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Links 8/12/2021: FreeBSD 12.3, EasyOS 3.1.13, and WordPress 5.9 Beta 2

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Why The Librem 14 with QubesOS Exceeded My Expectations – Purism

        If you face extreme threats, or even if you are just looking for a high-security operating system for peace of mind, it’s hard to beat QubesOS. While it’s not as easy to use as our default PureOS, it offers a lot of advanced security features that, when combined with the advanced hardware and firmware security features of the Librem 14, makes for one of most secure computers out there.

        I have been using QubesOS as my primary OS for many years now, starting with the 3.x release on both my work (Thinkpad X230) and personal (Librem 13v1) computers. Over the last couple years my primary work machine has been a Librem 13v4 running Qubes with 16Gb RAM and solid-state storage. Starting this summer I moved to a Librem 14 for my work computer, our dream laptop that we designed (at least in part) to run Qubes well by adding a fast, 6-core/12-thread CPU and expansion up to 64GB RAM. I’ve been using this laptop constantly over the past few months and I’m convinced that the Librem 14 is the best laptop for Qubes. In this post I wanted to offer a brief retrospective on my experience running Qubes as my primary OS on my Librem 14 compared to past computers.


        I admit I had high expectations for running Qubes on the Librem 14 before I got it. After all, we did design it at least partially with running Qubes in mind. Having now used it for a number of months, I can say that it’s met and exceeded my expectations (and based on some of the feedback I’ve gotten from customers, I’m not the only one). It’s really nice to run Qubes on a machine not only with full hardware support, but also with horsepower to spare. Now that we are almost at shipping parity, and it’s a supported, pre-installed option here at Purism, if you have been curious to try Qubes out, I think the Librem 14 is the ideal platform.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel Posts Updated Driver & Sample Code For "Software Defined Silicon" - Phoronix

        Back in September Intel originally posted Linux patches for "Software Defined Silicon" for being able to activate extra CPU features present in the processor's silicon but not exposed by default unless the cryptographically secure process with this SDSi driver was performed. Intel appears to be moving toward allowing licensable processor features that can be activated after the fact and today a new version of that SDSi Linux driver appeared.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • EasyOS version 3.1.13 released

          Version 3.1.13 does not have SeaMonkey, instead has BlueGriffon HTML editor and Balsa email client. Let me know how they go. If any problems, they can be changed. I am planning to create Claws and Sylpheed email client PETs for comparison, as Balsa spam filtering seems a bit weak.

          I received an email that samba is still broken in 3.1.11. I didn't get time to check that one. So that is something we need to look at.

          I tested booting up in RAM (& optionally disable drives). Works fine, there is one error message during bootup about a missing file, but that doesn't matter.

          Getting closer to the next major release, that will be 3.2.

      • BSD

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora Linux 35 Release Party Recordings Available Now! – Fedora Community Blog

          The Fedora community celebrated the release of Fedora Linux 35 in the third installment of our virtual Release Parties on 12–13 November 2021. A big thank you to everyone who helped to build Fedora Linux 35 as well as the organizers, participants, and attendees at the event! The recordings are now available for viewing in a YouTube Playlist. We had 12 info sessions, 3 socials, and the Fedora Museum WorkAdventure for the “Hallway Track”. We also had a session of the virtual team building event “Beat the Bomb“—a collaborative gaming activity that resulted in hilarity and chaos!

        • Fedora 36 Planning To Run Wayland By Default With NVIDIA's Proprietary Driver - Phoronix

          While all of the software components are out there now for being able to run NVIDIA's proprietary driver stack with modern (GBM-based) Wayland compositors by default, including XWayland support, Fedora Workstation currently defaults to using an X.Org based session with the green binary blob. However, for Fedora 36 next spring they are planning on using the Wayland-based desktop here too.

          Fedora Workstation for a while now has defaulted successfully to using the Wayland-based GNOME Shell desktop but with the NVIDIA proprietary driver they have kept to using the X.Org session. Thanks to the NVIDIA 495 series driver introducing GBM support and other improvements made to accelerated XWayland, etc, running NVIDIA's proprietary driver stack for daily Wayland-based desktop use is becoming viable.

        • Kafka Monthly Digest: November 2021

          This 46th edition of the Kafka Monthly Digest covers what happened in the Apache Kafka community in November 2021, including the imminent release of Apache Kafka 3.1.0, notable Kafka Improvement Proposals (KIPs), community project releases for Jikkou 0.7 and AKHQ 0.19.0, and more.

          For last month's digest, see Kafka Monthly Digest: October 2021.

        • Red Hat's CentOS Stream 9 Linux arrives | ZDNet

          Almost a year ago to the day, Red Hat changed CentOS from being a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) clone to being a developmental rolling Linux distribution, CentOS Stream. Many users weren't happy. As a result, several replacement CentOS/RHEL clones, such as AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux, got their start. But, Red Hat continued with its plans to use CentOS to foreshadow the next edition of RHEL. Now, the new CentOS project is showing off its latest and greatest in its first totally new release: CentOS 9.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Compute module and Hummingboard-T SBC showcase safety-conscious TI AM64x

        TI’s headless, 16nm FinFET fabricated AM64x runs Linux on 1x or 2x 1GHz Cortex-A53 cores and offers up to 4x 800MHz Cortex-R5F cores for real-time duty. The SoC also supplies up to 2x programmable real-time units (PRUs) for managing up to 4x GbE ports with time-sensitive networking (TSN) and fieldbus protocols.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 105
          • New JavaScript syntax support in add-on developer tools | Mozilla Add-ons Community Blog

            It’s been a year since we last added support for new JavaScript syntax to the add-ons linter. In that time we’ve used it to validate over 150,000 submissions to AMO totalling hundreds of millions of lines of code. But it has been a year, and with both Javascript and Firefox are constantly and quickly evolving, the list of JavaScript features Firefox supports and what the AMO linter allows have drifted apart.

            This drift is not an accident; Firefox and AMO don’t keep the same cadence on supported features, and this is deliberate. Upcoming JavaScript features are spread across different EcmaScript proposal stages, meaning different features are always in different stages of readiness. While Firefox often trials promising new JavaScript features that aren’t “finished” yet (stage 4 in the ECMAScript process) to better test their implementations and drive early adoption, the AMO team takes a different approach intended to minimize friction developers might face moving their addons between browsers. To that end, the AMO team only adds support for “finished”, stage 4 features to the linter.

      • Content Management Systems (CMS)

        • WordPress 5.9 Beta 2

          WordPress 5.9 Beta 2 is now available for testing!

          This software version is still under development. Please do not run this software on a production site. Instead, install it on a test site, where you can try out the newest features to get a feel for how they will work on your site.

          You can test the WordPress 5.9 Beta 2 in three ways:

          Option 1: Install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (select the “Bleeding edge” channel and “Beta/RC Only” stream).

          Option 2: Direct download the beta version here (zip).

          Option 3: When using WP-CLI to upgrade from Beta 1 to Beta 2 on a case-insensitive filesystem, please use the following command sequence: Command 1: wp core update –version=5.9-beta1

      • Funding

        • VR Platform ‘Decentraland’ Now a Patron Level ‘Blender’ Member

          Remember Second Life? Evidently virtual worlds are still a thing, and one of them, Decentraland, is now funding Blender, the popular open-source 3D computer graphics software used for creating everything from animated films to computer games (and yes, virtual reality), to the tune of $135,000 over the next two years.

          The cryptocurrency/blockchain based Decentraland platform, in which virtual real estate is acquired through blockchain-based purchases and deeded as non-fungible tokens, announced on Monday that it’s signed up to be a top level Patron sponsor of Blender for a two year period. In doing so, they join such A-list Patron level contributors as Unity, AMD, Facebook, NVIDIA, Amazon Web Services, Epic Games, and Apple.

      • FSF

        • Support the FSF through the GNU Press shop with great holiday picks

          Greetings from the GNU Press shop! My name is Davis Remmel, and I am excited to introduce myself as the new operations assistant at the Free Software Foundation (FSF). These past few weeks I've been working through our backlog of orders, and I'm pleased to say that we are just about caught up and processing new orders on our normal timeline.

          If you were thinking about getting a gift for that GNU-loving friend or family member, now is the time to place that order! If you're in the US, and if you place your order by Friday, December 17, there's a good chance that package will arrive on, or before, December 24.


          For privacy lovers (or those who have ever uttered the word, "cryptography"), we have a NeuG USB True Random Number Generator (RNG). Your cryptographic keys will be stronger than an ox, without any need to trust your CPU's definition of "random." I recommend this RNG in conjunction with our anti-surveillance webcam stickers, which don't leave residue and can also cover microphone holes.

      • Programming/Development

        • The Mocking will continue, until CI improves |

          One might think, this blog is exclusively about weird language behavior and yelling at computers… Well, welcome to another episode of Jackass!

          Today's opponent is Ruby, or maybe minitest , or maybe Mocha. I'm not exactly sure, but it was a rather amusing exercise and I like to share my nightmares ;)

          It all started with the classical "you're using old and unmaintained software, please switch to something new".

          The first attempt was to switch from the ci_reporter_minitest plugin to the minitest-ci plugin. While the change worked great for Foreman itself, it broke the reporting in Katello - the tests would run but no junit.xml was generated and Jenkins rightfully complained that it got no test results.

          While investigating what the hell was wrong, we realized that Katello was already using a minitest reporting plugin: minitest-reporters. Loading two different reporting plugins seemed like a good source for problems, so I tried using the same plugin for Foreman too.

          Guess what? After a bit of massaging (mostly to disable the second minitest-reporters initialization in Katello) reporting of test results from Katello started to work like a charm. But now the Foreman tests started to fail. Not fail to report, fail to actually run. WTH‽

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Gremlin detection bigly improved and a NUL problem avoided

            Gremlin" is my name for an invisible character other than a plain whitespace, a linefeed or a horizontal tab. Gremlins can cause errors in data processing and can also make it harder to detect duplicate records in a data table.

            A few years ago I wrote a gremlin-detector script (called "gremlins") for A Data Cleaner's Cookbook that works on UTF-8-encoded plain text files. The script has since had a few minor updates, but I've now rewritten "gremlins" from scratch to make it faster and more informative. This post explains the new script, which is presented in full at the bottom of this webpage.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • What Turkmenistan internet shutdowns tell us about digital repression in Central Asia - Access Now

        Turkmenistan internet shutdowns are extreme. Today, any social media platform, foreign media outlet, or website that provides information criticizing the current regime is shut down. Not only are sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Wikipedia banned, the government also blocks sites that offer circumvention tools like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). What’s more, Turkmenistan residents are asked to swear on the Quran not to use the circumvention tools while signing up for a home internet connection, while students are asked to make declarations pledging to use the internet only for “educational purposes.”

        Unfortunately, we are seeing a similar pattern of disproportionate online censorship in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. In response to protests, authorities have cut internet access for 13 days in the Tajik town of Khorog, forcing locals to travel hundreds of kilometers to neighboring cities to get connected. Deprived of their ability to continue their studies online, do business, or communicate with loved ones, people are experiencing stress and frustration while getting no answers from local telecommunication companies about when the situation will improve.

        In extremely restrictive environments like these, ordinary citizens, activists, and journalists are sharply limited in their possibilities to speak freely. The Tajikistan and Turkmenistan internet shutdowns are a sign of growing digital repression in Central Asia. The international community must speak out for those denied internet access, free use of VPNs to seek information, and the ability to share critical thoughts online.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Looking for Work? Electronic Frontier Foundation Has a $100,000 Job Opening

        “This is a two-year fellowship with the potential to be extended for one to two additional years,” EFF said in a job posting on its website. “The ideal candidate will act as a public advocate helping establish EFF as a leader in the civil liberties implications of decentralizing the Internet. You’ll help chart a course for EFF to have a big impact in the public conversations about decentralization of the Internet and how it fits into our mission of ensuring technology supports freedom, justice, and innovation for all people of the world.”

      • ‘It took only four false witnesses to ruin my life’: In an open letter from jail, blogger Yuri Khovansky shares how investigators are pressuring his loved ones

        Blogger Yuri Khovansky, currently in pre-trial detention on charges of justifying terrorism, penned an open letter from jail, where he has been since June. In the text, Khovansky says investigators threatened him with serious prison time when he refused a plea bargain. Officers also allegedly promised “problems” for his girlfriend, Maria Nelyubova (who spoke about this before). Khovansky says the authorities suggested that they would plant drugs on her. Meduza is publishing a translation of Khovansky’s letter.€ 

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • EPO President meets the Commissioner of the Korean Patent Office [Ed: This is false. He did not meet him. They had a webchat. EPO "news" section is a stream of lies and notice how he promotes software patents in Korea]

          Today, EPO President António Campinos met online with Dr Kim Yong Rae, Commissioner of the Korean Patent Office (KIPO). Mr Campinos and Dr Kim took stock of the fruitful collaboration between the two offices and launched the first EPO-KIPO study, a comparative study on computer-implemented inventions (CIIs). The publication aims to provide applicants and practitioners with clear and useful insights into each office's examination practices in this rapidly growing area.

          The study first outlines and compares the respective approaches to examining CIIs. It then focuses on ten example cases that have been analysed in parallel by experts from the EPO and KIPO. These examples were carefully selected by both offices to reflect the range of CIIs for which patent applications are often filed. The cases therefore span areas such as artificial intelligence, graphical user interfaces, speech processing, e-commerce and telecommunications.

          As shown in the study, the EPO and KIPO use overlapping yet different sets of criteria to assess the patentability of CIIs. In practice, this leads to outcomes which are largely comparable, but not always completely aligned. Therefore, when drafting CII-related patent applications, applicants and practitioners may benefit from taking into consideration the two offices' different approaches.

        • EPO user survey: ViCo oral proceedings continue (to divide opinion) [Ed: EPO produces lies to 'legitimise' utterly illegal policies]

          Following the decision of the EBA in G 1/21 on the legality of mandatory ViCo oral proceedings, the EPO has continued with ViCo proceedings before the Boards of Appeal. The EPO has also now released a report of the user survey of the opposition division (OD) ViCo pilot program. As with the EBA decision in G 1/21, both supporters and critics of ViCo oral proceedings will find evidence in the report to bolster their position. Nonetheless, the user survey results are broadly positive, even if they are not quite the unequivocally glowing endorsement of ViCo that the EPO, with its usual positivity, has concluded.


          The EBA decision in G 1/21 was presented in such a way that both sides of the debate on ViCo were able to claim a victory of sorts. Proponents of ViCo were able to point to a clear order by the EBA that ViCo proceedings were permitted, at least during the pandemic. Critics of ViCo seized on the EBA language that in-person proceedings should be preferred in the absence of a general emergency and in view of the current limitations in ViCo technology. Notably, whilst the EBA decision in G 1/21 did not explicitly address the legality of mandatory ViCo proceedings in Opposition, the advantages and disadvantages of ViCo highlighted by the EBA appear as applicable to the OD as they do to the Boards of Appeal.


          Even the most ardent supporters of ViCo would probably admit that the EPO report glosses over some of the legitimate criticisms of ViCo. The direct quotes of user feedback provided in the report are all positive and this Kat finds it hard to believe that there was no negative feedback that could have been quoted for balance. Nonetheless, however much it may be argued that the EPO report sugar-coated the data, it is undeniable that the majority of users responding to the survey were in favour of ViCo. Particularly, it is clear from the report that there is a good deal of support for the continuation of ViCo proceedings even after the state of general emergency impairing parties ability to attend in-person proceedings has passed.

          It would have been interesting to see the breakdown of responses to the survey by country. Anecdotally, representatives of German patent firms have been particularly vociferous in their objection to ViCo. A cynic might say that this is unsurprising, given that a move to ViCo removes some of the competitive advantage these firms have for being located within striking distance of the EPO. On the flip side, UK professional representatives (including CIPA itself) have come out broadly in favour of ViCo. Was the positive feedback on ViCo driven by the majority UK respondents?

          Interestingly, in its conclusion, the report took pains to highlight that the reasoning in G 1/21 on the primacy of in-person proceedings only explicitly applies to Boards of Appeal proceedings and not to opposition proceedings. The report also noted that the reasons for which the EBA found that in-person proceedings should be the default, namely the current limitations of ViCo technology, may be overcome both by improvements in technology as well as the increased familiarity of parties with the technology. Here we see how the EPO might seek to overcome the EBA's clear direction that in-person proceedings should be the default post-pandemic, e.g. by citing an improvement in the technology. Nonetheless, as Germany begins suffering a fourth wave of coronavirus infections, we can be confident that ViCo proceedings are here to stay for the immediate future. The results of the user survey at least provide comfort that the majority of users haven't found ViCo to be a barrier to justice.

        • DLA Piper hires life sciences partner in London [Ed: JUVE continues with faker and faker news or ads/spam disguised as reporting, as if hiring one 'low-level' worker is "news" and mentioning that is "journalism"]

          Rebecca Lawrence (47) will expand the firm’s life sciences litigation practice in London. She brings more than 20 years of experience to the firm, but has not worked in patent law for the past four years.

          Rebecca Lawrence has a background in biological science. She began her career in 1998 at Linklaters, where she was active in IP in the life sciences sector from a very early stage. During her time in the full-service firm’s IP team, she played a role in the high-profile patent litigation between Linklaters client American Home Products and Bristows client Novartis. The case concerned rapamycin, a drug used to suppress transplant rejection.

          In 2000, Lawrence joined the renowned IP boutique Bristows, then moved to competitor Powell Gilbert in 2007. She became partner in 2008. Her work there included acting for Monsanto in its dispute against Cargill over glyphosate-resistant enzymes in plants. In addition to litigation for other well-known clients, including Boehringer Ingelheim, Krka and Dr. Reddy’s, she also advised on biosimilars.

        • EPO, JPO, USPTO discuss co-operation in the digital environment [Ed" Notice the EPO's greenwashing of monopolies such as "IP and environmental issues." Lots more can be said about this typical EPO 'fluff'; PR on overdrive this past fortnight... maybe because of the impending AC meeting]

          The heads of the European Patent Office (EPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO) and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), known as the Trilateral offices, held their 39th annual meeting in the form of videoconference today (7 December), hosted by the JPO. At the meeting, EPO President António Campinos, JPO Commissioner MORI Kiyoshi, and USPTO (Performing the functions and duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, Office of the Under Secretary and Director) Drew Hirshfeld, discussed the outcome of their recent meeting with the Trilateral industry associations, reviewed the digitalisation of procedures at each office and spoke about the possibility of future Trilateral co-operation on Intellectual Property (IP) and environmental issues.

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