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Links 15/4/2021: LXQt 0.17, Proxmox Backup Server 1.1

Posted in News Roundup at 10:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Plex: Windows vs Linux – Which is better?

      So, ultimately, a lot of it comes down to tech-savviness and patience. If you fancy yourself brave and looking to become a little savvier, it can never hurt to install Linux on an old machine to practice and play with. It is a fantastic way to build up your skills and understanding of the complexities of computers and how they operate behind the scenes vs fancy GUI interfaces that do everything for you. Linux can be used in so many ways to build stable environments for various services (ie, Plex, Octopi for 3D printing, PiHole for network-wide ad-blocking, other complex custom firewall solutions, web servers, and more).

      If you are tech-savvy, usually Linux is always going to be your best bet. You can build it, configure it, and generally let it sit there until you are ready to update something.

      If you prefer to keep things as simple as possible, then Windows will be. You’ll just have to deal with administering it more often to keep Windows Update happy and reboot it from time to time to keep things fresh.

      Given, the war between OS environments comes in so many flavors as you can always find other reasons to like one over the other. So feel free to share your own experiences in the comments below. Which do you prefer to use for Plex?

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Star Labs Launches Coreboot Configurator for Its Linux Laptops

        After many months of hard work, last month, Star Labs finally added support for installing the Coreboot open-source firmware in its Star LabTop Mk IV and Star LabTop Mk III Linux laptops, giving users faster boot times and a more secure boot experience where they have full control over their hardware.

        Today, Star Labs announced a new version of Coreboot that fixes various bugs, along with Coreboot Configurator, a new app that lets owners of its Linux-powered laptops to change various settings of the Coreboot open-source firmware via the nvramtool command-line utility.

    • Server

      • Sponsor Success at Apache: The Fork

        I joined the Apache CloudStack community in 2012 and became a committer in 2013, eventually becoming a PMC (Project Management Committee) member in 2017. My journey to becoming a PMC was both physical and literal, and included several forks in the road. The forks presented themselves in all aspects of my journey – although the literal forks came later, mainly because my journey began in China.

      • OpenStack Wallaby released

        The OpenStack cloud-infrastructure project has made its 23rd release, Wallaby. “The Wallaby release strengthens open infrastructure for cloud native applications with enhanced security and integration with other open source technologies. More than 17,000 code changes authored by over 800 contributors from 140 different organizations and 45 countries were merged into the release. In addition to delivering a wide range of improvements to the stable and reliable OpenStack core and its highly flexible project integration capabilities,

      • 5 Linux server distributions you should be using

        There are thousands of Linux distribution variants, some of them incredibly obscure and niche-y, while others are enterprise-ready. Some are desktop only, while others are server-only.

        if you’re new to the game, you might not know where to start.

        ThisTechRepublic Premium PDF download offers a helping hand so that you might have a better idea of which Linux server distribution is best suited for your needs, especially if your business is in the market for a new server operating system. You cannot go wrong with any one of these five.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Bad Voltage 3×27: Bargle-floop the podcast

        Stuart Langridge, Jono Bacon, and Jeremy Garcia present Bad Voltage, in which horrible neologisms are proposed, things are both funny and also sad, and there is ooh gosh loads of news…

      • BSDNow 398: Coordinated Mars Time

        FreeBSD 13.0 Full Desktop Experience, FreeBSD on ARM64 in the Cloud, Plan 9 from Bell Labs in Cyberspace, Inferno is open source as well, NetBSD hits donation milestone, grep returns (standard input) on FreeBSD, Random Programming Challenge, OpenBSD Adds Support for Coordinated Mars Time (MTC) and more

      • FLOSS Weekly 625: Endless Sky – Jonathan Steck

        Jonathan Steck joins Jonathan Bennett and Dan Lynch talk to about Endless Sky, an open source video game reminiscent of Elite and Escape velocity, and one that even hearkens back to Spacewar! On FLOSS Weekly, Steck and the show hosts talk about the game itself and the community around it. The project has attracted an interesting bunch of contributors, mainly through its presence on Steam as a free game. There are several challenges the project has overcome, from the sabbatical of the founder, to managing the continued growth and interest in the game. The game is addictive, and the conversation is just as good.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 902

        retro computing, sound cards, mumble woes

      • Conflict | Coder Radio 409

        We visit an alternate reality where Epic wins in their fight against Apple, COBOL reigns supreme, and the halls of great Jedi Temple are lined with Object-C developers.

      • KDE Neon | Plasma Desktop Linux Distrubution
    • Kernel Stuff

      • Native M1 Mac Support Coming Soon To Linux

        Since the launch of the M1 Mac a few groups have been scrambling to get Linux running on it and while there was some early headway we thought native Linux was still a long way away, turns it out it may be closer than expected.

      • This unikernel-based operating system is a faster, safer way to run Linux apps

        Want to secure your servers against cyberattacks once and for all? Then check out this new operating system from NanoVMs. It uses unikernels to run software faster and safer than Linux. And it can be deployed to public cloud providers, private data centers, and more. Keep reading this blog post to learn more about this exciting operating system.

        Keep your information secure and your programs running fast with this operating system for cloud infrastructure. The NanoVMs unikernel-based operating system takes up minimal resources and space yet improves speed, computer security, and cloud-based security. Because while the server operating system has stayed the same for 50 years, the ways we compute sure have changed. As we keep more information online, there’s a higher risk of data being compromised by cyber threats. This is especially problematic for companies that face expensive penalties and lost customer trust due to security breaches. It’s something this operating system for cloud infrastructure hopes to change.

      • Equinix boosts Packet’s Tinkerbell open source bare metal provisioning system

        The most important new component is Hook, an in-memory operating system installation environment developed within the community, based on Docker’s LinuxKit. Hook allows end-users to rebuild action images more quickly cutting build times from 45 minutes to 90 seconds. It also cuts memory footprint.

      • The Linux Kernel & GNOME Desktop Preparing For Privacy Screen Support – Phoronix

        Over the past year there has been an uptick in Linux developers from different vendors working on laptop privacy screen support under Linux. When it comes to the support with newer Lenovo ThinkPad laptops, it looks like that kernel support could soon land and the GNOME desktop is already preparing to support this feature.

        Select Lenovo laptops in recent years have offered a built-in “Privacy Guard ePrivacy Filter” for limiting the viewing angles of the laptop with a simple push of a button on the ThinkPad laptops. While the effectiveness of the “ePrivacy” feature is debatable in its current form and with the current work from home craze / limited travel making the feature less pressing at the moment, the Linux support is coming together.

      • Gigabyte Motherboard WMI Temperature Driver Queued Ahead Of Linux 5.13 – Phoronix

        Earlier this month I reported on a WMI temperature driver for Gigabyte motherboards being worked on by an independent developer. That “gigabyte-wmi” driver is now slated for inclusion in the upcoming Linux 5.13 cycle.

        This driver exposes the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) temperature sensors under Linux. When writing originally about this new driver it was only tested on a Gigabyte X570 Aorus Pro WiFi motherboard but since then has been tested and confirmed to also be working on the likes of the Gigabyte’s B550M DS3H, B550 Gaming X V2, and Z390 I Aorus Pro WiFi motherboards as well.

      • A New Gigabyte Motherboard WMI Temperature Driver Will Likely Arrive In Linux 5.13

        Linux users with newer Gigabyte and ASUS motherboards for AMD processors have to compile a out-of-tree version of the it87 to get hardware sensors and fan control working, and sensor support for the very newest motherboards is a shot in the dark even if you do that. That may change for Gigabyte-users with Linux 5.13 as a new, Gigabyte-specific WMI driver has been merged into the Linux kernels platform drivers git tree. It will likely be merged into Linux 5.13 when the merge window opens.

      • Rust Support In The Linux Kernel Undergoing Another Round Of Discussions

        Last month the initial infrastructure for allowing the Rust programming language to be used within the Linux kernel landed in the Linux-Next tree for more widespread testing ahead of its possible inclusion in the mainline kernel. Now a “request for comments” has been started again on the kernel mailing list around the prospects of Rust code for the Linux kernel.

        Kernel developer Miguel Ojeda started this latest “RFC” proposal on the Linux kernel mailing list. The lengthy mailing list post outlines the beliefs of the involved developers over adding Rust code to the kernel, the benefits like improved memory safety, and more.

      • Google backs effort to bring Rust to the Linux kernel

        After bringing support for the systems programming language Rust to Android, Google is now looking to bring it to the Linux kernel to reduce security flaws.

        As Google explained last month, Rust — a language that emerged from Mozilla — provides memory safety guarantees to the Android operating system, which has historically been written in C and C++. Google is targeting Rust at new Android code, rather than rewriting the millions of lines of existing code in Rust.

      • Google Supports Getting Rust Into The Linux Kernel

        It should come as little surprise — especially given the recent news of Google allowing Rust to be used for Android system-level code — but engineers at the search giant are in support of Rust code being used within the mainline Linux kernel.

        In addition to yesterday’s Rust RFC for the Linux kernel and that discussion still taking place on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, Google engineers on the Google Security Blog have penned their own piece on the matter.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Nvidia Display Driver 465.24.02 For Linux Is Released

          Nvidias latest proprietary binary blob driver for using Nvidia graphics hardware on Linux adds support for three new Vulkan extensions, Nvidias upcoming RTX A4000 and A5000 GPUs, better X11 DrawText() performance, numerous bug-fixes and some new Vulkan extensions.


          The only interesting non-Vulkan news in Nvidias release announcement is a claims that they have improved DrawText() performance on the Xorg display server, support for the newly announced RTX A4000 and A5000 GPUs and a mention of having enabled Runtime D3 Power Management on notebook machines with Ampere and newer GPUs. The remainder of the release announcement consists of less interesting bug-fixes.

          Xwayland recently merged support for hardware acceleration on machines using the Nvidia driver in preparation for a Nvidia driver with the proper bits required to provide that functionality. This driver does not have those bits, so those of you stuck with a Nvidia card who want to run X applications on Wayland with GPU acceleration will have to wait for a future driver release from Nvidia which includes those bits.

        • Nvidia GPU Passthrough To Windows VM From Linux Host

          Nvidia has now officially enabled GPU passthrough support for Windows virtual machines on GeForce graphics cards.

          In other words, this effectively means it’s possible to run a Linux machine and then run a virtual Windows machine within it, and hand that unfettered access to a graphics card. This is a big win for those wanting to run Windows games from within a virtual machine on your Linux desktop. They will be able to play Windows-based games using a virtual machine with GPU passthrough enabled.

        • Mesa 21.1.0-rc1 Is Releaed With Variable Rate Shading Support For AMD GPUs, New Vulkan Extensions And More

          The first release candidate for Mesa 21.1, is scheduled to be released on May 5th, has been set in stone. It is a good indication of what the final 21.1 release will have: Variable Rate Shading support on the very latest AMD RX 6000 GPUs, new Vulkan features, OpenGL 4.6 support in the OpenGL-To-Vulkan translation layer, graphics optimizations for Intel’s 12th generation GPUs/CPUs and a bit more.


          Mesa a everything-on-one graphics library that provides all the free software graphics drivers used by Linux-based operating systems. The upcoming 21.1 versions brings some notable features for those who happen to have the very latest AMD graphics hardware, some nice features to those who happen to use a CPU-integrated Intel GPU and some minor updates for everyone else.

    • Benchmarks

      • Top 6 Web Server Performance Testing Tools

        Web server benchmarking is a way of determining the performance of a web server with the aim of establishing how well it copes under a sufficiently high workload. Performance testing is important to help maintain continuous system performance.

        The performance of a web server can be expressed in a number of different ways including the number of requests served within a certain time, the latency response time for each new connection or request, or the throughput.

        The open source Linux benchmarking tools featured in this article enable the performance of a web server to be tested prior to releasing it in a production environment. Accurately testing a web server is quite a challenging activity. This is, in part, because a web system is a distributed system. Further, Hypertext Transfer Protocol, the application protocol for hypermedia information systems, can cause connection usage patterns that the Transmission Control Protocol was not designed for. Moreover, problems are generated in testing the performance because of the sheer dynamism of a web server.

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • LFCA: Learn Binary and Decimal Numbers in Network – Part 10

        In Part 9 of the LFCA series, we covered the basics of IP addressing. To better understand IP addressing, we need to pay more attention to these two types of IP address representation – binary and decimal-dotted quad notation. As mentioned earlier, an IP address is a 32-bit binary number that is usually represented in decimal format for ease of readability.

        The binary format uses only the digits 1 and 0. This is the format that your computer comprehends and through which data is sent across the network.

        However, to make the address human-readable. It is conveyed in a dotted-decimal format which the computer later converts into binary format. As we stated earlier, an IP address is made up of 4 octets. Let’s dissect the IP address

      • 6 advanced tcpdump formatting options

        The final article in this three-part tcpdump series covers six more tcpdump packet capturing trick options.

      • 5 Funny Commands to use in Linux and Terminal

        Not everything in Linux is serious, fortunately we can find fun programs created for the sole purpose of entertaining us. You may be wondering why? Well, because we are human and at the end of the day we need a little variety, laughter and maybe a drink on the train. And yes, speaking of the train, let’s introduce you to the first fun command-type application in Linux.

      • Ubuntu Blog: Should you ever reinstall your Linux box? If so, how?

        Broadly speaking, the Linux community can be divided into two camps – those who upgrade their operating systems in-vivo, whenever there is an option to do so in their distro of choice, and those who install from scratch. As it happens, the former group also tends to rarely reinstall their system when problems occur, while the latter more gladly jump at the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. So if asked, who should you listen to?

        The question of system management in Linux is a complex one, with as wide a range of answers as there are distributions. In this blog post, we discuss the concept of reinstall, and whether it’s necessary. Then, we address several other closely related ideas like system imaging, full disk encryption, and data backups.


        System problems are an unfortunate side effect of software usage. With some luck and operational discipline, you can avoid most of them. When they do happen, you want to know what to do. Reinstalling your Linux system is always an option, but it’s usually not necessary, even for various difficult, complex problems.

        Even if you do decide to reinstall, you should consider using a live session to inspect the system or perform any last-minute backups, have a solid backup procedure in place regardless, and weigh the benefits of encryption against your day-to-day needs and risks. System images can also help you reduce the hassle of getting back to speed when you do decide to “reset” your distro. That’s all we have on Linux reinstallations. If you have any comments or suggestions, please join our forum, and let us know your thoughts.

      • How To Install Dig on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install the Dig on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Dig (Domain Information Groper) is handy to perform DNS lookup and investigate DNS-related issues, right from the terminal. But for some reason, it doesn’t exist on the latest version of CentOS or RHEL.

        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 Dig on a CentOS 8.

      • How to use Ansible to configure a reverse proxy | Enable Sysadmin

        What is a load balancer? A load balancer is an efficient way to distribute the network traffic among various backend servers. It is also known as a server farm or server pool. It distributes client requests or network load to target web servers. Load balancers work on the round-robin concept, which ensures high reliability and availability.

      • [Howto] My own mail & groupware server, part 4: Nextcloud

        Let’s add Nextcloud to the existing mail server. This part will focus on setting it up and configuring it in basic terms. Groupware and webmail will come in a later post! If you are new to this series, don’t forget to read part 1: what, why, how?, and all about the mail server setup itself in the second post, part 2: initial mail server setup. We also added a Git server in part 3: Git server.

      • How to install StepMania on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install StepMania 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.

        If you have any questions, please contact us via a YouTube comment and we would be happy to assist you!

      • How To Install MediaWiki on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install MediaWiki on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, MediaWiki is free and open-source wiki software, used to power wiki websites such as Wikipedia, Wiktionary, and Commons, developed by the Wikimedia Foundation and others. It is very powerful, multilingual, extensible, customizable, reliable, and free of charge. Being a free-to-use and open-source software gives you the flexibility to customize it to suit your needs.

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

      • How to install Minecraft Bedrock launcher on Ubuntu 20.04

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Minecraft Bedrock launcher on Ubuntu 20.04.

      • Gdu – A Fast Disk Usage Analyzer for Linux

        In this article we will look at the gdu program. It is an analyzer of the used disk space and is open source.

        The gdu tool is designed for SSDs where parallel processing can be used. This tool can also work with HDDs with lower performance compared to SSDs. You can also check the results of the benchmark. There are many other similar tools and you must first play with gdu to see if it meets your needs.

      • Shells makes using Linux in the cloud incredibly easy

        If you’re looking for a virtual Linux desktop or server host, Shells delivers simplicity and performance for just about any type of user.

      • Connect to Remote Servers Using SSH on Your Chromebook

        If you need to connect to a remote server, SSH is the best way to do it. Users who have a Chromebook can use SSH as well. Setting it up is easy and only takes a few clicks.

      • Google Chrome Linux users say cast to Chromecast function is broken

        Google’s cross-platform web browser, Google Chrome, is widely used on mobile devices as well as personal computers.

        A large number of people use Google Chrome on Linux distributions apart from Android, Windows, macOS, or iOS powered devices.

      • Simple guide to install SSH on Ubuntu – LinuxTechLab

        SSH is one of the most widely used methods to access Linux & Unix servers. SSH provides an encrypted method to access & communicate between…

      • How to Install and Manage Multiple Versions of Node.js on Linux

        If you have ever had trouble running a project because you do not have a compatible version of Node.js installed, then you are not alone. Fortunately, there is an easy fix to this problem.

        With Node Version Manager (NVM), you can install several versions of Node.js on your machine and choose which version you wish to use depending on the project you want to run.

        NVM is an open-source project that aims to ease out the installation and management process of Node.js.

      • How to play Metro Exodus on Linux

        Metro Exodus is the third entry in the Metro franchise, a video game centered around post-apocalyptic life in Moscow subway tunnels. In this guide, we’ll show you how to play Metro Exodus on Linux.

      • [Workaround] Fix Nautilus Admin Not Working in Ubuntu 21.04 | UbuntuHandbook

        Use GVfs admin backend to open Nautilus file browser or Gedit text editor with root permission? It’s not working in Ubuntu 21.04.

      • Jon Chiappetta: 0.33U WiFi-Bridge Network-Rack
    • Games

      • Metro Exodus Launches For Linux But Off To Bumpy Start

        As scheduled, Metro Exodus saw its native Linux port debut today. This first person shooter from 4A Games launched on Windows and consoles in 2019 while the 4A Engine powered game only debuted today for macOS and Linux. Previously it would work with Steam Play but now there is a native Linux port albeit with some kinks still to work out.

        Metro Exodus is available natively on Linux via Steam for $39.99 USD as the newest title in the Metro series.


        But the latest issue comes down to the benchmarking mode not working… There are benchmark command-line options present in the Metro Exodus binary similar to Metro Last Light Redux, but they appear broken at the moment. Launching the game with “-benchmark” and the related arguments leads to… just a blank screen.

      • SimPocalypse (PC/Linux) is launching out of Early Access on Steam this May 11th
      • Eagre Games developer of surreal adventure ZED closes down

        ZED, a completely surreal first-person walking-sim adventure released back in 2019 after a successful crowdfunding campaign. Sadly it seems it didn’t do well overall.

        Showing how tough the market is with many thousands of new games per year, plus the added craziness of COVID-19, Eagre Games announced in a new Kickstarter update how “Covid was a bad year for us – we closed down Eagre Games as contracts were withdrawn and ZED limps along with low sales and royalties” and that the last year was simply “devastating”.

      • AI War 2 gets a massive ‘Paradigm Shift’ update out now, new expansion out in May

        Arcen Games have released another post-release massive free update for all players, along with a new expansion announcement for their grand-strategy RTS.

        AI War 2 is a game about defeating the odds that are thoroughly stacked against you. A terrible artificially intelligence has conquered the galaxy and it’s up to you to fight back against the overwhelming odds. Not seen it before or somehow never heard of it?

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • LXQt 0.17.0 Desktop Environment Released, Here’s What’s New

        Arriving more than five months after LXQt 0.16.0, the LXQt 0.17.0 release is here to add an option to the Panel to make it act as a dock by automatically hiding itself when it overlaps a window, add full support for file creation times in the file manager, as well as to add support for non-LXQt apps to save their last settings when the session is terminated.

        Moreover, LXQt 0.17.0 add separate idle watchers for AC and battery to the Power Manager, lets users create launchers from Tools menu of the file manager, improves support for SVG icon sets, improves opening of a mixed selection of files with different mime types, and adds natural keyboard navigation on the desktop.

      • LXQt 0.17 Released For This Lightweight Qt5 Desktop

        For fans of LXQt or those still looking for a nice lightweight Qt5 desktop, LXQt 0.17 is out as the latest version of this open-source desktop environment.

        LXQt 0.17 is the first update to this desktop environment for 2021. LXQt is the lightweight Qt desktop born out of the merger of the LXDE and Razor-qt projects.

        Over last November’s LXQt 0.16 release, version 0.17 brings a number of improvements but nothing too shocking or original with many of the features being found already on other Linux desktops. Among the LXQt 0.17 highlights are…

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • New desktop application: MiTubo

          I’ve recently started a new project, to enable me to playback videos from online sources in a desktop application: Mitubo.

        • Hilbert Transform

          The next release 2.9 will again come with many very useful and interesting new features. Today we want to talk about a new feature in the area of the data analysis that has been included into LabPlot’s master branch recently.

          Though it is possible in LabPlot to access many different computer algebra systems and programming languages with a plethora of packages relevant in scientific communities, it is sometimes useful and desired to perform the analysis of data in a more visual and interactive way. For this kind of analysis LabPlot already supports algorithms and computations like the Fourier Transformation, smoothing, interpolations, Fourier filter, etc (see this blog post for a couple of examples). To this list we have now added the Hilbert Transform.

          The Hilbert Transform has many applications, especially in signal processing. Below is an example produced in LabPlot that shows the time response of a super regenerative receiver to an ultra-wideband (very short) pulse consisting of few oscillating cycles enclosed within a Gaussian-like envelope (for high-Q receivers) or within a bilateral exponential envelope (for low-Q receivers).

        • Better Calendar, Better Kickoff and… Merge Requests?
        • Season of KDE 2021 Report

          When the project name is KWeather, the actual code is committed to KWeatherCore, a Weather library. We decided to add weather alerts functionality to KWeatherCore, possibly easing the difficulty later if we want to develop a weather alerts daemon.

          The data source is from metroelogy institutes around the world. Most of them provide CAP protocol for alerts. So the main goal is to write two parsers, one for CAP feed parsing and other for the CAP parsing. Anjani Kumar finished classes representing CAP feed entry and CAP message, as well as the CAP parser. Nikunj Goyal is supposed to work on feed parser and some of the daemon code. But due to various reasons, he wrote the AlertManager class which is an utility class. I wrote the feed parser and finished most of the documentation.

          Since the lack of man hours, we weren’t able to finish the promised daemon. However the library is working as expected. We use config files (in json format) to avoid hardcoding different formats of CAP feed. So in the future we can support more countries without edit our code (and releasing new library version).

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Pop!_OS Announced GNOME Based COSMIC Desktop. Here’s how it looks.

          A stunning and revamped GNOME-based desktop announced by the Pop OS team – named COSMIC. Let’s take a look.

        • There’s no place like GNOME: System 76 introduces COSMIC desktop GUI for its Pop!_OS Linux

          System76, a US company which markets laptops, PCs and servers running Linux, is developing a new GNOME-based desktop GUI called COSMIC for its Pop!_OS distribution.

          System76 has its own Linux distribution, called Pop!_OS, which is based on Ubuntu, though with a customised installer and drive encryption by default. The company said it is now developing COSMIC (Computer Operating System Main Interface Components) in time for the next release of Pop!_OS in June. This will be called version 21.04, based on the Ubuntu 21.04 release expected later this month.


          “The split views allow you to access the application picker in a single click,” said the post about COSMIC.

          There is also a change to the behaviour of the Super key (another name for the Windows key on PC keyboards), which will now activate the application launcher by default.

    • Distributions

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Peter Czanik: The syslog-ng insider 2021-04: Grafana; Windows agent; BSD;

          This is the 90th issue of syslog-ng Insider, a monthly newsletter that brings you syslog-ng-related news.

        • SUSE Partners with Udacity to Address the Skills Gap Affecting Recent College Graduates

          SUSE, a global leader in innovative, reliable and enterprise-grade open source solutions, and Udacity, the global online learning platform, have introduced the Cloud Native Application Architecture Nanodegree program in an effort to combat the technical skills gap affecting current students and recent higher education graduates.

        • Making Automation a Reality with SUSE Manager

          Once upon a time, automating tasks on Linux servers was as simple as crafting a few Bash scripts and cron jobs. For some tasks, that process still works fine. You could create a simple backup script and run it with cron every night. Done and done. But with today’s increasingly challenging software stacks, the old Bash script approach won’t cut it. Instead, you need a real automation tool that can handle increasingly complex tasks and work with multiple platforms, clusters, containers, and more.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat Satellite 6.8.6 has been released [Ed: They have unpublised this since.]

          We are pleased to announce that Red Hat Satellite 6.8.6 is generally available as of April 13, 2021.

        • A brief intro to Red Hat OpenShift for Node.js developers – IBM Developer

          Container-based deployment models are the modern way to develop and deliver your applications. The most common tool for building with containers is Kubernetes, an open-source container-orchestration system for automating computer application deployment, scaling, and management.

          Kubernetes has helped usher in a standardized way to deploy and manage applications at scale, but it can be a sprawling, difficult beast to manage when your application becomes more mature and more complex. A company will need to have a robust DevOps team to manage a full-fledged Kubernetes-based production system.


          My colleague, JJ Asghar summed it up nicely: “OpenShift provides creature comforts to talk to the Kubernetes “API”—at the same level of robustness—as long as you’re willing to use the opinions OpenShift brings.”

          The good news? Those opinions are tried and tested, enterprise-ready choices with the backing and support of Red Hat.

          So, what do Node.js developers need to know about OpenShift deployment? This blog post covers the “what” and “how” of deploying your Node.js application in an OpenShift environment.

        • Fedora Community Blog: Community Blog monthly update: March 2021

          In March, we published 21 posts. The site had 5,520 visits from 3,652 unique viewers. 888 visits came from search engines, while 450 came from the WordPress Android app, and 386 came from Twitter and 208 from Reddit.

        • How Red Hat data scientists use and contribute to Open Data Hub

          Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) drive much of the world around us, from the apps on our phones to electric cars on the highway. Allowing such things to run as accurately as possible takes huge amounts of data to be collected and understood. At the helm of that critical information are data scientists. So, what’s a day on the job look like for data scientists at Red Hat?

          Don Chesworth, Principal Data Scientist, gives you a glimpse into his day-to-day in a short video (aptly named “A Day in the Life of a Red Hat Data Scientist”) that’s now available on our website. Isabel Zimmerman, Data Science Intern, provides a look at some of the tools she uses on the job in “Using Open Data Hub as a Red Hat Data Scientist.” We’ll cover some of the highlights in this post.

        • IBM Brings COBOL Capabilities to the Linux on x86 Environment

          IBM has announced COBOL for Linux on x86 1.1, bringing IBM’s COBOL compilation technologies and capabilities to the Linux on x86 environment.

          According to the IBM announcement, COBOL for Linux on x86 can help modernize, integrate, and manage existing applications, data, and skill sets to ease an organization’s transformation into a more flexible business. To connect business components with suppliers, partners, employees, and clients, and to position organizations to quickly take advantage of opportunities and respond to challenges in real time, COBOL for Linux on x86 can help meet these challenges and enable use of existing COBOL code while upgrading applications with the newest technologies.

        • Fedora Community Blog: tmt hint 01: provisioning options
        • Cockpit Project: Cockpit 242

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

          Here are the release notes from Cockpit version 242.

          Groundwork for Snowpack support

          Snowpack is a web project build system alternative to webpack. Previously, when using Snowpack to build Cockpit pages using an npm module with an @, the page could not be loaded. This has been fixed. As Cockpit uses @patternfly in this style, it was an important first step.

          Please be aware that there is not a fully working and supported example of a Snowpack-built Cockpit project at this time, just some initial experimentation.

        • Fedora Community Blog: Fedora Linux 34 Cloud Test Day 2021-04-16 through 2021-04-19

          Now that the Fedora Linux 34 is coming close to the release date, the Fedora Cloud SIG would like to get the community together this week to find and squash some bugs. We are organizing a test day from Friday, April 16th through Monday, April 19th.

        • 5 reasons sysadmins love systemd [Ed: IBM propaganda and loaded headlines for vendor lock-in; IBM has published "5 reasons sysadmins love systemd" so maybe tomorrow it'll publish "5 reasons Facebook loves privacy" and "5 reasons Microsoft loves Linux"...]

          As systems administrators know, there’s a lot happening on modern computers. Applications run in the background, automated events wait to be triggered at a certain time, log files are written, status reports are delivered. Traditionally, these disparate processes have been managed and monitored with a collection of Unix tools to great effect and with great efficiency. However, modern computers are diverse, with local services running alongside containerized applications, easy access to clouds and the clusters they run on, real-time processes, and more data to process than ever.

        • Resolve systemd-resolved name-service failures with Ansible

          Most people tend to take name services for granted. They are necessary to convert human-readable names, such as www.example.com, into IP addresses, like It is easier for humans to recognize and remember names than IP addresses, and name services allow us to use names, and they also convert them to IP addresses for us.

          The Domain Name System (DNS) is the global distributed database that maintains the data required to perform these lookups and reverse lookups, in which the IP address is known and the domain name is needed.

          I installed Fedora 33 the first day it became available in October 2020. One of the major changes was a migration from the ancient Name Service Switch (NSS) resolver to systemd-resolved. Unfortunately, after everything was up and running, I couldn’t connect to or even ping any of the hosts on my network by name, although using IP addresses did work.

      • Debian Family

        • Proxmox Backup Server 1.1

          We are happy to announce version 1.1 of Proxmox Backup Server! The enterprise backup solution for backing up and restoring VMs, containers, and physical hosts seamlessly integrates into the virtualization management platform Proxmox Virtual Environment, allowing users to simply add a server as a new storage target.

        • Rocket.Chat Desktop

          There is a new application available for Sparkers: Rocket.Chat Desktop

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 91
          • Phabricator Etiquette Part 1: The Reviewer

            In the next two posts we will examine the etiquette of using Phabricator. This post will examine tips from the reviewer’s perspective, and next week will focus on the author’s point of view. While the social aspects of etiquette are incredibly important, we should all be polite and considerate, these posts will focus more on the mechanics of using Phabricator. In other words, how to make the review process as smooth as possible without wasting anyone’s time.

          • Robert O’Callahan: Visualizing Control Flow In Pernosco

            In traditional debuggers, developers often single-step through the execution of a function to discover its control flow. One of Pernosco’s main themes is avoiding single-stepping by visualizing state over time “all at once”. Therefore, presenting control flow through a function “at a glance” is an important Pernosco feature and we’ve recently made significant improvements in this area.

            This is a surprisingly hard problem. Pernosco records control flow at the instruction level. Compiler-generated debuginfo maps instructions to source lines, but lacks other potentially useful information such as the static control flow graph. We think developers want to understand control flow in the context of their source code (so approaches taken by, e.g., reverse engineering tools are not optimal for Pernosco). However, mapping potentially complex control flow onto the simple top-to-bottom source code view is inherently lossy or confusing or both.

            For functions without loops there is a simple, obvious and good solution: highlight the lines executed, and let the user jump in time to that line’s execution when clicked on. In the example below, we can see immediately where the function took an early exit.

          • Marco Castelluccio: On code coverage and regressions

            There are two schools of thought when it comes to code coverage: those who think it is a useless metric and those who think the opposite (OK, I’m a bit exaggerating, there are people in the middle…).

            I belong to the second “school”: I have always thought, intuitively, that patches without tests are more likely to cause postrelease regressions, and so having test coverage decreases risk.

            A few days ago, I set out to confirm this intuition, and I found this interesting study: Code Coverage and Postrelease Defects: A Large-Scale Study on Open Source Projects.

            The authors showed (on projects that are very different from Firefox, but still…) that there was no correlation between project coverage and the amount of bugs that are introduced in the project and, more importantly, there was no correlation between file coverage and the amount of bugs that are introduced in the file.

          • Privacy Talks | Interview with Tyler Ahn from Mozilla Firefox
      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Czech Writer Guide 6.4 is now available

          The Czech team has completed its translation of the Writer Guide 6.4. Big thanks to all volunteers, especially to Radomír Strnad, who initiated the translation and translated more then half of the chapters. Translators: Petr Kuběj, Zdeněk Crhonek, Petr Valach, Vendula Crhonková, Radomír Strnad, Ludmila Chládková and Zuzana Pitříková; text corrections Petr Valach, Barbora Aydin, Marcela Tomešová, Ludmila Klatovská, Nicole Borkeszová, Alžběta Motlová and Vendula Crhonková; localized pictures Roman Toman and technical support Miloš Šrámek.

        • Improving borders of merged table cells in LibreOffice Writer

          Writer now has better support for Word-compatible border rending when it comes to vertically merged cells in tables.

          First, thanks Docmosis who made this work by Collabora possible.

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.7.1 Security and Maintenance Release

          WordPress 5.7.1 is now available!

          This security and maintenance release features 26 bug fixes in addition to two security fixes. Because this is a security release, it is recommended that you update your sites immediately. All versions since WordPress 4.7 have also been updated.

          WordPress 5.7.1 is a short-cycle security and maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.8.

          You can download WordPress 5.7.1 by downloading from WordPress.org, or visit your Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now.

          If you have sites that support automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process.

        • Wix and WordPress Tensions Rise

          Wix and WordPress have been engaging in a public spat that keeps getting nastier with each response. A new response from Wix seems to lower the temperature on the dispute.

          The latest round of open letters between WordPress and Wix was instigated by a series of polarizing video ads created by Wix.

          The ads were generally poorly received in the web development and search marketing community. But others found the ads to be humorous.

      • Programming/Development

        • LLVM 12.0 Released With Alder Lake + Sapphire Rapids Support, More C++20 – Phoronix

          After the release cycle dragged on an extra month due to blocker bugs, LLVM 12 was officially tagged on Wednesday night as the latest half-year update to this open-source compiler stack.

          LLVM 12 is a big feature release with support for x86-64 micro-architecture feature levels (matching the behavior of the GNU/GCC toolchain), adds support for Intel Alder Lake and Sapphire Rapids processors, provides initial support for AMD Zen 3 with “znver3″ (though further tuning is still to land), continued work around C++20, POWER optimizations, Clangd is enjoying lower memory use, continued AMDGPU back-end improvements, and much more.

        • Fail fast with Opossum circuit breaker in Node.js

          The microservices pattern is pretty standard for today’s software architecture. Microservices let you break up your application into small chunks and avoid having one giant monolith. The only problem is that if one of these services fails, it could have a cascading effect on your whole architecture.

          Luckily, there is another pattern that can help with this issue: The circuit breaker pattern.

          This article explains what a circuit breaker is and how to use the pattern in your Node.js applications. We’ll use Opossum, a Node.js implementation of the circuit breaker pattern.

        • Sujeevan Vijayakumaran: One year at GitLab: 7 things which I didn’t expect to learn

          One year ago I joined GitLab as a Solution Architect. In this blog post I do not want to focus on my role, my daily work or anything all remote pandemic related. Also, there won’t be a huge focus in regard to all remote working. I rather want to focus on my personal experiences in regard to the work culture. I’ll focus on things which I certainly did not think about before I joined GitLab (or any other company before).

          Before joining GitLab I worked for four German companies. As a German with a Sri-Lankan Tamil heritage I was always a minority at work. Most of the time it wasn’t an issue. At least that’s what I thought. At all those previous companies there were mostly white male and with very few (or even none) non-males especially in technical and leading roles. Nowadays, I realize what a huge difference a globally distributed company makes with people from different countries, cultures, background and gender.

          There were sooo many small things which makes a difference and which opened my eyes.

        • Rethinking DevOps: What is it all About?

          Ever since I started working with diverse web-apps at Linux Handbook and High On Cloud, the DevOps term has grabbed my attention many a time since that is something we specifically cover at Linux Handbook.

          We’ve covered tutorials on many tools related to DevOps but we’ve never really tried to explore the actual concept in depth. Since Linux Handbook is dedicated to Linux Servers, we also need to explore their important role in the DevOps field.

          But before we do so, it is essential to understand what DevOps really is. DevOps is an extremely popular buzzword and you will find multiple definitions of it across the web. But based on my own experiences, I have arrived at the following conclusive definition and thoughts henceforth. This is an attempt to revisit existing DevOps norms and rethink them in the form of a new model that I propose here.

        • How the RESTful API Became a Gateway to the World

          We’re all connected these days, and our giddy, sped-up world calls on computer programs to make these connections. More and more information sites boast, “We have an API” to permit consumption of data by remote computer programs. The sites’ owners understand that it’s not enough to publish a document that humans can peruse. Sites must join their data with the vast computer processing infrastructure that spans Planet Earth—and beyond.

          Nowadays, when somebody says, “We have an API,” they’re talking about REST. Microservices—one of the most popular architectures for new applications—also communicate using REST. Many sites are moving to GraphQL, which uses many of the same concepts and tools as REST. So technological innovation continues on the web, but the invention of REST in particular was a historic turning point.

          The term REST was invented by Roy T. Fielding in a famous 2000 PhD dissertation, and stands for Representational State Transfer. In this article, I’ll explain why previous attempts to create a universal data processing infrastructure failed, and what made today’s REST-connected world possible.

        • Enrique Ocaña González: GStreamer WebKit debugging tricks using GDB (1/2)

          I’ve been developing and debugging desktop and mobile applications on embedded devices over the last decade or so. The main part of this period I’ve been focused on the multimedia side of the WebKit ports using GStreamer, an area that is a mix of C (glib, GObject and GStreamer) and C++ (WebKit).

          Over these years I’ve had to work on ARM embedded devices (mobile phones, set-top-boxes, Raspberry Pi using buildroot) where most of the environment aids and tools we take for granted on a regular x86 Linux desktop just aren’t available. In these situations you have to be imaginative and find your own way to get the work done and debug the issues you find in along the way.

          I’ve been writing down the most interesting tricks I’ve found in this journey and I’m sharing them with you in a series of 7 blog posts, one per week. Most of them aren’t mine, and the ones I learnt in the begining of my career can even seem a bit naive, but I find them worth to share anyway. I hope you find them as useful as I do.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Raku multiple dispatch with the new MoarVM dispatcher

            I recently wrote about the new MoarVM dispatch mechanism, and in that post noted that I still had a good bit of Raku’s multiple dispatch semantics left to implement in terms of it. Since then, I’ve made a decent amount of progress in that direction. This post contains an overview of the approach taken, and some very rough performance measurements.

        • Rust

        • Java

    • Standards/Consortia

  • Leftovers

    • Opinion | Denis Halliday: A Voice of Reason in an Insane World

      “I think the United States and its populous, who vote these governments in, need to understand that the children and the people of Iraq are just like the children of the United States.”

      Denis Halliday is an exceptional figure in the world of diplomacy. In 1998, after a 34-year career with the United Nations—including as an Assistant Secretary-General and the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq—he resigned when the UN Security Council refused to lift sanctions against Iraq. 

    • Between Q’s Headspace and the Hard Place of Western History

      Fast forward 30 years to last week and I’m watching the documentary  Q: Into the Storm on HBO. Fredrick Brennan is one of the three protagonists in the film, which is nominally a search for Q’s identity. Brennan was born with a severely disabling disease that involves very brittle bones. Still, he buzzes around,  sometimes a bit headlong, in a motorized wheelchair with his little pomeranian aboard. He was a player at the website that ends up channeling the secretive Q’s “droppings.” Q is named for his “Q level” security clearance. Rumor has it, Q is close to the president and is tight with the highest-ranking military men. Q speaks in riddles like the Oracle at Delphi. Q is cool. Q is the game.

      Brennan is an amazing character. He got his first computer at age six and soon taught himself code. He’s clearly incredibly intelligent. The idea of engaging anonymously with other people in cyberspace and engaging in power struggles must be, for someone as disabled as he is, to literally accept your cyborgian reality.  He’s a rolling example of humanity melding with technology. Watching Brennan like this made me flashback on  Neuromancer. As a child, Brennan was literally weaned into cyberspace and immersed himself totally in that new and ever-expanding a place, a place where he could be as powerful as anyone else. Even he could pursue his very own Nietzschian Will To Power in a world assembled not out of atoms and cells but out of ones and zeros tricked out in codes and algorithms.

    • The News Media Offers Wall-to-Wall Propaganda Every Day. We Only Notice When a Royal Dies

      1. There is absolutely no commercial reason for the media to have dedicated so much time and space to the Prince’s death. The main commercial channel ITV, which needs eyeballs on its programmes to generate income from advertising, saw a  60 per cent drop in viewing figures after it decided to broadcast endless forelock-tugging. Audiences presumably deserted to Netflix and Youtube, where the mood of “national mourning” was not being enforced. Many viewers, particularly younger ones, have no interest in the fact that a very old man just died, even if he did have lots of titles.

    • Prince Philip (1921-2020), Saviour of Vanuatu

      This story line became the basis for a “cargo cult,” one example of a type of millenarian religious cult emerging in the 20th century Pacific. The cults are related to interactions between foreign mariners, traders and soldiers and local people who perceive these outsiders as bearers of a higher civilization. To bring back the visitors, the cultists think, and to again receive their amazing goods, the people must emulate the foreigners by embracing their symbols (like the Christian cross) and imitating their behavior (as in crude military drills). From at least 1945 stories about one John Frum, a (probably fictitious) GI on Tanna, began to circulate on the islands. A tall white man, Frum had told the people that if they prayed to him, he would bring “radios, TVs, trucks, boats, watches, iceboxes, medicine, Coca-Cola and many other wonderful things.” Ever Feb. 15 is John Frum day on Tanna; hundreds gather, women dance, men do cosplay military drills.

      Somehow the Frum cult got tangled up with stories about Britain’s Prince Philip. Do not ask why; religions as delusion-clusters do not develop rationally. The cult involving Philip, presumably emerging after Elizabeth was crowned in 1952, existed as of 1974 when the Queen and Royal Consort visited Vanuatu, six years before its independence. John Champion, the British Resident Commissioner for New Hebrides, explained to the prince that the adherents to this cult revered him as a god. (To this day Yaohnanen pray to Prince Philip to protect their yam crops.) He suggested that Philip send the Tanna villagers a personal photo, which his grace graciously did. It was a deliberate act of diplomacy catering to an absurd belief system, a statement of imperialist condescension. Moved by this generous token, the villagers sent Philip a nal-nal or pig-hunting club. A finely crafted weapon, the club was the most precious and symbolically charged gift the tribe could render its god.

    • Opinion | Rip It Out To the Studs: This Was No Accident
    • B. Traven: Fiction’s Forgotten Radical

      In England, Germany, the U.S.A., everywhere it is the police who do the whipping and the one in rags who gets whipped. And then the people who sit smugly at their well-laden tables are surprised when someone rocks the table, overturns it, and shatters everything to fragments.

      —B. Traven, The Cotton-Pickers

    • We Need Each Other
    • Science

      • From gene bombs to classroom curriculum How Vladimir Putin became infatuated with genetics and entrusted the industry to friends and family

        Until recently, the Russian authorities showed little interest in genetics. The breakthrough came in 2019, when the government allocated 127 billion rubles ($1.7 billion) to a special seven-year federal program. In fact, as Meduza learned, the Kremlin’s overall spending on projects involving genetics could actually reach 230 billion rubles ($3 billion) in the coming years. Vladimir Putin personally supervises the implementation of these programs, and he’s put his own relatives and closest friends (in particular, his eldest daughter Maria Vorontsova and the cellist Sergey Roldugin) in charge of overseeing the work. Additionally, the oil giant Rosneft acts as the state’s main corporate partner. Meduza explains how the president became infatuated with a field of science that was heresy in the Soviet Union and neglected in the decades after communism’s collapse.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Biden’s Embrace of Trump-Era Fentanyl Ban ‘Threatens to Repeat Past Missteps,’ Critics Warn

        One expert urged policymakers to “rethink these efforts to double down on fear-based, enforcement-first approaches, and instead invest in public health alternatives.”

        After the Biden administration this week expressed support for a seven-month extension of a Trump-era policy imposing harsher sentences on people caught with synthetic painkillers containing fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances, public health advocates warned against doubling down on a fear-based and enforcement-first approach to drug use that perpetuates harmful effects and racial injustices.

      • 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief to Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach and Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

        “Global supply should not be dependent on the purely commercial prerogatives and exclusive rights of pharmaceutical companies holding the technology. There is simply too much at stake.”

        An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary approach that would keep life-saving technology under the total control of pharmaceutical corporations—and entrench massive global inequities.

      • India’s Farm Crisis: Mitti of the Martyrs, Singhu’s Soil of Struggle
      • Nimble Failure: The Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Program

        Part of the monumental failings of the government can be put down to its stubbornness in prioritising the use of one vaccine.  AstraZeneca was meant to be the vaccine wonder, the Godhead, the miraculous deliverer.  CSL, Australia’s only vaccine manufacturer, was given the task of producing the majority of 54 million ordered doses at its Broadmeadows factory in Melbourne.  Many of those now risk being essentially useless.

        AstraZeneca’s product has been plagued by a profile that has become a ballooning public relations nightmare.  While various medical authorities in Europe delayed the application of jabs fearing a possible link between the vaccine and a rare blood-clotting syndrome, Australia looked on with goggle-eyed wonder, insisting that no pause was necessary.  Administrative objectives took priority over medical ones.

      • A Tiny Number of People Will Be Hospitalized Despite Being Vaccinated. We Have to Learn Why.

        Dr. Carey Washington was eager to be vaccinated. The psychologist, who was still working at 80 years old, got his first coronavirus shot on Jan. 12 and followed up with the second Pfizer dose on Feb. 4. With both shots done, he let his guard down at the office he shared with another doctor, sometimes leaving his mask off.

        Then he woke up on March 7 with aches and fatigue, feeling as though he might have a cold. When he started experiencing chest pain and finding it hard to breathe, he booked an appointment with his primary care physician, who sent him on to his cardiologist. Both thought that his symptoms must be related to his past heart issues. But Washington’s symptoms got worse. He was so tired he could barely get out of bed. His cardiologist reassured him that the fatigue was likely due to the irregular heartbeat he was experiencing, and that the medications prescribed for that would take a while to kick in. But on March 12, Washington’s son took him to the emergency room anyway. A test revealed Washington was positive for COVID-19.

      • ‘We Need a People’s Vaccine’: Ex-World Leaders, Nobel Laureates Urge Biden to Back WTO Waiver

        “Supporting the emergency waiver of Covid-19-related intellectual property rules will give people around the globe a chance to wake up to a world free from the virus.”

        Calling on U.S. President Joe Biden to prioritize human need over corporate greed, more than 170 Nobel laureates and former heads of state and government on Wednesday sent an open letter urging him to back a waiver of intellectual property rules so that developing nations can ramp up coronavirus vaccine production and pursue a people’s vaccine to help end a pandemic that has now claimed nearly three million lives. 

      • Putin receives second dose of coronavirus vaccine

        On Wednesday, April 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he had received his second dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

      • COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring: The J&J vaccine and blood clots

        Long ago (seemingly, at least, when in this pandemic months can seem like years), I—and many other vaccine advocates—warned that when safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines finally rolled out there would be adverse reactions and even deaths reported after the vaccines, that these events would be sensationalized by the news media, and that they would be weaponized by the antivaccine movement. This has come to pass even beyond what I had anticipated. Examples abound, ranging from Bell’s palsy to cardiac events to immune thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP) to, yes, deaths, with antivaxxers like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. regularly mining the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) in order to make it seem as though COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous and that “they” are covering it up, even though, as I and others have pointed out, these adverse events were not occurring above the expected baseline rate and have not been shown to be related causally to the vaccines. Our message was that, any time tens or hundreds of millions of doses of a vaccine are administered, the law of very large numbers dictates that there will be deaths and adverse events that occur after that vaccine by random chance alone, because coincidence is far more common than people believe. We also warned that it will take time to disentangle whether any given adverse event observed after COVID-19 vaccines could plausibly be causally related, particularly for rare adverse events, which brings us to the announcement yesterday from the FDA and CDC about the decision to pause the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine due to the reporting of rare instances of blood clots after the administration of this vaccine.

      • Kurdish Officials Demand Help With Looming COVID ‘Catastrophe’ in NE Syria

        Kurdish officials in northeast Syria are expressing concerns over a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in their region, calling on international health organizations to intervene to prevent a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

        A 10-day curfew went into effect Tuesday in an attempt to curb the spread of the deadly virus in the semiautonomous region, which is home to nearly 5 million people, including thousands of internally displaced people, refugees and prisoners of the Islamic State (IS) terror group, also known as ISIS or its Arabic acronym, Daesh.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Dell Will Spin Off VMware, Unwind Part of Biggest Tech Deal

          The spinoff will unwind, at least in part, a consolidation created five years ago in Dell’s $67 billion acquisition of VMware’s parent, EMC Corp. The spending spree helped Dell branch out from its origins as a personal computer maker, but left the company saddled with debt.

          VMware will distribute a special cash dividend of $11.5 billion to $12 billion to shareholders at the close of the deal, which is expected by the fourth quarter, Round Rock, Texas-based Dell said Wednesday in a statement. Dell, which owns 81% of VMware, will receive a payout of as much as $9.7 billion.

        • Sony Invests $200M More in Epic Games as Part of $1B Funding Round

          The deal comes after Sony last year acquired a $250 million minority stake in Epic Games. Sony “has made an additional strategic investment of 200 million U.S. dollars in Epic through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Sony Corporation of America,” the conglomerate said in a regulatory filing. “By strengthening the already close relationship between the two companies through this additional investment, Sony will further promote efforts across the Sony Group’s businesses to explore collaborative opportunities leading to new value creation, and strive to accelerate business expansion in the area of entertainment.”

        • Pentagon acting CIO pushes on with cybersecurity, software development

          The U.S. Department of Defense is forging ahead with IT projects despite the absence of a Senate-confirmed chief information officer, grappling with cybersecurity after a government hack and a cloud infrastructure with an uncertain future.

          Leading the efforts in an acting capacity until President Joe Biden settles on the next CIO is John Sherman, the principal deputy under former DoD CIO Dana Deasy. He told C4ISRNET that he’s “not just keeping the seat warm here.”

          Though it’s uncertain how long he’ll hold the job, cybersecurity is his top priority in the aftermath of the SolarWinds breach discovered in December that infected networks across the federal government, he said.

        • Unpatched Microsoft Exchange Servers hit with cryptojacking

          Nation-state [attackers] and criminals have been rushing to take advantage of the Microsoft flaws since the company announced their existence last month, with security experts warning against an onslaught of webshell, ransomware and cryptojacking attacks. And although organizations have been working to patch against attacks, the Sophos research is a reminder that patching does not necessarily kick out [crackers] if they’ve already exploited the flaws.

        • Kevin Fenzi: A critique of google chat

          I’m not usually one to say bad things about… well, anything, but more and more people I interact with lately have been using google chat at their preferred communication medium and I have been asked a few times why I dislike it, so I thought I would do a blog post on it and can then just point people here.


          So, all in all, I will use google chat if I have to, but it’s going to be my least favorite chat method and I wish everyone would switch to something else. Matrix perhaps?

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation launches R&D division to investigate open source opportunities

                The Linux Foundation (LF) has announced the launch of a new research division to investigate the impact of open source collaboration in solving the most pressing challenges in the world today.

                LP argues that Linux Foundation Research will help broaden the understanding of open source projects, the dynamics of the ecosystem, and its impact, in order to quantify the efficacy of open source collaboration.

              • Linux Foundation creates research division to study open source impact

                In the latest sign of the growing influence of open source software, the Linux Foundation announced it is creating a new research unit to provide greater insight into the technology, as well as the people creating it.

                Linux Foundation Research will be a new division with a broad mandate to explore the social and technical aspects of open source in the hopes of expanding the types of people who participate and encouraging more enterprises to adopt the technology. Among the group’s priorities are examining diversity and security.

              • Linux Foundation Research aims to widen understanding of open source projects

                Non-profit organization the Linux Foundation today announces Linux Foundation Research, a new division that will broaden the understanding of open source projects, ecosystem dynamics, and impact.

                Through a series of research projects and related content, Linux Foundation Research will make use of the Foundation’s vast repository of data, tools, and communities and apply quantitative and qualitative techniques to create an unprecedented knowledge network to benefit the global open source community, academia, and industry.

        • Security

          • How the NAME:WRECK Bugs Impact Consumers, Businesses [Ed: Now they go ALL CAPS to increase the SHOCK FACTOR]

            How this class of vulnerabilities will impact millions connected devices and potentially wreck the day of IT security professionals.

          • Linux Foundation sigstore finds ‘origins’ in software supply chains [Ed: Companies connected to the Pentagon trying to centralise “trust” and over time control what people can and cannot install and run on their own GNU/Linux systems]

            The Linux Foundation announced the sigstore project this spring.

            Designed to improves the security of the software supply chain, sigstore is said to enable the adoption of cryptographic software signing backed by transparency log technologies.

            Software application development professionals will be able to securely sign software artifacts such as release files, container images and binaries.

            Signing materials are then stored in a tamper-proof public log.

            The service will be free to use for all developers and software providers, with the sigstore code and operation tooling developed by the sigstore community.

          • NSA uncovers new “critical” flaws in Microsoft Exchange Server [Ed: It sort of misses the point that there are NSA back doors in everything from Microsoft]

            Microsoft released three new patches for its Exchange Server software on Tuesday after the National Security Agency (NSA) alerted the company to a fresh batch of critical vulnerabilities.

            The new fixes are for three versions of Exchange Server – 2013, 2016 and 2019 – and the flaws are said to be different vulnerabilities to the ones disclosed in March. However, US agencies continue to find and remove vulnerabilities in their systems a month after the previous flaws were first discovered.

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

            • Not even the best antivirus could have shielded you from this Linux and macOS malware [Ed: Misinformation. It neglects to say that Microsoft delivers this malware. Instead it blames the recipients of Microsoft (NPM)]

              Researchers have identified a new strain of Linux and macOS malware capable of eluding even the most reputable antivirus services.

              According to security company Sonatype, the malicious program was discovered on the npm registry, a developer resource that catalogues various open source JavaScript packages.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • ‘Too Dangerous to Exist’: Coalition Calls for Ban on Private, Corporate Use of Facial Recognition

              “Letting this tool of authoritarian control spread throughout the private sector has serious implications for worker organizing rights and heightens the risk of catastrophic biometric data breaches.”

              A coalition of more than 20 human rights organizations released an open letter Wednesday morning calling for a total ban on private and corporate use of facial recognition, an invasive technology that the groups characterized as discriminatory and “too dangerous to exist.”

            • Forced Arbitration Thwarts Legal Challenge to AT&T’s Disclosure of Customer Location Data

              With cellphone carriers brazenly violating their customers’ privacy and the Federal Communication Commission moving slowly to investigate, it fell to consumers to protect themselves. That’s why in June 2019 EFF filed a lawsuit representing customers challenging AT&T’s unlawful disclosure of their location data. Our co-counsel are lawyers at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. The case, Scott v. AT&T , alleged that AT&T had violated a federal privacy law protecting cellphone customers’ location data, among other protections.

              That legal challenge, however, quickly ran into an all-too-familiar roadblock: the arbitration agreements AT&T forces on its customers to sign every time they buy a cellphone or new service from the company. AT&T claimed that this clause prevented the Scott case from proceeding.

              The court ended up dismissing the plaintiffs’ lawsuit earlier this year. The way it did so demonstrates why Congress needs to change federal law so that the public can meaningfully protect themselves from companies’ abusive practices.

            • The EU is considering a ban on AI for mass surveillance and social credit scores

              The European Union is considering banning the use of artificial intelligence for a number of purposes, including mass surveillance and social credit scores. This is according to a leaked proposal that is circulating online, first reported by Politico, ahead of an official announcement expected next week.

              If the draft proposal is adopted, it would see the EU take a strong stance on certain applications of AI, setting it apart from the US and China. Some use cases would be policed in a manner similar to the EU’s regulation of digital privacy under GDPR legislation.

            • Ireland launches inquiry into Facebook after reports of data leak

              Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) said on Wednesday it had launched an inquiry into Facebook Inc, after a dataset reported to contain personal data relating to some 533 million Facebook users worldwide was made public.

              Facebook said in a blog post last week that “malicious actors” had obtained the data prior to September 2019 by “scraping” profiles using a vulnerability in the platform’s tool for synching contacts.

              The DPC said that having considered information provided by Facebook, it was of the opinion that one or more provisions of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation’s (GDPR) and/or the Data Protection Act 2018 “may have been, and/or are being, infringed in relation to Facebook Users’ personal data.”

            • How to Check Whether Your Account Was Part of Facebook Data Breach 2021

              Facebook data breaches have become a tradition. Here is how you can make sure your Facebook account was not one of the 533 million to have been leaked since the beginning of the year but not publicized until last weekend. This most recent personal data leak was first discovered on January 14, 2021, by cybersecurity expert Alon Gal of Hudson Rock.

            • Govt inks MoU with Microsoft to provide post-harvest solutions to farmers

              As per the memorandum of understanding (MoU), Microsoft through its local partner CropData will leverage master database of farmers to address challenges of individual or group of farmers. “The government has a verified database of more than 50 million farmers along with their land records,” a senior agriculture ministry official said.

            • DuckDuckGo, Vivaldi join Brave in opposing Google’s new ad-targeting tech

              The companies behind privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo and Norwegian browser Vivaldi have joined the Brave browser chiefs in opposing Google’s new experimental ad-targeting technology known as Federated Learning of Cohorts.

            • Use the DuckDuckGo Extension to Block FLoC, Google’s New Tracking Method in Chrome

              Google has created a new tracking method called FLoC, put it in Chrome, and automatically turned it on for millions of users.

              FLoC is bad for privacy: It puts you in a group based on your browsing history, and any website can get that group FLoC ID to target and fingerprint you.

            • No, Google! Vivaldi users will not get FLoC’ed.

              Old habits die hard.

              Google’s new data harvesting venture is nasty. Called FLoC (The Federated Learning of Cohorts), this new advertising technology intends to replace third-party cookies and related technologies like third-party localStorage. This clearly is a dangerous step that harms user privacy.

              Currently, it is being trialled in Google Chrome and is a part of the Chromium browser engine.

              Now the real question; What is Vivaldi’s position on this new technology by Google?

              This is a pretty valid question as we are based on Chromium. But the truth is that while we rely on the Chromium engine to render pages correctly, this is where Vivaldi’s similarities with Chrome (and other Chromium-based browsers) end.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Reporting Demonstrates Multiple Links Between White Supremacists and Police – Validated Independent News

        In August 2020, Sam Levitin, writing for the Guardian, reported on findings from an in-depth study titled “Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism, White Supremacy, and Far-Right Militancy in Law Enforcement,” which was conducted by Michael German, a 16-year veteran of law enforcement and a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty & National Security Program. Writing in The Intercept that same month, Alice Speri reported on a heavily redacted 2006 FBI threat assessment that had just recently been released to the public in unredacted form by Representative Jamie Raskin ahead of his September 29, 2020, House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on the subject. The Intercept’s reporting highlighted the fact that the FBI “had major concerns about the infiltration of police departments for years but failed to warn the public.” And Simon Purdue, reporting for Open Democracy in August of 2020, cited a 2019 Reveal News investigation which uncovered “hundreds of active duty and retired law enforcement officers” that are currently members of online forums dedicated to Islamophobia, Neo-Confederate ideology, and Neo-Nazism.

      • Dataminr Introduces Racial Bias, Stereotypes in Policing of Social Media – Validated Independent News

        Dataminr’s controversial First Alert program was created to notify “first responders to breaking events, enabling the fastest real-time response,” but, as one source told the Intercept, “Dataminr and law enforcement were perpetuating each other’s biases.”

      • ‘Shame’: Biden to Advance Trump-Era Sale of $23 Billion in F-35s and Armed Drones to UAE

        “We have to stop choosing political expediency over human rights,” said Kate Kizer of Win Without War.

        The Biden administration has reportedly informed Congress that it is planning to advance a $23.4 billion sale of weaponry to the United Arab Emirates that was inked under former President Donald Trump, a move anti-war critics denounced as a betrayal of President Joe Biden’s recent pledge to end U.S. support for “offensive operations” in Yemen.

      • From RussiaGate to UkraineGate: Route to Apocalypse

        Within three months of the ascendancy of Joseph Biden to the presidency of the United States, the world teeters on the edge of nuclear war, whether by design or accident, as Russia reports that the U.S. is placing considerable pressure on Ukraine to attack the independent republics of the Donbass for which Russia provides logistical support. The U.S. European Command has raised its alert status to the highest level and warned of a “ potential imminent crisis.”

      • Israel Rejects ICC Investigation: What Are the Possible Future Scenarios?

        “It will be made clear that Israel is a country with rule of law that knows how to investigate itself,” Netanyahu said in a statement on April 8. Subsequently, Israel “completely rejects” any accusations that it has committed war crimes.

        But it won’t be so easy for Tel Aviv this time around. True, Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute, according to which the ICC was established, but it can still be held accountable, because the State of Palestine is a member of the ICC.

      • What are Turkey and the US Up to in Afghanistan?

        Turkey is entering the cockpit to navigate the Afghan peace process to a conclusion that meets US objectives. This will have a salutary effect on the fraught Turkish-American relationship. The US appreciates that Turkey is an influential member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, enjoys historical links with Afghanistan and has a positive image among Afghans. But digging deeper, the unholy US-Turkey alliance in the Syrian conflict creates disquiet.

        The Pentagon and CIA are reluctant to vacate Afghanistan by the deadline of May 1. Turkey will be overseeing an open-ended US-NATO presence. The US hopes to retain a strong intelligence presence backed by special operations forces. A report Friday from CNN disclosed that “CIA, which has had a significant say in US decision-making in Afghanistan, has ‘staked out some clear positions’ during recent deliberations, arguing in favour of continuing US involvement.”

      • Capitol Police Knew Trump’s Mob Would Attack Congress But Were Unprepared Anyway

        Capitol Police knew ahead of January 6 that Congress itself was the target of the Donald Trump-fueled mob that violently breached the Capitol, but the police department’s leaders ignored warnings and were thoroughly unprepared for the mob, a new report from the department’s watchdog has found.

      • There’s Now a Glimmer of Hope That 20 Years of War in Afghanistan Might End

        The Biden administration has announced that all remaining U.S. non-special operations troops in Afghanistan — officially listed as 2,500, though the current number on the ground is reportedly closer to 3,500 — will be fully withdrawn by September 11, 2021. The Trump administration had negotiated a nebulous May 1 withdrawal, but in true Trump form did no work to facilitate the process. President Biden’s decision to establish a hard date for troop removal sets the stage, at long last, for the longest and most utterly useless war in U.S. history to be brought to a close.

      • DC Protests Catalyze PATRIOT Act-Style Domestic Terrorism Bill – Validated Independent News

        Opponents of H.R. 350 cite issues with the increased government power the bill provides, in addition to the potential risk that increased surveillance has on minority groups. These potential dangers hearken back to the sweeping legislation of the USA PATRIOT Act, enacted in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Act increased the federal government’s surveillance capabilities and its ability to go after potential ‘terrorist’ threats. With newly authorized powers, organizations including the FBI increased their surveillance of Muslim Americans. The PATRIOT Act built on previous legislation that negatively impacted minority groups in the name of “national security,” including the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which introduced the concept of “material support,” which provided news tools to prosecute individuals believed to support foreign terrorist organizations, even if those individuals did not intend to facilitate terrorist acts. The Anti-Terrorism Act disproportionately impacted the “mass of mostly poor and working-class people sitting on death rows across the United States” and not terrorists, Chris Gibbons, a reporter for Jacobin magazine, noted. “One thing is certain,” Gibbons wrote, failure to prevent the Capitol attack was not due to “lack of police powers or anti-terrorism measures.”

      • The US Is a Mass-Killing Machine

        By the time you read this piece, it will already be out of date. The reason’s simple enough. No matter what mayhem I describe, with so much all-American weaponry in this world of ours, there’s no way to keep up. Often, despite the headlines that go with mass killings here, there’s almost no way even to know.

        On this planet of ours, America is the emperor of weaponry, even if in ways we normally tend not to put together. There’s really no question about it. The all-American powers-that-be and the arms makers that go with them dream up, produce, and sell weaponry, domestically and internationally, in an unmatched fashion. You’ll undoubtedly be shocked, shocked to learn that the top five arms makers on the planet—Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Dynamics—are all located in the United States.

      • AOC Blasts Police Department’s “Accident” Excuse in Daunte Wright’s Death

        Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) blasted the police department of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, this week for suggesting that the police-perpetrated killing of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was merely an “accident.”

      • Police Officer Who Killed Daunte Wright Will Face Manslaughter Charge

        Kim Potter, the white police officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright on Sunday, will be charged with second-degree manslaughter, a county prosecutor said Wednesday . This announcement comes after three nights of mass protests in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, where Wright was killed.

      • Probe Finds Capitol Police Leaders Ignored Key Intel Ahead of January 6 Insurrection

        “Congress itself is the target,” warned one internal threat assessment three days before the deadly attack by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

        U.S. Capitol Police leaders brushed aside critical intelligence ahead of the deadly January 6 right-wing mob attack—including a warning that “Congress itself is the target”—and did not allow officers to use more forceful measures to stop the invasion, according to an internal agency investigation reported Tuesday by the New York Times. 

      • German Social Democratic Party approves EU war drone

        From 2030, European air forces want to have a drone for surveillance, interception or attack. The weapon system could be exported worldwide.

      • After Nearly 20-Year Assault on Afghanistan, Biden Says ‘It Is Time to End America’s Longest War’

        White House announcement for complete withdrawal comes nearly two decades after the U.S. president, then a senator, backed the 2001 invasion.

        After nearly 20 years, tens of thousands of Afghan civilians and more than 2,300 U.S. service members killed, and Taliban forces who have never surrendered, President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced he plans to withdraw all regular American combat troops from Afghanistan by this year’s anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. 

      • Afghanistan: Biden Vows to End Nation’s Longest War by 9/11 After Decades of Bloodshed & Destruction

        The Biden administration has unveiled plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The War in Afghanistan has killed more than 100,000 Afghan civilians and over 2,300 U.S. servicemembers and has cost the U.S. trillions of dollars. The announcement comes just a week before the scheduled start of a new round of peace talks in Istanbul between the Taliban and the U.S.-backed Afghan government, but the Taliban said it would boycott the talks because Biden is going back on a deal made by President Trump to have all U.S. troops out by May 1. Afghan American scholar Zaher Wahab says withdrawing is the right decision. “The United States and its allies should never have attacked and occupied Afghanistan,” Wahab says. “It was wrong. It was illegal. And I think it was immoral.” We also speak with Matthew Hoh, senior fellow with the Center for International Policy, who in 2009 resigned from the State Department in protest of the escalation of the War in Afghanistan. “This is a step that is necessary for the peace process to go forward, and that’s what the Afghan people desperately need,” he says. “It has been well over 40 years of fighting. Millions of Afghans have been killed or wounded. The devastation on the Afghan people is hard to imagine.”

      • American Insurrection: Deadly Far-Right Extremism from Charlottesville to Capitol Attack. What Next?

        A scathing new report by the Capitol Police’s internal watchdog reveals officials knew Congress was the target of the deadly January 6 insurrection, yet officers were instructed to refrain from deploying more aggressive measures that could have helped “push back the rioters.” Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports domestic terrorism incidents surged to a record high in 2020, fueled by white supremacist, anti-Muslim and anti-government extremists on the far right. The Post found that, since 2015, right-wing extremists have been involved in 267 plots or attacks, leading to 91 deaths. Reporter A.C. Thompson, who explores the threat of far-right extremism in the new PBS “Frontline” documentary “American Insurrection,” says there was a “massive pool of radicalized individuals” ahead of the January 6 attack who were being pushed toward violence by “an abundance of lies by the former president, by this entire conspiratorial right-wing media and social media ecosystem.” We also speak with director Rick Rowley, who says many white supremacist groups began to splinter during the intense backlash to the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, but Trump gave the groups new life ahead of the January 6 insurrection. “Many elements inside the white supremacist movement found in him a path into the mainstream,” says Rowley. “They took off their swastikas, and they wrapped themselves in the flag.”

      • Watchdog lays bare Capitol Police’s riot security failures

        A blistering internal report by the U.S. Capitol Police describes a multitude of missteps that left the force unprepared for the Jan. 6 insurrection — riot shields that shattered upon impact, expired weapons that couldn’t be used, inadequate training and an intelligence division that had few set standards.

        The watchdog report released internally last month and obtained by The Associated Press before a congressional hearing Thursday, adds to what is already known about broader security and intelligence failures that Congress has been investigating since hundreds of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters laid siege to the Capitol.

      • FBI Director Concerned About QAnon’s Potential for Violence

        The FBI remains “concerned” about the far-right QAnon conspiracy movement’s potential for violence and will soon release an unclassified threat assessment about the group, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday.

        The FBI views QAnon as a “set of complex conspiracy theories largely promoted online, which has sort of morphed into more of a movement,” Wray testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    • Environment

      • Now Is Our Last Best Chance to Confront the Climate Crisis

        Now, our luck is running out. The industrialized nations of the world are dumping 34 billion tons or so of carbon into the atmosphere every year, which is roughly 10 times faster than Mother Nature ever did on her own, even during past mass extinction events. As a result, global temperatures have risen 1.2 C since we began burning coal, and the past seven years have been the warmest seven years on record. The Earth’s temperature is rising faster today than at any time since the end of the last ice age, 11,300 years ago. We are pushing ourselves out of a Goldilocks climate and into something entirely different — quite literally, a different world than humans have ever lived in before.

      • Environmental Racism is at the Heart of Europe’s Continued Coal Use – DeSmog
      • Climate Groups Cheer Keep It in the Ground Act of 2021

        “Our public lands and waters belong to all of us—not to fossil fuel executives who want to exploit our health and our kids’ future to get rich,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley.

        Climate advocacy groups applauded the reintroduction on Wednesday of legislation that would ban new leases for fossil fuel extraction on public lands and waters.

      • Mexico’s cactuses find novel path to cooler climate

        Rainforests are prized for storing carbon, but Mexico’s cactuses are also vital to climate cooling, and provide leather too.

      • Federal Court Ends Trump Effort to Open 128 Million Acres of Atlantic, Arctic Oceans to Drilling

        “As the Biden administration considers its next steps, it should build on these foundations, end fossil fuel leasing on public lands and waters, and embrace a clean energy future.”

        A federal appeals court on Tuesday dealt the final blow to former President Donald Trump’s attempt to open nearly 130 million acres of territory in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans to oil and gas drilling.

      • A Tale of 2 Climate Migrants

        This story originally appeared in Nexus Media News and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

        Climate change is fueling longer dry spells, bigger floods, and more violent storms across the globe, but the effect is most pronounced in the tropics, where even a small rise in temperature can turn a heat  wave from miserable to deadly or lend a hurricane the destructive power needed to level a small town. In the decades to come, more chaotic weather in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean will spur millions of people to move to the mainland United States. This new migration has already begun, as drought devastates farmers in Guatemala and Honduras and more dangerous hurricanes imperil communities around the Gulf of Mexico.

      • Hospitals Try to Curb Astronomical Emissions as Pandemic Brings New Challenges
      • Wildfire Researchers Forecast 2021 Fire Season That May Be More Severe Than 2020

        Earlier this April, researchers at San José State University’s Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center in Northern California were gathering chamise at Blackberry Hill, a site in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. In the past few years, it was a site that they had revisited to gather samples of the native shrub. While surveying the land at the site, the researchers made a disconcerting discovery: new, green growth was nowhere to be found.

      • Passing Climate Bills Without Labor Standards Won’t Transition the Economy

        The failed unionization attempt at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, isn’t just a setback for the labor movement, it is a setback for all progressive movements, especially the climate movement. Amazon openly violated several labor laws in the unionization drive, and these violations are likely to be adjudicated in front of the National Labor Relations Board. But the fact remains that Amazon is not afraid to act illegally, and this level of unchecked corporate power is fatal for the climate.

      • Trump Administration Rushed to Allow Mining on Sacred Native Lands – Validated Independent News

        The land that the company Resolution Copper is trying to obtain through the Trump administration lies on 11 square miles of Apache burial grounds, sacred sites, petroglyphs and medicinal plants. Resolution Copper plans to extract more than 1.4 million tons of copper by excavating a 1,000-foot-deep, 2-mile-wide crater in the middle of native protected lands. The proposed mining operation is near enough to another important indigenous landmark, the Apache Leap, that mining operations could catastrophically destabilize the 400-foot high cliff. While the corporation has made attempts to “build a relationship” with neighboring tribes, its plan to destroy the land persists. Arizona officials say current preservation laws are not strong enough to prevent Resolution Copper’s claims, making it extremely difficult to enforce existing protections of the land.

      • Energy

        • Coalition Tells Biden White House That Any Further Fossil Fuel Projects ‘Incompatible’ With Paris Goals

          “Together our groups represent millions of people across the country all urging the Biden administration to put the health and safety of our communities and our climate before oil and gas profits.”

          As the Biden administration conducts a review of the U.S. government’s federal fossil fuels program, a diverse collection of hundreds of organizations is urging the Interior Department to ensure the assessment is science-driven in order to help “secure a thriving, climate resilient future.”

        • “Colonizing the Atmosphere”: How Rich, Western Nations Drive the Climate Crisis – Validated Independent News

          Lazare cites Jason Hickel, an economic anthropologist and author of a study published in the September 2020 issue of The Lancet: Planetary Health . Posing the question “Who got us into this mess?”, Hickel’s study begins from the premises that “the atmosphere is a common resource” and that “all people should have equal access to it within the safe planetary boundary (defined as 350 parts per million atmospheric concentration of CO2).” Hickel calculated the “national fair shares of a safe global carbon budget” and looked at “territorial emissions from 1850 to 1969, and consumption-based emissions from 1970 to 2015.” Using this data, he determined “the extent to which each country has overshot or undershot its fair share.” His conclusion seems obvious.

        • Fossil Fuel Phase Out Must Begin Where the Industry Has Hurt People the Most

          Without warning, on the most bitter winter days, or the hottest of summer, smoke stacks that sit idle much of the year switch online, spewing trails of climate-altering, coronavirus- exacerbating pollutants across the sky, like carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), known for penetrating deep into the lungs and entering the blood system.

        • Fracking Continues in California – Validated Independent News

          Agencies like the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) oversee the petroleum industry, and exemptions have made it possible for oil companies to continue to repeat the same damaging procedures time and time again. Though steps were taken in 2019 to describe the process oil companies must complete to fix spills, “there are no deadlines for stopping them and restoring the sites,” according to Wilson and Younes’ report. The most recent available report done by CalGEM states that the injection volumes for “water disposal, steam flood, and cyclic steam operations” all increased in 2018, continuing environmental damage (California Department of Conservation, California Geologic Energy Management Division, “2018 Report of California Oil and Gas Production Statistics”, October 1, 2019).

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • What’s Driving the Tax Games Corporations Play?
      • Dem Senators Propose New Standards to Permanently Increase Unemployment Benefits

        Two Democratic senators are introducing legislation to standardize federal unemployment insurance benefits, and to ensure extra benefits are added during times when unemployment is high across the country.

      • US Empire: A Dying Superpower Using NATO as its Financial Bandaging – Validated Independent News

        With only nine out of its twenty-eight members meeting the two percent GDP spending requirement established in 2014, NATO is in a financial predicament. However, Ritter reported, these financial struggles run deeper than NATO. US policymakers are unwilling or unable to fund occupation of the Baltics and Poland in order to stave off Russian aggression. “The only nation capable of providing the kind of sustainable, trained, and equipped combat power necessary to fight a viable ground combat campaign against Russian forces in either the Baltics or Poland is the United States. As things stand, the US is unwilling and unable to foot the cost,” Ritter, a longtime critic of the US military, wrote.

      • Opinion | What We Can Learn From the First New Deal to Make the New One Better

        Whether it is called “Build Back Better” or a “Green Industrial Policy” or, indeed, a Green New Deal, it is imperative to reject the false dichotomy of “jobs against climate.”

        Metaphors matter. As a metaphor, the “New Deal” has been mobilized both in response to climate change and in support of President Biden’s rescue and infrastructure initiatives. It needs examination if it is to go from serving as a mere slogan to defining a coherent program. Compelling invocation of the New Deal turns on:

      • Jayapal Calls for Crackdown on Wealthiest After IRS Chief Says Tax Evasion Costs US $1 Trillion a Year

        “We don’t just need a wealth tax, we also need to give the IRS the tools it needs to make sure the ultra-rich finally pay their fair share.”

        Following IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig’s admission Tuesday that tax dodgers are depriving the federal government of as much as $1 trillion or more per year, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal called for strengthening the agency’s ability to crack down on the rampant tax avoidance strategies used by America’s wealthiest individuals and corporations.

      • Does Trickle-Down Economics Actually Work?

        So don’t fall for trickle-down nonsense. Making big corporations and the rich even richer through tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks doesn’t make the rest of us better off. It just makes big corporations and the rich even richer.

      • What Forms Do I Need to File My Taxes and Where Can I Get Them?

        Over the years, the IRS has created a vast network of forms. To file your taxes, you’ve got to navigate a lot of paperwork. Get a regular salary? There’s a form for that. Unemployment benefits? There’s a form for that, too. Social Security? You get the idea.

        Nowadays, most people file their taxes using websites or other products that do the work of figuring out which forms you need to file and filling them out. But it’s not always cheap. Many of those services and software — like TuroTax or H&R Block — charge users depending on which forms they need to use.

      • Brexit isn’t working and business wants it fixed
    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The UK’s Northern Irish Brexit Blues

        While the connection between the more than a week of rioting by Protestant “Loyalists” and Brexit may not seem obvious, some, such as the Northern Ireland justice minister, Naomi Long, say the UK prime minister Boris “BoJo” Johnson’s “dishonesty” over the still-to-be-decided Brexit border has exacerbated the situation.

        The protocol agreed between the EU and the UK fudged the issue of the land border between the UK-member Northern Ireland (NI) and the EU-member Republic of Ireland to NI’s south.

      • Safely Past Another Election, Israel Turns Back to Policy of De-Arabization

        As these words are being typed, The Holy Month of Ramadan is about to begin and I want to begin by wishing my Muslim brothers and sisters, friends, and all Muslims around the world Ramadan Karim. I was born and raised in Jerusalem, which has been an Arab and Muslim city for over 1,500 years. The sight of this beautiful ancient city during Ramadan is unforgettable. The lights and decorations, the festivities, and the families enjoying all of this are heartwarming.

      • Opinion | The Loutish Lemmings of the GOP

        Flailing into oblivion, the frat boy politics of the Republican Party simply may end in its unseemly collapse—or national disaster.

        Joe Biden is thinking about the complexities of racial and social justice in America, vaccinating the population against COVID-19, combatting domestic terrorism, rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, bringing back jobs and climate change. Donald Trump is thinking about money and revenge—and maybe about why his pal Vladimir Putin has all the luck.

      • ‘It’s too early to talk about this meeting’ The Kremlin’s spokesman comments on potential talks between presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden

        During a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, April 13, U.S. President Joe Biden proposed a summit meeting between the two leaders in the coming months, “to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia.” However, in conversation with journalists on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “it’s still too early” to talk about the specifics of such a meeting. He also confirmed that Putin and Biden didn’t discuss jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny.

      • Time, Not Cheap Political Theater, is of the Essence

        For those who think we will somehow deal with the increasingly disastrous effects of climate change, global pandemics, rampant inequality and international tensions by waving a flag for one nation or political party, the National Intelligence Council’s “ Global Trends 2040” report will be a harsh awakening to reality. As the subtitle bluntly puts it: “A more contested future” looms large and unavoidable for mankind.

        Indeed, after decades of warnings of the impending environmental and economic cataclysm wrought by human-caused atmospheric pollution with the by-products of our industrialized societies, that future has arrived. Just last week the Mauna Loa Observatory on Hawaii’s Big Island  recorded carbon dioxide (CO2) levels of more than 420 parts per million, the highest levels ever in human history and twice the pre-industrial levels of this potent greenhouse gas.

      • Do We Have to Hate Lincoln Now?

        These recent stories out of San Francisco made some of us wonder if there is nothing higher on Bay area politicians’ agenda than renaming Abraham Lincoln Elementary School after Grace Slick or whoever. It’s not like San Francisco and Berkeley don’t have their share of problems. The cities are notorious for their struggles with homelessness, lack of affordable housing, NIMBYism and gentrification.

        But I suppose it is human nature that, faced with intractable problems, San Francisco’s elected officials would prefer to do something that will have an immediate impact.

      • Poll Finds More Democrats Are Enthusiastic About Voting in 2022 Than Republicans

        Democrats are going into the 2022 midterm elections with more voter enthusiasm than Republicans, a new poll from Morning Consult/ Politico finds. Though it’s early to be thinking about the midterm elections, Democrats and progressives are hoping they’ll be able to maintain their hold on power in Washington in order to pass legislation that has long sat dormant.

      • The Rise of Islamophobia in France – Validated Independent News

        For over a century, France has embraced the concept of laïcité, a policy that promotes a secularist socio-economic structure. However, the author writes that this ideal has developed into a form of neo- laïcité, which is used to discriminate against minorities, particularly Muslims, from practicing their religious and cultural traditions, including growing beards, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and wearing a hijab in public. Muhammad highlights a study conducted by the Observatory for the Defence of Rights, which reports how “[y]oung Arab and Black men are 20 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police, three times more likely to be insulted verbally, and 2.5 times more likely to be physically attacked.” A recent case also finds that “Muslims face physical assault twice as often as their fellow citizens, like the two women who were stabbed near the Eiffel Tower recently, in a case where the prosecutor eventually identified anti-Muslim bias as part of the investigation.” These acts of violence are a continuation of the racist and Islamophobic rhetoric which the French government normalizes through its treatment of its Muslim citizens.

      • House Committee Applauded for Advancing DC Statehood Bill

        “The more than 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia moved one step closer to having equal representation in our government and power over the laws that govern them.”

        Democrats on the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform voted Wednesday to advance a bill that would make Washington, D.C. the nation’s 51st state, winning praise from progressive activists and local elected officials.

      • Opinion | Our House Continues to Burn, Yet Some Insist on Trying to Reason With Fire

        Tradition and aspirational values cannot matter more than the principles they are meant to serve.

        There is nothing sacred about nine.

      • If CEOs Really Want to Stop GOP Attacks on Voting, Say Progressives, They’d Support the For the People Act

        “While it’s great that these executives and their companies oppose the Jim Crow-style laws that GOP lawmakers are pushing across the country, this kind of talk is cheap without action.”

        With Republican state legislators from Georgia to Michigan to Texas waging war on voting rights, corporate executives and major businesses on Wednesday spoke out with an advertisement that ran in both the New York Times and Washington Post—but progressives want them to go even further and support federal legislation that would largely thwart the recent GOP attacks on American democracy.

      • Revisiting Polling for 2021 and Beyond

        Unfortunately, turnout error does not explain the entirety of the error in 2020. In fact, we found our pre-election turnout models were pretty accurate in the demographic composition of the electorate on key variables such as age, gender, race, and region. While thinking more smartly about the demographic composition of the electorate is essential, it isn’t the only solution. Some other source of error is in play.

      • Politics Without Lying
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Deconstructing Justice Thomas’ Pro-Censorship Statement

        Last week, we had a post about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ very weird statement in a concurrence on mooting an unrelated case, in which he seemed to attack free speech and Section 230. Law professor Eric Goldman has written up an incredibly thorough response to Thomas’ statement that we thought the Techdirt community might appreciate, and so we’re reposting in here.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Lyft Blocks Users From Using Their Real Names To Sign Up (2019)

        Summary: Users attempting to sign up for a new ride-sharing program ran into a problem from the earliest days of content moderation. The “Scunthorpe problem” dates back to 1996, when AOL refused to let residents of Scunthorpe, England register accounts with the online service. The service’s blocklist of “offensive” words picked out four of the first five letters of the town’s name and served up a blanket ban to residents.

      • New Wave of Independent News Sources Demonetized by Google-Owned YouTube – Validated Independent News

        Other punitive measures from YouTube range from putting heavy restrictions on accounts to completely banning a channel. After receiving YouTube’s notification, Progressive Soapbox tweeted, “You guys have destroyed my channel without legit explanation as to why… frankly there is literally zero ‘harmful’ content on my channel.” Ford Fischer, another victim of demonetization tweeted,  “Last time you demonetized my channel, I spoke out for seven months….Please don’t do this again.”

      • A Chinese platform erased accounts promoting “radical” feminist views shunning men

        According to screenshots shared by members (link in Chinese) of the censored groups, Douban said in a notice to them that the forums were erased because they contained “extremism and radical political and ideological thoughts.” The company said the decision was made based on complaints from users and “related departments,” and attached links to China’s cybersecurity law and other internet regulations. Some of the erased groups didn’t advocate 6B4T but simply discussed feminist ideas, according to online news portal the Initium. Some Weibo users also said they were unable to even post about the blocking of the groups on Douban.

      • Censorship in the EU is very real – EU Politicians afraid of Facebook but not Rupert Murdoch (Fox Film and TV News)

        The Simpsons (sponsored by Keith Rupert Murdoch‘s https://www.foxnews.com/) is under Geographical Restrictions thus not viewable in the (parts?) of the EU #WTF!? SERIOUSLY!?

        I once asked Rupert Murdoch why he was so opposed to the European Union. ‘That’s easy,’ he replied. ‘When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice.’

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Opinion | Police Must End Deadly, Racist Traffic Stops

        A cop stopped Daunte Wright for expired tags. Then, Wright died. This is intolerable. 

        I’m starting to write this column only a few minutes after watching the mayor and police chief of Brooklyn Center, Minn.—a suburb of Minneapolis—try to explain the utterly inexplicable, which is how yet another young, unarmed Black man ended up dead in the street, felled by a police bullet. My hands are still shaking a bit with fury.

      • Juvenile Justice Reform Remains Elusive – Validated Independent News

        According to the Children’s Defense Organization’s “The State of America’s Children 2020” report, “76,000 children are prosecuted, sentenced, or incarcerated as adults annually,” and children of color are overrepresented in this figure. Sixty-two percent of arrested children in the US are white, but children of color are more likely to be arrested in comparison to white children. Children of color make up approximately two-thirds of the population in the juvenile system with 41 percent being Black and 21 percent being Hispanic. These racial disparities continue to linger across the criminal justice system, making it more difficult for incarcerated young minorities to persevere during and after incarceration.

      • COVID-19’s Never-ending Struggles for Women of Color – Validated Independent News

        Soublet writes, “People of color have been shown to be disproportionately impacted ever since coronavirus cases and deaths began to surge in mid-March. Now, five months later, not much has changed.” Specifically, Black Americans are impacted the most. African American mothers and Hispanic mothers show the highest rates of being their family’s providers. Soublet states that women of color, “play a crucial role in maintaining the economic stability of their families.” APM Research Lab reports that among 100,000 Black Americans, there are 80.4 deaths. Moreover, in every 100,000 Latino Americans, there are 45.8 deaths. Due to these deaths, many families are losing their providers.

      • Domestic Violence Cases on Rise for LGBTQ+ Community during COVID Pandemic – Validated Independent News

        In November 2020, the Center held a panel on domestic violence during COVID-19. One participant, Xavier Guadalupe-Diaz, an associate professor of sociology at Framingham State University, explained the LGBTQ+ community experiences a higher severity of abuse due to being isolated with their abusers within their communities. “Queer and transgender people pre-pandemic were already more isolated from potential family members and friends,” Guadalupe-Diaz said. Queer and trans people were also “disproportionately affected by economic hardships, because they’re overrepresented in sectors of the economy that are closed or locked down or in some way severely impacted,” he added. Guadalupe-Diaz emphasized that people often incorrectly assume that domestic violence only occurs in families or between long-term couples,

      • ‘Now, We Need to Make the Change Permanent’: FDA Lifts Abortion Pill Restriction During Pandemic

        “The in-person dispensing restriction—which the Trump administration fought to keep in place during the pandemic—prioritized ideology over science and endangered the health and well-being of Americans.”

        Healthcare providers, reproductive rights advocates, and progressive politicians are not only celebrating the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision this week to lift a restriction on accessing abortion medication during the coronavirus pandemic but also calling on regulators to retain the policy after the public health crisis is over.

      • Opinion | The Bloody Catch-22 of Modern Policing In America

        The system as it exists makes it almost impossible for Black and brown Americans to avoid harm.

        On the night of Dec. 5, a  familiar scene unfolded at a gas station in Windsor, Virginia.  Police pulled over Caron Nazario, a Black and Latino second lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps, claiming that his car didn’t have license plates. (Reports said that temporary plates were taped to the inside of the new car’s back window and that they were visible.)

      • Sens. Cruz, Hawley & Lee Show How To Take A Good Bill Idea And Make It Blatantly Unconstitutional

        Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Mike Lee, all hold themselves out to be “constitutional” lawyers. All graduated from law schools and went on to clerk for Supreme Court Justices (Cruz clerked for Rehnquist, Hawley for Roberts, and Lee for Alito — though before he moved to the Supreme Court). And yet, all three have shown that their support for the Constitution they swore to uphold and protect is a little wishy washy when they can build a culture war around it and get some silly press attention. The latest move is their new bill to strip Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption.

      • Anti-domestic violence group ‘Nasiliu.net’ fined for violating ‘foreign agent’ law

        On Wednesday, April 14, a Moscow court fined the anti-domestic violence group “Nasiliu.net” (No to Violence) 300,000 rubles ($3,970) for violating the law on “foreign agent” NGOs.

      • How to Lose a Union Drive

        Jane McAlevey has written a thorough postmortem on the lopsided loss suffered by union supporters in Bessemer, Ala. Anyone interested in the fate of workers and organized labor in the United States should read it, print it out, and tape it to the wall next to their desktop. Her conclusion is clear: “There’s plenty of evidence of what works. Social media and shortcut digital approaches don’t work when fear and division is the central weapon. Workers can win unions—and workers can strike and win. It is hard as hell, and to do that requires a no-shortcut approach.”

        McAlevey brings a lifetime of experience and study to her analysis. But, while she describes in detail the early warning signs of the debacle in Bessemer, she leaves out the fundamental touchstone that generates quality organizing and is absent from superficial attempts. That touchstone is ownership.

      • Undanced Dances During a Pandemic

        Santa Monica, Calif.

        My solo starts off with my arms out-stretched towards the sky, trying to touch the rafters, stretching on tip-toe, reaching, head up to the sky.

      • Lying NYPD Narcotics Detective Just Cost Prosecutors Nearly 100 Convictions

        Welcome once again to America’s War on Drugs, already in progress.

      • Opinion | The Message from the Amazon Union Defeat in Alabama Is Clear: Keep Organizing

        The union’s loss in Bessemer shows the urgent need for both labor law reform and organizing at a mass scale.

        On April 9, the National Labor Relations Board announced the results of a mail ballot certification election that concluded on March 29 for workers at the Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama. With 3,215 votes cast, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) was  defeated with at least 1,608 votes against the union, enough to crush the drive. The result was not shocking given the millions of dollars that Amazon spent and its power inside the facility to pressure workers to vote against forming a union. 

      • Activists Call Out Legacy of Racism and Sexism in Forced Sterilization – Validated Independent News

        Forced sterilization campaigns “merge perceptions of disability with racism, xenophobia and sexism – resulting in the disproportionate sterilization of minority groups,” Alexandra Minna Stern reported for The Conversation. Some sources report anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 women have been affected, and now they are fighting back. Groups such as Project South, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, and the Sterilization and Social Justice Lab are three organizations actively working to document the extent of this underreported problem—and to bring an end to it.

      • I Guess They’re Not All On The Same Side: Cops Brutalize Soldier For [Checks Notes] Leading Them To A Well-Lit Area

        But for video.

      • More support for court challenge to TSA impunity

        Two months ago, the last time we checked in on Sai v. TSA (now Sai v. Pekoske) —  the landmark challenge to the TSA’s attempt to avoid ever facing a Federal trial over its checkpoint procedures —  the disabled, pro se plaintiff had been given what seemed an impossibly short deadline by the 1st Cicruit Court of Appeals to file “hypothetical” objections to whatever “orders” the TSA might have issued that adversely affected them, without knowing what those orders might be.

        Since then, we are pleased to report, things have been looking up for Sai and for all those who would subject the TSA to the rule of law.

        Jonathan Corbett, Esq., who has brought a series of lawsuits against the TSA on his own behalf and that of his clients, stepped in to represent Sai pro bono, and got a small extension of time.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Cable Giant Charter Fined $19 Million For Lying About Competitors Going Out Of Business

        When last we checked in on cable giant Charter Communications (Spectrum), the company was busy using the Boys and Girl’s Club of America as a prop to try and kill helpful conditions affixed to its megamerger with Time Warner Cable. This week, the company’s under fire after it circulated advertising telling customers (falsely) that one of its competitors (Windstream Communications) was going out of business. While Windstream had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, it very much remains in business. Yet Charter’s advertising to customers informed them the company would likely be shuttering its doors soon.

      • Congress, Don’t Let ISP Lobbyists Sabotage Fiber for All

        The president’s plan,  which matches well with current Congressional efforts of Representative James Clyburn and Senator Klobuchar, is welcomed news and a boost to efforts by Congress to get the job done. This plan draws a necessary line that government should only be investing its dollars in “future-proof” (i.e. fiber) broadband infrastructure, which is something we have failed to do for years with subsidies for persistently low metrics for what qualifies as broadband. Historically the low expectations pushed by the telecom industry have resulted in a lot of wasted tax dollars. Every state (barring North Dakota) has wasted billions in propping up outdated networks. Americans are left with infrastructure unprepared for 21 st century, a terrible ratio of price to internet speed, and one of the largest private broadband provider bankruptcies in history. 

        Policymakers are learning from these mistakes as well as from the demand shown by the COVID-19 crisis and this is the year we chart a new course. Now is the time for people to push their elected representatives in Congress to pass the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act.

    • Monopolies

      • Opinion | To Bust Monopoly Power, Start With the Companies Controlling Our Food

        Busting the monopoly power of abusive and arrogant food giants is broadly popular—even in Congress.

        No longer just a parlor game, monopoly is what’s for dinner. Practically every commodity and every step in producing our families’ most essential consumer purchases is in the tight grip of four or fewer global conglomerates:

      • Donald Trump Caused The Techlash

        In October 2016, I pitched USC a research proposal about the tech coverage’s non-investigative nature and the influence of corporate PR. I thought that at the end of this project, I’d have indictive documentation of how the tech media is too promotional and not tough enough. When I sat down to analyze a full year of tech coverage, the data presented quite the opposite. 2017 was suddenly full of tech scandals and mounting scrutiny. The flattering stories about consumer products evolved into investigative pieces on business practices, which caught the tech companies and their communications teams off guard.

      • Apple submits summaries of expert reports seeking to rebut Epic Games’ expert reports
      • Apple expert incorrectly claims Apple would need to “redesign” iPhone hardware and software to allow alternative app stores

        Sooner than I’d have thought, here’s my first follow-up to the publication of the summaries of Apple’s expert witness reports in the Epic Games v. Apple App Store antitrust case.

        When I read those summaries for the first time, I tweeted about some of the statements I found in them.


        The people who have already liked Mr. Sweeney’s tweet include many developers, among them the father of JavaScript.

      • Fortress-funded VoiceAge suing Apple, Lenovo, Motorola Mobility, HMD in Munich over standard-essential patents: next hearing scheduled for April 28 (Apple)

        Intel is currently defending itself against another case brought by a Fortress-funded non-practicing entity (NPE) in the Western District of Texas, and last month the chipset maker filed a second amended antitrust complaint against Fortress in the Northern District of California. There’s one particular Fortress entity that brought (literally) dozens of patent infringement complaints against Apple: Uniloc, whose former CEO is now running WSOU (doing business as Brazos), an entity that brought about 200 patent lawsuits last year in the U.S. alone (plus an unknown but likely staggering number in other jurisdictions). Whatever policy positions I’ve expressed on the NPE business model doesn’t prevent me from recognizing that Fortress Investment has financed a number of different NPEs, and they aren’t all like Uniloc.

        I’ve done some research on NPE activity in Germany, and found out that VoiceAge EVS–which has offices in Newport Beach as well as Ratingen (near Dusseldorf)–is a big fan of the Munich I Regional Court (Landgericht München I). Munich has become the best forum choice for patent plaintiffs seeking injunctions.

      • Discussion of Apple’s alleged need to redesign iPhone to support third-party app stores continued–and expanded into why web apps don’t help

        We then discussed the technical aspects of installing and running apps on iPhones that are not installed via the App Store (but via the Enterprise Program, TestFlight, or Microsoft App Center). @hishnash noted that there are certain feature sets, such as CarPlay, that require special permission. My understanding of everything said up to that point was that it was “all just about Apple lifting lifting restrictions (some contractual, some technical) as opposed to really having to take its architecture to a higher level.”

        This here hinges on how one would reasonably understand the verb “to redesign” in connection with “software and hardware.” There is another key term in this dispute–commission–that Apple clearly redefines in ways that no dictionary supports.

      • Patents

        • Will the EPO still be normal under the „New Normal“? [Ed: Breaking the law]

          The EPO’s planned “New Normal” seems to provide a (much?) extended teleworking scheme. It was presented as a reflection of the results of a staff consultation wherein many allegedly expressed a preference for teleworking, at least to some extent. However, without knowing the precise questions put to staff it is of course difficult to draw sound conclusions from the results of such a consultation. For example, were the questions just limited to “are you in favour of more/less teleworking in general?”, or was a price tag attached to it, e.g. “would you accept a lower salary when teleworking from your home country where the costs of living are lower than in Munich/The Hague?” – I may be wrong, but I would not be surprised if the answers were considerably different when staff are confronted with the full consequences of an extended teleworking scheme, at least if this extended scheme is supposed to have a significant impact on the EPO’s future building policy and if this policy is to be based – as it seems to be the case – on “the fact that an estimated 50% of staff on average may be on site on any given day.” Only 50%? And is this a “fact” or just an “estimate”, “assumption” or even “target”? In any case, if this will be the new normal, many staff will probably have to say farewell to their own office space and will have to live with open plan offices.

          I am also a bit worried about the consequences of a much extended teleworking scheme on the functioning of the examining and opposition divisions in the future. At least in my mind, which is probably a bit on the idealistic side, these divisions were originally supposed to sit together and thoroughly discuss the case before them until they have reached the best possible result. In view of the EPO’s declared top priority, i.e. quality, this would make a lot of sense to me but it requires that the members of these divisions have the necessary time and opportunity for a thorough discussion. If they are not sitting in the same location, there is a high likelihood that such discussions will be cut short, will be made even more subject to a strict time budget, and that any informal conversation about critical questions of a case will no longer take place, or will at least be reduced in frequency and intensity. I cannot imagine that extended teleworking will be good for the quality of the decision process of a panel. The ultimate outcome of the decision will depend even more than ever on the quality of the preparation of the case by the first examiner. Which raises the question why the EPO has “Examining Divisions” at all, rather than just individual examiners who grant patents or refuse applications. If the underlying rationale of an Examining Division is that three pairs of eyes see more than one, then the other two pairs of eyes should be given the necessary time for a thorough review of the case and the opportunity of an open and thorough discussion within the panel, which cannot always be organised in terms of the usual 0.5 or 1 hour intervals of a Video Conference. Mixing members of an ED or OD from different locations is no good idea and has never been one.

        • NHS Fights To Revive £220M Drug Patent Suit At Top UK Court

          The National Health Service argued at the U.K.’s highest court on Wednesday that its £220 million ($300 million) lawsuit accusing pharmaceutical giant Servier of dishonestly securing a patent for a blood pressure drug should be revived.

          The National Health Service has said that the lower courts were wrong to throw out its claim against the French pharmaceuticals company and its British subsidiaries over the sale of a blood pressure drug in the U.K. (iStock) The NHS said that the lower courts were wrong to throw out its claim against Servier Laboratories and its British subsidiaries over the sale of the drug…

        • Exploring Art at the European Patent Office

          On the occasion of UNESCO World Art Day, the EPO today launches its documentary “Exploring Art at the European Patent Office” which for the first time introduces the EPO art collection to a wider public.

          For 40 years, the EPO has been collecting and exhibiting international contemporary art at its sites as an expression of the great importance it attaches to art in the workplace. Now the Office opens digital doors to its significant collection on its website, which puts it on a par with other public institutions hosting art collections such as the ECB and the EIB.

          Initiated by donations of member states the collection today offers a fascinating artistic reflection on European creativity in the past decades. All works showcase a compelling artistic engagement with science and technology. In times of pandemic the EPO see it as its mission to provide a public platform for art, and so contribute to overcoming the keenly felt absence of art due to the corona restrictions.

        • Patents and the Pandemic: Can We Learn Anything?

          With the pandemic costing millions of lives around the world, and costing our economies trillions in lost output, we really should be asking whether the current system serves us well in producing vaccines, tests, and treatments. Incredibly, public debate is so dominated by the pharmaceutical industry and its allies, we are primarily seeing celebration of the system’s dubious claims to success, rather than discussions of the way in which system was and is failing us in addressing the pandemic. We also should be discussing the lessons for possible alternatives.

          Starting with the failures, while we should all be glad that we now have several effective vaccines, which a large percentage of the U.S. population has now received, the fact is that only a small portion of the world’s population has been vaccinated. In Latin America less than one percent of the population has been vaccinated and in Sub Saharan Africa the figure is less than one percent.

        • Stronger patent rights to enhance compensation claims in China [Ed: More of this “Sponsored by” nonsense ensures the publisher will never present the views of anyone who isn’t paying for. And by the way, patents are NOT right, no matter how many times lawyers repeat this lie.]

          Ming Wen and Helen Zhang of Purplevine IP explains how the evolving patents law in China will give right holders a better chance to enforce their patent rights

        • Software Patents

          • Banks Face Lawsuit ‘Frenzy’ After Business Patent Reviews End

            Lawsuits against banks and e-commerce companies over financial services patents are piling up, following the expiration of a patent office challenge process that many saw as a potent defense mechanism against some litigation.

            Nearly three times as many patent suits have been filed against financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase Bank NA and Bank of America Corp. since August 2020 as in the previous eight months, Bloomberg Law data show. E-commerce companies have also faced new patent suits.

            The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s review program for patents on business methods related to financial products or services offered companies accused of infringing them a way to challenge their validity more quickly and cheaply than in a federal district court.

            But Congress allowed the covered business method review program to expire last September. It’s one change among others at the patent office and the courts that have left banks, among other institutions, more exposed to lawsuits, attorneys say.

          • Pebble Tide, an IP Edge affiliate, loses PGR at Board

            On April 13, 2021, the Board granted Pebble Tide’s request for adverse judgment against itself and terminated PGR2020-00011, Unified Patents, LLC v. Pebble Tide LLC. After Unified filed the PGR petition, the claims in the challenged patent, U.S. Patent 10,303,411, were judged by the district court to be invalid and while Pebble Tide appealed the district court’s decision, the Federal Circuit dismissed the appeal with prejudice. The Board instituted Unified’s PGR in July 2020, before the Federal Circuit’s dismissal, and Pebble Tide attempted to file amended claims more than two months after the Federal Circuit’s dismissal. However, Pebble Tide now agrees that its motion to amend is moot and requested adverse judgment.

            The ‘411 patent had been asserted against over 25 companies, involving remote monitoring camera systems, mobile banking apps, online photo-sharing services, and auto insurance claims submission apps. All of the district court litigations have been terminated and the challenged patent is now owned by FlexiJet Technologies, Inc.

      • Trademarks

      • Copyrights

        • UK IPO publishes the 10th edition of the “Online Copyright Infringement Tracker” [Ed: UKIPO does not work for the British public but against it. It's fronting for the interests of the (mostly) US-based copyright cartel]

          The OCI report “is conducted annually to ensure that the IPO can monitor the impact of new online platforms on infringement behaviours”. The report tracks behaviours and attitudes among consumers aged over 12 years in the UK regarding online copyright infringement.


          While cautious infringers responded better to a broad range of messages, savvy infringers reacted better to those highlighting risks to their hardware and devices (e.g., digital viruses). Savvy infringers also seemed “sceptical about the true impact of illegal access on industries or of the opinion that industries must change, not consumers”.

          The OCI report provides valuable insights into online copyright infringement and consumer behaviours, which will be beneficial when implementing policies, particularly concerning raising awareness in the fight against online piracy.

        • Hackers Use Software Cracks and BitTorrent Client to Steal Cryptocurrency

          Researchers from cybersecurity company Bitdefender are warning that hackers are using malicious software cracks to steal valuable data including cryptocurrency wallets. While compromised cracks are not new, this malware reportedly uses BitTorrent clients to transfer data and involves human operators.

        • Philippines Government & ISPs Reach Agreement to Rapidly Block Pirate Sites

          The Philippines Government and local Internet service providers have agreed to establish a voluntary mechanism through which pirate sites can be more effectively blocked. After receiving a verified complaint, the plan is for ISPs to block infringing platforms within two hours, although new legislation may be needed to speed up the initial verification process.

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  1. Links 31/05/2023: Inkscape’s 1.3 Plans and New ARM Cortex-A55-Based Linux Chip

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  2. Gemini Links 31/05/2023: Personality of Software Engineers

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  3. Links 31/05/2023: Armbian 23.05 Release and Illegal UPC

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  4. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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  5. Gemini Protocol About to Turn 4 and It's Still Growing

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  6. Links 31/05/2023: Librem Server v2, curl 8.1.2, and Kali Linux 2023.2 Release

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  7. Gemini Links 31/05/2023: Bayes Filter and Programming Wordle

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  8. [Meme] Makes No Sense for EPO (Now Connected to the EU) and Staff Pensions to be Tied to the UK After Brexit

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  9. Working Conditions at EPO Deteriorate and Staff Inquires About Pension Rights

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  10. Links 30/05/2023: Orc 0.4.34 and Another Rust Crisis

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  11. Links 30/05/2023: Nitrux 2.8.1 and HypoPG 1.4.0

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  12. Gemini Links 30/05/2023: Bubble Version 3.0

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  13. Links 30/05/2023: LibreOffice 7.6 in Review and More Digital Restrictions (DRM) From HP

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  14. Gemini Links 30/05/2023: Curl Still Missing the Point?

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  15. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 29, 2023

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  16. MS (Mark Shuttleworth) as a Microsoft Salesperson

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  17. First Speaker in Event for GNU at 40 Called for Resignation/Removal of GNU's Founder

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  19. Site Updates and Plans Ahead

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  22. Links 29/05/2023: Election in Fedora, Unifont 15.0.04

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  23. Gemini Links 29/05/2023: Rosy Crow 1.1.1 and Smolver 1.2.1 Released

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  29. Links 28/05/2023: eGates System Collapses, More High TCO Stories (Microsoft Windows)

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