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Links 26/12/2020: Redox OS 0.6, GIMP 2.99.4, and GnuCOBOL 3.1.2 Released



  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 6 Best Ubuntu Linux Alternatives for Beginners to use in 2021

        It is not difficult for new users or those who are shifting from Windows 7 or 10 Operating systems to Linux distro when you have the right one. Thus, here we are with some best Ubuntu desktop alternatives Linux distros for beginners who want something similar to Canonical’s OS but better in terms of usage.

        No doubt, Ubuntu is one of the popular and best Linux among the new users because of easy to use commands, huge package repository, and online tutorials. However, if you don’t like its interface and want something much easier to use, thus you should look at the alternatives we are listing here.

      • You should get these apps for your new Chromebook

        Here are some of the best apps to use on your new Chromebook across the web, Android, and Linux.

      • New Chromebook Users: 10 things you need to know to get started [VIDEO]

        Chromebooks come with the ability to run not only web apps at this point, but Android apps and Linux applications, too. For most users, Android apps and the Play Store will be enabled right out of the gate. You won’t need to take any additional steps to use them; simply open your app drawer, hit the Play Store, and try out some apps you would like. While I’m a web app guy myself, there are a few great Android apps on Chrome OS, so try out your favorites to see how they work on your new Chromebook.

        Linux apps aren’t nearly as simple of a proposition. Turning on Linux in your settings will take care of itself pretty quickly, but what you do after that point relies mostly on how comfortable you are with a Linux terminal. If you don’t know what that is, it’s safe to say you should just steer clear of this for now. If you do and want to install some things, just know you may need to update and install some dependencies along the way and not all apps work perfectly. We have a whole section of the site (called Command Line) dedicated to Linux apps on the site, though, so if you want to learn, that’s where you need to head.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.10 Btrfs Hitting A Performance Regression But Improving With Linux 5.11

        Linux 5.10 as a Long-Term Support (LTS) kernel has been off to a rocky start after an immediate point release due to a RAID issue, some reporting AMDGPU problems, and also a staggering Btrfs performance regression hitting some users.

        Making rounds this week was word of a "500~2000% performance regression" knocking Btrfs on Linux 5.10. For a simple test case like extracting a large .tar.zst file could go from taking just around 15 seconds to nearly five minutes or in other cases like from 5 seconds to over 30 seconds. The regression was bisected to a fundamental Btrfs change in Linux 5.10 and reproduced on bare metal while running Btrfs within a virtual machine didn't trigger the major slowdown.

      • Linux 5.11 Is Regressing Hard For AMD Performance With Schedutil

        It's not the Grinch in 2020 that stole Christmas, but the Schedutil CPU frequency scaling governor on the in-development Linux 5.11 kernel that is thrashing performance for AMD Zen 2 and newer. Distributions like Ubuntu, Fedora, and Manjaro are beginning to use CPUFreq Schedutil by default on newer kernels and thus leading to a very bad initial/out-of-the-box experience with the current behavior on the early Linux 5.11 code.

        As noted a few days ago, PostgreSQL performance was looking very good on AMD EPYC 7002 servers, Upon further testing PostgreSQL was indeed improving nicely across multiple AMD servers but when looking at more workloads, it began looking like a very mixed bag with some workloads often regressing significantly on Linux 5.11 in its current state as we approach the end of the merge window this weekend.

      • It's 2020: Linux Kernel Sees New Port To The Nintendo 64

        It's been a turbulent year and 2020 is certainly ending interesting in the Linux/open-source space... If it wasn't odd enough seeing Sony providing a new official Linux driver for their PlayStation 5 DualSense controller for ending out the year, there is also a new Linux port to the Nintendo 64 game console... Yes, a brand new port to the game console that launched more than two decades ago.

        Open-source developer Lauri Kasanen who has contributed to Mesa and the Linux graphics stack took to developing a new Nintendo 64 port and announced it this Christmas day. This isn't the first time Linux has been ported to the N64 but prior attempts weren't aimed at potentially upstreaming it into the mainline Linux kernel.

      • Graphics Stack

        • [Older] A Deep Dive Into The Wayland Protocol For Linux

          Over the formative years of kernel development, X11 became integral to the Linux experience and, in 2004, the X.Org Foundation was created to ensure the continued development of X11. However, as Linux and its software ecosystem began to rapidly evolve, along with the exponential growth of differing chipsets and device forms (like Tablets and Smartphones), it was starting to become obvious that something was needed to replace the legacy architecture of X11 in order to keep Linux working across multiple devices and architectures. It wouldn’t take long before a formidable replacement would make its way into the greater Linux developer consciousness.

          In 2008, a Red Hat employee and X.Org developer, Kristian Høgsberg, began working on a side project in his spare time. The idea included a very ambitious goal: create a new windowing system where “every frame is perfect, by which applications will be able to control the rendering enough that we’ll never see tearing, lag, redrawing or flicker.“. While traveling through the town of Wayland, Massachusetts, the architecture and implementation for Høgsberg’s project was finalized in the developer’s mind. With the major eureka moment, the project would take on the name of that small Massachusetts town, Wayland–in honor of Høgsberg’s breakthrough there.

    • Applications

      • Darktable 3.4.0 Released! How to Install via PPA in Ubuntu

        Darktable 3.4.0 was released yesterday on Christmas Eve as the new stable version of the open-source photography software and raw developer. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 20.10, Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 18.04, and Linux Mint 20.

      • Darktable 3.4 Released, What’s New for Open Source Photography

        darktable 3.4 has been officially released just in time to help you process your holiday photos with new features, improvements, bug fixes, and updated camera support. Darktable is an open source and cross-platform RAW image editor for Photographers. You could describe Darktable as an alternative to Adobe Lightroom and some users consider it may even be better than Lightroom. This is the second major release for Darktable in 2020 following Darktable 3.2 in August, so in just 4 months time they’ve released yet another exciting installment for this great project!

      • OBS Studio 26.1

        OBS Studio is software designed for capturing, compositing, encoding, recording, and streaming video content, efficiently. It is the re-write of the widely used Open Broadcaster Software, to allow even more features and multi-platform support. OBS Studio supports multiple sources, including media files, games, web pages, application windows, webcams, your desktop, microphone and more.

      • Daniel Pocock: A Christmas Gift for British friends

        Now you can download both Mr Johnson's backdrop and the lectern and create a scene with them on your webcam using OBS Studio software or the gstreamer chroma key script. This should work on a wide range of computers. Most GNU/Linux distributions include at least gstreamer, many also have OBS Studio now.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How Do You Install a DEB File in Ubuntu?

        Linux systems use deb files to install applications. Understanding how to use them is a key skill.

      • BTRFS Guide: Getting Started with BTRFS

        Btrfs (b-tree filesystem) is commonly pronounced as “Better F-S”, “Butter F-S”, and “B-tree F-S”. Btrfs is a filesystem that was designed at Oracle in 2007 and has since been in use throughout the Linux community. By 2012, Oracle Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise had adopted Btrfs as a production-viable and supported file system. In November of 2013, the filesystem was considered to be stable by the Linux community and was officially incorporated into the Linux kernel. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 was the first distribution of Linux to make Btrfs the default filesystem in 2014. Fedora 33 has been the most recent distribution to do the same in 2020. As time progresses, perhaps more distributions will do the same and adopt Btrfs as a default as well.

      • Ubuntu Studio 20.10: Audio Setup Tutorial - Front Page Linux

        This tutorial is a follow up on my previous article Ubuntu Studio 20.10: Is It The Perfect Linux Distro? In the first article, we looked at all the major changes in Ubuntu Studio. There was a lot to cover already and I quickly realized there was no way I could also squeeze a JACK tutorial in there.

      • PulseEffects – Advanced Audio Manipulation In Linux!

        In this video we take a look at PulseEffect the advanced audio manipulation tool for Linux. You can add effects like compression, deesser, bass boosting and more with this tool. There are profiles you can create and use from the community including the profile that I created for (an attempt) at a spatial sound for FPS gaming.

      • How to add automatic dark mode for your website using plain CSS | Hund

        Adding an automatic dark mode for your website using plain CSS is simple. Dark mode is not something that I use myself—it’s actually worse for your eyes—but it was requested by multiple readers, so I decided to add it to my website. It’s only a few lines of CSS anyway.

      • How to Install Odoo 14 on Ubuntu 20.04 – Google Cloud

        How to Install Odoo 14 on Ubuntu 20.04 with Nginx – Google Cloud. In this tutorial you are going to learn how to install and setup Odoo with Nginx reverse proxy and connect it with PostgreSQL in Cloud SQL.

      • Sample of manual build MVC Web Application for Tomcat 9.0.40

        This post follows up Practice coding in Java by writing a game recently published at LXER. Focus has been done on manual invoking "javac" using standard command line options for placing in right folders packaged Java Beans and Servlets which are required by Tomcat 9 Java Web's server. I intentially avoid storing data in MySQL 8.0.22 database what is actually common practice, but requires the most recent updates in coding JDBC connection to database ( LTS JDK 11 ) . Just a reminder any Java Server converts JSPs (JSFs) into system generated servlets at runtime, in particular case it is Jasper Compiler integrated into Tomcat Server.

      • How To Install Man Pages In Alpine Linux - OSTechNix

        Alpine Linux is known for its size. A minimal Docker image based on Alpine Linux with a complete package index is only 5 MB in size! It is no wonder why it is popular choice for many Linux power users and developers. It is so tiny compared to its counterparts, because many unwanted packages are stripped down to make Alpine Linux smaller. Even the manual pages for many command line utilities are not included by default in the Alpine docker images and vagrant boxes. This brief guide will walk you through the steps to install man pages in Alpine Linux.

      • How To Install Nmap on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Nmap on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Nmap is a utility for network exploration or security auditing. It is one of the essential tools used by network administrators to troubleshooting network connectivity issues and port scanning. Most Unix and Windows platforms are supported in both GUI and command line modes.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of the Nmap security scanner 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 Xfce 4.16 Desktop in Arch Linux [Complete Guide]

        In this guide, we explain how you can install the latest Xfce desktop in Arch Linux. The guide explains the steps for the latest Xfce 4.16 release, however, it works for any Xfce version as well.

      • The complete guide for NMAP Command

        Nmap is one of the most popular free and open-source command-line utility network scannings. Nmap can be used to discover hosts and services use by the system on the same network.

        A Nmap tool helps you to audit local and remote server open ports and the network details.

        It is available in all major operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and macOS. There is another nmap product known as zenmap, which is GUI based version of Nmap.

        Today we guide you on using Nmap in all major Linux distribution like port status, multiple hosts and, many more.

      • Check Netspeed from Terminal in Linux

        Ever wondered how to check your Netspeed without leaving your Terminal. Today we use one most popular Linux utility to check the net speed in all major Linux distribution.

        speedtest-cli is a command-line based interface for testing internet bandwidth. It uses speedtest.net to show network speed.

      • Alpine Linux Apk Command Examples - OSTechNix

        This guide explains what is Apk package manager and how to do various Alpine Linux package management operations using Apk command line package manager with examples.

        A brief introduction to apk package manager

        Apk, stands for Alpine Package Keeper, is the default package manager for Alpine Linux. It is used to install, update, upgrade, search, list and remove packages on a running Alpine Linux system. Apk is the part of apk-tools package which comes pre-installed in all Alpine Linux versions.

        Apk retrieves packages as well as information about available packages in the online repositories. Each repository contains a special index file, named APKINDEX.tar.gz. All software packages stored in a repository are digitally signed tar.gz archives. They have the extension .apk, and are often called "a-packs".

      • How to Use the Linux Export Command in Everyday Computing

        The Linux export command marks which values need to be passed to a set of child processes. It is a simple but useful feature provided by the bash shell. It allows admins to pass configuration parameters for the environment without disrupting the current session. This is why the exported variables are not used until the terminal session has been restarted. Luckily, the export command is very simple to use and easy to master. In this guide, we will advise starting users on how to use export in Linux.

      • How to Use the Docker Exec Command to Interact with Your Docker Containers

        The Docker exec command is a very useful command for interacting with your running docker containers. When working with Docker you will likely have the need to access the shell or CLI of the docker containers you have deployed, which you can do using docker exec.

      • How to Install Nextcloud on Ubuntu 20.04

        Nextcloud is an open-source, flexible, and self-hosted cloud storage service. It is a fork of Owncloud and very similar to DropBox and other cloud storage services. With Nextcloud, you can share and sync files, contacts, and data across your devices. It supports two-factor authentication and protects the public links with a password. Nextcloud comes with a rich set of features including, an Online document editor, Calendar Management, Video calls with chat, File sync and sharing, Media Playing, Contact management, and many more.

      • How To Install and Configure GitLab on Ubuntu 20.04 – TecAdmin

        Gitlab is a web-based DevOps lifecycle management tool developed by GitLab Inc. It provides git version control repository management, issue tracking, To-Do list, continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) pipelines for the applications. Gitlab also supports integration with various services.

        The Community edition of Gitlab is available free for use on development and production environment. It provides large number of features required for small to large scale companies. The enterprise edition provides more features but required a paid license.

        This tutorial will help you to install Gitlab on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Linux system. You are going to install Gitlab community edition using this tutorial.

      • How To Install RabbitMQ on Debian 10 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install RabbitMQ on Debian 10. For those of you who didn’t know, RabbitMQ is open source message broker software (sometimes called message-oriented middleware) that implements the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP). The RabbitMQ server is written in the Erlang programming language and is built on the Open Telecom Platform framework for clustering and failover. Client libraries to interface with the broker are available for all major programming languages.

        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 RabbitMQ on a Debian 10 (Buster).

      • Top 5 best remote work guides for 2020 | Enable Sysadmin

        Over the past year, Enable Sysadmin had a series of articles detailing a variety of strategies for working within this new paradigm. My coworker and good friend Anthony Critelli taught us five best practices for administering systems remotely, including some fancy SSH agent forwarding.

        From the Red Hat side, Ken Hess detailed some remote support options that can help you safely troubleshoot both corporate users and family members that might be having trouble.

        Both Ken and I published articles detailing some tips for working from home. As I have been a remote worker for quite a few years, I've picked up a few tips and tricks along the way for making it a little easier to manage.

        Some of these are technical, like my tmux and mosh combo, whereas some are decidedly non-technical, like having a dedicated workspace whenever possible. Ken provides some excellent guidance around self-care by dressing for success and taking frequent breaks.

        Finally, Sudoer Nathan Lager from Red Hat has some excellent suggestions on how to keep yourself secure when you aren't afforded the luxury of the corporate office.

        Though these topics took on a special importance over the past year, they are no less important going into the coming year. I hope you find them useful!

      • What is Systemd in Linux?

        Systemd is a manager that manages starts, stops, restart services in Linux, and handles how service will start when the system power-up.

        Init.d is used before systemd is not in the market. But in recent systemd gain huge popularity and love from the Linux community. Today almost all major Linux distributions ship systemd as the default system component for Linux system.

    • Games

      • Why make games for Linux if they don't sell? Because the nerds are just grateful to get something that works

        Video games are the new Hollywood, complete with celebrities and hyped blockbusters like Cyberpunk 2077. In 2019, they made half as much again as the movie sector's paltry $101bn. You know who won't see much of that dough? Desktop Linux games developers.

        Around the world, a committed community of independent gaming devs happily churns out games for Linux on the desktop. They're the gaming world's niche auteurs.

        One of them is Ciprian Bacioiu (known as "Zapa" online). To make ends meet, he takes on mobile game development contracts for freelance clients. When he has enough to live on for a few months, though, he concentrates on his one-person development studio, Bearded Giant Games, which pumps out ports and original creations for Linux fans. His first big title to sell on Steam, Ebony Spire: Heresy, was a retro first-person dungeon crawler. The second, Space Mercs, is a space shooter.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce 4.16 Released, This Is What’s New

        Xfce 4.16 has been officially released with this major new version. This update to the lightweight desktop environment, Xfce, has been in the works for over a year now and with this latest version they’ve introduced many exciting features including a refresh to the design of the DE’s set of icons.

        The previous version of Xfce, 4.14, took more than 4 years of development before we saw the release and with this release of 4.16 that period has been drastically reduced to just over a year which excites me for what the future of this desktop environment project may hold.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • A Look at KDE Desktop Effects

          Since KDE 3, with each update, the number of desktop effects multiplied. Let’s take a trip into the land of KDE’s desktop effects and look at how you can use them to improve both your desktop’s aesthetics and usability.

          KDE had the reputation of being the most demanding desktop environment. Its effects used to put an extra toll on resources and induce significant lag, but not anymore – at least, not if you bought your PC within the decade. Check out our KDE review for that.

          If your PC isn’t a two-decade-old relic, KDE will automatically recognize its GPU and enable its compositor. Under normal circumstances, you don’t have to do anything to enable its support for effects.

        • Christmastime in the year 2020 | Holiday Blathering

          There have been a lot of great developments in the open source world, it seems like software packages rolling down on openSUSE Tumbleweed have just been rock-solid. KDE Plasma 5.20 has been an incredible joy to have on all my machines. If you have a touch screen, the interface controls are top-notch. I learned of a replacement shell called FISH which may very well be the neatest terminal based tool I have ever used. I am truly thankful for all the hard work put in by so many people to make life on the computer more enjoyable and productive.

          I have been able to continue to enjoy my time with the Destination Linux Network where I can make a positive contribution to the community on a regular basis. I have been able to meet some incredible people with such incredible knowledge and seemingly endless patience. I have been able to learn so many new and interesting things because of the interactions and I am forever grateful.

        • KDE/Kai Uwe Broulik: Holiday Hacking

          I want KDE applications to offer thumbnails for as many file types as possible, so over the years I’ve written a bunch of thumbnailers in kio-extras, such as for AppImages, Open Document (odt, ods, odp, …) files, various ebooks formats (epub, fiction book), Microsoft Office XML documents, and other files conforming to the “Open Packaging Convention”. Thankfully, modern document formats are often just ZIP archives (that can easily be handled using our KArchive framework) which already contain a thumbnail generated by the authoring application.

          Furthermore, I even improved the Windows EXE and ICO thumbnailer to choose the prettiest icon available and even added support for friggin’ 16-bit executables from Windows 3.1. Qt already comes with support for reading ICO and CUR (Cursor) files but there’s no support for animated cursors (ANI). Naturally, I sat down and started writing a thumbnailer for that. A short while into reading the file format specification, I realized I might as well write a proper KImageFormats plugin, so that any Qt application, like Kolourpaint and Gwenview, can present those files. Gwenview would even play them like a GIF animation!

          [...]

          A few days ago Nate was approached about a new “platform profiles” ACPI API that will be added to the Linux kernel. It will allow to apply certain power management presets, such as “balanced”, “quiet”, “performance” without having to worry about changing specific details, like setting CPU frequency explicitly on the software side. Knowing that I’ve wanted a setting like this forever, Nate told me about this, and on Christmas Eve after returning from a smaller-than-usual family dinner I fired up a Linux kernel build and wrote a KAuth helper for manipulating those new sysfs files.

          [...]

          I also added a PowerDevil action which can automatically change the profile when you plug in/out your power supply or the battery is running low. Finally, I also added a DBus interface for enumerating and switching profiles that can then be used for some sort of UI in battery monitor to change between profiles anytime. I actually haven’t managed to get it working on my ThinkPad just yet but it looked simple enough to write that plug-in blindly.

        • This week in KDE: kio-fuse and NeoChat rise

          First of all, KDE’s FUSE-based remote location mounter kio-fuse got its first stable release, which means it can now be pre-installed by distros.

          [...]

          Dolphin now lets you set its “homepage” to non-local locations including arbitrary KIOSlaves, such as remote://, baloosearch:// and so on (Derek Christ, Dolphin 21.04)

          KRunner’s history is now activity-aware by default! This means for example that there will no longer be a data leak if you use an activity with history turned off (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21)

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Alan Pope: My 'Must-Have' GNOME Extensions

          I currently run Ubuntu 20.10 on my main desktop PC. GNOME Shell is the default desktop, and while it’s great, one very useful feature is the ability to supplement or alter the default behaviour with extensions and other add-ons. Ubuntu ships with a couple of extensions by default, but I’ve added a few on top, and this blog post details what they are and how to get them, in no particular order…

          I have multiple input and output audio devices on my computer. A USB-attached Focusrite Scarlett Solo mixer enables my to attach an XLR-connected microphone and headphones to the PC. I have a small desktop speaker which I use when I’m tired of wearing headphones. I also often have a Magewell HDMI capture card, Logitech C920 webcam, and a Canon EOS M100 mirrorless camera. They also show up as audio capture devices.

    • Distributions

      • GMK NucBox mini PC: Testing 4K video with LibreELEC/Kodi

        The GMK NucBox is a tiny desktop PC that that measures 2.4″ x 2.4″ x 1.7″ and weighs about 5 ounces. It’s a full-fledged computer that ships with Windows 10, and which can run other desktop operating systems including Ubuntu Linux.

        But what if you just want to use it as a media center?

        That’s where a lightweight Linux distribution like LibreELEC can come in handy.

      • Pipewire replaces Pulseaudio in Zenwalk

        Quoting pipewire.org : Pipewire provides a low-latency, graph based processing engine on top of audio and video devices that can be used to support the use cases currently handled by both pulseaudio and JACK. PipeWire was designed with a powerful security model that makes interacting with audio and video devices from containerized applications easy. Alongside Wayland and Flatpak we expect PipeWire to provide a core building block for the future of Linux application development.

      • New Releases

        • 4MLinux 35.0 STABLE released.

          The status of the 4MLinux 35.0 series has been changed to STABLE. Edit your documents with LibreOffice 7.0.4.2 and GNOME Office (AbiWord 3.0.4, GIMP 2.10.22, Gnumeric 1.12.48), share your files using DropBox 109.4.517, surf the Internet with Firefox 84.0 and Chromium 83.0.4103.116, send emails via Thunderbird 78.6.0, enjoy your music collection with Audacious 4.0.5, watch your favorite videos with VLC 3.0.11 and mpv 0.32.0, play games powered by Mesa 20.1.7 and Wine 5.21. You can also setup the 4MLinux LAMP Server (Linux 5.4.75, Apache 2.4.46, MariaDB 10.5.7, PHP 5.6.40 and PHP 7.4.12). Perl 5.32.0, Python 2.7.18, and Python 3.8.5 are also available.

          As always, the new major release has some new features. Inkscape (vector graphics editor) is now available as a downloadable extension. Dangerous Dave has been added to the collection of games which can be played via DOSBox. Notepad++ (advanced code editor) has been included in the 4MLinux Wine package. Nmap (network scanner) and ircII (IRC client) have been added to the 4MLinux Server.

      • BSD

        • [Old] How to set up Tiny Tiny RSS on OpenBSD

          The following article describes on how to install Tiny Tiny RSS on recent versions of OpenBSD using httpd. As of this writing, I am using OpenBSD 6.3.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 review

          For many years, SUSE - and openSUSE - has been my daily driver, my favorite Linux distro. It had everything one could expect - speed, stability, professional edge, top-end tooling. And then, one day, it simply stopped being awesome. I've been trying to rekindle that first Tux love ever since. Without luck.

          You can read all about my past openSUSE endeavors by reading my last review and working your way into the past, up the hill of enthusiasm and happiness. In fact, my overall Linux desktop experience has been going down for quite some time, and recently, I've decided to do my reviews short and sweet. Well, not having touched openSUSE for quite some time, I wanted to check Leap 15.2 again, to see what gives. Can I haz the old fun back?

          [...]

          This was longer than I anticipated - or warranted. Call it my nostalgic infatuation with openSUSE. It pains me to say, but openSUSE Leap 15.2 isn't any friendlier or smarter than many of its previous versions. In fact, it's pretty nerdy and largely inaccessible to ordinary folks, despite some rather brilliant elements in its design. But you cannot reconcile those with a fundamentally broken package management, missing day-to-day software and fun bits, and tons of visual and ergonomic inconsistencies.

          The installer is no longer as safe and intelligent as it used to be. Everything is a bit less. Such a shame. Because YaST is cool, and SUSE utilities are generally top-notch and pro. But then, there's a clash between what should be a desktop for ordinary people and an enterprise sysadmin frontend, in a way. Kind of between what you get with default CentOS and CentOS plus all my gravy and changes. Well, sad but hardly surprising. Maybe one day. That said, much like my Fedora 33 review, I will have a separate post-install tweaks guide, for those who do want to use openSUSE Leap as their desktop machine. Given my experience, I can't recommend it, and it joins a long list of painful memories in my Tux journey.

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/52

          Xmas is upon us – at least in some areas of the world. This means quitea lot of people are away from their computers and the number of submissions is getting a bit lower. Tumbleweed is not stopping though – it just rolls at the pace contributors create submissions. For week 2020/52 this means a total of 3 snapshots that were published. Saddest of this all is that the new kernel 5.10 is not behaving very nicely when the iwlwifi module is being loaded.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • [Older] CentOS Crosses Streams With The Community

          CentOS Stream seems like a great project positioning itself as a midstream between Fedora Linux (best distro of 2020?) and RHEL. So what’s all the fuss about?

          There are several arguments against this change but the most notable of all is the fact that CentOS 8 will no longer be supported through 2029 as originally committed, rather, it will now only be supported until 2021. As a distro which has established it’s dominance through the stability and predictability of a ten year support cycle, this was not the kind of sudden move that leaves your end-users pleased. On the positive side though they will keep their commitment to supporting CentOS 7 through the RHEL 7 full lifecycle.

          There are other concerns shared from the community as well but the end result is the same. The very foundation of a strong open source project relies on the trust between the community and the project leaders. Sudden and dramatic shifts based on the needs of the business can happen, but it should be done with transparency, discussion, and reasonable compromise. This did not seem to happen with this CentOS Stream announcement. I’ve heard but not been able to verify that despite CentOS being very popular (second most popular distro to run websites on), that the contributions and size of the team supporting CentOS is a major hurdle. So there could be very legitimate reasons for this shift but those reasons weren’t well communicated.

          The good news is that this can all be fixed. CentOS and RHEL have the opportunity here to make this right and in doing so could gain back the trust they’ve partially lost in this sudden change of direction. Ultimately ‘if’ CentOS Stream is the future and a better solution, many of their customers will end up transitioning through 2029 to the superior product anyways. At the very least they could reach a compromise to support CentOS 8 past 2021.

          Personally, I believe rolling distros are the future. Yes, a rolling or semi-rolling distro can be stable, predictable and current. With companies like Facebook and Intel who runs thousands of servers supporting CentOS Stream there is definitely an argument to be made for the success of this new model. CentOS Stream could just be the proof of concept we need, however, this could all be done with better communication, engagement, and transparency.

      • Debian Family

        • EasyOS Dunfell update weird error

          EasyOS Dunfell 0.101 was announced yesterday: https://bkhome.org/news/202012/easyos-dunfell-0101-released.html The previous release is 0.98 and if you are running that, there is an "update" icon on the desktop. Forum member 'banned' reported that this was broken, and I did find a strange fault, and fixed it. But that fix was after 0.98 was released.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 10 open source news headlines of 2020

        Take a look back at the open source news that made headlines in 2020.

        [...]

        Ceph is an open source software-defined storage platform. It implements object storage on a single distributed computer cluster and powers several research centers' projects, including CERN's particle physics research, Tim Hildred reports. This continues CERN's push, which began in 2019, to use open source software.

        [...]

        Scott Nesbitt reports on a new Mozilla Foundation subsidiary, MZLA Technologies, which will be "the new home of the Thunderbird project." MZLA Technologies will help Mozilla offer products and services that would not be possible otherwise. Time will tell if Mozilla transfers other products to the new subsidiary.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Release of GnuCOBOL 3.1.2

            Its existence may come as a bit of a surprise to some, but the GnuCOBOL project has released version 3.1.2 as a successor to GnuCOBOL 2.2 after three years of improvements. "GnuCOBOL is a free, modern COBOL compiler. It translates COBOL into intermediate C and compiles the code using a native C compiler (preferably GCC, but not limited to it). [...] some of the highlights: Huge improvements for compatibility to different COBOL dialects, better error handling and adjustable exceptions per COBOL 2002; more modern format for diagnostic messages (especially useful when used in an integrated development environment possible in Emacs, Vim, VSCodium and others) and improved source-level debugging." More information about the new features in the release can be found in the NEWS file, which is attached to the release announcement below.

          • GIMP 2.99.4 Released As One Step Closer To GIMP 3.0

            Adding to the open-source Christmas excitement this year was the release of GIMP 2.99.4 that puts this image editor one step closer to the long-awaited GIMP 3.0.

            GIMP 3.0 has been long sought for finally transitioning this open-source image manipulation program from the GTK2 to GTK3 toolkit even while GTK 4.0 was released this month. With GIMP 2.99.4 there are usability fixes, a new paint select tool, multi-threaded JPEG2000 decoding support, and initial documentation for how to port existing GIMP plug-ins to the 3.0 code-base. There are also various usability improvements, better device defaults, and more.

      • Programming/Development

        • Ruby 3.0.0 Released

          We are pleased to announce the release of Ruby 3.0.0. From 2015 we developed hard toward Ruby 3, whose goal is performance, concurrency, and Typing. Especially about performance, Matz stated “Ruby3 will be 3 times faster than Ruby2” a.k.a. Ruby 3x3.

        • Ruby 3.0 Released With ~3x The Performance

          After a half-decade working toward it, Ruby 3.0 was released on Christmas Day with much greater performance and other features for this high-level general purpose programming language.

          Ruby 3.0 was developed with a focus of greater performance, concurrency, and typing and successfully achieved its goal of being 3.0x faster than the performance of Ruby 2.0. That 3.0x speed-up is when making use of the new Ruby 3.0 Just-In-Time (JIT) abilities but even for its VM implementation is still a sizable speed-up compared to Ruby 2.

        • How to convert a JSON object to String in Javascript

          Suppose you have a JSON object and you want to make this JSON object a String in javascript.

          To do this, just use the method JSON.stringify(given_text), passing the string as a parameter.

        • Looking at Vue

          All applications are more or less connected today. The time of files on a disk, or moving them with a USB stick (or floppy) are over. Even file based programs are often synced using Nextcloud, dropbox, google drive, etc.

          At Eperoto I’m busy building a backend for a React frontend, but there I stay in my comfort zone at the backend. It is Python, databases and files, just as I know and like things to be. I also have my normal toolbox for debugging and know how to execute a rich set of unit and integration tests to ensure that things stay sane over time.

          However, I have another side project. Finally I’ve reached a point where have to do take a dip in the sea of web frontend. I don’t mean messing about with the odd Javascript snippet or fighting the windmil^Wcss.

        • Eagle's Path: DocKnot 4.00 (2020-12-25)

          This release of my static site generator and software release management tool is finally at a point where I'm happy with some of the interface and think that piece may be stable for a while.

          This release converts the package metadata format from JSON to YAML and cleans up a bunch of organizational errors I made when I designed it originally. That also means that the entire metadata is now in a single file, docs/docknot.yaml by convention, instead of needing a whole directory of files. (This comes with the minor drawback that one edits Markdown in text blocks in YAML, which has somewhat less editor support, but it works fine for me.)

          There's a whole other blog post in how I've now tried many different markup formats, including TOML, and have decided YAML is the best one around if you want humans to be able to write it. (JSON or Protobuf is probably best if you only care about information exchange between software.) The short version is that YAML is way too large of a language and very painful to fully implement, but everything else fails to deal with one or more hard problems: nested structure, multi-line text, comments, or not requiring tedious quoting of everything. I'll be converting other software I maintain over to YAML with time.

        • Perl/Raku

          • gfldex: Coercive files

            Many APIs have a routine or two that take a file as an argument. In Raku we can easily turn Str into IO::Path and subsequently into IO::Handle. As a module author it’s a polite move to provide MMD variants, so the user can supply what they like.

        • Python

        • Rust

          • Redox OS 0.6 Launches New Updates and Fixes! Can It Compete With iOS?
            Redox OS 6.0, a new device system has arrived! This latest version of the system brings new fixes and features that you might want to try.

            According to Editorials 360's report, Redox OS is the micro-kernel mainly based Rust-written working system. Its developer released the latest version on Christmas Eve, together with many bug fixes and new options.

            It contains a full rewrite of its RMM kernel reminiscence supervisor. Other updates include Pkgar as a brand new package deal format, enhancements to its Relibc C library implementation, and Rust code compatibility updates. To help you further, here are the system's other details that you should know.

          • Redox OS 0.6.0

            A number of new projects have been introduced during this release cycle, and many improvements have been landed. Very many bugs have been squashed. This list is an extreme over-simplification of the thousands of commits done since the last release. Hopefully, releases will happen more often so this is not always the case.

          • Redox OS 0.6 Released With Many Fixes, Rewritten Kernel Memory Manager - Phoronix

            Redox OS, the micro-kernel based Rust-written operating system, is out with a new Christmas release.

            Redox OS 0.6 was released on Christmas Eve with many bug fixes and new features. Redox OS 0.6 features a complete rewrite of its RMM kernel memory manager, improvements to its Relibc C library implementation, Pkgar as a new package format, and Rust code compatibility updates.

  • Leftovers

    • On Christmas, Let's Reach for Hope in This Dark Winter
    • Is Society Collapsing?

      It would be, I said, a mix of ecological disasters including earth overheating and polar ice melting, political disintegration including failed states worldwide and uprisings in major cities, and economic chaos including insurmountable debt and a stock-market crash and depression. He said, “We won’t even be close,” and slapped down a $1,000 check on my desk. Though a tidy sum in those days, I matched it and we settled on a mutual editor friend as the arbiter, to make the call when the time came.

      That time, the end of the year 2020, has now indeed come. Who wins?

    • Power Requires Structure, Structure Requires Discipline

      The primary impediment to political organizing efforts is the lack of left-wing political institutions and structures. Unions must be rebuilt. Political institutions, perhaps in the form of new parties or structures somewhat similar to the DSA, must be developed. Community organizations, churches, tenants’ unions, and cultural projects will also play vital roles. In short, we need it all, and we need it now.

      One of the obstructions to building structures and institutions is the unhealthy and unproductive cultural habits of poor and working-class people, including those already involved with political efforts. Here, I’m not so much talking about our eating habits or lack of exercise, though both are worthy of debate and discussion — I’m specifically thinking about the inordinate amount of time American adults spend on immature cultural activities that hinder organizing efforts: binge drinking, drug abuse, video games, Netflix, cosplay, etc. In my experience, Americans, particularly progressives, can muster any number of excuses to avoid cultural and political engagement.

    • Ads All Tell Us To Kill Our Future. Worth Discussing?

      (Although I’m not sure why I’m talking to my dad about it. He doesn’t read my columns because he’s too busy watching survival reality shows set in Alaska. . . . Maybe I’ll factor something about eating a squirrel into the coming paragraphs to attract his attention.)

      It’s the holidays. It’s the buying season. You’re supposed to run out immediately and buy everything you can afford — and actually much more than you can afford — because you can dump everything on credit cards and not worry about paying it off until€ later. And€ later€ won’t suck — the stores promise! But of course truthfully it will.€ Later€ will suck.€ Later€ always sucks, for most people. But no matter — go quick and get the brand new model of the thing you didn’t like the first time around. Better yet, buy it for someone else because even though they might get as little use out of the gadget as you did, they won’t be able to tell you that — so they’ll just say “Thank you!” because it’s part of the social code. They’ll say you’re the€ bestest€ aunt or uncle or cousin or friend or Uber driver who awkwardly gave them a gift for no reason.

    • Opinion | A People’s Agenda for a Better Nation

      The Poor People's Campaign and Congressional Progressive Caucus team up to chart a course for the future.

    • Music is the Highest Revelation

      Guitarist Jerry Garcia and keyboardist Merle Saunders knew about the place long before I ever did. Indeed, a new recording released as Garcia Live #15 reveals a splendid mix of jazz, blues and fusion from a performance by the two in May 1971. Joined by drummer Bill Vitt and saxophonist Martin Fierro, the show is a prime example of the musicians’ versatility and mastery of their instruments. It is a mastery that improved each time they played (I say this having seen them in various combos from 1977 to 1984.)

      Of course, by the time this performance took place, Garcia was already well known as the lead guitarist of the rock band The Grateful Dead. That fame would be his joy and scourge until he died at fifty-three. It was his side projects, though, that kept him musically humble and extended his groove. The show consists of two sets. Both sets feature lengthy jams that mix it up with a couple Garcia-Saunders takes on popular tunes of the day. As far as I’m concerned, the highlights are the version of “See That my Grave is Kept Clean” and a fusion jam titled “Mother Earth.” Called “One Kind Favor” here, the version of “See That my Grave is Kept Clean” features classic Garcia guitar playing, melting intricate yet simple lines of melody in between a most basic blues progression. The other piece is fusion at its almost finest. Garcia and his guitar do not even appear in this jam until well into the piece—after Saunders and his sax player take the listener into stratospheric corners one would expect to hear in the classic jazz venue in San Francisco. When Garcia joins in, the stratosphere expands.

    • Thebes of Myth and History

      There were so many Greeks and Greek city-states in Italy and Sicily the Romans described the region as Magna Graecia. Plato used to joke that the Greeks were like frogs playing in a pond, the Mediterranean. He ignored the Black Sea pond.

      Surrounded by Athens and Sparta

    • Satan's Party
    • ‘Christmas in My Soul’

      The most poignant and powerful Christmas-themed song of the modern era was released 50 years ago by Laura Nyro, the Bronx-born singer and songwriter whose remarkable contribution to the American songbook included a series of late-1960s and early-1970s hit singles for the 5th Dimension (“Wedding Bell Blues”), the Supremes (“Stoned Soul Picnic”), Blood, Sweat & Tears (“And When I Die”) Three Dog Night (“Eli’s Comin’’”) and Barbra Streisand (“Stoney End”).”

    • Ma Don’t Take No Mess

      Wilson’s character-driven drama unfolds in a Chicago recording studio on a hot summer day in 1927. Blues singer Ma Rainey has traveled to the Windy City from the Jim Crow South, the former Confederacy. In that region under a big tent, all-black audiences flocked to see her sing the bawdy blues. Viola Davis nails the loud and proud singer’s attitude and body language. Rainey does not take any mess from her white agent and manager in Chicago after leaving her hometown of Columbus, Georgia.

      “They don’t care about nothing but my voice,” Rainey laments. She knows the class, color and gender lines of the music business. Black artists lose the lion’s share of the wealth that their labor creates to white takers. There is no democracy at work until workers demand it. Rainey does that.

    • Balloon boy hoax' parents pardoned in Colorado
    • Review: The Biggest Bluff

      After a particularly unlucky year for her family, Maria Konnikova was reading about the balance between luck and control in life and discovered, to her surprise, that John von Neumann, one of the foundational thinkers of computer science, was fascinated by poker. He found most card games boring because they relied on luck. Poker, however, he thought was the perfect balance between luck and skill: enough skill to make its effect undeniable, but enough luck that one could not control the game fully regardless of skill.

      Konnikova decided on a research project: spend one year learning No Limit Texas Hold'em from one of the best poker players in the world, with a goal of competing in the World Series of Poker. She had studied the description-experience gap during her doctoral research in psychology and wanted to see if the experience of randomness in poker would teach her something the description of the randomness of life could not. Before starting this project, she didn't know the basic rules and had never watched a game. Erik Seidel agreed to mentor her, and The Biggest Bluff is her account of that experience.

      [...]

      I'm not sure how to sum up this book. Konnikova's internal analysis and honesty is truly admirable and illuminating, but it left me wanting to read a different book that was more focused on poker narration. I know there are lots of those books out there, but I doubt they would be written with Konnikova's self-awareness and lack of ego. However, they would probably also lack the moments that made me cringe or that were deeply uncomfortable to read.

      My feelings are mixed. But if you want popular psychology wrapped around a deeply honest account of the process of learning poker, I suspect this book is one of a kind.

    • Science

      • Reverse Engineering the source code of the BioNTech/Pfizer SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine

        Now, these words may be somewhat jarring - the vaccine is a liquid that gets injected in your arm. How can we talk about source code?

        This is a good question, so let’s start off with a small part of the very source code of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, also known as BNT162b2, also known as Tozinameran also known as Comirnaty.

    • Hardware

      • Keyboards, Old and New

        I’m certainly no MK afficianado, but I use keyboards all day every day, so like wine, I can appreciate a relatively good one, but I’ll also tolerate a cheap and crap one if pushed. There’s three keyboards I use on a daily basis, both old and new.

        [...]

        Using the Model M is a uniquely pleasurable experience, for the user. For anyone around them, it’s likely the most annoying noise in their day. Working from home in your own office has many benefits, and not being shouted at for “typing too loud” is certainly high on the list.

        The travel and feel as your digits dance across the beige buttons, composing your opus, or merely messaging mates, is sublime. The Model M has an unmatched heft and solidity compared to modern counterparts. You know you’re using this keyboard. Its presence on the desk is imposing, never taking second fiddle to anything else nearby. It’s a monument.

        In use, there’s a rhythmic, almost musical click and clack of each key. Each has their individual characteristic sound, from light deftness of the main letters to the echoing resonance of the enter key to the soft ‘boing’ of the spacebar. Every keypress is a unique audible delight for the user.

        I don’t think I’ll ever give up my Model M, I suspect I’ll have to be cremated with it, and even then it’ll likely survive the process.

        If you’d like to hear the sound of the glorious Model M, you can probably pick one up on ebay. Alternatively install bucklespring (snap avaiable) which accurately reproduces the sound, but obviously not the feel, of the classic IBM part. Run it through speakers to effectively reproduce the annoyance for those around you.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • States Say They're Decarcerating, Yet 1 in 5 Prisoners Has Had COVID
      • With Winter Comes More Stagnant Air, Intensifying COVID-19 Risks
      • Meet the pseudo-left imperialists fighting against universal healthcare
      • Indian Farm Suicide Widow: "There's No One to Depend On"

        The FIR (first information report) was filed on September 17, 2017, at the Tharigopulla police station, three kilometres from Narasapur, the village where Sammaiah and his wife Kondra Sagarika cultivated Bt-cotton on six acres of rain-fed land.

        Their debt had reached nearly Rs. 5 lakhs, taken mainly from relatives at varying rates of interest. Sammaiah and Sagarika owned a little over an acre and had leased the rest from relatives. “The process of borrowing the farmer gets into before each season was the reason for the debt,” says Sagarika. Drought added to their losses.

      • 'Holidays Can't Be Jolly If Your Family Is Not Safely Housed': Progressives Urge CDC to Extend Eviction Moratorium

        "Allowing tens of millions of people to be evicted in the dead of winter in the middle of a resurgence of Covid-19€ cases and deaths is unconscionable."

      • The Coming Battle Over Vaccines

        Yet as of November, four in ten Americans said they definitely or probably won’t get the vaccine (although about half of that group said they would consider it once a vaccine became available and they could get more information about it).

        Why, after living in quarantine for nine months while the economy and our mental health crashes around us, after over 300,000 Americans are dead, is getting the vaccine even a question?

      • The Gold Comes Off: A COVID-19 Outbreak in Sydney

        But distance has not spared the country from the COVID-19 pandemic.€  Assisted by human error and misjudgement, quarantine defences were breached as they will no doubt continue to be.€  In Victoria, it proved most costly, leading to community transmission in a deadly second wave with a single-day peak of 725 cases in August.€  In the largest state in the country, New South Wales, pride was taken at developing a contact tracing system to deal with arrivals from outside Australia. Withering judgment, notably by the Morrison federal government, was cast on hapless Victoria.€  New South Wales received gushing praise.

        Praising NSW was silly in its unequivocal confidence.€  Viruses care little for reputations.€  In time, the “gold” standard of NSW containment proved to be gilded. Hit the gilding, and you realise it might be gold leaf.

      • New Year Vaccine
      • Justice for All Essential Workers

        You don’t need to look far to see inequity in many areas, and one of the most pronounced involves frontline essential workers in such fields as public transport, food manufacturing, health care, postal work, retail, and grocery work. There are necessary and feasible ways of mitigating such inequalities in the short-term, but, as with any injustice, achieving short-term mitigations doesn’t come without struggle.

        Take the example of grocery workers. In Los Angeles County, where I live, 490 businesses are currently being investigated for outbreaks of covid (three or more cases of covid among staff in a 14-day period), whereas 173 outbreaks had been reported just a month ago. Many are occurring in grocery stores, like a Food 4 Less in Palmdale, where 21 cases of covid had been reported in a short period of time. One employee, a cashier named Barbara Hughes, described to an LA Times reporter what it was like to learn of employees and long-time customers falling ill, then seeing others succumbing: a manager one week, an entire department the next.

      • Ousted Florida health scientist asks state to return gear seized in raid

        Johnson attached an affidavit from a data expert saying there is no evidence Jones sent the message. Login information for the alert system was widely disseminated on the [Internet] before the message went out.

        “The basis for this motion is twofold: first, the act alleged against Plaintiff is not even theoretically a crime and thus could not support a search warrant against anybody; and second, no probable cause was shown sufficient to link Plaintiff to the alleged message transmission,’’ the motion states.

      • Fired COVID analyst Rebekah Jones asks court to order state to return seized computer gear

        Richard E. Johnson, the Tallahassee attorney representing Jones, filed the motion in Leon County Circuit Court and attached an affidavit from a data expert who concluded that the evidence used by state police does not conclusively link Jones to the message she is alleged to have sent and, instead, “seems potentially consistent with [Jones’] assertion that the raid was retaliatory.”

        Last week Jones sued FDLE, alleging that the basis of a Dec. 7 search of her Tallahassee home was “a sham” designed to punish her for speaking out against Gov. Ron DeSantis for ”refusing to falsify statistics on a ‘dashboard’ she had created for [the Department of Health].” In May, DOH fired Jones for insubordination and she subsequently filed a whistle-blower complaint against the state.

      • Altitude and COVID–19: Friend or foe? A narrative review

        Recent reports suggest that high–altitude residence may be beneficial in the novel coronavirus disease (COVID–19) implicating that traveling to high places or using hypoxic conditioning thus could be favorable as well. Physiological high–altitude characteristics and symptoms of altitude illnesses furthermore seem similar to several pathologies associated with COVID–19. As a consequence, high altitude and hypoxia research and related clinical practices are discussed for potential applications in COVID–19 prevention and treatment. We summarize the currently available evidence on the relationship between altitude/hypoxia conditions and COVID–19 epidemiology and pathophysiology. The potential for treatment strategies used for altitude illnesses is evaluated. Symptomatic overlaps in the pathophysiology of COVID–19 induced ARDS and high altitude illnesses (i.e., hypoxemia, dyspnea…) have been reported but are also common to other pathologies (i.e., heart failure, pulmonary embolism, COPD…). Most treatments of altitude illnesses have limited value and may even be detrimental in COVID–19. Some may be efficient, potentially the corticosteroid dexamethasone. Physiological adaptations to altitude/hypoxia can exert diverse effects, depending on the constitution of the target individual and the hypoxic dose. In healthy individuals, they may optimize oxygen supply and increase mitochondrial, antioxidant, and immune system function. It is highly debated if these physiological responses to hypoxia overlap in many instances with SARS–CoV–2 infection and may exert preventive effects under very specific conditions. The temporal overlap of SARS–CoV–2 infection and exposure to altitude/hypoxia may be detrimental. No evidence–based knowledge is presently available on whether and how altitude/hypoxia may prevent, treat or aggravate COVID–19. The reported lower incidence and mortality of COVID–19 in high–altitude places remain to be confirmed. High–altitude illnesses and COVID–19 pathologies exhibit clear pathophysiological differences. While potentially effective as a prophylactic measure, altitude/hypoxia is likely associated with elevated risks for patients with COVID–19. Altogether, the different points discussed in this review are of possibly some relevance for individuals who aim to reach high–altitude areas. However, due to the ever–changing state of understanding of COVID–19, all points discussed in this review may be out of date at the time of its publication.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Fedora (xen) and SUSE (flac and openexr).

          • What Is Penetration Testing and How Does It Improve Network Security?

            When setting up a new security system, you need to make sure it works properly with as few vulnerabilities as possible. Where digital assets worth thousands of dollars are involved, you can’t afford to learn from your mistakes and only fill in gaps in your security that hackers previously exploited.

            The best way to improve and guarantee your network’s security is by continuously testing it, looking for flaws to fix.

            [...]

            There are various examples of pentests depending on the type of attack the ethical hacker launches, the information they get beforehand, and limitations set by their employee.

            [...]

            Pen testing your own network isn’t your best option as you likely have extensive knowledge of it, making it harder to think outside the box and find hidden vulnerabilities. You should either hire an independent ethical hacker or the services of a company that offers pen testing.

            Still, hiring an outsider to hack into your network can be very risky, especially if you’re providing them with security information or insider access. This is why you should stick to trusted 3rd party providers. Here's a small sample of those available.

          • John Goerzen: Rehabilitating Asynchronous Communication with NNCP: A Cross Between Tor, ssh, and UUCP

            If you already know UUCP, think of NNCP as UUCP brought into the modern era, with modern security and tools.

            Basically, NNCP permits you to send files to a remote system, request files from a remote system, and pipe data to an NNCP command that requests execution remotely. So you could, say, pipe a zfs send to NNCP which sends it to the remote and pipes it to zfs receive when it gets there.

            NNCP has a delay-tolerant, resumable protocol that can run over just about any reliable connection: TCP, serial, Tor, radios of various kinds, you name it. But that’s not all; it also can dump its queue onto something like a USB stick for transport, or even make a tar-style stream that could be munged however you like. If you want to get fancy, you can assign priorities to data packets, so that, for instance, outbound email will always get sent before that 1TB file you’ve got to send also. You can also configure it so that certain carriers handle certain priorities of data; your cell phone would only handle the most urgent, but a USB stick would take anything.

            NNCP is source-routed; you can tell it that the way that Bob reaches Alice is via Carl, then Betty. Bob can generate a message that will be sent along that route, fully encrypted and authenticated at each step of the way; Carl can’t see the content of the message or even anything about it other than its next hop.

            [...]

            For the laptop being backed up, while traveling it can queue up its backups, or photos, or videos, or whatever. They could be triggered by a command when on a good connection, or automatically. The data could be copied to USB and given to a friend to transmit; perfectly safe due to encryption. Or it could all wait until arriving at home, safely out of your other syncing directories. The NNCP documentation has an example of this.

            For the server being backed up slowly, that’s easily solved; the slow backup would simply be queued up, and transmitted and processed when it’s ready. This wouldn’t interrupt other backups.

            How about the 2TB transmission problem? That’s also made a lot easier. A command could be run to fill up a USB stick with parts of the queue, then that USB stick plugged in and transmitted whenever at a fast location. Repeat as needed while the slow system continues its upload of the remaining bits.

            NNCP has a lot of interesting use cases documented as well.

            If you are already familiar with how public keys work in SSH, then NNCP should be immediately familiar as well. It is a similar concept (though arguably somewhat easier to set up).

            I am working on setting up a NNCP network, and will have more posts on how to do so once I’ve got it going. In the meantime, the documentation for the project is also pretty good.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • High Tech Police Surveillance of Protests and Activism: Year in Review 2020

              EFF has been standing up for the right to protest without being surveilled for 30 years now, and this year was no different. As EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn wrote earlier this year, “EFF stands with the communities mourning the victims of police homicide. We stand with the protesters who are plowed down by patrol cars. We stand with the journalists placed in handcuffs or fired upon while reporting these atrocities. And we stand with all those using their cameras, phones and digital tools to make sure we cannot turn away from the truth.”€ 

              And we stood with protestors and provided support with lawsuits, by offering legal support to activists, through surveillance self defense education for protestors, reaffirming the right to film the police, by analyzing the latest surveillance tech, and by providing tools for people on the ground to know and understand what equipment their local police departments are using to spy on activists.€ 

              We even uncovered police surveillance of protests in our own backyard. By using public records requests to see the correspondence between the San Francisco Police Department and the Union Square Business Improvement District, which operates several hundred surveillance cameras in the area, we exposed that the SFPD gained live access to over 400 cameras to spy on protestors. Because San Francisco has an ordinance prohibiting the police from gaining access to any new surveillance equipment without approval from the Board of Supervisors, EFF is now representing activists in a lawsuit against the city for violating this law. This may be the nation’s first test case to enforce a municipal CCOPS (community control of police surveillance) ordinance.€ 

            • Chinese communists in India: Why it is a cause of concern

              And once someone becomes a CPC member, there are huge incentives for the individual to follow and advance the Party line. Thus, CPC members are in many ways complicit in such activities ranging from the officially sanctioned ethnic discrimination against Tibetan, Uyghur and other minorities in China, to sharing of private data collected by Chinese companies abroad with their government.

              It is for this reason that there is good cause for monitoring and imposing reasonable restrictions on the activities of CPC members outside China -- as the US has done recently.

            • The family with no fingerprints

              In 2008, when Apu was still a boy, Bangladesh introduced National ID cards for all adults, and the database required a thumbprint. The baffled employees did not know how to issue a card to Apu's father, Amal Sarker. Finally, he received a card with "NO FINGERPRINT" stamped on it.

              In 2010, fingerprints became mandatory for passports and driver's licences. After several attempts, Amal was able to obtain a passport by showing a certificate from a medical board. He has never used it though, partly because he fears the problems he may face at the airport. And though riding a motorbike is essential to his farming work, he has never obtained a driving licence. "I paid the fee, passed the exam, but they did not issue a licence because I couldn't provide fingerprint," he said.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Nashville police investigating 'intentional' Christmas morning vehicle explosion

        When the message changed to a countdown, warning that the vehicle would explode in 15 minutes, then 14 minutes, she woke up her 85-year-old sister, who lives in Arizona but was visiting for the holiday, staying in another apartment. She put her cat, Mavis, into a carrier and she and her family got on the elevator around the time the message was giving an 11-minute warning.

        They ran to her car, which was parked a block away, and drove across the river to watch from a distance. When nothing happened after 15 or 20 minutes, they started driving back home, she said. That's when they saw the explosion.

      • John le Carré (1931-2020) on the Iraq War, Corporate Power, the Exploitation of Africa & More

        The world-renowned British novelist John le Carré died on December 12 at the age of 89. Le Carré established himself as a master writer of spy novels in a career that spanned more than half a century. He worked in the British Secret Service from the late 1950s until the early '60s, at the height of the Cold War — which was the topic of his early novels. His later works focused on the inequities of globalization, unchecked multinational corporate power and the role national spy services play in protecting corporate interests. His best-known books include “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” and “The Constant Gardner.” Le Carré was also a fierce critic of the U.S. response to the 9/11 attacks and the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq. In 2010, he appeared on Democracy Now! for a rare in-depth interview.

      • “The United States of America Has Gone Mad”: John le Carré on Iraq War, Israel & U.S. Militarism

        The legendary British author John le Carré has died at the age of 89. In the lead-up to the Iraq invasion, John le Carré was a fierce critic of President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In January 2003, he published a widely read essay called “The United States of America Has Gone Mad.” John le Carré read the essay during an appearance on Democracy Now! in 2010.

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • Oil and Gas is Costing New Mexico Dearly

          In spite of this, oil and gas industry lobbyists from Washington, D.C. would have us believe that anyone working to defend the climate and protect the state’s future is on a “crusade” against New Mexicans.

          In a December 4th Albuquerque Journal column penned by the Koch Industries-funded, Washington-based Institute for Energy Research, it was suggested that the non-profit organization I lead, WildEarth Guardians, is out to undermine the people of New Mexico. Our crime? Holding the Trump administration accountable to science, the law, and rational economic policy.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Bernie Sanders Excoriates House GOP for Refusing to Back $2000 Relief Checks
      • Opinion | $600 Isn't Nearly Enough—We Need Real Relief

        The bipartisan stimulus bill fails to meet the needs of working people. Congress must pass a package that makes us whole.

      • Opinion | How the Richest 1 Percent Came Out Big Winners in the Covid Relief Bill

        Republicans didn't blink twice when they handed out $6.3 billion in tax breaks to their wealthy corporate backers, but when it came to getting direct relief to struggling Americans $600 was the best they could do.

      • A Quick Note on the Federal Reserve Board

        Just for background, we know that the Republicans are perfectly fine with sabotaging the economy in order to hurt the political prospects of a Democrat in the White House. This is exactly what they did under President Obama, as they demanded recovery killing austerity as they feigned concern about deficits. Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell openly said that his job was to make Obama a one-term president.

        With this recent history, there can be little doubt that Republicans in Congress will do everything they can to sabotage the economy under President Biden. In this context, it is especially important that the Fed have the ability to take the steps necessary to counteract crises that could arise.

      • An End to Stability

        What 2020 should have been for everyone was a wake-up call that the system is not as solid as it might have seemed, and further, that that isn’t all bad.

        A brief history of the prosperity myth

      • Lisa Gilbert on Lame Duck Trump, Dean Baker on Trickle-Down Economics
      • Minority Rule in America?

        Rank? Lee is saying that if all eligible voters are allowed to do so, they will thwart “prospefity”? Who knew?

        For an American politician to claim that democracy will work against the American people’s interest is a bewildering disappointment. Lee must be very proud that he and his fellow Republicans have kept democracy from impinging on their minority reign over the majority.

      • Irving Wladawsky-Berger: How Covid Is Reordering the Global Economy

        The October 10 issue of The Economist includes a special report on the impact of covid-19 on the global economy, with eight article on the subject. “The pandemic has caused the world’s economies to diverge,” notes the issue’s overview article. “But its long-term impact will be even more far-reaching… huge gaps between the performance of countries are opening up - which could yet recast the world’s economic order.”

        According to the OECD, whereas China’s economy is expected to be 10% larger by the end of 2021 than it was in pre-pandemic 2019, the US economy will be essentially the same size, while the economies of the Euro area, the UK, Japan and South Korea will see a decline by the end of 2021 compared to their pre-pandemic levels.

        “The covid-19 pandemic will accelerate change in the world economy,” says The Economist. It’s becoming increasingly clear that “the pandemic will lead to immense structural changes in the global economy: less globalized, more digitized, and less equal.” Supply chains will bring production closer to home to cut risks. Office workers will continue to work from their homes for at least part of the week. Lower paid urban service workers will face unemployment and need to find new jobs. The gulf between Wall Street and Main Street will widen. “The challenge for democratic governments will be to adapt to all these changes while maintaining popular consent for their policies and for free markets.”

        Let me discuss the three key areas where The Economist expects long-lasting changes: globalization, digitization and inequality.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Sanders Rips GOP for Happily Endorsing Trump's Assault on Democracy But Refusing to Back His Call for $2,000 Checks

        "Pathetic," said the Vermont senator.

      • Opinion | Recidivist Criminal and Constitutional Outlaw Trump Rushes to Pardon Criminal Lawbreakers

        Trump and future presidents cannot be allowed to brazenly dishonor justice and undermine the rule of law.

      • The DC Political Monopoly Just Doesn't Get It

        A basic social reality of the United States is its capitalist economic system that organizes enterprises internally into a small minority (employers) dominating the majority (employees), with markets to distribute resources and products. Like capitalisms everywhere, the U.S. version crashes recurringly. Variously called crises, recessions, or depressions, they have happened, on average, every four to seven years throughout capitalism’s history. With three in this century’s first 20 years (“dot-com” in 2000, “subprime mortgage” in 2008, and “COVID-19” in 2020), the United States illustrates that four-to-seven-year schedule. The 2020 crash is second only to the Great Depression of the 1930s in its social impact. That fact alone demands major policy interventions on the scale, at least, of what was done then (including the creation of Social Security, federal unemployment insurance, the first minimum wage, and the creation of millions of federal jobs). Moreover, the 1930s were not simultaneously a time of deadly viral pandemic. Given the uniquely immense challenge of 2020’s two crises, no remotely adequate policies were undertaken nor even contemplated by Trump, Biden, Republican or Democratic establishments. They just don’t get it.

        The COVID-19 pandemic replicates past viral outbreaks: from the deadly 1918 influenza pandemic to recent SARS, MERS, and Ebola outbreaks. Coping with them requires having ready (or quickly acquiring) adequate supplies of tests, masks, ventilators, hospital facilities, and trained personnel. Where supplies of these essential resources were left mostly to the private capitalist sector, fatal failure resulted. It was not privately profitable (and far too risky) to produce, stockpile, and maintain these supplies for years until a pandemic enabled them to be sold. Private capitalists chose other more profitable and/or less risky investments. Private capitalism, as many had forewarned, was unreliable for protecting public health.

      • 'Shameful': Trump Golfs, Tweets Election Lies as 14 Million Set to Lose Unemployment Benefits Just After Christmas

        "The ability of millions of Americans to pay rent and buy groceries hangs in the balance, and Donald Trump spent the day golfing."

      • "I Am the Man They Call Sue Mundy": Civil War Kentucky's "Female" Confederate Guerrilla

        There was an orphan boy. There was a clever, unscrupulous newspaperman. And there was a long, cruel and bitter war.

        It was a war between slavery and freedom, between secession and union, between North and South. Kentucky was split: Southern in culture and sympathy, a slave state (originally part of Virginia), but Northern in commerce and strategic importance. It’s longest border, the Ohio River, was the Mason-Dixon line. Early occupied by Union troops (“I would like to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky!” —Lincoln), the state had a star in the Confederate flag, and representatives in the CSA congress in Richmond. With at least half its citizens opposed to secession, it declared itself officially neutral but neutrality didn’t mean peace.

      • Roaming Charges: Welcome to the Malarky Factory

        + This week Biden proclaimed€ that, as a president who wants to “avoid inflaming a closely divided Congress,” he plans to “tread lightly when it comes to using his executive power.” Biden seems very confident that his passivity won’t “inflame” any of the remaining progressives in a “closely divided Congress.” Biden’s been on or around Capitol Hill for 45 years and he hasn’t witnessed any uprising from the Congressional left yet. He must feel he’s on pretty safe ground.

        + Starting on his first day, Trump tried to implement as many of his campaign pledges as possible, starting with the craziest stuff (like the Muslim ban) first. He lies constantly, but was true to his politics, aberrant as it is. It’s why his base believes “he tells it like it is.” Biden also remains true to his politics but lies to his base about what his real politics is. It’s why he is already retreating from almost every campaign pledge, except having a racially & sexually diverse cabinet, which he hides behind as he defaults to his core neoliberalism.

      • The U.S. and Yemen: Will Biden End the Nightmare?

        Trump could have ended this nightmare. Congress voted to stop assisting the Saudis militarily, by passing the War Powers Resolution on Yemen, thus giving Trump plenty of cover to retreat from a monstruous, ongoing crime. Congress was partly motivated by the horrific Saudi murder and dismemberment in its Istanbul embassy of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But Trump vetoed that bill in April 2019, and it was no secret that he did so largely to protect lucrative U.S. arms deals with the Saudis. This was particularly despicable given his campaign pledges to end American’s pointless forever wars – and Yemen is arguably one of those. But Trump’s transactional affection for the Saudi dictator prevailed over the tens of thousands of Yemenis killed by U.S. weapons and U.S.-assisted famine. It was a venal, cowardly veto and an international disgrace. Nothing can excuse it. Had American military aid stopped, so would have the war. Thousands of lives would have been saved. Hundreds of thousands of children, stunted by malnutrition, would have had enough to eat. The whole world witnesses Yemen’s agony. It also witnesses U.S. complicity in this crime.

        Over 100,000 people have perished in Yemen since Saudi Arabia began bombing it in 2015, in a doomed attempt to dislodge rebel Houthis. More than 85,000 have starved to death. Those are long, slow, excruciating deaths. According to the International Red Cross last week, roughly 24 million Yemenis need aid and “the majority of the country really needs UN and humanitarian funding in order to meet their basic day-to-day needs.” Aljazeera reports that last month, “Yemen had received less than half of the emergency funds it needed this year…About 13.5 million Yemenis currently face acute food insecurity.” Four million Yemenis have been displaced.

      • A Frustrated democrat

        What do those values mean in the age of Donald Trump? It’s not easy to be an inclusive democrat when seventy-five million fellow citizens voted for Trump, over 100 members of the House of Representatives backed an absurd attempt to overturn the 2020 election before the Supreme Court, and a large percentage of Republicans still believe the election was rigged. It’s hard to be a democrat when millions still follow Trump with his over 20,000 documented lies; they have contributed over six million dollars to his post-election political action committee.

        Who are the 75 million Trump followers? Who are the Representatives who backed the Supreme Court filing? Remember Hillary Clinton’s infamous remarks at a September 2016 fundraiser in New York: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”

      • Restoring the Soul of America

        Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez€ nailed it once again, tweeting her frustration and despair a few days ago when the Democrats yielded to the Republican Party as the pandemic relief package was being negotiated. This has been the essence of the party’s attitude for virtually half a century, aided by the mainstream media and everything else that embraces words like “centrist” and “moderate” and “bipartisan.”

        In other words: Stand for nothing!

      • Trump Shouldn’t Escape Accountability

        The outgoing president must be held accountable for his creeping autocratic actions during the past four years in which he tried to overturn American democracy. Impeachment accomplished nothing.

        The repeated failures of Trump’s attempts to overthrow the election results in the courts, including the Supreme Court, and with the help of appointed allies and elected officials has led to more desperate measures.

      • 'A Blatant Violation': Sahrawis Dismiss Pompeo's Announcement of US Consulate in Moroccan-Occupied Western Sahara

        The move comes two weeks after the U.S. became the first country to recognize Morocco's claim of sovereignty in the illegally occupied territory.

      • Trump's Big Lies, and Biden's

        People paying attention also recall how this century began with George W. Bush promoting Big Lies. These were as blatantly false as any of Trump’s lies, but much more destructive in their ramifications. Bush and his pathological liar partner Dick Cheney declared with absolute assurance that Iraq had been collaborating with al-Qaeda and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. Those lies succeeded in unifying U.S. public opinion around the invasion and destruction of Iraq, a long occupation, half a million deaths, waves of refugees, civil war, the emergence of the grotesque ISIL “caliphate.” Remember when Big Lies meant mass death?

        When it became clear (by the end of 2003) that there had been no appreciable Iraqi al-Qaeda ties, and no WMDs, the administration acknowledged “intelligence errors” had been made. Gosh. But we gradually realized what had happened: officials including Cheney had pushed fake news through their contacts in the New York Times, then cited “news reports” to support their claims when interviewed by the press. It’s now common knowledge (including among Trump supporters) that the Iraq War was based on lies. Not “mistakes,” mind you, but calculated lies designed to scare Americans into supporting a criminal war. The magnitude of the news hoax was spectacular: hundreds of millions had been snookered by neocon fabrications to endorse the crime of the century.

      • Opinion | Biden Won. Now Comes the Hard Part

        The Trump years have laid bare for all to see just how much injustice and inequality still needs to be addressed.

      • Trump Has Pardoned Papadopoulos (A Brief Christmas Oratorio)

        May opahs resound from the Acropolis: Trump has pardoned Papadopoulos. The roll call of sin is less populous: Trump has pardoned Papadopoulos. Joy to the corrupt and the scrofulous: Trump has pardoned Papadopoulos. Let us join in the Feast Coprophagous: Trump has pardoned Papadopoulos.

      • A Country in Turmoil: Why Netanyahu is a Symptom, Not Cause of Israel’s Political Crisis

        Israel is currently at the cusp of a fourth general election in less than two years. Even by Israel’s political standards, this phenomenon is unprecedented, not only in terms of the frequency of how often Israelis vote, but also of the constant shifting in possible coalitions and seemingly strange alliances.

        It seems that the only constant in the process of forming coalitions following each election is that Arab parties must not, under any circumstances, be allowed into a future government. Decision-making in Israel has historically been reserved for the country’s Jewish elites. This is unlikely to change anytime soon.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Stealing Native Children: the Revolting Legacy of Canada's Residential School System

        By now, many are aware of the government sanctioned history of stealing native children, isolating them far from family and communities in cold Christian edifices where the braids of young boys were shorn away to pilfer visual identity; where screams were ritual with victims beaten for the dare to speak their native tongue; where sex abuse was endemic among the dark, seedy hallways of a foreign faith; where thousands died from staggering neglect including starvation and unchecked disease such as tuberculosis and typhoid.

        Yet, a practice strewn throughout Canada and parts of the United States was so much more insidious than physical assaults and shaved heads alone. For a calculated sanctioned scheme to erase entire cultures . . . a wretched effort to recast the millennium to suit the colonial needs of the moment€  . . . cannot be reduced to mere inadvertence or uncertainty. Indeed, if ever cultural genocide had consequential meaning and application it was in the residential school system with its deliberate effort to eradicate all aspects of Aboriginal culture and to sever and thwart its passage from one generation to the next. With ordained regularity, all captive students were belittled, humiliated and scorned no matter how hard their effort to accommodate their personal suffer and sacrifice or how well they acceded to the demands of their proselytizing wardens.€  As much forced labor camps as classrooms, in Canada, indigenous children were mandated by law to attend these hovels in which administrators became their legal guardians through a perverse partnership between the government and major churches as they conspired to wash away the identity and independence of the age-old Rohsken’ra:kete . . .€  gatekeepers of the land.

      • Indigenous Nations Handle COVID as Federal and State Governments Fall Short
      • Mumia Gets a New Chance to Challenge His Murder Conviction

        Mumia Abu-Jamal, the prison journalist long known as the “voice of the voiceless” for his compelling writings and short audio tapes about life behind bars, moved a step closer to getting a chance for a reconsideration of his earliest appeal of his conviction — an allegedly flawed Post-Conviction Relief Act hearing in 1995, as well as three other later PCRA appeals of aspects his case, all ignored and their findings rejected by Pennsylvania’s appellate courts under spurious conditions.

        The opening comes in the form of dismissal by the state’s Supreme Court of an attempt by Maureen Faulkner, widow of slain Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, to use an obscure legal gambit called a King’s Bench petition, to have DA Larry Krasner’s office removed as the legal entity defending against Abu-Jamal’s appeals. That effort, filed last February had blocked any forward action on those appeals.

      • Fatal Shore, the Sequel: the Fate of Australia's Refugees

        There is a pitch-black irony about Australians imprisoning refugees on a foreign island. It makes you wonder what happened to the collective memories of the Fatal Shore. Yet island prisons, granted the Orwellian-bland name ‘offshore processing’ by successive Canberra governments, have been operating on and off for years.

        Of course, there are differences between this 21st-century low-budget remake of Papillon and Britain’s prisoner dumps of 200 years ago. After all, back then the queen didn’t need to ask the locals if it was okay to park a bunch of foreigners on their land. The Good Old Brits could just go ahead and steal it, then pack ne’er-do-wells such as early trades unionists aboard convict transports and forget about them for ever. Conditions on arrival were normatively brutal, with one of the only creative outlets being bespoke, designer bullwhips studded with ingenious ways to flay human flesh. Back in Westminster, members of Her Majesty’s Government congratulated themselves on a wizard wheeze.

      • Opinion | No Holiday for Honduran Anti-Mining Activists Fighting for Freedom

        A judge has refused to release eight water protectors detained for more than a year for protesting against a mining project that threatens local rivers.

      • No Holiday for Honduran Anti-Mining Activists Fighting for Freedom

        “It is the start of a new stage of struggle, a stage of unity and we are not going to stay at home,” said Juana Zúniga, the wife of one of the eight imprisoned water protectors, during a December 21 press conference, “The joy of spending Christmas with family has been taken away from us, but we will nonetheless continue fighting. We will continue struggling for the freedom of our compañeros.”

        These members of the Municipal Committee in Defense of the Public Commons of Tocoa in northern Honduras were illegally jailed for defending the Carlos Escaleras National Park and the Guapinol and San Pedro rivers against the threat of a mining project owned by Honduran company Inversiones Los Pinares. In October 2019, recognizing the importance of their struggle, the Institute for Policy Studies awarded the Committee with the international Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights award.

      • JatiIndia Flag of the Week: Atrocities Caste, Present and Future

        No. The nation is not ashamed of its two categories of daughters and their respective rights: The Savarna (upper-caste Hindu) daughter has way more rights than her Dalit or any other minority sister will ever have.

        But these daughters do have one thing in common. In JatiIndia, for the most part “naming a rape victim even when she wants to be identified is still taboo… notwithstanding Section 228A, which clearly lists the circumstances under which one can legally name and publish the identities of these girls and women.”

      • Dreamers Deserve a Path to Citizenship

        In high school, I was denied scholarships, financial aid, and college admissions because of my status. It seemed like all I could hope for was a job cleaning homes, like most undocumented Mexicanas did in my hometown.

        Luckily, the support of my community — and a big change in immigration policy in 2012 — changed that.

      • To Restore American Leadership, the Biden Administration Should Focus on Global Hunger

        Just before Thanksgiving 2020, the United Nations World Food Program warned world leaders that without a major and sustained investment of billions of dollars, there will be famines of “biblical proportions” in 2021 because of Covid-19.

      • If Bad Fascists Foment Hate, Should We Foment Love?

        I no longer feel as I did then. Having followed through on the assignment I gave myself back in the 1990s, after a personal mental health crisis, I’ve gradually come closer to earth from the lofty liberal perch I occupied back then! No longer so fearful of my feelings, (for which fear of “indecent exposure” is useful cover), I’m willing to defend their validity as guides from “underneath the skin.” Moreover, the relevance of my feelings, I submit, extends out to the systemically unkind world under neoliberal rule that desperately needs the “down to earth,” feeling-based values that can sustain and nurture human life, but which so far we seem intent upon shedding.

        Kindness, we can say is less intellectual and less prone to ambiguity than abstract love. It is the animal-soul level felt experience of being included by love (traditionally imagined as Mother’s love). Checking into feelings, you can tell if someone has been kind or mean to you regardless of what they’re saying. Vonnegut was tuned into this level of experience – how one honestly feels, which is different from the words we say in public to each other – and expressed it in several ways. The ironical tone he perfected allowed him to get away with messages that were about as simple and basic as Christian love. (“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’”)

      • The Role of Homophobia in the Counter-Revolution

        Jeffrey was generous enough to provide a platform for my take on Pussy Riot as well as an invitation to become the film editor for the print version of CounterPunch. For all of the complaints about CounterPunch having a line on Russia, Syria or any other controversial topic dividing the left, we need to understand that it differs from just about every other publication on the left by providing a space for all points of view. It is one of the reasons I have been a strong supporter of CounterPunch from its inception, even when Alexander Cockburn referred to me as an “old Trotskyist lag…dozing on the dungheap of history like Odysseus’ lice-ridden old hound Argos, woofing with alarm as the shadow of a new idea darkens the threshold.” Probably, even more so for the quintessential Cockburnian turn of phrase.

        As someone who had been deeply involved with the 60s radicalization, I felt an affinity for Pussy Riot even though their politics seemed closer to vintage Abby Hoffman than my own. Those who applauded Putin’s crackdown reminded me of Nixon’s Silent Majority, except it was the Kremlin’s law and order rather than the White House’s that they backed. Putin’s straight-laced machismo had cast a spell on wide swaths of the left in the USA and I was having none of it.

    • China

    • Monopolies

      • Oracle’s hidden hand is behind the Google antitrust lawsuits

        What’s less known is that Oracle Corp. spent years working behind the scenes to persuade regulators and law enforcement agencies in Washington, more than 30 states, the European Union, Australia and at least three other countries to rein in Google’s huge search-and-advertising business. Those efforts are paying off.

      • Turkey: Industrial Design Rights 2020: Turkey

        Industrial Design Rights is a revised and updated third edition of a significant work first published in 2001 under the auspices of the Intellectual Property Committee of the International Bar Association. There have been considerable changes since the previous edition principally in the increasing adoption of the Hague Convention on designs all over the world and harmonization of industrial designs among the European Community countries. Industrial designs are particularly interesting because the laws in many countries attempt in different ways to find a balance between protection for the artistic creation and the freedom to use the purely functional, and between the proprietary rights of the creator and the public domain rights of the competitor.

      • Patents

        • Patent Applications in the European Continent having Origin in China



          In recent years, the investment from Chinese companies in Europe has increased substantially [1]. The fact that there is a growing investment by Chinese companies in European jurisdictions may result in a greater concern by these investors to protect their intellectual assets in Europe. In this sense, this article will seek to identify the profile of patent applications having origin in China and filed in European countries, in order to identify the main jurisdictions targeted by Chinese applicants and which are the technological fields of the respective patent applications.

          We have gathered information referred to patent applications from public patent databases, namely the databases Espacenet and EP Bulletin Search, both provided by the European Patent Office (EPO), the statistics database made available by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the database OECD.Stat provided by the Organization for Economic co-operation and Development.

          Investment from China in Europe

          The figure 1 shows the cumulative value of Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the European Union (EU) by country from 2000 to 2019 1. The top 10 countries recited in figure 1 have received in said period almost 90% of the overall Chinese FDI.

          According to data from the MERICS 1, the sectoral mix of Chinese investment in Europe was quite concentrated in 2019, far more so than in the previous year. The sectors Automotive, Consumer Products and Services, Financial and Business Services, Health and Biotechnology and ICT received more than 80 percent of total Chinese investment within the EU.

        • Germany Clears Path for European Unitary Patent System [Ed: No, they've been stopped again]
        • German Legislature Clears Path For Unified Patent Court [Ed: This article did not age well and was published the same day two -- not one -- constitutional complaints torpedoed the entire thing]

          The upper house of Germany's legislature has overwhelmingly approved an agreement to establish a Unified Patent Court, marking a significant step in bringing the long-gestating unity patent system to fruition.

          Friday's approval by the Bundesrat came a few weeks after the lower house, the Bundestag, approved the measure, cleared a major hurdle for the UPC, as Germany's ratification of the agreement was required to move it forward. The UPC system is designed to allow patent disputes to be adjudicated in a single case before one court.

          The Bundesrat published a notice on its website Friday saying it passed the convention...

        • Brexit - Intellectual Property After The Brexit Transition Period [Ed: Mayer Brown (litigation firm) still pushing the lunacy that the UPC is tenable and in reality they're just looking to make a profit from a lie]

          Attempts to create a single EU-wide unitary patent and Unified Patent Court ("UPC"), which would determine patent disputes on an EU-wide basis, are on-going. However, the UK Government confirmed that it will not become a member of the UPC.

        • IP Federation expresses concerns about Unified Patent Court [Ed: Even Team UPC zealots are throwing in the towel; IP Federation lying as usual. See first comment.]

          In a position paper published on 23 December 2020, the IP Federation in the UK has expressed concern about the uncertainties surrounding the Unified Patent Court. According to Scott Roberts, president of the IP Federation, the value of the project has diminished considerably for its members. Kluwer IP Law interviewed Roberts.

          The position paper states “Whilst it appears there are prospects for the UPC to come into force despite the UK’s withdrawal, there are many open questions which bear on whether, when, and in what form that might happen. The IP Federation would like to see these resolved in the near future. In view of the degree of uncertainty presently surrounding the project, the IP Federation is awaiting further developments with interest and looks forward to commenting in more detail when the final form of the project is clear.” Could you explain what the ‘open questions’ are the IP Federation would like to see resolved? And what ‘the degree of uncertainty presently surrounding the project’ refers to?

          “The IP Federation has long been a keen advocate for the UPC package, and always with the UK in it.

          Our members recognise the considerable erosion in value since the withdrawal of the UK’s ratification. The withdrawal of the UK ratification was a real blow and was a political decision in the context of Brexit where the UK removes itself from the jurisdiction of the CJEU.

          There are two sources of considerable uncertainty that we believe need to be resolved:

          Firstly, the uncertainty surrounding the potential for any future participation of the UK, should political-will evolve.

        • Software Patents

      • Copyrights



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