Links 17/3/2021: Tor and Sway 1.6 RC1

Posted in News Roundup at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Bootlin contributions to Linux 5.11

        Linux 5.11 was released quite some time ago now, but it’s never too late to have a look at Bootlin contributions to this release. As usual, we recommend reading the LWN articles on the 5.11 merge window: part 1 and part2. Also of interest is the Kernelnewbies page for 5.11.

      • Intel Alder Lake S Enablement Code Sent In To DRM-Next For Linux 5.13 – Phoronix

        Coincidentally on the same day as formally announcing Rocket Lake S, Intel’s open-source driver engineers have sent in their next-gen “Rocket Lake S” enablement code to DRM-Next for landing this spring in the Linux 5.13 merge window.

        A big batch of Intel kernel graphics driver code was sent in as a pull request on Tuesday for DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 5.13 merge window, which should be opening around the end of April and then releasing as stable this summer. Like clockwork with Intel being well known for their timely Linux hardware support, Alder Lake S graphics support headlines this pull.

        With building off the existing and mature Gen12 Xe graphics code path, the Alder Lake S enablement isn’t all that big but still significant. This Alder Lake S graphics enabling goes along with a lot of other Alder Lake enablement that has been happening in the kernel from sound support to other device enablement.

      • Serious Security: The Linux kernel bugs that surfaced after 15 years – Naked Security

        The bugs were found in the kernel code that implements iSCSI, a component that implements the venerable SCSI data interface over the network, so you can talk to SCSI devices such as tape and disk drives that aren’t connected directly to your own computer.

        Of course, if you don’t use SCSI or iSCSI anywhere in your network any more, you’re probably shrugging right now and thinking, “No worries for me, I don’t have any of the iSCSI kernel drivers loaded because I’m simply not using them.”

        After all, buggy kernel code can’t be exploited if it’s just sitting around on disk – it has to get loaded into memory and actively used before it can cause any trouble.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Samuel Iglesias: VK_KHR_depth_stencil_resolve support on Turnip

          Last year, I have been working on Turnip driver development as my daily job at Igalia. One of those tasks was implementing the support for VK_KHR_depth_stencil_resolve extension.


          I also found other VK_KHR_depth_stencil_resolve CTS tests failing: the ones testing the format compatibility for VK_FORMAT_D32_SFLOAT_S8_UINT and VK_FORMAT_D24_UNORM_S8_UINT formats. For VK_FORMAT_D32_SFLOAT_S8_UINT failures, it was needed to take into account the particularity that it has a separate plane for the stencil part when resolving it to VK_FORMAT_S8_UINT. In the VK_FORMAT_D24_UNORM_S8_UINT failures, the problem was that we were setting wrongly the resolve mode used by the HW: it was wrongly doing a sample average, when we wanted to use the value of sample 0. This merge request fixed both issues.

          And that’s all, this was a extension that allowed me to dive into the different resolve paths used by Turnip and learn one or two things about the HW ;-) Thanks a lot to Jonathan Marek for his reviews and suggestions to improve the implementation of this extension.

        • Steam Adds Support For The Single-File Mesa Shader Cache

          It was less than one month ago that Valve developers added a new “single file” cache option for Mesa as an alternative to its existing multi-file cache. Valve now with their latest Steam for Linux beta is supporting this new single-file cache for faster performance.

          The Mesa single file cache can help for on-disk space savings, compared to the existing Mesa on-disk shader cache taking up as much as 3x the space of the single file cache. The single file cache also makes it easier to redistribute cached shaders such as via Steam with all the shaders being tucked into one file rather than many different ones.

        • RADV Lands Another Navi Optimization In Mesa 21.1 To Help With MSAA Performance – Phoronix

          The developers working on the RADV open-source Radeon Vulkan driver for Mesa are relentless in their quest for delivering optimal performance. Hitting Mesa 21.1 today were another set of patches for enhancing the MSAA anti-aliasing performance for GFX10 (Navi 1x / Navi 2x) graphics cards.

          With this MR to allow skipping FMASK decompressions, Vulkan games making use of multi-sample anti-aliasing (MSAA) should see around 1~2% faster performance with the current Navi and newer GPUs.

        • Sway 1.6-rc1 Released With Better Touchscreen/Tablet Support

          For fans of Sway as the i3-inspired Wayland compositor the v1.6 update is coming soon while out today is the release candidate.

          Sway continues enjoying a lot of popularity as one of the “alternative” and lightweight Wayland compositors as well as for spearheading the WLROOTS compositor support library. With Sway 1.6-rc1 there are more improvements inbound for bettering this compositor.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT Linux Performance

        At the start of March AMD announced the Radeon RX 6700 XT as their new RDNA2 graphics card starting out at $479 USD. Tomorrow the RX 6700 XT is going on sale while today marks the embargo lift on reviews. We have been testing the Radeon RX 6700 XT over the past two weeks and have up our initial Linux support experience and gaming benchmark results to share.

        The Radeon RX 6700 XT is AMD’s new RDNA2 offering that offers 40 compute units, 2560 stream processors, 96MB of infinity cache, and 12GB of GDDR6 video memory on a 192-bit interface. Pricing will start out at ~$479 USD and should be available tomorrow, retail stock permitting – AMD insisted on the call they have been working to ensure sufficient supplies are available.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • 3 Ways to check DNS records from Linux terminal

        DNS stands for Domain Name System or Domain Name Servers which translates Internet domain and host names to IP addresses and vice versa.

        DNS is a hierarchical decentralized naming system for computers, services, or other resources connected to the Internet or a private network.

        It’s basically a set of mapping files that tell the DNS server which IP address each domain or host is associated with, and how to handle requests sent to each domain.

      • How To Install Chef Workstation on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Chef Workstation on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, A Chef is a configuration management tool that simplifies the manual and repetitive tasks for infrastructure management. With the Chef users can easily manage, configure and deploy the resources across the network from the centralized location irrespective of the environment (cloud, on-premises, or hybrid).

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step install of the Chef Workstation on CentOS 8.

      • How to Install Podman on Ubuntu 20.04

        Podman (POD Manager) is a tool to manage OCI containers and pods. It is an open-source project which can be used in most Linux distributions that use daemonless container engine.

        Podman and docker use two different architectures. Docker depends on daemon for all its functionality where Podman directly interacts using runC. Podman has more functionalities in the Kubernetes environment. Commands are very similar to Docker commands and can work on root and rootless mode. Much different from other container runtime podman has the ability to deploy pods.

        In this article, we are going to explain how to install Podman on Ubuntu 20.04 and learn its basic usage to manage images and containers.

      • How to Use Linode StackScripts for Deploying PreConfigured Linux Servers

        There are always a few things to do after deploying a new Linux server. It could be changing the SSH configuration, creating non-root users or installing and configuring Docker.

        These are all repetitive tasks that could be especially frustrating when you’re testing something and you have to deploy servers with the same configuration.

        For example, I use reverse proxy setup to test out different kinds of web services and applications. Doing all those steps again and again on all the new servers could be such a pain.

      • How to download Youtube videos on Linux using command line

        Use the youtube-dl tool in the Command line terminal of your Linux to download and save various online videos directly on your local drive.

        YouTube is one of the popular platforms to watch videos online and in case you want to download some of your videos from it on Linux such as Ubuntu, Debian, RHEL, Fedora, and CentOS; then we don’t need some GUI software. This can be done directly using the command terminal of the Linux distro you are using.

        Moreover, many of us are not regular YouTube video downloaders, thus for once in a while getting some video for offline usage doesn’t need software. We can use a simple command-line tool called youtube-dl for downloading online videos. However, this tutorial is for educational purposes, thus before saving anyone’s video please take care of all copyright laws applicable to that.

      • How to Dual Boot on Systems With SSD and HDD Both

        Another dual boot video but this one is slightly different. In this scenario, your system comes preloaded with Windows 10 with a small SSD and a large HDD. Where do you install Linux on it? On the SSD or HDD?

      • File systems and UUIDs on Linux | Network World

        File systems and UUIDs have a special relationship on Linux systems. What are these very long identifiers and how can you view the connections between them and disk partitions?

      • How to Check Disk Space on Ubuntu 20.04

        Tracking disk usage information is a day-to-day task of any system administrator. Linux has some built-in utilities that help you find the disk space of your system.

      • How To Share Folder In AQEMU Virtual Machine

        Completing the AQEMU VM guide, now it’s a how to do folder sharing on it. With this, guest OS can transfer (copy-paste) files with the host OS. It is surprisingly easy and does not require proprietary software so you can do it on completely free operating systems like Trisquel too. Now let’s go.

      • How To Make AQEMU Single Window

        Continuing the AQEMU guide, it is more efficient to make running virtual machine into single window (attached) instead of double (separated) and this simple note explains how to configure that. Let’s go!

      • LFCA: Learn Basic File Management Commands in Linux – Part 2

        This article is Part 2 of the LFCA series, here in this part, we will explain about Linux file system and cover the basic file management commands, that are required for the LFCA certification exam.

        As you get started out in Linux, you’ll spend a great deal of time interacting with files and directories. Directories are also known as folders, and they are organized in a hierarchical structure.

        In the Linux operating system, each entity is regarded as a file. In fact, there’s a popular statement in Linux circles that goes: ‘Everything is a file in Linux’. This is just an oversimplification and in the real sense, most files in Linux are special files that include symbolic links, block files, and so on.

    • Games

      • Crusader Kings III 1.3 free update and Northern Lords DLC out, free to play until Sunday | GamingOnLinux

        Easily one of the best strategy games supported on Linux, Crusader Kings III from Paradox Interactive has a huge free update plus a DLC and some free to play time.

        The 1.3 “Corvus” update went out which adds in a huge amount to the game including Winter. Yes, Winter is coming so you need to be more prepared than ever as the map gets a blanket of snow and there’s a few different types. There’s a new personal combat system that has characters have a duel, the Poet trait has been added to the game, an enhanced hair & beard inheritance gene system, a vast number of new Coat of Arms for Norse rulers, 8 new Norse-inspired Custom Faith icons and more.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Distributions

      • 10 Best Lightweight Linux Distros for Old Computers and Low-Power Systems

        The best lightweight Linux distros still provide users with a modern computing experience, even on older computers and devices with low-end hardware. They retain many features that make Linux such a versatile operating system while cutting out the bloat that would otherwise make these distros unsuitable for low-end machines. So without any further delay, here are the best lightweight Linux distros you can use to breathe life back into your old computers.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Google Translate

        Google has a firm grip with their products and services ubiquitous on the desktop. Don’t get us wrong, we’re long-standing admirers of many of Google’s products and services. They are often high quality, easy to use, and ‘free’, but there can be downsides of over-reliance on a specific company. For example, there can be questions about their privacy policies, business practices, and an almost insatiable desire to control all of our data, all of the time.

        What if you are looking to move away from Google and embark on a new world of online freedom, where you are not constantly tracked, monetised and attached to Google’s ecosystem.

        In this series, we’ll explore how you can migrate from Google without missing out on anything. We’ll recommend open source solutions.

      • My favorite open source project management tools

        Projects like building a satellite, developing a robot, or launching a new product are all expensive, involve different providers, and contain hard dependencies that must be tracked.

        The approach to project management in the world of large projects is quite simple (in theory at least). You create a project plan and split it into smaller pieces until you can reasonably assign costs, duration, resources, and dependencies to the various activities. Once the project plan is approved by the people in charge of the money, you use it to track the project’s execution. Drawing all of the project’s activities on a timeline produces a bar chart called a Gantt chart.

      • DevOps tool K6’s journey to open source

        Robin Gustafsson, CEO of K6, an open source load-impact service, joined Ben Rometsch, CEO of Flagsmith, an open source feature-flagging product, on episode 8 of The Craft of Open Source podcast. Their conversation offers interesting insights into what K6 does, how the software developed, and the decisions the project made along the way.

        K6 provides a load-testing service, which means it helps identify reliability and scalability problems in software systems such as websites, web apps, APIs, and microservices. In other words, K6 can be programmed to test whatever needs to be tested to identify potential issues from increased traffic and overloading.

      • Web Browsers

        • Vroom, Vroom: Vivaldi Browser Gets a Serious Speed Boost

          Google Chrome recently talked up its performance enhancements on Windows, macOS and Android, now Vivaldi it taking its turn.

          The latest version of this Chromium-based browser is here and its makers say it’s faster than ever: browser tabs open twice as fast as in previous versions, while new windows open 26% faster than before.

          Stats were gleaned from tests using internal benchmarks conducted on an Ubuntu PC with a 2 GHz Intel Core i3 CPU and 4 GB RAM. While Vivaldi hasn’t benchmarked its browser comparative to others, (i.e. Vivaldi is faster than before but not necessarily faster than, say Chrome), those who use it are sure to be thrilled nonetheless.

        • Vivaldi Browser 3.7 Released With Significant Performance Improvements – It’s FOSS News

          Even though Vivaldi Browser is not entirely an open-source browser, it offers proper Linux support by offering both DEB and RPM packages to install it.

          It may not be the most popular choice but it is still an impressive browser that lets you enhance your productivity by easily managing the tabs and windows that you’ve launched. Not just limited to that, it also keeps an eye on its performance efficiency so that it presents a better experience overall when compared to Google Chrome.

          Now, as per a recent press release, it looks like Vivaldi has made some significant performance improvements. And, surprisingly, they claim that their test results were based on a system running Ubuntu 18.04 with 2 GHz Intel Core i3 CPU and 4 GB RAM as the hardware configuration.

        • Brave – Privacy-focused Web Browser

          Brave is an open-source Chromium-based, privacy-focused, and cross-platform web browser. It has almost all the features that popular web browsers such as Chrome and Firefox have with additional protection against ads, online surveillance, and more.


          Brave team did an interesting test to find which web browser performs better. In the test, it compared Brave with Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Edge on Windows, MacOS, and Android. In the test, it found that Brave opened popular sites 3 to 6 times faster, consumed about half system memory & power, and a third of data usage. You can read the full report in this article.

          If you browse with Brave regularly, it shows you interesting information, the number of trackers brave blocked, internet bandwidth & time saved while browsing the Internet.

          Being based on Chromium web browser, users can install all their favorite extensions. Brave team also checks extensions and warns users if they try to install an extension that they have not checked yet.

        • Flow Browser, a Raspberry Pi optimized web browser for HMI

          We asked the company to run some tests and benchmarks for us. First starting with html5test.com score being 332 points for Flow compared to Chromium’s 471 on the Raspberry Pi 400. Ekioh explained that some of the features of a standard web browser may not be needed for HMI use cases. It’s not too bad as sites like the Guardian, Wikipedia, Twitter, The Register can apparently render just fine, and so is CNX Software.

        • New releases (with security fixes): Tor,, and

          We have a new stable release today. If you build Tor from source, you can download the source code for on the download page. Packages should be available within the next several weeks, with a new Tor Browser coming next week.

          Also today, Tor (changelog) and Tor (changelog) have also been released; you can find them (and source for older Tor releases) at https://dist.torproject.org.

      • Education

        • Announcing foss-north 2021

          The conference will be held on May 31 – June 1, paired with the community day on May 30. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the descision to go hybrid or fully virtual will be taken mid April 2021.

          Call for Papers

          The call for papers is open until April 11. For more information, visit the Contribute page.

      • FSFE

        • “I Love Free Software Day” report for 2021

          For this year’s “I Love Free Software Day” we tried something new. Together with FSFE’s volunteer Florian Snow we created some share pictures for sharing our love for Free Software. Those share pics could be used to create a personalised message saying why you love Free Software. The pictures could then also be shared on social media.

          Our second novelty this time was our Software Freedom Podcast Episode which provides a nice background of the origin and last 11 years of the “I Love Free Software Day”. For the episode, Bonnie Mehring also invited several people from popular Free Software communities and asked them to share their thoughts about “I Love Free Software Day” and its importance.

          Similar to the last years we have been heavily present on social media, and due to the current pandemic, had not planned for any offline events. But this did not prevent us from celebrating and sharing our love for Free Software. Here are the numbers and figures for “I Love Free Software Day” 2021. In the Fediverse #ilovefs was the most used hashtag!

      • Programming/Development

        • Mike Hommey: 6000

          It seems to be a month of anniversaries for me.

          Yesterday, I was randomly checking how many commits I had in mozilla-central, and the answer was 5999. Now that I’ve pushed something else, I’ve now reached my 6000th commit.

        • 10 Best Free Programming Graphical User Interfaces for R

          AI, Machine Learning, and data science are some of the most valuable skills right now. The rising popularity invites several beginners to the field. The beginners always suffer in the choice of a programming language. The decision is, of course, the developer’s to make. In this regard, R is one of the best programming languages for AI and ML. It supports a free software environment and statistical computing. However, you will need a Graphical User Interface (GUI) to work with R. Many data scientists prefer to work in the command line, but beginners should choose a definite GUI. There are many free Graphical User Interfaces for R. We have listed some of them so that you don’t have to waste time searching them.

        • What Is a DevOps Engineer?

          The principles and practice of DevOps are still evolving and finding new applications within organizations. But, these days, a DevOps approach is key to successful digital transformation, cloud computing, security, site reliability, and more. Within this scope of continuous change, DevOps engineers play a crucial role.


          In today’s tech landscape, “the old-school IT silos are gone,” writes Neelan Choksi, “and every engineer must be more well-rounded and contribute more than just the activities traditionally associated with their job title.” With the overlapping roles and responsibilities of DevOps engineers, software engineers, SREs, and others, it’s important to keep your skills up to date and stay informed about industry best practices. You can learn more from the resources below.

        • [Old] The Great Divide

          The divide is between people who self-identify as a (or have the job title of) front-end developer, yet have divergent skill sets.

          On one side, an army of developers whose interests, responsibilities, and skill sets are heavily revolved around JavaScript.

          On the other, an army of developers whose interests, responsibilities, and skill sets are focused on other areas of the front end, like HTML, CSS, design, interaction, patterns, accessibility, etc.

          Let’s hear from people who are feeling this divide.

        • Python

          • Bloom Filter: A Simple Way to Optimize Your Software

            A Bloom filter efficiently tests if an element is a member of a set. It was first proposed by Burton Howard Bloom all the way back in 1970. Although a little unknown, they have become ubiquitous, especially in distributed systems and databases. Bloom filters are an excellent time and memory saver.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

        • Java

          • Oracle Announces Java 16

            Today Oracle announced the availability of Java 16 (Oracle JDK 16), including 17 new enhancements to the platform that will further improve developer productivity. The latest Java Development Kit (JDK) finalized Pattern Matching for instanceof (JEP 394) and Records (JEP 395), language enhancements that were first previewed in Java 14. Additionally, developers can use the new Packaging Tool (JEP 392) to ship self-contained Java applications, as well as explore three incubating features, the Vector API (JEP 338), the Foreign Linker API (JEP 389), and the Foreign-Memory Access API (JEP 389), and one preview feature, Sealed Classes (JEP 397).

          • Oracle Launches Java 16 with 17 New Features for Developers

            Oracle has launched Java 16 (Oracle JDK 16) which includes 17 new enhancements expected to further improve developer productivity.

            According to the software company, Java updates can be expected every six months to provide developers with a predictable release schedule. This offers a steady stream of innovations while also delivering continued performance, stability and security improvements.

          • Programming 101: Input and output with Java | Opensource.com

            When you write a program, your application may need to read from and write to files stored on the user’s computer. This is common in situations when you want to load or store configuration options, you need to create log files, or your user wants to save work for later. Every language handles this task a little differently. This article demonstrates how to handle data files with Java.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Souped-Up Gopher: Project Gemini’s Plan to Revolutionize Internet Browsing

        A team of highly motivated and principled developers is quietly building an entirely new web of content, served by different servers and accessed with an entirely new kind of software.

        As the community grows, it’s been consciously designed to invite the involvement of others. The plan also involves keeping out, hopefully forever, some of the worst features that crept into our modern web. It offers a fresh and thought-provoking perspective on some of the choices we’ve already made in the online world of today. And raises interesting questions. If you were designing a new protocol for sharing documents and files over our vast global networks, what would you leave in?

        And more importantly, what would you leave out?

  • Leftovers

    • One of the greats Russian-Tajik singer Manizha is headed for Eurovision 2021. Here’s how her music has evolved over the years.

      Last week, Russian-Tajik singer Manizha Sangin (known by the stage name Manizha) won the Russian ticket to the Eurovision Song Contest during the country’s first open vote in seven years. Her entry, a song titled “Russian Woman,” sparked an outpouring of commentary, not only on social media but also from public figures in Russia. At Meduza’s request, music journalist Artyom Makarsky recounts how Manizha’s image and her music have changed over the years — and how key elements of her solo work came together in “Russian Woman.”

    • Fugazi: The Path of Most Resistance
    • Apple won’t leave Russia: iPhone maker bows to new government-imposed app requirements

      On March 16, the newspaper Vedomosti reported that the computer manufacturer Apple has agreed to comply with a law that requires the company to pre-install Russian-made applications on new mobile devices. Sources at Apple have confirmed this information to Meduza. Beginning on April 1 (when the new regulations start to enter force), customers activating their new iPhones and iPads will be prompted to install applications from a government-drafted list of domestic-owned software. The Russian legislation in question is known informally as “the law against Apple.”

    • Teen responsible for major Twitter [crack] to serve three years in prison

      Clark, who was arrested last year at the age of 17, was sentenced as a minor and will serve time in a juvenile facility followed by three years of probation, with a minimum sentence of 10 years if he breaks the probation.

      Clark was charged with using a variety of [cracking] and social engineering techniques to gain access to dozens of high-profile Twitter accounts and ask followers to send bitcoin to a cryptocurrency account.

    • Teen ‘mastermind’ behind the great Twitter [crack] sentenced to three years in prison

      Teenage Twitter [cracker] Graham Ivan Clark has pleaded guilty to last summer’s unprecedented bitcoin scam attack that involved the takeover of dozens of high-profile accounts on the social network, according to paperwork filed in Florida court on Tuesday. Clark, who was 17 when accused of leading the scam, will spend three years in prison as part of his plea deal. The Tampa Bay Times reported the news earlier today. Clark has already been credited with 229 days of time served since his arrest last summer. As part of the deal, Clark is also being sentenced as a “youthful offender,” which lessened his prison time and also opens up the possibility that he can serve some of his sentence at a boot camp, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Clark will also be banned from using computers without permission and without supervision from law enforcement.

    • Education

      • Russian lawmakers adopt amendments requiring official permission for ‘educational activities’

        The Russian State Duma has adopted in the third and final reading amendments to the education law aimed at bringing public outreach under state control to prevent “foreign interference.” Going forward, carrying out educational activities outside of a formal setting will require permission from the authorities. 

      • Why Programmers Should(n’t) Learn Theory

        I recently hit my five-year anniversary of teaching professional software engineers, and now is a great time to reflect on the role that theoretical topics have played in my work, and whether I’d recommend someone looking to become the arch-engineer of engineers should include in their path steps I’ve taken in developing my own niche of expertise.

        I’ve sometimes described my work as being a translator of theory, turning insights from research into actionable advice from engineers. So I’ve clearly benefited from it myself. And yet I spend a lot of time telling engineers not to study theory, or that it will be too much work for the benefit, or that there are no good books available.

        Parts of it are useful sources of software-engineering insight, parts are not. Parts give nourishment immediately; parts are rabbit holes. And some appear to have no relevance to practical engineering until someone invents a new technique based on it.

        I now finally write up my thoughts: how should someone seeking to improve their software engineering approach learning theory?

      • Cornel West quits Harvard after failing to win tenure

        He finally announced his planned departure through The Boycott Times, a social activist publication where he serves on the advisory board. There, he said he had returned to Harvard in 2017 to see if it would tolerate him talking frankly of the nation’s failure to confront oppressive capitalism.

      • University Spiralists and Aca-Zombies

        Today, universities are endured by academics until retirement and by students until securing a job. For both, the university quite literally means being prepared to accept and experience considerable discomfort. This discomfort is created by managers who have replaced scholarly officials Managerialism. While neoliberalism works mostly outside of companies, corporations and universities, inside them it takes on the form of managerialism—managing for the sake of managing..

        University Managerialism means a constant and above all consistent adherence to an all-defining performance culture euphemistically camouflaged as organisational culture. This organisational culture which is more often than not a managerially imposed culture is shaped by performance management, performance measures, performance assessments – mostly by done non-academics and orchestrated against academics – and by key performance indicators invented by university apparatchiks. In all this, performance means play-acting, pretending to be scholars but without any scholarship, and outright deceit. These university managers (or perhaps better university apparatchiks to use an old Stalinist term) take on two forms:

      • Opinion | What’s Your Zip Code? Why Poverty Matters in Public Education

        Our society has not taxed itself to make sure that all kids have great schools. 

      • The Institutional Bias of Forestry School Research

        A good example is a recent announcement by the Oregon State University Forestry School that:

        These researchers are arguing a restriction on cutting large trees (the 21-inch rule) in eastern Oregon hinders the “restoration” of forests.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Can We Stop Pretending SMS Is Secure Now?

        SMS text messages were already the weakest link securing just about anything online, mainly because there are tens of thousands of employees at mobile stores who can be tricked or bribed into swapping control over a mobile phone number to someone else. Now we’re learning about an entire ecosystem of companies that anyone could use to silently intercept text messages intended for other mobile users.

      • Correlated Failure

        sThe invaluable statistics published by Backblaze show that, despite being built from technologies close to the physical limits (Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording, 3D NAND Flash), modern digital storage media are extraordinarily reliable. However, I have long believed that the models that attempt to project the reliability of digital storage systems from the statistics of media reliability are wildly optimistic. They ignore foreseeable causes of data loss such as Coronal Mass Ejections and ransomware attacks, which cause correlated failures among the media in the system. No matter how many they are, if all replicas are destroyed or corrupted the data is irrecoverable.

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft hurries out this fix for Windows 10 printer crash problem

          Microsoft has released an out-of-band fix for printer troubles caused by last week’s Patch Tuesday update for older versions of Windows 10, plus a preview of Windows 10 20H1 to those who are on the Beta Channel of the Insiders program with a bunch of fixes for various glitches.

          Microsoft’s March 2021 Patch Tuesday update was somewhat overshadowed by the critical Exchange vulnerabilities, but this month’s Patch Tuesday also created Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) problems for Windows 10 PCs connected to multiple printer brands, as reported by Windows Latest last week.

        • Microsoft Apologizes ‘Deeply’ For Worldwide Azure, Teams Outage
        • Some Microsoft services still affected after authentication update issue

          But complaints continue to pour in, many about Teams not working as expected, and Sharepoint Online and OneDrive playing up as well.

        • Alibaba’s Web Browser Is Removed From Chinese App Stores

          Alibaba’s UC Browser vanished from China’s largest app stores after state-backed broadcaster CCTV blasted the popular mobile browser along with other services for failing consumers.

          Government-run China Central Television included the app among a number of brands it accused of flouting consumer rights in its annual name-and-shame program for March 15, World Consumer Rights Day. App stores run by Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Corp. were among the local app stores that’ve since pulled the app, though Apple Inc. continues to offer UCWeb for iOS users.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • [Openwashing alert] The Rise of Open Source: Pandemic, Economy, Efficiency, Trust [Ed: Articles such as these remind us that “OPEN SOURCE” means monopolies now and that term is generally dead, needs to be abandoned. Speak about "Free Software" and “Software Freedom” (they hate this “F word”). People who "Speak" for "Open Source" are funded by the bodies that police the "Brand"; check their biggest sponsors to find proprietary software and surveillance companies. They sold us out.]

              Those familiar with open source know that it works and comes with many benefits. A testament to the rising adoption of open source is the recent moves by software giants such as Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle into the open-source community.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Google’s Efforts To Be Better About Your Privacy, Now Attacked As An Antitrust Violation

              We’ve talked a lot in the past about how almost no one seems to actually understand privacy, and that leads to a lot of bad policy-making, including policy-making that impacts the 1st Amendment and other concepts that we hold sacred. Sometimes, it creates truly bizarre scenarios, like the arguments being made by Texas’s Attorney General in the latest amended antitrust complaint against Google.

            • Charles Booker Eyes Running Against Rand Paul by Building Urban-Rural Coalition
            • Florida Sheriff’s Office Sued For Using ‘Predictive Policing’ Program To Harass Residents

              The Pasco County (FL) Sheriff’s Office is being sued over its targeted harassment program — one it likes to call “predictive policing.”

            • EU nations’ attempt to water down privacy protections could increase tension with US over personal data flows across the Atlantic

              To understand why a single sentence is potentially so momentous, it is necessary to go back a few years. At that time, a group of privacy organizations, including Privacy International and La Quadrature du Net, had brought legal actions against the UK, France and Belgium for their continuing use of “bulk data collection” – that is, indiscriminate mass data retention. The governments of these countries justified this invasion of privacy on the grounds of “national security”. On 6 October 2020, the EU’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), issued its judgments for three related cases:

            • EFF’s Crowd-Sourced Atlas of Surveillance Project Honored with Award for Advancing Public’s Right to Know About Police Spying

              The Atlas, launched in July, contains data on more than 7,000 surveillance programs—including facial recognition, drones, and automated license plate readers—operated by thousands of local police departments and sheriffs’ offices nationwide. With a clickable U.S map and a searchable database of cities and technologies, the Atlas sheds light on the devices and systems being purchased locally, often without residents’ knowledge or any oversight, to surveil people and neighborhoods.

              EFF shares the award, presented by the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, with students and faculty members at University of Nevada, Reno Reynolds School of Journalism (RSJ). Over the course of two years, hundreds of students have researched and collected public records, news articles, and open datasets to build the Atlas of Surveillance database. The project also compiles for the first time research collected by news organizations, nonprofits, and academics, including the ACLU and the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College.

              “Law enforcement agencies around the country have collected more and more advanced surveillance systems to gather information en masse on the public. But details about which police departments have acquired what systems had never been aggregated before into a single place,” said EFF Director of Investigations Dave Maass, who leads the project. “When the Reynolds School approached EFF about working together with as many as 150 students each semester on a project, the Atlas of Surveillance was born.”

            • MEPS Call For Further Improvements To The GDPR Implementation And Strengthened Enforcement

              The MEPS adopted on Tuesday the draft resolution evaluating the functioning of the GDPR and called for effective enforcement, and adequate resources for supervisory authorities.

              In the draft resolution adopted on Tuesday with 41 votes to 2 and 24 abstentions, the Civil Liberties Committee concludes that so far the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been an overall success and that it was not necessary at this stage to update or review the legislation.

            • Facebook’s GDPR bypass reaches Austrian Supreme Court

              Facebook’s “consent bypass”. When the GDPR came into effect, one big benefit was the duty to have a clear opt-in consent when companies want to process user data. In addition to consent, there are five other legal bases to process data under Article 6(1) GDPR. One of these basis is processing that is “necessary for the performance of a contract”. On 25.5.2018 at midnight, when the GDPR became applicable, Facebook has simply named things like “personalized advertisement” in its terms and conditions. Facebook now argues that it has a “duty to provide personalized advertisement” to the users, therefore, it does not need the user’s consent to process his or her personal data.

              The big difference between consent and contract? The GDPR has very strict rules on consent. Users must be fully informed, have a free choice to agree or to disagree and must be able to consent to each type of processing specifically. Users can also withdraw consent at any time and at no costs. Contracts are, however, a matter of each national law and are usually much more flexible. Users must not have understood a contract to be bound, details can be hidden in “terms and conditions” and they may come on a “take it or leave it” basis.

            • Dropbox adds a free, limited password manager

              Beginning in April, users of the Dropbox Basic plan can try a limited version of the Dropbox password manager, known as Passwords. Here’s the catch: You’ll be able to save only 50 passwords. You’ll also be limited to syncing those passwords on three devices. (Eventually you’ll be able to share those passwords securely via another user—that feature is coming soon, Dropbox says.)

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Opinion | The Ongoing Calamity: US Collective Punishment of the Venezuelan People Must End

        Washington’s agenda in Venezuela has unmistakably failed, and no amount of additional sanctions is likely to change the political outcome.

      • Opinion | How Endless Wars Abroad Helped Spark the January 6 Attack at Home

        What once might have seemed improbable for our democracy to suffer suddenly became a reality, one that had long been experienced by so many other peoples at our hands.

      • UK Nuclear Arsenal Plan Slammed as ‘Irresponsible, Dangerous’ Violation of International Law

        “As the world wrestles with the pandemic and climate chaos, it beggars belief that our government is opting to increase Britain’s nuclear arsenal.”

      • Day of the Drone

        While there is some truth in the hype, one needs to be especially wary of military “game changers,” since there is always a seller at the end of the pitch. In his examination of the two major books on drones–Christian Brose’s “The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare,” and Michael Boyle’s “The Drone Age”–military analyst Andrew Cockburn points out that the victims of drones are mostly civilians, not soldiers. While drones can take out military targets, they are more commonly used to assassinate people one doesn’t approve of.A case in point was former President Trump’s drone strike that killed Qasem Solemani, a top Iranian general, a country we are not at war with.

        In just the first year of his administration, Trump killed more people–including 250 children–with drones in Yemen and Pakistan than President Barack Obama did in eight years. And Obama was no slouch in this department, increasing the use of drone attacks by a factor of 10 over the administration of George W. Bush.

      • New freight information system: EU Commission launches pre-declaration with risk analysis

        For „safety and security“ purposes, imports into the European Union must be pre-declared in future. This advance data contains information on all persons, companies and means of transport involved in the sale, transport or shipment of the goods.

      • Trump administration insider reveals how the US military sabotaged a peace agreement to prolong war in Afghanistan
      • Washington in Afghanistan: How Long Must This Go On?

        Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported that the Biden White House (and its friends in the Pentagon) are considering postponing the scheduled May 1, 2021 withdrawal of most US military forces from Afghanistan.  This is not only wrong, it’s foolish. The US will not get its way in Afghanistan more than any other invading nation has. Twenty years of war and close to fifty years of armed meddling should prove that. Although only 2500 troops officially remain in Afghanistan, the symbolism of their leaving without a victory seems to be too much for some to take.  Indeed, last month Biden’s Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said US military forces “will not undertake a hasty or disorderly withdrawal from Afghanistan that puts [its] forces or the alliance’s reputation at risk.”  When all other reasons to occupy a nation with foreign forces have proven false, Washington is never afraid to bring up the face-saving argument.

        After all, if one truly takes a moment to consider it, what reputation is General Austin referring to?  Would it be the reputation of NATO as a tool of the world’s bloodiest imperial nation?  Or perhaps he meant the United States’ reputation as the nation whose promises at peace talks were referred to by Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce in this manner: “White man speak with forked tongue?”  Maybe he was referring to the reputation of the US/NATO weapons industry’s claim that its products are designed to make and keep the peace; a claim brutally exposed in Afghanistan.

      • Intersectional Imperialism: A New Era of Imperial Ideology is Upon Us

        With Trump-style nationalism out the door, a new era of imperial ideology is upon us. This mutation of the empire’s dominant dogma is manifesting throughout global institutions of economic, political and social control and is materializing in a myriad of conflict theatres.

      • Two business owners arrested for assaulting Capitol Police officer who died following January 6 attack

        Nearly 350 arrests have been to date related to the January 6 assault on the Capitol, with the most serious charges leveled against fascists affiliated with the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys militia groups, whose membership is dominated by current and former police and military members. Republican Representatives Matt Gaetz (Florida), Lauren Boebert (Colorado) and Marjorie Taylor-Greene (Georgia) have boasted of using members of both right-wing groups for “security” at campaign events.

      • Erasing memory in China’s Tibet

        Yet the vast majority of its staff and funding is concentrated on shaping what happens inside China’s borders. Areas within China that are deemed to merit special attention have their own divisions within the UFWD – initially Inner Mongolia, then Tibet, and most recently Xinjiang. The tactics employed within China are strikingly similar to those employed abroad – the UFWD seeks to co-opt, coerce or silence.

        Co-optation, until recently the preferred strategy, focuses on winning over elites to the CCP’s worldview. This month’s episode of The Little Red Podcast suggests that the CCP has given up on co-optation on the Tibetan plateau. Which leaves coercion and silence. When you compare it to the degree of attention Tibet received in the 1990s, there is grim evidence that this strategy might be working, at least internationally.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Freedom Of Information Act In Crisis: Government Transparency During The Biden Era

        The United States Supreme Court ruled on March 4 that federal government agencies may invoke the “deliberative process privilege” to conceal documents from release under the Freedom of Information Act. It was widely viewed as a setback for government transparency.

        Sierra Club sued the Fish and Wildlife Service for “biological opinions” in which they found a rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “for the intake of cooling water from power plants and industrial facilities would impermissibly affect threatened and endangered species.”

    • Environment

      • ‘Climate Change Is Here’: Europe’s Recent Droughts ‘Unprecedented’ in Millennia, Study Finds

        “Our results show that what we have experienced over the past five summers is extraordinary for central Europe, in terms of how dry it has been consecutively.”

      • Guam’s Militarization by the U.S. Is Also a Story of Indigenous Resistance

        JA: We are adamantly opposed to hypermilitarization plans on the island by the United States and have filed with the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. When I say it’s an aggressive wave of militarization, it’s like we’re all standing on the shoreline watching it come in. They’re going to flood the island with so many U.S. military personnel and their dependents. The building of the new Marine Corps base and live-fire training range has directly destroyed thousands of acres of pristine rainforest and limestone forest. It’s not symbolic at all. It’s a real, on-the-ground struggle in and out of the courtroom to arrest the spreading canopy of militarization and to fight for our right to determine our own future. It’s an infringement of the Indigenous Chamorro people’s right to free, prior, informed consent.

      • Germany hits climate target thanks to pandemic

        Germany said Tuesday it had met its national climate goal for 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic helped to drive the biggest reduction in emissions for three decades in Europe’s biggest economy.

        Greenhouse gas emissions last year were around 41 percent lower than 1990 levels, the biggest yearly decline in more than three decades, the environment minister said.

      • The Crushing Environmental Burden of Greek Tourism

        Greece was not alone in losing tourism in 2020. Tourism declined dramatically everywhere. That decline had “a profound effect around the world.”

        Less international travel was beneficial to air quality and climate change. Global warming gas emissions declined by about seven percent. Experts say that kind of decline, 7.6 percent in greenhouse gas emissions, would be necessary every year for ten years to stabilize global temperature to about 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than the temperature in pre-industrial age.

      • Green Groups File ‘First-of-Its-Kind’ FTC Complaint Against Chevron for Climate Lies

        “The world’s second biggest polluter shouldn’t advertise that they’re good for the environment.” 

      • Lunar Noah’s Ark might help threatened species

        Desperate times demand desperate measures. So just possibly a lunar Noah’s Ark might help to avert the threat of extinction.

      • Senate Confirms Deb Haaland as Interior Secretary
      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Centennial Mountain Heli-Skiing

          On December 30th, 2020, conservations organizations Yellowstone to Uintas Connection, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, and the Native Ecosystem Council submitted scoping comments to the Caribou-Targhee National Forest arguing that the Forest Service must complete a full environmental impact statement (EIS) for this project because the project will have significant individual and cumulative impacts on the environment.

          Mike Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies stated “the Alliance has reviewed the statutory and regulatory requirements governing National Forest Management projects, as well as the relevant case law, and compiled a check- list of issues that must be included in an EIS for the Project in order for the Forest Service’s analysisto comply with the law.”

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Analysis Details How Bill in Congress Could Stop GOP Voter Suppression Nationwide

        By passing the For the People Act, as the House recently did, the Senate can “nullify new voter restrictions currently advanced by Republicans at the state level.”

      • Ron Johnson Says He Wasn’t Afraid on Jan. 6 But Would Have Been If It Were BLM
      • Opinion | The Right to Vote Is Essential to a Functioning Democracy

        America has become increasingly polarized politically. But democracy—and the right to vote—must be above partisanship.

      • NY State Senator Alessandra Biaggi Says Cuomo Has Abused His Power for Years & Must Resign

        New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is refusing to step down despite growing calls for his resignation after multiple accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct, as well as his cover-up of thousands of COVID-19 nursing home deaths. Alessandra Biaggi, a New York state senator representing parts of the Bronx and Westchester, says it’s long past time for Cuomo to go and that the many scandals surrounding the governor reveal a consistent pattern. “The governor has not only abused his position of power, but he has used it in a way that is political and as a way to have the executive branch essentially protect himself and not the people of New York,” says Biaggi.

      • Progressives to Biden: No Ambassadorship for ‘Ladder-Climbing Hack’ Rahm Emanuel

        “Appointing Rahm Emanuel to anything is a broken promise. We don’t ‘build back better’ by rewarding coverups for murder.”

      • ‘It’s the Biggest Assault on Voting Rights Since the End of Reconstruction’

        Janine Jackson interviewed Mother Jones‘ Ari Berman about voter suppression for the March 12, 2021, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • Biden Opened Temporary Legal Status to Thousands of Immigrants. Here’s How They Could End Up Trapped.

        President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats are working to rescue immigrants who’ve been living in the U.S. for decades under a “temporary” legal status. But the Biden administration is simultaneously extending that same status to hundreds of thousands more immigrants — putting them at risk of getting caught in a similar limbo.

        The problems posed by the temporary protective status program came into focus last week when the administration used executive authority to grant the status to as many as 300,000 Venezuelans and about 1,600 Burmese currently in the U.S. who are deemed unable to safely return home because of humanitarian emergencies in their countries. Activists and some elected Democrats are pushing the Biden administration to issue more TPS grants for immigrants whose home countries are suffering from war, natural disasters or other emergencies, including Haitians who arrived in the U.S. after 2011 and Cameroonians.

      • ‘Weapon of Mass Obstruction’: Durbin Blasts Filibuster on Senate Floor

        “It’s time to change the Senate rules and stop holding this Senate hostage.”

      • Critics Say ‘Scorched Earth’ Threat Over Filibuster Shows McConnell ‘Getting Scared’

        “McConnell is clearly getting desperate as momentum grows to eliminate the filibuster as a weapon he can use to maintain power from the minority.”

      • When Public Officials Get Rented Out by Corporate Power, the People Lose

        Murthy’s reputation peddling is part of a long history of legalized corruption deemed publicly acceptable to the American elite. It is an open secret in Washington that the real value of powerful regulatory positions in government (which already come with six-figure salaries most couldn’t dream of) is a post-government career on influential corporate boards, C-suite executive positions, and active recruitment by industries eager for knowledge of the inner-workings of government. Most deleterious, however, is how former public servants’ public reputations are used to launder corporate misdeeds and appeal to regulators.

        Take, for example, the voracious head-hunting of former government officials by the dodgily-regulated emerging fintech industry. Max Moran and Timi Iwayemi recently revealed how they are slowly “building an echo chamber of industry voices and former regulators to ease oversight and permit [fintech’s] predatory practices.” Varo Bank was emblematic of this push when it was seeking the first-ever fintech national banking charter from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which would exempt it from consumer-protection banking regulation. They were in the “last leg of the race” when they added top OCC official Amy Friend to their board. In Bank Automation News’ words, Varo hired Friend to “raise the company’s appeal to regulators.” Their gambit worked. Only months later, Friend’s regulatory credentials helped them secure the charter.

      • Blinken, Biden, and the Blob

        The old moon laughed and sang a song, As they rocked in their jackets straight. “You’ll never win so long as you’re still “Trying to make America great.” A soprano, Peace, leant her voice as well: “You can’t catch me,” she sang. “With your murder drones or your Star Wars clones — “Better melt down the whole shebang,” Peace informed the triumvirate mob, Blinken, Biden, and the Blob.

        Day and night their coups they threw, Tossing bombs at imperial gloam. Then up from the earth a cry arose That sent them crawling home: “Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed “But alas it could not be; “There’s just no way for a killer cop “To spread democracy. “Drink from this cup and wake the fuck up,” Was the cry heard by Blinken, Biden, and the Blob.

      • Vijay Prashad Warns Biden Is “Doubling Down” on Trump’s Anti-China Cold War Policy

        Beijing has accused the U.S. of perpetuating a Cold War mentality as President Joe Biden and senior administration officials shore up alliances in the Pacific region to counter China’s growing influence and increasingly describe the country as a geopolitical threat. Vijay Prashad, director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, says the “bellicose” tone out of Washington is not because the U.S. sees China as a military threat, but because China threatens U.S. dominance in the scientific, technological and diplomatic spheres. “It’s very chilling what the U.S. government is doing in ramping up this cold war,” says Prashad.

      • Warning Biden’s Syria Strikes Set ‘Dangerous’ Precedent, Groups Push Congress to Respond

        A joint letter urges lawmakers to “defend the Constitution and Congress’s exclusive authority, under Article I, to declare war and authorize the offensive use of military force.”

      • Perfidy Meets Putty – Congressional Democrats Betray Voters

        Here is the present scene. Leading Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have decided to spend tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize the giant health insurance companies like Aetna and United Healthcare to “cover recently laid-off workers and those who purchase their own coverage,” as The New York Times reported. There are no price restraints on the gouging insurance premiums or loophole-ridden policies. That is why giant corporate socialist insurers love the “American Rescue Plan,” which gives them socialist cash on the barrelhead. The law lets insurers decide how and whether they pay healthcare bills with co-pays, deductibles, or grant waivers. All these anti-consumer details are buried in the endless and inscrutable fine print.

        Whatever happened to the Democrats’ (Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pramila Jayapal, etc.) demand for single-payer – everybody in, nobody out – with free choice of doctors and hospitals instead of the existing cruel, and profiteering industry for which enough is never enough? Senator Sanders often mentioned a Yale study, published on February 15, 2020, that found:

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Russian lawmakers approve second reading of legislation making it a felony to ‘insult WWII veterans’

        The Russian State Dumas has approved in its second reading a package of draft laws on amending the administrative and criminal liabilities for publicly “insulting the memory of the defenders of the Fatherland.” The package of bills was spearheaded by lawmaker Irina Yarovaya, who’s best known for pushing for controversial “counter-terrorism” legislation in 2016 that broadly expanded police powers and data collection.

      • Apple Sued Over ‘Diverse’ Emojis Which Is All Idea and No Specific Expression

        The inability of someone to understand the idea/expression dichotomy in copyright law strikes again! For those of you not familiar with this nuance to copyright law, it essentially boils down to creative expression being a valid target for copyright protection, whereas broader ideas are not. In other words, the creator of Batman can absolutely have a copyright on Batman as a character, but cannot copyright a superhero who is basically a rich crazy guy who fights crime in a cape and cowl with a symbol of an animal on his chest. You get it.

      • Tibetan Teens Reportedly Jailed for Breaking WeChat Ban

        Three Tibetan teenagers are missing and one is hospitalized with two broken legs after reportedly failing to register a WeChat text group chat with local authorities, according to a Tibetan advocacy group.

        The teens, who have been named as Dadul, Sangye Tso and Kansi, live in the eastern area of Tibet governed as the Qinghai Province of China, according to Tibet Watch, a British charity that documents human rights abuses in Tibet.

      • Roskomnadzor threatens to block Twitter in Russia in one month

        Russia’s federal censor, Roskomnadzor (RKN), plans to block Twitter in one month unless the network removes certain “illegal content,” RKN’s deputy head Vadim Subbotin announced on Monday March 16, Interfax reported. 

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Sahouri Acquitted, But US Press Freedom Still Under Attack

        When Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri was acquitted on misdemeanor charges related to her coverage of a Black Lives Matter protests last summer, she declared (New York Times, 3/10/21) that the jury’s “decision upholds freedom of the press and justice in our democracy.” Amnesty International condemned the charges, and journalists feared that a conviction would be a game-changing attack on the press.

      • Behind Chechnya’s executions Journalists publish revelations from a former police officer who says he guarded prisoners before they were killed

        On Monday, March 15, the newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a report by journalist Elena Milashina, titled “I Served in the Chechen Police and Didn’t Want to Kill People.” The story features revelations from Suleiman Gezmakhmaev, a former officer in Chechnya’s Akhmat Kadyrov Police Patrol Service Regiment, about how his unit executed several locals in early 2017. He says he helped arrest and interrogate some of these people, but he denies participating in their torture and murder. Before publishing Gezmakhmaev’s story, Novaya Gazeta and its partners helped him and his family flee Russia. In the article, Milashina describes in detail how she connected with Gezmakhmaev, what he did in the Chechen police, how the executions took place, and what role high-ranking police officials allegedly played in the killings. Meduza summarizes the report below.

      • Moscow police investigating ‘chemical attack’ on Novaya Gazeta office

        Moscow police are investigating complaints from Novaya Gazeta journalists about a “chemical attack” on their office, reports the Russian state news agency TASS, citing an unnamed source in law enforcement. This comes after the independent newspaper called on the Moscow government to take part in a joint investigation into the incident. 

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Opinion | Dear Racist America, Derek Chauvin Is On Trial. Not George Floyd.
      • UK Home Office Floats Bill That Would Make It Illegal To Be Too Loud During A Protest

        The British government is looking to literally silence dissent. Protests are a fact of life. There hasn’t been a government yet that’s been able to avoid them. But governments still do all they can to prevent them from reaching critical mass. In Hong Kong, the Chinese government has turned protesting into a national security crime with life sentences. In the United States, legislators are still trying to find ways to shut people up without violating their long-protected right to be verbally and demonstratively angry at their government.

      • Opinion | Republicans Want to Criminalize Protest

        Citizens in the affected states need to get out and fight these anti-democratic measures—while they still can.

      • Man Sues Hertz For Not Turning Over A Receipt That Would Have Cleared Him Of Murder Charges Until After He Spent Five Years In Jail

        Law enforcement loves loves LOVES third parties. Anyone one step removed from someone they’re investigating generally isn’t covered by the Fourth Amendment, which means no one needs a warrant or probable cause to go fishing for “third party” data.

      • Opinion | Why the United States Calls Some Refugees ‘Asylees’

        Drawing distinctions between refugees and asylees is a political exercise, and a perilous one.

      • Immigrant Advocate: Unaccompanied Minors Are Not a “Border Crisis” But a Humanitarian Crisis

        Thousands of migrant children seeking refuge are being held in crowded cells amid an increase in asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. Despite claims by Republican lawmakers during a tour of the southern border aimed at warning against rollbacks of Trump’s immigration policy, most adults at the border are still being turned away, while the Biden administration is allowing unaccompanied children to cross while their cases are processed. Thousands of the unaccompanied minors are being sent to cities across Texas to be housed and processed, including Dallas, where FEMA will hold as many as 3,000 unaccompanied teens. Fernando García, founding director of the Border Network for Human Rights, says that despite Republican claims about a “crisis” at the border, the situation is not new or unexpected. The Biden administration “was not ready to deal with a situation like this,” says García, “after Trump destroyed the infrastructure in the refugee asylum systems in the last four years.”

      • When Scandal Preempts the Pursuit of Justice: a Review of MLK/FBI

        The other night I saw, for the first time since its January 2021 release, the documentary MLK/FBI: a probe into the inextricable paths of the luminary, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a man, who may very well be, the most homicidal, chauvinistic, racist zealot in the history of America, John Edgar Hoover – (The treasonist, Jefferson Davis notwithstanding.)

        The film was directed by, Sam Pollard, one of most brilliant cinematic narrators in recent times. An artist, who, for me, up until this film, has aroused very little disappointment, although, in the name of honesty, most of the work that resonates with me Pollard did under the job title of editor, and was directed by the fearless capable hands of Spike Lee – and a few others. That said; Pollard’s foray into the duties of director has been impressive. His (1990) Eyes on the Prize and (2016) Two Trains Runnin are superb films – and his (2021) Black Art in the Absence of Light, is teed up on my Amazon Prime favorite list, ready for my eagerly awaiting first look.

      • Daniel Ellsberg, Peter Kuznick, and Peter Dale Scott – The Project Censored Show

        Peter Dale Scott is a retired professor, a former Canadian diplomat, and a prolific author on the ‘deep state.’ James Galbraith is Professor of Government at the University of Texas, and a son of the late author John Kenneth Galbraith. Aaron Good teaches at a Quaker high school in Pennsylvania, holds a doctorate from Temple University, and is a frequent contributor to Project Censored.

      • Amazon union battle comes to Washington

        The unionization battle between workers at a Bessemer, Ala., plant and Amazon is set to take center stage during a Senate hearing on wealth inequality Wednesday.

        Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will notably be absent, even though one of the employees agitating for higher wages and less exhausting work quotas will be present for testimony.

      • Uber drivers in the UK will now get minimum wage and paid vacation after a big court win

        Uber will classify around 70,000 drivers in the UK as workers and give them some benefits after losing an appeal at the Supreme Court level in February, following a years-long legal battle over their employment status. Drivers will still not be considered full-time employees, but they will receive a minimum wage, holiday time, and will be enrolled in a pension plan starting on March 17th.

        The decision in February was one of the biggest wins yet for drivers, and for gig workers writ large, in the UK. But that victory came just a few months after voters in California approved Prop 22, a ballot measure that reversed a previous decision to classify drivers as employees. And despite repeated claims that classifying drivers as employees would make things more expensive for customers, all the major gig economy companies have since raised prices anyway. Uber, which helped bankroll the effort to pass Prop 22, is now looking at making similar moves in the European Union.

      • [Old] Uber Wants to Export Prop 22 to Europe

        While Khosrowshahi’s rhetoric sounds nice on paper, his invocation of California’s Proposition 22 makes clear what Uber is actually looking for here. Presented to voters as a way to avoid price hikes—which happened anyway—the gig industry-sponsored citizen ballot measure essentially offered a few weak concessions in exchange for the ability to continue to exploit their workers, who often already make below minimum wage.

        While Uber is presenting the implementation of a Proposition 22-style system covering the European Union as “progressive,” the reality is that such a move could lock workers for years to come into a system that continues to exclude them from the continents’ traditionally strong welfare protections.

      • Uber drivers in the UK to receive earnings guarantee, holiday pay and pensions

        From tomorrow, more than 70,000 drivers in the UK will be treated as workers, earning at least the National Living Wage when driving with Uber; this is a floor and not a ceiling, with drivers able to earn more, as they usually do. They will also be paid for holiday time and all those eligible will be automatically enrolled into a pension plan.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Higher Prices, Less Competition: Some Reflections on the Proposed Rogers – Shaw Merger

        Third, get ready for talking points that will make your head spin. As Rogers and Shaw seek to convince the government and regulators that their deal should be approved, months of criticizing competition from MVNOs may suddenly be promoted as an effective competitive alternative. Further, the companies will re-up old promises to invest in rural connectivity, 5G or anything else that might garner political support. Of course, there is always a price to be paid for those promises and in this case, it will be wireless customers that foot the bill in the form of even higher costs in what is already one of the most expensive wireless markets in the world.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Netflix Starts Cracking Down On The Diabolical Menace Of Password Sharing

        Back when Netflix was a pesky upstart trying to claw subscribers away from entrenched cable providers, the company had a pretty lax approach to users that shared streaming passwords. At one point CEO Reed Hastings went so far as to say he “loved” password sharing, seeing it as akin to free advertising. The idea was that as kids or friends got on more stable footing (left home to job hunt, whatever), they’d inevitably get hooked on the service and purchase their own subscription. Execs at HBO (at least before the AT&T acquisition) have stated it doesn’t really hurt these companies’ bottom lines in part because, much like with traditional piracy, there’s no guarantee these users would actually subscribe if they lost access.

      • Cory Doctorow: Free Markets

        2020 was a hard year, but for me, it had a bright spot: In September, I launched and executed the most successful audiobook crowdfunding cam­paign in history. I made $267,613. In the space of a month, I went from worried about my family’s finances to completely secure about our ability to pay our mortgage and taxes and add a good chunk to our retirement ac­counts. It was an extraordinary month.

        But I wish I hadn’t had to do it.

        If you’ve read this column before or paid atten­tion to my work over the years, you know that I’m violently allergic to “digital rights management” (DRM), the software wrappers that Big Tech puts around digital books, movies, music, and games, purportedly to prevent unauthorized copying.

        If stopping unauthorized copying is DRM’s job, then I think we can all agree that it’s a dismal failure. Every DRM-restricted work available to stream or download is also available as a free, unauthorized file somewhere on the internet, the DRM having been removed by some enterprising member of the public.

        But DRM serves a much more commercially important role: it allows for rent-seeking. Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998) felonizes removing or tampering with or bypassing DRM, even when no copyright infringe­ment takes place. Violating this law comes with heavy penalties: a five year prison sentence and/or a $500,000 fine (other countries, including the EU states, Canada, Australia, Japan, Mexico, etc. have their own versions of this law, thanks to the energetic arm-twisting of the US Trade Representative).


        Can it really be a coincidence that both companies have also made it nearly impossible to download a file from the internet and get it to play on your phone without an app?

    • Monopolies

      • ‘Total Scandal’: Memos Expose Failure of Obama-Era FTC to Stop Google’s Monopoly Power

        Law professor Zephyr Teachout called the series a “devastating takedown” of the Federal Trade Commission and its economists under the former president.

      • Counterfeit crisis compels litigation and collaboration rethink [Ed: People in law firms, who try to control the border not for security but for robber barons who employ them, are perfectly happy to exploit "COVID" (who doesn't?)]

        Counsel at 3M, Gilead and elsewhere reveal how they’re tackling a spate of counterfeiting driven by COVID and changing consumer behaviour

      • Patents

        • Priority Claims in US Applications

          The vast majority of US non-provisional patent applications (utility) claim some form of priority relationship back to a previously filed patent document.

        • CRISPR Chronicles Continue [Ed: On go the dreamers who lobby the US government and politicians "in robes" to allow patents on life and on nature (not inventions)]

          While those interested in the outcome await the April 9th filing of motions authorized by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in Interference Nos. 106,126 (between Senior Party Toolgen Inc. and Junior Party The Broad Institute, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, collectively termed “Broad”) and 106,127 (between Senior Party Toolgen Inc. and Junior Party The University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, collectively termed “CVC”), some “housekeeping” types of activities have arisen in these interferences as well as in the earlier-declared Interference No. 106,115 between Broad as Senior Party and CVC as Junior Party.

          The Board issued a Memorandum on March 1st and an Order on March 9th. In the Memorandum, the Board considered CVC’s request for an order “sequestering” members of Broad’s legal team in upcoming depositions of two Broad witnesses, Drs. Breaker and Ellington. CVC’s reasons in support of their request is that “Dr. Breaker adopted the entirety of Dr. Ellington’s direct testimony as his own testimony in paragraphs 25 and 32 of his declaration,” and thus the expectation is that “the cross examinations of Drs. Breaker and Ellington will significantly overlap and without sequester of Broad’s counsel the second witness to be deposed may be prepared knowing what questions will be asked.” This would give the Broad an unfair advantage, according to CVC, and thus be prejudicial. Also, CVC notes that in the earlier interference between these parties, No. 106,048, CVC had agreed to sequester their counsel.

        • Huawei’s announcement of 5G license fee structure favors Apple, Samsung, while countering Nokia/Ericsson-style patent royalty stacking

          To focus on just one number–$2.50 (per-unit 5G SEP royalty cap)–doesn’t do justice to a bilingual event (video) that lasted more than two hours and featured such speakers as former WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. On the same occasion, Huawei released a 47-page White Paper (PDF). Among other things, it was interesting to hear that Huawei is one of the top three contributors to the Linux kernel. Yet we live in a world of ever shorter attention spans, so what made headline news yesterday was the announcement that “for every multi-mode 5G smartphone, Huawei will provide a reasonable percentage royalty rate of the handset selling price, and a per unit royalty cap at US$2.5.”

          Many of the questions reporters asked Dr. Song Liuping, Huawei’s Chief Legal Officer, and Jason Ding, Huawei’s IP chief, also focused on 5G licensing.

          Due to a trade war started by the previous U.S. president, with Nokia and Ericsson constantly staking the flames through lobbying, Huawei is restricted in its ability to serve customers in several major markets. Against that backdrop, I was a bit concerned that the Chinese company would become more aggressive in its patent licensing business. Figuratively speaking, I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that–regardless of the political landscape–Huawei is still clearly in the camp of product-focused innovators. Rather than align its IP policies with those of Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia, or InterDigital, it’s clear now that Huawei wants IP to be licensed in ways that enable innovation in smartphones, connected cars, and the wider IoT field.

        • “We’re conducting patent proceedings faster than ever before” – an interview with Nathalie Sabotier and Carine Gillet [Ed: JUVE does reputation laundering for INPI France, which is notorious for corruption across Europe]

          JUVE Patent: Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, participating in hearings has been more difficult for the interested public. In addition, the French courts’ rulings on patent proceedings can still not be found in an online database as planned. What is your view on the problems companies and lawyers have keeping up to date with current French case law?
          Carine Gillet: The public regained access to the hearings after the end of the first lockdown, in September, and it shall remain accessible even if a new lockdown is decided. We would very much like to publish all our rulings, but unfortunately the situation has not changed since last year. We are only allowed to give the rulings to the parties themselves.


          Gillet: During the first lockdown in France, which lasted from mid March to mid May, our chamber was among those no longer allowed to hold oral hearings. From 11 May to the end of June 2020, we were only able to conduct some hearings by videoconference. After that, we went back to normal . And of course, we went on to rule on cases, but only in written form.

          Sabotier: In exceptional cases, proceedings may also be heard in writing only. But this doesn’t work for patent cases, as it is important for the lawyers to explain, and it is more practical to receive, technical information orally.


          Gillet: No. Our tradition in France is still to hear the validity and infringement of a patent together. In individual cases, we bring forward individual legal issues to save time and reduce costs for the parties. In exceptional cases, such separation is not forbidden.

          Sabotier: For example, we had a patent dispute over the hormone preparation Levothyrox. The manufacturer Merck had changed its formula and applied for a patent for the product again. Around 100 patients with thyroid problems filed suit against this for insufficiency of disclosure, lack of novelty and lack of inventive step. In this case, we decided in advance whether the claimants had a legitimate interest.

          Gillet: These advance decisions are a good way to reduce the parties’ costs if the proceedings can be decided on one issue.

        • Over 180,000 patent applications received by European Patent Office in 2020 [Ed: When you lower your guard and allow illegal patents to be granted, even software patents, what would you expect? Europe in peril, EPO breaks the bank.]

          The European Patent Office (EPO) received a total of 180,250 patent applications last year, which was a slight 0.7 percent less than in 2019, when a record 181,532 applications were filed, with most inventions in the field of medical technology.

        • China files record number of patent applications in 2020 [Ed: China state propaganda sites help the reputation laundering of corrupt EPO management, which grants loads of illegal patents and invited applications not compatible with the EPC]

          Chinese companies filed more European patent applications in 2020 than in the previous year, with the year’s growth of nearly 10 percent taking the level to a new high, despite COVID-19 pandemic disruption, a new report has found.

          On Tuesday, the European Patent Office, which is also known as the EPO, published its Patent Index 2020, which showed patent applications from Chinese inventors amounted to 13,432 last year, an increase of 9.9 percent year-on-year. It was the highest growth rate among the 10 leading patent-filing countries.

      • Copyrights

        • Waiting for Google

          Google v. Oracle was argued (after being reset last term for additional briefing) on October 7, during the first week of this term. We still don’t have an opinion, and the time delay makes me worry that the opinion(s) will be more Guffman than Godot.

          While we wait (and it could be any time), I wanted to point to a recent case that illustrates the concern at issue in this case if Oracle wins. The facts of this case are remarkably similar to my remote control analogy, which I continue to think is the best analogy to date (and which I hope some Supreme Court clerk happened to read).

          The case is Pyrotechnics Management, Inc. v. XFX Pyrotechnics LLC and FireTEK, a W.D. Pa. case that just issued a preliminary injunction. The facts for our purposes are not complicated. Both parties make a device used to control fireworks displays. The device issues and responds to commands, which are basically numbers sent along the wire. It’s called a protocol by the plaintff (and anyone else familiar with this kind of technology). It’s functionally no different than an API like that in Google v. Oracle – it’s a set of commands that tells devices to do something.


          If you don’t see why this is problematic, then nothing else I write will convince you otherwise – you are basically OK using copyright to obtain a 100 year backdoor patent on any device that sends and receives an arbitrary set of commands. But this is not a good result. Copyright policy – let alone the statute – simply should not allow for this outcome that uses copyright to limit functional information sharing in computer programs and electronic devices.

          As I advocated in my amicus brief and many other blog posts, I’ve got no quarrel with the argument that the set of numbers collected by the plaintiff may be copyrighted. But that copyright cannot extend to enforcement against the method of using those numbers to operate devices. So, you can’t copy the description of the protocol verbatim, perhaps, but it is not infringing to send numbers down a wire. The statute couldn’t be more plain on this – methods of operation cannot be protected, no matter the form in which they

        • Wikimedia will launch a paid service for big tech companies

          Wikimedia is still finalizing how Wikimedia Enterprise will operate. But broadly, it’s like a premium version of Wikipedia’s API — the tool that lets anybody scrape and re-host Wikipedia articles. Enterprise customers could get data delivered faster or formatted to meet their needs, for instance, or get new options for sorting and posting it. As Wikimedia Foundation senior director Lane Becker explains to Wired, companies may already be paying employees to clean up Wikipedia data, and Enterprise will do that kind of cleanup at the source. Or if they want, companies can keep using the existing API for free.

        • JUDGMENT OF THE COURT (Grand Chamber): 9 March 2021

          On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

          Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society must be interpreted as meaning that the embedding, by means of the technique of framing, in a third party website page, of works that are protected by copyright and that are freely accessible to the public with the authorisation of the copyright holder on another website, where that embedding circumvents measures adopted or imposed by that copyright holder to provide protection from framing, constitutes a communication to the public within the meaning of that provision.

        • Meet your new Global Network Council Executive Committee!

          In December 2020 the Creative Commons Global Network Council (GNC) voted on the new Executive Committee (ExCom). The ExCom took up its work in January 2021 and will be working throughout the next year and beyond by supporting the Network, fostering and strengthening connections, and encouraging activities around the new CC Strategy.

          Meet the six elected members of the ExCom below!

        • ISP Wrongfully Handed Customer Data to Pirate-Chasing Law Firm

          Swedish ISP Telia has handed over more information about its customers to so-called copyright troll law firms than any other in the country. However, it now appears to have gone one step further by handing over subscriber information to a law firm despite being told by a court not to do so.

        • Sports Industry Can Earn Billions by Selectively Converting ‘Willing’ Pirates

          New research published by Synamedia shows that the sports industry can potentially earn billions in extra revenue with a tailored approach to piracy. Rightsholders should ignore sports fans who are unwilling to pay while offering both a carrot and stick to the three-quarters who are more likely to be converted.

EPO and Microsoft Collude to Break the Law — Part XII: Corruption Addendum

Posted in Deception, Europe, Fraud, Microsoft, Patents at 9:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Previous parts:

Video download link

Summary: A discussion about Microsoft’s long history of crimes and corruption — a tradition that continues until present times (with prosecution that serves to prove it)

THE relationship between Microsoft and dictatorships is well established and shouldn’t be considered news (like “Viktor Orbán in a U.S. Department of Justice corruption investigation“). To cement monopoly Microsoft works to appease and sometimes collude with dictators. It's profitable. Both to corporations and to individuals.

There is no “new Microsoft” and there’s no “Microsoft loves Linux”; both are self-serving lies that facilitate the goal or open the pathway to more crimes.

The DoJ [PDF] and SEC order [PDF] were mentioned in the previous part (or Part XII before this addendum) and we’ve produced a Web version for DoJ [HTML] and for the SEC order [HTML] so as to improve accessibility and assure long-term preservation.

“There is no “new Microsoft” and there’s no “Microsoft loves Linux”; both are self-serving lies that facilitate the goal or open the pathway to more crimes.”The video above starts by discussing “Viktor Orbán in a U.S. Department of Justice corruption investigation” (July 2019) because somebody sent that to us. There’s loads of stuff here. “More background information about the Microsoft Hungarian affair from a Hungarian source,” we’ve been told, should complement what we covered this morning. To quote: “This post is based on the first Hungarian corruption case investigated by a non-Hungarian, non-EU institution, the U.S. Department of Justice. It strongly indicates systemic government corruption at the highest level, going as far as the prime minister’s office.”

“I haven’t heard of it so far at all,” one person from Hungary told us, but “I’m checking if I can find anything on it in Hungarian… only something from 2019… probably doesn’t have anything you don’t know… people around here are either fans of fideath [sic], fans of megacorporations, or both… Hungarians I’m in contact with…”

As noted this morning, Microsoft mostly managed to avert the bad media coverage in Hungary… unlike in Romania and elsewhere (European media covering the Microsoft corruption scandal in Romania). At the start of the video I remind people that Microsoft Hungary was raided for corruption. That was 14 years ago (not Orbán). Links below.

The Corporate Linux Foundation is Now Using the ‘Code of Conduct’ Aggressively and Excessively to Censor People Using Bots, Not Human Assessment

Posted in Deception, Kernel at 7:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Instead of protecting people, as the Linux Foundation likes to claim, it is engaging in automated social control, just like in social control networks or social control media (where mentioning the word “Memphis” gets you banned now)

THE people who run the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation don’t use Linux. Some of them are Microsoft employees (still salaried entirely by Microsoft), which ought to tell us how much the foundation really does to represent “Linux” (as in the kernel).

“They work for monopolies, not communities…”For many people in the Free software community and even for some kernel developers the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation has become a subject of scorn and ridicule. It’s like a force of occupation, not emancipation. They work for monopolies, not communities…

Before you beat us to it, yes… we’re well aware that nowadays even monopolies pretend to be “communities”…

Would that be a cynical ploy?

They also pretend to be “open” (openwashing) and “green” and “against racism”…

ObeyHours ago the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation (or Corporate Linux Foundation) reaffirmed its support for monopolies by advertising yet another ‘event’ that cannot be accessed without proprietary software (Zoom). They’re doing it again and again. They clearly don’t understand or don’t care what “Linux” stands for…

But to make matters worse, a source told us about a “Linux Foundation bot censoring/CoC,” in effect a rather obscure process wherein the Linux Foundation censors people’s private speech using not as much as human assessment, just bots.

“The gentleman I spoke with,” our source said, “is in embedded and has been a GNU/Linux user for well over 15 years. He was interested in the origins of the Code of Conduct… I shared links etc. regarding the origins.”

As it turns out, the Corporate Linux Foundation is outsourcing decision-making associated with the Code of Conduct to bots, just as social control media sites do to lower or avert accountability. It also limits how many people they need to hire. Sometimes they hire people on the cheap, people whose language skills will impede judgement.

In the next (and final) part we’ll explain one example of this. Stay tuned…

EPO and Microsoft Collude to Break the Law — Part XII: Foreign Corrupt Practices, Bid Rigging and “Slush Funds”

Posted in Finance, Fraud, Microsoft at 5:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Previous parts:


Summary: Microsoft has come under repeated scrutiny for alleged breaches of the FCPA

In the last part we saw how Microsoft has repeatedly featured on the radar of anti-trust regulators and has come under scrutiny for its anti-competitive practices on both sides of the Atlantic.

But anti-competitive practices are not the only reason why the company has attracted unwanted attention from regulators.

“…anti-competitive practices are not the only reason why the company has attracted unwanted attention from regulators.”In its home country, the Redmond behemoth has also been subject to investigation by the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) due to suspected violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) which prohibits US companies, as well as entities acting on their behalf, from bribing foreign officials.

Back in March 2013, it was reported that the DoJ and the SEC were investigating Microsoft in connection with an alleged kickback scheme operated by the company in China, as well as irregularities in its relationships between itself and resellers in Italy and Romania.

According to the Wall Street Journal the investigation was started after an anonymous tipster spilt the beans to US investigators in 2012. It was alleged that at least one Microsoft executive in China gave instructions to offer unspecified kickbacks to Chinese government officials in exchange for green-lighting Microsoft contracts.

In Italy, the investigation centered on how Microsoft handled deals with consultants there. The WSJ’s report claimed that Microsoft consultants that worked in customer loyalty-related positions would offer gifts like trips to acquisition officials as barter for government contracts.

“It was alleged that at least one Microsoft executive in China gave instructions to offer unspecified kickbacks to Chinese government officials in exchange for green-lighting Microsoft contracts.”The Romanian investigation related to Microsoft’s involvement with its resellers allegedly offering “bribes” to win large government contracts with the Ministry of Communications.

Later on, in August of the same year, it was reported that federal investigators had extended their inquiry to include Microsoft partners in Pakistan and Russia.

In Russia, an anonymous tipster told Microsoft that resellers of its software allegedly funneled kickbacks to executives of a state-owned company to win a deal.

In Pakistan, a tipster alleged that Microsoft authorized a consulting firm to cover the expenses for a five-day trip to Egypt for a government official and his wife in order to win a tender. The contract Microsoft won in this case was reportedly worth USD 9 million and was signed three months after the paid trip to Egypt.

Giving bribes
The ‘Microsoftgate’ scandal rocked Romania in 2014

There isn’t a lot of information out there about the result of the US FCPA investigations that were launched in 2013. It seems to be almost impossible to find any details about what became of the investigations into the Chinese kickback scheme and the other alleged irregularities in Italy, Russia and Pakistan.

“In Pakistan, a tipster alleged that Microsoft authorized a consulting firm to cover the expenses for a five-day trip to Egypt for a government official and his wife in order to win a tender.”What is a matter of public record, however, is that Microsoft’s shenanigans in Romania led to a domestic criminal investigation and triggered a major political scandal in that country, known as the Microsoft licensing corruption affair or “Microsoftgate” for short.

This was reputed to be the “biggest ever” corruption case in Romania and it rocked the country’s political establishment as local investigations progressed during 2013 and 2014.

Nine government ministers from the education, finance and communication ministries of various governments stood accused of approving contracts selling IT licenses to Romanian schools at highly inflated prices. Damages linked to the case were estimated at €53.7 million.

As things turned out, most of the former government officials were charged with abuse of office after the 10-year statute of limitations had already expired. The contract for the first Microsoft IT licence was signed in 2004 and most of the indictments were not filed until 2015. Whether this was due to incompetence on the part of the prosecutors or the result of corruption is unclear.

“The contract for the first Microsoft IT licence was signed in 2004 and most of the indictments were not filed until 2015. Whether this was due to incompetence on the part of the prosecutors or the result of corruption is unclear.”In any event most of the charges were dropped in 2018 due to this prosecutorial cock-up.

Nevertheless, the case did have some success in terms of convictions. Former communications minister Gabriel Sandu, a former mayor Gheorghe Stefan from the town of Piatra Neamt in northeastern Romania, and businessmen Nicolae Dumitru and Dorin Cocos were jailed after they admitted to accepting bribes from people interested in getting the contracts through.

Sandu, who was Romania’s communications minister between 2008 and 2010, allegedly favoured a company owned by local investors Dinu Pescariu and Claudiu Florica and granted it the contract to supply Microsoft licenses to state institutions for a year without a public tender, according to the prosecutors.

After his conviction, Sandu filed a denouncement with the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) in 2017. In his denouncement which he made public he claimed that former president Basescu, former prime minister Emil Boc as well as former US ambassadors, Nicholas Frank Taubman and Mark H. Gitenstein, pressured him into making payments to the firm represented by Pescariu and Florica and that former Microsoft Romania managers were also allegedly involved in the scheme.

The dust from the licensing corruption affair in Romania had hardly begun to settle when Microsoft was back in the news again.

“The dust from the licensing corruption affair in Romania had hardly begun to settle when Microsoft was back in the news again.”At the end of November 2018, a whistleblower lodged an FCPA complaint with the SEC alleging malfeasance in connection with a South African Department of Defence software procurement contract.

The contract which was worth EUR 6.6 million (ZAR 120 million in local currency) was awarded to EOH Mthombo a subsidiary of the EOH Group, a South African conglomerate specialising in the provision of technology services to businesses and government.

At the time in question EOH Mthombo was a reseller of Microsoft software licences via a Microsoft Channel Partner agreement.

The whistleblower accused Microsoft of being complicit in allowing EOH Mthombo to engage in a “corrupt” licensing transaction with the Department of Defence.

Microsoft extricated itself from the South African affair by terminating its partner agreement with EOH Mthombo in March 2019.

“The whistleblower accused Microsoft of being complicit in allowing EOH Mthombo to engage in a “corrupt” licensing transaction with the Department of Defence.”Some months later, in July 2019, Microsoft hit the headlines again in the USA this time in connection with another FCPA investigation involving its subsidiaries in Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Thailand.

According to the SEC, Microsoft’s subsidiary in Hungary provided discounts on software licenses to its resellers, distributors and other third parties. Instead of passing on the discounts to Microsoft’s government customers, the discounts were used to fund improper payments intended for foreign government officials to secure software license sales for Microsoft.

The SEC also found that Microsoft’s subsidiaries in Saudi Arabia and Thailand provided improper travel and gifts to both foreign government officials and employees of non-government customers funded through slush funds maintained by Microsoft’s vendors and resellers. In Saudi Arabia a USD 440,000 “slush fund” was “used to pay travel expenses for Saudi government employees and for gifts, furniture, laptops, tablets and other equipment for government agencies.”

Executives in Microsoft’s wholly-owned subsidiary in Turkey were found to have approved an excessive discount in a transaction involving the Ministry of Culture. Microsoft’s records did not reflect what services, if any, a third-party system integrator provided, and there was no evidence that the discount was passed on to the government customer.

According to the SEC, “Microsoft failed to make and keep adequate documentation related to third party vendors, consultants, distributors and resellers and failed to devise and maintain a sufficient system of internal accounting controls throughout the relevant time.”

On 22 July 2019 the SEC announced that Microsoft had agreed to pay more than USD 16 million to settle charges that it violated the FCPA in connection with its operations in these four foreign based subsidiaries and that it has violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Microsoft consented to a cease-and-desist order and agreed to pay disgorgement of USD 13.78 million and prejudgment interest of USD 2.78 million.

“The SEC also found that Microsoft’s subsidiaries in Saudi Arabia and Thailand provided improper travel and gifts to both foreign government officials and employees of non-government customers funded through slush funds maintained by Microsoft’s vendors and resellers.”The settlement also included an agreement on the part of Microsoft’s wholly-owned Hungarian subsidiary to pay a criminal penalty of more than USD 8.7 million to resolve the federal investigation into violations of the FCPA connected with the sale of Microsoft software licenses to Hungarian government agencies.

Microsoft appears to have successfully bought its way out of trouble on this occasion.

The negative PR for the company was limited by the fact that the bid-rigging and bribery affair in Hungary didn’t cause any significant domestic political fallout in contrast to the “shit-storm” unleashed by the “Microsoftgate” corruption scandal in Romania in 2014.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, there was a request from the non-governmental organisation Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT) urging the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to investigate the Microsoft bribery case.

ACT secretary-general, Mana Nimitmongkol, made the call in response to reports of Microsoft’s settlement with the SEC: “Now that the issue is public knowledge, the NACC has a duty to tell the public about what happened, and what it plans to do about it,” Mr Mana said. “They can’t just turn a blind eye to it.”

Unfortunately there is no record of any subsequent investigation by the Thai NACC.

The reluctance of the NACC to investigate might be connected with Microsoft’s role in Thailand which has been described as that of “a key player and partner in Thailand’s digital transformation process” and its lead position in “advising business and government leaders … on AI technology”.

“Microsoft appears to have successfully bought its way out of trouble on this occasion.”That concludes our synopsis of Microsoft’s involvement in alleged violations of the US FCPA.

As we move towards the concluding phase of this series we intend to return to the main focus, namely the questionable nature of Microsoft’s prominent role in the EPO’s current “digital transformation process”.

Before tackling this issue in more detail we will take a look at another aspect of Microsoft’s activities which seems to be of significance here, namely its position as a leading player in the global ‘IP’ arena.

IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:04 am by Needs Sunlight

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

text logs

text logs

#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

text logs

text logs

#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now

IPFS Mirrors

CID Description Object type
 QmNZxbKen8vs5xgzocNvz3bYEukL9zz9t1zeWvt4Aw7UsP IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmawssXM9dwVakPhNSUygRGCfqrphuM3kEdfLWFihqzbVb IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmZSxLbZbjd3PR94ssAS9BMWH7rQqedGVp91wrzagJFRmt IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
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HTML5 logs
 QmWmjYYbQVWuPSG91qMCKaYieFsvx6FK7k48fmkpeSyJyM IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmSrX93o5L6hf4FYqyAUNLbeoL5NpbHFAWtdbNCpVnEKTD IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmYRWgoKTyH1CiJLNyzDjePu1fNqryja16qPk57TQaXXKQ IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
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 QmcK8TD2Rh1Q2XVDANwpDoCpytjTiGf3TS8scaBCXigiFG IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmbWdvxmkdU8t5p67Uh8GWnZUd9syXWhy9k7LtmjdU4hX5 IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs

IPFS logo

Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmeMCTKga6Gc9Jauun7YUupAZBj2asqir5j5Y383skr2HP

The EPO is Drunk and Should Go Home

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Time to Go Home

Time to Go Home

Summary: The EPO is embracing nonsensical buzzwords and leaning on judges to justify invalid patents on abstract ideas; something ought to be done about all this…

THE EPO under the non-leadership of António Campinos (he cannot even speak to representatives of his own staff because of an angry lady whom many inside the Office rightly perceive or interpret as agent of Benoît Battistelli) is a failing institution. Judging a patent office based on the number of patents it grants is like assessing an essay based on the number of words it contains. Examiners keep telling us that they’re extremely unhappy to grant — under pressure of courseEuropean software patents. They’re aware of the EPC and European caselaw; those patents aren’t meant to be granted, but their guidelines aren’t lawful; there’s no compliance and nobody left to say so (not safely anyway).

“EPO insiders send us links expressing concerns about the role of patents in vaccine monopolies which limit the dissemination/reach of vaccines — a subject one isn’t permitted to mention in Twitter.”One reader of ours has shifted our attention to this new and incomplete page (warning: epo.org link) about “EPO AI course” (yes, “hey hi”, in effect teaching a couple of buzzwords). To quote: “The impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on our daily lives is discussed in all areas of society and technology, around the globe. Blockchain technology is applied in an increasing number of technical areas and more and more inventions involving its use are proving to be patentable. In order to capitalise on these opportunities, a comprehensive understanding of various related issues is needed, such as requirements to comply with, fields of application, searching and examining, the current technological landscape and the associated challenges and opportunities that these new technologies bring to patenting.”

They’re not even hiding the fact that they use such buzzwords to promote illegal software patents — both a constitutional problem and a legal problem. They’ve exploited feminism to cover up an attack on judges, who are being lobbied if not threatened by Mr. Campinos to just say “OK” to virtually everything, even ‘virtual’ courts and ‘virtual’ exams (illegal as per the law, human rights conventions, and everything to do with common sense).

The latest software patents spin now comes from a Team UPC spinner, Matthieu Dhenne (Ipsilon), who has very often been lying about UPC prospects (he stands to gain from that financially), not to mention all sorts of other things. “Hey hi” nonsense is being leveraged by him too: “G 1/19, that admits the patentability of a computer-implemented simulation, was the second opportunity for the Enlarged Board of Appeal to rule on the assessment of the patentability of computer-implemented inventions. Did it take advantage of this One More Chance or was it only One More Time?

“At any rate, here, I will only briefly comment these statements in relation to my favorite topic: technicality. And we will see that these statements are interesting! Both on the technicality criterion itself, on the one hand, and on the assessment of technicality, on the other hand.”

Remember that those judges aren’t legally placed/composed — a subject of ongoing debate and active obstruction by the Office (because Battistelli did illegal things).

Campino wineAdding insult to injury, Dhenne is then pressuring the European Union to use those besieged judges (they’re besieged by their own admission) to allow software patents anyway; To quote: “In any case, eventually, the Enlarged Board adopts a vision which seems to be too imprecise to obtain the desired legal certainty in the field of computer science. Perhaps the European Union could finally take up the topic once again with AI, as it did with biotechnology in the past? Who knows?”

So should we let corrupt officials from the EPO tell the whole European Union what to do, including how to legislate? No, the European Union needs to step up and crack down on corruption at the Office. The “Mafia” which took over this ‘European’ Patent Office has become an utter embarrassment to Europe and a source of much harm/concern for European innovation. EPO insiders send us links expressing concerns about the role of patents in vaccine monopolies which limit the dissemination/reach of vaccines — a subject one isn't permitted to mention in Twitter.

Links 17/3/2021: OpenJDK 16, RHEL Inside Cars, Ubuntu Touch OTA-16, System76′s Pangolin, and Pangolin Mobile

Posted in News Roundup at 12:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Pangolin: The New All-AMD Laptop from System76

        Shortly after the release of the Thelio Mira desktop, System76 has followed up with a new laptop, the Pangolin. Those of you who have been waiting for a fully AMD-powered experience, can now do so with the release of this product.


        It has a dimension of 14.19″ x 9.42″ x 0.78″ (36 x 23.9 x 1.99 cm), and apparently is the lightest 15″ laptop in System76’s inventory at 3.64 lbs (1.65kg). It can be opened at up to 180 degrees. The battery is rated at 49 Wh, and the webcam is 1M, being able to capture at 720p resolution. The Pangolin can come pre-installed with either Pop!_OS or Ubuntu.

      • System76 Launches Its New AMD-Powered Linux Laptop

        Linux users, pay attention: System76 is launching an AMD-powered Linux laptop. Better still, it has great specs, looks good, and most of all, is powered by an AMD Ryzen 4000U processor.

        Although Linux laptops are becoming increasingly common, most run on Intel hardware and use Nvidia graphics cards, if using a discreet GPU at all. So, the launch of a Linux laptop running with AMD hardware is a welcome addition to the market, especially one that allows you to pick and choose your hardware.

      • System76 Pangolin Linux laptop with AMD Ryzen now available for $849 and up – Liliputing

        The System76 Pangolin is a 3.6 pound notebook with a 15.6 inch full HD matte display and a choice Pop!_OS or Ubuntu Linux operating systems.

        But what makes the Pangolin stand out from other Linux laptops from System76 is the processor options: the notebook is powered by an AMD Ryzen 4000U “Renoir” processor.

        First unveiled in December, the System76 Pangolin is now available for purchase for $849 and up.

      • System76 Pangolin is the AMD-powered Ubuntu Linux laptop of your dreams

        If you are a Linux user, you can’t go wrong with Intel. That company’s processors, chipsets, wireless cards, and other hardware have long been very compatible with Linux-based operating systems. An all-Intel system should be a headache-free experience with Linux. If you want to game or do other graphic-intensive actions, however, an NVIDIA GPU has historically been the best option — a better experience than AMD graphics cards.

        Nowadays, AMD-based systems are Linux-friendly too, and Radeon graphics are becoming more commonplace in computers running Linux distros. Today, popular Linux-based computer-seller System76 finally launches its first-ever laptop to have both an AMD processor and AMD graphics — the 2021 “Pangolin” that we told you about in December. This is not only historic for System76, but it is a godsend for Linux users that are fans of AMD.

      • System76 Pangolin Laptop Launches – Powered By AMD Ryzen 4000 Series

        Going back to last December System76 had been teasing a new Pangolin laptop that would be AMD powered. Finally their new laptop has launched with Ryzen 4000 series mobile processors and making use of the integrated Radeon graphics.

        The new Pangolin “pang10″ model features the choice of the Ryzen 5 4500U or Ryzen 7 4700U “Renoir” processors with integrated Radeon graphics. The Pangolin features a 1080p 15.6-inch display, up to 64GB of RAM, and one M.2 SSD. The new AMD-powered Pangolin weighs 1.65kg and measures in at 36 x 23.9 x 1.99 cm.

      • Linux vendor System76 releases the Pangolin, a full AMD laptop

        Ready for an all-AMD solution to your hardware problems? Not long after announcing their new Thelio Mira desktop, System76 believe they hold the AMD answer with the new Pangolin. The first System76 laptop that comes with both an AMD CPU and AMD graphics, along with it also being their first AMD CPU powered laptop in the line designed specifically for “everyday computing”. This is the same unit they teased out late last year, with it now becoming available.

        “Our customers have long been asking for a lightweight, versatile laptop fully powered by AMD,” says Sam Mondlick, VP of Sales. “We believe the Pangolin answers this demand with its sleek lightweight design and easily upgradable components. It’s definitely a fantastic addition to our line.”

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • antiX kernel updates

        Users are advised to update to the latest kernels via Package Installer, synaptic or cli-aptiX.

        5.10.22 (antiX-19, bullseye, testing and sid 64bit only)
        4.19.180 (antiX-19, bullseye, testing and sid)
        4.9.261 (antiX-19, bullseye, testing and sid)
        4.4.261 (antiX-19, bullseye, testing and sid)

      • Siemens Working To Upstream More Linux Drivers For Their Industrial PCs – Phoronix

        Siemens has recently been engaging directly with the upstream Linux kernel developers in aiming to mainline various drivers for benefiting their industrial PC platforms.

        For Siemens industrial PCs like the SIMATIC IPC line-up, the German industrial giant is looking to begin upstreaming more of their drivers. The initial area includes watchdog and LED support for these x86-based industrial PCs while more platform drivers and expanded device support is expected to come with time. They do have more code internally left to be sanitized and published around hardware monitoring and other features.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Wayland on FreeBSD

          One more in my series of “things on FreeBSD”, but this road does lead to things-KDE: KDE Plasma Wayland on a FreeBSD desktop. On my Slimbook, in fact. Many thanks to angry_vincent on IRC for showing some bits and pieces to me, and to David Faure for moaning about failing unit tests (which is what made me decide to figure out this Wayland stuff for once and for all).

          My main desktop runs KDE Plasma on it. On FreeBSD, with X11, with an nVidia card (a fanless 730 – with great graphics power comes nothing useful) and the proprietary nVidia drivers. Works great, has for years. Since so many of the Wayland documents (e.g. the sway wiki say to piss off if you use nVidia), I did my testing on my laptop instead, which has an Intel iGPU.


          This is the stuff I actually want to have for Wayland. I generally install the “fat” package from ports, kde5 (which includes KDE Frameworks, KDE Plasma and KDE Applications / Release Service / soon-to-be-Gear). There was a conflict with xwayland-devel since the KDE bits built (like, up until today) against slightly-older Wayland. I updated the x11-wm/plasma5-kwin port to use the -devel version too, which is what we ought to have as long as things are still being hashed out.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Getting Back In

          I got a weird bug report the other day. Apparently Unigine Superposition, the final boss of Unigine benchmarks, was broken in zink(-wip). And it was a regression, which meant that at some point it had worked, but because testing is hard, it then stopped working for a while.

        • V3DV Vulkan Driver Enjoys More Optimizations To Help The Raspberry Pi 4 – Phoronix

          Igalia has outlined some of the recent V3D compiler work they’ve been engaging in to help with the Vulkan driver performance on the Raspberry Pi 4 while the compiler back-end work also benefits the Mesa OpenGL driver too.

          Back in November the V3DV driver became officially Vulkan conformant and since then the Igalia developers working with the Raspberry Pi Foundation have been working to support more Vulkan extensions, provide various bug fixes, and squeeze out more performance.

        • Iago Toral: Improving performance of the V3D compiler for OpenGL and Vulkan

          Lately, I have been looking at improving performance of the V3DV Vulkan driver for the Raspberry Pi 4. So far we had been toying a lot with some Vulkan ports of the Quake trilogy but we wanted to have a look at more modern games as well, and for that we started to look at some Unreal Engine 4 samples, particularly the Shooter demo.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Details Rocket Lake S Processors, Linux Benchmarks To Come

        Intel today is publicly detailing their 11th Gen “Rocket Lake S” processors. Here is what you need to know about Rocket Lake S although we cannot yet share any Linux performance figures until that later Rocket Lake S review embargo lift date.

        As has been reported previously with Rocket Lake S there is an IPC improvement of up to 19% thanks to this backport of the Cypress Cove core back to 14nm-based process. Rocket Lake S also allows up to twenty PCIe 4.0 lanes, Deep Learning Boost / VNNI support, and DDR4-3200 memory support.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Kubuntu Focus Team Announces $10,000 Technical Authorship Program

        The Kubuntu Focus Team today announced a “get published and get paid” Guided Solution Authorship Program, where technical writers can earn up to $500 per article plus hundreds more in value awards. The initial allocated budget is $10,000. Authors may apply now using the Application Form.

      • Control Scanners in Linux With the SANE API

        Scanner Access Now Easy (SANE) is an API for scanning devices including flatbed scanners, video cameras, and stills cameras.

        SANE can be installed via your command line package management system either as a stand alone library or as part of one of the front ends.

      • Hans de Goede: Fixing the Sierra Wireless EM7345-LTE modem not working on Linux

        I spend quite a bit of time on getting a Sierra Wireless EM7345-LTE modem to work under Linux. So here are some quick instructions to help other people who may hit the same problem.

        These modems are somewhat notorious for shipping with broken firmware. They work fine after a firmware upgrade, but under Windows they will only upgrade to “carrier approved” firmware versions, which requires to be connected to the mobile-network first so that the tool can identify the carrier. And with some carriers connecting to the network does not work due to the broken firmware (ugh). There are a ton of forum-threads on how to work around this under Windows, but they all require that you are atleast able to register with the mobile-network.

      • Ubuntu: copy files over SCP [Guide]

        If you need to copy files over the SCP protocol, the best way to do it is via the Ubuntu command-line. SCP isn’t as complicated as it is made out to be, and with some guidance, you’ll be able to figure out how to transfer any file or folder you like!

      • How To Install ReactJS on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install ReactJS on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, React is an open-source JavaScript library for creating web frontend and UI components. It is developed and maintained by Facebook and a large community of developers. ReactJS can be used in the development of Web Applications or Mobile Apps.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step install of the ReactJS on CentOS 8.

      • Top 5+Best Linux Port Scanners For Network Admins In 2021

        Let’s have a look at the list of the best Linux port scanners for network administrators.

      • Upgrading Ubuntu Server – Alan Pope’s blog

        I have a few old and crusty HP MicroServers in the loft at home. I started out with one when HP did a cashback offer, making them very affordable. Over time I’ve acquired a couple more. One, named colossus is running rsnapshot to provide backups of my other machines. Another, called shirka is a Plex Media Server and the last, robby is a general purpose box running various jobs and reports. All run Ubuntu Server as the OS.

      • How To Install OpenVPN on Debian 10 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install OpenVPN on Debian 10. For those of you who didn’t know, OpenVPN is an open-source application that is widely used to create secure virtual private networks over the unsecured public Internet. OpenVPN is an SSL VPN solution that drains your system connection securely through the Internet. OpenVPN functions in the client-server structure. All the devices connected to a virtual private network act as if they’re linked to your local area network. The packets sent through the VPN tunnel are encrypted with 256 bit AES encryption making data theft impossible.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the OpenVPN server on a Debian 10 (Buster).

      • How To Install PlayOnLinux on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install PlayOnLinux on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, PlayOnLinux is an implementation of Wine which makes it easy to install Windows software on Wine. The PlayOnLinux overcome Wine’s complexity by providing a graphical user interface, and you can easily install windows application on Linux.

        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 PlayOnLinux graphical front-end interface for Wine 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.

      • 5 Cybersecurity Tips to Help Linux Users Protect Their Computers

        Cybercrime is a growing threat that has caused most internet users to rethink how they protect their data and information. Cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated with their methods and are coming up with new ways to mask their internet identity to avoid a jail term. Whether is through phishing attacks, ransomware or hijacking a computer to mine cryptocurrency, evidence shows that criminals are honing their skills and are becoming more brazen in their attack.

        There are numerous Linux computers out there, they’re so much that it’s practically impossible to say the exact number that’s currently being used. This popularity has made hackers see it as a perfect beehive to harness the private information of private individuals, and also install ransomware and milk users’ of their hard-earned money. As such, it is essential that every Linux user take steps to protect their identity and data from these nefarious individuals. The cost of cybercrime is over $600 billion annually, this shows that it’s a highly sophisticated threat you should take seriously.

      • How to resize OpenStack instance from the command line | FOSS Linux

        OpenStack is an open-source cloud computing platform that enables organizations to control and compute large data pools, networking, and storage in a data center.

        Anyone can download OpenStack’s source code, make alterations, and share it with others because the software is Open-Source. Hence, you do not need to worry about extra costs that can be incurred while using this software.

        This article will give detailed information on how to resize OpenStack instances using a command line.

      • How to Install 0 A.D. Alpha 24 via Another PPA in Ubuntu 20.04, 20.10

        0 A.D., a free open-source real-time strategy video game, released Alpha 24 “Xšayāršā” a few weeks ago. Here’s how to install the game in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10 via PPA.

      • How to install Godot 3 on Linux Mint 20.1 – YouTube

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Godot 3 on Linux Mint 20.1.

      • How To Install XAMPP Plugins \ How to Install XAMPP WordPress Plugin [Ed: Windows-centric unfortunately]

        Simple tutorial on how to use XAMPP’s Plugins and installing WordPress for an example.

      • How to use FIND command in Linux

        In this tutorial on how to use the ‘Find command’ in Linux, we will discuss in brief what is find command & will also discuss some examples for the same.

        Find command is a pretty useful command for easily locating files & folders in Linux. What makes it a powerful command is that we can use a number of search criteria/options to refine the search.

        It can be found & used on almost all Linux distros by default.

      • How to Configure ZRAM on Your Ubuntu Computer – Make Tech Easier

        While ZRAM is a fantastic solution to trade some CPU horsepower to gain more RAM, how can you configure it to dedicate more or less RAM to ZRAM? How can you change the compression algorithm? In what scenarios are such changes worthwhile? Read on to find out how to configure ZRAM on Ubuntu.

      • Install and configure the Whisker menu as your XFCE start menu

        Disappointed after first seeing the plain vanilla XFCE desktop environment? Do not let the default theming discourage you. XFCE can easily be tweaked to look as appealing as any modern desktop environment. For starters, I recommend replacing the default XFCE start menu with the Whisker menu. It looks better and offers an improved work flow. This article describes how to install and configure the Whisker menu as your XFCE start menu.

      • How to install qBittorrent on Kali linux – Linux Shout

        Peer-to-peer file sharing is not a new concept, however, to download files from such a network we need client software like qBittorrent. Here we let you know the steps to install qBittorrent on Kali Linux.

        qBittorrent is a file-sharing client that allows access to the BitTorrent network and participation in sharing is possible. It is one of the popular alternatives to client uTorrent.

        It is an open-source cross-platform available for Windows, Linux, and macOS. In addition to this qBittorrent also offers a portable version, so that installation on the computer is no longer necessary.

        The first version of qBittorrent was published in March 2006 and since then the program has been in an active development phase.

      • How to get started with Git on Linux

        Developing applications is not as easy as many might think. It requires coding skills and the use of productivity tools that make the development process fast and efficient. One of those handy coding tools is a version control system called Git. Since its debut in 2005, Git has become the de-facto standard for maintaining code versions, and now it is a must-have tool for any developer who is participating in an open-source project. However, at first, it can be a bit difficult to learn about it, and that is why this post has been written to provide a basic guide to Git.

      • How to Restore and Backup PPAs, Applications, and Packages in Linux With Aptik

        Reinstalling or upgrading your Linux distribution? Use Aptik and take your existing application packages, data, and settings with you.

        When you install or upgrade your Linux system, you not only need to configure your system from scratch again, you also have to install your favourite applications, repositories, and in-application settings and configurations.

        So, we introduce a tool called Aptik, that can help you by back up your PPAs, installed software, application settings, and much more in just few clicks.

      • Install macOS Big Sur Or Catalina In A Virtual Machine Using Docker-OSX – Linux Uprising Blog

        Docker-OSX is a project that makes macOS run near native using OSX-KVM inside a Docker container. Using this, you’ll be able to install macOS in a QEMU virtual machine (via Docker), and run the macOS Catalina or Big Sur desktop, or boot to the OSX shell.

    • Games

      • The developer of Rise to Ruins is absolutely mad and has secured funding for their games

        Sometimes you read a story that’s really hard to believe it’s true but probably is. In this case it’s Raymond Doerr of SixtyGig Games doing something absolutely nuts to secure funding for their games.

        They are the developer of Rise to Ruins, a brutal godlike village sim that melds the god game, management, and tower defense genres. A game I’m actually pretty fond of, written in Java and with Linux support it’s a fun way to spend a number of hours. It’s a successful game too, going on to sell at least a few hundred thousand copies. After releasing Rise to Ruins out of Early Access, eventually updates slowed down even though many more along with another game are planned. As Doerr outlined in this rather personal post on Steam, there was a good reason for that.

        Doerr goes into a little history about how Rise to Ruins (previously called Retro-Pixel Castles) got started and it’s quite surprising. Doerr did the “totally rational” thing of giving up a well paying job at Lockheed Martin to “change career paths into a job with an extremely high rate of failure that you have literally zero professional experience what so ever in doing”. They’re just very lucky it all worked out…

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.21.3, Bugfix Release for March

          Plasma 5.21 was released in February 2021 with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience.

          This release adds two weeks’ worth of new translations and fixes from KDE’s contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important and include…

        • More Statistics

          Right now the feature set of LabPlot that can be used for the statistical analysis is very limited – we only show some values from the descriptive statistics for the selected data set in the spreadsheet. While we’re thinking about which features to add and which workflows to enable in our application to support this kind of analysis in near future, we decided to implement and to add some “quick wins” now.


          The next natural step for this feature would be to enable this functionality in the worksheet and to extend it. E.g., it should be possible for the user to create such a Q-Q plot on the worksheet and to specify which probability distribution to use to compare the data set quantiles against. Similar for the KDE-plot where it should be possible to specify the kernel or for the box plot where the user can modify the type of the whiskers, etc.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • The Last Minute GNOME Shell + Mutter 40 Release Candidate Changes

          GNOME developers remain very busy as they approach the finish line for GNOME 40.

          In preparing for the GNOME 40 release candidate this week, maintainers have begun tagging their new packages. Released yesterday were the GNOME 40 release candidates for GNOME Shell and Mutter with plenty of noteworthy changes in tow.

        • Molly de Blanc: GUADEC 2021 Keynotes and Updates

          The GNOME Foundation is excited to announce that GUADEC 2021 will take place July 21 -25. This year’s conference will be held online and last five days. The first two days of the conference, July 21 – 22, will be dedicated to presentations. The 23 – 24 will be Birds of a Feather sessions and workshops, and the last day will be for social activities.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 155 available for testing

          The upcoming release IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 155 is available for testing. It comes with important security fixes for the NAT Slipstreaming attack which might require attention if you are currently using the Application Layer Gateways for SIP or FTP.

          Peter has recently announced our measures against NAT Slipstreaming. Through feedback from the community, we have seen that most people are not affected by these changes.

      • BSD

        • In-kernel WireGuard is on its way to FreeBSD and the pfSense router

          This morning, WireGuard founding developer Jason Donenfeld announced a working, in-kernel implementation of his WireGuard VPN protocol for the FreeBSD 13 kernel. This is great news for BSD folks—and users of BSD-based routing appliances and distros such as pfSense and opnSense.

          If you’re not familiar with WireGuard, it establishes connections more quickly than traditional VPNs like OpenVPN. It’s also, in our personal experience, overwhelmingly more reliable when managing large numbers of connections. Your author used to spend several hours a month shelling into machines and manually re-establishing broken OpenVPN tunnels, even after writing watchdog scripts to attempt to detect and re-establish them automatically—tearing it all out and replacing this several-hundred-machine-monitoring network with WireGuard-based infrastructure cut that down to “zero hours per month.”

          In addition to performance and reliability, WireGuard brings modern protocols, versioned crypto that literally cannot be set up incorrectly, and a far cleaner, lighter codebase than most competitors—Linus Torvalds once declared it “a work of art” by comparison to OpenVPN and IPSec.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Arch Family

        • Arch Linux Developers Discuss Idea Of Providing An x86-64-v3 Port

          While recently Arch Linux developers and stakeholders were discussing the possibility of raising the x86-64 base requirements for this Linux distribution to the “x86-64-v2″ micro-architecture feature level that roughly correlates to Intel Nehalem and newer, now the discussion has shifted to keeping the same x86-64 base level while potentially offering a “x86-64-v3″ port for those with newer Intel/AMD CPUs.

          Rather than raising the Arch Linux x86 64-bit requirements to the “x86-64-v2″ level that would yield issues for those trying to run this distribution on the oldest of original x86-64 AMD/Intel processors, the proposal has morphed into providing an x86-64-v3 port that would be maintained concurrently to base x86-64. With this, users running Arch on vintage PCs wouldn’t lose out on updates while those on more recent hardware would be able to tap into more optimized packages by default.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Schaller: What to look for in Fedora Workstation 34

          Christian Schaller looks forward to the Fedora 34 release with a detailed write-up of the desktop-oriented changes.

        • Fedora Electronic Engineering Tools

          This article reports you a collection of Fedora’s Electronic Engineering software. They are tools you can use to create electronic circuits, schematics, drawings, and simulations as well as to produce the Printed Circuit Boards — and the good news is they are all Free Software. We see here same set of applications, such as Kicad and NGSpice, as well as the ones only Fedora had currently, like KTechLab and Qucs, compared to the electronics sets of Debian and Ubuntu. Finally, I write this article as a tribute to Fedora Electronic Lab (FEL) — the special OS for electronic engineering that was dismissed years ago and is planned to be released along with Fedora 34 — as I want this distro to be available once again.

        • Fedora 34 GNOME 40 Test Day 2021-03-17 through 2021-03-19

          Wednesday, 2021-03-17 is the Fedora 34 Gnome 40 Test Day! As part of the changes Gnome 40 in Fedora 34, we need your help to test if everything runs smoothly!

        • 2020 digital re-skilling across Europe, a Red Hat study

          In December 2020, Red Hat commissioned a Europe-wide study with YouGov and Kantar Sifo, reaching more than 30,000 respondents to learn about the new skills they’ve taken up since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were curious about the impact COVID-19 has had on digital upskilling.

        • RHEL In Your Car? Red Hat Building Out Automotive Infotainment Team

          Red Hat is in the process of building out an “infotainment” team to work on low-level Linux infrastructure work around their growing automotive efforts.

          Red Hat has begun listing jobs for this automotive team and I am told they will be listing more positions over the next two quarters. Of the positions so far range from Kdump for automotive, security engineer for the automotive team, a QA engineer for “our latest initiative in the automotive area”, and more. Again, I am told this is just the start of Red Hat’s build out for this automotive work and in particular for an infotainment team.

        • AlmaLinux OS, The CentOS Replacement Arrive On March 30, 2021

          AlmaLinux OS is a 1:1 binary compatible fork of RHEL 8. In other words, it can be used as a direct CentOS replacement.

          The team behind the distribution announced the long-awaited launch of the first stable release of AlmaLinux OS. The date is March 30th, 2021.

          Launched with the code-name Project Lenix, AlmaLinux OS is an open-source, community-driven project that intends to fill the gap left by the demise of the CentOS stable release. It is built by the creators of the established CloudLinux OS.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • [Older] Dell Latitude 5310

          On my first day they handed me an XUbuntu 20.04 usb stick and that’s probably what I would’ve chosen anyway, given the fact that Ubuntu was recommended. Installation worked flawlessly and all the hardware seems to work fine.

        • Ubuntu Blog: CSS Animations

          In our team, we run “masterclasses” every few weeks, to share knowledge throughout the team.

          Similar to Robin’s post on regex basics, here’s the contents of the masterclass on “CSS animations” that I just presented to the team.

        • Running an open source multi-cloud with Ubuntu, LXD, and Mist

          One of the advantages that Ubuntu brings to the cloud equation is improving an organization’s ability to run in multiple clouds. Running containers on top of Ubuntu further increases portability. Mist is an open-source multi-cloud management platform that helps teams centrally manage and control their Ubuntu instances across many different cloud environments and/or bare metal. This removes some of the operational and financial barriers to running applications in multiple clouds.


          bare metal, and completely isolate their customers’ workloads.

          This customer was already using Ubuntu and LXD, both chosen for their baked-in security and robustness, and both open-source. LXD is a container and VM management tool that allows users to create, run, and maintain containers as if they were VMs, and VMs as if they were their own cloud. LXD uses pre-made images available for a range of Linux distributions and is built around a powerful, but simple, REST API. A good tool for orchestration of ‘single-cloud’ virtual environments.

          However, the customer still needed to have visibility and control over the entire stack, from LXD down to the cloud environment, and they needed a way to centrally manage all of their deployments in different clouds. For both general monitoring as well as to make changes around access control if someone joined the team, was reassigned, or left.

          They adopted Mist to get a unified view of their entire setup and to be able to centrally control certain aspects of their deployments. Here are some of the things that Ubuntu users get by layering Mist on top:

        • Ubuntu Touch OTA-16 Release

          Ubuntu Touch is the privacy and freedom-respecting mobile operating system by UBports. Today we are happy to announce the release of Ubuntu Touch OTA-16, our sixteenth stable update to the system! OTA-16 will be available for the following supported Ubuntu Touch devices over the next week:

        • Ubuntu Touch OTA-16 Released As The Second Largest Release Ever – Phoronix

          UBports released Ubuntu Touch OTA-16 as their largest update since the days of OTA-4 when the transition happened from an Ubuntu 15.04 base to 16.04 LTS.

          Ubuntu Touch OTA-16 is a big boy with many updates albeit not the elusive update shifting from Ubuntu 16.04 to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Ubuntu Touch is still working towards that big migration but they aren’t there yet.

        • Multi Monitor and HiDPI Setup is Looking Better on Ubuntu 21.04 [My Experience So Far]

          I upgraded to Ubuntu 21.04 beta yesterday and I can say I am pretty happy with it.

          I know it doesn’t have the awesome GNOME 40 yet but the thing that makes me happy is that I can use my multi-monitor setup quite happily now.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • FSFE

        • Lenovo Loses Case Involving Pre-Installed Windows Refund

          Lenovo was ordered to pay 20,000 euros in damages for refusing to refund the price of a pre-installed Windows license, according to the judgement last December of a court case initiated by Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) supporter Luca Bonissi.

      • Programming/Development

        • Advantages of React JS and Why You Will Love It

          It is an open-source, scalable JavaScript library with which you can build intuitive UIs (user-interfaces), particularly for single-page applications. React efficiently handles the view layer for your applications, be it mobile or web apps. Besides, it also helps you split the UI into reusable components.

          Seeing how you do not need to have much expertise in HTML and JavaScript, React JS has grown to be extremely popular in the industry for easy front-end web development.

          React JS is widely used for front-end web development in the industry due to the fact that you don’t need much expertise in JavaScript and HTML.

        • Zlib-ng 2.0 Released As More Performant + Modern Zlib Fork

          Zlib-ng 2.0 is out today as the first stable release of this zlib fork focused on “next generation” systems with speedier performance and a more modern API, among other changes.

          Zlib-ng 2.0 sports a modern native API as well as a Zlib-compatible API. This fork has cleaned up the original code-base, supports making use of modern CPU intrinsics like AVX2 / NEON / VSX, pulling improvements from Zlib forks maintained by Intel and CloudFlare, and a variety of other enhancements.

        • How to Handle UI Events in Jetpack Compose

          In this short and practical article, we will talk about how to handle UI events in Jetpack Compose.

          In the old system, we used OnClickListeners and other interfaces. In Compose, we can take full advantage of Kotlin’s Sealed Classes, Function Types and Lambda Expressions.

        • Perl/Raku

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • How to fix “one2many” data issues

            I explained the “one2many” problem in an earlier BASHing data post and showed how to detect it (with the “one2many” function) in that post and in A Data Cleaner’s Cookbook. In a nutshell, the problem occurs when each entry in a field (call it field A) should have only one corresponding entry in a second field (B).

        • Java

          • JDK 16

            JDK 16 is the open-source reference implementation of version 16 of the Java SE Platform, as specified by by JSR 390 in the Java Community Process.

            JDK 16 reached General Availability on 16 March 2021. Production-ready binaries under the GPL are available from Oracle; binaries from other vendors will follow shortly.

            The features and schedule of this release were proposed and tracked via the JEP Process, as amended by the JEP 2.0 proposal. The release was produced using the JDK Release Process (JEP 3).

          • OpenJDK 16 Released With The JDK Source Beginning To Use C++14 Features

            Java 16 is out today in the form of the OpenJDK 16 general availability release.

            OpenJDK 16 now allows the use of C++14 language features within the JDK C++ source tree where as prior releases were bound to C++98/C++03 standards. This does up the build system requirements for OpenJDK but still rather lax by today’s standards with only needing GCC 5.0+ or Clang 3.5+.

          • Oracle JDK 16 builds on Java’s strengths and makes the programming language more cloud friendly – TechRepublic

            The Oracle JDK 16 is another step in modernization efforts to make it easier for Java developers to use the programming language with APIs, microservices and other cloud technologies. This release brings Records and Pattern Matching out of preview. Those two JDK enhancement proposals and the other 15 JEPs in this release improve developer productivity and application performance, according to Oracle.

            Chad Arimura, vice president of Java developer relations at Oracle, said these new features build on the fundamental strengths of Java–ease of use, reliability, security and platform independence–while making the language easier to use in cloud deployments. “It’s a thoughtful evolution of the language, but we’re thinking about what’s coming down the path as well,” he said.

          • Oracle releases Java 16 with 17 new enhancements

            Oracle has announced general availability of Java Development Kit (JDK) 16, its reference implementation of the Java 16 programming language spec.

            Rolling out in line with Oracle’s six-monthly release schedule that began with Java 10 in 2018, JDK 16 includes 17 enhancements that Oracle has touted would continue to further developer productivity.

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation Sigstore Aims to Be the Let’s Encrypt of Code Signing

                Backed by the Linux Foundation, Sigstore aims to provide a non-profit service to foster the adoption of cryptographic signing by open source projects to make the software supply chain more secure.

                The main issue Sigstore attempts to tackle is the difficulty of knowing the origin of a piece of software, or how it was built. This becomes especially tricky when that software is included in a larger project, paving the way to external attacks. As Google security engineers Kim Lewandowski and Dan Lorenc put it introducing the initiative,

              • XenProject at Linaro Connect – Xen Project

                Linaro Virtual Connect 2021 provides a platform to discuss and learn about the leading software topics, challenges and opportunities in the Arm Ecosystem today. The event will have 60+ technical keynotes, sessions, and more, and it’s taking place March 23-25, 2021.

              • Generating a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) with Open Source Standards and Tooling [Ed: Linux Foundation uses proprietary software Zoom again]

                Every month there seems to be a new software vulnerability showing up on social media, which causes open source program offices and security teams to start querying their inventories to see how FOSS components they use may impact their organizations.

                Frequently this information is not available in a consistent format within an organization for automatic querying and may result in a significant amount of email and manual effort. By exchanging software metadata in a standardized software bill of materials (SBOM) format between organizations, automation within an organization becomes simpler, accelerating the discovery process and uncovering risk so that mitigations can be considered quickly.

              • Open Source Projects Accelerate Growth of Edge Ecosystem

                The recently released State of the Edge 2021 Report provides insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the edge ecosystem in 2020, examines emerging infrastructure, and explains how open source has accelerated adoption of edge applications.

                “In our individual lock-down environments, each of us is an edge node of the Internet and all our computing is, mostly, edge computing,” said Wenjing Chu, senior director of Open Source and Research at Futurewei Technologies, Inc. and LF Edge Governing Board member. “The edge is the center of everything.”

              • Certified Hyperledger Fabric Developer (CHFD) Exam Has Relaunched

                The Certified Hyperledger Fabric Developer (CHFD) exam, which initially launched a year ago and enables candidates to demonstrate the knowledge to develop and maintain client applications and smart contracts using the latest Fabric programming model, is once again available for scheduling. The exam had been paused pending updates of the exam content to align with the most recent Long Term Support (LTS) version of Fabric, v2.2.

                Holding this certification provides confidence to supervisors and hiring managers that a team member or job candidate possesses the necessary skills to package and deploy Fabric applications and smart contracts, perform end-to-end Fabric application life-cycle and smart contract management, and more. The CHFD exam platform is Node.js for both Client Application and Smart Contract.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (tomcat8), Fedora (git), openSUSE (opera), Oracle (python), Red Hat (ipa, kernel, kernel-rt, kpatch-patch, and pki-core), SUSE (compat-openssl098 and python), and Ubuntu (glib2.0, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-5.4, linux-azure, linux-azure-5.4, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-5.4, linux-gke-5.4, linux-gkeop, linux-gkeop-5.4, linux-hwe-5.4, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-oracle-5.4, linux-raspi, linux-raspi-5.4, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-hwe, linux-azure, linux-azure-4.15, linux-dell300x, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-4.15, linux-hwe, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux, linux-aws, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-hwe-5.8, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-raspi, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-lts-xenial, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, and openjpeg2).

          • Pwning the pen tester: Malicious Wireshark packet capture file risk revealed

            Maliciously constructed Wireshark packet capture files might be used to distribute malware, providing recipients can be tricked into double clicking file URL fields.

            Variants of the same attack could potentially be thrown against users of the popular network security tool, widely used by security analysts and penetration testers, whether they use Windows or Xubuntu Linux-based systems.
            The attack, discovered by security researcher Lukas Euler of Positive Security, is explained in a recent post on GitLab that features proof-of-concept videos.

          • Slackware: Chromium security updates (and fix for 32-bit crash)

            I have updated the ‘chromium‘, ‘chromium-ungoogled‘ and ‘chromium-widevine-plugin‘ packages in my repository.

            For Chromium (-ungoogled) these are security updates. The new 89.0.4389.90 release addresses several critical vulnerabilities (it’s the third release in the 89 series in rapid succession actually, to fix critical bugs) but in particular it plugs a zero-day exploit that exists in the wild: CVE-2021-21193. You are urged to update your installation of Chromium (-ungoogled) ASAP.

            I made chromium-ungoogled also available for Slackware 14.2, I hope that makes some people happy.

            Since I had to build packages anyway, I took the opportunity to apply a patch that fixes the crashes on 32-bit systems with glibc-2.33 installed (i.e. on Slackware-current).
            In that same chromium-distro-packagers group that is the home of the discussion about Google’s decision to cripple 3rd-party Chromium browsers, I had asked the Chromium team to address the crash Slackware users are experiencing. Google is no longer offering 32-bit binaries which means, issues like these are not likely to be caught in their own tests, but they are listening to the packagers who do build 32-bit binaries. Luckily. And the fix took a while to actually get implemented, but in the end it all worked out. I assume that the patch will end up in the Chromium source code after it passes the internal review process.

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

            • Linux Vulnerable To Fifteen-Year-Old Security Bugs
            • ProxyLogon updates. Operation Diànxùn targets telecoms. Linux vulnerabilities. Malware operator plays innocent.

              Researchers at GRIMM have discovered three vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel, including a Local Privilege Escalation affecting several Linux environments. Patches for the flaws were released on March 7th. The researchers explain, “Due to the non-deterministic nature of heap overflows, the first vulnerability could be used as an unreliable, local DoS. However, when combined with an information leak, this vulnerability can be further exploited as a LPE that allows an attacker to escalate from an unprivileged user account to root. A separate information leak is not necessary, though, since this vulnerability can be used to leak kernel memory as well. The second vulnerability (kernel pointer leak) is less impactful and could only serve as a potential information leak. Similarly, the third vulnerability (out-of-bounds read) is also limited to functioning as a potential information leak or even an unreliable local DoS.”

            • The Linux Kernel Had 3 Potential Root Access Vulnerabilities For 15 Years

              Linux kernels prior to 5.11.4, 5.10.21, 5.4.103, 4.19.179, 4.14.224, 4.9.260 and 4.4.260 have three 15 year old vulnerabilities in the iSCSI subsystem that could potentially allow a hostile local user to gain root privileges. Most GNU/Linux distributions compile their kernels with ISCSI_TARGET=y so this affects all of them.


              GRIMM has developed a proof-of-concept Local Privilege Escalation (LPE) exploit using one of the tree vulnerabilities known as CVE-2021-27363, CVE-2021-27364 CVE-2021-27364 and CVE-2021-27365. It works, given the right circumstances, but that does not mean most people running Linux need to panic and upgrade within the next few minutes.

    • Finance

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Patents prevent vaccines for all

          Although pharmaceutical companies poured public money into the development of Covid vaccines, they are selling them to the highest bidder. Sometimes, at best, they agree to reserve doses for their countries of origin. What if governments force them to lift intellectual property rights, so that countries with the capacity to do so can produce the vaccine for the others?


          Individual states and the European Union, trapped by their public declarations, engage in doublespeak. In reality, realpolitik has won, and favours multinational pharmaceutical companies. Despite great opacity surrounding the ‘advance purchase agreements’, some useful information has been leaked. Once again we can see that the iron law of neoliberal capitalism holds: losses have been socialised and profits privatised. Pharmaceutical companies were subsidised to the tune of billions of euros by EU member states and the European Commission — which poured more than €2bn euros into the development of vaccines — for research and development, then the massive production of doses, thereby limiting the risks to business. Yet these businesses retain control over patents, fiercely negotiate prices with states, and restrict donations and possible resale to developing countries. According to the Belgian Secretary of State for the Budget Eva de Bleeker, the rates negotiated by Brussels range from €1.78 for AstraZeneca to €10 for CureVac and €14.68 for Moderna (2).


          Add to these unbelievable contracts a geopolitical clash between the nations fighting over the development, manufacture and access to precious vaccines. This involves China and the United States, of course, but also Russia — which has just won a strategic victory with the growing recognition of its Sputnik V vaccine — as well as Germany, Israel and the United Kingdom. Despite several false and deceptive starts, the UK managed to organise a dynamic vaccination drive, undermining the arguments advanced by a protective European Union during the arduous scraps over Brexit. As early as May 2020, Boris Johnson’s government created a Vaccine Taskforce to develop research, production and strategy for vaccines, for example establishing a partnership with the French company Valneva to produce a new vaccine in Scotland.

          It was the opposite of France’s slowness and passivity. As of 4 February, the UK had administered at least one dose of the vaccine to 16.2% of its population, compared to 4% in Spain, 3.9% in Italy, 3.6% in Germany and only 2.7% in France. Not only is France lagging behind in this concert of nations, but its vaccination centres were set up hastily in January 2021 under media pressure, and rely on overwhelmed and exhausted medical staff. Worse, and against all logic, the government continues to reduce the number of hospital beds. After failing to win the race for a ‘national vaccine’, French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi — along with other companies like Delpharm or Recipharm — began to work as a subcontractor (bottling, packaging, etc) late, in February.

        • Mylan Wins Costs After Neurim Drops EU Patent Appeal [Ed: EPO is not EU]

          After initially losing a bid to invalidate an insomnia drug patent, Mylan was dubbed the winner and convinced a London judge to award costs after Neurim Pharmaceuticals abandoned its bid to defend its claim in parallel European Patent Office litigation.

          High Court Judge Marcus Smith said in light of the outcome at the EPO, Mylan is also the “obvious” winner in the case before his court, making Neurim Pharmaceuticals Ltd. “the loser.”

          Mylan had challenged the validity of the patent in litigation brought by Neurim, which sells the insomnia medication under the brand name Circadin.

        • European Patent Office intends to grant PyroGenesis plasma atomisation patent [Ed: Nowadays the EPO is compelled to grant a lot of stuff without challenge and without proper prior art search]

          PyroGenesis Canada Inc., Montreal, Quebec, Canada, reports that the European Patent Office has issued its intent to grant the company a patent based on its prosecuted application for a “Plasma Apparatus for the Production of High Quality Powders at High Capacity”. This patent relates to the production of high-purity spheroidal powders for use in Additive Manufacturing, but can also be used in Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP).

          The company explains that the patent aims to provide a simplified device geared to increasing productivity while at the same time allowing for further control over particle size distribution, thereby reducing overall costs. This patent has reportedly been filed for patent protection in an additional six different jurisdictions.

          “European patents provide protection not only in the thirty-eight member states of the European Patent Organization, but also in two extension states plus four validation states,” commented Pierre Carabin, Chief Technology Officer of PyroGenesis. “This represents an area with approximately 700 million inhabitants. This new addition to our intellectual property portfolio brings the total number of issued and pending patents held by the company to 124, which is a historical high. We currently have 100 patent applications in progress, covering nineteen families of invention. When combined with our significant know-how and trade secrets, we are continuing to create a formidable barrier to entry in the markets we serve.”

        • Software Patents

          • IPR Games: RPI; No Appeal; and Analogous Arts

            Google won its IPR challenge against CyWee’s U.S. Patent Nos. 8,441,438 (claims 1 & 3-5) and 8,552,978 (claims 10 & 12). On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed with a short opinion by Chief Judge Prost focusing on three discrete issues:

            Real Party in Interest: The patentee argued that Google did not disclose all real parties in interest as required by statute 35 U.S.C. § 312(a)(2). On appeal, the Federal Circuit held that institution stage real-party-in-interest questions are institution related and thus is not reviewable under the no-appeal provision of 35 U.S.C. § 314(d). This issue was previously decided in ESIP Series 2, LLC v. Puzhen Life USA, LLC, 958 F.3d 1378 (Fed. Cir. 2020). One difference here from ESIP is that the challenge was not raised to the institution decision itself, but rather as part of a post-institution motion to terminate based upon newly discovered evidence. On appeal though, the Federal Circuit found the new motion equivalent to a request to reconsider the institution. The court also held that the Board’s refusal to allow ESIP additional discovery was “similarly unreviewable” because the discovery ruling is tightly associated with the institution decision.

            The court did not delve into the RPI issue, but CyWee was complaining about a coordinated effort by defendants in the district court litigation (including Samsung and Google) to ensure that Backmann was only seen by the Board and not also by Judge Bryson who was sitting by designation in the district court.


            Obviousness: On the merits of the obviousness case, the patentee argued that the key prior art reference was not “analogous art” and therefore could not be used for obviousness.

          • $3,000 for Acacia subsidiary prior art, Stingray IP Solutions [Ed: Microsoft-connected patent troll active in the Eastern District of Texas.]

            On March 10, 2021, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $3,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 51 of U.S. Patent 7,224,678. The patent is owned by Stingray IP Solutions, LLC, a subsidiary of Acacia Research Group, an NPE.

            The ’678 patent generally relates to wireless LAN with intrusion detection features. It has been asserted against TP-Link Technologies, Signify, and Samsung in the Eastern District of Texas.

          • Proven Networks patent challenged

            On March 16, 2021, Unified Patents filed an ex parte reexamination proceeding against U.S. Patent 8,018,852, owned by Proven Networks, LLC. This patent relates to a port selection technique used in a network switching environment where there are multiple equal-cost paths between two nodes. The ‘852 patent has been asserted against Palo Alto Networks, Dell, Microsoft, Cisco, Amazon, HPE, NetApp, Arista, F5, and Extreme Networks.

            View district court litigations by Proven Networks. Unified is represented David Tennant, David Markoff, and Kiersten Batzli of White and Case and by in-house counsel, Ashraf Fawzy and Jessica L.A. Marks.

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