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Links 16/3/2021: GStreamer 1.18.4, Git 2.31.0, and Microsoft in Disarray



  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Destination Linux 217: Hack Snack with Bo Weaver, SUSE Targeting CentOS Defectors?, & More

        This week on Destination Linux, we’re going to discuss Google’s involvement in open-source with the Summer Of Code and hiring developers to work on the Linux kernel. We are also introducing a new segment to the show with special guest, Bo Weaver joining us to talk Hacking & Security. We’re also discussing SUSE targeting CentOS defectors with their latest change for openSUSE Leap. Later in the show, we’re going to discussing a SIM of the entire universe, which of course, you can play on Linux. Plus we’ve also got our famous tips, tricks and software picks. All of this and so much more this week on Destination Linux. So whether you’re brand new to Linux and open source or a guru of sudo. This is the podcast for you.

    • Kernel Space

      • The linux.dev mailing-list service launches

        There is a new mailing-list server running under the auspices of kernel.org that is meant, over time, to address the problems that have been plaguing vger.kernel.org in recent times.

      • Open-source team details the complexities in bringing Linux to Apple’s M1 Macs

        The crowdfunding Asahi Linux project has published the first progress report detailing its effort to port Linux to the Apple Silicon platform with the M1 Macs. Apple’s new processor architecture is creating some difficulties…

      • Porting operating systems to Apple Silicon leagues harder than migrating software

        In its introduction of Apple Silicon to developers, Apple has provided assistance to developers to port their Intel-compatible apps over to M1. For developers performing more ambitious feats, such as porting Linux over to Apple Silicon, the task is multiple times harder.

        In a blog post about the Asahi Linux project, the team discusses its findings in trying to set up an alternative boot kernel on Apple Silicon systems. While most of the feature has been implemented, the lack of support for a command that allows the installation of a non-Apple kernel led to an attempt to document the undocumented system.

        The main hurdle faced was that Apple Silicon boots differently from PCs, and works "more akin to embedded platforms" like Android or iOS devices. There are differences and a "few bespoke mechanisms" in use, though Apple apparently made the boot process "feel closer" to an Intel Mac.

      • Open-Source Team Describes the Difficulties to Port Linux on M1 Macs

        Apple introduced the M1-powered Macs last year and the machines received a pretty good rating overall. To be exact, the M1 series flaunted enhanced performance and battery life. While the industry is yet to follow Apple's footsteps. Apart from software support, developers around the world are working to take advantage of the Apple Silicon. The crowdfunding Asahi Linux project published a new progress report that shares details on the complexities of port Linux on M1 Macs.

    • Benchmarks

      • Additional AMD EPYC 75F3 / 7713 / 7763 Linux Performance Benchmarks

        Complementing today's AMD EPYC 7003 series review with the initial testing on the EPYC 7F53, 7713, and 7763 processors, here are some additional raw data points in full for those interested in an even more diverse look at the performance.

        Now that the embargo has lifted on the EPYC 7003 performance data, data is being uploaded to OpenBenchmarking.org as well as enabling the pre-launch testing I've been working on. So moving ahead there you will begin to see the AMD EPYC Zen 3 parts populated on the different pages.

      • The Third Time Charm Of AMD’s Milan Epyc Processors

        With every passing year, as AMD first talked about its plans to re-enter the server processor arena and give Intel some real, much needed, and very direct competition and then delivered again and again on its processor roadmap, it has gotten easier and easier to justify spending at least some of the server CPU budget with Intel’s archrival in the X86 computing arena. And with the launch of the third generation “Milan” Epyc 7003 processors, it is going to get that much easier.

        This is the X86 server processor that customers no doubt will wish AMD had delivered many, many years ago.

        But don’t get confused. Things getting easier does not mean easy, and one need look no further than the financial results quarter after quarter of Intel’s Data Center Group to see that the Epyc comeback has not been as easy as the Opteron offensive a decade and a half ago. Enthusiasm for AMD’s X86 server processors has been tempered by a lot of factors, not the least of which being that Intel is a much larger supplier of compute, networking, and storage here in 2021 than it was back in the heyday of the Opterons back in the middle 2000s. As messed up as Intel’s roadmaps and manufacturing might be in the past few years, it is nowhere near as bad as the decision to make Itanium, a chip not really compatible with the Xeon, its 64-bit computing choice for the future, deprecating the Xeon to 32-bit status and 4 GB memory addressing stasis. That decision, coupled with a very fine Opteron processor with multi-core baked into the design, HyperTransport interconnect for processors and memory, integrated memory and I/O controllers in the system-on-chip, and 64-bit memory and processor extensions for the X86 instruction set €­– things that are absolutely normal in the Epyc and Xeon SP lines today, gave AMD an opening in the datacenter that frankly was not hard to exploit.

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • [Old] Using Estonian e-Residency card for SSH Authentication

        A couple of years ago, inspired by this tiny nation’s impressive level of digitization, I applied for my Estonian e-Residency. I even went a step further and established a company with my two friends. In reality, though, doing a digital-only business turned out to be much more difficult, but that’s a different story…

        Fast forward two years. My card was still collecting dust when inspired by RadosÅ‚aw’s post I decided to give it a second chance. Why not use it for SSH authentication?

      • A Child Of Twenty Twenty One

        Around a week ago I wrote about how I’d flipped back to WordPress from Jekyll. In that post I mentioned that I’m thinking about also ditching my personally developed theme in favour of WordPress’ latest theme, Twenty Twenty One.

        As of a few days ago I have set the new theme live, albeit a slightly customised version of Twenty Twenty One. All in all I added around 230 lines of CSS to my child theme, which does things like removing the mahoosive default titles. I also customised the dark theme (thanks for the tip, Ru) and added support for elements like notice boxes and my newsletter subscribe form.

        Despite all these changes, the theme is still undoubtedly Twenty Twenty One, and the best part is that my site still qualifies for The 512KB Club.

      • How to Switch Between Different Backends in Haproxy Using Hatop

        Let’s assume the following setup where we have a HAproxy frontend accepting incoming requests for an app in port 80, and then forwarding those requests to the application’s backend servers (nginx web instances).

        This would be useful, for example when you would like to upgrade the version of nginx servers hosting your web application’s code to the latest version of nginx with zero downtime !

      • Ubuntu: how to zip a folder [Guide]

        Need to zip up a folder on your Ubuntu PC but don’t know how to do it? If so, this guide is for you. Follow along as we go over ways you can zip a folder on Ubuntu!

      • How To Install PHP 8 on Manjaro 20 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install PHP 8 on Manjaro 20. For those of you who didn’t know, PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a popular server scripting language known for creating dynamic and interactive Web pages. PHP is a widely-used programming language on the Web.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the PHP 8 on a Manjaro 20 (Nibia).

      • Using Certbot Letsencrypt With Nginx
      • How to run the Anonsurf’s Anon mode | FOSS Linux

        Due to technological advancements, there have been increased piracy cases calling upon enhanced protection, and that is where Anonsurf comes in. Anonsurf allows routing of online traffic via the aid of the TOR network. It forces connections to the TOR channel and the i2p network.

        The program has both the graphical interface and the command-line interface. Anonsurf is a ParrotSec script that involved the following developers; Lorenzo Faletra, Lisetta Ferrero, Francesco Bonanno, and Nong Hoang, who is responsible for the maintenance of the script. Anonsurf has enhanced security since anything you do on your computer is untraceable.

      • How to Create New Kubernetes User Accounts
      • How to Install SoundConverter 4.0.0 in Ubuntu 20.04, 20.10 | UbuntuHandbook

        SoundConverter is a nifty audio file converting software for Linux Gnome. Here’s how to install the latest version via PPA in Ubuntu.

        SoundConverter is a simple and fast Gnome sound conversion software with multi-threading support. It reads anything GStreamer can read, and writes to Opus, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, WAV, AAC, and MP3 files.

        It can also be used to automated re-naming filenames and creating folders according to tags, extract the audio from videos.

      • How to patch kde-plasma/plasma-firewall-5.21.2 for UFW in Gentoo Linux with OpenRC | Fitzcarraldo's Blog

        Unfortunately plasma-firewall-5.21.2, a new Plasma frontend for firewalld and UFW, has been written only for Linux installations with systemd. However, I use OpenRC and syslog-ng in Gentoo Linux and wanted to try to get plasma-firewall to work on my laptop which uses UFW. I therefore set about patching plasma-firewall-5.21.2. I did not touch the firewalld part of plasma-firewall, as I do not use firewalld (and the plasma-firewall code for firewalld is more complicated). Below is what I did.

      • How to Configure Static IP Address in Ubuntu

        Typically, the default setting of Ubuntu is to obtain an IP address automatically via DHCP server, which is good for desktop system, because it does not require any changes.

        However, it is always recommended to assign a static IP address to the Ubuntu servers, as the static IP address will be persistent across the reboots.

        Ubuntu 17.10 and later uses ‘Netplan’ as the default network management tool. Therefore, configuring the IP address on the Ubuntu 20.04 system is different than the older version of Ubuntu.

      • How to Create a Symbolic Link

        Are you tired of searching stuffed directories for files that you’ll only use for a second? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to give you detailed instructions on how to create symbolic links on your computer.

        [...]

        Creating links between files on all Linux systems, including Ubuntu, runs with the “ln” command. To make a symlink in Ubuntu, run the Terminal and invoke this command with the option -s added next to ln.

      • How to Delay Startup Application in Ubuntu - Make Tech Easier

        If you’re using some apps every time you log in to your desktop, you can avoid having to run them manually every time by adding them to the startup list. However, if you set too many apps to autostart, your initial login to your desktop will lag significantly. All apps will be fighting for the same resources while trying to get to your desktop. Thankfully, there’s a solution: add a delay to startup applications.

        In this tutorial, we show how to optimally delay startup applications in Ubuntu. We do this by adding a delay timer so that it doesn’t run automatically after login. Let’s see how you can do it for the apps you use.

      • How to Install and Configure Tmux for Linux

        If you're constantly switching between terminals and can't find the right window when needed, consider using a multiplexer. These are programs that allow users to run multiple terminal sessions inside a single window.

        Tmux is a popular multiplexer that offers a plethora of amazing features. It makes it easy for you to run different applications in separate sessions and switch between them effortlessly.

      • How to install Steam on Linux Mint 20.1

        Today we are going to look at how to install Steam on Linux Mint 20.1. As seen in the video, a person downloads Steam, from the official site, link below.

        Please keep in mind that you shouldn't install it directly with Gdebi, but first, save it and then install it with Gdebi which is pre-installed in Linux Mint. After opening the package with Gdebi just follow the easy to install installation wizard as seen in the video.

      • How to install npm and nodejs 14.x on Kali Linux - Linux Shout

        Node.js is a scripting language available to install not only on Kali Linux but for Windows, FreeBSD, macOS, and other common platforms. Whereas npm is a JavaScript programming language package manager that comes along with Node.js.

        With Node.js, the popular JavaScript language has also found its way into server-side programming. Before Node.js, JavaScript was mainly responsible for the frontend and interaction with the visitor. It is quite flexible which means everything from small CLI (command line) tools to complex programs and independent HTTP servers can be developed using Nodejs.

        In addition, no additional server is required for a Node.js application, as the application also represents the webserver. The fact that the server and client use the same programming language ( JavaScript ) is certainly another advantage for many users, as the entry barrier is correspondingly low, especially for web developers.

      • How to resize active root partition in Linux

        Have you ever had the opportunity to resize an active root partition in Linux? If not, don’t worry, today, we will be discussing it. Disk partitioning is one of the best topics in Linux.

        In this article, we will teach you how to resize the active root partition in Linux using the ‘GParted’ tool. Let’s assume you only have 30GB disk and you have configured the entire disk as a single partition while installing the Ubuntu operating system.

      • How to remove legacy communication services on Linux
      • How to block users from setting up their own cron jobs on Linux
    • Games

      • Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 3: Installing Red Hat Linux 9

        My first choice was to run Red Hat Linux 9, for the arbitrary reason that it was the final release of the once dominant distribution before Red Hat switched focus to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and backed the community Fedora Project instead for home use. It was also the second Red Hat Linux release to feature the delightful Bluecurve desktop theme for both Gnome and KDE, a personal favourite of my childhood.

        Although coming out a little late for the period of the machine, 192 MB was still the recommended amount of memory for graphical use, with 128 MB as the minimum. A 400 MHz Pentium II or better CPU was also advised. I knew then that I was cutting things a bit close, but I still found myself disappointed with the outcome; while the system installed and ran, even at idle Red Hat Linux 9 consumed almost all my memory.

        As expected my Rage 128 Pro Ultra was recognized by the installer and DRI was loaded on first boot. The only manual configuration necessary was setting the “AGPMode” option in the redhat-config-display utility to “2”, as otherwise the card would run at AGP 1x speed. Both glxinfo and glxgears showed no issues, and the included Tux Racer game ran at an acceptable if not breakneck pace. Things seemed to be going to plan.

        My next test was installing the Loki Software retail release of Quake III Arena, and the result looked to be promising. While I had to copy my system’s libGL.so.1 file to the game’s install directory in order to get it to launch, once accomplished the performance was impressive. Not only did it seem competitive with Windows 98 but Linux appeared to be outclassing it. Frame rates were more consistent, and it lacked some of the graphical artifacts I had seen under Windows.

        What was not drawing correctly were the marks left on walls or the shadows under the characters, with them showing up even through solid objects. While unsightly it had no effect on the gameplay, and could thankfully be mitigated by setting both the "cg_marks" and "cg_shadows" variables in the engine console to “0” in order to stop them being drawn. All in all an acceptable compromise for a performance boost in what is a demanding game for a Rage 128 Pro.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.21 on openSUSE Tumbleweed | Better Then Ever

          The Plasma desktop is, by far, the best desktop experience on any operating system I have ever used. Sure, some desktops may have some features that are not on Plasma that are indeed better but all the features in aggregate are just better in Plasma. The memory usage footprint is generally light on resources but has the capability of being heavy on features. Plasma is forward leaning but not so forward leaning it leaves anyone out. It is truly a personal desktop for anyone. I would say that there are some usability features that need to be enhanced to make new users more comfortable but once that initial bump is traversed, it is pretty much smooth sailing. At least, that is my experience with the last few bunches of people that have giving it a whirl and continue to use it today.

          Plasma on Tumbleweed continues to be a fantastic experience and I may even say, the best Plasma experience on Linux today. Others are good, but something about the speed and reliability I enjoy on Tumbleweed with the theme integration bits already activated makes for an experience that is not rivaled on other distributions. The care that is taken to making sure all the underpinnings are just right for your experience does not go unnoticed.

          If you are considering trying out the latest Plasma and like to hop around and try new distributions of Linux, give openSUSE Tumbleweed a spin with the KDE Plasma desktop. Not only do you get a great Plasma desktop but you also get the fantastically reliable openSUSE infrastructure keeping you continually rolling forward.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Marcus Lundblad: Maps and GNOME 40

          As we have just pushed out the release-candidate before the GNOME 40 release next week I thought it would be appropriate with a little summary of the news for 40.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • LibreELEC (Matrix) 10.0 BETA1

          LibreELEC 10.0 BETA 1 is released! bringing Kodi (Matrix) v19.0 to LibreELEC users. As discussed in the recent Upcoming Changes blog post it, the 10.0 release is a disruptive and limited hardware release. If you have not read the blog post – please do – because we are not releasing images for all hardware. In summary: this is a stable release for Generic (x86_64 PCs). Stable-Beta for Allwinner and Rockchip. Stable “Alpha” for Raspberry Pi 4 as the code is still very new. RPi 2/3 are still in development targetting an LE10.2 release. RPi 0/1 are discontinued. All others hardware is still in development and not in a state for formal releases.

      • BSD

        • The Call for Talk and presentation proposals for EuroBSDCon 2021 is now open.

          EuroBSDcon is the European technical conference for users and developers of BSD-based systems. The conference will take place September 16-19 2021 in Vienna, Austria. The tutorials will be held on Thursday and Friday to registered participants and the talks are presented to conference attendees on Saturday and Sunday.

          The Call for Talk and Presentation proposals period will close on May 24th, 2021. Prospective speakers will be notified of acceptance or otherwise by June 2nd, 2021.

        • New & Much Improved WireGuard Implementation Comes To FreeBSD - Phoronix

          Towards the end of last year FreeBSD imported a WireGuard kernel module. That initial WireGuard port to FreeBSD was sponsored by firewall company Netgate but the code quality was found to be poor and made without much involvement from upstream WireGuard developers. That FreeBSD WireGuard kernel code is now in the process of being replaced by a much better implementation.

          WireGuard lead developer Jason Donenfeld explained the situation today in an email, "Sometime ago, a popular firewall vendor tasked a developer with writing a WireGuard implementation for FreeBSD. They didn’t bother reaching out to the project...Then, at some point, whatever code laying around got merged into the FreeBSD tree and the developer tasked with writing it moved on."

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Homebank updated to 5.5.1 €» PCLinuxOS

          HomeBank is the free software you have always wanted to manage your personal accounts at home. The main concept is to be light, simple and very easy to use. It brings you many features that allows you to analyze your finances in a detailed way instantly and dynamically with powerful report tools based on filtering and graphical charts.

        • Shotcut video editor updated to 21.02.27 €» PCLinuxOS

          Shotcut supports many video, audio, and image formats via FFmpeg and screen, webcam, and audio capture. It uses a timeline for non-linear video editing of multiple tracks that may be composed of various file formats. Scrubbing and transport control are assisted by OpenGL GPU-based processing and a number of video and audio filters are available.

        • Librewolf browser updated to 86.0

          LibreWolf is designed to minimize data collection and telemetry as much as possible. This is achieved through hundreds of privacy/security/performance settings and patches. Intrusive integrated addons including updater, crashreporter, and pocket are removed too. LibreWolf is NOT associated with Mozilla or its products.

        • Strawberry music player updated to 0.9.1

          Strawberry is a audio player and music collection organizer. It is a fork of Clementine. The name is inspired by the band Strawbs.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Cloud Computing in 2021: What You Should Know about Public, Private, Hybrid, PaaS, SaaS and FaaS [Ed: Oh, wow! What a buzzwords salad!]

          Whether you’re focusing on cutting maintenance, electricity and storage costs, increasing reliability or doing your part to reduce climate impact, there are countless reasons organizations are looking to escalate their cloud migration as fast as they can. Cloud computing is probably the most significant driver of digital transformation over the last decade.

        • The openSUSE Virtual Conference 2021 To Take Place June 18-20

          The openSUSE Conference is the annual openSUSE community event that brings people from around the world together to meet and collaborate.

          The organized talks, workshops, and BoF sessions provide a framework around more casual meet ups and hack sessions.

          The call for papers for the openSUSE Virtual Conference 2021 is open until May 4. The dates of the conference are scheduled for June 18 – 20, 2021. Registration for the conference has also begun. The registration period is open March 01 – June 20, 2021

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora’s New Logo is Finally Unveiled

          In a recent Fedora council meeting (which you can watch in the hero area above or via YouTube if you’re reading from an RSS feed or scraper site) Fedora’s Máirín Duffy talks about the new Fedora Logo, its journey, and the timeline for its roll out.

          Fervent fans of the distro needn’t panic unduly; the new Fedora logo mark and companion logotype are in-keeping with the iconic “Infinity” logo they are familiar with, but with a leaner, cleaner feel.

        • What to look for in Fedora Workstation 34

          As we are heading towards April and the release of Fedora Workstation 34 I wanted to post an update on what we are working on for this release and what we are looking at going forward. 2020 was a year where we focused a lot on polishing what we had and getting things past the finish line and Fedora Workstation 34 is going to be the culmination of that effort in many ways.

        • Fedora Workstation 34 Should Be Very Exciting With GNOME 40, PipeWire Default
          Fedora 34 due out in April is shaping up to be a very exciting feature release as usual with this Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution continuing to live on the bleeding-edge of the open-source software ecosystem. Fedora Workstation 34 in particular is heavy on updates and new features, led by the GNOME 40 desktop.

          Christian Schaller of Red Hat who serves as the Senior Manager for Desktop provided a lengthy write-up going over some of the changes to find with the upcoming Fedora Workstation 34.

          Among the items we are excited about are the ongoing Wayland improvements/polishing, PipeWire aims to be the default in place of PulseAudio, improving the Flatpak experience, and yes the big GNOME 40 desktop update.

        • Fedora Linux 34 Will Enable Support for Haptics Touchpads, Incremental Flatpak App Updates

          We already know that Fedora Linux 34 is one of the most anticipated distribution releases of 2021, and that’s mostly because it will ship with a vanilla, almost untouched GNOME 40 desktop experience on top of some of the newest GNU/Linux technologies, such as Linux kernel 5.11.

          But, under the hood, where the magic happens, Fedora Linux 34 will include some exciting new changes. One of these is the enablement of support for haptic touchpads, such as those used on Apple MacBooks, but also on other laptops that will be released throughout 2021.

        • An introduction to Ansible facts | Enable Sysadmin

          Ansible facts are data gathered about target nodes (host nodes to be configured) and returned back to controller nodes. Ansible facts are stored in JSON format and are used to make important decisions about tasks based on their statistics. Facts are in an ansible_facts variable, which is managed by Ansible Engine. Ansible facts play a major role in syncing with hosts in accordance with real-time data.

        • The Zowe project: Build open source with open source [Ed: IBM is openwashing its proprietary mainframes by outsourcing some bits of code to Microsoft's proprietary software trap, GitHub]

          One of the most exciting open source projects for IBM Z is Zowe, which is part of the Linux Foundation’s Open Mainframe Project. Zowe has a unique characteristic that makes it a very important project: It opens up IBM Z and the z/OS operating system to practically any application or tool.

          In this blog post, I want to bring your attention to how open source is built based on another open source, how open source works as building blocks, and how Zowe is a great example of how you can innovate and solve problems with open source software.

        • Data and AI applications with Palantir for IBM Cloud Pak for Data [Ed: IBM tells us it's against racism while working for Palantir and Bill Gates tells us he's caring for the environment even though he's the world's biggest polluter. Facts matter no more.]

          Palantir for IBM Cloud Pak for Data enables customers to build no/low-code line-of-business applications using data and AI models from IBM Cloud Pak for Data. Ontology managers can define business-oriented data models integrating data services from IBM Cloud Pak for Data. Application builders can use Palantir tools to create line-of-business applications using these data models and can integrate AI models created by data scientists and deployed by ML operators on IBM Cloud Pak for Data. This blog post explains how to create AI-infused apps using Palantir ontology management and app building tools together with the data and AI catalog, projects, and model deployment spaces on IBM Cloud Pak for Data. It also outlines the underlying integration architecture.

        • Build Smart on Kubernetes World Tour: Back for 2021!

          Kubernetes is one of the fastest-growing open source projects in history, and growth is accelerating. Adoption continues to soar among companies that employ them. In fact, more than 1,500 companies use Kubernetes in their production software stacks.

          As noted in the recent O’Reilly survey, Kubernetes continues to be popular with developers with 65% of respondents preferring skills related to the underlying open source technologies (such as Linux, Kubernetes, or Istio), compared to 36% preferring skills related to a specific cloud platform.

        • Ben Williams: Fedora Linux 33 updated Live isos released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F33-20210301-Live ISOs, carrying the 5.10.18-200 kernel.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have about 1.1GB+ of updates savings )). In cooperation with the Fedora i3 Sig, we are including a i3 spin in this release.

      • Debian Family

        • New Debian-Based Distribution Arrives on the Market
          New Linux distributions pop up almost weekly, so it should come as no surprise that yet another Debian-based platform has hit the market. And like many others, TelOS aims to be a bit different. How? Outside of being touch-screen friendly (using the KDE Plasma 5.20.5 desktop environment), TelOS is ready to serve as your home theater center, thanks to the inclusion of the Kodi open-source media center software.

          You’ll also find a mixture of KDE and GNOME apps installed, giving you a sort of best-of-both-worlds on the desktop. On the KDE front, you’ll find the standard software included (such as Dolphin, Konsole, Okular, Ark, KTorrent, K3b, Kazam, KWrite, and KDE Connect). As for GNOME, the developers have added the Cheese webcam viewer, Disks disk utility, the Evolution groupware suite, the GNOME on-screen keyboard, the GNOME Clocks app, and the GNOME Sound Recorder.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • New Ubuntu Linux Kernel Security Updates Address Six Vulnerabilities, Patch Now

          The most important flaw patched in this new Ubuntu kernel security update is CVE-2021-3178, which was discovered in Linux kernel’s NFS implementation and affects the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS releases. This could allow a remote attacker to bypass NFS access restrictions and traverse to other parts of the filesystem via READDIRPLUS when there’s an NFS export of a subdirectory of a file system.

        • Ubuntu Touch OTA-16 Released with Support for Samsung Galaxy S3 Neo+, Many Improvements

          Coming three months after OTA-15, the Ubuntu Touch OTA-16 update is here to enable stable support for the Samsung Galaxy S3 Neo+ (GT-I930I) smartphone, which will now receive regular updates when new OTA (Over-the-Air) releases are made available.

          Ubuntu Touch OTA-16 also brings a bunch of improvements to Morph Browser, Ubuntu Touch’s default web browser. These include a revamped Downloads system by replacing the previous full-screen Downloads page with an icon in the headerbar that alerts if a download is in progress.

        • Ubuntu Touch OTA-16 released with improved browser, video recording, Android app support and more

          The latest update to the Ubuntu Touch operating system for smartphones and tablets is here, and it’s a big update, with changes to more than a third of all binary packages in the operating system.

          With official releases available for 26 different phones and tablets, Ubuntu Touch OTA-16 includes a number of updates to core features of the operating system as well as improvements to specific applications like the Morph web browser. There are also some device-specific improvements coming to some of the more than two dozen phones and tablets that support Ubuntu Touch stable builds.

        • Mint 20: Better Than Ubuntu and Microsoft Windows?

          As a long term user of Microsoft Windows, Fedora, Ubuntu and Linux Mint, I have seen some of the more intricate tantrums a Windows or Linux operating system can throw. My first Mint 20 installation was in early April 2020, even before Mint 20 was released. I have had the unique opportunity to compare it with Microsoft Windows and Ubuntu 20 for day-to-day work and use, and have made some interesting discoveries. Read on to find out.

        • Ubuntu Wiki Reboot

          It’s time to replace the Ubuntu Wiki. In fact it was probably time to replace it a few years ago, but we are where we are. It should be a reliable and useful resource for the Ubuntu community. It’s failing at that. We have failed here.

          Aside: There are actually multiple wikis in use in the Ubuntu project. The primary one is wiki.ubuntu.com, which has been in use since forever (in Ubuntu terms). It’s the main topic of this post, but the others are certainly in need of some love too.

          Most pages are meeting records, specifications, design & technical documents or team and personal pages. A lot of the pages are valuable to someone. I don’t have access to data on how often pages are visited, but the RecentChanges page shows how often they’re edited. The wiki contains somewhere around eightysix thousand pages, and some of those get edited on most days.

          Over the years a few people (including myself) have looked at what it might take to update the wiki. However, time and motivation was lacking, so everything stayed the same. The Wiki is running MoinMoin 1.9.8 (last I checked) with some tweaks.

        • Stable Release Updates on Xubuntu

          From the moment an Ubuntu release (and flavors) reaches Final Freeze until the release is end-of-life (EOL), updates are released following the "stable release update" procedure, or SRU. This process is documented on the Ubuntu Wiki. However, it can be intimidating for new and long-time contributors and also confusing for users. I'd like to explain this process from a Xubuntu perspective.

          We currently have two packages going through the SRU procedure for Xubuntu 20.04 and 20.10. After you've read this article, consider checking them out and helping with verification.

          [...]

          While not an exciting topic, I hope this helped to provide some insight into the inner workings of a stable Xubuntu release. Let me know if you have any questions or if I got something wrong. If you're working on another Ubuntu flavor or derivative, what's the post-development release process look like for your team?

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 674

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 674 for the week of March 7 – 13, 2021.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • JingPad A 11 inch 5G Linux tablet running JingOS introduced
        The JingPad A1 is an 11 inch Linux tablet running the Linux-based operating system aptly named JingOS. The Linux tablet features support for an optional stylus as well as accessories in the form of a detachable keyboard and comes with options to add 4G and 5G connectivity if desired.

      • PinePhone Beta Edition goes up for pre-order soon

        After shipping tens of thousands of PinePhone Community Edition smartphones to enthusiasts, the folks at Pine64 ended the Community Edition program recently. Soon you’ll be able to buy a PinePhone Beta Edition, which will ship with Manjaro Linux and the KDE Plasma user interface pre-installed.

        It’s called Beta because the software is still a work in progress. But the hardware is pretty much finalized, and after encountering a series of potential delays due to component shortages, Pine64 says the PinePhone Beta Edition will go up for pre-order within the next week, production should begin soon, and they could ship to customers by late April.

      • Pocket P.C. handheld Linux computer is getting a price hike

        The Pocket P.C. is a handheld Linux computer that looks a bit like an old-school pager, but larger. It has a 4.95 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS LCD touchscreen display with a QWERTY keyboard beneath it for thumb-typing.

        Designed by the folks at Popcorn Computer, the little computer was unveiled in 2019 and it’s on track to ship soon (after a few delays) to customers who have placed pre-orders. If you haven’t done that yet, you’ve got until March 18, 2021 to reserve one for a discounted price $199 and up. After that time, the starting price is expected to go up to $299, which represents a $50 price hike over the $249 list price.

        According to the company, the price increase is due to the rising cost of components.

      • Monitor a UPS with a Raspberry Pi Zero W

        After the recent snow apocalypse that swept through Texas followed by widespread power crisis, I realized that my UPS monitoring strategy needed improvement. One had batteries that were near death and my other two had loads that were not well balanced.

        I have a few CyberPower UPS units and an old APC UPS. Although CyberPower does offer relatively expensive monitoring cards that puts the UPS on the local network, none of them worked with my 1350/1500VA units. However, all of them do have USB serial connectivity and I wondered how I could monitor them more effectively.

      • Why Librem Tunnel is Leaving iOS

        When we launched Librem One almost two years ago, the goal was to provide a convenient and privacy-respecting suite of services running on open platforms as an alternative to Big Tech platforms. The service launched with Librem Chat, Librem Social, Librem Mail, and Librem Tunnel. We feel everyone deserves privacy and we are not a fan of vendor lock-in, so when we launched, we provided free software Librem One applications for Android and iOS so customers on those platforms could join the party. Recently we’ve been forced to remove Librem Tunnel from iOS due to their unfair policies and in this post we’ll explain why.

      • How not to code: a guide to concise programming
      • Make your intercom smarter with an MQTT backpack

        My intercom is now much smarter! Doorbell notifications make their way to my various devices via MQTT, and I can conveniently open the door from any device, as opposed to rushing to the intercom unit in the hallway.

        Compared to the previous proof-of-concepts and development installations, I feel more confident in the current solution because it re-uses the intercom unit for the nitty-gritty SCS bus communication details.

        The overall strategy should be widely applicable regardless of the specific intercom vendor/unit you have. Be sure to buy your own unit (don’t solder into your landlord’s intercom unit!) and test in a separate lab setup first, of course!

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mike Taylor: Slack is optimized for Firefox version 520

            Last week my pal Karl sent me a link to web-bug 67866: which has the cool title “menu buttons don’t work in Firefox version 100”. It turns out that Mozilla’s Chris Peterson has been surfing the web with a spoofed UA string reporting version 100 to see what happens (because he knows the web can be a hot mess, and that history is bound to repeat itself).

          • How to replace onCommit, onActive, and onDispose in Jetpack Compose

            If you’re looking at some Jetpack Compose code or tutorials written last year, you might see the use of onCommit, onActive, and onDispose. However, these functions are no longer present in Android’s developer documentation. They were deprecated in version 1.0.0-alpha11 in favor of SideEffect and DisposableEffect. Here’s how to use those new functions and update your code.

          • How one business founder is brewing new ideas for her future after a rough 2020

            After years of brewing beer at home and honing her craft, Briana Brake turned her passion into a profession by starting Spaceway Brewing Company in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. She was steadily building a following, and things were looking up for 2020, with opportunities bubbling on the horizon when COVID-19 hit. The pandemic set Brake back a few steps, but her ambition and focus remain steady. Drawing inspiration from Afrofuturism, Brake has a vision for the future, the role she plays in it and those she wants to invite into the craft brewing industry.

      • Programming/Development

        • Git v2.31.0
          The latest feature release Git v2.31.0 is now available at the
          usual places.  It is comprised of 679 non-merge commits since
          v2.30.0, contributed by 85 people, 23 of which are new faces [*].
          
          

          The tarballs are found at:

          https://www.kernel.org/pub/software/scm/git/

          The following public repositories all have a copy of the 'v2.31.0' tag and the 'master' branch that the tag points at...
        • Git 2.31 Released With Moving More Of The Bisecting Code To C

          Git 2.31 is out today as the newest version of this distributed revision control system.

          Git 2.31 isn't the most exciting update in recent times but some of the highlights to this new release include:

          - Continuing to rewrite more of the "git bisect" sub-command in C code. This ultimately should help in faster Git bisect operations when the transition is complete.

        • Getting started With Git – A Simple Beginner’s Guide

          I’ve been using Git for around a year now and over the course of that year, it has become a crucial part of my workflow. But getting started with Git is difficult – there are lots of getting started guides out there, but I’ve found many of them to be too verbose for a beginner.

          So I decided to write a simple getting started with Git guide that covers just enough for you to get started and no more. Let’s get going, shall we?

        • What is Trunk Based Development? A Different Approach to the Software Development Lifecycle

          The Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) is different at every company.

          The version control system used, peer review process, code review process, design review process, how they do CI, automated testing, manual testing, and so on, varies greatly depending on where you work.

          How a company plans, writes, builds, reviews, deploys, and releases software is optimized for their particular use-case, all with their own strengths and drawbacks in mind.

          I started reading about how different big tech companies run their Software Development Lifecycles (SDLC) and heard the term Trunk Based Development a few times. This is a practice Google follows and I was curious about how it's different than the way most other companies develop software.

        • Exploring my doorbell

          I've talked about my doorbell before, but started looking at it again this week because sometimes it simply doesn't send notifications to my Home Assistant setup - the push notifications appear on my phone, but the doorbell simply doesn't trigger the HTTP callback it's meant to[1]. This is obviously suboptimal, but it's also tricky to debug a device when you have no access to it.

          Normally I'd just head straight in with a screwdriver, but the doorbell is shared with the other units in this building and it seemed a little anti-social to interfere with a shared resource. So I bought some broken units from ebay and pulled one of them apart. There's several boards inside, but one of them had a conveniently empty connector at the top with "TX", "RX" and "GND" labelled. Sticking a USB-serial converter on this gave me output from U-Boot, and then kernel output. Confirmation that my doorbell runs Linux, but unfortunately it didn't give me a shell prompt. My next approach would often me to just dump the flash and look for vulnerabilities that way, but this device uses TSOP-48 packaged NAND flash rather than the more convenient SPI NOR flash that I already have adapters to access. Dumping this sort of NAND isn't terribly hard, but the easiest way to do it involves desoldering it from the board and plugging it into something like a Flashcat USB adapter, and my soldering's not good enough to put it back on the board afterwards. So I wanted another approach.

          [...]

          But this is on the interface that's exposed to the cloud client, so this didn't appear immediately useful - and, indeed, trying to hit the same CGI binary over the local network gave me a 401 unauthorized error. There's a local API spec for these doorbells, but they all refer to scripts in the bha-api namespace, and this script was in the plain cgi-bin namespace. But then I noticed that the bha-api namespace didn't actually exist in the filesystem - instead, lighttpd's mod_alias was configured to rewrite requests to bha-api through to files in cgi-bin. And by using the documented API to get a session token, I could call editcgi.cgi to read and write arbitrary files on the doorbell. Which means I can drop an extra script in /etc/rc.d/rc3.d and get a shell on my doorbell.

        • How to Build a Weather Application with React and React Hooks

          React is a super-awesome front-end library that you can use to build user interfaces.

          One of the best things about React is that the components we create are encapsulated. In other words, they can't be seen.

          Let's learn more about how all this works by building a weather application using React.

        • How to Build an Accordion Menu in React from Scratch – No External Libraries Required

          There are many ways to use accordion menus, like displaying a list of FAQs, showing various menus and submenus, displaying the locations of a particular company, and so on.

          In this article, we'll see how to build an accordion menu in React completely from scratch, step-by-step, without using any external libraries.

          We will be using React Hooks syntax for building this application in React. So if you're new to React Hooks, check out my Introduction to React Hooks article to learn the basics of Hooks.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Rakudo Weekly News: 2021.11 Two Year Itch

            This week saw the return of not one, but two long time contributors with an extended blog post after a 2 year hiatus: one of them technical, the other more philosophical. It’s great to see these types of blog posts happen again! Yours truly is happy that it didn’t turn out to be a Seven Year Itch!

          • Dancer2 0.301000 Released

            The big thing worth pointing out is App::Cmd, which is now not a requirement of Dancer2. A new version of App::Cmd was released with a minimum version requirement of Perl 5.20. We aim to support Dancer2 back to Perl 5.10, which was no longer possible with the current App::Cmd. We had several options to consider in moving forward, and the one we chose was this:

            If you want to use the Dancer2 CLI, you musy explicitly install App::Cmd. If you have previously installed Dancer2, all is well. If this is a new install and you are on a Perl older than 5.20, you will not be able to use the CLI (dancer2 gen) until you can upgrade your version of Perl, or you can install a version of App::Cmd version 0.331 or older (generally, cpanm App::Cmd@0.331 will do here). On Perl 5.20 or newer, install App::Cmd if you want to use the CLI and you're golden.

  • Leftovers

    • Making Mandalorian Beskar plus Giveaway for Subscribers

      Beskar for Charity: For a $1000 dollar donation to Second Harvest, I will make a Mandalorian Beskar ingot on demand.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Mexico's Imminent Marijuana Legalization Law Leaves US Lawmakers Holding the Joint

        For years now, dozens of pro-marijuana activists have gathered in front of Mexico’s Congressional building on Reforma Avenue in the largest city in the Americas to spark up and tacitly remind lawmakers of a landmark 2012 ruling by the country’s Supreme Court, that declared a ban on recreational marijuana to be unconstitutional.

      • Western Media Blitz Aimed at Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine May Already Be Costing Lives

        new report from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) boasts that, throughout 2020, it worked with other U.S. government agencies to combat the “malign influence” of Russia, Cuba and Venezuela in the Americas. The two examples it cites are “persuading Brazil to reject the Russian COVID-19 vaccine” and pushing Panama to turn down Cuba’s offer to send doctors to fight the virus.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Ransomware attack on Pimpri Chinchwad Smart City servers managed by Tech Mahindra [iophk: Windows TCO]

          India is the second most impacted by cyberattacks in the Asia Pacific region after Japan, according to a recent study by IBM. About 40% of these were ransomware attacks.

        • Attacks on firms using Microsoft email servers tripled in 72 hrs [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Unaware of the full magnitude of these findings, Microsoft was prompted to further investigate their Exchange server.

          The investigation uncovered five more critical vulnerabilities.

          The vulnerabilities allow an attacker to read emails from an Exchange server without authentication or accessing an individual's email account.

        • Microsoft 365 services take a hit globally after authentication update [iophk: Windows TCO]

          In a tweet, the Redmond-based software giant said: "We're investigating an issue for access to multiple M365 services. Please visit the admin centre post M0244568 for more information. We'll provide additional information here as it becomes available.

        • GitHub employee fired for saying ‘Nazi’ in Slack declines to take his job back

          GitHub fired the employee two days after he wrote “stay safe homies, Nazis are about” to colleagues in Slack on January 6th, as first reported by Business Insider. Approximately 200 of the company’s 1,700 employees signed an open letter asking the company for an explanation, and employees began using the word “Nazi” in Slack to describe the Capitol [insurrectionists].

        • Microsoft could reap more than $193m in new US cyber spending

          Microsoft stands to receive nearly a quarter of Covid relief funds destined for US cybersecurity defenders, angering some lawmakers who don't want to increase funding for a company whose software was recently at the heart of two big hacks.

          Congress allocated the funds at issue in the Covid relief bill after two enormous cyber attacks leveraged weaknesses in Microsoft products to reach into computer networks at federal and local agencies and tens of thousands of companies.

          One breach attributed to Russia in December grabbed emails from the Justice Department, Commerce Department and Treasury Department.

        • Microsoft customers locked out of Teams, Office, Xbox, Dynamics – and Azure Active Directory breakdown blamed ● The Register
        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (ca-certificates, flatpak, golang-1.7, golang-1.8, mupdf, pygments, and tiff), Fedora (containerd, golang-github-containerd-cri, mingw-gdk-pixbuf, mingw-glib2, mingw-jasper, mingw-python-jinja2, mingw-python-pillow, mingw-python3, python-django, python-pillow, and python2-pillow), Mageia (git, mediainfo, netty, python-django, and quartz), openSUSE (crmsh, git, glib2, kernel-firmware, openldap2, stunnel, and wpa_supplicant), Oracle (qemu), Red Hat (openvswitch2.11, openvswitch2.13, pki-core, rh-nodejs10-nodejs, rh-nodejs12-nodejs, rh-nodejs14-nodejs, and wpa_supplicant), Slackware (kernel), SUSE (apache2, crmsh, glib2, s390-tools, and slurm_20_11 and pdsh), and Ubuntu (python2.7, python3.7, python3.8).

          • Old Linux storage bugs, new security patches

            You may not have used SCSI this decade, but the old storage interface software is still in Linux and security holes have been found, and fixed, within it.

          • Xen Project is now a CVE Numbering Authority (CNA) - Xen Project

            The Common Vulnerability and Exposures (CVE) Program’s mission is to identify, define, and catalog publicly disclosed cybersecurity vulnerabilities. CVE numbers (assigned when vulnerabilities are added to the CVE List) enable two or more people or tools to refer to a vulnerability and know they are talking about the same thing, resulting in significant time and cost savings. Many organizations now require vendors to supply CVE numbers when providing hotfixes or other updates.

            The XenProject Security Team has been including CVE numbers with publicly disclosed vulnerabilities for many years now. Until now, this has involved submitting each of our Xen Security Advisories (XSAs) to Mitre as they become public, waiting for them to issue us CVEs, and then re-sending the advisories with CVE numbers attached. For the last several years, this has been a very manual process that involves an engineer translating our advisory into a webform (which has captchas to prevent any automation). During this time, the demand for advisories to contain CVEs as soon as possible has grown.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Facebook to label all posts that discuss coronavirus vaccines

              Facebook will initially add labels with information from the World Health Organization to posts that discuss the safety of vaccines, Facebook said in a blog post. The labels will state that vaccines go through testing for safety and efficacy before they are approved.

              The social media giant said it will then roll out labels in the coming weeks for more general posts about the vaccines that will point users to information about them, and plans to add additional targeted labels with subtopics about the inoculations.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Denmark Bans Foreign Funding of Mosques

        The Danish Parliament has approved a new law that bans foreign governments from financing mosques in Denmark. The measure is aimed at preventing Muslim countries, particularly Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, from promoting Islamic extremism in Danish mosques and prayer facilities.

        Denmark joins a growing list of European countries — including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland — which have taken varying degrees of action to prevent foreign governments from financing the construction and upkeep of mosques on their territories.

      • Sharia Alert: Two More French Teachers Need Police Protection After Accusations Of Insulting Islam (Video)

        Two University Professors at the Grenoble Institute of Political Studies (IEP) in eastern France have been placed under 24-hour police protection after being smeared as “Islamophobes” and “fascists.” The teachers’ lives are under threat after an Islamo-leftist student group, National Union of Students of France (UNEF), led a dangerous campaign against the professors for simply trying to question the concept of “Islamophobia”.

        Despite the danger the professors are facing, the radical student union continues to incite violence towards them and is lobbying the school to have them sanctioned.

    • Environment

      • Haaland Confirmed as Interior Secretary, 1st Native American Cabinet Head

        Democrats and tribal groups hailed Haaland's confirmation as historic, saying her selection means that Indigenous people — who lived in North America before the United States was created — will for the first time see a Native American lead the powerful department where decisions on relations with the nearly 600 federally recognized tribes are made. Interior also oversees a host of other issues, including energy development on public lands and waters, national parks and endangered species.

      • Senate confirms Haaland to lead Interior

        Biden has said that he will not ban fracking and does not support the Green New Deal.

      • Energy

        • India will reportedly introduce bill to make owning cryptocurrency illegal

          The Indian government outlined its plans in January, when it published an agenda for the upcoming legislative session. That agenda included banning “all private cryptocurrencies” in India, with some exceptions to promote the general use of blockchain technology. The goal is to roll out an official government-issued digital currency while outlawing private alternatives like Bitcoin — which reached a record high earlier this month, trading at $59,755.

        • Colorado's legal cannabis farms emit more carbon than its coal mines

          They found that emissions varied widely by state, from 2.3 to 5.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per kilogram of dried flower produced.

          In Colorado, the emissions add up to around 2.6 megatonnes of CO2e, which is more than that from the state’s coal mining at 1.8 megatonnes of CO2e.

          “The emissions that come from growing 1 ounce, depending on where it’s grown in the US, is about the same as burning 7 to 16 gallons of gasoline,” says Summers.

          Most US cannabis is grown indoors, as some states don’t allow outdoor growing and the crops are also at risk of theft. This means that the majority of cannabis production emissions come from climate-control systems and high-powered lights that take the place of the sun.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Stripe Is Most Valuable U.S. Start-Up, Worth $95 Billion: Live Updates

        The payments company Stripe is worth $95 billion after a new round of funding, making it the most valuable start-up in the United States.

        The San Francisco and Dublin-based company said on Sunday that it had raised $600 million in new funding from investors including Sequoia Capital, Fidelity Management and Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency. The investment nearly triples Stripe’s last valuation of $35 billion.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Danish employers face fines in connection with Swedish employees working at home

        The timing of a new law requiring many homebound Swedish-based employees of Danish companies to pay tax in the country of their residence, not their employer, could not be more unfortunate, reports News Øresund.

        The law, which came into force on January 1, requires Swedes who spend over half of their working week at home to pay tax in Sweden.

        According to Christin Hjortsberg from Øresunddirekt, the law was not formulated with the effect of the pandemic in mind.

      • Our ongoing commitment to supporting journalism

        We also believe that this important debate should be about the substance of the issue, and not derailed by naked corporate opportunism … which brings us to Microsoft’s sudden interest in this discussion. We respect Microsoft’s success and we compete hard with them in cloud computing, search, productivity apps, video conferencing, email and many other areas. Unfortunately, as competition in these areas intensifies, they are reverting to their familiar playbook of attacking rivals and lobbying for regulations that benefit their own interests. They are now making self-serving claims and are even willing to break the way the open web works in an effort to undercut a rival. And their claims about our business and how we work with news publishers are just plain wrong.

        This latest attack marks a return to Microsoft’s longtime practices. And it’s no coincidence that Microsoft’s newfound interest in attacking us comes on the heels of the SolarWinds attack and at a moment when they’ve allowed tens of thousands of their customers — including government agencies in the U.S., NATO allies, banks, nonprofits, telecommunications providers, public utilities, police, fire and rescue units, hospitals and, presumably, news organizations — to be actively hacked via major Microsoft vulnerabilities. Microsoft was warned about the vulnerabilities in their system, knew they were being exploited, and are now doing damage control while their customers scramble to pick up the pieces from what has been dubbed the Great Email Robbery. So maybe it’s not surprising to see them dusting off the old diversionary Scroogled playbook.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Privacy Talks | Interview with Ruth Smeeth, CEO of Index on Censorship

        This interview first aired on September 11, 2020.

      • Xi Jinping Warns Against Tech Excess in Sign Crackdown Will Widen

        President Xi Jinping on Monday chaired a meeting of the communist party’s top financial advisory and coordination committee, ordering regulators to step up oversight of internet companies, crack down on monopolies, promote fair competition and prevent the disorderly expansion of capital, according to state broadcaster CCTV. Internet companies need to enhance data security and financial activities need to come under regulatory supervision, CCTV also reported.

        The unusually strongly worded comments from Xi and his lieutenants suggest Beijing is preparing to amplify a campaign to curb the influence of its largest and most powerful private corporations, which has so far centered mainly on Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and its affiliate Ant Group Co. The term platform economies could apply to a plethora of mobile and internet giants that offer services to hundreds of millions, from ride-hailing behemoth Didi Chuxing to food delivery giant Meituan and e-commerce leaders like JD.com Inc. and Pinduoduo Inc.

      • Vimeo's Section 230 Win in Pastor's Discrimination Suit Affirmed by Appeals Court

        U.S. District Judge Stewart D. Aaron in January dismissed the suit, finding Section 230 gave Vimeo immunity from such a suit because it restricted the content in good faith. On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed and affirmed the decision.

        While there's been heated public debate about the fairness of protections given to [Internet] service providers sunder Section 230, amid allegations that social media sites selectively police content posted by users, the Second Circuit says this particular situation is clear.

      • Strange Twitter bug bans users for mentioning 'Memphis'

        Several users shared screenshots showing messages from Twitter saying their account was being limited for violating the platform's rules, after they had tweeted a message which included the word "Memphis."

      • After short consultation, panel gives new Online Safety Bill green light

        A Senate panel has recommended that Australia's new Online Safety Bill be passed, less than three weeks after it began to examine the bill in-committee and after just one public hearing.

      • Unemployed man in KL fined RM10,000 for insulting Islam on Facebook

        The Sessions Court here today fined an unemployed man RM10,000 on two counts of insulting Islam through postings on his Facebook.

      • Facebook strikes News Corp deal to license news from Australian media outlets

        In a predictable turn of events, Facebook received its desired concessions, the largest of which involved negating the forced arbitration portion of the bill that Silicon Valley reviled if prior commercial agreements were struck, and the company restored the ability to share news. Australia then passed the law and everyone more or less came out unscathed. Yet part of Facebook’s initial opposition to the law was that it gave the most powerful publishers too much negotiating power, and News Corp is far and away the largest and most pervasive media conglomerate in Australia.

      • Facebook to pay News Corp for content in Australia

        News Corp Australia controls about 70% of newspaper circulation in Australia with mastheads including The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and The Herald Sun. It also owns news.com.au.

        It also owns the Fox News-modelled conservative TV network Sky News Australia, which has grown to become the most-shared Australian news brand on Facebook.

        News Corp already has a different deal with Facebook for its US media titles. It involves the platform paying for stories to include in its Facebook News tab - a product not available in Australia.

      • News Corporation strikes three-year Facebook deal in Australia

        In a statement issued from the headquarters of its American division, the company said the deal would cover News Corporation Australia. A report in a Nine newspaper says Nine Entertainment has signed a letter of intent with Facebook, but no details of any deal have been provided.

        Included in the deal are The Australian, news.com.au, The Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun and The Courier-Mail, plus regional and community publications.

        The company added that Sky News Australia had also reached a new agreement with Facebook, building on an existing agreement.

      • Facebook Forges Multiyear Deal With News Corp. in Australia

        Facebook Inc. reached a multiyear deal with News Corp. in Australia, agreeing to pay Rupert Murdoch’s publishing arm for access to additional stories.

        The agreement resolves a dispute in the country between publishers and tech giants over payments for news articles. The deal includes content from News Corp.’s national newspaper, The Australian, as well as the Daily Telegraph in New South Wales, the Herald Sun in Victoria and the Courier-Mail in Queensland, the publishing company said in a statement Monday. Sky News Australia also reached a parallel accord with Facebook.

      • Why the [Internet] has not freed China

        Party bosses spent the next 20 years proving that, with enough nails, the [Internet] can be hammered into submission. It has been a slog, involving armies of censors, secret police and propaganda officials. Internet firms must employ moderators in their tens of thousands, paid to spot and delete banned ideas and images within seconds. Mr Clinton was not wholly mistaken. The state is less present in many ordinary Chinese lives than before. In some sectors, officials have scrambled to maintain their near-monopoly as providers of approved information. In the news industry, party chiefs have poured resources into staid official news agencies, such as the People’s Daily, encouraging them to create livelier subsidiaries to compete with more commercial outlets. Private citizens occasionally dare to report news on their own initiative, and question official accounts of events. For this they are routinely reprimanded, sacked from jobs, detained or jailed.

      • Britain’s Academic Free Speech Bill

        The British Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, recently set out proposals to strengthen free speech and academic freedom at universities in England. These include: appointing an Academic Freedom Champion with a remit to champion free speech and investigate alleged breaches thereof; stipulating that universities will have to “actively promote” freedom of speech on campus; and introducing a tort that will allow individuals to seek redress for breaches of their rights to free speech and academic freedom.

        The announcement sparked a lively debate in the British press and on social media, with some commentators welcoming the proposed changes, and others arguing that they are unnecessary and/or actively harmful. As I see it, this debate can be broken down into two key questions. Are free speech and academic freedom under threat at English universities? And if so, are the new proposals worth supporting? In this essay, I will argue that the answer to the first question is an unequivocal “yes,” and the answer to the second question is a qualified “yes.”

      • China Signal Users Report Difficulty Accessing Messaging App

        Signal, an encrypted messaging app that competes with the likes of Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp, appears to have been blocked in China, the latest move by Beijing to crack down on social media platforms.

        From Monday night, Signal users reported difficulties using the app in China without the help of a virtual private network, or VPN, which allows users to mask their location and access banned foreign communication services like Gmail and Twitter. Previously, no such software was needed to access Signal.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Mature democracy like India must accept divergent, critical views with equanimity and dignity, writes Lt-Gen Bhopinder Singh

        Even international journals like The Washington Post, The New York Times, Guardian, Economist, Time, Foreign Affairs or media houses like BBC, Al Jazeera or CNN, are routinely shrugged off as harbouring ‘anti-India’ sentiments. That the same media houses are at the forefront of forcefully questioning, challenging and holding their own resident or regional governments to account, is of little consequence. In an expansive sweep of logic, these corporate houses can be creatively jeered as ‘Left-leaning’ with ‘champagne socialists’ — but when the do report a positive piece, the same is proudly presented as an affirmation of ‘India Shining’. The casualty, as always, is balance.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • BREAKING: Christian leadership drags Nigerian govt to court over CAMA Act

        Among other provisions, the Act allows the Federal Government to arbitrarily merge a new association with an already registered one; suspend or remove trustees; and take over funds belonging to any association.

      • Boko Haram Threat Complicates Plans to Resettle Displaced Nigerians

        Boko Haram militants have terrorized northeastern Nigeria for more than a decade, driving more than 2 million people from their homes, according to the United Nations.

      • What it’s Like to be a Hindu in Bangladesh After 50 Years of Independence

        In 1988, Bangladesh, under the Presidency of Hussein Mohammed Ershad, declared itself an Islamic state. Islamists were now free to exercise discrimination, bigotry and vitriol towards the few Hindus remaining. Muslim political leaders found easy and quick popularity by Hindu-bashing.

      • “Huge Victory”: Black Farmers Hail $5B in New COVID Relief Law to Redress Generations of Racism

        A major provision in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill aims to address decades of discrimination against Black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian American farmers who have historically been excluded from government agricultural programs. The American Rescue Plan sets aside $10.4 billion for agriculture support, with about half of that amount set aside for farmers of color, and allocates extra federal funds to farmers who were “subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture has faced accusations of racism for decades, but little has been done to address the problem of discrimination in farm loans. John Boyd, a fourth-generation Black farmer and president of the National Black Farmers Association, says the new funds begin to address issues he has been fighting for 30 years. “This is a huge victory for Black farmers and farmers of color,” says Boyd.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Mike Blumenkrantz: What Happened To Blogging?

        Blogging is hard.

        There’s a big switch that a brain needs to do in order to go from ramming code into a project at full speed to carefully crafting an internet post that potentially people might want to read, and some days the effort required to make that switch exceeds the available energy.

        Such is (at least one of) the reason(s) why more graphics driver-y people don’t blog more, since it’s taxing enough for me to try and get posts out and I mostly just post memes.

        But this time is definitely going to be a return to the normalcy that is posting more than once per week. The key is just to start posting and keep doing it.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • One Case, All The Problems: VLSI v. Intel Exemplifies Current Issues In Patent Litigation [Ed: The biggest enemy of the legitimacy of patent law is Texas]

          The scene is the Western District of Texas, Waco Division. The plaintiff is VLSI Technology, a non-practicing entity. The defendant is Intel Corporation, a major U.S. semiconductor and electronics manufacturer and one of the leading semiconductor research companies in the world.

          VLSI Technology doesn’t make anything—they never did. They didn’t even have a corporate witness testify at trial. They’re actually a subsidiary of Fortress Investment Group. (Yes, the same Fortress whose subsidiary tried to block the sale of certain COVID-19 tests.) Fortress, a private equity firm owned by Japanese holding company SoftBank, has made something of a business of patent trolling—Fortress-backed entities, especially Uniloc, are some of the most litigious NPEs out there.

          There has been a resurgence in this kind of NPE over the past few years. While the AIA and the Alice decision initially curtailed NPE litigation, the prevalence and cost of NPE litigation has increased steadily over the past few years. Much of this increase appears due to former USPTO Director Andrei Iancu’s NHK Spring and Fintiv precedential decisions, which decreased access to the IPR system—especially for defendants sued in the Western District of Texas’s Waco Division.

          [...]

          By filing in the Waco Division, plaintiffs can guarantee that their case will be heard by Judge Albright. And Judge Albright sets a fast trial schedule and has publicly stated that he will not stay his cases pending IPR. As a result, Judge Albright is now overseeing 20 percent of all patent cases filed in the United States.

          VLSI (and its lawyers, from Irell & Manella) understood that being in front of Judge Albright would provide a benefit—a significant enough benefit that it dropped a case in front of a judge in Delaware to refile in Texas. And indeed, going to Texas paid off for VLSI here. Judge Albright, Intel filed IPRs against VLSI’s patents. Those IPRs were denied not because they lacked merit but because of Albright’s trial schedule.

          The Fintiv rule is a complete betrayal of the intention of IPR—which is probably why it’s currently being challenged in court, and why Director Iancu’s attempt to enshrine it into regulation was shot down by the Trump administration before a rule ever published. And the Intel case shows just how costly those denials can be.

          Of course, Irell is also the firm that Director Iancu was at before he went to the Patent Office, a nomination that closely coincided in timing with the opening salvo in VLSI’s campaign against Intel. Irell stands to make tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars from this litigation alone—money that may well not have gone to them if not for the Fintiv rule.

          [...]

          And even the damages in this case are becoming less atypical. Other recent mega-verdicts have exceeded $1 billion, and damages overall appear to be increasing.

          And in April, Intel and VLSI will do it all over again—this is only the first in a series of Fortress-backed lawsuits against Intel. The current state of patent litigation doesn’t benefit American companies. In fact, as we’ve seen from this case, it tends to harm them. The only parties that benefit seem to be patent lawyers and hedge fund-backed NPEs.

        • Monday Miscellany [Ed: IP Kat doing ads for CEIPI, which is run by a criminal. Also, why would anybody serious amplify extremists like the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding?]

          The Center for Intellectual Property Understanding invites you to attend the Fourth Annual Intellectual Property Awareness Summit on the 28th and 29thof April 2021. This year’s theme is ‘Intellectual property and the lives it touches’. More information on the event is available here.

          The Research Laboratory of the Center for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI) is organizing an online conference on the theme: "Intellectual Property and Pop Culture", on 26 April 2021, in the framework of World Intellectual Property Day 2021. More information on the event is available here.

        • Software Patents

          • $2,000 for AML IP prior art

            On March 2, 2021, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 1 of U.S. Patent 6,876,979. This patent is owned by AML IP, LLC, an NPE and subsidiary of Dynamic IP Deals, LLC.

            The '979 patent generally relates to a system and method for supporting electronic commerce in an environment in which multiple service providers each have associated vendors where a user may maintain an account at a service provider that is different from the service provider associated with the vendor from which a user makes an on-line purchase. AML IP is currently asserting the patent against Blizzard Entertainment, Kongregate, Coinbase, Rebilly, Payment Approved Technologies, and AffiniPay.

          • On the Patent Eligibility of Information Processing [Ed: An ever-so-desperate Michael Borella is still trying to come up with bogus logic for software patents, which he's looking to profit from by litigation and pestering]

            A computer does just three things: receives information in the form of bits, transforms this information, and provides output based on the information as transformed. The receiving may take place by way of various types of input modalities, such as keyboards, touchscreens, mice, audio microphones, video cameras, network interfaces, sensors, and so on. The transforming may involve a literally infinite number of possibilities in the form of algorithms. The output may also take on various modalities, including images displayed on a screen, audio, storage to volatile or non-volatile memory, and transmission by way of network interfaces, just to name a few.

            Given the fundamental nature of information processing in computing technology, it would be natural to assume that such endeavors would be protected by patent law -- after all, the stated constitutional goal of such law is to "promote the progress of science and useful arts." But due to how the Federal Circuit has interpreted recent Supreme Court decisions, a ground-breaking information processing invention can be unpatentable even if it is novel and non-obvious. More than a philosophical or legal concern, the Federal Circuit's narrow (and many would agree, inconsistent) view on what subject matter can be patented causes business and economic uncertainty across the many industries in which computers have become ubiquitous.

            Differentiating between which types of information processing are eligible and which are not is fraught with danger, and even the most experienced patent attorneys (not to mention judges) can find this area of the law perplexing. As a consequence, many entities are struggling to obtain patents on inventions that involve information processing.

      • Copyrights

        • Book review: Global Mandatory Fair Use [Ed: If copyright law was to work for society rather than those who rob society and monopolise everything, we must have fair use provisions]

          In this book, Aplin and Bently argue that global mandatory fair use already exists, under the provision of article 10(1) of the Berne Convention. Global, because of the reach of Berne Convention and the TRIPS agreement. Mandatory because of the language of the provision and its travaux. It relates to use that is not limited by type of work, act, or purpose. And it is fair because of the conditions of 10(1) and 10(3) of Berne; namely that the work was lawfully made available to the public, attribution, proportionality and fair practice must be satisfied.

          [...]

          In view of the arguments built in the previous chapters, chapter 7 turns to consider the consequences of a global mandatory fair use. Unsurprisingly, this new perspective through which to view the copyright exceptions raises questions as to the future of the dominance of the three-step test. The authors consider whether the US Fair Use system complies with Article 10(1) and the need for amendment of national legislation that does not properly implement the quotation exception. In particular, the authors demonstrate how the exceptions of several (mainly) civil law jurisdictions are contrary to Article 10(1) because they restrict the types of purpose of the quotation or impose a quantitative limit of short quotation. Common law quotation exceptions are also found to be problematic where they restrict quotation to the purpose of criticism or review. Moreover, the authors explain the impact of their findings on the judicial interpretation, and how it provides an international basis for the parody exception. Lastly, the authors clarify that industry guidelines are unnecessarily risk averse, using unduly narrow and conservative limits for quotation.

          [...]

          It therefore goes without saying that this book is an important read for lawmakers, policymakers, scholars, judges and practitioners with an interest in copyright exceptions, as well as those wishing to make use of the quotation exception, including publishers.

        • Local arts and film jilted in favour of foreign streaming majors Foxtel, Netflix, and Nine’s Stan

          Beyond its cultural benefits, the combined arts and screen industries provide a huge benefit to the economy. As noted in a recent briefing paper by The Australia Institute “Economic importance of the arts and entertainment sector”, the arts and screen sectors employ 193,600 Australians and create nine jobs for every $1 million in turnover, compared to just 0.25 jobs in the oil and gas extraction sector and a paltry one job in the construction industry.

          And while the oil and gas industry, which employs just 28,200 people, was given $300 million in subsidies as part of the Coalition’s JobMaker plan, much of the lifeblood of the arts industry was excluded from JobKeeper support because they were employed largely in short-term casual and contract roles.

          And the Coalition government is piling on the pain to solidify the mainstream media hegemony.

        • Mobdro: Luminati Proxy Service "Suspended Service" To Pirate App

          Last week law enforcement agencies in Europe shut down Mobdro, now described as the world's largest pirate IPTV app. At least in part, Mobdro raised revenue by giving its users the option to have their devices join the Luminati proxy network. According to Luminati's CEO, the company was completely unaware of the investigation.

        • Adobe Goes After 27-Year Old 'Pirated' Copy of Acrobat Reader 1.0 for MS-DOS

          Adobe regularly sends takedown notices targeting pirated copies of its flagship software products but the company doesn't limit itself to newer releases. F-Secure researcher Mikko Hyppönen has had one of his tweets taken down because it linked to an 'unauthorized' copy of a 27-year-old release of Acrobat Reader 1.0 for MS-DOS.

        • Thank You for Speaking Against a Terrible Copyright Proposal

          The “Digital Copyright Act” was the result of a year of hearings in the U.S. Senate’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. Many of the hearings dismissed or marginalized the voices of civil society, Internet users, and Internet creators. Often, it was assumed that the majority of copyrighted work worth protecting is the content made by major media conglomerates or controlled by traditional gatekeepers. We know better.

          We know there is a whole new generation of creators whose work is shared online. Some of that work makes fair use of other copyrighted material. Some work is entirely original or based on a work in the public domain. All of it can run afoul of ranking and promotion algorithms, terms of service, and takedowns. The “Digital Copyright Act” would put all of that creativity at risk, entrenching the power of major studios, big tech companies, and major labels.

          Along with your signatures and letter, EFF submitted our own comments on the DCA. We urged Congress to set aside the proposal entirely, as many of the policies it contained would cause deep and lasting damage to online speech, creativity, and innovation. We do not only want this particular draft to be put in the bin where it belongs, we want to be clear that even watered-down versions of the policies it contains would further tip the balance away from individuals or small creators and towards large, well-resourced corporations.



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