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Links 31/1/2021: KDE Consistency and Bareflank 2.1

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux Weekly Roundup: Kernel 5.10.2, GParted 1.2, and More - Jan 31, 2021

      Here's this week's weekly roundup (ending Jan 31, 2021) series, filtered for you from the Linux and the open-source world on application updates, new releases, distribution updates, major news, and upcoming highlights. Have a look.

    • 9to5Linux Weekly Roundup: January 31st, 2021

      This has been yet another great week for Linux news, releases, and whatnot. We have another critical Sudo vulnerability patched in all major distros, a new major Firefox release to update to with better privacy features, a new Nvidia graphics driver with support for Linux kernel 5.10 LTS, and new Linux kernel vulnerabilities to patch in our Ubuntu computers.

      On top of that, I’m taking a first look at the brand-new MX Linux Fluxbox edition and the Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) operating system on the Raspberry Pi 4 computer. Of course, I’m also covering all the latest distro and software updates, so check them all out in the 9to5Linux Weekly Roundup for January 31st, 2021, below!

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Read Your RSS Feeds With NewsFlash

        NewsFlash is a program designed to complement an already existing web-based RSS reader account, or you can use feeds that are stored locally. It has searching and filtering, tagging, vim-like keybindings and a refreshing, modern interface.

      • Switching from Google Photos: what are the alternatives?
      • Alan Pope: Late Night Linux Extra: 14 - Transcription

        I was recently interviewed by Joe Ressington for Late Night Linux Extra episode 14. Here’s a transcription I typed up, which may be useful. I used an automated tool to create the transcription, then tidied it up myself. If you spot anything which doesn’t match the audio, and is materially important, do feel free to propose an edit on GitHub (link at the top of the page).

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.10.12
      • Linux 5.4.94
      • Linux 4.19.172
      • Linux 4.14.218
      • Linux 4.9.254
      • Linux 4.4.254
      • Linux Patches Look To Restrict Modules From Poking Certain Registers, Using Select Instructions - Phoronix

        Last year the Linux kernel began tightening up the ability to write to select CPU MSRs from user-space. That restricting of user-space access to select registers was done in the name of security as well as not wanting user-space to accidentally or maliciously poke some MSRs that could cause problems with kernel behavior. Now in kernel space there are some yet-to-be-merged patches that would place some new restrictions on kernel modules around poking certain registers or using select CPU instructions.

      • AMD FreeSync HDMI Patch Appearing For Their Open-Source Linux Driver - Phoronix

        While the AMD Linux graphics driver for some time has been supporting FreeSync over DisplayPort connections, FreeSync displays connected via HDMI have not been supported. But now we are finally seeing the start of patches at least as far as HDMI pre-v2.1 support is concerned.

        HDMI 2.1 has Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) as part of the standard for reducing lag, stuttering, and frame tearing particularly while gaming. While HDMI 2.1 has the standardized VRR and many other features, HDMI Forum limiting specification access and what can be supported by open-source drivers has for now led to the lack of support there among the open-source Linux graphics drivers. The X.Org Foundation is trying to get the HDMI Forum to change course to allow for better open-source support, but anyhow what we are seeing with patch work that came out on Friday is for AMD's vendor-specific FreeSync with pre-v2.1 HDMI.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa Continues With More Optimizations For Workstation OpenGL Performance

          Well known AMD open-source driver developer Marek Olšák continues squeezing Mesa for every bit of possible performance, which in recent months has been with a seemingly workstation focus.

          In recent weeks we have covered big performance improvements for SPECviewperf with the Mesa/Gallium3D code. SPECviewperf is around modeling graphics performance for professional applications like CATIA, 3ds Max, Maya, Solidworks, Siemens NX, and more.

          Just a few days ago more improvements landed in Mesa benefiting SPECviewperf. While this weekend was the latest work of Marek going to mainline.

    • Applications

      • The 15 Best Linux Music Player Apps

        No matter which system you're on, a high-quality music player is a must for every audiophile. If you're looking for the perfect Linux music player, look no more. In this guide, we will outline some of the best music players for Linux machines.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Monitor HAProxy with Grafana and Prometheus (haproxy_exporter)

        We are going to install haproxy_exporter and configure Prometheus to monitor HAProxy servers.

        The haproxy_exporter service scrapes HAProxy stats and exports them via HTTP for Prometheus consumption.

      • How to create a Web App launcher icon in Linux with WebApp Manager - Real Linux User

        More and more applications are being offered web based, which can be a good development as it makes certain applications available on platforms that were previously not in the scope of many commercial developers. With just a good web browser, nowadays there are suddenly many more applications in reach for us Linux users. Think of very popular applications such as Notion, Asana and Figma, which now can also be used by Linux users via the browser for your second brain-, planning- and web design needs. But even though these powerful applications are easily accessible by simply typing the web address in your browser, many of us prefer to have an app icon in our panel or applications overview that takes us directly to the web application, like with native applications. In this article I will explain how to create a Web App launcher icon in Linux with Webapp Manager.

      • How to install ProtonVPN on Linux | FOSS Linux

        A VPN, short for Virtual Private Network, creates an encrypted virtual tunnel and routes all the incoming and outgoing data through it. This helps to disguise your IP address and make your location invisible, even your ISP. As such, you cannot only stay reassured that no one will be spying on what you do online, but it also helps you access geographically-locked content.

      • How to install Room EQ Wizard on Linux | FOSS Linux

        Room EQ Wizard or REW is a room acoustic software that everyone in the music world obsessed with perfecting their sound engineering skills should try it out. It is a free java software application that performs room acoustic analysis. It measures and analyzes the responses of a room and a loudspeaker regarding the availed sound settings.

        Whether you are in the comfort of your home theater, music or film studio, or a customized listening room, you will want these sound environments to have the perfect acoustic responses. To achieve such an objective, REW will optimize these acoustics such that you can determine an ideal listening position or locations for your subwoofers and speakers.

      • Linux Desktop Fun: Bonsai tree generator for CLI lovers - nixCraft

        onsai (盆栽) is nothing but planting in a try. It is old age Japanese art of growing small trees in pots. Now you can do that with your Linux or Unix terminal easily for fun and profit. Let us look into the Bonsai tree generator called cbonsai created in Clang and Bash.

      • Install MKVToolNix 53.0.0 In Ubuntu 20.04 / Fedora | Tips On UNIX

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install MKVToolNix 53.0.0 in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, and Fedora 33.

        MKVToolNix recently released a new version 53.0.0 and users are recommended to upgrade to this version, due to bugfixes and new features added to this release.

        As you know MKVToolNix is an open-source software to create, alter and inspect Matroska files. MKVToolNix is available to end-users as a graphical and command line.

      • How to Remove Bloatware From Your Samsung Android Mobile Phone -

        Bloatware is a type of software which is installed by the product vendor (like Samsung) on top of the Android operating system in your mobile phone. But do you need all this extra software? The name clarifies; it makes your mobile bloated. Much of the utilities and services installed on your phone are simply not required, and at times may be annoying or consuming a fair bit of battery. Uninstalling a lot of these may buy you an extra day or two of battery power.

      • How to use SED command ? SED with examples - LinuxTechLab

        In this tutorial, we will learn how to use the SED command, with the help of some SED command examples.

        Sed command or Stream Editor is one of the most utilized utilities for Linux systems. It is mainly used for text substitution, find/replace operations & also other text manipulations like search, insertions deletion. We can also use regex or regular expressions with sed command, which further increases its usability. With the sed command, we can perform all the operations on a file without opening it.

      • How to password protect a directory with Nginx authentication - nixCraft

        I need to restrict access to /app/ directory on Nginx. How do I set up password protect a directory with Nginx .htpasswd authentication on Linux or Unix-like systems?

      • How To Install Python On Linux 2.x/3.x latest version
      • Fedora 33 : Roblox and Wine.

        Because I tried to install this platform, I will show you what works and what doesn't. At this moment Roblox Player cannot be run with Wine. I tested two ways to run it.

      • Installing Ubuntu antivirus [Guide]

        Ubuntu is a rock-solid operating system compared to Windows. Security practices are more well-rounded (like only allowing software to be installed via password entry, etc.), and it’s overall a safer operating system for the average user.

        Even though Ubuntu is much safer to use than Windows, problems can still happen. Believe it or not, but you can catch a virus on Ubuntu. Thankfully, there are virus scanning tools for Ubuntu. In this guide, we’ll show you how to install them.

      • Ubuntu: Grub repair [Guide]

        Do you have a Ubuntu Linux PC that you can’t boot because of the Grub bootloader’s problems? We can help! Follow along with this guide as we go over how to repair Grub.

      • How to Set Up SSH Tunnel with PuTTY – TecAdmin

        PuTTy is a user-friendly SSH client for the Windows system. Most of the Linux system users are aware and use to connect remote system running SSH server.

        It also provides you option to create SSH tunnel to provide access to resource within the trusted internal network. With the help of SSH tunnel you can access resources available on other ports, which is not directly accessible from your system. Once you forwarded your localhost port to the port listening on remote network, you can directly access the the remote service by accessing configured port with localhost.

        The Tunnel provides you port forwarding from both sides. The first option shows you option to forward your local port to remote network to access there resources. You can also reverse the process and access resources of your local system from remote machine.

      • Monitor Bind DNS Server with Grafana and Prometheus (bind_exporter)

        We are going to install bind_exporter and configure Prometheus to monitor Bind DNS servers.

        The bind_exporter service exports Bind service metrics to Prometheus.

      • Installing the Interactive Deep Colorization application in Linux | Fitzcarraldo's Blog

        There are plenty of articles and videos on the Web regarding colourising old black and white photographs. Some of the resulting colourised photographs look amazing. Several Web sites offer free or commercial automated colourisation of B&W photographs using AI (artificial intelligence) techniques. The free-use sites watermark the result or limit the size of the original image. Some of the resulting colourised images are reasonable, others not so good.

        Last year I scanned some 35 mm slides which are over 60 years old. The chemicals in some had degraded so much that the images are tinted red (‘redscale’ rather than ‘greyscale’!), too much to be able to fix using the GIMP. Out of curiosity I tried processing one of the scanned slides using some of the free online B&W photograph automated colourisers. The results in some cases were promising, alhough they would still require a lot of manual adjustment.

      • Self hosted Virtual Reality space with IdeaSpaceVR and Raspberry PI - peppe8o

        In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to install and configure IdeaSpaceVR on Raspberry PI and experience a fully customizable Virtual Reality environment hosted in your own small and cheap computer board.

      • [Older] How to Use ADB Android Debug Bridge to Manage Your Android Mobile Phone

        Mobile phones have evolved a lot over recent years, and we have seen several mobile-vs-desktop management solutions like Samsung DeX for Samsung Mobile phones, and only available for Windows 7 and 10 as well as Mac. As a non-Samsung or Linux user, one may feel left out. Not so! In fact, a whole lot more power can be provided by the ADB toolset from the Android developer team! This article will introduce you the same, and we have two followup articles which describe How to Mirror Your Android Mobile Screen to Linux and How to Remove Bloatware From Your Samsung Android Mobile Phone.

    • Wine or Emulation

    • Games

      • AMD vs Nvidia: Are Linux Gamers Switching Yet?

        Being part of the 1% market share, Linux users tend to be somewhat isolated. It makes it more difficult for all of us to actually get a good understanding of the dynamics at play in the market of hardware support and distributions. We typically have so few examples around us, and telemetry on various distributions is hardly reliable (non-existing or easily stopped). There are however some interesting patterns when it comes to hardware choices, as long as we can find some clues about them.

        Fortunately for us, we have the wealth of data present in ProtonDB to check things out. While it is primarily used for game reports across configurations, it can be used in many other ways, such as looking at the combination of hardware and software out there.

        There’s also the Steam Hardware survey, but it’s mostly useless as it lacks granularity to understand every user’s type of config. It’s only useful to see very large trends, or to make nonsensical click-bait titles about the evolution of the Linux market share, every time it shifts 0.1% up or down. As if it really mattered.

        Let’s nevertheless take a bird’s eye view about the hardware trends among Linux Gamers. Disclaimer first: this is the best data that what we have right now, having a single source is probably not ideal. But, short of doing large scale surveys among a larger population of Linux Gamers, this is what we are working with.

      • Free social deduction hacking game Untrusted enters Early Access | GamingOnLinux

        After a new online experience to play with friends and one that's free to play? Untrusted is a new social deduction hacking game with two sides facing off. Now available in Early Access, developer evolvedlabs plans to keep it there until Q2/Q3 this year so they can thoroughly test it with players.

        Inspired by the likes of Werewolf / Mafia and other similar types of games with support for 10 to 16 players to join a game online. The idea is that hackers from the fictional NETSEC group are tasked in hacking a specific server on a computer network, while there's a few AGENTS try to arrest them or convincing players to snitch on others. There's a few ways to each side to win and it sounds quite interesting.

      • Factorio 1.1 update is out with blueprint flipping, performance upgrades | GamingOnLinux

        A big feature players have been asking for a long time is now live in the Factorio 1.1 update, and it should run smoother than ever with big factories.

        Blueprint flipping is the big headline feature here, allowing you to pretty much copy and paste creations while also now flipping them around. They repeatedly said no on it but then they wanted it and so they hooked it up in a way that only allows it for blueprints that can flip properly (preventing giving you a bunch of broken creations).

      • Steam Festival returns February 3, plus new Steam Beta fixes up shader processing | GamingOnLinux

        Ready for another huge Steam Festival? It shall be returning with the Steam Game Festival, February 2021 edition. Plus there's a fresh Steam Beta that Linux users will want to try out.

      • Emmanuel Kasper: Playing Tetris over serial console

        Today I played Tetris over a serial console connection, on a Vax 4000 running OpenBSD. I haven't felt that 1337 since a long time. I am going to get rid of that Vax system though. If that's your stuff, contact me privately.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Volker Krause: December/January in KDE Itinerary

          The end of your holiday break didn’t slow down work on KDE Itinerary, so we have a lot of news again since the last summary blog two month ago!


          Technically this requires that we match external information about elevators/escalators with OSM data, not unlike what we already have to do for railway platforms for example. This has the nice side-effect that it allows us to automatically correct common data issues on the way.

        • KDE Consistency: Pick a task for February and blog about it!

          After some time of silence, the Consistency goal is coming back in style. The rush to complete all the great features in 5.21 (and there are lots of them!) is over; there's a bit more time to breathe and get back to the goal.

          I have a proposal for everyone, developers and users: let's work together this month and achieve as much as possible, to create a new wave of engagement: let's all pick one task – no matter how big or small it is – and blog/tweet/toot about it! We can use the #KDEConsistency hashtag.


          If you are a KDE Dev you probably know how to do most of the above stuff already. You might only miss the idea of what to work on for the Consistency goal! Every Dev is different and I cannot put together a list of ideas that will spark something in everyone. I tried here (most tasks there are still valid), but it didn't quite work. So it might just be up to you to find how you could contribute to the project: please, please take some time to go through the original consistency post and find something that sparks a light. When you found it, I'd love you to write a blog post about what you want to do about it this month. The task you decided might need more than a month: that's fine, but everyone needs to start with something. Write the blog post and then send me the link. I can't wait to see all the ideas you will come up with!

        • When you get stuck you give it time...

          So not a lot of progress in the last few months, main reason being that wile I'm really happy with the style direction and art. I'm not so happy with the icon style.. its nice and all* but not great so i took some time to let ideas coalesce a bit better...

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Shell Merges Its New Horizontal Workspaces

          As part of work on GNOME 40, the GNOME Shell is seeing some big refinements like shifting of its workspaces to be horizontally laid out, which has now been merged.

          GNOME Shell mock-ups have been making some evolutionary changes to the desktop and that work is coming together. Merged on Friday to GNOME Shell is making horizontal workspaces. That code is now in place but follow-up improvements are expected.

          This goes along with making the dash and App Grid horizontal, various GNOME Shell Overview improvements, a new Overview gesture, and other UI/UX changes ahead of the GNOME 40 debut in March.

    • Distributions

      • JingOS Alpha is Available to Download for Early Testing
        Don’t expect anything too polished at this stage. Devs say the JingOS 0.6 release is “not stable”, far from feature complete, and unsuited for use as a ‘daily driver’, i.e. consider it alpha quality software intended for use by early-adopters, willing testers, and canny developers only.

        But those excited by the emergence of this Ubuntu-based distro and it’s (rather swish) Qt/Plasma-based UX can now indulge in some hands-on experimentation.

      • Best Linux Distributions For Everyone in 2021

        There are many Linux distributions. I can’t even think of coming up with an exact number because you would find loads of Linux distros that differ from one another in one way or the other.

        Some of them just turn out to be a clone of one another while some of them tend to be unique. So, it’s kind of a mess – but that is the beauty of Linux.

        Fret not, even though there are thousands of distributions around, in this article, I have compiled a list of the best Linux distros available right now. Of course, the list can be subjective. But, here, we try to categorize the distros – so there’s something for everyone.

      • Reviews

        • Manjaro Architect Installation and Review

          Before we dive into a more intimate bond with the Manjaro Linux distro through this installation guide, how about we first make ourselves comfortably acquainted with it? Like many other Linux distributions, the Manjaro Architect brags about its free and open-source attributes. The Arch Linux operating system created the footprints that inspired its creation.

          From this developmental link, we can comfortably relate to Manjaro’s prioritization of its functional and architectural design on user accessibility and friendliness. Its straight out of the box design makes it easy to install, modify, and use its variety of availed pre-installed software.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora Community Blog: Fedora @ FOSDEM: how you can participate

          This year, we are doing FOSDEM virtual style! Every year in Brussels, Belgium, the first weekend of February is dedicated to the Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM), the largest open source, developer-oriented conference of the year. As expected, the conference is going online for the 2021 edition, which gives us Fedorans the chance to learn, share, and spend time with each other and the greater FOSS community. We need your help in making this a fun experience for everyone!

          Fedora has a long history of attendance at FOSDEM (since 2006) and 2021 will not be an exception. We will miss seeing everyone’s faces in person this year, sharing a meal, giving IRL hugs… but, we are still excited to catch up with all of our Fedora friends, old and new!

        • Is Work-from-Anywhere Here to Stay?

          Remote work has been around for a few decades, but took off in the mid-late 1990s with the explosive growth of the Internet. There were predictions that the Internet would lead to the decline of cities, because technology was making location less relevant to our work and personal lives. Why would anyone choose to live in an expensive, stressful metropolitan area and endure a long daily commute? However, instead of declining, superstar cities continued to attract talented, ambitious knowledge workers, and to generate the greatest levels of economy activity and innovation.

          But, even before the pandemic, “a movement was brewing within knowledge-work organizations,” wrote Harvard professor Prithwiray (Raj) Choudhury in a recent Harvard Business Review article, Our Work-from-Anywhere Future. “Personal technology and digital connectivity had advanced so far and so fast that people had begun to ask, ‘Do we really need to be together, in an office, to do our work?’”

          “We got our answer during the pandemic lockdowns. We learned that a great many of us don’t in fact need to be colocated with colleagues on-site to do our jobs. Individuals, teams, entire workforces, can perform well while being entirely distributed - and they have. So now we face new questions: Are all-remote or majority-remote organizations the future of knowledge work? Is work from anywhere (WFA) here to stay?”

        • Red Hat Expands Free RHEL to Quell CentOS Kerfuffle | IT Pro

          Red Hat has expanded its free RHEL offering to 16 servers while allowing production workloads in an attempt to make CentOS users happy.

      • Debian Family

        • ExLight Linux Promises a Pure Debian Bullseye System with the Enlightenment Desktop

          It’s been more than a year since ExLight Linux received an update, the last release being published on November 2019 and based on the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series, and I realized that I never wrote about ExLight on 9to5Linux since the website was launched in January 2020.

          As its name suggests, ExLight Linux aims to be a lightweight GNU/Linux distribution for not so powerful computers. To achieve that, it uses the beautiful and unique Enlightenment desktop environment/window manager by default.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • [Linux Mint] Monthly News – January 2021

          Many thanks for your support. Just like in previous years, whether it’s linked to our release schedule or the holiday season, we received many donations this December. Thank you for your help, it’s greatly appreciated!

          Although it happened later than we anticipated, Linux Mint 20.1 had a great release. The upgrade from 20 was opened and all the new features and improvements which shipped in Linux Mint 20.1 were ported and sent to LMDE 4.

          We worked on and fixed a few issues post-release that had gone unnoticed through the BETA phase and we’re still investigating a couple of them in relation to plymouth themes with LUKS, NVIDIA resolutions and a slight delay during the login sequence.

          We also did a complete review of all the Cinnamon spices and we’ll be fixing, cleaning or even removing some of them in the days to come.

          In parallel, the new release cycle is now open, pull requests are being merged and a roadmap is being prepared for Linux Mint 20.2.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • How to teach open source beyond business

        When I was a university student, I didn't understand the fuss about open source software. I used Linux and open source software but didn't really understand the open source model, how to contribute to projects, or how it could benefit my future career. My development experience consisted mainly of homework assignments and a large final project required for my degree.

        So, when I took my first steps in the tech industry, there was a big learning curve before I felt comfortable. I needed to understand how to join established, sometimes large, and distributed teams working on an ongoing project. I also needed to know how to communicate properly so that my efforts could be recognized.

      • 3 wishes for open source productivity in 2021

        For many, many, many people, 2020 was a very difficult year. The pandemic, the various political events, the 24-hour news cycle, and so on took a toll on our mental well-being. And while I did talk about making time for self-care, I only touched on disconnecting—that is, turning off alerts, phones, tablets, etc., and just ignoring the world for a bit. One of the managers in my company actually told us to turn off all our work-related stuff if we had a holiday or a day off (unless we were on call). One of my favorite "disconnect" activities is just listening to music and building big, complex Lego sets.

      • Bareflank 2.1 Released As The Last Before A Major Rework To This Open-Source Hypervisor

        Bareflank is an open-source Linux hypervisor in development for several years and written around modern C++11/C++14 code and other modern functionality compared to longstanding virtualization hypervisors. Over the past few years it's been picking up many new features while this week Bareflank 2.1 released prior to a major overhaul coming with Bareflank 3.0 that will radically change the codebase.

        Bareflank 3.0 has been in the works for more than one year and among the big ticket items are working to natively support Windows without relying on Cygwin, moving to the AUTOSAR C++14 coding standard, removing the need for dynamic memory where possible, new/improved documentation, and other new design approaches. In particular, with Bareflank 3.0 they intend to really ramp up their Windows efforts in seeing first-rate, native Windows support while Linux will continue to be fully supported.

      • skiftOS: a hobby operating system

        This looks remarkably advanced for a “hobby operating system”, and can be run in both Qemu and VirtualBox. This one is definitely worth a virtual boot. The code is licensed under the MIT license and available on GitHub.

      • The Open Infrastructure Foundation announces its first board

        For over a decade, the OpenStack Foundation oversaw the open-source OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud. Over time, the OpenStack umbrella covered more open-source projects. So, in October 2020, the Foundation transformed into a new organization: the Open Infrastructure Foundation (OIF). Now, it has announced its first board to help direct its members and their cloud-oriented open-source projects into the 2020s and beyond.

      • Apache Iceberg rising for new cloud data lake platforms

        The open source Apache Iceberg data project has moved forward with new features and is set to become a foundational layer for cloud data lake platforms.

        At the Subsurface 2021 virtual conference on Jan. 27 and 28, developers and users outlined how Apache Iceberg is used and what new capabilities are in the works. The Apache Iceberg project was originally developed at streaming media giant Netflix in 2018 and became part of the Apache Software Foundation in 2019. Iceberg provides an open table format for large data sets and is particularly useful for cloud data lake deployments. It is often compared to the Linux Foundation's Delta Lake open source project, which has similar goals.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 85 Is Released With Dismal Out-Of-The-Box Performance

            Firefox 85 partitions network connections and caches in order to further prevent cross-site tracking and "supercookies", it has fixes for 5 "high" and 6 "medium" impact security issues and support for Adobe Flash is dropped. Graphical performance is absolutely horrible out of the box, but it can be tweaked to perform decently using the hidden about:support settings page.


            Web browser fingerprinting is still possible with the changes to the network architecture in Firefox 85. The changes only make it slightly harder to match someone's fingerprint at site A to someone's fingerprint at site B. Firefox 85 per-site partitions the HTTP cache, image cache, favicon cache, HSTS cache, OCSP cache, style sheet cache, font cache, DNS cache, HTTP Authentication cache, Alt-Svc cache and the TLS certificate cache. That makes it very hard to store web browser fingerprints client-side in Mozilla Firefox 85. It is still very possible to make a browser fingerprint, upload it to a server and match a persons visit to site A to a visit to site B that way. Still, it is a step in the right direction even though there is a real-world performance penalty on sites that load lots of content from commonly used content distribution networks.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • The way out for Google Maps? Supporting OPENStreetMap

            I like OpenStreetMap (OSM), the Wikipedia-like “online map that everybody can edit”. However, I have to agree with Joe Morrison when he says that it is Google Maps that, “Since its appearance, has consistently created the best consumer-facing maps in the world: they are top of the class in turn-by-turn navigation, geocoding, satellite imagery layers, street level imagery, place data, and on, and on.”

      • Programming/Development

        • Emacs remote file editing over TRAMP

          I often find myself developing software on remote machines; logged in via SSH to a workstation where all source code reside. For increased comfort, I like to have the same shell command for editing a file working regardless of host I’m executing it on. I use Emacs so emacsclient filename works locally but gets a bit tricky over SSH.

          Running the editor in a terminal is of course possible, but graphical interface provides minor benefits which I like to keep. X forwarding is another option but gets sluggish over high-latency connections. And besides, having multiple Emacs instance running (one local and one remote) is not the way.

          Fortunately, by utilising SSH remote forwarding, Emacs can be configured to edit remote files and accept server commands from within an SSH session. Herein I will describe how to accomplish that.

        • Google's Pandemic-Minded GSoC Will Be A Lot Less Interesting This Year

          While it's sign-up time for open-source organizations hoping to participate in this year's Google Summer of Code, GSoC 2021 changes in the name of the pandemic are leading some organizations to debate whether it's still being involved with this student coding effort.

          One of the main frustrations from organizations with GSoC 2021 is that there are lowered time expectations for participating students, so in turn less large projects/work can be tackled. The pay is also lowered with the reduced time expectations and so in turn some very talented developers may find more compelling summer internships/jobs elsewhere. Basically they dropped from the previous 350 hours to 175 hours per project and with that also halved the payout to students.

        • Hammers and nails, and operator overloads

          Our familiarity with particular tools, and the ways in which they work, predisposes us in our judgement of others. This is true also with programming languages; one who is familiar with a particular language, but not another, might tend to judge the latter unfavourably based on perceived lack of functionality or feature found in the former. Of course, it might turn out that such a lack is not really important, because there is another way to achieve the same result without that feature; what we should really focus on is exactly that, the end result, not the feature.

        • Uniwidth typefaces for interface design

          Uniwidth typefaces, on the other hand, are proportionally-spaced typefaces, but every character occupies the same space across different cuts or weights. What this means in practice is that no matter which weight you set your text in, it will never change its length or cause text to reflow.

        • GCC 11 Beefs Up Its Static Analyzer Capabilities - Phoronix

          Added to the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) last year was an integrated static analyzer via the "-fanalyzer" option for spotting potential code issues. For GCC 10 this integrated static analyzer operating off GCC's GIMPLE was in good shape for catching various bugs while for the upcoming GCC 11 it is now much more capable.

          Ahead of the GCC 11 release coming up in two months or so, Red Hat's David Malcolm has blogged about the improvements he has made on the static analyzer for this annual GCC compiler update.


          Node.js is an event-driven and asynchronous Javascript runtime environment designed to build network applications and to run server-side Javascript applications allowing you to build applications using a single programming language.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppDate 0.0.2: Regular Update

          RcppDate wraps the date library by Howard Hinnant for use with R. This header-only modern C++ library has been in pretty wide-spread use for a while now, and adds to C++11/C++14/C++17 what will be (with minor modifications) the ‘date’ library in C++20. Since the original 0.0.1 CRAN release I have also added this package along with RcppCCTZ and nanotime (which uses / requires both) to Debian so an apt based install is also possible for some.

        • Python

          • Python Print Without Newline - Tutorial with Examples - buildVirtual

            How to use the Python print function to print without a newline. Coming from working in another language, it’s a common question to wonder how to print two or more variables or strings on the same line using Python. Note that how the print function works in Python3 is different to how it works in Python2, so we will take a look at both in this article. If you’re only interested in one or the other, you can skip straight to the relevant sections using these links:

        • Java

  • Leftovers

    • Here is a WONDERFUL consequence of the Parler shutdown

      A key personal policy of mine on Facebook (or any other social network) is to never remove any contact I make, no matter how, or how much I disagree with them. I need reminders, straight from the sources, of what people with different, or opposite opinions really say and think. And so do you, of course. Life is too short to waste it on what you assume the “other” side says and does.

    • How I de-clutter my digital workspace |

      In prior years, this annual series covered individual apps. This year, we are looking at all-in-one solutions in addition to strategies to help in 2021. Welcome to day 20 of 21 Days of Productivity in 2021.

      I am a digital pack-rat. So many of us are. After all, who knows when we'll need that email our partner sent asking us to pick up milk on our way home from work in 2009?

      The truth is, we don't need it. We really don't. However, large cloud providers have given us so much storage space for cheap or for free that we don't even think about it anymore. When I can have unlimited documents, notes, to-do items, calendar appointments, and email, why shouldn't I just keep everything?

    • Hardware

      • Slimbook Essential 14" Review

        At the end of 2020 I decided to buy a laptop that could be used by everyone at home. The reason was my wife and I both have personal computers but they’re both desktops, sitting in our study together with our work laptops, which is where we prefer to be when we work from home. Due to the pandemic, we were afraid at some point in time one or both of our children would have to stay at home confined and, at least in the case of my son, would have to do some school-related activities on a computer. I couldn’t imagine one of us working in the same room where my son would be, talking to the other parent and using the computer. We needed a laptop that could be moved and easily carried around the house, and it could also be handy if we had to take our computer with us somewhere in the future.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Can you make a basic web app without googling?

          I wanted to test my mastery of Node.js and my reliance on Google and Stack Overflow, so I set out on an adventure to make a todo list web app without touching any external resource for help. I just couldn't do it. To be fair, I'm not a web developer so I'm not entirely shocked by this. I only have the itch (and time) to throw together a small web app about once every 6 months.

          But this got me thinking. How many people out there, especially professional web developers, can do this?

          It isn't to say that you should be able to. But it is an interesting thing to study. At what point is relying on Google a detriment to the performance of a software developer? Or even deeper, does an over-reliance on documentation indicate a lack of critical expertise that will ultimately result in considerably lower job performance? And I don't mean the need to look up an occasional command or an obscure error message.

        • Security

          • GnuPG crypto library can be pwned during decryption – patch now! [Ed: Well, almost nobody uses this new version, certainly not GNU/Linux users. It was caused and caught shortly after release.]

            Bug hunter Tavis Ormandy of Google’s Project Zero just discovered a dangerous bug in the GNU Privacy Guard team’s libgcrypt encryption software.

            The libgcrypt library is an open-source toolkit that anyone can use, but it’s probably best known as the encryption library used by the GNU Privacy Guard team’s own widely deployed GnuPG software (that’s the package you are using when you run the command gpg or gpg2).

          • Business executives targeted with Office 365-themed phishing emails

            An ongoing campaign powered by a phishing kit sold on underground forums is explicitly targeting high-ranking executives in a variety of sectors and countries with fake Office 365 password expiration notifications, Trend Micro researchers warn.

            The compromised login credentials are likely then sold on those same forums for $250 per account (or even higher). The compromised accounts can be used to send out even more convincing phishing emails, perpetrate BEC scams, or collect sensitive information.

          • John Goerzen: The Hidden Drawbacks of P2P (And a Defense of Signal)

            Brave adopting IPFS has driven a lot of buzz lately. IPFS is essentially a decentralized, distributed web. This concept has a lot of promise. But take a look at the IPFS privacy document.


            In a federated model, every client connects to a server, and there are many servers participating in a federation with each other. Matrix and Mastodon are examples of a federated model. In this scenario, only one server — your own homeserver — can track you by IP. End-to-end encryption is certainly possible in a federated model, and Matrix supports it. This does give a third party (the specific server you use) knowledge of your IP, but that knowledge can be significantly limited.

            A downside of this approach is that if your particular homeserver is down, you are unable to communicate. Truly decentralized P2P solutions don’t have that problem — thought they do have a related one, which is that clients communicating with each other must both be online simultaneously in order for messages to be transmitted, and this can be a real challenge for mobile devices.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Brazil Orders Cos. to Build Separate 5G for Government Use

              Brazil’s federal government will require winners of an upcoming 5G spectrum auction to build a high security wireless network for its exclusive use, according to an order published late Friday.

              The requirement is one of the new guidelines for the auction that the government is planning for 2021.

            • Zuckerberg Hasn’t Convinced Australia to Back Down From New Law

              Facebook Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s meeting with Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in the past week did little to resolve the spat between the social media giant and the country over proposed changes to media laws.

            • GnuPG crypto library can be pwned during decryption – patch now!

              Bug hunter Tavis Ormandy of Google’s Project Zero just discovered a dangerous bug in the GNU Privacy Guard team’s libgcrypt encryption software.

              The libgcrypt library is an open-source toolkit that anyone can use, but it’s probably best known as the encryption library used by the GNU Privacy Guard team’s own widely deployed GnuPG software (that’s the package you are using when you run the command gpg or gpg2).

            • How to stop Facebook from tracking you on apps and websites

              Facebook was recently under fire for having access to a lot of user data than it really needs for basic functioning. There are a few ways to stop allowing Facebook to track your daily activities or data. You can turn off most of the permissions for Facebook that are not required for it to operate properly. For this, you just need to visit the settings section on your phone > Apps & notifications > Facebook > Permissions.

              Users are also advised to disable ‘Off-Facebook activity’ if they don’t want the social media giant to track the apps or websites they are using. Though, Facebook will still be able to get some of your data as third-party apps or sites share your data with Facebook as they use the company’s tools to track your usage. Facebook claims it will never ask third-parties to share health or financial data of users.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • ‘I ask you not to believe’ After reporting threats to his lawyer, Navalny’s jailed campaign coordinator in Nizhny Novgorod appears in a strange confession video

        In a strange video that started circulating on Russian social media on Saturday, January 30, Roman Tregubov, Alexey Navalny’s jailed regional coordinator in Nizhny Novgorod, announces his resignation from the movement and urges people not to attend protests planned for Sunday, when activists will gather in cities nationwide to demand the release of Navalny and his other jailed associates.

      • In crackdown on last weekend’s opposition protests, Moscow police arrest prominent independent journalist Sergey Smirnov

        Moscow’s police response to last weekend’s protests organized by Alexey Navalny’s activists has now led to the arrest of Sergey Smirnov, the editor-in-chief of Mediazona, one of Russia’s best-respected, most fiercely independent news outlets focused on criminal justice reporting. Officers arrested Smirnov on Saturday outside his home while he was on a walk with his son. At the time of this writing, Smirnov was being detained at a nearby police station.

      • YLE: Source for Navalny's 'Putin palace' film resides in Estonia

        The 72-year old Sergei Kolesnikov was the primary source for Alexei Navalny's corruption revelations last week. In 2010, Kolesnikov self-exiled from Russia, buying a one-way ticket to Turkey, from which he continued on to the U.S. According to Kolesnikov, he took with him a flash drive and documents containing, among other things, information about the financing of Vladimir Putin's secret palace on the coast of the Black Sea.

        For Kolesnikov, unveiling sensitive information about the Russian leader meant having to exile and the businessman chose Estonia to be his place of residence. He has previously stated that he fears revenge from the Russian president, as many of his critics have been put in jail or murdered.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Google reinstates federated chat app Element on Play Store after wrongful removal
      • Google Play bans open-source Matrix client Element, citing “abusive content”

        The latest app to catch an illogical ban from the Google Play Store is Element, an open-source, end-to-end encrypted messaging client for the federated Matrix chat protocol. Google banned Element late Friday night, a ban which Element said "is due to abusive content somewhere on Matrix." Matrix has millions of users, and as a federated chat protocol, Element does not control the content on Matrix, so this is a bit like banning a web browser for displaying web content. Element says it is working with Google to "explain how Element works and get the situation resolved."

        Google has been cracking down on apps that display hateful content, but Element says that it shouldn't be part of the crackdown. "We have also explained that the Matrix servers that we do run as Element (including the default homeserver, which we run on behalf of The Foundation) have strict Terms of Use which we actively enforce," Element said. "We abhor abuse, and Element is not an app that caters to abusive content."

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Editorial: Meduza stands with Mediazona editor-in-chief Sergey Smirnov

        On Saturday, January 20, 2021, while on a walk outside his home with his son, police stopped Mediazona editor-in-chief Sergey Smirnov. They then arrested him and took him away from his small child.€ 

      • Arjen Kamphuis Infosecurity Book Launch

        Friends of Arjen have collected a selection of his writings and talks, as well as the text of his 2014 book “Information Security for Journalists” (2017 Dutch translation) that he wrote together with journalist Silkie Carlo. Friday they launched a printed version of that collection with the title.

      • Arjen Kamphuis Infosecurity Book Launch / Art Exhibition

        Arjen Kamphuis was well known for his work on government transparency, and especially IT and online security. He e.g trained journalists on how to do their work more safely, and consulted various companies on their IT security. He also e.g. consulted the Dutch government in 2013 on why using voting computers is bad practice in an accountable democracy. Next to that he was an avid hiker and mountaineer. In August 2018, during a trip in the north of Norway he went missing, and is presumed to have died due to a kajaking accident. I’ve known Arjen through his work for well over a decade (and I’ve written about his disappearance here before). I’m sad about his disappearance, and as a result have been more active in paying what I learned from him and what he made me aware of forward since then.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Google union in turmoil following global alliance announcement

        The Alphabet Workers Union (AWU) is in turmoil following the announcement of an international alliance on Monday. The alliance, Alpha Global, was billed as a worker-led initiative, but union members in the US say they didn’t know about it until The Verge published an exclusive. That piece included a press release quote from AWU executive council member Parul Koul, which she says she didn’t write.

        The news was an unwelcome surprise to union members who expect the Alphabet Workers Union to run democratically. Now, multiple sources tell The Verge that some AWU organizers are considering pushing the group to disaffiliate from the Communications Workers of America (CWA), a national union representing workers in telecommunications and media. AWU has also set up a committee to investigate CWA’s role in the announcement.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • IPO Webinar on 2020 Developments at the PTAB [Ed: IBM front group fights against patent quality.]

          Chris Comiskey of Collins Aerospace, Michael R. Houston of Foley & Lardner LLP, and Shaun Snader of United Therapeutics will discuss 2020's major developments at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and how they may impact patent litigation practice going forward before the PTAB and beyond.

        • ACI Inaugural Summit on Women Leaders in IP Law [Ed: Blackmail artists do the equivalent of greenwashing and pinkwashing. Attempts to double litigation volume and chaos, under the shallow guise or PR facade of fostering diversity.]
      • Copyrights

        • DMCA Takedowns Remove Perfectly Legal Plex Pages From Google

          Millions of people use Plex as a platform to curate, organize, and watch video content. The service also allows users to create a watchlist of movies and TV-shows that are available through other platforms. This appears to confuse copyright holders and some have convinced Google to remove several Plex URLs from its search engine.

        • Don't Be Hostile Towards Pirates, Game Developer Warns

          When content creators pour time and money into creating something they hope people will buy, it must be frustrating to see masses of pirates consuming those products for free. Nevertheless, a games developer is now advising companies with a perceived piracy problem not to antagonize pirates, since that only leads to stress and a toxic environment.

Recent Techrights' Posts

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