Stallman Was Right About ‘Secure’ Boot (Matthew Garrett’s Work Now Used to Prevent Users Adopting New Ubuntu Releases/Derivatives)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 7:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Matthew Garrett pushed a malicious ‘feature’ (antifeature) of Microsoft and now we all pay for it; instead of working to remove the restrictions, Garrett is nowadays working hard to remove RMS (the messenger)

MS in 2021:

You cannot upgrade Ubuntu
Sources: It’s FOSS, OMG!Ubuntu and plenty more (if they make it enough of a pain or a risk, they hope people will stay with Windows and maybe use WSL, not real GNU/Linux)

RMS in 2012: Direct download as Ogg (0:13:28, 5.5 MB)

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: I want to know how big a threat you think the so-called “secure” boot is considered to be to the Free software movement.

Richard StallmanDr. Richard Stallman: It’s a disaster. Well, except that it’s not secure boot that’s a disaster, it’s restricted boot. Those are not the same. When it’s front of the control of the user, secure boot is a security feature. It allows the user to control what programs can run on a machine and thus prevent — you might say — unexpected malware from running. We have to distinguish the unexpected malware such as viruses from the expected malware such as Windows or Mac OS or Flash Player and so on, which are also malware; they have features that hurt the user but users know what they are installing. In any case, what secure boot does is that it causes the machine to only work with (?) programs that are signed with a certain key, your keys. And as long as the user controls which keys they are, then it’s a security feature. However, it can be chained into a set of digital handcuffs when the user doesn’t control the keys. And this [is] happening.

“We have to distinguish the unexpected malware such as viruses from the expected malware such as Windows or Mac OS…”Microsoft demands that ARM computers sold for Windows 8 be set up so that the user cannot change the keys; in other words, turn it into restricted boot. Now, this is not a security feature. This is abuse of the users. I think it ought to be illegal.

It’s a matter of control by the vendor of course, not control by the user himself

Exactly, and that’s why it’s wrong. That’s why non-free software is wrong. The users deserve to have control of their computers/

I think that not only Windows is going to be an issue in fact, if you consider the fact that even a modified kernel is going to be in a position where it’s perhaps not seen as verified for execution. Right, I’m saying, it might not only be a malicious feature in case of something like Windows running on it, it’s also for — let’s say — a user of the offered operating system but it’s free if the user wants to modify the operating system, for example…

The thing is, if the user doesn’t control the keys, then it’s a kind of shackle, and that would be true no matter what system it is. After all, why is GNU/Linux better than Windows? Not just ’cause it has a different name. The reason it’s better is because it’s freedom-respecting Free software that the users control. But if the machine has restricted boot and the users can’t control the system, then it would be just as bad as Windows. So, if the machine will only run a particular version of GNU/Linux, that is a restriction feature. And I haven’t heard anyone doing that yet with GNU/Linux, but that’s what Red Hat and Ubuntu are proposing to do things — somewhat like that — for future PCs that are shipped for Windows. But it’s not exactly that. And my reason is, the users will be able to change the keys. They will be able to boot their own modified version of the system of Fedora or Ubuntu if they want. So, what Fedora and Ubuntu were proposing doesn’t go all the way there. They’re proposing to do things to make it more convenient for users to install the standard version of those systems. But if things go as it has been announced, users will still be able to change the keys and boot their own versions. So, if all the restricted boot — but it will be something that goes sort of half-way there — it’s somewhat distasteful.

“The thing is, if the user doesn’t control the keys, then it’s a kind of shackle, and that would be true no matter what system it is.”On the other hand, with Android, which is another mostly Free operating system which contains Linux but doesn’t contain GNU, it’s quite common for the product to have something equivalent to restricted boot, and people have to struggle to figure out how they can install a modified and more free version of Android. So, the presence of the kernel Linux in a system doesn’t guarantee it’s going to be better. And I’ve heard someone say — oh, it hasn’t been checked — that a particular or kind of Android device is actually using an Intel chip with restricted boot.

One of the concerns that I think is worth raising is the fact that, as far as I know, with many of the embedded devices, especially those based on ARM, I believe it’s not even possible to get into boot menu to disable so-called “secure”…

That’s where Microsoft is really going all out, because Microsoft has ordered essentially — demanded — that those shipping ARM devices for Windows 8 make it restricted boot with no way to get around it.

Yeah, which also means of course waste of… all sorts of impacts on the environment. Any time that hardware become obsolete with the operating system itself is not being used of course…

“So it’s a very damaging thing that Microsoft is doing and so we need to look for every possible way to stop them or tweak what they’re doing.”Well, it’s worse than that. It means basically that those devices, you have to throw them out if you want to escape to the free world. And this — in the past — we were able to install, to liberate a computer by installing Free software on it instead of its user-restricting operation system, and this of course was tremendously helpful to the spread of GNU/Linux because it meant that users could move to freedom. It would be much harder if they had to buy another computer to do so. So it’s a very damaging thing that Microsoft is doing and so we need to look for every possible way to stop them or tweak what they’re doing.

As embedded (HTML5):

Keywords: UEFI Coreboot GRUB GNU FSF


Ogg Theora

Dr. Richard Stallman on How He Judges News Stories

Posted in Deception, FSF, Interview at 7:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Originally published 9 years ago

Direct download as Ogg (12:12, 4.8 MB)

Summary: Relevant bit of an old interview series with Richard Stallman (2012)

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: How do you judge the reliability of a news source and which one or ones do you favour?

Richard StallmanDr. Richard Stallman: Well, how do I judge the reliability? To a large extent I look at the story, and I try to judge based on the other things I know whether this looks like it’s bullshit or possible truth. Because there are news sources that I know often slant things, but that doesn’t mean that I think that their statements of facts would wrong, because I expect that they would be caught if were wrong. I don’t know of any news sources that I could say “that’s a good one”, because they all have their positions, they all want to say some things and not others. The question is, does it seem plausible that they would say falsehoods about facts? Because there is some embarrassment involved in getting caught in saying… in giving some news that wasn’t true.

Many places are not likely to say things that are just false, but they may draw conclusions that don’t really follow, or that reflect bias.

As embedded (HTML5):

Keywords: softwarepatents uspto monopoly gpl gplnext gnu fsf richardstallman


Ogg Theora

Links 30/4/2021: Health of KDE Assessed, RISC-V International Growing

Posted in News Roundup at 6:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Linux Format: SERVER UPGRADE WARNING!

        After 12 years of uninterrupted, smooth service, the stalwart Linux Format server is being put out to pasture in the great server farm in the sky.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S14E08 – Minimum Cover Novel

        This week we have been changing jobs and getting new microphones. We discuss tablets, which ones we own and why we use them, bring you some GUI love and go over all your wonderful feedback.

        It’s Season 14 Episode 08 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

      • These Brave Extensions Are Essential To My Workflow

        Ocassionally someone asks what extensions I’m running in my brave web browser so I thought I’d just be easier to go over all of them in one video, unlike my regular system apps these don’t typically change too often.

      • Shading workflow for comics – Krita

        Learn to shade a comic in Krita the way I shaded Episode 34 of my webcomic Pepper&Carrot ( https://www.peppercarrot.com/en/article467/episode-34-the-knighting-of-shichimi ). The video is detailed and goes step-by-step to explain in details what I’m selecting; and more importantly maybe, why. It might sounds like this setup is long to do, but if I’m not explaining it; adding the hardlight, the mid-grey and the selection by color label can be done within a minute. It then allows to shade quickly the panels. This video follows a series of two videos: a timelapse about inking a page of this episode, and a detailed video about the flatting of the page with the colorize-mask feature of Krita.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu 21.04 – X.Org vs. Wayland Linux Gaming Performance

        One of the most significant underlying changes with the recent release of Ubuntu 21.04 is the default GNOME Shell desktop environment is running the Wayland-based session by default rather than the traditional X.Org Server session. But what does this mean for the Linux gaming performance on Ubuntu 21.04? Here are some (X)Wayland vs. X.Org benchmarks.

        Ubuntu 21.04 is using the Wayland-based GNOME session by default on supported (namely non-NVIDIA) setups. However, via the log-in manager one can easily switch back to GNOME on X.Org if desired for testing/comparison purposes or if finding issue with the Wayland support.

    • Applications

      • MusE 4.0 Comes Packed with Tabbed UI, Dark Theme, and More Exciting Changes

        MusE is a popular open-source DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that has been one of the few DAWs available for Linux. The project has recently released the 4th version of their software with over 700 commits since their last release.


        It can be a hassle to be constantly moving your hands between your keyboard and mouse all day. This has led to the rise of keyboard shortcuts, with almost all modern applications supporting them.

        Not wanting to be left out, MusE has added even more keyboard shortcuts, resulting in a huge boost to productivity. The result of this is a much easier time navigating the UI and interacting with your music.


        While not a complete list of improvements, we have discussed the main improvements in this release. I think all these improvements will make a huge impact on productivity and the popularity of MusE as a preferred DAW for Linux.

      • The 10 Best Open Source Web Servers for Linux

        You are reading this article from a website powered by an open-source web server simply because open source web servers power over 80% of websites and applications. The term web server can be used interchangeably to refer to the hardware or software used to serve content to end-users or clients over HTTP.

        Web servers have been under development and constant improvement since the early 90s. There are different types of web servers, and they can be built for specific needs, for certain technologies, or as special options for certain corporations.

        This article will list some of the reliable and popular open source web server projects available for you to install and get your application or website running.

      • QEMU 6.0 Released With AMD SEV-ES Encrypted Guest Support, Experimental Multi-Process

        QEMU 6.0 is out today as the newest feature release for this processor/machine emulator and virtualizer that serves as an important part of the open-source Linux virtualization stack.

        QEMU 6.0 brings with it many new features including the likes of experimental multi-process device emulation support, AMD SEV-ES encrypted guest support, new processor.machine support, and other virtualization improvements.

        - QEMU can now be built with link-time optimizations (LTO) and also supports LLVM Control-Flow Integrity (CFI) too.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Enable EPEL Repository on AlmaLinux 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to enable the EPEL repository on AlmaLinux 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) is a repository with a high-quality set of additional packages for Enterprise Linux operating systems such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), CentOS, and Scientific Linux (SL), Oracle Linux (OL), AlmaLinux, and any other Linux distribution from the RHEL family. Once you set up the EPEL repository, you can use dnf command to install any of close to 7,000 EPEL packages.

        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 added EPEL repository on AlmaLinux 8.

      • How to install Firefox ESR on Deepin 20.2

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Firefox ESR on Deepin 20.2. Enjoy!

      • How to download files on Linux with Curl

        Curl is one of the most used Linux utilities ever. It’s built-in so many GUI tools and used on pretty much everything. As a result, it is very reliable and one of the best tools users can use to download files.

      • How to install the Palemoon Browser on a Chromebook

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

      • How To Enable RPM Fusion Repository In Fedora, RHEL – OSTechNix

        In this brief guide, we will see what is RPM Fusion repository, why should we install RPM Fusion repository, and finally how to enable RPM Fusion repository in Fedora, RHEL, and its clones like CentOS, AlmaLinux distributions.

      • How To Install Podman on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Podman on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Podman or Pod Manager is a very popular utility for managing containers and the storage volumes that are mounted onto those containers. All the containers and Pods are created as child processes of the Podman tool. The Podman’s CLI is based on the Docker CLI. Just like Docker, it helps developers to develop, manage, and run their applications on containers.

        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 Podman 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 Benchmark your GPU on Linux

        Linux is not famous for its gaming abilities and possibilities, and it is only natural that there aren’t many GPU benchmarking tools available with which users can test their graphics hardware. There are however some benchmarking suites that can help you determine the various aspects of your GPU performance with precision. In this tutorial, I will show you GLX-Gears, GL Mark 2 and the benchmarks from Unigine Benchmark Products.

      • How to Create Bootable USB Installer for Ubuntu 21.04 / 20.04 | UbuntuHandbook

        Want to create a bootable live-USB for installing Ubuntu on your machine? Well, here’s how to do it in Windows, Linux, or Mac OS.

        I used to use UNetbootin to create bootable Live USB. However, the USB drive does not boot after writing with recent Ubuntu ISO images. So here I’m going to introduce you few other USB writing tools.

        Though I prefer the style of Ventoy, it however does not install in my USB stick for unknown reason. If you need bootable USB with other data transfer usage unaffected, try it!

      • How to Install and Configure Perf in Linux Distributions

        Monitoring a Linux system is usual for every user. Especially if you are a system admin, you might need to check your system elaborately. You can’t find many tools to know the system’s overall status; finding an application that can generate a real-time in-depth system status is complicated. The Perf is one of the Linux tools you can use to know the detailed health checkup and the live position on your system. Perf is one of the most used and robust system monitoring tools to gather information on the Linux kernel, CPU, and hardware. Moreover, it can also perform dynamic tracing, checking hardware status, and provide benchmark reports on a Linux machine.

      • How to deploy Ghost Blog with Nginx on Ubuntu 20.04

        Ghost is a free, open-source, and lightweight blogging platform built on Node.js. It is simple, customizable, and allows you to create and publish your content on the internet. It is specially designed for blogging so it is much faster than other blogging platforms.

      • How to play Dead Rising on Linux

        Dead Rising is an action/adventure open-world game. The game focuses on Frank, the photographer, just as the world descends into a zombie apocalypse. The player controls Frank as he fights to survive at an abandoned mall.

      • How to tail (follow) Linux Service Logs

        One of the most common tasks during Linux troubleshooting and software development sessions is following service logs on a Linux system.

      • Stop logging as root in 5 simple steps

        Do you still manage your virtual servers with the root superuser? Here are five easy steps to stop using root right now.

        This post is for people with an SSH-based authentication on Fedora, CentOS, or RHEL servers. If you spin up a virtual server online, you can usually choose to use an SSH-based authentication instead of providing a password. That’s great! But the initial connection would be set up for the root superuser, and that’s not a good idea.

        The first step to using root less is to stop using it to log in. You can do that by choosing a new admin account with sudo privileges and reuse the root SSH server configuration. Here’s how.

      • Start Searching In Linux Like A Pro ( 10 examples + Bonus Tip )

        Now this article is going to be as simple as possible and straight forward as possible. The idea is to help you understand the pure basics in Linux searching. In addition we are going to use several searching tools to help us with this quest.

    • Games

      • The 30 Best Game Emulator Consoles for Linux

        With the improved form of technology, powerful gadgets such as phones are taking over the market. Most people did not anticipate that the phone would stand out and be vital in today’s world. Compared to the old times when people used consoles such as Nintendos and early play station designs, personal computers have offered excellent features to gamers.

        Since many people love to relieve their childhood nostalgia, Linux developers have tirelessly worked and created a robust game emulator console system for most of us.

      • Gaming on Linux: Guide to Graphics

        GPUs are in short supply across the board due to delays brought by COVID-19, but don’t fret! Now is the perfect time to plan out your dream machine. If questions surrounding your graphics preferences render you confused, we’ve compiled some useful info below on NVIDIA GPUs and AMD GPUs, as well as suggestions for how much power you may desire.

        Don’t I just need a GPU?

        For games that require less rendering, any GPU will run just fine, like the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 that’s served you well over the years. However, if you want newer games to run like smooth butter at their maximum settings, your old GPU puts a technical limitation on which ones you can add to your library.


        While the 3D space is more intensive, the use of simpler models and less detailed textures reduces the computing power necessary to make any derpy shapeman game run beautifully.

      • Total War: ROME REMASTERED from Feral Interactive is out now

        Total War: ROME REMASTERED from game developer / porter Feral Interactive and Creative Assembly with SEGA as publisher is now officially out with Linux support. [...]

        Bringing us another quality natively supported game originally known as Rome: Total War, Feral really pulled out all the stops on this one. Some remasters simply give a refreshed look but this is a truly huge revamp of all parts of the game allowing people to relive a favourite and for Linux users – to play through it perhaps for the first time.

        The file size got a bit big for their liking though, so you will notice that a free DLC is available right away with the Enhanced Graphics Pack. Not surprising though, because together the installed size comes right up close to 70GB – so if you want the true full experience be sure to have some space ready.


        If you did play the original, you’re in for an upgraded nostalgic treat. For everyone else, it makes it super easy to get into. Overall, it’s absolute fantastic. To see Feral Interactive continue to support Linux with some great ports is wonderful. They’ve done another brilliant job, not that we expected any less from them. It’s an easy recommendation to pick up if you love strategy games and previously missed out it due to the original lacking Linux support. It just became one of the best strategy games available on Linux.

      • The excellent space RPG ‘Star Traders: Frontiers’ is getting mod support

        Trese Brothers have announced that their fantastic space exploration RPG Star Traders: Frontiers is getting modding support, three years after the original release.

        As what looks like their most popular PC release, Star Traders: Frontiers had ended up with a bit of a following and a Very Positive overall rating on Steam from over 2.5K people. Over the years they’ve released something in the region of 250 free upgrades both small and some huge adding lots of new features.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Health of the KDE community

          Today, I decided to look at KDE git history and look at the project’s health as a whole. It’s inspired by the work of Hans Petter Jansson for GNOME and use the tool he made (fornalder).

          fornalder is easy to use and the documentation in the readme was beneficial. I don’t know if this is because it was programmed in Rust but fornalder was blazingly fast and most of the time spent during this analysis was spent on cloning the repos.

          These stats include all the extragear, plasma, frameworks and release service repository as well as most of the KDE websites and a few KDE playground projects I had on my hard drive. For example, it doesn’t includes most of the unmaintained projects (e.g. kdepimlibs, kdelibs, koffice, plasma-mediacenter, …). Also important to note, is that this doesn’t include translations at all, since they are stored in SVN and added in the tarballs during the releasing process.

    • Distributions

      • Modern Lightweight Linux Distro Showdown: Who is the Champion?

        As a Linux user, I was recently in search of a Linux distribution (distro) that is lightweight and runs efficiently on a virtual machine or a physical machine using minimal resources. In the end, only 1 would be chosen as the lightweight Linux distribution of choice. It would have to be good enough to deploy as a daily-driver on my main machine. So, I began the online search and found many articles recommending copious distros which claim to check the boxes for the aforementioned requirements. Needless to say, the number of returned results was staggering.

        The Long List of Contenders

        The distros which were recommended most commonly have been compiled into a list of contenders as shown below. Whenever possible, the most recent stable release of each distro was chosen. The values provided for the “RAM” and “Disk Space” columns are the preferred/recommended system requirement values (not the minimum system requirement values).


        After installing each of these distros on a virtual machine and getting to know more about them (especially at an idle state), the following comparison is being made. The difference of CPU usage at an idle state amongst the distros is negligible. When we start to look at RAM utilization and hard disk space, the clear stand-out is Lubuntu. The LXQt desktop really puts the Qt framework in a whole new light (pun alert) of being lean and efficient, especially in terms of memory usage at idle.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Leap 15.3 RC Released. Download and Test Now!

          The upcoming openSUSE Leap 15.3 RC is released for developers and testers. We round up the changes and give you the details on the download.

          openSUSE Linux distribution is used by millions of users worldwide across general desktops, enterprise deployments, and servers. The openSUSE Leap is the long-term support (LTS) version of this distro while openSUSE Tumbleweed is the tested-rolling-release distribution. The leap series is rock-solid and is ideal for a variety of users. openSUSE Leap can easily compete with Ubuntu Linux operating system in terms of flexibility and ease of use.

          openSUSE project announced the release candidate of its upcoming long-term support release Leap 15.3 aligning with its schedule. Let’s take a look at what’s new.

        • Power Your Agile Data Platform with SUSE Rancher and MongoDB Enterprise Advanced

          In an earlier article of this agile data platform series, we looked at streamlining your IT landscape and gaining agility, performance and cost savings with SUSE Linux Enterprise and Microsoft SQL Server.

          In this article, we move from the traditional enterprise database into the cloud native realm with SUSE Rancher and MongoDB Enterprise Advanced.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • My immutable Fedora

          For many years now, I’ve been using immutable versions of Fedora. I remember that I started to play with immutable Fedora back in 2015 when Fedora Atomic was new. I liked the idea since the first time I’ve read about it, but in the beginning, I did not spend too much time making it work on my setup because it seemed a little bit too complex. At DevConf.cz 2016, I met Patrick Uiterwijk, who was running his spin of Fedora Atomic. We had a long chat on it, and he explained to me his workflow. Soon after, I started to use an immutable version of Fedora on my personal laptop, but I was not daring to use it on my work laptop. When I left Red Hat at the end of 2017, my personal laptop became my only laptop for a little while, and the immutable Fedora became my only OS. Since then, I’ve been using only immutable Fedora on my computers. In June 2020, I took the time to clean up my build process and files, and I moved all the needed bits to a new git repo that is now openly available and can be found here .

          If you are wondering what’s an immutable OS and why it’s different from a “mutable” (or “standard”) OS, the short version of it is that with an immutable OS, when the OS is running, the OS filesystem is in read-only mode. Therefore no application can change the OS or the installed applications. This aspect has many implications, one of which is that you can not upgrade or alter the installed software, but you need to “re-install” the whole OS while the OS is not running. This feature can seem more a problem than a feature, but as we will see, it’s not, and actually, it does bring a lot of advantages.

        • Fedora Linux 34 has landed, and it’s an exquisite take on the desktop

          When last I wrote about Fedora 34, the desktop operating system was still in beta. I tested that beta and found it to be a remarkable step forward for Fedora Linux. I called it a game-changer. Why? Let me count the ways.

          First, there’s GNOME 40, which turns this particular open-source desktop workflow into a thing of beauty. Although I already felt GNOME had a pretty decent workflow, everything changes with this latest iteration. Switching from the vertical to horizontal layout might seem like a small change, but it’s quite profound in how well it ups the efficiency of the desktop. Everything just makes sense now; so much so that I keep asking myself, “Why didn’t the GNOME developers do this all along?”

        • Download Fedora 34 Full Editions (Workstation, Server, IoT Included)

          Fedora 34 just released Tuesday, 27 April 2021 (at the same time Ubuntu 21.04 released). It is the latest stable version of the technology leading computer operating system, Fedora, one of the most popular choice from the GNU/Linux family. It features the latest Free/Libre Open Source Software technology, by the desktop with GNOME 40, by the filesystem with Btrfs compression, and many more. You can download all editions Workstation, Server, and IoT in one page below — included with checksums for you to verify and Announcement & Release Notes information at the end. Happy downloading!

        • Red Hat Offers Complete Kubernetes Stack with Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus, a new edition of the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes platform designed to provide a holistic solution to help customers adopt DevSecOps across the entirety of the hybrid cloud. Offering a complete Kubernetes stack out of the box, Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus brings together everything needed to build, deploy and run nearly any application wherever OpenShift runs.

        • Red Hat Announces OpenShift Platform Plus

          Red Hat has announced Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus, which aims to provide a complete DevSecOps solution across the hybrid cloud.

        • Red Hat Satellite 6.9.1 has been released

          We are pleased to announce that Red Hat Satellite 6.9.1 is generally available as of April 26, 2021.

          Red Hat Satellite is part of the Red Hat Smart Management subscription that makes it easier for enterprises to manage patching, provisioning, and subscription management of Red Hat Enterprise Linux infrastructure.

        • Red Hat bolsters Edge strategy with major RHEL platform update

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.4 brings container deployment and management tools scaled around edge requirements

        • Red Hat’s Virtual Summit Airs Latest Linux Technology

          Red Hat on Wednesday concluded its April two-day Summit 2021 Virtual Experience with a hefty list of announcements and presentations by the company’s innovative customers driving the latest open-source technologies and trends.

          Perhaps one of the event’s most significant announcements was Red Hat’s plan to deliver the first functionally safe, continuously certified Linux platform for vehicles.

          The new Linux-based auto OS will be built from components of Red Hat Enterprise Linux in collaboration with exida. This operating system will be designed for continuous updates throughout its life cycle while still retaining crucial functional safety certifications.

        • Red Hat to release Enterprise Linux version 8.4

          Red Hat, has introduced new capabilities and enhancements to its enterprise Linux platform, which it says will further Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a foundation for the open hybrid cloud for data centres and edge deployments.

          Available in the coming weeks, the company says Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.4 aims to refine the platform’s role as a lightweight, production-grade operating system for edge deployments, adding new Linux container, deployment and management capabilities scaled for the needs of edge computing.

          According to Red Hat’s The State of Enterprise Open Source report, 72% of IT leaders surveyed expect open source to drive the adoption of edge computing over the next two years. The Linux Foundation’s 2021 State of the Edge report predicts that by 2025, Internet of Things or edge-related devices will produce roughly 90 zettabytes of data.

        • The CNCF mission to ‘get the code out there’ makes end users a priority at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2021

          The pandemic has brought cloud native into the mainstream, accelerating the adoption of digital business across industries and in businesses from neighborhood mom-and-pop stores to global mega-corporations. It’s more than a surface change; companies that traditionally identified as part of the automotive, transportation or even finance industries now have software as their core.

          “The dynamics have really changed,” said Brian Gracely, senior director of product strategy at Red Hat Inc. OpenShift. “[Enterprise] has looked at Silicon Valley for years, and now they’re modeling it … it is really, really interesting in terms of how far that whole software is eating the world thing is materialized in every industry.”

          RedHat Inc.’s State of Enterprise Open Source report has charted the steady rise of open source software use in the enterprise. Out of the information technology leaders surveyed for the 2021 report, 90 percent report adopting open source software for their business, with most use around the key areas of infrastructure modernization, application development, and digital transformation.

      • Debian Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Michlmayr: Growing open-source projects with a stable foundation [Ed: The elephant in this room is that this is funded by an oligarch, or the Ford Foundation, which now guides the hand of some of those coup plotters (against real communities, as the author of this paper does or participates in)]

        Martin Michlmayr has put together a primer on managing open-source projects through their growth cycle, specifically with the help of a support foundation, and published the results as a 67-page PDF file.

      • Web Browsers

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Tender to implement Curl based HTTP/WebDAV UCP (#202104-01)

          The Document Foundation (TDF) is the charitable entity behind the world’s leading free/libre/open source (FLOSS) office suite LibreOffice.

          We are looking for an individual or company to implement Curl based HTTP/WebDAV UCP.

          The work has to be developed on LibreOffice master, so that it will be released in the next major version.

          The task consists of addressing two problems. All of the mentioned features and requirements are a mandatory part of this tender and therefore have to be part of the bid. This tender does not contain any optional items.

      • FSF

      • Programming/Development

        • Tomasz Torcz: At some point UI loses usefulness

          When it comes to configurability, modern software often hits a sweet spot. We are given nice, usable User Interface (UI) helping with configuration – by hinting, auto-filling and validating fields. Additionaly, the configuration itself is stored in text format, making it easy to backup and track changes. For example in git version control system.


          Argo CD is a wonderful tool to implement GitOps with you Kubernetes cluster.

          Kubernetes is configured by plain text files in YAML format. That’s a perfect form to track in git. Argo CD provides synchronization service: what you have in git repository is applied to kubernetes. Synchronization could be automatic or you can opt to sync manually. In later case, Argo CD provides a nice diff view, showing what’s currently configured and how should it be.

          Argo CD also has a nice concept of responsibility boundaries: it cares only about YAML sections and fields present in the git repo. If you add new section on the running cluster, it won’t be touched. It may be a single field, for example – replicas:

          Above can be utilized when you manage Argo CD by Argo CD. install.yaml file defines configuration resources likes ConfigMaps and Secrets, yet it doesn’t provide actual data: sections. When you configure Argo CD installation – using nice web UI, no less – data: sections are created and configuration is stored into k8s cluster.

          Those sections are not part of what is stored in git repository, so they will neither be touched nor rewritten.

          But what happens when we want to store the Argo CD configuration in the repository, and gitops it to the Moon and back?

          If we add data: sections, they will be synced. But we will lose ability to use nice UI directly! As UI makes changes on the running cluster, Argo CD will notice live configuration differs from git repository one. It will overwrite our new configuration, undoing changes.

          If we want to gitops configuration, we basically must stop using UI and manually add all changes to the text files in the repository!

        • The Eclipse Foundation Unveils its New Vision for Managing and Operating Edge Computing Environments via Open Source Software

          The Eclipse Foundation, one of the world’s largest open source software foundations, as well as the Edge Native Working Group, today announced the release of a new white paper entitled “EdgeOps: A New Vision For Edge Computing” The paper articulates a new approach for building software solutions for edge computing environments, with an emphasis on open source. EdgeOps is an adaptation of DevOps, with a focus on software, tooling and processes for edge computing environments. It specifically addresses the challenges of edge computing, such as power, security, latency, communication protocols, etc., and takes into account the characteristics of edge computing solutions and associated deployment approaches required in an edge environment. The white paper is available now as a free download.

        • Build your own application with GTK 4 as a Meson subproject! [Ed: After taking money from Microsoft, Collabora's Xavier Claessens collaborates in pushing proprietary software Visual Studio, i.e. PR for Microsoft, which was maybe predictable]
        • CuPy v9 is here.

          We are excited to announce the availability of CuPy v9.0.0. This release contains the effort of development in the past 7 months, including CUDA JIT to transpile Python code to CUDA, support for NVIDIA cuSPARSELt, AMD ROCm support through binary packages, and so on.

        • CuPy 9.0 Brings AMD GPU Support To This Numpy-Compatible Library – Phoronix

          In recent months there has finally been more open-source projects traditionally focused on NVIDIA GPU compute beginning to offer mainline Radeon support using the open-source ROCm stack. Following the recent PyTorch 1.8 with ROCm support, CuPy 9.0 was released last week with that traditionally CUDA focused library now supporting AMD’s ROCm stack.


          CuPy 9.0 also features some performance improvements and improved documentation. The new AMD GPU support has been tested against ROCm 4.0.

        • Python

          • [Older] How to work with the Woocommerce REST API with Python

            WordPress is probably the most used CMS in the world (it is estimated that almost 40% of all websites are built using the platform): it is very easy to install and use, and allows even non-developers to create website in few minutes. WordPress has a very large plugin ecosystem; one of the most famous is Woocommerce, which allows us to turn a website into an online store in few steps. The plugin makes use of the WordPress REST API infrastructure; in this tutorial we will see how to interact with the Woocommerce API using the Python programming language, showing how to list, create, update and delete products and categories.

          • Wireless MicroPython Programming With Thonny | Hackaday

            I had all but given up when by chance I saw this video on the Dronebot Workshop channel about running MicroPython on the new Raspberry Pi Pico boards. Bill was using Thonny, a Python IDE that is popular in the education community. Thonny was introduced in 2015 by Aivar Annamaa of the University of Tartu in Estonia. Thonny was designed to address common issues observed during six years of teaching Python programming classes to beginners. If you read about the project and its development, you’ll see that he’s put a lot of effort into making Thonny, and it shows.

            Leaning about Thonny got me curious, and after a little digging I discovered that it has WebREPL support for MicroPython right out-of-the-box. Although this is a new feature and classified as experimental, I found it reasonably stable to use and more than adequate for home lab use.

        • Rust

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Stops Reverting Most University of Minnesota Patches, Admits Good Faith

                In response, the UMN researchers posted an open letter apologizing to the community, followed a few days later by a summary of the work they did [PDF] as part of the “hypocrite commits” project. Five patches were submitted overall from two sock-puppet accounts, but one of those was an ordinary bug fix that was sent from the wrong account by mistake. Of the remaining four, one of them was an attempt to insert a bug that was, itself, buggy, so the patch was actually valid; the other three (1, 2, 3) contained real bugs. None of those three were accepted by maintainers, though the reasons for rejection were not always the bugs in question.

                The paper itself has been withdrawn and will not be presented in May as was planned…

                One of the first things that happened when this whole affair exploded was the posting by Greg Kroah-Hartman of a 190-part patch series reverting as many patches from UMN as he could find… As it happens, these “easy reverts” also needed manual review; once the initial anger passed there was little desire to revert patches that were not actually buggy. That review process has been ongoing over the course of the last week and has involved the efforts of a number of developers. Most of the suspect patches have turned out to be acceptable, if not great, and have been removed from the revert list; if your editor’s count is correct, 42 patches are still set to be pulled out of the kernel…

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Fedora (ceph, jetty, kernel, kernel-headers, kernel-tools, openvpn, and shim-unsigned-x64), Mageia (firefox and thunderbird), Oracle (nss and openldap), Red Hat (bind), Slackware (bind), SUSE (firefox, giflib, java-1_7_0-openjdk, libnettle, librsvg, thunderbird, and webkit2gtk3), and Ubuntu (bind9 and gst-plugins-good1.0).

          • Q1 2021 ransomware trends: Most attacks involved threat to leak stolen data

            The vast majority of ransomware attacks now include the theft of corporate data, Coveware says, but victims of data exfiltration extortion have very little to gain by paying a cyber criminal.

            The stolen data has likely been held by multiple parties and not secured, and victimized organizations can’t be sure that it has been destroyed and not traded, sold, misplaced, or held for a future extortion attempt, they explained.

          • From URGENT/11 to Frag/44: Analysis of Critical Vulnerabilities in the Windows TCP/IP Stack

            Part 2: The Armis research team finds a new primitive to bypass firewalls using CVE-2021-24094, and provides a full analysis of this Windows TCP/IP stack vulnerability patched in February 2021.

            As detailed in the first part of this two-part blog series, several significant vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows TCP/IP stack were patched in Microsoft’s February 2021 Patch Tuesday. This blog series set out to do a deep dive on the vulnerabilities, analyzing their patches, and finding the root cause and the potential ramification of these vulnerabilities.

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

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Confused Feds Subpoena Signal for Data It Doesn’t Collect

              For the second time in several years, Signal has been subpoenaed by federal investigators for data that the encrypted chat app company doesn’t actually collect.

            • Signal’s response to Homeland Security’s grand jury subpoena for user data is basically “You get nothing. You lose. Good day, sir”

              Signal, the popular messaging service with end-to-end encryption, stores precious little user data — “Unix timestamps for when each account was created and the date that each account last connected to the Signal service.”

              So when Homeland Security subpoenaed Signal to turn over “a wide variety of information… including the addresses of the users, their correspondence, and the name associated with each account,” Signal enlisted the aid of the ACLU, which replied to the FBI with a polite version of the Willy Winka “you get nothing” meme.

            • Signal’s response to a subpoena highlights value of encrypted messaging

              Last week we brought you news of Signal reverse engineering Cellebrite’s software and hardware and discovering a trove of vulnerabilities that it has no intention of exploiting.

              Today however Signal has shown us the value of choosing an encrypted messenger by way of a response to a subpoena from the United States Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California.

            • Vivaldi browser tries to end your cookie consent nightmare

              Chromium-based Vivaldi has released an update with a new ‘Cookie Crumbler’ feature to alleviate the hassle of cookie consent forms that have plagued the web for Europeans due to its new privacy laws.

              As all Europeans know, whenever they open a web page they’re confronted with a message advising them that the site uses cookies for various reasons and then need to choose “I accept cookies” or “I refuse cookies” or, more often an option to “Manage Cookie Settings” or “Go to cookie settings”.

With Sponsors Like These…

Posted in Debian, Deception, Free/Libre Software at 4:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Earlier today:

DPL and Ford

Last month:

DPL anti-RMS

Earlier this month:

Post by Chris Lamb, former DPL and former boyfriend of Bully de Blanc

Many years ago:

Ford and Nazism

22 years ago:

Ford and death camps

Summary: Does the Ford front group think it can embellish its image by liaising with former Debian Project Leaders who play a role in the campaign to undermine the Free Software Foundation?

Links 29/4/2021: Lubuntu 18.04 LTS EOL, Router Freedom

Posted in News Roundup at 11:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Collabora take another shot at futex2 Linux Kernel syscalls to help Linux gaming

        Collabora developers have been working for some time on back-end Linux Kernel improvements to help Linux gaming, and Wine / Steam Play Proton – the latest patches have now been posted for futex2. Available to read about on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, Collabora developer André Almeida introduced the latest set.

        What’s all this about then? Well, the original futex (more info) introduced in 2003 has certain drawbacks. Developers have been trying to improve it but it’s proven difficult to get new code and features added in given the legacy of it. Some of the new features just don’t fit into the existing futex, and it can be slow – so they’re working on an new version.

      • Concurrent TLB Flushing For Linux 5.13 Provide A Small Performance Benefit – Phoronix

        Linux 5.13′s x86 memory management work is bringing a minor performance optimization that is particularly beneficial in light of the CPU security mitigations in recent years that have an impact on the TLB.

        VMware engineers for the past two years were looking at concurrent TLB flushes for Linux to flush local and remote translation lookaside buffers concurrently.

      • AMD’s Crypto Co-Processor Driver Adds Green Sardine Support In Linux 5.13 – Phoronix

        The crypto subsystem updates have landed in the Linux 5.13 kernel.

        This time around on the cryptography side the ECDSA algorithm has been added and a number of other minor improvements to the different crypto accelerator drivers.

      • AMD Energy Driver Booted From The Linux 5.13 Kernel – Phoronix

        While a lot of new features and improvements have been accumulating for the Linux 5.13 kernel with the ongoing merge window, one of the unfortunate aspects of this new kernel is that the AMD Zen CPU energy driver “amd_energy” is indeed being removed.

        It’s not being removed as some superior driver is being introduced but rather a disagreement between the upstream kernel maintainer(s) and AMD over the handling of the exposed energy sensors. The situation was laid out earlier this month in AMD Energy Monitoring Driver Slated To Be Removed From The Linux Kernel. Long story short, since last year the AMD Energy sensor information has been limited to root due to the PLATYPUS security vulnerability. HWMON maintainer Guenter Roeck proposed slightly limiting and randomizing the sensor data so it couldn’t be used for nefarious purposes but still accurate enough for genuine use-cases and no longer needing to be root-only access. However, AMD engineers didn’t like that approach.

      • Btrfs Continues Ironing Out Zoned Mode Support, Some Performance Work

        Btrfs’ readahead for send handling has been improved to the extent that the run-time for a full send is faster by about 10% and then 25% for incremental send. Btrfs also has ironed out its zoned mode support that began appearing in Linux 5.12, reflinks now respect O_SYNC/O_DSYNC/S_SYNC flags, more graceful errors on 32-bit systems, automatic background reclaim of zones that have 75%+ of unusable space, and a wide variety of fixes.

    • Applications

      • 8 Command Line Tools for Browsing Websites and Downloading Files in Linux

        This article aims to make you aware of several other Linux command Line browsing and downloading applications, which will help you browse and download files within the Linux shell.

        That’s all for now. I’ll be here again with another interesting topic you people will love to read. Till then stay tuned and connected to Tecmint. Don’t forget to provide us with your valuable feedback in the comments below. Like and share us and help us get spread.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Automatic load balancing for PMD threads in Open vSwitch with DPDK – Red Hat Developer

        This article is about the poll mode driver (PMD) automatic load balance feature in Open vSwitch with a Data Plane Development Kit data path (OVS-DPDK). The feature has existed for a while but we’ve recently added new user parameters in Open vSwitch 2.15. Now is a good time to take a look at this feature in OVS-DPDK.

        When you are finished reading this article, you will understand the problem the PMD auto load balance feature addresses and the user parameters required to operate it. Then, you can try it out for yourself.

      • Enhance application security by rotating 3scale access tokens

        In Red Hat 3scale API Management, access tokens allow authentication against the 3scale APIs. An access token can provide read and write access to the Billing, Account Management, and Analytics APIs. Therefore, ensuring you are handling access tokens carefully is paramount.

        This article explains how to enhance security by making access tokens ephemeral. By the end of the article, you will be able to set up 3scale to perform access token rotation. An external webhook listener service performs the actual token revocation. The rotation takes place automatically after a specific event triggers a webhook.

      • KDE Activities: How To
      • Everything You Need to Know About IP Addresses on Ubuntu

        Don’t know how to find your system’s IP address in Ubuntu? No problem. In this guide, we’ve covered everything related to IP addresses in Ubuntu for you. Apart from learning about IP addresses, we’ll also discuss how to find your system IP address along with a guide on setting a static IP address in Ubuntu.

      • Encrypting and decrypting files with OpenSSL | Opensource.com

        Secret-key encryption uses the same key for encryption and decryption, while public-key encryption uses different keys for encryption and decryption. There are pros and cons to each method. Secret-key encryption is faster, and public-key encryption is more secure since it addresses concerns around securely sharing the keys. Using them together makes optimal use of each type’s strengths.

      • LFCA: Learn Cloud Availability, Performance, and Scalability – Part 14

        In the previous topic of our LFCA series, we gave an introduction to Cloud computing, the different types and Clouds, and cloud services and walked you through some of the benefits associated with Cloud computing.

        If your business is still riding on the traditional IT computing environment, it’s time you leveled up and shifted to the cloud. It is estimated that by the end of 2021, over 90% of the total workload will be handled in the cloud.

      • How to Use Nmap Script Engine (NSE) Scripts in Linux

        Nmap is a popular, powerful and cross-platform command-line network security scanner and exploration tool. It can also help you get an overview of systems that connected your network; you can use it to find out all IP addresses of live hosts, scan open ports and services running on those hosts, and so much more.

        One of the interesting features of Nmap is the Nmap Script Engine (NSE), which brings even more flexibility and efficiency to it. It enables you to write your own scripts in Lua programming language, and possibly share these scripts with other Nmap users out there.

      • Install and Configure Fail2ban on Ubuntu 20.04

        Fail2ban is an open-source security framework written in Python that protects servers against brute force attacks. It scans log files and bans IP addresses that conduct unsuccessful login attempts. It works by updating the firewall to reject new connections from those IP addresses for a configurable period of time.

      • Exa – A Modern Replacement for ls Command

        exa is a tiny, fast, and modern replacement for the ordinary ls command that comes pre-installed on all Unix and Linux operating systems. It is an enhanced file lister that ships with more advanced features and a more user-friendly version of ls.

        It uses colors to determine the information of file types and metadata. It is also aware of symlinks, extended attributes, viewing git status, and recursing into directories with a tree view.

        The command exa is used by command-line users, system administrators, and programmers hundreds of times daily, as well as being helpful when writing automated scripts.

      • How To Install PHP 8 on AlmaLinux 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install PHP 8 on AlmaLinux 8. For those of you who didn’t know, PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a popular scripting language that powers the dynamic content of millions of websites and apps such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla

        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 PHP 8 on an AlmaLinux 8.

      • Linux tips for using GNU Screen

        To the average user, a terminal window can be baffling and cryptic. But as you learn more about the Linux terminal, it doesn’t take long before you realize how efficient and powerful it is. It also doesn’t take long for you to want it to be even more efficient, though, and what better way to make your terminal better than to put more terminals into your terminal?

        One of the many advantages to the terminal is that it’s a centralized interface with centralized controls. It’s one window that affords you access to hundreds of applications, and all you need to interact with each one of them is a keyboard. But modern computers almost always have processing power to spare, and modern computerists love to multitask, so one window for hundreds of applications can be pretty limiting.

    • Games

      • Sunless Skies: Sovereign Edition launches May 19 with a number of enhancements | GamingOnLinux

        Sunless Skies is simply awesome. A gothic-horror exploration RPG with flying-train combat. What more can you possibly ask for? How about a new upgraded version with Sunless Skies: Sovereign Edition.

        Now confirmed to be launching May 19 with Linux support, Failbetter Games worked to make this the best version possible. While a lot of it was towards the console releases, there’s plenty of PC enhancements too. Naturally this also means much better gamepad support, which no doubt many will appreciate. I certainly will, as it seems like such a great fit to play on one.

      • Dark Envoy is a non-linear sci-fantasy RPG coming in 2022 and it’s looking good | GamingOnLinux

        Founded in 2016, Event Horizon set off on a mission to develop memorable RPGs. They’ve since grown to 20 people after Tower of Time from 2018. Looks like Dark Envoy has much higher production values with motion-captured animation, scenic locations and all available in 4K. The good news is they still plan full Linux support too.

      • Google finally adds a search bar to Stadia, some big UI changes coming that look good | GamingOnLinux

        It’s hard to believe that Google, leader of the search engines took this long to implement search into Stadia but it’s finally here. The Stadia team also announced some good other changes coming.

        Not exactly a revolutionary feature a search bar, but a ridiculous thing for a store not to have. Do note though, the search bar is currently only for the Web – so mobile clients don’t have it (yet?). It’s funny really, such a simple feature has probably been the number 1 most requested feature by Stadia users. It’s rolling out to everyone across the week, so if you don’t have it yet – be patient.

      • Awesome looking voxel puzzler Bonfire Peaks releases later this year in Q3

        Developer Corey Martin (Pipe Push Paradise and Hiding Spot) and publisher Draknek (A Monster’s Expedition) have announced that Bonfire Peaks will see a release along with Linux support during Q3 this year. That means we should see it sometime between July and the end of September.

        “Move onwards, move upwards, and leave nothing behind: in Bonfire Peaks, players must climb to the top of a mysterious island ruin, burning everything they own along the way. Featuring hours of masterfully designed puzzle content, a breathtakingly lovely voxel overworld, and not a single second of filler content.”

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Distributions

      • Proxmox VE 6.4 Released With Single-File Restore And Live Restore

        Proxmox VE 6.4 is based on Debian Buster 10.9, but using a newer, long-term supported Linux kernel 5.4. Optionally, the 5.11 kernel can be installed, providing support for the latest hardware.

        Proxmox VE (Proxmox Virtual Environment) is an open-source server management platform for your enterprise virtualization. It is a Debian-based Linux distribution with a modified Ubuntu LTS kernel and allows deployment and management of virtual machines and containers. Proxmox VE can be used also on a single node and on a cluster.

        With a centralized built-in web interface, users can run VMs and containers, manage software-defined storage and networking, clusters, etc.

        Proxmox may not be familiar to many, but it is gaining traction due to its smart combination of open-source KVM-based virtualization, software defined storage and containers.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • A brief overview of the Container Network Interface (CNI) in Kubernetes | Enable Sysadmin

          If you have worked with Kubernetes (K8s) and tried to learn some of its inner workings, either on the job or in a training course, you must have learned a bit about Container Network Interface (CNI). This article de-mystifies what CNI means and does.

        • Announcing Dates & CfP for Nest with Fedora

          As we celebrate Fedora Linux 34 with the upcoming Release Party, we are also looking forward to our next event: Nest with Fedora. As I mentioned in my last update, the 2021 edition of our annual contributor conference will again be virtual. I am happy to announce the dates for this year’s contributor conference: August 5th-8th, 2021. The Fedora Project has been thriving, and I am sure that this years event will be full of exciting content.

        • Fedora 34 Reviewed: A Great GNOME distro that’s worth checking out!

          I had a chance to check out Fedora 34 recently, and was impressed by the overall quality of the GNOME desktop and its implementation. There are a few rough edges, but overall, it’s a great distribution. In this video, I talk about the highlights and what makes it stand out.

        • Fedora Linux 34 available for download

          Woo-hoo! Today is officially the day many of us have been waiting for. Yes, Fedora Linux 34 is finally available for download. For many Linux users, Fedora is considered the best overall operating system to be based on that open source kernel. The distro focuses on truly free and open source software — a pure Linux experience. It is also fairly bleeding edge, but at the same time, it remains stable for everyday use.

          What makes Fedora 34 so exciting? Well, this version of the Linux-based operating system uses GNOME 40 as its default desktop environment, and version 40 is the most electrifying version of GNOME in years. GNOME 40 is notable for a horizontal workspace switcher and having the Dash (favorites launcher) moved to the bottom of the screen. Despite being released last week, Ubuntu 21.04 fails to comes with this version of GNOME.

        • The most popular Fedora Linux in years rolls out | ZDNet

          Red Hat’s community Linux distribution Fedora has always been popular with open-source and Linux developers, but this latest release, Fedora 34 seems to be something special. As Matthew Miller, Fedora Project Leader, tweeted, “The beta for F34 was one of the most popular ever, with twice as many systems showing up in my stats as typical.”

        • Recapping day two of Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience 2021

          It seems like just yesterday we were planning for Red Hat Summit 2021, and now the two days of our April Summit programming have just flown by. Let’s take a quick look back at what happened. And, if you missed something, don’t worry! Much of the Summit programming is still available on demand for you to watch at your convenience.

        • Red Hat boss on Linus Torvalds: ‘He’s changed the world’ | ZDNet

          Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier has continued his regional virtual tour this week, sharing with media in the Asia Pacific region on Thursday his thoughts on what the work Linus Torvalds has done over the last 30 years means for the world.

          “Oh, my gosh, where do you start?,” he began.

          “I mean, he’s changed the world. Just his vision of an open operating system.”

          It’s not just the operating system that came out of it, Cormier said.

          “That was the very beginning. Even when we got started with Linux 20-plus years ago, it really wasn’t — it was for hobbyists, but what Linus did was really show the world that open was a better way to develop new innovation,” the CEO said. “And I think where Red Hat took it from there, from an enterprise perspective, we showed the world that we really could run critical enterprise workloads on open source-developed software.”

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 21.10 ‘Impish Indri’ Opens for Development

          Call me a traditionalist, but after more than ten years of doing this I’m not sure a release cycle would truly feel “underway” if I didn’t squeeze out a 200 word post mentioning it.

          “As usual, we expect a large influx of builds and autopkgtests in this initial period, which will cause delays. Please help with fixing any breakage that occurs,” says Ubuntu’s Matthias Klose, in an email he shared to the Ubuntu development mailing list to kick off the cycle.

        • Don’t Upgrade to Ubuntu 21.04 Just Yet if You Have an Older System

          And, this is why you probably did not notice an update notification while using Ubuntu 20.10. Ubuntu developers have acknowledged the severity of this issue and decided not to prompt updates till this bug is fixed.

          As the bug report also mentions a solution where you download Ubuntu 20.04’s shim package to make amends.

          However, this is not a feasible solution for users.


          Shim is a bit of code that is signed by Microsoft. So, they are waiting for the process to complete in order to include the new shim binaries for Ubuntu 21.04.

          Of course, it also affects some other official Ubuntu flavours like Kubuntu.

        • Lubuntu 18.04 LTS End of Life and Current Support Statuses

          Lubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) was released April 27, 2018 and will reach End of Life on Friday, May 30, 2021. This means that after that date there will be no further security updates or bugfixes released. We highly recommend that you re-install with 20.04 as soon as possible if you are still running 18.04.

          After May 30th, the only supported releases of Lubuntu will be 20.04 (until April 2023), 20.10 (until July 2021), and 21.04 (until January 2022). All other releases of Lubuntu will be considered unsupported, and will no longer receive any further updates (or support) from the Lubuntu team.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Martin Michlmayr: Research on FOSS foundations

        This primer covers non-technical aspects that the majority of projects will have to consider at some point. It also explains how FOSS foundations can help projects grow and succeed.


        This research was sponsored by Ford Foundation and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The research was part of their Critical Digital Infrastructure Research initiative, which investigates the role of open source in digital infrastructure.

      • Events

      • FSFE

        • Router Freedom Activity Package +++ Fernanda Weiden +++ Spring Sales

          Router Freedom is the right that consumers of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) have to choose and use a private modem and router instead of equipment that the ISP provides. In the context of reform of telecommunications law, since June 2020 a new set of rules guides the implementation of Router Freedom in Europe.

          Check here the status of Router Freedom in your country
          Although the new rules will provide more clarity in several respects concerning end-users’ rights, the awareness of Router Freedom is low across Europe. Active participation of local communities in the legislative processes of laws impacting the ability of end-users to choose their network devices is crucial for leveraging the protection of Router Freedom in national jurisdictions.

          Therefore, we have prepared an activity package for individuals and organisations who want to communicate with regulators and decision makers of their countries and take a stand for Router Freedom. The package consists of an activity summary, a monitoring map and a wiki page with relevant information for local engagement.

      • Programming/Development

        • Color Maps and Conditional Formatting

          When visualizing the data, mapping of values to colors is one of essential steps. There is an extensive discussion in the literature about the proper selection of colors (see e.g. the publications mentioned here), and there are multiple publicly available collections of color maps that are designed to deliver best results in scientific visualization applications. For the coming release 2.9 we added some of the well-known collections to LabPlot.

        • Pete Zaitcev: Swift in 2021

          A developer meet-up for OpenStack, known as PTG, occurred a week ago. I attended the Swift track, where somewhat to my surprise we had two new contributors show up.

          I got into a habit of telling people that I did not want Swift to end like AFS: develop great software and dead, with nobody using it. Today I looked it up, and what do you know: OpenAFS made a release in June 2020 (and apparently they also screwed up and had to post an emergency release in October).

        • Discover Bottlenecks on QNX

          QNX is commonly the operating system of choice, when it comes to developing on embedded systems. However, the performance limits are exceeded quickly, especially if you’re working on low-end hardware. As a result, you’ll likely need to perform an investigation to find the bottlenecks that contribute to reaching these limits, in order to configure your application to fit the requirements of your system.

          There are many reasons why an application might be slow. Any number of bottlenecks could be causing the delays. In our experience, file reads and writes have been relevant factors, due to bandwidth limitations.

        • Network, learn and get inspired together – DEV/DES DAYS 2021

          The last year has been a roller coaster! As everything continues to be virtual, we wanted to create something special to bring people together and escape the reality.

        • Rust

          • Rustup 1.24.0 release incident report for 2021-04-27

            On 2021-04-27 at 15:09 UTC we released a new version of Rustup (1.24.0). At 15:23 UTC we received a report that we had introduced a regression in the part of the code which is responsible for proxying the rustfmt and cargo-fmt portions of Rust toolchains. At 15:27 UTC we had confirmed and identified the cause of the problem, and while we worked on a fix, we reverted the released Rustup to version 1.23.1 – an action completed by 15:56 UTC.

            This means that for approximately 47 minutes, CI jobs which used the code formatting features of Rust toolchains may have had spurious failures, and users who upgraded will have had to revert to 1.23.1. The revert process is designed to be as easy as upgrading was, meaning that users should not have had lingering issues.

  • Leftovers

    • Waiting for Catastrophes

      Chatting with a friend in Baghdad—I’ve been calling friends around the world to ask them how they are doing in the pandemic. Abbas, a veteran reporter in Baghdad, says that there have been over a million confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Iraq, and he does not know anyone who has been vaccinated. Journalists, we joke, using Trump’s phrase, are “enemies of the people” and not essential workers. “Not sure when I’ll get a vaccine,” Abbas said.

    • Blake Bailey’s Life as a Man

      I wasn’t planning to read Blake Bailey’s biography of Philip Roth anytime soon. Despite their (to me) obvious male narcissism, I’ve enjoyed some of Roth’s novels a lot—The Ghost Writer, The Counterlife, The Plot Against America, and The Human Stain are favorites. There is something liberatory about the intensity of his commitment to his own id—“the fantasy of purity,” he wrote, in The Human Stain, “is appalling.” But I don’t share the emotional identification with his work felt by numerous literary men of my acquaintance, much less 900 pages’ worth of curiosity about the man himself. Still, when Norton announced it was suspending publicity and shipments of the biography’s initial 50,000 print run, and had dropped its plans to print 10,000 more, I called up my local bookstore and reserved a copy. I figure I’m a grown-up, I can decide for myself.

    • The Art of the Memoir With Japanese Breakfast

      Twenty twenty-one will be a big year for Michelle Zauner, who is a writer, the host of a series of Vice videos about fusion cuisines, the director of a music video for Better Oblivion Community Center (the duo of rock artists Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers), and the soundtrack composer for an upcoming open-world video game. But Zauner is probably best known as Japanese Breakfast, the indie pop artist behind the critically acclaimed albums Psychopomp and Soft Sounds From Another Planet. Her third record, Jubilee, is slated for a summer release after coronavirus-related delays, and her memoir, Crying in H-Mart, was recently published by Knopf.

    • Science

      • Enemies of Science

        McCullough argues that cases of shingles outbreaks in people who had received recently received COVID vaccines cannot have been caused by the vaccines as early speculation had suggested (“Shingles is not caused by COVID-19 vaccines. Here’s the science”). “Science,” writes, McCullough, “is littered with post hoc fallacies.” The inference, she argues, from the fact that an outbreak of shingles followed closely upon a COVID vaccine to the conclusion that it was caused by the vaccine is an example of such a fallacy.

        A post hoc, or more correctly, a post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy refers to the inference from the fact that one event followed another event, to the conclusion that the first event caused the second event. More is necessary to support such a conclusion than mere temporal succession. McCullough is right about that. That’s about the only thing she gets right, however, in an otherwise very misleading article that is marred by its own equally egregious informal fallacy.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Amid National Reckoning on Police Brutality, Omar Reintroduces Bold Reform Bills

        “History shows that the criminal justice system is not equipped to prosecute itself.”

      • Commission Finds Anti-Black Police Violence Constitutes Crimes Against Humanity
      • Connecting the dots Bulgaria suspects six Russian nationals in series of arms depot explosions

        Bulgaria is investigating six Russian nationals over their alleged involvement in a series of arms depot explosions dating back as far as 2011, the spokeswoman for the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office announced at a press conference on Wednesday, April 28. The explosions targeted weapons apparently destined for export to Georgia and Ukraine, which belonged to Bulgarian arms dealer Emilian Gebrev. Bulgarian prosecutors also believe there may be a connection between the blasts and the poisoning attempt on Gebrev in 2015.

      • Drug Laws and the Killing of Andrew Brown, Jr.

        Like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Marvin Scott and Carlos Ingram Lopez and Daniel Prude and so many others, Andrew Brown Jr. would be alive today if it were not for the drug war. What was supposed to be a search and arrest warrant for drugs ended up being a death sentence.

        Holding one officer accountable does nothing to fix an inherently broken and racist system. This is a systemic issue that demands a systemic response. So long as the drug war remains and we continue to rely on police versus our public health systems to deal with drugs in this country, law enforcement will continue to exploit the premise of the drug war to excuse these deaths and shield themselves from accountability. And tragically, we will continue to see Black, Latinx and Indigenous people killed in horrible and unimaginable ways.

      • Chechen Supreme Court prolongs arrest of opposition activist after overturning his detention a month ago

        Chechnya’s Supreme Court has upheld the ruling of the court of first instance prolonging the arrest of activists Ismail Isayev and Salekh Magamadov — two brothers who ran the opposition Telegram channel Osal Nakh 95. This was reported to Meduza by the Russian LGBT Network.

      • US Department Of Education Now Investigating Florida Sheriff’s Student ‘Pre-Crime’ Program

        The Pasco County (FL) Sheriff’s Office decided to bring some of its predictive policing nonsense indoors. It also started looking for smaller targets. The program used to harass residents over things like uncut lawns and missing mailbox numbers was extended to schoolchildren, who were subjected to the same sort of spreadsheet bullshit. Low grades? Miss a few school days? Victim of domestic violence?

      • Amid Widespread Disease, Death, and Poverty, the Major Powers Increased Their Military Spending in 2020

        Even so, the disasters of 2020 were not shocking enough to jolt the world’s most powerful nations out of their traditional preoccupation with enhancing their armed might, for once again they raised their military spending to new heights.

        During 2020, world military expenditures increased to $1,981,000,000,000—or nearly $2 trillion—with the outlays of the three leading military powers playing a major part in the growth. The U.S. government increased its military spending from $732 billion in 2019 to $778 billion in 2020, thus retaining its top spot among the biggest funders of war preparations. Meanwhile, the Chinese government hiked its military spending to $252 billion, while the Russian government raised its military outlay to $61.7 billion.

      • America’s Ruinous Pursuit of Mission Impossible in Afghanistan

        In all that time, Washington has been fighting what, in reality, should have been considered a fantasy war, a mission impossible in that country, however grim and bloody, based on fantasy expectations and fantasy calculations, few of which seem to have been stanched in Washington even so many years later. Not surprisingly, Biden’s decision evoked the predictable reactions in that city. The military high command’s never-ending urge to stick with a failed war was complemented by the inside-the-Beltway Blob’s doomsday scenarios and tired nostrums.

        The latter began the day before the president even went public when, in a major opinion piece, the Washington Post’s editorial board distilled the predictable platitudes to come: such a full-scale military exit, they claimed, would deprive Washington of all diplomatic influence and convince the Taliban that it could jettison its talks with President Ashraf Ghani’s demoralized U.S.-backed government and fight its way to power. A Taliban triumph would, in turn, eviscerate democracy and civil society, leaving rights gained by women and minorities in these years in the dust, and so destroy everything the U.S. had fought for since October 2001.

      • The Russia/China Space Weaponization Treaty

        Fairlamb knows the weaponization of space issue. His background includes being International Affairs Specialist for the Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Military Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs. He is familiar with war first-hand: he was a company commander in Vietnam. He holds a doctorate on “Comparative Defense Policy Analysis.”

        “Given the implications for strategic stability, and the likelihood that such a decision [to deploy weapons in space] by any nation would set off an expensive space arms race in which any advantage gained would likely be temporary, engaging now to prevent such a debacle seems warranted,” wrote Fairlamb in his opinion column on February 4 in The Hill. 

      • George Floyd
      • US Role Behind the Defeat of Ecuador’s Leftist Presidential Candidate

        This setback for the Citizens Revolution movement, founded by Rafael Correa, will have profound implications for Ecuador and beyond, fortifying the US-allied reactionary bloc in Latin America.

        Former President Correa left office with a 60% approval rating. He had been twice elected president on the first round; unprecedented for Ecuador, which had a turnover of seven presidents in the previous decade. His Alianza País party had won fourteen elections, reflecting the popularity of their wealth redistributive programs, including reducing extreme poverty in half.

      • ‘Police Killed My Brother’: Video Shows Officers Kneeling on Mario Gonzalez’s Back for 5 Minutes

        The body camera footage released Tuesday conflicts with the account Alameda police officers gave earlier this month. 

      • Opinion | Amid Widespread Disease, Death, and Poverty, the Major Powers Increased Their Military Spending in 2020

        The existence of widespread poverty in the world’s mightiest military powers raises the question of what could have been done to alleviate or eliminate it, if during 2020 they had not poured nearly $1.1 trillion into preparations for war.

      • ‘It’s About Damn Time’: Advocates Welcome DOJ Hate Crimes Charges in Ahmaud Arbery Killing

        “It’s one step closer to justice,” Arbery’s mother said of the new federal indictments for the three men accused of murdering her son in Georgia last year. 

      • The End of the War in Afghanistan Is in Sight

        On May 1, the date Donald Trump signed onto for the withdrawal of the remaining 3,500 American troops from Afghanistan, the war there, already 19 years old, was still officially a teenager. Think of September 11, 2021—the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the date Joe Biden has chosen for the same—as, in essence, the very moment when its teenage years will be over.

      • Human Rights Watch: Israel Is an Apartheid State

        In the summer of 2014, after an Israeli siege and bombing of Gaza left hundreds of Palestinian children dead, tens of thousands of South Africans took to the streets of their capital city to protest for the Palestinian people. There, addressing a crowd of South African workers, civil society organizations, trade unions, and political parties, the former president of South Africa Thabo Mbeki called for a boycott of Israeli goods, evoking the parallels between his people’s experiences of apartheid and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Credit Suisse Faces Renewed Push To Investigate Whistleblower Claims They Violated Plea Deal

        Credit Suisse, a financial services firm headquartered in Switzerland, violated the terms of a 2014 plea agreement, but the Justice Department under Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump declined to punish the investment bank.

        Former Credit Suisse bankers blew the whistle on the firm’s use of sham companies, foundations, and trusts to evade tax authorities in the United States. As Bloomberg noted, in May 2014, when the bank pled guilty, it “did not tell the Justice Department about a $200 million account held by an American client” named Dan Horsky.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • ‘It’s Important Americans Don’t Take for Granted They Can Exercise Their First Amendment Rights’
      • Malaysian Government Claims Insulting The Queen With A Spotify Playlist Is A Threat To National Security

        The government of Malaysia has never been shy about censoring uppity citizens for doing things like, say, exposing massive government corruption. But it also has some royalty to shield from the content created by disgruntled citizens. That’s why it recently welcomed a “fake news” law into the fold, giving the government (and the royalty it ultimately serves) yet another censorial weapon to deploy.

      • The Politics of Free Speech in Muslim Countries

        Many Muslim states stifle the free press, some more than others. Some states own the media and do not permit commercial press, while others allow commercial press but control them through censorship laws. In some cases, the military and intelligence agencies command the state-media and commercial press with hidden hands. In many Muslim countries, journalists disappear, face persecution, imprisonment, assault, torture, and murder. The 2018 assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist whose body was sawed into pieces in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, is the most dramatic example of state-sponsored revenge for exposing the government’s wrongdoings.

        The absence of the free press empowers governments to manipulate the information reaching the people.  Globally, the leading Muslim countries occupy the bottom of free press rankings. Out of 180 countries, ranked by Reporters without Borders, a non-governmental organization, Iran (174), and Saudi Arabia (170), the principal Shia and Sunni countries are at the world’s worst. Pakistan (145), Bangladesh (152), and Turkey (153), purportedly constitutional democracies, are slightly better than Egypt (166) suffering under the military dictatorship and Iraq (163) emerging from the U.S. invasion. Indonesia, the most populated Muslim country, trails at 113.

      • Months After Indian Gov’t Threatens To Jail Twitter Employees, Twitter Now Blocking Tweets That Criticize The Indian Government

        Back in February, we wrote about how the Indian government was threatening to jail Twitter employees if the company wouldn’t block various tweets that were critical of the government’s handling of farmer protests in that country. While Twitter pushed back, eventually it did block a bunch of content, though it appears it did so reluctantly, and only because it had no other choice.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Apple Blocks WordPress Updates In Dispute Over Non-Existent In-app Purchase (2020)

        Summary: Apple controls what apps get onto iPhone and iPads via its full control over the iOS App Store. Every app (and its updates) need to be reviewed by Apple staff before it’s allowed in the store — and Apple puts in place its own rules for what is and what is not allowed.

      • Senator Marco Rubio: Speech I Disagree With Is Pollution

        Senator Marco Rubio keeps trying to act Trump-like, but he just can’t pull it off. He actually knows what he’s saying is bullshit and unlike some other politicians, it’s pretty obvious when Rubio is play-acting populist nonsense, rather than having any real conviction behind it. His latest is a NY Post opinion piece in which he takes on the new favorite punching bag of Republicans-who-have-no-principles-left: what is stupidly being referred to as “woke” corporations.. This is, of course, somewhat hilarious for anyone who followed decades of Republican politics in which over and over the politicians insisted that companies could do no wrong. But now that some companies are pushing back on Republican-inspired nonsense, suddenly they have to be labeled as “woke” and punished.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • ACLU Urges Biden to Shut Down Detention Facilities ‘Used to Abuse and Traumatize Immigrants’

        “It’s time to end our nation’s newest system of mass incarceration of Black and Brown people.”

      • At the St. Louis City Jail, Inmates Have Been Pushed to the Brink

        On Easter Sunday, about 60 people incarcerated at the St. Louis City Justice Center (CJC) jail in downtown St. Louis escaped from their cells and joined together in an uprising to demand their day in court and improved conditions inside the jail amidst the deadly pandemic. It was the second major uprising at the CJC since February, and at least the fourth coordinated protest there in the last five months. Across the country, the pandemic has catalyzed a year of unprecedented unrest inside jails and prisons. Researchers at Perilous Chronicle reported in November that there had been 119 acts of collective resistance in just the first 90 days of Covid-19 at facilities in the United States and Canada.

      • Opinion | Supreme Court: Let’s Make It Easier for Judges to Send Teenagers to Die in Prison

        The judicial counterrevolution to juvenile sentencing reform is here, arriving in a regressive decision about a teenager condemned to life without parole.

      • Preemptive intimidation Meduza looks into the violent police response at last week’s Navalny protest in St. Petersburg

        Across Russia last week, police arrested almost 2,000 people at solidarity rallies in support of Alexey Navalny. Though the demonstrations ended largely without incident in Moscow (where there were only about 30 arrests), police in St. Petersburg acted much more violently, resorting to clubs and stun guns as they arrested more than 800 protesters. What’s more, the police brutality continued after demonstrators were taken into custody. At Meduza’s request, local journalist Alexander Yermakov looks into why the St. Petersburg police acted the way they did.

      • Russian police arrest more than 100 people in the week after the Navalny solidarity protests

        Russian police have detained 115 people during the week after the protests in support of jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny on April 21, reports the independent monitoring group OVD-Info. 

      • Hard knocks Moscow police arrested few demonstrators at last week’s Navalny protests, but now they’re coming for activists and journalists using facial recognition data

        Protests in Moscow in support of imprisoned opposition politician Alexey Navalny on April 21 ended relatively peacefully with just 60 or so arrests — far fewer than the 1,000 demonstrators police detained at similar rallies in January. A source close to the Russian government told Meduza that the decision to use minimal force against protesters in April was based on recommendations from the Kremlin. Another source close to the Putin administration confirms that the president’s advisers encouraged law enforcement to avoid a scene in Moscow that would displace news coverage of Putin’s state-of-the-nation speech, which took place hours earlier. An official in the Moscow Mayor’s Office confirmed these reports. Almost a week later, however, it’s become apparent that the authorities aren’t done policing the April 21 protests. Meduza explains how officials in Moscow and other cities are using new technologies to identify and intimidate the activists and even the journalists who attended the demonstrations.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Why Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s Own Department Officials Don’t Support His Claims on Regulating User Generated Content

        This isn’t complicated. The Liberals established exceptions for users and their content in Bill C-10. In fact, on the day he introduced the legislation, Guilbeault told the House of Commons that “user generated content will not be regulated.” With last week’s change, his own department acknowledges that the content will be regulated. No amount of spin will change the reality that Guilbeault committed to exclude user generated content, but caved to pressure from music industry lobbyists instead, tossing out freedom of expression in the process.

The Web Never Recovered Since Microsoft Destroyed It and It’s Still Getting Worse

Posted in Site News at 8:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“In Microsoft’s view, Thomas Penfield Jackson was a technological caveman. There was a personal computer on his desk, but he rarely used it, nor did he send or receive E-mail. Microsoft had reason to believe that neither Jackson nor the government’s chief attorney, David Boies—who, like Jackson, did not use E-mail—would comprehend the technological complexities of its defense. But Jackson and Boies didn’t need an engineering degree to understand Microsoft’s alleged intent to harm competitors or to punish companies that did business with rivals.”

“Since the evidence appeared so lopsided, Jackson often wondered why Microsoft didn’t abort the trial—and stop the damage to its reputation—by seeking a settlement. He blamed Microsoft’s chief counsel, William Neukom, saying that he should have arranged a truce before the financial markets were roiled and a judge was forced to play Solomon.”

The New Yorker – January 15, 2001

Summary: The Internet is mostly fine, but the World Wide Web is worth abandoning in many cases, especially because it’s becoming a DRM transport layer with a payload of surveillance and manipulation

THE World Wide Web (or the Web or WWW for short) used to be fun. Honestly!

The first Web browser I used fit on a single floppy disk (the smaller type), quite some time before Netscape was a thing.

“Connections at homes have improved a great deal since the mid 1990s. Let’s take advantage of them.”Many would rightly argue that the blame (in the title) is misplaced because the current Web browser monopoly isn’t Microsoft’s but Google’s. True enough… and Netscape never dominated to the same extent MSIE did, definitely not for the same reasons (abuse and sabotage). But the fact remains that due to the growing complexity of the Web — a never-ending upgrade treadmill — the Web gravitates towards monopolies or at least monocultures (e.g. one single dominent rendering engine and now DRM too).

We keep encouraging people to at least give Gemini space a try (as we last did a day ago). You know something has gone very wrong when you load a page about 10 MB in size (1 MB of fonts, 2 MB of JavaScript frameworks, 5 MB of high-resolution photos etc.) just to read a headline, one sentence, or at most an article 5-10 paragraphs in length. The same could be done with less than 10 KB (kilobytes), i.e. 1,000 times less, traffic-wise.

SpacewalkThe same wasteful culture that tells you to buy a new computer (or ‘smart’ ‘phone’) every 3-5 years tells us that sites need to be overhauled and redesigned more often than this. Techrights has hardly changed in 15 years.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the site in 2006:

Techrights 2006

Sometimes being less advanced or rejecting unwanted/unnecessary so-called ‘progress’ is a good thing.

Now, in terms of technical merit, Gemini enjoys encryption, Unicode support (even emojis), and a lot more. But it’s focused on content and encourages readers too to focus on content. Creators and readers aren’t far apart because setting up Gemini capsules, even hosting them in one’s own home, isn’t particularly hard and ought not be expensive. Pages are very small in size, so in term of bandwidth it’s not a problem. So far this month we’ve served 100,000+ Gemini pages and assuming each of them is, on average, 10 KB, that would be a total of one gigabyte in term of traffic (for a whole month!). 100 pages are about a megabyte.

Now, going back to Microsoft, planned obsolescence has long been a thing there. It compels people to ‘upgrade’ and get new licences (Windows, Office etc.) even when there’s no practical reason to do so and Microsoft actively fights against the right to repair.

It may be too late to salvage the Web. It needs to be further distributed and decentralised. Communication needs to be hosted from one’s own equipment, not hired space in “clown computing” or so-called ‘social’ media (social control is what it’s all about, weeding out voices that platform owners object to). Connections at homes have improved a great deal since the mid 1990s. Let’s take advantage of them.

Defending Concepts, Defending Free Speech, Defending Society From Oppression

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 7:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Even when they tell us that they protect us from predators and terrorists (usually whenever they pass new laws for the super-rich, notably advanced means of social control and suppression of dissent)

Oust your founder and nobody will be shot

Summary: The war on expression of perfectly lawful opinions is assured to lead to a regretful endgame; cui bono?

I WAS BORN 39 years ago to a family not wealthy. My parents were not so highly educated. My mother managed to graduate in the area of history — a career she never fulfilled (or even pursued) as a hard-working young mother. When I was very young my gym teacher told her I was “non-conformist” (his words) and she told me that as a toddler I was inquisitive and kept asking questions she could not quite answer. She found that baffling as she was — and still is — very conformist and wasn’t accustomed to even friends of hers asking such questions. She said it was a bunch of questions about how things worked and why they worked that way. I had no mental disability or challenges, I was just curious by nature. This isn’t exactly a skill that came in handy at schools, where pupils were graded mostly based on their ability to memorise and parrot what they had been told (or read). The same was true when I studied Computer Science (specialising in Software Engineering) at University. Mostly garbage in (or Babbage in), garbage out. When I started my Ph.D. at the age of 21 I was finally able to investigate things on my own and 18 years later I still do the same. I don’t always expect people to condone or accept my thoughts and I’m fine with it. Techrights turns 15 later this year, it’s being read more than ever before (in spite of the collapse of journalism, partly due to social control media consolidation), so I assume many people do agree with me on at least some of the things published here. I republish what I don’t agree with sometimes, though we tend to republish things we do agree with (and can verify for accuracy, or in other words fact-check).

“What happened to Richard Stallman just over a month ago was also exemplary and part of a trend…”I regret to say that earlier this year Twitter suspended me for expressing a view on factual information (regarding patents). Two weeks later it completely banned my account without even an explanation. At the moment a prominent lecturer who specialises in patents is looking into appealing or raising the issue at a governmental level; he deems it utterly wrong and disturbing that Twitter would spurn users for ‘wrongthink’ about patents (nothing to do with racism, sexism or some other form of intolerance). This is work in progress… and a matter of principle.

#Cancel Stallman  #Love MoneyWhat happened to Richard Stallman just over a month ago was also exemplary and part of a trend; corporate-led or corporations-funded online mob (led by their front groups, which coordinate the mobbing) seek to eradicate the ‘epidemic’ of free thought. We’re supposed to only repeat falsehoods and euphemisms like “intellectual property”, apparently…

Over the past month we’ve republished a bunch of old interviews I conducted with Dr. Stallman. We’ve also reproduced many articles. Now it’s my turn to express my personal views, moreover in a form that’s a tad longer than usual (and takes more time to write). Let’s roll back a little and consider how we got here.

I became involved in Free software more than 20 years ago. At the time, despite me not knowing, Dr. Stallman had already been canceled. Several times in fact. I’d say, based on my readings (about the time I was still a young child), “Linux” was the first notable ‘go at it’ — still ongoing I might add because they pretend the operating system turns 30 this year (actually it turns 38). The media started calling everything “Linux” back in the 90s and in 1998 it was rebranding everything as “Open Source” (even in reference to Free software like the GNU Project). All these attempts to marginalise the GNU Project, the FSF, and the founder of both became known to me much later. It takes some research to properly understand that because the corporate (or “tech”) media isn’t helping. It’s actually engaging in revisionism, inducing confusion by misinformation or deliberate omissions.

He said 'assault' means physical. That's also what the dictionary says.About a decade later, in 2009, Richard Stallman said “emacs virgins” and the ritual/cancel mob went berserk. We wrote about a dozen articles about it back then. Basically, virgin can be either a guy or a girl (although only the latter has a hymen) but the word itself does not even refer to anything sexual. Stallman was referring to people who just never used GNU emacs before (or any other kind of emacs), possibly because they’re accustomed to other editors and may be using ‘rich-text’ word processors instead. In any event, it was all along a phony scandal and back then the mob was rallied mostly by the GNOME Foundation. Here in the UK the term “virgin” is used a lot in relation to business (we have Virgin Mobile, Virgin Trains etc.), so the term isn’t even remotely offensive.

Fast-forward another decade and find some ‘leaked’ (not really) E-mails from Dr. Stallman at MIT — E-mails that he disseminated to many colleagues and alumni regardless. He was defending a dead friend of his by arguing over semantics.

Did Dr. Stallman commit a crime? No. Many would argue that he said nothing wrong either (as in factually wrong), albeit he made a wrong decision to interject as it would offend many victims, who would rightly or wrongly misinterpret his words, perceiving them as a form of blame-shifting.

My initial reaction was that I don’t want to be seen as endorsing his messages/views on this, but nevertheless it wasn’t the big scandal MIT sought to make of it, partly because of unfavourable press coverage that was also dishonest (distorting what Dr. Stallman had actually said). Before the whole cancel mob went ballistic I told Dr. Stallman in confidence that the timing was interesting, as well as the publication that chose to distort his words. Many people no longer remember this, but Bill Gates was embroiled in a very major MIT scandal because he was directly connected to Epstein’s payments to MIT (the administrators at MIT unequivocally admitted this but wanted to hide that fact).

Is Minsky a pervert?In any event, a scapegoat was found at MIT and they decided to cancel everybody except Gates and his facilitators at MIT. It would not surprise us if MIT continued taking bribes from Gates after 2019. MIT still covers up for Gates (last year).

But this post isn’t about Gates, who pays the media to create a ritualistic cult that worships him based on deliberate falsehoods and straw men arguments.

The unfortunate thing is, from now on people would be reluctant to defend old or dead (posthumously) friends who cannot defend themselves, even when they’re innocent. Can demented people be assumed guilty? How about dead people? Are we so immature as a society that we cannot handle public discourse anymore? Or a society that stones people (or lynches them online) for not going along with the masses or a perceive consensus, sometimes reinforced only by corporations and their front groups/think tanks/media?

I think, therefore I'm guiltyIt would be nice to think that people are mature enough to be able to discuss or debate things, rather than resort to infantile name-calling, exaggerations, and maliciously fabricated false accusations.

In the case of the EPO, which I’ve covered very closely since 2014, both Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos ‘canceled’ Techrights by preventing employees from even accessing the site. And for what? For objectively exposing corruption, oftentimes by presenting leaked evidence? Or for opposing European software patents, which are objectively illegal?

We’re currently at risk of muzzling the very same people who expose the oppressors instead of removing the oppressors.

Cancel RMS

The Practice of Ritual Defamation (Relevant to Cancel Mobs)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Published on April 26, 2021. Reproduced with permission from here.

Written in 1990, this short essay by Laird Wilcox[1] is pertinent today and specially applicable to the defamation of Richard Stallman. The modus operandi described by Wilcox matches seamlessly the procedure adopted by Stallman’s attackers. We are reproducing it verbatim from the original[2] with permission from the author. A 5 minutes read worth one or two whole books on the subject.

Note on licensing: This article is an exception to the default CC-BY-SA license of this site. The author did not grant the public copying permission for this article.

The Practice of Ritual Defamation
How values, opinions and beliefs are controlled in democratic societies

by Laird Wilcox – 1990

Defamation is the destruction or attempted destruction of the reputation, status, character or standing in the community of a person or group of persons by unfair, wrongful, or malicious speech or publication. For the purposes of this essay, the central element is defamation in retaliation for the real or imagined attitudes, opinions or beliefs of the victim, with the intention of silencing or neutralizing his or her influence, and/or making an example of them so as to discourage similar independence and “insensitivity” or non-observance of taboos. It is different in nature and degree from simple criticism or disagreement in that it is aggressive, organized and skillfully applied, often by an organization or representative of a special interest group, and in that it consists of several characteristic elements. #aggressive

Ritual Defamation is not ritualistic because it follows any prescribed religious or mystical doctrine, nor is it embraced in any particular document or scripture. Rather, it is ritualistic because it follows a predictable, stereotyped pattern which embraces a number of elements, as in a ritual.

The elements of a Ritual Defamation are these:

  1. In a ritual defamation the victim must have violated a particular taboo in some way, usually by expressing or identifying with a forbidden attitude, opinion or belief. It is not necessary that he “do” anything about it or undertake any particular course of action, only that he engage in some form of communication or expression. #no-deed
  2. The method of attack in a ritual defamation is to assail the character of the victim, and never to offer more than a perfunctory challenge to the particular attitudes, opinions or beliefs expressed or implied. Character assassination is its primary tool. #character-assassination
  3. An important rule in ritual defamation is to avoid engaging in any kind of debate over the truthfulness or reasonableness of what has been expressed, only condemn it. To debate opens the issue up for examination and discussion of its merits, and to consider the evidence that may support it, which is just what the ritual defamer is trying to avoid. The primary goal of a ritual defamation is censorship and repression. #no-debate
  4. The victim is often somebody in the public eye—someone who is vulnerable to public opinion—although perhaps in a very modest way. It could be a schoolteacher, writer, businessman, minor official, or merely an outspoken citizen. Visibility enhances vulnerability to ritual defamation. #vulnerable
  5. An attempt, often successful, is made to involve others in the defamation. In the case of a public official, other public officials will be urged to denounce the offender. In the case of a student, other students will be called upon, and so on. #mob
  6. In order for a ritual defamation to be effective, the victim must be dehumanized to the extent that he becomes identical with the offending attitude, opinion or belief, and in a manner which distorts it to the point where it appears at its most extreme. For example, a victim who is defamed as a “subversive” will be identified with the worst images of subversion, such as espionage, terrorism or treason. A victim defamed as a “pervert” will be identified with the worst images of perversion, including child molestation and rape. A victim defamed as a “racist” or “anti-Semitic” will be identified with the worst images of racism or anti-Semitism, such as lynchings or gas chambers. #exaggeration
  7. Also to be successful, a ritual defamation must bring pressure and humiliation on the victim from every quarter, including family and friends. If the victim has school children, they may be taunted and ridiculed as a consequence of adverse publicity. If they are employed, they may be fired from their job. If the victim belongs to clubs or associations, other members may be urged to expel them. #humiliation
  8. Any explanation the victim may offer, including the claim of being misunderstood, is considered irrelevant. To claim truth as a defense for a politically incorrect value, opinion or belief is interpreted as defiance and only compounds the problem. Ritual defamation is often not necessarily an issue of being wrong or incorrect but rather of “insensitivity” and failing to observe social taboos. #insensitivity

An interesting aspect of ritual defamation as a practice is its universality. It is not specific to any value, opinion or belief or to any group or subculture. It may be used for or against any political, ethnic, national or religious group. It may, for example, by anti-Semites against Jews, or by Jews against anti-Semites; by rightists against leftists or by leftists against rightists, and so on.

The power of ritual defamation lies entirely in its capacity to intimidate and terrorize. It embraces some elements of primitive superstitious belief, as in a “curse” or “hex.” It plays into the subconscious fear most people have of being abandoned or rejected by the tribe or by society and being cut off from social and psychological support systems. #peer-pressure

The weakness of ritual defamation lies in its tendency toward overkill and in its obvious maliciousness. Occasionally a ritual defamation will fail because of poor planning and failure to correctly judge the vulnerability of the victim or because its viciousness inadvertently generates sympathy.

It’s important to recognize and identify the patterns of a ritual defamation. Like all propaganda and disinformation campaigns it is accomplished primarily through the manipulation of words and symbols. It is not used to persuade, but to punish. Although it may have cognitive elements, its thrust is primarily emotional. Ritual Defamation is used to hurt, to intimidate, to destroy, and to persecute, and to avoid the dialogue, debate and discussion upon which a free society depends. On those grounds it must be opposed no matter who tries to justify its use. #emotional

References and Notes

  1. Laird Wilcox.
  2. The Practice of Ritual Defamation (Archived)

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