Tiger Computing Ltd Afraid of Being Seen as Close to the British Military, Resorts to SLAPP Against Blogger and GNU/Linux Developer

Posted in Debian, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 11:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A nerve has been struck after this post was published

CESG and Tiger Computing

Operation Socialist: GCHQ and Belgacom
Reference: Operation Socialist

Context: Developers of Free software sometimes covertly work for spy agencies (directly or indirectly, willingly or unwittingly, sometimes post hoc) that seek to implement back doors and spy on (sometimes disgrace and oust) fellow developers; Tiger Computing Ltd seems so concerned about mere suspicions of social engineering that it’s willing to misinterpret and grossly misuse the law, in effect threatening critics (like a military-connected entity might do)

Summary: Tiger Computing Ltd (UK) has resorted to baseless legal threats against critics and sceptics, based on clear and obvious misuse of trademark or copyright laws (they don’t even seem to know the difference)

THE “threats from [a] DAM employer,” according to Daniel Pocock, have just come. “They are sending me threats,” he said, “did you receive threats too?”

We have not actually. Maybe they are targeting Mr. Pocock specifically, and one can hypothesise why.

“Looks like the discussion on the FOSDEM list today,” he noted, “triggered fresh interest in the GCHQ risks.”

We mentioned this yesterday.

“There is an updated photo on the site,” Mr. Pocock said, but he really oughtn’t have changed the photo.

This is classic SLAPP. The people at Tiger Computing Ltd engage in SLAPP. The law is not on their side. Not even remotely. They know it! They impose a short window for compliance (deadline) so as to prevent Mr. Pocock from seeking legal advice (in a timely fashion). This isn't the first time Debian people sic lawyers on him. It’s a gross abuse of supposed law and lawyers who participate in such campaigns ought to be disbarred. In the case of Pocock, he’s in compliance with the law. I know this law as this was attempted on me and on others as well, e.g. a decade ago by the EPO. They also blur the gap between copyright law and trademark law (which has exemptions for criticism).

“They just use fear against you,” I told him, “to compel you to do what they want.”

In the case of the EPO, the Mafia of Benoît Battistelli (a person who was literally called “Capone”) gave me a short window for response late on a Friday (to prevent me or discourage me from seeking legal advice).

Common wisdom says that such attacks on the speech rights of Mr. Pocock are indicative of fear. Otherwise they’d just ignore the man. They hope that repeated intimidation/chilling/shock would silence him.

His name is Daniel, not Winston.

Names, logos and photographs of people are no basis for such legal demands in such a context. An article about such attempts against yours truly was published almost 3 years ago.

Forwarded to us was the thread (or threat) message:

Hi, a page hosted by you[1] includes a photo for which Tiger Computing Ltd owns the copyright. No permission has been granted for that photo to be published on that page.

We require that the photo be removed by 12:00 UTC on Tuesday, 12th January 2021.

I would very much like this issue to be resolved amicably between us. However, if that photo has not been removed by the time stated above, we will take such action as we deem appropriate without further notice.

Keith Edmunds,
Tiger Computing Ltd

[1] https://debian.community/jonathan-wiltshire-debian-falsified-harassment-claims-tiger-computing-gchq/

Well, Mr. Edmunds is clearly no lawyer; if he was, he would deserve to lose his licence to practice ‘law’. Here’s the ‘offending’ image (blurred, fair use). SLAPP this, Keith! Go ahead.

Jonathan Wiltshire, Tiger Computing Ltd

Marketing Companies (Disguised as News Sites) Badmouth Linux, Go, Monero and More

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Security at 7:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Another day, another shallow piece associating “Linux” with security risks based on something that has nothing to do with GNU/Linux and generally boils to nothing like a real threat (unlike Windows back doors)

THE so-called ‘tech’ media (or so-called ‘news’ sites) aren’t quite what they seem. The above is one typical example. A culmination of several recent “dark PR” campaigns against Go(Lang) and likely Monero as well as Linux have led to this ‘all-in-one’ FUD piece which we mentioned in our latest Daily Links. Looks like Trend Micro marketing. Like Infosecurity, they’re calling a whole bunch of Windows threats "Linux" and pretend that just because someone out there can write a malicious program and users can run that program (or misconfigure a system to allow remote access) it makes Go and Linux (or even Monero) dangerous. The code is hosted by Microsoft by the way.

The Media is Slurring and Misleading Linux Users Instead of Just Telling the Mundane and Objective News

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The “big sites” or the so-called ‘news’ sites seem incapable of just objectively covering the news (in line with journalism/journalistic standards)

THE 3rd release candidate (rc, or RC) of the next Linux version has been released. That was less than a day ago (the announcement is, as usual, entitled “Linux 5.11-rc3″).

“Why can’t we have actual news that’s not provoking and baiting readers?”The original, as usual, isn’t particularly exciting. LWN decided to stick to the news, not drama and gossip-type clickbait. Phoronix also chose a reasonably OK headline. What about the corporate news sites? Well, they barely even mention the actual news (certainly not in the headline) and the envisioned spin/dramatisation is all over the place (e.g. “Linus Torvalds rates his own words ‘incoherent ramblings of a crazy old man’” and “Linus Torvalds slams….himself over latest Linux build”).

The press or the “big media” says nothing about “Linux 5.11-rc3″, which is actually the news. Instead, it is just divisive distractions and nonsense. We saw that last week with a very similar example last year. Why can’t we have actual news that’s not provoking and baiting readers? The video above tackles this visually.

Links 11/1/2021: Kdenlive 20.12.1, fwupd 1.5.5, Microsoft Offline Again

Posted in News Roundup at 12:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Improve your productivity with this lightweight Linux desktop

        In prior years, this annual series covered individual apps. This year, we are looking at all-in-one solutions in addition to strategies to help in 2021. Welcome to day 1 of 21 Days of Productivity in 2021.

        When looking for tools to be more productive, it is easy to cobble together a working collection of applications that almost, but just don’t quite, play nice together. In prior years, we have talked about individual email applications, calendaring applications, note-taking applications, and so on. There are always bumps, though—places where it either takes custom scripts or complicated export/import steps to make a tool work.

        ElementaryOS is a complete desktop with a beautiful, functional, and productive environment.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #386: SSDY

        Welcome to the 386th episode of Linux in the Ham Shack, our second episode of 2021. In this episode, the hosts discuss changes and additions to state QSO parties, the cancellation of upcoming ham radio related events, the next QSO Today virtual expo, PeerTube, Project Lightspeed, Linux Mint, getting rich with Open Source, Raspberry Pi clusters and much more. Thank you for listening and we hope you have a great week.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linus Torvalds slams….himself over latest Linux build

        While putting out the latest update of the Linux 5.11 release over the weekend, Linux’s head honcho, Linus Torvalds, sarcastically referred to himself as “a crazy old man.”

        In his previous dispatches, Torvalds had said he expected the first few Linux releases of the year to be small since most of the kernel developers would still be in vacation mode.

        However, that turned out not to be the case, leading to Torvalds referring to his fears in the earlier release as “incoherent ramblings of a crazy old man.”


        Despite the size, Torvalds notes the changes in the release are fairly normal, admitting that his assumption that the development of Kernel 5.11 will require an extra release candidate to soak in the feared holiday impact “was just wrong.”

        This isn’t the first time Torvalds has erred in his predictions. Late last year he expressed concern about the fairly large size of the release candidates in the Linux 5.10 branch expecting things to get “uncomfortable” around the holiday season, which it didn’t.

      • Linus Torvalds rates his own words ‘incoherent ramblings of a crazy old man’

        Linux lead Linus Torvalds has labelled his last pronouncement on the state of the kernel “the incoherent ramblings of a crazy old man.”

        Torvalds’ criticism of himself came after his prediction that the last seven days would be a slow time for kernel development.

        “So in the rc2 announcement notes I thought we might have a slow week for rc3 as well due to people just coming back from vacations and it taking some time for bug reports etc to start tricking [sic – Ed] in,” he wrote.

        “That turned out to be the incoherent ramblings of a crazy old man.”

      • Kernel prepatch 5.11-rc3

        The 5.11-rc3 kernel prepatch is out for testing. “So in the rc2 announcement notes I thought we might have a slow week for rc3 as well due to people just coming back from vacations and it taking some time for bug reports etc to start tricking in. That turned out to be the incoherent ramblings of a crazy old man.”

      • Graphics Stack

        • Radeon “RADV” Vulkan Driver Adds Sparse Memory Support – Will Help Some D3D12 Games – Phoronix

          Adding to the growing list of Mesa 21.0 features is spare memory support for the Radeon “RADV” Vulkan driver.

          Vulkan sparse memory allows for resources to be non-contiguous, re-bound to different memory allocations over its lifetime, and relaxed descriptor requirements. All of the Vulkan sparse memory details can be found via this chapter of the Vulkan API specification.

        • Mesa 21.0 RadeonSI Will Run Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Faster – Phoronix

          Mesa 21.0 is bringing some overdue improvements for the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver with the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

          Mesa 21.0 with the RadeonSI driver for modern AMD Radeon graphics cards is finally enabling “mesa_glthread” by default for Counter-Strike: GO. This is the opt-in Mesa OpenGL threading behavior that can help increase the performance of various GL games but isn’t universally enabled as it has been found to hurt some games or yield no benefits for others.

        • AMD Files Patent on New GPU Chiplet Approach [Ed: Monopolies but with openwashing]

          Accelerated development by AMD, Intel, Nvidia and other chip makers also reflects efforts by groups such as the Open Compute Project to establish open interfaces and architectures that would permit mixing and matching chiplets from different vendors on individual SoC accelerators.

    • Benchmarks

    • Applications

      • Richard Hughes: fwupd 1.5.5

        I’ve just released fwupd 1.5.5 with the following new features:

        - Add a plugin to update PixArt RF devices; the hardware this enables we’ll announce in a few weeks hopefully

        - Add new hardware to use the elantp (for TouchPads) and rts54hid (for USB Hubs) plugins

        - Allow specifying more than one VendorID for a device, which allows ATA devices to use the OUI-assigned vendor if set

        - Detect the AMD TSME encryption state for HSI-4 — use fwupdmgr security –force to help test

        - Detect the AMI PK test key is not installed for HSI-1 — a failure here is very serious

      • Super Productivity: A Super Cool Open Source To-Do List App with GitHub Integration

        No matter what you do, improving productivity is a common goal for most of the people. Usually, you would end up trying various to-do list apps or a note-taking app to help yourself organize and remind things to efficiently keep up with your work.

        Sure, you can check out those lists and try them as you like. Here, I’ve come across something unique that you also may want to try if you wanted a desktop to-do application with a solid user interface, GitHub/GitLab integration, and a list of essential features.

        Super Productivity seems to be an impressive to-do list app with some unique features to offer. In this article, I’ll let you know all it briefly.

      • gThumb 3.11.2 Released with Minor Improvements

        A new version of gThumb, the GTK-based photo manager and image viewer for Linux desktops, is now available to download.

        gThumb 3.11.2 is a modest update – i.e. don’t expect any revolutionary new features – that builds on the client’s existing strengths, and fills in a few gaps functionality-wise.

        For instance, the image viewer component of gThumb now uses a proportional zoom increment, and keeps ‘the same pixel under the pointer after zooming’.

        Colour profiles from PNG files are also now readable by the app.

      • mpdevil – simple music browser for MPD

        Linux offers a huge array of open source music players. And many of them are high quality. I’ve reviewed the vast majority for LinuxLinks, but I’m endeavoring to explore every free music player in case there’s an undiscovered gem.

        MPD is a powerful server-side application for playing music. In a home environment, you can connect an MPD server to a Hi-Fi system, and control the server using a notebook or smartphone. You can, of course, play audio files on remote clients. MPD can be started system-wide or on a per-user basis.

        I’ve covered a fair few MPD clients over the past year or so including Cantata, Ymuse, ympd, myMPD, ampd, ncmpy, and ncmpc. My favorite of them is Cantata although Ymuse is a simple alternative. There’s lots of differences between these front-ends. For example, Cantata uses the Qt widget set, whereas Ymuse offers a GTK front-end. ympd, myMPD and ampd are web-based clients. And ncmpy and ncmpc are terminal-based clients. So there’s something for everyone.

        mpdevil is a GTK front-end for MPD. It’s written in Python and published under an open source license.

      • 19 Free Open-source Bug and Issues tracking and management solutions

        Bug management or issue tracking software packages are a crucial development tool for software testing. It helps them to keep track or software bugs and issues, prioritize them and deliver fixes for issues.

        A large software may have hundreds or even thousands of bugs which require active monitoring, debugging, reporting and resolving.

        In this article we collected a useful batch of open-source bug and issue tracking software which work for teams, software companies and solo developers.

        The software packages we collected share some similar features, but some come with different management paradigm and unique features that we will highlight.

        Some may say, this type of projects is old and obsolete, mainly because they have been around for more than a decade, but the truth is: many project management software are already packed with bugs management and issues tracking features. You can check it in the following article.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • First Ubuntu Commands for First Timer

        Here’s simple command line guide for you computer user who find Ubuntu GNU/Linux for the first time. These commands are all built-in, you do not need to add anything to use them. They are useful to you, for instance, to read your complete computer information and of course to know about basic commands. Why learn commands? Because commands are fast as you will learn below. You will also see further references to learn more at the end of this article. Have fun learning!

      • Using DNSSEC with (Free) IP

        The DNS infrastructure contains a growing number of critical information such as services records pointing to authentication services, TLSA records, SSH fingerprints and the like. DNSSEC signs this information, the client can trust the information DNS sends. It protects against forged information through cache poisoning. This article shows how to achieve a DNSSEC protected DNS environment with the help of FreeIPA

        This article was taking some time to write as I wanted to see how it behaves in the long term. The initial setup was done in early January 2018. The lab setup is made with RHEL7.4 using stock IPA 4.5.0. and later upgraded subsequently to RHEL 7.9 with IPA 4.6.8. So my test setup was running for a long time before I decided to publish this article.

      • How To Install Rocket.Chat on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Rocket.Chat on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Rocket.Chat is one of the most popular open-source chat software. A fantastic alternate to both Slack and compensated live chat software. It’s free, what is unlimited and it’s a bunch of cool features like Video chat, Screen sharing, Mobile apps, and more.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of Rocket.Chat open-source chat software on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How To Find Last Logged In Users In Linux – OSTechNix

        In this tutorial, we will see how to find last logged in users in Linux using last, lastb and lastlog commands with examples.

        As a Linux system administrator, you should routinely check the login date and time of the users in your Linux server. It gives you some useful details such as how many users are active, how many users are inactive and when do they log in and for how long etc. If some user accounts haven’t been used for a long time, you can simply lock them if they are no longer needed. You can also use the last login dates when auditing your Linux servers and investigate which user could have caused the problem. Fortunately, the GNU/Linux operating system includes the triplet commands namely last, lastb and lastlog to display the recent users’ login dates.

      • Download and install CentOS 7 Server Minimal ISO on PC or virtualbox

        On one hand, where CentOS 8 Linux will stop getting further updates in December of this year, CentOS 7 Linux still has a long time to reach the end of its life that is stipulated in 2024. Thus, if you want to start with this server Linux distro then still you have enough time, and here will let you know how to install CentOS 7 minimal version on Server, PC, or VirtualBox.

      • 7 Bash tutorials to enhance your command line skills in 2021 | Opensource.com

        Bash is the default command line shell on most Linux systems. So why not learn how to get the most out of it? This year, Opensource.com featured many great articles to help you leverage the power of the Bash shell. These are some of the most-read articles about Bash:

      • USB Audio on a Boombox – https://purpleidea.com/

        I decided I should get a small portable boombox to practice my dope dance moves. I currently still suck because I think I spend more time computering than out on the floor. In any case, in a stroke of luck, I happened upon a used boombox that was getting discarded due to a broken CD player. Nobody seemed either able or interested in getting USB audio working, so I took it home and gave it a go!

      • Maxim Burgerhout: Shut up, auditd!

        On my tiny, Raspberry Pi based Fedora systems, I have a lot of audit messages in my journal. And I mean a lot, I mean like over 50,000 over the course of 9 days. That’s over 5,500 per day. Or, to put it plainly: too many.1

      • The 7 most used Linux namespaces | Enable Sysadmin

        Check out this brief overview of what the seven most used Linux namespaces are.

    • Games

      • What do ARM-powered Macs mean for LINUX GAMING?
      • Looks like we may see Steam properly on Chrome OS by the end of 2021 | GamingOnLinux

        In a move that might help boost Linux gaming numbers, it seems Google are still moving forward with their plan to get Steam running properly native on Chrome OS during 2021. This is something we’ve talked about before, and again and now it appears to be moving a bit quicker.

        The new report comes from Chrome Unboxed, who noticed some interesting commits landing talking about project Borealis, which appears to be the code name for this huge project which includes running Steam. I should note though, that Borealis isn’t just about Steam but appears to be some wider Linux push for Chrome OS to get more working on it. Last we heard, Borealis itself was based on Ubuntu too.

      • Fast-paced competitive score-fight platformer Jumpala releases January 19 | GamingOnLinux

        Yokereba Games have teamed up with publisher Versus Evil for the release of Jumpala, a game that takes competitive platforming and turns it into a high-speed score-fight.

        Jumpala has each character hop between small platforms, each platform having a number attached to add to your score. Once you hit a platform it turns to your colour, and if it remains your colour when it drops off the screen it’s added to your overall score. It’s fast, competitive and a whole lot of fun from the early builds.

      • Monster taming metroidvania Monster Sanctuary looks like it will have a busy 2021 | GamingOnLinux

        After releasing in late 2020, the monster battling metroidvania mix in Monster Sanctuary was quite a highlight and it’s getting bigger and better this year. Moi Rai Games have released a roadmap of their plans and it’s quite exciting.

        Naturally after any game is released that saw some attention, they’ve been given plenty of feedback from players. Seems it went well overall though as they said it was “quite a successful launch”. The first update will be coming with two additional difficulty settings with “Casual” and “Master” to appeal to more players, with the ability to switch as you like during the game.

        On top of that they’re adding in a New Game+ mode where you get to keep your existing monster crew, for players who want that extra challenge. The online battle mode will also see some matchmaking improvements, like allowing direct challenges to your Steam friends.

      • NES-style free chiptune music maker FamiStudio has a new release up

        Free, open source and a lot of fun to get mixing, FamiStudio is a wonderful application for making some retro tunes and there’s a new release available. The feature list has grown quite a lot over the last year, along with gaining Linux builds to make it as cross-platform as possible.

      • Is opening up your source code worth it? Terry Cavanagh thinks it was for VVVVVV

        A lot of game developer still worry about being more open with their code but it seems Terry Cavanagh (VVVVVV, Super Hexagon, Dicey Dungeons) believes it was worth it.

        There are certain legitimate reasons to worry about going all-in with open source, but we’re not here to debate that. Plenty of developers have warmed up to the idea of open source over the last few years, with Cavanagh now being amongst them. Cavanagh opened up the source code to their puzzle-platformer VVVVVV back in early 2020.

      • Featured VVVVVV Levels: 10th Anniversary Jam Roundup

        Today’s the 11 year anniversary of VVVVVV’s launch. Last year, I made a big splash for it, and released the game’s source code during an AGDQ speedrun. The source code got, uh, more attention than I was expecting, especially once people actually dug into it…

      • Chicken Police and Farm Detectives

        Chicken Police puts you in the shoes of Sonny, a chicken cop just 120 days away from retirement. His career is almost over and he’s been put aside by his superiors to prevent him from making waves before he departs. This is New Year’s Eve, and Sonny was just about to spend the night drinking in his office when he is surprised by a strange visitor. On his guard, he expects the worst. A powerful lady received threats and is asking for help – and help of a discrete, private nature.


        Yet, I must admit there’s a couple of times where I was at loss with what to do next: turns out there was one particular action I did not complete in such situations. It would have been nice to have a hint in some way or another.

        Usually around the end of every chapter, you need to gather your clues and link them visually to show that you have understood what’s happening. Such sequences are pretty easy, and serve as a way to engage the player rather than to block them.

        Since the story is the main point of the game (unless you are into furry animals), I won’t spoil it for you. Let’s say nevertheless that there’s nothing really new there if you have read or watched detective stories before – I might even say the tropes are well known – I could smell where the story was going and how it was going to be concluded well before reached the end. It’s still a nice journey, as you explore the world as the same time as the story – there’s a lot of background information about the city, the royal family, court intrigues, race relations between animals and the like. There’s actually a lot more material in there than what the game actually uses.

        While the story is somewhat forgettable, Chicken Police benefits from a brilliant execution. Animals are well designed and nicely animated. Music is always top notch (I hope you like Jazz), and the voice-over helps deliver every line in the best way. I also really liked the cutscenes.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • What To Do After Installing Kubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla

          This is the traditional beginner’s guide for you who have his/her Kubuntu computer updated, this time, to the version 20.10 codenamed Groovy Gorilla. In this version several new things added such as the Network Speed widget and the ability to have Metered Connections you can adjust with this short tutorial. Okay, now let’s explore!

          First thing to do for many people is to connect to the internet. Connected at the first time, special to Kubuntu, you will be asked for (1) inserting the wifi’s password and (2) making a new KDE Wallet’s password. For the wifi’s password, once you typed it and press Connect, the KDE Wallet will appear. Do not worry, you just need to create a password and repeat it once, and then select Blowfish encryption option. I suggest you to use same password as your system password. After this, you can connect to that wifi safely without entering password again.

        • Kdenlive 20.12.1 is out

          The first minor release of the 20.12 series is out with a huge batch of fixes and usability improvements.

        • Updating system right way

          Updating system with software center provided by desktop/mobile environment like, GNOME software center, KDE Plasma Discover etc.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Shell to get an Activities Overview design revamp in GNOME 40

          GNOME Shell is already quite different to how traditional desktop environments feel, and they’re planning to mix things up again with some design overhauls for GNOME 40.

          The GNOME development team blogged about some of the upcoming plans in late December 2020, which did look and sound quite promising. With the main focus being on the Activities Overview feature, which is where you access application launchers, open windows and more – the big overlay you open on GNOME. This is what shall be adjusted in their planned overhaul.

          Expanding on this recently in a fresh blog post, the team showed off where they’re currently at with this new design. Which you can see in action below, which they shared running from a Virtual Machine (work in progress)…

        • GNOME 40 Finally Fixes My Biggest Gripe

          I know you’re thinking “Joey, you’ve been here before”, but this time it’s different. Code has been committed and merged. A fix is finally happening.

          This post, GNOME 40 Finally Fixes My Biggest Gripe is from OMG! Ubuntu!. Do not reproduce elsewhere without permission.


          Does trivially tiny tweak mean the days of dotty delineated app descriptors are behind us? Since this has been committed and merged, it’s quite possible!

          Not that this is (soon to be was) a huge deal to start with.

          As said last time I wrote about this: this is a superficial ‘issue’ It’s not something that really affects many people. Most folks can predict that “LibreOffice Im…” opens LibreOffice Impress; and if anyone is perplexed by the appearance of the GIMP after hitting the shortcut sub-headed “GNU Manipul…” I’m yet to hear about it.

        • Make Gnome Suitable for E-Ink Monitors via This Extension
    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Linux Mint 20.1: Hands on

          Linux Mint 20.1 has arrived: the release announcements for the Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce versions are all very similar, of course, but there are specific release notes (Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce) and What’s New documents (Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce) for each version.

          The Beta release of Linux Mint 20.1 was announced in mid-December, and I immediately downloaded and installed all three versions on my systems – Cinnamon on my ASUS AIO desktop system, MATE on my HP Pavilion and Acer Aspire 5 laptops, and Xfce on my (very old, Intel Atom N450 CPU) Samsung N150 Plus netbook. Every one of those installations worked without a hitch, so I have really been looking forward to the final release.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Calibre updated to 5.9.0

          Calibre is primarily a ebook cataloging program. It manages your ebook collection for you. It is designed around the concept of the logical book, i.e. a single entry in the database that may correspond to ebooks in several formats. It also supports conversion to and from a dozen different ebook formats.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

      • Debian Family

        • Security-Focused Tails OS Plans To Switch From Xorg To Wayland

          2020 was a great year for Tails OS, which received major improvements such as support for Secure Boot and hardware cryptocurrency wallets.

          Now with the new year 2021, the Tails OS team has shared the latest development plan for 2021, where it aims to improve some core features of Tails OS, especially for censorship circumvention.

          For those unaware, Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) OS is a security-focused Debian GNU/Linux-based operating system.

          The team wants to completely redesign the process of starting a Tor web browser and configure Tor bridges.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Private Nextcloud instances available to European Deutsche Telekom business customers

        Starting on January 11th, Deutsche Telekom and Nextcloud GmbH are offering an enterprise-ready, Europe-hosted content collaboration platform. This will offer a scalable and comprehensive digital collaboration cloud for businesses, educational organizations, and governments. With it, your business will maintain productivity for working from home during the Covid crisis and after.

        This managed cloud service is based on Nextcloud Hub 20.04. Besides providing the outstanding Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) file servers, Nextcloud is known for offering secure data and document exchange with online editing capabilities. In addition, it now comes with chat and video conferencing and task and calendar management. Your users can use it via a web browser or Linux, macOS, and Windows desktop and Android and iOS mobile applications. Your data is safely hosted in Deutsche Telekom’s’ EU data centers to guarantee your enterprise’s scalability, reliability, and security.


        Frank Karlitschek, Nextcloud’s CEO and Founder added: “With more and more European firms, government organizations and educational institutes using cloud services we see a constantly growing demand for European data sovereignty. In a data-driven economy, we need platforms that guarantee European data sovereignty. Together with Deutsche Telekom Nextcloud offers a credible alternative with major benefits in terms of management by trust, scalability, and adaptability.”

        If parts of that sound good to you and you’re in the States, you may see a similar offering coming from T-Mobile in the future. , Deutsche Telekom now holds the largest ownership stake, approximately 43%, in T-Mobile after the T-Mobile-Sprint merger.

      • Programming/Development

        • AMD Publishes More Zen 3 Compiler Support Patches For LLVM – Phoronix

          AMD is back on track publishing more Zen 3 compiler support patches for the LLVM compiler stack.

          Last month AMD engineers began posting their “znver3″ support for LLVM that was largely replicating the existing Znver2 (Zen 2) target and exposing the newly-enabled instructions. Fortunately, now through the holidays, further work is coming for LLVM and presumably GCC in time.

        • Perl/Raku

          • You think you’re an X, but you’re only a Y | The Incredible Journey [blogs.perl.org]

            The “time” part always comes out as a string, even though it’s clearly a number. Was this a bug in my module, some kind of dual-string-and-number wannabee variable which JSON::Create falsely turned into a string?

            As it happens, no. Git::Raw actually puts the number into a string. (The newSVpv there makes a new Perl string, and the sprintf above that does exactly the same job as Perl’s sprintf.)

            So Git::Raw turns the original C variable of the form git_time_t, a 64-bit integer type representing the number of seconds since the “epoch” (1970), into a string, perhaps to avoid the “year two million” problem or whatever, because Perl can hold up to 52 or 53 bit integers.

            Anyway Perl’s monkey business with numbers and strings, and the lack of booleans, makes creating JSON quite complicated, although not as complicated as identifying cats in photographs and youtube videos.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • How To Count Files And Directories in Linux

            Being able to count files in a directory on Linux, or directories themselves, is a useful admin task to know how to carry out. It may be that you are troubleshooting disk space issues or it could be that you are investigating a problem with log file rotation. There are many reasons why you may want to count files in a directory or to count the number of directories.

  • Leftovers

    • Two Minutes? Those were the days…

      The Two Minutes Hate technique is well known. There are even rumors that some media may have been using it for years now.

      Here, I propose to go back to Two Minutes of Hate, because what we have today is 60x24x365 = 5.5 million minutes of hate, all the time, every year.

      I propose to turn the Two Minutes of Hate concept upside down. I propose to reboot it as ballast to deflate hate and, in general, every unchecked, toxic influence and instinct, that is pushed from “above”.

      In practice, I propose that all “public”, that is all publicly visible social media, should be required by law to limit, in measures proportional to their influence:

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Blackberry Is Bringing Vulkan To QNX – Phoronix

          The newest platform working on Vulkan API support is… Blackberry’s QNX.

          While Blackberry devices are no longer popular as they once were, Blackberry’s QNX Unix-like platform that they have owned now for a decade is still popular in the embedded space for various in-vehicle systems to medical devices and other similar use-cases. QNX continues to be developed with QNX 7.1 being the most recent release from this past July.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium, firefox, and mbedtls), Debian (coturn), Fedora (firefox, flac, and nodejs), Gentoo (ark, chromium, dovecot, firefox, firejail, ipmitool, nodejs, and pillow), Mageia (alpine, c-client, binutils, busybox, cherokee, firefox, golang, guava, imagemagick, libass, openexr, squirrelmail, tomcat, and xrdp), openSUSE (chromium, cobbler, rpmlint, and tomcat), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (firefox, libpq, and openssl), SUSE (python-defusedxml, python-freezegun, python-pkgconfig, python-python3-saml, python-xmlsec), and Ubuntu (jasper).

          • Linux machines again targeted by hackers with new memory loader [Ed: Agents of FUD try to blame on "Linux" a bunch of people running scripts that they ought not run (because they're malicious)]
    • Defence/Aggression

      • The New Humanitarian | US designation of Houthi rebels creates problems for Yemen aid

        The United States has announced it will designate Yemen’s Houthi rebels as a terrorist organisation, a move aid groups and diplomats have long warned will make getting assistance to people stuck in the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” even harder.
        In a Sunday statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was officially notifying the US Congress of his intent to designate Ansar Allah, the official name of the Houthis, a “Foreign Terrorist Organisation”. The change will go into force on 19 January, and three Houthi leaders will also be blacklisted.
        NGOs have lobbied heavily against the designation, saying it will seriously hamper efforts to bring aid to the estimated 80 percent of Yemen’s 30 million people who live in parts of the country controlled by the Houthis. It’s already hard to deliver aid in Yemen, in part because of obstacles put up by the Houthis themselves.

      • The Austerity Politics of White Supremacy | Dissent Magazine

        Since the end of the Confederacy, the cult of the “taxpayer” has provided a socially acceptable veneer for racist attacks on democracy.

      • Legacies of Cold War Liberalism

        To think boldly today about education, economics, and politics demands a break with the anxieties that drove U.S. politics during the Cold War.

    • Finance

      • Behind the Mask

        We should be ashamed that there are so many in food lines across the country. Unless dramatic action is taken, the lines are about to get much longer.

        We are in the midst of the first service-sector-led recession in U.S. history, a symptom of both the changing shape of the economy and of the nature of the coronavirus itself. The impact of this downturn has been sharply unequal. Those at the top have mostly recovered, while those at the bottom struggle in depression-like conditions that will only worsen as state and federal aid continues to stall. New unemployment is concentrated in low-paid jobs, which are overwhelmingly held by women and people of color.

      • Organizing the Unemployed

        A replicable strategy for organizing the jobless on a mass scale has yet to emerge. The future may depend on finding one.


        At the onset of the Great Depression, Communists, Socialists, and followers of the minister-turned-Marxist A.J. Muste organized groups of unemployed workers to demand relief paid for by employers and the state. The UCs of the Communist Party (CP), which boasted the largest membership by far, have been memorialized on the left as a model of militancy, strategy, and radical leadership. (Precise membership figures are difficult to estimate, but hundreds of thousands passed through the party’s UCs.) Communist cadre organized the jobless by block and by tenement, meeting them in the breadlines, flophouses, and local relief centers where they congregated as the economic crisis worsened. On March 6, 1930, when Communists worldwide called for marches of the unemployed, the councils mobilized over a million jobless Americans to march on city halls and state capitols. “The communists brought misery out of hiding in the workers’ neighborhoods,” recalled labor radical and future CIO leader Len De Caux. “They paraded it with angry demands through the main streets.”

        Through a combination of mass mobilization and local militancy, the UCs got results. In Chicago, a demonstration organized by Socialists and Communists tens of thousands strong was sufficiently fearsome to inspire city and state officials to borrow $6.3 million from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to meet the marchers’ demands. Justifying the concession, Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak said, “I say to the men who object to this public relief because it will add to the tax burden on their property, they should be glad to pay for it, for it is the best way of ensuring that they keep their property.”

        In many cities, the UCs also acted as case managers for individual families, pressing their grievances with local relief agencies. But the councils didn’t merely advocate for relief from government; they engaged in militant anti-eviction actions, physically preventing sheriffs from evicting tenants, fighting with cops, and moving tenants’ furniture back into their homes when the police gave up. “By 1932, in some cities evictions had all but ended,” writes Michael Goldfield in The Southern Key: Class, Race, and Radicalism in the 1930s and 1940s. Eviction defense had become so ubiquitous in Detroit by March 1931, reported Edmund Wilson, that a landlady called upon the local UC to inquire whether she was allowed to evict her tenants yet. (The Communists said no.) In the early 1930s, when an eviction notice arrived at the home of a Black family in Chicago, wrote sociologists St. Clair Drake and Horace R. Cayton Jr., “it was not unusual for a mother to shout to the children, ‘Run quick and find the Reds!’”

      • The Tax Trap

        “The State cannot cease to be a class State so long as its public finances remain class-bound at every level,” declared Rudolf Goldscheid, an Austrian novelist, economist, and socialist, in his 1925 essay “A Sociological Approach to Problems of Public Finance.” For Goldscheid, this binding took the form of the state’s fiscal dependence on taxes drawn from the incomes and profits of the wealthy. While liberals and social democrats waxed rhapsodic over the social programs that could be funded via progressive taxation, Goldscheid cautioned that this arrangement provided their opponents with the fiscal leverage needed to veto those very policies.
        Goldscheid’s critique of what he called the “Tax State” has had a recent revival. In 2018, Stephanie Kelton, an economist and prominent advocate of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), pointed out that although progressives may want to “break up the banks” and “shrink the size of the financial sector,” they also want to finance social programs through taxing that very sector. This, she said, was a contradiction: it would leave those programs “completely dependent” upon “the very thing that you loathe.”


        Only by democratizing public finances can democratic policies be firmly established and defended. But how can this be done? For traditional socialists like Goldscheid this meant displacing the for-profit sector and gradually moving profitable enterprises in a more public or cooperative direction, thereby allowing citizens to appropriate surplus value directly. Kelton and other supporters of MMT, by contrast, argue that the U.S. Treasury already has monopoly control over the creation and issue of U.S. dollars: we have only to realize and seize that power in order to finance the future we want.

        These seemingly divergent critiques can be brought together for progressive ends in the United States. We can follow Goldscheid and his successors by developing democratically owned forms of public wealth creation where progressives are currently strong, particularly at the…

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • [Older] Arnold Schwarzenegger says Donald Trump is ‘worst president ever’, calls for US to support Joe Biden – ABC News

        In a video posted on Twitter, the Hollywood star and former state governor compared last week’s US Capitol violence to pre-World War II attacks in Europe, but said Mr Trump “would soon be as irrelevant as an old tweet”.

      • Arnold Schwarzenegger calls for unity

        I have a policy on this blog to stay away from political and religious commentary. I will comment on topics spanning ethics, culture, morality, integrity and spirituality, as I consider those to be independent of political affiliation and religious persuasion.

        Sometimes though, I am itching to post something, resisting with great effort. The debacle in the USA is one example. Maybe I should allow myself an “annual political commentary”, at start of the New Year.

      • Comforting Myths

        Last summer in this space, I wrote that although Joe Biden was intermittently making noises about a new New Deal, he could just as likely end up a twenty-first-century Warren G. Harding, a caretaker president overseeing a dreary return to normalcy.
        How optimistic I was.
        What my analogy failed to account for was that Harding won 1920 in a walk. He carried 60.3 percent of the popular vote and every state outside the South. Republicans had majorities of eighty-five seats in the House and ten in the Senate, plus a friendly Supreme Court. The GOP, in short, could govern.
        Democrats can’t, and that’s just the start of their problems—and ours. Liberals who don’t want to face up to the disappointing results of four years #Resisting have taken solace in a few comforting myths, all of which need to be discarded if we are going to think clearly about the work ahead.
        Easiest to dispense with is the claim that Democrats actually won a decisive victory. A few percentage points in the presidential race, a couple seats in the Senate, a net loss in the House, and a pratfall in state legislatures is no landslide. And unless the economy roars back to life after COVID-19, it could very well be the best result that Democrats have for a while.

      • The Desperate Need for an Immigration Overhaul | Dissent Magazine

        Even if the legal mechanisms for dealing with the asylum crisis are fixed, the social, economic, and political factors that drive people toward the U.S. border will persist. Though Biden’s immigration platform includes providing aid to help stabilize Central America, tackling the push factors of migration would require a deeper transformation of the role of the United States as enforcer of a global trade and military hierarchy that contributes to abysmal inequality, displacement, and conflict around the world.
        Regardless of who is in the White House, the overarching obstacle to meaningful immigration reform is Congress. If the Senate remains divided, there will be little hope of passing legislation that would permanently regularize the status of the millions of immigrants living, working, and attending school without papers, let alone offer them a path to citizenship.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Don’t Blame “Defund”

        Progressive, even radical, demands can help build an electoral base when connected to the on-the-ground knowledge of organizers.


        The backlash may have increased right-wing turnout in the election—Trump received over 10 million more votes in 2020 than in 2016—but it didn’t find an electoral base capable of capturing the presidency. The right-wing police nationalism of the GOP did not win the day. But some Democrats, disappointed at the party’s failure to take the Senate, to build or even hold their majority in the House, and to secure an expected blowout in the presidential race, named “defund the police” as the cause of their underperformance.
        There’s no doubt that Republicans pumped up their base by tying even moderate Democrats to the uprising. But we haven’t seen much to suggest that “defund” hurt Democrats with persuadable voters. We do have evidence, however, that the protests ignited voter registration efforts that benefited Democrats. There was a surge in Democratic registrations in the summer of 2020, especially in the weeks right after protests began, in critical states like Georgia, Michigan, and Minnesota.
        The 2020 election had the highest turnout in any U.S. election since 1900. Trump was banking on that high turnout, campaigning on issues that excited his base and polarized the electorate—open calls for voter suppression, COVID-19 skepticism, more funding for police, opening up the economy—and deploying an intensive ground and digital operation. Biden, by contrast, ran a persuasion election, focusing on “consensus” issues and his broad appeal as a reasonable statesman while moving away from more polarizing demands from the left for radical immigration reform, Medicare for All, the Green New Deal—and defunding the police.

      • Emotions on Strike

        Burnout is not a problem we can individually solve. It is a symptom of a world set up to exhaust us to the point where we cannot resist.


        The word dates back at least to the 1970s, but it’s become something of a buzzword in recent years, and even more recently has been attached in particular to millennials, after journalist Anne Helen Petersen wrote a viral 2019 Buzzfeed article on the subject. In Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, Petersen uses her personal story as a jumping-off point and attempts to generalize outward. Like other authors propelled from viral article to not-really-advice book, Petersen responds to some of her critics in an attempt to build a stronger, deeper case that she’s writing about a pervasive social problem. “It was about a work ethic and anxiety and exhaustion particular to the world I grew up in,” she writes, “the context in which I applied to college and tried to get a job, the reality of living through the biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression, and the rapid spread and ubiquity of digital technologies and social media. In short: It was about being a millennial.”

        Petersen is not the first to argue that the millennial generation faces a particular set of pressures—Malcolm Harris’s Kids These Days detailed the way changes in capitalism have heaped expectations on millennials to develop their “human capital,” and Keir Milburn’s Generation Left argued that all of these changes have shaped millennial politics into something with incendiary potential, precisely because millennials have so little to lose. Petersen cites Harris, along with several other researchers and theorists, to defend millennials against the everlasting arguments that they are a generation stuffed on avocado toast and irresponsibility, waiting for a good life to drop into their laps, and to explain why “burnout” is suddenly the term on everyone’s lips.

      • The Not-So-Strange Death of Right Populism

        The most basic obstacle facing right populism has been around for decades: the people who matter on the right would rather get filthy rich with 45 percent support than slightly less filthy rich with 55 percent support, and the configuration of American political institutions makes this a perfectly rational strategy. The way to change this calculus is not to convince them of their errors but to render the strategy unviable. That would require a democratization of American political life so that the pursuit of majority support becomes a necessity rather than a luxury.

    • Monopolies

      • ‘Clever Approach’: Scientists Create GM-Free Organisms Using Genetic Engineering – The Wire Science

        A new year means new beginnings. But for the residents of Florida Keys, a small archipelago off Florida’s coast, the dawn of 2021 seems to portend ill winds.

        In August 2020, the local government approved a plan to release 750 million genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes. A British biotech company named Oxitec has planned to execute this release over two years. However, over 236,000 people have signed a petition against this decision because they fear the unknown long-term effects of releasing GM mosquitoes in the environment.

        Oxitec’s foray in the US followed a decade of trial runs in the Cayman Islands and in Brazil. On its website, the company showcases publications spanning two decades.

        The Florida government has given Oxitec an ‘experimental use permit’. Pursuant to this, the country’s Environment Protection Agency and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention assessed 25 scientific studies.

        But the presence of GM material in these mosquitoes has proved sufficient to stoke the apprehensions of Florida Keys’ residents.

      • Patents

        • Groundhog Day for the Unitary Patent? [Ed: Truly hilarious seeing Team UPC moping and sobbing once again over the death of the UPC]

          The content of these new complaints is not yet known. All we know so far is that constitutional complaints have been filed and been given the examination numbers 2 BvR 2216/20 and 2 BvR 2217/20 and that, according to the Federal Constitutional Court: “A decision date is currently not foreseeable.”

          While the names of the complainants cannot be shared for data protection reasons, there are two obvious candidates here: Dr Stjerna who lodged the previous complaint, and the Förderverein für eine Freie Informationelle Infrastruktur eV (Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure), whose President Benjamin Henrion has previously said he is preparing a complaint.

          In any case, the examination of these new complaints, if they are indeed admissible, could lead to a further possible delay for the UPCA, putting the Unitary Patent back out of reach.

        • New UPC complaint: Ingve Stjerna does it again

          At the end of 2020, the Bundestag and Bundesrat voted on the UPC Accompanying Act (Begleitbesetz), achieving a two-thirds majority. However, now history could repeat itself. Once again, the Constitutional Court has received two constitutional complaints – and one is from Ingve Stjerna. The identity of the second claimant is still unknown.

          Ingve Stjerna is well-known in the patent community. Indeed, Stjerna’s first complaint against the UPC law was already partially successful. Now the German lawyer has filed another constitutional complaint against the UPC (Ref. 2 BvR 2217/2020). If the Constitutional Court accepts the claim, the process could once again hinder the start of a Unified Patent Court.

          First judgment fell short

          Although Stjerna’s first lawsuit against the UPC law was successful, the German Constitutional Court took up the grounds only partially. In response to the court’s ruling, the Bundestag and the lower house of parliament (Bundesrat) again voted on the identical-word law. However, this time parliament passed the law with the two-thirds majority that the court requires.

          Already, observers suggested that such a quick solution does not eliminate all problems. In the ruling, the Constitutional Court acknowledged that other aspects of the law could also be problematic – a hint that Stjerna also emphasised after the ruling.

          JUVE Patent is not yet aware how Stjerna has justified his second constitutional complaint. Additionally, Stjerna stated on his website that he has also applied for an interim injunction. If the court accepts this, the injunction will prohibit the conclusion of the ratification procedure until the Federal Constitutional Court has ruled on the merits of the case.

          In 2017, Stjerna was successful with this additional application the first time. It resulted in federal president Frank-Walter Steinmeier not signing or executing the law. Thus, the law did not enter into force and the federal government could not ratify the UPC.

        • Boards of Appeal are competent to overturn a finding of fact at first instance (T 1604/16) [Ed: BoA isn’t operation in compliance with the law anymore]

          One important consideration in any legal system is the competency of appeal departments to review findings of fact at first instance. The case law of the Boards of Appeal has historical permitted only limited reassessment of facts at the appeal stage. However, a recent EPO Board of Appeal decision (T 1604/16) has now taken a differing approach to preceding Boards of Appeal on this issue. The Board of Appeal found that that Boards are broadly competent to reassess findings of fact by a first instance department. The decision in T 1604/16 thus has potentially important consequences for what aspects of an Examining or Opposition Division decision may be challenged by an appellant.


          The patent in question (EP2293755) in the recent Boards of Appeal decision related to a foldable ramp for loading wheelchairs into a vehicle. At opposition the patent was found to lack novelty. The Opposition Division based its decision on evidence presented by the Opponent purporting to show prior public use. The evidence included an invoice for the sale of a car and ramp to a Ms Merz dated prior to the patent priority date, a photo of the car, and a witness statement from Ms Merz.

          Crucially, the photo of the car was taken after the car had been repaired following an accident. Ms Merz’s witness statement was that the ramp shown in the photo of the car was the same ramp that had been sold to her before the patent’s priority date. The Opposition Division’s decision was thus based on a finding of fact, based on the available evidence, that the ramp in the car sold to Ms Merz and the ramp in the photo were the same [for more on prior use see IPKat: Proving the existence of confidentiality agreements and the celestial teapot - T 2037/18)].

          The proprietor appealed against the Opposition Division. A critical question for the Board of Appeal was whether or not they could be considered competent to review the Opposition Division’s finding of fact based on the available evidence.

        • 2021: A Patentee Odyssey

          Everyone (in the field of European Patent Law) has these initials on the lips at this beginning of 2021, after BREXIT led to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, on the one hand, and the ratification of the Agreement by the German Bundesrat following the favorable decision of the German constitutional judge, on the other hand.

          And now. What’s next? Two new complaints have been submitted to the German Constitutional Court! Back to the future for the UPC? Difficult to answer by now: We do not know the opinion of the Court, especially if the request is going to be made to the German President to interrupt the ratification procedure, which, once again, only requires his signature to become Law.

          At the same time, a petition led by academics – in which I took part – had already enjoined the Bundesrat to reject ratification. It is true that – as noted in the Report of the de Boufflers Institute to the European Commission – the current project has, among other issues, a significant (and not new) original weakness: It is not strictly speaking a “EU” project. The lack of involvement of the European Union undoubtedly explains, in part, the current lack of interest of the European leaders in this project, that is nevertheless fundamental economically speaking, particularly given the growing importance of innovation in “high income” countries.

          Eventually, one last question remains: should we be satisfied with a project as imperfect as the UPC? It is not sure. If perfection is only divine, the “compromise” of putting the EU aside seems undesirable, notably when such European systems are working well in trademark and design Laws.


          One can doubt that the numbering “G 1/19” will be as successful in 2021 as the name “DABUS” in 2020. In the DABUS case, an applicant claimed to make an inventor out of a machine. But, honestly, apart from the expected media noise, we don’t really see the interest of such a request since at the end of the day the owner of the machine remained the owner of the patent (as the applicant has himself admitted).

          The DABUS case had nonetheless the merit of directing the spotlight of patentability towards artificial intelligence (“AI”), although the wrong side was first illuminated: the subject of the patent right (i.e. the applicant and not the inventor, contrary to what the applicant claimed in DABUS) instead of its object (i.e. the invention).

          The case G 1/19 currently before the EPO will perhaps be an opportunity to think about serious issues raised by AI. The sufficiency of disclosure requirement, for instance. Should the parameterized data on an AI be provided? Or the inventive step: Where does it lies when an AI participates in the inventive process?

        • PTAB 2020 rankings: top petitioners, patentees and law firms | Managing Intellectual Property

          Samsung takes top petitioner status, Masimo is most challenged company, and Fish & Richardson clears up all law firm top spots, according to new data

InteLeaks – Part XI: Accountability Issues and Disdain for Views/Opinions of Actual GNU/Linux Users/Developers/Communities

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Hardware at 7:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The truth about internal affairs at Intel and developers’ struggle with “low/non-tech involvement,” as told by insiders

THIS series is getting very long. We’ve got plenty to show. We have more issues to tackle, including ones we’ve not yet alluded to, and there have already been enough parts to justify a dedicated wiki/landing page (screenshot at the bottom of this post). It’s getting a lot longer than we originally envisioned or estimated; see our introduction, interlude, Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, and Part X as many people are seeing them this month (it seems like people discover the series and tell colleagues about it).

“As it stands, Intel seems to love Microsoft more than it loves its own autonomy.”Non Proprietary Process required,” we’re told by one reader/viewer who experienced what we’ve been covering, “but [DX/nontechnical] team requested Google Docs…”

Sometimes (a lot more often than this) they request all sorts of Microsoft things. We’ll come to this later in the series. The latest video focuses on accountability and how Intel is basically assessing its own work instead of relying on an independent party. Moreover, just like at the Linux Foundation, totally non-technical people (or people who are technical in unrelated and irrelevant disciplines) make the important decisions and alienate technical people. Their objectives are inherently different and the products they cover or speak about they’ve never even used themselves (like a tons of Linux Foundation staff that never actually tried GNU/Linux… it’s just a brand to these people).

Get well soon, Intel. Or else… developers will tell you to get the hell out. Talent retention isn’t possible with patronising attitudes, mixed messages, and mere pretenses of “love”. As it stands, Intel seems to love Microsoft more than it loves its own autonomy.

The above speaks of “GNU Linux Developer Experience” and it’s not some jockeying or messing about. As a matter of fact, we’re being told on the record, this “was an approved internal document,” which was carefully prepared and then issued/passed on “due to issues with low/non-tech involvement with GNU Linux documentation.”

Again, this isn’t informal. This isn’t an infraction. “The document was released to appropriate business units,” we’re told.

Intel leaks

Links 11/1/2021: Linux 5.11 RC3, Firefox Integrates More Patent Traps

Posted in News Roundup at 3:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux Weekly Roundup: Mint 20.1, KDE Plasma 5.21 Updates and More

      Here’s this week’s roundup series, curated for you from the Linux and open-source world on application updates, new releases, distribution updates, major news, and upcoming highlights. Have a look.

    • Linux Weekly Roundup #112

      Hello and welcome to this week’s Linux Roundup!

      We had a full week of Linux Releases, Linux Mint 20.1, and Manjaro 20.2.1.

      There were a few others also so look at distrowatch.com for more information!

      May you have a wonderful week and please stay safe!

    • 9to5Linux Weekly Roundup: January 10th, 2021

      The fifteenth installment of the 9to5Linux Weekly Roundup is here, for the week ending on January 10th, keeping you guys up to date with the most important things that have happened in the Linux world.

      It’s been a great first week of 2021 with lots of awesome news and releases. We have the release of Linux Mint 20.1, KDE’s first Apps update in 2021, a new Slackware-based Puppy Linux release, KDE Plasma 5.20’s latest update, new Linux kernel security patches for Ubuntu, new KDE Frameworks release, and much more.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Top 5 Linux Laptop You Can Buy in 2021

        In 2021 you are deciding to buy a laptop, but you are dubious about choosing which laptop you should purchase to use for your day-to-day work with the Linux preinstall.

        A number of manufacturers that manufacture the best laptop for Linux compatibilities such as Dell, Hp, Lenovo, Acer, and completed dedicated for Linux are System 76, Lambda, Pine Pro.

        Not to worry much we have shortlisted some of the top Linux laptops that are specially built for the Linux eco-system.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • This Week in Linux 132: Linus Torvalds Calls Out Intel, PeerTube Live Streaming, Asahi Linux

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we’ve got some Distro releases for Linux Mint and Puppy Linux. We’ve got a follow up for a topic about running Linux on Apple Silicon with a project called Asahi Linux. Linus Torvalds is in the news this week for some comments he made about Intel’s policies on ECC. We’ve also got some great news for NVIDIA users and those looking for a way to doing self-hosted Live Streaming thanks to PeerTube. We’ll also cover some unfortunate and annoying news from the Qt Company and then we’ll round out the show on a good note with the latest release from the Lutris project. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

      • Open Source Security Episode 253: Defenders only need to be right once

        Josh and Kurt talk about this idea that seems to exist in security of “attackers only need to be right once” which is silly. The reality is attackers have to get everything right, defenders really only need to get it right once. But “defenders only need to be right once” isn’t going to sell any products.

      • Linux Action News 171

        We explain the recent Qt upset, and then go hands-on with the new PeerTube release.

        Plus Wendell from Level1Techs joins us to discuss his thoughts on porting Linux to the Apple M1.

        Special Guest: Wendell Wilson.

      • GNU World Order 388

        CentOS is dead or reborn? Also, all about **Texinfo** and why it’s better than **man** and **groff**.

      • RSS Feeds: The Better Way To Consume

        I love RSS feeds, I use them for all my video topics but it seems like there’s a few people who’ve never used them before so today I thought I’d explain what they are and how you would go about using an rss feed, with an rss feed reader

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Dropping A Bunch Of Old CPUs

        With Linux 5.10 having shipped as the latest Long Term Support (LTS) release to be maintained for at least the next five years, a discussion has begun over dropping a number of old and obsolete CPU platform support currently found within the mainline kernel. For many of the architectures being considered for removal they haven’t seen any new commits in years but as is the case once proposals are made for them to be removed there are often passionate users wanting the support to be kept.

        Longtime kernel developer Arnd Bergmann looked at ARM platforms that could be removed following Linux 5.10 LTS as well as other CPU architectures without any real signs of life.

      • Linux 5.11-rc3
        So in the rc2 announcement notes I thought we might have a slow week
        for rc3 as well due to people just coming back from vacations and it
        taking some time for bug reports etc to start tricking in.
        That turned out to be the incoherent ramblings of a crazy old man.
        Because while the week started out fairly slow, you guys certainly
        showed me, and the final rc3 ends up being on the bigger side as rc3s
        go. Not "beating records" big, but certainly bigger than average. So
        instead of some slow start due to the holidays, I think we saw some
        pent-up fixes.
        The changes are all over, with nothing in particular standing out.
        About half the rc3 patch is drivers, with self-test updates (mostly
        kvm and netfilter) being another healthy 15%. The rest is the usual
        random mix: architecture updates (mostly x86 and arm64 and much of it
        kvm-related), documentation, filesystem code (btrfs, io_uring),
        networking, etc..
        But there's nothing that looks particularly odd in there, and I think
        the size is literally just about that rc2 being so small. So I think
        on the whole everything looks normal for this release, and my theory
        that maybe we'll need an extra release candidate just for the holiday
        impact was just wrong.
        Of course, we may end up with extra rc candidates if some nasty
        development issue rears its ugly head later, but for now it all looks
        So please go out and test, and report any issues you find,
      • Linux 5.11-rc3 Released Following A Post-Holiday Ramp-Up

        While Linux 5.11-rc2 was tiny due to the holidays, with developers and testers returning to work the Linux 5.11-rc3 release that was just issued is much bigger.

      • CPU Isolation – Introduction – by SUSE Labs (part 1)

        CPU isolation is a powerful set of features that can be found behind the settings for workloads which rely on specific and often extreme latency or performance requirements. Some DPDK (Data Plane Development Kit) usecases can cover such examples. However CPU isolation’s documentation and footnotes for many subtleties remain scattered at best if not lagging behind recent developments. It’s not always easy to sort out the benefits and tradeoffs hiding behind the existing range of tunings. Our series of articles aims at shedding some light and guide the users throughout this obscure Linux Kernel subsystem that we maintain both upstream and in our SLE15 products.


        The role of a kernel is to provide elementary services in order to use the hardware resources through a unified interface. This is the ground on which your workload walks.

      • Changing One “If” To “While” Caused An Unexpected Shift In A Kernel Benchmark This Week

        Several months back you may recall that Linux 5.9 kernel regression we noted that in turn was bisected to code introduced by Linus Torvalds around page lock fairness. That was ultimately worked out in time with allowing a control over the page lock (un)fairness to address the regressed workloads while being fair enough to satisfy his original change. But now this week for Linux 5.11, Linus Torvalds has again altered the behavior. It then ended up causing a PostgreSQL database server performance regression but fortunately any impact should be very minimal and hopefully not appearing in any real-world situation.

        Linus this week merged his own patch, mm: make wait_on_page_writeback() wait for multiple pending writebacks. It comes as a fix for his original rewrite of the wait_on_page_bit_common() logic. The issue is seeing occasional reports of BUG_ON() assertions being triggered since that change. Linus ended up uncovering a race condition where the BUG_ON() happens. See that linked patch for all the technical details for those interested. Within the wait_on_page_writeback() function though the patch is just changing an if statement to a while and fixes the BUG_ON assertion that was happening.

    • Applications

      • KeePass 2.47 Released! How to Install in Ubuntu 20.04, 20.10

        KeePass password manager 2.47 was released user interface and integration enhancements and minor new features and improvements.

      • 7 Best Multi-platform Text Editors

        Technology has become a key part of our lives, as everything is gradually becoming digitized, and our lives are being enveloped by it. Seeing how technology has grown to have such a major role in our lives, it comes off as no surprise as to the popularity that the field of Computer Science is receiving. Today’s demand for developers and technical experts has exponentially increased in the market and shows no signs of slowing down.
        Computer Science itself has seen a large progression in its content as numerous subfields are being introduced. However, one aspect that has always been in the limelight is programming, which sits at the crux of stuff like game development, animations, mobile and web applications, social networking sites, etc.

      • Hypnotix: A New IPTV Streaming App for Watching Live TV, Movies and Series

        These days, the Internet hype might have you thinking that movie streaming is kicking out TV channels but that’s not necessarily the case. While streaming platforms are becoming more popular, there are millions of people who prefer the good old tradition of following TV programs. If you’re one such person, then today’s app from Linux Mint is for you.

        Hypnotix is a free and open-source IPTV streaming application with support for live TV, movies, and series. It is developed and managed by the Linux Mint team to support multiple IPTV providers of the types Xtream API, local m3u playlist, and M3U URL.

      • SMPlayer 21.1.0

        SMPlayer intends to be a complete front-end for MPlayer, from basic features like playing videos, DVDs, and VCDs to more advanced features like support for MPlayer filters and more. One of the most interesting features of SMPlayer: it remembers the settings of all files you play. So you start to watch a movie but you have to leave… don’t worry, when you open that movie again it will resume at the same point you left it, and with the same settings: audio track, subtitles, volume…

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Install KDE Plasma 5 on Arch Linux

        KDE Plasma 5 is the fifth generation desktop environment from KDE. KDE plasma requires less space and has a higher response rate. Meaning that you can run KDE in low space and feel the great user experience and smoothness. KDE plasma has a great look and feel, fresh and eye-catching icons, animations, customizable, and many pleasing features.

        For this article, we have the latest installation of Arch Linux 5.10.4 with XFCE desktop. We are going to install KDE Plasma 5.20.4 on it.

      • Machine Learning with R: A Complete Guide to Logistic Regression

        Logistic regression is one of the most fundamental algorithms from statistics, commonly used in machine learning. It’s not used to produce SOTA models but can serve as an excellent baseline for binary classification problems.

        Today you’ll learn how to implement the logistic regression model in R and also improve your data cleaning, preparation, and feature engineering skills.

      • A quick introduction to MQTT for IOT

        While I had heard the abbreviation MQTT many times, I never had a closer look at what MQTT is.

        Here are a few quick notes about using MQTT as Pub/Sub bus in a home IOT network.

      • Reverse-engineering a low-power LED flasher chip

        How do you make an LED blink? A vintage way is the LM3909, a chip from 1975 that can flash an LED for a year from a single flashlight battery. This chip has some surprising features, such as a charge pump that lets you power a 2-volt LED from a 1.5-volt battery. This IC was designed for simplicity, using just an LED, external capacitor, and battery. In this blog post, I reverse-engineer its silicon die.

      • How to Setup a Wekan Kanban Server on Linux – Linux Hint

        Wekan is an open-source tool that offers multiple features to maintain daily tasks through virtual cards. It is a fantastic Trello-like kanban board based on the Meteor Javascript framework and licensed by MIT.

        Waken is beneficial for keeping things organized, planning tasks, creating personal to-do lists, managing teams, etc. This tool allows you to use a colored label on different cards for facilitating filtering, project grouping, and assigning projects to a particular person.

      • How to Use Applmage in Linux – Linux Hint

        AppImage is a fantastic tool that works as a versatile software package for Linux. Therefore, a user does not require superuser permissions for installing the application. It also allows application developers for the Linux distribution-agnostic binary software deployment, also known as upstream packaging.

      • How to install Runelite on a Chromebook – Revised Tutorial

        Today we are looking at how to install Runelite, also known as Old School Runescape, on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • Dealing with evil ads

        I usually don’t mind ads, as not as they not very intrusive. I get that the current media model is basically ad-funded, and that unless I want to pay $1/month or so to 50 web sites, I have to accept ads, so I don’t run an ad-blocker.

        Sure, sometimes are annoying (hey YT, mid-roll ads are borderline), but I’ve also seen many good ads, as in interesting or funny even. Well, I don’t think I ever bought anything as direct result from ads, so I don’t know how useful ads are for the companies, but hey, what do I care.

        Except… there a few ad networks that run what I would say are basically revolting ads. Things I don’t want to ever accidentally see while eating, or things that are really make you go WTF? Maybe you know them, maybe you don’t, but I guess there are people who don’t know how to clean their ears, or people for whom a fast 7 day weight loss routine actually works.

        Thankfully, most of the time I don’t browse sites which use this networks, but randomly they do “leak” to even sites I do browse. If I’m not very stressed already, I can ignore them, otherwise they really, really annoy me.

        Case in point, I was on Slashdot, and because I was logged on and recently had mod points, the right side column had a check-box “disable ads”. That sidebar had some relatively meaningful ads, like a VPN subscription (not that I would use it, but it is a tech thing), or even a book about Kali Linux, etc. etc. So I click the “disable ads”, and the right column goes away. I scroll down happily, only to be met, at the bottom, by the “best way to clean your ear”, “the most 50 useless planes ever built” (which had a drawing of something that was for sure never ever built outside of in movies), “you won’t believe how this child actor looks today”, etc.

      • How to Install and Use Helm in Kubernetes

        Deploying applications on a Kubernetes cluster can be a complex affair. It often requires users to create various YAML manifest files to create pods, service and replicasets. Helm is an opensource package manager for Kubernetes that allows developers to seamlessly automate the process of deploying and configuring applications in a Kubernetes Cluster. If you are new to Kubernetes, you might want to first familiarize yourself with basic Kubernetes concepts.

        In this guide, we will give you an overview to Helm and how it comes in handy in managing applications and packages in Kubernetes cluster. At the time of writing this guide, the latest release is Helm v3.

      • 2021 New Year’s resolutions for Linux users | Network World

        It’s a good idea to start each year with some ideas about how to make the new year better–even when it comes to working with Linux. This post offers some suggestions on how you might get more value and enjoyment from Linux in 2021.

      • How to swallow clients in i3 with i3-swallow

        A neat feature with the tiling window manager bspwm is the fact that it can swallow clients. This means that when you, for an example open a video with mpv in the terminal (or via Ranger), you can automatically replace that client with the video. This helps you save a lot of valuable space on your desktop.

      • How To Install Eclipse IDE On Ubuntu 20.04 / Linux Mint | Tips On UNIX

        Eclipse IDE is a famous Java Integrated development environment (IDE) and it is a free and open-source tool released under the Eclipse Public License 2.0.

        Nowadays it is an essential tool for any Java developer, including a Java IDE, a Git client, XML Editor, Mylyn, Maven, and Gradle Integration.

      • Setting up a Basic File server Using simpleHTTPserver – The Linux Juggernaut

        In this article we will demonstrate a quick and easy method to use your local system as a basic File Server using simpleHTTPserver. The SimpleHTTPServer is a built in module that comes available with the default Python installation on a YUM based system. It is a simple HTTP server that provides standard GET and HEAD request handlers. This allows users to access their data over a web browser allowing anyone in the local area network to access files and folders on from the local system. An advantage with the built-in HTTP server is that you don’t have to install and configure anything. The only thing that you need, is to have Python installed. You can use this to turn any directory in your system into your web server directory.

      • DeepL-Linux

        Select text in any application, press Ctrl+c to copy selected content into clipboard, then press the shortcut you just defined for loader.sh

      • EasyOS 64-bit running faster in Pi4

        I posted today about EasyOS booting up on the Raspberry Pi 4, getting a desktop and sound and wifi working, but everything running incredibly slow:


        It has defaulted to the “powersave” governor, and the CPUs are running at 600MHz.

      • Use external E-mail server for debian.net subdomain with Sakura Mailbox service

        If you want to set up debian.net subdomain, you may setup E-mail server on your own. But if there is not afford to setup it by yourself, you need external E-mail server.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Kate Text Editor – Quick Open

          After my summary of Kate improvements in 2020, it is my pleasure to show a first improvement coming in 2021.

          Kate has since years a feature called “quick open”. You reach it via the button at the right of the tabs or the default shortcut “Ctrl-Alt-O”. Quick open will provide a list of the current open documents (and in addition files of the current/all active projects) for quick navigation between them. Other editors call this often “Go to file…” or similar.

        • Wayland Goal Virtual Sprint 2021

          We will be having a Virtual Sprint for the Wayland Goal between Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th January 2021.

          This is open to contributors, you can have a look at the current program and more details at Wayland Virtual Sprint.

        • Applet Up For Adoption

          A year ago I felt like getting back into c++ and kde development. Scratching one of my itches seemed to be the right path back. For quite some time I was looking for a plasma applet that allows to control and monitor systemd units. Preferably for both system and session service managers.

          So are YOU interested in taking over? I consider it a very useful applet and would hate to see it perish. I would assist in moving it over to kde infrastructure.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Amanda Shafack: My Learning Curve at the GNOME Foundation

          It’s been six weeks since I started this exciting journey as an Outreachy intern at the GNOME Foundation. Every week, I have a set of tasks to work on and a project review session every start of the week with my mentor.
          During these sessions I present the work I’ve done, challenges I faced and then get feedback. I’ve had to learn most things on the go and every task comes with it’s own unique flavour of difficulty and discovery. Let’s take a quick look at the project I’m working on…

          My project is based on completing the integration between Gtranslator and Damned Lies(DL), so as to permit translators to upload files and reserve for translation directly from Gtranslator.(This is already possible from the DL website). I also need to extend the API endpoints DL provides so as to suite my use case.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Review: PakOS 2020-08-24

          PakOS is a Debian-based distribution that is intended to be a general purpose, desktop operating system. The distribution’s niche or primary audience is people who are from, or living in, Pakistan. The project’s website mentions that the operating system features the WPS office suite, comes with CrossOver installed, and includes an optional Windows-like theme. There are also security tools provided including the Clam anti-virus utility, a firewall tool, and Firejail for sandboxing applications. The project further mentions supplying kernels for both 64-bit (x86_64) and 32-bit (x86) processors.

          The PakOS distribution appears to be available in just one edition running the LXQt desktop. This edition is 3.1GB in size. One of the first things I discovered about PakOS is that, despite the mention of 32-bit kernels being available, the live media does not run on 32-bit machines. It seems that while 32-bit kernels may be available in the repositories I did not see any way to install PakOS on a 32-bit machine.

      • Debian Family

        • Tails Anonymous Linux OS Wants to Migrate to Wayland to Improve App Security

          I think 2020 has been a great year for Tails, with lots of release and achievements, but the development team has much bigger plans for 2021 as they finally want to adopt the next-generation Wayland display system instead of the vulnerable X.Org Server, for their GNOME-based graphical interface.

          By migrating to Wayland, the Tails devs hope to make all the apps included in the distribution more secure, as well as to fix some long-standing issues, such as the way Tail’s Unsafe Browser feature can be used to deanonymize you.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 9 Decentralized, P2P and Open Source Alternatives to Mainstream Social Media Platforms Like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Reddit

        Tired of Big Tech prying on your data and invading your privacy? Here are some open source, decentralized alternate social platforms.

      • Stuart Langridge: OpenUK Honours

        There are a lot of problems with the open source community. I spoke about divisiveness over “distros” in Linux a while back. It’s still not clear how to make open source software financially sustainable for developers of it. The open source development community is distinctly unwelcoming at best and actively harassing and toxic at worst to a lot of people who don’t look like me, because they don’t look like me. There’s way too much of a culture of opposing popularity because it is popularity and we don’t know how to not be underdogs who reflexively bite at the cool kids. Startups take venture capital and make a billion dollars when the bottom 90% of their stack is open source that they didn’t write, and then give none of it back. Products built with open source, especially on the web, assume (to use Bruce Lawson’s excellent phrasing) that you’re on the Wealthy Western Web. The list goes on and on and on and these are only the first few things on it. To the extent that I have any influence as one of the one hundred top influencers in open source in the UK, those are the sort of things I’d like to see change. I don’t know whether having a medal helps with that, but last year, 2020, was an extremely tough year for almost everyone. 2021 has started even worse: we’ve still got a pandemic, the fascism has gone from ten to eleven, and none of the problems I mentioned are close to being fixed. But I’m on a list with Tim Berners-Lee, so I feel a little bit warmer than I did. Thank you for that, OpenUK. I’ll try to share the warmth with others.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 86 Will Support Next-Gen Image Format by Default

            A bug report shows Mozilla devs plan to ship Firefox 86, due in February 2020, with AVIF image support by default. AVIF images used on websites and web services will load in-page just like other supported image formats.

            But what is AVIF?

            AVIF is a free, lightweight, and highly optimised image compression format based on the AV1 video codec. AVIF images are up to 50% smaller in size (so they load faster) but are visually comparable to JPEG and other image compression formats in most instances.

          • Firefox – we’re finally getting HW acceleration on Linux

            Firefox 84.0 is a big milestone for Firefox Linux development as it comes with HW acceleration by default for some Linux users. Stock Mozilla Firefox 84.0 enables WebRender (HW accelerated backend) for Gnome/X.org and Gnome/Wayland will be supported in Firefox 85.0. Fedora is bit ahead and enables WebRender for Gnome/Wayland in Firefox 84.0 too.

            WebRender by default is restricted to AMD/Linux graphics cards as NVIDIA is known for various issues – both proprietary and Noveau drivers.

            And why it’s enabled in Gnome only for now? For instance KDE is also a popular desktop environment. I think it’s because Gnome utilizes HW acceleration so when Gnome works on your box there’s assumption that Firefox will work too. KDE provides choices how to disable/restrict HW acceleration setup (for instance it supports disabled screen compositing) and it’s more difficult to cover various scenarios.

          • Mozilla No Longer Supports A Free Internet

            Mozilla, a long-time champion of free and an open source software, recently posted a blog stating that the Internet needs more censorship. According to Mozilla, it is not enough that Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites ban “bad actors”. They want these sites to implement strategies to preemptively silence these people. They want an algorithm that punishes those that say “the wrong things” and reward those that post things that are “factual”.

      • Programming/Development

        • But it works on my machine

          Nevertheless, I regularly notice that developers misunderstand and underestimate the responsibility they carry. Some think that having a code work on their machine is enough to consider a job to be done. That fixing and preventing issues in production is none of their business. Or that error handling, monitoring, and graceful degradation are some magical, extra efforts that only special “devops” people do. The others are simply unaware of the complexities of real world and of the differences between a production environment and their local setup.

          This post is mostly for and about the latter. From the viewpoint of a web/backend developer, we’ll review a few common things that can go wrong in production, which usually are overlooked in a local environment. The discussion will be broad and somewhat shallow, but there are references to a more in-depth content in each section. In no way this post is exhaustive, but still I would have been glad to get my hands on these notes at the beginning of my career.

        • The Platform Is The Enemy

          Popular platforms aren’t just a danger economically because they control commerce. They’re not just a danger politically because they selectively control and amplify political discourse. They’re an extinction-level, existential danger to humans because they prevent people from seriously considering what kinds of categories are important in each of their lives. They resist their own analysis and over time make people dumber. Right now we’re skating through the danger because we’re harvesting people from less-advanced countries to do our hard-thinking for us. That window is quickly drawing to a close.

        • POWER10 Adds New Instructions For Helping Fend Off ROP Exploits – Phoronix

          The POWER10 architecture is adding several new instructions to help prevent return-oriented programming exploits.

          Hitting the GNU Assembler code this past week was support for new return-oriented programming instructions with POWER10. There are several new POWER instructions intended to help safeguard against this common security exploit means. It’s also the first time we’ve seen these new instructions mentioned.

          As it’s just the assembler bits being added, it doesn’t provide much context to these new ROP instructions but they include: HASHSTP, HASHCHKP, HASHST, and HASHCHK. Presumably based on the instruction names, a means of hashing the stack pointer and hashing/checking the call stack.

        • RcppArmadillo Minor update

          Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra aiming towards a good balance between speed and ease of use with a syntax deliberately close to a Matlab. RcppArmadillo integrates this library with the R environment and language–and is widely used by (currently) 802 other packages on CRAN.

          This release was needed because we use the Matrix package for some (optional) tests related to sparse matrices, and a small and subtle change and refinement in the recent 1.3.0 release of Matrix required us to make an update for the testing. Nothing has changed in how we set up, or operate on, sparse matrices. My thanks to Binxiang and Martin Maechler for feedback and suggestion on the initial fix both Binxiang and I set up independently. At the same time we upgrade some package internals related to continuous integration (for that, also see my blog post and video from earlier this week). Lastly Conrad sent in a one-line upstream fix for dealing with NaN in sign().

    • Standards/Consortia

      • [Old] Did Sisvel just catch AOM with their patents down?

        Both AV1 and VP9 are marketed as “Royalty Free” codecs by the Alliance for Open Media (AOM) and Google respectively, but it seems that Sisvel doesn’t agree with that statement. Sisvel has launched a new website, explaining their view of the history of video codec research and development cycles. Their video specifically flags AV1 and VP9 as “FREE?” codecs, saying they still contain approaches based on patent encumbered technologies. They make no statement as to which specific technologies they do not consider to be royalty free in AV1 and VP9.

      • [Old] Sisvel Announces AV1 Patent Pool

        According to the Luxembourg-headquartered Sisvel, hundreds of further patents are in the process of being evaluated. The group expects to reach a total portfolio offered for license of around 1,000 patents for VP9 and nearly 2,000 for AV1. Details of some of these are now published on Sisvel’s, website with more updated regularly.

      • [Old] AV1 License Terms

        Provided a licensee is in full compliance with its obligations under the AV1 license agreement, the royalty rate payable for each licensed product shall be subject to the Compliant Rate.

      • [Old] Former Refrigerator Manufacturer Says Companies Using Open Source, Royalty-Free Video Technology Must Pay To License 2,000 Patents

        In contrast to the proprietary and expensive H.265, the new video standard, called AOMedia Video 1 (AV1), is open source and royalty-free. Those features, and the backing of many of the top Internet companies, would seem to make it an obvious choice for manufacturers to build into their devices, leading to better-quality video streaming for end users at no extra cost.

        Life is never that simple. Back in March last year, Sisvel announced a “patent licensing program” for AV1. Sisvel is an Italian company that began as a manufacturer of white goods, particularly refrigerators, and has morphed into a group that “identifies, evaluates and maximizes the value of IP assets for its partners around the world”. The AOMedia group wrote in response: [...]

      • [Old] Google’s Royalty-Free Answer to HEVC: A Look at AV1 and the Future of Video Codecs

        Video streaming is a massive chunk of total internet traffic, and even a couple percent improvement in compression can have massive effects on both the network as a whole, and on user experience for that specific application. AV1 and Opus will make it possible to have decent quality video on lower throughput connections (opening up video streaming for more situations and more markets), and will enable even better quality than before on high throughput connections. They also are both designed with use over cellular networks in mind, with AV1 and Opus bringing massive improvements in how well they scale as connection speeds change, not to mention the higher resolutions, higher frame rates, expanded colour space, HDR support (which will be vital for services like Netflix, Youtube, and Amazon Video to take full advantage of the new displays on devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the LG G6, with the latter now being able to take advantage of Netflix’s recently-added HDR support in mobile), and lower latency that they will enable when combined in the WebM container.

      • [Old] AV1 Image File Format v1.0 Finalized

        The AV1 Image File Format (AVIF) is the specification for storing images and image sequences (animated images) compressed via AV1 in the HEIF High-Efficiency Image File Format. AV1, of course, being the promising royalty-free video coding format competing with the likes of HEVC/H.265. This is to AV1 as the WebP image format is to VP9/WebM.

      • Firefox 86: AVIF support enabled by default

        Mozilla plans to enable support for the AVIF format in Firefox 86 Stable so that AVIF image files will be displayed just like any other supported image format in the web browser.

      • OpenRAN project will not produce solution in the short term, says expert

        A technologist and inventor has poured cold water on the oft-touted notion that the Open Radio Access Network Policy Coalition — better known as the OpenRAN coalition — will produce anything in the short term to replace products from Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies, which the US and many of its allies have banned from their 5G networks.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • As Pandemic Rages, Trump Admin. Approves Tennessee’s “Reckless” Plan to Slash Medicaid

        The eleventh-hour safety net attack is being met with outrage from advocates of strengthening the healthcare program.

      • COVID Has Underscored the Need for Safe Drinking Water. But Not Everyone Has It.
      • COVID-19 Slaughter, CDC Tragedy, and One U.S. Authority without Blood on His Hands

        While anti-authoritarian progressives should have expected nothing less from Trump and Pence, cavalier clowns from the theocratic/pre-Enlightenment wing of the corporatocracy, they should have expected more from scientists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), whose compromising of science was chronicled by ProPublica (“Inside the Fall of the CDC”) and noted by the Center for Infectious Disease and Research Policy (CIDRAP). Both the ProPublica and the CIDRAP reports will be discussed here.

        For most of 2020, confused, anxious, and terrified Americans simply have had no idea as to which authority to trust, and such confusion, anxiety, and terror obliterated critical thinking. Now, with the arrival of vaccines—hopefully as effective as claimed—along with other good news that I will report, perhaps some Americans are re-energized to think critically. For those who have regained their strength, the goal of this article is to provide information for critical thinking about the CDC fiasco and the increasingly failed state called the United States—failed if your criteria includes how a society treats its elder citizens (according to the December 20, 2020 AARP Bulletin, the COVID-19 fatality rate in U.S. nursing home/long-term care facilities is 16% compared to the Battle of the Bulge fatality rate of 4%).

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Nissan Source Code Leaks Due to Embarrassing Security Fail

            The North American unit belonging to the Japanese carmaker was using a Bitbucket Git server “secured” with the default login credentials (username: admin, password: admin), thus exposing the source code of mobile apps, the internal core mobile library, sales and marketing research tools and data, client services, the dealer portal, and even tools related to connected car services.

          • Misconfigured Git servers lead to Nissan data leak

            The researcher also found details on Nissan’s internal core mobile library, NCAR/ICAR services, client acquisition and retention tools, sale/market research tools and data, various marketing tools, and vehicle logistics portal.

            The leak stemmed from a Git server that was left visible online with its default username and password combo of “admin.” Nissan is probing the leak, and the Git server was taken offline after the data started disseminating on Monday via Telegram channels and [cracking] forums.

          • The Most Backdoor-Looking Bug I’ve Ever Seen

            This is the story of a bug that was discovered and fixed in Telegram’s self-rolled cryptographic protocol about sever years ago. The bug didn’t get any press, and no one seems to know about it, probably because it was only published in Russian.

            To this day, it’s the most backdoor-looking bug I’ve ever seen.

            Google Translate does a good enough job on the original article, which is still available on Habr, but I’m going to walk you through it along with some context.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • He Created the Web. Now He’s Out to Remake the Digital World.

              But now, Mr. Berners-Lee, 65, believes the online world has gone astray. Too much power and too much personal data, he says, reside with the tech giants like Google and Facebook — “silos” is the generic term he favors, instead of referring to the companies by name. Fueled by vast troves of data, he says, they have become surveillance platforms and gatekeepers of innovation.

              Regulators have voiced similar complaints. The big tech companies are facing tougher privacy rules in Europe and some American states, led by California. Google and Facebook have been hit with antitrust suits.

              But Mr. Berners-Lee is taking a different approach: His answer to the problem is technology that gives individuals more power.

              The goal, he said, is to move toward “the web that I originally wanted.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Entire Point of the 25th Amendment

        The hazard here should be clear. Imagine that an unhinged president is threatening to unleash a catastrophe. The vice president and the Cabinet react by invoking Section 4. The president—unhinged, but still lucid—responds and asserts, wrongly, that he has taken his power back. We now have two people claiming to be in charge of the White House, the executive branch, and the military. More problematically, the president could attempt to fire the Cabinet, to prevent it from re-declaring his inability and sending the case to Congress. It is not hard to imagine the havoc that even a few hours of this tug-of-war could wreak.

      • Details emerge of high-level state involvement in Wednesday’s coup attempt

        In the aftermath of the January 6 fascist coup attempt in Washington DC, new revelations show that the plot was prepared with the involvement of sections of the military, police and Republican Party. The danger has not passed. Trump remains president for 11 days and is using the White House as the nerve center for his efforts to remain in office. There is every indication that plans for a second putsch attempt on Inauguration Day—January 20—are now underway.

        The minimal police presence at the Capitol building on Wednesday was not a mistake or oversight, as the corporate media has claimed, but part of a high-level conspiracy.

      • The Terrorist Attack Is NOT Over.

        The terrorist attack is NOT over. Thousands from Wednesday’s terrorist mob assault on the Capitol have not been arrested and have NOT LEFT the DC area. They are planning more attacks. A poster advertising an “ARMED MARCH ON CAPITOL HILL & ALL STATE CAPITOLS” on January 17th is being displayed all over. It has even been circulated among the members of Congress. [...]

    • Finance

      • Kamala Harris Picks Member of World’s Largest Asset Firm as Top Economic Advisor
      • Burlington, Vermont, Harbinger of Change?

        There’s another mayoral election this March in Burlington. It will be forty years since Bernie Sanders won his first term as Burlington’s mayor in 1981. Similar to the dynamics of that year, the current Democratic mayor has proven to be a friend of developers and financiers. His network of associates and advisors is the 2020 version of a good old boys’ network. In other words, it’s not just made up of heterosexual men. His opposition includes a thirty-something Progressive and independent candidate Ali Dieng. It wasn’t more than a couple days after the Progressive candidate Max Tracy received the nomination of the Progressive Party for Burlington’s mayoral race that the local CBS affiliate WCAX-TV (known for its conservative leanings) ran a segment portraying him as too radical. Interspersing their commentary with images from local Black Lives Matter and anti-police brutality protests, the story featured sound bites from liberal city council member Jane Knodell and the consistently conservative GOP politician Kurt Wright. The implication was that Tracy is a far-left radical whose politics are not what Burlington needs in these times. In an earlier story in Vermont’s more liberal Seven Days Vermont newspaper discussing the Progressive Party’s virtual caucus, Tracy was contrasted with his caucus opponent, longtime Progressive Brian Pine. In this article the reporter could find little difference between the two men’s politics, choosing instead to focus on style and approach. Seven Days, too, quoted GOP stalwart Kurt Wright, who more or less revealed his opinion of Tracy, stating that Tracy “is viewed as very, very far left in almost every circumstance….” Current mayor Democrat Weinberger echoed Wright in his speech accepting the Democratic Party nod in his reelection campaign, saying “As the Democratic Party has been establishing itself, both nationally and locally, as a Party committed to people through policy and progress that are based in science, data, and expertise, today’s Burlington Progressive Party has been moving in a different, rigid, ideological direction.” Not only do these remarks deny that Tracy and those to Weinberger’s left also use data, science and expertise but draw different conclusions than the Democrats, they also pretend that the Democrats are beyond ideology when, in reality, their ideology is an ideology that puts landlords, developers and banks ahead of workers, tenants and the poor. Although this piece was written in the early days of the campaign season, the remarks by Weinberger and Wright and the article by Seven Days indicate that the anti-Progressive elements in Burlington are trying to steer the campaign in a direction where perception matters more than fact. Bernie Sanders certainly knows something about that.

        During Bernie Sanders’ first campaign for mayor of Burlington (and for the rest of his political life), his opponents attempted to pin a similar label on him. When Sanders first became Mayor in 1981 at thirty-nine years of age, the city of Burlington had been controlled by a good old boys’ network of establishment Democrats nominally led by Gordon Paquette. Their circle of friends were real estate developers and others who saw dollar signs instead of people. Bernie Sanders’ campaign for mayor put people—specifically working people—at the center of the campaign’s conversation. The campaign was hard fought and, in the end, it can be argued that it was the votes of less than a dozen voters who aligned themselves with anarchist and social ecologist Murray Bookchin’s politics that put Sanders over the top. Because of the success of his first term, Sanders was re-elected handily in the next mayoral election. For most of the 1980s his opponents in the Democratic/Republican establishment continued to call him a socialist. At the time it was a label Sanders proudly wore.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | Trump, the Coup, and the Collusion That Made It Possible

        It will be hard to disentangle the levels of causal, moral, and legal responsibility, and harder still to repair the damage.

      • The Failed Fascist Coup and the Futility of “Reconciliation”

        Make no mistake: the bloody attack on the U.S. Capitol – with a death toll of five by Friday afternoon – was the Trump circle’s handiwork. After months of disseminating baseless electoral fraud conspiracies and lending his presence to two previous violent rampages in Washington, Trump sent his Trumpenvolk terrorists over to Capitol Hill. Once the assault began, he refused to condemn it. His first address to the nation after the mayhem broke out threw kerosene on the fire by doubling down on his preposterous claim to have been cheated out of a “landslide” re-election.

        The idea behind the attack was certainly to create enough mayhem to “justify” Trump invoking the Insurrection Act, declaring martial law, and canceling the inauguration of Biden. Just how far up and wide the planning of this failed coup went remains to be seen. It was an inside job, not just an outside “protest” that got too “wild.”

      • Opinion | Confederates in the Capitol: The Re-enactment of a Lost Cause

        The lesson we must learn from the crushing of Reconstruction is that escorting Trump out the door must not be the end of this story.

      • Opinion | Our Post-Trump Democratic Prospects: What the Ming Dynasty Can Tell Us

        ‘Good government’ has always rested on equitable distributions of wealth and power.

      • Trump Loyalists Want to Uphold a Long American Tradition: White License
      • After Attempted Coup, We Must Fight White Supremacy and Sow Revolutionary Love
      • Ocasio-Cortez: We Must Hold Trump Accountable or “It Will Happen Again”
      • Failure to Hold Trump Accountable for Capitol Siege Means ‘It Will Happen Again,’ Says Rep. Ocasio-Cortez

        “If another head of state came in and ordered an attack on the United States Congress, would we say that that should not be prosecuted?” the New York Democrat said Sunday.

      • Opinion | Trump Lit the Match for an Attempted Coup, But Decades of Misinformation Supplied Fuel

        The dangerous attempt at a coup of the Capitol didn’t happen in a vacuum. A culture of misinformation — even from those who should know better — has played a role in distancing too many people from the realities our country faces, including climate change.

      • Opinion | Trump, Social Media and “Orwellian” Bullshit

        After a relentless and unbroken 40-year fight to hand informational control and power over to a small number of corporate actors, the political right is now wetting their collective pants over Trump being banned by a privately-owned company.

      • ‘History Will Not Look Kindly on Us’ If Trump Not Impeached, Says Rep. Ilhan Omar

        The Minnesota Democrat said she will formally introduce two articles of impeachment Monday.

      • Accountability for the Attempted Coup

        Last week’ rampage left five dead, including a Capitol Hill police officer who was injured when he tangled with the pro-Trump mob. We’re fortunate the carnage wasn’t greater.

      • Impeach—and Hold the Articles, if Necessary—Is the Right Way Forward

        Donald Trump may be the biggest liar—and worse—in American presidential history. “This American carnage stops right here and now,” as he declared in his inaugural address, might have been the biggest lie he told. Trump’s election inaugurated the worst wave of domestic violence the nation has seen since the Civil War (and Reconstruction plus Jim Crow terror in the South): Charlottesville; Cesar Sayoc’s anti-Democrat and anti-media pipe bomb spree; the Tree of Life synagogue massacre; the El Paso Walmart massacre; the violent police repression of mostly peaceful Black Lives Matter protests in Washington, D.C., this summer; the terrifying militia plot to kidnap and execute Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer this fall.

      • 210 House Democrats Endorse Trump’s Immediate Impeachment

        As demands for the impeachment of Donald Trump grew in intensity Saturday, House Democrats united in support of a strategy to address the threat posed by a president who on January 6 incited a mob to storm the Capitol where members of Congress were certifying the election of Joe Biden as Trump’s successor. House Democrats will on Monday give Vice Pence 24 hours to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump. If Pence fails to act, the impeachment process will begin on Tuesday.

      • [Old] Meet Rebekah Mercer, the deep-pocketed co-founder of Parler, a controversial conservative social network

        Mercer is the daughter of Robert Mercer, a hedge fund manager and the co-founder of the now-defunct political data-analysis firm Cambridge Analytica. The Mercers have been prominent supporters of President Donald Trump and conservative causes.

      • Parler – Meet Rebekah Mercer, a Co-Founder and Funder

        There is much talk about Parler in the last few days because that’s where Trump tried to land his sinking social media ship after Twitter and Facebook (and its Instragram) put a few holes below its water line by blocking him for, well, trying to overturn the US government. As it turns out, Parler was co-founded and bankrolled by the very wealthy Rebekah Mercer. She’s the daughter of Robert Mercer, a hedge fund billionaire who backed Trump among many other right wing nutjobs, started the conservative Heritage Foundation, invested in Breitbart, and also was behind Cambridge Analytica, the political data company now defunct. If CA sounds familiar, that was the outfit that was involved in fucking with the 2016 election in part by using Facebook data to micro-market voters.

      • Bans on Parler and Trump Show Big Tech’s Power Over Web Conversation

        Now, pressured by lawmakers, civil rights advocates and even their own workers, the big tech companies are realizing just how much power and responsibility they have over public conversation — including over apps they didn’t create.

      • Parler: Everything you need to know about the banned conservative social media platform

        Parler was founded by Rebekah Mercer, John Matze and Jared Thomson.

        Mercer, a prominent conservative donor, said she is helping to bankroll Parler “to provide a neutral platform for free speech, as our founders intended, and also to create a social media environment that would protect data privacy,” she said in a statement in November.

        Mercer is the daughter of Robert Mercer, a hedge fund manager and the co-founder of the now-defunct political data-analysis firm Cambridge Analytica. The Mercers have been prominent supporters of President Donald Trump and conservative causes.

        For years, the Mercers have been key benefactors of conservative groups, ranging from the Heritage Foundation think tank, where Rebekah Mercer serves on the board of trustees, to organizations that have produced anti-Hillary-Clinton books and movies.

      • Amazon to Suspend Hosting Services for Parler, Saying App ‘Poses a Very Real Risk to Public Safety’

        Parler, the far-right social network favored by many Trump supporters, is set to go dark Sunday after Amazon’s AWS division said it is pulling the plug on the service’s hosting account.

        Amazon informed Parler, which boasts of taking a hands-off policy to content moderation, of the imminent loss of its internet hosting services on Saturday. That came after Apple and Google banned Parler from their respective app stores, also citing Parler’s inaction on policing violent and harmful content. On Friday, Twitter banned Donald Trump permanently while the president’s accounts on other internet services have been suspended indefinitely in the wake of Wednesday’s violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

      • Amazon Is Booting Parler Off Of Its Web Hosting Service

        eople on Parler used the social network to stoke fear, spread hate, and coordinate the insurrection at the Capitol building on Wednesday. The app has recently been overrun with death threats, celebrations of violence, and posts encouraging “Patriots” to march on Washington, DC with weapons on January 19, the day before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

        In an email obtained by BuzzFeed News, an AWS Trust and Safety team told Parler Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff that the calls for violence propagating across the social network violated its terms of service. Amazon said it was unconvinced that the service’s plan to use volunteers to moderate calls for violence and hate speech would be effective.

      • Amazon to suspend US app Parler for ‘violent content’, following Apple and Google moves

        Amazon then moved to wipe it from its cloud hosting Amazon Web Services, pushing it offline entirely.

        In a letter to Parler first published by Buzzfeed, Amazon said the network was not acting quickly enough against violent content on the platform.

      • Amazon and Apple pull the plug on Parler

        Between the lines: Despite being spiked from both major mobile app stores, Parler remains accessible on any mobile or desktop device via its website.

        For the record: Parler was the No. 1 app in Apple’s App Store this weekend prior to the tech giant suspending the service.

      • Sacha Baron Cohen on Facebook, Twitter and Trump

        On Friday, Twitter banned Donald Trump from his favorite platform, citing the 45th president’s potential to whip up more violence after the week’s deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. The ban followed Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to bar Trump indefinitely from Facebook, limiting the president’s ability to communicate directly to tens of millions of his most diehard supporters. The move kicked off praise from liberal sectors and condemnation from conservatives who believe it’s an example of Silicon Valley overreach.

        For Sacha Baron Cohen, it was the culmination of an extensive campaign, one that has seen the comedian use his celebrity to mount an unusually consequential effort to press big tech to crack down on QAnon and other fringe and far-right groups. Shortly after Twitter enacted its ban, Baron Cohen, one of the most outspoken critics of social media’s role in spreading conspiracy theories and hate speech, was ebullient.

      • Cameron Kaiser: Another way social media is bad

        Social media like Twitter, Facebook, etc., has been in the news this week for obvious reasons due to the political unrest in the United States, where this blog and yours truly are based. For the same obvious reasons I’m not going to discuss that here since I can’t moderate such a discussion and there are a million other places to talk about it. Likewise, please don’t do so in the comments; I will remove those posts.

        But relevant to this blog and this audience is social media’s impact on trying to get the most bang for your buck out of your old devices and computers. Full-fat Twitter and Facebook (and others) are computationally expensive: the bells and whistles cost in terms of JavaScript, and there is no shortage of other client-side analytics to feed you the posts to keep you engaged and to monitor your actions to construct ad profiles. A number of our outstanding bugs in TenFourFox are directly due to this, and some can’t be fixed without terrible consequences (such as Facebook’s asm.js draw code using little-endian floats, which would be a nightmare to constantly byteswap, which is why the reaction icons don’t show up), and pretty much none of them are easy to diagnose because all of their code is minified to hell. As they track changes in hardware and the browser base and rely on them, these problems continuously get worse. Most of TenFourFox’s development is done by me and me alone and a single developer simply can’t keep up with all the Web platform changes anymore.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • New Google Union Will Help Build Labor Struggle Against Technological Oppression
      • Ex-NSA contractor Reality Winner alleges sexual assault by guard in prison

        Reality Winner, the former U.S. intelligence analyst from South Texas who is serving a prison sentence for espionage, was sexually assaulted by a guard in the federal medical lockup in Fort Worth, her lawyer told the USA TODAY Network.

        Alison Grinter, who has represented Winner in her effort to win a reduced sentence and in other matters, said the Kingsville area native made a complaint to officials at the U.S. Bureau of Prison’s Medical Center-Carswell in March about the incident.

      • DoorDash Is Hiking Customer Fees to Pay for a Law It Helped Write

        The company-funded Yes on Prop 22 campaign claimed that not passing the ballot initiative would result in higher prices for consumers, and in early December, news first broke that gig companies would be charging more anyway to cover the cost of benefits promised in Prop 22 such as a healthcare stipend and a minimum pay guarantee. It’s also not clear whether these new benefits warrant price hikes as an October 2019 study by the Berkeley Labor Center of Proposition 22 found that driver pay would come out to $5.64 an hour. Nonetheless, companies in the coalition signaled they’d have to pass costs onto consumers instead of absorbing them into their already unprofitable enterprises.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Pakistan [Internet] connectivity collapses amid nation-scale power outage

        NetBlocks has identified a nation-scale power outage across Pakistan after 11:40 p.m. Saturday 9 January 2021 Islamabad time (6:40 p.m. UTC). Real time network data from the Internet Observatory show severe impact to telecommunications infrastructure leaving only 62% of the country’s observable [Internet] connectivity offline, with residential and business networks most impacted.

    • Monopolies

      • Sunday Surprises
        [Ed: “Intellectual property" -- basically a highly misleading propaganda term which does not mean anything and instead misinforms people -- is promoted by UCL]

        The UCL Institute of Brand and Innovation Law is hosting a course on “Intellectual property agreements: Law and practice” over six weeks starting on 16 February 2021. More information on this course is available here. Other courses hosted by UCL from January to March include “Introduction to Contracts”, “IP licensing: An advanced level drafting workshop”, “Privacy and Data: Law and Practice”, “Drafting “legal” clauses in commercial contracts” and “Contract Drafting Skills Workshop”.

      • Patents

        • [Old] The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls

          In the past, non-practicing entities (NPEs) – firms that license patents without producing goods – have facilitated technology markets and increased rents for small inventors. Is this also true for today’s NPEs? Or are they “patent trolls” who opportunistically litigate over software patents with unpredictable boundaries? Using stock market event studies around patent lawsuit filings, we find that NPE lawsuits are associated with half a trillion dollars of lost wealth to defendants from 1990 through 2010, mostly from technology companies. Moreover, very little of this loss represents a transfer to small inventors. Instead, it implies reduced innovation incentives.

        • Irish patent firm [sic] in multimillion dollar settlement with tech giants [Ed: Even Ireland has patent trolls and the Irish Times cheers for such parasites while abusing misleading propaganda terms such as "intellectual property"]

          Controversial Irish patent-holding company Neodrón has reached a multimillion dollar settlement with 10 of the world’s largest consumer electronics giants over the use of intellectual property it owns. [sic]

          Among the companies Neodrón has gone after for alleged patent violations are Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, HP Enterprise, Dell, Samsung, Sony, Lenovo and LG Electronics.

          The company, which has a registered office in Dublin 18, acquired a number of patents related to touchscreen technology for mobile devices from US company Microchip Technologies a number of years ago.

        • CVC Files Reply to Broad’s Opposition to CVC’s Miscellaneous Motion No. 6; Board Issues Orders [Ed: The sheer madness of patents on life and on nature is still being pursued by profiteering nuts]

          Motion practice continues in Interference No. 106,115 between Senior Party The Broad Institute, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively, “Broad”) and Junior Party the University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, “CVC”), with CVC filing on January 6th its Reply to Broad’s opposition to CVC’s Miscellaneous Motion No. 6 for leave to subpoena discovery (including depositions) from Luciano Marraffini and Shuailiang Lin, neither of whom is a party to this interference (pursuant to an Order authorizing filing of this Reply issued by the Board on December 28th).

          CVC’s motion was predicated on its contention that these witnesses had relevant testimony regarding Broad’s priority, dates of conception, and activities related to reduction to practice, that Broad would not voluntarily provide these witnesses for deposition, and that such testimony would contradict allegations in Broad’s priority statement. CVC also asserted that it had attempted to obtain their testimony voluntarily but had been refused, making subpoena the only avenue available for obtaining their evidence.

        • Both Sides Ask Albright For COVID Delay In HEB Patent Trial

          Grocery store chain HEB and Digital Retail Apps — which are battling over accusations that HEB infringed patents with an app to scan and pay for items in-store — filed a joint motion Friday asking U.S. District Judge Alan Albright of the Western District of Texas to postpone their jury trial set for February, citing safety concerns given the pandemic.

          HEB Grocery Company LP and Digital Retail Apps Inc. asked Judge Albright to push the Feb. 19 trial date back to April 19 in order to allow “the COVID-19 situation to ameliorate.”

          “The worsening COVID-19 pandemic has raised significant concerns for both parties’ attorneys, witnesses, and experts regarding the risks posed to anyone who attends inperson trial,” the parties said Friday.

        • COVID-19, Digitalisation and the GPTO – Three Worlds Collide

          While it is my impression that the IP profession, on the whole, has not had to suffer much under the current COVID-19 pandemic, the same is unfortunately not true for our patent attorney trainees. It all started in early 2020. By then about 1800 trainees had been busy for months learning and getting ready for the European Qualifying Examination, only to be informed – only a few weeks ahead of the exam – that the EQE 2020 has been cancelled due to COVID-19.

          Going forward, German trainees entering their Amtsjahr (the year they have to spend at the German Patent and Trademark Office and Federal Patent Court) were confronted with the double intricacies of remote learning and completely insufficient digital infrastructure on the side of their instructors. This culminated in them being told that they had to acquire a Webex license at their own expense; otherwise the Federal Patent Court would be unable to hold online lectures. And while you may be still scratching your head about whether it is a trainee’s duty to buy a Webex license for his or her employer (trainees are formally employed at the GPTO during this time period and are obliged to attend the lectures, although they do not receive a salary – another unique oddity in Germany), you better go and collect the money. It’s only 180 EUR for a moderately sized group of about 40-50. So the trainees obliged, collected and paid the license fee, and the online lessons started. Well, at least 3 or 4 of them. Then some worryguts at the Federal Patent Court discovered that Webex operates through two web servers, one in Frankfurt and one in London. The latter, however, might possibly not be in conformity with the infamous EU General Data Protection Regulation, since it is not (no longer) located in the EU. Again, no time to scratch your head about whether this is correct on the law and, if so, whether it means that no EU citizen is allowed any longer to hold their online TCs or lectures via Webex (comments welcome, I am not a GDPR expert). In any case, online lectures via Webex were ceased; instead a purely German application was used. I prefer to cover the comments I heard about the *quality* of this application with a gracious cloak of silence.


          Overall, and this is my (personal) comment on the above, the GPTO has really not covered itself in glory by cancelling these exams without even indicating a new date. Just put yourselves in the shoes of a trainee who is confronted with such a message about one month before their final exams for which they have been preparing themselves for months. This is not funny.

        • Supreme Court will hear Assignor Estoppel Case

          The appellate panel in the case upheld the doctrine of assignor estoppel, but also found that an assignor could collaterally attack via IPR since the PTO does not enforce the doctrine. The panel – led by Judge Stoll — also called for reconsideration of the doctrine “as it applies both in district court and in the Patent Office.”

        • Software Patents

          • Apple denied new VirnetX FaceTime patent trial

            After a battery of appeals, the Apple versus VirnetX legal battle over FaceTime patents appears to be finally over, with the judge at the heart of the case denying Apple’s motion for a new trial.

            Robert W. Schroeder III denied Apple’s motion for a new trial in the ongoing FaceTime patent misuse trial saga on Wednesday. In a parallel ruling, the judge also granted, but modified VirnetX’s motion for interest payments and other fees assessed to Apple.


            In March 2020, VirnetX confirmed that Apple sent a $454 million payment for infringing several of its patents through the FaceTime and VPN on Demand features.

          • Marathon Patent Group completes $200M capital raise [Ed: “Marathon Patent Group” is just a fancy name for an extortion apparatus or patent troll]

            U.S.-based Marathon Patent Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MARA) announced that it had successfully completed its previously announced $200 million shelf offering by utilizing its at-the-market (ATM) facility. Marathon ended the 2020 fiscal year with $217.6 million in cash and 74,656,549 shares outstanding because of the raise.

      • Trademarks

        • Around the Blogs

          Some lucky Kat readers might have received a Birkin for Christmas; Hermes itself received the festive gift of prevailing in the Japan IP High Court against an appeal brought by Tia Maria, the maker of ‘lookalike’ bags, as summarised by The Fashion Law.

        • CJEU on EU trademark appeals in 2020 – year in review

          Here‘s a look-back on the year that is about to end, with a promise not to say anything about Covid, Brexit, or Trump!

          This is about CJEU rulings in 2020 concerning appeals filed in trade mark matters – some numbers and observations – and wishes for 2021!

          The total number of CJEU rulings in such matters in 2020 was 51 (not counting 4 design cases and two procedural cases that had nothing to do with trademark matters). In three cases, there was no need to adjudicate as the parties settled or the appeal was withdrawn. So that leaves 48 decisions.

          Of these 48 decisions, 35 were orders and 13 were judgments. The 13 judgments all concerned cases lodged before 1 May 2019. Some of them contributed significantly although perhaps not always positively to the development of EU trademark law. None of them would have been handed down had the appeals been lodged after 1 May 2019, but more on this below.

        • Hermès Prevails in Japanese Case Over Birkin Lookalikes, as Court Points to Resale Market as Key Factor

          Hermès has prevailed in a trademark fight over the 3D shape of its iconic Birkin bag in Japan. Following a win in June when the Tokyo District Court determined that Kabushiki Kaisha Tia Maria (“Tia Maria”) had engaged in trademark infringement and passing off, the defendant handbag-seller appealed to the Japan IP High Court, arguing that, among other things, there are visual dissimilarities between the two parties’ bags, as well as marked differences in the prices and the quality of their offerings. Unpersuaded by Tia Maria’s arguments, the High Court sided with Hermès and ordered the defendant to pay JPY2,900,000 ($27,973) in damages.

      • Copyrights

        • Sci-Hub and Libgen Up against Academic Publishers: A Death Knell for Access to Research? – Part I

          The plaintiffs heavily rely on the decision in UTV Software Communication Ltd. v. 1337X.TO for seeking the defendant websites to be blocked and for a dynamic injunction to be issued against the same. In UTV, the Delhi High Court went into extensive detail on the issue of digital piracy and its impact on the movie industry. Pertinently, it delved into the question of when a website has to be blocked in its entirety as against a specific URL that contains the alleged infringing content. To this end, the court noted the significant impact that blocking of a website might have and hence the remedy has to be used with caution. Accordingly, the court only allowed it to be used against certain websites that it termed to be as ‘rogue’ websites.

          The court listed out nine suggestive, non-exhaustive factors to categorise a website as ‘rogue’ in nature. These factors are: (i) primary purpose of the website being copyright infringement; (ii) flagrancy of the infringement; (iii) hidden or non-traceable details of the website registrant; (iv) ignorance of take down notices; (v) the presence of directories, indexes or categories of the means to infringe; (vi) the general disregard to copyright by the owner; (vii) blocking of access to the website by other jurisdictions; (viii) presence of instructions on circumventing measures and court orders blocking access to the website; and (ix) the traffic on the websites. Per these factors, the website need not itself be carrying out the infringement, rather it also includes websites facilitating such infringement.

          It would be interesting to see how the court tests the present case on these criteria. Some of the factors including blocking by other jurisdictions, the extent of traffic, non-traceability of website owners, presence of indexes and categories, and ignorance of take down notices prima facie weigh in against the defendants. Similarly the regular updates of mirror links to access the websites could be seen as instructions on circumventing court orders. As to the general disregard of copyright law, the same also weighs slightly against the defendants. However, other factors require strict analysis by the court during the trial to determine the nature of material available on these websites. As Prof. Scaria points out, a lot of material on these websites might actually not be hit by copyright law such as works in which copyright has expired or those where the right vests in the author in which the publishers do not have any claim to begin with. As the plaintiffs have only provided a short illustrative list, a clear conclusion on the primary purpose of the website or the flagrancy of infringement requires a more thorough treatment. It has to be considered that the court in UTV itself had stated that the classification of a website as ‘rogue’ was a qualitative endeavour that requires establishment that the given website is “overwhelmingly infringing”. A sample size of hundred or so articles might not be sufficient to establish infringement to this extent when the total scope of works runs over 84 million each.

          Another allied issue that has to be addressed is that of granting a dynamic injunction as a remedy by the court. The court in UTV suggested it to be granted to stop what it termed as ‘hydra headed’ rogue websites that merely provide mirror links upon being blocked. In such circumstances, the court stated that the plaintiffs could implead the “mirror/redirect/alphanumeric websites under Order I Rule 10 CPC in the event they merely provide new means of accessing the same primary infringing websites that have been injuncted”. The power of supervision over the process was granted to the Joint Registrar, taking away the judicial oversight. This remedy becomes particularly problematic in the case at hand where there possibly exist a large number of non-infringing content on the concerned websites. If supposed the websites are blocked and they subsequently come up with an alphanumeric website hosting merely non-infringing content, the plaintiffs might even get them shut down given the broad leeway provided by a dynamic injunction, despite its emphasis on infringing works. Moreover, as we have discussed earlier on the blog, courts have not been particularly careful in structuring the dynamic injunction orders and have given broad-worded reliefs that can misused by the plaintiffs, thereby unreasonably constraining free speech. In this light, it is particularly important for the care to approach this plea with caution.

          With this background on the arguments raised by the plaintiffs in this dispute, I shall highlight the applicability of a fair dealing exception in Part II of this post (here). Part III (here) would then deal with the exception for education use in the Act and the relief of interim injunction sought by the plaintiffs.

        • Sci-Hub and Libgen Up against Academic Publishers: A Death Knell for Access to Research? – Part I

          In light of these decisions, it appears that the provision could be interpreted to include such use of works that facilitates research. In such a scenario, the court’s decision in this case would then depend heavily on how it appreciates the various factors of ‘fair dealing’ as highlighted above. It must be noted that if the fair dealing argument of the defendants is accepted by the court, this would not set a particularly dangerous precedent as some might fear. This is because the assessment will be particular to the facts at hand which themselves are peculiar in nature. The two features that distinguish this case from other concerns of piracy are the non-profit nature of the venture and the lack of impact on the owner’s market which is not met in any other piracy case. As an aside, even in the UTV case while assessing the website blocking and granting dynamic injunction, the court specifically noted the severe impact of digital piracy on the movie industry, which is far from being the case at hand.

          With this discussion on the applicability of the fair dealing exception in this post, and the background on the litigation and the dynamic injunction plea in Part I (here), in Part III (here) I shall deal with the exception for educational use in the Copyright Act and the relief of interim injunction sought by the plaintiffs.

        • Sci-Hub and Libgen Up against Academic Publishers: A Death Knell for Access to Research? – Part III

          Section 52(1)(i) of the Act allows for “the reproduction of any work” “by a teacher or a pupil in the course of instruction”. This provision was the focus of attention of the landmark DU Photocopy case. The Division Bench of the Delhi High Court had interpreted it to provide that so long as any given work is necessary for the purposes of educational instruction, reproduction of such work is permissible. This essentially means that if, for instance, the plaintiff’s works are necessary for educational instruction, copies of the same can be made by students for their use. Moreover, the Division Bench also specified that the use of any intermediary or agency by the concerned student or teacher for carrying out this copying would be permissible within this provision. The caveat, however, that the court provided was the incorporation of the element of fairness under this provision. It held that this fairness has to be “determined on the touchstone of ‘extent justified by the purpose’” and that “so much of the copyrighted work can be fairly used which is necessary to effectuate the purpose of the use i.e. make the learner understand what is intended to be understood.”

          Applying this rationale to the present case, the defendant websites can potentially be seen as intermediaries that provide access to works that are necessary in the course of instruction. This, however, would be a difficult argument to make for the defendants. This is because in a sense they will have to establish the necessity of each work that they have stored on their database for some instruction or the other. Moreover, it might also be contested on the grounds that under this claim the access to works should be restricted to only those for which it is necessary. For instance, it is difficult to argue why a law student necessarily requires access to scientific articles on nanotechnology.

          Even if this exception is deemed to be inapplicable, another factor needs to be considered. If the court decides against the defendants in this case, that will mean that the applicability of this exception will become minimal. As Divij has explained earlier, the academic publishing industry is already skewed against access for individual researchers, students, and the scientific community at large. Furthermore, a recent piece in Scroll on this litigation aptly highlights the necessity of the defendant websites for academia to tackle the challenges posed by this exploiting structure of publishing agencies (also see here). This challenge is stark even for those institutions with above-average access to subscribed databases. For instance, even for writing this post, I could not access some of the authoritative commentaries on copyright law for analysis, despite having significantly higher access to resources through my University than non-institutional researchers, and the exorbitant costs to buy an individual copy. The excessive costs of subscription charged by publishing houses has led to libraries around the world highlighting their inability to afford them, including Harvard in the past (see here, here, here, here, here, and most recently here and here). Even the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India’s largest science body, has had affordability difficulties in subscribing to major academic journals. As an aside, a detailed research on the availability of library budgets in Indian universities and the concerns on affordability of major databases within the same will be an interesting exercise. The figures for the top 3 NIRF ranked universities in Law, Medical, and Engineering share some interesting insights. For instance, the approximate expenditure on library in 2018-19 ranges from 30 lakhs to 2.4 crores in Law, 5.4 crores to 28.5 crores in Medical, and 16 crores to 19.5 crores in Engineering, in the top 3 ranked universities. These figures, however, offer a limited insight given their vast range and non-contextualised presentation as factors like receipt of external donations, extent of prior availability of resources, and segregation of expenditure on books and academic journals, significantly affects the viability of spending.

        • Copyright and the Sci-Hub/Libgen Case: A Constitutional Query

          By now, most readers are likely to be aware of the case against the shadow libraries Sci-Hub and LibGen, by three publishing houses. We had a post questioning why ‘poorer’ countries were still allowing copyright law to act as a hindrance to development here, and a three-part post looking into the case against Sci-Hub and LibGen, the fair dealing exception and the education use exception here, here and here. We’re pleased to now bring you an incisive post by Saral Minocha looking into questions of constitutionality that this dispute may raise. Saral is a graduate from NLU Delhi (2017). After working in a law firm for a couple of years, he is now teaching at CLAT Possible.


          Irrespective of how this litigation ends, the conversation that it has triggered about the link between copyright law and free speech rights must be continued. This conversation can lead to two solutions: First, an amendment in copyright law that either compels copyright owners to make educational materials available at a reasonable cost (a statutory license scheme?) or clarifies the exceptions to copyright infringement to the effect that research is not inhibited by exercise of copyright. Second, the Constitution can be amended to include “copyright” as a ground in Article 19(2). As things stand in the Constitution, however, I submit that to the extent that our copyright law inhibits research, it invalidly restricts the right in Article 19(1)(a), and therefore, to that extent, it is void. The ongoing litigation, therefore, must, on constitutional grounds if not copyright-related grounds, be decided in the favour of the defendants.

        • Court: Texas Man Must Stop Selling Pirate Boxes on Facebook

          A federal court in Texas has granted a permanent injunction against a local resident who sold pirate streaming boxes through Facebook. The man was identified following an undercover operation. He also faces a $1.6 million damages claim from the Philippine media giant ABS-CBN, but the court needs more info on this request before it can make a final decision.

        • UFC Piracy: Here Are Dana White’s Legal Options Following Streaming Threat

          In response to a fan saying he couldn’t wait to pirate the upcoming rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, UFC President Dana White recently warned that his company has a “surprise” waiting for pirates in 2021. So what options does combat sports’ most outspoken boss have in his arsenal?

As Microsoft Windows Drops to Just 30% Market Share the Microsoft-Connected ‘Net Applications’ Wants You to Think Windows Still Has Over 90% of the Market

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: StatCounter says Windows is down to 30% this month (Android is at over 42%) and it’s time to talk about the lies which are still being spread by Net Applications (many so-called ‘news’ sites helped spread those lies last year, including so-called ‘Linux’ sites)

THE shareholders of Microsoft may still choose to self-delude and live in a world where everything is Windows and where Azure doesn’t have layoffs (it does actually, but Microsoft defrauds its shareholders and isn’t telling them what’s really going on).

I’ve been writing about the market share of “Linux” (however one defines that) for many years, even in the “official” media. The impact and the importance of GNU/Linux is far bigger than corporate media is willing to publicly acknowledge; like the Linux Foundation, people who run this media don’t have basic understanding of GNU/Linux and they’re instead pursuing money (and let’s face it, there’s more money in misleading and lying than in spreading actual facts).

The above video, which relates to this one, was made in response to the latest figures from StatCounter; they show the ongoing downward trend of Windows. It is a plunge. No wonder Microsoft keeps trying to advertise a ‘free’ Vista 10 (this became increasingly frantic a campaign in recent weeks/months). Microsoft is spying on all Windows users to keep count; it knows far too well what’s going on. It’s bleeding.

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 10, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:25 am by Needs Sunlight

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

text logs

text logs

#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

text logs

text logs

#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now

IPFS Mirrors

CID Description Object type
 QmQnQ6N2cLFooHpba4D7bF2Ugjiw4FM5XU3ZRDFkKCNEsU IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmP35YNwDgMiX8RLK9iVhXzuC4YuDSEuhbBUUCj4MhTHSn IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmREvTTo4YRdnpNyXFjhkeozjVpz7yJCvsVRV7Lhqx1bGT IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmSP5i6T1s6YaqRMHDsd7prvHbFwAzS992DzcJ7B1ocn6N IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmW6NfqyDxFG8SdXjStA7EwxQdm2WKD3ynVATHMfSF5Eh4 IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmXVbSEq1WYRvQFxAEuhEVBFqU5qy9NxGFCmUmDjtAY5ri IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmYhNpCgJr3ttb2h7zbea2XEQMu9pkekmeQPvpX4KPqVzz IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmSfHdyFiwQAVQoij6FUTGX8d2RvRnaY8TteFPgzgoDtXn IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs

IPFS logo

Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmTioT2gP3XfUN7pt6ZeHG9qfg9Psg4b34Kj1YVUYV7GU3

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

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

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

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

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

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts