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Links 1/1/2021: OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 RC and KIO FUSE 5.0.0 Released

  • GNU/Linux

    • 10 Biggest Linux Stories of the Year 2020 [That Made the Biggest Impact]

      It’s 2021 already, but it is evident that we can’t forget the year 2020. Not just limited to the pandemic but it was so much more overall.

      In the Linux world (or the open-source world), a lot happened in 2020 as well. Hence, with this article, let me just recall some of the biggest Linux stories of 2020 that you potentially missed or might want to re-visit.

    • Good-bye, 2020! Thanks for the lessons!

      But today is the last day of 2020 and I would be truly ungrateful if I said that it was a year to throw away and forget.

      This year pushed me to experiment with video/audio resources in Linux in a way that I never thought possible. Kdenlive, the program that I never understood, became a friend for me and my everyday support for work. My dream of working from home became an odd reality. I intensified my home training physically, technically, and intellectually.

      This year also drew me close to my loved ones in a way that it is very difficult to put in words... Family and friends... But I am talking about the good friends, the ones that see you through in dark times. "The strength of the wolf is the pack", said the wolves in The Jungle Book.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • The Perfect Media Server | Self-Hosted 35

        Alex reveals the culmination of five years of work into the Perfect Media Server.

        And we respond to a ton of feedback.

      • Reddit Is Only Good For One Thing

        When I'm not getting video topics from you guys, the vast majority of my videos ideas whether they be general Linux, programming, software showcases, news and or anything else in between come from Reddit, the very few subreddits I think are worth checking out.

      • The libhandy INFECTION?

        Does Solus really think Libhandy is an INFECTION? I talk to DataDrake about his now-infamous post on the Solus forum.

      • Please Don't Abuse Linux Package Mirrors - YouTube

        When you download from a linux package mirror keep in mind that most of these are run by volunteers, volunteers who run these servers because they like Linux not because they're componensated so because of that please don't waste resources for the sake of wasting them.

    • Kernel Space

      • New Linux Drivers Bring PlayStation 5's DualSense Compatibility

        To get mildly technical about the update, the driver has DualSense as a "compositive device", much like the DualShock 4. It is part of the new "hid-playstation" driver. The functionality brought to Linux include LEDs, touchpad, motion sensors and rumble.

        Sadly, some of the newer DualSense features aren't yet available, like the new Adaptive Triggers and the VCM-based haptics.

      • Linux 5.12 Should See ACPI Platform Profile Support To Alter System Thermal/Power Levels

        Thanks to the ongoing upstream improvements being pursued by Lenovo as part of their effort to enhance their product support, the Linux power management tree has picked up the initial ACPI Platform Profile implementation for benefiting newer devices like Lenovo laptops.

        The ACPI Platform Profile support is around modifying the system's operating profile to control characteristics around power/performance levels, thermal, and fan speed behavior. The Linux kernel ACPI Platform Profile support allows for the operating profile to be modified via sysfs.

        The overall concept is similar to that of what's found in Linux 5.11 with Intel's INT340X "workload hints" support but rather than just being around Intel SoCs, this is at the platform level for the entire device on supported (newer) hardware.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Panfrost Gallium3D Seeing Some Work Towards Clover OpenCL Support

          The Panfrost open-source Gallium3D driver matured into good shape over the course of 2020 with providing OpenGL support for Arm Mali graphics hardware. As we enter 2021 it will be interesting to see this year if any "Panfrost Vulkan" driver materializes for open-source Vulkan support on the newer Mali graphics hardware. But at least one area making interesting process is in regards to OpenCL compute support.

          There is a CL branch under development for OpenCL support with Arm Mali "Midgard" hardware. Early Arm Mali Midgard (T600 series) is capable of OpenCL 1.1 full profile support while the Mali T700/T800 Midgard hardware can support OpenCL 1.2 full profile. It's with the newer Mali Bifrost (and Valhall) that can handle OpenCL 2.0 (and CL 3.0) support.

        • Intel Media VA-API Driver Update Adds EU Fused Dispatch For 8K Video Processing

          Yesterday Intel released an updated open-source Media SDK for leveraging media acceleration on their graphics hardware. Along with that out today is the Intel Media Driver 20.4.5 release as their dedicated Video Acceleration API (VA-API) driver for Linux systems.

          The Intel Media Driver 20.4.5 update is their Q4'2020 update to this open-source VA-API implementation. Like in recent quarters, their focus has been on wiring up more functionality for Gen12 graphics with the likes of Tiger Lake / Rocket Lake / DG1 / SG1 hardware.

        • Mesa 21.0 Has Finally Killed The Classic "SWRAST" Software Rasterizer - Phoronix

          For years LLVMpipe has been around as a superior software-based OpenGL implementation for those without a working GPU / hardware driver support or needing to test a bit of GL code along a vendor-neutral path. LLVMpipe thanks to leveraging LLVM is more performant than the traditional Mesa software rasterizer or similar avenues like Softpipe. Finally as we hit 2021, SWRAST has been removed from the Mesa code-base.

    • Applications

      • Planner – Stylish Task Manager with Todoist Support for Linux

        Planner is a free and open-source task manager with Todoist support. It’s designed for Linux with a stylish user interface.

        The software is written in Vala programming language with GTK+ 3 framework. It can synchronize your Projects, Task and Sections thanks to Todoist. And it supports for offline mode, everything will be synchronized when reconnected.

        The Planner UI is highly customizable. It supports light, night, and dark modes, allows to adjust font size, button layout, and toggles on / off system window decoration.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Managing Linux users with the passwd command

        Linux authentication is primarily handled with passwords and public keys. Find out how the passwd command fits into the user management process.

      • How To Add, Delete, and Grant Sudo Privileges to Users on a FreeBSD Server
      • FreeBSD find CPU (processor) temperature command
      • Fedora - dnf history with fedora-repos-archive

        Fedora use dnf as package manager and dnfhave option to see transaction history and undo/rollback the transaction.

      • How to monitor user activity in Linux with Acct - The Linux Juggernaut

        Acct is an open source application that we can use to monitor user activity in Linux. This tool comes with the functionality of running in the background and tracking user activity. It also reports what are the system resources are being consumed by the users. In this guide, we will see how to install and use this tool.

      • 6 storage guides for sysadmins | Enable Sysadmin

        Storage is an essential IT service. Here are six guides to ensure you get the most out of your storage solutions.

      • The top 20 sysadmin guides and tutorials | Enable Sysadmin

        Check out the most popular guides from 2020.

      • How To Install WordPress on Linux Mint 20 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install WordPress on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, WordPress is an online, open-source website creation tool written in PHP. But in non-geek speak, it’s probably the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management system (or CMS) in existence today. WordPress has a lot of plugins and themes to choose from, that another reason why it famous in this area.

        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 WordPress blogs on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • How to install OpenOffice 4.1.8 on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install OpenOffice 4.1.8 on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

        If you have any questions, please contact us via a YouTube comment and we would be happy to assist you!

        This tutorial will only work on Chromebooks with an Intel or AMD CPU (with Linux Apps Support) and not those with an ARM64 architecture CPU.

      • How to install Notepad++ in Ubuntu 20.04

        Today we are looking at how to install Notepad++ in Ubuntu 20.04. The process is rather easy as you can see in the video tutorial. A person opens a terminal and runs the command below in it. Enjoy!

        If you have any questions please write to me in the YouTube comments and I will get back to you! Enjoy!

      • What Does "Bash" Mean in Linux?

        If you've been using Linux for long at all, you've no doubt seen the word Bash thrown around in forums and articles. It sometimes seems like a synonym for the terminal, but Bash and the terminal emulator are definitely two different applications. So what is Bash exactly? In this short article, we'll explore what Bash is, what it does, and how you can start using it.

      • How to Disable Suspend and Hibernation Modes In Linux

        In this article, we take you through how to disable suspend and hibernation modes on a Linux system. But before we do that, let’s briefly have an overview of these two modes.

        When you suspend your Linux system, you basically activate or put it into sleep mode. The screen goes off, even though the computer remains very much powered on. Also, all of your documents and applications remain open.

    • Games

      • Godot Engine - Godot 2020 Year in Review video

        While 2020 was a difficult year for most of us, it's been a great year for Godot development! A lot of new features were implemented for both 4.0 and 3.2.x, from Vulkan rendering to HTML5 export improvements. Many long-requested features are now available in the master branch, such as support for right-to-left typesetting and complex scripts (which are required to display text in Arabic, Hebrew, …). On top of that, GDScript has been rewritten from scratch and C# has received continuous improvements and fixes throughout the year.

      • Keith Packard: kgames

        I've taken the week between Christmas and New Year's off this year. I didn't really have anything serious planned, just taking a break from the usual routine. As often happens, I got sucked into doing a project when I received this simple bug report Debian Bug #974011

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KIO FUSE 5.0.0 Released

          It’s a pleasure to announce the first stable release of KIO FUSE, just in time for 2021.

        • Krita in 2020

          The last year of the day… So, let’s look back a bit. First off: none of the Krita developers has died this year. It feels strange to write that, but it might reassure some of our readers. Some of us have had some extended periods of down time, or have been less productive, both because of the effect of the different pandemic measures all over the world, and because it was at times really hard to stay motivated and find the energy for coding. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. It feels surreal to think we actually had a real, physical development sprint — in February.

        • Highlights from 2020

          2020 was not an amazing year for most of us, but it sure was for KDE and people who use KDE software! Despite the inability to travel and meet for sprints, conferences, and Akademy in person, we kept busy.

          I’d like to highlight some of my favorite improvements throughout KDE! Keep in mind this is not even a small fraction of everything that went on. To keep this post from ballooning a hundred pages long, I’ve had to leave out many smaller features, all of the performance and bugfixing work, and tons of KDE apps that I don’t closely follow, including big important ones like Krita, Kdenlive, Digikam, and GCompris. You can find more news at

        • Year end blowout!

          Calamares is a distro- and desktop-independent Linux installer. I keep intending to extend it to do FreeBSD installations as well, but get side-tracked by bugs and features on the Linux side instead.

    • Distributions

      • Proposal to support modern AMD GPUs

        As I understand it, the kernel 'radeon.ko' module is for older AMD GPUs, the 'amdgpu.ko' module is for newer GPUs. All right, so if I enable CONFIG_DRM_AMDGPU_SI (Southern Islands GPU) and CONFIG_DRM_AMDGPU_CIK (Sea Islands GPU) next time that I compile the 5.10.x kernel, what other changes will be required so that AMD GPU support will work seamlessly? I want everything to be automatic. Interesting, the Arch wiki advises to make sure that 'amdgpu.ko' loads before 'radeon.ko', whereas the Gentoo wiki advises to blacklist 'radeon.ko' for modern GPUs. I really do not want to blacklist the radeon module if it is required for older GPUs. Trying to interpret these wikis, they seem to imply, but don't really say, that 'radeon.ko' will work with the modern SI and CIK GPUs.

      • New Releases

        • Deepin Linux 20.1 Is Out Now With Important Features

          Deepin Linux 20.1 is now officially available for download. It is the new and the first stable point version 20.1 of its Deepin Linux 20 series. Deepin is one of the most beautiful Linux based operating system available in the market.

          If you are planning to switch to Linux from Windows 10 then Deepin Linux is the best option for you.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 RC available for testing

          The RC milestone of OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 release cycle has been released.

          Warning: This is a development product, and it is not aimed to be used in a production environment.

          Release Candidate has the potential to be a final product. A short time ago we anticipated the release of Beta in December, and the product got an intensive internal testing. The testers reported that current quality is more close to RC than Beta. Basically, RC will become the final OMLx 4.2 release very soon, unless we get serious bug reports. On this regard we exhort all OpenMandriva users to test our system and report any issue you may find at our forum or at our Issues Tracker system. You can get in touch real time with our developers at IRC channel #openmandriva-cooker on freenode and in matrix.

          Please note development releases 'Update channel' is set to Rolling by default.

        • OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 Promises Full Support for ARM64 Devices like Raspberry Pi, Pinebook Pro

          OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 (Argon) entered developed about five months ago, and, since a full release cycle takes about half a year, the final release is due very soon. In fact, the OpenMandriva team promises a final release as soon as early 2021, but for now they pushed the Release Candidate for one last testing round.

          Compared to the Alpha milestone, the Release Candidate upgrades the KDE Plasma desktop environment from version 5.19.3 to 5.20.4, the KDE Applications software suite from version 20.04.3 to 20.12.0, the KDE Frameworks software suite from version 5.72 to 5.77, and LibreOffice office suite from version 7.0 to 7.1.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE community elects Axel, Gertjan and Neal to serve on the Board

          The complete election results are:

          Axel Braun — 142 votes Gertjan Lettink — 134 votes Neal Gompa — 131 votes Maurizio Galli — 103 votes Nathan Wolf — 59 votes

          Five votes were recorded for the "none of the above" option. Out of 518 eligible voters, 229 voters have cast their vote in this election, which represents a turnout of 44%. It's a low turnout compared to last year's board election which was 56%.

      • Arch Family

        • Arch Linux Kicks Off 2021 with New ISO Release Powered by Linux Kernel 5.10 LTS

          The simple and lightweight Arch Linux distribution has kicked off 2021 with a new ISO release powered by the latest Linux 5.10 LTS kernel series and up-to-date components. Arch Linux 2021.01.01 is now available for those who want to install the powerful, rolling-release distribution on their personal computers, and it’s the first Arch Linux ISO powered by the latest and greatest Linux 5.10 LTS kernel series, which is an LTS (Long-Term Support) branch that brings numerous new features and enhanced hardware support.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora 34 Plans To Provide Xfce 4.16 Desktop Packages

          While it shouldn't come as much of a surprise given Fedora's tendency to always ship with the freshest open-source packages, but Fedora 34 should be including the latest Xfce 4.16 desktop packages for those seeking that GTK based desktop.

          Xfce 4.16 released earlier this month with a variety of improvements -- better client side decorations handling, fractional scaling, and other UI work. Considering that Fedora 34 isn't being released until the spring, it's of little surprise that Fedora would update its Xfce packages against this annual desktop update.

        • Cloud Report - Interview with Brian Gracely from Red Hat
        • Red Hat, Cloudera try to bring big data up to post-COVID speed

          Many companies used to talk about speeding up development and delivery of digital services. Then COVID-19 disrupted traditional ways of doing business, and the talking turned action. But much of digital transformation involves notoriously time-consuming data processes, and now there’s more pressure than ever to speed them up.

          Pain points around agility and time to value are top of mind for customers lately, according to Tom Deane (pictured, left), senior director of product management at Cloudera Inc. In many companies, a large number of staffers — data scientists, application developers, engineering and operations teams, for example — are needed to execute a single machine-learning or artificial-intelligence project. These teams badly need quicker provisioning and more streamlined processes.

        • Surveying top hyper-converged Kubernetes container platforms

          Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure is based on two platforms: Red Hat Virtualization and Red Hat OpenShift.

          Red Hat Virtualization is a KVM-based virtualization platform, while OpenShift is a Kubernetes-based container orchestration platform. OpenShift is considered a downstream solution from the Kubernetes open source project. As such, it's undergone additional testing and includes productivity and security features not available to regular Kubernetes.

          Red Hat has also partnered with NetApp to provide a data center product for running DevOps workloads on NetApp HCI appliances. NetApp HCI is a hybrid cloud infrastructure that incorporates both the VMware platform and OpenShift container platform. This combination enables NetApp HCI to deliver Kubernetes within the VMware virtualization environment, making it possible to take advantage of VMware's security, efficiency and high availability.

        • A 2020 love letter to the Fedora community

          When I wrote about COVID-19 and the Fedora community all the way back on March 16, it was very unclear how 2020 was going to turn out. I hoped that we’d have everything under control and return to normal soon—we didn’t take our Flock to Fedora in-person conference off the table for another month. Back then, I naively hoped that this would be a short event and that life would return to normal soon. But of course, things got worse, and we had to reimagine Flock as a virtual event on short notice. We weren’t even sure if we’d be able to make our regular Fedora Linux releases on schedule.

          Even without the pandemic, 2020 was already destined to be an interesting year. Because Red Hat moved the datacenter where most of Fedora’s servers live, our infrastructure team had to move our servers across the continent. Fedora 33 had the largest planned change set of any Fedora Linux release—and not small things either. We changed the default filesystem for desktop variants to BTRFS and promoted Fedora IoT to an Edition. We also began Fedora ELN—a new process which does a nightly build of Fedora’s development branch in the same configuration Red Hat would use to compose Red Hat Enterprise Linux. And Fedora’s popularity keeps growing, which means more users to support and more new community members to onboard. It’s great to be successful, but we also need to keep up with ourselves!

          So, it was already busy. And then the pandemic came along. In many ways, we’re fortunate: we’re already a global community used to distributed work, and we already use chat-based meetings and video calls to collaborate. But it made the datacenter move more difficult. The closure of Red Hat offices meant that some of the QA hardware was inaccessible. We couldn’t gather together in person like we’re used to doing. And of course, we all worried about the safety of our friends and family. Isolation and disruption just plain make everything harder.


          In 2021, we’ll keep doing the great work to push the state of the art forward. We’ll be bold in bringing new features into Fedora Linux. We’ll try new things even when we’re worried that they might not work, and we’ll learn from failures and try again. And we’ll keep working to make our community and our platform inclusive, welcoming, and accessible to all.

        • Robbi Nespu: Fedora koji kernel regression testing

          I will show how to get latest kernel from Koji for testing purpose. For your infomation, Koji build packages take times to appear on updates-testing repository.

          The faster way to get latest kernel the is manually download from Koji. As example here, on this blog post I will show how I will load kernel kernel-5.10.4-200 to my Fedora 33 Workstation.

        • Justin W. Flory: Three predictions for Free Software in the 2020s

          There are emerging challenges and changes to the Free Software status quo. Three pieces of context about me, the writer, will help to understand my perspective.

          First, I am a young adult who has contributed to Free Software for a third of my life. At fourteen, I landed my first Open Source contributions. In high school, I participated in Open Source communities with 100,000+ adolescents, teenagers, and young adults. Later I led community-driven initiatives in Open Source projects older than me. I say this, because this a significant part of my experience coming into the Free Software movement.

          Second, I follow conversations about Open Source sustainability. I regularly collaborate with others who also care about Open Source sustainability. I participate in communities where Open Source sustainability is the key issue to address, like Sustain OSS and the CHAOSS Project.

          Third, I am a white American male in my early 20s, which yields me certain privileges. I actively work to understand how my privilege constructs my worldview and experiences. I also acknowledge my freedom to participate in the global Free Software community is afforded to me in part by who I am. So, I acknowledge these biases in order to frame my perspective.

        • Jakub Kadlčík: Copr docker-compose without supervisord

          A couple of years ago we decided to containerize our Copr development environment to make the onboarding of new contributors easier, and to have a unified development environment for all of our team members. Several improvements have happened since then and the original blog post Copr stack dockerized! isn’t up-to-date anymore. We are going to make that right.

        • Maxim Burgerhout: Batch downloading GitHub binaries

          Binary releases on GitHub are a complete and utter mess.

        • Kevin Fenzi: dumpster fire^W^W2020 year in review

          Since today is new years eve and 2021 begins here tonight, I thought I would take a look back on 2020.

          The big item for me in the first and middle part of the year was our Datacenter move. Planning for that started last year and spilled into early 2020. Then, setup of new machines, migration of services for a minimum Fedora, then moving all the rest of the machines, then getting them online. It was a ton of work, not only in planning, but setting up things, migrating and communicating with everyone involved. Overall I think it went pretty well. Downtime was pretty low for the most part and we managed to get things up pretty fast. It wasn’t perfect of course, we _still_ have things we moved to one datacenter that are not back online yet, but hopefully soon in 2021. I really think how well it worked was a testament to everyone involved: Folks on our team, RHIT planning and networking, and even all the Fedora community members (who were super understanding of the outages and issues!). Here’s to never ever moving from the new datacenter ever again.

      • Debian Family

        • Anonymous OS Septor Linux 2021 Released with KDE Plasma 5.20.4, Tor Browser 10.0.7

          Debian-based Septor Linux distribution has been updated today to version 2021, a release that brings up to date core components and applications.

          The Septor Linux 2021 release is here as the first update of the anonymous distribution in 2021 and it ships with the latest KDE Plasma 5.20.4 desktop environment and KDE Applications 20.12 software suite, as well as the Tor Browser 10.0.7 anonymous web browser, which is based on Mozilla Firefox 78.6 ESR, and Linux kernel 5.9.

        • dkg's 2021 OpenPGP transition

          There are several reasons for transitioning, but one i simply couldn't argue with was my own technical failure. I put the primary secret key into offline storage some time ago for "safety", and used ext4's filesystem-level encryption layered on top of dm-crypt for additional security.

          But either the tools changed out from under me, or there were failures on the storage medium, or I've failed to remember my passphrase correctly, because I am unable to regain access to the cleartext of the secret key. In particular, I find myself unable to use e4crypt add_key with the passphrase I know to get a usable working directory.

          I confess I still find e4crypt pretty difficult to use and I don't use it often, so the problem may entirely be user error (either now, or two years ago when I did the initial setup).

        • On doing 540 no-source-change source-only uploads in two weeks

          So, starting with the Bullseye release cycle the Release Team changed policy: only packages which were build on buildds are allowed to migrate to testing.

          Which is pretty nice for reproducible builds as this also ensures that a .buildinfo file is available for anyone wanting to reproduce the binaries of that package.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu-based Linux Mint 20.1 'Ulyssa' gets pushed to 2021 as many bugs still plague it

          Let's speak openly and honestly here. The Linux Mint developers never promised that the next version of the operating system would be released in the year 2020. However, when the Linux Mint 20.1 "Ulyssa" BETA was released before Christmas, many people hoped a stable version would be released before 2021.

          Well, folks, I am sorry to say that the terrible 2020 strikes again, as today is New Year's Eve, and the Mint developers still have no idea when 20.1 "Ulyssa" will be released. Since today is the last day of the year, all we know for sure is 2020 is absolutely out of the question. Sadly, the Linux distro is riddled with bugs at the moment, with a massive 34 outstanding issues.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Riccardo Mottola: ArcticFox now on Raspberry 3 - ARM support is back!

            Just completed these days... ArcticFox now runs fine on Raspberry PI 3, it also compiled natively on it on Raspbian!

            Coming from PaleMoon which had dropped ARM support, it took quite some time, but it is kicking again and the classic browser is a good companion on the Raspberry!

          • Armen Zambrano: Farewell, Mozilla

            The summer of 2020 marked the end of 12 years of working for Mozilla. My career with Mozilla began with an internship during the summer of 2008 when I worked from Building K in 1981 Landings Drive, Mountain View, CA.

      • CMS

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • libredwg-0.12 released

            New add API to easily create new DWGs (or DXFs) from scratch, for CAD programs.

            New dwgadd helper.

            Removed deprecated old API functions.

      • Programming/Development

        • 10 things to love about Git

          Git is an essential tool in the open source developer's toolkit. This powerful version-control system has a lot of complex features. Not all of the features are necessary to use Git, but knowing more about how Git works makes working with Git easier.

          During 2020, published many excellent articles about Git, including the top 10 covered below. Each article provides tips and tricks for improving and enhancing your Git experience.

        • A review of endianness bugs in Qt, and how they were fixed — mitya57’s weblog

          As you may know, I am Qt 5 maintainer in Debian. Maintaning Qt means not only bumping the version each time a new version is released, but also making sure Qt builds successfully on all architectures that are supported in Debian (and for some submodules, the automatic tests pass).

          An important sort of build failures are endianness specific failures. Most widely used architectures (x86_64, aarch64) are little endian. However, Debian officially supports one big endian architecture (s390x), and unofficially a few more ports are provided, such as ppc64 and sparc64.

          Unfortunately, Qt upstream does not have any big endian machine in their CI system, so endianness issues get noticed only when the packages fail to build on our build daemons. In the last years I have discovered and fixed some such issues in various parts of Qt, so I decided to write a post to illustrate how to write really cross-platform C/C++ code.

        • Solve a charity's problem with the Julia programming language |

          I have been writing a series of articles about solving a nice, small, and somewhat unusual problem in different programming languages (Groovy, Python, and Java so far).

          Briefly, the problem is how to unpack bulk supplies into their units (for example, dividing a 10 pack of one-pound bags of your favorite coffee) and repackage them into hampers of similar value to distribute to struggling neighbors in the community.

          The three solutions I have already explored constructed lists of the number of bulk packages acquired. I accomplished this by using maps in Groovy, dictionaries in Python, and tuples implemented as utility classes in Java. I used list-processing functionality in each language to unpack the bulk packages into a list of their constituents, which I modeled using maps, dictionaries, and tuples, respectively. I needed to take an iterative approach to move units from a list into hampers; this iterative approach was quite similar from one language to the other, with the minor difference that I could use for {...} loops in Groovy and Java and needed while…: in Python. But all in all, they used very similar solutions with hints of functional programming and behavior encapsulated in objects here and there.

        • The Art is Long: DataBasin 1.1 S released

          This release is dedicated to my late friend and colleague Steven Rovelli (hence the "S" in the release name) who parted from us too young. He was an enthusiastic user of DataBasin and used and supported it inside our company, for countless AMS tasks. COVID-19 carried him away and he will be sorely missed.

        • 4 considerations for getting started with CI/CD in 2021

          In 2020,'s articles about continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) aimed to help you rethink your infrastructure with continuous delivery. If you're new to the CI/CD way of doing things or you need a refresher, read on for summaries of the top four CI/CD articles of 2020.

        • Perl/Raku

          • From a Reflection on The Weekly Challenge 092 Task 1

            My unsatisfactory code (distaste due to the two subroutines &verify_pattern and &learn_pattern are almost the same).

            Suddenly today I want to try out whether the Unicode support is direct; sadly, no:

            For a single character...

        • Python

          • How to Delete Linux Files and Directories using Python

            This article will address a common question around Python – Delete File. When working with files in Python, there is often a requirement to be able to delete them – the files may be temporary and need to be cleaned up after the program has finished, or it may be that the python program is designed to search for and delete files in a particular location. In this article I will run through some examples of how you can delete files using Python.

        • Rust

          • Rust 1.49.0 released

            On this last day of 2020, the Rust project has announced the release of version 1.49.0 of the programming language. It establishes the arm64 Linux target as a Tier 1 platform, which is the highest level of support; "Tier 1 platforms can be thought of as 'guaranteed to work'". Also, arm64 macOS and Windows have risen to Tier 2 status, which means they are guaranteed to build and are likely to work just fine, but the automated tests are not run. Beyond that, the test framework now captures output from multiple threads and some library changes were made. See the detailed release notes for more information.

        • Java

          • Build your own text editor in Java

            There are a lot of text editors available. There are those that run in the terminal, in a GUI, in a browser, and in a browser engine. Many are very good, and some are great. But sometimes, the most satisfying answer to any question is the one you build yourself.

            Make no mistake: building a really good text editor is a lot harder than it may seem. But then again, it’s also not as hard as you might fear to build a basic one. In fact, most programming toolkits already have most of the text editor parts ready for you to use. The components around the text editing, such as a menu bar, file chooser dialogues, and so on, are easy to drop into place. As a result, a basic text editor is a surprisingly fun and elucidating, though intermediate, lesson in programming. You might find yourself eager to use a tool of your own construction, and the more you use it, the more you might be inspired to add to it, learning even more about the programming language you’re using.

            To make this exercise realistic, it’s best to choose a language with a good GUI toolkit. There are many to choose from, including Qt, FLTK, or GTK, but be sure to review the documentation first to ensure it has the features you expect. For this article, I use Java with its built-in Swing widget set. If you want to use a different language or a different toolset, this article can still be useful in giving you an idea of how to approach the problem.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Rajeesh K Nambiar: Panmana: new Malayalam body text font

        Rachana Institute of Typography starts the new year 2021 with the release of a new body-text Malayalam Unicode font named ‘Panmana’.


        ‘Panmana’ is released under Open Font License, free to use and share. Truetype and Web font can be downloaded from the website. A flyer about the font is available. If you spot any issues, please report those in the source repository.

  • Leftovers

    • Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2020

      The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World Vincent Bevins (Public Affairs Books)

      Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World Lesley M.M. Blume (Simon & Schuster)

    • It Could Always Be Worse

      I’ve probably received a dozen New Year’s greeting like the following:

      “Good riddance 2020. Here’s to better days.”

    • 2020 Turned Our Worlds Inside Out. Here’s What We Learned.
    • Opinion | So Long! Top 6 Reasons We Won’t Miss 2020, or Donald Trump

      We aren’t out of the woods, but 2021 gives us light at the end of the tunnel. It has been so dark so long.

    • 2020 Latin America and the Caribbean in Review: the Pink Tide May Rise Again

      The grand struggle played out against the backdrop of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, impacting countries differently depending on their political economies.€  As of this writing, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba had COVID death rates per million population of 35, 25, and 12, respectively. In comparison, the death rates in right-leaning neoliberal states of Peru, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Honduras, and Guatemala were respectively 1123, 888, 849, 805, 843, 306, and 263. The manifestly lower rates on the left reflected, in large part, better developed public health systems and social welfare practices.

      Andean Nations

    • Opinion | Welcome To Operation Warped Denial of Reality
    • New Year's Message: Make The World A Better Place

      It's tricky to figure out how to start this post this year, of all years. As long-time readers are aware, ever since 2008, my final post of the year was a reflection on optimism. It started, in 2008, in the midst of a few fights to create a better internet at the time, in which two separate people had expressed to me what they believed to be a contradiction: I am unfailingly optimistic about the potential for innovation to make the world better, and yet I often appeared (to them, at least), to be so angry about the state of the world and the efforts various people were involved in to impede the internet. And thus started the tradition of writing a post about how important it was to stay happy and optimistic, even in the face of so many challenges to that optimism. Whatever anger or frustration people sense from me has never been in opposition to that optimism, but directed at how that optimistic vision may be delayed or limited by short-sighted thinking. If you'd like to look over the history of these posts, here's the full list: 2008: On Staying Happy2009: Creativity, Innovation And Happiness2010: From Pessimism To Optimism... And The Power Of Innovation2011: From Optimism And Innovation... To The Power To Make A Difference2012: Innovation, Optimism And Opportunity: All Coming Together To Make Real Change2013: Optimism On The Cusp Of Big Changes 2014: Change, Innovation And Optimism, Despite Challenges2015: Keep Moving Forward2016: No One Said It Would Be Easy...2017: Keep On Believing2018: Do Something Different2019: Opportunities Come From Unexpected Places Of course, 2020 has been a different kind of year by pretty much any measure imaginable. You already know that we're still in the midst of a massive pandemic that has taken the lives of nearly 2 million people worldwide, and 350,000 in the US alone. All of our lives have been changed in the last nine or ten months. At the same time, one of the key issues we talk about and advocate for here on Techdirt — keeping an open internet thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Act — has been under attack (as began in earnest last year) to the point that today, as I write this, it is front page news, with both the outgoing President and the President-elect saying complete and utter nonsense about it, and the Senate Majority Leader basically using the open internet as a key poison pill in his effort to deny Americans the relief they so desperately need.

    • I agreed to live alone on the Palmyra Atoll for one year. Here's why and how I stayed for eight.

      But sometimes, I did have some visitors, and when they came from Hawaii, they had to get in touch because they needed to pay and sign that they understood the rules and regulations. They would also ask, "What do you need, Roger?" I always told them, "Bring me a huge sack of onions, a huge sack of potatoes, garlic, one bottle of rum, one case of wine," and that would give them two or three weeks free at the island. In eight years, I didn't run out of potatoes, garlic and onions.

    • On Hiatus

      There have been no new posts on this site for the last 20 months, so I am finally putting the blog on hiatus. After a number of promotions I no longer have as much time for personal projects as before, and most of the technology-related stuff I am currently working on cannot be shared due to non-disclosure agreements.

    • Glanglish, and other Weekly Essays

      In 1990, before I had a go at writing a couple of novels, I put together Glanglish, a collection of short essays. They are about nothing in particular, and were more in the nature of five-finger exercises for my writing (and thinking). I aim to post one a week, which I'll add to the list below.

    • The weekly essay

      When I was a schoolboy, I used to dread Monday afternoons. It was the day we wrote our English essay. The classes you hate are often those taken by some mentally defective bully whose only pathetic pleasure is to terrorise hapless children. In this case it must have been from some deep antipathy to the form, or else a sense of personal inadequacy with words; it certainly had nothing to do with Mr Thurlow.

      Normally grown-ups tower over you at school; Sammy Thurlow appeared small even to us in our short trousers. He looked like a tiny Amazonian Indian dressed in a characterless grey demob suit. And there would be no need to shrink his head: it was already brown and shrivelled, as if chain-smoking had cured him from the inside out.

      On the Friday before the essay, Mr Thurlow would turn to us, his rheumy eyes avoiding our gazes as ever, and between near-fatal coughing fits give us our theme for the following Monday. We wondered where he got them from: 'it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive'; 'ambition'; 'the pen is mightier than the sword.' They could have been framed in Sammy's native Amazonian dialect for all the relevance they had to this twelve-year old.

    • Science

      • Bell’s palsy, syncope, and death: The impending antivax tsunami of fake COVID-19 vaccine “adverse reactions”

        [Orac note: Orac has (mostly) decided to take this week off, having finally learned that taking a week off every now and then is good for me and for the blog, particularly when there’s so much harmful pseudoscience about the pandemic being spread. So if this post about Bell’s palsy and other COVID-19 “adverse reactions” looks familiar, you’ll know why—but also know that I did revise the post a bit. It’s still timely, though, and I might even start the new year off with a post tomorrow. If I don’t, fear not, I’ll be back on Monday and try to get back to full speed as rapidly as possible.]

    • Hardware

      • ECS GLKD-HTI is a "Half mini-ITX" motherboard with Gemini Lake processor

        The company only lists supports for Windows 10 64-bit in the specifications, but it’s highly likely Linux can also run on the motherboard. It’s also a little odd that memory capacity is limited to 8GB and HDMI to version 1.4a, so those may be errors. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to find out in what kind of products this board ends up being used into. One could probably make a Keyboard PC with it…

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Tech that died in 2020

          Even in a year like 2020, one thing didn't change in the tech world: Certain devices, technologies, and services shut down. The causes vary, as does the level of regret. Some things we'll miss; some things we never cared about; and others, we're glad to show the door. This year, we're dividing the departed by how much we think most people will actually care. Check out our list below and wave goodbye or good riddance to: [...]

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Built In - What is containerization?

                Managing containers with Kubernetes or another system isn’t easy. Even experienced developers get confused, and learning takes time.

                That’s why developers with Kubernetes skills are in such high demand. Right now, just 15,000 people have received Kubernetes certifications from CNCF. (“By the way, that’s only the people who have passed the exam,” CNCF general manager Priyanka Sharma told me. “It’s a difficult exam, and it’s not multiple choice.”)

                For teams that need a simplified on-ramp to managing their own container systems, check out tools like Istio and Tanzu.

              • Open Source Networking in 2020, Dent Gets First Release, OPNFV Gets its Last Release

                The Linux Foundation has been making steady inroads in the networking market in recent years and 2020 was certainly no exception.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (firefox, openjpeg2, openssl, qemu, tensorflow, and thunderbird) and Debian (highlight.js).

          • This Week In Security: Deeper Dive Into SolarWinds, Bouncy Castle, And Docker Images [Ed: Microsoft is, as usual, using spin and distortion to blame others for its own incompetence]

            Microsoft has published their analysis of Solorigate, and the details are interesting. The added code was carefully written to blend in with the rest of the code, using the name OrionImprovementBusinessLayer.Initialize, which sounds like a perfectly boring-yet-legitimate function. The actual backdoor is obfuscated using zip compression and base64 encoding.

            Once this bootstrap code begins, it runs a series of checks before actually doing anything malicious. It waits 2 weeks after installation to do anything, and then checks the system domain name for any indication it’s running in a test environment. It then checks for certain security applications, like Wireshark, and refuses to run if they are detected. This series of checks all seem to be an effort to avoid detection, and to only run in a deployed environment. Even the Command and Control URL that the backdoor uses is constructed to appear benign. Beyond this, it seems that the malware simply waited for instructions, and didn’t take any automated actions. All the attacks were performed manually.

            One of the side-effects of the sudden attention given to SolarWinds devices is that a whole slew of other problems will be found and fixed, like CVE-2020-10148, an authentication bypass. The most surprising finding, however, is a *second* backdoor in the SolarWinds code, nicknamed Supernova. It’s possible that this was an earlier backdoor from the same actors as Solarigate, but the current theory is that it’s a backdoor installed by yet another, unrelated attacker.

          • Significant vulnerabilities that crippled IT world this decade (2010-2020)

            he last ten years in the computer and IT security world are crippled with so many vulnerabilities. We saw massive cloud computing adoption and end-users using mobile devices with high speed 4G LTE networks. A threat actor may have exploited such weakness in modern computers and networks. Let us look into top vulnerabilities and the attack surface in this decade (2010-2020) that affected Linux/Unix, macOS, IT, cloud-computing, and computers in general.

          • James Bottomley: Deploying Encrypted Images for Confidential Computing

            At its base, current confidential computing environments are about using encrypted memory to run the virtual machine and guarding the encryption key so that the owner of the host system (the cloud service provider) can’t get access to it. Both SEV and TDX have the encryption technology inside the main memory controller meaning the L1 cache isn’t encrypted (still vulnerable to cache side channels) and DMA to devices must also be done via unencryped memory. This latter also means that both the BIOS and the Operating System of the guest VM must be enlightened to understand which pages to encrypted and which must not. For this reason, all confidential VM systems use OVMF2 to boot because this contains the necessary enlightening. To a guest, the VM encryption looks identical to full memory encryption on a physical system, so as long as you have a kernel which supports Intel or AMD full memory encryption, it should boot.

            Each confidential computing system has a security element which sits between the encrypted VM and the host. In SEV this is an aarch64 processor called the Platform Security Processor (PSP) and in TDX it is an SGX enclave running Intel proprietary code. The job of the PSP is to bootstrap the VM, including encrypting the initial OVMF and inserting the encrypted pages. The security element also includes a validation certificate, which incorporates a Diffie-Hellman (DH) key. Once the guest owner obtains and validates the DH key it can use it to construct a one time ECDH encrypted bundle that can be passed to the security element on bring up. This bundle includes an encryption key which can be used to encrypt secrets for the security element and a validation key which can be used to verify measurements from the security element.

            The way QEMU boots a Q35 machine is to set up all the configuration (including a disk device attached to the VM Image) load up the OVMF into rom memory and start the system running. OVMF pulls in the QEMU configuration and constructs the necessary ACPI configuration tables before executing grub and the kernel from the attached storage device. In a confidential VM, the first task is to establish a Guest Owner (the person whose encrypted VM it is) which is usually different from the Host Owner (the person running or controlling the Physical System). Ownership is established by transferring an encrypted bundle to the Secure Element before the VM is constructed.

          • Chris Lamb: Free software activities in December 2020

            One of the original promises of open source software is that distributed peer review and transparency of process results in enhanced end-user security. However, whilst anyone may inspect the source code of free and open source software for malicious flaws, almost all software today is distributed as pre-compiled binaries. This allows nefarious third-parties to compromise systems by injecting malicious code into ostensibly secure software during the various compilation and distribution processes.

            The motivation behind the Reproducible Builds effort is to ensure no flaws have been introduced during this compilation process by promising identical results are always generated from a given source, thus allowing multiple third-parties to come to a consensus on whether a build was compromised.

          • The Future of Software Supply Chain Security – Purism

            All indications are that software supply chain security will be the biggest issue for the security industry in 2021. The largest security story of 2020 was the supply chain compromise of SolarWinds Orion which allowed attackers to ship malicious updates with backdoors to Orion customers with perfectly valid signatures. Once these updates were applied and attackers were in these networks, this access allowed a large-scale attack of government agencies and tech and security companies, perhaps one of the single largest attacks of US networks in history. In some cases the level of compromise was so deep, including compromised administrator credentials, that the general guidance has been for victims to rebuild infrastructure from the ground up.

            Supply chain security is not a new concept (I wrote about how Purism protects the digital supply chain over two years ago) and many researchers have recognized it as a legitimate threat for a long time. Yet the industry overall has been slow to recognize the risk and in fact perverse incentives have led to many in the industry doubling-down on security solutions that rely heavily (in many cases rely entirely) on the exact kind of security measures supply chain hacks defeat.

            The proprietary software industry can’t fix the software supply chain problem because they largely created it and depend on it to maintain control over customers. In this article I’m going to explain how this happened, and what the future of supply chain security looks like.


            To improve software supply chain security we need the ability to audit software like we audit food and this requires much more transparency–transparency beyond what proprietary software vendors allow. Tamper seals (code signing) are important, but not close to being sufficient to catch tainted software. As the SolarWinds Orion hack shows, food can be tainted at the factory before it gets into those tamper-sealed jars.

            The software supply chain will get attacked, and third parties and motivated customers must have the ability to detect tainted code quickly, beyond simply relying on their vendor to notice, looking at a tamper seal, or waiting to see if their network gets sick. The best hope we have to improve supply chain security is in the combination of free software and Reproducible Builds.


            This is one reason why Purism offers a 100% free software operating system, PureOS, on our computers. By only installing free software, all of the source code in the operating system can be audited by anyone for backdoors or other malicious code. For processed food to be labeled as organic, it must be made only from organic sources, and having our operating system certified as 100% free software means you can trust the software supply chain all the way to the source.

            Reproducible Builds

            Unlike proprietary software, free software can also address the risk from an attacker who can inject malicious code somewhere in the build process before it’s signed. With Reproducible Builds you can download the source code used to build your software, build it yourself, and compare your output with the output you get from a vendor. If the output matches, you can be assured that no malicious code was injected somewhere in the software supply chain and it 100% matches the public code that can be audited for backdoors. Think of it like the combination of a food safety inspector and an independent lab that verifies the nutrition claims on a box of cereal all rolled into one.

            Much of PureOS is already reproducibly built, and we are working so that ultimately all software within PureOS can be reproducibly built starting with the base install and expanding from there. We not only intend on publishing our own reproducible build results, but also tools and guidance so third parties and customers can perform their own audits. That way, customers aren’t limited to learning about supply chain attacks from us, they can audit and detect attacks themselves.

          • Linux To Report MIPS Vulnerabilities But They Often Go Unreported Or Dead Vendors - Phoronix

            The Linux kernel with the likes of ARM and x86 hardware leverage kernel infrastructure for reporting their relevant CPU security mitigations while only now the MIPS kernel code is seeing work to report such vulnerabilities. However, on the MIPS front it's more difficult with some vendors not publicly acknowledging vulnerabilities and other cases of MIPS hardware vendors no longer producing the hardware in question or even in business.

            Sent out yesterday were patches providing MIPS vulnerabilities infrastructure for the Linux kernel, similar to that for other architectures.

          • Microsoft says [crackers] viewed source code as part of SolarWinds attack

            Microsoft made the announcement as part of its investigation into findings last week, first reported by The Washington Post, that Russian [attackers] responsible for one of the biggest cyber incidents in U.S. history had compromised Microsoft cloud customers as part of the attack on IT company SolarWinds.

          • Microsoft Says Suspected Russian [Atackers] Viewed Source Code

            Microsoft had previously said it, too, had received a malicious update of software from information technology provider SolarWinds Corp. that was used to breach government agencies and companies around the world. The details of the campaign are still largely unknown, including how many organizations were victimized and what was taken by the [crackers]. Bloomberg News reported in December that investigators have determined at least 200 organizations were attacked as part of the campaign.

          • SolarWinds [Crackers] Accessed Microsoft Source Code, Microsoft Says

            Source code, the underlying set of instructions that run a piece of software or operating system, is typically among a technology company's most closely guarded secrets, and Microsoft has historically been particularly careful about protecting it.

            It is not clear how much or what parts of Microsoft's source code repositories the [attackers] were able to access, but the disclosure suggests that the [attackers] who used software company SolarWinds as a springboard to break into sensitive U.S. government networks also had an interest in discovering the inner workings of Microsoft products as well.

          • SolarWinds [attackers] accessed Microsoft source code, the company says

            It is not clear how much or what parts of Microsoft's source code repositories the [crackers] were able to access, but the disclosure suggests that the [attackers] who used software company SolarWinds as a springboard to break into sensitive U.S. government networks also had an interest in discovering the inner workings of Microsoft products as well.

          • SolarWinds [crackers] accessed Microsoft source code, the company says

            Three people briefed on the matter said Microsoft had known for days that the source code had been accessed. A Microsoft spokesman said security employees had been working “around the clock” and that “when there is actionable information to share, they have published and shared it.”

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

          • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Ukraine’s former president confirms Kyiv’s involvement in bringing suspected Russian mercenaries to Belarus

        Ukraine’s former president Petro Poroshenko has confirmed that the 33 suspected Russian mercenaries from the Wagner PMC who were arrested in Belarus back in July were lured from Russia as part of a special operation carried out by the Ukrainian intelligence services. Poroshenko made this statement during an interview with Ukrainian TV’s Channel 5 on Wednesday, December 30.€ 

      • Opinion | Why Americans Should Demand Better Us Middle East Policy

        Americans need to support policies that help mitigate the disastrous effects of American armed invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.€ 

      • ‘Bellingcat’ lead investigator publishes database on travel history of FSB operatives implicated in Navalny poisoning

        Just weeks after the release of his team’s bombshell joint investigation linking Alexey Navalny’s poisoning to Russian intelligence operatives, Bellingcat’s lead researcher Christo Grozev has published a database of information on the travel history of the FSB agents implicated in the assassination attempt. In the hours after the database was made public, journalists began identifying possible leads. Grozev also noted that two trips have been redacted from the database, so as not to affect already ongoing investigations.

      • Only Six Senate Democrats Voted Against Advancing $740 Billion Pentagon Bill
      • Iran's Top Diplomat Warns Trump Plotting to 'Fabricate Pretext for War' as US Flies B-52s Over Persian Gulf

        "Iran doesn't seek war," said the Iranian foreign minister, "but will openly and directly defend its people, security, and vital interests."

      • The Final Hours of Ethiopia’s TPLF Regime

        When their enemies, the Ethiopian army, surrounded them there the TPLF mafia capos escaped through a secret 300 meter long tunnel and€ literally headed for the hills, the nearest mountainside, to hide.€ They broke up into two groups and tried to find what shelter they€ could. Old, fat and desk bound for the past 30 years, they’re fighting€ fit days of the 1980s guerrilla war were long gone. Without access to€ food or water it was only a matter of time before their jig was up.

        They were quickly spotted, surrounded and offered a safe surrender€ which they spurned repeatedly. Then the onslaught started, first heavy€ artillery bombardment, then worked over again by helicopter gunships.

      • 2020 Was a Record Year for Far Right Violence in the US
      • Yes, Americans are Fat. The US Military is Fatter.

        Mission: Readiness, a group of retired military officers, wants the US Department of Defense to create an “advisory committee on military recruitment,” with a view toward getting the next generation in shape so that they’re qualified, as the old saying goes, to “travel to exotic, distant lands; meet exciting, unusual people; and kill them.”

        I’ve got a better idea: Instead of trying to trim fat off America’s adolescents, trim fat off the US Armed Forces.

      • Alaska Requires DNA Be Collected From People Arrested for Violent Crimes. Many Police Have Ignored That.

        Law enforcement agencies across Alaska, including in the state capital, are failing to collect DNA from people arrested for violent crimes, violating a state law passed with great fanfare in 2007 that was going to put Alaska at the leading edge of solving rape cases.

        The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica found that across the state, some law enforcement agencies are not aware of the law or are not following it. That lapse means the database is potentially missing thousands of people and may explain why the effort to test a backlog of unexamined rape kits for DNA has yielded only one new prosecution.

      • Is Boko Haram Gaining Foothold in Nigeria's Northwest?

        Boko Haram's claim of responsibility for a recent kidnapping of more than 300 students in Nigeria's northwestern state of Katsina signals that the militant group is expanding its terror activities beyond its traditional stronghold in the West African country's northeast, experts warn.

    • Environment

      • Looking Ahead to 2021: COP26, Clean Air, and Biden's Next Steps

        The last 12 months have also been a stark reminder of how far we are still from intersectional justice: environmental, racial, political. After the year that’s been, it’d be a fool’s errand to guess what 2021 holds in store. But there are a few things that we’ll be keeping our eyes on come rain or€ shine…

      • Hawaii Officials Promise Changes to Seawall Policies That Have Quickened Beach Destruction

        Hawaii lawmakers and regulators are pledging to take steps to tighten oversight of seawalls and other barriers that are speeding beach erosion, following an investigation by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and ProPublica.

        As the news organizations reported this year, property owners across the islands have used a variety of loopholes to circumvent Hawaii’s environmental laws, winning permits for shoreline structures to protect multimillion-dollar homes at the expense of the state’s beaches, which are disappearing at an alarming rate.

      • Officials Let Hawaii’s Waterfront Homeowners Damage Public Beaches Again and Again

        In the winter of 2013, 45-foot waves barreled toward Oahu’s North Shore. The storm surge sent water gushing up a public walkway between Dean Hanzawa’s two beachfront homes. The ocean sucked sand and soil away from the yards and pulled a wall fronting one of the homes into a 45-degree angle toward the ocean, causing the property’s yard to split in half.

        To protect his property, Hanzawa brought in an excavator and dumped mounds of boulders along the public beach fronting the homes, forming large, sloping walls along the shoreline. He then piled boulders in front of the walkway, the public’s only corridor to this stretch of beach in Mokuleia, a coastal community rimmed by shimmering, turquoise water. To hold the rocks in place, he covered them with concrete.

      • Energy

        • Is Burning Wood for Power Carbon Neutral? Not a Chance

          A provision added to the bill, pushed for by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), declares that cutting down trees and burning them for energy is carbon-neutral. This, of course, makes no sense. Burning wood will add to global warming — even if the wood replaces coal or natural gas, as€ scientific organizations€ and€ hundreds of scientists€ have long argued.

          For decades, the wood industry has generated electricity and heat by burning wood wastes from harvesting and turning wood into paper and timber. Doing that makes sense because using the waste does not require cutting down more trees.

        • Finland's e-bike sales spike expected to continue in 2021

          According to figures from the Fashion and Sports Commerce Association, fewer than 9,000 e-bikes were sold in Finland in 2018 and nearly 16,000 were bought in 2019.

          Sales of the battery-powered devices will rise to an estimated 31,000 in 2020, according to Vellu Taskila, executive director of the Finnish Cyclists’ Federation NGO.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • In Potential Final Protest Targeting UN, Trump Administration—Joined by Just Israel—Votes Against 2021 Budget

        U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft said the decision was based on alleged "anti-Israel bias" and global refusal to reimpose sanctions on Iran.

      • Opinion | The US Money Tree: The Untold Story of American Aid to Israel

        Expecting the US to play a constructive role in achieving a just peace in Palestine does not only reflect indefensible naivety but willful ignorance as well.€ 

      • 'Very Encouraging': After Trump-McConnell Court Takeover, Biden Applauded for Signaling Plan to Nominate Civil Rights Lawyers

        "These are exactly the kind of priorities and processes that we have been pushing for and that will be necessary to rebalance our courts after four years of Trump and McConnell."

      • Opinion | Republican Voters Don't Know Anything About Their Party. That's Very Bad for American Democracy.

        For politics to rebalance at a healthier outcome where voters are actually able to assign the correct positions to the parties, we will need a new kind of reporting, one that doesn’t flinch from assigning policy views to the parties or drawing out the implications of these ideas in clear and materially-grounded terms.

      • Homemade End Times and Our Charismatic Trance

        Or, to perhaps make the analysis a bit more lucid, we have a mass political circumstance where the Right has charismatic personalities who constantly agitate its electoral base, while the Left has relatively obscure intellectuals—Noam Chomsky, Herbert Marcuse, Dorothy Dinnerstein, Ralph Nader, Naomi Klein, Howard Zinn, Paul Goodman, William Barber, Norman O. Brown—who only a scant intellectual Left knows of or cares about. The vast bulk of the “Left” treads water in a mental milieu of congressional leaders and other politicians. Plus the media. Some talking heads who rarely are given adequate time to deeply explore topics or circumstances. NPR. MSNBC. Maybe a little Democracy Now for the really daring.

        The Left doesn’t have charismatic personalities with mass appeal who explain the state of the world and arouse a consistent political stance. If the Right is Daddy Party—and Donald J. Trump has put the good housekeeping seal of approval on that designation—then the NPRs of this world, with their discernible increase of female voices, constitute Mommy. Assertive female voices. Confident female voices. Here to stay female voices. But “Mommy” doesn’t cut it. This is not your 1950s Mommy. This is the Party of the Daughter.

      • Putin welcomes 2021 with a record six-minute New Year’s address

        In his New Year’s address to the country, Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that 2020 has been a difficult year, saying that it “contained the weight of several years.” The address was first aired to residents of Kamchatka and the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug in Russia’s Far East, who welcomed the New Year at 3:00 p.m. Moscow time.

      • Reason and Faith in the Age of Trump

        Religion can be a particularly virulent form of ideology. With a stronger and more long lasting influence than Communism or Fascism, or for that matter, democracy, religion can demand the suppression of reason in favor of beliefs based on faith. That is why in the historical incidents where religion gets tied to state power, things almost always go bad. And we are not only talking about Catholics and the Inquisition, or Protestants and the Reformation wars, but also in modern times, the Buddhist regime in Sri Lanka, the Jewish state in Israel, or that so-called champion of Islamic law, Saudi Arabia. The problem of persecution and oppression when religion and state power get together is so ubiquitous that the only way this can go on is faith’s historical ability to conquer reason.

        One case in point, manifesting itself in the American democracy, is the efforts of Christian fundamentalists to take local and state power in many parts of the country. When they succeed, it is almost always to the detriment not only of the nation’s status as a constitutional republic separating church and state, but also to the scientific basis of society. They are, to use an appropriate if well-worn term, “hell-bent” on melding political power to faith—their faith.

      • Opinion | New York Times Joins Trump's Anti-China Crusade

        There is evidence that the pandemic was already present in Europe before the end of 2019, at a point where no one in China had any clear idea what they were dealing with.

      • Top 10 Questions for Neera Tanden

        1.€ You€ supported€ an attack on Libya that proved fraudulently marketed, illegal, and catastrophic in results, after which you argued in an email to your colleagues for trying to force Libya to pay via oil profits for the privilege of having been bombed. You wrote that this would be a good solution to a U.S. budget deficit. One of your colleagues replied that such a policy might create a financial incentive for attacking more countries. What countries, if any, would you most favor attacking and then billing for the service?

        2.€ Reclaiming, thank you, reclaiming my time, what criteria do you think one should use if one were to select the countries most appropriate to attack and then bill for it?

      • Good Riddance to 2020 and Mad King Trump

        The red flags of a virulent and lethal pandemic went up early and the country shut down by March in an attempt to “flatten the curve” of infections. But actions by a hare-brained president and his delusional followers rejected the advice of top infectious disease experts, politicized sensible precautionary measures as a cheap ploy to garner votes in an election year, and resulted in the ongoing illness and deaths of millions of Americans as this ugliest of years comes to an end. Good-bye and good riddance to 2020€ — as well as the worst president in the nation’s history.

        History is replete with mad kings, emperors, pharaohs and even popes. And so, despite the myth of American exceptionalism, we now get to have our own mad president in Donald Trump. The ultimate grifter, con man, continuous liar and malignant narcissist, Trump has turned us against each other, beggared the Treasury, and plunged this nation into its greatest human tragedy in recent history. And no, despite the inane prediction that somehow the pandemic would “disappear like a miracle,” the truth is we now have more than 3,000 Americans dying daily as we head toward a€ projected 567,000 to 731,000 coronavirus deaths€ by April.

      • Our Democracy Is Still in Danger Even With Trump Ousted
      • Repairing Trump’s Carnage: Fixing Our “Democracy”

        President-elect Biden will inherit a crisis worse than those facing Barack Obama in 2009 or Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.€  The international situation is dominated by a raging nationalism, a climate catastrophe, and a devastating pandemic.€  At home, we have a dysfunctional Congress, a struggling economy, and social tensions worsened by institutional racism.€  Biden’s cabinet appointments reveal his recognition of these domestic challenges as he has appointed experts prepared to address a damaged public health system, immigration system, and the environmental program.

        At the risk of adding to the list of problems facing the Biden-Harris team, I called attention last week to the perilous nature of our democracy itself.€  Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) termed Trump’s actions the “most serious attempt to overthrow our democracy in history,” and that is not an overstatement. If a democratic government had been working effectively, then Trump would not have been elected.€  What is to be done?

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Sex workers warn of unintended consequences in Section 230 fight

        Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has threatened to tie Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to negotiations over sending $2,000 stimulus checks to most Americans.

        While the 1996 law, which protects online platforms from liability for content posted by third parties, is unlikely to actually be repealed during these negotiations, bipartisan momentum to at least reform it has been building.

        Any potential tweak to Section 230 would not be Congress’s first stab at amending the law, which is considered a bedrock for the modern [Internet].

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Assange extradition decision due January 4: Mobilise the working class to secure his freedom!

        The UK courts will decide on Monday January 4 whether WikiLeaks founder and journalist Julian Assange should be extradited to the United States. He faces a life sentence on charges under the Espionage Act for exposing war crimes and coup plots, torture and other human rights abuses, state corruption and spying.

        A decision to extradite is all but assured. The hearing was a pseudo-legal travestsy which saw Assange’s basic democratic rights trampled. Presiding district judge Vanessa Baraitser has treated Assange with undisguised hostility throughout the proceedings. Her supervisor, Lady Emma Arbuthnot, is married to a government figure named personally in the WikiLeaks exposures.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • A Dozen People Who Didn't Suck in 2020

        But every cloud of shit has its silver lining. In times of great crisis, renegades find opportunity, and that is precisely what this list is for, a celebration of renegades for renegades by a renegade. People on this list aren’t perfect. Some of them can be fucking assholes. But this year, the Year of the Shit, these dearest motherfuckers got in a few punches for the freaks, and I’m gonna celebrate them regardless of whether I get along with them, and if anybody’s got a problem with that they can line up and kiss my Queer ass. In 2020, these motherfuckers didn’t suck. In fact, some of them were downright heroic. Let’s salute them.

        Rose McGowan–€  The MeToo Movement died a rather fast and undignified death this year at the hands of it’s own founders the moment Tara Reade came forward about a sexual predator they had already fallen for. Rose got the memo, she just chose to jam it up their collective ass. After coming forward about being one of Harvey Weinstein’s many victims, McGowan became a leader of this feminist movement. But when her comrades decided to get another rapist elected president, she burned what was left of it to the ground, torching every last bridge she had left in Hollywood along the way. I’ve adored Rose since falling in love with the Queer teen cult film, The Doom Generation, in high school. But Amy Blue ain’t got shit on the real thing. Real feminists don’t let feminists vote for rapists. Anyone who’s got a problem with that can eat our fuck.

      • Reproductive Rights Advocates Slam 'Unconstitutional and Medically Unnecessary' Fetal Remains Law Signed by Ohio Governor

        The ACLU called Senate Bill 27 "just one more transparent attempt to obstruct Ohioans from exercising their constitutionally protected reproductive rights."

      • US Has Entered Uncharted Territory in Uprising Against Racism
      • Opinion | 7 Ways Women of Colour Resisted Racism This Year

        Women are leading anti-racist activism around the world, from Black Brazilians running for election to Germany’s migrant rights movement.€ #12DaysofResistance

      • “America’s Moment of Reckoning”: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor & Cornel West on Uprising Against Racism

        Scholars Cornel West and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor respond to the global uprising against racism and police violence following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. “We’re seeing the convergence of a class rebellion with racism and racial terrorism at the center of it,” said Princeton professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. “And in many ways, we are in uncharted territory in the United States.”

      • The Freedom Struggle in 2020: Angela Davis on Protests, Defunding Police & Toppling Racist Statues

        In a Democracy Now! special, we revisit our June 2020 interview with the legendary activist and scholar Angela Davis about the uprising against police brutality and racism launched in May after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The protests have helped dramatically shift public opinion on policing and systemic racism, as “defund the police” became a rallying cry of the movement. Davis is professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz. For half a century, she has been one of the most influential activists and intellectuals in the United States and an icon of the Black liberation movement.

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

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

      • Mohammad Hassan Rezaiee: UN condemns Iran over 'juvenile execution'

        Its human rights office said that Mohammad Hassan Rezaiee, aged 30, was put to death on Thursday.

        Amnesty International said Rezaiee had been arrested in 2007 over the fatal stabbing of a man. It said he was convicted on a forced confession.

        It had warned that carrying out the sentence would represent "an abhorrent assault on children's rights".

      • [Cracked] home cams used to livestream police raids in swatting attacks

        It said offenders had even spoken to responding officers via the [cracked] kit.

        It marks the latest escalation of a crime known as "swatting", in which offenders fool armed police or other emergency responders to go to a target's residence.

        The FBI said there were "deadly" risks.

        A fake call about a hostage situation led to police shooting a man in Kansas three years ago, and there have been non-fatal injuries in other cases.

      • What an Ex-Cop Learned in Prison About Police Culture

        His assimilation into police culture started early. “As an Explorer, I learned there are slangs for everything. Four-eighty-one was the clearing code for someone who was crazy. That was my first glimpse into the dehumanization,” he told me. “They didn’t call it someone who is having a crisis. No, this is a four-eighty-one. I was like I can’t be a four-eighty-one, so I didn’t go get a diagnosis.”

        At the Academy, he was indoctrinated into an “us versus the world” mentality and learned just how deep such dehumanization ran. He said he learned the “colloquial terms for people you encounter, such as ‘doper,’ ‘skell’ [short for skeleton], ‘mope,’ and ‘thug.’” He said he understands now how they carry “clear racial undertones,” but explained that “it doesn’t take long for a recruit to be totally enmeshed into their new cop identity.”

      • Watch Nights Reflect the History of New Year’s for Black Americans

        Then, on December 31, 1862, the significance of the holiday dramatically changed for the United States’ Black population. One of the most notable New Year’s Eves in U.S. history, also referred to as Freedom’s Eve, marked the brink of the first major step in the path to freedom for Black Americans. On that New Year’s Day, January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. While this pivotal document was intended to preserve the Union rather than act as means of liberation, it effectively freed enslaved Black people in the Confederate states that had seceded from the Union. Slavery wasn’t fully abolished until the end of the Civil War in April 1865 — with the last enslaved people learning of their freedom on June 19 of that year (Juneteenth) — and it wasn’t officially outlawed until the December 1865 ratification of the 13th Amendment. Still, the course of Black American history changed forever on that New Year’s Day.

        In anticipation of that historical moment, Black people gathered in homes and churches on Freedom’s Eve, waiting for confirmation that the Emancipation Proclamation had officially been issued. They were watching out for notification by newspaper, telegraph, or word of mouth on what is now referred to as the first Watch Night. American abolitionist Frederick Douglass is said to have described the moment he heard news of the Proclamation like so: “The scene was wild and grand. Joy and gladness exhausted all forms of expression, from shouts of praise to joys and tears.” In the years since, Watch Night services honoring that Freedom’s Eve have been held at Black churches nationwide.

    • Monopolies

      • FOSS Patents: Ten patent and antitrust predictions for 2021

        Let me start with what I believe will be some of the hottest items on the patent and antitrust agenda (with a focus on the information and communications technology industry, of course) this year. There's always a risk of making predictions that don't play out, but I can live with that. I've had a very high hit rate--but obviously sub-100%--with respect to judicial and regulatory decisions. Unlike practitioners, I don't incur the risk of clients losing faith in me. Instead, I believe many of my readers actually prefer me to just share my thoughts and speak my mind.

      • Patents

        • Broad Files Priority Motion in CRISPR Interference*

          In the latest development in Interference No. 106,115 between Senior Party The Broad Institute, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively, "Broad") and Junior Party The University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, "CVC"), Broad filed its priority motion (which, as Senior Party they were not obliged to do).

        • Software Patents

          • Fighting Abusive Patent Litigation During a Year of Health Crisis: 2020 Year In Review

            At EFF, we’ve been the watchdog for years when patent owners abuse their monopolies. Unfortunately but predictably, some patent owners actually saw the rise of the COVID-19 health emergency as a business opportunity.€ 

            Shortly after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, a patent troll called Labrador Diagnostics used patents to sue a company that makes COVID-19 tests. Even worse: Labrador used two patents that were originally issued to Theranos, the defunct blood-testing company whose former CEO is now facing criminal fraud charges. Following the public outcry around its patent threats, Labrador agreed to grant royalty-free licenses to those working on COVID-19 tests.€ € 

            Labrador wasn’t the only example of a patent owner misbehaving this year. Lawsuits by patent trolls went up during 2020. By mid-year, they were 20% higher than last year€ [pdf], and 30% higher than 2018. In May, we wrote about a patent troll called Swirlate IP that sued five different companies, including ResMed, a company that makes ventilators. Swirlate, a limited liability company based in a “Pack and Mail Shoppe” in a strip mall in Plano, Texas, is linked to IP Edge, a large patent assertion company owned by three IP lawyers.€ 

      • Trademarks

        • Swedish Patent and Market Court of Appeal cancels Crocs three-dimensional trade mark

          In an interesting decision from this month, the Swedish Patent and Market Court of Appeal considered whether the Crocs Classic footwear (depicted below), registered as a national three-dimensional trade mark, could be cancelled because it consisted exclusively of a shape, which resulted from the nature of the goods themselves and a shape necessary to obtain a technical result. Having found that the mark could not be cancelled on the above grounds, the Swedish Patent and Market Court of Appeal considered instead that the mark lacked acquired distinctiveness. The decision is interesting since it exposes the significance of surveys relating to acquired distinctiveness and the difficulties for trade mark holders to protect three-dimensional marks.

      • Copyrights

        • Could Trump's Twitter Account Be 'DMCA-Banned'? Not Long To Find Out

          President Trump has received many copyright complaints on Twitter, a tally that has just increased due to yet another DMCA takedown notice. However, a policy decision by Twitter means he's been able to circumvent the platform's repeat infringer rules. The big question is whether he'll continue getting special treatment moving forward or will Twitter eventually have to nuke his account?

        • January 1, 2021 is Public Domain Day: Works from 1925 are open to all!

          On January 1, 2021, copyrighted works from 1925 will enter the US public domain,1 where they will be free for all to use and build upon. These works include books such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, and Franz Kafka’s The Trial (in the original German), silent films featuring Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, and music ranging from the jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown to songs by Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, W.C. Handy, and Fats Waller.

          "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessley into the past."
          F. Scott Fitsgerald, The Great Gatsby

          This is not just the famous last line from The Great Gatsby. It also encapsulates what the public domain is all about. A culture is a continuing conversation between present and past. On Public Domain Day, we all have a “green light,” in keeping with the Gatsby theme, to use one more year of that rich cultural past, without permission or fee.

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