolitical level?

    • Joe Biden Tells the World “America Is Back” — Not That It Ever Really Went Anywhere

      “America is back,” President Joe Biden bellicosely proclaimed in his major foreign policy priorities speech at the Munich Security Conference on February 19. Repeating it for effect, Biden signaled the end of the Trump interregnum.

    • “America is Back”: Make the Best of It

      He seems as pleased as can be about it too. So is the entire political class, except for the miscreants wedded to Donald Trump or to rightwing views, distinguished mainly by their vileness and stupidity.

      There are alarmingly many Americans who hold those views, but there are more who do not. Thank God. But not too much.

    • Science

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Opinion | The Most Fundamental Stumbling Block To Vaccine Access Is That Private Pharmaceutical Companies Are in Control and Rich Countries Are Enabling Them

        Charitable donations from rich countries and individuals are welcome—but they won’t ensure fair vaccine distribution unless the drug-patenting system is reformed, too.

      • ‘Blood on Our Hands’: 400+ Groups Call on Biden to Support Making Vaccine Recipes Available to the World

        “This should be a no-brainer. President Biden must grant the [WTO] waiver so that millions around the world can develop the vaccine and save lives.”

      • Health Care and Colonialism: A Sickness unto Death

        Some of these injustices might seem small to those not subject to them. They might also seem reasonable. They are often justified to society on the basis of cost. Other times, their justification relies on tropes that demean and stereotype present day members of once colonized or enslaved peoples. We are all familiar with such stereotypes and even non-critical eyes notice them being used in television shows, movies and other media. Even here, this use is not necessarily intentional, but is a result of the insidiousness of these stereotypes. It seems unnecessary to provide examples of these tropes here, since most people who live in North America are aware of them on some level, thanks to the work of anti-racist/anti-white supremacy advocates in the past and in the present.

        This knowledge is of little use, though, if the injustices based on these stereotypes continue. This fact is one of the fundamental messages of Pediatric Emergency Physsician and Professor Samir Shaheen-Hussain’s new book, Fighting for a Hand to Hold: Confronting Medical Colonialism Against Indigenous Children in Canada. Shaheen-Hussain, who teaches at Montreal’s McGill University and is also a practicing physician, was one of the leaders of a campaign trying to end the practice of not allowing severely ill and injured children from the Inuit and Cree in Quebec to be accompanied by a caretaker when the care they required meant a plane flight to a hospital in Montreal or another Quebec metropolis. It was after some years of quietly accepting the practice that Shaheen-Hussain and others began a campaign to change the practice. His understanding that the policy itself—which was never actually encoded into law—was not just prejudicial to Indigenous peoples, but was a manifestation of Canada’s colonial history in their present day lives.

      • Pandemic May Have Left Over 250 Million People With Acute Food Shortages in 2020

        In the United States, “food insecurity has doubled overall, and tripled among households with children” due to the pandemic, states a June 2020 report by the Institute for Policy Research (IPR) at Northwestern University, which relied on data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. In a recent interview with CBS News, IPR Director Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach warned that these statistics would likely “continue to hold,” with the numbers indicating particularly dramatic rises in food insecurity among Black and Latinx families. Indeed, families of color are being disproportionately impacted. According to an analysis of new Census data by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), 22 percent of Black and 21 percent of Latinx respondents reported not having enough to eat, compared to just 9 percent of white people.

        Globally, the effects of COVID-19 on food security are equally, if not more, severe. According to a CBS News report, WFP Director David Beasley told the UN Security Council in April 2020 that the world is on “the brink of a hunger pandemic.” He added, “In a worst-case scenario, we could be looking at famine in about three dozen countries, and in fact, in 10 of these countries we already have more than one million people per country who are on the verge of starvation.”

      • Just Die

        Minutes out, heading to Brooklyn, H, V, and I stopped at a COVID test site. I’d heard stories about the test, the discomfort, that someone’s nasopharyngeal swab was so intrusive a cerebral fluid leak occurred. I watched as H and V were tested—to see if either registered pain and saw only a slight grimace and teary eyes. My turn. Not bad enough to induce my hair-trigger vasovagal syncope, however, the nurse turned, walked back to me, and said, “I’m sorry. I dropped your swab. It’s the first time this has happened to me, and I’ve done hundreds of these tests. I’m going to have to swab you again.”


      • Honor Black Lives by Ending Racist Wars

        The stars of this new corporate Blackanalia, naturally, are the monarchs of the New Black Renaissance, Barack and Michelle Obama, because nothing says racial justice like looking glamorous while getting away with war crimes. The new dream is apparently being woke enough to pass mediocre healthcare reform between murdering teenagers of color in Yemen with drone strikes. I need to sit down. No, I need to stand up.

        All of this wouldn’t feel so goddamn personal to me if it didn’t all feel so goddamn familiar. I may be but a pale-faced faggot but I’ve witnessed this same damn shit as a Queer person with what those same corporate scumfucks have done to Pride Month. A holiday that began with my people kicking the Queer Christ out of a bunch of roll crazy pigs has been reduced to a photo-op for gangsters like Kamala Harris to pose in front of and cover up the stench of the Prison Industrial Complex on her breath. Maybe this is unfair, but I think all marginalized people, all the ones I know anyway, look to Black Power for guidance and inspiration, like a beautiful Afroed older sister to teach us how to crack wise and beat the man. It fucking hurts to see this badass domesticated into something of value to the people we fight.

      • ‘The CDC Must Appeal Immediately’: Trump-Appointed Judge Strikes Down Pandemic Eviction Moratorium

        The pause on evictions was put in place to help stem the spread of Covid-19.

      • “The Control Group”: A litigation-driven antivaccine survey of the “unvaccinated”

        There are more awful incompetently designed and executed “studies” of unvaccinated populations compared to vaccinated populations carried out by antivaxxers than I can even count. I know. I’ve been shooting them down since at least 2005. (Anyone remember the dumpster-diving in the VAERS database by the not-so-dynamic duo of Geier père et fils?) The problem is that there are far more crappy antivax studies than even this single clear Plexiglass box of colored blinking lights can deal with. The torrent of bad antivax “science” is a veritable firehose—nay, a veritable tsunami—that one person just can’t handle, however fast and verbose he is at blogging and Twitter. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has supercharged these tendencies, as crappy antivax studies have now morphed into crappy antivax studies about COVID-19 vaccines. Still, even in the midst of a deadly pandemic that in a little more than a year has killed over a half a million people in just the US alone, it’s depressing to see that the same old, same old is still a thing among antivaxxers, namely crappy surveys masquerading as “studies” of the unvaccinated that claim to find that the unvaccinated are oh-so-much “healthier” than the vaccinated. So it was that I came across an article on Vaxxter earlier this week, New survey of vaccine-free group exposes long-term impact of vaccination policies on public health by Greg Glaser and Pat O’Connell. Basically, the survey is called The Control Group Pilot Study, and apparently it was published late last year. Why Vaxxter is only getting around to it now, I don’t know, but let’s take a look:

      • The Pandemic Tested Our Social Safety Net. It Failed.

        Economic crises shine a spotlight on a society’s inequities and hierarchies, as well as its commitment to support those who are most vulnerable in such grievous moments. The calamity created by Covid-19 is no exception. The economic fallout from that pandemic has tested the nation’s social safety net as never before.

      • Combating pollution

        While Pakistan’s carbon emissions are very low in comparison to the rest of the world, it is among the most polluted countries in terms of ambient (outdoor) air pollution and water contamination. According to rankings compiled by IQAir, Pakistan was the world’s second most polluted country in the world for both 2018 as well as 2019, behind Bangladesh, with air quality characterised as “unhealthy” as measured by levels of PM2.5 (fine particulate matter that have a diameter less than 2.5 micrometres).

      • Facebook censors WSWS article exposing “Wuhan lab” conspiracy theory

        Multiple readers confirmed that upon attempting to share the article, they received a message saying “no one else can see your post” because Facebook does not “allow false information that has been repeatedly debunked,” implying that the article contains “misinformation about COVID-19.” Some readers reported that immediately upon sharing the article, their Facebook accounts were suspended for three and, in some cases, seven days.

        Absolutely nothing in the WSWS article was wrong, false or misleading. The article in question was based on the position of the World Health Organization, which has excluded investigation of a non-natural origin of COVID-19 on the grounds that there is no evidence to support the claim.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft to cut perpetual Office support by 50%, raise price by 10%

          Reducing support for Office LTSC and 2021 to five years makes the software less attractive in any comparison with Office 365/Microsoft 365. Perpetual licensing’s biggest advantage over subscriptions is cost, but that advantage relies on the customer upgrading relatively infrequently. By offering an upgrade every three years and limiting support to five years, Microsoft has forced customers who want or need perpetual licensing to deploy every version. There’s no way to skip an upgrade because there’s no overlap in support for versions n and n+2.

        • SolarWinds’s Security Practices Questioned by Lawmakers

          The cyber-attack was revealed in December after FireEye Inc. discovered it while investigating a breach of its own. The [attackers] implanted malicious code into SolarWinds’s popular Orion software, and as many as 18,000 customers received it while updating the software. Far fewer were actually targeted for secondary attacks — about 100 companies and nine U.S. agencies, according to the White House.

          A persistent question has been how the [attackers] originally breached SolarWinds. At the hearing, SolarWinds CEO Sudhakar Ramakrishna said the company was still investigating but had narrowed it to three possible methods. The [attackers] may have used a technique called “password spraying,” where the attackers “spray” passwords at a large volume of usernames. A second possibility was that the [attackers] stole credentials, he said, while the third was a breach of a third-party application used by SolarWinds.

        • Security

          • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 168 released

            The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 168. This version includes the following changes:

            * Don't call difflib.Differ.compare with very large inputs; it is at least
              O(n^2) and makes diffoscope appear to hang.
              (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#240)
            * Don't use "Inheriting PATH of X" in debug log message; use "PATH is X".
            * Correct the capitalisation of jQuery.

          • Your old home router is probably vulnerable to hackers [Ed: ‘New’ Linux FUD from ‘old’ Microsoft partners]

            Linux is the most-used operating system on Internet routers, but a recent study from Fraunhofer FKIE has shown that these devices are running extremely old and potentially insecure versions of the Linux kernel.

            While the Fraunhofer report is more than six months old, information security expert Bruce Schneier shared it recently, noting that it has not been widely reported.

            According to the report, Linux powers more than 90% of broadband routers. However, these devices which act as our gateways to the Internet often run on Linux kernels that are more than ten years old.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Oracle, Which Promised To Protect TikTok User Data From China, Helps Chinese Law Enforcement Snarf Through Lots Of Private Data

              As you’ll recall, last summer there was a whole performative nonsense thing with then President Trump declaring TikTok to be a national security threat (just shortly after some kids on TikTok made him look silly by reserving a million tickets to a Trump rally they never intended to attend). Trump and his cronies insisted that TikTok owner ByteDance had to sell the US operations of TikTok to an American firm. The whole rationale about this was the claim — unsupported by any direct evidence — that TikTok was a privacy risk, because it was owned by a firm based in Beijing, and that firm likely had connections to the Chinese government (as do basically all large Chinese firms). But how was that privacy risk any worse than pretty much any other company? No one ever seemed to be able to say.

            • TikTok owner agrees to $92 million privacy settlement with U.S. users

              ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the short video app TikTok that has more than 100 million U.S. users, agreed to the settlement after more than a year of litigation.

            • Twitter is exploring a subscription option called ‘super follows’

              The feature, which is in internal testing and not launched, would represent a shift on a service that’s always been free, pushing Twitter in the direction of companies such as Patreon, OnlyFans or Substack that offer the chance to make money from significant or devoted followers.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Course of Chile’s Revolt, Seen from the Streets: Interview with Victoria Garcés López

        For more analysis of the context of the Chilean revolt, CounterPunch’s Matthew Collado spoke with Victoria Garcés López. Garcés López is a public school teacher, a trade union militant, and a leftist and feminist activist based in the capital Santiago. In this wide-ranging interview she describes her own politicization and activism, Chile’s recent history leading to the revolt, its composition, and the perilous process ahead to build democratic foundations for Chile. Garcés López provides an illuminating portrait of this moment of transition, as seen and felt in the streets. The interview has been translated from Spanish and edited for clarity.

        MC Talk a bit about yourself and your political background.

      • Lawmakers Say Biden Admin Must Present Congress Legal Justification for Bombing of Syria

        Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said that “retaliatory strikes, not necessary to prevent an imminent threat, must fall within the definition of an existing congressional authorization of military force.”

      • Sanders Warns Biden Attack on Syria Puts US on ‘Path of Continuing the Forever War Instead of Ending It’

        “Our Constitution is clear that it is Congress, not the president, who has the authority to declare war,” the senator asserted.

      • ‘Utter BS’: Human Rights Advocates Outraged Biden Won’t Punish MBS Over Gruesome Khashoggi Murder

        After release of U.S. intelligence report, one critic said letting Saudi crown prince “get away with the murder” of dissident journalist “is absolutely abhorrent and horrific.”

      • The Guantánamo Nightmare Has to End

        The Constitution Project, a Washington-based non-partisan research and advocacy group, stated that “U.S. forces, in many instances, used interrogation techniques on detainees that constitute torture. American personnel conducted an even larger number of interrogations that involved ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Both categories of actions violate U.S. laws and international treaties. Such conduct was directly counter to values of the Constitution and our nation.”

        Equally appalling has been the involvement of medical personnel who supervised the interrogation of detainees, as denounced by Open Society and the Institute of Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) to the point that the US Department of Defense (DOD) considered those health professionals “safety officers’ rather than doctors. In its report “Deprivation and Despair: The Crisis of Medical Care at Guantánamo,” Physicians for Human Rights (USA) gives a detailed account of the abuses that detainees were subjected to in Guantánamo.

      • Canadian Support for the Dictatorship in Haiti

        Last week a public letter was released criticizing Canada’s “support for a repressive, corrupt Haitian president devoid of constitutional legitimacy.” It was signed by three current MPs and three former MPs, as well as Noam Chomsky, David Suzuki, Naomi Klein, Roger Waters, El Jones and 500 others.

        The letter notes that Canada “continues to fund and train a police force that has violently repressed anti-Moïse protests. The Canadian ambassador in Haiti has repeatedly attended police functions all the while refusing to criticize their repression of protesters. On January 18 ambassador Stuart Savage met the controversial new head of police Leon Charles to discuss ‘strengthening the capacity of the police.’”

      • Rethinking Israel’s Blank Check in Light of Palestinian Teen’s Death with US Weapon

        Last year, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian teenager with an American gun. Now human rights organizations, activists, and politicians are calling on the United States to investigate the killing and stop the flow of military support to Israel.

      • Futile: Saudi’s Decade-Long Attempt to Bottle Up Yemeni Youth Revolution is Failing

        A decade has passed since a massive popular uprising was sparked in Yemen by the wave of pro-democracy protests surging across the Middle East and North Africa known as the Arab Spring. The protests called for the overthrow of dictatorial regimes and sought democracy, sovereignty, and the elimination of poverty and unemployment. For Radwan Ali al-Haimi, a Yemeni youth and one of the leaders of the uprising, the hope for a new era of freedom and democracy cannot be crushed by Saudi Arabia and will come true with time.

      • Opinion | Trillions of Our Tax Dollars for New Nuclear Missiles? Let’s Stop the Omnicider!

        It’s hard to imagine a more colossal waste of money, energy and human ingenuity, especially with the pandemic and climate chaos bearing down on us.

      • Biden’s Opportunity with China

        Biden will have to craft a China policy that will convince Americans, and Chinese leaders, that he can both compete with and where necessary confront China, relying on diplomacy rather than on threats and bluster. China will be a severe test for a new administration whose highest priorities are the pandemic and the economy.

        Yet Biden can neither put China on the back burner nor allow China policy to be determined by ideological China-bashing and Trump’s trade war, which caused major job losses and hurt farmers, consumers, universities, and overseas investors.

      • A New Cold War on a Scalding Planet: Biden, Climate Change, and China

        Biden is certainly aware of the dangers of global warming. In that same Foreign Affairs article, he labeled it nothing short of an “existential threat,” one that imperils the survival of human civilization. Acknowledging the importance of relying on scientific expertise (unlike our previous president who repeatedly invented his own version of scientific reality), Biden affirmed the conclusion of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that warming must be limitedto 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels or there will be hell to pay. He then pledged to “rejoin the Paris climate agreement on day one of a Biden administration,” which he indeed did, and to “make massive, urgent investments at home that put the United States on track to have a clean energy economy with net-zero [greenhouse gas] emissions by 2050” — the target set by the IPCC.

        Even such dramatic actions, he indicated, will not be sufficient.  Other countries will have to join America in moving toward a global “net-zero” state in which any carbon emissions would be compensated for by equivalent carbon removals. “Because the United States creates only 15 percent of global emissions,” he wrote, “I will leverage our economic and moral authority to push the world to determined action, rallying nations to raise their ambitions and push progress further and faster.”

      • Biden ‘Revenge’ Bombing of Syria ‘Violates International Law’: Legal Scholar

        “The use of military force on the territory of a foreign sovereign state is lawful only in response to an armed attack on the defending state for which the target state is responsible.”

      • Another Step Back for Biden: Attack on Syria Draws Establishment Cheers

        Barely a month into his presidency, Joe Biden launched an airstrike on Syria yesterday. The attack was reportedly aimed at militias close to the Iraq border, killing 22 people — considerably more than the White House first claimed. In the attack, 1.75 tons of bombs were dropped on a small border-crossing village, according to The New York Times.

      • ‘No one cares if we die’: Ex-Syrian rebels recount Nagorno-Karabakh nightmare as ‘disposable force for Turkey’
      • Opinion | Biden’s Reckless Syria Bombing Is Not the Diplomacy He Promised

        Biden must recognize that the best way to protect U.S. personnel in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere in the region is to take them out of the Middle East.

      • Opinion | Dangerous US Bombing of Syria Worsens Regional Instability and Threatens Iran Nuclear Deal

        Regardless of who is giving orders to US bombers, we know that deploying US troops, drones, and warplanes across the region does not provide safety or security for anyone.

      • Capitalism and Political Violence at Home and Abroad

        To be clear, there are plenty of American nationalists who support militarism outside of their direct economic interests. The usual counter— that economic causality is implausibly reductive in a large and complicated world, proceeds from a narrow view of economic motives. Military production is a large part of the U.S. economy— money is made when bombs are dropped. And U.S. military operations have followed the resource needs of American businesses quite closely for well over a century. Finally, capitalism requires the creation of property rights, political stability and control over labor, to facilitate the production and expropriation of wealth.

        Graph: the great mystery of why the U.S. / NATO chose regime change in Libya in 2011 has been solved. Libya has the largest proved oil reserves on the African continent. Through broader, and more plausible, consideration of economic motives, most U.S. foreign policy, irrespective of the political party in charge, has one or more economic motives that explain it. Source: Statista.

      • Media Completely Ignore American Secret Agent’s Trial for Terrorism in Venezuela

        Unless you read the local Venezuelan press, you are unlikely to know that an American secret agent is currently standing trial in Venezuela on charges of terrorism and weapons trafficking.

      • Future Combat Air System: Industry squabbles over largest European defence project

        The governments of France, Germany and Spain want to develop an AI-based air defence network by 2040. It consists of a new generation of fighter jets accompanied by swarms of drones. A „Combat Cloud“ will then ensure networking with other units on the ground and in the air.

      • “We Want the Truth Uncovered”: Malcolm X’s Daughter Ilyasah Shabazz Backs New Probe into Assassination

        The family of Malcolm X is demanding a new investigation into his 1965 assassination in light of the deathbed confession of a former New York police officer who said police and the FBI conspired to kill the Black leader. Ilyasah Shabazz, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and one of Malcolm’s six children, says the latest revelation is further evidence of how the authorities worked to infiltrate and undermine Black organizations during the Civil Rights Movement. “All he wanted was for America to live up to her promise of liberty and justice for all,” she says of her father. “I’m happy that the truth can finally be uncovered.”

      • The Assassination of Malcolm X: Ex-Undercover Officer Admits Role in FBI & Police Conspiracy

        The FBI and New York Police Department are facing renewed calls to open their records into the assassination of Malcolm X, after the release of a deathbed confession of a former undercover NYPD officer who admitted to being part of a conspiracy targeting Malcolm. In the confession, Raymond Wood, who died last year, admitted he entrapped two members of Malcolm’s security team in another crime — a plot to blow up the Statue of Liberty — just days before the assassination. This left the Black civil rights leader vulnerable at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, where he was fatally shot on February 21, 1965. Raymond Wood’s cousin Reggie Wood, who released the confession last week at a press conference, tells Democracy Now! his cousin’s involvement in the plot haunted him for much of his life. “Ray was told by his handlers not to repeat anything that he had seen or heard, or he would join Malcolm,” says Reggie Wood. “He trusted me enough to reveal this information and asked me not to say anything until he passed away, but at the same time not to allow him to take it to his grave.”

      • Was the Killing of Ahmad Erekat an Extrajudicial Execution?

        On June 23, 2020, Ahmad Erekat, 26, was shot and killed by Israeli forces at the Container checkpoint in the central West Bank after he emerged unarmed from his car, which had crashed into the checkpoint. The Israeli authorities have consistently claimed that its personnel were acting in legitimate self-defense against a deliberate attack. As is their practice in such circumstances, they seized Ahmad’s body and have to this day refused to release it to his family for a proper burial. Ahmad’s family, as well as Palestinian, Israeli, and international human rights organizations, have called the Israeli version of events into question from the very outset, citing evidence that the crash was an accident, that Ahmad was unarmed and moving away from his killers before he was repeatedly shot, and pointing out that it made little sense for Ahmad to have carried out an attack on the day of his sister’s wedding.

      • It’s Still Time to Abolish ICE

        When a white man shot up an El Paso Walmart in 2019, a woman named Rosa was inside. She survived the massacre, then worked with prosecutors on their criminal case against the shooter. Within days of President Joe Biden’s taking office, a busted taillight upended Rosa’s life again. Rosa lived in El Paso, but she didn’t have the government’s permission to be there. During the traffic stop, local police arrested her, then handed her over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Soon she was in Mexico.

      • Biden’s Reckless Syria Bombing Is Not the Diplomacy He Promised

        According to the Pentagon, the U.S. strike was in response to the February 15 rocket attack in northern Iraq that killed a contractor working with the U.S. military and injured a U.S. service member. Accounts of the number killed in the U.S. attack vary from one to 22.

        The Pentagon made the incredible claim that this action “aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both Eastern Syria and Iraq.” This was countered by the Syrian government, which condemned the illegal attack on its territory and said the strikes “will lead to consequences that will escalate the situation in the region.” The strike was also condemned by the governments of China and Russia. A member of Russia’s Federation Council warned that such escalations in the area could lead to “a massive conflict.”

      • American Gulag

        Equaling the Soviet gulag at its height in the 1950s in numbers of prisoners, the U.S. also locks away 61,000 of them in the torture called solitary confinement and 2700 in the terror called death row. These are not the policies and actions of a civilized society. This is barbarism. As long as this continues, any American politician who climbs up on a high horse about government abuse of citizens in another country is a pathetic hypocrite who deserves to be laughed out of public life.

        Privatization of prisons has made things worse. Of federal prisoners, 19.1 percent are in private prisons, as are 6.8 percent of those in state prisons. These privately run hellholes turn a profit by jacking up fees for inmates from everything from phone calls to mail to video-conferencing with a lawyer. They also make money by skimping on decent food and proper medicines and have lots of other ingenious ways to squeeze dollars out of their captives. Politically, private prisons are a reactionary force, promoting, naturally, tougher crime laws and longer sentences. Because that’s how they make money – for them, the more prisoners, the better. Private prisons contributed to the 408 percent increase in the U.S. prison population from 1978 to 2014.

      • Joe Biden’s US Foreign Policy: Return to the Old Normal?

        No more assuring words could have been uttered for George W. Bush’s former Defense Secretary Colin Powell and the 70 odd Republican national security officials, who wrote an open letter endorsing Biden out of fear that Trump would upset the bipartisan foreign policy consensus of regime change, forever wars, and the NATO alliance. Republican neo-cons now shelter in the Democrat’s big tent, today’s party of war.

        The major difference from his predecessor is that the new US president promises a greater reliance on multilateral diplomacy and international cooperative agreements to achieve US imperial goals. Biden pledged to remain in the World Health Organization and to return to the Paris Climate Agreement, although compliance with the latter is voluntary and Biden defends fracking. After Trump withdrew the US from the UN Human Rights Council three years ago, the US will reengage as an observer. And Trump’s “Muslim ban” was reversed in Biden’s first day in office.

      • How Real Nazis Came to the Americas: the Recruitment of Klaus Barbie

        Yet the career of this heinous war criminal scarcely skipped a beat before he found himself securing entered on the US payroll in postwar Germany. The Barbie was shipped out of Europe by his new paymasters along the “ratline’ to Bolivia. There he began a new life remarkably similar to his old one: working for the secret police, doing the bidding of drug lords and engaging in arms trafficking across South America. Soon, his old skills as a torturer became in high demand.

        By the early 1960s, Barbie was once again working with the CIA to put a US-backed thug in power. In the years that followed, the old Nazi became a central player in the US-inspired Condor Program, aimed at suppressing popular insurgencies and keeping US-controlled dictators in power throughout Latin America. Barbie helped organize the so-called “Cocaine Coup” of 1980, when a junta of Bolivian generals seized power, slaughtering their leftist opponents and reaping billions in the cocaine, boom, in which Bolivia was a prime supplier.

      • Cover-up of January 6 coup attempt continues at House hearing on “security failures”

        In the third congressional hearing held this week on the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, acting US Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman and Acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee.

        The hearing, chaired by Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan, was the latest to interrogate the leadership of the various police agencies about their failure to maintain the security of the Capitol. Members raised questions about how and why, despite receiving numerous intelligence reports warning of the assault, little or no action was taken to prevent it.

      • Hundreds of Nigerian Schoolgirls Taken in Mass Abduction

        Gunmen abducted 317 girls Friday from a boarding school in northern Nigeria, police said, the latest in a series of mass kidnappings of students in the West African nation.

        Police and the military have begun joint operations to rescue the girls after the attack at the Government Girls Junior Secondary School in Jangebe town, according to a police spokesperson in Zamfara state, Mohammed Shehu, who confirmed the number abducted.

    • Environment

      • We are nowhere near keeping warming below 1.5°C despite climate plans

        A UN analysis of plans from 74 countries, accounting for almost a third of global emissions, found they would reduce those nations’ emissions by 0.5 per cent by 2030, compared with 2010 levels. However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that global emissions must fall by about 45 per cent by 2030 to stand a chance of staying below 1.5°C.

      • Scientists see stronger evidence of slowing Atlantic Ocean circulation, an ‘Achilles’ heel’ of climate

        Although evidence of the system’s weakening has been published before, the new research cites 11 sources of “proxy” evidence of the circulation’s strength, including clues hidden in seafloor mud as well as patterns of ocean temperatures. The enormous flow has been directly measured only since 2004, too short a period to definitively establish a trend, which makes these indirect measures critical for understanding its behavior.

        The new research applies a statistical analysis to show that those measures are in sync and that nine out of 11 show a clear trend.

      • UN survival plan offers new hope for the planet

        A bold UN survival plan could put nature back in charge of the Earth − and researchers explain why that should happen.

      • Energy

        • A Blizzard. A Power Outage. A Failure of the Heart.

          From sea to shining sea, ordinary people stepped up to take care of one another. My brother volunteered to snowblow the Seattle offices of an autism support center. A colleague in Portland, OR, posted warnings not to walk under the snapping, ice-laden branches of city trees. Friends in West Virginia popped back online to make sure everyone was fine after three days without Internet. When Texas megachurches refused to shelter people, a mattress store opened their doors to those without power. Up and down my dirt road in New Mexico, people checked-in with each other as they walked dogs, drove to work, and dug out their driveways.

          This is the America I believe in. In a time of political outrage (and even more outrageous headlines), I believe the content of our national character is found in how we take care of one another. Especially in times of crisis. This spirit of neighborly caring is a widely-shared value, stretching from rural communities to urban neighborhoods, encompassing everything from faith-based relief efforts to mutual aid networks.

        • Molly Ivins Can Say That About Texas
        • When Power Grids Secede: What Happened in Texas

          Second, I’ve been exasperated by the coverage. Actually more by the liberal-left voices than the wingnuts. The wingnuts don’t have any of the facts right, but they are correct in one sense: the explanation is very simple.

          (The socialists are correct, for once. This is very simple and the explanation is the one they apply to everything. Well, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.)

        • Mitch Jones on Texas Freeze-Outs, Joe Torres on News for All the People
        • Lawsuit Reveals New Allegations Against PG&E Contractor Accused of Fraud

          Utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric accused two of its former employees of accepting bribes to funnel business to a waste-hauling company after the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history.

          One supervisor for PG&E allegedly had his driveway paved on the power company’s dime. A subordinate is accused of having received a bribe in an unorthodox property transfer of a multimillion-dollar house in a wealthy suburb of San Francisco.

        • Windmills: The New Scapegoat

          That explains the emergence, in recent weeks, among right-wing politicians and media hacks, of a truly bizarre and unexpected scapegoat: the evil windmill!

          In the wake of the winter storm that shut down the Texas power grid and deprived much of its population of electricity, warmth and drinkable water, these hacks and pols have been desperate to divert public awareness from basic facts, such as the utter failure of the state’s deregulated power grid to winterize and remain functional in difficult weather, and — ultimately far worse — the looming ecological collapse caused in large part by ongoing fossil fuel extraction and consumption.

        • Analysis: How Exxon Is Being Forced To Accept The Reality Of Bad Fossil Fuel Investments

          According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), proved reserves are “the estimated quantities of crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids which geological and engineering data demonstrate with reasonable certainty to be recoverable in future years from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions.”

        • Fossil Freeze: Deadly Texas Catastrophe Shows How Natural Gas Systems Can Fail when Demand Spikes

          Those false claims were rapidly called out, rebutted not just by backers of renewable energy but also by Texas’ own power grid operators, who revealed that wind turbines were among the least of the Lone Star State’s problems. Other politicians made headlines for absurdly blaming the “Green New Deal” — a sweeping proposal to rapidly decarbonize the economy that neither Texas nor the U.S. has yet adopted.

        • Bitcoin energy use ‘bigger than most countries’

          The University of Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) studies the burgeoning business of cryptocurrencies.

          It calculates that Bitcoin’s total energy consumption is somewhere between 40 and 445 annualised terawatt hours (TWh), with a central estimate of about 130 terawatt hours.

          The UK’s electricity consumption is a little over 300 TWh a year, while Argentina uses around the same amount of power as the CCAF’s best guess for Bitcoin.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Opinion | Austerity as Fake News: It Is Time to Bury Myth That a Race to the Bottom Will Get Us to the Top

        To honor Black history, now is the moment to remind people about the power of government action, especially but not exclusively during moments of crisis.

      • Opinion | ‘Global Minimum Tax on Multinationals’: An Open Letter to Joe Biden on International Corporate Taxation

        For too long, international institutions have failed to address one of the most toxic aspects of globalization: tax avoidance and evasion by multinational corporations.

      • It’s Time for Major Wealth Redistribution — Yes, I Mean It.

        I know it’s the third rail of politics, but I’m not running for a damn thing, which makes me free to speak the truth. (Well, I am running for president of my neighborhood elementary school’s PTA, but I’m pretty sure I’ll win easily since my campaign slogan is “Extend the school day to 20 hours because we don’t want to deal with those little monsters. You take ‘em!” . . . Well, I’ll win as long as they don’t find out I don’t have a child.)

        Anyway, we desperately need wealth redistribution. And before anyone starts yelling something about Joseph Stalin, here’s the part that’s going to blow your mind — in the United States we’ve already had wealth redistribution for decades.

      • China’s Big New Market…in China

        It’s over. The China threat. No Thucydides trap of rising power threatening established power. Still scope for misunderstandings, a naval clash in the South China Sea, an exchange at the border war with India, fighter jets taking matters into their hands. But the economic race with the United States is over. China has new economic goals. Actually, China has new priorities and the economy is now second fiddle to politics. Gone are the visions of a new world order. Covid has played a part but it also provides useful cover for Beijing to chart a new course. Ever since Xi Jinping took office in 2012, China’s growth rate has been dropping, even according to official figures. Beijing has indicated a willingness to accept a post-coronavirus growth target of 5 percent or less. In the BC era (Before Covid) this would have set alarm bells ringing as it was assumed that nothing less than growth of 6 or so percent could guarantee the stability required for the party to stay in power.

        An October meeting of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, supported Xi’s agenda for the 14th five-year plan. No surprise there. But the communiqué, set to be endorsed in March when the rubberstamp National People’s Congress, or parliament, meets , included an item that almost shyly stated a new departure: it said that China would “basically achieve socialist modernization” by 2035 in order to finally “reach the level of moderately developed countries’’. The rampant growth model that had astounded, frightened and helped the financial-crisis hit West, has encountered a reality too often ignored; the party is over because of the party.

      • ‘Workers Are Increasingly Required to Sign Away Their Rights’

        The February 19, 2021, episode of CounterSpin brought together archival interviews from Celine McNicholas, Joanne Doroshow and Kate Bronfenbrenner on forced arbitration and the NLRB. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • Danny Glover: “The Best Anti-Poverty Program is a Union”

        The warehouse’s more than 5,800 predominantly Black workers are in the middle of a historic vote on unionization. If a majority vote in favor, they would become the e-commerce giant’s first U.S. employees to form a union.

        In the lead-up to the vote, Amazon deployed what the union calls the “gold package” of anti-union tactics, including intimidating meetings with managers, setting up a fear-mongering website, and plastering workplace restrooms with propaganda.

      • Opinion | Biden Absolutely Has the Power To Unilaterally Cancel All Federal Student Debt. He Just Refuses To Do It.

        Biden owes this country debt relief not only because he campaigned on it, but because he helped cause the problem.

      • Vladimir Putin’s Very Bad Week

        Putin is considered the richest man in the world for the amount of wealth he controls, not the amount he owns. Alexei Navalny is considered the bravest man in the world for returning to Russia after recovering from Novichok poisoning in Germany. Putin had Navalny’s returning flight diverted to avoid mobs of protestors, then arrested Navalny at the airport.

        Never lacking a certain Russian sense of humor, Putin charged Navalny, whom he calls “the blogger,” with violating parole while in a coma being treated from Novichok poisoning in a German hospital. Navalny, not missing a beat, has begun to refer to Putin as “Vlad the Underpants Poisoner” after Navalny tricked a Russian intelligence agent into revealing how the deadly nerve agent had been administered.

      • ‘Abolish the Filibuster. Replace the Parliamentarian’: Ilhan Omar Says Democrats Must Go Big to Pass $15 Minimum Wage

        “What’s a Democratic majority if we can’t pass our priority bills? This is unacceptable.”

      • 150K+ Voters Back $15 Minimum Wage as Biden and Harris Pushed to #Keep15In Pandemic Relief Bill

        “Decency is Democrats using the political power they’ve been handed to finally deliver for the hardworking people of this country.”

      • Progressives to VP Kamala Harris: ‘This Is Not a Difficult Decision. Use Your Power. Keep $15 In.’

        “A $15 federal minimum wage is now in the hands of Kamala Harris. There is a path to get it done. Refusing to step up will be seen as a huge failure.”

      • ‘It Should Be Easier to Raise Minimum Wage Than to Drop Bombs on Syria’: Progressives Fume at Biden

        “We assassinate people by drone strike and have a literal prison colony in Guantanamo but where we draw the line is ignoring the Senate parliamentarian when [she] says no to a minimum wage hike.”

      • How Can Blockchain Become a Truly Transformative Technology?

        I first became interested in blockchain technologies when in 2016 the World Economic Forum (WEF) named The Blockchain in its annual list of Top Ten Emerging Technologies citing its potential to fundamentally change the way markets and governments work. The WEF noted that “Like the Internet, the blockchain is an open, global infrastructure upon which other technologies and applications can be built. And like the Internet, it allows people to bypass traditional intermediaries in their dealings with each other, thereby lowering or even eliminating transaction costs.”

        The blockchain first came to light in 2008 as the architecture underpinning bitcoin, the best known and most widely held digital currency. The blockchain’s original vision was limited to enabling bitcoin users to transact directly with each other with no need for a bank or government agency to certify the validity of the transactions. But, like the Internet, electricity and other transformative technologies, blockchain has transcended its original objectives. Over the years, blockchains, – and the more encompassing distributed ledger technologies (DLT), – have developed a following of their own as distributed data base architectures with the ability to handle trust-less transactions where no parties need to know nor trust each other for transactions to complete.

        Could blockchain/DLT become truly transformative technologies? And if so, what will it take?

        As firms increasingly rely on supply chain partners for many of the functions once done in-house, managing their increasingly complex operations across a network of interconnected institutions has become major challenge. Over the past few decades, digital infrastructures and applications have significantly increased the volume of transactions among institutions, both within countries and around the world. Increasingly, the unit of competition is no longer a single firm but a networked ecosystem of institutions working closely with each other.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Noting ‘Most Americans Do Not Give a Sh*t’ What Parliamentarian Says, Campaigners Urge Biden-Harris to Fight for $15

        “Why is President Joe Biden fighting harder for Neera Tanden’s nomination than for the tens of millions of Americans who desperately need a raise?”

      • A Firefighter Election: Can Veteran of Wisconsin Uprising Rescue the IAFF?

        In mail balloting already underway, local union delegates are casting votes on behalf of 320,000 IAFF members throughout the U.S. and Canada. They are choosing a replacement for 75-year old Harold Schaitberger, a full-time union official for more than four decades and a longtime mover-and-shaker in national Democratic Party circles, who announced his retirement last fall. Vying to succeed him are IAFF Secretary-Treasurer Edward Kelly, a 47- year old Air Force veteran and former leader of the union’s Massachusetts branch, and Mahlon Mitchell, a 43- year old African-American from Madison, who heads the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin

        Both are energetic, ambitious, and young—by US labor leader standards. But Kelly more strongly reflects the insular “old school” culture of this public sector craft union, while Mitchell, a 2016 Democratic National Convention delegate for Bernie Sanders, has favored Fire Fighter alliances with other public workers facing budget cuts or loss of their workplace rights. Advocating the latter approach put Mitchell in the national spotlight for the first time ten years ago this month. That’s when Walker, Wisconsin’s right-wing governor and the Republican dominated state legislature were pushing Act 10, a law designed to weaken public sector unions—other than those representing police and fire-fighters. Under the strong local leadership of Madison Firefighter president Joe Conway, and with Mitchell newly installed as the union’s statewide leader, the IAFF refused to be part of Walker’s divide-and-conquer strategy.

      • UN Report Condemns US Economic Sanctions Against Venezuela

        Douhan, in her report, “reminds all parties of their obligation under the UN Charter to observe principles and norms of international law [and] that humanitarian concerns shall always prevail over political ones.”

        She “underlines the inadmissibility of applying sanctions extraterritorially and urges the U.S. Government to end the national emergency regarding Venezuela.” The United States must “revise and lift sectoral sanctions against Venezuela’s public sector, review and lift secondary sanctions against third-state parties.” All states need to “review and lift targeted sanctions in accordance with principles of international law.”

      • Republicans Failed to Sink Deb Haaland’s Nomination—and Looked Like Fools in the Process

        Deb Haaland, a Laguna Pueblo tribal citizen and President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Interior Department, is on the brink of history. If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first Native American cabinet secretary. Interior manages one-fifth of the nation’s land and vast supplies of natural resources, all taken from Native people, as well as the lion’s share of federal Indian policy. This makes Haaland’s appointment even more significant—not just symbolic, but a true restoration of power to a people who nearly lost everything.

      • New Symbolic Role for the Israeli Flag

        During the January 6 insurrection, hardly any of the U.S. media took note of the following fact: amongst the signs and banners of rightwing organizations—the “South will rise again” Confederate states enthusiasts, the fascist-like Rambo militias, and the disparate run-amok MAGA maniacs—stood a very large Israeli flag.

        If you are looking for comment and contextualization of this appearance, the best place to go is the Israeli progressive web-based magazine, 972.  There you will find a very good piece, dated 22 January 2021, by Ben Lorder.

      • We Need Democracy, Not Billionaire Philanthropy

        Now, I care deeply about climate change. So here’s a question: What does Gates, whose 66,000 square foot mansion features a 60-foot swimming pool, six kitchens, and a dining hall large enough for 200 people, have to offer about solving climate change if he doesn’t start with scaling down his own lifestyle?

        Gates owns multiple large properties — including mansions, horse farms, and hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland — and the harm they pose to the climate is made worse by the greenhouse gases emitted when he flies between each of them on his private jet.

      • RIP Mean Old Uncle Rush

        Ding Dong, the Blowhard’s Dead.

        “Little Item,” I should explain, was the deceased’s lame attempt at slut-shaming me. But before we get into our personal “relationship,” let me just savor how karmically fitting it is that Rush Limbaugh, the Godfather of Modern Bigotry, met the Grim Reaper (not Mitch the Bitch for the Rich—the other one) in the middle of Black History Month. It also happened to come as a lovely late Valentine for those of us this King of Creeps tried to slut-shame, a nice Lupercalian spank to stimulate a Rush-free Bonobo Spring.

      • The Good, The Bad and the Profound

        To make the political climate even worse, politicians served up the doozy of trying to blame renewable energy for the failure of the power grid in Texas.

        Though it should still be a day of celebration,  today also marks the day we reached the unthinkable number of 500,000 deaths due to COVID-19, at the same time that most states are opening back up. And, our young people are becoming suicidal at alarming rates, a secondary yet major pandemic. As a psychiatrist, I see that thus far we are doing virtually nothing about that escalating tragedy.

      • Trump Briefings? Always News. Biden Briefings? Not News.

        Nowadays, corporate media would have you believe they are appalled by Donald Trump: He’s a liar and a cheat who distorted our democracy and was rotten to the press. I mean, they had to cover him because he was president, but they held their nose the whole time, and now they can’t wait to get back to serious reporting on policy.

      • How Sir Kier Starmer Got His New Labour Mojo Back!

        Back then, this great chamber had been a place of celebration; vast numbers of ecstatic people swaying to the beat of a great electoral triumph, colourful banners fluttering their victory reds – Cool Britannia celebrities mingling with billionaire press barons.  The future had been bright; the future had been New Labour!

        Now, though, he pushed through the large eroded doors only to be greeted with a chasm of darkness.  The great hall was dank and empty except for the overturned tables, a few broken, lonely chairs, a single torn poster splayed across the floor – its slogan written out in thin, ghastly lines of dried blood:

      • How coronavirus stimulus funds helped one state create a ‘broadband miracle’

        The result has been an acceleration in broadband deployment that could make Mississippi one of the most connected states in the nation within the next five to six years. That’s a huge leap for the state, which last year ranked 42 out of 50 in BroadbandNow’s 2020 connectivity rankings. The Federal Communications Commission says that at least 35% of rural Mississippians lack access to broadband.

      • CPAC Erupts in Delight After Hawley Brags About Trying to Overturn Election

        Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) spoke a lot about loving America during his speech at CPAC, but he only got the crowd out of their seats when he bragged about his literal attempts to destroy it.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Content Moderation At Scale Is Impossible: Recent Examples Of Misunderstanding Context

        I’ve said over and over and over again that content moderation at scale is impossible to do well, and one of the biggest reasons for this is that it’s difficult to understand context. Indeed, I’ve heard that some content moderation policies explicitly suggest that moderators don’t try to take context into account. This is not because companies don’t think it’s important, but the recognition that understanding the context behind every bit of content, would make the process so slow as to be absolutely useless. Yes, it would be great if every content moderator had the time and resources to understand the context of every tweet or Facebook post, but the reality is that we’d then need to employ basically every human being alive to be researching context. Low level content moderators tend to only have a few seconds to make decisions on content, or the entire process slows to a crawl, and then the media will slam those companies for leaving “dangerous” content up too long. So tradeoffs are made, and often that means that understanding context is a casualty of the process. And, of course, that leads to some ridiculous (and hilarious) results. Here are three recent ones that came across my radar. First, someone marketing a tabletop roleplaying game discovered that when they tried to purchase ads on Facebook and Instagram marketing their TTRPG, they had their entire account shut down because they used the word “supplement.”

      • Illinois Lawmaker Proposes Unconstitutional Ban Of ‘GTA’ In Response To Carjackings

        If ever there were a stupid, unconstitutional notion that appears to be evergreen, it must certainly be attempts at outright banning games from the Grand Theft Auto series. While a certain segment of public officials have long sought to blame video games generally for all the world’s ills, the GTA series has been something of a lightning rod for attempted censorship. Honestly, it’s not totally impossible to understand why. The game is a violent, humorous parody of modern American life and pop culture, taken to such extremes so as to artistically point out the flaws in our society.

      • India’s New Cyber Law Goes Live: Subtracts Safe Harbor Protections, Adds Compelled Assistance Demands For Intermediaries

        New rules for social media companies and other hosts of third-party content have just gone into effect in India. The proposed changes to India’s 2018 Intermediary Guidelines are now live, allowing the government to insert itself into content moderation efforts and make demands of tech companies some simply won’t be able to comply with.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Removing Nigerian Police Protest Content Due To Confusion With COVID Misinfo Rules (2020)

        Summary: With the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the large social media companies very quickly put in place policies to try to handle the flood of disinformation about the disease, responses, and treatments. How successful those new policies have been is subject to debate, but in at least one case, the effort to fact check and moderate COVID information ran into a conflict with people reporting on violent protests (totally unrelated to COVID) in Nigeria.

      • What will changing Section 230 mean for the [Internet]?

        Section 230, which turned 25 years old this month, has played a central role in shaping the [Internet]. Over the past year, Congress has introduced several proposals to change the law — some of them drastic — but the bills have often focused on a handful of very large tech companies like Facebook and Google. In reality, Section 230 has created a lot of the web as we know it.

        On Monday, March 1st, we’re holding an event on Section 230 and the future of tech regulation. After a keynote from Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), I’ll be sitting down with Wikimedia Foundation general counsel Amanda Keton, Vimeo general counsel Michael Cheah, and writer and strategist Sydette Harry to discuss how changing Section 230 could change the web. For a broader sense of its impact, however, I also spoke to a range of companies, nonprofits, legal experts, and others with a stake in preserving or reforming the law.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • US implicates Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi’s killing

        The intelligence findings were long known to many U.S. officials and, even as they remained classified, had been reported with varying degrees of precision. But the public rebuke of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is still a touchstone in U.S-Saudi relations. It leaves no doubt that as the prince continues in his powerful role and likely ascends to the throne, Americans will forever associate him with the brutal killing of a journalist who promoted democracy and human rights.

        Yet even as the Biden administration released the findings, it appeared determined to preserve the Saudi relationship by avoiding direct punishment of the prince himself despite demands from some congressional Democrats and Khashoggi allies for significant and targeted sanctions.

      • US says Saudi prince approved killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, mum on Jared Kushner role

        Much of the evidence detailed in the report remains classified, although the report does make explicit mention of bin Salman’s role in the murder. The conclusion was based on what intelligence officials knew about political activity within the Saudi Kingdom, including the involvement of one of the Crown Prince’s key advisers, Saud al-Qahtani, as well as members of his security detail.

      • Report: Saudi Crown Prince Approved Khashoggi Operation

        Human rights advocates condemned the Biden administration’s decision not to target the crown prince personally. “To avoid imposing these sanctions on Mohammed bin Salman would undermine the credibility of the sanctions that have been imposed on the other culprits,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now, the organization founded by Khashoggi shortly before his murder. Amrit Singh, lawyer for the Open Society Justice Initiative, which attempted to sue the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to release the report, called the decision “unconscionable.”

      • Saudi Prince Approved Khashoggi Killing, U.S. Intel Report Concludes

        The two-page report, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, based the conclusions on MBS’s “control of decision-making in the Kingdom,” the involvement of his advisers and “elite personal protective detail” in the operation, as well as the prince’s “support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, including Khashoggi.”

        According to the report, when Khashoggi was murdered, MBS had “absolute control of the Kingdom’s security and intelligence operations,” meaning it is not likely that he would have been unaware of the operation to kill Khashoggi. And because MBS “fostered an environment” where aides who failed to complete tasks were fired or arrested, “aides were unlikely to question [his] orders or undertake sensitive actions without his consent.” Finally, the report says that MBS “viewed Khashoggi as a threat to the Kingdom” and supported using violent means to “silence him.”

      • U.S. officially points the finger at Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Khashoggi killing

        A long-awaited American intelligence report made public Friday concludes that the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia approved the gruesome political killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident journalist who lived in Virginia and wrote for the Washington Post.

        While that overall conclusion by the CIA and other agencies about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was first reported two years ago, its official publication on U.S. government letterhead shines a spotlight on the dilemma facing President Joe Biden, who has emphasized the importance of human rights in foreign policy but is not prepared to cut ties with a key American ally.

      • Jamal Khashoggi: US says Saudi prince approved Khashoggi killing

        The report released by the Biden administration says the prince approved a plan to either “capture or kill” Khashoggi.

        The US announced sanctions on dozens of Saudis but not the prince himself.

      • The CIA blames MBS for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

        Perhaps America’s spies know more than they let on. What they released was only a redacted version of a classified report. For Mr Trump, though, even that was too much to reveal. Prince Muhammad enjoyed a close relationship with his administration, particularly with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser. In 2019 Congress passed a law that required him to issue an unclassified version which could be made public. Mr Trump ignored it. Bob Woodward, a Washington Post journalist, said the president later bragged about shielding the prince: “I saved his ass,” Mr Trump reportedly said. “I was able to get Congress to leave him alone.”

      • US Intelligence Report Singles Out Saudi Crown Prince in Khashoggi Killing

        The report, which said the crown prince likely authorized Khashoggi’s killing or capture, prompted the Biden administration to announce visa restrictions against 76 Saudi citizens. Blinken said they are “believed to have been engaged in threatening dissidents overseas, including but not limited to the Khashoggi killing.”

      • The Dissident: Jamal Khashoggi documentary points finger at Saudi Arabia’s crown prince

        Using transcripts obtained from the Turkish government, Fogel’s film suggests that Khashoggi, a journalist for the Washington Post who had exiled himself to the US, was suffocated and then dismembered inside the consulate.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • United States of Trauma
      • Reckoning With a Year of Shared Isolation, Pandemic, and Protest

        Covid-19 sneaked into the world like a thief in the night, so it’ll never be easy to give a precise date for when it began—or when it will end. Still, there are a few rough milestones that can be used to mark its progress through our lives.

      • Caregivers Need Care Too

        “I see a lot of parents break down in here,” said Deloris “Nunu” Hogan, owner of Dee’s Tots, a 24-hour daycare center in New Rochelle, New York. “They don’t want to do this, but they have to go to work and pay their bills. This is the way the world is at the current moment.”

        Nunu and her husband Patrick “Pop-Pop” Hogan are the subject of a new documentary by filmmaker Loria Limbal called Through the Night. The film follows three working mothers whose lives intersect at Dee’s Tots. Limbal first learned about Dee’s Tots through an article she read years ago. The stories of these struggling families reminded her of her own mother, who worked the night shift making minimum wage while raising four children. The film is a love letter to those who are expected to work as if they are not a mother, and mother as if they don’t work.

      • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Condemns NYPD Test Deployment of K-9 Robot in Bronx Home

        “Please ask yourself: when was the last time you saw next-generation, world class technology for education, healthcare, housing, etc. consistently prioritized for underserved communities like this?”

      • ‘It’s manic depression or he ate a battery’: Russia’s Foreign Ministry endorses conspiracy-theorist initiative that attributes Alexey Navalny’s near-fatal illness to psychiatric drugs, not a chemical weapon

        Last December, doctors at the Charité Clinic in Berlin, where Alexey Navalny was treated after falling suddenly and gravely ill, published a research paper in the scientific journal The Lancet about “a 44-year-old man” from Russia who survived exposure to a Novichok-group nerve agent. The article didn’t identify Navalny by name, but the Charité Clinic later confirmed in a press release that the patient in question is Alexey Navalny. In January 2021, a little-known German-language website called “World Economy” (run by the pro-Kremlin Russian journalist Alexander Sosnovsky) released an interview with a Swiss neurologist named Vitaly Kozak who claims to have discovered “contradictions” in the report that appeared in The Lancet. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov later cited Kozak’s remarks, demanding an explanation from European leaders, and Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has accused the West of evading “uncomfortable questions” about Navalny’s illness. At Meduza’s request, journalists Anna Vilisova and Ilya Shevelev took a closer look at Dr. Vitaly Kozak.

      • Federal Court Agrees: Prosecutors Can’t Keep Forensic Evidence Secret from Defendants

        For the first time, a federal court has ruled on the issue, and the decision marks a victory for civil liberties.

        EFF teamed up with the ACLU of Pennsylvania to file an amicus brief arguing in favor of defendants’ rights to challenge complex DNA analysis software that implicates them in crimes. The prosecution and the technology vendor Cybergenetics opposed disclosure of the software’s source code on the grounds that the company has a commercial interest in secrecy.

        The court correctly determined that this secrecy interest could not outweigh a defendant’s rights and ordered the code disclosed to the defense team. The disclosure will be subject to a “protective order” that bars further disclosure, but in a similar previous case a court eventually allowed public scrutiny of source code of a different DNA analysis program after a defense team found serious flaws. This is the second decision this year ordering the disclosure of the secret TrueAllele software. This added scrutiny will help ensure that the software does not contribute to unjust incarceration.

      • Fifth Circuit Says Tasing A Person Soaked In Gasoline And Setting Them On Fire Isn’t An Unreasonable Use Of Force

        So, here’s where we’re at in the Fifth Circuit: cops can literally set a person on fire and walk away from it.

      • “The Whole System Needs to be Indicted”: Attorney Benjamin Crump on Overhauling U.S. Policing

        The Democratic-led House of Representatives is expected to vote next week on a sweeping police reform bill that would ban chokeholds, prohibit federal no-knock warrants, establish a National Police Misconduct Registry and other measures. The legislation, known as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, is in response to a series of high-profile killings of Black people in 2020 and the nationwide racial justice uprising they sparked. Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who has represented the families of Floyd, Daniel Prude, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many other victims of police and racial violence, says the legislation is “crucial” for reforming police culture across the U.S. and reducing violence against Black people. “We need systematic reform,” says Crump.

      • Kamala Harris Could Deliver $15 Minimum Wage If Democrats Really Wanted It

        For one thing, the president could just ask Kamala Harris, the president of the Senate, to overrule the parliamentarian. In fact, one former parliamentarian has said it’s entirely at the VP’s discretion to listen to MacDonough on a ruling like this one or not. And there is ample historical precedent for not listening to the parliamentarian — as Slate reports, “Vice President Hubert Humphrey routinely ignored his parliamentarian’s advice.”

        A coalition of groups — including the Women’s March, UltraViolet, CASA, and the Urban League — sent a letter to Biden Thursday, urging him to do exactly that. But Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain threw cold water on the idea earlier this week, saying the administration would “honor the rules of the Senate.”

        The other option that’s available to Biden? He could ask Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to have the parliamentarian fired. That’s what the GOP-controlled Senate did back in 2001, when the parliamentarian ruled the Bush tax cut could not be passed through a reconciliation process in circumstances nearly identical to this one. And that might be the redeeming quality some working class voters see in the party — the GOP may be primarily concerned with cutting taxes for the wealthy, but at least, when they say they’re going to do something, they actually get the job done.

      • Fight for $15 Is Also About Forming a Union, St. Louis Workers Emphasize

        Last month, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a nonprofit think tank that researches the impact of economic trends and policies on working people in the U.S., released a fact sheet detailing the transformative potential of the Raise the Wage Act. According to EPI data, the wage increase would benefit nearly 32 million working people — or 21% of the entire U.S. workforce — resulting in an extra $3,300 in annual income on average per affected individual. Notably, 23% of those workers are either a Black or Latinx woman, and more than one in four (28%) have children.

      • Man kills daughter for ‘honour’ in Lahore

        She said her son Yasin also rushed to the scene and suffered a bullet injury in a bid to rescue his sister.

      • Dissenter Weekly: Whistleblowers Expose ‘Software Bug’ Keeping Incarcerated Past Release Dates

        In this edition of “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola covers a “software bug” exposed by whistleblowers, which resulted in hundreds of people staying incarcerated past their release dates.

        Kevin also highlights an update on a previous whistleblower story involving an ICE union deal the Trump administration inked during their last days in office.The show concludes with coverage of a contractor who blew the whistle against Perdue, an agribusiness that produces poultry, and a story from the Grayzone involving leaked files that reveal how the BBC and Reuters were involved in a British covert program to “weaken Russia.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • ‘Life-Changer for Millions’: FCC Approves Program to Help Poor Families Overcome Digital Divide During Pandemic

        “As the pandemic nears its one-year mark, it’s only gotten harder for many people to afford essential internet connections to the remote learning, work, and healthcare services they need.”

      • Study Shows California Telcos Are Simply Letting Their Networks Fall Apart

        On the one hand, it’s understandable that US phone companies companies don’t want to maintain aging copper phone networks in the wake of sagging usage. On the other hand, traditional phone networks are very much still in use (especially among vulnerable elderly populations), many of these DSL lines remain the only option consumers can get thanks to spotty US broadband deployment, and much of the phone and DSL infrastructure was heavily subsidized by American taxpayers. Oh, and as Texas just realized, many of these older copper phone lines still work during disasters, when internet voice services don’t.

      • Judge rules that California can continue with its net neutrality law

        The ISPs and their lobby groups were able to file a motion for an injunction to stop the state from enacting the net neutrality law while the courts figured it out; however, that injunction has officially been denied.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Illumina v MGI Part 2: Has the UK lost its way on the doctrine of equivalents? [Ed: AstraZeneca lobbying regarding patent law ]

          The Actavis questions are used to determine whether an alleged infringement that does not fall under the literal (or normal, purposive) construction of a patent claim, none-the-less falls under the scope of the claim according to the doctrine of equivalents (DoE) as established in Actavis v Eli Lilly ([2017] UKSC 48). The first two Actavis questions ask 1) whether a variant (the alleged infringement) achieves substantially the same result and substantially the same way as the claimed invention and 2) whether this would be obvious to a skilled person at the priority date. If the answer to both questions 1) and 2) is “yes”, the 3rd Actavis question asks whether the skilled person would none-the-less have understood the patentee as intending strict compliance with the literal meaning of the claims, and thus as not covering the variant. The variant infringes under DoE if the answer to question 3 is “no”.

          The 3rd Actavis question can cause cognitive dissonance for patent attorneys trained to draft patent claims which include only those features necessary for defining the core inventive concept. To a patent attorney, the intention for a feature to be limiting might thus be found in the very fact of the inclusion of that feature in the claims. In his guidance on the 3rd Actavis questions, Mr Justice Birss in Illumina v MGI adds a further complication. Mr Justice Birss found that, when answering the 3rd Actavis question, a strict definition in the description excluding a variant was evidence of the patentee’s intention for strict compliance with the literal meaning of the claims. This creates a peculiar situation, in which definitional language in a claim may be non-limiting whilst definitional language in the description is limiting.

        • Appropriateness Of APJ Appointments To Be Argued Monday In Arthrex [Ed: Patent zealots try to scuttle mechanisms by which to throw out fake patents]

          On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in U.S. v. Arthrex (also referred to as Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew, one of the consolidated cases at issue). The appeal, which will address whether the appointment of PTAB judges is constitutional under the Appointments Clause, is the most important patent case being heard by the Court this year, as a negative decision could potentially derail the PTAB’s work entirely.


          While there is no single test to be applied to determine if an officer is a principal or inferior officer, there are two general concerns that show up in the case law. The first is whether the officer is subject to the supervision, direction, and/or control of a Senate-confirmed principal officer. The second is whether an officer has policy-making powers that set the policy of the U.S. government.

          With respect to the first concern, supervision and control, the question of the ability to remove an officer from their job has been seen as a particularly important factor. However, while the ability to remove is important, it isn’t the sole way in which supervision and control can be exerted. The ability of a principal officer to direct the fashion in which an inferior officer works is also important, as is the ability of a principal officer to set the policies which the inferior officer applies as part of their work.

          With respect to the second concern, the issue is whether the policy of the United States is set by a politically accountable official, either elected or subject to confirmation by an elected official, or whether policy can be set by officers who are not subject to the same political accountability. This general concern with accountability provides an additional guideline. The ability to set U.S. government policy is a signal that an officer is a principal officer, while lack of such ability is a signal that the officer is an inferior officer.

        • FRAND-Einwand II: Werther and the love of contracts

          Neither of French case law nor of a mood note on a general theme today, like Werther I prefer to suffer with my eternal love for Goethe’s language to evoke the Sisvel vs Haier II decision (FRAND-Einwand II, i.e. Defense FRAND II) of the Bundesgerichtshof (i.e. German Federal Court of Justice) rendered last week ; all with a “French touch” of course (if only to pay homage to recent Daft Punk’s split).

          This ruling follows the important decision of last July in the Sisvel vs Haier case. Although the outcome of the decision had already been revealed by the Court in May, its reasoning had so far remained unknown. Rejecting again Haier’s FRAND defense, the Court explains more precisely its interpretation of the criteria that had been identified in Huawei vs ZTE.

          First of all, it confirms its approach focusing on the overall behavior of the parties, according to which negotiation implies reciprocal obligations. An abuse is only committed in the case of a categorical refusal to take a license or an unreasonable and categorical offer by the holder of the SEP. Thus, the expression of the mere willingness to take a license, for example, will not suffice. The agreement should be the result of a negotiation process in which the interests of the parties can be discussed, so that this discussion can lead to a fair and reasonable balance of interests. It is a flexible and evolutionary conception and not simply strict and static one.


          In the end, if the “Defense FRAND 2” decision is not revolutionary, it nevertheless has the merit of elegantly reminding us that the didactics underlying any FRAND negotiation cannot be confined within the strict and imprecise straitjacket of competition law, in which the Court of Justice has attempted to lock it. The ECJ could also benefit from Werther’s adventures: « es genügt, aus tiefstem Herzen zu lieben, um alle anderen freundlich erscheinen zu lassen ».

        • COVID and ViCo: EPO referral to the Enlarged Board of Appeal [Ed: Illegal practices referred to judges who are illegally besieged by corrupt EPO management]

          In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a large proportion of the legal sector transitioning to a ‘work from home’ arrangement, with meetings taking place remotely. Non-essential travel has largely been curtailed worldwide and this has raised the issue of in-person European Patent Office hearings.

          At the beginning of the pandemic, the EPO chose to postpone all opposition and appeal hearings, with the hope that they would resume quickly. As it became evident that international travel would remain limited for a long period, the EPO began holding virtual hearings in order to start clearing some of the backlog. At first, hearings only took place via Video Conferencing (ViCo) with the consent of all parties. This led to limited uptake and it was announced in December that from 1 January 2021, appeal hearings could be held by ViCo even without the agreement of the parties concerned. This has been incorporated into new Article 15a RPBA. Similar decisions had previously been taken regarding hearings before the Examining and Opposition Divisions.

      • Copyrights

        • Refriended in Defeat: Australia Strikes a Deal with Facebook

          The Code’s ostensible purpose is to address the inequalities in the news market place by pushing digital giants and news outlets into reaching commercial deals.  Failing to do so will lead to final offer arbitration between the parties, where the independent arbitrator selects one of the deals on offer.  That selection would be binding on both parties.

          Facebook was having none of it, with its managing director for Facebook Australia and New Zealand William Easton stating that the scheme “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content.”  Left with “a stark choice” – to either comply with the law drafted in ignorance of such realities, “or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia”, Facebook preferred the latter option.  The main objective, then, was for Facebook to press the Australian government to abandon the code altogether or, what was more likely, soften the terms of its application.

        • The Best Summary Of Australia’s News Link Tax / ‘Bargaining Code’

          I’ve been somewhat amazed at the response to Facebook’s decision in Australia to first block news links, in response to a dangerous new law, and then to cave in and cut deals with news organizations to pay for links. Most amazing to me is that otherwise reasonable people in Australia got very angry at me, insisting that I was misrepresenting the tax. They keep insisting it’s not a tax, and that it’s a “competition” response to “unfair bargaining power.” Except, as I’ve discussed previously, there’s nothing to bargain over when you should never have to pay for links. The links are free. There’s no bargaining imbalance, because there’s nothing to bargain over. And, it’s clearly a tax if the only end result is that Google and Facebook have to fork over money because the government tells them to. That’s… a tax.

        • High Court grants, for the first time, website blocking orders targeting cyberlocker and streamripping sites/app and considers that CJEU won’t follow AG Opinion in YouTube/Cyando

          Earlier this week, the High Court of England and Wales issued two website blocking orders, which set new precedent and are the expression of a further development in the rich UK website blocking jurisprudence.

          The orders, which were issued by Miles J further to applications made by record labels that are members of BPI, are the first orders ever granted in the UK to block access to, respectively, a cyberlocker and a number of streamripping sites/app.

          The decisions are also interesting from a broader, EU perspective, in that the judge considered that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is unlikely to follow the position adopted by Advocate General (AG) Saugmandsgaard Øe in his 2020 Opinion, when it decides YouTube/Cyando, C-682/18 and C-683/18 [Katpost here].


          I have already discussed the AG Opinion in YouTube/Cyando and considered it one which adopts a ‘regressive’ reading of CJEU case law on the right of communication to the public. The CJEU decision in this case is keenly awaited, though there is no information as to when it might be released.

          Besides its relevance to the construction of Article 3 of the InfoSoc Directive, the position that the CJEU will adopt in this case is likely to also have an impact insofar as the construction of Article 17 of the DSM Directive is concerned (the UK will not transpose it). Although the referrals are obviously not based on Article 17, a discussion of the regime introduced by this provision featured at the hearing and in the parties’ submissions and was also directly dealt with by the AG in his Opinion.

          Ultimately, the AG’s position is that Article 17 would be a change in the law, not a clarification thereof. Miles J did not endorse this reading [for my analysis, see here] and considered that the CJEU will not do that either.

        • Florida Judge Keeps Questioning Copyright Troll’s IP-address Evidence

          Strike 3 Holdings has targeted thousands of alleged BitTorrent pirates in U.S. courts over the past several years, collecting millions of dollars in settlements. Not all judges are pleased with the way Strike 3 operates, however, and Florida District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro is particularly critical of the IP-address evidence.

        • “Grumpy Cat” is Long Gone But Her Copyright Lives On in Court

          Grumpy Cat is no longer with us. Tardar Sauce passed away in 2019 but the humans she shared a house with are keeping her memory alive. They do this in the form of merchandise, but also in court where they have filed over a dozen lawsuits against sellers of counterfeit and copyright-infringing products.

        • From Creativity to Exclusivity: The German Government’s Bad Deal for Article 17

          A glimpse of hope was presented by the German government in a recent discussion paper. While the draft proposal fails to prevent the use of upload filters to monitor all user uploads and assess them against the information provided by rightsholders, it showed creativity by giving users the option of pre-flagging uploads as “authorized” (online by default) and by setting out exceptions for everyday uses. Remedies against abusive removal requests by self-proclaimed rightsholders were another positive feature of the discussion draft.

          However, the recently adopted copyright implementation proposal by the German Federal Cabinet has abandoned the focus on user rights in favor of inflexible rules that only benefit press publishers. Instead of opting for broad and fair statutory authorization for non-commercial minor uses, the German government suggests trivial carve-outs for “uses presumably authorized by law,” which are not supposed to be blocked automatically by online platforms. However, the criteria for such uses are narrow and out of touch with reality. For example, the limit for minor use of text is 160 characters.

          By comparison, the maximum length of a tweet is 280 characters, which is barely enough substance for a proper quote. As those uses are only presumably authorized, they can still be disputed by rightsholders and blocked at a later stage if they infringe copyright. However, this did not prevent the German government from putting a price tag on such communication as service providers will have to pay the author an “appropriate remuneration.” There are other problematic elements in the proposal, such as the plan to limit the use of parodies to uses that are “justified by the specific purpose”—so better be careful about being too playful.

The Internet After Social Control Media (and Maybe After the World Wide Web Too)

Posted in Site News at 2:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: There seems to be a growing trend of protests and backlash against centralised Internet disservices; there’s also growing dissatisfaction over bloat and spyware, which the Web rendered a ‘norm’

THE INTERNET is still here and it is still growing. Whether it’s the World Wide Web (WWW) that people will use it for is another matter altogether (DRM as a ‘disservice’ seems like a trend — wasteful encrypted transport). Whether people will ‘consume’ HTML or XML/Atom/RSS is another matter, too. The latter is vastly better for privacy, efficiency, and distraction-free reading.

“The World Wide Web (WWW) isn’t going away any time soon and we still have WWW as our main/primary/principal presence ‘online’ (never mind IRC, bulletins etc.) because that’s what most people do on the ‘Net, put aside “apps” or set aside other things which use HTTP* for transport/packet transmission.”We at Techrights try to adopt, to the degree that is possible at least, Gemini and IPFS. The World Wide Web (WWW) isn’t going away any time soon and we still have WWW as our main/primary/principal presence ‘online’ (never mind IRC, bulletins etc.) because that’s what most people do on the ‘Net, put aside “apps” or set aside other things which use HTTP* for transport/packet transmission. One day things will change. That’s just how technology evolves and we try to stay ahead of the curve, seeing the fast increase in censorship.

ConnectedThe video discusses what it’s like not to be in Twitter anymore (seems like a shared sentiment this month). I’ve been vastly more productive and happier. Others say the same about their post-social control media experiences (after departure).

Let’s move forward.

SCO’s Darl McBride is Finished (Bankruptcy)

Posted in Finance, SCO at 2:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Some news about the site and about the long-forgotten SCO, whose infamous old (and sacked) Darl McBride (responsible for decade-long attacks on Linux) loses everything, based on fresh legal documents

THIS weekend has been exceptionally busy for us, hence not many articles so far. This video gives a quick roundup of stuff we’ve been working on and discusses the good news about SCO’s Darl McBride, whose personal bankruptcy follows that of SCO. He became completely irrelevant if not inactive in Twitter.

“Hopefully António and his “Mafia” (or cabal) will be gone soon; the Administrative Council needs to recognise the severity of the entryism.”Some time soon we plan to release some AGPLv3-licensed code, mostly Gemini stuff (but not limited to Gemini). Gemini space is rapidly growing and interest in Gemini is increasing in general, owing to the World Wide Web sucking so badly and social control media repelling the masses.

Darl McBrideWe’re still thinking whether to create new facilities or methods by which to leak information to us. The leaks have had a very positive effect for EPO staff. António Campinos has lost his mind and revealed himself to be loyal to Team Battistelli, not to EPO staff. Hopefully António and his “Mafia” (or cabal) will be gone soon; the Administrative Council needs to recognise the severity of the entryism.

IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 26, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:30 am by Needs Sunlight

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

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#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

text logs

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#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

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#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now

IPFS Mirrors

CID Description Object type
 QmdFPnwXY2rgf6qMT4Kf1BtceEMfBrfghrYNMopUP8PcsN IRC log for #boycottnovell
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 QmZFHmbfsU8YH8nF1vbtnrQtRo7WtYH3DorV6N28oR7H47 IRC log for #boycottnovell
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 Qmc3KFGYxXcAZCx7yuPVw4N88eyacVknHQiYdht8APoxcu IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
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 QmZxwYPz3ojwm6hRVu6g1hNydrnj8T4qe8MT4ig9rKYyCi IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
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 QmXBFePWuu9L8Ydigtd6NJ1KGMdm8MXdvgbTJuZY22iBVe IRC log for #techbytes
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 QmY1VeccLeUyqjnfNiAzVk4K2Uu4ont4ZQLN4dqvvDaudf IRC log for #techbytes
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 QmYBCmA7c5aQLE1QQRgX1ptK3TebKe4nPhMfbd9HJfkPS2 IRC log for #techrights
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 Qma6UAtxkAwEYDmKng4qgyWhcRMX81yQENYtfNXTB9DtaU IRC log for #techrights
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IPFS logo

Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmRLg7W2bYpr1JiQ6rXJd3frzGWwDsyWcVgiT5DQhV2Ma7


Links 26/2/2021: Wine 6.3, Genode OS Framework 21.02

Posted in News Roundup at 6:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • FOSS, Mentorship, and Doing Great Work

        Katherine Druckman and Doc Searls talk to Travis Carden and Petros Koutoupis about maintaining open source projects, mentoring contributors, Drupal, and automated testing.

    • Kernel Space

      • Google Funding For Linux Security

        Back in December we reported on Google’s involvement in a new project from the Open Source Security Foundation to measure the criticality of open source projects as the first step on an undertaking to ensure that projects that are heavily relied on get the resources they need, see Taking Open Source Criticality Seriously. This funding, which is also motivated by findings from the 2020 FOSS Contributor Survey which identified a need for additional work on security in open source software, aims to ensure the long-term sustainability of Linux which is acknowledged as the world’s most pervasive open source software as well as being among the top five in terms of its criticality score.

      • Kernel Electric-Fence: Linux 5.12 Merges KFence For Low-Overhead Memory Safety Feature

        Linus Torvalds just merged a set of patches that includes KFence. Short for the Kernel Electric Fence, KFence is a low-overhead memory safety error detector/validator that is suitable for use in production kernel builds.

        While there has long been KASAN as the Kernel Address Sanitizer for a dynamic memory error detector for discovering use-after-free and out-of-bounds bugs within the Linux kernel, KFence aims to provide a lower-overhead solution.

    • Applications

      • Duf – A Better Linux Disk Monitoring Utility [Ed: Overlooks the point that df generally works fine and isn’t locked away in Microsoft’s besiegement and proprietary software (GitHub) occupation against Free software]

        duf is one of the fancy Linux disk monitoring utilities written in Golang. It is released under MIT license and It supports Linux, macOS, BSD, and even Windows too.

      • Tor-Based OnionShare 2.3 File Sharing Tool Gets Tabs, Anonymous Chat, and Dedicated CLI Version

        More than a year in the works, OnionShare 2.3 is finally here as the next major update to this awesome tool for anonymously sharing files or hosting websites as an onion service, and now also for anonymously chatting with friends or family, thanks to the end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) OnionShare chat room feature.

        The anonymous chat feature is so securely implemented that it leaves almost no traces. For starters, nothing is logged when you’re anonymously chatting in an OnionShare chat room, and your messages aren’t stored anywhere. And secondly, you don’t have to create an account to use the OnionShare chat room, so your email address isn’t exposed to hackers or spammers.

      • Get Better Remote Sessions on Linux With Mosh and Tmux

        One of Linux’s strengths is its orientation toward networking, which is largely due to its Unix heritage. There’s a reason why Linux is an operating system of choice for servers.

        The main way to remotely access Linux servers is through SSH, or Secure Shell. While it’s useful and secure, it was designed in an era before Wi-Fi and cellular connections became commonplace.

        If you move your computer to a different Wi-Fi network or put it to sleep, you might find yourself disconnected with an apparently frozen terminal screen.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Sysadmin university: Quick and dirty Linux tricks | Enable Sysadmin

        Add these quick and dirty tricks to your sysadmin toolbox for some special Linux magic.

      • Navigate your FreeDOS system

        FreeDOS is an open source implementation of DOS. It’s not a remix of Linux, and it is compatible with the operating system that introduced many people to personal computing. This makes it an important resource for running legacy applications, playing retro games, updating firmware on motherboards, and experiencing a little bit of living computer history. In this article, I’ll look at some of the essential commands used to navigate a FreeDOS system.


        FreeDOS can be very different from what you’re used to if you’re used to Windows or macOS, and it can be just different enough if you’re used to Linux. A little practice goes a long way, though, so try some of these on your own. You can always get a help message with the /? switch. The best way to get comfortable with these commands is to practice using them.

      • How To Install KVM on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install KVM on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is the virtualization solution for Linux. It consists of a loadable kernel module that allows the Linux Kernel to work as a Hypervisor. KVM provides hardware-assisted virtualization for a wide variety of guest operating systems.

        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 the KVM virtualization on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to Activate Incognito Mode for Private Browsing on Linux

        Private browsing is the easiest way of hiding your browsing history on a computer. Almost every browser now comes with an option that allows you to switch to incognito browsing. But if you’re fairly new to Linux, finding a decent browser that lets you browse the internet privately becomes hard.

        Let’s explore more about what private browsing actually means, along with some detailed information on how to browse privately on Linux.

      • How to Copy a Folder in Linux With cp

        Need to copy a Linux folder in the command line? Here’s how to copy one or more folders with the cp command.

      • How to Restore Clonezilla Backups to Different Partitions – Make Tech Easier

        Clonezilla is a popular software for you to clone your hard disk. However, if you tried to restore a specific partition’s backup to a new HDD that you’d already set up, Clonezilla might have refused to do it. It might have insisted on auto-selecting different partitions and not allowing you to choose where you want your backup restored.

        In this guide, we show how to restore your Clonezilla backup to a different partition of your choice (not its choice).

      • Installing Nagios on Centos 7 – The Linux Juggernaut

        Nagios is an extremely popular open source monitoring and alerting tool. The name nagios is an offshoot of an older system called ‘net saint’. Although Nagios has it’s limits and is not an all in one solution but provides a considerable feature set nonetheless. The monitoring platform is available in two variants: Nagios core which is the open source and free variant and Nagios XI which is the enterprise version. In this article we will demonstrate step by step how to install the latest version of Nagios core on a Centos 7 system.

      • Installing Nagios on Centos 7 part 3 (Nagios configuration) – The Linux Juggernaut

        In our previous two articles we’ve explained how to install Nagios core on a Centos 7 system and how to install Nagios plugin and the Nagios Remote Plugin Executor. In this article we will explain how to configure Nagios so that we can have the web interface up and running. Note that this needs to be done only once on the Nagios server. You may make amendments as deemed necessary.

      • SFTP, FTPS, and SCP – What’s the Difference? – Putorius

        All of these protocols are used for transferring files. However, they all provide file transfers in a different manner. Which one to use depends greatly on your requirements functionality, and even operating system used. In this article we will discuss how each of these protocols work, their limitations, strengths, and examples of their use. Let’s take a look at the differences between SFTP, SCP, and FTPS.

      • Nagios installation on Centos 7 part 2 (installing plugins and NRPE) – The Linux Juggernaut

        In our previews article we walked you through installing nagios core on a Centos 7 system. In this article we will explain how to install Nagios plugins and the Nagios Remote Plugin Executor (NRPE) package.

      • Monitoring a Remote Centos 6 server with Nagios core – The Linux Juggernaut

        In our earlier articles on nagios we explained in detail how to install nagios core on the centos 6 system and configure it. In this article we will explain step by step how to monitor a remote machine with nagios core.

      • Ubuntu: increase swap [Guide]

        When installing Ubuntu, a swap file is created. The swap file is usually about 2 GB, though sometimes it can be larger. This swap file can do the trick for most Ubuntu users these days, as most modern PCs have a lot of performance and RAM.

        If you rely on swap a lot on Ubuntu because you’re regularly using up your physical RAM, the 2-4 GB swap file isn’t enough. Thankfully, it is possible to increase the swap’s size from the default to something much larger.

      • Ubuntu: update kernel [Guide]

        If you’ve used Ubuntu long enough, you’ll notice that the Linux kernel doesn’t often get updated to a new release. Usually, the Ubuntu developers push out point releases until the next new Ubuntu release.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 6.3
        The Wine development release 6.3 is now available.
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Better debugger support in the NT syscall interface.
          - WineGStreamer library converted to PE.
          - Still more WinRT support in WIDL.
          - Optional support for build IDs.
          - Various bug fixes.
        The source is available from the following locations:
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
      • Wine 6.3 Released With Several Low-Level Improvements

        Wine 6.3 is out today as the newest bi-weekly development snapshot of this free software solution for running Windows games and applications under Linux and macOS.

        Wine 6.3 isn’t the most exciting release in recent time but does have some low-level improvements.

    • Games

      • Why isn’t Godot an ECS-based game engine?

        The topic of why Godot does not utilize ECS comes up often, so this article will explain the design decisions behind that, as well as shed some light on how Godot works.


        Godot uses plenty of data oriented optimizations for physics, rendering, audio, etc. They are, however, separate systems and completely isolated.

        Most (if not all) technologies that utilize ECS do it at the core engine level, by serving as the base architecture and building everything else (physics, rendering, audio, etc) over it.

        Godot instead, those subsystems are all separate and isolated (and fit inside of servers). I find this makes code simpler and easier to maintain and optimize (a testament to this is how tiny Godot codebase is compared to other game engines, while providing similar amounts of functionality).

        The scene system in Godot (nodes) is generally very high level when compared to a traditional ECS system. Most of what goes on happens via signal callbacks (as in, objects collided, something needs to be repainted, button was pressed, etc). The situations where something needs to be processed every frame in Godot from the user side are very rare, as the engine will manage this internally, taking the complexity away from the user.

        In other words, Godot is an engine tries to take the burden of processing away from the user, and instead places the focus on deciding what to do in case of an event. This ensures users have to optimize less in order to write a lot of the game code, and is part of the vision that Godot tries to convey on what should constitute an easy to use game engine.

      • Cyanide & Happiness – Freakpocalypse gets a release date with Linux support due in April

        Cyanide & Happiness – Freakpocalypse, the upcoming comedy point and click adventure game from Explosm, Skeleton Crew Studios and Serenity Forge finally gets a release date. On March 11, 2021 it will release for Windows and with the Linux / macOS releases being readied up for release slightly later in April as the publisher confirmed to us on Twitter and in their latest Kickstarter update.

      • CrossCode: A New Home expansion is out now | GamingOnLinux

        Ready for the next chapter of Lea’s story? CrossCode: A New Home is the brand new expansion for CrossCode the retro-inspired 2D Action RPG set in the distant future.

        A pretty surprising game overall that combines a 16-bit SNES-inspired style with lots of modern features. Smooth physics, fast-paced combat, plenty of puzzles to solve and a pretty wild sci-fi story that you can now continue on from the end of the main game in CrossCode: A New Home. To enjoy it, you need to have finished the original game as this does take place right after and you need specifically the “good ending” apparently.

      • Deckbuilding gets psychological in Neurodeck – out March 18 | GamingOnLinux

        The publisher has confirmed to us that Linux will be supported at release. We’re hoping to take a look at this one and we do have a key request in for it. Once it’s out and we’ve had some time with it, we’ll let you know if it’s any good.

      • Terraria for Google Stadia is surprisingly back on and going through certification | GamingOnLinux

        Turns out Terraria for Stadia will still be a thing. After what looked like it would never happen due to Re-Logic co-creator having their Google account locked, Terraria is now going through certification to release for Stadia. It was part of a pattern of bad news for Google’s fledgling cloud gaming service, following shortly after Google shut down their first-party Stadia studios and more recently a class action lawsuit so things really weren’t looking good in the eyes of many.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Sometimes It’s The Little Things

          Big, new things are always a blast to work on, but sometimes polishing is also an enormously important part of software development which we often find ourselves just kind of pushing ahead of us on the todo list, because there’s more fun things to be working on. However, those rough edges and lacklustre surfaces also need attention.


          My hope in writing this short update of semi-randomly selected things is that i might convince you that when you spot things like that, you are more than welcome hop over to KDE’s Invent and take a look at the code yourself. Maybe it is one of the big, scary things, and that’s where bugs.kde.org comes in – tell us it’s wrong, because while it might be super obvious to you, maybe the rest of us just haven’t noticed, and that makes your observation great in itself.
          But if it’s not, well… why not grab yourself a clone and put up a merge request or two? Remember, those merge requests exist to specifically make sure that if you’ve missed something, others will catch it during the review, so you don’t have to be scared. Give it a shot, the worst that can happen is you’ll learn something about a codebase you’ve not looked at before :)

        • The PinePhone has Arrived

          So DHL rang the door bell to hand me a nice device. This is a pretty little phone! Will come back with more updates as I have more time to poke around.

        • Create a KDE Plasma Theme with No Code! Part 3 – YouTube
        • Create a KDE Plasma Theme with No Code! Part 3
      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GTK 4 Toolkit’s New OpenGL Renderer Is Maturing Well

          The new OpenGL renderer work for GTK 4 as a post-4.0 improvement is shaping up well and should really help push along the open-source toolkit on macOS.

          Well known GNOME developer Christian Hergert of Red Hat has been working on effectively a new OpenGL renderer with a particular focus on helping the macOS support but obviously benefits all GL platforms as well.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Mageia 8 Released with Linux 5.10 LTS, Better Support for NVIDIA Optimus Laptops

          Mageia 8 is powered by the long-term supported Linux 5.10 LTS kernel series, promising outstanding hardware support, and in combination with an up-to-date graphics stack consisting of Mesa 20.3.4 and X.Org Server 1.20.10, the distribution offers improved support for AMD and NVIDIA GPUs.

          For newer AMD Radeon GPUs, Mageia 8 uses the open-source AMDGPU graphics driver, while the Radeon graphics driver is used for older cards. On the other hand, the free Nouveau graphics driver is used for NVIDIA GPUs, and Mageia 8 promises improved support for NVIDIA Optimus laptops.

        • Made it to a byte – announcing the release of Mageia 8

          Everyone at Mageia is very excited to announce the release of Mageia 8.
          Mageia 8 comes with new exiting features, major updates to your favourite programmes as well as support for recent hardware.

          The release is available to download directly, or as a torrent from here. There are classical installer images for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures, as well as live DVD’s for 64-bit Plasma, GNOME, Xfce, and 32-bit Xfce. Don’t worry if you prefer another desktop, there is a huge selection available to install once you are online, there is also installation support and a guide for new users.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • PostgreSQL, GNOME, Rubygems Update in Tumbleweed

          Slonik fans are excited for this week’s openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots as PostgreSQL has a major release in the rolling release distribution.

          Snapshot 20210224 brought in the new postgresql 13 version. The new major version brings in highly requested features like parallelized vacuuming and incremental sorting. PostgreSQL brought some security enhancements with its extension system that allows developers to expand its functionality. There are also improvements to its indexing and lookup system, which benefit large databases. PostgreSQL wasn’t the only major version updated in the snapshot; the utility library ndctl jumped two versions to 70.1, which added firmware activation support. Other major version updates were made to liberation-fonts 2.1.1 and perl-Mail-DKIM 1.20200907. The Advanced Linux Sound Architecture package updated to version 1.2.4, which provided some plugin updates and Link Time Optimization fixes. Among other packages to update in the snapshot were bind 9.16.7, libsolv 0.7.16 and debugging tool xfsprogs 5.9.0.

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the weeks 2021/08

          Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

          This week, we have released almost daily snapshots. It shows that I have received help in working on the Stagings. Richard has been very busy this week, working together with me on these areas. So, we managed to publish 6 snapshots (0218, 0219, 0220, 0221, 0222, and 0223).

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat OpenShift 4.7 Streamlines Application Modernization

          Red Hat OpenShift 4.7 includes the latest version of OpenShift Virtualization. First released in July 2020, OpenShift Virtualization is designed to help organizations break down application barriers between traditional and cloud-native infrastructure and extend control over distributed resources.

        • How I became a Kubernetes maintainer in 4 hours a week

          I have heard (and even said) versions of this sentiment many times since Kubernetes started gaining influence. So, over the last year, I’ve spent time contributing to the project, and I’ve found it worth every minute.

          I’ve discovered that Kubernetes is a project with the right scale for anyone to make an impact in whatever time they have available in their schedule. For me, that was just four hours a week. No more, no less.

          After six months at four hours a week, I found myself the leader of a subgroup that’s making a significant difference around non-code contributions to the project.

          I’ll share some of what I’ve learned about contributing to Kubernetes. I hope it helps you find the focus and time to join in.

        • Fedora Community Blog: Friday’s Fedora Facts: 2021-08

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

          I have weekly office hours on Wednesdays in the morning and afternoon (US/Eastern time) in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else. See the upcoming meetings for more information.

        • Advancing the organization towards hyper versatility and perpetual innovation

          Digital innovation has rarely been more important than it became in 2020, when COVID-19 moved much of the world virtual. In our previous two posts, we discussed what shapes digital innovation and how critical it is in underpinning the business. In this post, we’ll discuss the building blocks for digital innovation.

        • 2021 is the year that open source overcomes its diversity problems [Ed: Racist and sexist company has decided to pose or pretend to be the opposite of what it really is.]

          As the 2020 StackOverflow survey pointed out, technology companies — and many open source communities — have a diversity problem. While the majority of developers currently come from a white, male background, the momentum is shifting to create more inclusive, diverse communities.

          Research shows that diverse open source projects are more productive and make better decisions. This starts with creating teams that have a greater representation of gender, race, socioeconomic standings, ethnic backgrounds, and the like.

          Many open source communities are recognizing the need for new initiatives and a cohesive focus to tackle the lack of diversity in their projects. I predict that in 2021, building off the momentum of this past year’s focus on social inequality and steps made by open source-minded companies and foundations, open source communities will continue to increase the diversity of their communities so that it becomes the rule and not the exception.


          As noted, communities need to actively work to remove barriers to increasing diversity. Here are a few examples of such efforts. Some of these are by IBM — which I of course have the most insight into — but this goes far beyond us. I believe we need to see more of these everywhere!

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Spectrogram Drawing For Fun And Coding | Hackaday

        The code is a bit slow so writes its values to a file which is output by a HackRF, but it could just as easily be used by any other capable output device such as GNU Radio and a soundcard if you too want an Aphex Twin moment.

      • Fanless Coffee Lake computer targets testing and analysis

        No OS support was listed for the Neu-X302, but the Neu-X300 runs Linux or Win 10. The new Coffee Lake Refresh options range up to the octa-core, 1.8GHz/2.2GHz Core i7-9100TE with 35W TDP. Once again, there is a choice of Intel Q370 or Intel H310 I/O chipsets, creating two SKUs. However, there are fewer feature differences.

      • Arm-based IoT gateway reaches out with WiFi, Bluetooth, LTE, and NB-IoT

        Aaeon’s compact “SRG-3352C” IoT gateway is equipped with a TI AM3352, 3x USB, 2x RS-485, 2x GbE, WiFi/BT, mini-PCIe with micro-SIM, and an NB-IoT connector.

        It’s always a bit troubling when vendors omit the name of an embedded system’s processor. However, Aaeon’s fanless SRG-3352C Compact Edge IoT Gateway System, which is said to be based on an 800MHz, Cortex-A8 SoC, gives away the mystery in its name: the IoT gateway no doubt features the aging TI Sitara AM3352. No OS support was listed but given the AM3352 — the lowest end model in the AM335x line, with no 3D GPU or PRU-ICSS cores — Linux is almost certainly supported.

      • Embedded Artists launches 1GHz NXP i.MX RT1176 Crossover MCU module and devkit

        Anders Rosvall, CTO at Embedded Artists AB, explains the i.MX RT1176 uCOM board “enables customers to move up to application-level performance without having to move to the Linux world”, and provides an update from the company’s iMX RT1064 uCOM with double the SDRAM, MIPI-DSI interface, and a 2D graphics engine. In case you wonder why a company would not want to move their application to a Linux platform, reasons include code reuse, faster real-time responsiveness, and lower power consumption.

      • Cortex-A7 module debuts with optional Pico-ITX carrier

        DH unveiled a “DHCOM STM32MP1” module that runs Linux on ST’s Cortex-A7/M4 SoC with up to 1GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, and WiFi/BT. “DH PicoITX2” and “DH PDK” carriers are also available.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • RISC-V With Linux 5.12 Begins Mainlining SiFive’s FU740 Support, NUMA – Phoronix

          Notable with RISC-V in Linux 5.12 is initial support for the SiFive FU740, the SoC design announced at the end of last year. The most notable major user coming to market at the moment with the FU740 is the HiFive Unmatched development board. The SoC with its quad-core U74-MC and single S7 embedded core is joined by four USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, PCI Express x16 (at x8 speeds), NVMe M.2, Gigabit Ethernet, and 16GB of RAM to make for the most interesting RISC-V development board to date. The HiFive Unmatched is slated to still begin shipping later this quarter for about $665 USD.

        • Arduino Blog » Putting a modern spin on the phenakistoscope

          The phenakistoscope was invented in the 1800s as a way to view a series of moving pictures on a spinning disc. While the traditional implementation is ingenious in its own right, Nick Lim has created his own take on this venerable concept, using strobing light to break up frames instead of the slits-and-mirror arrangement of the original.

          His system utilizes a repurposed CD-ROM BLDC motor to rotate the discs — which feature phenakistoscope patterns that were printed out and pasted on top — and an overhead array of strobing LEDs to make the images come to life.

        • Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 industrial carrier board supports M.2 NVMe SSD, 4G LTE modem

          Since the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 launch last fall, we’ve seen several interesting carrier boards for the system-on-module including Wiretrustee to build a NAS with up to four SATA drives, the compact, Arduino-sized Piunora board that also include an M.2 socket, or Over:Board mini-ITX carrier board.

          Oratek brings another one specially designed for industrial use cases with TOFU Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 carrier board offering wide DC input, Gigabit Ethernet with PoE, M.2 NVMe SSD or 4G LTE modem support, among many other features.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

        • Good News! De-Googled /e/OS Smartphones is Now Shipping to the US and Canada

          The de-googled Android fork /e/OS is a passionate step towards removing Google from your daily driver (i.e. your smartphone).

          Considering they’re also working on a privacy-friendly Siri alternative, /e/OS is particularly an exciting pitch for the future smartphones without relying on Google.

          While /e/ smartphones have been around for a while, it still is not tailored for everyone depending on various requirements for daily activities that you do on a smartphone. I’d suggest doing your research before making a purchase.

          However, there’s good news that /e/ smartphones will now also be shipping to the USA and Canada.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • New Affiliate Member Joins OSI: The TeX Users Group

        The TeX Users Group (TUG) is new to the OSI Affiliate program, but not new to the world. It’s a membership-based not-for-profit that was founded in 1980 to encourage and expand the use of TeX, LaTeX, Metafont and related systems. TUG fosters innovation while maintaining the usability of these systems. TUG also supports users by hosting an annual event, maintaining a list of active local TeX user groups and publishing a regular journal called TUGboat three times a year.

        The OSI loves to let folks know about open source tools that they could be using like the TeX, LaTeX and Metafont systems for preparing documents. TUG is for anyone who uses the TeX typesetting system created by Donald Knuth and/or is interested in typography and font design. If you want to install TeX on your computer, please consult the resources mentioned on the TUG home page.

      • Release notes for the Genode OS Framework 21.02

        Genode 21.02 stays close to the plan laid out on our road map, featuring a healthy dose of optimizations, extends the framework’s ARM SoC options, and introduces three longed-for new features.

        First, we extended our concept of pluggable device drivers to all network drivers, including Ethernet and Wifi. As reported in Section Pluggable network device drivers, such drivers can now gracefully be started, restarted, removed, and updated at runtime without disrupting network-application stacks.

        Second, the release features the infrastructure needed for mobile-data communication over LTE, which is a prerequisite for our ambition to use Genode on the Pinephone. Section LTE modem stack gives insights into the involved components and the architecture.

        Third, we are happy to feature the initial version of VirtualBox 6 for Genode. Section VirtualBox 6.1.14 gives an overview of the already supported feature set and the outlook to reach feature-parity to our version of VirtualBox 5 soon. Speaking of VirtualBox in general (both versions), we were able to significantly improve the USB-device pass-through abilities, specifically covering audio headsets.

        Further noteworthy improvements of the current release range from added VirtIO-block device support for virtual machines on ARM (Section VirtIO block devices for virtual machines on ARM), revived developments on RISC-V (Section RISC-V), over VFS support for named pipes (Section VFS support for named pipes), to streamlined tooling (Section Build system and tools).

      • Genode OS Framework 21.02 Adds LTE Data Support, More RISC-V Work

        Genode OS 21.02 is out as the latest feature release to this open-source operating system framework.

      • The Apache News Round-up: week ending 26 February 2021

        Farewell, February –we’re wrapping up the month with another great week. Here are the latest updates on the Apache community’s activities…

      • Events

        • Michael Meeks: 2021-02-26 Friday

          Finally got around to posting my FOSDEM slides, first an update for the Collaboration dev-room on integrating

        • FOSDEM 2021: Building massive virtual communities in Matrix

          Matthew, the open source lead for the Matrix project, held a 48 minutes long lecture on Matrix, a open protocol communications system with encrypted chat, chatrooms and more, at FOSDEM 2021. The video is worth watching if you are curious to learn how Matrix works, what their future plans are for shared spaces and other features, and the practical use-cases it can solve for you and your organization.

      • Web Browsers

        • 30 Years of Browsers: A Quick History [Ed: Mostly glosses over Microsoft crimes in that area, as might be expected from IDG]

          It didn’t take long for Internet Explorer (IE) to win over most internet users, but that did attract the attention of the US government, which brought antitrust charges against Microsoft for its practice of preventing computer manufacturers from uninstalling IE and installing other browsers. The case was finally settled in 2001, but IE had three more years of being the preeminent browser ahead of it, peaking at 95% of the market in 2003.

        • Mozilla

          • The Rust Programming Language Blog: Const generics MVP hits beta!

            After more than 3 years since the original RFC for const generics was accepted, the first version of const generics is now available in the Rust beta channel! It will be available in the 1.51 release, which is expected to be released on March 25th, 2021. Const generics is one of the most highly anticipated features coming to Rust, and we’re excited for people to start taking advantage of the increased power of the language following this addition.

            Even if you don’t know what const generics are (in which case, read on!), you’ve likely been benefitting from them: const generics are already employed in the Rust standard library to improve the ergonomics of arrays and diagnostics; more on that below.

            With const generics hitting beta, let’s take a quick look over what’s actually being stabilized, what this means practically, and what’s next.

          • Remain Calm: the fox is still in the Firefox logo

            If you’ve been on the internet this week, chances are you might have seen a meme or two about the Firefox logo.

            And listen, that’s great news for us. Sure, it’s stressful to have hundreds of thousands of people shouting things like “justice for the fox” in all-caps in your mentions for three days straight, but ultimately that means people are thinking about the brand in a way they might not have for years.

            People were up in arms because they thought we had scrubbed fox imagery from our browser. Rest easy knowing nothing could be further from the truth.

            The logo causing all the stir is one we created a while ago with input from our users. Back in 2019, we updated the Firefox browser logo and added the parent brand logo as a new logo for our broader product portfolio that extends beyond the browser.

          • Hacks.Mozilla.Org: Here’s what’s happening with the Firefox Nightly logo

            The internet was set on fire (pun intended) this week, by what I’m calling ‘fox gate’, and chances are you might have seen a meme or two about the Firefox logo. Many people were pulling up for a battle royale because they thought we had scrubbed fox imagery from our browser.

          • django-querysetsequence 0.14 released!

            django-querysetsequence 0.14 has been released with support for Django 3.2 (and Python 3.9). django-querysetsequence is a Django package for treating multiple QuerySet instances as a single QuerySet, this can be useful for treating similar models as a single model. The QuerySetSequence class supports much of the API available to QuerySet instances.

          • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 88
          • Will Kahn-Greene: Data Org Working Groups: retrospective (2020)

            Data Org architects, builds, and maintains a data ingestion system and the ecosystem of pieces around it. It covers a swath of engineering and data science disciplines and problem domains. Many of us are generalists and have expertise and interests in multiple areas. Many projects cut across disciplines, problem domains, and organizational structures. Some projects, disciplines, and problem domains benefit from participation of other stakeholders who aren’t in Data Org.

          • Mozilla VR Blog: Behind-the-Scenes at Hubs Hack Week

            Earlier this month, the Hubs team spent a week working on an internal hackathon. We figured that the start of a new year is a great time to get our roadmap in order, do some investigations about possible new features to explore this year, and bring in some fresh perspectives on what we could accomplish. Plus, we figured that it wouldn’t hurt to have a little fun doing it! Our first hack week was a huge success, and today we’re sharing what we worked on this month so you can get a “behind the scenes” peek at what it’s like to work on Hubs.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • EDB tries to crowbar graph, JSON, and time-series data models into PostgreSQL – but can they pull it off?

          EDB, a prominant backer of the PostgreSQL open-source database, expects to focus on graph, JSON, and time-series data in the upcoming autumn release. Analysts, however, are sceptical about its ability to optimise for different data models ahead of built for purpose databases.

          Last week, EDB announced a 59 per cent increase in annual recurring revenue, although being privately held it can pick and choose which financial metrics to release. Its team has grown by nearly half, to 300, however that is dwarfed by comparable open-source-supporting firms like Red Hat, with 13,000 employees.

      • CMS

        • Using the Display Posts plugin with WordPress and custom CSS

          My goal when I refactored the site (once again) using WordPress was to focus more on writing than fiddling. I mean, yes, this was a tiny bit fiddly, but I could have spent quite a bit of time trying to code this up myself. Especially since coding isn’t my thing.

          Instead, a few “off-the-shelf” open source bits and I’m in business.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Inetutils 2.0 Is Released – LinuxReviews

            The GNU Project is “pleased” to announce Inetutils 2.0. This is the first release of the GNU implementations of many commonly used Internet utilities such as ping, ftp, hostname, ifconfig and telnet in six years.


            The GNU inetutils contain implementations of a lot of the common network-related utilities found on modern GNU/Linux distributions. Some of the same programs it provides are implemented by the completely different net-tools package and some are implemented by the also very different iputils package. The ping, hostname and ifconfig implementations your favorite GNU/Linux distribution may or may not be provided by GNU inetutils.

            The previous version of GNU inetutils was released on June 10th, 2015. The first version mentioned in the changelog of inetutils-1.3a (the oldest version available for download at the GNU Project), which doesn’t have a number, was released on December 30, 1995. A common/version.c was added the following year.

          • libredwg-0.12.3 released

            Add llvmfuzz and oss-fuzz integration, fixed many minor fuzzing errors. libfuzzer is much better than afl++ and honggfuzz.

          • Tips for writing portable assembler with GNU Assembler (GAS)

            Writing assembly code is straightforward when you are familiar with the targeted architecture’s instruction set, but what if you need to write the code for more than one architecture? For example, you might want to test whether a particular assembler feature is available, or generate an object file for use with another tool. Writing assembly source code that can work on multiple architectures is not so simple.

            This article describes common types of problems encountered when working with assembly code, and the techniques to overcome them. You will learn how to address problems with comments, data, symbols, instructions, and sections in assembly code. To get you started, the Portable assembler demo source file provides many examples of GNU Assembler (GAS) assembly code. I’ll use a few of the examples in this article.


            This article addressed common problems writing portable assembly code and provided solutions and examples. In summary, writing portable assembler is hard to do and best kept simple, and persistence is the key.

      • Programming/Development

        • Spidermonkey Development Blog: SpiderMonkey Newsletter 9 (Firefox 86-87)

          SpiderMonkey is the JavaScript engine used in Mozilla Firefox. This newsletter gives an overview of the JavaScript and WebAssembly work we’ve done as part of the Firefox 86 and 87 Nightly release cycles.

        • Patterns

          The biggest value in design patterns is that it gives us a common language for talking about software and how it’s organized. That’s why Alexander named one of his books A Pattern Language. We’ve all spent hours making diagrams on black- or white-boards to show how some software we’re writing is organized. Design patterns give a common vocabulary so that we can discuss software with some certainty that we all mean the same thing. I eventually realized that UML had the same aim: UML diagrams are like architectural blueprints, in which one kind of line represents a brick wall, another wood, another plasterboard. Unfortunately, UML was never quite standard enough, and like design patterns, was perceived as a good in itself. In the end, a common vocabulary (whether a pattern catalog or UML) is a tool, and any tool can be abused.

        • QtQuick3D instanced rendering

          Using this new instancing feature on my development machine, QtQuick3D can render one million cubes at 60 frames per second (FPS), using only 2% CPU time. The same scene recreated with the API in Qt 6.0, using Repeater3D to generate cubes, starts to struggle at ten thousand cubes: only managing 42 FPS and using 100% of the CPU.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Tailwind does not support pseudo-elements

        This week I came across another tricky part of Tailwind, pseudo-elements. But what if you want to use them?

        What are pseudo-elements anyway? Pseudo-elements are HTML elements that do not exist in the HTML markup at all. Such elements won’t be visible to the browser assistive technology, they can only be styled visually with CSS.

        It’s quite common to define the :before and :after pseudo-elements that style a non-existing element in position relative to the element at hand. People use it for typography or drawing to keep markup clean and tidy. A lot of times, they are used in code pens to showcase some advanced CSS.

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • West: Post-Spectre web development

            Mike West has posted a detailed exploration of what is really required to protect sensitive information in web applications from speculative-execution exploits. “Spectre-like side-channel attacks inexorably lead to a model in which active web content (JavaScript, WASM, probably CSS if we tried hard enough, and so on) can read any and all data which has entered the address space of the process which hosts it. While this has deep implications for user agent implementations’ internal hardening strategies (stack canaries, ASLR, etc), here we’ll remain focused on the core implication at the web platform level, which is both simple and profound: any data which flows into a process hosting a given origin is legible to that origin. We must design accordingly.”

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

            • What Is the Shellshock Bug and Is It Still a Risk? [Ed: Borrowing old FUD to keep the scare. 2014 called. It wants is news back.]

              Like most security bugs, Shellshock took the internet by a storm in 2014 and compromised millions of accounts. This deadly bug originates from the Bash (Bourne Again Shell) which is the default command-line interface on all Linux, Unix, and Mac-based operating systems.

              The Shellshock vulnerability was first detected some 30 years ago but was not classified as an official and public threat until September of 2014. Even with the passage of time and numerous patches, this bug still remains a threat to enterprise security.

            • Five Tips For Life Sciences Companies To Protect Their AI Technologies [Ed: Some habitual copyleft FUD]

              Though they come in all shapes and flavors, open source licenses can generally be characterized into two groups: (1) permissive open source licenses, and (2) copyleft open source licenses. A permissive open source license (e.g., the MIT license) makes software code available for free to a user, but does not place significant restrictions on how the code must be used. Importantly, this means the user of code under a permissive open source license can combine the code with its own proprietary code and be under no obligation to disclose or license the combined code. Conversely, copyleft licenses (e.g., the General Public License (GPL)) also make software code available for free, but require that any modified code be licensed under the same terms. Therefore, if the copyleft licensed code is combined with proprietary code, the user may be required to make its proprietary code publicly available for free as well. Obviously, this is not a good outcome for a company desiring to keep its AI software secret. To avoid this negative outcome, companies should incorporate good hygiene around their use of open source software and implement policies and procedures to ensure that no source code is used that could jeopardize the secrecy of the company’s proprietary code.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • the EvilNess of JavaScript (DON’T BE EVIL TWITTER) strikes … again!

              most users probably don’t care X-D

              twitter was updated and now, even viewing hashtags is impossible without JavaScript turned on (there used to be a functional version without javascript).

              JavaScript has developed from “it’s so great, the first true cross-platform language aka runs everywhere where there is a browser” to a massively mass privacy problem (intrusive spying bitch of pain in the ass catastrophe).

              from now on, content will only go to https://nerdpol.ch/

              (but even there js is mandatory to view it X-D!? #wtf? there really should be a NoScript.net (nice js blocking addon for Firefox) compatible version of this)

              only possibility: turn https://gnusocial.network (last time checked, it was kind of php-slow X-D) into a better twitter

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Extricating the UK from the European Union IP Systems – Contrasting Approaches Across the Channel [Ed: To say that "corresponding agreement on the Unified Patent Court have been delayed since 2016 following the Brexit referendum decision" is wrong. UPC is dead and for good reasons. It is not merely delayed. ]

          There are some important exceptions. The new and controversial Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive which has not yet been implemented into UK law will not be adopted. The UK has also announced that it will not participate in the EU unitary patent scheme. The implementation of the EU unitary patent and the corresponding agreement on the Unified Patent Court have been delayed since 2016 following the Brexit referendum decision. Most EU member states are yet to ratify the agreement which is a pre-condition for the EU unitary patent to come into effect. Following Brexit, it is unclear whether these initiatives will ever be implemented by the EU.

        • Four ways Amgen v Sanofi will influence in-house strategies [Ed: Lobby/think tanks to crazies and nuts who think life and nature themselves should be patented -- a clear and overt misuse of patent law]

          Six senior counsel at large pharma companies say the Federal Circuit’s antibody enablement ruling has compelled them to re-think their patenting needs

      • Trademarks

        • Law School Canons: Pierson v. Post v. Cybersquatting

          Travellers.com, on the other hand, is a site that provides links to other similar traveler insurance sites, and gets revenue on a pay-per-click basis for every time someone uses a link to another traveling insurance provider. Id. at *4. Travelers claimed that Travellers.com activities were cybersquatting, their website was unlawful, and their website infringed on Travelers’s mark. Id.

          For Travelers to prove entitlement to summary judgment on Cybersquatting, they needed to prove that the owner of Travellers.com planned to profit in bad faith from the website, and that Travellers.com was used in an inappropriate manner. Id. at *7. One factor in analyzing whether the owner of Travellers.com had any bad faith intent to profit from the website was to determine whether Travellers.com had any intellectual property rights in the name. Id. The owner of Travellers.com asserted that, under Pierson v. Post, he had a first-in-time possessory claim to the Travellers.com domain. Id.

Links 26/2/2021: GNU Poke 1.0 is Out and Rocky Linux Leaves Microsoft GitHub

Posted in News Roundup at 3:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • February 2021 Web Server Survey

        Apache also holds a more significant lead in terms of Netcraft’s active sites metric, which favours sites with unique content. Apache serves 25.5% of active sites, whereas nginx serves 19.8%. Google accounts for a reasonably large 9.9% share of active sites, owing to its popular Blogger service.

        Microsoft’s server software market share remains in decline. Microsoft’s figures took a significant drop in 2020 in favour of OpenResty, and Microsoft now only has 6.5% (-1.0pp) of the site market and 6.0% (-0.3pp) of domains as of February 2021. OpenResty also looks set to overtake Microsoft as the third largest vendor in terms of sites and active sites.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • We run Arch BTW | Self-Hosted 39

        Our favorite LastPass alternative, why more boxes might be better than one, and we confess to an undying love.

      • The TinyPilot KVM – An open-source network KVM

        I’ve been looking for a network-enabled KVM for a while now, and I think I found a really good one – the TinyPilot! In this video, I take a look at this KVM to see how easy it is to set up and use.

      • Explaining Everything In My XMonad Config

        In this lengthy video, I am going to go over my Xmonad configuration file. My config file is massive, including a lot of code that I don’t even use myself, but I keep this massive config as a reference manual for others to look at.

    • Kernel Space

      • Watch Out For Possible Data Loss On Early Linux 5.12 Kernels – Phoronix

        As a quick PSA for those that may be eager to test out early Git builds of the Linux 5.12 kernel, I’ve been hitting a very nasty issue on multiple systems leading to corruption / data loss.

      • More Open-Source Adreno 500 Series Support, A6xx Speedbin Sent In For Linux 5.12 – Phoronix

        Last week the main set of DRM subsystem updates were sent in for the Linux 5.12 merge window. That pull included exciting additions like Radeon RX 6000 series OverDrive and Intel Xe VRR. Mistakenly left out of that pull request last week were the open-source Qualcomm Adreno driver improvements for the “MSM” kernel driver while now that code has landed.

        As previously noted, there are some noteworthy Adreno improvements this cycle. The driver now has support for the Adreno 508 / 509 / 512 GPUs with the Adreno 508 being found in the Snapdragon 630, the 509 in the Snapdragon 636, and the 512 is in the Snapdragon 660.

      • Linux 5.12 To Expose Firmware Performance Data – Phoronix

        Last week saw the main set of ACPI and power management updates for Linux 5.12 while for the second week of the merge window has been the follow-up work with Intel Simple Firmware Interface removal and also an additional ACPI update.

        Noteworthy with yesterday’s ACPI pull is support for parsing of the ACPI Firmware Performance Data Table (FPDT) and now exposing that under sysfs. The ACPI FPDT tables provide platform initialization platform records with data pertaining to the boot process. Via the Firmware Performance Data Table it’s possible to track the performance of each UEFI phase – helpful in measuring hardware/software changes, etc.

      • Linux 5.11.2
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.11.2 kernel.
        All users of the 5.11 kernel series must upgrade.
        The updated 5.11.y git tree can be found at:
        	git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.11.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
        greg k-h
      • Linux 5.10.19
      • Linux 5.4.101
    • Applications

      • 3 Linux terminals you need to try

        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. The ability to choose your own terminal is a big reason to use Linux.

        Many people think once you’ve used one terminal interface, you’ve used them all. But users who love the terminal know there are minor but important differences between them. This article looks at three of my favorites.

        Before diving into them, though, it’s important to understand the difference between a shell and a terminal. A terminal (technically a terminal emulator, because terminals used to be physical hardware devices) is an application that runs in a window on your desktop. A shell is the engine that’s visible to you in a terminal window. Popular shells are Bash, tcsh, and zsh, and they all run in a terminal.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install uTorrent on Manjaro 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install uTorrent on Manjaro 20. For those of you who didn’t know, uTorrent is a freeware and a closed source BitTorrent Client. One of the most used lightweight BitTorrent Client, Now it is available for Linux as a uTorrent server. The µTorrent is designed to use minimal computer resources while offering functionality comparable to larger BitTorrent clients such as Vuze or BitComet and also it provides performance, stability, and support for older hardware and versions of the operating system.

        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 uTorrent on a Manjaro 20 (Nibia).

      • Losslessly Compress JPG Images via Linux Command Line

        Although JPG images already utilize lossy compression to reduce file size, this compression is rarely optimized. jpegoptim is a Linux command line utility that can optimize JPG photos, yielding a smaller file size and zero quality loss. The resulting image data is bit-for-bit the exact same as the original, but the files can enjoy a significant reduction in size.

        There are a lot of programs and websites that claim to reduce image file size for you, but be careful. Most of these tools will indeed reduce the size of your images, but they work by recompressing the photo, resulting in a marginal (and sometimes quite noticeable) loss of quality. You may not always notice the dip in quality, but it’s there.

        The jpegoptim tool works differently. Instead of recompressing an image, it optimizes the Huffman coding that’s used to compress the image data.

      • How to Export Your LastPass Data to Bitwarden

        It is often the case that long-relied upon apps lose their charm. Some are beaten by their competitors, while others cease to be free. The latter scenario happened with LastPass. Although it technically has a free pricing tier, it is crippled and severely limited. On the other hand, an equally competent password manager – Bitwarden – remains fully free with core features intact. If you are considering migrating from LastPass to Bitwarden, read on, as we show you how.

      • How To List The Members Of A Group In Linux – OSTechNix

        All users in a Linux system must be a member of at least one group. This group is known as Primary group. If an user doesn’t have a primary group, he/she can’t able to login. Apart from the primary group, the users can be a member of additional groups as well. The primary group setting is stored in “/etc/passwd file”. The primary group’s name is specified in the 4th field of this file. The settings of other (secondary) groups are stored in “/etc/group” file. This tutorial explains different ways to find and list all groups and list the members of a group in Linux and Unix-like operating systems.

      • Install WordPress with LEMP Stack on Ubuntu 20.04

        WordPress is a very popular content management system that is free and open source. Using WordPress, you can easily create and manage websites and blogs with little or no knowledge of coding.

        LEMP is one of the popular open source development stacks used to deploy WordPress. LEMP stack contains Linux, Nginx, MySQL, and PHP. LEMP provides high performance for high traffic websites.

        This tutorial describes how to install WordPress on Ubuntu 20.04 with the LEMP stack.

      • How to Install and Use PowerShell on Ubuntu 20.04 [Ed: How to enable Microsoft vendor lock-in on the platform it's looking to destroy or take over]
      • How to embed a binary file in a bash shell script

        You may have been in a situation where you want to embed a binary file in your shell script before sharing it with others. For example, you are working on an installation script that includes a tarball. Or you are writing a portable shell script that includes any external dependency. Find out find out how you can include a binary file in a bash script and how to retrieve it from the script.

      • Install Blender 2.92 In Ubuntu / Linux Mint | Tips On UNIX

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install blender 2.92 in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, Ubuntu 18.04, and Linux Mint 20.1.

        As you know Blender is an open-source 3D creation suite and completely free for use. It is a public project and made by hundreds of people and it supports Animation, 3D modeling, Sculpting, camera tracking, video editing, rendering, composting, and much more.

        It is a cross-platform software that supports Windows, Linux, and macOS.

      • How to check boot path (partition) in Linux

        ow do I identify the boot device or boot path in Linux operating system?

      • FreeBSD jail, xen, and .pam_login_access security fixes released

        All supported versions of FreeBSD are affected by various security bugs that need to be applied ASAP. If the process is privileged, it may escape jail and gain full access to the FreeBSD system. Similarly, when using Xen, a malicious or buggy frontend driver may be able to cause resource leaks. Let us see what and how to fix these security vulnerabilities on FreeBSD.

        FreeBSD version 10/11/12 and 13 have a new jail, Xen, and .pam_login_access security-related problems. The excellent news is fixed are released. Let us see the details.

      • How To Install XAMPP on Linux Mint 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install XAMPP on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, XAMPP is a cross-platform web server that is designed for testing your web applications based on Apache, MySQL, Perl, and PHP distribution that’s compatible with the Linux, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X operating systems. The best tool for those who want to install a fully functional web development environment.

        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 XAMPP on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • How to Install the Latest Erlang on Ubuntu Linux

        Erlang is a functional programming language for building massive scalable real-time systems. Originally created by Ericsson as a proprietary software, Erlang was later open sourced.

      • How to change the sudo password through command line on CentOS 8

        Most new Linux admin users of CentOS 8 do not know how to reset or change the sudo password from the command line environment. It is a good practice for security reasons to regularly change the password of each system user. This habit is important for superuser, who has special privileges to perform all sensitive tasks under CentOS 8. Only root or a superuser can change the password for any other user account. Normal users can only change their own passwords. A user’s password can be changed under CentOS 8 using the ‘passwd’ command.

        This article demonstrates how a root user can change its own password on a CentOS 8.

    • Games

      • Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – Fates Divided announced, Linux support “shortly after Windows” | GamingOnLinux

        Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – Fates Divided was just announced by Creative Assembly and SEGA for release on March 11, and porting studio Feral Interactive confirmed it for Linux “shortly after Windows”.

        Taking place starting at 200 CE, this Chapter Pack for Three Kingdoms sees two childhood friends, Yuan Shao and Cao Cao, go head to head as they battle against each other’s growing ambition. With a childhood bond about to break, it can only mean one thing – Total War.

      • Horror Story: Hallowseed is a psychological horror game coming to Linux this Summer | GamingOnLinux

        Available currently in Early Access for Windows, developer Jeff Winner and publisher 1C Entertainment make it clear that Horror Story: Hallowseed is going to be supported on Linux and macOS too. It’s been on Steam in Early Access since July 2020, with 1C Entertainment taking it on as publisher as of this month now that it’s approaching the full release.

        Horror Story: Hallowseed is a single-player story-driven psychological horror game that takes place in a fictional location, forgotten by time, all wrapped in a mysterious demonic terror. Three friends were camping in the woods, when an obscure event takes them away, causing two of them to disappear. Left alone in an unknown place, Michael seeks answers about what happened, while trying to find his friends.

      • Get some great games for the weekend in these new bundles

        As usual, we will highlight those in bold text that have Linux builds.

      • Top 10 Linux Distros for Gaming

        Exploring the top 10 most acceptable Linux distributions for fellow gamers is our main goal in this article. These have been hand-picked because of the overall experience you will get when you are gaming with them. The progress on Linux gaming development has been impressive over time, and it is no longer a dream.

        The Linux gaming distributions we will examine herein are greatly optimized for gaming. Critical in consideration are the drivers and applications that come with them. For instance, we are looking at the kind of emulators, the drivers, and the gaming software. With these distributions, you can play your game out of the box with minimal or no configuration needed. These gaming distros are very friendly.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Wayland KDE X11

          These days, I often hear a lot about Wayland. And how much of effort is being put into it; not just by the Embedded world but also the usual Desktop systems, namely KDE and GNOME.

          In recent past, I switched back to KDE and have been (very) happy about the switch. Even though the KDE 4 (and initial KDE 5) debacle had burnt many, coming back to a usable KDE desktop is always a delight. It makes me feel home with the elegance, while at the same time the flexibility, it provides. It feels so nice to draft this blog article from Kwrite + VI Input Mode

          Thanks to the great work of the Debian KDE Team, but Norbert Preining in particular, who has helped bring very up-to-date KDE packages into Debian. Right now, I’m on a Plamsa 5.21.1 desktop, which is recent by all standards.

        • Documentation Improvement in KDE

          There was many changes over the last few months in KDE developer documentation tooling. The hope is to make KDE development easier to both newcomers but also long-time KDE contributors to use KDE technologies to build cool stuff.

          The tooling for our generated documentation tooling improved. First of all, KApiDox got a new theme with a cleaner appearance and a better dark theme. But the improvement goes beyond just theming.

        • Debian, KDE, and Trisquel Developments are now using GitLab

          It is exciting that now big software projects are using GitLab for their own development. Debian, the universal operating system, and KDE, the best computer user interface plus applications compilation, and also Trisquel, the completely free software computer OS are among them. You can click those mentioned links to get involved in the software developments. It is certainly a good news as it is good example for the other projects in sovereignty of the infrastructure (borrowing Trisquel’s terms). I made this article after the Rocky Linux’s one as I just realized how important it is. However, as an addition it is also good if there is a project maintains their own Gitea (instead of GitLab) infrastructure as both are certainly libre software. I wish the best for them all!

        • Kubuntu, File Manager, And Nextcloud

          Kubuntu computer users can make their Google Drive or Nextcloud accessible right from the file manager. This means quick backup and sharing. Now we will learn how to integrate Kubuntu’s file manager, Dolphin, with the online storage, Nextcloud, so we can upload and download files right from our Home folders. Let’s go!

    • Distributions

      • Best Linux distros 2021: The finest open source operating systems around

        Although the most common operating systems are Windows and macOS, these platforms don’t offer an awful lot of potential for customisation and fine-tuning. Linux, meanwhile, has forged a reputation for being a fully customisable operating system that lets you configure your own software as you wish.

        Operating Linux systems isn’t as easy a concept as it might sound, however. This term is an umbrella under which a wide variety of flexible installations fall. These are known as distros, and it can be tricky to know where to get started with them – even for experienced professionals.

      • Reviews

        • Quark 20.04 review

          Quark is a fairly new project and this is its first stable release. We don’t usually review such young projects, but we were lured in by its polished Windows 10 desktop replica.

          In a nutshell, think of Quark as Q4OS working on top of Ubuntu LTS, or more accurately Kubuntu. The developers tell us that their objective with Quark is to bring Q4OS goodness to Ubuntu users. Because Q4OS is based on Debian, it didn’t take the developers much effort to compile the Q4OS tools for Ubuntu.

      • New Releases

        • Kali Linux 2021.1 Released

          Kali Linux has released its first release of the year with 2021.1. The new release brings in several new features, new tools, and improvements. So let’s see what’s new in Kali Linux 2021.1.

          Kali Linux is a great Linux distribution for penetration testing. With the huge list of tools available in the repository, one can perform almost any type of test on a device or system.

        • Kali Linux 2021.1 Released

          Kali Linux has released its first release of the year with 2021.1. The new release brings in several new features, new tools, and improvements. So let’s see what’s new in Kali Linux 2021.1.

          Kali Linux

          Kali Linux is a great Linux distribution for penetration testing. With the huge list of tools available in the repository, one can perform almost any type of test on a device or system.

          What’s New In Kali Linux 2021.1

          The new version includes package updates to their latest version including the desktop environments Xfce and KDE. Kali Linux 2021.1 ships with Xfce 4.16 and KDE 5.20. The default desktop environment is Xfce but Kali Linux is capable of running almost any major desktop environment such as GNOME, KDE, LXDE, Englightenment, etc.

          For more information on how to install a specific desktop environment in Kali Linux, please refer to this guide.


          If you use Ubuntu then you’re already aware of this little feature. Whenever you try to run a command that is not available, the terminal returns a command to install the tool. Similarly, if you mistype a command, the terminal returns a suggestion with possibly a valid command.

          Kali Linux 2021.1 now offers the same functionality. If you are ever lost, the terminal will save you a little bit of time searching the package or command and directly through the necessary information.

      • BSD

        • resolvd(8) – daemon to handle nameserver configuration

          From manual page description (at the time of writing):

          resolvd handles the contents of /etc/resolv.conf, which contains details of the system’s DNS nameservers, and is read by the resolver routines in the C library.

          resolvd checks whether unwind(8) is running and monitors the routing socket for proposals sent by dhclient(8), slaacd(8), or network devices which learn DNS information such as umb(4).

      • Arch Family

        • Top 10 Best Arch-based Linux Distros Available To Check Out

          Finally, I’ve decided to make a list of the best Arch-based Linux distros I’ve used and tried so far. I was a full-time Debian user. And, because I am a distro hopper, you will find me moving to and from various Debian-based distros. In fact, most of the beginners in Linux tend to go for Debian. Because it’s easy to use and there are tons of prebuilt packages. But when I came to know about Arch Linux for the first time, I fall in love with it.

          However, I will not suggest the vanilla Arch Linux to the newbie users. It’s because Arch follows a rolling release model, and you can build your own OS image based on your favorite packages. This leads to some complications, which might be annoying for beginners. But apart from that, if you want complete flexibility and customizations with the latest packages, there’s no alternative to Arch Linux. In fact, if you are a power user like me, you will even get a performance boost in Arch.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat introduces free RHEL for open-source, non-profit organizations

          When Red Hat, CentOS’s Linux parent company, announced it was “shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to CentOS Stream,” CentOS users were not happy. Now, in an effort to mollify them and to keep its promise to open-source organizations, Red Hat is introducing a new, free RHEL for Open Source Infrastructure.

        • Rocky Linux, The CentOS Alternative, is now Using Gitlab

          This is a good example, that, Rocky Linux is now using GitLab, not GitHub, for its public development (software packaging) that everyone can join. We see in February 2021 it proudly presents its own serve we can see it here https://git.rockylinux.org. Rocky is a continuation of CentOS GNU/Linux which is now in rapid development with its rapidly growing (despite new) community. This means Rocky is following Debian, Trisquel OS and the other big OS projects to use the Free Software code hosting GitLab (and alike). This is certainly a good news to see more libre software forge being used in real life by big projects. To contribute to Rocky, especially when you are sysadmins and in server businesses, you can click here to Get Involved. Finally, I wish the best for Rocky and its development.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • What is virtualisation? The basics

          Virtualisation plays a huge role in almost all of today’s fastest-growing software-based industries. It is the foundation for most cloud computing, the go-to methodology for cross-platform development, and has made its way all the way to ‘the edge’; the eponymous IoT. This article is the first in a series where we explain what virtualisation is and how it works. Here, we start with the broad strokes. Anything that goes beyond the scope of a 101 article will be covered in subsequent blog posts. Let’s get into it.


          Snaps are containerised software packages that focus on being singular application containers. Where LXC could be seen as a machine container, Docker as a process container, snaps can be seen as application containers. Snaps package code and dependencies in a similar way to containers to keep the application content isolated and immutable. They have a writable area that is separated from the rest of the system, but are visible to the host via user application-defined interfaces and behave more like traditional Debian apt packages.

          Snaps are designed for when you want to deploy to a single machine. Applications are built and packaged as snaps using a tool called snapcraft that incorporates different container technologies to create a secure and easy-to-update way to package applications for workstations or for fleets of IoT devices. There are a few ways to develop snaps. Developers can configure snap to even run unconfined while they put it together and containerise everything later when pushing to production. Read more about the different way snaps can be configured in another article.

        • Full Circle Magazine #166

          This month:
          * Command & Conquer : LMMS
          * How-To : Python, Podcast Production, and Make a Budget
          * Graphics : Inkscape


    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • New Release: OnionShare 2.3

            This post was originally published on Micah Lee’s blog.

            After a ridiculously long sixteen months (or roughly ten years in pandemic time) I’m excited to announce that OnionShare 2.3 is out! Download it from onionshare.org.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.1 review – The Uncertainty Principle

          I feel that LibreOffice has lost its momentum, just like the Linux desktop. The domain has been idle for a while, the world is changing, and there simply isn’t enough energy – or money – to sustain the project in a good, vibrant way. After all, many open-source projects kick off with gusto, but then a decade later, they are pretty much in the same position they’ve always been, and that’s not very inspiring – or whatever word you want to use for where people source their drive and creativity.

          LibreOffice 7.1 feels worse than its predecessors. It doesn’t introduce anything super cool or useful, but it does bring in more bugs. The speed is also an issue, and the Microsoft compatibility remains tricky. Then, the interface doesn’t need a billion choices, just one or two but polished to perfection. And I’m not even going to talk about the whole Community Edition thing. I will gladly pay for LibreOffice, but I expect pro results in return. In fact, the healthiest thing that can happen to this fine suite is to become costware, because otherwise, I can’t see where the needed investment and resources will come to ramp up on the much needed features and tools. Free is good, free is fun, but tools that don’t tool aren’t very useful. And thus, another layer of hope is chipped away from me soul.

      • CMS

        • WordPress Boots Pirated Themes and Plugins [Ed: "Pirated" is technically and legally the wrong term]

          WordPress issued a statement that pirated themes and plugins are prohibited from being distributed from the official repositories


          WordPress.org announced that plugins and themes that are pirated versions of paid plugins and themes will be removed from the official WordPress repositories. The WordPress community debated if that approach violated the WordPress Open Source GPL license that allows derivative works to be distributed.

          The announcement itself affirmed that premium plugins are developed under the GPL that allows the creation of derivative works. But it also reserved the right to remove the plugins from the official plugin repository.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Release notes for poke 1.0
            I am happy to announce the first release of GNU poke, version 1.0.
            The tarball poke-1.0.tar.gz is now available at
              GNU poke (http://www.jemarch.net/poke) is an interactive,
              extensible editor for binary data.  Not limited to editing basic
              entities such as bits and bytes, it provides a full-fledged
              procedural, interactive programming language designed to describe
              data structures and to operate on them.
            This release is the product of 3 years of work resulting in 4126
            commits, made by 19 contributors.
            The program is far from being perfect and there are known bugs and
            limitations in place.  We also have lots of awesome ideas still to be
            implemented, extensions we want to add, pickles for many data formats
            to write, documentation to improve, and lots of work in
            progress... the GUI, the machine-interface... working in poke is so
            fun that it is difficult to stop :'D
            But it is time to start the releasing cycles so everyone can benefit
            from poke, which is already immensely useful for many activities like
            systems programming, testing of software, design and documentation of
            file formats and protocols, reverse engineering, and much more.
            Releasing often will hopefully also bring in more developers to our
            little but enthusiastic community... there is so much to do!
            In any case, we wish you have fun with poke and that you find it
            Please send us comments, suggestions, bug reports, *patches*,
            questions, complaints, bitcoins, or whatever, to poke-devel@gnu.org.
            Many of the poke developers and users populate the #poke IRC channel
            at irc.freenode.net, and you are more than welcome to join us there
            and say hello.
            Now it is time to mention the names of all the people who have
            contributed with code and/or documentation to this release.  In
            certain but no significant order they are:
               John Darrington
               Tim Rühsen
               Luca Saiu
               Bruno Haible
               Mohammad-Reza Nabipoor
               Eric Blake
               Egeyar Bagcioglu
               Kostas Chasialis
               Darshit Shah
               Dan Čermák
               David Faust
               Carlo Caione
               Henner Zeller
               Aurelien Aptel
               Indu Bhagat
               Michael Drüing
               Pierre-Evariste Dagand
            My gratitude to you all!  It is a real pleasure to hack with you.
            Finally, as a personal note, I would like to dedicate this release to
            my father Eduardo.  For this is also your work in a sense, and I love
            you very much.
            And this is all for now.
            Happy poking!
          • GNU poke 1.0 released

            Version 1.0 of GNU poke is out. “GNU poke (http://www.jemarch.net/poke) is an interactive, extensible editor for binary data. Not limited to editing basic entities such as bits and bytes, it provides a full-fledged procedural, interactive programming language designed to describe data structures and to operate on them.”

          • GNU poke 1.0 released
          • GNU Poke 1.0 Released For Poking At Binary Data

            The newest GNU project seeing its first release is GNU Poke, which is being inaugurated at v1.0 after being in development for the past three years.

            GNU Poke 1.0 is an interactive editor for binary data that beyond basic editing capabilities has an integrated, interactive programming language for describing data structures and operating on them. There is a GUI in the works for Poke along with many other features planned but after the initial three years of development they feel it’s now in good enough shape for declaring a 1.0 release.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Panel: A New Era of Open? COVID-19 and the Pursuit for Equitable Solutions

            In this panel, we’ll examine the fields of Open Data, Open Science, and Open Source Medical Hardware with leading experts and practitioners, asking questions like: “What does “open” mean in the COVID-19 context?” “What role can open access and the open community play in ensuring there is timely and equitable access to medical and scientific research outputs and data, vaccines and treatments?” “Can open science and open data help prevent the next pandemic?” “What legal tools should be used to expedite the manufacturing of vaccines?” “How can we balance individual privacy with the need to share information about genome variation and patterns of infection?”

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Bundling for the Web

        One set of touted advantages for bundling relate to performance and efficiency. Today, we have a better understanding of the ways in which performance is affected by resource composition, so this has been narrowed down to two primary features: compression efficiency and reduced overheads.

        Compression efficiency can be dramatically improved if similar resources are bundled together. This is because the larger shared context results in more repetition and gives a compressor more opportunities to find and exploit similarities.

        Bundling is not the only way to achieve this. Alternative methods of attaining compression gains have been explored, such as SDCH and cross-stream compression contexts for HTTP/2. Prototypes of the latter showed immense improvements in compression efficiency and corresponding performance gains. However, general solutions like these have not been successful in find ways to manage operational security concerns.

        Bundling could also reduce overheads. While HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 reduce the cost of making requests, those costs still compound when multiple resources are involved. The claim here is that internal handling of individual requests in browsers has inefficiencies that are hard to eliminate without some form of bundling.

        I find it curious that protocol-level inefficiencies are not blamed here, but rather inter-process communication between internal browser processes. Not having examined this closely, I can’t really speak to these claims, but they are quite credible.

        What I do know is that performance in this space is subtle. When we were building HTTP/2, we found that performance was highly sensitive to the number of requests that could be made by clients in the first few round trips of a connection. The way that networking protocols work means that there is very limited space for sending anything early in a connection[2]. The main motivation for HTTP header compression was that it allowed significantly more requests to be made early in a connection. By reducing request counts, bundling might do the same.

  • Leftovers

    • Welcome to the Real March Madness

      “The show must go on!” This famous phrase of the 19th century circus world has always seemed to lack context. “The show must go on, especially if the show’s owners will go bankrupt if the curtains close!” is far more apt. The NCAA and its P.T. Barnum without the charm, President Mark Emmert, are moving ahead as planned with March Madness. They are putting their plans into place even though the women’s and men’s tournaments could be Covid-19 super-spreader events, afflicting the population right at the moment when this country is finally vaccinating folks and seeing infection rates go down.

    • Danielle Evans’s Poignant Histories of the Present

      There is a rhythm to Danielle Evans’s writing that can, on the surface, betray the tensions roiling beneath the stories she tells. She writes about the haunting nature of memory, grief, and desire with a piercing subtlety that refuses any sort of cliché terms of closure. Readers familiar with Evans’s first short-story collection, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, will recognize this quality. Those stories are replete with characters searching for themselves, coming of age, and daring to make their way forward even when their pasts pose the greatest of obstacles. In the novella and six short stories contained in her new book, The Office of Historical Corrections, Evans continues to trouble what it means to turn away from or face head-on the many histories that are always shaping our lives.

    • How We Created A Virtual Workshop To Help A Group Of Brilliant Thinkers Explore ‘Positive’ Futures Around AI

      Having spent two and a half decades writing about innovation, one of the things that’s most fascinating to me is how little most people can envision how innovation can have a positive effect on our lives. Perhaps it’s a lack of imagination — but, more likely, it’s just human nature. Human psychology is wired for loss aversion, and it’s much easier to understand all the ways in which technology and innovation can backfire to take away things we appreciate. History, however, tends to show that the positives of many innovations outweigh the negatives, but we’re generally terrible at thinking through what those benefits might be.

    • Science

      • Applause for Perseverance Ignores Plutonium Bullet We Dodged

        With all the media hoopla last week about the Perseverance rover, frequently unreported was that its energy source is plutonium—considered the most lethal of all radioactive substances—and nowhere in media was the NASA projection that there were 1-in-960 odds of an accidental release of the plutonium on the mission.

      • 5 Ocean Terms You May Not Know — But Should!

        These little-known but fascinating ocean phenomena will leave you wanting to learn more.

      • DNA from Pleistocene Era Mammoth Lineages Elucidated

        The wooly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) is an iconic animal, like the saber tooth tiger or dire wolf, from a time in human history when our position at the top of the global food chain was decidedly not assured (and being something’s prey was not limited to just other humans). Perhaps this is a reason that resurrection of mammoths using Jurassic Park-like technology has some currency and appeal (but see How to Clone a Mammoth for reasons why this may not be such a good idea). Perhaps paradoxically, the mammoth arose in Africa 5 million years ago and like its (very) distant Homo sapiens relatives migrated to colonize the Northern Hemisphere, with most of the evolutionary adaptations to new habitats (and speciation that accompanied them) rising in the Pleistocene Era (from about 2.6 million to 12 years ago). From these speciation events arose the Columbian mammoth in North America about 1.5 million years ago and the “classic” wooly mammoth in northeastern Siberia about 700,000 years ago.

        Recently an international team* elucidated some genetic relationships between mammoths using DNA extracted from specimens from the Early and Middle Pleistocene, in a paper entitled “Million-year-old DNA sheds light on the genomic history of mammoths,” in the journal Nature. These results, termed “deep-time paleogenomics” by the authors, were obtained from three specimens, two of which were more than 1 million years old. The specimens represented two distinct lineages present in Eastern Siberia in early Pleistocene, one of which resulted in wooly mammoth populations that survived to become contemporaneous with humans. The third lineage gave rise to first mammoths in North America (Mammuthus columbi), resulting from a hybrid between these two lineages in Siberia in the Middle Pleistocene. And perhaps not surprisingly, these researchers found most of the adaptation to cold seen in these animals were present in the samples from one million years ago.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘Outrageous’: Sanders Rips Netanyahu for Sending Covid Vaccines to Foreign Allies as Palestinians Denied Access

        The U.S. senator from Vermont denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for sending spare vaccines overseas “while so many Palestinians in the occupied territories are still waiting.”

      • Opinion | Trumpedemic: The Coronavirus Death Toll Reached 500,000 Because Trump Sabotaged the Covid Response

        Donald Trump placed his perceived political interests over stopping a pandemic.

      • We Must Change the Way We Measure Economic Health

        The clock has started on Biden’s promise to Build Back Better, as Americans anxiously wait to see what will be passed in his American Rescue Plan. Will the bill center the needs of everyday people and dedicate resources accordingly, or will deficit hawks and lackeys of the rich continue to play an outsize role in guiding our economy?

      • Mexico Could Soon Become the Largest Legal Marijuana Market in the World

        When a crew of cannabis activists reached the Mexican Senate here in Mexico City in February 2020, shovels in hand, they started digging up the yellow-tipped bushes near the security check, then the knee-high grass that surrounds the plaza. They planted skinny cannabis stalks, and smokers dropped their own cannabis seeds into a glass jar, each one a tithe for their cause. The operation was a gleeful but pointed jab at the politicians inside, who had used marijuana and other drugs to justify an ongoing war, carried out in partnership with the United States, that had made Mexico one of the most violent countries in the world. They were far more likely to be taken out by a bullet, the activists said, than by smoking a joint. They wanted to make sure reform would be done right. Reporting for this story was funded by a grant from Fundación Gabo. All photos by Alejandra Rajal.

      • From Pollution to the Pandemic, Racial Equity Eludes Louisiana’s Cancer Alley Community

        Like many African Americans, Hampton’s hesitation around vaccination stems from hearing about the way Black men were left to suffer during the Tuskegee syphilis study, an experiment between 1932 and 1972 which withheld lifesaving treatment, and from her own lifetime of experiences with unequal healthcare access. She told me that she and her family often had to wait hours to see a doctor for medical care while white people would go right in.

      • Have a case of Covid variant? No one is going to tell you

        Coronavirus infections from variant strains are quickly spreading across the U.S., but there’s one big problem: Lab officials say they can’t tell patients or their doctors whether someone has been infected by a variant.

        Federal rules around who can be told about the variant cases are so confusing that public health officials may merely know the county where a case has emerged but can’t do the kind of investigation and deliver the notifications needed to slow the spread, said Janet Hamilton, executive director of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.

      • Fossil fuels may be responsible for twice as many deaths as first thought

        The death toll is enormous, according to a new paper by researchers at Harvard University in America, and University College London (UCL) and the University of Birmingham in Britain. Their study, published in Environmental Research, estimates that in 2018, 8.7m global deaths were associated with breathing air pollution from fossil fuels, almost one-fifth of all deaths worldwide. That total is far higher than previous estimates. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD), a study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) that tallies the lives lost to hundreds of illnesses and injuries, puts deaths from air pollution at 4.2m in 2015. Moreover, the GBD estimate included all sources of outdoor and indoor pollution—including dust, burning organic matter (such as wildfires and deliberate agricultural fires) and cooking fuels—rather than just fossil fuels.

        There are several reasons for the discrepancy. Michael Brauer, who leads the team that assesses environmental risk factors at IHME, points out that the GBD looks specifically at the handful of diseases—including heart disease, heart attack, chronic lung disease, lung cancer, type-2 diabetes and lower respiratory infections—for which it considers there to be a sufficiently strong causal relationship with air pollution. Many other diseases with links to air pollution are not factored into their estimates. (Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, for example, have not yet been included, though they will be in the GBD’s next update.) The paper in Environmental Research, meanwhile, looks at mortality from all possible causes.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

          Many of the complaints were from M1 Mac users who had a MacBook Pro or a ‌MacBook Air‌, but Apple’s release notes suggest other models were affected as well.

        • Apple releases macOS update to prevent damage from third-party docks and dongles

          Most of the issues seemed to come from using a third-party dock, and while some of them seem to be from pretty obscure brands, there are a few recognizable ones that are reported to have killed laptops. For its part, Apple calls them “non-compliant powered USB-C hubs and docks” in the new update’s notes.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (python-pysaml2 and redis), Fedora (buildah, containernetworking-plugins, containers-common, libmysofa, libpq, podman, postgresql, skopeo, xen, and xterm), openSUSE (nghttp2), Oracle (firefox and thunderbird), SUSE (glibc, ImageMagick, python-Jinja2, and salt), and Ubuntu (python2.7, python2.7, python3.4, python3.5, python3.6, python3.8, and tiff).

          • DHS Secretary Mayorkas announces new initiative to fight ‘epidemic’ of cyberattacks [iophk: Windows TCO]

            Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Thursday announced new funding and initiatives to prioritize the nation’s cybersecurity, particularly in order to confront what he described as an “epidemic” of ransomware attacks.

            Mayorkas announced during a virtual speech that current cybersecurity grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency would be increased by $25 million across the nation and that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was evaluating further cyber grants to help the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) assist state and local governments.

          • Google Discloses Details of Remote Code Execution Vulnerability in Windows

            The flaw, tracked as CVE-2021-24093, was patched by Microsoft on February 9 with its Patch Tuesday updates. Dominik Röttsches of Google and Mateusz Jurczyk of Google Project Zero have been credited for reporting the issue to Microsoft.

            A CVSS score of 8.8 has been assigned to the vulnerability, but Microsoft has rated it critical for all affected operating systems. The list includes Windows 10, Windows Server 2016 and 2019, and Windows Server.

          • VMWare Patches Critical RCE Flaw in vCenter Server

            The vulnerability, one of three patched by the company this week, could allow threat actors to breach the external perimeter of a data center or leverage backdoors already installed to take over a system.

          • How $100M in Jobless Claims Went to Inmates

            The U.S. Labor Department’s inspector general said this week that roughly $100 million in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims were paid in 2020 to criminals who are already in jail. That’s a tiny share of the estimated tens of billions of dollars in jobless benefits states have given to identity thieves in the past year. To help reverse that trend, many states are now turning to a little-known private company called ID.me. This post examines some of what that company is seeing in its efforts to stymie unemployment fraud.

          • Microsoft Failed to Shore Up Defences That Could Have Limited SolarWinds Hack, US Senator Says

            Microsoft’s failure to fix known problems with its cloud software facilitated the massive SolarWinds hack that compromised at least nine federal government agencies, according to security experts and the office of US Senator Ron Wyden.

            A vulnerability first publicly revealed by researchers in 2017 allows hackers to fake the identity of authorized employees to gain access to customers’ cloud services. The technique was one of many used in the SolarWinds hack.

            Wyden, who has faulted tech companies on security and privacy issues as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, blasted Microsoft for not doing more to prevent forged identities or warn customers about it.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The SAFE Tech Act Wouldn’t Make the Internet Safer for Users

              The SAFE Tech Act is a shotgun approach to Section 230 reform put forth by Sens. Mark Warner, Mazie Hirono and Amy Klobuchar earlier this month. It would amend Section 230 through the ever-popular method of removing platform immunity from liability arising from various types of user speech. This would lead to more censorship as social media companies seek to minimize their own legal risk. The bill compounds the problems it causes by making it more difficult to use the remaining immunity against claims arising from other kinds of user content. 

              Addressing Big Tech’s surveillance-based business models can’t, and shouldn’t, be done through amendments to Section 230—but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done at all. 

              The act would not protect users’ rights in a way that is substantially better than current law. And it would, in some cases, harm marginalized users, small companies, and the Internet ecosystem as a whole. Our three biggest concerns with the SAFE Tech Act are: 1) its failure to capture the reality of paid content online, 2) the danger that an affirmative defense requirement creates and 3) the lack of guardrails around injunctive relief that would open the door for a host of new suits that simply remove certain speech.

            • Virginia’s Weak Privacy Bill Is Just What Big Tech Wants

              The bill, which both Microsoft and Amazon supported, is now headed to the desk of Governor Ralph Northam. This week, EFF joined with the Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Consumer Federation of America, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, U.S. PIRG to ask for a veto on this bill, or for the governor to add a reenactment clause—a move that would send the bill back to the legislature to try again.

            • Interoperability Gains Support at House Hearing on Big Tech Competition

              This was the first hearing since the House Judiciary Committee issued its antitrust report from its investigation into the business practices of Big Tech companies. This week’s hearing was exclusively focused on how to re-enable small businesses to disrupt the dominance of Big Tech. A critical aspect of the Internet EFF calls the life cycle of competition has vanished from the Internet as small new entrants no longer seek (nor could even if they tried) to displace well-established giants, but rather seek to be acquired by them.

              Across the committee Members of Congress appeared to agree that some means of requiring Big Tech to grant access to competitors through interoperability will be an essential piece of the competition puzzle. The need is straightforward, the larger these networks became, the more their value rose, making it harder for a new business to enter into direct competition. One expert witness, Public Knowledge’s Competition Policy Director Charlotte Slaiman, noted that these “network effects” meant that one company with double the network size as a competitor wasn’t twice as attractive, it was exponentially more attractive to users.

              But even in cases where you have large competitors with sizeable networks, Big Tech companies are using their dominance in other markets as a means to push out existing competitors. One of the most powerful testimonies in favor of interoperability provided to Congress was by the CEO of Mapbox, Eric Gunderson who detailed how Google is leveraging its dominance in search to exert dominance in Google Maps. Specifically, Google through a colorful trademark “brand confusion” contract term requires developers who wish to use Google Search to only integrate their products with Google Maps. Mr. Gunderson made clear that this tying of products that really do not need to be tied together at all is not only foreclosing on market opportunities for Mapbox, but it is also forcing their existing clients to abandon doing anything that doesn’t use Google Maps outright.

            • Twitter Floats Letting Users Charge for Exclusive Content

              Bloomberg previously reported that Twitter was exploring user subscription features, and Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey discussed the idea of paying to “unlock” content or “tip” another user during a recent interview. Almost 90% of Twitter’s sales come from advertising, which can be seasonal and easily influenced by factors outside of the company’s control. For example, revenue fell 19% in the second quarter during the height of the pandemic shutdowns.

            • Government reveals stats on social media users, WhatsApp leads while YouTube beats Facebook, Instagram

              During a press conference, Prasad revealed that WhatsApp has over 53 crores users, followed by YouTube which has over 44.8 crores users in India. Facebook has around 41 crores, Instagram has 21 crores while Twitter has the lost number of users—1.5 crores. This could also be due to the recent shift of Indian users from Twitter to the Koo app, which is the Indian alternative of Twitter.

            • WhatsApp can be banned in India after new rules if it refuses to dilute privacy protection

              he government of India on Thursday announced the all-new Information Technology Rules 2021, which include intermediary guidelines and a digital media ethics code. While the new rule will take some time to come into effect, the government has put forward a firm stand to identify a message’s originators. This means that platforms like WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram and others that use end-to-end encryption for messages may have to break it to comply with the government’s new rule.

              Announcing the new Information Technology Rules 2021, Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar and Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday pointed out that if a tweet or message has not originated in India, then the app must tell the government who in India received it first.

            • Govt announces new social media rules to curb its misuse

              To prevent the misuse of social media, the Union government on Thursday announced new rules that make it mandatory for platforms such as WhatsApp to aid the government in identifying the “originator” of certain messages containing unlawful information, while also requiring social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to remove such content within 36 hours of being notified.

              As per the Information Technology (Guidelines for intermediaries and digital media ethics code) Rules, 2021, social media platforms will also be required to provide information, including related to verification of identity, to lawfully authorised agencies within 72 hours.

            • Twitter Super Followers Brings Calls of “RIP Twitter” – Make Tech Easier

              It’s not unusual at all for a company to change up its business model to one it hopes will bring in more revenue. But when it’s a company with millions of customers who use the product for free, there’s going to be some backlash. That’s what Twitter found when it announced its new “Super Followers” feature that brought cries of “RIP Twitter” from its users.


              With a little breathing room, it appears Twitter has decided it needs to go in a new direction. it’s now trying to monetize the site, or rather, monetize to a greater degree.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘Counter-Terrorism’?: Two Decades After 9/11, New Interactive Map Details Footprint of US War Machine in 85 Countries

        “The map raises a number of questions. Why is the United States militarily active in so many countries? Are these operations meeting the stated U.S. goals of reducing violence against Americans?”

      • Opinion | We Can’t Afford Another Cold War on This Scalding Planet

        Biden, climate change, and China.

      • Time for a New Approach to North Korea

        However, what these discussions leave out reveals a glaring gap between conventional thinking in Washington and the reality of the conflict. They also reveal the gap between domestic and foreign policy conversations in the United States. Closing these gaps are the only way to build lasting peace in Korea.

        What is often lost in the popular news coverage and analysis on North Korea is that the U.S. has technically been at war with North Korea since 1950, making it by far Washingtin’s longest running war abroad. The fact that the U.S. and North Korea never signed an official peace treaty is the reason why there is still so much conflict and military build-up on the Korean Peninsula today.

      • Opinion | The Right Is Using the Capitol Riot as an Excuse to Target Activists on the Left

        Since January 6, Republicans across the country have introduced a slew of anti-protest bills.

      • ‘Joe Biden Just Dropped Bombs on Syria. Here We Go Again’: US Responds to Rocket Attacks With Airstrikes

        The president ordered the strikes on facilities the administration says belonged to Iran-backed militia groups.

      • “Decades in the Making”: How Mainstream Conservatives & Right-Wing Money Fueled the Capitol Attack

        As more details emerge about those who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, it’s becoming clearer that the insurrection was not the work of a “fringe” group, but rather the result of a decades-long conservative effort to undermine democracy, according to author Brendan O’Connor. “The events of January 6 were not just months, but years, decades, in the making,” says O’Connor, who notes that major Republican donors and prominent conservative groups were connected to the Trump rally that immediately preceded the Capitol riot.

      • The Murder Chicago Didn’t Want to Solve

        The man who called me, a long-retired Chicago police officer, was alternately charming and curt. He insisted he had nothing to do with the murder.

        “All the things you wrote in your letter to me are not true,” he said, speaking slowly, his voice occasionally shaky. “Everything in there is a fucking lie.”

      • Iran Slams Israel for Recent Activity at the ‘Region’s Only Nuclear Bomb Factory’

        New imagery raises questions about activities at the Negev Nuclear Research Center.

      • A Half-Century Later, Pueblo’s Crew Gets Their Day in Court

        On Jan. 23, 1968, North Korean patrol boats captured the Navy intelligence ship off its shores, firing on it as the crew dumped classified material, and wounding its commander, Lloyd Bucher, and two others. One man was killed. The 82 surviving members of the crew were bound, blindfolded, and taken to Pyongyang, where they were charged with spying, tortured, and imprisoned as hostages. The survivors were finally released after a humiliating apology—a written statement from the United States admitting the Pueblo was spying—and a U.S. vow not to spy on North Korea anymore.

        The case, John Doe A-1 et al. v. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was filed on behalf of 61 former crew members and 110 family members three years ago after the Trump administration redesignated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism in late 2017. Bucher’s estate and three of his crew originally filed suit in 2006, but the George W. Bush administration, while pursuing diplomacy with Pyongyang, took North Korea off the state-sponsor list two years later. Bucher died in 2004.

      • Amnesty Report Describes Axum Massacre in Ethiopia’s Tigray

        Soldiers from Eritrea systematically killed “many hundreds” of people, mostly men, in a late November massacre in the Ethiopian city of Axum, Amnesty International says in a new report, echoing the findings of an Associated Press story last week and citing more than 40 witnesses.

      • Trump Supporters Want to ‘Blow Up’ Capitol, Police Chief Warns

        Donald Trump supporters, who launched a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol last month, have indicated they want to “blow up” the building and kill members of Congress, the acting chief of the Capitol Police said Thursday.

        Threats suggest extremists could target the building during an address by President Joe Biden, Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told lawmakers as she advocated for continued high security around the building.

      • Suspected Islamists kill a dozen people in eastern Congo attacks

        President Felix Tshisekedi has said he wants to end decades of unrest in the mineral-rich east, but killings there have more than doubled in the last year, according to the United Nations.

      • Soram village clash pre-planned; happened after announcement from mosque: Balyan

        A day after a clash between supporters of the BJP and the RLD here in his presence, Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan on Tuesday alleged that it was pre-planned by leaders of the opposition party and they were instigated by an announcement made through a mosque.

      • India, Pakistan agree to cease firing along border

        This is the first publicised contact in a long time between India and Pakistan. The last meeting between the Prime Ministers of the two countries was on Christmas Day in 2015 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Lahore on an unannounced visit.

      • Pakistan, India Reach Rare Deal to Restore Kashmir Truce

        Pakistan and India have agreed to immediately cease military hostilities in disputed Kashmir by restoring a 2003 truce to deescalate tensions between the nuclear-armed South Asian rivals.

        The two nations said in a joint statement Thursday their top military commanders spoke “over the established mechanism of hotline contact” and reviewed in a “free, frank and cordial atmosphere” the situation along the Line of Control that splits Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • EFF joins Dozens of Organizations Urging More Government Transparency

        Specifically, these organizations are asking the administration and the federal government at large to update policy and implementation regarding the collection, retention, and dissemination of public records as dictated in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Federal Records Act (FRA), and the Presidential Records Act (PRA).

        Our call for increased transparency with the administration comes in the wake of many years of extreme secrecy and increasingly unreliable enforcement of record retention and freedom of information laws. 

        The letter request that the following actions be taken by the Biden administration:

    • Environment

      • Current Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation weakest in last millennium

        The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)—one of Earth’s major ocean circulation systems—redistributes heat on our planet and has a major impact on climate. Here, we compare a variety of published proxy records to reconstruct the evolution of the AMOC since about ad 400. A fairly consistent picture of the AMOC emerges: after a long and relatively stable period, there was an initial weakening starting in the nineteenth century, followed by a second, more rapid, decline in the mid-twentieth century, leading to the weakest state of the AMOC occurring in recent decades.

      • An Atlantic current system that controls sea levels and heat waves is on the brink of collapse

        A massive current system that runs deep throughout the vast Atlantic Ocean has an effect on temperatures, climate, sea levels and weather systems around the world. Any disruption to its flow could have rapid and catastrophic effects on the global climate. And a new study has some dreary predictions about the future of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, as it is known, and whether it might cease completely in the coming decades.

      • Corporate climate polluters must pay for damage

        Who should pay the huge costs of climate change’s damage? There’s a case for corporate climate polluters to contribute.

      • Opinion | Lead With Facts, Not Punditry: Journalists and the Looming Superstorm of Climate Disinformation

        Journalists must shirk the habit of framing everything as a two-sided debate.

      • Opinion | The United States Is the Biggest Carbon Polluter in History—Now Is the Time for Bold Action

        The U.S. is officially back in the Paris Climate Agreement. But Biden must do much, much more than restore the status quo under Obama.

      • No, Biden’s Climate Plans Don’t Cut It
      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Degrading Forest Ecosystems in the Name of Collaboration

          The problem with the Malheur Collaborative is an inability to see the forest for the trees. The focus is on trees, not healthy forest ecosystems. Forest logging degrades rather than restores healthy forest ecosystems.

          The first problem there is no scientific agreement on the past fire history of the Malheur Forests. Yes, some of the ponderosa pine forests likely burned frequently (10-20 years), but other studies suggest many forests, particularly at higher elevations in eastern Oregon burned at longer intervals and often at mixed to high severity.

        • Dr. Osterholm’s Warning: COVID Hurricane on the Horizon

          Today, Dr. Osterholm is warning that a “Category 5 COVID-hurricane” is on the horizon, with the B117/UK Variant posing the greatest threat. As positive cases and deaths decline, he warns that the media has been negligent in their overly positive reporting.

          Indeed, the scientific community is engaged in an important debate. On one side, we have scientists who believe enough Americans have been infected and, as a result, have developed enough immunity to avoid a serious surge. Moreover, this group insists that enough Americans have been vaccinated (combined with the number infected) that we shouldn’t worry about a major surge in cases or deaths due to the B117 variant.

        • Big Victory in Yellowstone Ecosystem as Biden Administration Pulls Massive Henry’s Fork Logging and Burning Scheme

          The clear waters of this incredible wild trout fishery wind through the mile-high caldera on the border of Yellowstone National Park. Besides being voted #1 out of the nation’s top 100 flyfishing rivers by Trout Unlimited, the headwaters of this huge drainage contain what’s left of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest’s old-growth stands and provides irreplaceable habitat for grizzly bear, lynx, wolverine, gray wolf, boreal toad, Columbia spotted frog, American three-toed woodpecker, boreal owl, great gray owl, bald eagle, northern hoshawk, peregrine falcon, trumpeter swan, elk, marten, moose, mule deer, and snowshoe hare.

          Project would have destroyed nearly 66 square miles of endangered species habitat

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | Congress Must Fight for a Better Democracy and Pass the For the People Act

        Republicans and Democratic voters agree: We need to make sure leaders actually represent “we the people.”

      • ‘A Huge Relief’: Families Left in Limbo by Trump Green Card Ban Rejoice as Biden Revokes Policy

        “This is the first hurdle cleared… We have to demand Biden pour more resources into the National Visa Center so they can clear the massive backlog that has piled up.”

      • On Looting, Love and Leftism

        Slavoj Zizek is dismissed as a sort of fascist by many on the left because he poses the very same formulation Michelle Alexander does in The New Jim Crow. For Zizek, the question isn’t whether the stereotypes of Jewish people during the Holocaust were true. Just as for Michelle Alexander the question isn’t whether black people who suffered mass incarceration are guilty.

        Let me back up. Most self-identified leftists parted ways with me after a moment I think changed the course of American history: the George Floyd protests. I already had felt some distance growing between myself and most on the left over what I saw as acute alienation from poor communities of color who were largely segregated from the highly ideological world of certain leftists. This is not an argument against idealism. To the contrary I saw this theoretical formulation of politics on the left to not be positive enough and found it to be willfully ignoring the real resilience of grassroots politics.

      • Two-Thirds of GOP Voters Still Buy Into False Claims of Election Fraud
      • Progressives Urge Biden to Prove ‘Pro-Union’ Stance by Publicly Backing Amazon Workers in Alabama

        “One of the most important things a president can do to help working people is to have their backs when they challenge corporate power.”

      • Ted Cruz’s Approval Rating Plummeted After Cancún Trip
      • Republicans Think Commission to Investigate January 6 Needs More Republicans
      • Republican Hypocrisy is No Reason to Support Neera Tanden

        Tanden has a record as one of the most anti-progressive operators among Democratic Party movers and shakers. Long enmeshed with corporate elites, she has been vehemently hostile to the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. Progressive activists have ample cause to be alarmed at the prospect of her becoming OMB director — one of the most powerful and consequential positions in the entire Executive Branch.

        Yet some leaders of left-leaning groups have bought into spin that carefully ignores Tanden’s fervent embrace of corporate power and touts her as eminently suitable for the OMB job. Media coverage has been a key factor. The newspaper owned by the richest person on the planet, Jeff Bezos, is a good example.

      • What Planet Is NATO Living On?

        This theme was emphasized by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in a Washington Post op-ed in advance of the NATO meeting, insisting that “aggressive and coercive behaviors from emboldened strategic competitors such as China and Russia reinforce our belief in collective security.”

        Using Russia and China to justify more Western military build-up is a key element in the alliance’s new “Strategic Concept,” called NATO 2030: United For a New Era, which is intended to define its role in the world for the next ten years.

      • Entertainment, QAnon, and the Politics of Fear

        My argument is that fear has been transformed by an entertainment oriented popular culture, including news organizations, as well as public agencies and officials who have a stake in fear. They provide the content for the ever-expanding market for entertainment. And it is fear that makes for good entertainment such as Donald Trump’s reality TV persona (“The Apprentice”) as well as his Presidential campaign and four years in office powered by the politics of fear that appealed to many of his followers.

        Our research on propaganda campaigns suggests that QAnon’s appeals to fight evil and to “save the children” replicates the 1980s moral panic about “missing children” and “stranger danger” that was based on the false claim that as many as 1.5 million children were abducted, molested, and even killed by predators. Most kids labeled as missing had run away from abusive homes or had been removed by separated parents or grandparents. Still, the myth persists, despite clear evidence that guns at home and auto accidents dwarf the risks of strangers for children.

      • “Islamo-Leftism”: Macron’s Witch Hunt Against Critical Academics

        The “Islamo-leftism” tag is today used uncritically by members of the government, large sections of the media and conservative academics.

        It is reminiscent of the anti-semitic “Judeo-Bolshevism” slur of the 1930s which blamed the spread of communism on Jews. In reality, “Islamo-leftism” is an elusive pseudo-concept which voluntarily confuses Islam – and Muslims – with Islamic extremism and points the finger at “left-wing academics” who allegedly collude with these nebulous Islamic entities.

      • Opinion | GOP Hypocrisy Is No Reason to Support Neera Tanden

        Progressive activists have ample cause to be alarmed at the prospect of Tanden becoming OMB director—one of the most powerful and consequential positions in the entire Executive Branch.

      • Biden Urged to Back ‘Bold, Reparative’ Water Justice Bill

        “Grave crises require robust solutions, and this is just what the WATER Act provides.”

      • Trump Cabinet Members Urged Staffers to “Be the Resistance” Within Biden Admin
      • Trump Opened the American Pandora’s Box

        Check out all installments in the OppArt series.

      • The Amazon Workers’ Campaign Shows the Need for Labor Law Reform

        The organizing drive still underway by workers at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Bessemer, Ala., reveals some of the many ways our current labor law gives employers too much power to stand in the way of workers trying to gain a collective voice.

      • The Resplendent Radicalism of Lawrence Ferlinghetti

        Don’t wait for the Revolution or it’ll happen without you, Stop mumbling and speak out with a new wide-open poetry—Lawrence Ferlinghetti,“Populist Manifesto: To Poets, With Love”1

      • Republicans Are Trying to Make the January 6 Disgrace Go Away

        Ah, Mitch McConnell, you might have lost your Senate majority leader title, but you’ll always be the Great Gaslighter.

      • ‘Not Gonna Fly’: Jayapal Warns Democrats Against Using Advice of Unelected Parliamentarian as Excuse Not to Pass $15 Wage

        “When people vote in the midterms, you’re not gonna be able to say, ‘Well I’m sorry we couldn’t raise the minimum wage because the parliamentarian ruled that we couldn’t do it.’”

      • ‘DeJoy Should Be Sent Packing’: Biden Postal Board Nominees Urged to Press for Removal of Postmaster General

        “Our entire country is fed up with USPS leadership.”

      • Elections Are Not Democracy: Call To Boycott Upcoming Israeli and Palestinian Votes that Don’t Matter

        Elections for the Israeli Knesset are scheduled for next month. It has also recently been announced that in May and June there will be elections held for the Palestinian Authority’s legislative and executive branches. Since both the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel exist to deny Palestinians the rights and freedom they deserve, one may question the wisdom of the Palestinian Authority holding elections, and further, ask whether or not Palestinian citizens of Israel should bother participating in the elections for the Israeli Knesset.

      • Armenia’s prime minister says the military is trying to overthrow him, following resignation demands from top generals

        Armenia’s prime minister and military leadership are squaring off in what the former is calling an attempted coup, following the Armed Forces General Staff’s calls for the immediate resignation of Nikol Pashinyan and his government cabinet, reports News.am. 

      • The Decline of Computers as a General Purpose Technology

        With this background, we can now be more precise about our thesis: “The Decline of Computers as a General Purpose Technology.” We do not mean that computers, taken together, will lose technical abilities and thus ‘forget’ how to do some calculations. We do mean that the economic cycle that has led to the usage of a common computing platform, underpinned by rapidly improving universal processors, is giving way to a fragmentary cycle, where economics push users toward divergent computing platforms driven by special purpose processors.

        This fragmentation means that parts of computing will progress at different rates. This will be fine for applications that move in the ‘fast lane,’ where improvements continue to be rapid, but bad for applications that no longer get to benefit from field-leaders pushing computing forward, and are thus consigned to a ‘slow lane’ of computing improvements. This transition may also slow the overall pace of computer improvement, jeopardizing this important source of economic prosperity.

      • Draft rules: Social media firms to reveal first originator of message, OTT to self-regulate, digital media to have grievance officer

        The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeITY) has announced its draft Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, for social media platforms, OTT players & digital media Thursday, with significant recommendations including asking social media companies to give out the originator of a message or tweet as the case may be.

        The rules also made a distinction between a significant social media intermediary and a regular social media intermediary. The government is yet to define the user size to determine who will constitute a significant social media intermediary, though the minister indicated players with more than 50 lakh users will be considered.

      • QAnon believers think Trump will be inaugurated again on March 4

        QAnon followers started talking about March 4 beginning in early- to mid-January, after some were disappointed that the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol failed to bring about a series of predicted military tribunals and executions that they refer to as “the Storm.” But the latest conspiracy theory really began picking up steam in February, following Biden’s inauguration and as QAnon followers sought “different ways to explain their way out of the current reality now that there’s a new administration,” Iandiorio said.

        Their rationale for this evidence-free belief — and the meaning behind the March 4 date — is, perhaps unsurprisingly, convoluted and based on a series of misinterpretations, conspiracy theories, and outright lies. But here’s how the theory goes: [...]

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • As leaks expose UK op to ‘weaken’ Russia, suppression of Grayzone reporting backfires
      • Facebook Australia row: A dose of realism on tech regulation

        Moreover, it’s not just any links, but links pertaining to a particular category of web material: edited information – that is, news. But what counts as news, and why privilege this one category of material?

        On the first question, does tabloid journalism count as news? What about a community blogger who posts magistrates’ updates? Ok, how about a magazine that focuses on fishing – but does a news round-up in its opening pages? Should they be paid by Facebook?

        On the second question, the short, shallow answer is: Rupert Murdoch. He arguably wields more influence in the land of his birth than he does in the US or Britain. A longer, better answer may come via metaphor.

      • Australia Passes Law to Make Google, Facebook Pay for News

        Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said on Wednesday that the Australian law, without this week’s amendments, would have enabled media conglomerates to “demand a blank check.”

      • With Chinese Media Under Control, Beijing Sets Sights on Foreign News

        The future of foreign reporting in China is being brought into question as the Chinese government aims to consolidate its control on media.

        Beijing recently pulled the plug on Britain’s BBC World News amid China’s strained diplomatic ties with several nations in the West.

        China’s move came after the BBC published a series of accounts by women from the Uighur ethnic minority, who spoke of rape, abuse and torture in the so-called re-education camps in China’s Xinjiang region. Beijing rebutted the reporting as false. Britain had also revoked the license of China’s state-owned CGTN television network.

        In a statement reported by the state-affiliated Xinhua News Agency, China’s broadcaster regulator, the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA), said that the BBC violated regulations in its China-related reports and that its broadcast application would not be renewed.

      • Updated Report: The Voiceless Victims of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws

        According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) 2018 Fact­sheet on Blasphemy, roughly one-third of the world’s nations maintain a law, or a set of laws, punishing the crime of blasphemy.

        In Pakistan—one of three countries where blasphemy is punishable by death— these laws are widely abused to settle personal scores and incite religious hatred. Due to widespread reli­gious intolerance and bias, members of Pakistan’s religious minority communities are disproportionately accused and punished under the country’s blasphemy laws.

      • Two Pakistani Christian men accused of “blasphemy”

        Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code stipulates a mandatory death sentence for anybody found guilty of “defiling the name” of Muhammad. At the close of 2020, approximately 22 Christians were on death row in Pakistan on “blasphemy” charges, including four minors. Seven have been sentenced to death. To date no one has been executed, but since 1990 at least 15 Christians have been murdered extra-judicially by zealous Muslims because of “blasphemy” allegations, even before their trial could be conducted in accordance with the law.

        Pakistan’s notorious “blasphemy” laws are often used to make false accusations in order to settle personal grudges. Christians are especially vulnerable, as simply stating their beliefs can be construed as “blasphemy” and the lower courts usually favour the testimony of Muslims, in accordance with sharia (Islamic law).

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • The Internet Has Enabled Independent Journalism To Flourish In Russia (For Now, At Least)

        Ben Smith has a fascinating piece in the New York Times about how independent investigative journalism is flourishing in Russia, despite an oppressive (and literally murderous) autocrat in power. There are a bunch of interesting points in the article about the various techniques they use — some of which raise interesting ethical dilemmas — but what caught my eye is just how vital it turns out the internet is to these organizations to be able to do what they do. Indeed, Smith points out that this is the flip side to the current moral panic in the US and elsewhere about “alternative media” and social media being the death of journalism:

      • Non-prosecution for journalist making fun of TV series in a tweet

        Detained over his message regarding the TV series centering on the life of Ertuğrul, the father of Osman I, who founded the Ottoman Empire, Candemir was released on probation, but faced an investigation.

        While journalist Candemir was charged with “insulting the memory of a person”, the decision of non-prosecution given for the journalist has referred to “Ottoman sultans” as the aggrieved parties.

      • Morrison’s media code could be catastrophic for climate and energy news

        Climate denial from Rupert Murdoch’s toxic Sky News, Buffy the Vampire Slayer from Junkee. This sort of “news” will be on display on Google News Showcase as a result of the government’s regressive new media laws. It is a travesty for journalism and dangerous to climate and energy transition, writes Giles Parkinson, founder of independent media site Renew Economy.

      • Saudi prince sidelined as US prepares to publish Khashoggi report

        US President Joe Biden said Wednesday he has already seen a soon-to-be released intelligence report detailing the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

      • Documents reveal Khashoggi’s assassins used jets of company seized by bin Salman

        The report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is expected to be released in an unclassified form today (February 25) with the expectation that it will conclude that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Kingdom’s de facto ruler, was directly responsible for Khashoggi’s murder.

        Earlier, CNN reported that documents filed as part of an unrelated lawsuit in Canada allege that the two private jets used by the Saudi kill team were owned by a company seized by bin Salman.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • India’s Farm Protests: “If We Don’t Stand By Them, Who Will?”
      • Coded Resistance: Freedom Fighting and Communication

        The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was as a dark, cruel time in the history of much of the Americas. The horrors of slavery still casts their shadow through systemic racism today. One of the biggest obstacles enslaved Africans faced when trying to organize and fight was the fact that they were closely watched, along with being separated, abused, tortured, and brought onto a foreign land to work until their death for free. They often spoke different languages from each other, with different cultures, and beliefs. Organizing under these conditions seemed impossible. Yet even under these conditions including overbearing surveillance, they developed a way to fight back. Much of this is attributed to the brilliance of these Africans using everything they had to develop communications with each other under chattel slavery. The continued fight today reflects much of the history that was established from dealing with censorship and authoritarian surveillance.

        “The white folks down south don’t seem to sleep much, nights. They are watching for runaways, and to see if any other slaves come among theirs, or theirs go off among others.” – Former Runaway, Slavery’s Exiles – Sylviane A. Diouf

        As Sylvane Diouf chronicled in the book, Slavery’s Exiles, slavery was not only catastrophic for many Africans, but also thankfully never a peaceful time for white owners and overseers either. Those captured from Africa and brought to the Americas seldom gave their captors a night of rest. Through rebellion, resistance, and individual sabotage with everyday life during this horrible period, freedom remained an objective. And with that objective came a deep history of secret communications and cunning intelligence.

      • In Indian Country, It’s Not the Weather, It’s the Racism That’s Leaving Thousands in the Dark

        In Texas, president Biden has officially declared this scenario a disaster, and the state’s failed leadership stands squarely under attack.

        Media coverage has been empathetic. Audiences across the country have heard the heart-wrenching stories of people like eleven-year-old Cristian Pavon, who froze in his family’s mobile home, or Loan Le who died with her three grandchildren in a home fire in Sugarland.

      • Precog in a Box

        [Flowchart of “goTravel” software package developed by the government of the Netherlands and offered to U.N. members through the Countering Terrorist Travel Programme of the U.N. Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT)]National governments of all members of the United Nations are being pressured to implement new U.N. mandates for surveillance, profiling,  and control of air travelers.

        These unprecedented mandates for the creation and deployment of new surveillance and “pre-crime” policing systems in every U.N. member state  are the result of a successful twenty-year campaign carried out by the US and its allies through the U.N. Security Council and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as policy laundering proxies.

        This U.N. mandate is illegal: it contravenes provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which almost all U.N. members are parties. It’s immoral: it goes against basic principles of justice, including the presumption of innocence and punishment for criminal actions rather than for inferred criminal states of mind. And it’s wrong: it presumes the existence of human and/or robotic “precogs” that can predict future crimes.

      • ‘Long Time Coming’: LGBTQ Advocates Applaud House Passage of Equality Act

        “Today, love and progress triumphed over bullying and hate.” 

      • Marjorie Taylor Greene Targets Dem Lawmaker’s Trans Daughter With Cruel Sign
      • Rand Paul Ripped for ‘Completely Disgusting’ Transphobic Attack on HHS Nominee Rachel Levine

        “It’s always interesting how libertarians claim that people should be left alone, but then expect everyone to conform to their personal views.”

      • ‘Unimaginably Cruel’: Bigot Marjorie Taylor Greene Hangs Anti-Trans Sign Across From Office of Marie Newman—Whose Daughter Is Trans

        “Trans kids have a higher risk of attempting suicide because they so often encounter people who deny their humanity. We are sending our love to Rep. Marie Newman and her daughter.”

      • COVID Vaccine Websites Violate Disability Laws, Create Inequity for Blind People
      • Supreme Court Rolls Back Another Horrible Qualified Immunity Decision By The Fifth Circuit

        The Supreme Court has done a lot over the years to shield law enforcement officers from accountability. It has redefined the contours of the qualified immunity defense to make it all but impossible for plaintiffs to succeed. Appeals Courts have been hamstrung by Supreme Court precedent, forced to pretty much ignore the egregious rights violations in front of them in favor of dusting off old decisions to see if any officer violated someone’s rights in exactly this way prior to this case.

      • Tennessee Politicians Ask State Colleges To Forbid Student-Athletes From Kneeling During The National Anthem

        Is it too late to force Tennessee to secede from the Union and become some sort of free-floating non-nation we can freely raid to shore up our non-wartime stockpiles of tobacco and country music?

      • Navalny is moved from remand prison and likely transferred to a penitentiary

        The Russian authorities have moved Alexey Navalny from the remand prison in the capital where he’s been jailed since returning to Moscow last month. The opposition politician’s lawyer told the news agency Interfax that he arrived at Matrosskaya Tishina for a meeting with Navalny on Thursday, only to be told that his client is no longer being held there. “He’s probably been transferred to a penitentiary, but it’s also possible they took him somewhere else,” said Vadim Kobzev.

      • ‘The police are coming. There’s no need to swear!’ Outrage spreads after Russians learn about the police ignoring a grisly domestic dispute that ended in a woman’s brutal murder. The negligent police officers could get off with a fine.

        Details about a grisly murder committed a year ago in Kemerovo have found an audience on social media in the past week, following activist Alena Popova’s Facebook posts about the killing of 23-year-old Vera Pekhteleva at the hands of a jealous ex-boyfriend. Her death is particularly disturbing and shocking because neighbors pleaded with the local police for assistance for hours while listening to the woman scream in agony. By the time the neighbors finally kicked in the apartment door, Pekhteleva was dead. The public’s attention now turns to the trials against the killer and the officers whose negligence likely cost a woman her life.

      • Mailchimp employees have complained about inequality for years — is anyone listening?

        Luaces’ experience at Mailchimp is now roughly three years old. If her complaint was an isolated incident, there probably wouldn’t be a story. But according to 11 current and former employees, Mailchimp has continued to struggle with instances of sexism, bias, and perceived pay disparities since Luaces left in 2018.

        Employees say the company’s position as one of the premier startups in Atlanta allows it to view workers as disposable, as there are fewer tech jobs to choose from than if the company were located in San Francisco or New York City. They also say that because the organization is private and has never taken on outside investment, executives can operate without the specter of more public accountability. Many feel they’ve exhausted every option internally and are only speaking to the press as a last resort.

      • Senate Ruling: No $15 Minimum Wage in Democratic Relief Package

        That does not mean a minimum wage hike is completely dead for 2021, rather that raising it will require a standalone bill, subject to the usual 60 vote threshold in the Senate. A $15 minimum wage was a stretch even for conservative Democrats. It’s unlikely a wage higher than $10 an hour can garner bipartisan support, and even that’s not a safe bet.

      • Military families open up about facing food insecurity: “I cannot feed my kids”

        Her husband, an E-5 sergeant, works at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington. His take-home pay is roughly $3,000 a month. It’s not enough.

      • Papua New Guinea’s Michael Somare, ‘Father of the Nation,’ Dies at 84

        Before independence, Somare was the chief minister of the Australian-administered territory of Papua New Guinea. He most recently served as the country’s leader briefly in 2011.

      • McDonald’s Secretive Intel Team Spies on ‘Fight for $15’ Workers, Internal Documents Show

        For years, McDonald’s has internally labeled activists and employees working with the Fight for $15 campaign a security threat and has spied on them, Motherboard has learned. McDonald’s says that this work is designed to identify protests that “could put crew and customer safety at risk.”

        The fast food giant’s secretive intelligence unit has monitored its own workers’ activities with the movement, which seeks to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, including by using social media monitoring tools, according to two sources who worked at McDonald’s who had direct knowledge of the surveillance and leaked documents that explain the surveillance strategy and tactics. A team of intelligence analysts in the Chicago and London offices keep an eye on the activities of Fight for $15 labor organizers across the world, figure out which McDonald’s workers are active in the movement, and who they are working with to organize strikes, protests, or attempt to form unions.

        No McDonald’s workers are currently unionized, but many of them are politically involved with Fight for $15, which has organized fast food worker strikes and protests since 2012 and is affiliated with one of the country’s largest unions. To date, McDonald’s has refused to bargain with workers who the company says aren’t its employees because they work for franchises.

      • President of Pakistan Criticizes France on Religious Freedom

        Pakistan has some of the strictest blasphemy laws in the world accompanied by punishments including the death penalty. The laws are often used by the majority community to discriminate against religious minorities. ICC has verified a number of cases of blasphemy in Pakistan and compiled them in a report. Additional cases exist, but may not be included in the report for a number of reasons.

        The nature of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws has created a cultural norm where the majority Muslim community can use the laws to threaten Christians and other religious minorities and gain an advantage in personal and professional matters.

      • Father Recovers Forcibly Converted/Married Daughter

        Asif Masih beamed with joy to have his 12-year-old daughter back home on Tuesday (Feb. 16) in Faisalabad, Pakistan following her alleged kidnapping and forcible conversion and marriage to a 45-year-old Muslim.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Another Report Shows US Consumers Don’t Get The Broadband Speeds They Pay For

        Yet another report has shown that US consumers aren’t getting the broadband speeds they’re paying for.

      • Comcast Forced To Back Off Broadband Cap Expansion… Until Next Year

        Last November, Comcast quietly announced that the company would be expanding its bullshit broadband caps into the Northeast, one of the last Comcast territories where the restrictions hadn’t been imposed yet. Of course Comcast was utterly tone deaf to the fact there was a historic health and economic crisis going on, or how imposing unnecessary surcharges on consumers already struggling to make rent wasn’t a great look. In some states, like Massachusetts, lawmakers stood up to the regional monopoly, going so far as to push a law that would have banned usage caps during the pandemic.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • DRM Screws People Yet Again: Book DRM Data Breach Exposes Reporters’ Emails And Passwords

        I have a few different services that report to me if my email is found in various data breaches, and recently I was notified that multiple email addresses of mine showed up in a leak of the service NetGalley. NetGalley, if you don’t know, is a DRM service for books, that is regularly used by authors and publishers to send out “advance reader” copies (known around the publishing industry as “galleys.”) The service has always been ridiculously pointless and silly. It’s a complete overreaction to the “risk” of digital copies of a book getting loose — especially from the people who are being sent advance reader copies (generally journalists or industry professionals). I can’t recall ever actually creating an account on the service (and can’t find any emails indicating that I had — but apparently I must have). However, in searching through old emails, I do see that various publishers would send me advance copies via NetGalley — though I don’t think I ever read any through the service (the one time I can see that I wanted to read such a book, after getting sent a NetGalley link, I told the author that it was too much trouble and they sent me a PDF instead, telling me not to tell the publisher who insisted on using NetGalley).

    • Monopolies

      • Over 100 Countries Push to Loosen Rules on Vaccine Patents as US Blocks the Way
      • 100+ Countries Push to Loosen WTO Rules on Vaccine Patents. Why Is the U.S. Still Blocking the Way?

        As the pandemic’s death toll nears 2.5 million, stringent rules around intellectual property rights could be preventing much of the world from obtaining COVID-19 vaccines. Over 45 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to the United Nations, while 130 other countries have not received any vaccines at all, leading to what some describe as “vaccine apartheid.” At the World Trade Organization, South Africa and India are leading a push by over 100 nations to waive intellectual property rules that give pharmaceutical companies monopolistic control over vaccines they develop, even when the vaccines are developed largely with public funds, in order to speed up distribution of the life-saving medicines — but the U.S. has been a key impediment to loosening those restrictions. “The proposal really seeks to ensure that everyone has access,” says Mustaqeem De Gama, a member of the South African WTO delegation. “We should enable more producers to produce, to scale, and to ensure that all of us are safe in the shortest possible time.” We also speak with Congressmember Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, who supports the WTO waiver. “We know that these intellectual property rights really do put profit over people all over the world,” she says.

      • This browser extension shows what the Internet would look like without Big Tech

        It’s worth keeping in mind that just because a site reaches out to one or more of the big four tech companies, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily snooping or doing something nefarious. Many websites use fonts from Google Fonts, or host their sites using Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. That said, there are pages that connect to those IP addresses because they use trackers provided by one of the big four companies. The examples I’m about to list were selected because they’re common sites, not necessarily because they should be shamed.

      • Patents

        • Chambers Patent Litigation 2021 Guide – France [Ed: This new page contains a popular lie (among litigation profiteers: "Once the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is operational" (but that's never going to happen because it's illegal and unconstitutional)]

          The grant procedure for both French and European patents begins by filing an application with the INPI or the European Patent Office (EPO), respectively.

          As for the French procedure, the INPI examines the application within two to five months from the filling date. As a result of the Law PACTE, the INPI now has the authority to refuse an application for lack of inventive step, where previously the INPI could only refuse a patent for lack of novelty or non-industrial applicability. Then, the INPI transmits to the applicant a prior art search report with its opinion on the patentability of the invention. Within three months from receipt of these documents, the applicant can respond to the INPI’s observations and/or, if relevant, amend its claims.

          The EPO procedure slightly differs as the prior art search report and the opinion on patentability is transmitted before any substantive examination of the application. This allows the applicant to consider the strength of the application and thus abandon it or pursue for further examination.

          The publication of application in the Official Bulletin of Industrial Property (BOPI) for French patents or on the EPO’s website for European patents occurs 18 months after the filing date.

          As for the French procedure, within a period of three months from publication, the applicant may receive observations from third parties to which they must reply. At the end of this period, the INPI establishes a final report and, provided that the registration fees are paid, the patent is generally granted within six months.

          As for the EPO, within six months from the publication, the applicant can decide to abandon or pursue with an examination on the merits by the EPO. During this period prior to the grant, the EPO may require the applicant to provide additional information or to respond to some of its observations.


          Once the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is operational, it will assume exclusive jurisdiction for disputes concerning unitary and European patents in regard to:

        • USPTO slams AI inventorship in federal court; argues tech lacks ‘legal personality’ to invent

          The USPTO urged the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Wednesday, February 24, to dismiss a suit challenging its decision that an artificial intelligence tool could not be listed as an inventor in a US patent application.

          The office made this argument in a 24-page summary motion to the court, defending its finding from April 2020 that the Patent Act defined an inventor as a person.

          The office said in the summary that AI ultimately lacks the ‘legal personality’ to invent.

          This slamming of AI inventorship comes after Stephen Thaler, who had made patent applications to the UKIPO, EPO and USPTO with his AI machine DABUS listed as the inventor, challenged the USPTO’s rejection of his patent filings at the federal court in August 2020.

          Thaler – who told Managing IP in November that it would be “criminal to list myself as the inventor” in those patent applications – has so far failed to have any of his AI inventor patents approved.

          He also made an appeal at the England and Wales High Court after the UKIPO rejected his patent application for similar reasons. However, Mr Justice Marcus Smith upheld the office’s finding in September 2020 and dismissed the case.

          The topic of AI inventorship and patents has gained a lot of steam lately as intellectual property attorneys have started to ask whether refusing to grant such patents has the potential to devalue inventorship and cause companies to cut investment in new technologies.


          On Friday, February 19, the England and Wales Court of Appeal overturned a lower court ruling that Vodafone’s use of IPCom’s standard essential patent for a method of access in telecommunication networks was protected by Crown use.

          Vodafone initially argued that it implemented the patent to comply with the government’s framework under the Mobile Telecommunication Privileged Access Scheme (MTPAS), which allows for priority access for first responders to join mobile networks in the event of an emergency.

          In the UK, the Crown use exception under Sections 55 to 59 of the UK Patents Act gives the state the right to “use, make, import, sell or offer to sell a patent without the consent of the patent holder”.

          Because IPCom’s patent allowed Vodafone to abide by the access scheme laid out by the government, the telecoms company argued, the alleged infringement was in service of the Crown.

        • Heads of the EPO and INPI Brazil take stock of their technical and strategic reinforced partnership [Ed: Pure nonsense]

          EPO President António Campinos met the President of the National Institute of Industrial Property of Brazil (INPI), Cláudio Vilar Furtado, on 25 February to discuss co-operation on enhancing the patent system and better supporting innovators in Europe and Brazil.

          President Campinos commended INPI on its action plan to eliminate the patent application backlog by the end of 2021.

          The two heads of office welcomed progress made so far under the Technical and Strategic Reinforced Partnership signed by their offices in 2019, and expressed their commitment to the implementation of a detailed work plan agreed in January 2021. The offices are working together to strengthen local capacity in searching and examining patent applications through training and exchange of best practice, sharing tools, and exchanging patent data.

        • Software Patents

          • $2,000 for WSOU ’411 prior art

            On February 25, 2021, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 10 of U.S. Patent 8,209,411. The patent is owned by the most prolific NPE assertor in 2020, WSOU Investments, LLC d/b/a/ Brazos Licensing and Development.

            The ’411 patent generally relates to systems and methods of providing content to a terminal and, more particularly, relates to systems and methods of providing content to a terminal having a limited display area for presenting such content. The ’411 patent is currently being asserted against Salesforce, in the Western District of Texas.

          • Munich court confirms AAAASI in SEP battle between InterDigital and Xiaomi [Ed: It is worth nothing that all the proponents and prominent pushers of UPC are in fact working for patent trolls, i.e. they destroying the real economy wherever they go.]

            The Wuhan anti-suit injunction prohibits InterDigital from filing global lawsuits based on patents related to 3G and 4G mobile standards, until the Wuhan court has ruled on Xiaomi’s suit for a global FRAND licence. At the same time, the Chinese court barred InterDigital from taking action against the anti-suit injunction in other countries: an anti-anti-anti-suit injunction.

            Unsurprisingly, the Munich patent judges ruled in November that both orders from China do not apply in Germany. Xiaomi filed an opposition against this preliminary injunction. But the Munich court has rejected this after a hearing (case ID: 7 O 14276/29).

            Xiaomi may not pursue the ASI from Wuhan; it also cannot take any measures to prevent InterDigital from filing patent lawsuits in Germany. This order is a fourfold anti-suit injunction.

            InterDigital could now file patent suits in Germany. So far, the US company has refrained from doing so. However, Xiaomi can appeal against the Regional Court Munich’s decision. Observers consider this likely, because the opponents tend to be very adamant in such anti-suit injunction battles.

            On the other hand, if Xiaomi ignores the Munich ruling, it faces regulatory penalties in Germany. However, InterDigital had not sued the German Xiaomi company – rather, its Chinese subsidiaries. It is thus likely to be difficult for InterDigital to enforce the injunctions.


            Most recently, the German patent team of Simmons & Simmons also appeared alongside Xiaomi in lawsuits brought by Sisvel.

      • Trademarks

        • Monster Energy Goes After Autobody Shop Because Of It’s ‘M’ Logo And Use Of Green Color

          For regular readers of Techdirt, Monster Energy is one of those companies that need only appear in the headline of a post before the reader knows that said post will be about some ridiculous trademark bullying Monster is doing. The company has a reputation for being about as belligerent on trademark matters as it could possibly be, lobbing lawsuits and trademark oppositions as though the company lawyers had literally nothing else to do with their time. And, while many, many, many of these bullying attempts fail when the merits are considered, the fact is that the bullying still often succeeds in its goal to use the massive Monster Energy coffers to bully victims into either submission or corporate death.

        • Assignment in gross, or not? What happened to the goodwill?

          Scott Hallsworth is a renowned Australian chef who created and opened a chain of London-based restaurants in 2013 under the mark KUROBUTA. The business floundered and administrators were appointed in April 2017, which eventually resulted in the assignment of the goodwill in the business being assigned to Kurobuta Ltd, which had no connection with Hallsworth.

          On 31 March 2017, before the administrators were appointed, Hallsworth filed a UK trade mark application for the mark KUROBUTA for a wide variety of goods and services, including restaurant services, and registration was granted on 1 September 2017. This application was not dealt with in the administration process and it is clear from later events that Hallsworth had no intention of giving it up.

          Kurobuta therefore applied to invalidate the registration under s.5(4)(a) of the Trade Marks Act 1994, i.e., use of the mark is likely to be prevented by the law of passing off. The essence of the case was the question of which party owned the goodwill.

          Kurobuta was successful before the UK IPO regarding the goods and services relating to restaurants or the like. Much is made at first instance of Hallsworth’s claim to personally own the goodwill, but the argument was not successful, as everything he did was for the benefit of the business, not for him personally. That finding was not the subject of the appeal to the Appointed Person.

      • Copyrights

        • High Court Orders UK ISPs to Block Stream-Ripping & Cyberlocker Sites

          Under the umbrella of the BPI, major and independent recording labels in the UK have announced a key victory in their fight against so-called ‘stream-ripping’ sites and tools. Following a two-year process, this morning a judge at London’s High Court ordered major ISPs to block access to several platforms, including two of the most popular – Flvto and 2Conv.

        • Italian Police Obtain Preventative Seizure Order Targeting 10 ‘Pirate Sites’

          Following a complaint from the Italian Federation of Newspaper Publishers, Italian authorities say they have carried out a “preventative seizure” of 10 ‘pirate sites’ involved in the illegal distribution of newspapers, magazines and eBooks. The content was stored on foreign servers in violation of copyright law.

        • From Creativity to Exclusivity: The German Government’s Bad Deal for Article 17

          Several EU states have failed to present balanced copyright implementation proposals, ignoring the concerns off EFF, other civil society organizations, and experts that only strong user safeguards can help preventing Article 17 from turning tech companies and online services operators into copyright police.

          A glimpse of hope was presented by the German government in a recent discussion paper. While the draft proposal fails to prevent the use of upload filters to monitor all user uploads and assess them against the information provided by rightsholders, it showed creativity by giving users the option of pre-flagging uploads as “authorized” (online by default) and by setting out exceptions for everyday uses. Remedies against abusive removal requests by self-proclaimed rightsholders were another positive feature of the discussion draft.


          It’s now up to the German Parliament to decide whether to be more interested in the concerns of press publishers or in the erosion of user rights and freedoms. EFF will continue to reach out to Members of Parliament to help them make the right decision.

Microsoft’s Status in Web Servers is So Bad That It Has Fallen Off Charts, is Now Partly Delisted

Posted in Microsoft, Servers at 1:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: In several categories or criteria Microsoft is no longer even listed by Netcraft; the share has become rather minuscule during the pandemic, which convinced more companies to explore expense-cutting moves

THE (almost) one-hour video above discusses the latest Web server report, which was released some hours ago. “Microsoft’s server software market share remains in decline,” it says, “Microsoft’s figures took a significant drop in 2020 in favour of OpenResty, and Microsoft now only has 6.5% (-1.0pp) of the site market and 6.0% (-0.3pp) of domains as of February 2021. OpenResty also looks set to overtake Microsoft as the third largest vendor in terms of sites and active sites.”

“Microsoft can see the writings on the wall, so it’s misreporting numbers and laying off Azure staff (quietly).”When looking at the measures that truly matter and are difficult to game (e.g. top one million sites) Microsoft is somewhere near 5% if not less. It’s a huge decline compared to one decade ago. As we keep arguing each time we bring this up, it’s only a matter of time before Microsoft abandons IIS for purely financial reasons. Then, migrations away from Microsoft will follow. Microsoft can see the writings on the wall, so it’s misreporting numbers and laying off Azure staff (quietly). After more than half a decade with billions spent on advertising it’s going almost nowhere, regardless of the number of acquisitions, incentives, and takeovers of institution (such as the Linux Foundation).

We Take Away Your Freedom for Your Own Safety…

Posted in Action at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A no tresspassing sign

Summary: People are herded like cattle and protest/dissent will be demonised as part of the new norm; what will be the cost of the pandemic and will resistance to the status quo ever be permitted to resume?

Autonomy begone

Freedom of movement now done
Staying at home should be fun
The stores are shut, so there’s nowhere to run

Johnson's hairID cards everywhere
Cash payments are not fair
Nothing you can share
But don’t despair

The leaders know best
The government really cares
Just ignore the hairs
As bad karma dares

Freedom of speech kills
Don’t panic-buy pills
Neighbours have the shrills
Stay isolated when you cannot pay the bills

This week in the news: As US Mourns 500,000 Lives Lost, Report Shows Billionaires Added $1.3 Trillion to Their Fortunes During Pandemic | As Pandemic Profits Put Bezos on Track for Trillionaire Status, Tish James Asks: At What Cost? | Last year: While the Poor Get Sick, Bill Gates Just Gets Richer

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