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Links 23/10/2022: RIP, Wolfgang Denk (U-Boot) and EasyOS 4.4.3

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Wolfgang Denk
        Dear U-Boot community,

        it is my very sad duty to inform you that Wolfgang Denk, the father of U-Boot, passed away last week. We have lost a great developer and a very good friend.

        I met Wolfgang the first time quite 25 years ago, when we worked for the same company. I was hired as consultant for a (at the time very frequently used) RTOS. I had no time to introduce me, because Wolfgang interrupted me with : "Just install Linux !". Well, of course I did. It was the first good suggestion he gave me. Many others followed.

        Wolfgang was a pioneer and strong supporter of Open Source, in the time when Linux for Embedded System started its first steps. In many occasions he had strong discussions with customers to explain the advantages of Open Source, and he rejected business contracts if customer was going against his principles. We will miss him.

        Rest in peace, my friend

        Stefano Babic
      • LWNMourning Wolfgang Denk

        The U-Boot list carries the sad news that Wolfgang Denk, the founder of the U-Boot project, has passed away.

      • Linus Torvalds Officially Kicks off Development Cycle for Linux Kernel 6, Release Candidate (RC) Announced - LinuxWizardry

        Linus Torvalds in typically fashion has officially kicked off the development cycle of what would be the latest version of the Linux 6.1 kernel series and announced today the general availability for public testing of the first Release Candidate (RC) milestone.

        The two-week merge window that opened with the release of Linux kernel 6.0 on October 2nd is now officially closed and it’s time to get an early taste of the next major release, Linux kernel 6.1.

        The first Release Candidate (RC) of Linux kernel 6.1 is out now and ready for testers, early adopters, and bleeding-edge users who want to get a glimpse of what’s about to be included in the final release, which is expected in early or mid-December 2022.

        The biggest new feature of Linux 6.1 would be the merge of the Rust infrastructure code. However, while this sounds very exciting for some Rust developers out there, it’s only a very basic implementation of support for the Rust programming language that can’t be used for real-world use cases at the moment.

    • Applications

      • LinuxiacPowerDNS 4.7 Authoritative Server Brings Support for Catalog Zones

        Improved LUA records, LMDB backend improvements, and support for Catalog Zones are among the new features in PowerDNS 4.7.

        PowerDNS is a free and open-source authoritative DNS server that can be used in place of the standard BIND DNS server. It provides better performance while requiring less memory.

        On top of that, PowerDNS has a significant advantage in that, in addition to the conventional basic zone files, it supports a wide range of backends such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, LDAP, LMDB, and others.

        The new just-released PowerdDNS 4.7 brings some improvements and new features, so let’s look at them.

      • PowerDNSAuthoritative Server 4.7.0 | PowerDNS Blog

        This is the release of version 4.7.0 of the Authoritative Server.

        4.7.0 brings support for Catalog Zones, developed by Kees Monshouwer. As part of that development, the freshness checks in the Primary code were reworked, reducing them from doing potentially thousands of SQL queries (if you have thousands of domains) to only a few. Installations with lots of domains will benefit greatly from this, even without using catalog zones.

        4.7.0 also brings back GSS-TSIG support, previously removed for quality reasons, now reworked with many stability improvements.

      • DAOS Version 2.2 Release Notes

        We are pleased to announce the release of DAOS version 2.2.

      • Marcos Costales: Clipboard content to file. New app

        A simple, easy, fast and useful way to paste your clipboard content (text or image) into a file!

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • LinuxConfigHow to upgrade Ubuntu from 22.04 to 22.10

        Ubuntu 22.10 Kinetic Kudu is officially out. This is the latest version of Ubuntu and was released on October 20, 2022. Ubuntu 22.10 is an interim release of Ubuntu, meaning that it is different from a long term support release. It will be supported for nine months with updates. Users of Ubuntu 22.04 can upgrade to Ubuntu 22.10 to see all the new features right now.

        In this tutorial, we will cover the step by step instructions to upgrade your Ubuntu system to version 22.10 Kinetic Kudu, which is the latest interim release. Are you ready to enjoy all the new features of Ubuntu 22.10 Kinetic Kudu? Follow our step by step instructions below and you will be upgraded to the new version of Ubuntu in no time.

      • LinuxConfigHow to integrate dialog boxes in shell scripts with Whiptail

        The ability to create secure shell scripts is essential not only for system administrators, but also for users who wants to automate repetitive tasks. Sometimes, from our shell scripts, we need to provide the user with some kind of information, ask him/her to provide some input, choose from a set of alternatives, or just ask for his/her confirmation before performing a potentially dangerous operation. All those actions, can be performed from the command line, of course, but to make our scripts more user-friendly, we can use of Whiptail to customize and display textual widgets.

        In this article we see how can we make our scripts more user-friendly by using textual widgets created with Whiptail.

      • Terence EdenHOWTO: Remove the Blubrry PowerPress "New!" Banner

        The best thing about WordPress is the plugin infrastructure. A million little gadgets to make your blog better.

        Sadly, there are all sorts of ways plugin authors can abuse their privileges. Dodgy code and user-hostile features sometimes make plugins more trouble than they're worth.

      • TechTargetLearn how to bootstrap Kubernetes clusters with kubeadm

        In this guide, learn to create, configure and run a Kubernetes cluster from scratch with kubeadm, a command-line tool that simplifies and automates cluster setup and management.

      • CitizixHow to install and configure Squid Proxy on Alma/Rocky Linux 9

        In this guide we will learn how to install and configure Squid Proxy server on a Rocky Linux 9 server. This guide also works on other RHEL 9 based distros like Alma Linux and Oracle Linux. Squid is a caching proxy for the Web supporting HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, and more.

      • H2S MediaHow to Zip and Unzip Files in Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Linux

        Learn the commands to install Zip and Unzip in Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Jammy JellyFish to extract the compressed files and folders archived in a ZIP format.

        This tutorial will help the users to learn the command to ZIP and unzip in Ubuntu Terminal. Zip is a command Archive format that can be used on almost all operating systems to use, especially on Windows. However, all Linux distros don’t have a tool to extract the Zip format files by default, for example, Ubuntu (especially the minimal installation). In such as case we manually have to install a command line tool to extract our files.

      • H2S MediaHow to Install Jupyter on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Linux - Linux Shout

        Tutorial to learn the steps involve in the installation of Jupyter Notebook on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa using the command Terminal.

        What is Jupyter Notebook?

        The Jupyter Project is a non-profit initiative that aims to develop and provide open-source software and open standards for interactive work. One of the most famous products of the project is Jupyter Notebook. It is software for sharing and creating interactive worksheets that work on the client-server principle. In a Jupyter notebook, numbers, text, graphics, and executable program code can be combined and made available to users. Other products include JupyterLab, JupyterHub, and Voilà.

      • Make Use OfHow to Use the wc Command in Linux

        Linux provides a vast number of command-line tools to help simplify your everyday tasks. One of these tools is the wc command.

        wc is your go-to command when you need to know the number of words in a file or even how many files exist in a particular directory. But that's not all the wc command does. Read on to discover what the wc command is and how to use it effectively on Linux.

      • ID RootHow To Install SELinux on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install SELinux on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, SELinux is not installed by default in Ubuntu. Security Enhanced Linux is primarily used by the Red Hat-based Linux distributions, which include Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, and Fedora. Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) is a security architecture for Linux systems that allows administrators to have more control over who can access the system.

        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 SELinux on Ubuntu 22.04 (Jammy Jellyfish). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 22.04 and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint, Elementary OS, Pop!_OS, and more as well.

      • ID RootHow To Install Laravel on Rocky Linux 9 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Laravel on Rocky Linux 9. For those of you who didn’t know, Laravel is a popular open-source PHP framework for developers looking to build modern web applications based on PHP. It provides a meaningful and creative syntax for simplifying common tasks such as authentication, routing, sessions, working with databases, and more.

        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 Laravel PHP Framework on Rocky Linux. 9.

      • Barry KaulerHow to give a user full root privileges

        In EasyOS, you run as the administrator, also known as "root", with the ability to run network-facing apps as non-root, or in containers as "crippled root" or user "spot".

        Some apps will object to being run as root, putting up a warning message, or requiring a special commandline parameter, or even refusing to run. They will even do this in a container, as they just check that UID == 0 and are not aware that it is a "cripple root" environment.

        VLC media player is the only app I know of that tries to detect if running in a container and if so will allow to run as root. I say "tries" because it only detects two or three mainstream containers; I recall Docker was one of them. Unfortunately, it does not know about EasyContainers, so aborts -- we have to patch VLC to not abort when run as root.

      • UNIX CopHow to install SQLite on CentOS 9 Stream / Fedora 36

        We already know that CentOS 9 Stream / Fedora 36 is a system desired by many developers to do their work. That’s why today you will learn how to install SQLite on CentOS 9 Stream. The process is simple, but it is always good to read a tutorial.

      • KifarunixDelete Specific Records from Elasticsearch Index -

        This is a simple tutorial on how to search and delete specific records from Elasticsearch index.

      • OMG UbuntuHow to See Battery Time Remaining in GNOME Quick Settings - OMG! Ubuntu!

        Ubuntu doesn’t show your laptop battery percentage by default, but it does give you an option to turn it on via Settings > Power — which is great.

        But what about estimated time remaining?

        On Ubuntu 22.04 LTS (and earlier) this is available to see in the Status Menu. Just open the menu and look at the battery row and, lo, an estimate of how much longer your device will last before it nopes out and needs to be connected to a power source.

        In Ubuntu 22.10 that estimate is gone. The old masonry Status Menu is replaced by the new, pod-style Quick Settings menu, which shows battery percentage by default. To get an idea of figure of precisely how much longer your battery is going to chug along you now have to open Settings > Power.

        Now, I must stress: Quick Settings isn’t feature complete yet. GNOME devs are going to refine the form and functionality of it over the next few GNOME releases, adding new features and further finessing the design.

        In the mean time, if you want to see remaining battery time in GNOME 43’s Quick Settings menu instead of a battery percentage, there’s a third-party GNOME extension that (re)enables it.

      • AddictiveTipsHow to flash SD card images on a Chromebook

        If you’re a Chromebook user and need to flash an operating system image to an SD card, you’re in luck. As it turns out, you can use the Chrome OS recovery tool to flash custom operating system images.

        This guide will show you how to use the official Chrome OS recovery tool to flash custom OS images to SD cards. Ensure you have an SD card reader and a compatible SD card to use with Chrome OS.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • DedoimedoThe Unity desktop in 2022 - A trick of nostalgia or the real deal?

        Human memory is tricky, be it collective or individual. The reason is, we tend to forget the fine details of past experiences, which sort of grants us an average "picture" of these recollections. This means we normalize all but the most extraordinary events in our memories. However, because instinctively we also pay more attention to negative things surrounding us right now (as they could be dangerous), ergo bad stuff, and the future is uncertain, ergo possibly more bad stuff, we automatically associate positive values to things that have already happened, i.e., not so bad stuff. Hence, we all have our share of "good ole days".

        This also applies to software. One could say, by and large, the new stuff is better. Well, spoiler, it isn't really, especially not in the realm of code, but let's pretend the world is better than it is so you can actually enjoy this article in the fullest. Indeed, in some cases, justifiably, old software ideas and concepts, programs and desktops included, might have been better in various ways than what we have today. Thus, a simple question: Is the Unity desktop any good, for real, still? To answer that, I took Ubuntu Unity for a spin. Follow me.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOMEPost Collapse Computing Part 3: Building Resilience - Space and Meaning

          Producing power locally is comparatively doable given the right equipment, but internet access is contingent on lots of infrastructure both locally and across the globe. This is why reducing dependence on connectivity is probably the most important challenge for resilience.

          Unfortunately we’ve spent the past few decades making software ever more reliant on having fast internet access, all the time. Many of the apps people spend all day in are unusable without an internet connection. So what would be the opposite of that? Is anyone working in the direction of minimizing reliance on the network?

          As it turns out, yes! It’s called “local-first”. The idea is that instead of the primary copy of your data being on a server and local apps acting as clients to it, the client is the primary source of truth. The network is only used optionally for syncing and collaboration, with potential conflicts automatically resolved using CRDTs. This allows for superior UX because you’re not waiting on the network, better privacy because you can end-to-end encrypt everything, and better handling of low-connectivity cases. All of this is of course technically very challenging, and there aren’t many implementations of it in production today, but the field is growing and maturing quickly.

          Among the most prominent proponents of the local-first idea are the community around the Ink & Switch research lab and Muse, a sketching/knowledge work app for Apple platforms. However, there’s also prior work in this direction from the GNOME community: There’s Christian Hergert’s Bonsai, the Endless content apps, and it’s actually one of the GNOME Foundation’s newly announced goals to enable more people to build local-first apps.

          For more on local-first software, I recommend watching Rob’s GUADEC talk (Recording on Youtube), reading the original paper on local-first software (2019), or listening to this episode of the Metamuse podcast (2021) on the subject.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

    • New Releases

      • Peropesis 1.8 released: GNU gcc and g++ compilers

        In the Peropesis 1.8 release, the GNU gcc and g++ compilers with the infrastructure they need were installed.

        New software installed: 1. GNU Binutils 2.39. Binutils are a set of programming tools for creating and managing binary programs, object files, libraries, profile data, and assembly source code. 2. GNU GCC 12.2.0. GNU Compiler Collection is a compilers suite that supports many languages, such as ada,c,c++,d,fortran,go,lto,objc,obj-c++. 3. GNU GMP 6.2.1. GNU MP is a library for arbitrary precision arithmetic, operating on signed integers, rational numbers, and floating point numbers. 4. ISL 0.24. isl is a thread-safe C library for manipulating sets and relations of integer points bounded by affine constraints. 5. GNU MPC 1.2.1. GNU MPC is a C library for the arithmetic of complex numbers with arbitrarily high precision and correct rounding of the result. 5. GNU MPFR 4.1.0. The MPFR library is a C library for multiple-precision floating-point computations with correct rounding. 6. Also and libraries from elfutils 0.187 software package and library from flex 2.6.4 software package were added.

        Updated Linux kernel (6.0.2 v.). List of

      • Barry KaulerEasyOS version 4.4.3 released

        Due to a major change that is intended to take place, 4.4.3 will be the last release for awhile

    • Slackware Family

      • Eric HameleersFirst package for Calibre6 in my repository | Alien Pastures

        Not so very long after I was finally able to produce my first packages for Calibre 5.x, Kovid Goyal ended that development cycle and bumped his e-book management application’s major version number to “6” in order to make a switch from Qt5 to Qt6 as its graphical engine.

        The main hurdle for me when the upgrade from Calibre 4.x to 5.x happened was that internally, Calibre switched from Python2 to Python3. Essentially the whole of Calibre is written in Python and it uses PyQt to build the graphical interface using Qt widgets.

        It took me a lot of work to re-write the calibre.SlackBuild to also make that Python switch. After all, my single calibre package is actually getting built from many sources (44 tarballs for Calibre 4, 55 tarballs for Calibre 5) and a lot of those had to be replaced to work with Python3. Moving my calibre.SlackBuild to Python3 took so much effort that I decided to apply some simplification as well: I removed the script’s ability to build its own Qt5 libraries from source, instead I let my calibre-5.x packages depend on the qt5 package which is already present in the Slackware OS since release 15.0. Naturally I was not looking forward to doing the same cumbersome and time-consuming exercise again, now having to figure out the intricacies of Qt6, a graphical toolkit I had never built or used before.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • TechTargetWhat is a Raspberry Pi used for?

        IT infrastructure can get expensive fast, making single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi appealing for small projects. Learn what a Raspberry Pi does and explore IT use cases.

      • Make Tech EasierHow to Set Up Raspberry Pi OS on a Raspberry Pi - Make Tech Easier

        If you’re looking to get cracking on a Raspberry Pi project, the Debian-based Raspberry Pi OS (previously called Raspbian) should be on your radar. It’s optimized to run on Raspberry Pi’s hardware, and it bundles a lot of useful software to help you get started. This makes it a great go-to OS for Pi consumers at any experience level. Here, we show you how to set up Raspberry Pi OS on a Raspberry Pi.

        The below instructions apply to installing Raspberry Pi OS on a Pi that can be connected to a screen, keyboard and mouse. If you want to do a headless install, you’ll need to look up instructions for enabling Wi-Fi and SSH by editing files on the system’s microSD card.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • ArduinoPlumbing valves make great heavy duty analog inputs | Arduino Blog

        Most of your Arduino projects will require inputs and buttons are always the obvious choice. But most of the buttons and switches on the market meant for low-voltage DC projects are quite delicate. That makes them unsuitable for applications that need to withstand heavy-handed use. YouTuber Alistair Aitchison of Playful Technology designs interactive puzzles for escape rooms and knows a thing or two about building robust interfaces. He came up with an interesting technique that you can steal, which repurposes plumbing valves as analog inputs.

        Plumbing valves like the kind shown in the video contain either knobs or levers that gradually open interior gates to increase water flow. Like a variable resistor, they allow for many “values” (water flow rates) between LOW and HIGH (closed and open). One could measure the water flow rate through a valve connected to the type to get a value, but that is complicated and messy. Alistair’s method is far more elegant: measure light intensity through the valve.

    • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Events

      • Volker KrauseVolker Krause: OSM Indoor Mapping Workshop Recap

        Last weekend I attended an OpenStreetMap workshop about indoor mapping hosted by the German Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy in Frankfurt. After having started to use OSM indoor data in 2020 for KDE Itinerary this was my first opportunity to actually meet other people working on that subject in person.


      • KDE OfficialKDE's Google Summer of Code 2022 Projects: Final Report |

        Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global, online event that focuses on bringing new contributors into open source software development. Like every year, KDE applied and aimed to integrate more and more developers. In 2022, KDE's participation in GSoC covered nine projects to improve KDE, of which six were successfully completed.

        Snehit Sah worked on adding Spaces Support to NeoChat. Spaces is a Matrix tool that allows you to discover new rooms by exploring areas, and is also a way to organize your rooms by categories. The code is still not merged to the main branch.

    • Content Management Systems (CMS)

      • Linux Links5 Best Free and Open Source Nim Static Site Generators

        A static site works very well in certain use cases. For example, it’s great for documentation. And static sites can be just as engaging as dynamic sites. The only real difference is that all the HTML is generated before being uploaded.

        To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 5 best Nim static site generators. All of these tools are released under a freely distributable license. Here’s our verdict.

    • GNU Projects

    • Licensing / Legal

      • Bryan LundukeLunduke's Normal Computing News - Oct 19, 2022

        A new website has launched to collect stories of people who believe their licenses and copyrights have been violated by Microsoft’s GitHub Copilot.

        “We’re inves€­ti€­gat€­ing a poten€­tial law€­suit against GitHub Copi€­lot for vio€­lat€­ing its legal duties to open-source authors and end users.”

        “Microsoft and OpenAI must be rely€­ing on a fair-use argu€­ment. In fact we know this is so, because for€­mer GitHub CEO Nat Fried€­man claimed dur€­ing the Copi€­lot tech€­ni€­cal pre€­view that “train€­ing [machine-learn€­ing] sys€­tems on pub€­lic data is fair use”.

        Well—is it? The answer isn’t a mat€­ter of opin€­ion; it’s a mat€­ter of law. Nat€­u€­rally, Microsoft, OpenAI, and other researchers have been pro€­mot€­ing the fair-use argu€­ment. Nat Fried€­man fur€­ther asserted that there is “jurispru€­dence” on fair use that is “broadly relied upon by the machine[-]learn€­ing com€­mu€­nity”. But Soft€­ware Free€­dom Con€­ser€­vancy dis€­agreed, and pressed Microsoft for evi€­dence to sup€­port its posi€­tion. Accord€­ing to SFC direc€­tor Bradley Kuhn:”

    • Programming/Development

      • Mark DominusTree search in Haskell

        To use this, you provide two callback functions. $is_good checks whether the current item has the properties we were searching for. $children_of takes an item and returns its children in the tree.


        I felt a little bit silly, because I wrote a book about lazy functional programming and yet somehow, it’s not the glue I reach for first when I need glue.

      • the sticky mark-bit algorithm -- wingolog

        A funny post today; I gave an internal presentation at work recently describing the so-called "sticky mark bit" algorithm. I figured I might as well post it here, as a gift to you from your local garbage human.

        Before diving in though, we start with some broad context about automatic memory management. The term mostly means "garbage collection" these days, but really it describes a component of a system that provides fresh memory for new objects and automatically reclaims memory for objects that won't be needed in the program's future. This stands in contrast to manual memory management, which relies on the programmer to free their objects.

        Of course, automatic memory management ensures some valuable system-wide properties, like lack of use-after-free vulnerabilities. But also by enlarging the scope of the memory management system to include full object lifetimes, we gain some potential speed benefits, for example eliminating any cost for free, in the case of e.g. a semi-space collector.


        Going a bit deeper, here we have some basic implementations of mark and sweep. Marking starts with the roots: edges from outside the automatically-managed heap indicating a set of initial live objects. You might get these by maintaining a stack of objects that are currently in use. Then it traces references from these roots to other objects, until there are no more references to trace. It will visit each live object exactly once, and so is O(n) in the number of live objects.

        Sweeping requires the ability to iterate the heap. With the precondition here that collect is only ever called with an empty freelist, it will clear the mark bit from each live object it sees, and otherwise add newly-freed objects to the global freelist. Sweep is O(n) in total heap size, but some optimizations can amortize this cost.

      • Perl / Raku

        • DEV CommunityElizabeth Mattijsen: Don't fear the grepper! (2)

          This blog post is a follow-up on Don't fear the grepper! (1), recommended to read first if you haven't already.


          I was in fact not telling the entire truth. The grep subroutine / method will take just about anything as the argument to filter on (not just a piece of code), in a process called "smart-matching".

          Smart-matching basically is a form of comparison of two objects that somehow decides whether there is a match or not. The most visible form of that is the ~~ infix operator, but that is basically just syntactic sugar for an underlying mechanism.

      • Python

      • R

        • A dbplyr-based Address Matching Package

          Matching address records from one table to another is a common and often repeated task. This is easy when address strings can be matched exactly, although not so easy when they cannot be matched exactly. An overarching issue is that an address string may be spelt (or misspelt) in multiple ways across multiple records. Despite this, we may want to know which records are likely to be same address in another table, even though these addresses do not share the exact same spelling.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Tim BrayLong Links

        I was fascinated by The Thorny Problem of Keeping the Internet’s Time, in which no less than the New Yorker features NTP, the protocol and software by which any computer connected to the Internet knows the right time to within a tiny fraction of a second off what the best atomic clocks say. What’s interesting here isn’t NTP itself, but the people who’ve built and run it, and most of all, the way the world of geekery is presented in a prestigious publication addressed at intelligent non-technical people.

  • Leftovers

    • Matt RickardDefaults

      Most people choose the default option. It's why Google pays Apple $15 billion a year to remain the default Safari search engine. You can see the effects in programs that are default opt-in vs. opt-out – 401k programs, organ donation, and more.

      Defaults in technology can sometimes be stronger than network effects for platforms. Default, pre-installed applications – Notes, Mail, Maps, on iPhone.

    • Kev QuirkIt’s all Gone Quiet Over Here

      I’ve got some personal stuff going on, as well as a family, a busy job and a house move. Hopefully the sale will complete in a couple days from this post going live and normal service will resume. Pinky promise.

    • Kevin NormanConvincing a Scammer That They’re Going Crazy

      According to, scambaiting is “enter[ing] into a dialogue with scammers, simply to waste their time and resources. Whilst you are doing this, you will be helping to keep the scammers away from real potential victims and screwing around with the minds of deserving thieves”. These scammers aim to take advantage of the elderly, people with disabilities, and others. I occasionally engage in scambaiting, but particularly enjoyed the encounter I document here.

      I received a message concerning a computer case I was attempting to sell on Gumtree. I’d listed it about 15 minutes prior to the message arriving.

    • Science

      • ACMAssessing the Quantum-Computing Landscape

        An emerging discourse in both popular and academic literature now exists regarding the potentially game-changing impact of quantum computing and quantum communications.6,18 Perceived returns on investment in quantum computing and its potential to disrupt the current classical digital-computing landscape has intensified competition amongst the so-called big tech companies and selected high-performing start-ups to deliver a functional quantum computer.15,17 While several software tools have been made available either freely or on an open source basis, most research and development on hardware by big tech companies and start-ups remains proprietary. This makes it challenging to realistically assess available quantum-computing capabilities and to distinguish the hype from market realities.1,23 Despite increasing, potentially unrealistic expectations and timelines associated with quantum computing,14,38 there appear to be a limited number of studies assessing the technology landscape from a market perspective as of 2021–2022.

      • ACMDeep Learning is Human, Through and Through

        It was 10 years ago, in 2012, that deep learning made its breakthrough, when an innovative algorithm for classifying images based on multi-layered neural networks suddenly turned out to do spectacularly better than all algorithms before it. That breakthrough has led to deep learning's adoption in domains like speech and image recognition, automatic translation and transcription, and robotics.

        As deep learning was embedded into ever-more everyday applications, more and more examples of what can go wrong also surfaced: artificial intelligence (AI) systems that discriminate, confirm stereotypes, make inscrutable decisions and require a lot of data and sometimes also a huge amount of energy.

        In this context, the 9th Heidelberg Laureate Forum organized a panel discussion on the applications and implications of deep learning for an audience of some 200 young researchers from more than 50 countries. The panel included Turing Award recipients Yoshua Bengio, Yann LeCun, and Raj Reddy, 2011 ACM Prize in Computing recipient Sanjeev Arora, and researchers Shannon Vallor, Been Kim, Dina Machuve, and Shakir Mohamed. Katherine Gorman moderated the discussion.

    • Education

      • ButtondownTeaching Accidental and Essential Complexity

        So you may know that I’m teaching a 1-day TLA+ workshop in December (just 10 slots left!) This is unlike my normal workshops because it’s only 1 day and for 35 people instead of 3.1 The two workshops share almost no content between them. To understand why, I need to go into a bit of teaching theory.

        For the 700 or so new readers, TLA+ is a form of formal specification language. You can make a design for a system and then directly test the design itself for bugs. It’s an extraordinarily powerful technique but also notoriously difficult to learn. There are two reasons why. First, TLA+ involves a lot of skills and concepts that people aren’t familiar with, like formal logic and model checking. These concepts are all tightly interrelated and you need to understand them all to make TLA+ useful. This is essential difficulty: there’s no easy way to simplify the language while maintaining its power. Second, the tooling is very unforgiving, and there’s lots of unclear error messages and footguns. This is accidental difficulty: there’s only a couple people working on the main tooling and they haven’t had the time or resources to make things better.


        I’ve talked about this idea before. As a refresher: when you use analogize a concept to the real world situation, people can use their existing mental models to work through the nuances, making it easier to internalize.

        For example, imagine a bunch of people all trying to find seats in an auditorium. Each person is nondeterministic: they can pick whatever seat they want, as long as it’s not occupied. The system is concurrent: people are making decisions independently of each other and don’t pick seats in a fixed order. With enough finesse, we can also intuitively introduce concepts like stuttering, fairness, and even refinement. Certainly beats the hour clock as the starting example.

        I also found that the corresponding specification can nicely be translated to one on threads and semaphores, showing that people are, in fact, learning something useful, as well as that a high level the spec represents an abstraction— converting “sitting and standing” to “use a semaphore” is just a matter of changing all the operation names.

    • Proprietary

      • BloombergApple’s Industrial Design Chief Hankey to Leave Three Years After Ive

        Apple Inc.’s head of hardware design, Evans Hankey, is leaving the iPhone maker three years after taking the job, creating a significant hole at the top of a company famous for its slick-looking products, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

        Hankey was named to the post in 2019 to replace Jony Ive, the company’s iconic design chief for two decades. Before taking her current role as vice president of industrial design, Hankey spent several years at Apple reporting to Ive. Since then, she has reported to Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams.

        The departure was announced inside the Cupertino, California-based technology giant this week, with Hankey telling colleagues that she will remain at Apple for the next six months. Hankey oversees several dozen industrial designers, and the company hasn’t named a replacement.

    • Security

      • Computing UKOldGremlin, which targets Russia, debuts new Linux ransomware [Ed: Tries to associate a Windows problem, ransomware, with "Linux", even though it's hard to actually install this thing on GNU/Linux]

        It is one of the few ransomware groups in the world that prefer to target Russian organisations, but this may change experts advise

      • IT WireiTWire - EnergyAustralia portal compromised, details of 323 customers leaked

        Electricity and gas retailer EnergyAustralia has disclosed a breach of its MyAccount platform, which the company says affected 323 small business and residential customers and was automated through use of a bot.

        The company has now implemented 12-character passwords for MyAccount users which should have a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Prior to the incident, eight-character passwords with a mix of capital and lowercase letters and numbers were used.

        In a statement issued on Friday, the company said the breach had taken place on 30 September and it informed customers the following Sunday. The platform was taken offline after the breach was discovered.

      • IT WireiTWire - Govt to increase fines for data breaches to $50m, says Dreyfus

        The Federal Government says it will put in place legislation to increase penalties for repeated or serious privacy breaches.

        In a statement issued on Saturday, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said the fines would rise from the existing $2.22 million to one of three higher amounts.

        The government move comes a month after telco Singtel Optus announced a massive breach of its systems.

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • IT WireiTWire - 5G, AI used to automate counting of cattle in 12-month NSW trial

          The use of technology like 5G and artificial intelligence to aid the labour-intensive practice of counting cattle has been tested out by telecommunications vendor TPG Telecom.

          The company said in a statement that a 12-month trial had been carried out in Tamworth, adding that such methods could save time and money and also boost productivity.

          The trial involved automated, real-time counting of cattle being loaded and offloaded from trucks at the Tamworth Regional Livestock Exchange in northern NSW.

          Used in the trial were 5G and AI-image processing capabilities which allowed multiple high-definition video streams to count cattle. The data was then sent to the saleyard manager via a tablet or mobile app.

        • Patrick BreyerData retention: France illegally extends blanket mass surveillance of the entire population - Patrick Breyer

          In a decree made public today, French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne has extended the temporary retention of communications data of all citizens in France for another year. The blanket retention obligation concerns identity data (surname, first name, date and place of birth, postal address(es), e-mail address(es), telephone number(s)) as well as payment information, connection data (IP addresses, port numbers, identification numbers of users and their devices, date, time and duration of each communication, data on supplementary services and their providers) and also

          the location data of electronic communications of the entire population. Providers are obliged to retain this data of their customers for 12 months. The reason given for the mass retention order is a current and serious threat to the national security of the country but details and evidence are not provided. The decree comes into force on 21 October 2022 and is valid for another year.

        • Benny SiegertUsing a Mi Band with Strava - benzblog

          Every manufacturer would like to store your fitness data in their cloud. Your past data, the months or years worth of workouts, all this is a source of vendor lock-in that tech companies are all too eager to embrace.

        • ‘Digital mask’ could protect patients’ privacy in medical records

          Scientists have created a ‘digital mask’ that will allow facial images to be stored in medical records while preventing potentially sensitive personal biometric information from being extracted and shared.

          In research published today in Nature Medicine, a team led by scientists from Cambridge and China used three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction and deep learning algorithms to erase identifiable features from facial images while retaining disease-relevant features needed for diagnosis.

          Facial images can be useful for identifying signs of disease. For example, features such as deep forehead wrinkles and wrinkles around the eyes are significantly associated with coronary heart disease, while abnormal changes in eye movement can indicate poor visual function and visual cognitive developmental problems. However, facial images also inevitably record other biometric information about the patient, including their race, sex, age and mood.

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • Michael West MediaGreenwashed: how the new "Middle Arm" fossil fuel hub was rebranded green

          They have dubbed it “green”, about “clean energy industries” and “environmentally sustainable manufacturing”; yet Darwin’s Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct is all about subsidising fossil fuels. Callum Foote reports.

          Labor has announced a $1.5 billion Budget hand-out for the Middle Arm ‘Sustainable Development Precinct’ in the port of Darwin.

          Public subsidies for fossil fuels already run at a heady clip of $10bn a year, if you include fuel subsidies. And despite all the greenwashing and tricky language over the development of a second port for Darwin, the Albanese government has just slotted the fossil fuel industry another $1.5bn, at least.

          Is it a broken election promise? Pretty close. Climate Minister Chris Bowen said the government would not stop new private investment in fossil fuel projects but vowed there would be no government money directed at new fossil fuel developments.

        • The Register UKUS Dept of Energy injects $47m into tokamak fusion research ● The Register

          The US Department of Energy is handing out more fusion power funding, this time doling out $47 million to 38 projects that are exploring the feasibility of tokamak reactors.

          Tokamaks use powerful magnetic fields to force plasma into either a torus or a more spherical shape, depending on the type of design used. The ultimate goal being to fuse together atoms and generate more power from this reaction than is put into the thing to sustain it, so that the excess energy can be harnessed to, say, produce electricity.

    • Finance

      • Global Economics Intelligence executive summary, September 2022

        Led by the US Federal Reserve, most central banks are now following a tightening course, increasing interest rates to fight inflation. With 75-basis-point hikes in September, the Fed and the European Central Bank (ECB) brought policy interest rates to ranges of 3–3.25% and 0.75–1.50%, respectively.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Michael West MediaHoly moley, that’s the way to spread the good word - Michael West

        It can be tricky running a mainstream religion these days. Here you are, cultivating your friendly media profile, while some of your adherents make scary pronouncements about sexuality and morality. Even worse, they do it by citing the very holy texts you are obliged to uphold. The answer to this conundrum: talk about the environment.

        Which is exactly what religious leaders are doing. Under the collective name of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, a group of them has written to the Albanese government urging it to stop approving coal and gas projects and to stop subsidising fossil fuels. The 100 signatories come from Australia and Pacific nations. They include the Anglican Primate of Australia Geoffrey Smith, Grand Mufti of Australia Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, Uniting Church Australia president Sharon Hollis and Cardinal Archbishop of Port Moresby Sir John Ribat.

      • Michael West MediaHalf a million squandered by Information Commissioner on frustrating public’s right to know - Michael West

        In stonewalling a request from transparency warrior Rex Patrick, the Information Commissioner is punishing taxpayers too, writes Michael West.

        The legal cost of the Information Commissioner’s fight in the Federal Court to ensure she can take forever to review government agencies’ Freedom of Information access refusals has blown out to more than half a million dollars.

        At the beginning of August the cost was $301,000. The answer to a parliamentary question by Greens senator David Shoebridge shows that in just 60 days the amount skyrocketed by an additional $200,000. No-one knows where the costs will end up. And the Information Commissioner doesn’t have to care because it’s not her money, it’s from taxpayers.

      • John GruberThe Washington Post: Musk Plans Massive Layoffs at Twitter

        I’ve had a few friends and sources inside Twitter over the years, and I’ve long heard that Twitter is vastly overstaffed. There’s just no reason for Twitter to have so many employees given the scope of what they offer today. And it’s ossifying for a company culture to carry a lot of dead weight. But Twitter has had a hiring freeze for the last six months, and roughly 25 percent of employees have left in the last year — so their headcount is quite a bit smaller today than it was before Musk launched his takeover bid.

        I suspect they’re still overstaffed. But a further 75 percent reduction would be cutting with a machete, not a scalpel. Maybe a machete is what Twitter needs, I don’t know, but if this is the plan Musk pursues, it’s drastic. It’s also possible that Musk is floating this drastic proposal now so that a big staff reduction — but far smaller than 75 percent — will taste more palatable when it comes.

      • The Washington PostDocuments detail plans to gut Twitter’s workforce

        Elon Musk told prospective investors in his deal to buy the company that he planned to get rid of nearly 75 percent of Twitter’s 7,500 workers, whittling the company down to a skeleton staff of just over 2,000.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • CoryDoctorowMedieval Times invents a modern union-busting tactic

        In free culture/free software circles, the term "IP" is viewed as a smokescreen, one that indiscriminately blended a basket of unrelated regulations and laws (copyright, trademark, patent, trade secrets, anticircumvention, noncompetes, nondisclosure, etc) and then declared them to be "property" and thus sacred to the neoliberal religious doctrine.

        In my column, I argued that the policies grouped under "IP" were not an incoherent mess – rather, they all shared this one trait that made them useful to those who had, advocated for, or tried to expand "IP": they were tools that would allow you to reach beyond your own business's walls and exert control over the conduct of others – specifically, competitors, critics and customers.


        This is, of course, bullshit. Trademark contains a broad "nominative use" exception: trademark doesn't let Coca-Cola stop Pepsi from claiming, "Our drink tastes better than Coke." It doesn't let HP prevent companies from advertising "HP-compatible ink cartridges." It doesn't let Apple prevent shops from saying "We fix iPhones."

        The union is contemplating mounting a defense at the National Labor Relations Board – not in a courtroom – "arguing that the lawsuit itself violates workers’ rights."

        It's part of a broad union-busting campaign from Medieval Times, including anti-union "consultants" who bill $3,200/day. The performers are unionizing over pay, respect and workplace safety issues caused by inadequate staffing, especially staff who police the audience to prevent them from spooking the horses during jousting tournaments. Some performers have been attacked by drunken audience members.

      • Light Blue TouchpaperChatcontrol or Child Protection?

        Today I publish a detailed rebuttal to the argument from the intelligence community that we need to break end-to-end encryption in order to protect children. This has led in the UK to the Online Safety Bill and in the EU to the proposed Child Sex Abuse Regulation, which has become known in Brussels as “chatcontrol”.

        The intelligence community wants to break WhatsApp, as that carries everything from diplomatic and business negotiations to MPs’ wheeling and dealing. Both the UK and EU proposals will take powers to mandate scanning of both text and images in your phone before messages are encrypted and sent, or after they are received and decrypted.

        This is justified with arguments around child protection, which require careful study. Most child abuse happens in dysfunctional families, with the abuser typically being the mother’s partner; technology is often abused as a means of extortion and control. Indecent images get shared with outsiders, and user reports of such images are a really important way of alerting the police to new cases. There are also abusers who look for vulnerable minors online, and here too it’s user reporting that does most of the work.


        As for surveillance, it has not helped in the past and there is no real prospect that the measures now proposed would help in the future. I go through the relevant evidence in my paper and conclude that “chatcontrol” will not improve child protection, but damage it instead. It will also undermine human rights at a time when we need to face down authoritarians not just technologically and militarily, but morally as well. What’s the point of this struggle, if not to defend democracy, the rule of law, and human rights?

      • Light Blue TouchpaperML models must also think about trusting trust

        Our latest paper demonstrates how a Trojan or backdoor can be inserted into a machine-learning model by the compiler. In his Turing Award lecture, Ken Thompson explained how this could be done to an operating system, and in previous work we’d shown you you can subvert a model by manipulating the order in which training data are presented. Could these ideas be combined?

        The answer is yes. The trick is for the compiler to recognise what sort of model it’s compiling – whether it’s processing images or text, for example – and then devising trigger mechanisms for such models that are sufficiently covert and general. The takeaway message is that for a machine-learning model to be trustworthy, you need to assure the provenance of the whole chain: the model itself, the software tools used to compile it, the training data, the order in which the data are batched and presented – in short, everything.

      • Ruben SchadeRubenerd: Alan Kohler explores remote work

        Australian economist and ABC finance fixture Alan Kohler had a clear and concise article in The New Daily about the rise of remote work.


        Alan also discusses some of the ideas people are pitching for getting people back into the office. Most of them come down to making offices nicer, giving people free food, and so on. It strikes me as superficial. The way you get people in is to give them meaningful and engaging work.

        The cold truth for managers, and more broadly economically, is that entire classes of necessary jobs are only done because people are compensated for it, regardless of the bubbly or optimistic façades workers throw up during performance reviews. It’s literally why we have the concept of retirement.

      • CoryDoctorowHow lawyers became sadists

        No one – not even a Wall Street finance ghoul – wants to raise a kid who elevates selfishness to a virtue. For one thing, living with that kid would be awful.

        The greed-is-good ideology comes out of a school of right-wing economics whose central tenet is "incentives matter." Forget the high-minded rhetoric about public duty, empathy or morals – the only way to reliably motivate people is by paying them to act the way you want them to, and to take away their money when they stop.

        Hence the drive to "teacher accountability" where teachers are paid based on the test scores of their students, or the drive to pay doctors based on the health outcomes of their patients. These efforts inevitably come to ruin, because "every measurement becomes a target," and teachers and doctors under these conditions figure out how to make scores go up without improving either learning or health.

        What that happens, the "incentives matter" crowd – incredibly – declares victory. "See?" they say. "Incentives matter. We told teachers that they had to make test scores go up and they did! Teachers were never concerned with learning – they were motivated by those sweet teacher paychecks, and we've just proved it!"

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • James GAdding hovercards to my website

        I love how Wikipedia shows you a preview of a page when you hover over a link to another page in a wiki entry. This makes Wikipedia more navigable for me, particularly if I am only looking for a definition of a term (text that appears in the preview) to help me better understand the contents on a page. This got me thinking about adding a hover feature to my website that would show you a preview of links that appear in my blog posts.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Kluwer Patent BlogThe UPC – Hopes and Headaches [Ed: See the comments in particular]

          October 19, 2022 was a special day. It was the first day when the UPC website finally announced the names of the UPC’s first 85 judges. JuVe’s journalists quickly did their homework and provided further information on the origin and previous careers of these judges here. The overall picture is that the UPC recruiters obviously – and fortunately – prioritised relevant experience and quality in their choice of the judges over any other considerations. In regard to Germany, I think it is fair to say that the quality and experience of the judges picked for the UPC is outstanding – we clearly sent an A-team. I have heard and read similar comments from colleagues from other countries with a significant number of IP cases. All in all, this looks very good. Concerns about quality of the judges of the Unified Patent Court appear unfounded, at least for now, and the new court has indeed deserved a lot of confidence to begin with. Congratulations to all new judges and to their consummate recruiters!

          That said, let me pour some water into the wine. The concept of part-time judges gives me a bit of a headache in the context of a court as important as the Unified Patent Court.


          Fortunately, some of the newly appointed technical judges might not face such problems. These include, in particular, (technical) judges who have been and continue to be working in judicial positions in their home countries, e.g. at the German Federal Patent Court. I dare speculate that these technical judges will have to shoulder more cases in the long run than the others, but this remains of course to be seen.

      • Copyrights

        • Michael GeistGovernment Funding For an Anti-Semite: They Knew For a Month. And Did Nothing.

          The Laith Marouf/CMAC incident took another turn today as Globe and Mail has a report that the Prime Minister’s Office knew for a month that the government was funding an anti-semite as part of its anti-hate program. And it did nothing.

          I have written previously about how calling out government ministerial silence on this issue led Liberal MP Chris Bittle to suggest I am racist and a bully. I have written about the shameful silence from virtually all but Jewish MPs, leading MP Anthony Housefather to call on all to speak out (I also discussed this with Housefather on a Law Bytes podcast). I have written about the embarrassing solitary Canadian Heritage hearing, in which Minister Ahmed Hussen was evasive in answering questions and the time for discussion with department officials was lost over an unnecessary hour-long debate over whether to call Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez to committee.

        • Michael GeistBroadcast Bonanza: PBO Says Bill C-18 Would Give a Quarter Billion to Broadcasters Such as Bell and the CBC, Less Than 25% of Payments to Canadian Newspapers

          As the witness portion of the Canadian Heritage committee hearing into the Online News Act (Bill C-18) comes to a premature end later this week (a hearing is planned with Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez and the CRTC, but remarkably Facebook, the CBC, and many experts will be blocked from appearing), new data from the Parliamentary Budget Office calls into question the claims of big benefits for Canadian newspapers. In fact, while the government has been anxious to cite the (questionable) PBO estimate that the bill will generate $329 million per year for Canadian news organizations, last week the PBO quietly released supplementary data that suggested it believes the vast majority of the money will actually go to the CBC, Bell, Rogers, and other broadcasters. In fact, the supplementary data – which was posted with a link only after the release of the PBO’s report – concludes that newspapers will receive less than 25% of the funding or about $81 million to split among hundreds of news outlets.

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

      • bernina foot control extension lead

        i have my sewing machines on a standing desk: the foot control leads are too short to have the foot control on the floor.

        the leads looked like a standard low voltage power lead so i took a punt and ordered a couple that could be the correct length. specifically 2.1mm x 5.5 mm DC Power Male to Female Adapter Extension Cable.

      • One month report of a low-carb diet

        It's been slightly over one month that I have started a low-carb ("keto") diet to reduce weight. I'm satisfied with the results and it's an interesting lifestyle change.

        Approximately the only thing I do is count carbohydrates. During real meals, I avoid completely sources of carbs, which obviously includes things like pasta and bread but also carrots and potatoes. A low-carb diet allows eating things like meat, eggs and cheese and my consumption of those has gone up significantly. To both compensate, and to add some variety, I have been more diligent about eating more vegetables.

      • SpellBinding — UGINPSC Wordo: MAHUA
    • Technical

      • zshbrev

        zshbrev allows you to mix zsh code and brev code. Not for polished li’l “eggs” but for your own duct tape and chewing gum hacking and automation. Quick and dirty♥.

        The default directory is .zshbrev/ but you can change it with the --dir flag to zshbrev.

      • Programming

        • The painless way to multiple values on Scheme

          So on Scheme and other Lisps, you don’t have to write “return” to return from functions, they just instead automatically return the value of the last expression.

          If you wanna return multiple values, though, that’s when you can write (values foo bar).

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It's like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

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There will be more next week