Links 31/12/2020: Deepin 20.1 Released and Happy New Year!

Posted in News Roundup at 4:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • The 10 Best Open Source Renderers for Linux System in 2021

      In the past, Linux-based operating systems had difficulty in not being well configured with the hardware system. Users had to suffer a lot for heavy work, rendering, and gaming. Most Windows users didn’t want to switch from Windows to Linux because there was not much smart software for multimedia and editing tools. Photoshop specialists, graphic designers, multimedia editors, and motion designers had to face many problems to sync with Linux. Rendering audio, video, and multimedia files were havoc. But as time goes by, software developers have built alternative open source renderers for Linux distributions to cope with the battle in the multimedia and graphics designing sector. Even, often the open-source renderers work fine and better than the traditional software on Linux.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Start Your Own Matrix Room And Discord Bridge

        While hosting is better in the long run, if you want to try out Matrix and a Discord bridge it’s much easier to just use existing public services and then decide later down the line whether this service is going to be worth your time and effort to host privately.

      • FLOSS Weekly 610: Internet of People and Things – Picos and the Self-Sovereign Internet

        Picos and the self-sovereign internet.

        Phil Windley co-invented Picos (persistent compute objects) and discusses how they could make everything on Earth, including people, “smart” even without onboard electronics. He joins hosts Doc Searls and Shawn Powers to talk about a new self-sovereign layer for the Internet. This is built on SSI (self-sovereign internet) – a whole new way to make personal identity work both online and off, potentially without logins and passwords. Windley explains Distributed Identifiers and also shares how Hyperledger Aries relates.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 887

        goodbye 2020, family accounts, playstation 5

      • SaaS is a Blast | Coder Radio 394

        Services and subscriptions get a bad wrap, so we flip the script and talk about the ones we’re grateful to pay for.

      • BSD Now 383: Scale the tail

        FreeBSD Remote Process Plugin Final Milestone achieved, Tailscale for OpenBSD, macOS to FreeBSD migration, monitoring of our OpenBSD machines, OPNsense 20.7.6 released, and more

    • Kernel Space

      • Lenovo ThinkPad T430 To Boot GNU/Linux In Legacy And UEFI Modes

        This article shows how to boot a T430 laptop in BIOS (Legacy) and UEFI mode with Ubuntu operating systems. Thus, you will be able to boot either a hard disk, a solid state drive, or a USB flash to install such OS. Setups mentioned in this article are useful to help you install Ubuntu in modern standard UEFI-boot, GPT-partitioned, even in a 16GB USB mass storage. Now, let’s learn!

      • Linux 5.10.4
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.10.4 kernel.
        All users of the 5.10 kernel series must upgrade.
        The updated 5.10.y git tree can be found at:
        	git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.10.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
        greg k-h
      • Linux 5.4.86
      • Linux 4.19.164
      • PlayStation 5 DualSense controller to get support for Linux

        The DualSense controller is the latest in Sony’s controller technology which boasts features that are used exclusively for the PlayStation 5, until now. Gamers who use the Linux operating system will now be able to use their DualSense controllers on their computer, with the help of a new compatibility ‘HID-PlayStation” driver.

        Reddit user u/vladthetransilvanian posted an email from Roderick Colenbrander, the Director of Hardware & Systems Engineering at PlayStation. This email detailed a new compatibility driver that lets Linux users play games using the DualSense controller.

      • A Look At The Big Impact To AES-XTS Encryption Performance From Spectre Retpolines

        With it recently being noticed that the Linux AES-NI XTS performance regressed big time from the return trampolines “Retpolines” enacted nearly three years ago as a defense against Spectre, here are some benchmarks looking at the performance cost involved to this day using Retpolines and the impact on the XTS encryption/decryption performance measured by cryptsetup that is used for setting up encrypted disks under Linux.

      • Testing The Intel “Workload Hints” Capability Of Linux 5.11

        There are many new features with the Linux 5.11 kernel that is presently under development but one of the ones I’ve been more curious about for how well it works is the Intel “workload hints” that can be passed via its thermal framework. This is about providing the system with hints of workloads being run to optimize the thermal/power properties.

      • linux-5.10-ck1, MuQSS version 0.205 for linux-5.10

        Announcing a new -ck release, 5.10-ck1 with the latest version of the Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler, version 0.205 These are patches designed to improve system responsiveness and interactivity with specific emphasis on the desktop, but configurable for any workload.

        Probably the most interesting thing to happen as pointed out to me by Damentz was that the Intel i915 scheduler is based on the scheduling algorithm from MuQSS:
        [Intel-gfx] [PATCH 36/56] drm/i915: Fair low-latency scheduling

        It seems they understand the incredible simplicity of the underlying scheduling algorithm that guarantees both latency and fairness intrinsically.

      • Linux 5.10-ck1 Released With Updated MuQSS Scheduler – Phoronix

        Con Kolivas took some time out of his New Year’s Eve to release Linux 5.10-ck1 as his independent patch-set applied to the recently minted Linux 5.10 kernel and with that the latest MuQSS scheduler.

        Kolivas announced Linux 5.10-ck1 today paired with MuQSS 0.205 as the latest of his kernel scheduler optimized for system responsiveness and interactivity.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Inlining Problems Away

          There’s a number of strange hacks in zink that provide compatibility for some of the layers in mesa. One of these hacks is the NIR pass used for managing non-constant UBO/SSBO array indexing, made necessary because SPIRV operates by directly accessing variables, and so it’s impossible to have a non-constant index because then when generating the SPIRV there’s no way to know which variable is being accessed.

        • Nouveau Sees Fix To Properly Handle Mini DP Connectors – Avoids GNOME Mutter Crashing – Phoronix

          The open-source NVIDIA “Nouveau” driver in Linux 5.11 didn’t see any exciting features but there is now a patch pending for this DRM driver so it will at least handle mini DisplayPort connections properly.

          While Mini DisplayPort is just a miniaturized version of DisplayPort, a missing explicit check for the mDP connector was leading to problems.

    • Applications

      • The 10 Best Mail Notification Tools for Linux System in 2021

        Before I start writing about the list of best open source mail notification tools for Linux, I must mention the difference between mail and email. Though the mail and email sound alike, there is a technical difference between them. Electronic mail (Email) is defined as a messaging system that can deliver and receive messages over the internet. On the other hand, the term mail is referred to as a system where you can send documents, files, and other bundles through an active mailing server in a network.

        However, if you are a regular client of the mailing services, you can use open-source mail notification tools on your Linux system to get notified about your mails and other mailing services.

      • Top 6 awesome text editors for Linux and Unix command-line users/developers

        A text editor is an essential tool for both developers and sysadmin, especially when dealing with text based sessions. We use a text editor to create, edit, and update text. A text editor is used for many things. Some use them to write documents. Some people write code and others use it to edit Linux and Unix configuration files locally or remote servers running in the cloud. Let us see the top 6 text editors for Linux, macOS, and Unix command-line users/developers.

      • Silverjuke – jukebox for the desktop

        My favorite pastime is to see an eclectic range of bands, solo artists, and orchestras live. It’s such a life-changing and exhilarating experience to be present. It’s one thing to be sitting at home listening to a CD or watching music videos on TV or on YouTube, but being with an audience, packed out in a stadium or music hall, takes it to another level. But it’s an expensive pastime, and still on hold given the current coronavirus pandemic. I’m therefore listening to music from my CD collection which I’ve encoded to FLAC, a lossless audio format, and stored locally.

        Linux offers a huge array of open source music players. And many of them are high quality. I’ve reviewed the vast majority for LinuxLinks, but I’m endeavoring to explore every free music player in case there’s an undiscovered gem.

        My attention to Silverjuke was reignited by one of our visitors. I had tried this software a few years ago. It’s a music and video player written in C++ and C. Let’s see how it fares.

      • Parole Media Player 4.15.0 Released, How to Install in Ubuntu 20.04

        Parole, Xfce’s default media player, released version 4.15.0 a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 20.04, Linux Mint 20, and Ubuntu 20.10.

        Parole 4.15.0 features a in-window popover Playlist instead of a slide-out panel. The shuffle functionality now utilizes a sort filter instead of randomly selecting the next track, making it possible making the playback history more accurate.

      • 7 Best Command-Line Email Clients for Linux

        Command-line email clients are not rich in features, but they are powerful in mail management and handle its components easily. Command-line email clients are easy to set up but offer amazing compatibility for mail handling. Many Linux users prefer these text-based email clients for their system.There are various command-line email clients available for Linux, so it is important to choose the best one from it. That’s why we have covered all of the details regarding the 7 best command-line email clients for Linux so that you can choose the best one according to your requirements.

      • Best Linux Apps for Creating Bootable Live USB Drive

        This article will list some useful Linux applications that will allow you to create bootable live USB drives by extracting or transferring ISO image files of various Linux distributions. Live mode allows users to run and experience a full Linux desktop along with all of its applications without actually installing the OS. You can also create persistent live bootable USB drives that will allow you to permanently store changes made in a live session. Creating persistent storage for live mode won’t be covered in this article as it is a complex and lengthy topic that needs to be covered in a separate article.

      • App Showcase: Password Safe

        Using strong passwords is a good way to help protect your accounts. On the Librem 5, we recommend you use Password Safe to keep track of and generate better passwords.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Searching Wikipedia on the Linux command line with wikit

        Have you ever imagined looking up some topic on Wikipedia while you’re working on the Linux command line? What about displaying the results in a different language? Yes, it’s possible. In fact, it’s quite easy. The tool that provides this service is called wikit (Wikipedia IT).


        To use this script, you will need to have recognizable topics in your “list” file, one topic per line. Then run the script while redirecting its output to a file like this:

        ./getinfo > REPORT

      • How To Use Linux In Windows?

        If you’re someone who wants to try out Linux, but you’re afraid that you might screw up something while dual-booting, this tutorial is for you. We’ll be looking at the two most popular methods to install Linux in Windows. In this tutorial, we’ll be using a Virtual Machine like Oracle’s VirtualBox, a popular tool used by professionals worldwide.

      • How to Set Up Multiple Timezones in Ubuntu – Make Tech Easier

        Do you find yourself continually checking the time difference when scheduling meetings with people living in other countries? Wouldn’t it be easier to have the time in multiple timezones on your desktop? That’s where Gnome Clocks can help.

        Gnome Clocks is not a task or a time manager. However, it can help us ease our collaboration with people living in different time zones. With it, you can have multiple clocks for various regions in the same window. As a bonus, you can also set up alarms and have instant access to a stopwatch and timer. Let’s see how you can install and use it in Ubuntu.

      • How To Install Tor Browser on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Tor Browser on CentOS 8. Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world. it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of Tor Browser on a CentOS 8.

      • How to install Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix 20.10 – YouTube

        In this video, I am going to show how to install Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix 20.10.

      • Get Instant Notification for Docker Image Updates [Must Use for Sysadmins]

        A server running multiple containers with continuous/maximum uptime is of course very productive, but it is no good unless all those containers are well maintained and updated regularly.

        However, the bigger question here is how do you know if there is an updated image available so that you can think of updating Docker containers?

      • How To Run VSeeFace On Linux Using Lutris! – Fosslicious

        VseeFace is an application that can be used for 3D character tracking in the .vrm format. Applications like this are really needed by YouTuber or what is often called Vtuber. Vtuber will usually use a 3D or maybe 2D character for streaming, or to discuss something.

      • How to Check Available Package Updates in Linux

        Regular system maintenance is necessary to make the system healthy and function properly and It’s common for all the operating systems not only for Linux systems.

        There is no specific schedule for Linux package update but windows has a scheduled one. Hence we need to perform the package update at least once in a month.

        In the worst cases at least once in a quarter.It would be fix for some of the outstanding issues if you install the available updates on your system.

      • How to Close All Google Chrome Windows at Once

        While browsing the web with Google Chrome, it’s easy to get carried away and open dozens of windows filled with hundreds of tabs. Luckily, it’s easy to close multiple Chrome windows at once on Windows, Linux, and Mac. Here’s how.

        To close all of your Chrome windows quickly on Windows or Linux, click the vertical ellipses button (three dots) and select “Exit.”

      • How to catch SQLException in JSP working via JDBC with MySQL 8.0.22 on Tomcat 9.0.41
      • How to downgrade a linux kernel

        Downgrading any package including the kernel is done for a reason.

        Most of the time we downgrade the package because the new update is malfunctioning with other software or with our hardware.

        We have an application already pre-installed called : downgrade.

        You can use this application to get an older version back of the needed software. You need to know the package name to do so.

        sudo downgrade linux

      • How to downgrade to an older Linux-lts kernel | Arcolinux.com

        Downgrading any package including the kernel is done for a reason.

        Most of the time we downgrade the package because the new update is malfunctioning with other software or with our hardware.

        We have an application already pre-installed called : downgrade.

      • How to install Snap Store on Elementary OS – Linux Shout

        Snap Store is the GUI interface to install various SNAP packages available in the repository of it. The Snap is from the Ubuntu team that provides cross-platform packages to install on most of the available Linux editions regardless of their codebase.

        The focus of the snap store is on the installation and administration of snaps, less, on programs from the package sources. For software installed as a snap package, the rights of the snap can be adjusted via the snap store.

      • How to install Tor Browser in Elementary OS Linux distro – Linux Shout

        Elementary OS Linux distro is popular for its attractive Pantheon interface and beginner-friendliness. However, out of the box, you will not find many applications that actually you would need in your day-to-day computing need. Nevertheless, it is also good because there would not be unnecessary application clutter on your OS; only those will be there, you really want to install. Thus, in case you want to browse internet websites but with a high level of privacy and anonymity, install Tor Browser on Elementary.

      • Printing with a Brother MFC-7460DN laser printer on Fedora Linux 33

        This is a follow-up to my previous post Configuring a Brother MFC-7460DN Laser Printer/Scanner on Fedora 23 (64-bit), as things have fortunately changed to the better in the meanwhile.

        As described in this post, setting up this printer in CUPS on Fedora has become quite an ordeal, as Brother no longer updates the printer drivers for these old models and they don’t provide 64 bit binaries.

      • How to Install LXQt Desktop Environment in Ubuntu

        LXQT is a lightweight, modular, fast, and user-friendly desktop environment. The free, open-source LXQT is the successor of the LXDE desktop environment. Lubuntu and a few other Linux distribution have default LXQT desktop environments. LXQT is based on QT rather than GTK+.

        The main reason to use LXQT desktop over other environments is low resource utilization, elegant and clean user interfaces. Secondly, the high level of customization to meet desktop usability need.

      • How to Install Blizzard Battle.net App on Ubuntu – Linux Hint

        Blizzard Entertainment is a game development company that creates some top-rated games that work well on Linux. Blizzard develops Battle.net, an online platform with multiple social networking services, digital rights management and digital distribution, etc.

        The only issue with Blizzard Battle.net is that it is not available in Linux. However, most of the games still work appropriately on Linux by using Wine in it. In case you want to install the Blizzard Battle.net app on Ubuntu easily, then read this complete article. In this article, we will cover the full details on “how to install Blizzard Battle.net app on Ubuntu.”

      • How to install GeForce Now on Linux Mint 20

        In this video, we are looking at how to install GeForce Now on Linux Mint 20.

      • How to install Milkman Karlson on a Chromebook

        RAID is a virtualization platform for data storage that integrates several physical disc drives into one or more logical units. Based on the required level of reliability and efficiency, data is scattered across the drives in one of many ways, referred to as RAID levels. Different systems are known as ‘RAID’ followed by an integer, such as RAID 0 or RAID 1. Each system, or level of RAID, provides a different balance between the key goals, i.e. stability, usability, performance, and strength.

        RAID uses disc mirroring or disc striping methods, mirroring on more than one drive would copy similar data. Partition striping allows distributing data across many disc drives. The storage capacity of each drive is split into units that range from a sector (512 bytes) up to multiple megabytes. RAID levels higher than RAID 0 offer protection against unrepairable read errors in the field, as well as against entire physical drive failures.

        The RAID devices are deployed via the application driver md. The Linux software RAID array currently supports RAID 0 (strip), RAID 1 (mirror), RAID 4, RAID 5, RAID 6, and RAID 10. Mdadm is a Linux utility used to control and manage RAID devices for applications. Several core operating modes of mdadm are assembled, build, create, follow, monitor, grow, incremental and auto-detect. The name derives from the nodes of the multiple devices (md) that it controls or manages. Let’s look at creating different kinds of Raid arrays using mdadm.

      • How to Save Disk Space using Btrfs Deduplication – Linux Hint

        Deduplication is a software feature that is used to remove duplicate data blocks (redundant data blocks) from a filesystem to save disk spaces. The Btrfs filesystem is a modern Copy-on-Write (CoW) filesystem that supports deduplication.
        If you need to keep a lot of redundant data (i.e., file backups, database) on your computer, then the Copy-on-Write (CoW) and deduplication feature of the Btrfs filesystem can save a huge amount of disk spaces.

        In this article, I will show you how to save disk spaces using the Btrfs deduplication feature. So, let’s get started.

      • How to install Milkman Karlson on a Chromebook

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

      • Start, Stop, and Restart Nginx Web Server on Linux – Linux Hint

        NGINX is an open-source web server with features for load balancing, caching, and functioning as a reverse proxy.
        Igor Sysoev created it to overcome the limits of scaling and concurrency existing within regular web servers, offering an event-based, asynchronous architecture that enhances NGINX’s performance and stability as a web server.

        As is the case with managing all servers, you’ll find yourself needing to start, stop, and restart the NGINX web server for various reasons.

        This guide discusses how to use various methods to manage the NGINX service running on a Linux system.

      • Install and Use Btrfs on Fedora 33 – Linux Hint

        Btrfs (B-Tree Filesystem) is a modern copy-on-write (CoW) filesystem for Linux. It aims to implement many advanced filesystem features while focusing on fault tolerance, repair, and easy administration. The Btrfs filesystem is designed to support the requirement of high performance and high-capacity storage servers.

        If you want to learn more about the Btrfs filesystem, check my article Introduction to Btrfs Filesystem.

        In this article, I am going to show you how to install Btrfs on Fedora 33 and use it. So, let’s get started.

      • How to Enable Btrfs Filesystem Compression – Linux Hint

        The Btrfs filesystem supports filesystem-level data compression. It means that the filesystem data will be compressed automatically as new data is written to the filesystem. When you access the files stored in your Btrfs filesystem, those files’ data will be automatically decompressed.

        This feature of the filesystem will save you a lot of disk space and will save you a lot of time that you would have spent compressing your files manually.

        In this article, I am going to show you how to enable the Btrfs filesystem-level compression on a Btrfs filesystem. So, let’s get started.

      • How to Enable and Disable Wayland on Ubuntu

        You might have heard or even come across a Linux distribution using Wayland—for example, Fedora 25—as its default display server.
        Whether you are looking to test Wayland, understand what it is before using it, or learn how to enable and disable it on Ubuntu, this guide will prove valuable in one way or the other.

        This guide will discuss what Wayland is, how it works, and how to enable and disable it on your Ubuntu system.

        Let’s get started.

      • How To Change the Swappiness of Your Linux System

        Memory is a critical part of any system. The Linux kernel knows this and tries to ensure there’s enough memory at the system’s disposal. One way the Kernel manages memory is by using a swap system to create additional memory space.

        In this tutorial, we will talk about what a swap is, how it works, and finally, how to customize the swappiness of your Linux system.

      • Install HAProxy to Configure Load Balancing Server on Debian 10

        Load-balancing is the most common practice of distributing incoming web traffic among multiple back-end servers. This makes the application highly available even if some of the servers go down for some reason. Load Balancing increases the efficiency and reliability of a web application. HAProxy load-balancer is used for the same purpose. It is the most widely used load-balancer in industries. As per the official website, HAProxy is used by leading companies like AWS, Fedora, Github, and many more.

        HAProxy or High Availability Proxy provides high availability and proxying solution. It is written in C and works at network and application layers of the TCP/IP model. The best thing is that it has a free community edition, and it is an open-source application. It works on Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris operating systems. The enterprise edition is also there, but it has a price tag.

      • Understanding Bash Shell Configuration On Startup

        For years, the Bash shell [1] has been an integral part of many Linux distributions. In the beginning, Bash was chosen as the official GNU shell because it was well-known, quite stable, and offered a decent set of features.

        Today the situation is somewhat different — Bash is still present everywhere as a software package but has been replaced by alternatives in the standard installation. These include, for example, Debian Almquist shell (Dash) [2] (for Debian GNU/Linux) or Zsh [3] (for GRML [5]). In the well-known distributions Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch Linux, and Linux Mint, Bash has so far remained the standard shell.

        It is quite helpful to understand Bash startup and to know how to configure this properly. This includes the customization of your shell environment, for example, setting the $PATH variable, adjusting the look of the shell prompt, and creating aliases. Also, we will have a look at the two files .bashrc and .bash_profile that are read on startup. The corresponding knowledge is tested in Exam 1 of the Linux Professional Institute Certification [4].

      • Restore arrows to gtk3 scrollbars

        A couple of months ago, I posted about a fix for extremely annoying default behaviour of gtk3 scrollbars:


        That fix is in Easy, however, today I received an email from Alfons, asking about the missing arrows at the ends of the scrollbars. SeaMonkey, Inkscape and LibreOffice use gtk3 and exhibit this lack-of-arrows.

      • John Goerzen: Airgapped / Asynchronous Backups with ZFS over NNCP

        In my previous articles in the series on asynchronous communication with the modern NNCP tool, I talked about its use for asynchronous, potentially airgapped, backups. The first article, How & Why To Use Airgapped Backups laid out the foundations for this. Now let’s dig into the details.

        Today’s post will cover ZFS, because it has a lot of features that make it very easy to support in this setup. Non-ZFS backups will be covered later.

        The setup is actually about as simple as it is for SSH, but since people are less familiar with this kind of communication, I’m going to try to go into more detail here.

      • Use the Markdown Editor app in Nextcloud | Opensource.com

        The advantage of plain text is that there’s no extra computer-specific information cluttering up your otherwise human-readable writing. The good thing about computers is that they’re programmable, and so as long as we humans agree to follow very specific conventions when writing, we can program computers to interpret human-readable text as secret instructions. For instance, by surrounding a word with two asterisks, we not only give a visual cue to humans that a word is significant, but we can also program computers to display the word in bold.

        This is exactly the theory and practice behind Markdown, the popular plain text format that promises writers that as long as they use specific plain text conventions, then their text will be rendered with a specific style.

        Traditionally, that has meant that an author writes in plain text and doesn’t see the pretty styling until the text is fed to a converter application (originally markdown.pl), but the Markdown Editor app in Nextcloud changes that.

      • Caching System to Improve Website Growth and Speed RoseHosting [Ed: Too promotional but technical also]

        Website Caching system is undoubtedly one of the most promising technologies available, which can help your website grow remarkably. According to experts, there are several benefits of a caching system for any website. It can help enhance your website loading speed, better SEO (search engine optimization) score, and much more. Here in this post, we will give you complete knowledge about the caching system and how it can help improve your website growth and speed.

        So read the post till the end to grab complete knowledge! Let’s get started.

        Before going further, it’s necessary to understand what is a caching system.

      • Alan Pope: Snap Along With Me

        Every so often I find myself with an idle hour and decide to use that time to package some new software for Linux. A common activity among nerds, I’m sure ;). This blog post is a write up of what I did, and why, which may be useful to others with time on their hands.

        I keep meaning to live stream when I do, but on this occasion I had a bad hair day was also listening to and engaging with a podcast, so it wasn’t practical. In leiu of that, while the information is fresh in my head – the morning after – I thought I’d write down some notes here.

        Why do this

        My Linux distro of choice is Ubuntu. A significant number of Ubuntu users are on “old” Long Term Support (LTS) releases. Some estimates put it at around 10x or 20x more users are on Ubuntu LTS releases than the interim non-LTS releases. It’s hard to get new software into the repositories of old Ubuntu releases. While it’s possible for developers to create PPAs or repositories for their software, that’s hard for new users to discover. If I make and help publish a snap for something new, that can get in users hands within hours (or even minutes), with updates coming as they’re published. I wrote a (work) blog post titled “Snaps: How we got here” if you want to know more about “why?”.

      • Pop!_OS Complete Beginners Guide (Full Course in one video!)

        Pop!_OS is an awesome distribution of Linux for your laptop or desktop, and in this video I walk you through everything you’ll need to start using it right away. Topics include installation, adding applications, and more!

      • How to change Apache Document root directory on Ubuntu 18.04

        To modify the root folder in Apache, you would need to make changes to two files basically. We will first start by modifying the file /etc/apache2/apache2.conf.

      • How to Download, Install, and Configure Plank Dock in Ubuntu

        Macs may have popularized launcher docks, but it’s Linux where they were perfected. Apps like Plank allow you to have such a dock on your desktop. From there, you can launch your favorite apps, juggle the active ones, and check out useful information.

        Let’s see how you can install, use, and configure Plank in Ubuntu for quick and snazzy-looking access to your favorite apps.

      • How to Schedule a Shutdown in Linux using Crontab? – The Linux GURUS

        The best way to describe Cron is to label it as a time-based job scheduler. It means that this service can be used in Linux to schedule all those tasks that are supposed to occur at a specific time, however, you do not want to perform these tasks manually. In today’s article, we will teach you the method to schedule a shutdown using Crontab in Linux Mint 20.

      • Another sample of refactoring Java CRUD App to be deployed to Tomcat 9.0.41 (MySQL 8.0.22)
      • What is the SED command in GNU/Linux and example?

        In GNU/Linux A sed command stands for Stream Editor, and It was developed in 1974 by the Lee E McMahon.

        A sed command had a different version for macOS sed command is managed by Berkley Software Distribution BSD, and for GNU/Linux SED is managed by General Public License GNU.

        It is highly used command to manipulate TextFile to achieve task like searching, find and replace, insertion or deletion.

      • How to rollback an apt-get upgrade if something goes wrong on Debian / Ubuntu Linux
      • 11 networking guides for sysadmin survival | Enable Sysadmin

        I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a weird and very challenging year. Many of us have been presented with an interesting paradox: we’re more digitally connected than ever, and yet this year has been isolating without the ability to see each other in person. For those of us working in IT, this past year has truly underscored the importance of networked communication in our personal and professional lives.

      • 10 container guides for sysadmins | Enable Sysadmin

        Containers continue their quest to take over the world, and these 10 articles help you manage this technology.

      • How to install ReactJS on Ubuntu 20.04

        ReactJS is a free and open-source JavaScript library used for building reusable UI components. It was developed by Facebook in 2011 for creating rich and engaging web apps fast and efficiently with minimal coding. It allows you to create interactive elements on websites. It uses Virtual DOM that makes the app fast. It offers a rich set of features including, Virtual DOM, One-way Data Binding, Components, JSX, Conditional Statements and many more.

      • How to install Cinnamon desktop on Elementary OS distro – Linux Shout

        I totally agree that Elementary OS’ Pantheon is quite beautiful, however, it is not rich and easy to use for users who are shifting from Windows operating systems. For them, Cinnamon on Linux will like a back to the home thing.

        Cinnamon Desktop is not only user-friendly but also comparatively easy to understand & use for beginners. Unlike Elementary, we can customize it with help of the various officially available themes and widgets by the Mint community.

      • How To Install LibreOffice on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install LibreOffice on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, LibreOffice is the best alternative for Microsoft Office. It is a powerful free office suite for creating spreadsheets, slide shows, and databases. It is an open-sourced version of the earlier StarOffice. LibreOffice available in 115 languages and used by millions of people around the world. The latest LibreOffice 7 is available to download and install on the Linux 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 through the step by step installation of LibreOffice free office suite on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to restrict user authentication in Keycloak during identity brokering – Red Hat Developer

        As per the design, Keycloak imports all users into its local database if the users are authenticated via any third-party identity provider (e.g., Google, Facebook, or Okta). But what if users authenticated through the third-party identity provider have to be restricted—or be allowed only limited access—to applications that are federated with Keycloak? Here’s how you do it.

      • How to Use the Docker Run Command to Launch Docker Containers

        Following on from my recent posts about how to install Docker CE, and looking at Docker storage drivers, I thought it was time to dive into doing what Docker is for – and go into how you can use the docker run command to start up some docker containers! This post will be a general overview of how to run Docker containers, with plenty of practical examples, so hopefully this should be a good one!

      • How to Install Xfce 4.16 Desktop in Ubuntu 20.04, Linux Mint 20

        Xfce 4.16 is released a while back with many new features and improvements. In this guide, we lay out the steps to install Xfce 4.16 desktop environment in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

    • Games

      • Fast-paced grid-fighter EndCycle VS adds Linux support – we have keys to give away

        Along with a huge upgrade to the game that adds in a whole new Adventure Mode, the grid-battler EndCycle VS now offers up Linux support.

        “EndCycle VS the customization-heavy strategic grid-fighter is here! Fight intense, fast-paced situations by combining reflexes and crafting your own strategy!! Packing both Singleplayer and Multiplayer action, the game has something for everyone!”

        One for fans of Mega Man Battle Network, One Step From Eden and other grid-fighters it’s another interesting choice for fast-paced strategic action. This latest update brings with it almost an entirely new game with the Adventure Mode, one that’s different each time you play through with some random generation.

      • Mixolumia is an absolutely enchanting block-clearing puzzler with dynamic audio

        Block-breaking puzzle games come in many different forms and Mixolumia from davemakes is one that has absolutely sucked away my attention recently. Originally released much earlier in 2020, the developer has recently put up a Linux build on itch.io and I’ve been playing through it.

        “Mixolumia introduces a fresh twist on block-clearing puzzlers. Scintillating visuals and entrancing music respond to your input and evolve as you progress. Diamond blocks slide together on the gem-shaped board and explode in glittering chain reactions.”

      • 6 Linux puzzle games you can play free

        Do you love puzzle games? Want to play a puzzle game on your Linux PC but don’t know what puzzle games are free? We can help! Follow along as we go over 6 puzzle games you can play for free!

        In this list, we went over 6 puzzle games you can play on Linux for free. However, there are more than just 6 puzzle games available to play on Linux. What is your favorite Linux puzzle game to play? Tell us in the comments below!

      • Our Picks for 2020

        For the majority of 2020, unless we had to work or do grocery shopping, we had to stay indoors, in our own homes. The fact that Steam recorded an all-time high of over 24 million users logged in in a single weekend proves that gaming has never been as great of a pastime as it is now.

        Here’s our top picks of games either released in 2020, or that got so significant of an enhancement this year that it was worth including in this list, whether they’re native Linux releases or work well on Proton. And what better time to be talking about these games now, while most of them are on sale during the Steam Winter Sale until January 5th, as well as on GOG, Humble, and many other stores right now!

      • Valve Continued Doing A Lot For Linux Gaming & Open-Source Radeon Drivers In 2020 – Phoronix

        Valve this year continued contributing significantly to not only improving the Linux gaming experience but also the Linux desktop at large with their continued open-source graphics driver enhancements and other infrastructure work.

        Open-source driver developers working under contract for Valve continued pushing along the open-source Radeon Vulkan “RADV” driver, pushed the “ACO” compiler back-end for RADV into excellent shape that it’s now enabled by default and delivers excellent performance, continued work on the Linux VR support as well as their engagements with Collabora and the like, and other infrastructure work such as backing the SUD functionality and other ongoing kernel work.

      • b.i.t.Lock is a fantastic puzzle game that’s now free and supported on Linux | GamingOnLinux

        After a year in development on the latest update, the brilliant puzzle game b.i.t.Lock is now not only free but Petorio also added a Linux build too.

        B.i.t.Lock is a game about fitting shapes into slots by moving around blocks on the screen. Sounds simple right? Wrong. All the blocks you have move at the same time, together and you need to push them around into walls to get them into the right place. It’s challenging, makes you really carefully think and it’s just such a well-made puzzle game that’s definitely worth looking at.

        You navigate these blocks through six different worlds with their own themes and mechanics and free the world bit by bit with each level solved. Each world has its own style of gameplay and requires different ways of thinking to solve the puzzles.

      • Neon Wings: Air Race is a new sci-fi arcade racer in Early Access | GamingOnLinux

        Need more casual arcade racers? Neon Wings: Air Race is a colourful sci-fi air racer currently available in Early Access and they recently hooked up a Linux build. Originally released in November 2020, the Linux build came in mid-December.

        “Neon Wings: Air Race is an adrenaline-filled fast-paced air racing game packed with a cart-game like skill system, spectacular effects and graphics, innovative gameplay mechanics, and good old fun!”

      • Amusing scribbly-art adventure ‘Scrabdackle’ had a big demo update recently | GamingOnLinux

        Scrabdackle is one game you really need to keep an eye on, an adventure following a novice wizard getting to know their own strange world for the first time.

        Made in the awesome free and open source game engine Godot Engine, it’s a 2D top-down hand-drawn action-adventure that focuses on exploration and combat. With some quirky humour, fun scribbly-line artwork that’s super charming it’s already got a lot to love about it.

      • Retro FPS titles Shrine, Shrine II, Lycanthorn and Lycanthorn II all now have Linux builds | GamingOnLinux

        After some classic first-person shooter fun? Developer ‘Scumhead’ who works with the GZDoom game engine recently announced that Shrine, Lycanthorn and Lycanthorn II all now have Linux builds.

        This makes grabbing them and playing them easier than ever, no need to mess about with setting up GZDoom manually or moving anything around. Currently it’s only on itch.io but hopefully the Linux builds will hop over to Steam too sometime soon. Shrine is quite highly rated too, one we’ve talked about briefly here before when running it as a standalone.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Calindori and online calendars

          Currently, Calindori works with calendar data provided by files that follow the iCalendar specification, without offering an out-of-the-box way to synchronize your calendars with external sources, e.g. with Nextcloud. However, this will change in the future. In specific, a plan for this feature has been devised. The first step, a plugin interface that will enable Calindori to use calendar data from various data sources is already in progress.

          Although Calindori works on Linux mobile, desktop and even Android, it has been created as the calendar of Plasma Mobile. From this point of view, as soon as a personal information management (PIM) system is available on Plasma Mobile, Calindori will make use of it. However, such a system has not been implemented yet. Various ideas have been discussed on the Plasma Mobile sprints and community meetings. Personally, I am in favor of a sustainable, KDE community driven solution that will work well with Plasma desktop as well as taking into account the particularities of the mobile world, e.g. low energy consumption, “deep sleep” support, etc.


          Finally, let me clarify that this approach is not the way that Calindori and Plasma Mobile are going to offer online synchronization of calendars in the future. Nevertheless, Vdirsyncer is a nice, simple utility that enable users to use Nextcloud calendars in Calindori at the moment. It has worked pretty well for me, and I think that the Linux-on-mobile community will find it as an interesting solution for calendar synchronization.

        • My 2020 with KWin Wayland

          Over the last few years and especially since the Wayland goal vote, the Plasma team, we have been focusing on having our Plasma Wayland experience work at least as good as our traditional Plasma X11 experience does. Today I’d like to wrap up my experience on this front for 2020.

          Despite having been working on KDE and even Plasma projects for a long while, I’d never gotten much deep into working on KWin internally. I dipped my toes in it in 2019 when working on the key states feature (that plasmoid that says if caps lock is pressed or not, which we needed because the KDE Slimbook didn’t have an LED for the Caps Lock). Here I’ll discuss a bit how it evolved over time.

        • The Kate Text Editor in 2020

          2020 was for sure no good year for most people around the world. A lot of us are affected directly or indirectly by the currently still raging COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s hope that 2021 will bring better fortune at least in this aspect.

          Still, good stuff happened in 2020, too, not all was bleak. I read already some wrap ups of 2020 from others like Nate and Aleix. A lot stuff happened inside the KDE community this year.
          Kate and it’s closely related parts KTextEditor & KSyntaxHighlighting evolved a lot in 2020, too. Let’s take a look at the highlights out of my perspective ;=)

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • How to Enable ‘Fuzzy Search’ in GNOME Shell’s Applications Screen

          I make typos — okay: I make a lot of typos* — but modern technology cleans up after me. Features like autocorrect, “did you mean?”, and (relevant here) fuzzy search step in when my typing precision fails.

          Fuzzy search (or “approximate string matching” as some call it) is a type of search that returns results that are likely to be relevant to a search term, even though they don’t match it exactly.

          GNOME Shell has a powerful search feature built in. You hit the super key, start typing, and all kind of results, including applications, files, folder, system shortcuts, and more, appear before you.

        • Search Joplin notes from GNOME Shell – Sam Thursfield

          One of my favourite discoveries of 2020 is Joplin, an open, comprehensive notebook app. I’m slowly consolidating various developer journals, Zettelkasten inspired notes, blog drafts, Pinboard bookmarks and abstract doodles into Joplin notebooks.

          Now it’s there I want to search it from the GNOME Shell overview, and that’s pretty fun to implement.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Deepin 20.1 is Here With Performance Improvements and More Gesture Support

          Debian-based Deepin Linux is one of the most beautiful Linux distributions out there. The new Deepin 20 release makes it even more beautiful. The new looks resemble the macOS Big Sur.

          You don’t have to take my words for it. See it in action in this review.

          The first point release of Deepin version 20 is here. Deepin 20.1 adds Linux kernel 5.8 along with the existing kernel 5.4 LTS. It uses Debian 10.6 repositories to give you updated packages and security patches.

        • Deepin 20.1 Released with Improved Performance, Enhanced Desktop Environment

          Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10.6 “Buster” repositories, Deepin 20.1 is now shipping with Linux kernel 5.8 as an alternative kernel that’s supposed to offer support for newer hardware components, as well as the long-term supported Linux 5.4 LTS kernel series, which remains the default for new installations.

          Also improved in this release is the Deepin Desktop graphical environment, which is received new power settings in the Control Center, namely Balanced, Power Saver, and High Performance, support for Bluetooth file transfers, and new Deepin apps, including Browser, Mail, Disk Manager, and Camera.

        • Debian-based deepin Linux 20.1 is here and you should switch from Windows 10 now!

          Well, folks, 2020 is almost in the books, and once again, it was not the fabled year of Linux on the desktop. Yes, Microsoft’s Windows 10 still reigns supreme as far as market share, but that doesn’t mean it is the best desktop operating system — just the most popular. In fact, many consumers are switching to Linux-based Chromebooks for their simplicity and security, while macOS continues to attract new users. Those M1 Macs in particular are quite intriguing, especially when a brand-new Mac Mini can be had for less than $700.

          The thing is, neither Windows 10 or macOS are the prettiest desktop operating system — that designation belongs to a Linux distribution from China called “deepin”. Today, Debian-based deepin Linux 20.1 (1010) becomes available for download and you should absolutely check it out. Hell, depending on your needs, you should consider switching from Windows 10! Seriously, y’all, deepin is that good.

          This new version is based on Debian 10.6 and uses Linux kernel 5.8. Surprisingly, deepin 20.1 ditches popular default apps like Firefox, GParted, and Thunderbird for all-new deepin-made programs. Yes, the operating system now comes with a deepin-made web browser, email client, and disk manager to name a few. Don’t like that? No need to worry. You can, of course, still install the apps you prefer, such as Firefox or Google Chrome.

        • Beautiful Deepin Linux 20.1 Arrives With Bluetooth File Transfer Support

          As the year 2020 will end today, the Deepin OS team has announced a new stable point version 20.1 (1010) of its Deepin Linux 20 series.

          The latest Deepin 20.1 (1010) comes with numerous updates ranging from kernel, apps, repositories, enhanced system stability, compatibility and performance.

      • BSD

      • Arch Family

        • Arch Linux mailing list id changes

          Due to issues with our anti spam measures, we had to migrate those mailing lists, that were sent from @archlinux.org before to the @lists.archlinux.org domain.

          Submission to the mailing list is not affected and still works with @archlinux.org. Mails get redirected automagically.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Choose between Btrfs and LVM-ext4

          Fedora 33 introduced a new default filesystem in desktop variants, Btrfs. After years of Fedora using ext4 on top of Logical Volume Manager (LVM) volumes, this is a big shift. Changing the default file system requires compelling reasons. While Btrfs is an exciting next-generation file system, ext4 on LVM is well established and stable. This guide aims to explore the high-level features of each and make it easier to choose between Btrfs and LVM-ext4.

          In summary

          The simplest advice is to stick with the defaults. A fresh Fedora 33 install defaults to Btrfs and upgrading a previous Fedora release continues to use whatever was initially installed, typically LVM-ext4. For an existing Fedora user, the cleanest way to get Btrfs is with a fresh install. However, a fresh install is much more disruptive than a simple upgrade. Unless there is a specific need, this disruption could be unnecessary. The Fedora development team carefully considered both defaults, so be confident with either choice.

        • This CentOS option will be available by spring 2021

          Rocky Linux was invented as soon as Red Hat’s self CentOS program newly changed the direction of emphasis, much to the embarrassment of its consumers.

          Gregory Kurtzer, amongst the actual CentOS co-founders, proclaimed that Rocky Linux would furnish the aground consumers with an achievable alternative to leave their servers ahead of the recent edition of CentOS verges early in the ultimate month of 2021.

        • Fedora Workstation 34 Looking To Employ Btrfs Zstd Transparent Compression By Default

          Fedora Workstation 33 successfully switched over from EXT4 to using Btrfs as its default file-system. Now with Fedora 34 due out in the spring we are seeing Fedora beginning to make use of more features offered by Btrfs.

          We previously reported on Fedora 34 looking to make use of DNF/RPM copy-on-write functionality in conjunction with Btrfs. Now another Btrfs feature being eyed for use by default in this next release is transparent file-system compression.

        • Fedora packaging tedium and bulk-rebuild

          In a recent thread on Fedora’s development list, Miroslav Suchý asked about what Fedora packagers found most time-consuming, that could be simplified or better automated.

          For me, personally, it’s rebuilding a stack of packages that Facebook develop – due to a lack of stable ABI (so it’s partly our own doing, yes), the entire stack has to be rebuilt each time.

          There are some Fedora tooling that make this easier – rpmdev-bumpspec can automate the process of updating the version and changelog on simple spec files, and fedpkg request-side-tag lets any packager get a ‘side tag’ based off of an existing release, so packages can be built individually then merged back as a set, so there is no window in which the set of packages in, say, Rawhide, are inconsistent with each other, and there is no need to use buildroot overrides (which exposes the unreleased packages to other developers when they might still be buggy).

          It’s still a tedious process though, and will get worse the more packages get added to this set. And I want the process to be reproducible so I can hand it off to someone else.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint Monthly News – December 2020

          Many thanks also for your donations and for your support. With the money collected during the past few months we were able to send big bonuses to our developers and to our moderators. This always feels really good, especially around Christmas.

          At the moment there are 34 issues open. Most of them aren’t release blockers but there still are bugs we want to fix prior to giving Linux Mint 20.1 a stable release.

          I know it’s been asked a few times but I can’t give you an exact release date. It’s not that we don’t want to tell you, it’s simply that we don’t know exactly when the release will happen. Until it’s ready it won’t happen, and once it’s ready there’s no reason to wait for an announced date.

          As a project, if we wanted to announce a release date and stick to it we would have to deliberately plan it further than anticipated, be ready to make people work late at night even where there are no real emergencies or worse, release the product with important bugs we could have fixed but didn’t have time to. I know some companies and some projects work like that and that’s OK. I know the visibility they give their user base is important and appreciated as well, but that’s not how we chose to operate. The release comes out when we’re happy with it. Looking at the list of bugs we have, there still are issues we want to fix. In 2 months time it won’t matter at all whether we released this a week earlier or a week later, but the bugs we let through, especially those which affect the live session, will mark the release forever and be on the forefront of the version people download for the next 6 months.

          So we do not have set release dates. We do however have a 6 months release cycle which gives us rhythm and a sense of urgency and getting this release out right now is all we’re focused on.

        • Ubuntu life in 2020 | Torstens Blog

          The year 2020 was quite extraordinary, because a lot of things developed quite differently from how they were supposed to because of the Covid-19 crisis. Even though a lot of things happen virtually at Ubuntu, it also had an impact on my Ubuntu life.

          Every year I attend a few trade fairs to present Ubuntu and/or give talks. In 2020, this only took place virtually and in a very limited way for me. In March, the Chemnitzer Linuxtage were cancelled and one fair after the other was cancelled.

          In my home town I go to a Fablab where we also work on Ubuntu. After the meetings in January and February, this was also cancelled. Now and then this still took place virtually, but somehow it didn’t create the same atmosphere as when we met in real life.

          With the team members of the German-speaking Ubuntu forum (ubuntuusers.de) we organise a team meeting every year, which is always very funny and partly productive. In 2020 it had to be cancelled. Since I have also reduced my other contacts to help contain the virus, I have only met two people from the Ubuntu environment in real life since March.

        • Snaps and themes – on the path to seamless desktop integration | Ubuntu

          Alongside performance, theming is one of the primary concerns for desktop snap users. People expect applications bundled inside snaps to look and behave just like their counterparts shipped and packaged in the traditional way in their Linux distributions, and any discrepancy in this space can lead to a degraded user experience.

          Over the years, we have invested a lot of focus in improving the theming integration, but recently, we picked up pace in this area, and we’d like to share a story of our ongoing and future efforts, and set the tone for 2021.


          Seamless theming should make snaps even more fun to use. If you’re a theme developer, you may want to consider the improvements we are introducing in our tooling, and help bring even more art and variety to Linux users in an easy and consistent way. We also welcome feedback, so please join our forum for a discussion, on themes or any other topic.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 8 Best Free and Open Source Search Engines for Big Data

        Big Data is an all-inclusive term that refers to data sets so large and complex that they need to be processed by specially designed hardware and software tools. The data sets are typically of the order of tera or exabytes in size. These data sets are created from a diverse range of sources: sensors that gather climate information, publicly available information such as magazines, newspapers, articles. Other examples where big data is generated include purchase transaction records, web logs, medical records, military surveillance, video and image archives, and large-scale e-commerce.

        There is a heightened interest in Big Data and Big Data analytics and the implications they have for businesses. Big data is more than simply a matter of size though. Big Data varies in terms of volume, velocity, variety, and veracity. The analysis of Big Data provides a unique opportunity to find insights in new and emerging types of data and content, to make a business more responsive to change, and to have answers to questions that could not previously be addressed.

      • Intel Media SDK 20.5.1 Released

        At the start of Q4, Intel released Media SDK 20.3 with AV1 accelerated decode, Rocket Lake, DG1/SG1 discrete GPU support, and other improvements. Now to end out the quarter is a new release coming in at version 20.5.1.

      • Making the blog part of the Fediverse and IndieWeb

        I’ve just made my blog available on the Fediverse, at least partially.

        Yesterday while browsing Hacker News, I saw Carl Schwan’s post Adding comments to your static blog with Mastodon(m) about him replacing Disqus with replies posted at Mastodon. Just on Monday I was thinking, why can’t blogs participate in Fediverse? I tried to use WriteFreely as a replacement for Pelican, only to find it very limited, so I thought I might write a gateway to expose the Atom feed using ActivityPub. Turns out, someone already did that: Bridgy, a service connecting websites to Twitter, Mastodon and other social media, also has a Fediverse counterpart, Fed.brid.gy — just what I was looking for!

      • FSF

        • Happier GNU Year!

          Since about 2019-09-11, the FSF (the largely autonomous staff body that was supposed to be supervised by, and to follow directions given by the board of directors) has asked me to leave FSF public communications to them, even while I was acting president, and preferred to distance themselves from myself and from Richard Stallman’s leadership.

          When they make as urgent an exception as they have yesterday, I might as well take it.

          The FSF has been running its end-of-year fundraiser for several weeks, and at the time of this writing it’s 175 new members short of its goal of 500 new members by the year’s end, with less than 24 hours to go.

          If I were to explain this shortcoming, as I often have, I’d point out that, over the past 15 months, to a significant number of Free Software and former FSF supporters, the FSF has come across as betraying its founder, lifetime leader, and founding-father of the social movement it belongs in.

        • FSF fights to secure software freedom for future generations

          The core mission of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) is, and always will be, to support the four freedoms of free software as embodied by the GNU Project. In 1985, when I saw Richard Stallman attempt to undertake the task of creating for you, users and creators of software, a wholly free GNU operating system by himself, I thought it was a noble idea unlikely to succeed. How wrong I was! Luckily, I made the correct decision to pitch in and help, as have many thousands of people since. In the thirty-five years since the FSF was established, countless free software users and supporters around the globe have experienced the joys that come from creating software and knowing that you have the right to learn, to tinker, to make modifications to suit your needs, to make your own contribution, to be heard and recognized, to share your work, and to be appreciated by your peers.

          While the pandemic has been very hard on people everywhere, there was one bright spot for me in 2020: by attending virtual conferences all over the world, I was able to see and hear about the work of hundreds of people inspired by the free software movement, and I have been astounded at the brilliance, creativity, and dedication of contributors everywhere on the planet. I think back to the Moon missions of a half century ago, when the astronauts peered back at the world and saw that it really was one world, that limitations in the way of boundaries seem very artificial from space. From the vantage of space, you see a beautiful blue ball with land masses, oceans and clouds, a fragile atmosphere, and as you visualize there are people down there, they should be roaming free and enjoying all that beauty.

        • GNU Projects

          • December GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: Nineteen new releases
          • GNU portability library – News: Gnulib supports portable multithreading

            For the first case, the OpenMP standard and its implementation in GCC, libgomp, provide all you need. It uses multiple threads under the hood. Use the Autoconf macro AC_OPENMP for portability.


            POSIX multithreading and ISO C multithreading are similar. ISO C multithreading contains only the essential APIs, whereas POSIX multithreading has more features. For example, while both have locks/mutexes, only POSIX has spin-locks. And when creating a thread, only POSIX allows to specify thread attributes, such as its stack size or its scheduling priority. Also, lock initialization is straightforward in POSIX, but clumsy in ISO C.

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Legal issues that companies should be aware of when using open source software (Taiwan) [Ed: Anti-GPL scaremongering by lawyers, as if business and sharing are inherently incompatible and GPL is antithetical]

            Open source software is by nature a type of computer program, which is still a type of work regulated and protected by the Copyright Law and whose distribution is also restricted by the terms of its license agreement. Open source software is different from general commercial software primarily in the terms of its license agreement. The terms of the license agreement for general commercial software are mainly based on the receipt of royalties, while the terms of the license agreement for open source software are mainly premised that the licensor shall maintain the freedom and openness of the open source software program. An open source license agreement has the following main characteristics: The software source code should be made public at the time of distribution, and open source code software should be made freely available for download, use, duplication and modification by other users, and may be freely distributed to third parties for any purpose.[2][3]

            Due to the prosperous development and application of the Internet, more and more people can participate in the development and editing of open source software through online collaboration tools, and because the development of open source software is participated by a multitude of people, the speed of open source software optimization and innovation is sometimes even faster than that of commercial software developed by ordinary enterprises. In recent years, more and more software companies, such as Apple and Microsoft, have opened up the source code of their underlying technologies in order to save their own development costs and widen the application of their products. According to Sonatype’s Software Supply Chain Status Report 2020, over 1.5 trillion open source software components and software units have been requested for download by developers worldwide in 2020, demonstrating the current high usage of open source software.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • [Old] OpenStreetMap is Having a Moment

            Jennings noted, importantly, that as of 2018 non-corporate editors were still responsible for the majority of activity on OSM (about 70% of all edits) and were significantly more active on edits to buildings, places of interest, and amenities.⁴

            In a more recent talk from State of the Map in July 2020, Jennings presented updated figures showing that the torrent of corporate contributions only increased from 2018 to 2019 and beyond with Amazon and Apple trending along the steepest slopes: [...]

        • Open Access/Content

      • Programming/Development

        • Pros and Cons of Building Your Own IoT Platform

          “Should I build my own IoT platform? Is it worth it to do it myself? The answer is, of course, it depends.

          You’ve got an idea for an awesome IoT project, and you’re ready to get started making it into a reality. But there’s a lot of options to choose from. Should you build your project from the ground up? Should you hire an IoT company to build it for you? Or should you take a middle path, using others’ work as a foundation on which to build?

        • Parallel Programming: December 2020 Update – Paul E. McKenney’s Journal — LiveJournal

          This release of Is Parallel Programming Hard, And, If So, What Can You Do About It? features numerous improvements…

        • Learn Lua by writing a “guess the number” game | Opensource.com

          If you’re a fan of scripting languages like Bash, Python, or Ruby, you might find Lua interesting. Lua is a dynamically typed, lightweight, efficient, and embeddable scripting language with an API to interface with C. It runs by interpreting bytecode with a register-based virtual machine, and it can be used for everything from procedural programming to functional programming to data-driven programming. It can even be used for object-oriented programming through the clever use of arrays, or tables, used to mimic classes.

          A great way to get a feel for a language is by writing a simple application you’re already familiar with. Recently, some Opensource.com correspondents have demonstrated how to use their favorite languages to create a number-guessing game. Lua is one of my favorites, so here’s my Lua version of the guessing game.

        • Out of Control

          This leads us to ponder — and not for either the first or the last time in the history of computer science — the distinction between code and data. We stumble across this question even in the simplest cases. How would you describe the refactoring transformations above? Many would describe them in terms of separating the data from the code. Does that mean, then, that numerals.py contains data but not code? It’s a valid Python module that initialises a variable to a list of string–integer pairs. Sounds like code. Nothing says an essential qualification for something to be considered code is the presence of control flow.
          We use the word code freely, referring both to anything written in a programming language and, more specifically, to code (sic) whose primary concern is algorithm and operation rather than data structure and definition. Natural language is messy like that, filled with ambiguity, synecdoche and context dependency.
          If we want to be more rigorous, we could say that we have separated the code into code that abstracts operation and code that abstracts data. In other words, we are saying that Programs = Code and, given that Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs, therefore Algorithms + Data Structures = Code. This can be convenient and clear way to frame our thinking and describe what we have done. We also need to recognise, however, that it is just that: it is a thinking tool, a way of looking at things and reasoning about them rather than necessarily a comment on the intrinsic nature of those things; it is a tool for description, a way of rendering abstract concepts more concretely into conversation.
          If we confuse a point of view for the nature of things we will end up with a dichotomy that feels like Cartesian dualism. Just as Descartes claimed there were two distinct kinds of substance, physical and mental, we could end up claiming there are two distinct kinds of code — code that is data and code that is operation.
          When we look to hardware, compilers or the foundations of computer science, such as Turing machines, we will not find clear support or a strict boundary for such separation. The indistinction runs deep. Although we have code and data segments in a process address, these enforce negotiable matters of convention and protection (e.g., the code or text segment is often read-only). Both code and data segments contain data, but the data in the code segment is intended to be understood through a filter of predefined expectations and an instruction set. On the other hand, it is also possible to treat data in the data segment as something to execute.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Perl weekly challenge 093

            Using a similar approach than James Curtis-Smith , the solution looks at points with equal slope to see if they are in a straight line. Being less literate in Raku, using classes help me to organize coding ideas.

            This exercise gives me the opportunity to work with the type BagHash. The highest value of the slopes stored in a BagHash gives the number of points in a straight line. Happily, the first example in Raku documentation is for a Class Point, an example reused in this solution.

          • I’m Making Headway Now

            Last January there was a post on reddit which claimed that my module JSON::Parse was not only failing some of the JSON Test Suite tests, but also crashing on one of them. Anyway I should have got around to doing something about it sooner, but here are my conclusions.

            First of all there was a crash on one of the files, which went something like this: [{“”:[{“”:[{“”, repeated about 100,000 times. Investigating it using a LInode, I found that after 80,000 open brackets the stack was overflowing, causing the crash to occur. If I added a printf in the midst of my code the printf would cause the stack overflow, so it wasn’t actually due to my code but just because the stack size seems to be quite small on Linux.

            There are various things one could do to tackle this, but it does seem a bit unlikely that anyone would want to have that many open brackets, so what I did as a strategy was to add a “max_depth” of parsing after which it would stop. I thought 10,000 open { and [ would be enough for anyone, and it would satisfy the people who want to run the JSON Test Suite tests, but I also added an option for the user to alter the max depth and get the max depth as well.

        • Python

          • Jean-François Fortin Tam: Blogging about Python desktop apps improvements on Planet Python

            Hi, fellow pythonistas! Before I start publishing future Python-related posts to this aggregator, I would like to shortly introduce myself and the reason for this blog’s presence on the planet.


            Here I blog mainly about new releases and improvements in my Python software apps (which means GTG lately, but I also have a couple of pythonic utility apps I’ve been meaning to publish sometime soon), and sometimes write about performance optimization in software applications in general, or how a particular bug was solved. As such, my blog posts tend to be “applied Python” type of content rather than theoretical tutorial-style blog posts.

          • 10 examples of using Python in 2020 | Opensource.com

            Each year, Opensource.com publishes various articles about Python to pique new users’ interest and help long-time Pythonistas expand their skills. The following are Opensource.com’s top 10 articles about Python in 2020.

        • PHP

          • Use of glob() function in PHP

            glob() function is a built-in PHP function that is used to search the specific files or folders based on the pattern. It returns the file and folder names in an array that matches the pattern. How this function can be used to search the particular files or folders is shown in this tutorial.

          • Use of hash functions in PHP

            Data security is very important for any application. The unauthorized access of the data can damage the valuable data of the application. If the data can be secured by applying proper encryption, then unauthorized access of the data can be prevented. For example, the password of the new user requires to encrypt before storing in the database to prevent unauthorized access of the user easily. One way of encryption is to use the hash function. Many built-in hash functions exist in PHP to encrypt the data. It encrypts the data without changing its original meaning. Some commonly used hash functions of PHP are md5(), sha1(), and hash(). The uses of these functions are explained in this tutorial.

          • Use of getenv() function in PHP

            Environment variables are used in PHP to set up the application and retrieve the different types of data dynamically from the server. The database credentials, API keys, etc., are visible to the code through the environment variable instead of using any configuration file. When any PHP script runs, then it will inherit all required environment variables from the server. There are two ways to read environment variables in PHP. One is getenv() function and another is $_ENV array. The uses of the getenv() function are shown in this tutorial.

          • Use of foreach loop in PHP – Linux Hint

            Many types of loops are supported by PHP. foreach loop is one of them. This loop is mainly used to parse array and object variables. When the total number of array elements is undefined, then it is better to use a foreach loop than another loop. The number of iterations of this loop depends on the number of array elements or the number of properties of the object used in the loop for reading. How this loop can be used for reading array and object variables is shown in this tutorial.

          • Use of PHP Global Variable – Linux Hint

            The variable is used to store any value temporarily in the script. Two types of variables are used in any programming language. These are local and global variables. The variables which are accessible anywhere in the script called global variables. That’s mean the value of the global variables can be accessed or modified inside and outside of the function. But if the name of any global variable is the same as any variable declared inside a function there are some ways to recognize the global variable inside the function. Two types of global variables are used in PHP. One is a user-defined global variable and another is a superglobal variable. Some useful superglobal variables are $_GLOBALS, $_SERVER, $_REQUEST, $_GET, $_POST, $_FILES, $_COOKIE and $_SESSION. How the user-defined global variable can be declared, assigned, and changed inside and outside the function have shown in this tutorial.

          • Use of Heredoc in PHP – Linux Hint

            Heredoc is one of the ways to store or print a block of text in PHP. The data stored in the heredoc variable is more readable and error-free than other variables for using indentation and newline. How the heredoc content can be stored in a variable or printed has shown in this tutorial.

          • Retrieve the Full URL in PHP – Linux Hint

            Two types of global variables can be used in PHP: the superglobal variable and the user-defined variable. $_SERVER is a superglobal array variable that is used to retrieve the full path of the current page. The protocol (HTTP or HTTPS) of the URL is also required to get the full URL of the page. If $_SERVER[‘HTTPS’] returns ‘on’, then HTTPS will be used with the URL address, otherwise, HTTP will be used. How the full URL address of the current page can be retrieved using the $_SERVER array has been explained in this tutorial.

        • Rust

          • Announcing Rust 1.49.0

            The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.49.0. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

          • Rust 1.49 Released With 64-bit ARM Linux Support Rated Tier-1

            Rust 1.49 has promoted their 64-bit ARM Linux support to being a Tier-1 target, which is the highest support guarantee and on par with the likes of Rust’s x86_64 support. Rust has long worked well on 64-bit ARM Linux but is now considered to be in great shape and put at the highest tier. This also makes 64-bit ARM Linux the first non-x86 target to reach a tier one level.

          • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 371
          • Niko Matsakis: The more things change… [Ed: Rust language is becoming GAFAM surveillance monopolies, hosted on Microsoft servers]

            That said, I’ve talked to a number of people in the Rust community who feel nervous about this change. After all, we’ve worked hard to build an open source organization that values curiosity, broad collaboration, and uplifting others. As more companies form Rust teams, there’s a chance that some of that could be lost, even if everyone has the best of intentions. While we all want to see more people paid to work on Rust, that can also result in “part time” contributors feeling edged out.


            I want to zoom out a bit to the broader picture. As I said in the intro, we are entering a new phase for Rust, one where there are multiple active Rust teams at different companies, all working as part of the greater Rust community to build and support Rust. This is something to celebrate. I think it will go a long way towards making Rust development more sustainable for everyone.

            Even as we celebrate, it’s worth recognizing that in many ways this exciting future is already here. Supporting Rust doesn’t require forming a full-time Rust team. The Google Fuchsia team, for example, has always made a point of not only using Rust but actively contributing to the community. Ferrous Microsystems has a number of folks who work within the Rust compiler and embedded teams. In truth, there are a lot of employers who give their employees time to work on Rust – way too many to list, even if I knew all their names. Then we have companies like Embark and others that actively fund work on their dependencies (shout-out to cargo-fund, an awesome tool developed by the equally awesome azfoltzer, who – as it happens – works at Fastly, another company that has been an active supporter of Rust).

        • MySQL

          • MySQL Primary and Foreign Keys – Linux Hint

            MySQL is an RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) which is owned by the Oracle Corporation and inherited from the standard SQL. It allows access and manipulation of Databases. Whoever knows the word ‘Database’ must have knowledge of Primary and Foreign keys. There is no concept of a relational database without the existence and idea of the concepts of Primary Keys and Foreign Keys. So in this article, we are going to learn about the importance and correct use of Primary and Foreign keys in MySQL.

            The primary key can be any field or column of a table, which should be a unique and non-null value for each record or a row.

            The Foreign key is a field that contains the primary key of some other table to establish a connection between each other.

            Let’s have a look at the syntax and different examples to create primary and foreign keys in MySQL.

          • MySQL Outer Join – Linux Hint

            MySQL provides a lot of commands, which are needed while managing a database. For example, we often need to get some data from different tables based on some condition. MySQL then provides different types of joins to get the desired results. Let’s learn LEFT JOIN AND RIGHT JOIN of MySQL.
            There is no such statement as FULL OUTER JOIN in SQL, but we can use a simple JOIN to get the same results or by simply using a SELECT statement over two different tables.

            Otherwise, MySQL provides LEFT JOIN and RIGHT JOIN to get the records or rows from the right or left table, respectively. Let’s try a couple of different examples to get the desired results using appropriate joins.

  • Leftovers

    • Opinion | ‘Lord of the Flies,’ Revisited

      Dutch historian Rutger Bregman documents that Golding had no knowledge of behavioral science and was hardly an impartial judge of children’s propensities.

    • Sound Grammar: the 25 Best Recordings of 2020

      Fetch the Bolt Cutters Fiona Apple (Epic)

      Pursuance: the Coltranes Lakecia Benjamin (Bandcamp)

    • Out of the Ether

      What’s that floating along the televisual stream to comfort and amuse us, as this brutal year flows toward its end? A much-touted exposé of old-time Hollywood, shot with an old-Hollywood look by David Fincher; a Steven Soderbergh fable about the literary life, with a Queen Mary 2 setting as posh as the cast and writer; an adaptation of an August Wilson play, ushered onto the screen with all due ceremony by George C. Wolfe. If prestigious credentials were the same thing as entertainment, we should all be chortling like 5-year-olds tearing at wrapping paper.

    • The Sound of Relief

      After his slow, decade-long ascent from laid-off schoolteacher to buzzing indie star, Los Angeles rapper Open Mike Eagle suffered a series of setbacks. In 2019 he and his wife divorced, a reunion with his old rap crew Hellfyre Club fell apart, and his Comedy Central variety show, The New Negroes, was canceled after one season. Those upsets form the backdrop to Anime, Trauma and Divorce, the rapper’s whimsical and introspective take on an old trope: the breakup album. By turns goofy and pensive, the record uses pop culture as a vehicle for self-examination and restoration.

    • Hardware

      • What is a Radio Spectrum Analyzer?

        Signals are all around us, but we are unaware of their presence because they are invisible and intangible. The most common type we hear about are the electrical signals, but there are also other types such as optical and audio signals. In the field of electronics, measuring these signals is necessary but also challenging because of their nonphysical nature. Due to this, test equipment like Spectrum Analyzers was invented.

        There are spectrum analyzers for different types of signals, but this article will focus mainly on Radio Frequency (RF) Spectrum Analyzers.

      • The Best Portable Spectrum

        Or you could do what everyone else does, and visit World of Spectrum and download your favourites from there. Put them on the SD card, and ZXDS will be able to find them. ZXDS has a simple file manager, so you can browse around, find a game and instantly load it. Or you could load it in real tape-time for the authentic experience.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Sniffing Our Way Back

        Dade City, Fla.—The last time I kissed a man was almost a year ago, just before the virus closed the country. The gentleman caller standing outside my trailer had been giving me that look over the previous few days in the pool that serves as a gathering spot at our winter gay campground. On the day before I was to leave for the trip back north, this handsome chap mustered the courage to knock at my door. Since I would be gone before the gossip at the pool would undoubtedly identify me as a slut, I gave in to his advances.

      • Trump Plans New Year’s Party as COVID Death Count Continues to Climb
      • Is Vaccine Distribution Trump’s Biggest Screw Up Yet?

        By comparison, we manage to get over 170 million flu shots in people’s arms every year, without any heroic efforts by the government and the military. Most of those doses are given over roughly a four-month period, which means a bit less than 1.5 million a day. That puts our flu shot delivery system ahead of Donald Trump’s warp speed. What the f**k?

        Last week I wrote a piece asking why we didn’t have 400 million doses of vaccines on hand by the start of December. Of course production takes time, and we didn’t know back in the summer which vaccines would prove effective, but so what?

      • The New Strain of COVID May Have Already Coursed Through the US
      • “Those of Us Who Don’t Die Are Going to Quit”: A Crush of Patients, Dwindling Supplies and the Nurse Who Lost Hope

        Nurse Kristen Cline was working a 12-hour shift in October at the Royal C. Johnson Veterans Memorial Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, when a code blue rang through the halls. A patient in an isolation room was dying of a coronavirus that had raged for eight months across the country before it made the state the brightest red dot in a nation of hot spots.

        Cline knew she needed to protect herself before entering the room, where a second COVID-19 patient was trembling under the covers, sobbing. She reached for the crinkled and dirty N95 mask she had reused for days.

      • ‘This Is Warp Speed?’ At Current Pace, US Will Take 10 Years to Adequately Vaccinate the Public Against Covid-19, Analysis Warns

        “We should have been prepared to start inoculating millions of people the day a vaccine was approved. This is a massive policy failure.”

      • Opinion | Should You Be Worried About the New COVID Strains?

        These new strains should make you very worried indeed: they’re much more infectious.

      • “This Is How Black People Get Killed”: Dr. Susan Moore Dies of COVID After Decrying Racist Care

        As the United States reports record deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 in the final days of 2020, we look at how the pandemic that ravaged the country this year has shone a stark new light on racism in medical care. In a viral video recorded by Black physician Dr. Susan Moore, she describes racist treatment by medical staff at a hospital in Indianapolis and says they did not respond to her pleas for care, despite being in intense pain and being a doctor herself. In the video, Dr. Moore says she had to beg to receive pain medication and the antiviral drug remdesivir, and accuses a doctor at Indiana University Health North Hospital of ignoring her pleas because she was Black. “I put forth, and I maintain: If I was white, I wouldn’t have to go through that,” she says. Dr. Moore died December 20, just over two weeks after she posted the video. She was 54 years old.

      • Faced With Concurrent Crises, UNICEF Warns Millions of Children Threatened by ‘Looming Famine’

        “For countries reeling from the consequences of conflicts, disasters, and climate change, Covid-19 has turned a nutrition crisis into an imminent catastrophe.”

      • WHO Chief Says ‘We Must Ensure That All People at Risk Everywhere—Not Just in Countries Who Can Afford Vaccines—Are Immunized’

        His comments came one year into the public health crisis and as the U.K. became the first country to approve a vaccine from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford that is cheaper and easier to distribute.

      • COVID-19, Prison and Another Pandemic Clare Grady Made Me Remember

        Because the group – Plowshares 7 – believes that nuclear weapons aren’t created in isolation from a system that also creates climate change, murders people like George Floyd, and brutally detains immigrants, the group read out a statement, repenting of the sin of white supremacy. They condemned “racism, militarism, and extreme materialism,” the triple evils of the U.S. profit imperative once called out by Martin Luther King.

        Unsurprisingly, Clare and her comrades were arrested, charged with federal crimes, and convicted on all counts. By now, all but one have been sentenced to terms similar in length to Clare’s, which, compared to those served by most people convicted of felonies, seem almost tiny.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • 2020 in review: Revenge of the Y2K bug as lazy fix takes down software

        The issue now seems to be under control, but 19 January 2038 was set to be the next troublesome date for Linux computers, which count the date in seconds from 1 January 1970. The date is stored as a 32-bit integer, and its storage capacity would be exceeded at this point.

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (libdatetime-timezone-perl and tzdata), openSUSE (kdeconnect-kde and opera), and SUSE (gimp, squid3, and xen).

          • Why conferences like CyberEDU are important

            [...] That is cybercriminals adapt to the shifting situation by redeploying known attack techniques to suit the new social and economic contexts. Publications are started to be produced showing the extent of the problem (Lallie et al. 2020, Buil-Gil et al. 2020) and police forces and private actors, especially across western countries are trying to raise the attention to the problem. [...]

          • Finnish Officials Investigate [Crack] of Lawmakers’ Email [iophk: Windows TCO]

            The strike appears to have taken place sometime during the fall and was discovered earlier this month, according to the Finnish Central Criminal Police. Currently, law enforcement officials believe this intrusion is an act of espionage.

          • [Old] Norway Says Russia-Linked APT28 [Cracked] Parliament

            The Norwegian parliament’s investigation into the hacking of email accounts of some elected officials and government employees in August has concluded that a Russia-linked advanced persistent threat group is likely responsible, according to a report issued this week.

          • Russian [Attack] Group ‘Fancy Bear’ Accused Of Cyberattack On Norwegian Parliament

            In a December 8 press release announcing the findings of its investigation into the August attack, the PST said there was not enough evidence to press charges relating to damage to Norway’s national interests.

            Norwegian officials had previously announced that a “vast” cyberattack on August 24 had gained access to the e-mails of some parliamentarians and parliamentary employees, although the identity of the attackers was not revealed. Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide subsequently accused Russia of being behind the attack against the NATO-member Scandinavian country.

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

            • New worm turns Windows, Linux servers into Monero miners
              [Ed: Anti-Linux site bashes "Linux" over "hardcoded credentials." This is not a Linux problem, it's FUD. It gives illusion of security parity between platform with NSA back doors and one without them.]

              The worm spreads to other computers by scanning for and brute-forcing MySql, Tomcat, and Jenkins services using password spraying and a list of hardcoded credentials.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Still Not ‘Going Dark:’ Device Encryption Still Contains Plenty Of Exploitable Flaws

              Law enforcement — especially at the federal level — has spent a great deal of time complaining about an oddity known only to the FBI and DOJ as “warrant-proof” encryption. Device users and customers just call this “encryption” and realize this protects them against criminals and malicious hackers. The federal government, however, sees device encryption as a Big Tech slap in the face. And so they complain. Endlessly. And disingenuously.

            • Brexit Deal Copied And Pasted Recommendations For Netscape, Outdated Encryption

              You’d think a massive and controversial deal to sever the UK from the European Union, impacting the lives of millions of people over the better part of the next generation, would contain a certain amount of… precision.

            • Skypack: Backdoor as a Service?
            • As a result of Covid-19, virtual classrooms have become the norm for many: what are the privacy implications?

              As the researchers point out, the well-established educational norms that protect the privacy of students and teachers in the traditional educational context are absent in the new virtual classrooms. There, they are determined largely by the privacy policies of the companies that make the software. As is usually the case, few people bother understanding or even reading the details. As a result, practices that would be completely unacceptable in the physical classroom – things like surreptiously recording students and teachers, or recording data about their studies – may be happening as a matter of course, but without anyone being aware of that fact. Collecting and storing large quantities of personal data about every student is so easy that it often happens by default. Analyzing the privacy policies, the researchers found that 41% permitted a platform to share data with advertisers, which conflicts with at least 21 US state laws, while 23% allowed a platform to share location data. Clearly, neither would be acceptable in most educational contexts, and this underlines how privacy in the virtual classroom is not well protected for those platforms.

            • EFF’s Work in State Legislatures: Year In Review 2020

              After 2018 and 2019, which saw cities including San Francisco and Oakland passing municipal bans on government use of face recognition, many state lawmakers took notice of the growing momentum around this dangerous technology.

              Unfortunately, not all of their ideas were good.

              In California, EFF joined a broad coalition of civil liberties, civil rights, and labor advocates to oppose A.B. 2261, which proposed weak regulation of face surveillance. Modeled after a similar bill enacted in Washington state—a measure EFF and other civil liberties groups opposed—this bill threatened to normalize the increased use of face surveillance of Californians where they live and work.  Our allies included the ACLU of California, Oakland Privacy, the California Employment Lawyers Association, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) of California, and California Teamsters. This wide-ranging group illustrated how many people recognize the threat of face surveillance to their communities.

            • Shortcut key to mute/unmute yourself in Zoom or Google Meet [Ed: With these malicious pieces of proprietary software you never know for sure if mute actually means mute (or to who)]

              Just like everyone else, 2020 was the year of having more and more video-conference calls. How many times did we struggle to find the meeting window during a call, and say “Sorry, I was on mute”? I tried to address the pain and ended up with the following setup.

            • London Girl Granted Anonymity to Bring TikTok Privacy Suit

              A London judge granted a 12-year old girl anonymity so she can take TikTok to court over allegations the social-media company violated the European Union’s strict data protection rules.

              The London child “intends to go to a court asserting — rightly or wrongly — that her privacy rights and those of others like her have been infringed in ways that call for a remedy,” Judge Mark Warby said in a decision Wednesday. Not granting her anonymity could “have a chilling effect on the bringing of claims by children to vindicate their data-protection rights.”.

            • Cyber security expert accuses Taiwan government of treating [cracking] as a game

              Promising money to [crackers] able to point out weaknesses in the system might endanger its safety as some of them might prefer to keep the information they find to themselves, Li said. Inviting [crackers] to attack Taiwan’s information systems was putting all of its networks at risk, with the government underestimating the China element.

            • She didn’t know her kidnapper. But he was using Google Maps — and that cracked the case.

              The Samsung Galaxy phone ran on Google’s Android operating system, which requires users to link to their Google accounts and comes loaded with the company’s apps, including Google Maps, that collect detailed location data through Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth signals.

              Draeger decided to ask Google to use this data to identify the suspects in M.D.’s case. He’d never done it before and didn’t know anyone who had, although the technique had been tried at least twice: Google says it received its first geofence warrant in 2016 from a law enforcement agency it did not name, and in March 2017 police in Raleigh, North Carolina, sought a geofence warrant in a murder case, according to documents obtained by Raleigh TV station WRAL, an NBC affiliate.

            • [Old] Bad Neighbors? How Amazon’s Ring Video Surveillance Could be Undermining Fourth Amendment Protections

              Network-connected home video surveillance devices are now widespread and documenting an increasing amount of residential life, challenging many of our assumptions about private spaces. Amazon, in particular, has made waves in the home video surveillance market with its “Neighbors by Ring” application,[3] which is tied to operations of the Ring Video Doorbell device. Through the Neighbors app, Amazon became the first private company in the home surveillance space to establish a public partnership with law enforcement agencies.[4] Amazon advertises this partnership as a way to promote safer communities. In exchange for access to information from the app, Amazon encourages—and sometimes even contractually requires[5]—law enforcement agencies to promote installation of Ring doorbells and use of the Neighbors app in their community.[6]

              This relationship raises many challenging constitutional questions and civil liberty concerns, which I will explore in five parts. In Part I, I provide an overview of the relationship between Amazon Ring and law enforcement. Part II explains the overarching constitutional concerns arising from the relationship in the context of criminal investigations. Given these constitutional concerns, Part III questions whether Amazon should be considered an agent of the government for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. Part IV discusses what are permissible government actions for obtaining video footage under current law. And finally, Part V highlights the vast privacy concerns that seemingly innocuous partnerships may bring.

            • [Old] How your Tollway I-Pass could affect your divorce

              As one divorce lawyer explains, subpoenaing this information is cheaper and more high-tech than hiring a private investigator to follow around your ex. On the other hand, privacy advocates say there are not enough safeguards in the law. For example, there is no obligation to inform someone when their I-Pass data has been subpoenaed.

            • [Old] How Your Private Illinois Tollway Data Is Shared With Cops And Divorce Lawyers

              With the order of protection in place, Ellen said she also changed her cell phone number and email address. She even bought a new car with a new license plate — all to make it harder for her troublesome ex to contact her.

              But a few months later, Ellen’s ex obtained all that information — and much more — without her knowing.

              That’s because he opened a court case to which Ellen wasn’t even a party, then subpoenaed the Illinois Tollway for I-Pass transponder records that would show her movements on the state’s tollways.

              The tollway complied with that legal request, and also turned over information about Ellen’s new cell phone number, email address, credit card and license plate. Ellen’s ex-boyfriend also requested similar private information about her parents, and the tollway turned all of it over — without ever notifying Ellen or her family.

            • [Old] Why It’s Legal for Police, Divorce Attorneys to Collect I-Pass User Data

              Over six million I-Pass transponders have been issued in Illinois. The devices track the movement of tollway customers and, according to new reporting by WBEZ, that data is often shared with law enforcement and divorce attorneys, causing unease among privacy advocates.

              The Illinois Tollway’s privacy policy states that it will provide I-Pass data to anyone who has a warrant, subpoena, or court order.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Who Will Guard the Space Guardians?

        Following the creation of Space Force, $15.4 billion was transferred from the U.S. Air Force budget to Space Force. That money includes funds for space research, satellites and launch services, space operations, and maintenance and war-related satellite services and space operations.

        As with all entities, it was important to find a name for those who will be participating in work of the new creation.  Hundreds of suggestions from taxpayers were considered during the year following its creation before a final decision was made.  The presenter at the occasion of the  announcement was a slight disappointment since it would have seemed that at such an important occasion in the history of the United States, he who was responsible for the creation of  the new entity would be in attendance at the event.  The trump was, however, absorbed in petulance as a result of the election that had taken place a few weeks earlier and was not in the mood for any kind of celebration even if the event being celebrated was his idea.  Accordingly he delegated the important task of making the announcement to Vice President Mike Pence.

      • ‘Putin isn’t hysterical’ The Kremlin’s spokesman comments on the fraud charges against Navalny

        On the heels of the Russian prison authorities accusing Alexey Navalny of violating his probation, the country’s Investigative Committee launched a criminal case against the opposition figure for large-scale fraud. Meanwhile, Navalny remains in Germany, where has been since he was evacuated to Berlin for treatment after he was poisoned back in August. During a press conference on Wednesday, December 30, journalists asked Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov to comment on the latest charges against Navalny. Here’s what he said.

      • Lame-Duck Trump’s “Middle East Arms Bonanza” Continues With Approval of $290 Million Weapons Sale to Saudi Regime

        Additional arms deals this week include $4 billion in helicopters to Kuwait, $169 million in military equipment to Egypt, and $65 million in drones and fighter jets to UAE.

      • UN Experts: Trump Violated International Law in Pardoning Blackwater Mercenaries
      • ‘Hypocrisy and Horror’: Outrage After Trump DOJ Clears Cleveland Cop Who Killed 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice

        “The Rice family has been cheated of a fair process yet again,” said family attorney Subodh Chandra.

      • Opinion | Execution Will Mark MLK’s Birthday

        Trump’s benevolence has yet to reach two Black men who’ve been on death row since the 1990s and are slated to be killed in mid-January at the federal government’s maximum security prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

      • National Park Ranger Condemned for Attacking Unarmed Indigenous Man on Sacred Native Land

        “Public lands are stolen lands,” asserted Red Nation. “Indigenous people have the right to practice their culture and spiritual ways on Indigenous land without fear of repression, discrimination, or violence.”

      • UN Experts Condemn Trump’s Pardon of Blackwater Contractors as ‘Affront to Justice’

        “These pardons violate U.S. obligations under international law and more broadly undermine humanitarian law and human rights at a global level.”

      • Increasing Pentagon Spending When People Are Going Hungry Is Madness

        When Data for Progress surveyed Americans on Pentagon spending earlier this year, the polling group asked a simple question: “Over the past four years during a time of relative peace, America has increased its defense spending by 20 percent. Would you support or oppose cutting 10 percent of the $738 federal defense budget—with the guarantee that none of the cuts would affect American military personnel’s pay or health care—to pay for other needs like fighting the coronavirus, education, health care and housing?”

      • Stephen F. Cohen on Russia’s democratization and how US meddling undermines it
      • Can We Finally Stop Marching to Disaster?

        It was the end of October 2001. Two friends, Max Elbaum and Bob Wing, had just dropped by. (Yes, children, believe it or not, people used to drop in on each other, maskless, once upon a time.) They had come to hang out with my partner Jan Adams and me. Among other things, Max wanted to get some instructions from fellow-runner Jan about taping his foot to ease the pain of plantar fasciitis. But it soon became clear that he and Bob had a bigger agenda for the evening. They were eager to recruit us for a new project.

      • Fingers Point to US-Backed Gov’t in Colombia’s Ninetieth Massacre of the Year

        It is the festive season in Colombia, but not everyone is celebrating. Sunday brought news of the ninetieth massacre of the year. Five people were found dead in Bolívar Department in the north of the country, among them former leftist guerilla Rosa Amalia Mendoza and her infant child. Meanwhile, just hours earlier in the southwestern department of Cauca, the brutally tortured body of 55-year-old Manuel Alonso Villegas was found on a roadside close to his hometown of Miranda.

      • Biden and the World: A First Look at His Foreign Affairs Team

        President-elect Joe Biden has introduced his foreign policy and national security team, and it is certainly a far cry from the haphazardly organized group assembled under Donald Trump. These people—seven nominated so far: Antony Blinken for Secretary of State; Alejandro Mayorkas for Homeland Security; Avril Haines for Director of National Intelligence; Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador; Jake Sullivan for National Security Assistant; John Kerry for climate envoy; and retired Gen. Lloyd Austin for defense secretary—are highly experienced policy wonks, brought together to send two messages: the seriousness of purpose with which the United States will reenter world affairs, and the new president’s aim to put foreign affairs in capable, reliable hands so that he can focus on domestic problems.

        Although only time will tell how effectively, and for whom, this group functions, the intent behind their appointments seems clear. Biden wants people he knows well and are well-known abroad, who are independent thinkers rather than loyalists, and who will value teamwork. These are all people who have come up through the ranks and served during the Obama-Biden years. So their learning period should be short, and the president’s confidence in them will be high.

      • Never Belonging: George Blake’s Spy Exploits

        The son of a Sephardic Jew and Dutch Protestant might well count as excellent material for British intelligence but George Behar ended up condemned in Britain and the toast of the now defunct Soviet Union.  George Blake, as he came to be known, along with that other great British export of betrayal, Kim Philby, was always convinced that to authentically betray, you had to belong.  That belonging came in loyalty to the Soviet Union.  As Russian President Vladimir Putin declared solemnly on Blake’s passing this month, “The memory of this legendary person will be preserved forever in our hearts.”

        The clandestine world of the Rotterdam-born Blake began early.  He joined the Dutch resistance during World War II, serving as a courier after obtaining a set of forged papers.  Under British instruction, he travelled through Brussels and Paris to unoccupied France, and made his way through neutral Spain, enduring a three-month period of imprisonment before making it to Britain via Gibraltar in January 1943.  A spell with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve led to his enlistment into the ranks of British intelligence in 1944.  There, he was charged with deciphering coded messages from the Dutch resistance.

      • Biden’s Approach to North Korea and the NPT Option

        Although this return to the status quo ante is deeply reassuring to the Washington policy elite as well as key U.S. allies, the leadership in Pyongyang will not be so enthusiastic. North Korea has generally preferred bilateral negotiations with the United States, not multilateral talks. It has perceived closer U.S. relations with its allies (like South Korea and Japan) as an intensified encirclement. And it will view a restored emphasis on human rights and democracy as a challenge to its own sovereign right to control what goes on within its own borders.

        On top of that, the Biden administration won’t be sending any “love letters” to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un of the sort that Trump boasted of exchanging. Even before Biden takes office, relations with North Korea will have taken a step backwards.

      • Boko Haram Landmines Kill 11 Nigerian Security Personnel

        Landmines planted by Boko Haram jihadists have killed 11 security personnel, including four soldiers in northeast Nigeria, security sources said Tuesday.

        Seven hunters recruited to help the military fight the Islamist insurgents were killed on Tuesday when their vehicle hit a landmine in the village of Kayamla, outside Borno State’s capital Maiduguri.

      • Pakistan Muslim Mob Destroys Minority Hindu Temple

        Police in northwestern Pakistan say an angry mob Wednesday led by local Islamist clerics vandalized and set on fire a Hindu temple.

        The attack took place in district Karak of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Witnesses said area police dispersed the crowd of about 1,000 people, but not before they demolished the minority community’s worship place.

    • Environment

      • Opinion | Bright Spots on Climate to End a Dark Year

        In a year in which virtually every trendline was in the wrong direction, this change in direction was a welcomed gift.

      • 2020 Added a Pandemic to Climate Disasters

        The United States has been moving in the opposite direction under President Donald Trump. His administration has loosened more than 100 environmental regulations, including efficiency rules for vehicles and appliances, emissions from power plants and leakage from oil and gas operations of methane, which is a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

      • Photos of the Struggle for Environmental Justice in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley in 2020

        That toll is apparent in Louisiana where I continued to document the struggle for environmental justice for DeSmog throughout 2020. These photos are part of an ongoing DeSmog series on the industrial corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans known as ‘Cancer Alley’ which hosts more than 100 petrochemical plants and refineries. Environmental racism and pollution have left fenceline communities especially vulnerable to COVID-19. At the start of the pandemic, Concerned Citizens of St. John the Baptist Parish, a Cancer Alley community group, worried that the industrial sites around their homes might end up releasing even higher levels of air pollution since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it was relaxing some of its pollution reporting and monitoring rules for industrial plants due to the pandemic. 

      • Ecosystem Destruction Fueled the Pandemic. Pollution Has Made It Worse.
      • Energy

        • Inviting Nuclear Disaster

          “It is crazy,” declares Robert Alvarez, a former senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy and a U.S. Senate senior investigator and now senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and is an author of the book Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation.

          “No reactor in history has lasted that long,” commented Alvarez. The oldest nuclear power plant in the U.S. was Oyster Creek, five miles south of Toms River, New Jersey, which opened in 1969 and was shut down 49 years later in 2018.

        • Lethal Levels of Radiation Found in Damaged Fukushima Reactor Will Have ‘Huge Impact’ on Shutdown, Regulators Warn

          The radiation levels reported around shield plugs at two reactors are high enough to kill a worker exposed for even an hour. 

        • The EPA Just Set the First-Ever Airline Pollution Standards and They Suck

          The new rules won’t actually force the aviation sector to make any changes. These standards won’t even apply to all planes, just some new types of commercial ones. But the industry isn’t even working on any new models right now.

          “No new designs are currently in development, and none are expected for at least 10 years,” Liz Jones, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, wrote in an email.

          Further, all in-service aircrafts are completely exempt. New airplanes of existing models won’t have to comply until 2028, by which time the EPA admits they would have been updated to meet the new regulations in any case.

    • Finance

      • Britain Prepares for Increased Isolation in Wake of Brexit Deal
      • These Cities Tried to Tackle Disinvestment. Here Are Lessons From What Happened.

        They poured millions into deals with giant corporations. They propped up small businesses. They changed the tax code. They expanded mass transit.

        In cities as distinctly different as Washington; Newark, New Jersey; Chicago and Pittsburgh, government officials have found ways to restore essential goods and services to neighborhoods devastated by population loss and the flight of business.

      • Russian cabinet allocates $6.5 million to MGU’s ‘technological valley’ project linked to Putin’s daughter

        Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has signed a decree allocating 487 million rubles ($6.5 million) “for the creation and development of infrastructure” for the Moscow State University (MGU) Innovative Scientific and Technological Center “Sparrow Hills” (otherwise known as MGU’s “technological valley”).

      • The American Money Tree: The Untold Story of US Aid to Israel

        On December 21, the United States Congress passed the COVID-19 Relief Package, as part of a larger $2.3 trillion bill meant to cover spending for the rest of the fiscal year. As usual, US representatives allocated a massive sum of money for Israel.

      • The UK’s Brexit Shoddy Deal Surrenders More Than It Receives

        BoJo’s “oven ready” Brexit deal was always premised on a con— the UK would be able to cast aside the EU politically but continue to enjoy all the economic benefits.

        The newly completed deal leaves many loose-ends that will only be resolved through micro-negotiations. Meanwhile, jobs will be lost as the UK economy loses capacity due to the deal’s terms.

      • Economist Behind 2008 Financial Crash Among Elites Warning Against $2000 Stimulus Checks

        Former U.S. Treasury Secretary, Chief Economist of the World Bank, Director of the National Economic Council, and President of Harvard University, Lawrence Summers has warned against any implementation of a $2,000 COVID relief check.

      • An exclusive look inside Iran’s supermarket in Venezuela
      • Just because it isn’t Closed, Doesn’t Mean It Is Socialism | Stop at Zona-M

        The title, and inspiration, for this post are “stolen” from “Just Because It Isn’t Capitalism Doesn’t Mean It Is Socialism”. Because I have always found funny how many people, especially Americans, confuse everything politically left of Trump with full-blown North-Korea style communism, but above all because it mirrors something else I have been saying for years now.

      • Review: Billion Dollar Loser

        WeWork was founded in 2010 by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey as a successor company to their similar 2008 GreenDesk business. (Adam’s wife Rebekah is now presented as a co-founder. This seems dubious in Wiedeman’s account, although Rebekah’s role in the company is murky, ever-changing, and hard to pin down.) Its business model in reality was to provide turn-key, pre-furnished and stocked co-working and small office space to individuals and businesses on flexible, short-term leases. Its business model in Neumann’s speeches and dreams, and represented by the later renaming of the company to the We Corporation, was nothing less than to transform the way people worked, learned, and lived.

        Through aggressive, money-losing expansion, WeWork grew rapidly to over 500 locations in 29 countries and became the largest office tenant in New York City. Based primarily on massive financial support from Masayoshi Son, CEO of Japanese holding company SoftBank, WeWork’s private valuation rose to $47 billion. In 2019, the company attempted to go public, but its IPO collapsed, in part due to deeper analysis of the company’s books. Neumann was forced out of the company (with an individual payout valued at $1.7 billion), the IPO was withdrawn, SoftBank wrote down 90% of their investment in the company and took control of it, and WeWork laid off more than 20% of its workforce.

      • Shirish Agarwal: Pandemic, Informal economy and Khau Galli.

        Just today it was published that output from eight formal sectors of the economy who make the bulk of the Indian economy were down on a month to month basis . This means all those apologists for the Government who said that it was ok that the Govt. didn’t give the 20 lakh crore package which was announced. In fact, a businessman from my own city, a certain Prafull Sarda had asked via RTI what happened to the 20 lakh crore package which was announced? The answers were in all media as well as newspapers but on the inside pages. You can see one of the article sharing the details here. No wonder Vivek Kaul also shared his take on the way things will hopefully go for the next quarter which seems to be a tad optimistic from where we are atm.


        Now cut to 2020, and where there used to be 20-30 thelas near my home, there are only 4-5. Of course, multiple reasons, but one of the biggest was of course demonetization. That was a huge shock to which many of thela walas succumbed. Their entire savings and capital were turned to dust. Many of their customers will turn up with either a INR 500 or INR 2000/- Re note where at the most a dish costed INR 100/- most times half or even 1/3rd of that amount. How and from where the thela walas could get that kind of cash. These are people who only if they earn, they and their family will have bread at night. Most of the loose change was tied up at middle to higher tier restaurants where they were giving between INR 20/- 30/- for every INR 100/- change of rupees and coins. Quite a few bankers made money by that as well as other means where the thela walas just could not compete. These guys also didn’t have any black money even though they were and are part of the black/informal economy. Sadly, till date no economist or even sociologist as far as I know has attempted or done any work from what I know on this industry. If you want to formalize such businesses then at the very least understand their problems and devise solutions. And I suspect, what is and has happened near my house has also happened everywhere else, at least within the geographical confines of the Indian state. Whether it was the 2016 demonetization or the pandemic, the results and effects have been similar the same all over. Some states did do well and still do, the suffering still continues.

      • Jonathan Riddell: The Brexit Deal

        Now that both halves of the Brexit Deal (Withdrawal Agreement and Trade Deal) have been written the UK is finally in a position to spend some months having a discourse about their merits before having a referendum on whether to go with it or go with the status quo. Alas the broken democratic setup won’t allow that as there was a referendum over 4 years ago without the basics needed for discussion. One lesson that needs to be learnt, but I haven’t seen anyone propose, is to require referendums to have pre-written legislation or international agreement text on what is being implemented.

        This on top of the occasionally discussed fixes needed to democracy around transparency of campaigning funds, proper fines when they steal data, banning or limiting online advertising, transparency around advertising and proper fines for campaigns that over-spend.


        Johnson deliberately ran down the clock to wait until the final days before making the trade deal. It’s a disgusting tactic which removes the very small democratic oversight that could be expected (the UK parliament having long since had the power removed to approve or deny any such deal). Again I’ve not read anyone pointing out this deliberate tactic which caused much stress on businesses and individuals by playing up the chances of a cliff edge Brexit but it must have been the plan all along. It means he’ll get applauded in the right wing press for limiting democracy, and nobody will be any the wiser.

        There is a new bureaucratic border from Scotland and Wales to Northern Ireland with lorry parks and checks for goods. What I haven’t seen any coverage of is increased checks for people crossing. The police have always had the power to check IDs when people crossed into or out of Northern Ireland but that’s not much used since the violence subsided. Now that free movement remains in Ireland but is removed from Great Britain (making Northern Ireland a bit of a no-mans land I suppose) those checks must surely be upgraded to stop foreigners coming over here doing whatever it is the racists moaned about. This will be a new front of low level human rights abuses that will need to be watched, I wonder if anyone is doing so.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | For the First Time, the Progressive Caucus Will Have Real Power

        New rules will help Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) turn the caucus into a force to be reckoned with.

      • Opinion | Americans, Looking for Bold Leadership, Need an Aspirational Agenda From Joe Biden

        It is time for the president-elect to put his cards on the table.

      • Women Ran for Office, Won and Donated in Record Numbers in 2020
      • Audit of Absentee Ballots in Georgia Debunks Trump’s Errant Claims of Fraud
      • Trump’s Self-Coup

        The president, I explained, is a desperate cornered rat. Once he leaves office, he becomes vulnerable to a variety of criminal investigations. By far, the one he has to worry about the most is being conducted by the Manhattan district attorney into corrupt business practices, charges that could not be discharged by a presidential pardon if Joe Biden were to issue one. “[Trump] could spend the rest of his life in prison,” I wrote, “unless he declares martial law and becomes America’s first dictator.”

        I acknowledged that Trump “doesn’t have the support of the military—but he doesn’t need it.” Instead of a Latin American-style military coup, I said, “his would be a ‘police coup’ carried out by the numerous local police departments whose unions endorsed him for reelection, alongside federalized state police and deputized paramilitary MAGA goons.”

      • New year, new rules Putin has signed approximately 100 laws ahead of 2021. Here are the main ones, in a nutshell.
      • America Sucks

        When I got to America in 1972, it was Nixon’s country, even though he would be forced out soon. After a year or so in Baltimore, I made it back to Los Angeles, where I had spent my youth, growing up in Beverly Hills (not the rich part) and where I eventually enrolled in LACC, which then got me to Cal State Northridge (CSUN) where I studied English Literature. My friends were all in the entertainment industry, TV, films, advertising, and the fact that I was leaning left politically didn’t faze anybody at all. Leftism was OK. Jane Fonda was a leftie and still working in movies, so what was the harm? Of course I took film classes, worked on student films as a boom-man and grip, wrote scripts, like everyone, but was so beguiled by the Beat Generation, which had been introduced to me in Durban while I was at university there, that I wanted to be Gregory Corso’s poetic heir, be Ferlinghetti’s godson, be published by City Lights and careen across the United States in a wild Kerouac/Kesey journey that would bring my work to the eyes of every American.

        Things went otherwise.

      • Russian lawmaker Oksana Pushkina defends ‘effective NGOs’ labeled ‘foreign agents’

        Russian lawmaker Oksana Pushkina, the deputy chair of the State Duma’s Committee on Family, Women, and Children, has criticized the government’s decision to add the anti-domestic violence advocacy group “Nasiliu.net” (No to violence) to Russia’s list of foreign agents.

      • Look Beyond the Media Frenzy and Focus on the Fundamentals

        I’ve been writing a version of this column in just about every other issue of The Nation for nearly 25 years. This will be my last. Obviously, much has changed since I began. There was no Fox News or MSNBC, and the “news” on the Internet barely justified the trouble it took to dial it up. But a few things have remained relatively constant, and so, too, have my attempts to explain them. The one thought I’d like to leave readers with is this: Remember the fundamentals—the things that inevitably get lost in the never-ending frenzy that defines our current media ecosystem.

      • Opinion | We Can Take Our Democracy Back. Here’s How.

        First, we need to stop pretending that voters don’t support abortion rights. They do.

      • ‘A Matter of Life and Death’: Sanders Urges Americans to Call Their Senators and Demand Vote on $2,000 Checks

        “We need $2,000 stimulus checks, not $740,000,000,000 for the Pentagon and private ‘defense’ contractors,” said advocacy group CodePink.

      • Don the Con
      • Attempting to Cement ‘Mythology’ of Stolen Election, Hawley Announces He Will Contest Electoral College Results

        “Biden will be president. This, however, will continue to radicalize the GOP, keeping it a dangerous threat to democracy and rule of law.”

      • Biden to Take Aim at Trump’s Midnight Regulations on Day One of New Administration

        A transition spokesperson said the freeze will apply to regulations as well as guidance documents that “can have enormous consequences on the lives of the American people.”

      • The anti-porn religious lobby just destroyed the livelihoods of thousands of pornographers

        They should have said: Under pressure from the porn abolitionist movement that operates under the guise of thwarting sex trafficking, we are going to compromise the economic lives of hundreds of thousands of performers—during a pandemic, no less. I respect and commend those writing and speaking for people who have been trafficked and teenagers whose abusers post revenge porn on Pornhub or other sites. However, who is speaking for the hundreds of thousands of pornographers whose economic livelihoods have been served upon an altar for penance?

        Certainly, sex trafficking isa scourge. But censorship is not the answer. As a Pornhub user put it, “The [Internet] is becoming more and more sanitized every day because of people taking extreme measures to make us ‘safer.’ It’s censorship masquerading as public safety.”

      • Why are Republicans suing Mike Pence? Here’s what the vice president can — and can’t — do on Jan. 6

        Sources told CNN that Trump has been “confused” about why Pence cannot overturn the results on Jan. 6 even as “Pence and White House aides have tried to explain to him that his role is more of a formality and he cannot unilaterally reject the Electoral College votes.” Trump has raged at Pence and top White House officials in recent days as they have pushed back on his doomed scheme and would view Pence carrying out his constitutional duty and validating the election result as “the ultimate betrayal,” according to Axios’ Jonathan Swan.

        This pressure arguably puts Pence in a bind, since legally he cannot do anything to affect the result. The vice president reportedly plans to flee Washington for his first overseas trip since the coronavirus pandemic began right after the session.

      • 70,000 More Americans Will Die Before Inauguration Day
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Understanding Cultural Context To Detect Satire (2020)

        Summary: During the somewhat controversial Senate confirmation hearings for the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, there were a few moments that gained extra attention, including a confrontation between Senator Mazie Hirono and the nominee concerning statements regarding LGBTQ rights that Barrett had made in the past. Hirono, who had separately called the hearings themselves illegitimate, was then criticized by traditionally right-leaning media for what they felt was overly aggressive questioning.

      • Repair Shop Owner Who Supposedly Had Hunter Biden’s Laptop Sues Twitter For Defamation… Has Lawsuit Tossed The Same Day

        As basically a million people mentioned to me, on Monday, John Paul Mac Isaac, computer repair shop owner, sued Twitter for defamation. You may recall his name as the computer repair shop guy who allegedly had Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop, which later became a NY Post story. That story then became a content moderation story, as both Twitter and Facebook sought to limit the spread of the story. In Twitter’s case, the company claimed that it violated the social media site’s policy against linking to “hacked materials.”

      • Everything you need to know about Section 230

        Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which was passed in 1996, says an “interactive computer service” can’t be treated as the publisher or speaker of third-party content. This protects websites from lawsuits if a user posts something illegal, although there are exceptions for copyright violations, sex work-related material, and violations of federal criminal law.

        Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) crafted Section 230 so website owners could moderate sites without worrying about legal liability. The law is particularly vital for social media networks, but it covers many sites and services, including news outlets with comment sections — like The Verge. The Electronic Frontier Foundation calls it “the most important law protecting [Internet] speech.”

        It’s increasingly controversial and frequently misinterpreted, however. Critics argue that its broad protections let powerful companies ignore real harm to users. On the other hand, some lawmakers incorrectly claim that it only protects “neutral platforms” — a term that’s irrelevant to the law.

        Similar legislation exists in the European Union and Australia.

      • Critics Warn Repeal of Section 230 ‘Would Be Devastating for Human Rights, Social Movements, and Marginalized People’

        Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to tie the repeal to proposed $2,000 coronavirus relief checks.

      • ‘Cynical Gambit’: McConnell Condemned for Pushing Poison Pills in Bid to Tank $2,000 Checks

        “Senate Republicans are going to try every conceivable way to try to kill the $2,000 checks.”

      • Blame Mitch for the Lack of Federal Relief

        We’ve been living with a pandemic for almost a year, yet most of the supports Congress enacted to help us get through it have either withered, expired, or are about to be wiped out. The House of Representatives passed another relief package back in May, but Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell refused to take it up.

      • McConnell Is Pushing Poison Pill Legislation to Tank $2,000 Checks
      • The Stimulus Battle Highlights McConnell’s Pernicious Politics

        By bringing up these old Trump hobbyhorses and tying them to the $2,000 checks, McConnell is reverting to the familiar obstructionist cynicism that characterized his actions in the Obama presidency. The new package is a poison pill, designed not to be passed. Although the Democrats might be advised to call McConnell’s bluff: Section 230 is enshrined in NAFTA, so it wouldn’t be easy to rescind. Further, an investigation into election fraud would yield no results, since it’s clear there was no fraud in the 2020 election. As David Dayen of The American Prospect suggests, it would make sense to agree to McConnell’s absurd terms just to get the $2,000 checks out the door.

      • Bill for Higher Stimulus Payouts Stalls in Senate
      • Those $2,000 stimulus checks? McConnell says don’t hold your breath.
      • Bernie Sanders: No Pentagon Funding Without a Vote on $2,000 Checks

        The Senate is set to vote this week on whether to override President Donald Trump’s recent veto of the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual spending bill that funds the military. Trump had vetoed the NDAA in late December because he said he didn’t like that it called for renaming military bases that honored Confederate officials and because the bill didn’t include a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields social-media companies and other tech companies from liability for content published by others using their technology. But boundless defense spending is one of the few things that Democrats and Republicans still agree on, and the Senate is widely expected to overturn Trump’s veto of the NDAA.

      • The House Just Voted to Override Trump’s Veto of Defense Spending Bill

        Trump had vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act because he said it did not repeal Section 230, which shields social media companies from liability for the content their users post, and which has little to do with defense spending. But the House voted Monday 322-87 to override Trump.

        When he issued his veto last week, Trump told Congress in a statement that he believes the law “facilitates the spread of foreign disinformation online, which is a serious threat to our national security and election integrity.” But Trump’s opposition to Section 230 is likely a personal vendetta because social media companies have implemented fact-checking on political content — including of his own tweets.

      • $2K stimulus checks bill blocked in Senate for second day

        McConnell introduced his own measure on Tuesday that would tie an increase in the stimulus checks to the repeal of a liability shield used by tech companies and the creation of a commission to investigate the 2020 election.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Student Journalists Are Fighting for Protection After Covering the Crises of 2020

        Eduardo, alongside the Commonwealth Times’ executive editor and managing editor, says he was subjected to excessive use of police force on multiple occasions while covering protests. “We wanted to make sure we got the full story of what was happening in Richmond and how the police were brutalizing protesters and members of the press nightly,” he explains. (Teen Vogue has reached out to the Richmond Police Department for comment.)

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Body Camera Footage Shows Cameras Aren’t Making Boston Cops Better Police Officers

        So much for body cameras giving us better law enforcement. What started as an accountability effort has turned into a boon for prosecutors and little else. Every so often, citizens win lawsuits or have charges dropped because recorded footage differs greatly from the official narrative, but those are relative anomalies. When footage would be useful, it tends to go missing or is never recorded.

      • After 3 Years and $1.5 Million Testing Rape Kits, Alaska Made One New Arrest

        In October, Anna Sattler saw the man who raped her for the first time since she jumped from his van 19 years earlier.

        He wore a dark tie and a blue face mask, appearing in one of Alaska’s first felony jury trials of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sattler was committed to getting justice for what had been done to her. She had subjected her body to the swabbing and prodding and picture taking of a forensic exam after the 2001 kidnapping, so troopers could collect a sample of the rapist’s DNA. In court, where a jury of socially distanced strangers examined images of her genitalia, she answered the defense lawyer’s questions about why she was barhopping the night of her rape.

      • Opinion | How Past Economic Policies Influenced Racism of Today

        Though the 2020 murder of George Floyd inspired a global racial reckoning, the injustices he faced date back to his childhood in the 1980s.

      • ‘We Did It!’: Eruption of Joy as Argentine Senate Passes Bill to Legalize Abortion

        “This is a victory for the women’s movement in Argentina, which has been fighting for its rights for decades.”

      • Argentina Passes Bill to Legalize Abortion
      • “The Truth in Black and White”: The Kansas City Star Apologizes for History of Racist Coverage

        In a historic step, The Kansas City Star, one of the most influential newspapers in the Midwest, has apologized for the paper’s racist history. The paper’s top editor, Mike Fannin, admitted the Star and a sister paper had reinforced segregation, Jim Crow laws and redlining, and “robbed an entire community of opportunity, dignity, justice and recognition” with its biased coverage over many decades. We speak with Fannin and Mará Rose Williams, a longtime education writer at the paper who led the effort to examine the newspaper’s coverage of the Black community following the police killing of George Floyd and the nationwide racial justice uprising this year. “Mainstream newspapers across the country, not just The Kansas City Star, have not done a good job of covering the Black community,” says Williams.

      • “Say Her Name: Dr. Susan Moore.” Black Female Doctors Condemn Racial Disparities in Healthcare

        When Black doctor Susan Moore died from COVID-19 after posting a video from her hospital bed describing racist treatment by medical staff, her chilling message was compared to the video of George Floyd begging for his life as he was killed by Minneapolis police. We speak to two leading Black women doctors fighting racial disparities in healthcare who wrote The Washington Post opinion piece, “Say her name: Dr. Susan Moore.” “It is a typical and ongoing devaluation of our lives and distrust of our word,” says Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones, a family physician and former president of the American Public Health Association. Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative, says Dr. Moore’s complaints about being disrespected by medical staff are “really familiar” to her. “We’ve found that Black patients, Black birthing people are not valued; they’re not listened to,” she says.

      • Dr. Susan Moore Died of COVID 2 Weeks After Recording Video Decrying Racist Care
      • Trump’s Police Commission Suggests Doing The Same Things That Haven’t Worked For Years Will Reduce Violent Crime

        [Note: this is one in a series of posts on the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement's lengthy report on all things police-related.]

      • Two Officers Involved in Breonna Taylor’s Death Received Termination Notices

        Two of the Louisville police officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old emergency technician killed in her home in March, will be fired.

        Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) Detective Joshua Jaynes, who secured the no-knock warrant used to enter Taylor’s home, and Detective Myles Cosgrove, who fired the shot that killed Taylor, both received pre-termination letters from LMPD interim chief Yvette Gentry, The Louisville Courier Journal reported.

      • Louisville police seek to fire 2 detectives connected to Breonna Taylor’s shooting death

        In a statement released late Tuesday night, the Louisville Fraternal Order of Police said it is “aware that two of our members received pre-termination opportunity to respond notices today, outlining the chief’s current intent to terminate their employment,” acknowledging the hearings to come and adding that the FOP “will continue to coordinate with our members and their attorneys throughout this process.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Comcast’s Pandemic Price Hike Bonanza Continues

        You’d hardly know there was an historic economic and health crisis going on based on Comcast’s behavior.

      • Competitive Compatibility: Year in Review 2020

        As an organization that yearns for the days when the Internet wasn’t a group of five websites, each consisting of screenshots of text from the other four, we are excited to see this kind of enforcement underway, but that excitement is tempered by the fear that hasty, reflexive settlements and regulations might actually make the situation worse. For example, deputizing companies to perform the duties of the state by identifying and blocking unlawful speech makes it harder for new, better companies to enter the marketplace, because they can’t afford the vast army of moderators that monopolists can pay for with the change they find down the back of the sofa in their campus mini-kitchens.

        Thankfully, 2020 saw some very thoughtful approaches to competition that explicitly sought out ways to promote competition and give users more power over how their tech works, rather than blindly “punishing” companies with regulations that also raise barriers for would-be challengers. Both the U.S. Access Act and the EU Digital Services Act propose interoperability mandates—a requirement that the biggest tech companies provide managed access to their systems for startups, co-ops, and other potential competitors.

        When it comes to undoing 40 years of indifferent antitrust enforcement, interoperability mandates are a great start, but they are only part of the solution. What happens if the mandatory system is sidelined by changing market conditions or deliberate subversion by monopolistic companies? And what about new technologies just a-borning: what can we do to prevent them from growing into monopolies, and starting the cycle over again?

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Amazon buys Wondery, setting itself up to compete against Spotify for podcast domination

        The acquisition is a notable one, if only because it sets Amazon up to better compete against Spotify, which has been acquiring networks and exclusive talent for over a year. Amazon says this Wondery deal doesn’t change existing shows — they’ll still be available through “a variety of providers.” But Amazon says it hopes buying Wondery will “accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts by bringing creators, hosts, and immersive experiences to even more listeners across the globe.”

      • Amazon Music to Acquire Podcast Startup Wondery

        Wondery’s sale follows a period of frenzied M&A activity around the fast-growing podcast sector. Other startups, including Gimlet Media, Stitcher, Parcast and Megaphone, have all been snapped up in the last two years major tech and media players including Spotify, Sirius, iHeartRadio and The New York Times invest heavily in the medium amid an uptick in listenership in the U.S. and around the world. Wondery was largely regarded as the last major independent podcast studio, and its sale has been a hot topic among media observers in recent months.

      • Amazon in Talks to Buy Podcast Maker Wondery

        Amazon.com Inc . is in exclusive talks to purchase podcast startup Wondery, according to people familiar with the matter, as the tech giant pushes further into the growing audio sector.

      • Amazon acquiring podcast startup Wondery

        Amazon is acquiring the podcast network Wondery, expanding on its collection of audio content, the tech giant announced Wednesday.

      • Amazon Agrees to Acquire Wondery in Deeper Push Into Podcasting

        Wondery is capitalizing on a wave of deals in the podcasting industry. Spotify spent hundreds of millions in the past couple years, snapping up companies like Ringer and Gimlet Media, while Sirius XM Holdings Inc. acquired Stitcher.

    • Monopolies

      • Chinese trustbusters’ pursuit of Alibaba is only the start

        The Alibaba investigation is the first of its kind into Chinese e-commerce. Its timing—a month after authorities suddenly halted the $37bn initial public offering (IPO) of Alibaba’s fintech affiliate, Ant Group, and days before regulators told Ant to curtail lending and wealth-management activities—hints it is China’s way of chastening the two firms’ flamboyant co-founder, Jack Ma.

      • Patents

        • One wheel after another or the forum shopping “French style”

          The “French style” (at least in patent law), which is generally characterized by the will to do everything at the same time (validity and infringement of the patent), takes a serious hit with a recent Paris Court of Appeal judgment: the Judges propose a fragmented approach to a pan-European infringement for which they only want to rule on the French part of a European patent [1].

          In this case, Hutchinson, a company specializing in motor vehicle wheels, brought an infringement action before the Paris High Court (Tribunal Judiciaire), based on a patent No. EP 1 262 340 (“EP’340”) entitled “vehicle wheel with improved inflation system”. After an infringement seizure on French territory, the patentee had sued four companies before the Paris Court for infringement acts committed in France, Germany and the United Kingdom (Tyron, Global Wheel, L.A. VI, Dal).

          The Paris Court of Appeal, confirming the Paris High Court, declined jurisdiction for acts committed in United Kingdom and Germany, thus considering itself competent only for acts committed in France. It was ruled that the legal and factual situations were not identical, as required by Article 8.1 of Regulation 1215/2012, known as “Brussels I bis”, and as interpreted by the Solvay judgment of the CJEU (C-616/10, because the patents and the products in question were not identical in the three countries, so that the judgments relating to the said applications were likely to be divergent, but not irreconcilable.


          I am must finally admit to being rather perplexed by the actual trend of French case law, apparently favorable to patentees lately, but which suggests that they should rather see if they can bring a case before the English Courts.

        • Toothbrush walks into a bar

          The Loops patent covers a flexible toothbrush — and the claims require “an elongated body being flexible throughout the elongated body.” US8448285 (Claim 1). Apparently, these brushes are sold primarily to “institutional” settings such as prisons.


          The appellate panel also took issue with the sua-sponte summary judgment without first providing the party with a “full and fair opportunity to present its case.” Here, although Loops had presented its summary-judgment argument of infringement, the appellate panel found that summary-judgment of non-infringement to be an entirely different matter. “Under the circumstances, we conclude, Loops did not have a full and fair opportunity to respond to Maxill prior to the district court’s sua sponte grant of summary judgment.”

        • CVC Files Substantive Motion No. 3 (for Improper Inventorship) and Broad Opposes [Ed: The craziness of trying to get patents on life itself isn't a settled deal yet. The patent maximalists and their lawyers never get tired.]

          Last fall the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, in Interference no. 106,115, granted leave to Junior Party The University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, “CVC”) to file a dispositive motion for improper inventorship against Senior Party The Broad Institute, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively, “Broad”). CVC filed this motion, and Broad has filed its opposition.

          University of California-BerkleyCVC set forth the precise relief requested at the outset: invalidation for improper inventorship of all Broad patents and applications in the interference having misjoinder of inventors, under 35 U.S.C. § 102(f) for patents and applications claiming priority before enactment of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act and under 35 U.S.C. § 115(a) for patents or applications having priority after this change in U.S. patent law. In addition, CVC argued that the unnamed inventors’ testimony be given no weight.


          Importantly, Broad challenged CVC’s assertion regarding intent, not (just) by the denial of deceptive intent but in arguing (correctly) that the statutory amendments under the AIA removed the requirement for “no deceptive intent” for correcting inventorship (in patents and applications), citing Egenera for this proposition (“‘error’ in § 256 includes ‘all varieties of mistakes—honest and dishonest—rather than only unintentional inaccuracy’”). (Although the motion did not affirmatively assert the existence of no inequitable conduct, which CVC’s reliance on Therasense strongly suggested is their ultimate argument on the inventorship issue.)

          Finally, with regard to Dr. Lin, Broad noted that the papers associated with correcting inventorship in the Appendices lack consent from him. Broad asserted that it had attempted in good faith to obtain consent to no avail, and requested either than the Board suspend the rules under 37 C.F.R. § 1.182 or invoke the Board’s own authority to name Dr. Lin as an inventor for any patent or application for which the Board determines he should be properly named.

        • Utility Patents Per Year

          The numbers are in for 2020 — slight decrease in the number of patents issued in 2020. This capability was enabled by the PTO’s smooth transition to an almost 100% at-home workforce.

        • Senators Tell The USPTO To Remove The Arbitrary Obstacles Preventing Inventors (Especially Women Inventors) From Getting Patents

          There are plenty of issues with the patent system as we know it today, but one big one is with the system we use to award them. It’s a problem because the more important we think patents are, the more important it is to ensure that the mechanism we use to grant them is capable of recognizing all the invention patent law is intended to protect. Unfortunately, however, right now the patent-review system is architected in a way that makes it miss all too many patent-worthy inventions – including, especially, those inventions invented by women.

        • Software Patents

          • Two GEVC EPO oppositions filed by Unified

            On December 23, 2020, Unified filed an opposition proceeding against two patents owned by GE Video Compression LLC (GEVC), EP 3 471 416 and EP 3 487 179. These filings are a part of Unified’s ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone. Both patents are related to U.S. patents that are designated essential to the Access Advance (previously HEVC Advance) patent pool.

          • Varatec patent held unpatentable

            On December 29, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final written decision in Unified Patents, LLC v. Varatec, LLC holding all challenged original claims of U.S. Patent 7,792,256 unpatentable. The ‘256 patent, directed to a system and method for remotely monitoring, controlling, and managing equipment at one or more premises, had been asserted against Comcast and ADT, among others.

          • Contemporary Display patent held unpatentable

            On December 30, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final written decision in Unified Patents, LLC v. Contemporary Display LLC holding all challenged original claims of U.S. Patent 8,863,219 unpatentable. The PTAB also denied Contemporary Display’s motion to amend, finding proposed substitute claims 15 and 16 unpatentable.

            The ‘219 patent is owned by Contemporary Display, LLC, an IP Valuation Partners entity and well-known NPE. The patent is directed to the well-known method of a television and its on-screen display menu, and had previously been asserted against various television manufacturers and service providers including LG and Cox.

      • Trademarks

        • Girl Scouts Continuing To Fight Boy Scouts Of America Over Trademarks, Branding

          While Techdirt generally and myself more specifically tend to fall on the side of a more permissive philosophy when it comes to policing trademarks, there are certainly times when one entity or another crosses the line. As it happens, it seems somewhat common that those lines get crossed by parties that have themselves been quite aggressive in policing their own IP. When the Girl Scouts of America (GSA) sued the Boy Scouts of America in 2018 over the rebranding BSA went through after finally allowing girls to join, it was not difficult to see the GSA’s side of things. Essentially, what was The Boy Scouts of America became simply Scouts BSA, which did away with the core gender distinction that drew a shiny line between the two organizations in the public sphere. GSA provided real world examples of confusion in the public, with stories of some families thinking or being told that BSA and GSA had merged, and others having intended on signing their daughters up for GSA and ending up in Scouts BSA.

        • General Court says that ‘MARK’ and ‘MARQ’ are confusingly similar despite low degree of similarity between respective goods

          In a recent decision, the General Court upheld the EUIPO Fifth Board of Appeal’s (the Board) findings regarding the likelihood of confusion between the two signs ‘MARK’ and ‘MARQ’.

          The General Court considered that there was a low degree of similarity between the goods in Class 11 covered by the Applicant’s mark and the ‘lighting mixers’ in Class 9 covered by the earlier mark. In relation to the comparison of the two signs, the fact that the sole word element ‘MARQ’ in the Applicant’s mark was almost identical to the dominant visual element of the earlier figurative mark, namely the word element ‘MARK’, was sufficient to establish a visual similarity to an average degree. The signs were also considered phonetically identical without any conceptual similarity.

      • Copyrights

        • BREIN’s Upcoming Anti-Piracy Campaign Is Unusually Honest and Focused

          Anti-piracy campaigns come in all shapes and sizes and completely understandably, none are popular with pirates. However, if we pragmatically accept that they’re never going away, then we should probably acknowledge that while some are horribly exploitative, others deserve at least some respect for their structure and proportionality.

        • ‘Wonder Woman 1984′ is a Massive Hit on Pirate Sites After Early HBO Premiere

          ‘Wonder Woman 1984′ premiered both on HBO Max and in movie theaters this weekend, which proved to be a massive success. The same can be said for the film’s release on pirate sites which hit record numbers. On Saturday, nearly 10% of all pirate downloads on torrent sites related to Wonder Woman, something we haven’t seen before. It’s a potential game-changer.

        • Apple Loses Copyright Lawsuit Against Corellium for iOS Clone

          As one of the most valuable companies in the world, Apple is involved in many lawsuits, from both ends. This is one where the Cupertino company did not come out on top. Apple filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Corellium for its iOS clone that runs in the browser. However, a federal judge believes Corellium’s use of the iOS technology is “fair use.”

Alexandre Oliva: Happier GNU Year!

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux at 12:41 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Original blog post

Since about 2019-09-11, the FSF (the largely autonomous staff body that was supposed to be supervised by, and to follow directions given by the board of directors) has asked me to leave FSF public communications to them, even while I was acting president, and preferred to distance themselves from myself and from Richard Stallman's leadership.

When they make as urgent an exception as they have yesterday, I might as well take it.

The FSF has been running its end-of-year fundraiser for several weeks, and at the time of this writing it's 175 new members short of its goal of 500 new members by the year's end, with less than 24 hours to go.

If I were to explain this shortcoming, as I often have, I'd point out that, over the past 15 months, to a significant number of Free Software and former FSF supporters, the FSF has come across as betraying its founder, lifetime leader, and founding-father of the social movement it belongs in.

In this timeframe, the FSF has notably often written Richard out of Free Software history, and instead promoted others who took very vocal stances against him.

All these Free Software supporters have, in my candid opinion, quite legitimate reasons for suspicion of what the FSF is really up to. More so given the limited amount of information available to them.

But don't get me wrong. The FSF keeps on doing a lot of very important work for Free Software in general, and for the GNU Project specifically. A lot of it is not enjoyable or exciting to do, and it's often not even noticed, but it's there, solid and constant as ever!

What the FSF is missing, in my still candid opinion, is the kind of inspiring (if often controversial) leadership and vision that Richard provided.

No offense to Geoff, he's a fine and kind person, and a strong and long-time supporter of Free Software, of the FSF, and of Richard's. But, well, he's no Richard Stallman. Not when it comes to living the values of Free Software, not when it comes to inspiring others to do so, not when it comes to foreseeing freedom problems and invariably being Stallmanly right about them. Geoff surely knows all that, and everyone probably realizes by now how worse off the FSF has been since Richard resigned.

Now, unhappy as I've been for the ways in which the FSF leadership has mistreated me, Richard Stallman has been mistreated far worse. And yet, when people emailed him expressing disapproval for the
, even right after his resignation, he has asking them to keep on supporting the FSF (see the Oct 1st, 2019 followup in the link; it has Richard's response to that post. He's such a kind [of] person.

Having seen what I've seen, faced the resistance I have, and noticed how biased the regard for community opinions and board directions seemed to be, I'm afraid I can't comfortably get myself to join Richard in asking for blanket support for the FSF. Some close friends would say I'm too honest, too transparent, and they'd be right: I have my reservations and concerns indeed.

But, besides recognizing the work the FSF keeps on doing, I am also hopeful because I perceive some things turning for the better. Because of this hope, there is something else that I am reasonably comfortable recommending and asking of those who'd trust the FSF better with Richard Stallman back in the board of directors:

Would you make a pledge to become a new member, or to renew your membership, if the FSF gets Richard back in the board of directors? Please email it to the FSF contact address (info), copying myself (oliva, at fsf or gnu).

Past communications in his favor have generally failed to reach the board of directors, and I believe this would be valuable information for the directors and voting members to have.

Would you do that for me, for Richard, for the FSF, for the Free Software Movement? That would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!

Now, if you trust Richard enough to go by his recommendation rather than mine, I'm sure your new or renewed membership before the deadline will be much appreciated. Even in this case, I'd welcome a copy of an email to the FSF expressing that you've joined or renewed following Richard's recommendation.

Regardless, may you have a much happier GNU year!

So blong,

Copyright 2007-2020 Alexandre Oliva

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document worldwide without royalty, provided the copyright notice, the document’s official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

The following licensing terms also apply to all documents and postings in this blog that don’t contain a copyright notice of their own, or that contain a notice equivalent to the one above, and whose copyright can be reasonably assumed to be held by Alexandre Oliva.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License BY-SA (Attribution ShareAlike) 3.0 Unported. To see a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:33 am by Needs Sunlight

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

text logs

text logs

#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

text logs

text logs

#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now


How We Record Videos With Very Low-Budget Gear and Only Free (Libre) Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Videos at 10:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Some readers (or viewers) have asked us to explain how we record videos; today, for the first time, we seem to be doing that more properly and here’s an explanation of what we’ve tried and what we use currently (as of today)

A decade or so ago (slightly more) we started doing shows in audio form and occasionally experimented with video as well. That was known as TechBytes. It never really ended, but we’ve put a pause on that because my co-host Tim was between jobs and looking after 2 young children is a lot of work. I recently fired up GTK-RecordMyDesktop because I was trying to record a Downfall joke that I had subtitled (without realising it was not possible to then download the resultant video). Seeing that GTK-RecordMyDesktop was still working (it has not been updated at all for about a decade), I decided to experiment a bit with video and for webcam I went with something very simple; Cheese is widely used on GNU/Linux systems and it’s best suited for GNOME users, it’s in the Debian repositories and so on…

So I started with Cheese. Not a great choice. It seems to be better suited for taking selfies with some effects. It doesn’t do much more than that.

After a few lousy videos I started experimenting with a combination of GTK-RecordMyDesktop and Cheese (e.g. browser with Cheese on top of it, set to “always on top”/”Above Others” and a borderless window). But clearly enough there was a better way to do this, somewhere out there…

That’s when I discovered Webcamoid, which is unfortunately hosted by GitHub (Microsoft). Webcamoid is very impressive in its own right. It has even called itself “The ultimate webcam suite!” (In the page title)

Being the sort of person who sticks to old habits and what’s already rather familiar, the past couple of weeks were still spent recording everything using GTK-RecordMyDesktop, basically a graphical front end for RecordMyDesktop. I used it to make GNU tutorials almost a decade ago. It generally works, but it’s a screen grabber that has deficiencies such as major lag, low frame rate capture and so on.

It was only this afternoon that I finally found time to properly study Webcamoid, which based on information I found online is widely regarded as one of the better if not the best thing for this task. As it turns out, Webcamoid makes recording video very easy, so there’s no need for RecordMyDesktop (or GTK-RecordMyDesktop) anymore. This will certainly make life a lot easier and it also seems to enhance quality, not just simplify the whole workflow (working with several applications in tandem).

For those who asked how the videos are made, well… all I can say is, don’t be reluctant to try new things. New Free/libre software projects emerge (or get submerged) all the time and some of them are rich in features and are also mature/stable. Webcamoid has its share of bugs (I found no major bugs in RecordMyDesktop), but nothing is perfect and it costs nothing. It more importantly respects your freedom!

The video above is my first recording produced directly in Webcamoid. It’s not scripted or anything, it’s mostly a ramble, but it explains my journey (about a fortnight so far) in the world of video recording when Free (as in Freedom) is a strict requirement.

Next week when we start releasing some new leaks (not just EPO) I wish to be able to explain them not only in textual form, which lacks nuance. Obviously we’re not like some fancy newsroom or recording studio; it’s just some tiny home office at a corner of a room. But we do our best, every day, given those limited means. We don’t wish to be judged by or compared to people who do those sorts of things for a living. We have neither the experience nor the equipment/budget.

Seems Like a Lot of Free Software Projects Abandon Microsoft/GitHub These Days

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 8:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The push to “delete GitHub” is proving more successful since Microsoft did what it did to YouTube-DL; we take stock of some new examples

THERE has been some good news this morning and further positive signs last night. Without going on another rant about GitHub (we explained its harms last week), let’s just say that every week we stumble upon projects that decide to delete GitHub. Sometimes they publicly cite a reason, but sometimes they do not.

There are high-profile GitHub-hosted (hence Microsoft-controlled) projects such as Rust, Curl, Godot and various other even larger projects I’ve been trying to persuade to leave GitHub for quite some time. Some progress is being made; but they have many developers, so this can take some time and a lot of effort (we aim to persuade the larger projects first).

Obviously, some smaller projects take a hike and go somewhere safer — something that’s actually based on (and remains) Free software and isn’t controlled by a company of liars, crooks, and criminals who bribe officials and attack critics by illegal and/or nefarious means. We see examples of that all the time.

Microsoft did not buy GitHub to help software freedom but to take control of it and then oppress millions of projects. It’s right there in the original plan (ambush since 2014).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Withrawing [sic] github-backup
  2. github-backup
  3. Chiaki, a free and open source PlayStation Remote Play client adds PlayStation 5 support

The War on Privacy, Bolstered by COVID Hysteria

Posted in Deception at 8:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: While it is slowly turning out to be the case that novel coronavirus vaccines have limited efficacy and contact-tracing is worse than useless the surveillance capitalists together with the surveillance state wish to eliminate any remnant of personal privacy, even inside one’s home and car

THE alarming demonisation of privacy is a growing issue (we wrote several articles about that in the morning). When Edward Snowden leaked NSA documents the media bemoaned abuses of privacy. But now that there’s a pandemic the privacy-conscious people are increasingly being framed or stigmatised as selfish, highly suspicious, brainwashed nutcases who are generally a threat to the public.

A case of point was sent to us by an associate who is also a longtime reader (as long as this site has existed).

“…privacy-conscious people are increasingly being framed or stigmatised as selfish, highly suspicious, brainwashed nutcases who are generally a threat to the public.”“With the NBC article[1],” our reader noted, “the police should be able to get a warrant for the data but they should have to ask the car’s owner not Google or the car’s vendor.”

“There was another article[2] where the vehicle was stolen and the thief voice was recorded by the car and used to identify him while the car’s tracking placed him at the scene of the crime. ”

Our reader referred to it as “geofencing” and then asked, “who owns the smartphone and the data it collects?”

I decided to make a quick video about privacy (no notes or multiple takes) to express my personal views on these issues.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Insecure wheels: Police turn to car data to destroy suspects’ alibis
  2. She didn’t know her kidnapper. But he was using Google Maps — and that cracked the case.
  3. Bad Neighbors? How Amazon’s Ring Video Surveillance Could be Undermining Fourth Amendment Protections – California Law Review
  4. How your Tollway I-Pass could affect your divorce | Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C.
  5. The Illinois Tollway Turns Over Your I-Pass Data

Links 30/12/2020: Withdrawing GitHub-Backup From Debian, Dragonbox Pyra Shipping

Posted in News Roundup at 7:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • 10 Linux Hardening Tips for Beginner SysAdmins

        Taking your first steps as a Linux sysadmin? Here are the OS hardening tricks you need to secure your systems.

        Linux systems are secure by design and provide robust administration tools. But no matter how well-designed a system is, its security depends on the user.

        Beginners often take years to find the best security policies for their machines. That’s why we are sharing these essential Linux hardening tips for new users like you. Give them a try.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Every Linux User Should Know Regex and Awk – YouTube

        Regex is a fundamental skill for anyone working with text streams, whether professionally or just for managing your Linux system but a lot of regex examples are needlessly complex and it doesn’t have to be like that. Regex is actually quite easy once you understand the components.

      • Vim Can Save You Hours Of Work

        I sometimes get people asking “Is learning Vim worth it?” The answer to that question is a resounding “YES!” Vim can save you so much time editing text once you learn some of the advanced features available within it.

      • mintCast 351 – Greasy Joysticks – mintCast

        First up, in our Wanderings, I nuke an SSD on accident, Joe gets buff…er, Tony fills a doggy bag, Moss is grateful, and Erik Linuxes all the things!

        Then in the news, Mint’s 20.1 Beta is available, Kentucky Fried Chicken reduces, reuses and recycles, XFCE sees an upgrade, and Gnome not far behind.

      • Perilously Precocious Predictions | LINUX Unplugged 386

        Friends join us for a special edition of the show to review last year’s predictions, and forecast the future.

        Special Guests: Alan Pope, Alex Kretzschmar, Brent Gervais, Drew DeVore, Joe Ressington, and Neal Gompa.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: poll()ing For WSI

          Any swapchain master is already well acquainted with the mechanism by which images are displayed on the screen, but the gist of it for anyone unfamiliar is that there’s N image resources that are swapped back and forth (2 for double-buffered, 3 for triple-buffered, …). An image being rendered to is a backbuffer, and an image being displayed is a frontbuffer.

          Ideally, a frontbuffer shouldn’t be drawn to while it’s in the process of being presented since such an action obliterates the app’s usefulness. The knowledge of exactly when a resource is done presenting is gained through WSI. On Xorg, however, it’s a bit tricky, to say the least. DRI3 is intended to address the underlying problems there with the XPresent extension, and the Mesa DRI frontend utilizes this to determine when an image is safe to use.

          All this is great, and I’m sure it works terrifically in other cases, but zink is not like other cases. Zink lacks direct WSI integration. Under Xorg, this means it relies entirely on the DRI frontend to determine when it’s safe to start rendering onto an image resource.

          But what if the DRI frontend gets it wrong?

          Indeed, due to quirks in the protocol/xserver, XPresent idle events can be received for a “presented” image immediately, even if it’s still in use and has not finished presenting.

        • Proposed Patches Would Enable FP16 Pixel Format Support For Older AMD GPUs – Phoronix

          Patches posted on Monday by independent open-source contributor Mario Kleiner would enable FP16 pixel format support for older generations of AMD Radeon GPUs.

          These latest patches from Kleiner would enable FP16 pixel format support for DCE8 through DCE11 display hardware, or basically Kaveri / Hawaii through Polaris.

        • Mesa’s Freedreno Gallium3D Now Exposes OpenGL 3.2 Support – Phoronix

          Mesa 21.0 has flipped on support for allowing OpenGL 3.2 contexts with the Freedreno Gallium3D driver that provides open-source GL support for Qualcomm Adreno hardware.

          OpenGL 3.1 support was advertised while all OpenGL 3.2 functionality was since wired up. Eric Anholt as a result has now exposed the OpenGL 3.2 support by flipping on GLSL 150 for Adreno 600 series and newer Qualcomm GPUs.

        • 56 Patches Volleyed For Improving Intel Linux Graphics Driver Scheduling – Phoronix

          Longtime Intel open-source graphics driver developer Chris Wilson sent out a set of 56 patches today working to improve their kernel graphics driver’s scheduling performance.

          Among the 56 patches out today include implementing support for fair low-latency scheduling based in part on BFS/MuQSS kernel scheduler concepts. There is also new infrastructure for ring scheduling and other work helping with latency reductions and support going back to Gen6 graphics.

    • Applications

      • 7 Linux Port Scanners for Admins and Enthusiasts

        Port scanners are tools that help users identify open ports on a computer network. Admins can use them for reviewing security policies and monitoring network services. Plus, an abundance of Linux port scanners makes it easy to discover sensitive network information. In this guide, we look at some of the best port scanners available for Linux users. Users just starting out can use them to gain hands-on experience with network security.

      • [Older] Best Ubuntu Screen Recorders – LinuxConfig.org

        If you ever need to record your screen on Ubuntu Linux, there are a lot of tools you can use to accomplish the task. Not all Linux screen recording software is created equal, and you may find that one tool suits your scenario better than others.

        In this guide, we’re counting down our top 5 favorite screen recorders for Ubuntu. We’ll also cover their highlighted features and show you how to install and get started using each one via apt package manager on command line.

      • App Showcase: Backups – Purism

        Déjà Dup is the recommended way to backup your data on all Librem hardware. It allows you to schedule backups or restore past backups.

      • Experience alternate computing with the Pe text editor

        The Haiku operating system is a bold but successful attempt at reviving an old OS called BeOS. In the 1990s, BeOS was positioned to become the foundation for the next evolution of the Apple Mac line of computers. Back in the 1990s, Apple Inc. was poised to acquire BeOS as its next generation operating system. At the last minute, however, Apple decided the price was too steep and acquired the UNIX-based NeXT operating system instead (and so Mac OS X was born). BeOS, however, had made some remarkable progress in multi-threading, file systems and attributes, and interface design. When the company finally folded, its userbase persisted.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • What is Kubernetes?

        Kubernetes is an open source platform originally developed by Google. Today it is supported and developed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. With Kubernetes, containers can be orchestrated. The platform enables the simplification and the automated setup, provision, operation, scaling and maintenance of the containers. It is the basis for many cloud-native applications that consist of microservices.

        The platform works on a master-slave basis with a structure consisting of pods, nodes and clusters. Containers can be operated on physical or virtual computers. Kubernetes provides a technical basis for modern cloud-native applications consisting of many individual microservices.

        Kubernetes was originally developed by Google. The software appeared for the first time in 2014. A year later, in 2015, Google donated the software to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Today it is responsible for the further development of the platform. In addition to Kubernetes, the CNCF is responsible for many other software solutions in the field of cloud native computing.

      • Top 5 OpenShift and Kubernetes guides | Enable Sysadmin

        Cloud-native applications consist of four different pillars: containerization, microservices, DevOps, and Continuous Integration/Continuous Development (CI/CD). The Kubernetes platform is the de facto orchestration platform for containers while the other three components are deeply integrated into the platform itself. Red Hat OpenShift is a popular Kubernetes enterprise solution.

        As we enter 2021, we will observe more industries start to adopt container and digital transformation strategies. According to Brian Gracely, Senior Director of Product Strategy at Red Hat, adoption of Kubernetes-based strategies can help to scale and develop applications faster, and support hybrid and multi-cloud strategy.

        Here at Enable Sysadmin, we want to inform our readers about best practices for adopting and succeeding with Kubernetes. Check out our top Kubernetes and OpenShift articles of the past year. You may find a bit of practical information that you can put into your best practices today.

      • Openstack RDO && KVM Hypervisor: Deployment Java CRUD App to Tomcat 9.0.40 (MySQL 8.0.22)

        Encapsulate JDBC setup into public DBConnection.java and afterwards in any JSP working with database we should be able import this class and invoke :-

      • Adding comments to your static blog with Mastodon

        One of the biggest disadvantages of static site generators is that they are static and can’t include comments.

        There are multiples solutions to solve this problem. You could add a third party blog engine like Disqus, but this has the drawback of including a third-party tool with a bad privacy record in your website. Another solution would be to host an open-source alternative but this comes at the cost of a higher maintenance burden. Having to host a database was something we wanted to avoid with a static site generator.

        In my opinion, a better solution is to leverage the Mastodon and Fediverse platform. Mastodon is a decentralized social network and it allows people to communicate with each other without being on the same server. It is inspired by Twitter, but instead of tweeting, you write toot.

      • How to Enable Timestamp in Linux Ping Command Output

        Learn how to enable timestamp in ping command output on Linux and UNIX systems.

      • Printing From The Raspberry PI Using CUPS

        In this guide you will be shown how to setup a printer using the Raspberry PI.

      • How To Connect To A Raspberry PI Using VNC
      • How To Connect To A Raspberry PI Using SSH
      • Create an SD-Card Using Raspberry PI Imager
      • How to enable Minimize button on Elementary OS distro

        Developers of Elementary OS has really done a good job with its Patheon desktop environment. It is really beautiful, sleek, and modern just like macOS. However, most of the time, the users of Elementary OS would face a problem when it comes to minimizing the active windows. Because there is no icon or button available to minimize.

        Well, we can get it using the elementary tweak tool, however, before that, we should know that really there is no way to minimize windows on this Linux distro.

      • How do I apply package updates to my Ubuntu system?
      • How to write FreeBSD image to USB disk for installation – nixCraft

        Explains how to write FreeBSD installer image to USB disk for installation purpose on Linux or FreeBSD system using dd command.

      • How To Prevent A Package From Upgrade In Debian, Ubuntu

        As you already know, we can upgrade all installed packages using apt upgrade command in Debian, Ubuntu and other Debian-based systems. During this upgrade process, all installed packages will be upgraded, some additional packages (i.e. dependencies) will be installed, and some unnecessary packages will be deleted. Apt package manager does all these things automatically to help the users to maintain a clean system. Apt also has an option to prevent a package from being automatically installed, upgraded or removed in Debian, Ubuntu and its variants. In this guide, we will discuss various methods to hold or prevent a package from upgrade in Debian, Ubuntu and its derivatives such as Linux Mint and Pop!_OS.

      • Running Classic MS-DOS games on the Pi 400 with RetroPie and DOSBox – YouTube

        The Raspberry Pi 400 is a complete computer with a built-in keyboard, so why not turn it into a classic PC game system? In this video, I talk about a recent project I worked on for fun where I configured RetroPie to run various MS-DOS games via DOSBox.

      • Fedora 33 : Install wordpress on Fedora distro.

        For those who are celebrating the winter holidays with the Linux operating system, I have created this little tutorial…
        First step – update and upgrade the Fedora 33 Linux distro.

      • Fedora 33 : Fixes and changes for wordpress – part 001.

        If you have the latest version of WordPress installed, then you may encounter this error when trying to add a new page or post.

      • The Linux Schools Project: System Information Page

        A new page has been added to the Web Management to show system information for the servers. This information was previously shown on other pages but moving it to one page makes it easier for administrators to see a summary for the server.

      • aria2 – A Command Line Multi-Protocol Download Tool for Linux

        aria2 is a free, open source, lightweight multi-protocol and multi-source command-line download application.

        It supports HTTP/HTTPS, FTP, SFTP, BitTorrent and Metalink.

        aria2 can be manipulated via built-in JSON-RPC and XML-RPC interfaces.

        aria2 automatically checks chunks of the data when downloading a file.

    • Games

      • Bloody Service is an 80’s slasher inspired FMV and a visual novel, expect lots of death | GamingOnLinux

        Developer CASE has given us the very latest in interactive entertainment with Bloody Service, a throwback to classic 80′s slasher movies and it’s worth a look.

        Blending together a visual novel with a dark horror theme, along with FMV (full motion video), it’s an experience you’re not likely to forget any time soon. The developer said to “think of Carrie as if Carrie had a conjoined twin and loved to play tennis” so you know you’re in for something weird and dark.

    • Distributions

      • Puppy is still the mascot for EasyOS and EasyPup

        There is a security question for registration at the Easy Forum, that asks what is the mascot for EasyOS. The answer is that it is still the same little guy.


        EasyOS is a fork-of-a-fork of Puppy Linux, however, I don’t want to change the mascot. He remains the mascot forever!

      • Proposal: enhance xrandrshell to replace Zarfy

        As mentioned in that post, changing the screen after the desktop has started, is a sub-optimal way of doing it. The post mentioned using QuickSetup|xrandrshell to change the screen resolution — which uses xrandr, but if you choose to make it permanent, modifies /etc/X11/xorg.conf, so the desktop starts up first time in the desired resolution.

      • Zarfy fixed in OE

        Zarfy is a GUI for libxrandr, in particular for handling multiple monitors. Easy Buster has version 0.1.0, which works, however, Easy Dunfell has version 0.1.1, which is broken. In 0.1.1, the “-l” option, to load a configuration file, doesn’t work.
        Version 0.1.1 is not an official release, it is a fork of of the “official” project.

      • EasyOS Dunfell 0.104 released

        Ah, yes, that is due to the ‘dc’ applet in busybox being broken. After version 1.28.4, busybox ‘dc’ works differently, in conformance with the full ‘dc’ utility.
        Dunfell 0.103 and earlier has busybox 1.28.4. I have bumped it to the same as Buster, 1.32.0, and the problem has gone away.
        Actually, I had modified the scripts so they detect the old or new ‘dc’, and behave accordingly, however, that is not working for the old ‘dc’.

      • New Releases

        • Ultra-Lightweight Distribution 4MLinux 35.0 Released! Check Out What’s New

          The miniature Linux distribution 4MLinux sees a new release with stable version 35.0 that comes with updated packages and some new additions.

          4MLinux is an independent lightweight Linux distribution that focuses on Maintenance, Multimedia, Miniserver, and Mystery (a collection of classic Linux games).

          Recently the team behind 4MLinux team has announced the change of 4MLinux 35.0 series into a stable release version. As a result, the distribution underwent some changes that include updated packages and new features.

      • BSD

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Deepin 20.1

          Today we are looking at Deepin 20.1. It comes with Linux Kernel 5.4 and uses about 1GB of ram when idling. Enjoy!

        • Deepin 20.1 Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Deepin 20.1

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Bluemail email client updated to 1.1.54

          BlueMail by Blix a free, beautifully designed, universal email app, capable of managing an unlimited number of mail accounts from various providers, allowing for smart push notifications and group emailing while enabling personalization across multiple email accounts. The BlueMail app connects directly to your mail server and is the perfect replacement for your stock email app.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • New Free & Community Distribution To Replace CentOS

          Red Hat recently announced that its turning the stable trusted CentOS distribution, which was a community clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, acquired by Red Hat a few years ago into a rolling release distribution called CentOS Stream.

        • Rocky Linux

          As a desktop Linux user, I haven’t been supper attentive to the CentOS drama.

      • Debian Family

        • Joey Hess: Withdrawing github-backup

          If the farce of youtube-dl being removed from github, thus losing access to all its issues and pull requests, taught us anything, it’s that having that happen does not make many people reconsider their dependence on github.


          That seems like something it might be worth building some software to manage. But it’s also just another case of Github’s mass bending reality around it; the average Github user doesn’t care about this and still gets archived; the average self-hosting git user may care about this slightly more, but most won’t get archived, even if that software did get built.

        • Debian vs Ubuntu in 2021- The Ultimate Showdown

          When it comes to Debian vs Ubuntu on the grounds of software, Ubuntu gives less importance to software licensing and cares much about usability. There are numerous differences in software policies, for example, Ubuntu has everything included in its default repository; sufficiently user-friendly. Debian has proprietary software as the least favorite as the separate repository of instructions is to be manually enabled by the user.

          Debian lacks a lot of firmware due to its kernel containing no proprietary binary large object (Blobs). And so, Debian is troublesome for firmware and drivers. Ubuntu works closely with hardware manufacturers to fix installation problems and so it possesses maximum firmware for increased usability. The reason behind the automatic installation and driver configuration of Ubuntu.

          Debian doesn’t have any PPAs while Personal Package Archives are available in Ubuntu, making it superior-easy for developers to activate with a single Linux Command. It is much easier than importing the GPG or GNU Privacy Guard and adding the repository address to the concerned configuration file.
          Everyone working for Debian is a volunteer, a set of community developers with their own set of structure and internal laws. A board of chosen developers runs the Debian atmosphere. While a company called Canonical is behind the development of Ubuntu and they have complete authority over their project. They have the potential to safely ship machines using Dell, negotiate with hardware manufacturers for better stability, and backup at times of disaster. If you run Ubuntu in a productive environment, you have Canonical on your back.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Xavier NX based edge AI system eyes large deployments

          Axiomtek’s “AIE100-903-FL-NX” is an edge AI system built around Nvida’s 6-core Carmel Arm v8.2 64-bit processor and 384-core Volta GPU. The system integrates Allxon’s device management solution.

          Axiomtek has announced its AIE100-903-FL-NX edge AI system. The box-level system is powered by the Nvidia’s Jetson Xavier NX module. The Xavier module sports a a 6-core Nvidia Carmel Arm v8.2 64-bit processor and 384-core Nvidia Volta GPU architecture with 48 Tensor cores. The system is designed for AI computing and deep learning applications, such as behavior analytics, face recognition and vehicle analysis. The box supports Linux Ubuntu 18.04, and features an operating temperature of -30°C to +50°C.

        • Contributing without Code

          Users of launchpad who contributed to Ubuntu would get karma – basically Internet Points. By early 2007 I’d amassed more karma – even more than core Ubuntu developers – by simply answering a lot of support questions, and having those answers marked as the solution. Karma on launchpad ages over time, so my ‘rank’ as shown on the ‘top contributors’ page is no longer evident. But at the time it was enough for me to be pointed out and thanked at an in person Ubuntu Developer Summit in Seville, which was nice. I wasn’t in it for the money, but a “Thank you” in front of my peers went a long way ;).

          In 2010 it was proposed that Ubuntu should create a “Stack Exchange” Q&A site to provide support for new users. Within a short period, AskUbuntu was successfully launched, and now, 10 years later, is my preferred way to provide new Ubuntu users with technical help. I’ve clocked up some 17K Internet points over on AskUbuntu for which I’m rewarded with additional site features. It’s a really effecive and friendly place to get and give support, so I’ll likely continue dipping in when I have time.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Dragonbox Pyra begins shipping to customers (open hardware handheld gaming PC)

        The DragonBox Pyra is a handheld computer with a 5 inch display, a TI OMAP 5 processor, a QWERTY keyboard and built-in game controllers. Designed to be a hackable, open hardware device, the little PC ships with Debian Linux but supports alternate operating systems, and you can use the Pyra as a general purpose computer or a portable gaming machine.

        After years of development, the first DragonBox Pyra handheld computers are now being assembled and shipped to the first customers who placed pre-orders… although it might take a little while before all pre-orders are filled and the team behind the Pyra is ready to begin shipping units to customers who place new orders today.

      • Dragonbox Pyra open source hardware handheld Linux PC is finally shipping

        We first covered the Dragonbox Pyra in 2014 when it was described as an open-source handheld game console powered by Texas Instruments OMAP5432 SoC, or maybe AllWinner A80, Intel Bay Trail, or Qualcomm Snapdragon processors since the exact specifications were still in the works for the Pandora successor. Michael Mrozek (EvilDragon) finally decided to keep going with the OMAP5 processor due to the good documentation and software support, and pre-orders started in 2016 with a 330 to 400 Euros downpayment and no clear timeline about shipping.

      • The HSA Foundation Has Been Eerily Quiet As We Roll Into 2021 – Phoronix

        Much of the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) steam was lost when AMD began focusing on its Radeon Open eCosystem (ROCm) software stack. While AMD was just one of several founding members, there doesn’t seem to be much going on for the HSA effort as we roll into 2021 and in fact their website has been down for an extended period of time.

        There hasn’t been any real HSA news in a while since AMD began focusing on ROCm as its open-source compute stack, which recently reached version 4.0. AMD in the process of acquiring Xilinx has also been working on ROCm support for Xilinx FPGAs with AMD putting all their cards on this compute stack. Meanwhile Intel has been pushing oneAPI everywhere they can even on competitor hardware/platforms and NVIDIA remains all-in on CUDA.

      • Pumpkin i500 SBC uses MediaTek i500 AIoT SoC for computer vision and AI Edge computing

        MediaTek Rich IoT SDK v20.0 was released at the beginning of the year together with the announcement of Pumpkin i500 SBC with very few details except it would be powered by MediaTek i500 octa-core Cortex-A73/A55 processor and designed to support computer vision and AI Edge Computing.

        Pumpkin i500 hardware evaluation kit was initially scheduled to launch in February 2020, but it took much longer, and Seeed Studio has only just listed the board for $299.00.

      • IoT development board comes with AVR or PIC MCU, WiFi module
      • The official Raspberry Pi accessory distributor conundrum

        Why isn’t the Norwegian keyboard layout variant of the official Raspberry Pi keyboard accessory available for sale in Norway? Norway is the primary, if not the only, market for it. I went up the distribution chain to figure out why it isn’t available.

        I’ve been ogling the new Raspberry Pi 400: a single-board computer built into an 80s-style computer-in-a-keyboard case. It’s not currently available with a Norwegian keyboard layout. However, the top chassis of the Raspberry Pi 400, including the keyboard, is interchangeable with the official Raspberry Pi keyboard accessory. You can pop off the keyboard of a Pi 400 and swap it out with any other Raspberry Pi brand keyboard. According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the official keyboard accessory should be available in a Norwegian layout variant.

        What does “available” mean anyway? The official keyboard’s product page on the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s website doesn’t list any resellers for the Norwegian layout variant in either of the available color options (red/white and black/gray). None of the companies that sell the Raspberry Pi in Norway sells any layout variant of the keyboard accessory. Neither Google Shopping nor any of the Norwegian price comparison websites can find it listed in any store. Bing and Google can’t find any Norwegian website that sells it either. The product doesn’t seem to exist.

      • 4 of the Best IoT Boards for Children – IoT Tech Trends

        Is your child interested in IoT? The best way to give them a proper introduction is through hands-on skills related to IoT boards, along with LCD displays, sensors, relays, LEDs, and other components. What you’re looking for is a child-friendly IoT board that can teach important IoT skills without requiring any prior electronics experience. Check out some of the best IoT boards for children below.

        Whether you need to acquaint your child with a single-board computer or an Arduino-based microcontroller, the following are some of the best IoT boards available for younger people. None of them require soldering, jumper wires, or any programming knowledge, so they may be a good fit even for adults who are curious about IoT.

      • 10 Things You Should Do With Your New Raspberry PI 400

        If you are reading this page then you have either just purchased or been given the Raspberry PI 400 or you are about to buy or receive the Raspberry PI 400.

        Built on the same technology as the Raspberry PI 4, the Raspberry PI 400 is a fully fledged desktop computer built into the casing of a nicely designed keyboard.

        This list highlights the first 10 things you should do when you use the Raspberry PI 400. The points below will help you get a better experience and enable you to get to know your Raspberry PI 400 and it’s capabilities.

        This guide assumes you have all the hardware you need such as a mouse, power cable, micro-hdmi to hdmi cable, a monitor and an sd-card and you have everything connected.


        It is possible to safely overclock the Raspberry PI 400 to give it a boost for some of the more resource intensive tasks.

        To overclock your PI open a terminal window by pressing ctrl, alt and t at the same time.

      • The Raspberry PI 400

        The Raspberry PI 400 is a low cost but fully functional desktop computer costing less than £100. You can perform most of your daily computing tasks with the Raspberry PI 400 and it is perfect as a first computer for younger family members although I use it as my main computer.

        The Raspberry PI 400 essentially has the same computing power as the Raspberry PI 4 which includes a Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARM) processor running at 1.8 ghz. There are 4 gigabytes of RAM, bluetooth, dual-band wifi, gigabit ethernet, 3 USB ports, 2 micro-HDMI out ports and OpenGL graphics.

      • 10 Must Have Applications For The Raspberry PI 400

        This guide lists the 10 must have applications to complete the Raspberry PI 400.

        Some of the applications in this list are installed by default, and others you will need to install from the repositories.

        It is assumed that you are using Raspberry PI OS

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Automating an electric standing desk with Arduino

          IKEA sells – among many, many, other items – a motorized sit/stand desk called the BEKANT. Although it seems like a nice item, creator “Hardware Unknown” found having to hold a button down the entire time that it goes from one position to another to be a bit inconvenient.

          To remedy this situation, he cannibalized the stock PCB out of a spare control panel, then hooked up an Arduino Nano to emulate button presses to the board via a pair of MOSFETs. Four user input buttons were added, along with a 3D-printed enclosure for a custom controller.

        • Unused blackboard becomes vertical plotter

          The project uses a pair of NEMA 17 motors to dictate the lengths of timing belt that suspend the drawing instrument, with counterweights help keep it in position. An Arduino Mega running Makelangelo firmware controls the device, using a RAMPS 1.4 board and two A4988 stepper drivers.

        • Arduino Blog » The RoboTrombo is a MIDI-controlled robotic trombone

          Inspired by Wintergatan’s Martin Molin, iSax set out to create a MIDi-controlled robotic trombone of his own. Although the aptly named RoboTrombo may not replace professional trombone players any time soon, it’s nonetheless an impressive musical hack.

          The instrument is controlled by an Arduino Nano running Firmata, along with a host computer, and employs a variety of pneumatic and electrical actuators to produce the tunes.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Brave adds support for IPFS distributed P2P websites

          The Brave browser recently added support for the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) protocol in its beta release channel (desktop only). IPFS is a peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol that can be used in web browsers to visit websites that are hosted by the website’s visitors instead of a central web server. This is called the distributed web. For the last two decades, the open web has been on a steady course into the hands of a few behemoth multinational companies. The distributed web is a tool that can wrangle back control from the few and hand it back to the many.

          The distributed web still hasn’t gone mainstream, and Brave’s one percent market share won’t drastically change the web’s architecture overnight. Brave’s adoption of IPFS is notable because it’s the first time an externally developed P2P protocol makes it into a web browser. Previous attempts at a P2P web browser, such as BitTorrent Maelstrom, has always been lead by the developers of the protocol. No P2P protocol has convinced a web browser vendor to integrate their protocol before.

          Previously, you’ve only been able to use IPFS in web browsers by installing a separate program and a companion extension in your web browser. Brave now comes with native built-in IPFS support. Its support isn’t quite equivalent to HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) yet, but it’s a huge leap forward for IPFS. When you open an IPFS link (ipfs://example/) in Brave, it will open it using a public web-gateway server by default. Gateways are public web servers that proxy content from the IPFS network via a traditional web server. Brave will also prompt you to enable native IPFS support, and warns you about IPFS privacy issues. More on the IPFS privacy issues later.

          Brave hasn’t developed a new implementation of IPFS. Instead, Brave ships the IPFS reference client and runs it as a helper process. I had wrongly assumed that js-ipfs, an almost fully-featured IPFS client written in JavaScript, would be the foundation of the first browser to ship with IPFS integration. Brave launches the IPFS daemon on demand when you access IPFS content. It doesn’t launch it with the browser when it’s not needed.

      • FSF

      • Programming/Development

        • z^7 Hexagonal Mandelbrot Fractal

          Every Christmas, I like to publish a fun program. Previous efforts include a brute force Sudoku solver, quaternion Mandelbrot animation and toroid animation. It is more fun if it includes fractals, spheres, toroids or hexagons. Or spherical cows or spherical reindeer. This year, I learned that there are variants of a Mandelbrot fractal which involve exponents larger than two. The result has a pleasing symmetry despite the off-by-one nature of the exponent. Specifically, zn+1 = znp + z0 has p-1 rotational symmetry and z7 has a pleasing six-way symmetry which looks like a snowflake.

        • node.example.com Is An IP Address

          Python 3 knows that’s not an IPv6 address, so why doesn’t Python 2? The answer is in how differently the two Python versions handle text.

  • Leftovers

    • Apples

      The townspeople paste wax apples on the trees, glow shyly out their windows as the Dictator struts past the monument of his father strutting past nothing at all. Yesterday, the Dictator dressed the Butcher’s boy in the uniform of his own son. Today, at the orders of the Dictator, guards shot the boy.

      In the town of his childhood, the Curator is a tourist. He touches his mother with the language with which he does not touch his work. In the painting, bored bored Eve chomps on an apple. In the tongue of his work, he acquires her.

    • Random Assignment

      It seems to want to rain but can’t. It fades to pink, an argument. Relinquish the dream.

      You can’t ever get what you want, You can’t please any of the people Any of the time.

    • Opinion | On Wounded Knee: We Fight To Mend the Hoop
    • 2020: The Year Sports Should Have Stopped

      This cursed year of 2020 should be remembered as the time when sports was put in a meat grinder, mixed with all manner of offal and served to us as hope.

    • 125 years after cinema was born: Does it have a future?

      On November 1, 1895, a couple of weeks before the Lumieres, the German brothers Max and Emil Skladanowsky presented their projector. However, their device was technically inferior to the one presented by the Lumiere brothers, and it was thanks to technical superiority and commercial marketing that December 28, 1895 went down in history as the day when cinema was born.

      The age of streaming

      A century and a quarter later, that would actually be a reason to celebrate. But because of the coronavirus pandemic this year, no workshops or events have been organized — in stark comparison to events that took place five years ago when cinema turned 120. At the time, the Grand Palais in Paris recognized the achievements of the Lumiere brothers with a comprehensive exhibition.

    • Education

      • Trump Executive Order on Private School Vouchers Denounced as ‘Last-Ditch Effort to Claim Victory’ in War on Public Education

        “Trump fought against funding for public education for months, then does this as he begrudgingly signs [the] Covid relief bill.”

      • Higher Education Risks No Longer Being Worth It – Here’s How to Change Course

        Nearly all the revenue increases in higher education over the past few decades have been driven by growth in tuition, according to Fitch Ratings. And yet, the value of a bachelor’s degree has declined over these same years, manifested in the flattening of the college wage premium and rise in grade inflation.

        While one scenario is for higher education to emerge out of the pandemic with the same underlying strategy, but with some new bells and whistles, we should hope for more. Higher education should be an arena that inspires and creates. And yet, it often becomes a play pen, resource drain, and source of propaganda. Reforming higher education will require a fundamental change in incentives.

      • Inequality in Indian Education

        There was a recent article on scroll which shared how Indian education can’t go online as only a few have computers with decent netlink speeds as well as other factors which are needed for online education. But there are also many things that the article doesn’t take into account which actually make the task more difficult and raise the boundary more.

        Now in most schools and colleges, the number of students to teacher ratio could be anywhere between 70-150 or even more. In the last few years, a lot of schools have been closed down by various Governments, including and not limited to the ruling Govt. They have in fact intensified closures of public schools wherever their Govt. has been in power. Closing to 5000+ schools in one state in a year is a dramatic shift and such has been happening time and again. In fact, the rising costs of Indian education has made many to leave Indian shores and do studies abroad. And once they do their masters or whatever, the chances of them coming back to India become more and more remote. In India the costs have been becoming so bad that NBFC’s have started products targeting the same. How NBFC and Banks have (both public and private) have fared with respect to Indian consumers needs its own blog post but one word to describe it is ‘bad’. But as shared above, needs its own blog post.

        Coming to the Indian context though, what has not been captured in that article is that the responsibility of making new content also raises huge barriers for teachers. My own experience in teacher’s trainings for ICT usage has shown that most teachers do not know and use internet effectively both to sustain their own curiosity as well as their students. Part of which is whether you are private employee or a public school teacher, the teacher is not paid enough. I have had multiple conversations with friends over the years who are teachers who shared that they get 50% salary in-hand while they sign for 100%. This is more in the case or private schools though. In Govt. schools, the teachers apart from their regular administrative duties apart from teaching duties are also unpaid labor for Govt. policy. Take the recent covid crisis, it was the teachers who for months together went from door-to-door asking if they had a covid patient. This was all over India. Even for voter registration, census, polio and various other immunization efforts, the teachers are roped in. So apart from that, they somehow have to figure out how to make ends meet and also boost student morale. Hence the attention is only limited to the first couple of benches rather than the whole as a 45-minute to an hr. session is just not enough to go through a class of 70-150 school students giving individual attention. And this is when for most teachers, teaching is a means to an end and not the end itself.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • In ‘Monumental Win for Reproductive Freedom,’ Mass. Lawmakers Override Governor’s Veto to Affirm and Expand Abortion Rights

        A coalition of supporters celebrated the development as “an important step in removing medically unnecessary barriers to abortion care.”

      • Mangal and Mirabai: Sisters in Farmers’ Struggle

        But one seat next to Mangal Ghadge is conspicuously empty. She does not allow anyone to sit there – it’s ‘reserved’. Then Mirabai Lange walks up to the van, sits in that empty space and adjusts her saree, while Mangal puts her arm around her shoulders. The door shuts, and Mangal tells the driver, “Chal re [Let’s go].”

        Both Mangal, 53, and Mirabai, 65, are from Shindwad village in Nashik’s Dindori taluka. However, it’s not their decades in the same village but the last few years that have cemented their bond. “We are busy with work and home in the village,” says Mangal. “At protests, we have more time to chat.”

      • Trump Administration Rejects Scientists’ Advice on Nutrition, Maintaining Guidelines for Sugar and Alcohol

        “Again going against scientific advice, again failing the people they serve.”

      • Fauci Describes Vaccine Rollout as “Below Where We Want to Be” Right Now
      • Covid-19 and the Nightmare of Food Insecurity

        As autumn fades and winter looms, the dire predictions public health experts made about Covid-19 have, unfortunately, proven all too accurate. On October 27, 74,379 people were infected in the United States; less than a month and a half later, on December 9, that number had soared to 218,677, while the 2020 total has just surpassed 15 million, a number no other country, not even India, which has a population three times that of the United States, has surpassed.

      • Opinion | Biden to Invoke Defense Production Act for Vaccine Manufacture. Trump? Playing Golf at Mar-a-Lago

        Trump really just doesn’t care.

      • Getting COVID Vaccines to Rural Areas Is Harder Than It Looks
      • Trump’s Covid Aid Shenanigans Were All About Me Me Me
      • COVID-19 Learns From Experience, Unlike Boris Johnson and His Crew
      • Advocates Call for Medical Parole to Avoid ‘Unintentional Death Sentences’ as Covid-19 Ravages US Prisons

        “The bottom line is, there are still thousands of people who are at very high risk of death trapped in a prison system where there’s no way that they can avoid the virus.”

      • Calling Covid-19 Crisis a ‘Wake-Up Call,’ WHO Experts Warn Next Pandemic Could Be Even Worse

        “This pandemic has been very severe… it has affected every corner of this planet. But this is not necessarily the big one.”

      • 2020

        We’ve had a year, you must admit, Whose misery would just not quit. At last, we offer this obit: We’re glad to see the back of it.

      • Spread Far and Fast

        The new disease, public officials said as people began to fall ill with unfamiliar symptoms, was “trifling” and “nothing to worry about provided ordinary precautions were taken.” It was just the flu. In Spain, one newspaper said all that people needed to overcome it was “three days’ bed rest and a medicine cabinet.” In the United States, as cases began to multiply, people were told that their government was working “to confine this disease to its present limits, and in this we are sure to be successful.” But that did not happen. Instead, it spread with astonishing rapidity from country to country, continent to continent. Medical

      • Chinese Government Sentences Journalist To Four Years In Jail For Reporting On The Spread Of The Coronavirus

        Shortly after the coronavirus started showing up everywhere uninvited, President Trump decided to amplify his China-centric trade war with a war of words, referring to the new virus as the “China virus.” The Chinese state media responded by suggesting the United States was actually the source of the virus, and then everything just kind of went to hell for awhile. Both countries took turns throwing each other’s journalists out — something that made a lot of noise but didn’t really accomplish anything.

      • Student Privacy and the Fight to Keep Spying Out of Schools: Year in Review 2020

        With millions of students studying from home to stay safe from COVID-19, new threats have popped up.

        Before the pandemic, the school panopticon toolkit was already wide-ranging. Many schools relied on cameras and microphones installed in buildings to watch students go about their day. The cameras might be equipped with facial recognition; the microphones might have “aggression detection” capabilities. Facial recognition is a biased technology, and cities have started banning government use of face surveillance because of this issue. Aggression detection technology simply doesn’t work.

        Some software scans students’ social media posts, both during and after school hours. Schools can even track students’ personal devices (as opposed to school-issued), by requiring the use of a certain kind of security certificate to use the school Internet, thus giving administrators the ability to monitor browser history and messages students send. These technologies cause real harm, including disproportionately impacting students of color and causing mental health issues. And knowing they might be punished for speaking up— like the Georgia student suspended for posting about inadequate coronavirus mitigation measures—is inherently chilling to students’ freedom of expression.

      • Taiwanese have 3,400 times lower chance of dying from Covid than Americans

        In order to highlight the stark difference in the handling of the coronavirus pandemic between Taiwan and the U.S., Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on Monday posted a tweet in which he compared the odds of death if an American had moved to one of the many countries that had better managed their domestic coronavirus outbreaks since the start of the pandemic in January. Frieden started by stating that if a person had moved to Denmark, Norway, or Finland in January, their chances of dying would have been five to 10 times lower than the U.S. for this year.

        If an American had moved to South Korea, Liberia, or Hong Kong, their odds of dying would have been 50 to 60 times less. If they had opted for New Zealand, the likelihood of them dying would be 200 times lower.

      • Operation Warp Speed at a crawl: Adequately vaccinating Americans will take 10 years at current pace

        The Trump administration’s Covid-19 vaccine distribution program needs a major shot in the arm because at the current rate, it would take almost 10 years to inoculate enough Americans to get the pandemic under control, a jarring new NBC News analysis showed Tuesday.

        The goal of Operation Warp Speed, a private-public partnership led by Vice President Mike Pence to produce and deliver safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines to the public, is to ensure that 80 percent of the country’s 330.7 million people get the shots by late June.

      • Dietary guidelines urge no added sugar for babies, toddlers under age 2

        The guidelines stop short of two key recommendations from scientists advising the government. The advisers said in July that everyone should limit their added sugar intake to less than 6 percent of calories and that men should limit alcohol to one drink a day.

      • California nurse tests positive over a week after receiving Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • VMware Sues Former Executive Who Left for CEO Job at Nutanix

          VMware’s lawsuit against Ramaswami, who was named CEO on Dec. 9, was filed Monday in California state court in San Jose. The company accused its former chief operating officer of products and cloud services of meeting with Nutanix executives and board members while helping VMware craft a strategy and acquisitions road map. VMware, majority owned by Dell Technologies Inc., said the executive’s actions and knowledge of its plans has caused “irreparable injury.” Nutanix, which wasn’t named as a defendant in the suit, called the case “misguided” and said it’s an attempt by VMware to hurt a competitor.

        • He spent 10 days in jail after facial recognition software led to the arrest of the wrong man, lawsuit says

          Investigators relied on facial recognition software to identify Parks as a suspect in crimes that occurred the afternoon of Jan. 26, 2019, at the Hampton Inn hotel on Route 9 North in Woodbridge.

          This kind of software has been criticized for its heavy reliance on billions of social media photos to identify criminal suspects. The use of such software has now been banned by the state of New Jersey.


          The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office offered Parks a deal: In exchange for a guilty plea, he would serve six years in prison with no early release until he’d served 85 percent of his sentence. He would also be on parole for three years after his release.

          If he went to trial, the prosecutor intended to seek a sentence of 20 years or more based on his previous criminal history, Parks said.


          Sexton said the software clearly led to his client’s false arrest.

        • Security

          • Jo Christian Oterhals: What did we learn from an astronomer’s hacker hunt in the 80′s? Apparently, not too much

            Computer security has seen its share of mind-boggling news lately. None more mind boggling than the news about how alleged Russian hackers installed a backdoor into the IT monitoring product Solarwind Orion. Through this they got got entrance into the computer systems of several US agencies and departments — ironically even into the systems of a cyber security company (Fireeye) and Microsoft itself . The news made me think of my own history with computer security, and down memory lane I went.

            One particular day in late July or early August 1989 my parents, sister and me were driving home from a short summer vacation. At a short stop in a largish city, I had found a newsstand carrying foreign magazines. There I’d bought a copy of PC/Computing’s September issue (to this day I don’t understand why American magazines are on sale a couple of months before the cover date) so that I had something to make time in the backseat pass faster.


            But my guess is that the IT department assessed the digital competence of the parliament members and concluded that it was too low for them to handle strong passwords and managing two-factor authentication.

          • Kali Linux + Mr. Robot ARG Society

            Many of you may have known about the show Mr Robot and its unique connection to Kali Linux. But there is a little bit more that we have not talked about due to NDAs. But it appears the mystery is over, the red tape has been removed, and we now wanted to take a moment to share it with everyone.

            We had a relationship with Mr Robot, which started during the filming of the 2nd season. While the 1st season was running, we were approached at BlackHat 2015 to give our permission to use Kali in the show. We worked out the legal parts of things (it’s legal to use Kali in media, we don’t care, but studios want that in writing), and starting in the 2nd season from time to time the production staff would reach out to us to ask us questions, have us provide them graphics, provide them with specific versions of Kali that were public on specific dates, and similar to keep the show accurate. We were very impressed with the efforts to keep the show grounded while still carrying on a strong hacking focused narrative.


            Any show would be nothing without an audience to watch it. Mr Robot is no exception, and after millions of people watched it, communities started to formed (either online or in person). People would discuss previous episodes, predict theories of where the show was going to go, and have watching parties. Its not un-common for shows to have “Easter eggs” embedded in them (these can be are little gems hidden in plain sight, which may give a “head nod” to something, or a spoiler for a up coming event). They are hunted after by people, and adds another level of excitement to re-watch a show. Mr Robot has plenty of them. But where Mr Robot is unique to any other show out, there is (for the time being) an various online elements which links beautifully back into the show. In a sense, these are mini “spin offs” to the show, allowing for people to go further, get interactive and solve challenges in the Mr Robot universe. One (of a few) domains is “Who Is Mr Robot“, which is where there was a lot of focus to solve its challenge(s). This was made up of a collection of virtual terminals all from the show, which has a series of technical challenges to solve.

          • AES-NI XTS To See 2~3x Performance Recovery After Regressing Hard From Retpolines

            It turns out the Intel/AMD AES-NI implementation of XTS regressed hard from the Retpolines functionality merged nearly three years ago for mitigating Spectre… But now the crypto performance with the AES-NI XTS implementation is set to recover from that regression with a huge improvement thanks to a new set of patches.

            It seems AES-NI XTS performance regressing hard from Retpolines went unnoticed when mitigating Spectre. This happened due to extensive use of indirect calls when processing small quantities of data. But thankfully Ard Biesheuvel investigated it and worked out a backport-friendly fix to address most of the regression. But then for future kernel releases is also a rewritten XTS implementation that is more flexible and avoids the nasty issues that led to the poor performance in the first place under Retpolines.

          • Finnish Parliament targeted in hacking, e-mails of lawmakers possibly compromised

            Muurman told Helsingin Sanomat that the identify of the attacker or attackers has yet been determined and that it remains premature to speculate whether or not they can be brought to justice.

          • How A Cybersecurity Firm Uncovered The Massive Computer [Attack]

            Multiple U.S. agencies were successfully [cracked], including the departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, Energy and Homeland Security as well as the National Institutes of Health.

            The [attackers] attached their malware to a software update from Austin, Texas-based company SolarWinds, which makes software used by many federal agencies and thousands of private companies to monitor their computer networks.

          • Microsoft: SolarWinds hackers’ goal was the victims’ cloud data [Ed: Damage limitation efforts by Microsoft, with their PR amplified by friendly sites]

            As the Microsoft 365 Defender Team explains, after infiltrating a target’s network with the help of the Sunburst backdoor, the attackers’ goal is to gain access to the victims’ cloud assets.


            The threat actors behind the SolarWinds hack first had to compromise the SolarWinds Orion Platform build system and abuse it to deliver a backdoor injected as a legitimate DLL via the software update system.

            Once the DLL is loaded after the application is started, the backdoor would reach out to its command-and-control server and allow the threat actors to infiltrate the network.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Western Sahara Remains a Crucial Legitimizing Crutch for the Moroccan Monarchy

        As the protesters neared Rabat’s central boulevards they were halted and corralled by armored personnel carriers, water cannons, and phalanxes of riot police. After blocking access to the entire area, the diminutive protest was, as is fairly common, declared “unauthorized” and the assembled protestors brusquely expelled. Needless to say, these events went unmentioned in the state-aligned media, which has remained hushed on the deal since its announcement. Long anxious about publicly advertising its intimate alliance with Tel Aviv, the Moroccan government is certainly sighing in relief at the muted and managable anger its decision has occasioned. It will be unsurprising if it moves, like the UAE, to criminalize criticism of its relations with Israel.

        But as little popular contestation as there is about the abandonment of Palestine in the kingdom, there is none whatsoever about the ancillary reward the monarchy has accepted for normalizing relations with Israel – Washington’s recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara. For as few of the brave demonstrators as there were in Rabat on Monday to oppose the normalization of Israel’s occupation, there were no expressions of solidarity with the other denial of self-determination enshrined in the deal. And there essentially never have been, for the Sahrawi cause finds even fewer vocal sympathizers in Morocco than the Palestinian one does inside the self-styled Jewish State.

      • UN Human Rights Expert Urges US to Lift Sanctions That ‘May Exacerbate the Already Dire Humanitarian Situation in Syria’

        After nearly a decade of war, the special rapporteur noted, Syrians are living with “extensively damaged houses, medical units, schools, and other facilities.”

      • An Open Letter to Biden: Selecting a CIA Director

        I’m assuming that you and your team are still debating the selection of a director for the Central Intelligence Agency.  I hope that you don’t think me presumptuous for making some suggestions.  I’m doing this on the basis of my 24 years of experience as a CIA intelligence analyst as well as my candid testimony before the Senate intelligence committee several decades ago regarding the confirmation process.

        I believe that CIA leadership is particularly important at this juncture if the agency is to regain its credibility.  Donald Trump’s efforts to politicize the intelligence community combined with the unfortunate appointment as director of Gina Haspel, who was heavily involved in the torture and abuse program, have undermined that credibility.  Haspel’s confirmation created cynicism toward the process among many CIA officials—both active and retired.  I’m also concerned that the media rumors point to the possible appointment of Mike Morell, who has been actively campaigning for the assignment, to succeed Haspel.  This would be particularly unfortunate given Morell’s active denial of the illegality and immorality of the torture program as well as his defense of the destruction of the torture tapes.

      • Ignoring the Church’s calls Defrocked Orthodox priest Sergii Romanov arrested during raid on monastery

        In the early hours of December 29, a SWAT team stormed the Sredneuralsk Women’s Monastery outside of Yekaterinburg and arrested Sergii Romanov — one of the region’s most well-known priests, who was excommunicated from the Russian Orthodox Church earlier this year. Romanov was taken to Moscow where a district court remanded him in custody for the next two months on charges of inciting minors to suicide, violating freedom of conscience and religion, and arbitrariness. Following Romanov’s arrest, his supporters have been gathering outside of the monastery and refusing to allow anyone to enter the grounds, for fear that the Yekaterinburg diocese will take back control of the convent.

      • In Like Flynn
      • Recidivist Criminal and Constitutional Outlaw Trump Rushes to Pardon Criminal Lawbreakers

        Trump thrills at what he considers his absolute power to pardon, including family members and himself. He is wrong. No constitutional right or power is pursued at all costs. All have limits. The power to pardon is limited at least by prohibitions on bribery, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and the 400-year honored maxim that “no man can be a judge in his own case.” Further, the Constitution’s framers specifically described corruptly motivated pardons as impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors and specifically authorized criminal prosecution of the President after impeachment and removal from office. The latter would become an overthrow of lawful orders with presidential self-pardons.

        No president has displayed the audacity or depravity to self-pardon. In 1974, the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department concluded that the president cannot self-pardon.

      • 9-Year-Old Ali Kinani Was Among Victims of Killers Pardoned by Trump
      • “Blackwater’s Youngest Victim”: 9-Year-Old Ali Kinani Was Among Victims of Trump’s Pardoned Killers

        President Trump’s pardon of four former Blackwater contractors convicted for their role in a massacre in Baghdad has sparked outrage in Iraq. The Blackwater guards include Nicholas Slatten, who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder for his role in the 2007 Nisoor Square massacre, when he and other Blackwater mercenaries opened fire with machine guns and grenades on a crowded public space in Baghdad, killing 17 unarmed civilians, including women and children. The youngest victim was a 9-year-old named Ali Kinani. We re-broadcast clips from a short documentary, “Blackwater’s Youngest Victim,” by The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill and filmmaker Rick Rowley, that first aired on Democracy Now! in 2010.

      • Lawyer Paul Dickinson: The U.S. Promised Iraqis Justice. Trump’s Blackwater Pardons Took It Away.

        President Trump’s pardon of four former Blackwater contractors has sparked outrage in Iraq and in the United States. Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were convicted in the killing of 14 Iraqis in 2007, when contractors for the mercenary firm opened fire on civilians in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square. The four Blackwater guards were convicted in 2014 after years of painstaking work by investigators and prosecutors to address one of the most infamous chapters of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Paul Dickinson, who was the lawyer for several victims of the Blackwater massacre, says Trump’s pardons are a fresh insult to Iraqis who lost loved ones and who were promised justice would be served. “Now, after the promises that we made to each one of these victims that we were going to hold people accountable for their criminal actions abroad, that has been taken away from them,” he says.

      • Bernie Sanders Vows to Filibuster Military Budget to Force Vote on $2,000 Checks
      • ‘This Is No Bluff’: Sanders Vows to Filibuster Military Budget to Force Senate Vote on $2,000 Checks

        “It would be unconscionable, especially after the House did the right thing, for the Senate to simply leave Washington without voting on this.”

      • 19 House Democrats Join Ro Khanna in Voting Against Bloated Military Budget
      • Ro Khanna Applauds 19 House Democrats Who Joined Him in Voting No on ‘Bloated’ $740 Billion Military Budget

        “They are changing the culture of endless war and calling for more investment instead in the American people.”

      • Russian Investigative Committee launches case against Navalny for large-scale fraud

        The Russian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case for large-scale fraud against opposition figure Alexey Navalny, RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday, December 29. 

      • Russian advocacy group for victims of domestic violence declared a ‘foreign agent’

        The anti-domestic violence advocacy group “Nasiliu.net” (No to Violence) has been officially recognized as a “foreign agent,” the Russian Justice Ministry announced in a press release on Tuesday, December 29.

      • Boston Dynamics robots take over the dance floor in latest video

        Boston Dynamics was recently purchased by Hyundai, which bought the robotics firm from SoftBank in a $1.1 billion deal. The company was originally founded in 1992 as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where it became known for its dog-like quadrupedal robots (most notably, the DARPA-funded BigDog, a precursor to the company’s first commercial robot, Spot.) It was bought by Alphabet’s X division in 2013, and then by Softbank in 2017.

      • The International Criminal Court: Now Simply Indefensible

        Support for the rule of international law, and for the institutions which uphold it, is one of the principles of this blog. I have therefore always been extremely keen to defend and support the International Criminal Court, despite widespread criticism that it is simply a tool for use against leaders in the developing world and other opponents of the neo-con world order. I maintained that the standard of justice and investigation in the cases it did consider was generally good, and the need was to widen its ambit.

      • Why Senators Must Reject Avril Haines for Intelligence

        Even before President-elect Joe Biden sets foot in the White House, the Senate Intelligence Committee may start hearings on his nomination of Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence.

      • Opinion | Why Senators Must Reject Avril Haines for Intelligence

        Haines is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Opinion | The Seven Secrets of 2020

        This year has resembled a rapidly receding tide, forcing us to confront submerged truths. One lesson we learned in 2020 is that national governments had been choosing not to exercise their enormous powers so that those whom globalization had enriched could exercise their own.

      • The Wealth Inequality Virus is Surging

        Below is a table based on the Federal Reserve Board Figures. The quarters selected represent the height of the wealth of the 1% during the Bush regime (2007Quarter 3) which was before the Great Recession, their wealth at the start of Obama’s presidency (2009Q1), at the end of his first term (2016Q4), at its high point, (2016Q3), and in his last quarter in 2016. For Trump, the numbers are for his first quarter in 2017, the high point which was just before the pandemic (2019Q4), the first quarter of 2020 that covers the onset of the pandemic, and the most recent figures that cover the third quarter of 2020.

        What the Fed figures show is just how well the top 1%, as a group, have been doing. The recovery of their nominal wealth from the negative impact of the great recession took about five years to exceed the high point achieved before the great recession. By contrast, under Trump, despite both the pandemic and economic decline, the recovery of the wealth of the 1% from its decline in the first quarter of 2020 back to its high point at the end of 2019, was not only reached in less than a year, but is even 4% greater.

      • ‘Err on the Side of Helping People’: AOC Slams Blue Dog Democrat for Opposing $2,000 Relief Checks

        “Is this really a good reason to block aid for millions?” the congresswoman asked, after Rep. Kurt Schrader claimed direct payments would provide too much support to people “making six figure incomes.”

      • McConnell Rejects Initial Moves to Pass $2,000 Stimulus Bill
      • Joseph Stiglitz on the Pandemic Economy & Why He Backs Sanders’ Filibuster for $2000 Stimulus Checks

        The House of Representatives has voted to approve a measure that would increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000, sending the bill to the Senate, where its fate is uncertain. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders has said he will filibuster to delay an override on President Trump’s veto of this year’s $740 billion defense spending bill unless the Senate also holds a vote on the $2,000 checks. At least 12 Republicans would need to join with the Senate’s 48 Democrats to reach the necessary 60 votes to approve the increased payments. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is standing in the way of not just expanded stimulus payments, but a whole range of policies he has refused to bring to the floor of the Senate. “We think of ourselves as a democracy, but this one person has blocked the ability of the Senate to go on record of saying whether they’re for or against a whole variety of measures that large numbers of Americans think are important,” Stiglitz says. He also discusses the global economic crisis.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | The Union Members Who Voted for Trump Have to Be Organized—Not Ignored

        If the Left is to win progressive policies (and the next presidential election), it needs a militant labor movement.

      • Why Not Take Congressional Proxy Voting All the Way?

        US Representative Paul Mitchell (R-MI) gave his proxy to US Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA)  in early December, declaring by tweet that “I will not risk my family’s health in order to vote on key items.”

        Fast food cooks and grocery store cashiers don’t get to assign their work to proxies. They show up each day or lose their jobs, risking their health with every shift. Apparently Mitchell doesn’t consider his job as important as flipping burgers or bagging beer and bagels. But he still wants to collect that paycheck while someone else covers for him.

      • Kelly Loeffler’s Sacrilegious Campaign

        Kelly Loeffler’s relentless assault on the religious faith of the Rev. Raphael Warnock, her challenger in the January 5 Georgia runoff that could decide control of the US Senate, has been characterized by deliberate mischaracterizations of the pastor’s sermons and the Christian Scriptures on which they are based. At rallies, in media appearances and in their only runoff campaign debate, the appointed Republican incumbent has attacked her Democratic rival for preaching a social gospel rooted in New Testament teaching,

      • Opinion | Donald John Trump’s “Seditious Abuse”

        As we come to the end of four rotten years, the child king spends his final days throwing an extra ton of trauma-inducing tantrums.

      • Opinion | Hey, America, You Want a True Conservative Party?

        We’ve already got one: it’s called the Democrats.

      • Endings for Beginnings: Reaching a Brexit Deal

        Johnson’s lectern mood was stubbornly confident.  On December 24, he reiterated the reclaiming of British sovereignty, making the dubious assertion that “we left on Jan 31 with that oven-ready deal.”  (The ingredients for the meal still had yet to be gathered.)  Now, he could boast that, “we have completed the biggest trade deal yet, worth £660 billion,” likening it to a “Canada style free trade deal between the UK and the EU” that would preserve jobs in the country.

        UK goods and components could continue being sold without tariffs and quotas within the EU market.  There would “be no palisade of tariffs on Jan 1.  And there will be no non-tariff barriers to trade.”  But even better, praised Johnson, the deal “should allow our companies and our exporters to do even more business with our European friends.”  Keeping in mind his Brexit audience, he insisted that Britain had “taken back control of laws” and “of every jot and tittle of our regulation.”  British laws would not be subjected to EU scrutiny; the European Court of Justice would no longer be an irritating final arbiter of UK cases.  British standards – from the biosciences to financial services – would be British and British alone.


        In reality, this means that the spirited message of taking back control of the seas has failed, at least for the period when adjustments will have to be made. This caused considerable displeasure to Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, who accused British diplomats of dropping “the ball before the line” in a “fisheries sell-out”.

        While the deal is unlikely to be sabotaged when Parliament is reconvened, members will only have the shortest of time to consider a bulky document. As one MP told Fraser Nelson of The Spectator, the UK’s chief negotiator David Frost “might have missed something. He’s a good negotiator but he’s not Einstein.” The EU also had the better legal eagles; those from the UK had never wanted Britain to leave the EU in the first place.

        Staunch remainers such as Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon see little to merit the arrangements, positioning her nation for the spring. “Before the spin starts, it’s worth remembering that Brexit is happening against Scotland’s will.” No deal would be able to “ever make up for what Brexit takes away from us. It’s time to chart our own future as an independent, European nation.”

      • Trump’s Stimulus and Defense Shenanigans Are Having Ripple Effects in Georgia
      • Civil Rights Groups Fight Back Against Georgia’s Voter Purges
      • Citing Violation of Federal Law, Judge Halts Voter Purges in Rural Georgia Counties Ahead of Senate Runoffs

        Officials in Muscogee and Ben Hill Counties used little concrete evidence to defend their purge of more than 4,000 voters, a U.S. district judge found. 

      • Purge of 4,000 Georgia Voters Violated Federal Law, Judge Rules
      • The ‘Moderate’ Rot at the Top of the Democratic Party

        For OMB director, Biden selected corporate centrist Neera Tanden, whose Center for American Progress thrives on the largesse of wealthy donors representing powerful corporate interests. Tanden has been a notably scornful foe of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing; former Sanders speechwriter David Sirota calls her “the single biggest, most aggressive Bernie Sanders critic in the United States.” Who better to oversee the budget of the U.S. government?

        For Secretary of State, Biden chose his longtime top foreign-policy adviser, whose frequent support for U.S. warfare included pushing for the disastrous 2011 military intervention in Libya. Antony Blinken is a revolving-door pro who has combined his record of war boosterism with entrepreneurial zeal to personally profit from influence-peddling for weapons sales to the Pentagon. Who better to oversee diplomacy for the U.S. government?

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Section 230 Isn’t A Subsidy; It’s A Rule Of Civil Procedure

        The other day Senator Schatz tweeted, “Ask every Senator what Section 230 is. Don’t ask them if they want to repeal it. Ask them to describe it.”

      • When You Can’t Innovate, You Litigate: Oracle Gleefully Takes Credit For Attacks On Section 230 And Google

        A few weeks ago, Oracle announced that it was moving its headquarters out of Redwood Shores, in the middle of Silicon Valley, to Austin, Texas. The move is more symbolic than anything else. The company told employees they can continue working from wherever they want and founder Larry Ellison sent an email to all employees saying he’ll be working from the island of Lanai, which he purchased a few years ago. But the symbolism of the move works in multiple ways. Despite being founded and headquartered in Silicon Valley for almost half a century, Oracle has long represented the anti-Silicon Valley approach to innovation.

      • McConnell ties full repeal of Section 230 to push for $2,000 stimulus checks

        Democratic party leaders criticized the inclusion of Section 230 repeal as an effort to scuttle stimulus talks. “Senator McConnell knows how to make $2,000 survival checks reality and he knows how to kill them,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement Tuesday. “Will Senate Republicans go along with Sen. McConnell’s cynical gambit or will they push him to give a vote on the standalone [bill]?”

        McConnell’s bid for a full repeal of Section 230 comes amid increasingly chaotic negotiating over the level of direct payments to be included as part of stimulus efforts. On Sunday, President Trump signed into law Congress’ $900 billion COVID-19 relief and government spending package that would provide $600 in stimulus payments to most Americans. In a public statement after signing the bill, Trump urged congressional leaders to hold a standalone vote on increasing direct payments to $2,000.

      • Mitch McConnell Using Section 230 Repeal As A Poison Pill To Avoid $2k Stimulus Checks

        As you likely know by now, President Trump is trying to use his last few weeks in office to use various levers of power remaining to him to make sure he fucks up the open internet. However, he also threw a wrench in the works of the long-overdue and way too small COVID relief package by saying that the checks to individuals should be $2,000 rather than $600. He’s not wrong, but it was bizarre that his own White House was part of the negotiations that made sure the checks were smaller. It’s almost as if the President and his own administration don’t communicate very much.

      • McConnell Objects as Sanders, Senate Democrats Attempt to Force Vote on $2,000 Checks

        “Working families need help now. Not next year, now,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • UN independent expert asks outgoing US president: Pardon Wikileaks’ Assange

        He made the case that Mr. Assange had never hacked, stolen or published false information, nor caused reputational harm through any personal misconduct, pointing out that whether one agrees or disagrees with their publications, “they clearly cannot be regarded as crimes”.

        The Special Rapporteur upheld that Mr. Assange had obtained his information from “authentic documents and sources in the same way as any other serious and independent investigative journalists conduct their work”.

        Don’t shoot the messenger

        The independent expert explained his request, saying that prosecuting Mr. Assange for publishing true information about serious official misconduct would amount to “shooting the messenger” rather than correcting the problem he exposed.

        Moreover, it would be incompatible with the core values of justice, rule of law and press freedom, as reflected in the American Constitution and US-ratified international human rights instruments.

      • Fifty journalists killed in 2020, targeted in ‘barbaric murders’, watchdog says

        Fifty journalists and media workers were killed in connection with their work in 2020, the majority in countries that are not at war, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said Tuesday.

      • UN rapporteur on Assange: ‘The US is trying to criminalize investigative journalism’

        Nils Melzer: The legal proceeding in itself is not respecting the basic standards of human rights, of due process and the rule of law. Already, the motivation behind the extradition request is not in compliance with basic legal standards, with the protections of freedom of the press and so on. Julian Assange is being prosecuted by the United States for espionage, just because he practiced investigative journalism.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Opinion | A Deportation Moratorium, What Comes Next for Biden?

        A deportation moratorium is a critical step to repairing the harm that has been waged against our immigrant communities and reimagining our existing system.

      • Opinion | 2020 Has Shown Us the Way Forward

        A new kind of social justice movement has risen above the misery of 2020, and it has taken root in our common humanity.

      • U.S. activist ordered to leave Russia taken from her home by police

        On Tuesday, December 29, police officers in Moscow took American human rights lawyer Vanessa Kogan — the executive director of the rights group Justice Initiative, who was recently ordered to leave Russia — from her home and detained her at a police station, Justice Initiative spokesperson Ksenia Babich told Mediazona. 

      • Russian film director charged for underwear protest outside FSB headquarters

        Law enforcement officers have written up Russian film director Vitaly Mansky for the administrative offense of taking part in an unauthorized demonstration (under article 20.2, section 5 of the Administrative Code), lawyer Alena Borisova from the rights group Pravozashchity Otkrytki told MBX Media. 

      • Trump Signs Tibetan Policy And Support Act Into Law, Prompting Warnings From Beijing

        Formerly an independent nation, Tibet was invaded and incorporated into China by force nearly 70 years ago, following which the Dalai Lama and thousands of his followers fled into exile in in India and other countries around the world. Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of fomenting separatism in Tibet.

      • Section 215 Expired: Year in Review 2020

        In the week before the law expired, the House of Representatives passed the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act, without committee markup or floor amendments, which would have extended Section 215 for three more years, along with some modest reforms. 

        As any cartoon viewer knows, in order for any bill to become law, the House and Senate must pass an identical bill, and the President must sign it. That didn’t happen with the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act. Knowing that House’s bill would fail in the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought a bill to the floor that would extend all the expiring provisions for another 77 days, without any reforms at all. Senator McConnell’s extension passed the Senate without debate.

        But the House of Representatives left town without passing Senator McConnell’s bill. That meant that Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, along with the so-called lone wolf and the roving wiretap provisions expired. Section 215 is best known as the law the intelligence community relied on to conduct mass surveillance of Americans’ telephone records, a program held to be likely illegal by two federal courts of appeals. It has other, largely secret uses as well.

      • Black Lives Matter and the Future of Humanity

        If we view various forms of domination as forming a ball of twine, we can see how pulling on one string can start to unravel the whole thing. Approaching racism, patriarchy, and class exploitation, for example, as interlocking and mutually reinforcing, organizing against any one of these might begin to reveal connections and relationships to the whole. Each is a potential entryway to understanding the complexity and interconnection of contemporary hierarchies. Better comprehending these relationships offers the possibility of beginning to detangle them. In this way we can relate the movement for Black lives, for instance, to the movement for climate justice.

        As with police violence, pollution disproportionately impacts Black and poor communities. For instance, a recent study found that Black people are exposed to twice the particulate matter as white people, and that Hispanics had more exposure than non-Hispanic whites. The study also found that people in poverty had more exposure than people not in poverty. That the people of Flint, Michigan, almost half of whom live in poverty, were drinking lead contaminated water is only one of the more well-known recent examples.

      • ‘She’s very courageous’: Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul appeals jail sentence

        Al-Hathloul made a name for herself as one of the few women to openly call for women’s right to drive in the deeply conservative kingdom, as well for an end to the country’s restrictive male guardianship system that had long limited women’s freedom of movement. She was arrested along with other female activists in May 2018, just weeks before the kingdom ended a decadeslong ban on women driving.

      • The New Humanitarian | Thank you for supporting our journalism in 2020

        Despite a pandemic that has been described as an “extinction event” for the news media, we have thrived in this difficult year: the doubling of our audience in 2020 reaffirms our belief that the pandemic has created an opening to bring our journalism to wider audiences.

        After all, independent journalism about crises has never been more important. As a survey of nearly 1,400 humanitarian policy-makers and practitioners found earlier this year, mainstream media coverage of humanitarian issues is inadequate in both quantity and quality, leaving a chasm in reporting that we aim to fill.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • “Trumptalk’ may outlast Trump

        President Trump’s brash communication style — combined with a societal shift towards streaming, where there are no regulatory restrictions on speech — has forced the entire media industry to present information in a more candid and less polished way.

        Why it matters: It’s no longer uncommon to hear cable anchors use foul language or for TV or radio personalities to make indecent remarks on air. Now that the standard has been set, it’s hard to see how networks and news outlets could go back to their postured presentations of the past.

    • Monopolies

      • The DOJ’s Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google Is Gaining Ground
      • Patents

        • Patent Office Updates You Need to Know [Ed: The EPO is now breaking the law, the EPC, using "decision" by the executive branch]

          The European Patent Office (EPO) has decided, with effect from 4 January 2021, to hold oral proceedings in opposition by videoconference (VICO) in accordance with Article 2 of the Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 10 November 2020concerning the modification and extension of the pilot project for oral proceedings by VICO before opposition divisions. Where there are serious reasons preventing the use of VICO in opposition, oral proceedings will be postponed until after 15 September 2021. For further details, see the news item of 10 November 2020 Opposition hearings by VICO – changes in 2021.
          The Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) has launched a service of issuing business licenses to practice intellectual property activities. The strategic initiative aims to regulate and follow up licenses for intellectual property agents, in addition to developing existing cadres and providing new cadres qualified to practice intellectual property activities and services. The initiative contributes to enhancing investment opportunities.

        • Software Patents

          • Velos Media patent challenged

            On December 29, 2020, Unified Patents filed an ex parte reexamination proceeding against U.S. Patent 9,743,086, owned by Velos Media as part of Unified’s ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone. The ‘086 patent and its corresponding extended patent family is the largest family known to be owned by Velos and represents approximately 5.3% of Velos’ known U.S. assets. Velos claims to have and seeks to license patents allegedly essential to the HEVC / H.265 standard.

          • First UK challenge filed by Unified against Velos Media

            As part of Unified’s ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone, Unified filed its first UK challenge against EP 2 664 149, owned by Velos Media International Limited. The EP ‘149 patent is related to U.S. Patent 9,414,066, which Unified has also challenged in the U.S. (IPR2020-00352, instituted June 30, 2020). The EP ‘149 patent and its corresponding extended patent family is one of the largest families known to be owned by Velos. Velos claims to have and seeks to license patents allegedly essential to the HEVC / H.265 standard. EP’149 is directed to video decoding techniques and was originally assigned to Ericsson before being transferred to Velos.

          • Simio, LLC v. FlexSim Software Products, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

            Simio sued FlexSim in the District of Utah for alleged infringement of its U.S. Patent No. 8,156,468. FlexSim moved for dismissal on the pleadings under 35 U.S.C. § 101, on the grounds that the claims were directed to no more than an abstract idea. The District Court granted the motion, and Simio appealed.

      • Copyrights

        • Apple Loses Copyright Claims Against ‘Virtual iPhone’ Maker

          Corellium’s actions fell under an exception to copyright law because it “creates a new, virtual platform for iOS and adds capabilities not available on Apple’s iOS devices,” District Court Judge Rodney Smith in West Palm Beach ruled Tuesday. That Corellium sells its product “does not undermine its fair use defense, particularly considering the public benefit of the product.”

        • Undercover Cops Arrest Sellers of ‘Pirate’ Amazon Firesticks At Florida Flea Market

          The Polk County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference a few days ago to announce the results of an undercover operation stat started months ago. Detectives busted four sellers of ‘pirate’ Amazon Fire Sticks, including an 88-year-old suspect. According to the police, selling jailbroken devices is a crime.

        • Pirate Site Operators Facing Six Years Prison, Six Million Euros in Damages

          In 2015, authorities in Spain launched an investigation into pirate site Descargasmix.com and around 15 associated domains. At the time the sites were considered to be the most important platforms targeting Spanish-speaking audiences. Two men, alleged to be the sites’ operators will go on trial in 2021, with prosecutors demanding six-year prison sentences and damages in excess of six million euros.

Reminder: Absolutely Do Not Install Contact-Tracing ‘Apps’ (They Solve Nothing)

Posted in Deception at 4:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

COVID doesn’t care for surveillance; it’s just that surveillance giants are exploiting COVID for their own agenda

Video download link

COVID-19, COVID-19+x
New COVID-19 strain UK: What is the new coronavirus variant?

Summary: Media hype about a solution to COVID-19 being foreseeable and even imminent is really just hype and erosion of civil liberties has been put ‘on steroids’; we need to assess the need for a balance instead of blindly accepting every proposal, including futile ones such as contact-tracing (not even remotely effective at this stage)

THOSE who keep abreast of key issues will already know that the virus is mutating (the virus everyone keeps talking about is a moving target) and, as we’ve noted in the previous post, vaccination will be too scarcely adopted — if it’s truly effective at all — to eradicate the virus and all its mutations. To quote a headline from yesterday (for impeding Daily Links), ‘Fauci Describes Vaccine Rollout as “Below Where We Want to Be” Right Now’ and it’s barely surprising. Russia has had the same problem. Confidence is generally low and we’re not trying to induce/reinforce defeatism, we’re just pointing out what’s going on.

I got some news bad, mate; What is it, Carl? Contact tracing; Problem solved!As we also pointed out earlier today, human rights are at growing/great risk because governments — not just large businesses and institutions like the EPO — are looking to exploit these things. Benoît Battistelli used terror attacks to justify his attacks on staff and António Campinos uses COVID-19 to justify breaking the law.

Back in October, Marco Fioretti wrote ‘Contact Tracing remains irrelevant’ and we’d like to quote what he said back then (we found his article yesterday; he’s a Free software advocate): “I have just come across the last of a long series of article on why Immuni [Italian app] has become half problematic, all irrelevant

“As of last week, says that article, about 18% of italian smartphone owners 14 and 75 years old had installed Immuni. Installing however, does not mean “actually using as intended”, and the fact that there has been, until now, very little transparency on this makes it harder to convince more people.

“The real problem that magnifies all the others, however, is another. Installing Immuni and being 100% committed to use it as intended does not mean at all that you will be able to do so.

“All is certain for Immuni users is that if they get a notification that they got too close to someone then tested positiv, they should immediately “contact their family doctor, and voluntarily self-quarantine”.

“Immuni users who are tested positive, instead, should immediately get, from a public healthcare servant, the authorization codes necessary to transmit the anonymous notifications mentioned above.”

Towards the end Fioretti concludes: “All in all, Immuni seems (and it is a shame) another example of the Soviet-like solutionism of yore that I reported two days ago.”

The awful, awful Linux Foundation has been promoting this horrible thing, which we’ve compared to “Stalin’s Dream” (to quote Richard Stallman). To make matters worse, the awful Linux Foundation lets Microsoft control the code in its proprietary and monopolistic trap. This isn’t a solution to COVID-19 (or whatever comes after it) but a solution to the ‘problem’ of some people being difficult to spy on. Already, in 2020, many EPO staff members (examiners for the most part) have been forced to install malware on their home PCs, monitoring their every action and movement. Many are not even aware of what the secret code does.

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