09.13.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 13/9/2021: Zink’s Completion and 72% of Top 50 Steam Games Can Run on GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 8:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • A Quick Look at Garuda Linux Qtile Edition – Invidious

        Garuda Linux is a desktop Linux distribution that has exploded in popularity in recent months. A few months ago, I took a look at their KDE Dr4gonized edition, which I thought was the most gorgeous desktop Linux distro that I’ve ever looked at.

      • Web Apps Will Be The Year Of Linux Desktop

        The year of the linux desktop is just a meme but if it did actually happen, I have a prediction for what it might be like and you probably won’t like it. I expect a future full of of web apps and this seems to be the direction a lot of companies are going.

      • So You Want To Learn Linux

        A video for the beginner… It might also help Linux users who are working with new users.

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel Posts Initial Code For x86 User Interrupts On Linux – Shows Great Performance Potential – Phoronix

        In addition to the big Advanced Matrix Extensions support still being in flux and the kernel-side AMX code not yet being merged, another feature of next year’s Xeon “Sapphire Rapids” that we are only now seeing in early published form for the Linux kernel is handling of x86 user interrupts.

        Going back to last year Intel disclosed user interrupts with the new UIRET instruction. The x86 User Interrupts functionality is premiering with Sapphire Rapids processors. A few minutes ago the initial Linux kernel code for x86 User Interrupts was finally published under a “request for comments” flag on the Linux kernel mailing list.

      • FUTEX2 System Call Updated To Work On ARM – Phoronix

        While Linux 5.15 has many new features and improvements, one of the patch series we have been eager to see land is the work introducing the new FUTEX2 system call. FUTEX2 can help improve the performance of newer Windows games running on Linux via Wine / Steam Play’s Proton by better matching the Windows kernel behavior, but while it didn’t land for Linux 5.15, at least a new version of the patches were posted.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Zink OpenGL-On-Vulkan Tackling Support For More Games

          After last month landing the Zink sub-allocator code for improved performance and also enabling OpenGL ES 3.2 support for Zink, lead developer Mike Blumenkrantz at Valve has been spending time this month working to get more games running on this OpenGL-over-Vulkan Mesa driver.

          Zink continues on a great trajectory for running more OpenGL games and applications atop Vulkan. The performance of Zink continues to be quite good as shown in last month’s Zink comparison benchmarks. This month Mike Blumenkrantz has been working to address issues that prevented more OpenGL games from running or running well.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to merge PDFs with PDFSam on Linux

        Need to merge two PDF documents on your Linux PC? Check out PDFSam; it’s an excellent tool that gives users incredible power to modify and edit PDF documents on Linux. Here’s how to use it to merge PDFs.

      • How to utilize openssl in Linux to check SSL certificate details – TechRepublic

        Administering SSL certificates can be quite a chore, especially when it comes time to renew or replace them. Expiring SSL certificates can be devastating for technological operations, with the impact ranging from worrisome browser error messages to complete production outages. Therefore, it’s important to not only keep an eye on upcoming SSL certificate expirations (network scans or at the very least a log keeping track of these certificates are essential) but to completely verify the success of renewing/replacing these certificates.

      • How To Install and Configure The Latest release of Drupal on CentOS 7/8 – Unixcop

        Drupal is a free and open-source web content management system (CMS) written in PHP and distributed under the GNU General Public License. Drupal provides a back-end framework for at least 13% of the top 10,000 websites worldwide – ranging from personal blogs to corporate, political, and government sites. Systems also use Drupal for knowledge management and for business collaboration.

      • 2 Ways to install Flutter on Ubuntu 20.04 |18.04 | 21.04 Linux – Linux Shout

        Flutter is an open-source SDK developed to program applications to work on multiple operating systems using a single codebase such as Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows, Google Fuchsia, and the web. Hence, save the developers time and manpower to write code for an app according to the specific OS. Flutter is developed by Google written in C, C++, and Dart.

      • Clear Cached Memory on Ubuntu
    • Games

      • PS4 Emulator for Linux Now Plays Hundreds of Games

        Nothing says that a new console generation is here quite like the old console gen getting working emulators. And despite the PS5 still being hard to come by, the PS4’s emulation day has come. Spine, a closed source PS4 emulator for Linux that’s been privately in the works since 2019 just made its first full public release earlier this month, complete with a new compatibility list featuring hundreds of games.

        There are a few caveats, though. PS4 emulation is still in its early days, and the games that currently work with emulation reflect that. While Spinedev’s pushed far beyond what they had working in Spine’s 2019 demo, most of what the current compatibility list labels as working “ingame” (one word) are smaller 2D titles that already have their own proper PC releases. In other words, don’t expect to be playing God of War or Spider-Man: Miles Morales on your PC any time soon. And just because a game technically runs doesn’t mean it works flawlessly. For instance, you can play Sonic Mania in Spine, but the color palette looks trippy even for Sega’s blue blur.

      • Steam Deck Check: 72% of Top 50 Steam Games Can Run on Linux

        According to a report by Linux gaming site Boiling Steam, 72% of the current top 50 games on Steam can run on Linux, either using Proton or running natively. Some of the unsupported games should eventually work with Linux due to Valve’s efforts to enable a vast roster of games for its forthcoming Steam Deck handheld console, but anti-cheat programs have hindered progress on Linux-based systems.

        The Top 50 list of Valve’s Steam chart includes games with the most concurrent players over two weeks. So rather than sales, whatever game is played the most gets a spot on the chart. Unsurprisingly, these include titles like CS: GO, Dota 2, PUBG, and GTA V.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Pika Backup is A Modern New Backup Utility for GNOME Desktop

          For personal data backup, Pika Backup is a simple GNOME app with an elegant user interface.

          Pika Backup is free open-source tool to save your personal data into either local disk (e.g., an USB stick) or remote server using secure shell or sftp. As modern GTK4 apps, it has an adaptive UI design which is resizable and works great on different screen sizes & devices.

          The utility is based on BorgBackup (aka Borg), features data de-duplication technique to save time and disk space since only changes are stored for daily backups. With the power of authenticated encryption technique, it also supports password protect for your data.

          The app starts in a clean UI with a “Configure Backup” button to get started creating repositories to store backups. The top-left ‘+‘ icon is also present to do the same job.

    • Distributions

      • Debian Family

        • The Lounge

          There is a new application available for Sparkers: The Lounge

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Bored of Flat UIs? Check Out Skeuos GTK Theme

          Ever find yourself wishing your GTK theme had a bit more depth to it?

          If so, check out the Skeuos GTK theme by Daniel Ruiz de Alegría. His sumptuous skin skewers modern expectations by embracing the bevels, drop-shadows, and gradients most modern themes actively avoid.

          The result is a confident look with real visible visual hierarchy to it. Buttons look like buttons, toggles look like toggles, and focused elements have clear presence — you won’t mistake a label for an action while using this theme.

          Although it is still fairly flat (as themes go), in this era of ever-flatter UIs I’m surprised at how refreshing the theme’s “ornamentation” feels. It’s like a mix of Adwaita and elementary themes, with a splash of Layan for colour.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 700

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 700 for the week of September 5 – 11, 2021.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Solar monitoring system builds on Linux-based LoRaWAN gateway

        Cloud Energy and Semtech announced a LoRaWAN equipped rooftop solar monitoring system based on a Linux-based Kerlink Wirnet gateway and Semtech’s LoRaWan modules.

        Vietnam based IoT integrator Cloud Energy has joined with Semtech Corp. in announcing a wireless monitoring system for rooftop solar facilities in Vietnam. The unnamed system combines Semtech LoRaWAN modules with software and integration from Cloud Energy, which is deploying a Linux-powered Wirnet LoRaWAN gateway from hardware partner Kerlink.

      • Firmware Modding Your Vintage Nokia Handset

        These days we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to smartphone software, especially games. Official repositories for the leading handsets feature hundreds of thousands of games, and sideloading adds infinite possibilities. If you were lucky enough to be sporting a Nokia handset in the late 1990s, you probably had all of three games to choose from (and only one that was actually fun). [Janus Cycle] explores the steps needed to firmware mod your vintage Nokia phone, and how to expand on that paltry games library.

        Enthusiasts have been modding their Nokia handsets since the 2000s, and the tools required now are the same as they were then. The Nokia 5110 and 6110 (as featured in the video below) use a proprietary cable and connector for communicating with PCs and other devices. Nokia’s official serial cable already opens up many possibilities for handset tinkering, including access to RAM and toggling Monitor Mode. This cable interfaces solely with the phone’s fast FBUS protocol, however firmware flashing takes place using the slower MBUS protocol over a single wire bi-directional pin.

      • GLaDOS Voice Assistant Passive-Aggressively Automates Home

        Using open source designs from fellow YouTube creator [Mr. Volt], [nerdaxic] 3d printed as much of the GLaDOS animatronic model as he was able to, and implemented much of the same hardware to make it work. [nerdaxic] put more Open Source Software to use and has created a functional but somewhat limited home AI that can manage his home automation, give the weather, and tell jokes among other things. GLaDOS doesn’t fail to deliver some great one liners inspired by the original Portal games while heeding [nerdaxic]’s commands, either.

      • UNO-420 PoE-powered data sensing gateway Certified on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        Advantech, a leading provider of intelligent IoT systems and automation technology, is pleased to announce that its UNO-420 data gateway is certified on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and Ubuntu Core 20. UNO-420 is a PoE-powered data sensing gateway powered by an Intel Atom E3815 processor, characterized by its high compatibility with diverse data acquisition devices and Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) permitting local data processing and cloud connectivity. By certifying Advantech’s UNO-420 for Ubuntu 20.04, Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu, guarantees 5-years of maintenance updates and 5-years of extended security maintenance(ESM) software update support that give enterprises a stable and secure IoT platform for device management and service reliability.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Vektor Kollektor Inspector

          The build started with an HP7475A pen plotter from the 80s, one that was DOA (or was fried during initial testing). [Niklas] and [Kati] kept the mechanism but rebuilt the controls allowing for easy integration with an Arduino Nano and to be powered with a motorcycle battery.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • John Goerzen: Facebook’s Blocking Decisions Are Deliberate – Including Their Censorship of Mastodon

        In the aftermath of my report of Facebook censoring mentions of the open-source social network Mastodon, there was a lot of conversation about whether or not this was deliberate.

        That conversation seemed to focus on whether a human speficially added joinmastodon.org to some sort of blacklist. But that’s not even relevant.

        OF COURSE it was deliberate, because of how Facebook tunes its algorithm.

        Facebook’s algorithm is tuned for Facebook’s profit. That means it’s tuned to maximize the time people spend on the site — engagement. In other words, it is tuned to keep your attention on Facebook.

        Why do you think there is so much junk on Facebook? So much anti-vax, anti-science, conspiracy nonsense from the likes of Breitbart? It’s not because their algorithm is incapable of surfacing the good content; we already know it can because they temporarily pivoted it shortly after the last US election. They intentionally undid its efforts to make high-quality news sources more prominent — twice.

        Facebook has said that certain anti-vax disinformation posts violate its policies. It has an extremely cumbersome way to report them, but it can be done and I have. These reports are met with either silence or a response claiming the content didn’t violate their guidelines.

      • Web Browsers

        • Destination Linux 243: Vivaldi CEO Interview – Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner

          This week’s episode of Destination Linux, we have the CEO of Vivaldi joining us to discuss their partnership with Manjaro and their support for Linux. Then we’re going to talk about two great anonymous, privacy focused distros that both had a new release this week. Plus we’ve also got our famous tips, tricks and software picks. All of this and so much more this week on Destination Linux. So whether you’re brand new to Linux and open source or a guru of sudo. This is the podcast for you.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • FSF

  • Leftovers

    • Hardware

      • Cisco Router Repair Revives Piece Of Internet History | Hackaday

        These days, it would be fair to say that the Internet as we know it runs on Cisco hardware. While you might never see them at work, there’s an excellent chance that every web-bound packet leaving your computer or smartphone will spend at least a few milliseconds of its life traveling through hardware built by the San Jose, California based company. But of course, even a telecommunications giant like Cisco had to start somewhere.

        Cisco’s first commercial router, the Advanced Gateway Server (AGS), was released in 1986 and helped put the company (and the Internet) on the path towards unfathomable success. [Andreas Semmelmann] had wanted to add one of these microwave-sized machines to his collection for some time, so when an AGS+ popped up in the local classifieds he didn’t hesitate to make the hour drive to go pick it up. But like many pieces of vintage computing equipment, it needed a little help getting back on its feet.

      • How The PS5’s Genuinely Clever Adaptive Triggers Work | Hackaday

        The feedback for the trigger assembly is handled by a lever, a geared wheel, and a worm gear on an electric motor. Under normal circumstances, nothing interferes with the trigger at all and it works like a normal analog trigger. But when the motor moves the lever into place, trigger movement now has to overcome the added interference with a mechanical disadvantage. The amount of resistance felt can be increased a surprising amount by having the motor actively apply additional force to counter the trigger’s movement.

        That’s not all, either. The motor can also actively move the lever into (or out of) position, which means that pulling the trigger not only has the ability to feel smooth, mushy, or stiff in different places, but it can also actively push back. This feedback can be introduced (or removed) at any arbitrary point along the trigger’s range of motion. A trigger pull can therefore feel like it has a sharp breakpoint, a rough travel, a hard stop, an active recoil, or any combination of those at any time.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Apple Releases Security Updates, iOS 14.8 and iPadOS 14.8

          Apple has released security updates to address vulnerabilities—CVE-2021-30860, CVE-2021-30858—in iOS and iPadOS. An attacker could exploit these vulnerabilities to take control of an affected device. CISA is aware of public reporting that these vulnerabilities may have been exploited in the wild.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Antmicro Doubles Down on Commitment to the Zephyr Project as Community Grows to More Than 1,000 Contributors [Ed: The so-called 'Linux' Foundation promotes operating systems that compete with Linux and are from proprietary software companies]

                On the heels of its 5th anniversary and inaugural Developer Summit, the Zephyr™ Project today announces a major milestone with more than 1,000 contributors and 55,000 commits. Zephyr, an open source project at the Linux Foundation that builds a safe, secure and flexible real-time operating system (RTOS) for resource-constrained devices, also welcomes Antmicro as a Platinum member and Wind River as a Silver member.

        • Security

          • Time is running out for CentOS 8

            It came as a shock when RedHat announced that CentOS 8 support would end this year. Organisations who thought they had eight years to plan for its replacement now have less than four months.

          • Hacker-made Linux Cobalt Strike beacon used in ongoing attacks

            An unofficial Cobalt Strike Beacon Linux version made by unknown threat actors from scratch has been spotted by security researchers while actively used in attacks targeting organizations worldwide.

            [...]

            However, Cobalt Strike has always had a weakness — it only supports Windows devices and does not include Linux beacons.

          • Hackers port Cobalt Strike attack tool to Linux [Ed: Do malicious tools only become "news" when you can badmouth "Linux" somehow? And that says nothing about how such tools get there in the first place? Windows has back doors.]

            Security experts say the Cobalt Strike Beacon tool has been adapted by hackers to work against Linux machines.

            Designed for use by penetration testers and other security professionals, Beacon is the automated attack component of the $3,500 per-year Cobalt Strike security testing suite that enables attacks like keylogging and file theft. Because it is so effective at automatically compromising machines, the software has also become effective with cybercriminals looking to remotely break into a network.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • NSO Group iMessage Zero-Click Exploit Captured in the Wild

        In March 2021, we examined the phone of a Saudi activist who has chosen to remain anonymous, and determined that they had been hacked with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. During the course of the analysis we obtained an iTunes backup of the device.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • I fought the law and I won. (Traffic ticket.)

        I’ve been wanting to blog about this for some time now, but it’s never wise to draw attention to a pending case.

        (I’ve changed the names of the other two drivers.)

        A few months ago, I was traveling northbound on a street headed for home. I reached the 4-way red flasher at the intersection between that street and the street I lived on. The other driver was traveling southbound on and was at the flasher.

        I signaled my right-hand turn and proceeded to make the turn when the other driver, Mr. Beavis, sped up to try to get out ahead of me, and by the time I looked back and realized what was going on, the two cars hit each other at approximately a 45 degree angle, damaging the plastic bumper cover on the left side of my car, and a hubcap and part of the other driver’s right fender.

        Mr. Beavis got out of his car, and I exited my car, and he asked me whether we should “trade insurance” or “call the police”, and I said I would rather call the police, so I did, and it took them approximately half an hour to arrive on the scene. By this time, I and Mr. Beavis had agreed to move our cars out of the way into a nearby parking lot.

        While waiting on the police to arrive, it seemed to me that nobody was hurt, but Fire and Rescue showed up, and I was baffled, so I told them that I didn’t think anyone was hurt.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Buyers’ desires: what patent sellers need to know to seal deals [Ed: They say "four patent-buying companies" which is almost a euphemism for patent trolls (because some trolls and their litigation firms fund this conflict-of-interest propaganda mill]]

          Sources at four patent-buying companies explain why a portfolio’s licensing history matters and why sellers’ need for confidentiality can complicate deals

        • How to assess patent quality ? (2/2) [Ed: As if this Team UPC propaganda outlet, REGIMBEAU, ever cared about the quality of patents (instead it sought to reduce it; more litigation!)]

          ollowing our previous article presenting the different methods of rating patent quality, this publication outlines the new quality assessment method developed by Regimbeau. This new solution uses strategic information available in patent databases to assist the evaluator with legal, technological, economic, and geo-temporal criteria.

        • Integrated Biometrics plans integration of touchless fingerprint enhancements

          The patent applications were filed with both the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and The European Patent Office, with one addressing the improvement of touchless fingerprints through minimizing error rates to below 2 percent to meet the FBI’s PIV requirements, ‘smart’ focussing, and enhanced image rendering to capture Level 3 features like pores and ridge shapes. The methods described by this patent result in touchless fingerprints with a strong resemblance to contact prints, according to the announcement. A second patent filing describes the concept of “archived identity,” with the fingerprint serving as a transaction record.

        • Integrated Biometrics Announces Advancements in Contactless Fingerprint Intellectual Property [Ed: This title contains a lie; it should say patents -- very dubious at that for that matter -- not this fiction they call "Intellectual Property"]

          Integrated Biometrics (IB), the world leader in mobile FBI-certified biometric fingerprint scanners, today announced its strategic partner, Sciometrics LLC, has applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and The European Patent Office for new Intellectual Property (IP) that will improve the quality of touchless fingerprinting through mobile devices and expand application of the technology.

        • The Importance of Recognising Multiple Priorities in a Single Claim
        • HTC v. Ericsson – Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fifth Circuit Doesn’t Know What FRAND Means Either [Ed: FRAND is just a misnomer and a FRAUD; we should stop calling it what the patent racketeers have themselves named it]

          In August 31, 2021, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in HTC Corp. v. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 26250, __ F.4th __ (Fed. Cir. 2021), affirming the judgment of the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170087 (E.D. Tex. 2019). The decision is significant as it is the first by the Fifth Circuit to address the licensing of standards-essential patents and the meaning of “fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory” (FRAND) licensing terms, adding to the growing body of jurisprudence already issued by the Third, Ninth and Federal Circuits in this area. It is also significant because the court addresses several issues that have become increasingly important in standards-related litigation including (1) the apportionment of value among components of a multi-component product, (2) the proper choice of law for FRAND disputes, and (3) the interpretation of the “nondiscrimination” prong of the FRAND commitment. These issues all arose in connection with HTC’s challenge to District Judge Rodney Gilstrap’s jury instructions regarding FRAND. His vague charge appears to reflect the general uncertainty in this area, not only of the Texas district court, but of the entire judicial system. One can almost hear the weariness permeating the final sentence of Judge Gilstrap’s charge to an admittedly perplexed jury: “Ladies and gentlemen, there is no fixed or required methodology for setting or calculating the terms of a FRAND license rate.”

      • Trademarks

        • As Dior Abandons Saddle Bag Trademark Application in U.S., a Look at the Role of Residual Goodwill [Ed: Wanting monopoly and then having second thoughts (because the law might get in the way) is not "goodwill"]

          Dior has brought an end to its quest to nab a U.S. trademark registration for the design of its Saddle Bag … at least for now. On the heels of receiving an Office Action in March in which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) preliminarily refused to register “the three-dimensional product design of a bag with a curved and sloping base, and a single flap with curved contours covering the opening of the bag” as a trademark, counsel for Dior sought to abandon the application on September 9, and the USPTO signed off on the abandonment a day later, thereby, removing the application from the registration process.

          After reintroducing the bag – which was first created by former Dior creative director John Galliano just over 20 years ago – as part of now-creative chief Maria Grazia Chuiri’s Autumn/Winter 2018 collection, Dior filed an application for registration for the design in March 2020, essentially asserting that the shape of the bag, itself, serves as an indication of source in the minds of consumers in largely the same way as the Dior name, for example, or its “CD” logo.

      • Copyrights

        • EU General Court dismisses Sony’s ‘Gran Turismo’ appeal – The IPKat [Ed: EUIPO is a pipeline of corruption though, as noted in a recent series about it]

          As a computer and video game enthusiast, I could not help but notice that the EU General Court in a recent decision (T-463/20) dismissed Sony’s appeal against an earlier decision of the EUIPO Fourth Board of Appeal, which had upheld the decision of the Opposition Division rejecting Sony’s opposition against an application to register “GT RACING” as an EU trade mark (EUTM).

          The circumstances were such that the General Court considered that, despite the same sequence of word elements “G” and “T” in Sony’s figurative EUTM, their depiction was so stylised that it was unlikely that they would be recognised by the relevant public.

          The decision raises the following question among trade mark holders and practitioners: can trade marks be “too figurative” for their own good?

          [...]

          The Board considered that the relevant territory was the European Union and comprised the general public with at most an average level of attention. It also considered that the goods were different. As regards the Applicant’s EUTM, the Board found that, since that mark was devoid of any meaning with regard to the goods at issue, it had a normal degree of distinctiveness. The Board, moreover, held that the signs were visually different, and that a phonetic and conceptual comparison was not possible. Since there was no similarity between the signs, the Board concluded that it was not necessary to assess the documents produced by the Applicant in support of its claims relating to the enhanced distinctiveness or the reputation of that mark.

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  29. Patrick Breyer, Unlike Most German Politicians, Highlights the Fact That Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent Are Incompatible With EU Law

    A longtime critic of EPO abuses (under both Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos leadership), as well as a vocal critic of software patents, steps in to point out the very obvious



  30. Links 15/1/2022: Flameshot 11.0 and Libvirt 8.0

    Links for the day


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