[Meme/Teaser] The European Blackmail Office

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 9:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft controls the EPO? Same company that's notorious for patent blackmail?

Summary: Having published the recent history of Microsoft's patent blackmail (e.g. against Linux, even 2 years ago) get ready for Friday’s installment (part 14)

[Meme] Masking Their Agenda…

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO and masks
COVID will certainly respect herd diplomatic immunity

EPO hypocrites
Last autumn (real photograph published proudly by epo.org)

Summary: The arrogance of EPO managers is so vast that in violation of the law they've failed to provide masks to staff

Using the Pandemic as a Pretext by Which to Impose Surveillance Capitalism on Every Home (and Penalise Law-Abiding Citizens Who Reject That)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 8:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Private Terrain
Private terrain? Where? The woods?

Summary: Under the bogus guise (lie) of “progress” and “technology” (or “tech”) our human rights are being robbed; “Smart” has nothing to do with that as it’s never smart to abandon civil liberties for corporations’ cost-savings, data extraction, and occupation by social control

MONTHS ago I politely ranted about our local government pushing people to use “apps” and “Web site” instead of traditional face-to-face meetings and verified paperwork. They not only punish “old people” (who aren’t ready to familiarise themselves with technology that they hardly even need anyway); they harm human rights, too.

This week I’ve had yet more encounters with my energy provider — the one that bought the energy provider we’ve long relied on. We already pay extra fees each year just to avoid “SPY meters” (so-called “Smart” meters), so why give up? In fact, when switching between providers they make it virtually impossible to reject those surveillance devices, which share collected data with all sorts of third parties or have the potential to do that at any time in the future.

“In fact, when switching between providers they make it virtually impossible to reject those surveillance devices, which share collected data with all sorts of third parties or have the potential to do that at any time in the future.”Our new provider, which bought our prior provider, is truly terrible. I was warned about it in advance by a friend; he tried hard to abandon them, so I was preconditioned to distrust them. Yesterday I finally confronted them over the telephone for their considerable price hikes. Not small hikes, but very major ones — almost 10%, for the second time in less than a year. I’ve long heard the theory about us having to collectively foot the bill for those unable to pay (due to job losses in a pandemic), almost as though the providers are just “Too big/important to fail,” so customers need to bail them out or something (or cover outrageous costs of managers’ massive salaries). Now it turns out that they’re massively increasing energy prices even when the price of energy generally goes down (lowered demand worldwide) and moreover they’re trying to penalise people, about 50 pounds a year (3 times more than before), for rejecting a SPY meter. There’s nothing “smart” or “green” about forcing people to use Web sites (computers use power) and sending them no paper (gas consumption pollutes far more than a single sheet of paper).

“For the time being we’re still assessing our options and speaking to friends.”This isn’t about progress or anything “Smart” (this isn’t “high tech”; it could be done decades ago, feasibly and affordably, but the agenda was different back then). They’re trying to push people to use “Web site” and “SPY meters”; sadly, they’re not alone either, as they already use financial sanctions against people who don’t obey unless they can provide proof they cannot physically cope with such ‘technology’ (old tech suddenly imposed by governments and companies that besiege those governments… how “Smart”).

Remember that whatever version of “SPY meter” they offer today will later be replaced with “newer and better version” (the “old one” becomes “no longer compatible”), complete with additional and ‘novel’ spy features, e.g. sensors you cannot disable. The same has been happening with routers and TV sets. Nowadays many TVs “watch” the viewer (see Wikileaks/Vault 7 for technical details).

Don’t be too shocked if future versions add microphones for instructions/directions by speech. The listening devices/bug makers (notable among them is Amazon) euphemistically call them “assistants”.

For the time being we’re still assessing our options and speaking to friends. Bringing surveillance capitalism to the very heart of every home ought not be an objective and should certainly not be imposed. Using the pandemic to speed up such a nefarious agenda is an insult to the many victims of COVID.

Note: names of vendors and brands are omitted; they don’t matter as the problems are generic and largely applicable in many countries outside the United Kingdom

The Patent Professionals Have Come to Realise That the EPO Boards of Appeal, Controlled by Office Management, Are Kangaroo Courts

Posted in Deception, Europe, Law, Patents at 7:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The whole concept of patent justice in Europe is being crushed by operatives of the litigation industry and corrupt EPO management; they’ve almost completely hijacked the entire system, expanding their scope/breadth of reach to tribunals and robed judges

THERE is a posting in IP Kat where comments have shown up contrary to the “official” narrative/script; as neither Benoît Battistelli nor António Campinos with their cohorts are named (their corruption), these comments have gone past moderation and have been visible for a couple of days now (we already know that IP Kat sometimes zaps entire comment threads, as many as 40 at the time, especially if those ‘insult’ Office management; hence we make backups each day). Don’t forget that Office management has already extorted and even blocked IP Kat (the whole blog). No wonder comments are sometimes being mass-deleted even after they’re approved by the moderator.

Anyway, earlier today we still saw comments such as this: “The members in question participated in a decision which is the subject of a case referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal: does Art. 2(3) apply anyway?”

“Unless these severe problems are rectified, more and more fake patents will be granted and within a decade or two most “valid” patents (EPs) will be of dubious quality — to the point of near uselessness.”There are many comments just like that, or even more strongly worded (see the video above). People everywhere are belatedly coming to realise that the composition of such boards can be a joke, as it was 2 years ago (in G 2/19, Enlarged Board of Appeal, EPO). The German constitutional court (FCC) needs to pay closer attention to that. The EPO is no longer functioning (even remotely) in compliance with the EPC. EPO staff representatives and the union have long warned about this; such warnings have fallen on deaf years among so-called ‘news’ sites which are more like think tanks of litigation giants (sites like IAM and JUVE as of recent years; JUVE is nowadays mostly ads/marketing for law firms, not news).

Unless these severe problems are rectified, more and more fake patents will be granted and within a decade or two most “valid” patents (EPs) will be of dubious quality — to the point of near uselessness. This is certainly true when it comes to European software patents, no matter if they call them “hey hi” or “CII” or “hi hi hi!”

Trolling Community Developers of GNU/Linux Via Patent Trolls — Part III: The Technical and Legal Burden as Weapon Against the Community

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Patents, Red Hat at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Community-led and Free software-based GNU/Linux distributions (“distros”) are under attack from software patents; the monopoly wannabes of GNU/Linux (companies like IBM) contribute to the problem with their awful and self-serving patent policies

TODAY we continue a series that was started earlier this month (background in Part I and Part II is essential albeit summarised in the video above; more background information was published here last year [1, 2]). The short story is, community-led distros of GNU/Linux are under attack and methods are split among two main categories: technical and legal.

To put it in simple terms, those looking to monopolise the GNU/Linux market (in effect turning it into the “new UNIX”) make it hard to catch up with technical developments and releases (technical barrier). On top of that, they support software patents, which become a legal threat (legal barrier, also financial).

“Where’s IBM in all this? Nowhere. IBM is busy trying to get itself another monopoly.”Notice how much of the GNU/Linux stack IBM/Red Hat hopes to dominate, how frequent releases of systemd have become (the same is true for Chrome; Google uses similar tactics and has recently made Chrome releases even 50% more frequent than before while shutting out derivatives from its ‘disservices’).

We need to talk about those things. The community isn’t assisted but obstructed by some companies. OIN won’t help us; OIN works for companies like IBM.

“Via said that as administrators of the patent pool, they will now take [legal] action,” one community distro recently told us, “but this was some time ago and I haven’t heard from them since.”

They keep threatening distro developers with patent litigation. Even just to scare them, perhaps hoping they would abandon development altogether and move on to something else in their lives.

“I’m now aware of what got the attention of Via Licensing,” the distro source told us. “We requested specs for Dolby Vision from Dolby a few years ago. That fell on deaf ears, but we recently got a response stating that if we want to license Dolby Vision, we’ll need to fix our licensing for AAC, AC3 (thought that had expired), TrueHD etc etc. That doesn’t sound FRAND to me — but who knows.”

So it is a form of blackmail. People who care about the law, including copyright (basis of copyleft) law, are being bullied. “I haven’t reached out to OIN/Unified Patents yet,” the source noted, “and won’t do so until I get a legal threat in writing.”

We won’t name the distro or any persons, but Dolby and Via Licensing would likely know or can speculate about identities.

“We sell our own device based on AMLogic SoCs and have access to AMLogic BSPs,” the source said. “AMLogic’s SLA and NDAs permit redistribution of GPLv2 code — but prevent access to Git history, which I suppose is no different to what Red Hat did years ago to slow down CentOS progress. It goes without saying that we do not ship these files as part of our open source platform.”

For those who missed it, we wrote about a GPL violation, as specified in Part II.

In the next part we’ll talk about reverse engineering efforts and what sort of huge burden (e.g. re-implementation) serves to slow down the evolution of community-led distros. This teaches us about the great harm of European software patents being granted by the EPO. People who fight for other people’s rights, e.g. privacy, are coming under vengeful and retaliatory attacks. Where’s IBM in all this? Nowhere. IBM is busy trying to get itself another monopoly.

Links 18/3/2021: Kodachi 8.0, Lacros, Copr Release 21.03

Posted in News Roundup at 3:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Google set to make Linux-based Lacros the new Chromebook browser

        Chromebooks are great personal computers because they are affordable, they get regular feature updates, and they are among the most secure internet-connected devices you can buy. One of the reasons that Chromebooks are so secure is because of the way that they sandbox the Chrome browser and downloaded apps, but also because they get automatic security patches for upwards of eight years. However, once a Chromebook has reached the end of its update life, its users will no longer be protected from possible security exploits through the Chrome browser. One important way that Google is working to correct this potential flaw is by completely rewriting the current Chrome browser and replacing it on Chrome OS with a new browser-based on the Linux version called Lacros — a clever acronym that stands for Linux And ChRome OS.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • KDE AudioTube: Project for Youtube Music
      • Ubuntu Podcast S14E02 – Toast Letter Club

        This week we have been rediscovering keybase.io and blogging, a lot. We discuss a smart TV equipped with RokuOS, bring you some command line love and round up all your wonderful feedback.

        It’s Season 14 Episode 02 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

      • BSD Now 394: FreeBSD on Mars

        Onboard Scheduler for the Mars 2020 Rover, Practical Guide to Storage of Large Amounts of Microscopy Data, OpenBSD guest with bhyve – OmniOS, NextCloud on OpenBSD, MySQL Transactions – the physical side, TrueNAS 12.0-U2.1 is released, HardenedBSD 2021 State of the Hardened Union, and more

    • Kernel Space

      • BPF meets io_uring

        Over the last couple of years, a lot of development effort has gone into two kernel subsystems: BPF and io_uring. The BPF virtual machine allows programs from user space to be safely run within the context of the kernel, while io_uring addresses the longstanding problem of running system calls asynchronously. As the two subsystems expand, it was inevitable that the two would eventually meet; the first encounter happened in mid-February with this patch set from Pavel Begunkov adding the ability to run BPF programs from within io_uring.

        The patch set itself is relatively straightforward, adding less than 300 lines of new code. It creates a new BPF program type (BPF_PROG_TYPE_IOURING) for programs that are meant to be run in the io_uring context. Any such programs must first be created with the bpf() system call, then registered with the ring in which they are intended to run using the new IORING_ATTACH_BPF command. Once that has been done, the IORING_OP_BPF operation will cause a program to be run within the ring. The final step in the patch series adds a helper function that BPF programs can use to submit new operations into the ring.

        As a proof of concept, the patch series does a good job of showing how BPF programs might be run from an io_uring. This work does not, though, really enable any new capabilities in its current form, which may be part of why there have been no responses to it on the list. There is little value to running a BPF program asynchronously to submit another operation; one could simply submit that operation directly instead. As is acknowledged in the patch set, more infrastructure will be needed before this capability will become useful to users.

        The obvious place where BPF can add value is making decisions based on the outcome of previous operations in the ring. Currently, these decisions must be made in user space, which involves potential delays as the relevant process is scheduled and run. Instead, when an operation completes, a BPF program might be able to decide what to do next without ever leaving the kernel. “What to do next” could include submitting more I/O operations, moving on to the next in a series of files to process, or aborting a series of commands if something unexpected happens.

      • Lockless patterns: full memory barriers

        The first two articles in this series introduced four ways to order memory accesses: load-acquire and store-release operations in the first installment, read and write memory barriers in the second. The series continues with an exploration of full memory barriers, why they are more expensive, and how they are used in the kernel.

      • Linux 5.12′s very bad, double ungood day

        The -rc kernels released by Linus Torvalds exist for a reason: after 10,000 or so changes flow into the kernel over a two-week merge window, there will surely be some bugs in need of squashing. The -rc kernels provide an opportunity for wider testing after all those patches have been integrated. Most of the time, -rc kernels (even the initial -rc1 releases) are surprisingly safe to run. Occasionally, though, something goes wrong, giving early testers reason to reconsider their life choices. The 5.12-rc1 kernel, as it turns out, was one of those.
        On January 26, Christoph Hellwig posted a 17-patch series containing cleanups to the code dealing with the allocation of the BIO structures used to represent block-I/O requests. The final patch in that series simplified the allocation of requests for swap files in particular. The series was applied by block maintainer Jens Axboe one day later. The change was included in this pull request sent on February 17, and landed in the mainline on February 21 as part of the massive set of pulls done by Torvalds once his power was restored.

        “Swapping” is how the kernel pushes anonymous pages (those which are not backed up by a file on disk — program data, in other words) out to persistent storage when memory gets tight. Linux can swap directly to a partition on a block device; that is how systems are traditionally set up. But the kernel can also swap to a file within a mounted filesystem with something close to the same performance. Swapping to a file gives administrators some additional flexibility; it is an easy way to give some relief to a system that is running short of memory without disturbing the existing workload, for example.

      • CIFSD In-Kernel SMB3 File-Sharing Server Lands In Linux-Next – Phoronix

        Samsung for some time now has been working on an in-kernel SMB3 protocol implementation for file sharing across the network with “CIFSD” and it’s now been queued into Linux-Next meaning it will likely go for mainline in a coming cycle.

      • Microsoft handheld Xbox console rumors spring up again as AMD Van Gogh APU appears in Linux kernel code with a potential graphics boost – NotebookCheck.net News

        Linux kernel code has revealed some details about AMD’s Van Gogh Ryzen 5000 ULV mobile APU series.


        Tech tipsters Komachi and _rogame have offered up the details about the ultra low voltage APU, with code explicitly stating “RAM width 256bits DDR5”. Along with that information, an AMD engineering sample model number revealed a 2.4 GHz base clock and 3.5 GHz boost rate for a 4-core, 8-thread Van Gogh part. On top of additional leaks about the series, which include a 7nm manufacturing process, Zen 2 and RDNA 2 microarchitectures, Navi 2 iGPU, and a very low 9 W TDP, you are left looking at a very handy APU that is especially ideal for either an ultra-mobile laptop…or a next-gen portable console.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA 460.67 Graphics Driver Released with Better Support for Linux 5.11, Bug Fixes

          Coming two months after the NVIDIA 460.39 release, NVIDIA 460.67 is here today to improve support for the latest Linux 5.11 kernel series by fixing a driver installation failures where the NVIDIA kernel module failed to build with the “error: implicit declaration of function ‘sys_close’” or “fatal error: asm/kmap_types.h: No such file or directory” errors.

          Only on Linux systems, the NVIDIA 460.67 graphics driver also fixes a bug that may have caused apps to become unstable when using ray tracing extensions on multi-GPU setups if the GPUs didn’t match.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD AOCC 3.0 Is Here To Help Squeeze A Bit Extra Performance Out Of Zen 3

        This week alongside the EPYC 7003 series launch was the introduction of AOCC 3.0 as AMD’s Zen-optimized LLVM/Clang downstream. We have started putting this updated compiler through its paces to see what it means for AMD Zen 3 performance.

        Within the next week or so I should have some new AOCC vs. LLVM Clang upstream vs. GCC 11 development benchmarks while for today’s article is looking at AOCC 2.3 as the prior release compared to the newly-minted AOCC 3.0. The AMD Optimizing C/C++ Compiler 3.0 update re-bases its base against LLVM Clang 12 in its development state towards the end of last year compared to an LLVM Clang 11 base used by AOCC 2.3. AOCC 3.0 is the first AMD compiler release with Zen 3 optimizations, using the same -march=znver3 option of course as upstream LLVM and GCC. AOCC 3.0 is also tuned for AMD’s AMDLibM 3.7 math library, improves its FLANG-based Fortran compiler support, offers improvements around OpenMP debugging, and other changes.

    • Applications

      • Phoeβe, where AI meets Linux

        Phoeβe (/ˈfiːbi/) wants to add basic artificial intelligence capabilities to the Linux OS.


        Phoeβe uses system telemetry as the input to its brain and produces settings which get applied to the running system. The decision made by the brain is continuously reevaluated (considering the grace_period setting) to offer eventually the best possible setup.

        Phoeβe is designed with a plugin architecture in mind, providing an interface for new functionality to be added with ease.

      • Audacity 3.0.0 Released! Now Save Project into Single .aup3 File

        The Audacity audio editor 3.0.0 was release as a new major update a day ago.

        Audacity 3.0.0 features .aup3 project format. The audio project was previously saved as large number of small data files, with an ‘.aup’ file to coordinate the lot. Now it saves project as the new all-in-one-file aup3 file format.

        Working with the new .aup3 projects editing audio should be a little faster than before, however, finishing and closing a project at the end can be quite a lot slower.

      • Audacity 3.0 Makes Working with Project Files MUCH Easier

        The open source audio editor Audacity is much smarter at saving project files in its latest release.

        Audacity 3.0 intros a new and improved project file that makes it easier for people to work on and share Audacity editing projects with each other.

        What’s better about the Audacity .aup3 project file compared to the old .aup file specifically? Consolidation. The new file format houses all of the audio files and related data for a project within it. The result is a (much) larger file but a far more useful one too.

        Audacity’s hitherto default file format worked a bit differently. It linked to audio files located elsewhere on a system. This made it difficult to move a project between systems, or send it to someone else to work on, as it required the same files in the same locations.

        Now you can move, share, sync a single .aup3 file to pick up where you left off — and yes: no longer risk accidentally screwing up a complex project by accidentally deleting an audio file!

        Opening an .aup project in Audacity 3.0 converts it to the new .aup3 format, which is handy.

      • Open-Source Audio Editor Audacity 3.0 Is Here

        Audacity is a popular cross-platform open-source audio editor. It has all the general tools that a professional audio editor requires for most of the tasks, and it supports plugins as well.

        Recently, a new version, Audacity 3.0 was released with a major change in the save file format along with some new features like Label sounds, Improvements in Manage Macros dialog, and usual bug fixes.

        Let’s take a look into the major changes in this release of Audacity.

      • Backup with these DeDuplicating Encryption Tools

        Data is growing both in volume and value. It is becoming increasingly important to be able to back up and restore this information quickly and reliably. As society has adapted to technology and learned how to depend on computers and mobile devices, there are few that can deal with the reality of losing important data. Of firms that suffer the loss of data, 30% fold within a year, 70% cease trading within five years. This highlights the value of data.

        With data growing in volume, improving storage utilization is pretty important. In computing, data deduplication is a specialized data compression technique for eliminating duplicate copies of repeating data. This technique therefore improves storage utilization.

        Data is not only of interest to its creator. Governments, competitors, criminals, snoopers may be very keen to access your data. They might want to steal your data, extort money from you, or see what you are up to. Encryption is essential to protect your data.

        So the solution is a deduplicating encrypting backup software.

        Making file backups is an essential activity for all users, yet many users do not take adequate steps to protect their data. Whether a computer is being used in a corporate environment, or for private use, the machine’s hard disk may fail without any warning signs. Alternatively, some data loss occurs as a result of human error. Without regular backups being made, data will inevitably be lost even if the services of a specialist recovery organisation are used.

      • Top 10 Terminal Emulators for Linux (With Extra Features or Amazing Looks)

        By default, all Linux distributions already come pre-installed with a terminal application or terminal emulator (correct technical term). Of course, depending on the desktop environment, it will look and feel different.

        Here’s the thing about Linux. You are not restricted to what your distribution provides. You can opt for an alternative application of your choice. Terminal is no different. There are several impressive terminal emulators that offer unique features for a better user experience or for better looks.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Build your own NAS! A custom Raspberry Pi build with OpenMediaVault and an Argon One M2 Case

        If you want to build a Network Attached Storage device on a Raspberry Pi, this video is for you. Using a Raspberry Pi 4, the Argon One M.2 case, and OpenMediaVault – I show you how to build a NAS of your very own.

      • Peter Czanik: Parsing Fortigate logs and other syslog-ng 3.31 news

        Version 3.31 of syslog-ng has been released recently. One of its most user-visible features is the parser for Fortigate logs, yet another networking vendor that produces log messages not conforming to syslog specifications. Parsing Fortigate logs builds upon the new no-header flag of syslog-ng combined with the key-value and date parsers. Other features include a new silent message option for the Telegram destination and automatic directory creation for disk-buffer files.

        Note: as you could guess from the previous paragraph, Fortigate is not alone. Cisco also has “interesting” log messages, and a bit of extra parsing also helps with PAN-OS, even if their messages conform to syslog specifications.

      • Turbulence for Magic Effects, Krita tutorial

        If you like to paint magic powers, this new tutorial is for you!


        It mainly introduces the amazing “Crease” GMIC filter but also shows how to get a dynamic ‘out glow’ with the layer effect of Krita.

      • Get started with an open source customer data platform | Opensource.com

        RudderStack is an open source, warehouse-first customer data pipeline. It collects and routes event stream (or clickstream) data and automatically builds your customer data lake on your data warehouse.

        RudderStack is commonly known as the open source alternative to the customer data platform (CDP), Segment. It provides a more secure, flexible, and cost-effective solution in comparison. You get all the CDP functionality with added security and full ownership of your customer data.

        Warehouse-first tools like RudderStack are architected to build functional data lakes in the user’s data warehouse. The benefits are improved data control, increased flexibility in tool use, and (frequently) lower costs. Since it’s open source, you can see how complicated processes—like building your identity graph—are done without relying on a vendor’s black box.

      • Debugging ip token set RTNETLINK error

        At the Wikimedia Foundation they configure basically all servers with IPv4/IPv6 dual stack, at least in the control plane interface (those used for SSH management, etc). IPv6 is not supported yet on the Cloud Services dataplane (openstack), but it will in the “near” future.

      • Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) HADR – Extended Edition

        Some days ago the colleagues from the Alibaba Cloud team in the SAP LinuxLab approached us and ask if we would like to participate in a project together with the SAP ASE team and the Alibaba cloud team. The goal was to show an ASE HADR concept between Alibaba Cloud and an on-premise data center. Quite quickly, the idea was born to extend the setup with the implementation of the SAP central services and application server.

        The setup was clear and the presentation was done at DSAG 2020. After this we created a best practice guide for the HA part of this setup.

        The picture below illustrate one possible setup.

      • How to play Microsoft Fight Simulator on Linux

        Microsoft Flight Simulator is an aircraft simulator video game for Xbox, as well as Microsoft Windows. It’s one of the longest-running flying simulators for home use to date.

      • Install and Use NoMachine Remote Desktop on CentOS 8

        NoMachine is a free and open-source remote desktop software used for remote access, desktop sharing, virtual desktop and file transfer between computers. It uses NX protocol that provides local speed with low bandwidth. It can be install on many operating systems including, Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and Android. If you are looking for a remote desktop solution then NoMachine is the best option for you.

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install and use NoMachine on CentOS 8.

      • How to Use the Find Command to Search for Files in Linux

        There are times when you want to access a specific file but can’t find it on your system due to lack of folder organization. Luckily, Linux provides you with some handy utilities that allow you to easily search for files on your computer.

        The find command is one such tool that can be used to search for a file using its file name, permissions, extension, size, etc. This guide will explain the Linux Find command and provide some examples that demonstrate how powerful this utility is.

      • Pro tips to master any Linux admin task – TechRepublic

        Linux administrators need to be ready for any job that comes up in the daily routine of managing networks, servers and users. This collection of TechRepublic Premium downloads covers the basics of this job such as selecting the best admin GUI in addition to more complex tasks like how to configure networking on Linux servers.

      • What commands are missing from your bashrc file? | Enable Sysadmin

        I had this strange idea one day while reviewing an article for Enable Sysadmin. I was curious what commands Linux sysadmins were using in their bashrc files. The bashrc file is a place to customize your Linux environment and create aliases which can save you time on the command line.

        I decided to ask our Sudoers if they would share what aliases they created and used all the time. While I wasn’t surprised by the great responses, I did find a few things to consider for my shortcuts.

        The idea was that sharing this would inspire others to improve their bashrc savviness. Take a look at what our Sudoers group shared and, please, borrow anything you like to make your sysadmin life easier.

      • 3 skills that every Linux sysadmin should bring to the table | Enable Sysadmin

        There’s a lot of specialization in the world of system administration. If you started out a decade or more ago as a sysadmin, you know that learning resources were scarce. Skills that every sysadmin professional should possess weren’t easily found online or elsewhere. To ensure that you have the right skills for the job, you need to have a strong knowledge base. Doing so will increase your chances of landing a good position and getting a higher salary.

        At the same time, you’ll have a good foundation for specialization. Things change quickly in the sysadmin world, so you need to ensure you have current and in-demand skills.

      • Install Zabbix Agent on Ubuntu 20.04

        Zabbix agent is installed on the remote host (target) to monitor the hard drive, memory processor, etc. The agent collects data and sends back to Zabbix Server.

        Zabbix agents can use passive or active checks to pass information. In passive check, Zabbix server (poller) requests an agent for certain information, and the agent sends back a value. In the active check, the agent process all data and pushes it to the Zabbix server. However, agent periodically connects the server to collect metric which needs to be monitored.

        We will begin by installing Zabbix agent to the remote Ubuntu 20.04 host and later add a host to Zabbix server dashboard.

      • LFCA: Learn Basic Linux System Commands – Part 3

        This article is Part 3 of the LFCA series, here in this part, we will list 24 of the most widely used Linux system administration commands that are required for the LFCA certification exam.

        Linux system provides a vast pool of commands that you can use to administer and manage your system and they are as follows.

      • Practice using the Linux grep command | Opensource.com

        One of the classic Unix commands, developed way back in 1974 by Ken Thompson, is the Global Regular Expression Print (grep) command. It’s so ubiquitous in computing that it’s frequently used as a verb (“grepping through a file”) and, depending on how geeky your audience, it fits nicely into real-world scenarios, too. (For example, “I’ll have to grep my memory banks to recall that information.”) In short, grep is a way to search through a file for a specific pattern of characters. If that sounds like the modern Find function available in any word processor or text editor, then you’ve already experienced grep’s effects on the computing industry.

    • Games

      • Godot OpenXR support

        OpenXR is a new open standard for interacting with XR hardware by the wonderful people at Khronos. This has been one of these rare cases where all the industry leaders have come together and come up with a standard that combines all the best practices of the different solutions available so far.

        With the announcement of the 0.9 specification roughly two years ago Microsoft showed off their runtime as well as Collabora with their open source Linux based OpenXR runtime called Monado. Last year both Oculus and Valve introduced their runtimes and while still officially in beta they are fully functional at the time of writing this blog post.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.21.3 Is Released

          KDE Plasma 5.21.3 contains a long list of smaller fixes for the KDE Plasma desktop environment version 5.21 released in February. The Plasma update comes a week after the KDE Frameworks libraries version 5.80 was released with a wide range of improvements to the various libraries the KDE Plasma desktop uses to build its various components.

    • Distributions

      • Windows-style Linux distributions for switching systems [Ed: Ed: The English is a bit weak/odd, but it's probably not plagiarism or computer-generated]

        There are many reasons for Change the operating system Or to keep the one you have. Her appearance, her work, and Compatible apps and gamesPossibilities to be customized by the user … or simply, because we are aware of them and do not want to change the routine.

        Indeed, many resist Leave Windows for Linux Although Linux is free, it has the support of large companies and millions of enthusiastic users, and you can customize it to your liking. Among the reasons for its appearance. The solution? Try your luck with similar Linux distributions for Windows abroad.

        In fact, almost every current Linux system looks like Windows. Or rather offices Windows, Linux, and macOS They are practically identical. But there is Linux distributions Windows style that stands out His effort to seem As far as possible for Windows. Let’s look at several notable examples.

        Linux Lite

        Your homepage says it all. Free operating system. Linux Lite It was created to make the transition from Windows to Linux as smooth as possible. Hence, when you see the Linux Lite desktop, you can comfortably navigate if you are from Windows.

        Linux, like Windows, doesn’t stop at the front. It also offers applications familiar to Windows users such as Skype, Steam, Kodi Or Spotify **. This aspect is very easy to achieve nowadays, since the most used applications are multi-system, such as Google ChromeAnd the LibreOffice The VLC media player.

        Linux Lite It is a general Linux distro that gets updated with some frequency. It is based on Ubuntu and uses the XFCE desktop, so it works very well New computers, not new. It only requires 1.5GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 20GB of disk space. If you have any questions, you can answer them In his official guide.

      • New Releases

        • Kodachi 8.0 The Secure OS

          Linux Kodachi operating system is based on Ubuntu 18.04.5 it will provide you with a secure, anti-forensic, and anonymous operating system considering all features that a person who is concerned about privacy would need to have in order to be secure.

          Kodachi is very easy to use all you have to do is boot it up on your PC via USB drive then you should have a fully running operating system with established VPN connection + Connection established + service running. No setup or knowledge is required from your side its all been automated for you. The entire OS is functional from your temporary memory RAM so once you shut it down no trace is left behind all your activities are wiped out.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Mageia 8 Review by an Ubuntu & Mandriva User

          I am honored to review Mageia 8 today as an ex-Mandriva user and long time Ubuntu user at Ubuntu Buzz. Mageia version 8 just released this year in February with a ton of useful features and improvements by an enormous worldwide team of developers. Mageia is a French originated, desktop computer operating system that is user friendly and looks very beautiful derived from Mandriva GNU/Linux and is a Red Hat family thanks to its RPM software package format.Now it’s time to the review that I divide into several parts below. I wish you will like it.

        • Basilisk browser updated to 2021.03.11

          Basilisk is a free and Open Source XUL-based web browser, featuring the well-known Firefox-style interface and operation. It is based on the Goanna layout and rendering engine (a fork of Gecko) and builds on the Unified XUL Platform (UXP), which in turn is a fork of the Mozilla code base without Servo or Rust.

        • Chromium browser updated to 89.0.4389.90 » PCLinuxOS

          Chromium browser that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable internet browsing experience.

        • Vivaldi browser updated to 3.7.2218.45 » PCLinuxOS

          Vivaldi is a web browser based on Chrome that is built by a former Opera founder with additional features to make it unique.

        • Opera browser updated to 74.0.3911.232 » PCLinuxOS

          Opera browser has been updated to 74.0.3911.232. Opera browser is a Chrome based browser with many unique features developed by the Opera development team.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Copr release 21.03

          We have deployed the new version of Copr. You can read full release notes.

        • “Going out of your way to be open”: An important practice for executive leaders

          Throughout our “Managing with Open Values” series, we’ve interviewed a number of managers and leaders who shared with us their experiences and practices. In this installment, I interviewed fellow Open Organization Ambassador Sam Knuth to discuss how he lets open values guide his approach to leading large teams.

          Sam is the Senior Director of several teams at Red Hat, including Product Documentation and a team focused on the associate experience of our Products and Technologies organization. He’s been with Red Hat for more than 15 years. For Opensource.com, he’s authored articles focused on vulnerability and transparency in the workplace, and his stories about life as an open leader showcase a passion for those (and other) open values.

        • Nest with Fedora: 2021 Edition

          Hello Fedora Friends! Phew, it’s been over a year of living with COVID and everything that has gone with it. Although living in a pandemic has been stressful (to say the least), Fedora has thrived through this time, and we have been connecting more than ever. So it is with mixed emotions that I am announcing that our yearly contributor conference will be virtual: Nest with Fedora 2021 edition.

          Although I will sorely miss the time spent with Friends, there are a lot of benefits to virtual events. At Flock to Fedora we are usually able to accommodate around 180-200 people(based on budget). At Nest with Fedora we had almost 500 attendees. The F33 Release Party had more than 170 attendees. We had a virtual Fedora Women’s Day and we also can’t forget the impromptu New Year’s Eve Party! Matthew Miller, Fedora Project Leader, and I have been running a weekly virtual social hour.

        • Davie Street Enterprises embraces GitOps with GitLab

          Andres Martinez, Principal Developer, has been having a rough time lately. While the root cause analysis following the now-infamous two-day outage acquitted his team’s code of wrongdoing, Martinez has spent enough time around the codebase that he knows a major event caused by his team’s code is not a matter of “If,” but “When.”

          His stress is growing every day – he knows that being the only one with extensive experience and knowledge of the codebase is a single point of failure. He is the single thread holding up the technical-debt-Sword of Damocles. He knows that the thread is at risk of breaking, and soon.

        • Cockpit Project: Cockpit 240

          Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly.

          Here are the release notes from Cockpit version 240.

        • Call for Code winner Agrolly expands to new countries, helping small farmers stay a step ahead of climate change

          Since winning the Call for Code Global Challenge in October 2020, the Agrolly team has been hard at work on improving, scaling, and expanding the scope of their farming technology solution. In the few short months since being named winner, the Agrolly team, with mentorship from IBM, has built infrastructure and hired local staff on the ground across markets so that they can continue to improve the app based on direct feedback from farmers. Today, more than 500 rural farmers across Brazil, India, and Mongolia are testing Agrolly and providing feedback.

          Currently, 70% of food production around the world comes from small rural farms, but the farmers, many of whom are women, are often left behind when it comes to being able to adapt to the changing climate. Agrolly’s goal is to give these rural farmers affordable access to the same kinds of AI-powered data and insights that large factory farms use. As mobile phone adoption has grown in rural areas across the globe, Agrolly saw the opportunity to use those devices to bring a bevy of information about weather patterns and crop characteristics, as well as advice and tips on what to grow, how to grow, and when to grow it, directly to small farmers.

      • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • UBports community delivers ‘second-largest release of Ubuntu Touch ever’

          UBports, a community project to build Ubuntu for smartphones, has released OTA-16, a new version of Ubuntu Touch with numerous updates – yet the dream of a viable alternative to iOS and Android seems as distant as ever.

          Ubuntu Touch was originally an official Canonical project, with version 1.0 released in 2013, but the company withdrew in early 2017 when CEO Mark Shuttleworth stated:

          “I took the view that, if convergence was the future and we could deliver it as free software, that would be widely appreciated both in the free software community and in the technology industry, where there is substantial frustration with the existing, closed, alternatives available to manufacturers. I was wrong on both counts.”

          The move also ended the development of the Unity desktop, intended to converge desktop and mobile, with Ubuntu reverting to GNOME.

        • Ubuntu Blog: The State of Robotics – February 2021

          And that was February! A month where a rover showed what perseverance means and a small drone what ingenuity looks like. February will be remembered as the month where two robots landed on Mars, telling us all to “dare mighty things”.


          ROS 1 Kinetic is reaching its end of support, together with Ubuntu Xenial. Do you want to know what your options are? Have a look at our latest blogs.

          Gazebo 7, the robot simulator, is also now officially end-of-life. Never fear, though, Gazebo version 11 picks up where version 7 left off…and so much more! Don’t run on unsupported hardware, migrate off Gazebo 7 now!

        • Standalone XWayland Makes It For Ubuntu 21.04 Along With Linux 5.11, Mesa 21.0

          As part of planning for Ubuntu 21.04 to use Wayland by default when running on the default GNOME Shell desktop, Ubuntu developers were going to evaluate the standalone XWayland work being pursued by Red Hat initially for Fedora in order to ship newer XWayland code without resorting to releasing a new X.Org Server. That standalone XWayland package is now on its way to the Ubuntu archive.

          Yesterday marked the release of XWayland 21.1 as the first standalone XWayland release. Over what’s found in the current stable xorg-server, XWayland 21.1 brings improvements for GLAMOR, X-Video, RENDER format support, using the EGL implementation for the GLX provider, Wayland Viewport protocol support, improved relative mouse input and keyboard grabs, and other changes.


          Lastly, as expected, Linux 5.11 will be powering Ubuntu 21.04 as the default kernel. There are many new features of Linux 5.11 and this will be the latest stable kernel series in time for the release of Ubuntu 21.04 with Linux 5.12 not releasing until the end of April or so.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The TorProject Urges All Relay Operators To Upgrade To Due To Denial-Of-Service Issues

        The TorProject released three new versions of the Tor Onion Router this week,, and These new versions address two different denial-of-service issues. One of them could be very damaging to directory authority nodes, and only them, and the other could cause problems for both Tor relays and authority nodes. Everyone running a Tor node or relay should upgrade.


        Everyone running a Tor relay should upgrade to one of the new releases.

        You do not need to care, not even a little, if you are a casual end-user using the Tor Browser for human rights work or just to browse the web anonymously. The Tor Browser does include a Tor client but it is not configured to act as a Tor relay by default (it can be and you would know if you have done that). These vulnerabilities are only a concern if you are running the Tor software configured as a relay.

      • AV1 Codec Library libaom 3.0-rc1 Released

        Google has released libaom 3.0.0-rc1 as the AOMedia AV1 Codec Library.

        A few weeks back Google released libaom 2.1-rc1 but now they have decided to re-brand the version 2.1 release to v3.0.

        Compared to that earlier 2.1-rc1 release, libaom 3.0-rc1 has several “critical fixes” and that seems to be the motivation for bumping it to the v3.0 milestone with the codec ABI being bumped as well.

      • FSFE

        • From Uri to Bern: Free Software will revolutionise the world

          More and more administrations are following the principle “Public Money? Public Code!” and are turning to Free Software. In Switzerland, the Free Software “Caluma” has been used very successfully for several years to manage the administration of construction applications.

          The canton of Uri has just 36,500 inhabitants and is probably known to most through the Gotthard Pass. But in recent years, the canton has also become increasingly well-known for its use of Free Software for administration. For years, the small canton has increasingly relied on Free Software and has been able to convince other cantons to switch to Free Software through its successful use. The Canton of Bern is one such canton.

      • Programming/Development

        • How to Build a COVID Tracker Dashboard using Tableau

          I don’t use Tableau for my data science work, but I have done a couple of mini-projects to help me review the interface and learn what the hype is all about.

          So yesterday, I decided to create a complete dashboard using Tableau.

          I wanted to compare the ease of building, time it took to complete the project, and quality of the dashboard. So I chose to base it on the number of Novel Coronavirus cases in the world, since I’d built a similar dashboard displaying COVID cases using Python, Jupyter Notebook, and Voila.

        • OpenBLAS 0.3.14 Released With Performance Improvements For AMD Ryzen, POWER10 – Phoronix

          OpenBLAS 0.3.14 is out today as the newest version of this open-source BLAS (Basic Linear Algebra Subprograms) library that continues to work on maximizing the performance for x86_64 and other architectures.

          OpenBLAS 0.3.14 on the x86_64 has an optimized BFloat16 GEMM kernel for Intel Cooper Lake processors, auto-detection is added for Rocket Lake and Tiger Lake, and AMD Ryzen processors are enjoying improved performance for SASUM / DASUM / SROT / DROT kernels. The OpenBLAS x86_64 code also has fixed its detection of AMD’s Clang-based AOCC compiler, support for BLAS/CBLAS tests on Windows, and other fixes.

        • GCC 11 Squeezes In Another Zen 3 Optimization – Phoronix

          Just weeks ahead of the GCC 11 stable release we saw Znver3 tuning work out of SUSE for allowing the GNU Compiler Collection to better cater towards the AMD Zen 3 microarchitecture. That tuning work follows the initial patch at the end of last year that introduced “Znver3″ and flipped on the new instructions. Now another patch working on the Zen 3 tuning for GCC has been posted and already merged.

          Jan Hubicka of SUSE has been the one working on this AMD Zen 3 tuning support for GCC 11 that is coming in at the last minute, presumably due to AMD wanting it timed for the EPYC 7003 series debut. Following the initial tuning patch from Monday, on Wednesday a second patch was posted. This latest patch is enabling the use of AVX2 “GATHER” instructions on Zen 3. AVX2 GATHER support allows for vector elements to be loaded from non-contiguous memory locations but over the years have been mixed feelings and results over its usefulness.


          Hubicka also added that Intel’s ICC is using gather for some of the tests while LLVM Clang and AOCC are not.

        • Top 15 Programming Skills Required To Become A Successful Coder

          Programming is a term that tells a computer how to work. Through programming, we can effortlessly operate any technology. Just as all people have their own or a specific language for a particular territory, so do computers, or advanced technologies have a specific language, and its name is programming. The one who does the programming is called the coder. However, learning programming alone is not enough to become a successful coder, and it requires some special skills. With some tricks and tips, one can acquire these programming skills and improve those. And if you are looking for what those skills can be, then this article is for you.

        • The new Git default branch name | GitLab

          Every Git repository has an initial branch, which is the first branch to be created when a new repository is generated. Historically, the default name for this initial branch was master. This term came from Bitkeeper, a predecessor to Git. Bitkeeper referred to the source of truth as the “master repository” and other copies as “slave repositories”. This shows how common master/slave references have been in technology, and the difficulty in knowing how the term master should be interpreted.

        • GitLab Changes Default Branch Name from Master to Main

          GitLab is changing the default branch name from “master” to “main” and providing users with the ability to change the name of the default branch name of their own repositories.

        • Qt Design Studio 2.1 Beta released

          Qt Design Studio is a UI design and development tool that enables designers and developers to rapidly prototype and create beautiful experiences. Both designers and developers use Qt Design Studio and this makes collaboration between the two a lot simpler and more streamlined.

        • Learn About Algorithms and Data Structures in this Free 6-hour Treehouse Course

          Algorithms and data structures are two of the fundamental topics in computer science. All programmers will encounter them, and they often come up in job interviews.

          We’ve released a full course on the freeCodeCamp.org YouTube channel that will give you an excellent introduction to algorithms and data structures.

          This course was originally developed for Treehouse by teachers Pasan Premaratne and Jay McGavren. For the first time ever, this course is now available for free.

        • Colin King: A common C integer shifting mistake

          Shifting integers in C is easy. Alas it is also easy to get it wrong. A common issue found using static analysis on the Linux kernel is the unintentional sign extension gotcha.

        • Python

          • Python exception groups

            Exceptions in Python are a mechanism used to report errors (of an exceptional variety); programs can be and are written to expect and handle certain types of exceptions using try and except. But exceptions were originally meant to report a single error event and, these days, things are a tad more complicated than that. A recent Python Enhancement Proposal (PEP) targets adding exception groups, as well as new syntax to catch and handle the groups.


            In the first case, a divide-by-zero exception is generated and propagated out to the read-eval-print loop (REPL). In the second, a ValueError is instantiated and raised, then caught and displayed.

            That gives the gist of it, but there are some wrinkles, of course. The except clause can refer to multiple exception types to catch them all and there can be multiple except clauses for separate handling of different exception types. An else clause can be used to do special handling when no exception is caught and a finally clause can be given for code to be executed last, regardless of whether exceptions were caught or not.

        • Rust

          • The Rust Programming Language Blog: Building a shared vision for Async Rust

            The Async Foundations Working Group believes Rust can become one of the most popular choices for building distributed systems, ranging from embedded devices to foundational cloud services. Whatever they’re using it for, we want all developers to love using Async Rust. For that to happen, we need to move Async Rust beyond the “MVP” state it’s in today and make it accessible to everyone.

            We are launching a collaborative effort to build a shared vision document for Async Rust. Our goal is to engage the entire community in a collective act of the imagination: how can we make the end-to-end experience of using Async I/O not only a pragmatic choice, but a joyful one?

        • Java

          • Java 16 Hits General Availability

            Java Development Kit 16 is now generally available. Production-ready binaries under the GPL are available from Oracle; binaries from other vendors will follow shortly. Oracle has also released the new version under a commercial license for those using the Oracle JDK release as part of an Oracle product or service, or for those who want to be able to get commercial support.

            The new release adds two major new features – support for Records, and Pattern Matching for the instanceof operator.


            Another JVM feature is elastic metaspace, a feature that returns unused HotSpot VM class-metadata (i.e. metaspace) memory to the operating system more promptly, reducing metaspace footprint. This is designed to improve memory use in applications with heavy class loading and unloading activity which until now could end up with a lot of unused space. The new scheme allocates metaspace memory in smaller chunks, and improves elasticity by returning unused metaspace memory to the operating system.

            The new release also has new tools and libraries including Unix-domain socket channels and a packaging tool that allows for packaging self-contained Java applications.

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (velocity-tools), Fedora (switchboard-plug-bluetooth), Mageia (discover, flatpak, and xmlgraphics-commons), openSUSE (chromium and python), Oracle (kernel, kernel-container, and pki-core), Red Hat (openvswitch2.11 and ovn2.11, python-django, qemu-kvm-rhev, and rubygem-em-http-request), and SUSE (crmsh, openssl1, and php53).

          • GNU Guix: Risk of local privilege escalation via guix-daemon

            A security vulnerability that can lead to local privilege escalation has been found in guix-daemon. It affects multi-user setups in which guix-daemon runs locally.

            It does not affect multi-user setups where guix-daemon runs on a separate machine and is accessed over the network via GUIX_DAEMON_SOCKET, as is customary on cluster setups. Machines where the Linux protected hardlinks feature is enabled, which is common, are also unaffected — this is the case when the contents of /proc/sys/fs/protected_hardlinks are 1.

          • A vulnerability in Git

            A potentially nasty vulnerability in the Git distributed revision-control system was disclosed on March 9. There are enough qualifiers in the description of the vulnerability that it may appear to be fairly narrowly focused—and it is. That may make it less worrisome, but it is not entirely clear. As with most vulnerabilities, it all depends on how the software is being used and the environment in which it is running.

            The vulnerability (CVE-2021-21300) could lead to code execution on the local system when cloning from a repository crafted to exploit it. It requires that some kind of Git filter be installed. Filters are used to manipulate files in between the filesystem and the Git repository; “smudge” filters are used when pulling blobs (binary objects) out of the repository to store in the working directory, while “clean” filters can change files as they are being committed into the repository. Which of those types is needed will depend on the type of transformation being performed. Git Large File Storage (LFS) is a commonly used extension (with both smudge and clean filters), which is installed by default with Git on Windows.

            Filters are able to delay the normal processing of Git operations so that long-running filtering can be completed in the background. For example, Git LFS may need to copy a large file across the network in order to satisfy a checkout operation. But the delay feature changes the normal order in which files and directories are processed by Git. That, in turn, means that information cached by the tool may no longer be valid when it is relied upon, which is exactly where the vulnerability lies.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • The French Connection: Thales is third industrial giant from France to intervene in Nokia v. Daimler standard-essential patent dispute

          The Dusseldorf Regional Court’s preliminary reference to the European Court of Justice asks the top EU court to opine on certain questions of antitrust law with respect to the availability of standard-essential patent (SEP) licenses to component makers. Daimler argues that Nokia actually owes its suppliers an exhaustive license that would, by extension, cover the Mercedes maker.

          In late 2018, Daimler filed with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) a complaint over Nokia’s refusal to license its suppliers. About two years ago, Nokia started a patent infringement litigation campaign against Daimler that has so far failed to give the former handset maker decisive leverage.

          Daimler notified its tier 1 (direct) suppliers of those cases and the possibility of indemnification claims. Certain suppliers such as Peiker, a German subsidiary of a French company named Valeo, intervened (in support of defendant Daimler) early on. Last year it became known that even French automotive company Renault is technically a supplier to Daimler, by virtue of making a car for Daimler under a cooperation agreement. Renault may not have intervened in all Nokia v. Daimler cases, but in at least a couple of Munich lawsuits.

          By now, Valeo and Renault are no longer the only two French companies to have skin in the Nokia v. Daimler game: I’ve recently found out that Thales, a French industrial giant with 80,000 employees, finally elected to intervene in the Dusseldorf case that gave rise to the ECJ referral. Almost two years after the filing of the complaint, Thales apparently didn’t want to miss this opportunity to try to influence the proceedings in Europe’s highest court.

          Thales is not a direct supplier to Daimler, but a tier 2 supplier (one degree removed) through its customer TomTom. Similarly, Huawei is a tier 2 supplier through such telematics control unit (TCU) makers as Continental and Harman (a Samsung subsidiary).

        • Advice about the patent bar for current and prospective law students

          I recently asked fellow intellectual property professors and others about advice for law students interested in taking the patent bar. The IP community generously responded, and I have synthesized their wisdom and opinions here, with some of my own advice sprinkled in. Of course, opinions differ and things change, so students should consider this post as a jumping-off point for doing their own research and asking their own questions.

        • IDEA Act of 2021

          The first step in a non-discriminatory US patent system is to make sure it is available to all Americans without legal limit. The second step, and the one with real potential to drive an innovation economy, is to takes steps to ensure that the system is inspiring to all Americans. The trick is how to get there without causing undue damage. One underlying issue is also a lack of information about what’s really happening.

        • Six factors litigation funders consider for patent cases | Managing Intellectual Property [Ed: What kind of job title or role is "litigation funders"? Why does this site promote parasitic elements that harm innovation?]

          Investment managers at Burford, Omni Bridgeway, Woodsford and The Judge say venue and PTAB actions are just two of the important considerations for them

        • Analysis: 2020 patent data masks true COVID impact [Ed: Totally missing the point that patents are for very rich people, who have done fine during the pandemic and even received more gifts from taxpayers]

          Global and European patent filings held mostly steady despite the pandemic – but counsel warn the real effects might not be seen for years to come

Links 18/3/2021: WireGuard in FreeBSD and Flow Browser

Posted in News Roundup at 11:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Full Circle Weekly News #202

        Canonical Chooses Flutter

        Linux Mint to Make System Updates a Priority


        Steam Link Now Available on Linux


        ElementaryOS 6 Changing Some of the Look and Feel


        Root Access and Denial of Service Flaws Found and Fixed in Kernel 5.11


        Kernel 5.12 Testing Off to a Rough Start



        ONLYOFFICE Docs 6.2 Out


      • Method Not Allowed | Coder Radio 405

        Mike goes straight for the attack and hits Chris where it hurts, then it’s problem-solving time.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 898

        office chairs, github actions, automation

    • Applications

      • Audacity 3.0.0 major update released and it was worth the wait

        Audacity is free and open-source software, easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux operating systems. It is absolutely one of the most known, used, and appreciated utility of modern computing and if you are a musician for sure you will know it well, but even if you are not you will have surely heard about it.

        For a few days, the new major release of Audacity has been released and, we must say, the wait has been worth it. Audacity 3.0.0 remains the same super-powerful open-source and cross-platform multi-track audio editor but, as a major update, introduces a new save file format, as well as numerous improvements and bug fixes.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Remote X has been a life saver over this past year

        It’s now been a bit over a year since I was last regularly in the office (due to still ongoing events). One of the things that has turned out to be really important to working productively from home has been the X Window System’s remote support (and SSH’s support for X forwarding too, let’s not forget that side). Especially, what has been important for me isn’t just being able to run GUI programs in some way from a remote host, but being able to have them as regular windows on my desktop instead of corralled off into their own seperate ‘remote desktop’ world.

      • How to get started with Vagrant on Linux

        Virtualization allows DevOps teams to easily and quickly replicate necessary OS environments to build, test and deploy their development system on. Vagrant is an open-source, command-line based tool that allows generating reproducible and sharable virtualized environments in an automated fashion. This tutorial will help you understand the power of Vagrant and to guide you to quickly develop hands-on skills with Vagrant.

      • How to use journalctl to analyze logs in Linux

        systemd is the default system manager in most of the major Linux distributions, which comes with a new logging daemon called ‘journald’.

        For many years, system and kernel logs in traditional SysVinit system were handled by syslogd that stores logs in plain text files whereas journald stores logs in binary format.

        systemd collects logs from several sources such as system, kernel and various services or daemon’s and provides a centralized management solution through journald.

        This is a highly streamlined process and logs can be viewed based on requirements, whereas syslogd logs are manually analyzed using various commands such as find, grep, cut, etc.

        In this article, we will demonstrate how to view and analyze Linux system logs using the journalctl command.

      • How to install Flashprint 4.6.0 on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Flashprint 4.6.0 on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How to Remote Desktop From Windows To Linux Desktop Using XRDP

        Do you use Windows and Linux? Can you remotely manage Windows from Linux (Ubuntu or another distribution) or Linux from Windows? Sure you can. Similar to how Remote Desktop Connection is used between Microsoft platforms (or remote control between Linux machines), it is also possible to control the desktop from different platforms. You can click on the desktop and launch applications, just as if you were sitting right in front of your computer.

      • Oracle Java 16 Released, How to Install it in Ubuntu 20.04, 18.04, 20.10 | UbuntuHandbook

        Oracle Java 16 was announced as a short release with 6-month support. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10 via PPA.

      • How to Display a Calendar in Your Linux Terminal with Cal

        Using the Linux terminal can be so fun that you might lose track of what day it is. Fortunately, there’s a Linux command for displaying a calendar in your terminal. Cal is a standard Linux command that prints an ASCII calendar for the specified month and year.

        In this article, we will talk in brief about Cal, the various options associated with the utility, and how you can use Cal to display calendars on your Linux machine.

      • How To Install XAMPP Plugins In Ubuntu Linux (Installing WordPress Plugin)

        What is XAMPP In Linux?

        XAMPP is the most popular PHP development environment. XAMPP is a completely free, easy to install Apache distribution containing MariaDB, PHP, and Perl. The XAMPP open source package has been set up to be incredibly easy to install and to use.

        What is WordPress?

        WordPress is the world’s most popular website builder. 40% of the web is built on WordPress. More bloggers, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies use WordPress than all other options combined.

      • How To Install Asterisk on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Asterisk on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Asterisk is a popular open-source PBX platform for developing communications applications such as conference servers and VoIP gateways. It offers a set of features including, conference call, voice mail, IVR, and automatic call distribution. It is used by individuals, small businesses, large enterprises, and governments worldwide.

        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 Asterisk 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.

    • Games

      • PC Game ‘Devotion’ Is Back, Now Being Sold Directly By The Developer

        Late last year, we discussed a disappointing move by GOG to delist well-reviewed horror PC game Devotion from its platform. Making it all very odd were the facts that GOG had just announced that morning that the game would be available that day, as well as Devotion’s previous delisting from Steam. The reason for the multiple delistings was never perfectly spelled out in either case, but the game includes a reference to China’s President Xi and the never ending joke that he resembles Winnie the Pooh. GOG, instead of being open about that being the obvious reason to delist the game, instead said it made the move after receiving “messages from gamers.” Groan.

      • The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark confirmed for release on April 15

        Ready for more weird and wonderful cases to solve? The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark (season 2) confirmed for release on April 15. Originally called The Darkside Detective: Season 2, they renamed it to get away from any sequel issues even though all cases are standalone and the first game is not needed.

      • You can get Bomber Crew, Space Crew and For The King in the latest Humble Bundle | GamingOnLinux

        Need a bunch of games for the upcoming weekend? Humble Bundle have you covered with the Curve Digital Supply-Drop Game Bundle. As usual it’s a mix of games that support Linux and don’t, although those that don’t may work in Steam Play Proton. We highlight in bold text those that offer Linux builds.

      • Albion Online gets another massive free upgrade with Call to Arms out now | GamingOnLinux

        The fantasy sandbox MMO Albion Online has just expanded with the free Call to Arms update that pulls in some absolutely huge changes to the game.

        A whole new faction is in the game with Caerleon, there’s animated vegetation in the world now so it looks more alive than ever, Faction Warfare got a massive rework to give a more in-depth experience and there’s much more to do, the Hellgate system that mixes together PvP and PvE was also expanded with new map layouts and new enemies to fight along with support for 10v10 battles, you can now save equipment load-outs to switch easily and absolutely lots more. This might be the biggest update yet.

      • FMV adventure Dark Nights with Poe and Munro gets a Linux Beta | GamingOnLinux

        From the creators of The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker and The Shapeshifting Detective, D’Avekki Studios have put up a Linux Beta version of Dark Nights with Poe and Munro.

        “Adventure in the strange town of August with local radio hosts and secret lovers Poe and Munro, as they encounter six unique mysteries on and off the air. Direct the banter and the action as they fend off a nightmare stalker who just won’t let go, a vengeful ghost looking for everlasting closure, a demonic painting that grants wishes – and more – but can you keep Poe and Munro together, and alive…?”

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD kernel-mode WireGuard moves forward out-of-tree

          Earlier this week, we covered progress integrating an implementation of the WireGuard VPN protocol into the FreeBSD kernel. Two days later, there’s an update—kernel-mode WireGuard has been moved out of FreeBSD 13 development entirely for the time being.
          The change only affects kernel-mode WireGuard. User-mode WireGuard has been available in FreeBSD since 2019 and remains, unaffected. If you pkg install wireguard, you get user-mode WireGuard, better known as wireguard-go. Wireguard-go is potentially less performant than kernel-mode, but it’s stable and more than fast enough to keep up with most use cases.

          The removal is actually good news for FreeBSD users and WireGuard users. Although the new kernel work done by WireGuard founder Jason Donenfeld, FreeBSD developer Kyle Evans, and OpenBSD developer Matt Dunwoodie represented a clear step forward, it was deemed too rushed to go out in a production kernel. This is a decision heartily endorsed by Donenfeld himself, who prefers a steadier development process with more code reviews and consensus.

          Donenfeld announced the migration of development from FreeBSD 13-CURRENT to his own git repository earlier today. The new snapshot no longer relies on ifconfig extensions to build tunnels; it uses wg and wg-quick commands similarly to Linux, Windows, and Android builds instead. Although the code works, Donenfeld warns that it shouldn’t be considered production-ready yet…

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • What’s in Fedora 34? GNOME 40, accelerated Wayland, PipeWire Audio, improved Flatpak support, and more

          Ahead of its release next month, the Fedora community has posted details of what is coming in Fedora 34, Red Hat’s bleeding-edge Linux distro.

          Fedora is where Red Hat tries new features that may make their way into Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) in future. While sponsored by Red Hat, it is also a community project in its own right.

          Although the focus is on innovation, Fedora Workstation describes itself as “a reliable, user-friendly and powerful operating system for your laptop or desktop computer”. The server edition presents itself as “a short-lifecycle, community-supported server operating system” which is enough to deter most production use, other than for those who particularly need some new feature which it supports.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Get started with an open source customer data platform

        RudderStack is an open source, warehouse-first customer data pipeline. It collects and routes event stream (or clickstream) data and automatically builds your customer data lake on your data warehouse.

        RudderStack is commonly known as the open source alternative to the customer data platform (CDP), Segment. It provides a more secure, flexible, and cost-effective solution in comparison. You get all the CDP functionality with added security and full ownership of your customer data.

        Warehouse-first tools like RudderStack are architected to build functional data lakes in the user’s data warehouse. The benefits are improved data control, increased flexibility in tool use, and (frequently) lower costs. Since it’s open source, you can see how complicated processes—like building your identity graph—are done without relying on a vendor’s black box.

      • Decentralized Networks Under Attack? Google Removes Open-Source Mastodon Client “Tusky” from the Play Store

        Out of the blue, Google removed the ‘Tusky’ app which was a Mastodon client for Android for violating some ambiguous policies.

      • Web Browsers

        • For the first time in years, someone is building a web browser from scratch

          The Cambridge, U.K.-based company is developing a browser called Flow, and unlike the vast majority of browsers that have arrived in recent years, it’s not based on Google’s Chromium or Apple’s WebKit open-source code. Instead, Flow is starting with a blank slate and building its own rendering engine. Its goal is to make web-based apps run smoothly even on cheap microcomputers such as the Raspberry Pi.

          There’s a reason companies don’t do this anymore: Experts say building new browsers isn’t worth the trouble when anyone can just modify the work that Apple and Google are doing. But if Flow succeeds, it could rethink the way we browse the web and open the door to cheaper gadgets. That at least seems like a goal worth pursuing.

        • [Old] Spyglass, a Pioneer, Learns Hard Lessons About Microsoft

          But in December 1995, when Mr. Gates announced that Microsoft was shifting its product development to ”embrace and extend” the Internet, he also said Microsoft would be giving its browser away. A byproduct was that the Spyglass browser licensing revenue quickly disappeared, as smaller Internet software companies went out of business and many big customers shifted to Microsoft’s free browser.

        • [Old] Shining Time For Spyglass

          Mosaic is especially suited for the World Wide Web, a part of the Internet loaded with complex graphics, color pictures and sound, says Jay Batson, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. The WWW or “Web,” as it is called, is seen by industry analysts as the most powerful commercial component of the Internet because of the potential to sell and deliver products like music, video and software directly to computer users.

          “Spyglass is really well-positioned to take advantage of the explosion of the Internet and the World Wide Web,” said Batson, “This World Wide Web stuff is growing so fast, it’s unbelievable.”

        • The first version of Internet Explorer borrowed from the source code of what other web browser?

          In 1994, Microsoft licensed Spyglass Mosaic for a quarterly fee plus a percentage of Microsoft’s non-Windows revenues. However, the OS developer attempted to avoid those royalties by including Internet Explorer 1.5 for free in Windows NT, concluding in a lawsuit and an $8 million payout in January 1997.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • California universities and Elsevier make up, ink big open-access deal

            For UC, the 4-year deal, which takes effect 1 April, advances its goal of redirecting money it would have paid for subscriptions to read paywalled Elsevier journals to instead paying for publishing open-access articles. Elsevier will discount author fees by 15% for most of its journals, and by 10% for its Cell Press and Lancet titles. Those fees range from $150 to $9900—for publishing open access in the prestigious Cell—with an average of about $2000 per article across all Elsevier journals (before discounts).

      • Programming/Development

        • SQLite is great for R and Shiny. The dbmisc package may help a bit.

          Over the years I have written several Shiny apps that rely on SQLite databases. One example is my shiny app to find reproducible economic articles with data supplement: https://ejd.econ.mathematik.uni-ulm.de. The underlying data is stored in a SQLite database and I regularly run some scrapping code that inserts new content. SQLite is also super helpful for applications where multiple users can enter data. An example of mine is a Shiny app where each semester lecturers enter their seminars and then students enter their preferences over seminars in order to perform a centralized matching. For such applications, a database is much more convenient than trying to manage separate files. Given that not too many users enter their data at the same time, in my experience, SQLite performs very well. So far I had no need for a more complicated set-up with a separate database server.

          The heavy-lifting for using SQLite in R is done by the great packages DBI and RSQLite. However, I also strongly rely on a bunch of convenience functions from my package dbmisc. For example, they facilitate seamless conversion of data types between R and SQLite. For a detailed description look at the README. Here is just a shorter overview what can be done.

        • Rust

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Patterns in application-layer protocol design

        Note on layering. The fact that all these patterns are listed together does not imply that they can not be decomposed into layered subprotocols, and in fact an analysis deducing such layering should be made. For example, an application-layer protocol which provides framing can consider this to be the lowest layer of itself, with other subprotocols of the application-layer protocol layered on top of it. Some functionality discussed herein, such as publish/subscribe, transactions or reliable queueing, is particularly high level and can be viewed as sitting above, for example, a general request/response/notification messaging layer, itself sitting on a framing layer. The full analysis of an application-layer protocol’s subprotocols is inevitably specific to the protocol, so it is not discussed further here.

      • Why interoperability is key to the success of healthcare startups

        Startups are behind some of the most innovative software applications and solutions being developed for the healthcare industry today. However, if they are to ensure success, there is one vital component they can’t afford to miss from their solutions: interoperability. Interoperability – the ability to properly understand information sent from or to another system – has been a necessity for healthcare since the advent of specialist departmental systems.

        The unambiguous exchange of data is critical for patient care and evidence-based medicine. With data such a vital asset within the industry, it’s perhaps unsurprising then that interoperability is the highest priority for NHS IT leadership. Therefore, as healthcare startups develop new applications, they must do so in accordance with interoperability standards.

  • Leftovers

    • How Russians see ‘freedom’ differently Philosopher Nikolai Plotnikov reviews the intellectual history of ‘volya’ and ‘svoboda’

      Russian culture by its very nature fosters a heightened sensitivity to limits on freedom, particularly the certain type of freedom it calls “volya.” The freedom of Western culture is structured on rights and clearly defined boundaries — a far cry from the “laws of the jungle” in the untamed wilderness. If Russia indeed values freedom, then that freedom is more of an internal expression and the freedom of spirit that can be preserved even in prison. We’ve heard about this sense of freedom from all who have endured political persecution in Russia, from young people like Egor Zhukov and to opposition politicians like Alexey Navalny. Philosopher Nikolai Plotnikov has compiled an anthology of the primary texts on freedom in Russian culture. In this special contribution to Meduza’s “Ideas” section, Plotnikov explains why most European cultures know this sense of freedom very well, despite having abandoned it long ago. He also argues why political freedom isn’t yet a key pillar in Russian political discourse.

    • Too Personal a Tale

      With a graduate degree in counseling and aware of how therapeutic interventions had been distorted by ludicrous theories of human behavior, I was hesitant to seek out help for this battle with anxiety that seemed to be happening all around me in what appeared to be a common happening. I was also hesitant because airing private laundry and admitting weakness is not part of the false “American” myth of rugged individualism and making it alone.

      I never went in for a narrative of Dylan’s “too personal a tale,” in a somewhat different context. But, the constant drumbeat of death and the closing down of the society and its resulting demand for isolation of a kind finally took its toll. From New York City, where I had travelled weekly to take care of family business as the pandemic took especially lethal hold, came tales of endless sirens screaming through the night.

    • After 40 Years Of Being Wrong, Texas Rangers Finally Decide Hypnosis Isn’t A Viable Investigative Technique

      Never let it be said that cops are not open-minded.

    • 2021-03-16 can I get your number domain

      For a little while I’ve been off my core topic of computers and the problems with them, mostly because I started talking about telephones and once that happens I am unstoppable. But I will fight through the withdrawal symptoms to talk about something other than telephone numbers, which is DNS.

      And also telephones.

    • Painful Lessons Learned in Security and Community

      Why did this blow up? It blew up because the attackers broke the process and procedure for progressing an open source project. Not just any project, but a well-established, solid operating system project. A project that should not be ruled by the “move fast and break things” process. It blew up because it surprised people who expected stability and gravitas. It blew up because of a disrespect for our developers, our testers, and our users. We at Netgate, and I personally, tried to engage their effort, only to be rebuked by them.

      By following the normal, well understood security disclosure process this entire incident could have been handled quickly and efficiently through normal channels. We have yet to see a full description of the problems claimed; their choice to do a complete rewrite obscures the evidence of what they believe they were fixing, and they have yet to submit their work through the normal FreeBSD Phabricator process for review. That said, we do look forward to the bug reports and subsequent evaluation of the code through this review process. Code development is an iterative process, and one that we continue to strive to be better at. In the end, we will all benefit.

      So what have I learned from this? I’ve learned to be a little less trusting. I’ve learned to be more proactive in defending against people who have ulterior motives. I’ve learned that people who emphatically say that they’re here to help often aren’t. This was definitely not the positive collaborative experience that I alluded to at the beginning of this blog. Does that mean that I don’t believe in community collaboration anymore? I hope not. Enduring an attack this insidious needs the strength that comes from the community. We need everyone’s help to continue to improve both FreeBSD and the pfSense software and build a strong security community. We need to work together, be transparent, be respectful, and leave our egos at the door. We continue to be committed to quality, community, transparency, and security. Please join us in this effort.

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

      • One Year Into Pandemic, 109 Democrats Get Behind Renewed Medicare for All Effort
      • Opinion | Rise and Shine: Medicare for All Saves Us All

        Stand tall and with the power of our shared commitment and let’s teach more people to be active constituents who push their own Congressional members to co-sponsor the Medicare for All Act of 2021. 

      • ‘Everyone In, Nobody Out’: Jayapal, Dingell Introduce Medicare for All Act With 112 Co-Sponsors

        “A system that prioritizes profits over patients and ties coverage to employment was no match for a global pandemic and will never meet the needs of our people.”

      • Opinion | Can We Protect the Very Thing That Sustains Life?

        Americans will have to fight hard to protect their water from corporate greed. They can learn a lot from El Salvador.

      • Opinion | The American Rescue Plan Does Not Fix Our Fundamentally Flawed Healthcare System. We Need Medicare for All.

        Despite its life-saving importance, the American Rescue Plan continues to protect bloated corporations with our public dollars and does nothing to make healthcare more affordable for the nation. 

      • Lawmakers Urge Biden to Block Massive Petrochemical Complex in Cancer Alley

        “This disastrous project is an affront to environmental justice and contrary to your goals to reduce pollution in frontline communities.”

      • The EU’s Vaccination Lag

        The EU’s figure seems surprising. For example, Chile (32.92), Morocco (15.6), and Turkey (13.07) have done better.

        The EU’s poor performance has been most visible on 2 fronts: (production and acquisition); and (2) distribution and roll-out.

      • America’s Drinking Water Is Surprisingly Easy to Poison

        On Feb. 16, less than two weeks after a mysterious attacker made headlines around the world by hacking a water treatment plant in Oldsmar, Florida, and nearly generating a mass poisoning, the city’s mayor declared victory.

        “This is a success story,” Mayor Eric Seidel told the City Council in Oldsmar, a Tampa suburb of 15,000, after acknowledging “some deficiencies.” As he put it, “our protocols, monitoring protocols, worked. Our staff executed them to perfection. And as the city manager said, there were other backups. … We were breached, there’s no question. And we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again. But it’s a success story.” Two council members congratulated the mayor, noting his turn at the press conference where the hack was disclosed. “Even on TV, you were fantastic,” said one.

      • Magic Mushrooms Are Decriminalized in DC as of Today

        DC Initiative 81, which passed with overwhelming support last fall, goes into effect Monday, March 15. Under the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020, natural psychedelics including magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, and mescaline are decriminalized, making arrests for their possession or use the lowest priority for DC police.

        The law survived a 30-day Congressional review period and a threat by US Representative Andy Harris, who prevented the District from fully legalizing cannabis following a 2014 ballot initiative that passed with support from 70 percent of DC voters, to derail it. Harris, who set off a metal detector near the House floor while carrying a concealed gun this January, had framed the matter as a public-safety issue.

      • Geert Vanden Bossche is to COVID-19 vaccines as Andrew Wakefield is to MMR

        I’ve frequently discussed how in the age of the pandemic, at least in terms of antivaccine misinformation and pseudoscience, everything old is new again. Over the last several months, I’ve listed a number of examples of this phenomenon of antivaxxers recycling hoary tropes to apply them to COVID-19 vaccines; for example, claims that vaccines kill, cause infertility, cancer, autoimmune disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease, and are loaded with “toxins,” among several others, such as the claim that they “alter your DNA.” One such claim that I hadn’t yet seen is a another favorite antivax claim, although admittedly it’s a rather niche claim in that you don’t hear it too often. Specifically, I’m referring to the abuse of evolutionary theory by antivaxxers to claim that vaccines select for more deadly variants of pathogenic viruses and bacteria, making mass vaccination programs dangerous or even potentially catastrophic. Such claims are generally an offshoot of another favorite antivaccine claim, namely that the diseases being vaccinated against are so innocuous that vaccinating against them is overkill and allowing infection and “natural herd immunity” to occur is better, a trope that has also been resurrected about COVID-19, a disease that’s killed well north of 500K people in just the US in a little over a year. This brings us to our topic, a misinformation-filled “open letter” by a scientist named Geert Vanden Bossche that went viral over the weekend. It’s been accompanied by a video interview posted to—where else?—antivaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense website. Reading the letter, what it reminded me, more than anything else, is an article that Andrew Wakefield wrote about the MMR vaccine and measles, published a few months before the pandemic hit. (Truly, those were simpler times.)

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Fintech Giant Fiserv Used Unclaimed Domain

            If you sell Web-based software for a living and ship code that references an unregistered domain name, you are asking for trouble. But when the same mistake is made by a Fortune 500 company, the results can range from costly to disastrous. Here’s the story of one such goof committed by Fiserv [NASDAQ:FISV], a $15 billion firm that provides online banking software and other technology solutions to thousands of financial institutions.

          • Massive SMS Flaw Gives An Attacker Full Access To Your Accounts For $16

            So last year, when everybody was freaking out over TikTok, we noted that TikTok was likely the least of the internet’s security and privacy issues. In part because TikTok wasn’t doing anything that wasn’t being done by thousands of other companies in a country that can’t be bothered to pass even a basic privacy law for the internet. Also, any real security and privacy solutions need to take a much broader view.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Teens, Fight for the Future Sell ‘Invisiclip’ to Counter ‘Menace of Facial Recognition’

              “The more that we learned about the dangers of facial recognition software, the more we desired to find a solution to the problem.”

            • Florida Prisons Are Buying Up Location Data From Data Brokers

              Everyone loves buying location data. Sure, the Supreme Court may have said a thing or two about obtaining this data from cell service providers but it failed to say anything specific about buying it from third-party data brokers. Oh well! Any port in an unsettled Constitutional storm, I guess.

            • Sign now: European initiative for a ban on biometric mass surveillance
            • Additional Regulations Approved for the California Consumer Privacy Act

              “Dark Patterns” are defined by the user experience (UX) researcher who coined the term, Harry Brignull, as “tricks used in websites and apps that make you buy or sign up for things that you didn’t mean to.” In this context, dark patterns can be used to undermine the CCPA’s right to opt-out. With this new regulation, it prohibits companies from burdening consumers with confusing language or unnecessary steps. EFF provided comments to encourage adoption of this proposed regulation.

              The CCPA does not currently mandate the right to opt-in, that is, a more proactive legal rule that a business cannot sell a consumer’s personal information unless the consumer gives permission. Having to retroactively go through multiple screens of opting out burdens the consumer. The current CCPA rule is opt-out. With that comes the need to prohibit businesses from stopping consumers from exercising that right, by banning dark patterns.

              The new CCPA regulations also encourage widespread adoption of a standardized privacy icon to convey the opt-out process. This icon was designed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Cylab and the University of Michigan’s School of Information. Even though providing a universal icon could potentially help users see their options to exercise their CCPA rights, we hope that this ongoing conversation is informed by web accessibility. Confusing language, entangled and layered user interfaces, tiny lettering, and other dark pattern tactics are tied to the conversation of making information accessible and clear for the user. We also believe readability should be considered as well, where language is crafted for everyone’s understanding. For example, EFF explicitly advocated for the ban of double negatives, a common writing tactic deployed in dark patterns.

            • Australia: Sex consent app proposal sparks backlash

              On Thursday, Mick Fuller championed the idea of an app where people could digitally record their mutual agreement to have sex.

              He said the technology could be used to establish “positive consent”.

              But many people have criticised the proposal as short-sighted and potentially open to abuse.

            • Why Facebook is getting in the newsletter game

              Before I go any further, let me acknowledge my conflicts here. As noted in my ethics statement, I receive a health care subsidy and legal support from Substack, the company with which Facebook is most prominently competing here. At the same time, it’s in my interest to see lots of newsletter services thriving. As in most things, the more big companies that are competing for writers, the better off most writers will be.

              That said, I still find Facebook’s move into newsletters a bit surreal, if only because I started a newsletter in 2017 as an end run around Facebook. Or rather, as an end run around the idea of algorithmic feeds in general. After the better part of a decade chasing audiences from platform to platform, I set out to build a strong, direct connection to an audience that wants to hear from me, and that I can reliably reach no matter how many likes, upvotes, or retweets any individual post happens to get.

            • Facebook Has Found a New Way to Ruin Media

              For a company that says it’s not a publisher, Facebook just can’t stay away from the news industry. According to Axios, Facebook is testing a tool for journalists to build websites and newsletters that can host text, video, status updates, and other content. The company plans to pay some writers while eventually opening the program more widely. The social media giant, says Axios, is “trying to help find ways individual journalists can thrive as creators.” LinkedIn and Twitter, which earlier this year purchased a newsletter platform called Revue, have similar plans in development to pay writers or allow them to monetize their work.

            • Scoop: Facebook explores paid deals for new publishing platform

              The big picture: The pandemic has prompted many high-profile journalists to leaving newsrooms to launch their own newsletters or websites. Now, tech companies are getting in on the trend.

            • TikTok will no longer let people opt out of personalized ads

              TikTok will soon make personalized ads mandatory, meaning you’ll start getting ads in the app based on the kind of content you engage with, whether you want them or not.

              The app currently has a setting that allows users to choose whether they’ll be served ads based on their activity within the app. “Starting April 15,” reads a notice shown when opening the app, “your settings will change and the ads you’ll see may start to be based on what you do on TikTok.”

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • It’s Time to Investigate the FBI—for Its Deep-Fake Kavanaugh Investigation

        Late last week, Sheldon Whitehouse, Democratic senator from Rhode Island and, apparently, one of the only senators willing to remember what Republicans did while they were in power, wrote a letter calling on newly confirmed Attorney General Merrick Garland to look into the FBI’s handling of the attempted-rape allegations against Kavanaugh. Specifically, he asked Garland to determine whether the FBI conducted a “fake investigation rather than a sincere, thorough and professional one.” As evidence for the failures of the investigation, Whitehouse points out holes in the FBI’s process that are well known to those of us who have refused to let Kavanaugh get away with it: people and law firms who tried in vain to bring information about Kavanaugh to the bureau but couldn’t find an agent willing to listen; a “tips line” that the FBI never seemed to respond to or follow up on; and repeated “stonewalling” by FBI Director Chris Wray in front of congressional oversight committees about the investigation. Also, the agency failed to follow up on other allegations against Kavanaugh that, in Whitehouse’s words, “required their own investigation.”

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • There Are More Socialists Than Democrats or Republicans

        Or will leftists continue to tolerate and support a corporate Democratic Party that exploits them for their votes, financial contributions and labor while it contemptuously promotes everything they deplore?

        Two out of five voters is a plurality. If the other three out of five split their votes between the Democrats and the Republicans, the Left wins. But those big numbers cannot win if they remain scattered. Tragically for workers and the environment, the Left has no organization. No party. No media. No voice inside the establishment.

      • Sanders Pitches Bill to Close Wide Pay Gap Between CEOs and the Average Worker
      • Sanders Bill Would Hike Taxes on Big Corporations That Pay CEOs Over 50 Times More Than Median Worker

        “Walmart, which pays its CEO nearly 1,000 times more than its average worker, would pay up to $855 million more in taxes.”

      • How to File Your State and Federal Taxes for Free in 2021

        Most Americans are eligible for free tax-preparation services, but the truly free options can be hard to find. If you’re not careful, you could end up using a service that says it’s free but demands payment after you’ve spent time entering your information.

        Now that the IRS has pushed the deadline for 2020 taxes to May 17, you have even more time to make sure you’re using the service that’s right for you.

      • Opinion | Robots Are Coming for Millions of Blue-Collar Jobs

        CEOs urgently need euphemisms to soften the image of their constant hunt for ways to kill jobs and funnel more money to themselves and top investors.

      • “Just” Transitions Are Possible, But They Require State Investment
      • Spain Plans to Begin Experimenting With a Four-Day Workweek
      • WATCH: Sanders-Led Budget Committee Holds Hearing on ‘Income and Wealth Inequality Crisis’

        “We will never eliminate poverty as long as so much of our nation’s resources are flowing to the top.”

      • Warnock Says Filibuster Must Not Hinder Fight Against ‘Jim Crow in New Clothes’

        “This issue is bigger than the filibuster,” says Georgia Democrat in first-ever Senate floor speech.

      • Time to Call Mitch McConnell’s Bluff on the Filibuster
      • After Introduction of For the People Act, Senate Dems Told to ‘End the Filibuster and Pass’ It

        “Too much is at stake to delay a vote on this critical legislation or to allow archaic Senate rules to kill the bill.”

      • Infrastructure Should Be the Great Economic Equalizer

        Despite the focus in recent years on President Trump’s failure to do anything for the country’s crumbling infrastructure, here’s a sad reality: considered over a longer period of time, Washington’s political failure to fund the repairing, modernizing, or in some cases simply the building of that national infrastructure has proven a remarkably bipartisan “effort.” After all, the same grand unfulfilled ambitions for infrastructure were part and parcel of the Obama White House from 2009 on and could well typify the Biden years, if Congress doesn’t get its act together (or the filibuster doesn’t go down in flames). The disastrous electric grid power outages that occurred during the recent deep freeze in Texas are but the latest example of the pressing need for infrastructure upgrades and investments of every sort. If nothing is done, more people will suffer, more jobs will be lost, and the economy will face drastic consequences.

        Since the mid-twentieth century, when most of this country’s modern infrastructure systems were first established, the population has doubled. Not only are American roads, airports, electric grids, waterways, railways and more distinctly outdated, but today’s crucial telecommunications sector hasn’t ever been subjected to a comprehensive broadband strategy.

      • An 18th Reason to be Optimistic About the Economy

        More than 20 percent of workers now report that they are working from home at least part-time as a result of the pandemic. While many of these workers may end up returning to their offices when the pandemic is under control, or at least going in more frequently, there is little doubt that we will be seeing substantially more telecommuting even when the pandemic is fully under control. This implies a large gain in well-being that is not picked up in GDP.

        As I have pointed out before, there are two issues involved here. First there are substantial work-related expenses that these workers will no longer be making. The most obvious are the costs associated directly with the commute to work. This means paying for the wear and tear on a car, the gas for the trip, parking, or money spent on trains and busses. These are counted as consumption in GDP, but they provide little benefit to the commuter, apart from getting them to work.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Wisconsin GOP Rejects Black History Month Resolution But Honors Rush Limbaugh
      • GOP Wraps Itself Around the Axle

        But euphemistically, it refers to any situation that has reached a point where forward progress comes to an abrupt halt until you deal with serious problems. And right now, it’s a perfect description of the GOP, the party’s relationship with their former president, and the befuddling actions of Republican members of Congress.

        It boggles the mind to think that not one Republican in either the U.S. Senate or House voted for the massive $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill signed into law by President Biden last week. How, one might ask, is it possible to justify these cult-like unified votes against measures that significantly help their constituents? What, there’s not a single Republican out of the nation’s 331 million citizens suffering from the year-long trials and tribulations of the coronavirus pandemic?

      • Activists Demand Georgia-Based Corporations Like Coca-Cola End Complicity in GOP Assault on Voting

        “It is a dangerous thing for the business community to be silent.”

      • Opinion | The Burning Urgency of Passing the “For the People Act”

        Our chance to preempt voter suppression could expire at any moment.

      • Biden Wants the Filibuster to Remain in Place, But Says He Supports Reforming It
      • Financial Press Fears Brazilians Will Be Allowed to Elect President of Their Choice

        The Brazilian Supreme Court this month dismissed all charges against former President Luis Inacio “Lula” da Silva. A towering figure in national politics, Lula was the country’s president for eight years between 2003 and 2011. He was later convicted on highly dubious corruption charges and spent 18 months in prison, where his plight drew worldwide attention, making him, in the estimation of Noam Chomsky, the “world’s most prominent political prisoner.”

      • Review – “The War at Home – Rebellion” – Censored Notebook, Uncategorized

        Scott Noble’s latest documentary series, The War at Home, takes a deep dive into the history of labor movements and state repression in the United States. Soon to be a multi-part series, the first entry is titled ‘Rebellion’ and can be viewed online for free. As with all of Noble’s films, The War at Home is meticulously researched and weaves a rich tapestry of primary and secondary sources and documents, including amazing period footage of momentous yet often little-remembered (or effectively censored) events. Punctuated by classic American folk and blues music, it is as much a celebration of America’s rebels as a condemnation of its injustices.

      • Biden administration convenes government, private sector groups to respond to Microsoft vulnerabilities

        Press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed in a statement that the National Security Council (NSC) has established a “unified coordination group” (UCG) to respond to Microsoft Exchange Server vulnerabilities, first announced by the company earlier this month, and which have potentially victimized thousands of organizations.

        Psaki said the group includes the FBI, the Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA), the National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and had met earlier this week with private sector companies to respond to the ongoing incident.

      • Cult deprogrammers inundated with requests to help people lost in Trump election, QAnon conspiracy theories

        Diane Benscoter, an exit counselor who was involved in the Unification Church cult for years before breaking free, said he has “probably got almost a hundred requests in my inbox,” she claimed.

        According to the cult experts, social media plays a significant role in exposing vulnerable people to conspiracy theories.

        Joan Donovan, a leading research of online disinformation at the Shorenstein Centre on Media, Politics and Public Policy called today’s social media environment a “free for all” inundated with “unfathomable” amounts of disinformation.

      • [Old] I was a member of a cult. Here’s how to bring QAnon believers back to reality

        For hardcore Trump supporters, including QAnon believers, these are especially troubling times. Many were convinced that Trump would win the election by a landslide. But Trump did not win and no mass arrests of QAnon “enemies” occurred, as QAnon believers had thought. Biden was confirmed as having won the election and lawsuits alleging the election had been stolen were dismissed, even by judges who were appointed by Trump.

        Some people are becoming disillusioned and distancing themselves from QAnon and Trump. Ex-QAnon believer, Jitarth Jadeja, for example, has been willing to share how extreme he became during his two years in the movement, even recruiting his father into the cult. Now he is speaking out about the delusionary cult and wishing to help others to realize it was a lie.

        What can family and friends of QAnon believers (or of any other destructive cult) do?

        These troubling times provide an opportunity to intervene and loosen the hold on those who were manipulated into a cult. But strategic interactions can start in simple ways: [...]

      • Experts In Cult Deprogramming Step In To Help Believers In Conspiracy Theories

        ANDRA GILLESPIE: What does it mean when you see legislators responding with legislative and policy proposals that would be aimed to address a problem that, in fact, didn’t exist in the first place?

        SHAPIRO: The point here is that increasingly, disinformation is leaking from the far corners of the Internet into mainstream politics. As part of a special series on disinformation, we are going to spend the next few minutes talking about why it’s spreading, and we’ll go inside the practice of deprogramming people who believe it.

        SHAPIRO: Disinformation is not new. What’s changing now is how fast and how far it can spread.

        JOAN DONOVAN: Social media tends to drive the fringe to the mainstream.

      • Facebook to crack down on groups that break its rules

        Under the new rules, which will apply to its tens of millions of active groups, Facebook will show rule-breaking groups lower in the recommendations bar, making them less discoverable to other users. The more rules a group breaks, the more it will increase restrictions until it is removed completely.

        Facebook also plans to inform would-be members of rule-violating groups with a pop-up that warns the group “allowed posts that violate our Community Standards,” and suggests a user review the group before joining. For existing group members, it will reduce the reach of rule-breaking groups by giving it lower priority in a user’s general news feed.

      • Moscow gives Twitter 30 days to remove ‘banned’ content

        Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor on Tuesday gave Twitter a one-month ultimatum to remove “banned” content, threatening to consider blocking the social media platform within the country if it does not comply.

      • Illegal Content and the Blockchain

        Security researchers have recently discovered a botnet with a novel defense against takedowns. Normally, authorities can disable a botnet by taking over its command-and-control server. With nowhere to go for instructions, the botnet is rendered useless. But over the years, botnet designers have come up with ways to make this counterattack harder. Now the content-delivery network Akamai has reported on a new method: a botnet that uses the Bitcoin blockchain ledger. Since the blockchain is globally accessible and hard to take down, the botnet’s operators appear to be safe.

        It’s best to avoid explaining the mathematics of Bitcoin’s blockchain, but to understand the colossal implications here, you need to understand one concept. Blockchains are a type of “distributed ledger”: a record of all transactions since the beginning, and everyone using the blockchain needs to have access to — and reference — a copy of it. What if someone puts illegal material in the blockchain? Either everyone has a copy of it, or the blockchain’s security fails.

      • The Paris Commune and Grassroots Democracy

        150 years ago on this day, March 18, 1871, the Paris Commune declared itself the governing power in the city of two million and proceeded to build what the Communards called a “Democratic and Social Republic.” The Commune’s confederation of directly-democratic neighborhood assemblies coordinated by a mandated and recallable Communal Council still provides today the institutional model for realizing the Green Party’s principle of Grassroots Democracy.

        The Paris Commune was last of a series of uprisings by the sans-culottes, which literally means without fashionable silk knee-breeches worn by the nobility and bourgeoisie. The common working people wore trousers. The sans-culottes were the artisanal working class and the lower-middle class of small-scale shopkeepers, producers, and merchants. Their uprisings began with the Great French Revolution of 1789-1794 and kept re-occurring, notably in 1830 and 1848, and finally in 1871. The people wanted democratic self-government as opposed to the militaristic republics that quickly devolved back into the monarchies that the original French Revolution had sought to overthrow. The Paris Commune ended two months after it began during the Bloody Week of May 22-28, a week of unspeakable mass murder by a counterrevolution that literally exterminated the revolutionary class of sans-culottes in Paris.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The University Deception: Rankings and Academic Freedom

        Writing in 2019, Ellen Hazelkorn, who has had an eye on the rankings system for some years, observed that 18,000 university-level institutions could be found across the globe. “Those ranked within the top 500 would be within the top 3% worldwide. Yet, by a perverse logic, rankings have generated a perception amongst the public, policymakers and stakeholders that only those within the top 20, 50 or 100 are worthy of being called excellent.”

        Rankings are complicated by a range of factors: methodological problems in arriving at the figure, what institutions themselves submit, their wealth (endowments, well moneyed donors, grants received) and age (old ties, networks), and, fundamentally, what is being asked of that institution.  Such grading systems have been found, as Nancy Adler and Anne-Wil Harzing describe it, to be “dysfunctional and potentially cause more harm than good”.

      • PACT Act Is Back: Bipartisan Section 230 ‘Reform’ Bill Remains Mistargeted And Destructive

        Last summer we wrote about the PACT Act from Senators Brian Schatz and John Thune — one of the rare bipartisan attempts to reform Section 230. As I noted then, unlike most other 230 reform bills, this one seemed to at least come with good intentions, though it was horribly confused about almost everything in actual execution. If you want to read a truly comprehensive takedown of the many, many problems with the PACT Act, Prof. Eric Goldman’s analysis is pretty devastating and basically explains how the drafters of the bill tried to cram in a bunch of totally unrelated things, and did so in an incredibly sloppy fashion. As Goldman concludes:

      • Russian lawmakers adopt final reading of legislation making ‘insulting WWII veterans’ a felony

        The Russian State Duma has adopted the third and final reading of a package of amendments to the criminal code making it a felony to publicly slander World War II veterans. 

      • Russia’s federal censor orders Twitter to block independent media account

        For the past two weeks, since it started throttling Twitter traffic for noncompliance with local media laws, Russia’s federal censor has accused the U.S. social network of refusing to remove dangerous and illegal content like child pornography and information about drugs. On Wednesday, journalists and watchdog groups learned that Roskomnadzor (RKN) is also demanding that Twitter suspend Russians’ access to content supposedly affiliated with so-called “undesirable organizations” (entities that “threaten Russia’s basic constitutional order or state security”).

      • Content Moderation Case Studies: Can Baby Yoda GIFs Defeat The DMCA Force? (2019)

        Summary: In the fall of 2019, Disney launched its Disney+ streaming service to instant acclaim. While it offered up access to the extensive Disney catalog (including all of its Marvel, Star Wars, and 21st Century Fox archives), the first big new hit for the service was a TV series set in the Star Wars universe called The Mandalorian, which featured a character regularly referred to as “Baby Yoda.”

      • Twitter Deletes QAnon to Protect US from Upheaval; Russia Considers Deleting Twitter for the Same Reason

        Twitter has taken action against the QAnon movement, deleting more than 150,000 accounts that promoted the conspiracy theory. This follows a similar crackdown by YouTube. The impetus for the decision was the storming of the Capitol Building on January 6, led by many adherents who believe Donald Trump was leading a fightback against a satanic cult of cannibalistic pedophiles in the Democratic Party and the national security state.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Amazon Is Hiring Aggressive Firms to Bust Union Efforts
      • Only Two NYPD Officers Face Serious Discipline From a Watchdog’s Investigations Into Abuse of Black Lives Matter Protesters

        Nine months after racial justice protests swept across New York City and videos showed police punching, kicking and trapping demonstrators, the city agency responsible for investigating abuses has revealed the number of officers who have so far faced serious disciplinary charges.


      • Diversity and False Dichotomies at Smith College

        But was it? The details of the event are now well known. A Black student chose to eat her lunch in a deserted dorm lounge. Someone saw her there and called security on her. The student became angry and posted about the experience on Facebook, accusing not merely the college of racism, but specific individuals within the institution that appear not to have been involved in the incident.

        By the time the incident was investigated, though, the damage had been done. One janitor, whom the student had accused of being racist, left Smith. A cafeteria worker, whom the student also accused of racism, was furloughed, along with other workers, as a result of declining enrollments, but had difficulty getting another job because she had become infamous as a result of the student’s FaceBook posts.

      • John Locke and the Roots of White Supremacy in the US

        Recent events have confirmed the unfortunate fact that there is now in the United States a state of undeclared civil war. Joe Biden’s assumption of the presidency has not changed the uncomfortable reality that the elections of 2020 may well be the equivalent of those of 1860, which triggered the secession of the South. Of course, that’s not to say that a civil conflict today would take the form of a sectional secession as in 1860. But whatever form it takes, it could involve widespread if not systemic violence.

        The economist John Maynard Keynes observed that the “ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually slaves of some defunct economist.”

      • WSJ Rage at ‘Woke’ China Foreshadows New Redbaiting of Social Justice Activists

        The Wall Street Journal editorial board (3/7/21) has accused a major Chinese newspaper, and by extension the People’s Republic of China, of exploiting progressive rhetoric around racial justice to create division in the United States.

      • ‘Democracy Is Having a Hard Time Functioning’: Biden Endorses Return to Talking Filibuster

        “That’s what it was supposed to be.”

      • State investigators requalify criminal charges against Navalny’s associates

        The Russian Investigative Committee has requalified the charges in the “sanitary case” that was launched against ten of Alexey Navalny’s associates following the protest in support of the jailed opposition politician in Moscow on January 23. This was reported by lawyer Vladimir Voronin, who’s representing the interests of opposition figure Lyubov Sobol. 

      • Hollywood stars sign open letter urging Russia to drop (new) charges against Pussy Riot activists

        Dozens of actors, musicians, and directors from the United States and Europe have signed an open letter calling on the Russian authorities to drop the charges against Pussy Riot activists Maria Alyokhina and Lyusya Shtein, Pussy Riot told Meduza on Wednesday, March 17. 

      • Maryland Legislators Pass Bill That Would Keep Most Teens From Being Prosecuted For Sexting

        It’s been a delayed reaction, but legislators are finally trying to do something about the horrific outcomes that result from advances in technology colliding with laws that have been on the books for decades. Smartphones are omnipresent and teens are using them just like adults use them. Sexting — the sending of explicit images to willing recipients — shouldn’t be illegal. And yet it is because some of those participating in this consensual distribution of explicit images are minors.

      • Digital Trails: How the FBI Identifies, Tracks and Rounds Up Dissidents

        Databit by databit, we are building our own electronic concentration camps. With every new smart piece of smart technology we acquire, every new app we download, every new photo or post we share online, we are making it that much easier for the government and its corporate partners to identify, track and eventually round us up.

      • Jackson Mayor Demands Help After Month-Long Water Crisis Amid Pandemic, Racism, Broken Infrastructure

        Residents in Jackson, Mississippi, have been facing a water crisis over the last five weeks, with many people lacking reliable access to clean drinking water after deadly February winter storms caused pipes and water mains to burst. While water delivery has largely been restored, “boil water” orders remain in effect for most people. The city estimates it could cost $2 billion to fix the city’s water system. The crisis in Jackson, which is 82% Black, highlights how climate catastrophe threatens much of the nation’s aging infrastructure. Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba says while the city “contributes millions of dollars” in tax revenue to Mississippi each year, state leaders have refused to help and left the city to deal with the crisis by itself.

      • Following Supreme Court ruling, UK Uber drivers will be classified as workers

        The change comes a month after Uber lost a court battle in Britain over the status of its drivers there. The lawsuit started in 2016 when only a handful of drivers took Uber to court over working conditions and their labor rights. Uber fought the decision, but the Supreme Court upheld the ruling that the drivers should be classified as workers, not as independent contractors.

      • “Suave”: New Podcast Follows One Man’s Journey to Freedom After a Life Sentence Without Parole at 17

        A new Futuro Media podcast, “Suave,” tells the story of one person’s journey to freedom after receiving a life sentence without parole at the age of 17. David Luis “Suave” Gonzalez met journalist Maria Hinojosa in 1993 during a talk at the prison in Pennsylvania where he was serving a sentence for first-degree homicide. For years, Gonzalez and Hinojosa stayed in touch through letters, visits and phone calls that Hinojosa recorded. The seven-part podcast series chronicles Gonzalez’s experience as he is eventually given the opportunity to experience life on the outside for the first time, after the 2016 Supreme Court ruling that mandatory sentences of life without parole on juveniles are unconstitutional. “It was an experience that left me traumatized to this day,” Gonzalez says of his time in prison. We also speak with Maria Hinojosa, who credits the success of the podcast to their open and honest relationship. “Suave and I were just very real with each other, over decades,” she says.

    • Monopolies

      • Google in damage control after 2012 anti-trust probe details leak

        The details were contained in 312 pages of confidential memorandums which were obtained by the US site Politico and printed at length.

        Google’s director of Competition Legal, Rosie Lipscomb, poked scorn at Politico’s exposé, dismissing it as part of a “[Washington] DC parlour game has been to second-guess the Federal Trade Commission’s 2012 decision to close its antitrust investigation into Google.”

        Lipscomb also attempted to deflect attention to Google’s rivals, saying: “It’s also clear from the papers how actively Microsoft and other rivals were encouraging these complaints.

      • Meet the new music boss, same as the old music boss

        Companies are allowed to merge with competitors and create vertical silos, so long as no one can prove that doing so has raised prices. The only acceptable proof are the mathematical models invented by pro-monopoly economists, who are the foremost builders of these models.

        Strangely enough, these models always prove that the monopoly is good, actually: not harming “consumer welfare.” All potential mergers will provably not result in increased prices. All post-merger price-increases are provably not due to the merger.

        Anyone who challenges these interpretations is derided for their ignorance of how these models work. Modern antitrust is a priesthood, and whenever a monopoly question arises, they slaughter an ox and read the future in its guts, which only they can interpret.

        And strangely enough, the ox guts always favor monopoly.

      • An Antitrust Exemption for News Media Won’t Take Us Back to the Time Before Big Tech

        Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee held a hearing called “Reviving Competition, Part 2: Saving the Free and Diverse Press.” There was a lot going on during the hearing, a lot of it irrelevant to the very real problems faced by the increasingly concentrated media ecosystem, or the death of small, local, and independent news.

        Leaving aside the detours, the real subject of the hearing was the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which would give an exemption to publishers and broadcasters from antitrust laws, allowing them to form a unified bloc for negotiations with tech companies. The idea is that news media is struggling—present tense. The problem is that news media has struggled, past tense. Allowing this exemption will not bring back the papers that have been shut down, the journalists who have been laid off, or unwind the media mergers that have occurred in the meantime.

        During the hearing, the argument was made that this was a lifeline to keep news media afloat while more substantive changes to the law were made—changes that would decrease the power of Big Tech. The other argument made was that such an exemption would revitalize local press by giving a path to profitability. It was also stated that the exemption would be time-limited and could apply only to certain smaller publishers.

      • Patents

        • No UPC in 2021 – try again next year?
          [Ed: This is illusional/delusional. There's no "try again" and the complaints to FCC will take years to process.]

          The drama of the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent project is one of many global dramas gripping our attention lately.

          As readers will be aware, about a year ago, the German Federal Constitutional Court declared that Germany’s first ratification of the UPC project was invalid. See Lens post here as to the background to the constitutional complaint and the Court reasoning for its partial success. The drama returned in late 2020 when the re-ratification instruments were back before both German Houses of Parliament. Again the documents passed the Bundesrat (Upper House) and Bundestag (Lower Hous

        • Software Patents

      • Copyrights

        • Piracy Devices Are Part Of The Botnet Problem, Broadcaster Tells Canada’s Telecoms Regulator

          In January, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) launched a consultation on a framework to address the harms caused by botnets – malware-infected computers under the control of malicious actors – and whether these should be blocked by telecoms providers. Super Channel owner Allarco Entertainment believes that piracy devices are part of the threat.

        • US Senators Urge Attorney General to Prosecute Pirate Streaming Services

          US Senators Patrick Leahy and Thom Tillis urge recently appointed Attorney General Merrick Garland to put the new piracy streaming bill to use. In a letter, they ask if streaming piracy prosecutions are a priority while stressing that enforcement actions shouldn’t target individuals and legitimate companies.

        • Blocking is Back: Why Internet Blocking is the Next Big Canadian Policy Battle

          Allarco’s botnet bait and switch to copyright demonstrates the slippery slope that arises in the context of content blocking. So too does the forthcoming online harms legislation, where the prospect of mandated blocking of hate content is a real possibility. Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has already downplayed the risks of constitutional challenges of the legislation, despite the fact that the provisions on misinformation in Canada’s election law has been struck down by a court as unconstitutional. The government has thus far shown little regard for the speech implications of its Internet regulation plans, suggesting that blocking could be part of the policy equation. If so, a constitutional challenge would be inevitable. When combined with policy developments in the copyright and CRTC fronts, there is a major effort underway to reshape the Canadian Internet with concerns around net neutrality and freedom of expression seemingly giving way to government and regulator-backed blocking schemes.

EPO and Microsoft Collude to Break the Law — Part XIII: A Global ‘IP’ Player

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 8:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Previous parts:

Microsoft monopolies
Microsoft patent families worldwide by filing year from 1999 to 2018

Summary: “Although the company’s own proprietary Windows Phone operating system was a complete commercial flop, it was reported in 2013 that Microsoft was in line to make as much as USD 3.4 billion from patent licenses relating to Android phones.”

In this part we will focus our attention on one specific aspect of Microsoft’s activities which is a cause for concern in relation to its newly-acquired role in driving the EPO’s “digital transformation process”.

To cut directly to the chase, what we are talking about here is Microsoft’s prominent position as a global IP player, in particular in the area of patents.

“Back in those days Bill Gates liked to tell his staff and anybody else who cared to listen that software patents are typically used as anti-competitive devices by large corporations like IBM to reinforce their dominant position in the face of the threat posed by smaller companies.”It wasn’t always like that.

In the early 1990s, when the company’s annual revenues had just crossed the billion-dollar threshold, Microsoft held around five patents.

Back in those days Bill Gates liked to tell his staff and anybody else who cared to listen that software patents are typically used as anti-competitive devices by large corporations like IBM to reinforce their dominant position in the face of the threat posed by smaller companies.

Before long Microsoft’s revenues and profits had started to rise dramatically. By the mid‑1990s its annual revenues were USD 8.7 billion, and profits had risen to USD 2.2 billion.

By then, Microsoft owned about 100 patents, still a tiny number compared to IBM’s tens of thousands.

The patents which Microsoft held at that time were not really the foundation of its commercial success. The company only started to build up a patent portfolio in a gradual manner after it had come to regard patenting as a business “necessity” and had acquired the financial resources to be able to afford it.

At some point in time that is difficult to pinpoint from the outside, Microsoft radically changed its policy on patents, upgrading them from a mere “necessity” to a major “strategic opportunity”.

According to Florian Müller, author of “No Lobbyists As Such – The War over Software Patents in the European Union”, this change in policy was primarily due to the perceived threat of Free and open-source software, especially the GNU/Linux operating system.

To see how things stand with Microsoft these days it is helpful to turn to the statistics published by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva for the WIPO-administered Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) procedure, a unified procedure for filing patent applications and which offers the possibility to seek the grant of a patent in each of the 153 PCT contracting states.

Microsoft ranking
WIPO figures for US-based PCT applicants

The figures published by WIPO for the US put Microsoft in third place in the list of the top 10 US applicants using the PCT procedure. In recent years, the software behemoth from Redmond has been filing well over a thousand PCT applications annually: 1,476 in 2018, 1,370 in 2019 and 1,529 in 2020.

It’s no big surprise to find that Microsoft is also a leading player in the patents game on its home turf in the US.

USPTO 2020
Microsoft ranked fourth in the list of top 10 US patent recipients in 2020

For example, at the start of this year it was reported that Microsoft was ranked fourth in the list of top 10 US patent recipients in 2020 with 2,905 granted patents. This was slightly less than the figure for 2019 when Microsoft received 3,083 granted patents from the USPTO.

Microsoft vs Amazon
US Patents granted to Microsoft: 3,083 in 2019 and 2,905 in 2020

Over on the other side of the Atlantic, official figures from the EPO confirm that Microsoft is also quite active as a patent applicant in Europe.

For example, figures released in March 2020 reveal that Microsoft tied with Apple for first place in the list of the EPO’s top 10 applicants in the field of computer technology.

Microsoft EPO patents

In the list of the EPO’s 25 largest applicants (by number of patent filings) across all technical fields Microsoft came in at number 14.

EPO applicants

It hardly needs to be pointed out that a multinational corporation like Microsoft is not engaged in the patents game just for fun.

There is serious “moolah” involved as can be seen from Microsoft’s lucrative Android patent licensing agreements, including its “billion dollar a year” deal with Samsung.

Although the company’s own proprietary Windows Phone operating system was a complete commercial flop, it was reported in 2013 that Microsoft was in line to make as much as USD 3.4 billion from patent licenses relating to Android phones.

In addition to Samsung, Microsoft also managed to get Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics OEM, Nikon, ZTE , and numerous other Android OEMs to pony up by persuading them that it would be preferable to pay patent royalty “Danegeld” to the software Vikings of Redmond than to risk being overwhelmed by potentially ruinous litigation.

It’s no coincidence that the term “patent troll” has cropped up from time to time in reports about Microsoft’s aggressive approach to “monetizing” its Android patent portfolio.

In 2011 a technology analyst at Citigroup estimated that Microsoft was getting USD 5 per Android handset sold by phone maker HTC under a patent agreement, and that it was looking for up to USD 12.50 per phone from other handset makers in deals still under negotiation.

Microsoft never confirmed those estimates, but neither did it publicly question them.

However, not everybody was convinced that the licencees and their customers were getting value for money from these deals.

In October 2014, Florian Müller expressed scepticism about the quality of Microsoft’s Android patent portfolio suggesting that only a relatively small number of the patents which it held were likely to be sufficiently robust to stand the test of litigation.

Shortly afterwards a dispute between Microsoft and Samsung concerning the “billion dollar a year” Android deal became public when it was revealed that Microsoft was suing Samsung for USD 6.9 million in unpaid interest.

Samsung initiated arbitration proceedings and in February 2015 it was reported that both parties had reached an amicable settlement.

The facts outlined above leave no room for doubt that the patent royalties game is a lucrative business for multinational corporations like Microsoft.

And it is also quite clear that the software behemoth from Redmond is a serious player in this arena both on its home turf in the US and on a global level.

This in turn raises the question as to whether it is appropriate for a company with a profile like this to be allocated a key role in providing IT services to a major regional patent examination and granting authority such as the EPO.

We will consider this question in more detail in the next and penultimate part of the series.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts