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Links 28/6/2021: Linux 5.13, IBM Layoffs, and Software Patents

  • GNU/Linux

    • 9to5Linux Weekly Roundup: June 27th, 2021

      This week has been really slow on news and releases, but we got a brand-new kernel to play with, Linux 5.13, and there’s also the first-ever release of Rocky Linux as a drop-in replacement for CentOS Linux 8.

      On top of that, Ubuntu users got major new kernel security updates, KDE Plasma users got a new update to their favorite desktop environment, and Linux gamers got a new Proton release with support for more of those Windows games.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • What Can You Do With Linux on a Chromebook?

        With most Chromebooks now able to install a virtual Linux environment, you may wonder what you can do with it. There's lots of stuff you can do with the Linux installation on your Chromebook.

        1. Try Your Hands at Coding

        Google positions the Linux environment as a developer tool, and it's no surprise since Linux desktops are already widely deployed within Google. Linux has always been a developer's favorite, and you can install compilers and interpreters for just about any programming language under the sun. You can even run graphical editors and IDEs.


        If you've been curious about Linux, exploring it on a Chromebook is a good option. Because the Linux environment is isolated from the rest of the system, you don't have to worry about messing up your main system, as is possible on a Linux/Windows dual boot system.

        You don't have to enable Developer Mode as you do with Crouton. And this makes it very easy to get started with Linux on a Chromebook.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Firefox used to be the best. What happened?

        Firefox has been my only choice of web browser to decades at this point. But recent decisions by Mozilla have left many Firefox users feeling forgotten.

      • Josh Bressers: Episode 277 – Privacy and activism with Chris Weiland

        Josh and Kurt talk to Chris Weiland from Restore the Fourth Minnesota. Restore The Fourth Minnesota is nonprofit dedicated to restoring the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and ending unconstitutional mass government surveillance. Chris drops a ton of knowledge about how to be an effective tech activist, what his group is doing, and most importantly we get actionable advice!

      • Linux Action News 195

        The news this week that pushes Linux ahead in the enterprise, the challenges Windows 11 might bring, and we go hands-on with the new Debian-based TrueNAS SCALE.

        Plus, our thoughts on WD Live users getting their data wiped and Rocky Linux’s gold master.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.13

        NAME = Opossums on Parade

      • Linux 5.13 Released With Apple M1 Bringup, Landlock, FreeSync HDMI + Much More

        Linux 5.13 brings initial but still early support for the Apple M1 with basic support but not yet accelerated graphics and a lot more to iron out moving ahead. There are also new Linux 5.13 security features like the Landlock LSM, Clang CFI support, and optionally randomizing the kernel stack offset at each system call. There is also AMD fun this cycle around FreeSync HDMI support, initial Aldebaran bring-up, and more. Intel has more work on Alder Lake, a new cooling driver, and more discrete graphics bring-up. There are also other changes for Linux 5.13 around faster IO_uring, a generic USB display driver, and other new hardware enablement.

      • Linux Kernel 5.13 Officially Released, This Is What’s New

        Two months in the works, Linux kernel 5.13 is here with initial support for Apple’s M1 processor, support for the Landlock security module for creating safe security sandboxes to mitigate the security impact of various flaws in user space apps, the ability to handle ASN.1 trusted keys, and initial support for the AMD Radeon “Aldebaran” GPU series.

        Linux 5.13 also introduces initial FreeSync HDMI support for AMD GPUs, a new “big pcluster” feature for the EROFS file system to greatly improve compression performance, ACPI 6.4 support, support for the ECDSA (Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm) verification, as well as eBPF and KFENCE support for 32-bit PowerPC systems.

      • Linux 5.13

        So we had quite the calm week since rc7, and I see no reason to delay 5.13. The shortlog for the week is tiny, with just 88 non-merge commits (and a few of those are just reverts). It's a fairly random mix of fixes, and being so small I'd just suggest people scan the appended shortlog for what happened.

        Of course, if the last week was small and calm, 5.13 overall is actually fairly large. In fact, it's one of the bigger 5.x releases, with over 16k commits (over 17k if you count merges), from over 2k developers. But it's a "big all over" kind of thing, not something particular that stands out as particularly unusual. Some of the extra size might just be because 5.12 had that extra rc week.

        And with 5.13 out the door, that obviously means that the merge window for 5.14 will be starting tomorrow. I already have a few pull requests for it pending, but as usual, I'd ask people to give the final 5.13 at least a quick test before moving on to the exciting new pending stuff..


      • The 5.13 kernel has been released

        Headline features in this release include the "misc" group controller, multiple sources for trusted keys, kernel stack randomization on every system call, support for Clang control-flow integrity enforcement, the ability to call kernel functions directly from BPF programs, minor-fault handling for userfaultfd(), the removal of /dev/kmem, the Landlock security module, and, of course, thousands of cleanups and fixes.

      • Linus Torvalds launches Linux 5.13 after just seven release candidates

        Linus Torvalds has released version 5.13 of the Linux kernel after a very smooth development process that required just seven release candidates.

        “So we had quite the calm week since rc7, and I see no reason to delay 5.13,” wrote the Linux maintainer-in-chief in his weekly State of the Kernel post.

        Torvalds rated the new release as “fairly large”.

        “In fact, it’s one of the bigger 5.x releases, with over 16k commits (over 17k if you count merges), from over 2k developers.

        “But it’s a ‘big all over’ kind of thing, not something particular that stands out as particularly unusual. Some of the extra size might just be because 5.12 had that extra rc week.”

      • inux 5.13 Kernel Released, Includes Apple M1 Support, Clang CFI, and Landlock's Linux Security Module

        "5.13 overall is actually fairly large," Linus Torvalds posted on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, calling it "one of the bigger 5.x releases, with over 16,000 commits (over 17k if you count merges), from over 2,000 developers. But it's a "big all over" kind of thing, not something particular that stands out as particularly unusual..."

      • How to Install Linux Kernel 5.13 in Ubuntu / Linux Mint

        Linus Torvalds announced the Linux Kernel 5.13 after few weeks of development and available for general usage with new features, improvements, and better hardware support.

        As per Linus Torvalds for Kernel 5.13

        The last week was small and calm, 5.13 overall is actually fairly large. In fact, it’s one of the bigger 5.x releases, with over 16k commits (over 17k if you count merges), from over 2k developers

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install kernel 5.13 in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Ubuntu 20.10, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, and LinuxMint 20.1.

      • Linux Kernel 5.13 Released with Initial Apple M1 Support, AMD FreeSync HDMI, and More Changes

        After a few months of development, Linux Kernel 5.13 is finally ready for prime time. It brings to the table a plethora of huge improvements, most notably the preliminary support for Apple’s M1 platform.

        Alongside the support for the M1 chip, we also get a lot of other exciting improvements. Read on to find out more and see the key changes in this release.


        The most notable change—the new Apple M1 support is the first step to allowing these exciting new machines to be powered with Linux.

        While we already covered that Linux Kernel 5.13 will be the first Kernel with early support for Apple M1, it is finally here.

        Please bear in mind that this does not mean that you can just fire Linux up on a M1. Instead, this change is extremely limited, with only a UART serial console currently supported.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Migrate from CentOS 8 to Rocky Linux 8

        Rocky Linux 8.4, codenamed Green Obsidian, is finally here! It was released on June 21, 2021, barely two months after the release of Rocky Linux 8.3 RC1 (Release Candidate 1) which is a beta version of the latest release.

        This is the first stable and production-ready release of Rocky Linux after months of intense research and development. It is available for both x86_64 and ARM64 architectures. As you know by know, Rocky Linux is a community enterprise operating system that is 100% bug-for-bug compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.4. This makes it a perfect alternative to CentOS 8 which will turn EOL by the end of December 2021.

      • 1 Click Knowte Ubuntu Install

        Knowte is a note taking application that allows you to quickly and easily write and organize your notes. What makes it especially useful, is the search feature. You remember you wrote something down but can’t find the note? Search for specific words, and Knowte will dynamically filter your list of notes to only show those containing those words.

      • How to make hard drive bigger in VirtualBox on Linux

        Is your Virtualbox VM’s hard drive too small? Want to make it bigger but can’t figure out what to do to accomplish that? Don’t worry! We can help! Follow along with this guide as we show you how to make hard drives bigger in Virtualbox!

      • Remove or Delete Symbolic Link Linux – Linux Hint

        In Linux, linking is a powerful concept. A symbolic link is a file that refers to a different file or directory. The link itself doesn’t contain any data of the original file. It simply points to the location of the original file, be it in the same filesystem, different filesystem, or a remote filesystem.

        In this guide, check out removing or deleting symbolic link in Linux.

      • How to Install Ansible on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS / 21.04

        Ansible is a free and opensource IT Automation and configuration tool. It is available for almost all the Linux distributions and can be used to manage Linux and Windows systems. Now a days Ansible is also used to manage EC2 instances in AWS, Virtual machines, and Containers etc. It does not require any agent on managed hosts, but it only requires ssh connection.

        In this article, we will cover how to install latest version of Ansible on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS / 21.04

      • How to install Viber on Deepin 20.2

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Viber on Deepin 20.2.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Everything we release in KDE Gear is maintained

          During Akademy some members of the community said stuff like "app/library XXX and YYY are not maintained even if we ship them in KDE Gear".

          Which is not true, everything released in KDE Gear is maintained, there may not be an explicit maintainer, but there is shared community maintenance.

          When confronting a particular person about it, they said "but look, there has not been any new commit that isn't either translation improvements or adapting to code deprecations/etc.", to which i said, "yes, that is exactly what maintenance means".

        • Akonadi+MySQL 5.7.34 on FreeBSD

          Users of Akonadi (databases/akonadi) on FreeBSD are advised of an incompatibility between .. something .. and the current version of MySQL client 5.7. The Akonadi server crashes on startup, and no KDE PIM applications that need Akonadi will work. Users are advised to downgrade the MySQL client libraries for the time being.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Review: Ubuntu MATE 21.04 and Anbox

          The Ubuntu team published version 21.04, on schedule and without much in the way of surprises. Ubuntu and its many community editions, including Ubuntu MATE, appear to have spent the past six months polishing the desktop environments. There aren't many changes, no leaps forward in terms of the underlying technology like init software, filesystems, and packaging formats which sometimes shake up the Ubuntu community. This time around the big headline change for Ubuntu was adopting Wayland as the default display software for the GNOME desktop. Meanwhile the Ubuntu MATE team included some fixes, addressed some problems when switching between desktop layouts, and polished their themes.

          One key item mentioned in the Ubuntu MATE 21.04 release announcement is that their fixes have been pushed upstream to Debian. This means that fixes which appear in Ubuntu MATE 21.04 will not only be available to other flavours of Ubuntu, but improvements to the MATE desktop should also appear in Debian and its dozens of derived distributions.

          Ubuntu MATE 21.04 is available for 64-bit (x86_64) machines. On release day ARM images were planned, but not published yet. The project's ISO file is a 2.8GB download. Booting from the Ubuntu MATE media brings up a menu asking if we'd like to run the live desktop, run the live desktop in safe graphics mode, or run the OEM install process. Taking the live desktop modes launches MATE 1.24.1. A window appears and asks us to select our language from a list and then click either a Try or Install button to proceed.


          I was quite happy with my experiences with Ubuntu MATE 21.04. It had been a few years since I last tried this flavour of Ubuntu and I was pleased to see that the developers have mostly focused on polishing and fixing minor issues. The distribution works well with my hardware, it's responsive, and I like that we can easily switch between desktop layouts to suit the user's preference. The welcome window manages to provide access to a lot of information and resources without being too cluttered or confusing.

          The Software Boutique is an interesting idea and I have mixed feelings about it. Having a small collection of popular applications readily available in an uncluttered interface is quite attractive to newcomers. On the other hand, forcing users to install a separate software centre to gain access to less popular (though still useful) applications feels awkward. This is a tool I'd probably want to stick in front of novice users to see how they react to it before I make a decision on it.

          The documentation, settings panel, and default layout all feel really polished. The installer is easy to navigate, for the most part, and Ubuntu MATE ships with fairly up to date software. I had just two issues with this release. One was that the desktop panel sometimes crashed, either when switching desktop layouts or when signing in. Usually the panel restarts itself, but sometimes I had to logout and then sign back into my account to get the panel back. The other concern is Ubuntu MATE 21.04 only receives nine months of support. I'd suggest sticking with long-term support (LTS) releases for most people. However, for those who don't mind upgrading about once every six months, 21.04 is a really solid release based on my experience. It's also one of the more user friendly distributions I have used in the past six months.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

      • Debian Family

        • Russ Allbery: New Big Eight signing key

          For various reasons, I haven't had any time to work on Usenet (or most other personal hobbies other than a few book reviews) for the past few months, so it took me longer than expected to finish this work. But I have finally switched the official, preferred Big Eight signing key to a newly-generated OpenPGP key that isn't incredibly weak.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • pg_dumpbinary v2.4 released

          pg_dumpbinary is a program used to dump a PostgreSQL database with data dumped in binary format. The resulting dump must be restored using pg_restorebinary that is provided with this tool.

          pg_dumpbinary 2.4 was released today, this new release adds a new command line option to pg_restorebinary, --truncate to be able to empty the tables before restoring data. This can be helpful when pg_restorebinary is used to refresh data from some tables.

      • Programming/Development

  • Leftovers

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Sex Trafficking Victims Can Sue Facebook For Damages, Texas Court Rules

        The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that sex trafficking victims may proceed with their lawsuits alleging Facebook violated state anti-trafficking laws.

        While social media platforms like Facebook cannot be held responsible for everything published on their platform, they may be sued for knowingly allowing criminal activity to occur, according to the Texas Supreme Court decision issued Friday afternoon. The high court didn’t rule on whether Facebook was guilty of any of the trafficking victims’ allegations, but said they may pursue those claims in court.

        “We do not understand section 230 to ‘create a lawless no-man’s-land on the Internet’ in which states are powerless to impose liability on websites that knowingly or intentionally participate in the evil of online human trafficking,” wrote Justice James Blacklock who authored the court’s opinion.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • ToolGen Files Substantive Preliminary Motion No. 2 to Deny CVC of Priority Benefit [Ed: The total and complete insanity of pursuing patents on life and nature]

          In Interference No. 106,115 between Senior Party the Broad Institute (joined by Harvard University and MIT) and Junior Party the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Vienna; and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, "CVC"), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board granted CVC's Preliminary Motion for benefit of priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/757,640, filed January 28, 2013 ("Provisional 3"), pursuant to 37 C.F.R. ۤۤ 41.121(a)(1)(ii) and 41.208(a)(3) and Standing Order ۦ 208.4.1. In Interference No. 106,127, Senior Party ToolGen filed its Substantive Preliminary Motion No. 1 to deny CVC priority benefit to the '640 provisional application.

        • CTT Pharmaceuticals Existing Canadian Patent Confirmed to Include Psychedelic Applications [Ed: And now we have loads of patents on narcotics so that lawyers can make money from drugs and from people getting stoned]

          CTT Pharma Inc. (the "Company" or "CTT") (OTC PINK:CTTH), an innovative life sciences company with a portfolio of IP in novel drug delivery systems, announced today that Canadian law firm Gowlings WLC confirmed that CTT's Canadian patent CA2624110 covering Orally Administrable Wafers applies to all forms of Psychedelic applications.

          Gowlings legal counsel commented as follows: "The Canadian patent is quite broad. It is not limited with respect to including any particular pharmaceutical agent and thus… this patent would cover a film including any additional ingredient, including any drug such as a psychedelic drug, cannabinoids, etc."

        • Canada in WTO talks on possibly waiving COVID-19 vaccine patents

          Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there is no single “silver bullet” to suddenly result in vaccines being available around the world.

          Speaking in Brussels following a Canada-EU with European leaders, Trudeau says the issue of COVID-19 vaccine patents is complex, but the global goal is to get everyone around the world safely vaccinated as quickly as possible.

        • Dual-camera patent at core of lawsuit against Apple must be reconsidered

          The Federal Circuit has both affirmed and vacated previous Patent Trial and Review board decisions on a Corephotonics patent lawsuit alleging that Apple stole its dual-camera technology.

          Specifically, the Federal Circuit examined a Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruling in an inter partes review of a U.S. patent held by Corephotonics, an Israeli camera technology firm.

          Corephotonics first levied a lawsuit against Apple in 2017, alleging that specific iPhone models with dual-camera technology were infringing on its intellectual property. The initial lawsuit named the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus as infringing devices.

        • The WTO’s Survival Hinges on the COVID-19 Vaccine Patent Debate, Waiver Advocates Warn [Ed: Will WTO decided to kill millions of people for profit? And will billion of people realise that patents kill? A legitimacy crisis]
        • Tesla Cybertruck retractable solar bed cover revealed in patent

          Tesla’s plan for a retractable solar bed cover on its Cybertruck electric pickup truck has been revealed in a new patent application.

          After the launch of the Cybertruck, CEO Elon Musk surprised many when he said that Tesla’s new electric pickup truck will have a solar roof option that will add 15 miles of range per day.

          It was surprising because several automakers, including Tesla, had previously explored adding solar on electric vehicles before, but most projects haven’t come to production or provided any significant power.

        • Patent Value Indicators and Technological Innovation [Ed: Conflating monopoly (patents) with innovation, with the veneer of "science"]

          I provide empirical evidence that quality-adjusted patents can identify technological innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises. Survey data on commercialization of patents is related to patent quality indicators (patent renewal, patent family size and forward citations) from archival sources. Among the patent quality indicators, both the length of patent renewal and the size of the patent family indicate that a patent has been commercialized. Patent renewal for at least 6 years is sufficient to predict an accurate probability of commercialization. Furthermore, patent renewal is the only indicator revealing whether commercialization is successful or not. Forward citations have a weak relationship with both commercialization and successful innovation, which may reflect the fact that citations are outside the control of the patentees. Although the correlations of the patent value indicators with technological innovation are noisy, this study provides stronger empirical support for the true relative value of different indicators with respect to innovation.

        • IP Waiver during COVID Pandemic – Salvage or Apostacy ? [Ed: Why refer to patents as "IP"? Also, why kill millions of people for profit? These are ethical issues and they make people understand that patents are ethically problematic.]

          This article explains an IP waiver will have a limited impact on meeting the emergency medical requirements. That being so why are countries like India and South Africa putting extreme diplomatic efforts to succeed in this Patent waiver initiative? There is no clear answer. I tempt believe, more than seeking an immediate relief, it is an apostolic behaviour towards this rotten IP regime. I wish it leads to a larger debate on Intellectual Property rights and inequities of the IP regime and the TRIPs agreement. Many, including me, believe that the TRIPS agreement merely provided an advantage to industrialized countries. It has only helped in intellectual colonisation. TRIPs enslaved poor and underdeveloped countries and consistently made them dependant on the mercy of larger industrialized economies for technologies. It retarded innovation in less privileged economies.

          The current patent system is facilitating the evergreening of patent protection. Creating patent thickets, pooling the patents, generating unfair advantage for themselves and depriving an equal opportunity to new entrants and startups. Many say that the duration of a patent granted is more than what is proportionate to the economic value of the effort. We need to remember that patent as a concept evolved as a reward for disclosure for facilitating further innovation. However, over a period of time, it has become a tool to impose monopoly and prevent competition. In many sectors, technology becomes obsolete in less than five years and granting a patent for 20 years is merely helping to prevent new technology innovations. Yes, discussion on patent waiver helps in creating a platform for discussion for overhauling the IP regime. If that is the real intent, then worth appreciation on that count.

        • UK: Medical Technology Most Patented Subject Matter At EPO In 2020 [Ed: Most monopolised: things that if not monopolised would have saved more people's lives]
        • Software Patents

          • Diehr Alice, Yu are Superimposing Novelty onto Patent Eligibility. Love, Newman. [Ed: Patent extremists only amplify the dissent, not the majority, in pursuit of some spin or slant that makes software patents seem legitimate]

            The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss on the basis that, under the two-step Alice analysis, the patent claims—directed to a digital camera—were directed to ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. €§ 101. Yu, et al. v. Apple Inc., et al., Case Nos. 20-1760; -1803 (Fed. Cir. June 11, 2021) (Prost, J.) (Newman, J., dissenting)

            The patent claim under consideration recited an “improved digital camera” that has two lenses, two image sensors, an analog-to-digital converter, a memory and a digital image processor for “producing a resultant digital image from said first digital image enhanced with said second digital image.” Yu conceded that “the idea and practice of using multiple pictures to enhance each other has been known by photographers for over a century” and that the components recited in the claim “are themselves generic and conventional.”

            Applying the Supreme Court’s two-step Alice v. CLS Bank test for determining patent eligible subject matter, the Federal Circuit determined at step one that the claim was “directed to the abstract idea of taking two pictures . . . and using one picture to enhance the other in some way.” At step two, the Court held that the claim failed to otherwise define a patent eligible invention because the digital camera “is recited at a high level of generality and merely invokes well-understood, routine, conventional components to apply the abstract idea of [using one picture to enhance the other in some way].” The Court rejected Yu’s attempts to use portions of the patent’s specification to support eligibility, explaining that the eligibility analysis is limited to the literal recitations of the asserted claims.

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