IBM Layoffs/Redundancies Rumours (2021)

Posted in IBM, Red Hat, Rumour at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The above video took a lot of research time to prepare (about 200 visits to the forums over the past month); companies are rarely upfront about layoffs/cost-saving plans and growing corporate/staff unrest, so in order to gain insight regarding the situation at IBM we spent dozen of hours studying discussions and today we finally summarise some of the findings

OVER the past month or so we’ve watched very closely (about a dozen times per day) the IBM anonymous forum (or IBM layoffs board) not just because of rumours about staff cuts but all sorts of inside stories, including some about patents, low morale, and Red Hat’s future. Threads such as this one (hundreds of them) offer some insight. One can see, based on a fast assessment, that many posters there are current or former insiders (not all; in fact, there’s suspicion that IBM HR people troll or AstroTurf those pages as well, maybe to discredit and ruin them).

“We need to understand the context of such misguided policies.”In the video above I take stock of some of the latest (today’s) posts and assemble a bunch of insights gathered over the past month. It certainly looks like there’s little or no future to IBM. In recent months they liaised with Microsoft while attacking the FSF as if another struggling company can somehow save them. Some of the most tactless moves (e.g. abandoning CentOS) seem like short-sighted money-grabbing moves. We need to understand the context of such misguided policies. As far as software freedom is concerned, IBM gradually turns from ally (of convenience) into foe.

Freenode is Not Dying, the Media is Just Lying

Posted in Deception, Site News at 10:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Personally-motivated and overloaded statements would have people think that Freenode is dying or dead; beware such misinformation, whose purpose is likely a self-fulfilling prophecy propaganda war

IS Freenode collapsing? Nope.

Is it losing users and channels? Yes, it does.

But how many?

“Freenode is still by far the biggest network.”Back in March a bunch of corporations and their corporate media (funded by these corporations through advertising contracts and more) told us that everybody hated Richard Stallman (RMS) and that the FSF, which he had founded in 1985, was doomed.

How wrong were they [1, 2]. They lied! Again! They keep doing that.

Here’s what the usage charts of Freenode looks like (and yes, it’s up to date, updated daily as far as we know):

Stats of Freenode history

IRC in general isn’t peaking, but it’s still there. And Matrix isn’t replacing it but complementing it (there’s bridging in place for compatibility).

Freenode logoAt the moment a bunch of corporations and non-corporations (projects) are deciding on a lesser of the two evils. Some of them leap to another network which they barely even understand!

It’s mostly managed by a Swede, based on GitHub history, and that’s why it’s Sweden-based. It’s not about free speech or privacy, so don’t be easily misled by words like “Libera” (or neo-liberal), as they’re enforcing rules akin to “blasphemy law”. They’re not about freedom; in fact, their site is hosted by Microsoft, they manage the site with Microsoft proprietary tools, and they’re putting their code in a proprietary Microsoft monopoly. Do we want Free software projects to embrace this sort of dependency? Microsoft can use all that coercive power to tell the network which users or channels to ban. Heck, the staff there uses GitHub for communications (as if a blog isn’t good enough), so it’s not unthinkable that aside from privacy abuses there will be intelligence by Microsoft on more than just projects in GitHub. It’s also worth noting that several of the people who now work for that network signed the letter which demanded cancelling RMS. Not a good sign, is it? Some of their staff was reported to us as manipulating communications by means of censorship/bans and intelligence/surveillance. That was way back in April when people coordinated strategies for canceling the founder of the Free Software Movement.

The video above mostly deals with debunking the falsehood about the future of Freenode. Falsehoods aren’t cool. The video shows some Freenode stats and full context (compared to other IRC networks).

Freenode is still by far the biggest network.

Updates on Techrights Videos, Techrights IPFS, Techrights Gemini, Techrights Bulletins, and Techrights IRC

Posted in Site News at 8:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: A quick update on site improvements and how to use/access/find them

THE Web (as in World Wide Web) site is just one component of Techrights. It’s the one people use the most, but it’s not the only one. The project keeps expanding. We recently added extensive video archives (even for past months), we still have our daily bulletins (automatically generated by now; no human intervention necessary), IRC channels and logs, a simplified front page (one file only for everything), and a thriving Gemini capsule, which nowadays includes IPFS indices in case the Web site goes down for whatever reason. Gemini has new bits of software announced for it almost every week and sometimes several times per week. It’s growing for sure, also in terms of the number of unique users (we’ve had over 1,500 unique visitors so far this month, landing via gemini://). As a side note, our self-signed SSL certificate (for https://) was renewed for a year, but today’s Web browsers insist on “trust” monopolies (centralisation!) and will most likely reject any/all self-signed SSL certificates, so we don’t recommend using https://; use gemini:// instead (it includes TLS as part of the strictly-enforced specifications; but it doesn’t impose monopolies/centralisation).

“Over the coming few days we intend to work on implementing further improvements.”The above video, unscripted as usual, is a quick rundown or an explanation of recent changes. It’s a lot simpler to explain graphically in a video than in text (or verbally).

Letters httpOver the past month we invested a lot of time in EPO coverage, but we also did a lot of work at the back end (our self-hosted Techrights Git repository), putting bits and pieces together to keep Techrights not only robust but also more censorship-resistant. Even SLAPP would not be effective (complying with legal threats would be beyond our control).

Over the coming few days we intend to work on implementing further improvements. We’re a growing technical project as much as we’re a news site and we try to stay at (or ahead of) the cutting edge without embracing all the freedom-eroding so-called Smart™ stuff. Newer is not always better. Be selective and mind your digital freedom (or tech rights).

“Holy ad nauseam: If I hear anyone from Microsoft talk about the freedom to innovate one more time, I think I’ll hurl a month’s worth of cookies. Instead of worrying about whether or not the government will stop Microsoft from innovating in the future, the head honchos in Redmond ought to spend some energy trying to figure out what force has prevented them from innovating over the past decade.”

InfoWorld Editor Nicholas Petreley – December 20, 1999

[Meme] EPO Bad for Your Health (Even as President)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

António Campinos aging

Summary: According to insiders/informed sources, António Campinos won’t seek to have his term extended; look what a few years inside the EPO can do to a person…

President of the Boards of Appeal and His ‘Handler’ António Campinos Need to Step Down to Save the EPO

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law, Patents at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The former Swedish Judge at the Svea Court of Appeal in Stockholm, now President of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO), has disgraced his own court by reaffirming longstanding suspicions; he basically colluded with the Office whose actions he was supposed to objectively assess.

Carl Josefsson of BoA EPO: My sweetheart; My boss

Summary: The crisis has become severe enough or so prominent that a major overhaul is needed to restore basic reputation (for the granting authority and the tribunal overseeing this process); António Campinos needs to resign, as he clearly failed on all levels, including dialogue with staff (no member of staff trusts him anymore, less than 3 years into his term)

“The fall of the EBA” is the name of the commenter, who said about the EPO‘s EBA a bunch of things that relate to 2014 incidents (Judge PC), then comparing it to the current situation, as covered here yesterday, hours before we heralded that President Campinos is finished. Notice the part about the president: “That on top the EBA is not even aware of its own RP is as such a scandal. That the chair of the BA had to be told by its peers that he should not act in G 1/21 also a scandal. I do not think that its credibility has increased.”

FarewellHe was, in effect, deposed by peers (in his absence). The EPO won’t recover from this easily and it’s not clear, as we explained last night, how they can rectify the situation in some ad hoc fashion. We’re truly back to Benoît Battistelli‘s 2015 — a year of endless tensions and an organisational crisis so severe that in 2016 it became so severe that they held secret meetings to debate the matter.

The full comment recalls:

Talking about an USB stick: when the EBA was called in to confirm the sacking of one of its members, the then president gave the EBA a stick with all alleged proof of the misbehaving of the accused member and told the EBA it should take knowledge of its content. At the time the EBA refused to look at it.

Now it is the BA which gives an USB stick to a party and tells it to take knowledge of its content. It is amazing to see how the EBA has evolved! Do not tell me that the EBA is really independent.

OP by video before the EBA do not give the guarantee that the representatives of the president cannot participate in the debate within the EBA. It might be far-fetched, but in view of the manner G 1/21 has been dealt with by the EBA up to now, I would not be surprised. It is clear that the speed with which the chair of the BA called OP was to please the president. Without OP by ViCo no “New Normal”!

That on top the EBA is not even aware of its own RP is as such a scandal. That the chair of the BA had to be told by its peers that he should not act in G 1/21 also a scandal. I do not think that its credibility has increased.

Should all the present “managers” of the EPO and of the BA had been at the helm of the EPO at its beginning, the EPO would never have become a success story!

Our hope isn’t for the collapse of the EPO but a major overhaul that likely should involve mass resignations at the top (if not, sacking en masse; the cabal must go). European software patents need to go away, as they were usually approved (all the legal hacks/workarounds/bypasses) by the same panels that are demonstrably not independent (months ago we saw one such case subjected to meddling by Campinos and his agents).

Links 29/5/2021: OpenZFS 2.1 RC6 and AlmaLinux 8.4

Posted in News Roundup at 5:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • 6,000 GPUs: Perlmutter to Deliver 4 Exaflops, Top Spot in AI Supercomputing

        The U.S. National Energy research Scientific Computing Center today unveiled the Perlmutter HPC system, a beast of a machine powered by 6,159 Nvidia A100 GPUs and delivering 4 exaflops of mixed precision performance.

        Perlmutter is based on the HPE Cray Shasta platform, including Slingshot interconnect, a heterogeneous system with both GPU-accelerated and CPU-only nodes. The system is being installed in two phases – today’s unveiling is Phase 1, which includes the system’s GPU-accelerated nodes and scratch file system. Phase 2 will add CPU-only nodes later in 2021.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Checking out Kubuntu 21.04: Full Review

        I had a chance recently to check out Kubuntu 21.04, and decided to share my thoughts in this video. In this review, I catch up with the latest Kubuntu release and will talk about the installation process, new features, and more!

    • Kernel Space

      • Brendan Gregg: Moving my US tech job to Australia

        I’ve moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Sydney, Australia, where I will continue the best job so far of my career: Performance engineering at Netflix. I’m grateful for the support of Netflix engineering management, Netflix HRBPs, and others for helping to make this happen. While my move is among the first from the Linux cloud teams, Netflix has had staff in Australia for years (for content, marketing, and the FreeBSD OCA). It’s been a privilege and an adventure to work in Silicon Valley with so many amazing people. But I’m now excited about my new adventure: Doing an advanced tech role remotely from Australia. I know others who have also left the Bay Area or are planning to. Back in 2015 we’d have BPF (iovisor) meetups in Santa Clara and most contributors would be there in person, with some having travelled. Now we’re more scattered, either to other US cities or worldwide. As another indicator of tech moving elsewhere, last year brought the [headline]: “Bay Area’s share of VC deals predicted to fall below 20% for first time in 2021.” Day to day things won’t be much different. I’m still online, doing the same work, answering the same emails. And many of us expect (when travel is possible) to make regular visits to the US for company-wide meetings and events. I think some coworkers will still see me occasionally in the US office and won’t even realize I’ve moved.


        Linux has been described as the world’s most successful open source project, and it’s all engineers working remotely. There’s no Linux kernel headquarters where all the engineers sit in an open office layout, typing furiously then dashing for the break room coffee during kernel builds, and where maintainers can yell across the room at someone for their bad patch (when it’s Linus yelling, everyone takes off their headphones to listen). That doesn’t happen. Engineers are remote, and may only meet once or twice a year at a Linux kernel conference. And it’s worked very well for years. Another example of remote work I’ve already done is book writing. Last year I published [Systems Performance 2nd Edition], which I wrote from my home office with help from remote contributors. The entire project was run via emails, a Google drive, and Google docs, and was delivered to the publisher on time.

      • OpenZFS 2.1-rc6 Released – Will Now Scale Worker Threads With CPU Core Count – Phoronix

        Yet another release candidate of OpenZFS 2.1 is now available for testing and this time around there are some interesting changes to note.

        OpenZFS 2.1 is headlined by adding Distributed Spare RAID “dRAID” and a new compatibility property for Zpool feature-sets, compatibility with newer versions of the Linux kernel (through 5.12 at the moment), and a variety of other improvements and fixes.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Ryzen 5 5500U – Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 21.04 Linux Benchmarks

        While yesterday was the Threadripper 3990X Windows 10 vs. Linux benchmarks, with recently picking up the $450 Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 with Ryzen 5 5500U, prior to wiping the Windows 10 preload I ran some benchmarks to see how that default Microsoft Windows 10 Home installation compared to a fresh install of Ubuntu 21.04 for maximizing the performance potential of this budget six core / twelve thread laptop.

      • Chrome 91 Benchmarks On Linux Showing Off Even Better Performance

        Chrome 91 released this week with WebAssembly SIMD by default, new JavaScript APIs, and other improvements. Plus there are also some performance improvements too, here are some benchmarks.

        Yesterday the Chromium Blog published a new post outlining that Chrome 91 can be up to 23% faster and “saves over 17 years of CPU time daily”. The Chrome 91 speed-ups come thanks to the new Sparkplug compiler, short built-in calls, and other work.

    • Applications

      • qytdl – Qt frontend for Youtube-DL

        A common complaint about YouTube is that to watch the material you need to use a web browser. Fortunately, some creative developers have developed applications that allow you to bypass the web-only barrier of YouTube.

        qytdl (also known as qYoutube-DL) is a Qt-based frontend to youtube-dl. That program is a hugely popular open source download manager for video and audio from YouTube and over 1,000 other video hosting websites.

        qytdl lets you construct a queue of URLs, and download the entire list in a single step.

      • Top 6 MP3 Players for Linux

        Who does not love listening to music? well, maybe there are some, but most of us love it. Globally, most people listen to music to pass the time and maybe motivate themselves. However, some of us love listening to music when working on our computers to boost our concentration.

        Since the popularity of Linux is rapidly increasing, developers are working day and night on the new Linux applications platform. Back then, it wasn’t easy to find various applications of the different Linux distros.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Linux Directory structure explained : A reference guide – LinuxTechLab

        When we install a Linux distribution, we see that a number of directories are created. These created directories may be the same or partially different on various Linux distributions. You might know about the directory structures & what purpose they serve.

        For those of you who don’t know about the Linux directory structure or have partial knowledge or just want to relook on Linux directory structure & its usage, this article will act as a reference guide.

      • James Hunt: rout is out

        rout is a simple tool, written in rust, that produces unicode utf-8 output in interesting ways. It uses the minimal command-line parsing crate ap. It also uses a fancy pest parser for interpreting escape sequences and range syntax.

      • Connect from an Arm-based A1 Compute Shape to Autonomous Database Two Ways

        This week we made Arm-based servers available in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, including a generous free offering with 4 cores and 24 GB of RAM of Ampere A1 Compute as part of our Always Free tier. Todd Sharp wrote a cool blog post showing how to create your own Minecraft Server using one of these Free Tier A1 shapes.

      • How to Use Git Alias to Make Git More Efficient – Make Tech Easier

        Git is one of the most advanced version control systems to support easy branching and merging, multiple staging areas, and a distributed workflow paradigm. To get more out of Git, you can use one of its properties called “Git Alias.” Like a person’s nickname, this alias feature saves time by merging repetitive steps for a faster user experience in the Git terminal window. Here we show you what Git aliases are, how to add them, and some of the most useful examples.

      • How to Install Tomcat 10 on CentOS 8 and Fedora34 – Unixcop

        In this article, we will be demonstrating how to install Apache Tomcat on CentOS 8.Before we begin, let’s define exactly what Apache Tomcat is. Apache defines Tomcat as: “An open-source, servlet container, JavaServer Pages, Java Expression Language, and WebSocket technology that also acts as a web server.It affords a “pure Java” based HTTP server environment in which Java can be executed.” Tomcat works with the Java programming language and is associated with web applications written in Java.

      • How to Mount VirtualBox Disk Image (VDI) to Access VM File-System in Ubuntu | UbuntuHandbook

        This tutorial shows how to mount the VirtualBox virtual disk image in Ubuntu, so you can access the Guest OS file system with read and write permission, if it does not boot.

        After misconfigured my VirtualBox Guest OS, it does not longer work. I know how to correct the issue to make it boot again, but firstly accessing to the file system is required!

        Since the VBox user manual does not work, here’s what I did in Ubuntu 20.04 host with VirtualBox 6.1.x:

        Before getting started, make sure Guest OS is shutdown. And the disk image is not in use. Also UN-MOUNT the disk once the job done.

      • Linux – Reset password expiration, age and history

        User management is an important part of Linux administration, so it’s essential to know about all the user accounts on a Linux system. Some common user administration tasks are to list users, disable a user account, or create and modify user accounts.

        In this guide, we will be focusing on managing user passwords. It’s good security practice to force users to change their password every once in a while by setting passwords to expire. In the examples below, you’ll see how to reset a user’s password, set their password to expire (either instantly or in the future), and see the age of a user’s password. We’ll also see how password changes can be seen in log files, giving us some insight into user’s password change history.

      • How to Run AnyDesk in Ubuntu in 4 Simple Steps – Softonic

        AnyDesk is a popular remote access program that can be used to gain access and control over another device that also has AnyDesk installed. Available on all devices, you can also run AnyDesk on Ubuntu.

        AnyDesk is actually perfectly suited to the Linux operating system. This makes it a valuable program that allows you to also gain cross-platform control over different devices when you need to. But how do you run AnyDesk on Ubuntu?

      • How to run ECS Anywhere workloads using Ubuntu on any infrastructure | Ubuntu

        ECS Anywhere allows you to use Amazon Web Services’ container service outside of the AWS cloud, and Canonical is proud to be a launch partner for this service. Using Ubuntu as the base OS for your ECS clusters on-prem or elsewhere will allow you to benefit from Ubuntu’s world-leading hardware support, professional services, and vast ecosystem, in turn allowing your ECS clusters to run with optimal performance everywhere you need it.

        In this example, we will demonstrate running the ECS Anywhere agent on an Ubuntu server on-prem. We will use Multipass to simulate an on-prem server but you can run these instructions on any supported release of Ubuntu, whether in your data center or in any public cloud.

      • How to Install Latest LXQt & Mate Desktop in Ubuntu and Fedora – Unixcop

        LXQt developed from popular components of LXDE and Razor Qt project, LXQt is a free, open-source, lightweight, and fast desktop environment for Linux and BSD distributions.It comes with several great and well-known features, borrowed from the LXDE desktop such as low system resource utilization and elegant and clean user interfaces.

        One of its distinguished properties is the high level of customization to meet desktop usability needs. The default desktop environment on Knoppix, Lubuntu, and a few other less-known Linux distributions has been the default desktop environment.

      • How to Fix Line Breaks in Text Files Using Dos2Unix and Unix2Dos

        Have you ever sent a text file created on a Linux system to someone and have them complain that it looked wrong on macOS or Windows? That may be because these systems handle line endings differently. Fortunately, this is easy to fix with a couple of utilities: Dos2Unix and Unix2Dos.

      • How to Fix Can’t Type in Terminal Issue in Linux System

        No doubt, a terminal is an often-used tool on any Linux system to control or provide commands to the system. If you’re a power Linux user, you probably enjoy using the terminal shell for most of your tasks. But how pathetic could it be if the terminal freezes during an import task? I’m sure you faced this issue on Linux while you tried to do a little multitasking on your system. Don’t worry; you can follow a few methods to fix if you can’t type in the terminal.

      • How To Install Yourls on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Yourls on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, YOURLS stands for Your Own URL Shortener. It is a small set free and open-source PHP script that will allow you to run your own URL shortening service. YOURLS allows you to have full control over your data, detailed stats, analytics, plugins, and more.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of Yourls open-source URL shortening on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to install your own OpenVPN Server in under five minutes

        Whether you want to hide your identity from prying eyes or access content blocked by geo-restrictions, running an OpenVPN server is an excellent solution to run your own VPN server.

    • Games

      • The visually striking action-adventure Resolutiion gets another big upgrade | GamingOnLinux

        Haven’t picked up Resolutiion yet? You’re missing out on a wonderful trip through some seriously striking scenes in this action-adventure game. Now is a great time to grab it with a sale and a big upgrade. See some previous thoughts from the original release in our original article.

        “Resolutiion is a fast-paced action-adventure created by two angry German brothers leading a band of vagrants who loaded it with lovely pixels, dirty jokes, deep ideas and badassemotional tunes for 20 hours of punishing combat, rewarding exploration, and layered storytelling. Will you be the player or will you be played? In the Infinite Empire nothing is as it seems.”

      • Eagle Island Twist has released as a massive free content upgrade for Eagle Island | GamingOnLinux

        Eagle Island from developer Pixelnicks has expanded and turned into Eagle Island Twist, now featuring a whole new campaign to play through that’s very different to the original.

        You now switch between the two standalone story modes, each with unique gameplay. The original Eagle Island maintains the same falconry-inspired gameplay and procedurally generated worlds, while Eagle Island Twist however it takes all the mechanics and spins it into a hand-crafted adventure across 45 brand new stages and an all-new story.

      • How to install Friday Night Funkin’ Multiplayer on a Chromebook – Updated Tutorial

        Today we are looking at how to install Friday Night Funkin’ Multiplayer 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.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Official Statement Regarding UXDivers Grial Kit and MauiKit.com usage

          Today May 28, 2021, during a routine reverse search of the term “MauiKit,” we came across a rather surprising finding, a Xamarin Technical Partner, UXDivers, had recently started to use a previously registered but unused domain, mauikit.com. Once again, we find ourselves in a rather unfortunate situation as we’re facing very similar circumstances as last year with Xamarin itself.


          As per the ICANN lookup website, the domain mauikit.com was created on the 21st of May 2020. Coincidentally, this is exactly the month when last year Xamarin (a Microsoft subsidiary) decided to rebrand their UI framework “Xamarin.Form”s to “MAUI,” to be specific, it was registered two days after we raised this problem with Xamarin at their GitHub repository.

        • This week in KDE: performance improvements galore

          This week a number of performance improvements landed for for areas as diverse as taking screenshots with Spectacle in the Plasma Wayland session, using the Plasma Wayland session in general with an Nvidia GPU, and entering or exiting Elisa’s “Party mode” and resizing the main window.

        • Next Café and upcoming events

          The Kdenlive Café’s will be on the second Tuesday of every month always starting at 9PM (Paris time). So the June Café will be on the 8th. Also don’t miss the Kdenlive demo by Arkengheist at the Libre Graphics Meeting this Sunday 29 at 2PM (Paris time).

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Bully de Blanc: Friends of GNOME Update – May 2021

          The call for GUADEC birds of a feather sessions, lightning talks, and workshops is now open. These will take place July 23 – 24, after the talks.

          Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions are up to two hours. These provide a time for people with shared interests to get together to talk about them. These can be working sessions and/or discussion sessions.

    • Distributions

      • Which Is the Best Linux OS: Fedora or Ubuntu?

        Linux is among the most popular and influential operating systems in the world. After significant improvements over the years, Linux is now user-friendly enough to replace Windows on PCs. However, the Linux operating system is much more different compared to Windows and macOS, with several available distributions to choose from.

        Ubuntu and Fedora are two of the most popular Linux distributions, and today we are going to see how they stack up against each other in 2021. Read on to see what sets the two distributions apart and our expert Linux recommendation for 2021.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2021/21

          Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

          During this week, we have finalized the UsrMerge project in openSUSE:Factory. Future snapshots will have /bin as a symlink to /usr/bin, and /lib(64) as symlink to /usr/lib(64). This is also the reason why the last snapshot tested and published was 0424. After that, I was keeping OBS busy with a full bootstrap and rebuild of Tumbleweed. But let’s first focus on the things that have been delivered during the last week, namely the 4 snapshots 0520, 0521, 0522, and 0524.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • AlmaLinux 8.4 released

          AlmaLinux 8.4, a clone of RHEL filling the role that CentOS used to play, has been released. Changes include full support for secure boot, a developer repository with packages not found in RHEL, and more; see the release notes for details.

        • AlmaLinux 8.4 Release Notes

          Please report any issues you may encounter on the AlmaLinux Bug Tracker (opens new window). Additonally, if you feel like providing feedback, talking about anything or asking any questions you might want to check out AlmaLinux Chat (opens new window), The AlmaLinux Forums (opens new window) and The AlmaLinux Community on Reddit (opens new window).

        • Red Hat Universal Base Image Now Available on Docker Hub

          Red Hat has announced the availability of Red Hat Universal Base Image on Docker Hub as “Verified Publisher” images. Red Hat Universal Base Images (UBI) are Open Container Initiative (OCI)-compliant, freely redistributable, container base operating system images that include complementary runtime languages and packages.

        • IBM Blockchain CTO departs with two key Fabric developers

          Gari Singh, CTO of IBM Blockchain, has left the company after 15 years to join Google Cloud. Separately, in the last month the two top Github code contributors to Hyperledger Fabric have departed after 17 year and 22 year careers at IBM. One of them was IBM’s Senior Technical Lead on Fabric, the other a key maintainer.

          The departures were staff leaving of their own accord and not part of the January layoffs in which IBM Blockchain, which deals with core blockchain technology, was merged with IBM’s supply chain solution Sterling. At the time, the job cuts focused on business personnel and the Fabric development team was kept intact. Until now.

          For the record, a separate division, IBM Global Services, provides consulting to businesses and has continued to expand.

        • Virtuozzo’s VzLinux 8 Released, Positioned as a CentOS 8 Replacement

          VzLinux 8 is a 1:1 completely binary compatible fork of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 and can be used for transparent replacement solutions based on RHEL 8 and CentOS 8.

          Virtuozzo is a leading world supplier of hybrid virtualization, storage and cloud enablement software program options. For years, VzLinux has been a base operating system for OpenVz. Additionally, it was used as a guest operating system for containers and virtual machines.

          From now on, VzLinux became accessible to everyone and positioned as a replacement of CentOS 8. It is supplied without restrictions, free and from now on will develop as an open project developed with the participation of the community.

        • Guidebook for open source community management: The Open Source Way 2.0

          In a previous post on the Red Hat Blog’s community channel, we shared how The Open Source Way guidebook could answer your community management questions and provided a preview of the guidebook’s chapters. Now the full release of “The Open Source Way 2.0,” the guidebook to community management best practices, is available. Let’s take a look at each of the 18 chapters in this new release.

        • Friday’s Fedora Facts: 2021-21

          Here’s your weekly Fedora report. Read what happened this week and what’s coming up. Your contributions are welcome (see the end of the post)! Elections voting is open through 3 June.

          I have weekly office hours on Wednesdays in the morning and afternoon (US/Eastern time) in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else. See the upcoming meetings for more information.


          Official IRC channels have moved to Libera.Chat.

        • CentOS Replacement AlmaLinux 8.4 Released | IT Pro

          AlmaLinux, the Linux distribution designed specifically as a CentOS replacement, just released version 8.4 as its second stable release.

      • Debian Family

        • Raspberry Pi OS Updated With Faster OpenSSH, Software Upgrades

          The new version out today is Raspberry Pi OS 2021-05-07 (yes, formally released today). This Raspberry Pi OS update is still using the Linux 5.10.17 LTS kernel like the March update but has a number of other package updates like Chromium 88, Pigpio 1.79, Thonny 3.3.6, and other updates for included applications. This update also includes a GTK+3 version of Rp-Bookshelf, memory leak fixes for LXplug-Bluetooth, an alsa-utils fix for volume handling on the BCM2835, and OpenSSH and OpenSSL speed improvements. Gpiozero is also now included on the Raspberry Pi OS Lite images. Updated Raspberry Pi firmware is also bundled with this new Raspberry Pi OS release.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Launchpad News: Comment editing is now possible

          The first request for this feature dates back from 2007. Since then, Launchpad increased a lot in terms of new features, and the other priorities took precedence over that request, but the request was still more than valid. More recently, we managed to bump the priority of this feature, and now we have it: users are now allowed to edit their comments on Launchpad answers, bugs and merge proposals!

          This has been available in the API for a few days already, but today we finally released the fresh new pencil icon in the top-right corner of your messages. Once you click it, the message is turned into a small form that allows you to edit your message content.

        • Full Circle Magazine #169
    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Wrangling the EC: Adventures in Power Sequencing

        As we outlined in a previous post, the Librem 14 is the first Purism laptop to ship with our new, free software Librem-EC firmware for the laptop’s embedded controller (EC). This was a big undertaking, and as with any effort of this magnitude, issues arise in corner cases that often don’t show themselves during developmental testing, when only a small number of devices are tested. One such issue was with the power sequencing — the order and timing of all the different voltage rails and power sources/signals in the laptop.

      • Quick Intro to Video Editing with the Librem 14

        The Librem 14 packs all the power and software needed to create professional videos.


        In conjunction with an X11 desktop session, Obs-studio can be used to record or even stream your desktop. This is perfect for greenscreens, capture cards, or even adding video files to play as a background.


        If you get stuck at any of these stages, Look online, and you’ll find a vibrant community with lots of tutorials and help forums. The projects covered here are widely used and free from distractions like ads. Find all of them just a few clicks away in the PureOS store.

      • Daniel Stenberg: History of IRC (Internet Relay Chat)

        I’ve done my very best to gather information from as many sources as possible to verify facts, stories and dates. If you have additional information, have found errors in my text or just feel like commenting anything, email me, submit an issue or post a pull-request!

      • Daniel Stenberg: Taking hyper-curl further

        Thanks to funding by ISRG (via Google), we merged the hyper powered HTTP back-end into curl earlier this year as an alternative HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 implementation. Previously, there was only one way to do HTTP/1 and 2 in curl.


        Core libcurl functionality can be powered by optional and alternative backends in a way that doesn’t change the API or directly affect the application. This is done by featuring internal APIs that can be implemented by independent components. See the illustration below (click for higher resolution).

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox to adopt Chrome’s new approach to extensions – sans the part that threatens ad blockers

            Firefox maker Mozilla on Thursday said it plans to mostly adopt Manifest v3, a controversial revision of the Chrome browser extension framework that Google undertook to address the glaring security problems in the browser.

            Mozilla, which relies on Google for the majority of its royalty revenue, found much that’s worthwhile in Manifest v3. But it plans to retain the blocking webRequest API that’s among the most consequential casualties of the technical transition in Firefox, at least until there’s a replacement more suitable to the web community than Google’s alternative, declarativeNetRequest (DNR).

            “We will support blocking webRequest until there’s a better solution which covers all use cases we consider important, since DNR as currently implemented by Chrome does not yet meet the needs of extension developers,” said Rob Wu, senior software engineer at Mozilla, in a blog post.

          • [Mozilla] Mike Taylor: The hidden meaning of 537.36 in the Chromium User-Agent string

            If you’re like me, first of all, very sorry to hear that, but you are probably spending your Friday morning wondering what the meaning of 537.36 is in the Chromium User-Agent string. It appears in two places: AppleWebKit/537.36 and Safari/537.36.

            As any serious researcher does, the first place I went to for answers was numeroscop.net, to check out the “Angel Number Spiritual Meaning”.


            Darin Fisher (former engineering lead for the Chrome Web Platform Team) said the same in the recorded Q&A video (linked from the Developer FAQ).

            Assuming Wikipedia is as trustworthy as that “why did I give the Angel Numerology site my email, birthdate, relationship status, and name, and why am I getting so many ads on other sites about healing crystals and clearance specials on hydroxychloroquine??” site, Chrome 27.0.1453 was the last version of Chrome shipping WebKit, which was at 537.36, and Chrome 28.0.1500 was the first version of stable channel release shipping the Blink engine.

          • 7 of the Best Add-ons for Firefox on Android

            Firefox is one of the best browsers you can use. It’s fast, privacy-focused, and comes with a myriad of customization options to help personalize your browsing experience. Android users can also enjoy all the benefits of this browser, thanks to its nifty mobile version.

            Just like its desktop variant, Firefox’s Android iteration supports plenty of add-ons. While not all desktop extensions will work on mobile, a lot of them do. Below you’ll find our list of seven of the best Firefox for Android add-ons.

          • Peace of mind browser add-ons for Firefox

            The web can be as wonderful as it is overwhelming. Fortunately there are ways you can customize Firefox with add-ons to achieve a more harmonious browsing experience. Here are a few examples—from soothing visual enhancements to great tools for mental clarity and peace of mind.


            A couple different extensions can help with internet discipline by way of blocking distracting—or even maddening!—websites. Block Site and LeechBlock NG are both very easy to use tools for creating a filtered web view. Block certain domains entirely, or just portions of the day. Both extensions offer an array of ways to help you help yourself stay focused on the web.

          • Dreaming at Dusk: the Tor Project’s NFT Auction & What’s Next

            In mid-May, the Tor Project held a nonfungible token (NFT) auction of a generative art piece we called Dreaming at Dusk, created by artist Itzel Yard (ixshells) and derived from the private key of the first onion service, Dusk.

            This action was held on Foundation and resulted in a final bid of 500 Ethereum (ETH), roughly $2M USD at the time of the auction, with the proceeds going towards the Tor Project and our work to improve and promote Tor.

          • New release candidate: Tor

            There’s a new release candidate available for download. If you build Tor from source, you can download the source code for from the download page on the website. Packages should be available over the coming weeks, with a new alpha Tor Browser release likely next week.

            Remember, this is a not a stable release yet: but we still hope that people will try it out and look for bugs before the official stable release comes out in June.

          • TenFourFox Development: TenFourFox FPR32 SPR1 available

            TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 32 Security Parity Release 1 “32.1″ is available for testing (downloads, hashes). There are no changes to the release notes except that Mozilla has lengthened 78ESR by a couple more weeks, so the end of official builds is now extended to October 5, 2021. Assuming no major problems, FPR32.1 will go live Monday evening Pacific time as usual.

          • Sam Foster: Ideas on a lower-carbon internet through scheduled downloads and Quality of Service requests

            I recently got interested in how renewable power generation plays into the carbon footprint of internet usage. We need power to run and charge the devices we use to consume internet content, to run the networks that deliver that content to us, and to power the servers and data centers that house those servers.

            Powering the internet eats up energy. The power necessary to serve up the files, do the computation, encode and package it all up to send it down the wire to each of the billions of devices making those requests consumes energy on an enormous scale. The process of hosting and delivering content is so power hungry, the industry is driven to large extent by the cost and availability of electricity. Data centers are even described in terms of the power they consume – as a reasonable proxy for the capacity they can supply.

            One of the problems we hear about constantly is that the intermittent and relatively unpredicatable nature of wind and solar energy means it can only ever make up a portion of a region’s electricity generation capacity. There’s an expectation of always-on power availability; regardles of the weather or time of day, a factory must run, a building must be lit, and if a device requests some internet resource the request must be met immediately. So, we need reliable base load generation to meet most energy demands. Today, that means coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydro generation plants – which can be depended on to supply energy day and night, all year round. Nuclear and hydro are low-carbon, but they can also be expensive and problematic to develop. Wind and solar are much less so, but as long as their output is intermittent they can only form part of the solution for de-carbonizing electricity grids across the world – as long as demand not supply is king.

          • The future of ads and privacy

            The modern web is funded by advertisements. Advertisements pay for all those “free” services you love, as well as many of the products you use on a daily basis — including Firefox. There’s nothing inherently wrong with advertising: Mozilla’s Principle #9 states that “Commercial involvement in the development of the internet brings many benefits.” However, that principle goes on to say that “a balance between commercial profit and public benefit is critical” and that’s where things have gone wrong: advertising on the web in many situations is powered by ubiquitous tracking of people’s activity on the web in a way that is deeply harmful to users and to the web as a whole.

          • Building a more privacy preserving ads-based ecosystem

            Advertising is central to the internet economy. It funds many free products and services. But it is also very intrusive. It is powered by ubiquitous surveillance and it is used in ways that harm individuals and society. The advertising ecosystem is fundamentally broken in its current form.

  • Leftovers

    • Red Capital, Red Baiting, Yellow Peril

      The post-Mao reconstruction relied on pragmatic reforms from outside the orbit of the state and especially Beijing’s central directives, according to Ronald Coase and Wing Nang. Private farming and business development in cities, townships and villages were allowed to operate outside the boundaries of “communism,” though in special economic zones that permitted some measure of control by the state and Party. These “marginal revolutions” brought entrepreneurship and market forces to China, showing how the lineage from Adam Smith’s liberal vision could coexist with authoritarian structures; how the invisible hand became relatively clearer through state control (“How China Became Capitalist,” Cato Institute Policy Report, Jan/Feb 2013).

      Therefore, China is best characterized as an authoritarian capitalist country according to Coase and Nang. Its Party-controlled system authorizes the activity to create and implement capital within the constraints of its ethical guidance which is not dependent on the principles of pure communism, as demonstrated by the society’s residuals of hierarchy and class, but the far more palatable doses of mere improvement in equality (this perhaps the precondition of the former, the seeding of a trajectory toward greater—if not complete—communist equality).

    • Lori Lightfoot’s New Press Policy Is All Too Convenient

      Since her historic win in 2019, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has done very little for progressives across Chicago, who once believed she was the right champion to combat the insider wheeling and dealing of the self-serving institution infamously known as the fifth floor of City Hall. With former president Donald Trump no longer available as a sparring partner on Twitter, Mayor Lightfoot’s political dynamics have gone unchallenged by the media.

    • The Low-Information Mayor?

      As I walked along Manhattan’s 11th Avenue one day in late April, the wind seemed as if it were trying to blow the plywood outdoor-dining huts over and rip the spindly trees from the ground. I arrived early to the Gotham West Market food court. My date, Andrew Yang, showed up unfazed by the violent weather, as buoyant as he appears on TV.

      A candidate for mayor of New York City, Yang is a businessman and failed nonprofiteer with no experience governing and a hodgepodge of centrist, liberal, banal, and just plain quirky opinions. He has some potentially interesting ideas—a public bank, for instance—but he also loves solutions involving philanthropy and public-private partnerships. And right now, although Eric Adams, an ex-cop and a more conventional politician, has been pulling ahead recently, Yang is polling well with every demographic, including those identifying as progressive or liberal. With his name recognition, he could easily win a race made less predictable by the city’s new ranked-choice voting system. The former executive of a small test-prep company, Yang may well become the next mayor of the biggest city in the United States. I wanted to know how a Mayor Yang would address the concerns of the progressive movement, from racial injustice to affordable housing to the climate crisis.

    • A Modernist Superpower Emeritus Belatedly Faces the Postmodern World

      Perhaps the best that can be said of the United States today is that we are on the cusp of being little more than a superpower emeritus – dangerously close, that is, to becoming a has-been-in-waiting in the game of great-power politics. While humanity as a whole – recognizably or not, willingly or not – inhabits a postmodern universe, the United States persists in adhering to a modernist past that has passed; and its national security establishment, with a military largely devoid of new ideas at the forefront, has essentially blinded itself to a future that demands being dealt with on its own terms. Instead, we have chosen a national security posture that yearns for a return to the self-deluding, self-serving simplicity of the Cold War; accordingly, we have left ourselves mindlessly dependent on a traditional, conventional “warfighting” military that is the opposite in virtually every respect from the strategically oriented postmodern military we actually need. The old adage about generals (and the militaries they command) being forever wedded to the past has never been truer than it is today.

      To speak of postmodern anything is, of course, to risk sounding pretentious and pedantic, not least since the theorists and disciples who bequeathed us such terminology have successfully obscured its meaning. For the sake of argument, though, let us admit to the proposition that there are defining features of the era we now live in that lie beyond the world of modernism that has defined our lives to date. The Cold War – along with its industrial-age total-war antecedents – is behind us (though we persist in trying to recapture the comforting simplicity it represented). The industrial age – technology as the ultima ratio of human endeavor – was pronounced dead long ago (though, again, we persist). Grand ideology as secular religion, universalism, statism, even realism and rationalism: all of these canonical ways of thinking and acting have, arguably or inarguably, been displaced or are in jeopardy.

    • Trapped in the Whirlwind

      After eight months on patrols I’m lucky to be alive, though saddened that more than half my platoon is gone; most were wounded. Eight months instead of six, but that is a story for another time. Two hundred and forty-four days of it, and today, here on the large safe base, old timers, FNGs, squad leaders, the lieutenant, say their farewells. I’m off to a rear job where I’ll sleep in a bed, wear clean clothes, eat hot meals, perform safe menial labor. 

      But soon the men, my replacement among them, will load their nylon packs with tinned and dehydrated food, water and ammo, stagger to board the trembling choppers, which will rise up, briefly hover, nose left or right, or zoom gracefully forward, and whisk them high over the beautiful canopy. After a time, as the choppers descend, the door gunners will unleash frantic bursts into the approaching tree line. As the whirling metal birds touch down, the anxious grunts will jump out, rush forward, anxiously reassemble. The squad leaders and officers will check their topo maps. Take magnetic compass bearings. The point man will take the first of many steps into the green unknown. So it begins. Step by booted step, the long green line of helmeted men slinks forward and disappears into the beautiful maze of infinite jungle. 

    • Star of David; Land of Myth

      What is there about our shared journey that permits us, with ease, to consciously blind ourselves to the grief of others because it aches too much to see the obvious? That upends echoes of pain as screams come in unbearable waves that leave no doubt of its horrible source of crimes, in progress, of broken families and dreams never to be dreamt? What finds escape in crafted denial that accepts no combat from waves of reality… for to handle truth is, seemingly, well beyond our collective capacity?  It is the story of our day. Star of David … land of myth.

      We live in times where the yardstick of reality is a measure beyond the conscious, willing reach of many, while to others but a passing, indifferent glance too numbed by the spin of daily life to stop and feel the pain and suffer of those regarded as little more than a momentary snapshot of another distant world.  It is within this discount that the Star of David has found comfort, indeed empowerment as it has upended a value system held out long-ago to be the universal pathway of international justice for all.

    • The Net Zero Mirage

      “Net Zero by 2050” is the rallying cry of scientists and policymakers throughout the world. However, that epithet echoes past decades of climate change/global warming mitigation plans, one after another, all failures.

      The world’s continuing failure to come to grips with the dilemma led three notable climate scientists, deeply involved at the highest levels, to publicly ridicule past and future attempts to fix climate change in a blockbuster article entitled: “Climate Scientists: Concept of Net Zero is a Dangerous Trap” The Conversation, April 22, 2021.

    • A Sleepy Interregnum? The Inauthentic Opposition Party of Filibusted Appeasement

      The Trump Republicans are a neofascist party. They sought to subvert and then nullify a presidential election under cult command of an authoritarian racist who encouraged talk of “civil war” and instigated an attack on the US Capitol in an open attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory on the grounds of a Nazi-style Big Lie. Even after the attempted coup, which sent Congresspersons of both parties and Trump’s own Vice President running for their lives, the preponderant majority of Congressional Republicans supported the Big Lie, refusing to sign off on Biden’s clear Electoral College victory. A majority of Republicans believe the absurd stolen election lie.[1]

      Four in ten Republicans polled by the American Enterprise Institute after the Attack on the Capitol supported the use of violence to achieve political ends. Eight in ten Republicans thought the American political system is “stacked against conservatives and people with traditional values.” A majority of Republicans agreed with this statement: “The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.” This willingness to undertake and/or tolerate right-wing political violence is fueled by a preposterous sense of white and Christian victimization at the hands of “radical liberal” globalist elites including dedicated “Marxists” like Nancy Pelosi. Fifty percent of Republicans absurdly believe that something called “Antifa” was behind the January 6 Attack on the Capitol.

    • The Long Silence of Bao Ninh

      Bao Ninh settled into his chair and ordered for tea. He put a pack of Camel cigarettes on the table and looked out of the window. “It’s not a good time to come to Hanoi,” he said.

      May in the city is hot and stifling, and marks the beginning of a sweltering summer. As the temperatures soar, the crowds fizzle out. Later, the monsoon rains wash the city, igniting the “spirit of Hanoi,” which, according to Kien—the protagonist of The Sorrow of War, Ninh’s daring and wildly popular 1990 novel based on his experiences in the Vietnam war—is “strongest by night, even stronger in the rain. Like now, when the whole town seems deserted, wet, lonely, cold, and deeply sad.”

    • Time to Buy a New Toolbox

      The above snippet of an interrogation scene from the film, The Lives of Others, speaks volumes about the relationship between the individual and the State in an authoritarian system of governance. A citizen is called in for questioning, like K. in Kafka’s The Trial. The State’s presumption is that if he was called in, then he’s guilty of something. Because someone you “know” has turned you on ‘suspicion of’ — blank to be filled in during the interrogation. It’s a world where you are presumed guilty, and there is no condition of innocence. Man has fallen and needs the State to regulate the state of play of his being in the world. In the scene above, the citizen is expected to be ready to confess — anything. On behalf of the “humanistic” State, the petty officer is insulted that the citizen would claim he knows nothing, for he was called in for a reason. It’s an insult that is arrestable.

      Such was life under the Stasi — the secret surveillance service of East Germany in the Cold War years, which included not only officers of the State but informants, many already “compromised” themselves. Eyes everywhere, eyes straight ahead, the eyes have it. America almost went to hot war with the Soviets over the wall they built around East Berlin (in his book, Doomsday, Daniel Ellsberg even worries retrospectively that a speech he wrote helped inflame the situation that eventually led to the dangerous stand-off at Checkpoint Charlie in October 1961). Ich bin ein Berliner, said JFK in Cape Cod English, on a visit to Germany. And, years later, Reagan uttered, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Americans, still flush with the afterglow of WWII triumphalism, weren’t having any truck with nasty Stasi mind control over its citizens.

    • The Great Outdoors Was Made for White People

      After social distancing protocols forced countless Americans into indoor isolation for the winter, many of us are eager to run into the warm embrace of Mother Nature and the outdoors with gusto. While the pandemic has exposed structural inequities in everything from health care to education to housing, less remarked upon has been the institution of the great outdoors. And like most American institutions, outdoor space—and, crucially, access to it—has been socially and physically constructed by white supremacy and settler colonialism.

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Rights Groups Applaud Reintroduction of MORE Act to Reverse Harms of War on Drugs

        House Democrats removed language that was in an earlier version of the bill which would have excluded some of those most impacted by failed drug policies from participating in the marijuana industry. 

      • Companies Paying Starvation Wages Whine That Workers Aren’t Interested

        Just think, we live in a country where $300 per week is beyond the average American worker’s wildest dreams. What were they earning before? $200? $100? With pay like that, the U.S. really is what used to be called a Third World nation, and it’s organizations like the Chamber of Commerce that want to keep it that way. Back in early May, the Chamber, you may recall, blamed April’s lackluster employment expansion on the $300 weekly jobless benefit, “and began urging lawmakers to eliminate the federally enhanced unemployment payments,” as Truthout reported.

        This is called class war. It is a rare instance, in that class war, of the more powerful side revealing its hand. Because mostly it doesn’t need to. Mostly GOP governors serve as commandos in the class war against working people so brazenly that corporations and the Chamber don’t need to show their faces. But things aren’t happening fast enough for the moneyed class. So now, at least 22 Republican governors have sprung into action, brandishing executive orders at reluctant workers, orders which slash the unemployment benefits of over 1.9 million people come June, according to the Washington Post.

      • Vijay Prashad on India, Covid and Modi
      • How It All Went Wrong: the Global Response to COVID-19

        Almost nothing in the main report could be seen as remarkable in these jaded times.  It reads like a sharp vision of looking backwards, a history of folly and stumbles.  The protagonist, SARS-CoV-2, proved wily, moving more rapidly than surveillance could detect it, ducking the monitors and seducing the examiners.  The rest of the actors in the show proved, to varying degrees, to be inept, indifferent and even callous.

        Such attitudes were shared in a climate of prior warning.  Humanity has already faced events of mass viral mortality.  That there would eventually be a pandemic of this scale was being discussed well ahead of the novel coronavirus march.  But governments, planners and policy makers seemed unmoved.  When action took place, it was tardy. “Although public health officials, infectious disease experts, and previous international commissions and reviews had warned of potential pandemics and urged robust preparations since the first outbreak of SARS, COVID-19 still took large parts of the world by surprise.”

      • As Pandemic Wiped Out Workers, Covid Crisis Proved No Obstacle to Soaring CEO Pay

        “This should have been a year for shared sacrifice,” said one economist. “Instead it became a year of shielding CEOs from risk while it was the frontline employees who paid the price.”

      • Mike Adams is forced to walk back his violent rhetoric about executing those promoting COVID-19 vaccination

        About six years ago, I started noticing a disturbing phenomenon in the antivaccine underground, namely the increasingly violent rhetoric of antivaccine activists. At the time, I quoted an article by an antivaxxer named Dara Berger, who compared the antivaccine movement to that of the antiabortion movement, which perhaps a more apt comparison that she realized, particularly this part:

      • The Other Epidemic Killing Americans

        When North Carolina was besieged by Covid-19, Louise Vincent nearly died—but it wasn’t the virus that got almost her. She spent months shuffling in and out of clinics, struggling to get appropriate medical treatment, and eventually was poisoned when she attempted to medicate herself in desperation. The medicine she needed was methadone, which is used to help people manage opioid use disorder. She should have been able to access it easily; Vincent helps run the North Carolina Urban Survivors Union, a drug users’ advocacy and harm reduction group.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, April 2021

            In April, we put aside 5775 EUR to fund Debian projects. There was no proposals for new projects received, thus we’re looking forward to receive more projects from various Debian teams! Please do not hesitate to submit a proposal, if there is a project that could benefit from the funding!

          • Boss of ATM Skimming Syndicate Arrested in Mexico

            Florian “The Shark” Tudor, the alleged ringleader of a prolific ATM skimming gang that siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars from bank accounts of tourists visiting Mexico over the last eight years, was arrested in Mexico City on Thursday in response to an extradition warrant from a Romanian court.

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (nginx), Fedora (chromium, curl, kernel, php-symfony3, php-symfony4, python-lxml, python-pip, and runc), Mageia (ceph and wireshark), openSUSE (mpv), Oracle (bind, idm:DL1, redis:6, slapi-nis, squid:4, and xorg-x11-server), SUSE (curl, nginx, postgresql10, postgresql12, postgresql13, slurm, slurm_18_08, and slurm_20_11), and Ubuntu (nginx).

          • Researchers Warn of Facefish Backdoor Spreading Linux Rootkits [Ed: Overinflating severity and risk. You need to install malware or be compromised already.]

            Cybersecurity researchers have disclosed a new backdoor program capable of stealing user login credentials, device information and executing arbitrary commands on Linux systems.

            The malware dropper has been dubbed “Facefish” by Qihoo 360 NETLAB team owing its capabilities to deliver different rootkits at different times and the use of Blowfish cipher to encrypt communications to the attacker-controlled server.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • WhatsApp Sues The Indian Government Over New Laws That Would Force It To Break Encryption

              For many years now, we’ve reported on efforts by the Indian government to demand that WhatsApp break its encryption to give the government access. Much of this comes from the fact that the Indian government wants to pin the blame for certain violence and disinformation on WhatsApp, rather than on those actually responsible. WhatsApp has, in the past, pushed back on individual demands to break its encryption.

            • Citizen Continues Its Push To Become Cops-For-Hire By Leaking Sensitive Data… Twice

              The bad news keeps coming for Citizen, the app that really wants to be a cop.

            • Citizen — The App That Wants To Be A Cop — Offered A $30,000 Bounty For The Apprehension Of An Innocent Person

              Citizen — an app for reporting crime and other suspicious events — wants to be in the police business. The app developers have purchased at least one faux patrol vehicle — co-branded with Los Angeles Professional Security — and have been driving it around Los Angeles, California.

            • US Soldiers Expose Nuclear Weapons Secrets Via Flashcard Apps

              Like their analogue namesakes, flashcard learning apps are popular digital learning tools that show questions on one side and answers on the other. By simply searching online for terms publicly known to be associated with nuclear weapons, Bellingcat was able to discover cards used by military personnel serving at all six European military bases reported to store nuclear devices.

              Experts approached by Bellingcat said that these findings represented serious breaches of security protocols and raised renewed questions about US nuclear weapons deployment in Europe.

              Dr Jeffrey Lewis, founding publisher of Arms Control Wonk.com and Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said that the findings showed a “flagrant breach” in security practices related to US nuclear weapons stationed in NATO countries.


              Some flashcards uncovered during the course of this investigation had been publicly visible online as far back as 2013. Other sets detailed processes that were being learned by users until at least April 2021. It is not known whether secret phrases, protocols or other security practices have been altered since then.

            • Twitter could be working on Facebook-style reactions

              Twitter could be adding some new emojis to augment its formerly star-shaped, currently heart-shaped Like button, according to app researcher Jane Manchun Wong. The assets Wong found — which have been reliable predictions of future features in the past — show “cheer,” “hmm,” “sad,” and “haha” emoji reactions, though some currently only have a placeholder emoji.

            • WhatsApp reverses course, now won’t limit functionality if you don’t accept its new privacy policy

              The rollout of the policy has been a confusing mess, and raised concerns that WhatsApp would begin sharing more of users’ personal data with Facebook. (Some WhatsApp user data, such as users’ phone numbers, is already shared with Facebook, a policy that went into place in 2016.) WhatsApp has stressed this is not the case, though — the policy update is regarding messages sent to businesses via WhatsApp, which may be stored on Facebook’s servers.

              The majority of users who have seen the new policy have accepted, the company says in a support article. This article also notes that you’ll get reminded about the new policy if you haven’t accepted it, and that’s still the case now, WhatsApp said in its statement.

            • Kremlin-Backed [Crackers] Target U.S. Aid Agency Before Biden-Putin Summit

              [Crackers] linked to Russian intelligence services breached systems used by a leading U.S. aid agency to target other government agencies, human rights organizations, and think tanks. The move could ratchet up tensions between Washington and Moscow ahead of a highly anticipated summit between the two countries’ leaders. Cybersecurity experts say that cyberattacks by Russian hackers have become a daily occurrence.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘It’s the Filibuster or Democracy,’ Say Progressives After GOP Tanks January 6 Commission

        “Unless we abolish the filibuster, there will be no progress on any agenda focused on justice, fairness, or basic survival,” said Sen. Ed Markey.

      • ‘A $753,000,000,000 Defense Budget Is a Failure’: Biden Pentagon Request Rebuked

        “Spending $753 billion on weapons and war while our communities starve… is a national shame.”

      • The China-Pakistan Love Affair

        Criticizing legalism, moralism, and sentimentalism of American politics, Hans Morgenthau (1904-1980) argued for a policy based on national interests in foreign affairs. In theory, emotionality is rarely part of any bilateral calculus. However, Pakistan and China have forged a geopolitical romance, frequently reaffirmed in magniloquence from both sides, and recently expressed in a love song recorded by two young singers, a male singer from Pakistan and a female singer from China. “The world will see our love,” the singers chant in Urdu and Mandarin.

        Forty-five years ago, on May 27, 1976, Pakistan prime minister Z. A. Bhutto (1928-1979) met Chairman Mao Zedong (1893-1976) in his last public appearance. At this meeting, Bhutto committed to unwavering support for China’s international disputes, and Mao agreed to transfer uranium to Pakistan, enabling Pakistan to acquire atomic weapons later. A few days ago, on May 21, Pakistan opened its China-assisted largest nuclear power plant, the sixth in A ROW, adding 1100 megawatts. This plant opening celebrated the China-Pakistan diplomatic relations established in May 1951.

      • 100th Anniversary of Tulsa Massacre Should Remind Us Why Reparations Are Needed
      • U.S. Marks 100th Anniversary of Tulsa Race Massacre, When White Mob Destroyed “Black Wall Street”

        Memorial Day marks the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, one of the deadliest episodes of racial violence in U.S. history, when the thriving African American neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma — known as “Black Wall Street” — was burned to the ground by a white mob. An estimated 300 African Americans were killed and over 1,000 injured. Whites in Tulsa actively suppressed the truth, and African Americans were intimidated into silence. But efforts to restore the horrific event to its rightful place in U.S. history are having an impact. Survivors testified last week before Congress, calling for reparations. President Biden is set to visit Tulsa on Tuesday. We speak with documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson, whose new film premiering this weekend explores how Black residents sought out freedom in Oklahoma and built a thriving community in Greenwood, and how it was all destroyed over two days of horrific violence. Nelson notes many African Americans migrated westward after the Civil War “to start a new life” with dignity. “Greenwood was one of over 100 African American communities in the West,” he says. “Greenwood was the biggest and the baddest of those communities.”

      • Gaetz Says Supporters Should Use the Second Amendment Against Tech Companies
      • Erupting Congo Volcano Is Latest Crisis for DRC as It Faces “Largest Neglected Emergency on Earth”

        We go to Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where tens of thousands of people are evacuating the city of Goma after a volcanic eruption killed dozens on May 22 and amid warnings that Mount Nyiragongo, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, could blow yet again. We speak with Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, who says the volcano is worsening an already acute crisis in the country, where rising violence and displacement have left more than 20 million in need of humanitarian aid. “It’s the largest neglected emergency on Earth,” he says. “We need to talk about the war, the misery, the hunger and the whole looting of DRC from strong capital, from all over the world, that want to have the minerals that is in the ground under here.” He also discusses the war in Yemen, how relatively small investments in humanitarian aid can help millions of people around the world and why rich countries have a responsibility to make vaccines accessible.

      • Letters From Minsk: Lee Harvey Oswald Comes in for the Cold War

        Unlike my hunt for the Hotel Garni, I found Lee Harvey Oswald’s Minsk apartment in less than fifteen minutes, as the American defector was given a place to live in an elegant building overlooking the Svisloch River, Victory Square, and Yanka Kupala Park. Not far away was the philharmonic. As Randy Newman might croon: “My life is good.”

        To put this housing assignment in a local context, imagine you are a 19-year-old Russian defector to the United States and, after denouncing the Soviet Union in Washington, D.C., you are given a free apartment in New York City overlooking Central Park and a job at Westinghouse—with few questions asked.

      • George W. Bush’s Bogus Bloody Afghan Halo

        After Al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes on September 11, 2001, wreaking death and destruction in New York and Washington, it was inevitable that the U.S. military would respond. But rather than targeting Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, Bush chose to conquer Afghanistan and seek to rebuild it as some type of female-friendly utopia. While the Bush White House boasted of liberating the downtrodden Afghan people, Bush’s military geniuses let Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders escape at Tora Bora.

        Brazen lies permeated Bush’s efforts from the start. In his State of the Union address on January 29, 2002, Bush frightened Americans with a bogus nuclear threat: “Our discoveries in Afghanistan confirmed our worst fears. . . . We have found diagrams of American nuclear power plants and public water facilities” in caves used by Al Qaeda. Senior CIA and FBI officials followed up with “background” briefings to the media, revving up the threat that Afghan-based Al Qaeda fighters were targeting U.S. nuclear power facilities. This made the terrorist threat far more ominous and spurred support for Bush’s preemptive war policy against Iraq.

      • Eugene Clemons May Be Ineligible for the Death Penalty. A Rigid Clinton-Era Law Could Force Him to Be Executed Anyway.

        In the spring of 2000, James S. Christie Jr. left his law firm in Birmingham, Alabama, for a short drive to the Shelby County Clerk’s office. He was going to clear up some confusion, a seemingly small technical error that had been bothering him for months. The clerk’s office kept claiming that it had no record of a document Christie said he had filed at the end of the previous December. That document, and its timing, were exceedingly important. It alleged, among other things, that the trial attorneys for a man on death row had defended him so badly, neglecting to call even a single witness to convince the jury to vote against execution, that the man’s right to a fair trial had been compromised.

        Christie knew Shelby County should have had proof of the document’s existence. A few months earlier, on December 27, 1999, Christie’s courier had delivered the filing to the clerk’s office and been handed back a copy, stamped at the top in red and blue with the words “received & filed,” along with the date and the clerk’s name. Christie had that copy of the document right there in his hand.

      • What’s Happening In Arizona Is Not Really An Audit Or A Recount. It’s A Partisan Inquisition.

        Audits and recounts are an essential part of our voting system, but what’s happening in Arizona isn’t. The state Senate that ordered the process is calling it an audit, and all the ballots are being recounted, but it’s not really an audit or a recount — it’s a partisan inquisition. Conducted by a company founded by an election-fraud conspiracy theorist and Trump supporter, the process is funded mostly by Trump loyalists and fails to meet any of the standards required for official recounts or audits by state law. The process indulges the fantasies of the most extreme political fringe while ignoring the fact that there is zero evidence of any election fraud to warrant such intense scrutiny. The result will almost certainly not be the greater transparency Republican state senators claim they seek. The review — and others like it — may instead further erode trust in our elections.

      • Live Updates: Republicans Block Independent Commission on Jan. 6 [Insurrection]

        Republican senators used the filibuster to prevent the creation of a panel modeled after the one that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks to scrutinize the assault on the Capitol. President Biden’s $6 trillion budget proposal will be released on Friday.

      • How will the next Dalai Lama be chosen?

        But the dispute is not just between China and the Tibetans. Another option floated by the Dalai Lama is that his reincarnation may be identified outside Tibet, perhaps in India, where he fled to in 1959 after a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule. An Indian tulku would inflame an already tense relationship between India and China. In May 2020 a skirmish broke out on the disputed border between China and India (Tibet sits on the Chinese side). India’s secretive Special Frontier Force, a military unit composed mainly of Tibetans who fight at high altitude, was involved. That India hosts the Tibetan government-in-exile is a “security buffer” as well as a “soft-power resource”, says Dibyesh Anand of the University of Westminster. This is particularly apparent in disputed territories such as Arunachal Pradesh in north-east India, which is inhabited by many Tibetan Buddhists. A Chinese-anointed Dalai Lama could be “weaponised by China” to lay claim to the region, notes Mr Anand. In April Bloomberg reported that senior government officials in Delhi were discussing how to influence the choice of the next Dalai Lama. America has also weighed in. In December Congress passed the Tibet Policy and Support Act. It states that only Tibetans can choose the next Dalai Lama and that Chinese officials who interfere will be subject to sanctions.

      • Erdogan inaugurates mosque in Istanbul’s Taksim Square

        Although Turkey is a Muslim-majority country, the mosque’s construction was criticised when it began in 2017, with some opponents accusing Erdogan of seeking to “Islamise” the country and displace the founder of the secular modern republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

        The new building eclipses the “Republic Monument” in the square, which depicts the important figures of the Turkish War of Independence, including Ataturk.

    • Environment

      • Their Extinction = Our Extinction
      • Race to Net Zero Emissions: Are We Ready?

        Of the nations pledging to hit zero greenhouse gas emissions (GGE) no later than 2050, twenty have legal commitments to do so (Sweden, Austria, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Denmark, European Union, Fiji, Finland, France, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Slovenia, United Kingdom), another twenty countries, including the USA, are drafting policy documents, leaving 100, including China, talking it over.

        Many suspect that, like other catchy lyrics, the net zero song governments and corporations are singing lacks substance, and that corporate politicians with their short-sighted policies, have no intention of taking the radical steps needed. Interviewed by the BBC, US climate envoy, John Kerry recently dismissed suggestions that changes in American lifestyle and reductions to the colossal levels of consumption, including large amounts of animal produce, were needed, saying, “You don’t have to give up quality of life to achieve some of the things we want to achieve.” The American public (and presumably the overindulgent everywhere), according to Kerry, can have their cake and eat it.

      • Forget the GOP Plan. Climate Activists Want $10 Trillion for Infrastructure.
      • Fossils show oblivion’s malign impact on nature

        We are obliterating other life: oblivion’s malign impact could bring extinction faster than at almost any time known so far.

      • Energy

        • ‘Your Legacy Is… What You Deliver’: Climate Movement Says Biden Budget Not Bold Enough

          “This might be a political show for Biden,” said the Sunrise Movement, “but for us it’s a fight for our lives and for the communities we love and care about.”

        • Despite Risks, Climate Activists Lead Fight Against Oil Giant’s Drilling Projects in Uganda

          “We cannot drink oil. This is why we cannot accept the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.” 

        • HSBC to Phase Out Coal Financing After Shareholder Vote

          Shareholders at HSBC have voted overwhelmingly to end financing of the dirtiest fossil fuel, coal.

          Preliminary voting results showed that 99.7 percent of the bank’s shareholders voted in favour of the management-backed climate resolution at HSBC’s annual general meeting.

        • UK police surprised to learn energy-intensive weed farm is actually a Bitcoin mine

          Police in the United Kingdom raided an industrial unit outside Birmingham under suspicion it was housing an indoor marijuana growing operation, CNBC reported. They were surprised to discover instead an extensive Bitcoin mining setup which was illegally siphoning electricity from a mains supply.

          Prior to the raid, police observed multiple people going in and out of the building throughout the day, and spotted extensive ventilation and wiring. They also claim a drone was able to detect high amounts of heat coming off the building. Because indoor cannabis farms use systems of grow lights, heating, and ventilation to cultivate plants where they might not usually flourish, police believed they were looking at “classic signs” of a clandestine weed operation.

          What they were actually looking at, as they soon learned, was about approximately a hundred or so Antminer S9 machines, generating enormous amounts of heat while they minted new coins. Easy mistake to make, and incidentally, not illegal in cases where cryptocurrency miners pay their electrical bills. This particular operation, however, was siphoning “thousands of pounds” worth of mains electricity, and as a result was shut down by the same police who thought they were gearing up for a drug raid.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • As Tourism Returns, We Can’t Allow Cruise Companies to Destroy Coral Reefs for Profit
        • ost Americans Don’t Approve of Animal Testing, Will the U.S. Congress Finally Pass Legislation to End It?

          Either way, you’d still have your freedom and be much better off than one of the more than 111 million mice and rats who are used, abused and/or killed in the name of biomedical research in the United States every year. These highly intelligent rodents are so popular among researchers that they represent 99 percent of all animals used in laboratories. Much of the horror is funded by taxpayers—more than $16 billion each year since 2017—even though a majority of Americans oppose the use of animals in scientific research, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center poll.

          Sue Leary, the president of the Alternatives Research and Development Foundation, which is dedicated to finding humane replacements for animal-based research, said the staggering number of lab mice and rats—the recently compiled figure of 111 million—is concerning because rodents are not protected by the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which provides some protections for animals used in research. “If the numbers are anywhere near correct, the amount of pain and suffering that’s occurring in these animals is completely unacceptable,” she said.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Biden Hailed for ‘Historic’ Exclusion of Anti-Choice Hyde Amendment From Proposed Budget

        “At a time when reproductive freedom is under unprecedented attack, and the legal right to abortion is hanging on by a tenuous thread, this critical step from the Biden administration is more important than ever.”

      • Opinion | Here’s How to End the Filibuster and Protect Democracy

        It will take a carefully constructed, step-by-step strategy by the Senate Democratic leadership, in coordination with grassroots organizations—to potentially bring Manchin and Sinema around.

      • Confronting the Myth of Objectivity

        Sometimes, after educating teachers about the Tulsa race massacre of 1921, after dealing with racist incidents in the classroom, after spending hours talking about slaughter and mass graves, Karlos Hill weeps as he drives home. “When I talk about sobbing, it’s because of the emotional toll of doing the work. It just sort of drains you,” he told me. 

      • Schumer Says Vote on For the People Act Coming Next Month

        “We’re witnessing a clear and present threat to our democracy,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal. “We must act now to save it.”

      • Opinion | Arguments Against the Appointment of the Man Nicknamed ‘Rambo’ to the Post of U.S. Ambassador to Japan

        The left wing of the Democratic Party has strongly opposed the appointment of Mr. Emanuel to the post of ambassador to Japan.

      • ‘Bipartisan’ Is How Republicans Say ‘Sucker!’

        Talks between the Biden White House and a group of senators seeking a “bipartisan compromise” on the president’s infrastructure bill have been rocky. There were even reports early this week that they had stalled.

      • Despite Slamming Trump’s Exit as ‘Short-Sighted,’ Biden Says US Won’t Reenter Open Skies Treaty

        During his campaign, Biden said concerns of Russian violations “should be addressed not by withdrawing from the treaty, but by seeking to resolve them through the treaty’s implementation and dispute mechanism.”

      • Opinion | Memorial Day Can’t Hide Biden’s Bloated Pentagon Budget

        Total spending on the Pentagon and related work on nuclear weapons at the Department of Energy will top $750 billion, one of the highest levels ever—substantially higher than the peaks of the Korean or Vietnam wars or the Reagan buildup of the 1980s.

      • Trump Wrongly Implies Gas Prices Have Risen Because He’s No Longer President
      • Opinion | Many Members of the Republican Party Are Not Conservatives, They’re Extremists

        By mislabelling the radical members of the Republican Party “conservative,” the mainstream media gives them a veneer of respectability.

      • Guerrilla: Bundesrepublik Deutschland

        Those experiences (and others that I don’t recall as clearly) proved to me that the publisher had done the right thing by publishing The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. The same can be said for other books on the topic of armed struggle in the imperial North that have been published since then. These include numerous memoirs by former members of the groups involved, from the Black Liberation Army to the George Jackson Brigade in the United States. They also include numerous texts examining the phenomenon in the US and in Europe. Most recently among the latter (in English) is the book Remembering the Armed Struggle: My Time with the Red Army Faction (RAF) by Margrit Schiller.

        Schiller was an early member of the RAF. Her memoir tells how her typical postwar West German youth evolved into membership in an urban guerrilla life of bank robberies, shootouts, prison and torture. It reminds the reader that the capitalist state does not retreat when it feels threatened as the government in Bonn obviously did. The author describes her journey from a household with parents who supported the Nazis during World War Two to an isolation cell in one of West Germany’s more notorious prisons. She went from arguing with her parents about leaving home at eighteen to working in an alternative drug rehabilitation clinic where she met politically-minded people her age. It was through some of her fellow workers that she ended up letting members of the early RAF borrow her apartment on occasion. She describes her relatively apolitical understanding being replaced with a Marxist understanding of the world, her anger at what she discovered and her growing attraction to the option presented by groups like the RAF.

      • Truths That Must Be Urgently Propagated

        But it’s politically necessary for the Democrats and thus for the news staffs at CNN and MSNBC to embrace the powerful Black Lives Matter movement as well as the Sanders supporters. We are thus at a point where Biden observes that the progressives “hate” him because he doesn’t support socialism but AOC says Biden has “exceeded expectations” in his support for spending bills. Meanwhile Marxist professors increasingly appear on TV—surely progress.

        But whereas capitalism can now be discussed—usually, in a conversation about how to improve or perfect it—imperialism still cannot be, in polite company, in the public space. You can talk all the right talk on racial equality, as Biden (despite his history) now does. You can even be a passionate champion of equality in this country, and still believe in such concepts as American Exceptionalism, the Free World, the sacredness of “our alliances,” the existence of “national interests” that pit “us” against “our adversaries” including “bad actors” and “spoilers” like the Russians and Chinese. You can be a “Democratic progressive” and see Ukraine as a victim of Russian aggression. You might even be able to be a BLM activist and see some good in “pushing back” on China, especially if you’ve been convinced that the Chinese are committing genocide. Anti-racist consciousness is related to but doesn’t necessarily produce anti-imperialist consciousness.

      • Analysis Suggests Setting Aside Bipartisanship Can Help Democrats Win Elections
      • Was Billie Jean King in Every Sense the Athlete of the 20th Century?

        My argument then: that while Billie Jean, like all those worthies, not only dominated her sport, sold tickets, and crossed over into popular culture, she also went well beyond them in fighting successfully for gender equality and against that slavish system of control called amateurism. Meanwhile, she was representing and inspiring half the population of the world.

        That was then. Check the recent sports news, please, and grant me a recount. At 77, Billie Jean is still active in the progressive movement in sports. She still marches, speaks, and tweets, while her legacy remains a critical context for current stories like the one about a transgender reality TV star and former Olympic champion running for governor of California, the upset victory that delivered the Senate to the Democrats, and an impending Supreme Court decision that might upend college sports as we know it (on all of which, more to come).

      • Sanders Warns Dems Could Lose Congress If They Get Mired in ‘Never-Ending’ Negotiations With GOP

        “The Democrats in Congress must move forward boldly, protecting the working families of our country and restoring faith in government. Yes, the future of the country is at stake.”

      • The GOP Can’t Be Saved—and Neither Can Paul Ryan

        I am sick of letting Republicans mangle the narrative of how their party became a clear and present danger to American democracy. I am tired of the media lauding the few Republicans (or “former” Republicans) who belatedly speak out against the Trumpist cult of bigotry and lies that they themselves helped construct. Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, John Boehner—these people are not iconoclasts; they’re complicit. Long before Donald Trump, they greedily made a deal with the devil and are now miffed that the bill has come due. Republicans who speak out against the threat that other Republicans pose to democracy are just dog-whistle salesmen trying to claw back market share from the ascendant bullhorn industry.

      • Necropolis Now: The U.S. Assault on Iraqi Healthcare

        But Iraqi healthcare wasn’t always broken. The WHO once called its facilities “first-class.” In the 1980s, according to the UN, Iraq was “fast approaching [social development] standards comparable to those of developed countries.” Its system was the “jewel of the Arab World.”

        Then Washington attacked. Operation Desert Storm killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, wrecking “bridges, roads, power and water stations.” When it ended, the UN’s Martti Ahtisaari led a mission to Baghdad. Its members were “fully conversant with media reports regarding the situation in Iraq.” But they soon realized “nothing that [they] had seen or read had quite prepared [them] for the particular form of devastation”—“near-apocalyptic”—Washington had visited. The bombing condemned Iraq “to a pre-industrial age,” and shattered the jewel.

      • College Athletes Often Go Hungry. Sanders and Murphy Want to Fix That.
      • Arizona Republicans Move to Strip Powers From Democratic Secretary of State
      • Sanders Warns That Dragging Out Talks With GOP Could Lose Congress for Dems
      • Fact Check: Yes, Fact Checking Is Totally Protected By The 1st Amendment

        The dumb takes on social media efforts to deal with problematic content keep getting dumber. Supposedly “conservative” commentator David Marcus has now written an opinion piece for Fox somehow arguing that fact checkers used on social media sites should be regulated. He’s not the first to suggest this — we just recently wrote about a Michigan legislator who was pushing an unconstitutional bill to regulate the fact checkers, but that this is the hill supposedly “conservatives” want to die on, seems particularly stupid.

      • Newly Released Records Show How Trump Tried to Retaliate Against Social Media For Fact-Checking

        To mark this ignoble anniversary, EFF and the Center for Democracy & Technology are making records from their Freedom of Information Act lawsuit over the Executive Order public. The records show how Trump planned to leverage more than $117 million worth of government online advertising to stop platforms from fact-checking or otherwise moderating his speech.

        Although the documents released thus far do not disclose whether government officials cut federal advertising as the Executive Order directed, they do show that the agencies’ massive online advertising budgets could easily be manipulated to coerce private platforms into adopting the president or the government’s preferred political views.

        President Trump’s Executive Order was as unconstitutional as it was far-reaching. It directed independent agencies like the FCC to start a rulemaking to undermine legal protections for users’ speech online. It also ordered the Department of Justice to review online advertising spending by all federal agencies to consider whether certain platforms receiving that money were “problematic vehicles for government speech.”

      • Why Are Israeli Defense Forces Soldiers Posting Thirst Traps on TikTok?

        It’s not clear what the IDF’s official stance on such content is: though the military ostensibly has guidelines restricting “unbecoming online content,” Deri herself has been featured on the official IDF TikTok page, and her page is still active. (The IDF did not respond to a request for comment.) But it’s fair to say that IDF soldier thirst traps are part and parcel with the official IDF’s general strategy to use social media to win hearts and minds across the globe.

      • Facebook to resume political donations, but not for GOP who voted against certifying election

        Facebook will resume its political donations after more than a four-month pause but will keep the ban in place for members of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the election in the wake of the insurrection at the Capitol, according to a Facebook spokesperson.

        Facebook’s public policy director, Brian Rice, told employees in an internal message Thursday that it has decided to resume most political contributions.

      • Russian [crackers] seized email system used by State Department aid agency, human rights groups

        Tom Burt, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of customer security and trust, disclosed in a blog post on Thursday that the Russian group Nobelium targeted about 3,000 email accounts from 150 different organizations in at least 24 countries. The United States received the largest share of the attacks.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Time Warner Cable Doesn’t Want Anyone To See Critical Parody (2013)

        Summary: In 2013, two comedians named Jason Selvig and Davram Stiefler, who performed as “The Good Liars,” got some attention for mocking a particular popular target of mockery: poor service from your broadband provider. For Selvig and Stiefler, their target was Time Warner Cable. In late March of that year, they released a video on YouTube in which they pretended to be Time Warner Cable employees interviewing people on the street about how TWC could make its service even worse.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • An American Sports Icon’s Legacy of LGBTQ Rights

        In the late 1990s, I could always draw dismissive snickers at ESPN production meetings—I was a commentator there at the time—when I lobbied for tennis champion Billie Jean King to be named that network’s number-one athlete of the 20th century. In those days, even women sports wonks would roll their eyes and keep plugging for the likes of Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, or Muhammad Ali.

      • How to End the U.S. Prison State Quick and Easy

        I’m well aware that many of you are already yelling, “But what about murderers and rapists?!” We’ll get to them in a minute. Keep your pantaloons fastened. Besides, “What about murderers and rapists?!” is a really abnormal thing to yell at something you’re reading. Come to think of it, maybe you’re not fit for society. Maybe we should lock you up.

        First, out of our 2.3 million-person prison population, let’s talk about those not yet convicted.

      • The City of Cambridge Just Had Its Charlottesville Moment

        “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides”

        Trump only dug the hole deeper when he explicitly condemned the KKK and neo-Nazis, but then added:

      • Opinion | White Republicans Are Less Supportive of Black Lives Matter After Consuming Right-Wing Media

        The attacks on BLM were not limited to Carlson; they went wall-to-wall at Fox.

      • Proud Boy
      • ‘Roe Has Never Been Enough, and We Still Need It’

        Janine Jackson interviewed URGE’s Preston Mitchum about reproductive justice and Roe for the May 21, 2021, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • Against Apartheid Pedagogy in the Age of White Supremacy

        In the current era of white supremacy, the most obvious version of apartheid pedagogy, is present in attempts by Republican Party politicians to rewrite the narrative regarding who counts as an American. This whitening of collective identity is largely reproduced by right-wing attacks on diversity and race sensitivity training, critical race programs in government, and social justice and racial issues in the schools. These bogus assaults are all too familiar and include widespread and coordinated ideological and pedagogical attacks against both historical memory and critical forms of education.

        The fight to censor critical, truth telling versions of American history and the current persistence of systemic racism is part of a larger conservative project to prevent teachers, students, journalists, and others from speaking openly about crucial social issues that undermine a viable democracy. Such attacks are increasingly waged by conservative foundations, anti-public intellectuals, politicians, and media outlets. These include right-wing think tanks such as Heritage Foundation and Manhattan Institute, conservative scholars such as Thomas Sowell, right-wing politicians such as Mitch McConnell, and far-right media outlets such as City Journal, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, and Fox News. The threat of teaching children about the history and systemic nature of racism appears particularly dangerous to Fox News, which since June 5, 2020 has posited “critical race theory” as a threat in over 150 different broadcasts.[1] What is shared by all of these individuals and cultural apparatuses is the claim that critical race theory and other “anti-racist” programs constitute forms of indoctrination that threatens to undermine the alleged foundations of Western Civilization.

      • Fighting On

        Just to let you know that, after a week of feeling horribly ill, I am now pretty well recovered and ready for the challenges ahead. I will get the MRI scan results next week, but not particularly apprehensive.

      • Women Vote More Than Men, So Should They Be the New Default Group?

        Junn has co-authored a paper suggesting that voting behavior analysis that interprets the results for women as a deviation from the patterns set by men is outdated and obscures true voter preference.

        When it comes to voter analysis, the default group is traditionally the largest voting group. And even though women outvote men—and have done so since the 1960s—white male voters continue to be the norm against which all other voting groups are compared.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Starlink Reviews Show The Limitations Of Musk’s Broadband Play

        So we’ve already noted several times that while Elon Musk’s Starlink internet broadband service will be a great thing for folks certainly out of the range of existing broadband options, it’s not going to be the massive disruption many people assume. For one thing, the service is only going to serve around 800,000 subscribers in a country where up to 42 million Americans lack broadband access and another 83 million consumers live under a broadband monopoly. So even at the high-end, extremely optimistic, longer term goal of 6 million total Starlink subscribers, we’re talking about a small dent in a very big problem.

      • This is Who the Canadian Government Wants to Regulate the Internet

        As Maya Angelou said, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

      • FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Funds Ineligible for School and Library Self-Provisioned Networks

        The one exception in which schools and libraries can use Connectivity Funds to build self-provisioned networks is in “areas where no service is available for purchase,” based on data self-reported by private ISPs.

        The Report and Order indicates the agency was not convinced allowing schools and libraries to build their own networks with the funds would be consistent with the goals Congress intended for the program, as the language in the Rescue Plan states that the Connectivity Fund is limited to the purchase of eligible equipment or advanced telecommunications and information services, as defined here.

        What’s striking about that FCC interpretation is that it is completely at odds with what the Biden Administration has been espousing in the American Jobs Plan: that building publicly-owned community networks and investing in future-proof infrastructure are a crucial part of closing the digital divide. This FCC decision is a recipe for cutting students off from broadband Internet access as soon as Congressional appropriations run out rather than using those funds for solutions that will operate sustainably into the future.


        Instead, the Connectivity Fund is now set to give limited remote learning funds to the same corporate ISPs that gave rise to the homework gap in the first place. The program gives a strong preference to funding hotspots provided by existing wireless mobile service providers, mainly AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. (In fact, AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink all lobbied the agency to disqualify [pdf] self-provisioning from being eligible for ECF support.)

      • Freenode Hijacks 700 Rooms Promoting LiberaChat

        I wasn’t planning to talk about the Freenode drama until the recent bannings happened, the remaining Freenode team decided that it would be a good idea to start hijacking channels promoting LiberaChat and destroy any last sense of credibility they had.

    • Monopolies

      • Patent injunction reform may not happen in Germany as Federal Parliament nears end of legislative term: only two more plenary weeks left

        I’ve been skeptical of the German patent injunction reform effort for quite some time. There was a silver lining last September, but it lasted only a few weeks. The first plenary debate in the Bundestag (Federal Parliament) was a sweeping victory for those opposing reform, and a parliamentary hearing confirmed that pro-reform lobbying efforts had failed miserably.

        The pro-reform camp didn’t even do its homework. German automotive companies and their allies thought they could persuade politicians with anecdotal evidence, such as the Broadcom v. Audi dispute. If you have only one case like that to show, politicians won’t be persuaded, as it could be an outlier and in a single case all sorts of things can happen, including mistakes by parties, counsel, or judges. I find that story representative of the problem and symptomatic of the injunction (and injunction gap) problem in Germany, but how could the actual decision-makers reach that conclusion? I’ve attended hundreds of patent trials and hearings over the last 10 years, so I know what happens, and I also know how one could produce hard evidence–and numbers as opposed to anecdotes. The pro-reform forces don’t. They also failed to build the kind of support from academics that would have borne weight with political decision-makers.

        It would have taken professional, competent, and strategically clever efforts to be in a position to win. And it would have taken a budget about ten to twenty times larger than what those pro-reform companies and organizations had available between all of them. They brought butter knives to a gunfight (a quote from a document that surfaced in the recent Epic Games v. Apple trial). At least one Big Tech company (that wasn’t as controversial when the process started as it is by now) approached German policy makers and legislators directly instead of figuring out a way to mobilize more German companies and contribute funding and expertise to their efforts.


        It’s unpredictable right now what particular multi-party coalition will be in power in Germany after the September elections. Polls are volatile. With every single party from the far right to the far left opposing meaningful injunction reform, it won’t be easier. But the reason it went wrong during this legislative term (which is already certain as the only thing that won’t happen in June is a reform that actually moves the needle) is simply that those who wanted reform were C-L-U-E-L-E-S-S, but thought they knew how to win. Actually, I suspect one or more of them even wanted to sabotage the effort, but it’s easy for the saboteurs to fool the amateurs.

      • Africa-Europe Science and Innovation Summit -14th to 18th June 2021 [Ed: Neo-colonialism: pushing patents and other monopolies using the misleading Trojan horses, "science" and "innovation" (to cause self-harm to Africa]
      • Patents

        • Requesting Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) In The EPO Or UK IPO [Ed: When patent systems become so crooked, due to lobbying if not vendor capture, that they prioritise litigation over innovation, favouring monopolistic cartels instead of actual scientists]

          The aim of the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is to provide a way for applicants to use positive examination results from one patent office to streamline prosecution in a second patent office. An evolving network of different PPH agreements exists between various patent offices, including most major patent offices.

          For both the European Patent Office (EPO) and the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) requesting PPH results in acceleration of examination and does not guarantee allowance.

        • No Contribution To The Invention, No Utility Model Protection

          The Utility Model protection has been available for some 25 years in the Turkish practice. With the exclusion of inventions based on methods/processes and chemical/biological substances, the Utility Model protection may still be an attractive option for those having a technical solution being somehow obvious over the available prior art.

          With effect from the enactment of the Turkish Industrial Property Law, January 2017, the Lawmaker introduced two substantial requirements, which were not available in the abolished legislation, being the mandatory novelty Search proceedings and the claim content. In particular, features not contributing to the invention are not taken into consideration for the assessment of novelty.

        • India: Can Pre-Grant Opposition Be Filed While The Decision Of The Controller Is On Appeal Before The IPAB?

          The Bombay High Court addressed the question of whether the pre-grant representation could be filed while the decision of the Controller of Patents to reject a patent application is on appeal before the IPAB.


          Meanwhile, the European Opposition Division order was issued on October 27, 2014 which declared that claim compound was novel and invented.

          The IPAB passed an order directing the Indian patent office to consider the matter afresh. The Controller held that the invention was not patentable and rejected the Application on September 3rd 2015.

          However, the appeal was pending before the IPAB. IPAB took up the appeal on August 10, 2018 and order was reserved for giving reasons on merits and stated that the hearing was concluded on August 10, 2018, and it was fixed for pronouncing the reasons on 21st August 2018.

          On 18 August 2020, the Petitioner filed pre-grant opposition. Pfizer Products Inc replied that the application was not maintainable on the same day.

        • Webinar Materials – How Times Have Changed: Adaptations in NPE Litigations

          For over two decades, a substantial portion of US patent litigation involves non-practicing entities. Changes in the law and practice regarding NPE litigation during this time has led to developing strategies for litigants on both sides. This webinar explores those trends as well as how current practices should evolve in view of the shifts in the law and in the types of entities asserting patents today.

        • No Escape from the Western District of Texas [Ed: We should all be thankful to Texas for showing what a farce the US patent system has become, including the courts (when Texan judges refuse to obey the law)]

          We’ve discussed in this space a few times the remarkable lengths Judge Alan Albright has gone to to attract patent cases to his Waco, Texas courtroom. Judge Albright’s efforts have succeeded in large part because his court, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, assigns cases to judges in a way that allows plaintiffs to know, with absolute certainty, that their case will be assigned to Judge Albright and not one of the fifteen other judges in the district.

          Judge Albright’s been back in the news the past couple weeks because he’s granted two motions to transfer cases out of the Western District of Texas—something he’s rarely done in his two-plus years on the bench.

          But, at the same time, Judge Albright has been drawing a roadmap for patentees who want to make sure their cases aren’t transferred away from Waco in the future.

          The relevant cases all have the same basic facts: the patentee, a North Carolina LLC called Ikorongo Technology, created a Texas LLC and assigned the Texas LLC the right to several patents only in certain counties in Texas, including counties in the Western District. The LLCs jointly filed infringement suits in Waco against Samsung, LG, Lyft, Uber, and Bumble. Each defendant filed a motion to transfer to the Northern District of California.

        • Making Vaccines More Accessible

          I was surprised when a few people told me they weren’t vaccinated. They wanted to get vaccinated, and planned to, but they couldn’t afford to risk feeling sick from side effects for two days while they had to work.

          It’s sad and ironic that the very people who most need vaccines because of their jobs can’t get them because they can’t take time off work.

        • Software Patents

          • Another PacSec3 patent challenged

            On May 25, 2021, Unified Patents filed an ex parte reexamination against U.S. Patent 6,789,190, owned by PacSec3, an NPE. PacSec3 was formed in 2020 with NACAR IP LLC as its managing member. NACAR IP was also formed in early 2020 with Dynamic IP Deals, LLC (d/b/a DynaIP), a patent monetization company, identified as its managing member. The ‘190 patent has been asserted against F5 Networks, NetScout Systems, Palo Alto Networks, McAfee, Cisco, and Juniper Networks.

          • BioWorld MedTech Patent Highlights: Week 20 [Ed: The term MedTech is just a sneaky buzzword to sell illegal software patents]
      • Copyrights

        • Twitch warns streamers another wave of copyright strikes is coming

          Twitch has received a “batch” of new takedown notices from music publishers over copyrighted songs in recorded streams (known as VODs), the company said in an email to streamers today. The notice may be worrying for some streamers who were affected by the waves of takedowns that hit last year, because if a user gets three copyright strikes on their channel, they will be permanently banned from the platform, according to Twitch’s policies. With this advance warning, it seems Twitch is trying to get ahead of a sudden flurry of takedowns and give streamers some time to remove potentially offending VODs.

        • Unofficial Amiibo Guidebook Will Be Released With Changes To Appease Nintendo

          Just a couple of weeks ago, we discussed a Kickstarter project for an unofficial guidebook to Nintendo’s Amiibo product line. While no regular Techdirt reader could have possibly have been surprised that Nintendo issued threats and a DMCA on the project, it was a bit odd for two main reasons. First, Nintendo’s main gripe appeared to be the use of some of the corporate iconography and other “design marks” proposed for use in the publication, rather than any wholesale copyright or trademark claim to literally everything in the book. Nuance of that kind is not the norm for the notably litigious and protective Nintendo. Second, this whole fight looked to be something of Nintendo shooting itself in the foot, as the project is essentially one giant advertisement for Amiibo products. Why in the world, we wondered at the time, would Nintendo not want such a book to be released to the public?

        • Triller Files Three New Lawsuits Against Jake Paul Boxing Match Pirates

          Triller’s legal campaign against entities that allegedly streamed the Jake Paul boxing match is on the move again after three new lawsuits were filed in a California court on Thursday. The suits target several companies and individuals behind a Canada-based streaming platform, a YouTuber, and the alleged operator of an online streaming portal.

        • ISPs Must Unblock Stream-Ripping Sites After Yout.com Intervenes in Brazil

          Last fall, Brazilian ISPs began blocking several popular stream-ripping sites. Most simply took their losses and moved on, but Yout.com hired legal experts to find out more. As it turned out, the temporary blocking measure was part of a criminal investigation. Yout’s lawyers intervened and, since there’s no official indictment, the Criminal Court has now ordered that the blockades to be lifted.

IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 28, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:43 am by Needs Sunlight

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