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Links 7/5/2021: GNU/Linux Preinstalled, Plamo 7.3, LibreOffice 7.1.3

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • StarLabs has Released Another Linux Laptop

        A new 14" Linux laptop has been released by the company that created the 11" Star Lite and can be purchased with your choice of Linux distribution.

        StarLabs is not just a research facility in the world of The Flash, it’s also a company that sells Linux laptops. Up until now, StarLabs only had one device for sale, the 11" Star Lite Mk III, which offered an 11.6" screen, 1.1GHz quad-core Intell Pentium N5000 CPU, a 240GB SSD drive, 8GB of LPDDR4 onboard memory, and up to 7 hours of battery life.

        The Star Lite was specced to be a low-end machine and started at €£399.00. At the moment, the Star Lite is unavailable for purchase. However, the company will soon release the StarBook, which can be spec’d quite a bit beefier than the original, with a 14" matte IPS display, an 11th gen Intel CPU (either i3-1110G4 or i7-1165G7), up to a 1TB NVMe SSD drive, up to 64GB of DDR4 memory, a full-sized backlit keyboard, and up to 11 hours of battery life. The base-model StarBook can be purchased now at €£777.00 and a fully-spec’d model will run approximately €£1,552.00.

      • Behind the Scenes of System76: Industrial Design

        The way my brain works lends itself well to engineering, for better or for worse. There’s a lot of really solid engineers who don’t have much creativity, and then there are a lot of people who have great creative ability, but can’t do math. I kind of fluctuate in the middle; I wouldn’t say I’m the best at math or the most creative person in the entire world, but I have enough of each that the combination pushed me towards mechanical engineering. I like working with my hands, and it’s more of a study of how things work in the real world versus computer science, which is a purely digital and nontangible practice.

        During school I worked mainly as a bike mechanic, and that helped me to think about how to build things better. That led me to my first internship at a bike company working in a wind tunnel, which was really fun. Realizing that I could probably never get a job there—or at least one that would pay me enough to live—I started working at an environmental engineering company, where I prototyped scientific sampling systems for R&D that would process materials with all these gasses at really high heat and tried not to die. It was kind of fun making these large-scale systems that were basically just gigantic science experiments, but I didn’t really have the creative outlet I wanted in terms of making something that looks good.

        One of the main things that drew me to System76 was being able to have a solid influence on what tools we were able to use and how we were going to push the design. In the past three years, it’s pretty wild to see what we’ve been able to accomplish coming from a completely empty warehouse to being able to crank out parts.

        I had also previously, while working at these scientific instrument companies, been working with a local company to design and develop a cargo bicycle, so I had that experience as well in terms of consumer product development with overseas manufacturing. I think that helped get me in the door here.

    • Server

      • Prometheus Q&A: How the Kubernetes monitoring tool is evolving

        Prometheus is a time-series event monitoring tool for cloud-native, containerized environments -- particularly for use in Kubernetes ecosystems. In fact, because both are based on tools designed for internal use at Google, Prometheus inherently complements Kubernetes and integrates with the orchestration platform.

        But Prometheus has also proven to be complicated to use in the past, with vendors building integrations to abstract the tool's complexities away for their users. However, that might be changing, as the group overseeing the open source project has spent the past year taking deliberate steps to address some of the tool's shortcomings and reach a broader audience.


        Hartmann: Yes, this is something we have called experimental, but it's been stable for two or three years.

        We attached a version number to it; we wrote a specification; we wrote the test suite. Now we can start to break it up again, as we have the stable [code] base everyone can test against. Other [ways] we treat the 'experimental' differently: We introduced feature flags … but it's not enabled by default. And it [still] might change -- we [the Prometheus team] will not lock ourselves down to treat everything … experimental as stable forevermore. By doing this, we can do things [we] didn't even consider.

        At the last Prometheus dev summit, … We decided to accept PromQL, which is the language to [manage] all Prometheus data in the complete Kubernetes ecosystem.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • If only I needed a new laptop... KDE Slimbook Review

        The guys at Slimbook were nice enough to shower me with laptops to review, and one of these in particular caught my eye: the Slimbook KDE. It's a very, very fancy ultraportable laptop, made in collaboration with the KDE Community, and it's probably one of the best laptops I've ever used, even outside of the Linux world, so let's take a look Become a channel member to get access to a weekly patroncast and vote on the next topics I'll cover...

      • Testing the new Arch Linux Guided Installer

        Many of you have reached out and suggested I try out the new Arch Linux guided installer, I'm granting your wish. In this video, I'll wipe my Thinkpad X1 Extreme and load Arch Linux on it, using the new installer. I'll give you a walk-through of the process, and my thoughts.

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S14E09 – Mint Badge Twist

        This week we’ve been debugging DNS and making passively cooled computers. We round up the community news, including the highlights of the 21.04 releases from the Ubuntu flavours, an event and our favourite picks from the tech news.

        It’s Season 14 Episode 09 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

    • Kernel Space

      • A Number Of Exciting RISC-V Improvements For Linux 5.13

        From bringing up the PolarFire ICICLE SoC to adding support for KProbes, FORTIFY_SOURCE, and other new kernel features for the RISC-V architecture, the Linux 5.13 kernel changes are exciting for this open-source processor ISA.

        Among the RISC-V highlights of new material in Linux 5.13 include:

        - Build system improvements including better handling when building the RISC-V Linux kernel with LLVM Clang.

        - Support for KProbes, the kernel debugging infrastructure for monitoring events.

      • Linux 5.13 Adds Support For The Amazon Luna Game Controller - Phoronix

        The input subsystem updates were sent in today for the Linux 5.13 kernel and include support for the Amazon (Luna) Game Controller.

        Amazon's Game Controller (also known as the Luna Controller) is for the company's cloud gaming service. While geared for use with their cloud gaming service, the Luna Controller can work with Windows / PC / Mac / Android outside of Luna via Bluetooth or USB interfaces. The controller retails for $70 USD and can also work with Fire TV devices.

      • Soft unbricking Bay- and Cherry-Trail tablets with broken BIOS settings

        As you may know I've been doing a lot of hw-enablement work on Bay- and Cherry-Trail tablets as a side-project for the last couple of years.

        Some of these tablets have one interesting feature intended to "flash" Android on them. When turned on with both the volume-up and the volume-down buttons pressed at the same time they enter something called DNX mode, which it will then also print to the LCD panel, this is really just a variant of the android fastboot protocol built into the BIOS. Quite a few models support this, although on Bay Trail it sometimes seems to be supported (it gets shown on the screen) but it does not work since many models which only shipped with Windows lack the external device/gadget-mode phy which the Bay Trail SoC needs to be able to work in device/gadget mode (on Cherry Trail the gadget phy has been integrated into the SoC).

        So on to the topic of this blog-post, I recently used DNX mode to unbrick a tablet which was dead due to the BIOS settings get corrupted in a way where it would not boot and it was also impossible to enter the BIOS setup. After some duckduckgo-ing I found a thread about how in DNX mode you can upload a replacement for the efilinux.efi bootloader normally used for "fastboot boot <android-bootimg.img>" and how you can use this to upload a binary to flash the BIOS. I did not have a BIOS image of this tablet, so that approach did not work for me. But it did point me in the direction of a different, safer (no BIOS flashing involved) solution to unbrick the tablet.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMDGPU Driver Gets Initial Fixes For Linux 5.13 - Polaris 12 32-bit, Suspend/Resume Fix

          With the in-development Linux 5.13 kernel there are some notable AMD Radeon driver additions. But with the 5.13 merge window set to close this weekend, an initial batch of post-feature-work fixes was sent in overnight.

        • GNUstep Releases Early Wayland Support, Many Other Improvements Too

          GNUstep as the free software / GNU implementation of the Apple's Cocoa Objective-C frameworks is out with a new version.

          GNUstep's GUI library and GUI back-end are up to version 0.29 while GNUstep Base 1.28 has been released along with an updated GNUstep Makefile Package for re-implementing the APIs associated with Apple macOS.

          Notable with the GNUstep GUI Backend 0.29 is an "alpha version" of native Wayland back-end support. GNUstep software has worked with XWayland while now there is the preliminary Wayland code in place.

        • [Mesa-dev] [ANNOUNCE] mesa 21.1.0
          Hello everyone,

          Mesa 21.1.0 final is now available! There are a lot of new features, but I unfortunately didn't have time to make a list; I'm sure your favourite news website will pick up the slack :)

          The schedule from now on is to have a point release every other week, starting with .1 on the 19th.

          Cheers, Eric
        • Open source Linux GPU drivers Mesa 21.1 released

          Developer Eric Engestrom has announced the availability of Mesa 21.1, the latest release for Linux open source graphics drivers powering Intel, AMD and more.

          In the very short announcement, Engestrom mentioned Mesa will now be back to regular releases with a point release for bug fixes "every other week" which will see Mesa 21.1.1 on May 19. If you want stability, it's usually best to wait for at least that first point release.

        • Mesa 21.1.0 Is Released With Variable Rate Shading Support For AMD GPUs, Performance Improvements And New Vulkan Extensions

          Mesa is a sniff army knife of graphics drivers and libraries that are used to provide graphics functionality on all the major GNU/Linux distributions. Mesa 21.1.0 brings Vulkan Variable Rate Shading support for AMD RX 6000 series GPUs, performance increasing graphics optimizations for the OpenGL and Vulkan drivers for both Intel and AMD GPUs, OpenGL 4.6 support in the Zink OpenGL-to-Vulkan translation layer, shader caching for the Lima driver for ARM Mali GPUs and a lot more.


          It is almost certain that you are using the Mesa graphics library to render everything graphical if you are using a GNU/Linux distribution with everything other than a Nvidia graphics card. It provides the Vulkan and OpenGL drivers for Intel and AMD graphics cards on x86-64 hardware and a wide variety of other drivers for non-x86 hardware. The latest release is a big one that is packed with interesting features. You wouldn't know from the release-announcement which, due to time constraints, consisted of...

        • Turnip Vulkan Driver Continues Maturing, Correctly Rendering More Games - Phoronix

          Turnip is the open-source Mesa Vulkan driver aligned with the Freedreno effort for Qualcomm Adreno support. Turnip has been in fairly good shape but fixes and other improvements keep flowing in as new Vulkan games/apps continue to be tested on this open-source Adreno Vulkan driver.

          Igalia developer Danylo Piliaiev has written a new blog post outlining some of the latest improvements made to this Mesa driver for allowing more Vulkan-powered software to correctly render on this unofficial Qualcomm Linux 3D driver.

        • Danylo Piliaiev: Turnips in the wild (Part 2)

          In Turnips in the wild (Part 1) we walked through two issues, one in TauCeti Benchmark and the other in Genshin Impact. Today, I have an update about the one I didn’t have plan to fix, and a showcase of two remaining issues I met in Genshin Impact.


          The trees and grass are seem to be rendered incorrectly. After looking through the trace and not finding where they were actually rendered, I studied the trace on proprietary driver and found them. However, there weren’t any such draw calls on Turnip!

          The answer was simple, shaders failed to compile due to the failure in a register allocation I mentioned earlier… The general solution would be an implementation of register spilling. However in this case there is a pending merge request that implements a new register allocator, which later would help us implement register spilling. With it shaders can now be compiled!

    • Applications

      • How To Take Screenshot In Linux? — 5 Best Linux Screenshot Tools

        One of the most common things that we do on our computers is taking screenshots. Be it important info on your screen that you’ll later forget or be it a hilarious meme, the captured screenshot images could prove to be really useful.

        We all know how easy it is to take screenshots in Windows, but how easy is it on Linux? In this article, let’s look at how to take a screenshot on Linux. Apart from that, we’ll also be looking at the ten best screenshot tools for Linux if you don’t like the default method. Let’s get started.

      • CuteMaze 1.3.0 released

        Added pausing when menus are shown Added resuming by clicking on game Added support for Qt 6 Improved high scores dialog Refactored code Removed XPM icon Translation updates: Dutch, Lithuanian, Romanian

      • Gottet 1.2.0 released

        Added support for Qt 6 Improved high scores dialog Refactored code Removed XPM icon Translation updates: Chinese (Taiwan), Lithuanian, Romanian

      • Hexalate 1.2.0 released

        Added rotating pieces counterclockwise Added support for Qt 6 Refactored code Removed XPM icon

      • The 10 best torrent clients for Ubuntu and other Linux distros [ in 2021 ] + 1 Bonus

        In this article we are going to cover the 10 best torrent clients you can find for Linux. In order to download something via BitTorrent, you need to have a torrent client installed on your system. Torrents are great for downloading large files because they split files into smaller chunks and are downloaded from multiple peers in the torrent “swarm.” BitTorrent is normally associated with video files like movies or TV episodes, it’s also common for Linux developers to offer a torrent download of their distribution.

      • Repo Review: LosslessCut

        LosslessCut is a simple, yet powerful video trimming and splitting tool designed to be very fast and easy to use. As the name implies, LosslessCut manages to retain the original quality of the video you are editing by directly cutting and copying over the data stream, rather than actually re-encoding the whole video. This also means that LosslessCut can export videos much faster than a traditional video editor can.

        LosslessCut has a very polished and well designed user interface. Loading in a video is as simple as dragging and dropping it into the program. LosslessCut can import from a variety of video formats, such as MP4, MOV, MKV, and more. Any videos not directly supported by LosslessCut can easily be converted for editing by clicking on Convert to supported format in the File menu (This is just for preview and editing purposes only; the final video will still be exported in the original format without any quality loss).


        Overall, I'd say LosslessCut worked very well during my testing. I did, however, occasionally encounter a few problems when trying to export a video, but for the most part, the program seemed quite stable. LosslessCut's speed and ease of use makes it an excellent tool for any simple video cutting and splitting tasks.

      • A Complete Guide to Default Ubuntu Apps and Their Purposes

        This is a full list of all Ubuntu default applications (or list of Ubuntu components) with their explanations for first time users. This list is sorted alphabetically with app names taken from what appeared or searchable on Activities Menu and their alternative names mentioned if any. You can learn your Ubuntu computer a lot here as you see every app name, its purpose, short guide to use, and some pictures of them. You will also find external guides linked to help you learn certains apps such as Archive Manager and LibreOffice. This guide is based on version 21.04 also known as Hirsute Hippo which is the latest today which can represents all modern Ubuntu versions. I wish you like it!

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Change File & Folder Permissions on Linux Using Chmod

        When working with some files or folders on Linux you might have seen an error saying Permission Denied.

        This is a common error that is associated with the permissions for the specific file/folder.

        In this tutorial, you will learn different ways to change the file and folder permissions for any users or groups on Linux.

        Linux is an operating system that supports multiple users working on the same system. Thus, it is essential to manage the permissions such as who can see or modify the files and folders for every one of them.

        Although permissions and their notations may seem confusing at first, they make sense and are easy to understand once you get the basics. Also, please note that permissions can only be changed by the owner of the file or the system administrator known as root in Linux.

      • GIMP Tutorial: Remove A Background

        Sometimes you are working with a photo and think it would be better if the background was different, or just gone. I found a tutorial that outlined several ways to remove the background from an image. Let's look at a couple of methods.

      • Use Your Phone Camera As A Webcam

        When the Covid Pandemic hit, there was a rush to purchase webcams. The prices skyrocketed and many people were unable to purchase one, either due to short supplies or being priced out of the market.

        Now I may be a little late to the party, but I have found a way to have a webcam that won't break the bank, and won't play havoc on your nervous system trying to get it setup.

        Enter "IP Webcam," developed by Pavel Khlebovich.

      • How to install Microsoft Fonts on Deepin 20.2

        How to install Microsoft Fonts on Deepin 20.2 In this video, we are looking at how to install Fonts, like Arial and Times New Roman on Deepin 20.2.

      • How To Install AWS CLI on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install AWS CLI on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, AWS CLI (Amazon Web Service Command Line Interface) is an open-source command-line utility tool for managing Amazon web services. AWS CLI is a utility tool provided by AWS to manage resources. AWS API is directly accessible through AWS CLI. With AWS CLI you can easily develop shell scripts to manage your resources on the AWS cloud.

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

      • Using gLabels: An Update

        It came to my attention recently that since I wrote my previous article on gLabels, it's been nearly 9 years! While I did mention several features of gLabels, my favorite label program, I didn't do an actual tutorial or even review of the program. However, I did another one earlier. This one1s the how-to, but it1s been over 9 years since I wrote that.

        I recently had to do some labels at work (using my Windows 10 laptop) and found myself wishing I had gLabels with me in the town where my meeting was. It would have been MUCH simpler.

        gLabels is my absolute go-to for labels. It is in the PCLinuxOS repo and has been for as long as I can remember (it1s been a while since I registered on the forum in 2006). The current version is 3.4.1. Let me refresh your memory. I'm sure many of you already know this, but I'm going to try to cover details anyway.

        When you open the gLabels window, it's pretty blank, until you choose the label you want to use.

      • How to install the Avidemux video editor on a Chromebook

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

      • How to integrate Linux Malware Detection and ClamAV for automated malware detection on Linux servers - TechRepublic

        Jack Wallen walks you through the steps of installing both Linux Malware Detection and ClamAV for a reliable one-two punch of malware and virus prevention.

      • How to Install Ansible on Rocky Linux 8 or Almalinux - Linux Shout

        If you have to manage multiple Linux servers then manually configuring and installing software on each of them is not only a time-consuming but also a labor-intensive task. Thus, Automation or orchestration is used in such environments.

        There are already well know applications available to perform orchestration for server systems/data centers such as Ansible, Puppet, Chef, and few others. Well, here we learn about Ansible and how to use it to centrally manage multiple servers for installing various packages; code deployment, network configuration, cloud management, and much more.

      • How long does your Linux system take to boot? A helpful illustrated guide

        Have you ever checked how long your system takes to boot? Generally, it all occurs within seconds or a few minutes but we do not know the exact time. Regardless of the reason why you want to know it, there is a systemd-analyze utility that can let you know the exact time your Linux system takes to boot.

        In this article, you will learn to find how long your Linux system takes to boot and how to reduce this time if it is booting slowly.

      • Create Ubuntu bootable USB / Live USB from command line - LinuxTechLab

        If you are trying to install a new Ubuntu version or just want to see how a new version of Ubuntu looks like, then the best way to do so is to create and use a Live USB aka Ubuntu bootable USB.

        Not only can we install or test Ubuntu, but we can also use it as a personal operating system that can be used on any Laptop or Desktop without having to make any major changes to the systems.

      • What Are Zombie Processes in Linux and How to Kill Them

        Zombie process. Not everyone has heard of this interesting yet scary word related to the Linux operating system. On a personal computer, zombie processes might not be a threat to a regular user, but when it comes to Linux servers, these processes must be identified and stopped.

        Such processes can cause problems with your system's process table and in turn, tamper with the proper functioning of your machine. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss zombie processes in detail, along with a comprehensive guide on finding and killing zombie processes on a Linux machine.

      • Transition from Thunderbird to Mutt

        If you read my last blog. You might know that I moved my email away from thunderbird to mutt. I thought I will miss thunderbird, nope, not even for a bit. This transition was very smooth. Only things left in thunderbird was my calendar and RSS reader.

      • How To Set Static IP Address And Modifying Routing Table On Linux

        Configuring IP address and routes from the command line is one of the mandatory skill that every Linux administrator should learn. In this article we are going to review how we can assign a static IP address using ip and ifconfig commands. In addition to, we will discuss how we can use ip route command to create a static route and to change the default gateway for the Linux system.


        On success, the command will not show any output. However, the IP address configured this way is not permanent and will be lost after a reboot. To make permanent changes to IP address you need to edit configuration file according to your Linux distribution.

      • How To Install Anbox on Linux Mint 20 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Anbox on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Anbox is short for Android in a box, Anbox is a free and open-source environment that enables you to run Android applications on your Linux distribution. It offers a compatibility layer by executing an Android runtime environment to execute Android applications. There are other Android for Linux projects as well, like Shashlik or Genymotion. The difference is that these projects rely on an emulator to run the necessary Android environment, which activates an entire emulated system with its own kernel. On the other hand, Anbox runs the Android system directly on the Linux kernel.

        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 the step-by-step installation of the Anbox android emulator on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • How to Get Vertical Tabs on Chrome and Firefox Browsers [Ed: Vertical tabs in browsers go way more than a decade back. Microsoft is merely copying (like it did tabs) many years late.]

        But switching over to a new browser does not make sense just for the sake of vertical tabs. Thankfully, there are workarounds by way of extensions that will help you get the vertical tabs in other browsers. Here we show you a few extensions to get vertical tabs on Chrome and Firefox.

      • How To Switch Default Applications on Ubuntu

        This tutorial explains the steps to switch default Ubuntu applications to open with for each purpose you may want. For example, if you prefer to open pictures with another app rather than Image Viewer, you can switch. In other words, this is an app and file format reassociation. Follow the instructions below.

      • How to Format a USB Drive as exFAT on Linux

        ExFAT presents a filesystem, specially designed and optimized for USB flash drives, SD cards, and external drives, which is making it popular for Linux users.

        For purpose of formating a USB disk as exFAT on Linux, need to install the exfat-utils or exfatprogs which can allow us to create, read, write, etc. exFAT filesystem to any device whether is a USB device or hard disk partition.

        In this tutorial we are going to show how to format a USB Drive as exFAT on Linux from terminal and GUI.

      • 3 New SUSE Courses including Rancher

        SUSE Technical Product Training is pleased to announce three new technical product training courses, including the first two Rancher courses, have now been released and are available to be scheduled for customers. The first SUSE certification for Rancher products will also soon be available.

      • Setup A Shared Folder Between KVM Host And Guest

        After creating a new Virtual machine, you may want to share files and folders between the KVM host and the KVM virtual machine. In this brief guide, we will see how to setup a shared folder between KVM host and guest virtual machine using Virt-manager in Linux.

        Before configuring a shared folder, make sure you have installed Virt-manager on your KVM host.


        If you already have installed complete KVM Virtualization Package group, you don't need to install Virt-manager separately. Virt-manager is part of the KVM virtualization package group. Otherwise, you may need to install it as shown in the above link.

        Create a new Virtual machine from Virt-manager interface. It is very straight-forward and easy! Don't start the VM yet. We need to create shared folder in our KVM host.

      • Static and dynamic IP address configurations: DHCP deployment

        In my Static and dynamic IP address configurations for DHCP article, I discussed the pros and cons of static versus dynamic IP address allocation. Typically, sysadmins will manually configure servers and network devices (routers, switches, firewalls, etc.) with static IP address configurations. These addresses don’t change (unless the administrator changes them), which is important for making services easy to find on the network.

        With dynamic IP configurations, client devices lease an IP configuration from a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server. This server is configured with a pool of available IPs and other settings. Clients contact the server and temporarily borrow an IP address configuration.

      • How to Use the xxd Hex Dumper Utility in Linux

        While most people, even programmers, won't work with bits and bytes on a daily basis, there are ways you can explore files on your Linux system at this level. And xxd is one such utility, a hex dumper.

        Here's how you can use the xxd hex dumper utility to print the content of files in hexadecimal format.

      • How to Check CPU Temperature on a Linux System

        Want to check your CPU temperature to monitor your computer's health and prevent severe component damage? Maybe your Linux system has been overheating and you want to detect which hardware unit is causing the issue.

        This article will explain why CPU temperature monitoring is important and how to check CPU temperature on a Linux machine.

      • How to deploy Samba on Linux as an Active Directory Domain Controller - TechRepublic

        Active Directory (AD) is Microsoft's way of making it possible to create and apply policies to machines associated with a network. It's a tool widely used by businesses and network administrators everywhere.

        Microsoft's solution is not the only means to make this happen; the open source Samba makes it possible to deploy an Active Directory Domain Controller. With this controller, you can then create users, and even set policies.

        I will be writing a series of tutorials on this subject. In this first piece, we'll be deploying the Samba AD on an instance of Ubuntu Server 20.04.

      • 1 click install uTorrent on Ubuntu 21.04 [ with terminal ]

        With over 150 million users uTorrent is the most widely used BitTorrent client outside China; globally only behind Xunlei. The “μ” (Greek letter “mu”) in its name comes from the SI prefix “micro-“, referring to the program’s small memory footprint: the program was designed to use minimal computer resources while offering functionality comparable to larger BitTorrent clients such as Vuze or BitComet.

        uTorrent was controversial for mining cryptocurrency when installed. They had removed the cryptocurrency miner in later versions but it had already done irreversible damage to uTorrent’s reputation.

      • How to Change Color of Specific Folder Icon in Ubuntu 21.04/20.04 | UbuntuHandbook

        Want to make a certain folder different to others in Ubuntu? You can change the icon color and add emblem via Nautilus extension.

        Nautilus, the default file manager in Ubuntu, has an extension called Folder Color. It allows to change the color of selected folder or folders into: Blue, Blown, Green, Gray, Pink, Purple, Red and Yellow.

        You can also add a emblem, e.g., Important, In Process, Favorite, Finished, and New. And reset to default is also available in folders’ context menu.

      • Do Not Miss These 10 Steps in Application Security Assessment

        Contrary to popular belief, application security assessment is an ongoing process and not something you need to do annually. It must also not be done just as a compliance formality.

        While there cannot exist a complete guide to application security that touches all the aspects, here are ten of the things that you need to make sure of in order to keep your applications secure to the maximum possible extent.

      • How To Improve The Security Of Linux Servers?

        Many services nowadays run on servers with different Linux distributions. Compared to server versions of Microsoft operating systems, they are free. They are also generally considered to be more secure, but require deeper knowledge on the part of the system administrator to ensure they are configured correctly. It doesn't matter whether the system runs on your own infrastructure or on cloud solutions from Amazon, Microsoft or others. In this article, I'll give you tips for making your Linux instances more secure. The article also includes practical examples of improving the security of Debian-based operating system distributions.

        Automatic installation of updates

        Many servers become targets and victims of hacker attacks due to a security gap in the operating system used. Administrators are usually reluctant to update systems, as this can cause more harm than good, as deployed applications may stop working after a system update. However, it is extremely important for keeping the operating system secure and therefore automatic installations should always be enabled, especially on critical systems. If it is necessary to use older versions of operating systems, we recommend that these computers be completely isolated from the network. A few commands are all that is needed to enable automatic updates on a Linux system.

      • How To Install uTorrent on Debian 10 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install uTorrent on Debian 10. For those of you who didn’t know, uTorrent is the most popular torrent client available for Linux systems. uTorrent downloads file very fast and efficiently as possible without slowing other online activities.

        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 uTorrent BitTorrent client on a Debian 10 (Buster).

      • How to customize Bash Terminal prompt on Debian 10

        The bash Linux shell provides many customization options for the prompt that you can use not only to incorporate various features in the prompt but also to differentiate them through different colors.

        In this article, we will use various examples to customize and recolor the prompt of our Terminal application that will enable you to do the same depending on your needs. We have the commands and procedures described in this article on a Debian 10 Buster system.

      • Learn essential Kubernetes commands with a new cheat sheet |

        The cloud runs largely on Kubernetes, Kubernetes largely runs on Linux, and Linux runs best when it has a skilled sysadmin at the controls. Whether you consider yourself a cloud architect or just a humble sysadmin, the modern internet needs users who understand how applications and services can be created within containers, scaled on demand, and monitored and managed judiciously.

        One of the first steps into the brave world of containers is learning Kubernetes and its quintessential command: kubectl.

      • Manage the Postfix mail queue with postsuper, postqueue and mailq commands

        Postfix provides several shell programs to manage the mail queue.

      • Resolve DHCPD and HTTPD startup failures with Ansible

        Last year, I had a problem: HTTPD (the Apache web server) would not start on a reboot or cold boot. To fix it, I added an override file, /etc/systemd/system/httpd.service.d/override.conf. It contained the following statements to delay HTTPD's startup until the network is properly started and online. (If you've read my previous articles, you'll know that I use NetworkManager and systemd, not the old SystemV network service and start scripts).

    • Games

      • Electronic Arts Acquires Canadian Studio Metalhead Software

        The acquisition, of which terms were not disclosed, will see EA Sports grow the franchise as well as develop new gaming and sports experiences.

      • Oddventure is an indie RPG that follows a girl trapped in a cursed fairy-tale world

        This looks absolutely brilliant. Oddventure is an upcoming adventure RPG from Infamous Rabbit and Pineapple Works that follows a girl trapped in a cursed fairy-tale world.

        "Oddventure is a JRPG about the misadventures of Charlie - a nihilistic and rebellious teenage girl with anger issues and social awkwardness. Charlie searches for her troublesome brother Bonzo and ultimately for a way back home. The setting is the Kingdom of Luxia, a land straight from original Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales with a dark, Nietzschean twist."


        For Linux fans, it's good news too as they're supporting "PC (Windows, Mac & Linux) and Nintendo Switch" with it being "actively developing and testing the game on all platforms".

      • Conversational deck-building roguelite Griftlands from Klei is now on Linux

        Klei Enterainment deliver again, adding the conversation-based deck-builder Griftlands to their list of Linux supported games. It looks brilliant too and it has received an Overwhelmingly Positive view from users on Steam overall.

        "Griftlands is a deck-building rogue-like where you fight and negotiate your way through a broken-down sci-fi world. Every decision is important, be it the jobs you take, the friends you make, or the cards you collect. Death comes quickly, but each play offers new situations and strategies to explore."

      • Free Game Thursday - check out Office Point Rescue Deja Vu a new retro FPS

        Office Point Rescue Deja Vu is a brand new retro-themed first-person shooter from Magellanic Games, a bigger expanded version of the original from 2020.

        "Terrorists have invaded and taken hostages in the Emeraldalo Corporation's headquaters. Agent Foldon is assigned to infiltrate the building, dispatch the terrorists, rescue any surviving hostages and gather intel."

        Check out our gameplay footage below to get a taste of it. The gameplay was on Easy mode, as I didn't want to spoil any surprises and difficult in the other modes. It gives you a good idea of what to expect though, thoroughly reminding me of some retro arcade shooters that took way too many coins.

      • ComPressure, a complex pipe-building puzzle game is out now

        After a relatively short stint in Early Access, the Zach-like puzzle game ComPressure is officially out now.

        ComPressure has you building complex computation units powered by high pressure steam, which you do by place and moving pipes around to direct this steam where to go. It definitely has a feel like some earlier Zachtronics titles and it's a pretty unique game overall.

      • Go Godot Jam is an upcoming Godot Gamedev Festival between May 6 - June 9

        Learn more about the free and open source Godot Engine during Go Godot Jam, part of the Godot Gamedev Festival running from today May 6 through to June 9.

        Sounds like a fun idea to help show off Godot to even more people. It's packed full of "one month of quality streams and a game jam aimed at celebrating and expanding a vibrant Godot community" and it's entirely open to everyone as this is a free online event.

      • City builder Nebuchadnezzar is getting fire, crime and disease in the next free update

        After launching with Linux support back in February, it seems a lot of people really loved the style but there wasn't enough substance to it. Thankfully the first update addressed some of the issues adding in big freeplay maps, new difficulty modes and a tax/wages mechanic too. Now they've teased the 1.2 update with no current release date which will bring in Fire, Crime and Diseases to add a little more challenge to it.

      • Hook up cities with power to create a sustainable future in the upcoming Green With Energy

        Green With Energy from developer Orbifold Software is an upcoming casual puzzle building game, that sees you become an engineer to design a sustainable power grid.

        Through various contained levels, it acts like a puzzle game that pulls in small elements from a city-builder while you design your grid and place down power structures. It's supposed to be somewhat relaxed while you iteratively design, test and build power grid designs while balancing budget, efficiency, and environmental impact through different levels and biomes.


        The developer mentioned Linux will be a first-class platform for it.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Distributions

      • The Great OS Replacement: How to Find the Best Linux Distribution

        Picking the ideal Linux distribution takes research and planning. Not because Linux is a challenge. Rather, the Linux OS offers a seemingly unending selection of distributions to meet general computing as well as special needs for enterprise, SMBs, and personal use.

        For enterprise and business-focused users, however, one popular choice has fallen into disfavor with CentOS 8 reaching its end-of-life status as a supported platform. But as is usually the case with the Linux infrastructure, ample replacements are available.

        The CentOS community is turning its focus to the Stream fork as a replacement for a directional change by the CentOS sponsors. One major sticking point among CentOS users is that the CentOS community’s rolling releases may not align with most businesses’ infrastructural or organizational needs.

        A rolling release is a Linux distribution that is updated from top to bottom on a regular basis, noted Thilo Huellmann, CEO of Levity AI. All, including user-space applications, the kernel, and daemons, is in a constant state of new.

      • Nitrux Linux Is Demanding an Apology From DistroWatch

        DistroWatch is a popular web portal that tracks new Linux distribution releases, informs the changes briefly and offers a catalog of details for almost every distribution.

        Even though it provides essential information regarding most of the distros, it looks like it does not display correct details for Nitrux Linux. Of course, with tons of information to manage and update — it is highly likely that some information could be outdated or incorrect.

        However, when Uri Herrera reached out to request correction, the maintainer of DistroWatch seems to believe that Nitrux is lying about the information being requested to be modified.

        Hence, Nitrux Linux had to come up with an open letter where they explain more about the incident and demand an apology for making such kind of remarks.


        If it isn’t a surprise, this is a simple matter of correcting information while the creator of Nitrux Linux is trying to request the necessary changes.

        Nitrux Linux has always been assumed as a “commercial” distribution in the past just because they had a paywall like Zorin OS’s ultimate edition, which isn’t true either. Nitrux Linux was always a free and open-source Linux distribution with a unique approach.

      • New Releases

      • BSD

        • Bandwidth limiting on OpenBSD 6.8

          I will explain how to limit bandwidth on OpenBSD using its firewall PF (Packet Filter) queuing capability. It is a very powerful feature but it may be hard to understand at first. What is very important to understand is that it's technically not possible to limit the bandwidth of the whole system, because once data is getting on your network interface, it's already there and got by your router, what is possible is to limit the upload rate to cap the download rate.

          OpenBSD pf.conf man page about queuing

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Optimal flow: Building open organizations where leaders can emerge

          Previously in this series on open organizations and talent management, I’ve discussed the importance of cultivating an organization’s open leaders by getting out of their way and letting them flourish. As someone invested in developing your organization’s next generation of leaders, know that your goal here isn’t to be entirely “hands off”; instead, your goal is to spend time building the systems and processes that help new leaders find their footing and unleash their passion. The truth is that leadership talent rarely develops on its own.

        • Automating the testing process for SystemTap, Part 1: Test automation with libvirt and Buildbot

          Over the past year, I have been implementing an automated infrastructure to test the SystemTap project and to collect and analyze the test results. SystemTap is a scripting language for creating instrumentation to observe a live running Linux kernel and user-space applications. The SystemTap language translator produces Linux kernel modules. These modules depend on internal details of the Linux kernel that vary significantly between different versions of Linux.

          The process of developing the SystemTap project and maintaining it for a wide range of Linux kernel versions requires a strategy to detect and fix unexpected bugs. Bugs can arise not only from changes in the SystemTap project, but also from changes in newer versions of the Linux kernel.

          In order to verify the safety and correct behavior of SystemTap, the SystemTap project includes a test suite based on the DejaGnu framework. However, up to now there was no system for running this test suite each time someone made a commit to the SystemTap Git repository. An infrastructure that automatically runs the test suite and reports new test failures would be very helpful for detecting and fixing bugs as early as possible during the SystemTap development process.

          This article is the first of two articles summarizing the tools that I developed and used to automate the process of testing SystemTap and detecting test failures. For the purpose of these articles, I consider the testing process to consist of seven steps. I describe the implementation for each of these steps and finish by summarizing my key design ideas and outlining potential future improvements.

          The ideas presented in these articles could be useful for other open source projects with complex testing requirements.

        • Fedora Community Blog: Contribute to Fedora Kernel 5.12 Test Week

          The kernel team is working on final integration for kernel 5.12. This version was recently released and will arrive soon in Fedora. As a result, the Fedora kernel and QA teams have organized a test week from Sunday, May 06, 2021 through Sunday, May 16, 2021. Refer to the wiki page for links to the test images you’ll need to participate. Read below for details.

        • Why Windows and Linux line endings don’t line up (and how to fix it)

          I recently wrote a few automated database-populating scripts. Specifically, I am running Microsoft SQL Server in a container in a Kubernetes cluster—okay, it’s Red Hat OpenShift, but it’s still Kubernetes. It was all fun and games until I started mixing Windows and Linux; I was developing on my Windows machine, but obviously the container is running Linux. That’s when I got the gem of an error shown in Figure 1. Well, not so much an error as errant output.

        • Red Hat Is Hiring More LLVM Compiler Engineers

          Not only does Red Hat continue investing heavily in GCC and the GNU toolchain but it turns out they are ramping up their LLVM compiler talent as well.

          Red Hat already employs prominent longtime LLVM developer and current LLVM release manager Tom Stellard along with other LLVM engineers. But now they are hiring at least another two LLVM engineers to join their ranks.

          Stellard has shared that Red Hat is now hiring a principal software engineer to work on feature development and other user support tasks across the LLVM sub-projects but particularly LLVM itself and Clang. They are also hiring a engineer with compiler linker experience to work on development for BFD and LLD.

        • Red Hat Opens Up StackRox Community

          Red Hat today announced the StackRox community, which is the first step on the path toward to a fully open source, Kubernetes-native security platform.

          Red Hat acquired the Kubernetes security startup earlier this year, and late last month rolled out Advanced Cluster Security for Kubernetes, which is based on StackRox technology. This security technology is also built into Red Hat’s OpenShift Platform Plus, which makes good on Red Hat’s pledge to integrate StackRox’s security technology with its OpenShift Kubernetes platform.

        • Red Hat Makes DevOps a Reality with OpenShift GitOps and OpenShift Pipelines

          Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the general availability of OpenShift GitOps and OpenShift Pipelines, new features of Red Hat OpenShift, the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes platform. These capabilities help organizations to further reduce friction between development and operations teams by streamlining application development and deployment across the hybrid cloud.

          DevOps methodologies promote a cultural shift by linking the work of development and operations teams into a more unified approach rather than separate silos, helping to bring applications to production more quickly. But many organizations still struggle in fully converting to DevOps, especially as much of the associated tooling is workflow- or software-specific, leading to disparate approaches across teams. OpenShift GitOps and OpenShift Pipelines help better unite application development and IT operations by enabling the teams to work together earlier in the development process while helping to deliver greater security, predictability and visibility throughout the entire application lifecycle.

        • Companies Extend Cloud to the Edge

          Software company Red Hat Inc., an affiliate of International Business Machines Corp. , last week launched an edge-computing platform designed to operate across multiple cloud services.

          “With so much data, we have to get it closer to where it’s needed,” Red Hat Chief Executive Paul Cormier said. “You can’t always take the time on a factory floor to push all that data down the line; you need it right on the production line to make very quick decisions,” he said.

        • Red Hat, IBM Research Launch Open Source Konveyor Project
    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Gazebo: Robotic simulation made easy

        Gazebo is a free open-source robot simulation toolkit which designed to help engineers test algorithms, design their robot virtually, train AI systems with realistic scenarios and more.

        The system features dozens of features and functions, it is also packed by dozens of robotic engineers world-wide.

        Gazebo is getting frequent updates and bug fixes from its active developers' community, which makes it reliable for real-world usage.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Detroit’s digital divide reminds us how far America has to go for internet equity

            It’s been 13 months since the global COVID-19 pandemic hit America. The result, nationwide shutdowns and a country mourning the loss of more than 550K Americans that have died due to COVID-19.

            For many upper and middle-class Americans, the ever-extending quarantine has meant a slight adaptation, or even a respite, from past routines as they largely shifted to working from home. It has meant signing on to their laptops every day at home while they invested in ring lights and headphones for the optimal Zoom experience. For those with kids, simultaneously juggling work and their children’s Zoom classes has created a new set of challenges to maintain some semblance of normalcy.

            But for millions of others, the pandemic has meant additional uncertainty. Tens of millions of adults remain out of work. Minority communities and urban centers have been disproportionately affected by not only unemployment, sickness and death, but another systematic inequity: lack of high-speed internet access. It has prohibited tens of thousands of students, and their parents, from making the transition from classrooms and workplaces to video-everything.

            In other words, the digital divide has become a chasm.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.1.3 Office Suite Released with More Than 100 Bug Fixes

          Coming five weeks after LibreOffice 7.1.2, the LibreOffice 7.1.3 point release is here to address a total of 105 issues across all core components, including Writer, Calc, Draw, and Impress.

          According to The Document Foundation, about 25 percent of these fixes are focused on improving the document compatibility with the Microsoft Office file formats, such as DOCX, PPTX, and XLSX.

        • LibreOffice 7.1.3 Community available for download

          LibreOffice 7.1.3 Community, the third minor release of the LibreOffice 7.1 family, targeted at technology enthusiasts and power users, is available for download from LibreOffice 7.1.3 includes over 100 bug fixes, with 25% focused on Microsoft Office file compatibility (DOCX, XLSX and PPTX).

          For enterprise-class deployments, TDF strongly recommends the LibreOffice Enterprise family of applications from ecosystem partners, with long-term support options, professional assistance, custom features and Service Level Agreements:

          LibreOffice Community and the LibreOffice Enterprise family of products are based on the LibreOffice Technology platform, the result of years of development efforts with the objective of providing a state of the art office suite not only for the desktop but also for mobile and the cloud.

          Products based on LibreOffice Technology are available for major desktop operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux and Chrome OS), mobile platforms (Android and iOS) and the cloud. They may have a different name, according to each company brand, but they share the same LibreOffice unique advantages, robustness and flexibility.

        • LibreOffice Merges Initial Support For Compiling To WebAssembly

          Merged into LibreOffice yesterday is initial support for an EmScripten-based cross-build and compiling to WebAssembly (WASM) for in-browser execution or potentially running on the desktop in a portable manner with the likes of Wasmer.

          Merged to LibreOffice were a number of WASM commits yesterday. This documentation outlines the WASM build steps involved.

          There is also a simple demo application that was added which ends up being a Mandelbrot with the Qt5 tool-kit.

      • FSFE

        • Telecom reform in Austria: consumers must benefit from Router Freedom

          Austria is reforming its telecommunications law to incorporate the new European directives on electronic communications. The Austrian government has now an unique opportunity to leverage router freedom at the legislative level to protect consumers and the market.

          It should go without saying that anyone should be able to freely choose and use a router and modem of their choice for Internet connection, like one does with smartphones and other devices. Router Freedom refers to the right that consumers of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) have to choose and use a private modem and router instead of equipment supplied by the ISP. This right is consolidated in the EU by the Net Neutrality Regulation. However, as part of a major reform of the telecommunications sector in Europe (the EECC directive), new rules are being introduced that may have a negative impact on Router Freedom, because they affect the status of routers being considered as terminal equipment.

          Like other European countries Austria is in a process of implementing the reform of the telecom sector. The Austrian government has proposed the draft (German) of the new Telecommunications Act (TKG) with provisions affecting the ability consumers have to use their own device to connect to the Internet. Austria has with this reform an unique opportunity to leverage consumers' rights by guaranteeing Router Freedom on the legislative level, fostering an open market.

      • FSF

        • Watch and share talks from LibrePlanet 2021: Empowering Users

          We're sorry for the delay in publishing the videos from LibrePlanet 2021 -- we faced some unexpected challenges immediately after the event. But they're here now! We're incredibly proud of the two-day, all-online conference, which was a showcase for the efforts of the free software community, with talks ranging from technical how-tos to personal reflections on activism. If you missed the conference when it happened, we encourage you to watch and share the recordings -- these are wildly talented and dedicated people who fight every day for a freer world, generously sharing their time and insights to advance ideals that are bigger than any of us as individuals.

          We’re proud to be able to share those accomplishments and insights with you through the videos of the LibrePlanet 2021 conference talks released today on our GNU MediaGoblin and PeerTube pages.

        • [Older] Free Software Foundation lending aid to support local free software groups

          As part of its annual LibrePlanet conference, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) announced its plan to provide small grants to local free software groups around the world.

          At the 2021 edition of its annual conference on free software and social justice, LibrePlanet, the FSF formally announced its plan to lend support for local free software groups and meetups through its LibrePlanet network for free software advocacy. These groups raise awareness on issues relating to software freedom, and encourage adoption of free software in local communities. In the case of a free software advocacy group, committed activists might join together to protest the opening of an Apple store selling devices locked with Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), or form a satellite event for future events associated with the LibrePlanet conference. FSF members who are unable to meet in person but want to plan events can use the organization's free "as in freedom" videoconferencing server.

        • GNU Projects

          • Beta testers for MyGNUHealth Personal Health Record

            I am very happy to announce that the documentation for MyGNUHealth beta is now online. We would love beta testers both in the desktop (KDE Plasma) and in the PinePhone, so if everything goes well, shortly we will be able to release the first stable release. We would like to count with **translators** of the documentation and the application itself. We are working with the KDE community in these areas.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Short Topix: New Crypto Mining Worm Targets, Attacks Windows, Linux

          The city of Dortmund has ushered in the political turning point and begun the exit from the proprietary era. Now it is important that the city finds the appropriate means to implement this process practically, by means of a proprietary exit strategy and to dissolve existing vendor lock-in. For Do-FOSS, the decision of the Memorandum 2020 to 2025 is the result of a functioning democratic local discourse. The practical management work for Free Software has the necessary political backing to succeed.

      • Programming/Development

        • Qt 6.1€ Released

          I am happy to announce that Qt 6.1 has been released today. Qt 6.1 is the first minor version update in the Qt 6 series.

        • Qt 6.1 Released With More Modules Ported To Qt6

          Qt 6.1 brings Qt Lottie to the Qt6 world after not making it for 6.0, Qt State Machines for providing SCXML and StateMachine modules in the Qt6 world, the Qt Virtual Keyboard is also now available on Qt 6 with various improvements too, and Qt Device Utilities has been introduced with various networking features. Qt 6.1 also introduces new overflow-safe arithmetic functions to Qt Core, the Vulkan API wrappers for Qt GUI now expose Vulkan 1.1/1.2 core APIs, support for SSL plugins in QtNetwork were added, QNetworkInformation is new for exposing system networking information, and QtQuick3D has a technology preview of instanced rendering support. In a tech preview state for Qt 6.1 is QtQuick3D's 3D particles for 3D scenes.

        • Qt Creator 4.15: What's new in C++ support?

          As announced earlier, we have released Qt Creator 4.15 this week. Let us now take a closer look at some of the improvements to our C++ support that this version brings.

        • Rmw v0.7.09 Is Released

          The handy rmw (ReMove to Waste) shell utility for moving files to a waste folder, instead of immediately deleting them, got another minor bug-fix release today. Filenames now display correctly when using the -vvg option. That's it, that's all there is to rmw v0.7.09.

        • James Hunt: (Lots of) new procenv release(s)

          procenv is now at version 0.55.

        • The 7 Guiding Principles for Developer Engagement [Ed: "Dell Technologies sponsored this post," meaning that "thenewstack" continues to be little but a shilling/spam site of companies that vomit a bunch of puff pieces onto it, including some truly malicious companies and their malevolent front groups; journalism is dead, it's just PR now. This one extensively cites Microsoft-funded Stephen O’Grady of Redmonk]
        • RStudio and APIs

          Data Scientists and analysts work to constantly deliver valuable insights from data. In many cases, these individuals practice a Code First approach, using a programming language like R or Python to explore and understand data. Once an analysis reaches conclusion, it is important to carefully consider what happens next. Perhaps the analysis resulted in a complex machine learning model that can generate valuable predictions on new data. Or perhaps it resulted in some new business logic that can be implemented to improve efficiency. In any case, ensuring the longevity of analysis outcomes increases business value long after the original analysis concludes.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Perl Monthly Report - April

            I had many ups and downs in the month of April. In all these, I have recieved plenty of supporting voices.

          • Paws anyone?

            Gee almost a year since my lat post. I better start posting again or Mohammad will catch up with me ;).

            Been quite a year for every one on this big blue marble. I hope you are all good.

            Ok here is the very short post for today.

          • Config::BINDish Module First Release - LFlat, The Home of Vrurg

            Soon after Test::Async time has came for the first release of Config::BINDish. At first, I didn’t plan the module whatsoever. Then I considered it as a little distraction project to get some rest from an in-house one I was working on lately. But it turned into a kind of a monster which swallowed quite an amount of my time. Now I hope it’s been worth the efforts.

            Basically, the last straw which convinced me to eventually put everything else aside and have this one done was an attempt to develop a model for scalable file hosting. I was stuck, no approach I was considering was good enough. And I decided to change the point of view and try to express the thing in terms of a configuration file. I went on a hunt onto Raku modules site and came back with a couple of already familiar options. Of those I decided that Config::TOML would be the best one for my needs. Unfortunately, very soon I realized that a feature it misses makes my life somewhat harder than I’d like it to be: there was no way to expand a string with an option value.

        • Python

          • 10 Years’ Perspective on Python in Gentoo

            I’m a Gentoo developer for over 10 years already. I’ve been doing a lot of different things throughout that period. However, Python was pretty much always somewhere within my area of interest. I don’t really recall how it all started. Maybe it had something to do with Portage being written in Python. Maybe it was the natural next step after programming in Perl.

            I feel like the upcoming switch to Python 3.9 is the last step in the prolonged effort of catching up with Python. Over the last years, we’ve been working real hard to move Python support forward, to bump neglected packages, to enable testing where tests are available, to test packages on new targets and unmask new targets as soon as possible. We have improved the processes a lot. Back when we were switching to Python 3.4, it took almost a year from the first false start attempt to the actual change. We started using Python 3.5 by default after upstream dropped bugfix support for it. In a month from now, we are going to start using Python 3.9 even before 3.10 final is released.

            I think this is a great opportunity to look back and see what changed in the Gentoo Python ecosystem, in the last 10 years.

        • Rust

          • Announcing Rust 1.52.0

            The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.52.0. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

  • Leftovers

    • (Pseudo)Science/PR

      • Data quality for AI [Ed: IBM still trying to use overhyped buzzwords to compensate for its collapse as a company]

        If we were in a movie on AI, the main character of our story would be a data scientist – let’s call her Ria. Ria works in a multinational company, and one Monday morning she receives a request for her help on a project to build an AI model. The project is a high-visibility project and has the possibility of large revenue savings for the company if Ria and her team can build an AI model to solve the problem. Ria is excited and immediately starts asking for data access so that she and her team can get started on the project. Ria and her team analyze the data to find data quality issues, clean the data, build features, and build a model. After several months, Ria and her team are struggling to build a high-accuracy model. With every iteration, they discover more data quality issues, go back to the design table to brainstorm the issue, figure out ways to fix it, and write the code for data remediation. After weeks and months effort, Ria believes that the whole project would have been more streamlined if they had gotten a report on the data quality when they had gotten the data at the beginning. Does this sound familiar?

        Many studies have shown that data preparation is one of the most time-consuming pieces of the machine learning lifecycle. One reason is that the data issues are discovered in a trial and error fashion, new code must be written for every issue found, and someone must keep a manual log of all of the changes applied to the data so that there is a lineage of how the data was changed over the course of building a machine learning pipeline. However, this information, unless explicitly recorded, might not be available.

    • Hardware

      • ‘I can’t fix my tractor’: Senator Tester calls on the FTC to step up on Right to Repair

        In the next few days, the FTC is expected to release the results of an investigation into the anticompetitive practices manufacturers use to block repair. U.S. PIRG and other Right to Repair advocates hope that this report will acknowledge the need to enforce existing laws and create regulations that empower repair markets. If comments by commissioners Wilson and Chopra are any indication, we expect the FTC report to bear good news for our Right to Repair.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Biden Admin Supports Ending Vaccine Patents. AOC Says "Let's Do Insulin Next."
      • Creative Commons Calls on the EU to Show Clear Support for Waiving COVID Vaccine Patents

        As we all know, there is a global shortage of vaccines. Taking action to ensure more people get access is the right thing to do. Full stop. It will also benefit all of us. If we do not get the world vaccinated at the same time, new variants of the virus will arise, which the current vaccines will not be able to protect us against. The US Government recognises this reality and does not want to jeopardise their hugely successful vaccine rollout without playing their part to help the rest of the world. As Ambassador Tait’s tweet said; “These extraordinary times and circumstances…call for extraordinary measures. The US supports the waiver of IP protections on COVID-19 vaccines to help end the pandemic and we’ll actively participate in WTO negotiations to make it happen.” Notice the choice of words: end the pandemic.€ 

      • Pharma Stocks Take a Hit as Biden Backs Vaccine Patent Waiver
      • After US Reversal, EU 'Ready to Discuss' Covid-19 Vaccine Patent Waiver

        Growing pressure to waive IP protections comes as a new study estimates the pandemic has actually killed 6.93 million people, more than double the reported number of global deaths.

      • 'No More Excuses': With US Behind Patent Waiver, Canada, UK, and EU Urged to Immediately Follow Suit

        "We urge all world leaders to see the writing on the wall and put peoples' lives ahead of corporate profit."

      • 'Cry No Tears for These Death Profiteers': Pharma Stocks Plunge as Biden Backs Vaccine Patent Waiver

        "It's almost as if the financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry are diametrically opposed to the health and well-being of the planet."

      • “Monumental Moment”: U.S. Backs Waiving COVID Vaccine Patent Rights After Months of Blocking Talks

        The Biden administration has announced it now supports temporarily waiving the intellectual property rights for COVID vaccines, in what the World Trade Organization is calling a “monumental moment.” India and South Africa first proposed the waiver in October, but the United States and other wealthy nations blocked the WTO from even opening negotiations on the proposal. Supporters say the waiver is critically needed to increase the rate of vaccine production for the Global South as COVID-19 rapidly spreads in India, Latin America and other regions where few vaccines are available. Biden’s support for the waiver is “an incredibly pleasant surprise” and “late, but still welcome,” says Achal Prabhala, coordinator of the AccessIBSA project, which campaigns for access to medicines in India, Brazil and South Africa. “The proposal is monumental because what it does is it allows for more vaccines to be manufactured in the world,” Prabhala says. “The whole world faces a crippling shortage of coronavirus vaccines.”

      • Welcome From The Chief Editor

        Not everything that has come out of the coronavirus pandemic has necessarily been negative. Even in areas where lockdowns and isolation have closed restaurants, bars, indoor movie theaters, and other "non-essential" businesses, it has given new life and a resurgence to other business models that were well on their way to extinction.

        I'm talking about drive-in movie theaters. Originally started in Camden, NJ in 1933, they exploded in popularity during the post-WWII years. Then, in the 1950s and 1960s, they peaked at over 4,000 drive-in theaters in the U.S. alone, and some estimates were over 5,000 worldwide. Drive-in movies have also served as a backdrop for scenes in such blockbuster movies, such as Grease and Twister.

        Then came along cable TV and the popularity of home video, first on VHS tapes, and later on DVD. Never mind streaming. That hadn't even been thought of up until that point. The first two were enough, coupled with changing lifestyles, to kill off the vast majority of drive-in theaters.


        Fast-forward to 2021, and I am fortunate enough to have at least two drive-in theaters remaining in operation within an hour's drive of me. So, we popped up a couple of batches of popcorn (none of that microwave stuff ... it had to rival movie theater popcorn!), packed some drinks, loaded up the blankets, and headed off to the drive-in theater that's located in the city where I live. We arrived in less than 30 minutes, and we sat in the back of dad's pickup truck. The kids laid on their sleeping bags in the back of the truck with the tailgate down, and mom and dad sat in camping chairs in the back of the truck. The kids got to watch the new Tom & Jerry movie, followed by Goonies, from the back of dad's pickup truck. The sound was broadcast over the FM radio band, played on a couple of portable radios we had brought along. That was a huge improvement over the solitary, tinny-sounding, monaural speaker that we used to hang on the edge of our car windows in the drive-in theater heydays!

        The memories it elicited came flooding back to me. The sounds. The smells. The atmosphere. The dust. The same idiots driving through the parking lot after dark with their lights on. None of it had changed. And I was excited to share the experience with my own children, 50-plus years after my parents had shared that experience with me.

        Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity, and prosperity! And, if you get the chance, go catch a movie at a drive-in theater!

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Fortnite, A Free Game, Made $9 Billion In Two Years

          For years -- years! -- Techdirt has been a place that has argued that offering a product or service for free, where that made sense, could actually be a fantastic business model. While there are lots of examples of that sort of thing these days, you have to understand that this concept was met with derision and scorn by all kinds of industry folks big and small. Some said anyone offering something for free had no clue how to run a business. Others even more absurdly claimed that there was literally no way to compete with "free."

        • How to improve your LinkedIn profile [Ed: Red Hat is boosting Microsoft's proprietary software and surveillance]
        • Windows Defender bug fills Windows 10 boot drive with thousands of files [Ed: Proprietary software is junk and even Microsoft boosters like Lawrence Abrams can see what a piece of garbage Vista 10 really is]

          A Windows Defender bug creates thousands of small files that waste gigabytes of storage space on Windows 10 hard drives.

        • 'Millions' of Dell PCs will grant malware, rogue users admin-level access if asked nicely

          This is made possible by five security vulnerabilities in Dell's dbutil_2_3.sys driver, which it bundles with its PCs. These are grouped under the label CVE 2021-21551, and they can be abused to crash systems, steal information, and escalate privileges to take total control. These programming blunders can only be exploited by applications already running on a machine, or a logged-in user.

        • The End of AMP

          I am hopeful that 2021 will be the beginning of the end for two of my least favorite things – the pandemic and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

          For the past few months, I’ve been focusing on Google’s Page Experience update due to launch in May and what it means for publishers. The largest and most talked-about item in the update is Google announcing that sites with passing core web vitals will receive a ranking boost on mobile. However, there is another important item in the update – the end of special treatment for AMP pages.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • The future of farming could be based on Linux

                The Linux Foundation has just launched an open source digital infrastructure project specifically designed to tackle the challenges of the global agriculture sector.

                The AgStack Foundation looks to promote collaboration among all key stakeholders in the global agriculture ecosystem, including private business, governments, and academia.

                It also hopes to build free and open digital infrastructure for data and applications tailored to enhance the efficiency of agriculture across the world.

              • Linux Foundation Launches AgStack

                According to the announcement, the AgStack Foundation is aimed at improving “global agriculture efficiency through the creation, maintenance, and enhancement of free, reusable, open and specialized digital infrastructure for data and applications.” The AgStack Foundation “will not engage in building software applications” but instead will focus on the community-maintained, free and open source software infrastructure needed to build, manage, and run applications.

              • Linux Technical Advisory Board releases report on UMN patches

                The Linux Technical Advisory Board (TAB) released a new report to show the remediation measures that were undertaken after researchers from the University of Minnesota (UMN) submitted compromised code submissions to the Linux kernel.

                UMN previously submitted many big fixes that were merged into kernel releases as part of an, but the breach of trust between the community and UMN first started when UMN researchers did an experimental research project on “Hyprocrite Commits” that involved intentionally submitting patches that caused issues with the kernel in August last year.

                As a result, Greg Kroah-Hartman, a Linux kernel maintainer, asked the community to stop accepting patches from UMN and began a re-review of all submissions previously accepted from the university after perceiving that they were sending compromised code.

                The university has since retracted the “Hypocrite Commits” paper and Kroah-Hartman posted a final set of reverts this week.

              • Linux Technical Advisory Board Issues Findings On UMN's Shady Kernel Conundrum

                In April, we first reported on Linux Kernel dev and maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman banned submissions from the University of Minnesota due to new concerning patches. It has also come to light that UMN has done questionable research on the Linux kernel team, and people were already wary. Now, the Linux Technical Advisory Board (TAB) has published its findings of the events and recommendations for the future.

                Over the rather lengthy audit of the situation, the TAB lays out a timeline of events from 2018 up through today detailing what has led to what we now face. Since that original date, UMN had submitted nearly 400 bug-fix patches centering around research papers. Two years later in August, UMN researchers submitted “hypocrite commits” under false identities, which was already concerning. Then in April of this year, new seemingly sketchy patches were being submitted again, and people were concerned, including Greg Kroah-Hartman, who called out UMN.

                After this happened, the TAB kicked off a review and investigation with some interesting findings and recommendations. Interestingly, of the UMN patches submitted, 349 were correct, 39 needed to be fixed, and 47 others either did not matter anymore or fell into other categories, which you can see here. The 39 problematic commits are to be reverted and replaced in due time before the 5.13 kernel release.

              • Linux review board says rogue researchers did not successfully insert buggy patches into kernel

                The Linux Foundation's Technical Advisory Board (TAB) has prepared a report to summarize the “Hypocrite Commits” row after a thorough review of all University of Minnesota (UNM) submissions found that none of the buggy code made it to the mainline Linux kernel.

                Prepared by TAB with patch review help from several kernel developers, the report summarizes the events that led to a call for a review of all submissions from UNM, along with the findings of the review.

                Senior kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman asked the community to stop accepting patches from UNM and to review all of their previous contributions after catching UNM researchers deliberately sending compromised code submissions to the kernel.

              • Research scandal sees Linux Kernel ban 'all future contributions' from University of Minnesota

                Anyone sporting a University of Minnesota email has been banned from posting on the open-source Linux Kernel Archives after a group of researchers from the institution knowingly submitted buggy patches in order to gauge community reactions for their research.

                Brought to our attention via a LinusTechTips forum post, it seems it all began with some researchers from the university utilising the Linux Kernel site to gauge its level of security. The way they went about this research, however, has been considered somewhat unethical by the site's standards, resulting in the blanket ban of future contributions from the university at large.

                The researchers had been posting what the maintainer of the site, Greg Kroah-Hartman, identified as 'known-buggy' patches, after which—and without owning up to their machinations—they went on to publish a paper on the topic.

                When the site maintainer confronted them, their response was gold:

                "I respectfully ask you to cease and desist from making wild accusations that are bordering on slander."

              • Here is Linux Advisory Board's ruling on University of Minnesota's "hypocrite commits"

                A couple of weeks ago, we reported that Greg Kroah-Hartman from the Linux kernel development and maintenance team, has banned submissions from the University of Minnesota (UMN) due to some questionable patches that they submitted. The issue received a lot of public attention particularly due to the email exchanges between Hartman and the student researchers being made public. The latter argued that the patches come in the form of "a new static analyzer", but Hartman took issue with the fact that the clearly incorrect patches had been submitted to the kernel without any warning.

                After much back and forth, the department heads for Computer Science at UMN stated that they would investigate the matter further, and soon after, the student researchers published an apology giving more context to their dubious efforts.

                Now, the Linux Technical Advisory Board (TAB) has published its own findings about the matter and its recommendations for the future.

              • LFCA: Learn Cloud Costs and Budgeting – Part 16

                Over the years, there has been an exponential adoption of Cloud services as organizations seek to tap into the numerous benefits offered by the Cloud to streamline their businesses. Most businesses have either integrated their on-premise infrastructure with the Cloud or shifted their core services to the cloud altogether.

        • Security

          • How to hide a backdoor in AI software – such as a bank app depositing checks or a security cam checking faces

            Boffins in China and the US have developed a technique to hide a backdoor in a machine-learning model so it only appears when the model is compressed for deployment on a mobile device.

            Yulong Tian and Fengyuan Xu, from Nanjing University, and Fnu Suya and David Evans, from University of Virginia, describe their approach to ML model manipulation in a paper distributed via ArXiv, titled "Stealthy Backdoors as Compression Artifacts."

            Machine-learning models are typically large files that result from computationally intensive training on vast amounts of data. One of the best known at the moment is OpenAI's natural language model GPT-3, which needs about 350GB of memory to load.

          • Matthew Garrett: More doorbell adventures

            Doorbird sell a chime, a network connected device that is signalled by the doorbell when someone pushes a button. It costs about $150, which seems excessive, but would solve my problem (ie, that if someone pushes the doorbell and I'm not paying attention to my phone, I miss it entirely). But given a shell on the doorbell, how hard could it be to figure out how to mimic the behaviour of one?

            Configuration for the doorbell is all stored under /mnt/flash, and there's a bunch of files prefixed 1000eyes that contain config (1000eyes is the German company that seems to be behind Doorbird). One of these was called 1000eyes.peripherals, which seemed like a good starting point. The initial contents were {"Peripherals":[]}, so it seemed likely that it was intended to be JSON. Unfortunately, since I had no access to any of the peripherals, I had no idea what the format was. I threw the main application into Ghidra and found a function that had debug statements referencing "initPeripherals and read a bunch of JSON keys out of the file, so I could simply look at the keys it referenced and write out a file based on that. I did so, and it didn't work - the app stubbornly refused to believe that there were any defined peripherals. The check that was failing was pcVar4 = strstr(local_50[0],PTR_s_"type":"_0007c980);, which made no sense, since I very definitely had a type key in there. And then I read it more closely. strstr() wasn't being asked to look for "type":, it was being asked to look for "type":". I'd left a space between the : and the opening " in the value, which meant it wasn't matching. The rest of the function seems to call an actual JSON parser, so I have no idea why it doesn't just use that for this part as well, but deleting the space and restarting the service meant it now believed I had a peripheral attached.

            The mobile app that's used for configuring the doorbell now showed a device in the peripherals tab, but it had a weird corrupted name. Tapping it resulted in an error telling me that the device was unavailable, and on the doorbell itself generated a log message showing it was trying to reach a device with the hostname bha-04f0212c5cca and (unsurprisingly) failing. The hostname was being generated from the MAC address field in the peripherals file and was presumably supposed to be resolved using mDNS, but for now I just threw a static entry in /etc/hosts pointing at my Home Assistant device. That was enough to show that when I opened the app the doorbell was trying to call a CGI script called peripherals.cgi on my fake chime. When that failed, it called out to the cloud API to ask it to ask the chime[1] instead. Since the cloud was completely unaware of my fake device, this didn't work either. I hacked together a simple server using Python's HTTPServer and was able to return data (another block of JSON). This got me to the point where the app would now let me get to the chime config, but would then immediately exit. adb logcat showed a traceback in the app caused by a failed assertion due to a missing key in the JSON, so I ran the app through jadx, found the assertion and from there figured out what keys I needed. Once that was done, the app opened the config page just fine.

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (python-django), Fedora (java-latest-openjdk, libopenmpt, python-yara, skopeo, thunderbird, and yara), openSUSE (ceph and openexr), Red Hat (postgresql), SUSE (libxml2), and Ubuntu (exim4 and gnome-autoar).

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

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • First public report on military intelligence: New police-like powers already in use

              No further details of this were provided in the review. However, the wording gives the impression that district courts have not granted permission for all the uses requested by military intelligence or that they have demanded additional justification from the FDF.

              The methods available are specified in the 2019 Act on Military Intelligence. Some of these secret means of obtaining information are similar to those used by police, including surveillance, cyber-intelligence, covert operations, wiretapping and other covert measures.

            • Privacy Implications of Accelerometer Data: A Review of Possible Inferences

              Accelerometers are among the most widely used sensors in mobile devices, where they have a large variety of possible applications. They are commonly regarded as not privacy-intrusive and therefore often less access-restricted than other sensors, such as cameras and microphones. However, based on existing literature, we found that accelerometer data can enable serious privacy intrusions by allowing inferences about a device holder’s location, identity, demographics, personality, health status, emotions, activities and body features.

              Any trait or behavior of a user that results in characteristic movement patterns can potentially be detected through accelera-tion signals. Accelerometers are cheap, low in power consumption and often invisibly embedded into consumer devices. Thus, they represent a perfect surveillance tool as long as their data streams are not properly monitored and protected from potentially untrusted parties such as device manufacturers, service providers and app developers. In current mobile operating systems, third-party apps can access accelerometer data without requiring any permission or conscious participation from the user.

            • With Trump ruling, Facebook's Oversight Board highlights where the power lies

              Now, the board is insisting that Facebook review the matter and make its own decision about the status of Trump's accounts within six months. It is also criticizing Facebook for a vague, ad hoc approach to content moderation and for trying to shirk responsibility for controversial posts.

            • Facebook creates a fork-in-the-road moment for Trump — and the rest of us

              It said the company failed to clearly define the length of Trump's punishment and urged it declare, within six months, whether and when Trump might be reinstated.

              It also faulted Facebook for not examining its own role in fostering unrest.

            • Nest Thermostat bug puts users in endless migration loop - 9to5Google

              If you’re an owner of a Nest Thermostat, you might be encountering a frustrating bug this week. It appears that some Nest Thermostat owners are losing access of their devices through the Google Home app due to an account migration issue.

              Here’s what’s going on. Nest Thermostat owners on Twitter, Reddit, and yours truly are unable to control the device through the Google Home app. When attempting to do so, the app pops up a Nest account migration page that users can’t skip. When attempting this migration process, though, it fails completely. The reason is unclear, but I know in my case I’ve already migrated my Nest account to Google, so that could be the underlying issue for why the migration is failing.

            • Peloton User Accounts Subjected to Data Leaks

              Fitness is supposed to be difficult – it’s how you know it’s working (or at least that’s what we’re told). But it shouldn’t be difficult in this way. A security researcher discovered that the user accounts of Peloton fitness bikes and treadmills were subject to data leaks, and the company took no action initially.

            • After Cookies, Ad Tech Wants To Use Your Email To Track You Everywhere

              Cookies are dying, and the tracking industry is scrambling to replace them. Google has proposed Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), TURTLEDOVE, and other bird-themed tech that would have browsers do some of the behavioral profiling that third-party trackers do today. But a coalition of independent surveillance advertisers has a different plan. Instead of stuffing more tracking tech into the browser (which they don't control), they'd like to use more stable identifiers, like email addresses, to identify and track users across their devices.

              There are several proposals from ad tech providers to preserve "addressable media" (read: individualized surveillance advertising) after cookies die off. We'll focus on just one: Unified Identifier 2.0, or UID2 for short, developed by independent ad tech company The Trade Desk. UID2 is a successor to The Trade Desk's cookie-based "unified ID." Much like FLoC, UID2 is not a drop-in replacement for cookies, but aims to replace some of their functionality. It won't replicate all of the privacy problems of third-party cookies, but it will create new ones.

              There are key differences between UID2 and Google's proposals. FLoC will not allow third-party trackers to identify specific people on its own. There are still big problems with FLoC: it continues to enable auxiliary harms of targeted ads, like discrimination, and it bolsters other methods of tracking, like fingerprinting. But FLoC's designers intend to move towards a world with less individualized third-party tracking. FLoC is a misguided effort with some laudable goals.

              In contrast, UID2 is supposed to make it easier for trackers to identify people. It doubles down on the track-profile-target business model. If UID2 succeeds, faceless ad tech companies and data brokers will still track you around the web--and they'll have an easier time tying your web browsing to your activity on other devices. UID2's proponents want advertisers to have access to long-term behavioral profiles that capture nearly everything you do on any Internet-connected device, and they want to make it easier for trackers to share your data with each other. Despite its designers' ill-taken claims around "privacy" and "transparency," UID2 is a step backward for user privacy.

            • Prism Project: Everyone is in bed with the CIA / NSA!

              The article I wrote about not breeding crows, which came out in the March 2021 issue of PCLinuxOS Magazine, had very good feedback among readers. I had several positive messages, where folks said they enjoyed reading it. One reader, however, asked me for more, and he asked me for sources as well, as well as for evidence.

              Unfortunately, these subjects have no tangible evidence, at least not at the present time. Maybe in 20 or 30 years, with the freedom to access information laws, all the shenanigans will come to light, but I personally doubt it, since there are things that have been hidden for more than 50 years.

              What we can do is present facts, and then connect the dots. And at the end of the article, I will show how connecting the dots works. But for those who want more of the dirty deeds of our Big Tech companies, here is Prism Project, which the hero Edward Snowden revealed, and I bring some details.


              Snowden's greatest revelation was about a program called PRISM, under which the National Security Agency (NSA) accesses emails, documents, photographs, and other sensitive user data stored at big companies.

              Microsoft became the first PRISM partner in 2007 and the NSA began collecting large amounts of data from its servers. Other companies joined the program in due course. In 2008, Congress gave the Justice Department the authority to compel a reluctant company to "comply" with PRISM requirements. This means that even companies that were unwilling to join the program voluntarily had to do so at the behest of a court order.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Did Paris Hilton Actually Wear The Infamous ‘Stop Being Poor’ Tank Top? : An Investigation

        With Hilton denying ever appearing in such a shirt – with the images to prove it -- how, exactly did that iconic photo find viral fame online? The answer, like that of many strange things over the past several years, comes down to Republican politics and good ‘ol Photoshop. The actual shirt Hilton wore in the infamous snap actually read “Stop Being Desperate,” an item from a 2005 fashion line designed by her younger sister Nicky Rothschild (neé Hilton) named Chick, Vogue noted.

        Several years later, the image was altered to read “Stop Being Poor," an edit likely inspired by some Statesian left-winger's opinions on the American Health Care Act of 2017, which partially repealed The Affordable Care Act – a.k.a ObamaCare. Although as Know Your Meme noted, a shirt featuring the phrase was available for sale on Amazon roughly two years earlier, providing some precedent for Hilton's fictitious fit.

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • Advert ban tries to wean the Dutch off fossil fuels

          How do you wean the Dutch off fossil fuels? Well, you could always start by banning advertisements that promote them.

        • IS 'blows up' Iraq oil wells, kills policeman: officials

          Jihadists on Wednesday killed a policeman before blowing up two oil wells in Kirkuk, a northern province claimed by both Iraq's federal government and the Kurds, officials said.

          A security official told AFP that "Islamic State group assailants" killed a policeman and "wounded two others".

          The attackers then "blew up wells 177 and 183 at the Bay Hassan field," the oil ministry said in a statement.

    • Finance

      • Clean-Energy Loans Trapped Black Homeowners in Debt. The Legislature Just Started Trying to Fix the Problem.

        Officials in Missouri have begun to examine and are considering measures to rein in programs that make high-interest “clean energy” loans to homeowners in the state, after a ProPublica investigation found the programs disproportionately burden borrowers in predominantly Black neighborhoods.

        The Missouri Senate on Tuesday voted 31-1 on a bill to require that residential Property Assessed Clean Energy programs be reviewed by the state Division of Finance at least every other year. Currently, PACE programs have to submit annual reports to the state, but ProPublica’s investigation found little oversight.

      • Can you mine Doge on your Chromebook?

        Ah, cryptocurrency. The dream of a digital asset that is based not on paper money backed by gold or silver but built on secure transactions and a decentralized network that is open to all. Well, it’s a lot more complicated than that and in the year 2021, there are more cryptocurrencies than any sane person can keep track of. Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Bitcoin which is widely considered the first-every cryptocurrency and also birthed the blockchain technology behind most cryptocurrencies. I’ll spare you the long, drawn-out details of how it works because honestly, I’m really not that well-versed in the technology myself. To dumb it down, many cryptocurrencies are built on blockchain tech that utilizes various types of computers and networks to confirm digital transactions. In the process, digital coin, or crypto, is mined as a reward to the miners confirming the transactions. These are called mining rewards. Again, there’s way more to it than that but you can go to Wikipedia or a million other sites to find out more details on how it all works.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trump Spawned a New Group of Mega-Donors Who Now Hold Sway Over the GOP’s Future

        Wesley Barnett was just as surprised as anyone to learn from news reports that the Jan. 6 Trump rally that turned into a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol was funded by Julia Jenkins Fancelli, an heiress to the fortune of the popular Publix supermarket chain. But Barnett had extra cause for being startled: Fancelli is his aunt.

        Barnett said he was at a loss to explain how his aunt — who isn’t on social media, lives part time in Italy and keeps a low profile in their central Florida town — got mixed up with the likes of Alex Jones and Ali Alexander, the right-wing provocateurs who were VIPs at the Jan. 6 rally in front of the White House.

      • Trump social media: Twitter suspends account sharing ex-president's posts

        A spokesperson for the company said the account, @DJTDesk, violated the ban evasion policy by sharing content "affiliated with a suspended account."

        But the BBC found similar accounts still active on the social media platform.

        Mr Trump was permanently banned from Twitter in January after he voiced support for [insurrectionists] who stormed the US Capitol.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • [Old] How Austria Wants To Implement Upload Filters And Ancillary Copyright

        It was a dark day for [Internet] freedom and Europe’s role in global [Internet] policy, when the controversial Copyright Directive was passed in the EU Parliament in 2019. While we still hope to overthrow this directive before the ECJ, we also see it as our task to ensure that the Austrian implementation turns out as Fundamental rights-friendly as possible.

        In December, the competent Ministry of Justice (Green party) ran a preliminary review procedure on a draft for the implementation of the controversial parts of this law. We explain its main points here and also provide a legal analysis. Our first impression: the part on upload filters was drafted by the Green party, whereas the text on ancillary copyright was written by the right-wing conservative party (ÖVP).

      • Mosques call for calm after Prophet Muhammad image shown at Sheffield school assembly

        But a parent, Atif Mohammed said the apology was not enough, until the deputy head who was responsible for the assembly steps down from her position.

      • Father wants to pull children out of school after image of Prophet mistakenly shown in assembly

        This comes just over a month after Batley Primary School saw hundreds of protesters camp outside the school after a teacher showed a cartoon mocking the prophet.

      • Mauritian government’s plan to intercept encrypted web traffic marks ‘death knell for freedom of speech’

        While freedom of speech is guaranteed under Mauritius’s constitution, the government has already introduced an amendment to the ICT Act, imposing prison sentences of up to 10 years for online messages that “inconvenience” the reader. In practice, this amendment has been used to file complaints against journalists and media outlets.

        Now, in the consultation document, the ICTA claims it needs to take further measures thanks to “unacceptable abuses by a minority of individuals or organized groups”.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis Just Made it Harder to Vote in Florida

        The new bill introduces a number of restrictions to absentee and mail voting, including limits on collecting votes via dropboxes introduce constraints on where they can be located, who can drop off a ballot, and a requirement that the dropboxes be staffed by an election official. Additionally, it grants new powers to party poll watchers and adds new identification requirements to make even minor changes to a voter’s registration records.

        Republicans, crying voter fraud despite zero evidence it exists on a widespread basis, claim the new changes increase the security of votes. But critics say it will disproportionately affect elderly voters, working class voters, disabled voters, voters of color, and students.

      • New Information Emerges From 2 Christian Murders

        As reported by ICC, “Egypt’s human rights record has greatly worsened over recent years. Whereas during the early 2010s terrorists such as ISIS were the main perpetrators of Christian persecution, today the main perpetrator is the government. Dissent is silenced, human rights activism is suppressed, and truth about violations is clouded.” Nabil and Maryam’s cases show that both possible persecution perpetrators may still be true for Egypt’s Christians.

      • This is becoming a menace in Germany: Young Muslims steal lambs for Eid

        However, the injured party has no illusions that he will ever see his stolen animals again: “The poor sheep have surely already been slaughtered somewhere,” “Bild” quotes the man. This is precisely the real problem here: the theft itself, with a property damage of just 550 euros, is far less serious and alarming than the increasing disregard for animal rights in the name of a medieval religion that is spreading at an ever more breathtaking pace across the Western cultural area and developing increasing dominance (admittedly without it being permissible let alone desirable to call this development what it objectively is: Islamisation).

      • 'They Are Burning Us Alive!' Say Sinai’s Coptic Christians

        Thereafter followed a massive “jihad” on the Copts; the following are some of the more notable examples, all occurring in early 2017, mostly in al-Arish, Sinai: [...]

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Regulating What Canadians See Online: Why Bill C-10 Would Establish CRTC-Approved TikTok, Youtube and Instagram Feeds

        Not only is such an approach unworkable (how do regulators even identify what counts as domestic user generated content), but it would represent an exceptionally heavy-handed regulatory approach where a government-appointed regulator decides what individual user generated content is prioritized in order to further “discoverability”, a term that isn’t even defined in Bill C-10. There is a need for greater transparency of the algorithms used by social media companies, but to turn over the content choices of social media feeds of millions of Canadians to the CRTC is madness and an abdication of the government’s professed support for freedom of expression.

    • Monopolies

      • Melinda Gates Warned Bill About Jeffrey Epstein

        Melinda Gates met with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein alongside her husband Bill in New York City and soon after said she was furious at the relationship between the two men, according to people familiar with the situation.

      • The People v. Bill Gates

        Bill and Melinda Gates have asked for privacy after their divorce announcement, but a storm of attention seems more likely. Interest in their marital arrangements isn’t merely prurient. They are public figures and their personal lives have political ramifications. The urgent question in global health circles is what will happen to their powerhouse foundation in the wake of their split. Large amounts of funding hang in the balance.

        Even before the divorce, public opinion was shifting. A year ago, many people were sympathetic to Bill Gates, and even outraged on his behalf, when he became the target of conspiracy theories spread by QAnon and other groups, suggesting the pandemic was all part of a secret plan to implant microchips in people. More recently, though, as his opposition to waiving patents on vaccines has become better known, it isn’t only the conspiracists who are angry with him.

        People are once again asking – as they did when he was at the helm of Microsoft during its anti-trust legal battles – whether it’s right for one private individual to wield so much economic and political power. For two decades the question seemed to have gone away: after all, how could anyone dislike the world’s most charitable man?

        But as I argued a few years ago in No Such Thing As a Free Gift, Gates has long deserved more critical scrutiny than he has received, especially since a lot of the Gates Foundation’s money is channelled to western researchers and pharmaceutical companies, exacerbating inequality between the global north and global south. Gates has also long refused to concede that current patent protections on drugs and vaccines are unfair and biased against the interests of poor nations, making it legally difficult for them to respond to health emergencies even when they have the scientific knowhow.

        Private philanthropy in general can be a threat to democratic accountability and a just society. Reverence for big donors implies that billions of underpaid and exploited people should be satisfied with philanthropic crumbs from a self-appointed aristocracy rather than entitled to economic justice. What’s really needed for a fairer, more equal society is not charity but justice, though Gates has long presumed otherwise.


        The rioters were wrong about cholera, but understood all too well that the economic and political system was biased against them. The disease was brought to them by a corporation that had plundered India for the gain of aristocrats and the upper-middle classes, while labourers were paid crumbs to live and die in mills, mines and factories throughout the world. Today, Covid-19 disproportionately afflicts the poor, especially women and men of colour, while the rich have the means to barricade themselves against it.

        Bill Gates, like William IV before him, sits at the apex of a global financial empire. The people who are angry with him, rightly or wrongly, shouldn’t be blamed for appreciating this reality. The blame lies with the billionaires like Gates who pretend the system works fine.

      • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation crumbles

        Gates is like all of the tech oligarchs. They act like Republicans but, to maintain their monopolies, for protection they fund the Democrats. There is this unholy alliance between them and establishment Democrats. They give money, and Dems act like they are taxing them, all the while giving them tax breaks and deals on the side so the blue collar proletariat does not catch on.

        It is an article of faith with tech titans that you can cheaply buy your protection from Democrats, like a Third World country and the police. And from whom are they paying to be protected? From the government itself.

        This is like Northern hedge funds with their loophole called "carried interest," wherein they can defer and not pay taxes on their management fees indefinitely. The more you know about how these guys work, the more disheartened you are.

        Bill Gates did take a meeting with Donald Trump when Trump was president. It was historic: two of the worst haircuts in the history of man in the same room.

      • Copyrights

        • Victory For Fair Use: The Supreme Court Reverses The Federal Circuit In Oracle vs Google

          This decision gives more legal certainty to software developers' common practice of using, re-using, and re-implementing software interfaces written by others, a custom that underlies most of the internet and personal computing technologies we use every day.

          To briefly summarize over ten years of litigation: Oracle claims a copyright on the Java APIs--essentially names and formats for calling computer functions--and claims that Google infringed that copyright by using (reimplementing) certain Java APIs in the Android OS. When it created Android, Google wrote its own set of basic functions similar to Java (its own implementing code). But in order to allow developers to write their own programs for Android, Google used certain specifications of the Java APIs (sometimes called the "declaring code").

          APIs provide a common language that lets programs talk to each other. They also let programmers operate with a familiar interface, even on a competitive platform. It would strike at the heart of innovation and collaboration to declare them copyrightable.

          EFF filed numerous amicus briefs in this case explaining why the APIs should not be copyrightable and why, in any event, it is not infringement to use them in the way Google did. As we've explained before, the two Federal Circuit opinions are a disaster for innovation in computer software. Its first decision--that APIs are entitled to copyright protection--ran contrary to the views of most other courts and the long-held expectations of computer scientists. Indeed, excluding APIs from copyright protection was essential to the development of modern computers and the internet.

          Then the second decision made things worse. The Federal Circuit's first opinion had at least held that a jury should decide whether Google's use of the Java APIs was fair, and in fact a jury did just that. But Oracle appealed again, and in 2018 the same three Federal Circuit judges reversed the jury's verdict and held that Google had not engaged in fair use as a matter of law.

          Fortunately, the Supreme Court agreed to review the case. In a 6-2 decision, Justice Breyer explained why Google's use of the Java APIs was a fair use as a matter of law. First, the Court discussed some basic principles of the fair use doctrine, writing that fair use "permits courts to avoid rigid application of the copyright statute when, on occasion, it would stifle the very creativity which that law is designed to foster."

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