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Links 28/2/2021: Nitrux 1.3.8 and Kraft 0.96

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.12 Features Intel Xe VRR, Nintendo 64 Port + Clang LTO + Much More - Phoronix

        The Linux 5.12 merge window was off to a rough start due to winter storms preventing Linus Torvalds from merging changes for nearly one week, but in any case he appears to have caught up and the Linux 5.12-rc1 kernel is expected later today to end out the merge window. Here is a look at the many exciting changes coming for Linux 5.12.

        Linux 5.12 is going to be another very exciting kernel release. The stable Linux 5.12 release should happen in late April or early May depending upon how the cycle ultimately plays out. Linux 5.12 is an interesting kernel during COVID times with additions ranging from Nintendo 64 support some 20+ years later to Sony mainlining an official PlayStation 5 controller driver.

      • Xilinx Volleys Latest Open-Source Alveo Accelerator Driver Code - Phoronix

        Back in March 2019 Xilinx announced they were looking to upstream their Alveo FPGA accelerator drivers into the mainline kernel code. They followed through with posting the initial kernel patches and then fast forward to the end of 2020 they posted a new iteration of the patches. This month the company, which is in the process of being acquired by AMD, posted the third iteration of their open-source Linux kernel driver patches.

      • Apple Touch Bar Linux Driver Hopes For Upstream In 2021 - Phoronix

        For more than four years Apple's MacBook Pro has featured the Touch Bar as a display / control bar input device above the keyboard on these laptops. While there have been reports of Apple potentially phasing out the Touch Bar in future models, an open-source Linux driver for the component is still working its way toward the mainline kernel.

        Sent out on Saturday by independent developer Ronald Tschalär was the latest reverse-engineered, open-source driver code that gets the Touch Bar and ALS support working for MacBook Pro 13,* / 14,* / 15,* models. The Apple Touch Bar driver code was previously sent out on the kernel mailing list while now the Apple MBP 15,* models are supported and various code improvements made as a result of prior comments.

    • Benchmarks

      • Vulkan Ray-Tracing Along With Other New/Updated Benchmarks For February - Phoronix

        Below is a look at all of the updates now available via for Phoronix Test Suite users or if simply wanting to go to the test profile pages to gauge the CPU/GPU performance in the different real-world workloads. All these updates are available to Phoronix Test Suite users automatically if on an Internet connection when the metadata automatically updates or by running phoronix-test-suite openbenchmarking-refresh to force refresh.

      • The Phoronix Test Suite Gains Vulkan Ray-Tracing Benchmarks

        The versatile Phoronix Test Suite, developed and used by the Linux news website Phoronix, has gained profiles for benchmarking Vulkan ray-tracing performance using two different benchmarks as well as the JPEG XL benchmarks. There's also updates to many of the existing tests as well as a new 10.2.2 release of the Phoronix Test Suite software.


        Michael Larabel has also updated many existing benchmarks, including the ones for the commercial closed-source games Portal 2, Insurgency and Civilization VI, blender, the libavif AVIF image encoder, the dav1d AV1 video encoder, GROMACS (GROningen MAchine for Chemical Simulations), ParaView, V-RAY (commercial), Pennant (OpenMP benchmark), NWChem and the free software platform game DDraceNetwork.

    • Applications

      • Zrythm 1.0.0-alpha.12.0.1 release
        Zrythm v1.0.0-alpha.12.0.1 has been released!


        Demo: (by MyLoFy, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

        Zrythm is a digital audio workstation designed to be featureful and easy to use. It allows limitless automation through curves, LFOs and envelopes, supports multiple plugin formats including LV2, LADSPA, DSSI, SFZ, SF2, VST2 and VST3 (via Carla), works with multiple backends including JACK, PulseAudio, RtAudio/RtMidi and SDL2, assists with chord progressions via a special Chord Track and chord pads, and can be used in multiple languages including English, French, Portuguese, Japanese and German.
      • Zrythm DAW Sees New Release And Should Have "Almost No Crashes"

        Zrythm 1.0.0-alpha.12.0.1 released this week as the interesting open-source, GTK-based digital audio workstation that has been moving closer to a 1.0 release.

        This latest Zrythm 1.0 release features much better stability, in now advertising that there should be "almost no crashes" left to this digital audio workstation.

      • Edit video on Linux with this Python app

        In 2021, there are more reasons why people love Linux than ever before. In this series, I'll share 21 different reasons to use Linux. Here's how I use Linux to edit videos.

        Back in 2018, I wrote an article about the state of Linux video editing, in which I chose an application called Openshot as my pick for the top hobbyist video editing software. Years later, and my choices haven't changed. Openshot remains a great little video editing application for Linux, and it's managed to make creating videos on Linux boring in the best of ways.

      • Top 10 Version Control Systems for Linux

        Version control systems are programs that record changes in filesystems, source code, or software. They are integral to agile software development. Depending on the design, you can categorize them into two types---centralized and distributed.

        Thankfully, we can choose from several robust version control systems for Linux. This guide outlines some of the best such tools for starting software developers and DevOps professionals.

      • Ventoy 1.0.36 - Neowin

        Ventoy is an open source tool to create bootable USB drive for ISO/WIM/IMG/VHD(x)/EFI files. With Ventoy, you don't need to format the disk over and over, you just need to copy the ISO/WIM/IMG/VHD(x)EFI files to the USB drive and boot them directly. You can copy many files at a time and ventoy will give you a boot menu to select them. Both Legacy BIOS and UEFI are supported in the same way. Most type of OS supported (Windows/WinPE/Linux/Unix/Vmware/Xen...)

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Use chmod and chown Command in Linux

        How do I use chmod and chown command under Linux / Unix operating systems?

        Use the chown command to change file owner and group information. we run the chmod command command to change file access permissions such as read, write, and access. This page explains how to use chmod and chown command on Linux or Unix-like systems.

      • How To Add Route on Linux – devconnected

        As a network engineer, you probably spend a lot of time thinking and planning your network infrastructure.

        You plan how computers will be linked, physically using specific cables but also logically using routing tables.

        When your network plan is built, you will have to implement every single link that you theorized on paper.

        In some cases, if you are using Linux computers, you may have to add some routes in order to link it to other networks in your company.

        Adding routes on Linux is extremely simple and costless : you can use the Network Manager daemon (if you are running a recent distribution) or the ifconfig one.

        In this tutorial, you will learn how you can easily add new routes on a Linux machine in order to link it to your physical network.

      • syncing subtitles in freedom

        The topic of creating subtitles with Free Software has often come up in my circles of Emacs-oriented users, and I haven't had a good recommendation to share, until this idea hit me the other day.

        Subtitle files are largely blocks of start/end time associated with blocks of text. I figured, once you got a transcript, existing Emacs Org Mode features could be used, perhaps along with keyboard macros, to turn the transcript into a synced subtitle file.

      • How To Install Minecraft on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS [Ed: Proprietary and Microsoft; not an attractive option as Free/libre alternatives exist]

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Minecraft on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Minecraft is the most popular sandbox video game developed by Mojang studios but later purchased by Microsoft. It can be used with all major platforms like Linux, macOS, and Windows. Most Minecraft players would agree that the secrete to the game’s success lies in its creativity-inspiring design. Players are free to explore a large, procedurally generated world made of blocks, each of which can be interacted with, moved, or transformed into resources for crafting.

        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 Minecraft on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • Ubuntu: format SD card [Guide]

        Are you new to Ubuntu? Do you need to format your SD card but can’t figure out how to do it? If so, this guide is for you! Follow along as we go over a few ways you can format SD cards on Linux.

      • How to remove a remove apt repository from Debian

        Do you have an Apt repository on your Debian Linux PC that you want to delete? Can’t figure out how to do it? We can help! Follow along as we go over two ways you can remove Apt repositories from Debian!

      • The Raspberry PI Cheat Sheet – Raspberry PI User

        The Raspberry PI cheat sheet gives a quick overview of common commands, installation tips and links to guides to help you set up your Raspberry PI as a desktop computer.

      • Do a Kernel Upgrade the Easy Way in Linux Mint

        Upgrading the Linux kernel can be difficult, especially for new Linux users. In Linux Mint, however, it's possible to upgrade to a newer kernel with zero hassle. Today we'll find out how to do it, and what to do if you experience problems.

      • Testdisk To Recover Data From Deleted Flash Disk Drive

        I deleted my flash disk drive. There were many files and folders within it -- now they are gone. Don't throw away nor wipe it out first, that's the advice I often heard. The secret is, actually we can save those data -- this is called recovery or undelete -- with certain hardware or software. Fortunately, gratefully, there is the best recovery software on GNU/Linux we can use, that is Testdisk, that has a very high success rate and is able to recover my data. I managed to recover 100% of one of my important folders with it. Below I share with you how I use it. You can practice this either on flash drive, hard disk, or SSD. I wish you success!

      • My pragmatic sysadmin view on subdomains and DNS zones

        This question is interesting to me because I had a completely different view of it than Julia Evans did. For me, NS and SOA DNS records are secondary things when thinking about subdomains, down at the level of the mechanical plumbing that you sometimes need. This may surprise people, so let me provide a quite vivid local example of why I say that.

      • An Exploration of JSON Interoperability Vulnerabilities

        JSON is the backbone of web application communications. The simplicity of JSON is often taken for granted. We don't usually consider JSON parsing as part of our threat model. However, in our modern, multi-language, microservice architectures, our applications often rely on several separate JSON parsing implementations, each of which has its own quirks.

        As we've seen through attacks like HTTP request smuggling, discrepancies across parsers combined with multi-stage request processing can introduce serious vulnerabilities. In this research, I conducted a survey of 49 JSON parsers, cataloged their quirks, and present a variety of attack scenarios and Docker Compose labs to highlight their risks. Through our payment processing and user management examples, we will explore how JSON parsing inconsistencies can mask serious business logic vulnerabilities in otherwise benign code.

      • Hardware RAID on the Raspberry Pi CM4

        After a long and arduous journey involving multiple driver revisions and UART debugging on the card, I was able to bring up multiple hardware RAID arrays on the Pi.

      • The Tao of Continuous Integration

        It is a truism in modern software development that a robust continuous integration (CI) system is necessary. But many projects suffer from CI that feels brittle, frustrates developers, and actively impedes development velocity. Why is this? What can you do to avoid the common CI pitfalls?

      • Install Kali Linux on Chromebook: Tips and Tutorials

        If you need more system privileges on your Chromebook, Kali Linux might be right for you, especially since Linux is free and open-source. But remember that this operating system is mainly for penetration testing and not very convenient for daily work.

      • How to install the Foxit reader on Linux

        The Foxit Reader is free PDF software for Linux, Mac, and Windows. It is open-source software. With it, users can create as well as annotate and collaborate with PDF files. Here’s how to install it on Linux.

      • How To Install Git on Manjaro 20 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Git on Manjaro 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Git is a distributed version control system. Git is a free software designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency. It can be easy to learn and used for tracking changes in source code during software development. Git has the features of data integrity, non-linear workflows, and fast performance.

        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 Git on a Manjaro 20 (Nibia).

      • How to manage Flatpak permissions graphicly?

        Finding difficulties to manage Flatpak permissions using command lines? Maybe you should give Flatseal a try.

        The main purpose of Flatpak is to provide a centralized service for distributing applications. But while Penguin users enjoy the taste of updated and secured Linux apps, they have hard time managing Flatpak permissions for the lack of graphical front-end which helps them do so.

        Here the important of the Flatsealutility, which developed by the enthusiast engineer Martin Abente Lahaye, appears.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce’s Apps Update for February 2021 Improves the Task Manager, Thunar, and More

        The star of this month is Xfce’s Task Manager, which received two updates for its stable 1.4.x series up to version 1.4.2, to implement better color that works well with both light and dark themes, as well as to fix various bugs.

        In addition, development kicked off on the next major Task Manager series that will come with the Xfce 4.18 release, which introduces many changes and improvements, including support for Client-side decorations (CSD), the migration of all of its settings to the Settings dialog, port to xfconf, and much more.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Nitrux 1.3.8 Is Here with KDE Plasma 5.21, Support for Linux Kernel 5.11 and Mesa-Git

          The biggest change in Nitrux 1.3.8 is the upgrade to the latest and greatest KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment, which brings numerous new features and improvements. In fact, the first point release, KDE Plasma 5.21.1, is used in this new Nitrux version.

          The KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment in Nitrux 1.3.8 is accompanied by the latest KDE Frameworks 5.79 and KDE Applications 20.12.2 open-source software suites, and features a new default window decoration forked from SierraBreezeEnchanced.

        • Changelog: Nitrux 1.3.8

          We are pleased to announce the launch of Nitrux 1.3.8. This new version brings together the latest software updates, bug fixes, performance improvements, and ready-to-use hardware support.

          Nitrux 1.3.8 is available for immediate download.

        • The Kate Text Editor - February 2021

          Like in January 2021, a lot of stuff happened for Kate in February 2021, too. I will skip the stuff that I already reported on Valentine’s Day. The web site for example has still a new design and some people are still working behind the scenes to improve it!

          Let’s take a look at which cool new stuff you can expect to have in the 21.04 release of Kate. If you are adventurous: build the current development version yourself and try the stuff today. Feedback & patches welcome!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • A new data format has landed in the upcoming GTG 0.5

          Diego’s changes are major, invasive technological changes, and they would benefit from extensive testing by everybody with “real data” before 0.5 happens (very soon). I’ve done some pretty extensive testing & bug reporting in the last few months; Diego fixed all the issues I’ve reported so far, so I’ve pretty much run out of serious bugs now, as only a few remain targetted to the 0.5 milestone… But I’m only human, and it is possible that issues might remain, even after my troll-testing.

          Grab GTG’s git version ASAP, with a copy of your real data (for extra caution, and also because we want you to test with real data); see the instructions in the README, including the “Where is my user data and config stored?” section.

          Please torture-test it to make sure everything is working properly, and report issues you may find (if any). Look for anything that might seem broken “compared to 0.4”, incorrect task parenting/associations, incorrect tagging, broken content, etc.

    • Distributions

      • Void Linux Has Been Working To Deliver Great POWER Support

        Void Linux, a rolling-release distribution we have covered before that is known for its XBPS package manager and interesting design decisions like using the Runit init system and supporting the Musl C library, has recently been working on enhancing its POWER CPU architecture support.

        Daniel Kolesa who serves as the primary maintainer for the POWER port of Void Linux spoke at FOSDEM 2021 earlier this month on their improvements to benefit IBM POWER / OpenPOWER hardware.

        Void Linux for POWER has been working on 32-bit little endian support to complement the existing POWER 64-bit little endian support as well as already supporting POWER 32-bit and 64-bit in big endian mode. Void Linux has also been carrying patches for LibreSSL to offer faster crypto performance on POWER, getting the likes of Google Chromium running on POWER in their archive, supporting Electron applications on POWER, and also getting good AMD Radeon graphics driver support working on POWER.

      • And Now For Something Completely Different

        elementary. I've been a fan of the project since the early days, when it was just an icon and GTK theme. While designing my own applications, I've borrowed from their design language. And with each successive update, I'm always blown away by every small detail they get right.


        First and foremost, there's a Xubuntu release in progress! Xubuntu 21.04 "Hirsute Hippo" will be released on April 22, and there's plenty of work left to do. The biggest of these is the transition of our new documentation to Docbook so it can be translated and packaged. Outside of documentation, there's a never-ending backlog of issues (focal+) on Launchpad that needs to be reviewed and addressed.

        Then, it's elementary time! elementary OS 6 "Odin" is expected sometime this year. I've installed it on my laptop for testing and development, and so far it's looking pretty great. Some areas where I want to start contributing and improving include Light Locker, Glade, Indicators, feature ports, and new apps. Once I have a better grasp of what I'm working on, I'll post some updates here.

        If you'd like to follow me on this journey, follow my Twitter handle @bluesabredavis. For regular updates from Xfce, Xubuntu, and related developers, you can subscribe to Planet Bluesabre (Twitter). If you'd like to sponsor me (or need a handy link to unsponsor me, I get it), check out the Donate page on this site.

      • Kodi v19 Matrix is here. Here's what you need to know

        Team Kodi have now announced the release of Kodi v19, codename Matrix, and we are working hard on bringing this release to OSMC users for supported devices.

        This is a significant release, with a large number of changes, so we want to outline these changes to our users and explain how we will deploy these changes.


        Starting with Kodi v19 (Matrix), Team Kodi have decided to remove vendor specific video decoding and render methods and this applies to Linux based distributions such as OSMC. The long term goal is to have a single method for utilising hardware video decode so that numerous devices can benefit without them needing to be individually maintained. This develops a standard for video playback within Kodi and makes it easier for newer devices to be brought up in the future.

        In the past, Raspberry Pi used MMAL (Broadcom's Multi Media Abstraction Layer) and OMX (OpenMAX) to facilitate hardware accelerated playback. However, as this support has been removed from Kodi, Raspberry Pi will now use the V4L2/GBM stack and as such there will be some regressions with this release.

        There is no support for hardware accelerated VC-1 or MPEG2 on Raspberry Pi, even on existing devices where codec packs have been purchased.

        There is also no deinterlacing for Live TV with hardware acceleration on Raspberry Pi, but we are hoping that support is introduced later at some point with a Kodi 19 point release. This should be less of an issue on Raspberry Pi 4, which should be able to handle deinterlacing in software.

        The Vero 4K/4K+ will see a new video stack which will introduce 3D MVC framepacked playback; HDR10+ support and HLG support and a 4.9 Linux kernel which will be supported until January 2023. This is possible because we are maintaining our own vendor specific video decoding pathway downstream from Kodi. We are however also working on the V4L2/GBM stack for the future – but don’t plan to move over to that until we can guarantee that we have feature parity.

      • New Releases

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Kraft Version 0.96

          Ich freue mich, heute das Release Version 0.96 von Kraft herauszugeben. Die neue Version kann über die Homepage heruntergeladen werden.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat returns with another peace offering in the wake of the CentOS Stream affair: More free stuff

          Red Hat today further extended its olive branch to open-source groups with another freebie of sorts: this time, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) for Open Source Infrastructure.

          The IBM-owned Linux distro giant will offer selected bodies free "RHEL subscriptions for any use within the confines of their infrastructure." By infrastructure, they mean things like build and continuous integration systems, and web and mail servers.

          While definitely not aimed at individual developers – we'll get to that later – the program is "available exclusively to open source projects and other organizations that support the production of open source software." And what do those teams get?

      • Debian Family

        • Shipping Debian with GNOME X.XX.0 is an extremely bad idea

          Since the freeze has slowly crept in, now is the time to revisit my pet peeve with Debian's release process: to publish a new Debian release as soon as GNOME published a new X.XX.0 version. This is an extremely bad idea: X.XX.0 releases tend to lack polish, their translations are not up-to-date and several silly bugs that hamper the user experience (what the Ubuntu guys call "paper cuts") exist.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo) Enters Feature Freeze, Beta Expected on April 1st

          The Feature Freeze stage means that no major new features will be implemented in Ubuntu 21.04 until the final release hits the streets in late April 2021. Developers will no focus their efforts on fixing important blockers that won’t delay the final release.

          Dubbed as the “Hirsute Hippo,” Ubuntu 21.04 has been in development since late October 2020, shortly after the release of Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla). As its customary, the Feature Freeze stage will be followed shortly by an optional “Ubuntu Testing Week,” which will take place between March 4-11 and intended for those who want to help with the testing.

        • Linux Mint Monthly News – February 2021

          An announcement was made last week to explain why security updates are important and to remind people to update their computer.

          If you haven’t read it yet please visit

          We started working on improvements for the Update Manager. In the next release the manager won’t just look for available updates, it will also keep track of particular metrics and be able to detect cases where updates are overlooked. Some of these metrics are when was the last time updates were applied, when was the last time packages were upgraded on the system, for how many days has a particular update been shown…

          In some cases the Update Manager will be able to remind you to apply updates. In a few of them it might even insist. We don’t want it to be dumb and get in your way though. It’s here to help. If you are handling things your way, it will detect smart patterns and usages. It will also be configurable and let you change the way it’s set up.

          We have key principles at Linux Mint. One of them is that this is your computer, not ours. We also have many use cases in mind and don’t want to make Linux Mint harder to use for any of them.

          We’re still forming strategies and deciding when and how the manager should make itself more visible so it’s too soon to speak about these aspects and get into the details which probably interest you the most here. So far we worked on making the manager smarter and giving it more information and more metrics to look at.

        • Linux Mint's Update Manager To Encourage Users To Apply Security Updates

          Last week the Linux Mint project shared the troubling news how many of its users are behind on important security updates or in some cases even running end-of-life versions. In trying to help address the issue, Linux Mint is working on improvements to its Update Manager to encourage users to apply updates.

        • Snapcraft Clinic Successes

          On Thursday I mentioned we were restarting the Snapcraft Clinic. Basically we stand up a regular video call with engineers from the snap and snapcraft team & us from Snap Advocacy. Developers of applications and publishers of snaps are invited to join to troubleshoot.

          There was nothing especially secret or private discussed, but as we don’t record or stream the calls, and I don’t have direct permission to mention the applications or people involved, so I’ll keep this a little vague. In future I think we should ask permission and record the outcomes of the calls.

          We had a few productive discussions. One developer brought an application which they’d requested classic confinement for, and wished to discuss the options for confinement. We had a rather lengthy open discussion about the appropriateness of the available options. The developer was offered some choices, including making changes to their application to accomodate confinement, and another was (as always) not to snap the application. They appreciated our openness in terms of accepting that there are limitations with all software, and not everything always makes sense to be packaged as a snap, at the moment.

          We also had a productive discusison with a representative of a group responsible for publishing multiple snaps. They had difficulties with a graphical snapped application once it had been updated to use core20. The application would launch and almost immediately segfault. As the application was already published in the Snap Store, in a non-stable channel, we were all able to install it to test on our own systems.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Lyra audio codec enables high-quality voice calls at 3 kbps bitrate

            We’re often writing about new video codecs like AV1 or H.266, and recently, we covered AVIF picture format that offers an improved quality/compression ratio against WebP and JPEG, but there’s also work done on audio codecs.

            Notably, we noted Opus 1.2 offered decent speech quality with a bitrate as low as 12 kbps when it was outed in 2017, the release of Opus 1.3 in 2019 improved the codec further with high-quality speech possible at just 9 kbps. But Google AI recently unveiled Lyra very low-bitrate codec for speech compression that achieves high speech quality with a bitrate as low as 3kbps.

        • Mozilla

          • 26 Firefox Quantum About:Config Tricks You Need to Learn - Make Tech Easier

            “Here be dragons,” reads the ominous disclaimer when you type about:config into Firefox’s URL bar, warning you that tweaking things in this area is largely experimental and can cause instability to your browser.

            Sounds exciting, right? And even though it sounds a little scary, the fact is you will almost certainly be okay when you start playing around in this area and can actually use the features here to improve and speed up your browser. These are Make Tech Easier’s favorite Firefox about:config tricks, freshly updated for Firefox Quantum.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Why India Needs To Fuss Over FOSS

          Did you know that over 85% of India’s Internet runs on FOSS, or Free an Open Source Software that strikes at the heart of software patents?

          If your answer is ‘No’, you may be pleasantly surprised to know that India now ranks 3rd in the world in terms of FOSS usage, according to GitHub. In fact, some of India’s largest government projects, many technology startups, and some of India’s largest software services companies extensively us FOSS, according to a recently-released report titled ‘The State of FOSS in India’ by CivicData Lab.

          FOSS communities in India, according to the report supported by Omidyar Network India, have also organized themselves to solve India’s challenges like digital inclusion by creating Indian language fonts, dictionaries and other essential tools that are widely used across the country.

      • Programming/Development

        • Top 10 Natural Language Processing (NLP) Trends To Look Forward

          AI and Machine Learning have gifted us marvelous things. NLP or Natural Language Processing is one of them. It is one of the most prominent applications of AI. We are using this technology in our day-to-day life without even knowing. Translators, speech recognition apps, chatbots are actually NLP-powered products. Tech giants like Google and Microsoft are making new developments in NLP every year. If you are an AI enthusiast, you should go deep inside NLP. Chill! We got you covered. Just go through the article, and know about the top NLP trends that most data scientists are talking about.

        • Russ Allbery: DocKnot 4.01

          DocKnot is my software documentation and release management tool. This release adds support for a global user configuration file separate from the metadata for any given project and adds support for signing generated distribution tarballs with GnuPG. Currently, the only configuration options for the global configuration file are to set the destination location of generated distributions and the PGP key to use when signing them.

        • horizonator: terrain renderer based on SRTM DEMs

          I just resurrected and cleaned up an old tool I had lying around. It's now nice and usable by others. This tool loads terrain data, and renders it from the ground, simulating what a human or a camera would see. This is useful for armchair exploring or for identifying peaks. This was relatively novel when I wrote it >10 years ago, but there are a number of similar tools in existence now. This implementation is still useful in that it's freely licensed and contains APIs, so fancier processing can be performed on its output.

        • Perl/Raku

          • [Old] Perl Cheat Sheet

            Perl 5 cheat sheet v8 by Juerd Waalboer

          • The HTTP Referer header is fading away (at least as a useful thing)

            The HTTP Referer header on requests is famously misspelled (it should be Referrer), and also famously not liked because of privacy and security concerns. The privacy and security concerns are especially strong with external ('cross-origin') Referers, which is also the ones that many people find most useful because they tell you where visitors to your pages are coming from and let you find places where people have linked to you or are mentioning you.

        • Python

          • Happy birthday, Python, you're 30 years old this week: Easy to learn, and the right tool at the right time

            The 30th anniversary of Python this week finds the programming language at the top of its game, but not without challenges.

            "I do believe that Python just doesn’t have the right priorities these days," said Armin Ronacher, director of engineering at software monitoring biz Sentry and creator of Flask, the popular Python web app framework, in an email interview with The Register.

            Ronacher, a prolific Python contributor, remains a fan of the language. He credits Python's success to being both easy to learn and having an implementation that was easy to hack. And in its early years, Python didn't have a lot of competitors with those same characteristics, he said.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • What math is waiting for the world to catch up to?

        What area of math would be useful for applications, but is still waiting for the world to catch up and realize it?

        At the time, I dodged a bit, and hemmed and hawed, and mostly gave a non-answer. The more I think about it, though, the more it bothers me.

        One reason it bothers me is because my inability to answer it makes me feel inadequate. Despite all the math I’ve learned and the applications I’ve explored, I don’t have any special insight into what areas of theory (math or CS theory) are ripe for new applications.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Google fires 150 game developers hired for Stadia: Report

          In about two years, Google has announced to shut down the in-house Stadia game development division, as it sees a great adoption of its technology by third-party developers and publishers to create world-class games.

          Google has said that it will not be investing further in bringing exclusive content from its internal development team SG&E, beyond any near-term planned games.

        • Security

          • Notes on Addressing Supply Chain Vulnerabilities

            One of the unsung achievements of modern software development is the degree to which it has become componentized: not that long ago, when you wanted to write a piece of software you had to write pretty much the whole thing using whatever tools were provided by the language you were writing in, maybe with a few specialized libraries like OpenSSL. No longer. The combination of newer languages, Open Source development and easy-to-use package management systems like JavaScript’s npm or Rust’s Cargo/ has revolutionized how people write software, making it standard practice to pull in third party libraries even for the simplest tasks; it’s not at all uncommon for programs to depend on hundreds or thousands of third party packages.


            Even packages which are well maintained and have good development practices routinely have vulnerabilities. For example, Firefox recently released a new version that fixed a vulnerability in the popular ANGLE graphics engine, which is maintained by Google. Both Mozilla and Google follow the practices that this blog post recommends, but it’s just the case that people make mistakes. To (possibly mis)quote Steve Bellovin, “Software has bugs. Security-relevant software has security-relevant bugs”. So, while these practices are important to reduce the risk of vulnerabilities, we know they can’t eliminate them.

            Of course this applies to inadvertant vulnerabilities, but what about malicious actors (though note that Brewer et al. observe that “Taking a step back, although supply-chain attacks are a risk, the vast majority of vulnerabilities are mundane and unintentional—honest errors made by well-intentioned developers.”)? It’s possible that some of their proposed changes (in particular forbidding anonymous authors) might have an impact here, but it’s really hard to see how this is actionable. What’s the standard for not being anonymous? That you have an e-mail address? A Web page? A DUNS number?[3] None of these seem particularly difficult for a dedicated attacker to fake and of course the more strict you make the requirements the more it’s a burden for the (vast majority) of legitimate developers.

            I do want to acknowledge at this point that Brewer et al. clearly state that multiple layers of protection needed and that it’s necessary to have robust mechanisms for handling vulnerability defenses. I agree with all that, I’m just less certain about this particular piece.

          • Attackers collaborate to exploit CVE-2021-21972 and CVE-2021-21973 - Blueliv
          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • So Long as You Carry a Cellphone, the Government Can Track You

              Cell phones are convenient devices, handily connecting us with loved ones, paying bills, accessing information—and treacherously reporting on our every move. Worse, even after the Supreme Court weighed in, many government agencies still insist that they have the right to pull up that tracking data to see our whereabouts. It's increasingly apparent that, if you have your phone in your pocket, you may as well have a GPS beacon strapped to your ankle. If you want anonymity from the government, leave the gadget at home.

              That point was illustrated in the wake of the Capitol riot, when the authorities pulled cell phone records to see who was present.

            • India’s new social media guidelines could make Signal’s strength its weakness

              As part of the government’s plan to enact greater oversight, social media companies will be obliged to “enable the identification of the first originator” of information on its platforms if required by the authorities, according to the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 released yesterday (Feb. 25).

              Most messaging majors will be able to comply with the rules. Whatsapp, which has over 400 million users in India, has said it is “prepared to carefully review, validate and respond to law enforcement requests based on applicable law and policy.” Telegram, too, stores information should the authorities as for it. “If Telegram receives a court order that confirms you’re a terror suspect, we may disclose your IP address and phone number to the relevant authorities,” its website states.

              But Signal can’t share any information with regards to traceability because it collects no user data whatsoever. It just stores a phone number and does not link it back to personal information at all.

            • Google Judge Disturbed That ‘Incognito’ Users Are Tracked
    • Defence/Aggression

      • Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous'

        But rank-and-file Democrats are citing a very different reason they don't want the panel's power split evenly between the parties: They simply don't trust Republicans to investigate an attack on the Capitol that, in the eyes of livid Democrats, was kindled by those same GOP lawmakers.

      • Nigerian Authorities Searching For 317 Schoolgirls Kidnapped By 'Armed Bandits'

        Yaro emphasized the importance of exercising caution and care, and urged people to remain calm. According to local media reports, scores of residents incensed by the abduction stormed the streets of Jangebe, creating roadblocks and using sticks and stones to attack vehicles carrying journalists to the school. A cameraman was injured in the process.

        Citing a police spokesperson, Nigerian newspaper Punch reported that Zamfara State Police Command is working with the military to conduct joint search and rescue operations for the students, who he said were kidnapped by "armed bandits."

      • Gunmen abduct over 300 girls in Zamfara school

        A staff of the school, who begged for anonymity, said the bandits arrived in the school around 1am on Friday with Hilux vehicles and motorcycles and forcefully evacuated the students.

        He narrated that some of the bandits were in uniforms and pretended to be security personnel, then later broke into the students hostels and abducted more than 300 students.

      • The violence and insecurity affecting Nigeria

        Boko Haram and its Islamic State offshoot, Islamic State West Africa Province, have waged a decade-long insurgency in northeastern Nigeria.

        The violence has displaced about 2 million people and killed more than 30 000, according to the United Nations refugee agency and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a New York-based think tank.

        This week, suspected Islamist insurgents pounded the biggest city in the region, Maiduguri, with rocket-propelled grenades, killing at least 10 and injuring dozens in the worst attack in a year on the city.

        In November, Boko Haram killed scores of farmers, beheading some of them, in Borno state.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • The Disinformation Vaccine: Is There a Cure for Conspiracy Theories?

        At the heart of van der Linden’s research is a theory: Our information crisis can and should be treated like a virus. Responding to fake stories or conspiracy theories after the fact is woefully insufficient, just as post-infection treatments don’t compare to vaccines. Indeed, a growing body of social science suggests that fact-checks and debunkings do little to correct falsehoods after people have seen a piece of misinformation (the unintentional spread of misleading or false stories) or disinformation (the intentional spread of such a story with a purpose in mind). Van der Linden believes we can protect people against bad information through something akin to inoculation. A truth vaccine. He calls this tactic “prebunking.”

      • Detroit Man Freed From Prison With Help of Student Reporters

        Nixon secured his freedom with the help of the Western Michigan University Cooley Innocence Project, the Wayne County Conviction Integrity Unit — and a group of students studying investigative reporting at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

    • Environment

      • MAS ‘Ocean strainer’ technology to be open source

        Inspired by the success of its ‘Ocean Strainer’ floating trash trap, a pilot project launched in the Dehiwala Canal last year, MAS Holdings will make the ‘Ocean Strainer’ technology available to interested parties, to replicate and scale up the solution.

      • Nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement. Synthesis report by the secretariat

        This report synthesizes information contained in the 48 new or updated nationally determined contributions communicated by 75 Parties in accordance with decision 1/CP.21 and recorded in the interim registry of nationally determined contributions as at 31 December 2020.

      • Energy

        • Opinion | When Texas Froze Over, There Was Hell to Pay

          In the face of a winter disaster, when it came to taking care of the state’s citizens, GOP leadership was clueless and counterproductive. As usual.

        • D.C.’s New Vision Zero Law Could Be a Boon for Bike Lanes

          The idea behind the law is simple: By mandating protected bicycle infrastructure whenever roadwork is undertaken, much of the usual political and community resistance to bike lanes can be eliminated, speeding the spread of safer streetscapes, block by block, across the city. Washington, D.C., like many of the American cities that have committed to the global traffic safety platform known as Vision Zero, has struggled to make progress towards its goal of completely eliminating pedestrian and cyclist deaths from traffic violence. There were 36 total traffic fatalities within the city in 2020, up from 27 in 2019, despite fewer cars on the roads due to the pandemic.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | Biden Can Be the FDR of Democracy

        Like Roosevelt did for the economy and Carter did for human rights, President Biden must make reviving American democracy the nation's top long-term priority by creating a new "Office for Democracy." It'd be an ignition switch to advance so many of the urgent pro-democracy reforms already proposed and to come.

      • Opinion | With Biden's Jen Psaki at the Podium, Corporate Outlets No Longer Think Briefings Newsworthy

        Obama briefings? Not news. Trump briefings? Always news. Biden briefings? Not news again.

      • 'All You Need to Know': Here Are the 210 House Republicans—and Two Democrats—Who Voted to Deny Struggling Nation Covid-19 Relief

        "When we voted to raise the minimum wage this morning," said Democratic Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., "every single Republican (210-of-210) voted no."

      • Opinion | And Behold, the MAGA-ites Sinned Bigly, and They Were Cast Out, and the Lord Your God Saith Unto Them, Jesus, Really?
      • The Only Way Democrats Will Get Anything Done

        There are a few conservative Senate Democrats who don’t like the idea, but Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer can get them to fall in line. That’s what leadership is all about.€ They must end the filibuster and get America moving. Now.€ 

      • Disinformation threatens evidence-based policymaking

        The challenge to the evidence base will continue, given the way some politicians embrace and, at times, actively perpetuate disinformation. We don’t need to look far to find promoters of disinformation in Australian politics: serial social media offender Craig Kelly has done his best to take the lead in coronavirus disinformation from celebrity chef Pete Evans.

        The concern about misinformation taking hold reminds me of the B-grade movie Idiocracy, in which the lead character is a test subject in a top-secret hibernation program that goes wrong. He wakes up 500 years in the future to discover that society has been dumbed down and he’s now the most intelligent person alive. In that world, weird things, such as irrigating vegetables with soft drink, are commonplace. Knowledge underpinned by evidence doesn’t exist. The plot is all a bit extreme, of course.

      • Meet the spouses whose marriages were destroyed by QAnon

        Finally, he gave her an ultimatum: see a professional, or their marriage was over. He filed for divorce earlier this month.

      • Black History Month Streams 2021

        Ahjamu Umi, a longtime organizer for the All African Peoples Revolutionary Party on three continents and the Caribbean. He is the author of five books on African liberation and he is on the editorial board for the Hood Communist Collective. He and his daughter host a weekly on line workshop on African liberation issues.

        Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture (she, her, hers) is a 40 year movement veteran and a member of the Green Party of Philadelphia, as well as Black Alliance for Peace, the Philadelphia Tenants Union, and the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. Previously a member of the All African People’s Revolutionary Party/All African Women’s Revolutionary Union where she met and worked with Kwame Ture (fka Stokely Carmichael), co panelist Ahjamu Umi and many others from the Black Power/Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.


        Howie and Angela are talking with Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, an activist with The Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition (BACC), to to stop the desecration of Moses African Cemetery, preserve the rich history of this once thriving African community, and consecrate Moses African Cemetery with a memorial and museum on River Road in Bethesda, MD.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Facebook and Australia both claim victory as they end their spat

        Australia’s code looks particularly fearsome. If an online platform and a media company are unable to reach a deal, an official arbiter will make a binding decision. Rather than splitting the difference between bids, it will choose between each side’s final offer. If it sides with the newsmen, platforms could be on the hook for hefty sums.

        The concessions made by Australia’s government remove these risks, for a price. The high-stakes arbitration mechanism will be preceded by a two-month mediation period, giving platforms a chance to strike more palatable deals. Non-differentiation provisions, which would have forced platforms to pay all media companies on an equal basis, have been scrapped. Most important, the decision on whether the code should apply to a tech platform at all must now take into account whether the platform “has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry through reaching commercial agreements with news media businesses”. In other words, if they dish out enough money, Facebook and others can avoid being subject to the code altogether.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Biden holds off punishing Saudi crown prince, despite US intel

        President Biden on Friday stopped short of announcing any punitive measures against Saudi Arabia's crown prince despite the release of an intelligence report linking the Kingdom’s day-to-day ruler to the grisly killing of a U.S-based journalist.

        The declassified report said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved a plot to “capture or kill” journalist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi, who was lured to the Saudi consulate and killed. The report's release raises the stakes on relations between the Biden administration and the likely next ruler of the Saudi Kingdom.

      • U.S. Intelligence: Saudi Crown Prince Approved Operation To Kill Jamal Khashoggi

        Shortly after the report was released, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines gave an exclusive interview to NPR.

        "The fact that the crown prince approved that operation ... is likely not to be a surprise," she told NPR's Mary Louise Kelly. "I am sure it is not going to make things easier, but I think it's also fair to say that it is not unexpected."

      • Jamal Khashoggi: How intelligence report could dent US-Saudi ties for years

        Turkey's secret recordings from inside the Saudi Consulate - itself a diplomatic misdemeanour that has been largely overlooked amid the horror of Khashoggi's murder - have also been shared with other Western intelligence agencies.

        US officials said the CIA had concluded, "with a medium to high degree of certainty", that MBS was complicit.

      • After the Khashoggi report: How the US can respond and avoid blowback

        The new US administration has been carefully timing three major movements on Saudi Arabia this week: the release of a declassified intelligence report on the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the announcement of a US response, and the explanation of that response to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The timing of these actions matters, as the administration aims to show that it is holding the parties involved in the murder accountable while looking out for long-term US interests in a crisis-fraught region in which Saudi Arabia is a comparative island of stability. With the release of the report on Friday, the window for US policy responses is now open. The first response, in the form of a visa ban, has been announced. But further policy responses are expected.

      • Murderers Should Be Called Murderers

        The most important questions unanswered by the report are moral and political. How many dead dissidents is too many? Khashoggi wrote columns for The Washington Post (or he at least signed them; the Post has reported that staff at an organization funded by Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Qatar proposed and even drafted some columns), and as a fellow writer, I put a hard limit on murdered journalists at zero.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • The rules of the tech game are changing

        One danger is that this oligopolistic rivalry is a Potemkin contest. It has not yet disrupted the Apple-Alphabet duopoly over phone-operating systems or app stores. Although advertisers have more choice, between, say, Amazon and Facebook, those being advertised to still have no real alternative to the products of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s boss. And there are too many cosy links between firms. Alphabet pays Apple up to $12bn a year to make Google the iPhone’s default search engine. Alibaba and Tencent own stakes in some of China’s new entrants.

        This is where resurgent antitrust enforcers can make a difference. Those Google payments are now subject to a Department of Justice lawsuit, while Apple and Google face complaints over their app stores. Europe is planning rules to get different firms’ products to work together and help users move their data around. China has a new list of “the nine do nots” for e-commerce firms, including not shutting out new contenders.

      • Patents

        • ‘Death Squad’ That Tossed 2,000 Patents Challenged at High Court

          The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has invalidated more than 2,000 patents since it began work in 2012. Apple says it alone has used the board to successfully attack almost 200 patents, many held by entities interested only in filing lawsuits and extracting royalties. Congress set up the board, known as PTAB, in 2011 as a faster and cheaper alternative to litigation.

          But some smaller inventors see a chance to undercut the board, saying it’s become an anticompetitive tool for large companies.

        • EPO

          • EPO: Non-proven facts introduced ex officio [Ed: Managing IP, the corrupt think tank of patent extremists, is selling articles to Inspicos (and of course they still defend corrupt EPO administration, which besieges the judges to rob the Boards of their autonomy)]

            In a recent decision of January 25 2021, T 1370/15, one of the EPO’s Technical Boards of Appeal relied on common general knowledge introduced by the Board ex officio, for which there was no documentary evidence on file. According to the decision, an EPO Board of Appeal is allowed to introduce new common general knowledge without evidence of such knowledge that prejudices the maintenance of the patent, to the extent that the board is knowledgeable in the respective technical field from the experience of its members working on cases in this field.

          • Review Of EPO Parameter Decisions In 2020

            Before the EPO parameters are defined as features which are based on directly measurable properties or combinations of several variables in the form of formulae. This might be a claim defined by the viscosity of a composition, or the particle size of a powder, for example. Relying on such features to define an invention is commonplace within the chemical sphere and can be very useful. However, their utility is not limited to such subject matter and they could be used to define characteristic features in a broad range of technologies.

            The EPO has developed a large amount of case law which relates specifically to the use of parameters in the claims, in particular whether these claims fulfil the requirements for clarity and sufficiency. Here we review the cases in this area which have issued during 2020. The majority of cases before the Boards of Appeal this year where parameters have been at issue have been appeals from decisions of the Opposition Division. Since lack of clarity is not a ground for opposition, the bulk of the case law from 2020 has focused upon whether particular parameters fulfil the requirements of sufficiency. For such cases, a significant amount of effort has also been devoted to determining whether the relevant issues do in fact relate to sufficiency or are instead objections of lack of clarity in disguise.

          • Webinar on Claim Scope and Sufficiency

            ● Review of key UK and EPO cases in this field

      • Copyrights

        • The Exploitive Business Model of Academic Publishers Fuels Piracy

          For many researchers, a publication in a high-impact academic journal is the holy grail. However, this goal comes at a price. Authors often have to sign over their copyrights to major publishers, who put the research behind a paywall. This model is detrimental to science, according to Sci-Hub founder Alexandra Elbakyan, who remains determined to break the stranglehold.

        • Woman Celebrates After Court Kicks Out Another Baseless Copyright Troll Lawsuit

          In 2019, Danish citizen Anni Pape took to Facebook, pleading for help after being accused of downloading and sharing a pornographic film using BitTorrent. Two years later she has cause to celebrate after a court in Denmark threw out the case because the plaintiffs had no right to sue. The defendant believes the victory undermines the plaintiff's entire business model.

Recent Techrights' Posts

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what matters most is not the volume or quantity of publications but their underlying depth and quality