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Links 15/1/2020: CentOS Linux 8.1, Oracle VirtualBox 6.1.2 and GNU Sed 4.8

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The Easiest Way to Switch from Windows 7 to Linux

        Welcome to the last day of Windows 7—the last day Microsoft is giving out security updates for the antiquated operating system, that is. While you have plenty of options for upgrading Windows 7, and even a hack that might be able to extend your updates for years, one of the best things you can do if you don’t want to make the jump to Windows 10 is to take a 90-degree turn toward Linux.

        Yes, Linux. Don’t be scared. While your first thought is probably, “that’s too complicated for me,” hear me out. There are a number of Linux distributions that look and feel like the Windows you’re already familiar with. You won’t find yourself sitting in front of a command prompt, wondering what to do next, unless that’s the kind of experience you want. Otherwise, Linux isn’t terrifying in the slightest.

        If you’re sticking with Windows 7 because of a specific reason—apps that only work on that version of the OS and nothing else—we even have a workaround for that, too: virtualizing Windows 7 so you can still access it in a safe, as-you-need-it fashion (assuming your system can handle it).

        Stick with us, and we’ll show you just how easy it is to switch to Linux and all the great apps that couldn’t be any easier to download and install in the OS. (We do love package managers.)

      • Manjaro with KDE on a MacBook Pro

        With that away, I just installed purely Manjaro Linux on my MacBook last evening, who cares, I anyways don’t use macOS at all beside as VirtualBox startup environment.

        I searched for some pointers in the internet, in the past I already had some parallel install. If you search a bit, you will find various hints how to do it.


        For me this did the job and the stuff is running well enough. The webcam won’t work without additional effort, not that I use it. No idea if Bluetooth or other stuff like the Thunderbolt ports work, but I never used that even on macOS.

        Fortunately the HiDPI support on Linux & Qt & KDE has gone a long way since my initial try 2015 and now, with some scaling of 1.5 or 2, it is all nicely usable ;=)

        Given I still have some macOS machines available at work, I might still try out some Kate bundles there from time to time, but my personal life is now macOS free.

      • Get Ready For The Manjaro Linux Laptop Explosion (Including AMD Ryzen Models)

        Tuxedo Computers is on a roll. Hot off the heels of announcing the Kubuntu Focus — a workhorse Linux laptop with a heavily tweaked KDE experience — the company has teamed up with Manjaro to tease not one, not two, but several upcoming laptops that will be shipping and optimized for the popular Arch-based Linux distribution.

        On this week’s Linux For Everyone podcast, Manjaro Lead Project Developer Philip Müller shared a bunch of details and some tantalizing teases regarding the new laptops, so if you want the full scoop it’s worth a listen...

    • Server

      • Kubernetes on MIPS


        MIPS (Microprocessor without Interlocked Pipelined Stages) is a reduced instruction set computer (RISC) instruction set architecture (ISA), appeared in 1981 and developed by MIPS Technologies. Now MIPS architecture is widely used in many electronic products.

        Kubernetes has officially supported a variety of CPU architectures such as x86, arm/arm64, ppc64le, s390x. However, it’s a pity that Kubernetes doesn’t support MIPS. With the widespread use of cloud native technology, users under MIPS architecture also have an urgent demand for Kubernetes on MIPS.


        For many years, to enrich the ecology of the open-source community, we have been working on adjusting MIPS architecture for Kubernetes use cases. With the continuous iterative optimization and the performance improvement of the MIPS CPU, we have made some breakthrough progresses on the mips64el platform.

        Over the years, we have been actively participating in the Kubernetes community and have rich experience in the using and optimization of Kubernetes technology. Recently, we tried to adapt the MIPS architecture platform for Kubernetes and achieved a new a stage on that journey. The team has completed migration and adaptation of Kubernetes and related components, built not only a stable and highly available MIPS cluster but also completed the conformance test for Kubernetes v1.16.2.

      • IBM

        • CentOS Linux 8.1 Officially Released, Based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1

          CentOS Linux 8.1 (1911) is here almost four months after the introduction of the CentOS Linux 8 operating system series, which is based on Red Hat's Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 operating system series, to add all the new features and improvements implemented upstream in the latest Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 release.

          Highlights include kernel live patching, a new routing protocol stack called FRR which supports multiple IPv4 and IPv6 routing protocols, an extended version of the Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF) to help sysadmins troubleshoot complex network issues, support for re-encrypting block devices in LUKS2 while the devices are in use, as well as a new tool for generating SELinux policies for containers called udica.

        • CentOS-8 1911 Released As Rebuild Off Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1

          CentOS 8 1911 has been released today as the community rebuild rebased to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 that debuted back in November.

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 brought official support for kernel live-patching, various container focused updates, new Enterprise Linux System Roles, hybrid cloud improvements, and other security improvements and package updates.

          More details on CentOS 8 1911 can be found via the release notes but as is standard it basically comes down to being a community rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1.

        • Release for CentOS Linux 8 (1911)

          Release for CentOS Linux 8 (1911)

          We are pleased to announce the general availability of CentOS Linux 8. Effectively immediately, this is the current release for CentOS Linux 8 and is tagged as 1911, derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 Source Code.

          As always, read through the Release Notes at : - these notes contain important information about the release and details about some of the content inside the release from the CentOS QA team. These notes are updated constantly to include issues and incorporate feedback from the users.

        • CentOS Linux 8.1 (1911) released and here is how to upgrade it

          CentOS Linux 8.1 (1191) released. It is a Linux distribution derived from RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) 8.1 source code. CentOS was created when Red Hat stopped providing RHEL free. CentOS 8.1 gives complete control of its open-source software packages and is fully customized for research needs or for running a high-performance website without the need for license fees. Let us see what’s new in CentOS 8.1 (1911) and how to upgrade existing CentOS 8.0.1905 server to 8.1.1911 using the command line.

        • Introducing Multi-Cloud Object Gateway for OpenShift
        • Introducing OpenShift Container Storage 4.2
        • Introducing Red Hat OpenShift 4.3 to Enhance Kubernetes Security
        • What’s new in the OpenShift 4.3 console developer experience

          The developer experience is significantly improved in the Red Hat OpenShift 4.3 web console. If you have used the Developer perspective, which was introduced in OpenShift 4.2 Console, you are probably familiar with our streamlined user flows for deploying applications, the new Topology view, and the enhanced experience around OpenShift Pipelines powered by Tekton and OpenShift Serverless powered by Knative. This release continues to improve upon the features that were introduced in 4.2 and introduces new flows and features for the developer.

        • Self Service Speedbumps

          In my case, there is a flavor that almost matches; it has 10 GB of Disk space instead of the required 25. But I cannot use it.

          Instead, I have to use a larger flavor that has double the VCPUs, and thus eats up more of my VCPU quota….to the point that I cannot afford more than 4 Virtual machines of this size, and thus cannot create more than one compute node; OpenShift needs 3 nodes for the control plane.

          I do not have permissions to create a flavor on this cloud. Thus, my only option is to open a ticket. Which has to be reviewed and acted upon by an administrator. Not a huge deal.

          This is how self service breaks down. A non-security decision (link disk size with the other characteristics of a flavor) plus Access Control rules that prevent end users from customizing. So the end user waits for a human to respond

          In my case, that means that I have to provide an alternative place to host my demonstration, just in case things don’t happen in time. Which costs my organization money.

          This is not a ding on my cloud provider. They have the same OpenStack API as anyone else deploying OpenStack.

        • How RHEL 8 is designed for FIPS 140-2 requirements

          Deploying software in a large organization is a challenging task when it comes to providing a consistent and reasonable level of security. Any number of vendors are involved in delivering software that addresses numerous needs of the organization, and that combination of software includes numerous claims and security mechanisms. How can an organization be made aware that all deployed software systems contain generally accepted and state of the art in today’s standards cryptography? Should the organization receiving the software understand and review all the algorithms and protocols used by the software?

          Although, in the open source world the latter may be feasible, it is not always a reasonable or scalable option for the IT department of each and every organization. That is why in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, we seek to comply with the FIPS 140-2 standard. FIPS 140-2 is a joint effort between NIST and the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS).

        • Design Sprints: the Red Hat Way
    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linus’ Filesystem Fluster | LINUX Unplugged 336

        Linus Torvalds says don’t use ZFS, but we think he got a few of the facts wrong. Jim Salter joins us to help us explain what Linus got right, and what he got wrong.

        Plus some really handy Linux picks, some community news, and a live broadcast from Seattle’s Snowpocalypse!

      • mintCast 326 – One Byte Opposition

        First up, in our Wanderings, Special Guest Alan Pope finds gold in the loft and plays 30+ year old games online, Leo wins at gifts, but fails at MicroK8s, Tony Hughes plays with Ubuntu Studio, more Matchbox cars, and donates some tech, Joe tries to repair a pebble, fixes more headphones and listens to lots of books, Tony Watts converts 8mm film to digital, plays with a dual monitor setup on his Thinkpad and reconfigures his recording setup.

        Then, in our news – Dell shows a new developer XPS 13 laptop at CES, there is a new enterprise Chromebook from Samsung and EA boots Linux gamers out of multiplayer Battlefield and more.

        In Security – It’s time to update Firefox… again. And Cablehaunt spooks your modem.

      • 2020-01-14 | Linux Headlines

        MariaDB has a new cloud-native database, PC sales were up for the first time in 8 years, Google’s Hash Code opens its registration, and GitLab achieved a bug bounty milestone.

      • Oracle Groundbreakers Podcast: #374: Kubernetes and Beyond: An Interview with Kelsey Hightower

        Kelsey Hightower is a developer advocate, an open source aficionado, and a widely recognized expert on Kubernetes. He is the creator of the open source tutorial Kubernetes The Hard Way, available on Github, and he is a co-author of Kubernetes: Up and Running: Dive Into the Future of Infrastructure, the second edition of which is now available from O’Reilly Media. In this program his conversation with Oracle's Karthik Gaekwad encompasses Kubernetes, Open Source, cloud computing, developer advocacy and a lot more. Listen!

      • Unboxing of the Kubuntu Focus Laptop

        I got a chance to review the Kubuntu Focus laptop and this is the Unboxing and First Impressions video for it.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Founder Linus Torvalds Draws Ire for Criticizing Oracle ZFS

        Linux creator Linus Torvalds has drawn ire for advising people not to use the ZFS file system until Oracle, which inherited the technology when it acquired Sun Microsystems in 2009, changes the licensing used to cover the project's codebase.

        Torvalds made his remarks on the Real World Technologies forum on January 6. Phoronix was the first to report on the comment, and Ars Technica followed up on Tuesday to criticize Torvalds's argument, saying in the article's subhed that "Linus should avoid authoritative statements about projects he's unfamiliar with."

      • Linux 5.4.12

        I'm announcing the release of the 5.4.12 kernel.

        All users of the 5.4 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.4.y git tree can be found at:

        git:// linux-5.4.y

        and can be browsed at the normal git web browser:

      • Linux 4.19.96
      • Linux 4.14.165
      • Linux 4.9.210
      • Linux 4.4.210
      • Intel Ivybridge + Haswell Require Security Mitigation For Graphics Hardware Flaw
      • Intel's Linux Graphics Driver Gets Patched For A Gen9 Graphics Vulnerability

        On top of the Intel graphics driver patches back from November for denial of service and privilege escalation bugs, the Linux kernel received a new patch today for "CVE-2019-14615" regarding a possible data disclosure with Gen9 graphics hardware.

      • Intel Patches Security Vulnerability in Linux and Windows Drivers

        Out of the six security flaws, only one comes with a “high” severity rating. Four of them are rated as “medium,” while last one has a “low” rating.

        The high-severity vulnerability is an escalation of privilege that exists in the Intel VTune Amplifier for Windows, and Intel says the bug was discovered internally by company employees.

        To resolve the flaw, users must update Intel VTune Amplifier for Windows to version 8 or newer.

      • Tesla Is Making Use Of The Open-Source Coreboot Within Their Electric Vehicles

        Not only is Linux increasingly used within automobiles but it turns out at least one automobile manufacturer is even using Coreboot within their vehicles.

        Tesla turns out to be utilizing Coreboot as part of their electric vehicle computer systems. Tesla Motors' open-source portal on GitHub is hosting a Coreboot repository with a big code drop having happened at the start of the new year.

        The new code added on top of the Coreboot source tree is from Tesla Motors and Samsung. Samsung manufacturers the company's current full self-driving (FSD) chip.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Vulkan 1.2 Arrives With An Eye On Greater Performance, Better Compatibility With Other 3D APIs On Top

          Coming up next month already will mark four years since the release of Vulkan 1.0 but for today is an early surprise... Vulkan 1.2! The Khronos Group has prepared Vulkan 1.2 for release as the newest major update to this graphics and compute API. Several vendors also have Vulkan 1.2 support in tow.

        • RenderDoc 1.6 Released, NVIDIA + AMD + Intel All Primed For Vulkan 1.2

          This morning's release of Vulkan 1.2 is off to a great start.

          To no surprise, NVIDIA is first out of the gate with a Vulkan 1.2 driver for Windows and Linux. The NVIDIA 440.48.02 Linux driver adds the Vulkan 1.2 support. Additionally, this Vulkan beta driver supports PRIME synchronization when paired with the Linux 5.4 kernel or newer.

        • Vulkan API specification 1.2 released, new NVIDIA Vulkan Beta driver up

          Today, The Khronos Group has released the next big update the Vulkan graphics API specification with Vulkan 1.2 now available. This marks almost four years since 1.0 specification release.

          Vulkan 1.2 pulls in 23 extensions into the core of the Vulkan API, bringing access to new hardware functionality, the possibility to improve performance and more. There's a lot of excitement around it, with multiple companies giving their support in the official press release here like Google for Stadia, Stardock Entertainment, NVIDIA, AMD, Arm, Intel and more.

          "Vulkan 1.2 brings together nearly two dozen high-priority features developed over the past two years into one, unified core Vulkan standard, setting a cutting-edge bar for functionality in the industry’s only open GPU API for cross-platform 3D and compute acceleration," said Tom Olson, distinguished engineer at Arm, and Vulkan working group chair. "Khronos will continue delivering regular Vulkan ecosystem updates with this proven, developer-focused methodology to both meet the needs and expand the horizons of real-world applications."

        • A Slew Of ACO Optimizations For The Radeon Vulkan Driver Landed In Mesa 20.0

          The Valve-backed ACO compiler back-end that is optionally used by the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver has continued growing in popularity with Linux gamers and also has continued maturing a lot for Mesa 20.0 that is due out later this quarter.

          On top of the work that has merged already for ACO since its original mainlining in Mesa 19.3, optimizations and fixes are aplenty for ACO with RADV come Mesa 20.0.

        • Wayland 1.18.0 release schedule
          Hi all,

          Here is the release schedule for Wayland 1.18.0:

          - Alpha: January 21st, in one week - Beta: January 28th - RC1: February 4th - First potential final release date: February 11th

          Package maintainers are encouraged to pick up the pre-releases to make sure packaging can be tested (and fixed) before the stable release. This is the first release to support the Meson build system. The autotools build is still supported for now, but will be dropped in a future version.

          Let me know if you'd like a pending patch to make it in the release.


        • Wayland 1.18 Planned For Release Next Month

          Without seeing a new release of Wayland itself in nearly one year, a plan has been rolled out for having Wayland 1.18 in mid-February.

          Simon Ser has stepped up to organize the Wayland 1.18 release and is planning for the alpha in one week, the Wayland 1.18 beta at month's end, and the release candidates to happen in February until the stable version is ready to ship. The release plan for Wayland 1.18 can be found on Wayland-dev.

        • There Is Finally Open-Source Accelerated NVIDIA Turing Graphics Support

          Here is another big feature coming for Linux 5.6: the Nouveau driver will have initial accelerated support for NVIDIA "Turing" GPUs! This is coming at long-last with NVIDIA set to release publicly the Turing firmware images needed for hardware initialization.

          As of writing, NVIDIA hasn't yet volleyed the signed firmware needed for Turing hardware initialization, but it appears advanced copies went out to Nouveau DRM maintainer Ben Skeggs of Red Hat. With the firmware bits and some DRM driver hacking, Skeggs now has the Turing GPUs lighting up with the open-source driver.

        • Intel Lands A Final Batch Of Graphics Driver Updates Ahead Of Linux 5.6

          Intel's open-source graphics driver crew has submitted a final batch of updates to DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 5.6 kernel merge window. The DRM-Next cut-off is this week ahead of the Linux 5.6 window opening up at the start of February.

          Over previous weeks into DRM-Next Intel has submitted various Tiger Lake and Jasper Lake updates, HDCP 2.2 support for Coffee Lake, Panel Self Refresh improvements, and various other enhancements.

    • Applications

      • Oracle VirtualBox 6.1.2 Released with Linux 5.5 Support

        The first maintenance release for Oracle Virtualbox 6.1 series was released one day ago.

        Virtualbox 6.1.2 added kernel 5.5 support in Linux hosts (guest additions not yet), and improved resize and multi-monitor handling for Linux guests using VMSVGA.

      • Oracle Releases VirtualBox 6.1.2 with Initial Support for Linux Kernel 5.5

        VirtualBox 6.1.2 is here to add a month's worth of new bug fixes and improvements to the popular virtualization software developed by Oracle, adding initial support for the upcoming Linux 5.5 kernel series, which should hit the streets later this month. For now, Guest Additions are not supported.

        For the Linux platform, VirtualBox 6.1.2 also improves resize and multi-monitor handling for virtual machines using VMSVGA in Linux guests. However, Oracle notes the fact that the "do not disable a monitor "in the middle"" issue is still present in this release and it causes confusion for users.

      • 5 Best Download Managers for Linux

        We often need to download large files that can go corrupt due to various reasons such as slow internet or interrupted download. Using a broken downloaded file is not something one wants.

        Thankfully, we have programs for management of just those situations, download managers. In this article, we’re going to tell you about six most useful download managers available on the Linux platform, with the distinctive features of each one of them.

      • 4 Useful Tools to Monitor CPU and GPU Temperature in Ubuntu

        The CPU or GPU temperature depends entirely on the usage of running programs or applications. Sensitive computer components such as CPUs have a finite lifespan and running them at a temperature that exceeds a certain limit (or at higher temperatures generally) can shorten it. Besides, it can also cause thermal throttling especially when the fan is not providing adequate cooling.

      • Boostnote – A Note Taking and Markdown Editor Made for Coders

        Boostnote is a 100% open-source, multi-platform Markdown editor and note-taking application designed for developers. Of course, non-programmers can use it without any technical requirements in order to take advantage of all its modern features which include full Markdown editing (with live preview) and Latex support.


        Apart from the above-listed features, you can use hotkeys to quickly navigate through the app and search for notes among other quick actions. The tab or spacebars can be customized to your taste and you can export notes as either plain text (.txt) or markdown (.md).


        Boostnote is open-source but that doesn’t stop it from having a paid version. The Basic version is free with 100MB cloud storage space while the Premium version features 2GB of cloud storage space for a fee of $3/month and $5 for every extra 5GB.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Linux's Gaming Future | DXVK Enters Maintenance mode

        In this video, I go over recent news about DXVK entering maintenance mode and what their lead developer is doing and how this affects Linux's gaming future.

      • Cortex Command has a Community Project that aims to keep the game alive

        Remember Cortex Command? Data Realms released a Linux build for the Humble Indie Bundle 2 in 2010, sadly the Linux version never really progressed much but since it was opened sourced last year it can live on and it is alive.

        The Cortex Command Community Project (GitHub) is one such attempt to revive it, updating it to keep it working nicely on modern systems. I spoke with the maintainer who said they've worked to deal with any case sensitivity in the engine (because Windows is not case sensitive, but Linux is) and replacing the sound library FMOD, with Gorilla Audio. Their main goal of this, is to give it feature parity with the Windows version which they said it does.

      • 3D party action game 'Aeolis Tournament' is on Kickstarter promising some chaotic fun on Linux

        Beyond Fun Studio are raising a little funding on Kickstarter to complete their crazy party game, Aeolis Tournament, which is planned to release with Linux support this Spring.

        You compete in various different game modes, using a super-easy one-button mechanic. Each character has an air cannon, to affect their surroundings for whatever mode they're in. Inspired by the likes of Fuzion Frenzy, they're going for a "Nintendo-inspired" cartoony look.

      • Paradox to focus on smaller and more frequent updates to Imperator: Rome this year

        Paradox Development Studio have given their first 2020 update on the roadmap for the struggling Imperator: Rome.

        Unlike their other titles including Stellaris, Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis they're switching up their release schedule to push out what they said will be "smaller, more frequent updates" in comparison. This means the 1.4 update which was going to be titled "Cassander" won't be happening as planned.

        It makes sense, this is one of their worst launches and it's still not doing well so rather than building everything into big expansions making people wait long periods they're going to try and turn it around a little quicker.

      • Apocalyptic fantasy RPG strategy 'Vagrus - The Riven Realms' new build out, passed $50K on Fig

        Before talking a little about the new build, let's look at some numbers. Lost Pilgrims Studio put Vagrus up on Fig in May last year, so in around eight months they've managed to pass well over $50K on Fig so it certainly seems like they're doing well. Using Fig's "Open Access" funding model, a hybrid that blends Early Access and Crowdfunding. They have a set milestone in funding for certain features, a ton of which have been hit now.


        It's really turning into an exceptional narrative-driven experience, the style and writing are fantastic and really do pull you into the world. What's interesting is that I often struggle with RPG experiences that make me sit still and read (I prefer a good narrator and voice over), but Vagrus is just so captivating I end up absorbed by it. If you enjoy a good read with trading, combat and exploration then Vagrus - The Riven Realms should tick a few boxes for you. The Linux version works great, really enjoying it.

      • DOOM Eternal coming to Stadia on March 20, plus other Stadia news - a round-up

        First up we have a delay, with Marvel's Avengers that was due to release in May being pushed back until September. According to Crystal Dynamics, they said this is to "spend this additional development time focusing on fine tuning and polishing the game to the high standards our fans expect and deserve"—fair enough. It's expected to release on Stadia at the same time as other platforms.


        Something also interesting is that Anna Kipnis, a Senior Prototyper & Game Designer at Google (who is also on the Stadia Star Labs research team), will be doing a talk at GDC 2020 in March titled "Machine Learning Summit: Creating Game AI by Using Mostly English, with Semantic ML". This is a feature Google are hoping to pull into Stadia, to have more interesting/smarter AI.

      • Valve continue working behind the scenes for Linux gaming with 'Gamescope'

        Valve are definitely up to something. For a little while, Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais has been tweaking steamcompmgr, the SteamOS session compositing window manager.

        After being quiet on SteamOS development for a long time with no update since July last year, it certainly seems now like some parts of it are being revived either for the next major SteamOS release or Valve's other Linux gaming projects. Work on steamcompmgr seemed to stall back in 2018, with it suddenly seeing activity on GitHub in October last year.

      • The Humble Sweet Farm Bundle is live with some lovely Linux games

        Humble Bundle have just put up The Humble Sweet Farm Bundle and there's multiple lovely Linux games included.

      • Steam Play Proton 4.11-12 is out

        The first Steam Play Proton release of 2020 is now available with 4.11-12 which is mainly a cleanup.

        Looking to get started with Steam Play on Linux? Be sure to check our previous beginners guide for some tips and explanations. We'll be keeping that up to date with any major changes.

        DXVK, the translation layer the converts Direct 3D 9/10/11 to Vulkan which forms part of Proton was upgraded to the 1.5.1 release from last week. So all the changes there like performance improvements for D3D9 and bug fixes for some big titles like GTA V are available now.

      • Valve's Proton 4.11-12 Released With DXVK 1.5.1, Updated SDKs

        The Wine-downstream Proton that powers Valve's Steam Play is up to version 4.11-12 following a release today by a CodeWeavers developer.

        Most notable with Proton 4.11-12 is pulling in DXVK 1.5.1, the release that brings better D3D9 performance and many game fixes as well as better thread defaults for today's CPUs.

      • Slay the Spire patch 2.0 is out, bringing in The Watcher as the fourth character

        As if I needed more reasons to dive into the Spire once again, Slay the Spire 2.0 is out which brings quite a lot of changes in addition to the fourth character.

        You need to unlock this character, by having the third character unlocked and then beating an Act III boss with any character. That can take some time to do, I had a two hour game earlier where I was destroyed by the Act III boss—maybe next time. Just like the other three characters, The Watcher has their own deck of cards and a handful of unique relics.

        There's also 14 new potions, so they also added a Potion Lab where you can go to find out more information on them just like the Card Library. To make runs even more interesting there's an additional 9 Relics that all characters can use and an additional 9 Relics just for The Watcher.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Moving from Windows 7 to Plasma? Do it the Easy Way!

          Redmond will no longer provide updates for the 2009 operating system. This puts almost a billion people in the difficult situation of facing increased security risks alongside a slow decline in software availability.

          Folks who reject Microsoft’s forced updates are already opting to regain control over their systems by switching to the friendly and full-featured Plasma desktop, built on a design philosophy which centers freedom and respect for its users. Recent buzz about the possibilities of Plasma has brought a lot of fresh faces on board, and now they are trying to navigate a new operating system that has its differences from Windows.

          If you’re one of those people, you’re probably wondering where you can find experienced users to help you get settled in.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.36 Will Feature an Improved Shell Theme (And It Looks Very Nice)

          As spotlighted by Alex (aka BabyWogue), the current development work on GNOME 3.36 introduces a brand new aesthetic in the calendar/message tray and in the GNOME Shell search overview.

          Notifications listed in the GNOME Shell Calendar/Message tray have a more prominent appearance, made distinct and separate by the use of a drop shadows (rather than only a subtle border outline, as per current code).

          The “carded” look extends to other elements nestled in the drop down too, including the calendar, world clocks, and weather. A “light” effect is applied on mouse over in the standard GNOME Shell skin.

          The (admittedly fuzzy) .gif above also demonstrates two additional tweaks I’m pretty pleased to see. First, new “hover” state for individual media control buttons, an effect that had been missing until now; and secondly, larger icons in notifications.

    • Distributions

      • IPFire Linux Firewall Distribution Improves Its Intrusion Prevention System

        IPFire 2.23 Core Update 139 is the latest release of the Linux-based firewall distribution, featuring an improved Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) that now receives information about which DNS servers are being used by the system, as well as improved booting and reconnect after loss of Internet connection.

        With this new Core Update, IPFire 2.23 is also switching to AES-GCM as preferred cipher when establishing an SSL/TLS connection to the firewall and connections to web user interface. Previously, the firewall distribution made use of the AES-CBC and ChaCha20/Poly1305 ciphers.

      • New Releases

        • Linux Lite 4.8 Released As A Free And Light Windows 7 Alternative

          Days after Microsoft ended all kinds of support for Windows 7, Linux Lite came up with new stable version Linux Lite 4.8 as officially announced here on their website.

          It’s been released before its usual release date, which is mostly scheduled always in February, to welcome all the Windows 7 users who have been forced to switch to Windows 10. The latest version makes the path of transition easy, secure, and smooth, especially for Windows 7 users as it offers a user-friendly simple, lightweight, Microsoft-compatible office suite and similar applications for media, production, and browsing.

        • Linux Lite 4.8 released a day ahead of Windows 7 EOL

          Linux Lite eases Windows 7 users transition to Linux much more comfortable by offering simple software like Teamviewer, VLC, Firefox, Chrome, the Timeshift backup utility, and a full Microsoft Office compatible office suite in LibreOffice. The timing of the release of Linux Lite 4.8 could not have been more perfect. With Microsoft ending support for the popular Windows 7 operating system. While the company hopes that existing Windows 7 users will upgrade to Windows 10, many users are reluctant to do so, tired of the copious amount of updates, not to mention their perception that the software giant’s data collection methods are aggressive and dubious. For these users, the newly released Linux Lite 4.8 is a tempting alternative.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • LibreOffice, Firefox, Curl Receive Updates in Tumbleweed

          Several packages were updated this week for openSUSE Tumbleweed as was expected after the holiday season. Five snapshots of the rolling release have been delivered so far this week after passing the rigorous testing applied by openQA.

          The releases are trending incredibly stable with trending or recorded ratings abovea 96 rating, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

          The most recent snapshot, 20200112, updated Xfce desktop environment with an update for xfce4-session 4.14.1 and xfce4-settings 4.14.2. Various developer visible changes were made with Google’s 20200101 re2 library for regular expressions updates. GNOME’s application for managing images with a users Flickr account, frogr 1.6, removed the deprecated use of GTimeVal. The open source platform for the scale-out of public and private cloud storage, glusterfs 7.1, fixed storage rebalancing caused by an input error and fixed a memory leak in the glusterfsd process. ImageMagick version optimized the special effects performance of Fx and virglrenderer 0.8.1, which is a project to investigate the possibility of creating a virtual 3D GPU for use inside qemu virtual machines to accelerate 3D rendering, added some patches. The snapshot continued to update packages for KDE Applications 19.12.1 that started in the 20200111 snapshot. Improvements to the scroll wheel speed was made for KDE’s Dolphin, the video editing software Kdenlive had multiple fixes and an adjustment for faster rendering, and obsolete code was removed from Applications’ diagram package umbrello. Most of the KDE Applications packages also updated the Copyright year to 2020.

        • Linux Bonus Pack Makes SAP Hana Movers Happy

          More and more SAP customers are opting for Hana (and consequently Linux) and ERP successor S/4. According to a new forecast by German-speaking SAP user group DSAG, the percentage of existing customers using S/4 will continue to increase in the next three years – from currently 8 percent to then 50 percent.

          These numbers are impressive, and they are not even taking new customers into account. Numerous companies of all sizes and industries will also switch to SAP and S/4 in the next couple of years.


          This company is a supplier operating in the construction industry. On the road to S/4, this company migrated its SAP systems (ECC, APO, TM and PI) to Hana with Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SAP Applications from its existing infrastructure with DB2, Power hardware and Power VM and AIX.

      • Fedora Family

        • Qubes OS 4.0.3-rc1 has been released!

          Shortly after the announcement of 4.0.2, a bug was discovered in the dom0 kernel included in that release. Since the bug would have presented installation problems for the majority of users. That bug has now been fixed, along with a few installer fixes, resulting in 4.0.3-rc1.

          In keeping with standard semantic versioning, we’ve incremented the patch version number to reflect this latest fix, so 4.0.2 has become 4.0.3. This is the first release candidate (rc1) for 4.0.3, because we’d like to give the community an opportunity to test it before declaring it to be the stable release. However, the changes from 4.0.2 are minimal, and 4.0.2 itself was preceded by three release candidates, so we plan to keep the 4.0.3-rc1 testing period brief.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Linux 20.04 LTS should entice Windows 7 switchers with new theme

          With Windows 7 dead and buried, it is time to begin looking forward. Microsoft would love for computer users to upgrade to Windows 10, and for many people, that is a very good idea. For others, though, a Linux-based operating system makes much more sense. An OS like Linux Mint or Linux Lite are great choices for switchers, as they feature desktop environments that will make the Windows convert feel comfortable.

          Not all Windows users are scared of change, however. There is no reason why some of them can't jump into a Linux-based operating system that uses the radically different desktop environment, such as GNOME.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS to Feature a Refreshed Desktop Theme, Here's What It Looks Like

          Yaru is the default theme of Ubuntu since the release of Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish), and it continued to receive improvements and optimizations since then. With the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) release, the Yaru team is working with Canonical’s Design and Ubuntu Desktop teams to further improve its look and feel.

          The main changes that users will notice after installing or upgrading to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS will be a third variation of the Yaru theme called Yaru Light alongside Yaru Dark and Standard, the ability to switch between all Yaru variations from Settings, as well as the fact that the check boxes, switches, and radio buttons will change from green to the Ubuntu aubergine color.

        • Ubuntu is Making Changes to its Appearance Ahead of 20.04

          Major improvements to Ubuntu’s default ‘Yaru’ theme are coming in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

          The community team who work on the Yaru GTK theme recently spent a week at Canonical’s London HQ for an in-person ‘design fest’. There, alongside members of the official Ubuntu design team, they worked on improving the look, fit and feel of of Ubuntu’s default appearance.

          Bugs and and ‘paper cuts’ in the current version of the theme were ironed out, and a crop of major colour changes were agreed upon — changes that alter the overall ‘look’ of the Yaru theme quite considerably.

        • New Ubuntu Theme in Development for 20.04

          Yaru is the user interface theme that has been used in Ubuntu since 18.10. The theme is what determines the colours, borders, shadows, size, and shape of individual elements on the screen.

          Last week, the Yaru team visited London to plan the future of Yaru with members of Canonical’s Design and Ubuntu Desktop teams. I’d like to thank Carlo, Frederik, Mads and Stuart for travelling across Europe to collaborate with us at the Canonical offices.

        • Canonical Is Working On A New Desktop Theme For Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          With Ubuntu 20.04 to see installation on many desktops (and servers) given its Long-Term Support status, Canonical and the Yaru community team have begun working on a successor to the Yaru theme for this Linux distribution release due out in April.

          Yaru has been the default Ubuntu theme since 18.10 but now a year and a half later is time for some refinements. The Yaru design team was recently at Canonic\al's London offices to work on the new theme.

          Beyond the normal light and dark variations to the theme, a third version is being worked on that will use light colors throughout. Developers are also working to make it easier to switch between these theme/color variants.

        • Ubuntu's Waiting for You, Canonical Tells Windows 7 Users

          Rhys Davies, product manager at Canonical, plays the hardware card, explaining that Windows 7 users can either “buy a new computer running another operating” or simply install Ubuntu, which doesn’t require any other hardware upgrades.

          Davies goes on to highlight some of the apps that make the transition from Windows 7 to Ubuntu as smoothly as possible, including Google Chrome, Spotify, Blender, and Microsoft’s very own Skype.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 10 Leading Open Source Companies [Ed: More than a decade ago I wrote for Datamation and now it throws away remains of reputation by calling Microsoft "Open Source company"]

        The days are long gone when open source software was primarily the work of hobbyists and lone developers, your impression is sorely out of date. While independent developers are still an important part of the open source community, today much of the work on open source projects is being done by corporate developers.

        Linux founder Linus Torvalds acknowledged this corporate influence and welcomed it. "It's very important to have companies in open source," he said. "It's one thing I have been very happy about."

        The list below highlights some of the leading for-profit companies that are using, sponsoring and contributing to open source projects. It includes a mix of large enterprises, small startups and everything in between. Some of the companies exclusively offer products based on open source software, while others sell a mix of proprietary and open source solutions. But all of these companies play a significant role in the open source community.

      • Apple App Review: resistance is futile!

        Apple: “Computer says… blub-blub-blub’”

      • Apple App Review says “maybe”: the whims of trillion-dollar gatekeepers

        Yesterday, I wrote about how Apple’s refusal to update a couple of fields in their database has impacted the future of Better Blocker, the tracker blocker that Laura and I build at our tiny two-person not-for-profit, Small Technology Foundation.

        I also shared our plan for dealing with this situation.

        Yesterday, we were at Step 3 of our plan. We’d submitted the version 2020.1 updates to Better for macOS and iOS from our old developer account and we were waiting for Apple to approve them.

        Today, we are half-at step 4 because Apple has approved the macOS app and rejected the iOS app.

      • Web Browsers

        • Why everyone is talking about WebAssembly

          If you haven’t heard of WebAssembly yet, then you will soon. It’s one of the industry’s best-kept secrets, but it’s everywhere. It’s supported by all the major browsers, and it’s coming to the server-side, too. It’s fast. It’s being used for gaming. It’s an open World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organization for the web, standard. It’s platform-neutral and can run on Linux, Macs, and Windows.

          "Wow," you may be saying, "this sounds like something I should learn to code in!" You’d be right, but you’d be wrong too; you don’t code in WebAssembly. Let’s take some time to learn about the technology that’s often fondly abbreviated to "Wasm."

        • Mozilla

          • How we built Picture-in-Picture in Firefox Desktop with more control over video

            Picture-in-Picture support for videos is a feature that we shipped to Firefox Desktop users in version 71 for Windows users, and 72 for macOS and Linux users. It allows the user to pull a element out into an always-on-top window, so that they can switch tabs or applications, and keep the video within sight — ideal if, for example, you want to keep an eye on that sports game while also getting some work done.

            As always, we designed and developed this feature with user agency in mind. Specifically, we wanted to make it extremely easy for our users to exercise greater control over how they watch video content in Firefox.

          • Firefox Picture-in-picture video mode is now available for Mac and Linux

            Recently, release Mozilla Firefox updated version i.e 72.0 brings some new enhancement and changes along with.

            The first one is the Enhance Tracking Protection, with it Firefox now by default blocks fingerprinting script for all users, thus it will restrict extensively all websites from tracking user browser identification and other online activities; along with it there are numerous other security fixes also have been done.

            The second major update is related to pop-up notifications. To enhance the user experience and make it more work-focused, the developer has changed the way of getting it. Now, instead of getting pop-up, the users will get a speech bubble that will appear in the address bar when you interact with the site. Clicking on it then brings up the previously known window with the request.

          • The New Localization System for Firefox is in!

            After nearly 3 years of work, 13 Firefox releases, 6 milestones and a lot of bits flipped, I’m happy to announce that the project of integrating the Fluent Localization System into Firefox is now completed!

            It means that we consider Fluent to be well integrated into Gecko and ready to be used as the primary localization system for Firefox!

            Below is a story of how that happened.

          • Mozilla GFX: moz://gfx newsletter #50

            Glenn and Sotaro’s work on integrating WebRender with DirectComposition on Windows is close to being ready. We hope to let it ride the trains for Firefox 75. This will lead to lower GPU usage and energy consumption. Once this is done we plan to follow up with enabling WebRender by default for Windows users with (some subset of) Intel integrated GPUs, which is both challenging (these integrated GPUs are usually slower than discrete GPUs and we have run into a number of driver bugs with them on Windows) and rewarding as it represents a very large part of the user base.

          • Switching from pyup to dependabot

            I maintain a bunch of Python-based projects including some major projects like Crash Stats, Mozilla Symbols Server, and Mozilla Location Services. In order to keep up with dependency updates, we used pyup to monitor dependencies in those projects and create GitHub pull requests for updates.

            pyup was pretty nice. It would create a single pull request with many dependency updates in it. I could then review the details, wait for CI to test everything, make adjustments as necessary, and then land the pull request and go do other things.

            Starting in October of 2019, pyup stopped doing monthly updates. A co-worker of mine tried to contact them to no avail. I don't know what happened. I got tired of waiting for it to start working again.

            Since my projects are all on GitHub, we had already switched to GitHub security alerts. Given that, I decided it was time to switch from pyup to dependabot (also owned by GitHub).

          • Strategic approaches to the development of digital literacies

            I’m in Kuwait City today, leading a pre-conference workshop for the AMICAL consortium of American international liberal arts institutions, who work together on common goals for libraries, technology and learning.

            This isn’t a ‘tools’ session but rather, as the title would suggest, a strategic look at developing digital literacies strategically across institutions.

      • CMS

        • Best WordPress Search Plugins to Improve Your Site Search

          Are you running a multilingual WordPress website? we published an article on the best translation plugins for multilingual websites and you can improve the user experience of your site visitors who contact you using the world’s best WordPress contact form plugin. Evidently, we’re interested in boosting your WordPress experience and today we’re back with another set of plugin recommendations.

          WordPress installs with the basic setup required to run your business nicely but as you must know by now, there are 3rd party plugins that can boost its effectiveness and this is no different for the content management system’s default search.

          Yes, it works to return a result of selected text in posts and pages but the WordPress search function can do a lot more complex things than that e.g. you can search for strings of texts in PDFs, you can filter search results for specific custom post types, etc.

          If you’re interested in boosting your WordPress search functionality then today’s your lucky day because here are the best WordPress search plugins for your website listed in alphabetic order.

      • Education

        • Inside one Michigan city’s fight to save its schools

          The change came after Governor Whitmer announced a plan to close the city’s two high schools, the main campus and a much smaller magnet school. Community resistance, which included a tense face-to-face meeting with the governor at a Benton Harbor church, was a major factor in motivating the state to back away from its decision and try a new approach, one that will keep the two high schools open.

          Now that the city has won the initial skirmish, a far larger battle remains: coming up with a plan to reverse the district’s festering economic and academic decline, and in the process perhaps create a turnaround template for other struggling districts.

        • Child IQ in the U.S. Lowered by Exposure to Flame Retardants and Pesticides, Study Warns

          Over a million children have developed some form of intellectual disability over the past two decades after being exposed to chemicals including flame retardants, pesticides, lead, and mercury, a study has revealed.

          In recent years, pesticides and flame retardants have overtaken lead and mercury as the chemicals responsible for the biggest loss of IQ among children, according to the paper published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology.

          The researchers believe this is due to regulations cracking down on the use of chemicals known to effect the parts of the body in charge of producing hormones, called endocrine disruptors. For instance, lead has been banned from gasoline, paint and drinking water systems in the U.S.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • sed-4.8 released
            This is to announce sed-4.8, a stable release.

            There have been 21 commits by 2 people in the 56 weeks since 4.7.

            See the NEWS below for a brief summary.

            Thanks to everyone who has contributed! The following people contributed changes to this release:

            Assaf Gordon (4) Jim Meyering (17)

            Jim [on behalf of the sed maintainers] ==================================================================

            Here is the GNU sed home page:

            For a summary of changes and contributors, see:;a=shortlog;h=v4.8 or run this command from a git-cloned sed directory: git shortlog v4.7..v4.8

            To summarize the 865 gnulib-related changes, run these commands from a git-cloned sed directory: git checkout v4.8 git submodule summary v4.7

            Here are the compressed sources: (2.2MB) (1.3MB)

            Here are the GPG detached signatures[*]:

            Use a mirror for higher download bandwidth:

            [*] Use a .sig file to verify that the corresponding file (without the .sig suffix) is intact. First, be sure to download both the .sig file and the corresponding tarball. Then, run a command like this:

            gpg --verify sed-4.8.tar.gz.sig

            If that command fails because you don't have the required public key, then run this command to import it:

            gpg --keyserver --recv-keys 7FD9FCCB000BEEEE

            and rerun the 'gpg --verify' command.

            This release was bootstrapped with the following tools: Autoconf 2.69.202-d78a Automake 1.16a Gnulib v0.1-3167-g6b9d15b8b


            * Noteworthy changes in release 4.8 (2020-01-14) [stable]

            ** Bug fixes

            "sed -i" now creates temporary files with correct umask (limited to u=rwx). Previously sed would incorrectly set umask on temporary files, resulting in problems under certain fuse-like file systems. [bug introduced in sed 4.2.1]

            ** Release

            distribute gzip-compressed tarballs once again

            ** Improvements

            a year's worth of gnulib development, including improved DFA performance
      • Programming/Development

        • GCC 10 Introduces A Static Analyzer - Static Analysis On C Code With "-fanalyzer" Option

          Within GCC's newly minted Git repository is a big last minute feature for the GCC 10 release: a long-awaited static analyzer.

          While LLVM's Clang has long offered a static analyzer option, GCC 10 is the first release having a static analysis pass for helping developers spot potential issues in the code. For GCC 10 the static analysis pass is focused on C code and operates off the GIMPLE SSA representation. The static analysis pass will emit warnings over double frees and other malloc/free issues. Presumably for GCC 11 we'll see the language support added and other checks that can be done as static code analysis.

        • Qt packages built with OpenGL ES support are now available

          Some time ago, there was a thread on debian-devel where we discussed how to make Qt packages work on hardware that supports OpenGL ES, but not the desktop OpenGL.

          My first proposal was to switch to OpenGL ES by default on ARM64, as that is the main affected architecture. After a lengthy discussion, it was decided to ship two versions of Qt packages instead, to support more (OpenGL variant, architecture) configurations.

          So now I am announcing that we finally have the versions of Qt GUI and Qt Quick libraries that are built against OpenGL ES, and the release team helped us to rebuild the archive for compatibility with them. These packages are not co-installable together with the regular (desktop OpenGL) Qt packages, as they provide the same set of shared libraries. So most packages now have an alternative dependency like libqt5gui5 (>= 5.x) | libqt5gui5-gles (>= 5.x). Packages get such a dependency automatically if they are using ${shlibs:Depends}.

        • Develop GUI apps using Flutter on Fedora

          When it comes to app development frameworks, Flutter is the latest and greatest. Google seems to be planning to take over the entire GUI app development world with Flutter, starting with mobile devices, which are already perfectly supported. Flutter allows you to develop cross-platform GUI apps for multiple targets — mobile, web, and desktop — from a single codebase.

          This post will go through how to install the Flutter SDK and tools on Fedora, as well as how to use them both for mobile development and web/desktop development.

        • 50 Frequently Asked Kotlin Interview Questions and Answers

          Kotlin has become a hot topic for developers since the day Google announced official support for it alongside Java. It can be used for developing modern Android and iOS apps without getting distracted by issues like ecosystem and portability. So, if you’re a Java developer looking to break into iOS development, Kotlin can also be the ideal solution. Due to its rising popularity, enterprises are lined after Kotlin experts. If you want to get a job as a mobile app developer at renowned companies, you’ll need to master some essential Kotlin interview questions. We’ve curated this well-thought guide to help you get started with Kotlin and increase your job opportunities.

        • Perl / Raku

        • Python

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #403 (Jan. 14, 2020)
          • The PythonAnywhere newsletter, January 2020

            So, we have managed to break another record for our longest period ever between two monthly newsletters. It has been sixteen busy months between September 2018 and now, so we have made 2019 an official Year Without a Newsletter.

            Happy New Year, and a warm welcome to the January 2020 PythonAnywhere newsletter. Hooray! Here is what has happened since our last one.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

  • Leftovers

    • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘One Million’ By Turismo Girlfriend World Tour

      Turismo Girlfriend World Tour is the moniker of Julie Bernouis, a French-born singer-songwriter€  based in New York.

      “I don’t pretend to be an activist. I’m not Bob Dylan. But I like a serious catchy and upbeat song,” Bernouis stated. “The whole point is to convey the idea and raise awareness without boring or alienate the kids whilst keeping them dancing, like a subliminal message.”€ 

    • Nobody is Google

      If I understood him right, he meant to say that scalability costs money and businesses flounder on buying more scalability than they need. Or, people think they are Google, but they are not. Even inside Google, only a small fraction of services operate at Google scale (aka planetary scale).

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • All About BIND DNS: Who, How, & Why

            BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain) is a software collection of tools including the world’s most widely used DNS (Domain Name System) server software. This feature-full implementation of DNS service and tools aims to be 100% standards-compliant and is; intended to serve as a reference architecture for DNS software.

            Originally written in the 1980s at the University of California’s Berkeley campus, BIND is a free and open-source software package. The most recent major version, BIND 9, was initially released in 2000 and is regularly maintained by the Internet Systems Consortium.

            For small or uncomplicated networks, BIND by itself is well suited to provide all DNS-related service functions. With BIND, you can run caching DNS servers, authoritative servers, or even both together.

          • 5G Security

            The 5G security problems are threefold. First, the standards are simply too complex to implement securely. This is true for all software, but the 5G protocols offer particular difficulties. Because of how it is designed, the system blurs the wireless portion of the network connecting phones with base stations and the core portion that routes data around the world. Additionally, much of the network is virtualized, meaning that it will rely on software running on dynamically configurable hardware. This design dramatically increases the points vulnerable to attack, as does the expected massive increase in both things connected to the network and the data flying about it.

            Second, there's so much backward compatibility built into the 5G network that older vulnerabilities remain. 5G is an evolution of the decade-old 4G network, and most networks will mix generations. Without the ability to do a clean break from 4G to 5G, it will simply be impossible to improve security in some areas. Attackers may be able to force 5G systems to use more vulnerable 4G protocols, for example, and 5G networks will inherit many existing problems.

            Third, the 5G standards committees missed many opportunities to improve security. Many of the new security features in 5G are optional, and network operators can choose not to implement them. The same happened with 4G; operators even ignored security features defined as mandatory in the standard because implementing them was expensive. But even worse, for 5G, development, performance, cost, and time to market were all prioritized over security, which was treated as an afterthought.

          • Boing Boing was [cracked]

            Around 11:30 EST on January 10th, An unknown party logged into Boing Boing's CMS using the credentials of a member of the Boing Boing team.

            They proceeded to install a widget into our theme that allowed them to redirect users to a malware page hosted at a third party.

          • Exploit Fully Breaks SHA-1, Lowers the Attack Bar

            A proof-of-concept attack has been pioneered that “fully and practically” breaks the Secure Hash Algorithm 1 (SHA-1) code-signing encryption, used by legacy computers to sign the certificates that authenticate software downloads and prevent man-in-the-middle tampering.

            The exploit was developed by Gaëtan Leurent and Thomas Peyrin, academic researchers at Inria France and Nanyang Technological University/Temasek Laboratories in Singapore. They noted that because the attack is much less complex and cheaper than previous PoCs, it places such attacks within the reach of ordinary attackers with ordinary resources.

          • NSA tips off Microsoft to security flaw

            The National Security Agency (NSA) found and notified Microsoft of what it called a serious vulnerability in the company's Windows 10 operating system that could potentially expose computer users to significant breaches, surveillance or disruption, officials announced Tuesday.

          • NSA Surprises Microsoft With A Vulnerability Disclosure Just In Time For Patch Tuesday

            Given the NSA's track record with vulnerability disclosures, it's somewhat of an anomaly when it actually decides the security of millions of innocent computer users is more important than its exploitation of a security flaw. Ellen Nakishima has the details for the Washington Post:

          • Microsoft patches Windows 10 after the NSA quietly told it about a major vulnerability

            The National Security Agency alerted Microsoft in recent weeks to a significant issue affecting its Windows 10 operating system, ubiquitous within corporations and among consumers, two senior federal cybersecurity officials told CNBC.

            The flaw affected encryption of digital signatures used to authenticate content, including software or files. If exploited, the flaw could allow criminals to send malicious content with fake signatures that make it appear safe. The finding was reported earlier by The Washington Post.

            "Patching like this, in general, should always be important, but the fact that the NSA is the one that disclosed this to Microsoft as well gave it some more importance," said Satnam Narang, a senior research engineer with cybersecurity company Tenable. Attackers often will steal security certificates in order to send a victim a malicious file that appears to be trustworthy, but with this flaw, the attacker can simply spoof the Microsoft certificate, making the process much easier, Narang said.

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (thunderbird), CentOS (firefox), openSUSE (chromium, firefox, GraphicsMagick, log4j, nodejs8, phpMyAdmin, singularity, and virglrenderer), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (firefox), SUSE (man, nodejs10, openssl-1_1, and php7), and Ubuntu (php5, php7.0, php7.2, php7.3 and spamassassin).

          • Securing Kubernetes: Bug bounty program announced
          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • Linux Developers Start Poaching Microsoft Users After Windows 7 End of Support

              Windows 7 has officially reached the end of support, so users running it have three options to choose from: stick with Windows 7 and face the obvious security risks, upgrade to newer Windows, or migrate to a non-Windows platform.

              As far as the last option goes, Linux distro makers know how big this opportunity really is, so they started poaching Windows 7 users in an attempt to increase their install base.

              After Canonical tried to lure Windows 7 users to install Ubuntu, a number of Korean companies developing their own custom Linux distros have launched similar campaigns specifically supposed to convince Microsoft customers to make the switch.

            • Linux Really Shouldn’t Expect an Influx of Windows Users Anytime Soon

              Windows 7 reaching the end of life is without a doubt a key moment for the OS industry this year. According to third-party data provided by market analysis firm NetMarketShare, Windows 7 accounted for more than 25 percent of the entire PC market in December 2019, which means that 1 in 4 PCs were powered by an operating system whose demise was imminent.

              At the same time, these numbers show that 25 percent of the global PC users now have to face a huge dilemma: should we stick with Windows 7, move to Windows 10, or jump ship to Linux or macOS?

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Senator Wyden Wants Paid Ad Blocking Whitelists Investigated

              For years, journalists have highlighted how ad blocking companies have slowly but surely been compromising their ethics -- and products -- to make an extra buck. Several years ago you'll recall that numerous ad blocking companies were busted letting some companies' ads through their filters if they were willing to pay extra. Others collect and monetize "anonymized" data that's gleaned from what ads you're receiving and which ones you're blocking (recall that studies repeatedly have shown that anonymized data is not at all anonymous).

            • Attorney General William Barr Says Apple Isn't Doing Enough To Let The DOJ Check Out A Dead Man's Phones

              The DOJ has asked somewhat politely for Apple to break the encryption on some iPhones. Last time, the request wasn't so polite. It involved a legal battle that only ended when a third-party cracked the San Bernardino's iPhone for the FBI. Nothing of interest was recovered from that phone.

            • Bill Barr: Apple Is Holding Up This Investigation. Apple: You Waited A Month To Tell Us You Needed More Help

              Last week, the DOJ's counsel sent a letter to Apple asking for its assistance cracking open two phones recovered from the shooter at the Pensacola Naval Air Base. Apple replied it had already provided assistance by giving the FBI everything it could recover from the shooter's Apple accounts. The company also made it clear it would not attempt to break the encryption on the phones.

            • Top Apps Invade User Privacy By Collecting and Sharing Personal Data, New Report Finds

              A new year often starts with good resolutions. Some resolve to change a certain habit, others resolve to abandon an undesired trait. Mobile app makers, too, claim to have user behavior and their preferences at their heart. From dating to health to music, their promise is to add convenience to consumers’ lives or to offer support when needed. The bad news is that the ecosystem of the underlying ad tech industry has not changed and still does not respect user privacy. A new report, called Out of Control: How Consumers Are Exploited by the Online Advertising Industry, published today by the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC), looks at the hidden side of the data economy and its findings are alarming.

              Scrutinizing 10 popular apps in Google Play Store, such as Grindr, Clue, and Perfect365, the NCC report’s technical analysis reveals comprehensive tracking and profiling practices. Personal data is systematically collected and shared with dozens of third-party companies without users’ knowledge. EFF’s recent report on third-party tracking documents additional ways that companies profit from invading our digital privacy.

            • DHS Move Ahead With Plan To Harvest DNA Samples From Nearly Everyone Detained By ICE And CBP

              Looks like everyone roaming across the board is going to become a source of info for the US government. The DHS has already rolled out facial recognition at international airports and additional biometric collections elsewhere. The Fourth Amendment's near-nonexistence at the border has led to a steadily-increasing number of invasive device searches. Visa applicants and other long-term visitors are being forced to turn over social media information (including passwords) during the application process.

            • In defense of anonymity

              It’s frustrating to be asked questions based on the misunderstanding that Tor “is the dark web.”

              Tor onion services can be used to publish and share information online with a high degree of privacy and security without being indexed by search engines. You can’t just visit them in any browser. Calling this “the dark web” and assuming everything published anonymously online is bad, is a huge disservice to an underappreciated technology that saves lives.

            • Strong Encryption Is Central to Good Security – India’s Proposed Intermediary Rules Puts It at Risk

              MeiTy is revising proposed amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules. The proposed amendments would require intermediaries, like content platforms, Internet service providers, cybercafés, and others, to abide by strict, onerous requirements in order to not be held liable for the content sent or posted by their users. Freedom from intermediary liability is an important aspect of communications over the Internet. Without it, people cannot build and maintain platforms and services that have the ability to easily handle to billions of people.

              The letter highlights concerns with these new rules, specifically requirements that intermediaries monitor and filter their users’ content. As these security experts state, “by tying intermediaries’ protection from liability to their ability to monitor communications being sent across their platforms or systems, the amendments would limit the use of end-to-end encryption and encourage others to weaken existing security measures.”

            • Companies Use 'Dark Patterns' to Mislead Users About Privacy Law, Study Shows

              Researchers found that 32.5 percent of the EU websites studied in the survey use something called “implied consent”—which assumes you agree to being tracked if you don’t take a specific action (like click on an opt out banner within a certain time frame). Such practices are generally forbidden under the law, which requires clear, opt-in consent to data tracking.

              The researchers also found that numerous companies use “dark pattern” GUI designs in their privacy notification systems, which are specifically intended to trick users into signing up for more data tracking than they might otherwise want (there’s some examples of this here).

            • ‘LOL!’: China’s informal, confrontational Twitter diplomacy

              They are among more than a dozen Chinese ambassadors and consuls general around the world who have opened Twitter accounts in recent months, often adopting a style far removed from traditions of diplomatic reserve.


              Now the government itself has joined the fray, with the foreign ministry writing its first tweet last month, peppering posts with sarcastic “LOLs”, exclamation marks and hashtags to extol Beijing’s world view or lambaste critics.

            • Confidentiality

    • Defence/Aggression

      • And We Allow This Madness to Continue

        Try as I did, I found it impossible to send New Year’s greetings to friends in Iraq given the unthinkable and shameless actions of Trump and his€ regimein the last weeks. His decision to assassinate Iranian Major General Qasim Soleimani at the Baghdad airport led to the Iraqi Parliament voting to expel all foreign troops from Iraq. Trump’s quick response to that was “If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”

      • Demonizing the Shia: How the West Perpetuates False Claims About Iran's Regional Influence

        I was in Iraq in April 1991 when government security forces crushed the Shia uprising against Saddam Hussein’s regime, killing tens of thousands and burying their bodies in pits. I had been expelled from Iraq to Jordan at the start of the rebellion in March and then, to my surprise, allowed to return, because Saddam wanted to prove to the world that he was back in control.

      • Making America Dread Again! Trump Is an Unparalleled Threat to Safety and Security

        You were willing to start an undeclared war with Iran last week, had their missile attack taken one American soldier’s life, but when American lives are threatened by crony capitalism, you do nothing.

      • Iran: Bloody Crackdown on Dissent

        Iranian authorities intensified their crackdown during 2019 against protests across the country, using mass arrests and lethal force, Human Rights Watch said today in its€ World Report 2020.€ The protests were spurred by deteriorating economic conditions, perceptions of corruption, and the lack of political and social freedoms.

        Iran’s judiciary dramatically increased the cost of peaceful dissent during 2019, sentencing dozens of human rights defenders to decades-long prison sentences. In one of the bloodiest crackdowns since the 1979 Revolution, authorities responded to widespread protests after the abrupt increase in fuel prices in November 2019 by directly targeting protesters who posed no threat to life with lethal force.

      • 10 Ways Trump’s Actions Against Iran Hurt Americans and the Region

        The U.S. assassination of General Qassem Soleimani has not yet plunged us into a full-scale war with Iran thanks to the Iranian government’s measured response, which demonstrated its capabilities without actually harming U.S. troops or escalating the conflict. But the danger of a full-blown war still exists, and Donald Trump’s actions are already wreaking havoc.

      • Charlottesville City Council Passes Resolution Against War on Iran

        Charlottesville Virginia’s City Council voted Monday evening to adopt a resolution opposing war on Iran and urging passage by Congress of Senator Tim Kaine’s privileged€ resolution.

      • Yemen: Wartime Abuses Face Global Spotlight

        Children attending class on the first day of school, which was damaged by an airstrike during fighting between Saudi-led coaltion-backed government force and Houthi forces, Taizz, Yemen, September 3, 2019.

      • After Days of Claiming Soleimani Posed "Imminent" Threat to US, Trump Finally Declares "It Doesn't Really Matter"

        "If this is the case, then nothing matters."

      • Iranian Opposition—1970s to 2020

        In the mid-1970s, I did a fair amount of organizing work with Maryland members of the Iranian Student Association. Our goal was to end the rule of the US-installed Shah of Iran. Some of my work involved helping the Iranian students write their leaflets in American English. In 1976, I attended some meetings in Washington, DC to help plan protests against the Shah, who was scheduled to visit Jimmy Carter and Congress in 1977. At the time, the Shah’s Iran was one the largest recipients of US aid. In addition, its military was trained and outfitted by the United States and its war industry, at no small cost to the Iranian people. Besides the hundreds of millions spent on armaments, the US aid also involved training the Shah’s secret police apparatus—the SAVAK. Naturally, much of this training was done by the Central Intelligence Agency and its affiliates.

      • Trump's Latest Debacle: an Incompetent and Deceitful National Security Team

        For the past three years, the conventional wisdom has been that the United States and the Trump administration have been fortunate in not having to face a national security crisis.€  The killing of Qassim Suleimani is Trump’s first (self-inflicted) crisis, and his national security team has failed in every aspect. Since his inauguration, Trump has committed major blunders—leaving the Iran nuclear accord and the Paris climate accord; weakening the European alliance and deserting the Trans-Pacific partnership in Asia; and separating families at the border with Mexico.€  The unconscionable assassination policy directed at Iran has exposed failure at every level: national security personnel; national security process; and national security policy.

      • Justice at Last? ‘Panic’ in Israel as the ICC Takes ‘Momentous Step’ in the Right Direction

        At long last, Fatou Bensouda, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has uttered the long-anticipated conclusion that “all the statutory criteria under the Rome statute for the opening of an investigation (into alleged war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories) have been met”.

      • Egypt: Resilient Resistance to Fierce Repression
      • Libya: Reckless Fighting Endangers Civilians
      • 'The Progressive Movement Has to Fight Back': New Ad Campaign Targets Biden and Buttigieg in Iowa and South Carolina

        "Americans need to know about Biden's and Buttigieg's records and their relationships with corporate executives and donors."

      • Biden's Pack of Lies About the Iraq War

        While Biden and his surrogates like John Kerry continue to€ falsely claim€ that he was not for the Iraq invasion, the Sanders camp has rightly highlighted more documentation, including€ video, of his€ support for the Iraq invasion after it happened, like his statement about Bush at the Brookings Institution in July 2003: ‘The president of the United States is a bold leader and he is popular.”

      • Don’t Be Surprised If Biden’s Iraq War Vote Eats Him Alive Tonight

        The 637th Democratic debate of the 2020 presidential season takes place in Iowa tonight, the last one before that state’s caucus voters head to the polls early next month.

      • It Is Remarkable—and Dangerous—How Little Scrutiny Biden Has Received for Supporting Iraq War

        Maybe there's a reason nobody who voted in favor of that war—excluding George W. Bush—has won a presidential election.

      • The 40 Year Cold War With Iran

        The United States has been in a 40-year cold war with Iran.

      • A Brutal Trump Makes Culture War on Iran—and Everyone Else

        Civilization gets sucker punched.

      • Rise of the spoiler parties The Putin administration is building political parties to split the opposition vote. Say hello to new groups from a nationalist novelist and the product director for World of Tanks.

        On January 10, news broke that a new organization was entering Russia’s political sphere: the Direct Democracy Party. Its founder, Vyacheslav Makarov, is a video game developer and the product director for World of Tanks, an online role-playing game from the company Wargaming in the arcade tank simulator genre. Makarov’s new project isn’t the only political initiative to arise in Russia just in time for the 2021 State Duma elections that will help decide Vladimir Putin’s future. In total, presidential administration officials are looking to register about 10 new parties. Most of them are intended to create an illusion of open competition or to cause division among opposition-leaning members of the electorate. Two or three of the new parties will be permitted to enter the State Duma’s ranks, where Kremlin officials hope they will spread support for Putin beyond United Russia, the dominant party nationwide. Among the celebrities Kremlin officials would like to see as new opposition leaders are YouTube talk show star Yury Dud and Leningrad frontman Sergey “Shnur” Shnurov.

      • Poverty Is the New Draft

        What follows is a conversation between professor As`ad AbuKhalil and Sharmini Peries of The Real News Network. Read a transcript of their conversation below or watch the video at the bottom of the post.

      • Paul Krugman in Imperial Fantasy Land

        Every time the United States does something vicious, stupid or both, a great chorus erupts from the American choir: “This is not who we are.” The sound is defiant, heroic and ridiculous, like hearing “Ode to Joy” sung by a thousand synthetic, smart-speaker voices and backed by an orchestra of slide whistles. Marx famously wrote that Hegel, in observing that “all great historic facts and personages recur twice,” nevertheless “forgot to add: ‘Once as tragedy, and again as farce.’” Neither man, it turns out, anticipated our capacity for making the same simultaneously panicked and lazy turn around the goldfish bowl over and over again, forgetting each time more of the brief journey we’ve just made.

      • FBI: Some Saudi military students being removed from US post-Pensacola shooting

        Nearly two dozen Saudi Arabian military cadets who were training on American bases are being removed from the programs and being sent home in the wake of a December attack at Naval Air Station Pensacola that left three U.S. sailors dead and eight others wounded.

        U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced the Saudi students’ removal Monday during a press conference at the Department of Justice in Washington. Barr said there was no indication the gunman, Saudi Air Force 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani, who was killed by a sheriff’s deputy, acted in concert with other Saudi cadets or foreign nationals in the program.

      • EU Nations Push Iran in Last-Ditch Bid to Save Nuclear Deal

        Britain, France and Germany on Tuesday ratcheted up pressure on Iran to stop violating its landmark nuclear deal in a last-ditch effort to resolve their differences through talks while also starting a process that could bring back punishing U.N. sanctions on Tehran.

      • Plotting War

        A recent article on Pharyngula blog, You ain’t no fortunate one, discussed US wars, specifically the qeustion: depending on when you were born, for how much of your life has the US been at war?

        It was an interesting bunch of plots, constantly increasing until for people born after 2001, the percentage hit 100%.

        Really? That didn't seem right. Wasn't the US in a lot of wars in the past? When I was growing up, it seemed like we were always getting into wars, poking our nose into other countries' business. Can it really be true that we're so much more warlike now than we used to be?

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • CNN Has It In for Bernie

        Tuesday night’s Democratic primary debate is likely to redound to Elizabeth Warren’s benefit. The senator was confident and in command of her arguments. She deftly handled the fracas about comments Bernie Sanders allegedly made to her (which he denies having said) about the poor prospects of a female candidate’s winning the presidential race. Warren turned the controversy into a chance to make the case for her electability.

        The evening was a wash for the other candidates. Sanders had some good moments on foreign policy. The other candidates had a chance to present their arguments but did not otherwise distinguish themselves. Joe Biden occasionally wandered in his answers but avoided the gaffes and verbal snafus that sometimes befuddle him.

        The big loser of the night was the network that hosted the event. CNN was so consistently aligned against Bernie Sanders that it compromised its claim to journalistic neutrality.

      • Elizabeth Warren's Fake Beef With Bernie Sanders Is a Sign the Primaries Are Heating Up

        As FiveThirtyEight broke down in October, Warren is doing particularly well with white, college-educated voters and starting to expand her base by making inroads with nonwhite voters without a college degree and more moderate voters. But a poll later that month still found her supporters were likely to be white, wealthy, and college-educated.

        This raises several questions about this episode. Is it “factionalism” to express concerns about another candidate’s potential to win in November? Is it okay to discuss another candidate’s base at all, even with empirical data behind it? Given the accuracy and mild tone of the script’s comments about Warren — and the fact that presidential candidates have always had to find ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors — might the Massachusetts senator be better served by taking this beef off the grill? Is this beef at all or really more of a Beyond Burger?

    • Environment

      • The Cost of Fleeing Climate Change

        Even if world leaders rapidly reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, climate migration and displacement will define the twenty-first century. “We know that a lot of contemporary migration, in fact, is shaped by the adverse impacts of climate change,” Dina Ionesco, the head of the migration, environment, and climate-change division at the International Organization for Migration (I.O.M.), said at the recent U.N. climate negotiations in Madrid. Disasters caused by natural hazards—the vast majority were storms and floods—displaced 17.2 million people in 2018 (almost twice as many as those displaced by conflict) and another seven million in the first half of 2019. Looking ahead, even in a best-case scenario, in which the average global temperature increases no more than 1.7 degrees Celsius, floods are still likely to displace twenty million people per year by 2090, according to a study released in December by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. Without significant greenhouse-gas mitigation, floods could displace as many as fifty million people per year. “Climate displacement poses a huge global challenge,” Justin Ginnetti, the report’s lead author, said. “We expect even more extreme weather in the future, so it’s imperative that we understand the magnitude of future risk, what’s driving it, and what we can do about it.”

        A paper published in June, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that, at the current rate, sea-level rise could exceed six and a half feet by 2100. For the Marshall Islands, six and a half feet of sea-level rise would submerge its land entirely, jeopardizing the very idea of Marshallese statehood. Over the past year, the Marshallese government has been working on a national adaptation plan, which officials expect the United States, as part of the compact, will help fund and implement. “We call it our survival plan,” President Heine told me by phone, from Majuro. The top priority, she said, “is the issue of whether or not we’re above the water.”

      • British Police Said Watch Out for Extremists — Like Climate Activists

        The counterterrorism police reversed course soon after it came to light that they had published a brochure that lumped the group Extinction Rebellion, not to mention animal rights activists, together with terrorist organizations, retracting the document.

        But on Monday, a top government official refused to find fault with it.

      • Environmental group says nitrate levels in many Minnesota water sources potentially unsafe

        Hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans drink from tap water sources that contain potentially unsafe amounts of nitrate, according to a new report by an environmental nonprofit.

        Levels of nitrate observed in roughly 1,100 groundwater systems and more than 13,000 private wells are still low enough to meet federal guidelines. But because drinking tap water with even small amounts of nitrate in it may be a risk factor for cancer and birth defects, the Environmental Working Group called in its report for an “aggressive policy and programmatic approach” to address the situation in Minnesota.

        Under the federal Clean Water Act, drinking water that contains less than 10 milligrams of nitrate per liter is considered to be safe for human consumption. In past research, however, the Environmental Work Group found thresholds of half that amount and less may increase the risk of illness.

      • Why solve climate change when you can monetize it?

        Hidden in a $1.4 trillion spending bill passed by Congress last month, in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it paragraph, was a sizable provision to fund research to reverse climate change. No, not in a meaningful long-term way, by actually reducing our dependence on fossil fuels or reorganizing the economy to be based on need rather than consumption of disposable goods; rather, the research dollars were to be spent on programs that might allow our apocalyptic way of life to continue apace.

        Specifically, in the text of the spending bill, about $4 million was earmarked to study geoengineering. From the text of the House appropriations bill: [...]

      • Wrecking Crew
      • Greener Power Reduces Emissions, But It Also Can Heighten The Risk Of Bushfire

        Wind, solar and hydro are much safer on the emissions front, but distributing the power they generate brings with it their own unique set of challenges and risks, writes Geoff Russell.

      • We’re Going To Need A ‘Scotty From Marketing’ When the Climate Refugees Start Flooding Australia

        Scott Morrison is a man ahead of his time, because at some point in the not-too-distant future, expertise in spin and cruelty will be far more useful than competence, writes Chris Graham.

      • The Deadly Failures of Conservative Government in Australia in the Face of Ferocious Fires

        The Morrison government is engaged in distorting and obscuring the causes of the bushfires raging across parts of Australia since October 2019. This is being done for ideological and political reasons by a conservative government with an established record of climate denial and coal addiction. The huge scale of the disaster is clear.

      • To Manage Fires, Australia Must Follow the Lead of Aboriginal Communities

        Since September 2019, Australia has been ravaged by bushfires. You know the statistics: about 18 million acres burned, around 2,000 homes destroyed, and nearly 1 billion animals affected. The fires have also affected Aboriginal communities and lands.

      • Energy

    • Finance

      • The Fed Protects Gamblers at the Expense of the Economy

        Although the repo market is little known to most people, it is a $1-trillion-a-day credit machine, in which not just banks but hedge funds and other “shadow banks” borrow to finance their trades. Under the Federal Reserve Act, the central bank’s lending window is open only to licensed depository banks; but the Fed is now pouring billions of dollars into the repo (repurchase agreements) market, in effect making risk-free loans to speculators at less than 2%.

      • Lebanon: Little Action on Corruption, Economic Crisis
      • Joe Biden Has a Serious Problem With Social Security

        The Biden campaign says the candidate is committed to defend and even expanded the program. But a look at his record offers a troubling picture.

      • China to frame rules for online-only banks this year: report

        About a dozen groups including foreigners are in talks with Chinese regulators over the new rules and have shown interest in launching digital banking operations, said one person who has been involved in such discussions with the banking watchdog.

        The rules would allow them to partner tech firms for independent digital banking platforms, the source said.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Has Facebook Learned Nothing?

        Facebook should be subject to the same rules and responsibilities as any other publisher; it’s not enough to call itself a gateway to other people’s content and wash its hands of the consequences.

      • Turkey: Release Jailed Critics, Respect Election Results

        Supporters and relatives of human rights defender Osman Kavala and 15 others on trial for allegedly organizing the 2013 Gezi Park protests queue outside the Silivri Prison court house, Istanbul, June 24, 2019. Thousands are arbitrarily detained on terrorism charges in the vast prison complex.€ 

      • In Iowa, Rashida Tlaib and the Sunrise Movement Push the Green New Deal—and Bernie Sanders

        Ahead of the critical Iowa caucus, climate organizers are stumping for bold action and a presidential candidate they believe will get it done.

      • An Interview with Embattled Catalan President Quim Torra

        The Catalan conflict is generating a constitutional crisis in Madrid with far-reaching implications for the future of the European Union. In a stunning and legally questionable move on January 3, Spain’s Central Electoral Commission voted to remove Catalan President Joaquim Torra from office immediately. In a speech the same evening, Torra rejected the legitimacy of the ruling, saying he responds only to the will of the Catalan people and the Catalan Parliament. The following day, the Catalan Parliament robustly backed him and his position on the matter. Meanwhile,€ during the investiture debate of Socialist Prime Minister candidate Pedro Sánchez taking place simultaneously in Madrid,€ the right wing parties Vox and PP called for Torra’s immediate imprisonment and the€ suspension of the Catalan statute of autonomy by way of Article 155 of the Constitution—as was done following Catalonia’s declaration of independence on October 27, 2017.

      • Russian Supreme Court orders suspension of political party that ran Ksenia Sobchak and high-profile Moscow opposition candidate

        Russia’s Supreme Court has ruled in accordance with a request from the Justice Ministry to put a temporary ban on the Civic Initiative party’s activities. The shutdown order will last three months. Alexey Obukhov, the press secretary for party chair Dmitry Gudkov, first told Interfax about the order.

      • GOP Debate on Impeachment Witnesses Intensifies as Senate Trial Draws Near

        The impeachment trial of President Trump is anticipated to proceed this week, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to send the two articles of impeachment to the Senate as early as Wednesday. The House impeached Trump in December for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. A growing number of Republican senators are pushing for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold a vote on whether to allow witnesses to speak at the Senate trial. The timing of the Senate impeachment trial could impact the 2020 presidential race. Three Democratic candidates — Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar — will have to leave the campaign trail for the trial, which could begin this week. On Monday, Senator Cory Booker dropped out of the race in part because of the time demands of the impeachment trial. We speak with Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at, where she is their senior legal correspondent and Supreme Court reporter. Dahlia also hosts the podcast “Amicus.”

      • Surging Ten Points, Sanders Takes Lead Over Biden, Warren in California Tracking Poll

        Since Sen. Kamala Harris dropped out last month, "Sanders appears to have gained almost all of [her] former supporters in California."

      • Westminster Cannot Block Scottish Independence

        Boris Johnson’s facetious, point-scoring reply to the formal request from the Scottish government for agreement to a second Independence referendum is an act of extreme arrogance. An off-the-cuff campaign remark from a single politician has no weight in weighing the will of a nation, and I presume Johnson is not arguing that every political statement Nicola Sturgeon or Alex Salmond has ever made has the force of law.

      • 'Awesome, Brilliant, Necessary': Seattle Bans Foreign-Influenced Corporations From Spending in Local Elections

        "This landmark campaign finance legislation bans corporations like Amazon and Bank of America from infiltrating the city’s electoral process."

      • Trump Has No Idea What 'Deep State' Really Means

        This seems like a strange moment to be writing about “the deep state” with the country entering a new phase of open and obvious aboveground chaos and instability. Just as we had gotten used to the fact that the president is, in effect, under€ congressional indictment, just as we had settled into a more or less stable€ stalemate€ over when (and if) the Senate will hold an impeachment trial, the president shook the snow globe again, by ordering the€ assassination of foreign military officials€ and€ threatening€ the destruction of Iran’s cultural sites. Nothing better than the promise of new€ war crimes€ to take the world’s attention away from a little thing like extorting a U.S. ally to help oneself get reelected.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Zionism and ‘Anti-Semitism’: A Chronicle of a Smear Foretold

        With the 2020 Presidential elections fast approaching, the progressive campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is gaining traction. Several interest groups have grown increasingly anxious of Sanders’ Democratic Socialist agenda, including ruling class Republicans, corporate Democrats and their joint ally – Zionists, both Christian and Jewish.

      • Dear Larry Lessig: Please Don't File SLAPP Suits

        Anyone who reads Techdirt knows that I've been heavily influenced by Larry Lessig, and have learned a lot from him. There still are many areas where I have and continue to disagree with him, but on the whole, when he comes up with a project, or writes about something, I am compelled to listen to him. I often appreciate his willingness to effectively take on big, crazy, impossible challenges -- ones almost certainly destined to fail -- in support of a principle or an idea. In recent years, this has included his ill-suited campaign for President, his flopped attempt to create an anti-SuperPAC SuperPAC, his plan to change the way the Electoral College works, his attempt to call for a Second Constitutional Convention (to route around Congress to amend the Constitution), and, even (tragically) his attempts to use the courts to end copyright term extensions. Even when I thought the ideas were a bit silly, the very least you could say about Lessig was that he was willing to take crazy chances to make changes in the world that he thought would improve the world. You could say that he was the living embodiment of the idea that, rather than complaining about the system, you need to make a real effort to change the system, no matter how quixotic that effort might be.

      • India's Supreme Court Declares Country's 5 Month Internet Blackout Illegal

        As we've been discussing, India's government has blacked out internet access in Kashmir since around August, setting records for one of the longest government-mandated internet blackouts in history. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tried to argue that the blackout is a necessary security precaution in the face of growing unrest in the region stemming from its loss of autonomy earlier this year. Granted like most government internet censorship efforts, the move has a lot more to do with cowardice and fear of an informed public than any genuine concern about public welfare.

      • Facebook’s Soleimani Ban Flies in Face of First Amendment

        Instagram, and its parent company Facebook, took down posts regarded as too sympathetic to Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated January 3 in a controversial US airstrike. The news website Coda (1/10/20) was credited with breaking the news, and Newsweek (1/10/20) also reported that

      • On suing the Times

        In September, I wrote an essay on Medium attacking the scapegoating of Joi Ito by many—including most prominently, Ronan Farrow and MIT—because of wrongs committed by Joi with the knowledge and approval of MIT. To its credit, shortly after the essay was published, MIT openly acknowledged that it had known and approved of Joi’s fundraising from the criminal Epstein. That would—or, in my view, should—have kept the attention of reformers on the institution as well as on the individuals within the institution.


        This title and lede are false. Yet I’ve found — in the months since this was published, facing the endless attacks I get in person and online—that the challenge is to focus anyone’s attention enough long to see just why they are plainly false. Offering a tweet-length proof that a perfectly tweetable headline is flatly false is not, it turns out, simple.


        I love the Times. I know that journalism is hard, and deadlines are short. So I when I asked the Times to correct these two false and defamatory statements, I fully expected they would, and I fully expected that would be the end of it. And I so I was astonished when they not only refused to fix the mistake, but doubled down on the absurdity of their justifications. For example: Because I was supporting Joi, I was therefore supporting what Joi did. Wow. So if the Times criticizes the assassination of Suleimani does that mean the Times supports what Suleimani did? I was criticizing the scapegoating of Joi. I was not supporting what Joi did.

        The incentives of journalism in the Internet age are clear—drive eyeballs to your articles, so you can drive advertising revenue to your bottom line. That creates an obvious incentive to tabloid-ize the headlines. Flashy and fun is harmless. False and defamatory is not.

        I still can’t believe truth alone was not a sufficient incentive for the Times to correct its false statements. But so be it. A suit like this might complement the incentives for truth.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • ‘Meduza’ correspondent Ivan Golunov is named as victim in felony case against police officers who arrested him last summer

        Meduza special correspondent Ivan Golunov has been named as a victim in an investigation into the abuse of power by the Moscow police, a state investigator working on the case told Golunov, who’s been invited to testify against the suspects on January 20.€ 

      • Will alleged CIA misbehavior set Julian Assange free?

        A few days before Christmas, Julian Assange testified to a Spanish court that a Spanish security company, UC Global S.L., acting in coordination with the CIA, illegally recorded all his actions and conversations, including with his lawyers, and streamed them back in real time to the CIA. He will, at the end of February, make a similar complaint to a British extradition court about the CIA’s alleged misbehavior.

        Will such misbehavior, if proven, set Assange free?

        The Daniel Ellsberg case may be instructive. You may recall that after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the “Pentagon Papers” case, Ellsberg was indicted under the Espionage Act for leaking Pentagon documents to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

        After the trial commenced in San Francisco, it was brought to the judge’s attention that the “White House plumbers” broke into the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. Based on that information and other complaints of government misbehavior, including the FBI’s interception of Ellsberg’s telephone conversations with a government official, Judge William Matthew Byrne decided that the case should be dismissed with prejudice because the government acted outrageously.

        For similar reasons, the case against Assange should be dismissed, if it reaches the U.S. courts.

      • The Decimation of Local News Has Lawmakers Crossing the Aisle

        Newspapers have faced devastating financial losses for years. One in five newspapers has closed since 2004 in the United States, and about half of the nation’s more than 3,000 counties have only one newspaper, many of them printing weekly, according to a report by the University of North Carolina published in late 2018. In the last year alone, Facebook and Google added tens of thousands of employees and reported billions of dollars in profits.

      • Khashoggi Fiancée Calls Saudi Murder Trial 'a Joke'

        "They told us of only five men without names," she said. "And why they are five? More than 10 people came to Turkey!

        "We want real punishment, even for [those who gave the] orders," she told host Fredrik Skavlan.

        A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death and three others to prison in connection with the October 2018 killing of Khashoggi at Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Bahrain: Worsening Rights Record
      • Central Asia: Reform Pledges Yet to Materialize

        Changes in the names and faces of political leaders in Central Asia have brought promises for reforms, but core human rights concerns, such as detention of critics and limits to free speech, remain urgent in all five countries, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020. The region’s new leaders should turn commitments to care about their citizens’ rights into reality.

        The resignation in March of Nursultan Nazarbayev and the appointment of Kassym-Jomart Tokaev as Kazakhstan’s president, was the third top leadership change in the region in three years.

      • Jordan: Stepped Up Arrests of Activists, Protesters
      • Tunisia: Repressive Laws Cloud Rights Gains
      • Qatar: Reform Efforts Fail to Remedy Rights Abuses
      • UAE: Dangerous Disregard for Rule of Law
      • Mauritania: Presidential Transition

        Students protesting against a discriminatory government decision limiting enrollment in public university to 24 years, hold up signs that say “education is a right for all.”

      • Learning from King’s Last Campaign

        Before he died, Martin Luther King, Jr. joined a campaign to unify working people of all races. Today, nothing could be more powerful.

      • Stephen Miller’s Contempt for Immigrants Laid Bare in New Leaked Emails

        The Trump administration is known for its revolving door of staff members. White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, however, has outlasted many of Trump’s most high-profile hires. Along the way, he designed the first travel ban and advocated for family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border, among other anti-immigration policies. In November, leaked emails between Miller and Breitbart, the far-right website, obtained by Hatewatch, a publication of the Southern Poverty Law Center, revealed in writing what many observers suspected for years: Miller is also a white nationalist.

      • Southern Africa: Weak Rights Protections
      • EU: Steps Toward Rights-Based Leadership

        Women hold candles and European Union flag as they demonstrate in solidarity with Polish judges in front of the Ministry of Justice on December 1, 2019 in Warsaw, Poland.

      • Robert Reich: There's Hope For America Yet

        If climate change, nuclear standoffs, assault weapons, hate crimes, mass killings, Russian trolls, near-record inequality, kids locked in cages at our border, and Donald Trump in the White House don’t occasionally cause you feelings of impending doom, you’re not human.

      • The US Is Waging a Stealth War at the Mexico Border

        In recent decades, U.S. immigration policies have aggressively targeted families fleeing violence and poverty in Mexico and Central and South America, spawning a network of detention centers that now exist indefinitely along our southern border. The U.S.’s approach to tackling undocumented immigration has come under fire for its use of brutal tactics such as deliberately separating families, placing them in confinement under harsh conditions, and denying them adequate medical and legal counsel.

      • Ukraine: Mixed Record on Rights, Cautious Hope for Reform

        Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, jailed on groundless terrorism charges in Russia, hugs his daughter at€ a welcoming ceremony at Borispil International Airport outside Kiev, following a€ Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in attendance.

      • Saudi Arabia: Unrelenting Repression
      • Djotodia Returns to the Central African Republic

        Two former leaders accused of serious abuse have recently returned to Central Africa Republic.

        Only two weeks after the return of former€ Central African Republic president€ Francois Bozizé to the country, former rebel, turned self-appointed president, Michel Djotodia landed in the capital, Bangui, last Friday.

      • Border Patrol Officials Dodged Congress’ Questions About Migrant Children’s Deaths

        The Trump administration sought to “conceal information” about the death of a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy in Border Patrol custody, a House subcommittee chairwoman said at a hearing Tuesday.

        Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., said the Department of Homeland Security has “consistently failed to maintain transparency by stymying congressional inquiries. This raises concerns that they are hiding serious issues with management, in addition to the leadership vacancies at the top of the department. One example of this is the department's decision to conceal information on the death of Carlos Hernandez Vasquez.”

      • Russia: Race to the Bottom on Rights


        A protestor observes€ riot police during a peaceful protest in Central Moscow on August 10, 2019.

      • Riot Police Evict Oakland Moms Who Reclaimed Vacant Home to Fight Homelessness

        In Oakland, California, a group of mothers fighting homelessness is waging a battle against real estate speculators and demanding permanent solutions to the Bay Area housing crisis by occupying a vacant house with their children. The struggle began in November, when working mothers in West Oakland moved into 2928 Magnolia Street, a vacant house owned by real estate investment firm Wedgewood Properties. The firm tried to evict them, claiming they were illegally squatting on private property, but the mothers went to court and filed a “right to possession” claim, saying housing is a human right. Their name is Moms 4 Housing. The battle for the house came to a head last week when an Alameda County judge ruled in favor of Wedgewood Properties and ordered the mothers to vacate the house. But Moms 4 Housing has stayed to fight eviction. Monday night, hundreds of protesters gathered at the house after receiving a tip that the Sheriff’s Office was coming to evict the families — a show of support that led the sheriff to abandon the eviction attempt. We speak with Carroll Fife, director of the Oakland office for the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, and Dominique Walker, a member of Moms 4 Housing who has been living at the house with her family. Our interview was interrupted by news of another possible eviction attempt.

      • US: Punitive Policies Undercut Rights

        (Washington, DC, January 15, 2020) – The Trump administration is cruelly punishing migrants and eviscerating the right to seek asylum in the United States, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2020. Many state and local governments have stepped up policing in impoverished communities rather than address problems of homelessness, mental health, and gangs with services, support, and economic development.

        “The Trump administration’s punitive approach to asylum seekers and poor people of color has pushed people so far from rights protections that even their lives may be at risk,” said Nicole Austin-Hillery, US Program director at Human Rights Watch. “For certain marginalized groups in the US, the government appears to be committing a total assault on their fundamental human rights.”

      • Who screwed up? Russia appoints a decorated investigator to head the probe into December's shootout at the FSB, where friendly fire may have cost a life

        Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin has reportedly appointed Uladi Uladiev, a veteran of the agency, to head the team now studying the shootout outside the Federal Security Service’s Moscow headquarters on December 19, 2019. A source familiar with the probe and another individual inside the Investigative Committee confirmed this information to Meduza. A major crimes investigator, Uladiev reports directly to Bastrykin.

      • 'Unconscionable': As Puerto Rico Suffers Earthquake Aftermath, AOC, Sanders, and Velazquez Demand Trump End Illegal Hold on Relief Funds

        "Postponing the disbursement of this vital assistance any longer—in the face of the humanitarian needs of Puerto Rico—is simply shameful," the lawmakers said in a joint letter.

      • 'Champion for Educators and Working Class': Largest Teachers Union in Nevada Endorses Bernie Sanders

        "I thank the Clark County Education Association for their support," Sanders said in response, "and look forward to their partnership in transforming our country and defeating the most dangerous president in modern history."

      • Trump Embraces Anti-LGBTQ Pastor Who Pushed “Conversion Therapy”

        Evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress came under fire from civil rights groups last month after delivering a speech at the White House Hanukkah celebration because he had previously said that all Jews are destined for an afterlife in hell. Jeffress’s opinions about LGBTQ people are similarly distressing — but not, apparently, to President Trump. Jeffress recently joined the “Evangelicals for Trump” campaign group and regularly praises the president at events and in the media.

      • How Layleen Xtravanganza-Polanco’s Case Impacted Organizing For Transgender Prisoners

        The legacy of Layleen Xtravaganza-Polanco, a Black trans woman who died at Rikers Island during Pride month in 2019, illustrates a key tension within prisoner rights movements.

        Centering the experiences of transgender prisoners can motivate reform that fits within a broader fight for prison abolition. However, so-called solidarity with transgender prisoners can at times be weaponized to justify policies that entrench their incarceration.

      • Even When You Change Its Name, Solitary Confinement Is Torture

        If he took 13 steps in his size 11 shoes, Brandon Serna had walked the length of his cell. If he took more than six steps, he’d walked its width. For more than one year, the 40-year-old spent over 16 hours each day locked in this cell with his 30-year-old cellmate.

      • Instacart Workers Are Calling for a National Boycott of the Grocery Delivery App

        Many of the app's 130,000 workers claim to have seen their pay drop by more than 50 percent in 2019 alone, as the company has sought to lower costs and appease its investors.

        Workers are now calling for a national boycott. They’re asking customers and the general public to tweet under the hashtag #DeleteInstacart on January 19, and to email Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta on January 20, asking him to restore the 10 percent default tip—which workers lost back in 2016. (The default tip sits at five percent.)

      • How Far Can Abused Women Go to Protect Themselves?

        Police officers showed up nearly half an hour later, around the time that Todd died. Brittany detailed how he had beaten and raped her and attacked Chris. A rape kit showed bruises on her neck, breasts, arms, legs, and pelvis, evidence of strangulation, bite marks on her neck and chin, and secretions on her neck and in her vagina. Yet within forty-eight hours she had been charged with murder.

        Initially, Chris and Brittany told the police that he had killed Todd. Both of them believed that a woman who had defended herself against violence would never get a fair trial in Jackson County, where Stevenson is situated. “I hate to say this, but, Jackson County, they’re a little bit behind on the times,” Chris told me, arguing that, if law enforcement had known that it was Brittany who fired the gun, they would not have taken her for a rape-kit examination until it was too late. Women, he said, “get the short end of the stick.”

    • Monopolies

      • Welcome to India, Mr. Bezos. Here’s an Antitrust Complaint.

        For example, Amazon sells its own brands, like AmazonBasics luggage and Solimo paper products, on its Indian site through companies in which it holds an equity stake. And Flipkart features a small group of preferred, high-volume sellers on its service.

        The commission will investigate whether those arrangements violate India’s antitrust law.

        India is one of Amazon’s fastest-growing markets as well as an important location for its customer service and research operations. But Mr. Bezos has made just three trips to the country.

      • Patents

        • EPO appeals board weighs-up Broad’s CRISPR claims

          The first day of a landmark hearing on CRISPR ownership dealt nearly exclusively with untangling linguistic arguments, lawyers following the proceedings told LSIPR.

          The case, being heard by the European Patent Office’s (EPO) Board of Appeal, deals with rightful ownership of a European patent (EP 2771468) for CRISPR/Cas9 technology, filed by the Broad Institute.

          Day one of the hearing kicked off yesterday, January 13, in Munich, with further hearings to continue throughout the week.

          EP 2771468 covers the use of CRISPR/Cas9 for the “engineering of systems, methods and optimised guide compositions for sequence manipulation”.

          It claims priority from earlier US provisional patent applications, one of which names Luciano Marraffini as an inventor-applicant.

          Marraffini is not named on the Broad Institute’s subsequent patent application, which has led to the case currently being heard by the EPO appeals board in Munich.

          The EPO is defending the decision of its opposition division to revoke EP 2771468 because the Broad Institute alone cannot claim priority from a filing which also lists Marraffini as inventor-applicant.

      • Trademarks

        • Strange Bedfellows: EFF Sides with PTO in Trademark Battle Over ‘’

          EFF often criticizes the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) for granting bad patents, but a case in the Supreme Court has us on the same side.

          On Monday, EFF filed an amicus brief asking the court to reject trademark protection for “,” pointing out that other travel companies that use variations of the word “booking” in their domain names could face legal threats if the mark were granted.

      • Copyrights

        • Google v. Oracle: Amicus Briefing

          Hello again, it's been a while. My administrative duties have sadly kept me busy, limiting my blogging since the summer. But since I've blogged consistently about Google v. Oracle (fka Oracle v. Google) about every two years, the time has come to blog again.

          I won't recap the case here -my former post(s) do so nicely. I'm just reporting that 20+ amicus briefs were filed in the last week, which SCOTUSblog has nicely curated from the electronic filing system.

          There are many industry briefs. They all say much the same thing - an Oracle win would be bad for industry, and also inconsistent with the law (The R Street brief -and prior op ed-describes how Oracle has copied Amazon's cloud based API declarations).

        • Microsoft and IBM: Here's why we back Google in Oracle Java API copyright case

          The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the Google vs Oracle case in March, after the court last year agreed to reconsider a favorable decision towards Oracle by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in 2014. The court reversed a federal court jury decision that Google's use of Java API packages in its Android operating system constituted "fair use".

          Google filed its opening brief on January 6 and since then dozens of stakeholders, including IBM, Microsoft, and Firefox-maker Mozilla, have filed a total of 27 'friend of the court' briefs outlining opposition to the idea that software APIs should be copyrightable.

        • Number of Pirated Screener Leaks Already Higher Than Last Year

          The number of leaked pirate screeners is on the rise again after last year's all-time low. Thus far, ten copies have been posted online, including several high-profile Oscar contenders. As in previous years, the bulk of these leaks come from the release group Hive-CM8.

        • TV Channel Owner Arrested For Airing 'Pirate' Movie Days After Theatrical Release

          On January 9, action thriller movie 'Darbar' enjoyed its theatrical release in India. Bizarrely, just three days later, a pirated copy of the hit production was illegally aired on cable TV. The makers of the movie immediately filed a complaint with police who, according to local reports, have now arrested the channel owner and begun the process of confiscating equipment.

        • Yellowcard's $15 Million Lawsuit Against Juice WRLD Restarts In February

          Yellowcard’s aggressive copyright infringement lawsuit against Juice WRLD, who passed away last year, is slated to resume on February 4th.

        • Game Dev Torrents Its Way To More Sales, Not Less

          Piracy is bad, full stop. That's the message repeated far too often by far too many in the content industries. Nothing as complicated as how copyright infringement impacts a content maker could be that simple, of course. Instead, piracy effects different content makers and companies in different ways. And, as we've seen in the past, when rightsholders actually try to connect with pirates and make good use of piracy, they often encounter beneficial results. When this occurs, detractors typically begin claiming all sorts of reasons for why those cases are unique: it only works for big companies that can absorb the sales losses, it only works for small companies that aren't generating much in sales anyway, it only works for some genres of video games and not others, etc.

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