Links 2/2/2021: New Desktop Installer With Ubuntu 21.10 and SparkyLinux Report

Posted in News Roundup at 12:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • JingOS is an Ubuntu-based Linux distro designed for tablets (and maybe phones)

      There are a plenty of Linux-based operating systems that can run on desktop computers or servers. And there’s a growing number that run on phones (although most are pretty rough around the edges at this point).

      But JingOS is one of the first Linux distributions that’s designed specifically for tablets. It has a touch-friendly user interface that’s inspired by Apple’s iPadOS, as the developers at Chinese company Jingling explained when they started posting preview videos of the operating system in January.

    • Lenovo IdeaPad 3 & Manjaro – Surprisingly excellent

      Here’s the deal. I got meself a new test laptop – to use side-by-side with the aging G50, plus I’m sort of retiring a couple of really ancient machines from yesterdecade. Anyway, IdeaPad 3 seems like a decent mid-range machine, and in my original triple-boot configuration, things went fairly smoothly, then things kind of soured somewhat, mostly on the Windows side, and then, I decided to expand my Linux-focused testing.

      I chose Manjaro 20.2 Nibla as the next choice – after testing 20.1 Mikah not that long ago. The latter proved quite all right, so I thought, let’s see what the next point release in this rolling distro can do, especially on some new hardware. Always a worthy check, especially since it’s quite different from the Ubuntu family I’ve tried so far. Well, commence to start.

    • All The Best Computers From Cambridge Boot To Basic

      It boots into a GNU/Linux shell or a fully-featured desktop GUI rather than as proper computers should, to a BASIC interpreter.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Elementary OS is Bringing Multi-Touch Gestures to the OS

        For the longest time, when Linux users wanted to employ gestures for their trackpads, they’d have to go to great lengths to install and configure third-party software. Many times, that configuration was handled by way of text-based configuration files. Because of this, a large number of mobile Linux users did without.

        The developers of one of the most user-friendly Linux distributions on the market are hoping to change that, with plans to include multi-touch gesture support in the upcoming elementary OS 6 release.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #390: Build-a-Pi Deep Dive | Linux in the Ham Shack

        Hello and welcome to Episode 390 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts interview Jason, KM4ACK, the author of the Build-a-Pi shack computer build script. We cover where to get the script, how to use it to create your shack machine and a few tips and tricks for better operation and configuration of your ham radio applications. Jason also has an informative YouTube channel and is a great resource. Hope you enjoy this episode and have fun building a Pi for your shack and operating often.

      • GNU World Order 391

        All about **workbone** , **xfsdump** , and **zsh** from the **AP** software series of Slackware Linux

      • Destination Linux 211: Sudo Make Me A Business, With Open Source Seasoning – Destination Linux

        Many dream of starting their own business one day. Well this week we’re going to have some fun and plan out our own start-up company using only open-source software. Whether you have your own business or plan to start one in the future, this is a segment you don’t want to miss. We’re also covering a new decentralized app that’s made it’s way to the market and we will be covering the SUDO vulnerability that’s hit every major Linux distro out there. Plus we’ve also got our famous tips, tricks and software picks. All of this and so much more this week on Destination Linux.

      • Community Distro Challenge #1: Garuda Linux!

        Ditch your daily driver OS and join Jason for a Linux distro challenge! The adventure begins with Garuda Linux, a gorgeous, customized Arch-based distro with a dozen different flavors.

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 110

        Graham’s Pi microcontroller prediction comes true, great progress with Linux on M1 Macs, Element’s Play Store troubles, hope for Firefox and web standards docs, mixed VR news, a new tablet distro in KDE Korner, and more.

    • Kernel Space

      • ‘It’s dead, Jim’: Torvalds marks Intel Itanium processors as orphaned in Linux kernel

        The Linux kernel will no longer support Intel Itanium processors following a decision by Linus Torvalds to merge a patch marking the architecture as orphaned.

        “HPE no longer accepts orders for new Itanium hardware, and Intel stopped accepting orders a year ago,” said Torvalds in a comment on the code. “While Intel is still officially shipping chips until July 29, 2021, it’s unlikely that any such orders actually exist. It’s dead, Jim.”

        Itanium was jointly developed by HP and Intel, and is used in HP Integrity servers. When it was under development in the ’90s, it was intended to be the dominant future architecture for enterprise computing and killed off competing efforts such as DEC Alpha. It was supported by Windows NT, HP-UX, Linux, OpenVMS, Solaris and others.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Trimming apitrace workload captures for better Mesa testing

          Apitrace is a very good tool for recording the OpenGL calls of applications so that one can debug OpenGL issues and test performance and the correctness of the rendering without having access to the application. The latter is already done in the mesa CI. However, especially with games, because of intros, menus, and loading screens the traces can become rather large before the actual, interesting rendering happens. This puts a heavy computational burden on the CI runners that could be avoided if the trace could be trimmed to just render the frame(s) of interest. As an alternative RenderDoc exists that can be use to capture and replay exactly one frame, but it doesn’t support compatibility contexts, a feature that is used by many games.

        • Collabora talk enhancing apitrace with gltrim to get replayable cut traces | GamingOnLinux

          Developers working across different areas of Linux are always looking for ways to squeeze a bit more performance, and it seems Collabora came up with a new way to performance test with upgrades to apitrace.

          For those unaware: apitrace is a set of tools for tracing, replaying and inspecting calls to various APIs like OpenGL and a fair amount of Direct3D too. It’s a way for developers to see what’s really going on and then perhaps optimize.

          Collabora have announced in a fresh blog post ‘gltrim’, which is a new tool that has been added to apitrace “that is designed to trim traces to user selected target frame(s)”. There’s already one such tool available but they say the benefit here is that “resulting traces can always be replayed”.

    • Benchmarks

      • GNOME XWayland Radeon Gaming Performance Is In Good Shape For Ubuntu 21.04

        With Ubuntu 21.04 planning to use Wayland by default with GNOME aside from when running on NVIDIA graphics, you may be wondering about the current performance delta between running GNOME Shell on the X.Org session for Linux gaming versus its quite solid Wayland support. Or, rather, in the case of most games still – piped through XWayland. Here are some fresh benchmarks looking at the GNOME X.Org vs. Wayland performance on Ubuntu with the Radeon RX 6800 XT.

        After last week’s announcement of Canonical looking to use Wayland by default with Ubuntu 21.04, I ran some fresh benchmarks looking at the (X)Wayland performance relative to the default X.org Server 1.20 session. This round of benchmarks was using Ubuntu 20.10 with the latest GNOME 3.38.2 stable release updates while using Linux 5.11 and Mesa 21.1.0-devel for the very latest Radeon Linux graphics stack and similar to what will be found with Ubuntu 21.04. As noted previously, Ubuntu 21.04 is also planning to stick to GNOME 3.38 for the Ubuntu 21.04 cycle.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Bryan Quigley: PipeWire plays it

        I’m running Debian 11 (testing) with XFCE and getting PipeWire up and running was relatively easy – although explicitly unsupported for Debian 11.

      • Tiger Oakes: Turning junk phones into an art display

        To keep the phones from falling off, I use Velcro. It’s perfect for securely attaching the phones to the board while allowing them to be removed if needed.

        Before sticking them on, I also double-checked that the phones turn on at all. Most do, and the ones that are busted make a nice extra decoration.

        If the phone does turn on, enable developer mode. Open settings, open the System section, and go to “About phone”. Developer mode is hidden here – by tapping on “Build number” many times, you eventually get a prompt indicating you are now a true Android developer.

        The wires are laid out with a bunch of tiny wire clips. $7 will get you 100 of these clips in a bag, and I’ve laid them out so each clip only contains 1 or 2 wires. The wires themselves are all standard phone USB cables you probably have lying around for charging. You can also buy extra cables for less than a dollar each at Monoprice.

        All the wires feed into a USB hub. This hub lets me connect all the phones to a computer just using a single wire. I had one lying around, but similar hubs are on Amazon for $20. The hub needs a second cable that plugs directly into an outlet and provides extra power, since it needs to charge so many phones.

      • How to Reset Change MySQL Root Password – Cloudbooklet

        How to Reset, Change MySQL Root Password on Ubuntu or Debian or CentOS. Ever forgotten your MySQL root password or fixing a MySQL installation on a new server, we have all been there.

        In this guide you are going to learn how to reset or change or update MySQL root password in MySQL 8, MySQL 5.7 and MySQL 5.6.

      • How to install Slade 3 on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Slade 3, a Doom editor, on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How to install Minecraft on Linux Mint 20.1 – YouTube
      • How to Install Deb Packages in Ubuntu, Debian & Mint

        The Deb package file is the official file format of an installable software bundle in Debian and Debian-based Linux distributions. A .deb is the extension of these package files and dpkg (Debian package manager) is the utility to install these packages.

        A Deb package contains files required by the specific software and metadata files. Metadata files contain information like the version number, dependencies, etc.

      • How to Disable Bluetooth on Ubuntu System Startup

        Linux comes with plenty of drivers for various devices and technologies, as part of the kernel. Each driver is implemented as a kernel module and thus shipped with every Linux distribution.

        One such module is the Bluetooth module. Since Bluetooth is a popular and even a default technology included in electronic devices nowadays, distributions like Ubuntu come with a pre-installed Bluetooth app as well.

      • How Install Plex Media Server on Fedora

        Plex media server is a self-hosted media player system to store your movies, shows, music and photos. The client app is used to play those media from the server.

        Plex media server requirements recommend at least Intel Core i3 (or equivalent) and a minimum of 2GB of RAM for better performance.

      • How to Convert Raw Camera Image to JPEG in Linux

        Whenever a picture is clicked with a digital camera, the image is stored in a raw format, i.e. without any algorithm run over it, or without any loss of data. Modern cameras do have options to directly export images to a format like JPEG or PNG, but by default, it’s stored as a raw image.

        The raw format can differ from camera to camera, and usually cameras of the same brand store the image in the same format. The raw image file is however not suitable when it comes to image processing, storing, or just viewing it on any device. Most operating systems do not by default have software to view raw images. For these reasons, we need to convert the raw image files to well-known image file formats.

      • How to Install and Setup Universal Media Server in Ubuntu 20.04 | UbuntuHandbook

        This tutorial is going to show you how to install and setup Universal Media Server in Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop and Server.

        Universal Media Server, UMS in short, is a DLNA-compliant UPnP media server allows streaming media files to a wide range of devices including video game consoles, smart TVs, smartphones, and Blu-ray players.

      • How to recon Domains and IPs with Spyse toolset – Linux Hint

        Reconnaissance, shortly termed as recon, refers to the set of related activities and techniques to gather the information of a target system. For instance, various techniques are used to perform reconnaissance like Footprinting scanning, etc. Reconnaissance lies in the category of ethical hacking and can be performed by a specialized person. There are many cybersecurity software tools out there that help us to perform the reconnaissance, but few are nearly as good as Spyse.
        Spyse takes a very out-of-the-box route when it comes to online security, and for this reason, it has found a following among cybersecurity enthusiasts. It can be used in the service of a search engine; it can collect large swathes of data off the web. This translates into a compelling quality. This tool has its database, which is the biggest cybersecurity database on the internet. You can get your hands on some seriously heavy-duty reconnaissance data with the Spyse database.

      • Raspbery Pi as a Brother print server – Lukáš Zapletal

        This is a tutorial on how to use Raspberry Pi as a print server. In my case it’s RPi 4 with Brother 7065DN.

        The first step is to download a Raspbian image, I suggest the “headless” image which does not have a graphical environment. In my case, I downloaded a 64bit image which is still in alpha because I wanted to be prepared for the future.

      • Install Memcached with Apache on Ubuntu 20.04 | RoseHosting Blog

        Memcached is an open-source object caching program that speeds up your database performance by caching data in memory. It is very useful for dynamic websites that allow repeated PHP object calls to be cached in system memory. It stores data based on key-values for small arbitrary strings or objects. It offers a lot of features including, ease of use, sub-millisecond latency, multithreaded architecture, data partitioning, support for multiple languages, and many more.

      • LHB Digest #21.03: Sysadmin Interview Tips, Self-hosting Google Analytics Alternative and Linux Basics

        This edition shares information on self-hosting Plausible, sysadmin job interview tips and basic Linux concepts like login shell and sub shell.

      • Connect And Disconnect WiFi From Commandline In Linux – OSTechNix

        Even though getting things done via graphical mode is quite easy, you should know how to perform most of the tasks from commandline in Linux. Because, there are chances that you may need to work with Linux servers with no GUI! Also some specific tasks might be uncooperative or unresponsive in graphical mode. In this brief guide, we will learn one of the basic Linux networking concept i.e. how to connect and disconnect WiFi from commandline in Linux operating system.

        There are multiple ways to activate and deactivate wireless networks in Linux from commandline. Here, we are going to discuss about two commandline tools namely nmcli and nmtui. Both comes pre-installed in many modern Linux distributions.

      • What Is a Process in Linux?

        Understanding process and jobs is a key aspect to getting to grips with Linux. Here’s what you need to know.

        The term process is often unfamiliar to anyone without a Computer Science background. However, it’s one that is often used when discussing Linux programming, and processes are essential to system administration work.

        Linux also uses the term job to refer to a very similar concept. The difference is subtle but important, and job control is a useful tool when running a multi-tasking environment. You can use a number of tools and built-in commands to juggle jobs.

    • Games

      • First-person hack and slash Lichenvale has an Alpha Demo available | GamingOnLinux

        Enjoy classic hack and slashers? Lichenvale looks like it could be promising and you can try out an early build now.

        “Inspired by 90′s hits like Hexen and Quake, Lichenvale is a first person hack and slash offering: fast-paced melee action mixed with the tactical use of spells and dashing around your enemies. This singleplayer title will feature a story mod with up to 10 maps full of various progressively difficult mobs, regional and main bosses, as well as some light puzzling. Those seeking an adventure are awaited in the New Game+ mode.”

      • FOSS game engine GDevelop gets early support for tile-based maps | GamingOnLinux

        Getting increasingly more useful and powerful, the open source game engine GDevelop has another new version up with the first iteration of support for tile-based maps.

        It’s in the experimental stages, so there’s plenty of limitations but the work is in and will expand over time. Currently, it supports pulling in maps made with Tiled, a general purpose open source tile map editor for all tile-based games. A pretty huge addition when you think about all the games that have tile-based maps, probably a lot more than you realise. Having out of the box support for it, even in the early stages, is quite important.

      • Try out the brand new demo for PRIM, a point-and-click with some fantastic art | GamingOnLinux

        Inspired by the works of Tim Burton, PRIM is an upcoming point and click adventure that looks to be unmissable.

        Developed by Common Colors and mentioned previously by us here, “PRIM is a story of a father learning to let go and a girl finding out who she really is. But it’s also a thrilling adventure, full of magic and darkness. On her journey, Prim repeatedly has to switch between the Realm of the Dead and the Land of the Living, where she faces demons, real ones and ones within herself, while always being accompanied by her sidekick, an eye with spider legs.”.

      • Ludusavi seems like a pretty good open source game save backup tool | GamingOnLinux

        Need something to keep your game saves backed up with a friendly UI? Ludusavi is one such project that’s free and open source, so anyone can help with it. Cross-platform too across Linux, macOS and Windows!

        The way it works is pretty interesting, with saved game data scraped from PCGamingWiki and then stored into a main file that’s continually updated and downloaded when you use the app itself. It doesn’t entirely rely on that though, as you can also add custom locations of what to backup.

      • AMD’s GPUs and CPUs are becoming seriously popular with Linux gamers

        As Boiling Steam notes, the Steam hardware report doesn’t provide enough depth to drill-down into PC configurations, but ProtonDB – a site that tracks the compatibility of games with Valve’s Proton (the runtime for playing Steam games on Linux) – is more useful in this respect, if more limited in terms of sample size.

        At any rate, going with a sample of over 110,000 Linux gamers drawn from ProtonDB, when it comes to graphics cards, Nvidia is clearly in the lead – but not nearly as dominant as it is in the broader PC gaming arena.

        As of January 2021, 37.5% of Linux gamers have thrown their lot in with AMD, meaning Nvidia owns a 62.5% market share, Boiling Steam observes. That is, of course, still very much the majority, but compare that to recent figures from analytics firm Jon Peddie Research (JPR) for the overall discrete GPU market, where Nvidia has been seen to own an 80% market share.

      • Google shutting their internal game dev studios, focusing directly on Stadia tech
      • Check out the free wonderful point and click mystery-comedy Loco Motive | GamingOnLinux

        Love a good murder mystery? Check out the absolutely charming Loco Motive which was made for the AdvXJam 2020 Game Jam. Impressive with the amount of effort and quality that went into this one, from Robust Games which is made of developers from the likes of Chucklefish along with Paul Zimmermann for the audio.

        “Loco Motive is a murder mystery-comedy, full of deadly surprises, larger than life characters and yes, the occasional blood fountain! Mr. Arthur Ackerman finds himself in the personal employ of Lady Unterwald, an eccentric heiress of the Wald-Bahn rail company.

        On the verge of a landmark speech, you’ve been summoned to make a last minute amendment to her Will – aboard her flagship luxury train, The Reuss Express. Little does Arthur know, he’s about to become embroiled in a murder, a mystery and worst of all… an adventure!”

      • Next-gen escape room experience coming to Linux with Escape Simulator | GamingOnLinux

        Escape Simulator from Pine Studio (SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell, Faraway: Director’s Cut) is a next-generation escape room puzzler with both solo and co-op modes. Planned to release sometime in 2021, Pine Studio confirmed to GamingOnLinux that it will support Linux and they are already testing the early Alpha builds on Linux too.

        “ESCAPE SIMULATOR is a platform for immersive escape rooms. You can pick up and examine every object, drag furniture, smash vases and glass, burn things, melt locks – all of this in the interest of solving challenging (and fun!) puzzles. You can play solo or join up with a friend. New room is coming out every week and community gets to decide the next theme!”

      • Imperator: Rome DLC Heirs of Alexander with a free 2.0 update out February 16 | GamingOnLinux

        Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studio have announced the next paid expansion and major free upgrade for Imperator: Rome and they’re both launching February 16. This has been worked on alongside Paradox Thalassic, a somewhat new studio that was announced formally back in September 2020. Their team has dipped into plenty of PDS titles and they continue to help bring up Imperator too.

        Heirs of Alexander, a new Content Pack for Imperator: Rome is the first announcement. Focusing on the successor kingdoms to Alexander the Great’s empire, this Content Pack adds greater depth to playing out the grand ambitions of the Seleucid, Ptolemaic, Antigonid and Macedonian kingdoms.

      • Minetest 5.4.0 to make downloading mods and games a lot easier | GamingOnLinux

        Minetest is the free and open source voxel game engine, inspired originally by Minecraft it’s gradually becoming bigger and better with lots of available games for it. A new release is on the horizon with Minetest 5.4.0 now having a first Release Candidate, a time where they need as many people as possibly to test it out and ensure it all works properly.

        Back when Minetest 5.0 released in 2019, they added an in-game UI to download mods and games. It worked and they improved it a bit each release but a pain point was the dependency system. One mod needed another, needing another and so on. Finding them all was a hassle but perhaps not anymore. The 5.4 release has a whole new UI flow for downloading games and mods, along with dependency resolution, an update all ability, and download queues.

      • Minetest 5.4.0 release candidate 1 – Minetest Forums

        The Minetest 5.4.0 feature freeze has begun, which means we’d be very grateful for help testing the prerelease version. If all goes well, this will be released on the 6th of February

      • 10 Best Minecraft Editors and Utilities for Linux
      • AMD vs Nvidia: Which Is More Popular Among Linux Users? | Tom’s Hardware [Ed: Bad data, bad survey. You cannot narrow down a survey only to GNU/Linux users who embrace games and DRM for games.]

        Linux might only make up a very small portion of the operating system market share (about 1-2% depending on who you ask), but it’s a dedicated minority, filled with loyalists who are willing to stick with the OS despite compatibility issues thanks to its heavy customizability and open-source nature. In other words, people who use Linux tend to be pretty versed in tech. That’s probably why Boiling Steam, a site dedicated to gaming on Linux, thought it might be illuminating to do some research into what type of hardware Linux users prefer. In the AMD vs Nvidia debate, we finally have some numbers on what the most discerning tech wizards prefer…as well as which manufacturers better serve their unique needs.

      • Steam Linux Use Ticks Back Just Under 1% For Starting 2021

        With the start of the new month comes the Steam Survey figures out of Valve for the month prior. For January 2021 there is an increase in the Linux gaming percentage as it gets back to flirting with the 1% mark.


        When looking at the survey results for Linux it shows AMD continuing to widdle away at Intel’s CPU market dominance, Radeon Polaris GPUs still being quite popular and the GeForce GTX 1060, and 1080p gaming still going strong.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Calamares CI Infrastructure

          Up until recently, Calamares used Travis-CI, on the “.org” plan for Open Source projects. Not that the commit-rate for Calamares is huge, but I think we also tried reasonably well to be mindful of the resources used at Travis – they support Open Source development, best be polite. However, Travis-CI support for Open Source is changing – some would say shutting down – and it looks like it is going to turn into a hassle, with administrative futzing instead of “just running and being there”.

          Calamares itself is hosted on GitHub, so if CI has got to move anyway, it may as well move to GitHub itself, right? There’s this fancy “actions” stuff that can do CI. Thankfully I could borrow some expertise from Manjaro to do initial setup (thank you Jonas!) to get things started.

          tl;dr: Yuck

          Unlike my previous experience with Travis and GitLab, I constantly have a feeling of impedance mismatch: the way I expect to get things done is not How Things are Done in GitHub CI. The documentation is extensive, but doesn’t answer the kind of questions I have. There’s tons of examples, none of which fit my kind of use-case (build a C++ application and then send a notification that it happened). There’s a “marketplace” where you can browse actions – I guess calling something a store somehow makes it classy – and there’s a zillion npm-based actions and deploying to Azure is simple and saying hi on Slack can be done in a dozen ways.

          Nowhere is there a “cmake ; make ; make install ; send-message-to-Freenode” kind of example; let alone an example that takes you by the hand to explore the information you have during the build.

        • Four Seasons of Leon and Kiki: a Drawing Contest

          Together with Huion, we’re having a contest! Huion is sponsoring the contest with awesome hardware and goodies, and we’re providing the Digital Atelier brush preset bundle for free for the duration of the contest!

        • Krita Announces Four Seasons of Leon and Kiki Drawing Contest

          The free software drawing program project Krita has announced a drawing contest. If you are good at drawing then you can draw a picture with Kiki and Leon and win a drawing tablet from Huion, who is sponsoring the contest. Huion does not offer any official GNU/Linux support for their tablets.


          You can use the excellent free software Krita drawing program, available for GNU/Linux, macOS and Windows, to create your artwork – but you do not have to, you can create your art any way you want as long as your work is original. You can draw on a piece of paper and scan it if that is what you prefer.

        • KDE Plasma Mobile running on the Librem 5 Linux smartphone [Bhushan Shah/YouTube]
      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 40 Approaches Its UI Freeze, Easy Means To Start Testing It

          The user interface changes for GNOME 40 are quickly nearing the finish line with just two weeks to go until the UI freeze.

          GNOME Shell recently merged its new horizontal workspaces, among other changes. The official GNOME Shell & Mutter development blog put out a new post on Monday highlighting their latest efforts. They are working to get the remaining big items in place over the next two weeks before the freeze and then an “intense period of polishing and bug fixing.”

        • Another Shell UX Update

          First off, a summary of where we are. Development work has been proceeding apace, and the main batch of changes are currently in the process of being merged into master. Other polish changes are being queued up alongside this, ready to be merged.

          This work has primarily been undertaken by Georges Stravacas, with assistance from Florian Müllner. Georges has even been doing live coding sessions, where you can see him do the work in real time!

          We currently have about two weeks until UI freeze. This means that, once the major changes have been merged, we will have a short, intense period of polishing and bug fixing work. (If we discover issues after the freeze, there’s also the possibility of getting exceptions to land changes.)

        • Triple Buffering Likely Not Landing Until GNOME 42 – Phoronix

          In the works over the past year for the GNOME desktop environment is dynamic triple buffering when the GPU is running behind in rendering the desktop. In doing so, the GPU utilization should increase and the GPU clock frequencies in turn should ramp up to meet the demand – thereby ideally getting the rendering back on track if prior frames were running late. That triple buffering support has been re-based to the GNOME 40 code-base but still is unlikely to land until the next cycle with GNOME 42.

        • Desktop Team Updates – Monday 1st February 2021

          Hi everyone, below you will find the updates from the Desktop team from the last week. If you’re interested in discussing a topic please start a thread in the Desktop area of Discourse .

          We also have our weekly meeting on IRC. We meet on Tuesday at 13:30 UTC in #ubuntu-desktop on Freenode. There will be an “Any Other Business” section at the end where you are welcome to raise topics. These topics might be discussed during the meeting, or afterwards depending on the time, depth of conversation, topic and so on.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • Exploring Swap on FreeBSD | Klara Inc.

          On modern Unix-like systems such as FreeBSD, “swapping” refers to the activity of paging out the contents of memory to a disk and then paging it back in on demand. The page-out activity occurs in response to a lack of free memory in the system: the kernel tries to identify pages of memory that probably will not be accessed in the near future, and copies their contents to a disk for safekeeping until they are needed again. When an application attempts to access memory that has been swapped out, it blocks while the kernel fetches that saved memory from the swap disk, and then resumes execution as if nothing had happened.

          All of the above might sound perfectly sensible. After all, disks are typically much larger than RAM, so why not use them to cache infrequently accessed pages of memory? Yet, many experienced system administrators treat swapping as an abnormal activity, a sign of something amiss. This is justifiable: until relatively recently, the disks typically used for swapping had access latencies millions of times higher than RAM.

        • BREAKING pf(4) change: change route-to so it sends packets to IPs instead of interfaces.

          Does your pf configuration have route-to rules? If so, you need to consider the implications of this commit by David Gwynne (dlg@) carefully.


          This change is intended to make configuration and maintenance easier, but it runs a high risk of breaking existing configurations. Read on for the rest of David’s commit message, with some background.

        • 2021/02/01 – pf routing syntax changes

          Syntax for PF’s routing options (route-to, reply-to, dup-to) has changed. If you do not have console access and use these features, review /etc/pf.conf before updating; the previous syntax will be rejected by pfctl(8).

        • OpenZFS 2.0.2 Released With Fixes, Compatibility Against Latest FreeBSD – Phoronix

          OpenZFS 2.0.2 is out today as the latest version of this open-source ZFS file-system implementation currently supported on Linux and FreeBSD systems.

          Since last year’s release of the big OpenZFS 2.0, it was followed up by a point release providing early fixes and Linux 5.10 support while now a second point release has arrived.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Getting a package from openSUSE to SLE

          I was looking forward to updating a package (enchant) with a backported patch from upstream and wanted it to be included in both SLE offerings and openSUSE. I’m used to working within the community from the past, so even though I’m a SUSE employee I wanted to contribute without using anything internal.

          I filed a bug and did a request to first get the patch into Tumbleweed via GNOME:Factory. That was easy, but then I looked on how to get the same patch into the stable releases. Since openSUSE and SUSE are now coming closer, I found documentationa about the Jump and mailing lists described some documents for example that there either is or is going to be a new redirector service, and suggestion was to target openSUSE:Jump:15.2 at one point.

      • Arch Family


          And January is over! Time has frankly been moving fast the past days. Packaging wise, things has been fine. Added tailscale and some other minor packages, but had a real purge of old packages from resigned maintainers. Also dropped ntop to the AUR which hasn’t been actively developed for years at this point. I’m curious when people are going to bug me about that one :) On the security side of things there has been quite a lot happening just the past week.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat Satellite 6.8.3 has been released

          We are pleased to announce that Red Hat Satellite 6.8.3 is generally available as of February 1, 2021.

          Red Hat Satellite is part of the Red Hat Smart Management subscription that makes it easier for enterprises to manage patching, provisioning, and subscription management of Red Hat Enterprise Linux infrastructure.

          The erratum for this release includes…

        • The NeuroFedora Blog: Next Open NeuroFedora meeting: 1 February 1500 UTC

          Please join us at the next regular Open NeuroFedora team meeting on Monday 1 February at 1300UTC in #fedora-neuro on IRC (Freenode). The meeting is a public meeting, and open for everyone to attend.

        • CloudLinux Releases AlmaLinux Beta | Business Wire

          AlmaLinux, the open source enterprise-level Linux distribution created as an alternative to CentOS, is released in beta with most RHEL packages and is ready for community testing. A stable release is planned for the end of the Q1 2021.

          AlmaLinux is a 1:1 binary fork of RedHat Linux Enterprise Linux (RHEL), backed with a $1 million annual sponsorship by CloudLinux, with support provided until at least 2029. The new distro is based on a community-driven approach to fill the gap left by the CentOS stable release’s demise.

        • AlmaLinux Beta Is Available For Download

          After CentOS developers announced that they are shifting their focus from CentOS Linux to CentOS Stream, a lot of users, developers and companies that relies on CentOS are disappointed. Fortunately, the team at CloudLinux quickly came forward to develop a new CentOS replacement named AlmaLinux. As promised, Cloud Linux team has announced the release of AlmaLinux beta version and is available for community testing. A stable release is planned for the end of the Q1 2021.

        • AlmaLinux, the CentOS Linux replacement, beta is out

          After Red Hat, CentOS’s Linux parent company, announced it was shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to CentOS Stream, which tracks just ahead of a current RHEL release, many CentOS users were annoyed. CloudLinux, a company that had long made an eponymous RHEL clone for multi-tenant web and server hosting companies, announced it would create a new CentOS clone, AlmaLinux. It’s now available as a beta.

        • AlmaLinux Beta released, the CentOS replacement is ready for testing

          AlmaLinux, the open source enterprise-level Linux distribution created as an alternative to CentOS, is released in beta with most RHEL packages and is ready for community testing. A stable release is planned for the end of the Q1 2021.


          The CloudLinux engineering team gathered the community’s frequently asked questions and published technical details on the AlmaLinux Wiki as resources for additional information.

          An important tool released with the AlmaLinux beta is the bug tracker. CloudLinux will work closely with bug tickets to further develop AlmaLinux and deliver the stable release. Registered users can file bug reports that will be reviewed and prioritized by the engineering team.

        • Much-Anticipated CentOS Alternative ‘AlmaLinux’ Beta Released for Testing

          CloudLinux is behind the initial development and maintenance of AlmaLinux. They have announced that they will be backing AlmaLinux with a $1 Million annual sponsorship and a support commitment through 2029. They are also aiming to keep it free and open-source forever with no licenses and usage restrictions.

          They are already a known provider of custom OSes and support based on RHEL e.g. CloudLinux OS, CloudLinux OS+, and providing Extended Lifecycle Support for CentOS 6. CloudLinux has been in this industry for more than 11 years and when they announced that they will be offering a completely open-source and restriction-free CentOS alternative we were excited, and now it looks like they have started delivering.

        • AlmaLinux (CentOS Replacement) – First Beta is Out. Download and Test

          The team releases the first beta of the AlmaLinux (version 8.3) within months after announcements. Here are the details on how to download and test.

        • How Red Hat ported OpenJDK to 64-bit Arm: A community history – Red Hat Developer

          It has been quite a year for Arm Ltd., the firm that designs reduced instruction set computing (RISC) architectures for computer processors. The news that Arm-based computers will be important for the foreseeable future has even reached the mainstream media. At the end of 2019, Amazon Web Services announced Arm-based Graviton2 servers. In June 2020, Apple announced its plans to move Macintosh computers over to Apple silicon—which means Arm.

        • Red Hat success stories: Leveling up with OpenShift and Ansible Automation

          This month, we’re highlighting three customers who achieved incremental benefits after adding on more Red Hat products in their environment. Let’s see how Spanish financial group Santander, top-20 pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, and healthcare technology provider Experity Health found success with Red Hat.

      • Debian Family

        • New Debian Buster Linux Kernel Security Update Fixes 11 Vulnerabilities

          The new Linux kernel update for Debian GNU/Linux 10 is here to fix no less than 11 security vulnerabilities, including CVE-2020-28374, a critical flaw discovered by David Disseldorp in Linux kernel’s LIO SCSI target implementation, allowing a remote attacker with access to at least one iSCSI LUN in a multiple backstore environment to expose sensitive information or modify data.

          Same goes for CVE-2020-36158, a buffer overflow flaw discovered in the mwifiex Wi-Fi driver that could allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a long SSID value.

        • Debian Vs. Ubuntu

          Debian and Ubuntu are the two names that Linux users hear from day one. Both of these are popular Linux distributions with a huge user base. One should know the differences and similarities before choosing any of these operating systems for personal or commercial purposes.

          If you have just arrived in the Linux world, you may have heard of Debian and Ubuntu. Debian and Ubuntu are the most popular Linux distributions. It is important to know what these two distributions stand for before implementing them in your workplace.

          These two distros are also important because you may not be directly using Ubuntu or Debian but whatever distribution you are using is most likely based on Debian or Ubuntu.

        • Sparky news 2021/01 – SparkyLinux

          The second monthly Sparky project and donate report of 2021:
          – Linux kernel updated up to version 5.10.12 & 5.11-rc5
          – added to repos: DeepL-Linux Client, Trible bittorrent client, SteamTinkerLaunch

        • FLOSS Activities January 2021

          This month I didn’t have any particular focus. I just worked on issues in my info bubble.

        • Utkarsh Gupta: FOSS Activites in January 2021

          This was my 25th month of contributing to Debian. I became a DM in late March 2019 and a DD on Christmas ‘19! \o/

          This month was bat-shit crazy. Why? We’ll come to it later, probably 15th of this month?
          Anyway, besides being crazy, hectic, adventerous, and the first of 2021, this month I was super-insanely busy. With what? Hm, more about this later this month!

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Pop!_OS vs Ubuntu Linux

          Pop!_OS and Ubuntu are both popular Linux distributions, each of which has their pros and cons, differences, and similarities to the other.

          In this guide, we’ll be comparing the two distributions across a few key areas and giving a brief review of both distros. Read on to learn more about Pop!_OS and Ubuntu, and how they compare. By the end of this article, you’ll be armed with enough information to choose the best distro for your needs.

        • New Ubuntu Desktop Installer is Arriving Replacing Ubiquity

          The Ubuntu team announced that a new desktop installer based on Flutter is in the works. And it will replace the current Ubiquity installer.

        • Oh, Wow! Ubuntu is Working on a Modern New Installer With Built-in Repair Option

          Ubuntu development team has revealed that they plan to work on a new, modern installer created using Flutter. You won’t see it in Ubuntu 21.04, though.

          When introduced more than a decade back, the Ubiquity installer from Ubuntu was an instant hit for its simplicity and modern (at its time) looks.

        • Ubuntu Will Get a Brand-New Desktop Installer Using Flutter

          It was about time for Canonical to replace that old Ubiquity installer within Ubuntu, and it looks like it’s finally happening! Work has already started on a brand-new installer that will be used for the Ubuntu Desktop flavor that uses the GNOME desktop environment by default.

          What’s interesting about the upcoming new Ubuntu Desktop installer is that it will use the Flutter open-source UI software development kit created by Google for the desktop frontend. This would probably allow Canonical and the Ubuntu developers to provide a consistent installer experience across the entire Ubuntu product portfolio.

        • Ubuntu is Working on a Brand New Installer

          The Canonical Design Team and the Ubuntu Desktop Team are collaborating on new install utility for use in Ubuntu desktop. The tool will use Flutter, leverage Curtin, and take advantage of the effort put into Subiquity, the new Ubuntu Server installer and set-up tool.

          But why is a new installer needed? What’s wrong with the current one?

          Age, mostly.

          Ubuntu uses the Ubiquity installer in its desktop images (as do many of the official Ubuntu flavours). First introduced in 2010, Ubiquity is functional and moderately fast, but it is very much of its time; i.e., its ancient codebase is said to be ‘cumbersome’ to work with.

        • Canonical Aiming For A New Desktop Installer With Ubuntu 21.10 – Phoronix

          Canonical has been working on developing a new desktop installer built around Google’s Flutter toolkit and they aim to introduce it later this year in Ubuntu 21.10.

          The past few years there has been talk of overhauling Ubuntu’s desktop installer as “Ubiquity-NG” and in particular leveraging Curtin and Subiquity efforts that went in to Ubuntu’s new server installer that has been in use for the past three years. That Curtin-based installer is finally close to entering the spotlight with plans to make it the new desktop installer with Ubuntu 21.10.

        • Refreshing the Ubuntu Desktop Installer

          The current Ubuntu Desktop installer, Ubiquity, dates back to 2006. While still functional, Ubiquity hasn’t seen significant feature development for some years and due to its legacy is becoming cumbersome to maintain. Meanwhile, a new installer for Ubuntu Server has been developed, called Subiquity, which uses curtin.

          Consolidating the installer for server and desktop on common technologies will mean we can deliver a consistent, robust, installation experience across the Ubuntu family and focus our efforts on maintaining a single code base.

          The development process for the new desktop installer is being led by the Canonical Design Team and Ubuntu Desktop Team. Both teams have a wealth of experience navigating the challenges presented when installing a modern operating system.

        • Private home directories for Ubuntu 21.04

          Ubuntu has evolved a lot since its early beginnings as an easier-to-use derivative of Debian that catered primarily to the nascent Linux desktop market. Today Ubuntu is deployed beyond just your laptops at home and in the office. Nowadays you are more likely to find Ubuntu in the cloud, powering some of the world’s best known enterprises and running on various IoT devices out in the field. With this shift in adoption has come many different technical challenges and trade-offs due to the competing demands of each of these environments. One such challenge that is always front-of-mind for Ubuntu developers is the tension between security and usability. With an early and continued focus on both usability and security, Ubuntu has prided itself on being the go-to choice for both users and developers. The choice of appropriate sensible defaults lets users be productive without having to fight against their operating system.

          In modern environments, strong security is paramount. This is best achieved through a defense-in-depth approach, where multiple controls and elements are used to achieve a more resilient solution. For Ubuntu, this has always been a priority and has led to the creation of various default security features. These include no open network ports by default, automatic security updates, enablement of security controls like AppArmor and snaps for seamless application sandboxing, and the use of a wide range of compiler hardening features ensure that Ubuntu provides not only a high degree of usability, but a very strong security posture out-of-the-box.

        • Ubuntu’s Yaru GTK Theme Picks Up GTK4 Support

          For Ubuntu to adopt GTK4 in a future release it’s going to need a GTK4 version of its iconic Yaru theme — and what do you know: one is in the works!

          Ubuntu cited a lack of compatible theming in its decision to stick back on GNOME Shell 3.38 and not introduce GTK4 in the upcoming Ubuntu 21.04 release.

          But half of that testy conundrum is closer to being solved. GTK 4 support has now landed in Yaru’s code repo, albeit labelled as a work-in-progress.

          Ubuntu’s Yaru GTK theme intentionally sticks close to the upstream Adwaita theme maintained by GNOME (and the theme many app developers would prefer you to use). The syncopation has many benefits, and has helped mitigate the trickiest part of the GTK4 port as a new theme hasn’t had to be created from scratch.

        • Canonical Releases Ubuntu Core 20 for IoT/Embedded Devices with Full Disk Encryption

          Ubuntu Core 20 is a major release and comes two years after the previous version, Ubuntu Core 18, which will still be supported for eight more years on business critical deployments due to Canonical’s 10-year low-cost security maintenance model.

          Highlights of Ubuntu Core 20 include hardware-backed full disk encryption for x86 systems via TPM (Trusted Platform Module) integration, which works with exiting CA (Certificate Authority) for a more secure boot that prevents unauthorised software installation and guarantees confidentiality from physical attackers.

        • Ubuntu Core 20 Released for IoT and Embedded Device Makers

          Ubuntu Core is a minimal, containerised version of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS designed for use on embedded systems and IoT devices. It boasts a super-secure design with support for transactional updates through Snap apps.

          A raft of leading companies already use the tech in some form or another in industrial and consumer IoT devices, including Dell, Plus One Robotics, and Jabil.

          The latest version is Ubuntu Core 20. This version intros a handful of security-focused features including cryptographically authenticated boot process, full disk encryption, and manual and remote recovery mode.

        • Canonical is working on a new desktop installer for Ubuntu 21.10

          After being in service for well over a decade, Canonical is getting ready to retire Ubuntu’s Ubiquity installer.

          “While still functional, Ubiquity hasn’t seen significant feature development for some years and due to its legacy is becoming cumbersome to maintain,” wrote Ubuntu’s desktop lead, Martin Wimpress, while unveiling plans for the new installer.

          He shared that Canonical has been working on developing a new desktop installer built around Google’s Flutter toolkit, and they aim to introduce it later this year with the release of Ubuntu 21.10.

        • Ubuntu Core 20 secures Linux for IoT

          Canonical’s Ubuntu Core 20, a minimal, containerised version of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS for IoT devices and embedded systems, is now generally available. This major version bolsters device security with secure boot, full disk encryption, and secure device recovery. Ubuntu Core builds on the Ubuntu application ecosystem to create ultra-secure smart things.

          “Every connected device needs guaranteed platform security and an app store” said Mark Shuttleworth. “Ubuntu Core 20 enables innovators to create highly secure things and focus entirely on their own unique features and apps, with confinement and security updates built into the operating system.”

          Ubuntu Core 20 addresses the cost of design, development and maintenance of secure devices, with regular, automated and reliable updates included. Canonical works with silicon providers and ODMs to streamline the entire process of bringing a new device to market. The company and its partners offer SMART START, a fixed-price engagement to launch a device that covers consulting, engineering and updates for the first 1000 devices on certified hardware, to reduce IoT project risk.

        • Ubuntu Core 20 Released For IoT/Embedded Linux Use-Cases
        • Ubuntu Linux Finally Gets A New Installer After 16 Years

          As a rabid distro-hopper with a ton of machines and bottomless curiosity, I’m 95-percent positive I’m way more critical of installers than most people. But the installer also happens to be a person’s first taste of a Linux distro.

          It needs to be effective and intuitive. It needs to make a great impression.

          16 years after debuting on Ubuntu (and later becoming the installer for dozens — if not hundreds — of additional distros), Ubiquity has certainly proven its worth. It does its job and does it consistently well.

          But Canonical believes it’s finally time to freshen things up with a refreshed Ubuntu Desktop installer.

        • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 668
        • Ubuntu Fridge | Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 668

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 668 for the week of January 24 – 30, 2021.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • VideoLAN marks two decades of open source success – Software – iTnews

        One of the world’s most successful and widely used open source software projects, VideoLAN, is marking its 20th year of existence this month.

        Best known for the popular x264 streaming video encoding app and library, and the well-known VLC media player, the volunteer-driven organisation has released a large range of free and open software over the years.

        The non-profit VideoLAN organisation makes available the Movie Creator video editing software, DVBlast MPEG-2/TS demux and streaming app, and several libraries for developers working on audiovisual programs.

      • VideoLAN turns 20

        The VideoLAN project and the VideoLAN non-profit organisation are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the open-sourcing of the project.

        VideoLAN originally started as a project from the Via Centrale Reseaux student association, after the successful Network 2000 project. But the true release of the project to the world was on 1 February 2001, when the whole VideoLan project was open-sourced under the GNU GPL. This open sourcing concerned all the software developed by the VideoLAN project, including VideoLAN Client, VideoLAN Server, VideoLAN Bridge, VideoLAN Channel Switcher, but also libraries to decode DVDs, like libdca, liba52 or libmpeg2..

      • VideoLAN celebrates its 20 years anniversary
      • 5 Most Notable Open Source Centralized Log Management Tools

        Centralized logging, just like security, is a fundamental aspect of monitoring and sound management of core resources in an IT infrastructure including web applications and hardware devices. Competent operation teams always have in place a log monitoring and management system which proves beneficial especially when there’s a system failure or an application behaves weirdly.

      • 6 Best Free and Open Source XMPP Servers

        XMPP (also known as Jabber) is an open and free alternative to commercial messaging and chat providers. Set it up for your company, organisation, or just your family and friends. You are in control, and your communication is private to you. Supporting a wide range of client software for desktop and mobile platforms, you can chat from any device.

        You can set up your own XMPP service on your server (dedicated, VPS, etc.) or on a box on your local network, to serve your home or office. Either way you can use it to converse with anyone else on the Jabber network, including people using Google Talk, probably the largest Jabber service on the network.

      • Kafka Monthly Digest – January 2021

        This is the 36th edition of the Kafka Monthly Digest! This series has now been running for 3 full years! Thanks for all the great feedback. Let’s keep going! If you are interested in a bit of history about this series, I’ve shared a few details on Twitter.

      • Apache Month in Review: January 2021

        Welcome to the latest monthly overview of events from the Apache community.

      • Events

        • OSI and Friends at Virtual FOSDEM

          FOSDEM is a long running free and open source community event that has moved online for its 21st year. This year’s event will be a little different, but the silver lining is that you have the option to particpate at home, without any travel. This year’s talks are all pre-recorded, and the speakers will be online to answer questions right after the intitial broadcast. If you want to be part of the live conversation, you’ll have to join the conference in real time.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Google Yanks These Features From Chromium…

            Chromium is open source project which Google Chrome is built upon and for the longest time it has made use of some Google Chrome APIs for some it’s features however after March 15th that will be changing as Google will be pulling support for these features from the browser.

        • Mozilla

          • Followup on Firefox 85 for POWER: new low-level fix

            Shortly after posting my usual update on Firefox on POWER, I started to notice odd occasional tab crashes in Fx85 that weren’t happening in Firefox 84. Dan Horák independently E-mailed me to report the same thing. After some digging, it turned out that our fix way back when for Firefox 70 was incomplete: although it renovated the glue that allows scripts to call native functions and fixed a lot of problems, it had an undiagnosed edge case where if we had a whole lot of float arguments we would spill parameters to the wrong place in the stack frame. Guess what type of function was now getting newly called?

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Google Seasons of Doc 2020: Extensive Calc Functions Description is there. – The Document Foundation Blog

          The Calc Guide for LibreOffice release 6.2 contained a lengthy appendix (70 pages) devoted to the 500+ functions available in Calc, providing a shallow list of the functions and their arguments. During the update of the document for release 6.4 in 2019, the Documentation Team agreed that it would be better to move this list to an online service, and as part of this move, to enhance the function descriptions by adding more examples, use cases and collateral information on standards, compatibility and more.

          That situation provided an opportunity for us to create a documentation project to submit to Google Season of Documents 2020 (https://developers.google.com/season-of-docs), an initiative by Google to create, enhance and extend the documentation of open source projects worldwide such as LibreOffice.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • What is Open Source?

            The term ‘open source’ started in software development, but it is applicable to anything. If a thing is open source, first and foremost it means you have access to its source code — what makes that thing tick.

            If a thing is open source, it means that the source code of that thing is available for insight and editing, and may even be copied, repurposed and shared with others under certain conditions.

          • Josh Bressers: It’s the community, stupid

            I’ve been thinking about what open source is a lot lately. I mean A LOT, probably more than is healthy. There have been a ton of open source happenings in the world and the discussions around open source licenses have been numerous. There are even a lot of discussions around the very idea of open source itself. What we once thought was simple and clear is not simple or clear it would seem.

            Full disclosure. I work at Elastic and if you pay attention to open source you probably hear that Elasticsearch has a new license. I’m not going to discuss open source licenses today, I will soon, but today I want to talk about community because it keeps popping into my brain and clouding other ideas.

            The term “community” means different things to different people. I’ve heard some people talk about community as some sort of amorphous blob that will give them free work. Some think it’s a bunch of jobless degenerates who need haircuts. Some think it’s where their friends are. Some think it’s where their enemies are. Some people believe community is a mythical beast, something so fantastical that can’t possibly exist, like unicorns, dragons, or Canadians. When we don’t know what something is, it enters the world of myth and it becomes both everything and nothing at the same time. I think many of us have forgotten what community is.

          • Is Elastic Stretching Truth In AWS Spat Over Elasticsearch License? | Data Center Knowledge

            The Elasticsearch and Kibana license change may have less to do with alleged abuse by AWS than Elastic’s public statements would have you believe.

      • Programming/Development

        • Mozilla Addons Blog: addons.mozilla.org API v3 Deprecation

          The addons.mozilla.org (AMO) external API can be used by users and developers to get information about add-ons available on AMO, and to submit new add-on versions for signing. It’s also used by Firefox for recommendations, among other things, by the web-ext tool, and internally within the addons.mozilla.org website.

          We plan to shut down Version 3 (v3) of the AMO API on December 31, 2021. If you have any personal scripts that rely on v3 of the API, or if you interact with the API through other means, we recommend that you switch to the stable v4. You don’t need to take any action if you don’t use the AMO API directly. The AMO API v3 is entirely unconnected to manifest v3 for the WebExtensions API, which is the umbrella project for major changes to the extensions platform itself.

        • GNU C Library 2.33 Released With HWCAPS To Load Optimized Libraries For Modern CPUs – Phoronix

          The GNU C Library 2.33 release is out today as expected. Exciting with this libc update is HWCAPS in making it easier to load optimized libraries for modern CPUs.

          See that linked article from last week for more details but Glibc 2.33 but basically it allows the dynamic linker to load optimized versions of libraries within a glibc-hwcaps directory on the library search path. The HWCAPS correspond to the new x86_64 microarchitecture feature levels and there is similar support for POWER and s390x as well. This is exciting, pending sufficient adoption and usage of this HWCAPS functionality by software vendors to allow for more optimized libraries to automatically get picked up on modern processors without restricting the support for running on older CPUs as well. Red Hat has been working on the x86_64 microarchitecture feature levels and Glibc-HWCAPS over the past year with part of the motivation around allowing more AMD Zen optimizations.

        • My handy guide to software development and testing

          A long time ago, when I was but a budding computer programmer, we used to work in large batches. We were each assigned a programming task, and then we’d go away and hide in our cubicles and bang on the keyboard. I remember my team members spending hours upon hours in isolation, each of us in our own cubicle, wrestling with challenges to create defect-free apps. The theory was, the larger the batch, the better the evidence that we’re awesome problem solvers.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Issue #497 – 2021-02-01 – perl.com was hijacked [Ed: DNS level attack, or social engineering, not the fault of Perl itself]

            The big news of the week is that perl.com was hijacked. According to what I have read the solution seem to be already on its way to recover the domain. If you are using a perl.com host for your CPAN mirror you should use www.cpan.org instead (See this post.) You can also find the content of perl.com on perldotcom.perl.org. Ask brian d foy ([...]) for further details. (See also on Reddit.)

          • perl.com hijacked

            Network Solutions is working with Tom Christiansen, the rightful registrant, on the recovery of the Perl.com domain. There is no estimated timeline for its recovery but the process is underway. The Perl.com site is temporarily at perldotcom.perl.org. Anyone using a perl.com host for their CPAN mirror should use www.cpan.org instead. Please direct all inquiries to brian d foy ([...]).

          • Rakudo Weekly News: 2021.05 GSoC Proposing

            JJ Merelo has taken the initiative (again, so kudos!) to set up a list of Google Summer of Code proposals for the Raku Programming Language.

        • Python

        • Rust

          • Welcoming David Wood to compiler team and Jack Huey to compiler-contributors | Inside Rust Blog

            Please welcome David Wood to the compiler team and Jack Huey to the compiler-contributors group!

            David Wood (@davidtwco) has been a frequent contributor to Rust in many different parts of the compiler. Much of David’s recent work has been focused on polymorphisation which allows rustc to reduce the number of duplicated generic functions in certain situations and on adding split DWARF support to the LLVM backend. Previously, David has worked on numerous diagnostic improvements, internal compiler error fixes and the non-lexical lifetimes initiative.

  • Leftovers

    • Is This Revolution Truly Rinky-Dink?

      After telling my sister about the experience, she invited a friend over for dinner the next night from a group called the Progressive Labor Party. “Great,” I replied. “I’ve heard of them but really don’t know anything except they are supposed to be serious.”

      Yes, PLP was very serious. We started off agreeing that the drop-out approach could not stop US imperialism. But when I suggested that many have a good point in wanting to live the society that they longed for, the PLP blood in my new acquaintance seemed to boil. Almost shaking a finger, she lectured me that the working class leadership must not become self-absorbed but rather take the message of revolution to the factory floor.

    • Deceptive Speech

      Repeating a lie can certainly be a powerful technique in the public sphere, particularly when the utterance is made by people in power, but it’s hardly the only method of deception. Sometimes it’s necessary to undertake what’s called a “close reading” (or “close listening”) of misleading speech in order to recognize other potent techniques. A speaker can mislead by omission or innuendo. Or he can frame, or contextualize, a speech in such a way that it mis-leads (leads in the wrong direction) by virtue of the effects it brings about.

      On January 6, Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio rose in Congress to object to the certification of the Electoral College vote that affirmed Joe Biden’s election, and he called for an investigation. Jordan began by declaring, “the American people instinctively know there was something wrong with this election.”

    • My Students Are Struggling. You’ll Never Guess Why.

      By the second week of the semester, the migraines had become unbearable. I had experienced the occasional tension headache before. But these migraines were daily and unrelenting—it felt like my heart was beating inside of my head.

    • Will the ‘Tokyo Olympics’ Further Wreck Florida?

      At first, the headline looked like something out of The Onion. Florida has thrown its hat into the ring to host the postponed 2020 Olympic Games that are due to take place in Tokyo this summer. Since 80 percent of Japan’s residents believe that hosting a super-spreader event in the middle of a pandemic might not be the best use of resources or worth the risk, Florida’s Trumpist state government is putting its foot forward, even if that foot is sinking into the Atlantic Ocean because of global warming.

    • The Resilience Doctrine: an Introduction to Disaster Resilience

      Climate change and pandemics are sad and frightening topics, but they can also be viewed as an unprecedented opportunity for 21st-century societies. These crises can become an excuse to quickly make necessary changes for a healthier future for people and the planet that otherwise may take many years to implement. Times of disaster, whether or not they are triggered by climate or health catastrophes, are opportunities to focus on the need for social and environmental change, and our response to disasters may contain the kernels of a better world.

      One cartoon depicting a climate change summit sums up the irony. The conference agenda displays the desperately needed measures to lessen greenhouse gas emissions: “Preserve rainforests, Sustainability, Green jobs, Livable cities, Renewables, Clean water, air, Healthy children.” A perturbed white man turns to a Black woman and asks, “What if it’s a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?”

    • Science

      • Science denial: A form of conspiracy theory

        Last week, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe host and founder of Science-Based Medicine Steve Novella wrote what I considered to be an important post about the danger of conspiratorial thinking to science-based medicine (SBM), noting that anything that threatens the institutions of science, such as science denial and conspiratorial thinking is a huge threat to science. He correctly noted one example of pseudoscience that is based on conspiracy theory, namely the antivaccine movement. Indeed, I once noted that all antivaccine views—and, no, I’m not going to qualify that statement, as I do mean all antivaccine views—are ultimately based on, or, in the case of the vaccine-hesitant at least supported by, a grand conspiracy theory that six years ago I dubbed “the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement.”

      • Number Parsing at a Gigabyte per Second

        The benchmarks in the paper are mostly based on the C++ library fast_float. The library requires a C++11 standard compliant compiler. It provides functions that closely emulate the standard C++ from_chars functions for float and double types. It is used by Apache Arrow and Yandex ClickHouse. It is also part of the fastest Yaml library in the world. These from_char functions are part of the C++17 standard. To my knowledge, only microsoft implemented it at this point: they are not available in GNU GCC.

        On my Apple M1 MacBook, using a realistic data file (canada), we get that fast_float can far exceeds a gigabyte per second, and get close to 1.5 GB/s. The conventional C function (strtod) provided by the default Apple standard library does quite poorly on this benchmark.

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

      • We Did Not “Lose” Loved Ones and Normal Life to COVID. They Were Stolen.
      • ‘That Hurricane Is Coming’: Leading Expert Says More Contagious UK Covid-19 Variant Could Portend Deadliest US Surge Yet

        “We are going to see something like we have not seen yet in this country,” warned Dr. Michael Osterholm, who advised President Joe Biden’s transition team.

      • As GOP Senators Push Smaller Covid-19 Relief Package, Dem Leaders Move to Advance Biden’s Bolder Plan

        “Congress must pursue a bold and robust course of action. It makes no sense to pinch pennies when so many Americans are struggling,” said the Senate majority leader.

      • White House Announces $231 Million Contract to Buy Rapid At-Home COVID Tests
      • Sanders Says Bipartisanship Can Step Aside for COVID Relief for Families
      • Opinion | Under the Current Rules, Vaccines Are Only Going To Rich Countries That Can Afford It

        Despite Bill Gates’ stated commitment to an equitable distribution of the Covid vaccine, he is refusing to back South Africa and India’s calls for a waiver on patents.

      • Opinion | The Big Chicken Bosses Are No Longer Calling All the Shots in DC

        In the new political landscape, poultry workers have already managed to scuttle a Trump administration reform that would’ve made their jobs even more dangerous.

      • Life and Death in the Poultry Capital of the World

        Gainesville, Ga.—On Saturday afternoon, more than 100 mourners gathered on a grass field across the street from the Foundation Food Group’s poultry plant to honor six workers killed in a chemical leak two days earlier. Local pastors took turns at the microphone in both English and Spanish. One likened the crowd’s pain to that of God losing his son: “Who more than God knows what it means to lose someone who is precious to you? So, bring him these pains in your heart.”

      • Boris Johnson and the Deaths of the Hundred Thousand

        In recording 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, Britain became the fifth country, and of those the smallest, to pass six figures. Over half of the numbers were recorded since November, with the virus strafing through the population after the relatively lower levels of infection over the summer. To add to the woes of the country, a new strain of the novel coronavirus was detected in the country, suggesting that it was up to 70% more transmissible.

        On January 22, Johnson did little to reassure the population. Not only was the new variant identified in London and the South East spreading at a greater speed, it also appeared to “be associated with a higher degree of mortality”. To stem any convulsions of panic, Johnson, at the same press conference, stated that both vaccines currently being used “remain effective both against the old variant and this new variant.”

      • All 10 GOP Senators Behind Skimpy $600 Billion Covid Relief Offer Happily Voted for $740 Billion Military Budget

        “Every single one of these Senate Republicans voted to give the Pentagon billions more than what they’re willing to give to the American people.”

      • The COVID-19 Pandemic Can’t Be Managed, It Has to Be Eradicated

        Naturally, we are optimistic. Biden has a plan and Trump didn’t. But our optimism is a mirage. The new president does not aim to eliminate the virus. Rather, he wants to “[m]itigate spread through expanding masking, testing, data, treatment, workforce, and clear public health standards.” This is a fancy way of saying he plans to manage the pandemic so that infections and deaths don’t overwhelm hospitals and ICUs all at once. He simply wants to try to spread out the pain. Is that the best we deserve?

        True, there are vaccines being manufactured, distributed, and deployed as fast as possible via the patchwork and chaotic systems that were forced to develop under Trump’s non-existent leadership. But already we are seeing new variants of the virus develop as it festers through cities across the world, variants that are less responsive to vaccines, forcing vaccine producers to scramble to develop more effective booster shots. Even Biden himself admitted that Americans must prepare for hundreds of thousands more deaths this year before seeing relief.

      • Covid and Democracy, a Turning Point?

        Both natural science and social science have a great deal to say about the pandemic and the response, but as far as the latter is concerned there are aspects irreducibly shaped by value judgements. Among the many value-laden issues evoked by the pandemic are: What is an acceptable risk? How to weigh the importance of schooling for the next generation versus the general population’s safety? What is the fairest way of protecting people? Nobody has the answers to these questions, for the simple reason that everybody does. Only by consulting the people can policies be developed that, within a framework of rights, honor the multiplicity of opinions concerning these issues.

        Our societies’ waning interest in democracy may be especially obvious during the ongoing Covid crisis, but there is much evidence that the whole past decade has involved the eclipse of democratic attitudes. A case in point is the motley array of strongmen leaders, some of whom are clearly neofascist, that have popped up like mushrooms around the globe. Surprisingly, the same lack of interest in democracy can be seen in the most common responses to such strongmen, which typically lambast authoritarian leaders for the content of their decisions but not the method by which they are taken.

      • The Appointment of Samantha Power is Bad News for USAID

        Why aid matters?

        For the past decades, the global community has worked towards stamping out HIV/Aids, Ebola, malaria and various other scourges of the “bottom billion.” There have been some immense successes in this historical task, such as eradicating wild polio in Africa last year, which Dr. Matshidiso Moeti – the World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Africa – appropriately described as a “momentous, massive undertaking, with amazing persistence and perseverance, coming in the face of moments when we thought we were just about there, then we’d have a reversal.”[i]

      • Agricultural Elephant in the Room

        Vast number of Americans live in large cities like New York, Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Miami, Atlanta, San Francisco and Lost Angeles. These cities have great museums and, possibly, universities, but are agricultural deserts.

        City merchants, grocers and government institutions buy most of the food they need for their large population from farmers or agribusiness, which grow food as far away from cities as they can.

      • One Year Into Pandemic, US Mutual Aid Organizers Reflect And Push Forward

        One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, mutual aid groups are still delivering money and services to the most vulnerable in their communities. The solidarity movement kept its momentum by adapting after it became clear this pandemic was more of a prolonged emergency than a short break in normal life. 

        Radical strategies for building trust and community have influenced the work of nonprofits and more traditional organizing efforts.  And while organizers express optimism over their communities’ continued participation in mutual aid efforts, the groups have begun to develop bigger plans.

      • CDC orders air travelers to unmask for government surveillance

        Putting government surveillance and control of travelers ahead of what is supposed to be their mission of protecting of the public against infectious diseases, the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ordered that, effective today, all air travelers must risk their lives by removing their face masks on demand of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint staff or airline ticketing or gate agents.

        Until today, as we have noted previously, many state and local health orders issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic required everyone in public indoor spaces such as airports to wear face masks, without any exception that would have applied at TSA checkpoints. Although we are not aware of any litigation that ensued, air travelers could have asserted their right — and even their  duty — not to remove their face masks, under pain of criminal penalties for violating public health orders.

        The CDC order effective today appears to be designed to preempt those state and local health orders, and open the door for the TSA, TSA contractors, and airline staff to endanger the lives of air travelers in the interest of surveillance and control (by the TSA) and “revenue protection” against transfers of nontransferable tickets  (by airlines):

      • Americans Don’t Know What Urban Collapse Really Looks Like

        This slow-motion catastrophe—a combination of natural disaster and political indifference—was far more important to the city’s transformation than the Ayutthaya invasion. And it stands as a warning to many cities in the U.S. Without a coherent response from local government, cities lashed by climate change will gradually lose their populations. The demise won’t be spectacular, even if the storms are monstrous. Instead, people will leave in dribs and drabs, and the exodus could take generations.

      • NYCHA Tenants Battle Mold Alongside COVID | Howie Hawkins for our Future

        The US faces an unprecedented housing crisis due to lost income in the covid pandemic. Up to 40 million people face eviction because they are behind on rent. President Biden has extended the Center for Disease Control (CDC) eviction moratorium to March 31 by executive order and proposes to further extend the moratorium to September 30 along with $35 billion in assistance to struggling renters and homeless people in his covid relief package. But estimates of back rent owed by January are as high as $70 billion.

        The CDC moratorium has loopholes, many court jurisdictions are disregarding it, and many are being evicted during the pandemic. The US Census Bureau’s weekly survey tracking the impacts of the covid pandemic currently finds that 34.2% of adults live in households that are not current on their rent or mortgage and are either very likely or somewhat likely to face eviction or foreclosure in the next two months.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • New research on Swedish public sector organisations shows that there is a need for more awareness and understanding of lock-in risks when procuring cloud services

          In a recent paper, researchers at the University of Skövde in Sweden ask the question: “How do, and by which strategies should, public sector organisations address lock-in effects before use of commercial SaaS solutions?”. This analysis plays into one of the most relevant debates related to open source in the public sector.

          Public sector lock-in to proprietary solutions has been central in arguments put forward by advocates for more use of open source software by public institutions. This research follows earlier academic findings showing how lock-in effects can impose many different types of technical, legal, economic and societal challenges for public sector organisations. But this latest paper analyses the awareness of these risks in the processes of public sector procurement of cloud services.

          The authors find that municipalities adopt and use cloud solutions from large global suppliers “under potentially problematic contract terms”. The main example given is the City of Gothenburg, who entered into an agreement with Microsoft for adopting Office365. The City uses Office365 for large scale data processing but has not carried out an impact assessment outlining the jurisdictions in which data can be, and has been, processed.

        • Addressing Lock-in Effects in the Public Sector: How Can Organisations Deploy a SaaS Solution While Maintaining Control of Their Digital Assets?

          The study shows a widespread practice amongst PSOs to adopt and use a widely deployed SaaS solution from a global supplier under potentially problematic contract terms. The City of Gothenburg and most other PSOs use their adopted SaaS solution to process data on a large scale with users that are in a position of dependence without having carried out an impact assessment, despite the fact that PSOs are unaware of in which jurisdictions data can be, and have been, processed. Some PSOs identified prior to their adoption and use of their SaaS solution that the terms allow for data processing in several third countries. None of the organisations present any evidence to suggest that they have tried to obtain all necessary patent licences for the ITU-T H.265 standard from third parties which would allow for use of the adopted SaaS solution. Since these licences, in addition to licences for a large number of other standards, would also be needed to allow for implementation of the closed file format standards in software that can be provided by other suppliers it follows that organisations are potentially exposed to significant risks of losing control over their own digital assets.

          Findings from the study also show that none of the investigated organisations present any strategy that would allow them to cease using the SaaS solution in a way that exported digital assets can be used and reused by other software applications in the future. The study shows that amongst the few PSOs that present some documented risk analysis there is strong faith that their current supplier will assist in a potential future situation if the PSO decides to abandon their current supplier.

          Further, findings show that recommendations presented in the literature for how to maintain digital assets during their entire life-cycle have been ignored by all investigated PSOs. Before adoption of a SaaS solution, none of the organisations had investigated whether digital assets created and maintained in the SaaS solution can be exported in open file formats and open standards to allow use and reuse after exit. Further, none of the investigated PSOs have presented any analysis which addresses how to obtain all licences they require when, and after, the adopted SaaS solution is used. Hence, it is unclear if any of the organisations will be able to interpret their own files without support from their current supplier in a potential future situation when they have ceased to use the SaaS solution.

          In summary, all investigated PSOs have failed successfully to address critical issues that need to be considered before adoption and use of a SaaS solution.

        • How affected was WhatsApp by Pegasus in India, asks SC

          One set of petitions challenged WhatsApp’s new privacy policy even when pleas questioning its earlier privacy policy are still pending adjudication. A second set of petitions, including one by Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam, has questioned the steps taken by payment apps run by multinationals like Google, Amazon and Facebook and raised the issue of Pegasus spyware targeting WhatsApp users.

        • Pentagon May Be Forced To Discontinue With JEDI Cloud Effort

          In October 2019, Microsoft won the Defense Department JEDI cloud contract worth up to $10 billion over a period of 10 years, beating out market leader Amazon.

          In the paper, DoD says: “Regardless of the JEDI Cloud litigation outcome, the Department continues to have an urgent, unmet requirement. Specifically, the Department’s need for an enterprise-wide, commercial cloud services for all three classification levels, extending from the homefront to the tactical edge, at scale.”

          The Department clarified that work on JEDI Cloud would “continue to be paused until the litigation process is complete, and DISA/CCPO remains ready to resume management of the JEDI Cloud work if/when the entire set of litigation is resolved in the Government’s favor.”

        • U.K. Arrest in ‘SMS Bandits’ Phishing Service

          Authorities in the United Kingdom have arrested a 20-year-old man for allegedly operating an online service for sending high-volume phishing campaigns via mobile text messages. The service, marketed in the underground under the name “SMS Bandits,” has been responsible for blasting out huge volumes of phishing lures spoofing everything from COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts to PayPal, telecommunications providers and tax revenue agencies.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (home-assistant, libgcrypt, libvirt, and mutt), Debian (ffmpeg, kernel, libonig, libsdl2, mariadb-10.1, and thunderbird), Fedora (chromium, firefox, jasper, libebml, mingw-python3, netpbm, opensmtpd, thunderbird, and xen), Gentoo (firefox and thunderbird), Mageia (db53, dnsmasq, kernel, kernel-linus, and php-pear), openSUSE (go1.14, go1.15, messagelib, nodejs8, segv_handler, and thunderbird), Oracle (firefox, kernel, and thunderbird), Red Hat (flatpak), SUSE (firefox and rubygem-nokogiri), and Ubuntu (mysql-5.7, mysql-8.0 and python-django).

          • Libgcrypt developers release urgent update to tackle severe vulnerability [Ed: Almost nobody used that version regardless, but the media doesn't mention that]
          • Critical Libgcrypt Crypto Bug Opens Machines to Arbitrary Code

            The flaw in the free-source library could have been ported to multiple applications.

            The Libgcrypt project has rushed out a fix for a critical bug in version 1.9.0 of the free-source cryptographic library. An exploit would allow an attacker to write arbitrary data to a target machine and execute code.

            The security vulnerability is a heap-buffer overflow bug in Libgcrypt 1.9.0 (released on January 19 – previous versions are not affected), which researchers said can be exploited by merely decrypting a block of data. The issue is patched (CVE pending) in Libgcrypt version 1.9.1.

          • New Cryptojacking Malware Targeting Apache, Oracle, Redis Servers

            A financially-motivated threat actor notorious for its cryptojacking attacks has leveraged a revised version of their malware to target cloud infrastructures using vulnerabilities in web server technologies, according to new research.

            Deployed by the China-based cybercrime group Rocke, the Pro-Ocean cryptojacking malware now comes with improved rootkit and worm capabilities, as well as harbors new evasion tactics to sidestep cybersecurity companies’ detection methods, Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42 researchers said in a Thursday write-up.

          • Linux sudo exploit gives root access

            Researchers have found a buffer overflow vulnerability in the Linux sudo program that means an ordinary user could give themselves root privileges.

            The Sudo command lets users act at higher security privilege levels – either as a superuser or some other user profile – so they can perform certain tasks without having full root access.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • ESET team finds new supply-chain attack targeting gaming community

              Researchers at the Slovakian security firm ESET say they have discovered a new supply-chain attack that targets the update infrastructure of NoxPlayer, an Android emulator for PCs and Macs.

            • ESET discovers Kobalos: tiny yet complex Linux threat attacking supercomputers – PCR [Ed: With Windows, in order to get it infected, all you need to do it have it installed (NSA backdoors) and connected to the Internet, whereas with BSD a and GNU/Linux you typically need to install the malware]

              ESET researchers are reported to have discovered Kobalos, a malware that has been attacking supercomputers – high performance computer (HPC) clusters. ESET has worked with the CERN Computer Security Team and other organisations involved in mitigating attacks on these scientific research networks. Among other targets was a large Asian ISP, a North American endpoint security vendor as well as several privately held servers.

            • Report: Security Firm Says HPC Clusters under Attack: ‘Level of Sophistication Rarely Seen in Linux Malware’ [Ed: Neglects to say how such malware gets onto systems in the first place and who's to blame for that]

              UK technology industry publication PCR published a story today stating that an international data security firm, ESET, has reported the identification of a malware called Kobalos that targets supercomputing clusters. They also said they have been working with security experts at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research and other organizations on stemming attacks.

            • This Linux malware is hijacking supercomputers across the globe
          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Google doesn’t want your permission to track you on iOS

              Unfortunately, Google’s move to stop tracking the IDFA doesn’t mean that Google will stop tracking users that connect via iOS apps. As 9to5Google’s Abner Li comments:

            • No, Getting Rid Of Anonymity Will Not Fix Social Media; It Will Cause More Problems

              There’s an idea that pops up every so often among people who are upset about misinformation online but don’t actually understand the realities of online communities and the dynamics of how it all works: it’s the idea that “anonymity” is the root cause of many of the internet’s problems. We’ve spent years debunking this, though it’s been nearly a decade since there was a previous focus on this issue — and it’s now coming back.

            • UK Police Chief falsely claims that end to end encrypted messaging “puts lives at risk”

              Law enforcement fears that end to end encryption will make it harder for Facebook’s internal compliance teams to root out terrorist and child exploitative materials on their platforms. Some non peer reviewed estimates even suggest that the efficacy of Facebook’s internal review programs will be reduced by as much as 70% if end to end encryption is implemented. Of course, the authorities would never try to enumerate how many lives would be put at risk if end to end encryption isn’t allowed to be implemented.

            • More than 2,000 Police Departments Working with Amazon and Ring

              Despite persistent stories about the security of Ring doorbells, they still remain extremely popular. It made the news that Amazon was sharing user data with some police departments, yet sales still persist. And now, more than 2,000 police departments are using Amazon’s Ring user data to help them catch crooks. Rise in Amazon Ring-Police Partnership It seems to be like a Catch-22.

            • Will Open APIs break digital ID vendor lock-in, usher in new opportunity? ID4Africa community debates

              Vendor lock-in was identified as a top obstacle in ID4Africa’s 2018 survey, and “led to a chilling effect,” observed host Dr. Joseph Atick, ID4Africa’s executive chairman. Decision-makers became hesitant to implement solutions for fear of being locked in. This is commonplace in sectors relying on identity interoperability, he says. Open APIs are one of the methods of addressing this kind of problem that has gained significant traction to the point where it is referred to by some in IT as ‘the API revolution.’

            • All eyes on Alphabet’s first-ever disclosure of Google Cloud profit

              JPMorgan & Chase Co analysts, among the few to make predictions about Google Cloud, estimate the unit’s 2020 operating margin at 2%. Bank of America analysts estimate an unspecified operating loss.

              By comparison, Amazon’s Web Services, the top cloud vendor by sales, posted third-quarter operating margin of 30.5% and $3.5 billion in operating income.

              Microsoft’s Azure, the industry No. 2, does not report comparable figures.

            • iOS 14.5 tries to solve Face ID’s mask problem with your Apple Watch

              Apple’s latest iPhones stuck with Face ID as the singular method of biometric authentication in an era when people are wearing face masks everywhere they go. This inevitably means having to enter your passcode constantly throughout the day. But Apple has come up with a stopgap solution that should make it easier to get into your phone during mask life — as long as you’ve got an Apple Watch.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Six More Houston Cops Involved In Deadly Drug Raid Are Now Facing Criminal Charges

        We still haven’t seen an end to the fallout resulting from a botched (and bogus) drug raid in Houston that ended with two residents killed by police officers. It also ended with five officers wounded — one of them paralyzed. The raid was predicated on false statements made by Officer Gerald Goines, who secured permission from a judge to perform a no-knock raid, claiming the residents were armed and selling heroin.

      • It’s Time to Demilitarize Our Democracy

        This month’s insurrection at the Capitol revealed the dismal failure of the Capitol Police and the Department of Defense to use their expertise and resources to thwart a clear and present danger to our democracy. As the government reform group Public Citizen tweeted, “If you’re spending $740,000,000,000 annually on ‘defense’ but fascists dressed for the renaissance fair can still storm the Capitol as they please, maybe it’s time to rethink national security?”

      • Biden Condemns Burma Military Coup, as Critics Question Claims of Election Fraud
      • ‘An Ominous Moment’: Human Rights Groups Sound Alarm as Military Coup Unfolds in Myanmar

        “The concurrent arrests of prominent political activists and human rights defenders sends a chilling message that the military authorities will not tolerate any dissent amid today’s unfolding events.”

      • Why It Is The Way It Is

        Why We Can’t Give Up on the Idea of a World Free From Nuclear Weapons

        The “inability” to relinquish nuclear weapons is entirely a function of the “inability” of power elites to pry their cold dead hands off the levers of power. This is in every way like the “inability” of gun nuts (euphemistically: 2nd Amendment Patriots) to relinquish their guns and military gear costumes; the acting out of a dick measuring contest by deeply insecure people unable to let go of the security blankets they hide behind and which project their illusions of confidence, manhood (and/or penis envy), power and enviable popular acclaim and fear. This is no different from Achilles dragging Hector’s body behind his chariot before the walls of Troy to safely chest-thump his hubristic pride in himself and to inspire terror.

      • Opinion | The Imperial Presidency Under Joe Biden

        Joe Biden may not believe in the imperial presidency, but it could be all he has.

      • UK Government Humiliated over Chagos Islands Again

        The International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, a UN body based in Hamburg, last week delivered a stern and unequivocal rebuke to the UK in ruling the UK has no legal interest in the maritime area of the Chagos Islands. You will recall that the UK in the 1970’s ethnically cleansed the entire population from Chagos at gunpoint to make way for the US nuclear base on the Chagos Island of Diego Garcia.

      • 50 House Democrats Back Resolution to Remove Marjorie Taylor Greene From Office
      • Is Far-Right QAnon Conspiracy Theorist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene the New Face of the GOP?

        Republicans face increasing pressure to strip Georgia Congressmember Marjorie Taylor Greene of her post on the House Education Committee. Greene was elected in November 2020 and is a far-right conspiracy theorist who has promoted QAnon, supported the execution of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and claimed the school shootings in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, and Parkland, Florida, were staged — as was the September 11 attack on the Pentagon. She also has a history of racist, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic comments. Bee Nguyen, a Democratic state representative in Georgia, recently joined other lawmakers in signing a resolution that calls on Greene to resign. “The congresswoman has proven to be dangerous, not just to our state, but to our country,” says Nguyen. We also speak with Michael Edison Hayden, senior reporter for the Southern Poverty Law Center, who says media discussions of QAnon and other far-right conspiracy theories tend to focus on how outlandish they are rather than on their hateful content. “While some of these ideas are crazy-sounding to people, I think it’s very, very helpful to start reframing it in your mind as something that is part of this drift toward anti-democratic, hard-right, authoritarian tendencies in the Republican Party,” says Hayden.

      • GOP Gov: Marjorie Taylor Greene Supporting Pelosi’s Execution Is Her Thinking ‘A Little Bit Different’

        According to Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, condemning those who support the execution of the speaker of the House is on par with ostracizing those who are merely thinking outside the box.

      • Army eyes Tibetology to checkmate China

        The Army is now fine-tuning a proposal for its officers to study Tibetan history, culture and language on “both sides” of the Line of Actual Control and the international boundary as part of the measures being discussed to “counter the propaganda and spread of influence by China”, say sources.

      • Trump’s acting secretary of defense disarmed D.C. National Guard 48 hours before the fascist assault

        A recently published memo issued by former Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller two days before the January 6 fascist assault on the US Capitol confirms that the leadership of the Pentagon deliberately disarmed National Guard soldiers on the eve of the coup attempt. The memo ensured that soldiers would be unable to protect themselves, much less the Capitol, allowing thousands of pro-Trump neo-Nazis and white supremacists to overwhelm the Capitol Police, who themselves had been deliberately underdeployed.

      • Will Saudi Arabia become a new drone battleground?

        An Iraqi militia has claimed responsibility for two suicide drones fired at Riyadh earlier this week — and vowed to do it again. The new group suggested Saudis should be sleeping with “one eye open” from now on.

      • Neo-Nazi murder trial reveals threat to German democracy

        On Thursday, those two men will stand up in a Frankfurt court to face Judge Thomas Sagebiel’s verdict for Lübcke’s murder. The state prosecutors believe Stephan E. drove to Lübcke’s house on the evening of June 1, 2019, a night when he knew that a nearby summer festival would mask any noise, waited outside till the politician appeared on his porch alone, and, at about 11:20 p.m., crept up and shot him in the head from close range.

      • Boko Haram: ‘Repent and Covert to Islam’ – Shekau tells new CDS, Irabor

        According to Shekau, there is going to be more terror attacks in the country, promising that, the high expectation placed on the new service chiefs will not amount to positive yields and soon Nigerians will know that the appointment of the new service chiefs amounts to nothing as to effect any changes in the operations of the insurgents in the northeast region.

      • Senate approves bill mandating Arabic be taught in all Islamabad schools

        The bill states that Arabic will be taught in schools in Islamabad from grades 1 to 5, while Arabic grammar will be taught to grades 6 to 12.


        Rabbani, meanwhile offering his dissenting note, alleged that the legislation was the state’s attempt to use “Islam for achieving a political agenda”. He further added that the state was trying to eliminate Pakistan’s multicultural and multi-lingual diversity by importing “Arab culture”.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Lead fishing tackle, walleye limits, deer hunting up for discussion in MN Legislature

        The lead fishing tackle ban, which has been introduced several times in recent decades but has always failed to advance, addresses a chronic issue of lead poisoning of loons and other birds when the birds ingest small sinkers and jigs lost by anglers while fishing.

        Lead is a highly toxic substance, banned for years in gasoline and paint because of deadly toxicity to humans and also banned in shotgun ammunition for waterfowl hunting. Even a tiny lead sinker can kill loons, which ingest the lead pieces while picking up small pebbles on the bottoms of lakes and rivers that are used to digest their food.

        The bills would ban the manufacture, sale and use of lead tackle one ounce or smaller in weight or smaller than 2.5 inches long.

      • The Western United States Is a Hotspot for Snow Droughts
      • Biden-Kerry International Climate Politricks

        To be sure, it’s great that the word crisis is consistently deployed, not just ‘climate change.’ Applause is due Biden’s commands to halt fossil fuel subsidies and new oil and gas drilling leases on national government lands, and phase out hydrofluorocarbons. There is a welcome promise to instead subsidize new solar, wind, and power transmission projects. Cancelling the nearly-finished Keystone Pipeline extension (from Canada to Nebraska) is praiseworthy, although surely the Dakota Access Pipe Line should be shut, too.

        Moreover, a weakened and often climate-unconscious U.S. labor movement did extremely well, with quite a few paragraphs of the Executive Order – e.g. in the box way below – promising well-paying union jobs in a Just Transition. There is an unusual race consciousness, too, as ‘environmental justice’ is invoked to address the discrimination that so often characterizes pollution in the U.S. Much of the Order resonates with Green New Deal demands, so the Sanders-AOC team pulling Biden leftwards can claim some excellent language.

      • Energy

        • Biden’s First Climate Actions Are Missing Coal’s Long Tail

          In its first two weeks, the nascent Biden administration has begun to stake out a serious climate action agenda. Biden’s already substantial campaign trail pledges and transition-period policy plans have unfurled into a sweeping set of first steps that implicate nearly the entire federal government. The White House’s newest multipart executive order on climate change and environmental justice takes important steps toward ending federal fossil fuel subsidies, jump-starting mass markets for EVs and other fossil-free products, embedding climate considerations in every federal agency’s decision-making, and accounting for racial and geographic inequities when apportioning the benefits of climate action.

        • Embrittlement in Nuclear Power Plants

          A meltdown at any one of them would threaten the health and safety of millions of people while causing major impact to an already struggling economy. The COVID-19 pandemic would complicate and add to the disaster. A nuclear power plant catastrophe would severely threaten accomplishments Biden is hoping to achieve in his presidency.

          The problem of embrittlement is on the top of the list of nuclear power concerns. The “average age”—length of operation—of nuclear power plants in the U.S., the federal government’s Energy information Agency, reported in 2019 was 38 years.

        • Renewable energy generation up by 11% in 2020, government claims

          Australia exceeded its generation of renewable energy in 2020 by 11% compared to the previous year, according to figures from the Clean Energy Regulator.

        • Bolsonaro’s Brazil is becoming a climate pariah

          Bolsonaro’s Brazil cuts environment funding despite rising forest losses and fires in the Amazon and elsewhere.

        • Why Germany won’t kill Nord Stream 2

          Yet plough on it does. Ministers briefly flirted with the idea of cancelling NS2 after the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, a Russian dissident, last August, but quickly reverted to type. Challenged after Mr Navalny’s recent detention in Moscow, Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, said she had not changed her mind on NS2, and noted that America remains happy to buy Russian oil. To circumvent American sanctions, the government of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, a sparsely populated state in north-east Germany where the pipeline makes landfall, has even established a foundation, mainly funded by Gazprom, to serve as an intermediary between NS2 and contracting companies—all in the name, risibly, of “climate protection”. (Genuine climate activists are appalled.)

          That attempt looks doomed to fail. And America’s persistent efforts to kill NS2 are bearing fruit. Congress has passed two sets of sanctions targeting the pipeline; the scope of both has been expanded in the past seven months. In December 2019 the mere threat of sanctions forced Allseas, a Swiss undersea construction firm, to pull its vessels from the project, halting construction for a year and costing Gazprom hundreds of millions. Many other companies, from engineering firms to reinsurers, have been scared off.

        • ‘If we cannot decouple economic growth from emissions, we are doomed’

          As always, there is neither a silver bullet nor is there a single action. But we must look at, first of all, where development can also provide an opportunity and a solution rather than compounding the problem. Clearly, decarbonization, which is moving our economies on a low-carbon trajectory into the future, and ultimately net-zero emissions, is a top priority. You can create mini-grids and actually provide people with a fundamental driver of development, which is access to power and electricity.

          The second area clearly has to be in the way that we also deal with our natural and ecological infrastructure: investing in nature, land restoration, stopping the destruction of, for instance, forests, but also of our river and water ecosystems.

          Ultimately, we must embrace the notion that we have to include full cost accounting in our national economic statistical systems, because once the price of losing these environmental assets is actually part of a national balance sheet, very different decisions begin to emerge and much more rational investment and development pathways are ultimately self-evident.

        • A Victory for Farmers in a David-and-Goliath Environmental Case

          A Dutch court ruled on Friday that a subsidiary of the British-Dutch multinational Royal Dutch Shell was liable for oil spills in the Niger Delta in Nigeria in 2006 and 2007, ordering the company to compensate a small group of residents in the region and to start purifying contaminated waters within weeks.

          The subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company, acted unlawfully by allowing the leaks to occur and by failing to clean up the area that had been contaminated, the Court of Appeal in The Hague found. The delta, in southern Nigeria, is the heart of the country’s prolific oil industry.

          The decision was the latest development in a yearslong judicial saga that pitted four Nigerian farmers against the company, and it could pave the way for more cases against the oil company in the region.

        • What to Call a Merged Exxon-Chevron? Probably Not Exron.

          A deal today would also come in the aftermath of a historic crash in oil prices. But the context has changed. The past decade’s lousy return on capital demonstrated bigger isn’t always better — and can, in fact, encourage the sort of hubris that swells balance sheets and shrinks bottom lines. Big Oil mostly missed the shale boom and Exxon’s expansionary tendencies of late are precisely why it has sold off. Meanwhile, climate change looms large for all oil companies (“Stranded Oil”). This wouldn’t be about launching a bigger ship on a voyage of discovery but instead gathering a lot more wagons to circle up and defend a position. What sort of multiple do you put on that story?

        • US plans to end fossil fuel finance overseas, threatens billions in support for oil and gas

          Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Kerry commented: “The problem with gas is if we build out a huge infrastructure for gas now to continue to use it as the bridge fuel, when we haven’t really exhausted the other possibilities, we’re going to be stuck with stranded assets in 10, 20, 30 years.”

          Kerry announced this week that the US would draft a climate finance plan and pledged to “significantly increase” international finance for adaptation and resilience initiatives.

          In his executive orders, Biden said he would reconvene the Major Economies Forum. Launched by the Obama administration, the forum brings together the world’s 17 largest emitters to discuss high-level leadership and collaboration on climate action.

        • Duke stranded gas assets could cost customers $4.8B, report finds

          The report “Carbon Stranding” warns that Duke’s resource plans are also inconsistent with its goals, and quantifies how much gas investments will cost customers as the utility moves toward a lower carbon system. The stranded asset problem has largely played out in the coal sector so far — as new gas, solar and wind projects drop below the cost of existing coal assets, coal plants are no longer the cheapest asset to operate, and are retiring before their costs are fully depreciated. Clean energy groups and economists warn this phenomenon could replicate in the gas sector over the next three decades, as clean energy portfolios replace gas as the cheaper generation option.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Is Corporate Money Threatening the Progressive Agenda in Congress?
      • Cutting $2,000 Payments, and Limiting Who’s Eligible for Them, Is Bad Economics and Loser Politics

        The same cabal of compulsive neoliberals and centrist grifters who derailed meaningful progress in previous Democratic administrations are at it again. This time, they want President Biden and the Democrats to lower expectations for Covid-19 relief by reducing the amount of direct payments to Americans and imposing harsh restrictions on who might be eligible for them.

      • Ilhan Omar Pushes Tax on All Stock Trades Amid GameStop Controversy
      • Perverse and Unfair: The Radical Steps to Fix the Housing Crisis

        Brave New Home begins with an anecdote that leads to the book’s central question. Its author, Diana Lind, recounts how after she gave birth to her first son, her life no longer revolved around social events, trips, work, and other outside-the-home activities. She was instead forced to become a homebody. Spending all this time at home, she started noticing all the ways her housing situation in Philadelphia didn’t match her needs. Specifically, she was alone with her husband, without much support in the form of relatives or friends nearby. She felt isolated at a time when she needed to feel the exact opposite. The options available to her to break this isolation were all things she’d have to purchase, like Mommy-and-me classes and meals in family-friendly restaurants. She bemoaned this situation and longed for a different arrangement, one in which friends and family were closer, in the sort of setup that used to be much more common in the United States.

      • Bolstering Reconciliation Case, Study Shows $15 Wage Would Boost Federal Budget By $65 Billion

        “My Republican colleagues used reconciliation to give almost $2 trillion in tax breaks to the rich and large corporations… You know what? I think we can use reconciliation to protect the needs of working families.”

      • ‘Inhumane’: As CBO Warns Employment Won’t Recover Until 2024, GOP Offers Mere 3-Month Extension of Jobless Aid

        “Workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own shouldn’t be constantly worrying that they are going to lose their income overnight.”

      • The GameStop Game and Financial Transactions Taxes

        First of all, much has been made of the fact that the hedge fund Melvin Capital was shorting GameStop, as though there is something illicit about shorting a company’s stock. This one requires some closing thinking. In principle, a major purpose of the stock market (we will come back to this) is to assess the true value of a company based on the information that investors collectively bring to the market.

        Often this leads people to buy stock with the idea that the price will rise. However, an analysis can also lead investors to conclude that a stock is over-valued. In that case, if they are correct, they will make money by shorting the stock.

      • Don’t be Fooled that Corporations’ Motives are Moral

        These moves by major corporate donors helped convince 10 House Republicans to join the Democrats in voting for impeachment, even though their defection from Trump will likely invite challengers in future GOP primaries. Trump’s impeachment now moves to the Senate for trial. The Constitution requires a two-thirds majority to convict a president, meaning at least 17 Republicans would need to join all 50 Democrats and independents in the new Senate.

        According to a January 13 Associated Press article, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke to “major Republican donors last weekend to assess their thinking about Trump and was told that they believed Trump had clearly crossed a line.” McConnell now sees the “House Democrats’ drive to impeach Trump as an opportune moment to distance the GOP from the tumultuous, divisive outgoing president.”

      • Robinhood: Stealing from the Poor to Give to the Rich

        Their target: Wall Street hedge funds engaged in the tactic of “shorting” GameStop’s stock.

        Their main weapon: Robinhood, an app which allows pretty much anyone to buy  stock in small amounts. Its stated mission is to “democratize finance for all.”

      • Reddit and Robinhood gamified the stock market, and it’s going to end badly

        Punting on stocks has always had a sporting element: the thrill of placing a bet and watching the game play out. But financial markets now offer a chance for combat as well as entertainment. The element of combat was introduced with the proliferation of hedge funds that actively short stocks to hedge their positions. Widespread shorting—when you borrow a share, sell it, and hope to buy it back at a lower price—ensures that longs (owners of the stock) are set against shorts in a zero-sum game. With the morality tale of good individual investors on Reddit battling the evil hedge funds shorting stocks, the game was complete. In a populist moment, what could be more fun than seeing lethal combat between individuals and institutions, outsiders and insiders?

        How did the gamification of financial markets happen? There are many culprits, including a bored and socially distanced workforce staring at screens during a pandemic, and low interest rates that make traditional saving silly and borrowing to buy stocks cheap, but the most important is the resurgence of the retail investor. You can’t fully gamify an industry without finding a technology to allow many new players.

      • India plans to introduce law to ban Bitcoin, other private cryptocurrencies
    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Polls Show Support for Biden’s Executive Orders, as Progressives Push for More
      • A Message of Unity
      • Biden Is Acting to Undo Trump’s Toxic Immigration Legacy. Now Congress Must Act.
      • Burmese Military Executes Coup After Circulating Baseless Election Fraud Rumors
      • ‘The House Must Step In’: Dems Introduce Resolution to Oust Marjorie Taylor Greene From Committees

        “We can’t stop her from speaking. What we can do though, is essentially render her nearly powerless. That’s what the intent of this resolution is.”

      • Dominion Sues Rudy Giuliani For $1.3 Billion Over False Statements About Its Voting Systems

        During the runup to the presidential election, through the election, past the election, past the Electoral College vote, past the states’ certification of votes, multiple recounts and investigations, all the way up until VP Mike Pence was due to certify the vote, Donald Trump and his squad of sycophants claimed — without evidence — the election was fraudulent.

      • Opinion | Judging Biden by Low Standards Set by Trump Would Be an Unforgivable Catastrophe

        We don’t have any room to grade this administration on a curve. Progressives must push with everything they’ve got.

      • Opinion | The Real Reason the GOP Don’t Want Biden’s Plan? They Fear It Will Work

        Biden’s success would put into sharp relief Trump and Republicans’ utter failures on COVID and jobs.

      • Opinion | Biden’s First JCPOA Hurdle

        As simple as this formula is, it doesn’t resolve the question of who should take the first step. 

      • Trumpism is Exactly Who Many of US Are

        During the dark years of Trump and MAGA madness, I often heard from disbelieving and exasperated colleagues that this is not who we are as US Americans, an attempt to invoke the country’s “better angels” or J. William Fulbright’s “two Americas”: One is the America of Lincoln and Adlai Stevenson; the other is the America of Teddy Roosevelt and the modern superpatriots. One is generous and humane, the other narrowly egotistical; one is self-critical, the other self-righteous; one is sensible, the other romantic; one is good-humored, the other solemn; one is inquiring, the other pontificating; one is moderate, the other filled with passionate intensity; one is judicious and the other arrogant in the use of great power.

        My colleagues’ comments were usually made in the context of a social media post and written in a spirit of anger, alienation, and shame. My initial reaction was invariably This may be not be who you are but it definitely an integral part of who and what the United States is. To believe otherwise is to live in fantasy world of one’s own making. I understood the sentiment and empathized with those who expressed it but adamantly reject its logic.

      • With Anti-IMF Candidate Surging in Polls, Ecuador’s Moreno Flies To DC Amid Talk of Suspending Election

        Polls show socialist, anti-imperialist candidate Andrés Arauz to be the clear frontrunner in Ecuador’s presidential elections slated to take place this Sunday, February, 7. Some even suggest the 35-year-old might receive double the votes of his nearest competitor in the first round of voting. Yet it now appears that the greatest danger to Arauz is not his rival candidates, but the threat of authorities canceling the election to prevent his victory.

      • UK Labour Pegs Former Israeli Spy to Complete Post-Corbyn Transformation

        Jeremy Corbyn’s successor as the UK’s opposition party leader (LOTO), Keir Starmer, has stated unequivocally that the embattled former head of the opposition will not return as a Labour MP, despite being reinstated as a member of the Party following his controversial ouster, which was driven by what many have called a concerted smear campaign branding him an anti-Semite and thwarting his bid to become Prime Minister.

      • The Hole in the Wall of the World

        “Believe nothing you hear and no more than half of what you see.”– toilet stall in Hitler’s bunker suite

        O, there’s a hole in the wall of the world where antlered conspiracy theorists convene to wonder who what where and why — like newspaper conspiracy fearists who get Deep Throated by the FBI, one unknits the record the other purled.

      • Chris Hedges: Papering Over the Rot

        The death spiral of the American Empire will not be halted with civility. It will not be halted with the 42 executive orders signed by Joe Biden, however, welcome many are, especially since they can, with a new chief executive, be immediately revoked. It will not be halted by removing Donald Trump, and the crackpot conspiracy theorists, Christian fascists and racists who support him, from social media. It will not be halted by locking up the Proud Boys and the clueless protestors who stormed the Congress on January 6 and took selfies in Mike Pence’s Senate chair. It will not be halted by restoring the frayed alliances with our European allies or rejoining the World Health Organization or the Paris Climate Agreement. All of these measures are window dressing, masking the root cause of the demise of America — unchecked oligarchic power and greed. The longer wealth is funneled upwards into the hands of a tiny, oligarchic cabal, who put Biden into office and whose interests he assiduously serves, we are doomed.

      • NYPD Deploys Counter Terrorism Unit To Protect Wall Street in Response To Gamestop Protests

        The Charging Bull statue in Manhattan’s Financial District has become the sight of protests amid a wider financial rebellion happening online. On Friday, a handful of activists were seen in Bowling Green Park, posing with the bull, and holding signs that said “Tax Wall Street Trades.” A thin band of tape was also placed on the statue’s head and rear end, featuring slogans like “Hold the line” and “WSB” — both allusions to the GameStop insurrection against hedge funds organized by Reddit’s “Wall Street Bets” community. A similar fate befell the new Fearless Girl statue, which faces the New York Stock Exchange building. Both the bull and the girl are meant to symbolize the power, bravery and daring of the city’s financial traders.

      • Biden Should Reject the Latest GOP Bipartisan Fantasy

        President Joe Biden’s oft-proclaimed love of bipartisan dealmaking will be tested this week as he talks with a group of Republican senators about their counterproposal to the stimulus bill floated by congressional Democrats and the White House. The Democratic stimulus plan, which Biden laid out in a speech on Thursday, is for $1.9 trillion in spending, including a one-time check of $1,400 to most Americans, a $400 weekly top-up to unemployed workers, aid to states and localities, and a phased-in increase in the minimum wage that could reach as high as $15 an hour. This proposal is likely to get little or no Republican support and so would have to pass through budget reconciliation, which requires a straight majority vote.

      • “Judas and the Black Messiah” Director Shaka King on Fred Hampton, the Black Panthers & COINTELPRO

        A highly anticipated new feature film, “Judas and the Black Messiah,” tells the story of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton and William O’Neal, the FBI informant who infiltrated the Illinois Black Panther Party to collect information that ultimately led to Hampton’s killing in 1969 by law enforcement officers. The film is premiering at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and stars Daniel Kaluuya as Hampton, LaKeith Stanfield as O’Neal and Martin Sheen as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Shaka King, the film’s director and co-writer, says focusing on Hampton and O’Neal was a way “to make ‘The Departed’ inside the world of COINTELPRO,” referring to the decades-long illegal FBI program to undermine Black and radical political organizations. “I just thought that that was a very clever vessel and intelligent way to Trojan-horse a Fred Hampton biopic.”

      • The Assassination of Fred Hampton: New Documents Reveal Involvement of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover

        Newly unearthed documents have shed new light on the FBI’s role in the murder of the 21-year-old Black Panther leader Fred Hampton on December 4, 1969, when Chicago police raided Hampton’s apartment and shot and killed him in his bed, along with fellow Black Panther leader Mark Clark. Authorities initially claimed the Panthers had opened fire on the police who were there to serve a search warrant for weapons, but evidence later emerged that told a very different story: The FBI, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Chicago police had conspired to assassinate Fred Hampton. FBI memos and reports obtained by historian and writer Aaron Leonard now show that senior FBI officials played key roles in planning the raid and the subsequent cover-up. “It was approved at the highest level,” says attorney Jeff Haas. We also speak with attorney Flint Taylor. Both are with the People’s Law Office and were the lead lawyers in a landmark civil rights case over the deaths of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.

      • The Boogaloo Bois Have Guns, Criminal Records and Military Training. Now They Want to Overthrow the Government.

        Hours after the attack on the Capitol ended, a group calling itself the Last Sons of Liberty posted a brief video to Parler, the social media platform, that appeared to show members of the organization directly participating in the uprising. Footage showed someone with a shaky smartphone charging past the metal barricades surrounding the building. Other clips show rioters physically battling with baton-wielding police on the white marble steps just outside the Capitol.

        Before Parler went offline — its operations halted at least temporarily when Amazon refused to continue to host the network — the Last Sons posted numerous statements indicating that group members had joined the mob that swarmed the Capitol and had no regrets about the chaos and violence that unfolded on Jan. 6. The Last Sons also did some quick math: The government had suffered only one fatality, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, 42, who was reportedly bludgeoned in the head with a fire extinguisher. But the rioters had lost four people, including Ashli Babbitt, the 35-year-old Air Force veteran who was shot by an officer as she tried to storm the building.

      • Running your own DNS service? There may be changes ahead.

        As a consequence of this directive’s quite broad definition of DNS, every organisation or individual running their own DNS will have to comply by registering their DNS service with ENISA, the EU agency for Cyber Security. This applies not only to top level domain DNS, but also to universities, companies of all sizes and ICT-enthusiasts who run their own DNS service at home. We believe that this was not the intention of the directive which is mainly aimed at the DNS management of critical infrastructures rather than the myriads of “local” networks which are vital to local businesses but would not impact the national economy. To modify this directive would now require some complex steps as it’s at the formal negotiation stage of the proposal process.

      • Iran Regime’s Agents and Illegal Activities in the US

        Afrasiabi presented himself as an independent political scientist, academic and expert. He allegedly wrote articles, including instance for The New York Times, a book, and gave TV interviews while getting guidance and payments from the Iranian regime. When Iranian officials reportedly asked him to revise an article already submitted, he followed up on their instructions.

      • Robinhood just so happens to have a Congressional lobbyist job opening

        The new role involves “federal advocacy and government affairs related to legislative and regulatory matters,” with a particular focus on the US Congress. That would be the same Congress that’s now planning to hold hearings in both the House and Senate that will scrutinize the actions of Robinhood and other online trading platforms in light of GameStop’s wild stock surge.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Columbia Law Professor Spews Blatantly False Information About Section 230 In The Wall Street Journal

        Another day, another completely ridiculous, wrong, and painful op-ed in a major newspaper that gets all of the details about Section 230 wrong. And this one is particularly ridiculous because it’s coming from a law professor. Professor Philip Hamburger wrote an op-ed for the WSJ that is so bad, so wrong, so clueless, that if I handed it in in one of his classes, I’d deserve a failing grade. The only thing that this piece gets is that, while I’d thought I’d seen every style of bad Section 230 takes, this one is creatively bad in new and more ridiculous ways than I’d seen before. It’s titled: The Constitution Can Crack Section 230, which already seems like a weird way to kick off. Cracks… what?

      • Academic Media Censorship Conference Censored by YouTube

        An academic critical media literacy conference warning of the dangers of media censorship has, ironically, been censored by YouTube. The Critical Media Literacy Conference of the Americas 2020 took place without incident online over two days in October and featured a number of esteemed speakers and panels discussing issues concerning modern media studies.

      • Nigerian teen jailed for blasphemy has sentence quashed

        A Sharia court in Kano State convicted Farouq in August last year and sentenced him to ten years in prison after he was accused of using foul language toward Allah in an argument with a friend.

        He will be released Monday after being in captivity for over five months with no access to family or lawyers.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Rage, rage, rage Pussy Riot releases new music video in support of Alexey Navalny and all political prisoners

        The Russian performance art and activist group Pussy Riot has released a new music video dedicated to political prisoners, including jailed Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny and Pussy Riot activist Maria Alyokhina, who is currently under house arrest. The video, which stars Pussy Riot co-founder Nadezhda (Nadya) Tolokonnikova, includes footage of police officers disrupting the shoot on the grounds that it constituted illegal “gay propaganda.” The video ends with a call to “free political prisoners.”

      • Alexey Navalny’s hearing relocated to Moscow City Court

        Moscow’s Simonovsky District Court will consider the Federal Penitentiary Service’s (FSIN) petition on revoking Alexey Navalny’s probation sentence during a hearing at the Moscow City Court building on Tuesday, February 2. 

      • Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh placed under house arrest

        Moscow’s Basmanny District Court has placed Alexey Navalny’s press secretary Kira Yarmysh under house arrest as a suspect in the ongoing criminal case over the violation of sanitary and epidemiological rules during the protest in Moscow on January 23.

      • How it became a hotel As Navalny’s investigation into ‘Putin’s palace’ gained tens of millions of views on YouTube, the Kremlin shifted from denying any interest in the property to exposing its ‘owners’

        It took less than two weeks for Alexey Navalny’s documentary film about Vladimir Putin’s alleged seaside “palace” to reach 100 million views on YouTube. Since the investigative report was released, various associates and Kremlin officials — even the president himself — have tried to convince Russians that Navalny discovered nothing. Meduza examines how the authorities’ rhetoric evolved as the investigative report exploded online.

      • ‘The situation could well lead to a national uprising’ Dozens of scientists and scholars sign open letter demanding that Russia stop persecuting activists and turn instead to international cooperation

        On January 31, following thousands of arrests at opposition protests in support of the jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny, dozens of scientists and scholars from institutes and universities across Russia and the West endorsed an open letter condemning the treatment of Navalny and his supporters and warning that the authorities risk a “national uprising” if they cannot reconnect with society. Echoing Andrei Sakharov’s plea for unity of “peace, progress, and human rights,” the signatories say the Russian government is running out of time. Meduza republishes the text below.

      • ‘They asked why I don’t support Putin’ After the January 23 protest in Astrakhan, police unlawfully detained a 22-year-old student and used her social media to incite protests. Here’s her story.

        On January 23, hundreds of thousands of people across Russia took part in massive demonstrations in support of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny. In the city of Astrakhan, several hundred people attended a large rally that turned into a march through the city center. Though the rest of the country saw mass arrests, there were no detentions reported in Astrakhan. However, a local student named Vera Inozemtseva later filed a complaint against the police with state investigators: according to the 22-year-old, police officers unlawfully detained her after the rally and then used her social media accounts to post calls for further protests. For Meduza, Vera recounts the story of her abduction and subsequent arrest, in her own words.

      • Deputy editor resigns over pressure to release ‘exclusive’ videos about Putin’s alleged palace

        Sergey Titov, the deputy editor of pro-Kremlin media outlet Mash, has announced his resignation. This comes after the outlet released an “exclusive” video filmed at Vladimir Putin’s alleged Black Sea palace, followed by an interview in which billionaire Arkady Rotenberg came forward claiming to be the property’s real owner.

      • Polite police and disorderly demonstrators How Russian television networks and national news agencies reported Alexey Navalny’s January 31 opposition protests

        On January 31, in the wake of a second round of nationwide protests demanding the release of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny, Russian state television networks and news agencies reported a “dramatic decline” in attendance at rallies and aired footage from demonstrations in cities that typically draw small crowds or failed to mobilize for Sunday’s events. “It’s fizzled out,” declared Dmitry Kiselyov, one of the Kremlin’s most prominent TV propagandists. State networks and news agencies offered no explanation, however, for how such supposedly piddling turnout resulted in more than 5,600 arrests on Sunday — a single-day record for the opposition.

      • 5,000 and counting Photographs from the January 31 protests, where Russian law enforcement broke records for nationwide arrests

        On Sunday, January 31, protesters across Russia took to the streets for the second weekend in a row to oppose the detention of opposition figure Alexey Navalny. The police response, which was harsh on January 23, was even more severe than last time — as evidenced by numerous testimonies (and videos) of officers using tasers against demonstrators. In total, more than 5,000 people were arrested countrywide, shattering last weekend’s record for the most detentions Russia has ever seen in a single day. Here’s a look at the events of January 31, in photos.

      • Pakistan orders release of man convicted of Daniel Pearl murder

        Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal against the acquittal of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh in connection with the kidnapping and beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl.

        The three-judge bench directed authorities to release Sheikh, a British-born militant who was sentenced to death for his role in the plot.

        “Today’s decision is a complete travesty of justice and the release of these killers puts in danger journalists everywhere and the people of Pakistan,” the Pearl family said in a statement released by their lawyer.

      • Daniel Pearl: Family to appeal Pakistan murder acquittals

        The family of American journalist Daniel Pearl will challenge an order by Pakistan’s Supreme Court to acquit British-born Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh and his three co-accused of the reporter’s killing, Judea Pearl, the journalist’s father, said on Sunday.

        Pearl, 38, was the South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted and killed in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi in January 2002. He had been investigating Islamist militants in the city the wake of the September 11 attacks in the US.

      • Experts warn of China’s growing media influence in Africa

        From infrastructure development to trade, film, and education — there’s no doubt China’s presence in Africa is having a significant influence on the continent.

        But how has China been winning the so-called ‘war of hearts and minds’ of more than one billion Africans?

        “For China, propaganda has positive connotations, it is seen as a proactive tool in educating and shaping opinions to contribute to a ‘harmonious society,’” Ivana Karaskova, an expert on Chinese foreign and security policy, said during a virtual panel discussionon Friday. The event, dubbed ‘Telling China’s story well — Beijing’s attempts to reign into media in Africa and Europe,’ was organized by the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS).

        Unknown to many, China has been investing massively in Africa’s media as a strategy to achieve its longer-term ambitions.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • ‘These Officers Should Be Fired and Indicted’: Outrage After Rochester Police Pepper Spray Handcuffed 9-Year-Old Child

        “Just pepper spray her at this point,” one officer can be heard saying about a young girl already in the backseat of a cruiser, just before another officer says, “I got her. I got her.”

      • Showing ‘Better, More Just World Is Possible,’ Oregon Decriminalizes Low-Level Possession of All Drugs

        “Today, the first domino of our cruel and inhumane war on drugs has fallen—setting off what we expect to be a cascade of other efforts centering health over criminalization.”

      • Fundamentalist Intolerance

        In other words, only born-again Christians are allowed to express prejudice and hostility, while other Americans live by kinder standards.

        Actually, around the world, there’s a clear pattern: Strong religion produces judgmental, bigoted attitudes. Fundamentalists are unforgiving, less accepting of outcasts. Puritans are quick to condemn.

      • Moscow court jails photojournalist Ivan Kleymenov for 10 days after he’s violently arrested while reporting at Sunday’s protests

        A Moscow court has sentenced photojournalist Ivan Kleymenov to 10 days in jail for allegedly joining an unlawful assembly that blocked traffic on Sunday. He was arrested while reporting from opposition protests on January 31 at Rusakovskaya Street, where police officers tased him and struck him in the head. The arrest was captured on video and shared on social media.

      • New York City Council Proposes Sweeping NYPD Reforms

        The New York City Council has announced an ambitious slate of legislation to reshape the NYPD and increase accountability at the nation’s largest police force. Among the proposed changes, the police commissioner would be stripped of final say over disciplining officers.

        In an ongoing investigation, ProPublica has detailed how NYPD officers who’ve mistreated civilians have escaped significant punishment and even been promoted to top positions, while commissioners have often dismissed proposed penalties for officers.

      • Google agrees to pay $2.6M to end discrimination probe

        Google is set to pay nearly $2.6 million to settle allegations that it underpaid thousands of female workers and discriminated against female and Asian job applicants.

        As part of the “early resolution” conciliation agreement released by the Department of Labor on Monday, the Silicon Valley giant will review its hiring and pay practices.

        The agency had found “preliminary indicators” of bias at five Google locations in Washington and California during a routine audit of affirmative action obligations.

      • A Vast Web of Vengeance

        With that impunity, Ripoff Report and its ilk are willing to host pure, uncensored vengeance.

      • Girl killed by ‘family’ over husband’s plea for her recovery

        The couple, however, rejected the panchayat’s decision and on Wednesday, Usman filed a petition against it in the court of the additional district and sessions judge for his wife’s recovery. Misbah’s family got enraged and allegedly shot her dead.

        They dumped her body in the local graveyard and fled away.

        Locals Feroze Din, Farman Ali and Hafizan Bibi alleged the girl was pregnant and had been killed for ‘honour’, adding the local police was aware of the whole incident for three months. The panchayat members also knew the girl could be killed, they claimed.

      • ‘Boko Haram murdered my children’

        “Boko Haram sect entered my family, they were not attacking everyone, but they attacked Christian family. Sometimes they attack churches…They entered my house, they tied my husband and two of my children. They brought them out and I was there in front of them. They asked them to denounce Christ and they refused. So they went ahead and slaughtered them.

      • Mandatory hijab rule in Padang public schools under scrutiny following non-Muslim student’s complaint

        Education officials in the city of Padang, West Sumatra are under pressure to review a discriminatory rule after a student at public vocational high school complained that she was made to wear the hijab even though she’s not Muslim.

      • 284 women killed in Turkey in domestic violence in 2020

        Güzel said violence against women had increased significantly in 2020, noting that 48 out of the 284 women were killed at home, while one out of every five of them was murdered because they wanted a divorce.

      • Abolition Of Cash Bail Press Conference

        Half a million people are in jail in the US awaiting trial because they could not make bail. Poor defendants can’t make bail and more affluent defendants can. It is a two-tier system that criminalizes poverty and undergirds mass incarceration and racial inequality. People who are jailed pretrial because they can’t make bail often wait months and sometimes years before their cases are resolved. In the meantime, they lose jobs, homes, and children. Inside jail, they often suffer violence, sexual assault, mental and physical health problems, and lasting trauma.

        The abolition of cash bail has become a demand of advocates for pretrial justice. It would eliminate pretrial detention except where necessary to prevent imminent violence or flight from justice. Instead of bail, to ensure public safety and the defendant’s appearance in court, judges would decide if defendants should be released from custody while awaiting trial, held in jail until trial, or be subject to other requirements such as house arrest and electronic monitoring.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • With Loon Dead And Google Fiber Frozen, Google’s Broadband Disruption Plays Aren’t Looking So Hot

        When Google Fiber launched back in 2010, it was heralded as a game changer for the broadband industry. Google Fiber, we were told, would revolutionize the industry by taking Silicon Valley money and disrupting the viciously uncompetitive and anti-competitive telecom sector. Initially things worked out well; cities tripped over themselves offering all manner of perks to the company in the hopes of breaking free from the broadband duopoly logjam. And in markets where Google Fiber was deployed, prices dropped thanks to this added competition (fancy that!).

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Trustees of Columbia University v. Illumina, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2021)

          While much has been written about the effect of the post-grant review provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (2012) in invalidating U.S. patents, the change in the law most responsible for how easy it has become to invalidate patents is arguably the Supreme Court’s decision in Dickinson v. Zurko (1999). That decision, which applied the provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act (1948) to judicial review of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office determinations mandated that disgruntled patentees and patent applicants show that factual decisions by the Office are not supported by substantial evidence in order to overturn these decisions. These considerations extend even to questions of law like obviousness, which are based on factual determinations. And this difficulty was ultimately the reason Columbia University did not prevail in its attempt to overturn the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s judgment in an inter partes review proceeding that invalidated challenged patent claims for obviousness in Trustees of Columbia University v. Illumina, Inc.


          The Federal Circuit affirmed, in an opinion by Judge Lourie joined by Judges O’Malley and Reyna. The panel rejected in turn the three arguments asserted by Columbia. First, Columbia contended that the Board erred in its interpretation of the Metzker reference’s teachings, and failed to recognize that those teachings would have constituted a “teaching away” by informing that skilled person that allyl capping groups were not efficient enough for successful SBS (because, according to the opinion’s characterization of Columbia’s argument, “SBS requires efficient incorporation of nucleotides”). The panel held that the Board’s conclusions regarding the Metzker reference’s teachings were supported by substantial evidence, and that teaching away must be shown by “‘clear discouragement’ from implementing a technical feature,” citing Univ. of Md. Biotechnology Inst. v. Presens Precision Sensing GmbH, 711 F. App’x. 1007, 1011 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (quoting In re Ethicon, Inc., 844 F.3d 1344, 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2017)). In the Court’s view, Columbia did not meet this threshold based on three facts. First, the Tsien reference taught successful SBS methods using nucleotides having allyl capping groups. Second, the Board “carefully evaluated Metzker and found that it confirms rather than negates Tsien’s teachings.” With regard to whether the SBS methods were successful enough, the panel was content with the Board’s determination that Metzker did not describe SBS methods using allyl-capped nucleotide analogues as failures. And third, while the art taught SBS methods using alternative capping groups the existence of “better” alternatives does not negate “inferior” alternatives in the prior art from supporting an obviousness determination.

          Columbia’s second argument, that the skilled worker would not have had a reasonable expectation of success in achieving SBS using analogue nucleotides comprising allyl-capped moieties, was equally unavailing. The panel’s basis for rejecting this argument was that a “reasonable expectation of success” does not require “the best of all possible results.” (And in a wonderful aphorism, the opinion notes that “[s]uccess may not have only one definition.” Words to live by indeed.) Once again, the Court held that the Board’s findings on the reasonable expectation of success issue was supported by substantial evidence. These findings include as a side note that Illumina had in a separate reexamination made the argument that the Tsien reference would not have provided a reasonable expectation of success for SBS methods, which the Board and the Court rejected because in that reexamination the priority date (which affected what was known by the person of skill in the art) was 1994 rather than, as here, October 2000. With regard to the application of the inefficient termination by allyl capping moieties in Metzker, the panel agreed with the Board that the skilled worker “would have known that ‘increasing concentration [of nucleotides] or reaction time could help incorporation efficiency.’” Despite the necessarily speculative nature of that finding the Court held that the Board was entitled to rely on Illumina’s expert to support it. And the panel refused the invitation it perceived Columbia was making that it “reweigh” the evidence to come to a different conclusion.

        • FOSS Patents: Another pre-emptive strike by the German judiciary against patent injunction reform: no reform at all might be the best outcome by now

          I’m raising this question–and as you may have figured, it’s a rhetorical one–in light of the latest pre-emptive strike by the German patent judiciary against the useless pseudo-reform that’s on the table. The latest anti-reform torpedo was fired this month by Judge Dr. Klaus Grabinski of the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice), the undisputed superstar among those German patent judges who are not going to be legally required to retire in the nearest future and by far the most logical candidate for the post of Chief Judge of the future Unified Patent Court. Unfortunately, Judge Dr. Grabinski is a “hawk” with respect to injunctive relief. He makes it sound like he’s balanced, and even people who disagree with his positions tend to like him. But make no mistake: if you showed him 100 cases in which retired Justice Kennedy would have denied injunctive relief, Judge Dr. Grabinski would be sure to find ways to order injunctions in 101 of them.

          Judge Dr. Grabinski authored a write-up for a commemorative publication on the occasion of a likeminded proponent of patent overenforcement, Professor Dr. Peter Meier-Beck, who presided over the Federal Court of Justice’s patent senate and then moved on to the antitrust senate, where he’s since been able to do even more damage to German case law than in his original domain: Sisvel v. Haier. The only good thing I can say about Meier-Beck’s impact on innovation and competition is that he’s going to have to retire very soon. His decisions have done and will continue to do much harm to the real economy, but the statutory age limit for German judges ensures he won’t get to write too many more of them.

        • Secret Patent Holder vs 254 Unnamed Defendants

          Chicago patent attorney Kevin Keener recently filed the following action in N.D. Ill. Federal Court. You’ll note that the name of the patentee was filed under seal as was any identifying information about the asserted patent. The infringers are unknown but likely “foreign” individuals and unincorporated businesses who are selling infringing items to US customers via Amazon.com and other “infringing webstores.” Amazon has not been named as a defendant.


          Although the defendants are unknown and are believed to be foreign, the patentee alleges that the N.D.Ill. “Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendants in that they transact business in the State of Illinois and in the Northern District of Illinois.” Regarding venue, the complaint alleges lots of potential connections, but fails to cite the statement in 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c)(3) that a foreign defendant “may be sued in any judicial district.”

        • Federal Circuit: Anticipation not Inherent to Obviousness Argument

          M&K’s U.S. Patent No. 9,113,163 covers a “method of decoding moving picture.” There is some history between Samsung and M&K’s family of companies, whose patents also originate in Korea. This appeal stems from an IPR final written decision finding the challenged claims invalid.

          Decide only the Issues Raised: The first bit here is easy but quirky. The petition challenged claim 3 of the ‘163 patent as obvious. The PTAB found the claim unpatentable as anticipated, but did not perform an obviousness analysis. On appeal, the Federal Circuit vacated — holding that the PTAB “deviated impermissibly from the invalidity theory set forth in Samsung’s petition.” For its part, Samsung argued that the anticipation holding was no-problem. Just like the vast-majority-of-cases, the anticipation here is inherent in the obviousness theory. In particular, we have the same prior art — its just that the PTAB only needed the primary reference. In its petition, Samsung suggested a second reference showing the “predetermined block” claim limitation.

        • Software Patents

          • $2,000 for Magnacross prior art

            On February 1, 2021, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $3,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 1 of U.S. Patent 6,917,304. This patent is owed by Magnacross, LLC, an IP Edge entity and well-known NPE. The ’304 patent generally relates to wireless data transmission through wireless access points or routers and has been asserted in over 100 litigations against many networking companies, including T-Mobile, Sprint, Acer, Logitech, and ZTE.

          • EPO challenge filed against Dolby patent

            On January 29, 2021, Unified filed an opposition proceeding against EP 2 659 675 B1, owned by Dolby International AB. The patent is related to patents that are designated essential to SISVEL’s AV1 patent pool. This filing is a part of Unified’s ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone.

          • $2,000 for NorthStar Systems prior art

            On February 1, 2021, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 1 of U.S. Patent 8,478,527. This patent is owned by NorthStar Systems LLC, a subsidiary of Alpha Alpha Intellectual Partners, LLC, an NPE. The ’527 patent generally relates to displaying and generating object vector indicators on an electronic map (e.g., visually displaying a route between two points of interest on a map). The ‘527 patent has been asserted against TCT Mobile, OnePlus Science & Technology, Kyocera, and ZTE.

      • Copyrights

        • RIAA Launches Brand New Front Group Pretending To Represent Independent Artists

          A few days ago, a friend asked if I’d ever heard of the “Digital Creators Coalition,” an apparently new group that claimed to be representing independent artists. I was unfamiliar with it, and its website provided basically no information about who was actually behind it, beyond this vague statement on its “who we are” page:

        • “Secret” Illegal Streaming Survey Carries Some Surprises

          The Federation Against Copyright Theft recently published the results of a survey, concluding that after being warned of the “very real risks”, 62% of consumers are still unaware of the “hidden dangers” posed by illegal streaming. We obtained some of the data behind this conclusion, and all is not as it seems.

        • Record Labels Should Sue Us in Russia, YouTube Rippers Suggest

          The piracy lawsuit between several major record labels and the YouTube-rippers FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com is back at square one. A Virginia federal court has to decide whether it has jurisdiction over the matter. According to the Russian operator of the sites, there’s also an alternative. The labels could sue in Russia where they have fought other copyright battles in recent history.

13 Years of Our IRC Channels

Posted in Site News at 9:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The main means of communication and coordination at Techrights is aging fast; IRC still works just fine, unlike IRC copycats that are bloat and surveillance (down to the level of mouse motion tracking)

THE IRC channels turn 13 next month. It all started in 2008. This video explains how the channels work, where logs can be found, the text and HTML versions, and mirrors in IPFS.

“We’re not censoring the channels, but the general atmosphere is still positive rather than hostile.”There’s also a quick introduction to the Web-based IRC client, for those who are not familiar with IRC or do not have an IRC client installed.

We’re not censoring the channels, but the general atmosphere is still positive rather than hostile. It’s not always amicable, it’s not always on topic, but abuse is rather rare.

Raspberry Pi (at Least Raspbian GNU/Linux and/or Raspberry Pi Foundation) Appears to Have Been Infiltrated by Microsoft and There Are Severe Consequences

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security at 9:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Microsoft entryism (using fake ‘love’ and openwashing tactics) seems to have yielded the worst possible outcome; it now has root-level access, without user consent, into millions of Raspberry Pi devices

SEVERAL years ago the thugs from Microsoft marked the Raspberry Pi Foundation for death or defection, as they had done OLPC a decade earlier.

Raspberry PiMicrosoft is a cult that does not tolerate anything that’s not Microsoft. Those who seriously think that Microsoft “loves Linux” are deeply deluded or bribed/misled by (or like) the Linux Foundation. Microsoft has long faked “love” just to get closer to what it’s trying to destroy (or take over, then destroy).

“Microsoft has, via the package repository, defacto root access.”
The video above provides technical and objective truth about claims I received last night. Microsoft is now spying on a lot of Raspberry Pi devices and these devices are happy to push proprietary software for Microsoft.

How did that happen? Why was there no disclosure or warning?

Are you already ‘infected’? Here’s how to check. We’ve reproduced this on two devices so far. The operating system (this might be applicable to more):

$ grep -i pretty /etc/os-release
PRETTY_NAME="Raspbian GNU/Linux 10 (buster)"

How to know if you’re affected/infected already:

$ cat /etc/apt/sources.list.d/vscode.list
# You may comment out this entry, but any other modifications may be lost.
deb [arch=amd64,arm64,armhf] http://packages.microsoft.com/repos/code
stable main

We don’t know yet if this affects only Buster-based devices. We need to highlight the issue before this becomes widespread.

Raspberry Pi logo“Just in case the implications were not obvious,” our source noted, “Microsoft servers get pinged with every update. That tells them the quantities and locations of all the world’s networked Raspberry Pi computers running Raspberry Pi OS.”

Here in Techrights we’ve long warned about adding Microsoft to sources (e.g. to install proprietary software like Edge). This isn’t just another company; it’s the company looking to undermine GNU/Linux and it’s also blackmailing the platform using patent lawsuits (yes, still). It loves Windows, not “Linux”.

A poor work-around or fix (to the above):

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/vscode.list
sudo touch /etc/apt/sources.list.d/vscode.list
sudo chattr +i /etc/apt/sources.list.d/vscode.list

But why was this added in the first place? “A far as I can tell,” the source said, “the file was injected during an update this weekend, but no package fesses up to having created it.”

sudo dpkg -S /etc/apt/sources.list.d/vscode.list
dpkg-query: no path found matching pattern /etc/apt/sources.list.d/vscode.list

We got the same on two systems now. As the video shows, a system update a week ago did not yield this ‘infection’. So it happened less than a week ago.

“We got the same on two systems now. As the video shows, a system update a week ago did not yield this ‘infection’. So it happened less than a week ago.”“Conclusion,” according to our source, is that “Raspberry Pi Foundation has a quisling somewhere inside.”

“Result,” the source added: “Microsoft has, via the package repository, defacto root access.”

“This is almost certainly a direct reaction to the Raspberry Pi having entered the desktop market with very, very serious models.”

“We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger….If you’re going to kill someone, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.”

Former Microsoft VP James Allchin

February Starts With Fresh ‘Linux’ FUD

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Security at 7:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The media continues its smear campaigns; even the infested Linux Foundation participates in such campaigns nowadays, not to mention the corporate media (which the Foundation is connected to)

THE new month started yesterday, but it hardly feels like 2021 has even started yet (because of lock-downs).

Nevertheless, some things never change, for example FUD sites like ZDNet. Security articles that mention “Linux” (so far this week or yesterday alone) are more or less the same and they reuse talking points from fake 'security' companies, looking to sell proprietary software as the supposed ‘solution’.

The video above discusses a bunch of examples fished over the past 24 hours. This is becoming like a norm now. Whenever “Linux” is mentioned in the context of security it’s something very negative, whereas the media paints Microsoft as heroes for taking down botnets that Microsoft itself is responsible for (without even tackling the underlying issues, just symptoms; the media does not discuss the actual issues, such as back doors).

IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 01, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:13 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
 QmTziBPtG8cBTisCyprJvjQEUa9mXNApznvsTGpiC8ZSeJ IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmdoPgmMDoL2h8zwEZJBYvXeUJvk1giyj2oBw8Dx7KG9C9 IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmWAjN4Hn32NKrByixLYxSq9eQcVJVB6RmsB74F8NaDqDJ IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 Qmf45SWJUfvfa6GDsezSXZkTSPL9CLVgwN4tbMofbQNc6A IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmWxtNu3dFLxmYzpnS5McTpRcA8tffZEn9Nvc4U5FeTqew IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 Qmcs96fA6tTMCRMxKJDgFvoceFceJP6JmF9WvyZhBCGPVC IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmVGEKtd6ddhL3SdhntNDqYt1khhU7r3ewPbjeCciPqjYZ IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
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(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
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