12.23.20

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 23/12/2020: NeoChat 1.0 and LibTraceFS 1.0

Posted in News Roundup at 12:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • A Cloud-Native World Pushed Service Meshes Forward in 2020 | IT Pro

      Service meshes debuted in 2017, but really broke big in 2020 due to the increased complexity of the cloud-native world, which includes microservices and more.

    • Desktop/Laptop

    • Linux Magazine

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • mintCast 350.5 – Change Your SSID – mintCast

        0:16 HPR Spot
        1:26 Show Start
        2:44 Linux Innards
        50:34 Vibrations from the Ether
        1:04:09 Check This Out
        1:07:14 Outro

        In our Innards section, we talk spooky scary security

        And finally, the feedback and a couple of suggestions

      • The 2020 Tuxies | LINUX Unplugged 385

        We reveal the winners of the 2020 Tuxies.

        We’ve tallied the audince votes for the best open source projects, desktops, distros, editors, games, and much much more.

        Special Guests: Drew DeVore and Nate Graham.

    • Kernel Space

      • libtracefs 1.0.0
        libtracefs has finally been officially released. The code that interacts
        with the tracefs file system in trace-cmd has been extracted out into its
        own library. This will facilitate other applications that need to
        manipulate or simply read the trace event file formats. 
        
        https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/libs/libtrace/libtracefs.git/snapshot/libtracefs-1.0.0.tar.gz
        
        
        https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/libs/libtrace/libtracefs.git/
        
        All exposed functions have man pages. We do plan on extending the functions
        that tracefs will include. Some have already been added to bugzilla, but
        feel free to request your own features you would like to have for your
        applications, to easily manipulate ftrace.
        
        https://bugzilla.kernel.org/buglist.cgi?component=Trace-cmd%2FKernelshark&list_id=1079173&product=Tools&resolution=---
        
        Here are the list of functions that libtracefs provides. Along with
        libtraceevent
        (https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/libs/libtrace/libtraceevent.git/) making
        programs that interact with the ftrace file system has greatly become more
        simplified!
        
        
      • LibTraceFS 1.0 Released For Interacting With Linux’s Tracing File-System

        TraceFS is a pseudo, stackable file-system for capturing file-system traces in a portable manner. TraceFS is designed explicitly for this use-case rather than the prior tracing tacked atop DebugFS. LibTraceFS was born out of the trace-cmd front-end to the Linux kernel ftrace tracer. LibTraceFS outside of trace-cmd provides an API for accessing the TraceFS directory and various tracing features in a convenient library form or simply for consuming the data.

      • Linus Benedict Torvalds: Computer scientist and software sector genius

        Between 1988 and 1996, he attended the University of Helsinki and obtained a master’s degree in computer science.

        During his studies, he joined the Finnish Army Uusimaa brigade in 1989 and attended the 11-month officer training programme to fulfil the country’s mandatory military service norm.

        Fascination for computers

        In 1990, he resumed studies at the university. It was during this time that he got acquainted with the operating system, ‘Unix’. He wrote his Master’s thesis on ‘Linux: A Portable Operating System’. He became fascinated and interested in computer science after he worked on the 8-bit home computer, VIC-20.

        He later purchased the personal computer but was not satisfied with the computer’s operating system and modified the computer, especially the operating system. Months of determined programming work yielded the beginnings of an operating system known as Linux.

      • Linux 5.11 Adding VirtIO-MEM “Big Block Mode”

        The previously covered VirtIO memory (VirtIO-MEM) work on its Big Block Mode “BBM” will be landing with Linux 5.11.

        The Red Hat led feature work was sent in today as part of Linux 5.11 virtIO updates. This is about overcoming a current limitation that the VirtIO-MEM driver can only support device block sizes up to the size of a single Linux memory block. The Big Block Mode allows for any device block size for any Linux virtual machine even if it’s larger than a Linux memory block size of the running system.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Zink OpenGL-On-Vulkan Lands Tessellation Shader Support In Mesa 21.0 – Phoronix

          Landing in Mesa 21.0 on Tuesday was support for OpenGL tessellation shaders (ARB_tessellation_shader) with the Zink Gallium3D code implementing generic OpenGL support atop Vulkan.

          Tessellation support is one of the key requirements for OpenGL 4.0 and one of the remaining extensions for Zink in hitting GL 4.0 on mainline Mesa besides ARB_gpu_shader5 and ARB_texture_gather.

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 10 Competing Well Against Ubuntu 20.10 On The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

        Earlier this month we were a bit surprised to see Windows 10 performing close to Ubuntu 20.10 on the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X. With prior AMD Ryzen (and Intel Core) desktop CPUs we normally are used to seeing Ubuntu Linux exhibit healthy performance advantages over Windows 10 in most workloads. But with Zen 3 the Windows vs. Linux performance is much closer and thus led us to also running Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu benchmarks on the higher-end Ryzen 9 5950X to reproduce the earlier findings.

    • Applications

      • Notepadqq: Notepad++ alternative for Linux

        Notepadqq is Notepad++ alternative which is one of the most popular TextEditor tools between programmer and web designer. Just switched from Windows to Linux system and missing your old TextEditor.

        We can still install notepad++ in Linux using snap, but some people don’t like snaps too much, and yes I am also one of them. So, if you don’t want to change your taste and still want to enjoy notepad++ like TextEditor, then you are at right place.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Install GnuCash 4.2 via PPA in Ubuntu 20.04, Linux Mint 20

        Don’t like the universal Linux flatpak package? Here’s how to install the latest GnuCash 4.2 via an Ubuntu PPA in Ubuntu 20.04 and/or Linux Mint 20.

        The latest version of the personal and small-business financial-accounting software is GnuCash 4.2. For Linux binary, GnuCash website refers to the universal flatpak package (See this how-to for detail).

        For those prefer an apt repository, an unofficial PPA is available with the .deb packages for Ubuntu 20.04 and Linux Mint.

      • How to declare Boolean variables in bash and use them in a shell script – nixCraft

        I need to define a bash variable called failed and set the value to False. When my script is called from a cron job, specific tasks might fail, and then I need to flip failed to True. Based upon $failed, I need to send an email alert that my cron job has failed.

      • How to Install Ansible on Ubuntu

        Ansible is an open-source tool that allows you to provision, configure, manage, and deploy applications. It helps to run infrastructure as a code, basically an automation tool. Ansible runs on Linux, Unix-like, and Windows systems. It is a free tool written in Python.

        Using Ansible, automation and controlling of a large of servers is simplified. This made the system admin or DevOps engineer manage all servers from a single control node.

        Unlike Chef and Puppet, Ansible doesn’t need any special software to be installed on the nodes. Ansible uses SSH to execute tasks and YAML file to define provision information.

      • Jonathan McDowell: Rooting the Tesco Hudl

        I have an original Tesco Hudl – a Rockchip RK3188 based Android tablet. It’s somewhat long in the tooth and mine is running Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean). As a first step in trying to get it updated a bit I decided to root it and have a poke about. There are plenty of guides for this, but they mostly involve downloading Android apps that look dodgy or don’t exist any more. Thankfully the bootloader is unlocked, so I did it the hard (manual) way from a Debian 10 (Buster) box. I doubt this is useful to many folk, but I thought I’d write it up. As you’d expect follow this at your own risk; there is the potential to brick the Hudl.

        First, enable developer mode on the Hudl (so we can adb in). Open the Settings app, scroll down to the bottom and click “About Tablet”, scroll down to the bottom and tap “Build number” 7 times, at which point it will tell you “You are now a developer!”. Go back to the main settings menu and just above “About Tablet” there will now be a “Developer options” entry. Click it, then make sure the box beside “USB debugging” is ticked.

      • How to install UbuntuDDE Remix 20.10

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

      • How to Install Kodi on Ubuntu 20.10 – Linux Hint

        Kodi is a popular and open-source media player application where you can watch movies, TV shows, listen to music and even play games. It was developed as a homebrew app for the original Xbox by the name of Xbox Media Center (XBMC). Microsoft abandoned it, but it continues to evolve with the support of XBMC a non-profit organization.

      • Create Animated Presentations with AnimationMaker on Ubuntu 20.10 – Linux Hint

        Animations are one of the excellent approaches to convey your message. Illustrations through animations make them easier to comprehend.

        AnimationMaker is one of the applications that allow you to make beautiful animated presentations and videos on your Ubuntu device. These animations can be uploaded on YouTube and Vimeo.

        AnimationMaker lets you export files in various formats including mp4, avi, GIF, and HTML, etc. It is a free alternative to premium applications like Adobe Edge and Adobe Animate.

      • How to Update All Packages in Oracle Linux 8

        When installing new packages on any operating system, a common piece of advice is to update the system before installing any new packages. This is so that your system will be free of any potential software bugs that may occur due to outdated software. While using your computer system, you may also mess up some of the packages and dependencies. A package update is also required to fix such issues. This article shows you how to update all packages in your Oracle Linux 8 system.

      • How to Change the Hostname in Oracle Linux 8

        When you get a new computer system or install a new virtual machine on an already existing computer system, there will be a default hostname or device name that comes with the system. In Oracle Linux 8, you may change the server hostname according to your preferences. This article shows you the two most effective methods for changing the hostname of an Oracle Linux 8 system.

      • How to install and use Tor Browser on Linux Mint 20- Error free method

        Tor browser is known for its Privacy features and anonymous web surfing features using relay network. It is based on Mozilla firefox, however, the problem that most people are facing while installing this browser using the popular Torbrowser-launcher method is the Signature failure error.

        In this method, we are not going to use that, instead of a simple and straightforward one by using the portable Tor browser packages available for the Linux operating system. Also, we let you know how to create a Desktop shortcut for the TOR Browser.

      • How to Set Up a Bitcoin Node, With Lightning

        A Raspberry Pi ($66 for version 4): This is a pocket-sized computer that powers the Lightning node. (Computers have certainly evolved since the ENIAC, which weighed 50 tons, about 10 times as much as an elephant.)

      • How to use the Eclipse IDE as your text editor | Opensource.com

        Eclipse is an IDE (integrated development environment). It’s definitely not a text editor. Then again, an IDE is really just a text editor with a lot of extra features for specific kinds of text. Furthermore, an IDE is often home to a developer. Developers have their IDE of choice open all day long, so it’s natural to stay in that IDE when it’s time to write a project README file, or to jot down a quick note, or to just make a grocery list. So sometimes, an IDE is just a text editor, after all.

      • Deploy Fedora CoreOS servers with Terraform – Fedora Magazine

        Fedora CoreOS is a lightweight, secure operating system optimized for running containerized workloads. A YAML document is all you need to describe the workload you’d like to run on a Fedora CoreOS server.

        This is wonderful for a single server, but how would you describe a fleet of cooperating Fedora CoreOS servers? For example, what if you wanted a set of servers running load balancers, others running a database cluster and others running a web application? How can you get them all configured and provisioned? How can you configure them to communicate with each other? This article looks at how Terraform solves this problem.

      • How to create Windows 10 USB installation Drive in Linux
      • How To Install Eclipse IDE on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Eclipse IDE on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Eclipse is a cross-platform, wildly popular Java integrated development environment (IDE) that you can easily install and manage your Java-based projects. It contains a base workspace and an extensible plug-in system for customizing the environment.

        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 install of Eclipse on CentOS 8.

      • How to Install Opera Browser on Ubuntu 20.04 – TecAdmin

        Opera is a Chromium-based multi-platform web browser developed by Opera Software. It have multiple features similar to the Google chrome as both are developed on Chromium. You will get a new looks and multiple different features that other browsers, which makes it more powerful.

        The Opera browser is available under the Snapcraft packages. Also the Opera team provides an PPA for installing Opera on Ubuntu systems.

        This tutorial help you to install Opera web browser on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Linux system.

      • How & Why To Use Airgapped Backups

        It’s that last one that is of particular interest today. A lot of backup strategies are such that if a user (or administrator) has their local account or network compromised, their backups could very well be destroyed as well. For instance, do you ssh from the account being backed up to the system holding the backups? Or rsync using a keypair stored on it? Or access S3 buckets, etc? It is trivially easy in many of these schemes to totally ruin cloud-based backups, or even some other schemes. rsync can be run with –delete (and often is, to prune remotes), S3 buckets can be deleted, etc. And even if you try to lock down an over-network backup to be append-only, still there are vectors for attack (ssh credentials, OpenSSL bugs, etc). In this post, I try to explore how we can protect against them and still retain some modern conveniences.

        [...]

        Additionally, with the recent addition of ZFS crypto to ZFS on Linux, the replication stream can optionally reflect the encrypted data. Yes, as long as you don’t need to mount them, you can mostly work with ZFS datasets on an encrypted basis, and can directly tell zfs send to just send the encrypted data instead of the decrypted data.

        The downside of ZFS is the resource requirements at the destination, which in terms of RAM are higher than most of the older Raspberry Pi-style devices. Still, one could perhaps just save off zfs send streams and restore them later if need be, but that implies a periodic resend of a full stream, an inefficient operation. dedpulicating software such as borg could be used on those streams (though with less effectiveness if they’re encrypted).

    • Games

      • Stadia Pro gets F1 2020 free in January 2021, all users can claim Crayta free right now

        A few bits of big news to go over for Stadia followers on Linux, as there’s new games released, free games, games on sale and a whole lot more.

        Firstly, time is running out to spend the $10 / £10 credit that Stadia Pro users get as this will vanish in January 2021. This is the same credit they’ve had up for some time now so if you’ve already used it – there’s no more but a reminder for anyone that hasn’t.

        Want some free games? Stadia Pro subscribers can claim the newly released Stadia title Cthulhu Saves Christmas. Additionally, Stadia Pro subs can also now claim the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – Breakthrough Edition bundle.

      • Open source Linux instant-replay tool ReplaySorcery has some major upgrades | GamingOnLinux

        Need an easy way to capture those awesome moments when you’re playing Linux games? ReplaySorcery is what you need, and the developer has been very busy with it.

        ReplaySorcery is a bit like AMD ReLive or NVIDIA ShadowPlay Instant Replay. The idea is simple: while running it stores around 30 seconds of your screen and audio in memory ready to dump it into a video file for you. It works, and really quite well too.

        Since we last wrote about it there’s new features aplenty including: audio capture, options for changing output quality, VA-API hardware acceleration, local config file support, the ability to not run as root and more. It’s quickly becoming a great short-capture solution.

      • Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year from GamingOnLinux

        Through this year we’ve seen a lot of fun things for Linux gaming including tons of exceptional indie games being released. Certainly hasn’t been a dull year! You can see some of my own favourites right here. We also had Vulkan Ray Tracing officially released – finally, that is quite exciting for the future of games. Valve are also continuing to put resources into many different parts of Linux and Linux gaming through Steam Play, driver upgrades, the newer container system and lots more that continue to mature. There’s so many moving parts to keep everything exciting that we can’t wait to see evolve even further through 2021.

      • Our top favourite Linux games released in 2020 | GamingOnLinux

        As 2020 comes to a close, here’s a brief look over what games we personally thought truly stood out in 2020 that directly supported Linux.

      • Check out the new footage of ENCODYA a cyberpunk point and click adventure | GamingOnLinux

        The first title from Chaosmonger Studio with new publisher Assemble Entertainment looks to be shaping up well, and there’s a new featurette trailer with chief developer Nicola Piovesan.

        ENCODYA is a cyberpunk dystopian point-and-click adventure, which shall release with Linux support on January 26, 2021 – following on from their successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. This new featurette has Piovesan chatting about the world their team created along with a bunch of new footage.

      • Free and open source 2D RTS ‘Wyrmsun’ 4.0 is out now

        If you love classic 2D RTS games like Warcraft 2 and other similar titles, Wyrmsun is one you should take a look at because not only is it free and open source but it’s seeing major upgrades too.

        Their original plan to move to Godot Engine didn’t work out, so they decided to stick with the classic Stratagus engine which it was originally based on. Instead, they continued enhancing what’s was possible with what they already had including some substantial tech improvements including a 2x scaling option, improved pathfinding performance, parallel sound loading to improve loading times, mini-map zooming and more.

        Lots of gameplay enhancements were also added in Wyrmsun 4.0 like a smarter AI that will now try to aid its buildings under attack, the AI will try to actually complete its quests and it only declares war during scenarios after 20 minutes so main quests go a bit smoother.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce 4.16 Released. This is What’s New

        The lightweight desktop environment Xfce releases its latest installment Xfce 4.16 with many exciting features. Here in this post, we summarize the Xfce 4.16 release covering the brand new features, updates, and download details.

      • Major Update: Xfce 4.16 Released with New Features & Visual Changes

        This new stable version of the Xfce desktop makes a number of visual changes, usability enhancements, and bug fixes.

        For instance the xfwm4 window manager has various compositing and GLX improvements; only shows windows from the primary display (when set) in the alt + tab switcher; and comes with the option to “keep minimized windows in the most recently used list” to improve users workflow.

        A variety of xfce4-panel tweaks are included too, such as a new Status Tray plugin to handle modern and legacy systems tray icons alike; dark mode support; and a new autohide transition effect makes it more apparent “where the panel has gone” when hiding out of view.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE’s Open Source Video Editor Kdenlive 20.12 Is Out With New Features

          A new stable version 20.12 of free and open source video editing software Kdenlive (KDE Non-Linear Video Editor) is out with exciting new features, bug fixes, performance, and usability improvements.

          First and foremost, Kdenlive 20.12 now includes an in-built subtitling tool. This allows you to add and edit subtitles directly in the timeline on a special subtitle track or using a new subtitle widget.

        • Announcing NeoChat 1.0, the KDE Matrix client

          Matrix is an instant messaging system similar to Whatsapp or Telegram, but uses an open and decentralized network for secure and privacy-protected communications. NeoChat is a visually attractive Matrix client that works on desktop computers and mobile phones.

          NeoChat provides an elegant and convergent user interface, allowing it to adapt to any screen size automatically and gracefully.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Shaun McCance: Custom docs checkers in yelp-check

          I have a personal goal of getting top-notch docs CI in place for GNOME 40, and part of that is having checks for merge requests. We have a number of great checks already in yelp-check, like checking for broken links and media references, but for large documents sets, you want to be able to enforce your own rules for style and consistency. The most common tool for this is Schematron, and in fact we do have a Schematron file in gnome-help. But it has a lot of boilerplate, most people don’t know how to write it, and the command to run it is unpleasant.

        • Marcus Lundblad: Christmas Maps

          So, it’s that time of year again. And even if this year is a lot different than usual in many ways I thought we should still follow the tradition of summing up some of the last updates to GNOME Maps in 2020 (and before the first beta of what will be part of GNOME 40, in the new versioning scheme).

          The biggest change that was landed since the release of 3.38 has been the redesigned ”place bubbles” by James Westman. James has already written an excellent blog post highlighting this. But I still want point this out here as well. The bubbles now feature larger thumbnails with images from Wikipedia when places are tagged with Wikipedia articles in OpenStreetMap (and the article features a title image), utilizing the MediaWiki API. This feature has been present for some time, but with the redesign the thumbnail are larger and has a more balanced and prominent place. Furthermore a short summary of the Wikipedia article is also shown (in the language preferred by the user’s locale settings, if the article is translated to that language in Wikipedia). The details are also shown in a nicer list view-style with icons to give visual cues.

          [...]

          Also since the last time we’ve had some new contributors. Ravi Shankar improved the detection of invalid URLs and Anubhav Tyagi has improved loading of shape layer files (GeoJSON, GPX, and KML) by replacing synchronous file I/O with asynchronous while loading and also an update to show a dialog asking the user for confirmation when loading files larger than 20 MB since it can takes some time to load (and parse).

          And last, but not least, Maps old-timer Jonas Danielsson contributed a fix to normalize phone numbers in the links shown for phone number when an app is installed that can handle tel: URIs. This allows the Calls app on e.g. the PinePhone to use these links directly from Maps.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • First Release Of Rocky Linux Will Arrive After March 2021

          It has been almost two weeks since the announcement of dropping maintenance support for CentOS Linux and shifting full focus to its future CentOS Stream, which ultimately led to the creation of a new alternative Rocky Linux by CentOS creator Greg Kurtzer itself.

          Now, in the very first community update, Rocky Linux Community Manager Jordan Pisaniello has shared all the progress done so far and updates for future releases of Rocky Linux.

        • Red Hat defends its CentOS decision, claims Stream version can cover ’95% of current user workloads’

          Red Hat’s Karsten Wade, a Senior Community Architect and member of the CentOS board, has defended the decision to kill off CentOS Linux in favour of CentOS Stream, saying the two projects were “antithetical” and Stream is a satisfactory replacement in most cases.

          CentOS Linux is downstream of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), whereas CentOS Stream, introduced in September 2019, is upstream, a late development build of what will shortly go into RHEL (unless problems are discovered).

          All CentOS variants are free, and CentOS Linux is understandably popular, combining the stability of RHEL with free availability. For example, according to statistics from W3Techs CentOS has an 18.5 per cent share of websites, compared to Red Hat’s 1.5 per cent share. Earlier this month Red Hat declared that CentOS Linux would be phased out in favour of Stream.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • This Nintendo Switch clone runs Ubuntu, and is half the price

          There’s a potential new player in the handheld video games console device thanks to a new release from Hardkernel.

          The South Korean hardware vendor, known for its Odroid series of single board computers (SBC) has shared details about its latest flagship handheld device powered by Ubuntu.

          The Odroid-Go Super (OGS) is the third rendition of the popular Odroid-Go series of handheld devices that features a bigger screen, a bigger battery, and improved wireless capabilities over its predecessors. Designed primarily as a portable gaming console, the device runs Ubuntu 20.04 to emulate retro gaming consoles from Sony, Nintendo, Atari, Sega, and NEC.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • L10n Report: December 2020 Edition | Mozilla L10N

            As anticipated in the last report, this release cycle is longer than usual (6 weeks instead of 4), to accommodate for the end of year holidays in Europe and the US.

            The number of new strings remains pretty low, but expect this to change during the first half of 2021, when we should have new content, thanks to a mix of new features and old interfaces revisited. There will also be changes to improve consistency around the use of Title Case and Sentence case for English. This won’t result in new strings to translate for other locales, but it’s a good reminder that each locale should set and follow its own rules, and they should be documented in style guides.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • NO proprietary formats in Italy, please!

          I, the undersigned Roberto Guido… point out a very widespread anomaly among small municipalities distributed all across Italy.

          With minimum effort, I was able to identify some calls and assignments, all published over the last 12 months, with which several small municipalities have requested and acquired licenses of the Microsoft Office software application.

          Consequently, I individually contacted the representatives of each tender, to ask clarifications about their non-compliance with several official guidelines (see below), despite the well-known availability of alternative and more compliant solutions.

          Unfortunately, several of those municipalities completely ignored the request for generalized civic access made pursuant to article 5 of Legislative Decree 33⁄2013 and subsequent amendments. The answers from the others (attached to this complaint) were surprisingly similar to each other.

          In addition to several more or less specific factors, the common one expressed by all those administrations is incompatibility of the IT management system they currently use with documents generated in formats other than those native of Microsoft Office.

          Some administrations cited their own negative experiences with other digital formats (which they had, however, on their own laudable initiative, tried to adopt). Others mentioned explicit recommendations from the supplier of their document management system.

          Investigating further, I had to acknowledge that all those municipalities, in different parts of Italy, share the same IT management service provider, i.e. the company Halley Informatica srl, which appears (following a research perhaps superficial and not exhaustive, but in any case indicative) to cover the same role in about 1700 Italian municipalities (about 20% of the total).

      • FSF

        • Free Software Directory meeting day changes for the rest of the year

          Due to the holidays, the two final Free Software Directory meetings for 2020 will be held on Thursday instead of Friday. Join us to help improve the Free Software Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones.

        • Help us set high priorities for 2021: Send input by Jan. 8

          The High Priority Free Software Projects (HPP) list is an initiative from the Free Software Foundation (FSF). It draws attention to areas of development of strategic importance to the goal of freedom for all computer users, and highlights specific projects within these areas. The HPP list helps guide volunteers, developers, funders, and companies to projects where their skills and resources can be utilized, whether they be in coding, graphic design, writing, financial contributions, or activism.

          The HPP list helps projects explain their importance, which attracts other developers and sponsors. Adding the right projects and project areas to the HPP list while keeping it comprehensive is thus extremely important for the future of free software. Besides this, we also enjoy being able to highlight projects of major importance, giving them the attention they deserve for the inspirational and challenging work that they do.

          [...]

          Remember, we’re looking for projects of great strategic importance to the goal of freedom for all computer users. We are looking for areas where people feel they are heavily pressured or even required to use proprietary software, as well as for important missing features in existing free software, and for problems you see on the horizon as technology is developing.

        • GNU Projects

          • SD Times news digest: Apache Kafka 2.7.0, Bash-5.1, and System.Text.Json updates

            Bash is a GNU project bourne again shell that features interactive command line editing, job control, support for csh-like features, and history substitution.

            The release also includes several outstanding bug fixes. In a post, the team explained the biggest change is “a return to the bash-4.4 behavior of not performing pathname expansion on a word that contains backslashes but does not contain any unquoted globbing special characters.”

          • mailutils @ Savannah: Version 3.11

            Version 3.11 of GNU mailutils is available for download.

          • gdbm @ Savannah: Version 1.19

            Version 1.19 is available for download.

          • Gnulib helps you write efficient algorithms

            When writing algorithmic code, the classical approach is to define the data structures, write the algorithm, debug it, and then profile it. It often occurs that you notice that a certain list, set, or map can get large and that this costs CPU time. Then, you change the data structure, adapt the code (often substantial changes), debug it again, and finally profile it again.

            Gnulib has a set of container types, that you can use for your data structures, and that can make this process easier. With these types, changing the data structure is a one-liner change, no second debugging is needed, and you can proceed to the final profiling right away.

      • Programming/Development

  • Leftovers

    • The Winter’s Tale: Solstice on the Streets of Paris

      When you give assistance in any form to a homeless asylum seeker shivering in the freezing European winter, he or she may not be able to repay you there and then. One day though, if you’re lucky enough, you might see the fruit of the smile you created.

      Asylum seekers come to France with a thousand and one hopes, and with no way back because of the war and violence that ravages their homeland. Uncertainty grips their hearts with a frigid hand. They can taste the chill of winter on their breath, and feel it penetrating their bones.

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • SPEC replaces SPECsfs 2014 benchmark with AI and genomics workouts

        SPEC Solution 2020 can support a non-POSIX storage system with a plugin shared library for accessing an AFS storage service. Others may be added in the future, such as an object store, S3, Ceph, and more. The new test supports custom workloads for private, no-publishable testing.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Millions of India’s Farmers Are in a Fight for Their Economic Lives

        About half of India’s workers depend on the agricultural industry, and the government has long had in place regulations to protect farmworkers, acting as a middleman between farmers and buyers of their produce. Now those protections have been upended. In September 2020, Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pushed three deregulatory bills through Parliament amid chaos and even some opposition from within his own party.

        Amandeep Sandhu, author of Panjab: Journeys Through Fault Lines, has been closely following the farmers’ protests. In an interview, he explained to me that the first of the three bills scrapped the Essential Commodities Act, a 1955 law that stabilized food prices by preventing traders from hoarding supplies. According to Sandhu, “now traders can stockpile as much food as they want and can play the markets as they wish.” Two-thirds of India’s population of 1.3 billion rely on subsidized food rations, which Sandhu says are now endangered.

      • Could the Next Standing Rock Could Be Brewing in Northern Minnesota?

        Despite sub-zero winter temperatures, a conflict over a controversial new pipeline is threatening to boil over in rural Minnesota, turning it into the next Standing Rock. 22 people were arrested last week during protests in Aitkin County, around 120 miles north of Minneapolis, for trespassing against the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. The pipeline project would carry more than 750,000 barrels of fracked Alberta tar sand oil through the United States.

      • Opinion | Biden’s Drug Czar Must Be Someone Willing to Diverge From Our Country’s Failed Drug War

        “We are at a crossroads—and the Biden-Harris administration has the power to make an incredibly important decision with its handling of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and who leads it.”

      • Black Critical Care Dr. Taison Bell of UVA on Fighting COVID, Racism & Securing Fair Vaccine Access

        More than 40 countries have temporarily suspended some or all travel from the United Kingdom after British health officials announced a highly infectious variant of the novel coronavirus has been spreading in the country. South Africa has detected a similar variant. The new variant is believed to be 70% more contagious, but health experts say existing vaccines will still be effective against it. “What’s important to remember is that mutations will naturally happen in the course of a virus that’s in the community and circulating,” says Dr. Taison Bell, critical care and infectious disease physician at the University of Virginia. “It’s not unexpected to have these changes.” Bell also describes how he received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month.

      • The Main Public Hospital in the Nation’s Largest County Is Out of ICU Beds
      • Memorial Sloan Kettering Gave Top Doctor $1.5 Million After He Was Forced to Resign Over Conflicts of Interest

        In 2018, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s chief medical officer, Dr. José Baselga, resigned under fire over his failure to disclose payments from health care companies in dozens of research articles he wrote.

        Now, recent Internal Revenue Service filings show the nonprofit hospital paid more than $1.5 million in severance to Baselga in 2018 and 2019.

      • Black Men Have the Shortest Lifespans of Any Americans. This Theory Helps Explain Why.

        COVID-19 has killed many young Black men with deadly efficiency. When ProPublica reporters began collecting their stories and speaking to health experts to understand why, their efforts led them to a little-known body of research that takes its name from one of the most enduring symbols of Black American resilience.

        Sherman James is a social epidemiologist who has spent the past four decades exploring why Black men have higher rates of diseases that lead to shorter lifespans than all other Americans.

      • How COVID-19 Hollowed Out a Generation of Young Black Men

        The Rev. Dr. Kejuane Artez Bates was a big man with big responsibilities. The arrival of the novel coronavirus in Vidalia, Louisiana, was another burden on a body already breaking under the load. Bates was in his 10th year with the Vidalia Police Department, assigned as a resource officer to the upper elementary school. But with classrooms indefinitely closed, he was back on patrol duty and, like most people in those early days of the pandemic, unprotected by a mask. On Friday, March 20, he was coughing and his nose was bleeding. The next day, he couldn’t get out of bed.

        Bates was only 36, too young to be at risk for COVID-19, or so the conventional wisdom went. He attributed his malaise to allergies and pushed forward with his second full-time job, as head pastor of Forest Aid Baptist Church, working on his Sunday sermon between naps. Online church was a new concept to his parishioners, and during the next morning’s service, he had to keep reminding them to mute their phones. As he preached about Daniel in the lion’s den — we will be tested, but if we continue to have faith, we will come through — he grimaced from the effort. That night he was burning up with fever. Five days later he was on a ventilator; five days after that, he died.

      • Opinion | Tom Vilsack’s Cozy Relationship With Big Ag Makes Him A Non-Starter at USDA

        The Biden administration will fail rural America right out of the gate with a choice like Tom Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture.

      • AfD Strongholds, Hygiene Rallies, Tin-Foil Hats and Coronavirus Infections

        An analysis by German researchers suggests that in local counties with a large number of AfD voters, COVID-19 cases are high. During the last months, various German lockdowns had a mediating effect on the coronavirus until the second wave hit Germany. In many geographical areas, the coronavirus cases increased faster in recent weeks.

        This increase fuels fear of a dramatic Christmas season – the cancellation of Christmas, and even more severe restrictions. In other words, no Glühwein parties. With even higher death tolls compared to last summer, there is now a somewhat frantic search for the causes of the recent rise in coronavirus cases in Germany.

    • Integrity/Availability

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Opinion | The Lessons of Two Failed Wars: Reflections on Vietnam and Iraq

        The madness of American-style war.

      • ‘Persecution mania’: How the Kremlin’s spokesman responded to the latest revelations about Navalny’s poisoning

        Following opposition figure Alexey Navalny’s bombshell video where he speaks to an FSB operative implicated in his poisoning, journalists had plenty of questions for Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. In conversation with reporters on Tuesday, December 22, Peskov reiterated the FSB’s statement dismissing the video and claimed that Navalny (or as he insists on calling him, “the Berlin patient”) suffers from “a pronounced persecution mania.” Here are Peskov’s comments, in full.

      • What If Jesus Had Been Born in the American Police State?

        The Christmas story of a baby born in a manger is a familiar one. The Roman Empire, a police state in its own right, had ordered that a census be conducted. Joseph and his pregnant wife Mary traveled to the little town of Bethlehem so that they could be counted. There being no room for the couple at any of the inns, they stayed in a stable (a barn), where Mary gave birth to a baby boy, Jesus. Warned that the government planned to kill the baby, Jesus’ family fled with him to Egypt until it was safe to return to their native land

      • Maga Megadeath
      • Covid-19 catch-22: Regime-change policies come packed with US pandemic relief
      • F.S.B. Andrei Soldatov answers the questions about Russia’s top intelligence agency that you’re too afraid to ask

        Over the past two months, a team of reporters and researchers from multiple countries managed to identify several of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agents who tracked and possibly tried on several occasions to murder opposition figure Alexey Navalny. The investigation was a success because the officers committed a series of basic errors when using their cell phones and mobile Internet connections while in the field. The apparent bumbling at the heart of the story has raised questions about the professionalism of Russia’s top intelligence agency. For insights into this matter and for answers to other burning questions about the FSB, Meduza turns to journalist Andrei Soldatov, who together with Irina Borogan has written several books about the Russian intelligence community’s operations at home and abroad, including “The New Nobility,” “The Red Web,” and “The Compatriots.”

      • Another Russian Secret Service officer dies by suicide in Moscow

        An officer in Russia’s Secret Service, the Federal Protective Service (FSO), died by suicide in Moscow yesterday, RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday, December 22, citing an unnamed source in law enforcement.

      • Biden and the Manufacturing of Big Official Enemies

        The most likely candidate is Russia. Count on the continuation of Russia’s role as America’s Official Enemy Number One. While everyone thought the Cold War ended long ago, not so for the U.S. national-security establishment. The Cold War was a high-cotton racket for the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, and they weren’t about to let it go. That’s why they did everything they could to ensure that Russia remained an official enemy of the United States during the Trump administration. There is little doubt that Russia’s role as Official Enemy #1 will be magnified during the Biden administration.

        Another likely candidate is China. Count on Biden to continue the official animosity toward China. Given that it’s still a communist regime, it falls in perfectly with the old Cold War mindset — that the Reds are coming to get us, one way or another.

      • ACLU Reminds Biden of ‘Moral and Legal Imperative’ to Reverse Trump’s Unlawful Asylum Policy

        The civil liberties group stressed the new administration must “restore the right to asylum and end the government’s ongoing violations of law.”

      • Failed Trump Coup Gives Way to ‘Brazen Attempt’ by GOP to Undermine Voting Rights

        “This appears to be laying the groundwork for what may be a more massive and coordinated voter suppression effort in the new year.”

      • Trump Plots to Overturn Election: An Attack on Democracy or a Scheme to Make Millions for Himself?

        As President Trump continues to look for ways to overturn the 2020 election, he has also continued to raise massive sums of money — over half a billion dollars since mid-October, including more than $250 million since Election Day. The New York Times reports more than $60 million of what Trump raised has gone to a new political action committee that he will control after he leaves office, an unprecedented war chest for an outgoing president. There are few legal limits on what Trump can do with the raised funds, and he could use it to pay off his massive $420 million debt or to fund a potential 2024 run. “This is entirely unprecedented,” says Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform at Campaign Legal Center, who has been closely following Trump’s fundraising since the election. “It’s a loosely regulated political vehicle that Trump can tap into after he leaves the White House to retain influence in the Republican Party and also to potentially benefit himself and his family financially.”

      • Is a Fascist Movement Developing Here?

        Is this the beginning of a domestic fascist movement to discredit our democratic institutions? Historian Timothy Snyder in his book “On Tyranny” argues that institutions preserve our decency. They do not protect themselves. They fall if citizens do not protect them.

        The Trump-appointed Director of Cybersecurity, Chris Krebs, was fired because he announced the vote across the nation “was the most secure in American history.” Krebs has since filed a lawsuit charging that Trump has initiated a campaign of intimidation, retaliation and threats against Republicans.

      • US Attorney Blames Violent Crime Spike In Austin, Texas On Police Budget Cuts That Haven’t Even Been Implemented Yet

        Movements to “defund” law enforcement agencies have sprung up around the nation, trailing the protests against police violence that spread across the country following the killing of an unarmed black man by Minneapolis police officers in May.

      • From Stopping Endless Wars to Providing Real Covid-19 Relief, People’s Agenda Details Crucial ‘Way Forward’

        “This people-first legislative roadmap for the first six months of 2021 is an urgent, brave, and just agenda.”

    • Environment

      • Climate Wins — Sort of — in a Largely Inadequate Stimulus Package
      • Chile’s waste bus changes throw-away societies

        In a world choking on its own discarded rubbish, Chile’s waste bus is showing a way to slow the flood.

      • 12 Trump Attacks on the Environment Since the Election

        In the aftermath of the November 3 election, President Donald Trump has tried every trick in the book to avoid facing the reality of his loss. A barrage of lawsuits accompanied by disinformation campaigns has attempted to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election.

      • Sustainability is Morality

        The locus of immorality driving that crisis is the nature of our civilization. Undoing that immorality would require destroying all our politics and economics, and abandoning all our ideologies and religions — which are basically just categories of excuses apologizing for varieties of egotistical selfishness and separatist bigotries — and rebuilding our entire civilization from zero on the basis of a homo sapiens wide solidarity and intelligent compassion in harmony with Nature and with a reverence for All Life on Planet Earth.

        All other attitudes about the sustainability crisis are excuses to avoid facing it, seeing it as: an economic, or political, or technical, or emotional issue, or opportunity to advance an agenda during the course of its inequitable immiseration of humanity and destruction of the non-human natural world.

      • Opinion | Save Santa’s Home

        In a single night, he defies space and time as he travels to every country on a flying sled and somehow fits down every chimney. The least we could do in exchange is not melt his natural habitat.

      • Trouble at the Vostok Station After investing millions in a brand-new polar research complex, Russia faces problems getting it to Antarctica

        For years, Russia’s Vostok Research Station in Antarctica has been falling into a state of disrepair. In 2019, the government finally issued orders to build an entirely new complex, with one of Russia’s wealthiest citizens investing billions of rubles in the project. Constructed in St. Petersburg, the modules that comprise the new station set sail for Antarctica in October, but the cargo ship never reached its destination. Russia’s researchers stationed in Antarctica have now been told to expect further delays, and the coronavirus pandemic is making matters only worse.

      • Energy

    • Finance

      • The Insufficient COVID Stimulus Must Not Be Followed by Austerity
      • Why We Say: Don’t Pay the Rent!

        And really to anyone else in the US, particularly in other localities that have passed similar laws to the eviction moratorium that was just renewed by the Multnomah County Board of Supervisors this week — which is now good until July 2nd.

      • Congress Passes COVID Relief With Billions in Handouts for the Wealthy
      • ‘No More Caving’ to Austerity Warns Sanders After Biden Lauds Paltry Covid-19 Relief Deal as ‘Model’ Legislation

        “If we allow Republicans to set the parameters of the debate going forward, like they did in this current Covid relief bill, the next two to four years are going to be a disaster.”

      • Biden Taps Bruce Reed, Deficit Hawk and Longtime Enemy of Social Security, for Deputy Chief of Staff

        “You cannot have Bruce Reed in your administration and pretend Social Security is safe.”

      • GOP Senator Worth $39 Million Was Biggest Opponent of the $600 Stimulus Checks
      • We Must Reject Austerity Politics: Economist Darrick Hamilton on Why $900B Stimulus Is Not Enough

        As Congress passes a $900 billion coronavirus relief package, the first new aid since April, critics say the bill does not go far enough in providing direct aid to those most impacted by the economic downturn. “It needs to be thought of as a relief bill, as a bridge to get us to a Biden presidency, where we can do something that is far more intense and larger in scale,” says Darrick Hamilton, professor of economics at The New School and founding director of the Institute for the Study of Race, Stratification and Political Economy.

      • Opinion | The True Meaning of Christmas in the Age of Pandemic and Austerity

        With the pandemic raging and millions unemployed, this Christmas will witness tears among the smiles.

      • Opinion | Why Can’t CEOs Pay For Their Own 3 Martini Lunches?

        Buried in the Covid relief deal is a provision that will require taxpayers to subsidize lavish business meals for corporate executives.

      • Brexit, Billionaires and the Little People

        A recent exponent of this proposition is Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a billionaire who was a strong advocate for Britain leaving the European Union. In approaching negotiations with the EU after the referendum result, he had an instruction to Britain’s diplomats: “We must listen, we must be unwaveringly polite and retain our charm. But there is no room for weakness or crumpling at 3am when the going gets tough and when most points are won or lost.” He praised Britain’s “decent set of cards”: London as a key financial centre; companies such as Mercedes continuing to sell cars in the country.

        This sentiment was echoed by other wealthy British billionaires who simply assumed that the consequences of a UK exit from the EU were going to be minor ripples rather than a massive shake. It was the sort of advice given by occupants of mansions and gilded penthouses, gradually ossifying with time. Lord Anthony Bamford, Chairman of JCB and Construction Equipment, claimed from his summit of comfort that “European markets are important to many UK businesses, including JCB, and this will not change.” The UK, being the “world’s fifth largest trading nation” had “little to fear from leaving the EU.”

      • Congress Passes $900 Billion Mitigation 2.0 Bill (As Double Dip Recession Looms)

        The new spending shouldn’t be confused as a ‘stimulus’ bill. It won’t stimulate the economy much, if at all. A stimulus requires significant net new spending. Most of the deal is just a continuation of past spending levels, and in some notable examples it’s a reduction in spending levels. The same can be said for the companion legislation to keep the US federal government funded. That’s another $1.4 trillion. But that too is just continuation spending. Nevertheless, we hear from the mainstream media it’s a $2.3 trillion total spending package, the second largest in US history (the first largest being the past March Cares Act which the same media keeps misrepresenting as a $3 trillion package).

        For the record, the $3T Cares Act amounted only to $1.4 trillion actual spending that got into the US economy. More than $1 trillion in loans initially earmarked for medium and large corporations, and 11 financial markets, never got spent by the Federal Reserve. In addition, $650 billion of the $3T was actually tax cuts for investors and businesses. That’s mostly been hoarded. The only actual spending that got into the real economy and GDP was the $500 billion for income checks and unemployment benefits for workers, plus $525 billion in loans and grants for 5 million of the 31.7 million US small businesses, plus another $100B or so to the Federal Reserve’s ‘Main St.’ lending programs and less than $100B for other Fed lending. So the much touted March Cares Act actual spending was less than half the media’s reported $3T.

      • Review: Anti-Social

        Nick Pettigrew was an anti-social behavior officer for council housing for over a decade. This book is a diary of one year in the life of that job. According to the author, the dates, names, and some of the identifying details have been changed but not exaggerated. While it’s hard to verify that, and I’m sure a few of the stories have been tweaked to make better narratives, it has a messiness and chaos of half-resolved drama mixed with mundane office tedium that makes it ring true.

        [...]

        Council housing is the UK’s version of what the US would call public housing or “the projects,” although it’s a far larger percentage of the housing stock in the UK than it is in the US. These are buildings built by the government and run by local governments or non-profits to provide housing to working class and poor people at reduced cost compared to the private market. As in the US, new council housing construction has dropped off dramatically; as in the US, a bunch of it has been privatized, although in the UK the Right to Buy law at least sells the housing to the people living in it, as opposed to slumlords.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Getting Serious About Repealing Section 230

        Trump apparently believes that repealing Section 230 would prevent Facebook from pulling down posts from Trump and his racist friends. He also is upset that Twitter labels his absurd lies as being subject to dispute. In fact, repealing Section 230 would in no way prevent Facebook from pulling down posts it found objectionable or stop Twitter from putting warning labels on Trump’s nonsense tweets.

        There are others who seem to believe that repealing Section 230 would force Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks to remove material that is racist, sexist, or in other ways offensive. There is nothing about Section 230 that facilitates the spread of such material and its repeal would not stop it.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Xhamster, The 22nd Biggest Site On The Internet, Moderates Content Using Unpaid Volunteers (2020)

        Summary: Formed in 2007 and operated out of Limassol, Cyprus, xHamster has worked its way up to become the 20th most-visited site on the internet. The site boasts 10 million members and hundreds of millions of daily visitors despite being blocked by a number of governments around the world.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • We Had To Pass A Law To Stop Telecom Monopolies From Charging You ‘Rental Fees’ For Things You Already Own

        For much of the last few years, broadband customers have been complaining that Frontier Communications, the nation’s third-biggest telco, had been charging its customers a rental fee for modems they already owned. Normally, you’re supposed to be able to buy your own modem instead of paying your ISP a rental fee upwards of $10 per month. To nab some extra dough from captive customers, Frontier basically decided to charge its customers a rental fee anyway, giving them a polite, though giant, middle finger when they complained.

      • NBN ‘fully built’ though 35,000 premises still unconnected. Don’t they count?

        Thirty-five thousand Australian premises are yet to be connected to the national broadband network, but Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has declared that the network is “built and fully operational”.

      • Book review: Internet Law and Regulation

        To begin, the first thing to mention is that this book is no casual read, weighing in at 1625 pages. The previous edition was published 12 years ago, so there was certainly a lot to catch up on. In that time the internet and social media have come a long way, and so the legislation, case law and policy have been developed and continue to do so. As Graham Smith comments in the preface, writing a book on internet law these days is pretty much writing a book on law; because the seeds of the internet have been sown in all the fields of regulation. As such, a selection process for the topics covered in the book was necessary. Graham explains that some areas had significant legislative, judicial and policy activity that called for more comprehensive treatment, for example copyright. However, Graham explains, the book also indulges in other more obscure nook and crannies of the law.

        The book is authored by cyberlaw expert Graham Smith and a team of contributors from Bird & Bird. It focuses on UK law, but also takes a comparative approach where relevant to discuss the laws of other jurisdictions including Australia, USA, Canada and Singapore.

        [...]

        This book is an essential resource to anyone practising or researching in any area of law that involves the internet, whether this be a predominantly online area, or one where the relationship is developing. It covers a vast amount of legal issues online, with particularly extensive coverage on intellectual property law, including copyright, confidential information, patents, trade marks, and domain names. The book provides a comprehensive study of current and developing areas of internet law, delivering both in-depth analysis and practical guidance. Whilst considerable in length, the layout makes the book easy to navigate and will no doubt become a well-thumbed reference guide for academics and practitioners alike.

    • Monopolies

      • Czech Search Engine Seznam Joins In the ‘Let’s Sue Google’ Fun, Seeks $417 Million in Damages

        It seems that people have decided that now is a good time to attack Google in various ways. In October, the US Justice Department sued Google for allegedly violating antitrust laws. This month, ten US states sued Google, alleging anticompetitive behavior, followed by another 38 states, alleging that the company has created an illegal monopoly in online search and advertising. In November, 165 companies and industry bodies sent a letter to the EU complaining about Google and asking for tougher antitrust action. The EU has also released first drafts of its new Digital Services Act, and Digital Markets Act. One of the key elements of the new laws is tackling the power of leading online platforms like Google.

      • Is There a Free L(a)unch? Liability for Damages Caused by Interim Injunctions in Trademark Litigation in Hungary

        The common understanding based on Article 9(7) of the Enforcement Directive was that, if the court orders an interim injunction which is later lifted, the plaintiff shall compensate the defendant for the damages caused by the injunction. This may be the case, for instance, if the plaintiff’s trademark is cancelled at a later point, but also if the second instance court simply overturns the first instance decision and lifts the injunction.

        This is in contrast with an ordinary lawsuit, where the plaintiff is generally not liable for the defendant’s damages caused by an injunction, even if the injunction is later lifted. Thus, the plaintiff of an ordinary lawsuit is not liable for the defendant’s damages even if an enforceable second instance judgment is later overturned by the Supreme Court in revision proceedings. To state the obvious, the plaintiff of an ordinary lawsuit is not liable for the defendant’s damages where the defendant voluntarily stops the allegedly infringing activity upon receiving the statement of claims or the unfavourable first instance judgment.

        Hungary has a bifurcation system for both patents and trademarks, which means that Hungarian courts cannot decide on the validity of patents and trademarks in the infringement proceedings. Therefore, interim injunctions can remain in force for a long time and can cause substantial damage, by the time the plaintiff’s patent or trademark is finally cancelled in parallel proceedings.

        [...]

        The question is how that reads for trademarks. For example, trademark owners seem to be liable for the damages of the defendant caused by an interim injunction in case their trademark is later cancelled for bad faith. Enforcing a bad faith trademark is clearly abusive. However, what if the same trademark owner has legitimate reasons to believe that his trademark was not applied for in bad faith?

        We are of the view that the CJEU ruling could change the practice in likelihood of confusion matters: where the trademark owners do not act in bad faith, but merely enforce their registered trademark rights, even if the injunction is later lifted, the plaintiff shall not be liable for the defendant’s damages, since this kind of litigation is not abusive.

        It will be interesting to see whether this CJEU ruling will encourage trademark owners, which are not acting abusively, to request interim injunctions in Hungary more often. It will be even more interesting to see whether the ramifications of this decision go beyond Hungary.

      • Patents

        • India on TRIPS Waiver: Will WTO Pass the Test of Humanity?

          India, through its Ambassador and Permanent Representative at the WTO, delivered a short but strong statement at the WTO TRIPS General Council Meeting held between 16-18th December, 2020, on the on-going TRIPS waiver proposal. (context here for those unaware of the waiver proposal – in brief, South Africa and India proposed a waiver for the WTO TRIPS provisions that relate to, i.e., restrict, vaccines, treatment options, etc for Covid-19, for the duration of the pandemic). Pointing out that making the vaccines accessible and affordable is going to be a test of our humanity, India also noted that history will remember the WTO’s response to this pandemic, and that the WTO needed to prove they can deliver in a time of crisis. India’s statement also pointed out that currently ongoing voluntary activities such as COVAX and ACT-accelerator were inadequate to meet global needs, and that none of the pharma companies who have developed vaccines have joined WHO’s C-TAP. India also indirectly noted the hypocrisy of developed countries when saying “ Global community should not be looking inward at this juncture. Though we have repeatedly heard that no one is safe until everyone is safe, yet even the most optimistic scenarios today cannot assure access to vaccines and therapeutics for all, even by the end of 2021.”

          India’s statement comes some days after South Africa (the other initial co-sponsor of the waiver proposal) delivered a much longer, and stronger statement at the TRIPS Council meeting. South Africa specifically called out the voluntary measures (that US, EU, Japan suggested as the best solution) as ‘ad hoc, non-transparent and unaccountable’ deals that reinforce ‘vaccine apartheid’. It also detailed in depth how the waiver proposal is a calibrated and proportionate response suggestion (i.e. how it wouldn’t apply to non-Covid drugs, counterfeits, etc, while also noting that quality of drug and IP protection over a drug have no connection). South Africa’s statement is definitely worth reading in full and KEI has made it available here.

          [...]

          Regardless of this – EU’s statement, on 18th December, reflects that it still believes that intra-TRIPS solutions are the best way forward. On on-going arrangements such as COVAX it had to say: “COVAX is indeed an excellent tool for wealthier countries to provide vaccines for deployment in countries with fewer financial means.” (note: this is as opposed to measures which include these ‘poorer’ countries doing their own manufacturing! Colonial legacy of holding on to means of production?). EU also stated that compulsory licensing is a valid way forward as well (it would be wonderful if this memory stays sharp years down the line, in non-Covid contexts, when member countries may decide to implement CLs for reasons they choose as valid, rather than when EU says ‘now its okay’). EU’s statement is available here.

        • EPO allows the taking of evidence by VICO [Ed: The EPO again openly and shamelessly violates the EPC and is thus operating outside the rule of law; does it wish to be disbanded?]

          At its virtual meeting on 15 December 2020, the Administrative Council decided to amend Rules 117 and 118 EPC to allow evidence to be taken by videoconference (VICO) in proceedings before the European Patent Office (EPO). The amendment will take effect as of 1 January 2021 and will mean that evidence can be taken this way regardless of whether the oral proceedings are held by VICO or on the EPO premises.

        • AIPPI UK Event Report: Roundup of 2020’s Patent Cases [Ed: These AIPPI-led fake ‘events’ are now hosted by Hogan Lovells — basically a bunch of liars and patent trolls’ boosters. The real event got canceled, but Annsley Merelle Ward calls a bunch of webchats “event” (to keep up appearances of this think tank of litigation fanatics and monopolists)]
        • Two new constitutional complaints in Germany against UPCA [Ed: Amusing to see how Team UPC at Kluwer Patent Blog is spinning the latest debacle in this morning’s post. Can’t wait for lots of correctional comments to appear.]

          Two new constitutional complaints against ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement have been filed with Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court.

          The FCC confirmed to several media it received the complaints last Friday, the very day the parliamentary ratification procedure in German ended with the approval of the UPC legislation by the German Bundesrat.

          According to a report by Managing IP, the court said in a statement: “Regarding the Act on the Agreement of February 13 2013 on a Unified Patent Court, two constitutional complaints have been filed and are pending.” The FCC added that a decision date was not known. “Neither the identity of the plaintiffs nor the grounds of the complaints are currently available”, it stated.

          The complaints mean a new chapter in the ever longer history of the attempted creation of the Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent system has begun.

          [...]

          Without German ratification, the UPC nor the Unitary Patent can be launched. The new complaints could lead to further severe delays, although is isn’t clear whether the FCC will accept the complaints and request the German Bundespräsident to refrain from signing the UPCA legislation into law as long as it hasn’t decided on them, as happened when Stjerna filed his complaint in 2017.

          Although it isn’t clear who have filed the two new complaints, there are two obvious candidates: Dr Stjerna once more, and the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), whose president Benjamin Henrion has repreatedly stated he was preparing a claim. Henrion wasn’t immediately available for comment.

        • Software Patents

          • Adaptive Streaming Inc. v. Netflix, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020) [Ed: Notice how patent litigation profiteer Michael Borella is still bashing courts for saying what's rather obvious about software patents]

            Adaptive Streaming, the owner of U.S. Patent No. 7,047,305, sued Netflix in the Central District of California for alleged infringement. Netflix moved to dismiss the case on the pleadings under Rule 12(b)(6), asserting that the claims did not meet the subject matter eligibility requirements of 35 U.S.C. § 101. The District Court agreed, and Adaptive appealed.

            [...]

            Adaptive argued that the USPTO’s finding the claims to be novel and non-obvious cut against the Court’s position. The Court disagreed, observing that “satisfying the requirements of novelty and non-obviousness does not imply eligibility under § 101, including under the second step of the Alice inquiry, because what may be novel and non-obvious may still be abstract.”

            But this statement reflects the intellectual dishonesty that underlies the current interpretation of Alice — claim elements that are deemed “conventional” — i.e., in the prior art — count against the patentee in the § 101 inquiry. But arguments that the claimed invention exhibits an overall novelty are given no weight in that analysis. Until the exact nature of the prior art consideration under § 101 is clarified, this is an area that will continue lack consistency and render patent-eligibility procedurally unclear.

            In any event, this apparent hypocrisy did not bother the Federal Circuit, as it affirmed the District Court’s invalidity ruling.

      • Trademarks

        • A Christmas tale. The General Court shows that even judges have a heart.

          This Christmas’ tale goes like this. Forbo opposed a EUTM application and the opposition was rejected on 12 February 2019. Forbo timely appealed, but filed the grounds of appeal only on 26 June 2019, i.e. 14 days after the 12 June 2019 deadline as per art. 68(1) of Regulation 2017/1001. With the grounds, Forbo also filed a request for restitutio in integrum claiming that the lawyer who represented it had been unable to timely file the grounds because of a serious illness contracted by him in an unforeseeable manner. In support of this assertion, Forbo submitted two solemn declarations, one made by the lawyer and the other by his spouse.

          The request for restitutio in integrum was rejected by the Board of Appeal which said that the lawyer had not been shown to have complied with the diligence imposed by the circumstances. Even though, in exceptional cases, a sudden illness could justify restitutio in integrum, the Board held that the lawyer had not provided sufficient evidence of his claims, since his solemn declaration and that of his wife had only limited probative value, and there was no medical certificate.

        • Information from UK IPO: Bulk change of address

          MARQUES is sharing the latest information regarding Brexit and the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. This information comes from the UK Intellectual Property Office, who should be contacted directly if there are any queries.

          From 13 January until 31 March 2021, the IPO will provide a temporary service to process high volume requests from customers with 50 or more newly created, comparable trade marks and re-registered designs to update their representative addresses.

        • Around the IP Blogs

          MARQUES shared the latest information regarding Brexit and the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. This information comes from the UK Intellectual Property Office, who should be contacted directly if there are any queries.

      • Copyrights

        • Trends and Developments in Artificial Intelligence: Challenges to Copyright

          The impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on intellectual property (IP) law undoubtedly ranks as one of the most-discussed topics of 2020 among legal academics and practitioners (including on this blog). Following initiatives at WIPO, the EPO and several national IPOs (including the UKIPO and the USPTO), EU institutions have now also become active in this area. On 20 October 2020, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on IP rights for the development of AI technologies. In parallel, on 25 November 2020, the European Commission published a commissioned study on challenges posed by AI to the European IP rights framework.

          The study, which was carried out by researchers at the Institute for Information Law (IViR) [the authors of this post] and the Joint Institute for Innovation Policy (JIIP), examines the state of the art of copyright and patent protection in Europe for AI-assisted outputs in general and in three priority domains: science (in particular meteorology), media (journalism), and pharmaceutical research. The term “AI-assisted outputs” is used in the study to refer to productions or applications generated by or with the assistance of AI systems, tools or techniques. This post focuses on the copyright analysis of the study (for a broader overview of the study, see here).

        • The CASE Act Is Just the Beginning of the Next Copyright Battle

          The CASE Act is supposed to be a solution to the complicated problem of online copyright infringement. In reality, it creates a system that will harm everyday users who, unlike the big players, won’t have the time and capacity to negotiate this new bureaucracy. In essence, it creates a new “Copyright Claims Board” in the Copyright Office that will be empowered to adjudicate copyright infringement claims, unless the accused received a notice, recognizes what it means, and opts out—in a very specific manner, within a limited time period. The Board will be staffed by “claims officers,” not judges or juries. You can appeal their rulings, but only on a limited basis, so you may be stuck with whatever amount the “claims board” decides you owe. Large, well-resourced players will not be affected, as they will have the resources to track notices and simply refuse to participate. The rest of us? We’ll be on the hook. 

          The relief bill also included an altered version of a felony streaming bill that is, thankfully, not as destructive as it could have been. While the legislation as written is troubling, an earlier version would have been even more dangerous, targeting not only large-scale, for-profit streaming services, but everyday users as well. 

          We’re continuing the fight against the CASE Act, but today brings even bigger problems. Senator Thom Tillis, who authored the felony streaming legislation, launched a “discussion draft” of the so-called Digital Copyright Act. Put simply, it is a hot mess of a bill that will rewrite decades of copyright law, give the Copyright Office (hardly a neutral player) the keys to the Internet, and drastically undermine speech and innovation in the name of policing copyright infringement. Read more analysis of this catastrophic bill here. 

        • ‘Pathetic’: Congress Passes Covid Relief Bill With Billions in Gifts for the Wealthy, $600 Checks for the Working Class

          “You’re getting a one-time $600 check to survive a pandemic, but hey, at least lobbyists can get their three-martini lunches delivered.”

        • This Disastrous Copyright Proposal Goes Straight to Our Naughty List

          We’ll have a more in-depth analysis of this draft bill later, but we want to be clear about our opposition from the start: this bill is bad for Internet users, creators, and start-ups. The ones with the most to gain? Big Tech and Big Content.

          This draft bill contains so many hoops and new regulations that the only Internet companies that will be able to keep up and keep on the “right” side of the law will be the Big Tech companies, who already have the resources and, frankly, the money to do so. It also creates a pile of new ways to punish users and creators in the service of Hollywood and the big record labels. Unless we stop this proposal, DMCA reform will crush huge swaths of online expression and innovation, not to mention the competition we need to develop alternatives to the largest platforms.

          Some especially important things to note:

        • The Mystery Of The Copyright On Sherlock Holmes’ Emotions Goes Unsolved Due To Settlement

          Since this past summer we have been writing about a bonkers lawsuit brought against the makers of a Netflix movie, Enola Holmes, by the Conan Doyle Estate. The stories of Sherlock Holmes are, of course, largely in the public domain now, although roughly 10 tales still haven’t reached the expiration date of their copyright protection. The film does not tell any of those protected stories. Instead, it tells an original story, focused on Holmes’ sister, Enola. To make its copyright claim, the Estate instead suggests that Enola Holmes shows a Sherlock who has feelings and empathy, among other details, and therefore runs afoul of the character copyright as Sherlock didn’t show such features until those still-protected stories were written. Also, something about Sherlock developing a liking towards dogs. Yes, seriously.

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