Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 27/11/2020: Systemd 247 and Cockpit 233

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • TUXEDO Computers Enables Full Linux Support on the Intel-TongFang QC7 Gaming Laptop

        At the request of numerous users, TUXEDO Computers is now providing the necessary drivers and software needed to enable full Linux support on the Intel-TongFang QC7 reference gaming laptop, which is the base of several laptops available for purchase in stores across Europe and the US.

        Some well known brands include the Aftershock / LEVEL51 Vapor 15 Pro, Eluktronics MAG-15, MAINGEAR ELEMENT, and XMG FUSION 15, the latter being now offered by TUXEDO Computers on their online store fully configurable and pre-installed with the company's in-house built, Ubuntu-based TUXEDO_OS.

    • Kernel Space

      • New Systemd 247 Is Out For Linux Operating System As Major Release

        Systemd, a controversial system and service manager for Linux operating systems, has a major version release as Systemd 247.

        Speaking of new changes, systemd 247 has added a new service called systemd-oomd to monitor and take action on processes when memory or swap goes above the configured limits.

        Systemd, a controversial system and service manager for Linux operating systems, has a major version release as Systemd 247.

        Speaking of new changes, systemd 247 has added a new service called systemd-oomd to monitor and take action on processes when memory or swap goes above the configured limits.

      • Systemd 247 Released With Experimental Out-of-Memory Daemon, New Credentials Capability - Phoronix

        Systemd 247 is out today as the latest major version of this Linux init system. Like most systemd releases, systemd 247 is very heavy on new features.

        Systemd 247 most notably introduces the still-experimental systemd-oomd as the out-of-memory daemon with that Linux OOMD code originally developed by Facebook and later adopted for desktop use-cases. Once stabilized, the goal of systemd-oomd is for improving the behavior when the Linux system is low on memory / under memory pressure.

        Beyond systemd-oomd, systemd 247 now defaults to using Btrfs with systemd-homed and other enhancements as outlined below.

      • OpenZFS 2.0-RC7 Brings Better ABI Handling, Reduced Latency For Non-Interactive I/O - Phoronix

        OpenZFS 2.0 is getting quite close to release but isn't over the finish line yet and this week brings the seventh release candidate.

        OpenZFS 2.0-RC7 is lighter than some of the past release candidates so it looks like work may be winding down. OpenZFS 2.0 is a big release with Zstd compression, mainlined FreeBSD support, various performance improvements, sequential resilvering, persistent L2ARC support, and many other changes.

      • AMD Stages More Driver Updates For New GPUs With Linux 5.11 - Phoronix

        While the Radeon RX 6800 series is now shipping that was developed under the Sienna Cichlid codename, there are other fishy codenames remaining and are seeing more work for the Linux 5.11 kernel that will officially open development in December and then likely reaching stable in February.

        AMD on Wednesday sent out more AMDGPU kernel driver updates for Navy Flounder and Dimgrey Cavefish. Navy and Dimgrey are for unreleased AMD Radeon products that appear to be for additional RDNA 2 / Radeon RX 6000 series parts. Nothing too notable with the latest batch of updates, just more enablement churn and more device IDs added in.

    • Applications

      • Blender 2.91 Released with Major Improvements, Including New Setting Search Feature

        A major update to Blender, the open source 3D modelling software is out and it brings a veritable pale-load of improvements to the creative table.

        Following up the colossal Blender 2.90 release back in the summer was never going to be easy but somehow the Blender team has managed it. Blender 2.91 is crammed full of tweaks, fine-tuning, new features, and thoughtful additions.

        New features spotlighted by the project include the addition of collision support to the sculpt cloth brush and filter; new sculpting gestures designed to speed up workflows; support for custom curve bevels; and the ability to convert volume objects into mesh (and vice versa).

        A new ‘property search’ feature channels the old Unity HUD. Press ctrl + f and start typing to instantly see a series of matching settings —even settings inside add-ons— returned, ready for you to select and action. Fuzzy search support makes this handy find-all feature even more useful as you can make typos and still find what you look for.

      • Cockpit 233 — Cockpit Project

        Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from Cockpit version 233.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to install Mageia Linux

        Mageia is an RPM-based Linux operating system forked from the famous French Linux distribution Mandriva. It is an open-source operating system and is an excellent option for using Linux the RPM way. In this guide, we’ll show you how to install the operating system on your computer.

      • How to free up RAM on Linux

        Are you running out of usable memory on your Linux PC? Are you trying to free up RAM space but don’t know how to do it? We can help! Follow along as we go over how to free up RAM on Linux!

      • [Older] How to monitor network activity on a Linux system -

        In this article we learn how to monitor network activity on Linux.

      • How to Disable Your Webcam in Ubuntu?

        Find out these simple methods to disable webcam in Ubuntu. We can stop the webcam driver to load in Linux OS by modifying the configuration file.

      • How to install Code Blocks on Ubuntu 20.04 - YouTube

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Code Blocks on Ubuntu 20.04. Enjoy! For the command and more, look here:

    • Games

      • Amusing adventure game HIVESWAP: ACT 2 is out now | GamingOnLinux

        With no prior knowledge of the Homestuck web comic series needed, the second part of the video game adventure is out now with HIVESWAP: ACT 2.

        "The artistry and humor of the golden age of adventure games meet hand-drawn 2D animation in this love letter to the point-and-click classics. Bizarre, beautifully illustrated alien landscapes and colorful characters make Alternia a joy to explore."

      • Gaming Rack Design and Construction – CubicleNate's Techpad

        I have collected a number of gaming systems throughout my life and there is little point in having them if they sit in a box or using them takes an annoying level of set-up time, making it fun prohibitive. I was then inspired by Perifractic Retro Recipes video where the computer museum has everything so nicely laid out. I looked at my mess and decided that I had to do something about it because my arrangement just isn’t presentable.

      • Theme park building game Parkitect is getting 8-player online multiplayer | GamingOnLinux

        With the second year release anniversary of the great theme park building game Parkitect coming up, Texel Raptor had a quite a huge surprise ready.

        Releasing on December 8 is the free cooperative online multiplayer mode. This is absolutely crazy considering the type of game it is, and one I can only imagine right now being ridiculously fun to play online with others. Eight people in total too, that's a lot of building that can get done. Texel Raptor mentioned you can see what everyone else is doing, and it's going to have a full online lobby system it seems too.

      • The DualSense Is Making Even More Sense - Boiling Steam

        As reported earlier this month, the DualSense controller from Sony was already working great out of the box on Linux. However, it wasn’t long after that that Valve added support for the more advanced features of the device.

        Starting November 12, Valve updated the controller to have basic input functionality with their beta Steam client:

    • Distributions

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • MicroOS & Kubic: New Lighter Minimum Hardware Requirements

          openSUSE MicroOS has been getting a significant amount of great attention lately. We’d like to thank everyone who has reviewed and commented on what we are doing lately. One bit of clear feedback we received loud and clear was that the Minimum Hardware requirement of 20 GB disk space was surprisingly large for an Operating System calling itself MicroOS. We agree! And so we’ve reviewed and retuned that requirement.

      • Arch Family

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • World Health Organization Embraces Open Source Technologies to Assist Healthcare Workers

          Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced it is working with the World Health Organization (WHO), the specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health, to create a sustainable open source development infrastructure to support the development of the Learning Experience Platform (LXP) for the WHO Academy, the organization’s new state-of-the-art training center.

        • DarwinAI and Red Hat Team Up to Bring COVID-Net Radiography Screening AI to Hospitals, Using Underlying Technology from Boston Children’s Hospital

          DarwinAI, the explainable artificial intelligence (XAI) company, and Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced a collaboration to accelerate the deployment of COVID-Net—a suite of deep neural networks for COVID-19 detection and risk stratification via chest radiography—to hospitals and other healthcare facilities. DarwinAI and Red Hat are also leveraging the expertise of a computation research group, the Fetal Neonatal Neuroimaging and Developmental Science Center (FNNDSC) at Boston Children's Hospital to better focus the software for real world clinical and research use.

        • Emmanuel Bernard fell into open-source

          Hello, and welcome to developer's journey, the podcast, bringing you the making of stories of successful software developers to help you on your upcoming journey. My name is Tim Bourguignon, and on this episode 127, I receive Emmanuel Bernard. Emmanuel is a Java champion, Distinguished Engineer, Chief Architect for RedHat, open source contributor to the Java standards, public speaker, community leader, and among others, the host of the podcast, The Cast Coders. Emmanuel, welcome to DevJourney.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Arcan 0.6 – ‘M’ – Start Networking

        This time around, the changes are big enough across the board that the sub-projects will get individual posts instead of being clumped together, and that will become a recurring theme as the progress cadence becomes less and less interlocked.

        We also have a sister blog at that will slowly cover higher level design philosophy, rants and reasoning behind some of what is being done here. A few observant ones have pieced together the puzzle — but most have not.

        This release is a thematic shift from low level graphics plumbing to the network transparency related code. We will still make and accept patches, changes and features to the lower video layers, of course — ‘Moby Blit’ is still out there — but focus will be elsewhere. Hopefully this will be one of the last time these massive releases make sense, and we can tick on a (bi-)monthly basis for a while.

      • Arcan 0.6 Display Server Adds Network Transparency, XWayland Client Isolation - Phoronix

        For those with some extra time around the US Thanksgiving holiday, the Arcan display server/environment is out with a new release. This is the interesting project that's powered in part by a game engine, offers X11 and Wayland compatibility, ported to BSDs, and more recently has been exploring VR and other desktop innovations.

        Arcan 0.6 is the new release out as of this week. Arcan 0.6 brings initial network transparency support that the developers feel is more powerful than the X11 network transparency (they dub their protocol "A12"), support for on-demand client debugging, KMSCON-like console support, XWayland client isolation for better security, an improved headless mode, and a number of other features.

      • 4 questions about AI ethics and how open source can help

        As a high school student, I've become very interested in artificial intelligence (AI), which is emerging as one of the most impactful innovations of recent times. This past summer, I was selected for the AI4ALL program, where we learned how to develop AI systems using Python.

        For my final project, I created an object-detection program and integrated it with a virtual drone simulation. Throughout the project, I was able to use open source frameworks, including TensorFlow, Keras, Scikit-learn, and PyTorch, to aid in developing the object-detection machine learning (ML) algorithm process.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.1 Beta 1 for Linux, Windows, and Mac is here -- get the FREE open-source Microsoft Office alternative now

          Is LibreOffice better than Microsoft Office? No, and it's not even close. Say what you want about Microsoft, but Office is in a league of its own -- the best productivity software on the market.

          Why would anyone not use Microsoft Office? Well, for one, it costs money -- potentially hundreds of dollars. Secondly, it is not available on all operating systems. Linux users, for instance, simply can't use Microsoft Office (except the web version). Not to mention, Microsoft Office is closed-source software, and some folks only want to use open source options.

          So yeah, that's why people use LibreOffice -- it's free, open-source, and available on most desktop operating systems such as Linux. With all of that said, LibreOffice is actually good software too -- it just isn't as good as Microsoft's offering. And that's OK. We should definitely be thankful that LibreOffice exists.

      • Programming/Development

        • Marmite of scripting languages PHP emits version 8.0, complete with named arguments and other goodies

          Version 8.0 of the PHP scripting language is scheduled for release on 26 November, which coincides with the US Thanksgiving holiday.

          PHP turned 25 earlier this year and its latest iteration brings a variety of improvements to those who enjoy the language, which certainly isn't everyone.

          Type "is PHP" into Google Search box, in Incognito mode, and the first two auto-complete suggestions you'll see are "is PHP still used" and "is PHP dead."

          It is and it isn't: PHP still ranks as the eighth most popular language in the Tiobe index, just below JavaScript. Nonetheless, PHP has something of a mixed reputation among developers.

  • Leftovers

    • Free-Dumb isn’t Free, We’re All Paying the Price
    • Science

      • Trump’s "incompetency" and "anti-science" views will plague US long after he leaves office: expert

        "I don't think any of us in public health would have imagined a year ago, even with Donald Trump at the helm, that this level of incompetency and toxic messaging that we've seen with Donald Trump over these last eight or nine months would have actually been possible under any president's leadership," Redlener told Wallace. "But here you have a president who's firmly opposed to science and evidence in developing policies to deal with this very deadly disease."

        Redlener added that even after Trump leaves office in January, the type of "toxic messaging" he has pushed during the pandemic won't be going away.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • SCOTUS Rules Against New York State's COVID Limits on Large Religious Gatherings
      • As COVID Devastates Native Communities, Indigenous Voters Played Key Role in Defeating Trump

        As COVID-19 rampages through the U.S., we look at how the rapid spread of the disease is affecting Native American communities, which have already faced disproportionate infection and death rates throughout the pandemic. We speak to Jodi Archambault, a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and former special assistant to President Obama for Native American affairs. We also speak with Protect the Sacred founder Allie Young of the Navajo Nation.

      • The Covid-19 Pandemic Helps Tell the True Story of Thanksgiving

        At the time the Pilgrims landed, the Wampanoags and their neighbors had been tested by the years they called the Great Dying. An epidemic from 1616 to 1619—which may have been smallpox (there are other theories)—had killed as many as 9 out of 10 coastal Indians.

      • Hundreds of Thousands of Students Traveled Home This Week Amid COVID Spike
      • What Thanksgiving and the Coronavirus Pandemic Share: As Seen from Boston

        Perhaps more than any other day, Thanksgiving embodies the underlying embrace of endless growth and voracious consumption: normally the year’s biggest travel day, its reliance on massive amounts of fossil fuel makes the holiday a climate changing event.

      • Why are millions of Americans traveling for Thanksgiving as the pandemic rages?

        Then there is the immense confusion generated by the mainstream media, whose presentation, day after day, is that the pandemic is about to turn a corner for the better. The New York Times, the editorial voice of the Democratic Party, has been demanding that schools remain open and insists that they are safe even though more than one million children have contracted the disease. And it was the Times ’ columnist Thomas Friedman who vocalized the slogan of the ruling elite’s approach to the pandemic, that the “cure cannot be worse than the disease.”

        Finally, there is the abysmal state of scientific education in America, the outcome of four decades of attacks on public education, which has resulted in a situation where significant sections of the population deny the existence of the virus, refuse to wear masks when in public and oppose the use of vaccines to protect the population from disease, ignorantly placing themselves and others at risk.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Introducing Vivaldi Mail in Technical Preview

          It makes me very happy to share that we’ve taken it a step further. In addition to the email client, we’ve included a feed reader and a calendar.

          Whether it is the browser or any of Vivaldi’s services – we build our software with you in mind. We know that you are all individuals with your own requirements and wishes.

          Vivaldi Mail is about giving you the choice to communicate online in a much more organized way while having the comfort of knowing that you are in control of your data and choices.

          We now need your feedback on our first Technical Preview (TP) so that we can – together – build this further into a trustworthy option that will let you break away from the dependency on the ecosystems of the few big players today.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Comparing the similarities and differences between inner source and open source [Ed: Inner Source is an attack on software freedom]

              Open source software (OSS) has been around since the 1990s and has thrived, quickly growing to become mainstream. It is now more well understood around the world than it has ever been before. Some refer to it as FOSS to highlight the Freedom part of open source (Free and Open Source Software). And in 2014, at OSCON, the term "inner source" was debuted, and people started talking about how to use the principles of open source, but inside of a company. It raised several questions for those unfamiliar with the term, which I hope to answer with this article. For example, what is similar about the two, what is different, the company roles involved in the two, is inner source taking the energy away from open source, etc. These are all fair questions, and as my organization practices both and is involved in both movements, I want to take some time to share insight with this audience as a developer, as a company, and as an open source enthusiast.

        • Security

          • Windows REvil ransomware used to compromise Argentina portal

            Argentina's official country portal has been hit by malicious attackers using the Windows REVil ransomware who claim they have exfiltrated 50GB of information.

          • Pipeline - The Critical Risk at the Edge

            We are at a critical decision point, but we do have choices. There’s no magic answer to adapt to the massively changing conditions that we’re all facing around the world. We can cling to old approaches and a fast path to extinction, or we can disrupt the norm and evolve as a global community to transform to next-generation strategies.

            At the forefront of these strategies is 5G mobile network technology combined with highly distributed edge computing on cloud-native platforms. Everywhere around the globe, operators are aggressively testing and deploying innovative 5G and multi-access edge computing (MEC) technologies and solutions. As these solutions are rapidly being rolled out around the world, there is a compelling opportunity for them to have a sweeping impact on the entire economy.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Facebook pays fine for refusing to localize Russian users’ data

              The Internet giant Facebook has paid in full a four million ruble (about $53,000) fine imposed by the Russian authorities over the company’s refusal to store Russian users’ data on servers located inside Russia.€ 

            • Microsoft productivity score feature criticised as workplace surveillance | Microsoft | The Guardian

              Tool allows managers to use Windows 365 to track their employees’ activity

            • Why don't Facebook and Apple like each other?

              Earlier this year, Apple announced it would introduce a feature called App Tracking Transparency, to give people more control over their data.

              Crucially, customers would have to opt in for their data - previously handed over by default - to be used by apps such as Facebook's.

              That is a massive problem for Facebook, which sells targeted adverts to make eye-watering profits. It says openly that this will damage its business.

              Apple has postponed the proposed changes until next year, to give developers time to prepare.

              In a letter outlining why the change was delayed last week, Apple's Jane Hovarth couldn't resist a pop at Zuckerberg: "Facebook executives have made it clear their intent is to collect as much data as possible.

              "This disregard for user privacy continues to expand."

              Facebook hit back, saying: "They are using their dominant market position to self-preference their own data collection, while making it nearly impossible for their competitors to use the same data.

              "They claim it's about privacy - but it's about profit."

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Like a Rocket in the Garden: the Unending War in Afghanistan

        Late last week, I learned from young Afghan Peace Volunteer friends in Kabul that an insurgent group firing rockets into the city center hit the home of one volunteer’s relatives. Everyone inside was killed. Today, word arrived of two bomb blasts in the marketplace city of Bamiyan, in central Afghanistan, killing at least fourteen people and wounding forty-five.

        These explosions have come on the heels of other recent attacks targeting civilians. On November 2, at least nineteen people were killed and at least twenty-two wounded by gunmen opening fire at Kabul University. On October 24, at least two dozen students died, and more than 100 were wounded in an attack on a tutoring center.

      • A Good Deed from the Wicked Witch? Actually Ending the War in Afghanistan

        As a consequence, expectations for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to put America back on the path to the Emerald City after a dispiriting four-year detour are sky high. The new administration will defeat Covid-19, restore prosperity, vanquish racism, reform education, expand healthcare coverage, tackle climate change, and provide an effective and humane solution to the problem of undocumented migrants. Oh, and Biden will also return the United States to its accustomed position of global leadership. And save America’s soul to boot.

        So we are told.

      • Investigation ongoing after Russian soldier found dead in Armenia

        A Russian serviceman has been found dead in Armenia, the state news agency TASS reported on Thursday, November 26, citing spokespeople for Russia’s Southern Military District.

      • ICE Seeks Large New Cloud Contract Involving Microsoft, Amazon

        U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is planning new large-scale expenditures on cloud computing with Microsoft Corp. and Inc.’s Amazon Web Services unit. The deal, slated for early 2021, could could reignite tensions within the companies, where groups of employees have objected to working with agencies that have presided over family separations and raids targeting undocumented immigrants.


        Google decided against renewing one contract with the Pentagon; other than that the companies haven’t given in to pressure. In October, Google Cloud head Thomas Kurian defended the company’s work with CBP after documents detailing a $200,000 contract became public, and all three companies have made it clear at various times that they will continue to work with U.S. government agencies. The internal dissent mostly emerged in response to Trump-era policies, and it’s unclear how they’ll fare once he leaves office. But the tension could well persist. Much of the federal government’s immigration enforcement and detention infrastructure pre-dated the Trump Administration, and Democrats have also shown enthusiasm for technological solutions to immigration enforcement, like digital surveillance in lieu of a physical border wall.

        It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how much agencies like ICE spend on cloud services with Microsoft and Amazon. Although federal agencies are required to publicly report spending on many government contracts, Microsoft and Amazon receive most of their government revenue as subcontractors, where reporting tends to be inconsistent.

    • Environment

      • Why Agricultural Carbon Offsets Can't Play a Role in International Climate Action

        Putting the responsibility of mitigation on farmers lets companies off the hook for reducing emissions along the entire supply chain.

      • Roof of the world is home to microplastic fibres

        Microplastic fibres have been found in the snows of Everest. Pollution levels have literally reached new heights.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • The Last, Best Chance to Save the Northern Rockies

          Aldo Leopold, heralded as the father of modern wildlife biology, wrote “The first step in intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts.” The sciences of conservation biology and landscape ecology provide insights vital to the viability of species and protection of habitats essential to native fish and wildlife. Among these are that roadless habitat is better than roaded; bigger roadless areas are better than smaller ones; connected wildlife populations are better than isolated ones; rivers and streams are better free-flowing rather than dammed and diverted.

          A mountain of scientific research from across the globe has re-confirmed that roadless areas are the foundation upon which wild ecosystems and viable populations exist. Moreover, intact systems provide a buffer against sudden change from climate alteration, allowing native species to adapt to new conditions.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • American in Transition: What's the Hurry?

        “Clinched the presidency” is ABC News-speak for “the media decided he won.” In point of fact, the 2020 presidential election isn’t over yet and won’t be for another three weeks.

        No, I’m not referring to Donald Trump’s campaign of vexatious litigation, which is going, and will go, nowhere.

      • Corporate Media Sources Within the Democratic Party Lean Toward the Right
      • Republicans Have Held On to Enough Power to Influence Future Elections
      • Controlled Demolition of Political Reality

        What’s new in our beleaguered country is not the division of our house but its total fragmentation.€  The structure held deceptively intact for so long by constant applications of partisan bullshit, rhetorical spit, legislative baling wire and executive duct tape, is now so fissured and faulted as to be more standing rubble than viable edifice.€  We are not simply split in our politics, we are pulverized, in every aspect of our reality.€  Start anywhere.

        Economically, we’re the most wildly inequitable of wealthy nations where 10% have more money than 90%, three men have more than half of us, and the richest take everything from everybody.€  The bitter resentment of each for the other is intensified by being suppressed as impermissible.

      • Can We Build a Progressive Future If We Dismiss a Large Part of the Working Class?

        But there is something I do regret about being retired. That is the daily interaction with working people from different communities, with social and political backgrounds and outlooks often very different from my own. Instead, like most MAPA members, I spend almost all my time in liberal/progressive social and political circles.€ I now rarely have meaningful contact with people who do the work – often overlooked and disrespected — to make our society function.

        I don’t idealize the working class. My co-workers and I were fortunate to have union jobs that were mostly highly skilled and relatively well paid. These workers, who were overwhelmingly white and male, could be selfish and individualistic. They not infrequently expressed racist or misogynist attitudes, though eventually not so much when I was present. They often adopted a kind of narrow patriotism that was tinged with white supremacy and American chauvinism.€ Many of them had problems with drugs or alcohol.

      • 'We Have Won Over the Occupation': Israel Frees Maher Al-Akhras After 103-Day Hunger Strike

        The Palestinian father of six was released after refusing all food and drink to protest Israel's administrative detention policy.€ 

      • Defeat Trump. OK, Now Comes the Hard Part.

        We must seize the moment. The vision driving these movements, so long mocked and marginalized, must enter the political mainstream and begin to change the world.

      • For Biden, ‘Building Back Better’ Should Be a Global Challenge

        U.S. economic recovery efforts will not succeed if the global economy remains weak and serves only a small rich minority.

      • How a Grassroots Movement is Building Political Power: Notes From Richmond, California

        Richmond is a working class city of 110,000, 80 percent people of color, north of Oakland on the San Francisco Bay. It is home to a major Chevron refinery that has been the focus of political battles about Chevron’s pollution, Chevron’s special tax considerations, and Chevron’s political involvement. The RPA’s 2014 election victory over Chevron’s $3 million campaign for city council is well known. Since that defeat Chevron has stayed largely behind the scenes and depended on other forces to maintain corporate influence in local politics.

        The three RPA candidates for city council this fall, Claudia Jimenez, Melvin Willis, and Gayle McLaughlin, won clear majoritiesin their districts against a well-financed and powerful opposition. The mayor of Richmond, a corporate neoliberal, kept up a drumbeat of attacks in his newsletter, one of the few sources of news of the city. The regional newspaper denounced the RPA candidates. Corporate liberals dominated NextDoor, the community social media.

      • Yes, the Left Should Talk to Trump Supporters

        Left Activism is Not the Same Thing as Left Organizing€ 

        If your version of political organizing looks like you and your friends working only with people who agree on virtually every issue, you’re not organizing - what you’re doing is called activism. While it’s true that activism and mobilization function as strategic components of any successful campaign or movement, it’s equally true that the left has spent far too much time mobilizing people who already agree with us.

      • Juan González: Mainstream Media Has Missed the Real Story About Latinx Voter Turnout

        About 160 million voters cast ballots in this election, setting a new record, and President-elect Joe Biden’s lead in the popular vote has jumped to over 6 million. Much of the increased turnout was powered by people of color, while the total number of votes cast by white Americans barely increased from the last presidential election. “The main story is that in an election which saw historic turnout, people of color — and especially Latinos — had an unprecedented increase in voting,” says Democracy Now! co-host Juan González. “After decades of political experts talking about the growing Latino vote, this year it actually happened.”

      • Bree Newsome & Prof. Eddie Glaude: The Black Lives Matter Movement Helped the Democrats Defeat Trump

        As President-elect Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris prepare to take power, we continue to look at the growing debate over the direction of the Democratic Party. House Majority Whip James Clyburn recently criticized calls to “defund the police” and argued the phrase hurt Democratic congressional candidates. “It is actually insane that we would think the way to respond to the scale of problems that we confront as a nation is to harken back to an older form of politics that … seems to try to triangulate and appeal to this Reagan Democrat that they are so obsessed with,” responds Eddie Glaude, author and chair of Princeton University’s Department of African American Studies. “It makes no sense that we would go back to the politics that produced Trump in the first place.” We also speak to artist and antiracist activist Bree Newsome Bass, who argues Black voters “are scapegoated when it’s convenient, and then we are thrown under the bus when it’s convenient. … That’s a dynamic that has to end.”

      • The Collapse of the Cuomosexual

        He’s baaack!

      • NPR’s Shameful Comparison of Stacey Abrams to Donald Trump

        It’s very likely that Stacey Abrams is not governor of Georgia today because in 2018, she and thousands of the state’s voters were victims of voter suppression that propelled then–Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp into the governor’s office. She wasn’t quiet about this, not just because the shenanigans probably cost her the election, but because the methods that were overtly employed to suppress the vote were of national significance—and echoed the racist tradition of preventing Blacks from voting in the Jim Crow era.

      • Jacobin and Democratic Socialists of America promote illusions in a “progressive” Biden administration

        While tens of millions of people are on the brink, facing a spiraling pandemic and an economic catastrophe, Biden is forming a right-wing administration of intelligence operatives, militarists, financial executives and big tech representatives. The Democrats have responded to Trump’s refusal to concede the election and his efforts to carry out a political coup by calling for “unity” with the Republican Party, denouncing “socialism” and preparing a government of austerity and war.

        In this context, Jacobin magazine, affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), is playing an essential role in trying to keep radicalizing young people tied to the Democratic Party.

        Throughout the 2020 elections, the DSA worked to subordinate the growing anger of workers and youth to the Democratic Party. This was done first through the full support for the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, who dropped out in March and became Biden’s most enthusiastic supporter.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Penguin Random House to Buy Simon & Schuster

        The biggest book publisher in the United States is about to get bigger. ViacomCBS has agreed to sell Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House for more than $2 billion in a deal that will create the first megapublisher.

        Penguin Random House, the largest book publisher in the United States, is owned by the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann. Adding Simon & Schuster, the third largest publisher, would create a book behemoth, a combination that could trigger antitrust concerns.

        The deal announced on Wednesday includes provisions that would protect ViacomCBS in the event that a sale is squashed by authorities. Bertelsmann would pay what is known as a termination fee if the deal does not go through.

      • The real threat to democracy isn’t Julian Assange — it’s the espionage case against him

        Beginning in 2010, we, the Yes Men, developed a friendship with Julian Assange and a collaboration with Wikileaks. In 2015, we made this short video about it, originally for inclusion in our third film, “The Yes Men Are Revolting,” but it didn’t quite fit. We think it shows a charming, funny and thoughtful side of the man, and so — despite our more complicated feelings about him after 2016 — we’re making it available now, given the dire threats facing Assange and free speech more broadly.

        Assange is currently facing extradition to the United States from London, for allegedly violating the U.S. Espionage Act — marking the first time the act has been used to prosecute the publishing of information. If the extradition is successful, he’ll face trial in a Virginia “espionage court” that has never once absolved a national security defendant. Allowing the Virginia court to try (and most likely convict) him would be a disaster for democracy — something even Obama’s Justice Department believed in 2013, when they determined that indicting Assange would mean having to prosecute any news organization or writer who publishes classified material. (They called it “the New York Times problem.”)

        Assange’s extradition hearing began in February 2020, with the second part delayed from May until Sept. 7 because of COVID-19. In its apparent eagerness to extradite Assange, the court has committed some egregious abuses — such as introducing new charges in June that Assange couldn’t respond to — that are mentioned in this summary by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and this short film by Wikileaks collaborator Juan Passarelli.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Catholic Church Is Responding to Indigenous Protest With Exorcisms
      • 'Deliberately Distorting' Reasoning for Limiting Large Religious Gatherings, SCOTUS Rules Against New York State's Restrictions

        "Free religious exercise is one of our most treasured and jealously guarded constitutional rights," Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her€ dissent. "But those principles are not at stake today."

      • Trump Rushes to Weaken Environmental and Worker Protections Before January 20
      • DOJ to Appeal Judge's Injunction Against 'Cruel, Unprecedented Policy' of Deporting Migrant Children

        The Trump administration—which has denied the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and seized infants from their parents—claims it is acting in the interest of public health and children.€ 

      • Free Manna

        Moses killed the Minotaur And Egypt was a labyrinth And as he had no ships he split The sea and walked on gravel Like a lizard walks on sand and Wound up in New Amsterdam Watching a sickle cell moon set A jet on its way to La Guardia Passed right over Mars above The trees of life and dogma In the center of the garden one As life, as nature (or€ physis), Appears as the physician; The tree of dogma, custom, or The€ nomos, is the nomeus: Shepherd and healer, the Janus of Jesus Where one tree will flourish The other’s diminished —

        Two trees, two forests One with its wood Which builds weapons and prisons Money, pollution The other pumping oxygen And free fruit, like manna

      • Saudi Arabia, MBS Are Benefiting From Trump 'Silence,' Says Sister of Jailed Activist Loujain al-Hathloul

        Hopes that Saudi women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul would be released by the kingdom's authoritarian government were dashed Wednesday, when her case was sent to the country's secretive Specialized Criminal Court used to try terrorist offenses and silence dissidents.

        Al-Hathloul appeared in court looking shaken and unwell, according to her family. She has been held without trial for more than 900 days, in which time she has allegedly been tortured, sexually assaulted and held incommunicado.

      • Loujain al-Hathloul, Saudi women's rights campaigner, has case transferred to terror court

        Loujain, who rose to prominence when she advocated for women's right to drive, had been on hunger strike for two weeks since October 26, her sister said. She was among a dozen other female campaigners to be arrested in May 2018, just weeks before Saudi Arabia ended a decades-long ban on women driving.

        Other dissidents, including cleric Salman al-Awda, who called on the country's rulers to be more responsive to the population's desires for reform, have also stood trial in the country's anti-terror court.

        Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have said that at least three jailed women's rights activists, including Loujain, have been held in solitary confinement and subjected to abuse including electric shocks, flogging and sexual assault. Saudi Arabia has strenuously denied the allegations.

        Officials have not made public the specific charges against Loujain, but last year the Saudi state news agency SPA, said Hathloul and other detained women were being charged with trying to undermine security, stability and national unity.

      • Egypt’s Sisi Intensifies Crackdown on Rights Advocates in Waning Days of Trump Administration

        At last year’s G-7 meeting in France, U.S. President Donald Trump called out loud enough for several to hear, “Where’s my favorite dictator?” He was looking for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led a military coup against the country’s democratically elected leader in 2013, before becoming president himself.

        Trump’s offhand comment got at the uncomfortable heart of what has been a long-standing relationship between the United States and Egypt’s authoritarian rulers—a sort of alliance-despite-dictatorship that Trump took to new levels, often praising Sisi publicly. But with Trump on his way out the door, after losing the Nov. 3 election in resounding fashion to Joe Biden, Sisi is taking advantage of the Trump administration’s waning days to crack down even harder on human rights advocates at home.

      • Biden should rethink America's fraught relationship with the Saudis

        The U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia best encapsulates the flawed U.S. approach to the Middle East: the support of repressive regimes in service to a superficial security umbrella at the expense of the lives and livelihoods of their populations. It is a policy outlook based on the false choice between the stability of strong men and the rights of the powerless. The coronavirus pandemic will only make state-society relations in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East generally more fraught and is already providing the excuse for the region’s autocrats to curb personal freedoms, crack-down on journalists, and institute further emergency powers.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day Six: The Beginning of the End of Canadian Broadcast Ownership and Control Requirements

        While the largest broadcasters will hold out, they will inevitably lobby the government to remove the remaining restrictions, re-surfacing old arguments about a “level playing field” and claiming that the licensed system cannot compete against unlicensed domestic and foreign streaming services that can access capital from anyone in the world. This may not happen overnight (much like the implementation of this bill), but the future is clear: Bill C-10 not only spells the end of Canadian ownership and control of the broadcasting system as a policy priority, it opens the door to its end as market reality as well.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • 'Courts cannot shy away from tackling FRAND issues' - Kluwer Patent Blog

          “We are at a junction where market players lost all confidence on how they should position themselves either as SEP owners or defendants and prospective licensees.” That is the opinion of Peter Chrocziel, partner at Bardehle Pagenberg, specialist in SEP issues and editor of the book ‘International Licensing and Technology Transfer: Practice and the Law’. Kluwer IP Law interviewed Chrocziel, in the first part of a series of interviews with authors and editors of its publications.

        • EPO-CNIPA New PCT Pilot Programme Starts On 1 December 2020

          From 1 December 2020, Chinese PCT applicants will be given the option to select the EPO as their International Searching Authority (ISA). According to the joint communiqué published on the EPO website, this scheme will be implemented as a two-year pilot programme.

          It is envisioned that this programme will enable Chinese applicants to optimise their international patent strategy, especially when considering protection in Europe.


          Although filing in English may not be a particularly appealing option for Chinese applicants, especially for those who already file and prosecute international applications at the CNIPA in Chinese, this option may be beneficial for patent applications that are intended to be enforced in English speaking jurisdictions due to the relevant language requirements with regard to publication. This is due to the fact that in a number of jurisdictions (such as the UK), certain rights are conferred on the publication of a patent application in a national language. For example, it would be possible to seek damages dating back to the earliest date of publication of the patent application for a granted UK patent, given that the earliest publication of the patent application was in English. As this also applies to granted UK patents that are derived from international patent applications that were published in English, applicants may want to ensure that the international patent applications were filed and published in English so that any rights conferred on publication in English-speaking countries are available from the earliest date possible.

          In cases where the international patent application claims priority from an earlier filed Chinese national patent application, both the Chinese national patent application and the international patent application would be published around the same time respectively in Chinese and English, provided that the earlier filed Chinese national application is pursued concurrently with the international application. Thus, there may also be additional benefits in that relevant rights are conferred at an early stage of the application process for both languages.

        • European Union: Priority Entitlement In Europe – Current Best Practice Following Board Of Appeal Decision T844/18

          The Technical Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) issued its written decision in case T844/18 on 6 November 2020. The central issue was whether the patentees were legally entitled to claim priority. If not, the patent would be invalid for lack of novelty.

          The stakes in this case were high. The patent covered a game-changing development to the "CRISPR" gene editing technology, allowing gene editing to be applied more extensively, particularly to humans.

          In their defence, the patentees challenged the EPO's entire approach to priority entitlement, including whether the EPO has jurisdiction to examine the matter at all. The Board refused to accept any of the patentees' arguments and determined that they had failed to comply with a fundamental aspect of the law. Consequently, the patent was revoked.

          The case does not change the EPO's established practice concerning priority entitlement. However, it provides a sobering reminder of the sometimes draconian consequences of the EPO's approach and, perhaps, a timely opportunity to reassess best practice for applicants. The "Practical Advice" section at the end of this briefing provides guidance of this nature. This practical advice can be read either separately or in conjunction with the preceding sections of this briefing, summarising relevant EPO law and then providing a more detailed discussion of the T844/18 case itself.

      • Trademarks

        • When goodwill in the business is not enough: clarifying the role of the trademark in a passing off action

          The respondent, Toh Yew Keat, started a successful private tuition business marketed as "TuitionGenius" ("TG Mark"). Subsequently, he and a business associate entered into a joint venture in the private tuition business and incorporated the appellant, Tuitiongenius Pte Ltd. Notwithstanding the joint venture, the respondent continued to run his own private tuition business under a modified form of the TG Mark.

          The appellant brought action against the respondent inter alia for a claim in passing off, alleging that, by using a mark that is similar to the TG Mark, the respondent was passing off his business as the appellant's. The appellant contended that the TG Mark was distinctive of its business. Under the law of Singapore, the tort of passing off protects a trader's goodwill in his business. To succeed in a passing off action, a claimant needs to prove the three elements of goodwill, misrepresentation and damage.

          At first instance, the Trial Judge dismissed the claim on the ground that the TG Mark was not used by the appellant to promote its business. Accordingly, the appellant had no goodwill in the TG Mark. The appellant appealed the result.

          On appeal, the Court of Appeal upheld the Trial Judge's decision to dismiss the claim, but on different grounds. The Court of Appeal held that goodwill attaches to the business as a whole rather than the TG Mark itself. The connection between the mark and the goodwill was to be considered under the head of whether there has been a misrepresentation.

      • Copyrights

        • Access free, high-quality images from HDRI Haven |

          An HDRI is a "high dynamic range image." In a single image, cameras struggle to capture both the darkest and brightest parts of the scene. This is why when you photograph someone in front of a bright window, you're either going to end up with them being just a silhouette or the window area appearing solid white. An HDRI doesn't have that limitation because it's composed of several photographs of the scene captured at different exposures. In the case of the images on HDRI Haven, they're full 360€° panoramic images with high dynamic range. In Greg’s words, it's a means of "copy/pasting" the lighting from a given environment so you can use it in your 3D scenes for realistic lighting.

          The CC0 license is basically the same as putting your work into the public domain and "enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright or database-protected content to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law."

        • Researcher Retains EFF To Fight DMCA Takedowns Sent By Proctoring Company

          University student and security researcher Erik Johnson is fighting back after proctoring software company Proctorio sent a series of DMCA notices to suppress his criticism of its controversial 'spying' tool. After his project was taken down from Github, Johnson has now filed a counter-notice and is prepared to appear in court, assisted by the EFF.

        • Tech Giants Protest Nomination for US 'Notorious' Markets List

          Several major US tech companies including Facebook, Namecheap and Cloudflare, have informed the US Trade Representative that they shouldn't be listed alongside known piracy sites in the upcoming notorious markets overview. The companies stress that they have policies in place to deal with copyright infringement, adding that the notorious markets process shouldn't be used for US companies.

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