The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXXI: Public Service or Self-Service?

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part I: Let the Sunshine In!
  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part II: A “Unanimous” Endorsement?
  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part III: Three Missing Votes
  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IV: The Founding States
  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part V: Germany Says “Ja”
  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VI: A Distinct Lack of Dutch Courage
  7. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VII: Luxembourgish Laxity
  8. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VIII: Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia
  9. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IX: More Holes Than Swiss Cheese
  10. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part X: Introducing the Controversial Christian Bock
  11. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XI: “General Bock” – Battistelli’s Swiss Apprentice?
  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XII: The French Connection
  13. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIII: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Spain
  14. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Portugal
  15. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XV: Et Tu Felix Austria…
  16. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVI: The Demise of the Austrian Double-Dipper
  17. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVII: The Non-Monolithic Nordic Bloc
  18. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVIII: Helsinki’s Accord
  19. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States
  20. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XX: The Visegrád Group
  21. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXI: The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”
  22. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXII: The Balkan League – North Macedonia and Albania
  23. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIII: The Balkan League – Bulgaria
  24. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIV: The Balkan League – Romania
  25. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXV: The Balkan League – Fresh Blood or Same Old, Same Old?
  26. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXVI: A Trojan Horse on the Budget and Finance Committee
  27. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXVII: Cypriot Complicity
  28. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXVIII: Benoît and António’s Loyal “Habibi”
  29. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXXX: The EPOnian Micro-States – Monaco and Malta
  30. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXX: San Marino and the Perfidious Betrayal of Liberty
  31. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXI: The Abstentionists
  32. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXII: “Plucky Little Belgium”?
  33. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXIII: Swedish Scepticism
  34. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXIV: An “Extremely Dubious” Proposal
  35. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXV: Slovakian Scruples
  36. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXVI: Serbian Sour Grapes
  37. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXVII: Stubbornly Independent Slovenia
  38. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXVIII: Ensnared in the Tentacles of the SAZAS Octopus
  39. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXIX: On the Slippery Slope to Capture
  40. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXX: The Idiosyncratic Italians
  41. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Public Service or Self-Service?

New Public Management (NPM) principles to the EPO
Many leading figures on the Administrative Council during Battistelli era were enthusiastic advocates of the application of New Public Management (NPM) principles to the EPO.

Summary: Benoît Battistelli‘s EPO corruption (persisting under the current administration of his friend, António Campinos) is under investigation again; we consider how an institution meant to be run by public servants became a self-serving money machine with plenty of servants who aren’t permitted to have an opinion or a sense of duty to the general public

In the present series we have taken an in-depth look at the EPO’s Administrative Council as it was constituted back in June 2013 when it voted to adopt Battistelli's "Strike Regulations".

Many leading figures on the Administrative Council during the time in question liked to portray themselves as adepts of the school of New Public Management (NPM) and were enthusiastic advocates of the application of NPM principles to the EPO.

NPM is a managerial ideology founded on belief in the efficacy of markets, competition and business-like management ideas and practices. It proposes the use of market-based mechanisms for the delivery of public services (including privatization, contracting out and the development of “internal markets”).

“…critics of NPM have warned that there is danger in relying too heavily on private business models in the public sector because of the contextual differences.”Most areas of public service and administration have distinct political, ethical, constitutional and social dimensions which make the public sector significantly different from the private sector. For this reason, critics of NPM have warned that there is danger in relying too heavily on private business models in the public sector because of the contextual differences.

According to its critics, NPM undermines the development of a consensual and reliable administrative culture. The emphasis placed on “efficiency” often leads to a situation in which individual or factional interests tend to end up being valued more than the public welfare.

“According to its critics, NPM undermines the development of a consensual and reliable administrative culture. The emphasis placed on “efficiency” often leads to a situation in which individual or factional interests tend to end up being valued more than the public welfare.”Whatever about the pros and cons of NPM, the “good brother” cronies who infiltrated the EPO’s Administrative Council and the upper echelons of the Office management during the “Battistelli era” were well versed in NPM terminology and enjoyed spouting the usual verbiage about “efficiency”, “flexibility”, “cost-effectiveness” and “customer satisfaction”.

But it is difficult to avoid the impression that this was nothing more than empty rhetoric served up for public consumption while these individuals were busy pursuing their own “self-service” agendas behind the scenes.

Back in 2000, Cristopher Hood, author of The Art of the State – Culture, Rhetoric and Public Management, warned that “the sort of failures that are likely to arise [from the application of NPM] will come about through disdain for any collective restraint on the ability for individuals to shape their jobs as they choose, turn public affairs into private-market transactions, and public organizations into private property. Three of the most common failings of this type are bribery and extortion, front-line abandonment, and the use of public organizations for personal ego-trips”.

Looking at what happened to the EPO between 2010 and 2018, Hood’s warning appears to have been remarkably prescient.

At the EPO, the members of the Administrative Council effectively permitted their former colleague Battistelli to turn a public organisation into his private “fiefdom” which he then proceeded to (ab)use for his own personal ego-trip.

Benoît Battistelli's fiefdom
Battistelli’s cronies on the Administrative Council permitted him to turn a public organisation into his private “fiefdom” which he then proceeded to (ab)use for his own personal ego-trip.

With hindsight, these developments are not really surprising given that many Council delegates during the time in question appear to have been driven primarily by their own overweening personal ambitions and inflated sense of entitlement.

“…members of the Administrative Council effectively permitted their former colleague Battistelli to turn a public organisation into his private “fiefdom” which he then proceeded to (ab)use for his own personal ego-trip.”In the next part, we will recall the activities of some of these individuals who were key members of the "crony network" that came to dominate the organisation and its executive branch, the European Patent Office.

[Meme] EPC 50th Anniversary Whitewash in Preparation…

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Whitewash EPO 50

Summary: The EPO is slowly gearing up to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the EPC in October 1973

Links 4/2/2022: Zenwalk 15.0 and Libinput 1.20 RC1

Posted in News Roundup at 5:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Year MMXVII in 1 ⅓ minute – The Open Sourcerer

        Curiously looked at powertop numbers and wondered why I can’t seem to break below the 50-60 wakeups-per-second barrier on modern Linux desktops: part 1 and part 2. Those observations may or may not be outdated by now.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • libinput 1.20rc1
          libinput 1.20rc1 (1.19.901) is now available.
          This is the first release that has been made available on GitLab. I know
          you are really excited about testing the release candidate and reporting
          bugs upstream, but first make sure to update your scripts to point to
          the new URLs [1].
          This is what's new:
           - High-resolution scroll is more reliable thanks to the inclusion of new
           - Better handling of BTN_TOOL_PEN on top of BTN_TOOL_RUBBER on graphics
             tablets that trigger a kernel bug
           - libinput doesn't handle joysticks and gamepads. The detection algorithm
             has been improved to avoid tagging some of those devices as keyboards
           - Improved clickpad detection
           - New quirks and bug fixing
          Thanks to all contributors :D
        • AMD officially approves GPU support for MI200 “Alderbaran” for use in Linux

          In November of 2021, AMD announced the Instinct MI200 GPU accelerator for the Linux open-source driver support. The development was under “experimental” consideration for the “Aldebaran” graphics card as far back as February of last year. AMD’s team of open-source developers are officially withdrawing the “experimental” labeling and now offering it for complete release on the Linux platform.

        • Wayland v. X.Org for NVIDIA Linux gaming performance on Ubuntu 22.04: Which one reigns supreme?

          NVIDIA launches their 510 Linux driver series that pairs with the recent XWayland and a modern version of the Wayland compositor. This new compositor is similar to the current GNOME/Mutter packages. Now, NVIDIA and their (X)Wayland venture appear to deliver identical performance to the standard X.Org session.

    • Applications

      • Puddletag Audio Tag Editor 2.1.0 Released [What’s New & How to Install] | UbuntuHandbook

        After Python3 and PyQt5 port, the Puddletag audio tag editor finally got a new update after almost 1 year and half of development.

        Puddletag 2.1.0 fixed many crash issues, including crashes when using Update From Tag function, mass tagging search button, adding custom tag with language lyrics, searching with AcoustId, specifying ‘Export artwork to file’ in action, and more!!

        Besides, there are some minor new features. When refreshing in preview mode, it now asks confirm before discarding changes; New Actions menu option ‘Go to parent folder‘; Copy & Paste cover from/to clipboard.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Install Neofetch on Ubuntu 22.04 | 20.04 LTS- Display system information

        Neofetch and Screenfetch both are lightweight tools for Linux to fetch the system version and resources details on the command terminal but in an intuitive way. Here we learn the commands to install Neofetch & Screenfetch on Ubuntu 22.04 Jammy Jellyfish and 20.04 Focal fossa.

      • How to use a VM as a Jenkins agent | Enable Sysadmin

        I have worked with Red Hat’s migration team for the last two years. Early on, I was part of a large group working on the CloudForms management tool. A dedicated team did DevOps, so whenever I got into trouble with Jenkins or made changes to the Jenkins job, I would just email them. Like Genie following Aladdin’s wishes, they did everything for me. That felt really good, and it enabled me to focus on test automation, which was my main job.

        Recently, I joined a new group that doesn’t have a separate infrastructure team. We’re establishing processes and tools from scratch. We don’t have a dedicated team to manage testing, so I must now automate my testing, create a Jenkins job for it, and publish the reports generated.

      • How to Install Sublime Text 4 Editor on Ubuntu

        Sublime Text is one of the most popular text and source code editors which is designed for software and web development. It is fast, flexible, and comes with a lot of sophisticated features. Custom settings and hundreds of plugins are available for the customization of sublime text. Its functionality can be enhanced to the extent that many professionals refer to it as an Integrated Development Environment(IDE) instead of a simple editor.

        Also because of its flexibility, it provides more control over their editor or environment. In this article, You will learn how to install Sublime Text on the Ubuntu operating system.

      • How to Install Jenkins Automation Server on AlmaLinux 8 – VITUX

        Jenkins is a free and open-source automation server written in Java. It can be deployed on a single server or as a distributed application. It is one of the most popular open-source solutions for continuous integration and continuous delivery of software applications.

        Continuous integration (CI) is a software development practice that requires developers to integrate their code into the main repository (usually on a daily basis) as early and often as possible in order to detect integration errors, build new features, and provide feedback for all stages of the software life cycle.

      • How to Install Syncthing Remote File Synchronization Software on Debian 11

        Syncthing is a free and open-source file syncing application used to sync files between multiple remote devices over the internet. It works on peer-to-peer architecture and exchanges the data automatically between two devices. It helps you to keep files and directories synchronized in real-time. All data transmission between multiple devices is safe and encrypted with TLS. It has clients for Linux, Windows, and macOS. It also has an Android app to sync from and to smartphones!

        In this post, we will show you how to install Syncthing file synchronization software on Debian 11 server.

      • How to install Linux Lite 5.8 – Invidious
      • How To Install IonCube Loader on Debian 11 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install IonCube Loader on Debian 11. For those of you who didn’t know, IonCube is a PHP extension that can be used for decoding secured encrypted PHP files at runtime. The IonCube encoder is used by commercial PHP program vendors to protect applications and the loader. IonCube needs to be installed in your webserver and made accessible to your PHP to use it.

        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 CMake on a Debian 11 (Bullseye).

      • How To Install Apache Cassandra on AlmaLinux 8 | Rocky Linux 8

        Learn the commands to install Apache Cassandra on Rocky Linux or AlmaLinux 8 server using your terminal given in this tutorial.

        Apache Cassandra is the most popular NoSQL column-oriented database and is written in Java, unlike both MongoDB (C++) and HBase. Due to its architectural properties, Cassandra is often used in big data projects, but can also be used well for complex web applications in cooperation with an application server/framework.

        Cassandra is a distributed database management system that is designed to manage very large amounts of structured data and belongs to the class of NoSQL database systems,

        In addition to being used as a distributed database in social networks – the database is also used, for example, by the social news aggregator Reddit and the social bookmarks provider Digg.

      • Create And Manage Kubernetes Pods In Linux – OSTechNix

        In this tutorial, we are going to learn how to create and manage Kubernetes Pods. First, we will start with what is a Pod in Kubernetes and how does a Pod work. Next, we shall take a brief look at the types of Pods. And then we will see how to create a new Pod and how to view the information of Pod from the command line. Finally, we will learn how to delete the Pod when it’s no longer needed.

      • How To Install RPM Packages On Ubuntu 22.04 LTS | Itsubuntu.com

        Linux is all about Installing, patching, and removing software packages and package management is a method of installing, updating, removing, and keeping track of software updates from specific repositories (repos) in the Linux system. Different Linux uses their own package management tools. One of the popular Linux distros, Red Hat Linux uses RPM (RPM Package Manager) and YUM/DNF (Yellow Dog Updater, Modified/Dandified YUM) to manage the packages.

        In this tutorial, we are going to show you the method to install RPM packages on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

      • Create your own online shop for free with Abantecart on Ubuntu 20.04!

        Hello, friends. Having an online store is vital for your business. In this post, you will learn how to install AbanteCart on Ubuntu 20.04. With this application, you will be able to deploy a store quickly and easily.

      • Install/Upgrade Avidemux on Linux Mint 20 LTS – LinuxCapable

        Avidemux is a free and open-source software application for non-linear video editing and transcoding multimedia files. It is trendy as it allows a user to cut, join, split, rotate videos, adds filters, and support many file types, including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4, and ASF, using a variety of codecs.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to Install the latest Avidemux on Linux Mint 20 LTS.

      • Install OpenRGB on Linux Mint 20 LTS – LinuxCapable

        OpenRGB is free and open-source software used to control RGB lighting control that does not require manufacturer software. The software allows for RGB amber lighting, game integrations, music visualization, and much more. OpenRGB also comes with a plugin interface that can extend the software’s functionality even further.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install OpenRGB on Linux Mint 20 LTS.

      • Install UNRAR on Linux Mint 20 LTS – LinuxCapable

        UNRAR is widely known and used amongst Windows users. RAR files are much smaller archives and compress better than ZIP for most files by compressing files “together,” saving more space. UNRAR does not come pre-installed natively on Linux Mint, but it is available to install from its repository.

        The following tutorial will show you how to install UNRAR on Linux Mint 20 LTS, along with the most commonly used commands.

      • Install/Upgrade LibreOffice on Linux Mint 20 LTS – LinuxCapable

        LibreOffice is a free, open-source office productivity suite used by millions worldwide. The office suite software uses a native file format ODF or Open Document Format, an accepted and almost required structure in multiple organizations across the globe.

        LibreOffice includes Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector graphics and flowcharts), Base (databases), and Math (formula editing).

      • Revoke Users SUDO privileges in Linux – TREND OCEANS

        Serving SUDO privileges in the wrong hand might disrupt your Linux system with unusual packages and applications.

        We often follow the same standard method while creating a new user account for someone, like creating an account using adduser or useradd and then giving them sudo permission with the help of the usermod command.

        In performing these steps, you might give less attention to the sudo command while assigning to the user, which may be unnecessary and can lead you to conflicts with that user’s actions.

        Today we will guide you to the steps required to perform while revoking sudo privileges from users in the Linux system.

      • Install Neofetch on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS – LinuxCapable

        Neofetch is a free, open-source command-line system information tool written in bash 3.2+. Neofetch displays system information in a beautiful aesthetic way, such as system, software, memory resources, kernel version, and much more.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Neofetch along with some basic commands on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Jammy Jellyfish.

      • how I wound up causing a major outage of my services and destroying my home directory by accident – Ariadne’s Space

        As a result of my FOSS maintenance and activism work, I have a significant IT footprint, to support the services and development environments needed to facilitate everything I do. Unfortunately, I am also my own system administrator, and I am quite terrible at this. This is a story about how I wound up knocking most of my services offline and wiping out my home directory, because of a combination of Linux mdraid bugs and a faulty SSD. Hopefully this will be helpful to somebody in the future, but if not, you can at least share in some catharsis.


        My primary development server, is named treefort. It is an x86 box with AMD EPYC processors and 256 GB of RAM. It had a 3-way RAID-1 setup using Linux mdraid on 4TB Samsung 860 EVO SSDs. I use KVM with libvirt to manage various VMs on this server, but most of the server’s resources are dedicated to the treefort environment. This environment also acts as a kubernetes worker, and is also the kubernetes controller for the entire cluster.

        Recently I had a stick of RAM fail on treefort. I ordered a replacement stick and had a friend replace it. All seemed well, but then I decided to improve my monitoring so that I could be alerted to any future hardware failures, as having random things crash on the machine due to uncorrected ECC errors is not fun. In the process of implementing this monitoring, I learned that one of the SSDs had fallen out of the RAID.

        I thought it was a little weird that one drive failed out of the three, so I assumed it was just due to maintenance, perhaps the drive had been reseated after the RAM stick was replaced, after all. As the price of a replacement 4TB Samsung SSD is presently around $700 retail, I thought I would re-add the drive to the array, assuming it would fail out of the array again during rebuild if it had actually failed.

      • 16 Basic Cron Command In Linux With Examples | LinuxTeck [Ed: Page updated]

        By using the cron command, we can schedule and run many tasks automatically in Linux/Unix. You can execute them once or on a regular basis. Cron is widely used to schedule repetitive tasks at regular intervals (using commands listed in a file called ‘crontab’), and the ‘at’ function is a way of scheduling a task once during a specific period.For each user, Crontab maintains a crontab file. Automated jobs will be extremely helpful for many administrators who manage Linux servers.

    • Games

      • Cyberpunk 2077 Running Great On the Steam Deck! – Boiling Steam

        This is just another quick post as new leaks keep coming up from different sources. This time it’s a video of someone playing Cyberpunk 2077 on the Steam Deck. It’s not clear what are the settings used, nevertheless even on lower settings this would demonstrate great and very acceptable performance for a PC you can carry in your hand! (Probably better than my older desktop with a dedicated GPU!). Note: since we cannot confirm the source, it’s entirely possible that this is the Steam Deck streaming the game from a more powerful machine, so take this video with a grain of salt until we have other sources confirming this kind of performance.

      • Steam Deck: GPU Settings Fully Customizable – Boiling Steam

        A quick news post as there has been some leak from a Chinese developer (probably) showcasing the Steam Deck‘s side bar menu within SteamOS when running a game.

      • Valve’s tweaking Linux drivers to squeeze more battery life out of the Steam Deck on SteamOS 3.0 | PC Gamer

        Valve engineers have been beavering away to try and improve the Steam Deck’s battery life ahead of its impending launch on February 25. In order to achieve this, its Linux devs have been making changes to the open-source Radeon Vulkan (RADV) driver, which the Steam Deck uses to control variable rate shading.

        Currently under review, the driver changes could help the Steam Deck battery last longer than first anticipated, and even give the much-anticipated, handheld gaming device a handy performance boost in supported games.

        Variable Rate Shading (VRS) is a wonderful thing when implemented properly. It gives developers intricate control over how intensely the shading is implemented for each portion of the screen, or frame region. That means it doesn’t need to put so many GPU resources into rendering parts of the scene that don’t change, or that the user isn’t really paying attention to.

        It’s easy to break down when you look at something like a racing game. Game devs will have it so the car and the road ahead use a higher shading rate than that of the road behind, or anything off at the edge of the screen. Basically, for anything you’re not going to be staring intently at, the devs will try to save processing power by making it less of a priority for the graphics card’s precious resources.

      • Tyler “Passionate Gamer” McVicker doesn’t trust Valve with the Steam Deck. Here’s why he should. – Invidious

        Tyler McVicker doesn’t trust Valve. And he definitely has a point when it comes to some of his criticisms. Valve are notorious when it comes to abandoning projects.

      • Free and open source space sim Pioneer gets a big UI upgrade | GamingOnLinux

        Pioneer started off life as a basic spiritual successor to Frontier: Elite II and nowadays it continues being upgraded, to give fans of classic 3D space exploration something fun. A new release went up on February 3 that has officially removed their old UI system, in favour of more modern interfaces using the very popular Dear ImGui.

      • Wadjet Eye Games brings over Resonance to Linux | GamingOnLinux

        What’s that? Yet another classic Wadjet Eye Games published point and click adventure is fully upgraded with a new Linux port? Yep! Say hello to Resonance from developer XII Games. Following on from their work to bring over Technobabylon, Unavowed, Gemini Rue and The Blackwell Bundle – they’ve sure been treating fans of native builds well lately.

        The latest update to the game brings an upgrade to Adventure Game Studio, bringing all the latest goodies with it including properly working Steam Achievements for Linux.

      • Check out the Fanatical Safe in Our World charity bundle | GamingOnLinux

        Fanatical has teamed up with Safe in Our World to offer a bundle of games for you, while also supporting important charity work to help destigmatize mental health within the games industry and for players too.

        At a price of £7.99 you get access to 13 games and 2 DLC. While there’s not many native Linux games included, plenty will work just fine with Steam Play Proton. In fact, the only ones you will have trouble with are…the DLC, as they’re for Fall Guys which doesn’t currently work on Linux due to the anti-cheat.

      • Over 120 titles are now Steam Deck Verified | GamingOnLinux

        We’re now three weeks away from the official release date of the Steam Deck handheld Linux gaming machine. The good news is that Verified titles have been growing nicely!

        Still nothing compared to the overall Steam library but we do fully expect a lot more titles to appear. This is just the beginning and not being verified doesn’t mean a game won’t work.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma makeover – Make it look like Gnome, whaaat

          There we go. If, for some odd reason, you decide to get bored with the classic desktop layout formula, you can go top-left, global menu Mac-esque idea within seconds. Well, the global menu is an extra really, as I don’t recall seeing it in Gnome. But that’s not the point. We’re here to have fun, and that’s what we’re doing.

          As Monty Python would say, this article is becoming silly, and we will be forced to stop it. Hopefully, I’ve demonstrated the power and flexibility of Plasma once more, while giving you some fresh aesthetic ideas. Enjoy yourselves and such. Do ping me if you want any other Plasma wizardry spells. And now, for something completely different.

        • KDE Plasma Application Update » PCLinuxOS

          The KDE Plasma Desktop application packages have been updated to 21.12.2. This is a service release update.

        • Okular: Signature support now works on Windows [Ed: Microsoft Store is a burning platform; seems like waste of time...]

          Since a few hours ago the Okular version available in the Microsoft Store for Windows has the same signature support than the Linux/FreeBSD versions.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

    • Distributions

      • Best Linux Distributions For Everyone in 2022

        There are many Linux distributions. I can’t even think of coming up with an exact number because you would find loads of Linux distros that differ from one another in one way or the other.

        Some of them just turn out to be a clone of one another, while some of them tend to be unique. So, it’s kind of a mess—but that is the beauty of Linux.

        Fret not, even though thousands of distributions are around, in this article, I have compiled a list of the best Linux distros available now. Of course, the list can be subjective. But, here, we try to categorize the distros—so there’s something for everyone.

      • Zorin OS 16 Education brings technology based education closer to everyone and everywhere

        Via this website I don’t do that much Linux news related articles. My focus is always more on application related tutorials and tutorial series and use cases supported by Linux and apps. But sometimes there are new things that I find interesting to share on this website, such as the just announced new Zorin OS 16 Education distribution. The team behind Zorin OS offers multiple variants of their distribution, including a version focused on education. The importance of this is the fact that such a Linux distribution is good for people and groups of people that normally do not have access to good educational solutions, such as in underdeveloped countries. But of course it can be implemented for all other situations and user groups as well. I was lucky enough to enjoy a good education, but I am also very aware that this is a luxury compared to so many who have fewer opportunities or no opportunities at all. Everyone has the right to and should have access to good education and the new Zorin OS 16 Education is in my opinion a big deal in bringing digital educational solutions closer to everyone and everywhere.

      • Best Linux Distros For 2022 [Latest Version]

        Linux is no doubt one of the most popular operating systems these days preferred by a range of users. Whether you are an expert or beginner, Linux is there for you to cater to your need. In this post, we are listing out some of the best Linux distros for 2022.

      • New Releases

        • Wean your child off of Windows 11 and get them on Zorin OS 16 Education Linux distro

          Back in August of 2021, we told you about Zorin OS 16 — an absolutely brilliant Linux distribution for those switching from Windows. Its familiarity, polish, and inclusion of excellent software makes it not only a solid choice for Linux newbies, but experts too.

          And now, Zorin OS 16 Education is here. This specialized version of the operating system is designed specifically for students. With many people believing Linux is the future, Zorin OS 16 Education should be a great way to teach your child about the open source kernel. If you let your young student rely solely on Windows 11, they could end up being unprepared and unequipped for the new Linux world.

          “This new release of Zorin OS Education takes advantage of the new features and enhancements in Zorin OS 16, our most advanced operating system ever. These include a faster and improved desktop, easier onboarding with the new Tour, quicker navigation with touchpad gestures, and access to more apps than ever before, just to name a few. Improved hardware support also ensures that you’re getting the best experience on computers old and new,” explains the Zorin OS development team.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2022/05

          Week 5 – 5 snapshots. I hope nobody expects that we keep up the ‘week number == number of snapshots’, or I’ll be in deep trouble very soon. Looking at the staging dashboard it seems like the vacation period is definitively over: almost all stagings are full, but as not too many submitted things have proven to be broken it makes the stagings still manageable. It gets really difficult if we end up with a lot of breakage in the Stagings, then need to chase fixes.

      • Slackware Family

        • The Wait is Over! Slackware 15.0 Stable Hit the Streets

          Slackware Linux 15.0 hit the streets on February 3, 2022. Either way, the latest version of the legendary Linux distro led by Patrick Volkerding is available for download.

          Slackware is, above whatever else, the world’s oldest surviving maintained Linux distribution. Patrick Volkerding created the Slackware Linux distribution in 1993, based on Softlanding Linux System.

          Slackware’s goal is to offer design stability and simplicity as the most Unix-like Linux distribution. It does that by avoiding as much as possible any modifications to upstream software packages.

          In addition, Slackware eschews the Linux distro trend of changing to the systemd initialization process. It’s a completely systemd-free Linux distro. It uses init rather than systemd as its process manager. Systemd has its roots in modern Linux distros, while init comes from the Unix System V design, and there is a difference.

          Probably because of this, Slackware Linux is noted for being the most Unix-like of all Linux distributions. Well, probably side by side with Void Linux.

          With five years and seven months in the making, I honestly have had some difficulty believing that this would eventually really happen, but yet here it is. 2044 days after the previous 14.2 release (June 30, 2016) the new Slackware Linux 15.0 stable is here! With that said, let’s quickly take a look at what’s new.

        • Linux, BSD, and everything else…: Slackware 15.0 Finally Released After 5 1/2 Years

          “Well folks, in spite of the dire predictions of YouTube pundits, this morning the Slackhog emerged from its development den, did *not* see its shadow, and Slackware 15.0 has been officially released – another six weeks (or years) of the development treadmill averted. This has been an interesting development cycle (in the “may you live in interesting times” sense). Anyone who has followed Linux development over the years has seen the new technology and a slow but steady drift away from the more UNIX-like structure. The challenge this time around was to adopt as much of the good stuff out there as we could without changing the character of the operating system. Keep it familiar, but make it modern. And boy did we have our work cut out for us. We adopted PAM (finally) as projects we needed dropped support for pure shadow passwords. We switched from ConsoleKit2 to elogind, making it much easier to support software that targets that Other Init System and bringing us up-to-date with the XDG standards. We added support for PipeWire as an alternate to PulseAudio, and for Wayland sessions in addition to X11. Dropped Qt4 and moved entirely to Qt5. Brought in Rust and Python 3. Added many, many new libraries to the system to help support all the various additions. We’ve upgraded to two of the finest desktop environments available today: Xfce 4.16, a fast and lightweight but visually appealing and easy to use desktop environment, and the KDE Plasma 5 graphical workspaces environment, version 5.23.5 (the Plasma 25th Anniversary Edition). This also supports running under Wayland or X11.”

        • Zenwalk GNU Linux: Zenwalk 15.0 “Skywalker” milestone is ready

          Following the release of the so long awaited Slackware 15.0 , here we go for the Zenwalk 15.0 “Skywalker”, aka “It must be very stable after all this time” milestone.

          As usual for a milestone release, most packages have been rebuilt down here or upstream.

          Desktop is the latest XFCE 4.16, with the special Zenwalk layout : this unusual NEXT/Windowmaker inspired dock system, with unique panel placement for ergonomic user access to the whole desktop area, is optimized for modern wide screens, making most other OS including the Fruit look a bit deprecated (jokin’ of course)).

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • New Red Hat CFO talks priorities after latest C-suite shuffle

          For the third time in a year, Red Hat is replacing a retiring executive with a woman – a rarity in the tech world. And her priorities will focus on analytics.

        • Red Hat Extends Comprehensive Kubernetes Platform with Consistent and Persistent Storage

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation is now included in Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus, bringing data services, including software-defined storage, to the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes platform in a single holistic solution. Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus provides a complete, multicloud Kubernetes stack out of the box, addressing crucial needs of DevSecOps and application development professionals. The addition of Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation gives developers a consistent data platform with persistent storage that can span clouds and infrastructure, combined with data management capabilities for IT operations teams.

        • Fedora Community Blog: CPE Weekly Update – Week of January 31st – February 4th

          Purpose of this team is to take care of day to day business regarding CentOS and Fedora Infrastructure and Fedora release engineering work.

        • Remi Collet: PHP version 8.0.16RC1 and 8.1.3RC1

          Release Candidate versions are available in testing repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests, and also as base packages.

          RPM of PHP version 8.1.3RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-php81-test repository for Fedora 33-35 and Enterprise Linux.

          RPM of PHP version 8.0.16RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 35 or in the remi-php80-test repository for Fedora 33-34 and Enterprise Linux.

        • How we hired an open source developer | Opensource.com

          As the CEO and co-founder of Profian, a start-up security company, I’ve been part of our effort to hire developers to work on Enarx, a security project that deals with confidential computing, written almost exclusively in Rust (with a bit of Assembly). Profian has now found all the people it was looking for in this search, with a couple of developers due to start in the next few weeks. However, new contributors are absolutely welcome to Enarx, and if things continue to go well, the company will definitely want to hire more folks in the future.

          Hiring people is not easy, and Profian had a set of specialized requirements that made the task even more difficult. I thought it would be useful and interesting for the community to share how we approached the problem.

        • Irving Wladawsky-Berger: The Work of the Future Is Ours to Invent

          The Work of the Future: Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines, by David Autor, David Mindell and Elisabeth Reynolds was published last week. The new book is based on the multiyear MIT Task Force on The Work of the Future that they jointly co-chaired.

          The Task Force was commissioned by MIT President Rafael Reif in the spring of 2018 to address one of the most critical questions of the digital economy, – an economy that technology universities like MIT have played a major role in bringing about: as emerging technologies raise aggregate economic output and the wealth of nations, will they also enable people to attain higher living standards, better working conditions, greater economic security, and improved health and longevity? Led by Autor, Mindell and Reynolds, the task force involved over 20 faculty members from 12 departments at MIT as well as more than 20 graduate students. Its final report was released in November of 2020. In addition, the Task Force published a number of working papers and research briefs.

          “Amidst a technological ecosystem delivering rising productivity, and an economy generating plenty of jobs (at least until the COVID-19 crisis), we found a labor market in which the fruits are so unequally distributed, so skewed towards the top, that the majority of workers have tasted only a tiny morsel of a vast harvest.” was the Task Force overarching conclusion. But, it argued that with better policies in place, more people could enjoy good careers even as new technologies transform the very nature of work.


          As I read the book’s concluding section, two major messages came through loud and clear. First, technological advances are not driving us toward a jobless future. More than 60% of today’s jobs hadn’t even been invented in 1940. “Inventing new ways of accomplishing existing work, new business models, and entirely new industries drives rising productivity and new jobs. Innovation brings new occupations to life, generates demands for new forms of expertise, and creates opportunities for rewarding work. What human work will look like a century from now is unknown, but most jobs of tomorrow will be distinct from those today, and will owe their existence to the innovations sprouting from scientific and technological progress.”

          Finally, the work of the future is ours to invent. The central challenge ahead is to advance labor market opportunities to meet, complement, and shape technological innovations. “The economic history of the twentieth century shows that a healthy labor market can serve as the foundation for shared prosperity. Well-designed institutions foster opportunity, buttress economic security, and spur democratic participation. The US must commit to rebuilding this foundation in the twenty-first century. It needs to strengthen and build these institutions, launch new investments, and forge policies that ensure that work remains a central, rewarded, esteemed, and economically viable avenue for most adults to prosper.”

        • IT leadership: 5 signs of a mentor with generational intelligence

          If your workplace is like many, your co-workers represent four, and maybe even five, generations: There are Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers, all of whom are defined by the world events, personal experiences, and, yes, technology that shaped them.

          On the surface, it would seem there’s plenty of opportunity for the more experienced employees to mentor those with less experience. And while that’s true, the opposite can be true as well. When it comes to mentoring, age and job title are irrelevant. Everyone has the potential to teach others and learn from others. You don’t have to be the CEO or the head of your IT department to mentor someone.

          Instead, what’s required these days is generational intelligence, which means being aware of others’ experiences or worldviews, understanding their preferences, and using this information to adapt and better collaborate.

      • Debian Family

        • Out of beta and ready for data: 64-bit Raspberry Pi OS is here

          The Raspberry Pi Foundation has officially released the 64-bit version of the Linux-based OS Formerly Known As Raspbian.

          A year and nine months after the beta was announced, the 64-bit version of the Raspberry Pi OS is ready for download.

          If you’re still rocking an older Pi, be aware that the first few models had 32-bit-only CPUs. The new 64-bit OS won’t run on a Pi 1, Pi 2, or Pi Zero.

          Nearly two years is long enough to iron out quite a few wrinkles, but not all. The release notes describe a gotcha: you’ll need to install a 32-bit version of Chromium to watch Netflix or Disney+. Since a lot of Pis are attached to TV sets for use as media players and streamers, that will be important to quite a few owners.

        • A 64-Bit Raspberry Pi OS At Last

          Long-term Raspberry Pi watchers will have seen a lot of OS upgrades in their time, from the first Debian Squeeze previews through the Raspbian years to the current Raspberry Pi OS. Their latest OS version is something different though, and could be one of the most important releases in the platform’s history so far, as finally there’s an official release of a 64-bit Raspberry Pi OS.

          Would-be 64-bit Pi users have of course had the chance to run 64-bit GNU/Linux operating system builds from other distributions for nearly as long as there have been Pi models with 64-bit processors, but until now the official distribution has only been available as a 32-bit build. In their blog post they outline their reasons for this move in terms of compatibility and performance, and indeed we look forward to giving it a try.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • 12-year-old Rudra Saraswat’s Ubuntu projects • The Register

          There are some interesting developments to keep an eye on in the world of Ubuntu: a new client for the community software repo, a tool to help Ubuntu gamers – and Rudra Saraswat, the 12-year-old brains behind them.

          He announced Una on 1 February. It’s a client to simplify installing software from the MPR, or Makedeb Package Repository, a new home for community-contributed software analogous to Arch Linux’s AUR.

          He also created Gamebuntu, which he describes as “an app that helps to set up a complete environment for gaming on Ubuntu without any other tweaks.”

          Saraswat’s presenting a talk on it at the Ubuntu stand at this weekend’s virtual FOSDEM conference.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • New York Times editorial director of games on creating her ideal corner of the internet [Ed: Marketing at Mozilla has taken a rather bizarre turn]

            Unfortunately, I am obsessed with TikTok.


            Frankly, I’m already kind of doing it! The existing puzzle community is super engaged, but I want to expose it to more people and bring in fresh blood. To do that, we’re working on shoring up social media spaces (as we speak I’m slacking on a TikTok account I’m supposed to be running), and publishing more stories and features. I have a lot of exciting stuff to announce in the New Year.

          • Here’s how to watch the games with Firefox because we all need a winter distraction

            If omicron canceled your winter plans, watching the Beijing games may be the next best thing. Can’t snowboard? See star athletes shred. Closed ski resort? Leave the poles to the pros. And yes, it feels like we just put out the flames on the torch — less than six months ago to be exact. But what else can we do? Our jobs? It’s year three of the pandemic. We deserve a little screen-time distraction.

      • Content Management Systems (CMS)

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GStreamer 1.20.0 new major stable release

            The GStreamer team is excited to announce a new major feature release of your favourite cross-platform multimedia framework!

            As always, this release is again packed with new features, bug fixes and many other improvements.

            The 1.20 release series adds new features on top of the previous 1.18 series and is part of the API and ABI-stable 1.x release series of the GStreamer multimedia framework.

          • GStreamer 1.20.0 released

            Version 1.20.0 of the GStreamer multimedia system is out. Changes include a new high-level playback library replacing GstPlayer, decoding support for WebM Alpha, updated Rust bindings, and more; see the announcement for lots of details.

          • If Software is My Copilot, Who Programmed My Software? [Ed: After Software Freedom Conservancy took money from Microsoft they write this about Microsoft’s attack on copyleft]

            Software freedom is our goal. Copyleft is a strategy to reach that goal. That tenet is oft forgotten by activists. Copyleft is even abused to advance proprietary goals. We too often see concern about the future of copyleft overshadow the necessary fundamental question: does a particular behavior or trend — and the inevitable outcomes of those behaviors and trends — increase or decrease users’ rights to copy, share, modify, and reinstall modified versions of their software? That question remains paramount as we face new challenges.

            Introduced first by Microsoft’s GitHub in their Copilot product, computer-assisted software authorship by way of machine learning models presents a formidable challenge to software freedom’s future. Yet, we can, in fact, imagine a software freedom utopia that embodies this technology. Imagine that all software authors have access to the global archive of machine learning models — and they are fullly reproducible. Everyone has equal rights to fork these models, train them further with their own datasets, provided that they must release new models (and the input code) freely in the global archive. All code produced by these models is also made freely available under copyleft. All code that builds the models, all historical input sets, and all trained models are all also made available to everyone under copyleft licenses.

            While activists might quibble about minor details to optimize imagined utopia, this thought experiment shows computer-assisted software authorship does not inherently negate software freedom. Rather, the rules, requirements, and policies that apply will determine whether software freedom is respected. To paraphrase Hamlet: there is nothing either good or bad, but the policy makes it so.

          • GNU dbm Version 1.23

            New in this version:
            Bucket cache switched from balanced tree to hash table (Change suggested by Terence Kelly)
            Speed up flushing the changed buckets on disk
            New option codes for gdbm_setopt
            GDBM_GETDBFORMAT – Get the current database format.
            GDBM_GETDIRDEPTH – Get the database directory depth.
            GDBM_GETBUCKETSIZE – Get maximum number of keys per bucket.
            GDBM_GETCACHEAUTO – Get the status of the automatic cache adjustment.
            GDBM_SETCACHEAUTO – Enable or disable automatic cache adjustment.
            No messages in Version 1.23

          • Analog or digital, prepping makes no sense | Stop at Zona-M

            Digital activists have been advocating for decades now that all software should be Free As In Freedom, or that everybody should run their own server for every online communication, to avoid being spied and controlled by governments or multinationals.

            Trouble is, too many of them have done this, and keep doing this, with the same attitude that Harley just abandoned: living in places far away from ordinary people. They are digital places instead of analog, physical wilderness, but too far away all the same.

      • Programming/Development

        • Nibble Stew: Converting Godot game engine to Meson, how you can help

          Note that if you encounter bugs, please do not file them against the upstream project unless you have verified that they also occur with a regular SCons build.

          Currently it compiles and runs for me on Linux, Windows and macOS, but the more people can verify it the better.

          It would be especially useful if people could test it on Android. FWICT the original uses Android Studio for the Java bits and somehow uses SCons to build a shared library that is used. The Meson build does build the shared lib, but it has not been tested. If someone with Android dev experience could set up and test the whole pipeline it would be great.

          The same goes for iOS, though I know even less how it should be set up as I have not really done iOS development. It should build for iOS (there is a cross file in the repo) but FWICT it has never been tested beyond that.

        • The Curious Case of the Responsible Process

          As of some of you might remember, Mac OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) added a new Privacy tab to the Security & Privacy pane of System Preferences.

        • Qt 6.3 Beta Released

          We have released the first Qt 6.3 Beta today. During the beta phase we provide multiple subsequent beta releases via the online installer. Target is to finalize Qt 6.3 based on the feedback received during the beta phase and release the Qt 6.3.0 at the end of March.

          Qt 6.3 brings multiple new features and improvements, as well as adds two new modules compared to Qt 6.2. For more information about the Qt 6.3 release, please check out the overview of the most important changes in Qt 6.3. We have already blogged about some of the new items coming with Qt 6.3 and will be publishing more posts in this blog around Qt 6.3 in the weeks to come.

          After the first beta released today, we will push out multiple new beta releases using the online installer. With this approach, it is easy for users to test the new features and provide feedback. We are not planning to publish separate blog posts for the subsequent beta releases and release candidate(s). In addition to binaries, source packages of each beta release are also available for those who prefer to build themselves.

        • Perl/Raku

        • Java

          • Basic Datatypes in Java

            A data type in a programming language is an attribute that instructs the computer on how to interpret the value given to the data. Datatypes can be classified into various categories on the basis of the value they store. Datatypes in Java are generally categorized into the following types.

          • Binary Search in Java

            Searching an array for the position of a value, and sorting the array, are two different processes. Searching means verifying if a value called the key, is found in the array. Sorting means putting all the values in the array in a particular order (ascending or descending). If an array is not sorted and searching is required, then the program has to start from index zero, then to index 1, then index 2, and so on, until it reaches the index of the value it is looking for. If the value occurs more than once, the first index should be returned.

            If the array is sorted first, say in ascending order, then searching becomes easy. The index is either less than the index for the middle element, if the key is less than the value of the middle index, or the index is equal to or greater than that of the middle index, if the value is equal to or greater than that of the middle index value.

            So just split the array into two. If the value lies on the left side, no need to waste time searching the right side; just search the left side. If the value lies on the right side, no need to waste time searching the left side; just search the right side. Since the array is already sorted completely, when either side is arrived at, it is split again into two, and only one of the new pairs of sides is searched. In fact, searching this way is just by splitting into two, until the index of the value is arrived at. No actual search in terms of scanning takes place because the array is already sorted. There may be some slight moving right, and some slight moving left in the array during the search.

            Binary implies, two. And so this kind of searching is called binary searching. There are different sorting orders: All the values in the array can be sorted in ascending order or descending order completely. An array can also be sorted in what is known as Binary Search Tree format. This is not complete sorting in ascending or descending order. However, the binary algorithm search still works with this format.

            This article explains Java Binary Search. Binary search algorithm in Java works on an array that is already sorted. Only complete sorting in ascending order is considered in this article. This article begins with illustration of the binary search algorithm. It then goes on to explain how to use the binarySearch() methods of the Java Arrays class.

          • Booleans in Java explained

            The datatypes in Java are categorized into two broader categories. One is primitive and the other is the non-primitive data type. Boolean belongs to the primitive data type of Java. Java Boolean variable takes either true or false value, and thus a Boolean variable or expression plays a vital role in decision making for programmers. This article provides an informative guide about Java Boolean and Java expression.

          • Bubble Sort with Java

            Bubble sort is the simplest sorting algorithm: Assume that there are elements in a row that are not sorted. Bubble sort scans the row from the left, swapping any adjacent pair of elements that are not in the correct order. This scanning of the whole row is repeated repeatedly until the whole row is sorted. If the sorting is to be ascending, then the adjacent pair is swapped to make the element on the left less than the element on the right. If the sorting is to be descending, then the adjacent pair is swapped to make the element on the left greater than the element on the right.

          • How to Set Path in Java

            Java is a renowned object-oriented programming language that is used to build multiple software. Due to its numerous advantages, it has become a popular choice for programmers and developers. There are multiple crucial things that should be kept in mind while coding in Java; setting a path is one of them.
            After installing a java platform you need to set a path for the operating system to find JDK packages and convert the source code into an executable code.

            Note: If your java files are being saved inside the JDK/bin folder then there is no need to set the path because the required tools such as java, javac will lie inside the active directory.

          • Operator’s precedence in java

            There are several Java operators that handle operations such as addition, subtraction, division, comparison, and much more. All these operations are assisted by several operators. The operators are applied to operands and they form an expression.

            An expression may contain one or multiple operators. In the case of multiple operators, the operators that have higher precedence will be solved first and then other operators are evaluated based on the precedence order. Thus, the precedence of the order must be known when you are working on expressions that contain multiple operators. This article provides a descriptive guide on operators’ precedence in Java.

    • Standards/Consortia

  • Leftovers

    • Our URGENT need for simplicity, summarized

      Building driverless cars and cities that can handle them is infinitely more complex than building pyramids, even with “artificial intelligence” (if nothing else because that, too, would have to be achieved by human cooperation on unseen scales). The same applies to bearing the maddening, ever growing bureaucracy that surrounds many of us.


      In general, lots of technologies tend to get cheaper substantially in the early phases of their lifecycle only, when there is still plenty of room for improvement in their manufacturing processes, and raw material extraction is on the rise. Today however, photovoltaic and wind energy technologies are far-far away from being new, and their raw materials’ “production” are peaking soon.

      In other words: these are mature technologies, where a few cents saved here and there are considered great achievements. Anything more than that comes from forced labor (polysilicon production in China), or from crossing some pretty basic environmental and health standards (take cobalt extraction in the Congo for example).

    • Science

      • Living longer with THESE social media? NOT good | Stop at Zona-M

        Some days ago, in the context of a more general email conversation, fellow IPG writer Dana Blankenhorn said:

        “We live so long these days we forget how long a period 50 years is.”

        “We still play music from that time but we never did that before. Playing something from 1970 today is like playing something from 1919 in 1970. Obsessing over Vietnam today is like people during Vietnam obsessing over WWI. Yet people do both… I call this Moore’s Law of Politics. It impedes change.“

    • Hardware

      • Working in Arm’s engineering team? You’re probably happy with your pay rise

        Arm has agreed a pay increase for employees following the scrapping of a wellbeing allowance last year, yet it appears that while engineers were offered an 8 per cent jump, other types of worker fared less well.

        As revealed by The Register in May 2021, Arm ended its FlexPot scheme, an annual allowance granted to employees and fixed-term contract workers, a move seen by some as effectively being a pay cut.

        The chip designer had also imposed an engineering hiring freeze that meant departments around the world were blocked from hiring new staff, even to fill any vacancies caused by employees leaving the firm.

        The hiring freeze was expected to last until the current owners Softbank sold Arm to US chipmaker Nvidia. At the time, this was anticipated to be done and dusted by April 2022, however the sale is delayed due to regulatory concerns and doubts were recently cast over whether the transaction will even go ahead at all.

      • Amid a chip supply crunch, 28nm may end up underused • The Register

        Amid the semiconductor crunch, there’s an interesting cliff forming at 28nm.

        While demand for other process nodes exceeds supply, the tech world’s need for that mid-level node may drop below available manufacturing capacity, if not already.

        Early indications of a potential oversupply at 28nm emerged during an earnings call with UMC, a top contract microchip manufacturer headquartered in Taiwan.

        “On the supply side, based on the announced capacity expansion plan, we do see the oversupply situation at 28nm to happen beyond 2023, not before 2023,” Jason Wong, president of UMC, told analysts on the call.

      • Android devices, demand in China help keep Qualcomm from worrying too much about losing Apple [Ed: Wait until Qualcomm realises all those Microsoft Windows devices (exclusivity) are duds that cannot sell, i.e. same as before]

        No Apple as a modem customer for much longer? Not too much of a problem for Qualcomm, which is now relying more than ever on Android and China, and to some extent, Windows, to make up for the lost revenue.

        “Android is a success story for us,” Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon told analysts on a conference call on Wednesday. He was speaking following the release [PDF] of Qualy’s financial figures for the first quarter of its fiscal 2022, the three months to December 26.

        It’s perhaps not surprising Android is a success story as that’s the OS running on the majority of Qualcomm’s system-on-chips. Amon said device makers in China that are adopting Qualcomm’s components for use in Android handsets are a growth driver.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Cisco inferno: Networking giant reveals three 10/10 rated critical router bugs

            Cisco has revealed five critical bugs, three of them rated 10/10 on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System, that impact four of its router families aimed at small businesses. And it only has patches available for two of the affected ranges.

          • Nothing to scoff at: Crisps and nuts biz KP Snacks smacked in ransomware hack attack [Ed: Microsoft Windows TCO, as usual]

            Bleeping Computer reported they’d seen leak pages showing that the attackers were the WizardSpider ransomware gang, known for unleashing their signature Conti ransomware in a paralysing attack last year on the Republic of Ireland’s state-run health service.

          • Phishing kits’ use of man-in-the-middle reverse proxies is growing, warns Proofpoint
          • Announcing Istio 1.11.6

            This release contains bug fixes to improve robustness. This release note describes what’s different between Istio 1.11.5 and Istio 1.11.6

          • Security updates for Friday [LWN.net]

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (apng2gif, ruby2.5, ruby2.7, and strongswan), Fedora (389-ds-base, glibc, java-latest-openjdk, keylime, mingw-python-pillow, perl-Image-ExifTool, python-pillow, rust-afterburn, rust-askalono-cli, rust-below, rust-cargo-c, rust-cargo-insta, rust-fd-find, rust-lsd, rust-oxipng, rust-python-launcher, rust-ripgrep, rust-skim, rust-thread_local, rust-tokei, strongswan, vim, xen, and zola), Mageia (cryptsetup and expat), openSUSE (containerd, docker, glibc, and xen), Oracle (firefox, thunderbird, varnish:6, and vim), Red Hat (rh-maven36-log4j12 and varnish:6), SUSE (containerd, docker, glibc, samba, and xen), and Ubuntu (gdisk, graphviz, libdbi-perl, and mysql-5.7).

          • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 203 released

            The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 203. This version includes the following changes:

            [ Chris Lamb ]
            * Improve documentation for --timeout due to a few misconceptions.
              Add an allowed-to-fail test regarding a regression in directory handling.
            * Tidy control flow in Difference._reverse_self a little.
            [ Alyssa Ross ]
            * Fix diffing CBFS names that contain spaces.

          • Linux Kernel Bug Allows Kubernetes Container Escape

            Hackers could exploit a Linux kernel bug to escape Kubernetes containers and access critical resources; however, the threat is minimized as any attacker needs to have the specific Linux capability CAP_SYS_ADMIN.

          • The Alpha and Omega of software supply chain security [Ed: The so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation has let the NSA’s back doors partners, which hand over all data to the NSA solely for imperialism’s purposes, “take over” the ‘security’ in the so-called ‘supply chain’]

            What is the Alpha-Omega Project? Its purpose is to “improve global open source software supply chain security by working with project maintainers to systematically look for new, as-yet-undiscovered vulnerabilities in open-source code” and then fix them. This is vital to improving open-source security.

          • CISA Adds One Known Exploited Vulnerability to Catalog [Ed: Microsoft Windows TCO]
          • This Week in Security: Samba, Wormhole Crypto Heist, And A Bogus CVE

            Samba has a very serious vulnerability, CVE-2021-44142, that was just patched in new releases 4.13.17, 4.14.12, and 4.15.5. Discovered by researchers at TrendMicro, this unauthenticated RCE bug weighs in at a CVSS 9.9. The saving grace is that it requires the fruit VFS module to be enabled, which is used to support MacOS client and server interop. If enabled, the default settings are vulnerable. Attacks haven’t been seen in the wild yet, but go ahead and get updated, as PoC code will likely drop soon.

          • Execs keep flinging money at us instead of understanding security, moan infosec pros

            Fresh from years of complaining about underfunding and not having enough staff to deal with problems, infosec bods are now complaining that corporate execs merely firehose cash at them without getting their own hands dirty or engaging with the problem.

            That’s one conclusion that could be drawn from a Trend Micro study published yesterday. Around half of businesses surveyed are spending more on “cyber attacks” than they used to, it said, while a similar number reckon their C-suites don’t know what “cyber risk management” means – possibly something about ensuring monitors are firmly bolted to desks.

            “Low C-suite engagement combined with increased investment suggests a tendency to ‘throw money’ at the problem rather than develop an understanding of the cybersecurity challenges and invest appropriately,” intoned Trend Micro.

            The firm’s survey of 5,000 “IT and business decision makers” from companies with more than 250 employees concluded that clueless captains of industry were still a problem, no matter how much money they threw at the IT security department.

          • Worried about occasional npm malware scares? It’s more common than you may think [Ed: WhiteSource is a bit of a Microsoft proxy, so of course it won't blame Microsoft for actually shipping all this malware your way...]

            Malware gets spotted in GitHub’s npm registry every few months, elevating concerns about the software supply chain until attention gets diverted and worries recede until the next fire drill.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Ian Jackson: EUDCC QR codes vs NHS “Travel” barcodes vs TAC Verify

              The EU Digital Covid Certificate scheme is a format for (digitally signed) vaccination status certificates. Not only EU countries participate – the UK is now a participant in this scheme.

              I am currently on my way to go skiing in the French Alps. So I needed a certificate that would be accepted in France. AFAICT the official way to do this is to get the “international” certificate from the NHS, and take it to a French pharmacy who will convert it into something suitably French. (AIUI the NHS “international” barcode is the same regardless of whether you get it via the NHS website, the NHS app, or a paper letter. NB that there is one barcode per vaccine dose so you have to get the right one – probably that means your booster since there’s a 9 month rule!)

            • Privacy Shield: EU citizens might get right to challenge US access to their data

              Officials from the EU and US are nearing a solution in long-running negotiations over transatlantic data sharing.

              Previous legal arrangements for sharing data between the two jurisdictions, the so-called Privacy Shield, were struck down by the EU Court of Justice in what became known as the Schrems II ruling in 2020.

              The decision had ramifications for US cloud providers, social media sites, and providers of online tools which are still becoming clear. Although it had been commonly held that standard contractual clauses (SCCs) may offer a way to continue to share data legally, that was also in doubt. Earlier this month, the Austrian data protection authority ruled that those arrangements were insufficient for data sharing.

            • From FLoC to Google Topics? No thanks

              FLoC is a standard that Google launched in 2021 to make targeted online advertising alive, but less harmful. It was soon clear that the basic proposition of FLoC was to tell users “please do the profiling YOURSELF”, without even really getting rid of invasive cookies.

              For those and other reasons, Google has recently announced a successor of FloC called “Topics API”. The developers of the Brave browser promptly replied that Topics does not addresses FLoC’s serious privacy issues at all. Here is a much shorter, plain English version of that critique, for general consumption.

            • Facebook Quarterly Earnings Report Shows It’s Losing Users

              Many were a bit confused by the direction Mark Zuckerberg is taking Facebook. He announced last year a rebranding under the name “Meta” with a move toward the metaverse. But the most recent quarterly earnings report showed why changes are being made: Facebook is losing users.


              For the first time since Zuckerberg conceived of Facebook while sitting in his college dorm room, the social network is losing daily users. It’s the first time in 18 years. This happened in the last three months of 2021, around the time of the Meta announcement.

            • Facebook loses users for first time in history – The Washington Post [Ed: This headline might be false; what's noteworthy is that it is Facebook itself admitting the decline]
            • Grab some tissues: Facebook’s user base and profits shrank, tanking Meta’s share price [Ed: It probably shrank before, but Facebook did not admit it and kept faking "growth"]

              For the first time in its history, Facebook has reported a decline in user numbers. Investors hammered the share price of Meta – Facebook’s parent company – after the market closed, with scrip slumping from around $323 to $249.

              The company on Wednesday reported its Q4 and full year 2021 results, revealing the company earned $33.7 billion for Q4 and $118 billion for the full year – respective year-on-year rises of 20 per cent and 37 per cent. Net income for the quarter was $10.3 billion, a dip from Q4 2020′s $11.2 billion. For the full year, net income climbed 35 per cent to $29.1 billion.

            • Stop normalizing mass surveillance in Latin America – Access Now

              In many cities around the world, when you go out in public, you are unknowingly exposing yourself to surveillance, including the use of mass surveillance tools that record, analyze, and store your personal biometric data — your face, your voice, the way you walk, and more. Even if you know you may be under surveillance, most people have no idea how their personal data is being used or who has access to it. And in countries across Latin America, both governments and the companies that develop this type of technology refuse to be transparent, leaving citizens in the dark about the privacy violations and threats they face.

              Authorities that deploy mass surveillance technology often repeat a set of narratives to justify its adoption and expansion. We hear that “more technology is always an improvement,” “it’s better for public safety,” and “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” But are these arguments backed by the facts?

              It’s important to look at who is making these justifications. Both tech companies and governments have an interest in the “success” of surveillance systems and the power that data brings with it. Other authorities, eager for solutions, may incorporate dangerous new technologies without fully understanding their scope.

    • Finance

      • Indian PM says digital rupee will facilitate creation of global digital payment scheme

        Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has offered some more details about the nation’s newly revealed plan to introduce a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the next year.

        In a speech delivered to members of the Bharatiya Janata Party he leads, Modi explained that the proposed payment system will be the digital form of India’s physical currency and will be convertible into cash. The PM also said the digital currency will be accepted for digital, online, and retail transactions. In the latter scenario, he suggested merchants will appreciate a reduction in cash handling costs.

      • Russia’s Sputnik V and the WEF with Riley Waggaman

        In this episode, Whitney is joined by Moscow-based journalist Riley Waggaman to explore the oligarchs and bankers behind Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine and their ties to the dystopian rollout of Digital ID and CBDCs in the country.

      • Google Cloud loses $3bn despite delaying server purchases • The Register

        Google Cloud has racked up another 12 months of losses, despite extending the life of its hardware by a year.

        The search and ads giant in 2021 revealed that it extended the operational lifespan of its cloud servers from three to four years and found it could squeeze an extra couple of years out of some networking kit, sometimes going five years between refreshes.

        In its Q4 2021 results announcement Google’s parent company Alphabet revealed the financial impact of that change: for the full year Google Cloud reduced depreciation expenses by $2.6 billion.

        But even with those old servers generating savings, Google Cloud produced losses: $890 million in Q4 and $3.1 billion across the year.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • EARN IT Act — an attack on free expression and privacy — is back – Access Now

        This week U.S. Senators Blumenthal and Graham reintroduced the EARN IT Act, legislation that would jeopardize free expression, undermine online safety, and deprive people of the benefits of strong encryption. Access Now continues to oppose the bill, slated to be considered in the Senate Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks.

        The EARN IT Act threatens to deprive internet intermediaries of safe harbor protection, and expose them to liability for content posted by third-party users, unless they take certain steps to block child sexual abuse material. The looming threat of litigation and liability under the EARN IT Act will result in a decline in encrypted services, and is an attack on the privacy, security, and online safety of all people in the United States.

      • The EARN IT Act Is Back

        Senators have reintroduced the EARN IT Act, requiring social media companies (among others) to administer a massive surveillance operation on their users…

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Student data exposed on Andhra Pradesh Government Examination website!

        Sai Sravan Prabhala, a cyber-security researcher, informed us of a critical vulnerability exposing the sensitive personal information of minors. This existed on the website of the Directorate of Government Examinations, Government of Andhra Pradesh’s for the 2021 examinations. While this functionality itself has been removed, to prevent it from occurring again assisted by Sai, we have written to them and CERT-In.


        On 22nd December 2021, cyber-security researcher Sai Sravan Prabhala reached out to us, to bring to our notice a vulnerability in the Andhra Pradesh Directorate of Government Examination website which put the sensitive personal information of minors at risk of misuse. The Directorate of Government Examinations is an independent department functioning under the ministry of secondary education, Government of Andhra Pradesh. The department is responsible for conducting the SSC/OSSC Public Examinations, along with other minor examinations.

        With the assistance of Mr. Prabhala, we discovered that the website of the Directorate of Government Examinations, Government Andhra Pradesh, which can be accessed at: https://www.bse.ap.gov.in/, suffered from a vulnerability that enabled any person to access and also edit the sensitive personal data of minors including their caste location, religious affiliation, and their disability status. Their phone number and identification marks as per school records could also be edited and accessed on the said website.

        The vulnerability could be discovered by clicking on the link: “SSC Public Examinations – 2021 – Edit Online Application”. This led to a login page, which could be accessed by entering the school number in both the “User ID” and “Password fields”. The school number could be obtained by clicking on the “SSC Public Examinations 2020 and 2021 Results” link and then going to the “Individual Student Wise Results of SSC Public Examinations 2021” page where a drop-down menu in the “school” field revealed a list of schools along with their school numbers. A more detailed list of steps along with screenshots explaining how the vulnerability is discovered can be found in our representation dated 02.02.2022.

      • CIC admonishes the MHA and seeks confirmation on affidavit of destruction of surveillance data

        IFF had filed six RTI applications with the Ministry of Home Affairs (‘MHA’) seeking statistical data on the e-surveillance authorised by the government. The information was initially denied by the MHA on grounds of national security, but when the matter was sent back for re-examination by the Central Information Commission (‘CIC’), the MHA claimed that it could not provide the information because it simply did not have it. We challenged this again before the CIC and the matter was heard on January 13, 2022. The CIC has “admonished” the CPIO for changing its stance and sought confirmation on non-availability of data on e-surveillance on affidavit

    • Monopolies

      • US Senate to vote on stopping Big Tech extracting ‘monopolist rent’ from app developers [Ed: Way for Microsoft to distract from its crimes while using terms like “Big Tech” [1, 2]]

        The US Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to pass the Open App Markets Act, despite intense lobbying from Apple and Google.

        The bill, S.2710 [PDF], limits the kinds of restrictions major app platforms can impose on competitors, developers, and customers, will now be considered by a full Senate vote.

        If approved, along with its companion bill H.R. 5017 [PDF] introduced in the House of Representatives last year, and then signed by President Biden, the legislation will remake an app economy that generates well over $100bn annually.

        During the committee hearing in Washington DC, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), the bill’s sponsor, likened Apple and Google to past US railroad monopolies.

      • The job of regulation is to make decentralization work | Stop at Zona-M

        Especially in a digitally networked age.

        “100 years of whatever this will be” by @apenwarr is a great post about certain “patterns, of major things wrong with our society, [that] go far beyond tech, extending into economics and politics and culture”. Apenwarr also deserves extra points for saying in his website “Why would you follow me on twitter? Use RSS”, but that is another story.

        That post is great because it synthesizes clearly why and how the efforts towards atomization, decentralization, (only) individual freedom that pervades much of current society cannot work, in the long run.

      • Facebook fined 0.000006% of profits after Giphy staff quit • The Register

        British competition regulators have again fined Facebook, this time 0.000006 per cent of its annual profits, for ignoring them – a move that’s bound to have CEO Mark Zuckerberg sobbing for mercy.

        The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) first locked horns with Facebook in 2020, when it demanded more information on the company’s proposed $400m buy of Giphy. The sale was subsequently denied clearance last last year.

        The latest £1.5m ($2.03m) fine was imposed after three key staffers left Giphy. The CMA had imposed a legal order on Facebook owner Meta forcing the company to reveal if any “staff in positions of executive or managerial responsibility and/or whose performance affects the viability of the business” resigned.

        Referring to the tiny sum in a summary issued today [PDF], the CMA said: “It is not anomalous, nor would it affect Meta materially.” It is difficult to see what a non-material fine is supposed to achieve.

      • EU project Gaia-X hands out ID tech contracts • The Register

        The Gaia-X project has awarded work to a consortium including Vereign and DAASI International that takes it one step closer to realising Self Sovereign Identity technology.

        A goal of Gaia-X is to reduce the dependency of European companies and governments on US technology providers via a federated European data infrastructure.

        Just four months ago, French cloud hosting outfit Scaleway decided to leave the consortium, claiming: “Gaia-X as a construct is only reinforcing the status quo, which is that dominating players will keep dominating.”

        However, this week’s award does not mention the likes of Microsoft or Amazon at all. Instead it is a German (DAASI International) and a Swiss (Vereign) firm that will be popping the code in GitLab for a personal credential manager, organisational credential manager and a trust services API. The first fruits are expected within six months and interested parties are encouraged to get involved during the development phase.

      • Copyrights

        • Copyright, What You Need To Know | Hackaday

          Last week brought the story of a group of crypto enthusiasts who paid well over the going rate for a rare sci-fi book, then proposed encoding scans of all its pages in a blockchain before making and selling NFTs of them. To guarantee their rarity the book was then to be burned. Aside from the questionable imagery surrounding book burning in general, one of the sources of mirth in the story was their mistaken idea that in buying a copy of a rare book they had also acquired its copyright rather than simply paying too much for a book.

          It’s an excuse for a good laugh, but it’s also an opportunity to talk about copyright as it affects our community. I’m not a lawyer and I’m not here to give legal advice. Instead this is based on the working knowledge gathered over decades working in the content publishing industries.

The United States Government Should Quit Bailing Out Microsoft at Taxpayers’ Expense

Posted in Deception, Finance, IBM, Microsoft at 9:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum f3a5ce884e64673015e794d71ee38a44
Taxpayers-Funded Microsoft
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Contrary to a deliberately-misleading media narrative, Microsoft isn’t succeeding (except at graft, or taking money from the public purse) but is exacerbating inequality by taking away from the poor to sustain its own bodyweight

THE company that cheats on taxes and cheats shareholders wants us to think of it as a “success story”; but at whose expense? This company, which is deeply connected to the US government, had many layoffs (at least 4,000) in 2020, this new report (shown above) reveals yet more dead products, and not so long ago we saw the Donald Trump administration bailing out Microsoft instead of poor people without a home. What on Earth is an outsider supposed to think?!

There was also the "JEDI" scandal under Trump, the TikTok affair, and many other dirty dealings by which Trump sought to pass assets worth tens of billions if not hundreds of billions… to Microsoft. Is this capitalism? No. Sounds like a story from the Soviet Union.

“Maybe it’s time to recognise that some of these entities are mostly “Agents of Empire” (of a deeply parasitic nature) and Microsoft is among them.”As I note in the video above, Biden has not done any better, as the “HoloLens” military contract shows more of the same grifting and misuse of public funds. Remember that when we talk about HoloLens we talk about a company whose workforce was canned; yes, all staff laid off (it ended fast) shortly after Microsoft had ‘bought’ it and for years we’ve seen nothing of it in the market, only the occasional puff pieces. There’s no need in the military for this; in fact, recent reports said there was reluctance to adopt this at all (its on the ice; there’s resistance), which makes one wonder if $22,000,000,000 from Biden to Microsoft was just an elaborate scam, using some fluff and hype to justify subsidies from US taxpayers to Microsoft. Where does this end? When will this stop? Microsoft boasts a fake share price amid rotting/dying products (including Windows) and it’s hoping to secure its future with imperialism through espionage (spying on the world, at the forefront of the NSA). These covert subsidies are clearly draining the economy (30 trillion dollars in debt) while the general public chews up debt and inflation. As a matter of fact, this “TOO BIG TO FAIL” (or let fail) mentality/mindset is no longer limited to banks and other financial institutions. This is why such tech “giants” (propped up by the government) are desperately clinging on to medical data and “defence” systems (like nukes in IBM's case). Maybe it’s time to recognise that some of these entities are mostly “Agents of Empire” (of a deeply parasitic nature) and Microsoft is among them.

[Meme] Geneva Convention or Geneva’s Suggestion?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Geneva Convention
Geneva Convention? ILO has made it conventional for EPO “elites” to decide on their own ‘punishment’.

Summary: It remains to be seen whether EPO President (the ‘heir’ of Benoît Battistelli) António Campinos will obey a ruling from Geneva or just treat that as “advisory”, as usual, to protect Battistelli and the ‘coup plotters’*

Experienced Examiner (January 28, 2022 at 5:36) et al:

a long time ago, the EPO was built on three technical areas, roughly labelled as mechanics, electronics and biology/chemistry. Each area was headed by a Principal Director (PD). Technology evolves (thankfully, or we would be out of business), and the EPO created fourteen clusters. Each cluster was headed by a PD. Eleven new PD posts had been created, dedicated to the patent area.

Later, the EPO restructured to “Joint Clusters”, cutting the number of PDs in the patent area to seven. The next round of restructuring brought the EPO to three sectors: mobility and mechatronis (M&M), information and communications technology (ICT) and healthcare, biotech & chemistry (HBC). Any resemblance with the earlier structure is pure coincidence. These three sectors are each run by a PD. The latest twist is that there will be one “Super PD” or COO.

This exercise was said to increase quality, efficiency, efficacy, user satisfaction as well as employee motivation and engagement. As a side effect it also created a huge number of high level posts – 11 new PDs – which had to be filled. Most of those posts have been moved away from the patent area. That is why we now have e.g. a Chief Sustainability Officer and the likes.

If you take a look at Article 15 EPC (defining the departments in the EPO), you will not find anything even remotely resembling the positions listed in the blog. This really begs the question why we have them and what their justification is.

Indeed, the EPO has become too much corporate and remained too little patent office. About 25-30% of staff are now non-revenue (excluding DG1 (examiner/formalities officers) and BoA). How does that compare to corporate or other large patent offices?
If upper management wishes to run the office like a corporation then bad decisions which cost the EPO many millions (like the move to Haar and back again, or the right of staff to assemble and strike) should also have corporate consequences. The individuals responsible for these decisions are still in the upper floors of the Isar building.

Yes, the EPO has become corporate. Why are you shocked? That’s not new and not just the EPO. After all, Campinos has clients to satisfy. Thirty-eight of them. And they’re more and more difficult to satisfy (they didn’t buy his “new normal”!). Free dental care is not enough anymore.



The list is endless.

Under the law, a corporation owes no duty to its employees, its suppliers, its customers, those who have a human interest in the survival of the corporation. Its only duty is to deliver to its shareholders what those shareholders perceive as “value”.

As has been pointed out, free dental care for AC members was all fine and good but by now is no longer enough. Having been given a taste of rich dividends and assorted pay-outs, the EPO’s shareholders are, it seems, ever more greedy for more.

* One comment of many (21): “Reflect on how expensive patent litigation is in the USA. Why is that? Mostly because the big litigation law firms like it that way. And do these firms have any influence on how the UPC develops? You bet they do.”

ILO Tribunal Once Again Rules That the European Patent Office (EPO) Violates Fundamental Rights

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 21732b1739fa562b0095d4c81484c82d
EPO Anti-social and Undemocratic
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The EPO‘s management, namely António Campinos and his mates (it’s all about nepotism rather than democracy), will need to deal with Benoît Battistelli‘s “reforms” having been ruled as breaching fundamental rights of staff (for the second time in a year!); one can expect Campinos, whose own “reforms” are extremely controversial and unjustified, to cover up for his mate, Battistelli, just as he did the last time, as there’s practically no accountability in the EPO and judges are treated with utter disdain

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the European Patent Office (EPO) has just circulated an open letter among staff. “In this open letter,” it said, “the Staff Committee requests an in-depth review of all parts of the Service Regulations dealing with Staff Representation, following Judgment 4482.”

Here’s the letter as PDF and as HTML, along with the decision it cites: [PDF]

Reference: sc22006cl
Date: 03/02/2022

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY
Mr António Campinos
President of the EPO

By email


Staff Representation – Review of “Social Democracy”

Dear Mr President,

With Judgment 44821, the Tribunal recently quashed several provisions of the Service Regulations introduced with the Social Democracy reform (CA/4/14 and CA/D 2/14), particularly relevant to the way that Staff Representation may organise its elections and constitute itself. After the Judgments on the strike regulations, it is the second time the Tribunal rules that a reform breached the fundamental right of freedom of association.

Through this Judgment, it appears evident that the entire Title II – Chapter 3 (and associated Circulars) in the codex, dealing with Staff Representation, should be reviewed thoroughly. This should be done before the future round of staff representation elections, due mid-20232.

We believe it is in the common interest of the Office, the Staff and its Representation to review these regulations, such that we can agree upon the necessary amendments and present these to the Council in due time. Looking at the stance that the Tribunal has taken on violations of freedom of association by the EPOrg, we are convinced that the Office shall only present the Council with amendments to the Service Regulations which find support with the Staff Representation and put an end to the hindrance to its functioning since 2014.

We therefore request to extend the mandate of the existing Working Group “StaffRep Resources”, such as to carry out a proper review and reach agreement on appropriate amendments to all parts of the Service Regulations dealing with Staff Representation.

1 See also Judgment 4482 – Extracts
2 See consideration 15 in the Judgment.

Given that the next round of elections is due mid-2023, we look forward to receiving an invitation to this effect on short notice.

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Czogalla
Chairman LSC Berlin

Michael Kemény
Chairman LSC Munich

Martin Schaller
Chairman LSC Vienna

Jorge Raposo
Chairman LSC The Hague

Alain Dumont
Chairman Central Staff Committee

We’ll probably publish more on this topic quite soon. We’ve meanwhile made a local copy of the decision (also shown in the recording made ‘on the spot’).

“We’ve meanwhile made a local copy of the decision (also shown in the recording made ‘on the spot’).”In the video above I mention the other case of breach of fundamental rights (The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — parts XXXXI and XXXXII are still planned for release) and quote a portion of input received from an EPO insider. That speaks of corruption inside and around the EPO. “The way the pandemic is managed reminds me the managerial success story of the EPO,” the insider told us. “Do you remember that judge that was publicly defamed as nazi? The least we can say is that the actual situation lacks transparency. Believing is fine, double-checking is better. What do I know about Pfizer? Fines amounting [to] billions of dollars. Am I supposed to trust them? Perhaps not entirely.”

This isn’t about opposing vaccination in general but about patents and profit motives. We’ve long written and spoken about this subject, sometimes in relation to the EPO specifically.

There’s also this anecdote: “A long time ago I received a phonecall from professional representatives from the UK. They wanted to see me and discuss a file with representatives from the US company. For obvious reasons I will not give the name. But I remember the file, the case was clear-cut and I had planned to grant. Why did they want to see me? Well, the meeting was surreal. The Americans started to talk about, [let's] say the weather, and other similar commonplace [stuff]. And then they started to ask me if I wanted to have one of their products. They insisted in a way [to the point] that the face of the British professional representative turned green. I politely replied that this wasn’t the expect behaviour from the applicants, [and] that examiners do not accepts bribes!”

“Calling “nazis” every group you do not agree with is far too easy; in some cases, like IBM, it wouldn’t even be metaphorical.”“In summary,” the insider said, “corruption also exists at the EPO. US companies use bribes to acquire marketshare. I have read that the Green Party in Germany wants the jab to be compulsory. It is their opinion and they are of course free to think so. But what disturbs me is that they demonstrate with banners [like] “FCK NZS” (fuck nazis). This is the level of political acceptance for people that ask questions, [as] did P.C. the defamed judge.”

Calling “nazis” every group you do not agree with is far too easy; in some cases, like IBM, it wouldn't even be metaphorical. In the case of the EPO, there are some roots (the institution before it was known as EPO) in Nazi Germany and Battistelli himself has an acute case of Vichy Syndrome. At one point Battistelli tried to accuse staff representatives and/or union leaders (even accusing them in front of his government) of being “nazis” and doing nazi salutes. Judging by the track record of Battistelli and Campinos, we know this is not only defamatory but a clear case of projection.

Links 4/2/2022: Slackware 15.0 and GStreamer 1.20

Posted in News Roundup at 4:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Experimental Intel ARC Alchemist mesh shader support added to Vulkan Linux driver

        Recently, Intel revealed the newest ANV Vulkan driver for Linux operating systems that offer mesh shading that the company will implement into the new DG2, or ARC Alchemist, discrete graphics cards. This unique mesh shading is considered “experimental” and is still in testing.

        The new experimental mesh shader can expand the scalability of the geometry stage, allowing it to be very accessible to integrate into the engine runtime. Mesh shading can encapsulate the culling procedure in an individual API call, which bypasses the tedious state and resource setup procedure as it draws indirect demands.

    • Applications

      • Excellent Utilities: croc – securely transfer files and folders

        This series highlights best-of-breed utilities. We cover a wide range of utilities including tools that boost your productivity, help you manage your workflow, and lots more besides.

        There are many ways you can transfer files between computers. Here’s a few methods. We can transfer files between two hosts on Linux using the scp command. The scp command establishes a secure connection between the two hosts and it uses the standard SSH port in order to transfer files. Alternatively, many people send files as attachments although there are often limitations with this method. Or users frequently use file hosting services in the cloud, WebTorrents, a personal server, wormhole and many others.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Wordle was fun while it lasted

        Look, I don’t blame Wardle for selling his game. This is a guy you want to see make millions on his pure and sweet creation! A corporation compensated a creator fairly, it seems, for his work and that’s undeniably better than the alternative. This is, forgive the terrible pun, a classic “don’t hate the player, hate the game” situation. I’m a New York Times news subscriber and I do not begrudge them their profits or their subscriber base. But can I also say? It’s still a little depressing when an enjoyable independent creation gets gobbled up by a behemoth that will remove it from its lo-fi little dot-co-dot-uk frame and position it as bait to convert players to Times Puzzle subscribers or whatever. It’s not all or nothing: I can be happy for Wardle and a little sad for the loss of my own experience all at once.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GStreamer 1.20 Open-Source Multimedia Framework Is Out, This Is What’s New

          GStreamer 1.20 is here one and a half years after GStreamer 1.18 to introduce major new features like WebM Alpha decoding support, video decoder subframe support, multi-threaded video conversion and mixing in the compositor, MPEG-2 and VP9 Linux stateless support, as well as smart encoding (pass through) support for VP8, VP9, and H.265.

          It also introduces GstPlay, a new high-level playback library to replace GstPlayer, AV1 and MPEG-2 support to the Windows Direct3D11/DXVA decoder, audio support for the WPE (WebKit Port for Embedded) web page source element, and CUDA-based video color space convert, rescale, upload and download elements.

        • 10 Necessary Apps to Improve Your GNOME Desktop Experience [Part 4]

          We give you the next set of 10 GNOME Apps that is going to supercharge your productivity while using GNOME Desktop.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • Modern inetd in FreeBSD

          The inetd ‘super-server’ is a special application which ties incoming network connections to locally-run commands. Using a single `super-server` to handle all network requests conserves memory and CPU resources at the expense of increased application latency. Although inetd has largely fallen out of fashion today, it was the most common method for handling network requests in the early days of the Internet.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Version Control Tool, IRC Client Update in Tumbleweed

          This week openSUSE Tumbleweed had a steady pace of snapshots with four releases users could #zypper dup their system into, which brought updates for an Internet Relay Chat client and a new default version of Ruby .

          Version Control package git updated in snapshot 20220201. The 2.35.1 version of git now shows the number of stash entries with –show-stash like the normal output does. The color palette used by git grep has been updated to match that of GNU grep. The Mozilla Firefox 96.0.3 update fixed an issue that allowed unexpected data to be submitted in some of the search telemetry. Google’s data interchange format protobuf 3.19.4 fixed data loss bugs occurring when the number of optional fields in a message is an exact multiple of 32; this affected both Ruby and php in the package. Other packages to update in the snapshot were yast 4.4.43, python-fsspec 2022.1.0, suse-module-tools 16.0.19), and yast2-network 4.4.35, which transitioned to inclusive naming for asymmetric communication.

      • Slackware Family

        • Slackware, the Oldest Actively Maintained Linux Distro, Releases Version 15.0

          Slackware, the oldest actively maintained Linux distribution, released version 15.0 yesterday after a long release cycle that goes all the way back to 2016 where the last version (14.2) was released. According to the release notes, the whole spirit of this release is: “Keep it familiar, but make it modern.”

        • Oldest Active Linux Distro Slackware Finally Releases Version 15

          Rejoice! Linux fans will be pleased to know that the legendary distro, Slackware, has received a new release after a long time. For those unaware, Slackware’s latest version was released way back in 2016.

          The entire Linux community was thrilled about it when the devs announced the plans for Slackware 15.0 in February, last year (2021).

          The devs had made rapid progress in the development of Slackware Linux 15.0 in the past year, starting with an alpha release at the beginning of the year. It took a while considering its last release candidate release, but it is here now!

        • Slackware 15 released

          Version 15 of the venerable Slackware distribution has been released. A bit more information can be found in the release notes. Many of us got our start with Slackware; it is good to see that it’s still out there and true to form.

        • Slackware 15.0 Officially Released

          Slackware 15.0 is now available for download. Guess what, Slackware 15.0 took almost 6 years to develop.

        • Slackware 15.0
          Well folks, in spite of the dire predictions of YouTube pundits, this
          morning the Slackhog emerged from its development den, did *not* see its
          shadow, and Slackware 15.0 has been officially released - another six
          weeks (or years) of the development treadmill averted.
          This has been an interesting development cycle (in the "may you live in
          interesting times" sense). Anyone who has followed Linux development over
          the years has seen the new technology and a slow but steady drift away from
          the more UNIX-like structure. The challenge this time around was to adopt
          as much of the good stuff out there as we could without changing the
          character of the operating system. Keep it familiar, but make it modern.
          And boy did we have our work cut out for us. We adopted PAM (finally)
          as projects we needed dropped support for pure shadow passwords. We switched
          from ConsoleKit2 to elogind, making it much easier to support software
          that targets that Other Init System and bringing us up-to-date with the
          XDG standards. We added support for PipeWire as an alternate to PulseAudio,
          and for Wayland sessions in addition to X11. Dropped Qt4 and moved entirely
          to Qt5. Brought in Rust and Python 3. Added many, many new libraries to the
          system to help support all the various additions. We've upgraded to two of
          the finest desktop environments available today: Xfce 4.16, a fast and
          lightweight but visually appealing and easy to use desktop environment, and
          the KDE Plasma 5 graphical workspaces environment, version 5.23.5 (the
          Plasma 25th Anniversary Edition). This also supports running under Wayland
          or X11.
          We still love Sendmail, but have moved it into the /extra directory and made
          Postfix the default mail handler. The old imapd and ipop3d have been retired
          and replaced by the much more featureful Dovecot IMAP and POP3 server.
          The Slackware pkgtools (package management utilities) saw quite a bit of
          development as well. File locking was implemented to prevent parallel
          installs or upgrades from colliding, and the amount of data written to
          storage minimized in order to avoid extra writes on SSD devices.
          For the first time ever we have included a "make_world.sh" script that allows
          automatically rebuilding the entire operating system from source. We also
          made it a priority throughout the development cycle to ensure that nothing
          failed to build. All the sources have been tested and found to build
          properly. Special thanks to nobodino for spearheading this effort.
          We have also included new scripts to easily rebuild the installer, and to
          build the kernel packages. With the new ease of generating kernel packages,
          we went on to build and test nearly every kernel that was released, finally
          landing on the 5.15.x LTS series which we've used for this release. There
          are also some sample config files to build 5.16 kernels included in the
          /testing directory for anyone interested in using those kernels.
          There's really just way too many upgrades to list them all here. For a
          complete list of included packages, see:
        • Slackware 15.0 has been released on 2022-02-02 | Alien Pastures

          I honestly kept my breath and have had some difficulty believing that this would eventually really happen, but yet here it is. Slackware 15.0 stable! Released yesterday and available on mirrors across the globe today.


          All in all, when you install Slackware 15.0 on your computer you will be able to work in graphical desktop environments and using tools that are on par with all the big distros. When looking for software that is not part of the core distro you can turn to slackbuilds.org (SBo) which is a curated platform for Slackware package build scripts. Tools like sbopkg, sbotools and slpkg will assist you in automating the build- and dependency resolving process when using these scripts from SBo.
          Third-party package repositories are also available to quickly install binary packages if you do not trust yourself when compiling from source. You can think of my own alien and restricted packages but also Robby Workman’s package repository or the SlackOnly collection of packages that have been pre-compiled for you out of all the SBo scripts.
          Slackware’s own slackpkg package manager which only deals with official Slackware packages can be extended with the plugin slackpkg+ if you want to be able to easily manage a mix of official and 3rd-party packages using a single tool.

          Slackpkg with the slackpkg+ plugin also supports managing a multilib installation (i.e. a 64bit Slackware OS which is capable of running and compiling 32bit software). With multilib, running the Steam gaming platform is fully supported on your 64bit Slackware, and Steam applications run as fast on Slackware (or faster) than on Windows.

        • Slackware 15.0 Officially Released, Powered by Linux Kernel 5.15 LTS

          Powered by the latest long-term supported (LTS) Linux 5.15 kernel series, Slackware 15.0 finally adopts the Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM) for pure shadow passwords, switches to elogind as default user login and seat manager instead of ConsoleKit2, adopts the PipeWire low-level multimedia framework, and adds support for the Rust and Python 3 languages.

          On the software front, Slackware 15.0 ships with the Xfce 4.16 and KDE Plasma 5.23 desktop environments, adds the Dovecot IMAP and POP3 server to replace the old imapd and ipop3d, drops support for Qt4 as Qt5 is now the norm, and introduces new scripts to help you easily rebuild the installer and to build kernel packages for your needs.

        • Slackware 15.0 is Officially Emerged from Development Den

          Crushing several rumors and predictions, Slackware 15.0 is now officially released for you to download and experience. We wrap up the iconic release in this post.

      • Debian Family

        • Raspberry Pi OS is now available as a 64-bit download

          Out of all of the Raspberry Pi computers, the Raspberry Pi 1, Pi 2, and Zero support 32-bit operating systems while the Zero 2, Pi 3, and Pi 4 are all capable of running 64-bit operating systems. While it is simpler for the RPF to offer just one 32-bit image, it noticed that some closed-source software was only made for arm64 hardware (those listed as 64-bit earlier). It also said arm64 hardware should run better with a 64-bit OS.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Lite Gets Updated to Version 5.8

          Linux Lite — a highly trimmed down version of Ubuntu, has been updated to version 5.8 and adds several new features including a new Widget, an updated Papirus icon theme, the command line information tool Noefetch and Mintstick, which lets you create bootable USB drives. There are also nine new wallpapers to freshen up your desktop experience.

          Linux Lite is a highly stripped-down operating system based on the Debian and Ubuntu flavors of Linux. Similar to Linux Core we covered a few days ago, this operating system is designed to run on very low-end hardware, but not as low-end as Linux Core.

        • Ubuntu MATE 22.04 Will Include Flatpak by Default

          All Ubuntu flavours ship with Snap support preinstalled as well the ability to use regular apt repos. Flatpak, however, is something users have to go out of their way to install at a later date.

          But Ubuntu MATE fans running the next LTS will find they don’t need to as Flatpak is already present. Better yet, all the required desktop integrations with portals are present and working by default.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Brave vs Vivaldi: Which Chromium-Based Browser is Better?

          It is also one of the best browsers available for Linux. Vivaldi, on the other hand, has been making the rounds among Linux users for its customizability, and tab management features.

          Is Vivaldi worth a try? Is it open-source? Why should you prefer Brave over it? Or should you consider using Vivaldi?

          Here, I shall answer all those questions, comparing both of them side-by-side.

        • Chromium

          • Chrome 99: CSS Cascade Layers, a New Picker for Input Elements, and More

            Unless otherwise noted, changes described below apply to the newest Chrome beta channel release for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows. Learn more about the features listed here through the provided links or from the list on ChromeStatus.com. Chrome 99 is beta as of February 3, 2022. You can download the latest on Google.com for desktop or on Google Play Store on Android.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.3 Community arrives

          LibreOffice 7.3 Community has been released, and this new version of the open source productivity suite features a large number of improvements to help users migrating from Microsoft Office to LibreOffice, or when exchanging documents.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Yesterday

            I wake up every day in a world in which a lot of people have come to love the GNU operating system, but think a Jack Malik from Finland wrote it, even though he came clean about it from the very beginning!

            Unlike the movie, everyone’s forgetfulness is not caused by a weird worldwide blackout, but by a very well-funded disinformation campaign.

      • Programming/Development

  • Leftovers

    • Borowski’s Inferno

      After experiencing Stalinist repression in the Soviet Union prior to World War II, then being an inmate at Auschwitz-Birkenau during World War II, and then suffering under Stalinist repression in Poland after World War II, the Polish poet, writer and journalist, Tadeusz Borowski (1922-1951), came to realize that all survivors are guilty because securing personal survival as a morally principled innocent is impossible — then and now.

      Borowski came to see the world as nested rings of concentration camps, like a Dante’s Inferno, with the smaller rings (of electrified barbed wire) further in and to which you might be outside of, being more and more depraved as they were more tightly concentrated; and the outer larger rings, all of which you are within, being increasingly livable as they receded from the ring of barbed and arbitrary injustices confining you.

    • What and Whom to Believe (or How to Cope with Disillusionment)

      Over millennia philosophers have pursued their quest for meaning, truth and justice, aware of the limitations imposed by the availability of empirical data and the psychological and societal constraints of one’s culture, heritage and local environment. Whether we like it or not, we are children of our generation, and our language, social environment and education condition us to believe certain things and not others. It takes a certain temerity to jump over one’s shadow and to attempt thinking outside the box, test our own premises and consider extraneous perspectives. Are we sure that we ourselves are true and honest? Do we ever test our premises?  Do we practice what we preach? Do we have good reason to trust the morals and intellectual honesty of our leaders?

      Admittedly, human existence does not depend on philosophical reflection – live first, then philosophize — primum vivere, deinde philosophari  (Cicero in a letter to his son Marcus).  Undoubtedly, however, our perception of the spirituality of the universe and our conscious participation in the emotional landscape of our civilization can be immensely enriched by developing an awareness of our own selves – nosce te ipsum (the Delphian γνῶθι σεαυτόν), of our instincts and inclinations, preferences, prejudices.  Such awareness puts the cosmos in context and facilitates our understanding of chronologies, relationships, cause and effect. Life is so much more exciting when we connect with our own consciences, when we are free to evaluate persons and events and make our own minds about things, rather than just joining bandwagons, echoing others, participating in “groupthink”.

    • Remoticon 2021 // Colin O’Flynn Zaps Chips (And They Talk) | Hackaday

      One of the many fascinating fields that’s covered by Hackaday’s remit lies in the world of hardware security, working with physical electronic hardware to reveal inner secrets concealed in its firmware. Colin O’Flynn is the originator of the ChipWhisperer open-source analysis and fault injection board, and he is a master of the art of glitching chips. We were lucky enough to be able to welcome him to speak at last year’s Remoticon on-line conference, and now you can watch the video of his talk below the break. If you need to learn how to break RSA encryption with something like a disposable camera flash, this is the talk for you.

      This talk is an introduction to signal sniffing and fault injection techniques. It’s well-presented and not presented as some unattainable wizardry, and as his power analysis demo shows a clearly different trace on the correct first letter of a password attack the viewer is left with an understanding of what’s going on rather than hoping for inspiration in a stream of the incomprehensible. The learning potential of being in full control of both instrument and target is evident, and continues as the talk moves onto fault injection with an introduction to power supply glitching as a technique to influence code execution.

    • Supersized Power Bank Built From An EV Battery | Hackaday

      Perhaps one day in the future when our portable electronics are powered by inexhaustible dilithium crystals, we’ll look back fondly on the 2020s when we carried around power banks to revive our flagging tech. Oh how we laughed as we reached for those handy plastic bricks only to find them drained already of juice, we’ll say. [Handy Geng] won’t be joining us though, because he’s made the ultimate power bank, a 27,000 AH leviathan that uses an electric car battery for storage and supplies mains power through a brace of sockets on its end.

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Why Wishful Thinking on Covid Remains As Dangerous as Ever

        We’ve entered a new phase in the Covid-19 pandemic, which we can call bipartisan, unilateral surrender. From liberal and conservative pundits and politicians on both sides of the aisle to the celebrity docs who show up on cable news or in supermarket magazines, we’re being told SARS-CoV-2 is endemic now—which of course has nothing to do with the technical term, but has become popular shorthand for “it’s over.” We’re vaxxed-and-done now and we should be allowed, with no more mask requirements or other efforts to mitigate spread, to resume our pre-pandemic lives with the “urgency of normal.”

      • In This Latest Covid Surge, Americans Are Struggling to Make Ends Meet Without Sick Leave

        Elsa Erazo’s voice is faint when we speak on the phone. She’s in bed. She struggles to find words, in both English and her first language, Spanish. Our conversation is repeatedly interrupted by deep, rattling coughs.

      • America’s Two Pandemics

        Still, give Defoe credit. As a grown-up, he may not have lived through the worst version of a plague to hit that capital city since the Black Death of 1348. He did, however, capture much that, four centuries later, will seem unnervingly familiar to us, living as we are in a country savaged by a pandemic all our own. We can only hope that, 57 years from now, on a calmer planet, some twenty-first-century version of Defoe will turn our disaster into a memorable work of fiction (not that Louise Erdrich hasn’t already taken a shot at it in her new novel, The Sentence). Sadly, given so much that’s happening right now from the mad confrontation over Ukraine to the inability to stop this world from heating to the boiling point, that calmer future planet seems unlikely indeed.

        Call me a masochist, but at 77, in relative isolation in New York City as the omicron variant of Covid-19 ran wild — hitting a peak here of 50,000 cases a day — I read Defoe’s novel. All too much of it seemed eerily familiar: stores shutting down, nightlife curtailed, people locked in their houses, others looking desperately to none-too-wise figures for any explanation but a reasonable one about what was happening to them. And so it went then and so it’s largely gone now.

      • The 2 Pandemics Ravaging America

        Imagine that you were experiencing all of this (and by this, I mean our lives right now) as if it were a novel, à la Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year. The famed author of Robinson Crusoe —Defoe claimed it had been written by the fictional Crusoe himself—was 5 years old in 1665. That was when a year-long visitation of the bubonic plague decimated London. It probably killed more than 100,000 of that city’s residents or 15 percent of its population. As for Defoe, he published his “journal” in 1722, 57 years later. He wrote it, however, as if he (or his unidentified protagonist) had recorded events as they were happening in the way that all of us, whatever our ages, have been witnessing the ravages of the many variants of Covid-19 in our own all-too-dismantled lives.

      • Can You Solve The Miserable Being Miserable Online By Regulating Tech?

        Over the last few months, I’ve been asking a general question which I don’t know the answer to, but which I think needs a lot more research. It gets back to the issue of how much of the “bad” that many people seem to insist is caused by social media (and Facebook in particular) is caused by social media, and how much of it is just shining a light on what was always there. I’ve suggested that it would be useful to have a more nuanced account of this, because it’s become all too common for people to insist that anything bad they see talked about on social media was magically caused by social media (oddly, traditional media, including cable news, rarely gets this kind of treatment). The reality, of course, is likely that there are a mix of things happening, and they’re not easily teased apart, unfortunately. So, what I’d like to see is some more nuanced accounting of how much of the “bad stuff” we see online is (1) just social media reflecting back things bad things that have always been there, but which we were less aware of as opposed to (2) enabled by social media connecting and amplifying people spreading the bad stuff. On top of that, I think we should similarly be comparing how social media also has connected tons of people for good purposes as well — and see how much of that happens as compared to the bad.

      • Efforts to Limit Drug Prices Are Stalled — and Pharma Is Seizing an Opening
      • Warren Warns ‘Corporate Vultures’ Are Circling Medicare on Biden’s Watch

        Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday joined physicians and dozens of her House Democratic colleagues in urging the Biden administration to immediately halt Medicare Direct Contracting, a Trump-era pilot that could result in complete privatization of the cherished public healthcare program by decade’s end.

        “It is completely baffling to me that the Biden administration wants to give the same bad actors in Medicare Advantage free rein in traditional Medicare,” Warren (D-Mass.) said during a hearing held by the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Report: Microsoft HoloLens 3 is dead as its mixed-reality vision implodes

          The article details all sorts of internal strife, with employees dishing on what Microsoft executives have said about the mixed-reality device in various private discussions. If there’s any conclusion to be reached from BI‘s reporting, it’s that Microsoft wants to design the software platforms that the metaverse will run upon, rather than committing to the device itself. Microsoft said last year that that was Microsoft Mesh, a platform we were skeptical of at the time it was announced. By November, Microsoft’s mixed-reality plans had seemingly been scaled back to Teams avatars.

        • Security

          • How Phishers Are Slinking Their Links Into LinkedIn
          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Government Agencies are Tapping a Facial Recognition Company to Prove You’re You: Here’s Why That Raises Concerns About Privacy, Accuracy and Fairness

              The IRS’s move is aimed at cutting down on identity theft, a crime that affects millions of Americans. The IRS, in particular, has reported a number of tax filings from people claiming to be others, and fraud in many of the programs that were administered as part of the American Relief Plan has been a major concern to the government.

              The IRS decision has prompted a backlash, in part over concerns about requiring citizens to use facial recognition technology and in part over difficulties some people have had in using the system, particularly with some state agencies that provide unemployment benefits. The reaction has prompted the IRS to revisit its decision.

            • San Francisco Should Strengthen, Not Gut, Surveillance Technology Ordinance

              A year later, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) violated the landmark Ordinance by using a large non-city surveillance camera network to spy on racial justice protests without Board approval. Now, the SFPD and Mayor London Breed are stoking fears about crime in order to gut the Ordinance’s community control provisions with a ballot measure that would create broad exceptions for the police. Several Supervisors have put forward a competing ballot measure to strengthen that community control and the ban on government use of facial recognition technology.

              EFF supports the Supervisors’ measure, and opposes the police and Mayor’s measure that would weaken transparency and oversight of police surveillance. The measures can be withdrawn until early March—otherwise, they will go to a city-wide vote in June.

              This fight is not just for the civil liberties of San Franciscans, but to protect the Black-led racial justice movement across the country from police backlash. A chief lesson from the protests following the police murder of George Floyd is that communities across the country must have the right to democratically decide how to handle complicated issues of civil liberties, crime, and public safety. San Francisco’s Surveillance Technology Ordinance protects that right and allows communities to say “no” to police surveillance on our streets.

            • Senator Wyden: EARN IT Will Make Children Less Safe

              Earlier this week we wrote about the problematic reintroduction of the EARN IT Act and explained how it will make children a lot less safe — exactly the opposite of what its backers claim. Senator Ron Wyden has now put out a statement that succinctly explains the problems of EARN IT, and exactly how it will do incredible harm to the very children it pretends to protect:

            • It’s Back: Senators Want EARN IT Bill to Scan All Online Messages

              A group of lawmakers led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have re-introduced the EARN IT Act, an incredibly unpopular bill from 2020 that was dropped in the face of overwhelming opposition. Let’s be clear: the new EARN IT Act would pave the way for a massive new surveillance system, run by private companies, that would roll back some of the most important privacy and security features in technology used by people around the globe. It’s a framework for private actors to scan every message sent online and report violations to law enforcement. And it might not stop there. The EARN IT Act could ensure that anything hosted online—backups, websites, cloud photos, and more—is scanned.

            • Apple’s Face ID with a Mask works so well, it might end password purgatory

              Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple has made Face ID useful again in iOS 15.4 by finally adding the ability to use the face unlock feature while wearing a face mask.

              I’ve been testing out the new iOS 15.4 beta for a few days, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well Face ID works with a mask — in addition to simply enjoying being able to use my iPhone the way it was originally intended to work, instead of mashing in a six-digit passcode a dozen times whenever I leave the house.

            • Why Apple’s improved 2FA protection matters to business

              Apple has introduced a new layer of protection to its existing two-factor authentication (2FA) system, making it a little harder for phishing attacks to successfully steal valuable authentication credentials.

              Given that Apple, PayPal, and Amazon were the top three brands used for successful phishing attacks last year, according to a recent Jamf report, this matters.

            • How Apple’s privacy push cost Meta $10bn

              For Meta and its competitors, the problem will probably get worse. Google will soon offer most users of Android, its mobile operating system, the ability to opt out of ad tracking. It also plans to ban third-party cookies, another tracking mechanism, from its Chrome web browser. Meta, aware of the challenges, is trying to engineer its way out of the problem. It is developing new tools to help advertisers regain insight into how well their campaigns perform. It is also trying to escape the reach of Google and Apple by developing its own operating system for the metaverse, which it hopes will be the next big computing platform. Controlling the operating system will prevent companies like Apple from upending Meta’s business model in future—and will give Meta total control over what pop-ups you see.

            • Facebook slump reignites debate over attracting younger audiences

              TikTok has continued its soaring growth, particularly among younger audiences attracted by its user-friendly controls and upbeat content of mostly very short, self-made videos.

            • Meta’s miss creates Big Tech divide: who’s got the data

              “It’s two-tiered,” said Gene Munster of investment firm Loup Ventures, who called Apple’s devices and Google’s search service foundations of the [Internet]. “Facebook continues to see that impact of what it means to be built on top of Apple,” he said, noting that Apple’s privacy changes have had a bigger impact on Facebook than he expected.

            • U.S. Losing Ground on Making Global Privacy Mark Without Federal Rules

              Tech leaders and lawmakers agreed Wednesday that the U.S. is at risk of falling behind being able to establish privacy standards if Congress does not act quickly enough to implement federal rules.

              The European Union already has a sweeping privacy and data protection law, called the General Data Protection Regulation, that impacts American companies, yet the United States does not have similar legislation that would allow it to establish its own principles and have similar global influence, experts said.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • A No-Nukes Strategy or a No-Win Reality

        We all know the scenario. Tens of millions die in the first 60 minutes of a nuclear exchange, followed by nuclear winter causing worldwide crop failure and famine. Infernos, radiation, starvation, perhaps a last-ditch effort for survival resulting in barbaric, tribal warfare before human civilization expires.

        The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock remains a potent symbol with its message that if decisive action is not taken, destructive action moves the hands of the clock toward Armageddon. According to the Clock, we have 100 seconds to midnight.

      • Trump Floated Blanket Pardon for Jan. 6 Attackers in Final Weeks of Presidency
      • Opinion | $778 Billion and Counting: Who’s Paying for All This Pentagon Waste? (Hint: It’s You)

        2021 was another banner year for the military-industrial complex, as Congress signed off on a near-record $778 billion in spending for the Pentagon and related work on nuclear warheads at the Department of Energy. That was $25 billion more than the Pentagon had even asked for.

      • “We Need Peace”: War in Ukraine Would Be Humanitarian Catastrophe for Millions in the Region

        As tensions grow between Russia and NATO over a potential invasion of Ukraine, up to 2 million people in eastern Ukraine are at risk of massive displacement and violence if the conflict escalates. We speak with the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Jan Egeland, who is on the ground in Ukraine and says a war could roll back nearly a decade of humanitarian progress made in the Ukrainian region. “We need reconciliation, we need peace,” says Egeland on the messages he is hearing from Ukrainians.

      • Russian Historian: We Need Both the U.S. & Russia to Deescalate Crisis over Ukraine

        Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin continuing to deny accusations of a planned invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration ordered the deployment of 3,000 additional troops to Eastern Europe on Wednesday to supposedly protect Ukraine. Moscow-based historian and political writer Ilya Budraitskis says both Russia and the U.S. are gaining more from the threat of conflict than an actual war, and says Russia has no real strategic gain from a potential invasion.

      • War in
      • Citizen resistance Ukrainian civilians sign up for combat training in case of Russian military escalation

        Against the backdrop of a Russian military buildup and a deepening rift between Russia and Western countries, Ukrainians have begun to make serious preparations for an intensified war. For many, this means joining the Territorial Defense Forces — the country’s volunteer military reserve that was recently incorporated into the armed forces. In Kyiv, instructors with military experience give basic combat training to civilians wielding wooden replicas of Kalashnikov rifles. In Kharkiv, Ukrainian nationalists rehearse maneuvers at abandoned construction sites. Patriotic Ukrainian media outlets hold up these volunteers as heroes — meanwhile, they’re painted as anti-heroes in Russian state propaganda. For the rest of the world, this civilian mobilization speaks to the fact that a full-fledged war between Russia and Ukraine is a very real prospect. Here’s what this combat training looks like. 

    • US Militarism Is a Cause of Tension in Eastern Europe, Not a Solution
    • Opinion | The Russians Are Coming! But Are They Bringing the Chinese?

      It should matter little to the Chinese that American diplomats and a handful of their western allies will not be attending the Beijing Winter Olympics in February. What truly matters is that the Russians are coming.

    • Jan Egeland on Afghanistan Facing Famine, a Massacre in DR Congo & Civilian Casualties in Syria

      The United Nations warns Afghanistan is “hanging by a thread” as millions in the country suffer from hunger and are at risk of freezing to death during the winter as U.S. sanctions have devastated the economy. We get an update on what is now the world’s largest humanitarian crisis from Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council. He also discusses how the NRC has condemned the deadly attack on a camp for displaced people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the organization’s humanitarian concerns after the U.S. raid in Syria targeting an ISIS leader that reportedly killed at least 13, including women and children.

    • 6 Children Reportedly Killed During US Raid in Syria

      United States Special Forces carried out a major raid in northwest Syria in the early hours of Thursday morning that reportedly resulted in the killing of more than a dozen people—including six children and four women.

      In a statement hours after the operation, U.S. President Joe Biden said that “thanks to the skill and bravery of our Armed Forces, we have taken off the battlefield Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi—the leader of ISIS.”

    • Man caught operating drone in Swedish restricted area is Russian

      The man could be charged with violating the Protection Act, as the castle is a protected building where drones are outlawed.

      The Swedish police’s investigation is ongoing. According to Aftonbladet, the Säpo security service is following the case.

    • Oath Keepers founder spent six hours on Zoom with Jan. 6 panel

      The founder of a right-wing group whose members have been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol spent about six hours Wednesday talking to the Jan. 6 committee on a Zoom call from a jail in Oklahoma.

    • Don’t Sleep on the January 6 Committee

      As Representative Jamie Raskin, who sits on the committee, told the Times: “It’s hard to imagine a more outrageous federal assault on voting rights than a presidential seizure of voting machines without any action by Congress at all and no basis in law. That is the stuff of dictators and banana republics.”

      Yes, it is.

    • African Experts Argue Prospects for China’s New $300 Billion Agreement

      A Chinese official in Nigeria says Beijing plans to invest over $300 billion in Africa to increase African exports and help close the large trade gap with China. China’s plans for more investment in Africa have been welcomed by some, but critics worry about Africa’s growing debt with Beijing.

      The recent signing of a multi-billion-dollar partnership between China and Africa marks a major step in China’s effort to spend more money in Africa in nine industrial sectors, including trade, digital innovation, medical, poverty reduction, culture and peace and security.

  • Environment

    • Getting Personal About Climate Change Made Me a Better Reporter

      This story is published in collaboration with the Los Angeles Times and Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

    • A Menacing Wind: a Glimpse of Climate Chaos

      Menacing wind

      The fierce wind whistled its warning for several hours. It kept me alert and very concerned about the safety of my family, house, and community.

    • Climate Advocates Call on Senate to Confirm Key Fed Nominees

      Progressive groups are urging the U.S. Senate to confirm three of President Joe Biden’s nominees for the Federal Reserve Board, arguing that the highly qualified candidates are needed to help address the needs of workers and the climate emergency.

      “This slate of nominees can get the Federal Reserve back to work and address these serious crises through smart regulation.”

    • Energy

      • In Search of Self-Destruction on an Oil Rig

        The 100 or so men that British journalist Tabitha Lasley interviewed for her ethnography turned memoir Sea State are all stalked by death. That makes sense, given their profession: The men work on oil and gas rigs in the North Sea. These offshore workers labor away on floating bombs, at the mercy of an industry that has long been willing to sacrifice occupational safety to the bottom line, a situation that the recent intercession of private equity has only worsened. The UK Health and Safety Executive reported in 2019 that 26 percent of the inspection scores assigned to British rigs qualified as “poor or very poor”; in total, the office identified 1,382 compliance issues ranging from maintenance problems to improper emergency procedures—a figure that has been rising more or less steadily since 2014. Greed, malfeasance, and neglect are all major factors in the serious accidents that continue to happen offshore, as they have been ever since the BP-operated Sea Gem first discovered natural gas in UK waters in 1965. The Sea Gem itself capsized only a few months after it began drilling, when two of its hastily constructed steel support legs crumpled, taking 14 men with it. But the disaster that would eventually become synonymous with North Sea oil is the Piper Alpha, a platform operated by Occidental Petroleum that exploded in 1988 and claimed the lives of 167.

      • Big Oil Board Members Refuse to Testify on Climate Pledges

        With board members from four Big Oil companies refusing to testify before Congress about their so-called net-zero plansper, House Democrats will speak with climate experts next week about the failures of ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and BP to truly work toward reducing planet-heating emissions.

        “No amount of spin can hide the reality that the fossil fuel industry is continuing to pollute and drive climate change.”

      • BlackRock Report Makes Clear Transition to Decarbonized World Not If, But How

        Even as it continues to hold billions of dollars in fossil fuel investments, the world’s largest asset manager on Thursday told its clients that a transition to a post-carbon economy is inevitable, and that the company will work to ensure that they profit from it. 

        “BlackRock is not setting itself up for a successful transition unless it explicitly includes exclusion criteria on fossil fuel expansion, and recalibrates how it measures success within a sector.”

      • Pipeline Politics Hits Multipolar Realities: Nord Stream 2 and the Ukraine Crisis

        US Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, asserted (Jan 27), “If Russia invades Ukraine one way or another, … we will work with Germany to ensure it (the pipeline) does not move forward.” Delayed by US threats and sanctions, Nord Stream 2 highlights why countries are challenging US leadership.

        Since the 1960s when Europe first began importing Russian gas, Washington perceived Russian energy as a threat to US leadership and Europe’s energy security. More recently, with fracking, the US has become the world’s largest gas producer and a major exporter of LNG (liquefied natural gas). It wants to muscle in on Europe’s huge market, displacing Russian gas. With Nord Stream 2 completed and filled while it awaits German regulatory approval, the stakes are high.

      • Can India become a global green datacenter hub?

        While datacenters today are fueling India’s digital transformation journey, it is critical to change the fuel that fuels datacenters. Datacenters are power guzzlers, sometimes consuming more energy than an entire city. Therefore, clean energy for datacenters is something both environmentalists and green energy advocates have been battling for.

        India is already on its way to become a global destination for setting up datacenters. But it could also reinforce its position to become a global hub for green datacenters.

      • Emission omission: Transportation minister in hot water

        When the government unveiled its immense 160 billion kroner ‘Denmark Forward’ infrastructure proposal last April, it suggested the plan was CO2 neutral.

        But recently Ingeniøren newspaper published a series of articles sowing doubt about that statement.

      • Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest takes Facebook to court over scam [cryptocurrency] ads

        Australian billionaire mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest AO has launched criminal action against Facebook over scam cryptocurrency advertisements that used his image, claiming Facebook has breached anti-money laundering laws.

    • Wildlife/Nature

      • The Flawed Economics of Public Lands Grazing: the Case of Monroe Mountain

        The economic analysis of its reauthorization document is typical of many Forest Service and BLM grazing decisions, whereby the agency emphasizes livestock grazing as an economically important component of rural economies by using flawed assumptions. It also justifies the reauthorization of grazing based on “custom and culture”, or the idea that ranching is important to the local sense of community.

        Here’s is how one must “think” about such economic analysis.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • It’s Boris’s Party and Apparently He Can Booze if He Wants To

      London—We’ve all been there. You show up for a meeting at work with your fiancé, having been asked to bring your own booze, and find 100 people there drinking alcohol and enjoying nibbles, only to figure out, 25 minutes later, that you’re actually at what some people would call “a party” in your own garden.

    • The Rage of Political Terrorism

      The U.S. Code of Federal Regulation defines “terrorism” as including “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” The FBI’s definition cuts to the point: terrorism is “Americans attacking Americans based on U.S.-based extremist ideologies.”

      Six months after the January 6th assault on the Capitol, the White House issued a report, “National Strategy for Counting Domestic Terrorism,” that admits, “Domestic terrorism is not a new threat in the United States.” It then points out:

    • At Least 46 Congress Members Have Visited Trump Properties Since He Left Office
    • Ted Cruz Tweets About Cancún Travel Costs as Another Winter Storm Hits Texas
    • Hang-Ups
    • Opinion | Foreign-Influenced Corporate Spending Is Inherently Anti-Democratic

      Following the January 6th insurrection, in which hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of a free and fair democratic election, major corporations were quick to publicly condemn the violence and said they would stop bankrolling the Members of Congress who sought to block certification of the election results. They stated that these 147 members of the “Sedition Caucus” were to blame for perpetuating the Big Lie and therefore would not receive their campaign contributions.

    • Win or Lose, Nomination Debates are Dangerous

      Under pressure to serve up “balance” in their coverage,  producers and editors look for pundits to attack the most moderate and to defend the most extreme nominees. For years, one  ubiquitous source of those pundits has been  The Independent Women’s Forum and their political arm, Independent Women’s Voice. They were vocal supporters of all of Donald Trump’s  nominations, playing up their gender to attack the women who accused Kavanaugh of abuse, and their “independent” label to defend Neil Gorsuch’s embrace of very partisan Republican de-regulatory politics.

      To the media, the IWF offer a convenient bit of “balance”. To the Koch brothers and their network of profit-minded funders, they are an effective, female face of right-wing backlash.

    • Democrats Are So Fed Up With Kyrsten Sinema They Are Funding a Primary Challenge
    • How the Sugar Industry Makes Political Friends and Influences Elections

      Last year, the Florida Legislature was in the midst of an extraordinary push to protect the state’s farming industry from lawsuits over air pollution.

      Supporters argued that the legislation was critical to protecting Florida’s agricultural businesses from “frivolous lawsuits.” But some lawmakers were skeptical, noting that residents of the state’s heartland who were bringing suit against sugar companies would feel their case anything but frivolous. At issue was the practice of cane burning, a harvesting method in which the sugar industry burns crops to rid the plants of their outer leaves. Florida produces more than half of America’s cane sugar and relies heavily on the technique, but residents in the largely Black and Hispanic communities nearby claim the resulting smoke and ash harms their health.

    • Sleepy Woke Joe, Coal Mine Manchin, the Holy Charter, and the Color and Gender of Faces in High Places

      Still, the neoliberal Democrats’ identitarian obsession with the color and gender of faces in high places has its own reactionary aspects. In and of itself, there’s something infantilizing about a pledge “to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court.” At the risk of stating the obvious, neither one’s race nor one’s gender make someone the kind of person decent citizens want sitting on the highest court in the land – or the kind of person who could be expected to take aim at racism and/or sexism, deeply (institutionally and societally) understood. After all, Amy “Coat Hanger” Barrett is a female, and Clarence Thomas is Black. Together those two noxious jurists make up one-third of the right-wing white- and male-supremacist super-majority on the Supreme Court. (The Black female Republican Condoleezza Rice was George W. Bush’s rabidly imperialist National Security Advisor before and during the imperialist and racist invasion of Iraq…I could go on.)

      Installing an officeholder of the politically correct color and/or gender can be worse than merely not a solution to racial and/or gender oppression. It can be a debacle for racial and/or gender justice when the installed person is a right-wing Republican openly opposed to serious anti-racist and anti-sexist government policy. Less obviously but equally if not more important, it can be a calamity if the Black officeholder is a “deeply conservative,” objectively white-supremacist corporate Democrat like Barack Obama, Deval Patrick or Lori Lightfoot – someone who may be Black and/or female but is more subtly opposed in neoliberal ways to serious anti-racist and anti-sexist policy. Among its different downsides, the elevation of an Obama, Patrick, and Lightfoot sort of non-white and/or non-male policymaker helps discredit anti-racism and/or (in Lightfoot’s case) anti-sexism and anti-homophobia by linking them with imperial capitalism and neoliberal regression. Hitching anti-racism to a corporate imperialist like Barack Obama helps the right paint out anti-racism as elitist. Hitching anti-sexism to a corporate imperialist like Hillary Clinton helps the right do the same thing with feminism.

    • The ministry is not allowed to ban the press from hospitals

      The Ministry of Human Resources (EMMI) unlawfully kept the press, including Telex, out of hospitals. Such was the verdict of the Metropolitan Court of Budapest after we challenged the decision to ban all media outlets other than public television and MTI from health institutions during the epidemic. The court ruled that it is not the ministry but hospital directors who have the authority to decide who is allowed into their facilities. Translated by Dominic Spadacene.

    • Ohio Bill Could Make It Easier to Sue Social Media Companies Over Censorship

      Ohio House Bill 441 comes after Facebook and Twitter removed former President Donald Trump following the January 6 Capitol riot. Trump was issued a lifetime ban from both platforms due to violating community guidelines. In both instances, each said Trump used his social media account to incite violence.

    • Viktor Orban meets Vladimir Putin, teachers go on strike and Pegasus used lawfully (?)

      Prime Minister Viktor Orbán met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday, for a much longer discussion than planned. In addition to the usual protocol, the following specifics topics were also discussed:

      Of course, security issues were also given a prominent role in the press conference, as the level of tensions between Moscow and the EU/NATO are so high, that the united opposition parties even called on Orban to cancel his visit.

  • Misinformation/Disinformation

    • Explainer: The Whole Spotify / Joe Rogan Thing Has Absolutely Nothing To Do With Section 230

      I really wasn’t going to write anything about the latest Spotify/Joe Rogan/Neil Young thing. We’ve posted older case studies about content moderation questions regarding Rogan and Spotify and we should have an upcoming guest post exploring one angle of the Rogan/Young debate that is being worked on.

    • Spotify’s Covid misinformation plan falls short

      Spotify says it will add a message to content about Covid-19 posted on its platform, directing users to accurate information about the pandemic and vaccines, and will also post its rules and “highlight” them for users. The company’s announcement Sunday came as the platform faces intense pressure from content creators and users for hosting vaccine misinformation, particularly by podcast host Joe Rogan.

    • Spotify Backs Joe Rogan’s Disinformation Machine

      Don’t be fooled. Peer just beneath the surface and it becomes clear that for big social media companies, matters of “censorship” are always matters of business. Facebook, for example, has had special exemptions from its rules for the very people who are most likely to be believed: politicians and celebrities. More such speech, more advertising revenue.

    • Joe Rogan can’t stop pushing ivermectin as a COVID treatment. Experts are tired of debunking him

      The gloating tweet appeared mere weeks after hundreds of medical experts urged Spotify to crack down on COVID-19 misinformation, specifically calling out the dangers of Rogan’s podcast. Rogan’s now-deleted tweet said “Well, lookie here,” and linked to a report on a press release suggesting that ivermectin — an off-label anti-parasite drug used for the treatment of some parasitic worms in people and animals — was “effective” against the omicron variant in a phase 3 clinical trial. Reuters originally reported on the press release on Monday, but quickly made a correction.

    • What Spotify should learn from the Joe Rogan affair

      The starting point is transparency, which the audio platforms sorely lack. Spotify published its “platform rules” only following the Rogan explosion. Apple, the next-biggest streamer, has content guidelines for podcasts but a rough style guide for music. Amazon, the third-largest, has published even less in the way of rules. And whereas Facebook and co release regular reports on what content they have taken down and why, the audio streamers are opaque. Amid the Rogan crisis, Spotify casually mentioned that it had removed 20,000 other podcast episodes over covid misinformation. What else is it taking down? No one knows.

    • Germany blocks German-language Russian channel

      The German broadcasting regulator said Wednesday it had banned the transmission of the German-language channel of Russian state broadcaster RT, with Moscow vowing to take “retaliatory measures”.

      The transmission of the channel “RT DE” was “prohibited because it does not have the necessary broadcasting licence”, the German regulator’s authorisation and oversight commission said in a statement.

    • Spotify boss says too early to know Joe Rogan row impact

      Musicians, including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, asked for their music to be removed from the platform after criticism that the US broadcaster has helped to spread Covid misinformation.

      It comes as Spotify projected slower subscriber growth for this quarter.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The Anti-Woke Crowd and Maus

      Not that (some) don’t try to cover their bases. After persistent requests to comment on the school board action, Bari Weiss re-tweeted a mild Art Spiegelman quote posted by The Daily Beast’s Harry Siegel (“Keep your nose in a book—and keep other people’s noses out of which books you choose to stick your nose into!”). Earlier in the week, and focusing on other cases, John McWhorter wrote a baffling editorial in which he tepidly walked back his repeated insistence that the left is uniquely illiberal (“I’m genuinely open to the idea that censorship from the right is more of a problem than I have acknowledged. The truth may be as it so often is, in the middle… our problem today is illiberalism on both sides.”) Most did even less. Steven Pinker did not comment. Zaid Jilani made a characteristically meaningless comment. Andrew Sullivan did not appear to comment except to re-tweet Corey Robin’s bizarre thread downplaying the banning. Glenn Greenwald did not really comment and continues to make nonsensical arguments about censorship. And really—what can they say?

      Truthfully, I continue to find this anti-woke niche puzzling. Not because their views aren’t retrograde and often repulsive… they are. But their perspective is also almost universally banal. These people stand varyingly at the edges of mainstream conservatism, lightly pushing their acolytes to go farther, but largely refusing to do so themselves. In their graceless way they collectively re-affirm some mainstream sense of conservatism, but most of them are not the ultimate threat.

    • Olympic sponsors’ silence on human rights feeds censorship fears

      Top Olympic sponsors have been tiptoeing around or staying silent on reports of human rights abuses in northwest China.

    • Censorship and its impact on reading

      When Delhi University announced last August that it was dropping Mahasweta Devi’s short story, ‘Draupadi’, from the undergraduate English syllabus, students around the country began to share it online. Set around the Naxalite movement, ‘Draupadi’ is a retelling of the powerful eponymous character from the Mahabharata. Mahasweta Devi’s Draupadi or Dopdi as she is called, is a rebel who is cornered by the police trying to put down forces she represents, and some of the reasons given for the story being dropped were that it was explicit, mentioned rape and showed the armed forces in poor light. In the U.S., school boards of various States have voted to keep out notable works of literature including John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Toni Morrison’s Beloved and most recently Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel, Maus, on the holocaust.

  • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Moscow to shut down Deutsche Welle’s operations in Russia in response Germany’s broadcast ban on RT Deutsch

      The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced retaliatory measures in response to Germany banning broadcasting of RT DE (formerly RT Deutsch), the German-language channel run by the Russian state-controlled television network RT (Russia Today).

    • The Russian state must protect journalists from Ramzan Kadyrov Meduza calls on federal law enforcement to respond to violent threats by Chechen officials

      Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen government, has called Novaya Gazeta journalist Elena Milashina and Committee Against Torture director Igor Kalyapin “terrorists.” Kadyrov has also accused entire newsrooms, not just at Novaya Gazeta but also at the independent television network Dozhd, of being “terrorists and their accomplices.” These remarks aren’t just insulting (though they are certainly that); they’re also threats of violence. “We’ve always destroyed terrorists and their accomplices, between whom there’s no distinction, and we will continue to deal with them like this,” said Kadyrov.

    • The Worst Thing Written When Assange Was Jailed?
    • How the Establishment Functions

      I suggested in my last post that the British Establishment may be looking for a way out of the terrible Assange debacle without raising difficult truths about the United States justice and penal system. The functioning of the Establishment, the way it forms a collective view and how that view is transmitted, is a mystery to many. Some imagine instructions must be transmitted by formal cabals meeting as Freemasons or Bilderbergers or some such grouping. It is not really like that, although different fora of course do provide venues for the powerful to gather and discuss.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Dangerous Trend of the “Parents Rights” Movement

      One notices in “Parental Rights in Education,” a portion of the bill reads “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age appropriate…” While the idea of age appropriateness does not sound objectionable on its face, who determines that? And, according to the bill, elementary school kids would not be told that some students have two moms or two dads? Because in reality, some of them do.

      This wave to give parents greater authority over what schools teach is not exclusive to Florida, nor to this issue. The conservative “parent’s rights” movement is arguing that parents have a right to control school curriculum. Many states have banned the teaching of “Critical Race Theory,” an approach to teaching racial injustice, despite the fact that almost no K-12 teachers were even doing so.

    • There’s No More Activist Court Than the US Supreme Court

      Ironically, General Knudsen levels his claims against the wrong Supreme Court.

      When Ronald Reagan became president, he set out to change the nature of the Supreme Court, which, for years, had been committed to defending civil rights against state discrimination.  The Court relied upon the 14th Amendment, equal protection and due process clauses.

    • ‘DeJoy Has to Go Right Now’: Fury Over Postal Service Failure to Electrify Truck Fleet

      A leading House Democrat on Wednesday demanded the ouster of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over his push to spend $11 billion on a new fleet of largely gasoline-powered USPS delivery trucks, a plan that flies in the face of President Joe Biden’s proposed shift to zero-emission government vehicles.

      Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), chair of the House subcommittee that oversees the USPS, warned in a social media post late Wednesday that DeJoy is aiming to “spend billions on gas-powered vehicles despite clear goals set by President Biden and Congress to electrify the federal fleet.”

    • The Police State Is Failing Officers Too

      On January 21, a mother’s call for help led to the death of two NYPD officers and her son. The mother, Shirley Sourzes, had requested assistance from the police to resolve an argument she was having with her 47-year-old son, Lashawn McNeil, telling the police that she did not believe she was in immediate harm. The officers—22-year-old rookie Jason Rivera and his partner Wilbert Mora—responded to the routine call and were met with gunfire by McNeil when they headed to the back room after McNeil failed to come out. McNeil was in turn shot to death by a third officer.1

    • ‘Senselessly Unjust’: Ex-Chicago Cop Who Killed Laquan McDonald Released From Prison

      Critics of police violence toward Black Americans expressed outrage as Jason Van Dyke, the former Chicago cop who killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in October 2014, was released Thursday after serving just over three years in prison for a state murder charge.

      “This man doesn’t need to get out. We are seeking federal charges. The time he did wasn’t enough.”

    • Virginia Police Used Fake Forensic Documents To Secure Confessions From Criminal Suspects

      Cops lie. It’s just something they do.

    • Instead of Freeing Palestinian Prisoners, New Scheme Aims at Punishing Their Families

      According to Israel’s Channel 12, the Biden Administration has called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to stop paying stipends to Palestinian prisoners’ families and, instead, to consider an alternative ‘welfare’ system. For example, over 60-year-old prisoners would receive payments as if ‘retired PA employees’. Those under 60, according to the report, would be paid as ‘PA employees’.

      The above is meant as some kind of a compromise. Unlike previous American and Israeli attempts aimed at cutting off any kind of support to the families of Palestinian prisoners, this time around the PA seems willing to consider alternatives to the existing systems.

    • Progressives Join Push for Probe of Palestinian-American’s Death in Israeli Custody

      Progressive U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday joined calls for the Biden administration to conduct an independent investigation into the death of an elderly Palestinian-American man in Israeli military custody earlier this month. 

      “This racist violence and impunity is only possible because of the apartheid government of Israel, supported by the U.S., continues to systematically dehumanize Palestinians.”

    • AP Reporter Presses State Dept on Amnesty’s Israel Report

      Associated Press reporter Matt Lee called on the Biden administration to explain its rejection of Amnesty International’s new report on Israel, which explicitly said this week that the country’s U.S.-backed policies in Palestine amount to “apartheid.”

      After State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters Tuesday, “I reject the view that Israel’s actions constitute apartheid” and noted that the department has “never used such terminology,” Lee asked about the administration’s inconsistent reception of Amnesty International’s exhaustive research into human rights violations around the world.

    • Amnesty International Defends Report on Israeli Apartheid, Rejecting Criticism from U.S. & Israel

      Amnesty International has become the third major human rights organization to accuse Israel of committing the crime of apartheid against Palestinians in a new report released on Tuesday. Amnesty finds Israel’s system of apartheid dates back to the country’s founding in 1948 and has materialized in abuses including massive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer, drastic movement restrictions, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians — all of which constitute apartheid under international law. We speak with Amnesty International USA’s executive director Paul O’Brien, who calls on the United States to “put pressure on the Israeli government to dismantle this system of apartheid,” despite both the Biden administration and the Israeli government rejecting the report’s findings.

    • The News Is Not That Israel Has Apartheid, but That Amnesty Dares Say So

      Does the state of Israel now endorse cancel culture? AP (1/31/22) disclosed that its government called on Amnesty International not to release a report (2/1/22) that defines that nation’s legal structure as a form of apartheid. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said the report endorses “lies shared by terrorist organizations.”

    • Is Slavery Still Legal in the U.S.? Yes, Under the 13th Amendment Exception

      A recent poll commissioned by Worth Rises revealed that 68% of Americans don’t know that there’s an exception in the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — the amendment celebrated for abolishing slavery. Another 20% think there’s an exception if the sitting president decides, as part of wartime efforts, or in the interest of public safety. Thankfully, these exceptions don’t exist, but slavery very much still does.

      So, let’s revisit that history lesson.

    • Amazon workers at a second warehouse in NYC say they have filed a petition to unionize

      The ALU, which is made up of current and former Amazon workers, is also moving forward with unionization at the company’s JFK8 warehouse on Staten Island after the NLRB determined it had met the showing of interest required to hold an election. The NLRB has scheduled a hearing for February 16th and will then determine the date for the election.

    • A young Afghan woman on breaking free of the burqa

      I hated wearing a burqa. It made me itch, it made me sweat. And it made me invisible. Mine was blue with a small lace opening for the eyes, though underneath I wore a short-sleeved dress and tights. Walking in a burqa, I lost my usual confident gait: I hung my head lower, both hands clutching the edge of the fabric so I wouldn’t stumble. The very fact of wearing it made me feel inferior. To leave the house, when I became a teenager about a decade ago, I had to transform myself into a thing.

    • FBI says Pegasus spyware was tested, not used in any investigation

      The FBI confirmed to The Post that it had tested the technology developed by the Israeli company but said it had not been used “in support of any investigation.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • SHOP SAFE Will Stomp Out Online Sales of Used and Homemade Goods

      The “Stopping Harmful Offers on Platforms by Screening Against Fakes in E-Commerce” (SHOP SAFE) is a bill that claims to be about protecting consumers but is more likely to enrich big brands at consumers’ expense. SHOP SAFE would force pretty much any online service that allows people to buy and sell items to institute a draconian trademark protection system. If they don’t, they risk crushing liability for the actions of their users.

    • How Disney Got That ‘Theme Park Exemption’ In Ron DeSantis’ Unconstitutional Social Media Bill

      It’s been almost exactly a year since Florida Man Governor, Ron DeSantis announced plans to try to pass a law that would ban social media websites from taking down misinformation, abuse, and other types of speech. When the final bill came out, at the very last minute, Florida Rep. Blaise Ingoglia tried to sneak in an amendment that carved out Disney, by saying the law didn’t apply to any company that owned a theme park. This took other legislators by surprise, as indicated in this somewhat incredible video of Florida Reps. Anna Eskamani and Andrew Learned confronting Ingoglia over this amendment and what it meant:

    • New FCC Broadband ‘Nutrition Label’ Will More Clearly Inform You You’re Being Ripped Off

      For years we’ve noted how broadband providers impose all manner of bullshit fees on your bill to drive up the cost of service post sale. They’ve also historically had a hard time being transparent about what kind of broadband connection you’re buying. As was evident back when Comcast thought it would be a good idea to throttle all upstream BitTorrent traffic (without telling anybody), or AT&T decided to cap and throttle the usage of its “unlimited” wireless users (without telling anybody), or Verizon decided to modify user packets to track its customers around the internet (without telling anybody).

  • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

    • The best alternatives to Spotify for listening to music

      When we first published this roundup, several tweets recommended that we also include Bandcamp, and it’s easy to see why. Bandcamp calls itself an “online record store and music community” in which independent musicians and podcasters are paid directly by their fans. According to Bandcamp, the artists collect an average of 80 to 85 percent of each sale (except for Bandcamp Fridays, the first Friday of each month, when the company waives its revenue share to make up for the lack of live performances during the pandemic). There is no fee for the service itself; you listen to featured tracks by artists (if you’re using the mobile app, you can hear a stream of tracks from different artists in your chosen category) and then purchase the digital or physical albums of your favorites.

    • Moving From Manual Reverse Engineering of UEFI Modules To Dynamic Emulation of UEFI Firmware

      Hello and welcome back to the 2nd part of our blog post series summarizing our research in the fields of UEFI fuzzing and exploitation. In part 1 of the series, aptly titled “Moving from common-sense knowledge about UEFI to actually dumping UEFI firmware”, we gave some highly-condensed yet required background information on the SPI flash memory, and discussed the software-based approach to dump it to disk. We concluded that part by unpacking the firmware image using a myriad of tools.

      This part picks up where we left off. We’ll start by giving some more background information on UEFI in general, both from the viewpoint of the boot process itself (what are the different boot phases? How are they related? etc.) as well as from the viewpoint of developers (i.e. what APIs are available to UEFI applications). From there we’ll move on to manually reverse engineer some UEFI modules. Throughout this post, we’ll slowly but surely make our way towards more and more dynamic approaches. If you follow along this post, by the time you finish reading it you’ll have a working environment capable of emulating, tracing and debugging UEFI modules.

      Let’s get going.

    • Amazon to Raise Price of Prime Membership, Citing NFL Deal and Expanded Entertainment Offerings

      The company said that the price of its annual membership will rise by $20 to $139, while monthly memberships will rise by $2 per month to $14.99. The company cited all of the additions to Prime since it last raised prices in 2018 in explaining the rationale.

    • The Great Netflix Panic of ‘22

      And yet, even if Netflix continues to stumble through 2022, the odds of it having a MySpace or Napster-level extinction event, or even a WeWork-style crash, seem exceedingly low. Fact is, Netflix is so far ahead in the streaming race it can afford to take big hits like what happened last week. And if growth remains sluggish, or even somehow reverses, execs have plenty of room to adjust: [...]

    • Netflix Lost $50 Billion in Value Overnight

      In its letter to shareholders, Netflix noted that most of its subscriber growth comes from outside the U.S. and Canada, which has hit a saturation point in recent years. In 2021, almost all of Netflix’s growth was from oversees. “Our service continues to grow globally, with more than 90% of our paid net adds in 2021 coming from outside the UCAN region,” Netflix said.

    • Viewer Data Suggests Many Netflix Hits Go From Sizzle to Fizzle Quickly

      While Netflix releases hit original shows on a regular basis, new data suggests these series don’t retain a significant number of viewers after their first month of release.

      Virtually all of the 10 most viewed new Netflix titles of 2021 among TV Time app users saw self-reported viewership in the TV Time app significantly slow after their debut month. Entertainment-content insights-provider Whip Media operates TV Time, an app that reports having 2.8 million global monthly users that track the movies and TV shows they’ve watched and want to watch.

  • Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • CSV calls on governing parties to ‘draw conclusions’ from controversy

        The Democratic Party (DP) but also its coalition partners, the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP) and the Green Party (Déi Gréng), must ask themselves whether they can accept that the Luxembourgish government and the country itself have “lost credibility abroad”, CSV Party President Claude Wiseler said at a press briefing.

        Wiseler stated that, on the one hand, the Prime Minister has lost credibility, but he has also committed a “deontological error” and proven that his political work is “superficial” – something which Wiseler claims was already “well known”.

        While the CSV does not call on the Prime Minister to step down, Wiseler announced that the different party committees will discuss the plagiarism affair further in the near future.

      • MPA, Amazon & Apple Urge Court to Issue Rapid Pirate IPTV Injunction

        A coalition of Hollywood studios plus Amazon, Netflix and Apple is urging a court in the US to issue an urgent injunction to prevent two pirate IPTV services from infringing their rights. In parallel, the defendant’s legal team argues that the plaintiffs’ case is not only deficient but relies on ‘expert’ evidence that is both biased and inaccurate.

      • Dutch ISP is Not Required to Forward Piracy Warnings, Court Rules

        Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN collects IP addresses of persistent pirates and asks the associated ISPs to forward warnings to these subscribers. The Netherlands’ largest ISP, Ziggo, refused to do so due to privacy concerns. This week, a local court agreed that ISPs indeed need a separate data processing license to forward BREIN’s warning letters.

      • Episode 2: Open Culture VOICES – Jonathan Hernández

        We are back with the second episode of Open Culture VOICES, a vlog series of short interviews with open GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) experts from around the world. The Open Culture Program at Creative Commons aims to promote better sharing of cultural heritage in GLAMs collections. With Open Culture VOICES, we’re thrilled to bring you various perspectives from dozens of experts speaking in many different languages on what it’s like to open up heritage content online.  In this interview,  Jonathan Hernández, Researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Library and Information Research Institute offers a unique perspective on what it’s like to open up heritage content online.

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 03, 2022

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:52 am by Needs Sunlight

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#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

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#techrights log as text

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 QmcFBCiyJbLXXgLk2i1h2N7cN9vmw2rQFxr4bQ34EC2oz4 IRC log for #boycottnovell
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HTML5 logs
 QmY8gUntCKKUsTvptQa8RHxGkTroMesoWPcbB4RzrGmihM IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmSe9dgDpnk67J7Fvsbsxxhpm5ou7oBQuLjCAZp2XeveCG IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
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HTML5 logs
 QmdVzNU1KmoyM38p1QfxMu49S7bsxT6eyrJDSstYAsn2Yu IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
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 QmdQuA9WZK3UT1DhU8qBn66dmyFLXARuDWyLjCFQLRCJes IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as HTML)
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 QmPzj9aukqrYpdSWXSdXNDTKNZmowKSMB6KZAHoFNw41UK IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
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 QmXV77Z45hFtwyEHaCoWtsHTTM71VJYD8q4uTkeX54fmh2 IRC log for #techrights
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 QmP3vj98cbeGTgJXfc1yEEUsop2xSihAq8AWCKV52soVJx IRC log for #techrights
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