03.01.21

Links 1/3/2021: KStars 3.5.2, ET: Legacy 2.77, Flameshot 0.9

Posted in News Roundup at 2:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 3 Laptop Is Now Available with Fedora Linux

        As you probably already know, Lenovo and Fedora Project announced last year a collaboration to support as many Lenovo ThinkPad laptops and workstations with the Fedora Linux operating system. The initial offering included the ThinkPad P1 Gen2, ThinkPad P53, and ThinkPad X1 Gen8.

        As of today, the ThinkPad P1 Gen 3 laptop is included as well in the Fedora partnership program, and you can buy the ultra-thin, stylish, and powerful mobile workstation with Fedora Linux 33 right now from Lenovo’s online store starting at $1,594.42 USD.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linus Torvalds reveals why the latest Linux kernel was almost seriously delayed

        The recent icy storms that battered most of the United States left Linux kernel’s head-honcho Linus Torvalds without electricity, holding up the release of the latest release.

        A resident of Portland, Torvalds even considered delaying the launch of the next development version due to the outage that left over a quarter million people without electricity in the Portland area.

      • Linus Torvalds battles power cuts to keep Linux releases rolling out

        Linux kernel chief Linus Torvalds has announced the first release candidate of Linux 5.12 after a merge window that was hampered by power outages in the US north west.

        It’s only been two weeks since stable Linux kernel 5.11 was released, and now the Linux kernel project is back with the first release candidate for version 5.12 after closing its merge window.

      • Google, Linux Foundation Fund Linux Kernel Developers To Focus Exclusively On Security

        Google and the Linux Foundation announced that they are prioritizing funds to underwrite two full-time maintainers for Linux kernel security development, Gustavo Silva and Nathan Chancellor.

        Silva and Chancellor’s exclusive focus will be to maintain and improve kernel security and associated initiatives in order to ensure the world’s most pervasive open source software project is sustainable for decades to come.

      • Linux 5.12 Coming In At Around 28.8 Million Lines, AMDGPU Driver Closing In On 3 Million – Phoronix

        The Linux kernel source tree following the eventful 5.12 merge window is at 28.81 million lines in the source tree across more than sixty thousand files. The largest in-tree kernel driver continues to be the AMDGPU kernel driver, which in the next kernel release or so should be crossing three million lines.

        Linux 5.12′s merge window wasn’t the biggest in recent time with some 508k lines of code added and 312k lines of code removed, or a net gain of 196k lines. The Linux 5.11 merge window meanwhile saw some 596k lines added and even the Linux 5.10 merge window saw a net gain of some 284k lines. Even so, bit by bit the Linux kernel source tree is closing in on 29 million lines likely to be breached with the Linux 5.13 merge window.

      • Linux 5.12 Will have A New Memory Safety Detector Called KFence

        Linus Torvalds merged a new low-overhead memory validator called KFence, short for Kernel Electric Fence, into the Linux git tree in time for Linux 5.12-rc1. KFence is a low-overhead memory error detector and validator similar to the existing KASAN (Kernel Address SANitizer) suitable for production kernels.

        [...]

        Linus Torvalds has merged a new alternative memory validator written by Google called KFence, or Kernel Electric Fence, into the Linux git tree. It will be available in Linux 5.12 as CONFIG_KFENCE.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Radeon ROCm Updates Documentation Reinforcing Focus On Headless, Non-GUI Workloads – Phoronix

          The Radeon ROCm open-source compute documentation has been updated to more clearly spell out what was already implied: their focus is on compute for headless, GUI-less workloads and not OpenCL or compute for conventional desktop applications.

          Added last week to the main README file on the ROCm repository is a notice that the AMD ROCm platform is intended as a “compute stack for headless system deployments” and not focused on GUI-based software applications. This doesn’t appear to be a change in policy but just making it clear that their focus is on HPC and other headless deployments — not necessarily on allowing you to have a nice OpenCL compute stack for the likes of Blender, Darktable, DaVinci Resolve, and other OpenCL-using GUI desktop programs.

        • Vulkan 1.2.171 Is Released With Ray-Tracing Fix And BlackBerry QNX Support

          The Khronos Group has released an updated specification for the Vulkan graphics/compute API. Vulkan 1.2.171 has a new VK_QNX_screen_surface extension specifically for the BlackBerry QNX real-time operating system used in many cars and a improvement for raytracing pipeline creation.

        • Vulkan 1.2.171 Released With New Extension For BlackBerry QNX Support – Phoronix

          Vulkan 1.2.171 is out this morning with several fixes and clarifications to this high performance graphics / compute API specification while there is also a new extension for allowing BlackBerry QNX support.

          As reported on Phoronix back in January, BlackBerry was working to bring Vulkan to QNX. That tentative extension reserved back in January, VK_QNX_screen_surface, is now formally added to the Vulkan specification.

        • There’s Finally An Easy Way To Track Mesa’s OpenCL Support – Phoronix

          Hitting Mesa 21.1-devel this weekend is finally the OpenCL status reporting to the features documentation (docs/features.txt). The OpenCL status reporting is done in a similar manner to the Vulkan and OpenGL extension/version reporting, which makes it now quite easy and quick to check on the current Mesa OpenCL status.

          The current Mesa features reporting can be seen via the Git interface. Or more easily is MesaMatrix.net that tracks the Mesa Git features.txt in a nice, HTML’ed interface.

    • Applications

      • Flameshot 0.9 Release Brings in Global Shortcut Menu, Latest Uploads, JPEG Support, and More

        Flameshot is one of my daily drivers that I utilize to take screenshots. You can also find my guide to use Flameshot on Linux if you want to get it installed and configure it to use it.

        Now, with the new 0.9 release for Flameshot, it is better than ever before!

        Unlike Shutter and Ksnip, which received some major updates recently, Flameshot 0.9 does not include big changes but some useful ones.

        Let me highlight the key changes with this release.

        [...]

        Before the update, when you upload a screenshot, the Imgur link was automatically copied to your clipboard. But, if you upload another screenshot, then you lose the previous link unless you have a clipboard manager like CopyQ.

        Now, with the Latest Uploads section, you get to see all your recent uploads and find the links to them as well. Pretty useful, I think!

        Not just limited to these two useful feature additions, you can finally change the image format of your screenshot to JPEG instead of PNG if you want save disk space and don’t mind the potential quality loss (especially when trying to scale the images).

      • Release Roundup: X11 Gestures, Ventoy 1.0.36, Clight 4.3, Flameshot 0.9, SimpleNote 2.7.0 And Quod Libet 4.4.0

        Quite a few applications were updated recently, and this article covers the changes in these new releases. There’s also a brand-new GNOME Shell extension for multi-touch gestures on X11. Read on to find out more!

        X11 Gestures (GNOME Shell extension for multi-touch gestures on X11)

        X11 Gestures is a brand-new GNOME Shell extension for multi-touch gestures on X11, created by the Touchegg developer. The extension requires having Touchegg installed (this is an application that runs in the background and transforms touchpad or touchscreen gestures into actions for your desktop).

        This extension enables 1:1 gestures that are available on GNOME in the Wayland session, to those using the X11 session. It requires GNOME 3.36 or newer but, according to the developer, it’s GNOME 40 where it really shines.

      • Excellent System Utilities: Fail2ban – ban hosts that cause multiple authentication errors – LinuxLinks

        Essential System Utilities is a series of articles highlighting essential system tools. These are small utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users of Linux based systems.

        The series examines both graphical and text based open source utilities. For details of all tools in this series, please check the table at the bottom.

        This article looks at Fail2ban, a daemon to ban hosts that cause multiple authentication errors. Fail2ban is free and open source software.

      • Meet SysMonTask: A Windows Task Manager Lookalike for Linux [Ed: Copying a farce of an OS (with back doors) using Microsoft GitHub account (proprietary software) as if this is what GNU/Linux needs (it has vastly better tools for this)]

        Thanks to the desktop environments, almost all Linux distributions come with a task manager application. In addition to that, there are several other system monitoring applications for Linux that have additional features.

        But recently I came across a task manager created for Linux that looks like … wait for it … the task manager of Windows.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Install Magento 2 on Ubuntu 20.04

        In this guide, we will show you how to install Magento 2 with LEMP stack on an Ubuntu 20.04 VPS.

        Magento is one of the most popular open-source e-commerce platforms available, thanks to its customizability and flexibility. It is created using the Zend Framework and uses MySQL as its database management system. Magento provides online merchants with a very flexible shopping cart and it comes with a rich set of features.

        Installing Magento 2 on Ubuntu 20.04 should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Let’s get started with the tutorial.

      • How to create an RPM package from a tarball

        Creating RPM package files can be both as easy or complicated as you desire. If you’re needing to create an RPM package from a tarball (.tar.gz) that a vendor sent you, this tutorial will be beneficial for you. In this tutorial, I will describe a step-by-step procedure for building an RPM package from a tar file. The procedure includes creating the required directory structure, configuring a .spec file required for the rpmbuild process, and building and installing the RPM package. An additional step is added for those who may need to create more RPM packages in the future via a skeleton file.

      • CrowdSec – Open Source Security Automation Tool – Putorius

        CrowdSec is a massively multiplayer firewall designed to protect Linux servers, services, containers, or virtual machines exposed on the internet with a server-side agent. It was inspired by Fail2Ban and aims to be a modernized, collaborative version of that intrusion-prevention tool.

        CrowdSec is free and open source (under an MIT License), with the source code available on GitHub. It is using a behavior analysis system to qualify whether someone is trying to hack you, based on your logs. If your agent detects such aggression, the offending IP is then dealt with and sent for curation. If this signal passes the curation process, the IP is then redistributed to all users sharing a similar technological profile to “immunize” them against this IP.

      • Ubuntu Blog: Creating Graphical Shells – Try Mir in a Virtual Machine

        Mir works with the modern Wayland protocol which, in principle, provides many advantages over the traditional X protocol used by legacy systems. With Wayland becoming more widely supported the practice is now catching up with the theory.

        There are a range of graphical shells created with Mir ranging from the simple “kiosk” used for IoT by the mir-kiosk snap to the Lomiri shell used by the Ubuntu Touch phone.

        We have made it simple to try out a range of Mir-based shells in a virtual machine. This should give you some idea of the possibilities of using Mir.

      • Creating and merging PDFs on Linux | Network World

        There are a number of ways that you can create PDFs on a Linux system. You can use an application like LibreOffice or OpenOffice, or you can take advantage of any of a number of commands that can generate PDFs from text files or from a group of other file formats. There are also a number of ways that you can merge a group of PDFs into a single PDF file.

      • 10 Useful Websites for Learning PostgreSQL Database System

        PostgreSQL (also known as Postgres ) is the world’s most popular and advanced open-source enterprise-grade object-relational database management system (ORDMS). PostgreSQL has a broad variety of community and commercial support choices accessible for users.

        The PostgreSQL community and other online learning resource providers, provide many helpful resources to become familiar with PostgreSQL, discover how it works, and learn/master how to use it.

      • Access Clipboard Contents Using Xclip and Xsel In Linux

        In this guide, we are going to learn what Xclip and Xsel programs are, and how to manipulate and access Clipboard contents using Xclip and Xsel programs in Linux.

        What are Xclip and Xsel programs?

        Xclip is a command line interface to X selections i.e. Clipboard. Xclip reads the data from one or more files and makes the data available as an X selection for pasting the data into X applications. If no files are specified, it reads data from the standard input. It can also print the X selection to the standard output.

      • How to Install Blender 2.92 in Ubuntu 20.04, 20.10 via PPA

        For those prefer installing apps via the classic apt method, you can now install Blender 2.92 via PPA in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, and also Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04.

        The open-source 3D modeller software Blender 2.92 was released a few days ago. Features “a completely new workflow for editing meshes, new physics simulation methods, faster Cycles rendering, better compositing with Eevee, and so much more.”

        Blender offers official Snap package, which runs in sandbox, and is available to install directly from Ubuntu Software. As well, a Linux portable package is available to download in its website. For those prefer the classic deb packages, Thomas Schiex’s PPA has made it for Ubuntu 20.04 and Ubuntu 20.10 users.

      • How to Install and Use GVM Vulnerability Scanner on Ubuntu 20.04

        GVM also called “Greenbone Vulnerability Management” is an open-source vulnerability scanning and management software that provides a set of network vulnerability tests to find security loopholes in systems and applications. This is an all-in-one suite of tools used by many security experts and normal users around the world.

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install and configure GVM on Ubuntu 20.04 server.

      • How to Get Started Using Linux

        New to Linux and not sure how to get started? It’s easier than you might think. Whether you’re coming over from the macOS or Windows side, or just Linux-curious, you’re sure to gain useful knowledge from this beginner’s guide to using Linux.

      • How To Install Python 3.9 on Ubuntu, Debian & LinuxMint

        Python is an object-oriented, high-level programming language. The Python 3.9 stable version has been released with several improvements and security updates. Which included multiple new modules and improved existing modules and new features.

        As of today, Python 3.9 is the latest stable version available for production used. Most of the Debian based Linux distribution’s includes older version of Python in software repositories. Also the Debian packages are not available for all distributions. In this tutorial you will learn to compile Python 3.9 from source code and install on Debian based systems.

        This tutorial will help you to how to install Python 3.9 on Ubuntu, Debian, and LinuxMint systems using source code.

      • How To Install DirectAdmin on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install DirectAdmin on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, DirectAdmin is a web hosting control panel providing a graphical interface and automation tools to simplify server and account management. Features include E-mail, FTP, DNS and web management, Statistics, Apache configuration, User and reseller management, and more.

        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 DirectAdmin control panel 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 Use AUR in Arch Linux – Make Tech Easier

        If you’re using Arch Linux or an Arch-based distribution like Manjaro, Archbang, or EndeavourOS, you’ve probably seen the term AUR. What is it? How can you use it? Find out what AUR is and how to use AUR in Arch Linux.

        What Is AUR?

        The Arch User Repository (AUR) is a place where you can find software that’s not tested by Arch’s creators and maintainers but by its users. Thanks to this, you can access more software that’s not in the official repositories.

      • How to migrate CentOS 8 to AlmaLinux – YouTube

        AlmaLinux is an exciting new distribution, that aims to carry on CentOS (as we used to know it). In this video, I show of a migration script that can be used to migrate from CentOS8 to AlmaLinux, in place.

      • How to use NMAP command to test Server/Network Security – The Linux GURUS

        NMAP command (short for Network Mapper) is an open-source network security tool & is the best port scanner for your server/network. Nmap command is widely used for auditing the network security & also for the penetration testing of your networks.

        It displays the open or exposed ports or services on your or another target machine/network & along with that, it will also provide other information of the system like Operating system, etc.

        Another way that we can use Nmap is for “Network Discovery”.

      • How to fix apt’s “the following packages have been kept back” issue

        Have you ever run sudo apt-get upgrade, only to be told there are packages that will be kept back? What this warning means is that the dependencies have changed on one of the software packages you have installed, and if upgrading that dependency would cause problems with the standard upgrade, the dependency in question is kept back.

        In other words, it’s a precaution to prevent upgrades from breaking. Of course, you can always get around that by issuing the following command:

        sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

        However, that can be dangerous, as it may remove packages to resolve rather complex dependency problems. It’s an issue that can be tricky to resolve, but not really. There are a couple of ways to resolve this issue.

      • How to run the Raspberry Pi Os in a virtual machine with Qemu and Kvm – LinuxConfig.org

        Although many operating system are available for the Raspberry Pi, the official one is the Raspberry Pi Os. The operating system is made to run for the arm architecture, and can be easily installed on the SD card which will be used as the main Raspberry Pi storage device. Sometimes we may want to perform some tests or try some applications without having a physical Raspberry Pi machine; in this tutorial we will see how we can create a virtual machine with the Raspberry Pi Os system using Qemu and Kvm (Kernel Virtual Machine).

      • How To Install CyberPanel on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install CyberPanel on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, CyberPanel is one of the first control panels on the market that is both open sources and uses OpenLiteSpeed web server which also packs Email, DNS, and FTP server.

        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 CyberPanel control panel 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 Install Apache on Ubuntu 20.04 and Host Website

        Apache is an open source and free web server software developed by the Apache Software Foundation. It is officially called Apache HTTP Server. Apache is one of the oldest, cross-platform web servers and it is beginner-friendly.

        In this tutorial, we are going to install Apache version 2 (Apache2) on Ubuntu 20.04. Furthermore, we are going to configure virtual hosts so that more than one website can be hosted on a single server.

      • Source Command in Linux

        The source command is a built-in shell command used to read and execute commands from a file inside the current shell session. The source command is commonly used to retain/change the environment variable in the current shell. In short, sourcing a script will run execute commands in the current shell.

      • How to Install and Use Docker on Ubuntu 20.04 / 20.10

        Docker is a free and open source tool designed to build, deploy, and run applications inside containers. Host on which docker is installed is known docker engine. To work the docker engine smoothly, docker daemon service must always be running. For the applications where multiple containers are used then with the help of docker compose these containers are spin up as a service.

        In this guide, we will demonstrate docker installation on Ubuntu 20.04 /20.10 and will also learn about docker compose installation and its usage.

      • Build a home thermostat with a Raspberry Pi | Opensource.com

        My wife and I moved into a new home in October 2020. As soon as it started getting cold, we realized some shortcomings of the home’s older heating system (including one heating zone that was always on). We had Nest thermostats in our previous home, and the current setup was not nearly as convenient. There are multiple thermostats in our house, and some had programmed heating schedules, others had different schedules, some had none at all.

        [...]

        The rest of the “temp” logic is relatively straightforward, but I do want to highlight a piece that I initially missed. My code was running for a few days, and I was working on the hardware, when I noticed that my relays were turning on and off every few seconds. This “short-cycling” isn’t necessarily harmful, but it certainly isn’t efficient. To avoid that, I added some thresholding to make sure the heat toggles only when it’s +/- 0.5C°.

    • Games

      • ET: Legacy 2.77 Released For Letting Wolfenstein Enemy Territory Live On In 2021 – Phoronix

        ET Legacy 2.77 is out today as the newest version of this open-source game project continuing to advance the open-sourced Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory game from the early 2000′s.

        See this earlier article should you be unfamiliar with the ET: Legacy open-source game that is continuing to build off the open-source foundation of the original Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. ET Legacy has been one of the exciting community, open-source game efforts to follow in recent years given the greatness of Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory back in the day.

      • Play Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory with the new release of ET: Legacy | GamingOnLinux

        Miss the classic shooter from Splash Damage and id Software? Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory has a modern open source version you can play with ET: Legacy and there’s a new release available.

        Thanks to the original source being released back in 2010, it lives on with the dedicated team behind ET: Legacy and it’s easily the best way to play the game with many improvements over the original while remaining compatible with the latest version of the original release.

      • Transport Tycoon Deluxe reimplementation OpenTTD has a fresh Beta with OpenGL

        OpenTTD, the free and open source game that’s a reimplementation and much enhanced version of Transport Tycoon Deluxe has a big new Beta up with some huge changes. Ahead of their plans to release on Steam on April 1, they’re making some sweeping changes to the underlying code to make it run as great as possible across all systems.

        With OpenTTD 1.11.0-beta2 they’ve massively improved their rendering work with OpenGL support now merged in. They said it’s such a big improvement they had to add a setting to limit the maximum fast-forward speed due to it. The display will now run at 60FPS and there’s also now generic Linux builds in addition to per-distro packages making it easier than ever to try out OpenTTD.

      • DXVK 1.8.1 Released With More Performance, Game Fixes – Phoronix

        Building off the recent DXVK 1.8 release is a new point release with more performance optimizations, game fixes, and related work to this Direct3D-on-Vulkan translation layer that is extremely popular with Linux gamers.

        DXVK 1.8.1 is out as the newest stable release for driving Direct3D 9/10/11 over Vulkan for helping Wine / Proton (Steam Play) Windows games often run incredibly well on Linux.

      • Direct3D 9-10-11 to Vulkan translation layer DXVK 1.8.1 is out now | GamingOnLinux

        After the 1.8 release of DXVK on February 19, a small 1.8.1 release just went out for this Direct3D 9-10-11 to Vulkan translation layer. DXVK is usually used for the Wine and Proton compatibility layers for running Windows games on Linux.

        Quite a short and sweet release this one with no major new features, instead there’s some nice bug fixes and improvements.

      • Free and open source RTS Warzone 2100 gains Vulkan support in the 4.0 Beta | GamingOnLinux

        Ready for even more open source goodness? The classic real-time strategy game Warzone 2100 is gearing up for a new release with some absolutely huge changes.

        Warzone 2100 was originally developed by Pumpkin Studios and published by Eidos Interactive, released as open source in 2004 and the legacy of it continues on as a completely free game. To this day it’s still one of the most innovative RTS games around.

        The brand new 4.0.0 Beta version is out and it brings in a rendering overhaul. There’s now support for Vulkan, OpenGL ES 3.0 / 2.0, DirectX (using libANGLE) and Metal (using MoltenVK) in addition to the OpenGL 3.0 Core and OpenGL 2.1 Compat modes it already supports. Switching can be done in-game via the Video menu.

      • Fun hack and slash dungeon crawler Son of a Witch gets a massive free expansion

        With a price increase to come mid-March, the amusing action-roguelite Son of a Witch from Bigosaur has a huge content expansion out now with the Demon Hunter update.

        If you’ve never played it before it’s often compared to the likes of Castle Crashers, The Binding of Isaac and other similar titles that have you battle through smaller arenas with plenty of random generation. An action roguelite with colourful and inviting graphics that sees you fight through tons of different enemies and bosses. This fresh update is the biggest to the game so far adding in the likes of a new hero, level, enemies, bosses, weapons, items, pets, quests and challenges, potions, magic scrolls, achievements and so on.

        [...]

        The Linux version seems to continue running perfectly fine too and now is a great time to get back into it.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE’s Plasma Mobile Gets Improved Homescreen and Settings, Lots of App Updates

          In February 2021, Plasma Mobile received an improved homescreen to make the drawer behave as an applications list, an initial implementation of horizontal pages for widgets and apps, as well as support for those who want to create new custom launchers.

          The revamped homescreen is pretty neat and you can check it out in action on PINE64’s PinePhone Linux phone in the video below, courtesy of Plasma Mobile developer Marco Martin who did all the awesome work.

        • KStars v3.5.2 is released

          KStars v3.5.2 is is released on March 1st, 2021 for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. This release incorporates significant improvements to Ekos Polar Alignment Tool in addition to supporting manual rotations in the Alignment Module.

          Brodrick Bassham added a manual rotation dialog to the Alignment module in Ekos for Load & Slew. Now users without motorized rotators can adjust their camera manually in order to achieve the desired frame orientation. Check the video below for a demonstration of this feature.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Nitrux 1.3.8 Release Packs in KDE Plasma 5.21, Linux 5.11, and More Changes

          Nitrux is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu that comes equipped with NX Desktop (based on KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment), Debian package manager with Advanced Packaging Tool and a host of other KDE software.

          After the recent release of Nitrux 1.3.7, we were wondering what is next for Nitrux. As it turns out, a new release has been announced with updates to the kernel, KDE applications, many bug fixes, and an alternative ISO offering.

          Let’s have a look at what is on offer with this new stable release.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Mageia 8 is Now Available with Linux 5.10 LTS

          The latest release of Mageia includes improved graphics support for both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs.

          NVIDIA Optimus laptop users rejoice, Mageia 8 now includes improved support, thanks to an upgraded graphics stack that includes Mesa 20.3.4 and X.Org Server 1.20.1. This upgrade improves both the AMD and NVIDIA GPU experience with the platform. For NVIDIA users, there’s the new experimental mageia-prime configuration tool that makes it possible to get the most out of your NVIDIA GPU.

          But the new release isn’t all about the graphics stack. Anyone who begins Mageia 8 with a live instance will see faster performance, thanks to the inclusion of Zstd compression on the base file systems, and better optimizations for hardware detection. NFS file system support has also been improved, with added support for NFSv4.

          Mageia also includes a new version of RPM (version 4.16.1.2) which offers a number improvements, such as automatic SSD detection and optimization, filesystem sync at the end of transactions, SHA256 digest added to gpg-pubkey headers, support for meta dependencies, and parametric macro generators. Overall RPM should be considerably faster, thanks to several optimizations. Mageia also ships with DNF version 4.6.0.

      • Arch Family

        • First Arch Linux ISO Release Powered by Linux Kernel 5.11 Is Here, Download Now

          That’s right, Arch Linux 2021.03.01 is now available and it’s the first Arch Linux ISO release to be powered by the latest and greatest Linux kernel 5.11 series, which introduces numerous new features and performance improvements, as well as new and updated drivers for top-notch hardware support.

          Linux kernel 5.11 introduces lots of goodies for AMD users, including support for AMD “Van Gogh” and “Dimgrey Cavefish” GPUs in the open-source AMDGPU driver. It also adds support for Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX), suspend-to-idle support in user-mode, as well as a new system-call interception mechanism.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • 5 ways to ruin a sysadmin’s day

          I don’t subscribe to the notion that there’s a “sysadmin brain,” but there are a few things that really get under a sysadmin’s skin. Sysadmins are generally very busy people and might appear to be curt, less-than-amused, or even rude at times. If you’ve ever heard the old saying, “Don’t poke the bear,” you should take heed. You have been warned.

          [...]

          Linux sysadmins are passionate about Linux. And, why shouldn’t they be passionate about it? It is, after all, the best operating system ever created. See what I did there? If you want to ruin a sysadmin’s day, say the opposite of that or disparage Linux in any way. Not only will you receive a litany of insults, rants, and passionate movie and song references, but you might also get a plateful of stale pizza bones* thrown at you.

          Linux sysadmins are Linux sysadmins because they love Linux and probably not for any other reason. There are easier, less stressful jobs to have. Air Traffic Controller often comes to mind as one option. Seriously, ruining a sysadmin’s day with anti-Linux dialogue is perhaps the best way to end your friendly relationship and to place you at the bottom of the service request queue.

        • The NeuroFedora Blog: Next Open NeuroFedora meeting: 1 March 1300 UTC

          Please join us at the next regular Open NeuroFedora team meeting on Monday 1 March at 1300UTC in #fedora-neuro on IRC (Freenode). The meeting is a public meeting, and open for everyone to attend.

        • 5 tips for choosing an Ansible collection that’s right for you | Opensource.com

          In August 2020, Ansible issued its first release since the developers split the core functionality from the vast majority of its modules and plugins. A few basic Ansible modules remain part of core Ansible—modules for templating configuration files, managing services, and installing packages. All the other modules and plugins found their homes in dedicated Ansible collections.

          This article offers a quick look at Ansible collections in general and—especially—how to recognize high-quality ones.

        • IBM brings Red Hat to Power systems | Network World

          IBM already has what it calls Enterprise Linux on Power, but this is bringing Red Hat, which IBM paid $34 billion to acquire, to its big iron. IBM Power systems now feature Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Power Virtual Server leveraging OpenShift’s bare metal installer, Red Hat Runtimes, and newly certified Red Hat Ansible Content Collections.

          Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Power Virtual Server is a move to bring the OpenShift container platform to IBM Power Virtual Server. The IBM Power Virtual Server is an enterprise infrastructure-as-a-service offering built around IBM POWER9 and offering access to more than 200 IBM Cloud services. In addition, IBM Power Virtual Server clients can now run business applications like SAP HANA in an IBM POWER9-based cloud.

        • Red Hat Launches RHEL For Open Source Infrastructure

          Red Hat recently announced a new, no-cost program tailored for the requirements of projects, foundations and more: Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) for Open Source Infrastructure.

          According to the company, the program provides a clearer and documented process for projects, communities, standards bodies and other not-for-profit software groups engaged with open source to gain access to RHEL subscriptions.

      • Debian Family

        • Utkarsh Gupta: FOSS Activites in February 2021

          This was my 26th month of active contributing to Debian. I became a DM in late March 2019 and a DD on Christmas ‘19! \o/

          This month was a nice mix of amusement, excitement, nervousness, and craziness. More on it below.
          Anyway, whilst I was super-insanely busy this month, I still did some Debian stuff here and there. Here are the following things I worked on:

        • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, January/February 2021

          In January was assigned 7 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative and carried over 8.5 hours from earlier months. However, I only used 0.25 hours of these to write December’s report. In Feburary I was assigned another 16 hours to work, and have worked 19 hours. I will carry over the remaining hours to March.

        • Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities February 2021

          This month I didn’t have any particular focus. I just worked on issues in my info bubble.

        • Open sourcing my blog [Ed: Ouch. Outsourcing to Microsoft proprietary software as "open sourcing" (in Planet Debian)]

          I have received a lot of positives feedback for my blog lately, and I do really appreciate it and try to integrate the suggestions to update my posts and make things better.

          With the aim of continous improvement of this blog, I have decided (a bit late?) to open source it. The source code is now available on Github!

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 15 ways to leave your cloud provider

        Avoid concentration

        While it’s tempting to keep things simple by using the same cloud for everything, the danger is that one cloud becomes a big point of failure. Microsoft, for instance, bought GitHub and this should give Azure users a reason to start thinking about storing their code in other repositories. Or at the very least, make sure it is pushed regularly to backups. The same goes for the other clouds.

        Use open source

        Proprietary code has many wonderful aspects. Sometimes the business model delivers some amazing software. There are many times in life when you get what you pay for and that can be true in the software world too. But only open source software offers you the freedom to move the code easily and quickly without begging, “Mother, may I?” Richard Stallman always said that he was after “free as in speech, not free as in beer.”

        Avoid proprietary tools

        The cloud providers usually offer two types of products: open source clones and proprietary tools. While the closed source products may offer plenty of tempting options and attractive innovations, the threat of losing service is too great to risk using them. If you choose the MySQL service at AWS, you can move to MySQL on your own box. If you choose a proprietary tool, you can’t.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Jan-Erik Rediger: Three-year Moziversary

            Has it really been 3 years? I guess it has. I joined Mozilla as a Firefox Telemetry Engineer in March 2018, I blogged twice already: 2019, 2020.

            And now it’s 2021. 2020 was nothing like I thought it would and still been a lot like I said last year at this point. It’s been Glean all over the year, but instead of working from the office and occasionally meeting my team in person, it’s been working from home for 12 months now.

            In September of last year I officially became the Glean SDK tech lead and thus I’m now responsible for the technical direction and organisation of the whole project, but really this is a team effort. Throughout the year we made Project FOG happen. At least the code is there and we can start migrating now. It’s far from finished of course.

          • Firefox 86 TOTALLY FIXES the cookie problem.

            Firefox 86 is the latest release of Firefox and it’s got two killer features. One of them is how Firefox handles cross-origin requests and cookies: by silo-ing each web page. Now, when you visit a new site for the first time, any assets loaded from other websites (read: Google Analytics) don’t have your login information from your Google Account. This is CRITICAL!

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Community Member Monday: Rafael Lima

          I am a university professor in Brazil, and I teach and research optimization applied to management sciences. In my work I often need to write papers and prepare spreadsheets to analyze data, and for that I’ve been using LibreOffice for over a year now. I have been working with supply chain optimization problems such as vehicle routing, network design and facility location.

          I have always been an enthusiast of Open Source, since my undergraduate days in 2001. At the time I started using Linux and most of my current research work is done using FOSS tools. The dynamics of how open source software is developed is a topic that has always caught my attention.

          Outside of work, I like to spend my free time practicing sports (mostly playing tennis) and whenever I have the opportunity I like to travel to new places. And obviously, like many tech enthusiasts, I like gaming too!

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Learning the Poke language in Y minutes

            Mohammad-Reza Nabipoor has written a nice short tutorial called “Learn
            the Poke Language in Y minutes”. The tutorial has the form of a Poke
            program itself, and I think it really highlights the most uncommon
            (and useful!) features of our domain-specific language.

            The tutorial is also available as part the poke source distribution in
            `doc/learn-poke-language-in-y-minutes.pk’ so you can play with it. Find
            the plain source file here.

            Mohammad will be improving and updating it as the language grows.
            Thanks Mohammad, and happy poking!

          • Swiss National Bank releases paper regarding CBDC and GNU Talers

            The Swiss National Bank has released a paper on the advantages of GNU Talers over blockchain and account-based digital money transactions for Central Bank Digital Currency.

            A possible technical implementation was presented in a paper by the Swiss National Bank (SNB), discussing the merits of token-based digital cash called GNU Talers. The Swiss Bank has been developing the concept of ‘Taxable Anonymous Libre Electronic Reserves’, or Taler for short. Interested parties have been able to try out the cryptographically secured digital ‘coins’ for some time.

      • Programming/Development

        • The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: January 2021 [Ed: Microsoft-sponsored Stephen O’Grady/Redmonk uses Microsoft data to rank programming languages as if a proprietary software repository occupied by a monopolies says what the trends are in industry at large
        • IAR Systems adds Functional Safety certification for build tools for Linux

          IAR Systems®, the future-proof supplier of software tools and services for embedded development, announces that its build tools supporting deployment in Linux-based frameworks has been certified by TÜV SÜD for functional safety development.

        • Clazy Framework Employed To Help Port Qt 5 Code To Qt 6 – Phoronix

          The Qt Company is now offering some checks for the Clazy framework to help in porting Qt 5 code to Qt 6 compatibility.

          Clazy is KDE’s Qt-focused static code analyzer built atop LLVM’s Clang. Clazy has been very useful for years in helping KDE/Qt developers discover bugs in their code and also help in some areas with automatic refactoring.

        • Porting from Qt 5 to Qt 6 using Clazy checks [Ed: Moving to proprietary software releases of Qt, which is no longer suitable for freedom-respecting developers]

          If you are looking for some help to port from Qt 5 to Qt 6, look no further. Within the Clazy framework, we’ve implemented some checks and fixits dedicated to help porting your Qt-based project.

          Those checks can be run using Clazy as a compiler plugin, using clazy-standalone on a .json file or from within Qt Creator.

          [..]

          First, you need to get Clazy or make sure your version is up to date. Version 1.10 will contain a corrected check for the deprecated API fixes, in the mean time please use the master branch.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Rakudo Weekly News: 2021.09 Best of Raku?

            Daniel Sockwell has started a discussion on what to do with the contents provided by the CCR Project with an idea to publish a “Best Of Raku” book. Modelled after books such as Coders at Work and Introduction to Best Software Writing, it would ask the Raku community to select 15-30 blog posts that do a good job of telling the story of the Raku Programming Language, thereby providing a good overview of what Raku is all about. Further suggestions, and other ideas, are very much welcome! And on a related note, 328 blog posts have been remastered so far!

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Using Increment (++) and Decrement (–) Operators in Bash

            Similar to other programming language bash also supports increment and decrement operators. The increment operator ++ increases the value of a variable by one. Similarly, the decrement operator — decreases the value of a variable by one.

        • Rust

          • Henri Sivonen: Rust Target Names Aren’t Passed to LLVM

            TL;DR: Rust’s i686-unknown-linux-gnu target requires SSE2 and, therefore, does not mean the same as GCC’s -march=i686. It is the responsibility of Linux distributions to use a target configuration that matches what they intend to support.

            From time to time, claims that Rust is “not portable” flare up. “Not portable” is generally means “LLVM does not support my retrocomputing hobby target.” This is mostly about dead ISAs like DEC Alpha. There is a side track about x86, though: the complaint that Rust’s default 32-bit x86 (glibc) Linux target does not support all x86 CPUs that are still supported by a given Linux distribution.

            Upstream Rust ships with two preconfigured 32-bit x86 glibc Linux targets: The primary one has the kind of floating-point math that other ISAs have and requires SSE2. “Primary” here means that the Rust project considers this “guaranteed to work”. The secondary does not require SSE2 and, therefore, works on even older CPUs but has floating-point math that differs from other ISAs. “Secondary” here means that the Rust project considers this only “guaranteed to build”. Conceptually, this is simple: x86 with SSE2 and x86 without SSE2. Pick the former if you can and the latter if you must.

  • Leftovers

    • The Final Inch
    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Corporate Media Parrot FBI Talking Points as More Americans Turn to Encrypted Communication Online

              Before he became a household name as the accused spoiler of the 2016 election, James Comey, FBI director under President Barack Obama, was already well-known in tech circles as a crusader against strong encryption. Still smarting from Edward Snowden’s exposure of the US government’s massive and illegal domestic spying operations, Comey grabbed any microphone he could during the waning years of Obama’s tenure to warn Americans that encryption technology was putting us all at grave risk by causing law enforcement to “go dark.”

            • WhatsApp Threat Spells Out How Accounts Will Be Deleted

              WhatsApp has a strange way of appeasing its users. The embattled social messaging platform is forcing a change in terms on its users after its data-collecting practices were learned. It followed this by threatening its users, then recently clarified what it means. Does this WhatsApp threat really mean that users’ accounts will be deleted if they don’t accept the new terms?

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Anatomy of Fascism Denial

        George Jackson, Blood in my Eye, 1972 [1]

        Part 1 of this essay presented and criticized 14 interrelated falsehoods whereby intellectuals, commentators, and activists denied that the Trump presidency and Trumpism deserved designation as fascist [2]: (1) the classic “It Can’t Happen Here” claim that American “constitutional democracy” has safely inoculated the United States against fascism; (2) the notion that fascism is purely a 20th Century (1920s-1940s) European phenomenon; (3) the idea that a handful of selectively tapped “fascism scholars” who happen mostly to be historians of 20th Century European fascism are qualified to offer “expert” commentary on 21st Century American politics and American fascism/neofascism; (4) the time-frozen and Eurocentric definition of the only relevant fascism as a fully consolidated fascist regime on the model of Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Third Reich; (5) the denial that fascism could arise within and through formally constitutional and electoral institutions; (6) the “old guard” (George Jackson’s excellent description) definition of fascism solely as a corporatist political-economic regime under the command of a single party state and dictator; (7) the idea that Trump’s lack of intellectual and doctrinal rigor and discipline disqualified him and his presidency from being considered fascist; (8) the notion that Trump had/has “no ideology” beyond pure venal selfishness; (9) the idea that Trump was just another “authoritarian;” (10) the claim that Trump was/is a “populist;” (11) the notion that fascism requires a pre-existing revolutionary challenge from a powerful radical Left in order to have any relevant existence; (12) the notion that Trump was/is some kind of anti-imperialist; (13) the idea that Trump’s weak response to the COVID-19 epidemic was non-and even anti-fascist; (14) the idea that Trump’s fascism was merely symbolic, rhetorical, and performative, without serious consequences.

      • Opinion | Iran’s Refusal to Meet Not Surprising

        There is no perfect solution to this imperfect situation. Both sides will have to swallow some pride and pay a political cost.

      • Opinion | Biden Must Realize There Is No Winning an Endless War

        There is only loss and suffering.

      • How the CIA Helped to Crush Turkey’s Post-War Left

        Turkey’s exploitation by the U.S. is an overlooked case-study, including its networks of far-right, anti-left militia trained and organized by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The events can be divided into three historical phases. In phase I (1940s-50s), the U.S. trained and armed the Turkish forces which banned and frequently rounded up socialist and communist groups. In phase II (1960s-70s), CIA-trained militias waged dirty wars against leftists, and in phase III (1980s-present) they focused their attention on “pacifying” Kurdish groups, many of whom espouse leftist political ideas.

        AFTER THE WAR

      • Under Israeli Apartheid, There Are Two Different Pandemics
      • Germany doesn’t disclose information on Paris killer’s collaborator

        PKK founder Sakine Cansız, KNK Paris Representative Fidan Doğan and Kurdish Youth Movement member Leyla Şaylemez were murdered in Paris, on 9 January 2013. Their killed, Ömer Güney died suspiciously in prison in France on 17 December 2016, but the role of his friend in Germany, Ruhi Semen, has not yet been fully clarified and no investigation has been launched against him.

      • ‘I wake up and scream’: Secret Taliban prisons terrorise thousands

        One of the Taliban’s most fearsome tools for doing so is a loose network of prisons, an improvised archipelago of mistreatment and suffering, in which the insurgents inflict harsh summary judgment on their fellow Afghans, arbitrarily stopping them on the highway. Mostly, they are looking for soldiers and government workers. The government too has been accused of mistreatment in its prisons, with the United Nations recently finding that nearly one-third of the Afghan army’s prisoners have been tortured.

        In the Taliban’s case, the detained are locked up in hidden makeshift prisons, a universe of incarceration in which the hapless charges are often moved, day after day, from ruined house to isolated mosque, and back again — without any sense of how long their detention will last. The approach is anything but discriminating.

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • E-bikes that look like motorcycles take another hit in B.C. Court of Appeal decision

          At the heart of the issue are the XMr’s small pedals, which Court of Appeal Justice Harvey M. Groberman agreed would do little to propel the nearly 115-kilogram bike. Groberman said the XMr is designed to almost exclusively operate as a low-powered electric motorcycle, or as “a very heavy, impractical bicycle.”

          Although the XMr meets many of the technical requirements of a motor-assisted cycle as defined in B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act, Groberman wrote, it doesn’t do so in practice.

          “If a piece of legislation defines ‘cat’ as ‘a small four-legged furry mammal that purrs,’ we would not expect that definition to include a dog fitted with a loudspeaker that plays a purring sound,” he said.

        • The City Where Cars Are Not Welcome

          Mr. Würzner’s goal is to reduce dependence on cars, no matter where they get their juice. Heidelberg is buying a fleet of hydrogen-powered buses, building a network of bicycle “superhighways” to the suburbs and designing neighborhoods to discourage all vehicles and encourage walking. Residents who give up their cars get to ride public transportation free for a year.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Why Trump’s Takeover of the GOP is Great for Biden and the Democrats (but a Potential Disaster for America)

        The Grand Old Party, founded in 1854 in Ripon, Wisconsin, is now dead. What’s left is a dwindling number of elected officials who have stood up to Trump but are now being purged. Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s popularity has dropped 29 points among Kentucky Republicans since he broke with Trump.

      • Opinion | Senate Democrats Can and Must Abolish the Filibuster. Now.

        As long as the filibuster is intact, Senate Republicans could keep the Senate in gridlock, and then run in the 2022 midterms on Democrats’ failure to get anything done.

      • Hong Kong banks freeze accounts of pro-democracy protesters

        High-profile dissidents and pro-democracy protesters have become targets for banks in Hong Kong, according to Apple Daily.

        One protester arrested by police during the anti-extradition bill protests in 2019 reported that his bank accounts were canceled or frozen without his consent over the past few months. Cases of accounts being canceled by local banks in the semi-autonomous city have risen, one local lawyer said.

      • Nevada Just Letting A Crypto Firm Run Entire Town As “Innovation Zone” (?!?)

        Of course, many are rightfully concerned that this is rapidly turning into a wait-a-minute-we’re-just-doing-company-towns-again-aren’t-we scenario — but Blockchains LLC’s CEO Jeffrey Berns unsurprisingly believes it’s all in good faith and that his company’s technology is a force of good (and not the bleak, dystopic consequences of unfettered capitalism).

      • Nevada governor proposes giving tech firms power to govern

        Under the proposal, companies developing cutting-edge technologies that have at least 50,000 acres (200 sq. kilometers) of land and promise to invest $1.25 billion could establish “Innovation Zones.” The zones would be governed by a board responsible for overseeing zoning, taxation, law enforcement and other government functions on their land. It would override local county regulations.

        The governor’s office of economic development would initially appoint three members to govern the zone, including two required to be from the company.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Sir Kazuo Ishiguro warns of young authors self-censoring out of ‘fear’

        Sir Kazuo, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017, warned that a “climate of fear” was preventing some people from writing what they want.

        He said they may be concerned that an “anonymous lynch mob will turn up online and make their lives a misery”.

        He told the BBC: “I very much fear for the younger generation of writers.”

        The 66-year-old said he was worried that less established authors were self-censoring by avoiding writing from certain viewpoints or including characters outside their immediate experiences.

      • China Persecutes Those Who Question ‘Heroes.’ A Sleuth Keeps Track.

        At least seven people over the past week have been threatened, detained or arrested after casting doubt over the government’s account of the deaths of Chinese soldiers during a clash last year with Indian troops. Three of them are being detained for between seven and 15 days. The other four face criminal charges, including one man who lives outside China.

      • Social media censorship promotes a mean view of humanity

        A friend of mine was recently suspended from Twitter. His posts were charming, funny and civil to a fault. I’m not sure why he was suspended but it seems to be related to his ironic quoting of the film Mean Girls, which included the term “fugly slut”. I’m guessing his account was a victim of algorithms patrolling the platform for “harmful” words, automatically suspending those who use them.

        Hopefully a human moderator comes in to rectify this. But this isn’t uncommon. Many accounts have been removed for similarly opaque reasons recently. A lot of this seems to have coincided with former president Trump’s Twitter suspension. The reasons in that high-profile example were clearly defined after the fact on Twitter and in the media, but there are plenty examples that haven’t been.

      • Journalism Against The Odds: Student Press Freedom Day 2021

        NCAC is proud to partner with the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) to celebrate the 3rd annual Student Press Freedom Day. NCAC is s strong supporter of student journalism as an enabling force in maintaining a free and open civil society and robust democracy. Student journalists, like professional journalists, provide an essential–and constitutionally-protected–service to their communities. This year’s theme is Journalism Against the Odds in acknowledgment of the phenomenal news coverage student journalists have produced despite being faced with incredible challenges of a year consumed by not only a global pandemic, but widespread racial justice protests, a major election and a rise in targeting and censorship of journalists.

      • Twitter’s New ‘Hacked Materials’ Warning Is Already Facing Pushback

        The Grayzone, an independent news outlet, was recently caught by surprise when Twitter added a warning to one of its tweets.

      • Internet disrupted in Armenia amid political turmoil and alleged coup attempt

        Metrics show a fall in observed national connectivity to 82% of ordinary peak levels from around 2 p.m. local time, followed by a slight recovery as Armenia Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused the army of attempting a coup. Work is ongoing to assess the incident with no direct attribution made at the present time.

      • Internet disruption registered in Iran following days of outages in southeast

        Network data from the NetBlocks Internet Observatory confirm disruption to internet connectivity in Iran on the evening of Saturday 27 February 2021 from 10:30 p.m. local time. The disruption follows four days of localized regional network disruptions reported in the Sistan and Baluchestan region amid deadly protests.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • ‘This Will Embolden the Murderous Prince’: Biden Rebuked for Letting MBS Off Hook for Butchering of Khashoggi

        “That President Biden has chosen not to pursue that course suggests that the ‘fundamental’ change he promised in U.S.-Saudi relations will not include holding to account its reckless ruler, who consequently is unlikely to be deterred from further criminal behavior.”

      • Democrats call for Biden to punish Saudi crown prince for Khashoggi’s murder

        Following the report’s release Friday, the State Department announced sanctions — including visa travel restrictions — for many of MBS’s associates and deputies, but no direct punishment for the crown prince himself. According to a New York Times report, Biden and White House officials decided that personal sanctions against MBS — who is expected to one day occupy the Saudi throne — could potentially poison relations with one of the US’s closest Middle Eastern allies.

      • Crushing dissent: The Saudi kill team behind Jamal Khashoggi’s death

        The role of operatives from the so-called Rapid Intervention Force, or RIF, in the Khashoggi killing helped bolster the US intelligence case that crown prince Mohammed approved the operation. “Members of the RIF would not have participated” in the killing without the crown prince’s consent, according to the report.

        The group “exists to defend the crown prince” and “answers only to him” the report said. On Friday, the Treasury Department designated the Rapid Intervention Force for economic sanctions for its role in the Khashoggi killing.

      • Saudi Crown Prince Is Held Responsible for Khashoggi Killing in U.S. Report

        An elite team of operatives helped carry out the killing, the report said. The team reported directly to Prince Mohammed, who cultivated a climate of fear that made it unlikely for aides to act without his consent, according to the report. It omitted the brutal details of Mr. Khashoggi’s death, including the dismemberment of his body with a bone saw after Saudi officials lured him to their consulate in Istanbul.

      • US Implicates But Won’t Punish Saudi Prince in Khashoggi Murder

        U.S. President Joe Biden was the one who decided to make the report public, although he first called Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

      • Opinion: Saudi crown prince has blood on his hands

        In the wake of Friday’s publication of the CIA report detailing Saudi involvement in the murder of journalist and regime critic Jamal Khashoggi, the last doubts have now been dispelled: Khashoggi’s 2018 murder in Istanbul was approved, if not ordered, by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

        It was not the work of a hit squad that lost control without the knowledge and consent of those at the top, as the Saudi royal family would still like the world and its own citizens to believe.

      • US will not sanction Saudi prince despite implicating him in murder of Khashoggi

        The United States on Friday for the first time publicly accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of approving the gruesome murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, unveiling a raft of punitive measures but stopping short of directly targeting the powerful heir apparent.

      • Kosovar Investigative Journalist Attacked By Masked Assailants

        Duriqi said he did not know the reason for the attack. The journalist has written about sensitive topics such as corruption, organized crime, and religious groups in Kosovo.

        The Office of the EU in Kosovo said in a post on Twitter that it is “deeply disturbed” by the attack on Duriqi and called on authorities to swiftly investigate the incident.

      • Hundreds march in Bangladesh to protest death of imprisoned writer

        Demonstrators marched at Dhaka University chanting slogans condemning the government’s treatment of Mushtaq Ahmed as well as other writers, journalists and activists.

        Another protest was staged at the National Press Club, while dozens of people carried a symbolic coffin around Dhaka University demanding the scrapping of the Digital Security Act (DSA) under which Ahmed was detained last May.

        The wide-ranging DSA has been used to crack down on dissent since it was enacted in 2018.

      • Ukraine Puts Pro-Kremlin Blogger Living In Europe On Wanted List

        Ukraine’s Security Service announced on February 25 that it has put a pro-Kremlin blogger and politician on its wanted list after he failed to show up for questioning.

        Anatoliy Shariy was charged earlier this month with high treason and hate speech and ordered to come in for questioning on February 22.

      • Abysmal treatment of Julian Assange by media is embarrassing

        What Assange did was no different to what Daniel Ellsberg did 50 years ago when he passed secret documents (The Pentagon Papers) about the Vietnam War on to The Times and Washington Post. However, what is different is that those newspapers fought a restraining order through the courts and won, unlike today’s complicit mainline media, which has nothing to say. What is also different is that the worst Ellsberg suffered was attempts to discredit him by the powers that be.

      • If Biden is committed to the First Amendment, he must stop the persecution of Julian Assange

        Since then, there has been a concerted defamation campaign against WikiLeaks, and in particular, Assange — including rape allegations we now know to have been fabricated by Swedish police; now-discredited claims of meetings with Paul Manafort and Russian spies to hack the DNC; and baseless claims that he smeared feces on the walls of the Ecuadorian embassy in which he was confined for seven years. Furthermore, Assange was secretly and illegally surveilled 24/7 by the CIA during those seven years of political asylum in the embassy.

        There is, however, extensive evidence that the US has been conducting an all-out war against Assange, his family and WikiLeaks for about a decade. In fact, Wikileaks itself obtained leaked emails from American private intelligence firm Stratfor (longtime US federal government partners) that show an intention to “move him from country to country to face various charges for the next 25 years … [and] seize everything he and his family own.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Opinion | Fiasco in Australia Illustrates How Facebook Is Ruining the Internet

        The situation in Australia is a significant opportunity to examine how much power Facebook has over the ways people can seek information online.

      • California’s Net Neutrality Law Is Now Moving Forward Following Federal Court Ruling

        Judge John Mendez paved the way for the implementation of the three-year-old law by denying a request from internet service providers (ISPs) to block the measure from going into effect. The stringent law specifically prohibits ISPs from limiting consumers’ access to lawful websites and throttling connections with regard to individual sites or platforms, among other measures.

        For additional background, a different appeals court in 2019 upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s 2017 decision to scrap Obama-era net neutrality laws – albeit while ruling that the FCC couldn’t overturn the net neutrality measures put into place by states. The decision appeared to set the stage for continued courtroom confrontations between the federal government and certain states, though the Biden administration dropped the FCC’s 2017 net neutrality-focused lawsuit against California earlier this month.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • I won’t watch it if it’s inaccessible

        Media companies either don’t realise this is happening, or they think that a tiny and ever-shrinking piece of pie is better than bending to the whims of Netflix, or not having pie at all. Both are silly.

        In that post I theorised that piracy would be the natural outcome of this. If you don’t make your content accessible, people will resort to the methods they used to access it before streaming existed. You know the adage about fences keeping honest people honest? This is not how you make honest people.

    • Monopolies

      • FOSS Patents: Epic Games v. Apple trial scheduled to start on May 3: exact duration and in-person vs. video testimony to be determined

        Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California said at the outset of today’s Epic Games v. Apple case management conference that this is a very significant case, so the judiciary should give it the best it has to offer, which is an in-person trial. But under the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be necessary to conduct the trial, in whole or in part, via Zoom. Even if it’s fully in-person, the number of persons simultaneously present in the courtroom will be very limited.

        The judge won’t take it lightly if someone who’s a “COVID denier” on Facebook or goes on extensive travel for other purposes asks to be excused from showing up in person for the trial. She expects counsel for the parties to “investigate” the witnesses in that regard.

        For now the plan is that witnesses won’t have to wear masks when testifying. Judge Gonzalez Rogers mentioned that the court has plexiglass shields. Actually, experts doubt or even ridicule the effectiveness of such shields as I reported last summer. But Judge Gonzalez Rogers explained she would be closer to the witnesses than anyone else, and by May she’d be “fully vaccinated.” While I remain skeptical of plexiglass shields, I don’t doubt at all that this judge is very committed to preventing COVID infections in the courtroom. She is in contact with Judge Albright in the Western District of Texas, who is holding patent trials all the time despite the pandemic.

      • Patents

        • EPO congratulates Hungarian Intellectual Property Office on its 125th anniversary [Ed: Another lousy EPO puff piece, a third for today (what are they distracting from this time??)]

          EPO President António Campinos addressed a celebration gala today (1 March) to mark the 125th anniversary of the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO). He was joined by guests from the Hungarian Ministry of Innovation and Technology, the Hungarian Minister of Finance, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

          In his address, which was delivered by videoconference, Mr Campinos said: “Since its foundation, the Hungarian Office has played a pivotal role in promoting innovation and economic progress – in Hungary and beyond. You have an IP system that’s helped promote Hungarian innovation and given us well-known, and much valued, inventors.”

          To mark the occasion, the EPO sent the HIPO a copy of the first ever European patent granted to a Hungarian inventor, almost 40 years ago.

        • Compulsory EPO video hearings leave some parties in doubt [Ed: EPO is once again breaking the law and asks judges whom it is besieging to say “OK”]

          In January 2021, the EPO Boards of Appeal conducted a total of 109 oral hearings. Of these, 84 were via video conference.

          By the end of February, the EPO alone will have conducted around 1,100 oral video proceedings in examination and opposition. In 2020, the EPO conducted over 2,600 oral proceedings in examination and opposition via video. This is a rise from 900 video proceedings for examinations in 2019.

          As such, the EPO sees video hearings as a way to ensure the protection of participants during the pandemic. However, the EPO was also already pushing video conferencing for hearings as part of its new long-term strategy.

          Until now, EPO users and patent attorneys have supported for virtual hearings. This is especially the case in small hearings in the first instance, where only two parties are involved. But, since the EPO enforced the new rule, legal problems have emerged.

          [...]

          The strawman opposition function at the EPO is often used in pharmaceutical proceedings. For the strawman and client, public participation in video proceedings presents new opportunities.

          This is because the company and its technical experts can join the hearing as interested members of the public. They can then provide instructions to their representative in the negotiation via chat or mail during the negotiation.

          This procedure is expressly permitted for other parties and their representatives, to enable communication between the client and the patent attorney. Previously, at in-person hearings, the EPO permitted breaks in order for parties to talk to their clients. This might happen several times over the course of a three-day hearing.

          However, during a video conference the EPO permits opening another communication channel such as a virtual chat. This is to ensure the client and patent attorney can communicate in lieu of in-person interaction.

        • IPCom v Vodafone: Arnold LJ abdicates Crown use defence [Ed: Brian Cordery (Bristows) works for the patent trolls and parasites in question]

          Normal service looks to have been resumed following the Court of Appeal judgment in IPCom v Vodafone [2021] EWCA Civ 205, in which Arnold LJ reversed a first instance finding by Recorder Douglas Campbell QC that Vodafone was entitled to a defence of Crown use in respect of certain acts which infringed an IPCom patent, as well as providing some interesting commentary on the application of the de minimis infringement defence.

          A detailed review of that first instance decision and the technology underpinning the dispute can be found here. In brief, IPCom brought proceedings against the network infrastructure provider Vodafone for infringement of a patent relating to a method for controlling whether a particular mobile device is granted authorisation to access a given telecommunications channel at a given time. The proposed method is used in the UK during emergency situations under the Mobile Telecommunications Privileged Access Scheme (“MTPAS”) to provide priority access to the network at a given base station for the phones of certain groups of end-users (inter alia emergency services) by virtue of an identifying class which is assigned to phones by their SIM cards. Under MTPAS, a request that emergency responders be given priority access to the network is sent from a relevant senior police officer to mobile network providers, such as Vodafone.

          [...]

          In his typical style, Arnold LJ provided a thorough and considered history of the existence of Crown use from its inception in 1623. Charting decisions from the last century and a half, Arnold LJ found that the trend was to limit government authorisation to only those instances where infringement was expressly approved, or necessarily implied by virtue of the approved action. He further noted that the UK had acceded to the TRIPs, which contains provisions at Art.31 which limit the circumstances in which governments may infringe a party’s intellectual property rights without authorisation, but had not found it necessary to amended s.55 (as it had other sections of the Patents Act). He pointed out that it must therefore be the case that s.55 can be read consistently with Art.31.

          In reaching his conclusion, Arnold LJ listed some 13 reasons for his decision at paragraphs 149 to 173. Without repeating these in the whole, Arnold LJ disagreed that option (3) was the most natural reading of the text or the easiest to operate in practice, and noted that option (2) was most consonant with the law of agency and reduced the burden upon the Crown. Similarly, the Lord Justice disagreed that the authoriser should bear the risk, rather than actor – rather, he pointed out that typically when goods are provided they come with an implied warranty of quiet enjoyment, and that the burden of ensuring the goods or services are non-infringing or licensed ought properly to rest with their provider.

          He further considered that the weight of past decisions supported option (2), as did the opinion of the editors of Terrell over the past century. He accepted the submission that if permission did not have to be specific, then the mechanism for retroactive authorisation in s.55(6) was redundant, but did not accept the submission that s.55(7) operated so as to limit authorisation only to a specific named patent, which so construed he considered created a “difficult, if not impossible” obligation.

        • Parties Again Ask the Federal Circuit to Follow the Law and Issue an Opinion in PTO Appeals [Ed: Dennis Crouch just keeps pushing to slow down or obstruct invalidation of fake patents]

          Perry Cooper, Full Court Patent Review Bids Often ‘Waste of Time,’ Judge Says. In many ways, these no-opinion judgments are the shadow docket of the Federal Circuit without the usual full-court or expositive guardrails of ordinary appellate practice.

          Before 1989, the Federal Circuit and its predecessor courts (going back 100+ years) wrote an opinion in each and every appeal of a patent case from the Patent Office. Now, about half of the cases are decided without opinion. Back in 2010, this represented fewer than 20 cases per year, many of which were pro se and ex parte. By 2019, more than 120 R.36 no-opinion judgments were issued in PTO cases, most of these were in hotly litigated inter partes reviews. In their article, Paul Gugliuzza and Mark Lemley looked at one area of law – patent eligibility – and concluded that the court was subtly shifting the law through its R.36 practice. Gugliuzza and Lemley, Can a Court Change the Law by Saying Nothing?, 71 Vanderbilt Law Rev. 765 (2018).

          In a number of cases, parties have petitioned the Supreme Court and Federal Circuit for a hearing on the issue — arguing as I did in my 2017 article that 35 U.S.C. 144 requires the court to issue an opinion when reviewing an appeal from the Patent Office. So far, no court has agreed to even hold such a hearing.

        • Software Patents

          • Karamelion reexamination request granted

            On February 25, 2021, the USPTO granted Unified’s request for ex parte reexamination, finding substantial questions of patentability for all claims of U.S. Patent 6,275,166, owned by Karamelion LLC, an NPE and affiliate of IP Edge. This order comes just under three weeks from the filing date. This patent relates to relaying communications to appliances from a central computer and has been asserted against smart home products in over 40 district court litigations.

      • Trademarks

        • Zoomlion: ‘My green, grey and black’. Another colour combination mark case in China

          Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology Co., Ltd. (‘Zoomlion’), according to Wikipedia, is China’s largest, and the world’s sixth-largest, construction machinery enterprise. Zoomlion owns the trade mark registration no. 18338886 in China. This, as shown below, is a colour combination mark (hereinafter ‘the Z mark’).

          [...]

          The CFI considered that Zoomlion’s concrete mixer trucks, pump trucks, pumps and related decorations, i.e. the green, cold grey and warm grey colours, had gained sufficient distinction to function as a source indication due to long-term, uninterrupted use.

          Furthermore, the CFI found the three-colour decoration qualified as ‘specific decoration of commodity with certain influence’ under the Anti-Unfair Competition Law of China (AUCL), the unauthorised use of which would fall within the scope of the unfair competition acts (Article 6(1) of the AUCL). The evidence regarding reputation included large intensive exhibitions on multiple occasions, e.g. the 13th China (Beijing) International Construction Machinery, Building Materials Machinery and Mining Machinery Exhibition and Technology Exchange Conference, the American International Construction Machinery Expo and the Changsha International Construction Machinery Exhibition as well as multiple awards won by Zoomlion, including the first China Machinery Industry Science and Technology Award and inclusion in 2015’s Top 100 Chinese Machinery Industry and 2016’s Top 500 Chinese Brand Value and Top 500 Asian Brands in 2016.

          Then came the fun part: the disputes regarding the coating decoration.

          The CFI did recognise that the colours shown on the relevant products were not exactly the same in terms of positioning and proportions thereof. However, those differences were ‘too minor to cause a difference in the overall visual effect’. Thus, confusion was still easily possible amongst the general public.

      • Copyrights

        • 2021 US Copyright Compendium Series #1: Works of Artistic Craftsmanship

          On January 28, the US Copyright Office released the latest version of the Compendium of US Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition. The Compendium details the general practices of the US Copyright Office concerning registration and recordation. Registration decisions by the Office are generally governed by the practices outlined in the Compendium.

          Among the revisions in the latest version is an expansion of the “works of artistic craftsmanship” category. Although this category is present in the statutory definition of pictorial, sculptural, and graphic works, it received scant mention in the prior version of the Compendium. Let’s explore the history of this category of work and the implications of its recent expansion in the Compendium.

          [...]

          While there are clearly parallels between the design of a useful article and a work of artistic craftsmanship, each category is the functional inverse of the other. While a work of artistic craftsmanship may serve “primarily an ornamental, and incidentally a useful, purpose,” a useful article is a work with an intrinsic utilitarian function.

          The relationship between works of artistic craftsmanship and the designs of useful articles is most clearly elucidated by the copyrightable authorship that is protected in regards to each category. Useful articles are not subject to copyright protection, but the design of such an article may be protected by copyright only “if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.” By contrast, a registered work of artistic craftsmanship is protected as a whole, but copyright does not “cover any of the mechanical or utilitarian aspects of the work.”

        • Just 7,500 Artists on Spotify — Out of 8 Million — Make $100,000 or More Annually
        • Earn $1 Million by Snitching on Companies that “Copy That Floppy’

          Nearly three decades ago, the Software and Information Industry Association released its infamous “Don’t Copy That Floppy” PSA to educate kids on the harms of online piracy. Today, software piracy remains a problem and the industry group is still calling on the public for help. However, they’re now offering a potential $1 million reward.

        • RuTracker Crowdfunding Drive Raises Cash To Seed Old & Rare Files

          Russia-based RuTracker is not only one of the oldest torrent sites online but also one of the most popular. The site is heavily blocked in its home territory, something which contributes to a fall in seeder counts. Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, RuTracker is set to address this problem by adding 800 terabytes of storage on top of almost 2,500 terabytes already dedicated to old and rare content.

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