Links 16/12/2020: Linux Mint 20.1 Beta, GTK4 Release Party in Two Days

Posted in News Roundup at 7:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • We like to move it, move it!

      Get Linux on your laptop! There’s no doubt many of you already have, but just as with running Linux on a desktop there’s more than one way of getting things done for your laptop. Truth be told, laptops of old were more akin to butchered desktops and so things – software wise at least – transferred more easily for Linux users.

      Over the years hardware designers have steadily optimised mobile hardware, to the point where getting Linux on mobile devices has become increasingly difficult. Some of that is deliberate lockdown (the bad sort, of course) of hardware, but also modern power-efficiency tricks can trip up operating systems designed for desktop use. Elsewhere, obscure, almost bespoke peripherals can leave missing modules that are hard to track down.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Kernel 5.10 Released

        Linus Torvalds released version 5.10 of the Linux kernel, saying “it’s mostly drivers—as it should be—with a smattering of fixes all over: networking, architectures, filesystems, tooling.”

        The release of 5.10 means the merge window for 5.11 is open, and, Torvalds said, “the most notable thing about the 5.11 merge window will be obvious to anybody who takes a look at the calendar: realistically speaking, we only have one week before the holidays are upon us, and everybody is much too distracted.”

      • Intel “IGEN6″ Driver Comes To Linux 5.11 For In-Band ECC (IBECC) – Phoronix

        Initially found with “Elkhart Lake” SoCs and likely to be found on further future Intel client SoCs is the integrated memory controller supporting in-band ECC (IBECC). Coming with Linux 5.11 is the “IGEN6″ EDAC driver for handling this error detection and correction on Intel SoCs sporting IBECC.

      • SECCOMP Filters Get A Very Nice Speed-Up With Linux 5.11 – Phoronix

        The Linux 5.11 kernel cycle continues to prove to be very exciting. The latest are SECCOMP filters for this secure computing mode yielding a nice speed-up.

        The SECCOMP updates for Linux 5.11 include the addition of constant-action bitmaps to reduce the overhead for many real-world syscall filters from O(N) to O(1). The filters benefiting the most are for allow/reject-only system call handling. This constant action bitmaps is also faster than BPF call optimization.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Emulation

          One of the people in the #zink IRC channel has been posing an interesting challenge for me in the form of trying to run every possible console emulator on my zink-wip branch.

          This has raised a number of issues with various parts of the driver, so expect a number of posts on the topic.

        • A Wayland driver for Wine

          Wine is a compatibility layer capable of running Windows applications on Linux, MacOS and other systems. It’s been developed and used for over two decades and it’s also what Steam Proton uses under the hood to enable Windows games to run on Linux systems.

          On Linux systems Wine currently uses its X11 driver to interface with the X11 display server. In many modern systems, where Wayland has become the display server protocol of choice, another layer is needed to translate between X11 and Wayland. This comes in the form of a special X11 server called XWayland.

          This setup works but the extra dependency on X11/XWayland is a source of complexity and possible inefficiencies. It would be ideal if Wine could talk directly to Wayland to enable a leaner and more efficient stack on modern systems.

          After several months of work, we are excited to announce a first proposal for a Wayland driver for Wine. At this point the proposal is in the form of an RFC (Request For Comment), in order to explore how to best move forward with the upstreaming and further development of the driver.

        • There’s Finally An Experimental Driver For Native Wayland Support Within Wine

          Alexandros Frantzis has announced the creation of a Wayland driver for Wine. This driver allows Windows GDI/OpenGL applications to run on Wayland compositors without any use of X11/XWayland.

          The code hasn’t yet been merged into Wine and given the code freeze is too late to appear for next month’s Wine 6.0 release, but the experimental branch is available today for those interested.

    • Applications

      • Everything You Need to Know about Linux OpenSSH Server

        The OpenSSH suite is a collection of robust tools intended to facilitate the remote control and transfer of data between networked systems. It consists of a number of tools, including SSH, SCP, SFTP, SSHD, and many more. Every time you use ssh to log in to a remote machine, you are highly likely to leverage the OpenSSH server. In this guide, we will provide an in-depth discussion on how OpenSSH works and how to utilize it properly for meeting growing security demands. So, if you want to learn more about the intricacies of OpenSSH, stay with us throughout this guide.

      • Remap Keyboard And Mouse Buttons On Linux With The New Key Mapper GUI (Supports X11 And Wayland)

        Key Mapper is a new GUI tool to remap your keyboard and mouse buttons on Linux desktops (it supports both X11 and Wayland).

        The application supports per-device presets, and it allows using timed macros with the ability to repeat keys, wait between keys, hold a modifier while using a key, and more. Besides keyboards and mice, Key Mapper also comes with basic support for gamepads.

        Other features include support for stopping any mappings and using system defaults for a device (using the Apply Defaults button), and support for automatically loading presets on login for plugged in devices. Also, Key Mapper uses evdev to read keycodes and display them inside the application, so the user doesn’t have to do this manually.

      • How to View Images from the Linux Terminal

        Linux has many GUI applications for viewing images.

        But I have never tried any CLI applications to see it.

        Fortunately while working with the ImageMagick tool I got a command to view an image from the terminal.

        The command name is “display”, which is part of the ImageMagick tool.

        This is a great tool that allows NIX users to view images from the terminal.

        Also, I got another great tool called FIM for this purpose.

        We will show you how to install and use it to view images from the Linux terminal.

        These commands use the system’s framebuffer to display images directly from the command line.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • 4 Ways To Install Firefox 84 In Ubuntu / LinuxMint / CentOS | Tips On UNIX

        Firefox or Mozilla Firefox is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla foundation and generally utilized by thousands and thousands of individuals in their daily actions.

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install firefox 84.0 in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Linux Mint 20, and CentOS 8.1 / 7.x

      • How to install virtualbox from A till Z and learn to use it

        We recommend this option as it is the easiest way to get VirtualBox on your computer.

      • How to automatically remember running applications from your last session in Debian

        Sometimes, you are performing an important task on your system using certain applications, but suddenly your system goes into hibernation mode or something else wants your attention and you have to hibernate the system. In this scenario, you might lose your work, as your running applications will be closed.

        To make your system remember the application you were running in your last sessions and restoring the system to its previous state, Dconf editor is the best tool that can help you in achieving this. In this article, we will describe how you can install and configure the tool Dconf Editor to achieve this purpose.

        We have used Debian 10 OS for running the commands and procedure mentioned in this article.

      • How to Tweet Directly from Debian GNOME Desktop using Tweet Tray

        Tweet Tray is a desktop utility that allows you to tweet directly from your desktop without the need of opening a web browser. It is great utility for users who really need to tweet but without any further distractions such as viewing other people’s tweets, notifications, and other social network features.

        In this article, we will explain how to install and use the Tweet tray utility to tweet directly from the Debian desktop. We will explain the installation of Tweet Tray via both command-line and GUI.
        Note that we have explained the commands and procedure mentioned in this article on a Debian 10 system.

      • Download Spotify Deb packages to install on Ubuntu, Debian & Linux Mint

        We already have done a tutorial where we have shown the process of installing Spotify using snap packages including via graphical user interface of the “Ubuntu Software” app.

        Here we are going to use the Debian package method. This means first we download the Spotify Deb package from its official website and then will install it using the command terminal package installer. This tutorial will work on all Debian-based operating systems including Linux Mint, Zorin OS, Elementary, Ubuntu, and others…

      • How to Disable Automatic Workspaces in Gnome 3 (And Other Shell Tweaks)

        With distros rolling out releases using the latest versions of GNOME 3, more and more users are coming back to GNOME and finding that it’s much improved since the GNOME project first released it. Performance is better, features around customization and integration are more numerous, and there is nowhere near as many rough edges. However, there are still some major GNOME-isms that can grate on users. A great example is the way that workspaces are managed – GNOME creates and destroys workspaces dynamically, but many users prefer to have a set number of virtual workspaces that don’t change when windows are added. Here we show you how to disable automatic workspaces in GNOME.

      • How to Rename a Directory or Multiple Directories on Linux – buildVirtual

        File-system management is an important skill to have if you are working with Linux systems often. If you are from a Windows background, you may not yet be familiar with the ways and commands to rename directories on Linux. This article aims to help you out if you need to rename a directory on Linux, or multiple directories at the same time. We will start by giving some simple examples of how to do so using the command line tools commonly available on Linux distributions, then move onto some more advanced examples. I’ll be using my CentOS system for the examples in this article, but it will be much the same for other distributions.

      • How to install the ArangoDB multimodal database on Ubuntu Server 20.04 – TechRepublic

        Your company depends on data. To that end, you probably have deployed any number of databases to house and use that data. You might have databases that cover graph, document, and key-value data models, all of which probably use a specific database.

        What if you could use one database to cover all of those modalities?

      • How to set up a VirtualBox remote GUI for easy VM management – TechRepublic

        VirtualBox is a powerful tool for creating and managing virtual machines. If you want to serve your VMs from a server within your data center, and your preferable management tool is a GUI, what do you do? Once upon a time, you could use phpVirtualBox. Unfortunately, that tool hasn’t been in development for some time. However, there’s another option–RemoteBox.

      • Install Spotify on Fedora Linux using command line

        Spotify is a popular streaming client for listening to various genres of songs using an internet connection on smartphone and desktop devices. It is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. However, officially for Linux, Spotify is available as SNAP and Deb package only. Well, as Snap packages can be installed regardless of Linux distros base, thus we can install Spotify on Fedora as well.

    • Games

      • Godot Engine – Godot Showcase – Little Red Dog Games talk about their experience

        We’re Little Red Dog Games! We’re a commercial developer that has been developing deep strategy games with despotic roosters and snarky surveyor probes for almost a decade now.

        We’d love to show off Rogue State Revolution, which will be debuting for Windows and Linux in late February 2021. As President of the People’s Republic of Basenji, you must appoint ministers and make sure they stay loyal. Build roads, factories, nuclear power plants and more, if you can afford it. Anything can happen: meteor strike, a pandemic, a cane-toad infestation, a robot apocalypse… if you can imagine it, there’s a good chance that it’s hiding somewhere in this game, waiting to be discovered. Your role is to care for your society, but a growing rebellion threatens to remove you from power. The game has lots of FMV, beautiful 3D visuals and represents a huge creative effort over the past two years. You can check it out on Steam.

      • Get some cheap games in the Humble Québec Indies Bundle, and a big Paradox sale | GamingOnLinux

        Ready for more games to add to your collection? The Humble Québec Indies Bundle is now live, as is the Paradox Holiday Sale over on Humble Store.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GTK4 To Bring Better & Faster macOS Support

          On top of the many other improvements for the soon-to-be-released GTK4 toolkit, there is now better support for Apple’s macOS.

          GTK4 is bringing with it a new macOS back-end that helps improve the performance. The new macOS back-end supports software-based rendering via Cairo or GPU-accelerated rendering by means of OpenGL. Yes, OpenGL is deprecated on macOS but does remain available with macOS 11.0 Big Sur. There isn’t yet any Apple Metal or Vulkan-on-MoltenVK support for the macOS back-end with GTK 4.0.

        • Molly de Blanc: GTK4 Release Party

          Join us on Friday December 18 at 18:00 (UTC) to celebrate the release of GTK4. There will be Q&A time with GTK developers, including Emmanuele Bassi and Matthias Clasen, and open social time. We’ll be hosting the event using the meet.gnome.org.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Linux Mint 20 Review: Cool Operating System

          Here’s my review of Linux Mint 20, the user friendly computer operating system from Ireland, Europe, released June this year, named Ulyana, and is also a Long Term Support version. This major release happened two months after its basis, Ubuntu Focal Fossa, and two years after the previous Linux Mint 19 Tara LTS, released. It brings a new star feature, called Warpinator, which enables us to share files between laptops easily via wifi hotspot, along with other features. It comes with great news too as now it shipped as their third generation branded computer MintBox3. I do this review using my Lenovo ThinkPad laptop with my favorite edition selection Cinnamon. Finally, now let’s enjoy Ulyana goes on!

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Nathan Wolf: My Platform for the 2020 openSUSE Board Election

          I began my Linux journey in 2003 back when you could go into nearly any local software store and buy a boxed set of SUSE, Redhat or Mandrake. After a few months of trying to start out the easy way, I went with Mandrake, and stuck with it as it became Mandriva. It was about 2005, I gave openSUSE my first spin due to better hardware support with dial up modems and sharing the blazing 56 kbaud speed with the other computers on the network. I found it had all these fantastic additional tools to make life easier and I ultimately shifted to openSUSE full time in 2011. Even after some distro hopping I just happened to enjoy the structure and layout of the openSUSE project as a whole. It just made sense as compared to the other available offerings.

          I started contributing to openSUSE in 2013 when I had a need to document the process to set up using the smart card system for openSUSE Linux. I compiled the works from several sources to make an easy to follow, repeatable process to properly set up the smart card. I enjoyed it so much, I started to update and contribute to as many instructions that I could write to with some level of knowledge. I discovered at that point I started to really enjoy documenting the processes of getting things working or adjusting things to work for specific use cases and rather than just keep my instructions for myself only, I used the fantastic openSUSE wiki to share my knowledge.

          My career has been largely focused on Computer Aided Design and with some recent changes, I have been given the great privileged of using Linux exclusively for such activities. openSUSE is now my preferred platform to do everything from CAD, 3D Printing, Video Editing, creating Christmas Light shows to music to just everyday word-processing and data management.

          As far as hobbies go, beyond playing with anything Linux, I enjoy retro tech; especially the Commodore 64, well, pretty much anything Commodore but the 64 was my first computer. Beyond playing games, I have been able to get my Commodore 64 online and chatting in IRC rooms to enforce that just because something is old, doesn’t mean it is obsolete.

          Another hobby of mine that openSUSE makes incredibly more enjoyable is baking. Using an all-in-one Desktop with openSUSE Leap, GNOME Recipes and Firefox, I am able to access my local repository of cookies, cakes, pies and pastries as well as readily have access to a whole world of new recipes. Thanks to openSUSE and its many tools, it has made my kitchen life much more fund and efficient.

      • Oracle and IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Where CentOS Linux users can go from here

          Red Hat, CentOS’s Linux parent company, announced last week it was “shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to CentOS Stream, which tracks just ahead of a current RHEL release.” CentOS users were, shall we say, not amused. OK, actually, they’re fit to be tied. That’s because millions of users have been using CentOS as a stable point distribution for their servers, virtual machines, and appliances.

          These aren’t just small businesses. Top companies that rely on CentOS Linux include Disney, GoDaddy, RackSpace, Toyota, and Verizon. Other important technology companies build products around CentOS. These include GE, Riverbed, F5, Juniper, and Fortinet.

        • Red Hat Satellite 6.8.2 has been released

          We are pleased to announce that Red Hat Satellite 6.8.2 is generally available as of December 15, 2020.

          Red Hat Satellite is part of the Red Hat Smart Management subscription that makes it easier for enterprises to manage patching, provisioning, and subscription management of Red Hat Enterprise Linux infrastructure.

        • CloudLinux promises a CentOS Replacement

          CloudLinux has put out a press release stating that it will commit over $1 million per year toward the creation and maintenance of a CentOS replacement distribution. “CloudLinux is sponsoring Project Lenix, which will create a free, open-source, community-driven, 1:1 binary compatible fork of RHEL 8 (and future releases). It will provide an uninterrupted way to convert existing CentOS servers with absolutely zero downtime. Entire server fleets will be able to be converted with a single command with no reinstallation and no reboots required.”

        • CloudLinux Commits More Than $1 Million a Year to CentOS Replacement
        • Expanded availability: contributor discount for Lenovo ThinkPad laptops with Fedora Workstation!

          Earlier this year, we announced the initial availability of discounted Lenovo ThinkPad laptops with Fedora Workstation. This discount was available to US and Canada for all Fedora contributors with “CLA +1“. Today, I’m excited to announce that Lenovo has expanded the discount to much of Europe!

          To get this discount, log in to the country-appropriate portal with your @fedoraproject.org email address.

        • Rocky has competition as more CentOS alternatives step into the ring: Project Lenix, Oracle Linux vie for attention

          In the wake of Red Hat’s decision to end support for CentOS Linux comes a raft of alternatives to fill the void, including Project Lenix – an offshoot of Cloud Linux – and Oracle’s free Linux, which Big Red is heavily promoting.

          CloudLinux is a distribution based on RHEL/CentOS aimed at hosting providers and enterprises. It is not free but is offered on subscription from $14.00 per month, with support from $3.95 per month. Now the company behind it has introduced Project Lenix as an “open-sourced and community-driven RHEL Fork by the CloudLinux OS Creators”.

          The first release is set for “Q1 2021″. The name is not final, but will be determined by the project.

          Project Lenix will be a “1-1 compatible form of RHEL 8 and future releases,” according to CloudLinux CEO and co-founder Igor Seletskiy. A key feature will be the ability to migrate easily from CentOS. “Entire server fleets will be able to be converted with a single command with no reinstallation and no reboots required,” the company declared today.

          The CloudLinux company has also undertaken to sponsor the development and maintenance. Its stated motivation is to promote its KernelCare live patching service.

        • The Maple Tree, a new data structure for Linux

          Last week, Liam Howlett posted the first version of the Maple Tree to the linux-kernel mailing list. The Maple Tree, a collaboration between Liam Howlett and Matthew Wilcox, introduces a B-tree based range-locked tree which could significantly reduce unnecessary contention on the memory management subsystem — with the eventual goal of perhaps removing mmap_sem entirely. They have been working on this for a year over at github.com/oracle/linux-uek and I’m really excited to see this project sent out for comment and review!

        • How long does your IO take ?

          There are times despite having a Highly Available and Fault Tolerant architected storage environment, the disk IO takes an abnormally longer time to complete, potentially causing outages at different levels in a data center. This becomes critical in a Cluster with multiple nodes that are using disk heartbeat to do health checks.

          There are utilities like iostat and sar that provide some information at a higher level. The service time ‘svctm’ column in both iostat and sar shows the latency from the host, the amount of time spent on the wire between the HBA port and the target/lun. Sometimes the service time ‘svctm’ provided by Linux iostat and sar are not reliable.

          Dynamic Tracing (DTrace) allows one to measure latency at a more granular level like measuring elapsed time at adapter driver layer. With this we can find out where in the whole driver stack more cycles are spent. This can be done on the running Linux kernel without having to install an instrumented driver or requiring a reboot of the system.

          Below is an example of DTrace measuring latency in the QLogic FC qla2xxx driver from the time the SCSI command is queued until it is completed from the target. This would measure every IO that is sent down the FC channel. We can also filter for commands that are taking abnormally longer time to complete. We would be interested in SCSI commands that have taken more than 25 milliseconds. Anything less than 15 milliseconds is normal per the SCSI specification standard for a spindle Disk.

          The DTrace utility on Oracle Linux can be installed by following the instructions on Getting Started With DTrace, the kernel DTrace provider modules can be dynamically loaded.

        • Martin Pitt: A quarter on the Red Hat Installer team

          Work rotation Today is may last day at work for this year. I spent the last quarter working in the Red Hat Installer team, on a temporary rotation. They needed some help with their testing workflows and CI, it was a good chance of reducing “bus factor 1” activities in my home team (Cockpit), and for me personally it was a great opportunity to make new friends and learn new stuff.


          The main purpose of these CI improvements is to become able to land changes with confidence. But this of course only works with a certain discipline: the nightly and PR tests must be kept green. Regressions need to be investigated immediately, and reported/marked/skipped accordingly (broken windows theory), otherwise they quickly lose their value.

          Also, right now the unit tests only run for Fedora Rawhide, Fedora ELN, and RHEL 8; and the kickstart-tests only for Rawhide and RHEL 8. These should quickly be expanded to cover all supported OSes, mostly CentOS Stream and RHEL 9.

        • Building a better subscription management experience part 2: Subscription Watch

          A common complaint among IT managers is the complexity of managing subscriptions across platforms, technologies and tools. From licensing to usage, dealing with constant changes in personnel, security concerns and technology expansions can create a stressful renewal period – even with Red Hat.

          We acknowledge that especially near the end of a fiscal year, when budgets, hiring and forecasts are due, trying to figure out your Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) subscription needs for the following year is probably the last thing IT managers want to be thinking about.

          That’s why we’ve taken a two-pronged approach to making subscription management faster, simpler and more accurate than the manual approach to which you’ve become accustomed.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Inexpensive highly available LXD cluster: Introduction

          It’s been a couple of years since I last posted here, instead I’ve mostly been focusing on LXD specific content which I’ve been publishing on our discussion forum rather than on my personal blog.

          But this is going to be a bit of a journey and is about my personal infrastructure so this feels like a better home for it!


          LXD has a very solid clustering feature now which requires a minimum of 3 servers and will provide a highly available database and API layer. This can be combined with distributed storage through Ceph and distributed networking through OVN.

          But to benefit from this, you need 3 servers and you need fast networking between those 3 servers. Looking around for options in the sub-500CAD price range didn’t turn up anything particularly suitable so I started considering alternatives.

        • Open the door.

          Wait until you see what I will bring you. If that was a server using 300MB of my 128GB? Do you see my point? Ubuntu tries to keep their server edition to them self . I am fixing to screw that all up. They have not liked me since day #1, why stop now? I watched it rip out every one of those packages, including mine. Only because I told it to do so. The end resolve is much better then they could even think about.

          That is the GUI (Graphical User Interface) based Tmosb starting to come online. Does that say removing? The end resolve is a lower over head & higher performance rig. I wont get into the things I have fixed for them. That actually purges it from you system, “Like it never existed”. You will see.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • PinePhone keyboard and wireless charging add-ons are on the way

        One of the nifty things about the PinePhone is that there are a series of pogo pins hidden behind the back cover that make it possible to add new hardware to the phone.

        Individual hardware hackers have used those pins to add things like a thermal camera or a fingerprint reader. But, as revealed earlier this year, PinePhone maker Pine64 is also working on a series of official add-ons.

        Now Pine64 says two of those accessories are on the way. A PinePhone wireless charging case is now under production and should be available for purchase by early February, 2021. And Pine64 has partnered with a keyboard vendor to produce an official PinePhone keyboard.

      • I Love You For Your Personality

        If you are as excited about the Librem 5 as I am, you will want to show it to all your non-techie friends and family. “Look, it’s a Linux phone!”, you’ll say. They may be briefly impressed with the terminal, which evokes The Matrix to the uninitiated, but after brief fiddling, they will fail to share your joy. “Why,” you may ask, “why don’t they get it?”

        That’s because there’s a chasm of understanding between you. I was on its other side once.

        A long, long time ago, I met an owner of a Jolla phone at a conference. I had never seen it before, and I was excited to try it. But after I swiped around, tried out a few apps, and when the novelty of the user interface wore off, I ended up unimpressed. Yes, it was a phone. Yes, it had apps, just like mine. But I didn’t come across anything exceptional. What went wrong?

        On the way back home, I realized that nothing went wrong: on the surface, the Jolla phone was just a phone. That’s what I saw then, and that’s what your family will initially see in the Librem 5. But the amazing thing about it takes longer to discover: its personality as a Linux phone.

      • Four new products: IQaudio is now Raspberry Pi
      • Raspberry PI Portable Hotspot with Android USB tethering

        Connecting devices from Android WiFi Hotspot fastly drains smartphones battery and can consume in a few days your mobile subscription traffic. Raspberry PI, connected to smartphones USB tethering, works greatly as WiFi hotspot and adds advanced features

      • ASRock announces Tiger Lake based NUC, Mini-STX, and Mini-ITX boards

        ASRock typically preloads Win 10 on its embedded computers, including industrial focused models, but it usually sells its motherboards as barebones, without an OS.

      • Ubuntu Linux on the GMK NucBox 2.4 inch mini PC

        The GMK NucBox is a tiny computer that fits in the palm of your hand, but which is a full-fledged desktop computer with a 10-watt Intel Celeron J4125 quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD.

        It ships with Windows 10, and when I reviewed a pre-release version of the NucBox this summer, I focused on Windows performance… because I couldn’t get the demo unit GMK sent me to boot into Ubuntu or any other GNU/Linux distribution.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Arduino Blog » Living Pixels is a light frame that comes alive when you leave

          As smart devices become more ingrained in our everyday lives, it’s perhaps only natural that we start to think of them as living things. What if such gadgets actually did have personalities and emotions that we as humans don’t ever see?

          Zekun Yang’s “Living Pixels” project illustrates this idea in luminescent style, as a picture frame that shows a static pattern of lights when anyone is around. When people aren’t present, it displays a range of emotions on its 16×16 LED matrix, from sleepy, to relaxed, and even angry.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • The new faces in Firefox 84

            With the release of Firefox 84, we are pleased to welcome the developers who’ve contributed their first code change to Firefox, 10 of whom were first-time contributors to the code.

          • And now for … Firefox 84

            As December ushers in the final curtain for this rather eventful year, there is time left for one more Firefox version to be given its wings. Firefox 84 includes some interesting new features including tab order inspection, complex selector support in :not(), the PerformancePaintTiming API, and more!

            This blog post provides merely a set of highlights; for all the details, check out the following…

          • Mozilla Thunderbird 78.6 Improves Calendar’s Dark Mode on Linux, OpenPGP

            Mozilla Thunderbird 78.6 is mostly about further improving the OpenPGP implementation, which is the biggest feature of the Thunderbird 78 series allowing users to send encrypted messages with ease and without the need of a third-party extension.

            As such, this release improves the discovery of keys online via Key Manager on Linux, improves inline PGP parsing, improves the Key Manager to no longer display properties of the wrong key after importing a secret key, improves the verification of clear signed UTF-8 text, and fixes the “Decrypt and Open/Save As” option for encrypted attachments.

          • Firefox 84.0 and 78.6 ESR

            Firefox 84.0 has been released. This version includes an accelerated rendering pipeline for Linux/GNOME/X11 users and improved performance and compatibility with Docker. This is the final release to support Adobe Flash. The release notes have additional details.

          • Mozilla reacts to publication of draft Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act – Open Policy & Advocacy

            The European Commission has just published its landmark Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA). These new draft laws have the potential to transform regulation in the tech sector and we’re happy to see the Commission take on board many of our earlier recommendations for the laws.

          • Our Year in Review: How we’ve kept Firefox working for you in 2020 – The Mozilla Blog

            This year began like any other year, with our best intentions and resolutions to carry out. Then by March, the world changed and everyone’s lives — personally and professionally — turned upside down. Despite that, we kept to our schedule to release a new Firefox every month and we were determined to keep Firefox working for you during challenging times.

            We shifted our focus to work on features aimed at helping people adjust to the new way of life, and we made Firefox faster so that you could get more things done. It’s all part of fulfilling our promise to build a better internet for people. So, as we eagerly look to the end of 2020, we look back at this unprecedented year and present you with our list of top features that made 2020 a little easier.

          • Mozilla Accessibility: VoiceOver Preview for macOS Firefox

            For the better part of two decades, Mozilla has been building browsers that are highly accessible for users with disabilities. While we’ve worked to ensure that people with a wide range of disabilities can participate on the web, much of our engineering effort has been focused on improvements for screen readers, an assistive technology that allows blind users to engage with computers through synthesized speech or a braille display.

            On Windows, Firefox supports the two most popular screen readers, NVDA and JAWS. On Linux, Firefox works with the Orca screen reader. On Android, Firefox users have their pick of Google’s Talkback or Samsung’s Voice Assistant. And on iOS, Firefox users can work with the built-in VoiceOver screen reader.

      • Programming/Development

        • How do I use git tags? – Linux Hint

          Git Tags are specific reference points in the Git history. Git tags are used to capture the specific point in the history that is further used to point to a released version. A tag does not change like a branch. They don’t have a further history of commits after being created. Most people use this feature to mark some release points like (v1.0,…v4.0, and so on). In simple words, Git Tags are used to give some meaningful name to a particular in the git project repository. Suppose two users decide to tag their project code for access later.

          In this article, we will discuss the concept of Git tags and how the git tag command does work. We will cover various kinds of tags, how to create new tags, tag listing, and deletion of a tag, and more in this article. A few commands we have executed on the Ubuntu 20.04 system, which we will elaborate on in the rest of the section.

        • Use of ksort() function in PHP – Linux Hint

          Many built-in functions exist in PHP to sort the array in different ways. ksort() function is one of them. This function is used to sort the array based on its key value, and it is mainly used to sort the associative array in ascending order based on key. How this sort function can be used in a PHP array is explained in this tutorial.

        • Execute Shell Command in PHP using exec() – Linux Hint

          The PHP script is mainly used for developing web applications but it can be used for other purposes also. PHP has some built-in functions to execute system-related commands. exec() is one of them. It is used to execute shell commands or any program from the PHP script. How this function can be used in PHP are shown in this tutorial.

        • Class and Object in PHP – Linux Hint

          Any complex application can be developed in a more manageable and maintainable way by using object-oriented programming (OOP). It is more efficient than procedural programming for developing large and complicated applications. In this programming, all variables and functions are defined as a group by using class and the instance of a class is called an object that is used to access the properties of the class. This tutorial shows the basics of object-oriented programming with the uses of class and object.

        • Use of two-dimensional array in PHP – Linux Hint

          Array variables are used in PHP to store multiple values in a variable, and the values can be accessed using indexes or keys. The index of the array can be numeric or associative. Two types of array can be declared in PHP. One is a one-dimensional array, and another is a multi-dimensional array. When the array contains more than one dimension, then it is called a multi-dimensional array. A two-dimensional array is one type of multi-dimensional array that has two dimensions. Tabular data are stored in a two-dimensional array that contains a fixed number of rows and columns. How a two-dimensional array can be declared and used is shown in this tutorial.

        • Scope in C++ – Linux Hint

          An entity in C++ has a name, which can be declared and/or defined. A declaration is a definition, but a definition is not necessarily a declaration. A definition allocates memory for the named entity, but a declaration may or may not allocate memory for the named entity. A declarative region is the largest part of a program in which the name of an entity (variable) is valid. That region is called a scope or a potential scope. This article explains scoping in C++. Furthermore, basic knowledge in C++ is needed to understand this article.

        • AVIF support for KImageFormats just landed

          Thanks to Daniel Novomeský we will have support for AVIF images in KImageFormats starting in the next release.

          We have (and by we I mean him) also added the avif code to be fuzzed under oss-fuzz so we’ll be helping the upstream libavif/libaom to find potential memory issues in their code.

        • BBC Dr Who HiFive Inventor Coding Kit review – Tynker visual programing and MicroPython

          The BBC Doctor Who HiFive Inventor Coding Kit was announced at the end of November 2020 with the goal of teaching IoT to young kids. But one day, I noticed the postman left a package on the ground right next to my house’s gate for some reason. I had no idea what it could be until I read it was from SiFive on the package. So here I am about to review BBC Doctor Who HiFive Inventor Coding Kit!

        • Perl/Raku

          • The second wave of Covid.observer – Andrew Shitov

            When I started covid.observer about seven months ago, I thought there would be no need to update it after about 3-4 months. In reality, we are approaching to the end of the year, and I will have to fix the graphs which display data per week, as the week numbers will very soon make a loop.

            All this time, more data arrived, and I also made it even more by adding a separate statistics for the regions of Russia, with its 85 subdivisions, which brought the total count of countries and regions up to almost 400.

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 91: Count Numbers | laurent_r

            These are some answers to the Week 91 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

        • Python

          • How to Create a Simple Application in Python and GTK3 – Linux Hint

            This article will explain how to create a graphical “Hello World” application in Linux using Python 3 programming language and GTK3 GUI framework. All code samples in the tutorial are tested with Python 3.8.6 and GTK 3.24.23 on Ubuntu 20.10.

          • Vue.js vs. Django – Linux Hint

            When you are required to choose a library or framework for building web applications, there is no question that JavaScript libraries are preferred over any other library. But that does not mean that other libraries are not good enough.

            Vue.js and Django are both famous JavaScript web frameworks. They are also both open-source tools. Vue.js is famous for building clean, reusable, component-based web applications. Django is a framework that is built on Python and is known for its rapid development and rational code design.

            In this article, we will discover some of the basic and more technical differences between Vue.js and Django. This includes the pros and cons of each framework, the companies that currently use these frameworks, integrated tools, and much more.

          • django-firebird driver status

            django-firebird pre released 2.2a1 version with support for Firebird 3 and Django 2.2.x LTS (That will be supported until 2022 according to the roadmap)

            Thanks to this pull request #111.

            The stable version corresponds with django 2.2 and live into stable/2.2.x branch. The current master branch of this repository is being developed under django 3.0.x.

        • Rust

  • Leftovers

    • “Myopia:” Moroccan Director/Actor Sanaa Akroud’s Latest Screen Gem

      Fatem a hardy woman from a remote Moroccan mountain village is sent on a frivolous mission to the city where she is innocently swept up in a street protest. She finds herself in police custody with no ID and unable to convey what she was doing among the protestors. Six-months pregnant, possibly affected by tear gas from the street riot, she suddenly miscarries while being interrogated as a potential political agitator.

      The next scene seems to offers redemption: we find Fatem comfortably settled in a hospital bed attended by two social workers. But it soon becomes clear they’re actually from an opposition party with a self-interest in her ‘case’. They abandon Fatem after she doesn’t accept their conditional help. By now the media has been alerted, and our reluctant hero, still in the hospital, her bed now bedecked with flowers, is next subjected to an on-camera interview.

    • Civilian Control Means More Than Just Wearing a Suit to Work

      President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of retired US Army general Lloyd Austin to serve as defense secretary has triggered a bit of a kerfuffle. And rightly so, in my estimation. Critics complain that appointing yet another recently retired general with lucrative ties to weapons manufacturers—among other things, Austin sits on the board of Raytheon—makes a mockery of civilian control.

    • Sam Blasucci Holiday Special
    • Hope in a Vial
    • Hillbilly Happy Days: Lil’ Opie Lost in Appalachia

      The critics can be neatly divided into two groups. People who haven’t read the book upon which the movie is based, think Opie presented treacly nonsense, stick-figure characters, improbable events, clichéd dialogue and ridiculous behavior.

      Critics who’ve read the book think Howard bowdlerized it, eliminating all the points the author was trying to make—leaving a tower of mush in his wake.

    • My Pet Goat: Newly Translated Sequels Found

      As for “My Pet Goat.” it’s actually called “The Pet Goat.” ‘The’ not ‘My’. As a translator (I’ve translated Heinrich Heine poetry), I know how important these differences can be. And, truly, anybody who has compared, say, R. J. Hollindale’s translation of Nietzsche’s work with Walter Kauffman’s will know that such differences in the field philology are not mere instances of pedantry: meaning must mean something if it is to make sense to the reader. That said, “The Pet Goat” has a follow-on story, “The Goat Stops the Robber,” a far more nuanced narrative showing the disadvantaged students in the elementary classroom how mistakes can be made in gated communities.

      It should also be noted that “The Pet Goat” is extraordinarily difficult to find on the Internet or elsewhere. Some theorists have theorized that the story was ‘disappeared’ because it contained esoteric symbolism and coded information about the attacks on 9/11. I make no such inference here. In fact, there is a solid and reasonable explanation for the difficulty in finding these simple tales: They are not stand-alone tales, but part of Reading Mastery — Level 2 Storybook 1. There: That mystery is solved. We needn’t lose sleep again over any proposed bleak symbolism. The stories that GW Bush was participating in with the disadvantaged Black students in the classroom are available on the miraculous site Archive.Org. You can view them there and read what the children read. Here it is.

    • Science

      • 5 Mindfulness Techniques for Dealing with Life in Tech

        During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have had to navigate new situations and handle new stresses while working from home and dealing with daily challenges.

      • Written Description: Patents and Science Fiction: Does Science Fiction Promote Innovation?

        Dan Brean and I have just posted a new essay called Enabling Science Fiction. We wrote the essay for the upcoming Association of American Law Schools panel: Science Fiction and the Law, co-sponsored by Biolaw and Intellectual Property. The panel, put together by Nicholson Price, will take place at AALS on January 8th at 11AM EST, and will feature myself (Camilla Hrdy), Dan Brean, Marc Blitz, Deven Desai, and Victoria Sutton.

        The full version of Enabling Science Fiction can be downloaded on SSRN. The essay itself, which will be published in a symposium issue in Michigan Technology Law Review, is under 8000 words. This is like 20% of an average law review article, but below is an even shorter excerpt. We welcome your comments! (chrdy@uakron.edu).

    • Health/Nutrition

      • What if Scientists Already Know How to Prevent the Next Pandemic?

        This past April, as Covid-19 deaths in the United States were climbing toward their terrifying first peak, a journalist with the conservative outlet Newsmax raised her hand during a White House press conference. Struggling to conceal a smirk, the reporter, Emerald Robinson, asked Donald Trump a question that seemed perfectly calibrated to feed the paranoid fever dreams of the far-right.

      • Public Distrust in Science Made COVID Worse. It Will Also Harm Climate Policy.
      • Ron Johnson Brings Fringe Science to the US Senate

        On Tuesday, the US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on “early outpatient treatment” for Covid-19. You’d be forgiven for assuming this panel emphasized mask wearing, or urged social distancing, or embraced standard scientific treatments. After all, these are all recommendations endorsed by respected medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci.

      • Uproar in India: And You Thought It Was Only About Farmers?

        And you thought the new laws were only about farmers? Sure, there are other laws that also exclude prosecution of civil servants for carrying out their legal duties. But this one goes way over the top. The immunity given to all those in respect of anything, acting ‘in good faith,’ whatever they do, is sweeping. Not only can they not be taken to the courts for a crime they may have committed ‘in good faith’ – they’re protected against legal action for crimes they are yet to commit (‘in good faith’ of course).

        Just in case you missed the point – that you have no legal recourse in the courts – Section 15 rubs it in:

      • How to Cure America’s Vaccine Paranoia

        Except that if the United States has led the world in per capita infections and deaths because of deep skepticism from an intransigent population toward even the mildest of safety precautions, do we expect the same people refusing to wear a face mask to take not one, but two doses of a brand-new vaccine? We may have safe and effective vaccines soon enough, but through a cruelly ironic twist of our nation’s perverted political climate, society may simply refuse to save itself.

        Several key segments of the American population have varied reasons for vaccine skepticism. Among Black and brown communities, there is a deep-seated and justifiable mistrust due to historical government-sanctioned medical abuse that is reflected in new polls about the COVID-19 vaccine. On the American left, mistrust of large pharmaceutical companies putting profits above the public health—again justifiable—is driving cynicism about the motives of private corporations that have had piles of taxpayer cash thrown at them.

      • Vaccine Equity: Why Communities of Color & Incarcerated People Should Get Early Access to Shots

        As the first shipments of a federally approved COVID-19 vaccine arrive across the United States, healthcare workers and residents of nursing homes will receive the first shipments, and epidemiologist Camara Phyllis Jones says communities of color with high rates of COVID-19 should also get consideration for early access. “I think that CDC got it right partially in terms of those overexposed because of their work or their living conditions, but they did not include our brothers and sisters in prisons, jails, detention centers, and they did not include those of us who are more exposed and less protected in our work,” say Dr. Jones, who is the former president of the American Public Health Association.

      • As Vaccine Gains Approval, Hospitals Scramble Over Which Workers to Prioritize
      • ‘It Never Had to Be Like This’: 300,000 Dead in US From Covid-19 Under Donald J. Trump

        “It is equal to a 9/11 attack every day for more than 100 days.”

      • As COVID Rages, We Are Experiencing Mass Abandonment Amid Abundance
      • Paul Thomas: An antivax pediatrician de-licensed (for now)

        If there’s one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has made all too painfully undeniable, it’s that there are a lot of healthcare professionals out who are very awful people, with very awful, unscientific beliefs about the pandemic, pushing awful unproven treatments, unscientific treatments, or even just plain quackery (often based on conspiracy theories) to prevent or treat COVID-19, while denying the efficacy of public health interventions such as masking and social distancing, using bad science to deny the severity of the pandemic, and even participating in the ongoing disinformation war against COVID-19 vaccines being waged by antivaxxers. Sadly, more than a few of these disinformation spreaders are physicians, with some of the usual antivax physician suspects jumping on the COVID-19 denial grift train so effortlessly. Sadly, physicians behaving badly is nothing new, as there are antivaccine pediatricians(!) like Dr. Bob Sears and Larry Palevsky, and many have been the times that I’ve bemoaned the seeming inability of state medical boards to act to take away the licenses of quacks like Stanislaw Burzynski (who’s managed to keep practicing in Texas since the late 1970s despite peddling nonsense) and antivaxxers who endanger their patients—or even of just run of the mill utterly incompetent surgeons, which brings me to antivax pediatrician Dr. Paul Thomas.

      • ‘The Actual Scandalous Headline Is Medics Need Two Jobs to Survive’: AOC Defends Paramedic Outed by NY Post

        “It’s not like she does anything shameful for money, like writing for the New York Post.”

      • Big Pharma Strikes Back
      • The Ghosts of Christmas Present: GOP Kick the Most Vulnerable Amid Pandemic

        Vaccine thinking applied to all of American life.

      • ‘What a Failed State Looks Like’: GOP Under Fire for Blocking Necessary Funds as Covid Vaccine Distribution Begins

        “The end of a tragic, crippling pandemic is in sight and Senate Republicans can’t get around to authorizing any money to complete the job.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Tableau 2020.4 Simplifies Data Preparation with Browser-Based Tableau Prep [Ed: Proprietary software being ported to GNU/Linux because Windows is passe]

          Tableau Server on Linux has been an invaluable solution for customers who deploy Linux in their IT environments and don’t want to maintain a Windows instance to host their Tableau deployment.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • IBM joins the Crossplane community [Ed: No, Crossplane is not a community, it's a corporate front. Quit calling corporations "community"; they've also outsourced this to proprietary software monopoly of Microsoft (GitHub)]

                Crossplane is a Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Sandbox project that provides the ability to manage infrastructure and resources, including cloud managed services using Kubernetes CRDs, and has contributions and support from a number of major vendors. These include Microsoft, Alibaba, GitLab, and Red Hat, as well as Upbound, which founded the Crossplane project two years ago.

                One unique feature is the capability to define compositions to represent resources such as databases, and back those compositions with one of more pluggable providers that deploy and manage an instance of the resource.

                This makes it possible to create applications that are portable across cloud providers and still use cloud-managed resources: an application defines the deployment of a resource such as for a PostgreSQL database using a Crossplane composition CRD, and the database is then created and controlled by the configured provider.

                This capability extends the hybrid, multi-cloud portability that already comes from Kubernetes and OpenShift. You can deploy the same application to Amazon AWS and to IBM Cloud, using the Amazon Relational Database Service in the first case, and the Databases for PostgreSQL service in the second. This concept also extends to hybrid-cloud scenarios, using an in-cluster provider to deploy a containerised instance of PostgreSQL.

              • Cut your Cloud Computing Costs by Half with Unikraft

                A novel modular unikernel allows for extreme tailoring of your operating system to your application’s needs. A proof of concept, built on Unikraft, a Xen Project subproject, shows up to 50% efficiency improvements than standard Linux on AWS EC2.

                Cloud computing has revolutionized the way we think about IT infrastructure: Another web server? More database capacity? Resources for your artificial intelligence use case? Just spin-up another instance, and you are good to go. Virtualization and containers have allowed us to deploy services without worrying about physical hardware constraints. As a result, most companies heavily rely on micro-services, which are individual servers highly specialized to perform a specific task.

                The problem is that general-purpose operating systems such as Linux struggle to keep pace with this growing trend towards specialization. The status quo is that most microservices are built on top of a complete Linux kernel and distribution. It is as if you wanted to enable individual air travel with only one passenger seat per aircraft but kept the powerful engines of a jumbo jet. The result of having a proliferation of general-purpose OSes in the cloud are bloated instances, that feast on memory and processing power while uselessly burning electrical energy as well as your infrastructure budget.

        • Security

          • Two Indian banks affected by Windows ransomware attacks

            Two banks in India are among the latest businesses to suffer from Windows ransomware attacks, with Nav Jeevan Co-operative Bank taking a hit from the Egregor ransomware while the IDFC First Bank was attacked by a gang using the Everest ransomware.

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (libxstream-java and xen), Fedora (curl), openSUSE (curl, kernel, mariadb, and openssl-1_1), Oracle (kernel, libexif, thunderbird, and xorg-x11-server), Red Hat (curl, gd, kernel, kernel-rt, linux-firmware, net-snmp, openssl, pacemaker, python-rtslib, samba, targetcli, and xorg-x11-server), Scientific Linux (libexif, thunderbird, and xorg-x11-server), and SUSE (clamav, gdm, and kernel).

          • SolarWinds quietly pulls customer page after news of global attack

            The company at the centre of the global intrusion detailed by security company FireEye on Monday AEDT — SolarWinds — has quietly taken down the page on its website which had a list of its elite customers.

          • Backdoored Orion binary still available on SolarWinds website

            A backdoored binary that was said to have allowed compromises of companies in a number of countries is still present on the site of American vendor SolarWinds, a tech researcher says.

          • Ex-NSA hacker slams SolarWinds over wording of SEC breach filing

            Former NSA hacker Jake Williams has criticised the SEC filing made by security firm SolarWinds following the disclosure that the company’s Orion network management software had been compromised and used to breach numerous companies in many regions of the globe.

          • SolarWinds FTP credentials were leaking on GitHub in November 2019

            More details are emerging about poor security at SolarWinds, following the compromise of its Orion network management software that was then used to effect attacks on many companies in a number of regions around the globe.

          • Why I’m not concerned about the rise in Linux attacks

            Linux powers big business–of that there is no debate. With more and more manufacturers selling Linux preinstalled on desktops and laptops, the writing on the wall is clear: Linux popularity is growing faster than most expected.

            For some, that means the rise of attacks on the platform is inevitable. I’m not concerned. I know, that sounds like crazy talk. After all, we’ve seen a number of attacks reported over the past few years.

            But why am I not worried?

            By design the security of Linux is simply superior to most platforms. Consider this: For most traditional malware, the user must execute an application. This is done by running a binary attachment or clicking on a malicious link.

            On the Windows platform, these malicious payloads can be executed without having to first give the malicious code executable permission or admin rights. On Linux, that’s not the case.

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

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Reviewers call the Amazon Halo wearable the “most invasive we’ve ever tested”

              Let’s get away from how the camera and gyroscope and other dedicated physical sensors are used and focus on the Halo’s use of the microphone. Amazon is also including a tone recognition in the Amazon Halo band, meaning the wearable will differentiate between your voice being in states such as “disgusted,” “irritated,” and “angry.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Bosnian War, in photos ‘Meduza’ marks the 25th anniversary of the end of Europe’s bloodiest interethnic conflict since World War II

        On December 14, 1995, the Dayton Accords were signed in Paris, officially ending the Bosnian War — the bloodiest interethnic conflict in Europe since World War II, which saw about 100,000 people killed between 1992 and 1995. To mark the 25th anniversary of the end of the conflict, Meduza shares photographs from the three-and-a-half years of fighting. 

      • Will Biden’s America Stop Creating Terrorists?
      • The Most Lethal Virus Is Not COVID-19, It Is War: John Pilger

        Around the world and under the cover of COVID-19, the West continues to wage war on innocent people, while Western governments deprive health systems of billions of dollars that could save countless lives. John Pilger explains.

      • The Most Lethal Virus Is Not Covid. It Is War.

        John Pilger describes the invisible weapon of past and current wars, and the threat of nuclear war, under cover of the Covid pandemic. This is propaganda, aided by censorship by omission.

      • An Opportunity to Normalize Relations with Cuba

        Henry Kissinger was certainly not thinking about Cuba when he said, “It’s not a matter of what is true that counts but a matter of what is perceived to be true.” This could well be applied to the supposed threat that Cuba poses to U.S. democracy. For almost 60 years the U.S. has imposed an embargo on Cuba. Yet, rather than achieving its goal to provoke the fall of the Castro brothers’ regime, the embargo only made life miserable for most Cubans, limiting their access not only to common goods but also to some vital medicines.

        On several UN health-related missions to Cuba, I was able to see how eager the Cubans were for a normalization of relations with the US. They understand the difference between the hardships caused to them by U.S. governments and the American people, whom they feel are also interested in improving interactions with the Cubans.

      • Shut It Down: Calls Grow to Close Fort Hood After Probe into Murders & Sexual Assaults at Army Base

        The U.S. Army has fired or suspended 14 officers and soldiers stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, following an investigation into sexual assaults and murders at the base, including the bludgeoning to death of 20-year-old soldier Vanessa Guillén, whose remains were found in July. “These are institutional failures at scale. And by the Army’s own admission, and in this report, it’s clear that this is not unique to Fort Hood,” says Pam Campos-Palma, an Air Force veteran who leads the Vets for the People project at the Working Families Party. “The military is dealing with large-scale corruption and crime, and it should be treated as such.” Meanwhile, veterans groups are demanding the firing of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie after an inspector general report found he tried to smear a woman who filed a complaint of sexual assault at a VA hospital.

      • ‘Bellingcat’ joint investigation implicates FSB in Navalny poisoning

        A group of operatives from a secret sub-unit of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) were responsible for the assassination attempt on opposition figure Alexey Navalny in Tomsk this summer, says a joint investigation from Bellingcat and The Insider, in cooperation with Der Spiegel and CNN. 

      • St. Petersburg historian facing 15 years in prison for murdering graduate student girlfriend

        The prosecution has requested 15 years in a maximum-security prison for former St. Petersburg State University professor Oleg Sokolov, who killed his former graduate student Anastasia Yeshchenko in November 2019. 

      • Will Biden’s America Stop Creating Terrorists?

        We hope Biden will finally renounce hare-brained, militarized policies that destroy societies and ruin people’s lives for the sake of unattainable geopolitical ambitions, and that he will instead invest in humanitarian and economic aid that really helps people to live more peaceful and prosperous lives.

      • It’s Time We Called It What It Is: Fascism

        The epic thrash we’re witnessing is because the forces of capitalism, seeing a terminal economic crash approaching, are attempting to preemptively replace democracy with authoritarianism—fascism—so that they can control the outcome.

      • How Right-Wing Conservatives Have Laid Waste to America for 50 Years

        Thanks to a half century of insidious “trickle-down” philosophy—which astoundingly continues to be preached by many of the super-rich—inequality has stretched our nation nearly to the breaking point.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • District Court Rejects CDT’s Challenge Of Trump’s Ridiculous Executive Order On Section 230

        Back in May, you may recall, Donald Trump issued his silly executive order on Section 230 in response to Twitter adding a couple fact checks to blatant conspiracy theory nonsense that Trump was posting. A week later, the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) sued over the executive order, arguing that it was unconstitutional, and clearly retaliatory against Twitter.

      • USA Today Publishes Yet Another Bogus OpEd Against 230, Completely Misrepresents The Law

        Another day, another op-ed that totally misrepresents Section 230. This one comes from USA Today, and is written by faux-conservative Rachel Bovard, who is doing this on purpose. Sometimes we see op-eds where it’s clear the author is unfamiliar with how Section 230 works. Other times they are deliberately misrepresenting it. Bovard is in the latter category. She works for an organization, with dark money funding, that pretends to be for “transparency” about the tech industry — which is hilarious since that organization’s own funding is kept secret. The only known funding for that organization comes from Oracle, a company that has made it clear it wants to do away with Section 230 (despite the fact that it wants people to use its cloud services). Bovard has had many, many experts in Section 230 explain to her why she’s misrepresenting the law. And she has never once changed her arguments, nor admitted to being wrong. She just keeps repeating the bullshit.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Lightning Strike

        Hundreds of thousands of people in Poland have protested drastic abortion restrictions in recent months. The movement is called the Women’s Strike, with a red lightning bolt as its symbol. The fight started in 2016, when women bearing black umbrellas rallied against attempts to ban abortion. Polish illustrators have shown their support with art. For more images and an interview with the artist behind the bolt, go to marlenaagency.com/women-strike-in-poland. Ola Jasionowska(Marysia Machulska)(Agata Nowicka)(Kasia Bogdańska)(Joanna Grochocka)(Kasia Bogdańska)

      • Unequal Before the Law

        This spring, graphic images of a white police officer digging his knee into George Floyd’s neck served as a catalyst to renew the mass social movement against police violence and racism that has come to be known as Black Lives Matter. After the highly publicized police killings of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Rayshard Brooks, protests continued into the summer and fall. These protests have been large in size and radical in their demands. Just a few years ago, in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Mo., modest calls to reform the police and implement federal consent decrees seemed almost revolutionary to many Americans and were the primary aim of many marching in the streets. Today, calls to defund the police have become the central demand. For so many, there is no fixing today’s system of policing. It needs to be abolished.

      • 13 Million More Girls Expected to Be Forced Into Marriage Due to Covid-19 Lockdowns and Economic Hardship

        “I believe that a whole lot of girls would have gone through early marriage silently because movements were restricted and we can’t reach them,” Sierra Leonean First Lady Fatima Maada Bio said. 

      • Two Studies Show Giving Military Gear To Cops Doesn’t Result In Lower Crime Rates

        One of President Trump’s main goals while in office was to roll back anything his predecessor had put in place. One of his earliest executive orders removed the (minimal) restrictions Barack Obama had placed on the Defense Department’s 1033 program. This program allowed local law enforcement agencies to acquire military gear at almost zero cost — something that had been used and abused for years until the sight of an armored vehicle rolling up on protesters in Ferguson, Missouri proved to be a bit too much for Americans and their Congressional representatives.

      • Police Say Seizing Property Without Trial Helps Keep Crime Down. A New Study Shows They’re Wrong.

        In 2015, New Mexico lawmakers unanimously passed a bill to all but end civil asset forfeiture, the process that lets police keep cash or property they seize, even if they never charge the owner with a crime, so long as they suspect that it’s linked to criminal activity. High-profile lawsuits and press attention had prompted some states to reexamine their forfeiture laws.

        Law enforcement officials howled in outrage. In New Mexico, sheriffs and prosecutors implored the governor to veto the legislation. Eliminating civil forfeiture, they argued, would hand the bad guys a win and put public safety at risk. “You’ll get less law enforcement,” predicted the chair of the state sheriffs’ association, Ken Christesen, who noted that police departments use forfeitures to help fund their budgets. (The bill still allowed forfeiture, but only through criminal court, which imposes a much more stringent burden of proof on prosecutors than its civil counterpart.)

      • Have the Machines Already Taken Over?

        The same study points out that, for each person on Earth, a quantity of “anthropogenic mass” greater than their body weight is produced each week. That’s right, your weight in human-made crap is produced EVERY WEEK. Just for you.

        Have we built enough STUFF yet? Do we have enough things? We surround ourselves in a sterile, artificial, soulless world of our own making, becoming ever more dependent on our machines and edifices as we destroy the very world around us. We are flies trapped in amber, struggling fruitlessly to free ourselves as the trap solidifies. We will make amazing fossils.

      • International Law vs. Eternal Recurrence

        Chances are good that the environment will get more attention now that the egocentric and nearsighted U.S. de-regulators (aka the Trump administrators) are bering kicked out of office. The Paris Climate Agreement signed by 195 countries is already in place, and the incoming Biden administration has pledged that the U.S. will rejoin the pact.

        Things look much dimmer for the future of international law.  The events that spurred on the present manifestations of such law were the wars and genocides of the first half of the 20th century, particularly the Nazi Holocaust, which was directed primarily against Europe’s Jews. That catastrophic event ended in 1945. What followed was a heightened concern for human rights reflected by treaty prohibitions on, among other things, crimes against humanity.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • The Cost Of Broadband Is Too Damned High

        How much do consumers pay for internet service in the United States? The question might seem relatively simple, but the answer has stymied the federal government for years—because no agency collects this data. Throughout 2020, my organization, New America’s Open Technology Institute, published the Cost of Connectivity series to crack open the black box of internet pricing. The collective takeaway of these studies is clear: the cost of internet service is alarmingly high, and there is substantial evidence of an affordability crisis in the United States.

      • Consumer Groups Say The FCC Just Blew $9 Billion To Deliver Broadband To Already Served Rich People

        The FCC last week held a reverse auction to dole out $9 billion to, purportedly, improve patchy U.S. broadband. But consumer groups say the auction did nothing of the sort, instead delivering $9 billion to a dodgy roster of companies with existing histories of fraud that will be using much of the funds to expand broadband to affluent areas where broadband is often already available.

    • Monopolies

      • Google is Getting Left Behind Due to Horrible UI/UX

        Focus on the experience. Focus on simplicity. And use navigation language that’s similar across your various properties, so that I’ll know what to do whether I’m managing my Apps account, or my domains, or my Analytics.

        You guys are awesome at so many things. Make the commitment to fix how we interact with them.

      • Patents

        • Pemetrexed – NL – Court of Appeal Inverts District Court

          Yesterday, the Dutch prime minister announced the Netherlands will be ‘locked down’ until mid-January. At the same time the author of this blog, part of a six member audience due to COVID restrictions, paid his last visit to the movies for many weeks to come. On the screen Tenet, a mishmash of Sci-Fi wannabe and James Bond. Its core ingredient: inversion. In between yawns, this concept reminded the author of the Dutch Court of Appeal’s inversion of the District Court’s decision in the pemetrexed case.

          No, not really. The movie didn’t drop to the level that the mind wandered off to patent litigation. That would have been equivalent to a one star review (actually, literally, it’s three out of five). But, in retrospect and applying Tenet’s unintelligible philosophy, the Court of Appeal (‘CoA’) inverted the District Court’s almost – from a European-wide perspective – one-off pemetrexed decision.

        • Some pending en banc petitions before the Federal Circuit

          In re Apple (level deference given on mandamus review of discretionary transfer decisions).

        • Injury-in-Fact and Standing to Appeal from the AIA-Trial Decisions

          New petition for writ of certiorari in an interesting Hatch-Waxman and the question of Article III standing in appeals of AIA-Trial Decisions.

        • FOSS Patents: Nokia’s attempt to evade referral of antitrust questions to top EU court faces high hurdles: questionable appealability, deferential standard of review

          Nokia dreads Dusseldorf. That wasn’t always so. For many years, Nokia filed cases in that city even though its disputes typically got settled on the basis of decisions that came down faster in Mannheim and Munich. But last month’s order to refer to the Court of Justice of the EU multiple legal questions related to standard-essential patent (SEP) enforcement has left Nokia, well, disgruntled.

          Just a few days before trial, Nokia withdrew two cases against Daimler and one against Lenovo (only to refile in Munich).

          But Nokia can’t derail the CJEU referral by means of withdrawing the case in which the referral happened. Once a plaintiff has formally (re)stated the prayers for relief at trial time in Germany, any withdrawal would require the defendant’s consent. Daimler, however, now has a strong interest in getting the question of component-level licensing clarified. Nokia could solve the problem by getting leverage over Daimler in some other venue (coercing Daimler into a settlement that would result in a stipulated dismissal of the case that would otherwise be decided by the CJEU), but on Thursday Nokia is going to be dealt a serious blow in Munich.

          Last Thursday, Nokia filed a 29-page “Sofortige Beschwerde” (the closest thing in Germany to what would be called an interlocutory appeal in the U.S.). Initially, the court that made the decision complained of (here, the Dusseldorf Regional Court) decides whether to grant relief or whether to refer it to the appeals court.

        • Software Patents

          • $3,500 for Trust & Verify Data Protection Prior Art

            Unified Patents has a PATROLL contest, with a $3,500 cash prize, seeking prior art on all of the limitations of dependent Claim 10, and including all of the limitations of independent Claim 4, of U.S. Patent 7,162,735. The patent is owned by Trust & Verify Data Protection, LLC, an NPE. The ’735 patent generally relates to an arrangement with a protected code that comprises incomplete executable code and a call instruction to a security code such that when the security code is executed, it replaces the call instruction such that the executable code of the protected code is complete.

          • $3,000 for Texas Secure Authentication

            On December 15, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $3,00 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least Claim 1, 6 and 7 of U.S. Patent 7,873,682. This patent is owed by Texas Secure Authentication, LLC, an NPE. The ’682 patent generally relates to determining identification information through a plurality of container registers using multi-factor authentication methods in online banking and internet services. It is being asserted against FCT Bancshares, Inc. and its subsidiary, First National Bank of Central Texas, in the Western District of Texas. The complaint acknowledges that the ’682 patent expired on February 25, 2019.

      • Trademarks

        • Owner of ‘Derby Pie’ Trademark Sues Newspaper For Using The Term, Publishing Recipe

          Long-time Techdirt readers may recall that the “Derby Pie”, a notable dessert sold in Kentucky chiefly around the time of The Kentucky Derby, has been the previous subject of trademark issues. Way back in 2013, the EFF posted a special recipe for its “mean-spirited censorship pie” after Kern’s Kitchen, headed by Alan Rupp, went on a threat blitz against a bunch of blogs for posting their own recipes for “derby pie”. Rupp has a trademark on the term, see, and seems to think that trademark means that he is in universal control of anyone using it for their own recipes, regardless of whether those recipe posts cause any customer confusion, are used in actual commerce, or generally violate the other aspects of trademark protection statutes. He’s wrong about that, of course, but his threats are often met with shivering compliance.

      • Copyrights

        • Spreading Joy and Giving Gratitude: A Toast to This Year’s Silver Linings

          We’re grateful for every image, video, song, book, and article that millions of you continue to share using a CC license or public domain mark. 2 billion and counting! From 3D models of spacecraft to vital public health information. During this festive season especially, we’re grateful for the countless photographs of pets in holiday-themed outfits, like these pictures of our favorite pugs on Flickr! 

        • Conservancy Files “Long Comments” for Its Three DMCA Exemptions

          Software Freedom Conservancy filed its long-form comments yesterday in support of three DMCA exemption requests in the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office Triennial Rulemaking process. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides this process to grant temporary exemptions to allow circumvention of technological protection measures (i.e., DRM) that restrict access to copyrighted material.

          The three exemptions, which Conservancy has shepherded through the 2021 process since September 2020, seek essential rights for those who wish to exercise their software freedom. There were many great exemption requests filed this round by many different organizations.


          Conservancy plans various blog posts this month that explain the DMCA exemption process, where we are currently in that process this year, and gives detailed non-legal explanations of our Long Comments.

          Conservancy’s annual fundraiser is currently underway with a generous match donations from individuals who care deeply about software freedom and Conservancy’s work. You can support our efforts on these DMCA exemptions and our other work by becoming a Supporter now.

          Please note: while the Long Comment templates were indeed provided by the Copyright Office in Microsoft Word format and say so at the top of each document, we and our attorneys imported them into LibreOffice for preparation and filing.

[Meme] A Message of Solidarity With EPO Staff

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s nearly midnight now…

'Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress... ...no matter how slow' ~ Plato/Belarusian protester
Belarusian protester

Summary: Techrights thanks brave examiners who went on strike today

'Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.'~ John Wayne

“It requires more courage to suffer than to die.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Support Julian Paul Assange

Posted in Cablegate, Deception at 5:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Julian Assange hearing

Summary: Journalism that exposes the powerful is still under attack; mainstream media (or just “media” as most people call the corporate and oligarchs-controlled media) wants us to think all is well, however, and that the end of the Donald Trump regime means journalism “won”

IT is too easy to forget that down in London (well, south of where I am) there’s a courageous journalist behind bars. You see, ‘civilised’ Britain decided that the same person whom it championed and celebrated one decade ago (Cablegate around December 2010) is now a villain and and a dangerous person looking to rape your daughter, prop up the extreme right, and work for Vladimir Putin.

“If you value the work we do here in Techrights (we rely a great deal on leaked information), you won’t be easily fooled by what media keeps saying about Wikileaks.”If you seriously believe that Assange is indeed a rapist, then you might as well just want to altogether skip this article. Because your critical assessment of the press is evidently too weak. The truth of the matter is, even the supposed victims described themselves as “choked” [sic] (means shocked) to see what Swedish police had done ‘in their name’. The police coordinated with the FBI and later claimed that it had lost the correspondence with the FBI. The contradicting material/evidence was preserved however. It’s all in SMS trail, photography and so on; one supposed accuser is linked to the CIA and publicly boasted about weaponisation of false sex-related accusations (the blog post was unsurprisingly removed by her afterwards).

Assange on warThe second paragraph (above) can be spun out of context to call me all sorts of things, as was done when I spoke about Jacob Appelbaum, another prominent member of Wikileaks. Someone from Google is still trying to spin those sorts of things, having already asserted all sorts of things about me (innuendo is very cheap considering how effective it can be). But put back into context, everything here is factual and provable (with direct, explicit evidence).

Smearing of messengers isn’t a new strategy; it’s centuries if not millennia old. Maybe it’s as old as human languages. Some might say that the Jesus Christ story is relevant as well, but let’s not get into religion and biblical stuff. Moreover, by no means do we compare Wikileaks staff to anything divine; I know some of them personally and I have much in common with some of them. I spoke to Mr. Assange several times over the years and he’s left/Green-leaning, contrary to what the media likes to tell us. Dig into his past in Australia and it’ll become apparent.

With COVID-19 and the lock-downs (London is being ‘upgraded’ to the highest alertness level tomorrow, known as “Tier Three”) physical congregations or protests have already become very difficult. Surveillance is increasing (it’s being justified as “health and safety”). The media is trying to pretend that a certain someone in Belmarsh prison doesn’t count or that he’s worthy of death. This is the sort of ‘pipeline’ that starts with character assassination and proceeds to actual assassination (once the ‘risk’ of public sympathy is reduced).

Over the years we’ve used material from Wikileaks extensively; we showed some stuff about the history of the EPO, the father of António Campinos, and we exposed corruption connected to Bill Gates and Microsoft. Earlier this year we looked into and reported on IBM-related material, which was declassified years ago.

Society benefited a great deal from Wikileaks; 4 years of Donald Trump aren’t the fault of Wikileaks. That leaked material would likely end up somewhere else if Wikileaks did not exist and there’s no strong/compelling evidence to show that Podesta’s E-mails and DNC leaks were the main reason Hillary Clinton lost the election. When both corporate parties put forth weak candidates (indebted to the rich) the outcome of any election isn’t meant to benefit the general public.

Mr. Assange turns 50 this coming summer. Some say he might not even make it that far. If you value the work we do here in Techrights (we rely a great deal on leaked information), you won’t be easily fooled by what media keeps saying about Wikileaks.

On Our Publication Strategy and Platform

Posted in Site News at 5:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We’re constantly reassessing the way we cover topics

Thoughtful man

Summary: We’ve made adaptations — many of them this year alone — in order to better cover more topics and moreover the right topics (with longstanding importance)

THE Web is rotting away. Web sites become programs, monopolies hoard most of the traffic, DRM is being interjected into packets (for the sole purpose of copyright monopolies, encryption misused), and various sites are taken down, sometimes even Free software projects (many examples lately in GitHub).

“COVID-19 has shown us that there’s more to this planet than money-making and we need to collaborate/cooperate for long-term sustainability.”It’s rather frustrating to see that even among GNU/Linux news sites (we mentioned Linux.com earlier today) there’s a weakness; LXer was down for nearly two days, Linux Today has its RSS feeds days behind (and it’s barely active regardless), IBM compels Red Hat to just turn GNU/Linux into a ‘cash cow’ (they don’t get what community is), and the number of Mozilla volunteers (the real community) has dropped to about half a dozen based on the latest Firefox report.

There are several aspects here, not to be mistakenly conflated. There’s Free software (or GNU/Linux), there’s journalism, and there’s the Web. All of them perish in different ways and for different reasons.

Building focusOver the past 6.5 years we’ve dedicated a lot of effort to exposing EPO corruption; we’re fortunate to have acquired the trust of those with access to ‘crown jewels’ and I’ve devoted entire nights to putting information out there (at great cost to my physical health).

Techrights as a site had a generally good year; we’ve evolved and mostly adapted to new issues. We’re sort of ahead of the times when it comes to covering IBM affairs; a week ago many more people realised we had been correct all along. Belated criticism isn’t the same as putting their feet to the fire, to use the metaphor (companies like IBM spent much time and money pretending metaphors are so offensive that we must all change our code to avoid ‘insulting’ groups — even groups that never complained about such metaphors in the first place).

FocusIn IRC there’s over 70 of us (in the #techrights channel) and we try to focus on the more pressing issues, which is why we adopted alternatives to the World Wide Web this year. It’s becoming a censorship and social control medium; we needed something decentralised. The addition of videos this week was partly motivated by the observations that some things are easier to discuss and demonstrate with something on the screen. It takes a lot longer to do it in text only. So far I’ve not scripted any of these videos and I did them all in one take — the first time. That might change in the future, knowing that preparation can improve delivery and post-recording edits (which we never do) lead to concision.

Suffice to say, the site is not run only by yours truly; many people are involved, at different levels of capacity and roles. Some people code, some people set up Raspberry Pis to serve the site from multiple locations around the world, some contribute guest articles, and we’ve nourished a reasonably healthy community — a real community that fosters fierce debates (disagreements are fine; no progress can be made without some civil feuds).

In terms of what we’re about to publish, expect more news analysis and criticism. There’s too much junk ‘journalism’ (in effect Public Relations) out there, sometimes intentionally misleading the public. That’s the business model of those who are left in the “business”. Thankfully for us, we don’t depend on “business”; we don’t rely on some revenue stream, so financial strings don’t exist. We’re 100% motivated by ideology and technical passion. Seeing software patents in Europe, for instance, bothers us deeply not because some “sponsors” ask us to “lobby”; we just know that such patents harm all software developers, and not just those who code the Free/libre way. Programmers everywhere are more interested in technical excellence than in money. Those who are more into the latter (greed) typically get recruited by technology giants which leverage technical domination for nefarious means. Typically, the sizes of their mortgages are inversely proportional to their moral abyss. COVID-19 has shown us that there’s more to this planet than money-making and we need to collaborate/cooperate for long-term sustainability.

Video: What Has the Linux Foundation Done to Linux.com?

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 2:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Linux.com used to be a fine Web site, but now it is ‘sold’ (or sold out). Destroyed almost. Today they have “LF Platinum Member Content” (see screenshots below; as HTML and RSS); so what they basically say is, pay us (the Linux Foundation) and in exchange we’ll link to your “content”. Buying links is what that is (IBM in this particular case). This video, unscripted and done in a single take as usual, mentions Swapnil Bhartiya, who stepped in two months after all staff got fired; for over a year he was posting pure nonsense and Microsoft spam in that site, sometimes worse than mindless press releases (like “Cut your Cloud Computing Costs by Half with Unikraft,” the fluff posted today and shown above), driving away what was left of regular readers/subscribers.

Linux Foundation sells links to sponsors
Linux Foundation sells links to sponsors

Linux Foundation sells links to
This is what happens when Linux.com becomes a site not about Linux but a for-profit venture of the Linux Foundation

Links 15/12/2020: Tails 4.14 and Git 2.30.0 RC0

Posted in News Roundup at 10:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Moving To Linux From Windows: Is Linux Hard To Use?

        The first time I heard about Linux was in 2017, when I was getting started with my college degree. I proceeded with my Computer Science major and stumbled upon Linux as a subject. I’d often hear my senior friends terming Linux as a “hard to learn subject” and all I was taught by the lecturers is learn the syllabus and spill it out on the examination sheet.

        As the saying goes by, “Not everything you hear is always true,” I had some enthusiasm for the subject, and I’m glad I dug in and explored this amazing gem of software.

    • Server

      • 9 things to do in your first 10 minutes on a Linux server

        When I test software on Linux (a regular part of my job), I need to use multiple servers with various architectures running Linux. I provision the machines, install the required software packages, run my tests, gather the results, and return the machine to the pool so that others can use it for their tests.

        Since I do this so often (even multiple times a day), my first 10 minutes on a Linux server have become a daily ritual. When I first log into a Linux server, I look for certain things using commands to gather the information I need. I’ll go through my process in this article, but please note that, in most cases, I’ll just give the command name, so you will need to identify the specific flags for those commands to get the information that you need. Reading man pages for the commands is a good starting point.

    • Videos/Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.10 LTS release – Main changes, Arm, MIPS and RISC-V architectures

        The previous Linux 5.9 release brought us support for zstd compression for the kernel and initramfs, initial support for AMD Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards and the CPU in Rocket Lake processor, initial support for Intel Emmitsburg architecture, and more.

      • “core/entry” Is Exciting For Linux 5.11 With Two Big Changes – Phoronix

        While a “core/entry” pull request may not seem that exciting, this time around for the Linux 5.11 kernel there are two prominent additions.

        The two big additions with the core/entry pull request submitted on Monday for Linux 5.11 are:

        - TIF_NOTIFY_SIGNAL that replaces the existing and inefficient signal delivery mode of task work. What makes this notable is delivering a huge performance boost to IO_uring, the modern I/O interface for the Linux kernel that has been seeing much praise and adoption. The speed-up with IO_uring on Linux 5.11 is quite commendable along with the other improvements led by Jens Axboe.

      • Linux 5.11 Hardware Monitoring Brings New Additions From AMD Zen 3 To Corsair PSUs – Phoronix

        HWMON maintainer Guenter Roeck has sent in all of the hardware monitoring changes destined for the Linux 5.11 kernel.

        There are several prominent additions to the hardware monitoring subsystem for Linux 5.11 including:

        - The AMD SB-TSI sensor driver has been mainlined as a sideband temperature sensor interface for AMD EPYC server platforms. AMD SB-TSI should ultimately prove useful for cases like OpenBMC deployments.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMDVLK 2020.Q4.6 Released With New Vulkan Extensions, Performance Tuning – Phoronix

          AMD has released the newest open-source snapshot of their official AMD Vulkan “AMDVLK” driver for Linux systems.

          AMDVLK 2020.Q4.6 is the new release out today. This open-source Vulkan driver rebuilds against the Vulkan 1.2.162 API, offers performance tuning for Shadow of the Tomb Raider on Navi 21, and has two new extensions. The new extensions are VK_EXT_shader_terminate_invocation and VK_KHR_fragment_shading_rate.

        • RADV Vulkan Driver Enables Fragment Shading Rate Support – Limited To GFX10.3 (RDNA 2) – Phoronix

          The latest Vulkan extension now supported by Mesa’s Radeon Vulkan driver “RADV” is support for the new VK_KHR_fragment_shading_rate.

          VK_KHR_fragment_shading_rate is an interesting extension and sure to be of interest for game developers. The extension allows changing the rate dynamically at which fragments are shaded. The fragment shading rate can be tuned on a per-draw, per-primitive, or per-region basis. This extension can help in allowing games to provide higher levels of detail in a scene compared to other less important areas of the screen.

        • NVIDIA release big new Linux driver with 460.27.04, LunarG Vulkan SDK Ray Tracing ready

          Today along with upgrading Quake II RTX to support cross-vendor Ray Tracing, NVIDIA had another surprise with the release of the new 460.27.04 Beta driver with quite a number of changes. On top of that, there’s also a big new release of the LunarG Vulkan SDK for Ray Tracing.

        • NVIDIA 460.27.04 Linux Beta Driver Has Ray-Tracing, Many Other Changes

          The NVIDIA 460.27.04 Linux beta driver out this morning has full support for the Khronos-ratified ray-tracing extensions, support for the NVIDIA RTX A6000 series GPUs, support for Reverse PRIME Bypass as a new optimization for multi-GPU systems, other new Vulkan extensions, the OpenGL/Vulkan shader disk cache default size has been increased, initial support for S0ix-based suspend-to-idle, other optimizations, and a number of different fixes.

        • Vulkan SDK, Tooling, Samples & Developer Guide Updated For Ray-Tracing – Phoronix

          Vulkan 1.2.162 was released at the end of November with the ratified Vulkan ray-tracing extension for multi-vendor use. The Khronos Group today is announcing the updated Vulkan SDK, tooling, code samples, and developer guide today with ray-tracing coverage included.

          The Vulkan SDK has now been updated against Vulkan 1.2.162 with the ray-tracing extension supported and likewise the Vulkan Guide and other assets updated as well to cover the new VK_KHR_acceleration_structure, VK_KHR_ray_tracing_pipeline, VK_KHR_ray_query, VK_KHR_pipeline_library, and VK_KHR_deferred_host_operations extensions.

    • Applications

      • OBS Studio 26.1

        OBS Studio is software designed for capturing, compositing, encoding, recording, and streaming video content, efficiently. It is the re-write of the widely used Open Broadcaster Software, to allow even more features and multi-platform support. OBS Studio supports multiple sources, including media files, games, web pages, application windows, webcams, your desktop, microphone and more.

      • PeaZip 7.6.0

        PeaZip is an open source file and archive manager. It’s freeware and free of charge for any use. PeaZip can extract most of archive formats both from Windows and Unix worlds, ranging from mainstream 7Z, RAR, TAR and ZIP to experimental ones like PAQ/LPAQ family, currently the most powerful compressor available.

        Open and extract 180+ archive formats: 001, 7Z, ACE(*), ARC, ARJ, BZ2, CAB, DMG, GZ, ISO, LHA, PAQ, PEA, RAR, TAR, UDF, WIM, XZ, ZIP ZIPX – view full list of supported archive file formats for archiving and for extraction.

        PeaZip provides fast, high compression ratio multi-format archiving – view file compression and decompression benchmarks for more information.

      • The Best File Transfer Tools on Linux

        Are you interested in moving files between devices? It doesn’t matter which platforms are involved. Ubuntu, Windows, macOS, iOS, or Android – among the several benefits of using Linux is the array of options that exist for different computer operations including wireless file transfer.

        In today’s article, we highlight more than a handful of the best ways for wirelessly transferring files between platforms. The mentioned apps don’t all share the same transfer protocols, user interface, permissions, or features so make sure that you review them yourself before choosing.

      • Try the e3 Linux text editor

        What if you could have a tiny text editor with different modes to emulate your choice of Emacs, Vi, Pico, NEdit, and even WordStar? Amazingly, such an editor already exists, and it’s called e3. It has no library dependencies, and its binary is less than 20KB.

      • Cross-Platform Screenshot Tool Ksnip Sees New Major Release

        Ksnip, a feature-packed cross-platform screenshot tool, has been updated to version 1.8.0, receiving new image annotation / manipulation tools, the ability to pin screenshots in a frameless window, and more.

        Ksnip is a free and open source Qt5 screenshot tool that runs on Linux (X11, Plasma Wayland, GNOME Wayland and with this release, xdg-desktop-portal Wayland), Windows and macOS.

        The tool allows taking a rectangular area, full-screen, current screen and active window screenshots, with support for annotations. It comes with tools such as line, rectangle, elipse, arrow, pen, marker (rectangle, ellipse, pen), text, text with arrow, auto numbers, and stickers, as well as the ability to scale or crop the screenshot after it has been taken. Optionally, the screenshots can then be uploaded to Imgur or a different image upload website with the help of the Ksnip built-in script uploader support.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Openstack RDO && KVM Hypervisor: Debian Testing UEFI setup on bare via manual partitioning

        Even though snaps show was created in VENV, everything works the same way on bare metal.

        After you created the new partition of desired size installer brings you to screen which allows to redefine functionality of partition and assign name to folder supposed to be mounted on this partition . In case name of folder is not on the list you can create new folder’s name manually , for instance “/boot/efi” is not on the list and might be created by hands and accepted by installer as desired name of folder to mount 512 MB EFI partition , this type of partition is on the list of features for partitions.

      • How to Install Python on Linux? – Fossbytes

        From Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning to Web Development, Python is used almost everywhere and is currently one of the world’s most popular programming languages.

        Now that everyone wants to learn how to code, most people start their coding journey learning Python because of its less overwhelming syntax than other programming languages. Soon Python will clinch the spot of Java to become number one in the most popular programming languages list. Let’s install Python on Linux in this article.

        If you’re a Python developer/learner who stumbled upon Linux, wondering how to install Python, here’s how you can do it effortlessly. Most of the Linux distributions ship with Python preinstalled and check the version of Python and if it’s installed, type the following command in the terminal.

      • How To Install Node.js On Linux?

        For the past couple of years, JavaScript runtime Node.js has become one of the best things to learn if one aims to become a full-stack developer. For starters, Node.js is a JavaScript runtime built on Chrome’s V8 engine, which is written in C++.

      • How to Use Perf Performance Analysis Tool on Ubuntu 20.04

        Perf is a simple but powerful performance monitoring tool for Linux based operating systems. It is used to trace or count both hardware and software events. It provides a number of subcommands and capable of statistical profiling of the entire system. It helps you to identified and solve performance related issues.

      • How to install Spotify on Manjaro linux – Linux Shout

        Spotify client is the streaming player that fetches and plays various songs from the cloud servers of Spotify. It needs an internet connection to run and also offers a web player that works on the browser to play songs. However, if you want to install its client application on Manajro Linux then here is the tutorial.

      • How to update your Linux repositories

        When it comes to installing applications and programs on Linux there are several ways to do it. More advanced users can choose to download the source code

        from the developer’s website and compile it directly on their computer. Something very slow and impractical actually.

        More inexperienced users tend to take the easy way: find and download the binary (e.g. deb) and install it, from the package manager, by double clicking, much like in Windows. Intermediate users who are looking for convenience and ease, make use of the Linux repositories to download, install and update their programs.

      • 6 container concepts you need to understand | Opensource.com

        Containerization has radically changed the IT landscape because of the significant value and wide array of benefits it brings to business. Nearly any recent business innovation has containerization as a contributing factor, if not the central element.

        In modern application architectures, the ability to deliver changes quickly to the production environment gives you an edge over your competitors. Containers deliver speed by using a microservices architecture that helps development teams create functionality, fail small, and recover faster. Containerization also enables applications to start faster and automatically scale cloud resources on demand. Furthermore, DevOps maximizes containerization’s benefits by enabling the flexibility, portability, and efficiency required to go to market early.

        While speed, agility, and flexibility are the main promises of containerization using DevOps, security is a critical factor. This led to the rise of DevSecOps, which incorporates security into application development from the start and throughout the lifecycle of a containerized application. By default, containerization massively improves security because it isolates the application from the host and other containerized applications.

      • My 8 favorite practical Linux commands | Enable Sysadmin

        A list of some of my favorite basic Linux commands that make day-to-day sysadmin tasks easier and more efficient.

      • 9 Linux directories you must back up and one you shouldn’t | Enable Sysadmin

        One of the first questions new sysadmins ask is, “What should I back up?” Here’s the answer.

      • The Calamares Series – everything you need to know about Calamares
      • Updating Docker Containers With Zero or Minimum Downtime

        A step by step methodology that can be very helpful in your day to day DevOps activities without sacrificing invaluable uptime.

      • How to Install Discord on Ubuntu 20.10 or Debian-Based

        If you are gamer then for sure you know the what is discord for those who don’t know it is a popular messaging platform where user get advance feature which is not available on another platform.

        There are a couple of ways to install Discord on your Linux System are as follows

        Install Discord using snap or flatpak.

        Installing Discord using deb package.

        Installing Discord from the tar.gz file.

        Now we will show you all the way to install discord on Ubuntu 20.10 and Debian-based.

      • How HTTP Evolved Throughout The Years?

        If you are a person who takes an interest in computer science topics then you might be aware of the importance of this four-character word. Every time you see this word at the beginning of the URL of any kind of website but have you ever tried to know how it works and how it has evolved throughout the years…? Have you ever tried to get more knowledge about HTTP?

        Today in this blog we will discuss a few concepts about HTTP and how it plays an important role between the client and the server in the world of the web.

      • writing random data via geli
      • How to Fix “W: Some index files failed to download.” Error In Ubuntu

        Sometimes you might encounter the error “W: Some index files failed to download.” on Ubuntu when updating the system.

      • How to install Doom2 on ArcoLinux | Arcolinux.com

        It was superfun playing this game on a non-gaming computer. No graphical card just the onboard Intel HD Graphics 630 and still got to a 140 fps. That was more then adequate.

      • How to Install Kubernetes on Ubuntu 20.04

        Containers are a good choice to bundle and run our own applications. When the number of containers increases rapidly and need to manage them in a convenient way. That’s the reason why Kubernetes comes. Kubernetes (K8s) is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, managing containerized applications and services.

        Kubernetes cluster contains master and worker nodes. The master node control and manages a group of worker nodes. You can have multiple master nodes for high availability clusters.

      • How to Set Up High Availability for Namenode – Part 5

        Hadoop has two core components which are HDFS and YARN. HDFS is for storing the Data, YARN is for processing the Data. HDFS is Hadoop Distributed File System, it has Namenode as Master Service and Datanode as Slave Service.

        Namenode is the critical component of Hadoop which is storing the metadata of data stored in HDFS. If the Namenode goes down, the entire cluster will not be accessible, it is the single point of failure (SPOF). So, the production environment will be having Namenode High Availability to avoid the production outage if one Namenode goes down because of various reasons like machine crash, planned maintenance activity, etc.

      • Updating Docker Containers with zero to minimum downtime

        Suppose you are running a service in a container and there is a new version of the service available through their docker image. In such a case you would like to update the Docker container.

        Updating a docker container is not an issue but updating docker container without downtime is challenging.

        Confused? Let me show you both ways one by one.

      • Let’s Encrypt and self hosting at home

        have a NextCloud instance running at home and I need to make sure that the SSL certificate on it is always valid. Since I am using Lets Encrypt for the SSL certificate generation, I have had to run a few extra steps because the LE SSL generation requires the site to be reachable on port 80 and 443.

        The challenge I have is that since my NextCloud instance is on a home system and I have a bunch of VMs running providing different services, I cannot use the VirtualHost option of Apache to make this happen on one IP.

        I am fortunate that I have my own domain and have full control of the system that it is running on including DNS, I have to do the LE SSL certificate generation be run in a two step process.

      • Installing Red Hat’s migration toolkit for applications on your laptop – Red Hat Developer

        If you are a developer considering modernizing your Java applications by containerizing or migrating them to a more modern application server, then you are likely aware of Red Hat’s migration toolkit for applications.

      • How To Install Android Studio on Linux Mint 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Android Studio on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Android Studio is the official Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Android app development, based on IntelliJ IDEA. On top of IntelliJ’s powerful code editor and developer tools, Android Studio offers even more features that enhance your productivity when building Android apps.

        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 Android Studio on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • How to Set all directories to 755 And all files to 644

        Security always comes first. It is recommended to keep your files secure on your systems. No one liked that anyone misused their hard work due to silly mistakes. Many of fresher set file permissions to 777 on production servers to avoid any permission issue. But they are doing big mistakes by setting world writable permissions. Use previous tutorial to search files with 777 permission on Linux system.

        It is always advised to keep the file and directory permissions to minimal. May of the web application framework suggest to keep permissions for all directories to 755, and all files to 644. So this tutorial will help you to do this.

      • 3 Ways to Install Telegram Messenger on Debian 11 bullseye

        This tutorial shows 3 ways to install the Telegram messaging app on Debian 11. Telegram is a free, open-source messaging app with a focus on privacy, security and speed. It’s available on Linux, Mac, Window, Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

      • How to install Snap on Kali Linux | FOSS Linux

        Previously, we looked at some of the available distribution independent package formats used to install apps on Linux systems. They include Snap, FlatPak, and AppImage. Our post on ‘Snap vs. Flatpak vs. AppImage: Know The Differences, Which is Better’ will give you a detailed guide and the difference between the three. In this post, we will look at how you can install the Snap package format on Kali Linux.

        Kali Linux is a Debian-based Linux distribution developed for performing Penetration Testing and Digital Forensics. If you are a beginner getting into the field of Cybersecurity, you can also check our post on ‘The 10 Best Programming Languages for Hacking.’ The Snap (also called Snappy) packaging and deployment system are not available on Kali Linux by default. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t install it.

    • Games

      • Incredible puzzle game Baba is You gains a level editor and easy sharing | GamingOnLinux

        As one of my absolute favourite games from 2019, Baba is You really is an exceptional puzzle game that really makes you think outside the box and break some rules.

        The thing about Baba is that you’re pushing around and combining logic blocks, to change the rules of each level to be able to actually solve it. The idea is just brilliant, it works well and it’s quite challenging too. Have you never seen it?

      • Horror themed adventure Almost My Floor: Prologue adds a Linux version | GamingOnLinux

        Almost My Floor: Prologue is the short demo of a much bigger upcoming point and click adventure, with a horror theme along with a sprinkle of comedy it does look good. Released back in October, the developer Potata Company released a Linux build just recently on December 2.

        It has some pretty great artwork, and from what I played the touch of comedy was nice. Not particularly long at around 40 or so minutes but a fun glimpse of what’s to come from the full game. Almost My Floor is a story about trying to get home, in an apartment complex that seems to have blurred the lines between reality and fantasy with a maze of floors and stairways along with horrible creatures that want you for lunch.

      • Quake II RTX adds support for the official cross-vendor Vulkan Ray Tracing | GamingOnLinux

        Great news for AMD fans as Quake II RTX has been updated again, and it now features support for the newly released official cross-vendor Ray Tracing support with the Vulkan API.

        With Vulkan, originally only NVIDIA supported Ray Tracing with their own extensions. That’s no longer needed, as The Khronos Group formally announced the final and finished Ray Tracing specification for the Vulkan API back in late November.

        Quake II RTX was one of the earliest titles to have Ray Tracing, and acted as something of a quick playground just to test out the features available. It was built on top of existing work from Q2VKPT from Christoph Schied with NVIDIA adding in new path-traced visual effects, improved textures and so on.

      • Valve continues tweaking the new ‘Proton Experimental’ for Cyberpunk 2077

        With Cyberpunk 2077 being the hot new thing in gaming, Valve and CodeWeavers are trying to ensure it can run nicely through the Steam Play Proton compatibility layer since it doesn’t support Linux directly.

        Valve recently set up a new branch of Proton named “Proton Experimental” along with the release of Proton 5.13-4. It appears to be the version of Proton where Valve will be adding in fixes quicker, and more newer features. Yesterday, December 14, Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais mentioned the newest updates to Proton Experimental implements the Spatial Audio sound API which should fix Cyberpunk 2077 world sounds. Additionally there’s more CPU performance improvements, which should help Path of Exile too.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Best 5 cursor icon themes for Linux • RGB Edition

        Customization is a big part of the Linux system which gives an unique user-experience to all of use who use Linux as their daily driver. We always want to make it look amazing.

        In this quest, we often ignore the cursor customizations even while we use it in our every movement on the system. This is why I am writing this article, listing the best 5 cursor icon themes that you can set up in your favorite Linux distribution.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GTK 4 got a new macOS backend (now with OpenGL)

          I’ve been busy the past few months writing a new GDK backend for macOS when not maintaining my other projects. Historically our macOS performance wasn’t something to rave about. But it’s getting better in GTK 4.

          The new backend can do both software rendering with Cairo and hardware-based OpenGL rendering using the same OpenGL renderer as we use on GNU/Linux.


          Thanks again to my employer, Red Hat, for funding this work so we can all benefit from having our applications reach more users.

    • Distributions

      • The best Linux distros for gaming in 2021

        For newer Linux users or people looking to switch, it can be a minefield to try and find accurate and up to date info on what Linux distro to game with. Here to help. What is the best Linux distribution for gaming? It’s actually not a tough question.

        With how far Linux has come in only the last 2 years, you can play a seriously large amount of games now. Sadly, there’s some (quite a lot actually) places out there that seem to slap a new date on old crusty articles and give really bad Linux gaming advice. Most of the people writing these types of articles elsewhere clearly don’t use Linux – I do, and I have done for around 15 years now.

        Let’s start off with what not to do shall we? First off, don’t bother with SteamOS from Valve. Currently, it’s out of date and has been for some time now. It hasn’t been properly updated since 2019! Valve are not working on it but they might return one day. Anyone suggesting it likely has no idea what they’re talking about and any website listing it is junk.

        Next: Ubuntu GamePack or any “specialized” Linux gaming distribution. You can throw almost all of those types in the trash. They really don’t do anything normal Linux distributions don’t do already and they can often introduce their own special bugs. I consider them like the old discs you would find in the bargain bin in a local PC store. You really don’t need them, don’t waste your precious time.

      • New Releases

        • NuTyX 20.12.0 Linux Distro Released With Three Initialization System

          After NuTyX 12-rc1, its founder Tnut has finally announced the major release of a new stable version, NuTyX 20.12.0, with package manager cards 2.4.123.

          As Tnut quoted while testing version release, the latest version 12 is a completely new 64-bit project, and hence no 32-bit version will be available for NuTyX 20.12.0.

          For those unaware, NuTyX is a French Linux distribution (with multi-language support) built from “Linux From Scratch” and “Beyond Linux From Scratch” projects featuring its own custom package manager called “cards.”

        • EndeavourOS: Love and next release news update

          To be honest, I was originally planning to give you a simple update concerning the next release and nothing more. But being so close towards the end of the year and at the time of writing this post, December 15th, being my slightly boring birthday, I simply was in the mood to reach out to you.

          A year of growth and expansion

          Without getting into the doom and gloom in our lives, 2020 has been, in every aspect, a very turbulent year for EndeavourOS also. This year was the year, we’ve established to land our base firmly on solid ground and found that right and comfortable corner for us in the Linux community. During our journey reaching that corner, we had the privilege to meet and welcome a lot of new faces in our community this year. Since EndeavourOS is community-focused, this growth brought us also a lot more knowledge and helping hands on our forum and Telegram group.

      • BSD

        • Starting with FreeBSD jails

          A reader by the name of Mitchell asked me to discuss FreeBSD jails, given how often I’ve mentioned the feature here over the years. I was ready to refer him to an earlier post before realising I never introduced them here before. Whoops!

          Jails are a lightweight, fast form of virtualisation and process isolation invented by the imitable Poul-Henning Kamp that, once you first use them, you miss them everywhere else. Each jail operates with its own chroot file system environment and network configuration, similar to a Solaris Zone.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Hands-On: openSUSE Linux on the Raspberry Pi 4

          In previous posts of this series about Linux on the Raspberry Pi 4, I have written about Ubuntu, Manjaro and of course the Raspberry Pi OS. This time I’m going to look at openSUSE, which has two variants – the more stable LEAP, and the more leading-edge Tumbleweed. I will be giving them both a try.

          Fair warning: openSUSE is one of my favorite Linux distributions, and it is the one that boots by default on my desktop system and all of my laptops, so I might be a bit biased. On the other hand, I have tried openSUSE before, on older models of the Raspberry Pi, with very limited success.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • CloudLinux to invest more than a million dollars a year into CentOS clone | ZDNet

          When Red Hat, CentOS’s Linux parent company, announced it was “shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to CentOS Stream, which tracks just ahead of a current RHEL release,” it lost a lot of friends. CentOS co-founder, Gregory Kurtzer, immediately announced he’d create his own RHEL clone and CentOS replacement: Rocky Linux. He wasn’t the only one. CloudLinux also proclaimed it would create a new CentOS clone Lenix. And, CloudLinux will be putting over a million dollars a year behind it.

          Why? Igor Seletskiy, CloudLinux CEO and founder, explained, “Red Hat’s announcement has left users looking for an alternative with all that CentOS provides and without the disruption of having to move to alternative distributions. We promise to dedicate the resources required to Project Lenix that will ensure impartiality and a not-for-profit community initiative. CloudLinux already has the assets, infrastructure, and experience to carry out the mission, and we promise to be open about the process of developing Project Lenix.”

        • CloudLinux Commits More Than $1 Million a Year to CentOS Replacement

          CloudLinux, which has been making Linux secure and stable since 2010, announced today it will invest $1 million annually in development and establish a community initiative around its RHEL fork intended as a safe haven for CentOS users left stranded with Red Hat’s announcement last week. CloudLinux will give current users a trusted, battle-tested alternative supported by a governing board from members of the community.

          CloudLinux is sponsoring Project Lenix, which will create a free, open-source, community-driven, 1:1 binary compatible fork of RHEL 8 (and future releases). It will provide an uninterrupted way to convert existing CentOS servers with absolutely zero downtime. Entire server fleets will be able to be converted with a single command with no reinstallation and no reboots required.

        • Here’s another CentOS clone – and this one is backed by a million dollars a year

          A major server OS vendor has announced to sponsor the development of a community-driven fork of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The decision comes less than a week after IBM/Red Hat decided to kill CentOS, the most popular RHEL fork, as we know it.

          CloudLinux, which makes a popular CentOS-based OS for servers, has decided to pump a million dollars a year into a 100% binary compatible clone named Project Lenix.

        • Oracle Linux 8: Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) Virtualization made easy with short training videos

          This week’s blog presents a set of short videos on how to use Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) virtualization on Oracle Linux 8. The KVM code was first announced in 2006 and was merged into the mainline Linux kernel as part of version 2.6.20, in February 2007. Therefore, KVM is part of Linux.

          KVM is an open-source type-1 (bare-metal) hypervisor that permits a system running Oracle Linux 8 to host multiple virtual machines (VMs) or guests. These VMs use the system’s physical computing resources to virtualize an operating system as a regular Linux user-space process. In these videos, we cover installation, management, creation, and other aspects related to using KVM virtualization on Oracle Linux 8.

        • Fedora Community Outreach Revamp AMA

          The Community Outreach Revamp initiative held an Ask Me Anything on December 10th, 2020. Cco-leads Sumantro Mukherjee & Mariana Balla answered questions, with moderation by me (the FCAIC). We had some great questions and we are always open to more! Find us on #fedora-mindshare every other week at 15:00UTC.

        • Community Concerns Prompt Red Hat to Drop CentOS for CentOS Stream | IT Pro

          According to Red Hat, CentOS is being ditched for CentOS Stream because it “was not actually providing that much usefulness to Red Hat.”

        • My views on the suitability of CentOS Stream

          In a comment on my most recent entry on CentOS Stream, Ben Cotton said:

          I honestly believe that CentOS Stream will be suitable for the majority of CentOS Linux users, and a huge improvement for some. [...]

          At one level, I agree with Ben Cotton on this. There’s every indication that CentOS Stream won’t be worse than plain CentOS 7 as far as bugs and security issues go; while it will now be getting (some) package versions before RHEL does instead of afterward, Red Hat has also apparently drastically increased its pre-release testing of packages. The move from CentOS 8 to CentOS Stream does cost you an extra five years of package updates, but I also feel that you shouldn’t run ancient Linux distribution versions so you probably shouldn’t be running most CentOS installs for longer than five years anyway.

        • The Level Up Hour (S1E19): Containers, Data Science and Replication
        • In the Clouds | Matt Hicks, Executive VP, Products and Technologies
      • Debian Family

        • Tails 4.14 is out

          This release fixes many security vulnerabilities.

        • Tails 4.14 Released with Support for Ledger Hardware Wallets, Linux Kernel 5.9

          Tails 4.14 appears to be a great release compared with the last couple of releases, and that’s because it finally switches to the Linux 5.9 kernel series. This, of course, means that you’ll get better hardware support for various graphics, Wi-Fi, and other components.

          In addition to bumping the kernel to Linux 5.9, this release is based on the Debian GNU/Linux 10.7 “Buster” operating system, which means that Tails now inherits all of the security patches and miscellaneous bug fixes from the upstream software repositories to offer users better stability and reliability.

        • Funding Debian development projects with Freexian, first project received!

          After an unexpectedly short discussion on debian-project, we’re moving forward with this new initiative. The Debian security team submitted a project proposal requesting some improvements to tracker.debian.org, and since nobody of the security team wants to be paid to implement the project, we have opened a request for bids to find someone to implement this on a contractor basis.

          If you can code in Python following test-driven development and know the Django framework, feel free to submit a bid! Ideally you have some experience with the security tracker too but that’s not a strong requirement.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 8 Best Free and Open Source PaaS Cloud Computing Stacks

        Cloud systems offer low cost access to huge computational, storage, and network resources. These systems offer per-user and per-application isolation and customization via a service interface that is often implemented using high-level language technologies, well-defined Application Programming Interfaces, and web services.

        Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a category of cloud computing services which offers a way to support the complete lifecycle of delivering web applications and services via the cloud. Along with Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), PaaS is a service model of cloud computing.

        PaaS solution stacks offers a number of advantages. They provide significant benefits for the business with extensive savings in upfront cost of installing a development platform, improved productivity & profits, zero maintenance, decreased operational costs, global access to information using internet and many others. In essence, PaaS technologies enable creative developers to spend less time managing hardware and software.

      • Web Browsers

        • Turn your web browser into a rich personalized knowledge base with Memex

          Do you have a problem managing your enormous bookmarks and browser history? Then this project is for you.

          Memex is a promising browser extension that offers full-text search for your browser history and browser bookmarks.

          It saves the user much time retracing his footsteps through websites. Take a YouTube as an example, If you disable your YouTube history, It’ll be hard to find previously played videos. With Memex you can do that in a few seconds.

          For an active dynamic internet user who enjoy searching and finding new stuff and taking notes as well, I find Memex is useful in organizing my findings, especially with its tagging and bookmarking functionalities.

          Adding highlights and personal notes to certain text are another awesome features for this lightweight extension. They are useful to assist writers, bloggers and research organize their thoughts and formulate writing plans.

          The extension is built as offline-first which can work primarily subscription and does not require internet to search and access the stored data.

          Memex is a useful tool for students, doctors, developers, bloggers and writers. It helps them utilize their web browser into an efficient assistant tool.

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 84 Released, Enables WebRender by Default on Linux

            The latest stable update version of the popular open source web browser enables WebRender by default on Linux systems using Xorg, and is the final release to support Adobe’s once-ubiquitous ‘Flash Player’ plugin.

            Firefox 84 is also the first version of the browser to offer native support for Apple Silicon, namely the M1 processor in new versions of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini.

            WebRender is enabled by default in Firefox 84 when run on GNOME-based X11 Linux desktops. The feature, many years in the making, delivers appreciable performance gains for most users on Linux. The tech is already in use on most macOS and Windows systems.

            We have shown you how to enable WebRender manually to benefit from speedier web browsing. If you follows those steps you don’t need to do anything to “undo” anything to enjoy WebRender as it’ll keep working as intended.

          • Firefox 84 Rolling Out With WebRender By Default Appearing For Some Linux Setups

            For those making use of the Firefox web browser, Mozilla has an early Christmas present with today’s release of Firefox 84. Most significant with Firefox 84 is for Linux users that WebRender is finally getting flipped on by default for select system configurations.

            While WebRender has been slowly appearing by default on other platforms, with Firefox 84 there is Mozilla finally flipping it on for some Linux systems. WebRender by default is initially appearing on if running Firefox from the GNOME desktop and doing so off an X11 session rather than Wayland. More widespread enabling of WebRender on Linux by default will likely appear once they have further tested additional configurations. Those interested can continue to force enable WebRender elsewhere via the MOZ_WEBRENDER=1 environment variable.

          • Mozilla Firefox 84.0 Released with Native Apple Silicon Support

            Mozilla Firefox web browser 84.0 now is available to download.

            Firefox 84 is a big release. It comes with WebRender enabled by default in Linux Gnome on X for faster page rendering. For Wayland session, you can manually enable the feature in about:config page, search and enable gfx.webrender.all.

            The new browser release also includes native support for Apple Silicon hardware, the M1 processor in new versions of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini.

          • Our Year in Review: How we’ve kept Firefox working for you in 2020 – The Mozilla Blog

            This year began like any other year, with our best intentions and resolutions to carry out. Then by March, the world changed and everyone’s lives — personally and professionally — turned upside down. Despite that, we kept to our schedule to release a new Firefox every month and we were determined to keep Firefox working for you during challenging times.

            We shifted our focus to work on features aimed at helping people adjust to the new way of life, and we made Firefox faster so that you could get more things done. It’s all part of fulfilling our promise to build a better internet for people. So, as we eagerly look to the end of 2020, we look back at this unprecedented year and present you with our list of top features that made 2020 a little easier.

          • Mozilla’s Vision for Trustworthy AI

            A little over two years ago, Mozilla started an ambitious project: deciding where we should focus our efforts to grow the movement of people committed to building a healthier digital world. We landed on the idea of trustworthy AI.

            When Mozilla started in 1998, the growth of the web was defining where computing was going. So Mozilla focused on web standards and building a browser. Today, the computing — and the digital society that we all live in — is defined by vast troves of data, sophisticated algorithms and omnipresent sensors and devices. This is the era of AI. Asking questions today such as ‘Does the way this technology works promote human agency?’ or ‘Am I in control of what happens with my data?’ is like asking ‘How do we keep the web open and free?’ 20 years ago.

            This current era of computing — and the way it shapes the consumer internet technology that more than 4 billion of us use everyday — has high stakes. AI increasingly powers smartphones, social networks, online stores, cars, home assistants and almost every other type of electronic device. Given the power and pervasiveness of these technologies, the question of whether AI helps and empowers or exploits and excludes will have a huge impact on the direction that our societies head over the coming decades.

            It would be very easy for us to head in the wrong direction. As we have rushed to build data collection and automation into nearly everything, we have already seen the potential of AI to reinforce long-standing biases or to point us toward dangerous content. And there’s little transparency or accountability when an AI system spreads misinformation or misidentifies a face. Also, as people, we rarely have agency over what happens with our data or the automated decisions that it drives. If these trends continue, we’re likely to end up in a dystopian AI-driven world that deepens the gap between those with vast power and those without.

      • CMS

        • News – Introducing Learn WordPress – WordPress.org

          Learn WordPress is a learning resource providing workshops, quizzes, courses, lesson plans, and discussion groups so that anyone, from beginners to advanced users, can learn to do more with WordPress. Learning how to use, build for, and contribute to WordPress is essential for anyone wanting to dive deeper into the software and its community.

      • FSFE

        • Interview with A. Cord-Landwehr about REUSE adoption in the KDE community

          In 2017, the FSFE launched its REUSE campaign and it not only has received many important updates since then but also an overwhelming international attention. Since the release of version 3.0 last year, we have been focusing on supporting Free Software projects in adopting the underlying best practices. And 2020 marks another successful year of this initiative.

          On one hand this is thanks to the FSFE’s role as a consortium member of the Next Generation Internet Zero (NGI0). In this position, the FSFE’s legal team assists all participating software projects with any Free Software copyright and licensing issues that they may run into. And we are encouraging and assisting the projects in becoming REUSE compliant. More than 150 projects that we are reviewing in the scope of our NGI0 involvement are in process of adopting the REUSE specifications and many of them are already REUSE compliant.

      • Programming/Development

        • Git v2.30.0-rc0
          An early preview release Git v2.30.0-rc0 is now available for
          testing at the usual places.  It is comprised of 413 non-merge
          commits since v2.29.0, contributed by 60 people, 25 of which are
          new faces.
          The tarballs are found at:
          The following public repositories all have a copy of the
          'v2.30.0-rc0' tag and the 'master' branch that the tag points at:
            url = https://kernel.googlesource.com/pub/scm/git/git
            url = git://repo.or.cz/alt-git.git
            url = https://github.com/gitster/git
          New contributors whose contributions weren't in v2.29.0 are as follows.
          Welcome to the Git development community!
            Alexey, Amanda Shafack, Bradley M. Kuhn, Caleb Tillman, Charvi
            Mendiratta, Daniel Duvall, Daniel Gurney, Dennis Ameling, Javier
            Spagnoletti, Jinoh Kang, Joey Salazar, Konrad Borowski, Marlon
            Rac Cambasis, Michał Kępień, Nate Avers, Nipunn Koorapati,
            Rafael Silva, Robert Karszniewicz, Samuel Čavoj, Sean Barag,
            Sibo Dong, Simão Afonso, Sohom Datta, Thomas Koutcher, and
            Victor Engmark.
          Returning contributors who helped this release are as follows.
          Thanks for your continued support.
            Adam Spiers, Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason, Alex Vandiver, Arnout
            Engelen, brian m. carlson, Christian Couder, Chris. Webster,
            Denton Liu, Derrick Stolee, Drew DeVault, Elijah Newren,
            Emily Shaffer, Felipe Contreras, Han-Wen Nienhuys, Jeff King,
            Jiang Xin, Johannes Schindelin, Jonathan Tan, Josh Steadmon,
            Junio C Hamano, Kyle Meyer, Martin Ågren, Matheus Tavares,
            Nicolas Morey-Chaisemartin, Patrick Steinhardt, Peter Kaestle,
            Philippe Blain, Phillip Wood, Pranit Bauva, René Scharfe,
            Sergey Organov, Srinidhi Kaushik, Štěpán Němec, SZEDER
            Gábor, and Taylor Blau.
        • Git 2.30-rc0 Released With More Work On “Main” Branch Renaming, Fixes

          The initial test release of Git 2.30 is now available for evaluation of this distributed revision control system.

          Earlier this year Git 2.28 brought the support for a configurable/default branch name to replace the “master” usage that has been the default behavior up to this point. That configurable option has been working out well for those wanting to change the default Git branch from the likes of “master” to “main” or “default”. Git itself has been working towards such a transition to the “main” name and with Git 2.30 are some updates around their internal tests to accommodate the eventual change.

        • Radicle: An Open-Source Decentralized App for Code Collaboration [P2P GitHub Alternative]

          Most of the open-source projects that we talk about are usually hosted at GitHub or other GitHub alternatives like GitLab. Even though you get many benefits and features from such platforms (not to mention the potential exposure), there are also downsides of using it.

          For instance, youtube-dl project was taken down by Microsoft to comply with a DMCA request.

          With a centralized approach, you do not have a lot of control and privacy. Of course, this may not be a big deal for many folks but if you are someone who does not want centralized servers, want to have peer-to-peer code collaboration feature, and something that works offline, Radicle will be a good tool for them.

        • The 512KB Club and Debloating

          I ran across Kev Quick’s announcement for The 512KB Club last month, and noticed that this blog, using the Academic theme for Hugo, was… a bit on the bloated side, clocking in at a whopping 748KB (including 246KB font, 206KB JS, and 190K CSS).

          This became an added incentive for switching theme – something that’s already on the todo list after a previous theme update necessitates some painful configuration refactor.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Day 15: Rudolph on Raku – Raku Advent Calendar

            So, Rudolph has been worried about getting Santa and the other reindeer back home to the North Pole after an exhausting flight to visit all the (well-behaved) Children on the Globe.

            He has heard a rumour that the North Pole keeps moving due to the precession of molten iron at the Earth’s core and that every year it creeps around a bit with relation to Santa’s workshop, which lies at the True North Pole.

            Luckily he has been on a navigation skills course and has learned about how to specify a position on the globe using a combination of Latitude and Longitude. However, these seem all of a muddle as they are alike and yet different. What Rudi needs is a way to structure his navigation to ensure that he does not mix them up. Even better, he is good friends with Larry and knows that he can trust the Raku type system to get him home. In fact, Raku has a lot of ways to make the life of a reindeer|developer better, find out more at https://www.raku.org.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • How Civilization Broke Our Brains: What can hunter-gatherer societies teach us about work, time, and happiness?

        This bizarre need to feel busy, or to feel that time is structured, even when one is sprawled on the couch on a weekend afternoon—where does it come from? Is it inscribed in our DNA, or is it as much an invention of industrialized culture as paper clips and microchips? To answer that question, we would have to understand the texture of human life for most of our history, before civilization and workweeks edged their way into the picture. We would need a participant-observer from our era to live among hunter-gatherers and experience their relationship to work, time, and joy.

        The anthropologist James Suzman has done a version of that, devoting almost 30 years to studying the Ju/’hoansi “Bushmen,” a tribe whose members lived an isolated existence in Namibia and Botswana until the late 20th century, when incursions by local governments destroyed their way of life. In his new book, Work: A Deep History, From the Stone Age to the Age of Robots,* Suzman describes the Ju/’hoansi of yore as healthy and cheerful, perfectly content to work as little as possible and—not coincidentally—ingenious at designing customs that discourage competition and status-seeking. Combining careful anthropological research with excursions into sociology and psychology, he asks how we’ve come to find ourselves more harried—and seemingly more unhappy—than the small-scale communities from which civilization emerged. If there is some better way of handling modernity’s promises and pressures, perhaps the Ju/’hoansi can light the way.

      • Patent Docs: Epigenetic Changes Implicated in Age-related Diminution in Vision and Its Possible Reversal

        Finally, the paper reports efforts to determine whether OSK expression could improve age-related (as opposed to injury- or pathology-related) vision problems. In these experiments, 3-and 11-month-old mice were treated by intravitreal injection of DOX-inducible OSK encoding constructs and OSK expression induced for 4 weeks. Twelve-month-old mice showed age-related visual acuity and RGS electrical activity diminution which was reversed by DOX-induced OSK expression. However, these phenotypic changes were not observed to be associated with an increased number of RGCs or axon density, which prompted these researchers to hypothesize that the effect were dependent on changes in gene expression (“transcriptomic changes” as these were termed in the paper). RGCs from treated or untreated 12-month-old mice were isolated and compared with RGCs from 5-month-old mice and expression of 464 genes were found to be altered: expression of almost all (90%) of these genes were found to be restored to youthful levels in OSK-expressing RGCs. The participation of DNA methylation changes in aged RGCs in producing a youthful pattern of gene expression was further assessed and validated using artificial intelligence/machine learning approaches.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Sweden’s “herd immunity” policy produces disaster

        The “herd immunity” policy pursued by the Swedish government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has produced a catastrophe. With Sweden’s hospitals overflowing and the bodies piling up in morgues, its neighbors Norway and Denmark have offered to step in with emergency aid.

      • Statements of support for COVID-19 whistleblower Rebekah Jones from across the US

        The WSWS is publishing statements of support for data scientist and COVID-19 whistleblower Rebekah Jones, whose Florida home was raided last week in response to her efforts to expose the spread of the pandemic in Florida and in K-12 schools across the United States. We urge our readers to send statements of support for Jones today.

      • An EMT Joined OnlyFans to Make Ends Meet. Then the ‘New York Post’ Shamed Her

        OnlyFans has exploded in popularity during the pandemic. A content-subscription platform that allows influencers and content creators to monetize their content, OnlyFans is primarily used by sex workers, who post racy content on their feeds in exchange for a monthly subscriber fee. The platform has grown exponentially over the past nine months, at one point seeing a 75-percent increase in signups, and many users have turned to the platform as a way to make ends meet. One of those people was Lauren Kwei, 23, a New York-based paramedic who had turned to posting semi-racy content on the platform to supplement her income. She also reportedly worked as a hostess at a Korean restaurant, meaning that, like many Americans, she juggled multiple jobs in order to eke out a living.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Google Experienced Outage to Services for 45 Minutes

          The problem with relying so much on one company for much of our online lives is that once it goes out, we’re all in trouble. This happens to people who rely on Apple’s ecosystem and rely on Google’s large range of services. On Monday, December 14, 2020, most of Google services, including Gmail, YouTube, and Google Drive, experienced an outage for about an hour.

        • Google outage: YouTube, Docs and Gmail knocked offline

          Google said the problem hit its authentication system, which is used for logging in and similar functions, and lasted about 45 minutes.

        • Google Down: The Perils of Centralization

          From Gmail and Google Calendar to YouTube and even Google’s two-factor authentication, the outage temporarily ground online work to a halt for many, including publications that would have otherwise been reporting on the outage.

          Moreover, it underscored the hidden costs of the easy-to-use systems that permeate the web, and just how taxing or debilitating they can be when the head of the many-tentacled beast that is Google nods off, even for just an hour.

          “If an [Internet] giant like Google can suffer such a major attack – denying millions of users access to basic [Internet] services – it just goes to show that under the surface of the shiny web interfaces we see, [Internet] infrastructure actually hangs in a delicate and vulnerable balance,” said Jaro Šatkevič, head of product at Mysterium Network, an open-source Web 3.0 project focused on decentralizing the [Internet].

        • Google services, apps hit by global outage

          Users across the world were unable to access the gamut of Google’s productivity and collaboration tools, which also include Google Calendar, Sheets, Meet and Chat. Customers in Europe appeared to be the hardest hit, according to the Down Detector website, with the outage occurring around lunchtime for those in the UK; users on the U.S. east coast also faced disruption just as the work day was getting started.

          The outage was acknowledged by Google at 6:55 a.m. ET; the company said it affected “the majority of users.” The outage was subsequently downgraded to a “service disruption” at 7:31 a.m. ET, with some users still affected.

          Google announced that the problem had largely been resolved at 7:52 a.m. ET.

        • Reddit to buy TikTok competitor Dubsmash

          The acquisition builds on Reddit’s foray into video content. The forum-based platform launched native video in 2017, and Reddit said it has seen sharp growth in users using its video content since, including doubling the amount of videos posted on Reddit in 2020.

        • Apple Push Into India Dealt Setback as Protest Turns to Violence

          Hundreds of workers entered Wistron Corp.’s facility in the southern city of Kolar over the weekend, damaging the property and looting thousands of iPhones and laptops, according to local media. More than 150 people were arrested, the Times of India reported.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

        • Security

          • Linux Continues Crackdown On User-Space Poking CPU MSRs – Phoronix

            The Linux kernel this year has seen new safeguards and efforts aiming to have user-space reduce their arbitrary poking of CPU machine specific registers (MSRs) in the name of security and other handling concerns. That effort has continued on with the Linux 5.11 cycle.

            Linux user-space software with administrative privileges can write to arbitrary CPU MSRs and that can cause problems for a host of reasons. Recent kernels have added the support for adding notifications when an unrecognized MSR write from user-space occurs along with an option to allow filtering of MSR writes.

          • Daniel Stenberg: How my Twitter hijacks happened

            How this happened was a complete mystery to me. The account was restored fairly swiftly but I learned nothing from that.

            Then someone at Twitter contacted me. After they investigated what had happened and how, I had a chat with a responsible person there and he explained for me exactly how this went down.

            Had Twitter been hacked? Is there a way to default 2FA? Were my local computer or phone compromised? No, no and no.

            Apparently, an agent at Twitter who were going through the backlog of issues, where my previous hijack issue was still present, accidentally changed the email on my account by mistake, probably confusing it with another account in another browser tab.

          • New, free tool adds layer of security for the software supply chain

            The software supply chain has long been a prime target for cyberattacks, putting servers, IoT devices, personal computers, and connected equipment from surgically embedded devices to avionics at risk of sabotage. These risks will increase dramatically with the global rollout of such new technologies as 5G telecommunications, and new tools will be required to affirm the security and authenticity of software projects. Against this backdrop, in-toto, an open-source tool developed by researchers at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering that provides an unprecedented level of assurance against such attacks, announces it has hit a significant milestone with the release of its first major version.

            In-toto, a free, easy-to-use framework that cryptographically ensures the integrity of the software supply chain, was developed in 2016 by Justin Cappos, a professor of computer science and engineering, and Santiago Torres-Arias, a former Ph.D. student at NYU Tandon, now a professor at Purdue University. Since its advent, in-toto has been adopted or integrated into several major open source software projects, including those hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, a part of the Linux Foundation. With the release of version 1.0, in-toto has reached a level of maturity where its developers can ensure its quality, and guarantee its security to potential adopters.

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

            • Wormable Gitpaste-12 Botnet Returns to Target Linux Servers, IoT Devices [Ed: This is a Microsoft GitHub issue, not a "Linux" issue, but the FUD is being recycled a month or so later]

              A new wormable botnet that spreads via GitHub and Pastebin to install cryptocurrency miners and backdoors on target systems has returned with expanded capabilities to compromise web applications, IP cameras, and routers.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Massachusetts Legislators Should Stand With Their Communities and Restore Face Recognition Prohibitions to Police Reform Bill

              To protect Massachusetts residents from government use of this dangerous technology, legislators must restore these protections to the bill.

              Take Action

              Massachusetts: End Government Face Surveillance

            • The FTC is investigating data collection at YouTube, Facebook, and seven other companies

              In a press release published Monday, the FTC announced that it is ordering nine social media and video streaming companies — including Amazon, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, Discord, Facebook, Reddit, Snap, Twitter, WhatsApp, and YouTube — to provide data on how they collect and use personal information provided by their users. The companies have 45 days to respond.

              Each of the nine companies was contacted for comment. A Twitter spokesperson told The Verge, “We’re working, as we always do, to ensure the FTC has the information it needs to understand how Twitter operates its services..”

            • FTC opens privacy study into major [Internet] platforms

              The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Monday voted to issue orders to nine major [Internet] platforms requiring information about how they handle data for a new study.

              The orders, which do not implicate any legal wrongdoing, were sent to Amazon, ByteDance (the parent company of TikTok), Discord, Facebook, Reddit, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp and YouTube.

              The agency is requesting information about how the platforms collect, use, track or estimate personal and demographic information.

            • FTC Launches Investigation Into Privacy and Data Collection of Streaming Video, Social Giants

              The Federal Trade Commission is asking some of the world’s biggest social media and streaming video giants to hand over information regarding their privacy and data practices.

              The FTC has issued orders to Amazon, Facebook, TikTok owner ByteDance, YouTube, Twitter, Snap, Discord and WhatsApp asking for a variety of information, including how they collect personal data; how they determine what ads are shown to consumers; whether algorithms or other analytics are applied to personal information; how they measure user engagement; and how their practices impact children and teenagers.

              The orders were filed pursuant to Section 6(b) of the FTC Act, which gives the FTC the authority “to conduct wide-ranging studies that do not have a specific law enforcement purpose.”

            • Why Facebook is on the fence about banning Bajrang Dal

              Sources told WSJ that Facebook’s internal team has concluded that the right-wing organisation Bajrang Dal should be qualified as a ‘dangerous organisation’ and be banned from its platform on the basis of incidents in the country. But the social media company is concerned about the safety of its staff in India.

              Many of Bajrang Dal’s videos have lakhs of views on Facebook. In June this year, Bajrang Dal extremists got into a church in New Delhi and installed a Hindu idol, claiming that the church was constructed on temple grounds. The group posted a video about it on Facebook, which has been viewed over 2.5 lakh times.

            • Enhancing Privacy in 2020

              Routing domain is a concept on OpenBSD, which makes it possible to segregate applications and their routes from one another into separate kernel routing tables. This feature became a crucial component for my project, since VPN providers often use the same address space in their configurations. Without routing domains, the overlap would make it impossible to run multiple clients side-by-side. Routing tables are numbered lookup tables for egress routing domains. By default, OpenBSD has four tun interfaces numbered tun0 to tun3. I used rdomains 10 to 13 to make the numbering symmetric, since rdomains start with 1 and run up to 255.

            • EU Digital Services Act set to bring in new rules for tech giants

              A pair of laws – the Digital Services and Digital Markets Acts – will be announced later on Tuesday.

              They are expected to be the biggest revision in 20 years, focusing on competition and making platforms responsible for hosted content.

              There are also likely to create heavy fines for violations of the rules.

              The rules are being spearheaded by commissioners Margrethe Vestager and Thierry Breton, both of whom have a history of strong rhetoric against the biggest tech giants – as commissioners for competition and the internal market respectively.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Nothing Was Delivered: Trump’s Antiwar Deception

        Afghanistan is just one of the places where Donald Trump has set records for the numbers of bombs dropped, in yet another country sadistically and ceaselessly attacked by the U.S. This goes for the unconstitutional, illegal, genocidal wars in Yemen and Somalia as well. Of course, none of these countries, nor their long-suffering populations pose any threat whatsoever to the American people.

        In a previous column, this author covered the appointment of the antiwar, retired Col. Douglas Macgregor as senior adviser to Christopher Miller, the new acting Secretary of Defense. Many were cautiously optimistic that the recent Pentagon personnel shake up, that included the appointment of both aforementioned men, could herald an era of genuine last minute ‘America First’ foreign policy decisions. Namely, full U.S. exits from not only Afghanistan, but potentially Iraq and Somalia too.

      • Proud Boys’ party is over: Trump fans throw tantrums because they’ve lost more than an election

        Saturday’s rally was ostensibly about protesting Trump’s loss and claiming that he was the victim of a “rigged” election. But with inhibitions loosened by booze, anger and literal (as well as metaphorical) darkness, the truth was illuminated: The rage about Donald Trump’s electoral fate is about racism. It’s a part of the growing fury taking hold of conservatives as their control over American culture slips further and further out of their grasp. Trump is just the latest vehicle for this anger, but this story is about a lot more than him. It’s bigger even than electoral politics. This is about a more fundamental issue: over Who gets to define America, and the widespread reactionary outrage over being outnumbered by more liberal, more diverse and more cosmopolitan Americans, and feeling unable to stop the tide of progress.

      • Michigan House punishes GOP Rep. Gary Eisen for hinting at Electoral College disruption

        House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, denounced threats made against Electoral College members in announcing the decision to pull Eisen from his committee assignments.

      • US recognizes Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara

        All three instances constitute flagrant violations of international law, which outlaws the acquisition of territory by force. Such annexations were declared illegal under the Geneva Conventions enacted in the wake of the Second World War to prevent the repetition of actions like those carried out by Germany’s Nazi regime. Trump has thumbed his nose at the entire post-World War II international order and the international rule of law, and signaled that militarism, territorial expansion, and colonialism are the order of the day.

        In 1975, Morocco forcibly annexed the vast but sparsely populated territory of Western Sahara in contravention of an International Court of Justice ruling and without consulting the local Sahrawi people. This followed secret talks between Madrid, the occupying power, Rabat and Washington in which Spain agreed to cede control to Morocco. The Polisario Front, the military wing of the self-proclaimed national-bourgeois Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), declared independence for Western Sahara and fought a 16-year war with support from Libya and Algeria against Morocco and Mauritania.

      • Indonesian police arrest Jemaah Islamiah linked terrorist Zulkarnaen after 17-year hunt

        Zulkarnaen, whose real name was Aris Sumarsono, 57, is an Afghan-trained militant who was believed to lead the elite squad involved in the suicide bombing at Jakarta’s JW Marriott Hotel that killed 12 people in 2003.

        He also allegedly made the bombs that killed 202 people in Bali in 2002. He had been on the run since the Jakarta bombing.

        Police said he acted as the commander of the JI regional terror network, and set up a squad of fighters known as Laskar Khos, or Special Force, involved in the Bali bombing.

      • Indonesian police arrest top Islamist militant linked to Bali bombings

        Indonesian police said they have arrested one of the most senior members of the al Qaeda-linked militant group Jemaah Islamiah suspected to be behind the 2002 bombings on the resort island of Bali that killed more than 200 people.

        Jemaah Islamiah’s stated aim is to build an Islamic caliphate in Southeast Asia.

        Zulkarnaen, one of the commanders of the Bali attack, was arrested on Thursday by anti-terrorism police, spokesman Ahmad Ramadhan said in a statement on Saturday.

      • Saudi, Egyptian crackdowns signal collision with Biden agenda

        With their biggest ally, President Donald Trump, leaving the White House, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are doubling down on internal crackdowns, intensifying arrests of rights activists and political dissidents. It’s a signal to the Biden administration that it faces hard bargaining and a collision course with Arab allies who have grown accustomed to unconditional support.

      • Seven NGO’s are coordinating with human traffickers to smuggle illegal immigrants into Greece

        Seven non-government organizations have orchestrated with human traffickers to smuggle illegal immigrants into Greece, according to Migration Minister Notis Mitarachis.

      • Greece accuses charities of helping human traffickers to smuggle migrants

        Notis Mitarachi, the Greek minister for migration, told The Times that the charities formed part of a network stretching from Somalia to Britain in which smugglers moved refugees illegally. Greek officials suspect the charities of funding trafficking rings to help illegal migrants to reach the continent.

        The Greek islands in the Aegean are on the front line of the operation. Greece is already home to 90,000 illegal migrants living in squalid refugee centres awaiting asylum in Europe. Of those, at least 17,000 are on the islands.

      • A blanket of shame covers the world’s continued denial of the Armenian Genocide

        A short but bloody conflict flared up this year in Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated enclave in Azerbaijan. The events echoed the horrific but forgotten Armenian Genocide of a century earlier, which is officially recognised by only 31 countries today.

    • Environment

      • Talks at the WTO to save the world’s fish fail to reach agreement

        The talks are intended to eliminate subsidies that contribute to “illegal, unreported and unregulated” (IUU) fishing, estimated to account for a remarkable 20-50% of the global catch, as well as those that sustain legal overfishing and the building of overcapacity. Many fish stocks are collapsing. It is estimated that the proportion of the total stock of fish in the oceans that are overfished—ie, exploited at such a pace that the fish population cannot replenish itself—has risen from 10% in 1974 to 34% now. This is endangering coastal communities that rely on fishing. Roughly 39m people depend on capture fisheries for their livelihood. And fish provide 20% of animal-protein needs on average for 3.3bn people.

      • The New Humanitarian | Disaster warnings as powerful storm bears down on Fiji

        The first powerful storm of the South Pacific’s cyclone season could reach Fiji by Thursday, sparking warnings of damaging winds and severe flooding.

        Cyclone Yasa is projected to intensify and strike parts of Fiji with wind speeds that may reach 230 kilometres per hour – potentially a Category 5 storm. Such powerful winds can cause “widespread destruction” and “total damage to crops and vegetation”, the country’s meteorological office says, on top of damage from floods, landslides, and storm surge.

        “We should all prepare now,” Fiji’s prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, warned on Tuesday.

        A weaker Category 1 storm, Cyclone Zazu, is already hitting parts of Tonga to the east with high winds.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Coalition Lawsuit: Science Says Wolverines Need Protection

          Today, WildEarth Guardians, and a coalition of wildlife advocates, filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s decision to deny protections to imperiled wolverines under the Endangered Species Act. This is the second time the Fish and Wildlife Service has prioritized politics over science for wolverines, which number only about 300 in the contiguous U.S.

          The groups in today’s filing defeated the Service in court in 2016, after the Service abruptly withdrew its proposed rule to list the lower 48 population of wolverine as “threatened” under the ESA. The court ordered the agency back to the drawing board with a directive to apply the best science in evaluating the protection needs of the wolverine. Four years later, the Service returned with the same decision to deny wolverine protective status, despite no new scientific support for such a determination.

    • Finance

      • Bernie Sanders and Our Winter of Progressive Discontent

        While Sanders is ill-positioned and uninclined to push back very hard against the evident trajectory of Biden’s decisions, many progressives are starting to throw down gauntlets against the corporate and militaristic aspects of the incoming presidency.

      • Visa and Mastercard are Trying to Dictate What You Can Watch on Pornhub

        This isn’t a debate over whether Pornhub is predatory. This is a question about what level of censorship power we want to give to payment processors. 

        Sexual exploitation is a scourge on society that needs resources, education, victim support, and, when necessary, prosecution by responsible authorities to address. Visa and Mastercard are the wrong entities for addressing these problems. Visa and Mastercard do not have the skills, expertise, or position to determine complex issues of digital speech. Nuanced challenges to what content should exist online, and whether moderation policies will inadvertently punish otherwise marginalized voices, are issues that legal experts, human rights experts, lawmakers, and courts in the United States and abroad have been deeply considering for years. The truth is, navigating speech policies in a way that won’t shut down huge swaths of legitimate and worthy speech is hard. And it’s wrong that Visa and Mastercard have the power to—however clumsily—police speech online.

        More importantly, as a society, we haven’t given Visa and Mastercard the authority to decide online speech cases. Those companies haven’t been elected or chosen by any electorate in any country. They are here enforcing speech rules that we haven’t adopted in the United States—and, frankly, which would likely violate the U.S. Constitution if they were adopted. And sadly this is not the first time these companies’ decisions have jeopardized speech online.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • U.K. Sets Out Sweeping Law to Curb Illegal and Harmful Content

        A new Online Safety Bill will attempt to impose accountability for illegal or potentially harmful content such as material promoting terrorism or spreading disinformation about Covid-19. Companies could be fined as much as 10% of annual global revenue if they breach regulations, details of which are to be announced Tuesday, Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden and Home Secretary Priti Patel said in an emailed statement.

      • Attacks on Section 230 reveal much more dangerous tech-policy strategy

        It’s as if we’re all playing a game of darts, and we laugh and laugh at the lawmakers whose distorted and embarrassingly bad Section 230 and First Amendment takes wildly miss the dart board. What we don’t realize is they aren’t playing darts. They aren’t trying to hit the dart board. While we correct their takes and scoff at their ignorance, they are playing a different game. Their goal is not to get Section 230 or the First Amendment right. It’s to exert pressure on Big Tech firms to create benefits for them.

        These lawmakers don’t want to win using traditional democratic structures — they know they can’t. They know that forcing social media firms to leave certain content up and take other content down will never succeed in the courts. They know that removing Section 230 would not even fix this problem in the first place.

      • Trump Evades First Amendment Suit Over Social Media Order

        The Center for Democracy & Technology doesn’t have standing to sue President Donald Trump over his executive order that targets social media sites for the alleged censorship of conservative voices, a D.C. federal judge has ruled.

        The CDT in June sued the Trump administration over his May 28 executive order on online censorship. Trump’s order, which he issued shortly after Twitter started flagging his tweets for misinformation, says social media is the modern day equivalent of a public square and it’s “fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic” to let powerful social media companies “censor” opinions.

      • President Trump’s § 230 Executive Order Doesn’t Do Enough To Be Challengeable

        Additionally, CDT’s allegations fail to show Article III standing because the injury it claims is not “actual or imminent” but “conjectural or hypothetical.” While “[a]n allegation of future injury may suffice if the threatened injury is certainly impending, or there is a substantial risk that the harm will occur,” “allegations of possible future injury are not sufficient.”

      • Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai charged under national security law

        Hong Kong democracy activist and media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been charged under the city’s national security law on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces and endangering national security, local media reported on Friday (Dec 11), citing a police source.

        Lai, an ardent critic of Beijing, is the most high-profile person charged under the sweeping new law imposed on the Chinese-ruled city in June.

        He was due to appear in court on Saturday, according to Apple Daily, a popular tabloid known for its feisty and critical coverage of China and Hong Kong.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Abandoning Assange
      • The Assange Prosecution: A Haunting Reminder Of The Travesty Of Justice In My Case

        The prosecution against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has invoked my case, making it a haunting reminder of the travesty of justice that befell me.

        I worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. In 2015, the United States government wrongfully tried, convicted, and sent me to prison for allegedly violating the U.S. Espionage Act. I am one of the few who has ever gone to trial to defend their selves against this ancient and misused law.

      • Julian Assange: COVID Risks and Campaigns for Pardon

        The response was even more draconian than usual.  Exercise was halted; showers prohibited.  Meals were to be provided directly to the prisoner’s cell.  Prison officials described the approach as a safety precaution.  “We’ve introduced further safety measures following a number of positive cases,” stated a Prison Service spokesperson.

        Assange’s time at Belmarsh is emblematic of a broadly grotesque approach which has been legitimised by the national security establishment.  The pandemic has presented another opportunity to knock him off, if only by less obvious means.  The refusal of Judge Baraitser to grant him bail, enabling him to prepare his case in conditions of guarded, if relative safety, typifies this approach.  “Every day that passes is a serious risk to Julian,” explains his partner, Stella Moris.  “Belmarsh is an extremely dangerous environment where murders and suicides are commonplace.”

      • Gunmen kill TV cameraman in northwestern Pakistan

        Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a journalist in the northwestern Pakistani city of Dera Ismail Khan, police said Tuesday.

        Police officer Aslam Khan said gunmen riding on a motorcycle opened fire on Qais Javed near his home after midnight and fled from the scene. Khan said Javed was shot multiple times and was rushed to the city’s main hospital but died on the way. Javed, 37, previously worked as a cameraman at a top local television station and had recently started his own web channel.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Going undercover in the schools that chain boys

        The school I find him in is one of 23 Islamic educational institutions in Sudan, known as khalwas, that I filmed in undercover over a two-year period, starting in early 2018.

        I witnessed and filmed many children, some just five years old, being severely beaten, routinely shackled, and imprisoned without food and water by the sheikhs, or religious men, in charge of the schools. Some of the children who did not appear in our documentary told me they had been raped or experienced other forms of sexual abuse.

      • Nigeria: Older people often an invisible casualty in conflict with Boko Haram

        Recent Boko Haram massacre in Borno State exemplifies years of repression and abuse of older people by the armed group. Older people are frequently killed in military raids and die disproportionately in unlawful military detention. Humanitarian response treats older people as ‘an afterthought’

      • Why does the Marriage of Underage Girls Persist in the Islamic World?

        With more than 80 percent of its girls married before their 18th birthday, Katsina has one of the highest prevalence of child marriage. In fact, girls often get married against their will at the age of 10 or even younger.

      • Pilibhit: Boy escapes from madrassa alleging torture, rescued

        12-year-old boy who ran away from a madrassa alleging torture was rescued by members of child helpline in Pilibhit. The child alleged that he was beaten and chained when he tried to escape from the religious school in Jahanabad area, the members said.

      • What Happened to Promises to Disband the Minneapolis Police?

        Yet by last week, the city council’s once sweeping ambitions had given way, once again, to incremental change. In a 2021 budget vote on December 9th, the council voted to cut just $8 million from the $179 million MPD budget. In the face of a veto threat from Mayor Jacob Frey, the council even voted against a measure that would have reduced the size of the city’s authorized police force from 888 to 750 officers.

    • Monopolies

      • Pandemic Failure, Vaccine Success Indict American Monopoly Capitalism

        This vaccine victory is bittersweet. We have lost so many Americans to the virus, who didn’t have to die. Many of them died because of stubbornly pro-capitalist public policy. 

      • California fines Uber for failure to cooperate with assault probe

        The administrative judge last year ordered Uber to answer questions regarding a safety report it released in 2019, which contained details of sexual assault cases that had occurred in the United States during 2017, 2018 and 2019 on trips taken using its ride-hailing platform.

      • Patents

        • FOSS Patents: Munich appeals court overrules lower court’s shameless approach to security amounts: Conversant v. Daimler

          As I already noted earlier this month, the Oberlandesgericht München (Munich Higher Regional Court) fundamentally disagrees with the Munich I Regional Court’s approach to setting the amounts of collateral to be posted in the form of a bond or a security deposit when patent injunctions are enforced while an appeal is pending.

          Meanwhile I’ve obtained a copy of an order by the appeals court in Conversant v. Daimler, raising the security amount from 5.5 million euros to 146 million euros. That’s an increase by more than a factor of 26–and a complete (partial) victory for Daimler at this stage. It also means that Nokia-fed Conversant won’t ever enforce a German injunction against Daimler over the patent-in-suit, as the troll probably can’t afford this amount anytime soon and the patent is going to expire in about a month’s time.

          What the lower court had done in that case–and not only that one, as the appeals court will make a similar decision in a Nokia v. Daimler case on Thursday–was not just an error. It was an utter disgrace. It was what happens when judges prioritize “forum-selling” over their own professional honor. And the way in which they explained the “reasons” for their approach was so bad that even the term “nonsensical” would represent a euphemism.


          No similar arrangement exists with respect to Nokia’s SEPs–and the patent-in-suit in that case isn’t about to expire. In the Nokia case, Daimler cars that come with a telematics control unit (TCU) from Samsung subsidiary Harman Becker are excluded from the scope of the injunction, but the effect of that carve-out doesn’t come close to the 86% coverage Daimler enjoys in the Conversant context because of Huawei’s license. All things considered, a security amount in the billions of euros will likely be set on Thursday. The lower court had set it at only 18 million euros. The numbers don’t tell the whole story, but they’ll make it clear that the appeals court doesn’t merely reverse the lower court in this context. It effectively rebukes it. And rightly so.

        • Anti-suit or anti anti-suit injunctions? That is the question

          The practice of anti-suit injunctions (“ASIs”) originated in the fifteenth century in the English courts to prohibit parallel proceedings before the common law courts and the Court of Chancery, a parallel jurisdiction based on principles of equity, that makes up for the inadequacies and rigidities of the common law.

          Today, the ASI is a remedy a judge may grant to strengthen jurisdiction and arbitration clauses. A party may thus be obliged to abandon proceedings brought before a court that is not the one designated by the clause. In other words, it is a matter of enjoining the litigant from initiating or continuing parallel litigation in another jurisdiction.

        • FOSS Patents: In-person patent trials are a no-go in the Western hemisphere for at least several more months–other than exceptional cases of competitive harm

          The Western part of the world is in the situation in which it is these days–with renewed, hard lockdowns–because covidiots come in all shapes, forms, sizes, and colors. One of them will pay the price for his mendacity and irresponsibility in this context next month when he’ll have to move out of a white building regardless of his achivements in several other areas, while some others wear black robes and regrettably can’t be voted out no matter how much they’d deserve it.

          The next few months–the coldest of the year–are the worst time ever to conduct in-person trials. Now, I fully understand that the judiciary can’t just freeze everything for an extended period of time. There are matters, particularly criminals trials, habeas corpus etc., that can’t wait. All that one can do in those cases is to impose a requirement to wear masks, to enforce a certain minimum distance, and to ensure sufficient ventilation.

          I obviously wouldn’t deny that there are civil lawsuits with an objective sense of urgency. There may be time-sensitive issues related to employment or tenancy relationships, for instance.

          But patent cases that require swift adjudication are few and far between. Very few and very far, that is.

          Practically, the standard for holding any in-person patent trial in the coming months should no less–and ideally even more–exacting than the one for a preliminary injunction: irreparable harm, inadequacy of monetary relief, balance of hardships, and public interest considerations.

      • Copyrights

        • Copywrong: Nine sells photojournalists down river in Fairfax photo sell-off

          Nine Entertainment pressures the government to get the tech giants to pay for local news content. Meanwhile, for three years Nine has been playing Goliath in a fight with Australian freelance photojournalists, whose photos Nine sold even though it didn’t own the copyright. Callum Foote reports.

        • The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 73: The Broadcasting Act Blunder – Why Minister Guilbeault is Wrong

          House of Commons Debate, November 18, 2020CPAC, Heritage Minister Discusses Bill to Update Broadcasting Act

        • Pirate IPTV: UK Police Prepare to Send Warnings to 7,000 Users

          Police say they are preparing to send warning notices to more than 7,000 UK residents who are believed to have purchased pirate IPTV subscriptions. The warnings follow the arrest of a then 28-year-old man in the North-West of England during the summer and the seizure of luxury cars, expensive jewelry, and a pirate IPTV customer database.

        • German Court: YouTube Not Obliged to Reveal Movie Pirates’ Email or IP Addresses

          Germany’s Federal Court of Justice has ruled that YouTube does not have to hand over the email or IP addresses of users who uploaded pirated movies to the platform. The decision is part of a long-running case that saw three YouTube users upload Scary Movie 5 and Parker to the site resulting in thousands of views in breach of copyright.

        • Protecting Your Rights to Understand and Innovate on the Tech in Your Life

          The liability created by Section 1201 can attach even to those who aren’t infringing copyright, because their access is in service of research, education, criticism, remix, or other fair and noninfringing uses. The law allows rightsholders to enforce their business models in ways that have nothing to do with the rights actually granted to copyright holders. A willful and commercial act of circumvention can even result in criminal charges and jail time, and the Department of Justice takes the position that there doesn’t need to be any connection to actual copyright infringement for them to prosecute.

          EFF is representing Matthew Green and bunnie Huang in a First Amendment challenge to Section 1201, based on its failure to respect copyright’s traditional boundaries, including safeguards like fair use.  At the same time, we’re participating in the rulemaking process in hopes of winning some exemptions that will mitigate the law’s harms.  In the past, we’ve won exemptions for remix videos, jailbreaking personal computing devices, repairing and modifying car software, security research, and more.

          This year, EFF is asking the Librarian of Congress to expand on the 2018 device repair exemption with a broader version that would apply to all software-enabled devices and include non-repair modifications.  In past rulemakings, the government has insisted on drawing arbitrarily narrow classes of devices to exempt; our submissions aim to illustrate the wrongheadedness of this approach. In keeping with that theme, we’re also asking the Librarian to clarify that the existing exemption for jailbreaking smart TVs includes video streaming devices like the Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire Stick.

Video: Quick Remarks About the Lack of Oversight at the European Patent Office

Posted in Europe, Patents, Videos at 5:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lady puppet
People entrusted to oversee the Office are acting more like puppets

Summary: A recording made while working on the latest blog post regarding today’s (or this week’s) virtual ‘meeting’

THE EPO is having a critical week this week. The ruins of Benoît Battistelli are still in place, protected if not extended by António Campinos. We still to understand why Josef Kratochvil was put in charge (in theory and now in absentia); he seems to be doing just about nothing, which is likely what Battistelli and his enablers want.

This Week We Shall See If the EPO’s Administrative Council, Led by Josef Kratochvil, is Complicit in a Financial Scam

Posted in Europe, Finance, Fraud, Patents at 5:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Europe’s second-largest institution is in peril as long as nobody wants to end the corruption (either due to fear or because of personal gain)

Whose servant? Now servant of the person he was supposed to supervise
Reference: Josef Kratochvíl

Summary: The administered-by-the-Office ‘Administrative’ Council is having a webchat this week while EPO staff is on strike; it remains to be seen if it’s merely complicit in the financial scams run by the Office, e.g. Salary Adjustment [sic] Procedure (SAP) and EPOTIF (looting EPO workers for gambling purposes or personal gain by managers and former managers)

“The new Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP) will already lead in the first year of its implementation to a massive, irreversible salary cut,” the staff representatives of the EPO wrote this morning, then citing selective bits of the letter below, sent 4 days ago to heads of delegations, who now assemble virtually for the Administrative Council’s meeting, ‘attended’ virtually by António Campinos and ‘in spirit’ by his boss, Benoît Battistelli.

Josef KratochvilThe representatives ask: “Will the AC delegations accept being further misguided?”

“…as per a recent survey, a round total of 0% (yes, zero) of staff trusts the Council.”That’s putting it politely as we’ve long suspected some of them were complicit and several stakeholders in member states were personally benefiting — financially or otherwise — from participation in this financial scam/fraud.

Here’s the full letter, which cites for backing the Association of the European Patent Office Pensioners (mostly retired examiners):

Reference: sc20186cl – 0.3.1/1.3.1/4.2.2
Date: 11.12.2020

To the Chairman and
The Heads of Delegation of the
Administrative Council of the
European Patent Organisation


New Salary Adjustment Procedure: need for action

Dear Mr Chairman,
Dear Heads of Delegation,

Staff have already had an eye-opening moment with the new Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP), which now materialises with CA/66/20. It will already lead in the first year of its implementation to a massive, irreversible salary cut. At the same time, the Office is announcing a massive yearly surplus and massive increases in the Office funds (RFPSS and EPOTIF). Reality is disproving the dystopian assumptions and forecasts that resulted in financial measures unnecessarily imposed on staff.

The Staff Committees have organised virtual general assemblies, virtual floor meetings and mail actions where staff expressed their anger. On 15 December staff will have a symbolic one-day strike (“Enough is Enough”).

The implementation of the SAP in its first year exposes the illegality of decision CA/D 4/20 and the failures of the Office management1, who is still attempting to mislead staff and other stakeholders.

The question now arises. Will the delegations accept being further misguided and persist in a course which ultimately puts the sense of belonging to a common organisation at risk?

1 See also the letter sent by the Association of the European Patent Office Pensioners on 8 December 2020 (annexed). Active staff are future pensioners.

It is high time that the delegations open their eyes and exercise their supervisory role.

Yours sincerely,

Alain Dumont
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

Annex: Comments by the Association of EPO Pensioners on CA/66/20

Vereinigung der Pensionäre des Europäischen Patentamts
Association of the European Patent Office Pensioners
Association des pensionnés de l’Office européen des brevets
Vereniging van de gepensioneerden van het Europees Octrooibureau

Der Vorsitzende
The Chairman
Le Président
De Voorzitter

Curt Edfjäll

8th December 2020

For the attention of:
• Mr Josef Kratochvil, Chairman of the Administrative Council
• Heads and Deputies of Members States Delegations on the Administrative Council
Copy to:
• Mr Antonio Campinos, President of the EPO
• EPO Central Staff Committee
• Council Secretariat
• Board of EPO Pensioners Association.

Dear Mr Kratochvil,
Dear Heads and Deputies of Member States Delegations on the Administrative Council,

Subject: Comments by the Association of EPO Pensioners on CA/66/20, “Adjustment with effect from 1 January 2021 of salaries… and of pensions paid by the Office.”

With CA/D4/20 the Administrative Council approved the new methodology for adjustment of salaries and pensions. Article 10 of CA/D4/20 reads: ”Any positive adjustment resulting from the application of Article 9 and carried forward after three annual salary adjustments will be paid out to employees as a lump sum in proportion to the basic salaries and allowances they received over the three-year period.”

With document CA/66/20 the Office is now presenting the results of the implementation of the methodology from the decision of CA/D4/20. The Association has only recently been made aware of the existence of CA/66/20 and of the negative and unequal effects it will have on pensioners in comparison to active staff.

In point 24 of CA/66/20, the Office presents the excess adjustment not applied in January 2021 for the four countries in which the Office employs staff. CA/66/20 does not specify which excess adjustments have not been applied in countries where EPO pensioners use the salary scale of the country in which they are resident. CA/66/20 states that the remaining balance is carried forward to a redistribution pool which will be used in next year’s adjustment and for a potential one-off payment after 3 years of application of the salary methodology.

Pensioners Association Comments on CA/66/20
Page 1 of 2

The Association has on several occasions asked the Office for explanations as to how the redistribution pool works for pensioners. Only by mail to the Chairman of the Association dated 7 December 2020 did the Office clarify that although the mechanism of excess adjustment is applied to pensioners, the lump sum will not be paid out to pensioners at the end of the 3-year period. I quote from the mail from VP4: “Any remainder of the carried forward adjustment will be paid as a lump sum only to employees in return for their active contribution to the Office’s success in these difficult times.” I wish to recall that today’s pensioners have all also contributed to the success of the EPO and should therefore not be treated unequally to active staff.

VP4 further states: “the principle of equal treatment has been respected.” It is evident that this is not correct. By not according any payment from the redistribution pool to pensioners, there is no equal treatment.

It is thus clear from the Office’s statement above that the Office intends to use the redistribution pool as a kind of bonus payment for active staff, which was certainly not the intention behind the new methodology. However, any money in the redistribution pool resulting from the excess adjustment applied to pension payments will not paid out to pensioners although this money has been taken from their pension payments.

EPC Article 33(2)c states: “The Administrative Council shall be competent to adopt or amend the Pensions Scheme Regulations and any appropriate increases in existing pensions to correspond to increase in salaries.”

The proposal to implement the new methodology so that pensioners do not benefit from the payment of a lump sum at the end of the 3-year period is thus in contradiction to the EPC itself and constitutes an unequal treatment of pensioners compared to active staff.

The Association assumes that the Administrative Council was also not aware of the way the Office intends to apply Article 10 of CA/D4/20 and its negative effects on pensioners.

The Association therefore respectfully requests the Administrative Council to instruct the Office to apply EPC Article 33(2)c correctly so that also pensioners will be given treatment equal to that applied to active staff such that the pensioners will also benefit from a lump sum payment.

Curt Edfjäll
Chairman of the EPO Pensioners’ Association

Pensioners Association Comments on CA/66/20
Page 2 of 2

The likely correct perception that the Council is complicit in it all (seeing the current role of Ernst and previous role of Kongstad, before he was removed for scandals) means that, as per a recent survey, a round total of 0% (yes, zero) of staff trusts the Council. It’s seen as a big part of the problem, incapable of correcting it (because it is unwilling to).

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