11.20.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 20/11/2021: Unity Desktop’s ‘Renaissance’, Whisker Menu 2.7.0, and Wine 7.0 Code Freeze

Posted in News Roundup at 7:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • OpenHPC Announces Release of OpenHPC 2.4

        This is an update release for the OHPC 2.x branch targeting support for RHEL8 variants and OpenSUSE Leap 15. In addition to a number of component version updates, this release updates previous CentOS8-based recipes to leverage Rocky8.

      • Docker really did change the world | InfoWorld

        In 2013, Docker was the “it” company. Docker made headlines for the critical role it played in bringing containers to the mainstream, and in many ways displaced PaaS as the hotness of the time (Heroku anyone?). Now, the company is back in the press with the introduction of a new model for Docker Desktop that requires larger organizations to buy a paid subscription for the tools. There’s been a vocal reaction to this announcement, one that reminds me of the important role Docker played in popularizing a model we know, love, and now use on a mainstream basis: containers.

        [...]

        By 2009, the value of using virtualization was well understood and it was widely deployed. Most organizations had already garnered the benefits of virtualization or had a roadmap to get there. The marketing machine was tired of virtualization. People were hungry for the next innovation in IT and software development. It came in the form of Heroku. In fact, PaaS in general and Heroku specifically became wildly popular. So much so that it looked like PaaS was going to take over the world.

        At that time, Heroku was huge. You just go out to this portal and develop your apps and deliver them as a service? What’s not to like? Why wouldn’t you develop apps on Heroku?

        As it turned out, there were a couple of good reasons not to use Heroku and PaaS platforms of its ilk. For example, applications built on Heroku were not portable; they were available only within Heroku. Developers had to work remotely on the PaaS platform if they wanted to collaborate. Unlike Netflix, it turns out, developers love to develop locally. If a developer wanted to work on their local box, they were still left to manually build the environment themselves.

        In addition, although the Heroku model was extremely powerful if you used what was provided out of the box, it was complex behind the scenes. As soon as your team built something more complex than a simple web app, or they needed to customize the infrastructure for security or performance reasons, it became a difficult, very “real” engineering problem.

      • SD Times news digest: Databricks launched Partner Connect; OpenAI’s API now available with no waitlist; Logz.io unveils observability updates – SD Times

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit enabling innovation through open source, and The Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which builds sustainable ecosystems for cloud native software, have announced that the Kubernetes and Cloud Native Associate (KCNA) exam, originally announced last month, is now generally available for enrollment and scheduling.

        In addition, a new online training course, Kubernetes and Cloud Native Essentials, has been released to both prepare individuals for entry level cloud roles and to sit for the KCNA exam. KCNA is made up of a multiple-choice certification exam designed to test entry-level knowledge and skills in Kubernetes as well as the wider cloud native ecosystem.

        The KCNA exam is broken up into different sections, including Kubernetes fundamentals, container orchestration, cloud native architecture, cloud native observability, and cloud native application delivery.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • What is a kernel and why does it matter? – Nation Online [Ed: This might be a plagiarism site]

        Spend enough time around Android, or even PCs, and eventually, you will come across the term, “the Linux kernel.” Android uses the Linux kernel too. In fact, it’s an integral part of the way your phone works, but what is it?

        The “Linux” part is easy enough to understand — it is a play-on-words between Linus and Unix, as in Linus Torvalds, the original creator of the Unix-like OS we call Linux. But kernel? What is a kernel in computers and other devices? What do we mean by the Linux kernel? Let’s find out!

        In a nutshell, a kernel is the core program that manages your phone’s CPU resources, the system memory, and the system devices (including the file systems and networking). It is also responsible for managing all the processes or tasks that are running on your smartphone. That means that when you start an app, it is the kernel that loads the app into memory, creates the processes needed, and starts the app running. When an app needs memory, it is the kernel that allocates it. When the app wants networking, it is the kernel that does all the low-level processing.

        A kernel is the core program that manages your phone’s CPU resources, memory, and system devices.

      • Graphics Stack

        • More RadeonSI Optimizations Land In Mesa 22.0 – Phoronix

          Well known AMD OpenGL open-source driver developer Marek Olšák managed to land yet more performance optimizations this week into Mesa 22.0.

          Even with many strides made to Mesa this autumn around optimizing workstation OpenGL performance with a focus on workload exposure from SPECViewPerf, Marek is continuing into the holiday season with more optimizations abound. The changes are building up for Mesa 22.0 that will be released in Q1.

    • Applications

      • 5 Best Free and Open Source GUI Command Schedulers

        The software utility cron also known as cron job is a time-based job scheduler in Unix-like computer operating systems.

        Users who set up and maintain software environments use cron to schedule jobs (commands or shell scripts) to run periodically at fixed times, dates, or intervals.

        This software typically automates system maintenance or administration such as automating backups, cleaning disk space and other system maintenance tasks. It’s general purpose too making it good for things like downloading files from the Internet and downloading email at regular intervals.

      • Wireshark 3.4.10

        Wireshark is a network packet analyzer. A network packet analyzer will try to capture network packets and tries to display that packet data as detailed as possible. You could think of a network packet analyzer as a measuring device used to examine what’s going on inside a network cable, just like a voltmeter is used by an electrician to examine what’s going on inside an electric cable (but at a higher level, of course). In the past, such tools were either very expensive, proprietary, or both. However, with the advent of Wireshark, all that has changed. Wireshark is perhaps one of the best open source packet analyzers available today.

      • Whisker Menu 2.7.0 released

        Add showing categories as icons on top or bottom (Issue #62)
        Add hiding username (Issue #36)
        Add rounded profile picture
        Add optional AccountsService support
        Add catfish search action
        Add CSS classes for theming
        Improve search result relevance
        Make stripping release builds optional
        Rearrange settings dialog
        Remove sliding out search results
        Remove useless grab check
        Rename icon to follow reverse DNS scheme
        Replace size grip with resizing from edges
        Replace slots with lambdas
        Use original menu layout
        Use dm-tool for switching users
        Translation updates: Basque, Bulgarian, Chinese (Taiwan), Danish, Dutch, French, Greek, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • BPFs

        What are Berkeley Packet Filters? BPF’s are a raw (protocol independent) socket interface to the data link layer that allows filtering of packets in a very granular fashion.

        BPFs were first introduced in 1990 by Steven McCanne of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, according to the FreeBSD man page on bpf.

      • How to install Terraform on Debian 11 – NextGenTips

        In this tutorial, we are going to learn how to install Terraform on Debian 11.

        Terraform is an open-source infrastructure as code (IaC) software tool that provides a consistent CLI workflow to manage hundreds of cloud services. Terraform codifies cloud APIs into declarative configuration files.

        Terraform Infrastructure as code (IaC) tools allow you to manage infrastructure with configuration files rather than through a graphical user interface.

      • Install Vanilla Arch Linux With GUI Installer?!?! – Invidious

        Arch Linus is notorious for a it’s installation process and even though it’s not that difficult it does scare a lot of people away so what if we had a GUI installer do all the work for us.

      • How to Run Your Own Secure, Portable PC From a USB Stick

        Tails stands for The Amnesic Incognito Live System, which is a reference to how your activities are gone for good as soon as you unplug the USB drive from the computer it’s attached to and move on. It’s based on the Debian Linux distribution, and it should work just fine with most computers from the last decade or so.

        To get this up and running, you need a USB stick with a minimum 8 GB of capacity. With that in hand, head to the Tails download page and select the operating system that you’re using to set it up. Follow the instructions on the screen and you’ll get a USB image file around 1 GB in size, which you’ll then need to transfer to the flash drive itself.

        Next, you need a little utility called Etcher (you’ll be directed toward it by the step-by-step installation guide on the Tails website). This takes care of putting the USB image file on the USB drive, a process that should only take a few minutes—you’ll get a notification when the transfer is complete. You’re then ready to start using your portable PC.

        When the setup has been completed, you can plug your Tails USB stick into just about any 64-bit PC with a spare port. It’ll also work on Mac computers, but not those with the newest M1 series of chips (at least not yet, anyway). The computer you’re connecting to should have at least 2 GB of RAM, and you should of course make sure it’s not infected with any viruses or malware beforehand.

      • How To Install DokuWiki on Debian 11 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install DokuWiki on Debian 11. For those of you who didn’t know, DokuWiki is a free open source wiki application written completely in the PHP programming language and often deployed in Linux under the LAMP stack. It offers very useful features such as multiple language support, SEO, authentication, spam blacklist, autosave, read-only pages, simple and lightweight architecture, 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 the DokuWiki on a Debian 11 (Bullseye).

      • How To Install ImageMagick on AlmaLinux 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install ImageMagick on AlmaLinux 8. For those of you who didn’t know, ImageMagick is an open-source software suite for creating, editing, converting, and modifying bitmap images. With ImageMagick, you can read and write over 200 image formats, including DPX, EXR, GIF, JPEG, PDF, PNG, and many more. ImageMagick is also available across all major platforms, including Android, BSD, Linux, Windows, Mac OSX, iOS, and many others.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the ImageMagick on an AlmaLinux 8. You can follow the same instructions for CentOS and Rocky Linux.

      • How to install R and Rstudio on Ubuntu 20.04 – NextGenTips

        In this tutorial, we are going to learn how to install R and Rstudio on Ubuntu 20.04.

        R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It compiles and runs on different platforms including Windows, Linux, macOS.

        Rstudio provides free and open-source tools for R. Rstudio is an application like Microsoft word, except that instead of helping you write in English, Rstudio helps you write in R.

        Even if you want to run on Rstudio completely, you still need to have R on your system because Rstudio helps you use the version of R that lives on your computer, but it doesn’t come with a version of R on its own.

      • How to Use make and makefile in Linux – ByteXD

        One of the main reasons why Linux is popular among C/C++ programmers is the support provided by Linux to them. This includes the g++ compiler suite and its related tools used for program development such as the make command.

        In this tutorial, you will learn about the make command in Linux, its use, the basis of the makefile, and how it is used with the make command.

      • How to install Ubuntu 22.04 LTS container on Docker – Linux Shout

        Ubuntu 22.04 LTS is the latest (scheduled for April 2022) Long term version from Canonical developers. Well, while writing this article it was still in its developing stage but available as ISO as well as Docker image to install. Hence, those who are interested in testing Ubuntu 22.04 LTS can install it on a Docker container using the steps given here.

      • How to upgrade to Fedora 35

        Fedora 35 is here! With this new exciting release, the Fedora project has included tons of new features, including the latest Gnome Shell desktop, an updated FirewallD, gcc 11, glibc 2.34, binutils 2.37, and gdb 10.2, and much more. Here’s how you can upgrade to Fedora 35 on your computer.

        Note: Before attempting to upgrade to Fedora 35, please make a backup of your data. While Fedora’s upgrade is considered safe, a backup is always a good idea.

      • Install Stremio app on Debian 11 Bullseye – Linux Shout

        There is an app called Stremio meant to play various videos from different sources using the Add-ons developed by its community. It is available for Linux, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS. Here we learn the steps to install the Stremio app on Debian 11 using the command terminal.

        Stremio is an open-source streaming app, the project is available on GitHub along with Add-ons that allow users to stream online video, music, movies, the website from various sources such as YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Torrent, Hotstar, etc.

      • How To Install Odoo on Debian 11 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Odoo on Debian 11. For those of you who didn’t know, Odoo is an integrated ERP (Enterprise Resources Planning) application. That is to say, it works by installable modules that make the application have many functionalities. It includes a wide range of applications such as CRM, e-Commerce, website builder, billing, accounting, manufacturing, warehouse, project management, inventory, and much more, all seamlessly integrated. Odoo currently has two versions, one of them is the community that is free and completely open source and another version Enterprise for professional corporate support. This post focuses on the community version.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Odoo 15 on a Debian 11 (Bullseye).

      • How to Enable Minimize on Click in Ubuntu

        Many Ubuntu users coming to Linux from Windows find themselves looking for a way to make their new Linux system minimize open windows when the corresponding dock or taskbar icon is clicked. Unfortunately, Ubuntu doesn’t provide a direct configuration option to enable this behavior.

        While all things may not be immediately obvious, a big part of what makes Ubuntu special is that it is highly customizable if you know where to look. When it comes to turning on the click to minimize window behavior, you don’t have to look too far.

        You can enable the click to minimize functionality through the command line or a graphical interface. We’re going to show you how to do both.

      • How to Easily Batch Uninstall Apps on Android – Make Tech Easier

        Have you ever filled up the available space in your Android phone storage and couldn’t download an app you want to install? Of course you have. We all have. Going through and selecting the apps you want to delete to make more space for the new one can be tedious if you have to go through them one by one. It’s much faster to batch uninstall apps and remove all unwanted apps at once.

      • How to Create simple API using FastAPI in Python – UX Techno

        Nowadays the whole world revolves around API. So get into the API world today I am going to explain to you “How to Create simple API using FastAPI in Python”.

      • How to Delete Background in Image Using GIMP

        Removing background of an image is super easy if you know how to do it. Here in this tutorial we will explain 5 different ways which you can use to remove background in Image Using GIMP.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 6.22 is out bringing Mono 7, more Joystick work | GamingOnLinux

        The Wine hackers continue to be exceptionally busy trying to catch up with Windows and a new development release is out with Wine 6.22. This is the compatibility layer that allows you to run games and applications developed for Windows – on Linux. Part of what makes up Steam Play Proton. Once a year or so, a new stable release is made which will be Wine 7.0 likely in January 2022.

      • Wine 7.0 Code Freeze To Begin In Early December

        As expected when writing about Wine 6.22 yesterday that the annual stable release dance was likely upon us, plans were laid out today for that Wine 7.0 release.

        Wine project leader Alexandre Julliard has laid out plans for releasing Wine 7.0 in January as is tradition. For that to happen, the plan is to have Wine 6.23 in two weeks and one week after that to mark the start of the code freeze. After Wine 6.23 with any remaining features, Wine 7.0-rc1 will come one week later on 10 December with the hard code freeze in place.

    • Games

      • 5 ways to break into the video game industry

        Worth an estimated US$336 billion, the video game industry is bigger than TV, movies and music combined. And since the industry is growing at a rapid pace, there are plenty of opportunities to work in this field. From game designers and software engineers who program the games to graphic artists or electrical engineers who design the game consoles, careers in the video game industry abound.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • 5 Years Later, Unity Desktop Is Forming an Accidental Renaissance

        It has been 4 and half years since Canonical announced their decisions to drop Unity desktop for GNOME, drop the convergence experience and shift focus towards the cloud and IoT devices.

        The Linux community reactions back then were mixed. Some people liked GNOME and some people didn’t. Those who didn’t switched to other desktops such as Cinnamon, MATE, KDE and Xfce. Ubuntu users after 2017 may not even know that Unity desktop existed.

        But a group of people refused to let go of Unity. Those people went to form their own Ubuntu derivative called “Ubuntu Unity Remix” and later known just as Ubuntu Unity.

        Version 21.10 of Ubuntu Unity was released last month, among all its sister Ubuntu 21.10 spins as well.

        In today’s article we will dive into whatever remains of Unity’s ghost in Ubuntu Unity 21.10, and see how possible to use the nostalgic desktop is in its current form and shape. We also evaluate how wise the decision of dropping Unity for GNOME was after 5 years.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Discover gets update to prevent you breaking your Linux system

          I must say, I appreciate the attention to make things not only simpler but less breakable lately. First we had APT being patched to stop users removing essential packages, now the KDE Discover software manager gets a similar upgrade.

          Developer Nate Graham has written up another great “This week in KDE” blog post, going over changes and improvements coming to the next release of Plasma and the various applications. One small change really caught my eye though! Discover now has a new way to ensure you keep a working system, with an updated mechanism to detect important packages getting removed and give you a friendly warning on it free of too much technical jargon.

        • KDE Plasma 5.24 Adds An Overview Effect Inspired By GNOME’s Activities Overview

          Even with the holidays ahead the KDE developers remain very busy improving their desktop software stack for Plasma 5.24 and other forthcoming component releases.

          KDE developer Nate Graham is out with his weekly development summary of all the free software contributions heading into this desktop. Some of the highlights for the past week include:

          - KWin has added an overview effect for showing KRunner search results that is similar to GNOME’s Activities Overview feature. This GNOME inspired feature is coming for Plasma 5.24.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Top 10 Best Dark Themes for Ubuntu Linux To Reduce Digital Eye Strain

          Using the default theme on any desktop and server is pretty decent and optimistic for normal usages. Using a few dark themes rather than the default theme is good for Ubuntu and other Debian distributions. You can change the user interface, color scheme, opacity and tweak other settings using a new customized theme. No matter which type of theme you like for your Ubuntu system, dark or light, almost every theme lets you switch from dark to light and vice-versa.

          Installing a dark theme on Ubuntu brings a professional vibe to the desktop, and it also kind of makes you feel that you’re doing more productive things while using a dark theme. Installing and using them on Ubuntu is pretty easy and straightforward.

        • KGX – Minimal Terminal Emulator Aims to be Core App for GNOME & Phosh

          KGX is a simple and user-friendly terminal emulator for GNOME. It aims to be a “Core” app for GNOME and Phosh, graphical shell for mobile devices like Purism’s Librem 5.

          Rather than replacing GNOME Terminal, it’s on target to serve casual Linux user who rarely needs a terminal to carry out simple command line tasks. Via libhandy library, the terminal adjusts nicely to small screen sizes and for touch usage.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • TrueNAS SCALE Goes Far Beyond a Simple Network Storage

          Built on the shoulders of TrueNAS CORE, TrueNAS SCALE adds Docker Containers, VMs (KVM), and scale-out ZFS storage capabilities.

          TrueNAS SCALE is an exciting new addition to the TrueNAS software family. If you are unaware with TrueNAS CORE, it’s probably the best known and powerful free and open source NAS software out there.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • My #1 Reason to Love OpenMandriva Lx

          I want to start this post with a disclaimer: I am aware that all Linux distros have their pros and cons, and my purpose is not to berate any OS choice readers have made. I simply want to share with you what happened to me recently, as I upgraded to OpenMandriva Lx 4.3. This experience reminded me why, after all these years, I still love OpenMandriva.

          A second point I’d like to clarify is that I am not discussing benchmarks, compilers, package managers or any other technical matters here. To be honest, they go beyond my understanding: I am a non-technical Linux user.

          I was running the rolling version of OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 and I realized that a major upgrade was available. So, I decided to upgrade and here is where my story starts.

          After a whooping number of packages had upgraded in a process that took like 45 minutes (I do not have a very fast connection), I booted into a soundless system: the computer said that there was no sound. I did not panic and visited the OpenMandriva forums. There, I found a post that I should have read BEFORE attempting the upgrade. In it, ben79 described all the steps to have a successful upgrade.

          Of course, I had not followed any of the steps, so my system was operational, but erratic. And, although I could enable the sound easily following the post instructions, I decided to roll back and start over.

          So, I put my old OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 back in, upgraded following the steps and this time I booted into a far better system. I corrected the sound issue by installing the pulseaudio package from the repository and then started to configure the system.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.5 Adds Insights Services, New ‘System Roles’

          IBM subsidiary Red Hat, one of the world’s leading providers of open-source solutions, has announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.5 (RHEL 8.5) the latest incarnation of its enterprise Linux platform.

          RHEL 8.5 builds on Red Hat’s 20+ years of Linux expertise to provide a common, open operating system that extends from clouds and traditional datacenter operations to edge-computing environments. It’s a platform that was designed to span public cloud providers, multiple hardware architectures, virtualized environments, and edge computing models.

          “Linux is the common language spoken across nearly every public cloud, private cloud, edge deployment, and datacenter,” Gunnar Hellekson, general manager of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Group, said in a statement. “Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.5 reinforces the role of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform in the multi-cloud ecosystem, providing new capabilities to meet evolving and complex IT needs, from enhanced cloud-native container innovations to extending Linux skills with system roles, on whatever footprint our customers require.”

        • Fedora Community Blog: CPE Weekly Update – Week of November 15th – 19th

          This is a weekly report from the CPE (Community Platform Engineering) Team. If you have any questions or feedback, please respond to this report or contact us on #redhat-cpe channel on libera.chat (https://libera.chat/).

      • Debian Family

        • Debian vs Ubuntu (2021 Comparison): 101 Guide to Choose Your Distro

          These two are the most dominant distros out there in the market. Roughly there are 290 Linux distro variations out of which 131 are driven out from Debian and 58 directly from the code. Pretty interesting, right? Both have quite a few things in common and Ubuntu is developed based on other testing snapshot releases. Though there are some differences as well.

          We have all heard very good things about both of these. However, today I have compared 14 features in this Debian vs Ubuntu 2021 comparison article. T

        • Proxmox VE 7.1: Seamlessly virtualize Windows 11 and TPM 2.0 [Ed: Automated translation]

          Proxmox Server Solutions GmbH from Vienna has published the Proxmox Virtual Environment 7.1, with the help of which virtual machines and Linux containers can be conveniently managed on one platform via a graphical web front end. The core system is now based on Debian GNU / Linux “Bullseye” 11.1 and a current Linux 5.13. QEMU 6.1 provides virtual machines, Linux containers run under LXC 4.0. Ceph Pacific 16.2.6 in combination with OpenZFS 2.1 serves as an open source and distributed storage solution.

          [...]

          The Linux containers based on LXC 4.0 now also support the current Fedora 35 and Ubuntu 21.10. Container templates can be compressed using the Zstandard compression of OpenZFS (Zstd). In order to avoid problems with systemd in the containers, the “nesting” function is activated by default for newly created unprivileged containers. This should improve the interaction with systemd versions, especially from the newer templates.

        • True Convergence is Here: PureOS 10 is Released for all Librem Products

          Purism’s PureOS offers a freedom-respecting OS for a truly convergent user experience for Librem mobile phones, laptops, mini and desktop computers.

        • Donald Norwood & Debian spamming users with defamation and dirty politics

          Many Debian users received spam from Donald Norwood through the debian-news email list and social media networks this week.

          Norwood has attacked a developer with over 20 years experience.

          Looking at Norwood’s own profile, we see that he has never made a single package. He is one of the non-developing developers. Many of these non-developing developers are wives and girlfriends who have an honorary title. We don’t know exactly how Norwood got this title but nonetheless, if he never made a package himself, how can he judge the competence of a real Debian Developer?

          Any genuine expulsion involves a tribunal or grievance process where both sides get to review the evidence together and the accused has a right of reply. When we look at the accusations from Norwood, there is no hint of any evidence, no references, no report from any tribunal. It is pure defamation.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Best Raspberry Pi Black Friday Deals for 2021

        With more than 40 million units sold and a powerful community of makers and fans behind it, Raspberry Pi is more than a single-board computer; it’s a huge platform with an even bigger ecosystem behind it. Whether you want to build your own robot, create an A.I.-powered security camera or just set up a simple computer for programming and web surfing, the Pi is for you.

        With the holiday shopping season starting earlier than ever in 2021, you can find deals on everything from Raspberry Pi cases to screens, kits and perhaps even add-on boards. These are great for your Raspberry Pi projects or to give as gifts for the maker in your life. Don’t expect to find sales on the bare boards, though, as these never drop below the MSRP.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Arduino + Ham Radio = Texting | Hackaday

          Over on the Spectrum web site, [Dale] — a relatively new ham radio operator — talks about his system for sending text messaging over VHF radios called HamMessenger. Of course, hams send messages all the time using a variety of protocols, but [Dale] wanted a self-contained and portable unit with a keyboard, screen, and a GPS receiver. So he built one. You can find his work on GitHub.

          At the heart of the project is MicroAPRS, an Arduino firmware for packet radio. Instead of using a bigger computer, he decided to dedicate another Arduino to do everything but the modem function.

        • It’s Doom, This Time On A Bluetooth LE Dongle | Hackaday

          By now most readers should be used to the phenomenon of taking almost any microcontroller and coaxing it to run a port of the 1990s grand-daddy of all first-person shooters, id Software’s Doom. It’s been done on a wide array of devices, sometimes only having enough power for a demo mode but more often able to offer the full experience. Latest to the slipgate in this festival of pixelated gore is [Nicola Wrachien], who’s achieved the feat using an nRF52840-based USB Bluetooth LE dongle.

          Full details can be found on his website, where the process of initial development using an Adafruit CLUE board is detailed. A 16MB FLASH chip is used for WAD storage, and an SPI colour display takes us straight to that cursed base on Phobos. The target board lacks enough I/O brought out for connection to screen and FLASH, so some trickery with 7400 logic is required to free up enough for the task. Controls are implemented via a wireless gamepad using an nRFS1822 board, complete with streamed audio to a PWM output.

        • PinePhone Speed Up Takes Soldering | Hackaday

          It is no secret that we like a good hack and [Federico Amedeo Izzo] explains a hack for the PinePhone that can double the speed used for the device’s memory chips. Like many good hacks, it all started with a question. [Federico] was reading a review of the PinePhone Pro (the source of the image for this post) and apparently, the eMMC memory in that phone clocks in at about 150 MB/s. The original phone gets about 50-80 MB/s.

          Reading some datasheets, it looked like the same chips are in both phones and should support not only DDR52 mode — the mode the original phone uses — but also HS200 and HS400 modes which top out at 200 and 400 MB/s, respectively. But there was one problem.

          The eMMC used has two power supply lines: one for the memory and another for the interface management hardware. If the interface power supply is at 3.3V, the chip can’t support the faster modes. The original phone, of course, does provide 3.3V to this chip and, apparently, the new phone uses a lower supply.

        • IPod Mod Puts Pi Zero In New Bod | Hackaday

          We sure love to see nicely designed products get a new lease on life. Just as the new Raspberry Pi Zero 2 was being announced, [production] was stuffing an original RPi Zero into an old iPod’s case.

          [production] cites several previous, similar projects that showed how to interface with the click-wheel, a perfectly fitting color display from Waveshare, and open-source software called Rockbox to run on the pi. We all stand on the shoulders of giants.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • [Older] Nextcloud and TrueNAS Announce Partnership

        Nextcloud GmbH, the company behind the worlds’ most deployed on-premises content collaboration platform, and iXsystems inc., developers of the industry’s number one Open Storage platform, announced a partnership to bring the full suite of Nextcloud Hub features to TrueNAS. Tens of thousands of TrueNAS systems already run Nextcloud and availability of a supported, well-integrated offering will give larger organizations more confidence to deploy.

        “As self-funded companies that share a strong Open-Source philosophy, Nextcloud and TrueNAS are natural partners,” said Frank Karlitschek, CEO and Founder, Nextcloud. “Our mutual customers will benefit from an open and flexible platform with strong enterprise support capable of delivering efficient collaboration at any scale.”

      • Pantheon Kicks off Program to Give Back to Open Source Communities with Second Annual Gift of Open Source

        The program’s ultimate goal is to provide resources and mentorship to engage and energize first-time contributors to give back to open source. Opportunities are broad, spanning code- or non-code-based contributions to Drupal or WordPress projects, Pantheon repositories, GitHub pull requests or adjacent projects. For each contribution up to 500 contributions made, Pantheon will donate $20 to the Drupal Association and WordPress Foundation, for a total potential of $5,000 to each organization to support their efforts.

      • In the ’80s, spaceflight sim Elite was nothing short of magic. The annotated source code shows how it was done

        Just a fortnight under 40 years ago, the BBC Micro was released. Although it was never primarily a games machine – it was too expensive, for a start – nonetheless one of its defining programs was a video game: Elite.

        Its source was released a few years ago, but your correspondent just discovered a lavishly described and documented online edition if you want to see exactly how it was done. The annotations were written by Mark Moxon, a web dev and journalist who among many other things was once editor of Acorn User magazine.

        Elite was famous for several things, including its very considerable difficulty and amazing – for 1984 – wireframe 3D graphics with hidden-line removal. This was displayed on a screen which combined high-resolution and multi-colour graphics in a way the BBC’s hardware couldn’t natively do: the game changed screen modes from Mode 4 (medium-resolution monochrome) to Mode 5 (low-resolution four-colour) two-thirds of the way though generating each screen. At 50Hz, on a 2MHz 6502.

      • Friday FOSS fest: Franz, RamBox, Pidgin and more • The Register

        Most modern chat systems are entirely proprietary: proprietary clients, talking proprietary protocols to proprietary servers. There’s no need for this: there are free open standards for one-to-one and one-to-many comms for precisely this sort of system, and some venerable clients are still a lot more capable than you might remember.

        But as it is today, if you need to be on more than one chat system at once, the official way is to install their client app, meaning multiple clients – or at best, multiple tabs open in your web browsers. Most of these “clients” are JavaScript web apps anyway, running inside Electron – an embedded Chromium-based single-site browser. Which is fine, but Chrome is famously memory-hungry.

        There is a brute-force way round this: have one app that embeds lots of separate Electron instances in tabs. There are a few of these around – first came RamBox, followed by Franz. Both use the “freemium” model: there’s a completely functional free client, plus subscriptions for extra features. If you prefer to avoid such things, both services have no-cost forks: Ferdi from Franz and Hamsket from RamBox. A newer rival still is Station.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Google Chrome vs Chromium: What’s the difference?

            Google Chrome is the most popular web browser. No matter whether you prefer to use it, Chrome manages to offer a good user experience.

            Even though it is available for Linux, it is not an open-source web browser.

            And, if you need the look and feel of Google Chrome but want to use an open-source solution, Chromium can be your answer.

            But isn’t Google Chrome based on Chromium? (that’s a Yes.) And, it’s also developed by Google? (Also, Yes.)

            So, what are the differences between Chrome and Chromium? In this article, we shall take an in-depth look at both of them and compare them while presenting some benchmarks.

          • Chrome 96 rolls out with a slew of security updates

            We’re only two weeks away from the landmark release of Chrome OS 96 that will bring the Chrome browser and the Chrome operating system back into parity of release schedules. After the release of Chrome OS 96 in late November, the browser and the OS will enjoy a 4-week release cycle with the desktop browser releasing roughly two days prior to Chrome OS. For now, we have a two-week gap between the two pieces of software, and this week, version 96 of the Chrome Desktop Browser has landed with a slew of security updates and patches. Check out the eighteen security fixes and who reported them in the list below.

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla sprinkles Firefox Relay with Premium fairy dust

            Mozilla hopes to ramp up the monetisation machine with a paid premium version of its Firefox Relay service, upping the current limit of five email aliases to a near-unlimited number.

            Firefox Relay hides a user’s real email address behind an alias to both protect the user’s identity and spare their inbox from spam. A relatively simple system, Firefox Relay sends and forwards incoming email from a user’s alias email addresses to a primary email address, meaning that the primary address is kept hidden from prying eyes in favour of aliases.

            Relay turned up last year in beta form and if it all sounds a bit familiar, it should. The tech giants have been grappling with the problem for a while. Apple recently added a Hide My Email option to generate a random email address to forward messages to an actual address.

          • Github cookie leakage – thousands of Firefox cookie files uploaded by mistake

            Remember when people used to upload their SSH keys onto Github and similar code sharing sites by mistake?

            Two years ago, we wrote about the fact that incautious software developers had uploaded hundreds of thousands of private access control keys, entirely unintentionally, along with source code files that they did intend to make public.

            Typically, this sort of blunder happens because Linux and Unix computers don’t display directories or filenames that start with a dot character (period, full stop, ASCII 46, hexadecimal 0x2E) by default.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Microsoft Office vs. LibreOffice: Differences, Similarities and More

          LibreOffice is the premier open-source office suite, and it is the default office package on most Linux distributions. However, can a free product go head-to-head with Microsoft Office?

        • Announcing the Impress Guide 7.2

          Thanks to the LibreOffice Documentation Team, the Impress Guide 7.2 has just arrived with the latest LibreOffice Impress 7.2 developments.

          This 374 pages book covers the main features of Impress, the presentations (slide show) component of LibreOffice. You can create slides that contain text, bulleted and numbered lists, tables, charts, clip art, and other objects. Impress comes with prepackaged text styles, slide backgrounds, and Help. It can open and save to Microsoft PowerPoint formats and can export to PDF, HTML, and numerous graphic formats.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • ADA Finance Wins “Best DeFi Project of the Year”

            The code is released under the GNU General Public License. This means that anyone can fork the code, as long as they also make their own staking code public.

          • Best photo editing app 2021: From beginners to pros | ZDNet

            The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is a bit different from programs like Canva and Adobe, allowing for enhanced, high-quality photo manipulation. GIMP considers itself a more sophisticated photo editor that is appropriate for more experienced users, like graphic designers, photographers, and scientists. This is an open-source image editor that allows for the change and distribution of its source code. Designed to work with both digital and printed media, GIMP allows for high-fidelity color reproduction. Additionally, users can enjoy the program for image composition, retouching, and authoring. With several options available for customization, GIMP serves as a framework for special programming algorithms, working with multiple languages to include C, C++, Perl, Python, and Scheme. As a cross-platform editor, it offers wide compatibility with several third-party plug-ins and a variety of systems, including Windows, macOS, and GNU/Linux. It is also recommended for workflows with other software like Scribus, Inkscape, and SwatchBooker.

          • Which Image Editor Is Better to Choose

            GIMP is the most powerful and well-known of the free and open-source graphic editors. It is developed by enthusiasts from all over the world. It can run on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, FreeBSD, and many other operating systems. There are many different add-ons for GIMP.

            The tools of GIMP are very similar to those of the well-known Adobe Photoshop, there is support for layers, animation, a large set of filters, gradient fills, etc., set by default. It’s also worth noting the set of tools – it has everything you need even for complex graphic processing. The program allows you to open images directly from the Internet – just give a link to the picture, and then edit it as you like.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • COP26: Why a data commons is needed to secure net zero commitments

            We don’t have time for everyone to build their own financial and non-financial data aggregation platforms in order to facilitate capital allocation. Open-source collaboration could be the answer.

            At COP26 in Glasgow, I was invited to be the master of ceremonies for an event hosted by Federated Hermes’ Daniel Godfrey, and delivered by OS-Climate.

            In a giant inflatable igloo on a carpark next to the main venue, Truman Semans, the founder of OS-Climate, explained his vision: a data commons in the cloud – based on open-source community principles – that will connect investors, investees and entire ecosystems to the data and needed to facilitate capital allocation to green projects. This is what the planet and its inhabitants urgently need.

      • Programming/Development

        • A beginner’s guide to BeagleBoard

          If you haven’t heard of the BeagleBoard, it’s time to get caught up. Not only does it offer a similar experience as Raspberry Pi, but it is also small and compact enough to make it a convenient choice for building prototypes. In this article, we will explore a little bit more about the BeagleBoard and what you can do with it.

        • Printing an Integer Array in Assembly

          For the next couple tasks I want to do in assembly, I need to be able to inspect an array of numbers. This is useful for debugging searching and sorting algorithms. Since my last attempt to convert binary to ASCII was so ugly, I figured I would clean that up at the same time.

          It turns out I can use the reverse code as well.

          Unlike my last couple of posts where I show each of the interim steps, I have made this one work, and will just go through the final product. There was a lot of trial and error getting this to work, and I can see the need for getting organized in Assembly. The scale of the programs will quickly get beyond the scope of what I can keep in my head.

          One thing this code required me to learn was how to nest function calls. I have two functions, one which calls the other. Thus, the return location for the first needs to get pushed on the stack before it calls the second, and needs to get popped off the stack at the end.

        • Picolibc 1.7.4 Brings Improved Meson Support, Restructured Math Code

          Picolibc as the open-source C library optimized for small embedded systems with limited RAM capacities is out with a new update.

          This very lightweight C library as a reminder is the project started by well known X11 developer Keith Packard and began as a hybrid of Newlib and AVR Libc code. This tiny libc implementation can work on ARM, i386, x86_64, RISC-V, PowerPC, and also other architectures like for the Xtensa ESP8266.

        • Tech has a validation problem. It’s time to change… | ITProPortal

          Something to note. The point where the cost of preproduction validation surpasses that of in-production validation isn’t static. The cost of testing in production is somewhat fixed and the cost of thorough pre-production testing increases with the growing complexity of development processes. The threshold is something that needs to be dynamically assessed.

          Change validation is founded on best practices like continuous integration/continuous delivery and release orchestration. The new learning is that in this world of software supply chains and the cloud, testing in production has become an important additional tool to know if changes to code work as intended before releasing to the world.

          No one can adopt new technologies like AI and machine learning without knowing if changes happening in their apps are effective. In fact, where advanced technologies make changes to the code themselves, tracking the source of changes is critical!

        • Business and Technical Agility with Team Topologies

          Matthew Skelton, Manuel Pais explore how the patterns and principles from Team Topologies promote true business and technical agility.

        • 5 software architecture patterns: How to make the right choice
        • Jonathan Dowland: hledger footguns

          I wrote in budgeting tools that I was taking a look at Plain Text Accounting and in particular, hledger. My Jury’s still out on the tools, but in the time I’ve been looking at them I’ve come across a couple of foot-guns I thought it was worth writing down.

          hledger’s ledger format is derived from that of its predecessor ledger, and so some of the problems might be inherited.

        • Low-Code and the Democratization of Programming

          In the past decade, the growth in low-code and no-code solutions—promising that anyone can create simple computer programs using templates—has become a multi-billion dollar industry that touches everything from data and business analytics to application building and automation. As more companies look to integrate low-code and no-code solutions into their digital transformation plan, the question emerges again and again: what will happen to programming?

          Programmers know their jobs won’t disappear with a broadscale low-code takeover (even low-code is built on code), but undeniably their roles as programmers will shift as more companies adopt low-code solutions. This report is for programmers and software development teams looking to navigate that shift and understand how low-code and no-code solutions will shape their approach to code and coding. It will be fundamental for anyone working in software development—and, indeed, anyone working in any business that is poised to become a digital business—to understand what low-code means, how it will transform their roles, what kinds of issues it creates, why it won’t work for everything, and what new kinds of programmers and programming will emerge as a result.

        • Legacy IT and recognizing value | ITProPortal

          In a fast-paced world of business technology, innovators and users scramble to stay at the cutting edge – at the head of the comet. Yet further back in the comet tail lies long-standing, trusted technology, often referred to as “legacy” systems. The idea of “legacy systems” means different things to different people. Yes, there are some consistent elements: people are usually talking about the use of COBOL or mainframe systems. But the binary of new vs. old that the term presents – good vs. bad – is at minimum misleading, to others potentially harmful to business.

          Talking to one CIO who, when some of his applications were referred to as “legacy systems”, he brusquely responded, “these are not legacy; they are my core business”. Therein lies the core challenge: what might be a legacy system to an outside observer may in fact represent crown-jewel core business functionality to the organization. The real dilemma of course, is ensuring today’s IT needs can be addressed at the same time as supporting tomorrow’s opportunities. Keeping things running smoothly in the short term is critical — no matter what is going on or whichever future plans are made. And simply said, rip and replace tactics can be hugely cost-prohibitive, cause business downtime, and guarantee technical debt.

        • Java

          • Oracle JDK Is Free Again, But OpenJDK Still Recommended

            Oracle has reversed course on a controversial decision to charge companies a licensing fee to use its Oracle Java Development Kit (JDK) and has once again make the Java technology free, starting with the recently released Oracle JDK version 17. However, the move hasn’t changed IBM’s recommendations regarding which Java package IBM i shops use to run Access Client Solutions (ACS) software

            Oracle angered the Java-using community back in 2018 when it decided to stop distributing the Oracle JDK version 11 for free and charge companies a fee for commercial use (starting at $30 per desktop per year, and $300 per processor for server deployments). At the same time, the tech giant restricted access to Java Standard Edition (SE) version 8, which it also distributed under an Oracle Technology Network (OTN) license.

            The change in licensing term included this Oracle threat: “You may not use the Programs for any data processing or any commercial, production, or internal business purposes other than developing, testing, prototyping, and demonstrating your Application.” Anybody who questioned Oracle’s resolve probably hasn’t been on the pointy end of a software audit by the Redwood City, California company.

            Oracle’s stick was accompanied by a carrot. Organizations that wanted to continue using a free version of the JDK were encouraged to adopt OpenJDK, the open source version of the JDK that Sun Microsystems launched in 2006. The software, which is licensed via GPL and supported by Oracle, IBM, and other members of the Java community, has been the official reference implementation of Java SE since version 7.

            Adopting OpenJDK and the associated runtimes was the course of action that IBM recommended for its IBM i community back in 2018, and it’s still the recommended action. However, Oracle’s move resulted in widespread pushback, as surveys showed that many organizations preferred using the Oracle JDK.

          • [Older] Oracle’s JDK 17 – Free Again for Commercial Use

            The Oracle JDK is available free of charge for production use again – under the new “Oracle No-Fee Terms and Conditions” (NFTC) license. This move reverses a 2018 decision to charge for Oracle JDK production use and does not affect Oracle‘s OpenJDK distribution. The NFTC applies to the recently released version 17 of Oracle JDK and future versions.

  • Leftovers

    • Hardware

      • The Pros And Cons Of A Power Flush Toilet | Hackaday

        By and large, toilet design hasn’t radically changed in a good long time. The problem was considered solved, and society moved on. However, [Handy Geng] was tasked by a friend to build a toilet with an extra-powerful flush, so he went ahead and did just that.

        The concept is simple; the water tank in the custom-built toilet can be charged with pressurized air from a compressor when an more powerful flush is needed. Then, when the lever is pulled on that flush, the water will blast into the bowl with significantly more ferocity than usual.

        [Handy Geng] also notes a further benefit from the system. By bolting down the toilet lid, using a gasket to seal it to the toilet bowl, the air pressure system can be used to blast out blockages and clogs.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • NCSC on rise in ransomware attacks [Ed: A Windows problem]

          Over the past 12 months the UK official National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has responded to a rise in ransomware attacks, and a range of services have been provided to businesses over the year to help protect them from ransomware. That’s according to the NCSC’s annual report on its fifth year of working, to August 2021.

        • Open-source leaders seek to fill the gaps in software supply chain security [Ed: These are proprietary software issues]

          Security of the software supply chain has gained significant attention over the past year. Two major cybersecurity attacks — SolarWinds and Kaseya — proved sharp reminders to reexamine every component of software development and deployment, including what they are and where they came from.

          The first signs of major supply chain vulnerability actually showed up over four years ago when the malware wiper NotPetya was launched against Ukraine in 2017. NotPetya attackers, believed to be threat actors in the Russian military, allegedly injected malicious code into accounting software owned by a Ukrainian company. The result was an estimated $10 billion in damages that impacted organizations across Asia, Europe and the Americas.

        • Security

          • Intel audio drivers give Windows 11 the blues and Microsoft Installer borked following security update

            Windows 11 has continued to notch up known issues as Microsoft admitted to problems in the Intel Smart Sound department and Microsoft Installer following a security update.

            The former turned up earlier this week, when Microsoft realised that “certain versions” of drivers for Intel Smart Sound Technology (SST) could tip Windows 11 into a blue screen (of death). The driver involved is IntcAudioBus.sys and file versions 10.29.0.5152 and earlier or 10.30.0.5152 and earlier are affected.

            The workaround is, unsurprisingly, to get an updated driver from one’s OEM. 10.30.00.5714 and later or 10.29.00.5714 and later should do it, according to Microsoft. Slightly confusingly, “for addressing this issue, 10.30.x versions are not newer than 10.29.x versions.” The key bit is the last of the version number.

          • [Older: AMD fixes dozens of Windows 10 graphics driver security bugs
          • New Alder Lake Linux bug is similar to Ryzen CPPC bug on Windows 11, patch incoming – Neowin

            When Intel introduced its Alder Lake architecture back at its 2021 Architecture Day event, the company touted its performance optimization surrounding Microsoft’s Windows 11. However, the same can not be said for Linux it seems. As only a few days ago, we reported on an Alder Lake bug that was causing performance loss on the upcoming Linux 5.16 kernel; and yesterday, a new patch was submitted for another issue detected on Alder Lake.

          • Linux Kernel Patches Updated for x86/x86_64 SLS Mitigation – Phoronix

            With GCC 12 having added a new option to enable Straight Line Speculation “SLS” mitigation for x86/x86_64 CPUs, Linux kernel developers are preparing to enable this new compiler feature for further reducing undesirable speculation exposure.

            GCC 12 landed the -mharden-sls= option this week for x86/86_64 after Arm merged its Straight-Line Speculation mitigation to the open-source code compilers last year. The -mharden-sls= option supports values of none, all, return, or indirect-branch. The behavior mitigates against straight-line speculation of speculatively executing instructions linearly in memory past an unconditional change in control flow.

            The kernel patch sent out on Friday proposes adding straight-line speculation mitigation handling and can be configured via the SLS Kconfig switch.

          • New Side Channel Attacks Re-Enable Serious DNS Cache Poisoning Attacks

            Researchers have demonstrated yet another variant of the SAD DNS cache poisoning attack that leaves about 38% of the domain name resolvers vulnerable, enabling attackers to redirect traffic originally destined to legitimate websites to a server under their control.

            “The attack allows an off-path attacker to inject a malicious DNS record into a DNS cache,” University of California researchers Keyu Man, Xin’an Zhou, and Zhiyun Qian said. “SAD DNS attack allows an attacker to redirect any traffic (originally destined to a specific domain) to his own server and then become a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacker, allowing eavesdropping and tampering of the communication.”

          • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Police killing of Colorado ‘hero’ illustrates issues cops face in regulating concealed guns

        The police killing of a Colorado man praised as a hero for preventing a mass shooting earlier this year illustrates how laws that allow the concealed or open carry of guns in public complicate police response to shootings.

        Police say that John Hurley, 40, confronted Ronald Troyke after he shot and killed Officer Gordon Beesley in the west Denver suburb of Arvada. Investigators recovered a document written by Troyke with statements revealing his intent to kill police officers, including, “Today I will kill as many Arvada officers as I possibly can.”

    • Environment

      • Imagine If Stopping Climate Change Was More Important Than Creating More Climate Change Billionaires – OpEd

        We are still getting through a worldwide pandemic that has taken tens of millions of lives. While we did develop effective vaccines, they were not produced and distributed quickly enough to prevent enormous loss of life. This is a tragedy that should force us to ask how we could have done better.

        On the other side, some people did manage to get enormously rich from the pandemic. Specifically, those who had patent monopolies on the mRNA vaccines did very well, as the stock prices of both Pfizer and Moderna soared during the pandemic. Back in April, Forbes identified 40 people who became billionaires as a direct result of their ownership of stock in companies that were profiting off the pandemic. Three of these were from Moderna alone. The number has surely grown, as the stock market has gone up further in the last seven months.

        The reason why the Moderna billionaires might be especially upsetting is that so much of what they did was with government funding. The development of mRNA technology, beginning in the early 1980s, was accomplished almost entirely on the government’s dime. While Moderna did do further research to develop a foundation for producing vaccines, the money to actually develop and test Moderna’s vaccine came entirely from the government through Operation Warp Speed. The government also signed a large advance purchase agreement, which would have required it to pay for several million Moderna vaccines, even if other vaccines were superior.

        In spite of all this government assistance, Moderna was allowed to gain control over key patents and other intellectual property claims. It can therefore restrict the distribution of its vaccine and charge whatever price it chooses.

        In short, we structured the relationship with Moderna so that it was able to profit enormously. Its profits come directly at the expense of lives. While we could have insisted that all the work on done on pandemic vaccines, tests, and treatments be fully open (at least those projects relying on government funding or past government-funded research), we instead had the taxpayers pick up the tab and then give Moderna, Pfizer, Merck, and the rest patent monopolies.

        [...]

        The companies currently in the industry may resist changing their business model, but it is possible to force the issue. Suppose the government is putting up funding for developing solar panels, with the condition that all the technology would be fully open. If a solar panel manufacturer chose to remain outside the system, they are soon likely to find themselves competing with panels that are sold at much lower prices, since they don’t have to cover the cost of the technology. (We need a provision like “copyleft” developed by the free software movement that prohibits the use of the technology developed through this system by anyone who themselves claim patent or other IP protection.)

        This prospect is likely to lead most of the companies currently involved in producing clean energy to join the system. Since the government payments are meant to be an alternative to patent monopolies, rather than a supplement, they will have to be larger relative to the research spending than we saw under OWL. It will likely be necessary in many cases to compensate companies for intellectual property claims they already possess to persuade them to join the system.

      • Talking climate change at the Europeana Foundation: a ‘green’ team and community action

        The Europeana Foundation’s Business Plan 2021, ‘Towards a digital public space for cultural heritage’, highlights five themes that run through all aspects of our work. We explore these themes with a series of interviews with Europeana Foundation staff. Here, Shadi Ardalan and Patrick Ehlert talk about the Europeana Foundation’s environmental responsibility.

      • Computer-assisted classification of contrarian claims about climate change

        A growing body of scholarship investigates the role of misinformation in shaping the debate on climate change. Our research builds on and extends this literature by (1) developing and validating a comprehensive taxonomy of climate contrarianism, (2) conducting the largest content analysis to date on contrarian claims, (3) developing a computational model to accurately classify specific claims, and (4) drawing on an extensive corpus from conservative think-tank (CTTs) websites and contrarian blogs to construct a detailed history of claims over the past 20 years. Our study finds that the claims utilized by CTTs and contrarian blogs have focused on attacking the integrity of climate science and scientists and, increasingly, has challenged climate policy and renewable energy. We further demonstrate the utility of our approach by exploring the influence of corporate and foundation funding on the production and dissemination of specific contrarian claims.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Invasive species, growing human activity threatens Antarctica’s ecosystems – Hindustan Times

          We tend to think Antarctica is isolated and far away – biologically speaking, this is true. But the continent is busier than you probably imagine, with many national programs and tourist operators crisscrossing the globe to get there.
          And each vessel, each cargo item, and each person could be harbouring non-native species, hitchhiking their way south. This threat to Antarctica’s fragile ecosystem is what our new evaluation, released today, grapples with.
          We mapped the last five years of planes and ships visiting the continent, illuminating for the first time the extent of travel across the hemispheres and the potential source locations for non-native species, as the map below shows. We found that, luckily, while some have breached Antarctica, they generally have yet to get a stranglehold, leaving the continent still relatively pristine.

        • ‘No One Who Hears Them Is Left Unaffected’: Bernie Krause on Turning the Sounds of Nature Into Art

          The musician and soundscape ecologist is behind ‘The Great Animal Orchestra,’ an audio-visual experience commissioned by the Cartier Foundation in Paris—now opening in the U.S.

      • Overpopulation

        • Engineer Helps Villages Become Drought-Free & Save 165 Crore Litres Water

          In 2013, Maharashtra experienced one of the worst droughts in 40 years. Villages such as Shelkewadi, Randulabad, Satichiwadi, Muthalane, Phalakewadi and Thapewadi, faced a severe crisis as they fell in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats.
          Falling in the rain shadow region meant the villages were located behind the mountains, resulting in lesser clouds and low rainfall.

          But today, the villages turned these odds in their favour by becoming water sufficient and creating water management policies that ensured the residents never suffered the same fate again.

          This is all thanks to Pune-based Rahul Bakare, one of the key players who established the Participatory Groundwater Management Network that helped the villages become drought-free.

    • Finance

      • Charities see more crypto donations. Who is benefiting? – Los Angeles Times

        As the biggest cryptocurrencies ebb and flow in value, notching record highs one week before retreating the next, they’re increasingly becoming bigger sources of revenue for charities. However, the number of charities accepting the virtual currencies, known for their volatility, remains limited.

        Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, hit nearly $69,000 for the first time in its history earlier in November, roaring back after sinking below $30,000 during the summer. The value of ethereum, the second biggest cryptocurrency, also hit a record high.

        Both cryptocurrencies have dropped from their record levels after helping push the overall market cap of cryptocurrencies past $3 trillion, according to CoinGecko pricing. As of Friday, CoinMarketCap, another popular measure, listed the market cap at $2.6 trillion.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Report Finds Gruesome Medical Malpractice and Death in Arizona Prisons

        A paraplegic man was left to physically deteriorate until his penis had to be amputated. A man with undiagnosed, untreated lung cancer lost 90 pounds and died “slowly and agonizingly” without pain medication. A woman’s multiple sclerosis was ignored and misdiagnosed until she was left, at age 36, nearly completely paralyzed.

        Arizona’s prison system is on trial once again in a long-running civil lawsuit over claims of medical neglect, including the examples above, and a doctor’s testimony in the case paints a stomach-churning picture of unnecessary suffering, malpractice, and death behind prison walls.

        In an expert witness report filed last week in the lawsuit, Tod Wilcox, medical director of the Salt Lake County Jail System, describes several cases of preventable deaths that he says were offensive to him as a medical professional and showed that Arizona prisons put incarcerated people at unacceptable risks of harm.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Bridging Africa’s digital divide: The rise of community internet

        As a child growing up in war-torn northern Uganda, Daniel Komakech’s education was interrupted every time he had to flee rebels and hide in the bush for days to avoid being abducted.

        Today, Komakech, 34, helps run a locally owned internet network that ensures villagers in the former conflict zone can study and stay in touch with each other – without unwanted interruptions.

        “Accessing the internet was a turning point in my life,” said Komakech, programme coordinator for the non-profit Battery Operated System for Community Outreach (BOSCO), one of a growing number of community-led internet and phone networks in Africa.

      • Decentralized network develops solution in support of a free and open internet

        As new technology becomes available to more and more end-users, our world is only becoming more interconnected. However, as the spread of such technology progresses, so does the reach of big tech.

        Many of these companies now hold vast amounts of personal user data — information that includes a user’s location, their activity on third-party websites and even the contents of users’ emails — this is astonishing for those in a liberal democracy where concepts of freedom and social responsibility were both built upon expectations of privacy in one’s own communications.

        As a result, your personal data may be subject to more than the stated monetization. Data tracking and the ability to censor individual users raises profound questions about the most basic precepts of our societies.

      • Eighty Civil Society Groups Ask for Swift Confirmation of FCC, NTIA Nominees : Broadband Breakfast

        Eighty civil-society groups have penned a letter to Senate leadership requesting a swift confirmation process for President Joe Biden’s nominees to the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

    • Monopolies

      • Wolfire versus Valve antitrust lawsuit gets dismissed

        Well this was very much expected wasn’t it? A judge has ruled in the case of Wolfire versus Valve to dismiss the case.

        As a brief reminder of what’s been going on – Wolfire Games took Valve to court over a couple of things like: the 30% cut Valve take, and an apparent clause that forces developers match their prices on Steam to other stores if they release their game elsewhere. Valve of course moved to have it dismissed and now a ruling has been passed down.

        In the new filing on November 19, the judge has dismissed and denied the case in part, giving Wolfire leave to amend their case, which going by the documentation Wolfire requested and it has been granted, so we might see Wolfire back again with an amended case at some point (they have 30 days).

      • How big tech is changing who’s in charge of our rights and freedoms

        Since the end of the 20th century, daily life for most of us has increasingly moved into the digital sphere. This has led to the rise of the so-called “onlife” dimension, which represents the intimate intertwining of our online and offline lives. One day we may see the creation of the so-called metaverse, a perpetual online environment providing new digital spaces where people can interact, work and play as avatars.

      • On the way to a European digital public sphere

        The European public sphere has become dysfunctional. Against this background, a debate has unfolded in recent years about a European digital public sphere (EDPS), exploring the possibilities of how another communicative digital infrastructure can emerge—not subject to the deformations resulting from the dominance of the United States digital giants of ‘GAFAM’ (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft).

        [...]

        EPOS (European Public Open Spaces) is the upshot of scholars who wanted to stimulate open arenas in digitally-networked public space. It is concerned with ‘spaces that serve the public interest, are free of state and market influences and have a European dimension’. The project recognises that public-service media remain, also in the digital-media world, one of the most important places for public policy, culture and integration.

        [...]

        A paper by Acatech, the German National Academy of Science and Engineering, which is funded by the federal and state governments, advocates a sovereign European digital infrastructure, democratically accountable to citizens, which enables further offers and platforms. In this context, the public-service media are not seen as prominent players but as one content provider among others.

        To develop this system, a governance unit, a European digital agency or network, together with an alliance of European actors—including providers of content, services and infrastructure components, civil-society initiatives and research institutions—is considered necessary. So too is state funding, in conjunction with a European regulation.

      • The Amazon lobbyists who kill U.S. consumer privacy protections

        Jeffrey Dastin, Chris Kirkham, and Aditya Kalra of Reuters report: In recent years, Amazon has killed or undermined privacy protections…

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