02.03.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 3/2/2021: Google’s Clown Computing is an Epic Failure and Bezos Steps Down (as Amazon’s CEO)

Posted in News Roundup at 1:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • How to Test Any Linux Distro Without Installing With DistroTest

      Want to try Linux distributions on your system without installing? Several websites are available on the internet that allow you to run Linux-based operating systems on an internet browser.

      DistroTest is by far the most superior platform, as it provides you complete control over the system. This way, you can easily choose which distro is the most appropriate for your needs without having to install it on your computer.

    • Try out GUI Linux distro on a free online virtual machine using browser

      Well, as I told you there is a website called Distrotest.net, so basically we visit it and simply select the Linux machine we want to try out for whatever reasons you have. For instance, you want to see why MX Linux is so popular? Does Elementary OS is really the most beautiful one or what is the difference between Ubuntu and Linux Desktops?

      Well, this service or website starts a virtual machine via the QEMU emulator, to which you connect via VNC. Distrotest usually starts a live CD of the Linux version of your choice and here are the steps to access it.

    • Five reasons why researchers should learn to love the command line

      During his postdoctoral studies, Casey Greene’s adviser insisted that all images of figures that were used in presentations had a black background. Greene got pretty good, he says, at opening figures in an image editor, inverting and colour-rotating them, and repeating. “But at some point, it turns out life is too short to continue importing and colour-rotating in even a free software program that is relatively easy to use,” says Greene, who now directs the Center for Health Artificial Intelligence at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora. So, he turned to the command line — specifically, the free and open-source image-manipulation tool ImageMagick, using a for loop to repeat the operation across all his files:

    • Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in January 2021 [Ed: 80% GNU/Linux in top 10]

      Rackspace kicked off 2021 with the most reliable hosting company site in January. The top five hosting company sites each responded to all of Netcraft’s requests in January and were separated by average connection time. Rackspace offers a variety of cloud hosting solutions from 40 data centres across five different continents in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.

      The podium is completed by New York Internet (NYI) and EveryCity. NYI offers bare metal, cloud and colocation services from its four data centres in the US. UK-based EveryCity provides cloud hosting solutions and managed third-party services from its primary data centre located in the heart of London.

    • The start of a crazy journey: the SunFire V245

      I have a lot of learning to do here, since the server world is not a place I have ever really visited. I’m going to make stumbles along the way, but the end goal is for this server to be a usable workstation – most likely running either Linux or BSD.

    • Linux Magazine

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa Vulkan Drivers Get A Common Dispatch Framework For Better Code Sharing – Phoronix

          Mesa 21.1 has merged a common dispatch framework for use by Vulkan drivers to allow for better code sharing and the possibility of some Vulkan extensions to be more easily supported across all drivers.

          Up to now all five Mesa Vulkan drivers (Intel ANV, Radeon RADV, Broadcom V3DV, Freedreno TURNIP, and Lavapipe) all of them have had their own slightly modified version of Intel’s entrypoint generator script. Intel ANV lead developer Jason Ekstrand has taken now to avoiding this unnecessary code duplication between drivers and finally working towards a unified Vulkan entry points setup.

        • Intel Graphics Driver Low-Latency Scheduling Revived For A Smoother UX – Phoronix

          For the better part of a year now we’ve seen patches for Intel’s kernel graphics driver working on fair low-latency scheduling that in part has been inspired by the design of BFS/MuQSS. While it’s too late for seeing the work land with Linux 5.12, the latest batch of 57 patches were sent out this week.

          Longtime Intel open-source driver developer Chris Wilson continues working on scheduling improvements for the Intel graphics driver. Among the work with the current set of 57 patches include the fair low-latency scheduling. This shouldn’t impact Linux gaming performance but more so result in lower jitter when running multiple graphics applications on the desktop.

    • Benchmarks

      • Radeon RX 6800 Series Linux Performance Nearly Three Months After Launch

        Given the daily progress and changes made to the open-source AMDGPU Linux kernel driver and the Mesa drivers providing the open-source OpenGL (RadeonSI) and Vulkan (RADV) support, here is a look at how the Radeon RX 6800 series performance is currently for the latest Linux graphics driver code compared to the performance seen back on the November launch day for the Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT graphics cards.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 10.2.1 Released For Open-Source Automated Benchmarking – Phoronix

        Released last month was Phoronix Test Suite 10.2 while now it’s been succeeded by Phoronix Test Suite 10.2.1 as a point release to this quarter’s stable series.

        Phoronix Test Suite 10.2.0 originally brought macOS Big Sur / Apple M1 support improvements, improved time tracking, a more responsive Phoromatic web user interface, BSD support updates, PHP 8.0 compatibility, and a variety of other improvements.

    • Applications

      • Jabber/XMPP Client ‘Kaidan’ 0.7.0 Released with New Features

        Kaidan, free and open-source Jabber / XMPP client, released version 0.7.0 with enhancements and bug-fixes.

        Kaidan is a user-friendly and modern chat app uses the open communication protocol XMPP (Jabber). Unlike other chat apps, you are not dependent on one specific service provider.

        The new version 0.7.0 was released today adds more information in contact profile including nickname, software version, and operation system.

      • Desktop RSS Feed Reader NewsFlash 1.2.0 Adds Support for NewsBlur, More

        NewsFlash 1.2.0 has been released with support for NewsBlur, ported Feedly to the new collections API, and more.

        NewsFlash is a desktop RSS feed reader for Linux created primarily to be used with web-based RSS feed readers like Feedly, Feedbin, etc., but it can also be used locally, without such web services. The program is a complete rewrite of FeedReader in Rust, using GTK for the user interface, with many extra features on top.

      • 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.

        XMPP was designed for real-time communication, which powers a wide range of applications including instant messaging, presence, media negotiation, whiteboarding, collaboration, lightweight middleware, content syndication, EDI, RPC and more.

        Here’s our recommendations. All of the software is free and open source.

      • Paru – A New AUR Helper and Pacman Wrapper Based on Yay

        One of the main reasons that a user chooses Arch Linux or an Arch based Linux distribution is the Arch User repository (AUR).

        Unfortunately, pacman, the package manager of Arch, can’t access the AUR in a similar way to the official repositories. The packages in AUR are in the form of PKGBUILD and require a manual process to be built.

        An AUR helper can automate this process. Without any doubt yay is one of the most popular and highly favoured AUR helper.

        Recently Morganamilo, one of the two developers of yay, announced that is stepping away from maintaining yay and starting his own AUR helper called paru. Paru is written in Rust compared to yay that is written in Go and its design is based on yay.

        Please note that yay hasn’t reach the end of life and is still being actively maintained by Jguer. He also commented that paru may be suitable for users that looking for a feature rich AUR helper; thus I would recommend giving it a try.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Fix Exception ‘open failed: EACCES (Permission denied)’ on Android

        Today, I was working with my old program, which I had made in December 2020. Due to some odd reason, I delayed my app development process.

        An application was working a few months back suddenly the app gets crashed with the error Exception ‘open failed: EACCES (Permission denied)’…

      • Factorials and unscrambling words with bash on Linux

        In this post, we examine a bash script that takes a string of letters, rearranges them in every possible way and checks each permutation to identify those that are English words. In the process, we’ll take a close look at the script and calculate how hard it might have to work.

        Note that, in the algorithm used, each letter arrangement must use all of the letters in the string provided. Words formed by substrings are not considered.

      • Grafana, Loki, syslog-ng: jump-starting a new logging stack

        Talking to syslog-ng users, I found that many of them plan to take a closer look at Grafana, due to the upheaval around the change of licensing terms for Elastic. Luckily, it is now possible to jump-start the complete, new logging stack – including Grafana, Loki, syslog-ng and tools to monitor this stack – with a single command. All you need to do is to point a couple of syslog clients at the included syslog-ng server and open Grafana in your browser. Of course, this setup is far from being production-ready, but it can speed up preparing a test environment for you.

        From this blog, you can learn how to install Grafana, Loki, syslog-ng stack, how to forward your log messages there, and how to check the results in Grafana.

      • rename anime fansubs
      • Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager: Managing Virtual Machines made easy with short training videos

        In last week’s Training Tuesday blog, we introduced you to the first in a series of training videos on Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager. Today, we continue with the second set of free, short videos on managing virtual machines (VM). These videos demonstrate deployment of VMs through the Administration Portal and VM portal graphical interfaces.

        In this set of videos, you learn about the physical, logical, and virtual components needed to create and run virtual machines. You learn how to use templates to simplify the deployment of similar virtual machines and how to create and use Open Virtual Appliance (OVA) files in Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager.

      • Disabling Tracker in Fedora

        I have realized that one of the tracker processes is dying every few seconds on my Fedora 33, I got ton of ABRT reports and system log filled with stacktraces. Bugs happen, however I don’t actually utilize this tool very much. Searching in contacts, files, browser history, photos, documents of files is nothing I use, maybe except accessing specific settings by typing “mouse”. But I can live with that.

      • Booting S390x libvirt VMs over network – Lukáš Zapletal

        I am exploring S390x provisioning support for Foreman and it looks like network booting S390x virtual machines could be a good start. Foreman can be used with or without libvirt compute resource to either run and customize an image via SSH finish template or booting from network.

        In QEMU environment, s390-ccw firmware is utilized to boot the operating system which is not as flexible as on Intel, but thanks to the recent work of Red Hat and IBM engineers in 2018 it offers two ways of booting from network via DHCP/BOOTP protocols.

      • Getting started with Flutter on Ubuntu

        Recently there was an announcement from Ubuntu that the desktop team are working on a replacement for the Ubiquity installer. The really interesting part of the post by Martin Wimpress, head of the Ubuntu Desktop team at Canonical, is that the new installer will be built using Flutter.

        Flutter is a cross-platform User Interface framework that can target Linux, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS all from the same source code. I have been aware of Flutter for some time now but have been trepidatious in jumping in to sample the water, because I am completely unfamilier with the Dart programming language and was worried about making the time investment.

      • How to Control App Priorities with Ananicy in Linux – Make Tech Easier

        Auto Nice Daemon is ancient, and changing your software priorities manually is annoying. Isn’t there a modern way to control how many resources each program should use? Meet Ananicy (ANother Auto NICe daemon), a modern auto-nice solution, with which you can create profiles for your software to prioritize the apps you care about. Let’s see how you can do that.

      • How to install Inkscape 1.0 on Linux Mint 20.1

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Inkscape 1.0 on Linux Mint 20.1.

      • How to install TS!Underswap on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install TS!Underswap, an Undertale Fangame, 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 Nitrux 1.3.7

        In this video, I am going to show how to install Nitrux 1.3.7.

      • How to remove carriage return in Linux or Unix – nixCraft

        How do I remove all the carriage returns \r (^M) from a file in Unix using the command-line options?

        A carriage return is nothing but a control character used to reset a device’s position to the beginning of a text line. In other words, whenever you hit the [Enter] key, you generate carriage return. It is a newline concept. Please note that in ASCII and Unicode, the carriage return is defined as 13. So you may see it as control+M (kbd>^M). In the C and especially on Linux/macOS or Unix-like system, we will see it as \r. In DOS/Windows text files, a line break is a combination of two characters: a Carriage Return (CR) followed by a Line Feed (LF). In Unix/Linux/macOS text files, a line break is a single character: the Line Feed (LF). This page explains how to remove carriage return and update file easily.

      • How to deploy Applications on Kubernetes using Helm

        In this article, we will release Apache from the existing chart. We will create a sample chart and release, upgrade, rollback, delete and restore it. Let’s see the commands in brief before we use them in the article later.

      • How To Install Signal Messenger on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Signal Messenger on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, The Signal messenger is a popular and safe person to person internet messaging that is used for both information superhighway and phone-based purposes communications globally. Signal has fashionable as a result of the privacy it offers such as a number of custom encryption techniques.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step install of Signal Private Messenger on CentOS 8.

      • How to Assign Multiple IP Addresses to a Single Network Interface on CentOS 8

        At times, you might have to assign multiple IP addresses to a single Network Interface Card (NIC). The most common use-case of doing so can be that there is more than one network and you want to connect your machine to all of them at a time. In this situation, although, you can get multiple NICs according to your needs, however, a more practical solution will be to assign multiple IP addresses to a single NIC. Therefore, today we will be sharing with you the procedure of assigning multiple IP addresses to a single Network Interface in CentOS 8.

      • How to Install MySQL 8.0 on Ubuntu 20.04 – TecAdmin

        MySQL is the popular relational database management system used for storing structured data in table formats. It is open source database server uses SQL (Structured Query Language) statements for to interact with. The MySQL is freely available under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

        This tutorial will help you to install MySQL 8 on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Linux systems.

      • How to find the missing parts of a series

        My wife has a data table with a unique serial number for each of its records. The table gets frequent edits and she wanted to check which of the numbers might be missing as a result of past deletions. There are thousands of numbers, so eyeballing for gaps in the series isn’t practical.

      • How to install Conky System Monitor on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – Linux Shout

        Conky system Monitor provides a quick view of Linux process, CPU, Memory, network, and other resource consumption directly on your Linux desktop as a Widget… And here are the simple steps to install it on Ubuntu 20.04 or 18.04 LTS Linus systems. The commands given here will also work on previous versions of Ubuntu including Linux Mint, Elementary, MX Linux, Debian, and other similar distros.

      • How to install Ulauncher in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS linux – Linux Shout

        Ulauncher is an application launcher for Linux distros such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, CentOS, RHEL, Manjaro, and more… Here we will learn the steps to install it on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Linux version.

        The developers of Ulauncher have used Python and GTK+ to create this fast directory browser on Linux systems. This increases the productivity of Linux users when it comes to search some app or file immediately. You can say it is a macOS spotlight alternative for Linux systems.

        Ulauncher provides a simple search box where we can type the application name that we want to search, even with a wrong spelling, this launcher will figure on its own what the user is looking for. Furthermore, Ulaucnher can also remember our previous choices and automatically selects the best option.

      • Convert audio files with this versatile Linux command | Opensource.com

        I work with media, and when you work with any kind of media, you learn pretty quickly that standardization is a valuable tool. Just as you wouldn’t try to add a fraction to a decimal without converting one or the other, I’ve learned that it’s not ideal to combine media of differing formats. Most hobbyist-level applications make the conversion process invisible to the user as a convenience. Flexible software aimed at users needing control over the fine details of their assets, however, often leave it up to you to convert your media to your desired format in advance. I have a few favorite tools for conversion, and one of those is the so-called Swiss army knife of sound, SoX.

    • Games

      • Top 6 New Games Proton Can Run Since Jan. 2021

        It’s a new month, and as usual, Boiling Steam looks at the latest data dumps from ProtonDB to give you a quick list of new games that work (pretty much?) perfectly with Proton since January 2021 – the Median rating indicates that games work either out of the box (5) or well enough with tweaks (4)…

      • Viking open-world survival game Valheim enters Early Access | GamingOnLinux

        After a promising Alpha release on itch.io back in 2018, the day has finally come to enter purgatory in Valheim.

        “A battle-slain warrior, the Valkyries have ferried your soul to Valheim, the tenth Norse world. Besieged by creatures of chaos and ancient enemies of the gods, you are the newest custodian of the primordial purgatory, tasked with slaying Odin’s ancient rivals and bringing order to Valheim.”

      • Godot Engine – Godot 4.0 optimization progress report

        As most of the rendering features for the upcoming Godot 4.0 are done, I have spent the past two months optimizing the rendering engine, both on the CPU and GPU side. All this work has resulted in significantly faster rendering times.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Julian Sparber: NlNet grant for Fractal

          Some people already know, but now I’m officially announcing that for the next months I’ll be working full-time on Fractal thanks to a grant from NlNet. My main objective is to integrate end-to-end encryption into the GNOME Matrix client. Since user experience is crucial for getting E2EE right I’ll be working closely with Tobias Bernard from the design team throughout this project.

    • Distributions

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Flashpeak Slimjet browser updated to 29.0.2.0

          Slimjet is built on top of the Chromium open-source project on which Google Chrome is also based. It enjoys the same speed and reliability provided by the underlying blink engine as Google Chrome. However, many additional features and options have been added in Slimjet to make it more powerful, intelligent and customizable than Chrome. In addition to that, Slimjet DOES NOT send any usage statistics back to Google’s server like Google Chrome, which is a growing concern for many Chrome users due to the ubiquitous presence and reach of the advertising empire.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Outreach, Survey Extension Addressed in Second Meetup

          The second session of the openSUSE Project’s meetup regarding the End of the Year Survey Results on Jan. 30 led to some changes with regard to future surveys and contributors are looking to enhance outreach.

          The two-hour meetup took place on openSUSE’s Jitsi instance and several community members around the globe provided input on the results and how to improve the project’s diversity as well as global use.

          The group spent time discussing the projects’ weaknesses and strengths based on the survey results and commonly understood areas members hope to improve.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • How I build and expand application development and testing | Opensource.com

          In the previous article, you implemented Zero, which provides the simplest possible path through your code. There is absolutely no conditional processing logic anywhere to be found. Now it’s time for you to move into One.

          Unlike with Zero, which basically means nothing is added, or we have an empty case, nothing to take care of, One means we have a single case to take care of. That single case could be one item in the collection, or one visitor, or one event that demands special treatment.

          With Many, we are now dealing with potentially more complicated cases. Two or more items in the collection, two or more events that demand special treatment, and so on.

        • Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience 2021 registration is live!

          Red Hat Summit is the premier open source technology event that provides IT professionals a mix of innovation, collaboration and learning opportunities. This year we are further expanding Red Hat Summit to a flexible approach that offers a two-part virtual experience with a series of small-scale in-person events planned for later in 2021.

        • Resilience in the wake of 2020: Red Hat’s path in 2021

          2020’s gone and it won’t be missed. For all of the chaos, confusion and change the previous year brought, it helped illuminate a critical facet of Red Hat, our associates, our partners, our customers and our communities. It showed that we are resilient. Not only did we weather it as a company, we helped those around us stand firm through the storm. That’s something to be proud of, and I know that as CEO of Red Hat, I’m thankful at how we as a business, as a pillar of the open source community and as a global organization kept a steady hand throughout.

          Red Hat was born out of community. It’s at the center of everything we do. When faced with uncertainty and when we see others in need, that’s when we pull together and show our mettle. Throughout the past year, Red Hatters showed a tremendous capacity for fortitude and humanity. When I first took over the role of CEO, I made the comment that I wanted every Red Hatter who was here at that point to still be here in a year. And I think we’ve held true to that.

        • Fedora Preparing To Switch To Intel’s Modern “Sound Open Firmware” Audio Driver – Phoronix

          Fedora 34 is planning to switch to using Intel’s modern Sound Open Firmware audio driver as it should be in good shape now and superior to the existing sound driver. This is ahead of Intel likely switching to the Intel SOF driver code path by default in the upstream kernel once this change has first been vetted by Fedora users.

          The past few years Intel has been developing Sound Open Firmware. As implied by the name, the sound firmware is now open-source for the audio DSP with this effort. This effort around Intel’s Low Power Engine (LPE) began with Bay Trail / Cherry Trail era devices and the SoF effort has continued to more recent hardware. The current default of the upstream kernel and other distributions is to use the existing “SST” firmware solution while the plan is to transition over to using the open-source SoF solution with its modern driver. (There is a separate kernel driver for each firmware solution as opposed to just changing out a proprietary firmware blob for open-source firmware.)

        • 5 questions to ask during your next sysadmin interview | Enable Sysadmin

          I’ve interviewed a lot of people in my time as a lead tech in desktop support, as a domain support admin, as an independent business owner, and system administrator. A lot of my colleagues loved to “grill” interviewees with impossible to answer questions and enjoy making them sweat on the “hot” seat. Now the ball is in your court—you get to ask some tough questions of your panel of inquisitors. It’s your turn to make them sweat a little and hopefully gain some useful information about your potential new job.

        • Fedora Community Blog: Taiga 6 is on teams.fedoraproject.org

          Last week, our Taiga instance on teams.fedoraproject.org was upgraded to Taiga 6. Officially announced today, Taiga 6 is the latest release of the open source project management tool. Fedora’s instance is managed by Taiga and is available to all Fedora teams.

          If you’ve used Taiga before, you’ll immediate notice the changes to the user interface. I’ve noticed it being faster and the developers say it feels more intuitive. Less obvious is the addition of a “swimlane” feature to the Kanban board. Swimlanes allow for distinct high-level categories of work.

      • Debian Family

        • Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities 2021-01

          Yikes, my head is still spinning from what a crazy month January was. Only managed to squeeze in a few uploads. I’ve also been working on an annual DPL summary that I got to about 80% in December and was barely able to touch it during January, might end up simplifying it just so that I can get it released. In the meantime there’s a lot of interesting stuff happening, stay tuned :)

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Meet the Ubuntu 21.04 “Hirsute Hippo” Artwork by Sylvia Ritter, Made with Krita

          Meet the Hirsute Hippo artwork by Sylvia Ritter, made with the powerful, open-source and cross-platform Krita digital painting and raster graphics software. The artwork is inspired by Ubuntu 21.04‘s codename “Hirsute Hippo” and I believe it shows a mama hippo with her cute baby hippo.

          Undoubtedly this is yet another masterpiece from Sylvia Ritter, and this time the artwork is made in a format suitable for your mobile phones and tablets since PinePhone has become such a very popular device among Linux fans.

        • Ubuntu Core 20 offers secure Linux for IoT devices

          Canonical is making Ubuntu Core 20, a minimal, containerized version of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS for IoT devices and embedded systems, generally available from today.

          It improves device security with secure boot, full disk encryption, and secure device recovery and builds on the Ubuntu application ecosystem in order to create ultra-secure smart things.

          Ubuntu Core 20 addresses the cost of design, development and maintenance of secure devices, with regular, automated and reliable updates included. Canonical is working with silicon providers and ODMs to streamline the entire process of bringing a new device to market. To help developers 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 for IoT devices promises better security for edge devices

          Ubuntu publisher Canonical has announced the general availability of Ubuntu Core 20, the containerized version of its popular Linux flavor built for IoT and embedded systems. Canonical describes this as a major release, and it brings Ubuntu Core in line with Ubuntu’s 20.04 release that came early in 2020.

        • Ubuntu Core 20 Brings Better Industrial IoT Control

          Canonical on Feb. 2 made available Ubuntu Core 20, a minimal, containerized version of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS for Internet of Things (IoT) devices and embedded systems.

          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 powers industrial IoT devices. Innovative companies are using it to build and commercialize consumer-fronting devices, ranging from coffee brewers to medical devices, according to Galem Kayo, a product manager at Canonical.

          The new Ubuntu Core version 20 boasts notable new device security innovations. Given the increasing numbers and sophistication of attacks by individual and state-sponsored cybercriminals, Canonical’s efforts should be welcomed by both IoT device makers and their customers, according to Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

        • Ubuntu Core 20 Released

          Canonical released today Ubuntu Core 20 designed for IoT and embedded devices. Ubuntu Core 20 is now available to download. If you are not aware of Ubuntu Core 20 then it is a minimal, containerised version of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Ubuntu Core 20 is a major release after the previous version, Ubuntu Core 18.

        • Ubuntu Core 20 adds secure boot and startup service

          Canonical has released Ubuntu Core 20, an embedded variant of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, adding secure boot and full disk encryption. There is also a Smart Start service to help launch Ubuntu Core based products.

          Canonical announced the release of Ubuntu Core 20, its minimalist, containerized version of Ubuntu Linux for IoT devices and embedded systems. Following earlier releases such as Ubuntu Core 18 from 2019, Ubuntu Core 20 is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, the long-term support release that preceded the recent Ubuntu 20.10.

        • Canonical launches Ubuntu Core 20 for IoT devices

          Canonical has announced the general availability of Ubuntu Core 20, a stripped back version of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS designed for IoT devices and embedded systems. According to the company, this update improves device security with the inclusion of secure boot, full disk encryption and secure device recovery.

          Ubuntu Core is available for many popular x86 and ARM single board computers making it pretty accessible. IoT devices are not always easy to update so Canonical has configured Ubuntu Core to provide automated and reliable updates out of the box so end users don’t need to worry about updating their devices. While an LTS is usually supported for five years, it provides business-critical devices with 10 years of support.

        • Secure to the core: IoT Ubuntu Core Linux 20 released

          Specifically, the new Ubuntu Core supports controlled and cost-effective unattended software updates for device families. These fix everything, everywhere, fast on your shipping devices. It also includes a minimal attack surface for OS and apps, with no unused software installed in the base OS. This, in turn, reduces the size and frequency of security updates.

          Helping to lock down Ubuntu Core, all snaps are strictly confined and isolated. This way, even if an application is compromised, the design limits the damage it can cause. In addition, provable software integrity and secure boot prevents unauthorized software installation, with hardware roots-of-trust. Full disk encryption eases compliance with privacy requirements for sensitive consumer, industrial, healthcare, or smart city applications.

        • Martin Wimpress, Ubuntu Desktop Lead, is Leaving Canonical

          Sharing the news on Twitter, Martin says he is leaving the company ‘soon’ to take up a new role with the folks at Slim.ai.

          Martin joined Canonical’s Ubuntu’s desktop team back in 2017, and became its desktop lead in 2019, taking over the role from Will Cooke.

          But (as most of you will know) Martin has a much longer history with the wider open source community thanks, in part, to his role in the creation of Ubuntu MATE, his work on the MATE desktop environment, and his starring role as co-host on the official Ubuntu Podcast.

          Ubuntu MATE fans sweating at this news can breathe: Martin says he plans to continue leading the Ubuntu MATE flavour going forward (hurrah) and will remain active in the wider Ubuntu and Snapcraft communities (phew).

          Sad news? Yeah.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Why There’s Hard, Cold Cash For Soft, Disaggregated Routing

        The appetite for such open networking – and we did not say open source networking, but that is an important subset of open networking that may not make a big difference in the longest of runs – is increasing, and it is happening at an increasing rate. But network operators are a conservative bunch, and given the nature of the job – you can lose a few nodes here and there in a datacenter and you recover, but you can’t lose the network or the whole business is hosed – you can appreciate that. There is an appetite for both open switching and open routing, and while we have talked about open switches for a long time, we are just coming around to the need for open routing as credible companies are emerging to take on these tasks.

        Open networking has the same chicken and egg problem that open serving did back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and it took a good recession or two and the dot-com boom to get everyone on board with running some flavor of Unix on top of a RISC processor that offered better bang for the buck than the proprietary systems of the time. The hardware has to come first, and then the software moves onto it and drives the total cost of ownership down relative to fully proprietary solutions. This is ever the way in IT. It started happening with whitebox switching in a big way a decade ago, although no single network operating system has yet emerged here, and it is most definitely happening right now with whitebox routing as Arrcus, DriveNets, Volta Networks, and the open source FRR project take on routing in their own unique ways.

      • Hungary and Open Source: the Digital Success Programme 2030 [iophk: “The Hungarian DSSP is not a new operating system but simply a new GNU/Linux distro. Join up wrote an incorrect summary. It looks like some Debian derivative.”]

        In the wake of the Digital Success Programme 2030 implementation, the Ministry of Innovation and Technology has supported several Hungarian SMEs to develop a new Open Source (OSS) operating system.

      • Digital Success Software Package

        Digital Success Software Package is a collection of an operation system and several user software in Hungarian language that is free to download and to use. It is supposed to substitute those document and spreadsheet editor, web browser, email client and other office software that require subscription to use them. The Digital Success Software Package represents a software package that is easily accessible for everyone, is supported by the government and enables its users to manage their public administration affairs electronically while also being in line with modern user experience trends.

      • Events

        • Meet Guix at FOSDEM

          As usual, GNU Guix will be present at FOSDEM on February 6th and 7th. Due to the pandemic, this year’s edition takes place on-line. The downside is that we’ll miss beautiful Brussels, but on the up side hopefully people who cannot join physically will be able to attend this year, and the event’s carbon footprint will be much lower.

        • Call for Presentations for 2021 Qt Webinars and Events Now Open!

          Qt is looking for speakers, collaborators and industry thinkers to share their expertise and thoughts with the developer and designer audience.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Why Firefox for Android logs you out of everything all the time

            I’ve been increasingly frustrated with Firefox for Android, my preferred mobile web browser. I’ve repeatedly had to re-login to some websites and had various problems with cookies since last year’s release of the new Firefox codenamed “Daylight.” Websites forget me between each visit and I get the “new visitor” experience every time. I finally worked out what’s going wrong.

            I’ve suspected that it might have been a side-effect of Firefox’s tracking-cookie-blocking features. I’ve just assumed the issues have been caused by short-lived session cookies, limited device storage space, perverse incentives to give me new opportunities to consent to tracking cookies, and I’ve made other excuses for the buggy behavior.

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.7 Beta 1

          This software is still in development, so it’s not recommended to run this version on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.

          [...]

          Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS is streamlined
          Switching a WordPress site from HTTP to HTTPS has proven to be a pain for all involved. While on the surface, the Site Address and WordPress Address have to be updated, content with embedded HTTP URLs remains unchanged in the database. With this release, migrating a site to HTTPS is now a one-click interaction. URLs in the database are automatically replaced when the Site and WordPress Address are both using HTTPS. Also, Site Health now includes an HTTPS status check.

          Standardize colors used in WP-Admin CSS to a single palette
          This change collapses all colors used in the CSS to one of the available shades of blue, green, red, yellow, grey, black, and white. The palette makes it simpler than ever to build components your users can read, because half the range gives you great contrast with white type and a half with black, according to current accessibility guidelines.

          Ongoing cleanup after update to jQuery 3.5.1
          jQuery deprecations in WordPress Core and bundled themes show up a lot less often, and the notifications make more sense to the user.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU C library 2.33 released

            Version 2.33 of the GNU C library is out. Changes this time include a number of dynamic linker improvements, 32-bit RISC-V support, and a number of security fixes.

      • Programming/Development

        • Perl/Raku

          • Perl 6 Small Stuff #20: From anonymous one-line functions to full length MAINs with type and error checking

            There’s been a few weeks where I haven’t followed Perl Weekly Challenge, but luckily I found some time for Challenge #11 this week. Inititally both exercises looked they quite a bit of coding. But after a while it became apparaent that both could be solved with relatively simple one (or two) liners.

            But I also found that one-liners aren’t always very robust when it comes to error handling, so that gave me an opportunity to explore Perl6’s built-in type (and content) checking of command line input parameters, as well as how to use Perl 6’s built-in methods of generating friendly and readable Usage output.

            But before all of that we’ll start with the second excersise.

          • Monthly Report – January

            Well, let me answer the first question, Why? To be honest with you, I do it to keep myself motivated. I need some kind of (self) motivation to carry on what I do on a daily basis. Now to answer the second question, What is the point? It helps me to keep track and follow the progress.

            Above all, it gives me immense pleasure when I see Perl being discussed in a positive lights. As you all know, I am running The Weekly Challenge – Perl & Raku for nearly 2 years now. To be precise, on 25th March, 2021, we would celebrate our second anniversary. There is something else that is keeping me busy right now. Any guesses? In two weeks time, we would complete 100th week of the weekly challenge. It is no small feat by any means. I never thought in my dreams that we woud come this far. Thanks to each and every members of Team PWC. I literally mean each and everyone.

          • Perl weekly challenge 98
  • Leftovers

    • Wikipedia introduces new Universal Code of Conduct to fight harassment

      The formal code of conduct — like many Wikimedia projects — was a crowdsourced project, with over 1,500 volunteers from around the world contributing. It’s intentionally designed to be relatively short and easily comprehensible to users, measuring in at a brisk 1,600 words.

    • Science

      • Estonia becomes associate member of CERN

        Estonia’s associate membership lasts for two to five years, after which Estonia becomes a full member of the organization. While, as an associate member, Estonia’s income may not exceed the membership fee, then upon becoming a full member, this restriction will disappear and Estonia will also have the right to vote in the CERN Council.

        Estonia has been participating in the activities of the organization on the basis of a cooperation agreement since 1996. Estonian researchers have mainly participated in CERN’s experimental and theoretical studies of particle physics. In addition, Estonian students and physics teachers have been trained in the framework of CERN’s summer school.

    • Hardware

      • Tablets back with a boom in 4Q due to COVID-19

        Global shipments of tablets had a big fourth quarter in 2020, with 19.5% year-on-year growth, translating to 52.2 million units, according to preliminary data from the technology research firm IDC.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Russia’s Sputnik V Is Found to Be 91.6% Effective, Providing Boost for Global Vaccination Effort

        Russia has been one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, recording about 73,000 deaths and over 3.8 million infections over the past year. Meanwhile, there is widespread skepticism over the domestically developed Sputnik V vaccine, with many Russians reluctant to get the shot. Now a peer-reviewed study published in the respected Lancet medical journal has confirmed the vaccine’s 91.6% efficacy, as developers of the shot have long maintained. “That’s good news for the developers of the vaccine in Russia. That’s good news for Russia writ large, which certainly has plenty of geopolitical ambitions surrounding the vaccine,” says Joshua Yaffa, correspondent for The New Yorker in Moscow. “And it’s frankly good news for the world.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Google’s cloud business lost more than $5.5 billion last year, but it’s growing fast

          Google parent company Alphabet weathered the tail end of 2020 to post better-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter of the year. But the bigger story is that Alphabet broke out Google Cloud’s sales for the first time ever, revealing an eye-popping $5.6 billion annual loss last year, but a nearly 50 percent jump in revenue (to $13 billion) compared to 2019. And Google Cloud maintained that growth well into the fourth quarter, when the division generated $3.8 billion in sales. That’s a 46 percent jump from the fourth quarter of 2019.

        • Google Cloud Reports Huge Operating Losses in New Disclosure

          Alphabet Inc. said its Google Cloud business had an operating loss of $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter, a new disclosure that may disappoint some Wall Street analysts.

          The Mountain View, California-based company revealed the number on Tuesday in a statement. For 2020, the cloud division lost $5.6 billion, Alphabet said.

        • Microsoft 365 Becomes Haven for BEC Innovation

          Two fresh business email compromise (BEC) tactics have emerged onto the phishing scene, involving the manipulation of Microsoft 365 automated email responses in order to evade email security filters.

          In one case, scammers are targeting victims by redirecting legitimate out-of-office (OOO) replies from an employee to them; and in the other, read receipts are being manipulated. Both styles were seen being used in the wild in the U.S. in December, when auto-responders were more prevalent due to holiday vacation.

        • The reshaped Mac experience

          [...] I’ll quote the relevant ones here (emphasis mine):

          “The selling point of the Macintosh was never the hardware, it was the user interface. So if the selling point now is the hardware, that’s a damning indictment of the current user interface.

          I cannot emphasize enough how everyone seems to have lowered their standards with regard to the user interface. The “Overton window” has moved. The Overton window now has rounded rects.

          We’ve gone from “insanely great” and “It just works” to “Catalyst is good enough for most people.”

          That’s fucking BS, and I won’t tolerate it. [...]”

        • ‘ValidCC,’ a Major Payment Card Bazaar and Looter of E-Commerce Sites, Shuttered

          ValidCC, a dark web bazaar run by a cybercrime group that for more than six years hacked online merchants and sold stolen payment card data, abruptly closed up shop last week. The proprietors of the popular store said their servers were seized as part of a coordinated law enforcement operation designed to disconnect and confiscate its infrastructure.

        • The U.S. Spent $2.2 Million on a Cybersecurity System That Wasn’t Implemented — and Might Have Stopped a Major Hack

          As America struggles to assess the damage from the devastating SolarWinds cyberattack discovered in December, ProPublica has learned of a promising defense that could shore up the vulnerability the hackers exploited: a system the federal government funded but has never required its vendors to use.

          The massive breach, which U.S. intelligence agencies say was “likely Russian in origin,” penetrated the computer systems of critical federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Treasury Department, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Justice, as well as a number of Fort ined undetected, free to forage, for months.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • SODA Foundation and SNIA to Advance Education for Data and Storage Management

                In a move that advances a common goal of increasing education for a unified framework and standardization for data and storage management, the SODA Foundation and Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) are pleased to announce they have entered into a marketing alliance.

                The SODA Foundation is an open source project under the Linux Foundation that seeks to foster an ecosystem of open source data management and storage software for data autonomy, while SNIA is dedicated to developing standards and education programs to advance storage and information technology.

                “Working with SNIA in a marketing capacity is an ideal stepping stone to combining our expertise for the advancement of storage management technology,” said Steven Tan, VP & CTO, Futurewei and SODA Foundation Chair. “Together, we will contribute to creating a more engaged and informed developer ecosystem and emphasize the importance of the standardization of storage management APIs.”

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday [LWN.net]

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (firefox-esr, libdatetime-timezone-perl, python-django, thunderbird, and tzdata), Fedora (kf5-messagelib and qt5-qtwebengine), Mageia (kernel-linus), openSUSE (firefox, jackson-databind, and messagelib), Oracle (flatpak), Red Hat (glibc, kernel, kernel-alt, kernel-rt, linux-firmware, net-snmp, perl, qemu-kvm, and qemu-kvm-ma), SUSE (firefox, java-11-openjdk, openvswitch, terraform, and thunderbird), and Ubuntu (fastd, firefox, python-django, and qemu).

          • Countless emails wrongly blocked as spam after Cisco’s SpamCop failed to renew domain name at the weekend

            Cisco’s anti-spam service SpamCop failed to renew spamcop.net over weekend, causing it to lapse, which resulted in countless messages being falsely labeled and rejected as spam around the world.

            From what we can tell, this is what happened. When the domain name expired, *.spamcop.net resolved to a domain parking service’s IP address. The way that SpamCop’s DNS-based blocking list works is that if you, for example, want to check that an email sent from a system with the IP address 1.2.3.4 is legit, you run a DNS query on 4.3.2.1.bl.spamcop.net. If SpamCop returns a valid DNS entry for that lookup, then it’s an IP address known to have sent out spam in the past and should be treated with suspicion.

          • Linode cloud firewall: Do you need it to protect the Linux server? – nixCraft

            inode is an original cloud platform and founded before AWS. Back then, we used to call them VPS (Virtual Private Server). Recently they added a new firewall feature to control network access to my Linode server from the Cloud. Let us test drive Linode cloud firewall.

          • New Year, More Bits

            I hope that everyone had a good start into the new year. The last one probably has been tough for most of us in many different ways. It has been for the IPFire Project, too.

            But we have tried to make the best we can out of it, and for this year, we have come up with an important decision that I would like to announce today: The development team has decided that we have to “cut costs” and we have decided to end support for the 32 bit x86 architecture by December 31st 2021.

            [...]

            IPFire has its roots way in the past and therefore we used to carry some technical features that are not relevant any more.

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

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Amazon Ring’s End-to-End Encryption: What it Means

              Ring should take the step to make this feature the default, but for the time being, you will still have to turn encryption on.

              You can read more about Ring’s  implementation of end-to-end encryption in Ring’s whitepaper.

              Amazon is currently rolling out the feature, so it may not be available to you yet . When it is available for your device, you can follow Ring’s instructions. Make sure to note down the passphrase in a secure location such as a password manager, because it’s necessary to authorize additional mobile devices to view the video. A password manager is software that encrypts a database of your passwords, security questions, and other sensitive information, and is protected by a master password. Some examples are LastPass and 1Password.

            • TikTok reduces India staff after long-standing countrywide ban

              More than seven months after India issued a countrywide ban on TikTok, the app is significantly reducing its staffing in the country. On Tuesday, Nikkei Asia reported that TikTok was “essentially withdrawing” from India, citing sources familiar with the company.

              Reached for comment, a TikTok spokesperson confirmed that it was reducing its workforce in India but disputed the details of Nikkei’s report.

            • Elon Musk Announced He’s Leaving Twitter For ‘A While’, And No One Knows Why

              He just tweeted “Off Twitter for a while” at 3:45 AM ET or around 2:13 PM IST. He didn’t share anything apart from this, which was rather strange, nor did he reveal when he’d be back.

              The richest man on the planet, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index has recently created a massive impact on a variety of things just by a single tweet on his Twitter handle — whether it was encouraging users to quit using Facebook, or even WhatsApp by recommending them to switch to Signal.

            • Tim Cook on Why It’s Time to Fight the “Data-Industrial Complex”

              Cook also highlighted two new Apple features. The first is what the company is calling a “privacy nutrition label” — a section on App Store product pages that explains every app’s privacy practices, including what they do with your data. The second, already more controversial, is App Tracking Transparency, a feature that will require apps to get permission before tracking your data, and which will become mandatory in the very near future. ATT, as Apple calls it, has been hailed by privacy advocates around the world as a welcome step in the effort to shore up individual rights against a massive and sometimes unscrupulous tech industry; it has also been harshly criticized by some of Apple’s competitors, like Facebook, which continues to rely on some degree of tracking to target the advertising it sells. In a December full page ad in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and elsewhere, Facebook alleged that “these changes will be devastating to small businesses” who depend on tracking-based advertising to build their brands and sell their products. (Needless to say, Apple disagrees.)

            • Facebook and Apple Are Beefing Over the Future of the Internet

              In his comments at the privacy panel, Tim Cook billed Apple’s privacy shift as a blow against the forces undermining democracy. “At a moment of rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms, we can no longer turn a blind eye to a theory of technology that says all engagement is good engagement—the longer the better—and all with the goal of collecting as much data as possible,” he said. The irony is that Apple helped make this theory of technology possible in the first place with the introduction of the iPhone. Before people started carrying internet-connected computers with them everywhere they went, there were much lower limits both on how much surveillance was possible and how much attention companies could monetize. The practice of targeting ads based on invasive user tracking has fueled the internet economy for a decade. Now Apple is trying to kill the monster it helped create. Expect the monster to keep fighting back.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Biden Should Use Peace-Driven Policies to “Lead With the Power of Our Example”
      • When Trump started his speech before the Capitol riot, talk on Parler turned to civil war

        During Trump’s speech, mentions of “civil war” on Parler surged to nearly four times the level the phrase was being shared before it. “Civil war” was used 40 times in the hour before 12:15 p.m., the approximate time Trump told supporters they had to “show strength.” In the hour following his words, mentions of “civil war” jumped to 156.

        Using a dictionary that researchers use to rate words for positivity or negativity, USA TODAY examined a trove of 80,146 Parler posts captured by analysts at the Social Media Analysis Toolkit before Parler went offline. The posts run from 9 a.m., when Trump supporters ramped up their Save America rally in Washington, to 2:30 p.m., when the Capitol was under full siege.

      • Curfew Imposed in Tibetan Areas of Qinghai Ahead of Lunar New Year

        Matoe county in particular is an important hub of local transportation and travel by Tibetans in Qinghai, Swiss-based former Tibetan political prisoner Golog Jigme said, adding, “And armed police and other security personnel are often stationed there ahead of important cultural and religious festivals.”

        Authorities in northwestern China’s Gansu province have meanwhile imposed restrictions on travel to and from an important Tibetan monastery ahead of a major prayer festival, Jigme told RFA in an earlier report.

      • Swedish Parliament discusses Iran’s crackdown on the Kurds and civil society

        For three weeks now, a new wave of repression has been rolling over civil society in East Kurdistan. Hengaw human rights organization reported on Monday that at least 95 opposition members have been arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard since then. Only six people have been released on bail. Those affected include political and civil rights activists, students, media workers, environmentalists and teachers. According to their relatives and legal advisors, they were all arrested without a court order and transferred to prisons and detention centers under the control of the Revolutionary Guard.

        The Tehran regime’s treatment of civil society and movements that advocate for the rights and causes of ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities remains a cause for concern. Both they and the groups they advocate for face a brutal repressive machinery because they are considered a threat to the country’s national security and religious unity.

      • This Year, the Afghanistan War Turns 20 — and There’s Still No End in Sight

        The forgotten war in Afghanistan, a senseless waste of money and lives, will soon turn 20, and there is no sign that Joe Biden is serious about ending it. When it comes to US militarism, the much-heralded leftward shift in American politics has so far had little effect.

      • Sweden: 5 injured in Helsingborg violence

        Of the injured, “all five have stab or cut injuries,” while one of them might also have been shot, police said in a press release.

        Sweden is well-known for its gang [sic] crime, especially in the urban areas of the Scandinavian country.

      • UN Rights Expert: International Response to Myanmar Coup Must Be Unequivocal

        The power grab took place following days of tension between the military and the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), which won the November elections. The Tatmadaw has refused to accept the results, alleging massive election fraud.

        Andrews, an independent human rights expert whose mandate comes from the U.N. Human Rights Council, called the Tatmadaw’s fraud allegations “unsubstantiated” and “absurd.”

      • The New Humanitarian | What a coup may mean for aid in Myanmar conflicts

        The country’s powerful military seized control on Monday, declaring a year-long state of emergency and detaining the country’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, along with scores of civilian government officials and prominent civil society members.
        Aid groups are scrambling to understand what the coup will mean for humanitarian operations, including some 330,000 people displaced by conflict who rely on assistance to survive.
        At least two international NGOs – the Danish Refugee Council and the International Rescue Committee – temporarily suspended operations. Médecins Sans Frontières said it was “carefully evaluating the implications for our medical activities and our staff movements have now been limited”. Another group, Malteser International, said the state of emergency has made humanitarian access “very difficult” and “heavily affected” its work.
        Analysts say the coup has upended an already tense status quo: Aid groups may face more pressure and even stricter access from a military long distrustful of international humanitarian groups.
        The UN Security Council was set to meet on Tuesday in an emergency, closed-door meeting amid calls for targeted sanctions and an arms embargo on Myanmar to pressure the military into returning the country to civilian rule.

    • Environment

      • Points of Progress: Seabirds take off in Namibia, and more

        Namibia’s fishermen and conservationists have worked together to save thousands of seabirds, including endangered albatrosses, over the past decade. Drawn to the bait and waste of fishing vessels, seabirds traversing Namibia’s coast would often get caught in the nets used to catch hake and horse mackerel. Long-line fishing boats, which drag thousands of baited hooks on ropes that stretch for miles, were particularly lethal. Recognizing the sustainability benefits of protecting the local food chains, fishermen actively worked with conservationists between 2009 and 2018 to reduce seabird mortality by 98%. This is largely because of bird-scaring lines – ropes decked with colorful streamers that fly behind boats and serve as a sort of sailing scarecrow – which are now required on all hake fishing vessels. A new paper estimates that between 20,000 and 30,000 birds were killed by the long-line fishing fleet in 2009, before the lines were rolled out. In 2018, data estimated only 215 birds were killed. (RFI, Biological Conservation)

      • Energy

        • Exclusive: Whistleblower Accuses Exxon of ‘Fraudulent’ Behavior for Overvaluing Fracking Assets For Years

          The write-down reduces the value of the assets on Exxon’s books. The announcement comes as part of the company’s fourth quarter earnings for 2020.

        • Opinion: Bakken Oil Trains Unsafe at any Speed due to Volatile Oil

          The accident — which happened despite the train traveling at the slow speed of 7 miles per hour — highlights, once again, that Bakken oil-by-rail is unsafe under any circumstance. Until regulators address the issue of the volatile oil being moved by rail — from both the Bakken and Canada — the public will remain at risk. This is because, while other safety measures can help stop a crude oil spill from becoming an environmental mess, not all oil is equal and some types are much, much more likely to ignite than others — a fact the industry is aware of but ignores. 

        • Wind power provided 10 percent of Finland’s electricity last year

          Almost 7,800 gigawatt-hours of electricity came from wind-powered sources last year, a rise of around a third on 2019′s figure.

          Last year, more than 300 megawatts of new wind farm capacity was built in Finland. This year, nearly 1,000 megawatts of wind power capacity is due to be completed.

        • [Old] Sweden on target to run entirely on renewable energy by 2040

          Last year, 57 per cent of Sweden’s power came from renewables such as hydropower and wind sources, with the remainder coming from nuclear power.

          The country now plans to tap into its “large potential” for onshore wind power, in order to make the country completely fossil-free by 2040 – a goal set by Sweden’s prime minister at the UN General Assembley last year.

        • [Old] Denmark produces 140 per cent of its electricity needs through wind power

          By Thursday evening, the Nordic nation’s wind turbines were producing 116 per cent of Denmark’s electricity needs, a figure that rose to 140 per cent in the early hours of the morning.

          As reported by The Guardian, 80 per cent of the surplus power was shared between Germany and Norway, with Sweden taking the 20 per cent left over.

        • [Old] Unfurling The Waste Problem Caused By Wind Energy

          Ninety percent of a turbine’s parts can be recycled or sold, according to Van Vleet, but the blades, made of a tough but pliable mix of resin and fiberglass — similar to what spaceship parts are made from — are a different story.

          “The blades are kind of a dud because they have no value,” he said.

          Decommissioned blades are also notoriously difficult and expensive to transport. They can be anywhere from 100 to 300 feet long and need to be cut up onsite before getting trucked away on specialized equipment — which costs money — to the landfill.

        • A Monster Wind Turbine Is Upending an Industry

          Twirling above a strip of land at the mouth of Rotterdam’s harbor is a wind turbine so large it is difficult to photograph. The turning diameter of its rotor is longer than two American football fields end to end. Later models will be taller than any building on the mainland of Western Europe.

          Packed with sensors gathering data on wind speeds, electricity output and stresses on its components, the giant whirling machine in the Netherlands is a test model for a new series of giant offshore wind turbines planned by General Electric. When assembled in arrays, the wind machines have the potential to power cities, supplanting the emissions-spewing coal- or natural gas-fired plants that form the backbones of many electric systems today.

        • UK Government must overhaul windfarm deals after BiFab collapse, say MSPs

          An inquiry into the demise of BiFab (Burntisland Fabrications Limited) has also criticised the Scottish Government and the Canadian owners of the firm over a lack of transparency about investment decisions.

        • Norway’s Equinor clinches one of the largest ever renewable energy contracts in the U.S.

          Under the terms of the deal, Equinor and its partner BP will provide New York with renewable energy from the Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind 1 projects.

          The two firms will also work with New York to develop the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal and Port of Albany into what Equinor described as “large-scale offshore wind working industrial facilities.”

          Last year, BP agreed to take 50% stakes in the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects from Equinor, in a deal set to close in the early part of 2021.

        • Russian Pipeline Is Germany’s Greatest Foreign Policy Embarrassment

          Berlin is insisting on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. By doing so, the country is isolating itself in Europe and alienating the United States. The political costs will be too great if the project is completed. It should now be scrapped.

    • Finance

      • ‘Now Is Not the Time to Count Pennies’: Sanders Says GOP Relief Plan Won’t Cut It, Urges Democrats to Keep Election Promises

        “What the Republicans are talking about is just totally inadequate to meet the unprecedented crises that we’re facing.”

      • Why the WallStreetBets crowd are able to profit from predatory trading

        The authors draw out some implications. The more illiquid the market, the more scope for predators to profit: it takes longer for the prey to escape their positions, so the price falls by more. The quicker the distressed trader sells, the fewer losses it will make. Any delay allows the predator to trade ahead of (front-run) the prey. The more predators there are, the less profitable predation is.

        How does the WallStreetBets episode fit this template? The predators are acting in concert, so their strategy may be more effective. Better still, the prey are short-sellers, who bet on stocks falling. They are especially vulnerable: the more the price rises, the more they lose. Their potential losses are unlimited. And their positions are often common knowledge.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Why the Scottish Independence Movement May be Difficult to Stop
      • The Imperial Presidency Comes Home to Roost

        At 76 years old, you’d think I’d experienced it all when it comes to this country and its presidencies. Or most of it, anyway. I’ve been around since Franklin D. Roosevelt was president. Born on July 20, 1944, I’m a little “young” to remember him, though I was a war baby in an era when Congress still sometimes declared war before America made it.

        As a boy, in my liberal Democratic household in New York, I can certainly remember singing (to the tune of “Whistle While You Work”) our version of the election-year ditty of 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower faced off against Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson. The pro-Republican kicker to it went this way: “Eisenhower has the power, Stevenson’s a jerk.” We, however, sang, “Eisenhower has no power, Stevenson will work!” As it happened, we never found out if that was faintly true, since the former Illinois governor got clobbered in that election (just as he had in 1952).

      • Critics Lambaste Errors—Both Spelling and Legal—in Trump Impeachment Defense Filing

        “Lawyers are paid to make the best case they can for their clients. If this is Trump’s best case, he’s lucky that nearly half the jurors who will evaluate it are already firmly in his camp.”

      • On Sunday Shows, the Only Biden ‘Promise’ That Matters Is Compromise

        With the Biden administration focused on passing a massive Covid relief package as its first major legislative action, the Sunday morning political talk shows tackled the issue with remarkable uniformity, fixated on exactly the wrong questions.

      • Biden Plans Task Force to Reunite Migrant Families Separated by Trump
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Iran Calls On U.K. Muslims To Act Against ‘Divisive’ Film

        Baeidinejad urged the both Shi’a and Sunnis to “be vigilant and act in unity to condemn this film and resort to legal steps to ban the film in the U.K.”

      • Why ‘Section 230’ Is at the Heart of Fights Over Online Speech

        It gives tech companies broad leeway to moderate (or not) discussions and postings within their communities, and to leave them up or take them down. The year before its passage, the freewheeling investment firm Stratton Oakmont — the inspiration for the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” — had won a libel lawsuit against the online service provider Prodigy over an anonymous user’s post accusing the firm of committing fraud. Section 230 provided Prodigy (and its progeny) broad legal cover to continue hosting freewheeling discussions. Its key line reads, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Supporters of Section 230 credit it with securing today’s vibrant culture of free expression online.

      • Christian in Algeria Imprisoned for Cartoon on Facebook

        A Christian who had received and reposted a cartoon of the prophet of Islam on his Facebook account three years ago was not too concerned when gendarmerie showed up at his door on Jan. 20.

        x By the next day, the 43-year-old father of four young children had been sentenced to five years in prison under an Algerian law against insulting Muhammad, sources said.

      • Jailed Vietnamese RFA Blogger Refuses to Appeal Sentence, Destroys Petition Form

        A jailed Vietnamese blogger has refused to appeal his 11-year prison term imposed for writing articles criticizing Vietnam’s government, tearing up a petition form given to him after prison guards told him what to write on it, his lawyer says.

        Nguyen Tuong Thuy, who had blogged on civil rights and freedom of speech issues for RFA’s Vietnamese Service for six years, was sentenced on Jan. 5, with two other independent journalists—like Thuy members of the Vietnam Independent Journalism Association—handed lengthy jail terms at the same time.

      • Internet disrupted in Myanmar amid apparent military uprising

        The telecommunication disruptions beginning approximately 3:00 a.m. Monday morning local time have significant subnational impact including the capital and are likely to limit coverage of events as they take place. Continuing disconnections have been monitored with national connectivity falling initially to 75% and subsequently 50% of ordinary levels by 8:00 a.m. local time.

      • Free speech and online content: What can the US learn from Europe?

        The decisions by Facebook and Twitter to suspend former US President Donald Trump and thousands of other accounts following the riots at the US Capitol have been criticized by some as trampling on free speech and by others as too little too late. But the real question is why two private companies have been the key decision-makers in this situation. Rather than relying on CEOs Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, the US government—especially Congress and the courts—should make clear what type of speech is acceptable online and what type of speech is not.

        After the events of January 6, Congress will certainly take on reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—the 1996 law that allows online platforms, including social-media companies, to escape liability for content posted by their users. When Congress does look at the act, it should not just focus on the companies and their responsibilities. Legislators should take a good, hard look in the mirror. They must provide the guidelines that are central to reducing violent extremist content online: rules on acceptable versus forbidden online speech.

      • Speech moderation and militant democracy: Should the United States regulate like Europe does?

        The insistent requests from the German Foreign Office would land on my desk in the US Embassy in Bonn, Germany with monotonous regularity: Would the US Postal Service please take steps to block American citizen Gary Lauck from mailing to Germany the neo-Nazi propaganda he published in the United States?

        While dissemination of printed materials denying the Holocaust and glorifying the Nazi regime were prohibited in Germany, the materials were protected free speech under the standards of US constitutional law. Indeed, only a few years earlier, the US Supreme Court had refused to allow the Chicago suburb of Skokie, where many Holocaust survivors lived, to block a march by members of the National Socialist Party of America who intended to wear Nazi-style uniforms. So, as Embassy legal adviser, I had to answer each such German entreaty with a polite explanation of why the US government could not assist.

        This carefully scripted diplomatic pas de deux occurred in the 1980s. The German government eventually shifted to other tactics to suppress Lauck’s scurrilous publications. In 1995, Lauck traveled to Denmark, where he was arrested and extradited to Germany to stand trial for distributing neo-Nazi propaganda. Lauck was convicted, served a four-year sentence, and then was deported back to the United States. Today he runs Third Reich Books, an online purveyor of the same material.

      • Internet blackout around New Delhi continues amid ongoing farmers’ protest

        The government has suspended [Internet] connectivity for two days at the Singhu and Tikri (Delhi-Haryana) border, and Ghazipur (Delhi-Uttar Pradesh) border for two more days at the request of Delhi Police, officials said on Monday.

      • Iron spikes, barbed wire, internet shutdowns: Delhi borders look like war zones right now

        Over the past two days, the Narendra Modi government has erected iron spikes, heavy metal and concrete barriers, and fences on several borders of New Delhi where thousands of farmers have been peacefully protestings against three new agriculture laws introduced in the country. Internet services in the border areas have been suspended, and there have also been reports of water and power supply disruptions.

      • Indian Gov’t Extends Internet Suspension Amid Farmers Protest

        “In exercise of the power conferred under Sub-rule 1 of Rule 2 of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) rules 2017 and in the interest of maintaining public safety and averting public emergency, it is necessary and expedient to order the temporary suspension of Internet services in the areas of Singh, Ghazipur, and Tikri and their adjoining areas in the NCT of Delhi from 23:00 Hours on January 31 to 23:00 Hours on February 2,” the Home Ministry indicated.

      • Cuban [Internet] access cut amid free expression protest; journalist harassed

        On January 27, starting at around 3:30 p.m. [Internet] access was shut down on the island for approximately two hours, according to news reports and several local journalists posting on Twitter. To get around the shutdown, journalists use VPNs, according to one local reporter who spoke to CPJ via messaging app on the condition of anonymity, citing security concerns.

        The shutdown happened as authorities were beating and detaining protesters at a demonstration for free expression and artistic freedom outside the Ministry of Culture in Havana, according to news reports.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Alexei Navalny Faces “Kafkaesque” Charges in Russia for Breaking Parole While in Poison-Induced Coma

        Russian authorities have arrested thousands of people during anti-government protests in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has been held in jail since returning to Russia on January 17 after recovering in Germany from an attempt on his life in August using the nerve agent Novichok. Navalny has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being behind the poisoning that nearly killed him. While Navalny has emerged as Russia’s leading opposition figure and anti-corruption campaigner, his political roots have links to right-wing nationalist and anti-immigrant causes. Joshua Yaffa, Moscow correspondent for The New Yorker, says that Navalny has been willing to change and adapt his views to court public opinion, including through his “flirtation” with Russian nationalism. “We’ll only know what sort of politician Navalny is when he’s actually allowed to participate in formal politics.”

      • Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny will spend the next 2.5 years in prison, following a verdict in Moscow

        Moscow’s Simonovsky District Court has sentenced Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny to 3.5 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation in the Yves Rocher case. Pending appellate rulings, he will spend the next two years and eight months in prison due to time previously served under house arrest. 

      • ‘He broke the law 60 times’: Navalny’s day in court, as told by Russian state television networks

        As Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny appeared in court on Tuesday, February 2, the Russian state television networks “Perviy Kanal” and “Rossiya 1” were busy broadcasting their own version of the story behind today’s events. Here’s what they had to say about Navalny’s case and his trial, in a nutshell.

      • More than 200 people detained in Moscow in connection with Navalny hearing

        Ahead of Alexey Navalny’s hearing on Tuesday, February 2, police cordoned off the area around the Moscow City Court and began making arrests in the vicinity. According to the independent monitor OVD-Info, at least 237 people have been detained so far today.

      • ‘Vladimir the Poisoner’: A translation of Alexey Navalny’s speech in court on February 2

        On February 2, during a hearing that will determine if he remains in prison for several years to come, opposition figure Alexey Navalny addressed the court, delivering a short speech in which he maintained his innocence and condemned Russia’s political and legal system for corruption and repression. Meduza publishes an English-language translation of Navalny’s courtroom remarks below.

      • ‘We just want Russia to be better’: Meduza looks back on the January 31 opposition protests in a dispatch from St. Petersburg

        Protesters across Russia took to the streets for the second weekend in a row on January 31, to oppose the detention of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Once again, the city of St. Petersburg emerged as a focal point of the demonstrations, in part because of the violent actions of local police. In addition to beating up protesters, police officers used tasers while detaining demonstrators and arrested more than a thousand people in total. In a dispatch from St. Petersburg, Meduza looks back on the day’s events.

      • His day in court Events before and after Alexey Navalny’s prison sentencing in Moscow

        Meduza summarizes the Russian authorities’ case against opposition politician Alexey Navalny and the events that immediately preceded and followed Tuesday’s announcement that he will spend at least the next 2.5 years in prison.

      • Navalny’s supporters call for protests near Red Square following verdict in Moscow

        Immediately after a Moscow court sentenced Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny to two years and eight months in prison on Tuesday, February 2, his supporters called on protesters to gather on Manezhnaya Square — a pedestrian space in the downtown that connects to Red Square.

      • Free Alexey Navalny! Meduza responds to the imprisonment of Russia’s most outspoken opposition politician

        Alexey Navalny has been sentenced to prison, as everyone expected. The Russian authorities did not even bother with the semblance of legality. The absurd allegations against this politician ended in a trial that was no less farcical. But the result is no joke: years behind bars. 

      • Pakistan Orders Man Acquitted in Pearl Murder off Death Row

        The U.S. government has said that it would seek Sheikh’s extradition if his acquittal is upheld. Sheikh has been indicted in the United States on Pearl’s murder as well as in a 1994 kidnapping of an American citizen in Indian-ruled sector of the divided region of Kashmir. The American was eventually freed.

        Sheikh was arrested by India after the 1994 kidnappings, but was among four terror suspects freed by India on Dec. 31, 1999, in exchange for the hostages on an Indian Airlines aircraft that was hijacked and taken from Nepal to then Taliban-controlled Afghan city of Kandahar.

      • Turkey to begin retrial of RSF representative, other press freedom advocates on terrorism charges

        On February 3, the Thirteenth Istanbul Court of Serious Crimes is scheduled to begin hearings in the retrial of Erol Önderoğlu, the Turkey representative of the international press freedom group Reporters Without Borders and editor of the Bianet independent news website; Şebnem Korur Fincancı, a columnist for the leftist daily Evrensel and chair of the Turkish Medical Association trade union; and Ahmet Nesin, a columnist for the online leftist newspaper Artı Gerçek, according to Reporters Without Borders and news reports.

        The three are accused of promoting terrorist propaganda in their work with the pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem in 2016; they were acquitted in 2019 but government prosecutors appealed that acquittal, according to those reports and CPJ reporting at the time.

      • Swiss Journalist Detained By Police In Minsk Is Released After Questioning

        The Vyasna human rights center in Belarus says police in Minsk have released a Swiss journalist from custody who was detained earlier on January 31 in the Belarusian capital.

        The rights group said it received information from the Swiss Embassy in Minsk at about 5 p.m. local time that journalist Luzia Tschirky had been released from a police station.

        Tschirky is a correspondent for the Swiss public broadcaster SRF who covers Russia, Belarus, and other former Soviet republics.

      • To police, ‘the camera is like a red cloth to a bull’: four journalists on covering Russia’s pro-Navalny protests

        Law enforcement officers detained, beat, and otherwise interfered with the work of dozens of journalists covering protests in at least 20 cities, as CPJ documented this week. According to reports, some journalists are now under police investigation for having allegedly violated quarantine rules by participating in a mass event.

        In the run-up to the next countrywide pro-Navalny protest, expected to take place on January 31, CPJ spoke via phone with four regional journalists about their experiences on January 23. The interviews have been edited for length and clarity. CPJ is not identifying journalists to whom it hasn’t spoken directly, or hasn’t previously reported on, in order to protect them from potential reprisal.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • On Inauguration Day, Police Nationwide Went After Left-Wing Protesters
      • After Years Of Ignoring Abuse At A Women’s Prison, Department Of Corrections Suspends Nearly Three Dozen Employees

        How does something horrific become an epidemic? Well, if you ignore any problem long enough, it’s pretty much guaranteed to get worse.

      • Papering over the rot: Joe Biden’s window dressing can’t end oligarchy

        Once an oligarchy seizes power, deforming governing institutions to exclusively serve their narrow interests and turning the citizenry into serfs, there are only two options, as Aristotle pointed out — tyranny or revolution. The staggering concentration of wealth and obscene avarice of the very rich now dwarfs the hedonism and excesses of the world’s most heinous despots and wealthiest capitalists of the past. In 2015, shortly before he died, Forbes estimated David Rockefeller’s net worth was $3 billion. The Shah of Iran looted an estimated $1 billion from his country. Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos amassed between $5 and $10 billion. And the former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was worth about a billion. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are each at $180 billion.

      • Anger after US police handcuff and pepper-spray 9-year-old girl in Rochester, NY

        Officers called to the scene on Friday eventually responded by handcuffing her, before trying to force her into a car and pepper-spraying her when she resisted, body cam videos released by the city’s police force showed.

      • Rochester, New York police pepper sprayed handcuffed nine-year-old girl

        After a scuffle between the mother, police and child, another officer arrived to manhandle the child by pushing her down into the snow next to the patrol car. The officers that were on top of her then flipped her over while still on the ground and handcuffed her. There were several police cars dispatched to the scene, and none of the officers that were seen in the video were wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

        After being forcefully thrown into the back of a police car and tortured by two officers, and only seconds before officers attacked her with pepper spray as she called out for her father, in the body cam footage one officer says, “You’re acting like a child.” She responded, “I am a child.”

      • Google to pay $3.8 million to settle discrimination allegations

        The big picture: The deal ends the Labor Department case but the broader issues of discrimination at Google and other tech giants are far from settled.

      • Google to pay millions to women, Asians in discrimination case

        The settlement will close a 4-year-old case brought by the Labor Department.

        During a periodic review of pay practices at federal government contractors, the government agency found that from 2014 to 2017, Google paid female engineers less than men in similar positions.

        It also uncovered “hiring rate differences” that put female and Asian applicants at disadvantages when applying for software engineering positions.

      • Attacked Christian Nurse Charged with Blasphemy in Pakistan

        Staff members of the hospital in Karachi on Thursday (Jan. 28) slapped, beat and locked nurse Tabeeta Nazir Gill, 42, in a room after baselessly accusing her of blaspheming Islam, sources said.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Riot Games Taps Former Hulu Exec to Lead Communications

        Paez’s work history includes serving as senior vp and head of corporate communications at Hulu during a period of rapid growth and change for the streamer, which went from operating as a joint venture of three major media companies to a division of Disney. Paez was involved in the multi-year communications strategy that supported Hulu’s entrance into the live TV marketplace.

        Earlier in her career, Paez served in senior leadership roles at Fox Broadcasting Company, Yahoo! Inc and San Diego-based internet TV company Veoh Networks.

    • Monopolies

      • ByteDance Files $14 Million Suit Against Tencent for Monopolistic Behavior

        Douyin, the Chinese version of ByteDance’s TikTok short video app, has filed suit in Beijing against rival Tencent Holdings for alleged monopolistic behavior, seeking $13.9 million in compensation, ByteDance said Tuesday.

        Tencent prohibits the sharing of Douyin content on its extremely popular apps WeChat and QQ, a practice that ByteDance hopes the court will rule runs counter to China’s anti-monopoly law and must cease.

      • Amazon will have a new CEO as Jeff Bezos transitions to executive chair later this year

        Bezos’ transition to executive chairman of Amazon’s board will mean he’ll be slightly more removed from the day-to-day business of running the nearly $1.7 trillion company, allowing him to focus his “energies and attention on new products and early initiatives.” Those projects will include the $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund, which Bezos established last year, and Blue Origins, his aerospace firm, which recently resumed test flights at the end of 2020.

        Jassy is a familiar face at the company, having joined back in 1997. He has led the Amazon Web Services team since it was founded in 2003 and was named the CEO of AWS in 2016. The choice of Jassy — who has headed Amazon’s cloud service business since the beginning — over a retail or hardware executive is a telling one for Amazon’s priorities as a company.

      • Jeff Bezos to Step Down as Amazon CEO

        After serving as the CEO of Amazon for more than 25 years, Jeff Bezos is stepping down from the role.

        The founder of the world’s largest e-commerce site announced the move Feb. 2, telling investors that he would transition into the role of executive chairman at the end of September. Andy Jassy, who has served as CEO of Amazon Web Services, will take over as CEO.

      • Jeff Bezos to Step Down as Amazon CEO

        Amazon announced that founder Jeff Bezos will step down as CEO in the third quarter of 2021, moving into a new role as executive chair.

        Andy Jassy, currently CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS), will become Amazon.com’s CEO at that time. The ecommerce giant made the announcement alongside blowout fourth-quarter 2020 earnings, its biggest-ever quarter of revenue ($125.6 billion) and net income ($7.2 billion).

        In prepared remarks, Bezos said it was an “optimal time” for the CEO transition, because Amazon is “at its most inventive ever.” The 57-year-old exec, one of the wealthiest people in the world with a current net worth of about $197 billion, founded Amazon.com as an online bookstore in 1994 and has headed the company ever since.

      • Jeff Bezos steps down as Amazon CEO

        In a memo to employees, Bezos said the transition will give him “the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions.”

      • Bezos stepping down as Amazon CEO

        Since founding Amazon in 1994, Bezos has amassed an estimated net worth of $196.5 billion.

      • Amazon’s Incoming CEO Andy Jassy Ushered in Cloud Computing Boom

        In the same earnings report in which Amazon said Jassy, 53, would succeed Jeff Bezos later this year, the company reported that AWS pulled in $12.7 billion in sales in the fourth quarter, making the unit a $50 billion business on an annual basis.

      • Patents

        • Sequencing-by-synthesis: Illumina defeats Columbia’s patents [Ed: Maybe stop patenting nature and life]

          In this IPR decision, the PTAB cancelled claims from five patents owned by Columbia — finding them obvious. US Patent Nos. 9,718,852 (clm 1); 9,719,139 (clm 1); 9,708,358 (clm 1); 9,725,480 (clm 1); and 9,868,985 (clms 1-2). The patents are all related to methods of sequencing DNA using “sequencing-by-synthesis.” Illumina believes that it owns the process. Columbia felt otherwise and sued Illumina for patent infringement in D.Del. That lawsuit has been stayed since July 2018 as the court awaits these IPR decisions. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed.

          [...]

          The likelihood of winning an appeal certainly depends upon the merits of your case. The second most important factor is the level of deference afforded to the lower-tribunal. The Federal Circuit gives deference to any factual findings made by the PTAB in its IPR decisions. In particular, a PTAB finding of fact will be affirmed if it is based upon “substantial evidence.” The words “substantial evidence” might sound like a lot of evidence, it is actually a quite easy threshold. A decision is based upon “substantial evidence” if it is supported by “more than an iota” of evidence or if “a reasonable mind might accept the evidence to support the finding.” On the other hand, questions of law are reviewed without deference — de novo.

        • Dennis Crouch thoughts… [Ed: The patent zealots and profiteers have ideas and they try to help patent trolls blackmail everyone... for "innovation" of course]

          Not huge, but is it time to amend Section 145 to allow patent applicants to file their civil action in any venue that houses one of the National or Regional Patent Offices?

        • Top 5 changes to the 2021 EPO Guidelines for Examination [Ed: Incredible hogwash from UPC boosters Simmons & Simmons. Not a single mention of profound EPO corruption.]

          Last year, the European Patent Office changed the publication schedule of the Guidelines as part of its Strategic Plan 2023 which meant there was no update to the Guidelines in 2020. The changed schedule also made room for public consultation to enable increased stakeholder involvement.

          The first such public consultation ran for six weeks and closed mid-April 2020. Future consultations will follow a similar timeline. Following that consultation, as well as the usual Guidelines update process, the EPO has today published an advance preview of the Guidelines which will come into force on 1 March 2021.

        • Software Patents

          • Inspire Licensing patent challenged

            On January 29, 2021, Unified Patents filed an ex parte reexamination proceeding against U.S. Patent 10,005,427, owned and asserted by Inspire Licensing, an NPE and affiliate of IP Edge. The ’427 patent is related to sensors that generate alarms for a vehicle.

          • 2S Ventures affiliate, Optima Direct, settles with Unified

            On February 1, 2021, the Board issued an order terminating IPR2020-00784 pursuant to a joint settlement request filed by Unified Patents and Optima Direct, LLC, an NPE and affiliate of 2S Ventures. U.S. Patent 8,646,060, generally directed to adaptive authentication methods using a mobile device, has been asserted in district court cases against HID Global Corporation, OneLogin, Ping Identity and Okta.

          • $1,000 for Optinetix prior art

            On February 2, 2021, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $1,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 1 of U.S. Patent 7,349,668. This patent is currently owned by Optinetix, a NPE. The ’668 patent generally relates to a system and method for the distribution of information, typically digital information that is distributed actively, through broadcast media such as television and radio.

      • Trademarks

        • No likelihood of confusion between EU collective trade mark ‘HALLOUMI’ and ‘BBQLOUMI’, says EU General Court

          In a recent decision concerning the likelihood of confusion between the EU collective trade mark ‘HALLOUMI’ and the sign ‘BBQLOUMI’, the EU General Court held that – in light of the similarity between the signs, the goods and services, and the distinctive character of the former mark – there was no likelihood of confusion pursuant to Articles 8(1)(b) and 75 – 82 of Regulation 2017/1001 (the EU trade mark regulation (EUTMR)).

          This decision is the most recent instalment in the long-running battle between the Foundation for the Protection of the Traditional Cheese of Cyprus named Halloumi and a Bulgarian company seeking registration of BBQLOUMI as an EU trade mark (EUTM).

          [...]

          In light of the above, the General Court concluded that there was a low degree of similarity between the signs in question.

          The General Court then considered that the distinctiveness of the Applicant’s EU collective trade mark was weak. Consumers would not associate it with anything other than halloumi cheese, due to the mark’s generic name of that type of cheese. No association with the commercial origin of the goods designated by it, in so far as they originate from members of the Cypriot association or undertakings that are economically linked to those members or to that association, would be possible.

          The General Court noted that a global assessment of the likelihood of confusion implies some interdependence between the factors taken into account and, in particular, between the similarity of the marks and that of the goods or services covered by them. Accordingly, a low degree of similarity between those goods or services may be offset by a high degree of similarity between the marks, and vice versa (Canon, C‑39/97).

          In the present decision, the General Court concluded that, in light of the differentiating goods and services in respect of ‘meat extracts’ and ‘catering services’, the low degree of similarity between the signs, and the weak distinctive character of the senior mark in particular, that there was no likelihood of confusion for the relevant public as regards the commercial origin of the goods bearing the Intervener’s mark.

          Even if consumers focused their attention on the element ‘loumi’, which the General Court considered unlikely in light of its secondary position and perceived the figurative element as a possible reference to halloumi cheese grilled on the barbeque, they would still have not established a link between the two marks.

      • Copyrights

        • IPTV Provider Omniverse Wins $50m To Pay Hollywood’s $50m Piracy Damages

          After being branded a pirate IPTV provider by the Alliance For Creativity and Entertainment and agreeing to pay $50 million in damages, Omniverse One World Television now has a victory of its own. All along the company argued that it had entered into a content licensing agreement in good faith and as a result has now been awarded $50 million in damages.

        • Tech Giants Warn US of Hostile Copyright Environment in EU and Russia

          Big tech companies including Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter are concerned about restrictive copyright legislation being implemented around the world. Industry groups warn that these changes, including Article 17 of the EU Copyright Directive, result in ‘hostile environments’ that harm the interests of US tech companies.

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DecorWhat Else is New


  1. [Meme] Team UPC Congratulating Itself

    The barrage of fake news and misinformation about the UPC deliberately leaves out all the obvious and very important facts; even the EPO‘s António Campinos and Breton (Benoît Battistelli‘s buddy) participated in the lying



  2. Links 24/1/2022: pgBadger 11.7 Released, Catch-up With Patents

    Links for the day



  3. The Demonisation and Stereotyping of Coders Not Working for Big Corporations (or 'The System')

    The war on encrypted communication (or secure communications) carries on despite a lack of evidence that encryption stands in the way of crime investigations (most criminals use none of it)



  4. On the 'Peak Hacker' Series

    Hacker culture, unlike Ludditism, is ultimately a movement for justice, for equality, and for human rights through personal and collective emancipation; Dr. Farnell has done a good job explaining where we stand and his splendid series has come to a close



  5. Links 23/1/2022: First RC of Linux 5.17 and Sway 1.7 Released

    Links for the day



  6. Peak Code — Part III: After Code

    "Surveillance perimeters, smart TVs (Telescreens built to Orwell's original blueprint) watched over our living rooms. Mandatory smart everything kept us 'trustless'. Safe search, safe thoughts. We withdrew. Inside, we went quietly mad."



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    IRC logs for Saturday, January 22, 2022



  8. Links 23/1/2022: MongoDB 5.2, BuddyPress 10.0.0, and GNU Parallel 20220122

    Links for the day



  9. A Parade of Fake News About the UPC Does Not Change the General Consensus or the Simple Facts

    European Patents (EPs) from the EPO are granted in violation of the EPC; Courts are now targeted by António Campinos and the minions he associates with (mostly parasitic litigation firms and monopolists), for they want puppets for “judges” and for invalid patents to be magically rendered “valid” and “enforceable”



  10. Welcome to 2022: Intentional Lies Are 'Benefits' and 'Alternative Facts'

    A crooks-run EPO, together with the patent litigation cabal that we’ve dubbed ‘Team UPC’ (it has nothing to do with science or with innovation), is spreading tons of misinformation; the lies are designed to make the law-breaking seem OK, knowing that Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos are practically above the law, so perjury as well as gross violations of the EPC and constitutions won’t scare them (prosecution as deterrence just isn’t there, which is another inherent problem with the UPC)



  11. From Software Eating the World to the Pentagon Eating All the Software

    “Software is eating the world,” according to Marc Andreessen (co-founder of Netscape), but the Empire Strikes Back (not the movie, the actual empire) by hijacking all code by proxy, via Microsoft, just as it grabbed a lot of the world’s communications via Skype, bypassing the world's many national telecoms; coders need to fight back rather than participate in racist (imperial) shams such as GitHub



  12. Links 22/1/2022: Skrooge 2.27.0 and Ray-Tracing Stuff

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 21, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, January 21, 2022



  14. Peak Code — Part II: Lost Source

    "Debian and Mozilla played along. They were made “Yeoman Freeholders” in return for rewriting their charters to “work closely with the new Ministry in the interests of all stakeholders” – or some-such vacuous spout… because no one remembers… after that it started."



  15. Links 22/1/2022: Ubuntu MATE 21.10 for GPD Pocket 3, MINISFORUM Preloads GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  16. Computer Users Should be Operators, But Instead They're Being Operated by Vendors and Governments

    Computers have been turned into hostile black boxes (unlike Blackbox) that distrust the person who purchased them; moreover, from a legislative point of view, encryption (i.e. computer security) is perceived and treated by governments like a threat instead of something imperative — a necessity for society’s empowerment (privacy is about control and people in positions of unjust power want total and complete control)



  17. Peak Code — Part I: Before the Wars

    Article/series by Dr. Andy Farnell: "in the period between 1960 and 2060 people had mistaken what they called "The Internet" for a communications system, when it had in fact been an Ideal and a Battleground all along - the site of the 100 years info-war."



  18. Links 21/1/2022: RISC-V Development Board and Rust 1.58.1

    Links for the day



  19. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 20, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 20, 2022



  20. Gemini Lets You Control the Presentation Layer to Suit Your Own Needs

    In Gemini (or the Web as seen through Gemini clients such as Kristall) the user comes first; it's not sites/capsules that tell the user how pages are presented/rendered, as they decide only on structural/semantic aspects



  21. The Future of Techrights

    Futures are difficult to predict, but our general vision for the years ahead revolves around more community involvement and less (none or decreased) reliance on third parties, especially monopolistic corporations, mostly because they oppress the population via the network and via electronic devices



  22. [Meme] UPC for CJEU

    When you do illegal things and knowingly break the law to get started with a “legal” system you know it’ll end up in tears… or the CJEU



  23. Links 20/1/2022: 'Pluton' Pushback and Red Hat Satellite 6.10.2

    Links for the day



  24. The Web is a Corporate Misinformation/Disinformation Platform, Biased Against Communities, Facts, and Science

    Misinformation/disinformation in so-called 'news' sites is a pandemic which spreads; in the process, the founder of GNU/Linux gets defamed and GNU/Linux itself is described as the problem, not the solution to the actual problems



  25. Links 20/1/2022: McKinsey Openwashing and Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 19, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 19, 2022



  27. Links 20/1/2022: Linuxfx 11.1 WxDesktop 11.0.3 and FreeIPMI 1.6.9 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Links 19/1/2022: XWayland 22.1 RC1 and OnlyOffice 7.0 Release

    Links for the day



  29. Links 19/1/2022: ArchLabs 2022.01.18 and KDE's 15-Minute Bug Initiative

    Links for the day



  30. When Twitter Protects Abusers and Abuse (and Twitter's Sponsors)

    Twitter is an out-of-control censorship machine and it should be treated accordingly even by those who merely "read" or "follow" Twitter accounts; Twitter is a filter, not a news/media platform or even means of communication


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