09.12.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 12/9/2021: Final Merges in Linux 5.15, GNOME 3 Compared to MacOs

Posted in News Roundup at 8:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • RISC-V Gets Expanded Stack Randomization With Linux 5.15

        In addition to the RISC-V changes merged last week for the Linux 5.15 kernel, a second batch of patches was merged this weekend.

        Notable with this secondary round of RISC-V updates for Linux 5.15 is expanding the address space for the stack randomization.

      • It’s Looking Like Folios / Pagesets Might Miss Making It Into Linux 5.15 – Phoronix

        We are now down to the last day of the Linux 5.15 merge window and one of the patch series we have been waiting to see if it would land during this two week period was the “folios” code — or that also was recently renamed to “pagesets” to address some concerns over the name.

        Folios is the months-long effort working to improve Linux memory management and for some workloads can translate into performance advantages given the current overhead when managing memory in 4KiB pages.

      • Linux Preparing To Slightly Loosen Its Spectre Defaults – Phoronix

        A change first proposed last year to the Linux kernel’s Spectre mitigation defaults looks like it will soon be sent in for the mainline kernel.

        The change is in regards to the default mitigation value for Spectre V2 for user-space tasks and Spectre V4 / Speculative Store Bypass. For the kernel options of “spec_store_bypass_disable” and “spectre_v2_user”, the current default is the “seccomp” mode. With that default behavior the mitigations are only applied when opted into per-thread via the PRCTL interface (or otherwise a process inherits the mitigation when forked) or is enabled by default for all SECCOMP threads.

    • Benchmarks

      • Latest Ubuntu 21.10 blows the wind out of Windows 10 / 11 in certain performance tests

        Microsoft’s next-gen Windows 11 OS is set to release publicly on the 5th of October which is about a week earlier than the release date for Ubuntu 21.10 (codenamed “Impish Indri”), the latter being on October 14. As a result, folks over at Phoronix were curious and wondered what the performances differences might be like between the two upcoming operating systems.

        According to the benchmark results obtained in the comparison across several workstation applications, it seems Ubuntu 21.10 is quite a bit ahead by around 50%, or much more, in some of the tests especially those that involve more dependency on the CPU, indicating that the OS is probably better at utilizing the available CPU resources than Windows. GPU-based applications however have generally tended to favor Microsoft’s OS, however, the performance gaps aren’t as big in Windows’ favor.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Set or Change Timezone on Debian 11 – LinuxCapable

        For operating systems having the correct time zone is required for system tasks and processes and down to the minor parts such as logs by your applications. Having incorrect information can impact systems when setting up automatic jobs such as cron jobs that rely on the system’s timezone to execute.

        In the following tutorial, you will know how to configure Timezone on Debian 11 Bullseye.

      • How to Install Vivaldi Browser on Ubuntu 20.04 – LinuxCapable

        Vivaldi is a freeware, cross-platform web browser developed by Vivaldi Technologies. It had grown from the downfall of Opera with many disgruntled when it changed from the Presto layout engine to a Chromium-based browser, the platform that angered traditional Opera users. Since then, Vivaldi has become one of the most popular alternative Internet Browsers amongst the big three Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.

        Vivaldi promotes itself as a leading browser with faster navigation, clever bookmarking, smarter browsing, extensive tab management, and a more visual approach than its competitors.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Vivaldi Browser on Ubuntu 20.04.

      • Manually install a GNOME theme – PragmaticLinux

        Out-of-the-box the GNOME desktop environment might strike you as minimalistic. Don’t be fooled though, because that is by design. The idea is that you extend the functionality of the GNOME desktop though extensions to make it fit your preferred work flow. Furthermore, you can tweak the look-and-feel by installing different GNOME themes. This article focuses on the latter part. You’ll learn where you can download themes and how to manually install a GNOME icon, cursor, GTK and Shell theme.

      • How To Install Microsoft Teams on AlmaLinux 8 – idroot [Ed: Bad idea because it is spyware, but some employers compel people to install this malicious thing]

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Microsoft Teams on AlmaLinux 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Microsoft Teams is a proprietary software build to power business communications. It is developed by Microsoft Corporation as part of the Microsoft 365 products family. Microsoft Teams supports functions such as online meetings, group chats, video and web conferences, and phone calls. It is also possible to use whiteboards with Microsoft Whiteboard or InVision’s FreeHand.

        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 the step-by-step installation of the Microsoft Teams on AlmaLinux 8. You can follow the same instructions for installation for CentOS and Rocky Linux.

      • How to Install Anaconda on Fedora 34/33 – TecAdmin

        Anaconda is an distribution which help us with the package management and deployments. It is written on Python and R programming language by data scientists, for data scientists. It includes the packages related to data-science for various platforms like Linux, Windows and macOS.

        You can use the conda binary for the package management with your Python applications. Which will provide you a better environment for faster development.

        In this step by step tutorial, we will help you to install Anaconda on your Fedora Linux system.

      • How to Check if String Contains a Substring in Bash

        So, you have a long string and you want to check of this string contains a substring in your bash script.

        There are more than one way to check for substrings in bash shell. I’ll show some simple examples first, followed by a cool bash script that uses this concept in a real-world scenario.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Gnome 3 compare to MacOs

          An assertion I have made in the past is that to me “Gnome 3 feels like MacOs with rough edges”. After some discussions with others, I’m finally going to write this up with examples.

          It’s worth pointing out that in my opinion, Gnome 3 is probably still the best desktop experience on Linux today for a variety of reasons – it’s just that for me, these rough edges really take away from that being a good experience for me.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Some things to reduce background bandwidth usage on a Fedora machine

          Suppose, not entirely hypothetically, that you have a Fedora laptop and you want it to use minimal bandwidth for things that you don’t specifically do. Unfortunately there are only a few things that I know of to do, and I’m not sure they’re comprehensive. Most of my information comes from this old r/Fedora post.

        • First POWER10 Machine Announced

          IBM turns up the volume to 10 (and their server numbers to four digits) with the Power E1080 server, the launch system for POWER10. POWER10 is a 7nm chip fabbed by Samsung with up to 15 SMT-8 cores (a 16th core is disabled for yield) for up to 120 threads per chip. IBM bills POWER10 as having 2.5 times more performance per core than Intel Xeon Platinum (based on an HPE Superdome system running Xeon Platinum 8380H parts), 2.5 times the AES crypto performance per core of POWER9 (no doubt due to quadruple the crypto engines present), five times “AI inferencing per socket” (whatever that means) over Power E980 via the POWER10′s matrix math and AI accelerators, and 33% less power usage than the E980 for the same workload. AIX, Linux and IBM i are all supported.

      • Debian Family

        • Fscrypt broken in user spot

          It turns out that there is a fundamental problem in EasyOS. If a person entered a password at the very first bootup, Easy creates encrypted folders in the ext4 working-partition. So, if anyone steals your usb-stick or hard drive, they won’t be able to access the files in those folders.

          The encryption mechanism works on a per-folder basis, and the init script in the initrd will unlock those folders when the correct password is entered at bootup. It works great, however, falls apart if login as a non-root user…

          I have a utility, ‘keyctl’, from the ‘keyutils’ package. I have today compiled that in OE and added it to the package list, so it will be in future releases of EasyOS. It is for managing the kernel keys. I know hardly anything about this topic, but let’s explore…

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • What I miss about open source conferences | Opensource.com

        A typical work year would involve my attending maybe six to eight conferences in person and speaking at quite a few of them. A few years ago, I stopped raiding random booths at the exhibitions usually associated with these for t-shirts for the simple reason that I had too many of them. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t accept one here or there if it was particularly nice, or an open source project which I esteemed particularly, for instance. Or ones which I thought my kids would like—they’re not “cool” but are at least useful for sleepwear, apparently. I also picked up a lot of pens and enough notebooks to keep me going for a while.

        And then, at the beginning of 2020, the pandemic hit, I left San Francisco, where I’d been attending meetings co-located with RSA North America (my employer at the time made the somewhat prescient decision not to allow us to go to the main conference), and I’ve not attended any in-person conferences since.

        There are some good things about this, the most obvious being less travel, though, of late, my family has been dropping an increasing number of not-so-subtle hints about how it would be good if I let them alone for a few days so they can eat food I don’t like (pizza and macaroni cheese, mainly) and watch films that I don’t enjoy (largely, but not exclusively, romcoms on Disney+). The downsides are manifold. Having to buy my own t-shirts and notebooks, obviously, though it turns out that I’d squirreled away enough pens for the duration. It also turned out that the move to USB-C connectors hadn’t sufficiently hit the conference swag industry by the end of 2019 for me to have enough of those to keep me going, so I’ve had to purchase some of those. That’s the silly, minor stuff, though—what about areas where there’s real impact?

      • Apache Software Foundation Saw $3M In Revenue, ~134M Changed Lines Of Code Last Year

        The Apache Software Foundation recently published their FY2021 report for their year-ended 30 April. Even with the ongoing pandemic, the Apache Software Foundation managed to raise more than $3M USD and enjoyed a host of software successes.

        On the coding front, the Apache Software Foundation during FY2021 saw 258k commits to its hosted projects that changed 134M lines of code by 3,058 committers. The ASF is up to having 200 project management committees and 351 Apache projects in total. There were 14 projects last year that graduated from the Apache Incubator status.

      • Open-source software starts with developers, but there are other important contributors, too. Who exactly? Good question

        Is Linus Torvalds important to open-source software? Of course. Guido van Rossum, who created the popular programming language Python? Sure! Michael “Monty” Widenius of MySQL fame? Certainly. OK, what about Robert Love? Eben Moglen? Or Jono Bacon?

        Who? Exactly. They latter three are, in order: the author of Linux in a Nutshell, arguably the most important Linux book; the leading open-source GPL attorney; and perhaps the top open-source community guru. Would open-source software exist without them? Yes. But, would it look the same? No. No it wouldn’t.

        We’ve always known that open source is more than its developers. Open source is also the people who document it, popularise it, organise the communities that support it and, yes, lead the companies that monetise it.

        But, how do you measure their value? That’s a good question without an obvious good answer.

        For programmers, it’s relatively easy. Once you get rid of the insane idea that programming productivity could be measured by lines of code (LoC) per day, like so many factory workers making widgets, you can come up with reasonable metrics.

      • Storaji: An Open-Source Simple inventory management application

        There are many features that you will get from using open-source inventory and warehouse management projects on your company.

        Using an open-source project such as Storaji allows you to easily modify a work, integrate the work into a larger project or drive a new work based on the original and more.

        Storaji is an open source responsive inventory management system with the aim to help small-to-medium companies. This tool is simple tool that manage product inventory, orders, and more.

        The best thing here is that Storaji doesn’t charge any fee. It built with the trendiest web technologies and becoming.

        [...]

        The System required NodeJS 8, PHP 7, PHP Composer. It is licensed under MIT license.

      • Web Browsers

        • visurf, a web browser based on NetSurf

          I’ve started a new side project that I would like to share with you: visurf. visurf, or nsvi, is a NetSurf frontend which provides vi-inspired key bindings and a lightweight Wayland UI with few dependencies. It’s still a work-in-progress, and is not ready for general use yet. I’m letting you know about it today in case you find it interesting and want to help.

          NetSurf is a project which has been on my radar for some time. It is a small web browser engine, developed in C independently of the lineage of WebKit and Gecko which defines the modern web today. It mostly supports HTML4 and CSS2, plus only a small amount of HTML5 and CSS3. Its JavaScript support, while present, is very limited. Given the epidemic of complexity in the modern web, I am pleased by the idea of a small browser, more limited in scope, which perhaps requires the cooperation of like-minded websites to support a pleasant experience.

      • Programming/Development

        • Perl/Raku

          • Russ Allbery: Pod::Thread 3.00

            This Perl module converts POD documents to thread, the macro language I use for my static site builder (about which, more in another software release coming up shortly). This release fixes a whole ton of long-standing problems.

  • Leftovers

    • Hardware

      • Save That Old VGA Monitor From The Trash

        It’s quite a while since any of us unpacked a brand new VGA monitor, but since so many machines still have the ability to drive them even through an inexpensive adaptor they’re still something that finds a use. With so many old VGA flat panel monitors being tossed away they even come at the low low price of free, which can’t be argued with. CNXSoft’s [Jean-Luc Aufranc] was tasked with fixing a dead one, and wrote an account of his progress.

    • Integrity/Availability

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Were the notorious ‘Dancing Israelis’ 9/11 plotters, spies, or just common scam artists?
      • Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

        Check out all installments in the OppArt series.

      • Opinion | From Our Post-9/11 Archives: “The Algebra of Infinite Justice”

        A CD editorial note: The following article, first published on September 29, 2001 and part of our “Post-9/11 Archive,” was among the most-read articles featured on Common Dreams in the immediate wake of the attacks that took place in New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001. As the world reflects on those events that took place 20 years ago, we’re re-posting a selection from the archive to acknowledge and celebrate the salient and prescient voices from that time.

      • Opinion | One 9/11 First Responder Reflects: Life is Duty

        Today we look back and remember together and in solitude the day we watched the Twin Towers fall. It seems impossible 20 years have passed, and it seems impossible that the 9/11 first responders we held in our hearts with reverence would now feel disrespected and unheard.  We prop them up as heroes then dismiss them as zeroes—we all recall the old phrase, “hero to zero,” and it has perhaps never been so true as it is on this twentieth anniversary of 9/11 

      • Day of the Planes: A 9/11 excerpt from ‘The Management of Savagery’
      • Twenty Years After 9/11, ‘The Only Way to Effectively Counter Terror Is to End War’

        As the United States on Saturday commemorates the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks with plenty of patriotic zeal but perhaps too little introspection, peace advocates have marked the occasion by reflecting on the costs and bloody consequences of the so-called “Global War on Terror” as they reaffirmed that the best safeguard against further terrorism—as many warned at the time—is ending war and respecting human rights.

        “The U.S. response to 9/11 was corrupted by a toxic soup of revenge, imperialist ambitions, war profiteering, systematic brainwashing, and sheer stupidity.”—Medea Benjamin, CodePink

      • Opinion | From Our Post-9/11 Archive: ‘Stop the Insanity Here’

        A CD editorial note: The following article, first published on September 12, 2001 and part of our “Post-9/11 Archive,” was among the most-read articles featured on Common Dreams in the immediate wake of the attacks that took place in New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001. As the world reflects on those events that took place 20 years ago, we’re re-posting a selection from the archive to acknowledge and celebrate the salient and prescient voices from that time. The author has composed a brief update to the piece to mark the 20th anniversary.

      • Opinion | From 9/11 to Covid, Social Security Is There for Us in Times of Crisis

        The twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack comes at a dangerous time.  COVID-19 is killing an average of 1,500 Americans daily—essentially, a 9/11 attack every other day. What we used to call once-in-a-century disasters confront us nonstop and even simultaneously, killing thousands of us with unfortunate frequency.

      • US Spent $21 Trillion on War and Militarization Since 9/11
      • Organizers of Jan. 6 Rally Are Promoting Doctors Who Push Fake COVID Cures
      • Opinion | Many Americans Refused to Consider Why 9/11 Happened. The Costs Were Enormous.

        On September 11, I was woken in my California home with an urgent call from Martha Honey, then-director of Foreign Policy In Focus, telling me to turn on my television to view the burning towers.

      • The Right Wing “Never Forgot” 9/11 Because It Never Remembered It Correctly
      • What We Do With Tragic Anniversaries

        Some of us are old enough to remember exactly where we were when we heard, many years before, that JFK had been shot and killed. 

      • September 11’s Never-Ending Story

        “Outrage is the natural and appropriate response to the mass murder of September 11. But media should not be glibly encouraging retaliatory violence without remembering that US retaliation has killed innocent civilians abroad, violated international law and done little to make us safer.”

      • Opinion | Evil Spawns Evil: The US Routinely Sends Incendiary Messages

        I was in Times Square in New York City shortly after the second plane banked and plowed into the South Tower. The crowd looking up at the Jumbotron gasped in dismay at the billowing black smoke and the fireball that erupted from the tower. There was no question now that the two attacks on the twin towers were acts of terrorism. The earlier supposition, that perhaps the pilot had a heart attack or lost control of the plane when it struck the North Tower seventeen minutes earlier, vanished with the second attack. The city fell into a collective state of shock. Fear palpitated throughout the streets. Would they strike again? Where? Was my family safe? Should I go to work? Should I go home? What did it mean? Who would do this? Why?

      • Opinion | 9/11 at 20: Our Moral Obligation After Two Decades of War

        The day after President Biden’s speech defending the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, a new poll indicated a significant majority of people in the U.S. supported the move. More than two-thirds agreed the U.S. had failed to achieve its goals in Afghanistan. That’s a far cry from the 88 percent who supported the war when it was launched in October 2001. 

      • Opinion | Post-9/11 “Nation-Building” in Afghanistan and Iraq Was Nothing But Destruction

        In one of his interviews before the Taliban retook Afghanistan, John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, blamed the American failure in Afghanistan on a change in Washington’s mission from anti-terrorism to “nation building.” In his view, Washington should just have held strategic sites in the country to keep terrorists off balance and not engaged in an ambitious reconstruction of Afghan society.

      • 20 Years After 9/11, Republicans Are the Greatest Threat to the United States
      • ‘The Other 9/11′: Progressives Remember Allende’s Chile

        As people reflect on the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, progressives drew attention to another horrifying event less well-known in the U.S. but referred to elsewhere as “the other 9/11″: the bombing of Chile’s presidential palace on September 11, 1973 by the nation’s armed forces during a right-wing coup supported by Washington and other capitalist regimes.

        Salvador Allende, Chile’s democratically elected socialist president, died during the assault on La Moneda in Santiago, which brought to power Gen. Augusto Pinochet, whose brutal military junta imposed neoliberalism through deadly force, torture, and the “disappearance” of thousands of leftists. Despite its awareness of Pinochet’s human rights abuses, including his execution of political opponents, the U.S. continued to support the pro-market dictator during his bloody, 17-year-long reign.

      • Opinion | The Innocent Victims of America’s War on Terror Deserve Remembrance Too

        Few who offer their prayers this September in the hallowed plaza where the Twin Towers once stood will be aware that the September 11 memorial echoes a 1987 Holocaust “counter-memorial” in Kassel, Germany.

      • We Owe Reparations to the Victims of Our Forever Wars
      • EDF commander: We can’t rule out eventuality of Russian military attack

        “Russia’s goal likely isn’t to occupy us – it does not want to gain control through occupation, but it enjoys instability and influence via instability,” Lt. Gen. Herem continued.

        “[It] is not necessary to occupy Tallinn to do so. For this, a short-term, limited invasion could be made with military forces supported before, after and at the same time with other elements of hybrid warfare,” he went on, adding the scenario could be similar to the long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine, or a shorter variant of that.

      • Investigations of US Drone Attack That Killed 10 Afghans Find No Evidence of Explosives in Vehicle

        The last known missile launched by the U.S. during its 20-year war in Afghanistan—the August 29 drone attack in a Kabul neighborhood that killed 10 civilians—was described by Gen. Mark Milley as a “righteous strike” that targeted a parked vehicle suspected of holding explosives, along with the driver and another man suspected of having militant ties.

        A pair of investigations published Friday, however, revealed that—contrary to the Pentagon’s claims—there were no bombs in the car, the men accused of “suspicious” behavior were engaged in peaceful activities related to the driver’s job, and there were eight additional defenseless victims in the vicinity of the sedan destroyed by a missile fired after several hours of surveillance.

      • U.N. says Afghan staff increasingly harassed, intimidated since Taliban takeover

        Afghan staff of the United Nations are being increasingly subjected to harassment and intimidation since the Taliban came to power last month, the U.N. special envoy on Afghanistan Deborah Lyons said on Thursday.

        Lyons told the Security Council that U.N. premises had largely been respected, although there were some exceptions.

      • U.N. chief urges China, US to keep bilateral spats out of climate fight

        U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the United States and China on Friday to prevent any problems between the superpowers from harming cooperation to combat climate change ahead of the U.N. COP26 climate change conference next month.

        Ties between the world’s two biggest economies have been languishing at their lowest point in decades over issues ranging from human rights to transparency over the origins of COVID-19.

        “We understand that there are problems in the relations between the U.S. and China, but those problems do not interfere with the needs of both the U.S. and China to do everything possible to make sure that the COP is a success, independently of the relations between the two,” Guterres told reporters.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • FBI releases first Sept. 11 document following Biden executive order

        The FBI released its first document related to an investigation of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks Saturday night, less than 10 days after President Biden signed an executive order directing the Justice Department and related agencies to make some files public.

        The FBI released a heavily redacted report from April 2016 related to its investigation regarding the role that the Saudi Arabian government had in supporting the hijackers who carried out the terror attack.

    • Environment

      • The lost generation of ancient trees

        The way we manage forests has changed, explains Paul Rutter, woodland advisor for Plantlife and project officer at Ancients of the Future, a collaboration between conservation charities Buglife, Plantlife, and the Bat Conservation Trust. The intensification of agriculture has meant the removal of many hedgerows and trees that grow within them, as fields have been made larger. Traditional forest management practices have largely been replaced by plantation forestry and whole-tree extraction. Ancient trees are becoming smothered by overcrowded canopies, saplings, shrubs and brambles. Many have been felled for timber or urban development. Add to that an increase in tree diseases and the challenges of climate change. The result is that fewer trees are surviving – or being allowed to grow – into their old age.

        Which means that the race to old age is on. The Ancients of the Future has an unusual aim: to speed up the ageing process for some trees to ensure these habitats don’t disappear for good.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Facebook reportedly provided inaccurate data to misinformation researchers

        The Times reported that members of Facebook’s Open Research and Transparency team held a call with researchers on Friday to apologize for the error. Some of the researchers questioned whether the mistake was intentional to sabotage the research, or simply an instance of negligence.

        The flaw in the data was first discovered by a researcher at Italy’s University of Urbino, who compared a report Facebook released publicly in August to the data it had provided solely to the researchers. The data sets didn’t match up, according to the Times.

      • Facebook sent flawed data to misinformation researchers.

        More than three years ago, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook trumpeted a plan to share data with researchers about how people interacted with posts and links on the social network, so that the academics could study misinformation on the site. Researchers have used the data for the past two years for numerous studies examining the spread of false and misleading information.

        But the information shared by Facebook had a major flaw, according to internal emails and interviews with the researchers. The data included the interactions of only about half of Facebook’s U.S. users — the ones who engaged with political pages enough to make their political leanings clear — not all of them as the company had said. Facebook told the researchers that data about users outside of the United States, which has also been shared, did not appear to be inaccurate.

      • CBS’s ‘The Activist’ seems to think doomscrolling equals activism

        “It’s performative at best, and kinda makes light of the hard work a lot of grassroots organisations do on the ground, on a daily basis. Gross,” wrote Stephanie Yeboah, a writer and activist.

        It’s not just “The Activist”’s premise that’s hollow, but the solutions the show offers as well. The show measures “success” through “online engagement, social metrics, and hosts’ input” and, ultimately, the groups will head to Rome to attend the G20 Summit where they will meet with world leaders to secure funding for their causes. At its heart, “The Activist” buys into the liberal dream that simply raising awareness can enact radical change, a much easier task than approving laws or boycotting destructive companies. And when awareness itself doesn’t work, perhaps approaching Justin Trudeau as a venture capitalist for justice may do the trick.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • How Hollywood Sold Out to China

        Hers is a cautionary tale—and a common one these days. No matter their clout in Hollywood, filmmakers and actors have always been subject to bosses who decide which movies get to soar at the box office and which are left to languish. Now, more than ever before, that boss is Beijing.

        In 2020, the Chinese film market officially surpassed North America’s as the world’s biggest box office, all but ensuring that Hollywood studios will continue to do everything possible for access to the country. This also means China will assert itself more aggressively to control Hollywood. The country, which already places a quota on the number of foreign films that can be screened every year, banned them for nearly two months this summer because of celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party’s founding.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • ‘Everything Changed Overnight’: Afghan Reporters Face an Intolerant Regime

        Afghanistan’s vibrant free press and media industry, once celebrated as a success story and labeled one of the country’s most important achievements of the past two decades, has abruptly been transformed after the Taliban takeover of the country. Now, its survival is threatened by physical assaults, self-censorship and a dwindling journalist population less than a month after the Taliban seized control of Kabul, the capital, and began enforcing their hard-line Islamist policies.

      • Why is Biden Prosecuting Assange for Telling the Truth about Afghanistan?

        As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, in the midst of a wrenching reassessment of our endless wars, we cannot ignore the U.S. government’s persecution of those who revealed the brutality of the Afghan war and the lies on which it was founded.

        The Biden administration is stubbornly pursuing the extradition of Julian Assange, who exposed the corrupt motives and doomed policies behind the War on Terror. This unprecedented political prosecution poses a grave threat to truth telling and freedom of the press.

      • Taliban fighters detain, flog, and beat journalists covering protests in Afghanistan

        Over the last two days, the Taliban detained and later released at least 14 journalists covering protests in Kabul, the capital, against the group, according to various news reports and people familiar with the incidents who spoke with CPJ via phone and messaging app. At least nine of these journalists were subject to violence during their arrests or detention, according to those sources.

        Some journalists, including those with the BBC, were also prevented from filming the protest yesterday, according to the BBC.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • CJEU in surprise judgment: zero rating is illegal under EU law

        Zero rating is a widely used commercial practice which exempts certain online services from data caps of Internet Access Services, especially on mobile networks. This is considered a violation of basic net neutrality principles by digital rights organisations because of the incentives for using specific services invariably created by zero rating.

        The Net Neutrality (Open Internet) Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 does not directly mention zero rating. Article 3(2) only requires that agreements on price, data volumes and speed shall not limit the exercise of end-users’ right to net neutrality set out in Article 3(1). The official regulatory guidelines to the Regulation have a lengthy and very complex section on zero rating, arguably to compensate for zero rating being completely absent in the Regulation text itself.

    • Monopolies

      • FOSS Patents: No, the Epic v. Apple injunction absolutely positively DOESN’T allow developers to incorporate ‘buttons’ for alternative IN-APP payment mechanisms

        Sorry, that’s utter nonsense. On Twitter, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber tried to convince Nilay Patel that he was wrong. In the end, Nilay Patel still stressed that it’s up to the court to interpret its injunction. Well, John Gruber was right for the wrong reasons, and Nilay Patel arrives at the wrong result though he is right that the court–not Apple–will ultimately interpret the wording of the injunction. I’ve been rooting for Epic, and I wish everyone were as honest as Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney after losing a court battle. But I’m absolutely committed to telling people the truth.

        That article by The Verge (a website that actually did a great job covering the Epic Games v. Apple dispute) is simply what happens when one writes about a single-page document (the injunction per se) as if it existed in a vacuum–though it must actually be read against the background of the underlying 185-page Rule 52 post-trial order, just like patent claims are interpreted in light of the patent specification.

        Nilay Patel’s theory is absurd. It cannot possibly be reconciled with the part of the court ruling that deals with Apple’s anti-steering provision. I’m wondering why no one in that Twitter debate (unless I missed it) brought it up. So I decided to write this post to put an end to that phantom debate.

      • Apple declares victory in the Epic vs. Apple unfair competition lawsuit and then appeals the ruling.

        Apple won some parts of Epic v. Apple, but they lost the meat of the lawsuit.

        The ruling, which was actually a major disaster for Apple, will cost them billions, if their appeal is denied.

        Apple steals money from software developers and drives prices higher, like monopolies always do, by putting a software lock that makes sure you can only pay for the programs you use through their “app store”, and the terms for this app store make it the only app store that can be on an iPhone, and make Free and Open Source Software impossible.

        In fact, one of Richard Stallman’s complaints about the iPhone is that it does pretty much every nasty thing to attack the user that Android does, but it also goes much further and prevents the user from installing Free and Open Source Software. Not even Windows or Android does this, because you can get Windows software from anywhere, and Android lets you “sideload” apps or entire app stores, such as F-Droid.

        In fact, many developers publish apps in F-Droid, and then solicit donations for those apps through various platforms that are no more dangerous to pay with than the Apple store, but which don’t deprive them of much revenue.

        If the decision stands, then instead of having to hide the true cost of ownership of an iPhone in the software, and basically put upwards pressure on Android app prices too in order to prevent accusations of “unfairness” from the idiots who chose to be handcuffed by Apple, Apple will need to increase the price of the iPhone.

        I keep saying they’ll hit a ceiling to what people will accept, and indeed their marketshare is plummeting, with almost 9 out of 10 users choosing Android, but the higher and higher prices allow them to sell fewer phones and still be incredibly profitable.

      • Patents

        • Ericsson Fifth Circuit win further fortifies SEP owner stance in US [Ed: “Daddy, what does Ericsson make?” “Nothing, sweetheart, it’s just paying some thuggish patent law firms to blackmail those who still make things…”]

          SEP owners’ latest triumph at the appellate level suggests the smallest-saleable-unit argument won’t work in US courts, at least by itself, say counsel

        • Thaler comes up short in district court fight over inventorship rights for AI [Ed: Mr. Thaler is just totally trolling or ridiculing patent systems all around the world, both offices and courts. That helps discredit the system for what a lunacy machine it is fast becoming, unhinged from its original goals/rationale]

          The question of whether an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm can be an inventor has been making the rounds in the past couple of years, and the question came up again in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Stephen Thaler, who developed the Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience (DABUS) algorithm that has been credited with two inventions, failed to persuade the court that an algorithm qualifies as an “individual,” and thus patents must still be assigned to humans, at least where the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is concerned.

        • ToolGen Files Opposition to Broad Preliminary Motion No. 1 to Change Interference Count [Ed: Latest on the manic, irrational effort to patent life and nature in the United States]

          On May 28th, Junior Party the Broad Institute, Harvard University, and MIT (collectively, “Broad”) filed its Substantive Preliminary Motion No. 1 in CRISPR Interference No. 106,126, where ToolGen is the Senior Party. This Motion shared many similarities to a similar motion filed in Broad’s Interference No. 106,115 against the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier; Junior Party and collectively, “CVC”), but there were significant differences in the proposed Count 2 in this interference and the proposed Count 2 proposed in the ’115 Interference (wherein the Board denied Broad’s motion in that interference). On August 6th ToolGen filed its Opposition.

        • Update on Artificial Intelligence: Court Rules that AI Cannot Qualify As “Inventor” [Ed: Many false headlines falsely asserted that it is now possible to get patents for bots; but only in two rather small markets, and that too is subjected to appeals or further challenges]

          Striking a blow to patent applicants seeking to assert inventorship by artificial intelligence (“AI”) systems, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled on September 3, 2021 that an AI machine cannot qualify as an “inventor” under the Patent Act. The fight is now expected to move to the Federal Circuit on appeal.

          Proskauer has been closely monitoring the quickly-developing legal treatment of AI systems, especially in view of their implications for life sciences patents. AI’s presence in life sciences innovation is well established, for example, to predict biological targets of prospective drug molecules and to identify drug design candidates (among many other applications). As we reported in August, two countries—Australia and South Africa—have already permitted AI systems to qualify as “inventors” in patent applications. However, hope for a worldwide trend have been dashed, at least for now.

        • Robots are taking over the patent world – AI systems or devices can be “inventors” under the Australian Patents Act [Ed: No, what actually happened was, two barely-significant patent offices got successfully rick-rolled by a British provocateur]

          : A historic Federal Court decision says an artificial intelligence system is capable of being named as an “inventor” under the Patents Act 1990, with potentially significant ramifications for technological innovation and the patent system in Australia.

          In the first judicial determination in the world of its type, the Australian Federal Court has held that artificial intelligence systems or devices can be “inventors” for the purpose of the Patents Act 1990 (Cth) (Thaler v Commissioner of Patents [2021] FCA 879).

          Corresponding patent applications naming artificial intelligence system DABUS as the inventor and Dr Thaler as the owner of the DABUS inventions have been rejected by Patent Offices and Courts in other jurisdictions including the US, UK and Europe.

          Although a patent application may name an inventor as an artificial intelligence system, only a legal person can be the applicant for a patent or be granted a patent. The owner and controller of the artificial intelligence system may derive title to a patent from an AI “inventor”.

          This decision opens up the possibility of patent applications for inventions created by AI systems/devices in various scientific fields and industries.

          The decision may be appealed to the Full Federal Court.

      • Copyrights

        • Massive Adult Site ‘Rule34′ Prepares Legal Action to Fight Bogus Homepage Delisting

          Huge adult site ‘Rule34′ is preparing legal action to have its homepage restored to Google’s indexes. The site’s operator says that he believes he’s been targeted with one or more bogus takedown demands. However, rather than go down the DMCA route, his opponents have chosen to make more serious complaints, ones that cannot be countered using a simple form.

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