Links 9/2/2021: KWinFT 5.21 Beta, Microsoft Inside Rust Foundation Board, and ECharts as a Top-Level Project (TLP) in Apache

Posted in News Roundup at 7:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Network adaptive streaming with Hwangsaeul

        When flying above a cityscape, we can’t demand our wireless provider to build more base stations or ask the passersby to kindly refrain from watching cat videos on their phones and let our stream through. We can’t fix the network, but maybe we can adapt to it.

        Hwangsaeul, or H8L, a remote surveillance streaming solution, utilizes the capability of libsrt to collect statistics from open SRT sockets and by continuously analyzing the available data tries to detect potential connectivity issues. When a problem is diagnosed, a customizable logic may decide to change some parameters of the video encoding process, sacrificing quality to preserve smooth and steady streaming at lower bitrate.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Panfrost Gallium3D Lands Its New Bifrost Scheduler In Mesa 21.1 – Phoronix

          Hitting Mesa 21.1 this morning is a scheduler implementation for Panfrost Gallium3D, the open-source Arm Mali graphics driver.

          Lead Panfrost developer Alyssa Rosenzweig has been working to implement a scheduler in panfrost for the Arm Bifrost graphics code path. The scheduler has been in the works for a number of months and is passing the relevant conformance tests and has now been merged.

        • AMDVLK 2021.Q1.3 Brings Performance Tuning For War Thunder – Phoronix

          AMDVLK 2021.Q1.3 is out this morning as the latest snapshot of the official open-source AMD Radeon Vulkan driver for Linux systems that is derived from their shared platform driver sources.

          AMDVLK 2021.Q1.3 is on the lighter side with AMDVLK 2021.Q1.2 having arrived just over one week ago.

          Of the two listed driver changes, AMDVLK 2021.Q1.3 is rebuilt against the Vulkan API 1.2.168 headers.

        • Freedreno’s MSM DRM Driver Adds More Adreno Support, Speedbin Capability For Linux 5.12 – Phoronix

          The MSM Direct Rendering Manager driver originally developed as part of the Freedreno effort for open-source Qualcomm Adreno graphics on Linux while now supported by the likes of Google and Qualcomm’s Code Aurora engineers has some notable changes in store for the next Linux kernel cycle.

          New Adreno hardware support coming with Linux 5.12 is the A508, A509, and A512. The Adreno 508 is part of the Snapdragon 630 SoC, the mid-range Adreno 509 is found with the Snapdragon 636, and the Adreno 512 is what was found in the Snapdragon 660.

        • Intel “Protected Xe Path” Code Updated For Hardware-Protected GPU Sessions – Phoronix

          Intel PXP — Protected Xe Path — is a means of hardware-protected sessions for graphics clients on Gen12 / Xe Graphics. The support code for enabling PXP with their open-source Linux driver stack was updated this past week.

          While it’s still under a “request for comments” flag and too late for possibly seeing it come with the soon-to-open Linux 5.12 merge window, this Intel PXP functionality is moving along and will be important for Xe server GPUs in public cloud type deployments where protected sessions are desirable for better segregation between shared resources.

    • Applications

      • The Allure of The Terminal

        Ignore for a moment it’s a GNOME Terminal window on Ubuntu with the Yaru theme, it’s the contents of the window that’s alluring to me. That and the IBM Plex font showing it off so well.

        In around 1988, the first “IBM Compatible” I owned was an Epson 8086 PC with a Monochrome Display Adapter (MDA). It had a mono screen which could only output text, no graphics.

        In 1990, I had to upgrade to a Hercules Graphics Card if I wanted to see anything other than text and symbols from code page 437.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Login With A USB Flash Drive Instead Of A Password On Linux Using pam_usb (Fork) – Linux Uprising Blog

        pam_usb is a PAM module that provides hardware authentication for Linux using ordinary USB flash drives, SD cards, MMC, etc.

        Using this, you’ll be able to login without a password, by simply connecting a USB stick or memory card to your computer. This USB authentication also works when running terminal commands that require superuser – you will not be prompted for a password when using sudo for example.

        pam_usb works with any application supporting PAM, such as login managers (GDM, Lightdm, etc.), and su / sudo.

        For authentication, pam_usb makes use of the USB flash drive / memory card serial number, model and vendor, as well as optional One Time Pads (OTP). When One Time Pads are enabled (this is enabled by default, but you can disable it), the public user pad file is stored on the USB / memory card in a hidden folder called .pamusb, while the private key is stored in a hidden folder with the same name, stored in the user home directory.

      • Enable Disable Unattended Upgrades in Ubuntu – Linux Hint

        Update packages are essential for the system to protect the data because these packages have specific security patches. However, Ubuntu’s feature called Unattended Upgrades installs all of the latest security-related updates automatically.

      • How to install Autodesk on a Chromebook – also known as Eagle

        Today we are looking at how to install Autodesk on a Chromebook, also known as Eagle, 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.

      • A Guide to the Wireshark Command Line Interface “tshark” – Linux Hint

        In the earlier tutorials for Wireshark, we have covered fundamental to advanced level topics. In this article, we will understand and cover a command-line interface for Wireshark, i.e., tshark. The terminal version of Wireshark supports similar options and is a lot useful when a Graphical User Interface (GUI) isn’t available.

        Even though a graphical user interface is, theoretically, a lot easier to use, not all environments support it, especially server environments with only command-line options. Hence, at some point in time, as a network administrator or a security engineer, you will have to use a command-line interface. Important to note that tshark is sometimes used as a substitute for tcpdump. Even though both tools are almost equivalent in traffic capturing functionality, tshark is a lot more powerful.

      • How to Install Oracle JRE on Fedora – Linux Hint

        Java is one of the most used programming languages. Due to its object-oriented nature, it is preferred by developers. Java can be used to develop Mobile, Desktop and Web-based applications. Java allows running java programs on many platforms with the help of JVM. JVM has a JRE or Java Run-time Environment that provides resources and class libraries to Java code for execution. JDK is only needed for developing Java applications.

      • How to Upgrade Fedora Linux? – Linux Hint

        Fedora is a Linux distribution that is sponsored by Red Hat. The best thing is that it is free and open source. It is also available for desktop, server, and IoT systems. It has a different desktop environment like KDE Plasma, XFCE, LXQT, etc.

      • How to Install MySQL on Fedora – Linux Hint

        MySQL is a database system that provides database services for storing and managing data. It is one of the popular open-source databases.

        MySQL comes with the following commercial products:

        MySQL Standard Edition
        MySQL Enterprise Edition
        MySQL Cluster Carrier Grade Edition

        All these editions come with a price tag and are mostly suitable for commercial use. We will use the MySQL Community Edition, which is available for free usage under the GPL license for our this guide.

      • Elasticsearch Shard List – Linux Hint

        Elasticsearch’s cat API is very handy because it allows users to view information related to various Elasticsearch engine resources in Compact and Aligned Text (CAT).

        This tutorial will show you how to use the _cat API to view information about shards in an Elasticsearch cluster, what node the replica is, the size it takes up the disk, and more.

      • Elasticsearch Shard Rebalancing Tutorial – Linux Hint

        An Elasticsearch shard is a unit that allows the Elasticsearch engine to distribute data in a cluster. In Elasticsearch, we say that a cluster is “balanced” when it contains an equal number of shards on every node without having a large concentration of shards on a single node. Depending on how you configure Elasticsearch, it automatically performs shards rebalancing in your cluster to improve performance.

        Automatic shard rebalancing conforms to restrictions and rules like allocation filtering and forced awareness, leading to the most efficient and well-balanced cluster possible.

        NOTE: Do not confuse shard reallocation, which is the process of finding and moving unassigned shards to the nodes in which they reside, with rebalancing. Rebalancing takes assigned shards and moves them evenly to various nodes, the purpose being the equal distribution of shards per node.

      • Elasticsearch Reindex in Place – Linux Hint

        Elasticsearch indexing is an important feature that allows the engine to perform fast and accurately.

        However, as you know, once data gets mapped into an index, it’s unmodifiable. To do this, you will need to reindex the data with the modifications you require. This process may lead to downtime, which is not a very good practice, especially for a service that is already in circulation.

        To circumvent this, we can use index aliases, which allow us to switch between indices seamlessly.

      • Elasticsearch Reindex Change Field Type – Linux Hint

        Working with databases is very fun but can sometimes be challenging, especially when dealing with already-existing data.

        For example, if you want to change the type of a specific field, it might require you to take the service down, which can have grave repercussions, especially in services that process large amounts of data.

        Fortunately, we can use Elasticsearch’s powerful features such as Reindexing, ingest nodes, pipelines, and processors to make such tasks very easy.

        This tutorial will show you how to change a field type in a specific index to another, using Elasticsearch Ingest nodes. Using this approach will eliminate downtime that affects services while still managing to perform the field type change tasks.

      • Elasticsearch Create User – Linux Hint

        Users, privileges, and permissions are some of Elasticsearch’s primary security features. Security features allow you to secure your clusters and manage how users interact with the engine.

        In this quick guide, we will examine how to enable Elasticsearch Xpack security features and how to use security API to create users and roles.

    • Games

      • Failbetter Games launched a Kickstarter for Mask of the Rose: a Fallen London romance | GamingOnLinux

        Mask of the Rose: a Fallen London romance is an upcoming romantic visual novel set in the same universe as Fallen London, Sunless Sea, and Sunless Skies. Considering their history you know it’s going to be good, with deep writing and probably plenty of really weird characters to meet.

        “Mask of the Rose begins in 1862, just months after London was stolen by bats and relocated to the Neath: a vast cavern far below the earth. Down here, the sun doesn’t shine, and Parliament has sunk into the Thames. Queen Victoria never emerges from her palace. Cats spy on their owners and whisper their secrets abroad. And it’s rapidly becoming clear that London isn’t going to be returning to the Surface any time soon…”

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Roman Gilg: The Windowing Revolution

          The beta for the upcoming 5.21 release of the KWinFT projects is now available. It contains a monumental rewrite of KWinFT’s windowing logic. Read on for an overview of the changes and why this rewrite was necessary.

          A Confused Heart

          Let’s define first what windowing logic is. In my definition this means all structures and algorithms in code to decide where a window should be stacked, placed, moved or in which other ways its geometry can be manipulated to allow the user to interact with and organize the totality of all windows.

          And if you agree to such windowing logic being of central importance for a windowing manager and what distinguishes it in the end from others, we may call it the heart of KWinFT.

          The KWinFT compositor is based on KWin, KDE’s official compositor for the Plasma Workspace. KWin was founded over two decades ago. Necessarily some of its code is very old, does not adhere to any modern development principles and sometimes, due to changes in other levels of the graphics stack, it is just plain wrong.

          It is kind of unexpected though, that this has been in particular the case for the windowing logic, the heart of KWinFT. For example at the HEAD of KWin’s current master branch do a git-blame over the ludicrous code in layers.cpp responsible for all window stacking and count how many lines are older than a decade.

          But old code is not necessarily bad. The reason why this old code is bad, is two-fold: for one under the leadership of the former maintainer the Wayland support was shoehorned into an already complex code base and secondly he followed a strategy to keep the old code untouched as much as possible. Instead of doing necessary incremental refactors to the old code, he tried to firewall it with an abundance of tests.

          For sure one can find reasons and excuses to pick such a strategy, but ultimately one has to say it failed. This can not be judged of course from the outside, but I feel comfortable in making this assessment as someone who knows the code in detail and because I am not the only one who abandoned his strategy.

        • KWinFT 5.21 Beta Pushes a “Monumental Rewrite” Of The Windowing Logic

          KDE developer Roman Gilg continues pushing ahead with KWinFT as a fork of the KWin window manager / compositor and other select components. He spent a lot of time last year better optimizing the X11 and Wayland handling while he’s been relentlessly working this year to push it even further.

          Roman has released the KWinFT 5.21 Beta following what he describes as a “monumental rewrite” to the windowing logic as part of an overall “windowing revolution.” For this windowing revolution Gilg has been working on flattening/simplifying the window/surface hierarchy, making the code cleaner and more comprehensible, and ultimately to improve the Wayland sub-surfaces support.

        • Autocrypt support in Kontact

          Autocrypt support is now in Kontact! This has been several weeks of work. Autocrypt makes it easier for you to use encrypted messages, as is handles key transfer for you automatically.

          There are several parts involved in supporting Autocrypt. First, Autocrypt uses Protected Headers, implemented already. Within Autocrypt I found some issues and fixed them. Than I began implementing the receiving of Autocrypt messages. The key concept of Autocrypt is to always send the public key within each email, so the receivers are always able to answer encrypted. The first step was extraction of the key and saving it to disk. Because Autocrypt sends keys unverified at the moment, I decided to not import the Autocrypt keys into the users’ keyrings, but keep them separately in json files under ~/.local/share/autocrypt.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Debian 10.8 Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Debian 10.8.

        • Debian 10.8

          Today we are looking at Debian 10.8. It comes with Linux Kernel 4.19, XFCE 4.12, and uses about 400-500 MB of ram when idling.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Reducing the scope of software.opensuse.org

          We have some exciting news to share regarding the consolidation of our web pages.


          Both sites were offering similar functionality for downloading install media. Both sites had to be updated with every Alpha, Beta, or changes to media descriptions. The new reduced scope of software-o-o will be purely browsing of available software. The scope of get-o-o won’t change. It will be media downloads and pointers to relevant documentation such as installation or upgrade instructions. We believe that these changes will help to keep it small and simple.

          We’re happy to reduce duplication of efforts while not introducing further fragmentation as get.opensuse.org has been around for quite some time already.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • How to use Red Hat Insights to maintain your Linux systems

          Red Hat Insights is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product that helps administrators report on applicable errata and known configuration issues as well as proactively identify security issues. Insights makes you aware of potential service-impacting problems before they happen, letting you plan how to address them before there is an issue that might affect production. Access to Red Hat Insights is included with every Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) subscription, so there is nothing extra to buy. This article covers the basics of how to register with Red Hat Insights, how to use it, and a couple of examples to demonstrate its remediation capabilities.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Backports a Major App Update to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          Thunderbird 78 is being backported to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS — no PPAs, Snaps, or Flatpaks required!

          Ubuntu 20.04 LTS shipped with Thunderbird 68.x but this version is no longer supported upstream. This leaves Ubuntu developers will a problem: backport individual security fixes to Thunderbird 68, or port the newer (and still-supported) Thunderbird 78 to LTS users?

        • Ubuntu Blog: Ubuntu in the wild – 9th of February 2021

          The Ubuntu in the wild blog post ropes in the latest highlights about Ubuntu and Canonical around the world on a bi-weekly basis. It is a summary of all the things that made us feel proud to be part of this journey. What do you think of it?

        • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 669

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 669 for the week of January 31 – February 6, 2021. The full version of this issue is available here.

        • Design and Web team summary – 8 February 2021

          The web team at Canonical run two-week iterations building and maintaining all of Canonical websites and product web interfaces. Here are some of the highlights of our completed work from this iteration.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Ryzen Embedded V1807B AI Edge PC supports dual-slot graphics cards

        The embedded AI computer supports Windows 10/7 and Linux distributions, and can optionally wall-mounted via a mounting bracket. Vecow says the PC supports NVIDIA Tesla/Quadro/GeForce and AMD Radeon Graphics, as well as the latest NVIDIA RTX 30 series powered by Ampere architecture featuring DLSS AI acceleration up to max 10496 CUDA cores for expanded AI computing capability.

      • Lisperati1000 Lisp portable programming workstation features Raspberry Pi Zero W, ultra-wide display

        Conrad Barski (Lisperati) wanted a portable “workstation” to write in Lisp and see all those parentheses. Since there aren’t many devices with an ultra-wide display, he decided to build his own “Lisperati1000” ultra-compact Lisp programming workstation powered by a Raspberry Pi Zero W, and equipped with an ultra-wide 1920×480 8.8-inch display, a compact keyboard made of Cherry Brown switches, and a 4,400mAh dual battery all housed in a 3D printed enclosure.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Arduino Blog » eMBee ONE turns an Arduino and an Altoids tin into an ’80s-style pocket computer

          Matthew Begg wanted a pocket computer that had some of the charm of his 1980s vintage Casio FX-730P, so he decided to build his own.

          His prototype device uses an Arduino Nano to boot into BASIC, and features a 1.54″ OLED display as well as a PCB-based QWERTY keyboard. Power is provided via a pair of AAA batteries, along with a boost converter. Most notably, however, the entire thing is meant to fit inside of an Altoids tin.

        • ESP8266 board with 24-pin ATX connector drives RGB LED strips

          “Adding Open Hardware to Open Software for a More Equitable IoT” talk at FOSDEM 2021 discussed the importance of open-source hardware and software for IoT devices, notably to avoid getting a brick after the cloud service is suddenly terminated.

          Adrian McEwen then specifically talked about his “My Baby’s Got LED” ESP8266 open-source hardware board powered by… a USB charger? nope. A battery? You’ve got to be kidding. Instead, the ESP8266 board is equipped with an ATX connector taking a standard power supply found in PC towers and desktops.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

        • Sailfish OS 4.0.1 No Longer Support The Jolla Phone But Has Many Other Improvements

          Jolla’s Sailfish OS 4.0.1 was released this past week to early access subscribers as a major milestone for Sailfish OS 4.

          Sailfish OS 4.0.1 “Koli” is available currently to early access users since Thursday. With Sailfish OS 4.0.1, Jolla Phone is no longer supported as their original smartphone ambition. Supported by Sailfish OS 4 remain the Jolla C, Jolla Tablet, and Sony Xperia 10 / XA2 models, Gemini PDA x25/x27, and other select devices.

        • [release notes] Koli 4.0.1 – Announcements – Sailfish OS Forum

          Jolla Phone is not supported any more. OS release 3.4.0 was the last one for this device launched 7 years ago.

          The lowest supported kernel version of Sailfish 4 in the remaining Sailfish OS devices is 3.10. It is in Jolla C, Jolla Tablet and Xperia X

          The instructions for installing Sailfish OS to Sony Xperia X, Xperia XA2 and Xperia 10 devices are here – covering Windows, Linux, and macOS computers.

          Read this, please, to learn about the Sailfish X licence.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache® ECharts™ as a Top-Level Project : The Apache Software Foundation Blog

        The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today Apache® ECharts™ as a Top-Level Project (TLP).

        Apache ECharts is an intuitive, interactive, and powerful charting and visualization library ideally suited for commercial-grade presentations. The project originated in 2013 at Baidu and entered the Apache Incubator in January 2018.


        The project has recently released ECharts 5, which provides rendering ability for tens of millions of data points, and supports accessibility requirements in compliance with W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite (WAI-ARIA) standards.

        Building on EChart’s core features, ECharts 5 makes it even easier for developers to tell the story behind the data through 15 new features and improvements in story-telling and data expression, optimized visualization and responsive design, interaction and performance enhancement, developer experience, internationalization, and more.

      • Events

        • Open source, teamwork and mental health: my FOSDEM 2021

          For the past 4 years I have participated to FOSDEM, a conference about free and open source software for developers. I love this event. It’s a welcome opportunity to see friends, watch great talks and drink excellent Belgium beer.

          This year unfortunately it was a remote event. The event was all managed via matrix, a decentralized communication system. There were a few network issues at the beginning, with a pick of more than 11.000 people simultaneously, but in general it went pretty smoothly.

          I participated mostly in the “community”, “open source design” and “web performance” rooms. Here is a little summary of what a saw. Hope there is stuff that might trigger your curiosity.

        • Handling PDF digital signatures with PDFium FOSDEM talk

          The next step in the recent PDFium-based signature verification story is my Handling PDF digital signatures in LibreOffice with PDFium talk at FOSDEM 2021, in the LibreOffice devroom (pre-recorded video). The talk gives you an overview of digital signing in general, all the ODF/OOXML/PDF handling, signing/verification, various other related past Collabora projects, and then goes into details regarding how PDFium was improved and is used to do a better PDF signature verification in LibreOffice when opening PDF files in Draw.

          The virtual room had around 150 participants and the Matrix based online conference was well-organized. Speakers even got a free t-shirt before the event, I appreciated the “bring your own beer” joke :-)

          An other benefit of this unusual setup was to avoid the dreaded room is full problems, where you carefully selected a talk to attend and then failed to hear it.

        • The State of Apache OpenOffice As Of Early 2021

          It’s rare to hear of OpenOffice usage these days compared to LibreOffice, but the open-source office suite is still going ahead under its volunteer work at the Apache Software Foundation. This past weekend at FOSDEM 2021 was a status update on Apache OpenOffice.

          Peter Kovacs provided a status update on Apache OpenOffice on the work and milestones over the past year. Compared to LibreOffice 7.0 in 2020 with Vulkan rendering support and many other new features, Apache OpenOffice just had a maintenance release. But even with OpenOffice not being in the limelight like it once was, it’s still seeing over one million downloads per month.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mike Taylor: Obsolete RFCs and obsolete Cookie Path checking comments

            The other day I was reading Firefox’s CookieService.cpp to figure out how Firefox determines its maximum cookie size (more on that one day, maybe) when the following comment (from 2002, according to blame) caught my eye:

            The following test is part of the RFC2109 spec. Loosely speaking, it says that a site cannot set a cookie for a path that it is not on. See bug 155083. However this patch broke several sites — nordea (bug 155768) and citibank (bug 156725). So this test has been disabled, unless we can evangelize these sites.
            Note 1: Anything having to do with broken websites is wont to catch my attention, especially olde bugs (let’s face it, in 2002 the internet was basically the High Middle Ages. Like yeah, we were killing it with the technological innovation on top of windmills and we’re getting pretty good at farming and what not, but it’s still the Middle Ages compared to today and kind of sucked).

            Note 2: The two sites referenced in the Firefox comment are banks (see 155768 and 156725). And one of the axioms of web compatibility is that if you break a bank with some cool new API or non-security bug fix, game over, it’s getting reverted. And I’m pretty sure you can’t legally create test accounts for banks to run tests against and Silk Road got taken down by the feds.

      • CMS

        • WordPress Plugins

          Welcome back to WordPress 101 series. In this 4th part of the series, we’ll learn about WordPress plugins, the biggest reason behind WordPress’s massive usage on the Internet.

          From creating a simple blog to launching an e-commerce store, WordPress does it all very well. It solves some of the most frustrating problems when starting a new online business.

          Any business needs improvements. One may start a business website with a few products in the store. As the store sells more products, the website needs to be upgraded for better customer satisfaction. From launching a new customer forum to an entire professional customer support system, everything is extremely easy in WordPress.

      • Programming/Development

        • Macro in C language – Linux Hint

          A macro in C language is a piece of code which has been assigned a name. When the name is used anywhere in the program, the macro value is replaced before the program’s compilation. In this article, we will see in detail how to write a macro in C language.

        • Exception Handling in C++ – Linux Hint

          There are three types of software errors that exist. These are Syntax Errors, Logic Errors, and Runtime Errors.

        • C++ Qualifiers and Storage Class Specifiers – Linux Hint

          CV stands for Constant-Volatile. The declaration of an object that is not preceded by const and/or volatile is a cv-unqualified type. On the other hand, the declaration of an object that is preceded by const and/or volatile is a cv-qualified type. If an object is declared const, the value in its location cannot be changed. A volatile variable is a variable whose value is under the influence of the programmer, and hence cannot be changed by the compiler.Storage Class Specifiers refer to the life, place, and way in which a type exists. Storage class specifiers are static, mutable, thread_local, and extern.

          This article explains C++ Qualifiers and Storage Class Specifiers. Thus, some preliminary knowledge in C++ comes in handy to really appreciate the article.

        • Overloading in C++ – Linux Hint

          C++ does not allow a function that adds two integers and return an integer, to add two floats and return a float. Imagine that there is a function to add two integers and return an integer. Would it not be nice to have another function with the same name, that adds but two or even more floats to return a float? Doing so is said to be, overloading the first function.
          Arithmetic operators are typically used for arithmetic operations. Is it not nice to have the +, join two strings? Enabling that is said to be overloading the arithmetic addition operator, for strings.

          The increment operator, ++ adds 1 to an int or a float. When dealing with pointers, it does not add 1 to the pointer. It makes the pointer point to the next consecutive object in memory. An iterator points to the next object in a linked-list, but the linked-list objects are in different places in memory (not in consecutive regions). Would it not be nice to overload the increment operator for an iterator, to increment but point to the following element, in the linked-list?

          This article explains overloading in C++. It is divided into two parts: function overloading and operator overloading. Having already basic knowledge in C++ is necessary to understand the rest of the article.

        • Building The Linux Kernel With Clang Continues To Be Useful, New Features Pursued – Phoronix

          At last month’s Linux.Conf.Au virtual conference was a presentation by Google engineer Nick Desaulniers on the current state of building the Linux kernel with LLVM Clang as an alternative to GCC.

          Over the past year the “ClangBuiltLinux” effort has continued maturing with more Linux kernel code issues resolved to improve the portability across compilers. The industry interest has been around using Clang to build the Linux kernel for reasons including ensuring better code portability / testing, making use of various LLVM/Clang functionality not offered currently by GCC, some vendors using Clang as their preferred code compiler for licensing or other reasons, and in the case of Google they have already been using Clang to build their Linux kernel for a while and have been working to upstream more of the support.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • [Older] Bash Advanced Variable Idioms for Case Sensitivity Management

            Whenever we work with textual strings, sooner or later the issue of case comes up. Does a word need to be fully uppercase, fully lowercase, with a capitalized letter at the start of the word or sentence, and so on.

            An idiom is a natural language expression of a simple programming task. For example, in the sleep 10 command (which will pause the terminal one is working in for ten seconds), the word sleep is a natural language expression of what is a time based coding construct, developed in the Bash GNU coreutils software package.

            There are a number of special variable-bound idioms (i.e. suffixes which can be added to a variable name, indicating what we would like to do with a given variable), which can be used in Bash to more easily do these types of conversions on the fly instead of having to use for example the Sed Stream Editor with a Regular Expression to do the same.

        • Rust

          • The Rust language gets a foundation

            The newly formed Rust Foundation has announced its existence.

          • Rust Foundation Established To Steward The Rust Programming Language

            Mozilla has been sponsoring the Rust programming language for more than a decade while in 2020 as part of Mozilla’s big round of layoffs most of the Rust team was let go along with dropping the Servo web engine team. Following that plans were drafted to create the Rust Foundation as an independent entity.

          • Hello World! [Ed: Microsoft is in the Board of the Rust Foundation]

            Today, on behalf of the Rust Core team, I’m excited to announce the Rust Foundation, a new independent non-profit organization to steward the Rust programming language and ecosystem, with a unique focus on supporting the set of maintainers that govern and develop the project. The Rust Foundation will hold its first board meeting tomorrow, February 9th, at 4pm CT. The board of directors is composed of 5 directors from our Founding member companies, AWS, Huawei, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla, as well as 5 directors from project leadership, 2 representing the Core Team, as well as 3 project areas: Reliability, Quality, and Collaboration.

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Patent Term Adjustment: What Happens When Examiner Withdraws Case from Appeal?

          Chudik filed his patent application back in 2006. After receiving a final rejection back in 2010, Chudik filed a request for continued examination (RCE). At that point the examiner withdrew the prior rejection, but then rejected the claims on an alternative ground. Chukik appealed to the PTAB, but the Board did not get a chance to hear the case. Rather, the examiner again withdrew their rejection and re-opened prosecution with a new alternative ground for rejection. That appeal-withdraw-new-ground process happened again. Then it happened again.

          Now we’re up to 2017. Chudik had filed four appeals in the same case but the PTAB with the examiner backing-down each time. Finally, on the fourth go-round, the examiner issued a notice of allowance after withdrawing the rejection. His patent: US 9,968,459. Good job Chudik. The patent covers a medical device used in shoulder surgery. This is the type of invention that – if its use becomes widespread – will use-up the whole 20-year patent term.

Media in the Pockets of Companies It is Writing About and Sensationalism Instead of the Actual News About Linux

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 5:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Or: IBM and the Media

Summary: I’ve made this quick video just to complain about some stuff in today’s news (or so-called ‘news’), in effect unnecessarily sensationalised drama, shameless marketing, and paid-for puff pieces made to look like reporting

THE media strategy of IBM isn’t ethical. They try to police which words people can and cannot use because their founder had a keen sense of Public Relations. Only last year and about a decade ago IBM was attempting to manipulate my writings, so I confronted them over the telephone and over E-mail. IBM is, in that regard, reminiscent of Microsoft.

“This has barely changed; the Public Relations has changed, just like the Public Relations strategy of Microsoft (lies such as “Microsoft loves Linux” and IBM’s “embRACE”).”The video above and our extensive set of articles about IBM (we wrote about IBM about 100 times last year) isn’t rude. What’s rude is what IBM kept doing for as long as a century in order to make money. This has barely changed; the Public Relations has changed, just like the Public Relations strategy of Microsoft (lies such as “Microsoft loves Linux” and IBM’s “embRACE”).

IBM is not BLM

Links 8/2/2021: digiKam 7.2.0 RC and Kdenlive 20.12.2

Posted in News Roundup at 4:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Where Will the Penguin March From Here?

      One of Linux’s greatest and most distinguishing traits is its adaptability. Compare how it started and how it’s going, and you’ll see what I mean.

      Linux began its life as a humble experiment in Unix porting, but from there it quickly became a popular kernel for server OSes due to its low cost (“free” is pretty low) and customizability. From there it morphed to power network appliances (think routers) and Android, proving it was lean enough for a whole gamut of embedded systems.

      It’s easy to forget that Linux’s proliferation to every class of computing device has not concluded its evolution. With that in mind, I want to take a moment to not only catch up with its changes, but to potentially get ahead of them.

      Don’t take this as gospel truth, though. This is just me expanding on an intuition I had while studying technology trends. Plus, the beginning of the year has me, like many people, in a prognosticatory mood.

    • Rescatux 0.73: Rescuing GNU/Linux and Microsoft Systems with Rescapp

      According to the Distrowatch summary “Rescatux is a Debian-based GNU/Linux live distribution that includes a graphical wizard for rescuing broken GNU/Linux installations.” It features a graphical interface where one can choose a task to perform, including the option to restore the GRUB bootloader, Linux and Windows password resets, and Linux file system checks. Being based on Debian (Stable) it is using the Linux kernel 4.19.0-8 and systemd in the background. Right off the bat this could be a problem for machines needing a newer kernel but it was ok for my hardware, the newest machine now being around 20 months old.

      Rescatux booted into UEFI mode on this Asus Vivobook 8th Gen Core i7. The iwlwifi firmware was missing and as such I was unable to get online in the live session.

      At start up the initial boot screen is already very informative, letting us know a number of options and the version numbers of system tools.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 3 open source tools that make Linux the ideal workstation

        In 2021, there are more reasons why people love Linux than ever before. In this series, I’ll share 21 different reasons to use Linux. Today, I’ll share with you why Linux is a great choice for your workday.

        Everyone wants to be productive during the workday. If your workday generally involves working on documents, presentations, and spreadsheets, then you might be accustomed to a specific routine. The problem is that usual routine is usually dictated by one or two specific applications, whether it’s a certain office suite or a desktop OS. Of course, just because something’s a habit doesn’t mean it’s ideal, and yet it tends to persist unquestioned, even to the point of influencing the very structure of how a business is run.

    • Server

      • Hybrid cloud – everything you need to know

        Hybrid cloud allows businesses to optimise their costs associated with cloud infrastructure maintenance. It also brings many other benefits, such as business continuity, compliance, better scalability and improved agility.

        According to the Forrester Wave: Hybrid Cloud Management, Q4 2020, hybrid cloud is an essential technology that every modern organisation is looking for and its adoption is only expected to grow in the following years.

        In this blog, we cover everything you need to know about hybrid clouds.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Kernel prepatch 5.11-rc7

        The 5.11-rc7 kernel prepatch is out for testing. “Anyway, this is hopefully the last rc for this release, unless some surprise comes along and makes a travesty of our carefully laid plans. It happens. Nothing hugely scary stands out, with the biggest single part of the patch being some new self-tests. In fact, about a quarter of the patch is documentation and selftests.”

      • Linux 5.11 could arrive next week, as Linus Torvalds slams the Superbowl [Ed: TechRadar is, as usual, turning technical news into clickbait]

        As he announced the latest update of the Linux 5.11 release, Linus Torvalds, the head-honcho of the Linux kernel, took a swipe at the Superbowl.

      • Linux 5.10.14
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.10.14 kernel.
        All users of the 5.10 kernel series must upgrade.
        The updated 5.10.y git tree can be found at:
        	git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.10.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
        greg k-h
      • inux 5.4.96
      • Linux 4.19.174
      • Linux 4.14.220
    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Radeon RX 6800 vs. NVIDIA RTX 30 Linux Performance Heating Up

        Given the open-source Radeon driver progress for RDNA2 over the past three months since the Radeon RX 6800 series were launched, here is a look at how the Radeon RX 6800 series and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series is currently competing on Linux when using the latest Linux drivers from the respective vendors.

        Today’s article offers a fresh comparison at how the latest AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards are competing on Linux for various gaming and Vulkan compute benchmarks when using the very latest graphics drivers. This round of tests was conducted on an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X system with the ASUS CROSSHAIR VIII HERO WiFi motherboard (3202 BIOS), 2 x 16GB DDR4-3600 Corsair memory, 2TB Corsair Fore MP600 NVMe solid-state drive, and the various graphics cards under test. Ubuntu 20.10 was running on this AMD Ryzen 9 5950X system while was modified with the noted driver modifications/updates.

    • Applications

      • Linux’s Favorite Screenshot Tool Shutter Sees First Major Release in Years

        There are plenty of screenshot tools available for Linux. Shutter has been my all-time favorite.

        The funny thing is that I hardly use it for taking screenshots, rather I edit the screenshots with Shutter to add arrows, triangles and annotate them. Most screenshots you see in the tutorials on It’s FOSS are edited with Shutter.

        For the past several years, the development of Shutter stalled. There were no new releases and the existing version had dependency on the old libraries versions that are not available in newer distribution versions. For this reason, you had to make special efforts for enabling edit mode Shutter on Linux.

      • Bulk URL Opener – manage and use large numbers of URLs

        Bulk URL Opener is an application that provides the user with multiple utilities to help with managing and using large amounts of URLs. The software lets you open a list of URLs with a single link.

        The program also lets you create and store lists of links that are available from a dropdown menu offering an easy ay to open multiple links simultaneously.

        Bulk URL Opener is free and open source software. It’s an Electron based application written in the JavaScript programming language.


        Bulk URL Opener has limited use cases as a desktop application. But if you need to open multiple urls on a regular basis, the program may be useful.

        The program doesn’t warrant our recommendation. It’s fairly slow in operation with stability leaving something to be desired. There’s a fair few glitches and issues we run into even from limited testing.

        Memory usage is high which is mainly because the program uses Electron. ps_mem reports that the desktop program uses around 276MB of RAM. That’s a hefty memory footprint, particularly given the program is essentially very simple. There’s definitely a call for the project to move away from Electron.

        ps_mem is a small utility that reliably reports how much memory is consumed by an application. It’s a very handy open source utility. It interrogates the kernel to obtain the memory information, outputting the information in a clean and uncluttered way.

      • Viper Browser: A Lightweight Qt5-based Web Browser With A Focus on Privacy and Minimalism

        Viper Browser is a Qt-based browser that offers a simple user experience keeping privacy in mind.

        While the majority of the popular browsers run on top of Chromium, unique alternatives like Firefox, Beaker Browser, and some other chrome alternatives should not cease to exist.

        Especially, considering Google’s recent potential thought of stripping Google Chrome-specific features from Chromium giving an excuse of abuse.

        In the look-out for more Chrome alternatives, I came across an interesting project “Viper Browser” as per our reader’s suggestion on Mastodon.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to set a system wide bandwidth limit on Linux systems

        In these times of remote work / home office, you may have a limited bandwidth shared with other people/device. All software doesn’t provide a way to limit bandwidth usage (package manager, Youtube videos player etc…).

        Fortunately, Linux has a very nice program very easy to use to limit your bandwidth in one command. This program is « Wondershaper » and is using the Linux QoS framework that is usually manipulated with “tc”, but it makes it VERY easy to set limits.

      • How to Allow Remote Connections to MySQL – TecAdmin

        Which is also a good practice for the security purposes.

        In many cases we needs to access MySQL database from remote systems. In the most possible cases of production environment where we use separate instance for database server. Also in case of application hosted under load balance environment, where we create a single centralize database server accessible from multiple systems.

        This tutorial will help you to configure MySQL server to allow connections from remote systems.

      • How to Jailbreak Roku and Install Kodi (Full Tutorial)

        Love the convenience of Roku, but addicted to the sheer streaming power of Kodi? Well today, we show you how to combine the two–and it doesn’t actually even require jailbreaking! Don’t worry, it’s actually a pretty simple process–we walk you through it, step by step, sharing a few tips along the way on how to get the most out of both services.

      • How to install and set-up a gemini server
      • How to Install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV Stick, The Verified Easy Way

        Amazon’s Firestick offers unparalleled convenience, but it’s best paired with Kodi for the ultimate streaming experience. We show you how to install Kodi on Fire TV step by step, and recommend a few VPNs to help you access geoblocked content and hide your Kodi traffic from ISP throttling.

      • How To Install Gitea on Linux Mint 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Gitea on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Gitea is a simple, lightweight, and self-hosted Git platform written in Go. It is a fork of Gogs and very similar to GitLab. Compared to GitLab, Gitea is extra easy, light-weight, and straightforward to configure. It can be installed on all major operating systems including, Windows, macOS, Linux, and ARM. With Gitea, you can track time, issues, repository branching, file locking, merging, and many more.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of the Gitea on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • How to Add and Remove Users in CentOS 8

        Adding and deleting users is one of the basic tasks that every system administrator should know. In this tutorial, I am showing you two ways to add and remove users in CentOS 8 on the shell and also on the Desktop.

      • How to Enable HTTP/2 with Apache in Ubuntu – Cloudbooklet

        How to configure or enable or setup HTTP/2 with Apache in Ubuntu. HTTP/2 is a protocol developed to reduce latency, minimize protocol overhead and many more efficient features compared to HTTP/1.

        In this guide you are going to learn how to enable HTTP/2 with Apache. This setup is tested on a Google cloud compute engine instance with Ubuntu 20.20 OS and Apache 2.4.41.

      • How to Install Deepin WeChat, QQ IM in Ubuntu 20.04 [The Easy Way] | UbuntuHandbook

        This simple tutorial shows how to install WeChat, QQ instant messenger, Ali Wangwang, QQ Music, QQ Video, iQIYI easily from Deepin repository.

        For those doing business or having friends / family members in China, it’s hard to avoid using these top apps. Thanks to wine and Deepin Linux, they are working quite good in Linux without native support.

      • How to Install NFS Server on Debian 10 (Buster)

        NFS (Network File system) is a client-server file system protocol which allows multiple system or user to access the same shared folder or file. The latest is NFS version 4. The shared file will be like if they were stored locally. It provides central management which can be secured with a firewall and Kerberos authentication.

        This article will guide you to install the NFS server in Debian 10 and mount it on a client machine.

      • How to Install NumPy on Ubuntu 20.04

        NumPy is a python library used for scientific computing. It offers the followings and much more.

      • How to Install Vagrant and use it with VirtualBox on Ubuntu 20.04

        Vagrant is a command-line tool for building and managing virtual machines. To use Vagrant, you must have a virtualization engine like VirtualBox, Hyper-V, or Docker installed on your system. The Vagrant plugin system also provides support for KVM and VMware. Vagrant is mainly used to easily set- up development environments. Vagrant is available for Linux platforms and users can install it into their system for further usage.

        In this article, I will show you how to install Vagrant on an Ubuntu 20.04 machine and use VirtualBox as vairtualization engine. The we will create a VirtualBox virtual machine with CentOS 8 as operating system inside the VM using Vagrant.

      • How to Run a Command Periodically in Linux using Watch

        The requirement of periodically running a command or a process in Linux is quite common. From clean up scripts, to duplicate file removal commands, to automated periodic upgrades, everything can be configured to run periodically in Linux.

        Usually, the way to achieve this is to configure Cron jobs, which are handy when it comes to automation scripts and background jobs. However, if you need to run a command or program periodically and view its output interactively, i.e., in (almost) real-time; Cron cannot be used, as it saves all the output to log files.

      • How to install Solus 4.2 – YouTube

        In this video, I am going to show how to install Solus 4.2.

      • How to install and use Flameshot on Linux

        Flameshot is a free and open source Screenshot Tool. It is simple, yet powerful feature-rich ,easy to use. And also, Flameshot has a CLI version, so you can take screenshots from commandline as well.

        In this article,we will show you how to install Flameshot and how to take screenshots using it in Linux.

      • How to mount Box.com cloud storage on Linux

        Box.com is an online cloud storage provider targeting individual users and enterprise customers. This tutorial demonstrates how you can mount your Box.com cloud storage account on Linux via a WebDAV interface.

      • How to set up custom sensors in Home Assistant | Opensource.com

        In the last article in this series about home automation, I started digging into Home Assistant. I set up a Zigbee integration with a Sonoff Zigbee Bridge and installed a few add-ons, including Node-RED, File Editor, Mosquitto broker, and Samba. I wrapped up by walking through Node-RED’s configuration, which I will use heavily later on in this series. The four articles before that one discussed what Home Assistant is, why you may want local control, some of the communication protocols for smart home components, and how to install Home Assistant in a virtual machine (VM) using libvirt.

        In this sixth article, I’ll walk through the YAML configuration files. This is largely unnecessary if you are just using the integrations supported in the user interface (UI). However, there are times, particularly if you are pulling in custom sensor data, where you have to get your hands dirty with the configuration files.

      • Find When A Specific Linux Kernel Version Is Last Booted – OSTechNix

        You should have installed or upgraded to many new Kernel versions over the time in your Linux machine. If you have multiple Linux Kernels installed on your system, how would you find when a specific Linux Kernel version is last booted? That’s what we are going to find out now. This guide explains how to check when a Linux kernel last used or booted on.

      • 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 trepidation in jumping in to sample the water, because I am completely unfamiliar with the Dart programming language and was worried about making the time investment.

        With the news from Ubuntu I decided that now is a good time to get my feet wet and find out what this new shiny is all about. To that end, I have installed Flutter and managed to get the sample application running on Ubuntu!

      • Network configuration in Ubuntu

        This document is intended to support Ubuntu server administrators and aims to help you manage your network using the terminal.

      • How to Connect Your Linux Laptop to an External Monitor (Fix for HDMI “No Signal” Issue)

        have recently replaced my old laptop with a new one that’s also great for gaming, so if I want to connect it to an external monitor via HDMI it doesn’t work out-of-the-box with any Linux distro that I’ve tried so far, and if you search the Web for an answer you’ll find numerous reports from users having a so-called “No Signal” issue.

        I spent many hours reading these reports and the solutions offered by other users, but with no success. So if you’re like me, you’ve arrived at right place. In the next paragraphs, I’m gonna show you how to properly connect your laptop to an external monitor, and the instructions should work on any Linux distro.

      • Essential Pacman Commands for Arch Linux [With Examples]

        The package manager pacman is a very handy utility. You can do a whole lot of things just using some simple commands. Here we take a look at some of the essentials pacman command examples for Arch Linux (and other derivatives such as Manjaro) for your daily use. Have a look.

    • Games

      • Take home 1 of 6 System76 Dream PCs!

        This video is NOT sponsored. When System76 asked me if I would share their Unleash Your Potential Program with you guys, I knew I had to say yes. They’re some of my favorite peeps in the world and, after the success of the GNOME Community Engagement Challenge, I figured you guys might want to know about this awesome program, too!!

      • Drauger OS Developer Looking To Make Console

        Thomas Castleman, the main developer behind Drauger OS, announced yesterday in a blog post that the Drauger OS team is still going strong, with continued improvements to the distro’s system installer and the planned release date for the upcoming Drauger OS 7.6 (June or July). What’s perhaps the most surprising regarding the post, however, is the announcement that they’re working on a Linux gaming console, dubbed the Vetala.

        The Vetala (the name is apparently based from Hindu mythology as someone who has been brought from the dead) will have none other than Drauger OS pre-installed, using a couch-oriented desktop environment called Game Console Desktop Environment (GCDE). It will come in a low-end, mid-range, or a high-end hardware configuration, varying between $600-$1000. It will use off-the-shelf components and have dedicated graphics and Wi-Fi. The case will use ABS plastic.

        CAD files for the casing will be publicly available; if the console breaks, you can 3D print another, or print it anyway if the console doesn’t become a success. The Vetala will also be freely available to customize with your own hardware. The blog post also goes on to mention some work may be done on the kernel “to improve performance and ensure users get the most disk space for their games as possible.”


        In other news for Drauger OS, the team is no longer working on an ARM version of the distribution.

      • Comet 64 is a programming puzzle game about an old fictional computer

        Comet 64 huh? It’s a programming puzzle game involving a fantasy old computer and it certainly hits the mark when it comes to the visual style. Fans of the Amiga, Commodore and the real early PCs will find themselves at home here.

        Unlike certain other programming puzzlers, it’s not a game where you’re dragging and dropping logic blocks. Instead, you’re using a simplified programming language to solve the various problems it presents you with. Could serve as a fun introduction to programming or as a healthy dose of nostalgia for problem solvers to dive into with a retro flair.


        The developer actually sent us a key for this one, and it really is great. Definitely reminds me of some classic programming attempts a good many years ago. It’s styled a bit like a Zachtronics game almost, which is practically a genre nowadays. It gives you an input of numbers which you need to adjust based on the query you’re given (the query being the problem to solve) for each level using the simple programming language.

      • Factorio to get a big expansion pack now the full game is done, developer jobs going | GamingOnLinux

        Wube Software have written up their plans for the future of Factorio and it sounds exciting, with it confirmed that they’re looking to work on a big expansion.

        Factorio is done, as in the recent 1.1 release is the “final release of the vanilla game” and so will only see standard maintenance patches for bug fixes and alike. The question is where do they take it from here? They went over options like free updates, a sequel and more but settled on doing a big expansion as they’re not a fan of multiple smaller DLC.

        What to expect from it? Too early to tell they say and they have no idea when it will be ready as work has only just begun. We’re looking at likely more than a year.

      • Jupiter Moons: Mecha – Prologue demo offers a shiny test of the next deck-builder hit | GamingOnLinux

        It’s not always clear what will be a hit but sometimes, I honestly think it is and Jupiter Moons: Mecha has early signs of being something a little bit special.

        Deck-builders are popular, lots of games are trying out using cards and building up a deck of abilities and sometimes like with Dicey Dungeons and Slay the Spire they go onto becoming hits. There’s also the upcoming Loop Hero which already has my heart.

        Jupiter Moons: Mecha, well the demo of Jupiter Moons: Mecha – Prologue to be precise, offers up a rather tantalizing early look at what could be another great one. Fusing together mech combat, lots of shininess and plenty of laser action with card-based combat and what you get depends on your currently equipped weapons and tooling.

      • Terraria for Stadia cancelled, due to Google locking the developer out | GamingOnLinux

        Stadia is back on the spotlight and not for their overhype, new games or stopping first-party games, in fact it’s due to Terraria now being cancelled due to Google locking the accounts of a developer. This isn’t just any developer either, this is coming from Terraria developer Andrew Spinks, who is the founder of Re-Logic.

        Spinks wrote a thread on Twitter, highlighting the issue after being locked out of a Google account now for three weeks. That means access has been lost to anything purchased on Google Play, all the data on Google Drive, even the official YouTube account for Terraria cannot be accessed due to all this.

      • Valheim has become the next survival game hit on Steam

        Looks like Iron Gate AB and Coffee Stain Publishing did well, with the survival game Valheim doing fantastic.

        After entering Early Access on February 2, it has repeatedly climbed up the top lists on Steam for players and sales hitting a fresh record of 131,153 online on Sunday February 7. Nothing is ever guaranteed to be a hit but it looks like they managed to find quite the sweet-spot and thankfully this hit has full Linux support, with the main developer even working from Linux.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • The Best Desktop Environments of 2021

        As Linux users, we’re often spoiled for choice when it comes to software. There are some basic programs that we keep coming back to that are so integrated into the stack that we forget they’re even there. However, when it comes to things like Desktop Environments, it can be hard to determine the best option for exactly what you’re going to use it for. I personally have reviewed different Linux Desktop Environments, and there’s a lot of overlap between use cases. Here we show you the best Linux Desktop Environments for your particular use case.

        Note: the following list is not listed in any particular order, and Window Managers are not included.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • digiKam 7.2.0-rc is released

          Just a few words to inform the community that 7.2.0-rc is out and ready to test six month later the 7.2.0 beta1 release.

          After integrating the student codes working on faces management while this summer, we have stabilized code about the usability and the performances improvements of faces tagging, faces detection, and faces recognition, already presented in July with 7.0.0 release announcement.

          One very important point introduced with this release is the new Online Release Downloader to help users with stable and pre-release updates, fully automatized, providing a release notes, and with the options to use debug or optimized application versions.

        • Kdenlive 20.12.2 available

          Kdenlive 20.12.2, part of our monthly bugfix release, is now available and fixes several important issues. Among the changes…

    • Distributions

      • Best Linux distro – The last decade – 2011-2020

        OK, let’s do it. I’m going to tell you about my top five distros of the past decade. A (very) long view on usability, functional and cultural (so to speak) impact, the value, the quality, the fun I got out of them, how they shaped my usability – and that of others, and a few other interesting tidbits. Nostalgia, forget we must not.

        In a way, the article will be similar to my five-year summary (2016-2020), which I did not that long ago. And of course, you’re likely to see some of the same names invoked. So if you’ve read it once, well apologies for that. All right, we know what the deal is for the latter half of this period, but what about the first five years? If you ask me, those were the interesting years – the peak of the PC, the fun desktop period before the mobile era ruined it all. Moving on, ze list.

      • Reviews

        • Review: Split Linux

          This week I want to talk about an unusual project I tried out recently called Split Linux. The project’s website describes itself as follows:
          Split Linux is a general operating system optimized for safely navigating hostile environments like the Internet and physical check points. Split Linux builds on tools that follow the UNIX philosophy and is based on the fast and independent Void Linux.
          Digging a little deeper we can learn additional bits about Split Linux. The idea of Split is to run two or more operating systems on your computer. The first operating system is installed normally and can be any Linux distribution or other operating system that looks semi-familiar to the public. The first operating system is not used for anything important and is considered the “decoy”.

          We then set up a second volume which will be home to an encrypted volume we will fill with Linux containers. Each container has its own username and password, its own files, and its own programs. Network traffic is routed through the Tor network.

          The computer cannot directly boot into this second partition and the boot menu does not even list it as an option. The second partition with our encrypted containers is not bootable. To access the containers we plug in a USB thumb drive that holds Split Linux. The computer boots off the thumb drive and, if we provide the proper username and password, we are granted access to one of the encrypted containers.

      • New Releases

        • Septor 2021.1

          System upgrade from Debian Bullseye repos as of February 8, 2021

          Update KDE Plasma to 5.20.5
          Update Tor Browser to 10.0.9
          Update Hexchat to 2.14.3-4
          Update Onionshare to 2.2-3
          Update Thunderbird to 78.7.0-1
          Update Sweeper to 20.12.0-1
          Update privoxy to 3.0.31-1
          Update tor to
          Veracrypt replaces zuluCrypt

      • Gentoo Family

        • Best Gentoo Linux Derivatives

          Getting started with Gentoo requires some knowledge of Linux inner workings. This can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you have never done it or you have relied on automated install methods for a long time. With that said, it is worthwhile finding out more about your system. You could find many interesting points that can help your private computing or even your career. Many corporations use the Gentoo base and create an internal distribution. One example is Chromium OS; many others are specialized versions for their needs.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora Aarch64 on the SolidRun HoneyComb LX2K

          Almost a year has passed since the HoneyComb development kit was released by SolidRun. I remember reading about this Mini-ITX Arm workstation board being released and thinking “what a great idea.” Then I saw the price and realized this isn’t just another Raspberry Pi killer. Currently that price is $750 USD plus shipping and duty. Niche devices like the HoneyComb aren’t mass produced like the simpler Pi is, and they pack in quite a bit of high end tech. Eventually COVID lockdown boredom got the best of me and I put a build together. Adding a case and RAM, the build ended up costing about $1100 shipped to London. This is a recount of my experiences and the current state of using Fedora on this fun bit of hardware.

        • Miroslav Suchý: How to activate no-cost RHEL subscription

          Click on the “Register” button and follow the process. It is one screen only and you will be done within a minute.

          Now navigate to developers.redhat.com and log in using your Red Hat account.

          From the top menu choose Linux -> Download RHEL. That will get you to Download Page. You can download the ISO image. Or you can Set Up AWS EC2 Instance. Or you can use any other way. Your no-cost subscription is already active.

        • Deploying Kubernetes Operators with Operator Lifecycle Manager bundles

          This article shows an example of using the Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM) bundle deployment architecture to deploy a Red Hat OpenShift or other Kubernetes Operator. You will learn how to use OLM and the Operator SDK (both components of the Kubernetes Operator Framework) together to deploy an Operator.

        • DISA Has Released the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 STIG

          Cybersecurity continues to be a focal point for government agencies as they continue to develop IT strategies that include the deployment of new and existing workloads into cloud-based environments. At the same time, threats to these services, and the data that they process, continue to evolve with new exploits appearing on a regular basis. To maintain the performance and availability of applications and data, configurations that limit the ability for exploits to be successful must be in place.

          Red Hat has a long history of working with government and defense agencies to configure Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) to meet certain rigorous requirements that aim to protect systems from malicious activity. This work includes development of SELinux, establishing Identity Management standards, and the development and publication of several security configuration profiles used by various industries.

          We are pleased to announce that, in collaboration with Red Hat, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has published a Secure Technical Implementation Guide (STIG) for RHEL 8. The STIG consists of more than 300 security controls including configuration settings that map to new features that were included in RHEL 8.

        • IBM Cloud Now: IBM Cloud Schematics Updates, New Billing Model, and 10% Off Bare Metal Servers
        • IBM Advance Toolchain for Linux on Power 14.0-2 released!

          A new update release for the 14.0 series of the IBM® Advance Toolchain for Linux on Power is now available.


          The IBM Advance Toolchain for Linux on Power is a set of open source development tools (compiler, debugger and profiling tools) and runtime libraries that allow users to take leading edge advantage of IBM’s latest POWER® hardware features on Linux®.

        • Feeling Insecure About The Weak Security At Most IBM i Shops – IT Jungle [Ed: When the "trade press" indoctrinates people into thinking they must always use products with back doors and then buy some proprietary stuff to "add" security]

          It is always a wonder to us that, in this day and age, every IBM i shop, which is by definition running mission critical workloads, is not using high availability clustering of systems in their datacenter, disaster recovery and failover of some type or another to a remote site, and supplemental security to lock down those parts of the system that are not, by default within the IBM i platform, locked down.

          It’s a bit of a mystery. Of the 120,000 to 150,000 unique customers running IBM i platforms in the world, maybe 20,000 have some sort of HA/DR and maybe 10,000 have supplemental security. We want to understand why, after decades or exit point security as well as security add-ons to cover the Integrated File System, a variant of the OS/2 High Performance File System that IBM brought onto the platform to make it speak ASCII and SMD way back in 1995. We wanted to get a better understanding of the security situation, with somewhere between 6.7 percent and 8.3 percent of the installed base having security add-ons for exit points and IFS, so we had a chat with Tony Perera, co-founder and president of Trinity Guard, who has a long and complex history in the IT sector and who can give us some insight.

          Perera, who is from Sri Lanka, started his career at IBM developing the Employee Trust Fund System for that country, which is akin to the applications that run the Social Security Administration here in the United States. He then went on to be a programmer analyst at United Overseas Bank and at application developer FISERV, including porting a Unix-based banking system to OS/400. In July 1999, Perera joined PentaSafe and was one of the key developers of the set of security products the company had, which were acquired by NetIQ, which was acquired by Attachmate, which was acquired by Novell, which were finally spun put into Micro Focus. Back in the day PentaSafe had three employees and were doing security products for OS/400, but today, Trinity Guard is a 15-person company, with a dozen of them – including Perera – working in programming, QA, product management, and such and only three of them working on sales. Perera has seen security from the side of the customer and from the side of the vendor, and offers some good perspective why security add-ons are not ubiquitous in the IBM i realm, but why they should be.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Why choose Plausible for an open source alternative to Google Analytics

        Taking on the might of Google Analytics may seem like a big challenge. In fact, you could say it doesn’t sound plausible… But that’s exactly what Plausible.io has done with great success, signing up thousands of new users since 2018.

        Plausible’s co-founders Uku Taht and Marko Saric recently appeared on The Craft of Open Source podcast to talk about the project and how they…

      • Events

        • FOSDEM 2021 was the best online event ever

          My family got used to the fact that I am not available at beginning of February. Because of my FOSDEM trip. This year was not both not so different and different at same time.

          Due to COVID-19 pandemic FOSDEM 2021 was online. So there was no reason for any trip other than to local shops to buy some Belgian beers. And I was not available to anyone during weekend.


          One of things FOSDEM is famous for is networking at event. And live streaming of all rooms. This year was no different. My monitor’s screen was split to two Firefox windows: left side kept discussions on Matrix server, right side had live streaming schedule and video of currently attended talk. At same time my phone has “FOSDEM Companion” app started with bookmarks opened to make it easy to check which talks I wanted to see.

          At some moments I had two videos started — one waited for start of presentation and second with some other talk running. Once new one started I closed watched one. Simple method of watching part of talk to see is it interesting or not.

          There were some talks where I dropped during first few minutes and moved to other one. Something quite hard to do when you are in a middle of a room at normal FOSDEM.

          Videos of talks will be available during next few days. I have a page with FOSDEM talks with slides/video links which will get updates during next days.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Welcomes the Rust Foundation

            Today Mozilla is thrilled to join the Rust community in announcing the formation of the Rust Foundation. The Rust Foundation will be the home of the popular Rust programming language that began within Mozilla. Rust has long been bigger than just a Mozilla project and today’s announcement is the culmination of many years of community building and collaboration. Mozilla is pleased to be a founding Platinum Sponsor of the Rust Foundation and looks forward to working with it to help Rust continue to grow and prosper.

            Rust is an open-source programming language focused on safety, speed and concurrency. It started life as a side project in Mozilla Research. Back in 2010, Graydon Hoare presented work on something he hoped would become a “slightly less annoying” programming language that could deliver better memory safety and more concurrency. Within a few years, Rust had grown into a project with an independent governance structure and contributions from inside and outside Mozilla. In 2015, the Rust project announced the first stable release, Rust 1.0.

          • New Release: Tor Browser 10.5a10 (Windows Only)

            Tor Browser 10.5a10 is now available from the Tor Browser Alpha download page and also from our distribution directory.

            Note: This is an alpha release, an experimental version for users who want to help us test new features. For everyone else, we recommend downloading the latest stable release instead.

          • New Release: Tor Browser 10.0.11 (Windows Only)

            Tor Browser 10.0.11 is now available from the Tor Browser download page and also from our distribution directory.

            This version updates Firefox to 78.7.1esr for Windows. This release includes important security updates to Firefox.

          • New Release: Tor Browser 10.5a9 (Android Only)

            Tor Browser 10.5a9 is now available from the Tor Browser Alpha download page and also from our distribution directory.

            Note: This is an alpha release, an experimental version for users who want to help us test new features. For everyone else, we recommend downloading the latest stable release for Android instead.

      • Programming/Development

        • How to overcome today’s development challenges for mobile and smart devices with Qt and Felgo

          Qt makes it easy to develop applications for Desktop, Mobile and Embedded platforms, all from a single code base. No other solution offers to build native cross-platform apps for all these platforms at once. But since the rise of mobile and smart devices in all kinds of shapes and sizes, bridging the gap between platforms has become even harder. By solving a lot of common problems in many real-life projects, Felgo built a variety of higher-level APIs and development tools on top of Qt that help you save time and worries. Read on to learn how to overcome these challenges from the development to the release.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 98: Read N-Characters and Search Insert Position

            These are some answers to the Week 98 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

          • You can now use the spvmcc command to generate an executable file from the SPVM source code.

            You can now use the spvmcc command to generate an executable file from the SPVM source code.

            SPVM is a module that can convert Perl-like source code into C language and execute it.

            I have succeeded in generating an executable in a very stable way.

          • Rakudo Weekly News: 2021.06 Collect, Conserve, Remaster

            Elizabeth Mattijsen has started the Raku Collect, Conserve, Remaster Project to collect old blog posts from the 20+ year history of Raku, into a repository with the goal of preserving all of the information in these blog posts (many of which have already disappeared from the directly accessible internet). If you know of old blog posts (possibly your own), please create a PR to have them added to the Collect phase of the CCR project. The preliminary results are Remastered blog posts in markdown format, that can be rendered at a later stage to provide more up-to-date Raku content on the Internet (/r/rakulang comments).

        • Python

          • Regularization Techniques in Linear Regression With Python

            Linear Regression is the process of fitting a line that best describes a set of data points.

            Let’s say you are trying to predict the Grade $g$ of students, based on how many hours $h$ they spend playing CSGO, and their IQ scores $i$.

          • How to Resize Images Using Python

            Python has become the go-to choice for a programming language; not only for general object-oriented programming but for various scientific, mathematical, statistical, etc. applications.

            All this has been possible due to a strong developer community that has developed libraries and APIs for every purpose, in Python. From machine learning to medicine, it has libraries for all sectors.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Orac on Thinking Critically

        Today Orac is using his prerogative as founder, owner, and sole blogger for Respectful Insolence to engage in a little shameless self-promotion. Not long ago, he was interviewed by Jonathan Maloney for the Thinking Critically podcast. Basically, Orac and Jonathan discussed the sorts of topics Orac regularly discusses here all the time, including the antivaccine movement, COVID-19, and Orac’s journey to skepticism, lo, these more than two decades ago. Here’s the podcast link, and here’s the episode on YouTube:

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Vivaldi browser gets new feature to help manage tabs

          Norway-based Vivaldi Technologies has added a novel feature to its browser – a second level in the tab bar for managing tab groups, what it calls Two-Level Tab Stacks.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • How to get started with an Open Source Program Office – Linux.com

                Today every company has to be a software company to be functional in today’s world and open source has become the preferred model for software development. However, many companies still don’t know how to properly engage with the open source communities and code-base. Lack of any strategy towards open source not only keeps companies from taking full advantage of Open Source, it also exposes their own IP or code-base to many risks, including the violation of Open Source license. Every company that deals with Open Source should have an Open Source Program Office. However, there is no playbook to create one. The Linux Foundation Training & Certification has released a new seven-course, training series entitled “Open Source Management & Strategy”. The course is authored by seasoned Open Source leader Guy Martin, Executive Director of OASIS Open, an internationally recognized standards development and open source projects consortium.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (chromium, gdisk, intel-microcode, privoxy, and wireshark), Fedora (mingw-binutils, mingw-jasper, mingw-SDL2, php, python-pygments, python3.10, wireshark, wpa_supplicant, and zeromq), Mageia (gdisk and tomcat), openSUSE (chromium, cups, kernel, nextcloud, openvswitch, RT kernel, and rubygem-nokogiri), SUSE (nutch-core), and Ubuntu (openldap, php-pear, and qemu).

          • Ex-NSA man Aitel again clashes with NYT over cyber attack article

            Former NSA hacker and ex-owner of security company Immunity, Dave Aitel, has once again criticised New York Times’ cyber security reporter Nicole Perlroth, claiming that nearly every detail in a piece the journalist wrote to promote an upcoming book of hers is wrong.

          • Critical Cisco Flaws Open VPN Routers Up to RCE Attacks

            Cisco is rolling out fixes for critical holes in its lineup of small-business VPN routers. The flaws could be exploited by unauthenticated, remote attackers to view or tamper with data, and perform other unauthorized actions on the routers.

            The flaws exist in the web-based management interface of Cisco’s small-business lineup of VPN routers. That includes its RV160, RV160W, RV260, RV260P, and RV260W models.

          • How the United States Lost to [Crackers] [iophk: Windows TCO]

            We know this not because of some heroic N.S.A. [crack], or intelligence feat, but because the government was tipped off by a security company, FireEye, after it discovered the same Russian [crackers] in its own systems.

          • CrowdSec: An Innovative Open-Source Massively Multiplayer Firewall for Linux

            CrowdSec is a massively multiplayer firewall designed to protect Linux servers, services, containers, or virtual machines exposed on the Internet with a server-side agent. It was inspired by Fail2Ban and aims to be a modernized, collaborative version of that intrusion-prevention tool.

          • Google Warns of Chrome Zero-Day on Windows, Mac, and Linux

            Google says new updates of its Chrome browser have a zero-day vulnerability that threat actors are actively exploiting. Specifically, the flaw is found in current versions of Google Chrome. This release covers Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of Chrome meaning all are at risk.

            According to the company, there is a flaw in the V8 open-source web engine that runs Chrome. A patch has already been included in version 88.0.4234.150, which is rolling out over the coming days and weeks.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • TikTok Plans U.S. E-Commerce Push to Take on Facebook: FT

              TikTok is planning an aggressive expansion into e-commerce in the U.S., the Financial Times reported, citing people who have seen the social media app’s plans for new features it will introduce this year.

              Among those features is a tool that allows TikTok’s most popular users to share links to products and automatically earn commissions on sales. TikTok is also rolling out “live-streamed” shopping, a mobile phone version of television shopping channels, where users can buy goods with a few taps. It’s also seeking to let brands show their catalogs, according to the report.

            • Police in Minneapolis reportedly used a geofence warrant at Floyd protest last year

              The search warrant required Google to provide account data for anyone “within the geographical region” of an AutoZone store on May 27th, 2020, to police, according to TechCrunch. Photos of a protest outside that store two days after Floyd’s death showed a man in a mask smashing the store windows with an umbrella. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported at the time that police believed the so-called “Umbrella Man” was actually a white supremacist trying to spark violence at the protest.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Biden reduces US role in Saudi war on Yemen, but leaves room to continue crisis
      • Opinion | Biden to Lift the Wrongheaded Houthi Terrorist Designation—But What’s Next?

        Having reversed the worst of Trump’s policies, Biden must now tackle those of the Obama administration.

      • ‘We Want Democracy!’: Despite Internet Blackout, Tens of Thousands Protest Military Coup in Myanmar

        “The Myanmar military has engaged in a naked power grab that if not reversed will set back democracy and the protection of human rights for a generation,” warned one human rights advocate.

      • The Nashville Bombing, More Than Meets the Eye

        I know what I write about. In the 1980s, I was an editor at Loompanics Unlimited, publishers of controversial and unusual books, sellers of such titles as The Anarchist Cookbook, Kitchen Improvised Plastic Explosives, and Homemade Guns and Homemade Ammo. We published books on making bombs, modifying guns, and causing mayhem. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says words cannot be prohibited, only actions.

        The idea that one person can pack that much explosive power into an old recreational vehicle and drive it into position without blowing himself up along the way is stunning. None of the books I’ve worked on have ever hinted at this sort of explosive power commanded by a single individual. This is a quantum leap in the deadliness of a lone wolf.

      • The Anatomy of Fascism Denial

        In truth, the doubts should never have existed in the first place. In May of 2016, seven months before Trump’s election, the liberal New Yorker commentator Adam Gopnik calmly observed the following:

        “There is a simple formula for descriptions of Donald Trump: add together a qualification, a hyphen, and the word ‘fascist’ …his personality and his program belong exclusively to the same dark strain of modern politics: an incoherent program of national revenge led by a strongman; a contempt for parliamentary government and procedures; an insistence that the existing, democratically elected government…is in league with evil outsiders and has been secretly trying to undermine the nation; a hysterical militarism designed to no particular end other than the sheer spectacle of strength; an equally hysterical sense of beleaguerment and victimization; and a supposed suspicion of big capitalism entirely reconciled to the worship of wealth and ‘success.’”

      • The New Humanitarian | Floods, fighting, famine: South Sudan’s triple crisis

        Tucked away behind the bend of a swollen river, an hour and a half by motorboat from the region’s main health centre, local residents in the remote South Sudanese village of Lekuangole say their children are starving to death.
        There’s the three-year-old son of Ngalan Luryen who died of hunger last February after a week hiding in a forest from militiamen. And there’s the nine-year-old grandson of Anna Korok who lost his life in July when conflict split him from his family and left him nothing to eat.
        “We need food,” Korok told The New Humanitarian during a trip to the village in December. “So children don’t die.”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • RE: Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act Appeal from FBI FOIPA Request No. 1487229-000

        The FBI’s “no record” response to my FOIA/Privacy Act request is inadequate under FOIA. My request was made after an FBI agent in the Lost Angeles Field Office contacted me on January 12, 2021 concerning a blog post I published in July 2020.2 The FBI agent later confirmed that this blog post was protected First Amendment activity. As detailed in the request, I sought records documenting or reflecting the FBI’s interest in my blog post, the communications and other actions taken by the FBI agent who contacted me, and any other records about me.

        Given that I was directly contacted by an FBI agent, the Bureau’s “no records” response defies reason. [...]

    • Environment

      • Hawaii’s Beaches Are Disappearing. New Legislation Could Help … if It’s Enforced.

        Hawaii lawmakers are considering bills this legislative session that could force oceanfront property owners to remove sandbags and draped heavy tarps that can significantly contribute to coastal erosion. Dozens of owners along Hawaii beaches have used loopholes in current environmental laws to leave emergency armoring in place for extended periods in order to protect homes, hotels and condos. Under the new legislation, they would face strict deadlines for removing them and higher penalties for installing them without permission.

        Property owners are legally only allowed to keep the emergency protections in place temporarily, but officials with Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources have liberally interpreted the term “temporary,” allowing walls of sandbags to remain in front of some properties for years, and even decades, after issuing repeated approvals or losing track of them, an investigation in December by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and ProPublica found.

      • The New Environmentalism Must Demand Systemic Change
      • Energy

        • South Australia trial to use solar for off-peak water heating

          The Federal Government says it will provide $1.98 million to Solahart, a subsidiary of Rheem Australia, to partly fund a trial to test 2400 hot water systems in South Australia with a view to reduce the energy use for heating water at peak times.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • A Year On, Wuhan Victims Are Still Scarred and Still Censored

        The pressure of being a doctor escalated phenomenally during the pandemic. Sun lived in his office from late January to mid-February, sleeping on a camp bed, and was overwhelmed by mental and physical stress. He wanted to save lives, and he also wanted to disclose the truth, so that the rest of the world could learn and do better. The death of Li inspired him to become a whistleblower, to report incidents of negligence in handling the COVID-19 outbreak to a number of Chinese media outlets, different government officials, and China’s State Council. However, the dossiers he sent to reporters were never published; instead, hospital leaders tried to convince him to focus on his academic research instead of fighting against the government.

        His family and friends never understood why he would endanger his promising career and risk being detained. He eventually stopped trying—but found it hard to reckon with his own conscience. For months, he drowned in his self-loathing, until he came to accept his own, as he saw it, failings.

      • China Cracks Down on Site Offering Uncensored Foreign Media to Users

        Police in Shanghai have raided a popular video-sharing site that offered foreign films and TV shows to more than eight million registered users, cutting off a key source of uncensored content for Chinese viewers.

        Police detained 14 people in a Feb. 3 raid on the offices of the Renren Yingshi video-sharing app and website, on suspicion of copyright piracy linked to more than 20,000 Chinese and foreign-made movies and TV shows.

        Suspects were detained in the eastern province of Shandong, the central province of Hubei and the southwestern region of Guangxi, ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) newspaper the People’s Daily reported.

      • Democrats’ New Section 230 Bill Could ‘Devastate’ the Internet, Experts Say

        Eric Goldman, a professor at Santa Clara University Law School, said that rather than carefully targeting one area of the law for change, the SAFE TECH Act tries to “stitch together” an array of “unrelated policy ideas that expose the drafters’ lack of clear understanding of how Section 230 actually works.”

        “My question for the drafters is: what services do they think will still qualify for Section 230 if this reform goes through; how likely is it that those services will do what the members of Congress want; and will those services be able to afford to remain in business?” Goldman said. Without clear and convincing answers to those questions, he added, the bill only serves to create “potentially dire consequences for the Internet we know and love.”

        Many of these imaginable consequences would ultimately depend on how the changes to Section 230 are interpreted by the courts. The bill’s text could also be fundamentally altered in committee or in the House prior to receiving a vote.

      • Munawar Faruqui: Bail for jailed India comic who did not crack a joke

        Munawar Faruqui, 30, was arrested on 1 January in the central Indian city of Indore just as one of his shows ended.

        He is accused of “insulting” Hindu religious sentiments in jokes that he had allegedly prepared, although they did not appear in his set that night.

        The Muslim comedian is among many who have recently been accused under a law that protects religious beliefs.

      • Munawar Faruqui released on bail after late-night call from top court judge

        In a late-night development, comedian Munawar Faruqui was released from Indore jail on Saturday after the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Indore received a “call from a judge of the Supreme Court”, urging them to check the website for the apex court’s order that had put a stay on Munawar’s production warrant and granted him ad-interim bail.

        Earlier in the day, Indore jail authorities had refused to release Faruqui saying they had not received official communication from Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Prayagraj, staying its earlier issued production warrant.

      • “Full Faith In Judiciary”: Comic Munawar Faruqui Walks Out Of Indore Jail

        Stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui was released on Sunday from a jail in Madhya Pradesh, where he was held for more than a month after his alleged “filthy and indecent jokes” about Hindu Gods and Goddesses, as well as Home Minister Amit Shah. Hours before he was released, the authorities of Indore jail, where he was held, said they were yet to receive any order from the Supreme Court.

      • Wikimedia Adopts Universal Code of Conduct

        The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit body that administers Wikipedia, has announced a Universal Code of Conduct (UCOC), which outlines guidelines for behavior within Wikimedia projects.

        “Our new universal code of conduct creates binding standards to elevate conduct on the Wikimedia projects and empower our communities to address harassment and negative behavior across the Wikimedia movement,” said Katherine Maher, CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation.

      • Wikipedia Embraces First-of-Its Kind Universal Code of Conduct, Conceived For The New Internet Era

        February 2, 2021. The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that administers Wikipedia, launched a first-of-its-kind Universal Code of Conduct that expands on the project’s existing policies to create a global set of community standards for addressing negative behavior on the site.

        More than 50% of the global population has access to the internet, an increase that has been linked to polarization, and rising violence from online speech against marginalized groups and ethnic communities according to a report from the Council on Foreign Relations. Given these trends, it is more important than ever for the Foundation and the volunteer community to strengthen accountability for content on Wikimedia projects including Wikipedia, the world’s largest online encyclopedia, as well as the policies that govern user behavior.

    • It’s Official: Linguistic Intent No Longer Matters at The New York Times

      This week, the newsroom revolted via a remarkable group letter in which more than 150 staffers at one of the country’s leading newspapers argued that word-choice intentions are “irrelevant,” because “what matters is how an act makes the victims feel.” Signees, declaring themselves “outraged and in pain” and “disrespected,” demanded a reinvestigation of the 2019 incident, an apology to the newsroom, and an organizational study into how racial biases affect editorial decisions. They also alleged that the controversy had surfaced new internal complaints about McNeil demonstrating “bias against people of color in his work and in interactions with colleagues over a period of years.”

      Rather than blanch at that suggested new journalistic standard—if the paper is no longer recognizing the linguistic use-mention distinction, then all it will take to prompt a vast scrubbing of the archives are enough offended “victims” of articles like these—The New York Times Company leadership (Baquet, Publisher A.G. Sulzberger, Chief Executive Meredith Kopit Levien) responded to the letter with anguished obsequiousness.

    • Iran arrests journalist Reza Taleshian Jelodarzadeh

      On January 20, Jelodarzadeh, editor-in-chief of the Tehran-based Nour-e Azadi magazine, wrote on his Instagram account that he had been arrested by Iranian authorities and was being transferred to Greater Tehran Prison. He also posted a photo of his shackled feet. CPJ was unable to determine his location at the time of his arrest.

      According to exile-run Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) and the Amsterdam-based, Persian-language Radio Zamaneh, Jelodarzadeh was taken into custody to serve a three-year prison sentence dating to June 2019 for “disturbing public opinion” and “spreading anti-establishment propaganda” in part in relation to posts on Instagram and Telegram. According to HRANA, he was not imprisoned immediately after his sentencing, which also included a two-year ban on political, social, and journalistic activity.

    • Egypt Frees Al Jazeera Journalist After 4 Years in Detention

      Egyptian authorities on Saturday released Mahmoud Hussein, an Egyptian journalist working for Qatar’s Al Jazeera television network who had been held in pre-trial detention for more than four years, his brother and lawyer told Reuters.

      Hussein, who was detained in December 2016 after arriving Cairo from Doha for a vacation, was being held on charges of spreading false news, joining a banned group and receiving foreign funds.

      He was released several weeks after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed in January to restore diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar severed in 2017 over allegations that Qatar supported terrorism, a charge that Doha denies.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Opinion | Returning to the Roots of Community Resilience in Hawai’i

      Local agriculture initiatives offer a way toward food security through reconnection with the land and the true spirit of aloha.

    • Dolly Parton’s 2021 Super Bowl commercial is playing a rich man’s game

      Rather than paying homage to the spirit of the original song, which made no bones about the exploitative nature of the daily grind, the commercial for Squarespace features a tinny ode to the side hustle. Its office workers are portrayed as being overjoyed to continue working after hours, their side hustles are painted as freeing, fun and fulfilling, and the song itself encourages them to “be your own boss, climb your own ladder.”

      It’s a perfect storm of gig economy propaganda. And it’s a particularly disappointing message to hear from someone like Parton, who once warned us, “You’re just a step on the boss man’s ladder,” and made her cinematic debut as a secretary who gets so tired of her boss’s sexual harassment that she almost shoots him.

    • Swedish trade union calls for freedom for Öcalan

      Bonk said that the conflict between the Turkish state and the Kurdish Freedom Movement resulted in the death of more than 40 thousand people, the burning and evacuation of 4,500 villages, and displacement of millions of people from their lands.

      Previous experiences of conflict showed that strong leaders must persuade their own societies to find a peaceful solution to problems, Bonk said and pointed to Nelson Mandela, Gerry Adams, Jose Ramos-Horta and Aung San Suu Kyi as examples of powerful leaders.

      Emphasizing that Öcalan is among these leaders without any doubt, Bonk said, “Thanks to him, the Kurdish Freedom Movement has evolved from military solutions to political solutions in recent years.”

    • COVID-19 Creates Increased Risk of Female Genital Mutilation

      Leading United Nations agencies and human rights activists warn the COVID-19 pandemic puts girls at great risk of FGM, which thrives in isolation. They note lockdowns and school closures make girls particularly vulnerable to abuse.

      Without urgent action, they say 2 million more girls could be at risk of FGM over the next decade. World Health Organization Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says this is in addition to the more than 3 million girls potentially facing the practice every year.

    • Repression in Xi’s China | Dissent Magazine

      In Hong Kong in Revolt, labor organizer Au Loong-Yu analyzes the protests that rocked the city in 2019. The participants were pushing back against the politically motivated disqualification of pro-democracy legislators, the imprisonment of nonviolent activists on trumped-up charges, and other oppressive moves by the Hong Kong authorities, who represent local moneyed interests and take their cues from Beijing leaders who increasingly act like heads of an empire. Au sees both anti-capitalist and anti-colonial dimensions to the 2019 protests, although he argues that activists should have been less focused on what sets Hong Kong residents apart from those living in mainland urban centers and more interested in using shared working-class grievances as a basis for building border-spanning solidarity.

      The War on the Uyghurs, by anthropologist Sean R. Roberts, who directs the International Development Studies Program at George Washington University, focuses on repression rather than resistance. Roberts makes a compelling case for seeing the Chinese Communist Party’s actions in Xinjiang, where many members of the largely Muslim local population are now detained in camps, as constituting a horrific crime against humanity.

      Read together, these books show how the political conditions in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, often treated separately, are linked.

  • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

    • The OTT war in India becomes intense in 2021

      Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ have competition. Even as these established players expand their presence in the Indian market through innovations in content and strategy, a slew of new OTT players are set to disrupt and diversify the market.

      Last year, the world stumbled upon the reality of entertainment in the digital space mainly thanks to the Covid lockdown. What now looks to burgeoning into a multi-crore industry in the country, almost threatening the very existence of cinema halls, promises many more options for the consumers.

      We list some of the new players, who are carving a place in the Indian cyber space. Lionsgate Play

    • CBS All Access Crashes As Super Bowl LV Kicks Off

      A spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Twitter account for CBS All Access support was responding to individual tweets for technical support but did not specifically address the outage. It’s unclear how widespread the outage was, but Twitter users complained just after the National Anthem performance that service was disrupted.

  • Monopolies

    • Counsel reveal how they pick venue in trade secret cases [Ed: The 'crime' of 'knowing' something... more ludicrous laws made by and for the rich looking for protectionism, expanding monopoly power and preserving their status (related to NDAs, too)]

      Lawyers explain how rules of procedure and case histories help them pick between federal and state courts for trade secrets

    • Patents

      • UK High Court clarifies sufficiency in Illumina and MGI patent dispute

        Illumina has won a patent infringement action against defendant Beijing Genomics Group (MGI) regarding five DNA sequencing technology patents. Initially, MGI had sought to sell DNA sequencing systems in the UK, as well as various other European countries. However, Illumina argued that the systems sold by MGI infringed its patents.

        Now the UK High Court has found four of five patents valid. It also ruled that MGI’s StandardMPS and CoolMPS systems infringe EP 537 B1, EP 289 B1, and EP 433 B1, with the StandardMPS system also infringing EP 415 B1. Illumina is set to push for a permanent injunction against MGI.

      • The Toolgen Interference: CVC Preliminary Motions List [Ed: Patent extremists and litigation profiteers are driving a "case" in which they argue for patents on life and nature themselves (not inventions, just gross monopolisation)]

        Senior Party Toolgen and Junior Parties The Broad Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University (collectively, “Broad”) in Interference No. 106,126 and University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, “CVC”) in Interference No. 106,127 each filed Lists of Proposed Motions that the Board considered today and responsive thereto will issue its rulings shortly (see “The CRISPR Chronicles: Enter Toolgen”). The CVC list will be the subject of this post.

      • IBM now abandoning patents up for renewal at rate of over 50%
      • IBM abandonments soar; China scraps patent subsidies; UK EPO membership doubts; Acacia targets five with Yahoo! IP; New plan to judge SEP essentiality; and much more

        Everything we covered on IAM over the last seven days – and all you need to know from the global IP market to set yourself up for the start of another busy week


        Data analysis conducted by IAM indicates that IBM is now abandoning US patents due for renewal at the rate of more than 50% a year.

      • Illumina illuminated in the twilight of Birss J’s Patents Court career – Part II – Kluwer Patent Blog

        Then at paragraph 512 the judge explained “The skilled person would hope the molecule worked satisfactorily because the two elements did not interact but they would need that to be demonstrated by an experiment testing the combination as a whole. That means that the collocation principle does not apply.”

        This is an interesting consideration of the law of collocation as it appears the judge found there to be invention in performing the tests necessary to confirm there would be no interaction between the separate building blocks of the patent given that there was a possibility that the elements would interact in an adverse way. As the judge noted at paragraph 510, this case was distinguishable from Sabaf since the “two aspects in Sabaf simply do not interact with one another. The skilled person did not have to test them to find out. A vice in MGI’s case is that it seeks to mix together considerations about things being obvious to try with the collocation principle”. Ultimately therefore, it appears that it is the empirical nature of the chemistry involved in creating these novel molecules which prevented a successful challenge based on collocation.

        The law regarding collocation makes occasional but nevertheless infrequent appearances in the case law of the English Patents Courts. Birss J’s analysis gives further guidance to practitioners outside of the context of mechanical inventions and in this respect is to be welcomed. It is not known if the parties will appeal this decision but if they do, the author suspects that the Court of Appeal will be unlikely to disagree with at least this aspect of the decision.

      • Pemetrexed in France Act 2: 1 PI + 4 millions

        Readers of the Blog should remember the French landmark French judgment rendered in September 2020 in the European Pemetrexed saga, which condemned Fresenius to pay € 28 million in damages (see here). This time the action brought by Eli Lilly on French territory concerns the same drug but is directed against another generic commercialized by Zentiva. Interestingly, the action takes a different form: it is no longer an infringement action, but a request for preliminary injunction and provisional damages before the pre-trial Judge (i.e. the Judge preparing the case on the merits).

        Let’s quickly remind ourselves of the facts. Eli Lilly’s patent EP 1,313,508 (“EP’508”) relates to the combined administration of the drug pemetrexed disodium (sold under the brand name Alimta®) with vitamin B 12, and possibly with folic acid, to treat two types of lung cancer.


        Last but not least, the Judge issued a preliminary injunction on French territory while awarding an advance of € 4,000,000 in damages. According to the current practice of the Paris Court, in this type of case, the defendants must present their books to the plaintiff so that the final amount of damages can be calculated. Pending this investigation into damages, the Court ordered the defendants to pay an advance on the damages suffered by each plaintiff.

        As in the Fresenius case, with regard to the method of calculating damages, the Judge held adopted a 25% royalty rate, resulting in € 4 millions damages. Unfortunately, there is no basis for the amount of the 25% percentage, except that it is an increased rate compared to a normal one and that it had already been used in Fresenius case. Furthermore, we should note that the basis of the calculation – turnover – appears to be out of step with the French text on damages, which provides for 3 items of cumulative damage: negative economic consequences of the infringement (including the loss of profit and the loss suffered by the injured party); non-material damage; profits made by the infringer. An alternative is provided for: the court may (at the request of the injured party) award a lump sum (L. 615-7 of the French Intellectual Property Code). In this case, the fee requested from the Judge by Eli Lilly is not a lump sum. Consequently, it should not be able to rely on turnover, but only on profits, or even on loss of profit and/or non-pecuniary damage. In other words, the basis for the royalty rate may appear to be truncated since, according to article L. 615-7, it should be profits and/or loss of profit and/or non-material loss and not turnover. However, all this still seems less surprising than the impressive sum of 20 million euros awarded in the Fresenius case for unfair competition.

    • Trademarks

      • FDA approval a ‘real challenge’ for pharma trademarks in 2021 [Ed: Patrick Wingrove giving a platform to patent cartels and those hoarding medicine to keep prices artificially high, killing poor people in the process (the 'price' of doing 'business')]

        Counsel at four pharma firms, including BMS and Eli Lilly, set out what they need from external partners to get regulatory approval for new drug brands

    • Copyrights

      • Interview with Bill Patry, Senior Copyright Counsel at Google

        Dear readers, you may be aware that this Kat has a podcast – Whose Song is it Anyway? That she co-hosts with Jules O’Riordan (otherwise known as Judge Jules), interviewing people from the music industry about artists rights.


        Bill explains why he would do away with expert witnesses in copyright infringement cases and shares the one thing he thinks needs changing in US copyright law to stop copyright trolling.

      • Walking Dead Producer Expects Revenue to Surge Thanks to Streaming Piracy Law

        The movie industry can look forward to a stellar year if we go by recent comments from producer Anne Hurd, who’s known for The Walking Dead and the Terminator trilogy. Hurd expects that the new felony streaming bill, which was approved late last year, will generate a revenue boost of up to 10%, returning “billions of dollars in stolen revenues.” We’re skeptical.

      • DISH Wins $2.7m From Pirate IPTV Provider & Hosting Company, Seizes Domains

        US broadcaster DISH Networks has won a $2.7m judgment against a pirate IPTV provider and a hosting company through which it operated. In addition, DISH has permission to seize all of the companies’ domains and order the disabling of any future domains, should they be used to infringe the broadcaster’s copyrights.

Informatics, Progress, and Technocracy — Part II: About Progress

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 1:13 pm by Guest Editorial Team

By Daniel Cantarín. Original version in Spanish here. Introduction and Part I published yesterday.

Progress/Guitar Eye Portrait

Summary: Part II of Daniel Cantarín’s article “Informática, progreso, y tecnocracia”

Following the example of economics, both in Wealth of Nations and Das Kapital, you can find ideas of progress showing the way forward for humanity: opulence development, classless societies, and all the good stuff we all know. And the thing is, it was the epoch calling for that: we had a political revolution in France, and a technological revolution in England. Clearly the world was changing. And at the heart of it all, there were anthropocentrism first, and science later. Man had defeated God, and suddenly he was the owner of its destiny, no longer written in sacred scriptures nor controlled by wise scholastics. And at the same time, science became the tool for ultimate truth. That adventurous spirit, mixing ingenuity with innovation, gave rise to a new ideological bias: technological optimism.

“When Marx saw the exclusion and misery spreading around technology, he didn’t condemned technology but the way it was being used in that society…”As decades passed, scientific and technological development left little space for debate, and the feeling began to be that the only real limit for humanity was its imagination. It is not that there weren’t any critical voices around at that time, nor also newer problems: it was that technology introduced so many radical and spectacular changes that one could hardly argue against its virtues if used correctly. Such was the case with Marx, for example. When Marx saw the exclusion and misery spreading around technology, he didn’t condemned technology but the way it was being used in that society; in fact, he argued that technological development was already not only desirable (as that would be the road to a classless society), but also inevitable.

Yet, even though Marx was more explicit than others about it, getting to the point of saying that history only goes in one direction, the thing is that by that time technology (and its mother science) already had written underground the new destiny of humanity: progress. The freedom from holy scriptures left little for humanity, which invented some new ones, or new sages to take care of them. I’m referring to the same historical time where positivism was born as a philosophical school of science, and where the conflict between nations to solve old issues began to translate into races for scientific, technological, and economic supremacy. This very same historical time started to move the world faster and faster after each generation, and incrementing the scale of every human action.

This optimism lasted until the First World War: a conflict so scandalously devastating that not even nightmares were able to sum up all the disastrous numbers. An entire generation got traumatised from that conflict. So, as the most elemental use of reason dictated, the obvious conclusion was that, at least, after that, it could hardly happen again, given that the whole world understood the insane magnitude of what had just happened. Again, progress; although this time the cost was actually too high, and so the world began to suspect or be sceptical about the alleged good of scientific and technological developments: the immeasurable carnage that was the First World War would have never been possible without the intervention of science.

Of course we all know that then came a second World War, not so long after that, even worse than the previous one. And the cherry on top this time was that it ended with no less than the atomic bomb: a tecnological device born from the purest and most advanced science, that for the first time in human history allowed for credible and immediate threats of extinction for humans and everything else along with them. And even with all that, it also left the world in a state of “Cold War” for half a century, and we may even tell without much shame that this stuff didn’t ever end and still goes on.

“Please take note of that last thing I wrote: progress is dead. Nobody sane today who has read a book can speak of “progress” without hesitating at least once.”Those few paragraphs (back there in this text) are nothing but a brief history of modernity: an age in human history. And the idea of progress is but a child of modern times: it was born in it, and died with it.

Please take note of that last thing I wrote: progress is dead. Nobody sane today who has read a book can speak of “progress” without hesitating at least once. Progress was literally the flag of our darkest hours in history, and it left the world with deep wounds not yet healed. Speaking about “progress” today, in abstract terms like these, isolated from society, is simply denialist.

But it also happens to be the case that the story of modernity and progress is the story of scientific technocracies. In fact, “technocracy” as a term is quite modern. The rise of economics as a cornerstone and central mandate for modern societies is a consequence of the same ideological biases that gave rise to the other things: the anthropocentrism from renaissance, in union with modern technological optimism. With those two ingredients mixed together as rational basis, it was obvious we would understand or view anything as an object of scientific study waiting to be exploited by the forces of human production.

“This way we reach that article from the beginning, “when progress is backwards”, where the people from Sabotage Linux ask themselves if this isn’t “corruption” or what’s behind such non-progress.”And who’s better qualified, in times like that, for handling such tasks, than scientists, and to a lesser extent technicians? It’s clear that, having at their disposition objective and unquestionable knowledge, scientists and technicians know better than anybody else what to do, always. And if by some strange exception they would do something incorrect, it can only be explained by subjective deviations: as could be ignorance, corrupt personal interests, or even mental incapacity (idiocy).

This way we reach that article from the beginning, “when progress is backwards”, where the people from Sabotage Linux ask themselves if this isn’t “corruption” or what’s behind such non-progress.

It happens to be true that informatics is a somewhat young as a discipline. It was born in the XX century, and over the past 40 or 50 years it hasn’t stopped its “technological progress”, emulating in a dizzying way all the steps the rest of the scientific and technological disciplines had done before, in previous centuries: first ingenuity, then optimistic, and eventually positivist and technocratic. And so today we look at each other in disbelief while flat-Earthers are almost every day becoming less marginal, hundreds of thousands of people all around the world step up against sanitary measures of isolation in the name of an apparently almighty freedom that seems to have priority over anything else, borderline lunatics threatening the most powerful nation in the world with an armed coup based on deliriant conspirational theories, and there seems to be not a single place in the entire world that is not every day more polarised and on the brink of social conflict. From our field, it seems to me… it is short-sighted, even when maybe a step in the right direction, to ask ourselves in this context something about the progress in gtk or python, while telecommunications are our very tanks and bombers since decades now, and the Internet has become our own atomic bomb.

Perhaps it is time for informatics to learn to question the very idea of progress.

Raspberry Pied in the Face — Part III: Eben Upton’s Response and Its Significance

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 12:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The founder of the “Pi” could tackle (and should have tackled) the issue swiftly and with great determination; sadly, however, his early reaction suggests passivity and a miscalculation of the harm caused

IN Part I and in Part II we explained there was no rush or urgency covering this issue, as new information emerges over time. We put accuracy first. There has been too much speculation, which was exploited by Microsoft apologists to insult the critics (e.g. “Microsoft bashing”).

What we’re planning to do is, we’ll present one chunk of facts each day for at least a week. The following “Twitter RPI thread,” as a reader put it, shows the founder of the whole thing responding to the scandal when it was still rather young (5 days ago). Maybe back then they thought the whole blunder would just go away and “age gracefully” within a day or two, at most (we keep track of some media coverage in this page; it’s still in the news this morning).

The tweet does not show us a worrying/worried Microsoft apologist (the video above says more about that), as we don’t suppose he cares much for Microsoft personally, but judging by context, he underplays the severity of what was done, maybe even behind his own back.

Eben Upton

“Sorry,” he said, “I can’t understand why you think this was a controversial thing to do.”

It doesn’t sound like this troubles him; he’s even defending what they did, even though we thought (or hoped) he’d be the one to get them out of this mess. We broke this story a week ago. Better responses would have been something along the lines of, “we’re going to look into how that happened, investigate, etc etc…”

“I gather he has not made a statement for more than a few days,” an associate of ours noted. “So his position in that statement might (hopefully) be outdated. [Either way,] Twitter is blocked by JavaScript.” (Since December)

“I presume he’s in massive denial about making a mess of things. Whoever was behind the decision to allow microsofters into RPT and RPF set this up and cost him massively in the area of reputation. It will be very, very hard to earn it back especially with the unapologetic denial. It’s to early to say what the economic impact will be for RPT and RPF but it will be felt on top of Brexit. They probably have just lost far more than the paltry >= 500k that Microsoft bribed them with.”

The source of that figure will become more apparent later in this series. We’re still verifying a number of things.

One noteworthy comment:

“£500,000 – £999,999″


I would be very surprised if there was not both a non-disparagement clause and a non-disclosure agreement or other similar limitations attached to the money; didn’t Microsoft Frontpage used to have a license prohibiting its use in making web pages critical of Microsoft?
see: http://www.microsoftvolumelicensing.com/userights/Downloader.aspx?DocumentId=1095 scan for ‘disparage’

“The discussion about Microsoft attack on RPF seems to focus on gathering information for possible advertising purposes,” our associate said, having been scanning a large number of online comments. “That’s lame. Microsoft use to have the EDGI programme to assault institutions that were found to not be using Microsoft products or considering abandoning them. The real danger is that Microsoft uses the geolocation data to identify institutions to attack. Advertising is the least of the worries that the tracking can incur.”

We also don’t know how the inclusion of a repository can extend (as in “E.E.E”) into something yet worse over time.

“After almost a decade of gaining trust,” to quote someone from Hacker News, “Raspbian has now lost a huge amount in a single bad decision. It’s yet even clear they even understand the depth of the mistake.”

We’ve seen people very angry about this, even people who did not themselves buy and use such a device. The change in question can be traced back to someone from XECDesign, who certainly did not follow proper procedures and practices. The way this was done was technically shady and “whoever this microsofter’s supervisor is, plus whoever signed off on the deal itself, all need to go,” one reader told us. If there’s someone who probably has enough clout to do this on the spot, it is Eben Upton. Hence the importance of the otherwise-meaningless tweet. It doesn’t seem he has the courage to address the blunder ‘head-on’.

The Annual EPO/EUIPO Ritual of Lying to the European Public

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The EPO/EUIPO ‘nepotism club’ is still issuing ridiculous and misleading press releases about so-called ‘studies’ (seeding consent for their own existence), in the process manipulating corruptible publishers (“media”) which mindlessly amplifies that propaganda

IT IS hardly shocking that the corrupt EPO management (corruption peaked with Benoît Battistelli and his appointee, António Campinos) is being defended by lots and lots of lies, coupled with censorship of those who tell the truth (sites like ours are still blocked by the EPO… for over six years now!).

The EPO’s corruption has generally spread to EUIPO and pretty much every year they issue joint propaganda pieces. This is what they published this morning: “A new [sic] study released today by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) shows that companies which own at least one patent, registered design or trade mark generate on average 20% higher revenues per employee than companies which do not own any of those intellectual property rights (IPRs). Moreover, these IPR-owning companies were found to be paying 19% higher wages on average than other companies.”

“The fallacy here has long been demonstrated with an analogy; imagine them claiming that companies with on-site lavatories are doing well and therefore going to the toilet quite a lot is a recipe to “success” of a business.”This is just more of the same old propaganda. It’s nothing new and we wrote rebuttals to this kind of propaganda about a dozen times over the years. This latest (truly shameless) propaganda is, in short, a gross and deliberate distortion. It reverses cause and effect. Reality: rich companies hoard protectionism by paying corrupt institutions like WIPO/EPO/EUIPO (which in turn claim that this protectionism is what made them rich in the first place). The fallacy here has long been demonstrated with an analogy; imagine them claiming that companies with on-site lavatories are doing well and therefore going to the toilet quite a lot is a recipe to “success” of a business. What a shit argument, right? Well, that’s just what the EPO/EUIPO (many overlaps exist now) propagandists are doing. They’re just very full of shit.

FOSDEM and Free Speech: Will It Blend?

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Red Hat at 8:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some more censorship in FOSDEM “legal” (supremacy of corporate voices over community voices)

Video download link

Summary: IBM — like Google and Microsoft — spreads its money to institutions which in turn suppress critics of monopolies, even in the Free software community (which seeks to combat such monopolies and liberate users)

THE legal track at FOSDEM, a European event (well, at least on paper), has long been the subject of much controversy. Of course this controversy is never entertained by the “tech” media, which is hardly media anymore (producing puff pieces isn’t journalism but paid-for fluff). It ought to be called FOSDEM US or something along those lines. This year there’s some FSFE presence, for a change, but top sponsors of the FSFE are American corporations. That may become a problem for the “E” in FSFE. Expect some potential branching quite soon (due to growing dissatisfaction with the work done by FSFE).

“This year there’s some FSFE presence, for a change, but top sponsors of the FSFE are American corporations.”What happens when people who are closely involved in this whole “legal” angle aren’t just American but also work with (or for) American monopolies? Someone has shared with us the following screenshot which shows IBM defended from criticism amid allegations that GNOME is mostly developed by Red Hat or developed by no other company more than Red Hat (IBM). It’s a top contributor, it adds a lot of IBM dependencies (systemd is the most notorious among them), it has much clout in the questionable GNOME Foundation (whose former chiefs move to Microsoft, current chief refuses to fight software patents, and RMS bashing is all too common, even this year). The following seems a bit like censorship and there are potential conflicts (of interest):

Some censorship in FOSDEM legal

Click to view the whole thing or instead zoom in (the chat highlights reveal where it came from, of that we’re aware). That’s like their official channel of communication now that conferences cannot be done “in person”. Censorship arguably becomes even simpler that way.

What the image shows is SFC (US) stepping in to defend IBM (US) from scrutiny. As if they must censor criticism of a money source and suppress the critics themselves; now they have additional tools like a “Code of Conduct” (doing to volunteers and activists what corporations typically do to employees). The above is definitely on-topic a subject, as well as a growing issue amid ‘CentOSgate’ and IBM’s patent bullying (this never ended; not even the Red Hat takeover put an end to it). According to IAM, an IBM megaphone, IBM’s patent agenda may be slowing down somewhat [1, 2], but they still lobby for software patents and against patent quality (e.g. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs)). “Data analysis conducted by IAM indicates that IBM is now abandoning US patents due for renewal at the rate of more than 50% a year,” IAM has just said. But they still go chasing companies for ‘protection money’, just like Microsoft does.

It’s rather astounding that a European conference would be so thoroughly stacked by American companies (just like last week's IBM-stacked event in Europe) and European entities sponsored mostly by American companies. “Karen and Bradley are quite harmful,” an associate told us, alluding to two Americans who worked to oust RMS.

Adding Gopher/Gemini Support to Techrights

Posted in Site News at 8:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: A quick look at how Gemini (a Gopher-like protocol but more advanced and modernised) is used by Techrights, internally for the time being as it’s still work in progress (albeit publicly accessible for those curious enough)

THERE has been progress made over the weekend setting up another access point and protocol for the site’s stories, IRC channels, Daily Links etc.

“If it can coexist with HTTP at no extra effort/cost (owing to automation), then great.”Setting up Gemini was surprisingly easy (took me less than an hour all in all, including installation, configuration and testing). Right now we write some code to import and manage the content so that it won’t require any/much manual work (human operators). If it can coexist with HTTP at no extra effort/cost (owing to automation), then great. That’s what happened with IPFS.

This video goes through some of the steps required to set things up, without (yet) going into the low-level and pertinent steps (maybe a subject to cover in some future, vastly more detailed article/video). Instead, our goal is to show the server and client side once things are generally set up and running (after all the setup phases).

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