Alexandre Oliva on Richard Stallman’s Leadership

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 8:32 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Original blog post/article by Alexandre Oliva

Ducks in a row

Summary: New article by Alexandre Oliva of the FSF’s Board

Free Software is a social, ethical and political movement for freedom, solidarity and autonomy in software users’ digital lives.

Richard Stallman founded it, published and defended the ideas that drive it, and amassed quite a significant amount of support, and also of criticism. Opponents of the movement he started have long resorted to attacking him on unrelated issues, in attempts to undermine the movement and his leadership thereof.

He’s so famously associated with leadership of the movement at large that he’s even labeled father of open source, despite his disapproval for the dissident, business-oriented marketing campaign that takes that name, whose prominent members often criticize him. Ironically, people often think they are disparaging their own leader.

Even among them, he’s a reference point when it comes to caring about software freedom for users, and he understands much of the power dynamics that constantly threaten freedoms, to the point that “Stallman was right” became a famous meme.

He’s always been a very inclusive leader. Anyone willing to advance the ideals, goals, and strategies of our movement is welcome to do so, regardless of other unrelated views. Those who do a good job at it earn trust and support from other proponents, including from the founder himself. When people show success at promoting our values to a community, we’re happy to support them at that. This is caring about the cause, and it’s good leadership, too.

Not long ago, there were moves to exclude Stallman from the movement and from the organized efforts he started, and impose a political stand about issues unrelated to the software freedom issue. It’s not that people can’t or shouldn’t hold or express unrelated views; he and they should be just as welcome and free to do so. People are multidimensional: we care about multiple issues.

However, in the Free Software Movement, the focus has always been on a single issue: freedom for all software users, justified on ethics and grounded on solidarity and on human rights, particularly on free speech. Stallman remains committed to the ideas that define the movement: though he supports several unrelated causes, he has not attempted to impose them on the free software movement.

The rationale to exclude him, on the other hand, implies a very significant departure from the single issue that has united us. It amounts to redefining the Free Software Movement by forcing other political views into it. The result would be one that couldn’t count on such broad support, because alignment on multiple unrelated issues would be required. It would exclude present and future supporters who refuse to conflate their support for Free Software with unrelated issues. That would divide and damage the movement, and I believe nobody favorable to the movement should accept that, whether they support the unrelated views or not.

Again, it’s not that people shouldn’t hold or defend unrelated views, nor that we oppose those views, it’s that making them additional core issues of a so-far single-issue movement is divisive. With respectful expression of ideas, thoughtful listening, and willingness to learn and to improve, we increase the odds of helping each other and finding common ground, even if it’s just that tolerating differences on unrelated issues unites us and makes the movement stronger, whereas intolerance to such differences would tend to fragment it.

Anyway, some advocates may believe they can do a better job than the founder at promoting software freedom values to communities that share other unrelated values with them, or that dislike him, for whatever reasons–valid or not. Let’s encourage them and wish them success! We and they are for the same cause, in the same movement, after all.

But let’s also wish them to be conscientious about how to criticize the founding-father and leader of the movement that got us all together to support, promote and live by the software freedom values. Even if the criticism is valid, publicly disparaging him hurts the movement, dividing us and pushing potential supporters away. So let’s go for adult conversations when fair and honest criticism is called for, and leave the public shaming based on false reports to our opponents, shall we?

So blong…

Copyright 2007-2020 Alexandre Oliva

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

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

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

Microsoft Security Theatre and Microsoft-Funded Media Frenzy That Stigmatises “Linux”

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security at 7:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An old lock

Summary: Misinformation about security is all too common in today’s media; the goal is to get people to embrace software with back doors and surveillance, falsely believing that it guarantees privacy and autonomy

THERE’S security, there’s false or pseudo security, blatant insecurity (not even advertised as real security), “national security” (typically means back doors), and all sorts of other nonsense.

Encryption is maths, not a myth. And it’s a science; there’s logic behind it. Those who speak of “weakening encryption” or anything along those lines basically speak of eliminating encryption, not weakening it. To claim that it’s possible to allow one entity to undermine encryption but not others is extremely dishonest. Like DRM schemes, it’s only a matter of time before it’s rendered obsolete. “Nothing protected by Widevine, FairPlay, or PlayReady ever delays the video surfacing on bittorrent sites,” Ryan notes.

The notion that the government can take away security while still preserving general security is a mirage; it’s largely responsible for the security mess we’re often reading about in the corporate media. But blame is being misplaced. How can we securely bank online using encryption that has back doors in it? Moreover, if the servers have back doors in them, should we not expect data breaches to become inevitable?

“The bank is a backdoor,” Ryan notes. “They are legally required to report suspicious transactions and large amounts of cash activity to the federal government immediately.”

When it comes to Free software, transparency (for audits among other things) ensures that back doors in encryption will be easy to see. One can even compile the code for oneself, having audited it, just to ensure the build system and the build process are intact.

There’s no need to make guesses about Microsoft back doors because in 2013 Edward Snowden leaked proof of it. Corporate media likes to pretend that this is “old news” and no longer relevant, albeit there’s nothing whatsoever which can suggest a change, so we must assume the same facts are still applicable. One reader of ours wrote regarding a subject covered some days ago in a short video:


This article is a bit of an overview over a few web pages that revolve around GNU/Linux security; it’s actually more about misinformation on the topic of GNU/Linux security.

The discussion is an overview of articles such as:

• A0: http://techrights.org/2020/11/07

• A1: https://threatpost.com/gitpaste-12-worm-widens-exploits/162290/

• A2: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/new-windows-info-stealing-malware-may-soon-target-linux-macos/

• A3: http://techrights.org/2020/12/13/human-error-zdnet/


Seen from A0, A1, and A2, we see an example of attacks (propaganda) about GNU/Linux by proxy. Just because something ported to GNU/Linux (or any other operating system) is insecure, doesn’t mean GNU/Linux is insecure. This kind of attack by proxy is a standard propaganda weapon. You could call this kind of propaganda straw man arguments.


Seen from A3, we have another form of “attack by proxy”; it’s worth talking about this special case of straw man argument. Propaganda like A3 boils down to person(s) implementing insecure configuration of software. The underlying software is not to blame. But here we see propaganda such as A3 attacking software when the person(s) configuring the software are to blame.


Security advice should be taken from people that work on security – not propaganda websites. Forums, IRC chats, email lists and such, for the SPECIFIC software are the right place to ask for advice. Mistrust everything you read, by default; this is generally the best security advice you can get. A lot of software projects have dedicated communication channels for their users; this is a good place to hang out or drop in, when you want security advice.

Ask people with provable record working on security.

With the above information, you should be better-equipped to protect yourself from malicious propaganda.

Moments ago in IRC Ryan spoke about some of the latest FUD in the media, along with PR stunts about “secure” chips. “This attitude at Microsoft has only changed to the extent that there’s security theater now and they pay off the fake news to say “PC problem” and everything open source is “Linux”,” he said. “Not only this, but Microsoft wants to port “Defender”, a backdoor and a piece of spyware, to Linux, which is not really having too much of a problem with malware,” he added. Here’s the full text of his rant:

Whenever security and usability/backwards compatibility (even with serious mistakes) clash at Microsoft, security loses.

This is the company that hooked up Windows 98 and even XP to the internet with no security model, administrator logins for everyone, and no firewall.

Then waited until the news was actually reporting on what a worm farm Windows had become and how once you had it connected to the internet, it was a matter of about 3 minutes before it was infected.

This attitude at Microsoft has only changed to the extent that there’s security theater now and they pay off the fake news to say “PC problem” and everything open source is “Linux”.

Every day, we find out that the cyberattack was worse and it’s pretty much all thanks to Microsoft’s shitty software design and the antivirus concept failing to actually keep pace with threats in the modern world.

Not only this, but Microsoft wants to port “Defender”, a backdoor and a piece of spyware, to Linux, which is not really having too much of a problem with malware, even though antivirus is relatively unheard of.

The biggest threat vector on Linux is a seriously misconfigured system that involves not the kernel, but some piece of userspace software.

Which….does happen, but it’s a lot harder to do that on Linux because of the concept of trusted software sources, open source being a lousy way to hide backdoors and malicious payloads for obvious reasons, and just the overall higher intelligence of its users.

Also, not being buried under an OS that’s 90% crap that harkens back to the 90s and 2000s because some business will whine if Internet Explorer and the driver model from Windows XP isn’t there.

People who value real security and accurate information about threats will stay away from media that overlaps the PR industry. They want us to believe that companies which actively undermine security are in fact the biggest champions of security; similarly, those mass surveillance giants are often being portrayed as guardians of people’s privacy.

If Azure is Collapsing and Clown Computing a Passing Fad, Why Can’t DRM Go Away as Well?

Posted in DRM, Hardware, Videos at 1:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Many people wrongly assume DRM is here to stay; we don’t.

Summary: A quick discussion about the sorts of findings we’ve made regarding DRM in Linux (especially the kernel, but sometimes Web browsers too) and why it’s misguided to treat it as inevitable or even celebrate it

DRM is a mechanism by which to impose remote power/authority (akin to back doors) — a technical ‘hack’ that twists encryption against its intended purposes so as to make computers not obey or even betray their users, in effect superficially limiting control by the user over the files/devices on his or her machine. There are moral issues at play; ethics and human rights factor in.

“…some clown from Microsoft has just come to #techrights (IRC) to confirm to us Azure layoffs (this year).”Myself, personally, I’ve not encountered DRM or used anything with it. It’s a choice. But many other people get sucked in or suckered into ‘buying’ things which they later discover they only temporarily rented (on ‘loan’ as long as some licensing servers remained online). If we care about more than Linux (or GNU/Linux) and if software freedom matters to us, DRM as a concept or a modality needs to go away. It’s alluring to just say “that’s the way things are”, but it’s possible to fight back and maybe eradicate DRM in all its forms.


Wrongly believing that we can never defeat DRM is exactly the kind of thing that will encourage defeatism, thus discouraging us from fighting back. But DRM — like all that “smart” hype and Adobe Flash (the old DRM container) — can certainly go away in the long run. The same is true for “Clown Computing” — the hype wave that asks us to go back to mainframes mentality (buying computer time from few large companies instead of getting our own servers/machines). Speaking of “Clown”, some clown from Microsoft has just come to #techrights (IRC) to confirm to us Azure layoffs (this year). The person says those employees were “largely concentrated under Eric Boyd”…

Let’s push back against DRM. Don’t give up. We can do this, but it’ll be a long war, not an overnight triumph. The articles in the video above are included as links below.

Where to Get Accurate News About What’s Really Going on at the European Patent Office

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A quick take on where one can find information about EPO affairs rather than EPO fluff and marketing (basically “happy spin”, usually paid-for lies)

THE European Patent Office (EPO) became an awkward beast that bribes the media, bribes academia, blackmails publishers and sometimes threatens to sue bloggers. For 8 years it was run by a high-profile criminal who belongs behind bars (Benoît Battistelli) and his friend António Campinos continues his “work”…

“Sadly, all 3 sites have barely been active in the past year.”The way things are going, the future of the EPO is uncertain not for financial reasons; the problem is, awful and deeply corrupt management has driven away key workers (experienced examiners), it’s looking to reduce the number of workers (potentially big layoffs), and it’s stealing capital from workers and from the Office, sinking it into a gambling abyss shielded by one of Battistelli’s men from corrupt INPI (the corruption traveled from INPI to EPO, in the same way EPO corruption has spread to EUIPO).

SUEPO in a browserThe media does not want to participate in informing the public; stakeholders of such media benefit from litigation, monopolies, and they fear criticising anything to do with the EU (which EUIPO and UPC are associated with).

Those who wish to know more about the EPO can, regardless, find some actual information in sites like R.I.P. Kat, EPO Staff 4 Rights, and SUEPO’s main site. I’ve opened those three sites in a browser and recorded a quick video (without planning/script) detailing what each site is about and also some history. Sadly, all 3 sites have barely been active in the past year.

SUEPO's new site

Links 19/12/2020: Q4OS 3.13 and Sparky 2020.12 Special Editions

Posted in News Roundup at 5:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Which Operating System Is Better, Windows, Mac, Or Linux? – Programming Insider

        First, in recent years, Linux developers have focused a lot on software development, as did Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, last year. It was said that by 2015 Canonical wants to reach more than 250 million users for Ubuntu, and one way to achieve this goal is to develop application software for Ubuntu. The second point is that although it must be admitted that the software available for Windows is currently more than the other two competitors, it should be noted that in Linux, the software is not “low” and it should be said that the “similar” software in Windows for Linux is Lower.

    • Server

      • Kubernetes 1.20: Pod Impersonation and Short-lived Volumes in CSI Drivers

        Typically when a CSI driver mounts credentials such as secrets and certificates, it has to authenticate against storage providers to access the credentials. However, the access to those credentials are controlled on the basis of the pods’ identities rather than the CSI driver’s identity. CSI drivers, therefore, need some way to retrieve pod’s service account token.

        Currently there are two suboptimal approaches to achieve this, either by granting CSI drivers the permission to use TokenRequest API or by reading tokens directly from the host filesystem.


        To keep short-lived volumes such as certificates effective, CSI drivers can specify RequiresRepublish=true in theirCSIDriver object to have the kubelet periodically call NodePublishVolume on mounted volumes. These republishes allow CSI drivers to ensure that the volume content is up-to-date.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Command Line Heroes With Dr. Clarence Ellis: The Developer Who Helped Us Collaborate

        Learn to use a computer, but don’t touch it. This seemingly impossible task started Dr. Clarence Ellis’ career of invention, leading to an entirely new way of looking at how we work with computers as well as each other. Martez Mott, Gary Nutt, Chengzheng Sun, Paul Curzon and Delilah DeMers all contribute to this episode of Command Line Heroes emphasizing the brilliance behind how we collaborate..

      • Josh Bressers: Episode 244 – Door 19: TLS certificate trust

        Josh and Kurt talk about modern TLS certificate trust

      • Setting Up The Mu4e Email Client In Doom Emacs

        Do you use Emacs? Do you also use a desktop email client like Thunderbird or Geary? There is no need to run those desktop email clients when Emacs has a great email client available. That email client is called mu4e.

      • Feren OS “Carbon” Review: A Rising Star | What Makes THIS The Best Linux Distro? – YouTube

        The all-new Feren OS 2020.11 “Carbon” is an Absolute Show-Stealer with it’s remixed Plasma desktop, ridiculously good performance, and a host of features that make Feren OS one of the best Linux Distros today. In a world, where we have hundreds of exceptional distros, Feren OS quickly sets itself a notch above the competition. With many of its in-house developed features such as the Transfer Tool, Desktop Layouts, Feren OS does a lot of things differently, a lot of things in a better way. So let’s jump right in and have a look at what’s new in Feren OS 2020.11, the user interface, performance, unique features it offers compared to other distros, it’s stability, gaming, installation, and why it is one of the best Linux distros for 2021.

      • Take Powerline Seriously | Self-Hosted 34

        Chris discovers a networking miracle, Alex has been playing with electrics, and we review the Wyze Cam 3.

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel Workload Hints, Zen RAPL PowerCap + Other Power/Thermal Changes For Linux 5.11

        The ACPI / power management and thermal pull requests were all sent out and merged this week for the ongoing Linux 5.11 development.

        The power management and thermal updates to the Linux kernel for 5.11 aren’t the most exciting in recent time but there still are a few additions worth calling attention to for what will be the first major kernel release of 2021.

      • Bcachefs Under Review With All Known Blockers Resolved

        Kent Overstreet who developed the Bcachefs file-system out of the Linux kernel’s block cache code has sent out the latest patches for review and to also serve as a possible pull request for mainlining the code.

        Overstreet began this week’s patch series with “Since last posting: The main change for upstreaming is that I’ve added deadlock avoidance code for the page cache coherency lock, and moved all of that code into fs/bcachefs/ for now – besides adding faults_disabled_mapping to task struct. This addresses the last known blocker.”

      • Linux 5.10 As An LTS Kernel Comes Just In Time For AMD EPYC “Milan” – Phoronix

        AMD noted that EPYC Milan “Zen 3″ server processors would be shipping to select customers this quarter ahead of the formal launch in Q1. That’s accurate with at least one enterprise now making public inquiries over Linux kernel versions for the EPYC 7003 series. The recent Linux 5.10 kernel debut being a Long-Term Support (LTS) release is coming just in time for those users.

        One of the main and ongoing advantages Intel has on the server side for many years is that its Linux hardware enablement is generally spot on and introduced well ahead of products shipping (that is even true for cases where the Intel hardware ships on-schedule). From Linux kernel additions for not only new hardware enablement as far as core support is concerned but also adding in new instruction set extensions and other extra features so they can be enjoyed by customers at-launch with a mainline Linux kernel — as well as generally the likes of recent enterprise Linux releases and other distributions, recent LTS kernels, etc as opposed to just the bleeding-edge/latest kernel.

      • Multiprocess QEMU: Breaking up is hard to do

        QEMU is the backbone of virtualization on Linux, providing control plane and emulation services for guest VMs. One of the most common complaints about QEMU stems from its monolithic nature — one process that does both control and emulation exposes more “surface area” that we, in turn, have to protect from security vulnerabilities. Well perhaps no longer, as multi-process QEMU has now been accepted into the QEMU code-base.

      • F2FS Continues Furthering Its Encryption, Per-File Data Compression Capabilities

        The Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) continues seeing new work around its transparent data compression, optional case insensitive behavior, and native encryption support with the new code queued for Linux 5.11.

        As previously outlined, F2FS with Linux 5.11 now allows for casefolding with encryption. While F2FS has supported both case-folding (case insensitive files/folders) and native encryption, it hasn’t allowed both to work together… Until Linux 5.11. Specialized handling was required for supporting both features at the same time.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Radeon ROCm 4.0 Released With CDNA GPU Support (Instinct MI100)

          Announced just over one month ago to the day was the AMD Instinct MI100 and as part of that the ROCM 4.0 software stack. ROCm 4.0 didn’t end up actually shipping then but today its sources were uploaded and release builds made available.

          The main highlight of Radeon Open eCosystem 4.0 is support for their CDNA architecture / the Instinct MI100 (codenamed “Arcturus”). But there are also various component improvements with ROCm 4.0 to prepare it for the “Exascale Era” with it to be used by upcoming AMD supercomputer deployments. ROCm 4.0 continues the quest as well in making more NVIDIA CUDA sources compatible with the ROCm compute stack.

        • Differently Cached

          Amidst the flurry of patches being smashed into the repo today I thought I’d talk about about memcpy. Yes, I’m referring to the same function everyone knows and loves.

          The final frontier of RPCS3 performance was memcpy. With ARGB emulation in place, my perf results were looking like this on RADV:

          Pushing a hard 12fps, this was a big improvement from before, but it seemed a bit low. Not having any prior experience in PS3 emulation, I started wondering whether this was the limit of things in the current year.

          Meanwhile, RadeonSI was getting significantly higher performance with a graph like this:

          Clearly performance is capable of being much higher, so why is zink so much worse at memcpy?

        • The xf86-video-intel Zombie Driver Finally Flips On TearFree To Avoid Tearing – Phoronix

          It’s been seven years since Intel last provided a stable release of their “xf86-video-intel” X.Org driver and nearly six years to the day since they even provided their last development snapshot of what was to be xf86-video-intel 3.0. But there still are the occasional commits to this Intel DDX driver such as this week enabling the “TearFree” functionality by default.

          Most users and Linux distributions have transitioned to using the xf86-video-modesetting driver when running Intel graphics on an X.Org Server rather than the xf86-video-intel driver that is effectively in a zombie state. The xf86-video-intel driver hasn’t even received any work for the latest Intel graphics hardware generations but it continues seeing random commits here and there — most of that work led by Intel’s Chris Wilson who spearheaded the design of their 2D SNA “SandyBridge New Acceleration” architecture that is to be their default with the elusive xf86-video-intel 3.0 release.

        • XWayland 21.1 Proposed In Splitting Off Releases From The X.Org Server – Phoronix

          With no new X.Org Server releases on the horizon but Red Hat / Fedora wanting to ship updated XWayland support that is developed as part of the X.Org Server code-base, Red Hat engineers are now stepping up to carry out such XWayland-only releases derived from the same source tree but stripping out the code not relevant to XWayland support.

          As previously noted, Fedora is looking to provide standalone XWayland packages that would be tracking the X.Org Server Git state but without going through and actually updating the X.Org Server itself for legacy use-cases or going through the upstream release management processes on X.Org itself.

    • Applications

      • Application-Level Linux Firewall OpenSnitch 1.3.0 Adds A Process Details Dialog, GUI RPM Packages

        OpenSnitch, an application-level firewall for Linux, has been updated to version 1.3.0 which adds a process details dialog, RPM GUI packages, and more.

        Opensnitch monitors outbound connections that your applications are trying to make, preventing or permitting their connection based on a set of rules (the user is prompted to allow or deny access when no existing rules are found). The application is inspired by Little Snitch, a commercial host-based application firewall for macOS. It’s made of a daemon written in Go, and a PyQt5 GUI.

      • Calliope: Music recommendations for hackers

        Calliope is an open source tool for hackers who want to generate playlists. Its primary goals are to be a fun side project for me and to produce interesting playlists from of my digital music collection. Recently it has begun fulfilling both of those goals so I decided it’s time to share some details.

        The project consists of a set of commandline tools which operate on playlist data. You use a shell pipeline to define the data pipeline. Your local music collection is queried from Tracker or Beets. You can mix in data from Last.fm, Musicbrainz and Spotify. You can output the results as XSPF playlists in your music player. The implementation is Python, but the commandline focus means it can interact with tools in any language that parses JSON.

        The goal is not to replace Spotify here. The goal is to make recommendations open and transparent. That means you’re going to see the details of how they work. My dream would be that this becomes an educational tool to help us understand more about what “algorithms” (used in the journalistic sense) actually do.

        I’m developing a series of example playlist generation scripts. I’m particularly enjoying “Music I haven’t listened to in over a year” — that one requires over a year of listen history data to be useful, of course. But even the “One hour random shuffle” playlist is fun.

        A breakthrough this month was the start of a constraints-based approach for selecting songs. I found a useful model in a paper from 2006 titled “Fast Generation of Optimal Music Playlists using Local Search”, and implemented a subset using the Python simpleai library. Simple things can produce great results. I’m only scratching the surface of what’s possible with this model, using constraints on the duration property to ensure songs and playlists are a suitable length. I expect to show off some more sophisticated examples in future.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install VLC Media Player on Linux Mint 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install VLC Media Player on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, VLC (VideoLan) is a portable & and open-source multimedia player available for like Linux operating systems, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and android. VLC plays our favorite audio and video files, it can play various audio & video formats such as MPEG, DivX, MOV, mp3, mp4, DVD, VCD, WMV, and QuickTime.

        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 the VLC multimedia player and streamer on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • I Have No Idea How To Debug This | Ourobengr

        On my desktop system, I’m running XFCE on openSUSE Tumbleweed. When I leave my desk, I hit the “lock screen” button, the screen goes black, and the monitors go into standby. So far so good.

      • Install and Use Btrfs on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – Linux Hint

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

        If you want to learn more about the Btrfs filesystem, check my article Introduction to Btrfs Filesystem.
        In this article, I am going to show you how to install and use Btrfs on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. So, let’s get started.

      • How to install FreeCAD on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install FreeCAD, similar to AutoCAD, 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.

      • OpenSSH Full Guide – Everything you need to get started! – YouTube

        OpenSSH is the tool of choice for managing Linux installations remotely – and is indispensable in DevOps, Cloud, System Administration, Hosting, and more. Since it’s so widely used, you should definitely learn it. In this video, I go over all the basics you need to use OpenSSH in your workflow.

      • How to Install Reveal.js on Ubuntu 20.04 and Create a Simple Presentation – RoseHosting

        reveal.js is a free and open-source HTML framework that can be used to create fully-featured presentations through a web browser. It is built on open web technologies. It has a rich set of features including, Markdown content, nested slides, PDF export, and JavaScript APIs for controlling the slide navigation.

      • Find out how your text will be read with Norka | Opensource.com

        Some text editors are designed for programming, others for specialized text formats, others for document design. The Norka text editor is designed for reading. It might seem strange to create a text editor designed for reading, but actually, it makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Your text is written once or thrice, depending on your personal tolerance for iteration, but it’s meant to be read for years to come. Norka makes it easy for you to focus on how your writing is going to get read.

      • Alan Pope: Straightforward Linux Backups with rsnapshot

        I hang around in technical support back-alleys. All too often a new person turns up asking for urgent help. Their system is catastrophically broken and they have no easy way to fix it. With a bit of help they can usually come to a fork in the road. Do they wipe and re-install, or keep fighting with the computer to get it working. It’s a knowledge, time, effort and convenience trade-off as old as technology itself.

        One question we often ask the patient is “Do you have backups?”. It’s a simple, innocuous question. But if they don’t then it closes off one avenue, and focuses the attention on fixing the problem rather than nuking & paving, then restoring data. All too often the person with the problems says “no”, they have no backups at all. I wish more people did back their systems up, but so many don’t bother. I guess that’s partly why “cloud” document editing, and “cloud” photo storage are so popular these days. Who needs backups when you can just throw the computer away, login from a new one and see all your data. It’s a compelling convenience.

      • Russell Coker: Thinkpad Storage Problem

        For a while I’ve had a problem with my Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 1 [1] where storage pauses for 30 seconds, it’s become more common recently and unfortunately everything seems to depend on storage (ideally a web browser playing a video from the Internet could keep doing so with no disk access, but that’s not what happens).

      • How to Install CentOS Stream 8 x86_64 with ScreenShot

        In this guide we will explain how to install CentOS Stream 8 on your system.

      • How to install Pop!_OS 20.10

        In this video, I am going to show how to install Pop!_OS 20.10.

      • How to install and configure Cyber Panel on CentOS 8

        Cyber panel is an open-source free web hosting panel that uses the Open Lite Speed web server. It has two version free and enterprise versions. The free version uses Open Lite Speed while the enterprise version uses the Lite Speed Web server. It comes up with many features like AutoSSL, Backup and Restore, and hosting multiple websites. In this tutorial, we will learn how to install and configure and Cyber panel in Centos 8. So let’s get started.

      • How To List Installed Packages In Linux – OSTechNix

        You could have installed many applications on your Linux system. This brief guide explains how to list all installed packages in Linux from command line with examples.

        The commands to display all installed packages varies depending on the type of the package manager you use. I have included example commands for all popular package managers.

      • How To Install Deepin Desktop Environment On Ubuntu 20.10 Or 20.04 / Linux Mint 20.x – Linux Uprising Blog

        This article explains how to install the Deepin Desktop Environment on Ubuntu 20.04 or 20.10, and Linux distributions based on these Ubuntu versions, like Linux Mint 20.x. You’ll also find instructions for how to remove it in case you no longer want to use it.

        Deepin Desktop Environment (Deepin DE or DDE) is written in Qt and uses dde-kwin as its window manager (a set of patches for KDE Plasma’s window manager). It’s used by default in Deepin, a Linux distribution with a predominantly Chinese userbase, which ships a mix of open source and proprietary programs, including Google Chrome, Spotify, Steam and WPS Office.

        While developed primarily for Deepin Linux distribution, the Deepin Desktop Environment is available in the repositories of many Linux distributions, such as Arch Linux, Fedora, and more. Ubuntu (and Debian) has some Deepin applications in its repositories, but not the desktop environment.

        There’s also a community-maintained distribution that ships with DDE by default: UbuntuDDE (there was also Manjaro Deepin, but that’s no longer available). In fact, if you want to use the Deepin Desktop Environment on top of Ubuntu, the best solution is to use UbuntuDDE, an unofficial Ubuntu remix with DDE by default. It had its first release as UbuntuDDE Remix 20.04, based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa, and there’s also a 20.10 release that features DDE from Deepin v20.

      • How To Install Ajenti Control Panel on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Ajenti Control Panel on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Ajenti is a hosting control panel that allows you to set up a website very easily. It comes with a clean and modern interface, so setting up application servers, databases and routing should not be difficult at all. Moreover, it comes with great language support. Using Ajenti, you can set up applications written in PHP (PHP-FPM), Python (WSGI), Ruby, and Node.js in no time. Exim 4 and Courier IMAP are automatically configured so you can use virtual e-mails, DKIM, DMARC, and SPF. This control panel is written in Python and runs on multiple Linux distributions.

        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 Ajenti Control Panel on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • Install & configure HAPROXY on Ubuntu – LinuxTechLab

        HAProxy: HAProxy is free, open-source software that provides high availability, load balancing, and proxying for TCP and HTTP-based applications. HAProxy is written in C. It stands for High Availability Proxy.

        HAProxy works by spreading incoming requests from clients across multiple servers which is the base of any load balancing algorithm. A client connects to an HAProxy instance which processes all of the requests by using a reverse proxy to forward the request to one of the available endpoints, based on some load-balancing algorithm.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 6.0-rc3 is now available.
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Bug fixes only, we are in code freeze.
        The source is available from the following locations:
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
      • Wine 6.0 hits a third Release Candidate with 19 bugs marked as fixed | GamingOnLinux

        Reaching that little bit closer towards the next major release, the Wine compatibility layer project has another Release Candidate that needs testing for Wine 6.0. As they continue to be in a feature freeze, no big new bits are going in right now, only the needed bug fixes to get things into a good state for the final version.

        What is Wine? It’s a compatibility layer for running various Windows-only applications and games on Linux and other operating systems. Tons of people work on it, with some sponsored or employed directly by CodeWeavers who have their special version with the CrossOver application. Wine is also the backbone of Steam Play Proton.

      • Wine 6.0-RC3 Released With Another 19 Fixes – Phoronix

        The third weekly release candidate of Wine 6.0 ahead of the stable release expected in January.

        With the Wine 6.0 feature freeze in effect since earlier this month, Wine 6.0-RC3 is just about continuing to provide bug fixes. Over the past week there are 19 known bug fixes. Wine 6.0-RC3 brings fixes for Autodesk 3ds Max, Crysis, and an assortment of other applications and games.

    • Games

      • Plague Inc: The Cure DLC coming in early 2021 and free until COVID-19 is under control | GamingOnLinux

        Ready to cure the world? Ndemic Creations have released another small bit of info for Plague Inc: The Cure, the upcoming expansion to the excellent Plague Inc: Evolved. We already knew it was coming and that it would be free for all players until they deem COVID-19 to be “under control”. Now we know that it will be here in “early” 2021, and their new Steam page is up with some extra details so you can follow it along and wishlist it ready.

      • Gaming That Respects You

        The Librem 5 features high quality, free games that respect you. Play 2D and 3D games without ads, without in-app purchases, and without tracking.

      • Why I Haven’t Purchased CyberPunk 2077 Yet

        As most of you probably know, I live in Japan. While there’s a great many things to say about living here, let’s face it. It’s a place that sucks if you are a PC gamer. Well, “suck” is a strong word maybe. I mean, if I were to live on a small island somewhere with no Internet access it would be measurably worse.

        I have been following Cyberpunk 2077 with high interest for several years now, and I was (and still am) very eager to play it on Linux at some point. Of course, I would have probably purchased it on day one on Steam (one of the very few games I would actually not buy on sale!) but there were a few factors that got in the way…

        First, Cyberpunk 2077 is damn expensive in Japan. Okay, I guess Japan is a super premium country to live in, because we get to pay the HIGHEST fricking price for the game worldwide. Even more than our Swiss friends that already pay through the nose for everything. And compared to the Euro zone, 15% more. Most readers on Boiling Steam are from the US and you guys pay 29% less than Japan.

      • Upcoming fighting game Fraymakers is a massive success on Kickstarter | GamingOnLinux

        McLeodGaming, creators of the popular Super Smash Flash 2, have successfully funded Fraymakers on Kickstarter with Linux support confirmed and it was a big campaign for them.

        They’re betting big on the inclusion of their FrayTools system for the release, allowing all users to build their own characters, stages, menus, modes and pretty much anything. It’s going to be a hugely moddable platform fighter, with a focus on quality for the official content too with high resolution custom animations for all characters. It’s also going to be including fighters from various well-known indie games like Slay the Spire, Octodad and more.

      • 7 Security Tips for Gamers

        Gamers can expect to be prime targets over the holidays as COVID-19 rages on. Here’s some advice on how to keep hackers at bay.

      • The Mistwoods Update is up for Dota 2 – new hero Hoodwink plus Aghanim’s Shard for all | GamingOnLinux

        Oh no, I feel like I’m going to get sucked into Dota 2 again and lose another 500 hours. The Mistwoods Update has gone live and it’s a major one with the new hero Hoodwink.

        “Always at hand when trouble’s afoot, Hoodwink lives to tangle with the threats that fill the haunted forest she has adopted as her home. Toting a massive crossbow while still able to scurry through the woodland with the greatest of ease, Hoodwink is nearly impossible to keep tabs on in battle. Lose track for even a moment and she’ll pop out behind you — your stunned carcass already dangling helplessly in one of her nets.”

      • Kerbal Space Program 1.11 is out with an EVA Construction Mode | GamingOnLinux

        A little repair and reconstruction while doing a space walk? That’s now a thing in the latest free expansion to the spaceship building simulation game Kerbal Space Program.

        With lots of other smaller features that were added in this update, the EVA Construction Mode and new textures are the biggest highlights. EVA Construction Mode especially, because it can change how you play the game entirely when mixed with the new inventory system that allows your kerbals to store and carry around objects of their own. Some Reassembly Required also boosts the customization possible with a bunch of new lights to stick on your craft, plus some deployable lights too.

      • The absolutely genius Frick, Inc. from Kenney is now up on Steam | GamingOnLinux

        Joining Kenney’s other game Pixross, it has hopped on over from itch.io and joined the many thousands of Linux games available on Steam directly.

      • Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood to feature time-loops, branching stories – new trailer up | GamingOnLinux

        Devespresso Games (The Coma series, Vambrace: Cold Soul) have announced along with publisher Headup that their next game Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood will enter Early Access in February 2021. Headup mentioned to use that it’s going to be a bit like “Groundhog Day meets Brothers Grimm meeting Oz” filled full with time-loops, branching stories and multiple endings with the traditional Devespresso manhwa-style attached to it.

        “Scarlet, the protagonist and a rock diva in the making, awakes in the realm of Glome after being flung over by a rogue tornado. She discovers a vibrant world brimming with magic, beauty, and artifacts from a mysterious bygone culture. Her strange journey begins when she takes up the mantle of the Red Witch and leads a troupe of Munchkins through the forbidden Wicked Wood. In a world full of riddles and wonders, she encounters witches, tin knights, talking beasts, monsters, and many fearsome creatures to overcome.”

      • War Thunder gets another major upgrade with the Hot Tracks update

        Are you ready for another major update to the Dagor Engine 6.0 used in War Thunder? As the Hot Tracks update is rolling out across the battlefields.

        Gajin have continued upgrading their game engine to bring it more in line with other modern games, especially as War Thunder is a top earner for them it makes sense to keep it looking pretty. Hot Tracks brings in updated gunfire for naval and ground vehicles, 3 new helicopters for Italy and 30 new war machines for other countries on top of some new visual effects coming…


        The Linux version has been running beautifully for me since the last major update that put Vulkan as the default

      • 【Xonotic】Open Source Arena Shooter: Count Me In

        If you’ve seen my game streams you should realize how terrible I am at gaming so how about we go and play Xonotic an open source arena shooter, sounds like a fun way to start the weekend. Everyone is welcome to join the server.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: all the things!

          This week we did a little bit of everything, and there should be things that make all kinds of people happy. So let’s just jump right in!

          New Features

          Okular now lets you digitally sign documents! Note that this feature makes use of a digital signature, not a picture of your handwritten signature (Albert Astals Cid, Okular 21.04)

          Kate and other KTextEditor-based apps now have a new feature to swap the selected text with the top item in the clipboard (Christoph Cullmann, Frameworks 5.78)

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • How Translation Works in GNOME

          GNOME uses a web application called Damned Lies to manage their translation work-flow and produce statistics to monitor the translation progress. Damned Lies is specifically intended to be used within GNOME. There used to be a separate tool called Vertimus but it has been merged
          into Damned Lies.

          Participants in the translation of GNOME belong to translation teams, one for each language to which GNOME is translated, and they can have one of three roles: translator, reviewer and committer…

        • Cinnamon Vs GNOME: Which Linux Desktop Environment is the Best?

          Desktop environment (DE) may not sound like a considerable concern for most Linux users. Mostly, if you have a vast hardware setup, the desktop environment might not be a big concern for you. But as we are talking about the DE, we need to know what a DE actually is and why it matters to select the right DE for your Linux system. A desktop environment is the basic setup of a Linux distribution that handles bootloader, display render, and display environment. Cinnamon and GNOME are the two most common and popular desktop environments for Linux distributions. Ubuntu, Fedora, Pop! OS and other mainstream Linux distributions use the GNOME desktop environment. On the other hand, Cinnamon DE can also be installed and used on Ubuntu, Debian, OpenSUSE, Arch Linux, and Fedora distributions. Based on the user experience and behavior, the battle of Cinnamon Vs GNOME is always a hot topic in the Linux community.

        • GNOME Shell UX plans for GNOME 40

          If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that a team has been working on updated designs for the Activities Overview. (Previous posts on this topic covered our initial motivations and design goals, as well as the results from some early exploratory research that we conducted.) This initiative has been the subject of significant activity over recent months, and we’re now at a point where we can share more details about what we’ve been doing.

    • Distributions

      • Best lightweight Linux distros of 2020 [Ed: Updated annually, more or less]

        As a result, they have become too bloated for older machines. Without a healthy dollop of system memory and an extra core or two, these distros may not deliver the best performance.

        Thankfully, there are many lightweight distros, trimmed and tweaked by expert hands, which can be used to breathe new life into older hardware.

        The lightweight distros in this guide are fully capable of reviving older hardware and can even function as a replacement of your current operating system, if you’re willing to adjust to their way of working and install extra apps as necessary.

      • BSD

        • Trying OpenZFS 2 on FreeBSD 12.2-RELEASE

          OpenZFS 2 is a huge achievement, and makes me bullish about the long term prospects for the world’s most trustworthy and nicest to use storage system. You can even use try it today on FreeBSD 12.2-RELEASE, though I recommend tracking -CURRENT for these sorts of features.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Mageia 8 Artwork Contest, Take Two

          Sadly when we ran the first contest the translation and announcements into many of our communities didn’t happen so many submissions were missed out on, to solve this, we will run the contest again, from 2020/12/18 until 2021/1/1. It will use the same pool for submissions, so any artwork that has been previously submitted will be included automatically, but if there are additional pieces or new versions, please feel free to add them.

          Below is the original announcement with the rules and guidelines, as well as the link to the collection pool.

          As in previous years, we’re looking for your contributions and ideas, but not just images and photos – if you have icons and logos, or ideas on how login screens or animations should look, then it’s time to discuss or show them off.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • CloudLinux Investing $1 Million Annually To Offer CentOS Replacement

          CloudLinux has announced plans to invest $1 million annually in development and establish a community initiative around its RHEL fork intended as a safe haven for CentOS users.

          With Red Hat (CentOS’s Linux parent company), shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to CentOS Stream, CloudLinux plans to make a better stable point CentOS.

          CloudLinux said it will give current users a trusted, battle-tested alternative supported by a governing board from members of the community.

        • PHP version 7.3.26RC1, 7.4.14RC1 and 8.0.1RC1 – Remi’s RPM repository – Blog

          Release Candidate versions are available in testing repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests, and also as base packages.

          RPM of PHP version 8.0.1RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-php80-test repository for Fedora 31-33 and Enterprise Linux.

          RPM of PHP version 7.4.14RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 32-33 or remi-php74-test repository for Fedora 31 and Enterprise Linux.

        • Jamulus Latency on Fedora 33

          Somehow or other I can seem to get things working with Jamulus, but I really am struggling to explain how.


          So, yeah ,I have a few things connected, mouse,. keyboard, printer. I’m in a docking station, and I think that is the difference between Bus1 and Bus2.

          I’m running Fedora 33 with the Low latency Kernel from Stanford CCRMA Built for Fedora 32 (the 33 Kernel is not out yet). Fetched from here.

          I have disabled pulse at the user level as I wrote about in a previous article.

          I still don’t really know Jack.

          On QJackCtl I’ve gone to Settings-Advanced and set the Scarlett Solo as the input and output device. You can see the Green card icon in the combo boxes on the right hand side below.

        • Fedora 33 essential post-install tweaks

          Several weeks ago, I tried Fedora 33 on my multi-boot test laptop. The experience was a total flop for me. Since I’ve recently decided to be far less forgiving when testing Linux, in order to preserve my time and my fun, my tolerance for the not-product approach prevalent in most distro is simply gone. There really wasn’t anything super-cool or redeeming about this system to warrant any extensive usage.

          That said, I decided to invest some time in transforming the stock Fedora 33 experience into something resembling a classic desktop you’d expect. This is very similar to what I’ve done many times in the past, including the Fedora 32 endeavor. With that in mind, if you’re in the mood for some serious tweaks, then please, follow me. If you think Linux is perfect, and/or I’m just a spoiled [favorite expletive], this article is really not for you.

        • Where Fedora fits in the new Red Hat/CentOS Stream Linux world

          Red Hat, CentOS’s Linux parent company, announced in early December it was “shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to CentOS Stream, which tracks just ahead of a current RHEL release.” That move ticked off CentOS users and it also left many others wondering where, exactly, does Fedora, Red Hat’s community Linux distribution and de facto beta, go from here?


          No, Wright continued, CentOS Stream is stable enough for production. True, CentOS Stream is a “rolling preview” of what’s next in RHEL, both in terms of kernels and features. But Facebook already runs millions of servers, supporting its vast global social network, with its own Linux operating system based on CentOS Stream.

          But, Wright added, “CentOS Stream now sits between the Fedora Project’s operating system innovation and RHEL’s production stability.”

        • CentOS Stream is Continuous Delivery

          From the outside, it may appear that the way we build RHEL (and thus the CentOS Linux content) hasn’t changed in a decade. But beneath the covers, we’re pulling off a monumental transformation of how we develop RHEL without impacting our customers.

          I’ve told this story at various conferences, but the announcements about CentOS Linux 8 and CentOS Stream have provided the impetus to tell the story here.

          Three years ago, several of us working in RHEL Engineering had an idea: what if we applied modern development practices to RHEL such as continuous integration, continuous delivery, predictable release cadence … paired with open source development practices like release early release often, pull requests, forking, and code review.

        • Red Hat pushes hybrid cloud to the edge

          Red Hat has unveiled new edge capabilities for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The firm has also expanded the number of supported environments for Red Hat OpenShift, including leading public clouds and multiple datacenter architectures, like IBM Z and Power Systems.

        • Eric D. Schabell, Red Hat: Looking ahead – container, microservices and serverless perspectives

          Organizations are continuing to embrace cloud-native development in hybrid cloud environments, and in doing so, are also looking ahead and asking, what’s next for containers, microservices and serverless? While these three technologies may seem like they are worn out buzzwords, the truth is, there is more work to be done with all, especially when it comes to operating in the hybrid cloud. Check out our thoughts on what 2021 will bring in terms of containers, microservices and serverless in the hybrid cloud environment.

        • Reading: Peopleware: Productive Projects and Team by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

          I had heard of the book in the late 1990′s (right before I joined Red Hat for the first time) from a fellow coder who was moving into management and had wanted to do it right. Marshall had read the book, tried to put the ideas into place and was promptly let go by the company. [Within about 6 months, we were all let go also... for a reason given in the book..] In the years since I have seen the book brought up several times, but I had never actually read it.

        • Container security requires more than securing your images – IBM Developer

          Many of us saw this scene play out several times over: customer financial records are exposed and account numbers are hacked. Security and compliance in a modern-day, cloud-native application are not only requirements. They are a challenge to most enterprise developers.

          A container is a standard unit of software that packages up code and all its dependencies so the applications run quickly and reliably from one computing environment to another. Containers are becoming increasingly prominent, especially in cloud environments. There are several use cases for containers such as microservices, DevOps, and application migration and modernization.

        • SCAP Security Guide: helping you to achieve security policy compliance

          All of us have highly sensitive and valuable assets, such as payment and financial information, health data, and classified information, that need protection. The SCAP Security Guide, which is used in various Red Hat technologies and services, can help you make your systems compliant with a selected security baseline.

        • Kubernetes on Bare Metal: The future of RAN

          The relay race of cloud migration is continuing to evolve. Network function virtualization (NFV) kicked this race off, by lowering costs by moving from an appliance-based network to software-based equivalents. For the next leg of the race we see cloud-native architectures and containers increase efficiency, performance, resiliency, security and agility. While many service providers continue to see great success with virtual machines (VMs), most are now working to deploy containers on bare metal, without the added layer of virtualization, to better compete in the marketplace.

      • Debian Family

        • Q4OS 3.13 “Centaurus” LTS Linux Distro Released, Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10.7

          Derived from the recently released Debian GNU/Linux 10.7 update, which brings 38 security patches and 54 miscellaneous bug fixes to the stable Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series, the Q4OS 3.13 update is here to further improve the stability and security of the Q4OS 3 “Centaurus” LTS series.

          On top of that, Q4OS 3.13 introduces several interesting changes like the removal of the Snap daemon and its dependencies from the Q4OS desktop profiles. This means that you won’t be able to install Snap apps in Q4OS anymore, unless you reinstall Canonical’s Snap daemon from the software repositories.

        • Sparky 2020.12 Special Editions

          Special editions of Sparky 2020.12 GameOver, Multimedia & Rescue released.
          It is based on the Debian testing “Bullseye”.

          • packages updated from Debian testing repos as of December 17, 2020
          • Linux kernel 5.9.11 (5.10.1 in Sparky unstable repos)
          • Calamares 3.2.34 + kpmcore 4.2.0
          • APTus replaced by APTus AppCenter RC1
          • added ‘sparky-www’ – it is a small package, which provides a custom Sparky’s start page, powered by DuckDuckGo, to your favorite web browser; the start page is located at /opt/sparky/index.html and has to be loaded manually to a web browser, after installing the package
          • Firefox 84.0
          • Thunderbird 78.5.1
          • LibreOffice 7.0.3
          • VLC 3.0.11
          • Exaile 4.1.0 beta1
          • Python 3.9 is the default one, and libpython3.8 is still installed
          • python2.x & libpython2.x removed

        • Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, November 2020

          Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20.1 “Ulyssa” BETA Released For Testing

          The beta of Linux Mint 20.1 “Ulyssa” Xfce, Cinnamon, and MATE editions were released for testing and to help the Linux Mint team fix issues prior to the stable release.

          Linux Mint 20.1 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2025. It features Linux Kernel 5.4, Ubuntu 20.04 package base, and Xfce 4.14 / Cinnamon 4.8 / MATE 1.24 desktop environment.

        • Lubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo – Artwork Contest is Here

          The Lubuntu team announced the competition to select the default artwork for the next Lubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo.

        • Lubuntu Hirsute Hippo 21.04 Artwork Contest

          The Lubuntu Team is pleased to announce we are running a Hirsute Hippo artwork competition, giving you, our community, the chance to submit, and get your favorite wallpapers for both the desktop and the greeter/login screen (SDDM) included in the Lubuntu 21.04 release.


          We will close this thread on February 25th, 2021 and the judging will begin. No late submissions will be accepted.

          The artwork selection committee will select the finalists for the Lubuntu Members to vote on.

          Two selected images will be readily seen in Lubuntu 21.04, one will become the main wallpaper as with prior releases, another different image will be used for greeter/login (SDDM background).

        • Stéphane Graber: Inexpensive highly available LXD cluster: Server setup

          With that done, I grabbed the Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS server ISO, dumped it onto a USB stick and booted the servers from it.

          I had all servers and their BMCs connected to my existing lab network to make things easy for the initial setup, it’s easier to do complex network configuration after the initial installation.

          The main thing to get right at this step is the basic partitioning for your OS drive. My original plan was to carve off some space from the NVME drive for the OS, unfortunately after an initial installation done that way, I realized that my motherboard doesn’t support NVME booting so ended up reinstalling, this time carving out some space from the SATA SSD instead.

          In my case, I ended up creating a 35GB root partition (ext4) and 4GB swap partition, leaving the rest of the 2TB drive unpartitioned for later use by Ceph.

          With the install done, make sure you can SSH into the system, also check that you can access the console through the BMC both through VGA and through the IPMI text console.

        • Ubuntu on the M1 chip
          Santa visited early, brought a Mac Mini, and Parallels provided a first preview
          of Parallels Desktop for Mac M1 yesterday.
          gcc-10 build and test time is 3:10h with eight cores (38h on LP, although this
          is using four cores).  Julian had a small apt build benchmark, which is 11.6 sec
          on the M1 (-j 8), 42sec on a Lenovo first-gen X1e (6 cores, -j12), 8.4sec on a
          Ryzen 3970x (limited to -j 8).
        • Ubuntu Developers Get it Up And Running On Apple’s M1 With Early Parallels Desktop Build – Phoronix

          There has been some early success geting Ubuntu up and running on Apple’s M1 ARM hardware with using the Apple Hypervisor Framework but it looks like a much better experience is on the way with the forthcoming Parallels Desktop for Apple Silicon.

          Parallels this week began rolling out a technical preview program of Parallels Desktop 16 for the Apple M1 Macs for running the likes of Microsoft Windows from ARM-based Macs. Ubuntu also turns out to run rather nicely from this early build of Parallels Desktop.

        • What’s new in Open Source MANO: multi-cloud orchestration, operator lifecycle management, and more.. | Ubuntu

          Open source MANO (OSM) community recently added two more bricks in the wall of NFV orchestration events: OSM Release NINE and OSM#10 Hackfest. The community has come a long way to mature OSM into its 9th version. A toast to all the system integrators, network operators, researchers, and VNF vendors who have hit the home run there!

          Canonical’s contribution towards the OSM Release NINE highlights the model-driven capabilities for network services onboarding. This model-driven approach paves the way towards the goal of multi-cloud orchestration using centralized OSM components. Another major integration is the alignment of the OSM network model with ETSI (European Telecommunication Standard Institute) SOL006 standards.

          Canonical being a key member of the OSM community, also participated in Hackfest, and in collaboration with other stakeholders, covered the majority of the hackfest sessions. The event held once again behind the screens from Nov 30 to Dec 4, 2020 and focused on enhancing community interactivity and encouraging developers to participate in the project.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Jan Grulich: WebRTC/Chromium updates in 2020

          In 2019, I started with my first contribution to WebRTC. This was all about screen sharing support on Linux Wayland sessions, using xdg-desktop-portal and PipeWire. Back then, it was quite simple, we only had PipeWire 0.2 and all portal backends supported only screen sharing (no window sharing). While this was relatively easy, it was not ideal as each screen sharing request involved two portal dialogs to get the screen content on the web page itself. For me it was a big success, because I made quite a significant contribution to such a big project, which is used by many people, and a project which is used by all modern web browsers.

          At the beginning of 2020, the year everyone would like to erase from their memories, we got PipeWire 0.3 (with slightly different API) and later with xdg-desktop-portal-gtk and xdg-desktop-portal-kde (later this year) people were finally able to share application windows. Support for all of this was lacking in WebRTC, because back then those were not available. I wanted to tackle all issues at once, bring support for window sharing and get rid of the “dialog hell” with portals, which was even worse with the new window sharing capabilities in portal backends.

        • Junichi Uekawa: What did I learn about WebRTC in 2020.

          What did I learn about WebRTC in 2020. Because of remote life I needed new tools for every day life, around video and recording. I figured that HTML5 had most of ffmpeg and OBS features that I needed, and thought I could make equivalent tools with just web technology. Learning curve was relatively steep because many of examples on the web that I could find was stale and nonfunctional. Most sample code are still not ES2015. What year is this? This is 2020. Busy rewriting var to const, functions to await.

        • Better WebRTC Support Is Coming To Chrome/Chromium For Benefiting Wayland Screen Sharing

          In recent years Red Hat engineers have been contributing to WebRTC in Chromium and related projects as part of Wayland screen sharing support that also works with the likes of PipeWire and XDG-Desktop-Portal. Looking forward to 2021, more WebRTC improvements in Chromium/Chrome are on the way.


          The hope on the Chromium side is to have these improvements buttoned up for Chromium 89.

        • Mozilla

          • Niko Matsakis: Looking back on 2020

            I wanted to write a post that looks back over 2020 from a personal perspective. My goal here is to look at the various initiatives that I’ve been involved in and try to get a sense for how they went, what worked and what didn’t, and also what that means for next year. This post is a backdrop for a #niko2021 post that I plan to post sometime before 2021 actually starts, talking about what I expect to be doing in 2021.

            I want to emphasize the ‘personal’ bit. This is not meant as a general retrospective of what has happened in the Rust universe. I also don’t mean to claim credit for all (or most) of the ideas on this list. Some of them are things I was at best tangentially involved in, but which I think are inspiring, and would inform events of next year.

          • Support.Mozilla.Org: SUMO Updates – Looking back on 2020

            There is a lot happening in 2020 even when the world we live in right now has changed dramatically in just a year. Amidst all that, I feel even more grateful that the passion in our community remains despite all the internal changes in the organization and as we take our time to rearrange the pieces back, and refocus our lenses in order to welcome 2021.


            In Q3, we focused our efforts to helped the mobile team to transition from Fennec to Fenix. And we use the rest of the year to work on the remaining areas from the community strategy project that we have re-evaluated. One of the most important piece is the base metrics for the community which I can’t wait to share with you the beginning of next year. On top of that, I’m also putting together a plan to leverage this page as a guidelines center for the contributors moving forward.

            Recently, we’ve also managed to do an experiment on tagging on the support forum. This is a small experiment that serves as a stepping stone for the larger tagging strategy project that we will be working on as a team for the next year.

          • SpiderMonkey Newsletter 8 (Firefox 84-85) | spidermonkey.dev

            SpiderMonkey is the JavaScript engine used in Mozilla Firefox. This newsletter gives an overview of the JavaScript and WebAssembly work we’ve done as part of the Firefox 84 and 85 Nightly release cycles.

            If you like these newsletters, you may also enjoy Yulia’s Compiler Compiler live stream.

            This has been an unusual year for many of us, but the team is proud of everything we accomplished in 2020. Happy Holidays!

          • Continuing to Protect our Users in Kazakhstan – Open Policy & Advocacy

            In a troubling rehash of events from July 2019, Mozilla was recently informed that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Kazakhstan have begun telling their customers that they must install a government-issued root certificate on their devices to access internet services. When a user in Kazakhstan installs the root certificate provided by their ISP, they are choosing to trust a Certificate Authority (CA) that enables the interception and decryption of network communications between Firefox and the website.

            As we stated in 2019, we believe this act undermines the security of our users and the web, and it directly contradicts Principle 4 of the Mozilla Manifesto that states, “Individuals’ security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.”

          • This Week in Glean: Glean in 2021

            A year ago the Glean project was different. We had just released Glean v22.1.0 and Fenix (aka Firefox for Android aka Firefox Daylight) was not released yet, Project FOG was just an idea for the year to come.

            2020 changed that, but 2020 changed a lot. What didn’t change was my main assignment: I kept working all throughout the year on the Glean SDK, fixing bugs, expanding its capabilities, enabling more platforms and integrating it into more products. Of course this was only possible because the whole team did that as well.

            In September I took over the tech lead role for the SDK from Alessio. One part of this role includes thinking bigger and sketching out the future for the Glean SDK.

            Let’s look at this future and what ideas we have for 2021.

          • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 85

            We’ve just landed Bug 1553982, which aims to prevent starting an update while another Firefox instance is running (the cause of that about:restartrequired error page you may have seen).

          • New Release: Tor Browser 10.5a6

            Tor Browser 10.5a6 is now available from the Tor Browser Alpha download page and also from our distribution directory.

            Note: This is an alpha release, an experimental version for users who want to help us test new features. For everyone else, we recommend downloading the latest stable release instead.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Open Badges for top LibreOffice QA contributors

          Earlier this year we announced Open Badges for contributors to LibreOffice and its various sub-projects. These are custom PNG images sent out to each recipient, containing metadata about achievements, which can be verified using an external service. Recipients can then proudly show them off, or use them as proof of activity when applying for jobs or joining other free software projects!

      • FSF

        • My internship with the FSF tech team and beyond — Free Software Foundation — Working together for free software

          Hello! I’m Amin Bandali, and this is my second blog post on the FSF sysadmin blog, concluding my internship with the FSF tech team this year.

          Throughout my internship with the tech team, I have worked mainly on sysadmin tasks related to setting up and/or managing FSF’s GNU/Linux servers. Perhaps most significantly, I set up an instance of the Sourcehut forge software to help evaluate it as a candidate for the upcoming FSF forge project. I documented the installation and setup process of Sourcehut’s various components in the form of a literate GNU Emacs Org-mode file, where source blocks are interspersed with comments and prose explaining them. One can then progressively evaluate and execute the source blocks, and optionally have their results stored back in the Org file itself to help with documentation/demonstration.

          I have also been slowly working on various improvements for the server running www.gnu.org, and will continue doing work on it as a volunteer after the end of my internship. This will hopefully be beneficial to the FSF sysadmins running the server, the GNU webmasters who do webmastering work on gnu.org, and the general public browsing and using gnu.org’s pages. Notably, changes included upgrading the server to the latest release of Trisquel GNU/Linux, and revamping and improving the search mechanism for gnu.org’s pages. Additionally, there are several other projects that I would like to tackle with the tech team in the near future.

        • Licensing/Legal

          • The Year-Round Joys and Benefits of Open Source Software

            Companies don’t give away code out of a sense of holiday cheer or pure altruism, they believe (and I’d argue are often right) that the benefits for supporting open source outweigh the costs or drawbacks. Yes, your code will end up in the hands of competition. Sure, other companies can use your hard work to advance their cause. Yet in the long run, you still come out ahead.

            Some big brands and companies, such as Google, are well known for (almost) wholeheartedly supporting open source projects. Google has even set up a process for employees to turn their company developed code into open source.

            Why go through all the trouble? Let’s take a look at the tangible benefits of supporting open source, especially from the perspective of tech giants like Google. Let’s start by looking at how companies support open source.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Beating the Bounds: Inside the Struggle to Make Open Source Seed – Resilience

          As suggested by its name, the Open Source Seed Initiative drew crucial inspiration from a field often considered remote from farmers’ concerns: computer science. In the early 1980s, MIT professor Richard Stallman recognized that proprietary software could restrict people’s ability to access and use software — and consequently, to innovate. Stallman’s stroke of genius was to invert the copyright license, using intellectual property to make software contractually non-proprietary. This innovation, sometimes called “copyleft,” is today celebrated as a landmark hack around copyright law. It ensures everyone the freedom to copy, modify, or distribute a program as they see fit, as long as they apply the same copyleft license to their creation. In this way, the free license propagates, making more and more software shareable and legally protected. It achieves a so-called “viral” character.


          In this chapter, I have traced the efforts of one new project to resist the long colonial and capitalist enclosures of seed. “Beating the bounds” is an active mode of resistance undertaken by members of the Open Source Seed Initiative in an attempt to repossess the commons. I have argued that such boundary beating moves us beyond a static “commons” and into the active form of commoning: the living practices of making rules, negotiating protocols, and re-evaluating the principles through which a commons adheres. By focusing on knowledge, I have followed these social practices through three related stories, from experimenting with legal structures to affirming plant breeding knowledge to articulating with the global seed system.

          Beating the bounds also underlines that persistence is necessary — as enclosing is never a done deal. Indeed, since the time I conducted this research, new challenges have appeared on the horizon. The US Department of Justice in 2018 approved the buyout of the agrichemical giant Monsanto by the multinational life science company Bayer, cementing the third in a series of mergers that, according to Bayer, has created a “global leader in agriculture.” At its launch, the new firm announced it would create a leading platform in “Digital Farming,” provide an “integrated product portfolio across crops” with “a comprehensive offering of Seed and Crop Protection products,” and have an annual innovation budget of 2.5 billion euros.[57] Meanwhile, at the university where I completed my PhD, gene editing is helping to propel the next generation of agricultural, pharmaceutical, and basic science research. The question “who owns CRISPR-Cas9?” is already a billion-dollar conundrum, pitting two universities into patent wars and sealing lucrative licensing deals for DuPont-Pioneer/Dow, Monsanto-Bayer, and Syngenta-ChemChina, among others.

          However, there are many anti-enclosure developments too. In November 2019, the African Food Sovereignty Alliance gathered 44 women and men from 10 African countries (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Senegal, Eswatini, and Uganda) to develop “a common strategy for changing the prevailing narrative around seed in Africa, to one that recognizes smallholder farmers, their indigenous knowledge and their seed systems that are the fundamental basis of Africa’s food system.”[58] This meeting carried forward the decolonial and feminist ethic voiced by peasant agroecologists who convened in Rome the year prior: At FAO headquarters, they fought to assure that agroecology’s core tenets — valuing indigenous wisdom, cultivating complex social-ecological systems, enabling women’s full participation in the social and political life of their communities — are not instrumentalized by formal uptake in the international policy arena.[59] Commoning implicitly, if not explicitly, runs through each. I will therefore be watching — and participating — as OSSI seeks to promote a pluriverse of seed commons rather than establish or oversee a universal archetype, which would never succeed agroecologically or politically. These actually functioning commons are what Bollier suggests are the “staging areas” for post-capitalist systems and I agree. Like the OSSI commoners, I suggest that creating and protecting these staging areas will take much boundary-beating work. But in that activity, there are real possibilities of deconstructing dominant structures, there are real possibilities for commoned seed to grow.

      • Programming/Development

        • Qt Design Studio 2.0, Qt Creator 4.14 Released

          Following last week’s release of Qt 6.0, The Qt Company has now released Qt Creator 4.14 and Qt Design Studio 2.0 as accompanying assets.

          Qt Design Studio 2.0 is the firm’s UI design and development tool for rapidly creating Qt-based user interfaces. Qt Design Studio 2.0 brings Telemetry and Crashpad support, automatic thumbnail generation, a technical preview of a Qt bridge for the Figma interface design application, 2D effects improvements, Qt for MCU support, and experimental Qt 6 support.

        • Qt Creator 4.14: What’s new in C++ support?

          As announced earlier, we have released Qt Creator 4.14 this week. While a full change log is available, I think it’s worthwhile to take a closer look specifically at some of the improvements to our C++ support.

        • New features in CMake 3.19

          On 18th of November Kitware, has released CMake version 3.19. The release notes contain the list of changes.

        • Software Resilience: 7 must-have factors for healing from the unexpected

          Software resilience is a must-have quality for any software that is scalable, performant, and fault-tolerant.

          The ability of software to heal from unexpected events is software resilience. This means a software engineer has to anticipate unexpected events and account for them. The solution for creating this fault tolerance can be in code or on the infrastructure layer.

          Distributed systems will fail, a resilient software system will not try to avoid failure but expect it and respond gracefully.

        • 100 Days of Code – A Complete Guide For Beginners and Experienced

          What is the reasonable timeframe to crack the interviews of big tech companies?

          This question comes to the mind of every newbie and experienced programmers.

          Well, there are a lot of topics and things to cover if you’re targeting some big tech companies. The challenge is the limited timeframe and based on our research we need to say that it may take almost 14 weeks or 100 Days. We have divided the complete topics into 100 days and all you just have to do is to follow it and stay committed to coding for 100 days.

          If you follow this approach and stay committed to coding then not only you will develop a good coding habit but also you will be able to crack the interviews of 60-70% of tech companies.

        • Open-source excursions: A journey into remote record keeping – Increment: Remote

          As an open-source maintainer, I try hard to ensure that maintainers and contributors feel emotionally fulfilled by their work. After all, many people are drawn to open source for intellectual and emotional satisfaction. When you don’t get that, it’s easy to burn out—and even leave a community. Meetings that feel like wasted time aren’t just bad for our calendars, they’re bad for our souls.

        • The role of empathy in DevOps | Opensource.com

          Providing empathy during this time starts with remembering that you don’t know what somebody is going through when the web conferencing camera is off. It’s something I’ve had to remind myself a bunch of times since the beginning of the pandemic.

          The next steps for remote work are different for all of us. Some DevOps teams will return to their offices at some point in 2021. Some may find themselves in hybrid working arrangements while other groups may remain remote. Unfortunately, some DevOps teams may split up as their employers conduct layoffs, and lucky coworkers land new positions with other employers. As in our personal lives, each unique and developing work situation requires a measure of empathy to help steer the team through change.

        • Perl/Raku

        • Rust

          • Advent of Rust 16 and 17: Really, That’s More Iterators Than I Wanted; and More Adventures With NumRust | The Mad Scientist Review

            The last couple of days I took a break from this chronicle of my attempt to teach myself the Rust programming language by solving the programming puzzles on Advent of Code 2020. But now I’m back with another two days’ worth of puzzles!

            One thing that I read in the meantime, thanks to a tip from Federico was the first installment of someone else’s blog who’s doing the same thing as I am. That blog is a really good read, and I think the main difference with my series is that the author is already a Rust expert! The style is also very different, as well; I am mostly trying to emphasize the things that I found surprising, struggled with, or didn’t understand. Their blog is much more didactic.1

            One really cool thing that I picked up from that blog post is the include_str!() macro, which makes it possible to read the input file into a string at compile time, and dispense with the read_lines() boilerplate and most of the error handling. I think I will be using this from now on. This way also makes it easy to substitute in the example inputs from the puzzle descriptions.

  • Leftovers

    • Live: The ‘System Check’ Book Club

      The best Zoom holiday party is happening Saturday and we want you to join us! As 2020 comes to a close, join Dorian Warren and Melissa Harris-Perry, co-hosts of the System Check podcast from The Nation, for a very special, live event: The System Check Book Club. Beginning at 5 pm Eastern on Saturday, December 19, Dorian and Melissa sit down with the authors of some of their favorite books from 2020, including Maria Hinojosa, Rumaan Alam, John Nichols, Jeanne Theoharis, and Scott Farris, and preview terrific titles coming in 2021. This has been a difficult year, but there is plenty to salvage for the fight ahead, so tune in to the System Check Book Club for a holiday feast of words and wisdom. Remember, the most important system we have is the system of ideas. So join Melissa, Dorian and the authors who are reshaping the world of ideas for the better.

    • The Blinding Clarity of John Le Carré

      During this pandemic summer that was no summer, with space constricted and time expanded, I found myself picking up John Le Carré’s 1963 spy novel, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. I’d read the book decades ago, but my memory of the novel had been distilled into its closing final image—Alec Leamas and Liz Gold on the East German side of the Berlin Wall, two human beings trapped in the crosshairs of guns, searchlights, international intrigue, and institutional betrayal.

    • One World: The Wisdom of Wholeness

      In this country, as well as much of our divided world, short-term gain is often all that matters and nothing else exists. This flawed thinking is at the core of our social infrastructure.

    • This Holiday Season—Shop Safely, Support Local Businesses and Act with Justice in Mind

      When you purchase gifts through small, local retailers, you are helping to sustain the livelihoods of real people in your community.

    • Education

      • Dr. Jill Biden Defended Her Doctorate After Wall Street Journal Op-Ed

        Dr. Jill Biden addressed a recent controversy about her use of the honorific in an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Appearing alongside her husband, President-elect Joe Biden, the future first lady expressed pride in the work she’d done when Colbert asked her about a recent newspaper piece lambasting her for referring to herself as a doctor despite having earned a doctorate in education.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Pfizer Helped Create the Global Patent Rules. Now It’s Using Them to Undercut Access to the Covid Vaccine.

        The pharmaceutical company is opposing a proposal at the World Trade Organization to expand vaccine access to poor countries.

      • The Great Divider: Covid-19 Reflects Global Racism, Not Equality

        Poor, dark-skinned people should not be made to die when their lives can be saved by a simple vaccine, which is available in abundance.

      • ‘Baffling’: Trump Admin Reportedly Slashing Vaccine Allocations to States While Millions of Doses Sit on Shelves

        “We have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses,” Pfizer said.

      • Vaccinating Black Americans Is Essential. Key States Aren’t Doing the Work to Combat Hesitancy

        Though African Americans are being hospitalized for COVID-19 at more than triple the rate of white Americans, wariness of the new vaccine is higher in the Black population than in most communities. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted communities of color as a “critical population” to vaccinate. But ProPublica found little in the way of concrete action to make sure that happens.

        It will be up to states to make sure residents get the vaccine, but ProPublica reviewed the distribution plans of the nine states with the most Black residents and found that many have barely invested in overcoming historic mistrust of the medical establishment and high levels of vaccine hesitancy in the Black community. Few states could articulate specific measures they are taking to address the vaccine skepticism.

      • Quacks misuse Koch’s postulates to deny that SARS-CoV-2 causes COVID-19

        Quacks often deny germ theory. I realize that it’s hard for a lot of physicians to believe that, in 2020, germ theory denial is a thing, but it is. (I’ve written about it many times before.) There are a variety of forms of denial of germ theory, too, ranging from “soft” denial to harder forms of denial. One example occurred in 2008, when Bill Maher engaged in “soft” germ theory denial in which, although he didn’t deny that the influenza virus causes the flu, he denied the effectiveness and safety of flu vaccines while simultaneously claiming that he “wouldn’t get the flu on a plane” because his “terrain” was so hostile to germs because of his healthy lifestyle and diet. (I couldn’t help but wonder all the weed he brags about smoking is part of that claim.) Bob Costas, of all people, responded with the perfect retort, “Oh, come on, Superman!” Indeed, amusingly, in response to criticism Maher fervently denied that he had denied germ theory, even though he had also quoted a common germ theory denialist lie about the “deathbed conversion” of Louis Pasteur, the father of germ theory, it’s a myth frequently spread by quacks who claim that Pasteur “recanted” on his deathbed (note the choice of word) and “confessed” that it was the “terrain,” not the microbes. (This never happened.) Another form of “soft” germ theory denial is the the co-opting and abuse of of Koch’s postulates to cast doubt on whether various microbes actually cause disease.

      • Russia’s Health Ministry announces talks with Germany on joint production of Russian coronavirus vaccines

        Germany is prepared to cooperate with Russia on the production of Russian vaccines against the coronavirus, German Health Minister Jens Spahn told his Russian counterpart Mikhail Murashko during a phone conversation on Friday, December 18. 

      • States to Receive Fewer Vaccines Than Promised as Trump Boasts About Rollout
      • Hey, Hey, FDA! How Many Americans Have You Killed Since May?

        My question: What took so long, and why?

        As David Wallace-Wells reports at New York magazine, Moderna completed design of its vaccine on January 13 — only two days after the virus’s genetic sequence was released to the public by Professor Yong-Zhen Zhang of Shanghai’s Fudan University and before any US cases of the virus had been confirmed.

      • Towards the End of the Biopolitical Plague

        While the arrival of a vaccine, pursued by the scientific community and its capitalist corporate manufacturers, offers what many now see as a “light at the end of the tunnel,” they are blind to the fact that this is only one tunnel among a mountainous range exploited by predatory power. In effect, the vaccine is a temporary solution to a deeply rooted problem represented by a host of human power trips reflected in the destruction of animal habitats, factory farming, global supply chains, and global climate change. Such power trips are also represented in the reign of patriarchal systems and an evolutionary selection for “power over” which contaminates society and social relationships. One can date this biopolitical plague to the emergence of empire over 5,000 years ago and its fostering of war in order to control resources.

        Over 500 years ago the European expansion into the Americas spread another biolpolitical plague, one that also contained another deadly virus – smallpox. Conquest was not only by force of arms and the material expression of white supremacy, but also through this infectious disease that killed millions. The construction of these empires, and with it their settler colonialist mentalities, would enact regimes of oppression and exploitation of the Indigenous of the Americas and of enslaved Africans. The residual effects of this systemic racism persist to today, evident in patterns of institutional discrimination and devastation of the lives of people of color.

      • Because ‘It Is the American Healthcare System,’ Experts Anticipate Surprise Medical Bills for Covid-19 Vaccines

        “The vaccine must be free and available for everyone,” said Medicare for All advocate Rep. Pramila Jayapal. “But we also need to fix a broken, for-profit healthcare system that allows loopholes and surprise bills to happen.”

      • Only Seven of Stanford’s First 5,000 Vaccines Were Designated for Medical Residents

        Stanford Medicine residents who work in close contact with COVID-19 patients were left out of the first wave of staff members for the new Pfizer vaccine. In their place were higher-ranking doctors who carry a lower risk of patient transmission, according to interviews with six residents and two other staff members and e-mail communications obtained by ProPublica.

        “Residents are patient-facing, we’re the ones who have been asked to intubate, yet some attendings who have been face-timing us from home are being vaccinated before us,” said Sarah Johnson, a third-year OB-GYN resident who has delivered babies from COVID-positive patients during the pandemic. “This is the final straw to say, ‘We don’t actually care about you.’”

      • FAA and Boeing manipulated 737 Max tests during recertification

        Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) worked together to manipulate 737 Max recertification tests following two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019, according to a damning new Senate report. Boeing “inappropriately coached” some FAA test pilots to reach a desired outcome during the recertification tests, and some were even performed on simulators that weren’t equipped to re-create the same conditions as the crashes.

        In doing this, the Senate report’s authors say the “FAA and Boeing were attempting to cover up important information that may have contributed to the 737 MAX tragedies.”

      • Hunger in America: Covid-19 and the Nightmare of Food Insecurity

        And now, it seems, the third wave of the virus has arrived. As recently as late October, the embattled Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, warned that “we are in for a whole lot of hurt” and that infections could reach 100,000 a day. As it happens, he was wildly optimistic. A little more than a month later, there were more than twice that many. Is it possible, however, that the current surge is due in part to increased testing, as President Trump and others have regularly claimed? Here’s the problem. Even if that theory were true, it can’t account for the spiraling death toll, which is now more than 300,000 and could hit 450,000 by February, according to Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nor can it explain the daily Covid-19 hospitalizations, the first round of which peaked at 59,712 on July 23rd, dropped pretty steadily to a low of 28,606 on September 20th, and then started to soar, reaching 106,671 on December 9th.

      • How the Workers of Spain Battled the Spanish Flu

        The strike began in February 1919, during the epidemic’s third wave, and brought Barcelona to a grinding halt. In January, the Ebro Irrigation and Power Company, known as La Canadiense for its Toronto headquarters, lowered wages, and fired 8 oficinistas, white-collar workers, for protesting. When 140 blue-collar workers were barred reentry after walking out in solidarity, they appealed to the anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), a union that had gained enormous traction in Barcelona over the previous year. The CNT called a general strike, spreading the word “as if it were an epidemic transmitted through air, spreading through contact,” as activist and historian Paco Ignacio Taibo II writes in his account of the period, Que Sean Fuego Las Estrellas.

      • EU says EU-UK trade talks face ‘last attempt’ to fix fish

        The European Union’s chief negotiator said Friday that the bloc and the United Kingdom are starting a “last attempt” to clinch a post-Brexit trade deal, with EU fishing rights in British waters the most notable remaining obstacle to avoid a chaotic and costly changeover on New Year.

        Michel Barnier told the EU parliament he “can’t say what will come out during this home straight of the negotiations,” which have already come a long way in nine months of talks. He called it “a very serious and somber situation” with the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people at stake.

      • Written Description: How can policymakers encourage COVID-19 vaccine trials for children?

        The past two weeks have been full of exciting COVID-19 vaccine news, including the FDA’s emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for the Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna vaccines and the nationwide rollout of Pfizer’s vaccine. Choosing how to allocate access to vaccine doses has been left to individual states, leaving policymakers with difficult decisions about how to prioritize their populations, complicated in part by the federal government’s reduction in some vaccine shipments.

        With a limited supply of doses, who should get the first shots? Some commentators have suggested prioritizing children early for a host of reasons, including hope about children returning to school. Last month a New York Times column asserted that “saving the most lives could mean prioritizing the vaccination of children and young adults.” But there is an important reason that kids can’t be part of the vaccine line yet: we don’t know whether these vaccines work for them. In this post, we explain why COVID-19 vaccines are only just starting to be tested in children and what policymakers can do to spur pediatric vaccine trials.


        The problem of pediatric evidence is not unique to vaccines, of course; many treatments, including treatments for COVID-19, also lack good evidence about their safety and efficacy in children. A similar range of policy options is available for treatments. But another step is simply making sure that when kids are treated off label—as they likely will as dosage supply increases—information is appropriately gathered, whether by enrolling them in clinical trials or by methodically collecting their information, to sufficiently analyze outcomes. Implementing such suggestions will ultimately depend more on the physicians and health-care workers on the ground than on legislative action.

        Ultimately, getting pediatric safety and efficacy information for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments is doable; policymakers must simply decide it is a goal worth fighting for.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Google Blames Gmail, YouTube Outage on Error in User ID System

          Google diagnosed a widespread outage that knocked out major services earlier this week, such as Gmail and YouTube, as a mistake with its system for identifying people online.

          Alphabet Inc.’s Google has several tools that enable it to verify and track logged-in users. In October, the company began moving those tools to a new file storage system, and in the process misreported portions of the data, according to a Friday post. That caused several of its services to go down for 47 minutes Monday morning, a rare technical misstep.

        • Windows 10 updates cause CorsairVBusDriver BSOD crash loop
        • Microsoft has delivered a partial fix for this nagging Windows 10 bug

          Microsoft has released a partial fix for a known issue affecting Windows 10 devices with certain audio drivers for Conexant and Synaptics devices. The issue has been under investigation since May this year.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Open Mainframe Project Launches Tessia

                The Open Mainframe Project (OMP) has added 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 have joined the project to strengthen their commitment to open source mainframe technologies.

              • User Survey Shows Cloud Foundry Helps Developers Build, Run, And Manage Apps Faster

                The Cloud Foundry Foundation‘s latest user survey shows substantially reduced times to develop and deploy cloud apps. Prior to using Cloud Foundry, 65% of survey respondents indicated it took 1 to 6 months or more to develop and deploy a cloud app. That changed with use of Cloud Foundry technologies with 69% responding that the time period was reduced to between 1 day and 3 weeks.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (blueman, chromium, gdk-pixbuf2, hostapd, lib32-gdk-pixbuf2, minidlna, nsd, pam, and unbound), CentOS (gd, openssl, pacemaker, python-rtslib, samba, and targetcli), Debian (kernel, lxml, and mediawiki), Fedora (mbedtls), openSUSE (clamav and openssl-1_0_0), Oracle (firefox and openssl), Red Hat (openssl, postgresql:12, postgresql:9.6, and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (openssl and thunderbird), and SUSE (cyrus-sasl, openssh, slurm_18_08, and webkit2gtk3).

          • No SUSE Impact from SolarWinds Orion Vulnerability

            This week the US authorities have been notified that the SolarWinds Orion platform did contain a backdoor for malicious attacks.

          • Linux containers can minimize cross-domain security headaches — Defense Systems

            Cross-domain security is vitally important for controlling and protecting applications as they pass between unclassified and classified networks, but the act of securing those applications has always been a challenge. Not long ago, it wasn’t unusual to see one developer without a high security clearance yelling to a peer working in a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF) about how to code a particular piece of software. While there’s little need for such primitive communications today, there’s still plenty of friction involved when it comes to transferring applications and data from unclassified to classified networks.

          • 4 Docker security best practices to minimize container risks

            When it comes to container security, there are two key areas IT admins should emphasize: the container image and host. You can’t, after all, secure one without the other.

            At the end of the day, virtualized containers still run on a host system. A privilege escalation bug could compromise the security of the entire host and lead to loss of confidentiality, integrity and availability.

            The good news is that IT admins can use freely available tools — combined with a coherent build and test process — to mitigate risks. To get started, embrace these four Docker security best practices.

          • Attackers in compromised US system at least since mid-2019: report

            Malicious attackers, who were exposed as having hit a number of government and private sector entities through software made by Texas firm SolarWinds, appear to have gained access to that firm’s network as early as mid-2019, Yahoo! News claims.

          • Suspected Russian [attack]: Was it an epic cyber attack or spy operation?

            But for many current and former American officials, that’s not the right way to look at it. By [cracking] into dozens of corporations and government agencies, they say, the [crackers] have pulled off a stunning and distressing feat of espionage. But they note that it’s just the sort of cyber spying that the American National Security Agency attempts on a regular basis against Russia, China and any number of foreign adversaries.

            It might constitute an attack if the intruders destroyed data, for example, or used their access to do damage in the physical world, say, by shutting down power grids. But breaking into unclassified government and corporate networks? Reading other people’s emails? That’s spying.

          • Exploiting a stack-based buffer overflow in practice

            In my previous post, I detailed a fun method of obtaining root access on the Zyxel VMG8825-T50 router, which required physical access to the device and authenticated access to the web interface.

            In this post, I will detail the exploitation of a vulnerability that could potentially result in unauthenticated RCE as root, given LAN access only. This vulnerability was also found on the VMG8825-T50 router, but it turns out to be present in multiple other Zyxel devices.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Schools Are Using Phone-Cracking Tech To Access The Contents Of Students’ Devices

              To the detriment of our nation’s future, the future of our nation is increasingly being subjected to law enforcement’s presents (and presence). On the plus side, it will help students grow up with a healthy distrust of their government.

            • Zoom Says It’s Being Probed by SEC, Two U.S. Attorneys Offices

              Zoom Video Communications Inc. said it has provided information to multiple U.S. prosecutors and regulators regarding interactions with China and other overseas governments, as well as security and user privacy matters.

              The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and two U.S. Attorney’s offices have been investigating Zoom for months, the San Jose, California-based company said Friday in a blog post and a filing. The videoconferencing company disclosed the legal and regulatory scrutiny the same day a former employee was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice for assisting China to block a remote gathering on the service commemorating the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising.

            • A Facebook bug exposed Instagram users’ personal email addresses and birthdays

              The attack used Facebook’s Business Suite tool, available to any Facebook business account. The experimental upgrade meant that if a Facebook business account was linked to Instagram and was included in the test group, the Business Suite tool would show additional information about a person alongside any direct message — including their supposedly private email address and birthday. All business users had to do was send a direct message on Instagram to call up the information.

              Pokharel found that the attack worked on accounts that were set to private and accounts that were set to not accept DMs from the public. If an account did not accept DMs, the user potentially would not receive any notification indicating their profile may have been viewed.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Neocons Want Us to Belly up for One More Round of War

        They already expect citizens to pay for the next round.

      • The U.S. Needs COVID Relief and Renewable Energy, Not a Space Force

        Instead of wasting scarce funds on the Space Force, the Biden administration should deploy its diplomats to demilitarize space.

      • ‘It’s always a choice’: ‘Bellingcat’ lead investigator Christo Grozev explains how his team unmasked the Russian agents who tried to kill Alexey Navalny

        On December 14, 2020, Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny published a video on YouTube, titled “I Know Everyone Who Tried to Kill Me,” where he named the Federal Security Service agents he says are responsible for poisoning him in Tomsk on August 20. Navalny attributed the discovery to Christo Grozev, Bellingcat’s “chief and very cool investigator from Bulgaria,” who recently contacted him with the message: “You know, I think we’ve found the people who tried to kill you.” Navalny’s own Anti-Corruption Foundation then joined the investigation, retracing Grozev’s steps and verifying his findings. Meduza special correspondent Liliya Yapparova spoke to Grozev about how he managed to track down a “secret and completely separate” group inside the FSB, why he’s certain these men are responsible for the attempt on Navalny’s life, and what he expects next in this story.

      • The ICC refuses to prosecute UK war crimes in Iraq despite “reasonable” evidence

        The International Criminal Court (ICC) has abandoned its inquiry into war crimes committed by British troops in Iraq between 2003 and 2008.

        The decision is a green light to the major powers to ignore international criminal and humanitarian law when pursuing their imperialist interests throughout the world.

        ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced the decisions even as she admitted there was a “reasonable basis to believe” that British armed forces may have carried out atrocities, including the willful killing of detainees held in custody in Iraq between 2003 and 2008.

      • John le Carré Told the Truth About Cold War Espionage When Few Others Would

        Le Carré’s work broke from Cold War orthodoxy about good versus evil and threw out the popular Manichaean worldview that characterized so much fiction about the time period. It captivated readers because it respected them: instead of delivering pabulum about the Reds or noble Western heroes, Le Carré’s characters were broken and melancholy men who failed more often than not. When they won, it was at great personal cost. It arrested the Cold War spell over cultural productions through sheer effrontery.

        A friend recently told me that they admired Le Carré for being bold enough to have the hero take “a dirt nap” at the end of one of his books. This departure from genre conventions of the triumphant, exultant hero was because, after his years of service in intelligence, Le Carré came away thoroughly sick of intelligence work and didn’t feel compelled to make everything work out in the end — didn’t feel like the character and the world of Cold War espionage that he inhabited deserved it. He was thoroughly disillusioned and referred to The Spy Who Came in From the Cold as “the work of a wayward imagination brought to the end of its tether by political disgust and personal confusion.” Throughout his career, his novels served as both personal catharsis and a political statement.

      • Russian lawmakers propose changes to bill on housing for children of Soviet repression victims

        A group of lawmakers from Russia’s State Duma have put forward changes to the existing bill on amending the law “On the rehabilitation of victims of political repression,” Vedomosti reported on Thursday, December 17.

      • How Homeland Security Blurs Jurisdictions

        This list of intelligence reports was obtained through a request filed by The Nation under the Florida Sunshine Law, the state’s open records statute. It was produced by the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange, one of 80 such entities—called fusion centers—all over the country. (We’re suing another Florida agency for similar records that were withheld.) Fusion centers were established after 9/11 to facilitate the sharing of counterterrorism intelligence among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and private sector partners. But the centers have been criticized for blurring the boundaries of the various jurisdictions. As the ACLU wrote, “The lack of proper legal limits on the new fusion centers not only threatens to undermine fundamental American values, but also threatens to turn them into wasteful and misdirected bureaucracies that, like our federal security agencies before 9/11, won’t succeed in their ultimate mission of stopping terrorism and other crime.”

      • Confronting and Ending the US Blockade Against Cuba

        How long is long? It’s been in place for 60 years. If from there you go back only five 60-year chunks of time, you might have greeted the Puritans arriving in Boston. Meanwhile, “Cuba bashing is like ordering pizza; … cheap and easy and everyone likes you for it.” – in the words of Cuba analyst and lawyer José Pertierra.

        Here we try to account for the blockade’s long life; we propose a new approach toward ending it.

      • Secret Agents Implicated In The Poisoning Of Opposition Leader Alexey Navalny Identified Thanks To Russia’s Black Market In Everybody’s Personal Data

        Back in August, the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned on a flight to Moscow. Despite initial doubts — and the usual denials by the Russian government that Vladimir Putin was involved — everyone assumed it had been carried out by the country’s FSB, successor to the KGB. Remarkable work by the open source intelligence site Bellingcat, which Techdirt first wrote about in 2014, has now established beyond reasonable doubt that FSB agents were involved:

      • Ending Violence Against Sex Workers Means Abolishing Police and Prisons
      • What’s Inside Haiti’s New Security Decrees: An Intelligence Agency and an Expanded Definition of Terrorism

        Marie Suzy Legros, the head of the bar association, labeled the decrees as “tyrannical” and as the destruction of liberty. “Jovenel Moise has the madness of a dictator,” former Senator Steven Benoit commented in response to the decrees. “He does not realize that we are no longer in 1957,” he continued, in reference to Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier who created his own intelligence agency in the early years of the dictatorship. Even before these recent decrees, 11 human rights organizations had condemned the “dictatorial and unconstitutional” actions of the current administration.

        On December 12, the Core Group in Haiti issued a press release “expressing concern” over the new decrees. The Decree on the Strengthening of Public Security, the diplomatic representatives note, “extends the qualification of ‘terrorist act’ to certain facts that do not fall under it and provides for particularly heavy penalties.” The intelligence agency, the Core Group, continued, gives “the agents of this institution virtual legal immunity, thus opening up the possibility of abuse.” Taken together, these decrees “do not seem to conform to certain fundamental principles of democracy, the rule of law and the civil and political rights of citizens.”

      • Just keeping an eye on him” Putin dismisses poisoning attack allegations, repeating claims about Navalny’s ties to U.S. intelligence

        During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference on Thursday, December 17, a journalist from the online outlet “Life” asked him about the August 2020 poisoning of opposition figure Alexey Navalny. “This week an investigation about Alexey Navalny came out. Why hasn’t a criminal case into his poisoning and who poisoned him been opened, tell me, please?” the correspondent asked, referring to a joint investigation that implicated the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in the poisoning attack. Here’s how Putin responded, word-for-word.

      • Failure to Prosecute UK War Crimes in Iraq Exposes ICC’s Own Failings

        The court could have set a powerful precedent in holding Britain to account. Instead, it has become a laughing stock and few will be able to take it seriously again.

      • Shakespeare’s Contentious Conversation With America

        Before Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton asserted that slavery had been a “necessary evil” and urged that the US military be deployed in American cities “in an overwhelming show of force,” he made a quieter but equally extreme proposal during an appearance on the Fox News show Sunday Morning Futures. While railing against allowing STEM students from China to study at US universities, he staked a claim for what counts as our foundational national texts. “If Chinese students want to come here and study Shakespeare and the Federalist Papers, that’s what they need to learn from America,” he said.

      • Instead of Propping Up a Dying Empire, It’s Time to Finally End US Wars
    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Victory! Federal Appeals Court Confirms FOIA Requests Requiring a Database Query are Allowed Under the Law

        The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit came in a case brought by the Center for Investigative Reporting against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) seeking aggregate data about the number of weapons used in crimes that could be traced back to being originally purchased by law enforcement. The district court below ruled that ATF did not have to produce the data because the search query of the agency’s data would have amounted to creating a new record, something that FOIA prohibits. 

        The lower court’s ruling was dangerous because it had the potential to broadly restrict FOIA requesters from obtaining digital data based largely on a misunderstanding of how digital data is stored and what occurs when people query databases. EFF filed a friend-of-the-court brief to point out how the initial decision could “frustrate access to vast amounts of government digital data in which the public has a legitimate interest.” EFF’s brief argued further that the ruling was out of touch with the reality that the government is “collecting and centralizing extensive swaths of personally identifying data on members of the public, including extremely sensitive information like biometrics and expressive activity on social media.”

        Another friend-of-the-court brief written by Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic on behalf of data journalists and media organizations pointedly described how database queries that produce aggregate records in no way resemble creating a new physical or digital record. Instead, because a query is simply an instruction to the database “to select a specific subset of information from a database and return it in a particular arrangement,” the result is not a new record but rather just a representation of responsive data in the underlying database.

      • Caliphate’s bad source shows the dangers of the podcasting gold rush

        In an interview with NPR today, New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet admitted that the paper wanted Caliphate’s story so badly that it didn’t adequately vet the facts.

        “I think we were so in love with it that when we saw evidence that maybe he was a fabulist, when we saw evidence that he was making some of it up, we didn’t listen hard enough,” he says, of Shehroze Chaudhry, the central character in Caliphate.

      • ‘New York Times’ Retracts Core Of Hit Podcast Series ‘Caliphate’ On ISIS

        The New York Times has retracted the core of its hit 2018 podcast series Caliphate after an internal review found the paper failed to heed red flags indicating that the man it relied upon for its narrative about the allure of terrorism could not be trusted to tell the truth.

        The newspaper has reassigned its star terrorism reporter, Rukmini Callimachi, who hosted the series.

      • RCMP arrests ‘Abu Huzayfah’ for allegedly faking his past with ISIS

        Two sources who know him said that, under the alias Abu Huzayfah, he was the subject of the award-winning New York Times podcast Caliphate, where he described conducting public executions.

    • Environment

      • Not Just ‘Build Back Better’: Climate Groups Call on Biden to ‘Build Back Fossil Free’

        “Biden can take the bold action we need on Day One, including immediately ending new fossil fuel permits and project approvals and declaring a climate emergency to ignite our clean and democratic energy revolution.”

      • John Kerry, Biden’s Climate Czar, Talks About Saving the Planet

        Last month, President-elect Joe Biden said he would demonstrate his administration’s prioritization of the climate emergency by appointing former Secretary of State John Kerry to a high-profile role as the nation’s climate czar, a new position on the National Security Council that will report directly to President Biden, and through which Kerry will elevate the climate crisis in both the nation’s international diplomacy and its domestic policymaking.

        Since the election, Kerry has said little about what he will do first, or what he believes a Biden administration’s highest priorities should be.

      • Young People in Georgia Fight for Climate Ahead of Runoff Elections

        “I think if people realized that a lot of the social justice issues in Georgia are tied to environmental issues, they would be more interested in fighting for the environment.”

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

        This article is adapted from “The Climate Beat,” the weekly newsletter of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism initiative strengthening coverage of the climate story.

      • The New Humanitarian | Fiji’s Cyclone Yasa: Counting the climate disaster damages

        elief efforts are underway in Fiji after Cyclone Yasa slammed into the Pacific Island nation with winds of 240 kilometres per hour.
        Yasa made landfall on Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second-largest island, on 17 December, leaving what Fiji’s Red Cross called a “devastating trail of destruction”. Early photos from parts of the island show flattened homes and damaged crops.
        The government warns casualties may rise as damage reports emerge from remote islands. On Friday, it had recorded two deaths, including a three-month-old baby. Damages are expected to total hundreds of millions of dollars.

      • Michael Regan, the NC Official Reportedly Tapped to Be Biden’s EPA Head, Urged to ‘Genuinely Address Environmental Injustice’

        “Regan and the rest of the Biden-Harris administration need to pair their lofty rhetoric on environmental justice with consistent action.”

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Where Do We Go From Here?
        • Does Cattle Grazing Prevent Large Blazes?

          It’s essential to keep in mind that range cons have a financial conflict of interest. If there are no cows, there is no reason to have a range conservationist on the payroll. So, what you will see over and over is that range cons will do just about anything to maintain cows on the range. And they don’t mind spending your money (taxpayer) to make this happen. Most range cons (and range professors) see their allegiance to the livestock industry, not the public interest.

          One of the “cons”  heard continuously from range cons and repeated by uninformed media is that grazing can help preclude large “mega” fires by “reducing” fuels. This is one of those many assertions that have a grain of truth but is nevertheless misleading.

    • Finance

      • The “New” Corporation

        Despite media capitalism’s rather marvellous public relations apparatus, negative perceptions of corporations had begun to increasingly sieve through, entering the general population during the latter half of the 20th century. More recently, so-called scandals – which in reality regularly occurred in corporate capitalism – like Ford Pinto, Nestle, Bhopal, Enron, Exxon Valdez, the global financial crisis of 2008, followed by Volkswagen’s Dieselgate, etc. began to pile up. It was time to re-birth the old corporation as the new corporation.

        The new corporation pretends to be kind to workers, communities and the environment. At the same time, the new corporation continues to make sure that the rich are getting richer. To underscore this, JPMorgan’s CEO even announced the dawn of a new age of corporate capitalism with the goal of casting corporations as good actors. Key to the new corporation has been the Davos meeting also known as the World Economic Forum (WEF) run by a small clique of the global super-elite that has accumulated enough money and power to be granted access to the WEF.

      • Republican Senator Who Voted for Trump’s $1.5 Trillion Tax Cut for the Rich Blocks $1,200 Stimulus Checks

        “Millions are falling into poverty, and Ron Johnson—who loves tax cuts for the rich—is blocking help.”

      • Capitalism on a Ventilator

        A partial remedy to this dearth of information is provided by the just released, “Capitalism on a Ventilator: The Impact of COVID-19 in China & the U.S.” The book is an anthology of writing by over fifty activists and independent journalists, edited by Sara Flounders & Lee Siu Hin. (I interviewed Sara about this book for my podcast here.)

        The first section, “Warnings from China,” details China’s response to the virus, which included quarantines, closing businesses and schools, and restricting travel right away. The government also built new hospitals, ordered factories to increase production of medical supplies, set up free testing, and sent thousands of medical professionals to the city of Wuhan and its province, Hubei. Rent, mortgage and debt payments were frozen. Education campaigns to prevent spread were rolled out on social media, in the news and on posters everywhere. Statistics about the outbreak were public and frequently updated.

      • Agenda 2021: Resist the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination

        Why is this so? The primary agenda of the right-wing neoliberal forces represented by the Biden Administration is to reassert U.S. global leadership by reconsolidating a common U.S.-European capitalist program of domination that was disrupted with the “America first” positions of the Trump Administration.

        The Biden Administration is animated by the belief that the objective logic of overall Western hegemony is tied to finding a way for more effective collaboration around a common imperialist agenda. This belief is shared by Angela Merkel of Germany, and despite some contrary public declarations from French President Macron on issue of European independence, Macron sees an effective Western alliance as critical, even if it is under U.S. leadership once again.

      • Crime Fiction and the Commodification of Life

        This describes the dilemma author Charles Simpson has situated his debut novel in. A journalist working as a stringer for a mostly online business newspaper is shot at while attending a conference of capitalism’s movers and shakers in Switzerland. Like Davos but without the glitter, his job is to find and report on negative trends which could affect how the paper’s readers (investors) will invest their money. In other words, his job is to discover the information the companies don’t want investors to see. In the case of Simpson’s journalist protagonist—a man named Ed Dekker—this means digging up the negative side effects of a biotech firm’s patented seed products. As one even remotely informed might guess, these seed products are designed to maximize profits for the company Naturtek even more than they would supposedly maximize crop yields for the farmers convinced to use them. Naturally (or actually unnaturally), the seeds do not reproduce themselves so farmers can use them the next growing season. Instead, the seeds they produce, if any, are sterile. This design means that farmers must buy new seeds every year.

        As if this weren’t enough, it turns out the patented seeds Naturtek makes are also implicit in the massive death of pollinating insects. This aspect of the product is what brings entomologist Aisling O’Keefe into Dekker’s sphere. Her involvement is ambivalent at best, especially given that one of her paymasters is the very same Naturtek, even though the payroll office that signs her paychecks is at a university in Boston. In other words, her job is just one of the many compromising relationships fostered in the name of research between academia and the corporate monolith we call Wall Street. All too often, of course, the compromises involved alter a scientist’s objectivity, to say the least. Stories abound of university science departments manipulating data and outcomes under pressure from university administrators willing to bend the truth in the name of grant monies. (When I worked at the University of Vermont, men and women who took care of the cows being used in Monsanto experiments designed to prove the harmlessness of the rbGH hormone told me of bovine corpses buried to hide the negative effects of the hormone on some cows. The corpses were not included in the final reports leading to the approval of rbGH. The university received millions of dollars from Monsanto.)

      • India Can Already Afford a Welfare State, It Just Needs to Tax Its Wealthiest Citizens

        This justification is built on the claim that the capitalists have some special quality that is rare, whose employment makes the nation prosperous and for which they must be rewarded. But there is no unanimity among the bourgeois on what exactly this special quality is.

        This quality cannot consist of supervising the process of production, for such supervision is typically exercised by salaried personnel who are at best superior workers; they get a salary and not profits (unless they also happen to own some property in the form of shares). It is in recognition of this fact that economist and diplomat John Kenneth Galbraith had talked about firms being run not by the capitalists but by what he called the “technostructure,” in his book The New Industrial State.

      • Stripe’s payments APIs: the first ten years

        A few years ago, Bloomberg Businessweek published a feature story on Stripe. Four words spanned the center of the cover: “seven lines of code,” suggesting that’s all it took for a business to power payments on Stripe. The assertion was bold—and became a theme and meme for us.

        To this day, it’s not entirely clear which seven lines the article referenced. The prevailing theory is that it’s the roughly seven lines of curl it took to create a Charge. In 2011, the code snippet featured on our landing page was nine lines long. But remove the optional description and card[cvc], and there’s visually seven lines:

      • After Billionaires Gained $1 Trillion in Wealth, Says Sanders, It Is Not ‘Radical’ to Demand More $1,200 Stimulus Checks

        “The American people cannot wait any longer. They need economic relief now.”

      • ‘Sick’: Most Profitable US Companies Fired Workers, Enriched Shareholders During Pandemic

        “This is a global crisis but the big companies are not treating it as one—they haven’t skipped a beat.”

      • The New Derivatives Market in California Water: Disaster Natural Resources Capitalism at Work

        It’s not an experience any farmer from the drought plagued West is likely to forget. And so, decades later, the rain dance surfaced in my memory when I read that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (now the CME Group) had opened up a futures market in California water (Nasdaq Veles California Water Index [NQH2O]) last week.

        One can imagine derivative tranches composed of portions of irrigation-district allotments of riparian water, some private well water, water from the odd ephemeral creek, pre-1914 rights water, added to a slice or two of federal bureau water and some of that State Water Project water that has remained, as some say, “notional.”

      • It’s Long Past Time to End Inequality

        Martin Luther King Jr. offered this all-too-relevant comment on his moment in his 1967 speech “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?”: 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.

      • Economic Consequences of a 2nd Economic ‘Mitigation’ Bill

        Dismal reports of consumer and especially retail sales in October-November appear driving the slowing growth—in turn driven by rising unemployment claims, a growing number of permanent layoffs by large businesses as the economy structurally changes long term, and, shorter term, by a sharp rise in Covid deaths, infections, and consequent partial shutdown of the services sector of the US economy throughout the US.

        This scenario and trends has pushed more economists, mainstream included, to predict an even sharper 1st quarter 2021, contraction in the economy. Even a normally conservative forecast source like JPM Chase Bank’s research has raised the likelihood of a bona fide 2nd contraction of the US economy early next year—i.e. a ‘double dip’ recession, that this writer has been predicting since last March 2020.

      • Unemployment Skyrocketing? An Evolved Society Would Celebrate.

        We all know times are irredeemably grim, and they’re only getting worse. The unemployment level in America seems to be setting the record books aflame, and for some bizarre reason those numbers correlate nicely with the number of Americans under 40 living with their parents again. Understandably, the entire country is a little on edge. If I spend more than 30 minutes around my parents, one eye starts twitching, a dull ringing settles into my inner ear canal, and I start to think Rachel Maddow (which they leave on 24/7 as if she’s Christmas music at Macy’s) makes some logical sense. Point being, in terms of discomfort, I would imagine living with your parents in your late thirties ranks somewhere between erectile dysfunction and having a brain-eating parasite.

        Anyway, back to unemployment. The Economic Policy Institute recently released new numbers showing, “Unemployment has especially skyrocketed for young workers in the COVID-19 labor market. . . . The overall unemployment rate for young workers ages 16–24 jumped from 8.4% to nearly 25% from spring 2019 to spring 2020 … Spring 2020 unemployment rates were even higher for young Black, Hispanic, and Asian American/Pacific Islander workers – close to 30% for all three groups.”

      • The Right Answer Is to Throw Money at the Problem

        When austerity-minded politicians of both major parties run out of arguments for refusing to fund human needs, they inevitably default to the line, “You can’t just throw money at the problem.”

      • People’s Action Calls On Biden to Transform Labor Dept Into Agency That Protects Workers—Not Corporations

        “While we at People’s Action believe that Senator Bernie Sanders is an example of the type of person ready to transform the landscape for working people in solidarity with the movement, we’re ready to welcome any labor secretary ready to do the same.”

      • Dear Mackenzie: There’s One More Donation You Owe to the World

        Unionize Amazon.

      • Celebrating the Passage of the Corporate Transparency Act

        Attached to the National Defense Authorization Act, and passed by veto-proof majorities in both chambers of Congress, the Corporate Transparency Act will take a meaningful step toward eliminating anonymous shell corporations.

        Republican and Democratic members of Congress came together around concerns about terrorist funding networks, financial corruption, trafficking, and tax dodging.  Transparency activists have spent years documenting the ways that rogue nations, terrorists, dictators, and kleptocrats have deployed anonymous companies to launder illicit funds, dodge taxes, avoid sanctions, and game the U.S. financial system.

      • GOP Push to Keep Stimulus Check From People on Unemployment Draws Outrage
      • With punt, Supreme Court largely ends Trump census plan – Los Angeles Times

        The census ruling could leave the issue to Biden. Not counting people in the U.S. illegally would hurt California, costing it power and federal funds.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Democrats Urged to Fight for Bigger Relief Checks as Lame-Duck Trump Privately Backs Payments as Big as $2,000

        “Pro-tip for Democrats: Don’t ever let Donald effing Trump be pushing for bigger direct relief checks than you are,” said one progressive activist.

      • Arab-Israeli Peace Takes Shape, One by One

        Israelis, an anxious lot for good reason, never knew who would strike next or where as they struggled like any people to make at least a middle-class life for themselves, their bank accounts often overdrawn. National politics were mayhem, as they are today. The Labor party was in control.

        Peace was elusive, at least until Egyptian President Anwar Sadat remarkably showed up in Jerusalem in November 1977, four years after Israel’s October war with Egypt and Syria. And now Arab states from Morocco eastward to the Persian Gulf seem to be lining up to normalize relations with Israel, aggrieved Palestinians shoved aside.

      • Donald Trump Puts Israel First

        The typically boastful renegades remain silent, while threats to double down on Yemen’s genocidal famine by declaring them terrorists grow from whispers to mumbles. Meanwhile, airstrikes presumed to be Israeli are ratcheting up to the north, all around the Levant, as a steady stream of leaks informs the Fourth Estate that the nation of Zion is preparing for an imminent attack on Iran during the final hours of the Trump regime, which itself promises new sanctions against the Covid ravaged Islamic Republic every week until inauguration.

        All of this, this building symphony of not so random mayhem, swelled to a foul crescendo with the brutal gangland shooting of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in the sleepy suburbs surrounding Tehran. Rumor has it that those creepy crawly cultists in the MeK dispatched a death squad to slaughter the venerated civilian maestro, much beloved by the Iranian people, in cold blood. But everyone knows who the real culprits are. They barely concealed it. The Trump regime and its sponsors in Israel have been throwing hints like rocks, left and right.

      • Kremlin spokesman reiterates Putin’s statements about Russian intelligence surveilling Navalny

        During a press briefing on Friday, December 18, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on President Vladimir Putin’s statements about why the Russian intelligence services “ought to keep an eye” on opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

      • Red State Secession from the US of A is a Great Idea

        Some have expressed outrage at such a suggestion, but really, since it’s going to be next to impossible to get rid of the Electoral College that has enabled Republicans to capture the White House for three of the last five election cycles despite losing the popular vote, we’re stuck with having far too many right-wing presidents. We’re also stuck with the consolation prize of, when we do manage to elect a Democrat to the White House, ending up with some namby-pamby Democratic wimp like Obama or Biden. Then too, there is the Senate, where the reactionary, even fascistic GOP has a virtual lock on the majority thanks Constitution assigning two seats per state, regardless of population. This means California’s 55 million mostly Democratic voters and Wyoming’s 300,000 mostly Republican voters each get only the same two senators to send to Washington.

        If some of the reddest states were to secede and go off to form their own country, the remaining US would inevitably be a much better place. This is not just because the trog politicians who dominate the Senate and the White House would be removed to some new Red States of America (RSA) capital (hint: it won’t be Richmond, which was the capital of the Confederacy, since Virginia is now a reliably “blue” state), as delightful as that would be. More importantly, the remaining states of a likely bi-coastal USA would also be instantly divested of a huge number — tens of millions! — of wilfully ignorant, dogmatically religious, gun-obsessed, anti-science, racist, sexist, homophobic and anti-abortion dregs of humanity.

      • On Capitalism, Racism, Trump, and Pandemo-Fascism

        It is a crime of capitalism, the rapacious and parasitic system that digs up zoonotic viruses on its ever-expanding geographic frontier and then spreads those infections around the world in the flash of an historical eye.

        Capitalism in its extreme U.S. form compels millions of vulnerable Americans to spend most of their waking hours renting out their commodified (and exploited) labor power in inadequately protected workplaces – or else go without the money income required to purchase basic life necessities distributed in commodity form.

      • What Does the Left Owe Party Politics?

        On the policy front, with Mr. Biden self-consigned to ‘saving America’s soul’ as the Covid-19 Depression takes root, those stuck in the corporeal world would be advised to begin reserving pitchforks. With Team Blue’s ACA (Affordable Care Act) tucked into Mr. Biden’s trousers, one might imagine that healthcare outcomes were on the mend before the onset of Covid-19. Alas, even with the end of the ‘pre-existing conditions’ exclusion, there were ‘existing conditions’ left to consider. On this front, healthcare outcomes were on a downward trajectory in the U.S. even with the thing that is tucked into Mr. Biden’s trousers. On the bright side (not), Americans are killing themselves at the highest rate amongst rich countries.

        Lest this come as news, want motivates people to be their better selves. That this philosophy has freed the blessed few, a.k.a. the capitalist class, from want suggests that ‘saving America’s soul’ will require a wee transfer of the material from up on high to down below, for the sake of them what has it. This has to be the meaning of Mr. Biden’s election, else how could just one more activist for the Reagan / Thatcher project follow so closely in time/space the purge of the gold toilet crowd? That Mr. Biden spent his adult life paying homage to Uncle Ron, and by his contributions to the 1994 Crime Bill and the Patriot Act should have a scarlet ‘F(ascist)’ attached to his person, suggests that there are at least several shades of scarlet. More on this below.

      • To Help ‘Reshape How America Engages a Changed World,’ Biden Given Slate of Progressive Foreign Policy Picks

        “There are, in fact, an impressive number of people who could legitimately fill those jobs and question the dominant perspective on foreign policy and national security.”

      • Bernie Sanders: ‘Democracy Has Gotten a Reprieve With Biden’s Victory. That’s All It Is.’

        JN: You’ve always recognized structural insufficiencies in democracy. If we fail to address them, Trump won’t be the last of his kind, will he?

        BS: I want to underline that point a dozen times. This is a guy who’s crazy and is completely undisciplined. What happens if you have the next person around who is not crazy and is not undisciplined, who does not go around attacking people like Dr. [Anthony] Fauci or the [network] correspondents? Then you’re in real danger.

        We have gotten a reprieve. Democracy has gotten a reprieve with Biden’s victory. That’s all it is. We did not win a rejection of what Trump stands for. We have got to ask ourselves, “Why are we at a place where democracy is now so very threatened, and what do we do about it?” That is the question that every American should be discussing.

      • Edward Snowden and Julian Assange deserve pardons

        I asked Snowden if his co-workers had qualms.

        “In private, some said, ‘This is crazy. I’m not sure this is legal, but you know what happens to people who talk about this.’”

        What does happen?

        Nothing terrible, said President Barack Obama, who claimed Snowden could have revealed the government’s lawbreaking legally. “There were other avenues available,” he told reporters.

        “What he said was incorrect,” Snowden tells me.

        Government officials protect themselves by discrediting those who reveal inconvenient truths. Previous whistleblowers lost their jobs. Some were shocked to be subjects of dawn raids by federal police with guns drawn.

        I understand why Snowden feared “proper” channels.

        Instead, he took documents to journalists. The world learned the truth.

      • Congressional Democrats Are Raking in Huge Donations from War Profiteers

        What explains Congress’s preference for buying weapons over delivering basic support during a pandemic? It’s not public opinion, especially as it relates to Democrats’ votes. Among congressional Democrats, 84 percent of House members and 87 percent of senators ignored the policy preferences of their base.

        Public opinion surveys suggest that Democrat and Democrat-leaning voters largely oppose military budgets that are already higher than at any point during the Korean and Vietnam wars, and the Reagan buildup of the 1980s.

        Instead, congressional Democrats’ votes appear to be heavily influenced by the campaign contributions of the same war profiteers for whom the NDAA is a corporate bailout. During the 2020 election cycle (2019–20), the war industry provided $14.6 million in campaign contributions to House candidates and $6.6 million to Senate candidates.

      • Andrew Lewer: MP sacked as ministerial aide over leaked letter

        Andrew Lewer was dismissed from his role at the Home Office after a No 10 probe led by chief whip Mark Spencer.

        In an attempt to try and identify the culprit, a number of MPs were allegedly sent the same letter but with slightly different wording.

      • ‘Republican Party Doesn’t Give a Damn About You’: McConnell Admits Direct Checks Only Included to Help GOP Win in Georgia

        “Given that this conversion only came after ‘Kelly and David got hammered,’ no one should be fooled—or let him get away with it.”

      • Stabbed in the Back, Again

        As is well known, Trump has never shied away from using the fascist playbook of the 1920’s.

        He has already made good use of the primary fascist myth of the rebirth of the nation saved from the decadent hands of various elites (in the media, business, politics, and the universities). Indeed, MAGA is the American version of what is known to scholars (see Roger Griffin) as Palingenetic ultranationalism which says that fascism can be defined by its core belief that a social revolution is necessary in order to achieve a state of national regeneration.

      • ‘A Perfect Choice’: Progressives Applaud Biden Pick of Deb Haaland for Interior Secretary

        “We can make real progress on stopping climate change and ensure sovereignty and dignity for all native people and justice for all.”

      • Planet Earth To Loathsome Sanctimonious GOP: Unclutch Your Fucking Pearls
      • The Votes of Black Americans Should Count Twice

        Black votes in this country are worth less than white votes. Joe Biden won the Electoral College because Black voters in Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia turned out in significant numbers. But even with overwhelming Black support—94 percent of Detroit voted for Biden!—the outcomes in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania were worryingly close.1

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • China-based Zoom employee charged for secretly censoring Tiananmen Square anniversary events

        A China-based former Zoom employee is being charged with harassment for allegedly disrupting video calls commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Brooklyn federal prosecutors unsealed a case against Xinjiang (also known as Julien) Jin today. The complaint doesn’t identify Jin’s employer, but Zoom published a blog post acknowledging that it employed him.

      • US charges ex-Zoom employee with shutting down Tiananmen Square events

        US prosecutors have charged a former Zoom employee with disrupting video meetings marking the anniversary of the 1989 crackdown on protests in Tiananmen Square on behalf of China’s government.

      • Second Pussy Riot Member Punished For Moscow Performance

        A second member of the Russian protest collective Pussy Riot has been punished by a Moscow court for her part in a performance last month to highlight harsh prison sentences handed down against people who hurled plastic cups and plastic bottles at police.

        Lawyer Mansur Gilmanov said on December 17 that Maria Alyokhina was found guilty of violating regulations on public gatherings and ordered to pay 15,000-ruble ($204) fine.

      • CD Projekt Red Heaps Bullshit Via Tweet After Removing Game To Appease China

        One of the more delightful oddities of 2018, a year that was at least a zillion times better than this one, was the emergence of Chinese President Xi’s razor-thin skin when it comes to being compared to Winnie the Pooh. This all got spotlighted here in America when John Oliver dove into Chinese political leadership, mentioning the Winnie the Pooh thing, and got his name and HBO’s site effectively banned from the Chinese internet. It’s all rather funny until you realize both that this is a symptom of the horrifying restrictions on freedom the Chinese government has put in place and when you consider that the subsequent two-plus years has seen China supercharge its own thin-skin and exert pressure on spineless Western companies to do its censoring for it. All of the sudden, the laughter falls away.

      • FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr Again Misrepresents The Debate Over Section 230

        Late on Tuesday evening, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr suddenly issued a weird and misleading anti-230 Twitter thread, claiming (falsely) that supporters of Section 230 (who he incorrectly calls “Big Tech’s lobbyists”) “routinely conflate statutory protections with First Amendment rights.” Here’s the thread in plain text, with my responses and corrections interjected.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • In Appeal to Biden, Khashoggi’s Fiancée Calls for Release of CIA Report on Brutal Saudi Murder

        Ahead of the November election, the president-elect said that “Jamal Khashoggi and his loved ones deserve accountability.”

      • The Prosecution of Julian Assange Is an Assault on the First Amendment

        “Really anybody who is concerned about press freedom should be deeply concerned about the prosecution of Julian Assange by the Trump administration,” says Freedom of the Press Foundation co-founder Trevor Timm, who testified in Assange’s U.K. extradition hearing. He says that Assange’s conviction under the Espionage Act would set a precedent that could endanger any journalist publishing leaked information about the U.S. government.

        “Maybe [some] journalists don’t like Julian Assange, or they have criticized…his actions over the years. And that’s all well and good, but what really matters [are] the acts which the Justice Department is trying to criminalize here,” says Timm.

      • ‘He slandered us’: Journalists respond to Putin’s allegations linking their work to Western intelligence agencies

        During his annual press conference on December 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin commented on two major journalistic investigations — both of which came out in December and concerned the president directly. The first report, published by the investigative outlet IStories, had to do with the business dealings of Putin’s alleged former son-in-law, Russian billionaire Kirill Shamalov. The second investigation — a joint effort by Bellingcat, The Insider, Der Spiegel, and CNN — identified a team of FSB operatives who had been following opposition figure Alexey Navalny for years — and, apparently, were involved in poisoning him with a Novichok-type nerve agent back in August. Putin said that both investigations were the “legalization of materials from the American intelligence services.” In conversation with Meduza, the journalists behind these reports respond to Putin’s allegations.

      • The New Humanitarian | The New Humanitarian to deepen its global impact with grant from the McGovern Foundation

        The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation has awarded a grant of $500,000 to support The New Humanitarian’s independent journalism about humanitarian crises.
        COVID-19 has been described as an “extinction event” for the news media, but it has also reminded audiences around the world of the importance of reliable information about crises.
        The New Humanitarian reports from the heart of humanitarian crises, as well as from global policy and donor hubs.
        “The pandemic has pushed our beat into the global limelight. This new consciousness is an opportunity to bring our journalism to wider audiences,” said Heba Aly, director of The New Humanitarian. “The New Humanitarian has not just survived in the face of COVID-19, but thrived, and this support will allow us to scale up our journalism at a time when it has never been more needed.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Chicago mayor says attempt to block video of raid on Anjanette Young’s home ‘a mistake’

        Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who ran for office on a platform of police reform and racial justice, said Friday that the city’s attempt to prevent a local TV station from airing police video of a botched raid was “a mistake.”

        Her announcement came as the city formally withdrew a motion to prevent the CBS affiliate in Chicago from airing the video of police raiding the wrong home and handcuffing resident, Anjanette Young, who was naked.

      • Insurgency Matters: Progressive DAs May Change Policing

        Covid-19, the recession and the mass insurgency led by the Black Lives Matter movement contributed to Donald Trump’s failed bid for reelection. But they also contributed to the election of more “progressive” District Attorneys calling for criminal justice reform in cities and counties across the country.

        Sadly, much of the debate was reduced to a choice between two ideological-laced slogans — “law and order” and “defund the police.”

      • Women in Mexico Reckon With the High Cost of Migration

        Emilia Melo still can’t believe that Jaime Solano is dead. The husband she hadn’t seen in 11 years died from Covid-19 this summer, alone, in a New York City hospital, 2,700 miles from home. When Jaime left his family in the town of Tlapa in the mountainous region of Guerrero in southern Mexico, he was only to be gone a short while. But the reasons he left Tlapa—bills to pay, children to support, and the dreams of guaranteeing a better life for his family—never disappeared. And so he stayed, over more than a decade, working low-wage jobs in kitchens and delivering food, waiting for the day he could return. Now, Emilia refuses to accept that her healthy husband, just 48 years old, is gone. This reporting was supported by the National Geographic Society.

      • Yet Another Report Shows Asset Forfeiture Doesn’t Reduce Crime Or Cripple Criminal Organizations

        According to the Department of Justice (and countless other law enforcement agencies), civil asset forfeiture is a valuable tool that harms criminal organizations and lowers crime rates. It’s a deterrent they assert actually exists, despite there being no accompanying arrests of these supposed criminals.

      • France : Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité & Laïcité….But Not for Muslims?

        Whenever the issue of religion comes up in France, one word is sure to enter the conversation, and that is laïcité (translated best as secularism). This term is evoked by French politicians on all sides of the political spectrum to justify the proposition or passage of laws that effectively target one particular religious minority. The principle of laïcité is tied to the passage of a law in 1905 establishing the separation of church and state. It’s important to stress that this law also guarantees the freedom to practice one’s religion while ensuring neutrality at the state level. For example, according to Article 18, religious symbols are not allowed “on public monuments or in any public place whatsoever, except for buildings used for worship, burial grounds in cemeteries, monuments and museums or exhibitions.” However, no mention is made prohibiting the wearing of religious symbols in public spaces such as schools. This would come much later.

        In the aftermath of World War I, a war in which up to 100,000 Muslim soldiers died fighting on the French side, France brought over young men from its North African colonies to provide cheap labour to build up its economy and replace the high numbers of men who had been killed. These men performed the jobs that most French people didn’t want to do, for example, laying railroad track and working in mines. They earned low wages and lived in crowded tenements on the outskirts of major cities.

      • Jesse Kreuzer Murals
      • Children Dancing Hate Away

        The 1950s and early 1960s were simpler times when we listened to those catchy tunes about not discriminating against other people because of their skin color or religious affiliation, at least that’s how we saw the era through the eyes of children. Anti-communism, the spread of nuclear weapons and fear of a nuclear holocaust, and the staid society we lived in were absent in the life of many children. The lives of many poor children were also absent from our sight, except for the poor families with whom we were friends in that small town.

        As the right to statehood of the Palestinian people became more widely known beginning in the decade of the 1960s, more Jews took sides that some would view as an attack against the simple and profound Jewish pronouncement to stop doing to others that which you do not want to be done to you (“What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”).

      • Lawyers who challenged “no-fly” order finally get paid

        Dr. Rahinah Ibrahim’s lawsuit against the US Department of Homeland Security came to a close this week with an order by Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissing Dr. Ibrahim’s complaint after the Federal government finally paid  out a settlement to Dr. Ibrahim’s lawyers for successfully representing her in more than a decade of litigation.

        The dismissal come more than fifteen years after Dr. Ibrahim was denied boarding and wrongly arrested at San Francisco International Airport when she tried to board a flight to a conference in Hawaii where she was scheduled to present a paper related to her doctoral research in architecture at Stanford University. Dr. Ibrahim was recovering from an emergency hysterectomy and in a wheelchair, and needed assistance from paramedics while in the lockup at the airport before she was eventually released without charges.

        Seven years ago, after two interlocutory appeals to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then the first and to date only trial in a case challenging a “no-fly” order by the US government, Judge Alsup ruled that Dr. Ibrahim’s rights had been violated by the government’s secret and wrongful blacklisting of her and denial of her right to travel, and ordered the government to remove Dr. Ibrahim from  its “no-fly” blacklist.

      • The New Humanitarian | Greece still accused of failing to protect migrant children

        Greece has announced it is ending its longstanding practice of holding unaccompanied migrant children in police custody, but critics say it is still failing to support thousands of minors who often undertake dangerous journeys to flee instability and war and seek asylum in Europe.
        Human rights advocates hailed the government’s move last month to end detentions as a major victory for child rights, but cautioned that the supposedly protective practice is only one of many Greek policies that leave children in danger and unsupported even after reaching the EU.
        Since 2016, 33,166 unaccompanied children – mostly between the ages of 14 and 17, and from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria – have been registered in Greece after crossing the Aegean Sea or entering the country by land from Turkey. Under Greece’s system of protective custody, which began in 2001, many of the children ended up being held in police stations for weeks, even months, until there was space in a shelter where they could be transferred.
        The cells were often unsanitary and overcrowded, and Human Rights Watch documented cases of children being made to share with unrelated adults, exposing them to higher risks of abuse and sexual assault.
        Migration detention for children is prohibited by international law, and Greece was sued and condemned for the practice multiple times in the European Court of Human Rights – an international court in Strasbourg, France that hears cases related to the European Convention on Human Rights.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Lawmakers Question Why FCC Is Throwing Taxpayer Money At Incompetent Telcos With History Of Fraud

        In West Virginia, incumbent telco Frontier has repeatedly been busted in a series of scandals involving substandard service and the misuse of taxpayer money. State leaders have buried reports detailing the depth of the grift and dysfunction, and, until a few years back, a Frontier executive did double duty as a state representative without anybody in the state thinking that was a conflict of interest. The result has been about what you’d expect: West Virginia routinely shows up as one of the least connected states in the nation.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Roku Stops Selling HBO Through Its Channel Store After HBO Max Deal

        Under its agreement with WarnerMedia, Roku is no longer selling the legacy standalone HBO channel through its Roku Channel store. That’s the same provision Amazon and Apple agreed to when they inked their HBO Max distribution deals — something WarnerMedia wanted in order to keep viewers in its own app experience and to collect first-party data. To encourage the transition to the plus-size HBO Max, it’s priced at the same $14.99/month as the old HBO standalone service.

        Now, to access HBO Max, Roku customers who were already subscribed to HBO via the Roku Channel will first need to cancel their HBO subscription, as the device maker explains in a new document on its support site.

      • Microsoft reportedly designing its own ARM-based chips for servers and Surface PCs

        Microsoft co-engineered an ARM-based SQ1 processor for the Surface Pro X last year and followed this up with an SQ2 variant a couple of months ago. AMD also worked with Microsoft to create a custom version of its Ryzen processor for the Surface Laptop 3.

      • Microsoft Designing Its Own Chips for Servers, Surface PCs

        The world’s largest software maker is using Arm Ltd. designs to produce a processor that will be used in its data centers, according to people familiar with the plans. It’s also exploring using another chip that would power some of its Surface line of personal computers. The people asked not to be identified discussing private initiatives. Intel’s stock dropped 6.3% to close at $47.46 in New York, leaving it down 21% this year.

    • Monopolies

      • Facebook’s Laughable Campaign Against Apple Is Really Against Users and Small Businesses

        Facebook’s campaign is targeting a new AppTrackingTransparency feature on iPhones that will require apps to request permission from users before tracking them across other apps and websites or sharing their information with and from third parties. Requiring trackers to request your consent before stalking you across the Internet should be an obvious baseline, and we applaud Apple for this change. But Facebook, having built a massive empire around the concept of tracking everything you do by letting applications sell and share your data across a shady set of third-party companies, would like users and policymakers to believe otherwise.

        Make no mistake: this latest campaign from Facebook is one more direct attack against our privacy and, despite its slick packaging, it’s also an attack against other businesses, both large and small.

        Apple has deployed AppTrackingTransparency for iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14. This kind of consent interface is not new, and it’s similar for other permissions in iOS: for example, when an app requests access to your microphone, camera, or location. It’s normal for apps to be required to request the user permission for access to specific device functions or data, and third-party tracking should be no different. (In an important limitation of AppTrackingTransparency, however, note that this change does not impact first-party tracking and data collection by the app itself.) 

      • U.S. States Weighs New Google Suit Over App Store Fees

        An antitrust lawsuit against Google over its app store would mark a new attack against the search engine giant’s business practices. On Thursday, a group of 38 attorneys general, including New York, North Carolina and Utah, sued the company in federal court in Washington, accusing it of abusing its dominance in online searches. That case went beyond claims brought by the Justice Department in an October lawsuit — and came a day after a suit by 10 states that claimed Google illegally thwarted competition in online display advertising.

        The investigation into Google’s app store practices is examining the 30% cut that its Google Play store takes from developers for in-app-purchases. That’s the feature that allows users to subscribe to services or buy upgrades within apps. Google’s 30% cut drops down to 15% for users that subscribe to an app for a year or longer. Apple Inc. has the same policy.

      • Texas Accuses Google and Facebook of an Illegal Conspiracy

        A lawsuit filed today by a coalition of state attorneys general, led by Texas’ Ken Paxton, accuses Google of making an “unlawful agreement” that gave Facebook special privileges in exchange for promising not to support a competing ad system. It’s just one of many claims made in a case that takes broad aim at Google’s monopoly over the online advertising ecosystem, but it could very well be the most consequential. The case is a civil suit, and it names only Google as a defendant. But if what Texas is alleging is true, then both companies may have violated federal antitrust law—and committed felonies in the process.

        As described in the complaint, the scheme between Google and Facebook has its roots in 2017, when Facebook announced it would start supporting something called “header bidding.” The details are too wonky to get into here. Basically, Google, which runs the biggest online ad exchange, likes to make publishers give it first dibs on bidding to place an ad. (“Publisher” just means any website or app that runs ads.) Header bidding was a technical hack that allowed publishers to earn higher prices by soliciting bids from multiple exchanges at once. Google hated this, because it created more competition. When Facebook declared that it would work with publishers that used header bidding, it was seen as a provocation. The millions of businesses that advertise with Facebook don’t just advertise on Facebook; through the Facebook Audience Network, the company also places ads across the web, making it one of the biggest ad buyers on the internet. If it began supporting header bidding, that could cause Google’s ad platform to lose a lot of business.

      • ‘We Are at a Monumental Turning Point’: Sued by 38 Attorneys General, Google Hit With Third Antitrust Case

        “Google’s anti-competitive actions have protected its general search monopolies and excluded rivals, depriving consumers of the benefits of competitive choices, forestalling innovation, and undermining new entry or expansion.”

      • Embarrassing: New Antitrust Suit Against Google Confuses WhatsApp Encrypted Backup Option With Giving Google A Backdoor

        Look, I get the fact that people are concerned about big technology companies. I’m very concerned about big technology companies too, and think it’s important that we figure out ways to build more competition, and to get away from reliance on many of these companies. But the way in which so many assume that antitrust is the only way to get there is problematic. And it’s even more problematic when the antitrust lawsuits they file seem to be mostly based on misunderstanding or misrepresenting certain things with totally innocuous explanations. That keeps happening.

      • Patents

        • Webinar Materials – The Results Are In: The USPTO’s Request for Comments on Discretionary Denials

          We reviewed one of the most closely monitored rule changes in the AIA’s history. The USPTO recently issued a request for comments regarding policy-based discretionary denials of PTAB proceedings. Such policy-based discretion included the PTAB’s recent rise in considering: (a) parallel litigation (Fintiv Factors/NHK Spring); (b) parallel petitions; and (c) serial petitions when deciding whether to institute. We spoke about the proposed rule, the policy and practical considerations involved, and the competing interests which resulted in over 800 comments being submitted from stakeholders.

        • What is an Article of Manufacture for Design Patent Law?

          The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Curver Luxembourg refocused attention on the importance of the particular article of manufacture in the design patenting process. That case reiterated the point that design patents must be tied directly to an article of manufacture, and not simply a design in the abstract.


          This particular RFC focuses on emerging technologies: projections; holographs; virtual/augmented reality; etc. I would also include screen icons that are only temporarily shown when electricity is applied. In general, the USPTO has deduced the following regarding screen icons from various precedential decisions…

        • FOSS Patents: Patent injunction reform in Germany: next lobbying defeat for pro-reform forces as Federal Council speaks out against proportionality

          Yesterday there was good news for those advocating a balanced approach to patent injunctions, as the Munich Higher Regional Court increased the amount of the collateral to be provided by Nokia in a standard-essential patent (SEP) case against Daimler by a factor of almost 100 to over $2 billion. That was to be expected after a similar decision in a Conversant v. Daimler case.

          But today there’s been a political setback that I had predicted as well: one of Germany’s two legislative institutions, the Bundesrat (Federal Council), today adopted its Legal Affairs Committee’s recommendation for a statement on patent reform (PDF, in German).

          The Federal Council is not realistically going to exercise its veto right (which a supermajority of the Federal Parliamnet could overrule anyway). But its position is going to bear significant political weight in the further process, particularly among the governing coalition parties’ parliamentary delegations from various influential federal states.

          In a nutshell, the Federal Council tells the Federal Parliament to preserve the status quo of near-automatic patent injunctions no matter how disproportionate, except under the most egregious of circumstances where even the Federal Court of Justice said in its Heat Exchanger decision that an injunction might have to be tailored, even if only slightly so and only in cases that are few and far between.


          The end of the legislative term is approaching fast. The parliamentary decision won’t take more than a very few months. It will be extremely hard, if not next to impossible, to put patent injunction reform on the agenda again in 2022 or 2023. A historical opportunity will have been wasted, despite my efforts to educate some people while there still would have been the chance to play it smart.

        • German Bundesrat approves ratification of Unified Patent Court Agreement [Ed: Complaint coming...]

          The German Bundesrat approved the Unified Patent Court Agreement and its Protocol on Provisional Application (PPA) earlier today, three weeks after its approval in the Bundestag. To complete the German ratification procedure, the bills will have to be signed by the government and Bundespräsident and published in the Federal Law Gazette.

      • Trademarks

        • Lemonade Beats Deutsche Telekom In French Court Over Use Of The Color Magenta

          Last year we wrote about a New York insurance company called Lemonade being forced by a German court to cease using the color pink/magenta in its branding in Germany after a dispute with Deutsche Telekom, parent company of T-Mobile. See, DT has a long, long history of using insane trademarks its been granted for the color magenta to go after all kinds of other companies, whether they’re actually using that same color or not, and regardless of whether they compete in the same marketplace or not. While Lemonade complied with the court, it then took two further steps. First, it released a Chrome browser extension that strips the color pink out of, well, everything in the user’s browser. This was coupled with a #FreeThePink PR campaign. And the, for added measure, Lemonade set out in various European courts to invalidate any claim DT might have to the trademark for the color in the field of financial services.

      • Copyrights

        • Pirate Bay Proxy Provider Agrees to Pay BREIN $343,000 & Give Up Domain

          A “large-scale’ provider of proxies and mirrors that allow users to access The Pirate Bay despite ISP blocking measures has shut down following action by BREIN. With the platform’s domain now under the control of the anti-piracy group, its operator has agreed to pay BREIN $343,000 to settle the case.

        • Pirate Bay Suffers Downtime, Tor Domain is Up

          The Pirate Bay has been hard to reach for almost a day, something which causes concern among some BitTorrent users. The outage is probably caused by technical issues, so the site is expected to resurface soon. Meanwhile, some of the site’s proxies and its Tor domain are still working fine.

        • Large Torrent Tracker Will Shut Down Voluntarily to Prevent Legal Trouble

          Popular Danish torrent tracker Asgaard saw a surge in new users over the past weeks after rival trackers were shut down. While the operators were initially excited to see the community grow, recent news about the prosecution of their former competitors changed things. With legal pressure mounting, the tracker’s staff are no longer willing to take the risk and the site will shut down at the end of the year.

        • Content Moderation Case Studies: Copyright Claims On White Noise (2018)

          Summary: Every platform hosting user generated content these days is pretty much required (usually by law) to have policies in place to deal with copyright-infringing material. However, not all content on these platforms is covered by copyright, and that can potentially lead to complications, since policies are often built off of the assumption that everything must be covered by some form of copyright.

IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 18, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:10 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
 QmSVfwG9bUaXjQ1SPbbxbF1indyWtQ7aycg8S1V9RhQcSo IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 Qmdj6Vq1HRw6L4y8o2vM6kRGwmtU1qhi4wA4zZqiJExrDL IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmcTdg43oV9EBoUdUjxJNuctonDYfWGxheX1duYofmvNE4 IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmPumvjb1WpvKfmS38YuokboRJCL8BtrT3UbN9nZ36WerA IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmcPoV3qEyrj8ugR3QbeRY4ppqh1zG7SgDHjBZLYhUNZWW IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmbphW2x5zBSV838m31S13Vhfkq5umuwvosoDeyhozYaQV IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmWjzStRazgWFHC1gDECEDzx9hUUXKyDm6FEqLMUS2PfXq IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmUBfVyzbYCVjb76hzQxRX2DhMsshnsvz1TXqhecuWB7b5 IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs

IPFS logo

Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmbJS9vucziTqe4eGSR9un6EoifwTo4y3oYap1EqCtiEZJ

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts