Links 19/3/2021: Manjaro Linux 21 Ornara RC1, GNOME 40 Release Candidate

Posted in News Roundup at 6:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Noodlings 25 | Getting Feedback

        This is just a Nate-echo-chamber of ideas but if you are interested in more thoughts and opinions in discussion with other Linux and open source enthusiasts, subscribe to DLN Xtend, a podcast with the Destination Linux Network where I have a chat with my co-hosts Matt and Wendy on a gambit of subjects.


        One of the major operating systems of this time was CP/M created by Gary Kildall, a co-host of Computer Chronicles. This episode has a great breakdown of the basics of what an operating system does on the small and mainframe type systems.

      • Reviewing the Synology DS1621+ NAS

        Synology was nice enough to send me a review unit, their DS1621+. In this video, I give it a full review with an emphasis on how good of a fit it might be for homelab or home office.

      • LHS Episode #401: The Weekender LXVIII

        It’s time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we’re doing. We’d love to hear from you.

      • LHS Episode #400: QSO Today Expo Deep Live

        Welcome to the epic 400th installment of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, we stream live from the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo held on March 12-14, 2021. This episode is filled with interactions from conference attendees, listeners, supporters and more. We take questions from the audience, talk about amateur radio, open source, ourselves, hedonism and much more. We also do giveaways and just have a great time. Thanks for being part of our program and we hope you enjoy this live event broadcast.

      • Shotcut Is Almost The Best Linux Video Editor

        After the distaster last time with Openshot I needed another video editor that was actually good and you guys keep telling me that Shotcut is really good so I gave it shot, spoiler it’s actually a really good linux video editor but it has some annoying issues.

    • Kernel Space

      • Rust support hits linux-next

        Followers of the linux-next integration tree may have noticed a significant addition: initial support for writing device drivers in the Rust language. There is some documentation in Documentation/rust, while the code itself is in the rust top-level directory.

      • Initial Support For The Rust Language Lands In Linux-Next

        For a long while now Linux kernel developers have discusses the prospects of optionally allowing the Rust language to be used for new device drivers within the Linux kernel areas and other areas within the kernel for this language that prides itself on safety and performance. As the first baby step towards that dream, initial Rust support appeared this week in the Linux-Next tree.

      • NZXT Kraken Liquid Cooler Driver Under Review For The Linux Kernel – Phoronix

        While NZXT does not provide any official Linux software support for their products like their all-in-one liquid coolers, the open-source community for years has worked to fill that void thanks to reverse-engineering. The latest work when it comes to the NZXT Kraken AIO liquid coolers is a proposed HWMON driver for the mainline kernel.

      • A More Accurate Update

        lavapipe is ramping up towards Vulkan 1.1 support, which will, other than being a great milestone and feat of software engineering, enable zink CI testing through GL 4.5

      • Graphics and Hardware

        • RISC-V XIP Support Queued Ahead Of Linux 5.13 To “eXecute In Place” – Phoronix

          It looks like the Linux 5.13 kernel will be supporting an interesting RISC-V feature this spring.

          Queued up now in RISC-V’s “for-next” branch as of this week is support for XIP, or eXecute In Place. RISC-V XIP allows for code to be executed directly from non-volatile storage that is directly addressable by the CPU. RISC-V XIP allows for executing code directly off CPU-addressable storage like QSPI NOR flash memory without first having to load it into system RAM.

        • Zink OpenGL-Over-Vulkan Still Has ~200 Patches To Land, More Performance Work – Phoronix

          Mike Blumenkrantz who has been working under contract for Valve as part of their Linux graphics driver initiatives has provided a fresh status report on Zink as the Mesa Gallium3D effort for implementing OpenGL APIs atop Vulkan.

          With supporting OpenGL 4 already and continuing to squeeze out more performance, Zink is on a solid footing but there still is even more work to land to further enhance this OpenGL-on-Vulkan implementation. Mike noted in the latest post that his work-in-progress “zink-wip” branch is down to around 200 patches left to clean-up and see through the review process for merging. Two hundred or so patches isn’t bad at all when considering a month or so ago they were around 600 patches.

        • Linus Torvalds on how AMD and Intel are changing how processor interrupts are handled

          Quietly, both AMD and Intel have decided it’s time to finally clean up some truly ancient and funky CPU design choices, which date all the way back to the early 1980s’ 80286 architecture. They’re going separate ways, and Linus Torvalds, Linux’s founder, recently shared his thoughts on their CPU design choices.

        • Radeon Software For Linux 20.50 Released With RX 6700 XT Support – Phoronix

          With the Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics cards having gone up for sale today (albeit in incredibly short supply), AMD published an updated Radeon Software for Linux driver comprising its AMDGPU-PRO and AMDGPU-Open driver stacks with support for this new Navi RDNA2 graphics card.

          The Radeon Software for Linux 20.50 driver was released today with the Radeon RX 6700 XT support being the main change. The RX 6700 XT Linux support was developed in their open-source driver stack under the “Navy Flounder” codename. See our Radeon RX 6700 XT Linux review for benchmarks and driver support details.

        • NVIDIA 460.67 Linux Driver Brings A Few Fixes, 5.11 Kernel Compatibility – Phoronix

          The NVIDIA 460.67 Linux driver release provides just a handful of fixes. The NVIDIA 460.67 Linux driver fixes an issue around Vulkan ray-tracing with multi-GPU systems yielding instability, G-SYNC breaking for Kepler-based GPUs after a mode switch, Linux 5.11 driver installation issues, and a Vulkan swapchain issue. Most notable for NVIDIA users will be the fixes around the Linux 5.11 kernel compatibility.

        • Linux driver releases – NVIDIA 460.67 and Radeon Software for Linux 20.50 out now

          Two new drivers went out this week with both NVIDIA and AMD getting in on the update action so let’s take a look.

          First up we have NVIDIA who released the stable 460.67 driver. Quite a small one overall that is mainly bug fixing and so upgrading to it shouldn’t be a problem.

    • Applications

      • Telegram Desktop 2.7 Introduces Limitless Voice Chats, Recorded Chats, and More

        Coming two weeks after Telegram Desktop 2.6, which introduced the ability to set messages to auto-delete for everyone for 24 hours or 7 days, the Telegram Desktop 2.7 update is here with support for limitless voice chats in Groups and Channels.

        The new release also lets you host discussions that can be listened to by millions of people at the same time, record voice chats that can be shared or published at a latest time in your Channels, as well as to create separate ‘Voice Chat’ invite links for listeners or speakers.

      • 10 Best File Managers for Linux Power Users

        File managers are essential for managing everyday activities on your Linux system. A reliable file manager provides a simpler way of navigation and makes file operations quicker. Linux offers a wide selection of such tools to help us make the most out of our time.

        To help you find the best file managers for Linux, we’re outlining 10 apps that warrant a try.

      • The Audacity of it all: Version 3.0 of open-source audio fave boasts new file format, 160+ bug fixes

        Open-source audio editor Audacity was upgraded to version 3.0 this week with a new single-file project format emitted alongside other fresh features and fixes.

        Audacity originated from a 1999 research project at Carnegie Mellon University by Dominic Mazzoni and Roger Dannenberg, and was first released as an open-source audio editor in May 2000.

        Version 1.0 came in June 2002, and version 2.0 in March 2012, so a full version upgrade is not a common occurrence. It is massively popular, with over 108 million downloads recorded on the official FossHub download page, as noted here, and not including other downloads such as builds made for Linux distros. The real number is estimated as “at least over 250 million downloads.” It is the most downloaded software from FossHub.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to install Venom Linux 20210312 – YouTube

        In this video, I am going to show how to install Venom Linux 20210312.

      • How To Change XAMPP 8 Apache output_buffering from 4096 to 16432
      • How to play Red Dead Redemption 2 on Linux

        Red Dead Redemption 2 is a 2018 action-adventure game developed and published by Rockstar Games. It’s the third game in the series, and it focuses on a fictionalized old west America (1899).

      • How to Take and Edit Screenshots in Ubuntu With Shutter

        Need to take a screenshot in Linux? Here’s how you can do much more than screenshotting with Shutter.

        Screenshot tools are a frequently used tool in any system. But unlike Windows, Linux-based systems usually don’t come with built-in screenshot tools. Fortunately, there are many third-party apps available for this purpose in Linux.

        Shutter is one of such screenshot tools that can help you take your screenshot game to a whole other level.

      • How To Install ProjectSend on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install ProjectSend on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, ProjectSend is an open-source file and image sharing application that lets you upload files and assign those files to specific users which you create yourself from the Web Interface of ProjectSend as well as to the general public. ProjectSend is written in PHP and uses a MySQL database to store the information.

        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 ProjectSend on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • Managing deb Content in Foreman

        Foreman is a data center automation tool to deploy, configure, and patch hosts. It relies on Katello for content management, which in turn relies on Pulp to manage repositories. See Manage content using Pulp Debian for more information.

        Pulp offers many plugins for different content types, including RPM packages, Ansible roles and collections, PyPI packages, and deb content. The latter is called the pulp_deb plugin.

      • Setting the wireless regulatory domain

        Different regions around the world use slightly different frequencies for the various wireless interfaces available on your average Linux portable device such as WiFi, Bluetooth and other such interfaces. Overall they fit into larger categories such as 2.4Ghz, 5Ghz etc, but within each of these larger buckets countries have a subset of the frequencies, generally referred to as channels available. For example the 2.4Ghz range used by most WiFi and Bluetooth interfaces has potentially up to 14 channels available, the default is a generic “world” region which uses 11 channels that are available in all regions, but a lot of regions have 13 available for use, and some even have 14. The situation is similar on the 5Ghz range, and no doubt on the higher frequencies now becoming available too.

      • Improve your Linux admin skills with these pro tips

        Linux powers the enterprise. That means network administrators must master all the skills required to keep Linux distributions running efficiently and effectively. IT professionals must add to their knowledge on a regular basis as well as keep up with new distributions and additional functionality. This collection of TechRepublic Premium downloads provides Linux admins with all they need to know to stay sharp and keep up with the changing demands of the IT world.

      • Securing my IRC (irssi, screen) session with dtach and systemd – anarcat

        A recent vulnerability in GNU screen caused some people to reconsider their commitment to the venerable terminal multiplexing program. GNU screen is probably used by thousands of old sysadmins around the world to run long-standing processes and, particularly, IRC sessions, which are especially vulnerable to arbitrary garbage coming on … screen, so to speak.

        So this vulnerability matters, and you should definitely pay attention to it. If you haven’t switched to tmux yet, now might be a good time to get your fingers trained. But don’t switch to it just yet for your IRC session, and read on for a better, more secure solution.

        After all, it’s not because we found this flaw in screen that it doesn’t exist in tmux (or your favorite terminal emulator, for that matter, a much scarier thought).

      • Tips on managing IoT devices at the edge with Red Hat Ansible Automation

        Internet of Things (IoT) devices are great. They can be deployed out in the field attached to a building or a truck and send back all this amazing data. If things go really well you might have hundreds no thousands of devices deployed.

        Great, we have thousands of devices deployed but how do we manage them? How do we configure and update them without having to send someone out and touch the device? Using Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform and Red Hat Ansible Tower we can centrally manage these remotely deployed devices.

      • Installing Linux on an old Motorola Xoom tablet

        Back in March 2012 I bought a Motorola Xoom Android tablet (Model MZ604 UK), when tablets were going to be the next big thing. It was available in two versions: 3G and Wi-Fi, and it was the latter version I purchased. When it was released in early 2011 the Xoom was state-of-the-art with its NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip, 1 GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage memory, microSD Card slot (up to 32 GB), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, gyroscope, magnetometer, accelerometer, barometer and Android 3.0, trumping the first Apple iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. It has a 2 MP front-facing camera and 5 MP rear-facing camera that records 720p video, supports 720p video playback, has a 10.1-inch display (1280×800 pixels) and 3D graphics acceleration, and a micro HDMI port.

        Apple launched the iPad 2 almost immediately after Motorola launched the Xoom, and the Xoom looked outclassed. By the time I bought my Xoom in March 2012 Motorola was already discounting it. Motorola issued a couple of Android updates for the UK Xoom before the company stopped supporting it, although I think mine lost its second update (Android 4.1.1, if I recall correctly) after I factory-reset it several years later when it became very sluggish. Anyway, ‘Settings’ > ‘About tablet’ tells me it currently has Android 4.0.4 installed.

      • How to join multiple MP4 files from a GoPro with ffmpeg

        And unfortunately, you can’t just use concat: to join the files together in a one-liner, you have to build the intermediate files first (thus you need triple the original footage’s size on your disk to do this trick). You can delete the originals and intermediate files once you confirm the output.mp4 file is correct.

      • How To Install Swift on Linux Mint 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Swift on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Swift is a general-purpose programming language built using a modern approach to safety, performance, and software design patterns. It was developed by Apple and released in 2014. Swift was designed as a replacement for the older Objective-C language.

        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 Swift programming language on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • How To Install And Uninstall Spotify In Ubuntu

        In this 60 second tutorial We are going to install and uninstall Spotify.

      • How To Install CoreFreq on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install CoreFreq on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, CoreFreq is a CPU monitoring software designed for Intel 64-bits Processors and supported architectures are Atom, Core2, Nehalem, SandyBridge, and superior, AMD Family 0F.

        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 CoreFreq CPU monitoring tool on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to Create New Kubernetes User Accounts Part 2 :: Ivan Iliev’s Blog
      • How to Install Code::Blocks on Ubuntu 20.04

        Written in C, Code::Blocks ( Yes, with a double full colon) is a free and opensource, cross-platform IDE for C, C++, and FORTRAN projects. It provides a very simple UI that makes it simple to navigate and create projects. It’s quite easy to use and is made quite extensible using plugins.

        The Code: Blocks IDE supports a wide range of compilers. These include the GNU GGC Compiler, LLVM Clang compiler, OpenWatcom, Digital Mars, and so many others.

        There are mainly two ways to install Code::Blocks IDE on Ubuntu 20.04 and we cover both.

      • Getting started with PostgreSQL on Linux | Enable Sysadmin

        How does PostgreSQL support science, research, industry, GIS, and web tech? Find out how to get started with this powerful database service.

      • How to Install Shlink URL Shortener on Ubuntu 20.04 Server

        Shlink is an open-source self-hosted URL shortener, which allows you to shorten URLs and serve them under your own short domain. Using your own URL shortner service instead of third-party service like bit.ly can increase brand awareness. This tutorial will be showing you how to install Shlink on Ubuntu 20.04 with Apache or Nginx web server.

      • How to Install the Chrome Browser on Ubuntu

        Google Chrome is one of the most popular internet browsers, providing high-speed browsing with an interactive user interface. Since Chrome is not open source, Linux users can’t directly download it using the default package managers on their system.

        In this article, we will discuss downloading and installing Chrome on a Linux machine. We will share brief guides that demonstrate how you can install Google Chrome on your system graphically and via the command-line.

      • Install CloudPanel Control Panel on Debian 10

        CloudPanel is a free, open-source, and powerful server Control panel used for managing several web components. With Cloud panel, you can manage MySQL, NGINX, PHP-FPM, Redis, Domain, FTP, User management, and many more from the web-based interface. It supports all major cloud providers including, AWS, Google, Digital Ocean, and specially designed for high performance with minimal resource usage. It also offers a CLI tool that helps you to perform several operations including, database backup, password reset, permissions, and more.

        In this post, we will explain how to install CloudPanel on Debian 10 server.

      • How to migrate from CentOS 8 Linux to AlmaLinux 8 – Linux Shout

        CentOS 8 Linux will be not supported by the end of the year 2021, thus in such case, if you want to migrate your CentOS 8 server to AlmaLinux 8 which is a 1:1 binary compatible with CentOS and RHEL, then here are the steps to follow…

        AlmaLinux is a recently launched CentOS 8 Linux alternative by CloudLinux. It is based on RHEL 8, just like CentOS, however, it comes with Long Term Support that has been dropped by RedHat. Therefore, if you want to move from your current CentOS then you can use the commands given here…

      • How to install mate desktop environment on ubuntu 20.04 – LinuxH2O

        Speedy guide on how to install Mate desktop environment on Ubuntu 20.04 and its derivatives like Linux Mint, Zorin OS, Pop OS, and other distributions, this guide is for all of theme.

        Mate is a lightweight desktop environment popular among many Linux distributions. The project was started by a frustrated Arch user who did not like the Gnome version 3 so he forked the Gnome 2 and customized it for his use. The project later praised by many users making Mate a mainstream desktop environment.

      • How to install OBS Screen Recording Software on Debian 10

        For this particular article, I am using Debian 10, a Linux operating system distribution. Complete the following steps for installing OBS. This tutorial shows two alternative ways of installing OBS Studio, one using Debian packages and another one using snap.

      • How to fix video tearing in Linux (with Intel graphics)

        Now, don’t be snarky. The title of this article does not imply you fix tearing with Intel graphics, but rather, if you happen to have a computer with Intel graphics, and use Linux, then you may have encountered video tearing, usually horizontal lines across the top third of a video frame. This usually happens in the Gnome, Xfce or MATE desktops, less so in Plasma, regardless of the underlying choice of distribution. Consistency ftw.

        Anyway, I’ve seen this problem many times before – but it seems to have resurfaced with somewhat greater frequently recently. So let’s have a little tutorial that will hopefully fix all your woes, or at least, allow you to enjoy smooth, clear video playback. After me.

      • Monitor Linux System Resource Usage With SysMonTask – OSTechNix

        In this guide, we will discuss what is SysMonTask, how to install it in Linux and finally how to monitor Linux system resource usage with SysMonTask utility.


        Sysmontask is a graphical Linux system monitor application with the compactness and usefulness of Windows Task Manager to allow higher control and monitoring. It will monitor and display the system resource usage and performance details of running processes, CPU, Memory, HDD/SSD, and Network interface cards. Sysmontask is written in Python programming language and its source code is freely available in Github.

      • Two Ways How To Install Deb Files on Ubuntu [& How to Remove Them Later]

        This is going to be a beginners tutorial about installing and uninstalling .deb files in Ubuntu linux.

        We are going to cover only the basics for simplicity and run the commands in the simplest way possible.

      • How to create a DynamoDB table on AWS using Terraform

        In this article, we will see the steps to create a DynamoDB Table using Terraform. We will create a DynamoDB Table with the “PAY_PER_REQUEST” billing model. Before we proceed with this article, it is assumed that you are aware of AWS DynamoDB Service and know its basics, along with Terraform.
        Click here to learn more about DynamoDB arguments and properties available in Terraform.

      • Oracle Linux: How to install a LAMP stack
      • Different Ways to Read File in Bash Script Using While Loop

        This article is all about how to read files in bash scripts using a while loop. Reading a file is a common operation in programming. You should be familiar with different methods and which method is more efficient to use. In bash, a single task can be achieved in many ways but there is always an optimal way to get the task done and we should follow it.

        Before seeing how to read file contents using while loop, a quick primer on how while loop works. While loop evaluates a condition and iterates over a given set of codes when the condition is true.

      • Endlessh – SSH tarpit

        SSH or Secure Shell is a cryptographic network protocol for operating network services securely over an unsecured network. Typical applications include remote command-line, login, and remote command execution, but any network service can be secured with SSH.

        SSH was designed as a replacement for Telnet and for unsecured remote shell protocols such as the Berkeley rsh and the related rlogin and rexec protocols. Those protocols send information, notably passwords, in plaintext, rendering them susceptible to interception and disclosure using packet analysis. The encryption used by SSH is intended to provide confidentiality and integrity of data over an unsecured network, such as the Internet.

      • How to Install & Configure Android Studio on Linux | Ubuntu 20.04

        Android Studio IDE (Integrated Development Environment) all in one tool to develop Mobile Applications, and it’s built on JetBrains’ IntelliJ IDEA software. A few years back, developers use Eclipse to build mobile applications, and now it’s not supporting anymore.

      • How To Install Python 3.9 on Linux Mint 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Python 3.9 on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Python is a very powerful high-level programming language that has seen extensive adoption in modern application development. Python programs are remarkably easy to write when compared to other programming languages. Linux Mint 10 default repositories come with Python 3.7. Recently, Python 3.9 is released, introducing many updates.

        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 Python 3.9 on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • Use fdisk Format Partition – Linux Hint

        For managing disk partitions, fdisk is a command-line partition editor. It can create, edit, delete, and format almost any partition. It supports all the major partition tables, including GPT, MBR, Sun, SGI, and BSD. It makes fdisk compatible with almost all the standard partition formats.
        In this guide, check out how to use fdisk to format a partition.

      • Install on Chrome Remote Desktop on a Headless Ubuntu 20.04 Machine – ByteXD

        Chrome Remote Desktop is a remote desktop tool developed by Google. It uses a proprietary protocol, unofficially called Chromoting

        In this tutorial we’ll install Chrome Remote Desktop on a remote machine running Ubuntu 20.04, along with XFCE desktop environment, then connect to it via Google Chrome browser and use it as a remote desktop.

      • How to install Wire Desktop on Linux Mint 20.1 – YouTube

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

      • How to install Friday Night Funkin: Neo on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Friday Night Funkin: Neo 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.

      • Thomas Fitzsimmons: Hosting Jitsi on ppc64le

        I recently tried self-hosting Jitsi on Debian on the Talos II.

        I had to apply some small workarounds for ppc64le, so I thought I’d post them here.

      • Rethinking RAID (on Linux)

        Often, you find yourself attempting to eke out a bit more performance from the computer system you are attempting either to build or recycle, usually with limited funds at your disposal. Sure, you can tamper with the CPU or even memory settings, but if the I/O hitting the system needs to touch the underlying storage devices, those CPU tunings will make little to no difference.

        In previous articles, I have shared methods by which one can boost write and read performance to slower disk devices by leveraging both solid state drives (SSD) and dynamic random access memory (DRAM) as a cache. This time, I will instead shift focus to a unique way you can configure redundant storage arrays so that you not only boost overall data access throughput but also maintain fault tolerance. The following examples center around a multiple-device redundant array of inexpensive (or independent) disks (MD RAID) in Linux and its userland utility mdadm.

        Conventional wisdom has always dictated that spreading I/O load across more disk drives instead of bottlenecking a single drive does help significantly when increasing one’s workload. For instance, if instead of writing to a single disk drive you split the I/O requests and write that same amount of data in a stripe across multiple drives (e.g., RAID0), you are reducing the amount of work that a single drive must perform to accomplish the same task. For magnetic spinning disks (i.e., hard disk drives, HDDs), the advantages should be more noticeable. The time it takes to seek across a medium introduces latency, and with randomly accessed I/O patterns, the I/O throughput suffers as a result on a single drive. A striped approach does not solve all the problems, but it does help a bit.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Proton and Solus: An Unstable Mix in 2021?

        Solus is a relatively new distro that took off a few years ago, not based on any other major distro branch out there – actually built from scratch. It used to be a very popular option for gaming as it included back in the day several tweaks to make Steam better integrated (such as a tool to switch between the Steam Runtime and the native libraries) and several fixes for Unity games.

        However, things have been getting worse recently, namely since Proton 5.13.x where Valve started to release newer Proton versions built on their pressure vessel tech. It’s been now several months that running the latest Proton on Solus is utterly broken (i.e. all games will refuse to run). The fallback is to use earlier versions of Proton for now, yet forsaking advancements in compatibility or performance brought by newer versions.

        This affects both the native Steam client available from the repositories, and the flatpak client that you can install through a container.

    • Games

      • Try out the cute demo of survival game Little Martian and try to get home

        Stranded on an Unknown Planet, Little Martian needs your help to survive and perhaps eventually be able to leave.

        Little Martian is a top-down survival game that confronts you with decisions that alter the trajectory of the game, and force you to confront the morality of your choices. With graphics that look like they’re out of a retro roguelike, Little Martian oozes charm from the moment you load it up. I am a complete sucker for survival games and the setting here seems pretty sweet.

      • The Humble Daedalic 15th Anniversary MEGA Game Bundle is now live | GamingOnLinux

        More games for the weekend? Take a look over at The Humble Daedalic 15th Anniversary MEGA Game Bundle. A chance for you to complete your Daedalic collection perhaps, with quite a nice selection to pick from overall.

        Interestingly, this is a bundle with only one single tier. Instead of it being split across three and sometimes four tiers Humble have bundled all the games into one single payment. As usual we highlight in bold text those that offer Linux builds.

      • Upcoming building and management game Diluvian Winds looks great | GamingOnLinux

        Alambik Studio and Goblinz Publishing recently revealed Diluvian Winds, a game that mixes people management with a community building game in a pretty thought-provoking setting.

        They say it’s a “sail-punk simulation game” where you’re in exile due to waters rising across the world. You take on the role of the Guardian, someone who refuses to leave their lighthouse and you end up bringing together refugees to build up a community to try and survive the rising tides. You pick and choose what travellers you house in your community and there’s a number of paths to choose to help the lighthouse against the incoming floods.

      • Valheim hits 6 million sales, gets a small teaser for a big update | GamingOnLinux

        As things start to calm down a little for Iron Gate AB after a massive Early Access launch of Valheim, they’ve announced another big sales milestone and more to come.

        Less than two months since the EA release, they’ve now hit 6 million sales! Due to how popular the game has been they’ve been doing various interviews, podcasts and more which has obviously taken away a bit of time. They’re also working from home still but they’re “not letting that slow us down”.

      • Build the track while another player races it in Can’t Drive This out now

        Can’t Drive This is a pretty unique multiplayer racing game that sees players go head to head but in very different ways.

        It’s not multiple cars racing each other, instead you have a player building the track at the same time as another trying to race through it. The racer also can’t go too slowly or they explode so there’s that to worry about too. They say it’s a “competitive co-op” party racing game and the idea is actually pretty good.


        Not only is it out now with Linux support, the developer will also be donating 100% of revenue today (March 19) from Linux purchases to SANCCOB, a Penguin and Seabird rehabilitation centre.

      • Modder Solves ‘GTA Online’ Loading Time Problem, Gets Paid By Rockstar For It

        When it comes to how the video game industry interacts with modding communities, it can be frustrating just how often companies see modders as a menace. Nintendo has a long, long history of treating mods as a threat to its control, but it is certainly not alone. But modding by and large is not a threat to game makers. Actually, it’s a boon. Mods tend to make games more interesting to more people and can often lengthen the lifecycle of a particular game.

      • D-Corp mixes frantic co-op action with tower defense, latest update brings it to Linux | GamingOnLinux

        What do you get when you cross resource gathering, local co-op and towers that need manual reloading? Good old fashioned chaos, that’s what. D-Corp has recently been updated and now it’s available for Linux too.

        Currently in Early Access so it’s not yet finished, it’s already very promising. A game that needs some good team-work and communication as you juggle moving and reloading turrets, while others cut down alien cacti to then throw into a recycling system. It’s a little weird but the good quirky kind. The developers says it’s a bit like Overcooked meets Starship Troopers but in a more family-friendly setting.

      • Paradox reveal the 3.0 ‘Dick’ update for Stellaris due in April

        Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studios have announced the big 3.0 update named ‘Dick’ for Stellaris that will release alongside the Nemesis expansion on April 15. This is getting a bit out of hand now, no need to milk it…all crude jokes aside it’s named after author Philip K. Dick, famous for works which inspired, among other things, movies like Blade Runner and Total Recall.

        The team mentioned the version number bump because of just how big a free update it is, in terms of how it changes the game feel with new features.

      • Lorwolf is an upcoming virtual pet game you play in a web browser | GamingOnLinux

        Browser gaming is alive and well it appears with Lorwolf, an upcoming online wolf-themed pet site that’s currently a big success on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. I must admit, it’s been some time since I played any traditional browser game but looking around there’s quite a lot going strong with thousands of users and it looks like Lorwolf will be the next big hit.

        “Lorwolf will feature a comprehensive breeding system, customizable looks, exciting battles, rewarding mini-games, and a world full of locations and rich histories to explore. Help support the creation of this game, and begin your adventure through the chaotic lands of Loria!”

      • 5 Best Arcade Games for Linux

        Nowadays, computers are serious machines used for gaming. If you can’t get the new high score, you will know what I mean.

        In this post, you will know some of the games you can play on Linux today. For many years, gamers have been forced to use dual boot or Wine to run their games. This has mostly changed for many games now, including Steam.

        The games are available in the repositories; the whole Steam marketplace is available if you install Steam. Steam is available as both a snap and can be directly installed under Ubuntu. The array of games on this platform is immense, so today you will hear about other games.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE: Overhauling the Job Tracker

          It has already been more than a year since I’ve posted an update on notifications, so it’s definitely time to give you a bit of an update on what’s been going on. This time let me show you all the nifty changes that I put into our job tracker, even though at a glance it might just look the same.

          Little tweaks such as labels in the details section only growing but never shrinking for the duration of a job, so that while copying folder structures with significantly varying path lengths, the popup no longer constantly changes its size.

          Furthermore, the job description text considers bookmarks from your Places panel in Dolphin to provide a cleaner path, similar to how it’s done in the address bar. For example, copying a file to a remote server, instead of showing the full “Copying to sftp://user@example.com/home/user/some/location” path, might be prettified to “Copying to Example Server/some/location”. In addition, the destination text has been turned into a hyperlink for easy access to this place while a file is still in-flight.

          I’ve gone through most KDE applications and services to refine overall job reporting: Sending files from your phone to the computer via KDE Connect or through Bluetooth now reports remaining time and offers to open the file(s) once finished. User experience when extracting files in Ark has similarly been improved.

        • Calamares Linux Installer Gains Support for Configurable Setups for Btrfs Volumes

          Calamares received quite some attention from its maintainers during the past few weeks, and the latest version arrives today tagged as 3.2.39, which introduces a configurable setup for Btrfs volumes in the ‘mount’ module.

          Previously, Calamares used a hard-coded setup for systems using Btrfs as the default file system, such as Fedora Linux. With the new change, Calamares now lets distros that offer Btrfs by default to setup a custom Btrfs configuration via the mount.conf file.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 40 Release Candidate Available Now Ahead of the March 24th Launch

          Initially set to be released last week on March 13th, the GNOME 40 Release Candidate is the last milestone in the six-month-long development cycle of the popular desktop environment used by numerous GNU/Linux distributions.

          The release of the RC milestone also marks the end of the development cycle for GNOME 40, which will see the light of day as soon as next week, March 24th, 2021. However, it usually takes about two weeks for rolling-release distributions like Arch Linux and openSUSE Tumbleweed to offer the new desktop environment in their repositories.

        • GNOME 40 Release Candidate Arrives Ahead Of Next Week’s Official Debut

          The release candidate of GNOME 40 is available today while the official GNOME 40.0 debut is still on track for next week.

          The GNOME 40 release candidate, or “GNOME 40.rc” as it’s referred to with the new convention, delivers on the last minute GNOME Shell and Mutter improvements including a better app folder appearance, multi-monitor enhancements, better overview performance, improved refresh rate calculation, the new headless native back-end, Wayland presentation time protocol support, running XWayland on-demand by default, and other changes.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD: Sway Compositor Can Run While KDE Plasma On Wayland Is Still A Work-In-Progress

          It’s been a while since hearing much about Wayland efforts on FreeBSD, but it turns out the Sway i3-inspired Wayland compositor can run on this BSD after a number of setup steps. However, the likes of KDE Plasma on Wayland still aren’t working well outside of Linux.

          Free software developer Adriaan de Groot known for his work particularly around FreeBSD and KDE packaging recently set out to try out Wayland on FreeBSD. Following a number of steps to enable the Intel DRM kernel module, fetching Sway via pkg, and making a number of configuration changes, Adriaan was successful in getting Sway running on FreeBSD with Intel graphics. Under Sway he was able to get a number of applications running fine as well.

        • EuroBSDCon 2021 Call for Papers open

          Hoping to be able to make a conference in Vienna in September (and doing it digitally if not), the EuroBSDCon is now accepting submissions for presentations and tutorials.

        • Introduction to wg(4) – OpenBSD

          Before going further let’s have a look at when OpenBSD’s Wireguard implementation hit base by default.

          On May 12 2020, Matt Dunwoodie shared his work on OpenBSD’s Wireguard implementation on openbsd-tech mailing list: [...]

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Entire Rebuild of Tumbleweed Brings Enormous Update

          The most recent 20210317 snapshot updated more than a half dozen packages, which included the data plotting package kplotting as the lone KDE Frameworks 5.80.0 package to update in the snapshot. A memory leak fix was made in the update of flatpak 1.10.2 and a security update in the package fixed a potential attack where a flatpak application could use custom formatted .desktop files to gain access to files on the host system. An update of systemd 246.11 fixed a void pointer arithmetic warning and moved Secure Boot logic to a new file. Other updates in the snapshot included spacenavd 0.8, python-packaging 20.9, python-scipy 1.6.1 and rtkit 0.13.

          Snapshot 20210316 delivered most of the 5.80.0 Frameworks packages. Kirigami, which offers application framework components for mobile, had multiple improvements and fixes; it changed and improved the PlaceholderMessage for new Application Programming Interfaces. The Plasma Framework package ported a Plasma Style Kirigami Theme plugin to the new Kirigami API. A Flatpak manifest was also added to the Kirigami template. The snapshot brought an update of ImageMagick, which decodes HEIC images in sRGB instead of YCbCr. Mozilla Firefox 86.0.1 fixed a frequent Linux crash on the browser launch. The 5.11.6 Linux Kernel was updated in the snapshot, which had some Btrfs fixes. The kernel also enabled the headset microphone of the Acer Swift line. There was a fix for the maximum length of a password entered through a terminal with cryptsetup 2.3.5. Various fixes were made in the update of xfsprogs 5.11.0 and the Open Chinese Convert library opencc 1.1.2 added a Hong Kong Traditional Chinese conversion. A major version update of Python-hyperlink to 21.0.0 was included in the snapshot and bumped some long overdue dependencies. Other packages to update in the snapshot were gnutls 3.7.1, vim 8.2.2607 and sqlite3 3.35.0, which enhanced the .stats command to accept new arguments stmt and vmstep and causes the prepare statement statistics and only the virtual-machine step count to be shown, respectively.

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2021/11

          The biggest trouble of the week was the mirror infrastructure having a hard time catching up to the full rebuild. Tumbleweed itself was, as usual, solid and has been steadily rolling. In total, there were 4 snapshots (0312, 0315, 0316, and 0317) released last week.

        • Connecting SUSE Manager’s Virtual Host Manager to AWS
      • Arch Family

        • Manjaro 21.0 (rc1) Ornara released!

          We are happy to publish our release candiate of Manjaro Linux 21.0, named Ornara.

          Our last release Nibia was from January and a lot of things changed between those releases. For once, we dropped Gnome Initial Setup routine from our ISOs. It was nice to try out, but the feedback overall was not so great. Since we also have optional OEM ISOs for our manufacturers, we see no need to further investigate into GIS.

        • Manjaro Linux 21 Ornara RC1 is here with GNOME, Xfce, and KDE Plasma

          So far, the year 2021 hasn’t been particularly good for Linux on the desktop. Windows 10 has matured into a pretty great operating system, and PC sales are up big thanks to the pandemic. Meanwhile, Apple’s transition to ARM for macOS has gone shockingly well. In other words, there haven’t really been any missteps by Apple or Microsoft to help Linux make gains on the desktop front.

          The Linux community keeps moving on, however, and despite an overall stagnation, there are still solid operating systems being maintained which use the open source kernel. One of the more popular Linux distro these days is the Arch-based Manjaro, and today, the first release candidate of the upcoming version is made available. Manjaro Linux 21 RC1, code-named “Ornara,” uses kernel 5.10 LTS and can be downloaded immediately with your choice of GNOME 3.38, KDE Plasma 5.21, or Xfce 4.16.

          “We are happy to publish our release candiate of Manjaro Linux 21.0, named Ornara. Our last release Nibia was from January and a lot of things changed between those releases. For once, we dropped Gnome Initial Setup routine from our ISOs. It was nice to try out, but the feedback overall was not so great. Since we also have optional OEM ISOs for our manufacturers, we see no need to further investigate into GIS,” says The Manjaro Development Team.

        • Manjaro 21.0-RC1 Brings Linux 5.10 LTS, GNOME 3.38 / KDE Plasma 5.21

          Manjaro 21.0-rc1 is now powered off the Linux 5.10 LTS kernel while still keeping Linux 5.4 LTS around for those wanting it on older hardware. Manjaro 21.0 is also making use of Pamac 10 graphical package manager. Pamac 10.0 released at the end of last year with performance improvements, optimized database interaction, systemd dynamic users, and other new features.

        • Manjaro 21.0 RC1 “Ornara” Released, Here Is What Is New

          Manjaro team announced the availability of the first release candidate for the upcoming Manjaro Linux 21.0. Code-named “Ornara” it comes with improved desktop environments.

          When it comes to Linux distros, people are pretty divided over their choices. Since hitting the Linux scene in 2011, the Arch Linux-based distro has experienced a phenomenal rise in popularity.

          Manjaro 21.0 RC1 used Kernel 5.10 LTS. Calamares installer also received many improvements. Among other things, it has now a table of ‘best guess’ languages for each country.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Setting the Default Kernel on Fedora 33 | Adam Young’s Web Log

          I have a server that I want to run the Real Time Kernel from CCRMA. Once I followed the steps to get the kernel installed, I had to reboot to use it.

          Rebooting on a server with a short timeout for grub is frustrating.

        • Jamulus Server with a Low Latency Kernel on F33 | Adam Young’s Web Log

          I’m trying to run a Jamulus server . I got it running, but the latency was high. My first step was to add the real time kernel from CCRMA.

          CCRMA no longer ships a super-package for core. The main thing missing seems to be the rtirq package.

        • CentOS vs CentOS Stream

          Up until a late 2020 announcement from Red Hat, CentOS Linux had a longstanding reputation as a dependable and enterprise-class Linux distribution. And now, the main purpose of CentOS is shifting. Along with that comes a name change to CentOS Stream.

          In this article, we’ll talk about this change of direction for CentOS, and what it means for the huge community of users and businesses that have relied on the distro for years. We’ll also see what’s next, as many users are left scrambling for a replacement so they can avoid switching to CentOS Stream.

        • Video: I AM AlmaLinux
        • Fedora Magazine: 4 cool new projects to try in COPR for March 2021

          COPR is a collection of personal repositories for software that isn’t carried in Fedora. Some software doesn’t conform to standards that allow easy packaging. Or it may not meet other Fedora standards, despite being free and open-source. COPR can offer these projects outside the Fedora set of packages. Software in COPR isn’t supported by Fedora infrastructure or signed by the project. However, it can be a neat way to try new or experimental software.

          This article presents a few new and interesting projects in COPR. If you’re new to using COPR, see the COPR User Documentation for how to get started.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo) Is Now Powered by Linux Kernel 5.11

          Development on Ubuntu 21.04 kicked off last year in late October, quickly after the release of Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla), on which the upcoming release was based at the point in time, thus shipping with Linux kernel 5.8. About a month ago, I told you that Ubuntu 21.04 is powered by Linux kernel 5.10 LTS, and the fact that it would be a good move from Canonical to ship the Hirsute Hippo release with a long-term supported kernel. But, since Ubuntu 21.04 is not an LTS release, why not use a more recent kernel.

          Therefore, the final Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo) release will be powered by Linux kernel 5.11, which brings lots of hardware improvements and new features. As you can imagine, at this point in its development cycle, Linux 5.11 will be the final kernel to be used in the Ubuntu 21.04 release.

        • Flutter and Ubuntu so far

          At Flutter Engage, Ken VanDine, engineering manager for the Ubuntu desktop, made an appearance in the keynote speech to talk about Flutter on Ubuntu. Canonical has been working to support Flutter for some time now, bringing the SDK to Linux, committing to build a new Ubuntu installer, and now, making Flutter the default choice for future Canonical mobile and desktop apps. We thought we’d take this opportunity to talk about what all this means and why we’re doing it.

          Back in July 2020, we (Canonical along with Google’s Flutter folks) announced support for the Flutter app ecosystem. This was the first step towards Flutter being available for Linux through their alpha release. From there, Ubuntu Desktop engineers hit the ground running. You’ll find a full list of updates about their work in the team’s weekly discourse posts as far back as April. In that list, you’ll see that in August of 2020 the team started to discuss building a new Ubuntu installer, and Flutter was on the list of possibilities.

        • Canonical Continues To Talk Up Google’s Flutter UI Toolkit

          Recently Ubuntu maker Canonical committed to using Google’s Flutter user-interface toolkit as its “default choice” for their mobile and desktop applications moving forward. There is now an Ubuntu Blog post further detailing their interests in Flutter.

          Canonical has been working with Google on the Flutter Linux port, the toolkit that aims to provide multi-platform support from a single code-base and built off the Dart platform. Canonical has been crafting Flutter to ensure it works well on Ubuntu systems, including with the use of Snap packaging. Canonical is also making use of Flutter for their new desktop installer while recently they committed to using Flutter as well for their future applications.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Release candidate: Godot 3.3 RC 6

        If you missed the recent news, we decided to change our versioning for Godot 3.x and rename the upcoming version 3.2.4 to Godot 3.3, thereby starting a new stable branch. Check the dedicated blog post for details.

        But aside from the name change, it’s still the same release. Our last testing build was 3.2.4 RC 5 and so this new Release Candidate is named 3.3 RC 6. The version change doesn’t mean that we’re reopening the branch for new features, and so Godot 3.3 is very close to its stable release.

        We still need a good round of testing on this new build to ensure that everything works as we want it before we make this the new stable branch (which will supersede the current 3.2.3 stable version).

      • The Apache News Round-up: week ending 19 March 2021

        And it’s Friday! Let’s take a look at what the Apache community has been up to over the past week…

      • The top tools data scientists use

        The sheer amount of data we need to process keeps growing, and you need the best tools to keep up. Here they are.
        I go on half-hour walks. After a walk, thanks to data collection tools in my smartwatch and smartphone, I can see that I took 4,227 steps, just over two miles, in 35 minutes and 14 seconds, and that I burned 191 calories along the way. And Google, Samsung, and my doctor, thanks to a connection to her electronic health record software, knows it too. Like it or lump it, we live in the world of big data.

        According to Statista, a business portal data site, in 2020 alone we reached a new high of 59 zettabytes of data. How much is a zettabyte, you ask? It’s 10 to the 21st power bytes, or a trillion gigabytes. Or, in other words, the Library of Congress’s total data is the merest minute fraction of the data constantly pouring into the Internet.

      • SaaSy move: GitLab floats a new company over the Great Firewall of China • The Register

        GitLab has licensed its technology to a Chinese company as the DevOps darling looks to drive adoption of its platform in the most populated country in the world.

        The company’s existing self-managed version has been available in China for a while through a variety of resellers and system integrators and the online repo lays claim to several million users. The full-on SaaS version has, however, not been accessible in the same way due to what GitLab delicately referred to as “local licensing requirements.”

        To deal with those issues, GitLab Information Technology (Hubei) Co., Ltd (referred to as JiHu) has been set up as an entity independent of GitLab Inc.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

        • Mozilla

          • Reinstating net neutrality in the US

            Today, Mozilla together with other internet companies ADT, Dropbox, Eventbrite, Reddit, Vimeo, Wikimedia, sent a letter to the FCC asking the agency to reinstate net neutrality as a matter of urgency.

            For almost a decade, Mozilla has defended user access to the internet, in the US and around the world. Our work to preserve net neutrality has been a critical part of that effort, including our lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to keep these protections in place for users in the US.

            With the recent appointment of Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to lead the agency, there will be a new opportunity to establish net neutrality rules at the federal level in the near future, ensuring that families and businesses across the country can enjoy these fundamental rights.

          • New Alpha Release: Tor

            There’s a new alpha release available for download. If you build Tor from source, you can download the source code for from the download page on the website. Packages should be available over the coming weeks, with a new alpha Tor Browser release likely next week.

            Remember, this is an alpha release: you should only run this if you’d like to find and report more bugs than usual.

      • CMS

        • Open-Source Substack Alternative Ghost Adds More New Features With the Release of Version 4.0

          Ghost is an impressive open-source CMS. We also utilize it for our ethical web portal (Linux Handbook) that focuses on the server-side of Linux.

          Ghost 3.0 was an interesting release back in 2019. Now, they’ve recently announced the next major release, Ghost 4.0 after almost 18 months in the making. Of course, COVID-19 pandemic is to blame for the delay.

          But, now that it’s here, and is a major release, let us take a quick look at what it has to offer.

      • Programming/Development

        • MySQL RANK Window Function – Linux Hint

          The Ranking method allocates a rank inside the partition of an outcome of a set to every row. A row’s rank is determined by incrementing one figure of ranks from the row which precedes it. MySQL utilizes a ranking feature that helps one rank per row in a schema partition. In MySQL, the rating methods are indeed a semi-part of the window method.

        • MySQL Row Number Window Function – Linux Hint

          Within MySQL, a ROW NUMBER() method contains a chronological number for every row inside the partition. It is just a window feature of some kind. The figure of rows begins at 1 with the figure of rows within the partition. Remember, before version 8.0, MySQL doesn’t permit the ROW NUMBER() function however, it offers a session variable that helps one imitate this feature. We will understand more about MySQL ROW NUMBER() functionality throughout this guide and produce a consecutive number for every row in the result collection.

        • SQL Truncation Attack – Linux Hint

          The SQL Truncation vulnerability occurs when a database truncates the user input due to a restriction on the length. Attackers can gather information about the length of a critical field (such as a username) and exploit this information to gain unauthorized access. Attackers can log in as some other user, such as an admin, with their own registered password.

          SQL truncation vulnerability usually exists in MySQL databases. This vulnerability was first described in CVE-2008-4106, which was related to WordPress CMS.

        • Vue Watch to make Dynamic Interaction – Linux Hint

          Vue.js is a very impressive and reactive JavaScript’s front-end framework used to develop front-end websites quickly and easily. This post will learn about the watch property that is one of the most fundamental concepts.

          Vue.js provides a watch property to watch a variable, and on the change of that variable, it allows us to run a function so that we can make Dynamic Interaction. Let’s try an example and have some dynamic interaction using the Vue Watch property.

        • What is a Vue Directive, and how to use it? – Linux Hint

          A framework aims to provide such features that make the development process easier and faster for the developers. Vue.js is such a feature-enriched JavaScript framework that provides many built-in functions and directives to quickly make the development process. But, there must come some scenarios when you need some functionality that is not available by the framework, so you have to build your own.

          In this post, we will learn and take a look at the built-in directives provided by the Vue.js framework, and we will also learn to create and use our own custom-made Vue directive.

        • User Authentication in Node.js with Passport.js and JWT – Full 6-Hour Course

          If you are making a web app, chances are it will have users that need to be authenticated.

          We just published a 6-hour course on the freeCodeCamp.org YouTube channel that will teach you how to implement user authentication from scratch in your Node.js and Express apps. You will lean how to use Passport.js.

        • GraphQL VS REST – Benefits and Code Example Comparisons

          REST was not the first protocol for sending information over the web. But for over a decade, it has dominated the API landscape.

          More recently, GraphQL, a newcomer designed by Facebook, has become more and more popular. It is intended to correct some of REST’s weaknesses, but no technology is perfect.

          What are the benefits of GraphQL over REST, and why would you use one over the other in your project?

        • Zen 3 GCC Tuning Continues With More Correct Latencies Rather Than “Random Numbers”

          On Monday, the AMD EPYC 7003 “Milan” launch day, we finally got to see some serious tuning begin for the Zen 3 “Znver3″ CPU target in the GCC compiler after that initial code landed at the end of last year. Yesterday a second Zen 3 tuning patch was published and then today a third tuning patch has made it out.

          This third Znver3 tuning patch out today is again from SUSE’s Jan Hubicka. He sent it out on the mailing list and right away merged it as a “fix” for the GCC 11 compiler release that will debut as stable in the next month or so as GCC 11.1

          This third patch is a small change but is updating the costs of integer divides to match the actual latencies found with Zen 3 processors.

        • Java

          • What enterprise architects need to know about Java modernization

            Java has been the language of choice for the last 25 years but the tech world looks very different now than it did in 1995. Java was designed for dynamic, monolithic applications, but tech infrastructures are now powered by containers, microservices, cloud-native and serverless platforms.

            The current challenge for companies and Java developers is to adapt the language to this new environment. There are several ways to do that, including Quarkus from Red Hat.

            James Falkner, technical product marketing director for Red Hat Runtimes, said cloud computing changed the entire calculus of enterprise computing, especially for Java, which was designed to maximize performance at the expense of the infrastructure’s footprint.

  • Leftovers

    • Daylight Savings Time Kills

      Tired and grouchy people don’t drive as well. According to a 2016 study by University of Miami economics professor Austin Smith, “springing forward” results in an average of 30 excess auto accident deaths, at a “social cost” of $275 million, each year.

      So, why do we do it? Well, because the government says we should.

    • Wolf-Talk

      The noise of the world the blahblahblah of endless babblings that pretend at wisdom The noise of cowards’ and hoodwinkeds’ maniacal and manic Screamings about performances and images Where is the solitude, the silence Preserve a vast vast wildlands that silences all the hubris of the compromisers, the murders by the collaborators, the embrace of pretense and ignorance and idolatry of the practical ones the Prison that Environmentalists have locked themselves inside of censors the writing of the damned Writing is not the wording of flowers over torture, snares, and caskets Writing is the bones of the Real, the language of the wild, which environmental speech does not cease excluding from its inclusiveness Against all semblances of the ruling ones, the Earth will prevail beyond us, after us The Wild, the Real, is eternal Sidling up to the vapid though shiny offerings of the twisted and monstrous, the acquiescent cannibalize themselves and our world, never knowing what they do.

    • Opinion | The Sports Pages of Death

      Life in a wounded and wounding land

    • CNN Product Chief to Depart

      A product veteran who previously held roles at HSBC, Last.fm and AOL, Agarwal joined CNN nearly five years ago to lead the product and design operations for CNN Digital at a time when newsrooms across the country were investing in building out more robust online businesses.

      His departure comes as CNN now faces a tipping point regarding its direct-to-consumer future. AT&T and WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar have said that the future of the Warner businesses is in DTC, and CNN is no exception. Kilar, in a statement about CNN chief Jeff Zucker’s decision to stay with the network through 2021, said “I believe that 2021 is going to go down as a milestone year in CNN’s 40 year history given all that is planned,” hinting that the venerable cable news channel had significant aspirations.

    • Education

      • Just say no: Meduza breaks down the potential fallout from Russia’s draft law on ‘educational activity’

        On March 16, the Russian State Duma adopted the third and final reading of amendments to the education law, which introduced the concept of “educational activity.” Members of the academic community and those involved in popular education initiatives have actively opposed these changes and are continuing to do so, even now. However, lawmakers have refused to listen to criticism of the bill — in fact, they adopted the original version of the document. Now, all that remains is for the Federation Council to approve the legislation and for the president to sign it into law. Meduza explains why it would be best if they decided not to greenlight the legislation.

      • Bad education A mathematician, astrophysicist, publisher, and Wikipedia director respond to Russia’s draft law on ‘educational activity’ that could force new regulations on popular science and more

        On Tuesday, March 16, the State Duma adopted the third and final reading of reforms to Russia’s education regulations, adding new restrictions to the “dissemination of knowledge outside formal academic programs,” such as popular-science initiatives and probably even Wikipedia and the mass media. Deputies from the country’s ruling political party, United Russia, used their supermajority in Parliament to force through the legislation without the support of any other faction. If the Federation Council and President Putin support the law, it will enter force on June 1, 2021. Meduza spoke to several educators and popular science communicators about the new reforms and how these restrictions will likely affect their fields. 

      • We Can Revisit (And Even Replace) the Classic Books We Teach Children—Without Cancelling Them

        The irony is that Lee, Twain, and Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) all shared a vision of an inclusive world where people are valued no matter their background. But they were writing that vision in different eras. Books are brain babies. No matter how universal their themes, they’re birthed from the imaginations of individuals who, like all of us, live in a specific time and place. The best of us try to think outside our world, but none of us can fully escape it.

    • Hardware

      • Micron is scrapping its 3D XPoint development

        About four or five years ago, I made a prediction: 3D XPoint will not get very far. I made that prediction based on the licensing model that Intel (and Micron) decided to adopt for them technology. It is a closed technology and one that was very restrictive. Being the history buff that I am, I anticipated that history was going to repeat itself here. For instance, Rambus released its RDRAM to compete with the then slower SDRAM technology. It was a closed and restricted technology. What was the industry’s response to it? DDR RAM. What happened to RDRAM? It disappeared. What about Fusion-io’s PCIe SSD? Again, a closed and non-standardized proprietary technology. The industry again responded and this time with NVMe.

        If I learned anything with being in this sector, it is that you will not last long in the industry if you restrict your innovative technology. Now, what will or has replaced 3D Xpoint? Nothing exactly but NVMe SSDs are getting faster and hardware vendors such as Samsung (and their Z-NAND technology) are working hard to fill that void between RAM and Flash memory.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Opinion | As People Keep Dying, Can the President—Can We—Really Say ‘We Did Everything We Could’?

        As a nation, as a society, we’ve settled instead for half measures. That leaves us with the moral stature of someone who could have saved a drowning person but didn’t want to get their shoes wet.

      • ‘I Totally Disagree With You’: Fauci Refutes Rand Paul That Mask-Wearing Is ‘Just Theater’

        “Here we go again,” the top public health official told the Kentucky libertarian.

      • Poverty a Key Driver in Vaccine Inequities, CDC Report Shows

        “Additional efforts are needed to achieve equity in vaccination coverage for those who have been most affected by Covid-19.”

      • Brazil’s Lula Urges Biden to Call Emergency G20 Summit to Promote Global Vaccine Equity

        The former Brazilian president suggested that the U.S. vaccine surplus “could be donated to Brazil, or other countries even poorer than Brazil that cannot afford to buy the vaccine.”

      • Why Brazil is Losing the Global Race for Vaccines

        To date, over 260,000 people have died of Covid-19, a disease that Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, once called a “little flu”. Since the start of the pandemic, Bolsonaro denied scientific evidence and refused to comply with basic health measures, including wearing a mask in public or avoiding crowds. Even after he and several members of the cabinet came down with the virus, Bolsonaro continued to oppose all measures to contain the pandemic and to hinder efforts to start the vaccination in the country. Moreover, he argued that the lockdown would affect the economy.

        Now, faced with popular pressure and the insistence of the Governor of São Paulo, João Dória, the president finally decided to talk to several laboratories and acquire COVID-19 vaccines to immunize the entire Brazilian population. Meanwhile, the Butantan Institute, supported by the São Paulo government, is now in charge of producing locally the CoronaVac, developed by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech, with inputs imported from China. Also, Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) gave the green light on March 12 for the importation of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as well as the local production by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz).

      • Neanderthal Ancestors Can Be Human Guardian Angels for COVID Infection, Too

        When it comes to SARS-CoV-2 infection (and resulting COVID-19), it seems our Neanderthal ancestors giveth and taketh away. Genetic material inherited from interbreeding between Neanderthals and early humans has been shown to increase the risk of serious COVID infection (see “Inherited Neanderthal Gene Encodes Genetic Risk for COVID-19″). Recently, further explication of correlations between Neanderthal remnants in genomic DNA of modern humans has shown that a sequence on chromosome 12 is associated with milder COVID disease.


        The current study involved genetic assessment of 2,244 terminally ill COVID 19 patients as part of the Genetic of Mortality in Critical Care (GenOMICC) consortium.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Linux Release Roundup #21.12: 7-Zip, Vivaldi Browser 3.7, Audacity 3.0 and More New Releases

          Vivaldi is a popular browser that offers a lightweight package with a focus on performance and a very fast user experience.

          Recently, Vivaldi Browser 3.7 was released with improved performance and support for Apple Silicon.

        • Vivaldi 3.7 Released with Native Apple M1 Support & Speed Boost

          The Vivaldi web browser 3.7 was released a few days ago. Features performance improvements and Apple M1 machines support.

          Vivaldi 3.7 gets a series speed boost. By testing on Ubuntu 18.04 PC with 2 GHz Intel Core i3 CPU and 4 GB RAM, the browser tabs open twice as fast, and new windows open 26% faster compare to the previous version.

          The new release also adds native support for Apple computers using the new ARM-based M1 processors.

        • Faster than a speeding… tab opening? Vivaldi 3.7 is here

          Browser maker Vivaldi today rolled out an update for its eponymous surfing tool, laying claim to some impressive performance gains as well as adding native support for Apple’s M1.

          Of most interest to the majority of users will be the performance gains of the Chromium-based browser, with new tabs opening twice as fast and a new window firing up 26 per cent faster than before. “We want to make sure,” the company said, “that no matter how you choose to browse, your experience is faster than before.”

          A test drive and a chat with a senior dev

          We took the new version 3.7 for a spin and, yes, it definitely feels snappier opening tabs and windows than it did on version 3.6, but we’d hesitate to call it twice as fast. Then again, we were running it on an Intel i7 with 16 GB RAM and Windows 10 tottering atop.

          Vivaldi’s own tests were conducted on an Ubuntu 18.04 PC with a 2 GHz Intel Core i3 CPU and 4 GB RAM, hardly a speed demon by any stretch of the imagination and therefore better able to show off the benefits of the tweaks.

        • OnlyOffice 6.2 Adds Seafile Support, Password Protected Docs – OMG! Ubuntu!

          A new version of ONLYOFFICE, an open source office suite for Windows, macOS and Linux, is available to download.


          The latest release of this particular productivity suite adds a bunch of improvements across its three main apps, including new features designed to improve the privacy and security of your documents.

          How? Well, you can now add digital signatures to protect confidential files to “verify their authenticity and make sure that no alternations have been made in transit” — which is pretty neat. OnlyOffice 6.2 also supports password protection of text files, slideshow presentations, etc.

        • Facebook is working on a version of Instagram for kids under 13

          Targeting online products at children under 13 is fraught not only with concerns about privacy, but legal issues as well. In September 2019, the Federal Trade Commission fined Google $170 million for tracking the viewing histories of children to serve ads to them on YouTube, a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). TikTok precursor Musical.ly was fined $5.7 million for violating COPPA in February of 2019.

        • Eyeing that Tiger Lake Chromebook? Mind your CPU choice

          For the average Chromebook user, these gains likely won’t make a big difference if you keep using your device as you do now. If the current generation of Comet Lake chips gives you all you need in the horsepower department, the Tiger Lake Core i3 will most definitely do what you need. If you’re like me and you’re looking to harness the power of Intel’s Xe graphics for Linux apps and gaming, you probably need to look at the Core i5 model. Not only will you get the bump in GPU performance, but the Core i5 is also a quad-core chip while the Core i3 only houses two cores. The Core i5 CPU alone, as we’ve seen with Comet Lake, should easily blow the Core i3 out of the water. The addition of the more-powerful GPU will make the beefier model a must-have for those wanting to push Chrome OS to its limits.

        • Mysterious bug is deleting Microsoft Teams, SharePoint files [Ed: "Mysterious" means secret code; Microsoft booster Lawrence Abrams seems to be growingly concerned about that]
        • Verkada [Cracker] Charged With Wire Fraud, Identity Theft in U.S.

          A Swiss computer [cracker] who was involved in the intrusion of Verkada Inc., exposing surveillance footage from Tesla Inc., was charged by prosecutors in Seattle with conspiracy, wire fraud and identity theft.

          Till Kottmann, 21, and their co-conspirators were accused of [cracking] dozens of companies and government entities since 2019 and posting private victim data of more than 100 entities on the web in a grand jury indictment released Thursday.

        • Ohio senator lashes govt over accountability for SolarWinds attack

          Portman did not take kindly to this and fired back: “So if everyone is in charge, no one is in charge, right? Who exactly, who is accountable?”

          A similar scene was played out in the House of Representatives on Wednesday with 14 politicians, both parties, on the House Energy and Commerce Committee trying to find out which departments had been affected by the attack.

          In a related development, questions are continuing to be raised over the extent of Microsoft’s involvement in the SolarWinds attacks. As iTWire outlined, the company has been gradually revealing more about its connection to the attack.

        • ‘Who exactly, who is accountable?’: Rob Portman presses cybersecurity officials on SolarWinds [attack]

          In the House, lawmakers are similarly frustrated with the federal government’s answers on the fallout from the SolarWinds [attack]. A bipartisan coalition of 14 House Energy and Commerce Committee lawmakers wrote to Biden administration officials and Cabinet officers on Wednesday seeking answers to basic questions such as, “Has your department been impacted by the compromise?”

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation Support for Asian Communities

                The Linux Foundation and its communities are deeply concerned about the rise in attacks against Asian Americans and condemn this violence. It is devastating to hear over and over again of the attacks and vitriol against Asian communities, which have increased substantially during the pandemic.

              • Cloud Native Training & Certification from The Linux Foundation & CNCF

                There’s no question that cloud computing skills are in demand, and knowing cloud can help you secure a lucrative career. In fact, the 2020 Open Source Jobs Report from The Linux Foundation and edX found that knowledge of cloud skills has the biggest impact on hiring decisions. LinkedIn also named cloud computing the second most in demand hard skill of 2020. And a recent D2iQ study found “only 23% of organizations believe they have the talent required to successfully complete their cloud native journey”.

                Closing this talent gap is why Linux Foundation Training & Certification has partnered with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) – the home of Kubernetes, Linkerd, Prometheus, Helm and other widely used cloud native technologies – on a variety of programs to make quality cloud native learning more accessible. The hope is that providing more educational opportunities will lead to a great ability for those aspiring to work in the field to do so.

              • SEAPATH: A Software Driven Open Source Project for the Energy Sector
          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • Serious Security: Mac “supply chain” backdoor takes aim at Xcode devs [Ed: The latest example of Microsoft-hosted projects (GitHub) causing security problems, which are then being blamed on “Linux” or “Macs” (but never Microsoft). Use Microsoft GitHub/NPM and get destroyed, just like Microsoft’s own systems.]
            • Jussi Pakkanen: Microsoft is shipping a product built with Meson [Ed: Microsoft says it loves Open Source; it’s merely exploiting it to cement monopolies of proprietary software, i.e. the antithesis of software freedom]

              Some time ago Microsoft announced a compatibility pack to get OpenGL and OpenCL running even on computers whose hardware does not provide native OpenGL drivers. It is basically OpenGL-over-Direct3D. Or that is at least my understanding of it, hopefully this description is sufficiently accurate to not cause audible groans on the devs who actually know what it is doing under the covers. More actual details can be found in this blog post.

              An OpenGL implementation is a whole lot of work and writing one from scratch is a multi-year project. Instead of doing that, Microsoft chose the sensible approach of taking the Mesa implementation and porting it to work on Windows. Typically large corporations do this by the vendoring approach, that is, copying the source code inside their own repos, rewriting the build system and treating it as if it was their own code.

        • Security

          • The S in IOT is for Security

            Recently I was given two LED desk lamps to improve lighting for video meetings, these are just lamps with three controls, on/off, temperature, and brightness. In the misguided vein of “make it an IOT device with an app to monetize human data” mentality the temperature and brightness control aren’t just knobs on the lamp, no, they are controlled by a proprietary app that you are forced (well… unless you hack it (as I explain below)) to download to your phone or computer. You also have to agree to the terms of service to install and use the application. After installing the app you must “activate” the lamp in the app by connecting it to your WiFi and the Internet.


            Liberating the freedom crushing proprietary app and regaining control was fun. It’s not just that it’s a bad idea to connect a lamp to the Internet, it’s also that it’s a bad idea to install a random application you can’t audit on your phone.

            GNOME-Builder is amazing (hi Christian). I decided to start a new project, select Python and it immediately started me into a fully-functioning (and buildable) Hello World example project.

            I whipped up a quick layout in GNOME-Builder’s View Design tab and began translating bash’s nmcli and wget into Python libraries. After a bit of work learning how Flatpak manifests work to include the necessary libraries (hint: manifests are required learning to solve dependencies within a flatpak), I had a proof of concept app that allows me to connect to a lamp and adjust temperature and brightness.

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (kernel and pki-core), Debian (shibboleth-sp, shibboleth-sp2, and squid3), openSUSE (libmysofa and privoxy), Oracle (bind), and Ubuntu (ruby2.3, ruby2.5, ruby2.7).

          • diffoscope 170 released

            The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 170. This version includes the following changes:

            [ Chris Lamb ]
            * Avoid frequent long lines in RPM header outputs that cause very very slow
              HTML outputs. (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#245)
            * Fix test_libmix_differences on openSUSE Tumbleweed.
              (Closes: #reproducible-builds/diffoscope#244)
            * Move test_rpm to use the assert_diff utility helper.
            [ Hans-Christoph Steiner ]
            * Add a diffoscope.tools.get_tools() method to support programmatically
              fetching Diffoscope's config.
            [ Roland Clobus ]
            * Become tolerant of malformed Debian .changes files.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Tinder and OkCupid Could Soon Let You Background Check Your Date — for a Price

              When dating app behemoth Match Group announced on Monday a “seven-figure” investment in a startup called Garbo, which aspires to help app users conduct background checks on prospective dates, it was the fourth significant safety initiative the company had announced since the start of last year. The company had previously hired a new head of safety from Uber, announced a review of its practices relating to sexual assault response and invested in another startup, Noonlight, which provides tools such as a phone-based panic button that can alert law enforcement if a user feels threatened.

              Match Group first began unveiling its new steps days before the chair of a subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform announced an investigation of dating app safety early last year in the wake of what he called “extremely troubling reports.” Those reports included an in-depth examination by Columbia Journalism Investigations and ProPublica, which revealed that Match Group screens for registered sex offenders on its paid Match.com app but does not do so on its free apps, which include OkCupid, PlentyofFish and Tinder. “There are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products,” a Match Group spokesperson acknowledged to CJI and ProPublica at the time.

            • Privacy Talks | Interview with Alex Kehaya from Orchid VPN
            • Schengen Information System: Largest European police database now with Ireland

              Presumably because of the Corona pandemic, queries to Europe’s largest wanted persons database have dropped drastically. Irish authorities now also participate in the system, but are only allowed to process about a third of the wanted persons entered there.

            • Are vaccine passports a good idea?

              Security is a good place to start, for if passports are to work they must be trustworthy. Researchers who examined Israel’s app found several flaws. Problems with the first version of the app meant that clever fraudsters could sell fake certificates online. The moving image in the latest version was supposed to improve security, but can still be copied. “While Israel is an exporter of high-tech, it doesn’t always adopt the same standards when it comes to its domestic needs,” says Ran Bar-Zik, an Israeli cyber-security consultant. Enforcement matters, too. In Tel Aviv there seems to be little effort to ensure that venues check paperwork. “If I have to put someone at the door to go through the entire process of approving every client, I won’t get any business,” says one bar-owner.

              Papers, please

              Nosy governments are another risk. Last year Singapore pledged that data from its contact-tracing app would be used for no other purpose. In January it said that, in fact, the police had been granted access for crime-fighting. That was enough to annoy even Singapore’s usually compliant citizens. Vivian Balakrishnan, a Singaporean minister, said he took “full responsibility” for what he called a “mistake”.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Asian Americans, Allies Rally Against Racist Violence and White Supremacy After Atlanta Murders

        “We’re out here because people who look like me are being killed. Our Black, brown, and Indigenous siblings are also being killed. This collective power is what we need.”

      • With Atlanta Shootings, It’s Impossible to Disconnect Racism From Sexism
      • Appeals Court Decision Shows The Cleveland PD Cares More About Being Lied To Than About Officers Killing Children

        In 2014, Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann exited his cop car and — within seconds — killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was playing with a toy gun in a city park.

      • The Ongoing Calamity: US Collective Punishment of the Venezuelan People Must End

        US State Department spokesperson, Ned Price, remarked on February 3 that he “certainly” does not “expect this administration to be engaging directly with (President) Maduro.” Namely, Price expects that the Biden Administration will adhere to the strategy of its predecessor, which is predicated on completely ignoring the current government in Caracas.

        Moreover, the Biden government will also continue to dialogue with Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaido. On March 2, Guaido conversed with the new American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. It was the highest-level US contact with the increasingly-discredited and isolated Guaido since Biden’s inauguration last January. In their exchange, Blinken and Guaido agreed on the “importance of a return to democracy in Venezuela through free and fair elections”.

      • Let’s Stop Pretending Russia and China are Military Threats

        Somehow, the opinion-makers in the media, the bloated military brass with all their ribbons and stars and with little to do but worry about how to keep their massively overbuilt operation afloat with ever more taxpayer money, and the members of Congress who like to gin up fears among the voters so they’ll keep voting for them have gotten everyone thinking that Russia is still hell bent on world communist takeover and that China it trying to replace the US as global hegemon.

        Nothing could be farther from the truth.

      • GOP Rep. Glorifies Lynching in Racist Rant During Hearing on Anti-Asian Attacks
      • Germany’s long road to drone power

        The German Bundeswehr has been flying reconnaissance drones for 60 years, and now they are to be armed. In a study, the author describes all German military drones and the role of the Airbus Group.

      • Stop Asian Hate: Connie Wun on Atlanta Spa Killings, Gender Violence & Spike in Anti-Asian Attacks

        Deadly shootings at three Atlanta-area massage parlors that left eight people dead have stoked outrage and renewed fears about rising anti-Asian racism in the United States, which has already seen a rise in violence directed at Asian Americans during the pandemic. Police say the shooting suspect, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, denies a racial motive behind the killings, blaming “sex addiction” and a “really bad day” instead, but six of the eight victims are women of Asian descent. Connie Wun, co-founder of AAPI Women Lead and a researcher on violence against girls of color, says it’s impossible to “disconnect race from sexism” in the Atlanta killings. “There’s a long-standing history around the hypersexualization, the ongoing sexual violence against Asian women. This has happened across the globe,” Wun says.

      • Biden Should Stop Making Excuses — It’s Time to Leave Afghanistan
      • “Immoral & Illegal”: U.S. & U.K. Move to Expand Nuclear Arsenals, Defying Global Disarmament Treaties

        The United States and the United Kingdom are facing international criticism for moving to expand their nuclear arsenals, defying a growing global movement in support of nuclear disarmament. The U.S. is planning to spend $100 billion to develop a new nuclear missile which could travel 6,000 miles carrying a warhead 20 times stronger than the one dropped on Hiroshima, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just announced plans to lift the cap on its nuclear stockpile, ending three decades of gradual nuclear disarmament in the U.K. “We’re seeing this united, uniform response of nuclear-armed states to what the rest of the world is calling for, which is the total elimination of nuclear weapons,” says Alicia Sanders-Zakre, a policy and research coordinator at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

      • Burmese Protesters Continue to Demand Democracy as Authorities “Shoot to Kill” in Sweeping Crackdown

        Martial law has been declared in more parts of Burma as the military junta intensifies its crackdown following the February 1 coup. At least 217 protesters have been killed and over 2,000 have been arrested or detained since the coup began, according to one Burmese group. Protests are continuing across the country amid a crackdown on communications, in which much of Burma is under an internet blackout and independent newspapers have stopped publishing. Despite international criticism, the Burmese military is tightening its grip on power. People are continuing to protest even as they face the risk of arrest, police brutality and death, says Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, a Burmese human rights activist with Burma Campaign UK who is the daughter of longtime Burmese dissident Mya Aye. “Protesters keep coming out on the street calling for democracy and human rights because we don’t want to live under another military dictatorship.”

      • The Massacre in Atlanta Was As Predictable as White Supremacy

        Increased violence toward Asian Americans throughout the pandemic is not theoretical, and it’s not anecdotal. It was a documented fact long before this week’s mass murder. Hate crimes against Asian Americans living in major cities rose 150–200 percent in 2020, even though hate crimes overall fell as people were cooped up indoors. Violence against Asian people has been the other epidemic during this past year.

        That surge of violence doesn’t get talked about as a “crisis,” in part because the mainstream white media is complicit with the forces encouraging the violence. I wrote, last year, about how repeating Trump’s racist-slur nickname for Covid-19 would get people killed. I knew that would happen not because I’m Mr. Cleo but because whenever leaders blame an “out group” for a disease they don’t understand, somebody goes off and starts killing members of the out group. It’s happened in every plague throughout history.

      • US names Mozambique insurgency leader as it sets its sights on the ISIS-affiliated group

        Terrorist groups closer to home, in the case of the Islamic State-affiliated group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) and the Islamist insurgency in Northern Mozambique (Ansar al-Sunna), are receiving serious attention from the United States. Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Acting Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, John Godfrey, emphasised that, “…nowhere has this trend been as alarming as in Africa. If we are committed to the enduring global defeat of ISIS, or Daesh – and we are – then we have to confront it in Africa.”

        These remarks come from a virtual press briefing held on 11 March to discuss US efforts in combating terrorism in Africa.

      • Nigerian schools hit by mass abductions

        It marks the first raid on an elementary school in a wave of abductions at educational institutions by gangs, usually referred to by authorities as bandits, in which more than 700 people have been taken since December.

      • Dozens killed by armed men in southwestern Niger, govt says

        Armed men in southwestern Niger killed at least 58 people when they intercepted a convoy returning from a weekly market and attacked a nearby village, the government said.

        The attacks on Monday occurred in the Tillabery region, which is near the border with Mali and Burkina Faso and has seen increasingly deadly attacks by Islamist militants active across the region with links to Islamic State and al Qaeda.

      • Niger: 58 dead in ‘barbarous’ attack in border area

        The Tillaberi region, where the attack took place, is located in the “tri-border area” where the frontiers of Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali converge.

        The region is plagued by jihadist activity which is made worse by counterterrorism offensives that help give rise to ethnic militias, analysts say. Particularly near the border between Mali and Niger, intercommunal tensions have been aggravated as a result.

        The attack on civilians brought back memories of a massacre that left 100 dead in two villages in January.

    • Environment

      • Longer summers will probably prove bummers

        By the century’s end, longer summers could last for almost half the year − probably a bit too much for many of us.

      • Youth Activists in Over 800 Cities Worldwide Gear Up for Friday’s Climate Strike
      • A Climate Change Vandal Goes to Paris

        The Organisation for Economic Development is the latest institution to encounter its dose of fair perversion. For the first time in its history, its secretary general will be from outside the Americas and Europe.  In terms of birth, Mathias Cormann is Belgian.  But in terms of pedigree, he is a veteran of Australian conservative politics, having been a cabinet minister and, it should be said, powerbroker, in the Liberal Party.

        Very little chance was given to Cormann in his bid.  The field of applicants seemed too varied, too strong.  His abysmal record on climate change policy was seen as the most obvious handicap.  “Governments are not stupid, they have highly intelligent officials and ambassadors who work out what is really going on and advise them,” claimed Bill Hare, climate change scientist and chief executive of Climate Analytics.

      • 21 states sue Biden for revoking Keystone XL permit

        The proposed 1,200-mile pipeline would have carried oil from Canada to the U.S.

        Its opponents argue that the country shouldn’t be importing oil that’s produced from carbon-intensive tar sands. Tribes have also expressed opposition, saying the Trump administration ignored their treaty rights when approving the pipeline.

      • Banditry: Questions as govt confirms miners fund criminals terrorising Nigerians

        Though the President, according to many Nigerians, did not say anything new, as there had been reports that the bulk of the banditry in Zamfara State is largely fuelled by gold mining, and that there is actually a gold/arms swap going on in the state, wherein, gold mined in the state are transport through illegal flights originating from the forests to a Middle-East country in exchange for arms.

      • Deb Haaland’s Historic Appointment Makes Her Uniquely Qualified to Confront the Fossil-Fuel Industry

        The blow won’t come all at once. Oil and gas companies have been stockpiling leases on federal lands, parcels on which they haven’t drilled and which will give them several years of buffer (and, sadly, several years more of carbon flowing into the atmosphere). And it’s not as if New Mexico—and the rest of the West—don’t have other economic opportunities. As the head of the Green Chamber of Commerce, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, pointed out, Biden’s promise to protect thirty per cent of the nation’s land for conservation “will act to galvanize the outdoor recreation economy, sustaining the growth of an industry that already contributes $2.3 billion to New Mexico’s GDP and supports more than 33,000 jobs.” Meanwhile, state lawmakers are contemplating a plan to dramatically increase training programs to turn oil-field workers into renewable-energy technicians, taking advantage of New Mexico’s abundant sunlight.

        But none of that means that the transition away from fossil fuels can’t potentially damage communities and workers, especially if it’s implemented fast enough to meet the targets that physics demands. Haaland represented a third of New Mexico’s population in Congress, so she understands the problem as well as anyone—and she knows that without some kind of settlement, the oil industry will be able to make political hay for years to come. It’s the same dilemma that the Biden Administration faces on many fronts. The American Petroleum Institute, for instance, is lobbying hard to block Biden’s plan to establish half a million charging stations for electric vehicles across the country, because each of them represents a little less gas pumped. But you can be sure that the face of its campaign will be service-station owners and workers, not oil-company executives. Minnesota’s Democratic governor created a mess for Biden when he approved plans, last fall, for a tarsands pipeline in his state, bowing to the power of organized labor, which, understandably, wanted the jobs. Senator Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, who may currently be the second most important man in Washington, represents many of the country’s remaining coal miners. In every case, some kind of deal has to be struck.

      • Lawmakers Call for Biden to Block Massive Petrochemical Complex in Cancer Alley
      • Opinion | With Deb Haaland Leading the Interior Department, Perhaps the United States Has Begun to Grow up Ecologically

        It’s definitely time for an enormous shift in the consciousness of those who see themselves as exceptional and believe they’re in charge of the planet.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • The Active Forest Management Scam

          This chainsaw prescription is all a scam to promote logging.

          A multi-lane highway did nothing to prevent the spread of the wind-driven Thomas Fire. Only the Pacific Ocean stopped the blaze. Photo George Wuerthner.

    • Finance

      • Profit Shares Fall to the Lowest Level Since 2009
      • Russia is planning to make foreign IT companies open local offices and pay taxes

        The Russian government plans to create a “digital residency” system for foreign IT companies, reports the business newspaper Kommersant, referencing the support plan for the IT industry that the Cabinet of Minister is set to discuss on Thursday, March 18.

      • Opinion | The Single Most Dramatic Driver of Our Country’s Economic Divide: The Growing Gap Between CEO and Worker Pay

        While working families are suffering under the pandemic, corporate boards have bent the rules to protect massive CEO paychecks.

      • The U.S. Government Should Promote the General Welfare

        And what was the response of Congressional Republicans to this legislation, passed amid the worst disease pandemic for a century and the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression? Every one of them voted to kill the measure. Almost immediately after the legislation was unveiled, Senator Pat Toomey, a top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, denounced it as “a colossal waste.” According to Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, “this bill is too costly, too corrupt, and too liberal.” Apparently, spending money to support the welfare of Americans is an extravagance—and not an appropriate function for the U.S. government.

        By contrast, the Constitution of the United States declares clearly, in its Preamble, that a key purpose of the U.S. government is to “promote the general welfare.” Furthermore, promoting the general welfare is the usual reason that people around the world support some sort of governing authority. After all, if a government doesn’t promote the welfare of its people, what good is it?

      • Republicans Are Looking for Ways to Sabotage Biden’s Stimulus
      • The Housing Crisis: One Year After Lockdown

        Although this is a city that lost half of its Black population to the rise in the cost of housing between the years of 2000 and 2010 alone, according to census data, one year ago this week, if we talked about the housing crisis as one neck-deep in institutional racism, we would often be met by blank stares. One year on, the fact that there is racial discrimination in the real estate and rental markets, and the fact that housing justice is also a question of racial justice is largely accepted as self-evident in mainstream circles.

        Less examined are the outrageous levels of profiteering on the backs of pretty much the whole of the society, led by a class of super-rich oligarchs, in their quest for ever more profits, as they systematically engineer a constant rise in the cost of buying or renting housing, across the country, as real wages continue to stagnate, nowhere near rising along with the cost of housing, except among corporate executives, investors, and a select strata of six-figure workers. But this entire phenomenon of sucking the wealth of society constantly upwards, towards the corporate landed gentry, is finally receiving at least a bit more widespread scrutiny than it has received in a very long time — if not nearly enough of it.

      • Thumb in the Dike: Homelessness and Deepening Inequality

        In February 2021, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported that the “latest Census Pulse survey” found that some 15 million adults — 1 in 5 adult renters — were not caught up on their rent payments.  It claimed that

        The Biden administration has put a thumb in the growing homelessness dike. On January 20, 2021, the president signed an executive order mandating that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extend the current eviction moratorium until at least March 31, 2021. On February 25, 2021, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac extended the moratorium on single family homes until June 30, 2021.

      • GOP Senator Blocks Bill to Protect Stimulus Checks From Debt Collectors
      • Opinion | The Rich Are Not Remotely Paying Their Fair Share

        The share of the nation’s wealth pie owned by the richest 0.01 percent has quadrupled over the last 70 years. Their percent of the total tax obligation has stayed the same. What’s wrong with this picture?

      • ‘Poverty Is Killing Us’: Progressive Caucus Uses White House Meeting to Push Biden on $15 Wage

        “The fight for at least $15 is a matter of life and death in St. Louis,” said Rep. Cori Bush.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Senator Says Censorship in Turkey Raises “Serious Questions” About Facebook’s Commitment to Free Expression

        Facebook’s move to censor social media posts of a Syrian militia group in 2018 at the request of the Turkish government raises serious questions about the company’s commitment to free expression, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee wrote in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday.

      • Twitter, Trump, and Tough Decisions: EU Freedom of Expression and the Digital Services Act

        The suspension of the social media accounts of former U.S. President Donald Trump by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and others sparked a lot of controversy not only in the U.S, but also in Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel considered the move, which is not unprecedented, “problematic.” The EU Commissioner for the internal market, Thierry Breton, found it “perplexing” that Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey could simply pull the plug on POTUS’s loudspeaker “without any checks and balances.” Some went a step further and proposed new rules seeking to prevent platforms from removing content that national laws deem legitimate: a recent proposal by the Polish government would ban social media companies from deleting content unless the content is illegal under Polish law. As a result, non-illegal hate speech—for example, insults directed at LGBTQ+ groups—could no longer be removed by social media platforms based on their community standards.

        All these comments were articulated using the argument that without intervention by governments, freedom of expression rights would be at risk. But does the lockout from certain social media channels actually constitute an interference with or even a violation of free expression rights in Europe?

        The right to freedom of expression is embodied in the European Convention of Human Rights: everyone has the right to freedom of expression (Article 10(1) ECHR). Freedom of expression in Article 10 ECHR, interestingly, is a compound freedom. This means that Article 10 includes the right to hold and express opinions, to impart information and ideas, and to seek and receive information, even if they are not explicitly listed in the provision. Yet, this right is not absolute. Restrictions could take the form of ‘formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties’ (para. 2), and are permissible if they comply with three conditions: They must be (1) prescribed by law, (2) introduced for protection of one of the listed legitimate aims, and (3) necessary in a democratic society. Legitimate grounds that could justify interference include national security, territorial integrity or public safety, and the prevention of disorder or crime.

      • Legal Digital Framework Must Be Created For Content Moderation, Says Head of European Court of Human Rights

        The president of the European Court of Human Rights is recommending an autonomous legal body that oversees a digital framework for content moderation.

        Róbert Spanó said Tuesday, at a talk hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, that the framework would serve as a digital version of legal and due process principles that would be played out over the [Internet], unconstrained by the borders that generally restrain traditional legal systems, and ensuring tech companies abide are kept in-line to suppress hate and content that incites violence.

        Spanó, who is a judge and has served on the European court since 2013, was pressing the importance of content moderation in the digital age. This week, the South by Southwest conference has played host to discussions about reforming Section 230 and content moderation.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • PEC concerned over journalists’ safety in Myanmar, Belarus, Afghanistan

        “Finally, we regret the decision of the United States of America to continue to seek the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and calls for his release by the British authorities as soon as possible,” said PEC.

        The PEC reminds the Human Rights Council of the resolution on the safety of journalists adopted by consensus in October last year and calls upon all its Members to fully implement it.

      • Debunking the Myth of Assange as Terrorist

        But let’s make the following clear: the superseding indictment alleges violations of espionage and [cracking] laws, while it does not explicitly enumerate charges of terrorism. Nevertheless, against the backdrop of the portrait our government and media have painted of Assange and embedded within the charges of espionage and espionage-motivated [cracking] crimes, there is an implied charge. That charge, perhaps necessarily and inextricably related to the disruptive, dissident, and occasionally even violent essence of espionage, is that Assange is a dangerous criminal mastermind of global proportions in cahoots with terrorists and to varying degrees involved in the deaths of innocent people. The absence of charges in the superseding indictment explicitly organized around allegations of terrorism are also interesting insofar as it likely indicates that our government itself appreciates the illegitimacy of charging Assange with acts of terror; teams of lawyers at the Department of Justice, led by William Barr up until recently, likely understood that substantiating their arguments for Assange’s extradition with charges of terrorism was not going to yield their desired result. In other words, it seems the D.O.J. probably recognizes the myth of Assange as terrorist as absurd.

        What must be emphasized again is that no evidence of deaths amongst the global community of informants has been documented in the wake of “Cablegate.” And members of the Obama administration were fully willing to speak publicly on this lack of evidence. For example, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at one time spoke to this issue, ultimately claiming that “Cablegate” was nothing more than an embarrassing nuisance. It is of equal importance that Assange has never exhibited the intention to cause violence against anyone, let alone the informants mentioned in the diplomatic cables. He is guided in part by the principled notion that freedom of information is a powerful way to foster peace. In fact, he once said, “If wars can be started by lies, peace can be started by truth.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • EFF Members: We Want to Hear From You!

        Today current EFF members and other donors from the past year will receive an email inviting them to tell us how to better serve our supporters. Public support has powered EFF’s initiatives to defend digital privacy, security, and free expression for decades, so it’s fitting that EFF members will help shape our future.

        As a staunch privacy advocate, EFF intentionally minimizes the amount of information that we collect about donors. Our standard is considered fundraising blasphemy, but we believe that this level of respect helps build the kind of relationships we intend to keep with EFF’s members. It also means that we need your help to learn how people view EFF’s positions, how they want to interact with us, and what drives our members to keep supporting EFF’s work. We hope that by soliciting your feedback, EFF can do its best to remain engaging and effective.

        We are asking people to complete our short survey by Friday, April 16. As one might expect from EFF, all responses are voluntary and recorded anonymously. Furthermore, this information won’t be shared outside of EFF in keeping with the spirit of our privacy policy. We take your feedback seriously and look forward to hearing from you!

      • Why The George Floyd Trial Won’t Be The O.J. Simpson Spectacle

        —bell hooks

        Why did the media love the O.J. Simpson trial? In many ways, it was the perfect storm. America got to play out its greatest fear through a perverse modern spectacle. What is America’s fear, from its founding? The fear at the heart of the American spirit is fear of the Black man. The symbol in need of protection, without political rights, is the white woman.

      • Data Shows The NYPD Seized 55,000 Phones In 2020; Returned Less Than 35,000 To Their Rightful Owners

        The Supreme Court said law enforcement needs to get warrants to search phones seized incident to an arrest. But that decision didn’t have much to say about other seizures — some that aren’t linked to any arrests at all.

      • Forfeiture In Theory: TAKING DOWN DRUG LORDS! Forfeiture In Practice: Taking A Guy’s TV And PlayStation During A Drug Raid

        Asset forfeiture means taking everything that isn’t nailed down. Why bother being selective? In most cases, it’s pure profit for the law enforcement agency that performs the seizure. And since forfeitures are so rarely successfully challenged, it’s pretty much a foolproof way to make a little extra cash. The citizens who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (in their own houses with their own possessions) are acceptable collateral damage.

      • Advocates Applaud House Passage of Bills Paving Pathway to Citizenship for Dreamers, Farmworkers

        “This is a significant moment for immigrants and their loved ones. For far too long, our communities have lived in fear of deportation from the country that is their home.”

      • As New York City Moves to Address Racialized Policing of Sex Work, Advocates and Lawyers Say It’s Not Enough

        New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has called to convene a task force that will address problems exposed last December by a ProPublica investigation into how the city polices the sex trade. The problems include allegations of misconduct, abuse, coercion and exploitation by the New York Police Department’s vice unit and the fact that more than 90% of those arrested on the charge of patronizing a prostitute are nonwhite — a statistic experts say is out of sync with the reality of who buys sex in the city.

        De Blasio laid out his intentions as part of a broader draft criminal justice reform plan released last week. At a news conference on Tuesday, he expressed support for state legislation that would decriminalize the sale of sex.

      • Dems Introduce Bill to Let Puerto Ricans ‘Determine Their Own Political Future’

        “The Self-Determination Act provides a clear path to decolonization through self-determination that could put an end to Puerto Rico’s colonial status and ensure that its people have a voice in their future.”

      • Laundering Federal funding for the national ID database

        The latest response to one of our Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests shows the lengths to which the Federal government has gone to obscure its underwriting of the construction of a national ID database.

        Supporters of  a national ID database know that there is resistance to exactly that idea. So they try to pretend that there is no such thing.

        They can’t credibly claim that the SPEXS database doesn’t exist, so they try to pretend (1) that this isn’t a national database but merely a distributed national network of state drivers license and ID databases (which it could be, but isn’t, since it includes a national “pointer” database with a record of personal information for each drivers’ license or state-issued ID card), (2) that this State-to-State  network isn’t mandated by Federal law (a clearly false claim, since the Federal REAL-ID Act of 2005 requires that to be “compliant”, each state  must “Provide electronic access to all other States to information contained in the motor vehicle database of the State”), and (3) that this network and database are being built by states, not by the Feds.

      • Racism, or misogyny? How the Atlanta shootings can be both

        Women can be discriminated against, as can minorities. When you are both a woman and a minority, it stands to reason that the discrimination you experience can overlap.

        Critics of intersectionality have complained that it creates a hierarchy of victimhood.

        But data suggests its impact is significant: A national report by Stop AAPI Hate documenting incidents of racism and discrimination against Asian Americans last year found that women reported hate incidents 2.3 times more than men.

      • Why ending anonymity would not make social media better

        The real world: Denise Paolucci, a former MySpace staffer, said on Twitter that she has been running enforcement teams for two decades at various social services, and “removing anonymity does nothing to reduce online abuse: in fact, platforms with real name or verification requirements have more frequent and more destructive cases of abuse.” Such policies assume that people will only be abusive anonymously, she says, and “that presumption is 100 percent contrary to fact. People are utterly vile proudly, openly, and publicly under their offline identity.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Did America’s Greediest Corporation Just Get Greedier?

        Stephenson, over the course of his 38 years at AT&T, never quite became a national household name. But his career has almost perfectly personified the ethos inside Corporate America’s executive suites: grab as much as you can, as fast as you can, from your workers and the public at large.

        In 2019, for instance, Stephenson pulled down $32 million in personal compensation. In that same year, AT&T eliminated 7.6 percent of its workforce, about 20,000 jobs.

      • AT&T’s HBO Max Deal Was Never Free

        It should be noted that net neutrality doesn’t prevent companies from zero rating in a non-discriminatory way. If AT&T wanted to zero rate all video streaming services, it could. What net neutrality laws prevent is ISPs from using their control over Internet access to advantage its own content or charging services for special access to its customer base. In the case of HBO Max and zero rating, since AT&T owns HBO Max, it costs them nothing to zero rate HBO Max. Other services had to pay for the same treatment or be disadvantaged when AT&T customers chose HBO Max to avoid overage fees.

        This is why AT&T is claiming that it’s being forced to stop offering a “free” service because of California’s net neutrality rule. Rather than admit that the wireless industry knows zero rating can be used to shape traffic and user behavior and that perhaps users should determine the entire Internet experience, they want to turn this consumer victory into a defeat. But this basic consumer protection is long overdue having only taken this long because of former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s decision to abandon net neutrality and terminate investigations into AT&T’s unlawful practice in 2017, which prompted California to pass S.B. 822 in the first place.

        American Internet services—mobile and to the home—are vastly more expensive than they should be. We pay more for worse services than in many other countries and practices like zero rating are part of that.

      • The Internet Is Not Just Facebook, Google & Twitter: Creating A ‘Test Suite’ For Your Great Idea To Regulate The Internet

        A few weeks ago, Stanford’s Daphne Keller — one of the foremost experts on internet regulation — highlighted how so much of the effort at internet reform seems to treat “the internet” as if it was entirely made up of Facebook, Google and Twitter. These may be the most visible sites to some, but they still make up only a small part of the overall internet (granted: sometimes it seems that Facebook and, to an only slightly lesser extent, Google, would like to change that, and become “the internet” for most people). Keller pointed out that the more that people — especially journalists — talk about the internet as if it were just those three companies, the more it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, in part because it drives regulation that is uniquely focused on the apparently “problems” associated with those sites (often mis- and disinformation).

      • Canadian Telecom Embraces Mindless Consolidation With Yet Another Major Megamerger

        We’ve noted repeatedly how the United States has an unhealthy fascination with the growth for growth’s sake mindset. That’s best exemplified by our near-endless adoration of megamergers in sectors like telecom, which result in extremely harmful monopolization and consolidation problems that are extremely obvious, but we choose to ignore anyway. Time after time after time in telecom (and banking, and airlines, and…), companies promise a universe of investment, job creation, innovation, and synergies in exchange for merger regulatory approval. And time after time after time, reality shows that these pre-merger promises are meaningless and harmful… unless you’re one of the few investors or executives who benefit.

      • For or Against, It’s Time To Consider Codifying Net Neutrality In Law, Panelists Say

        The issue of net neutrality has captured more bandwidth than needed and the concept – either for or against – must be codified in the law so the issue doesn’t surface every election cycle, the president of the App Association said during a Federal Communications Bar Association event Thursday.

    • Monopolies

      • FOSS Patents: Google left in the lurch: German government accepts Munich antitrust injunction over unfair treatment of health information portals as final decision

        After the two spectacular preliminary injunctions that the Landgericht München I (Munich I Regional Court) entered on February 10 over the same issue (fair treatment of health information portals), both Google and the German federal government (specifically, the Federal Ministry of Health) had one month to appeal. What I’ve found out now from the regional appeals court, the Oberlandesgericht München (Munich Higher Regional Court), serves to validate the five-star rating two pre-eminent German antitrust experts gave the Munich court’s decision:

        While an appeal was filed in the Google case (appellate case no. 29 U 1317/21), the German government did not do so in its own case. A few days ago, Germany’s leading news agency DPA reported that the Federal Ministry of Health had not responded to multiple inquiries concerning its plans. By now, about a week over the deadline, it’s certain that Google has to go it alone.

        I’ve also been able to find out in Germany that the government has formally accepted the preliminary injunction as final, meaning that the court order is now, in fact, a permanent injunction with respect to the government. There won’t be a full-blown trial in the case against the government.

        Google told the media a few days ago that it had merely filed a notice of appeal to buy itself more time to weigh its options. At the time of Google’s notice of appeal, it wasn’t clear yet what the government was going to do.

      • Attorneys should learn more about our companies, say in-house [Ed: Companies so wealthy/powerful they already have their own law firms for blackmail and litigation from within, outwards, beholden only to one company's paycheck]

        Counsel from SilcoTek and three other companies say firms should ask questions to learn about clients’ businesses so companies can better tackle complex tech

      • Patents

        • The Damages Testimony in VLSI Technologies v. Intel

          VLSI Technologies sued Intel for the alleged infringement of several patents. At trial VLSI asserted two patents: 7,523,373 (“the ‘373 Patent”), and 7,725,759 (“the ‘759 Patent”). VLSI asserted that the technology described in these patents was incorporated into 987 million Intel microprocessors of various models. On March 2, a jury in the Western District of Texas awarded VLSI $2.18 billion in damages for Intel’s pre-trial use of the patents.

          The court allowed the public to listen to pubic portions of the trial by telephone. This article describes aspects of the testimony and attorney statements on damages as logged in contemporaneous notes.

          The damages testimony in this trial is interesting for several reasons, including Plaintiff’s presentation of a regression analysis as the basis of its damages claim. Regression analysis is a sophisticated quantitative technique that is widely used in the academic literature, in making business decisions and in many areas of litigation, though it is seldom presented in patent trials. The data necessary to undertake regression analysis is generally unavailable in patent matters. As is often the case in the application of complicated statistical methods, the results can vary with inputs, underlying assumptions, data availability and other factors. While Intel did address possible problems or partiality in the application of the methodology, the defendant’s core attack on the regression analysis was its repeated assertion that the method has never been undertaken in the real-world process of licensing patents.

          By way of additional background, it appears that ownership of the patents had changed hands at least twice as the result either of mergers or as part of a sale of the patents themselves, including the sale to VLSI. These transactions indicated a much lower value for the patents than was claimed by VLSI and awarded by the jury. The patented technology had been originally assigned to Freescale, an integrated circuit manufacturer spun off from Motorola, later purchased by another semiconductor manufacturer, NXP. Freescale was the owner of the patents at the time that Intel first allegedly infringed them. Finally, as Intel pointed out at trial, VLSI is a non-practicing entity that undertakes no research nor production and has two employees.

        • Seeking Transparency in Waco

          Judge Alan Albright’s court in the Western District of Texas is rapidly becoming the latest hot spot for patent litigation. While only a total of two patent cases were filed in 2016 and 2017 in Judge Albright’s Waco federal courthouse, the number of patent filings rose to seven hundred and ninety-three (793) in 2020. See J. Jonas Anderson & Paul R. Gugliuzza, Federal Judge Seeks Patent Cases, (forthcoming Duke L. J 2021). Professors Anderson and Gugliuzza provide a thorough explanation (and critique) of this sudden ascent. I have a smaller, but nonetheless important, point to make. If the Western District of Texas is going to hear some of patent law’s most important cases, it should not do so in secret. Unfortunately, that appears to have just what happened in one the highest dollar value patent trials in recent history.

          The patent world has been abuzz about the $2.18 billion verdict that the Waco jury handed down on March 2, 2021 in VLSI Technology v. Intel. The public debate in patent law has often focused on whether courts and juries are getting patent damages right. Looking at relevant filings on damages provides critical information for this important discussion. In high stakes cases, parties typically file summary judgment motions on damages and Daubert motions attempting to exclude certain theories. These motions often attach expert reports and deposition testimony as exhibits. Together these documents illustrate how patent doctrine shapes damage awards. For example, filings often explain how the parties seek to apportion damages between the value of the infringing features and the product as a whole. This is not an easy task and parties have taken many approaches to apportionment with varying levels of success.

          However, these documents cannot be retrieved from the VLSI Technology v. Intel docket. To be clear, sealing is appropriate in some instances. Companies should be able to keep their confidential technical and financial information under wraps. But at least as of March 15, 2021, the following docket entries were wholly unavailable (i.e. not even redacted copies were available).

        • Number of EPO patent applications decreased slightly last year [Ed: This does not say anything about the decline in the quality of European Patents, which is alarming EPO examiners]

          Last year, 180.250 European patent applications were filed with the EPO, a 0.7% decrease in comparison with 2019.

          According to statistics published by the EPO earlier this week, medical technology (+2.6%) “accounted for the most inventions in 2020, retaking the top spot from digital communication, which had been the most active field in 2019. The previous growth champions, digital communication (which includes technologies enabling 5G networks) and computer technology (including AI-related inventions), continued to show strong patenting activity, ranking second and third respectively, and growing by 1.0% and 1.9% on 2019. Meanwhile, transport showed the largest drop (-5.5%), especially in the sub-fields of aviation and aerospace (-24.7%), and to a lesser extent automotive (-1.6%).”

        • This week in IP: EPO data analysed, Huawei reveals 5G fees, Becerra confirmed to cabinet [Ed: Under “VICO legality referred to EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal” not a single mention of the scandal associated with appointment of judges]

          On Friday, March 12, an EPO Board of Appeal referred a question to the Enlarged Board of Appeal on whether compulsory oral proceedings could continue without the consent of both parties involved.

          The referral submitted to the EBoA reads: “Is the conduct of oral proceedings in the form of a video-conference compatible with the right to oral proceedings as enshrined in Article 116 (1) EPC if not all of the parties to the proceedings have given their consent to the conduct of oral proceedings in the form of a video-conference?”

          Video-conferences (VICOs) were introduced at the EPO early last year in response to the travel and safety restrictions introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On January 4 2021, the EPO announced that all examination and opposition proceedings would be conducted virtually until September 2021, even if one party withheld consent.

          Some parties have objected to online oral proceedings on the basis that the highly technical nature of many of their cases means justice would be denied if arguments had to be presented virtually.

          Others claim that patent owners have made this argument against VICO simply to stall the invalidation of their patents. Given that travel restrictions could be in place until well into 2021, an insistence on in-person hearings, they argue, would unfairly prolong the life of bad patents.

          Tomos Shillingford, general counsel at Insud Pharma in Madrid, told Managing IP: “Given that this global situation could go on for an extended period, society needs to get on with collective life, and there is no real reason that hearings cannot be done virtually.”

          The EBoA has said it will consider the referral (via VICO) on May 28, and that the deadline to submit observations is April 27.

        • EPO revokes first Sigma-Aldrich CRISPR patent for lack of inventive step [Ed: EPO keeps granting fake patents; most people cannot afford the legal challenge]

          Recently, patent oppositions to applications concerning the ground-breaking CRISPR/Cas gene editing technology have dominated European Patent Office proceedings. On Wednesday, the EPO Opposition Division revoked a patent owned by US biotechnology company Sigma-Aldrich, for lack of inventive step. EP 31 38 910 B1 is just one in a family of six CRISPR patents from the Sigma-Aldrich portfolio.

          This is a departure from previous proceedings, which focused almost solely on priority. However, for Sigma-Aldrich, the revocation is another hurdle in the race to patent the CRISPR technology in human cell conditions. JUVE Patent is not yet aware if the patent holder will appeal the decision.

          CRISPR has come to prominence in recent years due to its many potential applications. CRISPR, or ‘Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats’ is specialised strands of DNA. Cas9 is a protein capable of cutting these DNA strands.

          CRISPR can combat many chronic infectious diseases such as hepatitis C or HIV. The technology is also used to improve crop varieties easily and efficiently, although not uncontroversial given its ethical implications. However, its continued development promises a global business worth billions. This explains the wide interest in CRISPR cases, and their sheer number of opponents at the EPO.


          Martin Grund is one of the most prominent figures in the CRSIPR/Cas proceedings. Grund also represents Detmold lawyer Claudia Ramersdorf as an opponent, and he was present in other proceedings against patents of the Broad Institute.

          The same applies to the Sigma-Aldrich patent’s other opponents. Munich patent firm Vossius & Partner filed the first opposition in December 2017, although here JUVE Patent is unaware on whose behalf the firm is acting. However, Hans-Rainer Jaenichen’s team was active for CRISPR Therapeutics in the oppositions against patents of the Broad Institute.

          Cohausz & Florack, Mathys & Squire, George Schlich and df-mp Dörries Frank-Molnia & Pohlman are also active in other CRISPR Cas proceedings as straw men.

          Ultimately, 46 participants joined in the video hearing. According to those present, no party reported any technical issues.


          EPO President António Campinos said: “The EPO’s Patent Index for 2020 shows that demand for patent protection has remained high. (…) While this is a conclusive set of results for the year, it is far from presenting a complete picture of the longer-term effects of the pandemic. Those, I’m sure, are yet to be seen. And although we can’t predict with any certainty the patent trends that will emerge in the coming months or years, we do know that it is innovation, research and science that will lead to a healthier world, and to stronger and more sustainable economies.”

        • What do you call it? For almost two-thirds of you, it’s the “specification” [Ed: Self-selecting survey in a site of patent maximalists is unlikely to be even remotely representative of the broader view, public interest, and sentiments of the general public]

          As of this afternoon, over 800 readers had responded to the question about how you refer to the part of the patent application that is required by 35 U.S.C. § 112(a). The graph below shows the distribution of responses. (n=720)

        • Software Patents

          • $1,500 Awarded for DivX ’792 prior art

            Unified is pleased to announce the PATROLL crowdsourcing contest winner, James Busch, who received a cash prize of $1,500 for his prior art submission for US 8,472,792. The patent is owned by DivX, LLC, a subsidiary of well-known NPE, Fortress Investment Group. The ’792 patent relates to encoding and decoding multimedia files having at least one video track and at least one audio track and had been asserted against Netflix and Hulu in district court.

          • FireNet Technologies patent held unpatentable

            On March 18, 2021, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final written decision in Unified Patents, LLC v. Firenet Technologies, LLC holding all claims of U.S. Patent 8,892,600 (claims 1-17 and 19-23) unpatentable. This is an IPinvestments Group entity. The ’600 patent, generally directed to a proxy firewall system for protecting devices within a network. FireNet had previously sued Kemp Technologies, Fortinet, Citrix, A10 Networks, and Fujitsu.

          • A Year of WSOU: Craig Etchegoyen’s Post-Uniloc NPE Files Nearly 200 Cases

            For most U.S. businesses, the pandemic forced temporary (and sometimes permanent) closures, bankruptcies, and credit crunches. Many were forced to adapt to working remotely, deal with border closures and shortages, or address outbreaks. But for at least one kind of entity, 2020 was a banner year. Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs), entities that exist to acquire and enforce patent assets, filed upwards of 3,744 suits, up more than 12% over 2019—the vast majority of patent cases filed. For patent lawyers, at least, business has been booming.

            One particularly prolific NPE filed almost 200 suits since March 2020, representing 1 out of every 20 district court cases nationwide: WSOU Investments LLC, d/b/a Brazos Licensing (i.e., “we-sue”). WSOU is a new kind of patent troll in terms of scale—but it’s one built on an old file-and-settle model and run by the now-infamous Craig Etchegoyen (the guy behind the litigious NPE Uniloc), he’s gone from 600 patents being asserted through Uniloc to a web of over 15,000 Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent patents and applications from over 4,500 patent families. Most of the patents in the portfolio (and most of the patents asserted) relate to telecommunications and digital data processing and transmission, although they cover a range of fields, including wireless networks, video games, and image processing and communication.


            WSOU is managed by Craig Etchegoyen, surfing-prodigy-turned-PAE-manager. Etchegoyen is the former CEO of Uniloc, another prolific PAE. In December 2020, it was discovered that based on a contract clause that gave a litigation financier a right to take ownership of patents if certain revenue targets were not met, Uniloc did not have standing to assert its patents. WSOU may be subject to similar contract clauses, and discovery into ownership and chain of title is already in process. A defendant would be wise to pore through assignment and financing agreements to catch any chink in the chain of ownership—the assignment frames on record with the USPTO do not, for instance, show a clear chain of title for many of the WSOU patents. Rumor has it that he tried and failed to find a buyer for the portfolio, bringing unreasonable demands to the table. It’s likely that his current demands are equally unreasonable, but he’s leveraging the cost of litigation as far as it can be leveraged in an attempt to avoid any sort of honest look at the value of his portfolio.

            It is too early to tell if WSOU’s strategy will pan out, but most defendants have not yet taken advantage of the inter partes review process, presumably because the costs there would extend into the millions just to file, and with the substantial uncertainty surrounding Fintiv and other USPTO flexes of discretion, it’s unclear if even meritorious challenges will be given the time of day. Of the 140+ patents asserted, so far just 12 PTAB challenges have been filed, including one IPR by Unified Patents against a video codec patent. Unified has also posted a number of PATROLL contests (US8209411, US7409715) and continues to monitor WSOU’s monetization activities.

      • Copyrights

        • Oh, the intellectual [sic] property [sic] rights you’ll extend

          I bring this all up because I think it’s relevant policy context for the recent controversy over Seuss Enterprises withdrawing six books from publication that were deemed problematic. Right-wing agitators have responded to this as if it’s the government censoring Dr. Seuss, and so out of solidarity with Dr. Seuss, they are buying non-canceled classics like “Green Eggs and Ham” in droves. But this is just not factual. Dr. Seuss has been dead for nearly 30 years. His heirs — likely these two stepdaughters, though that’s not entirely clear — canceled the books, and now are the ones reaping the financial rewards from the backlash to their own actions.

          The whole thing is perverse. And while it’s not the main problem with our current system of copyright, I do think it tends to illustrate the perversity of letting copyrights extend so long.

        • Our 2020 State of the Commons Report Is Here!

          In our 2020 State of the Commons report, we take you through what we accomplished last year, from effectively unlocking hundreds of thousands of patents to the public through the Open COVID Pledge to hosting over 1300 people in our first virtual CC Global Summit. “Despite the year’s many challenges,” CEO Catherine Stihler writes in her opening message, “CC made great strides in our mission to build and sustain a thriving commons of shared knowledge and culture.” In this report, we also tried something new, featuring posts written by members of the CC Global Network (CCGN) originally published on the CCGN’s Medium publication. From using open-source games to host artistic performances in Indonesia to creating a digital advocacy project that reached over 257,000 people in Nigeria, these individuals’ work and words have both inspired and motivated us to continue onward. Hopefully, they’ll do the same for you.

        • uTorrent Continues to be Flagged as ‘Severe Threat’ and It’s Not alone

          Popular BitTorrent client uTorrent is again being flagged as problematic by anti-virus vendors. This includes Microsoft’s Windows Defender, which simply removes the application from the operating system. According to reports, the software is categorized as ‘riskware,’ ‘malware,’ and ‘potentially unwanted software.’ In addition to uTorrent, rival client qBitTorrent is also facing similar problems.

        • YouTube Rolls Out Upload Filters as a Feature, Not an EU Requirement

          The new EU Copyright Directive, which was passed in 2019 despite widespread criticism, heralded in the prospect of upload filters to ensure that, where possible, infringing content does not appear on online services. But what if upload filters were promoted not as a hindrance, but as a helpful feature for content creators? In this respect, YouTube may already have your back.

        • Imminent Win For The Public Domain: Court Likely To Compel Musée Rodin To Release Its 3D Scans Of Sculptor’s Works For Free

          Back in 2019, Techdirt wrote about a fascinating case involving a bogus CC license on a 3D scan of a 3000-year-old bust of Nefertiti. The person at the heart of the saga was the artist and open access activist Cosmo Wenman. His web site has some background on what he calls his “freedom of information projects”:

Perception Management and Reality Distortion in EPO Coverage, Sometimes Subsidised by the EPO and Typically Funded by Litigation Giants

Posted in Deception, Europe, Google, Patents at 12:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The World Wide Web/Internet monopolies are encouraging people not to explore negative views regarding Europe’s second-largest institution, the EPO, and a lot of that is to do with money (how it’s used to shape the media)

SEVERAL years ago we explained that a lot of so-called ‘news’ about patents tends to come directly from law (or litigation) firms, their front groups, media they subsidise for bias/agenda, and sometimes the EPO, its front groups (associated institutions), media that EPO pays for puff pieces and so on. That can easily cloud people’s judgement and sooner or later that bias is taken for granted and is considered “normal”; people refer to any patent as “property” (it is not), people who share become “pirates”, algorithms are “hey hi” (AI), and EPO is presumed European (even if the EU adds up to about 30% of European Patents, i.e. less than a third).

To make my point a little more clear and concrete I’ve decided to show what happens when one searches Google News for “EPO” (at least here in the UK/GB). This is the kind of thing British delegates who ‘attend’ next meeting may see as a little bit of ‘research’; it’s not news, it’s paid-for perception management and shameless self-promotion wrapped/dressed up as “news”.

Has anyone other than us even mentioned the EPO outsourcing to Microsoft? No. Never mind if staff representatives have spoken a lot about it (since last year).

Man holding dog but cat is sad: EPO examiners and Mr. Rowan

In the video I said I’d make suggestions of sites to follow directly, over RSS feeds. Many good sites/blogs have perished or vanished completely. But Patent Progress (CCIA) is possible to follow on http://www.patentprogress.org/feed/, Kinsella is on http://www.stephankinsella.com/feed/kinsella-on-liberty/, Unified Patents is on https://www.unifiedpatents.com/insights?format=rss, FFII is on https://ffii.org/feed/, and FOSS Patents is on http://www.fosspatents.com/feeds/posts/default. You would likely need an RSS reader (Google does not like RSS feeds, so browsers based on Chromium would not cope well); I recommend QuiteRSS and our own feed is on http://techrights.org/feed/.

At the EPO ‘New Normal’ is Synonymous With ‘Breaking the Law’… (EPC, Human Rights and More)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Law, Patents at 12:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Using the typical euphemisms, which have become all but familiar, the crooked management of the EPO is looking to retroactively justify its violations of the law

JUST A FEW hours ago the EPO published (warning: epo.org link) the page discussed in the video above. Basically, António Campinos exploits COVID like Benoît Battistelli exploted terrorism in France and elsewhere. The concept of emergency is being leveraged to justify law-breaking by the supposedly benevolent dictator/s. It is meanwhile being noted, albeit only in blog comments that make it past moderation, that “EPO is more and more developing into a banana republic with the help of the EBA. It is tragic.”

“I only think that appealing to national authorities can put a stop to this dangerous way. After all the EPO is not there to serve the top management and the minions gravitating around it, but to the users of the EPO.”

Where are the “national authorities” in all this? Nowhere. As our next video will explain, the EPO bribes the media and academia just about enough to create an illusion — this laughable idea that all is well at the Office and there’s nothing for the Administrative Council of the EPO to do about it.

Shame on the Administrative Council of the EPO

The Corporate Media is Deliberately Misleading Everyone About Encryption and Privacy

Posted in Deception at 10:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Door handle

Summary: You never know who’s behind that door, or how many Internet-connected cameras and microphones are in there anymore (it’s easy to lose count)

Dystopia is here
But thou shalt not fear

Encryption is for terrorists
WhatsApp is encryption, say the Tor(rorists)ies

Apple fights for privacy
To suggest otherwise is heresy

Facebook is “confidential computing”
To the NSA they’re routing

Guard with machine gun
Centralised certificate authorities are trust
Until your certificate is revoked and goes bust

Microsoft fights cybercrime
It also commits crime, all the time

Security is impossible
That you’ll ever succeed is improbable

Privacy is an illusion
Give up on this delusion

Give us all your data
Upload to UberClown™ Beta

Speak your mind to Jeff, whose name is now “Alexa”
Google will be your assistant, and collector of metadata

Privacy is a joke when you have nothing to hide
Open up your door(bell), Ring will take you for a ride

Nothing to hide; Nothing to say

IBM is Destroying Red Hat and Red Hatters Are Leaving

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 8:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The maltreatment of Red Hat at the hands of IBM is driving away people who joined Red Hat thinking it would help promote something positive, unlike the business model and ruthless patent aggression of IBM

THIS morning we caught up with some comments made anonymously by (we assume) IBM/Red Hat insiders. The situation has been rather bad for a while — layoffs included — and with that squeeze on CentOS users to pay IBM (this has largely backfired in several different ways) “redhatters [are] leaving in troves. Get out while you can.” Says an insider, apparently…

We’re aware of some who already left, but complete statistics are available only internally (at IBM).

“Get out while you can.”

“Free software that is difficult to set up and maintain can limit one’s freedom.”So says the latest comment, only weeks old. In this video I give some background information, I explain why Ansible/containers (OpenShift, Podman)/systemd are added complexity which helps sell support contracts, and I remind people that I’m no Red Hat basher. I’ve spent nearly 20 years boosting the company and its products, many of which I’ve used and still use.

Yesterday we wrote about added technical complexity as a barrier. It’s like a form of vendor lock-in, no matter if it’s proprietary or Free software. Free software that is difficult to set up and maintain can limit one’s freedom.

A do not enter signTake AWS for example (Fedora is being outsourced to Microsoft and to AWS). AWS is not Free software but an exploiter of Free software (ask projects which are ‘monetised’ by Amazon at those projects’ expense). AWS is about learning and memorising GUIs, not real skills, and those ‘skills’ become useless anyway as soon as you move to a customer/server that doesn’t have AWS (then there’s inclination to just outsource everything to such a surveillance monopoly). IBM wants something along the same lines. It nowadays has Amazon envy and it’s doing harm to what remains of Red Hat.

EPO and Microsoft Collude to Break the Law — Part XIV: When is a Conflict of Interest Not a Conflict of Interest?

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Microsoft, Patents at 8:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Previous parts:

Bill Gates and Campinos

Summary: Could the EPO’s increasing reliance on Microsoft involve a conflict of interest?

If Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty had ever managed to visit the bizarre “Wonderland” of the EPO he might have been tempted to formulate a new riddle along the lines of: “When is a conflict of interest not a conflict of interest?”

“To begin with there is Microsoft’s chequered history of data protection infractions, anti-trust violations and US FCPA investigations.”The answer, it seems, is: “When it involves the EPO”.

At any rate, this kind of paradoxical “logic” fits the bill when it comes to the EPO’s increasing reliance on Microsoft as a provider of IT products and services.

The casual observer looking at the situation from the outside might reasonably conclude that there are a whole host of legitimate concerns including strong indications of an irreconcilable conflict of interest.

To begin with there is Microsoft’s chequered history of data protection infractions, anti-trust violations and US FCPA investigations.

But even if one were inclined to ignore all that, there is a more fundamental problem.

To put it in a nutshell: due to the company’s position as a significant player in the global IP arena, Microsoft’s role as a key IT provider to the EPO seems to be tainted by an inherent conflict of interest.

The situation might not be so precarious if Microsoft was simply a purveyor of computing hardware or a vendor of client-end data processing software for on-site data processing under the control of the EPO.

But the company’s role at the EPO has now expanded far beyond that to the provision of cloud-based data processing services, including the processing of much if not all of the EPO’s internal communications via Outlook, Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business.

What we have here could be described in simple terms as the large-scale export of operational data, including internal e-mail and video-conferencing communications, from the EPO to an external data processing infrastructure owned by and operated under the control of Microsoft.

It doesn’t need an MBA from the Harvard Business School to realise that placing such sensitive internal operational data directly into the hands of a significant player in the global IP arena is a highly questionable undertaking.

Based on its track record to date, EPO management will undoubtedly defend its actions by arguing that Microsoft can be trusted to “do the right thing”.

Microsoft will undoubtedly “do the right thing”. The only question here is “the right thing for whom?”

Remember that we are talking here about a private for-profit business corporation with a well-documented track record of engaging in anti-competitive practices and other ethically dubious activities. Can any sane person be realistically expected to trust a company with such an egregious track record of data protection infractions, anti-trust violations and US FCPA investigations?

There should be more than enough warning signs here to set off alarm bells in the competent centres of oversight and governance. However, going by Steve Rowan’s recent communiqué, nobody in the upper echelons of EPO management seems to be particularly worried.

Unfortunately, past experience over the last decade and a half has shown that the EPO doesn’t deal with conflict-of-interest situations very well.

The rot seems to have really set in (for good) back in 2009 when the Administrative Council voted to appoint its then Chairman, Battistelli, as the executive head of the Office. At the time in question, Battistelli was an elected representative for a political party in France, which should have automatically disqualified him from holding such a position in an international organisation. But the Administrative Council remained oblivious to this glaring conflict of interest.

According to the internal EPO rumour mill, Battistelli had his successor as Chair of the Administrative Council, the Danish delegate Jesper Kongstad, quite literally “in his pocket”. Kongstad reportedly received a secret “emolument” from Battsitelli’s HR department in the form of the equivalent of an EPO principal director’s salary — a generous monthly tax-free sum of five-figure proportions.

One of Battistelli’s first moves as President of the Office was to procure the abolition of the independent Audit Committee which reported directly to the Administrative Council.

It’s highly ironic that one of the intended functions of the Audit Committee was to advise the Administrative Council about potential conflicts of interest. Now that it has been disbanded, there is no longer anybody around to warn the Council.

Given this background, it’s not really surprising that the increasing reliance of the EPO on Microsoft as an IT provider hasn’t generated any visible concern in the ranks of the organisation’s senior management and governance bodies.

Microsoft bribe
Did “foreign corrupt practices” play a role in the award of EPO contracts to Microsoft? The opacity of the tendering process makes it difficult to give an answer to such questions.

Another remarkable aspect of the present case is the total opacity of the process that led to the award of the contract or contracts for cloud computing services to Microsoft.

It’s not clear how much these contracts are worth and whether they were put out to public tender, or whether they were allocated by “direct award”.

We also don’t know who exactly was responsible for the internal vetting of these procurement decisions, although it seems fair to assume that they were ultimately approved and signed off by the President of the Office, António Campinos.

Whether or not Campinos was properly advised in the matter is of course a completely different question.

Readers of Techrights may recall that back in 2015, reports were circulating ([1] and [2]) about a programme of “closer cooperation” between the EPO’s senior management and some of its leading corporate applicants, in particular Microsoft.

This arrangement attracted a lot of criticism at the time and many people quite rightly questioned whether it was appropriate for the EPO to be engaging in what amounted to a favourable treatment of large multinational corporations like Microsoft.

The recent expansion of Microsoft’s business relationship with the EPO has caused some people to speculate about whether the latest developments might not have been influenced by a further programme of “enhanced cooperation” involving “foreign corrupt practices”.

It is important to emphasise that there is currently no hard evidence of any “kickbacks” or “slush funds” operated by Microsoft at the EPO. For the moment, any such suggestions are based purely on speculation.

On the other hand, Microsoft’s well-documented track record in other jurisdictions means that such speculation cannot be dismissed as completely off the wall.

Cxcel issue
The EPO is plagued by an entrenched culture of opacity and non-accountability which makes a credible investigation into suspected irregularities almost impossible

However, the problem here is that the EPO is plagued by such a deeply entrenched culture of opacity and non-accountability that if these procurement decisions had in fact been tainted by corruption, it is highly unlikely that this would ever be investigated and exposed, especially if any members of the senior management were involved.

It is doubtful whether the EPO’s internal investigative procedures are really fit for purpose in such cases, and there is no external anti-corruption agency which would be competent to take appropriate action.

To sum up, we are left with a situation in which procurement decisions have been made at the EPO which effectively place sensitive internal operational data directly into the hands of an external IT service provider based in the US and subject to the laws of that jurisdiction — including the US CLOUD Act of 2018.

In addition to this, the IT service provider in question happens to be a significant player in the global IP game.

At the same time, none of those who bear the ultimate responsibility for these procurement decisions seem to have the slightest concern about what appears to be a clear-cut case of a conflict of interest.

As Lewis Carrol’s Alice might have said, “curiouser and curiouser!”

In the final part of the series we will consider whether the EPO’s increasing reliance on cloud computing services hosted by Microsoft has effectively led to a sell-out of the organisation’s “digital sovereignty”.

The Microsoft Deal With the EPO is Illegal For a Lot of Reasons

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 7:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: A discussion of some of the things we’ve shown so far in preparation for the next part, Part XIV

THE EPO-Microsoft scandal will still be covered next week and over the weekend. It’s a privacy blunder bigger than any of Benoît Battistelli‘s, but media in the pockets of the litigation profiteers wants us to think António Campinos is better or good enough. Even when he’s pressuring judges to allow European software patents — to the point where he can get his way with stacked panels.

“This is how the EPO is handling supposedly ‘encrypted’ files, in effect giving Microsoft all the passwords or passphrases for decryption.”When it comes to privacy abuses, we’re far from done. We still have lots of documents to show and discuss. The EPO’s response to us was pure waffle. It did nothing to debunk what we had shown. The warning signs are even in the news right now. The Microsoft booster Lawrence Abrams seems to be growingly concerned that a “mysterious bug” is deleting Microsoft Teams files. (“Mysterious” means secret code, which cannot even be audited; there have been numerous Skype scandals over surveillance on chats in real-time including Microsoft following hyperlinks in conversations)

PiratesMicrosoft Teams and Skype aren’t suitable for anything to do with encryption. This is how the EPO is handling supposedly ‘encrypted’ files, in effect giving Microsoft all the passwords or passphrases for decryption. This in insanity. It’s buggy software that’s more like a bug (as in spying device).

Will the Administrative Council put an end to this Microsoft outsourcing contract, which is clearly illegal?

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, March 18, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:14 am by Needs Sunlight

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