Links 17/12/2020: Qt Creator 4.14 is Out and New Debian Site Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 5:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 2020 at System76: A Quick Jaunt Down Memory Lane

        As the year draws to a close, we—

        Holy bonkers. The year is drawing to a close. The year is drawing to a close! THE YEAR IS DRAWING TO A CLOSE!


        *Ahem.* Anywho, we’ve managed to accomplish some really fantastic things that when all summed up together…well…let’s just say we got a bit misty-eyed ourselves when we ran down this list. Won’t you join us for a quick jaunt down memory lane?


        The production floor has also grown with new, better machinery. To ensure our machines are built with only the best quality, we’ve acquired a new bender, a new sander, and a new etching machine. With high-grade equipment like this, we could host a limbo tournament and inscribe the winner’s name on the pole!

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Bad Voltage 3×19: We Have A Bit Of A Point

        Stuart Langridge, Jono Bacon, and Jeremy Garcia present Bad Voltage, in which we look back at 2×62, our predictions show from a year ago and see whether we correctly foresaw what happened in 2020, or… not. Also features SHAMELESS grovelling for points.

      • BSD Now #381: Shell origins

        The Origin of the Shell, Return to Plan 9, ArisbluBSD: Why a new BSD?, OPNsense 20.7.5 released, Midnight BSD 2.0 Release Status, HardenedBSD November 2020 Status Report, and more.

      • S13E39 – Walking backwards | Ubuntu Podcast

        This week we’ve been playing Cyberpunk 2077 and applying for Ubuntu Membership. We round up the goings on in the Ubuntu community and also bring you our favourite news picks from the wider tech world.

        It’s Season 13 Episode 39 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel Alder Lake Sound, Other New Audio Hardware Support In Linux 5.11 – Phoronix

        The latest hardware enablement around Intel’s Alder Lake for the Linux kernel is audio support.

        SUSE’s Takashi Iwai already sent in the sound hardware changes for the ongoing Linux 5.11 merge window and that successfully landed. There are some low-level changes like the Intel DSP support now making use of the new Auxiliary Bus, various code clean-ups, fixes thanks to the Undefined Behavior Sanitizer and Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer spotting problems, better USB audio implicit feedback support, new audio quirks, continued work on Intel Sound Open Firmware, and also some HDMI audio fixes.

      • Linux 5.11 Supports The OUYA Game Console, Other New ARM Hardware Support – Phoronix

        The ARM64 architecture updates were sent in already for Linux 5.11 along with the various ARM SoC additions, DeviceTree additions for new hardware support, and similar changes. There is a lot of new hardware support as always being brought up by the mainline kernel.

      • USB4 / Thunderbolt Improvements Head Into Linux 5.11 – Phoronix

        As part of the areas of the kernel overseen by Greg Kroah-Hartman is the USB subsystem. The USB (and Thunderbolt) updates are now in mainline as part of the ongoing Linux 5.11 merge window.

      • Intel Alder Lake Sound, Other New Audio Hardware Support In Linux 5.11 – Phoronix

        The latest hardware enablement around Intel’s Alder Lake for the Linux kernel is audio support.

        SUSE’s Takashi Iwai already sent in the sound hardware changes for the ongoing Linux 5.11 merge window and that successfully landed. There are some low-level changes like the Intel DSP support now making use of the new Auxiliary Bus, various code clean-ups, fixes thanks to the Undefined Behavior Sanitizer and Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer spotting problems, better USB audio implicit feedback support, new audio quirks, continued work on Intel Sound Open Firmware, and also some HDMI audio fixes.

      • Linux 5.11 Brings Intel WiFi 6GHz Band Support (Wi-Fi 6E)

        The networking subsystem updates have landed for the in-development Linux 5.11 kernel.

      • WiMAX Support Officially Demoted In Linux 5.11

        The Linux 5.11 merge window continues being very active this week with Linus Torvalds hoping kernel maintainers will get in all of their new feature code well before Christmas.

        As reported a few months ago, the Linux kernel is looking to drop its WiMAX support. For phasing out their WiMAX support, with Linux 5.11 they have now moved the code into the “staging” area of the kernel. This is intended as a temporary measure while seeing if any actual users remain of this code and any objections occur or anyone takes over maintaining the code. Otherwise in a later kernel release, the WiMAX support will be stripped out entirely from the mainline kernel.

      • Graphics Stack

        • [ANNOUNCE] Wayland 1.19.0 release schedule
          Hi all,
          It's been a while since the last Wayland release. Wayland is pretty
          mature now and its release cycle is independent from Weston's. No new
          major feature has been accepted, but smaller changes and fixes have
          been merged. A new release will allow us to roll these out.
          Here is the release schedule for Wayland 1.19.0:
          - Alpha: December 18th, at the end of the week
          - Beta: January 6th
          - RC1: January 20th
          - First potential final release date: January 27th
          Package maintainers are encouraged to pick up the pre-releases to make
          sure packaging can be tested (and fixed) before the stable release.
          The autotools build is still supported for this release, but will be
          dropped in the next release. Please use Meson instead and feel free to
          open an issue if you run into a bug.
          Let me know if you'd like a pending patch to make it in the release.
        • Wayland 1.19 Is Set To Come Soon As First Update In Nearly One Year – Phoronix

          Wayland 1.18 came back in February while until now there wasn’t much talk about a “Wayland 1.19″ since at this stage the core functionality of Wayland is quite mature and stable. But now work is underway on Wayland 1.19 with aims to likely ship it in January.

          Wayland 1.19 doesn’t have any pressing work but given various additions have accumulated over the past ten months, Simon Ser is stepping up again as release manager and looking to get it released.

        • NVIDIA has a small update to their Vulkan Beta Driver, plus naming changes to mainline | GamingOnLinux

          NVIDIA have released a small and sweet update to their developer focused Vulkan Beta driver series with 455.46.04 out now for Linux.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Alpha First

          Closer examination revealed that this was due to the app using ARGB formats for its PBOs. Referencing that against VkFormat led to a further problem: ARGB and ABGR are not explicitly supported by Vulkan.

          This wasn’t exactly going to be an easy fix, but it wouldn’t prove too challenging either.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD AOCC 2.3 Squeezing Out Extra Performance For EPYC Over GCC 10, Clang 11

        At the start of the month AMD released AOCC 2.3 as the newest version of the AMD Optimizing C/C++ Compiler. AOCC is one of several LLVM/Clang downstream versions maintained by the company with this one being about delivering flagship AMD Zen family compiler support. From an AMD EPYC 7002 “Rome” series processor I recently wrapped up fresh benchmarks of AOCC 2.3 against the current GCC 10 and Clang 11 compiler releases.

        AOCC 2.3 remains focused on optimized Zen / Zen 2 compiler support at least until the EPYC 7003 “Milan” series processors ship. At that point we imagine it will be AOCC 3.0 just as the shift to AOCC 2.0 happened with EPYC Rome. AOCC 2.3 is based on the LLVM/Clang 11 upstream code-base while continuing to carry various Zen-optimized patches that haven’t yet been upstreamed.

    • Applications

      • Explore the exciting features of the Howl text editor

        Howl is a general-purpose text editor written in Moonscript and Lua. It’s not focused on a specific programming language, and instead features support for many different languages and formats. In fact, it takes inspiration from “traditional” Unix editors like Emacs and Vim, so it feels familiar to anyone accustomed to that style of editing. It’s primarily a text-oriented interface, without dialogue boxes, toolbars, or a menu, and yet, it has many exciting features that make it feel a little like an IDE for authors, regardless of whether you write code or prose.

      • Syncthing, A Friendly Linux Mint Laptop & Android Phone File Sharing

        For you wanting a simple way to send/receive files from Mint computer to Android phone, like KDE Connect, you can use Syncthing. To share files, simply copy files into a selected folder on one device they will automatically sent to the other device. It works offline, that is, without internet access. Syncthing is free software available on both Software Manager and F-Droid for both operating systems. This easy to understand tutorial will show how to install and use it for you. Let’s start sharing!

      • My 40 most favorite applications for Linux in 2020

        It is that time of the year again. December is a reflective month for a lot of us to look back at all that happened and look forward to what will come. For a lot of bloggers, vloggers, news channels and magazines, it’s time to start creating their yearly lists to look back on what happened, what was best or what was the most memorable in their past year. As a Linux blogger I look at and try out a lot of different software solutions and I always do my best to write useful and valuable articles that hopefully help others in their decision making on software selection or just help to explain how applications work, how problems can be solved, or how software can improve your life. Out of all the applications I tried in 2020, a substantial list of applications have my real preference over other applications and I therefore regularly use them for my personal work. So in this article I will share my 40 most favorite applications for Linux in 2020.

      • Ksnip Screenshot Tool 1.8.0 Released as Good Alternative to Shutter

        Ksnip screenshot tool released version 1.8.0 a few days ago with many great new features and improvements, making it more powerful.

        Ksnip is a free open-source Qt based screenshot tool with editing features. It runs in Window, Mac OS, and Linux (both X and Wayland). As Shutter is not in active development, it’s getting more and more issues due to old Gnome dependency libraries. And Ksnip is a great alternative.

        Ksnip 1.8.0 added ability to pin screenshots in frameless windows that stay in foreground. The feature was ported from Flameshot. Without saving a screenshot, the app “Options” menu offers “Pin” option to set it in foreground, and it will disappear with a double click on it.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Monitor CPU and RAM usage in Python with PsUtil – PragmaticLinux

        Want to monitor the CPU and RAM usage of your Linux system from your own Python program? Then you came to the right place! This article teaches you how to install the PsUtil package into your Python virtual environment and how you can use it to monitor the CPU and RAM usage from your own Python program. PsUtil is a Python package with functionality to easily obtain system utilization information.

      • 7 Linux commands to help you with disk management – TechRepublic

        This TechRepublic Premium article introduces users to some of the more useful disk management command line tools found on just about every Linux distribution. Once you have even a basic understanding of these commands, disk management in Linux will be considerably easier.

      • Start learning Kubernetes from your local machine | Enable Sysadmin

        Kubernetes is a global technology but this article prompts you to act locally.

      • How to install UVdesk on Ubuntu Server 20.04 – TechRepublic

        A user-friendly help desk solution can make your company work more efficiently. Jack Wallen shows you how to install UVdesk for just that purpose.

      • How to install RetroArch on a Chromebook

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

      • Build embedded cache clusters with Quarkus and Red Hat Data Grid – Red Hat Developer

        There are many ways to configure the cache in a microservices system. As a rule of thumb, you should use caching only in one place; for example, you should not use the cache in both the HTTP and application layers. Distributed caching both increases cloud-native application performance and minimizes the overhead of creating new microservices.

        Infinispan is an open source, in-memory data grid that can run as a distributed cache or a NoSQL datastore. You could use it as a cache, such as for session clustering, or as a data grid in front of the database. Red Hat Data Grid builds on Infinispan with additional features and support for enterprise production environments.

        Data Grid lets you access a distributed cache via an embedded Java library or a language-independent remote service. The remote service works with protocols such as Hot Rod, REST, and Memcached. In this article, you will learn how to build a distributed cache system with Quarkus and Data Grid. We’ll use Quarkus to integrate two clustered, embedded Data Grid caches deployed to Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform (RHOCP). Figure 1 shows the distributed cache architecture for this example.

      • How To Undo Git Add Command

        When using Git, it is quite common for developers to add new files to their repositories during development.

        Most of the time, files are associated with commits. Developers often start by adding files to their staging area just before committing them to the Git repository.

        However, in some cases, you may want to undo a “git add” operation that you just performed.

        Maybe you added too many files to your staging area or you may feel that a file needs more work because committing it to the repository.

      • How to Install Calibre Content Server in Raspberry Pi – Make Tech Easier

        Calibre is an excellent software for managing your ebook collection. Apart from being a desktop app, do you know that you can also install it as a server so you can store your books in a central location and then access them from various devices? Here we show you how to install the Calibre content server on a Raspberry Pi.

      • How to Install RPM Files on Fedora and Red Hat Linux

        When you start using Fedora Linux in the Red Hat domain, sooner or later, you’ll come across .rpm files. Like .exe files in Windows and .deb files in Ubuntu and Debian, .rpm files enable you to quickly install a software from it on Fedora.

        You could find and install plenty of software from the software center, specially if you enable additional repositories in Fedora. But sometimes you’ll find software available on their website in RPM format.

      • How to create a Samba share on Ubuntu Server 20.04 – TechRepublic

        Samba is one of the many ways to share files and directories across a network on Linux. With a Samba share up and running, any machine within your LAN can access the contents of the shared directory–so long as the user has access. Samba also happens to be one of the easiest to set up for this task.

        I want to walk you through the process of installing and configuring Samba on Ubuntu Server 20.04. With this taken care of, your end users will have easy access to anything you want to share out from that server.

      • How to secure your AWS account by enabling Multi-Factor Authentication

        To improve the security of your AWS account it is recommended to enable Multi-factor Authentication(MFA). We can enable Multi-factor Authentication for IAM users or for the root user. Multi-factor Authentication adds a layer of security as it requires users to enter a security code while logging into the account. MFA helps you keep your account safe and secure even when the user credentials are compromised. If you are using an Android phone you can use “Google Authenticator” as a virtual device. If you want to know other MFA applications, visit the AWS official page here.

      • How to hack Android Auto to display custom content | Opensource.com

        Google’s Android Auto application casts content from a smartphone to a car’s head unit display. Officially, that content includes navigation (e.g., Google Maps and Waze), media players (e.g., VLC, Spotify), and messaging apps. The application is useful, but it would be even better if you could show a film on your head unit’s display or use it as an interface to a custom onboard computer that manages multiple cameras, GPS, and so on.

        This article will demonstrate Android Auto Client-Server (AACS), an early-stage application I’m developing to do these tasks.

    • Games

      • Total War: WARHAMMER II – The Twisted & The Twilight now available on Linux

        Two weeks after the original Windows supported release, Total War: WARHAMMER II – The Twisted & The Twilight is now available for the Linux port. With this latest expansion introducing two new Legendary lords for the Skaven and the Wood Elves, each with new units, gameplay mechanics and unique narrative objectives.

        “With a rift torn open in the Dreaming Woods, Queen Ariel of Athel Loren and her trusted emissaries, the Sisters of Twilight, move to secure it for the Wood Elves. Throt the Unclean has other ideas however, and rallies his monstrous Skaven horde against the Sisters and their Elven queen.”

      • Total War: WARHAMMER II – The Twisted & The Twilight DLC Is Out Now for Linux

        The Twisted & The Twilight DLC for the Total War: WARHAMMER II turn-based strategy and real-time tactics video game comes seven months after The Warden & The Paunch DLC to new lords, new units, new gameplay mechanics, new unique narrative objectives, as well as an old world update for the Wood Elves.

        The Twisted & The Twilight DLC includes two unique Legendary Lords who lead their own faction, objectives, play style, mechanics, and units. These are Throt the Unclean, Master Mutator of Clan Moulder and one of the nine Lords of Hell Pit, as well as The Sisters of Twilight Naestra and Arahan, Emissaries of Queen Ariel.

      • Free and open source space sim ‘Naev’ has a big overhaul update out now | GamingOnLinux

        Naev returns! This classic free and open source 2D space exploration, trading and combat sim release version 0.8.0 and it’s quite a big change for it. What is it? Taking inspiration from the likes of the Escape Velocity series, you travel around space and pretty much do whatever you want. There’s various story missions, lots of different ships and encounters and it’s now bigger than ever.

      • Story-based casual life sim Everafter Falls is fully funded and on the way to Linux | GamingOnLinux

        Developer SquareHusky has managed to have their upcoming casual life sim Everafter Falls funded on Kickstarter, so that’s another wonderful looking game coming our way.

        Inspired by the likes of Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing blended with some action-RPG element it seems like it’s going to be quite an interesting one. If 2020 has shown me anything, it’s that we can never have enough of these games to keep us going. The Kickstarter campaign has now finished on December 10 with it pulling in AU$ 52,536 thanks to over 1,000 backers.

      • Sublime indie racer art of rally has a big content update out with ghost cars | GamingOnLinux

        art of rally is an astonishingly good racing game from the creator of Absolute Drift, and it just recently had a first major content upgrade that’s available now.

      • WWII fantasy tactical-battler Broken Lines has an undead invasion in a free expansion | GamingOnLinux

        Ready to face the horde? WWII fantasy tactics battler Broken Lines has a big free update out now focusing on the rising dead giving you an all-new way to play.

        If you missed this one, it released along with native Linux support back in February 2020 and it was surprisingly great. On their two month launch anniversary, they noted how “macOS and Linux gamers really appreciated having native versions of the game to play”. As for the gameplay it uses a WeGo style of both sides planning at the same time, and then executing and it works well here.

        In the brand new ‘The Dead and the Drunk’ free expansion, it adds in a “bizarre new challenge awaits the surviving squad members. The mysterious fog released by the masked enemies is causing the dead to rise once again” that sees you face off against various undead enemies.

    • Distributions

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • KDE Frameworks, VirtualBox, systemd update in Tumbleweed

          Snapshot 20201215 is the latest update to arrive in the rolling release. The snapshot updated KDE Frameworks 5.77.0 and offered a significant amount of bug fixes and additions for the 83 addon libraries; the Breeze Icon package added an edit-move action icon, the Attica package fixed a crash and KDeclarative relicenses files to the LGPL v2 or later. Both the KIO and Kirigami packages had extensive work done; KIO cleaned up dead code and now requires Qt 5.13. Kirigami fixed rendering borders to the proper size and also made a fix for low power mode. openSUSE’s autoyast2 4.3.64 package added support for Btrfs quotas. The default window sizing was fixed in an update of gnome-tweaks 3.34.1. Location-aware applications will notice a fix for Wifi crashes in the 2.5.6 geoclue2 package. Some obsolete settings were removed from the 4.3.6 yast2-security package and text editor vim fixed the CTRL-Z behavior.

        • Goodbye 2020. Here’s What Our Partners Can Look Forward To In 2021! | SUSE Communities

          This is the end of a very memorable year for all of us. Despite the challenges of 2020, we have continued to make it simpler for partners to do business with us. How?

        • An ASPICE Overview

          Now that you’re well-versed in the Waterfall Model and V-Model, it’s time to take the step up into a wider world of ASPICE.

        • Suse: Linux Management And Beyond

          The number of Hana users is steadily increasing, meaning the number of SAP customers using Linux is increasing as well. System management software plays a central role.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat’s crime against CentOS

          Yes, some people will bolt for Debian, steadfastly against the idea of paying for their operating system. Fine. Others will realize that the cost of paying for RHEL is relatively low compared to the software they might be running on top (Oracle?). Everything will sort itself out. The fact that it even needs sorting may well be Red Hat’s own fault, creating a one-way door by acquiring CentOS. But Red Hat has done this once before, with the creation of RHEL. It should be able to manage the transition again.

          While it does, CentOS users might want to remember Red Hat’s well-earned reputation for being open source friendly. There were many reasons for outrage in 2020. This isn’t one of them.

      • Debian Family

        • The Debian web updates its homepage and prepares for a major renewal

          Today, the Debian website displays a new homepage. Since the most recent web team sprint in March 2019, we have been working on renewing the structure, content, layout and scripts that build the site. There has been work mainly in two areas: removing or updating obsolete content, and creating a new homepage which is more attractive to newcomers, and which also highlights the social aspect of the Debian project in addition to the operating system we develop.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20.1 Beta MATE

          Today we are looking at LinuxMint 20.1 Beta, the MATE Edtion It comes with Linux Kernel 5.8 (upgradeable to 5.8), MATE 1.24, and uses about 800MB of ram when idling. Enjoy!

        • Linux Mint 20.1 Beta MATE Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Linux Mint 20.1 Beta MATE Edition.

        • Linux Mint 20.1 beta arrives

          The next long-term support version of Linux Mint is getting close to release.

        • Linux Mint 20.1 Beta Released With New IPTV App And WebApp Manager

          After six months of development, Linux Mint founder Clem Lefebvre has officially announced a beta version of the new and upcoming Linux Mint 20.1 “Ulyssa.”

          As you know, Linux Mint 20.1 is a long term support (LTS) version, which will receive security updates until 2025. The beta release comes with updated software, new features and available in Cinnamon, Xfce, and MATE editions.

        • Linux Mint 20.1 ‘Ulyssa’ gets a first Beta release for their upcoming LTS

          Linux Mint, the beginner friendly Linux distribution is getting ready to release a big new upgrade with Linux Mint 20.1 ‘Ulyssa’ that will be their new Long Term Support version.

          Coming across three official flavours that had their Beta release with the Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce desktop environments so you can pick what you’re more familiar with. Each with their own special theming from the Mint team, along with plenty of other tweaks.

        • Telco and Ubuntu: 2020 roundup

          2021 is around the corner and we had such a tremendous journey this year. Like many others, at Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu, we lived different times and maybe more than ever we saw how important it was to stay connected. Therefore, Canonical continued to innovate in the telco world and brought Ubuntu closer to it, by offering open source systems and supporting the deployment of various applications. From 5G to network function virtualisation (NFV), from virtual events to webinars for our users, we spread energy around and gathered enterprise feedback.


          In November, MTS, Russia’s largest mobile operator and a leading provider of media and digital services, announced the selection of Canonical’s Charmed OpenStack to power the company’s next-generation cloud infrastructure. The company mentioned that this is the foundation of the 5G rollout that would come in the following months, enhancing their network’s edge compute capabilities.

        • Migrating to Ubuntu LTS: six facts for CentOS users | Ubuntu

          Considering migrating to Ubuntu from other Linux platforms, such as CentOS?

          Think Ubuntu- the most popular Linux distribution on public clouds, data centre and the edge. Since its inception, Ubuntu consistently gains market share, as of today reaching almost 50%.

          Wondering why Ubuntu is so popular?

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 5 Best Free and Open Source X10 Home Automation Software

        The issue of whether proprietary software is a necessary evil crops up on a frequent basis. Supporters of proprietary software contend that there will always be an unwillingness in the open source community to write detail-laden code designed for certain niche markets. For example, a dental practice will certainly have a need for specialist software, and code developed for that practice may be difficult, or impossible, to adapt for other fields. Proprietary software advocates argue that open source developers would be unwilling to design a customized system for a particular dentist’s practice. Whilst there may be circumstances where proprietary software is more attractive, it ultimately causes more problems than it solves. This also applies to proprietary protocols.

      • curl supports NASA

        Not everyone understands how open source is made. I received the following email from NASA a while ago.


        Okay, I first considered going with strong sarcasm in my reply due to the complete lack of understanding, and the implied threat in that last line. What would happen if I wouldn’t respond in time?

        Then it struck me that this could be my chance to once and for all get a confirmation if curl is already actually used in space or not. So I went with informative and a friendly tone.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • moz://gfx newsletter #54 – Mozilla Gfx Team Blog

            Hey all, Jim Mathies here, the new Mozilla Graphics Team manager. We haven’t had a Graphics Newsletter since July, so there’s lots to catch up on. TL/DR – We’re shipping our Rust based WebRender backend to a very wide audience as of Firefox 84. Read on for more detail on our progress.

          • Improving Cross-Browser Testing, Part 1: Web Application Testing Today – Mozilla Hacks – the Web developer blog

            Testing web applications can be a challenge. Unlike most other kinds of software, they run across a multitude of platforms and devices. They have to be robust regardless of form factor or choice of browser.

            We know this is a problem developers feel: when the MDN Developer Needs Assessment asked web developers for their top pain points, cross-browser testing was in the top five in both 2019 and 2020.

            Analysis of the 2020 results revealed a subgroup, comprising 13% of respondents, for whom difficulties writing and running tests were their overall biggest pain point with the web platform.

            At Mozilla, we see that as a call to action. With our commitment to building a better Internet, we want to provide web developers the tools they need to build great web experiences – including great tools for testing.

            In this series of posts we will explore the current web-application testing landscape and explain what Firefox is doing today to allow developers to run more kinds of tests in Firefox.

          • Mozilla Addons Blog: Friend of Add-ons: Andrei Petcu

            Please meet our newest Friend of Add-ons, Andrei Petcu! Andrei is a developer and a free software enthusiast. Over the last four years, he has developed several extensions and themes for Firefox, assisted users with troubleshooting browser issues, and helped improve Mozilla products by filing issues and contributing code.

            Andrei made a significant contribution to the add-ons community earlier this year by expanding Firefox Color’s ability to customize the browser. He hadn’t originally planned to make changes to Firefox Color, but he became interested in themer.dev, an open-source project that lets users create custom themes for their development environments. After seeing another user ask if themer could create a custom Firefox theme, Andrei quickly investigated implementation options and set to work.

            Once a user creates a Firefox theme using themer.dev, they can install it in one of two ways: they can submit the theme through addons.mozilla.org (AMO) and then install the signed .xpi file, or they can apply it as a custom theme through Firefox Color without requiring a signature.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Rethinking Storage for Longer Retention

          David Morris, Vice President of Product and Global Marketing at FalconStor, had been thinking a lot about the future of storage. He wondered what it would take to retain data for more than a century. After all, most electronic media die long before that. It quickly became apparent that the existing system-centric approach would demand the copying of information to new systems ten to twenty-five times over the data retention lifecycle. That opens the door to human error, data and operating system incompatibilities, and hardware incompatibility.

          Further challenges include data accessibility and application availability. Will the application or database needed to access the data still exist in 50 years? Probably not. Even if the application vendor is still going in 50 or 100 years, the application and its architecture will almost certainly have shifted sufficiently to be incompatible with 50-year-old data, much less 100-year-old data.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.0.4 Office Suite Released with More Than 110 Bug Fixes

          Coming about two months after LibreOffice 7.0.3, the LibreOffice 7.0.4 update is packed with a total of 114 bug fixes across all core components of the office suite in an attempt to further improve its stability, reliability and document compatibility.

          The Document Foundation urges all users to update to LibreOffice 7.0.4, even if you’re still using the LibreOffice 6.4 series, which reached end of life on November 30th, 2020, and will no longer receive updates.

        • The Document Foundation releases LibreOffice 7.0.4

          LibreOffice 7.0.4, the fourth minor release of the LibreOffice 7.0 family, is available from https://www.libreoffice.org/download/. All users are invited to update to this version, as the LibreOffice 6.4 family won’t be updated, having reached end-of-life. LibreOffice 7.0.4 includes over 110 bug fixes and improvements to document compatibility.

          LibreOffice offers the highest level of compatibility in the office suite arena, starting from native support for the OpenDocument Format (ODF) – with better security and interoperability features – to wide support for proprietary formats. End user support is provided by volunteers via email and online resources: https://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/community-support/. On the website and the wiki there are guides, manuals, tutorials and HowTos. Donations help us to make all of these resources available.

        • Install LibreOffice 7.0.4 on Ubuntu 20.04 / LinuxMint

          LibreOffice 7.0.4 is the 5th minor update and comes with a fix of 110 bug fixes and this version contains new features and program enhancements

          All users are requested to update to this version as soon as possible.

          This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install LibreOffice 7.0.4 on Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 18.04 / 16.04, and LinuxMint 19.3.

      • CMS

        • Aloia CMS: Next Generation Flat-file CMS for Laravel developers

          Laravel is a trending PHP7 development framework. It gained popularity among PHP developers especially newcomers and old-school developers who are migrating from other legacy frameworks.

          Many PHP companies and enterprise prefer Laravel for in-house and client projects. As example at Neoxero.com, we used it for several projects (Automation, content management, and eCommerce).

          Today’s topic about a great tool for Laravel developers that boost the development for creating flat-file CMS.

          Aloia CMS is a flat-file content management system (CMS) component for Laravel.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Mapbox GL JS Is No Longer Open Source

            Mapbox GL JS, formerly an open source JavaScript library for interactive, customizable vector maps, has adopted a proprietary license in its recent version 2 update: [...]

      • Programming/Development

        • Qt Creator 4.14 released

          We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.14!

          Qt Creator 4.14 fixes many issues when using Qt 6 for your application. The project wizards now generate CMake projects compatible with Qt 6. The pretty printers for Qt types needed adaptations to the internal changes to types. We fixed issues with new features in the QML language in our QML code model.

          If you plan to use or test Qt 6 for your applications, make sure to use Qt Creator 4.14 for the best experience.

        • Welcome to our 2020 Qt Champions!

          We have now handled the nominations with the current lifetime champions we have now come to a consensus on the Qt Champions of 2020! A special thank you to @SGaist, @mrjj, @aha_1980 and Orgad Shaneh for your help in this regard!

          Firstly, I would like to make a special mention for one of the nominations this year which isn’t a nomination for a person but for a whole project. The KDE project. As I am sure a lot of you will already be aware but the KDE project is very much involved with the Qt project and has its contributors have contributed a lot Qt over the years as well. So although as a project it is not eligable to be a Qt Champion, we were unanimous in the fact that we wanted to highlight the fact that the KDE project has contributed a lot to the success of Qt and as such warrant being mentioned as part of the Qt Champions.

        • Adlink sponsors vision AI hackathon with $10K prize and Avnet launches contests and Pi giveaways

          Adlink announced a “20/20 Vision Hack” competition for the best vision AI concepts based on its Vizi-AI SBC and Intel’s OpenVINO, with prizes up to $10,000. Avnet’s Newark is launching a “Winter Games” circuit board design competition.

        • 6 top content trends on IBM Developer for 2020

          We crunched the numbers for 2020 to see what you, our readers, found to be the most interesting content of the year. This blog post highlights a few of the trends we noticed with the content we created — and that you liked! — in 2020.

        • POCL 1.6 Released For Portable OpenCL Atop CPUs, Other Accelerators – Phoronix

          A new feature release of POCL is now available that is the “Portable Computing Language” offering OpenCL execution atop CPUs and other devices like NVIDIA CUDA that have an LLVM back-end.

          POCL 1.6 is out as the latest feature release and continues providing OpenCL 1.2 support and a subset of OpenCL 2.0 functionality. POCL is most well known for OpenCL on CPUs but thanks to LLVM also allows targeting NVIDIA GPUs with CUDA, AMD GPUs with HSA, and other possible accelerator targets. POCL makes use of LLVM’s Clang OpenCL front-end.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Mojibake bonanza

            Dozens of gibberished words! New mojibake puzzles! That’s what I found recently in a UTF-8 dataset from the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) at Harvard University. Below are my attempts at reconstructing a few of the mojibake histories.

  • Leftovers

    • Godfather Coda: The Death Of Michael Corleone—Coppola’s Finale?

      Contrasting other writers, I don’t have a definite answer.

      Some critics have been reappraising Sofia Coppola’s performance as Michael’s daughter Mary and saying that it was a hidden masterwork, unjustly derided owing to the unmerited claims of nepotism and bad press the movie was given in a pivotal onset report by Vanity Fair’s Peter Boyer.

    • The Most Vital Transition Is Ours

      Ann Arbor, Mich.—We’re at a historical pause far deeper than the interregnum between Trump and Biden. Amid planetary warming, the pandemic has forced us to slow down if not to stop in our tracks.

    • Everything Is the Music

      Darting through these poems is an answer to a question, posed by multiple and overlapping waves of Black artists: How do you account for the dynamism at the heart of Black expression, and its centrality to the wider culture it’s been forced to resist? To phrase the question this way invokes the figure of the fighter: not the pedant or the philistine, but the militant, advancing swiftly across a field of possibilities. As a writer, Thulani Davis has adopted an array of canny tactics. Journalist, librettist, novelist, historian, performer, memoirist, poet: these are her many roles, gathered over a lifetime of collaboration and productive flux. In this book the identities are braided into a single ethos; Nothing but the Music marries poetry and struggle, and presents their reciprocity as essential to style: “That’s just like Angola,” Terri chimed, “Sometimes it’s not who but what, sometimes not what but who.” I’m trying to talk to these people about this race riot— someone is walking on the bar and everyone of us belongs even now to Miami, to people we have never seen.

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • Tested: How badly Windows on Arm compares to the new Mac M1s

        After Apple released its impressive M1 Arm chip on its new Macs, and Microsoft followed with its long-awaited 64-bit X86 emulator, we had just one question: How does Windows on Arm compare to MacOS on Arm? The answer: badly. Very, very badly.

      • Google buys Neverware to turn old PCs into Chromebooks

        Google has quietly acquired Neverware, a developer that can take an old Mac or PC and essentially retrofit it into a Chromebook via its CloudReady technology. The technology will be folded into the ChromeOS team, Neverware said.

        Neverware quietly announced the acquisition in a blog post on Monday night and said that more details would be revealed over the coming months.

      • [Old] How to turn an old laptop into a Chromebook

        Not everyone needs a computer with a full set of bells and whistles. A Chromebook’s simplified interface makes it popular with schools—and those of us who serve as IT support for less tech-savvy relatives. You don’t need to worry about managing irritating updates or avoiding malware on a Chromebook, like you do if you simply install Chrome on an old Windows laptop, and the lightweight operating system feels much snappier than Windows on modest hardware. Chromebooks can cost less than a budget PC, too.

        You might not even need to spend anything if you have an older laptop already lying about. Installing the equivalent of Chrome OS onto aged hardware takes less than an hour’s worth of elbow grease, and the final result often feels snappier than today’s dirt-cheap Chromebooks. Woot

        Here’s how to do it.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Pandemic Lessons for the Rest of Us

        “The contemporary tendency in our society is to base our distribution on scarcity, which has vanished, and to compress our abundance into the overfed mouths of the upper classes until they gag with superfluity. If democracy is to have breadth of meaning, it is necessary to adjust this inequity. It is not only moral, but it is also intelligent.”

        King concluded that American society was degrading human life by clinging to old thinking rather than turning to bold, visionary solutions — words that (sadly enough) ring even truer in our day than in his.

      • Fish Wars and Brexit

        A key contention between the parties is the issue of fishing. Access to British waters by European nations is a long affair that prompted the late diplomat Sir Con O’Neill to remark that, “The question of fisheries was economic peanuts, but political dynamite.” Eight European member states who fish in British waters are demanding that Britain, despite Brexit, maintain the status quo on fishing arrangements.

        Non-UK boats have certainly been very happy to avail themselves of waters within the UK’s 200-nautical mile economic zone. Between 2012 and 2014, it was estimated that 58% of fish and shellfish landed from the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone were caught by non-UK boats. This comprised 650,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish worth £408 million each year. UK fishing boats, in contrast, landed 90,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish, worth £103 million.

      • Vaccine Passports: A Stamp of Inequity

        We must make sure that, in our scramble to reopen the economy, we do not overlook inequity of access to the vaccine; how personal health data in newly minted digital systems operate as gatekeepers to workplaces, schools, and other spaces; and the potential that today’s vaccine passport will act as a catalyst toward tomorrow’s system of national digital identification that can be used to systematically collect and store our personal information.

        We have already witnessed problems with COVID-19 testing and its intersection with digital rights. Some individuals weren’t able to access testing simply because they did not have access to a vehicle. The digital divide emerged in places like San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, where many weren’t able to access testing because they did not have a smartphone. The danger of further social inequity is just one reason why we opposed a since-vetoed bill in California that proposed to create a blockchain-based system of verifiable credentials for medical test results, including COVID-19 antibody tests. We must draw on the lessons from the recent past and earlier vaccination efforts as we go forward.

        EFF is focused on proposals to distribute these vaccination credentials digitally. While paper-based credentials are possible, too, most proposed plans involve digital implementations. In fact, some companies already have digital passport systems. CLEAR is rolling out a HealthPass that logs testing or vaccination status. This company provides pre-flight screening in major airports around the country. Ticketmaster has considered partnering with CLEAR for another “Health Pass.” Such partnerships could lead to another intertwined network of unprecedented sharing of personal information, similar to issues we have currently with data brokers and advertising information.

      • The second time around Latest mortality statistics reveal that the fall coronavirus wave was worse for Russia

        Last week, the Russian Federal Statistics Service (Rosstat) published new data on mortality in all of the country’s regions, revealing that 30 percent more people died in October 2020 than in that same month last year. This data shows that the coronavirus pandemic’s second wave in Russia this fall was in fact more serious than the first wave in the spring: it appears that in September and October the number of deaths linked to the coronavirus was nearly the same as during the period from April to August. In addition, Russia remains ranked among the top-five countries with the highest death tolls from the coronavirus in the world. 

      • A Public Option Won’t Save Us. The Sick and Disabled Need Medicare-for-All

        Medicare and Medicaid are rife with complicated formulas for exclusions, exceptions, and limitations. The cruelty that is imposed by the constraints of these programs cannot be overstated.

      • HHS Aide Pushed Herd Immunity to Trump COVID Officials: “We Want Them Infected”
      • COVID Cases in Prisons and ICE Immigration Jails Surpass 250,000
      • UN Warns New Wave of Locust Swarms Threatens Food Security of Millions in East Africa

        “We must not waiver. Locusts keep growing day and night and risks are exacerbating food insecurity for vulnerable families across the affected region.”

      • A Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance for Liberian Immigrants Has Been “Hamstrung” by COVID — and Trump’s Dysfunctional Immigration Bureaucracy

        In late August — over halfway through the one-year application window for a little-known program allowing thousands of Liberian immigrants to get green cards — a group of Minnesota lawyers held a webinar to share updates on their cases. The takeaway: No one was sure what evidence the U.S. government was accepting to prove that an applicant was actually Liberian.

        Birth certificates, which the federal government had accepted from these immigrants when they had applied for temporary legal status under past presidents, were now deemed insufficient. So were expired Liberian passports — even though they were being offered as proof of nationality, which doesn’t expire.

      • Four months that will decide America’s future

        Yes, vaccines are coming, and the first vaccinations may begin next week. But their cumulative effect on the nation’s health will not be felt until well into 2021. If Americans do not change their behavior quickly, experts warn, the weeks and months ahead will be filled with more death and despair, packed hospitals and unemployment lines, and further political polarization and alienation.

        The time to change our path is now.

      • Trump Official Reportedly Pushed for COVID-19 “Herd Immunity” by Letting Young People Get Infected

        Herd immunity is an important epidemiological concept that basically just means enough people have been infected and developed immunity for the larger population to suppress the spread of an infectious disease. But turning that concept into a political strategy for managing the virus, especially in the early days of the global outbreak, has caused controversy. As Nature reported last month, despite its possible eventual efficacy, many experts say herd immunity as a strategy is tantamount to surrendering to the virus, a strategy that experts say has never succeeded before. As Kristian Andersen, a Scripps Research Institute immunologist put it, “It will lead to unacceptable and unnecessary untold human death and suffering.”

      • In ‘Landmark’ Moment, London Coroner Lists Air Pollution as a Cause of Young Girl’s Death

        London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the coroner’s report must mark “a turning point so that other families do not have to suffer the same heartbreak.”

      • In a First, Air Pollution Listed as Among Causes of Death of British Girl

        Air pollution has been listed as a contributing factor in the death of a nine-year-old British girl in 2013.

        After a two-week inquest, coroner Philip Barlow determined that Ella Kissi-Debrah of South London died of acute respiratory failure, severe asthma and exposure to air pollution.

        It is the first time that air pollution has been listed as a contributing cause of death in Britain, the BBC reported.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • LF Energy Announces SEAPATH Power Grid Virtualization Project

                LF Energy, along with Alliander, RTE and its new member, Savoir-faire Linux, announced the second project in its Digital Substation Automation Systems (DSAS) initiative——SEAPATH or Software Enabled Automation Platform and Artifacts.

                As part of DSAS’ objective to create the next-gen digital substation technology, SEAPATH will provide a reference design and a real-time, open-source platform for grid operators to run virtualized automation and protection applications.

              • Open Mainframe Project Welcomes New Project Tessia, HCL Technologies and Red Hat to its Ecosystem
              • Open Mainframe Project Welcomes New Project Tessia, HCL Technologies and Red Hat to its Ecosystem

                The Open Mainframe Project (OMP), an open source initiative that enables collaboration across the mainframe community to develop shared tool sets and resources, today welcomes Tessia, a tool that automates and simplifies the installation, configuration and testing of Linux systems running on the Z platform, to its ecosystem. Additionally, HCL Technologies and Red Hat join the project to strengthen their commitment to open source mainframe technologies.

                “Open Mainframe Project has experienced record growth this year in terms of membership and projects,” said John Mertic, Director of Program Management at the Linux Foundation. “We look forward to strengthening our role as the number one resource for programs that advance the technology and training for the mainframe, especially with new members HCL and Red Hat who will expand our leadership and expertise.”

              • Linux Foundation’s DENT Switch OS Gets Galactic Debut

                The Linux Foundation’s disaggregated enterprise edge and campus switching platform, DENT, is now available.

                The first release of network operating system (NOS) is called Arthur, named of course after the protagonist of Douglas Adam’s seminal novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” Arthur Dent.

                “Arthur Dent is kind of that everyman character in ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide,’ and we’ve really taken that to heart,” said Trishan de Lanerolle, technical program manager and architect at The Linux Foundation. “DENT is everyman’s, every operator’s sort of NOS.”

              • Dent Introduces Industry’s First End-to-End Networking Stack Designed for the Modern Distributed Enterprise Edge and Powered by Linux
              • Dent Introduces Industry’s First End-to-End Networking Stack Designed for the Modern Distributed Enterprise Edge and Powered by Linux

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced Arthur — the first code release of Dent, a project to enable the creation of a Network Operating System (NOS) for Disaggregated Network Switches in campus and remote enterprise locations. Since its December 2019 launch, several companies have joined DENT as general members, including Innovium, Arcadyan, Aviz Networks, and Alpha Networks who are joined by Dent premier members Amazon, Delta Electronics Inc, Marvell, NVIDIA, Edgecore Networks, and Wistron NeWeb (WNC).

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • Google Develops Scoring Tool to Identify Critical Open Source Projects

              We need new ways to connect critical open source projects with organizations that can provide support, Google said in a recent blog post.

              “Most organizations, large and small, make use of open source software every day to build modern products, but many OSS projects are struggling for the time, resources and attention they need. This is a resource allocation problem and Google, as part of Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF), can help solve it together,” Google said.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (firefox-esr, sympa, thunderbird, tomcat8, and xerces-c), Fedora (fprintd, kernel, libfprint, and synergy), Mageia (bitcoin, dpic, firefox, jasper, jupyter-notebook, sam2p, thunderbird, and x11-server), Oracle (firefox, gd, kernel, net-snmp, openssl, python-rtslib, samba, and targetcli), Red Hat (fapolicyd, openshift, Red Hat Virtualization, and web-admin-build), SUSE (xen), and Ubuntu (unzip).

          • US Says Recent [Cracking] Campaign Hit Government Networks

            Technology company SolarWinds Corp., which was the key stepping-stone used by the [attackers], said up to 18,000 of its customers had downloaded a compromised software update that allowed [attackers] to spy unnoticed on businesses and agencies for almost nine months.

          • Security Researcher Reveals Solarwinds’ Update Server Was ‘Secured’ With The Password ‘solarwinds123′

            As was noted here earlier, up to 18,000 customers of globally-dominant network infrastructure vendor SolarWinds may have been compromised by malicious hackers. The hackers — presumed to be operating on behalf of the Russian government — deployed tainted updates (served up by SolarWinds) that gave them backdoors to snoop on internal communications and exfiltrate sensitive data.

          • Windows backdoor SystemBC being used by RaaS affiliates: Sophos

            One of the many tools used by multiple ransomware groups in a similar way — suggesting that they are being used by ransomware-as-a-service affiliates — is the Windows backdoor SystemBC, global cyber security vendor Sophos claims.

          • Cryptographically secure 32-bit RNG in strict ZSH

            ZSH ships a couple random number generators via the $RANDOM environment variable and rand48() via zsh/mathfunc, but neither are cryptographically secure. This code produces a 32-bit random number suitable for cryptography. It’s only dependency is /dev/urandom and it does not rely on any shell commands or 3rd party utilities. It assumes ZSH was compiled with 64-bit integer support.

          • Xiphera contributes to Linux kernel

            Xiphera’s Linux driver for the XIP8001B TRNG (True Random Number Generator) Intellectual Property (IP) core has been added to the Linux kernel source tree.

            The ability to create true random numbers is an essential requirement for modern cryptographic algorithms. One of the many applications of cryptography is Operating System (OS) security, which naturally creates a need for random numbers within the OS software. Linux has implemented its random number generation by using pseudorandom number generators, which need to be regularly seeded with entropy (randomness) to work properly and securely. Especially in embedded systems, the task of collecting sufficient amounts of entropy can be complicated. This is why Linux developers have created a mechanism for hardware random number generators to fill the kernel’s entropy pool. Xiphera’s Linux driver has been designed for this purpose.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Germany opens door to Huawei, with strict conditions: report

              German Chancellor Angela Merkel has snubbed US demands to exclude Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies from Germany’s 5G networks, with legislation, that sets strict conditions for its participation, being sent to the Bundestag.

            • ACLU sues Baltimore PD for lying about aerial mass surveillance program

              When the AIR pilot program was first revealed, BPD told official courts and the court of public opinion that the surveillance images captured by AIR would only be stored for 45 days. Additionally, BPD claimed that the AIR program was only for tracking suspects to and from confirmed crime scenes and that the department lacked the ability to gather identifying information like license plate numbers from the surveillance.

            • Twitter says it will start removing COVID-19 vaccine misinformation

              Any tweets claiming that vaccines “intentionally cause harm to control populations” or invoke conspiracy theories will be subject to removal, according to Twitter’s blog post. Tweets falsely suggesting that COVID-19 doesn’t exist or espouse “widely debunked” claims may also be removed. Enforcement of the new policy will begin next week.

              Twitter may also label or place warnings on tweets pushing vaccine conspiracy theories starting early next year. These labeled tweets could link out to authoritative public health information, similar to how Twitter directed users to verified voting information throughout the 2020 election.

            • Massachusetts governor won’t sign facial recognition ban

              Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has refused to sign a law banning most government use of facial recognition. The Boston Globe reported last week that Baker sent an omnibus police reform bill back to state lawmakers, asking for changes that included striking the facial recognition rules.

              Massachusetts legislators passed the first major state-level facial recognition ban, following a model set by individual cities like Boston and San Francisco. The bill says public agencies, including police departments, can’t use or acquire biometric surveillance systems. It makes exceptions for running facial recognition searches against a motor vehicles registration database, as long as police obtain a warrant or demonstrate “immediate danger” that requires a search. It would help fill a gap left by federal lawmakers, who haven’t passed a nationwide framework for using potentially invasive facial recognition technologies.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • JatiIndia: Atrocities Caste, Present and Future

        In 1818, members of the Mahar (Dalit) community of Maharashtra had fought in the victorious battle of Bhima Koregaon on the side of the British against the upper-caste Peshwas, bringing an end to their rule. Thirty-three years later, a victory pillar (Vijay Sthamb) was constructed in Bhima Koregaon at the battle site. It included the names of the fallen Mahar soldiers. The first commemoration event was held on January 1, 1928 and was led by India’s father of the Constitution, the Dalit-rights leader B.R. Ambedkar. Every year since, “Ambedkarite Dalits” from all across the state have gathered there to celebrate Mahar “valor and pride.”

        On January 1st, 2018, thousands of Dalits had gathered at the Vijay Sthamb to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon when violence broke out. The celebrants were attacked by Hindutva (Hindu nationalists) activists waving saffron flags, torching vehicles and pelting stones, killing one person and injuring many others.

      • We Have a Fascism Problem

        * Ruth Ben-Ghiat, July 23, 2020

        We have a Nazi problem in this country…They don’t, for the most part, wave swastikas and salute Hitler, but we have a Nazi problem in this country …They carry the torch of slavery, genocide, and Jim Crow terror. Gunned up and mask-less, they exalt above all the right to kill

      • St. Petersburg deputies call on Russian FSB to investigate operatives implicated in Navalny poisoning

        Three deputies from St. Petersburg’s legislative assembly have sent an appeal to Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Alexander Bortnikov, demanding that his office look into the information outlined in a recent journalistic investigation about the August 2020 poisoning of opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

      • As Trump Continues Killing Spree, Pressley Leads Call for Biden to Immediately Abolish Death Penalty

        “Your historic election with record turnout represents a national mandate to make meaningful progress in reforming our unjust and inhumane criminal legal system,” wrote the lawmakers to Biden.

      • Russia’s foreign minister dismisses investigation implicating FSB in Navalny poisoning

        Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has dismissed a recent investigative report connecting the August 2020 poisoning of opposition figure Alexey Navalny to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). Lavrov commented on the investigation during a press conference in Zagreb on Wednesday, December 16, which was reported on by Interfax.

      • Jesus Was a Victim of Empire. Acknowledging This Should Transform Christianity.
      • A CIA Officer Has a Headache. Media Blame Russia.

        A 9,000-word story for GQ (10/20/20) about the mystery ailment of a CIA officer in Moscow has become the unlikely subject of a weeks-long media storm.

      • Suspected Al-Shabab Operative Brought to US to Face Terror Charges

        An al-Shabab terror group operative accused of conspiring to carry out a 9/11-style attack in the United States has been brought to New York to face terrorism charges, the Justice Department announced on Wednesday.

        Kenyan national Cholo Abdi Abdullah was transferred on Tuesday from the Philippines where he had been in local custody since his arrest in July 2019. The Philippines handed him over to U.S. authorities on Tuesday.

        Abdullah is accused of conspiring to hijack a commercial airliner and crash it into a building in the United States. As part of the plot directed by senior al-Shabab leaders, Abdullah allegedly obtained pilot training in the Philippines.

      • Boko Haram: Terrorists attack Nigerian refugees in Timur, kill 51

        Reports reaching DAILY POST from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital in the northeast region have it that insurgents have attacked Tumur Town, a community in Niger Republic, which houses more than 40,000 refugees from Nigeria.

      • Texas Ex-Cop Arrested for Allegedly Threatening an Innocent Repairman in a Right-Wing Ballot Fraud Investigation

        A former Texas cop was arrested after authorities allege he threatened an air-conditioner repairman while investigating voter fraud, the Texas Tribune reported. According to the paper, former Houston police captain Mark Aguirre was arrested in connection to an October 19 incident when he allegedly ran another person off the road and threatened him with a gun. Prosecutors say it was part of a scheme to find evidence of the alleged voter fraud President Donald Trump and his allies have centered on in their efforts to overturn the election.

      • Former Houston police captain accused of violent attempt to prove election conspiracy was hired by GOP activist’s group

        Mark Aguirre was working on behalf of a powerful Republican megadonor’s group to investigate unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud when, in October, he allegedly pulled a gun on a man described by the Harris County district attorney’s office as an “innocent and ordinary” air conditioner repairman.

      • The New Humanitarian | The African migrants stuck in a Yemen limbo

        The people smuggler spreads his arms wide over nine oblong piles of grey rocks, each representing one dead migrant. A tenth hole waits to be filled. “I buried them here myself,” Ahmed al-Awlaqi says proudly.
        The rock towers surround forlorn, makeshift graves, which are linked by strings of brightly patterned garbage. This is where al-Awlaqi says he buried 70 of the thousands of people he has brought to the southern Yemeni province of Shabwa.
        Al-Awlaqi insists those he buried here drowned on their way to Yemen. Others blame the deaths mostly on fighting, or on poor conditions in the buildings where smugglers like al-Awlaqi house them. Either way, the eerily silent desert valley 10 kilometres outside Ataq, Shabwa’s provincial capital, is not the final stop the graves’ occupants had hoped for.
        Nearly six years into Yemen’s war, migrants continue to arrive in the country, although numbers are significantly lower in 2020 thanks to COVID-19-related border restrictions. According to the UN’s migration agency, IOM, just over 35,000 migrants have made it to Yemen so far this year, down from 138,000 in 2019.
        Most hope to continue north through Yemen, eventually crossing the border into Saudi Arabia where there has long been plentiful work for day labourers.

      • The New Humanitarian | A Nigerian community looks to forge its own peace

        Solomon Magaji can still see what’s left of his home from the opposite bank of the Kaduna River, but he can also see the men who torched it grazing their cattle untroubled on the abandoned fields around his village in northwestern Nigeria.
        Magaji, a quietly spoken single father, lost everything in the attack one night in May – so sudden all he had time to do was grab his eight-year-old son and run. “Two of my cousins were killed,” he told The New Humanitarian. “My house, my grain: It was all burnt to ashes.”
        No help has come for the roughly 1,500 people scattered by the attack. Instead, survivors are being looked after by friends, relatives, and private charities. They have zero plans to return home: That would require the help of the police to guarantee their safety.
        Overstretched, the police justify their inaction by blaming the remoteness of the village, Unguwar Haraha Gofe, and the difficulty of the terrain.
        “The government is not doing anything,” said Magaji – a not-so-subtle suggestion that the authorities have little sympathy for opposition-supporting communities in the Southern Kaduna region. “Even if we could go back, all our houses are destroyed. Where would we stay?”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Doxxing: Tips To Protect Yourself Online & How to Minimize Harm

        By itself, being doxxed can be dangerous, as it may reveal information about you that could harm you if it were publicly known. More often it is used to escalate to greater harm such as mass online harassment, in-person violence, or targeting other members of your community. Your political beliefs or status as a member of a marginalized community can amplify these threats.

        Although you aren’t always faced with the option, taking control of your data and considering precautionary steps to advance your personal security are best done before you’re threatened with a potential doxxing. Privacy does not work retroactively. A great place to start is to develop your personal threat model. After you’ve done that, you can take specific measures to advance your data hygiene.

        First: Take a look at the information that is already publicly available about you online. This is as simple as opening up a search engine and entering your name/nickname/handle/avatar and seeing what comes up. It’s common to be overwhelmed by what you find: there can be much more data about you than you expected readily available online to anyone that cares to do a little digging. Remind yourself that this is normal, and that you are on your way to reducing that information and taking the necessary steps to protecting yourself. Take note of any pieces that strike you as high priority to deal with. Keep track both of what the information is and where you found it.

    • Environment

      • ‘Two Powerhouse Leaders’: Environmentalists Applaud Biden Selections of Granholm, McCarthy for Key Climate Posts

        “Joe Biden’s entire government must be dedicated to mobilizing for an end to the fossil fuel era, and these announcements are a step in the right direction.”

      • Earth may be even closer to 1.5°C of global warming than we thought

        The finding means governments may have less time to curb carbon emissions to hold the temperature rise to 1.5°C or 2°C under the Paris deal, and current estimates of future warming may rise too.

      • Watchdog calls out Finnish firms for “unsustainable” cinnamon sourcing

        Cinnamon is obtained from the inner bark of cinnamon tree. The easiest way to collect the bark is by logging trees, but the method has been reported to cause a loss of biodiversity, erosion and deforestation in the region.

        Clearcutting entire plantations is not necessary, and Finnwatch has made recommendations looking at more sustainable harvesting methods.

        Cinnamon can also be harvested by peeling the tree bark without logging entire trees. When an individual tree would be logged, it should be done high enough and leave the bark unpeeled in order to allow it to sprout into a new cinnamon tree.

      • [Old] Introducing the World’s First Rainforest Alliance Certified Cinnamon Farms

        In order to help farmers earn certification, Cassia Co-op implemented a robust internal management and organization system that brings benefits to both farmers and the local environment.

        They have, for example, carefully mapped every farmer’s individual plot of land to ensure that, as other farmers join the group, the farm clusters form wildlife corridors to protect Sumatran tiger habitat.

      • The Big Thaw: How Russia Could Dominate a Warming World

        IT WAS ONLY November, but the chill already cut to the bone in the small village of Dimitrovo, which sits just 35 miles north of the Chinese border in a remote part of eastern Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region. Behind a row of sagging cabins and decades-old farm equipment, flat fields ran into the brambly branches of a leafless forest before fading into the oblivion of a dreary squall. Several villagers walked the single-lane dirt road, their shoulders rounded against the cold, their ghostly footprints marking the dry white snow.

        A few miles down the road, a rusting old John Deere combine growled on through the flurries, its blade churning through dead-brown stalks of soybeans. The tractor lurched to a halt, and a good-humored man named Dima climbed down from the cockpit. Dima, an entrepreneur who farms nearly 6,500 acres of these fields, was born in the Liaoning Province of northeastern China — his birth name is Xin Jie — one of a wave of Chinese to migrate north in pursuit of opportunity in recent years. After Dima’s mostly Chinese laborers returned home this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he has been forced to do much of the work himself. Bundled against the wind in a camouflage parka, he bent to pick a handful of slender pods from the ground, opening one to reveal a glimpse at Russia’s future.

      • Groups Provide Biden With Draft Climate Emergency Order to Help Put Out ‘Fire Fanned by Trump’

        The president-elect “must take bold action the moment he steps into the Oval Office, without punting to a dysfunctional Congress.”

      • Campaigners Outraged After Top UK Court Overturns Ban on ‘Climate-Wrecking’ Third Runway at Heathrow

        “It’s time to take our demand straight to the government—it can still change its plans for Heathrow expansion,” says Friends of the Earth.

      • As 2020 Ends, It’s Time for News Outlets to Declare a “Climate Emergency”

        Let 2021 be the year that we declare, in accordance with science, that humanity is facing a climate emergency—an emergency we promise to illuminate and, we hope, help humanity overcome.

      • Amazon Must Stop Flooding Our Oceans With Plastic Waste

        Amazon’s apparent embrace of plastic packaging is hindering its commitment to help the fight against climate change.

        Matt Littlejohn isSenior Vice President at Oceana.

      • Tree planting slows climate heating − and is costly

        Tree planting to restore natural foliage can help to ease the climate crisis. So someone has to pay its massive price.

      • Energy

        • Major US pension fund plans fossil-free future

          Goodbye to fossil fuels, says one major US pension fund: they’re no good for either the climate or the economy.

        • Progressives Denounce Trump SEC’s “Gift to the Oil Industry” as Anti-Corruption Rule Gets Neutered

          Section 1504 of Dodd-Frank requires fossil fuel companies to disclose payments to foreign governments, but outgoing SEC chairman Jay Clayton just weakened the anti-corruption rule.

        • ‘The Fossil Fuel Industry Is Terrified’: Gas Company Sues to Destroy Small Town’s Rights of Nature Law

          In a clear signal of how the fossil fuel industry feels about efforts to enact Rights of Nature protections that safeguard communities and the environment from the impacts of coal, gas, and oil development, an energy company has — yet again — filed a federal lawsuit challenging a local law in Grant Township, Pennsylvania.

        • How to Defeat the Fossil Fuel Industry

          As Donald Trump gave in to the demand that the transition process to the Biden years officially begin, the administration and its fossil-fuel allies doubled down on their efforts to implement destructive environmental policies that President Biden might try to reverse. Those initiatives have included a campaign to jump-start oil drilling in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; the approval by the US Army Corps of Engineers of the long-delayed Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline in Minnesota; and a push by utility companies to obtain funding and permits for the construction of 235 gas-fired power plants, each with a 30-year life expectancy.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Massive Logging and Burning Project Next to Yellowstone National Park Challenged Over Threats to Old-Growth Forest

          The proposed Middle Henry’s Aspen Enhancement logging and burning project is in the Ashton/Island Park Ranger District of the Caribou/Targhee National Forest south of Island Park, Idaho, and west of Yellowstone National Park. The Middle Henry’s Fork Watershed is a remote, rural area located within Henry’s Fork caldera that sits within the Island Park Caldera of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

          Trump’s Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by not conducting any environmental impact analysis or allowing public review and comment, misrepresented the presence of endangered species in the project area, and ignored the requirements of the Targhee Forest Plan.  Simply put, the Middle Henry’s Aspen Enhancement Project violates a host of federal laws, threatens the Henry’s Fork, will harm grizzly bears and lynx, and log much of what little remains of old-growth forest in the Targhee National Forest.

        • Conservation Groups Challenge Blackfoot River Timber Sale That Threatens Elk, Grizzly Bear, Bull Trout, and Lynx Habitat

          The proposed changes to the Forest Plan to eliminate Big Game Security and Thermal Cover standards in the project violate a number of federal laws and threaten the area’s elk herd as well as grizzly bears, bull trout and lynx.
          When the project was originally proposed, the Forest Service used its normal fear tactic — claiming the area needed large-scale logging and burning to avoid ‘catastrophic’ wildfire. However, when a wildfire did start in the project area prior to the implementation of the project the results were dramatically different than the Forest Service’s dire predictions.

          What happened, in reality, is that the Forest Service found the vast majority of the area within the Park Creek fire perimeter – 70 percent – was unburned or burned in a natural mosaic pattern at low to very low severity with low tree mortality.  Only a very small portion of the area – 8 percent – burned at high severity.  The fire mainly burned where the Forest Service planned a prescribed fire, so the wildfire accomplished the Forest Service’s goals but the wildfire did it for free.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Dear Joe Biden: Back-to-Normal Complacency Would Be Deadly

        Fighting these systemic problems is not a matter of ideology. It’s a matter of morality and common sense.

      • The Five Allegiances

        Family connection is the emblem of conformity with nepotism.

        Group identity is the emblem of conformity with tribalism. That emblem can be: race, religion, language, ethnicity, cult bondage.

      • Down Trump’s Rabbit Hole

        Ken Paxton, the Texas AG who is under FBI investigation for bribery and abuse of office, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court last week seeking to overturn Trump’s loss in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin despite the fact that the results have been certified after numerous recounts.

        Simply put, there has been no evidence of widespread election fraud and at least 55 other Trump lawsuits seeking to invalidate the election’s result have been summarily dismissed.

      • Timeless Truths for Trying Times

        We progressives have far more potential than generally realized to build our majority in politics, the workplace, legislation and social programs. We ought to be ardently appealing to the public’s innate preference for a society that’s equitable and cooperative. 

      • Justice Under Trump: a Triptych


        On May 29, 2019, Robert Mueller announced his resignation as Special Counsel, and made a public statement about his already published report, in which he said: “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” adding that under DOJ guidelines, it was never an option to charge Trump with a crime.

      • Troll wars Facebook takes down rival networks from Russia and France for attempted interference in African countries

        Facebook has removed three networks originating in Russia and France for violating its policy against foreign interference, the company reported on Tuesday, December 15. According to Facebook, these networks were responsible for carrying out “coordinated inauthentic behavior” targeting multiple countries in North Africa and the Middle East. While Facebook has removed Russian “troll factories” for similar activities in the past, the company says this case is unique due to the apparent rivalry that developed between the French and the Russian campaigns.

      • Obama and the Search for Audacity

        Less than one year into his presidency, Obama came to the conclusion that his key national security advisors, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and CIA director Leon Panetta would not be supportive of his foreign policy goals.  Obama was more realist and less “starry-eyed idealist” than his critics contend. In realizing that Afghanistan was not the “good” or “essential war” that he described in his presidential campaign, Obama understood that Clinton and Panetta’s “hawkish instincts” would not help him with the withdrawal from the Afghan War. He understood that Bob Gates would not challenge the military commanders who supported the war and had captured their secretary of defense.

        Obama needed to pay more attention to Ronald Reagan’s dictum that “personnel is policy.”  Instead of appointing serious managers of national security policy who could think outside the box—perhaps audaciously—he filled his national security team with tired veterans of Cold War thinking.  Obama’s national security adviser, moreover, was a retired Marine general who lacked the skill set to both coordinate policy and make sure his president had a choice of serious policy options, particularly regarding Russia and China.

      • Biden’s Cabinet: a Return to Ruling Class Politics

        Not so with engaging in the periodic electoral games orchestrated by the twin parties of U.S. capitalism. There the result is always 100 percent fatal. All chambers are fully loaded in advance by the ruling rich. Without exception, human needs are subordinated to capitalist profits.

        Capitalism’s horses of the apocalypse

      • Why Make the Dogs Bark: a Tale from Communist Bulgaria

        The Times points the finger at the same Russians they say were behind the attack on double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England. It appears they targeted Gebrev for supplying ammunition to Ukrainian forces in Donbass.

        In the midst of a boycott of Parliament by the Socialist Party and mass protests calling for the resignation of populist Prime Minister Boris Boykov; however, Bulgarian authorities suspended the probe into Gebrev’s case in 2020.

      • Talk Radio: Democrats Can’t Win if They Don’t Play

        “Why Did So Many Americans Vote for Donald Trump?” asks the headline in The New York Times shortly after the election. Weirdly, that article—and hundreds like it purporting to explain the previous 2016 election—lacked even a single mention of the roughly 1,500 right-wing talk-radio stations that saturate every corner, no matter how remote or rural, of America.

      • The Brexit Blame Game

        The stakes are higher for the UK.

        The prime minister Boris “BoJo” Johnson said to voters in 2019 he had an “oven-ready” Brexit deal to submit to the EU. This turned out be one of his customary lies.

      • Biden’s Risky Peace Offering to Republicans

        On Tuesday, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged for the first time that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential race. This was far from a hasty decision, taking place a full 38 days after the election—and a month after most news outlets had called Biden’s victory. The New York Times describes McConnell’s actions as “a clear bid by the majority leader, who is the most powerful Republican in Congress, to put an end to his party’s attempts to sow doubt about the election.”

      • Bernie Sanders and Progressives in Our Winter of Discontent

        After a summer and fall dominated by the imperative of defeating Donald Trump, progressive forces are entering a winter of discontent. Joe Biden has offered them little on the list of top personnel being named to his administration. While Sanders wants to maintain a cordial relationship with the incoming president, he doesn’t like what he’s seeing.

        “The progressive movement deserves a number of seats — important seats — in the Biden administration,” Sanders said last week. “Have I seen that at this point? I have not.”

      • A Notable Death in 2020: American Democracy

        America has two political parties. When one no longer believes in counting the votes, it’s not a democracy.

      • Ocasio-Cortez Warns Biden That War and Wall Street Appointees Are a ‘Huge Reason We Got Trump’

        The congresswoman attributed the rise of Trump partly to “extreme disdain for this moneyed political establishment that rules Washington.”

      • The Biden Inaugural Committee Tells Americans: Don’t Come to DC to Celebrate
      • Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Neighbors Are Trying to Block His Return
      • From Cult to Culture

        Yes, there are many to choose from

        Few, though, have the answer To the question (for one)

      • Trump’s Lies About Immigrants Should End With His Presidency

        New data confirms what’s been true all along: Trump built his brand selling fear-mongering lies about immigrants and crime.

      • Months After AOC Demand and Federal Suit, USPS Releases DeJoy Calendar That Is ‘Almost Entirely Redacted’

        “Haul Louis DeJoy in front of a criminal grand jury for his postal sabotage and subversion of our elections,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.

      • Months After AOC Demand and Federal Suit, USPS Releases Redacted DeJoy Calendar
      • Nina Turner Pledges “No Honeymoon” for Biden as She Launches Bid for Congress
      • Nina Turner Launches Bid for Congress, Pledging “No Honeymoon” for Biden Administration

        We speak with Nina Turner, one of Bernie Sanders’s top allies, the day after she announced she is running for Congress in Ohio to fill the seat of Congressmember Marcia Fudge, who Biden tapped to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Turner has promised to hold the Biden team accountable and pressure the incoming administration to enact a progressive agenda. “I’m running in service of the people,” says Turner. “We need more, not just bold voices, but people who will take action and will be fearless when it comes to standing up for what is just, for what is right and for what is good.” Turner is a former state senator from Ohio who served as president of Our Revolution, the progressive organization spun out of the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign, and national co-chair of Bernie Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign. If elected, she will join the growing progressive wing of the Democratic Party in Congress.

      • Survey Shows Americans—Regardless of Partisan Affiliation—Don’t Want Biden to Appoint a Corporate Cabinet

        “People across party lines want an administration that is run by people who care about the public interest—not by corporate executives, lobbyists, and consultants.”

      • Civil Rights Groups Urge Biden to Nominate Attorney General Dedicated to ‘Bedrock Principle of Equal Justice’

        “We need an attorney general… committed to ending discrimination; addressing white supremacy and hate violence; and advancing racial, gender, disability, ethnic, religious, immigrant, and LGBTQ justice.”

      • 500+ Groups Call on President-Elect Biden To Order Fossil Fuel Lease Ban

        Hundreds of conservation, Native American, religious, and business groups today sent President-elect Joe Biden text for a proposed executive order to ban new fossil fuel leasing and permitting on federal public lands and waters.

        “For our health and prosperity, President-elect Biden needs to make transitioning from fossil fuels a number one priority,” said Jeremy Nichols, Climate and Energy Program Director for WildEarth Guardians. “That starts by taking bold action to get our federal government out of the business of selling coal, oil, and gas, and instead put public lands and waters to work for the climate.”

      • Don’t Fawn Over Biden. Fight Neoliberalism.
      • Facebook, Twitter Reverse Changes Meant to Curb Vote Misinformation

        Twitter had made it harder to retweet others’ posts, encouraging people to add commentary before posting something. The company said it will return to one-click retweets, after seeing a 20% decrease in sharing following the change. After the election, Facebook boosted news sources it considered authoritative on its social network, to make sure users were getting high-quality information on the outcome, but that problem isn’t as urgent anymore. “This was a temporary change we made,” the company said in a statement.

      • Casting a Historic Vote in Georgia

        On Sunday night, Deborah González began to sense the gravity of what she was about to do on Monday at noon. She had been asked to stay at a hotel in the state capitol, along with five other of the state’s electors to the Electoral College who live outside Atlanta. Security was provided—“They did not want to take any chances, with all the protests.”

      • Georgia’s Senate Runoffs Set New Record for In-Person Voting on First Day
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Signs Law Banning Sale Of Confederate Flags That Will Absolutely Get Nullified

        Let’s be clear: that fact that there are people all over America that for any reason would want to display the Confederate battle flag is monumentally stupid. For starters, the flag is the symbol of a rebellion launched over southern states’ desire to own other people. Don’t give me the “states rights” argument; it’s entirely invalid, unless the states right you’re talking about is slavery. On top of that, the Confederacy, you know… lost. Proudly displaying the symbol of loserdom is both hilarious and befuddling.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Vimeo Moderates Uploads Of ‘Commercial-Use’ Videos Using Unclear Guidelines (2009)

        Summary: Vimeo, the video-hosting website created by CollegeHumor’s parent company in 2004, has always presented itself as a destination for creators who wished to free themselves from YouTube’s limitations and aggressive monetization. Vimeo remains ad-free, supporting itself with subscription fees.

      • Lindsey Graham’s Latest Attack On Section 230: Reform It By 2023, Or We Take It Away

        I still am perplexed at why so many politicians hate Section 230. They’ve yet to provide any compelling reason at all. But, hate it, they do. Lindsey Graham, who has been at the forefront of senators wrongly attacking Section 230, has now decided to introduce yet another bill to attack Section 230. This comes just days after Graham tried to move forward on one of his many anti-230 bills, the Frankenstein’s monster bill called the Online Content Policy Modernization Act, that simply grafted together two bad bills: the dangerous and unconstitutional copyright CASE Act with the Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act, that would basically force websites to host any hate speech.

      • Smaller Internet Companies Say They’re Open To 230 Reform… To Keep Facebook From Being The Only Voice In The Room

        Earlier this fall, Facebook was (not surprisingly) the first big internet company to cave and to tell Congress that it was open to Section 230 reform. I say not surprisingly, because it’s done this before. Facebook was the company that caved in and supported FOSTA, which was the first major reform of 230. We heard from multiple people who said that Facebook recognized that it could weather the storm much better than its smaller competitors.

      • Antisemitism Claims Mask a Reign of Political and Cultural Terror Across Europe

        The article concerns Germany but anyone reading it will see very strong parallels with what is happening in other European countries, especially the UK and France.

        The same European leaders who a few years ago marched in Paris shouting “Je suis Charlie” – upholding the inalienable free speech rights of white Europeans to offend Muslims by insulting and ridiculing their Prophet – are now queuing up to outlaw free speech when it is directed against Israel, a state that refuses to end its belligerent occupation of Palestinian land. European leaders have repeatedly shown they are all too ready to crush the free speech of Palestinians, and those in solidarity with them, to avoid offending sections of the Jewish community.

      • Iran Transfers Another Jailed Female Dissident to Harsher Prison

        Iran has transferred a women’s rights activist from Tehran’s main prison to a notorious women’s jail on the capital city’s outskirts, according to a relative, making her the latest detained female dissident to face harsher treatment from Iranian authorities in recent months.

        Saba Kord Afshari, a campaigner against Iran’s compulsory hijab or veil for women in public, was transferred from Evin prison to the quarantine section of Qarchak women’s prison on Dec. 9, her sister, Sogand Kord Afshari, said in a series of recent tweets.

      • French court delivers guilty verdicts in Charlie Hebdo terror trial

        A French court found guilty on Wednesday 14 accomplices of the French Islamist militants behind the January 2015 attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

        Among the 14 was Hayat Boumeddiene, former partner of Amedy Coulibaly who killed a policewoman and then four people in a Jewish supermarket.

      • French Court Finds 14 People Guilty of Aiding Charlie Hebdo and Anti-Semitic Attacks

        Régis de Jorna, the presiding magistrate, wearing a mask and a red robe, read the verdict to a hushed wood-paneled courtroom in northern Paris, where the masked defendants sat boxed in a glass enclosure. Six of the eleven accused who were present in court were acquitted of the charge of terrorist association but found guilty of lesser crimes.

      • French Court Finds Accomplices to Charlie Hebdo Attackers Guilty

        The attacks, claimed by al Qaeda and Islamic State, laid bare France’s struggle to counter the threat of militants brought up in the country and of foreign jihadists.

        “The fact of choosing victims precisely because they were journalists, or a member of the security forces, or of Jewish faith, clearly demonstrates in itself their desire to sow terror in Western countries,” the presiding judge told the court.

        Terrorism-related charges were dropped for six of the defendants who were found guilty of lesser crimes.

      • French court jails 13 accomplices over Charlie Hebdo attack

        That attack was followed by the murder of a French policewoman and the hostage-taking at the Hyper Cacher market in which four Jewish men were killed.

        Over three months long, the trial was repeatedly held up due to the Covid-19 pandemic but has again highlighted the horror of the attacks, during a period when France has faced new killings blamed on Islamist radicals.

        Christophe Deloire, the head of press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF), said he welcomed the verdict.

      • ISIS widow convicted in Charlie Hebdo attacks

        In all, investigators sifted through 37 million bits of phone data, according to video testimony by judicial police. Among the men cuffed behind the courtroom’s enclosed stands, flanked by masked and armed officers, were several who had exchanged texts or calls with Coulibaly in the days leading up to the attack. They described any contacts as normal communications among acquaintances.

        Among those testifying were the widows of Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, the brothers who stormed Charlie Hebdo’s offices on Jan. 7, 2015, decimating the newspaper’s editorial staff in what they said was an act of vengeance for its publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad years before. The offices had been firebombed before and were unmarked, and editors had round-the-clock protection. But it wasn’t enough.

      • Julie Burchill’s cancellation and laughable definitions of freedom

        This sort of thing is becoming really tiresome now. I recognise I sound like a broken record but, it seems, it keeps happening again and again.

        This time, the miscreant is columnist and writer Julie Burchill. The offended party in question is Ash Sarkar. The misdemeanour is a reference to the age of Mohammad’s first wife and a claim that he is a paedophile. The consequence is Burchill’s forthcoming book on mob mentality, cancel culture and wokeism was dropped by the publisher who, nevertheless, insist they are committed to freedom of speech but that she definitely crossed a line and isn’t free to say that.

        But ultimately, the situation is always the same. Somebody says something that someone else doesn’t like. A big flap takes place. Eventually, the person who said it is dropped and calls are made for their head. In this case, their book that was due to be published gets dropped.

      • Julie Burchill’s book is ditched by publisher after her comments on Islam

        Little, Brown, the publisher, announced it would not be publishing the book in April next year, as planned, after Burchill “crossed a line” by accusing Ash Sarkar, a left-wing commentator, of “worshipping a paedophile” because [...]

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Audio shows Assange asked State Dept to help contain damage from 2011 leak

        The raw audio of a 75-minute phone call between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Obama era State Department attorney Cliff Johnson in August 2011 gives credence to claims made by the whistleblower organisation that a rogue former employee was behind the leak of unredacted classified State Department cables.

      • Police arrested more than 117 journalists in the US in 2020

        At least 117 journalists were arrested in the United States in 2020, setting a new record for arrests of journalists by a significant margin, according to a report released this week by the Freedom of the Press Foundation based on data compiled by the US Press Freedom Tracker. The number is expected to rise as more than a dozen cases are still under investigation.

        From 2017 to 2019, 68 journalists were arrested: 9 in 2019, 11 in 2018 and 48 in 2017. In the week from May 29 to June 4 alone, more arrests of journalists were conducted than in these three years combined.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Mutual Aid Can’t Do It Alone

        Since arriving on our shores this year, the Covid-19 pandemic has eroded Americans’ confidence in the ability of the government to perform its most basic functions. This loss of faith in the state has been accompanied by a renewed belief in the voluntary and reciprocal care of others, commonly referred to as mutual aid. Once relegated to pamphlets strewn about folding tables at a Food Not Bombs potluck, celebrations of mutual aid are now everywhere. Even the pages of The New York Times are adorned with endorsements of its transformative political potential, the idea that society might be redesigned bottom-up by such practices of magnanimity.

      • Dean Spade on the Promise of Mutual Aid

        Whether it’s the climate crisis, wage theft, housing costs, police brutality, deportation, corporate health care, or plain ol’ political malfeasance, it’s easy to look at the United States and see nothing but catastrophe ahead.1

      • How Portland Radicalized Me

        But the movement I am serving is no longer serving my community. In Portland, we are tired, and we are afraid. I have had a front seat to witnessing the change in the movement from robust and mostly nonviolent protest to more radical extreme protest in the form of property damage, graffiti, thrown frozen water bottles, street brawling, arson, and even Molotov cocktails. A radicalized number of Portland activists are attacking alt-right, police, and even neutral free press journalists.

        In the last weeks, I have born witness to the dramatic increase of armed protester protection groups and have personally been on the ground in direct action with weapons present, something which in my previous life experience had only occurred when visiting developing countries or the Middle East.

      • A Cure?
      • Rights Groups Demand Biden Reverse Trump Immigration Changes as COVID Surges in ICE Jails

        President-elect Joe Biden promised to reverse Donald Trump’s most restrictive immigration policies during his 2020 campaign, but since he was elected, Biden has not included immigration among his top four priorities. Hundreds of immigrant activists and their allies caravaned through Biden’s home city of Wilmington, Delaware, demanding he issue a moratorium on deportations and advance a path to citizenship for undocumented people within his first 100 days in office. This comes as more than half of ICE’s immigration detention centers are currently reporting coronavirus outbreaks. Protesters are also mobilizing at the Northwest Detention Center run by GEO Group in Tacoma, Washington, where another detainee has tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the number up to at least 22. ICE has punished many who protest conditions and call for release by putting them in solitary confinement. “Guards and employees of ICE are bringing in the virus. They’re testing positive and yet coming in to work,” says Maru Mora-Villalpando, an undocumented immigrant activist and co-founder of La Resistencia. We also speak with Manuel Abrego, head of La Resistencia’s phone support system for people detained in Tacoma, who describes how he spent eight months in solitary confinement at the jail after going on hunger strike to protest conditions.

      • Ogun fleeing ‘baby factory operator’ arrested

        Police said a woman had accused Ogbonna of selling her baby and giving her N100,000.

        The Ogun State police spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi earlier disclosed that the suspect, who was presently standing trial for human trafficking, allegedly jumped bail and absconded when the new baby factories were discovered.

        However, after about two weeks of manhunt, the police succeeded in apprehending the suspect.

      • New York Lawmakers Demand NYPD Halt Undercover Sex Trade Stings

        A group of New York lawmakers are calling on the New York Police Department to stop all undercover operations that aim to arrest sex workers or their clients, after a ProPublica investigation revealed that the busts have led to numerous allegations of false arrest and sexual misconduct, and that almost everyone arrested was nonwhite.

        Assemblyman Ron Kim and four other elected officials made that recommendation in a letter this week to leaders of the City Council and the state Assembly and Senate. The letter also asks for an oversight hearing to examine misconduct allegations against the NYPD vice unit, the primary division that polices the sex trade.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • A National Solution To The Digital Divide Starts With States

        Although the digital divide didn’t start with COVID-19, the pandemic has put into stark relief the need to bridge this divide once and for all. The solution—providing tens of millions of Americans with high-speed, reliable broadband—might seem like a daunting task. But our research has found that Colorado and other states are leading the way in connecting communities to high-speed, reliable internet.

      • FCC Accused Of Falsely Inflating U.S. Gigabit Broadband Availability

        However spotty and uncompetitive U.S. broadband is, it’s particularly bad when it comes to faster speeds. Why? Because in many areas regional telcos simply refused to upgrade their aging DSL lines since doing so wasn’t profitable enough, quickly enough for Wall Street’s liking. As a result we’ve literally let these networks fall apart with no regulatory attention. That, in turn, has given cable giants like Comcast massive monopolies that cover huge swaths of the U.S., resulting in spotty coverage, higher prices, slower speeds, and routinely poor customer service.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • HBO Max Is Launching on Roku, After Device Maker and WarnerMedia Finally Bury the Hatchet

        HBO Max will be live on Roku effective tomorrow, Thursday, Dec. 17, the companies announced. The deal gives the streaming service coverage on all major over-the-top platforms. Its absence on Roku was a big hole: Roku counted 46 million active user accounts as of the end of September.

      • Netflix Adds African Telecom Mogul Strive Masiyiwa to Board of Directors

        Masiyiwa is the founder and executive chairman of Econet Global, the South Africa-based telecom group with business across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. His appointment signals the importance of international markets, including Africa, for Netflix as it looks to grow its subscriber base beyond the U.S. and Europe. “I’m thrilled to have Strive join our board as we expand more across Africa and the world,” co-CEO Ted Sarandos said in a statement.

        He replaces Susan Rice on the Netflix board. Rice, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and national security advisor to President Barack Obama, stepped down from the streamer’s board on Dec. 10 after more than two years to accept a position as director of the White House Domestic Policy Council in the administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

        Born in Zimbabwe and educated in the U.K., Masiyiwa, 59, founded Econet Global in 1998 to provide mobile phone services in Botswana and Zimbabwe. He sits on several other boards, including Unilever, National Geographic Society and Stanford University.x

      • Netflix Names African Telecom Exec Strive Masiyiwa to Board With Susan Rice Set to Exit

        Netflix named Strive Masiyiwa, founder and chairman of telecom and tech company Econet Group, to its board of directors.

        Masiyiwa’s appointment to the streamer’s board comes a week after Susan Rice, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said she was relinquishing her Netflix board seat to join president-elect Joe Biden’s administration as of Jan. 20, 2021.

        Masiyiwa, who has an estimated current net worth of $1 billion, heads up Econet, which has operations and investments in 29 countries in Africa and Europe. He launched mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, in his native country, in 1998 after a years-long fight with Zimbabwe’s state-owned telecommunications operator.

      • Netflix Is Testing Out an Audio-Only Option for Mobile

        Netflix is toying with giving customers a podcast-like experience for its streaming content: It has launched a test of an audio-only option for mobile devices, initially for Android, that lets users disable video and listen to the audio of a TV show or movie in the background.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Inventor vs Scientist [Ed: The patent maximalists are, as usual, conflating science with patents]

          The chart above comes from Google’s NGram viewer that counts the frequency of appearance of words in Google’s corpus of scanned English language books.

        • FOSS Patents: BREAKING: Munich appeals court raises security amount in Nokia v. Daimler patent case from $22 million to more than $2 billion

          Just as I predicted on Tuesday, the Oberlandesgericht München (Munich Higher Regional Court) once again proved that the lower court’s patent judges can’t be trusted to hand down reasonable and responsible decisions. They’re out of control and stop at pretty much nothing to please patentees, but at least there is an appellate process.

          On October 30, the Landgericht München I (Munich I Regional Court) had granted Nokia a standard-essential patent (SEP) injunction against Daimler, and allowed it to be enforced during the appellate proceedings if Nokia had posted collateral to the amount of €18 million (a little over $20 million), which is a laughable amount when the nationwide sales (which effectively even includes exports going out of the country) of Mercedes vehicles are at stake. While Nokia, for purely tactical reasons, carved out Mercedes cars that come with a telematics control unit (TCU) made by Samsung subsidiary Harman Becker, the percentage of Daimler’s sales that would be affected by the enforcement of this injunction is still very high. (And Nokia expressly reserved the right to bring a follow-on case to go after the remaining portion of Daimler’s sales as well.)

          The appeals court has raised the security amount by a factor of almost 100 to €1.673 billion for the enforcement of the injunction itself, and to €11 million for the costs incurred by Daimler to provide the accounting that would enable Nokia to quantify its damages claim.

          It appears very unlikely that Nokia can afford making a $2B+ deposit. Nokia could also post a bond, but presumably a bank would require Nokia to put the amount at stake into an escrow-style account.

        • Software Patents

          • NavBlazer (Joao) patent determined likely invalid

            On December 16, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 9,885,782, owned by NavBlazer LLC, an NPE. NavBlazer is associated with patent attorney and prolific inventor, Raymond Anthony Joao. Along with Caselas, GreatGigz Solutions, Joao Control and Monitoring Systems, and Joao Bock Transaction Systems, his companies have launched dozens of lawsuits against technologies ranging from streaming video to financial transactions. The ’782 patent is directed to vehicle navigation systems that provide information about a route and has been asserted against TomTom, Apple, Samsung, LG, Motorola Mobility, and Hyundai for their devices that provide vehicle navigation.

      • Trademarks

        • Africa IP highlights 2020 #2: The trademarks arena

          In September, South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal judgement in Milestone Beverage CC and Others v The Scotch Whisky Association and Other was handed down electronically. The court dismissed the appeal and interdicted the companies from selling products, namely ROYAL DOUGLAS and KING ARTHUR, purporting to be whisky or whisky flavoured. The subject of the appeal, concerns the manufacture and distribution by the appellants, who are related entities, of two alcoholic beverages. But for the differing get-up, the products, which have been produced in the same production process, are in all respects identical. Also in September, Mauritius became the 20th country to join the ARIPO. However, even though Mauritius acceded to the Lusaka Agreement, it has yet to sign any of the protocols, including the Harare Protocol for Patents, Utility Models and Designs, the Banjul Protocol for Marks, the Swakopmund Protocol for Indigenous Biological Resources and Traditional Knowledge and the Arusha Protocol for Plant Breeders’ Rights. In order to implement these treaties, Mauritius will need to amend its existing legislation adopted in 2019.

          In November, certain annexes to the revised Bangui Agreement (i.e. the Agreement Relating to the Creation of an African Intellectual Property Organization [OAPI], done at Bangui) came into force. These Annexes are Annex VI on Geographical indications; Annex VII on Literary and Artistic property, Annex VIII on Protection against unfair competition and Annex X on Plant varieties. Also in November, the federal government of Nigeria ratified Nigeria’s membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). IP is one of the 3 items currently under negotiation in Phase II of the AfCFTA Agreement. Wend Wendland, adjunct professor at University of Cape Town’s IP Unit shares initial thoughts on the Draft IP Protocol here. Even though the AfCFTA Agreement aims inter alia to promote intra-African trade, Nigeria’s land borders closed in 2019 as part of government’s efforts to check smuggling and other illicit cross-border activities have remained closed until recently. The President of Nigeria on 16 December 2020 approved the reopening of four land borders, namely: Seme in the South-west part of the country, Ilela in the North-west part of the country, Maitagari in the North-west part of the country and Mfun in the South-south part of the country. The remaining borders are to be reopened on or before 31 December 2020.

      • Copyrights

        • Announcing Our New Strategy: What’s Next for CC

          This strategy is the result of over three months of stakeholder engagement, dozens of consultations, and hundreds of conversations held among Creative Commons’ multiple collaborators, including staff, funders, the CC Board of directors, as well as a wide range of individuals within the CC community, particularly members of the Creative Commons Global Network (CCGN). The strategy development process was designed to be inclusive and transparent with the aim of co-creating a strategy that is ambitious, nuanced, and relevant to the people that make up Creative Commons around the globe.

        • Copyright Trolling/SEO Scam, Changing The Photo Credits On Wikimedia Commons

          Want to know yet another reason why the CASE Act is so dangerous? It will inspire ever more new attempts at fraud in the copyright trolling space. Giving people the ability to shake down others leads to… lots of attempts to shake down or scam others. The latest scam we’ve heard of comes to us from photographer Kyle Cassidy, who posted this wonderful photo of NPR host Peter Sagal running to Wikimedia Commons under a CC BY-SA 3.0 (attribution, sharealike) license:

        • The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day 18: The USMCA Trade Threat That Could Lead to Billions in Retaliatory Tariffs

          (prior posts in the Broadcasting Act Blunder series include Day 1: Why there is no Canadian Content Crisis, Day 2: What the Government Doesn’t Say About Creating a “Level Playing Field”, Day 3: Minister Guilbeault Says Bill C-10 Contains Economic Thresholds That Limit Internet Regulation. It Doesn’t, Day 4: Why Many News Sites are Captured by Bill C-10, Day 5: Narrow Exclusion of User Generated Content Services, Day 6: The Beginning of the End of Canadian Broadcast Ownership and Control Requirements, Day 7: Beware Bill C-10’s Unintended Consequences, Day 8: The Unnecessary Discoverability Requirements, Day 9: Why Use Cross-Subsidies When the Government is Rolling out Tech Tax Policies?, Day 10: Downgrading the Role of Canadians in their Own Programming, Day 11: The “Regulate Everything” Approach – Licence or Registration Required, Broadcast Reform Bill Could Spell the End of Canadian Ownership Requirements, Day 12: The “Regulate Everything” Approach – The CRTC Conditions, Day 13: The “Regulate Everything” Approach – Targeting Individual Services, Day 14: The Risk to Canadian Ownership of Intellectual Property, Day 15: Mandated Confidential Data Disclosures May Keep Companies Out of Canada, Day 16: Mandated Payments and a Reality Check on Guilbeault’s Billion Dollar Claim, The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 73: The Broadcasting Act Blunder – Why Minister Guilbeault is Wrong, Day 17: The Uncertain Policy Directive)

        • The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day 19: The Misleading Comparison to the European Union

          (prior posts in the Broadcasting Act Blunder series include Day 1: Why there is no Canadian Content Crisis, Day 2: What the Government Doesn’t Say About Creating a “Level Playing Field”, Day 3: Minister Guilbeault Says Bill C-10 Contains Economic Thresholds That Limit Internet Regulation. It Doesn’t, Day 4: Why Many News Sites are Captured by Bill C-10, Day 5: Narrow Exclusion of User Generated Content Services, Day 6: The Beginning of the End of Canadian Broadcast Ownership and Control Requirements, Day 7: Beware Bill C-10’s Unintended Consequences, Day 8: The Unnecessary Discoverability Requirements, Day 9: Why Use Cross-Subsidies When the Government is Rolling out Tech Tax Policies?, Day 10: Downgrading the Role of Canadians in their Own Programming, Day 11: The “Regulate Everything” Approach – Licence or Registration Required, Broadcast Reform Bill Could Spell the End of Canadian Ownership Requirements, Day 12: The “Regulate Everything” Approach – The CRTC Conditions, Day 13: The “Regulate Everything” Approach – Targeting Individual Services, Day 14: The Risk to Canadian Ownership of Intellectual Property, Day 15: Mandated Confidential Data Disclosures May Keep Companies Out of Canada, Day 16: Mandated Payments and a Reality Check on Guilbeault’s Billion Dollar Claim, The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 73: The Broadcasting Act Blunder – Why Minister Guilbeault is Wrong, Day 17: The Uncertain Policy Directive)

        • RIAA: Twitter Does Nothing to Stop the Industrial Scale Piracy on Its Service

          Facebook and YouTube detailed their anti-piracy measures during a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property hearing yesterday. To the frustration of lawmakers, Twitter was noticeably absent. The RIAA had little positive to say about the social media platform either, accusing it of doing nothing to stop “industrial-scale” piracy on its network. At the same time, domain registrars were accused of protecting pirates.

        • Music Mission Anti-Piracy Campaign “Keeps Tracks in Charts For Longer”

          This May, anti-piracy company AudioLock and music distributor Label Worx, later joined by more than 800 supporters made up of labels and distributor platforms, announced a new campaign to crack down on pay-piracy sites that emulate legitimate music distribution platforms. The results of the first wave of action are now in with some interesting results.

Video: What the European Patent Office Means by AI and 4IR (a Plot to Advance Illegal Software Patents)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO’s own recording of the event is now online

Summary: We run through the EPO’s two-day 'event' (starting this afternoon) which promotes software patents in Europe under the guise of incredible novelty or “revolution” (4IR)

Video: The FUD of the Month About GNU/Linux, Seeded by ZDNet and Similarly Awful Sites

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Security at 9:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: In this video (unscripted, one/first take) I discuss some of the stuff that’s in this week’s “Linux” headlines (in effect lots of FUD and scaremongering, as usual)

The EPO is Promoting Software Patents This Week, Seeking to Impress the Administrative Council With Illegal Patents

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO management: Staff on strike? Don’t pay attention to it! They are angry over nothing… we’re doing great!

António Campinos on AI

Summary: The António Campinos-(mis)managed EPO is a train wreck; an event stacked/stuffed with people who don’t understand software is seeking to justify software patents, which are neither legal nor desirable (to those in the software industry)

BENJAMIN Henrion has just alerted me about this EPO non-event (it’s ‘virtual’) with outline, broadcast, and programme (warning: epo.org link) online. It’s actually live at the time of writing (António Campinos speaking). Henrion says that the EPO “said it will be online afterwards” (he’s recording it regardless), so a rebuttal can be prepared later on. In the meantime, watch how they repurpose lies and propaganda from the Benoît Battistelli era, notably “AI” and “4IR”. They even explicitly mention software patents in Europe when they say: “This conference builds on the EPO’s acknowledged lead in the patenting of Computer Implemented Inventions (CII), and on the success of our first public AI event, “Patenting Artificial Intelligence” in May 2018. It provides a platform for policymakers, investors, inventors, SMEs, academics, and IP professionals to exchange views and share expertise on AI and IP rights. It also takes into consideration the latest initiatives relating to AI at the level of European institutions.”

“As soon as we have a video of the buzzwords salad we plan to do a rebuttal of some kind.”Anything to distract the media and the Council from the strike, right? And moreover pushing yet more illegal agenda.

As soon as we have a video of the buzzwords salad we plan to so a rebuttal of some kind. Campinos and the other people listed in the programme have no idea what they’re talking about because they never wrote a single line of code; to compensate for that they memorise buzzwords and marketing terms like “industrial revolution” (like a surveillance “revolution”).

Software Freedom is an Endless Cause

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 7:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting vigil: Eternal vigilance

Summary: The persistence and passion of activism for Free/libre software will determine the level to which society will suffer from technology; there will never be a “mission accomplished” as new threats emerge all the time

THE one thing one comes to realise after decades of antiwar or environmental activism is that it’s an “eternal vigilance” thing (to reuse Founding Fathers’ words of caution); it never really ends because when one threat is removed/tackled/mitigated several others come to replace it; the “others” can be either different brands or different strands (one might say modalities, paradigms) of threat. To use an example, one can hope for the bankruptcy of Shell, only to find Chevron replacing it. Or one can hope for the end of fossil fuels, only to discover threats associated with nuclear energy as a substitute. In the case of war, we all know that Biden’s record on militarism isn’t giving much hope for peace activism; he may not be as bad as his (soon) predecessor, but the antiwar movement isn’t disillusioned and it’ll carry on fighting for another 4 years.

“A lot of people believed that “Linux everywhere” means “world domination” or something, but in practice Linux in every pocket (Android) means Google dominates the world.”Now, on to software…

The history of software is relatively short, assuming we mean computer software and not prototypical operations/steps one carries out manually (a human operator). The latter predates machines.

When computers got started (or just “machines” as many were known as back then) programming them was not easy. The first programmable computer was made right here, so computer programs could be loaded into ‘general-purpose’ machines and then complete some task. The underlying code would run on the few such machines which existed at the time. Over time more and more machines (with lower price tags) would be able to load and run such programs. Later on copyright laws, not just something like trade secrets, would restrict the sharing of such code and GNU was born to turn copyright law against itself (or on its head), keeping those who wanted to share code capable of imposing reciprocity.

Over the next few decades we’d come to discover DRM, TiVoization and other technical means — putting aside legal means (e.g. DMCA, CFAA) — for restriction on sharing. Not just of code…

Then there’s the aspect of software patenting, which complicates sharing of programs that aren’t even identical to some prototype (sometimes merely hypothetical).

The main point is, over time the goalposts move; companies lobby and buy laws, typically in order to enrich themselves and forbid competition. The brands may change over time. In the old days IBM was eager to stifle competition, then came Apple and Microsoft… nowadays there’s much more in the mix.

Richard Matthew Stallman and LemoteDoes that mean defeat is inevitable? No, not necessarily. If there were no green activists, the world would be a vastly more polluted place. If fierce antiwar protests didn’t take place, politicians would start more wars than they currently do. In the case of software, users’ demands can prevent or at least slow down erosion of human rights in the digital domain. Privacy, free speech and many other aspects to it…

Perhaps more importantly, framing the issue in some particular way and then tackling this issue would not guarantee other (new) issue won’t crop up, emerging out of nowhere. Many people thought GitHub was mostly benign and even symbiotic (‘free’ hosting) until Microsoft bought it. A lot of people believed that “Linux everywhere” means “world domination” or something, but in practice Linux in every pocket (Android) means Google dominates the world. More than 15 years ago I habitually referred to Google as “GNUgle” (a joke) because almost all of its underlying infrastructure ran GNU; years later it became more apparent that Google was antithetical in a lot of ways not only to GNU but also to the GPL (which it now opposes). History teaches society that corporations aren’t our friends but at best temporarily our allies and the bigger they get, the less ideology they have (founders leave) and the more they rely on greedy shareholders.

Software freedom isn’t really profitable; profit isn’t the goal. To the users it means cost savings (especially in the long run), but only because Free software lessens their dependence on few greedy corporations that manipulate them for financial gain.

Richard Stallman has fought for software freedom for nearly 40 years (earlier this year we shared an old video of him, dated early eighties); he’s still active, but he’s a tad shy to say controversial things, seeing what backstabbers in GNU (many IBM employees) are poised to do to him. Last year’s “cancel culture” drama/trauma made him a vastly more apprehensive and thus “moderate” advocate, i.e. not necessarily as effective as he was before. He turns 68 in spring (3 months from now) and more people need to carry on fighting, securing and extending his legacy. It’s not as if we need “x more years” to “win”; the battle will be an eternal one — or as eternal as software itself will be. Don’t join the “fight” for a quick and satisfiable “win”; saddle in, pick a keyboard, choose a billboard and get ready for a lifelong war. What constitutes a win is any time malicious forces withdraw or “change their mind” (due to backlash). “Many people can only keep on fighting when they expect to win,” Richard Stallman once said. “I’m not like that, I always expect to lose. I fight anyway, and sometimes I win.”

Photo credit: Pratheesh Prakash at Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Google is Going After What’s Left of Microsoft’s Dominance: MalwareOS or the Installed Base of Windows

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Windows at 5:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Google is trying to replace one malware-as-OS with another; the latter, however, is at least based on GNU/Linux (Gentoo at the core or the starting point)

TODAY we learned that “Google buys Neverware to turn old [Windows-running] PCs into Chromebooks” — a likely high-impact move considering the market share Windows still has on such PCs (with out-of-support Windows).

Man with binocularsPutting aside buzzwords and brand names like “ClownReady”, “Neverware” and “Chromebook”, what we have here is the possibility of many millions of older computers being converted into GNU/Linux, albeit only a distro Google uses to harvest data about the user/s. Is this good news? Well, that depends on whether we consider a move from Windows to Chrome OS to be a “win” (relatively speaking). As IDG put it a few months back: “Not everyone needs a computer with a full set of bells and whistles. A Chromebook’s simplified interface makes it popular with schools—and those of us who serve as IT support for less tech-savvy relatives. You don’t need to worry about managing irritating updates or avoiding malware on a Chromebook, like you do if you simply install Chrome on an old Windows laptop, and the lightweight operating system feels much snappier than Windows on modest hardware. Chromebooks can cost less than a budget PC, too.”

“This whole situation is a tad awkward; 20 years ago many of us thought that the goal or the final outcome would be adoption of GNU and Linux, not something like Chrome OS.”Not many GNU/Linux distributions are freedom-respecting. They were not in the 1990s, either. Many contained various blobs, so nothing is really perfect. But again, on a relative scale, the shift to Chrome OS can be seen as a “lesser evil” (than moving to Windows). It also weakens Microsoft by directly harming its “common carrier” approach — the monopoly enabler. One could moreover argue that Chrome OS might become a sort of “gateway drug” towards freedom, not because Chrome or Google respect freedom but because the underlying stack has GNU and Linux in it, unlike Windows.

This whole situation is a tad awkward; 20 years ago many of us thought that the goal or the final outcome would be adoption of GNU and Linux, not something like Chrome OS. When I started using GNU/Linux more than 20 years ago (I was 18 back then, I turn 39 today) it was really difficult to browse some sites on the Web because Microsoft “extended” Web sites to discourage use of Netscape and running Netscape on GNU/Linux was sub-optimal. Now we have a whole operating system based upon running everything in a Web browser — the sort of thing we’ve long attempted to prevent Windows from accomplishing (ActiveX and similar stuff). The multi-faceted battle for software freedom is no longer limited to “let’s get rid of Microsoft” or “let’s just put Linux in everything…” (especially when speaking about the kernel, which Android uses to spy on billions of people from their pockets/purses)

Links 17/12/2020: Mesa 20.3.1, Ubuntu Touch OTA-15 and More

Posted in News Roundup at 3:23 am by Guest Editorial Team

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Chrome OS Developers highlight the Linux terminal in new promo video

        Google rolled out the new Terminal 2.0 for Crostini Linux back in late July and with it came some much-needed UI improvements to make the Chrome OS developer environment a little more user-friendly. With the update, users can now customize the terminal as well as open multiple terminal instances in a single window. Most of it is simply for show and has little to do with the functionality of the Terminal app but you can access and customize keyboard shortcuts to curate your personal workflow.

    • Server

      • Third Party Device Metrics Reaches GA

        With Kubernetes 1.20, infrastructure teams who manage large scale Kubernetes clusters, are seeing the graduation of two exciting and long awaited features…


        Many of the features related to fundamental device support (device discovery, plugin, and monitoring) are reaching a strong level of stability. Kubernetes users should see these features as stepping stones to enable more complex use cases (networking, scheduling, storage, etc.)!

        One such example is Non Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) placement where, when selecting a device, an application typically wants to ensure that data transfer between CPU Memory and Device Memory is as fast as possible. In some cases, incorrect NUMA placement can nullify the benefit of offloading compute to an external device.

        If these are topics of interest to you, consider joining the Kubernetes Node Special Insterest Group (SIG) for all topics related to the Kubernetes node, the COD (container orchestrated device) workgroup for topics related to runtimes, or the resource management forum for topics related to resource management!

      • Inexpensive highly available LXD cluster: Redundancy

        In the previous post I went over the reasons for switching to my own hardware and what hardware I ended up selecting for the job.

        Now it’s time to look at how I intend to achieve the high availability goals of this setup. Effectively limiting the number of single point of failure as much as possible.


        On the compute side, I’m obviously going to be using LXD with the majority of services running in containers and with a few more running in virtual machines.

        Stateless services that I want to always be running no matter what happens will be using anycast as shown above. This also applies to critical internal services as is the case above with my internal DNS resolvers (unbound).

        Other services may still run two or more instances and be placed behind a load balancing proxy (HAProxy) to spread the load as needed and handle failures.

        Lastly even services that will only be run by a single instance will still benefit from the highly available environment. All their data will be stored on Ceph, meaning that in the event of a server maintenance or failure, it’s a simple matter of running lxc move to relocate them to any of the others and bring them back online. When planned ahead of time, this is service downtime of less than 5s or so.

      • Raspberry Pi Hosting Firm miniNodes Grows Up, Gets Proper Data Center | Data Center Knowledge

        The pioneer of selling tiny bare-metal computers as a service expects more growth, fueled by the rise of Arm servers.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Mint 20.1 Beta XFCE

        Today we are looking at LinuxMint 20.1 Beta, the XFCE Edtion It comes with Linux Kernel 5.8 (upgradeable to 5.8), XFCE 4.14, and uses about 600MB of ram when idling. Enjoy!

      • Linux Mint 20.1 Beta XFCE Run Through

        In this video, we are looking at Linux Mint 20.1 Beta XFCE Edition.

      • FLOSS Weekly 609: Open Source Security – Trusting Open Source in Government and Business

        David A. Wheeler, Ph.D., a frequent guest of the show, is now the Director of Open Source Supply Chain Security at the Linux Foundation. Doc Searls and Simon Phipps talk to David about that and many related efforts he’s involved with at the Linux Foundation, including the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF), LF Energy, LF Public Health, and the CII Best Practices badge project. That’s in addition to his work teaching development of secure open-source software, a study he co-authored with Harvard on OSS contributors, and both enduring and rapidly changing approaches to software development education in a time twisted by a global pandemic.

      • Installation And First Look Of NuTyX

        I’m taking a quick first look at a Linux distribution that I haven’t tried before. That distribution is NuTyX. It’s country of origin is Switzerland, and the distro is based on Linux From Scratch. It has its own package manager called “cards”. It also uses BusyBox.

      • Desktop Linux Will Never Matter To The Linux Foundation

        I don’t know why this keeps being news, the Linux Foundation doesn’t care about desktop linux this should be evident from who funds the organisation and who is on the board of directors but every year it comes out that the Linux Foundation has made their report on Mac OS surprising more people than it should

      • Why you should patch CVE-2020-1971 (and how KernelCare+ can help)

        On December 8th, OpenSSL revealed vulnerability CVE-2020-1971, which can cause a denial of service attack on unpatched web servers. Although not a data-leakage bug, this vulnerability could bring down an application via a malicious certificate, so it’s important to understand the basics of it and why patching it is important.

      • Open Source Security Podcast (Josh Bressers): Episode 242 – Door 17: Vulnerability response

        Josh and Kurt talk about vulnerability response. What is it, what does it mean, how does it work

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 885

        selling stuff, linux phones, service now, network improvements, ps5

      • mintCast 350 – Rocky Road Ahead

        First up, in our Wanderings, Joe preps for 3D work and does some Audio editing, Tony gets older and has a new toy to play with, Bo has been educating himself, Moss destroys his wife’s computer by accident, and Josh was a little late.

        Then in the news, We have the latest Mint newsletter, Cinnamon 4.8 arrives, Elementary OS goes Pi, and much more

        In security, we shed some light on Oblivious DNS over HTTPS

      • Seduced by The Snake | Coder Radio 392

        Mike recalls how he accidentally converted his development shop into a Python house, and Chris experiments with his Minium Viable Robe.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.11 HID + Input Changes Bring Inhibiting Support, AMD Sensor Fusion Hub – Phoronix

        The input subsystem changes for the Linux 5.11 kernel have now been submitted and merged. Along related lines, the HID subsystem changes were also submitted with notable updates as well.

        On the input side with Linux 5.11 a new feature is the “inhibited” feature to temporarily disregard input from select devices. The use-case for this inhibited input device support is for devices like 2-in-1 laptops where the laptop may be folded underneath the device at times and during that period no input events should reach user-space as it would amount to accidental input. With today’s devices there are also other similar setups where at times you may want to avoid any input events from a given device or to prevent it from potentially waking the system. This inhibited input support was spearheaded by Google’s Chrome OS engineers.

      • AMD Frequency Invariance Support Comes With Linux 5.11 – Phoronix

        The previously reported on work for frequency invariance calculations for AMD CPUs with a focus on the AMD EPYC 7002 series has been merged for Linux 5.11 as part of the “sched/core” material.

        Following all of the Intel Linux kernel work in recent months around frequency invariance handling for more accurate load tracking and making more accurate frequency scaling decisions, the initial AMD implementation is here with Linux 5.11 as part of the core scheduler updates. In basic terms, the frequency invariance calculation is for addressing the issue of tasks appearing larger if the CPU is running slower so the frequency invariance takes into account the current frequency relative to the maximum possible frequency.

      • XFS, stable kernels, and -rc releases

        Ever since the stable-update process was created, there have been questions about which patches are suitable for inclusion in those updates; usually, these discussions are driven by people who think that the criteria should be more restrictive. A regression in the XFS filesystem that found its way into the 5.9.9 stable update briefly rekindled this discussion. In one sense, there was little new ground covered in this iteration, but there was an interesting point raised about the relationship between stable updates and the mainline kernel -rc releases.
        In the beginning, stable updates were restricted to critical fixes only, but the rules were relaxed over time. The patches merged for stable updates now are often automatically selected using a machine-learning system; others are picked because they look like they fix something somewhere. The result has been a massive increase in the number of patches going into the stable updates; the 5.9.x series has had over 1,900 patches applied through 5.9.11, while the delta between 4.9 and 4.9.246 is well over 18,000 patches.

        Incorporating all those patches undoubtedly has the effect of increasing the number of useful fixes in the stable releases, which is a good thing. But it also increases the chances of merging bad patches that provide users with something other than the problem-free experience they were looking for.

        For example, this XFS “fix” was posted to the linux-xfs list on November 9; it was reviewed, applied, and eventually pushed to the mainline four days later, where it appeared in the 5.10-rc4 release. On the 17th, Greg Kroah-Hartman included this patch in the 5.9.9 review cycle, along with 254 other fixes. No objections were raised, and the patch was part of the 5.9.9 release on the 19th, ten days after it was originally posted.

      • Sidestepping kernel memory management with DMEMFS

        One of the kernel’s primary jobs is to manage the memory installed in the system. Over the years, though, there have been various reasons for removing a portion of the system’s memory from the kernel’s view. One of the latest can be seen in a mechanism called DMEMFS, which is being proposed as a way to get around some inefficiency in how the kernel keeps track of RAM.
        In the early years, the motivation for hiding memory from the kernel was to avoid the problems caused by fragmentation. Allocating large contiguous areas tended to be nearly impossible after a system had been running for some time, creating problems for hardware that absolutely could not function without such areas. Once upon a time, an out-of-tree patch called “bigphysarea” was often used to reserve a range of memory for such allocations; since the kernel did not get its hands on this memory directly, it could not fragment it. LWN first captured a bigphysarea announcement in 1999, but the patch had been around for some time by then.

        In the relatively recent past (2010), the contiguous memory allocator (CMA) patches provided a similar functionality using the same technique. Since then, though, the problem of allocating large contiguous areas has gotten much smaller. The kernel’s own defragmentation mechanisms have improved considerably, and simply having more memory around also helps. CMA now relies on compaction and no longer uses a carved-out memory region.

        DMEMFS has a different motivation. The kernel tracks memory via a data structure called the “memory map”, which is essentially an array of page structures. A great deal of information is packed into this structure to tell the kernel how each page is used, track its position on various lists, connect it to its backing store, and more. Much effort has been expended over the years to keep struct page as small as possible, but it still occupies 64 bytes on 64-bit systems.

      • The future of 32-bit Linux

        The news for processors and system-on-chip (SoC) products these days is all about 64-bit cores powering the latest computers and smartphones, so it’s easy to be misled into thinking that all 32-bit technology is obsolete. That quickly leads to the idea of removing support for 32-bit hardware, which would clearly make life easier for kernel developers in a number of ways. At the same time, a majority of embedded systems shipped today do use 32-bit processors, so a valid question is if this will ever change, or if 32-bit will continue to be the best choice for devices that do not require significant resources.

        To find an answer, it is worth taking a look at different types of systems supported in Linux today, how they have evolved over time with the introduction of 64-bit processors, why they remain popular, and what challenges these face today and in the future.

      • Understanding 52-bit virtual address support in the Arm64 kernel

        The introduction of 64-bit hardware increased the need to handle larger address spaces.

      • Graphics Stack

        • [Mesa-dev] [ANNOUNCE] mesa 20.3.1
          Hi list,
          I'd like to announce mesa 20.3.1, which is now available for download.
          We've got lots of good stuff here; iris, panfrost, aco, radeonsi, nir,
          softpipe, zink, core gallium, st/mesa, turnip, android, meson, and
          plenty of radv fixes.
        • Mesa 20.3.1 Released With Several RADV Fixes, Other Driver Updates

          Mesa 20.3 shipped earlier this month while those waiting for the first point release to upgrade to this quarterly series can now safely make the shift as Mesa 20.3.1 was released today.

          Mesa 20.3.1 was released today with a wide assortment of fixes throughout this collection of predominantly OpenGL and Vulkan drivers. The RADV Radeon Vulkan driver stands out with having a number of fixes — there are some Next-Gen Geometry (NGG) fixes as well as for now marking GFX10.3 / RDNA2 as a non-conformant Vulkan implementation since it hasn’t officially passed the Vulkan CTS yet. Plus there are other RADV fixes as well as for the ACO compiler back-end.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Pointers

          This is the journey of how zink-wip went from 0 fps in RPCS3 to a bit more than that. Quite a bit more, in fact, if you’re using RADV.

          As all new app tests begin, this one started with firing up the app. Since there’s no homebrew games available (that I could find), I decided to pick something that I owned and was familiar with. Namely a demo of Bioshock.

        • NVIDIA CUDA 11.2 Released For Further Enhancing Its Proprietary Compute Stack – Phoronix

          In addition to the NVIDIA 460 series Linux beta driver being released this week, CUDA 11.2 has also made its debut for Windows and Linux.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install Spotify on Linux Mint 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Spotify on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Spotify is a digital music streaming service that gives you instant access to millions of songs, from old classics to the latest hits. You can stream everything, upgrade and sync tracks and playlists offline, or purchase individual tracks to keep forever.

        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 Spotify music streaming on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • Boost Up Productivity in Bash – Tips and Tricks | Linux Journal

        When spending most of your day around bash shell, it is not uncommon to waste time typing the same commands over and over again. This is pretty close to the definition of insanity.

        Luckily, bash gives us several ways to avoid repetition and increase productivity.

        Today, we will explore the tools we can leverage to optimize what I love to call “shell time”.

      • How to Disable IPv6 on RHEL/CentOS 8

        IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6) is an internet protocol that routes traffic and provides an identification and location system for computers on networks. It has long been touted that IPv6 will replace IPv4, but we are not there yet. Disabling IPv6 on your system is actually quite straightforward.

      • How to Use the nmap Command | Linuxize

        Nmap is a powerful network scanning tool for security audits and penetration testing. It is one of the essential tools used by network administrators to troubleshooting network connectivity issues and port scanning .

        Nmap can also detect the Mac address, OS type , service version, and much more.
        This article explains the basics of how to use the nmap command to perform various network tasks.

      • How to install Audacity 2.4.2 on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Audacity 2.4.2 on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How to install Linux Kernel 5.10 on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – Linux Shout

        Recently, Linus Torvalds has released the long term supported version of Linux Kernel i.e 5.10. In this version, the set_fs () mechanism is set to be removed, however, not for all but at least on some CPU architectures will. The current Linux kernel 5.10 supports the ARM Memory Tagging Extensions (MTE).

        The kernel also supports the start of RISC-V systems with EFI for the first time. AMD’s encryption for virtualization (SEV) now also supports the encryption of processor registers of guest systems.

      • Autofs instead of fstab – blog’o’less

        There is an inefficient way to mount external storage (local or remote). An hard to die habit: fstab. Let’s try autofs.

      • How to install Libreoffice in kali linux using terminal – Linux Shout

        Kali Linux which is one of the popular distros for hacking and penetration testing doesn’t come with office software out of the box. Thus, we can install LibreOffice on Kali using just one command on the terminal, if you want.

        LibreOffice is another widely used free and open-source office after Apache OpenOffice. It is one of the best alternatives to the Microsoft office program in the free category. It comes with all modules we need to perform document-related tasks. From word processing to spreadsheets and the development of presentations, all areas are covered.

      • Moving things around in OpenStack | Adam Young’s Web Log

        While reviewing the comments on the Ironic spec, for Secure RBAC. I had to ask myself if the “project” construct makes sense for Ironic. I still think it does, but I’ll write this down to see if I can clarify it for me, and maybe for you, too.

        Baremetal servers change. The whole point of Ironic is to control the change of Baremetal servers from inanimate pieces of metal to “really useful engines.” This needs to happen in a controlled and unsurprising way.

        Ironic the server does what it is told. If a new piece of metal starts sending out DHCP requests, Ironic is going to PXE boot it. This is the start of this new piece of metals journey of self discovery. At least as far as Ironic is concerned.

        But really, someone had to rack and wire said piece of metal. Likely the person that did this is not the person that is going to run workloads on it in the end. They might not even work for the same company; they might be a delivery person from Dell or Supermicro. So, once they are done with it, they don’t own it any more.

      • Getting SweetHome3D To Run on Fedora 33

        When I tried running SweetHome3D, I got two different problems depending on which of the scripts I tried. I eventually was able to get ./SweetHome3D-Java3D-1_5_2 to run.

    • Games

      • Great nonogram puzzler Pixross from Kenney is now on Steam and upgraded | GamingOnLinux

        After releasing for itch.io first Pixross, the nonogram puzzle game from Kenney, has now hopped on over to Steam and it also had a sweet upgrade for both stores.

        “Pixross is a picture logic puzzle game featuring 150+ unique puzzles, customization and extra challenges for each puzzle. Unlock new puzzle packs or customization options by completing puzzles!”

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GTK 4.0 Released, One Month After GIMP Finally Switched to GTK 3.X

          The GTK development team has just announced GTK 4.0; The latest stable version of the popular graphical user interfaces development toolkit. After 4 years of continuous work, the GTK 4.0 series brings tremendous changes over the GTK 3.X branch.

          You can read more about these changes in details from the official GTK blog post, which we’ll not copy here since you’d need to see the detailed videos and screenshots by yourself.

          However, there are some interesting remarks about GTK 4.0

        • Who Wrote GTK4

          GTK 4 has been a colossal, multi-year development endeavor that started in October 2016 and ended in December 2020. Now that the 4.0 release is finally out, it’s time to look back to the incredible amount of work done by hundreds of contributors over these four years.

          Back in 2016 we were definitely a bit optimistic on the time table, and thought we would be able to release 4.0 in three years, by the end of 2019. The plan was to start by changing the rendering pipeline of GTK, by moving it to a retained graph of operations that could be submitted to the GPU, as opposed to the immediate mode rendering that we had since the very beginning of the toolkit, and which survived two major API cycles—first by abstracting Xlib drawing commands, and then by moving to Cairo operations. Of course, we also knew we wanted to improve other sub-systems, like input and the windowing system API, to move away from X11-isms and towards a design more in line with the requirements of Wayland (and other windowing systems). What we got, after all was said and done, is a deep redesign of the internals of the toolkit, as well as a different programming model that favors more delegation through ancillary objects, and fewer leaky abstractions and deep type hierarchies; additionally, we pared down the exposed internals, to ensure that the toolkit, and the applications using it, will be more maintainable in the future. The downside is that GTK is less of a “meta toolkit”, whose internal state can be poked at from the outside while expecting to work across multiple releases; that approach was, in the long term, unsustainable given the available resources, and left us unable to optimise or improve the internals of GTK, to the detriment of every user.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora and its editions

          Fedora has long had Workstation and Server editions and, back in August, added an edition for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Those editions target different use cases for the distribution, as does the CoreOS “spin” (or “emerging edition”), which targets cloud and Kubernetes deployments. A proposal to elevate Fedora CoreOS to a full edition as part of Fedora 34 was recently discussed on the Fedora devel mailing list. As part of that, what it means for a distribution to be part of Fedora was discussed as well.

        • Kubernetes predictions for 2021, scientists are joining GitHub, and more industry trends [Ed: Red Hat is boosting Microsoft's proprietary software monopoly (citing marketing material from Microsoft)]
        • Remi Collet: New server for 2021

          I just moved all my web sites to a new server.

          If you read this entry, this means DNS have done their work, and you are connected to this new server.

        • Fedora 33 : Sigil software.

          Sigil is a ePub editor for Linux and omes with powerful features like UTF-16, EPUB 2 spec, and limited EPUB 3 support.
          The complete control over directly editing EPUB syntax in Code View and Table of Contents generator with multi-level heading support and metadata editor.

        • Should I offload my networking to hardware? A look at hardware offloading

          In this post we’ll look at why you should care about network hardware offloading. It is more than networking speeds and bottlenecks.

        • Red Hat Builds a Common Kubernetes Foundation for Windows and Linux Container Workloads with Windows Containers Support for Red Hat OpenShift [Ed: Red Hat helping Microsoft]
        • Scaling cloud-native messaging applications with KEDA – IBM Developer

          Great news: you’ve just written your first messaging application with IBM MQ. Your messaging application is well encapsulated, you’ve followed reactive principles, and you’re ready to deploy it to your cloud service. Your code is elegant – it takes a message from a queue, performs a task, and then moves on to the next one. Your application will doubtlessly be efficient and consume tiny amounts of compute resource in CPU and memory.

          As your app runs natively in the cloud, you can expect container orchestration to provide a basic autoscaling mechanism for free. If the container starts to get busy, then Kubernetes will step in to provision more instances of the app. However, in this scenario, we have a different problem: While the system is busy and the app is working as hard as it can, the CPU and memory consumption is low so the autoscaler won’t detect that messages are backing up on a queue. In turn, this can result in a noticeable delay in response times as the increased load is not recognized or in the worst case a full queue that is no longer capable of receiving new messages.

      • Debian Family

        • UCS 5.0 Beta: Preview of the new generation

          We published the last UCS major release (UCS 4.0) in 2016. With UCS 5.0, we have now decided to go for an extensive update of the technical base and design of UCS. The first beta version of UCS 5.0, which has now been released, provides an initial preview of these updates. While testers are invited to try it, app vendors are offered a possibility to port and adapt their software. The beta version gives a glimpse of the new UI design and already provides some of the planned functions. However, this preview is not intended for productive use.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Touch OTA-15 brings bug fixes and support for more phones – Linux Smartphones

          The latest release of Ubuntu Touch for smartphones and tablets is starting to roll out and for the most part this release focuses on stability, bug fixes, and adding support for more devices. But Ubuntu Touch OTA-15 also paves the way for the next few releases, which will bring much bigger changes.

          Probably the most interesting things about Ubuntu Touch OTA-15 are that it brings improved support for the Volla Phone and other devices designed to ship with Android 9, and adds support for a few new devices including the Google Pixel 3a and F(x)tec Pro 1 and Pro 1 X.


          According to the OTA-15 release notes, the latest stable channel build of Ubuntu Touch now supports smooth audio playback on the Volla Phone, allows pictures taken with the phone’s camera to be rotated correctly, and there are some cellular improvements as well. These changes should hopefully apply to other Android 9 devices as well.

        • Linux Mint 20.1 ‘Ulyssa’ beta launches with new programs

          The Linux Mint project has just released the beta for Linux Mint 20.1. The new beta is available in the Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce flavours of Linux Mint and aside from desktop improvements, share the same set of new features.

          Neowin has covered some of Linux Mint’s development updates in recent months and the work that went in then has landed in a more mature form in this beta. Highlights include a new Web Apps tool that lets you turn your favourite sites into web apps accessible from the app menu and IPTV program called Hypnotix has been created and items can be marked as favourites in the file manager on Cinnamon.

          Another change in Linux Mint 20.1, which has been known for quite a while now, is the inclusion of Chromium in the repositories. Chromium had previously been removed from the Linux Mint repositories because the maintainers didn’t like that it had Snap dependencies. The Chromium that is now included is compiled directly by the Mint team and updates will be released in a timely manner.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 85 Will Let You Remove All Saved Logins with One Click, Drops Adobe Flash Support

            Firefox 84 arrived on Tuesday with the WebRender feature enabled by default for some Linux systems using X11 and the GNOME desktop environment, as well as the ability to allocate shared memory on Linux systems for improved performance and increased compatibility with Docker.

            Firefox 84 is also the last version of the popular web browser to support the Adobe Flash Player plugin, which will no longer be supported by Adobe after January 12th, 2021. Therefore, Firefox 85 will be the first release of Mozilla’s web browser to no longer support Adobe Flash Player, which will improve performance and security.

          • 2020 MDN Web Developer Needs Assessment now available

            The 2020 MDN Web Developer Needs Assessment (DNA) report is now available! This post takes you through what we’ve accomplished in 2020 based on the findings in the inaugural report, key takeaways of the 2020 survey, and what our next steps are as a result.


            We are aiming to follow up on key findings with further research in the next few months. This will involve picking some key areas to focus on, and then performing user interviews and further analysis to allow us to drill down into key areas of frustration to see what the way forward is to mitigating them.

      • FSFE

        • CWA without Google +++ International development cooperation +++ KDE interview

          Christian Grigis, Fynn Godau, Marcus Hoffmann and Marvin Wißfeld achieved what official bodies have been missing for months: They have made available the German “Corona Warn App” (CWA) for tracing Covid-19 risk contacts in a version that is completely free of dependencies on Google and is available in F-Droid, the Free Software app store.

          Initial release of the CWA was in June and the FSFE’s demand that any Corona tracking app must be used voluntarily and be Free Software has been followed. However, the implemented exchange of device keys via Bluetooth, on the basis of which the risk is calculated, is handled by an underlying interface called Exposure Notifications API, which was, significantly, developed by Apple and Google and was largely proprietary. One also had to use proprietary Google Play Services or the iTunes store to install it.

      • FSF

        • IDAD 2020 sent Netflix and DRM a message

          December 4th was the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and its Defective by Design (DBD) campaign’s fourteenth International Day Against DRM (IDAD), and we couldn’t have done it without your help. Given that we were unable to organize in person this year, the international response of people who digitally stood up against Digital Restrictions Management has been nothing short of inspiring. We were able to come together for a common goal and voice our opposition against DRM.

          Being the International Day Against DRM, it wouldn’t be complete without a bit of action. Thanks to the help of our supporters, we were able to send Netflix a strong message about its use of DRM. Given its tremendous resources and influence, Netflix has the opportunity to pave the way and be the first major and globally used DRM-free streaming service. As it currently stands, however, it falls into the trap of restricting what users can and cannot do with their media under the guise of “copyright infringement,” something DRM does nothing to combat (and even if it did, would only do so at an unacceptable cost to your freedom). As December 4th also marked the start of Netflix’s “StreamFest” promotion in some countries, we wanted to be there to tell it that no use of DRM is acceptable. Together, we were able to make our voices heard. And we’re pretty sure they heard us, based on reports of them taking the main phone number we pointed the DRM Elimination crew to offline.

        • John Goerzen: Non-Creepy Technology Purchasing & Gifting Guides

          This time of year, a lot of people are thinking of buying gadgets and phones as gifts. But there are a lot of tech companies that have unethical practices, from terrible working conditions in their factories to spying on their users. Here are some buying guides to help you find gadgets that are fun – and not creepy.

          The Free Software Foundation’s Ethical Tech Giving Guide is a fantastic resource from what’s probably the pickiest organization out there when it comes to tech. Not only do they highlight good devices, they also explain why and why you should, for instance, avoid the iPhone (their history of silencing political activists and spying on users).

          The FSF also has a Guide to DRM-Free Living talks about books, video, audio, and software that respects your freedom by letting you make your own backups, move it to other devices, and continue to use your purchases even if you have no Internet or the company you bought them from goes bankrupt. This is a fantastic and HUGE resource; there are hundreds of organizations out there that provide content in a way that respects your rights — and many of them do it for free, legally, as well.

        • GNU Projects

          • Gnulib can help your C++ programs

            Typically you test your programs on glibc systems. Gnulib helps you to have the same program compile and work fine on other platforms, such as musl libc systems, macOS, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, AIX, Solaris, Cygwin, mingw, MSVC, Haiku, and even Minix and Android.

            To do so, Gnulib implements many functions specified by POSIX or found in glibc if the platforms lacks them, and adds workarounds for bugs in the platform implementations. These substitutes are now (since 2019, actually) available also to C++ programs, if your program accesses these functions directly.

          • GNUHealthCon 2020. Social Medicine in a time of pandemic

            It was not easy… we’re so used to celebrate the GNU Health Conference (GHCon) and the International Workshop on eHealth in Emerging Economies (IWEEE) in a physical location, that changing to a virtual conference was challenging. At the end of the day, we are about Social Medicine, and social interaction is a key part of it.

            The pandemic has changed many things, including the way we interact. So we decided to work on a Big Blue Button instance, and switch to virtual hugs for this year. Surprisingly, it work out very well. We had colleagues from Gabon, Brazil, Japan, Austria, United States, Argentina, Spain, Germany, Chile, Belgium, Jamaica, England, Greece and Switzerland. We didn’t have any serious issues with the connectivity, and all the live presentations went fine. Time zone difference among countries was a bit challenging, specially to our friends from Asia, but they made it!

          • GNU Health pioneers the adoption of WHO ICD-11 and ICHI standards

            The GNU Health project believes in coding standards, specially in those that can be widely used. In 2011, the United Nations University (UNU) adopted the GNU Health Hospital Management Information System (HMIS) component, in part because of its strong focus in social medicine and environmental health, but also because it complied with most of the World Health Organization standards.

            Using WHO standards is key for global health. The GNU Health federation provides timely and accurate health information to citizens and health professionals globally. We are able to generate this large, distributed networks of information thanks to protocols and standards, that permit the aggregation of data from thousands and even millions of nodes.

      • Programming/Development

        • State as Observables, State as Ngrx.

          Observables and Ngrx are complex. As with any technology, it is very very easy to forget what you are trying to accomplish as you wade through the details.

          Start and end by thinking “What do I want to accomplish”.

          These tools are capable of taking a very complex problem and simplifying it. That has been my experience.

          But they are also capable of taking a simple situation and making it very complicated.

          Start with defining the State. It is the data the view needs to render over time. How would you think about this problem.

          Where is the data coming from? Usually an api.

          What does the data look like from the api? Usually not what you need for the view, so the observable chain or the reducer functions would take this maybe complex tree and transform it into what your view needs.

        • Perl/Raku

          • A Note On Raku Performance

            Just another day before Christmas and one more great Raku Advent Calendar article: Day 14: Writing Faster Raku code, Part I.

          • Raku Advent Calendar: Day 17: Becoming a Time Lord in Raku

            I’ve lived within a few minutes of a time zone border for most of my life. The way we distinguished time wasn’t with the official monickers of “Eastern” and “Central” time. No, we used the much more folksy (and yet, also much cooler) terms “fast time” and “slow time”. Knowing which zone you were talking about was extremely important as many people like my mother lived in one zone and worked in the other.

            When I started looking at implementing internationalized DateTime formatters in Raku using data from the Common Linguistic Data Repository (or CLDR), I came to a fairly surprisingly realization: Raku doesn’t understand timezones! Sure, DateTime objects have the .timezone method, but it’s just an alias for .offset to figure out the offset from GMT.

            Having lived in countries that did daylight savings time at different times of the year, having family in places in my own zone that don’t observe daylight savings time, and knowing that there are weird places with thirty- and even forty-five-minute offsets from GMT, I knew time zones could be complicated.

          • Perl dying? Well now I don’t care

            It is a bit of a long story how I got burned by bad perl internal politics.

            For many years I wanted images in Pod. And many others wanted too. And of course, each time I raised this in lists and on facebook, an answer was, if you want it, go and write it yourself. I would tell that myself, the classic “patches are welcome”. Until one day I said, well, now, why actually not, right? Especially that I do have experience in creating and actively using images in pod using various hacks, such as direct inclusion of html with images, and even writing a standalone POD viewer capable of showing said images.

            However as I’m in software development in so many years, I know that just writing whatever image extension I feel like won’t get accepted: people won’t necessarily agree on the new sytnax, on the way it is implemented, or even on the very fact that the extenision is needed, at all. So I started by carefully asking around these questions everyone on all perl groups I could reach, and even opened a ticket on github to discuss whether image extension for pod is a good and desired thing to do, and what syntax it should have.


            However the next step came to be not quite what I expected. Or even worse, it _was_ what I expected, but worked some months in advance to prevent just that. Namely, there started to appear feedbacks that said that they don’t want YAML. Well, after having come that far, some would consider it a bit too late probably. But okay, let’s find out what the problem is, and let’s fix it, and let’s move on. But… no. I asked several times what seems to be the problem, and the gist of it seems to be that they just don’t want it, without explanation. Just that. Worse, as I understand, this is core people. And so it has halted.

            Boy, this was a disappointment. Did I not ask everyone, everyone I could reach, do you have any objection? Do you mind this? Do you mind that? What is, in your optinion the syntax should be? And only after lots of efforts, it ended like this. I’m angry, I’m frustrated, I don’t have any stamina left to ask around again, especially the other side doesn’t seem to be interested in dialogue. And why should I, really? When I started with perl in 1997, and went on YAPC conferences, there were so many possibilities to expand the language, and Larry Wall was blessing all kinds of crazy extensions (remember rewrite of perl on C++? that was blessed too). It’s a pity that a culture once blossoming turned into this. Probably it needs to die so everyone would understand what was lost. I don’t know. And I don’t care now.

          • Drawing a blank with XS

            I spent quite a lot of time trying to work out what this error message meant:

            Error: Unterminated ‘#if/#ifdef/#ifndef’ in Libpng.xs, line 1328
            The first problem here is that line 1328 is the end of the file, so that wasn’t a big help.

            After spending a lot of time counting #if and #endif statements in the file over and over again, in the end I had the bright idea of looking at the actual XS output, and managed to find the problem.

        • Rust

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Beyond The Far Side: Thoughts on secure and private machines behind IPFire

            Following a certain unethical logic, it makes sense for an attacker to hit the weakest the hardest. Why bother with a reasonably secure firewall if the system behind it is missing important patches? Why try targeting the skilled IT staff – which will ignore the attempt at best, if not blocking your infrastructure for the entire network – if their stressful HR colleagues click on every link and open every document they see? As important as an IPFire’s configuration is, this post focuses on the systems behind such a firewall, considering important aspects in terms of both security and privacy.


            It may sound like an eternal mantra, but running closed-source software is a bad thing. While this does not necessarily make open-source software intrinsically secure or better in any terms whatsoever, examining, auditing or customising is easier by an order of magnitude.

            In case the vendor does not ship a security update or does not provide you with an easy solution to turn off unwanted features such as telemetry, then, at least in theory, you have the opportunity to fix that on your own. On the other hand, the vendor’s conflict of interest is obvious: People do not pay for security fixes, and in order to make revenue, discontinuing support for older products and making users buy the new ones is a common strategy.

            The privacy side does not look better: German Federal Office for Information Security has been conducting a study on important aspects of Windows 10 in terms of security and digital sovereignty for years – it’s abbreviation SiSyPHuS (“Studie zu Systemintegrität, Protokollierung, Härtung und Sicherheitsfunktionen in Windows 10″, en: “Study on System Integrity, Logging, Hardening and Security relevant Functionality in Windows 10″) speaks for itself. Recently having issues with their OCSP server, Apple was found to transmit information of executed applications in clear text every time they are executed, effectively leaking the user’s activities and identity (i.e. IP address) to themselves, their CDN (Akamai), and everyone in between.

            In terms of privacy, running those operating systems is not just bad, it’s not an option anymore.

            However, running an open-source operating system does not solve the cross-contamination discussed earlier. Running and maintaining a set of VMs just for doing different things is a lot of work both for using and configuring or patching them.

            In the authors opinion, Qubes OS aims to provide a useful and holistic solution to this problem. Trying to separate its users digital life according to his or her analogue one, it makes running and switching between multiple electronic lifes suitable for everyday use.

            Needless to say, this does not come for free – Qubes OS more demanding hardware requirements than common operating systems – and requires some time and effort for setup or customisation, and splitting up data into different VMs. Ultimately, the author believes it is worth the effort for both security and privacy.

          • The future for general-purpose computing

            There can be no doubt that general-purpose computing has been a boon to the world. The ability to run different kinds of programs, from various sources, including bought from companies, written from scratch, and, well, built from source, is something that we take for granted on many—most—of the computing devices that we own. But that model seems to be increasingly disappearing in many kinds of devices, including personal computers, as a recent kerfluffle in the Apple world helps to demonstrate.

            In mid-November, macOS users suddenly started having difficulty launching applications on their systems. It was taking minutes to launch applications and the timing seemed suspiciously aligned with the release of macOS “Big Sur” on the same day. It turned out that Apple’s Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) servers were overwhelmed or otherwise non-functional, which led to the problems.

            OCSP is used as part of the process of verifying notarized applications on macOS; those applications are signed by the developer’s key. Apple signs the developer’s public key, which is contained in a certificate similar to those used by TLS, but the system needs to check to ensure that the key has not been revoked. This check is performed at installation time and then each time the application is run.

            Normally, if the OCSP servers are not available, because they are down or the system is not connected to the internet, the connection will fail, which is treated as a “soft failure” so the certificate is considered valid. That way, the applications open immediately. During the outage, though, the servers were up but not responding correctly, so the applications would not launch until the connection timed out. That raised the visibility of the OCSP checking, which had already been going on in macOS for some time.

            The failure led to a rather over-the-top blog post by Jeffrey Paul that pointed out some major privacy flaws with OCSP, especially in relation to the checking that macOS Gatekeeper does to ensure that applications have valid signatures before running them. Every time an internet-connected macOS system starts an application, an OCSP query with a whole treasure trove of private information is sent to Apple. Obviously, the servers know what date and time the request was made and the IP address from which it was made; the latter greatly narrows down the geographic location of the system in question. There is also a hash sent for the certificate being queried, which Paul inaccurately called the “application hash”. All of that gives Apple a bunch of data that folks may not really want to provide to the company, but the OCSP queries are made over unencrypted HTTP. So anyone able to see the traffic (e.g. ISPs, government spy agencies, WiFi hotspot providers) also gets a look at which applications the user is running, when they are running them, and where.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • An Analytic Approach to Patent Eligibility [Ed: When Kevin E. Noonan says "maddeningly difficult to define not what patent eligibility is" he is merely bemoaning the policies not being good for his pockets, rather than matters of "clarity" (the old spin)]

          Part of the problem is that it has been maddeningly difficult to define not what patent eligibility is (you cannot go wrong with “anything under the sun made by man”) but rather what it is not. In the high technology class of inventions, this has come down to deciding without defining what an abstract idea is and when its abstractness prevents patent eligibility; see, e.g., “Stupid §101 Tricks”). (The other, related type of ineligible subject matter are business method patents, the exclusion of which is almost categorical (see “Bilski v. Kappos, Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l”; “CyberSource Corp. v. Retail Decisions, Inc.”); this has the benefit is requiring little interpretation and hence maximal certainty regarding what is ineligible.)

          But the ineligibility of the latest iGadget, while sometimes tragic, is not as existentially problematic as the havoc that these precedents have wreaked on life sciences patenting. For both diagnostic methods and to a slightly lesser extent natural products, the philosophically lost proscriptions by the Court, bolstered by plain illogic in district court (see “Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc.”) and Federal Circuit (see “Federal Circuit Denies Rehearing en banc in Ariosa v. Sequenom”) decisions, has rendered pursuit of patent protection for these inventions to be relegated to the ranks of the foolhardy. The effect on investment and hence progress and innovation has been as expected; perhaps the only silver lining from the SARS-Cov-2 epidemic has been that in the frantic and desperate struggle for both diagnostics and vaccines the usual market forces have been collapsed by government investment (which is not usually a recipe for economic success).

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:41 am by Needs Sunlight

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

text logs

text logs

#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

text logs

text logs

#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now

IPFS Mirrors

CID Description Object type
 QmR6VejAMart9pg8BARBVaur6VDnUpfsgQnWkgyH4sovHW IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmbVsEVrwr6KAJ9YT4gfQ5xtx1rgfy8gjcgrGMjRX2bz3Z IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmZsWWc5iAr1t4Y9XZp5RiTfThWv9ABFh9WenPPJ76noku IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
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 QmXpiSAcYtjKU5btJxcbpUY8DoxD4ivJYV2gUiHxf4YDyY IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
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 Qmbffs3Yg1hY8Vc6onAfC97RZe6oFSYHjsYeNw65mAt8as IRC log for #techbytes
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HTML5 logs
 QmZuHKGWzZRbbsth8v37bwi1de1ThXEMWMXigcZ5HHRnLd IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
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 QmSYM3oLhLuEK7oDjwsVVMpGqNm6zNNYg8cqDxMmWbF28x IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmYiAFnyfg4YVhc3iSZrffAwTTxymCUaNuWPr4m1uYa3DF IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs

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