Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 29/3/2021: Performance in GNOME 40 and NetBSD Donation Milestone

  • GNU/Linux

    • Latest LinDoz: An Ideal Windows-to-Linux Crossover

      MakuluLinux LinDoz comes with a lot of cool stuff built in that makes using it for everyday computing tasks a good choice. It provides very useful videos on the website and how-to animations built into the startup process on the live session. This makes it very easy to learn about new features and how to navigate around the desktop.

      Plus, the Makulu Portal quickly and easily guides users to seek assistance or connect to staff or other end users without much effort. An all-new desktop clock has some nice features easily controlled by a custom GUI designed for a pleasant experience.

      The Makulu Constructor Tool is an easy-to-use GUI-based distribution builder to remaster an existing MakuluLinux OS set up to duplicate installation on other computers. Simply make the changes to the OS settings and run the constructor tool. It will turn your existing distro into an installable ISO.

      As good as LinDoz is, check back for my impressions of the new and improved MakuluLinux Shift. Its promised ability to provide a one-click process to morph from one desktop layout to several others in under 20 seconds with no rebooting has an allure not available in any other Linux distro I have tried.

      Watch the developer’s video here for a more detailed view of that process.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Pinebook Pro Linux Laptop Is Back in Stock and You Can Get One for Only $220 USD

        If you’re in the market for a new, cheap Linux laptop powered by an ARM processor, you should know that the Pinebook Pro notebook from PINE64, the makers of the PinePhone Linux phone, is now on sale again.

        However, the Linux notebook now costs $219.99 USD instead of $199.99 USD due to an increase in the price of the components used to make the product. PINE64 also reported in their March 2021 update that Pinebook Pro’s price may be further increased in the future.

      • Lenovo M93 Ultra Small Desktop PC – Multiple Operating Systems – Week 4

        This is a weekly blog looking at the Lenovo M93 Ultra Small Desktop PC running Linux.

        In this week’s blog, we look at some of the ways you can run programs from different operating systems on the Lenovo M93. We examine hardware virtualization, dual booting, as well as using a compatibility layer.

        To recap, our Lenovo M93 has an Intel i5-4590T processor with 4 cores. It uses the Intel Haswell chipset, comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 240GB SSD.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #403: MVoice and MRefD Deep Dive

        Welcome to the 403rd installment of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts bring in guest Tom early, N7TAE. Tom is the creator and lead developer in the MVoice and MRefd projects. MVoice is the original M17 client software and MRefD is a spinoff of XLXD which creates software reflectors for the M17 voice protocol. We take an in-depth look at how each piece of software was developed and written. Then from a user perspective we detail downloading, building, configuring and running each project. Thanks for listening and have a great week.

      • GNU World Order 399

        **c++filt** , **dlltool** , **dllwrap** , **dwp** , and **elfedit** from the **d** series. shasum -a256=00ffc7563388ddc9f5c52c77ff16e582d3aa420fd8c361017df97b6f608778c4

    • Kernel Space

      • Linus Torvalds warns over potential delays to Linux 5.12

        As he put out the latest release candidate (RC) of the Linux kernel, its principle developer Linus Torvalds, expressed some concern about its size and how that might impact the final release.

        Linux kernels usually go through seven RCs, pushed out every Sunday by Torvalds after reviewing and pooling in all the submissions sent in by various kernel developers over the preceding week.

        “I'm not overly worried yet, but let's just say that the trend had better not continue, or I'll start feeling like we will need to make this one of those releases that need an rc8,” observed Torvalds based on the number of changes in the latest RC.


        Even if Linux 5.12 goes through an additional RC, which will add another week to the schedule, it shouldn’t pose much of an issue since v5.12 isn’t a Long Term Support (LTS) release. Depending on how the release cycle plays out, Linux kernel 5.12 should be out in late April or early May.

      • Graphics Stack

        • PanVk – Panfrost gets a Vulkan driver

          We’ve followed with interest the progress of the Panfrost open-source driver for Arm Mali Midgard and Bifrost GPUs which has gotten more traction over time with official support from Arm and is getting closer to OpenGL ES 3.0 compliance with work on OpenGL ES 3.1 on the way.

          But Collabora has now started working on PanVk driver for the more recent Vulkan graphics API, as part of the Panfrost project.


          That also means upstreaming to mesa will not happen right now, but only once Collabora engineers consider enough features are supported and the code base is clean enough.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel's Clear Linux In 2021 Still Squeezing More Performance For Xeon Scalable

        With Intel set to announce 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable "Ice Lake" CPUs next week, it's a good time for looking back to see how the Linux performance has evolved since the introduction of 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable "Cascade Lake" processors back in 2019. In this article is a look at the Xeon Platinum 8280 performance back at launch under both Ubuntu and Clear Linux compared to the current state of both distributions on the same hardware. There are also additional tests with those latest Linux images seeing how Ubuntu 21.04 is shaping up against Intel's own performance-optimized Clear Linux.

    • Applications

      • NewsFlash: A Modern Open-Source Feed Reader With Feedly Support

        Some may choose to believe that RSS readers are dead, but they’re here to stay. Especially when you don’t want the Big tech algorithm to decide what you should read. With a feed reader, you can choose your own reading sources.

        I’ve recently come across a fantastic RSS reader NewsFlash. It also supports adding feeds through web-based feed readers like Feedly and NewsBlur. That’s a big relief because if you are already such a service, you don’t have to import your feeds manually.

        NewsFlash happens to be the spiritual successor to FeedReader with the original developer involved as well.

        In case you’re wondering, we’ve already covered a list of Feed Reader apps for Linux if you’re looking for more options.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to install and configure pCloud on elementary OS

        PCloud Drive is utterly one of the best desktop cloud clients available in the 21st century. It has an intuitive user interface and is generally simple to use. You will love that pCloud is a desktop cloud client that is cross-platform and is almost the only cloud storage provider with a lifetime plan. pCloud Drive is also a cross-platform application with clients available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

        pCloud originates from Switzerland, and its core business is the provision of cloud storage services. By default, you are given 10GB of space when you sign up for the service. As one of their assurances to their clients, they hosted a pCloud Crypto challenge to attempt and break their client-side encryption, but hackers thought the world failed. Thus, pCloud considers client security one of their biggest competitive edges and should excite their clients very much.

      • HOWTO Make A USB Adapter For A VISTA80 Keyboard From 1977

        Jeremy Ouellet bought an old VISTA80 from the Canada Science and Technology museum and figured out how to use it on modern computers using a passive USB adapter. He shared his experience in a 14 minute long video at the virtual FOSDEM conference in February 2021.

      • Hacking the BPF Type Format with GNU poke

        I just uploaded the pilot test of what will be a series of videos indended to show how to use poke, writing pickles, and the like. It is very improvised and I have never made a screencap/video of this kind before, so please bear with me ;)

      • Louis-Philippe Véronneau: Preventing an OpenPGP Smartcard from caching the PIN eternally

        process wasn't entirely seamless and I had to hack around some issues, for example the PIN caching behavior in GnuPG.

        As described in this bug the cache-ttl parameter in GnuPG is not implemented and thus does nothing. This means once you type in your PIN, it is cached for as long as the token is plugged.

        Security-wise, this is not great. Instead of manually disconnecting the token frequently, I've come up with a script that restarts scdameon if the token hasn't been used during the last X minutes.

      • How To Fix Sound Issues On Ubuntu: Troubleshooting For Newbie

        In Ubuntu and other Linux distributions, the third party and additional sound, wifi, graphics drivers come pre-installed with the OS. The additional drivers for the CPU, GPU, and sound card are downloaded from the official Linux repository. Despite installing the latest official driver software on your machine, you might find some sound issues while using the computer. The noise issues, no sound issues, audio in one ear, and other sound issues can be solved by installing a few additional drivers and re-configuring your Ubuntu Linux system.

      • How To Install CyberPanel on CentOS 8 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install CyberPanel on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, CyberPanel is one of the first control panels on the market that is both open sources and uses OpenLiteSpeed web server which also packs Email, DNS, and FTP server. It has two version free and enterprise versions. The free version uses Open Lite Speed while the enterprise version uses the Lite Speed Web server.

        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 install of the CyberPanel on CentOS 8.

      • [Old] HTML Tidy

        On this page you can refer to nearly everything you need to know about HTML Tidy. If you’re on Mac OS X, Linux, or UNIX you can also use man tidy and read the purpose-built documentation for the version of Tidy that you have installed.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Windows compatibility tool Wine 6.5 is out now

        Not an emulator but a compatibility tool that translates Windows calls into language Linux can understand, Wine 6.5 is officially out now as the latest development release.

        For newer readers and Linux users here's a refresher - Wine is a compatibility layer built for operating systems like Linux, macOS and BSD. The idea is to allow other platforms to run games and applications only built and supported for Windows. It's also part of what makes up Steam Play Proton. Once a year or so, a new stable release is made.

    • Games

      • Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – Fates Divided DLC Is Now Available for Linux

        Launched almost two years ago, Total War: THREE KINGDOMS is a turn-based strategy real-time tactics video game developed by Creative Assembly and published by SEGA for Linux, macOS, and Windows platforms.

        The game received several DLCs (Downloadable Content), including Yellow Turban Rebellion, Reign of Blood, Eight Princes, Mandate of Heaven, A World Betrayed, and The Furious Wild, and the latest DLC arrived on March 11th, 2021, as Fates Divided.

      • The Elder Scrolls: Arena open source reimplementation OpenTESArena 0.13 is out

        Have fond memories of the classic The Elder Scrolls: Arena from the early 90s? A dedicated fan is rebuilding it with OpenTESArena, an open source game engine reimplementation.

        Supporting modern platforms like Linux, macOS and Windows this project was inspired by the likes of OpenMW for Morrowind and OpenXcom. It needs the original content but thankfully Bethesda released it free some time ago so it's easy enough to get.

      • Clever and challenging puzzle-fighter Aloof is out now, we have a few keys to give away

        Inspired in parts by the likes of Puyo Puyo Tetris, Aloof is a wonderfully designed puzzle-fighter with enough differences and a wonderful atmosphere that make it worth picking up. A brand new release from studio ButtonX with full Linux support, Aloof has you summon small islands as you face off against various opponents to build different shapes. It's genuinely quite lovely!

      • Oversteer, the Steering Wheel Manager for Linux gets a big upgrade | GamingOnLinux

        If you have a Steering Wheel configuring it on Linux can be a breeze thanks to Oversteer and a big new release just recently went up with some fun new toys.

        As usual, hardware manufacturers don't supply their own tooling for Linux users so it's up to the community to fill the gaps. Oversteer supports a lot of different wheels and pedals, with more being added in over time. Oversteer is easily becoming the go-to for wheel configuration.

      • pureya gives you a mini-game that changes every 10 seconds

        What if you combined a bunch of small arcade games into something that changes every 10 seconds? pureya answers that question with over 30 small games you can unlock.


        "What if you combined a bunch of small arcade games into something that changes every 10 seconds? pureya answers that question with over 30 small games you can unlock."

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Should Maybe Be Political?

          “KDE Should not be political”. I've heard this sentence many times, especially when KDE supports LGBT. But it's wrong. Let me explain.

          First of all, let's have a clear definition of what is and what isn't “political”; if we all disagree on the meaning of “political”, it will be hard to continue this discussion, right? Well, the problem is that there's no good, universal definition of what's politics and what isn't (I've heard many different ones and I have my own).

          So let's actually not define the word “political”, as we don't actually need to. Rather, let's quickly list some things that go from “clearly political” to “maybe political”.


          This is where we actually find LGBT, amongst many others, such as Fridays For the Future, or Black Lives Matter. These are (international) movements that ask for a change regarding a certain topic, be it the acceptance of all genders and sexuality, preservation of nature, fight against racism, etc. You might call these things political, you might not. I don't really care. But if you are reading this, you are most likely part of at least one social movement I'm also in: Free Software. Yes, it is a social movement!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Software performance in GNOME 40

          Use callgrind to profile CPU-heavy workloads. In some cases, moving heap allocations to the stack helps a lot. GNOME Software startup time has decreased from 25 seconds to 12 seconds (-52%) over the GNOME 40 cycle.

          To wrap up the sporadic blog series on the progress made with GNOME Software for GNOME 40, I’d like to look at some further startup time profiling which has happened this cycle.

          This profiling has focused on libxmlb, which gnome-software uses extensively to query the appstream data which provides all the information about apps which it shows in the UI. The basic idea behind libxmlb is that it pre-compiles a ‘silo’ of information about an XML file, which is cached until the XML file next changes. The silo format encodes the tree structure of the XML, deduplicating strings and allowing fast traversal without string comparisons or parsing. It is memory mappable, so can be loaded quickly and shared (read-only) between multiple processes. It allows XPath queries to be run against the XML tree, and returns the results.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

      • Arch Family

        • Manjaro 21 (KDE Edition) Installation Steps with Screenshots

          Hello Geeks, recently brand-new arch based Linux distribution Manjaro 21 has been released, its code name is ‘Ornara’. It comes with lot of improvements and features specially Linux Kernel 5.10 LTS. Manjaro 21 supports three different desktop environments like XFCE , KDE and GNOME. In this article we will cover Manjaro 21 (KDE Edition) installation steps with screenshots.

      • Debian Family

        • Louis-Philippe Véronneau: Montreal 2021 BSP

          Last weekend Debian Quebec held a Bug Squashing Party to try to fix some bugs in the upcoming Debian Bullseye.

          I wasn't convinced at first, but Tassia's contagious energy and willingness to help organise the event eventually won me over. And — shockers! — it was really fun.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Best Ubuntu apps of 2021

          Use our collection of the best Ubuntu apps to transform your vanilla installation into a hot fudge sundae.

          An operating system stands or falls on the quality of its programs, and Linux distros are no exception. In fact, one of the major discussions during the development of a distro centers around the list of default apps.

          Linux distros are still primarily downloaded via online mirrors and stuffing them with apps will increase their size, making the downloads unfeasible for many people with bandwidth caps or slower connection speeds. And to many, the apps would just be useless bloat.

        • Kubernetes operators and Open Operator Collection integration – Juju 2.9

          Following the Open Operator Collection announcement from November, Canonical is today proud to announce the availability of Juju Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM) 2.9. This new release of Juju brings new capabilities for Kubernetes operators as well as smooth integration with the Open Operator Collection.


          Sidecars gain direct access to low-level workload details with file monitoring, local socket communication and process management. This allows operators to drive applications while ensuring resource isolation in the pod. This new behaviour better reflects the official Kubernetes operator pattern.

          Apart from Kubernetes operators, Juju 2.9 comes with various improvements around Kubernetes in general, ensuring a unified user experience across various workload types. One of those improvements is the “debug-hook”, now available in the K8s context to help with debugging operators’ code. Also, “juju ssh” and “juju scp” commands, known from traditional machines, have been made available for Kubernetes workloads. This allows users to easily log in to the application containers from the Juju CLI and copy the data to/from them.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Former prisoners struggle to re-enter society. What happens when society moves online?

          Many of the social services and job programs that former prisoners rely on to achieve re-entry into their communities are inaccessible without a comprehensive knowledge of the [Internet].

        • Mozilla

          • Maximixing Possible Outcomes In Simple Interfaces

            But what do we measure? Do we measure the success of the design or do we measure that we created only one way to do a task, and funnels a variety and diversity of interactions through the funnel of one way of doing things. We should be wary and careful of what we measure and the complexity of individuals in front of a system.

            When we simplify a system of interactions to a certain minimalism, we often trade choices for reductionism. We maximize the simplicity to the point of dumbing everything down. But do we always help? Creativity, emergence of patterns often lie in the hackability of a system. When we reduce the options for someone to use the system in unexpected ways, we remove the possibility for people to own a craft, a skill. We make them serve the system, instead of the system serving them.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • CrateDB 4.5 takes distributed SQL database open source

          Database vendor said it is moving its entire codebase to an open source licensing model.

          Based in San Francisco, Calif., develops and supports the CrateDB platform, a distributed SQL database that is optimized for time series data analysis.

          Before its new Crate 4.5 release, introduced March 23 along with the move to open source, CrateDB came as an open core model, in which there is an open source base, or "core," community edition and an enterprise platform that builds on top with proprietary features not available in open source.


          With the shift to an entirely open source codebase, features that had previously only been available in the enterprise edition of CrateDB are now in the open source CrateDB 4.5 milestone. Among the key capabilities that were previously proprietary features are security and visualization functions that make CrateDB more secure and easier to manage and use.

      • FSF

      • Programming/Development

        • Manipulate data in files with Lua

          Some data is ephemeral, stored in RAM, and only significant while an application is running. But some data is meant to be persistent, stored on a hard drive for later use. When you program, whether you're working on a simple script or a complex suite of tools, it's common to need to read and write files. Sometimes a file may contain configuration options, and other times the file is the data that your user is creating with your application. Every language handles this task a little differently, and this article demonstrates how to handle data files with Lua.

        • Build a better HTML Checkbox with WebComponents!

          The way HTML checkboxes work has always annoyed me. Unless the box is actually checked, the value it represents is not submitted with the rest of the form data.

        • Russ Allbery: Review: JavaScript: The Definitive Guide

          JavaScript: The Definitive Guide has been frequently revised for new versions of JavaScript and therefore has multiple editions. This review is of the seventh edition, first published in May of 2020.

          Reviews of programming language books are challenging since people learn languages in different ways. A short calibration for my preferences may therefore be useful.

          I'm both an experienced programmer in multiple languages (C, Perl, Python, and some Java and Ruby professionally; Rust, some PHP, and a few minor languages as a hobby) and I specialized in software theory in college. I therefore like to learn languages comparatively and am comfortable with a lot of up-front syntax and discussion of the unique properties of the language. Introductory programs and practical exercises doesn't matter as much to me; I'm happy to hold the syntax in my head until enough of the language has been introduced to write simple programs.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Perl and XML in 2021: A few lessons learned

            In my par€­tic€­u€­lar case, the task is to update the API calls for a new ver€­sion of Vir€­tuoz€­zo Automa€­tor. Its API is a bit unusu€­al in that it does€­n’t use HTTP, but rather relies on open€­ing a TLS-encrypt€­ed sock€­et to the serv€­er and exchang€­ing doc€­u€­ments delim€­it€­ed with a null char€­ac€­ter. The pre€­vi€­ous ver€­sion of our code is in 1990s-sysad€­min-style Perl, with man€­u€­al blessing of objects and pars€­ing the XML using reg€­u€­lar expres€­sions. I’ve decid€­ed to update it to use the Moo object sys€­tem and a prop€­er XML pars€­er. But which pars€­er and mod€­ule to use?

        • Python

          • Why I love using the IPython shell and Jupyter notebooks

            The Jupyter project started out as IPython and the IPython Notebook. It was originally a Python-specific interactive shell and notebook environment, which later branched out to become language-agnostic, supporting Julia, Python, and R—and potentially anything else.

  • Leftovers

    • Courtney Barnett - So Long, Marianne
    • Health/Nutrition

      • Birx Says Most Covid Deaths in US Were Preventable, So Ted Lieu Asks: Why Didn't You Challenge Trump?

        "The malicious incompetence that resulted in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths starts at the top, with the former President and his enablers."

        After Former White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said this weekend that hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 deaths in the United States could have been avoided had the previous administration responded more quickly and purposefully, Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California slammed the official for enabling former President Donald Trump's "malicious incompetence."

      • Opinion | Austerity Makes Covid-19 Deadlier

        Mortality and economic data show how constraints to government spending and a skepticism of redistributive policies have made the pandemic far worse.

        We are living in the age of consequences. The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 uncovered our societies’ pre-existing structural weaknesses—which were the result of a pervasive political indifference to inequality, combined with decades of cuts to the most basic social protections and to wages, leaving large segments of our populations tragically vulnerable to the arrival of this virus (Marmot€ et al. 2020a, 2020b; Woolhandler€ et al.€ 2021).

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • No, I Did Not Hack Your MS Exchange Server

            New data suggests someone has compromised more than 21,000 Microsoft Exchange Server email systems worldwide and infected them with malware that invokes both KrebsOnSecurity and Yours Truly by name.

          • 6 OpenSSL command options that every sysadmin should know

            Transport layer security (TLS) is an important part of any security strategy, and applications beyond web servers increasingly take advantage of the protections offered by public-key cryptography. The OpenSSL toolkit is the fundamental utility that any systems administrator must know if they are responsible for maintaining TLS-protected applications. In this article, I demonstrate some of the most common commands that I use daily. While many articles focus on the generation of certificate signing requests (CSRs) or self-signed certificates, this article will spend some time reviewing OpenSSL commands and one-liners beyond the certificate generation process.

          • PHP Moves To GitHub Due To The Compromise Of The Official PHP Git [Ed: So they've decided to go to a perpetually (by NSA via Microsoft) compromised repo.]

            In the latest software supply chain attack, the official PHP Git repository was compromised and the code base tampered with. The changes are said to have been made yesterday on March 28.

            Two malicious commits were pushed to the php-src repo from the names of Rasmus Lerdorf and Nikita Popov. For your information, Rasmus Lerdorf is the creator of the PHP. Nikita Popov is Software developer at Jetbrains.

          • PHP's Git Server Compromised, Now Switching To GitHub [Ed: Jumping from the frying pan to the fire, choosing a surveillance trap as if it's any form of security rather than complete surrender.]

            The PHP programming language's self-hosted Git server was compromised on Sunday and two malicious commits introduced.

            The PHP core team is still investigating how the official PHP Git server was compromised but already they have decided to immediately abandon their self-hosted infrastructure and will instead use GitHub.

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

            • New Bugs Could Let Hackers Bypass Spectre Attack Mitigations On Linux Systems

              Cybersecurity researchers on Monday disclosed two new vulnerabilities in Linux-based operating systems that, if successfully exploited, could let attackers circumvent mitigations for speculative attacks such as Spectre and obtain sensitive information from kernel memory.

              Discovered by Piotr Krysiuk of Symantec's Threat Hunter team, the flaws — tracked as CVE-2020-27170 and CVE-2020-27171 (CVSS scores: 5.5) — impact all Linux kernels prior to 5.11.8. Patches for the security issues were released on March 20, with Ubuntu, Debian, and Red Hat deploying fixes for the vulnerabilities in their respective Linux distributions.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Opinion | Failure to Take US Military Out of Afghanistan Would Make Repeal of AUMF Meaningless

        If wars like Afghanistan are not also brought to an end, then they will inevitably be made to fit new and more narrow authorizations making it even harder to end them in the future.€ 

        House Democrats€  are leading a charge€ to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force that President Bush used to invade Iraq in 2003, that Obama used for a host of anti-ISIS air campaigns over eight years, and President Trump cited to justify a 2020 drone strike on Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.€ 

      • EXCLUSIVE: ‘Disingenuous, Duplicitous and Very Apple Pie’: Liberal Senator Mocks Grieving Mum’s Petition Into Veteran Suicides

        A Liberal Senator has used his government Facebook account to attack a grieving mother’s call for an official inquiry into veteran suicides, describing a petition she started as “disingenuous”, “duplicitous” and “very apple pie”, before mocking the number of signatures it’s attracted, branding people who support it “ignorant”, and then blaming them for “more lives lost”.

      • Accidental Apocalypse and Nuclear War on Drugs

        But no. Congress’s “ICBM Coalition,” missile contractors Lockheed Martin, GE, Northrup-Grumman, Boeing, and United Technologies, hundreds of subcontractors, their lobbyists, and public relations departments have conjured implausible but scary sounding reasons for paying an estimated $264 billion for yet another new rocket system. Since 1955, the nuclear-armed rocket gravy train has invented reasons for Atlas missiles, Titan missiles, Minuteman I, II and III missiles, and even a few dozen Peacekeepers.

        The proposal to replace today’s 400 land-based ICBMs is so unsound and unpopular that even centrist organizations and individuals have condemned it (most for the wrong reasons), among them the editorial board of Bloomberg News, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Arms Control Association, Defense News, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, and a handful of retired military commanders.

      • After the January 6 coup attempt, Republicans escalate attack on voting rights

        On Thursday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law a sweeping attack on voting rights aimed at crippling the ability of poor, minority and working class people to cast a ballot. Kemp, a Republican, signed the misnamed “Election Integrity Act” in a closed-door ceremony only hours after both Republican-controlled houses of the state legislature passed the measure on a party-line vote.

      • Explosion Rocks Indonesian Church Compound on Palm Sunday

        No churchgoers were killed, but at least 19 people were being treated for injuries at Makassar hospitals, a regional police spokesman said. The blast was still being investigated, but President Joko Widodo said it was an act of terrorism.

    • Finance

      • Opinion | Progressives Are Coming For Wealthy Tax Evaders

        We have today, in effect, a "wealth defense industry," a billionaire-bankrolled juggernaut adept at punching out loopholes to our tax rules and regulations, but the tax cheating that has given our wealthiest an enormous boost need not continue.

        Cheating on your taxes—if you happen to be filthy rich—has never been easier. Or more lucrative.

      • Opinion | Prelude to Tax Day

        The biggest Tax Day elephant in the room resides in the 5-sided€ military mansion, the Pentagon, with its criminally large budget—nearly a trillion dollars each year siphoned from our tax dollars.

        On Tax Day, there’s more than one elephant in the room, and they’re all in mansions.€ 

      • Opinion | To Fix the Nation's Woes, Tax Wealth

        Members of the billionaire class have used their clout to rig the economy in their favor. A wealth tax could begin to reverse four decades of extreme inequality and build an economy that works for everyone.

        An annual wealth tax, levied on those with assets of more than $50 million, could solve a number of festering problems, from raising revenue for pandemic relief to slowing a democracy-disrupting concentration of power. It’s an idea whose time has come.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Bigot Party

        Donald Trump demands the Biden administration “immediately complete the wall, which can be done in a matter of weeks — they should never have stopped it. They are causing death and human tragedy.”

      • Opinion | Mitch and Elaine Aren't Bothered By Their Own Hypocrisy

        Mitch McConnell pretended to care about the appropriate use of taxpayers' dollars while his wife, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, was fleecing the public.

        The marvelous thing about Mitch McConnell is that he’s unaffected by juxtaposition. Of course it was just a coincidence—his comments about the Biden stimulus package that, he said, uses taxpayer dollars that encourage people not to work, and the Inspector General’s report about the activities of McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who used taxpayer dollars to help her family in a way that could be said to encourage them not to work. Some people would be embarrassed by the timing of the report. Not Mitch. Consider his comments on the floor of the United States Senate and in interviews with Fox News on the effect the Biden stimulus package would have on the country.

      • Transcript Of Radio 6PR Interview With Christian Porter, November 9, 2020 | Response To ABC Four Corners Story 'Inside The Canberra Bubble'

        Following is a transcript of an interview between Radio 6PR’s Gareth Parker and Attorney General Christian Porter, on November 10, 2020. The interview was in response to this Four Corners story published the previous day, called ‘Inside the Canberra Bubble’. The focus of the interview is on Porter’s alleged conduct towards female Liberal staffers.

      • "Big government" and other lies we live by: How one Orwellian concoction consumed America

        In other words, the campaign against "big government" is a means for government to marshal public support for shedding its responsibility to the public (enlarged so recklessly during the last century!) so as to devote itself even more to its biggest and most important clients. As if we shared a common interest, the leaders of this campaign invite us to join forces against them, the freeloaders using government to pick our pockets.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Opinion | Right-Wing Judges Want to Overturn a Legal Precedent Preserving Free Speech

        Without the protection of the "actual malice" standard in libel suits, political and business leaders, with their bottomless legal war chests, can simply use the threat of litigation to throw a chilling shroud over journalists and political activists.

        Then–President Donald Trump’s call to widen libel laws to make it easier to sue media outlets for defamation was, at the time, seen as one of his many political theatrical stunts, throwing red meat to his voting base ( New York Times ,€  1/10/18). Following his lead, his supporters had long referred to the press as “fake news,” sometimes using the Nazi expression€  lügenpresse, meaning “lying press” ( Time ,€  10/25/16).

      • Perhaps Facebook Supports Section 230 Reform Because It Could Make Big Tech Even More Powerful

        Those are important qualifiers that need considerable elaboration. For once, it might actually be useful to hear members of Congress grill Zuckerberg on this, because requiring social media companies to jump through hoops in order to earn Section 230 protection could actually devolve to Facebook's advantage.

        Why? Well, Facebook is large and powerful, and employs an army of content moderators. They already have robust moderation systems in place for identifying and taking down unlawful content. Any upstart rival company could struggle to build the infrastructure necessary to fulfill such requirements. Even Twitter—which is Facebook's closest rival—does not employ nearly as many content moderators as Facebook. A proposal to make all large social media companies complete a series of tasks in order to win back Section 230 protection could actually be a proposal to secure Facebook's advantage over Twitter.

      • Jack Dorsey is leaving Mark Zuckerberg to fight Section 230 alone

        Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is ready to cut a deal. At a March 25 congressional hearing on tech companies’ role in spreading misinformation, Zuckerberg called on lawmakers to reform Section 230, the all-important provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that protects platforms like Facebook from being sued over anything their users post.

      • Microsoft wants to rein in your potty mouth with new profanity filter
    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • GOP's Border Stunt 'Nothing But a Divide and Distract Tactic' Say Immigrant Rights Advocates

        "Their focus on the border is a cynical and strategic racist play for political gain."

        As Republicans attempt to portray the arrival of unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors at the U.S.-Mexico border as a threatening crisis caused by the Biden administration's supposedly lenient policies, immigrant rights advocates are warning that this right-wing framing of the situation is a "trap" designed to score political points while dehumanizing migrants.

      • U.S. Authorities Pay No Price for Acknowledged Lying

        Presidents and other U.S. authorities have always been liars—just ask Native Americans. While lying to Native Americans has never been politically costly for U.S. presidents, getting caught lying by the entire American public was once politically damaging. In the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson paid a political price after Walter Cronkite informed Americans that Johnson’s claim of the U.S. winning the war in Vietnam was false; in the 1970s, Richard Nixon paid a price for getting caught lying about Watergate; and even in the 1980s, getting caught lying about his law school class standing and plagiarism forced Joe Biden to end his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

        Today, in contrast, there is little political cost to getting caught lying. When did this begin? Was it the glorification of proven liar Ronald Reagan after he left office? The high approval ratings of proven liar Bill Clinton at the end of his presidency? We can debate when and why getting caught lying became no big deal, but it is now clear—even to cognitively-challenged liars such as George W. Bush, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden—that getting caught lying is not politically costly. Furthermore, getting caught deceiving the American public has become politically inconsequential not only for U.S. presidents but for all U.S. authorities—with the most recent example being Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to Trump and Biden.

      • Why the Amazon union vote is bigger than Amazon

        For the last seven weeks, workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, have been voting by mail on whether to unionize. Their ballots are due on Monday, March 29th, and counting will begin the next day. If the union wins, the warehouse employees would become the first members of Amazon’s US workforce to unionize, a momentous event at a company that has long aggressively resisted labor organizing, and one that could be a first step toward improving conditions at the country’s second-largest employer. Here is what’s happened so far and what might happen next.

    • Monopolies

      • Chilean counsel: Madrid treaty could be ‘path of no return’ | Managing Intellectual Property

        Lawyers reveal how the Madrid Protocol and other pending trademark changes could make prosecution easier for companies, including Chilean vineyards

      • Patents

        • Tim Crummenerl takes up new role at German Federal Court of Justice

          Tim Crummenerl, born in 1970, was until recently the presiding judge of the 4a Civil Chamber at the Regional Court Düsseldorf, which he joined in 1999. However, his future workplace at the Federal Court of Justice in Kalrsruhe is not unknown to him.

          In 2005, the Regional Court seconded Crummenerl to the Patent Senate of the Federal Court of Justice for three years, to work as a research assistant. After returning to Düsseldorf in 2009, he then assumed the position of presiding judge of Civil Chamber 4a. This is one of the three patent chambers of the court of first instance.

        • Data: counsel shifting design patent strategies to cull fakes [Ed: Missing or overlooking the fact that everyone sane argues design patents ought not exist at all]

          A rise in design cases at the Northern District of Illinois shows how counsel are fighting back against counterfeiters, though filings in other courts are more steady

        • Essential or unviable? Software in-house debate FTO value [Ed: Widening the gap in an unjust patent system designed to enrich the rich and leave everyone vulnerable, unknowing of where land mines are]

          Software company counsel outline their attitudes to freedom to operate searches and whether they can effectively find prior art in their sector

        • Chairman and Enlarged Board criticised for lack of impartiality in ViCo oral proceedings referral (G1/21)

          What a difference a week makes. The decision of a Board of Appeal to refer the question of the legality of mandatory video-conference (ViCo) oral proceedings to the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) was issued just over a week ago. Moving quickly, the EBA has already set the hearing date for the referral. The hearing will take place in two months time (28 May 2021) and, ironically, will itself be conducted by ViCo. Criticism of the EPO continues, both for the hasty scheduling of the oral proceedings with limited time for third parties to comment, and for the potential conflicts of the appointed members of the Enlarged Board.

          G 1/21: Case catch-up

          The Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) referral from T1807/15 concerns the legality of oral proceedings conducted via Video Conferencing (ViCo) without the consent of all parties (IPKat). In order to avoid a growing back-log of cases during the COVID-19 pandemic, the EPO began holding Board of Appeal oral proceedings by video conference (ViCo) last year for the first time. As part of its overall digital strategy (which also included the online qualifying exams, IPKat), the EPO began laying the ground for ViCo oral proceedings as the new norm post-pandemic. Towards this aim, a new rule of procedure of the Boards of Appeal (RPBA), Article 15a, was introduced, following a short user consultation. Article 15a RPBA permits a Board of Appeal to hold oral proceedings by ViCo whenever "the Board considers it appropriate to do so" (IPKat). New Article 15a RPBA was recently approved by the Administrative Council of the EPO on 23 March 2021 and is scheduled to come into force on 1 April 2021. The EPO's swift move to mandatory ViCo oral proceedings has received vociferous criticism from some quarters. It was therefore unsurprising when news broke of a new referral to the EBA on the legality of the new provision. The referral stems from appeal T1807/15 of the opposition decision to maintain EP1609239 in amended form.

        • In re Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University (Fed. Cir. 2021)

          Exactly two weeks after affirming a decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) rejecting claims for failure to satisfy the subject matter eligibility standard under 35 U.S.C. ۤ 101, in ex parte examination of claims to methods and related computing systems for genetic haplotyping in In re Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University, the Federal Circuit again affirmed the PTAB's rejection of claims for failure to satisfy the subject matter eligibility standard under 35 U.S.C. ۤ 101, in ex parte examination of claims expressly directed to computerized methods for genetic haplotyping in In re Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University, raising sure citation confusion in the future.


          The opinion then describes embodiments of the claimed methods in further detail but the relevant characterization of these methods are that they involve "abstract mathematical algorithms and mental processes," the basis relied upon by the Examiner and affirmed by the PTAB. According to the Federal Circuit's opinion, the Examiner and the Board applied the two-step test set forth by the Supreme Court in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int'l, 573 U.S. 208 (2014), in making this determination. With regard to step 1 of the test, the Examiner and Board determined that all steps recited in claim 1 were "directed to . . . abstract ideas in the form of mathematical concepts, i.e., mathematical relationship, formulas, equations, and calculations" and specifically "an initial step of receiving genotype data, followed by the mathematical operations of building a data structure describing an HMM and randomly modifying at least one imputed haplotype to automatically recompute the HMM's parameters." Indeed, the Board concluded that claim 1 recited two abstract mental processes, viz., a step of "imputing an initial haplotype phase for each individual in the plurality of individuals based on a statistical model"; this step does not require computer implementation. The second abstract mental process, on the other hand, does require a computer, "automatically replacing an imputed haplotype phase with a randomly modified haplotype phase when the latter is more likely correct than the former." The remaining elements in the claim merely recite "generic steps of receiving and storing genotype data in a computer memory, extracting the predicted haplotype phase from the data structure, and storing it in a computer memory." The Board rejected Stanford's contention that these steps enhanced computer functionality and thus rendered the claim patent-eligible, in analogy to Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., based on lack of specific disclosure in the specification to support improved computer functionality. For similar reasons, the Board rejected Stanford's reliance on McRO, Inc. v. Bandai Namco Games America Inc. to satisfy the first prong of the Alice test.

      • Copyrights

        • The Oscars Will Boost Piracy, Especially Without Legal Options

          The Academy Awards ceremony is just a few weeks away but several of the top movie contenders are not available in many countries around the world. These release delays indirectly drive people to pirate sites. UK piracy tracking firm MUSO warns Hollywood that this may trigger a costly piracy boom that could have been avoided.

        • Sending Bogus DMCA Notices Ensures That The Internet Never Forgets

          In 2019, a video of a man headbutting a restaurant worker in the face went viral. Months later the incident reentered the public consciousness when a wave of DMCA notices targeted sites that reported on the news. It's now close to two years after the initial incident and some people still aren't getting the message. Sending bogus DMCA notices to erase the past is not an effective solution.

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