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Links 22/12/2020: IPFire 2.25 - Core Update 153 and Kwort Linux 4.3.5

  • GNU/Linux

    • Here’s The True Reason Linux Users Love The Command Line

      When I started my own Linux journey, I was adamant about not even touching a terminal window. As if the command line was this diseased, disgusting thing. "If I can't do it with a GUI then I'm not even interested in this distro!" I'd stubbornly declare.

      I'd get visibly upset when stumbling across all these tutorials online that use command line instructions when far easier (in my opinion) graphical approaches exist. Why on earth were these guys showing us how to make an application executable using the command line?

      Why not just find it in your file manager, right click it, select "properties," go to the permissions tab, and check the appropriate box to make it executable? That seemed more intuitive… to me. Or maybe it was just what felt "correct" after two decades of Windows.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 105

        We look back at some of the biggest 2020 trends including Arm and Mozilla, consider the fallout from the recent CentOS announcement, and end on typically good KDE news. Plus details of a LNL community event.

      • SMLR 325 SMLR Reboot
      • The real reason most companies use microservices - YouTube

        Microservices are the dominant model for modern web services and their architecture. It feels like we teach microservices backwards -- the real motivation (and value) is often not mentioned, or mentioned as a footnote to many lesser advantages.

      • Episode 247 – Door 22: How to report one security flaw – Open Source Security

        Josh and Kurt talk about how to report one security flaw

      • 205: Home Sweet Home Labs - Destination Linux

        Setting up a proper home lab can be tons of fun and provide you with invaluable knowledge and increase your productivity, privacy, and security all in one. That’s why this week we’re going to be discussing the must-have home server setups you don’t want to live without. Plus we have our community feedback where we discuss the big SolarWinds Hack and in the Gaming section we check out a great party game with JackBox Party Pack 7. Of course, we’ve also got our famous tips, tricks and software picks. All of this and so much more this week on Destination Linux.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Kernel 5.9 Reaches End of Life: How To Upgrade To Linux Kernel 5.10 LTS
        Linux Kernel 5.9 is dead now as it is at the end of its life (EOL). According to Greg Kroah-Hartman, all the users using the 5.9 kernel series must upgrade. It is better to upgrade to Linux Kernel 5.10 LTS which was released a few days ago.

      • Linux Kernel 5.9 Reaches End of Life, Upgrade to Linux Kernel 5.10 LTS Now

        Launched just two months ago, the Linux 5.9 kernel series received today its last maintenance update as version 5.9.16. The kernel is now marked as EOL (End of Life) on the website, and users are urged to consider upgrading to Linux kernel 5.10 LTS.

        Linux kernel 5.10 is an LTS (Long-Term Support) branch, which means that it will receive support for at least a couple of years. It was released last week on December 13th and already received two maintenance updates, the latest version at the moment of writing being 5.10.2.

      • Linux 5.10.2
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.10.2 kernel.

        All users of the 5.10 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.10.y git tree can be found at: git:// linux-5.10.y and can be browsed at the normal git web browser:


        greg k-h
      • Linux 5.9.16
      • Linux 5.4.85
      • Slackware: Linux Kernel 5.10.x Goes In and NVidia Legacy Patch (309.138)

        Linus just announced the next LTS kernel 5.10 last week and 24 hours later, the first point release was released by Greg to revert 2 commits that caused problems, but in less than a week after, it landed straight into Slackware-Current main tree without going into /testing first. So we have a final confirmation that next Slackware release (15.0) will surely use the latest LTS kernel release which will be supported up to 5 years (which will be EOL around 2026).

        Up to this point, NVidia hasn't released any update to their legacy drivers, but that didn't stop me to push the upgrades knowing that there's a patch to make the current Legacy driver works with 5.10. I have pushed the patches onto my SlackHacks repository and i have tested it before posting it here. In fact, i'm now running Slackware Linux with Kernel 5.10.1

        uname -a Linux 5.10.1 #1 SMP Sat Dec 19 17:07:30 CST 2020 x86_64 AMD Ryzen 5 1600X Six-Core Processor AuthenticAMD GNU/Linux

      • Introduce AVX512 optimized crypto algorithms
        Optimize crypto algorithms using VPCLMULQDQ and VAES AVX512 instructions
        (first implemented on Intel's Icelake client and Xeon CPUs).

        These algorithms take advantage of the AVX512 registers to keep the CPU busy and increase memory bandwidth utilization. They provide substantial (2-10x) improvements over existing crypto algorithms when update data size is greater than 128 bytes and do not have any significant impact when used on small amounts of data.

        However, these algorithms may also incur a frequency penalty and cause collateral damage to other workloads running on the same core(co-scheduled threads). These frequency drops are also known as bin drops where 1 bin drop is around 100MHz. With the SpecCPU and ffmpeg benchmark, a 0-1 bin drop(0-100MHz) is observed on Icelake desktop and 0-2 bin drops (0-200Mhz) are observed on the Icelake server.

      • Intel Pursuing AVX-512 Optimized Crypto Algorithms For The Linux Kernel

        Intel engineers have posted the initial Linux kernel patches providing AVX-512 optimized versions of common crypto algorithms. The AVX-512 optimized versions do pan out and promise to offer huge speed-ups but are disabled by default at this stage over the negative CPU frequency/performance impact that running AVX-512 can have on CPU cores / shared threads.

      • Xen Offers Up Security Fixes With Linux 5.11

        Unlike the KVM additions, the Xen hypervisor for the Linux 5.11 merge window doesn't bring any new features but just security fixes for some new vulnerabilities.

        The Xen changes for the Linux 5.11 merge window include just a set of patches for addressing two vulnerabilities (XSA-349 and XSA-350).

      • Graphics Stack

        • Lavapipe Continues Advancing CPU-Based Vulkan - Now Supports Transform Feedback - Phoronix

          Lavapipe (nee Vallium) continues picking up more functionality for this software-based Vulkan implementation just as LLVMpipe is to OpenGL.

          Lavapipe debuted in Mesa 20.3 and has continued progressing with its Vulkan capabilities for this CPU-based driver. The Lavapipe work continues to be primarily spearheaded by Red Hat's David Airlie who is quite prolific in the open-source graphics driver area.

    • Benchmarks

      • Running BSDs On The AMD Ryzen 5000 Series - FreeBSD vs. Linux Benchmarks

        Over the past nearly two months we have been running a lot of Linux benchmarks on the AMD Ryzen 5000 series, but what about the BSD operating systems with these Zen 3 desktop CPUs? Recently I got around to trying out a few of the BSDs on a Ryzen 9 5900X desktop as well as running some FreeBSD 12.2 vs. Ubuntu Linux benchmarks, including with Linux on OpenZFS and Clang.

        For this initial round of BSD testing it was done with an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X with the ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VIII HERO (X570). With the Ryzen 5000 series not mandating new chipsets and working with existing motherboards, there isn't as much to worry about from the BSD perspective assuming the motherboard is known to work fine with the BSDs. Generally with FreeBSD 12 and FreeBSD-based distributions, I've found them to generally work fine on modern AMD 500 series chipsets and generally no major headaches to deal with particularly for FreeBSD 12. Indeed, the Ryzen 9 5900X + ASUS CROSSHAIR VIII HERO was working fine when tested in FreeBSD 12.2 and FreeBSD-based GhostBSD 20.11.28 and MidnightBSD 2.0.1.

      • AMD EPYC Seeing Nice Performance Improvements With PostgreSQL On Linux 5.11

        For those running PostgreSQL database servers (and potentially similar workloads) on AMD EPYC servers, Linux 5.11 is bringing a very nice Christmas gift in the form of better performance for at least some 2P server configurations.

        We are just half-way through the Linux 5.11 merge window with new code continuing to land, but already I've been running Linux 5.11 Git benchmarks on a number of systems in looking for any prominent performance improvements as a result of the new feature code or any signs of performance regressions... One area where I am seeing definite improvement with Linux 5.11 is on the PostgreSQL database server performance for at least AMD EPYC 2P servers.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 10.2 Milestone 3 Released For The Latest In Open-Source Benchmarking

        Phoronix Test Suite 10.2 Milestone 3 is now available as the latest development release ahead of our Q1'2021 update to this leading cross-platform, open-source automated benchmarking system.

        The prior milestone/development releases brought more ARM64 improvements including better detection/handling around Apple M1 and Ampere Altra as well as various automated testing enhancements.

    • Applications

      • man-pages-5.10 is released

        Starting with this release, Alejandro (Alex) Colomar has joined me as project comaintainer, and we've released man-pages-5.10. The release tarball is available on The browsable online pages can be found on The Git repository for man-pages is available on

        This release resulted from patches, bug reports, reviews, and comments from around 25 contributors. The release includes just over 150 commits that changed around 140 pages.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Get Started With Tmux

        When you run the tmux command, tmux starts a server process if it is not already running, and a tmux session is created. The tmux server runs as a background process in your system and manages all the terminals running inside tmux. You can create additional sessions in the tmux server if needed by using the tmux command. A tmux session is a group of related tmux windows. Think of all the terminal tabs you open to get to your development workflow of a particular project. All these can be grouped together as windows in a tmux session. A tmux window comprises of one or more panes. Each pane is like a terminal by itself. Panes can be organized vertically, horizonatally, or a mix of both. Think of editing, compiling, and executing code on the left pane while tailing a related log file on the right pane as an example. At any given time, there is one active pane where the commands you type are accepted. You can switch between panes, windows, and sessions as needed.

      • docker buildx sugar - dumping results to disk

        The latest docker 20.10.x release unlocks the buildx subcommands which allow for some sugar, like building something in a container and dumping the result to your local directory in one command.

      • Desktop entries on Linux | Complete guide - LinuxH2O

        In this article, you will learn how to create, configure, and modify a Linux desktop entry.

        A desktop entry in Linux is a very integral part and we all use these desktop entries literally every single day but hardly think about them. Especially, guys who are beginning to use Linux. These beginners most of the time have no idea about a Linux desktop entry and how to create or modify it.

      • Andre Klapper: Creating tutorial videos (the hard way)

        There are different types of technical documentation: Overviews for understanding, how-tos for problem solving, tutorials for learning, API references for information. And there are different personal preferences how to learn (oral, verbal, physical, visual, etc).

        While I’m content with Wikimedia’s written task-oriented documentation (“As a user, I want to know how to…”), it was missing an overview (“What is this? How is it supposed to be used?”) in a format easier to consume.

      • How to configure networking on a Linux server

        If you’ve started your journey as a Linux administrator, you’ve probably come into contact with a few tasks that you think should be simple, but aren’t quite as easy as you’re accustomed to. One reason for this is because so many Linux servers are of the GUI-less type. In other words, there’s quite a lot of command line work to be had. And although you can set up those servers to work with a number of web-based tools (to make your admin job a bit easier), there’s one job where such a GUI won’t help you...the configuration of networking.

      • How to Install FileZilla on Debian 10 (Buster)

        FileZilla is free and cross platform ftp, ftps and sftp client. It provides a graphical user interface through which we can connect to remote system using protocols like ftp and sftp. Using its graphical interface one can easily transfer files from local system to remote and vice-versa. In this article we will discuss, how to install latest version of filezilla on Debian 10 (Buster) system.

      • How To Install Sublime Text on Linux Mint 20 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Sublime Text on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Sublime Text is a cross-platform text and source code editor with a Python API. It is a sophisticated text editor for code, markup, and prose. Its functionality is extendable with plugins. Most of the extending packages have free-software licenses and are community-built and maintained.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of Sublime Text on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • How To Upgrade Alpine Linux To Latest Version - OSTechNix

        This step by step guide explains how to upgrade Alpine Linux to latest available stable version or rolling release version. Believe or not, upgrading Alpine Linux is very easy, fast and straight forward.

        Before continuing to update and upgrade your Alpine Linux box, backup your important data that you can't afford to lose.

      • Setting the Hostname of your Linux Workstation or Server (Linux Essentials Series) - YouTube

        In this video, I show you how to set the hostname of your Linux server or workstation, with a full walkthrough of the commands required to do so. We will also take a look at editing the /etc/hosts file as well.

      • Updating Packages on your Linux Server or Workstation (Linux Essentials Series) - YouTube

        It's important to keep your Linux installations up to date, and in this video, we'll work through doing exactly that. You'll see examples of installing updates on Ubuntu, CentOS, and even Arch!

      • 6 essential SSH guides for sysadmins | Enable Sysadmin

        SSH continues to be a go-to command line tool for system administrators. These six guides reveal key ways that SSH plays a crucial role in getting the job done.

      • How to enable end-to-end encryption while real-time co-editing in ONLYOFFICE Workspace
      • How to change Plasma system area icon spacing - 5.19 onwards

        In my short review of Plasma 5.19, I mentioned a curious little problem I encountered - my systray suddenly got huge after an upgrade, taking a good two thirds of the panel. This wasn't caused by the desktop itself, but rather by a change in the systray plasmoid, which undid and made my manual spacing change wrong, spacing that I had introduced to work around the insufficient distance between system area icons made in one of the previous Plasma editions. Well now.

        As it happens, my feeling is that the icon spacing in the new desktop environment is sufficiently airy not to require any additional changes. But just to be thorough, I decided to explore this venue a little, and found the rather interesting Plasma SysTray Tweaks for Latte plasmoid, made by the Latte Dock developer. It's time for see what this thing can do for our OCD demons. After me.

      • su Command in Linux with Useful Examples

        The su command is also known as switch user. This command is used to become another user during a login session. When invoked without a username, su defaults switch to the super user. Basically, the su command is used to change current logged in user to another user without logged out from system.

        It is an frequently used command mostly by the Linux terminal users. This tutorial will help you understand the uses of Linux su command with examples.

      • How to install Sonic Robo Blast 2 on Ubuntu 20.04 - YouTube

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Sonic Robo Blast 2 on Ubuntu 20.04.

      • How to install Ableton 10 on a Chromebook with Crossover 20

        Today we are looking at how to install Ableton 10 on a Chromebook with Crossover 20. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • Diff So Fancy: Diffs Have Never Looked So Pretty - YouTube

        By default git diffs look fairly boring so to fix that we can a git highlighting tool like diff so fancy to fix that, it doesn't add anythign functional but sometimes an aethetic change is a good enough reason to use something.

      • How to Improve the Speed and Rank of a WordPress Website - RoseHosting

        WordPress is one of the most widely-used platforms to host a website. Learning how to improve the speed and rank of a WordPress website is a hot topic these days. With more and more users sharing their ideas online using CMSes, having a WordPress site that stands out is important.

      • How To Install OpenNMS on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install OpenNMS on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, OpenNMS is a free open source enterprise-level network monitoring and management platform that provides information to allow us to make decisions in regards to future network and capacity planning. OpenNMS designed to manage tens of thousands of devices from a single server as well as manage unlimited devices using a cluster of servers. It includes a discovery engine to automatically configure and manage network devices without operator intervention.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of OpenNMS (Open Network Management System) on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to Install Kali Linux on VMware Workstation - buildVirtual

        Learn how to install Kali Linux on VMware, how to ensure VMware tools is working on Kali Linux and how to troubleshoot a Kali VMware Virtual Machine

      • How to Install EteSync 2.0 (Etebase) Server on Ubuntu - LinuxBabe

        This tutorial is going to show you how to install EteSync server on Ubuntu. EteSync is an open-source, end-to-end encryption solution for syncing your calendars, contacts, tasks and notes.

      • How to manage your Linux command history | Enable Sysadmin

        Taking the mystery out of your Bash history.

      • 11 automation guides to enhance your Ansible skills | Enable Sysadmin

        Discover the versatility of Ansible with these top guides for IT automation.

      • Linux Run Commands As Another User – TecAdmin

        Linux is the best and most-used open source operating system. The Linux users have a large number of options to choose operating system. You have options to choose desktop for your Linux systems. But still Linux professionals love the command line to work. Mainly the Linux server editions comes with command line option only, which create them lighter and faster.

        The Linux users uses shell to interact with operating systems. In which the Bash (Born Shell) is the most used shell and available default on most systems. Now a days Zsh (Z Shell) is also getting popularity between the users due to its features.

        In this tutorial you will learn how to run command as another user in Linux/Unix systems.

      • UbuntuHak: FreeNAS home server backups Done Right

        There are plenty of guides explaining how to back up FreeNAS - now TrueNAS - servers. Personally, I found them either vague in what they actually back up and what will be the final outcome or they get way too complicated for people of home NAS servers who want something that "just works". So here it is how I am periodically backing up my FreeNAS server to USB external drives.

      • Remove Top Bar, Left Dock, Other UI Elements in Ubuntu 20.04 via Extension | UbuntuHandbook

        Want to disable the top panel, left dock launcher, search box, and other Gnome UI elements in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS? You can now do it via a Gnome Shell extension.

        Just Perfection is an extension allows you to get a super minimal GNOME desktop. It offers a list of options to toggle on / off the visibility of Gnome top bar, Dash (dock launcher), Search (search box in both Activities view and ‘Show Applications’), Hot Corner, OSD (notification pop-up), Workspace popup and workspace switcher, Background Menu, App Gesture.

      • Manage Systemd Services Using systemctl [With Examples]

        All the major Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Fedora, etc uses systemd init system today for managing and controlling various services while the system is running. In this guide, we explain the systemd commands which you can use to manage systemd services using systemctl.

    • Games

      • Stardew Valley has a massive 1.5 update out with a new Beach farm, local co-op and more | GamingOnLinux

        Here's something to keep you busy over the holiday season! Stardew Valley, the awesome and relaxing farming life sim from ConcernedApe has the biggest update yet.

        There's so much that's new it's going to take some time to find it all, and I don't want to spoil too much of what to expect from it. Safe to say though they've really been busy expanding what you can do. It now has local co-op support, a brand new Beach farm, new game options to customize things a bit more, there's a significant amount of "late-game" content added, new character events, tons of new items, fish tanks and you can even sit on chairs now.

      • SDL 2.0.14 is out with support for PS5 DualSense and Xbox Series X controllers | GamingOnLinux

        SDL 2 is the magnificent bit of cross-platform development open source tech that gives developers access to audio, keyboard, mouse, joystick, and graphics hardware. Not something normal users will touch, as it's part of the magic behind the scenes to get everything doing what it does on Linux and multiple other platforms.

        This is used across many games and game engines including Steam, lots of Valve games like Portal and Half-Life, tons of indie games like Dead Cells, Baba is You, Bastion, Amnesia, FTL and the list goes on.

        With the SDL 2.0.14 release out now it adds in support for the new PS5 DualSense and Xbox Series X controllers, there's a bunch of new functions just for game controllers for developers to be able to get additional information like if it has an LED or a particular sensor and more. There's also a whole new API for developers to create virtual joysticks.

      • The Co-op News Punch Podcast - Episode 25 | GamingOnLinux

        The last GOL Podcast episode of 2020 is here, come get it while it's hot and ranty as we cover a range of weird and wonderful topics in Linux, open source, gaming and more. As usual, it's a casual and frank chat between two friends (myself) and GOL contributor / Linux livestreamer Samsai.

      • Get the feel of the classic GTA2 played online in Geneshift with a massive new map | GamingOnLinux

        Lots of people love the original GTA and GTA2, myself included and Geneshift has a major overhaul (again) that tweaks the Battle Royale gameplay along with a huge new map to give classic GTA2 vibes.

        Geneshift is a mix of many things. It's a top-down shooter with a campaign that can be played solo or in co-op, it has a big online feature with a Battle Royale mode, FFA and much more. A lot of the work currently going into the Battle Royale mode.

        In the latest update the developer added in a new map called Subvein City, a bit of a throwback to an older name it went by of Subvein: Mutant Factions. This map is "5x larger than before", allowing for a more GTA2 style gameplay with much more space for vehicles. The Battle Royale system is also on a much bigger scale now with more players, and longer rounds.

      • The classic Transformice now has a Linux build up on Steam | GamingOnLinux

        Transformice, a classic 'MMO platformer' from Atelier 801 originally released in 2010 that to this day still seems to be quite popular now has a Linux build up on Steam.

        If you've not heard of it the game was originally released by two developers in their free time through various classic internet platforms and eventually the wider press picked it up in 2010, later in 2015 in made it to Steam and it still years later sees regular peak player counts of over one thousand people at a time and more recently over three thousand. Making it surprisingly more popular than a lot of much bigger and more modern games.

      • FOSS game engine written in Rust 'Bevy' has a new release up | GamingOnLinux

        As another promising free and open source game engine written in Rust, Bevy continues maturing and there's a brand new release up for you to try out with lots of advancements.

        What actually is it? The developer says quite clearly that it's a "refreshingly simple data-driven game engine built in Rust" with a data-driven custom Entity Component System, a 2D and 3D rendering system, support for all major systems (Windows, MacOS, Linux plus mobile), hot reloading to get instant feedback, a custom built-in UI system and more. It's looking really smart.

      • DOSBox Pure for RetroArch aims to make retro DOS gaming real easy

        Want to play old DOS games easily on whatever Linux machine you're using? RetroArch now has a new fork named DOSBox Pure and you can give it a test now.

        There's various launchers out there and guides for running DOSBox but the simplicity offered by RetroArch for retro stuff is great. Having that same easy of use available for DOSBox sounds pretty fantastic to me. DOSBox Pure has a lot of nifty features too like loading from zip files, mounting from inside zip files, save states and rewinding, controller mapping, cheats support and quite a lot more. It's a nicely advanced fork of the original.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Kdenlive 20.12 Scores a Massive Release

          Kdenlive 20.12 released with some interesting and long-requested features - same track transition, subtitle editor inside the timeline, new effects, and many more.

        • Kdenlive 20.12 Released, Adds Several New Features, New Video Effect

          Kdenlive devs have donned their Santa costume and dolled out an early present to fans of open source video editing — yes, a shiny new release of Kdenlive is here, just in time for Xmas.

          Kdenlive 20.12 serves as a new stable release and a new feature release. Shipping alongside several new features (more on those in a second) is a veritable selection box of bug fixes and usability tweaks that, devs say, result in a ‘snappier timeline, improved thumbnail creation and faster project opening’.

          But it’s new features that got you excited and I’m pleased to report that this uplift carries several new ones, including the addition of same track transitions.

          Kdenlive say this feature will “drastically improv[e] the editing workflow” for many users. To activate it, press the u key (or prod the the new icon in the timeline toolbar) with a clip selected on the timeline.

        • Debian 11 "Bullseye" KDE Stack Settling On Plasma 5.20
          Ahead of the upcoming freezes set to begin around Debian 11 "Bullseye", the Debian developers working on KDE packaging have been working to get all the latest components updated in time.

          While GNOME remains the default desktop on Debian 11, KDE of course is available. As of today in the development package archive are Plasma 5.20.4 and KDE Frameworks 5.77. Many KDE Applications are also updated against their "20.12" versions too.

        • Debian KDE Status for Bullseye

          A long journey has come to nice finish. 9 month ago I switched to KDE/Plasma, and started to package newer versions of it than available in Debian. Since then I have packaged every single version of Plasma, the KDE frameworks, and KDE Apps and made them available for Debian/unstable and Debian/testing via the OBS build server.

          Today, finally, I have uploaded Frameworks 5.77 and Plasma 5.20.4 to unstable, the end of a long story. Despite some initial disagreements with the Debian Qt/KDE Team, we found a modus vivendi, and since some months now I am member of the team and working together with the rest to get an uptodate KDE/Plasma system into Debian/bullseye. Thanks to everyone involved!

        • Labplot on Microsoft Store

          LabPlot is a desktop application for interactive visualization and analysis of scientific data. We try to provide an alternative to commercial products like OriginLab Origin, SigmaPlot or IgorPro, but also use modern desktop features. There are some free applications with more or less overlapping goals like SciDAVis and kst and we collaborate with them.

          LabPlot is a multi-platform KDE application. The current code base, named LabPlot2, started in 2006 when rewriting the old version LabPlot 1.6. Our main development platform is Linux, but most of our users are on Windows, so we are working hard to make everything work there too.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Portfolio: manage files in your phone

          Ever since I met @Kekun in Barcelona, during LAS 2019, I got intrigued by this wave of “running GNOME on phones”. It took several months until I could get my teeth into it though. Between my Sugar applications project, Flatseal, a new job and, mostly, due to how hard it is to get a proper Linux-capable phone in Paraguay, I had no time or choice really.

          My first mobile-related project started in August, after many failed attempts to buy a proper Linux-capable phone, I decided that my only way forward was to get a refurbished Moto G4 Play, which has acceptable support thanks to PostmarketOS. The project goal was to provide more clarity on how far we are from a Flathub-powered GNOME community-driven OS for phones. The results were better than I expected, but still far from a daily driver. If you’re curious about this research you can find it here.

        • Everybody Struggles

          During week two (December 8 to 14) of my internship at the GNOME foundation, my main task was to research on the Django “API” authentication methods and implement a mode of Authentication, that will provide a secret random string, instead of the usual user-password mode to authenticate users, who had to gain access to the write APIs I was going to develop. My mentor recommended I go the Api key way, so I went on to do my work.

    • Distributions

      • Linspire 10 Public Beta 1 Release

        Today the PC/OpenSystems Development team is pleased to announce the Public beta for release 10, the next chapter in the Linspire story. Along with updated branding and design we have made significant advancements that once again proves - if there was ever any doubt - Linspire is the number one Linux distribution for new, intermediate and power users. Release 10 utilizes the latest LTS from Canonical (20.04) as well as our own improvements to the kernel and application base. Since this is a public beta we do not recommend that it be employed in any type of production environments; for those kind of workloads, our tested and stable release Linspire 9.5.1 is ready and able.

      • Linspire 10 Beta Released - Claims To Be #1 Linux Distro For New/Intermediate/Power Users
      • Announcing Kali Linux Newsletter + Keeping in Touch

        It’s easy to miss certain news. Not everyone is regularly checking our web page to see if something has been posted (and we don’t have a regular schedule of when we update). It is easy to be drowned out in social networks with everything else going on. And RSS feeds have not been as common as they once were. So to try and help keep you in the loop with Kali Linux, we now have a newsletter option.

      • New Releases

        • Kwort Linux 4.3.5 Released With LTS Kernel 5.10.1 And Stable Packages

          After one and a half years of development, Kwort developer David Cortarello has finally announced a new stable version 4.3.5 of Kwort Linux.

          For those unaware, Kwort Linux is a CRUX-based lightweight and fast operating system featuring a highly-configurable Openbox window manager and kpkg (Kwort’s package manager) package manager.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Why Red Hat dumped CentOS for CentOS Stream
          When Red Hat, CentOS's Linux parent company, announced it was shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to CentOS Stream, which tracks just ahead of a current RHEL release, many CentOS users had fits. On Hacker News, the leading comment was: "Imagine if you were running a business, and deployed CentOS 8 based on the 10-year lifespan promise. You're totally screwed now, and Red Hat knows it. Why on earth didn't they make this switch starting with CentOS 9???? Let's not sugar coat this. They've betrayed us."

        • CloudLinux Commits Over 1 Million Dollars to CentOS Replacement

          Whether you use CentOS for your servers or your desktop, the embroiled Linux distribution has recently found itself in a state of tumulte. You're probably wondering where to go now?

          If you're not in the know, Red Hat has decided to end CentOS as it stands, in favor of the rolling release, CentOS Stream. This decision has placed a large number of the Linux community in fit of pique, looking for a new distribution to handle what CentOS handled with agility, security, and reliability.

          That's where CloudLinux comes in. On December 15, 2020, the company whose goal is to increase the security, stability, and availability of Linux servers announced it was sponsoring Project Lenix, which will create a 1:1 binary compatible fork of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (starting with v8 and moving forward).

          CloudLinux has, for 10 years, been building a hardened version of CentOS Linux for data centers and hosting companies, so they certainly have the knowledge and skills to pull this off.

        • Enhancing Oracle Linux 8 Management with Oracle Linux Manager 2.10

          Oracle is pleased to introduce Oracle Linux Manager 2.10, a management tool based on the Spacewalk project providing IT managers with what they need to manage their Oracle Linux environment. This release includes all of the features you have come to appreciate in Spacewalk 2.10 with incremental enhancements for Oracle Linux 8 clients. Oracle Linux Manager 2.10 replaces the previous Spacewalk 2.10 release.

        • Trac on Python 3 in f34 and beyond

          Thank you to Miro Hrončok, who’s completed the update of Trac in Fedora to Python3. If you need a plugin that still needs Python2, now is the time to work with the maintainer and/or upstream to get it ported.

        • Deploying Operators with OLM bundles

          This post shows an example of using the Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM) bundle deployment architecture to deploy an operator. The post demonstrates how various components of the operator-framework work together to deploy an operator.

          A bundle is an operator packaging construct which contains an operator definition and manifests which ultimately determine how the operator is deployed onto a Kubernetes cluster. Bundles are the preferred mechanism within OLM going forward to package and deploy Operators.

          Recently a migration from the original OLM package manifest format to the bundle format has begun. Operator developers are encouraged to develop their operators using the new bundle format.

        • Creativity in the time of COVID-19

          Red Hat’s video and animation team kicked off 2020 with lots of exciting projects on the horizon, but like many organizations, the COVID-19 lockdown created unique hurdles for those of us in the creative community who are used to traveling and shooting footage on site. Like others, we had to adjust to find new ways of collaborating and creating meaningful content despite working remotely. From a Red Hat perspective, it was important for us to focus on creative work with authenticity, while also prioritizing safety.

          To tackle this head on, we did what we always do to solve a creative problem: research ideas, prototype, discuss what’s feasible and come up with really cool solutions.

        • IBM, mimik To Make Edge Computing More Accessible For Customers

          mimik will bring its hybrid edgeCloud platform together with IBM’s Edge Application Manager, which runs on Red Hat OpenShift, to enable devices with computing resources as well as the broad spectrum of Linux-based edge devices and clusters, to have containerized computing capabilities at the edge.

        • Open Answers: What is an Ansible Playbook?
        • CentOS 7 and RHEL 7 Users Receive an Important Kernel Security Update, Patch Now

          The new kernel security update for CentOS 7 and RHEL 7 patches a total of 7 security issues, including CVE-2020-14385, a flaw found in the XFS file system’s metadata validator that can lead to the file system being shutdown, as well as CVE-2020-10769, a buffer over-read flaw found in the IPsec Cryptographic algorithm’s module.

          Also patched are CVE-2020-14314, a memory out-of-bounds read flaw found in the EXT3/EXT4 filesystems that could allow a local user to crash the system, CVE-2019-18282, a device tracking vulnerability found in the flow_dissector feature, and CVE-2020-24394, a vulnerability found in the NFSv4.2 protocol, which could allow a privileged local attacker to cause a kernel information leak.

        • Fedora Zine – Call for submissions

          Firstly, we want to recognise and celebrate the wide variety of work being done here at Fedora. Secondly, to provide engagement with the community that is focused on personal expression and creativity. The zine will be distributed at conferences and events to help gain more contributors, and a downloadable copy will be available.

          We are also setting up a sustainable process, to serve as a guide for the creation of new editions of Fedora Zine in the future!

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • ODROID-Go Super

          We announced the ODROID-Go in 2018 to celebrate our 10th birthday. In 2019 December, we announced the ODROID-Go Advance (OGA). Now, it is time to introduce a new developers’ gaming gadget for 2021.

          We’ve upgraded the OGA hardware design, and we call it OGS (ODROID-Go Super). The LCD size changed from 3.5 inches to 5 inches with a tempered cover glass. The resolution changed from 480x320 to 854x480 pixels. We know many retro gaming fans want a 4:3 aspect ratio display, but we couldn’t find any LCD manufacturer who can build a 4 ~ 5 inch display with 4:3 ratio.

          The battery capacity has also increased by around 30%. The OGA had a 3000mAh battery while this new OGS has a 4000mAh battery. You can continuously play games for several hours depending on backlight brightness.

        • ODROID-Go Super Ubuntu portable gaming console gets a larger 5-inch display
        • What’s new in Open Source MANO: multi-cloud orchestration, operator lifecycle management, and more

          Open source MANO (OSM) community recently added two more bricks in the wall of NFV orchestration events: OSM Release NINE and OSM#10 Hackfest. The community has come a long way to mature OSM into its 9th version. A toast to all the system integrators, network operators, researchers, and VNF vendors who have hit the home run there!

          Canonical’s contribution towards the OSM Release NINE highlights the model-driven capabilities for network services onboarding. This model-driven approach paves the way towards the goal of multi-cloud orchestration using centralized OSM components. Another major integration is the alignment of the OSM network model with ETSI (European Telecommunication Standard Institute) SOL006 standards.

          Canonical being a key member of the OSM community, also participated in Hackfest, and in collaboration with other stakeholders, covered the majority of the hackfest sessions. The event held once again behind the screens from Nov 30 to Dec 4, 2020 and focused on enhancing community interactivity and encouraging developers to participate in the project.

        • Migrating to Ubuntu LTS: six facts for CentOS users

          Considering migrating to Ubuntu from other Linux platforms, such as CentOS?

          Think Ubuntu- the most popular Linux distribution on public clouds, data centre and the edge. Since its inception, Ubuntu consistently gains market share, as of today reaching almost 50%.

          Wondering why Ubuntu is so popular?

          Here is our take...

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 662

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 662 for the week of December 13 – 19, 2020.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 4 reasons businesses adopted open source in 2020

        Companies are turning to open source during the pandemic, with 44% of organizations reporting they will increase their use of open source for application development, finds Tidelift's third managed open source survey.

        We've heard this lyric before; in previous recessions, organizations turned to open source for cost savings and stayed for its other transformational benefits. We wanted to understand which long-term benefits were most helpful to organizations of different sizes. Here's a summary of what we found.

        Open source is driving cost and time savings while improving efficiency. A key driver, cited by 68% of organizations, is saving money and development time, as using open source reduces the time developers spend writing new code from scratch. Almost half (48%) report that it increases app development and maintenance efficiency. Organizations with more than 1,000 employees are far more likely to cite this as a reason to encourage the use of more open source (61% vs. 41% for organizations with less than 1,000).

      • 11 Best Free and Open Source Solutions for Home Automation

        Home Automation software is software that lets you control and monitor common home and office appliances using a computer. Home automation used to be confined to turning on and off lights and appliances. But the possibilities are much wider letting users build a wireless network, automate TV and hi-fi, monitor pets when you are away, set up an answering system, create a weather station – integrating an abundance of different home automation technologies into one.

        Many home automation systems use proprietary networking protocols. The protocols used will be specific to the company that developed the system. The software company may favor such an approach as it ties the customer to their products only. However, this can only be detriment to the user of the home automation system. It is therefore important to evaluate a home automation system to ensure that it is built on open protocols. All of these solutions are released under an open source license.

      • Web Browsers

        • Scammers use Chrome, Firefox extensions in widespread ad fraud campaign

          The scammers are using malicious browser extensions— a tried and tested fraud tactic — to inject bogus advertisements into the results displayed on a search engine page. The more users who visit the fraudulent ad pages, the more money the perpetrators earn via a traffic-driven advertising program. Microsoft did not identify who was responsible for the attacks, or how much money they had netted.

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox Browser updated to 84.0.1 [in] PCLinuxOS

            The Mozilla Firefox browser has been updated to 84.0.1 and is a minor bug fix update. This update will appear in your Synaptic Package Manager if you are using Firefox.

          • David Humphrey:

            But as the snow begins to fall each December, my attention turns to another owl: the Snowy Owl. Normally at this time of year I'm seeing Snowy Owls on my long commutes to and from work. With COVID, I'm not out driving anymore, and as such, I'm not having as easy a time finding them.

            I decided that this year's marking-side-project would be a tool to help people find Snowy Owls near where they live. I've long wanted to play with eBird and the eBird API, and hoped that I could get recent sighting data this way. To use the eBird API, you have to create an account and then request an API key. After that you can do all sorts of interesting queries to get current or historical data about sightings by species, region, or location.


            As we enter our tenth month of the pandemic, I wanted to make something for the current moment. Christmas won't be the same this year: we won't be able to celebrate or visit our parents, siblings, or their families; I can't get together with any friends for a meal; and many of the usual traditions our family has are off the table. I'm sad at all of it.

            I can't fix any of this, but I wanted to do something to give some small bit of joy over the holidays. While the pandemic forces us to avoid each other, we're still allowed to go outside, to drive in the country, to walk in the park or along the shoreline, and to look for Snowy Owls.

            As I was finishing up the app's code, I noticed that a new owl had been spotted 15 minutes from our house. My wife and I drove off into the falling snow in search of it, creeping along an old fence line stretched across a farmer's field. It was really beautiful to be out, to be hopeful, and to be focused on what is yet to come.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Firebird LibreOffice status
        • Community Member Monday: Sarper Akdemir

          I live in Istanbul, where I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering at Istanbul Technical University. I like to hack code, cook, play bass, and rice some desktops in my free time. My primary computer is a Thinkpad X220 – such a cutie – and I use Emacs to hack on it.

          On April 28 2018, Istanbul Technical University Software Freedom Club (ITUGnu) organized an event called “Free Software Summit”, which introduced me to free software. After that event, I decided to join and be an active member of the club, in the hope of learning more about free software and the hacker culture.

          People in ITUGnu informed me about a summer camp called “Mustafa AkgÀ¼l Free Software Camp”, which is a non-profit organization where people all around Turkey volunteer to teach attendees about free software, with courses ranging from GNU/Linux system administration to IT law.

          I took a workshop there that Muhammet Kara gave called “LibreOffice Development Workshop” which got me started hacking on LibreOffice.

          After the workshop, I decided to keep contributing to LibreOffice and apply to the Google Summer of Code. And I was lucky enough to get selected as a Google Summer of Code student in the past summer.

      • CMS

        • Snipe-IT:Free Libre Warehouse and Asset Management System

          Snipe-IT is a free web-based inventory and warehouse management system. It is open-source and self-hosted cloud solution that companies can download and install it on their private hostings.

          As it is built to support multiple users and locations, Snipe-IT is a good option for companies with active and dynamic operations like shipping companies.

          The system is built with PHP using Laravel PHP framework and it uses several open-source libraries.

        • PartKeepr: Free Open-source Inventory and Warehouse Management

          PartKeepr is a free open-soure system for managing warehouse and multi-location inventory.

          It is built with Symfony2 (PHP Framework) as a web-based system using PHP and MySQL as database backend with support for PostgreSQL as well.

          PartKeepr is packed with dozens of asset management tools within a modular tabbed and boxed user-interface that is easy to use and manage.

          It offers multiple project management with multiple-locations, asset types, unit managements.

        • Blogging with Hugo €·

          Some years ago I switched my blog from Wordpress to Nikola. I wrote a blog post about the move, but within a year or so, I’d pretty much stopped blogging completely.

          More recently I discovered Hugo, and used it for a couple of other sites I own. popeyspades is a simple blog to promote a game server I was running at the time.

        • Launches New Courses With A Focus On Customer Education
      • FSF

        • Why FSF Endorsing PureOS Matters

          It was three years ago today, December 21, 2017, that the Free Software Foundation announced it had endorsed PureOS. Getting FSF endorsement is not an easy task and involves a lot of rigorous evaluation. Sometimes people ask us why we decided to create and maintain PureOS instead of using an existing distribution such as Debian (which PureOS is based on). After all, it’s a lot of extra work to maintain your own distribution, and even more work to maintain one that qualifies for FSF endorsement. In this article we will discuss why we consistently choose the harder road and why PureOS being endorsed by the FSF benefits your freedom, your privacy and your security (in particular supply chain security).

          Tech companies, especially those who are in the FOSS community, often find themselves in a situation where they must choose between compromising on their values to take an easier path, or sticking with those values even if it means a lot of extra work. At each step in Purism’s history we would have had a much easier path if we had compromised like so many others have. Instead we have consistently chosen the longer and more difficult road because we believe in free software to our core.

        • GNU Projects

          • Emacs4CL Releases Do-It-Yourself Common Lisp Programming Environment
          • Emacs4CL Provides Common Lisp Environment for Emacs

            Common Lisp is known for its steep learning curve. Learning Common Lisp involves learning a number of additional skills such as a popular code editor named GNU Emacs, an additional software package named Superior Lisp Interaction Mode for Emacs (SLIME) and many commands and keyboard shortcuts for Emacs and SLIME. Emacs and SLIME together provide an interactive programming experience to Common Lisp programmers. As a result, Common Lisp has a steep learning curve. Time and again, the Lisp community has published tutorials and packages that make the journey of a beginner to Common Lisp easier. Portacle is a noteworthy project in this area. It allows a new Common Lisp programmer to download a software package, install it and get a readymade Common Lisp development environment that contains GNU Emacs, SLIME and a few helpful packages pre-packaged and pre-configured. On 16 December 2020, Susam Pal, an experienced open source developer, published a new solution named Emacs for Common Lisp (Emacs4CL) at to solve the problem of making Common Lisp easier for beginners to learn.

          • GNU Parallel 20201222 ('Vaccine') released

            GNU Parallel 20201222 ('Vaccine') has been released. It is available for download at: Please help spreading GNU Parallel by making a testimonial video like Juan Sierra Pons: It does not have to be as detailed as Juan's. It is perfectly fine if you just say your name, and what field you are using GNU Parallel for.

      • Programming/Development

        • Julien Danjou: I am a Software Engineer and I am in Charge

          Fifteen years have passed since I started my career in IT — which is quite some time. I've been playing with computers for 25 years now, which makes me quite knowledgeable about the field, for sure.

          However, while I was fully prepared to bargain with computers, I was not prepared to do so with humans. The whole career management thing was unknown to me. I had no useful skills to navigate within the enterprise organization. I had to learn the ropes the hard way, failing along the way. It hurt.

          Almost ten years ago, I had the chance to meet a new colleague — Alexis Monville. Alexis was a team facilitator, and I started to work with him on many non-technical levels. He taught me a lot about agility and team organization. Working on this set of new skills changed how I envisioned my work and how I fit into the company.

        • Arm Begins Adding ARMv8.7-A Support In LLVM Clang 12 - Phoronix

          Back in September Arm began talking about their "2020 extensions" for the A-profile architecture. Initial support for these new additions as ARMv8.7-A is beginning to land in the LLVM compiler stack.

          As part of Arm's annual updates to the A-profile architecture, the 2020 / ARMv8.7-A update is bringing improvements around device hot-unplug, atomic 64-byte loads and stores, updating the WFE and WFI instructions to support timeouts, asymetric fault handling in MTE, and other changes. The WFI/WFE instructions are important for entering the low-power standby state where most clocks are gated when waiting for interrupts or events. See Arm's September blog post for an overview of their 2020 / ARMv8.7-A improvements. There is also the initial documentation around the ARMv8.7-A ISA.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Day 22: What’s the point of pointfree programming? – Raku Advent Calendar

            If you’re a programmer, there’s a good chance that names are important to you, too. Giving variables and functions is one of the basic tenets of writing good code, and improving the quality of names is one of the first steps in refactoring low-quality code. And if you both are a programmer and are at all familiar with Raku (renamed from “Perl 6” in 2019), then you are even more likely to appreciate the power and importance of names.

            This makes the appeal of pointfree programming – which advocates for removing many of the names in your code – a bit mysterious. Given how helpful good names are, it can be hard to understand why you’d want to eliminate them.

          • 2020.51 Merry ReleasMas – Rakudo Weekly News

            Alexander Kiryuhin announced the 2020.12 Rakudo Compiler Release of the Raku Programming Language. JJ Merelo made sure there’s an up-to-date Alpine-Linux docker image, as well as a raku-test image. And Claudio Ramirez made sure there are Rakudo compiler packages for many Linux distributions. Kudos to all involved!

            In related joyous news, Jonathan Worthington released a new version of the Comma Complete IDE (the paid version for subscribers only). The free Comma Community IDE version will be released in January 2021.

          • The Persuaders! | The Incredible Journey

            When I made a libpng module I wanted it to be compatible with libpng as far as possible. I usually use British spellings like "colour" and "grey" but libpng insists on "color" and "gray". (Oddly enough the PNG specification on the web uses "colour" and "grey" though.) So the documentation and examples were fully compatible with Roger Moore and his Aston Martin, but all the code was Tony Curtis-style "color" and "gray". Anyway after a while I have to say it was starting to get old writing colour then color then gray then grey.

        • Rust

          • Rust in a KDE Project

            While trying to implement a long planned feature, an ad block in Angelfish, the Plasma Mobile webbrowser, I was looking for a mostly complete and performant library that provides this functionality.

            First I found libadblockplus, which is a C++ library providing the AdblockPlus core functionality. Sounds great, right? Well, not quite. It includes it’s own v8 java script engine, and since we are talking about a webbrowser with a QML interface here, including a third java script engine and a second copy of v8 was absolutely not an option. Even if this wasn’t a webbrowser, running a java script engine as implementation detail of a library is at least … problematic.

            The other option I found is adblock-rust, which is the built-in ad block of the Brave browser. As the name tells, it is written in Rust, and I was originally looking for a C++ library. But it turned out this was not much of a problem, since Rust features excellent C interoperability, just like C++. Based on this common ground, bindings can be created to use Rust code from C++ (and the other way around if needed).

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Christopher Allan Webber: Vote for Amy Guy on the W3C TAG (if you can)

        My friend Amy Guy is running for election on the W3C TAG (Technical Architecture Group). The TAG is an unsual group that sets a lot of the direction of the future of standards that you and I use everyday on the web. Read their statement on running, and if you can, ie if you're one of those unusual people labeled as "AC Representative", please consider voting for them. (Due to the nature of the W3C's organizational and funding structure, only paying W3C Members tend to qualify... if you know you're working for an organization that has paying membership to the W3C, find out who the AC rep is and strongly encourage them to vote for Amy.)


        That's all well and good for the philosophical-alignment angle. But what about the "Technical" letter in TAG? Amy's standing there is rock-solid. And I know because I've had the pleasure of working side-by-side with Amy on several standards (including ActivityPub, of which we are co-authors.

        Several times I watched with amazement as Amy and I talked about some changes we thought were necessary and Amy just got in the zone, this look of intense hyperfocus (really, someone should record the Amy Spec Editing Zone sometime, it's quite a thing to see), and they refactored huge chunks of the spec to match our discussion. And Amy knows, and deeply cares, about so many aspects of the W3C's organization and structure.

  • Leftovers

    • What Lurks Beneath the Contrarian Perspective?

      In Plato’s legendary tome, Republic, Thrasymachus, responding to Socrates’ question as to whether or not he feels justice is a vice,€ emphatically asserts: “No, just very high minded€ simplicity.”€ Republic was written way back in 375 BC, but unfortunately “high minded simplicity” is alive and well in the intellectually ignominious€ year of 2020.

      In the Nov 16th€ issue of its always intriguing IDEAS section, The Atlantic published an essay written by one of Columbia University’s astute professors, John McWhorter. The piece, titled: The Black People Who Voted for Trump Know He’s Racist, has a subtitle that declares: “Trump’s nonwhite support suggests a gulf between how the “woke” left processes racism and how many people in the real world do.”

    • Esports Milestone: The Philadelphia Eagles Become The First NFL Team To Dive Into Esports

      We've been talking about the growth of esports for some time here, in particular the way it has exploded in use since the pandemic first began. Still, for those of us watching the progress of esports, there are certain milestone markers you look for. Major sporting brands like Nike jumping into it is one, as is seeing the first esports company looking to be listed on a major stock exchange. But the real indicator that esports is now fully a thing is when major IRL sports leagues like the NHL, NASCAR, and MLB jump onto the bandwagon.

    • The fairy fir tree - Happy Holidays!

      To all Pepper&Carrot readers, supporters and also to all the Free/Libre and Open Source community, here an illustration I just finished to wish you a wonderful time in this end of year.

    • The Frenzied Paris of Virginie Despentes

      Midway through the last book of Vernon Subutex, Virginie Despentes’s trilogy of Hollande-era Paris, a character at rest lying on her belly is reading “a Zadie Smith novel.” In the course of three volumes that all have an abundance of proper nouns, this is almost the first indicating a work of literature; literature is almost the only facet of culture referred to in such a desultory way. Pop music, much of it Anglophone, is referred to by contrast dozens of times, and the hyper-specificity of these references—to Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, the Cure, the Bee Gees, Bowie—gives them an effect like that of a soundtrack. A similarly loving detailing is applied in rendering the period’s defining bars (Rosa Bonheur, in Buttes Chaumont Park) and food outlets (“McDo”). Social media are also, in their own way, constitutive, responsible for plot twists like a manhunt arranged by hashtag.

    • Science

      • A planetary conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn may account for the biblical "Christmas Star"

        So-called "great conjunctions" are not unusual, though the relative apparent closeness of planets vary. And during tonight's, the planets are very close indeed. "No two are exactly alike," Kevin Schindler, a historian and public information officer at the Lowell Observatory told Salon in an interview. (Notably, the timing of the event, on the solstice, is merely a bit of kismet and is not the cause nor result of the conjunction.) "In 2020, it just happens to be that they're going to be closer than they've been in 400 years," Schindler added.

        Schindler noted that the last time that a similar "great conjunction" of Jupiter an Saturn occurred, one that was as visible and close, was "back in the 1200s."

    • Hardware

      • Let’s do something dumb: can we turn a SPARC server into a SPARC workstation?

        My question is simple. Is it possible to do this, and if so, how on earth would I find out which GPU is even compatible with Solaris or Linux on SPARC? There seems to be very little information available about this use case (I wonder why) and I’m at a loss as to how to figure something like this out.

        And yes, I know this is stupid. I know this makes no sense. I know no sane person would do this. I know the world will lose nothing if I do not do this. However, if nobody wants to make proper non-x86 UNIX workstations anymore and eBay sellers want to charge a ridiculous premium for 15 year old junkers, why don’t we just build our own non-x86 UNIX workstation?

      • Hardware: a Sharkoon PC Case

        Something different today, griping about hardware rather than software. At home, there is a fairly linear order of hardware deprecation: I buy new mid-high-end stuff (for KDE and FreeBSD and other development work), and the rest of the hardware is cycled to the kids (for gaming, mathematics, and XCB-based development), to grandma (for casual gaming and social contact). Today I’ll talk a little about a PC case, the Sharkoon VS7 midtower.

        When I upgraded my main workstation this year, I ended up with an ATX board with no place to go: all the “hand-me-down” machines had mATX cases. A bit of shopping around found me a Sharkoon VS7 midtower case for EUR 46.34 including tax. That has it pretty firmly parked in “cheap” territory, where I’m afraid of sharp edges, uncomfortable installation, janky fans, etc.


        So on the off chance you’re building a midtower PC for (KDE) development anytime soon, you can do much worse than this particular case.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Rio Grande Hospital Workers Turned Down the Vaccine. A Senator and a Sheriff’s Deputy Lined Up Instead.

        So many workers at a hospital in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley declined the new COVID-19 vaccine that the facility offered doses to other medical workers in the region. Many showed up, but so did a state lawmaker, a police officer and a sheriff’s deputy who weren’t on the state’s priority list for vaccination.

        Hospitals across Texas began to receive the first batches of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine over the last several days. Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg, one of the Texas facilities hardest hit by the virus this year, received 5,850 doses of the vaccine.

      • How the History of Waterloo, Iowa, Explains How Meatpacking Plants Became Hotbeds of COVID-19

        This spring, Waterloo, Iowa, became the site of one of the largest — if not the largest — COVID-19 workplace outbreaks in the United States. At the sprawling Tyson Foods pork plant on the eastern edge of town, at least 1,500 of the 2,800 workers have been infected with the virus, according to the county sheriff, who also heads the emergency management commission. Eight of those workers died, he said, and based on contact tracing, the cases tied to Tyson grow to 2,500 to 3,000. Waterloo was, in many ways, primed for an outbreak, and the reason lies in its history, which reflects the meatpacking industry’s dramatic transformation over the past half century.

        The Rath Packing Company, a family-owned meat company, opens a pork processing plant in Waterloo on the banks of the Cedar River. From a modest brick building and 22 employees, it became one of the nation’s leading meatpackers and a major employer in Waterloo, which was then known as Iowa’s “Factory City.”

      • As COVID-19 Ravaged This Iowa City, Officials Discovered Meatpacking Executives Were the Ones in Charge

        Meatpacking was once a path to the middle class in Waterloo, where workers led the fight for civil rights. But by the time the pandemic hit, a transformed industry had assembled a workforce from the most vulnerable parts of the world. The stage had been set.

      • China, Christmas and the Coronavirus

        While we now have two vaccines (counting Moderna’s) that have been approved by the FDA, China has one vaccine that has already been approved by the licensing agencies in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and a second that is likely to soon be approved in several countries. Russia also has a vaccine to which it gave approval several months ago. It would be worth asking whether these vaccines could be saving lives here.

        To be clear, no one would expect people in the United States to take a vaccine based on its approval in Bahrain or Russia. We would want our own Food and Drug Administration to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine before it was distributed in the United States. But that would have been exactly what could have been accomplished with a cooperative approach.

      • Militarized Pandemic Science: Why is the Pentagon Funding the EcoHealth Alliance?

        To depict the pandemic in such militarized terms is, for Daszak, a commonplace. In an€ Oct. 7 online talk organized by Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Daszak presented a slide titled “Donald Rumsfeld’s Prescient Speech.”:

        “There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns — there are things we don’t know we don’t know.” (This Rumsfeld quote is in fact from a news conference)

      • A Covid Christmas in Palestine

        At Christmastime in 2019 the Nativity Hotel in Bethlehem was a sight to behold. Christmas trees lined the lobby, their ornaments and white ribbons reflected in the white marble floor, while the hotel staff bustled past guests, carrying their luggage inside. Antique lamps, vases, and paintings depicting a majestic time in Middle Eastern history surrounded the grand living space, where more than a dozen blue and white velvet sectional couches blended modernity and Old World charm. Bright lights made the marble and ornaments sparkle. That, at least, is how Khalil Saliba Tareh remembers it.1

      • Iran Is Nearing Collapse Under the Strain of Covid-19

        There are indications that Iran could be among the worst-affected countries in the world by the coronavirus pandemic and its associated problems.

      • Belarus becomes first foreign country to register Russian coronavirus vaccine

        Belarus has become the first foreign country to register Russia’s “Sputnik V” coronavirus vaccine, announced the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on Monday, December 21.€ 

      • Trump Continues to Ignore COVID as His GOP Enablers Make It Worse
      • With New Covid-19 Strain 70% More Transmissible, Nations Rush to Contain Spread From UK

        "Scientists should watch and worry, yes, but the rest of us need not panic."

      • As More Red States Legalize Marijuana, Some Officials Try to Stymie Efforts
      • COVID-19, the Climate Crisis, and Mutual Aid

        Mutual aid is not only about addressing the crisis at hand but also about undoing the injustices of colonialism and imperialism.

      • No Co-Sponsor of 'Medicare for All' Has Lost Reelection in the Past Decade (Even in GOP-Leaning Districts)

        Every single Congressional co-sponsor of these bills in the House and Senate who were up for reelection beat their Republican opponents in 2020. And in 2018. And in 2016.

      • House Democrats Subpoena HHS and CDC Chiefs Over Alleged Political Interference in Covid-19 Response

        "The subpoenas were necessary because... efforts to interfere with scientific work at CDC were far more extensive and dangerous than previously known," asserted Rep. James Clyburn.

      • Vaccines cause female infertility: Another antivax lie resurrected and repackaged for COVID-19

        One of the most common false claims made by the antivaccine movement is that a vaccine (or vaccines in general) somehow result in female infertility. Sure, antivaxxers will sometimes promote the idea that vaccines cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or simply kill older children, but not nearly as often as they like to spread the persistent myth that vaccines somehow “sterilize” females. Examples abound and can be found around the world, for example, from the conspiracy theory promoted by Catholic bishops in Kenya that the tetanus vaccine is “racist population control” and that the false claim in Africa and the Philippines (among other places) that the polio vaccine can impair female fertility, while in some Muslim countries the campaign to eradicate polio has long been plagued by conspiracy theories that claim that the polio vaccine is laced with anti-fertility chemicals that would render their girls sterile before they even became women (and/or can also infect them with HIV) as part of a plot to depopulate the developing world. (Indeed, portraying vaccines as “eugenics” is a popular antivaccine trope.) Of course, the vaccine most commonly falsely cited by antivaxxers as causing female infertility is the HPV vaccine, particularly Gardasil, which is blamed without evidence for premature ovarian failure (now more commonly known as primary ovarian insufficiency), usually based on some hand waving misunderstanding of immunology attributing this “effect” to some vaguely defined autoimmune phenomenon. This claim that a specific vaccine (or vaccines) can cause infertility is what I like to refer to as a “slasher” lie, because, like the killers in 1980s slasher movies, who appear to have been finally killed at the end of one installment, these lies always manage to somehow survive to kill more teenagers in the next movie.

      • Mothers Are Pushing to Free Their Children From Prison During COVID
      • Propaganda Pandemic: The Craziest COVID Claims Of The Year
      • Charity budget cuts ‘risk lost generation of medical researchers’

        According to a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, medical research charities stood to spend €£4.1 billion less than expected between now and 2027, with a loss of almost €£450 million predicted for 2021-22 alone. Once matched private investment is considered, €£7.8 billion of medical research investment is at risk – about €£1 of every €£10 projected to be invested in medical research over the period, the thinktank warned.

      • Global nurses group pushes WHO for stronger stance on COVID-19 protections | 2020-12-21 | Safety+Health Magazine

        Global Nurses United is demanding stronger COVID-19 guidance from the World Health Organization, including a call for more personal protective equipment for health care workers and acknowledgement from WHO on how the virus is spread.

        “Nurses and other health care workers in many countries still don’t have the personal protective equipment and basic safety precautions that they need to care for their patients safely,” reads a letter sent Nov. 19 – signed by nurses from 24 different countries – to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Since January, WHO has … refused to recognize the amassing scientific evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is spread through airborne/aerosol transmission.”

      • Insane Logic and Farming in other countries – Experiences in the community

        I could have shared more countries which have chosen the co-operative way rather than corporate farming and that is simply because they know what is best for their people and what is best even politically. The new farm laws are neither grounded in farmer’s welfare nor anything else. The Govt. has been trying to undermine the farmers for years together. In fact, Madhya Pradesh has openly said that they will not allow farmers from other states to sell in their state. Although, even before these laws there was nothing to restrict the farmer from selling his produce anywhere in the country. Angering the farmers is not good politics as was found sometime back but guessing some lessons need to be re-learned.

        One comment though, on social media I have seen many people especially youngsters having no real understanding of what ‘inflation’ is all about. For e.g. if you ask them how come we are having a sort of record inflation in a technical recession (there has been a contraction, actually) and you see them putting themselves into bigger and bigger ditches. This does explain in part why the BJP wins in elections. If you do more rhetoric, which BJP is good as, rather than educating people than you are bound to win. You don’t need plans, you don’t need a vision, just rhetoric will do. What more evidence is needed when the economy is and was in a worse shape even before the pandemic and BJP won. I would probably write about that as that again needs lot of background and understanding as well as related terms.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Big tech companies including Intel, Nvidia, and Cisco were all infected during the SolarWinds hack

          Cisco, Intel, Nvidia, Belkin, and VMware have all had computers on their networks infected with the malware. There could be far more: SolarWinds had stated that “fewer than 18,000” companies were impacted, as if that number is supposed to be reassuring, and it even attempted to hide the list of clients who used the infected software. Today’s news takes some of SolarWinds’ big-name clients from “possibly affected’’ to “confirmed affected.”

        • SolarWinds Hack Victims: From Tech Companies to a Hospital and University

          The Journal identified infected computers at two dozen organizations that installed tainted network monitoring software called SolarWinds Orion that allowed the hackers in via a covertly inserted backdoor. It gave them potential access to much sensitive corporate and personal data.

          Among them: technology giant Cisco Systems Inc., chip makers Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp. , accounting firm Deloitte LLP, cloud-computing software maker VMware Inc. and Belkin International Inc., which sells home and office Wi-Fi routers and networking gear under the LinkSys and Belkin brands. The attackers also had access to the California Department of State Hospitals and Kent State University.

        • Security

          • New, free tool adds layer of security for the software supply chain | NYU Tandon School of Engineering

            The software supply chain has long been a prime target for cyberattacks, putting servers, IoT devices, personal computers, and connected equipment from surgically embedded devices to avionics at risk of sabotage. These risks will increase dramatically with the global rollout of such new technologies as 5G telecommunications, and new tools will be required to affirm the security and authenticity of software projects. Against this backdrop, in-toto, an open-source tool developed by researchers at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering that provides an unprecedented level of assurance against such attacks, announces it has hit a significant milestone with the release of its first major version.


            In-toto is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation

          • Modernize Your Intrusion Detection Strategy with an AI-Powered, Open-Source NIDS
          • Microsoft says it found malicious software in its systems

            Microsoft Corp said on Thursday it found malicious software in its systems related to a massive hacking campaign disclosed by U.S. officials this week, adding a top technology target to a growing list of attacked government agencies.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (curl, influxdb, lxml, node-ini, php-pear, and postsrsd), Fedora (chromium, curl, firefox, matrix-synapse, mingw-jasper, phpldapadmin, and thunderbird), Mageia (openjpeg2), openSUSE (gcc7, openssh, PackageKit, python-urllib3, slurm_18_08, and webkit2gtk3), Oracle (fapolicydbug, firefox, nginx:1.16, nodejs:12, and thunderbird), Red Hat (libpq, openssl, and thunderbird), and SUSE (curl, firefox, openssh, ovmf, slurm_17_11, slurm_18_08, slurm_20_02, and xen).

          • Insights on the reproducibility and future of free software with Chris Lamb

            The Reproducible Builds project seeks to integrate a set of development practices into software which emphasize build reproducibility, or the ability to ensure that a given build process will lead to verifiably integrous binaries which correspond to their source code. Reproducibility is especially important in software that is used for sensitive applications or even by users living in repressive regimes under mortal danger – repressive governments, for example, may choose to introduce vulnerabilities into software used by dissidents to connect to the Internet by targeting pre-compiled binaries and build processes rather than source code. The project is working towards making many widely used pieces of free software reproducible, from its aims towards making (at the very least the packages of) several widely used distributions of GNU/Linux reproducible to achieving reproducibility for individual pieces of critical software like Tor and Tails.

          • Chris Lamb: Interview: Reproducibility and the future of free software

            I recently took part in an interview with Vladimir Bejdo, an intern at the Software Freedom Conservancy, to talk about the Reproducible Builds project, my own participation in software freedom, the importance of reproducibility in software development and to have a brief discussion on the issues facing free software as a whole today...

          • IPFire Linux Firewall Distro Now Supports WPA3 to Make Wi-Fi Safe Again

            The biggest change in the IPFire 2.25 Core Update 153 release is the implementation of support for the latest WPA3 security standard for Wi-Fi networks. WPA3 is now supported by default in IPFire and can be enabled alongside WPA2 to support as many devices as possible while keeping your wireless network secure.

            In addition to enabling WPA3 support, IPFire users can also enable the 802.11w standard, also known as Management Frame Protection for an extra layer of security, hardening your Wi-Fi network against attackers who try to de-authenticate stations.

          • IPFire 2.25 - Core Update 153 released

            This is the official release announcement for the last planned Core Update of this year: IPFire 2.25 - Core Update 153.

            Before we talk about what is new, I would like to as you for your support for our project. IPFire is a small team of people from a range of backgrounds sharing one goal: make the Internet a safer place for everyone. Like many of our open source friends, we’ve taken a hit this year and would like to ask for your continued support. Please follow the link below where your donation can help fund our continued development:

          • First US CISO puzzled why spooks did not detect SolarWinds attack

            The first chief information security officer of the US Government says he cannot figure out why the intelligence community did not find out about the attacks launched on various government agencies and private firms in advance "and give US Cyber Command the information needed to interdict these actors before they struck".

          • Security at SolarWinds likely to come up later on: ex-NSA hacker

            Federal authorities are likely to be looking into security practices at Texas-based SolarWinds and would have secured evidence during a raid on their offices in the wake of the revelations about cyber attacks being launched using the company's supply chain as a vector, a senior infosec practitioner says.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Rand Paul: Privacy for Me, But Not for Thee

              But according to many government employees, their own personal information should be protected by law from the prying eyes of that ordinary citizen.

              Congress is currently considering legislation that would empower federal judges to censor social media posts containing such information about themselves. US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) opposes the bill — not because it clearly violates the First Amendment, but because he wants it expanded to provide for concealment of his own personal information and that of his fellow members of Congress too.

            • We say “No” to mug shots at airports and borders

              Today the Identity Project (IDP), Restore the Fourth, Privacy Times, and the National Workrights Institute€  filed joint comments with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in opposition ot the CBP proposal to require mug shots (and possibly collection of other biometrics) from all non-U.S. citizens at all border crossings and international airports and seaports:

              As our comments discuss in more detail, the Privacy Act allows the collection of information “describing how any individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment”, which includes records of travel and assembly, only in specified circumstances — none of which apply to suspicionless mug shots at airports and borders.

              The Privacy Act also requires that information used to make decisions such as whether to “allow” an individual to enter or leave the US or board a ship or plane€  be collected by Federal agencies “to the greatest extent practicable directly from the subject individual.” But plans to outsource photography of travelers, illegally, to its airline and airport “partners”:

            • The U.S. Government Is Targeting Cryptocurrency to Expand the Reach of Its Financial Surveillance

              On Friday, the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced a proposed regulation that would require money service businesses (which includes, for example, cryptocurrency exchanges) to collect identity data about people who transact with their customers using self-hosted cryptocurrency wallets or foreign exchanges. The proposed regulation would require them to keep that data and turn it over to the government in some circumstances (such as when the dollar amount of transactions in a day exceeds a certain threshold).€ 

              The proposal appears designed to be a midnight regulation pushed through before the end of the current presidential administration, as its 15-day comment period is unusually short and coincides with the winter holiday. The regulation’s authors write that this abbreviated comment period is required to deal with the “threats to United States national interests” posed by these technologies, but they provide no factual basis for this claim.€ 

              Although EFF is still reviewing the proposal, we have several initial concerns. First, the regulation would mean that people who store cryptocurrency in their own wallets (rather than using a professional service) would effectively be unable to transact anonymously with people who store their cryptocurrency with a money service business. The regulation will likely chill the ability to use self-hosted wallets to transact with the privacy of cash.

            • Facebook child abuse detection hit by new EU rules

              The company said it has had no choice but to do so, since the new privacy directive bans automatic scanning of private messages.

              The change only applies to messaging services rather than all content uploaded to Facebook.

            • Google and Others Back Facebook Lawsuit Over Surveillance Tool

              The companies asked the federal appeals court in San Francisco on Monday to let them file a motion in support of a lawsuit that WhatsApp, Facebook’s messaging service, brought last year against NSO Group.

              WhatsApp accused the spyware maker of using a since-closed vulnerability in the messaging service to install spyware on the phones of at least 1,400 users. The spyware allowed NSO to surreptitiously collect data from users’ phones, according to the suit.

            • Israel's NSO Group Exploits And Malware Again Being Used To Target Journalists In The Middle East

              You'd think the government of a land surrounded by enemies would do more to regulate malware distribution by local companies. It's one thing to hold your enemies close. It's quite another to provide them with the tools to ensure your own downfall.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Sheriff's Office Asks Court To Prevent A Different Gov't Agency From Releasing Records Related To The US Marshals' Killing Of An Antifa Activist

        A controversial shooting that resulted in another controversial shooting is generating even more controversy.

      • The CIA Is Running Death Squads in Afghanistan

        The war in Afghanistan, now in its 19th year, is the longest and most intractable of America’s forever wars. There are now American soldiers fighting in Afghanistan who were born after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the ostensible casus belli. The American public has long ago grown tired of the war. A YouGov poll conducted in July of 2020 showed that 46 percent of Americans strongly supported withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, with another 30 percent saying they “somewhat” approved of troop withdrawal.

      • What If, After 9/11, George W. Bush Had Thrown Parties?

        And what if, after the pandemic arrived, Donald J. Trump had launched a global war on Covid-19?

      • Human Rights Advocates to Biden: No Torture Defenders Allowed

        "Their appointment would undermine the rule of law and U.S. credibility around the world. It would be a callous rebuke to... all those who care about human rights and the protection of basic dignity."

      • No, Joe, Don’t Roll out the Red Carpet for Torture Enablers

        We need political leaders and intelligence community officials who acknowledge that torture is illegal under international law, inhumane, and ineffective.

      • No, Joe, Don’t Roll out the Red Carpet for Torture Enablers

        It was painful enough to live through the U.S invasion of Iraq that caused untold devastation and human misery for no justifiable reason.

      • Chris Hedges: Biden and the systems managers of empire are returning to power

        Joe Biden and the systems managers of the deep state and empire are returning to power. Trump and his coterie of buffoons, racists, con artists and Christian fascists are sullenly preparing to leave office. U.S. pharmaceutical corporations are starting to disseminate vaccines to mitigate the globe’s worst outbreak of COVID-19 that has resulted in more than 2,600 deaths per day. America, as Biden says, is back, ready to take its place at the head of the table. In the battle for the soul of America, he assures us, democracy has prevailed. Progress, prosperity, civility and a reassertion of American prestige and power are, we are promised, weeks away.

      • Cyber Threats Call for Cyber Diplomacy

        "The incoming Biden-Harris administration should prioritize cyber diplomacy by... pursuing multilateral negotiations with the major players in cyberspace, particularly Russia and China."

      • Trump Enacts Sweeping New Sanctions on China, Iran, Venezuela. Biden Promises More To Come

        On its way out the door, the Trump administration is ramping up another round of aggressive, punishing sanctions against a host of countries. On Friday, the State Department announced new sanctions against Iran, the People’s Republic of China, and Venezuela. And today, it tightened€ the grip of the decades-long blockade on Cuba and increased€ sanctions on Nicaragua.

      • Russian FSB dismisses Navalny’s phone call with federal agent implicated in poisoning as fake

        The recording of the phone conversation between opposition figure Alexey Navalny and a federal agent allegedly involved in poisoning him is fake, the FSB’s Public Relations Center told the Russian state news agency TASS on Monday, December 21.€ 

      • Indirect confessions: We asked lawyers if Navalny’s recording is valid proof that the FSB tried to poison him

        On Monday, December 21, Alexey Navalny released a video revealing new details about his August 2020 poisoning. The opposition figure said that he managed to talk on the phone with one of the federal agents implicated in the attempt on his life — FSB officer Konstantin Kudryavtsev. While Navalny claims that Kudryavtsev confessed to the crime, the federal agent didn’t actually divulge many details about the assassination attempt. To get an expert opinion on the conversation, Meduza asked several lawyers to weigh in on whether the recording can be considered a valid piece of evidence and whether it will force the Russian authorities to open a criminal investigation into Navalny’s poisoning.

      • Editorial: Meduza demands a criminal investigation into the attempt on Alexey Navalny’s life

        It’s almost too funny to believe: In perhaps the greatest prank in Russian history, Alexey Navalny telephoned one of the men who evidently participated in the attempt on his life. They talked for nearly an hour in a conversation so surreal that it surpasses the absurdity even of RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan’s infamous interview two years ago with the Russian spies who proclaimed unconvincingly that a tall spire drew them to Salisbury, England.

      • Lawyer Lyubov Sobol arrested near home of FSB operative implicated in poisoning Navalny

        Lyubov Sobol, a lawyer who works for Alexey Navalny’s non-profit, the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), has been arrested near the home of Konstantin Kudryavtsev — one of the FSB operatives allegedly involved in poisoning Navalny, MBX Media reports.€ 

      • ‘I called my killer and he confessed’: Alexey Navalny says he fooled one of his FSB assassins into detailing the Kremlin’s poisoning operation

        Opposition figure Alexey Navalny says he’s managed to fool one of the federal agents who tried to kill him into a confession. Using a spoofed telephone number and posing as an assistant for Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Navalny himself called Konstantin Kudryavtsev (a chemical-weapons specialist, according to Bellingcat) and spent nearly an hour questioning him about the failed attempt to poison him in August. In a video shared on YouTube, Navalny says the call took place on December 14, hours after a multinational team of journalists and researchers published investigative reports detailing an assassination plot by Russia’s Federal Security Service. Navalny pretended to be gathering information in order to report back to Patrushev about why the operation failed.

      • The New Humanitarian | Migration and forced displacement in 2020

        COVID-19 put an unprecedented dampener on global mobility this year, but it didn’t stop people being displaced from their homes or asylum seekers and migrants attempting dangerous journeys to cross borders and seas in search of safety and economic opportunity.

    • U.S. whistleblower was pressed to exaggerate leftist role in urban protests, lawyer says

      Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen delivered congressional testimony which amounted to a “deliberate submission of false material information,” according to an initially anonymous whistleblower complaint Murphy submitted to DHS’ inspector general.

      An Intelligence Committee spokeswoman said the panel welcomed Murphy’s testimony and that the panel would share the results of its investigation with the public.

  • Environment

    • Longtime Head of EPA’s Environmental Justice Program: Biden’s Climate Picks Show Power of Movements

      As President-elect Joe Biden unveils key members of his team who will tackle what he called the “existential” threat of the climate crisis, we speak to former Environmental Protection Agency official Mustafa Ali, who led the agency’s environmental justice program until resigning in 2017 in protest of the Trump administration’s policies. Biden’s picks for the Climate Cabinet are the result of “a transformational set of movements,” says Ali, who is currently vice president of the National Wildlife Federation. “It also speaks to all the hard, incredible work that environmental justice leaders have been doing to ensure that our president-elect is giving serious thought to vulnerable communities, to the impacts that are happening from the climate crisis.”

    • Biden Taps Climate Team Focused on Environmental Racism & Science to Take Over from Industry Lobbyists

      Under pressure from progressives and communities of color, President-elect Joe Biden vowed Saturday to make environmental justice and science top concerns as he selects his climate team, which he formally introduced Saturday. If confirmed, many will represent historic firsts, including Michael Regan, who will be the first Black man to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Regan’s selection comes after weeks of speculation Biden would instead tap Mary Nichols, head of the California Air Resources Board, but faced opposition for what critics called her “bleak track record in addressing environmental racism.” Biden also tapped Democratic Congressmember Deb Haaland of New Mexico to lead the Interior Department, making her the first Native American Cabinet secretary in history. We feature highlights from Saturday’s speeches by Regan, Haaland and others, including environmental attorney Brenda Mallory, who will chair Biden’s Council on Environmental Quality; Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA under President Obama, who will lead a new White House Office of Climate Policy; and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, who will be energy secretary.

    • In Its Waning Days, Trump Administration Could Further Imperil Animals, Environment

      The damage done under Trump must be expeditiously reversed under the incoming administration, including any regulations rammed through in these final weeks.

    • Biden’s Climate Cabinet Picks Show Power of People-Led Movements
    • 2020 Was a Busy Year for Taking the Climate Fight to the Courts

      In particular, this year saw a notable uptick in climate accountability litigation with multiple new cases filed in the U.S. and€ internationally.

    • Chill out the easy way: science can cool you down

      There’s more than one way to chill out. White paint and watery windows could help. So could the deep blue sea.

    • Trump Tries to Ruin the Environment as Much as Possible Before Leaving

      President Trump wants to ensure his pro-corporation, anti-environmentalist, climate change-denying legacy before President-elect Biden is inaugurated and is making moves to allow mining of natural resources on federally-protected lands, the New York Times‘ Eric Lipton reports.

      In his last days in office, Trump is moving forward on projects in numerous states that would grant energy firms access to lands that were previously off limits.

    • In Last Rush, Trump Grants Mining and Energy Firms Access to Public Lands

      The Trump administration is rushing to approve a final wave of large-scale mining and energy projects on federal lands, encouraged by investors who want to try to ensure the projects move ahead even after President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes office.

      In Arizona, the Forest Service is preparing to sign off on the transfer of federal forest land — considered sacred by a neighboring Native American tribe — to allow construction of one of the nation’s largest copper mines.

    • Groups sue to block helium drilling project inside Utah wilderness

      Just days before the Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness was established as part of a larger public lands bill for Emery County, the Bureau of Land Management issued leases on 1,400 acres to a company called Twin Bridges Resources, then fast-tracked an analysis of the Denver firm’s drilling program.

      “It’s truly stunning how brazen the Trump administration has been these past four years in serving up our pristine, iconic landscapes to industry,” said Josh Axelrod, of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Its race to secure this project’s approval for the helium industry’s benefit is flatly illegal, and we’ll defend this special area at every turn.”

    • Green Social Democracy Offers the Most Viable Path Toward a Sustainable Future
    • Energy

    • Wildlife/Nature

      • MALT Board of Directors’ Conflicts of Interest Exposed as Legal Battle Unfolds

        The money bought a conservation easement on hundreds of acres of cattle-grazing land owned by Sam and his father, Earl Dolcini. Half of the purchase price came from a sales tax supporting Marin County Parks. The balance came from tax-deductible corporate and private donations made to MALT, a non-profit charity which the Internal Revenue Service terms a 501(c)3.

        The county’s contribution to the Dolcini deal was approved without debate by the Marin County Board of Supervisors, which is closely connected to MALT. Supervisor Dennis Rodoni sat on the MALT board when the Dolcini deal was sealed, and Marin Board of Supervisors President Steve Kinsey was a MALT director from 1997 to 2016.

      • Political Science and the Fate of the Wolverine

        The wolverine, a member of the weasel family, is a snow dependent animal.€  Snow is an essential feature of his habitat and, as such, is a critical indicator of ecosystem health considering climate change.

        Once found across the northern tier of states from Maine across the Upper Mid West (Michigan Wolverines) to the Rockies, including the Northern Rockies of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, € and down the spine of the southern Rockies to Colorado and New Mexico. Wolverine were also present in the higher elevations of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada from Washington to California. Unrestricted trapping and hunting led to the animal’s decline across much of its former range. The practice of placing poison in carcasses to kill wolves and coyotes may have also played a role.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Will the Media's Newfound Stridency Continue Under Biden?

      The Associated Press took a similar tack. “President Donald Trump flooded his first postelection political rally with debunked conspiracy theories and audacious falsehoods Saturday as he claimed victory in an election he decisively lost,” began the wire service’s coverage.

      You’ll find similarly opinionated news coverage about Donald Trump in almost every issue of many major newspapers over the last several years. It’s easy to see why many of the president’s supporters don’t trust the mainstream news media to be fair to conservatives.

    • Comparing Republican with Democratic Party Energy Levels: No Contest

      The wildly frivolous efforts by Trump and his cronies have provoked a rare public letter, signed by over 1,500 lawyers, including past presidents of bar associations, urging disciplinary proceedings against the lawyers representing craven Republican operatives in their attempted electoral coup. (See:

      Even after the Electoral College voted on December 14, 2020, to declare Joe Biden the winner, the Trumpsters are continuing their reckless fanaticism. Extreme Trumpster Congressman Mo Brooks (D-AL) plans to lead a move on January 6, 2020, to demand that the House and the Senate refuse to certify the Electoral College decision.

    • America's Destructive Denialisms

      Yet, Donald Trump still refuses to concede. The soon-to-be-ex-president tried to pressure Republican legislators to overturn the election results in the states where Biden’s margin of victory was narrow. They rebuffed him. His legal team filed 59 suits to subvert the popular will — and lost every one of them. The president has even tried to enlist the help of the Supreme Court, which pointedly ignored him.

      All of these strategies have failed. Despite many accusations of fraud, the president and his party have been unable to produce even one piece of credible evidence. Wherever recounts took place — two counties in Wisconsin, statewide in Georgia three times —€  they confirmed Biden’s victory.

    • The Chosen: Who Biden Is Putting in Power — ProPublica

      Here’s ProPublica’s running list of Joe Biden’s picks to run the federal government.

    • Can Biden Finish What Obama Started With Cuba?

      “Today, America chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past so as to reach for a better future—for the Cuban people, for the American people, for our entire hemisphere and for the world,” President Barack Obama announced on December 17, 2014, inaugurating a new era of “positive engagement” in US-Cuba relations.

    • Centrist Dems Are Wrong About November’s Losses

      Too many congressional Democrats are making a potentially fatal political miscalculation about the reason the party lost several seats in this year’s elections. And those incorrect interpretations of why Democrats lost at least 12 seats could lead to grievous missteps that will imperil their majority in 2022.

    • 'Law And Order' President Huddles With His Enablers, Considers Enacting Martial Law To Overturn His Election Loss

      Great news, everyone! The outgoing president -- the one who refuses to accept the results of the popular vote or the electoral college vote -- has been horny on main for weeks. The only thing that could keep Trump in office is some sort of civil war, something he appears to be actively encouraging.

    • Why Progressives Must Not Give Joe Biden a Political Honeymoon

      Silence or merely faint dissent would enable the third Democratic president in four decades to again sacrifice progressive possibilities on the altar of corporate power.

    • House Oversight Chair Says 'Grave Concerns' Trump Team Trashing White House Records

      In a letter to the U.S. government archivist, Rep. Carolyn Maloney says her committee "has no visibility into what is happening" in terms of record-keeping for administration documents.

    • AOC Slams Democrats for Shutting Progressives Out of Policy Negotiations
    • Belarusian police officials compile database on protesters at Lukashenko’s request

      Belarusian police officials have established a database of information about citizens who have been involved in the opposition protests that began after the presidential elections on August 9. The database contains a range of personal data, including age, gender, place of residence, place of work or study, as well as hobbies, reported the state television channel Belarus 1.€ 

    • Billionaire Oleg Deripaska calls for criminalizing the incitement of sanctions against Russia

      In a statement published in Telegram, Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska has suggested introducing criminal liability for people who incite sanctions against Russian citizens and companies.

    • The Dangerous Fantasy of Hope Rooted in Self-Delusion

      The real lesson we should learn from the rise of a demagogue such as Trump and a pandemic that our for-profit health care industry proved unable to contain is that we are losing control as a nation and as a species.

    • US relief package provides $7 billion for broadband

      The deal also includes $1 billion in Tribal broadband grants, $250 million toward telehealth, and $65 million for broadband mapping improvements, according to Axios. The US’s broadband maps have been the target of criticism for years. The FCC’s current methodology declares an entire ZIP code as having broadband if just one home in that census block is served.

    • Barr Rejects Trump’s Push for Special Counsels on Supposed Election Fraud
  • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • The Great iPwn: Journalists Hacked with Suspected NSO Group iMessage ‘Zero-Click’ Exploit

      The shift towards zero-click attacks by an industry and customers already steeped in secrecy increases the likelihood of abuse going undetected. Nevertheless, we continue to develop new technical means to track surveillance abuses, such as new techniques of network and device analysis.

    • EFF to Ninth Circuit: Don’t Grant Immunity to Notorious Spyware Company

      NSO Group sells its “Pegasus” spyware, which enables surreptitious digital surveillance, exclusively to government agencies across the globe. The company is arguing that it should therefore be granted “foreign sovereign immunity,” a longstanding legal doctrine that says that foreign governments should generally have immunity from suit in U.S. courts for reasons that focus on preserving stability in international relations, also called “comity.”

      EFF supports WhatsApp’s arguments that foreign sovereign immunity is inappropriate for private corporations, and submitted our brief to further argue that no corporation, whether foreign or American, should be granted immunity for contracting with foreign governments, especially when those governments use a company’s powerful surveillance technology to violate human rights.

      We explained that surreptitious surveillance tools not only invade privacy and chill freedom of speech and association, they can also facilitate physical harm—from unlawful arrest to summary execution.

    • Dozens of Al Jazeera journalists targeted in apparent iOS spyware attack

      36 personal phones belonging to Al Jazeera journalists, producers, anchors, and executives were hacked in a spyware campaign between July and August 2020, a new report from Citizen Lab alleges. The attacks reportedly used Pegasus technology provided by the Israeli firm NSO Group, and are thought to be the work of four operators. Citizen Lab says it has “medium confidence” that one is working on behalf of the UAE government and another for the Saudi government.

      The attacks are worrying not just because they appear to show politically-motivated targeting of journalists, but also because they’re part of a trend of using increasingly advanced methods that are harder to detect. According to Citizen Lab, the attacks seem to have used a zero-click exploit to compromise iPhones via iMessage, meaning the attacks happened without the victims needing to do anything, and leave much less of a trace once a device is infected. In July 2020, the exploit chain was a zero-day.

    • Independent Filmmaker and Journalist Who Chronicled China Rights Abuses Detained

      Du, 48, was detained by police in Beijing last Wednesday, says his sister Du Jirong, according to the New York Times. Officers returned the next day to say that he had been put in administrative detention for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” — a broad, vague charge that is frequently invoked against dissidents and activists speaking up on politically sensitive issues.

      Du had previously worked as a freelance photographer for the New York Times and local Chinese publications, with his work also appearing in international publications such as Time Magazine and the International Herald Tribune. He often posted political commentary on his personal social media accounts, including Facebook and Twitter, which are both blocked in China.

    • Why Iran’s execution of Ruhollah Zam should be seen as a warning in the West

      The brazen manner of Zam’s abduction, of which the IRGC has openly boasted in a message broadcast on Iran's state television, marks a departure from the more covert operations against dissidents of the 1980s and 1990s, and a new escalation by Iran in its disregard for international law. According to Zam’s father, writing in a post on Instagram in July, the authorities prevented Zam from meeting with his public defender in private and from communicating with his family.

      Nor is Zam’s persecution abroad an isolated event. In the past year alone, there have been reports of an Iranian-American abducted in Dubai and of the murder of an Iranian dissident seeking asylum in Turkey.

    • The Slow-Motion Tragedy of Ola Bini's Trial

      Now, after months of delay, an Ecuadorean pre-trial judge has failed€ to dismiss the case – despite Bini's defense documenting over hundred procedural and civil liberty violations made in the course of the investigation. EFF was one of the many human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, who were refused permission by the judge to act as observers at Wednesday's hearing.

      Bini, a Swedish-born open-source developer, was seized by police at Quito Airport shortly after Ecuador's Interior Minister, Maria Paula Romo, held a press conference warning the country of an imminent cyber-attack. Romo spoke hours after the government had ejected Julian Assange from Ecuador's London Embassy, and claimed that a group of Russians and Wikileaks-connected hackers were in the country, planning an attack in retaliation for the eviction. No further details of this sabotage plot were ever revealed, nor has it been explained how the Minister knew of the gangs' plans in advance. Instead, only Bini was detained, imprisoned, and held in detention for 71 days without charge until a provincial court, facing a habeas corpus order, declared his imprisonment unlawful and released him to his friends and family. (Romo was dismissed as minister last month for ordering the use of tear gas against anti-government protestors.)

      EFF visited Ecuador to investigate complaints of injustice in the case in August 2019. We concluded that the Bini affair had the sadly familiar hallmark of a politicized "hacker panic" where media depictions of hacking super-criminals and overbroad cyber-crime laws together encourage unjust prosecutions when the political and social atmosphere demands it. (EFF's founding in 1990 was in part due to a notorious, and similar, case pursued in the United States by the Secret Service, documented in Bruce Sterling's Hacker Crackdown.)

    • If Assange’s Fate Were Up To a Jury, He, Too, Might Have Walked Free

      Juries do not hear extradition hearings in Britain. If they did, the outcome in the Assange case might be a victory for free speech and the right to publish evidence of state criminality. A friend of mine wrote to me recently, “When I was teaching, in the poorest area of East London, his [Assange’s] arrest warrant had just been issued. People on the bus—shift workers, cleaners, construction workers—used to discuss him over their free copies of the Metro. He was a hero to them.”

      Magistrate Baraitser’s verdict, expected on January 4, will not end the matter. Either side may appeal, prolonging Assange’s brutal confinement well into 2021. The surest sign that the United States has ended its war on the free dissemination of vital information would be for the Justice Department to withdraw its extradition application and drop all charges against Assange. President Trump could order that before he leaves office. Joe Biden can do it after he takes the oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitition,” including the First Amendment, on January 20. After all, it would be consistent with President Obama’s decision not to prosecute Assange because it would have represented an assault on the entire free press that disseminated the same information Assange did.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Great Divider: Covid-19 Reflects Global Racism, Not Equality

      For an entire year, wealthy celebrities and government officials have been reminding us that “we are in this together”, that “we are on the same boat”, with the likes of US singer, Madonna, speaking from her mansion while submerged in a “milky bath sprinkled with rose petals,” telling us that the pandemic has proved to be the “great equalizer”.

      “Like I used to say at the end of ‘Human Nature’ every night, we are all in the same boat,” she said. “And if the ship goes down, we’re all going down together,” CNN reported at the time.

    • Why CUNY Faculty and Staff May Go on Strike

      The Borough of Manhattan Community College’s library occupies the fourth floor of its TriBeCa campus. It has a beautiful view in the middle of a neighborhood that was long ago ceded to the elite by way of inflated property values, and it belongs to students whose families are likely to make less than $20,000 a year. Pleasing scenery may seem utterly superfluous to education, but as evidence of actually existing democracy on an island largely governed by real estate speculation, it is priceless. BMCC, like other City University of New York campuses, are reminders that people without money don’t just deserve some job training; they deserve a good education that might even involve some superfluous knowledge, the luxury of a well-appointed library, and a sunset over the river.

    • Family Separations
    • Conservative Christians Remain Silent About Suffering Bethlehem

      "To most in the West, Palestinian Christians are simply invisible. To conservative Christians, they are at best a nuisance who stand in the way of their unquestioning ideological attachment to Israel."

    • In 'Important Step Forward,' Statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee Removed From U.S. Capitol

      "Confederate images do not represent who we are in Virginia, that's why we voted unanimously to remove this statue," said state Sen. Louise Lucas.€ 

    • How Strong Encryption Can Protect Survivors of Domestic Violence

      With the risk of domestic violence higher now, it is even more essential that we protect survivors’ privacy and safety online. In a pandemic, survivors may only be able to rely on digital communications for help, to limit in-person interactions.

      This is why we worked with the National Network to End Domestic Violence to put together a factsheet on why encryption matters to survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, and trafficking.

      Survivors need to communicate with trusted confidantes, get in touch with organizations that can provide help, and search for shelters or other resources in their area. End-to-end encryption ensures that survivors can trust the confidentiality and integrity of their private conversations and use digital communications to reach safety.

    • Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture, 3rd Edition

      As this report demonstrates, the cases of Stephanie Wilson, Terry Rolin and Eh Wah are not isolated incidents: Local, state and federal agencies use civil forfeiture to collectively forfeit billions of dollars each year.

      Civil forfeiture laws generally make it easy for governments to forfeit property—and hard for people to fight. As this report documents, these laws typically set low standards of proof, which is the evidentiary burden prosecutors must meet to connect property to a crime. And they provide weak protections for innocent owners whose property is caught up in forfeiture but who have done nothing wrong.

      Most forfeiture laws also make seizing and forfeiting people’s property lucrative for law enforcement. In most states and under federal law, some or all of the proceeds from forfeiture go to law enforcement coffers. Thus, Wayne County law enforcement, federal law enforcement and Muskogee County law enforcement stood to benefit financially from forfeiting Stephanie’s cars and Terry’s and Eh Wah’s cash. Giving law enforcement this financial stake in forfeiture can distort priorities, encouraging agencies to pursue financial gain over public safety or justice, cash over crime or contraband.4 Together, civil forfeiture’s ease and financial rewards drive its use nationwide.

    • 'Victory for children': Philippines set to raise age of consent

      The proposed Bill would make it automatically illegal and carry a penalty of life imprisonment, though it would not punish young couples close in age. It is expected to be approved by the Senate in the coming months before going to President Rodrigo Duterte to be signed into law.

    • Amazon Union Supporters Will Need More Votes to Pass Proposal Inc. and a union hoping to represent some of its employees at an Alabama warehouse reached an agreement to include 769 seasonal workers in a potential bargaining unit, meaning backers of the proposal will need to rally more voters to win the required majority.

      Lawyers for Amazon and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union told representatives of the National Labor Relations Board during a virtual hearing on Monday that the holiday-season hires should be included in a proposed bargaining unit at the Bessemer, Alabama, facility, as Amazon had proposed last week.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • New COVID Bill Includes Billions To Shore Up Broadband Access. But...

      It's generally understood that the latest Congressional COVID relief package is the policy equivalent of a band-aid on a lost limb, and the $600 being doled out to struggling American families is a joke (especially compared with international public aid efforts). We're also only just starting to take inventory of how much padding and nonsense is buried in the bill that couldn't be shoveled through standalone bills due to its innate terribleness and grift.

    • Don’t Institutionalize the Internet

      As the United Nations turned 75, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the General Assembly by calling for a New Global Deal to ensure that political and economic systems deliver on critical global public goods. “Today, that is simply not happening,” he said. “We have huge gaps in governance structures and ethical frameworks. To close these gaps, we need to ensure that power, wealth and opportunities are broadly and fairly shared.”

      At the Internet Society, we couldn’t agree more. But just what will this ‘New Global Deal’ and its governance structures look like with regards to digital cooperation? Let’s make sure that traditional, top-down governance of the Internet is not the answer.

  • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

    • Wonder Woman Forces AT&T & Roku To End Their Petty Squabbles

      At the start of this year, AT&T's creatively named streaming app, AT&T TV Now (since renamed HBO Max), was unceremoniously pulled from all Roku streaming hardware after a contract between the two companies expired and they couldn't agree on a new one.

    • MGM Is Exploring a Sale of Its Studio

      The studio believes its library of content — which includes co-ownership of the James Bond franchise — would be desirable to companies looking to expand their streaming sectors.

  • Monopolies

    • Patents

      • Bracco Diagnostics Inc. v. Maia Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

        Stipulating to infringement after a contrary claim construction is a conventional stratagem for a losing party to have a final judgment that can be challenged before the Federal Circuit. The risk of course, is that if the Court finds the district court's construction to be correct, the stipulation precludes appellate challenge of the infringement judgment. Defendant Maia Pharmaceuticals suffered those consequences recently in Bracco Diagnostics Inc. v. Maia Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

        The case arose as ANDA litigation over Maia's generic sincalide product, that Bracco asserted infringed Orange Book-listed U.S. Patent No. 6,803,046 concerning its Kinevac€® product. This product is a synthetic peptide hormone used to stimulate gallbladder contraction, pancreatic secretion, and "accelerate the transit of a barium meal through the small bowel." The '046 claims encompass drug formulations "purer than prior art formulations, and have fewer degradants and more consistent potency" than prior art forms, achieved according to the specification "through addition of excipients such as buffers, surfactants/solubilizers, and surfactants."

      • Doctrine of Equivalents in Lilly v. Apotex

        You don’t see this often — the district court held on summary judgment that Apotex infringes under the doctrine of equivalents. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed – finding no error. (Nonprecedential opinion)

        Lilly’s US7772209 claims a particular treatment scheme for pemetrexed disodium that includes a pre-treatment with folic-acid to avoid the harsh side-effects. See, Crouch, Eligibility Cannot be Raised in IPR Appeal (2019). Apotex’s product uses a slightly different salt – pemetrexed dipotassium. Apotex needs its version to be the equivalent in order to receive drug approval, but it would prefer to still avoid infringement under the Doctrine of Equivalents.

        Although Apotex (implicitly) admits that its version is an equivalent, the company argues that Lilly should be estopped from pursuing DoE infringement here because of Prosecution History Estoppel (PHE). In particular, Lilly made a narrowing amendment to the claim term in question during patent prosecution to avoid the prior art and now seeks to reclaim that ground via equivalents.

      • Will Father Christmas bring a definition of “staple product” for the purpose of contributory infringement?

        A recent judgment of 13 November 2020 from the Barcelona Court of Appeal (Section 15) has brought to the fore again the thorny topic of “indirect” or “contributory” infringement. The difficulty of the topic is illustrated, for example, by the fact that two very learned Judges (Judge Arnold, then in the first instance and Judge Floyd, in the Court of Appeal), reached opposite decisions on contributory infringement in the pregabalin (Lyrica€®) case. Readers will remember that the Court of Appeal of England & Wales reversed Judge Arnold’s decision denying contributory infringement. In the Spanish case discussed in this blog, the Barcelona Court of Appeal (Section 15), although expressing doubts of fact and doubts of law, has reversed the first instance decision, which had found contributory infringement.


        For the purpose of this blog, it is worth pausing to consider the test used by the Court to determine whether a product is a “staple product” or not. According to the Court, products which “at least have a normal non-infringing use” would be staple products. Like the Court of Appeal, this author has doubts as to whether this is the right test. For example, the fact that active ingredient X may be used to treat a non-patented indication does not necessarily mean that active ingredient X is a product found habitually in trade. The law does not say that the patent owner must prove “inducement” when the product may be used for non-patented purposes. Rather, it says that inducement must be proved when it is a product found habitually in trade, which does not appear to be exactly the same thing. In this regard, Terrell has written that “The use of the word “staple” is presumably a reference to raw materials or other basic products commonly available and with a multitude of possible applications, and the purpose of the subsection is to protect the supplier of such products even if they have knowledge that they are to be put to an infringing purpose. The scope of the words is far from clear and the dividing line between protecting the supplier of raw materials on the one hand and giving a fair monopoly to the patentee must be a question of fact in each case.”

        Hopefully, Father Christmas, or perhaps the Supreme Court, will bring some guidance on where the fine line must be drawn or on whether or not there is a line to be drawn in the first place.

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube Class Action: Same IP Address Used to Upload 'Pirate' Movies & File DMCA Notices

        YouTube says it has found a "smoking gun" to prove that a class-action lawsuit filed by Grammy award-winning musician Maria Schneider and Pirate Monitor Ltd was filed in bad faith. According to the Google-owned platform, the same IP address used to upload 'pirate' movies to the platform also sent DMCA notices targeting the same batch of content.

      • UK Police Threaten YouTube Ripper With Potential Criminal Action

        City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has sent a cease and desist notice to a popular YouTube ripper. The letter accuses the site operator of being involved in criminal activity and demands action. These statements are quite broad, especially since stream-ripper sites are not by definition breaking the law in the UK.

      • 'This Is Atrocious': Congress Crams Language to Criminalize Online Streaming, Meme-Sharing Into 5,500-Page Omnibus Bill

        "These types of decisions should never be made in closed-door negotiations between politicians and industry or rushed through as part of some must-pass spending package."

      • Sweeping new copyright measures poised to pass in spending bill

        Congress’ $2.3 trillion spending and relief package includes controversial measures previously introduced as the CASE Act, the Trademark Modernization Act, and a felony streaming proposal — all significantly expanding the rights and powers of intellectual property owners.

        Most controversially, the CASE Act would create a quasi-judicial tribunal of “Copyright Claims Officers” who would work to resolve infringement claims. As outlined in the bill, copyright holders could be awarded up to $30,000 if they find their creative work being shared online.

      • Rules Committee Print 116–68 Text of The House Amendment to The Senate Amendment to H.R. 133 [PDF]


      • Congress (Once Again) Sells Out To Hollywood: Sneaks CASE Act And Felony Streaming Bill Into Government Funding Omnibus

        As we warned about earlier this month, it appears that Congress has in fact put two very controversial copyright provisions into the government funding "omnibus" bill that will be voted on later today. As you may have heard, last night Congress worked out a "deal" on both a $900 billion Covid relief/stimulus package and the giant $1.4 trillion omnibus government funding bill, which is being voted on today. There had been concerns raised all month about how -- under pressure from Hollywood -- Congress might try to sneak two dangerous copyright provisions and one trademark provision into the omnibus.

      • Africa IP highlights 2020 #4: Enforcement and related matters

        South Africa amended its High Court Rules in March and introduced Rule 41A which made it mandatory for parties to consider mediation at the outset of any contemplated litigation. A plaintiff or applicant is required to file a prescribed Rule 41A Notice agreeing or opposing mediation before summons or motions may be issued. The defendant or respondent is required to file a similar Notice before a plea or opposing papers may be issued. These notices must state the reasons for each party’s belief that the dispute is or is not capable of being mediated. This notice is delivered on a without prejudice basis and therefore does not form part of the record of the trial or hearing. With this, parties in an IP dispute must also submit to mediation or provide reasons why they think their dispute cannot be mediated.

        Although one might not expect disputes between wineries in Mauritius, May saw an interesting judgement from the Supreme Court of Mauritius on wine production and commercialisation. The dispute in Eureka E.C Oxenham & Cy Ltd V Oxenham A E & Anor (2020 SCJ 92) centred on whether the respondent could use his name and signature “Alexander Oxenham” and “A. Oxenham” on bottles of wine produced by his winery “Takamaka Boutique Winery” when the surname “OXENHAM” had already been registered as a trade mark by the applicant company whose founder’s and director’s surname is Oxenham. Relying on French case law, the court held that there is no infringement of trade mark rights when a first name is added to a surname already registered as a trade mark, provided that there is no state of confusion in the minds of the public be it visually, phonetically or orally. After comparing the trademarks of the applicant and respondent, the court was satisfied that there was no likelihood of confusion and that the respondent had taken the necessary precaution to distinguish his signature from the applicant’s mark by adding his first name or the initial of his first name. The surname was written not as a trademark but as the surname of the winemaker.

      • 'This Is Atrocious': Congress Crams Language to Criminalize Online Streaming, Meme-Sharing Into 5,500-Page Omnibus Bill

        Lawmakers in Congress are under fire from digital rights campaigners for embedding three controversial changes to online copyright and trademark laws into the must-pass $2.3 trillion legislative package—which includes a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill and a $900 billion Covid-19 relief bill—that could receive floor votes in the House and Senate as early as Monday evening.

        The punitive provisions crammed into the enormous bill (pdf), warned Evan Greer of the digital rights group Fight for the Future, "threaten ordinary Internet users with up to $30,000 in fines for engaging in everyday activity such as downloading an image and re-uploading it... [or] sharing memes."

        While the citizenry had almost no time to process the actual contents of the 5,593 page legislative text, Greer said Monday afternoon that the CASE Act, Felony Streaming Act, and Trademark Modernization Act "are in fact included in the must-pass omnibus spending bill."

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