Links 3/1/2021: Septor 2021, Whisker Menu 2.5.1, Bleachbit 4.2.0, Wine 6.0-RC5 and Wine-Staging 6.0-RC5

Posted in News Roundup at 12:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Fcitx: Input Method Editor Made Easy On Linux

        Recently I started learning Japanese and I’ve wanted some way to be able to type in the language on my Linux system, turns out it’s really simple using an IME or Input Method Editor and fcitx the tool we’re using today can be used with any language you want.

      • Installation and First Look of Deepin 20.1

        Deepin is a Debian-based Linux distribution that features the gorgeous Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE). Deepin is a Chinese distro that comes with a complete suite of applications, most of which are applications built by the Deepin team.

      • DualSense on Linux, GNOME 40 changes things, and 2 projects to replace CentOS!

        This time, we have changes in how GNOME Shell will look in the next release, the PS5 controller being officially supported on Linux, and a nifty little handheld for retro gaming that runs Ubuntu Join this channel to get access to a monthly patroncast and vote on the next topics I’ll cover…

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux No-Copy Bvec Patches Revved For The New Year As Another I/O Optimization

        The Linux kernel has been seeing incredible innovations and optimizations in the I/O area in recent times from IO_uring to numerous performance enhancements. One of the recent performance enhancements seeing activity and promising results is the no-copy bvec behavior.

        As explained by developer Pavel Begunkov who has been leading the no-copy bvec support work, “Currently, when iomap and block direct IO gets a bvec based iterator the bvec will be copied, with all other accounting that takes much CPU time and causes additional allocation for larger bvecs. The patchset makes it to reuse the passed in iter bvec.”

      • DTPM “Avoid Burning Yourself” Framework Diverted From Linux 5.11

        Yesterday I wrote about the DTPM framework being sent in for Linux 5.11 but ultimately Linus Torvalds has decided not to accept it out of the merge window.

        As noted in the prior article, it was sent in a week past the Linux 5.11 merge window. The Dynamic Thermal Power Framework (DTPM) aims to be a higher-level thermal framework for cases like ensuring users don’t burn themselves on hot devices and complying with legal requirements that case / exposed device temperatures do not exceed 45 degrees Celsius.

      • Sony Releases Official Linux Driver to Support DualSense Controllers

        The “hid-sony” driver has been available on Linux for a while. According to Phoronix, Sony has released a new “hid-playstation” driver today to include support for DualSense controllers, as well as other PlayStation hardware.

        Linux users can now use the DualSense controller in USB and Bluetooth modes. The driver supports the controller’s LEDs, motion sensors, touchpad, battery, lightbar, and rumble. Unfortunately it doesn’t include support for the Adaptive Triggers and Haptic features; the data for these functions is too large and complex. Linux users are hoping that these functions could be implemented in the future, even if it is only in a basic way.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa’s Clover OpenCL Adds Support For Loading SPIR-V IL Programs – Phoronix

          The latest OpenCL “Clover” work to land in Mesa 21.0 is support for the cl_khr_il_program extension.

          This one year old merge request was merged on New Year’s Day. The work by Pierre Moreau is support for the cl_khr_il_program extension functionality that since has been merged into OpenCL core. This is about supporting OpenCL kernels as intermediate language (SPIR/SPIR-V IL) rather than OpenCL C code. The merge request has support for the original extension as well as the extra IL program functionality since landing into core with OpenCL 2.1.

    • Applications

      • Explore the night sky with this open source astronomy app

        I have always been fascinated with the night sky. When I was younger, the only reference materials available were books, and they seemed to depict a sky that looked different from the one I saw from my home.

        More than five years ago, I wrote about my experiences with two open source planetarium apps, Celestia and Stellarium. Recently, I read about another: KStars. It’s an amazing open source application that helps engage children (and adults) in science and astronomy.


        KStars is freely licensed under the GPLv2.0. The source code is available on the official KDE GitLab instance and as a read-only mirror on GitHub. The KDE Education Project has excellent installation documentation.
        I’m using Pop!_OS and found KStars in the Pop!_Shop.

        You can install KStars on Linux from your distribution’s software repository. KStars Lite is available for Android from the Google Play store. The KDE Project maintains an excellent KStars Handbook to assist users.

      • 7 Best Free and Open Source UPnP Media Servers

        A music streamer lets you share your music, photos and videos with your network. If you have a Network-attached storage (NAS) device, it is likely that you already have the technology built-in to share your media. Using a NAS is a neat solution as it can be left on all the time, consuming very little power. However, this is only one method of sharing your multimedia around a home network.

        A PC can offer a more elegant home media solution that allows you to easily share audio, video and pictures to other devices on your network. Using the right software, interoperability is achieved with other devices by conforming with the DLNA specification and by converting media on-the-fly to formats that client devices support.

      • BleachBit System Cleaner Now Supports Chromium Snap, Latest Ubuntu and Fedora Releases

        BleachBit 4.2 is here nine months after the massive BleachBit 4.0 release, so it’s considered a maintenance update to that version fixing some issues, adding support for cleaning new programs, as well as support for the latest GNU/Linux distributions.

        First and foremost, BleachBit 4.2 is now supported in the latest Ubuntu and Fedora Linux releases. This means that you can now download BleachBit as a DEB or RPM package that you can install on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) or Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla), as well as Fedora Linux 32 or Fedora Linux 33.

      • Install Bleachbit 4.2.0 in Ubuntu / Debian / CentOS / Fedora

        BleachBit a free and open-source disk space cleaning software and Bleachbit a good alternative to CCleaner and supports Multi-platform (ie) Linux and Windows.

        With BleachBit you can free cache, delete cookies, clear browser history, delete logs and discard the junk, It includes advanced features like shredding files to prevent recovery. wiping free disk space to hide traces of files deleted by other applications and makes firefox faster.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Install Pop OS in Virtualbox Virtual Machine

        Pop OS is the Linux Distro meant for Desktop & Laptop users, it is based on Ubuntu, thus with every latest version of Ubuntu, you will see a corresponding change in Pop OS versions as well. To let users easily install the open-source application via a graphical user interface, it comes with the App Center of Elementary OS. As compared to Ubuntu, the performance of Pop OS is snappy.

        Here we will see the steps to easily install Pop OS on VirtualBox, to use and learn it without actually installing it on our physical PC or laptop.

      • How to Get Persistent SSH Connections in Linux Using Eternal Terminal

        An SSH connection is typically used to connect with remote machines. It works on a client /

        server model, in that the machine being used to connect to a remote machine is called a client, while the latter is the server. To establish the connection with the remote machine, you must know its IP address, as well as the username/password to authenticate the connection.

        Because the connection is based on IP address, any change in the IP address automatically breaks the SSH connection, turning even mild-mannered users into rage monsters.

        Released under Apache license, Eternal Terminal can be used as a replacement for SSH. Its claim to fame is the ability to re-establish connection to a remote machine without user intervention. This is in sharp contrast to SSH connections, which once terminated have to be re-established manually.

        Eternal Terminal relies on SSH to connect and authenticate with the remote machine. So you must have SSH installed and running to be able to connect the different machines with Eternal Terminal.

      • How to Install and Play Among Us on a Chromebook

        As we all know, Among Us has taken the world by storm and everyone wants to play this raging deception game. The game was first launched on Android and iOS and now you can play it on Windows, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch as well. The insane popularity of this game has also reached Chromebook users and many are wondering if you can play Among Us on a Chromebook. Well, to find the answer, follow along and find out how you can play Among Us on a Chromebook.

      • Install and use pip for python package management in Linux – The Linux Juggernaut

        Python is one of the most popular scripting languages in use today and due to its wide user base and community support, it has thousands to of modules available which help to add to its existing functionality.
        The version of python that comes pre-installed with Linux distributions has some modules already available.

        Modules for python are made available on the website pypi as archives.

        When we need to install a module we could do it manually by downloading the modules from the pypi site, extract the archive and compile and install the module. This method involves a lot of manual work on the part of the user and would be even more difficult when the concerned modules have other dependencies involved. To solve this problem, the pip software was introduced. The name pip is an acronym for python indexing project. The pip utility is a package manager for python modules available via pypi. We can use it to install and maintain python modules on the system. When installing modules using pip, it’s will take care of all the dependencies of the modules being installed.

      • Kali Linux : The OS That Hackers Use – The Linux Juggernaut

        If you are familiar with cyber security stuff, you must have heard about kali linux. Kali linux is a operating system developed by offensive security and it was specifically targeted for penetration testers. This linux distribution is built on Debian and it comes pre installed with many more security tools. In this guide, we will see how to install this operating system in a virtual environment.

      • Double helping of Pi Hole

        In episode 100 of Late Night Linux I talked a little bit about trying out Pi Hole and AdGuard to replace my home grown ad blocker based on dnsmasq and a massive hosts file.

        I came down in favour of Pi Hole for a couple of reasons but the deciding factor was that Pi Hole felt a bit more open and that it was built on top of dnsmasq which allowed me to reuse config for TFTP which netboots some devices which needed it.

        Now that I’ve been using Pi Hole for a few months I have a much better understanding of its limitations and the big one for me is performance. Not the performance when servicing DNS requests but performance when querying the stats data, when reloading block lists and when enabling and disabling certain lists. I suspect a lot of the problems I was having is down to flaky SD cards.

      • How to Remove Occurrences of a String using sed command

        In case you have a large number of data provided in a TextFile, and now you need to remove the specific string character from a TextFile.

        It is not worth reading every line for a single word or character and manually removing the string. If you have a small set of data, you can use this approach, and For a large file, we cannot use this sluggish approach.

        So, we have to find a way to remove all the strings’ occurrences at once without opening a text file.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement [for 6.0-rc5]
        The Wine development release 6.0-rc5 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-RC5 Released With 21 Bug Fixes – Phoronix

        Wine 6.0-RC5 has 21 known bug fixes that have landed over the past week. Among the fixes this week are for Adobe Acrobat 7, Monkey Island Special Edition, Windows Media Encoder, Microsoft Office 2013, and various other games and applications. It’s a fairly slow week due to being a late stage release candidate paired with being the Christmas / New Year’s week.

      • Wine-Staging 6.0-RC5 Is Testing A Patch That May Hurt The Performance Of Some Games

        Building off yesterday’s Wine 6.0-RC5 test release is an updated Wine-Staging build that adds nearly 800 patches atop the upstream code-base for experimental/testing features.

        Wine-Staging 6.0-RC5 doesn’t change much given Wine’s upstream feature freeze ahead of the Wine 6.0 release in the next few weeks. Plus there has been the Christmas and New Year holidays.

        But the sole new patch introduced with Wine-Staging 6.0-RC5 is interesting from the technical perspective but does carry some risk of hurting the performance of Windows games running under Wine. The work picked up for staging in 6.0-RC5 is the code for process-local synchronization objects use private interfaces into the Unix library.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Climate Justice Advisory Groups Are in Vogue. But Are State Agencies Listening?
      • Whisker Menu 2.5.1 released

        Whisker Menu is an alternate application launcher for Xfce. When you open it you are shown a list of applications you have marked as favorites. You can browse through all of your installed applications by clicking on the category buttons on the side. Top level categories make browsing fast, and simple to switch between. Additionally, Whisker Menu keeps a list of the last ten applications that you’ve launched from it.

        Favorites are easy to add and reorder. When browsing through your applications, right-click on any of them and select “Add to Favorites”. Simply drag and drop your favorites list to arrange them to suit your needs. You can remove them at any time from another right-click option.

        If you’re not sure exactly where a program is listed, instead of browsing through each category you can simply enter a search term. The search field is focused when opening the menu, so you can just start typing. Application descriptions as well as names are searched, which allows you to find a program by using a general word (such as “browser” to find all web browsers installed on your computer).

    • Distributions

      • ‘Septor 2021’ Is Out and It Has Shifted to Debian Testing

        The Debian-based anonymity-focused Linux distribution ‘Septor’ is among the first OSes to come out this year, and it brings several things to make it worth a “test drive”. Most notably, ‘Septor 2021’ is abandoning Debian stable that was using as a basis thus far and is now jumping to the Debian testing branch. What this means from a practical perspective is that users will get a lot more up to date packages. Debian stable is known for being rock-solid, but some of its components are ridiculously outdated.

      • Arch Family

        • FOSS Activities in December 2020

          The first news of the month is that Remi Gacogne was accepted as Trusted User. Congratulations to him and super exciting.

          Other then that I have had a meeting with the devops team discussing how we should implement the debuginfod system on our infrastructure. I have written up the ansible role for debuginfod and it was more or less decided that we want to host it on a small VPS for the service itself, and sync debug packages to the host to serve them. This avoid the problem of hosting more services on our server which distributes packages with services it does not really need.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora Is Looking For Help Testing Linux 5.10 Ahead Of Shipping That LTS Kernel Update

          Fedora is preparing to ship the Linux 5.10 LTS kernel as a stable release update to those on Fedora 32 and newer.

          Linux 5.10 was released in December as the 2020 Long Term Support kernel. Besides being an LTS kernel, it’s packed with many new features. Linux 5.10 releases were off to a bumpy ride but things have begun settling down with the latest point releases.

      • Debian Family

        • Martin-Éric Racine: Help needed: clean up and submit KMS driver for Geode LX to LKML

          Ever since X.org switched to rootless operation, the days of the Geode X.org driver have been numbered. The old codebase dates back from Geode’s early days at Cyrix, was then updated by NSC to add support for their new GX2 architecture, from which AMD dropped GX1 support and added support for their new LX architecture. To put it mildly, that codebase is a serious mess.

          However, at least the LX code comes with plenty of niceties, such as being able to detect when it runs on an OLPC XO-1 and to probe DCC pins to determine the optimal display resolution. This still doesn’t make the codebase cruft-free.

        • Sparky news 2020/12

          The 12th monthly Sparky project and donate report of 2020:
          • Linux kernel updated up to version 5.10.4 & 5.11-rc1
          • Sparky 2020.12 of the rolling line released
          • Sparky 2020.12 Special Editions: GameOver, Multimedia & Rescue released
          • added to repos: Pogo audio player, Zettlr markdown editor, Rescuezilla, Cozy audiobook player

          Many thanks to all of you for supporting our open-source projects, specially in this difficult days. Your donations help keeping them alive.

        • Jonathan Wiltshire: RCBW 21.1

          Does software-properties-common really depend on gnupg, as described in #970124, or could it be python3-software-properties? Should it be Depends, or Recommends? And do you accept the challenge of finding out and preparing a patch (and even an upload) to fix the bug?

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Best Linux Distribution of 2020: Linux Mint 20

          Each year, the FOSS Post team does an extensive research on choosing the best Linux desktop distribution of the year. There’s of course no “universal best”, as the criteria is different from one person to another. For our selection, we search for distributions which may be suitable for the dominant majority of Linux desktop users, which is why we have 5 different criteria in our about page for that purpose.

          Some Linux distributions reviews were published on FOSS Post, while others were tested by our team but weren’t published due to time/resources constraints. Fedora, Ubuntu (And it’s flavors), Mint, Arch, NixOS, MX Linux, Pop!_OS, elementary, Solus, openSUSE… Many more, all of their latest versions in 2020 were tested to determine which distribution was the best for the average Linux desktop user in 2020, according to our previously specified criteria.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open-Source Software Enables All iPhone Apps on CarPlay with a Catch

        One such project was announced back in November when developer Ethan Arbuckle revealed on Twitter he was working on a jailbreak tweak to enable CarPlay for all apps. And this week, this highly anticipated app finally went live on GitHub.

        And what’s more, it’s completely open source

        The new jailbreak tweak requires at least iOS 14, the latest major software update released by Apple the last fall. Available for iPhone 6s and newer, iOS 14 is already running on 72 percent of all supported models, according to official data shared by Apple.

        This jailbreak tool to enable CarPlay for all apps on the iPhone comes with a rather straightforward approach, and it doesn’t feature any configuration options. So after installing it, nothing shows up on your phone, which means you should just connect the iPhone to the head unit and that’s pretty much all you need to do.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

      • Programming/Development

  • Leftovers

    • Roly 86 and brother 88 still powering on

      I recall many years ago watching a documentary on TV about people in a remote mountain village in South America, who live to very old ages. As I recall, infant mortality was quite high, but past that, they just kept going. There were these old people 100+ still getting up early and working all day in the fields and gardens, despite having all sorts of things wrong with them. And that’s the thing, they weren’t stopped by pains and so on, just kept working. They were also very peaceful.
      I was reminded of that documentary recently, when I watched a rerun of an episode of Landline, that first screened in 2018, about two brothers, farmers, aged 86 and 88. Roly had this to say about other elderly farmers who he knew, who had retired:
      “They get sick and tired of fishing, they come home, sit on the lounge chair watching the idiot box and they only last a few months and they’re dead and six foot under,”
      Roly and his brother haven’t even got a computer or smart phone.

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • SolarWinds [crack] may be much worse than originally feared

            The Russia-linked SolarWinds [crack] which targeted US government agencies and private corporations may be even worse than officials first realized, with some 250 federal agencies and business now believed affected, the New York Times reported.

          • As Understanding of Russian [Cracking] Grows, So Does Alarm

            Eight weeks later, General Nakasone and other American officials responsible for cybersecurity are now consumed by what they missed for at least nine months: a [cracking], now believed to have affected upward of 250 federal agencies and businesses, that Russia aimed not at the election system but at the rest of the United States government and many large American corporations.

            Three weeks after the intrusion came to light, American officials are still trying to understand whether what the Russians pulled off was simply an espionage operation inside the systems of the American bureaucracy or something more sinister, inserting “backdoor” access into government agencies, major corporations, the electric grid and laboratories developing and transporting new generations of nuclear weapons.

            At a minimum it has set off alarms about the vulnerability of government and private sector networks in the United States to attack and raised questions about how and why the nation’s cyberdefenses failed so spectacularly.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • DNS, DoH, and ODoH, Oh My: Year-in-Review 2020

              In 2019, the effort to secure DNS through DoH made tremendous progress both in terms of the deployment of DoH infrastructure and in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), an Internet governance body tasked with standardizing the protocols we all rely on. This progress was made despite large pushback by the Internet Service Providers’ Association in the UK, citing difficulties DoH would present to British ISPs, which are mandated by law to filter adult content.

              2020 has also seen great strides in the deployment of DNS over HTTPS (DoH). In February, Firefox began the rollout of DoH to its users in the US, using Cloudflare’s DoH infrastructure to provide lookups by default. Google’s Chrome browser followed suit in May by switching users to DoH if their DNS provider supports it. Meanwhile, the list of publicly available DoH resolvers has expanded to the dozens, many of which implement strong privacy policies, such as not keeping connection logs.

              This year’s expansion of DoH deployments has alleviated some of the problems critics have cited, such as the centralization of DoH infrastructure. Previously, only a few large Internet technology companies like Cloudflare and Google had deployed DoH servers at scale. This facilitated these companies’ access to large troves of DNS query data, which could theoretically be exploited to mine sensitive data on DoH users. Mozilla has sought to protect their Firefox users from this danger by requiring the browser’s DoH resolvers to observe strict privacy practices, outlined in their Trusted Recursive Resolver (TRR) policy document. Comcast joined Mozilla’s TRR partners Cloudflare and NextDNS in June.

            • The Elephant In The Background: Empowering Users Against Browser Fingerprinting

              Tracking users is a ubiquitous practice in the web today. User activity is recorded on a large scale and analyzed by various actors to create personalized products, forecast future behavior, and prevent online fraud. While so far HTTP cookies have been the weapon of choice, new and more pervasive techniques such as browser fingerprinting are gaining traction. Hence, in this talk, we describe how users can be empowered against fingerprinting by showing them when, how, and who is tracking them using JavaScript fingerprinting. To this end, we conduct a systematic analysis of various fingerprinting tools. Based on this analysis, we design and develop FPMON: a light-weight and comprehensive fingerprinting monitor that measures and rates JavaScript fingerprinting activity on any given website in real-time. Using FPMON, we evaluate the 10k most popular websites to i) study the pervasiveness of JavaScript fingerprinting; ii) review the latest fingerprinting countermeasures; and iii) identify the major networks that foster the use of fingerprinting. Our evaluations reveal that i) fingerprinters are present on many popular websites with sensitive contents (finance, news, NGOs, health, etc.); ii) they run without user consent and subvert current privacy regulations; and iii) most countermeasures can not sufficiently protect users.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Opinion | Nashville, Rockford, and the New Age of Paranoia

        “Two attacks—even as any specific motive remains unknown—nonetheless feel like confirmation that too many Americans will turn from ballots to bullets.”

      • Brexit agreement: Close EU police cooperation with the UK continues

        British authorities retain access to the EU-wide exchange of PNR data and are allowed to query biometric records in EU member states. Additional agreements regulate close cooperation with Europol and the rapid extradition of wanted persons. However, the UK must leave Europe’s largest manhunt database.

      • GOP Senators Sign Onto Hawley’s Effort to Subvert Democracy

        A number of Republican congressional elected officials announced their intent to vote against certifying the results of the Electoral College on January 6th. While this will not change the results of the election, it will lengthen the process of certifying them.

      • Dozen GOP Senators Enlist in Trump Effort to Undo Biden Win

        A growing number of Republican lawmakers are joining President Donald Trump’s extraordinary effort to overturn the election, pledging to reject the results when Congress meets next week to count the Electoral College votes and certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

      • Senators in final bid to derail certification of Biden’s victory

        The 11 senators and senators-elect, led by Ted Cruz, want a 10-day delay to audit the unsubstantiated allegations.

        The move is not expected to succeed as most senators are expected to endorse Mr Biden in the 6 January vote.

        President Donald Trump has refused to concede, repeatedly alleging fraud without providing any evidence.

      • Louie Gohmert Suggests People ‘Go to the Streets’ and Be ‘Violent’ After Judge Throws Out Baseless Election Suit

        Gohmert made the dangerous remarks on the Trump-friendly “news” network Newsmax on Saturday morning while discussing his lawsuit against Vice President Mike Pence that U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle dismissed on Friday.

        The right-wing bomb-thrower was apoplectic because the judge ruled that the plaintiffs do not have standing to sue, meaning Gohmert and his ilk did not — because they could not — demonstrate injury or harm, which is required to proceed.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | The Trump and Jesus

        “The trump bestowed forgiveness on sinners who had already been punished for their sins.”

      • Sedition

        They are joining a growing movement in the GOP to defy the unambiguous results of the 2020 presidential election and support Trump’s bizarre attempt to remain in power with false claims of voting fraud.

      • Trump Loyalists Sue Mike Pence to Give Him Power to Overturn Election Results
      • EU-UK negotiations: outcome analysis

        On 24 December, the UK Government and the EU announced agreement on core elements of the future relationship. The Scottish Government has conducted initial analysis of the agreements and their implications for Scotland. This assessment confirms the Scottish Government’s long-standing view that Scotland will be worse off outside the EU.

        Scotland’s people will no longer be able to work, study and travel freely in the EU. Fewer people will migrate to Scotland, making our economy, culture and wider society poorer. Cooperation with the EU on security will be less effective, which means Scotland’s police and judicial system will have reduced capacity and capability to combat crime. The UK will be out of the EU Single Market – Scottish businesses exporting goods and services will not be able to trade with the EU like they did before, making them less competitive. Scottish Government modelling estimates that, even with a deal of the kind the UK government has negotiated, Scotland’s GDP could be around 6% lower by 2030 than it would be with EU membership (£9bn in 2016 cash terms).

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Defending Your Rights in Every Reality: Year in Review 2020

        VR/AR devices let us enter a virtual world or see the real world with overlayed digital content, but at a price.

        2020 confirmed that VR/AR users care about their privacy. Millions of users reacted furiously against Facebook when it announced it would force Oculus users to log into their headset with a Facebook.com account within two years or potentially brick their device. (All Oculus Quest 2 users can only sign up using a Facebook account.) In If Privacy Dies in VR, It Dies in Real Life, we explained why Oculus users might not want to use their real names. Without anonymity, Oculus leaves vulnerable users out to dry, such as VR activists in Hong Kong and LGBTQ+ users who cannot safely reveal their identity. 

        VR/AR devices let us enter a virtual world or see the real world with digital overlay content, but at a price. VR/AR devices track our environment and intimate details about our life. A Stanford Research Study explained that Virtual Reality needs the system to measure body movements because the content responds accordingly: 

    • Monopolies

      • How to keep IP Canadian: Learn from the success of public-private partnerships during the pandemic [Ed: Well, vaccine monopolies are only going to discourage the public from accepting vaccination programs]

        COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on our communities and the global economy for most of 2020. What has kept us all going is the possibility of a vaccine. The initial vaccine timeline of 24 to 36 months was highly accelerated – but even this optimistic timeline was surpassed with the recent release of the first vaccines, offering hope that our lives may once again see some semblance of normalcy before the end of 2021.

        These sped-up timelines are attributable to different factors, but one of the most significant ones is the degree of global collaboration among various stakeholders, including academia and industry. In fact, one of the more promising vaccines is the product of public-private collaboration.

      • Patents

        • These five patents offer hints about what an Apple car could look like

          Apple (AAPL) hasn’t commented publicly on its plans for the project, nicknamed Titan, so it’s not clear exactly what will come of the effort. Some who follow the company think it could release a whole Apple-branded, electric, self-driving car. Others think it’s more likely Apple will partner with existing automakers to sell an operating system (iDrive, maybe?), self-driving tools or other technology.

        • KWG Announces Proposed Private Placement of Flow-Through Units
        • HTG Expands Patent Portfolio with New Canadian Patent for its Nuclease Protection Methods for Detection of Nucleotide Variants

          HTG Molecular Diagnostics, Inc. (Nasdaq: HTGM) (HTG), a life science company whose mission is to advance precision medicine, today announced that it has received notification of the issuance of Canadian patent number 2877729 for “Nuclease Protection Methods for Detection of Nucleotide Variants.”

        • Competition heats up over volumetric printing patents

          Volumetric printing, as this network reported, has arrived in the form of the xolo xube, but this revolutionary technology already faces contenders for volumetric printing patents. A United States patent filed by Mr. Daniel Clark of Topshelf Enterprises (T3DP) and Southern Methodist University claims technology similar to xolo’s volumetric process. Mr. Clark points to his patent as occupying the field in which xolo has released a product.

          This network first reported on T3DP in 2019, when the startup suggested that it was on the cusp of 3D printing solar cells via volumetric technology.

          Patents grant exclusive rights to inventors for their inventions, which allows intellectual property to generate value. Patents registered in the United States and in Europe are also eligible for registry with the World Intellectual Property Organization. Once registered, the patent becomes reciprocally enforceable in countries that have signed the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

      • Copyrights

        • The Color of Creatorship [Ed: "Intellectual property" is a propaganda term. Now the cause of diversity is being hijacked to advance protectionism of the rich (hardly diverse at all)]

          Intellectual property law may seem an improbable context for studying issues of racism in American history and culture. But Boston College faculty member Anjali Vats asserts in her recently published book, The Color of Creatorship: Race, Intellectual Property, and the Making of Americans, that the evolution of United States copyright, trademark, and patent law is not racially dispassionate, and has been greatly impacted by how we understand American citizenship.

          Furthermore, Vats argues that U.S. IP law continues to be shaped by racially exclusive categories, as evidenced by well-documented and publicized controversies over music, pharmaceuticals, and traditional knowledge. A key factor, according to Vats, is an underlying national belief that milestones like the civil rights movement and the election of Barack Obama made America into a post-racial, “colorblind” society.

        • Can IP Rights Be Reconceived Via Music Modernization Act? [Ed: There’s no “IP” and those things are not “rights”. Why does propaganda of monopolists reach journals, even as headlines? Or titles?]

          The Music Modernization Act, passed in 2018, offers added momentum to a budding reconceptualization of intellectual property rights. First triggered by Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group LLC, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively “rebundled” patent rights into two separate bundles: private rights and public rights. Included as a public right, notably, is an inventor’s right to exclusively own the invention he patents. While the effects have yet to fully come to fruition, there has been overlap into other intellectual property realms, particularly copyright law. Now, the MMA (and subsequent litigation involving the MMA) could impose the same “rebundling” reconceptualization on copyright law.

        • Record Labels Defeat False DMCA Takedown Claims in Court

          A federal court in Florida has dismissed a complaint from ISP Bright House Networks, which accused several major record labels of targeting subscribers with false and deceptive piracy notices. The ISP, which wanted to add RIAA and its anti-piracy partner MarkMonitor to the suit as well, doesn’t have a valid claim as it failed to act on the ‘false’ claims.

        • Pirate IPTV Won’t Be Stopped in 2021 But User Fatigue Could Be Crucial

          As authorities around the world struggle contain one of the largest piracy threats of the last decade, it’s unlikely that pirate IPTV services will die out anytime soon. The big question, however, is whether users will become tired of the disruptions and inconvenience and rightsholders will meet them in the middle on price.

Speaking Out for the Many (Against the Few Who Control Most of the Mass Media)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mass media
Mass media

Summary: A look back at (almost) 15 years of Techrights and the function it has been serving since its genesis in 2006

THE Web site Techrights will have turned 15 later in 2021 (when Tux Machines turned 15 we threw a little party). We’ve actually made it that long/far. Not many sites remain active and also stay online for that long. The site is vast and we’re soon migrating to a new container-based setup (today we enhanced speed/performance). Days ago we moved to a different datecentre due to a death of someone 4 years my junior (tragic car accident). In IPFS and WWW we have lots of information (originating in Techrights IRC and other sources), but sometimes it’s intentionally unclear who said what, especially when it comes to EPO articles. Techrights is not authored by a single person; there are also leakers and whistleblowers. It’s important to ensure the site stays online; Groklaw perished (offline for good apparently) this past October, along with lots of valuable information and important articles/comments/timelines (history of UNIX for instance). History will be distorted if honest sites perish, only to be replaced by PR campaigns of the ‘victors’ (oppressors such as Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos).

At the moment, many authors rely on the site to highlight things not addressed/exposed anywhere else. We’re a bit of a ‘censorship resistance machine’. People come to us with suppressed information or information that, if published, puts them at risk.

“At the moment, many authors rely on the site to highlight things not addressed/exposed anywhere else. We’re a bit of a ‘censorship resistance machine’.”It’s the information that’s important (even if crudely put at times). We’ll publish a lot more EPO leaks some time soon. The site is widely respected among EPO workers, who still recall speeches Richard Stallman (RMS) gave at their protests and strikes. Some EPO insiders tell me that they learn about Free software in Techrights and agree on almost everything… though they read the site for the EPO articles (at least originally). Until a year or two ago we focused on patents. Focus shifted because of the slow-progressing coup (Linux Foundation, OSI, FSF and more), accelerated a great deal at the FSF/GNOME/SFC after the August 2019 ‘Gates-gate’ at MIT (which I had warned Stallman about, privately, even BEFORE the aggressive push to resign; in hindsight I was correct). Many people lost sight of the original scandals, including Bill Gates crimes; I know a thing or two about how PR agencies think and methods for shifting public attention (EPO management does this a lot and it’s so shallow that EPO workers can see it; the EPO autocrats flooded the media before the December 15th strike, organised by SUEPO, their staff union).

What unifies many people who follow Techrights is interest in the human rights aspects of technology and science. Mainstream media doesn’t cover that often enough. It boils down mostly to ideology and philosophy, I suspect way beyond technology itself (as technology relates to many other things in life/the world). The ‘hacker culture’ has some political and scientific roots to it. I think equivalents existed before Enlightenment (Dark Ages restricted practice and thinking). But I digress…

Techrights is a multi-author site. Not everything in there is endorsed by either myself or the site (unless my name is shown on the right, in which case I wrote it myself). Shockingly enough the site was being portrayed as the very opposite of what it is. I say “shockingly”, but actually I often joke with people (I’ve joked about this for years now!) and explain that whatever I say can be totally twisted. M. Garrett (now at Google; Torvalds hates his guts for his coup attempts) has been ‘parking’ in our IRC channels for months now, having publicly described the site as pro-rape or something ludicrous like that (Microsoft propagandists “liked” those tweets of his). I guess it’s unsurprising; such distortions should be expected. Anyone who defends the views of RMS (never mind RMS himself) is a target. We have seen a certain someone from Salesforce saying so more explicitly. The ‘coup’ won’t be complete until the message/ideas die…

“What unifies many people who follow Techrights is interest in the human rights aspects of technology and science.”And no… it’s not about women. It’s about the perceptions which have been spreading online about monopolies, proprietary software etc. (think of #RMSWasRight and foresight along those lines)

About 15 years ago I think I read about CompTIA attacking RMS over his views (something he had said about proprietary software being malicious). We know who sponsors CompTIA. These attacks from CompTIA were counterproductive as they only caused me to pay closer attention to the message they were attacking.

The articles posted here are still relatively diverse (in the opinion sense). If we only ever published things everyone can agree with, we’d be useless. If we suppressed legitimate views — however controversial (but still true) — people would accuse me of being somewhat of a tyrant. Even independent newspapers occasionally publish things they neither agree with nor wrote.

“We need to get accustomed to this simple idea that good people who blow the whistle (or simply say the truth about the status quo) will come under attack.”Planet Debian Uncensored (and its sister sites) may have a tone different from mine and many Nazi analogies I never wrapped my head around (cannot; I think too many things in this world are being compared to Nazis). Some articles from there I did not repost and in some cases I left out images that were not suitable for our audience. Techrights tries to help combat censorship; all who are longtime contributors to Free software and have facts on their side deserve a voice. Daniel Pocock is a good guy. He was betrayed in a very major way. He has many legitimate grievances and good reasons to be upset. He’s very supportive of Free software (more than most posers who only claim to support it, possibly while doing the opposite). A lot of what’s said about him is patently false.

We need to get accustomed to this simple idea that good people who blow the whistle (or simply say the truth about the status quo) will come under attack. We need to prepare to reject pointless and baseless attacks on their characters/names.

Julian Assange Decision Reportedly Due Tomorrow, But Protests Not Allowed and Privacy is Conflated With Criminality

Posted in Deception at 11:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Assange decision time

Video download link

Summary: The war on privacy relies on conflating discreet life with a crime or publicly gathering (to make a point or be heard) being framed as an attack on public health. This is a video discussion about the right to assemble/gather and the rights associated with privacy in the UK, especially in light of the importance of demonstrations in a democratic society.

WIKILEAKS gave us Cablegate and it exposed many war crimes, as well as corporate corruption. Here in Britain the right to publicly gather is under attack. The same goes for privacy. It’s easy to say that this is perfectly reasonable because of COVID-19, but some of the proposed solutions are neither effective nor proportional in the sense that they hamper human rights a lot more than they can safeguard the public.

Can people properly protest an extradition of Julian Assange, which is likely to be ruled on (or a decision formally released) tomorrow? Is the public being made powerless while oligarchs rake in trillions of dollars during a crisis? How much can or should society tolerate?


Video: Many Microsoft Layoffs in 2020, Including Azure Layoffs

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 10:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: In terms of layoffs [1], Microsoft has had a particularly tough year [2-14], but it has been distracting the public and misusing media connections (or its moles inside the media) to downplay things, to spin the layoffs as a positive thing, and sometimes shamelessly lie

THE Microsoft layoffs which were announced during summer (slow news, mostly between June and August) were spun as a good thing and sometimes covered up until sacked employees blew the whistle and used privacy-preserving software to communicate with journalists. Throughout 2020 we wrote a number of articles and memes about it. This is a roundup of them (as video).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft – Layoffs (wiki)
  2. Latest Microsoft Layoffs Spun as ‘Innovation’ (There’s Always a Positive PR Angle)
  3. Don’t Fall for the Spin, Microsoft is Laying Off Workers and It’s Not Just Because of the Pandemic
  4. Microsoft Layoffs, Second Time in Less Than a Month (and People Lose Their ‘Mixer’)
  5. Microsoft Has Nothing Left in Store
  6. Microsoft is Lying About Everything, Even the Layoffs
  7. More Microsoft Layoffs (Fourth Round of Layoffs in 1.5 Months)
  8. Microsoft “Declined to Elaborate on the Roles Which Had Been Eliminated” Means Microsoft Left Leeway for Spin and Lies (But We Know Azure Has More Layoffs)
  9. Microsoft Lays Off Azure Staff and Much More, Spins These Layoffs as “Optimization Strategy”
  10. Fifth Round of Microsoft Layoffs in Less Than 2 Months: Another Thousand Job Cuts (6% of LinkedIn Workforce)
  11. Microsoft is Defrauding Its Shareholders While Laying Off About 5,000 Workers
  12. Microsoft Lays Off Many More Workers in the Advertising Division/s and Terminates Products While the Press is Distracted by TikTok Rumours
  13. [Meme] Is It Not a Layoffs Round When You Rebrand It?
  14. Microsoft Sheds Off Lots of Staff in This Autumn of COVID

InteLeaks – Part II: The GNU Linux Developer Experience at Intel Under Siege

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware at 7:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Inside Intel

Summary: Today we start the examination of documents from Intel staff; they show growing dissatisfaction among members of staff, who mean well but aren’t being listened to (despite having vastly better understanding of the subject at hand)

IN THE introduction and part I we presented a bit of a preview and a spoiler. The nature of the leaks is technical, it is not about something like financial fraud or a war crime, and it shows how Intel basically fakes its commitment to Free software or even the watered-down “Open Source”. When Intel talks about “openness” it means something like openwashing and outsourcing to Microsoft.

InteLeaksThe series took a while to kick off/prepare/commence for several reasons, notably Christmas in the middle (bad time to attain high exposure) and the need to digest, then organise, the information. As explained this morning in a video, we’re going to present the material in bite-sized chunks. Wikileaks did a lot of that over the years, albeit it outsourced almost everything to Twitter and “tweets” are subjected to censorship, throttling, algorithmic manipulation (promotions and demotions), de-platforming and all sorts of other things (including spying in the background, not just on posters but also mere viewers).

“As promised, we’ll work on redacting the full raw material (redacted for source protection) in order to post it in full at the end…”Linking to pertinent items that we show will be a lot simpler if we isolate those items and post them as separate parts. As promised, we’ll work on redacting the full raw material (redacted for source protection) in order to post it in full at the end (so that nobody can accuse us of cherry-picking or taking things out of context).

Let’s start with the (almost) cover page:

Intel leak

What’s this all about? I’ve decided to make a video of it because it’s simpler and faster.

Video download link

In the next part we’ll advance to some of the ‘beef’ of the concerns, or some of the things which alarmed Intel insiders.

Video: How Corporate and ‘Technical’ (Buzzwords) Media is Dying and Becoming an Extension of the Public Relations (PR) Sector

Posted in Deception at 5:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Context: 2020 as Another Terrible Year for News Sites and Plenty of Other Bad News

Video download link

Inside Intel

Summary: When the media lies as a matter of “doing business” and when buzzwords or misleading hype waves replace meaningful terminology somebody needs to call out the “BS”; we hope that leaks from the inside will help highlight the sad state of ‘professional’ (salaried) ‘journalism’ in 2020

THE information to be shown here over the next few hours is refuting what corporate (and pseudo-technical) media or so-called ‘news’ sites such as ZDNet have been telling us.

“Actual, concrete evidence we’re about to publicly share will help combat misinformation spread by sites like ZDNet for financial gain.”They’re good at lying about people and they’re dinosaurs pretending to be reporters, in effect telling whatever lies need to be sold in order for them to be salaried.

This video is about the media. Mostly the media. It is a little rant about my (very personal) past experiences and an article we published last night. Actual, concrete evidence we’re about to publicly share will help combat misinformation spread by sites like ZDNet for financial gain. They expect people to blindly accept (at face value) what they say because of their trade name; in reality, however, their name should be a badge of shame.

Happy New Leaks

Posted in Site News at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

All the best for 2021
Drawing attribution: Artwork (original here) by artist and Techrights reader, Mogz

Video download link

Summary: Video about the past day’s work and what’s coming up later today, notably the InteLeaks

THE VIDEO above covers a lot of topics and mentions what we’ve been doing lately. Special thanks go to Mogz for the artwork, which we love. She is an artist who really likes the site.

“The time take to open pages is now vastly improved; speed has been doubled or better!”“Just to send a funny little card,” she said, “to you and all contributors/readers, to wish all the best for 2021. [...] Thanks for all your work, and the best of wishes for 2021.”

The video mentions some of the pains we’ve had with E-mail, some of the work done on monitoring, automation, Raspberry Pi (for IPFS), cron jobs, and improving loading speed of the site. The time it takes to open pages is now vastly improved; speed has been doubled or better!

We’re now assessing how to release the Intel material [1, 2] (especially order of publication) because impact and reach certainly matter to sources.

Shown below is a 2-core processor from Intel; it’s well known that monopolies not only increase pricing but also lower quality of products. When they no longer have to actually compete (because they cheat) there is no incentive to actually improve because improvements cost extra money to develop. The legacy of companies like Microsoft and Intel is a big stain on this century; one can only imagine how much more progress would have been made if it weren’t for this monopolistic “Duo” (like the chip).

2-core processor

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 02, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:37 am by Needs Sunlight

HTML5 logs

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#boycottnovell log as HTML5

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#techbytes log as HTML5

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